*Taken at Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastián
“There is beauty when something works and it works intuitively” – Jonathan Ive
*Taken in San Sebastián, Spain, overlooking La Concha Bay in The Bay of Biscay. San Sebastián is a coastal town on the border between Spain + the South of France.
As if the Golden Globes wasn’t inspiration enough (gorgeous outfits, glittering venue, beautiful role models), I’ve sourced some pretty cool sayings to give you a fresh approach to stuff you’re facing. As we kick off the new year, here are 20 quotes for the month that are guaranteed to inspire you.
1. Don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped. – African proverb
1. Think long & hard about your blog categories
Your categories are the main sections or “magazine columns” that you feature on your blog. Your categories can be a drop down menu on your sidebar. They should be simple and logical. Use hierarchies to organise your ideas better. Try think of a catchy angle for them so you peak your viewer’s interest and stand out from the rest.
2. Design your site as simple as possible
Keep your design simple and appealing. Make it intuitive and well-structured. People should intuitively know how to navigate your space. Make pages along the top for sections you want to highlight. Use a category drop down menu and a follow widget wouldn’t hurt. If there are other platforms you want your viewers to know about, include those widgets also. A direct link to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram invites viewers to connect with you.
3. Operate it like a real magazine
+ Who you want to appeal to (age group, gender, interests)
+ What your content will be (which topics you choose)
+ How involved you’ll get in your articles (short, long, lots of resources)
Plan out each piece well. It’s always a good idea to think about a catchy title and invest time into each piece. Edit and format your posts and add great designs to them. Write in a natural tone and keep it simple. Decide on your intentions with each post. Publish often (weekly is great). If your favourite magazine missed a few issues, you’d eventually find a replacement.
4. Share each post into infinity
You write and publish something once, but who’s to say you can’t share that post once per month on Twitter, a couple times a year on Facebook or every other month on Google+? Pinterest is a lovely fresh platform with a constant stream of ideas. It’s a great way to advertise your blog. Make a board dedicated to your blog and pin your stuff to it! It will make it easier for people to find you and re-pin your stuff. Due to the “timeline” nature of most social media platforms, if you only share something once, it will only be seen by a small percent of your followers. It’s also a good idea to make an advert with your heading and URL on for sharing purposes.
5. Make sure you know what your audience wants and needs
Your readers/clients have specific questions, desires and needs. You can start to figure out these needs by putting yourself in their shoes. What would you want to read about if you were them, visiting your blog? What tools can make things simpler for your viewers? Why do they come to your blog? Read more about figuring this out here.
6. Post frequently + consistently, with quality as your best friend
Remember to keep your material current and up-to-date. Try cater for a blog audience while maintaining your brand goals and sanity. This is, of course, if you are operating your blog like a business.
7. Invest in your blog
The things you spend money on are the things you want to get value out of. The things you spend money on are the important things that you care about. The best things in life are free, but some of the things that help you create your best life cost money. Invest in marketing your blog online or elsewhere if you want the traffic that will get you money in the long run.
8. Format your posts to be read by busy, lazy humans
This means short titles, bullet points and headings. Also, it means blog posts which aren’t too long.
9. Create a content calendar
….One that includes suggested post dates and categories. Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin is great because I like a visual representation of when I should post. Without a calendar and some type of plan, you’ll get around to that one post about that one thing on the 10th of NeverEver.
10. Add in promotion & maintenance tasks
Sponsored blogging (getting paid to publish promotional stuff) must be scheduled into your usual blogging routine. A lot of the time, clients/sponsors need a date for publishing. It’s good to plan ahead so you can give them an exact date.
11. Establish a writing routine that gives you time to think
Creative people are always thinking. Sometimes I have great ideas that pop into my head which I jot down. When I get around to writing a post, I’m always excited to publish it straight away. But I’ve learnt that it’s better to save the draft and give it an ‘incubation’ period in your head. Trust me, you’ll think of different things to add over a period of just 24 hours which will add value to your post.
12. Be you. We won’t like you if you’re being someone else
Enjoy your own space online. Add photos of your life. Write the way you would speak in real life. See how you do this in my post Find Your Voice Online.
13. Get high quality photos of yourself
It’s a good idea to have quality photos of yourself. These will come in handy for your “about” page, as well as any articles you write where you have personal experience. Allow your readers to connect with you! Keep a professional flavour by getting nice photos taken. It’s good for you and will be a plus for the photographer. There’s power in collaboration!
14. Audit your blog regularly
That post you wrote three months ago? It totally needs a link to the post you published earlier this week because they’re heavily related and your readers will be happy to have guided/quick access to both. Always keep in mind that no matter what order you write things in, any post or page on your website has the potential to be the first post a visitor sees. P.S. Blog audits are also a great way to make sure you’ve included your affiliate links and product/service links in all the organic ways possible.
15. Check your grammar
Make sure to double-check your articles.
16. Be available + interactive
No one likes a person who never responds to anything. Granted, you may be so “big time” that you can’t get to every blog comment or tweet, but none of them? I’ll accept that when you become the President of the United States. Even then, you can hire some people to help you out!
17. Pay attention to the questions your readers ask
There may be a new blog post you’ve written, a new eBook you can sell, a problem you can fix or a service you can offer that is lingering in questions from readers. Cultivate community around your blog so people feel they are in a safe space where they are supported and encouraged. Grow a family around your blog. You do this by being attentive to your readers.
18. Guest post like a champ
Once you have a healthy collection of quality content to lead people back to, pitch to some sites that fit your brand (or that are frequented by your ideal readers) to do a guest post. Think about larger online magazines and websites as well. These guest posting opportunities will help you build relationships and will lead new readers back to your site.
19. Accept guest posts like a champ
If someone else is willing to say some valuable and entertaining stuff on your blog, let them. Make sure each post fits your blog, fits your readers, and is the type of quality content you want your blog to be known for. Make sure to promote your guest authors and show them love. They will likely spread the word of their guest post, which can potentially give you lots of new readers.
20. Stay focused
We creatives like shiny new projects and get distracted easily. When you have lots of ideas racing through your head, stop and focus your energy on one thing at a time. Make a list. Lists are great.
Photo: Death To The Stock Photo
African proverbs on Learning
- Learning expands great souls. ~ Namibian proverb
- To get lost is to learn the way. ~ African proverb
- If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents. ~ African proverb
- By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree. ~ Buganda proverb
- You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. ~ African proverb
- You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. ~ Bateke proverb
- The wise create proverbs for fools to learn, not to repeat. ~ African proverb
- By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed. ~Ashanti proverb
- You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. ~Congolese proverb
- What you learn is what you die with. ~ African proverb
- Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone. ~Moroccan Proverb
- When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. ~Ashanti Proverb
- Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off. ~African Proverb
- Advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day. ~Malagasy Proverb
- A fight between grasshoppers is a joy to the crow. ~ Lesotho proverb
- Milk and honey have different colors, but they share the same house peacefully. ~ African proverb
- He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk. ~ Malawian proverb
- An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. ~ Ghanaian proverb
- He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it. ~ Ugandan proverb
- Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself. ~ Tanzanian proverb
- He who fears the sun will not become chief. ~Ugandan proverb
- Because he lost his reputation, he lost a kingdom. ~ Ethiopian proverb
African proverbs on Unity & Community
- Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. ~ Bondei proverb
- It takes a village to raise a child. ~ African proverb
- Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you. ~ African proverb
- Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper. ~ Tanzanian proverb
- A single bracelet does not jingle. ~ Congolese proverb
- A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn. ~ African proverb
African proverbs on Family
- If I am in harmony with my family, that’s success. ~ Ute proverb
- Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family. ~ Ethiopian proverb
- Home affairs are not talked about on the public square. ~ African proverb
- A friend is someone you share the path with. ~ African proverb
- Show me your friend and I will show you your character. ~ African proverb
- Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you. ~ African proverb
- Between true friends even water drunk together is sweet enough. ~ African proverb
- Bad friends will prevent you from having good friends. ~ Gabon proverb
- If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness. ~Nigerian Proverb
- The skin of the leopard is beautiful, but not his heart. ~Baluba proverb
- Ugliness with a good character is better than beauty. ~Nigerian Proverb
- You are beautiful, but learn to work, for you cannot eat your beauty. ~Congolese Proverb
- The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who makes him beautiful. ~Ganda Proverb
- Three things cause sorrow to flee; water, green trees, and a beautiful face. ~Moroccan Proverb
- A pretty face and fine clothes do not make character. ~Congolese Proverb
- A pretty basket does not prevent worries. ~Congolese Proverb
- It’s those ugly caterpillars that turn into beautiful butterflies after seasons. ~African Proverb
- The most beautiful fig may contain a worm. ~Zulu Proverb
- It is only a stupid cow that rejoices at the prospect of being taken to a beautiful abattoir. ~African Proverb
- A chicken with beautiful plumage does not sit in a corner. ~African Proverb
- There is always a winner even in a monkey’s beauty contest. ~African Proverb
- Dress up a stick and it’ll be a beautiful bride. ~Egyptian Proverb
- Beautiful discourse is rarer than emerald ~ yet it can be found among the servant girls at the grindstones. ~Egyptian Proverb
- When a once-beautiful piece of cloth has turned into rags, no one remembers that it was woven by Ukwa master weavers. ~Igbo Proverb
- A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty. ~African Proverb
- If you find “Miss This Year” beautiful, then you’ll find “Miss Next Year” even more so. ~Nigerian Proverb
- A happy man marries the girl he loves, but a happier man loves the girl he marries. ~ African proverb
- If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is. ~ Egyptian proverb
- Marriage is like a groundnut; you have to crack it to see what is inside. ~ Ghanaian proverb
- Hurry, hurry has no blessings. ~ Swahili proverb
- Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. ~ Bantu proverb
- To run is not necessarily to arrive. ~ Swahili proverb
- Patience can cook a stone. ~ African proverb
- A patient man will eat ripe fruit. ~ African proverb
- At the bottom of patience one finds heaven. ~ African proverb
- A patient person never misses a thing. ~ Swahili proverb
- Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far. ~ Swahili proverb
- Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living. ~ Ibo proverb
- However long the night, the dawn will break. ~ African proverb (personal favourite!)
- The wealth which enslaves the owner isn’t wealth. ~ Yoruba
- Having a good discussion is like having riches ~ Kenya
- Do not let what you cannot do tear from your hands what you can. ~ Ashanti
African proverbs on Food
- If you see a man in a gown eating with a man in rags, the food belongs to the latter. ~Fulani Proverb
- They ate our food, and forgot our names. ~Tunisian Proverb
- An abundance of food at your neighbour’s will not satisfy your hunger. ~Bayaka Proverb
- Food you will not eat you do not boil. ~African Proverb
- When your luck deserts you, even cold food burns. ~Zambian Proverb
- Happiness is as good as food. ~Maasai Proverb
- Good words are food, bad words poison. ~Malagasy Proverb
- The goat says: “Where there is blood, there is plenty of food.” ~Ghanaian Proverb
- Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right. ~Ethiopian Proverb
- The forest provides food to the hunter after he is utterly exhausted. ~Zimbabwean Proverb
- Fine words do not produce food. ~Nigerian Proverb
- If you watch your pot, your food will not burn. ~Mauritanian, Nigerian, and Niger Proverb
- A spider’s cobweb isn’t only its sleeping spring but also its food trap. ~African Proverb
- Man is like a pepper, till you have chewed it you do not know how hot it is. ~Haussa Proverb
- When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it. ~Kikuyu Proverb
- Words are sweet, but they never take the place of food. ~Ibo Proverb
- A healthy person who begs for food is an insult to a generous farmer. ~Ghanaian Proverb
- Don’t take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is in your mouth. ~Malagasy Proverb
- The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food. ~Ghanaian Proverb
- The chicken that digs for food will not sleep hungry. ~Bayombe Proverb