your pinterest favourites

what-you-are-pinning-mycreative

I always see people mention how pinterest is their biggest driver of traffic but have only more recently seen it climbing up my ranks.

I thought I would share what have been “the internet’s” favourites because I am nosey and think other people might be nosey too and perhaps there is something we can both learn from it.

Food posts

banana peanut butter chocolate brownie oatmilk shake - MYCreative Photography vegan hot chocolate - mycreative

Pinterest is great for collecting recipes. I now I use it all the time for that. Two posts that have been consistently clicked through have been my vegan brownie milkshake and a vegan hot chocolate recipe. I think the niche nature of the recipes (ie vegan) help too as well as simple styling.

Simple DIYs

gift-bag-diy-mycreative

By simple I mean like two minutes. These upcycled shopping bags where really easy to make and therefore something that is easy to replicate.

Being helpful

building better habits like I love myself styling props on a budget

I think it is human nature that we are always looking to improve our lives. I am interested in learning from other people’s experiences and I think that means others are too. Share your knowledge and experiences in easy formats like a list, keep it focussed and if possible make a printable. My tips on collecting props on a budget and how I am making habits both proved very popular.

Also noted

>>> I now try and put at least one portrait orientated image in posts that I think are pinnable. Although it has been landscape pictures that have been most popular from my site (as you can see above)

>>> Writing on an image really makes it easy for a person to see what the post is about and means that it is more likely to be repinned once on pinterest.

Check out more pinterest posts

>>> 9 things to keep in mind when posting for pinterest

>>> The blogmaven’s ultimate guide to pinterest

>>> A blogger’s success story with changing their pinterest from personal to ‘brand orientated’

So how about you. Is pinterest a big source of traffic for you? What do you find are your most popular images?

On a side note isn’t it interesting how quickly words are created from ‘technologies’: ‘pinning’, ‘pinnable’, ‘printable’ etc

blog critique

blog critique

Last week I got chatting with a blog buddy about changing up our blogs and we decided to critique each others sites. It was a really useful exercise analysing someone else’s blog as well as having some completely honest feedback.

Then I got a bit greedy and thought that it would be great to have some feedback from others.

Then I thought I should be a bit more ‘generous’ and see if I can create a sort of ‘critique-swap’. So here is the plan. Leave me a comment with your email (this can be done privately) and the blog site you want critiqued. I will create a list so that each person critiques two sites. I think it is most useful to do this in pairs so you can have a conversation with the person if you want.

I’ll try and create a little form to help ‘steer’ your critiques, so leave any comments you might have on that too.

If you want to get involved leave a comment by 11 August and I will work on the list as quick as I can.

help, please

unlock It has been a bit sporadic around here. Mostly because I haven’t been up to too much “blogworthy” stuff and because honestly I am not feeling as creative as usual. I think it is a January thing. Hibernation mode.

I do have some ideas for blog posts in my head but I thought I would ask my lovely readers (that’s you) what you want to see around here. No survey or anything. Just leave a comment.

Here are some things I have been thinking about:

  1. I would really love to do some more tips on photography. Is there anything you haven’t seen here (or elsewhere) that you would like advice on.
  2. I am also keen to revive my photography challenges. With moving to Italy they kind of moved to the side. Would you like to see more?
  3. Getting back to regular recipe and food posts. I have definitely been cooking more since moving to Italy (though mostly at night which makes photographing food hard). As I am on a ‘wedding diet’ there won’t be too many cake options but healthy meals, Italian inspired.
  4. Are you interested in posts about Trieste? I can’t help but think posts about the local apertivo bar or coffee shop just wouldn’t be that interesting to a readership which doesn’t live here, but let me know.

I’d really appreciate your feedback. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and comment. It is very much appreciated and especially now that I feel very far from a physical blogging community.

tips for blogger meet-ups

craftyfox_talks In the three plus years that I have been blogging one of my favourite bonuses have been going to blogger meet-ups. I have met some truly lovely people who I hope will be in my life for a long time (even if it is just that encouraging tweet when they move half way across the world).  I am not an expert but here are some tips from my experience.

tip number 1: don’t meet anyone in a dark alley

Chances are you will be meeting at a nice restaurant or other equally instagrammable venue so this is probably not going to be a problem. The first one I went to, Blognic, was over two years ago and when I told my mother she was rather concerned.  I am guessing if you haven’t been to one either you will probably feel the same. But my answer to you is the same as what I said to my mum: “this is a bunch of ladies who craft and take photos of their food, I think I will be fine”. Amend as is appropriate to your genre.

tip number 2: don’t stress too much about what you are wearing

Yes everyone will put effort into what they are wearing and you should too. Wear that top which makes you feel like confident, put a bit of make-up on, and that necklace that you love. Yes there will be the lady there who has the most amazing outfit on and the other one with the perfect hair, but once you get chatting to the lovely lady next to you, you won’t be that concerned about what you are wearing.

tip number 3: don’t be afraid to go by yourself

The first event I went to I hadn’t met anyone and I was super nervous. But being by myself and not wanting to look like a weird lurker forced me to speak to other people.  I am still in regular contact with several people from that day and have had great opportunities because of the friends and contacts I have made. If you start going to events regularly, after a while you will start bumping into people you know. This is lovely for having a chat and catch up. When this happens do still try to make the effort to meet new people and sit down next to someone you don’t know.

tip number 4: do you have a card?

I have to admit I don’t always have a business card and sometimes for smaller events it isn’t necessary as there will be a list of people sent around.  However, it does help if you have a card with your blog site and social media profiles. It doesn’t have to be super fancy either. The handmade ones are often the most memorable (and an additional conversation starter). You can get cards made by companies like Moo or like me just head over to the printer on the high street and have 20 postcard size cards printed at a time for something budget friendly. Seriously though, don’t go and buy 200 business cards. Before you have used them all up you will probably have updated your site or your twitter profile and then they are useless.

tip number 5: have fun!

For me blogger meet-ups are not about ‘networking’ or trying to get business. They are about meeting people, building community and having a good time. If something ‘work’ related comes out of it brilliant but don’t have that as your main goal, it will show. And isn’t it better to have lovely friends?

Thank you to Lulu and Bobbi who organised the most recent event I went to and to all the lovely ladies I met. As I was a rubbish photographer/blogger I didn’t take any pictures so check out what Rosie had to say and show.  Lovely to also meet  CheXandraBeccaTania, AmyHelen and Lou and catching up with Freya and Siobhan

The picture from the recent Crafty Fox Talk. You can find more pictures that I took of the Crafty Fox Talks and a video over on their blog.

8 tips for maintaining regular original blog content

maintaining-venice-mycreative
Towards the end of last year I was struggling to come up with regular blog content. But since the start of this year there have only been 4 weeks in which I haven’t posted at least 5 times a week.  I have to say I am a bit impressed with myself.  I love blogging and I gave myself a little challenge near the beginning of the year to post more consistently, improve my blogging ‘skills’ and improve the quality of what I am putting out.  I hadn’t considered the fact that at the same time I was putting out original content (thanks Decorator’s Notebook for pointing it out).  What do I mean by ‘original’? Written posts, posts that use your own photos (useful for diys and recipes that might not be your own) and reinterpretation or ‘curation’ of images in an original way (with sufficient crediting!).  Tumblr style reposting is not in there!

8 tips for maintaining regular original blog content These are the big factors for how I have increased my level of posting and kept it up:

1. Use an editorial calendar

The best tool for creating a regular schedule and building up content that I have found is an editorial calendar. I used to keep a google calendar with ideas and scheduling but it didn’t really carry through to actions for me.  A couple months ago I started using the wordpress plugin called “edit flow”.  I don’t know if it is the best (there was another option I tried but it didn’t seem to work with my theme).  The benefit is that it shows in an easily visible way what posts you have planned and allows you to easily schedule posts in advance.  Honestly, I don’t think without this I would be posting as regularly.  I have seen people who schedule posts months in advance but I normally just plan out a week in advance, with extra ideas flowing over into the following weeks

2. Regular features

Keeping some ‘standards’ that you can rely on helps you to focus your writing.   I generally post something on a Monday that I did over the weekend (or even the one before), Wednesday is somehow food related and I have a ‘happy Friday’ post which is a bit more relaxed (and generally written the night before) which pulls together things from the week and bits that I have found over the week to link to.  I am not super strict about sticking to these all the time but it is helpful in preventing writers block

3. Length variety

It would be nigh on impossible (at least for me) to write an epic post for everyday of the week.  Sometimes all it requires is a simple picture that relates to how you are feeling or a peak of a series you have coming up (a tip from those wedding photographers).  I did this recently with a lomography photo series where I posted a photo and explained what would be coming up (while I was away).

4. Break it up

The lomography example is another great example of how you can use one occasion for multiple posts.  I had taken a roll of film (36 pictures).  But no-one wants to look at 36 pictures in one go so broke it up into recurring themes between pictures.  The perfect thing to do this with (if you aren’t a photographer using film) is holiday posts – break it up into where you ate, a cool museum you visited, a quirky story of when you got lost.

5. Guest posts

I recently asked a group of bloggers if they would contribute to a series on turning 29.  This allowed me to fill a week with posts and still have a bit of a break from trying to come up with content.  This is also really good when you are going away or if you foresee a busy period coming up.

6. Have a life

It can be very easy to get stuck in a world of reading blog posts and endlessly scrolling through pinterest looking for inspiration but the best inspiration is going out into the real world and doing stuff.  Go to a museum, try a new restaurant, go to the park and try pack a new cocktail combination, meet up with fellow bloggers and make flower crowns.  You know, whatever floats your boat.

7. Original visuals

Even if you aren’t a photographer taking your own photos and using them on your posts is huge.  I have seen several posts explaining why this is important and providing tips on how to do this so I won’t go into it.  You don’t need a crazy expensive camera, lots of bloggers use their phones, and you don’t need to be an amazing artist.  People like to see your point of view and your story.  If you are looking to improve your photography skills (and are based in London) check out my photo walks.  Creating video content is another way of putting something completely original out there – whether it is a vlog, a holiday video or a how to.

8. Take it easy

I try and post daily Monday to Friday.  Sometimes this doesn’t work and I will post over the weekend (still keeping my total at five).  But if you don’t reach your desired posting goal do no beat yourself up when you haven’t posted.  Don’t kill yourself to get 7 posts out a week – consider what you feel is achievable and will work for you whether that is once a week or more.  Take the occasional break (but tell your readers if you foresee if being a bit longer, it is only polite).

Blogging should be enjoyable and fun but if you want a more structured blog I hope you find these useful.  I’d love to know if you have any more suggestions too.

happy friday

Some weeks the bed doesn’t get made…. Who am I kidding most weeks the bed doesn’t get made (by me at least) but these past two weeks have been rather busy.  I am doing two photo courses, still trying to get organised with my new job, rolling dissertation ideas around in my head and my brain feels like it is constantly in thinking/planning mode.

It does mean that the blog gets a bit ignored too.  I don’t think it is a bad thing when ‘real’ life means you can’t get around to organising a post but I do wonder how some people do it …. Any ideas?

Either way – have a good weekend.