Month: July 2018

4 Web Design Mistakes to Avoid When Launching Your First Blog

Web design mistakes might ruin your blog before it even gets a chance to shine. And it’s not only a matter of style and visual attractiveness of your website. Poor design can slow down its work and complicate navigation, which will both lose you readers. If you are creating the blog yourself, be aware of the most common pitfalls you have to avoid.

4 Beginner Web Design Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Blog

1.Overloading the website with plugins and visuals
No matter what kind of online business you run, page loading speed is one of the most important factors that will determine your success. Surveys indicate that over 50% of all web users expect a website to load in 2 seconds max. And Google ranking bots take this factor into account when deciding how high to place your link on the Search Results page.

Overloading the website with plugins and visuals (especially if they aren’t well-optimized) are some of the most common problems that can increase the page loading speed. These issues also often lead to website crashes. Bloggers who start using WordPress are particularly prone to this mistake as this platform gives you an opportunity to use a huge number of great plugins.

Google itself offers a tool to help with this problem. Try TestMySite to see not only how much traffic you are losing but also get suggestions of improvements to reduce that number.
You also should remember that your hosting package matters greatly in determining how fast your website will load. If you plan to have a blog heavy on the visuals, take your time studying a hosting guide for beginners. You need to find out what kind of hosting service package will be sufficient for your requirements.

2.Posting too much text too close
The readers of today prefer to skim content instead of reading it thoroughly. Even if they do return for a more detailed read later, they first assess the content with a quick look to see if it’ll provide the information they need.

This means that you should never post textual content in a single huge body of letters. Short paragraphs (about 100 words) are the best and make sure they’re interspersed with subtitles that stand out clearly.

Consider adding images as well. It’s believed that inserting a relevant image every 150-300 words enhances memorization.

3.Badly placed social media sharing buttons
One of the main web design mistakes to avoid for a blogger is not placing social media sharing buttons in clear view. Having people share your posts on social media is one of the main sources of traffic generation for a blogger. That’s why you should motivate them to do this.

Place the buttons at the top and end of the post or use a plugin that will ensure the buttons are unobtrusive, yet move when the reader scrolls down the text. Consider making some small parts of the text shareable as well, for example, use a quote from the post between images with a ‘Tweet It!’ button attached.

When choosing the design of your social media sharing buttons, pick an option that matches the overall style, but not too much. Remember that these buttons have to stand out.

4.Filling all the whitespace
Whitespace is so important for a blogger that using a minimalist web design (one with maximum whitespace) might be the best choice. Filling all the whitespace on your pages means packing them with text and imagery to a point that it becomes difficult to actually read the text.

The purpose of this ‘negative’ space is increasing readability. As texts are the livelihood of a blogger, making your site unreadable is one of the main web design mistakes to avoid. In fact, you should do your best to increase whitespace on the page to give it a cleaner look.

Original post: 4 Web Design Mistakes to Avoid When Launching Your First Blog

How to Manage a Blog While Parenting Full-Time

As a full-time parent, it probably feels like you don’t have time for anything else. Between watching the little ones, taking care of the house, and running errands, most of your time is occupied from the outset of the day.

However, even with your busy schedule, it’s possible to create and manage a blog—which you can use as a creative outlet, or a source of extra income—if you employ the right strategies.

Maximize Sleep Time

Your first goal should be to make the most of sleep time. When your toddler is taking a nap, or down for the night, you’ll have all the peace and quiet you need to focus on writing or posting new material. Get in the habit of opening the laptop whenever your child is down for the count, and utilize effective toddler sleep strategies to make sure your child sleeps consistently and deeply.

Write What You Know
You can also maximize your chances of success by writing about what you know. There are tons of parenting blogs out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carve a niche for yourself based on some unique perspective you have, or some experience that nobody else can share. Writing about something you already know minimizes the amount of time you’ll need to spend researching, and allows you to brainstorm new topics and approaches throughout the day. Ultimately, that can save you hours of time every week and may even help your blog be more successful.

Choose the Simplest Platform

There are tons of free and inexpensive blogging platforms available to you, but not all of them offer the same simplicity when it comes to UI and ongoing management. You’re going to have a limited amount of time to focus on your work, so the last thing you want is a platform with a steep learning curve, or one whose UI doesn’t make sense to you. Try out a handful of different platforms, and go with the one that makes it easiest for you to post new material and commit regular updates.

Get Used to Writing in Phases

Life as a parent is hectic and unpredictable, so you can’t count on getting to write full articles from start to finish. Instead, you’ll need to develop your skill for writing in phases. Start by creating an outline of the post you want to write, then fill in the details section by section. It will make it easier to jump back into things if you have to put down your work temporarily to deal with a crisis.

Write and Schedule Far in Advance
It’s hard to tell what tomorrow will look like, let alone next week. If you want to keep a consistent publication schedule, it’s a good idea to write far in advance of your actual publication dates, and schedule your posts for publication in advance. That way, you’re not scrambling to finish your weekly post in time to adhere to your schedule; you’ll have a buffer that protects your blog’s consistency.

Find a Consistent Time to Be Productive
Parenting is chaotic, but it’s still a good idea to find a consistent time to be productive, whether it’s an hour out of every day, or a day out of every week. Make this your designated time to write new posts and work on your blog. The consistency is important to help you build and maintain your blog as a habit; you’ll find it easier to get in the zone, and you won’t be able to make excuses about not getting any work done.

If there’s no time available to you in your regular schedule, ask someone else to help you out. Having a spouse, partner, neighbor, or relative watch the kids even once a week can help you maintain a steady writing and publication schedule.

Don’t Forget to Monetize

Finally, once you start building an audience, don’t forget to monetize your blog. You have many options here; for example, you could use your blog as a platform to sell a product you make by hand, or you could use affiliate links to earn a portion of whatever sales your blog helps to generate for another business. However you choose to monetize your blog, the earlier you get started, the sooner you can start making money—just make sure your focus is still on content quality and audience retention, or no method of monetization can keep you afloat.

With these strategies, you should be able to find the time necessary to write high-quality content, while still fulfilling all your responsibilities as a parent. You may not be as productive as you could be without a child, but as long as you keep posting a few times a week, you have the potential to create a profitable blog.

Original post: How to Manage a Blog While Parenting Full-Time

How to Build a Sports Blog: 4 Essential Tips

The most important step in starting to write a sports blog is actually starting to do it! And there are some other aspects we want to tell you about.

So You Want to Write a Sports Blog… 4 Essential Tips!

It`s a brilliant idea, my friend, and you deserve to be praised for such a decision. It`s, in fact, a very brave step.

You might think that many people choose the path of a blogger because it seems so appealing, profitable, and interesting. But what you often fail to take into consideration is the percentage of really successful bloggers.

What does it even mean? A number of subscribers, advertisement offers (if you`re anti-commercial, it`s going to be very tough), overall interest towards your personality and your work.

WordPress experts claim that around 99% of blogs flop because of multiple reasons.

According to blogging statistics, every year writing one single blog post is becoming more and more time-consuming. For example, in 2014 it took a blogger 2 hours and 24 minutes to write a post. In 2017 this time skyrocketed to 3 hours, and 20 minutes.
The audience is becoming more demanding, and you need to check sources of information more carefully. So how can you make your sports blog really successful?

But don`t you dare think that we`re here to discourage you. Our team just wants to warn you about the possible dangers of blogging in general and sports blogging in particular. Our essay writing service has been swimming in that cyber ocean for quite some time and we`ve written on multiple topics, so we`ve figured out typical problems that you as a starting sports blogger may face.

Universal Soldier
You watch Wimbledon, taking notes. Then you write a blog post. The next day you go to watch a basketball match and decide to write a review. The day after that you share a personal story about how you learned how to play golf.

Stop it right now! Every good blogger has a specific niche when it comes to a genre and topic. It`s impossible to be a total pro at each and every kind of sport. There are way too many details, personalities, rules, and events. You won`t give an impression of a person with a relevant and trust-worthy opinion if you jump from a topic to a topic all the time.

There are dozens of factors that you need to take into consideration when choosing your niche. The most important one is your competence.

If it`s a sport that you`ve been practicing, it will be a perfect variant. Nevertheless, you can go a different way. Just look at professional sports journalists.

Honestly, besides being well-informed, you also need to love that certain topic because your audience will definitely spot your insincerity.

I Think… No, You Don`t

The following dilemma is very common among bloggers who write not only about sports but about politics as well.

Should you include your personal preferences and opinions while writing a post?
On the one hand, bloggers aren`t journalists, and technically, they aren`t supposed to follow all those rules of objectivity and unbiasedness.

On the other hand, high-quality content does include these characteristics, and bloggers have to remember it if they want to become opinion leaders. Championships and competitions are very passionate events, so bloggers will naturally root for their own country.

In most cases, bloggers have separate web-pages for their professional posts and for more personal stuff. That’s why your Facebook account can`t serve for both posting well-thought-out views on the Liverpool goalkeeper’s serious mistakes during the Champions League Final and for your drunk bathroom selfies.

By the way, Facebook is considered a bad platform for blogging in general.

Content and Audience! Audience and Content!

There is supposed to be that famous Bill Gates` quote about content. But hopefully, you just happen to know that it`s important.

Where there may be a blank space though is its cruciality.

Picture your reader. Who is he/she? What do they do for a living? What lifestyle do they have? What do they expect from your blog and what can you give those people?
As we`ve already mentioned, the audience is very demanding nowadays. There are many sources of information, and there are even more aspiring bloggers.

So a content plan is an absolute must. And it has to be diverse. You can write game reviews, analyze professional skills of athletes, react to sports news, or even publish your own interviews with sportsmen and their managers.

Post regularly and try to divide your publications into segments. For example, you may post game reviews on Mondays and add athletes` biographies analyses on Thursdays. Your audience should know when they can expect new content from you.

Commercial Break
It`s a tricky issue, and there is no way to find an absolutely universal solution here. So let`s try to be logical here.

Are you planning to turn blogging into your full-time job?

If yes, you won`t be able to survive without help of marketers of different sports brands, like companies that produce gym clothes, equipment, or sports nutrition. Many bloggers include adverts in their content, and it`s not a big deal. Your audience won`t run away from you unless you start selling products of very low-quality. In such case you`ll lose trust and respect. Always test products and ask yourself whether you`d buy it yourself.

If blogging is more like a hobby or if you want to gain more professional reputation (if you`re already a sports journalist or an athlete), then you can avoid adverts at all.

There is another marketing aspect though, and many aspiring bloggers forget about it.
You need to promote your blog on different platforms.

Some people think that producing high-quality content is enough. A blogger will just get thankful readers who will tell their friends about the blog, and that’s how he/she will become a popular opinion maker.

It can happen like that, but the chances are incredibly law. So be prepared for spending some money on marketing.

If you call it an investment, it will sound fancier and less intimidating.

And you thought that having a sports blog would be easy. Yeah, right!

Original post: How to Build a Sports Blog: 4 Essential Tips

4 Simple Tips for Better Writing

Writing skills are important today more than ever. In the twentieth century, people used to call each other to chat or discuss business. Now we email and text. Not only do we produce more text per capita than we used to. Our texts are often public. We blog. We twit. We update statuses. We add comments. Therefore, written eloquence is a must-have skill for anyone. How do you achieve it? Here are some simple tips.

Battle the block

You have certainly heard of the importance of planning and writing umpteen pages a day. Yet sometimes writer’s block threatens to throw you off the schedule. Now, there is quite enough information on how to overcome the psychological causes of the block. On the practical side, the only way to break the block is to begin writing. “But what?” you ask. “Anything”, says a helpful article on the internet.

Now, this does not make your life easier. The unrestricted freedom is one of the reasons why block exists in the first place. Here are simple exercises that will make your creative juices flow when you just have to write.

Use every opportunity

In my years as a college teacher, I’ve seen students who attended creative writing classes and at the same time ordered some of their essays from a paper writing service. When confronted and asked why, they would usually answer that they struggled with history/philosophy/you name it and generally thought that it was boring and not worth their time. They wanted to be writers and did not want to waste a moment on writing anything but their bestsellers-to-be. This is rubbish!

They thought they just can sit down at the desk and their thoughts will flow, elegantly enrobed in exquisite expressions. However, at the same time, they did everything to avoid writing! They thought they escaped some tiresome chore. Instead, as I see it, they missed an excellent opportunity to practice.

If you want to write better, you should practice. Use every opportunity to put your thoughts in words. You sure have those opportunities – grab them! Emails count. Birthday cards count. Captions under Instagram photos count.

Do not shirk – write something every day. If you need an incentive, make a public commitment to write a daily short post on some topic for a month (or even a year). Alternatively, start a journal where you will creatively write down your dreams.

Writing with limitations

If freedom blocks you, create limits. Say you have to write a short account of a walk in the park without using a single verb. Challenging, right? How about without using letter A? Or using only words that start with E? Only six words?

Too technical? Try writing this same walk-story as if a blind person told it. You can describe fresh smells, cheerful sounds, a soft wind in your hair – everything but the things that sight provides. Or try to describe it from a perspective of a very young child who does not yet know the names of everything she sees.

This needs not be long. Say 250 words. This will be enough to make your brain alert and ready to write.

This is how it really happened

As the saying goes, there is always at least three side of the story – her side, his side and the truth. Try breaking your block by taking a well-known story and retelling it from an unusual perspective. Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples is a great example. It shows the events of Snow White fairytale from the Queen’s point, portraying her as the struggling and innocent victim. Of course, your account of the story does not necessarily have to make a novel. For the sake of exercise, make it a page.


If you speak more than one language, you are in luck and there is another exercise for you. Try translating a short fragment from your favorite book or a random article. You will have to put thoughts in words (exactly what you are trying to achieve). Only to make it easier for you, all thoughts are already there.

Write Three Drafts

For each piece of writing that is going public, there should be three drafts. I do not mean twits or something as instant as that, but if we talk about books, blogs or essays, this technique is very beneficial. Here it is in short.

First draft. You write it for yourself. The goal here is to get it down, as messy as it is. Then set your text aside for a few hours or days (depending on a length of your text and proximity of your deadlines).

Second draft. You write it for your friends. Now you put the reader first. The goal for your text is to make sense and be useful. Shorten, delete, and rewrite anything that does not add to the meaning.

Third draft. You write it for you frenemies – people who will scrutinize your work and will see all imperfections and inconsistencies. This one ought to be polished to the T. Edit ruthlessly.

Do Not Let It Get Stale

Leaving your draft for a few days or hours is important, but you should not brood over it for too long. After three drafts that make your text mature enough, it’s time to let it go into the world. Otherwise, you will never be satisfied with the result. Not everyone is a perfectionist, but people who write for a living tend to be. We can edit the text over and over until it gets stale and loses the spark that made it alive. We lose the feel of the text and cannot tell what works for it and what doesn’t anymore. Do not overthink.

In his Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity Ray Bradbury wrote one simple but powerful thing “When you write quickly, you write honestly.” Let it be your guideline against excessive perfectionism.

Original post: 4 Simple Tips for Better Writing