You don’t have to be an expert in Photoshop to have a crisp, professional looking blog. I have been blogging for over seven years and haven’t touched the program. The past year I have been using PicMonkey to edit my photos and create my “Pin-able” images and find it easy to use, budget-friendly, and a tool to accomplish most anything a blogger would need.
PicMonkey is a web-based tool that you can use in any Internet browser to color correct photos, add text, crop, and more. For a small fee, you can upgrade and access even more features in PicMonkey (a cost like this is tax-deductible if you make money off your blog!). Here are a few ways I use it:
My husband takes my pictures in the morning, and then hands me the memory card to select and edit the photos for my blog on my lunch hour. I need something that will let me edit 3-6 photos in less than 15 minutes so I have time to finish my post and still grab a bite to eat before getting back to work. I have found PicMonkey lets me do exactly that.
Image via Pinterest
Like any viewer on YouTube, I was searching for an updo to wear as MOH for my best friend’s wedding, but my search came up little to none. That was when I decided to create a channel of my own and posted my first video in 2008. I’ve created videos ranging from quick, simple hairstyles to updos to makeup, nails and slowly adding in some DIY and fashion videos to the mix.
Being on YouTube has been rewarding to say the least and I am glad to have met great friends along the way. However, starting a channel initially may not be easy, but I’ve learned a few tips along the way that will help you to create one of your own, if you so wish.
Tip #1: Be yourself
I know you hear this plenty, but it’s true. Viewers love to see the personality behind the videos, so being you only helps viewers get to know you better.
Tip #2: Only use royalty-free music such as ones from Incompetech
This is a tip I always give out, especially if you want to become a YouTube Partner. Refrain from using music that you do not have the rights or permissions in your videos.
We all know managing a blog is so much more than a hobby. It’s practically a full-time job! Aside from creating fresh content on a frequent basis, we’re constantly tweeting, Facebook-ing, Pinning, Instagram-ing and now most recently, Vine-ing. In order to really make our social media footprint last for our blog and brand, it’s key that you’re consistently keeping up with your readers on all platforms and continuing to be a go-to resource.
Image via Pinterest
So what makes me an expert? By day, I’m a social media marketing consultant for a bevy of small and mid-market companies, coming up with content strategies that will improve their online presence. Here are my top tips for developing and managing your social media pages, more specifically, Facebook.
1. Check your branding. The first thing readers will see when they look at your social media page is your profile photo and cover image. For your profile pictures, focus on an image that would help readers immediately identify your
page. Cover photos and background images should complement your brand/what you cover.
2. Diversify your content. Instead of only posting new blog posts on your social media pages, incorporate more content that is not about you. Self-promotional posts typically lack engagement and can be repetitive. Behind-the-scenes photos and links to other website articles relevant to your area of expertise will instantly add more content to your page.
One of the common distinctions between a blog and a news website is the personal connection built up over time. Bloggers love to share joyful news such as an engagement or pregnancy with their readers. In fact, this girl even live streamed her wedding on her blog! But what happens when tragedy strikes?
Some of you may know last year my husband shocked me by asking for a divorce. For months I cried myself to sleep, needed to be constantly distracted and occasionally spent a weekend lost in a coma-like state of depression. But when you look back at those months on my blog, there is barely a hint of what I’m going through. And then, when I was finally ready, I made an announcement on my blog letting people know what I was going through.
When going through personal stuff, sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is blogging. But suddenly disappearing for a few weeks without explanation will hurt your blog in the end. So what do you do?
Let your readers know. You don’t have to go into great detail, especially when everything is fresh, but let people know if you’re taking a break or will be posting less frequently than usual.
Try blogging as a distraction. It’s not for everyone, but I found that by spending some time doing my regular blogging routine helped distract me from my life imploding and gave me a sense of normalcy. It doesn’t hurt to try!
Hey CapFABB! This is Nikki Rappaport from the blog Cupcakes for Breakfast!
Every so often, even bloggers who have a specific niche (like fashion) want to explore the “lifestyle” category and share another part of their life. So if you want to start including some recipe posts (or if you already do!), here are just a few tips:
1. Show us in photos
We’ll have a much better idea of the recipe if you show us the dish in photos. Document the cooking process, final product, or your plate before eating. I’m nowhere near being a camera whiz yet, so I still most often use my iPhone to take recipe photos. (The chocolate cake photo above was taken with my iPhone!) The key is natural light and neutral backgrounds.
2. Tell a story
Who did you cook for? Is this an old family recipe? Tell us why you made this particular recipe. Describe how it tastes. Does it remind you of a specific place or time? Food can be such a powerful storyteller so tell us more than just the ingredients. My favorite recipes, like this chocolate soufflé, are my favorite because of the story and people behind it.
3. Read and re-read your recipe
Does it make sense? Could a total stranger follow along and make the same thing? Make sure your measurements, cooking times, and oven temperatures are there. You don’t need to test your recipes before publishing, but make sure that someone can duplicate it and not be too far off. I’ve had friends duplicate my pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies very easily!
Happy cooking/baking! And don’t forget to share what you whip up with us!
Nikki is the voice behind the lifestyle blog Cupcakes for Breakfast.