"I hated every minute of training, but I said, don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." – Muhammad Ali #Quotes
— A Travel American (@aTravelAmerican) September 11, 2015
A loud slurp from the old man sitting next to her on the wobbly cement bench brought Sarah out of her reverie. With one hand holding a little glass cup half-filled with masala cutting chai and the other clutching a brand new map, she thought for the umpteenth time if she had lost her marbles when she thought she could do this. Continue reading
Ooh, it’s starting to get tougher already. Today’s writing assignment is open to interpretation. The task is to select one word that speaks the most to you from the six words given below and let your mind do the talking and your pen do the writing: Continue reading
I love reading lists – bucket lists, goal lists, project lists, reading lists, summer lists, winter lists – reading other people’s lists is so much fun! I don’t particularly like to-do lists though, that just means chores, errands and other mundane stuff. Continue reading
After my successful stint at Blogging 201-Branding and Growth back in February of this year when I decided to get serious about blogging, I am now part of yet another course by Blogging University – Writing 101. I find these courses to be very informative and useful and you automatically get to meet so many wonderful bloggers out there in The Commons to share your assignments with, get feedback and tips from. It’s a win-win for all. 🙂 Continue reading
Today is the last day of the fabulous two-week Blogging 201 course designed and organized by The Daily Post’s Blogging University. If you’re new to blogging, I suggest you start off with the Blogging 101: Zero to Hero 30-day course which covers all the basics and proceed to the Blogging 201: Branding and Growth 14-day course which is aimed at focusing your blog and growing your audience.
Last week I did a recap of the first week of the course, which you can read here. This week, we had some intensive assignments that required a lot of thought and a little bit of extra time:
Day 6: Dig Deep Into Your Social Network – This was aimed at increasing the blog’s social presence on one or more networks and mapping a 30-day outline on how to effectively use them. This also included adding widgets of your social networks on your blog and using the publicize and share tools in your post. I had already made my blog’s social presence on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’ prior to this course but I still have to outline an effective 30-day plan on how to use it. Any suggestions on how to organize a social media schedule or set some goals? 🙂
Day 7 – Make the Most of Events – This was about creating a recurring event, participating in other events or going to blogger conferences to increase engagement in the blogger community. I found this assignment so interesting as I’ve always wanted to host a blog event but thought it would be more effective once I had this blog running for a longer time. In the past week I’ve also participated in two bookish events – Top Ten Tuesday and The Book Worm Club. After much thought and research, I created a weekly recurring event, Take-A-Step Thursday because I wanted to know what sorts of things inspire people and what they are inspired to do as a result. I hope you will be inspired to participate. 🙂
Day 8 – Make your Blog a Hub – The purpose of this assignment was to collate online work and projects that you have done elsewhere and create a “Best of ” page on your blog to showcase your versatility. At the moment, I don’t have any work published elsewhere, but I am looking into exploring more platforms and ideas that will inspire me. Would appreciate some suggestions on this.
Day 9 – The Buddy System – Guest posting and cross-promotion was something that I had been considering for a while now, but wasn’t sure about since I am quite new in terms of readers and followers and I’ve only just started blogging regularly. I haven’t actively looked for a buddy yet, so if you’re interested in collaborating with me over topics like books and film or something new that we can come up with, I’m more than happy to brainstorm with you. Please email me directly with the subject “Guest Posting/Blog Buddy” to chat about it. 😀
Day 10 – Give ‘Em What They Want – II – This is part two of the assignment we did last week where we focused on quantity or checking our blog’s statistics to figure out what kind of posts receive more attention and what time of day/night should we post to get noticed. This week we focused on the qualitative aspect of blogging where we could ask our readers anything we wished through a poll/survey. I would really appreciate you taking the time to fill my simple survey of 3 questions so I can work harder at improving. 🙂
I also want to point out here that when I checked my blog again in January after a long hiatus, I had 31 followers. My followers increased by 28 in the weeks leading up to the course when I started blogging again. But since the course started last week, I’ve had an increase of a further 52 followers! That is a whopping 47% increase in two weeks!! For that, I would like to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! 😀
So would I recommend this course to new bloggers? ABSOLUTELY! Go do it, spend some time and work on your blog. Focusing on your content is of course a main priority but also learn how to sell your work and make your blog a brand! You’ll be so proud of your achievements after you’ve acquired some skills.
I’ve learnt so much during these past two weeks, things that I had no idea of when I started blogging again in January. I’ve stretched my blogging boundaries, started exercising my writing muscles, dabbled in the design of the blog, created a blogging event and participated in a couple of bookish blog events, received three awards from lovely bloggers, increased my presence on social media, found so many inspiring blogs, received so many lovely words of encouragement and support from fellow course participants, increased my followers by 47% (I am still humbled by how that happened!) and made some wonderful friends through it all. I call that a very successful two weeks indeed ! 😀
All the best! Happy Blogging!
Last week, I, along with many other bloggers started the two week Blogging 201 course which focuses on Branding and Growth. Here’s a quick recap of the week that was:
Day 1 – Set Three Goals – The first day of the course was dedicated to setting three goals that we need to achieve to make our blog successful (the definition of success is different for everyone so goals are set differently too.) My blogging goals have been posted here.
Day 2 – Audit Your Brand – Having a look at the design of your blog from the header image to widgets and making sure it is consistent and conveys what you want it to convey. I had a look at my blog and the social media sites I was promoting my blog at and started to fix a few kinks that affected the look of my blog. I am not entirely done but getting there. Overall, I am quite happy with the way it is looking so far.
Day 3 – Getting Read All Over – This meant making your blog tablet and mobile friendly for people on the go. This was a learning experience for me because the header I had previously designed wasn’t exactly laptop, tablet or mobile-friendly. I received so many great suggestions on how to fix it but something wasn’t working. I realised the mistake I was making when one of the site engineers Alex suggested that I use the “Site Logo” feature in Customizing instead of the “Header” function. This worked perfectly and now my blog is friendly and kind to all devices. 🙂
Day 4 – Give ‘Em What They Want – I – This included conducting a simple stats analysis to find out what kind of posts, tags, topics are more popular and which days of the week or time of the day are we likely to receive more views. From the brief analysis I conducted, I found that when I post anything during midnight hours or thereafter, (I am from the timezone GMT +4), I am likely to get more views.
Day 5 – Driving Traffic To Your Archives – Making sure that your older content does not sink into a black hole and gets some lovin’. This includes strategically linking old but related content in your new posts, adding the Archives and Categories widgets, activating the Related Posts bar which shows related content at the end of each post et cetera.
I am really enjoying this course and have learnt so much already. Also I’ve met some wonderful bloggers through it. Looking forward to the second week. 🙂