Sensible Stylista: blogging
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Blogging Tools: 6 of the Best Resources Available Online

Alright everyone, today's blast is all about blogging.  I get a lot of emails from new bloggers weekly seeking advice, so I figured, why not share my knowledge directly on Sensible Stylista! For my first post, I'm going to tell y'all about my current fave resources.  I didn't want to write a dissertation on the subject - trust me, I could go on, and on, and on - so I picked 6 to feature today.  If you want me to share more, leave me comment below - I'll be more than happy to oblige.  Soooo, let's get to it!

1.  Picmonkey - I don't know about you guys, but I'm definitely no pro when it comes to editing pics. I tried using Photoshop back in the day, but it was a total bomb because I had no idea how to do, well, anything. Thank god they offered a trial because it would've been a complete waste of cash for me.

Lightroom's supposedly a lot easier to use, but I'm team Picmonkey all the way.  For $33 a year (as opposed to $9.99/month for PS), I get everything I need.  I can create graphics with cool fonts, style collages, fine tune photos, mess with filters, and so on and so forth. Everything's simple, straight-forward and easy to use.  Plus, I love that I'm saving $86.88.  I know it's not that much, but what can I say? I'm the sensible stylista for a reason!
2.  A Course About Money for Fashion & Beauty Bloggers, Stylists, & Content Creators - A serious must-have for influencers making $$$. Regardless of your income (big or small), if you're filing taxes for your site and/or services, you need to purchase this STAT.  It's a 4-chapter course that you take in the comfort of your own home - thank you, internet gods...actually, thank you Erin Armstrong (aka the founder of Enlightened Accounting).  

For $299, you get lifetime access to her money course which is seriously awesome because it's going to be continually updated as tax regulations change.  You'll also get access to a private FB group where you can ask Erin questions about your tax situation.  Yes, it's an investment, but you're saving a ton of moolah in the long run so it's the smart thing to do, especially if you're like me. I mean, I honestly had no idea how to file taxes for Sensible Stylista.  I ended up paying for my gross income like a total idiot.  I was totally banging my head on the wall because I could've saved SO much with deductibles and whatnot.  Do yourself a favor and enroll today!  You're welcome in advance.

3.  Facetune - The best $3.99 you'll ever spend on a photo-editing app on your phone.  I'm sure by now y'all know about FT, but just in case you don't, it's worth mentioning.  You can literally alter anything and everything - it's straight up magical!  Whiten your teeth, reshape your hair, eliminate blemishes, brighten your eyes, etc.  Think of it as photoshop for your phone minus the complications mentioned above - a must for the perfect selfie. You can access the app's tutorial at any time, but you probably won't need!  
4.  TweetDeck - If you're active on twitter, you're definitely going to want to check this site out.  It's helpful in more ways than one, and oh, did I mention that it's free?  Oh hell to the yes.  So without further ado, let's talk pros.  A. Schedule tweets with images = awesomesauce.  B. Customize your TD page to show whatever column/s you want.  I have several open because I like to track all my notifications, mentions, and DMs in one place.  C. Participate in twitter chats with zero stress. Simply search for the chat hashtag and add it as a separate column - you'll be able to keep up with everything in real time since it refreshes constantly.

5.  Tweet Jukebox - Another handy tool for twitter!  Created by Tim Fargo back in 2013, this site helps schedule + recycle content.  Here's how it works: you create different "jukeboxes" and load them up with pre-formed tweets.  Then, you choose how often you'd like your jukebox/es to tweet and simply turn it/them on.  You can store thousands of customized tweets in each one and send anywhere from 1-100 a day.  Scheduling's flexible so you can switch things up from day to day!  If you're interested, which you should be, you can try TJ out HERE for free (2 jukeboxes with 300 stored tweets + 5 scheduled tweets).

6.  Canva - This site is everything!  Create cute @$$ graphics with this site.  There are literally thousands of templates available, and many of them are free.  The best part? They have pre-formed social media posts (like the twitter graphic pictured above) for your convenience so you don't have to worry about photo dimensions.

Anywho, that's all folks.  I hope you guys found this useful!  What apps or sites do you use? Make sure you leave me a comment below with your faves.


Bonnie Cribbs on Social Media - Part 2

For today's post, Bonnie Cribbs will be guest-posting on my behalf.  I actually featured him on Sensible Stylista last week.  He answered a slew of  important questions regarding social media.   Click HERE if you want to know more about develop a bigger following!

How do I engage FB “fans”? 

Ask questions. Start conversations. Follow up questions.  Extended conversations.  Follow up comments. Once you can get conversations started with a few, more people are more likely to join in the conversation. 

It may serve you and a few friends to get together and comment and engage on each others’ blogs and facebook page.  This will entice others to join in.  No one seems to want to comment on a status that hasn’t been commented on before until you are viewed as one who has lots of comments.  Odd isn’t it?

How often should I tweet?

This is another one of those million dollar questions.  Every blog and every marketer on twitter should have a target audience and should know the demographics of their following.  Do your followers (as a whole) follow a lot of people or do they follow less than 250?

A tweet only has a shelf life of 10-15 minutes for most users.  If most of your followers follow more than 500 people, that shelf life is much shorter, so it’s ok to tweet frequently.  If you have followers who only follow 20 people, then their twitter feed isn’t seeing a lot of activity and most likely they are not checking twitter much.

I tweet about once an hour.  Most of my followers have 500+ people they follow so my tweets are rather hit or miss for a lot of them.  But for those followers who follow less than 100 people I’m sure I annoy the heck out of their twitter feeds.  My target market includes influential people who are well connected, so even if I am annoying some people it’s ok, because most likely they do not fall in my target market.

All that said, you have to know your target market to make this determination.

The better question to ask is how engaged are you on twitter?  If you are very well engaged and having conversations you are doing the right thing!

How does one manage their time effectively? 

It’s much like managing your money and being on a budget.  You have to tell your time where to go and how its going to be used. 

From your goals you should have a set of tasks and activities that you need to do in order to reach your goals. Start by taking those tasks/activities and plugging them into your schedule.  This way you have on your calendar the things you must do in order to reach your goals. 

Just this week I wrote a post on time management and how to effectively use your time.  Actually, Kim’s question prompted this post - Here is the link to it.

If you do not control your time, it will control you.

I do a ton of Internet Marketing on several social media platforms.  So I have to schedule time that I will be on each platform.  I also have to be disciplined enough to stay focused and work and not play.  Social media can suck hours out of your day, or it can be incredibly beneficial - it all depends on how you use it.

A daily routine that is scheduled out telling your time how it’s going to be used will help you get your time deficit under control.  You have to have a balance of work, relaxation, exercise and fun.

This could have been summed up with one word: Discipline.

Which social media platform do you find to be most “effective”?

The beautiful thing about social media is all of the major platforms are highly effective if used properly.  I believe the answer to this is up to the user and what they enjoy the most.  I always suggest you find a platform or two and master them instead of having 7 different accounts and do none of them well. 

A laser focus on one platform is much more effective than being on multiple platforms and not doing any of them well. Engage & provide value - it’s the key to all of them.

What makes a blogger go viral? 

I believe it’s rapport, like-ability, outstanding content or something so absurd it has to be shared or talked about.  But the latter only has a short term life.  Being a person people connects with seems to be the biggest indicator.  And typically people connect well with great story tellers.

If ya'll want to learn more about social media, make sure to check out Bonnie's blog.  He's also a very active tweeter, so click HERE if you'd like to get in touch with him personally.


Q & A with Bonnie Cribbs, a Social Media Wizard

For today's post my good friend, Bonnie Cribbs, will be guest posting on my behalf.  I'm so thrilled to introduce him to ya'll. I frequent his blog NUMEROUS times daily for incredible social media tips, and his advice has helped me so much.  I know you guys will really benefit from his knowledge.  On top of it all, he happens to be one of the sweetest people I know.
How do I use Pinterest to drive more traffic to my blog?

Pinterest is a perfect social media platform for most bloggers because most blogs incorporate quality and appealing graphics, making Pinterest a powerful tool to drive traffic to your it’s a ton of fun too!

The first step is to use high quality graphics on your blog and make the graphics easy to share on Pinterest by using a plugin or code.  People pin graphics that are visually appealing or that lead to information they are interested in, so make this easy for people by providing top notch graphics.  Think about it this way, would you pin your graphics if you saw them on Pinterest?

If it’s a how to, DIY or recipe be sure to include details in the graphic that will auto populate when your reader shares your graphic on Pinterest.  In the descriptions use language that will entice pinners to want to learn more and cause them to visit your site.

I also suggest that you have a Pinterest Board that provides links to all of your social media accounts like this one.

I created a training video several months ago that can be viewed here.  It goes into detail about how to use Pinterest for your business and blog.  Matter of fact, that particular post has about 25 tips for using Pinterest and driving traffic with Pinterest.

How do I develop a bigger following?

Isn’t that the million dollar question?  By providing value you keep your readers coming back.  “Value” will be defined by what your target audience is looking for and you need to know your target market like they are your best friends.

By engaging with your followers you build a tribe of loyal followers who will share your content and spread the word about your awesomeness.  It really comes down to the ripple effect and you start the ripple by connecting with a small crowd and from there more people find out about you. 

By getting in front of new audiences you introduce new people to you. In the blog world, guest posts are an ideal way of how to do this.  Networking online follows a lot of the same principles as networking offline.

By using Pinterest above there are always new people coming to your site.  I believe one of the biggest keys in developing a bigger following is by consistently being seen, helping people and showing up in new places for people to find you.

Here is a post that shares some ideas about networking your blog and some of the things you can do to build traffic and a loyal following.  Trust me, it takes time so do not give up and give your following time to develop.

Do numbers really matter?  How and why?

I’m a numbers guy, so to me numbers definitely matter.  If you’re trying to attract sponsors or brands, they’ll want to know your traffic numbers.   They’ll want to know who your target market is and how you are attracting them.

Be honest about your numbers!

It’s always interesting to me the numbers that bloggers decide to share.  You may have a HUGE facebook following, but unless you are promoting your sponsor on facebook, the huge facebook following is of no use to your sponsor.  It may give a blogger more people to promote your brand to but it does not necessarily translate into page views on your blog unless you are being very intentional to drive people to your blog.

Most savvy sponsors and brands will want to know the number of page visits that you have on a daily basis and your monthly average.  I’m always interested in the number of email subscribers you have to whether or not your email subscribers are going to your site to read your blog or if they are getting the full article in the email. 

Ideally, a blogger is growing their email list but that is only helping a sponsor out if you are sending your subscribers to your page.  Again, it comes down to page visits for most sponsors.  But for the blogger, you want to know your overall reach.

Wait, this question was about numbers and whether or not they are important.  They are to sponsors so if you are trying to attract them, yes. If you’re trying to generate leads or traffic to your site, then yes.  If you’re just blogging for the fun of it and don’t care if anyone is seeing your pages or not, then no, they are not important.

What’s the most effective way to promote a post?

IF you have captured the email addresses of your blog followers (and you should be doing this), email is the best way to promote your post.  Your existing readers are the ideal and best audience and are the easiest audience to engage with. 

There is a saying in marketing that says “the money is in the list.”  If you’re growing a blog and building an audience, you need to build your list.  By that, I’m saying you need to begin collecting email addresses of your followers.  You may change blogs, you may change companies you work for, blogger or wordpress may shut down.  You want to have easy access to your list.

The best way I’ve found to keep a post alive is through a wordpress plugin called “Tweet Old Post.”  It does exactly what it sounds like it would do, it automatically tweets old posts and keeps them alive.  Your post will continue to generate readers long after you have forgotten about it!

You have to think long term and several moves ahead.

Here is a very interesting infographic on one of my Pinterest boards that will tell you what you need to do on social media for each post.  Outside of your email list, promoting your post in as many places as possible will gain traffic. 
I hope ya'll found this post as helpful as I did. I'll be featuring him again next week, so make sure to check back!  For more amazing posts, check out his blog by clicking HERE.