Blogging Do’s for Every Blogger. ~Part 1~

Hey, readers!

Having been blogging for about 5 months, I’ve made it a personal point of duty to pen down observations I make about blogging as I go. And today, I wish to share with you:

blogging do’s for every blogger. 💙

They’re quite a lot, so I’ve broken them up into two parts. The Part 2’s coming soon. 😉

And so, I begin…

1.Make your homepage appealing.

When a blogger links to your blog, it’s often going to be your blog’s homepage. So, it’s important for you to have a beautiful homepage. Not a nice homepage, not a good homepage, but a beautiful homepage. This is must-have number one.

Make sure you use colours that complement each other, and colours that are not too sharp in the eyes; otherwise you’ll scare your potential follower away.

To augment your aesthetics, I recommend that you include the ‘Latest Posts’ block in your homepage, so as to give readers a sample of your posts and (hopefully) get them to read.

Lastly, it’s best to write a little intro about your blog and link to your ‘About’ or ‘Posts’ page.

But in case you simply just want your homepage to display your latest posts, that’s fine too. 😚

A blogger I know with breathtaking homepages is: Suhani. And another blogger I know with with a beautiful website is Evin.

2.Give your posts feeling with EM.O.JIS 😜

I’ve come across some blogs whose posts are bereft of emojis, and I’m like:

oh no, no, no 😩

Even though when I began blogging, I only knew the

🙂          😦          ❤        ^-^

emoji symbols(the first three would turn to actual emojis in WordPress, FYI), as I began finding more blogs, I kept wondering how they inputted emojis in their posts. At first I thought it because they wrote posts with their mobile devices, but then I realised that that wasn’t the case. So I browsed out how to input emojis into text on a PC, and I found that on Windows 8 versions, this can be done by holding the Windows key + the full stop/ period key at the same time.

Blog posts should really be coloured up with emojis. They give posts feeling and make them more readable and interesting.👌🏿

So, if you aren’t dolling up your post with emojis, try it out – but don’t overdo it, it’ll just get annoying. 🙄

3. Let your blog design complement your content.

I don’t know about you, but for me, a blog will never be perfect. From time to time, we will always feel the need to add some new designs to our blogs – and that’s okay. But remember to style your blog in line with what it’s all about – let the design, colours and fonts complement the content.

4. Eye candy is very important.

In a time when quality, high definition images are 99% of what people look out for in almost any content, quality images in your blog post will make all the difference. I know why I stress ‘quality’:

99.9% of viewers DO NOT want to see blurred, disproportionate images.

For me, if I go to a site and see such and images, I’ll look for another site if I’m not in much of a rush, or if I don’t know any other site where I can get better written content.

Images attract readers, and putting images here and there throughout you blog post keep them interested. But DO NOT use irrelevant images. Make sure the images you use communicate idea and feeling of your article.

Lastly, don’t place images after every paragraph. Even though images are necessary, putting in too much of them will just get annoying, draw attention away from the actual article, and look amateurish.

5. Try to make your blog post link descriptive.

I mean, tell a little about the blog post in the link. If the tittle does that already, use the tittle.

E.g.:

BLOG POST TITTLE: 6 Things to Keep in Mind Before Choosing a Career.

BLOG POST LINK: https://essasnotes.wordpress.com/2022/04/25/6-things-to-keep-in-mind-before-choosing-a-career-path/

So, you see that from the link alone, the viewer knows that in the blog post, they will find out six things he/she should keep in mind before choosing a career.

And using descriptive links can also be helpful when your post’s tittle is too long. Instead of having the whole string of words as your link, shorten it into something readable.

Having descriptive links is also good for SEO. Though I’m far from being an SEO guru, I know enough to know that short links that tell something about a post get higher rankings in Search Engine results than long, confusing ones.

6. Keep your blog post tittle short and catchy.

Let it capture all that the blog post is about. I once was making a little research on organizations that advance girls in tech. I wouldn’t have clicked on this link to an article on SheKnows if its tittle didn’t read:

9 organizations committed to helping girls kick butt in tech fields.

Honestly ‘kick butt in tech fields’ is what got my attention and click; even though its link was less attractive:

9 organizations committed to helping girls kick butt in tech fields

So you see that a blog post’s title can be that important in determining whether or not it’s link will get clicked on.

7. Try out linking.

As a blogger, you can either link to your own content, or the content of other bloggers/content creators.

Linking to content on other websites boosts their traffic, so be sure to notify them of this (through email, perhaps) so they might just return the favour.

And linking to other posts of your own keeps readers moving around your site. I was elated when, some time ago, I got a like on one of my very old posts. That was made possible because of linking to other articles on your blog.

But please remember to link relevantly. Don’t just stuff links all over the place; it scares readers away.

TIP:The linking technique I believe is best is the one I call the linking-sentences technique. Here are examples:

  • “Starting up as a new blogger can be hard, what with all the hard choices you’ll have to make. But other than making choices of niches, social media advert techniques and all others, the area where most beginner bloggers fail is in the choice of a blogging platform. Here’s a post of mine that wisely points you to the best blogging platform,when compared to all others.

The linking techniques you should not be trying are these:

TECHNQ 1: “… I wrote an entire post about it. You can read it here.”

This technique does work, but the linking-sentences technique works better and is more interesting.

TECHNQ 2: I don’t know if this is from the way the site is structured, but I’ve come across many articles where after a few paragraphs, a link to other posts is placed thus:

Read also: Nine Ways to Stay in Shape this Month.

This might get readers to click, but some readers might also find it annoying.

So use the most acclaimed linking technique: the linking-sentences technique.

8. Don’t try to sound too important and knowledgeable

Don’t try to sound important and smart by using long sentences and big grammar (you’ll bore a lot of readers away). I relate better with articles that are written in every day conversational language, than with those written like they were picked out of a textbook for professors.

And because of this, even though you can write your articles any way you want, I advise you write in everyday language, because it will engage your readers more.

9. Write about topics that interest you.

If you’re writing about something you aren’t interested in, your readers won’t like it, too. Don’t force yourself to write about things you aren’t interested in just because you think your readers will like it. Write what you like, and those who like it too will read.

10. Look back at your posts.

As we advance as bloggers, it’s normal to forget about old posts. But I advise that once in a while, you should visit your site and read through old posts. You might be surprised to find out errors, broken links, images that don’t show up, or might even get new ideas we can add to the post.

Revisiting old posts is important because that one old post full of errors might just be the one that a new viewer of your site might upon. And if the post is terrible, he/she will vamoose from your site.

And still on looking at posts, whenever you make a post, immediately check how it looks on your site and in the WordPress Reader, so you can check if all your aesthetics and formatting appeared the way you wanted them to.

And these are my blogging do’s for every blogger. Even though you might be an old blogger, I hope there were some points here that got you thinking.

Thanks for reading, and look out for the ~part 2~!

Dishing out blogging advice, 🥧

6 Things to Keep in Mind Before Choosing a Career Path.

Hey, readers!

I know, I know, before I made my previous post, I went on another unannounced break. I’ll explain in two words: exam preparations. My posting will be scanty till I go to boarding school in the first week of May. 😥

I recently had an eye-opener on the importance of avoiding destructive influence when choosing a career. And to help me exploit my exposé, I penned down some factors to keep in mind while one decides on a career. And I’m happy to be sharing them with you today.

Here they are!

1.Choose a career that feels natural.🌸

Choose a career path that you’ve always felt drawn to, like it’s been ‘calling’ you, form the time you knew what careers were. A ‘natural’ career often originates from a talent or natural ability of yours.

Look out for that thing you do perfectly with little effort, that thing you always find yourself drawn to no matter how hard you try to suppress it, which – when you finally get it done – makes you feel peaceful and happy.

That should point you to your career path.

For me, that ‘thing’ is writing. I find writing, and words as a whole, so easy to handle that earlier on in my life, I wanted to be a writer. But in later years, I chose a new career path in technology, and I’m learning that tech is so flexible an industry that even writing can be absorbed into it… with the right amount of creativity.

So by embracing my talent, my career path is a nice balance of writing + tech + creativity!

2. Don’t be daunted by sayings of ‘going out of your comfort zone.’🚀😴

There are a lot of sayings about pushing limits and getting out of comfort zones, but don’t let that influence your choice. Everyone has a natural limitation and a special role he/she is meant to play on earth.

Know that a comfort zone can be our little get-away for brainstorming, and it can also be the birthplace of an unexpected leap of progress, depending on how we choose to utilize ours.

3. Remember the academic requirements of the career.🤓

Take time to ask about and google out the subject requirements for of the course you wish to pursue, so you can be sure you can handle it when you face it properly in the university.

4. Have friends of similar interest /career paths.💕

This helped me so much in the early days choosing of technology as my career path. In times of frustration and confusion, a little chat with such friends of mine refueled my confidence. 💪🏿

And even with writing. Seeing fellow bloggers who write about relatable topics gives me the morale and joy to keep writing. 🤗

And even if you have no ‘physical’ friends of similar interest, there are always chatrooms, social media groups, organizations that reach out through internet platforms, and other online outlets where you can connect with like-minded peeps.

Such an organization that reaches out to people online is Girls Who Code. Although they operate physically in America (New York, mainly) and India, I believe, they reach out to, encourage, help foster sisterhood in tech, and give opportunities to girls outside of these countries who wish to venture into tech.

5. DO NOT choose a career because of ‘people’.🏃🏿‍♀️

I repeat, DO NOT choose your career path only because of:

  • your grades in school. It’s normal (at least in my country) for teachers and counselors to advise students with high grades to go into sciences. It’s okay to listen to your gut feeling and pursue your interest, even if it conflicts with the advice you’ve been given.
  • people’s expectations. Maybe, just maybe, there is a person/persons who’ve supported you for a long time, majorly because of your initial career path.

Don’t let the fear of their reactions or of disappointing them keep you from dropping a career you’re no longer interested in.

people’s general perceptions of you. Maybe people who’ve been around you for a really long time that know you at a personal level might often suggest a career path as ‘right for you’. If it really doesn’t appeal to you, don’t be influenced.

6. Be sure that you aren’t just trying to take the easy way out.🤔

Yeah, yeah.

Even after all, the truth should still be said. Some people just back down from their initial career choice because they want to run away from the challenges of that career. And most times they find that, in hindsight, they were actually capable of scaling those challenges, if only they had tried harder.

Most times, people back down from careers like engineering because of maths (like I wanted to). But we should learn, even as we know our limits, not to be afraid of obstacles – ‘cause we’re going to have to overcome them at some point in order to move forward.

So be sure before making a choice of career. Even though we can always make a change, I advise not wasting our creative energy on frequent changes. 😊

Which of these headings can you relate to the most?

Is there any point you wish to add?

We’re all learning here, let me know what you have to say in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Stay cool… and springy, 😎🌺🌼

A Girl’s Expectations – A Collab with Maggie.

Before I begin, I wish to thank Maggie for agreeing to do this collab post with me. It really means a lot to me as a new blogger! 💜🧡🤍

A girl’s expectations. That’s a rather broad topic. And I mean a reeeaaallly broad topic, when considering the many, many dreams the average girl has.

Every girl has things she looks forward to achieving in her lifetime, her expectations. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the expectations of all girls, notwithstanding diversity factors, can be linked to one another in some ways, because a girl will always be a girl.

But even though we as girls have common, underlying expectations, the different societies we find ourselves in tend to influence some aspects of our expectations.

So what are we doing?

Are our anticipations changing or not?

In this post, I’ll be answering these questions (and more) from my perspective – a Nigerian Igbo girl’s.

JUST A NOTE: Maggie’s headings were in the form of the questions I asked her to answer; I’ll be answering the same questions, but not in the same way as her headings.

That make sense?

Okay, here we go!

Obeying Society’s Norms. 🙆🏿‍♀️

In Igboland, and in Nigeria as a whole, no matter how intelligent a girl might be, she is only said to be a true girl if she knows how to handle domestic activities: cooking, cleaning, balancing her academics/work and would-be family requirements, managing stress, and all she can do to be a balanced woman-to-be. And we learn this domestic aspect from our moms, from childhood up until we leave our houses at adulthood.

In times past, that was enough. Back then, with a well-grounded domestic background, a girl was more than sure of getting married to a good husband. But that was all people thought a girl was good for back then.

Nowadays, with so much exposure in our societies, the eyes of us girls have been opened regarding our capabilities, and the lengths we can reach, thus bringing about change.

Strong, brave Nigerian woman like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Buchi Emecheta, Dora Akunyili, Chioma Ajunwa, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola, and many other women, were some of the first to realise this, and they blazed the trail for us girls to follow, and to even create new ones of our own.

By default, in the traditional Igbo society, girls are meant to follow the dictations of society. If a girl does something that strikes up noise, or causes heads to wag, she should stop it at once. Girls are meant to be obedient and quiet to a fault, only doing and saying what they are asked to, especially in terms of careers.

But thankfully, with our parents being exposed to the male-female balance in workplaces of the world, they are letting us go into careers we choose, and letting us realise our potentials.

But in other cases where a girl might want to go into a career in entertainment (acting, modelling, music, etc.), for example, the average Nigerian parent disagrees and tells her to ‘be sensible’ and go into a more professional field. 😥

And if she remains unwavering, her parents often leave her to her fate; because in Nigeria, professionalism and corporate jobs are held in high esteem. People in entertainment are widely seen as ‘loose’ and ‘spoilt’.

Freedom.💃🏿

A girl’s freest age is adulthood. At childhood and teenage, she is still heavily under her parents, and these are the shaping years. We all know that at teenage, teens tend to crave freedom and independence.

The case is no different with Nigerian girls, but we are only allowed a small bit of freedom, as our parents, teachers and elders are never too far away to discipline us when we try to go too far.

Parents fear the behavioural outcomes of teens abroad. From what we see in movies and the likes, teens abroad can be openly sexually active and/or homosexual; when a teen disrespects an elder, no serious punishment is given; teens abroad can choose their own lifestyles, deviant or not, and parents often take no severe action.

Whether the image portrayed in movies, books and on social media is true, Nigerian parents fear that the same fate awaits their children, and so the average Nigerian parent doesn’t even give their child a smartphone (or even any phone) till he/she is (at least) done with secondary school.

They closely monitor their children, most rigidly during teenage, and make sure they are never too far away when they reach adulthood; all just so their child does not ‘spoil’ or become wrongly exposed.

Is Religiosity a Must?🙏🏿

In my view, the most actively religious people in my country are Igbos – our religion widely being Christianity. Igbos believe that a girl can only effectively overcome the challenges she is to face in life if she is actively spiritual.

Not a lot of emphasis on spirituality is laid on boys as it is on girls, because if in a marriage, for example, the wife is actively spiritual, the family is okay. The woman can rub off her spirituality on her husband, or be the one to pray the family out (in a case where the husband fails to pick up).

And girls who are not actively spiritual can most times be said to be ‘loose’ or ‘spoilt’, because it is highly considered that spirituality = morality.

What Our Society Should Really Expect.😊

While I actually commend my society’s rigidity towards the upbringing of young people, especially girls, I still frown at parents who dictate to their children what to do, holding them with an iron fist.

The older generation of Nigeria should learn that the world we live in encourages diversity, and young people, especially girls, should be given the chance to pursue their right, unique aspirations.

Societal groups should stop stereotyping. In Nigeria, when a girl tries to make a statement, tries to be different, tries something new, she is gossiped about and backlashed – and this is seen as normal!

These gossips and side-talks kill our morale and make us doubt who we are and our capabilities. Societal groups, especially women, should learn to give us young girls a chance to express ourselves rightly – not killing our buds before they bloom.

My Advice to Girls Worldwide.🌍

Your expectations are unique and personal, girl. Never waver in whatever you’ve decided to achieve in your lifetime, no matter what. Here are some points I can give to help you out with this:

  • Embrace your diversity. Diversity I mean here is your unique aspirations. Don’t be moved by ‘what everyone expects of me’. The only person that matters is YOU. Do what you love, and those who truly love you will appreciate you for it.
  • Morality is the emphasis. Yes, in my society, it is believed that spirituality = morality, but nowadays I find that that is not always the case. Do what is right, especially in terms of morality and sexuality.

I won’t lie, I’m not a fan of LGBT movements, because I see them as unnatural. But whatever it is you choose, always make sure you do what is right: try to be positive, lend a helping hand whenever you can, and try to put a smile on someone’s face every day.

  • Respect your body. Still linked to the morality point, anyway. I again commend my society for kicking against sexually active teens and unmarried adults.

I’m not against dating, even as a teen, but make sure you’re serious with your relationships. Jumping from one relationship to the other will only distract your attention and make you lose focus.

  • Listen to your heart. We’re girls. We have it going on when it comes to listening to our hearts. Always be sure that every step you take – big or small – is in harmony with your dreams and aspirations. Never do anything you aren’t at peace with.
  • Work hard. Never neglect the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be.

Put your head down and run, girl. Run towards your dreams! 🏃🏿‍♀️

I once again thank Maggie for doing this collab with me. I look forward to doing more collabs with you in the future!

Head on over to her site to read her post on the topic. I bet it’s a really amazing one!

Thanks for reading!

Feeling inspired, 😇🙏🏿

March Wrap-Up + A Blog Makeover.💄

Hey, readers!

Happy new month!

Oooookay, so I’m back at my laptop click-clacking at the keyboard for another blog post. 💻 Did my little blogging fam notice my time out? Well, the whole thing started out with the shock-ING (or is it SHOCK-ing?) number of likes I got for this post.

But all that’ll be discussed later on. Let the wrap-up begin…

Blogging.

Blogggggginnnnnng

Blogggggiiiiiinnnnnggg

Blllloooogggiiiing

Um, I guess for this month I made… one post? Here it is in case you missed out on it:

I felt really bad when, after publishing this post, I headed over to WP to check and only saw one like. One like.

ONE LIKE!

I was like: I have 33 followers, why should a post, ANY post of mine have just ONE like?!

I felt really bad. I felt like I’m just wasting my time and mobile data blogging. I started recalling the fact that my posts don’t even get comments.

A simple ‘Nice post, Vanessa’ will be much appreciated.

HONESTLY SPEAKING TO WHOEVER READS THE ARTICLES I WRITE ON THIS BLOG, I’M FEELING VERY DISCOURAGED. I’M NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD ‘LIKE’ POSTS YOU DON’T REALLY LIKE, BUT FOR THOSE YOU DO REALLY LIKE, YOU CAN ALSO DO WELL BY LEAVING ME A COMMENT TELLING ME HOW MUCH YOU DID LIKE THEM.

P.L.E.A.S.E.

To whom it may concern.

So, it was that feeling and my second term exams / WAEC mock exams (also being my last official exams in secondary school 😭) that kept me from WP and from blogging for about three weeks.

And I believe I’ll also go on another timeout, ‘cause JAMB mock exams start on April 9th soooo, yeah. And I also have to start preparing my things for my two-and-a-half months stay in boarding school for my WAEC exams.

Yeah, you hrrd right: I’ll be going to boarding school for my senior school exams! 🚶🏿‍♀️ 🧳🛏 It’s just a little heads up.

But when I checked out WP on April 1st, the day we finished our exams, I saw some really cheery comments some bloggers that found my blog during my break left me. They cheered me up and encouraged me in the measure they could. 🌻☀🌞

The amazing people are 🧡:

  • Elisha – I really would have followed you, but I don’t really follow story or writing blogs, because I lose interest in them after a while. So, to keep things honest, I didn’t.
  • Justjubi – When I followed their link, I found the person’s site had been deleted, soooo no link.

At last, I found a new blogger this month. And shii izz:

And at last’s last, I gave my blog a makeover 🎨💄🎀 – a rather small one, actually. I just tweaked up things like colours and added some new… stuff. I wanted to wait till my blog’s 1-year anniversary to change my blog’s appearance, but that’ll be by November, and that’s too long a wait. 😑 So head over to my site if you’re viewing this in the Reader, and please tell me what you think of it in the comments!

Sorry this segment turned out to be so long.

My Spiritual Life.

In this part of my life last month, I was fairly neutral. Falling and getting up, falling and getting up. I believe it was an improvement when compared to last month.

A 4/10, I believe.

I’m beginning to see, as I grow and get into new situations that being godly isn’t as easy as it used to be when I was younger. It takes constant effort, when you fail even when after said you’d try to never fail that badly again, to not give up on yourself. It takes bravery to talk to God when you’re going through hurt, because most times we think we can think out the pain-killer ourselves… but we can’t.

This month, after going to church on Sundays, I would feel really motivated to write a You and God post, but when I do get time to write it, I feel inadequate, like an impostor, like I’m not worthy, like a hypocrite that says one thing and does another. I know we are made worthy by God’s grace, but I had always decided to wait till I was back firmly on my feet, so that the articles I wrote would not condemn me.

But as I write this now, I realise that the articles I write should not condemn me. Rather, they should caution me. Caution me to live as I preach, reminding me that I have an audience that grabs on to the words I write concerning Christian living. So, guys, get ready for You and God articles in April.

My Personal Life.

My personal life was as well neutral, I guess. With my boyfriend, I’ve learnt some more lessons about trusting him: I can. Notwithstanding the palaver of him looking for trouble, and me giving him trouble of my own, February was blissful for us, actually. 💕

The other part of my personal life concerns my family, my friends and classmates. It’s safe to say I bore my burdens well this month, and didn’t have any serious emotional breakdowns.

*hehehe*

Again, I realised this month that I have an amazing friend who has and (hopefully) will always have my back.

And the person I used to call my close friend showed me that he was never really even an acquaintance, after all these years.😥

*mixed feelings*

School Life.

I guess the only part of my life that I actively worked at this month was my school life. This is the first time in my life that my exam scores ACTUALLY determine my future.

Maybe I didn’t put that right.

I just mean that not reaching the required cut-off mark for my dream university is going to be a big blow to me, y’know. So I’m all jittery, trying my best to study, take away distractions, and am constantly scolding myself when I fail to reach a goal.

I’m. Just. Tryna. Be. Focused. And. Serious. And. All.

Wish me luck with exams, guys!

And I promise to formally inform you (for all who care) …

*harsh… but true*

… when I’ll be going on my break for my JAMB mock exams and when I’ll be going to boarding school.

Still waiting for my WAEC mock exam results…

*ankshoussss 😬*

So that’s my March recap. I really loved reading Evin’s March wrap-up. She tagged it: a summary of march ‘2022 🍃 ‘cause she didn’t want to use the usual ‘… wrap-up’ format. I really love her posts. She’s not posting so frequently nowadays, but her writing style remains the same: she’s cool, mature and artistic. And also my biggest encouragement to keep on blogging.

I really want to hear what you think of my blog adjustments, and of the post in general! So please leave your comments, readers!

Thanks for reading.

😐

P.S Don’t you just uh-dore this pic? It’s the featured image I made myself for my February Wrap-Up, and I can’t stop loving it! 😍