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Every Beginner Should Learn These Blogging Tips and Tricks

Every Beginner Should Learn These Blogging Tips and Tricks
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Before we start, we need to answer a simple question: what is a blog? A blog is a kind of online log or journal, where you can post almost anything you want. Blogging today is easier than ever. You can use a blog to promote your business or post your creative content; anything from text, videos, to images, drawn or taken with a camera. A blog usually covers a single topic or closely related topics, so you can write in a more serious tone, or casually. An important thing for a blog is that it’s frequently updated and that it has plenty of useful information or fun content that visitors will enjoy. Here, we’ll mention some of the more important things you should have in mind when starting your very own blog.

Choose a topic you know and make it interesting for visitors

You probably already know what it is that you want to blog about. Keep that in mind and try to brainstorm a little. You must choose a topic that is wide enough, so you don’t run out of things to write about, but at the same time not too wide, because you don’t want to lose focus and bore people. You must develop your idea, do research before starting, and check whether similar blogs already exist. You should also think of something else, funny or entertaining, that you could incorporate into your blog to keep things interesting. Remember that you must update your blog frequently, preferably on a daily basis, because if you neglect it, the number of visitors will begin to drop. Many blogs with great starting ideas have failed, only because their owners forgot to check in regularly, or they posted too much for their visitors to keep up. You must find that golden mark and stick to it.

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If you are an entrepreneur and want to blog about your business to attract visitors you can stick to industry-related topics, but do not keep it too professional, and try and be subtle yet efficient when advertising your products or services, as the focus needs to be on facts, news and tips relevant to your niche. Even those of you who just need a creative outlet may want to consider the possibility of taking up blogging full-time in the future and monetizing your blog. So, if you have that creative spark and a good degree of knowledge and hands on experience in a particular field, creating your own blog and writing about it is a great way to organize your thoughts and help others out.

Create a beautiful blog that people will love to read

Once you’ve decided to take up blogging, whether it’s just as a hobby or you hope to make it your job one day, you’ll need to set up shop. There are different ways of going about this, depending on the amount of effort and money you are willing to put into the project. First of all, there are some websites that will get you well equipped for starting a successful blog. You can use the most popular ones, such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com, which offer several options for beginners, and let you control the content that is posted there by you, or by your visitors. You can build a good looking website, and it will cost you nothing, but of course there is always an option to do some sort of upgrade, which will allow you even more control over it. If you are planning on doing some serious work, sooner or later you might want to start thinking about buying an upgrade. Some free packages will let you choose a theme, different font types, adjust the content for mobile phones, and let you choose your unique address, usually ending with a suffix .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com, of course.

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It is important to mention that, while free, some blog providers will place advertisements in your posts, so that your visitors will be forced to view them. If you want to avoid that, you can always buy the upgrades we’ve mentioned, and switch to a better package. Some of the improved features that come with these packages include a custom site address, increased disc space, no ads, premium themes, and improved support via live chat, email, or direct phone call.

Focus on keeping the quality of your posts high without sacrificing frequency

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Hands typing on keyboard

    We’ve already touched briefly on the importance of uploading content regularly, but it is also important to note that it can be easy to let the quality of that content slip, or veer off into subjects that your readers don’t particularly care about. That’s when you lose traffic and even some loyal fans. To avoid this, it’s important to not compromise quality for quantity. You can still remain consistent, while slightly reducing your post frequency.

    For example, you can start putting out content every other day or twice a week instead of every day. You can also have shorter posts to cover these little gaps between big chunks of popular content, and you can play around with different formats. Playing with formats simply means that, say, once a week you create a cool infographic, funny chart, or photoshopped picture.

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    Fridays could be Q & A days, Mondays you could do some video material, and you could always switch between different types of content, from informative, to funny and sarcastic, to personal. A fitness blogger may write a bit about motivation, do product reviews, answer some questions, do tutorials and how to’s, have both exercise and nutrition segments and give some first-hand examples from personal experience. There’s a lot you can do to keep things interesting without sacrificing quality or moving too far away from the type of content that is most popular.

    Hit the social media and look for ways of monetizing your blog

    When a website is made, be sure to post a link of your blog on your Facebook page, or simply put it in your signature area when sending emails or posting on forums. This way you will be able to spread the word about the blog and get people interested. You can also get friends and family involved through social media to get some help attracting visitors when you first start out. As your blog grows, i.e. you start getting more and more visitors, you can start thinking about monetizing it and making blogging your full-time career, or at least making some extra money doing what you love. Both sites we’ve mentioned above are great for a beginner, but, if you ever think about expanding, you will need your own personal domain name, and some proper hosting solution provided by a professional company.  This way you can start establishing yourself as a renowned blogger in your chosen niche.

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    On a hosted website, you can add your own ads, sell merchandise and make money for yourself. However, it’s not just about the money – when people come to your website to read your thoughts on a regular basis, it can make you feel like you’re truly making a difference and contributing to society in your own small way. A lot of successful blogs that earn a decent amount of money started out as little more than an avenue for the blogger to voice his or her opinions, give some advice or just as a way for them to put their thoughts into words. If you chose to take this rout, you need to be careful when choosing your provider, as there can be many hidden costs, and don’t be fooled by their ads, as nothing is really free, or unlimited. It is recommended that you use specialized sites that rate the most popular hosting services and do a thorough review. If you are really serious about it, think about web hosting solutions as early as possible. Once all is set, be persistent, and with a lot of effort, and a little bit of good luck, your blog will be a success.

    There are a bunch of little things you need to consider before becoming a serious blogger, but when all is said and done there is only one big piece of advice you should take from all of this – start writing about what you know and enjoy while striving to be fun and informative, and keep writing and researching every day.

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    Ivan Dimitrijevic

    Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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    Published on July 27, 2021

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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    During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

    But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

    Put the Pro in Professional

    After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

    1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

    The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

    Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

    2. Dress the Part

    While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

    Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

    For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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    Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

    3. Stage Your Workspace

    Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

    Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

    4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

    Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

    Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

    Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

    Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

    5. Arrive on Time

    In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

    Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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    6. Turn on Your Video

    Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

    If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

    Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

    7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

    Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

    Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

    Attend to the Pesky Details

    8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

    With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

    Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

    9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

    Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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    Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

    10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

    As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

    Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

    Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

    Talking Has a Time and a Place

    11. Chat Appropriately

    Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

    At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

    12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

    The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

    Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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    13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

    In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

    Manage Yourself

    14. Minimize Distractions

    While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

    Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

    15. Save Snacking for Later

    Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

    However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

    Final Thoughts

    Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

    Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

    Reference

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