Just to share the random ways in which people can find you and you’re blog, I’m sharing some of the searches people have used to find me via Search Engine over the past year. (If you don’t know, this means someone has gone to Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc… and searched these things and my blog has come up in their search results)
Ice Carving at Lake Louise
Life in the Rocky Mountains
Grow through what you go through
The Struggles of being Male
Vitamin B12 Deficiency personal stories
Yolo so you don’t waste your life
What causes people to do bad things
When your day is a shit day
How to decorate inside a teepee tent
Job hunting rant
Natalia Grace bone density
Natalia Grace on Dr. Phil
Another year around the sun
Millennial Job Interview
How do you spell milenial?
Feeling the need to call HR
Natalia Grace still has baby teeth
Whats it like to be homeless
I hope this serves as a reminder that you really can’t fathom the extents to which your posts can reach. You can implement SEO and try to be strategic about it, but sometimes people are going to type a random sentence into a search engine and somehow, your blog will appear. I mean… I’ve never written a darn thing about teepees on my blog but somehow that’s how someone found me.
What are people typing to search engines to find you?
I would like to preface this post by saying that some people prefer to leave their photos unedited. The #Unfiltered look is big on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and even WordPress, so if you don’t have any desire to edit photos, please don’t. Please ignore this post. It’s not a requirement. It’s not even an ’ement’. This is just something that I’ve done over the years, that I know a lot of people who use social media do and I wanted to share some shortcuts with you. That is all.
Okay, so I’ve heard it said many a times that a picture is worth a thousand words. To that notion I say that if my photo’s going to be worth a thousand words, I better make sure they’re important words being portrayed through my images.
For nearly a decade, there wasn’t a photo that I posted, sent or printed without edits. Many edits were small… editing out a logo here, blurring a child’s face there… just small things to ensure we were in compliance with FOIP (the Freedom of Information Protection Act) in Canada. Some edits were major… reconstructing the facial shape of someone as a means to ‘filter’ distinguishing marks, fudging the dollar amount written on giant cheques (though I regret to admit to that) and changing out the people who were holding the cheque, or even completely photoshopping someone out of one location and into another. Over time I became a master at turning a photo into pretty much anything that I wanted it to be. And that says a lot because I am very picky when it comes to photos.
Luckily, from a blogging perspective, the editing (if one chooses to do so) need not be nearly as complicated as what’s practiced in the corporate world.
Before I get to the edition notes, I will say that things are a lot easier if you take good photos to start with. Take advantage of natural lighting where possible (the sun). Make sure the lens is in focus before you take the photo. If there are people in the photo that differ vastly in heights, do something to balance that height difference. These are all small steps you can take to vastly improve the quality of photos you’re taking from the get-go.
Okay, onto photo editing:
*Note – This information is from the perspective of photos being taken on a phone, since smartphones are everywhere and you use your phones to upload to social media platforms.
The number one thing that I would recommend a blogger do to edit photos is download Adobe Lightroom to your phone. There is both a free and a premium version of this app. Please do not purchase the premium version, you will not need it. Everything you need to make a photograph beautiful, you can find in the free version. Free Adobe Lightrom will allow you to:
Auto adjust the lighting to your photos
Manually adjust the lighting to your photos
Edit the colour balance of your photos
Sharpen, blur, correct, create frames or vignettes for any effects that you might like
Attempt to correct the focus as much as possible (if it’s an extremely blurry photo, it’ll likely just make it less blurry…)
Allow you to select between ‘presets’ created with specific intention to do all of the above steps in one
Examples of before and After using Adobe Lightroom:
The number two thing that I will recommend with respect to photo editing is to stay away from Facetune. Facetune is a demon that is changing the way that we see ourselves and other people. It contributes to low-self esteem because people are creating unrealistic standards of beauty and attractiveness based on what they can make themselves look like with a few minutes spent editing in Facetune. There’s a big difference between editing out a zit and changing one’s waist from being 30 inches to being 13 inches.
Now, all that being said, photo editing is all about you and what you find to be the magic factor in photos. If you like black and white images, Lightroom gives you the option to convert all of your images to black and white. If you like bright and light photos, Lightroom gives you plenty of functions that help with turning a photo that was taken in a dull/dark room into something that really pops off the page.
I am someone who likes bright photos. I want the colours to carry, the details to shine and even the dullest of days to look like a postcard. I’m providing some examples of my photos below and as you will see, even on a dull day (first, middle and last photo) it’s still possible to make the photo look like a postcard.
These are some of my photos from various locations and times over the past year. I’m not sure if you can tell just from looking at them, but they’ve all been edited to very much carry the same tone to them. I wanted the whites to be clean, the greens to pop, the skies to be the bluest that could be while accurately depicting what a camera on my phone couldn’t catch on the day the photo was taken.
I used what is called ‘Adobe Lightroom Presets’.
I know what you’re thinking and I hear you. ‘Presets, Vee? That sounds so extra. Who would bother?’
These presets are used by people far and wide on social media. If you’ve ever looked at someone’s Instagram page and seen similar tones to all of their images, it’s a safe bet they’re using a preset for their photos.
The ‘Preset’ is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a preset collection of edits for LightRoom to apply to the photograph in one step. It’s a matter of hitting one button in LightRoom and your photo is brighter, more vivid and depicting the image you want to convey in a matter of seconds.
Extra. I know.
But, if you’re particular with photos, it is a big time saver, helps with branding, makes your photos aesthetically themed and ensures you always have a beautiful photo, even on the dullest of days.
The presets that I use I developed several years back to cover my basis when I needed to turnaround press-releases in a hurry and always seemed to get sent shitty looking photos. They’re a ‘formula’ that I keep a tight secret around and will stay in the vault to one day be passed down to my children and grandchildren. (joking)
If you would like to delve into the option of presets, you can do one of two things:
You can make your own. I highly recommend this option because it allows you to draw out the aspects of photos that you most appreciate.
You can purchase some.
I highly recommend, if you download Lightroom yourself, that you try option one before option two. I say this because creating your own presets will allow you to create edits that you find most important in photographs.
It’ll also give you an appreciation for the photo editing process. It’ll also make you appreciate the photos you’re taking that much more and it’ll cause you to stop and think about your photos as you’re taking them. You’ll find yourself stopping to think ‘can I get better lighting if I make my subject face the window instead of against’, and various other thoughts of what’s going to make your photos better. Then, when you’re taking better photos, there’ll be less editing to do.
After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, you might as well make those words important.
If you tried your hand at creating presets and you didn’t like it, or if you’d just like some help and believe you’d like to purchase some Lightroom presets, the place to do is on Etsy. Using your phone type ‘Mobile Lightroom Presets’ in to the search bar and you will be innundated with different presets made by different designers.
I’ve seen them range anywhere from $3.00 USD to $350 USD. And let me be abundantly clear, you do not need a $350 package of Lightroom presets. There’s a lot to choose from, so it’s a matter of you taking a look at what you find most aesthetically pleasing and what’s the price you’re ultimately willing to pay.
With 17,034 listings to go through, though, I thought I’d provide a couple of suggestions if you decide to purchase presets:
A good Lightroom preset package will have 3-4 Presets. Don’t buy a package that has 99 presets (and they are available on Etsy) because you don’t need 99 presets
Realistically, if you wanted to use a preset, your criteria should be to have one preset for outside photos, one for inside, one for without people and one for with people
Don’t get sucked in by the ‘gimmicky’ presets like the one titled ‘Peach’ in the screenshot above. Might it look nice if your presets always make you look like you have tanned skin? Sure. But, it’s winter and unless you live in California or Florida, people are likely going to see through the artificial tan your adding to your photos. Try to select a set of presets that will be applicable to all of your photos year round, whether you’ve got a tan or you’re in the deep of winter
To finish off this exceptionally long description of how to edit photos, I would like to add a reminder to please leave face structure and body shapes alone in your editing process. You, your friends, your family and any subjects your taking photos of are perfectly beautiful just the way they are.
Yes, we all have insecurities, but that doesn’t mean that you need to edit the length of your fingers to make it look as though you have larger hands. (If you understand this reference, we’re soulmates) Insecurities will NEVER be fixed by making it look as though they don’t exist in photos. That and there’s a big difference between bringing out the beauty of someone and completely changing their entire being. People are beautiful just the way they are.
If you like editing, if you want to get into editing or even if you don’t like editing, thanks for reading and for making it this far. Go forth and do good, grasshopper. I have the utmost faith in you.
I’ll probably be posting a lot today. I tend to post more when I’m sad, and today I am really sad. I guess that’s life though. Some days you’re up and some days you’re down.
Also, I have a lot to say.
Also, I just like this place.
Alright, I’ll stop justifying myself and start.
The song ‘Find Out Who Your Friends Are’ is ringing true today. Actually, it’s been ringing true to me for most of this year. When I got fired, I thought that I had friends at my job. I thought that I had people who would be there for me, people who cared, whether I worked with them or not. To my shock, my being fired was met with dead silence, or messages of ‘That sux!’ from the people I worked with.
‘That sux!’? Yeah, it does suck getting railroaded because your boss is breaking the law. You knew what was going on, you saw that I got railroaded and you’re still going along with it.
The people that were there for me when I got fired? Knight. My two best friends in Vancouver, volunteering to get on planes and telling me to come live with them. The people that weren’t there for me? The friends I thought were friends at my work. Guess our getting along was contingent on my being their coworker.
Nevertheless, I’ve heard from former coworkers four times over the past ten months, the most recent of which being today. Each time it hasn’t been to check on me, to reach out, to see how I was doing or any of those things. When they reach out, it’s been to ask me how to do things, or how I did things.
Each time my response has been: “That sounds like a problem for Clint (former boss)!”
Today one of my former coworkers texted me with an offer of a trip. When I said ‘No thanks’, they responded with ‘Shoot, I was hoping you’d say yes so that I could ask you for something!’.
Go figure eh?
I don’t like associating people who only offer something when they know they need to ask for something from you. To me, when you give something, there are no strings attached. When I give something there is certainly no strings attached to it.
I was not shocked, nor surprised to hear that they wanted something from me. The song reads:
You find out who your friends are Somebody’s gonna drop everything Run out and crank up their car Hit the gas get their fast Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’ They just show on up with their big old heart
And with people like this, they’re always asking ‘What’s in it for me?’
All I can say is, I know who my friends are. I know who’s been there for me, always, no questions ask, nothing required in return.
Oh, also, to my former coworker who wants something from me today… go ask Clint. No amount of trips or money or anything that you could possibly offer me would make me want to do anything for your office. Leave me the fuck alone.
Switching gears entirely…
I wrote a Guest Post for a friend’s blog. If you haven’t heard of ‘Rethinking Scripture’, please go and check out Dwain’s blog, and read my guest post. I’ll admit, it might be a little sad. But, people tend to appreciate my ‘Dear Self’ letters, so if you want to see it – this week’s ‘Dear Self’ is on Dwain’s blog. Go to Rethinking Scripture >
So, I’ve been working in the Marketing/Communications/PR realm for a decade. I’ve held numerous positions with numerous companies which delved into the world’s of digital marketing, print marketing and television marketing.
When I speak these thoughts, please know they are my own personal opinions so please take them with a grain of salt. If you disagree with them, don’t take my word as the only, and please do what is right for your blog.
Your ‘ABOUT ME’ page is the most important page on your blog. If you don’t have one, you need to make one. And if you do have one, you need to make sure that it’s a page that will simultaneously tell the readers about you and your niche/niches, whilst enticing readers to come back.
The ‘About Me’ page should be the second item on any and every menu. This is because when people who don’t know you come to your page and read something they like, the next page they’re going to look for is to find out more about you and see if you’re someone they could see themselves following. If your ‘About Me’ page is hard to find, then you’re missing the opportunity to tell potential readers who you are.
Stop asking what’s in it for you and start asking what you can give. I saw someone on twitter the other day complaining that they commented on four blogs and no one came back to comment on their blog so they weren’t going to comment on anyone’s blog anymore.
Firstly, I can appreciate the hustle of just starting out. I can. And I am sure they are a very nice person. But when you say stuff like that you sound like a bit of a whiner, and also, verrrrrrrrrrry entitled. Please don’t just expect that if you comment on someone’s blog they’re going to come and leave a comment on your blog. They could, they might, but they’re not required to.
What if they don’t like what you write about? Or share about? Should they be required to comment on your blog solely because you commented on theirs? And if they are required to comment on your blog, solely because you commented on theirs, are they really going to leave that great of a comment?
If you want to bring something to the blogging community, then bring something to the blogging community. But stop asking ‘what’s in it for me?’ What’s in it for you? An opportunity to share your thoughts, an opportunity to connect and communicate, an opportunity to share and to hear other perspectives. But it’s worth noting you’re not entitled to any of those things. And you likely won’t get them if you’re going to complain and whine about it.
Layout of your blog matters. It always matters. If you’re just blogging for you, as an online journal and you don’t care who sees your blog, or if anyone ever does, then your layout only matters to you. But, if you’re blogging to find a community, grow an audience, hopefully become an established place for people to come and hear/see your thoughts, then your blog layout really needs to be clean, simple and easy to use. While you might like that neon green look, or the eight giant photos at the top of the page that need to get scrolled through to get to your actual content, most people likely won’t. And if you want their attention you need to make your blog layout appeal to them.
Think of it like the age old lesson they teach in real estate: a home with white walls is a whole lot easier to sell than a home with neon colours on the walls. This is because when people walk into a home with neon walls, they have a hard time seeing past the colours and cannot possibly picture themselves living there. A few people may walk into a home with a neon green kitchen and think ‘Yeah, I love that I want to live here’. Probably 90% of people can walking to a home with a white kitchen and think ‘Yeah, I love that and want to live here’.
It’s a simple fact of life, neutral colours appeal to more people. Neutral colours appeal to even those who loved the neon. So if you’re looking to grow an audience and want people to find your blog and fall in love, make sure that your layout is one that is neutral, one that can appeal to the most eyes that see it.
If you’d like to see what I speak in action – view the website of Nike, Nordstrom and even the WordPress homepage. All of these websites have something in common – they’re neutral to allow the content to speak for itself.
People focus far too much on getting readers to “click here for more” when they should be focusing on spreading their posts as far and wide as possible. I see a lot of people complain about how people just don’t click their ‘read more’ buttons. Well, I mean… I don’t really blame them. Unless you’re an established blogger, or my best friend, I’m likely not going to kick your ‘read more’ button either.
Without an established, guaranteed audience to read your content each day, the only thing you’re doing is making it harder for people to access your content. The more clicks required to actually view a single post of yours, the more potential audience members you’re going to lose in the process because they just can’t be bothered with clicking further.
Imagine someone clicks on a post and really likes what they’re reading. They then have to click back to your homepage to click another post to be able to read that. I’ve seen some layouts where you have to click on a photo to get the ‘read more’ button to click on that to actually read the text. In a world where there are 75 million blogs on wordpress alone, you’re really making it easy for people to just completely move on from your blog and forget it ever existed.
And hey, if you think ‘If they’re not going to click to read more then I don’t want them on my blog’, that’s fine, I respect that opinion. If that’s how you truly feel, though, then stop complaining about a lack of audience. Because if you really want to grow your audience, you need to make it easy for them to view your content.
Social media is not mandatory, but you will find more success with blogging if you have social media accounts for your blog. Social media is a beast that, if you use properly can benefit you immensely. I’m talking bringing hundreds, if not thousands, of organic hits to your website just with the sharing of a link to twitter, facebook and pinterest.
For reference, I have had a Pinterest Account for maybe 2 or 3 weeks at this point and the only posts I’ve actually posted to Pinterest are my travel posts. I have more than 3,100 hits to my Pinterest Account and more than a tousand referrers from those hits to my blog. You can say that 33 percent turning into actual hits isn’t that big, but I’d still say that 1,000 organic hits from Pinterest is more hits than I had before.
You do not have to have social media accounts. Not in any way, shape or form. But, if you make them, and you use them properly, they can drive organic traffic to your blog that you haven’t previously had. So I would strongly encourage you consider it.
If you don’t like what someone has to say, don’t leave them nasty comments. It’s a fact of life, you’re not going to agree with what everyone says on their blog. If that’s the case, find a new blog. You don’t need to leave them nasty comments calling them names or telling them they’re an idiot. You can simply just move on.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve said, feel free to ask.
If you’d like to read more of my posts about blog marketing, click here>
These opinions are entirely personal. I speak for no one but myself in sharing these opinions and I mean no harm with these opinions, I just have a desire to share.
Companies are moving farther and farther away from treating people (customers, employees, potential employees) like actual human beings as a means to chase the almighty dollar. The lack of respect is evident. The lack of connection is appalling. The desire to have less people doing more work as a means to turn a larger profit is not fair.
Pineapple does not belong on pizza. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever. How to ruin a perfectly good pizza.
I don’t think lip injections look good. I don’t understand their mass appeal. It’s like… wanting to walk around looking as though your lips were permanently stung by a bee. I apologize if anyone has them and loves them, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on them as a means to understand more. But to me, every time I see them, I just… I don’t understand why.
People pay far too much attention to the business of other’s. The only person that they should be worrying about is themselves, and possibly, their family.
Teen Mom should have ended when the teen mom’s stopped being teenagers. I believe this for a plethora of reasons, including but not limited to: those kids are casualties in their parents’ lack of desire to get jobs and as result will never lead a normal life, the legal issues presently ongoing with many of these families are one’s that should not be given a spotlight and one’s that they should not be able to profit from, perhaps these women (and they are women at this point because they’re 30 or nearing 30) wouldn’t have to whine so much about their constant judgement if they didn’t put their entire lives out there for the world to see, and, I think at this point they’re doing things specifically to try and garner ratings because they’re aware they lost their relevance/prominence years ago.
Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to the United States in my lifetime, and likely many lifetimes before. If you like him, I’m sorry. I just think he’s taken the United States backwards decades. I could go on for hours about this, but I’ll leave it there.
Conservative governments are deeply rooted in religion and wealth and lack any sort of policy or true governmental standards. It doesn’t matter what country you look at, any country under Conservative government, or any country with an upcoming election, you can see the lack of policy. You can see the desire to bully, to beat down and to demean anyone who disagrees with them.
I think the Kardashian family operates with the notion that all press is good press. They have to keep people talking about them in order to sell their products… in order to make their money. I think this is why they continue to do things that are cultural appropriation, blatantly ridiculous or can be seen as cruel or downright unfair to the people who get caught in their cross-hairs. They have large enough teams of employees behind them at this point, I find it hard to believe that not a single person can stand up and tell them cultural appropriation is a bad thing.
Feminism is not a bad word. Feminism is not against the male gender. Feminism is not strictly for females. Feminism is deeply rooted in equality, and the desire to have fair treatment for women. It’s an acknowledgement that men, for all intensive purposes, do have more power, more opportunity, more potential than women in this world, and a desire to bring an equal playing field for all.
When an American politician gets on television to say ‘There’s nothing we can do about Mass Shootings’, there should be a closed captioning beneath them that reads “There’s nothing that we want to do about mass shootings”. The United States is not the rule. If the entire rest of the world can make it work, the United States politicians are choosing not to.
Music, television and movies lack quality in 2019. Producers, directors, companies are doing all they can do to pump out as much as possible without caring about the quality of what is being made. They’re chasing money and they really don’t care what it is they’re pumping out.
***If you would like to share your thoughts on any of the above, please do! I’m open to discussion, and to hearing different perspectives, thoughts and opinions. My only ask is that you keep is respectful.
The fact that you cannot get an actual human being on the phone when you call a business in this day and age. Firstly, answering machines that say “Click 1 for —” and “Click 2 for —” are not helpful. They are not more productive than an actual human being answering the phone and they are not an adequate replacement for a human being answering the phone. Secondly, waiting on hold for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30+ minutes to speak with an actual human being is ridiculous. It’s annoying that this is considered acceptable customer service in 2019. “Then don’t phone them!” I’ve heard some say. Well, if I had the option of not phoning them, I probably wouldn’t be here waiting on hold for 30 minutes…
When someone phones you, doesn’t leave a voicemail and then immediately sends you a text message that says ‘call me’. You couldn’t leave me a voicemail? You couldn’t text me the message you want to talk about? If I didn’t answer the phone it’s because I’m clearly not able too. If you need me for something, leave me a message as to what it is.
Youtube ‘Influencers’ that don’t acknowledge they’re clearly being sponsored for their videos/posts. Regulations and law surrounding sponsorships/partnerships were put into place in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and many other countries for a reason – that reason being these ‘Influencers’ have a great deal of sway on how the people who watch their videos spend their money. So it drives me batty when I see someone who makes youtube videos clearly pushing something they’re being paid to push and not telling their audience that. There are a lot of naive people in this world and I don’t want them being taken advantage of because this youtuber is too important to follow the law. If you’re being paid to push it, you should be transparent about that.
When companies send the same generic “Thanks but we’ve selected someone with more qualifications than you” email to everyone. If a candidate jumps through all of the hoops of applying for a position with you, respect that. This often isn’t a quick process. This is filling out every form, answering all of your stupid ‘what would you bring to an office game night’ questions, providing references, taking part in pre-interview tasks, doing phone interviews, Skype interviews, and so on and so forth. It can often take 30 minutes for one single application. It’s annoying as heck that the best a company can give in return is a generic, computer generated email to let you know they haven’t given you the time of day and don’t intend to.
Mosquitoes. Seriously, it’s summer in Canada and these suckers are everywhere. And when I say suckers, I mean suckers. A bug that sucks your blood? How twisted is that. Then you’re left with this annoying bug bite that itches for weeks to follow. Or, if you’re lucky enough that you can swat and kill it you’re left wondering what poor sucker’s blood is now smeared all over your hand. Yeah, it’s that gross.
Washing dishes by hand. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life is far too short to wash dishes by hand. That’s quite literally what they invented dishwashers for. If it can’t be washed in the dishwasher, it’s not a dish that I want to own.
When the traffic light turns yellow and 6-7 cars continue to speed through the intersection. Seriously, when did we become a world in which the biggest inconvenience in our day is having to wait an extra three minutes for the traffic light to change in our favour again?
Dear Autocorrect, I NEVER mean ‘Ducking’. Never. Never, never ever.
This list is mainly supposed to be satirical, but also with a hint of serious nature to it. I could go on and on with these things, but I’ll keep it to this, for now. I love hearing about things that annoy people and I love finding common annoyances with people.