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My First Six Months Of Blogging

This is a pretty exciting post for me to write for two reasons. Firstly, today marks the day that I have been blogging for six whole months. Secondly, today is also my birthday! How is that for serendipity. On Wednesday 18th October 2017, I created a WordPress account and shared my first post on The Open University study tips; now over fifty posts later (53 to be exact), I am still here! So I thought it would be cool to recap on my first six months of my blogging journey and share with you things I have learned along the way.

You don’t need to be an artist to be creative

Over the past six months, I have enjoyed doing a lot of creative posts but I wouldn’t call myself an ‘artist’. My favourites have been Reeves paint by numbers, card making, scrapbooking, anti-stress dot-to-dot and make your own alpaca pin cushions. It doesn’t matter if things don’t turn out perfect, as long as you are having fun that is the most important thing.

You don’t need to be a travel blogger to share your holiday experiences

Just before I started my blog I went to Greece, and just as I hit the 6 month milestone I have come back from Italy. For the most part, I haven’t left the UK but I have still shared a number of travel related posts. I have recapped on the 18 Amazing Places I’ve Visited In The Last Seven Years and made a selection of holiday scrapbooks on Thailand, Greece and Gran Canaria and blogged whats in my In-Flight Essentials Bag. Even though some trips were not so recent, it was still great to reminisce and share my holidays.

People like reading tips and tricks on how to blog

My three most popular posts over the past six months are 10 Things To Include In Your Media Kit, Six Reasons Why You Should Go Self-Hosted and 6 Ways To Improve Your Blog Writing. I always enjoy sharing my tips and tricks so will keep on adding these kinda posts when I come up with new ideas. If you have any requests please let me know in the comments and I’ll happily share my thoughts.

Twitter is the best social media for the blogging community

In my experience, the blogging community on Twitter is the place to be. It has been awesome making new friends and finding new blogs to follow. My twitter following has slowly grown over the last six months and it still amazes me that I have over 6k followers. A huge 74% of my blog views comes from Twitter alone. I have written a post on 10 Simple Ways To Grow Your Twitter but the main piece of advice is to interact with others and join in on blog chats and comment threads regularly. Click here to read more tips on using social media to grow your blog traffic.

Blog inspiration is everywhere

There have been times when I have left completely stuck when it comes to blog inspiration. But normally you don’t need to think too hard to find a new topic to blog about. When I was feeling overwhelmed I wrote 6 Simple Ways To Reduce Stress and when I was feeling relaxed I wrote 10 Easy Ways To Create Calm. I’ve listened to podcasts and wrote about my favourites. Even going on a day out can be inspiration for a new blog, here are my posts on Bournemouth, Winchester Christmas Market, Brighton at Christmas, Bath for New Years, Weymouth, Salisbury and Brighton again for my sisters birthday.

Blogging is always full of surprises

The best thing I have learned from my first six months of blogging is that it is unpredictable, exciting and full of surprises. I have had some awesome opportunities such as my cats being models on Pet Portraits by THERAVIOSART, and Sweet Wild Designs: Simba & Zazu. I’ve teamed up with Panasonic to write The Top 20 Christmas Films Of All Time, had an awesome giveaway with Photowall on Twitter for an absolutely gigantic Paint Splash Map Of The World and written reviews on flowers, stationery, pins, and tea. I wonder what will come up next…

I hope you enjoyed reading my recap. It’s been such a fun six months and I am so grateful to everyone that reads my blog, follows me on social media and offers their support and encouragement. So a huge THANK YOU for making blogging an awesome experience, I’m looking forward to see what the next six months will bring… it’s all very exciting!

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6 Ways To Use Social Media To Increase Blog Traffic

Social media is such a fantastic tool to increase your blog traffic and gain a bigger audience. A huge 74% of my views comes from Twitter alone, the rest coming from Pinterest, Instagram and Bloglovin’. Before I share with you my tips,  I want to give an example of how awesome social media can be. Last week, I was contacted on Twitter by the lovely Rachel from Another Station, Another Mile asking if I would be interested in featuring as her Blogger Of The Month. Wow, yes please.

Rachel is a MSc student from Brighton who (in her own words) enjoys writing, watching Netflix, hitting the pub, sticking my nose in a popular science book, eating vegan food, attending a gig, smothering my dog or planning my next adventure. Her first Blogger of the Month featured one of my favourite bloggers Alys – you can read the post here. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to feature as the February’s blogger. You can read the post here. Thanks Rachel!

Another Station, Another Mile  ♥  Twitter  ♥  Pinterest  ♥  Bloglovin’

6 Ways To Use Social Media To Increase Blog Traffic

Join in with Twitter Chats and Comment Threads

This is my number one piece of advice. Twitter chats and comment swaps helps you to engage with so many other bloggers. It’s no coincidence that on the days that I do comment swaps, my page views are the highest of the week. I’ve met so many fab bloggers through these weekly threads. Check out these awesome accounts to find when out when the next swap is: Bloggers Tribe / TeaCupClubCorinne & Kirsty / GRLPOWR / There is also a Sunday Blog Swap on my twitter all day every Sunday.

This is such a handy list of all the Twitter chats every week put together by the lovely Rebecca from Rebecca’s Reviews.

Be active on Instagram

I’m not a huge fan of Instagram, but I still think it is an important social media tool for your blog. You cannot include clickable links in the captions (why?!) so make sure you have your blog linked to your profile. I try and post as often as possible and make sure that I put a picture up that relates to my latest blog on the day it’s posted. Like any social media platform, the more you like and comment on others photos, the more engagement you will receive.

Pinterest Group Boards

I’ve only recently started trying to figure out Pinterest for blogging. Tip #1: Claim your website in Settings. I struggled to do this for a while until I downloaded the WordPress plugin called Insert Headers and Footers which allows you to copy and paste the code into your header and it’s then so easy! You can now see your Analytics and the people you reach which is really helpful.

Tip #2 Join group boards. Another new discovery is the Pinterest group board! This week I have created one for people to share their latest blog posts and increase their engagement. Everyone is welcome to join: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/hellobexa/share-your-blog-posts-3/  Simply follow me on Pinterest and I’ll invite you to the board. Happy pinning!

Create a Bloglovin’ Account

I set up a Bloglovin’ account right from the start and always forget I have one. It’s pretty cool though, as it automatically shares your latest posts and is another great way to reach more people. You really don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, Bloglovin’ does all the work for you. It also sends me daily e-mails of the latest blog posts which is really useful and allows me to keep up to date with everyone’s blogs.

Use Facebook for Opportunities

I haven’t got a Facebook page for my blog so I use my personal account to check out all the latest blogging opportunities. A few of my faves are UK Blogger Opportunities, Connecting Brands & Bloggers, Blogger Opportunities and Boss Girl Bloggers. There are often forms to fill out to be considered for opportunities which can be quite popular but keep putting yourself out there and you never know!

Add social media links at the end of your blog posts

My final tip may seem quite obvious, however, I only started doing this recently and I think it’s a great way for others to easily find you on all your social medias. You can set up a signature or just copy and paste like I do – it takes no time at all but can make all the difference!

Which social media platform is your favourite? Do you have any tips or advice? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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6 Ways To Improve Your Blog Writing

I was looking through my old files on the computer the other day and stumbled across some articles I had written back in 2013. These were words I had put together on break ups, death and coping with a panic attack which were all published on the tinybuddha website. This was around the same sort of time I kept my first blog and finding these articles reminded me that I had always been passionate about sharing my stories. Writing, like anything, is a skill that improves with practice. I believe anyone can put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and come up with something worthwhile and meaningful. And if you are a blogger, you are continuously exercising this skill every single time you write a new post. Here are my tips on how to improve your blog writing:

Keep A Daily Journal

I have kept a diary on and off ever since I can remember. Writing down your thoughts and feelings is such a great way to express yourself creatively. You have the freedom to write whatever you want, without fear of judgement or criticism.  And putting your worries and anxieties on paper then closing the book is somewhat therapeutic. Pick up a pretty notebook and write a page every single day.  The more frequently you write, the more fluent and natural your writing style will become.

Read Everything

Like everything. Books, magazines, blogs, articles, everything. Reading others work can offer so much inspiration. Keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas and things you love. If I am out and about and read something thought provoking, I will e-mail it to myself so I don’t forget. Inspiration is everywhere, just keep your eyes open and you will find it.

A Beautiful Words Book

Another useful tip is to keep a notebook dedicated to beautiful words. By beautiful words, I mean new words you have discovered and love the sound or meaning. Unusual words which you want to remember forever. The English language is amazing; a few of my favourites right now are serendipity (happy accident or pleasant surprise), apricity (the warmth of the sun in winter), iridescent (luminous changing rainbow colours). Check out the Merriam-Webster Word Of The Day for a daily dose of wordy inspiration.

Use A Thesaurus

One of my tricks when writing essays is to replace overused words with alternatives found in the online thesaurus. It’s not cheating, it is just a way to expand your vocabulary and find new ways of expressing yourself. Sometimes, you know the word already but it just wasn’t at the tip of your fingers. And if you don’t know the word, it is just another one to add to your vocabulary or beautiful words book.

Powerful Sentences

Throughout my science degree, I was taught to write in short, concise and straight to the point sentences. Try and get your thoughts across without being overly wordy. Of course, this isn’t a science assignment, so you need to keep a good balance between being conversational and making yourself clear. So make each sentence meaningful so that it captures your readers attention. Don’t just write for the sake of filling up space.

Be Open And Honest

Good writers usually have something you can relate to.  The three articles I wrote back in 2013 were all accounts of difficult events I had recently gone through at that time. It was scary being so vulnerable on the internet and I did have second thoughts. However, I was surprised how many people contacted me because my story resonated with them. Share your experiences, stories, wisdom, good times, bad times and allow people to connect with and see the real you.

I hope you have enjoyed my tips on how to become a better blog writer. Do you have any ideas and suggestions to improve? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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