After quite an emotional week for the country, with the Oscar Pistorius verdict, I’m hoping to simply wind down this weekend. I still don’t know what to believe. A lot of my friends overseas aren’t convinced he’s telling the truth. The papers here were critical of him being cleared. Reeva was in the industry I’m in, not to mention she was from my home town! It’s my aunt in the courtroom sitting next to her mother. Here are some interesting links for you:
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
Check out this interview I did with HotelsCheap on what you can expect when travelling to South Africa!
Lisbon was one of the most magical, enchanting places I’ve been to. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world. It’s definitely one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years. They love their sardines… and I was explicitly told by a local that I wouldn’t truly experience Lisbon if I didn’t experience their char-grilled sardines (with lemon and sea salt).
Not so long ago I traveled to Bavaria, Germany, with family and friends. We landed in Munich and took a train to Oberammergau; the prettiest village I’ve ever been to. The reason we went was to watch the famous “Passion Play”, which is performed there only every ten years.
I’ll never forget when I went to London in 2012 to compete in Top Model UK. What an exciting time in one of the best cities of the world! I was there for a few weeks for the show and stayed in the Hilton Hotel, London Metropole. During my free time, I made sure I dressed warm because it was the middle of winter and it was so chilly outside!
I’ve been pretty busy lately. I’ve had a lot of photoshoots modelling wise and have been learning a lot. I’m working on my acting showreel and will be starting work on a project as part of Skybok filming and editing for Yokhuselo Haven for Abused Women who is hosting a big function in honour of their 25th anniversary this month. I’m presenting in a new Industrial series for my family’s company Doubell Machines and I’m soon making the move to Johannesburg but will be making a trip to Cape Town Nov 1 for the summer season there. The word on my lips is COMMUTE! I’ll be doing a lot of that in the time to come. Good thing I just bought a new cabin bag 😉 Acting-wise, there’s usually a great deal of castings and auditions up in Cape Town during these next 2 months of the year, so I’m excited for that. In the midst of all this, I’ve discovered a coffee shop in Port Elizabeth called La Boca. When I went the other day I had a pot of Rooibos tea (a true South African product) and an amazing cheese platter. Thank Goodness I had my laptop with me, as The Mail & Guardian contacted me for some photos of Grahamstown’s nightlife which I happened to have a lot of seeing as Skybok Profiles filmed many of their clubs last year! Watch one of our profiles of their biggest nightclub below. I did the editing and voice work and my brother did the filming. Shot on a CANON 5D MK 2 with a 50mm fixed focus lens and a 20mm wide angle lens.
After studying in New York, I arrived home in South Africa inspired and changed. I love New York! Every single day felt like I was in a fairytale. The flight to New York from South Africa is 14 hours. I can honestly say I was welcomed into the city with open arms. I’d always imagined New York to be an intimidating place. I was thinking “Sex in the City” and famous stars like Beyonce and Jay Z walking the streets on the flight over. Not to mention that it’s the financial capital of the world – the Wall Street Stock Exchange sounds scary. But I was pleasantly surprised with how friendly the people were and how do-able the city was.