Leaving a Digital Footprint - Why I love writing on the internet

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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


Surviving My First Car Boot Sale - What I Learned

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I like money - I like earning, saving and spending it! A couple of weeks back I had some stuff that wasn't going to sell on ebay (think Primark clothes, books etc) but would do really well at a boot sale. So lo and behold by the Sunday myself and my friend set off at 5am to do our first ever boot sale - and it was a really good day! I had been to boot sales a million times before to buy stuff but never to sell. There is - believe it or not - an art to getting a really good bootsale right. So if your looking to make some money then read on.

Do you research beforehand
There is nothing worse then paying for a pitch and finding out hardly any buyers are going to turn up. I googled extensively using the website gocarbootsales and Facebook to whittle down the best sites.

Be used to the early starts
6am are the normal time that sellers need to start setting up and people come earlier - car boots may not be for you if you struggle to get out of bed anytime before ten on a Sunday. On the plus side you are more likely to be done by 12 so you still have an afternoon.

Take a friend
If you can take a friend, you can share on costs and it will be handy when you need the toilet. I parked my car in a lay by, transferred my stuff over to my mates car and travelled in with her as I didn't have that much to sell and it meant it cost us £4 each for the pitch rather than £8.

Driving down the cost of everything!
The aim is to make money - so bring your own lunch and drink, I used a old duvet cover and a very wide scarf as a blanket for the floor and a recycle bin to put items in.

Bring your own loo roll and hand sanitiser
Them toilets can be nasty!

Bring a float
I brought thirty pound in change but £25 would be ok.

People expect something for nothing
If I hadn't done my research beforehand I would have been surprised at how little people are prepared to pay for things. Don't go to a car boot expecting to get good prices for your items as it won't happen. I would normally go in for a price that was higher then I would be expecting so I would more likely get the price I was happy with. Haggling can get quiet intimating so don't be afraid to say no.

People may try to get in your car
Again as in the point above, I would have not expected people to try and get in the car when we were parked up, especially if they see an item they want. We locked the car doors and just set up as quickly as possible.

I had to admit it was kind of fun setting up and switching items around throughout the day to try and increase sales. Jewellery and make-up which started off at the back got moved to the front as it was very popular and rather than have all our clothes on the clothes rail - we laid them out on the blankets as well.

People will literally buy anything
Finally this point is so true. I saw people walking around with really random items that you wouldn't think would sell. So it really is worth bringing any old tat along and seeing what price you get for them!

Have you been to a car boot? How much have you earned from one? Let me know in the comments! xx


Things you should do as a Blogger but don't

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Desk with laptop, pencils, iphone and books

I definitely fall into the camp of being a 'lazy' blogger at times. Especially working in Marketing there are some things I don't do or haven't done properly that I know I definitely should do. So today I will list them. Let me know how many you agree with in the comments below.

Not using a self-hosting platform
I am currently using Blogger as you know I should move over to self-hosting but I am so meh about it. I know the benefits its just it seems like a enormous task I don't really want to take on by myself right now.

Using stock images way too much
I know you should ideally take your own images but I do feel like a bit of an idiot doing it for my own blog - I don't know why. I don't have the jazzy motivational note pads just the standard stationary ones haha!

Not using Photoshop
This is more on the principle that I cannot really spend the money on Photoshop at the minute so I am using the free version of PicMonkey - which to be fair is pretty good.

Not having a consistent layout
I am pretty consistent with image first but titles - do I go with all capital letters or not, should I have the title within the image or just have the image bare... the list is endless!

Not consistently posting
As much as I hate to admit it - I suck at posting often. I do feel that when I post my content is of value but it isn't as often as I would like it to be. Its mainly time management and it is something I am working towards improving. This also affects my social media following as I tend to get more followers as I post my posts.

Not updating my own profile image
The one of me in my hoody - yeah that was taken when I was at Uni (and first year at that!) I have left Uni fours year ago now and have had that on my list to update but I can never find the right light/time...

BUT there is something I am good at I reckon and that is posting evergreen content. The majority of my content is evergreen (i.e. it stays relevant) long after it has been posted.

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How to Plan a Successful Blog Post

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Image of laptop, iphone and journal

Blogging can be hard for many reasons - generating ideas for posts, having the time to write and schedule in content, editing photographs... the list can go on. However planning and structuring a blog post correctly means the article is likely to be well written and a well written article is more likely to be shared and this means more hits to your site and that ultimately is the aim of the game :)

Today I will tell you the way I like to structure my blog posts, none of what you see below is revolutionary but hopefully helpful.

How I Structure My Ideas
I like to either bullet point them or use a mind map format to write down all my ideas. If I am particularly stuck for ideas I will have a scroll through what other bloggers have written for inspiration. Some may argue that it is copying but the majority of content written on blogs is repackaged or has been rewritten already anyway, so I don't see it in that way.

Your post ideally should contain 'evergreen content' this helps boost your SEO. Evergreen content is content which isn't dated so for example if this article contains lots of data then this article will be out of date very quickly as the stats would become out of date. Fashion blogs are another example. My social media and blogging articles I like to keep the content 'evergreen' as much as possible.

Once I have an idea on what I want to write about, if I need to do any research this is usually done first. It helps inform the rest of my writing and helps me think of points that I may not have thought about originally or from a different view point that I then may expand upon. I tend to write intro, middle and end as titles and then list the points I want to make below each.

The Writing Part
When I start writing, I tick off each point to help keep me on track and additionally keeps me motivated to finish the post (I am one of those people that like lists!). When I am in the planning stage I like to have a lot of time to plan my posts. I turn off all distractions, this means leaving my phone in the other room and not being on Twitter to keep me focused and it speeds up the creation of the post. Additionally, setting myself a deadline helps to keep the momentum. At the end I find a image using a free image site, sometimes I will add text it depends. Just keep in mind with your deadline to take time to find or create a decent image and make sure you include an alt tag in the image. At the end if you have written any previous blog posts that link with the post you are about to publish, add them at the bottom to boost engagement to other posts.

The Bit After You Click Publish
The planning just doesn't stop at the blog post it also extends to social media. There is really no point writing a blog post unless you are really going to push it (I don't know, maybe you want to keep it to yourself, each to their own I guess!). When I plan social media, I take into account popular hashtags (I use ritetag) and twitter profile pages that will retweet posts. I use Hootsuite to schedule the posts in and I tend to have a social media scheduling session when I am too tired to write a blog post. I pin my blog post on Pinterest straight after it is has gone live so it is done and I don't have to think about it.

So the short version of all of the above:

  • Turn off all distractions
  • Mind map or bullet point ideas
  • If your stuck for a topic then have a google to see what other bloggers are writing about or what the popular topics are at the moment (taking into account making your content as 'evergreen' as possible)
  • Start with a topic and plan a beginning, middle and end
  • Remember to include scheduling in social media and finding images within your allocated time limit
  • Add in links to other relevant blog posts 

Have you got any tips on creating an effective blog post? Which has been your best blog post in terms of views? Let me know in the comments below :)

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