Image showing lots of social media icons in different colours

Uploading social media icons onto Blogger seems so much daunting than it really is. There is some HTML involved but it is so easy. It is essentially copying and pasting code and changing some words around.

1) First of all download some social media icons. There are loads around, flaticon is a good site that has been used in my workplace. This site is good too.

2) Once you have downloaded them, upload them into Photobucket or Flickr. I use Photobucket.

3) On Blogger go onto layout, on your sidebar click ‘Add a gadget’ then click add HTML/ JavaScript.

Screenshot of the layout section on blogger
Gadget box displaying where the HTML & JavaScript box is

4) Open up the HTML/ JavaScript and copy and paste this code:

<a href=”Your custom link”><img src=”Your Image URL” alt=”Twitter” /></a>

5) On the ”Your custom link” add in the link you want readers to click on. In this case I will add my Twitter link: http://www.twitter.com/bex91 and in ”Your Image URL” add in the URL of the image so for me it’s this: http://i1382.photobucket.com/albums/ah271/rebeccamerchant1/Twitter_zpsgkqaq8kx.png

To add other links just copy and paste the HTML but change the ”Your custom link” and ”Your Image URL”and alt=”Twitter” to whatever social network you want and corresponding image url. So see below in pink:

<a href=”https://www.pinterest.com/becbecbex/”><img src=”http://i1382.photobucket.com/albums/ah271/rebeccamerchant1/Pinterest_zpsaqm7dqql.png” alt=”Pinterest” /></a>

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like all together:

There you go, it is a really easy way to make your blog look professional.

Image of an ipad, tea and camera
I am a big fan of making plans and I am a big fan of creating lists, so it is a good job that both go hand in hand in reaching goals and getting everything completed. I make lists and plans at home and as well as at work and it helps me keep my focus and get everything done. This is important if you have important blogging and social media goals you want to hit. I have listed below, the best way’s to keep yourself on track.

Set realistic goals
There is being ambitious and then there is being stupid. By setting over ambitious targets you are setting yourself up to fail as it is just unachievable. For example instead of saying I want to win a blog award try I will nominate myself for a blog award. The second is more achievable than the first but you are starting out in achieving your original aim.

How to set your realistic goals
My best targets are made by making a plan in a diary. I set out week by week what I want to have achieved that week. So for example I would write to have two blog posts written by Sunday, by doing that instead of writing a long list is more manageable and I am not being put off by the list and get the sense of achievement at the end. For work I drill this list down to what I want to achieve that morning and afternoon. It motivates me and it is very likely that I will get all the tasks done!

Write your path to success
Write your aim and then plan the path at how you are going to get there. It breaks your goal down to managable chunks and you will feel that sense of achievement when you complete your mini aims. So to continue the example of writing two blog posts by Sunday. I would write:

Monday and Tuesday: Think of two topics and research material needed.
Wednesday and Thursday: Structure the posts and start writing
Saturday: Finish writing, proofread and schedule the posts on social media.

As you can see by breaking it down, it is managable and importantly achievable.

Don’t have lots of aims
The problem with lots of goals are that you are in danger of spreading yourself too thin. Aim for at least two or three and then once you have achieved them, just replace it with another.

Keep them SMART
If your aims are not Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time related then it is much harder to acheive them. In the goals I have set myself before where I haven’t used this (especially time) then my goals have either not been achieved ( For two years now I have been wanting to learn how to ride my bike using cleats) or it has taking me longer than it should have to achieve my goals.

Reward yourself when your goal has been reached
It is important to make sure you reward yourself when your goal has been reached. If you automatically focus on the next challenge you are in danger of really losing that sense of achievement and you will become frustrated.

So this is my way of making blogging/ social media goals and making them stick! What are your aims for next year?

 

This blog post is one I have wanted to write for a while on Google+. Before blogging I never used Google+ and never knew anyone on Google+. I decided to make use of it because I had read that Google was ranking blogs that used the Blogger platform highly on their search engine because the Blogger platform is owned by them, but also I could see that on my page I had over thirty thousand page views which are higher than what my Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram pages get. So it made sense to make more of a go of it.

I read up a lot on Google+ purely because I didn’t understand what the platform was meant to be for. For Instagram it is to share images, Twitter to connect with brands and people, Facebook for friends. Google+, I felt didn’t have a particular niche.

Within Google+ there are people, circles, hangouts, communities and pages. At the start, I had no idea what these meant but from what I understand:

People

This is like a general friend search you would get on other social networks like Facebook.

Community

This is where you can meet with like minded people. I never used communities purly because I prefer to use Twitter for this and also the page looks so messy, take a look at the Blogger Community on +

Circles

Now this is where it gets confusing. You can add people to a circle but you have lots of different circles. So some could be in one but not in another. I think this is so if I added people to the bloggers circle, relevant conversations can be kept in there. I added a few of my favourite bloggers to my Blogger circle but I found that all they do is just post there latest blog posts and I already get all of their posts from Bloglovin. I could see where they were coming from with the circles but it doesn’t work for me.

Hangouts

I had never used hangouts before and never will. When I had a look to see what it was about it looked like single people on there looking for other people to ‘chat’ if you understand what I mean.

Collections

I had a look at this, to me it just seems the same as a community… however you see what indivdual people have created. It is quite cool actully and very Pinterest like. As you will be able to see from the image below:

I had spent a lot of time on Google+ but I didn’t get that feel that I was communicating with anyone, not like I do with Twitter or Facebook. It felt that Google seperated everything out to the extent that there are too many things you can do with Google+. However you could argue that if I spent the time putting in those conservations I may get more back but I think that my effort is best placed in other social networks. I think Google+ for me will just stay as another avenue for posting my blog posts and having a quick browse if I get bored.

Am I missing a trick here? Do you think I should persevere with Google+? Have you implemented google+ successfully?

Recently I went to a free lecture at my local university which was all about becoming a good manager. It got me thinking that these free lectures are pretty good and how many I have missed out on that could be helpful or interesting (and I work in a university, so do not have an excuse at all!). With the New Year coming up there has never been a better time to make the change for the year ahead. Here are some ways to self improve for free.
Free lectures
Universities have tonnes of lectures that are open to the public. It is the great chance to listen to some quality speakers that you may not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise.
Free courses on- line
There are plenty of mini courses run online these days. Future Learn is a popular course provider with courses run by universities.
YouTube
YouTube’s tutorials are great to watch and really useful. I use a YouTube tutorial for pretty much everything.
Ted Talks
These talks are so well known that I have been to talks that have uploaded a Ted Talk and watched them. Great if you are needing some inspiration.
Blogs
I like blog tutorials purely because I can relate back to them when I want and sometimes I just do not want to watch video.
The library
If you really do not want to watch stuff on a screen, the library is an often forgotten and underused hidden gem. I have seen many books such as cooking books that are in the latest book shops that are in the library.
Ask for advice or to shadow people
I am always asking for advice ( I always want to be the best…) and what better than learn from people who are doing the role you would like to have one day.
Have you got any tips to self-improve for free?

Although I have been quiet on here recently, this year has seen me collaborate with UK Blog Awards, Metro.co.uk and Bloggers Required which has all been good fun but I have seriously learnt a lot about collaborating what I can manage with along the way. All of which I will share below:
Be clear what you are willing to do
State at the beginning what you will be doing and be weary of anyone taking advantage of this especially if you are working for free. For example, if I started getting lots of deadlines I would seriously be considering charging or stop the collaboration. 
Don’t be afraid to say no
At the end of the day, I have a full time paid job so that is my priority. Don’t feel pressured to take up every offer if you cannot put the time in. I have missed some stories that I could have written for metro.co.uk because I have been at work and cannot fulfil their deadlines.
Prioritise
Like I mentioned above I have a job and I am also doing a part time course which I am paying for, so these have to be first.
But you do have to do the work
If you agree to do some work and a deadline you do have to fulfil it although don’t be afraid to ask for an extension if you know you are not going to be able to complete the task in the initial time.
Don’t be afraid to chase up and check that you work does get published
I have no issue with chasing people up and checking that my work is published. If I am promised that my work will be published by a certain date, I will usually give about two days grace and then check to see what has happened to it. When your work is published, check that your social media details and your name etc are correct. 
Look for opportunities online
I found mine through knowing people, googling and seeing an opportunity on Twitter. Most opportunities won’t come to you so you have to do your best. I got my Metro role because I googled how to write for Metro, found the email address and sent them three articles I had written. 
Keep it real
Don’t collaborate for the sake of collaborating! metro.co.uk is just for fun and UK Blog Awards and Bloggers Required is because I like blogging and how blogs influence what people purchase. 
Record all of your published work.
I keep all of my links on my Google+ profile and also in a Word Document. It is nice to look back at what you have written and also you never know when you need to draw upon it. 
Finally, do respond to comments on social media
If people email or comment on your work make sure your respond back. It is really nice that people thought your work was so good that they took the time out to comment. 
Have you got any advice you would want to add to my list?

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