How to Use Facebook Groups to Increase Your Blog Traffic

How to use Facebook groups to increase your blog traffic

Facebook groups are a brilliant source of information, community and traffic. They differ in purpose and each have different rules, but essentially they can all be used for the same things: to meet new bloggers, ask questions to the community and to promote your posts.

As with many things in the blogging world – it took me a long time to discover the power of blogging focused Facebook groups. I joined one, run by a close blog friend when it had just a few hundred members last year and a very small targeted sharing group, but didn’t actively participate in either. My Facebook traffic was low at the time – I’d had a post go viral with 100,000 views in my first year of blogging, but since that point I averaged between 5-20 views a day, depending on whether I published to my blog Facebook page. Continue reading

Why Children are Not Invited to Our Wedding

 

Why children aren't allowed at our wedding

It’s six months until my wedding day and while I have a few things still on my list to tackle, the large things are now booked and organised. Most of it (despite some of the horror stories I have heard over the years from friends and articles I have read online) has been an exciting experience. However, one thing that I found difficult was the guest list.

Why?

Because children are not invited to our wedding, including my own niece.

The Bloke and I don’t have children of our own. I have a very small family – mum, two sisters, one sister’s long-term boyfriend, a brother-in-law and a niece, who will be 10 months old on the day of the wedding. The Bloke’s family is considerably larger, but don’t have young children – the youngest are older teenagers, so it wasn’t a family issue to consider. However, my friends have lots of them. Continue reading

A Hen Party in Bristol

I found myself on a train up North to visit the family on Monday evening after just returning home from a two-day hen party (Bachelorette) extravaganza. I had blisters on my feet, a burn on my thumb, I’d had about six hours sleep thanks to a very hangry cat this morning who woke me up at 6am for his breakfast (and I had six hours the night before) and the hangover that I could once shake off in 24 hours in my 20’s was still going strong.

I’m not a huge fan of hen parties, but this one went really well. Four of us, including the hen, trekked to Bristol, where we were joined by nine others throughout the morning. We had been given strict instructions that there was to be no cliche items in tow – penis-shaped objects, L plates, cheap netted veils etc – but as she said nothing about other silly items I took the opportunity to put together a ‘Hen Party Survival Kit,’ complete with Disney plasters, water, chocolate, safety pins etc. We managed to start drinking (and spilling) the wine by 11am, so by the time we arrived I was already feeling a little on the squiffy side.

The afternoon was spent watching Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat – something that I know well through playing the songs in various musical activities but hadn’t actually seen. It was…ok. It wasn’t for the lack of talent – the actress playing the narrator was incredible, Joe McElderry did a good job in the lead role (despite reminding me of a younger Michael Ball) and the supporting cast were all talented in their own right, but it just wasn’t my thing. I had more fun joining in the children’s vocal parts in the songs at the end – something that I don’t think the child sitting in front of me appreciated as she kept turning round and glaring at me. We went for a drink, where I discovered a cocktail that tasted like cola cube sweets, then went back to the hotel and got changed. I decided to risk it and curl my hair (previous attempts to do this have left me looking like some sort of drunken Shirley Temple), and was feeling all smug when it actually worked… until I burned the crap out of my thumb.

Plonker.

Our meal had been booked and the food pre-ordered several months ago, but when we arrived we were told by our poor waiter, James, that there had been changes to the menu and the whole order ended up being taken again. The Maid of Honour had thoughtfully decorated the room and the banter started pretty much as soon as we walked in:

Hen: What do you do, James?
James: I’m a student.
Hen: Studying what?
James: Physics and Astro-Physics
Hen: So, Science then…

That pretty much set the tone for the meal. The guy deserved a medal and credit to him, he gave as good as he got. Considering he was only 19 years old, he dealt with the group of rowdy women brilliantly and ended up making what turned out to be a three-hour event a cracking experience, throughly deserving the monster tip we gave him at the end…

And then… onto the club. I’d made the stupid decision to wear heels but thankfully the Hen had organised a private room complete with wine, spirits and mixers, and I found a spot on a large comfortable couch. It was like my dream scenario – Disoranno and lemonade on tap, my favourite cheesy songs from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a bride-to-be who danced so much that we had to actually take it in turns to dance with her (depending on our music preferences) because none of us could keep up, and brilliant company. I sang, I danced, I talked utter nonsense and had a fantastic time.

Unfortunately, my feet didn’t, so the hobble back to the hotel was so painful that I looked like I’d had some sort of toilet-based accident, but it was totally worth it.

Her wedding is at the beginning of June, so it’s not long to go now. It feels like five minutes ago that she got engaged (Feb 2016) and if I know her as well as I think I do then it will be a wedding to remember!

Let’s hope that my feet recover before then…

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

40+ Useful Ideas for Self Care

Useful ideas for practicing self care

Things have been a little on the stressful side recently, and those who follow the blog regularly may notice that I haven’t posted much of my own content. With wedding planning, a biopsy followed by stitches (everything is fine and all-clear thank goodness, but it was a little worrying at the time), a truly horrific day of supply teaching (without being melodramatic, I think it was the worst day in over eleven years of working in schools that I’ve ever had) and the general daily tasks that needed completing there has been more than a few occasions where I have found myself a little overwhelmed.

In an attempt to try and overcome the anxiety and general cloudiness that fills me whenever I reach certain panic levels, I have actively indulged in self care – any voluntary activity that helps to maintain my mental, physical and emotional health. This isn’t just ‘hygge’ – they have involved numerous things that I enjoy simply because they make me feel better and I have taken the time to be mindful of them as I am doing it. Continue reading

* Sharing my world

I always enjoy Katherine’s Share Your World posts… Please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hope on over to Teachezwell and say hello!

Teachezwell Blog

Thanks, Cee, for your weekly Share Your World challenge.  It’s always fun to stop and consider her questions!  Why don’t you join the fun?

Here we go:

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?  Water, plain seltzer, and plain English Breakfast tea top my list.  Plain, room temperature water with no lemon.  When I order that at a restaurant, the server immediately asks everyone else if they want ice and lemon.  I always think that’s a bit funny.  I mean, if I order a salad, servers never ask everyone else if they want the same item.  But if I ask for my drink first, all the others have to clarify that they want ICE and/or LEMON.  Can’t figure that out.glass of waterComplete this sentence:  Never In My Life Have I…. been aware of time.  It’s a fluid construct for me.  I do make an effort to mark…

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How To Use Flipboard

Here’s an incredibly useful post from Hugh about using Flipboard. Never heard of it? Then read on! Please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hop on over to Hugh and say hello!

Hugh's Views & News

Flipboard is a social media platform where users create their own virtual magazines and add articles to them. With over 40 million users, it’s no wonder why I have seen a sudden upsurge of traffic on my blog from Flipboard.

The following figures speak for themselves, although I should add that I’ve only started using Flipboard within the last few days. Up until then, Flipboard was nowhere in sight on this list.

Referral stats for Hugh's Views & News WordPress Blog

The good folk at Flipboard have been in contact with me after I published my recent article on how to add a Flipshare sharing button to a WordPress blog. They thanked me for posting the article and asked if there was anything else they could help with. I asked them for a link to an article that detailed how Flipboard works. They kindly sent me a link to a page that shows new users how to use…

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A Nice Easter Break

It’s back-to-work for many after the Easter holidays today and, as always, I have an enormous sense of relief that I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed.

The Bloke took a few weeks off work to coincide with the holidays, so I took a break away from the blog. I still maintained my Pinterest and Twitter social media management and my Facebook group, but decided not to write any posts until I actually had something to say. Continue reading

A Sad Break-Up…

Here’s a post from Helen that I can relate to! Please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hop on over to Journey to Ambeth and say hello!

Journey To Ambeth

How is everyone this Monday?

We’ve just had a lovely warm weekend here in the UK, a real taste of summer (or perhaps all the summer we are going to get, according to some!). I’ve been out and about quite a bit lately, visiting some wonderful places, but have one small problem. My iPhone has decided, for some reason, to stop talking to my iMac (or maybe it’s the other way around). There’s no apparent reason for the break up – they were getting along just fine until one day, they weren’t. Now it’s all ‘Do you trust this computer?’ and ‘Enter your passcode’ requests, as though they’ve never met before, and I’m not sure how to bring them back together again.

It’s a bit annoying, as you can imagine. Not change-my-life annoying, but certainly frustrating. I use a lot of photography on my blog, and I take those photos…

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How to Create Flat Lay Images Using Basic Props

When I first started using Pinterest one of the things that I had to learn how to do were pinnable images. It took me a while, developing my own style over a period of time using either my own pictures or ones that were available for free on stock image sites. However, one thing that I always had difficulty in finding were what I now know as Flat Lay images – pictures taken from above of beautifully arranged objects within a specific theme.

In particular, Flat Lays are hugely popular on Instagram and are a fantastic way to tell a story. I’ve seen absolutely stunning examples of everything from travel, blogging and stationery, to clothing, make-up and food.

I’ve wanted to create my own for some time. However, I’m not a photographer. I use my iPhone and my Canon compact camera to take pictures, but my knowledge doesn’t extend past point, shoot and edit via Instagram or Canva. So, I set out to spend a minimal amount of money on some props and use basic trial and error to see what the end results would be.

And thankfully, they turned out far better than I ever could have expected! Continue reading

NOISE at The Old Rep

From up-and-coming Midlands writer and director Thomas Moran and his company presentabsence Theatre comes “a new LGBTQ+ and deaf play.” NOISE follows the lives of five first-year university students in their shared flat, in particular Evan (Nicolas Ancelin) who is deaf. The play sees the development of Evan’s relationship with flatmate Harry (Dominic Holmes) and how they both deal with his impairment.

Despite their young ages and small number, the cast light up the stage of The Old REP, bringing energy and authenticity to their characters. The group work well as an ensemble, being totally believable as housemates and friends, but this is perhaps better shown through the several examples of physical theatre and montages in which all of the cast have co-ordinated their movements to fit with one another, avoiding any slip-ups (not an easy task on The Old REP’s small stage) whilst still managing to create dynamic sequences. Continue reading