Share Your Blog With #SundayBlogShare!

imageIn November 2014 I started a hashtag – #SundayBlogShare – that allowed bloggers to share their links and meet new people. It was not a new idea, I had been participating in similar link ups hosted by other bloggers throughout the year, but I found it to be really useful when networking and getting my posts out to a wider audience.

Eight months later it has become the biggest Twitter party of the weekend (to my knowledge anyway), with hundreds of bloggers around the world sharing thousands of links each Sunday, and it now trends on a weekly basis. I’m still in awe of how much it has grown, and I’ve been lucky to have found wonderful new blogs that I follow on a regular basis.

Want to join #SundayBlogShare? The instructions and guidelines are simple: Continue reading

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Suzie Speaks Summer Blog Party!

imageIt has been quite a while since I last hosted a blog party, and I absolutely love them! It’s the beginning of summer, and for me its the beginning of a new chapter, so I’m determined to celebrate in style! For those of you that have never participated in one before, the rules are simple:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder and I may not be able to find you for a while. You can share up to three links, and for maximum impact I would suggest that you wait a little while in between posting them rather than in one go. Continue reading

It’s Party Time!

imageThis week marks my two year blogiversary, and I decided that the best way to celebrate would be to invite you all to my blog party!

It has been quite a while since I last hosted a blog party, and I absolutely love them, so I’d like you all to put on your best outfits, grab a drink (mine is a Mojito for anyone that’s interested) and get your blog on! For those of you that have never participated in one before, the rules are simple:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder and I may not be able to find you for a while. I don’t have an issue with you posting another link separately, but please don’t share more than three – spend the time visiting other bloggers instead.

2. Paste the link to your post in the comment section of this post.

3. Enjoy! Relax, pull up a chair, meet new people! Find new blogs, comment on their posts, be polite, courteous and respectful, follow, reblog and share. Let them know that you met them here! This is a really useful way of discovering new blogs, particularly if you have only just joined the blogging world – the general rule that I set myself when I participate is that I check out at least two or  three other bloggers…

You don’t have to follow me to participate, you don’t have to be an established blogger – you could have written just a single post – and feel free to invite your friends!

Want to discover six WordPress blogs without waiting for others to post their links? Check out my sponsors – they’re all fabulous bloggers and they would love to meet you – you can find their blogs in my sidebar, just click on the image for the link! 

You’re welcome to share this post on all of your social media accounts too! You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

And remember…

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NOTE 1: Don’t forget to join me for #SundayBlogShare tomorrow!

NOTE 2: I’VE JUST FOUND TEN POSTS IN MY SPAM FOLDER THAT I HAVE NOW APPROVED – APOLOGIES FOR THIS!

Want To Boost Your Traffic? Advertising Opportunities on Suzie81 Speaks

Advertising

Are you looking to boost your blog? Suzie81 Speaks is looking to give sponsored and advertising opportunities!

There are two different types of advertising opportunities available: a monthly sponsorship space and a single ‘Blog of The Day.’

Here are a few facts about Suzie81 Speaks (of which proof can be provided if necessary on request).

  • Since Suzie81 Speaks began in April 2013 (two years ago), it has received nearly 386,000 views.
  • Total number of views in 2013: 72,556
  • Number of views over 2014: 265,800
  • Average number of views a day in 2014: Between 600 and 1500.
  • Current number of followers: 11,500 (approx 6,450 WordPress, 4,950 Twitter, 130 Tumblr). I also have a fairly new Facebook page with 285 ‘likes,’ and it is growing weekly.

 

MONTHLY ADVERTISING SPACES

I am offering advertising spaces here on Suzie81Speaks every month for a period of four weeks (and I say four weeks because some months are longer) at a cost of £25.00

A £25.00 advertising package will last for a period of four weeks and will entitle you to:

  • A 185 x 185px button/banner in the upper right corner of the page, with a direct link to your blog/company, which is a fixed feature for every page of Suzie81 Speaks.
  • A reblog of one of your posts throughout the month
  • Introductions via social media to some of my favourite bloggers.
  • Promotion in the form of links to your blog/company during my #SundayBlogShare party each Sunday on Twitter.

PLEASE NOTE – the conversion rate from USD to GBP is 1=0.6254, which means that the total in US Dollars will be approximately $38.49

If you wish to advertise your blog for the next four weeks, please email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk where we can discuss the terms and conditions of the advertising.

Feel free to check out the sponsors that I have in my sidebar – I’m sure that they would love to see new people!

 

BLOG OF THE DAY

This is available to WordPress followers only and there is a single space for one blogger every Sunday. There are two price options available:

Option 1: £9.00

  • A single promotional post about your blog with links to all of your social media accounts on Sunday afternoon
  • A reblog of a post of your choice on Sunday evening, during my highest traffic.
  • Promotional tweets to my #SundayBlogShare Twitter party during the day.

Option 2: £12.00

  • A single promotional post about your blog with links to all of your social media accounts on Sunday afternoon
  • A reblog of a post of your choice on Sunday evening, during my highest traffic.
  • Promotional tweets to my #SundayBlogShare Twitter party during the day.
  • Promotional tweets to all of the Twitter parties throughout the week that I participate in.
  • Introductions via social media to some of my favourite bloggers.

Disclaimers:

  • I cannot guarantee an increase in following, or traffic, but everyone that has been featured as Blog of The Day so far has indeed received higher views than their usual traffic.
  • I cannot (and will not) offer opportunities to any blogs that promote content that is racist, sexist, homophobic or promote any form of cruelty to animals. This includes hunting for sport and the wearing of fur for fashion.

Interested? Email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk.

Similarly, if you wish me to review products for your company, also feel free to email me at the same address.

Note: all payments are made through PayPal and are required in advance.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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

Blogging Hints and Tips: What Do You Want To Know?

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I’ve been emailed many times over the last few weeks with requests for blogging tips and advice. As I had a little bit of time free last night, I sat down and wrote everything I could think of that I deemed to be useful, and then proceeded to edit it and go through the word count.

It was over 4,000 words long.

As I realise that most people don’t have the time, nor the patience to read an epic post of that length, I have decided to break it down into a series over the space of several weeks. This would coincide perfectly with my blogiversary (I don’t care if you don’t like that word, I’m using it anyway) at the beginning of April and would be a great opportunity for me to be able to share what I’ve learnt from my little adventures over the last two years.

To make it as useful as possible, I need your help here:

What is it that you want to know? Feel free to email, tweet me or leave a question in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to answer your questions in my next few posts.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

Slow Burning Posts

imageFor those who are interested in their stats and want their words to be read, it’s always a buzz when a post immediately does well. However, what I’ve discovered is that some of my most popular posts are not ones that have achieved this instant success. I refer to these as ‘slow burners,’ as they slowly build up my stats on a monthly basis, constantly bubbling away in the background of my weekly ramblings.

A year ago I posted ‘23 Things You Should Actually Do Before You’re 23′ in response to one of the most popular articles of 2013 on Freshly Pressed. It did quite well, being shared across Twitter and Facebook numerous times. However, while it didn’t light the blogging world on fire, over the last year I have found it to be a consistent feature in my daily stats, being viewed between 10 and 50 times a day. I’ve done very little to promote it, occasionally sharing on Twitter during hashtag chats, on my Facebook page and putting a link to it in the sidebar of my blog and the numbers are still there.

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For example, if you look at the graph above you can see that it is constantly achieving the same number of views on a daily basis, with the occasional spike when I have highlighted it on my Twitter or Facebook page.

While these number may appear small, they all add up. In 2014 it was viewed a total of 8,710 times.

This isn’t the only post that I would consider to be a ‘slow burner’. Nine Things We Don’t Owe Anybody has followed the same process, again with occasional spikes every few months when it has been shared on social networking sites. In 2014 it was viewed 8,399 times.

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46 Reasons Why Women Are Amazing was one of the first posts that I created. I don’t actually like it – my writing style has changed and I find it to be very superficial, but this is a post that receives regular traffic from search engines. I consistently find that sentences like ‘women are amazing’ or ‘why are women amazing’ in my search terms, and am hesitant to remove it based on the views that it pulls in and the positive emails that I receive about it. It was written in July 2013, but in 2014 it was viewed 1,218 times.

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Those three posts combined added 18,327 views to Suzie81 Speaks last year.

So, don’t always go for instant gratification and get disheartened if your posts don’t receive the views that you want immediately. Instead, create articles that will consistently appeal to readers over a long period of time and occasionally share them on your social media sites – those ‘slow burners’ may make all the difference to your stats.

What about you guys? Have you had long term success with any of your posts?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to hop on over to my Facebook page and give me a cheeky ‘like’ http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

 

A Basic Guide to Blogging

Blogging advice

My blogging endeavours began in April 2013. I was experiencing a difficult time in my personal life and as I have always found writing therapeutic, starting a blog was the perfect solution.

The process has been a huge learning curve, predominantly because I knew absolutely nothing about blogging when I started. While there are plenty of useful hints and tips available from all over the web, I found there was no definitive ‘how to’ guide, as every individual has personal tastes in content and style and will have their own reasons for creating their blog, and I have yet to find two that are identical.

Here are some of the things that I have found useful when developing my own.

1. Choose a name that reflects you and your content. In my eagerness to start writing, I hastily chose a name, Suzie81, which was my first name and the year I was born. Consequently, when I decided to purchase my own domain name a year later, I had to choose ‘Suzie81 Speaks’ so as not to confuse my followers.

2. Don’t feel obligated to develop a niche. Of course, if your sole purpose for starting your blog is to focus on a particular subject, great, but I like to be able to have the freedom to discuss whatever topic I like at the time. Some may argue that this could confuse your readers, but I have found that I have a much more varied and eclectic group of followers that have different interests and ideas as a result of this.

3. Be realistic. Don’t expect to receive hundreds of views simply by pressing the publish button. Visit blogs that have similar content to yours. Comment and get to know the author. Follow them if you enjoy what they’ve written. However (and I can’t stress this enough) don’t come across as desperate and start begging for follows back from anyone you communicate with. I instantly switch off if someone does this. Blogging is a lengthy, time-consuming process and unless several of your posts go ‘viral,’ it’s unlikely that you’ll instantly get a massive following straight away.

4. Tag your posts effectively. The more tags you use, the more categories it will be seen in. The average that I use are between 15-20, and it is possible to find other blogs that are writing about a similar subject by typing in a topic in the ‘categories’ section.

5. If your blogging goals are stat oriented, set up a separate Twitter, Pinterest, Stumble Upon and Facebook accounts from your personal ones, if you have them. These are responsible for two-thirds of my daily traffic. It is easy to set up your blog so that your posts are automatically sent to your Facebook and Twitter accounts as soon as you publish them.

6. On the subject of social media accounts, Twitter hosts hundreds of chats and link ups every week that will enable you to promote your posts and meet other bloggers. I strongly advise you to participate in these if you want to build your following. If you want to find the ultimate guide to Twitter hashtags, link ups and chats, click here…

7. There are no rules against how often you publish. I follow blogs that post every day, several times a week and once or twice a month. The amount I post will depend on how busy I am. You might wish to set yourself time in your personal schedule in which to write, but I often find that I am left feeling uninspired when I am forced to write on a specific day at a specific time. Similarly, if you have a period of huge inspiration, you can save several posts to your ‘drafts’ folder for when you experience the dreaded ‘Bloggers Block,’ or you can schedule them for a specific day and time. Similarly, if you do experience a period of blankness when writing, click on the image on the right for some ideas.

8. When reading others posts, take the time to comment and let the writer know your thoughts. It is through this that I have met some wonderful people who I now consider to be online friends. However, don’t use it as an opportunity to promote your own blog by including a link to one of your posts underneath unless it is totally necessary and relevant to the content that you are commenting on. If you disagree with somebody’s ideas, do so in a polite and respectful manner. The WordPress community is extremely supportive and doesn’t tolerate trolls (see point 8) – this is not Tumblr or Facebook.

Do your best to reply to comments on your own blog as often and as quickly as possible. This is admittedly my main weakness as a blogger. While I read and appreciate every comment I receive, I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with them and am worried that I am becoming perceived as dismissive. Most bloggers I know reply to every single comment across their entire social media, and I don’t know how they find the time. Where possible, try and let your followers know that you appreciate them. You may also find that the type of comments that you receive may be weird and wonderful – click on the image to see different examples of the sorts of comments that I have received over the last year.

I’ve found that some posts have inspired me to write my own in response. However, it is important to remember if you are quoting something from another article, make sure that you have read the post properly and understand the context of it first. I’ve had numerous people that have clearly skimmed one of my articles and then angrily commented in a way that makes no sense to the content of my post, or have completely misquoted me in their own.

9. It’s cliche, but don’t feed the trolls. You could be the most insightful and inspirational writer in the world, but there will always be one person who will be hiding behind their computer, just waiting to bring you down with a hurtful and ignorant comment. Ignore the comments and block their IP address in your settings. If they get abusive, as I had to deal with earlier in the year, report them. I found that the WordPress team were amazing and the situation was quickly resolved. Of course, I should add here that if you are promoting offensive material that is designed to instigate anger from others, then you’re creating a rod for your own back, I’m afraid.

10. Images always make a post look more interesting and the ones that you use should be relevant to the content that you are discussing. However, remember that if you post an image, regardless of how many copyright signs you put all over it, it instantly becomes a free-for-all where anybody can copy it. If you don’t want a picture to be used by somebody else, simply don’t post it. Remember that any photograph can be photoshopped.

Be aware that solely posting inspirational quotes may put others off. I’m a fan of them and often use them, but many aren’t. Again, this isn’t Tumblr.

Credit others if you use their images or their ideas. While it isn’t always possible if you have used Google, I’ve seen many examples where someone has blatantly stolen something from another blog and used it as their own. Most bloggers have no problem with others reblogging their posts or borrowing ideas, but if you are unsure, ask.

11. Remember that your blog is your own little space of the internet that you can call your own and you shouldn’t write for anybody but yourself. Don’t apologise for your content (although, again, material that is offensive and deliberately used to hurt others will never be acceptable in my eyes) and feel free to change your layout, your theme and your content. Edit your posts and don’t be afraid to delete older posts that you deem to be no longer suitable for your blog. You may find that your writing style changes and/or your blog follows a different path to the one that you originally intended over time. If you’re happy, go with it. It’s an exciting journey!

12. Most importantly, protect yourself in both the online and real world. The computer screen provides us with a false sense of security, but the internet is a highly dangerous place. Don’t ever give out your personal details such as your address, your place of work and your bank details and certainly don’t give out any of your friends information. When including photographs of others, make sure that you obtain their permission first. I don’t even use my full name on here, and of all my followers there are only three that know this, only three have my personal email account, and only one is on my personal Facebook profile. Do not make your blog known to people in your personal and professional life if you are going to be writing about topics that could destroy your relationships with them or get you fired. It’s a small world online, and it is not a good idea to openly insult anybody, particularly your boss or your colleagues.

Above all, the process should be fun and fulfilling. If it isn’t, you’re doing it wrong!

Happy Blogging!!

What about you guys? Have you got any tips that you would like to add?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr at @Suzie81Blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

Questions, Questions, Questions: The WordPress Community Experiment

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Last December I asked a set of seven questions to the WordPress community and invited anyone and everyone to participate. The response that I received was incredible, and the resulting answers gave me a small insight into the blogging world and it’s members.

Since then, my following has tripled, I have received nearly A QUARTER OF A MILLION views (I still can’t believe that) and over the last eight months I have ‘met’ and formed small relationships with lots of wonderful people, so I thought it would be a nice idea to do this experiment again. It isn’t a blog party, so please don’t leave links to your general posts, but it (if enough people participate) will provide a great opportunity for bloggers to meet new people who share similar interests. You don’t have to follow this blog, or have a lot of blogging experience to participate.

Here’s how it works:

Answer the questions below, either in your own post (link it back to this one) or in the comment section below. They can be as short or as detailed as you like.

The post will remain open for the next three days, during which I will compile all the answers. Any answers you provide will be directly linked to your blog, and I will include examples of everybody’s answers in the follow up post.

1. How did you create the title for your blog?

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?

4. What is the best thing that anybody has ever said to you?

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit?

6. If you had to pick a new first name, what would you choose?

7. If you were a B Movie, what would it be called?

 

I’m looking forward to reading your answers! Feel free to invite your bloggy friends to participate – share, reblog, and retweet to your hearts content!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and you can also find me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

THIS EXPERIMENT HAS NOW ENDED. COMMENTS HAVE NOW BEEN DISABLED ON THIS POST. THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED!