Blog 101 - image of a computer and a desk in the background

Well done on starting on your blog journey. It is exciting but also hard work. My Blog 101 series focuses on those who want to take the plunge and create a blog but don’t know or don’t have the confidence to start. Todays post focuses on the four key questions you need to ask yourself before you start a blog.

Time

Firstly do you really have the time to start and maintain your blog? If you want your blog to do well then you have to create or find the time to maintain your blog. This is something myself that I really struggle with, as you can see with my site my posts are very sporadic.

What are you creating your blog for?

If you are creating your blog just to obtain free stuff then you will not get very far. The blogs that do well have writers show real passion for their subject and craft and that is what makes them successful.

Is your blog supporting your business?

If your blog is part of a business then you will have to adopt a slightly different tone. You will have to maintain professionalism and all posts will have to be relevant to the business. You really need to be committed to your blog if you are going down this route because a out of date blog looks unprofessional and that could indirectly harm your business.

Expenses

Running and obtaining a blog does occur some expense. Blog props, Photoshop or cheaper photo editing software, taking out adverts, a custom URL, hosting, hiring a graphic designer to create graphics and having a personalised email address to name but a few all cost.

That is it, the four key questions you need to ask yourself before you start a blog. Second up in my Blog 101 series is on writing a blog post.

I would love to hear your feedback on my blog series. Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Trees in the morning sun to convey thinking about the future

I am a sucker for making resolutions, to the extent that I don’t just make them at Christmas I make them throughout the year. There is something, however, about being able to start the new year with a goal or idea that appeals to me. However I break a lot of them as well. This post details my journey of resolutions made throughout the years and which ones I stuck at but which ones I broke and why.

Writing in a diary

Back when I was in high school I had the great idea of writing in a diary for the entire year. I had tried before and failed in many aspects but this one I was determined to stick at. And I did. I stuck at it for two and a half years! I am so glad I did because these diaries have provided me with a comprehensive view of my time at high school, those thoughts, feelings and who I fancied – which I would not have had otherwise.

Learning to ride in cleats

I ride my bicycle a lot. In fact I have two bikes (a mountain and road bike) and I love cycling and am regularly on Strava and if I am not cycling I am watching cycling or talking about cycling. You get the picture. I bought cleats three years ago as I knew more cycling I knew I needed to start wearing them. I got the pedals fitted onto my bike and practised around the Uni car park and the field. I was doing pretty well with only a few accidents until I had a nasty fall down Stoke canal. Safe to say I haven’t clipped in since.

Writing more on my blog

This one makes me really sad. I really want to create a blog where I am constantly posting, have pretty pictures and create something I am proud of. I do find it hard (and I know I am certainly not alone) in having the time to create this content and keep on top of it. This has set me back in my other blog goals such as entering awards and going to blog events as I never thought my blog was established enough. This year my blog will be top priority.

A sheltie dog looking up at a tree

Partaking in more twitter chats

I really enjoy twitter chats and have hosted a few of them myself too. This year I want to partake in a few new ones and keep setting myself reminders for the others.

Going to a blogger event

As above going to a blog event will be really big for me. It will be exciting networking with other people.

Spending less time surfing the net

I am terrible at just browsing the internet whilst watching TV or to put things off. 2017 I want to spend more time on hobbies.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

I really enjoy Twitter chats, I take part in them and I have hosted them as well.

I recently hosted an #lbloggers chat with my topic about ‘Creating a movement on the internet’. It was a topic that I hadn’t really seen much written about online so I was excited to see everyone’s thoughts.

My first question was:

Do you feel that blogs have empowered people to create their own movements or join one?

What was interesting with this was I saw a movement as something such as feminism however a lot of Twitter users saw it as building their own communities.

In addition twitter users that took part in the conversation as a whole felt that blogs helped people connect with other like-minded people and increase the confidence in expressing themselves.

 

Do you think the internet can be a more effective way to support causes from behind a screen rather than being out there?

Twitter users found that starting from behind a screen can be a brilliant way to dip your toes in activism and then as confidence grows and physically getting out there seems possible.

A Twitter conversation regarding activismOne twitter user bought up the very valid point that it depends on the blog and the blogger and I whole heartily agree.

My blog is less likely to get people involved or support a cause compared to a blog with millions of followers.

Are you involved in activism?

I am not involved in activism myself at all other than the odd retweet and reading Lenny Letter (a feminist newsletter). I was interested to see if other people were. Jasiminne Yip from Posh, Broke and Bored wrote about her experiences volunteering with the Greyhound Trust and Crisis UK. One twitter user pointed out that mental health issues was widely being recognised.

Lauren from Blonde Vision has done volunteering for the Race for Life, packing Christmas presents for children in Ghana.

A Twitter user, Ada Lovelace said that she volunteers at the local library and donates to charity. Another user said that she speaks up for small indie businesses.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

Reading Twitter analytics can be hard if you are unsure about what you are looking at or find looking at all those numbers really scary! This posts serves only as an overview to help you make informed decisions about what you post, when and how it is written.

I have read posts where people say that page/ post views ‘do not matter’ and the like but I struggle to understand this. By working out the best times to post, which posts work well and why means that you can maximise upon this to help increase your engagement and following, which is what everyone strives for!

Once you have opened up Twitter analytics and clicked on the ‘tweets’ section you will get onto the 28 day page analysis. Click on the export data button, the last 28 days button next is where you can adjust the dates, I usually do a month by month analysis. Open the Excel file that you have downloaded.

You can see lots of different columns, it can look quite intimidating the first time but we are going to get rid of loads of columns to make it easier to read the data.

I automatically get rid of:

  • Tweet ID
  • Tweet Permalink

I get rid of these purely because they are of no use to me, I will not gain anything from them.

Depending on what media you use I usually get rid of every column from permalink clicks onwards.

Next I focus on the datasets that give me the most information, these are:

  • Engagements 
Engagements are the number of times your tweet has been engaged with. 
An engagement include these actions: 
cards, embedded media, hashtags, follows, favourites, links, profile clicks, retweets, replies, usernames and tweet expansions.

  • Engagement rate
This is the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions 
  • Retweets
The number of retweets. This is a good metric as it shows that people value the content enough that they want people on there own feed. 
  • Likes
Again simply put the number of likes, another good metric as it shows appreciation of the tweet. 
  • Impressions
This metric is the number of times a message is served to a user in a timeline or search results. I am not keen on this metric because the way I see it because it is a timeline it does not necessarily mean that it is read.
  • URL clicks
The number of times a URL is clicked on. 
As Twitter doesn’t total the metrics up for you, I automatically use SUM and add up all the columns first so I have a total. I then use mean to find the average. Both metrics are useful as I can see what was achieved that month and with the average I can see how many engagements were made over the number of tweets.  The more engagements per tweet means more people engage with the posts.
Afterwards I filter the data – I filter whatever metric I need to see which tweets received the largest amount of engagement and also which didn’t and then look further to see if it there is a certain way I wrote the tweets with the largest/ least engagement.

Has this basic guide made you want to use Twitter metrics more?

Title text with an image of a beach in the background

Hello, hello today I am talking about why leaving behind a digital footprint is one of the reasons why I love writing on the internet. I have had my little site now on and off for about three years! It started as a site to talk about cycling but then I realised I didn’t actually know that much cycling (other than the fact that my Boardman bike is my best friend FYI!) so then I switched to talking about lifestyle then just social media and blogging and now I feel that I have found a happy medium in talking about blogging/ social media and lifestyle thrown in on occasion. One thing that has not changed is that I do really enjoy writing and reading comments either on my site or social media.

I enjoy blogging because it is just so easy and accessible for everyone. I started originally because I wanted to improve my writing at work (one of my responsibilities was writing articles for the site and social media) but one thing that I liked about blogging is that it was somewhere I could leave my footprint, I could have my say. It wasn’t just blogging tho, Twitter was another platform where I leave behind my thoughts, less so feelings but also have conversations with like-minded people, read interesting articles. Even on Strava the cycling app, I could view how well I had done on bike rides against myself and other cyclists – the perfect example of the digital complimenting my real life! I loved the way I see the miles mounting up (I was pretty gutted when the GPS on my phone stopped working!).

I was watching Rest in Pixels a programme on BBC Three ages ago about digital legacy. In the programme it spoke about companies using algorithms to message from your social media profiles after your death about topics that you were interested in. I found it interesting because it was focused on keeping these profiles alive after you were gone. However for me I didn’t see the point – well honed algorithms are fine but they are not going to bring the person back and surly it would extend the heartache? I knew that if something was going to happen to me I would want people to look at my social media profiles and see the tweets and posts that I had written.

I remember a conversation on Twitter a while back and a blogger said that they loved the idea that our children now will grow up and be able to remember us very well as creating and saving videos are accessible and that our lives now as the (digital native generation) are lived just as much online as they are offline. I think that is a lovely way to view this.

This blog post was not planned and at all and as taken a slightly morbid turn then I thought it would! But I would love to hear your thoughts on this? Does anyone feel that they are leaving behind a legacy as such when they write? xx