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How To Spice Up Your Content Calendar For Spring & Summer

It’s safe to say that we all get a little tired with our content from time to time. Even when you’re really passionate about what you do, and you’re really excited to share posts on topics that you love, we all hit that brick wall with blogging. It tends to come in waves. Just when you think you’re on a roll with your content and you’re creating stuff that you really love, you’ll soon get tired of it again and wonder if you’ll ever get back on track. But you can and you will. The solution is often very simple too.

When you put too much pressure on yourself, you’re always going to struggle to stay on top of things. However, the trick is to not let yourself get stuck in too much of a routine. Because when you get comfortable, it’s all too easy to get bored. But when you decide to shake things up and make changes on a regular basis, you’re going to find that you’re so much more inspired and motivated. When you’re used to routine, this can be tough – but it doesn’t have to be impossible. To make sure that you’re creating consistent content but not letting it get too stale, you’ll often find that shaking things up with the seasons helps.

So now that we’re firmly enjoying Spring (or should be!) and summer isn’t that far behind, you’ve got the perfect excuse to give it a try. No matter what your blogging niche is, if you need some inspiration and you feel like making a change to your content calendar, you’ll find that these ideas can help.

Create A Series

First of all, one thing that will often get a lot of traction and be quite interesting for your reads is the idea of creating a series. If you usually post content quite randomly and you tend to write about things that cross your mind, it may seem like you have no sense of direction. However, if you were to come up with a series that features say six posts on a set topic or around a key theme, your readers will often come back looking for that additional content.

Focus On One Platform

When it comes to your social media promotions, you may find that you often spread yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere. So maybe for each upcoming season, it might be better for you to give one platform a bit of a push. Set yourself a goal, create some content ideas, and really work to drive your engagement levels to see what kind of effect it can have for you.

Introduce A New Topic

Next, you might also like to think about launching a completely new category on your blog. If you feel like you’re in a run and your not really doing much with what you’re producing lately, adding something new into the mix can often spur you on and ignite some inspiration for your content altogether.

Create Some Video

If you’ve always been a blogger rather than a vlogger, then you may think that you need to stick to the written format. But you could find that by creating some video, you’re adding a new dimension to your blog. If you have no idea what you need to do, you can find a link to professionals that can help you. By bringing in a production company, you could create quality videos that really amplify your content and create some excitement around your blog.

Bring In Some Spring

Now that we’re firmly in the spring season, why not introduce some seasonal content into your calendar? It’s often great to tailor your content to the time of year or the events that you might have going on, so think about what represents spring to you and how that could apply to your blogging niche. Great examples here would be spring beauty concerns, spring fashion, or the best destinations to head to in spring.

Plan Ahead For Summer

You could then also look to do the same for the upcoming summer months. Again, you’ll often find that there are some great summer tie-ins that you can work on for your blog. Make sure that you think about key dates in the calendar that you might want to create some content around, such as the 4th July for US bloggers.

Collaborate With Another Blogger

One thing that will always be a lot of fun to do and really helps to shake up your content is collaborating with other content producers. When you take some of the ideas here and apply them to your blog, you’ll have some really different and interesting content to share. Plus, working with another blogger will also mean that you get a cross-promotion on all of their channels too – and what’s not to love about that!

Start A Podcast

You might have noticed that audio is getting increasingly popular at the moment. So this could be something that you also look to cash in on. Podcasting might seem quite tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Get yourself acquainted with the idea, invest in some equipment, and get talking!

Shake Up Your Photography

You might also want to try something different with your blog imagery. It’s safe to say that better photography is always going to work in your favor. So definitely think about trying out some new ideas, learning some new tricks, or even hiring a professional so that you can really increase the quality of the imagery that you’re putting out.

Refresh Your Branding

Finally, you might also want to think about refreshing your branding a little bit. While this may not tie directly into your content calendar, you could definitely schedule a launch for your rebrand that gives you some content to talk about too. Sharing your new branding on your blog and your social channels can often get interest from followers and readers that want to take a look. So this could mean you get a snazzy new look and a bit of a boost too.

What Will You Do When The Bluescreen Hits?

You’re sitting at your computer, minding your own business and suddenly the dreaded blue screen of death happens. It’s so well-known that it’s become an internet meme, i.e., joke. It’s anything but a joke when this happens to you however as you lose complete control of your computer or laptop. It’s very sudden and leaves you with no chance to react. There are no popups that warn you of something going wrong and no settings that you could possibly change with enough time before your keyboard and mouse are made inactive. A gutwrenching stressful feeling overcomes you as coming to the potential realization that your tech might suddenly be worthless consumes you. Here a few things to do and check if this happens to you.

What is it?

There are lots of reasons this happens, but mostly, it’s due to the operating system being forced to stop suddenly. This means that although your hardware may technically still be on, the functions they do have effectively stopped. Device drivers will also be forced to come to a screeching halt and up will pop a troubleshooting options menu.

What causes it?

Normally it’s almost always going to be because of massive hardware failure. It can also be because of operating software malfunctions, but this is also linked back to the hardware again. Your GPU, i.e., the graphics card may suffer catastrophic failures, such as old age wear and tear. Cracks can begin to form in the interlocutors that hold the card onto the motherboard. This could be due to the machine standing vertically while the card is horizontal and its own weight bending itself over time. Other times it can be due to a CPU malfunction which is very rare but can occur after extensive or overuse. If temperatures are not controlled by both the CPU and GPU, it can cause the soldering to melt and destroy the circuiting.

What to do?

You never know the problem might be something small so don’t throw your computer away just yet. Contact a company like IT & Webb for IT support and see how their experts can help you. This is one of those ‘send the troops in’ moments because nothing much can be done unless you really know about your motherboard’s BIOS. This is where everything is controlled by a finite detail such as voltage going from the power unit to the relevant hardware. It can also be a place to check on the status of your computer’s health which is why you most probably need experts to guide you through.

What prevents it?

It’s hard to say what can actually prevent a blue screen other than not abusing your hardware. Too many times there are novices who push their machines over the limit. Aftermarket boosting is a serious issue such as overclocking hardware which cannot handle the demand in performance. Other times it’s best to buy aftermarket supports such as wire grippers and extra strength placeholders. Giving your machine a good clean with pressurized air cans and the old-fashioned vacuum will also prevent hardware malfunctions.

Don’t panic if and when this happens to you. It can and does strike out of nowhere, and this leads to people shutting their machine off. Gather as much information you can and then call experts who will run you through a troubleshooting list.

How to Break Into a Competitive Niche Online

So you decided that you will become an online business owner and start your blog. The good news is that you have what it takes, you just need to make the best use of your talent and resources. There are, however, bad news, as well. For example, the blogging market is extremely crowded, and it might take you long months or years to become a credible voice. Below you will find a few tips on how to overcome the challenges and break into a competitive niche online.

Image by Andrew Neel

Endorsements

The best way to create a buzz about your blog is to get other popular bloggers to endorse you or recommend your content. Once you have some posts that you believe are worthy of sharing, you can connect with other blog or online business owners and ask them to check it out. If they like what they read, they might add your site to their reading list, and their visitors will click on your link based on their recommendations. It is always a good idea to link to their site first before asking for an endorsement.

Offline Presence

To appear credible and stand out from the crowd, you will also need an offline presence. No matter if you would like to make money off your photos or your affiliate links, you must appear real. You should have an “about me” section on your site, so your readers can connect with you on a personal level. You can sign up for po box services so you can display your mailing address on your invoices, instead of your home one. Print some leaflets, advertise on the radio, and make the most out of offline networking.

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Your blog needs to look different than other sites on the internet talking about the same issues. Have your unique voice, and add plenty of personal details and photos for your readers to connect with you. If your site appears too commercial, your visitors will turn around, thinking that you are in it for the money.

Answering Comments and Questions

It is also important that you connect with your audience on every level. You will have to check the comments on your blog and YouTube videos, and make sure that you are replying in a friendly and personal tone. Set up your own social media channels to give people even more opportunities to connect with you.

Valuable Freebies

Freebies will still get you loyal readers, and you can get your message across better if you create a newsletter signup page and offer valuable information free. Find out what your audience’s main issues are and create a short article or guide, offering this in exchange for their contact details.

Whether you would like to make money blogging through affiliate links or paid banner ads, maybe you want to sell your writing skills, you will need to learn how to stand out from the crowd. Get a unique tone of voice, website design, and offer value every day. Connect with your audience on a personal level, and you will succeed in breaking into competitive markets.

No Blog Is An Island: Signs You’re Failing To Ride The Success Wave Solo

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No one starts a blog without considering the earning capabilities involved. Sure, in the early blogging days people did it for love. But, there’s so much information out there now about how to make blogs work as businesses. And, we all want in on the action.

That said, even when starting a blog with business in mind, you may struggle to expect real success. It’s certainly challenging to consider such a possibility when you’re, choosing a domain name in your pyjamas. And, many bloggers don’t ever make more than a small amount of pocket money. But, some hit the big time. It’s important to recognize when this happens to you so that you can expand in the right ways. One of the first things you’ll want to consider if you do find success is whether to bring others on board. You might want to work with other writers, or even find ways to work with a software development team who can take your ideas further than you thought possible. Either way, expansion like this is essential for riding that wave of success.

But, how do you know when it’s time to branch out? For the most part, you’ll feel it. Cheesy as it sounds, you’ll know your blog, and you’ll know when it’s ready to grow. But, to give you a more solid foundation to work with, let’s look at three primary signs that blog is overdue an upgrade.

You’re working 15+ every day

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If you’re working from dawn until dusk, you can be pretty sure that a bigger team should be on your horizon. It’s great that you have so much work coming in, and it likely means that you can afford at least one other team member. And, once they’re on board and producing more work, you’ll be able to afford another. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole team working with you.

Either way, quit putting in 15 hour days to keep on top. There are a few risks to working like this, and all of them could see your wave flatlining if you aren’t careful. There’s just no way you’ll be able to produce good work when you’re wearing yourself down. The chances are that you’ve always put in a few long days. But, if this is your reality every day, it’s past time you took someone else on.

You’re turning work away

Sounds painful, doesn’t it? But, if your blog expands enough, you’ll have no choice but to turn jobs away. Remember, you’re already working 15 hours a day and struggling to make ends meet. You’ll reach a point where it just isn’t practical to take on more work. Either that, or you’ll fail to complete jobs you’ve accepted. And, that’s even worse!

You don’t need us to tell you, of course, that turning work away leads to lost profits. Not to mention that it can send the wrong impression to companies who want to work with you. You could come across as disinterested, or unreliable. Hence, you may never get an offer from them again.

Make sure it doesn’t happen by foreseeing when your workload is getting out of control. An excellent way to do this is to make an accurate note of every task you have for the day. If you’re reaching a point where every possible hour is taken up with work, you might well need to bite the bullet. Remember, other staff members can take on a whole new workload. Even one employee can ensure you don’t have to turn any opportunities down if you don’t want to.

You want to expand, but it doesn’t seem possible

Even if you’re managing to make your one person business work for you, you may find that you’re unsure how to expand. After all, you already work as many hours as possible, and so have no free time to develop any ideas. In an ideal world, you’d love to produce a newsletter or some merchandise. But, there’s no way to do that without putting aside paid work.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Hiring a team would allow you to have your business cake and eat it, too. You could leave other team members to deal with paid work while you develop ideas. Or, you could concentrate on tasks you know, and leave development to a development team as mentioned at the start of this post. Either way, expansion will be well within your reach when you have the security of others around you.

Protect Yo’ Self Online – Here’s How

When you have a knack for writing, a blog can go from being an outlet for your opinions and your emotions, to being one of the most important things in your life. It’s how you can communicate with people who have the same way of thinking that you do. It’s how you can express how you feel on your own platform and if people don’t agree, then all they have to do is click away from your site to another one. Sometimes, with careful thought and planning, your blog can become your income. The thing is, not everyone out there sees the magic of a blog. They don’t always see how an outlet for one person that becomes a viral success is a good thing.

These people are hackers. They are those who purposefully take something that does not belong to them, and then exploit it for profit. They either use your blog to spam adverts across the pages, or they use the lists of your many subscribers to promote criminal activity – all under the banner of your brand. Protecting your personal-turned-professional blog should be a priority for you, and whether you get help from Brown, Smith & Wallace, or you choose to wrap your computer in the highest security settings, you need to realise how important it is. When you become popular online, your blog will have a high readership, which makes your reputation something that others aspire to have. If your blog gets hacked, you could end up losing both your reputation and your readers, which you’ve taken so much time and effort to grow. Making sure that this doesn’t happen has to be on the top of your list when you grow a blog big enough to matter to the wider world.

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Think about the way that you use your home internet. Do you protect your computer with firewalls and security settings? If so, then you need to apply what you do to your home computer to your blog. The things that can affect your computer, from viruses to hackers with agendas, can affect your blog, too. It doesn’t matter if you access your blog from a different device, either, as its core is going to be on your computer. Maintaining your blog is more than just updating your posts week to week; it’s securing it properly. It’s checking for updates and making sure that those updates are done properly. Here are some of the ways that you can protect your blog from the outside world.

Passcodes. It’s an obvious and convenient answer, but a passcode is necessary for your blog. Where you can, try not to save your username and password to your computer at any time. When you set your password, choose something complex. Mix capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols in a random pattern that would make perfect sense to you, but that would stump any hacker trying to get in. The other thing to remember about passwords is that they should be changed often. Once a month, you need to change something about your password, whether that be writing the same one backwards or mixing up the letters and numbers for new ones. A username won’t be so well protected, but you can still minimise the risk of hacking by ensuring that you don’t give your username to anyone.

Software. The computer that you use at home will be the core of your blog, and there’s not much more that you can do to change that. What you can do, though, is ensure that you have installed the best quality security software with consistent updates. You should also be erasing your computer history and cookies on a nightly basis. If someone gets into your computer, your blog is toast and it’s the last thing that you want to happen. There are free security products out there like these, and then there are those that you can buy, like these. Go with what your budget and your needs dictate, and you won’t be making a bad decision. Constant vigilance is key, and your blog should be invested in to keep it alive and kicking.

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Platforms & Plugins. An old, outdated website for your blog will give potential hackers the impression that your security is old and outdated, too. You should aim, where possible, to update your website with the latest plugins and security tools. Most blogging platforms have them inbuilt, for example, WordPress has WordFence, which is the current most popular plugin at the moment. You can read about WordFence here and how it can protect your blog. Whatever you choose, think and plan carefully. You need to ensure that while your blog is secure, it’s not overloaded, and your computer isn’t packed with more security programs than it can handle. Every six months or so, you need to sit down and review the plugins that you use and update them where necessary. Doing this gives you the chance to change passwords, strengthen the security of the platform that you are using and keep up with the evolution of cybersecurity.

Travel. Where you use your blog is important, and if you are a blogger with wanderlust, then you need to think about public domain security. We are very fortunate to have the ability to log online wherever we are, but if you want to keep your blog secure then you need to be smart about where you log in. Public domains can be the worst enemy of a blogger. They’re the best friend, though, of the hacker, who can use a public and unsecure link to get into your blog. The best way around this is to use a VPN, so that your connection to the internet is encrypted and your passwords are safe.

Online security is as important as the words that you want to get out there into the world. Take it seriously, and you can ensure that your blog is secure and as safe as possible.

3 Reasons A Blog Helps Build Your Brand (And How To Start One)

As I’m sure you’re well aware, branding is very important when starting a business. Especially when you’re starting a service-based business built around yourself and your image. For people to pay you for your services, they have to trust you and your brand. Otherwise, it’s seen as too much of a risk, and they’ll find another service-based business to use instead.

Now, there are many ways you can start building your brand, and it starts with a professional website. A website acts as a portal for consumers to come to and learn more about you, your services, and so on. But, if you truly want to build your brand up as much as possible, then you need to start a blog. This blog can sit nicely on your business website, and be there for all to see.

Why is a blog great at building your brand? Well, here are a few reasons explaining this. Oh, and as a bonus, the second half of this post will show you how to set your blog up, enjoy!

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How Does A Blog Help Build Your Brand?

Builds Trust With Consumers

A big part of branding is about bringing the consumer closer to you. You must develop this bond with them, and gain their trust. A blog does just this; it’s a place for you to create content and make people trust you. You become something of an authority source online because your content always informs people of certain topics and issues relating to your business and industry. If you keep getting great content from the same site over and over again, then you start to trust them more and more. Your blog is the best way to gain consumer trust via your website.

Establishes Core Values

Your blog is also a fantastic way to establish the core values of your brand and company. The posts you write could be about certain issues you hold close to your heart. More importantly, the way you write your posts helps establish the values of your business too. If you market yourself as a service-based business that’s super professional, then your blog post can show this by being written incredibly professionally. Your values make up your brand, and a blog helps reinforce them.

Increases Awareness

Perhaps the best thing about a blog is that it boosts brand awareness. By publishing blog posts, you provide alternative ways for your business to be found online. Typically, how would most people find your site via search engines? They’d probably be looking for your service, or something similar to it. With a blog, you can target different search queries, bringing more people to your site. As such, more people are aware of your brand, which helps make it more relevant and well-known. The more well-known and established you are, the more trust you gain, and the more customers you are likely to see.

These are pretty much the three main things you’re looking at when building a brand. You need to establish that trust between you and the consumer. You need to increase brand awareness, and you must establish and reinforce the core values of your company.

So, let’s move onto the second part of this little guide, and see how you can start a business blog on your website.

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How To Start Your Blog

Starting a blog is much easier than you initially think. Especially when you follow the right steps and do everything properly. Firstly, some business owners decide to set up their blog on a separate site to their main business website. I don’t think this is very effective, it’s just a lot easier to keep everything in one place and have a page on your site where blog posts are placed. With that being said, here are a few things to consider if you want to start your blog.

Create Original Content

You will ruin all your hard branding work if the content on your blog isn’t original. Let’s say you’ve got loads of duplicate content on there that you’ve pretty much just nabbed from other blogs. What does this say about you and your brand? It says you’re sneaky, lazy, and can’t possibly be trusted. Original content shows you’re creative, knowledgeable, and helps build trust with the consumer.

Post Regularly

It’s no use having a blog if you only post there once a month or less. This should be a regular thing as it constantly updates your site. The content is continuously fresh, and you can actually start to establish a regular audience of people who visit your site to read new articles as often as possible. Daily posts are the best possible idea, but it’s likely you’ll be too busy to do this. Instead, try and stick to a schedule of 2-3 posts per week.

Make Your Posts SEO-Friendly

To truly see the benefits of a blog – particularly from a brand awareness perspective – you need to make your posts SEO-friendly. This makes them rank well in search engines, ensuring your blog posts are always near the top of the results ahead of other similar posts. As well as helping you gain more traffic, this will also cement your place as an authority source, further strengthening your brand. There are almost too many things you can do to make your posts SEO-friendly, far too many to run through in this article alone. All I’ll say is that the titles need to be catchy and include relevant keywords and that you should try and get more keywords into the main content as well.

On that note, you should be able to figure out how to set up a business blog now. It’s a simple case of setting up a page on your site, then following some of the tips laid out above. By doing this, you will end up with a blog that brings all the benefits mentioned earlier in this piece. For me, as someone who runs a service-based business, a blog has helped strengthen my brand considerably. It really doesn’t require a lot of effort to run a blog, and your brand will suffer if you don’t have one.