• May 18, 2021

Blog 101 | How To Grow Your Blog

I’m not an expert at blogging. My blog is my hobby. Although it’s not my job, I still find the time every day to look at ways of improving it. I put a lot of time and effort into my blog therefore I want to make sure I’m getting the most out of it – not just for me, but for my readers too. This post is a hopeful attempt at giving you advice based on issues I’ve had to face in the past. Also to share my experiences with various tips and tricks that has helped me to date.

YOUR BLOG’S NAME – Firstly, I’ve had numerous people ask me lately, ‘Why did you change your blog name’? This blog was previously known as Finders Keepers. The reason I’ve changed the name is due to a rookie error I made at the very beginning. Always come up with a unique name. If one pops into your head, google it. Check out whether other blogs are highly associated with this name or not. A couple months back I did a bit of research. From this I came to the conclusion that there’s around 10+ blogs/websites out there related to lifestyle, fashion, beauty, all things this blog is, with the words Finders Keepers incorporated into them. Not a great find when you are trying to be unique. Don’t jump at the chance with the first ‘genius’ idea you come up with. You may find you were secretly inspired by that name because of something you’ve previously seen in the past.

SOCIAL MEDIA – Be consistent on every platform you sign up for. Try not to prioritise one over the others. I’m guilty of this, Twitter being my main choice, but I’ve found a love for all the others and found different ways of communicating through each one. Through this I’ve seen a rapid increase in visits towards my blog as I’m opening it up to new opportunities and people.

BLOG DESIGN – Don’t be pressured into thinking a custom blog design with a hefty price tag is your only hope of making it into the blogging world. Blogger templates are just fine. I’m using the ‘Simple’ template right now. However if you happen to have a hundred and one different colours floating about, multiple crazy fonts and strong patterns, my eyes will hurt and I will leave instantly. Try and make things organised in your blog layout. It makes for a tidy looking blog but also keeps things simple for yours readers to navigate around your site.

NETWORK – This doesn’t mean make an appearance every now and then on Twitter, or post a pretty picture on Instagram. It means interacting with your followers and readers and engaging in the blogging community. If you’re in a ‘blogging slump’ and can’t think of new content to share, why not post an Archive Post? Simply share a link to a post from a couple days, weeks or even months ago. This way you are letting your readers know your blog is still alive and moving forward. You may find you’ll gain new readers from doing this simple step. We also enjoy receiving notifications when someone has commented on our blog, don’t we? Why not return that favour. The only way you are going to engage with other bloggers is by communicating with them through their blogs or social media.

EVERGREEN CONTENT – This phrase gets thrown around a lot when it comes to writing content. It’s something everyone looks out for though, so beware. Evergreen Content means content which is fresh and innovative. If someone else’s post or website has inspired you to talk about a certain topic, don’t copy them. By all means gather ideas, but when it comes down to the words make sure it’s something your readers haven’t read before. Personally I believe this links to how often you create posts. I post three times a week; Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays. This gives me enough time to refresh my mind and get the creative juices flowing. If you are posting every day, sometimes even twice a day, you’re not allowing yourself time to breathe and think. This is where your content becomes repetitive or boring.

REFLECT YOUR PERSONALITY – This links slightly to the Evergreen Content section. As a blogger we want to be unique and fresh, but the only way to do that is by being ourselves. When I first began blogging I found myself being drawn to topics which highly-ranked bloggers were talking about. I knew no better than to think their blogs and its contents were the only way to success. I was wrong. If popular topics don’t float your boat, don’t write about them. If you’d prefer to talk about your weekend with Grandma, then talk about your weekend with Grandma! I don’t tend to stick to one category, i.e Fashion. Instead I find myself alternating between numerous things which keeps things exciting for me. I simply go with my imagination.

GOOGLE + – This can slot in with the Network and Social Media side to growing your blog, but I find it has a power of its own. Google+ isn’t a tool a lot of people use, yet I find it so useful! I simply use it how I do with Twitter; post my latest content with a link to follow. Google+ has big blogging communities which consist of 20,000 plus members who all post daily. You can’t get that on twitter. Think of it this way – when you post on twitter you firstly only reach your direct followers (mine being 750). If your followers happen to retweet your link, it’ll reach their followers (perhaps a further 500). If you use trending #, then others can find you that way. Point being, it’s not instant recognition, whereas a community that you post directly into has an automatic audience of 20,000+. Catch my drift?

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5 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

Every now and then we may struggle to drift off at night which can have a negative impact on the day after when we need to go to school, work, errands, or anything else you need to do during the day. Little sleep can cost us energy and the ability to focus, amongst an array of other things. But what’s costing us our sleep? Simple habits we have at night are a major factor to this.

Sleeping Pattern

There’s no need to go to the sleep bang on the same time every single night, then wake up at the same time the next day, but it helps. I roughly go to bed around 11:30 – 12pm on weeknights and wake up around 6:30am – if I haven’t hit the snooze button that is. Weekends are different if I don’t have much planned, but who doesn’t appreciate a lie-in? The point is, having a scattered sleeping pattern every night can affect your body clock throughout the week so try and have a vague routine to follow.

Change Your Mattress

Seems obvious, but some of us can put up with sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress for a couple nights. However, holding off purchasing a new mattress or simply buying a mattress topper can cause you to get a restless night. The first step to getting a great night’s sleep is getting comfortable and feeling relaxed where you lay.

Control Your Naps

I’m not one for naps; I feel groggy afterwards and achieve nothing from a quick 30min-1 hour ‘power nap’. But for those who enjoy a good nap and are capable of carrying on with their day afterwards without feeling un-human, make sure you time them right. We’re all tempted from time to time to just collapse on the bed when we get in from a long day, but avoid evening naps. You may feel refreshed for a little while, but once you try to sleep later on that night, you may find it a lot more difficult.

Bright Night

Although many of us don’t follow this advice, try to avoid television and computers etc. within 1-2 hours of you going to sleep. If you do happen to be looking at a screen before bed, dim the lights. Bright lights are not ideal when you’re trying to wind down, so turn it all down. When going to sleep, try to sleep in total darkness too. This is my weakness, as I’m not a huge fan of the dark when on my own. Therefore I have a small lamp on every night which, although I eventually get to sleep, I do notice it takes me far longer to drift off as opposed to it being dark. I’ve now got into the habit of sleeping with the lights off, but opening my blinds ever so slightly to let in the tiniest bit of light from the lamppost outside – it’s not as bright as my night light, but isn’t too bright to effect my sleep.

Eat Right

 

Eating large meals or snacking on junk food before bed is not wise. You can often feel discomfort and can stop you from sleeping. Also avoid too much caffeine, even during the day. A morning cup is fine, as we all need a little pick me up every now and then, but drinking too much can prolong sleep later on.

What tips do you have for a good night’s sleep?

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Bank Holiday Money Saving Tips

Finally, it’s the start of the Easter bank holiday which means a long 4-day weekend for many of us! Normally I wouldn’t do much for bank holiday weekends, mainly because the weather is always dismal, but this Easter is different! My birthday was two days ago – yay – and now I’m off to spend the majority of my Easter Bank Holiday weekend in glorious North Wales!

Now, visiting friends and family for a couple of days is always fun and exciting, especially when you haven’t seen them for months! But, the downfall is the expense. Travel alone is pricey from Nottingham to Wales, let alone all the eating out and day trips galore! So I’m dedicating this post to ways you can save money this Bank Holiday, or any holiday for that matter!

Free events
It doesn’t matter where you are, there’s always an event or attraction of some kind that you can go visit. However, bank holidays are always the busiest times of year and everyone goes for the expensive options; theme parks, weekend retreats, extravagant days out etc. Sure, these are fun, but they aren’t your only option. Search for free events in your area that are suitable for your group; friends, grandparents, the little ones etc. I typically use Facebook’s events search for my area, and you’ll be surprised how much is on that you never knew about! You can also check out Just Free Stuff who always update with free events.

Plan in Advance
The Easter Bank Holiday weekend is already here but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan in advance for other holidays in the near future – 2nd May is the next one, so bear that in mind! Plan in advance has its advantages, but understandably has cons to it too. Planning far ahead opens you up to early bird deals. Whether its travel, entry fees or booking free spaces for an event before fees are applies, planning in advance is something you should consider! Unfortunately plans can sometimes change when we least expect it, and typically the cheapest deals are non-refundable. Therefore, make sure you can travel/attend an event on the date you specify to avoid missing out.

Last Minute
This may contradict the previous point, but booking very last minute always gives you some great discounts and opportunities. If you’re booking hotels or a holiday, bank holiday deals are always floating around but if it’s any ordinary weekday/weekend, you’ll find you’ll get some great deals for a retreat that begins in just a couple days. Signup to sites you’ve enquired about and enter your preferences for dates, locations etc. and they typically will email you when the best competitive price has come up!

Eating out
We all love a nice meal out somewhere new, but boy is it expensive. Dinner for two is pricey enough, but if you’re a family with more mouths to feed then the price can be heart-breaking. Note that you don’t always need to eat out and instead can go home-made. Depending on the weather, picnics are always a favourite for many. Simply take a trip to your nearest supermarket and stock up on the essentials for sandwiches, snacks, drinks and the sweet treats for later on! If eating out happens to be on your agenda, then consider looking for vouchers online beforehand. You’ll find many eateries do 2-for-1 deals, but sometimes you can get even better offers online! Be sure to call your eatery of choice to ensure the voucher is still valid to avoid disappointment.

Travel in style
If you can drive, great. I can understand it gives you more flexibility and freedom when travelling but sometimes can be very expensive. Not only do you have to take into account the fuel costs, but also the parking and potentially any toll charges you may come across depending on your route. It all adds up and you may just find a group ticket for the train, bus or coach could have saved you around a third of what you paid for travelling by car!

Check out my money saving experts that could save you £1378 in a year, by following one simple rule.

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Blackspade Nightwear: Luxurious & Stylish Loungewear

I don’t know about you, but pyjama’s and cosy dressing gowns have to be my ultimate favourite thing to wear; if only it was acceptable to wear them to the shop nowadays without getting strange looks as though you’re some raging psycopath…

I’m one for novelty pj’s and have my own collection of Minions, Frozen and The Big Bang Theory-themed items, but sometimes it’s nice to have something a little plain and simple that just looks nice and luxurious.

Blackspade is a luxury nightwear range which holds your standard nighties, PJ sets and dressing gowns, but they are a lot more sophisticated to my usual nightwear so to speak. In all honesty nighties are not my thing; the closest i’ll get to wearing something of that style is by wearing a really baggy shirt as a form of night dress. The style just isn’t for me, but it may be for you!

 

Dressing gowns on the other hand are something I love! They’re so cosy, soft and snuggly and I could literally live in them. However, due to my height it is sometimes ratehr difficult to find one that covers my modesty after a shower or that isn’t too thick that I feel like I’m cooking inside it! Blackspade have this luxurious and stylish wrapover robe* shall we say, that is a beautiful light grey and has this incredibly comforting fleecey material. To touch, the material is fairly thin but once on you are nice and toasty suprisingly.

For me, this is the perfect dressing gown for this time of year; spring/summer. It’s not too cold that you require all the layers, but it’s not quite warm enough at night to be in vest and shorts. It’s hoodless and collarless, which makes it look even more stylish, and is the kind of robe you can eaily open the door in without feeling awkward!

The only disadvantage in my opinion for this dressing gown, is the length. I know this may appear as though I’m contraditing what I mentioned earlier about other gowns being too short, but this one is almost too long! Where’s the middle ground?

I’m 5ft 10in and this falls past my knees. With the way I sit, this can get all tangled and awkwardly wraps around my legs until I simply want to take it off! However, I’ve made it my mission to get creative once again and simply hitch up the hem to sit just above my knee!

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19 Travel Blog Post Ideas

I recently did a post on beauty blog post ideas where I gave you a whopping 47 different post ideas for when you’re running a little low. I would love to be a full blow travel blogger, but unfortunately time will restrict that for me just now, however, just because I’m not jetting across the world it doesn’t mean I can’t write travel posts. Right? Correct!

If you have a passion for travel or simply enjoy the idea of it, then you can still write travel blog posts as much as the next person. Below I have listed 19 travel blog post ideas for you to sink your teeth into:

  1. Best Sites for Budget Travel Transport
  2. My Holiday Wishlist
  3. Places I’d Love to Visit by Time I’m ___
  4. Top 5 UK Travel Destinations
  5. How to Pack Your Cabin Bag Like a Pro
  6. Top 7 European Cities to Visit
  7. Easy Tips for Learning a New Language
  8. How to Find Amazing Hotels for Less
  9. Tips for Travelling on a Budget
  10. My 3 Favourite Travel Blogs
  11. Highlights of My Trip to ___
  12. Tips for Getting Cheap Flights
  13. Travel Essentials for a Long Haul Flight
  14. How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying
  15. The Perks of Travelling Solo
  16. Hostels vs. Airbnb: Which One to Choose?
  17. How to Avoid Travel Sickness
  18. My Favourite Travel Apps
  19. Top 9 Travel Instagram Accounts
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