12 things to note when getting your domain name

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If you are a blogger considering moving from probably a wordpress.com account to hosting your own website, this post is for you. We will not be able to exhaust all of the dos and don’ts in one post but we can give you enough information that will help to shape your website decisions.

Here are the dos and don’ts.

  • Choose the right technology and hosting solutions in website building.
  • Use the smallest images you need, not the smallest images available.
  • Use software programs to compress large images or to resize.
  • Avoid complex designs. Stick with a simple design.
  • Use the same background images on every page.
  • Limit what your visitors have to download.
  • Open the site on a mobile using data connection and check how fast it loads.
  • Make the site mobile-friendly.
  • Make the icons clear and well-organized.
  • Make it easy to find addresses and phone numbers.
  • Make sure your web designer is cool with codes and scripts that is if you are not the web designer.
  • Do a test-run on as many browsers and devices as possible.

And you are good to go!

 

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Why you should stop publishing one post every month

 

You are busy and we understand that but if you continue posting barely once every month you will kill your blog. According to Neil Patel on Moz.com, the less you post, the less chance your newest post has at gaining traction. Sad right? 

That one blog post every two months is about as good as not blogging at all. The more frequently you post, the more traffic you are going to get. That traffic eventually slows and then dies when you stop posting.

Besides, if Google comes back to your site to check for more content and doesn’t find any, it will back off and it may be a long time before the it comes back to check. 

What qualifies you to be a blogger is if you are blogging actively. Except you really don’t care if anyone reads your post, you really should do something about your blogging consistency and the earlier you do so, the better for you and the next post you are about to publish. 

Your blog is a brand; treat it as such

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We know there are many reasons why you could have started your blog.  For a lot of people, they started their blog because they needed something, somewhere to document their thoughts and words but as time goes on you will realize that there is more to your blog than just documenting your thoughts. 

Your blog is a brand. Your brand (Yes you read that right). It is a brand and you should begin to treat it as that. 

If you haven’t realized that yet, it’s probably because you have not taken deliberate steps to make it one. 

Here are a few things you can do to change that;

Give your blog a tagline.

A tagline adds insight into your blog’s personality and content that is integral to your brand. Consider your blog’s focus and keywords. For example, the Sparkle Writers uses simple facts to truths to encourage writers not to give up . Ours is this ” We believe every writer has a sparkle. We can help you discover yours.”

Choose a memorable address.

While options such as WordPress.com and Blogger are freely available, it’s advisable that you start using your own URL for your blog. This gives your blog its individual identity. Don’t use just any name, use something memorable, a name your readers will easily remember. 

Be distinctive and original

Your blog must be original to be an authentic brand. Don’t go copying other people’s  blog posts and ideas just to keep your blog alive Remember our post on copying blog posts?  It’s not just right. A brand should not be built on copying and piracy or plagiarism. It should carry your essence and only you can make that happen. 

 

3 quotes that will get you through the difficult blogging days

 

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Despite how fun blogging can be, there are days when you feel blue. You don’t feel like writing, you don’t even want to hear the word ‘blog’ around you. It’s almost like it gives you nausea.

Other times the malicious or seemingly unpleasant comments don’t even help matters. But what happens when you have a deadline and your readers are waiting?

These quotes will help you get in the blogging spirit again!

“If you accept all the praise, you have to accept all the critique.” – Chris Brogan

There are some comments that you don’t necessarily want to hear because they are not the ‘job well done’ comments you expect but it’s not every negative comment you get that you should dismiss. There are some comments that are not so pleasant but are the truth. So if you accept all the praise you get from readers, be ready to take some critique too.
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“Your value does not decrease based on somebody’s inability to see your worth.”

We are not even sure why we put these two quotes to follow each other. But you need to hear both sides of the truth.

So yeeees! Those times when plain hateful and anonymous people post those annoying and sometimes hurtful comments about your hard work and you feel like giving up, remember this. Your writing talent does not decrease based on somebody’s inability to see your worth so just keep blogging.

“What you do after you create your content is what truly counts.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Do you create content and expect miracles? Or do you reach out and make connections?

If you are discouraged because your blog is not making money like you have envisaged, then this quote is for you. Don’t expect money miracles if you don’t reach out and make connections. You’ve created enough content why don’t you go out and make connections, network with other bloggers and you’d see how your blog reach will increase.

We hope these quotes have encouraged you, inspired you and hopefully gotten you to open your laptop and continue blogging.

 

Don’t choose a theme for your blog without reading this first

 

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Are you currently deciding on what theme to use for your blog but the options you have to choose from are just too many and you are confused? Well to make sure that the confusion doesn’t last long, we have collated a number of tips that will help streamline the options and ultimately help you select something good.

Simplicity is the ultimate Sophistication

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When deciding on what theme to use for your blog bear it in mind that simplicity is key. Don’t overdo it. Let your blog be simple yet beautiful. Several themes come with lots of colours, layouts, designs and animations that can ultimately become distracting. Avoid picking themes that are overly complicated or complex. You don’t want your readers to find it difficult to navigate your blog all in the name of a stylish theme.

Choosing a simple theme doesn’t not mean your blog will be unattractive. A few colors in strategic places is ok.  You want your platform looking sleek not like an art painting gone wrong.

Consider your blog niche

Surprised? Your blog niche has a lot to do with your blog’s theme. If you run a political or news blog for example you need a theme that doesn’t compromise text on the altar of design. A fashion blog will most likely need more options for  pictures and images. How readable are your posts with that theme you are about to choose?

How functional is the theme?

Does it allow for comments, does it have options to link your social media pages? Can readers subscribe to your blog using this theme? These are some of the basic features a blog should have and if your theme doesn’t allow for this then it is not functional enough.

How responsive is the theme?

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Your blog will be opened via different browsers and on various devices. How responsive is the theme to these changes? Can your theme shrink to fit the size of a smart phone without your readers having to swipe to the left and right to see information stuck at the edge?

Now it’s your turn, have you already decided on a theme? What factors guided your decision? We’d love to hear from you.

5 tools every blogger needs to succeed

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New blogs are springing up everyday but do you know the necessary apps you need in order to ensure you have a successful blogging experience? We’ll give you all the information you need in today’s post!

Here are five blogging tools every blogger should have;

1. Image archive

Blogging is not just about words on a page. Images are incredibly important for illustrating your story. Your readers love to see pictures. No matter what niche your blog focuses on, images are always needed. Pictures will help increase your followers.

Don’t delete your pictures immediately; you just don’t know when next you’d need them. Keep them properly documented and named either on your computer or any external storage like your hard drive.

2. Image app

You do not always have to take pictures yourself. There are free graphic apps that you can use to create beautiful images for your blog without having to infringe on copyright laws. Canva for example is easy to use. You don’t have to be a trained graphic designer to operate Canva. It comes with a few directions once you get the app. There are other apps like Phonto, Notegraphy and Typorama that will be useful for you. 

If you believe you are experienced with graphic designs then you can use Photoshop. It has a variety of features that can help enhance any image. You can also use Pic Monkey and Illustrator

3. A good smartphone

Well you need a phone whether or not you are a blogger but if you are, the kind of phone you use matters. You should have at least one smartphone with a decent camera quality. It will come in handy when you want to take pictures on the spot, reply emails and comments from your posts or you just want to know what’s happening on your social media timeline.

4. Internet

This is a basic need for every blogger. You need the internet to get post ideas, work with graphic apps like Canva, publish posts, and engage with your followers on social media.

A blogger cannot afford to be off the internet for a long time without a good reasons.

5. Post scheduler

Have you ever wondered why some bloggers are ‘always’ online and posting content on their blog and social media pages? Well the post scheduler is their best kept secret. You can now schedule your blog posts in advance and trust the app to post on your behalf at the right time. Hootsuite is a great example of such a tool. It can post on any social media age you want as long as you schedule the post and give it a date and time to publish. 

There are other useful post schedulers like Buffer and Hubspot. Do your research and find the one that works for you. 

Spice up your blog with these awesome ideas

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Blogging is fun not just because you get to share your ideas and document your thoughts but also because of its diverse nature. As a blogger, you can choose from a variety of possible blog post types.

You don’t always have to write the same way all the time. You don’t want your blog to become boring overtime. This keeps your readers interested and leaves them guessing about what to expect in the next post.

Here are a few blog post types to choose from:

  •  How-to/tutorial posts

This is one of the most popular post types and one that arguably brings the most value to the reader. People always want to know how things are done. All you need to do is find out what your target needs and give it to them.

If you write for students you can create posts on how to prepare successfully for exams. The most important thing is to ensure you deliver on your promise to teach what you have promised.

You can add images to evaluate each step. This will help them understand properly.

  • Profile Posts

This is a great way to spice things up on your blog. You can profile someone famous in the field your blog is focused on. Your profile can give readers an idea into how the person became famous, what’s so special about them, what they have accomplished, and why your reader should love them too.

There is no hard and fast rule to writing this kind of posts. Make sure the information you are sharing is valuable, and interesting.

  • Stories

There’s nothing like a fantastic story to illustrate your ideas. Stories are one of the most reader-friendly types of blog posts. You can use a story to pass the most powerful messages while describing seemingly unrelated situations.

You can also have a series posts with your stories if you decide to write fiction. This keeps readers coming each time a new series is published on the blog. If your story is powerful enough you can grow a considerable number of followers during the series.

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  •  Interviews

There are so many potential interviewees for your blog. You just have to find them. Depending on what your blog niche is, you can interview celebrities, artisans, professionals or everyday heroes. This is a way to celebrate the interviewee and also encourage your readers.

The interview can be done in a couple of different ways. You can meet with someone in person, you can email your questions to them and they will send you their answers. There are no limits.

 

How far have you gone with your writing goals?

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The first quarter of the year is gone. The excitement and hype of the New Year has faded out. How far have you gone with your writing goals? Probably not so far. It is not enough to set goals, you have to pursue those goals ruthlessly or else the year will end and you may have nothing to show for it.

If you have not been able to get much done, there is still time. Let’s discuss what you can do to recover lost time.

  1. Review your writing goals

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Most of us have forgotten what we wanted to achieve at the beginning of the year. It is time to go back to your books, journals or diaries and review your goals. Refresh your memory on what you set your mind to achieve. This will help you get excited about those goals again.

  1. Become accountable.

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It is one thing to have writing goals it is another thing to achieve those goals. You need to be accountable. One way to achieve this is by getting a blog. If one of your goals is to write every day, a blog can help you achieve that. Post your goals on your blog and make your readers your accountability partners. You can join writing groups that will keep you on your toes.

  1. Join a writing class

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You may be wondering why this is necessary but if you have not achieved much since the beginning of the year you may need help to set you in the right direction. A writing class will groom you, encourage you and challenge you. In no time you will see yourself smashing those goals. The Sparkle Writers Hub offers great writing classes. You can join one of these classes.

We hope this helps you to become a better write in this quarter of the year.

 

 

#WritingTips: Write better with these 5 tips

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Hello Sparkle Writers! We want to share some great writing tips that will make your write better. Take it one step at a time. Pick a tip and work on implementing it in your next blog post or article. The more you implement these tips, the better you’ll become.

So let’s get started;

#WritingTip1 – Read it out

Yes you read correctly. Read what you have written out loud. Does it sound awkward? Can it be written better? Does it flow smoothly or it sounds forced? Even if you feel there is nothing wrong with it, try to write it another way.

#WritingTip2 – Watch that grammar

Now you will need some extra help with this if you don’t have a good grasp of grammar. There are some things which are better said than written. Be mindful of that. Always use a dictionary if you have a problem with grammar.

#WritingTip3 – Don’t mix up your words

Lose and Loose…

Affect and Effect…

This and These…

Way and weigh 

These words cannot be used interchangeably. They mean different things. Again, a dictionary is your friend. We would also suggest that you read good books if you struggle with spelling correctly.

#WritingTip4 – Get straight to the point

Don’t beat around the bush when you write. Get straight to the point. Less is more. Avoid sentences or paragraphs that are too long.

#WritingTip5 – Read good articles or newspapers

Reading good newspapers and news blogs will help you improve your writing skills. We recommend sites like Forbes.com, The Economist, HuffingtonPost…you’ll learn a lot just by reading one article a day from there. Take note of any new word that you find. Write it down, search for it’s meaning and how it is to be used in a sentence.

Implement these tips regularly and you’ll become a great writer in no time. Remember, we are always here to help you. You can book a consultation with us and we can create a customized learning plan for you based on your writing needs. Send us a mail now – thesparklewritershub@gmail.com