5 Great Reasons To Start a Blog in 2018

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I started blogging in 2013, when I was about to finish university and start working towards my Masters degree. I wanted a new challenge, something that I could work on and improve on in my spare time. Most importantly I wanted to create something that I could call my own.

Fast forward to 5 years later, and I’m even more in love with blogging now than I was back then. It’s given me so many opportunities to meet new people, work with brands I love, and it’s given me a space to express myself and write about the things I am most passionate about.

Thinking of starting your own blog this year? Well, here are 5 reasons why I 100% think you should go for it!

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1. It’s a great little challenge to set yourself

Blogging is a challenge – a fun and rewarding one! It’s a challenge to sit down and write posts for your blog consistently, to keep this up even when times are busy, and to manage your time well enough to balance your day job with running a blog. However, it’s a great little challenge to set yourself and allows you to learn new skills day by day.

2. You’ll develop new skills

Developing new skills is part and parcel of blogging. By starting a blog, you will need to teach yourself skills such as how to write interesting posts, how to use a camera and take great photos, manage different social media channels, reach out to PR companies, and manage your time effectively. It may seem daunting at first – but the best thing about blogging is that you learn as you go along. As time goes by, you will become a better writer, a better photographer… blogging allows you to truly become an expert in your field.

3. It can give your career a boost

As I mentioned, blogging helps you develop a new set of skills – skills which can also be useful in your day job! Last year I wrote a whole post on how blogging can help your career, which I’d recommend giving a read. Skills such as the writing skills you develop, your photography skills, your ability to work independently, motivate yourself and build relationships are all valuable skills that you can add to your CV.

4. You get to meet people with the same interests

Whether it’s online or IRL, blogging about a certain topic or topics is a great way of (virtually) meeting other people who are interested in the same things as you! Whether that topic is beauty, travel, baking, cats or business – your blog will attract people with similar interests to yours – and that’s always a great basis for developing new friendships, right!?

5. You’ll have your own little space on the Internet

Starting your own blog means having your own little corner on the Interwebs where you are free to express your ideas, voice your opinions and potentially do great things with, whether that is creating new opportunities for yourself, building a business or simply helping others out. It is yours to do whatever you please with – and that, for me, is enough of a reason to start your own blog!

If you’re got any questions about starting your own blog, check out my previous blogging posts or contact me by email!

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My Favourite Blog Posts of 2017 | Beauty, Fashion, Blogging, Lifestyle

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2017 was a big year for me and my little blog. Amongst the changes it’s brought with it, 2017 was the year that Beauty and the Bird evolved from being just a side hobby to being a part-time job. Getting to invest more time into my little corner of the web has brought me so much joy this year, and today I’ll be taking a look back at some of my favourite blog posts that I published this year.

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Beauty

January 2017 was a month which mainly consisted of adjusting to staying at home and working part-time on my blog and freelance work whilst looking for a new part-time job. This meant that I pretty much wore no makeup for around 2 weeks – and this inspired one of my favourite and most popular blog posts of the year, ‘5 things I learnt from going completely makeup free‘ – I’m sure you’ll relate to some of these if you’re a makeup lover!

Speaking of makeup, my love for all-things-beauty definitely comes from my mum, and so I decided to take a peek into my mum’s makeup bag in the spring and discover some of her go-to products, which you can see in my post ‘A look inside mum’s makeup bag‘.

As a beauty blogger, I am fortunate to receive a number of beauty products from companies to try out. Although I end up loving lots of the products I receive, I do sometimes receive products that I wouldn’t normally try out. This inspired my ‘Makeup trends I wouldn’t normally wear‘ series – and I particularly loved the finished result of my ‘bold lips‘ post in this series.[/pipdig_padded_text]

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Fashion

2017 was the year that I fell deeper in love with fashion, and so I wanted to make an effort to publish more outfit posts on my blog. I started the year by kindly asking (#forcing) my boyfriend to take some photos for an outfit post, and published my ‘Velvet Valentine’s Day Outfit‘ where I styled a gorgeous velvet floral dress from Topshop with an equally gorgeous navy blue coat, also from Topshop.

Later on in the year I kindly asked (#alsoforced) my mum to take some outfit photos in a pretty yellow floral dress from PrettyLittleThing for my ‘Term time style on a budget‘ post and these turned out to be some of my favourite ever photos on my blog – who knew she was such a great photographer!?

More recently, I decided to be a bit braver in my fashion choices, and showed how easy it is to style a statement coat in my ‘The statement pink teddy coat: How to style‘ post – I loved the end result![/pipdig_padded_text]

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Blogging

Because 2017 was my 4th year blogging, I felt ready to start sharing a few tips that could help new bloggers, or anyone who might be considering to start a blog. At the beginning of the year, I started by reflecting on the mistakes that I made when I first started blogging – and spoke about what I would do differently if I could start over in my ‘Blogging Mistakes I Made‘ post. This includes some useful tips for new bloggers.

I also wrote a post discussing ‘Do you really need an expensive DSLR camera for blogging?‘. For over 2 years, all the photos I published on Beauty and the Bird were taken on my trusty old iPhone, and it wasn’t until December 2015 when I got my hands on a DSLR camera – but was it worth it!? (#cliffhanger)

And for anyone who’s still undecided about whether to start a blog in the new year – my post on ‘How blogging can help improve your career: Skills to add to your CV‘ might encourage you to do so![/pipdig_padded_text]

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Lifestyle

Although the first few years on Beauty and the Bird where all about makeup and fashion, I’ve really enjoyed sharing some more personal posts on my blog this year. I started off by giving you a ‘Sneak peek into my home office space‘ where I also shared my experience on working from home as opposed to working from an office everyday, as I had done the previous year. I then delved into VERY PERSONAL POST TERRITORY when I published a post on my journey of ‘Overcoming my biggest fear‘ – something that I’ve spent most of this year working on.

More recently, I wrote a post all about how ‘Great things DO come from comfort zones‘. Every day we come across inspirational quotes that encourage us to push ourselves further and get out of our comfort zone. However, I believe that this is not always the case. Sometimes life is all about finding our comfort zones, and excelling in that! We don’t always need to push ourselves to achieve new goals.

And sometimes, we just need to enjoy a ‘5 minute self-care ritual‘ to get back on track and do great things!

Finally, thanks to all my readers for sticking with me this year *hugs all round*

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How To Grow Your Blog | 15+ Top Bloggers Share Their Advice

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An increasing number of people have started blogging in the last few years. As a result, the opportunities for bloggers have grown considerably – whether that is collaborating with companies, offering freelance services or simply having the opportunity to improve on your skills. However, one thing that most bloggers have in common is the wish to grow their blog. Today I’ve rounded up the best advice on how to grow your blog from 15+ top bloggers.

Tips for New Bloggers + Generally Growing Your Blog

Starting out as a new blogger can feel a bit overwhelming as there is so much to think about – a blog name, what platform to use, how to promote your blog, etc. Ali Hemsey wrote a great post with her tips for new bloggers whilst Tania Michele shared her most helpful websites for bloggers which is a fantastic resource for those starting out. If you love a good checklist (I know I do!), full-time blogger Emma Drew has a free blogger checklist which includes everything you need to do before and after hitting publish on your latest post. I also love Simply Abbi’s recent post on the blogging tips that actually work and Caitlin Jean Russell’s post on 5 tips to increase blog traffic, both of which are definitely worth a read. I revealed the mistakes I made when I first started blogging in a post earlier this year, which also includes some tips for new bloggers.

Fantastic Blogging Apps

Apps can play an important role in the way you manage your blog – but it’s all about knowing which apps to use! From Fiona has a useful list of her favourite blogging apps (some of which I hadn’t heard of before and will definitely be downloading!) and Carolanne from A Literary Cocktail also shared her 5 must-have apps for bloggers. Real Mum Reviews also has a comprehensive list of 30 must-have apps for bloggers which cover everything from editing and scheduling to invoicing!

How To Earn Money from Blogging

One of the many opportunities that blogging brings along with it is the potential to earn some money – whether that is a bit of money on the side or a full-time earning. Jenna Farmer from The Bloglancer has a fantastic post on how she turned her blog into a job (in fact, her whole website is a fantastic resource on blogging in general!). Forever Amber also wrote a super helpful post on how to make money from blogging – she also has a fantastic eBook called ‘My Blogging Secrets’ which I reviewed here.[/pipdig_padded_text]

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Blog Photos

There’s no denying that working on the visual aspect of a blog and making sure that it looks aesthetically pleasing is a very important part of blogging. However, this does not mean that you need to be a professional photographer with expensive equipment. Jenni from By Jenni compiled a fantastic list of 125+ of the best free stock photo resources for bloggers and you can find some really good photography tips for bloggers on The SITS Girls website. I also wrote a post earlier this year on whether you really need an expensive DSLR camera for blogging which you might find interesting.

Improving Your Written Content

Apart from having gorgeous visuals, great content is another must-have for any blog. Georgia from Mapped Out shares her tips on what to do when you hit bloggers’ block as well as optimising your blog content for Google (SEO). Rhian Westbury also has a fantastic post on SEO tips to help increase your blog’s DA. Justine from Girl Gone Dreamer wrote a list of tips for blogging on zero budget, which is super helpful as it shows that it is still possible to run a successful blog with great content even if you haven’t got much in terms of a budget! You can also discover how I go from thinking up blog post ideas to actually writing the post.

Promoting Your Blog

Writing blog posts is only a small part of blogging – promoting your blog posts is even more important. Kathy from Glitz & Glamour Makeup wrote a post with an impressive 76 ways to promote your blog and increase blog traffic and Chloe from Life Unexpected also shared a great list of 14 places to promote your blog post after you’ve hit publish which I would highly recommend checking out.

One of the best things about blogging is that you learn as you go along – by getting stuck in and gaining experience. One of the most satisfying things is seeing your progression from when you first started out to where you are now – and because it’s a blog, it’s all documented! I hope you found these tips useful. If you have any useful blog posts please share them in the comments section as I’d love to check them out.

Click Here For More Blogging Tips

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3 Reasons Why You Need Business Cards As A Blogger

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We’ve all heard the saying that if you want to grow your blog and potentially start to earn a part-time or even full-time salary from your blog, then you must start to treat your blog as you would a business. One of the ways in which you can start treating your blog as a business and promote it offline is by creating some business cards for your blog. Today I’ll be sharing 3 reasons why you need business cards as a blogger.

Aura Print recently got in touch and helped me design my very own blog business cards. The business cards were printed on thick 800gsm card with a pink edge which gives the cards a very luxurious feel and really helps them to stand out. You can choose to get the cards printed on either one or both sides, and if you choose to get a coloured edge, Aura Print offer this service in 15 different colours. I decided to go for pink, as you can see from the picture below. I found the team at Aura Print to be extremely helpful when it came to designing a set of business cards that I was 100% happy with and I would thoroughly recommend them if you’re looking to have some business cards printed for yourself or your company.[/pipdig_padded_text]

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1. Business Cards Help You Connect With Other Bloggers & Brands

One of the main reasons why every blogger should have their own business cards is that it can really help you build a connection with the people you meet, whether that is at blogger events, conferences, or any other event that involves some sort of human interaction! Exchanging your business card with other bloggers and brands at events can help you build a relationship with them in terms of gaining new readers as well as opening up new opportunities for collaborations.

2. Business Cards Look Professional

People won’t see your blog as a professional business unless you treat it that way yourself. Of course, being professional as a blogger has a lot to do with the quality of the content that you create as well as how you approach and communicate with other brands, bloggers and readers. Having your own business cards for your blog is another way of treating your blog as more than just a side hobby and it’s also a great continuation of your brand from the online to the offline world.

3. Business Cards Give People Something To Hold On To

In this day and age where everything is online and technology-based, having an business card to give to potential readers or brands is something that can really help you to stand out and be more memorable. Think of all the times you’ve spoken to someone about your blog – perhaps you’d mentioned the name or given them the URL. It’s quite likely that the person either forgot or just didn’t bother to click on to your blog. By giving people something to hold on to, it’s more likely that they will translate into new readers, thereby helping to grow your blog.

Have you got business cards for your blog?

>> More Blogging Tips This Way <<

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Working From Home & A Sneak Peek Into My Office Space

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At the end of last year I quit my 9-5 job, and I now work part-time from the office and part-time from home. This has meant sorting out an ‘official’ working space, because as much as working from bed sounds appealing, it’s definitely not the most productive of places! Today I’m collaborating with Rooi.com to give you a sneak peek into my office space.

Of course, no office space is complete without some cute stationery – and apart from having an amazing range of luxury homeware items and gorgeous scented candles, Rooi.com also have a great selection of Insta-worthy stationery, which you can see pictured in this blog post.

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[pipdig_padded_text]Not having to physically travel to an office every single day has many perks. There’s no long commute in the morning, you can start working as early – or late – as you like, work in your comfy clothes or PJs for extra comfort, and you can take as many short breaks your heart desires throughout the day.

However, working from home also has a few drawbacks. Primarily, it means that actually getting yourself to start working in the mornings isn’t always the easiest task when you don’t necessarily have to be at your office desk by 9am. Working from home requires a lot of self-discipline, self-motivation, organisation and time management. I find that the easiest way to kick start the day and make it a productive one is by getting into a routine and writing a to-do list for the day. This cute spiral-bound notebook from Ban.do is absolutely perfect for getting organised – and there’s no denying that it also looks pretty great on your desk too! Each page is lined, with a small section for the date at the top, and it’s also available in pink.[/pipdig_padded_text]

[pipdig_padded_text]As I mentioned, my job involves working from the office a few times a week and working from home the rest of the time. One thing I would definitely miss if I worked from home every single day is the company of my colleagues. Of course, colleagues can be a blessing or a curse – there are definitely some colleagues you would happily not see everyday. However, colleagues can also be a really good laugh and you can end up making some really great friends in your office! If you’re feeling a bit lonely and missing the company of your colleagues, the Sweet Talk Pen Set by Ban.do is (kind of) the next best thing! Each pen has a cute quote/compliment printed on it – my favourite one is definitely ‘you’re better than unicorns’. Not only do they look really cute, but they’re also very handy when it comes to writing down your to-do list. (Can you tell I love a good to-do list!?)[/pipdig_padded_text]

[pipdig_padded_text]By far one of the best things about working from home is that you can really make the space where you work truly ‘your own’. Sure, you can place a framed photo of you and your loved ones on your desk at work. However, working from home means that you can really take this to a whole new level and make your office space as comfortable and cosy as you wish – fluffy blankets, cushions, framed inspirational quotes and seasonal flowers are all possible options for your work space. One of my favourite ways to create a relaxing atmosphere in my office space is by lighting a scented candle. This scented candle from Emma Bridgewater, aptly named ‘Feels Like Home’ has a comforting chamomile, lavender and orange blossom scent that is just so delicate and lovely.

Do you work from home? Or do you work in an office and love it? I’d love to know your thoughts!

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Google Analytics For Bloggers | The Basics

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Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for your blog. Today I’ll be going over the absolute basics, including the difference between sessions, users and page views, what a bounce rate actually means, what kind of posts are the most popular on your site, and more.

Google Analytics allows you to gain a better understanding of the users who are visiting your blog, what they are looking for, and how they are getting to your blog, amongst many other things. Understanding this will allow you to understand your audience better, tailor your content, and ultimately it will allow you to grow your blog.

1. How many people are visiting your blog? Sessions, users, page views – what’s the difference!?[/pipdig_padded_text]

Google Analytics for Bloggers

[pipdig_padded_text] If you click on to Audience > Overview, you will see something similar to the screen shot above. Sessions, users and page views can give you some pretty interesting information about your blog – but what’s the difference between them? Page views refer to the total number of pages viewed on your blog. Users refers to the total number of unique visitors to your blog (a metric that PR companies are normally interested in). Sessions are the amount of times that users have clicked onto your website and may include several page views. So, if you clicked onto my blog and read 5 different blog posts before leaving my blog, this would be 1 session, 1 user and 5 page views.

By selecting the date range from the top right corner on Google Analytics, you are able to track the number of sessions, users and page views for any given amount of time. The same page will also show you the average number of pages visited per session, the average time users spent on your site, and the bounce rate. Which brings me to…

2. What is a bounce rate!?

Unlike most other metrics on Google Analytics, the lower your bounce rate is, the better! This is because the bounce rate refers to the percentage of sessions on your blog in which the users only viewed one page before clicking off. This can happen quite frequently in blogs. For example, if someone searched for ‘MAC Blusher Review’ and landed on your page, they are quite likely to go back to the Google search results page once they have finished reading your review, rather than explore more of what your blog has to offer. In order to improve your bounce rate (ie. achieve a lower percentage of people who click off your blog after one page), you can add links to your blog post encouraging users to click on to other pages on your blog.

3. How to find the most popular posts on your blog.

Go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages and here you can find all the pages on your blog, ranked according to the number of page views each one has received. Be sure to select the right date range to find out what have been your most popular blog posts this month, year, or ever since you first started your blog. Here you will notice that for each page, Google Analytics gives you the number of page views and unique page views. The difference is that page views is the total number of times that page/article has been viewed, whilst unique page views refers to how many different users have visited that page. So if someone has clicked onto a particular blog post twice, it will show up as 2 page views, but 1 unique page view.

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Google Analytics for Bloggers

[pipdig_padded_text] Click Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium to find out where your visitors are coming from. Anything that shows up as ‘google/ organic’ is coming from a Google search, and you can increase the number of users that visit your blog from Google searches by optimising your site for SEO – I’ve got a full article on SEO tips for bloggers here. You might also notice ‘t.co/ referral’ which refers to users coming to your blog through Twitter, and ‘direct /(none)’ which refers to users who have arrived at your website through typing in your URL.

5. In which countries do your blog readers live?

In order to find out what location your blog readers are coming from, go to Audience > Geo > Location. This will give you a list of the number of visitors to your website from each particular country, how long they tend to stay on your blog, how many pages they tend to visit per session and more.

I’ll be preparing more blog posts around ‘Google Analytics for Bloggers’ so pop any questions you may have below (or send me a message) and I will include these in my next post.

>> MORE BLOGGING TIPS THIS WAY <<

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My Blog Post Writing Process + Tips | Behind The Scenes

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Every blogger has their own unique way of creating content. From coming up with blog post ideas, taking the photos, writing up the actual post, to finally hitting PUBLISH – we all do it differently! Today I’ll be taking you behind the scenes of Beauty and the Bird and sharing my blog post writing process (+ some tips!) with you.

Step 1: The LIGHTBULB! Moment

Coming up with blog post ideas is the hardest part of my blog post writing journey. However, it’s also something that I feel I really improved on in the last few years. Ideas pop into my head at the most random times and due to having the amazing memory of a gold fish I always make sure to jot down my ideas in my notebook or the notes app on my phone.

However, when I’m completely stuck for ideas I always turn to Bloglovin or Pinterest. Scrolling through my feeds really inspires me to think of new ideas and topics that I’d like to cover on my blog, and I jot these ideas down in my notebook. I also find it helpful to think of events that I have planned (and so, that I can potentially write about) and to think about what I have been up to recently – even if I haven’t been up to anything! Funnily enough, one of my most popular blog posts to date was inspired by me not having been up to much and not wearing any makeup for 2 weeks! Check out: 5 things I learned from going completely makeup free for 2 weeks.

Step 2: Say CHEEEEEEEEEESE!

Whatever I’m writing about, I just cannot write a blog post without having any photos to work with. Even as I write this post, the photo is already added to the post and helps inspire me to write (anyone else!?). Because of this, I always start by (preferably) taking my blog photos or alternatively sourcing royalty-free images online.

If I’m taking my own blog photos – and I try to do this for 90% of my blog posts – I basically bulk-take photos and have a mini product photo shoot. For this I use my Canon 700D with the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens and as much natural daylight as possible. As setting up for photos can take quite some time, I normally try to take enough photos to cover my next few blog posts all in one go. I then transfer my photos onto my laptop and edit them slightly to make them look brighter. Check out: Do you really need a DSLR camera for blogging?[/pipdig_padded_text]

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Step 3: The Right Time To Write

Once I’ve got my photos sorted and ready to go, I feel like I’m ready to start writing. Although I enjoy the whole process of running a blog – taking the photos, posting content on social media, replying to emails about potential collaborations – actually sitting down to write a blog post is the part I enjoy the most. I know this is different for every blogger, but I find the process of writing about a product or topic that excites me to be so therapeutic. Even if I’ve had a rubbish day, I really look forward to sitting down with my laptop in the evening and writing away!

It can take anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes for me to write a blog post. Product reviews generally take me the least time, possibly because I have been doing these the longest and have figured out a formula which seems to work. On the other hand, more lengthy posts such as this one or my recent ‘How Blogging Can Help Improve Your Career‘ post can take quite a bit longer.

Step 4: HITTING PUBLISH + The Beginning of Your Blog Post’s Journey!

After I’ve finished writing a blog post, I normally go through it once or twice adding any relevant links to previous blog posts and optimising for SEO, before proof-reading the post one last time and finally hitting PUBLISH!

 … Or ‘Schedule’ – but that doesn’t quite have the same effect does it!? As much as I love scheduling content in advance and knowing that I’ve got my content prepared for the next week or so, I’m just sooo impatient and normally want to hit publish right away. Anyone else?

I used to think that once a blog post is up, that would mean that my job here is complete, right? Wrong. Hitting publish is just the beginning of your blog post’s journey in the big wide world, and unless you get your content out there, promote it and make people aware of the fact that you’ve got something new and exciting to read, then you might not get the kind of traffic that your new post deserves. Check out: 5 Blogging Mistakes I Made When I First Started Blogging.

What is your blog post writing process like?
Do you start by writing, taking the pictures or something completely different?

 >>> MORE BLOGGING TIPS THIS WAY! <<<

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How Blogging Can Help Improve Your Career | Skills To Add To Your CV

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I started this blog back in 2013, yet for years I thought it wasn’t worth adding my blog to my CV. I thought that it wasn’t really relevant and that any potential employers might find it a bit silly. A few years down the line, I now know that having a blog can actually help improve your CV and land you your dream job. Never underestimate the power of running your own blog!

Whether you blog as a side hobby and want to prove your skills to a prospective employer, or if you blog part-time or full-time and want to apply for a new job, here are some of the invaluable skills that blogging can help you demonstrate in your CV and during your interview.

Your Writing Skills

Blogging involves a lot of writing. Whether you are writing up a blog post, posting content on your social media channels, pitching an idea, or communicating with a PR company via email, writing is a big part of blogging. Therefore, even if you didn’t consider writing to be one of your strengths when you first started blogging, it would have most likely improved along the years – and no matter what job you’re applying for, writing is a very useful skill to have!

Your Digital Marketing Skills

Throughout your blogging journey, you become familiar with using different marketing tools and techniques to help grow your blog. For example, you’re likely to be proficient in Google Analytics to keep track of your blog’s statistics, and you may also have gained a great understanding of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – two great skills that you can demonstrate to your potential employer. Check out my blog post on how I got a job in digital marketing and 5 SEO tips for beginners

Your Social Media Management Skills

Blogging and social media management go hand in hand, and it is unlikely that you run a blog and don’t use any social media channels to drive traffic back to it. Through doing this, you’ve probably acquired a great understanding of social media, such as how to grow different social media channels, scheduling content, what kind of content does better on different channels, how to interact with social media followers, and how to keep track of these channels. Social media is incredibly important for businesses nowadays and therefore, showing off your social media management skills can definitely earn you some extra points! Check out my Twitter Tips for Bloggers.

Your Photography/Video Editing Skills

Photography is a huge part of blogging nowadays – even more so in certain niches such as beauty, fashion and travel. You can use the photography skills you have acquired on your blogging journey to your advantage, whether that is your skill in actually taking photographs, or your photo editing skills. If you run a YouTube channel in addition to your blog, this may also demonstrate your video editing skills – so don’t forget to include this in your CV.

Your Researching Skills

Writing a good blog post involves a certain amount of research, whether you are writing a product review, an article about your new favourite designer, or a post with tips on how to overcome a challenge. This demonstrates that you have the right skills to look up information and use the information you need to your advantage. Researching skills are invaluable!

Your Ability to Work Independently

If you decide to run your own blog, it is highly likely that you have great self-discipline and you are quite obviously able to motivate yourself to work and achieve goals. This shows your employer that you are more than capable of working without supervision and it also shows that you are a self-starter who is capable of achieving success without having someone pushing you along the way. This is an essential skill, especially if you are applying for a job that involves working from home.

Your Ability To Work on Different Things Simultaneously

As a blogger, you inherently develop the skill of working on a number of different projects simultaneously. You might be at the stage of discussing a sponsorship opportunity with a PR company, whilst taking the photographs and preparing the text for an upcoming post, managing your social media channels, and fixing the broken links on your site – phew! There are very few jobs out there that don’t require some degree of multitasking, so it’s definitely a skill worth shouting about.

Your Ability to Build Relationships

Finally, blogging is all about building relationships; with your readers, with other bloggers and with PR companies. This requires you to be professional and friendly, and to know how to communicate effectively with others face-to-face, over the phone, via email, or on social media. And what employer wouldn’t want that!?

Are there any other skills that you have gained through blogging? And do you add your blog to your CV?

 

 >>> MORE BLOGGING TIPS THIS WAY! <<<

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10 Bloggers Reveal The Mistakes They Made When They First Started Blogging

mistakes They Made When They First Started Blogging

[pipdig_padded_text]A few weeks ago I shared 5 mistakes that I made when I first started blogging (here), and this turned out to be one of my most popular blog posts to date. So I decided to ask 10 other bloggers what mistakes they made when they first started blogging, and today I’ll be sharing what they said.

Freshly Pressed Beauty | I think a big mistake that loads of people probably do (myself included) is not to compare yourself with other bloggers. It can be demotivating to do so and every blogger is different. Just make it your own and do your own thing without comparing yourself to others.

Laura Hadley | I made the mistake of not trying to take good photos! All my photos were so tiny, you could barely see the products I was talking about and it in general looked so basic. I took the time to pay attention to my photos and I’m so happy with them now!

The Improving Cook | I thought Twitter was the be all and end all, when it fact I get less traffic from there than any other social media. I spent a lot of time on there until I got into google analytics and realised it wasn’t working! Second one for me was not realising how important lovely long pin images are for Pinterest. I ended up going back and making better pinnacle images for all my early recipes

A Day in the Life of a Mum of 6 | I didn’t research enough and jumped straight in. I learnt by my mistakes which was a bonus. My advice would be to plan as much as you can. Research loads, ask other bloggers for tips. As a newbie it’s very easy to want to except every offer given. I read an amazing piece by a blogger that I look up to massively saying be picky from the start and for me she was correct in her thinking.

Kinsey’s Blog | Spent too much time trying to be like what everyone else was doing when it wasn’t really me. I was making wishlist and outfit inspiration boards when I didn’t want to do that. I forgot that it is my blog and I can put whatever I like on there. I write a lot about my mental health now which might not get as many hits but it feels true to me

Kumbear xo | I think my biggest blogging blunder was being afraid to put my real personality out there. I used to follow the blogging crowd and avoid topics because I was worried about what people would think or if it would cause a negative backlash and ruin my ‘brand image’. But nope! People apparently love a blabbermouth – it was only when I started voicing my opinion that people started engaging with me especially on Twitter! I gained over 10k followers on there from literally just being myself and speaking my mind

Coffee & Blogging | Mine was not thinking my name blog name through long enough. When it came to buying the domain 3 years ago, I was impatient and just wanted to get the ball rolling, so literally picked my favourite meal – how creative…Now, as a result, I’ve had to go through the whole process of rebranding my blog which will now be live next week! [NOW LIVE]

Jasmine McRae | My blogging mistake was ‘forgetting’ to blog for about 8 months – I was lazy, super unmotivated and lost so many followers!

Darling Jordan | Trying to be like everyone else, and buying newly released products just because others were!

Renna Creighton | One mistake was accepting reviews for really low priced items. What I should have done is made sure that all my social media channels that are connected to my blog had the same name/handle etc. I should have made a separate Twitter blog account and a personal account so as not to mix them up. Another mistake was taking really bad photos and using them….. So embarrassing now looking back at them! Nothing happens overnight and I wish I didn’t think that it would be easy, as it’s not. It’s time and a lot of effort. I should have learnt more before even starting the blog.

5 Blogging Mistakes I Made When I First Started Blogging

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Blogging Mistakes I Made | Top Tips for New Bloggers

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This year marks my 4th year of blogging (eeek!) and although I’ve still got a lot to learn, I also feel like I’ve learnt a lot since I first set up this little corner of the web back in 2013. Today I’ll be sharing 5 blogging mistakes I made – and how you can avoid them.

1. I didn’t buy my own domain for over a year.

I started my blog in June 2013, yet for some reason I decided to wait until October 2014 to get my own domain. This is one of my biggest blogging regrets to date, and if I had to start over I would definitely purchase my own domain straight away! First of all, having your own domain means that you get better exposure on search engines since these prefer to link to root domains rather than blogspot.com or wordpress.com domains. Having your own domain also looks more professional, and brands are more likely to want to work with you. Also, you can’t start working on your Domain Authority until you’ve got your own domain – and this affects how likely it is that brands will want to work with you. Check out my tips on how to improve your Domain Authority by optimising your site here and here.

2. I didn’t invest in a professional-looking template for a long time.

When I first started blogging I was quite sceptical about spending any money to invest in my blog – especially as at first blogging was just a side hobby (and to be fair, I was a uni student at the time with not much money at all!). So instead of buying a professional-looking blog template, I would use the default templates on Blogger and experiment by changing the background and font colours. Ummm, yeah. That didn’t work so well as you can see from the picture below! As I later found out, getting a nice, clean template doesn’t have to cost you loads. You can get some really nice ones on Etsy for under a tenner – search for ‘blogger templates’ or ‘wordpress templates’. Just make sure that whatever template you decide to go for is responsive and mobile-friendly as this helps you rank better on search engines. [/pipdig_padded_text]

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3. I would only promote my blog posts once on social media

When I first started out, I used to think that once I’ve hit ‘publish’ on a new blog post, I would only need to share this once across my social media channels – and that’s my job done. Well, guess what? I was so wrong! After spending so much time working on a blog post, it’s pretty pointless and disappointing if nobody reads it. After all, the whole point of writing a blog post is that you actually want people to read what you wrote, and so it’s super important to work even harder on promoting your content. The general rule is 80/20 – you should spend around 20% of your time writing content compared with 80% of your time promoting your content. This doesn’t mean you should be spamming Twitter with the same link to your latest blog post. However, let’s say you’ve got 1000 Twitter followers. If you were to tweet out a link to your latest post just once, it doesn’t mean that 1000 people are going to see it. Most people won’t be on Twitter at the same time, so it’s important to promote your content at different times throughout the day, and on different channels. You can check out my Twitter Tips for Bloggers for more tips.

4. My photography was pretty.. meh.

Back in 2013, my photography wasn’t great. Although I enjoyed taking photographs, I was very inexperienced and as a result my blog photography, and my blog as a whole, suffered. I recently wrote a post discussing whether an expensive DSLR camera is essential for blogging, and quite frankly, it isn’t – especially if you’re new to blogging. However this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work on improving your photography and produce great photos. I underestimated the power of good blog photography for a long time, however it’s very obvious to me now that readers and brands (and pretty much everyone else) is more drawn to a blog with great photographs. So if you want to grow your blog, working on your photography is a great place to start.

5. I didn’t want the people I knew in real life to find out about my blog.

Although wanting to hide your blog from your family, friends and colleagues might not be something that’s ever crossed your mind, I know A LOT of bloggers who started (and maybe even continued) to blog in secret. Of course, this is your own personal choice and you may have your own personal reasons for doing this. However, in my case I didn’t really have any particular reason other than the fact that I was embarrassed of what the people I knew might think if they found out about my blog. For a long time, it was only my parents, my boyfriend and my best friend who knew about my blog. However, as time passed some people I knew started to find out about my blog, and although I was mortified at first, I gradually grew more and more comfortable with this. As more people found out about my blog I realised that this only meant that I received more support on my blog and that the people I knew actually enjoyed reading it. Nowadays, I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed about my blog. I’m proud of my little corner on the web and all the happiness and opportunities it’s brought along with it! And you should be proud of your own blog too!

What’s the biggest mistake you made when you first started blogging?

You may also like: Is an expensive DSLR camera essential for blogging?

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Do You Really Need an Expensive DSLR Camera For Blogging?

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One of the most commonly asked questions in the world of blogging is: ‘Do I need an expensive DSLR camera for my blog? Is it really essential?’.  Quite simply, the answer is no. But can it help at all? Yes, in more ways than one.

Photography is a big part of blogging nowadays, and if you were to think of your favourite blogs right now, they most probably all have one thing in common; amazing photos.

I set up this blog in June 2013, however it wasn’t until December 2015 that I actually got my hands on a Canon 700D with a Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens. Up until then, I used my trusty iPhone 5 to take all my blog photos. Taking a look back at my blog posts from 2013, my photos weren’t great (see here and here). However, as more time passed my photography slowly started to improve (see here and here) until I was finally ready for the next step; to invest in a decent camera and really work on further improving my photography.

At this stage, it’s important to note that it is still possible to take great blog photos using your phone camera, especially when using plenty of natural daylight and avoiding flash. Even with my iPhone 5, I was pretty pleased with the way my photos turned out.

However, I feel that getting my hands on a DSLR camera has helped me improve my blog in more ways than one.

Getting a DSLR camera really inspired me work on my photography skills, improve my flat lays, and try out new ways of taking product photos. Apart from this, my DSLR inspired me to create better content for my blog and work towards making it the best blog it can possibly be. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I feel that I’ve made some big improvements over the past year.

Getting a DSLR camera isn’t going to magically improve your blog photos. You must be willing to practice and work on constantly improving your skills. I had been interested in photography from a young age, and I knew that I would one day love to own a DSLR camera. Blogging gave me a reason to go for it and work on something that I love. You must also take into consideration your blog’s niche – whether that’s beauty, fashion, lifestyle, or travel – and what type of camera would best suit your needs. As my blog primarily focuses on beauty, I wanted something that could really show off makeup looks and products in their best light, and wasn’t too bothered about it being too bulky as I don’t normally need to carry my camera out and about.

You definitely don’t need to invest in a DSLR as soon as you start blogging – it is more of a process to build up to. Even when you do feel ready to step things up, there are plenty of decent, more affordable cameras such as Compact System Cameras or even Bridge Cameras if you’re after something that’s in between a Compact System Camera and a DSLR.

Do you use a DSLR camera for blogging, or do you think it’s not really worth the investment?

Looking for more blogging tips?

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Blogging Goals 2016 | How I Did & What I Will Do Differently in 2017

BLOGging GOALS 2016

[pipdig_padded_text]I set up Beauty and the Bird back in June 2013, yet it is only in 2016 that I finally decided to set myself some goals in terms of what I wanted to achieve with my blog. As it’s the new year, I am taking a look back at the goals I had set myself, whether I achieved these goals, and what I will be changing about my blogging goals for 2017.

Goal 1: Post 2-3 blog posts per week

Achieved? Yes.

In 2016, I published 235 blog posts, that’s nearly as many blog posts as I had published in the previous 3 years combined! Several factors contributed to this, and I will go into this in an upcoming post. However, I believe that the main reason is that I just found blogging to be a lot easier this year – in spite of working full time since April. I felt so inspired to work on my blog and create new content, and whenever I had a bad day and things weren’t going my way, I would log on to Blogger and start writing about my latest beauty discovery or the things I had been up to lately.

What will I do differently?

Although I’ve enjoyed creating so much content last year, this year I will try and focus on actually sticking to a schedule. One of the most well-known blogging secrets out there is that consistency is key. Most readers like knowing when to expect a post on your blog, so I will be making an extra effort to develop and stick to a schedule.

Goal 2: Reach 2000 followers on Bloglovin

Achieved? Yes.

I must admit, I find that Bloglovin isn’t the easiest platform when it comes to gaining subscribers as there is a certain amount of luck involved with growing a substantial following on the platform. However, this year I managed to reach 2285 followers. Things like interacting with other bloggers on Bloglovin, saving their posts, sharing your Bloglovin link on your blog and including Bloglovin in your giveaways like can all contribute to growing your subscriber base, and I will definitely carry on doing these throughout the coming year.

What will I do differently?

In order to gain more followers on Bloglovin I will be making an effort to share my Bloglovin link more frequently on my social media channels, as this is something that I rarely do. And if you aren’t following me on Bloglovin yet, feel free to do so here #cheekyplug

Goal 3: Reach 2000 followers on Twitter

Achieved? Yes.

Twitter is by far my favourite social media channel. I really focused on this in 2016 and managed to reach 3380 followers by December. Weekly blogger chats, interactive with other bloggers and readers, running giveaways and generally being active are things I found essential to growing my Twitter followers in 2016. I also wrote a blog post on how bloggers can make the most out of Twitter.

What will I do differently?

I plan on staying active on Twitter throughout the coming year (and let’s face it, this isn’t so hard seeing as I’m so addicted to it!). I also plan on taking part in blogger chats more frequently – at least once or twice a week – and possibly hosting a couple of chats myself. I am also planning a few giveaways exclusive to my Twitter page.

Goal 4: Reach 400 likes on Facebook

Achieved? Yes.

Although Facebook generally isn’t the biggest source of traffic to my blog, I have stayed active on my page over the past year and reached 893 likes in December. I found that being active on Facebook groups by interacting with other bloggers and sharing my link has helped immensely. However as the current Facebook algorithm stands, it is not very easy for the posts on your Facebook page to gain a high reach.

What will I do differently?

When it comes to Facebook, there isn’t much I would actually do differently. I will carry on being active both on my Facebook page and on several Facebook groups. I might also start sharing my blog posts more frequently on my personal Facebook profile.

Goal 5: Reach a DA score of 25

Achieved? No.

I started working a lot harder on improving my DA score over the past year and managed to climb up to 23, falling just short of my goal. I definitely noticed that my DA score corresponded with the number of opportunities I got when it came to working with brands this year, so I will definitely carry on working hard on implementing SEO on my blog and researching new ways on doing so. You can check out my tips on improving your DA score here and here.

What will I do differently?

When it comes to working on SEO and improving your DA, you can never have enough done! This year I will be focus on writing more guest posts, gaining backlinks, getting rid of any broken links on my blog and generally optimising my site! Fortunately I love working on SEO so I’m looking forward to this.

I’m really looking forward to working on Beauty and the Bird throughout 2017 and have set more specific, detailed goals for the upcoming year. I really look forward to taking you on this journey with me!

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