Image of a laptop and cup of coffee and the word dream

Today’s Blog 101 I am talking about how a vision and mission statement can help enhance your blog.

What are a vision and mission statement?

A mission statement is a statement on what your blog’s purpose is, a vision statement is what you want your blog to be in the future. It would make complete sense that your blog’s mission statement would inform the blogs vision.

Why are a vision and mission statement important?

A vision and a mission statement will inform the reader about the purpose of your blog and for yourself it can help you understand what you want your blog to be about. For example, if you want your blog to be focused on restaurants in the West Midlands and you do a content audit and you find a lot of your content is based on clothing shops in the West Midlands you have to think about possibly changing your content or the basis of your blog to help get yourself and your readers the most out of your blog.

How to go create your vision and mission statements

For myself I found it easier to focus on my vision first and work backwards. Questions I asked myself:

  • What is my blog currently about
  • What do I want my blog to be about
  • What do I want readers to come away from my blog thinking
  • What do I enjoy writing about
  • What do I want to be writing about
  • What do I want my blog to be known for

Keep your mission and vision statement’s short and sweet, 1-3 sentences will do it. It shouldn’t contain any technical words. There is nothing more off putting then reading a vision or mission statement that you don’t understand. A good mission and vision statement should invigorate, inspire and motivate you to keep working on your blog.

Do I need to publish my mission and vision statements?

It is entirely up to you. I don’t publish mine but I feel confident enough in the fact that I know where I am going with my blog.

Background of soft lights

If your aim is to win a blog award (let’s aim high here!) then you have to be in it to win it. Contrary to belief, the majority of blog awards the bloggers themselves enter in. Here is a complete list of awards (in no particular order) along with the web address and twitter handles.

*Please note, I have not been paid or approached by any of the organisations below. This is research I have done in my own time. If you would like to copy the list, I am more than happy you do so, but please reference me 🙂


If you see any blog awards I have not included please comment or tweet me and I will include it.

Blogosphere Blog Awards

Type of blogs: Fashion/Beauty/Book/Instagrammer/Business/Vlogger/Lifestyle/Photographer

/Blogger/Parenting/Food/Podcast/Fitness/Travel/Blogosphere Network

Website
Twitter

Cosmopolitan Blog Awards
Type of blogs: Beauty/ Lifestyle/ Fashion/ Fitness/ Food/ Sex and Relationships/ Photography
Website
Twitter

UK Blog Awards
Type of blogs: Art & Culture/ Automotive/ Dating/ Digitial & Technology/ Education/ Events/ Food & Drink/ Green & Eco/ Health and Social Care/ Lifestyle/ Photography/ PR, Media & Communication/ fashion & Beauty/ Travel/ Weddings
Website
Twitter

Bloggers Blog Award
Type of blogs: Beauty/ Lifestyle/ Fashion
Website
Twitter 

Amara Interior Blog Awards
Type of blogs: Interior
Website
Twitter

North East Blog Awards
Types of Blogs:
Beauty/ Buisness/Food&Drink/Lifestyle/Parenting/Instablogger/Interiors
Website

Next Blogger Network Awards
As I am not part of the Next Blogger Network myself, I couldn’t find much information about it. However, I felt it is worth including.

Bloggers Lounge
Types of Blogs: Beauty/ Lifestyle/ Design/ Fashion/ Charity/Parenting/ Tech/ Health and Fitness/ Food
Website
Twitter

Beauty Blogger Awards
Type of blogs: Beauty
Website
Twitter

Brilliance in Blogging Awards:
Type of blogs: Parenting/ food/ photography/ travel/ style/ craft/ family
Website

Vuelio Blog Awards
Type of blogs: Art & film/ Beauty/ Business and Finance/ Education/ Fashion/ Food and drink/ Health and Fitness/ Interior Design/ Media/ PR and Marketing/ Newcomer/ Parenting/ Politics/ Sport/ Travel and Tourism
Website
Twitter

Wine Media Awards
Type of blog: Drink (wine!)
Website
Twitter

Wine Blog Awards
Type of blog: Drink (wine!)
Website
Twitter

Navabi Plus Size Blog Award’s
Type of blog: Fashion/ Beauty
Website
Twitter

UKYA Blogger Awards
Type of blog: Books
Website
Twitter

Surrey Digital Awards
Type of blogs: From what the website it looks like any type of  blog can enter.
Website
Twitter

Essex Digital Awards
Type of blogs: From what the website it looks like any type of  blog can enter.
Website
Twitter

Bloggers Blog Awards
Type of blog: Books
Website
Twitter

 

Do vloggers and bloggers really influence what we buy

All of these products above was purchased through recommendations by vloggers on YouTube

Unless you have been living under a rock in the last five years then you will know that blogging and vlogging is big business. It is not just the earnings from YouTube and sponsored advertisements but bloggers and vloggers releasing their own lines is now big, from Zoella and her books and beauty products to Hannah Witton’s book tour. Today I am exploring whether bloggers and vloggers really influence what you buy.

I have been watching vloggers for years since about 2011. Back in the day I loved Zoella, Fleur de Force and The Anna Edit (when she was Vivanna does makeup!). But as I grew older I discovered Lucy Moon, Emtalks and Hannah Witton and then I moved onto other things. These days I don’t watch YouTube but I still read blogs quite regularly and I follow a lot of bloggers on Twitter and Instagram mainly.

I personally felt that in the earlier days my make up choices did start to become influenced by Youtube. I brought the Urban Decay Naked Palettes and primer potion because of them. Physicians Formula Happy Booster blusher I just fell in love with the packaging after seeing it in a Tanya Burr video and couldn’t wait to buy them in the states (event though when I got them I was just disappointed). I wanted Nars and MAC but couldn’t justify the money buying them. If I wanted some new make-up I wouldn’t purchase a product until I had YouTubed it to death.

Recently with vloggers and bloggers releasing lines I certainly felt invested in them in someway. I brought Hannah Witton’s book and even went to her book tour at the Glee Club in Birmingham, I brought Emma Gannon’s and Dana Fox’s books. The only reason why I didn’t buy Zoella’s beauty range was because I didn’t like the scent! It seems like I am not the only person who feels invested in buying products with Zoella’s beauty product at Superdrug shifted 70,000 units in its first month alone and her book broke the record for highest first week sales for a debut author.

Think with Google reported that 68% of YouTube users watch YouTube to help make a purchase decision and information seeking is one on the top three reasons why people go on YouTube. So to sum up young people with high disposable incomes with access to the internet creates the perfect recipe for high end purchases to be made.

Additionally, the culture has changed as well. I remember back in 2012 browsing Guru Gossip and finding that people really despised those bloggers and vloggers that accepted payment to plug products. Today this is the point that wannabe bloggers and vloggers inspire to get to.

These days I still look to twitter and Instagram for inspiration for clothes, make up and interior design and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Have you ever brought products because a blogger/ vlogger has recommended them?

 

Image of a desk with a pennant and books

Welcome to Blog 101, session four is focusing on free or low cost photo editing and image creator apps.

I can and do regularly use Photoshop in my day job for quick tweaks to artwork (I am not a designer at all!) but I don’t have the application at home and neither the advance skills needed to make use of the program. Here are four tried and tested programs that are free that I use.

Canva

This is my favourite program for creating social media images for my posts. The templates are wide and varied from social media images to adverts to printed media or you can create your own custom dimensions. The templates make it very easy to upload your images and overlay them onto your template. Canva gives you great design ideas and tonnes of different fonts and you can get a precise colour by typing in the hexcodes.  If you are creating a poster using canva and wondering if it prints well, my previous manager has created a 60×40 inch poster before and it has printed fine.

Picmonkey

I often resize my photos using Picmonkey. Again this program is easy to use with its resize, text overlay and has templates like Canva. You can add more effects with the photographs itself such as light effects. Less tools seem to be available free unlike Canva.

Fotojet*

I was recently contacted by Fotojet to try out there online graphic design maker. It very much reminded me of Canva albeit a more stripped down version. Again there are lots of functions such as templates to create social media images, create your own custom templates and background. I will write a more comprehensive post about this program separately. It does what it says on the tin, you can edit and create images and the program is easy to use however I think if I had to choose either Canva or Fotojet I would choose Canva as there are more design options.

VSCO

VSCO is an mobile phone app where if you are a bit bored of the Instagram filters and want to move up in the world it is the equivalent of the cooler older brother or sister. I mainly use VSCO for the filters and to resize images normally to put straight on Insta or Twitter. Favourite filters include HB1 and HB2, X1 and A6. A while ago it underwent a massive redesign and it looks pants now and I feel made the app harder to navigate.

Which low cost image and design programs do you use and recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

 

How to grow and maintain a blog

Your blog is up and running, well done! Now you just need to maintain and grow your blog to help you achieve success. This is how you can do it:

Take part in Twitter chats

Being a massive twitter fan anyway, I love twitter chats. I have been part of some great conversations, spoken to some lovely people on Twitter and it has been a great way to push people to your profile, obtain followers, gain new ideas for posts and find some new bloggers yourself.

It can be daunting at first taking part in chats, especially if you are hosting one (read more about my tips on hosting a Twitter chat here). If you join chats based on your blog topic this will push more interest to your site then say your location as it is reaching those with the same interests.

Read more:

Creating a movement online – my recent twitter chat

How to #win at a Twitter chat

Using hashtags and pages that retweet your blog on twitter

By promoting your post using popular, relevant hashtags this can push your blog out to an audience that may not have come across your site otherwise. Sites such as hashtagify.me can help you easily see how popular the hashtag you want to use is and other relevant tags. By adding the handles of twitter pages that retweet your blog as well may mean a retweet out to a large audience. Bare in mind, however, to only add one twitter page handle per post. If you don’t then you are less likely to be retweeted as those pages are not going to retweet their competitors as well.

The Twitter pages that retweet your blog

Facebook Fan Page

Like what I said with the Twitter chats below, you could create your own Facebook page promoting your blog or you join ready made communities tailored to your blog topic, region or interest. I am part of several blogging groups in the West Midlands because I live in the region and like to see what local bloggers are writing about (I have some fab new restaurant places I want to try out!), and blogger opportunities are also posted on there too.

Instagram

If your blog is very aesthetically pleasing, then Instagram is the place to flog your posts. Engagement on Instagram is high because it people are more willing to double tap a image to give it some love. If your Instagram is themed then likes are more likely. Evidence as shown that those Instagram pages that have a theme are more likely to get likes than those that are not. Again using hashtags for people to find your images is key. I use tagblender for easy copy and pasting lots of hashtags. Just remember Instagram only allows a certain number of hashtags and if you go over then it will post without the tags and that can be frustrating.

Creating a blogging schedule and sticking to it

I firmly believe that to really maintain a blog you need to regularly post. If you consistently times a week you are more likely to have followers keep returning to your site for more.

How is your blog going? Leave me your links below as I am always on the look out for new blogs to read!