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We can make still make it Happy…

A real belated Hello and Happy 2022. It’s the 6th of April, a quarter is gone and I am just getting round to wishing my dear friends the best of this year. Nothing stopped me from hopping onto my blog on the eve of the new year and simply throwing some words together whilst clicking a glass of bubbly (in this case it was water; my favourite drink of choice at present) and joining the bandwagon to exchange perfunctory greetings that lacked the necessary spice.

It isn’t that I wasn’t happy to see the new year or the months that have sped by; because I was most certainly tired of 2021. It had drained me to limits and left me feeling tattered. I thought 2020 was rough but had such a bumpy ride the last 365 days of 2021 that by the time we got to the 31st I was limping across the finish line. I didn’t feel like racing to say happy new year and to share platitudes and lukewarm resolutions that barely makes it to the 10th of January.

The idea was to be in a more reflective mode and to process my thoughts in more depth; if that makes any sense. The exigencies of life had taken over and cluttered my mind with so much debris over these past 2 yrs that they needed and still need to be decluttered, analyzed and classified. I feel a bit more centered as I keep on rediscovering myself and getting in touch with who I really am. Honestly speaking, one would have thought that by this beautiful age of mine that I would know all there is to know and understand about myself, yet, I keep making new discoveries that makes me realize that truly we never become finished products and are constantly under renovation, embellishment, maintenance et al 😉

Is it possible to say that I am at peace, not sad yet not happy? Does that sound confusing. I am at peace because in trying to know myself better, I am getting more in tune with my spirituality, physical state and mental state of being. I have an optimistic view and hopeful expectations for the year unlike the previous where I was too stressed to see beyond my nose much less engage others.

Now I am dipping my toes back into these waters and I hope to get into full swing without much ado and with sufficient gusto. For real, I miss this place and will be visiting all my cool folks in this blogosphere. I know that I joined the new year party a little late in the day, but we can still make it happy nonetheless. What have I missed? I know that there’s a lot to catch up with and I am here for it. See you in your neck of bloggywood.

Key Notes…

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Getting back to blogging, I have found myself at a certain loss. It feels so familiar yet strange, because like everything that changes over time, a lot seems to have happened in blogosphere. I feel like a newbie, albeit with some jaded sense of know-how. I am tip-toeing around my blog trying to find my way once again, afraid to click on unknown features just in case I break something – not literally, but you get what I mean.

I recall that when I started blogging I could plug away for hours on end and derived such joy from putting my thoughts in writing. The joy has not gone though it has ebbed a bit. The hours to plug away on the keyboard has gone with the vagaries of life, since bills don’t pay themselves. Back then, I jumped in with such gusto and gumption and decision to make it work; to eke out a living doing something that I truly love. Things got in the way, life happened so much so that it made me question my trueness.

I have questioned my authenticity and second-guessed my passion for written and spoken word. I have found myself comparing and wondering if I am really true to my art. If I really want to be a writer as passionately as I had supposed? Because, as we are told, if you want something badly enough, you will do what needs to be done and you will find the time to make sure that it works out. It may sound romantic being a hungry, starving artist, but the rude awakening and harsh reality of life makes such aspirations a near impossible feat to achieve in this part of the world and in most parts I daresay.

NOT paying your bills can land you behind bars in my neck of the woods. As valuable as words may be, mine are yet to land me that goldmine and to present the peace of mind that money can buy or rather being able to sleep without your landlord hounding you for rent. I derail.

I have had to revamp my mind. To remember that often times the key notes of our life’s story might be out of tune for a bit, but once our fingers glide over the keys, like the gentle caress of a cherished old lover, we kindle with familiarity.

My thoughts are on how the blogging field has changed though my keyboard remains the same. How there are now many icons, bells and whistles here and there. I almost feel as if I should enroll in learning how things work here once again. Sadly, the course is paid for and I most certainly can’t afford such finesse. What do you think? Is going to WordPress University a worthwhile investment or do you think that I can find my way just by tinkering around?

Stitches… 3 things challenge

He never could keep his buttons on. They always seemed to dangle at the drop of a stitch… she knew that she ain’t no fancy designer, but she managed to stitch his pants real good…

I did some blog hopping today and found the Three things challenge on pensitivity 101 ‘ real, button, designer’

Making Money From Your Blogging Space

When it comes to blogging there are so many ways to do it. As a daily journal, talking about what you do and who you are. Using it as a space to explore ideas and share your life. Some start a blog with the sole purpose of making big money. You can always combine the two. And it’s not that difficult to turn your online space into a little money maker. Most blogs start because the writer has a niche that they are interested in. It might be parenting, it could be healthy eating, it could be business. Whatever it is, you can use that to generate income.

If you already have a blog, then you are well on your way. If not check out some online guides to starting your own WordPress website. In a matter of minutes, you can have a beautiful site and start writing content.

Photo by raw pixel on Unsplash

Once you have a blog set up, or perhaps just taking a look through the one you already write, you can think about the direction you’d like to take it. You can create content specifically for your audience. Become a valuable resource for people to return to over and over. Hook up product links to an affiliate link network so you can generate an income every time someone purchases something you have recommended.

Reputable affiliate marketing platforms are Amazon, Share-A-Sale, and Clickbank. Take a look and see what products they offer that you can either create content based around or weave into content you had already planned. If you use affiliate links be sure that you are disclosing as such to your readers.

Reach out to brands and mention the pieces that you are working on and see if they would like to be involved and either pay for a link mention or gift you some products to be included.

Your mailing list will be one of your biggest money makers. In each mailout talk about products you are loving so that people can click through, and view the products and perhaps even buy them too.

The more you write in your chosen niche, the more trust you will build with your readers. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to make purchases of the products that you recommend.

Brands, PR firms and SEO companies will likely approach you to ask about having their products or links featured without you needing to chase them first. You can set your own prices and work as you see fit for your own space. Adding in Google Adsense will also give you a running income from visitors who wouldn’t need to buy, but just the impressions will count.

OFten blogs can be used as supporting materials when applying for online part times jobs too. It will give recruiters an idea of your tone and writing ability, as well as how you manage your social media, growth and work ethic.

Your blog can be the portal to all of your online money making, and it will all come from something that you loved to do.

This is a collaborative post.

Give Your Blogging Business That Professional Look

To successfully make money with your blogging business, you need to ensure that it does look the part. Often, this means that you need to go out of your way to ensure it is as professional as you would hope. If it is not quite there in this respect, it is much less likely that people will really admire or respect it, and that will only result in fewer customers and less income. Fortunately, it is not too difficult to ensure that your blogging business looks the part, and as long as you take care of the following elements you should be able to improve its professionalism greatly.

Image Source

Make It Look Bigger

In some respects, it can be helpful to make your blogging business appear as more than it is. This can be done in many ways, and it is a matter of thinking about what a larger business looks like, how it appears and making sure that your home business follows suit. To achieve this, you might want to begin with the way that customer get in touch with you. They can immediately tell if it is a much more humble business if you have a normal home email address and are using a home address for the post. Instead, you could make use of a cheap mailbox forwarding service to give your company a little more credibility, and you can make sure to sign up for an email address attached to your own domain. It doesn’t cost much to do, and yet it can make a significant difference.

Spruce Up The Site

Clearly, a blogging business’ most important asset of all is the website itself, so working on this is a great way of ensuring that you are keeping things running well. Regarding giving your business a professional look, you can easily achieve this just by ensuring that your website is exactly what you would expect a professional site to be and to look like. You can spruce up your site by using a service like Wix, or if you are happy to spend a little cash you could hire a professional web developer to do it for you. However it’s done, this will certainly ensure that your business appears much more professional as a result.

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Act Professionally

Ultimately, the best way to make your business appear professional is to approach everything that you do professionally. What this entails is up for debate, and it varies from company to company and individual to individual. But as long as you act professionally, you can be certain that at least some of this will carry over into how your business looks, and you will end up looking professional as well. Remember that, and don’t be tempted to lull yourself into an unprofessional approach at any time. You will find that doing this makes an enormous difference to how well your business is received.

The above three examples are all great ways to give your business a little more professionalism in appearance, and it’s worth considering them all.

This is a collaborative post.

Little Rant…

Image result for images for blog rant

I don’t know if it irritates me or amuses me. Still trying to work out my sentiments. Sometimes, someone would leave a comment that sounds completely odd and far away from your post that you actually have to go back to your post to read it again to figure out exactly what it was that you wrote to prompt such an asinine comment.

Then, it dawns on you that they didn’t read it, but they summarized what they felt you said and made their two-bit comment that makes you wonder, why people do that. Yeesh! I also think that there’s an automatic ‘like’ button that some bloggers have learnt how to manipulate ‘cos I can’t relate with how fast a post gets liked considering that you just clicked the publish button.

Should You Start To Get Serious About This Blogging Thing?

Branding, Blogging, Apple Computer, Studio, Work Station
https://unsplash.com/photos/fI6PXU5-kKU

As you first start out on your blogging journey, you don’t always know where it’s going to take you. First of all, it’s often going to be something you start as a hobby. Maybe you love a certain topic and you want to share your thoughts on it? Maybe you want to write, and so you start to write about anything and everything that you love. Maybe you’re a big blog reader and you just wanted to create your own little corner of the internet? When that’s the case, you can often fall in love with all things blogging. So much so, that you start to want to do it as a job. Or maybe you’re even getting a lot of hits and you really believe that you can turn it into a business. Either way, when you think that you’re ready to get serious about blogging, here’s what you need to do.

Defining Your Brand

The first thing you need to think about doing is defining your brand. And this is crucial. If you want to turn your blogging hobby into a legitimate business, branding is the key. You need to figure out who you are and what you stand for, the build up a brand identity around that. Visually speaking, this will mean that your logo, your colours, and your fonts all need to fit in with the idea of who your brand is. Then you can start to brand everything you do and really establish yourself in a business sense.

Cup, Drink, Book, Desk, Writing, Reading
https://unsplash.com/photos/Iq1D_TVnCBg

Marketing More

From here, you then need to think about your marketing. Right now, it’s highly likely that you’ll have social media platforms that you share your content on. But now, you need to get serious. You need to market as much as possible and have a plan of what you want to achieve too. Think about why you’re marketing on each platform, who you’re reaching, and what you can do to add more value to the content that you’re putting out.

Setting Up An Office

If you just tend to write from your bed or the couch, you need to change that. It’s time to cut out distractions and get focused on building your business. So clear out your spare room or attic space, put everything into storage like www.mybekins.com, and work on creating an office. Think about setting everything up so that you feel motivated to work and that you have everything you need around you to do a better job.

Flatlay, Drink, Tea, Magazines, Relaxing, Blogging, Cup, Wrist-watch

https://unsplash.com/photos/rBh0T1QaC1Q

Monetizing Your Content

Then, you need to think about how you’re going to monetize. And take your time. Look into options like www.neilpatel.com and find out what will work best for you. Start off slow and then you should find that you start to earn real money by doing something you love.

Creating A Game Plan

Finally, you then need to think about where you want to take things. Work out what your overall goals are and then pull a business plan together. This is going to be that one step that helps you to get serious about your blog and turning it into a profitable career path.

Boosting Your Social Profile As A Blogger

Going Up The Ladder, Progress, Growth, Social Media
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If you want to get your teeth into the best hot dog in Times Square, are you going to go to the vendor that has no one queuing up their cart or are you going to the chap that has twenty people standing in line? Exactly. It’s called social proof and it is a surefire way to tap into the psychology of people. But it’s not just hot dog vendors that can use this marketing tool; it’s something we bloggers can use to encourage people to read our words, subscribe to our blogs and follow us on social media.

So, without further ado, here are some pretty genius ways you can add a dollop of social proof to your marketing strategy and encourage more people to buy into your brand – whatever that is.

  1. Let An Expert Takeover

You must have come across an online publication, newspaper supplement or Instagram account where someone with influence takes over for a day or so. They might play magazine editor for a special edition, they might do a guest post on a blog or take over a brand’s Insta-stories. Whatever it is, having an expert or influencer takeover is a great way to tap into the followers and embrace the halo effect.

  1. Highlight Milestones

Another super awesome way to create social proof is to highlight a milestone by showing a bunch of gratitude towards it. Perhaps you just reached 10,000 Instagram followers, or 5,000 Facebook followers or a 20,000 blog subscribers – reaching a milestone like this is cause for celebration, offers you a chance to say thank you and, best of all, let’s other people know you are worth following.

  1. Big Numbers Appeal

The moment you come across a blog that shows they have a social media following of tens – or hundreds – of thousands of followers, you automatically click the ‘like’ or ‘follow’ button. Why? Because there has to be a reason why so many people are following them and you don’t want to miss out on it. The best way to achieve this kind of following is organically, but a great way to get a head start is to buy cheap Instagram followers. It’s not cheating, it’s just embracing the fact that perception is reality. Distinction.

  1. Curate User Content

User-generated content is the secret weapon used by so many brands, bloggers, influencers and everyone else and that’s because it helps grow a following to record numbers in almost no time at all. A great example of a brand that loves user-generated content is Fairfax & Favor. It’s the backbone of their marketing strategy. The way it works is simple: you repost user’s posts by encouraging them to use a branded hashtag.

  1. Get An Endorsement

One of the most amazing ways to boost your social proof is to get your blog endorsed by industry leaders or well-known brands. We’ve all been on a blog and noticed a section titled “as seen on” followed by a load of logos you recognize: Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Daily Mail etc. That’s the aim right there.

This is a collaborative post.

100 AMAZING SITES WITH FREE STOCK PHOTOS

Free Stock, Free Images, Photo, Public Domain, Image Directory

Without any doubt, images make your blog posts stand out. They act as eye candy and are an important part of design and professionalism.

If you often use images for your creative works, it’s important to bookmark a handy list of your go-to websites where you can find images that are absolutely free.

I literally cringe when I see bloggers slapping on photos or images with copyright and watermark credits stamped all over an article that they’ve taken time to craft. It looks sloppy and simply shows lack of professionalism.

Using copyrighted images is not the ideal solution. Such practice could expose you to issues of copyright infringement. To be honest, before I knew better, I made the same mistakes, but the good thing about information is that when you know better, you do better.

Online, there are millions of free images that don’t need accreditation, and one could equally create their own images through photography or by using creative solutions like CanvaPicMonkeyPowerpoint, Font Studios, Pic Art etc.

However, there comes a time when we are searching for something specific to buttress our message and when we don’t have a suitable one in our photo bank, we resort to other sources.

Quick Note About Licenses

Free Images, Free Stock, Free Images, Photo, Public Domain, Image Directory, Copyright, Infringement, Legal Restrictions,

Most of the images in this list are free from restrictions or licensed under creative commons public domain. It means is that copy, modify, share, use for commercial purposes – without permission.

However, some of these photos may need attribution and the best advice is to take a few minutes to check the restrictions of an image before using. If in doubt, contact the author of the site and even when attribution is not required, it’s always a nice thing to do.

100 Amazing Sites With Free Stock Photos

  1. A Digital Dreamer
  2. All The Free Stock
  3. Ancestry Images
  4. Barn images
  5. Big Foto
  6. Boss Fight
  7. Bucketlistly
  8. Budget stock photo
  9. Burst
  10. Cepolina
  11. Clker
  12. Creative Convex
  13. Crow the Stone
  14. Cupcake
  15. Death To The Stock Photo
  16. Designers Pic
  17. Dreamstime
  18. Epicantus

100 Amazing Sites With Free Stock Photos – The Art of Beautiful Expressions