5 ways to save your blog from a slump

Building a loyal following of regular readers will take time and effort, so when your blog falls into a slump, it’s very disheartening. The following tactics, from your choice of web hosting services to seasonal content, will help to battle the slump.

For many people, a blog is a digital journal where they can rant and rejoice about their day-to-day life, but for others, it has the potential to be an exciting career path. Either way, there’s no denying that a blog will need time, effort and a whole heap of creativity to be successful, you’ll find you’ll need a little tech knowledge too.

No matter how much content you write or how frequently you market your blog, there will be times that your site’s performance drops and fewer people are reading your posts. While this isn’t the end of the world and doesn’t mean your blog is doomed, it is something that you should be looking into and planning to rectify, even the most seasoned blogger will need to keep on top of there game. 

 The following tactics, from your choice of web hosting services to seasonal content, will help to battle the blog slump.

  1. Optimise Your Website for SEO

As a blogger or anyone else who spends plenty of time online, you will have heard of SEO. It stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ and includes the various marketing techniques used to make your website rank higher on search engines. Whether you’re a casual blogger or it’s your primary source of income, SEO is vital if you want people to be reading your content.

Including keywords in your writing that relate to your niche is essential. Keywords are the words and phrases you enter into search engines, so take a moment to think of keywords that relate to your blog and start using them more in your content, just make sure it sounds natural and in keeping with your tone of voice. 

Another important aspect of SEO is backlinks. These are hyperlinks in your blog posts to (ideally) high-authority websites which support what is being said. This demonstrates to search engines that your blog is a reputable source of information relating to the chosen topic.

 

  1. Write Seasonal and Relevant Content

If your blog is running a little dry in regards to topics and ideas, you should always take note of current events that relate to your chosen niche, as well as seasonal content. For example, Christmas is right around the corner, which gives you an enormous range of potential topics. With so many people searching for Christmas content online, there’s a good chance they’ll stumble upon your website. Don’t forget to create Pinterest style images with your keywords in the alt tags which will help send people to your site, seasonal topics are big searches on there. 

Current events and special days during the year also provide you with a multitude of angles to use. A great example is World Mental Health Day (October 10th) which has just passed. This not only allows you to write meaningful and engaging content, but you also know that many people will be searching for keywords regarding mental health around this time.

 

  1. Embrace Social Media

There have been many game-changers throughout the digital age, but the internet and social media are arguably two of the most influential to date. In their most basic form, websites such as Facebook and Twitter are an innovative way to communicate with people all over the world. But over the years, social media has also evolved into a powerful digital marketing tool.

As a blogger, you should be taking full advantage of everything social media has to offer. It gives you access to a worldwide audience and allows you to promote your blog content for free. Millions of people visit social media websites every day, so if you’re yet to use it for marketing purposes you’re missing out on a tonne of potential readers! (see above about Pinterest!) 

 

  1. Reevaluate Your Web Hosting Services

At some point you might want to purchase website hosting services , this allows you to get a blog online and provides you with the bandwidth and web space to maintain a website. Although now you may have invested some money into various aspects of your blog, in the early days, you may have understandably opted for the cheapest web hosting option to save a bit of money.

Cheap web hosting or inefficient website hosting companies can cause a variety of performance issues for your blog. One is slow loading times — which, because of the high-speed internet of today, isn’t something that people expect or tolerate from the sites they visit. High-quality web hosting gives you better site performance and keeps your readers happy and you’ll get access to support and customer service. 

Bad website hosting can also lead to unexpected downtime. Although slow loading times are annoying, your readers will be able to access your site eventually. With downtime, there’s no site to access until the issue is sorted. This will massively affect your site’s SEO, as well as your ability to make money through your blog.

 

  1. Explore New Avenues of Creativity

If your website has been recording fewer visitors recently, it could be because they’re bored, or that your content has become predictable. If this is the case, now’s the time to explore new topics, niches and other creative aspects of your blog. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t continue to write the type of content you have done previously, but mixing it up with brand new, unpredictable content will help immensely.

While the general consensus is that you should focus on one niche to be more successful as a blogger, adding another area of expertise to your repertoire will give your more topics to write about and expand the audience who will find your blog or website appealing.


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This is a collaborative post

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Will Your Presence Be The Present This Christmas?

I’ve long been a believer that children need your time more than material things. It’s a great life lesson to learn at an age when everything is so new and impressionable. I’m also a single mum with 3 kids (one who is a toddler yet to start pre school) working from home around my family needs and everyday chores.

Anyone see the problem there?

If the answer is no then read on while I share exactly how my day pans out;

The alarm goes off at 6.30am every morning but more often than not I’m awake before then, the constant niggle in the back of my mind that I have lots to do in a short space of time. I reach for my phone and check emails, Facebook alerts for my blog page, my social media management clients and my social media community campaign. Then it’s over to Twitter and Instagram to do the same, replying to comments, engaging with others who have taken the time to like, retweet or comment.

I use my phone to create posts, editing photos, creating graphics, scheduling social media updates to Buffer and then reply to personal messages. There’s a lot going on in my personal life right now and my support network of family and friends keep me grounded and ticking over.  Then my toddler wakes up and we go grab a glass of lemon water, coffee for me and smoothie for him. By now I’m in full work mode but I also have to keep my mind and body healthy so while the house is still quiet, I put my son’s favourite TV show on the iPad while I mediate for 10 minutes using an app on my phone followed by my daily 5 minute planking exercises which I time using, you guessed it, my phone.

ditching the smart phone to make sure i am fully present with my kids this Christmas is the best present I can give, will your presence be the present this year?
I’ll put my hands up, my phone is never far away and is in use pretty much constantly from the moment I get up, throughout the day and before I go to bed, I even wind down to sleep using the mind clear setting on my sleep monitor app which then monitors my sleep pattern throughout the night and reports back on my progress and how I can improve it. 24/7 my life is digital. Be it working on the computer from home or using my phone, I’m hooked up most of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, there are always  moments when I’m out and about with my son and I try to stick to work times throughout the day. He’s far from being a TV toddler glued to the screen, but I’m well aware that it’s normal for him to think that adults need to have their phone on them at all times from the times he says

Mummy, you’ve left your phone in your bedroom

as we’re walking down the stairs.

So while switching off isn’t an option, I need to work, I need the support of the phone calls and messages right now, I do owe it to my kids to have some set time, undisturbed or tempted by social media and emails. So this Christmas, my present to them will be my presence. I’ll be switching off on the 25th and 26th for complete mindfulness with my boys. And I have a tool kit to make it achievable.

ditching the smart phone to make sure i am fully present with my kids this Christmas is the best present I can give, will your presence be the present this year?
This tool kit was given a test run recently as I logged off 2 smart phone free days. 2 days of focusing wholly on my children and not on the digital world on my phone. I’m not going to lie to you, it was excruciating but with a Punkt phone, which reminded me of a modern and classy version of my first Nokia 3310, it was do able.

Popping my sim card into the slot (it came which a handy sim tray which could accommodate my micro sim card, I fired it up and could still receive calls and texts. The moments when my itchy fingers ached to check in to my emails, I calmed my mind with some colouring. Man that is so therapeutic! Kids really know what they’re doing and why the chuff do we stop as adults?

ditching the smart phone to make sure i am fully present with my kids this Christmas is the best present I can give, will your presence be the present this year?
And when I found my thoughts wandering, mulling over the storm which has taken over my personal life, instead of reaching for the web for inspiration or solutions, I wrote it down. I forgot how good it feels to lose your self in written words and then look back at the page, I forgot how much I loved making sure each letter was positioned on the lines, each loop and letter a unique window into my personality. Handwriting is so personal and reveals so much about a person and it felt good to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

With Christmas and Boxing day less than a month away now, my next smart phone detox will soon be here and this year is so different from the rest and as much as I’ll be tempted to escape the reality of the elephant in the room as lose myself in other people’s worlds, it won’t do me any good to see all the social media posts of families enjoying their day so a smart phone free day, with all focus on my boys and making it a special one for them is a must.

I think you’d be mad not to join me in giving your presence as the present this year.

ditching the smart phone to make sure i am fully present with my kids this Christmas is the best present I can give, will your presence be the present this year?
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Win An Oblumi Tapp Thermometer & App For The Modern Parent

I’m the first to admit that when my children are ill I go into survival, stop everything, mode. My obsession with getting temperatures down becomes a military operation. I blame the years of watching Casualty as all the worst case scenarios flick through my mind. I’m can usually tell when they’re burning up by the mere touch of a forehead, its not rocket science, if they feel hotter than usual then they have a temperature and I need to act accordingly.

What I should really be doing though is recording whether its rising or dropping and whether its going panic stations high which is exactly what the Oblumi Tapp does. It’s a  smart phone device that when connected to a mobile phone, converts into digital infrared thermometer with a range of capabilities from measuring the ear, fore head and even the temperature of liquids.

This is quite a nifty device! A smart phone operated thermometer with several extra features called an Oblumi tapp

When connected to your phone through the headphone socket, it’s operated through an free app on your phone. You add your child / children’s details and can access a range of features;

It takes an accurate temperature

In just a few seconds you can take your body temperature by placing it on your forehead or in your ear. Its infrared sensor is specially designed for medical use.

It calculates medicine dosage

Who can ever remember the correct dosage to take for a fever? Our app automatically calculates this for you in line with the data of each patient and using the most popular medication.

It registers all your data

It displays the temperature data history and medication taken, so that your fever can be followed up correctly and the information passed to a medical professional.

It shares patient ́s profile

You can create as many patients as you need and share them with the users that you wish. The information will be automatically updated to all those who share the patient.

It sends and receives notifications

You can send automatic temperature or medication notifi- cations to all contacts that you share the information with.

It configure alarms

Avoid problems and activate an alarm so that you never forget to take your temperature or medication.

As well as being compatible with the Apple and Android iOS systems, you can also access detailed information from any personal computer or tablet. Our Oblumi Cloud synchronises the data between all devices.

It checks the temperature of liquids. How many times have you been worried that the baby’s bottle is too hot or the bath water is too cold? With Oblumi tapp you can take the temperature of any liquid with the same accuracy and speed.

 

It took me less than 10 minutes to set up the app on my phone and do a trial run and loved how simple it all seemed. The devise comes in t’s own travel bag with a small supply of wipes. I really must give a mention about the packaging too, such little details like this are a really nice touch.

You can buy direct from the Oblumi website or try your luck in the competition below

 

Win An Oblumi tapp Smart Phone Thermometer rrp £33
  Disclaimer

I was sent an Oblumi tapp for the purpose of sharing it with my readers and offering another as a prize. All words and photos are my own unless stated. You can find my full disclosure policy here 

More Competitions at ThePrizeFinder and Super Lucky Me

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One Less Mum Job Thanks To HP Instant Inks

I have a love hate relationship with my printer. It’s well used and much-needed but very temperamental. My biggest bug bear, other than having to lug it out of its hiding place each time I need it, is when I run out of ink. The whole process of trying to find a good deal online, making sure they deliver quickly and making sure I’ve ordered the right one takes precious time I simply can’t waste.

Quite often I’ve been enemy number one in the house because they boys have to print off their homework and seeing the familiar wishy-washy print out, have gone into panic mode. Then realising that I’m not as magic as they thought in not being able to fix it, needing someone to exercise said panic mode out on. I get the

why didn’t you realise it needed more ink?

“Errrrrrr because I was busy making sure you were fed, clothed and emotionally stable and quite simply, the printer is at the least of my priorities”

But in their eyes anything which isn’t DIY or Batman is mum’s job.

So one less thing to ignite a teenage meltdown is a welcome addition into Chez Nutshell. HP, as in the electronics market and not ketchup, must know this familiar scenario as they’ve come up with the idea of instant ink. Saving you up to 70% on ink and making sure you never run out again, you buy an HP eligible printer, choose a monthly plan based on the number of pages you print, and get HP instant inks delivered right to your door.

You can find out more by watching this   HP instant inks YouTube video which explains a little more. I think it’s safe to say my printer is on his last warning and the minute it starts showing signs of malfunction as the thought of one less mum job is so appealing!

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Toddlers and technology, where do you stand?

When is the right age to introduce children to technology? Do we embrace the new and go with the flow or should we hold off as long as possible? It’s a subject that most parents have an opinion.

As a parent to older children I can see how technology can enrich the lives of the young. Be it helping to answer the barrage of questions they have by consulting Google, to keeping them safe when they’re out and about. But I’ve also seen how utterly annoying it can be, there’s the days when the sky is blue and instead of being out in the sun, climbing trees and playing out, they prefer to be glued to their xboxes or internet,  leading to various amounts of coercion & threat to prise them away.

The default wind down time in our house is no longer the TV, instead it’s playing GTA 5 with your mates online, messaging of Facebook or watching endless YouTube videos. There are times when everyone is sitting in the same room yet locked inside their own virtual world.

I hate those times the most.

But how do I enforce social family time while I myself, the blogging mum, spends so much time on my iPhone or the laptop.  There comes a point when “do as I say not as I do” doesn’t work. I argue that my time buried into the laptop is work, yet who’s to argue that it’s not as enriching for Tweens and Teenagers? They’re interacting, problem solving, using fine motor skills and even reading.  If play is child’s work, then can the same be said of screen time?

and how is that different to days gone by when we’d all sit down as a family and watch the TV?

Surely there’s more interaction going on now than there was back then? But what about toddlers and technology? At what age is it acceptable for a toddler to use an iPad?

It amazes me when I see them swiping and tapping away, playing games and watching movies like it’s the most natural thing ever, yet I’ve had to show my older relatives time and time again how to use their phone or a tablet, proving how a young child’s brain is like a sponge, soaking up the surroundings of every day activities going on around them, processing and mimicking as they role play what they see.

My own Baby R has a strange fascination with my iPhone. Most of the time he just sticks it in his mouth but recently I caught him looking at the screen and tapping like he knew what to do. And he should. I’m always using it to check emails, the weather or Twitter in front of him. My blog was created during all the hours I spent sat breastfeeding, restless to be doing something during the many feeding sessions. However hard I try not to let the internet world take precedence over my baby, there are occasions when I’ve had to answer emails before we’ve left the house or I’ve got a blog post idea I need to save before it disappears into the great unknown of Mum’s busy brain.

Is this a new era of technology where babies are born into a world knowing exactly what to do with an iPhone?

I’m ashamed to admit that in the past there were times when I’d see a toddler with an iPad in a restaurant and wonder why their parents hadn’t brought a book or weren’t making the most of the free crayons and then I had my own toddler. I now look longingly at the family sitting down, enjoying their meal without distraction as their little one sits happily glued to the screen while my husband and I play tag parenting, taking it in turns to pace the floor and entertain the boddler who’s too young for the distraction of Peppa Pig apps and CBeebies games, whilst eating our food at lightening speed and apologising profusely for all the mess as we settle our bill.

So is letting your toddler use technology cheating or embracing the future? Should screen time be saved for a time when their minds are less delicate? I’m still undecided.

I guess there comes a point when we have to accept that what we enjoyed as a child was fine for us in the past  but this is the here and now and new technology isn’t always the enemy. There’s a time and place for change and everything in moderation. But technology for toddlers, mmmm, I don’t know. That developing brain needs the interaction that only other humans and face to face can provide, so I’ll be delaying the distraction of the internet and TV for a little while yet, even if that means a few extra rounds of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on every car journey and the indigestion laden, speed, eating meals.

As I know that once we go down that road there’s no going back.

I’ve been shortlisted in the working parent blogger of the year Mums and Working awards, it’d be awesome if you could spare to minutes to vote for me, Click here for the voting form.

 

And then the fun began...

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