Should You Self-Censor Your Personal Blog?

Should you self-censor your personal blog?

It’s common knowledge that employers will check social media pages during an interview process and things that are deemed inappropriate can have a potentially damaging impact on a candidates success when applying for a job. Similarly, there are endless stories of people who have had their employment terminated after posting something online. Social media has now become a part of our daily lives, to the point where are now teaching students in the education system about how to manage social media accounts appropriately.

It seems logical for me that blogs that are solely for the purpose of business should be handled in a professional, efficient and eloquent manner, in the same way you would expect someone in any profession to behave in person within the workplace. Continue reading

How To Monetise Your Blog

How to use a blog to make money

A little while ago I gave a presentation at the Annual Bloggers Bash in London with the focus being on monetising a blog and using a blog to make money in other creative and writing fields. Since then, I’ve received numerous requests to post the content of my presentation for those who were unable to attend, so here it is (hopefully with a little less waffle)…

Having a blog has been a life-changing experience. It has allowed me a lifestyle that I could have only previously dreamed of and enabled me to take more control of when and where I work and who I work for. Four-and-a-half years ago I was working as a teacher, I had an outstanding reputation and good results and was in a financially stable and secure role… And I was miserable – stressed, tired, depressed and had started to develop panic attacks. Writing has always been therapeutic and the house was beginning to become overrun by beautiful notebooks containing my scribbles, so The Bloke (who is an IT Technician) suggested that I start a blog. After a particularly bad day I signed up to WordPress, hastily gave myself a name, wrote a post and pressed the publish button. That was it – there were no expectations or technical knowledge behind what I was doing (I don’t think I even used tags for the first few weeks) – but it became a hobby that I quickly found satisfying. That was in April 2013 and by March 2015 I handed in my resignation and left the teaching profession at the end of the academic year. Continue reading

The Annual Bloggers Bash 2017: The Highlights!

Last weekend I attended the third Annual Bloggers Bash in London. The Bash means an awful lot to me – I have been to every single one and have previously been the lucky recipient of the Services to Blogging, Inspirational Blogger and Best Overall awards, and I credit this event with giving me the confidence to take blogging seriously as a viable career path. This year, I was asked to give a presentation and be on a panel, which was an enormous honour.

This year the event was truly international, with people attending from the UK, Ireland, the US and Canada and there had been over 6,500 votes cast for its coveted awards. It was held at the Grange Wellington Hotel in Westminster’s Vincent Square. The Bloke and I got an early train in the morning and we were very graciously checked into our hotel room almost immediately at the Euston Premier Inn which gave us the opportunity to finish getting ready (although, I managed to get the majority of my hair and make-up done on the train to the apparent amusement of a man sitting a few seats away). We arrived at the Bash venue early (after having an accidental detour due to my awful map reading skills) and went straight up to visit my long-term bloggy friend Elena Peters, who had stayed there the night before. Continue reading

Author Interview with Sacha Black: 13 Steps to Evil

Sacha Black

The lovely Sacha Black

Those of you who have been in the blogging world for some time will know the name Sacha Black. Creator of www.sachablack.co.uk and, of course, The Annual Bloggers Bash, Sacha has now written and published her first book: 13 Steps to Evil (and from all accounts this is the first of many that will be out within the next twelve months) and she’s kindly agreed to let me interview her about her new creation, her process and a little of what makes her… Sacha.

Tell us about your new book – 13 Steps to Evil.

13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft Superbad Villains is every writer’s comprehensive guide to creating kick-ass villains. It’s based on a commonly held misnomer by writers: that their hero is the most important character. Without the villain or antagonist within a story, there is no conflict. Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is. Continue reading

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

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

Things I’ve Learned in Four Years of Blogging

Blogging advice

Today marks the four year anniversary of Suzie Speaks.

Four years, 838 posts (if you don’t count the hundreds that I’ve deleted), a collective following of nearly 19,000 people, nearly 780,000 views, the biggest blogging hashtag of the weekend, an amazing Facebook group and three awards.

Since starting the blog I have quit my job, got engaged, gained a brother-in-law and gorgeous squidgy niece, travelled, attended events, reviewed everything from restaurants and cocktail bars to theatre shows, hotels and products, made a whole bunch of new friends and experienced things that I could only have dreamed of in what I consider to be my previous life. What an unbelievable journey.

The blog began as a simple online journal – an outlet to try and calm the stress and anxieties I was experiencing at the time. There were no expectations or dreams, just a desire to write. However, as my blogging knowledge grew, I found a community, started to develop promotional strategies, learned a great deal about social media and, as a result, now have a whole list of things that, if I could go back and start again (not that I would want to, mind you), I would do differently. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Ashley Rader and Blog Genesis

Do you need help with growing your blog? Social media, affiliate or content marketing? What about web development?

Meet Ashley Rader, the creator of Blog Genesis. She’s living my blogging dream –

Building blogs and websites, and growing them into successful businesses has afforded me a freedom and flexibility that I never dreamed would have been possible.   I work from home and I get to be around for my kids – able to attend school functions and sporting games and dance recitals and all of those special moments – moments that I know will be gone all too soon.

Creating her first website back in 2004, Ashley developed her SEO skills to grow her website to spot #3 on Google for an extremely competitive search phrase – and with that, came her first million dollar year. Fast forward a few years and she came to the painful realization that she had put all of her traffic and marketing “eggs” into the SEO basket.  When Google made some changes to their ranking algorithm, she lost almost all of her rankings – and with it, all of her traffic – and income. Continue reading

Oh Pinterest, What Have You Done?

Last year, I was finally convinced to start taking Pinterest seriously, not only as a fantastic resource but as an easy and successful way to promote my blog posts to a new audience. It was initially a massive learning curve and it seemed to take forever to set up – rich pins, vertical images, SEO friendly descriptions, group boards, BoardBooster… There were a number of times when I wanted to delete my account and throw my laptop against the wall, but through the support and patience of my bloggy friend, I finally had an account that I was proud of.

And low and behold, the views started coming in. It was small at first – around April of last year I was receiving a few hundred views a month, but by September they had skyrocketed to the point where I was getting close to 20,000 for the month. Not bad for a newbie. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

Meet Terri!

Terri is the creator of Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, a lifestyle blog that focuses predominantly on leisure, while including examples of her writing for various challenges and photography. She explains more in her About Page:

I am a leisure educator, self-published author, blogger, and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is my blog about living a leisure lifestyle. Continue reading