The Ultimate Blog Round-Up

Even on holiday I read and write! lol

November marked the end of the first 6 months in which my blog really took off. Although I have been blogging since Jan 2010 I didn’t really get into it properly until June this year when I took on the Nikki P 30 Day blog Challenge (Click here to visit, from that point on my blog has gone from strength to strength and has reached a point where I am actually shocked and proud at how much it has grown…

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September Challenges and ROW80 Goals

Okay so my blog schedule is actually full at the moment and I don’t normally do more than one post per day but I just needed to highlight that this is a manic month for me, why? because in addition to quitting my job, starting two open university courses and having at least two potential business opportunites lined up I have also taken on two blogging/writing challenges!

The first which started on the 1st October is the Ultimate Blog challenge, where I receive a new email each day with blogging ideas to continue supporting my regular posting following on from the success of the #30DayBlog challenge I did earlier this year. Before the challenge started I already had my first ten posts written and scheduled!

It was through looking at other posts going up for this challenge that I discovered ROW80 – A Round of Words in 80 days “a writing challenge that knows you have a life” and thought yeah what the heck, lets do that too! 80 days of writing exciting! I just need to set a measurable goal for my writing and check-in with my progress twice a week!

So here are  my goals for the #ROW80 challenge:

  • To write at least 3 blog posts each week (although 5 would be better to meet my other blogging requirements… but I do get guest bloggers and interviews at times that can fill any gaps….)
  • To write at least 750 words per month towards my works in progress (I am writing my life story and also a fiction novel  and a tinkering with a few other bits but haven’t been putting in enough effort for any of them – need to crack down and this challenge will help me do that!)

I don’t like to specify much in regards to the amount of time/hours I will spend on these things as that will hugely vary depending on what I am writing and other things I am doing but I feel these goals are achievable, lets see!

Well that’s that for now if you are interested in either challenge latecomers are welcome to find out more click here for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and click here for the ROW80 challenge, you can also still get the ebook to join the #30DayBlog challenge – Click here to visit

You can also follow both challenges on twitter with the hashtags #blogboost for the Ulitimate Blog Challenge, #ROW80 for the ROW80 challenge and #30dayblog for the 30dayblog challenge. Also why not check out the linky list to see who else is participating in ROW80 and what goals they have set!

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂

Blog Round-Up – The 5 most popular posts in September

Site stats from a sample day when I had not posted any new content...

Ever since I did the #30Dayblog challenge – Click here to visit  with @NikkiPilkington my blog has gone from strength to strength and September was no exception. Another bunch of (personal) record breaking events happened:

  • I now have 35 subscribers
  • My blog has had over 13,000 hits in total
  • September had the highest number of hits in a single month with 3019 hits
  • I’ve had over 300 comments
  • I made some money through my blog for the first time$50 for an advertising link!

One thing that seems to be a driving force in maintaining a high hit rate, in addition to posting regularly is that many of my posts have a high degree of longevity. They are subjects that people are often searching for on Google and other search engines. As you can tell by the top 5 most popular posts in the last month – most of them are still posts that were written a while ago, here they are:

  1. Which Celebrities have Borderline Personality Disorder? – originally posted in June, has received over 170 hits in the past month.
  2. 5 things that I find inspiration from when blogging – Actually posted in September, also 170 hits.
  3. What is the difference between prejudice and discrimination? – Posted in July, over 150 hits this month, one of my top 5 posts of all time (to date)
  4. 10 Myths about Borderline Personality Disorder Dispelled – Posted in August, 120 hits in September, the number one post of all time.
  5. That song was written for me…  – another September post, 107 hits

What makes these posts so popular? SEO, keywords and long-tail searches – the titles, categories and tags used on these posts are searched for frequently so more new traffic comes in on a regular basis!

What doesn’t work so well – just to show the difference, if you look at these 5 posts (my lowest hit rate posts) see if you can pick up how the titles are poor in comparison to those above… I’ve included the month they were first posted and the TOTAL number of hits they have had in all time…

  1. Hello World! – My first ever post from January 2010, it has only had 3 hits in all time! being the first post definitely doesn’t help it’s ranking, but look at the poor title too – it doesn’t say what the post is about, or anything interesting/useful…
  2. Interactive Story Project – January 2011, 5 hits. My failed attempt at an writing an interactive story via twitter…
  3. It’s Snowing again… – January 2010, 5 hits. Random blathering, lol
  4. 30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 11 – April 2011. 6 hits. Not the #30dayblog challenge but an earlier attempt to get myself blogging more frequently with my own challenge…
  5. 30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 13 – April 2011. 6 hits. Some days of this challenge actually did quite well, I think it may be due to particular songs/books mentioned in them that they were more/less popular than others…

Well, lets see if I can break any more records this month – and hopefully you’ve now got a bit of an idea on how much difference getting the right title can make for your posts!?

Which of your posts draws the most traffic?

Which draws the least?

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂

You can enjoy blogging for Business too! – Guest Post by Ruth

This is a guest post by Ruth Seba, a fellow #30dayblog challenger from Croatia. I recently wrote a guest post for her site here and she wanted to return the favour by writing one for me, so here it is – hope you like it 🙂

My husband and I recently (June 2011) opened a small store in Korcula, Croatia where we sell beautiful handcrafted filigree jewellery alongside of a small selection of Fair Trade products from Nepal and Croatian made gifts and souvenirs. It is a slightly eclectic mix but the majority of visitors to our shop compliment us on the how nice the store looks, even if they don’t buy anything!

Opening a new business in a foreign country has been daunting, exciting and we have learnt a lot! As our short tourist season draws to a close we are able to close the shop an hour or so early in the evenings 10pm instead or 11, I must admit that I am quite happy to be stepping down to a 13 hour day after working 7 days/week for 14 hours a day!

Although the season is short it has been exhausting, I am finding that I am now spending more and more time on-line than I ever dreamed I could as I try and work out how we can share our Seba Dizajn story with a wider audience and hopefully generate some out of season income!

I have surprised myself with how much I have enjoyed the blogging aspect of our Social Media ‘campaign’ and delighted to be given this chance to be a guest blogger….

I have also been pleasantly surprised by the vast amount of information and advice that is available to beginners like me.  If you have been contemplating starting a blog I say go for it! It’s free and easy and there is as much advice as you care to find available and make use of, here are a couple of links that I have found helpful;

This first link is for people who are thinking that starting a blog will be too hard for them, Leigh’s advice is practical, smart and easy to follow – have a look;

This article is interesting if you are thinking about or already writing a more ‘personal’ style of blog;

For young bloggers have a look at Sharon’s earlier piece on young bloggers she had found interesting. This blog is by a 16 year old fashion lover, her blog is full of beautiful photos;

Another useful link is to Nikki Pilkington and her series of 30 Day Challenges, you will find free and practical advice to help with your blogging, tweeting, facebook pages, ad-words and more;

If you are interested in learning more about our jewellery business, life in Croatia along with assorted other ramblings stop by my blog too; or look for us on facebook where we have full selection of photos of our filigree jewellery and a lot of Croatia photos.

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂

5 things that I find inspiration from when blogging

New York Times

Image via Wikipedia

As those of you that read my blog regularly will know I write about a wide variety of topics. People sometimes wonder how I manage to decide what to write about and when, and of course people are always looking for ideas themselves – sometimes unsure where to start. So here are some of the things that inspire me, maybe they will help you to find inspiration for your own writing

1. My own life experiences – of course this is always the first port of call if you are writing a personal blog site such as I do, and even if you blog is business based personal experience is still a good starting point for inspiration, here are some of the things I write about in from personal experiences and suggestions for business experiences

• Personal – Places I’ve been, books I’ve read, hobbies, work, charity work, people I’ve met, things I’ve studied, etc
• Business – a new client, a day in your business life, a new product, testimonials, how you got started, an event you attended, etc

2. News – whether on or offline on the rare occasions I read newspapers from time to time there will be something that really strikes a chord with me and I just have to write about it. Looking through my old posts there seems to be a bit of theme coming out in subjects that have inspired me – they are usually ‘society’ related, and actually this has further inspired me to study Sociology as my new OU course for this term, so I think there may be plenty more posts in this vein coming along. If you are looking for inspiration in the news try thinking about the following:

• Do you have an opinion (agree/disagree) on an article you’ve read? Could you put a different spin on a subject reported in the news? Do you have a personal experience related to the article you could write about?

3. Challenges – The first challenge I did was a 30 day challenge based on a series of challenges going around on facebook at the time, it bought in a lot more readers for my blog, but the content was not very interesting or longlasting being based on answering questions to meet the facebook ‘status, film, book, song and photo challenges’ I had combined into a single daily blog. I then did the #30DayBlog challenge set up by NikkiPilkington and this was far more interesting and successful. If you haven’t already done the challenge I highly recommend it as there are so many useful hints and tips to help, not only with content, but increasing your readership and so much more!

4. Borderline Personality Disorder – I know this is a kind of ‘personal experience’ but I have used it as a separate source of inspiration as it has been such a huge factor in the growth of my blog. In addition to sharing my own experiences with BPD I have spent a lot of time reading others experiences, books and websites about the condition. All this research has resulted in a number of highly successful blog post that I hope inspire others and provide a good source of information and understanding about the condition. I guess in terms of transferability as a source of inspiration, you could look at writing about a condition that you, a family member or friend has that you know a lot about and have useful information to share about

5. Twitter – Even though I always have a lot of things to write about from the above inspiration sources I sometimes want to try something new and different, this is where Twitter becomes a source of inspiration. I write a tweet asking people to challenge me with a topic I haven’t written about before and then I will write about the topic they suggest; because I have so many very different followers I can get some really good ideas from here – like when I was challenged to write about football (which I know nothing about) and now I’m working on a guest post about jewellery; even this post came as a result of a suggestion off twitter! So, if all else fails – tweet, I’m sure your followers could give you a good topic too (or just ask me @SharonHoward09)

So there you have it, 5 sources of inspiration I use for blogging and how you can use them to help you too.

Bonus tips:

When to write? – whenever you want but regularly updated content does better than if you only post very rarely (people forget you are there if you aren’t writing) – if you have nothing to say yourself why not get a guest blogger?

How much to write? – Another area of much contention; I guess it depends on the individual, the topic and the reader. My readers are (hopefully) used to the fact by now that my posts are usually lengthy, so they expect this; but your readers might not want to read such long posts, you might not be able to write very long posts. I say just find what works for you and stick with it, but don’t stress about it 😉

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂