A New Way Of Planning

Getting sick of my 2019-prep blog posts? Too bad, I’m pulling content out of my rear while I prep for 2019.

A New Way of Planning | Blogging | Blog Posts | Creative writing | RachelPoli.com

I’ve actually decided to do something a little different for next year. I always try to stay a month ahead in my blogging – sometimes it works and other times too many things get in the way and I end up behind. So, I figured I might try to plan a little differently for 2019.

I’m still going to try my best to stay ahead of the game next year, but instead of just doing the planning a month in advance, I’m going to try to plan the whole year.

Sounds like a lot, I know.

But I think if I brainstorm enough content ideas and themes, I can come up with blog post ideas along the way and have the ability to write them a month in advance – or, at least the ones that can be written in advance.

My calendar planner goes from June to July, so I won’t be able to get my 2019-2020 planner (wow, that’s weird to write) until May or so, but that’s what notebooks are for, right? Or, at the very least, I can plan the first six months of the year.

I already know some content changes I’ll be making to the blog, which I’ve already talked a little about. You know, more personal than educational with writing, reading, and blogging. I’ll talk more about why I’m changing that in a blog post in January.

Still, I have a lot of ideas and new features that I need to plan out and organize. I think looking at the year as a whole and getting a basic idea of how I want each month to go will be ideal.

How are you planning for 2019? How do you prep your blog posts? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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June 2018 Goals

2018 June Goals | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

5 Saturdays in June mean I’m planning on reading and writing 5 book reviews this month. I’m also hoping to get ahead in my read this month as well and go a bit into July’s reading list. To keep up with what I’m currently reading, you can check out my GoodReads and Reading List.

Writing

I’ll be playing catch up in June. I didn’t get as much writing as I planned to last month. So, my goals for this month will be pretty much the same as May’s.

1. Write Brave – This is my next story for Wattpad. I was supposed to write the first draft in May and edit it this month, but I never got around to it. So I’ll be writing the first draft this month. Hopefully it’ll still be out by the end of July, but I don’t want to rush it.

2. Rewrite George Florence & The Perfect Alibi – I was supposed to edit the next draft this month, but I didn’t finish rewriting the current draft last month. So, I’ll be working on that again.

If you read my Writing Update from a few days ago, you’ll know I’m putting Perplexed on the back burner for right now. It’s not coming along as I would like and I might do something different with it. So, I’ll work on it as inspiration strikes, but I’m not going to make it a priority for right now.

Instead, I’ll be working on a secret project that I’ll reveal to my Patrons on Patreon tomorrow.

Blogging

My blog posts for the month of June are pretty much all set. I’ll be finishing up this month, getting a slight head start on July, as well as doing some blog maintenance. I have many old posts I want to update, I have to reorganize my categories and such… there’s a lot to do.

What are your plans for June? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Wrap Up: March 2018

2018 March Wrap Up | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Reading

Remember at the beginning of the year I said I wasn’t going to buy any books until April so I could go through what I have on my shelves already? Well, I read two total. I’ve kept up with my reading but it was all author requests. I read two from my shelf and haven’t even posted the reviews for them yet.

I’ve read some good books so I’m not complaining. Be sure to check out my Reading List and Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading and my reviews.

Writing

I got a lot of editing done this month. I worked on George Florence and edited Take Over, which will be published on Wattpad in April. I’ve been doing a lot of prep for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve also done some handwriting which has been refreshing.

Blogging

I got my blog posts for April done and out of the way. I’ll be going on vacation again and with Camp, I don’t want blogging to eat up too much of my time. It’s going to be a hard balance enough as it is. I’ve also planned May and got some posts done for that as well. I feel good!

Overall

March was a lot of prep because I realized April may kill me. So I got a lot done! It was good.

Posts To Remember

1. 8 Types Of Blog Posts That Get Attention
2. 23 Places To Promote Your Blog Posts
3. Blogging Tools That Really Support You And Your Blog

How did March treat you? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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5 Forgetful Blog Admin Tasks You Should Remember To Do Periodically

Running a blog isn’t just all about writing posts and creating content for your readers. There’s a lot more involved and that’s tedious, admin tasks. There’s a lot of maintenance involved when it comes to owning a blog and, unless you hire someone to help you, it’s just you and the computer screen. It’s not always fun and it can get overwhelming, but you’ll be glad you did it in the long run. Here are just some blog admin tasks you should remember to do periodically.

5 Forgetful Admin Tasks To Do Periodically | Admin | Blogging | Website Maintenance | RachelPoli.com

1. Check Spam Comments

I get so many spam comments on a daily basis. Of course, WordPress has a certain plug-in that catches it all for me so I don’t even notice half the time. Still, if I click on the “comments” tab I sometimes notice that I have 100 or comments marked as spam.

There is an “empty spam” button which works wonders and can save a lot of time, but I always go through every single comment before I click that button.

The reason I do this is because some real comments get marked as spam for a number of reasons. Reasons such as if they’re commenting as a guest or have posted a link or two within the comments. This marks it as spam because WordPress isn’t sure who they are or what they’re linking to. Not to mention some of the spam comments are just funny to read because they’re ridiculous.

2. Check Hyperlinks Within Posts

Sometimes old posts change or you switch some things around. Every once in a while, you want to check old hyperlinks and make sure the links still lead you to the right place. It’s always good to check the hyperlinks right after publishing a post to make sure you didn’t make a typo while creating the link and to make sure the link actually went through. Better yet, preview your post before hitting the publish button and make sure everything is doing its job.

3. Check Referrers And Links Clicked On The Stats Page

Check more links! You can see referrers, or how people came across your page, and you can also see what links people click through your blog. The other day I saw a link that looked unfamiliar to me. Someone had clicked on it through my blog so I clicked it to see where it led to. I recognized the place and left it alone, but for some reason the URL was different.

You want to check referrers as well to see what kinds of sites are bringing traffic to your blog. If it’s other blogs, be sure to check it out and return the favor.

4. Keep Your Theme Up To Date

Your theme is the first thing people see when they get onto your blog. Make sure the color scheme is easy on the eyes, the layout isn’t clustered together or too messy, and you want the overall blog to be easy to navigate. I’ve changed my blog theme three times in the six years I’ve had this blog. I personally think I’ve improved each time I’ve updated my theme.

This helps with branding as well. Even if you don’t have any fancy logos or headers, if you make the theme enough of your own, people will instantly recognize your blog when they see a post of yours shared on social media.

5. Keep Categories Updated

I don’t know about you, but I’m always adding new categories. Of course, there are some posts I wrote long ago that could definitely fit into those certain categories. So I sometimes spend my time going through old posts and adding them to relevant categories that I have now. It’s long and tedious, but it’ll help your readers (and yourself) in the long run.

This will bring new readers to old posts and give them a purpose again. It also helps you stay organized and makes you blog look neat and organized as well.

What are some admin tasks you love or hate to do? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Why Guest Posting Is Important For You And Your Readers [Blogging]

Guest posting is a fun way to promote your own blog as well as reach out to other bloggers, potential readers, and get to know other bloggers and friends. It’s the easiest way to make connections and to show off some cool writing, whether it’s yours or someone else.

Why Guest Posting Is So Important | Guest Posts | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Why You Should Guest Post On Other Blogs

If you want to gain more of an audience or just share more of your writing around, search for blogs that write in your niche and check out their guidelines. You may have a piece that might fit well with their blog or you might have to try to write something that caters to their blog’s wants and needs.

Guest posting will allow more exposure for your writing and your blog. A new audience my find their way to your blog and you’ll have other people liking and promoting your work. You have something to share that no one else can, so you might as well spread it around.

If you guest post on someone else’s blog, be sure to follow their blog and read some of their posts first. Get familiar with their work and the writers who run it. Share their posts and help them out in return for them allowing you some posting space.

Why You Should Allow Guest Posts On Your Blog

You should allow guests on your blog for the same reason you should guest on other blogs. You’re paying it forward by allowing some people to have the spotlight for a bit. You’re helping to promote them and, in return, they’re helping promote you as well. Readers from their blog are going to come over to your blog to check out what their favorite writer wrote.

Also, remember I said you have something to share that no one else can? That goes for everyone. Allowing new voices on your blog will give your audience a bit of variety and allow them to learn new things through your blog and get to know others as well.

Do you typically guest post on other blogs? Do you allow guest posters on your blog? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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How To Build A Solid Relationship With Your Readers

It’s easy to get carried away with writing content, promoting it, and repeat. Of course, one of the best ways to get people to really enjoy you and your blog and to keep coming back for more content, is if they know you’re a pleasant person. They want to get to know you. They want to see who is behind the mastermind of their favorite blog.

How to build a solid relationship with your readers | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

How To Build A Solid Relationship With Your Readers

Respond To Comments

Reply to any and all comments you get on your blog posts. Some you may get a lot, some you may not get that many. You may skip a couple of days and have a ton of notifications, but be sure to read through each and every one of them and respond. Even if it’s a simple “thank you” people will be happy to know you took the time to read and reply to their comment, to acknowledge them. Maybe conversations can start this way and you can make some great friends and connections.

Respond To Any Social Media Shares Or Comments

If someone shares your post through Twitter or anywhere else, reply to them and say thank you. If they comment on your stuff through social media, reply to them just as you would the comments on your blog. Again, you’ll make new friends and connections.

Check Out Their Blogs And Social Media

A great way to return the favor is to check out their blog and/or social media. Comment on a couple of their posts, share something from their blog, or follow them. They’ll thank you in return and be more likely to keep in touch and come back to your blog.

Engage Your Audience In Your Blog Posts

There are many ways to engage your audience within your blog posts. You can use various “calls to action” to comment or throw in a poll and ask their opinion on something. Every August I write an interaction short story where I post a part each week and ask my readers to vote on what they want to happen next for the following week. It’s a lot of fun for everyone.

How do you create a relationship with your readers? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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23 Places To Promote Your Blog Posts

What do you do when you’ve published your blog post? You have to spread the word about it!

Your blog posts can reach so many people outside of your followers circle, outside of the WordPress circle. You just need to know the right places to promote to. It doesn’t have to be every single place listed below, but you want to make sure you spread the word well enough.

Also, don’t forget to return the favor when others share your post. Share other posts as well. Spread the love.

23 Places to Promote Blog Posts | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

23 Places To Promote Your Blog Posts

  • Email your subscribers on your newsletter
  • Twitter
  • Your Facebook page
  • Facebook groups that allow post promotion
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Your LinkedIn
  • Relevant LinkedIn groups
  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest group boards
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Goodreads
  • YouTube
  • Do a round up post for your blog
  • Link in your email signature
  • Join link ups or link parties on other blogs
  • Guest post on other blogs
  • Ask your readers to share the post
  • Comment on other blogs, share their posts (some will return the favor)
  • Include your blog URL in your username when you comment on other blogs

How do you typically promote your blog posts? Have I missed any places? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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The Pros And Cons Of Having An Email List [Blogging]

One thing so many people say about blogging is that you should have an email list. It allows more people to follow you if they enjoy your content and you can give them exclusive stuff through the newsletters.

People say you have to have one if you want to be serious about blogging. If you have any products to sell like an ebook or a web course or an etsy shop, people say having a newsletter is the best way to go about it.

Of course, I’ve seen successful people, and blogs, without a newsletter. I hopped on the newsletter train fairly recently, failed at it, then re-did the whole thing. Of course, I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s a learning curve and honestly, it can kind of feel like you’re running another blog.

So… do you really need a newsletter?

The pros and cons of having an email list for your blog | blogging | email list | newsletter | RachelPoli.com

Traffic

PRO

You can email the people on your list with updates and even throw in some links of blog posts you published that month or week or however often you email them or post. They’ll be likely to click on a link here and there. It’ll bring a little extra traffic to your blog. Maybe they’ll stick around the site for a little while and even share a post or two gaining you more of an audience.

CON

Most often than not, if someone is subscribing to your newsletter, it’s because they already follow your blog. If they already follow your blog, they’ll get a notification in their email anyway or see it on their feed on the WordPress homepage. They don’t need to see the same blog post a bunch of times.

Incentives

PRO

People say it’s best to have a “lead magnet” for your email list. This means you’ll give your subscribers something just for signing up. This could be a worksheet, access to a webinar, or even a coupon at your Etsy shop. This is a great idea because if people really like what you have to offer, they’ll sign up and be eager for anything you have up your sleeve.

CON

Not everyone sticks around. You can run a giveaway on your blog and say they need to subscriber to the newsletter in order to enter for a chance to win. Win or lose, as soon as that giveaway is over, people are going to unsubscribe.

Should you have an email list for your blog? | Blogging | Newsletter | Email list | RachelPoli.com

Time

PRO

An email list is like another promotion for your blog and its posts along with your Etsy shop or ebook or anything you have to offer. You can email an exclusive list of people ahead of time and say, “Guess what?” before it even happens, before you share it on all your social media. People will look forward to it and get excited.

CON

It takes up more of your time. Some emails are going to be longer than others and have more information in it than others. It’s almost like taking care of another blog because you need to keep track of the stats, have interesting and informative content, and sometimes it can eat up some of your time as you design the template, get it all set up, and write the actual emails.

Schedule

PRO

Like your blog, it’s better to have a schedule for your emails. It allows your readers to know when to expect something from you. This can be once a week, once a month, or when ever you feel the need.

CON

You can’t please everyone. If you space your newsletter out too much, some people might not remember they subscribed to you and may not recognize the email. If you email too often, people may get annoyed and unsubscribe. Or, they may just not read it and delete the email. Then it’s kind of a waste for both of you.

What are your thoughts on having an email list? Are you Yay or Nay? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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How To Create Graphics For Your Blog Posts [Blogging]

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If you’ve been blogging for a while, or even if you just recently started, I’m sure you’ve heard people say that having a graphic or two on your blog post will allow more traffic to flow through.

People enjoy looking at pictures and it also entices them to read your post. Twitter is a place where Tweets are more likely to get clicked on if there’s a picture. Also, if you have a picture or two on your blog post, you can put it on Pinterest and that’s a huge traffic booster for some.

How to create awesome blog graphics | Blogging | How to blog | RachelPoli.com

Where Do You Get Your Pictures From?

There are three major ways you can get photos and get them legally for your blog.

Use a generic background

Some people just create backgrounds with nice color palettes or have a solid background with the text over it. It’s plain and simple and gets the job done.

Google

There are two ways to do this. You can find random photos on Google to use as long as you find the original source and give the owner full credit. Stealing is bad, artists work super hard. Don’t do it.

The other way is to just Google “free stock photos.” A few websites will pop up and there are plenty of photos on those websites that you can borrow for free

Your own photos

I assume you have a smart phone, right? You can take your own pictures. Photo-ops are everywhere. I use my phone but I also have a Nikon D3300 that I use quite often to get better quality.

How Can You Edit The Photos?

Again, there are so many options out there, most of them are free.

How to edit photos for your blog | Blogging | photo editing | RachelPoli.com

Paint

I can’t do anything in Paint, but I have seen plenty of photo editing or digital art done through Paint. I don’t know how people do it, but they do and it’s really cool. If you can create cool stuff like that, go for it.

Photo editing websites

There are sites like PicMonkey or LunaPic where you can edit your photos for free. I used both of them for a while before I discovered Canva, which was much better in my opinion. It had templates and various photo sizes for certain websites. I believe there’s a paid option for it, but the free one was enough for me.

Photoshop or Illustrator

Once I started using my camera more, I got Photoshop and realized how much more I could do there over Canva. It’s a learning curve and I’m still trying to figure things out, but the pictures come out great, in my opinion. There’s a lot you can do. I have Photoshop Elements 2018 and before I got that, I had downloaded Gimp onto my laptop. It’s similar to Photoshop but a little less and is free.

How do you create your own graphics for your blog? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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8 Types Of Blog Posts That Get Attention [Blogging]

What’s typically the first thing people see when you upload a new blog post? The title.

People will see the title, read it, and either skim right over it or they’ll say to themselves, “Hm, this sounds interesting.” They click on it and they’re on your blog.

Keeping them on your blog is a different story, but if you have something worthy to say you should have a decent title that captures the attention of potential readers.

8 Types of Blog Posts That Get A Lot of Attention | Blogging | How To Blog | RachelPoli.com

Types of Blog Posts

How To

Guides are one of the most popular types of blog posts. What do most people tend to look up on the internet? How to do something. Look up the specific keywords in whatever you’re writing about and roll with it. “How To Write A Blog Post,” for example.

Story

Tell a personal story of something that your readers will be interested  in and something that will help them or educate them. For example, talk about the mistakes you’ve made during your years of blogging and how you fixed them. If you have an active following, people will want to know something personal about you, but they’re also learning from you as well. This is also great for behind the scenes stuff and explaining the process to how you did something. In a way, this can go along with the How To above. “How I Started My Blog.”

Dos and Don’ts

The biggest reason people go on the internet (other than to watch cat videos) is to learn something. Using the right keywords, people will able to find your blog post about things you should put on your resume and things you should not put on your resume. People will want to read, “The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Query Letter.”

Versus

Compare and contrast is something else people love. If they’re looking for a specific product or they’re deciding between two products that ultimately do the same thing, your post might convince them to take one over the other. For example, “Hootsuite Vs. Buffer.” I personally used Hootsuite for a while, saw other people saying great things about Buffer, and made the switch. I will never go back. Maybe that will actually become a blog post someday.

How To Write Blog Post Titles That Will Get Clicked | Blogging | How To Blog | RachelPoli.com

Tips and Tricks

Similar to the “How To” you can always title a blog post, “5 Ways To Keep Your Car Clean.” I’m literally pulling random titles out of my mind… Don’t ask me where they’re coming from. But again, people love good posts that gives them advice on how to do something.

Lists

Who doesn’t love a good list? Let’s be real here. One piece of advice that everyone gets about blogging is to keep your paragraphs small. Why? People skim. They don’t want to read chunky blocks of text. Lists are a great type of blog post that gets good attention because people can just scroll down the list, getting the information they need without reading too much, and they can bookmark it for future reference.

Lessons

This one can be similar to the “Story” blog post. Talk about lessons you’ve learned through trying something new. For example, if you’ve been blogging for a few years, what have you learned along the way? What are some things you wish you knew before you started blogging?

Favorites

This can go one of two ways. You can talk about your favorite tools to use for blogging or for keeping your closet organized. The other way, however, is something more personal. A lot of people like to get to know their favorite bloggers and creators more so making a list of your favorite things for anything is a fun way to do that.

What are some of your favorite blog posts to read or to write? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat! If you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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