2.11.2016

A Life Update (in a Sea of How to Posts)

Hello, hey, hi, how ya dern?

Yes y'all. I just opened my blog with a line from a Lil' Wayne song and NOT a "how to epically change your blog in 45 ways!"  Because if I hear one more person tell me I need a niche in order to have a successful blog I might scream. Or cry. 

Today I just wanted to come in here and write. Hope that's okay. 

I consider myself a writer first and blogger second. Does that even make sense? Let's hope so. 
Rug. Shoes (less than $25).

Currently, I have bitten my nails so short they're starting to hurt as a type. (This is why getting my nails done is pointless.) I know this is really gross. I realize that. It's a really bad habit. But it happens when I get nervous. I was definitely nervous last night.

I hosted a webinar and I always get nervous before a webinar. You see, I like public speaking but I think it's only natural that we get nervous. Plus, I like that adrenaline kick beforehand. But I was really, REALLY nervous. There were over 1,200 people signed up to hear me speak and what if everything sucked? 

But nope, I totally forgot that this blogging community is kick ass and that people showed up on time, asked great questions, and we had a ball. 

Life lately is just really good. I've been doing a lot of fun things. I just went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I had 6 friends come stay with me and we did a tour de Nashville. I'm going to Austin, Texas to visit my little sister soon. Michael promised to take me somewhere really cool this weekend. Crossing my fingers it doesn't involve tents. 

Here's a picture of me in the zone at Mardi Gras. I get extremely serious about beads. I have a theory that in another life I was a gatherer (in the Hunter-Gatherer scenario) and that I was top berry picker. Immediately after this photo was taken I pushed everyone out of my way so I could get to the front to catch beads.

I see a lot of bloggers that run themselves down all the time. They are always hustling. Running themselves down and never having any fun. Clearly, that's not me. I believe in making time for yourself. Plus, how can you really be creative if you aren't getting to experience life? 

I worked up this morning really stressed. I thought about what everyone else is doing in the blogging world and then compared myself. Then I told myself to shut up, put on my Get Shit Done Playlist (p.s. just added tons of new songs) and got over it. Everyone is different and accomplishes things in a different way. 

I'm blogging full time, that's pretty freaking awesome but also kind of scary. But life is scary and things in life that are worth it usually are. So I'm going to embrace it. 

Maybe I'm also feeling scared/nervous/weird is because Michael and I are making some big life plans. BIG. And that's all I'm going to say about that. 

Or it could be because I'm unveiling a brand new course next week. But you'll just have to wait on that. And I'm pretty pumped about it. 

I think what I'm learning lately, mostly thanks to my Mom, is that you need to tend to your garden and don't get preoccupied by the weeds growing in others. I'm going to focus on me and my blog and my life and tend to my own weeds. Shouldn't we all? 

And, of course, I'm going to have fun while doing it.


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2.09.2016

10 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Blog Right Now

Millions of bloggers and businesses work to gain traction online. The best way to get noticed, sell a product, or generate more followers is to drive traffic to your website. But obviously, if people don't SEE your blog, they aren't going to follow your blog.

So how can you do it? A few simple tactics can help you succeed. Web traffic is the foundation of any blog or business. It's what helps keeps you top of mind. This doesn't have to be hard. Here are 10 Ways to Drive Traffic yo Your Blog.

10 Ways to Drive Traffic To Your Blog Right Now

Marble Laptop case is from here. I get compliments on it ALL. THE. TIME.

1. Write Quality Content

Before you publish a blog post ask yourself: Would I share this if I didn't write it? If the answer is no, move on. Restructure the post. Think about what emotion your post instills in the reader. Are you telling them something new? Making them laugh? Connecting with them? Teaching something?

A great example of quality content is this recent post from Jess of Here & Now on "20 Must See Nashville Murals."

This excellent post features interesting content that teaches you something new and makes readers want to share it (or at least save it for later!).

2. Create A Pinnable Image

Now that you've written great content, you want readers to find it online. Creating a pinnable image is a must have. To do this, make sure the image is taller than it is wide. Pinterest recommends a 735x1102 image size.

Check out the image in today's post. Or, take a look at Sarah of Venus Trapped in Mars. She always has killer graphics but her main or "header" image is Pinterest sized, like this one from her post: Berry Oatmeal Smoothie Bowl Recipe.




 

3. Utilize SEO

I've laid out 3 VERY simple steps you can use right now to utilize SEO for your blog. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps blogs to be found online through organic searches. For example, if I type in "How Much Does Tomorrowland Cost?" the first search result I find in Google is:


 This post drives traffic to my blog every single day. And the main way it got any traction was by applying some simple SEO techniques.

4. Add a Call-to-Action to your posts

What would you like people to DO next, after they read your post? You can ask them to follow you, share your post, or download your freebie. This is a great way to create more engagement and get more eyes on your blog.

Rekita of Rekita Nicole totally nails this (also, her blog is gorgeous and full of wisdom!). Check out her call-to-action at the bottom of her post on "9 Tips to Improve Your Design And Attract More Readers."

5. Fill out your social media bios

Social media profiles are searchable! So make sure you're using keywords and completely filling out your bios. This is a great way to gain traffic to your site and gain new followers and even clients.

Erika of Olyia has a great Twitter bio full of keywords that encourage you to click follow as well as drive traffic to her site:




6. Bring Hits to Old Content

Creating content is time consuming. You don't need to always reinvent the wheel! Here is how to bring hits to old blog posts. When I first started blogging I was clueless (and did none of the above) but that content is still relevant, so I re-purposed those blogs, which now bring me more hits than ever.

7. Share on social media

I know you're thinking: Umm duh! But there is a wrong and right way to share. To be effective you can take simple steps to actually make sharing easier. Tomorrow's webinar, Get More Followers, will show you exactly what I mean.

Don't forget to use social media, even if you think no one will "see" it on that social platform. It could prove your wrong!

8. Make it EASY

Whether you want people to follow you, share your post, or subscribe to get updates ... make it easy! Use services like Click To Tweet to embed links in your post to tweet out the link. Ask for social shares. Encourage your readers to follow you. For example, like this post so far? Share it! Here's the Click to Tweet I made below:


You simply just create what content you'd like share and make a shareable link that you can pop into your post.

 

9. Use social share buttons

I use a tool called "Sumo Me" that you can see in the pink box on my sidebar. Other tools like "Share This" and more can help you create social share counters and encourage others to share your posts. Both of these tools are totally free.

Below is an example of Sumo Me in action. It shows the number of shares from a post and encourages others to also share. When you click on the sidebar share buttons on my blog, it will share this.


10. Join a Facebook group

Finding active Facebook groups is a great way to draw attention to your blog and find new people to follow it as well. As a matter of fact, you can join one here by signing up for my new webinar: Get More Followers!

Tomorrow I'll show you even more ways to gain followers and drive traffic to your site. I'll share some of the tools I use and my sure-fire strategies for gaining followers right now. Sign up for the FREE, LIVE training right here:

https://heleneinbetween.leadpages.co/leadbox/143ff4a73f72a2%3A17cd82317346dc/5738275486564352/

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2.06.2016

How to Promote Your Blog Using Snapchat + Snap Hacks You Need to Try!

Snapchat is quickly becoming the favorite tool whether you're a blogger or not. It's an unfiltered way to catch glimpses of real life. You can connect with friends, follow celebrities, and bloggers to get a real life view of their life.

I think it's also interesting to see how different life might look like from Instagram to Snapchat. When Snapchat first started it was a way for teenagers to send secret messages that could easily disappear. Now, it's become a strategic way for bloggers, brands, and users to show off a different side.

Here's how bloggers can use Snapchat to promote their blog:

1. Show off your life
Snapchat is a great way to show off what you have going on from day to day life. Whether it's behind the scenes, a new project, or your life it's a great way to give a realistic point of view of what's really going on. 

2. Share Your Blog Posts
When you post a new blog post, upload a Snap or video that announces a new post on your blog. It's an easy way to get more attention on your post, instantly.

3. Show Exclusives
A great way to gain engagement on any platform is to show exclusive content. You can easily do that with Snapchat since you can share and go. Share a video or an image to your story that they could only find on Snapchat. 

4. Share Your Personality
As I've said before, it's good to be weird online. You can really show off your personality, your hobbies, your quirks, or something you love doing like cooking or anything else. 

5. Host a Contest
Since snapchat stories last for 24 hours (only!) you can host a contest or offer a coupon code that only lasts that amount of time. You can use your other social media networks to let others know that they'll find the code on Snapchat. 

6. Answer Questions
Sometimes you can't possibly answer every question you get asked, Snapchat is a great way to answer questions in a short, 10 second video. 

7. Chat with others
Snapchat allows you to "chat" or comment on other's photos or videos. Use that feature to reach out and connect with other bloggers or brands!

Now, here are some hacks you might want to use:

 You do have a link to your Snapchat!  
This is great because that way you can link it directly to your blog.

1. Go to Snapchat app on your phone
2. Click "Add Friends"
3. Click Share username (as pictured below)

4. You can copy the link or share it to Twitter or Facebook 
For example, mine is: https://www.snapchat.com/add/helenesula

You can add more than one filter!  
Here's how: swipe right or left to pick a filter. Use one finger to "hold" that filter and swipe more to add another feature. Easy!

You can add more than one line of text.
Go to the "Notes" section of your phone.
Open a new note.
In the note, hit enter (or return) a few times.



Select and copy all the paragraphs you just made and paste them into the text of your snap. Now you can add a whole paragraph!

You can send money.
Snapchat let's you send Snapcash, in case you're not a fan of Paypal or Venmo. 

You can use a picture you already took.
If you are sending messages or pictures directly to someone (so, not to your Snapstory) you can send them a picture from your photo library. Press the yellow circle icon when talking to somoen directly. 



Check out: Why Bloggers Need Snapchat.







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2.05.2016

The Tomorrowland Cocktail: A Recipe + Giveaway!

Tomorrowland Inspired Cocktail-5 Hello! My name is Brita and I blog over at BBritnell.com which is a food blog where I share mostly healthy and seasonal recipes with the occasional delicious indulgence. I'm very excited to be here on Helene's blog today!

I started my blog a few years ago with the intention of it being more of a lifestyle blog. However, I quickly fell in love with creating, photographing, and posting new recipes so I've made that the main focus of my blog. A few of my favorite recipes include these Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns, these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and these Vegan Blueberry Pancakes. I spent a while thinking about which recipe to share with y'all today and luckily, a fellow blogger suggested that I do something surrounding Tomorrowland since it's such a big passion of Helene's. SO, that's what I have for you today: a Tomorrowland Inspired Cocktail.
Tomorrowland-Cocktail
Now, I've never actually been to Tomorrowland but I did lots of research about it (and now totally want to go!). I even downloaded the Tomorrowland app that's used throughout the festival for various things including booking reservations at the different restaurants. I honestly assumed that the food and drink at Tomorrowland was typical greasy and fried festival food. I was super excited to see that a huge emphasis is placed on great food and you can get cuisine and drinks from around the world.

For this Tomorrowland Cocktail, I wanted something light and refreshing that also reflected all of the bright and fun colors found throughout the festival. This is what I ended up with.
Tomorrowland Inspired Cocktail-4

I envision this cocktail being something that you would drink in the morning with your late breakfast. It's light and refreshing and rather simple making it the perfect Tomorrowland Inspired Cocktail!
Tomorrowland Inspired Cocktail-1

RECIPE:

It's easy to make as well. For each individual cocktail, simply muddle together 3 wedges of lemon and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a cocktail mixer. Then add in a double shot (4 ounces) of Blue Alize Sparkling wine (could also use blue curacao cocktail mix) and shake with a bit of ice. Pour into your glass and then top off with some plain sparkling wine and a twist of lemon.

Tomorrowland Inspired Cocktail-2
I made one or two (or three) of these over the weekend and it's SO good. And after all of my research, I'm officially going to start saving up to experience Tomorrowland first hand.

 Today I'm also giving away TWO one-on-one photography lessons. Around the same time that I started my blog, I also got into food photography and have grown my photography business to being a part-time job. I currently work with various companies to capture great images of their products and food and do a decent amount of family shoots and corporate headshots. I've also had my images published in various print magazines and newspapers in Nashville.

 These lessons consist of a 1 hour Skype hangout where we can chat all things photography and I can answer any questions that you have including how to shoot in manual mode, editing, and artificial lighting. When I first started my photography business I found a lot of great resources out there but I can't tell you HOW MANY TIMES I thought "gosh, I really wish that I could just ask someone a few questions one-on-one". That's what I'm here for :) I love all things photography and am eager to help others take beautiful photos and feel more comfortable with their cameras.

 
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