Thursday, May 25, 2017

The four important aspects which I consider to be the most important of them all. Obviously we want you to produce good content, and read your opinions on products/thoughts but what is it which draws us towards us to a blog post in the first place and why we continue to read through it all? This is only what I think are the important factors and what makes me click on posts, obviously this may not be the same opinion for everyone.

Post cover photos
The cover photos you use for posts is so important because it is one of the ways which will drive viewers to read that post. If it's a bad quality image, they may not click on the post. I tend to take lots of photos on one day so I have a few ready for posts in the future. What's the harm in spending a few hours in one day for taking lots of photos so you have some lined up for future posts?

Title to a post
Another crucial factor is the title to a post. You want it to stand out, you want to drive people towards it and make them want to click on the post, so how can you do that?
- Think of obscure titles
- Include key words (important, ultimate, crucial, etc)
- Mention what the topic of the post is
- Make it sound exciting/different to others
- Or just get straight down to the point
- Avoid clickbait!!

Style of writing 
The style of writing will vary for everyone, but I always think it's been important to write how YOU would write. Don't pretend to be this perfect writer, or act as a professional writer. That then means you're pretending to be someone you're not and your whole blog isn't truly you. Be unique and stand out by writing the way you normally would. I tend to write how I would speak (depending on what sort of post it is I guess) because then people will start to understand what sort of person I am. 

Linking to other posts
Include a few relevant links to other posts as another way of increasing traffic to your other posts. Trust me, they work. This will allow readers to make their way around your blog and hopefully ending in following you on your social media (oh look, there's an example of how to link other posts in a post).

What do you think are important for a blog post to be a success?


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Travelling solo does have a few negatives to it. The sense of loneliness can creep up along the way which can sometimes leave you feeling a little on the downside. Obviously you will feel lonely at some point on the journey but there are ways to avoid it as much as possible.


Distract yourself by staying occupied
Sitting and staying inside at your accommodation will not help the feeling of loneliness, it will make it considerably worse. If you find yourself with a few hours in the day to spare, take a walk around, go shopping, find new friends at your accommodation and make plans with them. There's nothing worse than finding yourself stuck at your accommodation with nothing to do and no one to talk to.

Choose hostels for your accommodation 
Hostels are the go to accommodation option for travellers because they're cheap, sociable and travel-friendly. This should be a no-questioner for you if you're travelling solo, especially if it's your first trip, as you'll likely meet people within 5 minutes from arriving. The social atmosphere all around will never leave you feeling lonely. There is always something going on in hostels and someone always around to talk to, even if that is staff, they're usually just as, if not friendlier and welcoming.

Make friends with fellow travellers 
You're not alone in this. There will be other travellers making this journey alone which you'll bound to run in to along the way. Take this opportunity to connect with one another and join forces. I'm not saying you have to be best friends with them but take a day tour out or have dinner with them in the evenings. You'll be surprised with the amount of travellers you meet along the way. Even at airports you are likely to run into someone and get a conversation going.

Try new experiences/take part in tours
Step out of your comfort zone and try new and unique experiences which you hadn't even thought of going before. Fill those gap of doing nothing in your travels with endless fun and more adventures. It will end in a good storytelling and you probably won't be feeling lonely during these times.

Have you ever felt lonely on your travels? How do you deal with it?


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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Which lifestyle you ask? Where you go our clubbing and drinking 3 nights a week, get home at 5am or later and wake up with terrible hangovers...that life and I'm over it now. The past 2 months I've been alcohol free and it feels great and I DON'T miss it. To be honest, I've been disliking alcohol for about a year now, I have to be in the right mood to get ready to go out for the night. Apart from the odd cocktail now and then (because I can't say no to a delicious cosmo), I could go on with my life without it.

For the first year of university, it actually amazes me how much I drank each week. My friends and I would usually go clubbing or drinking at a local pub about 3 or 4 times a week. I know what you're thinking WOAH. And I look back now asking myself how did I do that to myself and let my body become uncontrollable over alcohol consumption. A lot of people I know think to themselves "well they told me first year doesn't count towards your degree so we can slack off"...and occasionally I would think this but I still tried hard, just not as hard as I could have. It is really bad that 1. your first year may not count towards your degree, and 2. you let this go to your head and think you can get away with not doing much work for the year. You will soon realise how much of a mistake this was when you go into you second year of university.

With some recent changes to my life and realisations, I've decided I need to really focus on myself for now and learn to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to wake up each morning feeling fresh after a good night's sleep, which I am really struggling to get at the moment, become active in the day even if it's just for a short walk, have my 3 meals a day (which I am very bad at doing) and finish the day feeling good.

I say all of the above is what I want to do and I WILL become part of that lifestyle, but I find it really hard to do that here in China. Not because the food is unhealthy or it's expensive here, but because of where I live. My accommodation is university dorms and I live in a 4 person flat with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen. However, that kitchen is basically a sink, so not really a kitchen at all. Therefore, I can't cook my own dinners, and have to either go out to restaurants each night (which is cheap so that's not a problem) or buy street food (which is soooo good and cheap but not the healthiest of options). I tend to go for street food because it is so affordable for what you get, it's right by the dorms so I can easily just run out in my jogger bottoms in between work breaks, and IT'S SO TASTY!

So that's my recent lifestyle change...bye bye alcohol, hello healthilicious life! This won't properly start until I'm back in England, back home and reunited with lots of beautiful food (which will all be nice and healthy). It will be much easier because I will have more control over what I can eat as I will have a kitchen again WOOHOOO! Also, I'm now lactose intolerance if you didn't already know (think I've hidden it in a post somewhere before) so that'll definitely change my diet. I'm not properly sticking to it here in China because I find it quite hard to (even though it should be relatively easy), also I went to find lactose free products and damnnnnn they are expensive!!

Have you ever had a thought to change your lifestyle?


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Saturday, May 20, 2017

This is based on my experiences and people I know. Obviously it may not always be the same for every university as they vary a lot but often the university experiences you hear about are quite similar in some aspects.


All your student loan will go on accommodation
This may depend on your student loan and how much your accommodation is, obviously, but it's likely that the majority, if not all of your student loan will be spent on your accommodation. This is mainly why I never get too hyped up over student loan payment days because I know the next day it will be going out of my bank.

You will probably only be in university up to 3 days a week
They say you will have a lot of work over the next 3/4 years, or how ever many years your course is, but the majority of that work is independent study meaning your year will most likely be 30% lectures, 70% library. I have been unlucky (or maybe lucky in a way as at least it's using the £9000 a year well) that I have had lectures everyday each year so far, maybe they'll give me a day off in my final year. 

Lectures can start at after 5pm
This can be good/bad for you. Good if you like to have a lie in or focus better in the evenings, bad if you like to relax in the evenings and have dinner at a reasonable time. In my second year I had a lecture starting from 7pm and finishing and 9pm, luckily we were able to get this changed. 

Halls are a 5 minute walk from university, when it's actually 30 minutes to your actual lecture building 
They may be a 5 minute walk from university, but university is massive so that may be to the closest building, which is probably irrelevant to you because none of your lectures/classes are in that building. I've always had at least 20 minutes to walk to class, even when I was in halls it was 20 minutes to one of my buildings. Be prepared to walk a little further than they've told you. 

Once you're behind on work, you'll forever be behind on work
The work is intense and 24/7 so you may find yourself fall behind in the semester which will then stick until that semester is over. They give you assignments every week without realising you have 1203383 other things to do already. It is extreme sometimes but you'll soon adjust to it (maybe). 

The years at university go by so fast
Make the most of them. Make friends you'll have for life, jump at opportunities you probably won't get given again, step out of your comfort zone a few it ALL and have the BEST time. I have had a few regrets already during my university journey so I'm going to make sure I make the most of it during my final year.

What surprised you most about university?


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

I'm taking this summer to chill out and relax. I haven't had a summer where I've been in the UK the whole time for a longgggg time, about 10 years I think, so it will be weird but quite nice not having to pack or get ready for a holiday (having said that, I wouldn't mind a holiday haha).
I said I can't wait to chill out and relax this summer but that's not exactly what my whole summer entails. Sadly, I do have a job to go back to for the rest of July, but I'm free from it the whole of August as I am planning on quitting my job as a lifeguard, after three years of working as one. This means I have August to sit back and enjoy a quiet summer before the chaos of my final year at university kicks in.

Besides all the above, I do have a few exciting things to look forward to when I move back to the UK. I can't wait to be reunited with all my friends and family, be back at my home in Wiltshire, embracing the countryside life again and having summer nights enjoying cocktails and BBQs. What other things do I have to look forward to?

The day after I get back (so I'll be majorly jet lagged but that isn't stopping me), my friend has her 21st birthday party, which was actually in January but she wanted to celebrate it with everyone, including her friends and family so it's her birthday part 2 haha. This means that less than 24 hours after touching down in the UK, I'll be reunited with all my friends back home. Even though I may be a little exhausted for it, I cannot wait.

The following week, it's my sisters graduation. More time for celebrations!! She goes to Hull university so the family will be driving up for a night or two and watching her get that Chinese degree she's worked so hard to get for the last 4 years. It will then be me the following year, how scary is that thought?!

Come August, it's the month of my Dads, my best friends and my birthday...what a great month that is. It's not just my birthday, but my 21st birthday. OMG I'M NEARLY 21!! My best friend and I usually celebrate our birthdays together so we are in between planning for a 21st party that we'll remember (hopefully it will be a success). Either that or we will escape to London for a weekend or possibly Cornwall.

More things I'm planning on doing lots of this summer:
  • Road Trips - who doesn't love a good road trip, and my sister and I have planned a few down to the coast possibly. I'm really eager to get down to Lulworth Cove which looks gorgeous to visit in the Summer. 
  • Evening BBQs - This is no surprise as it's a must for every summer to have plenty of BBQs. It is one of my favourite parts about summer, you can't beat BBQ food. 
  • Countryside Walks - I've missed having the countryside on my doorstep this year so I'm going to make the most out of it this summer, as I always do, and go on lots of walks, taking my Nans dog with me.

What do your summer plans include?


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

There are certain features a blog needs in order to help maintain its traffic and success. It's important to help viewers stay connected with your blog and having these features will help achieve that.

People want to know who's behind the writing and making of a blog. Share something about you and what your blog is about in the sidebar of your blog. Include a picture so they get an idea of who you are. Don't be afraid to show yourself to the world and let them know it's your blog.

If a viewer starts to have an interest in a blog post and the content you're sharing, they'll probably want to find and follow your social media and other ways of keeping posted when you publish new content. They also may take an interest in your day to day life outside of your blog. For them to do this, they will be on the hunt for those social media buttons. Instead of making it a challenge for them and decreasing the chances of them giving up, make it easy for views to locate these buttons and have them on your blog multiple times. Usually a blog would have them on the header, in the side bar and/or in the footer, now you have no excuse. Add those social media buttons to your blog and start engaging with your viewers outside of your blog.

This is probably the most important aspect towards driving traffic to a post. Make the heading stand out by including key words to what the post is about, make it obvious to what sort of post it is (a list, guide, tutorial, review, etc.), and add in descriptive words to catch someone's eye, for example: instead of using 'Blog Design Must-Haves', change it to 'Crucial Blog Design Must-Haves'.
Tip: Avoid clickbait! Although it may work the first few times, people will notice your tactics and it may start affecting your blog views.

Everyone loves a blog where it's easy to find posts through well-labelled categories instead of endlessly scrolling through pages of posts until they find one which interests them. Stop making it difficult for the readers and add categories to your blog. It also makes it easier for yourself to find a post which you may be looking to promote or update, and also brings a little more organisation and structure to your blog.

Keep it simple and neat by using standard fonts, like Times New Roman, which is the font I use throughout my blog. Using a wacky-looking font can make your blog look busy, messy and complicated. This will instantly put readers off as they won't be able to focus on reading a post, even if the content is really well written and interesting. Use easy to read fonts and keep it at a suitable size.

This isn't only for your viewers to know which posts have been favourited amongst other viewers, but also for you to see which posts and what kind of posts are doing well for you. It's easier checking this way rather than going behind the scenes and looking through your post statistics to find the ones which have been the most successful.

As well as a Popular Post section, you should include a featured area where you can promote your latest or an old post. This is important to have as it is promoting the post itself and gaining views without you having to promote it manually.

You don't need a fancy camera and equipment to achieve this. Most bloggers I know use their phones for photos and they're beautiful. Blog photography is crucial as it represents part of your blog look. Show off your blog photos and increase the size; don't hide them within the words of your post, we want to view them clearly.

Hope this helps some of you. 
What blog design must-haves do you consider as crucial?


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