Image of laptop, iphone and journal

Blogging can be hard for many reasons – generating ideas for posts, having the time to write and schedule in content, editing photographs… the list can go on. However planning and structuring a blog post correctly means the article is likely to be well written and a well written article is more likely to be shared and this means more hits to your site and that ultimately is the aim of the game 🙂

Today I will tell you the way I like to structure my blog posts, none of what you see below is revolutionary but hopefully helpful.

How I Structure My Ideas
I like to either bullet point them or use a mind map format to write down all my ideas. If I am particularly stuck for ideas I will have a scroll through what other bloggers have written for inspiration. Some may argue that it is copying but the majority of content written on blogs is repackaged or has been rewritten already anyway, so I don’t see it in that way.

Your post ideally should contain ‘evergreen content’ this helps boost your SEO. Evergreen content is content which isn’t dated so for example if this article contains lots of data then this article will be out of date very quickly as the stats would become out of date. Fashion blogs are another example. My social media and blogging articles I like to keep the content ‘evergreen’ as much as possible.

Once I have an idea on what I want to write about, if I need to do any research this is usually done first. It helps inform the rest of my writing and helps me think of points that I may not have thought about originally or from a different view point that I then may expand upon. I tend to write intro, middle and end as titles and then list the points I want to make below each.

The writing part
When I start writing, I tick off each point to help keep me on track and additionally keeps me motivated to finish the post (I am one of those people that like lists!). When I am in the planning stage I like to have a lot of time to plan my posts. I turn off all distractions, this means leaving my phone in the other room and not being on Twitter to keep me focused and it speeds up the creation of the post. Additionally, setting myself a deadline helps to keep the momentum. At the end I find a image using a free image site, sometimes I will add text it depends. Just keep in mind with your deadline to take time to find or create a decent image and make sure you include an alt tag in the image. At the end if you have written any previous blog posts that link with the post you are about to publish, add them at the bottom to boost engagement to other posts.

The bit after you click publish

The planning just doesn’t stop at the blog post it also extends to social media. There is really no point writing a blog post unless you are really going to push it (I don’t know, maybe you want to keep it to yourself, each to their own I guess!). When I plan social media, I take into account popular hashtags (I use ritetag) and twitter profile pages that will retweet posts. I use Hootsuite to schedule the posts in and I tend to have a social media scheduling session when I am too tired to write a blog post. I pin my blog post on Pinterest straight after it is has gone live so it is done and I don’t have to think about it.

So the short version of all of the above:

  • Turn off all distractions
  • Mind map or bullet point ideas
  • If your stuck for a topic then have a google to see what other bloggers are writing about or what the popular topics are at the moment (taking into account making your content as ‘evergreen’ as possible)
  • Start with a topic and plan a beginning, middle and end
  • Remember to include scheduling in social media and finding images within your allocated time limit
  • Add in links to other relevant blog posts

Have you got any tips on creating an effective blog post? Which has been your best blog post in terms of views? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

 

Open laptop on a table

Hello, hello today I am writing about self evaluating your blog via a SWOT.

A SWOT analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It may sound boring and time consuming but by writing down what each of these are, it can visually make you see your blog’s weaknesses are so you can tweak them to maximise potential. The strengths you don’t need to ignore either – by capitalising your strengths it will help make your blog stronger.

It sound’s like something that takes a lot of time but there is no point publishing content that your readers do not like to view. At the end of the day it is your blog and you can publish what you want – but if your aim is to increase readership, earn money, or increase engagement – then you need to get strategic.

To show you how a SWOT can work for you I have included a SWOT of my own blog below. If you google SWOT analysis you will see many done in a box. Personally I prefer working from a list, hence listing them below.

SWOT for becbec.uk

Strengths
Own URL and professional blogger template installed.
I have full control over my blog.
I have a full – time job so don’t need to worry about making money from my blog.
My social media and blog posts do very well in terms of page views and comments and that is the content I prefer writing about.
From working in marketing I know the a lot of websites to get good quality royalty free imagery etc

Weaknesses
Struggle to find the motivation to write content regularly.
Not enough regular content.
Social media strategy needs to be better.
My content away from blogging and social media do not so as well.

Opportunities
Know several contacts where I can get my work published – which gets my name out more.
Very confident about Twitter chats and hosted several chats before so can do those again.
Getting a lot better at Photoshop so can start creating some work sheets.
Know several graphic designers that if I reach out too, could help me make my brand better.

Threats
Established bloggers.
Blogging is a market that has become very saturated and it is getting harder and harder to stand out.

What have I learned from my SWOT?

So from my strengths I know that the social media and blog tips posts are my best posts so it is best to keep writing posts about them. Having a full – time job means there isn’t the pressure of me having to churn out content to make money.

I know I need to work on writing regular content therefore by dedicating time per week to do this is one way where I am more likely to achieve writing and getting my content published. Again by dedicating time just for social media means that I am more likely to hit my goals of pushing more people to my site. I am going to stop writing life posts because there is no point spending my time writing them as it is not what my audience want to read.

Knowing your opportunities is easy, now it is finding the time to make the most of those opportunities. It is important because if you don’t realistically have the time to take advantage you could waste other people’s time and it can make your life harder in the future when you do have more time or you try to take advantage of other opportunities because people talk to each other!

Therefore, ideally by maximising on your opportunities, expanding on your strengths and working on your weaknesses this should help reduce your threats. Your threats are likely to always be there – you should always keep an eye out on what your threats are doing so you can capitalise on there failings or find a gap in the market they are not catering for.

I hope this SWOT blog post has been useful, ironically for me by listing everything down it has made the task of getting my blog up to date not as daunting as first thought. Let me know your thoughts and how you got on below.

If you liked this post, how about reading my other posts:

Best sites for blogging and social media beginners
Best sites for blogging and social media beginners #2
How to link your blog posts to pages in blogger

 

image of a female holding a mobile phone
A Twitter chat (incase you don’t know, this site is written for blogger and social media newbies!) is where lots of likeminded bloggers come together and usually answer and then discuss four or five questions in an hour on a particular topic that happened to be that week. I have hosted one chat myself on #PABChat and will be hosting another one on March 14th (if you are interested!). However I have taken part in a few including #bloghour hosting by the UK Blog Awards and #lbloggers chat. From being a weekly avid user of #bloghour after a while I found the chats to get boring in general so I looked into what and why I found the chats boring. So I share some tips below for you getting the most out of your chats:

Don’t just use the chat to promote yourself

If you are only joining in a chat to promote yourself then don’t bother. I don’t mind people promoting themselves at the beginning or at the end of the chat, if they have to leave midway though (and have contributed) or use the hashtag when the chat isn’t happening (I have done that). I just hate random companies that promote part way through. It just clogs up the feed and half the time it’s not hitting the target market for their product anyway.

Only join the chat if you are interested with the topic

#bloghour chat is great and I joined in every week but I found after a while I was losing interest because some weeks there were topics that I was just not interested with at all. By just taking part with the topics you are interested with means you are likely to get more out of it because you are gaining ideas and sharing best practice.

Make it more than just answering questions

I am notorious at just answering the questions. It is like a fun quiz, but that isn’t really what blog chat is all about. Interacting with other people and even disagreeing and putting forward your own views is so much more fun.

Use the chat to gain new and exciting blogs

The best thing I like about the chats are gaining new blogs to read. If a chat is going a little slow or I want some new bed time reading material blog chats are where I go first. I have found some lovely little blogs I wouldn’t have found otherwise through them.

Host your own blog chat

I have done it myself and trust me it is harder then it looks. It is scary and you do worry no one is going to take part but seriously you get out what you put in and the sense of accomplishment once the chat is over makes it all worth it.

So have fun with your Twitter chat and let me know how you get on!

 

You have a blog and you want followers? No?

If you are active on Twitter you may have seen these Twitter pages that retweet your page if you mention them and like them. I have used quite a few in the past and find with varying results.

I have done the hard work for you, I have listed the majority of current Twitter pages I have found that retweet blogs, I haven’t tried all of them however I have put a * with the ones I’ve used and am happy with. I have added a list over on my Twitter page with all of these on that you can subscribe too.

*@lovingblogs

*@Bloggerbees

*@TheBloggersPost

*@femalebloggerRT

@BBlogRT

*@UKBlog_RT

*@global_BlogRT

@theblogger_hub

@TheblogGuideRT

@YourblogRT

@bloggersoppsrt

@blogsretweets

@theDSblogRT

@lifebloggerRT

@UbloggerRT

@FabbloggersRT

@RT_Bloggers

@BlogLoveRT

Liked this post? How about reading:


How to read Twitter Analytics without wanting to chuck your laptop out of the window

How to make blogging/ social media goals and stick to them

How to add social media icons onto your blog (blogger)

Complete blog awards list

Thinking of hosting a twitter chat? This is what you need to know

Best sites for blogging and social media beginners #1

Best sites for blogging and social media beginners #2

 

Image of a man writing on a whiteboard

I have never been a numbers girland never will be. However, to improve my social media engagement and followers, I do need to understand the statistics so I see what is working (so I can do more of it) and what isn’t. This post aims to be a beginners guide. By beginner, I mean those that have never really used the Twitter analytic dashboard before or have downloaded the stats and have found them to be really daunting.

So access your dashboard here
This is what the dashboard looks like, I will explain the 28 day summary first:
Tweets: This is the number of tweets you have written
Tweet Impressions: Number of times your tweet has been seen
Profile Visits: The number of people that have visited your profile
Mentions: The number of tweets that have contained your twitter handle

Followers: The number of people that have followed youWhat can you take from this?

From here what is most useful I feel is followers, profile visits and mentions. This is because followers and mentions is a measure of engagement. people have actively included you in a Twitter handle or have clicked follow. Tweet impressions is more of a blurred metric in my eyes because Twitter cannot guarentee that every person has seen the tweet. I don’t read every tweet on my feed. With the number of tweets it depends on what you want to measure. If it is number of tweets against engagement then yes that will be useful to see if it is the quality of tweets (i.e more people engaging with less tweets) or quantitiy driving your engagement.

Let’s go further down:
You can see above Twitter drills it down to your highlights from each month. The summary section which is the right hand column is the most useful as it is an overview on how well you did.
The next tab along is the tweet activity section. The graph shows, daily over 28 days, how many impressions your tweets made. Just run your arrow over one of the bars to see how many tweets you sent and how many impressions those tweets made.
Below is all the tweets you have sent and the impressions, engagement and engagement rate.
Impressions: Are the number of times users saw the tweet.
Engagement: Is the number of times a user has engaged in that tweet. Engagement is classed as clicks on the tweet, retweets, replies, follows, favorites, links, cards, hashtags, embedded media, username, profile photo, username or twitter expansion.
Engagement Rate: Is the number of engagement divided by impressions.
Engagement I feel is the most useful metric because the user has openly engaged with what you have written. Impressions as I said above is I think is a little wishy washy, engagement rate however is useful, if your engagement is low this is because the number of impressions (which will be influenced by the number of tweets you have sent out) means that people are not interested in what you have tweeted.Just a note the Video Activity tab also looks like it measures the same metrics but just focusing on the videos you have posted. I haven’t taken a screenshot as I don’t make videos but the dashboard looks exactly the same as the tweet activity section.
The next tab along contains what your followers are interested in, it is also split by gender. and what country and region your followers are from.

 

I found it surprising that I had pretty much a fifty fifty split in terms of gender however I am not a beauty or fashion blogger, I tweet about social media and my life in general so it does make sense. Region isn’t as important to me as what I tweet again isn’t based on locality however for those who are running small businesses you will want a large percentage of your audience to be from the region you are based.
Now you have had a wonder around the dashboard the next post will be about downloading your stats and how to make the most of them.