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10 Useful Blogging Tips I Wish I Knew Earlier

10 Useful Blogging Tips I Wish I Knew Earlier

Blogging is an increasingly popular hobby and profession for people around the world. To people who have been blogging for a while, it can be agreed that running a blog is as rewarding as it is challenging. No matter how experienced you are at it, there are still little things that can be improved and also little things that you may have forgotten to do over time.

If you started a blog without taking classes or reading the ‘instruction manual’ beforehand, there may have been some really useful blogging tips you wish you knew earlier.

Here are just a few of those tips:

1. Interact with other blogs

Comments
    If it interests you, make sure to leave a comment!

    It is a little known fact that interacting with other blogs is an incredibly good way to gain exposure for a starting blog. It not only shows that you respect other peoples’ work, but it also allows you to build relationships you might need in the future.

    This is also a great way to gain ideas for content on your own blog.

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    2. Good-quality profile photos are a must

    Profile Picture

      Profile photos may not have seemed relevant at first however it is actually a significant part of your blogging identity. Whether you choose to upload an avatar, logo or a legitimate photo of yourself, it is worth taking some time and consideration into its quality and relevance.

      The profile photo can be the ‘brand image’ of your site, therefore you want to make it memorable enough to make an influence on your readers.

      3. You need to name your photos

      name photos

        If you upload photos that are originally yours, for example, your own photographs, you really should name them. This way, the photo will be recognized as yours in search engines. Just like you shouldn’t use other peoples’ photos without permission, people should need to acknowledge you as the owners of the photo.

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        4. Get people to comment

        engaging comments

          It is extremely important to engage with your audience. It keeps them interested in you and the content you write about. For starters, ask your readers their opinions of your posts. Another way to interact with your audience is through the addition of polls and surveys. They might even give some helpful suggestions for future posts and things you need to improve on. You can never receive too much feedback.

          5. Monitor and manage your comments

          manage comments

            Any blog post out there can fall victim to spam comments. Nothing makes your posts unattractive quite like spam comments about Viagra or weight loss pills. As an administrator, it is not uncommon for you to have the ability to monitor and moderate the comments made on your sites. Any comment that appears to be a spam comment should be rejected. Online advice is readily available for those who need help managing spam comments.

            6. Your sidebar can be messy

            Category
              Understand how to use ‘Parent’ categories

              Although there is a lot that you want to include in that very important sidebar, having unorganized content in that one place can make it look messy and confusing to readers. There a few possible ways to reduce confusion. One very useful tip is organizing your categories into more concise topics. For example, rather than having ‘Health’ and ‘Mental Health’ as two separate categories, it might be more attractive to have ‘Health’ as the parent category and ‘Mental Health’ as a sub-category. Alternatively, you could turn it into a drop-box instead.

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              7. Headlines are important

              Headliner
                Good headlines appear in search engines more effectively

                It’s your blog and you can write however you want. It is worth noting however that although you might be going for a more casual approach to writing, you should still put a significant amount of thought into the headlines of each post. Your headline is the first thing that people see while they are skimming your blog posts for interesting material. The determining factor of your blog’s success involves being able to capture and hold readers’ attention. The headline is where this begins.

                It pays to remember that your headlines are what appear on Google search engines, so this also increases your chances of getting discovered on a broader scale.

                8. Ensure the layout is mobile friendly

                mobile site
                  Your site looks different on different devices

                  People don’t just browse blogs on laptops and PCs nowadays. Blogging is mobile, on portable devices such as phones and tablets. It comes as no surprise that it is now essential to ensure that your blog has a mobile-friendly layout. Fortunately, blogging sites such as WordPress tend to provide free themes with a mobile-friendly feature. When editing the layout of your blog, it might be worth having a look at how your site will look on mobile phones and tablets, just to make sure it doesn’t look unorganized.

                  9. Set a schedule

                  Calendar

                    Since blogging can be done virtually wherever and whenever, it is easy to fall into a false sense of security that you will be able to generate content within expected time frames. The best tip to handle this is to set your own working hours and deadlines. This ensures that articles get written on time, preventing lack of content, and also helps you manage your time and avoid burn-out (blogging can be exhausting).

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                    10. Revisit old ideas

                    notepad

                      Maybe there was a topic you meant to write about before, however it fell through or you just forgot about it. You may not know that it is actually extremely useful to keep a list of these failed ideas. You might be able to gain inspiration from them when you encounter a block in your ideas for future articles. And remember that just because it didn’t really work out then, it doesn’t mean it isn’t going to work out in the future. It is recommended that you keep some kind of blogger journal to keep track of article ideas.

                      Featured photo credit: Paolo Valdemarin via flickr.com

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                      Elizabeth Andal

                      Elizabeth is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips and lessons learned in life on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on April 17, 2019

                      10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

                      10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

                      What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

                      Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

                      They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

                      1. Communication Skills

                      Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

                      To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

                      Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

                      Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

                      After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

                      2. Flexibility

                      Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

                      Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

                      Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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                      Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

                      3. Being a Team Player

                      Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

                      What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

                      This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

                      Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

                      4. Positive Mental Attitude

                      There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

                      Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

                      Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

                      It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

                      Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

                      5. A Strong Work Ethic

                      People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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                      If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

                      Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

                      • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
                      • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
                      • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
                      • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

                      For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

                      6. Public Speaking

                      Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

                      Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

                      If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

                      For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

                      Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                      7. Integrity

                      From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

                      • Always doing what you say you will do
                      • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

                      …even when no one is around to check up on you.

                      There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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                      Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

                      8. Managing Your Time

                      Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

                      A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

                      Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

                      Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

                      These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

                      9. Assertiveness

                      In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

                      • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
                      • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
                      • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
                      • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

                      Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

                      How do you use this information for yourself?

                      It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

                      Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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                      How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

                      10. Creative Thinking

                      LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

                      Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

                      How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

                      Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

                      These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

                      You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      Final Thoughts

                      The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

                      So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

                      The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

                      More Articles to Help Advance Your Career

                      Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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