It’s a Small World: Making Friends from the Internet

A few weeks ago I was forwarded a message by my Canadian blog friend – a short Facebook post that had been shared in a group that I am not a member of, but she is. The post was from a blogger who lived in my local area (although I didn’t know her), putting out a request for a blogging companion to accompany her to an event that she was attending at the end of the month. I contacted her and we messaged back and forth over a few days. We found that have a few people and things in common, including the fact that her husband works at the same place as one of my friends. A few days later, we met up at the event and immediately got on really well – she was warm and friendly, easy to talk to, I instantly liked her and had a really enjoyable evening. So much so, in fact, that I thoroughly intend on meeting up with her again in the future for lunch or coffee.  Continue reading

A Writers Retreat

What do you get when you combine three published author bloggers and me, a converted hospital, rolling countryside, pig farms, beautiful beach huts and a spare weekend?

A self-made writers retreat.

Yes, I’ve just spent the weekend in a gorgeous house with my blogger friends Sacha, Helen and Geoff with the purpose of using some rare free-time and utilising each other’s knowledge, experience and skills to not only attempt to catch up with our writing goals, but to take the opportunity to throw a few ideas around and get some immediate feedback on what we were working on. Geoff had very kindly offered to host us at his home, which was part of a converted former hospital. Continue reading

So, What Now?

Blogging Goals

Have you ever had an ultimate goal set in your mind that you work towards for years and actually achieve it? With all of the blogging goals I have given myself over the years there was one that towered above all of the others, which was to reach my target amount of views. In the months leading up to it I worked particularly hard, incorporating every single technique at my disposal to reach that seemingly elusive number. The day I finally reached it was fabulous – I celebrated by taking the day off and spoiling myself…

…and then promptly lost all motivation. Continue reading

Suzie Speaks Blog Party!

Welcome to my blog party!

I haven’t hosted a blog party in a very long time, and there are a few things that I would like to take the opportunity to celebrate:

  • Suzie Speaks hit 20,000 collective followers a little while ago
  • I am getting married next week
  • Halloween is approaching

Continue reading

How to Increase Your Twitter Traffic With #SundayBlogShare

Twitter traffic and SundayBlogShare

In 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.

Over the last year it has become one of the biggest blog-sharing link ups of the weekend on Twitter (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:

Tweet your blog links using the hashtag #SundayBlogShare and enjoy! If you include my Twitter handles (@suzie81blog or @SundayBlogShare) in your post I can retweet it for you too, although please note I reserve the right not to and won’t be able to do every single one. Your posts can cover any topic and you don’t have to follow my blog or any associated social media accounts. Continue reading

The Ultimate Blogger’s Guide to Twitter Hashtags, Retweet Accounts and Chats

imageI’ve been on Twitter for a while now, and I find that it is a great source of traffic for my posts. However, I am discovering that there is also an incredible community for bloggers available through the use of hashtags, retweet accounts and chats that cater for every niche.


Hashtags are labels that allow potential readers to find posts and content within a specific theme. On Twitter, there are endless hashtags that can be used, depending on the theme of your post, but there are a number of specific tags that I have found to be particularly useful, and use on a regular basis Continue reading

How To Use Twitter Hashtags to Increase Your Traffic

imageSuzie Speaks began in 2013, and was originally used as online therapy, primarily allowing me to discuss a difficult time I was having in my personal life. I knew nothing about social media – I had a personal Facebook account and a Twitter page that I hadn’t used in quite a while, and I rather naively assumed that I would receive a large amount of views simply by pressing the publish button.

It took me about six months to realise that the biggest source of traffic to a blog, without getting heavily into SEO (which I still find difficult to understand), is through different social media accounts. I created a brand new Facebook and Twitter page, separate to my personal ones, and set about building a following.

In two years, I have had nearly 44,000 views from Twitter, but only have 6,500 ‘followers.’ It’s hardly setting the blogging world on fire, but it’s certainly a large number considering the small amount of time (about 5-10 minutes) I spend on there each day.


It’s all about the hashtags.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag, put simply, is a label or category that allows others to find something within a specific theme or content and are primarily used on Twitter and Instagram. Once you have copied a URL or used the share button on a post, hashtags can be used to direct your post towards the people you want to read them. On Twitter you can use a hashtag for everything – #cats, #dogs, #football, #sandwiches – but as a blogger the main focus is to use categories that will gain interest in your content and grow your readership and traffic.

Which hashtags should I use?

My blog has no niche – I write about whatever I feel like at a particular time – and I have always found it difficult to put myself into a specific category. However, there are endless categories within the blogging world, and all have different hashtags. The most popular ones are:

#lbloggers: Lifestyle Bloggers
#bbloggers: Beauty Bloggers
#fbloggers: Fashion Bloggers
#pbloggers: Parent Bloggers
#fblbloggers: Fashion Beauty Life Bloggers

There are also hashtags for categories that are more self explanatory:


For example, if I have done a post about a place that I have visited recently, I would use the hashtags #lbloggers, #travelbloggers and perhaps #fblbloggers in my link.

However, there are weekly hashtags that can be used to promote yourself further. For each of these, the concept is the same – you tweet your post, regardless of the content, using a certain hashtag on a particular day, and then take the opportunity to see other posts that have been shared within the same hashtag, read them and then retweet. This has been my biggest way of increasing my readership and meeting other bloggers from all over the world. And by retweeting somebody else, it’s likely that they will return the favour and introduce your blog to potentially thousands of new readers in their following.

Note: experienced bloggers will know if you have retweeted something without reading it first, and are unlikely to reciprocate if you develop a reputation for doing this.

  • Monday: #MondayBlogs. This is the godfather of all weekly sharing hashtags, with thousands of bloggers participating each week.
  • Tuesday: #TuesdayShares
  • Wednesday: #wwwblogs (Women’s Writer Wednesday) and #BeWoW
  • Thursday: #ThrowbackThursday
  • Friday: #BlueSkyFriday, #FridayShares and #LinkYourLife
  • Saturday: #ArchiveDay (for older posts), #WeekendBlogHop and #WeekendCoffeeShare (for any ‘If We Were Having Coffee’ posts).
  • Sunday: #SundayBlogShare (I created this)

For example, if I wanted to share my latest travel post on a Sunday, I would add #SundayBlogShare to my hashtags.

There are also Twitter chats for bloggers that will go on for about an hour during the week using hashtags, and there are LOADS of these. However, these are not places to share links – they are purely for talking to other like-minded people, establishing connections and building a readership. For more information on this, here is a brilliant link from The Sits Girls about Twitter chats:

Use trending hashtags

Trending hashtags are the most popular things on Twitter at a particular moment in time, and at several points in the last few years I have written a post about a topic while it was trending, with immediate effect on my traffic once it was posted.

Earlier in the year, the Independent published a scathing article about beauty blogger Zoella. I wrote a post about it and used the hashtag #Zoella that was trending at the time. It was viewed several thousand times on Twitter in a matter of hours.

During the summer, I saw that the hashtag #BloggerBlackmail was trending in the UK. After finding out what it was, I did a post on my opinion of the situation and tweeted it using the same hashtag. It was viewed 500 times in an hour.

Similarly, a story about a stripper named Zola went viral last week. I wrote a post about it, used the hashtag #Zola and tweeted it three or four times. It was seen nearly a thousand times that day, and a further 500 the next.

If something is trending, take the opportunity to base a post around a hashtag and tweet it out.

Note: remember that content is key – if you post out any old nonsense then you may get lots of views initially, but potential readers are guaranteed not to return again, damaging your traffic in the long term.

How often should I use hashtags?

Like every area of social media, it’s important to pace yourself and spread your tweets out so as not to spam your readers. When I have time, I tweet between 3-5 times a day at times when I know I have peak traffic. It takes just a few minutes. If I am using a weekly hashtag, I will make sure that I read and retweet at least one other post, and during #SundayBlogShare, which I host, I can read and retweet several hundred others throughout the day.

So, to put it simply:

  • Use hashtags that are relevant to the content of your post and the audience you wish to target.
  • Use weekly hashtags and take some time to read and retweet other posts in the same hashtag too.
  • Use Twitter chats to establish connections and build a readership.
  • Use trending hashtags where relevant.
  • Tweet your posts 3-5 times a day, leaving some time in between so as not to spam.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page, my Pinterest page and my Instagram page


How To Host a Blog Party

How to host a blog partyBlog parties are one of my favourite things to do, and in my experience they are an incredibly fun and successful way of boosting traffic to your blog and building a readership.

For those who have never heard of a blog party before, the concept is simple. The host will create a post which states a set of rules. Other bloggers will then share a link to a post from their blog in the comment section and will go and visit other links from the people participating. I love participating in these sorts of events, and have discovered many wonderful blogs and bloggers by doing so.

Hosting a successful party, however, takes a little bit of preparation and time in advance, and requires 100% commitment on the day.

Want to host your own blog party? Here’s my easy step-by-step guide to planning and developing a party that will get the blogosphere talking!

In advance:

1. Decide on a date and time in which you wish to host the party. This will depend on a number of things:

  • The day and time of the week where you get your highest traffic.
  • A day where you have a large block of time to fully commit to the party.
    It’s important to note here that the length of time in which a party can last will be entirely up to you. I prefer for mine to go on for the entire day, accommodating different time zones and giving the opportunity for readers from all over the world to participate. However, I do know of many that prefer just a two or three hour time slot.

2. Decide on a potential theme (although a theme is not necessary – you may wish to host one just for the fun of it). There is no right or wrong to this – you may want to celebrate a blogiversary, your birthday, the release of your new book or a national holiday. You may ask participants to only share posts within this theme, or could leave it open. I often prefer to leave the content of posts up to the blogger instead of requesting a particular subject, as I find that it alienates those who may have a different niche and don’t have any posts that match the criteria.

3. Issue an invitation about a week before. Any earlier than this it’s likely that it will be forgotten, and giving only a day’s notice may mean that others won’t have the opportunity to schedule some time to participate. I like to create a graphic with the details, which I share on my blog and my social media pages and then I contact close blogging friends personally through private/direct messages.

4. Promote your party throughout the week. Of course, it’s never advisable to spam everyone with constant reminders, but sharing the graphic or the details of the party again once a day will retain interest and will notify others who missed the first announcement.

On the day:

1. Create a post for the party which makes clear the rules which you wish participants to follow. These rules will differ depending on the blogger and the purpose of the party. I usually tend to use the same rules each time, which others have been able to follow quite easily and respectfully:

  • 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.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comment section of this post and feel free to write a little bit about yourself and/or your blog.
  • Enjoy! Relax, pull up a chair, meet new people! Find new blogs, comment on their posts, follow, reblog and share. Let them know that you met them here!

2. Be a gracious host. My settings mean that I have to approve every comment before it shows on the blog, so I have to ensure that I am available for the entirety of the party and approve them as quickly as possible (and check my spam folder as it’s inevitable that some won’t read the rules). Once I have, I try and visit as many as possible and leave a comment both on their blog and in a reply on my own post. It’s a massive undertaking if the party is extremely busy, but I try and thank as many people as possible for sharing a link – making people feel welcome, particularly if they have never visited your blog or been to a blog party before, will encourage them to go and visit others and may become a regular reader. It’s surprising how many feel a little nervous about introducing themselves to new people.

3. Continue to promote your party throughout the day on your social media.

Want to participate in a blog party? I am hosting a Halloween party THIS SATURDAY here at Suzie Speaks, and everyone is invited! Your post/s don’t have to have a scary theme, everyone is welcome to share any links (up to a maximum of three) that they like, and they don’t have to be a recent one. For more information, check out the rules in this post! The party will begin at 9.00am GMT and will go on until 9.00am on Sunday 1st November.

Halloween blog party

Halloween Blog Party!

I look forward to seeing you all there!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page, my Pinterest page and my Instagram page

How to Create a Successful About Page

About page

When I discover a blog for the first time, it’s rare that I will look at the posts on the home page. Instead, I will usually click straight onto the About page, as this will hopefully tell me about the author and the general theme of the blog itself. If I’m pressed for time, I’ll often make a quick decision based upon what I see there as to whether I wish to delve further. They are also a place where I will go if I want to ask a blogger a question that isn’t related to any of their posts.

Today I noticed that a number of people had clicked on my About page and came to the realisation that it is in need of some serious updating, particularly as the rest of my blog has undergone a huge transformation recently, and I have gained a number of new followers.

In order for me to do this, I had to think about what to include, and with the process came a whole list of ideas of things that I look for when snooping around other peoples efforts. So, before I update my own, I thought I would add to my ‘Blogging Advice’ series and discuss tips for creating a great About page… Continue reading