On ‘building your dream blog’.

Whether you’re using your blog as a platform for which to vent out the current frustrations of daily life, or, you imagine it a platform for people to come to and learn about the newest and greatest trends of the moment… whatever your reason for blogging, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to take the time to learn.

Learn about the website you’ve chosen to use for your blog. Learn about blogging trends. Learn how to create your best blog. Learn about analytics. Learn about search engine optimization. Learn about how best to phrase the thoughts in your mind so they make the most sense to someone who isn’t you. There’s so much to learn when it comes to blogging. This is an activity that, in my opinion, you should never stop trying to learn more about.

With so many blogs out there, often times it can be really easy to ask yourself ‘is there even room for me’? Yes. There is always room for you. Learning will allow you to better yourself and your blog. If you’ve been wondering about things to read or learn, here are a few tips that I have found very helpful to myself over the past couple of months (since I started my blog in January):

  1. Write for yourself first. This is integral when it comes to writing a successful blog. And, it also happens to be the step that will make you most happy. Trying to write what you think people want to read/see/hear will leave you unsatisfied and confused as to why you’re not achieving the growth you desire. Writing about what you want will help you to find an audience who loves and/or understands exactly what you do and how you feel.
  2. Be consistent. Consistency is one of the most important tools a blogger can use to their favour. Remind yourself that it’s much easier to lose traffic than it is to build it up, so, if you’re blogging, ensure you’re consistently blogging.
  3. Choose a simple layout. Think of it this way: if you’ve ever been to a website and thought that it was cluttered, not user friendly and had an ugly layout, remember that everyone has different opinions. What you like isn’t necessarily what anyone else likes. So, if you’re hoping to create a platform for which to appeal to the most amount of people possible, chose a simple design. Something that is simple is user friendly and far more likely to appeal to more eyes than a specific, more complicated design.
  4. Use catchy headlines. A catchy headline is the perfect amount of click-bait needed to get someone to read your article/post/entry, without actually lying to them about the content within it. (This is much easier to do if you write your blog post first and then choose your headline) The rules for creating a catchy headline are to keep it simple, powerful, useful and bold.
  5. Don’t cheat. I cannot stress this enough. In this day and age, it’s sooooooo damn easy to just talk to one of those ‘growth hacking’ firms that can provide you ‘x’ amount of followers for just a one time fee of $45.99. Please believe me when I say this… a small amount of real followers who follow you because they genuinely love your content and, hopefully you, are infinitely more valuable than any amount of followers that you could purchase.
  6. Give away your knowledge. If you’re a subject matter expert on a certain area, tell people. Give them the information that you have to give. Teach them things! People love to learn, and if someone wants to read, allow them the opportunity. Don’t hold in the good stuff for fear of giving away the ‘secret sauce’. The secret sauce is that blogging is free, and if you have the opportunity to teach someone something – teach them. If you’re a doctor, teach people about health and wellness and how to avoid illness. If you’re a librarian, teach people about books and the options that libraries can provide. Whatever you consider yourself a subject matter expert on, why not share that information and allow us to all be informed?
  7. Stay true to yourself. People don’t care to follow a site as much as they care to follow a person.
  8. Don’t demand attention. Earn it. Hopefully this is pretty self-explanatory. No one has to read your page. It’s not a requirement in anyone’s day. What can you do to make them want to read your page? Because you’re certainly not going to succeed if you try to force them to read it.
  9. Pick a side. If you’re wrong, don’t be afraid to admit to it. Your opinions are your own for a reason, so don’t be wishy-washy when you’re talking. Share your opinions, and be open to the opinions you get in return.
  10. Love the readers you already have. It can be really easy to get so focused on growth that you ignore the people who are already reading your blog. If you’ve got people who are reading your posts, time after time, let them know you’re appreciative of them. If you intend on growing your audience organically, show as much kindness to your readers as they are showing to you.
  11. Use proper tags. Tags are what allow your posts to be searchable, both on wordpress and on google. If you’re aiming to be searchable, having the proper tags associated with your posts can help immensely in drawing people to your page to read your posts. If you write a post about Anxiety, tag the post ‘Anxiety’, don’t tag the post ‘Follow me’.
  12. Give it time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I think the most important thing you can do for yourself when blogging is to do it for yourself, first. Feed your soul. Let out your thoughts, sadness or desires. Make yourself happy. If you chase this as your passion, that passion will resonate. Do it for the right reasons.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Things that help to calm an anxious mind.

As I’m sure anyone with anxiety is well aware, some days are good and some are bad. Some days I feel like I’m on top of the world and some days I have so much anxiety that my anxiety gives me more anxiety. It’s as though I am fearing the fear itself.

Thankfully, over the years, I’ve managed to come up with a few means to calm myself down when I need to get my balance in check. I think of it much like self-care, but not in the way that most lists you find around the internet make it out to sound. No face masks, no essential oils, just balance. Balance is key, I find.

  1. Playing https://rainymood.com/. There’s something so peaceful about the sound of rain for me that it reminds the mind to simmer down and take life easy.
  2. Go to Yoga. Now this one is important to me. I am not a Yogi. I am not even a regular visitor to the yoga studio. Yoga is HARD. But, yoga is also exceptionally calming. Being in a room that peaceful with as many people around me all wanting the same peace I am seeking, it’s motivating to calm down. Putting yourself in an environment that promotes what you’re seeking, I have found to be exceptionally helpful to my well being.
  3. Cut the caffeine. This is because when I am anxious, caffeine only makes me worse. On days when I’m extremely anxious, I won’t have any caffeine at all.
  4. Getting a manicure. Sitting in the chair of a nail salon and having a stranger massage your fingers and clean up your cuticles is very calming. The salon’s always play relaxing music and it’s nice to just have someone else look after you, even if it is only for a half hour or forty minutes. I highly recommend this, even if you’re a guy. You don’t need to even paint your nails. Just having someone look after you is worth it.
  5. Taking in fresh air. Fresh air is good for the mind, body and soul. Whether it’s walk, a bike ride, or just sitting on my deck and reading a book, the fresh air of the outdoors always helps me find my calm. Furthermore, it’s a thought-blocker to hear the birds chirping and the squirrels running. #DoubleWhammy
  6. Telling myself that my fear is trash. Writing down what is wrong, everything that is negative or everything that I am afraid of and then tearing up the paper and throwing it away. It’s very therapeutic to throw away all of your fears, even if it is only metaphorical.
  7. Talk to someone who cares. I don’t need to talk about my anxiety, my fear or anything of the sort. Sometimes, just talking to someone makes me feel so much better. It helps me feel normal and connected with the world. It’s also a welcome distraction.
  8. Rewatching episodes of Friends or Frasier. These are my two favourite tv shows of all time. I don’t have Netflix, I use ‘ProjectFreeTV’. At this point in time I’ve seen Friends so much that I could likely regurgitate every line from every episode. But hey, you like what you like. And it helps when you know that something makes you smile.
  9. Colour. Adult colouring books are one of the greatest things to come to market in the past 10 years, for me. There’s something so soothing about pulling out my container of markers and opening up my colouring book. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for some peace in their life.
  10. Read a book. Or Read WordPress blog posts. Or read the newspaper. Or read anything. Because reading slows down the thoughts in my mind. And, if the thoughts in my mind slow down then the anxiety slows down. Reading someone else’s words is quite often the thing that helps the most. I think that’s why I find myself on this website so much.

Of course, everyone is so individual when it comes to anxiety that what works for someone might not make a difference for someone else. I think it’s all about trying to find the balance in your mind. So, if anyone has any suggestions of what they do to help calm themselves when they get anxious, I would love if you could share them with me.