Best Sites For Blogging and Social Media Beginners
(Source: stokpic.com)

Due to the success of my first post (Yes I do look at my Google Analytics :D) and it was a post I enjoyed writing so much I decided to write another.

Performance Tools

riteTag– This site I use to see which hashtags are the best performers and then use those hashtags to help advertise my posts.

RSS Feed

Bloglovin– Very well known app which is essentially an RSS feed of all your favourite blogs.

Spelling and Grammar Checker

Grammarly– If grammar or spelling isn’t your forte (not thinking about myself here…) then this app is great. Just download it as a Chrome plug in and it works like a Microsoft Word spell check does.  It underlines all your grammar and spelling errors, for spelling errors it will give you alternative spellings and for grammar errors it will explain what you did wrong.

Setting up competitions

Rafflecopter– I haven’t used this myself, but it is a popular plug- in for those that want to run give- aways where people are chosen at random.

Licencing your work

Creative Commons– a non- profit organisation that allows people to pick and choose what work they would like copyrighted by creating a variety of licences. If you are interested in protecting your work so companies don’t steal it or just want to make sure people cite you. This is the site.

PicMonkey– Another free photo editing site. It is really good for the numerous effects you can add to your images. If you want to add text to your images PicMonkey is a great for this.

Generating feedback

Survey Monkey– I have used the paid version for a few years now in the work place. The free version makes it really easy to create a survey (perfect if you want feedback on your blog) and analyse the results as you can download them in a PDF or Excel version.

Development tool

Google Developer- If you have Chrome you can find this in the more tools bar. If you find a colour on a blog you like and want to see it’s hex code or want to see how your blog or site would look in mobile version or just want to see how a website is structured this is that developer tools are for. I don’t think I use the features to its full advantage but it has helped me in the workplace.

Free fonts

Dafont is widely used amongst graphic designers and it is a source full of free fonts.

Google Fonts– similar to Dafont it is again a source of free fonts for download.

Create an animated video for free!

Powtoon– Want to add an animation to your site but don’t have the money to create one? Powtoon is a free way to create an animation. My manager created one for work and it was different than using Powerpoint.

Blogging directories

Pick a Blogger– Get yourself on a blogger directory for free! If you sign up for the free membership you get put on a directory, get access to a forum area, eligibility to host #pickablogger chat on Twitter which are on Sundays and other stuff. As it’s free to use you cannot complain and it doesn’t take long for your profile to be set up.

Further reading

Econsultancy– The blogs I have found very helpful in forecasting and explaining digital media trends.

What do you think? Have you got any sites you would like to add?

How to make your LinkedIn profile awesome BecBec
(Image Source: stokpik.com)

LinkedIn is such an important social network and so different in that it is a professional network and should be treated as such. Often people just set up a profile and just leave it for ages, not realising that anyone could read it! Read on to see if you are making the most of your profile.

Have a decent profile picture
Your profile picture should preferably be on a plain background and of very good quality (no pixelation). Not holiday pictures or pictures of you at a wedding (an image that I do see a lot, as often it’s the only time we look smart!). Buffer has a good guide to profile and header sizes. Admittedly I haven’t tried the LinkedIn dimensions but have for Facebook and it is accurate.

Your background image
I am unsure why LinkedIn include this, I think it looks rubbish and serves no purpose. I would keep it as plain as possible ( I have included a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background on mine) and not pixalated.

Fill out your profile correctly
This means listing all of your relevant qualifications and work experience. Treat it as a job application. Attach any documents or images within your work profile that adds value.

The summary
Is literally just that. The way I would write the summary is set out what you are currently are (In my case a Marketing and Communications Assistant) and where your passion lies professionally (so for me it is social media). This tells readers straight away your strengths and what you will like to acheive professionally.

Skills and endorsements
I personally love this section as it really simple and infographicy in appearance. Fill it out as much as you can.

Interests
This isn’t the place to admit you love shopping or watching TV. This is a great opportunity to show off your outside interests that are related to what you eventually want a career in. It is particularly important for jobs where you don’t have any relevant qualifications.  This is where I push social media and blogging as I do not hold any marketing qualifications.

Projects
I have included the time I was part of BBC Generation2015 in my project. By adding team members, if applicable, to the project again it reinforces the project.

Personal details
Personally I am not a fan of putting in your birthday or marital status as it should not affect whether you are capable of doing a job or not so it’s up to you.

Make yourself contactable
Make sure you write down all your contact details. I include a email address, Twitter handle and Facebook. I do not include my phone number for safety.

Advice for making connections
I have gotten quite hot at making connections very quickly with people once I have met with them. If you leave it too long after a networking event, you may have been forgotten about (and I think it makes it more awkward to ask).

I personally try to send as many personal emails asking to connect if possible. I think it is polite and shows you really value their connection and the time you spent with them. In regards to accepting connections I go by:

  • If I know them.
  • Where do they work (I.E if I don’t know the place of if the place of work doesn’t seem to exist or has nothing to do with what I do it is unlikely I would accept them).    
  • How strong their profile is (for the same reason as above).
I have accepted people before who have spammed me with offers I am not interested in and it’s annoying. You want to make your profile be of a good value also its protecting your identity online.

Join groups you are interested in or have a connection too
LinkedIn is all about being seen. I have joined a few marketing groups and where I went to university.

The following section
Fill this out with companies, schools, news and influencers. Again it shows people where your interests lie.

Hopefully the above has been helpful in showing what you should already be doing on LinkedIn. I have known people who have got jobs through LinkedIn and it has been helpful for me when networking. 

What annoyed me when I first started blogging was how pages were set out. I got frustrated that I could create these pages, but I didn’t know how to add blog posts to those specific pages. It is frustrating that Google haven’t thought of an easier way to add posts to separate pages.  Today I will go through how to add posts to your blog pages.

Step 1
Click on Layout and open up the Pages tab.

Step 2

Click on the +Add external link button.

Step 3
Give your page title a name (in this case we will use the title ‘Reviews’). Where it says Web address (URL) add the following: http://www.yoururl.com/search/label/searchlabelyouwant
(In my case it was: http://www.becbec.uk/search/label/reviews) and click Save link.

Step 4

As you can see my reviews page has come up in my search bar and you can see it has pulled the page that has the search label ‘reviews’ in.

How does it work?

Blogger uses its labels function to search (it is found on the right-hand side when you are writing a post. Therefore, the page is searching for that specific label.
So when I wrote the url http://www.yoururl.com/search/label/reviews above all the posts that contained the word reviews was shown. So if you are going to be writing for one section regularly make sure you add the label for that section.

I hope this is as helpful to you as it was to me 🙂

Best Sites for Blogging and Social Media Beginners- BecBec
(Image Source: Authors Own)

Being a beginner to blogging and social media can be really scary. There seems to be so much information out there and so many different ways to do things. As a beginner, it can be daunting with the pressure of producing an amazing blog layout, photography and content all in one go. It is enough to make you want to give up!  I am still learning about blogging and social media therefore to save you time I have shared a few tools and websites below that I use:

Social media scheduling tools

Hootsuite a well-known scheduling tool. I use the paid version at work and the way the dashboard is set out is simple and it is easy to use. What I do not like about Hootsuite is that it still turns the Twitter images into ow.ly links so you have to click the link to view the image, which I view as a barrier. To get round it I schedule Twitter posts with images on Buffer.

Buffer is another social media scheduling tool. The free version is ok but you can only post ten posts on each social network on this compared to Hootsuite where you can schedule more.

Websites to learn about social media analytics

Kissmetrics– is a helpful website that focuses on social media analytics. There is an infographic section on a variety of subjects ranging from how to get more likes on Facebook to how colours affect conversions.

Social Media Examiner– If you are looking to up your social media game. This website is good. With many how-to blog posts and posts going into great detail about how to make the most of those figures.

Buffer blog – Another reason why I like Buffer is the social media blog. I read this a lot for when I want to try different things with the social media at my work place such as A/B testing.

Best website for wanting to find twitter chats in one place

Design that fits – If you are based in the United Kingdom this site lists as many Twitter chats as you can possibly think of. Personally I take part in #bloghour and sometimes #weddinghour both of which I found through the site.


Best site for finding Creative Commons Licencing images

Sellfy – This blog post lists a wide range of high-quality images that you can use for free to get you going. It is a really good blog post and one of the few I have seen where you can really use the images for free.

Best websites for editing your images


Picasa – Second only to Adobe Photoshop in my opinion. This application I have found to be really useful when I am using my laptop (which is so old if I loaded Photoshop onto it, it would just crash) for editing photos. Picasa 3 is so easy for cropping, adjusting light and straightening photographs and is free to use.

Canva -This website I have used for work is good for creating Facebook and Twitter headers. With so many design options, it is really good for those without Photoshop or have limited design skills to make professional looking designs.

Befunky is a website that I discovered recently where you can make lots of different photo collages and upload them for free. You can also create Facebook and Twitter headers with the photos.

VCSO cam – Lots of bloggers use this to touch up their photos for Instagram and social media. I downloaded the app and found that the filters were a lot better than Instagram. It is just as easier to use too. My favourite filters are B1, C1 and P5.

Best site for blog design

Pipdig – Biased, I know, as my blog design is by them. They offer really good professional, modern blog designs that are very reasonably priced. What is also a bonus is that they will add the template onto your site free of charge. The customer service is fantastic, I have tweeted and emailed them on two separate occasions and they have got back to me within about two hours.

Best sites for blogging advice

I Can Build a Blog – I have mentioned Dana before on here as her blog The Wonder Forest is one of my favourite blogs to read. Dana has created another whole website dedicated to building a blog from scratch. Again simplicity is the key and Dana has the habit of answering all those blog questions that newbies have.

The Nectar Collective – Similar to I Can Build a Blog, The Nectar Collective focuses on growing your blog through from the basics to advance. The website is designed well and in my opinion a good example of how good design aids the reader around the site and makes them stay longer. It is essentially the website of my dreams.

Autumn Leaves Blog – I like this blog because of its transparency. Rebecca lists her social media figures each month and goes through what techniques she used that month and if they helped increase engagement or followers. This openness adds value as I am not keen at looking at sites that offer tips on engagement but are not well- known sites themselves.

Zoella – Not her whole blog site but this post (an oldie but still a goodie) on how to edit your photographs was one of the first I read. Zoella was producing great blog photography long before anyone else and is the perfect starting point if you really don’t have a clue.

Best book for thinking up blog ideas

Not a website but a book, 365 blog topic ideas: For the lifestyle blogger who has nothing to talk about by Dana Fox of The Wonder Forest. It does what it says on the tin. A no frills book which has a blog topic idea on each page. It is really good for dipping in and out of or if you get stuck with something to write about.  

Those are the sites and book I use. Do you have any other sites to add?