blogger, Blogging, free, wordpress

Blogging: 5 ways to blog on ZERO budget

 Bugged by questions on what an optimal blog budget would be? How much would it cost to run a blog? Would it be too expensive? Will it be affordable ? The business has just started and you really can’t allocate funds for a blog? Here are 5 resources that will help you do it, all for free!!!

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blogger's block, Blogging, content creation, writers block

Blog Block? – 5 Ways to beat writer’s block

 For a while now, I have been working on others things and not tending much to my blog. I have recently  moved and am still settling in. And along with it comes a whole lot of challenges, and my blog took a back seat. Now most of the work is done and all I need to do is to buy my tickets. When I look back, I think I should have documented the moving process.

Now, I have been trying to write about it and come up with posts but I just did not. In fact I have a lot of ideas, lot of created graphics etc and yet am stuck. And I am wondering exactly what I have been upto. And I arrived at a nice pie chart of the reasons.

And realised at most of these are really superficial and most popular(lazy reasons to not write). Also, I noticed that the red big part of the pie was the most important reason. I was actively pushing writing away. Writers block had set in.

Wikipedia lists this article for writer’s block and defines it as “a condition, primarily associated with typing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to more extreme examples in which some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years, and some have even abandoned their supposed lifelong careers……Writer’s block can manifest when a writer views their work as inferior or unsuitable.

Mike Rose defines writer’s block as:
 “an inability to begin or continue writing for reasons other than lack of basic skill or commitment”

That is quite true of me now & I sure hope it is temporary(fingers crossed).

In order to break this, here are some ways:

  1. Read/surf a little bit more – There always is inspiration, lurking just about the corner. Particularly Pinterest. There is something inspiring about looking at beautiful pictures on topics of interest to you &  There is a lot of good work out there. So yes,  read a book or surf for ideas more than you normally do.
  2. Re plan posts –  If I have already planned topics and find then uninspiring, shake up their schedule a little bit. Going through the post content and re prioritizing them. It is a good source of ideas for follow up posts.
  3. Get creative otherwise – Sometimes, creating graphics for post topics actually feels therapeutic, and helps break the silence in the head. Make a good meal, indulge in another hobby, anything that feels creative to you.
  4. Speak to your blog community – Use them as a spring board for Ideas. Interact with them. Appreciation usually lifts spirits and therefore helps creativity. I think it is sometimes o.k to fish for compliments shamelessly
  5. Find a quote calendar – The most recent help I have found is a year calendar with no dates, but a nice quote for each day. I have decided I will elaborate on the quote of the day when I find a dearth of ideas, and keep the writing going. Try to come up with a whacky product to avoid feeling a little like writing a middle school essay on a given topic. Just keep the juices flowing.

  Here are some preventive ways to help you tide over a block

  1. Have a blog Journal – A nice fancy notebook to jot  ideas every time one strikes. Use this reservoir to come up with posts during a dry period.
  2. Journal or not, Note it! – when I have an idea, I grab a piece of paper, note the idea, elaborate it with single word points and stuff it in my purse.
  3. Allot a schedule for this purpose –  dedicate a specific time for writing, Eg. Mon, Wed, Fri at 1900hrs, and concentrate only on writing in this time.Shut out distractions. 
  4. Stay committed – Stick to your blog post schedule/plan. If you dont have one yet, create one right now. There are very good available online to help with this procedure.

Here are some sites that I find quite informative on tackling the block:

Most of these ideas are based on actual writing, but are also equally relevant for blog posts. But in order to keep posts flowing with out taxing your creativity too much, there are a whole bunch of other ideas. And that list is coming up soon!! Here.

Have you encountered and countered this challenge? If so, How?

b-by-b, blogger, Blogging, blogging essentials, brick by brick, content creation, wordpress

Blogging: 8 Essentials of Blogging – PART 2

Part 2 is here ..

This is the continuation of this post. The 2nd part of the 8 essentials of blogging. We have looked at the first 4 aspects already:

  • The groundwork
  • The posts 
  • The platform
  • Blog name and title

And,as of now we have some content created, we have chosen our platform and decided on a name & title. The next steps would be to fix on the visual & design aspects of the blog. We will look at the elements, their Layout, themes etc and also discuss a little bit of blog promotion.

The Elements –  Any blog will need a few elements for E.g: Header,About  Page,Contact page/on sidebar, posts section, etc. These are basic elements and must be present on every blog. If you choose to monetise your blog, it will help to have spots for advertisements and commercial display too. Enough attention needs to be paid to these elements and their content should be created carefully. A good header image will serve to set the visual tone of the blog. About page is where the purpose of the blog is described, and a connection with the audience is established. A contact page is essential to allow your readers/ advertisers to contact you. Of course, the post section is where all your blog posts go. Now it is very important to keep the data in all these sections crisp and coherent. 

The Appearance-The layout of the elements discussed above need to be  in locations that will keep the visual flowing. For Example, the pages follow the header followed by the posts with the contact details on the side bar at the same level as the posts, or,  the pages also are on the sidebar,etc. Both WordPress and BLogger allow for a lot of customisation in Layout depending on your need. The other important aspect of the appearance is the theme  of the blog – The background image, the colour scheme and the image formatting etc needs to be in consistent and in line with the blog positioning. For WordPress blogs, there are a whole host of free and paid themes which are clean and neat to look at while keeping visual appeal. If you have a paid account with WordPress, you could also use themes from the web. Blogger too has  a lot of ready made themes available for free & on the web. Some of the WordPress themes are also customised for blogger and are available with a little bit of searching.
The pictures- These are a very important part of your posts. Creating interesting graphics and clean images is essential to creating and keeping the readers interest in the blog. It has now become all the more important in the context of the new social sites with a focus on sharing pictures: Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter & Facebook as well. THere fore creating good images and collages are quite essential. There are a lot of options, paid and online, to help enhance images or create graphics.Photoshop is the best out there but asks for a budget while allowing for a huge possibilities for graphics creation and image manipulation. There are free online resources too(piktochart,picmonkey,gimp,etc.) that one can use to create really nice pictures. ANd for those using phones for pictures the list of apps is endless.

Blog Promotion-Promotion is a really important aspect of blogging. Before there is a community created for your blog, the blog must be discovered. A reader must be established. And promotion is key to that aspect. Email lists, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc are all good places to start. Also, it is important to generate content that individual to the medium, apart from simply posting links to the blog there. If your blog is centered on Recipes, instagram pictures of a simple breakfast that turned yummy, although the recipe is not necessarily on your blog, and it is fairly well known.You could, at a later date, create content for this picture on your blog. On twitter engage in a discussion about a topic, and then write a post including comments from the discussion and along with your research on the topic. This serves a lot of purposes – engages your readers, helps with content, promotes blog, and increases your presence in the community. 
And that makes it all eight. The 8 essentials of blogging are now explained and clear I hope. So those who have been putting off that blog just because you could not figure out where to start, I hope this helps.Also, here is Map to chart out your blogging path:

While writing these 2 posts, I realised the 8 aspects are actually topics in themselves. I struggled to keep the posts at readable length. At a later date, do expects posts with more concentration on these individual elements to help clarify how best to use them.
Until later then.
b-by-b, blogger, Blogging, blogging essentials, brick by brick, wordpress

Blogging: 8 Essentials of Blogging – PART 1

Here comes the first post of the series – getting started with the blog. That you have decided on starting a blog, here are some pointers on the basics of blogging & its construction – Brick-by brick.  This post will concentrate on :
The groundwork– Once you have decided that you are going to start a blog, it is important to decide what the nature and focus of the blog will be. It could be one of many: a diary sharing your life story, or it could be a craft blog, where you show people your skills, or it could be a How-to blog, or may be a blog to support your business, or even a simple outlet where you vent out your feelings. You need to decide the nature of the blog. This will help you narrow the focus of the blog and give a specific purpose.This will also help you to identify your SEO keywords for the blog
The posts– Any blogger will tell you this with conviction: Content is King. And Queen and  Jack and everything of blog. Work with commitment towards creative quality content with regularity. Create content with value for the readers  to have them coming back. In order to keep your readers engaged is to create content that will provide a takeback to them. Creating a post schedule and sticking to it will help. Make a blog calender and schedule your posts and blogging activities. There are a lot of blog planners available online. Use those  for starters.
The platform-There are a lot of options here:  Wordpress, Blogger, TypePad are a few popular ones. Running you own website is also an option. Blogger and WordPress are very easy places to start if you are a newbie. They offer a lot of options in terms of themes, widgets, ease of organising and publishing while still being free.
Blog name and title– Now  it time to fix on a Blog name. Try to keep the name based on your blog subject.  For eg. Food lovers haven, Story of a Ranch Wife, Crochet & Quill etc. And it is best if the link of the blog is the same as the title. If it is not exactly possible, atleast centre it around the title. If the blog is a professional/business blog, it would be good to purchase a domain and have a .com, .in, .org, .us site for your site.  If you are just setting out on your blogging journey, then you may start with as offered by both these sites
So yes, these are the first 4 of the eight essentials.  The second will soon follow and will cov 
  • The Elements – Header.About  Page.  Contact page/on sidebar.
  • The Appearance-Theme. Colour coordination and choices. Layouts
  • The Pictures- creating graphics. Photoshop.Gimp.Picmonkey.Piktographics
  • Blog Promotion- Facebook,pinterest,twitter,Instagram,google+.

 See you soon with more !!
b-by-b, blogger, Blogging, blogging essentials

A New series starting!!

Woot Woot!! Make way all you fabulous people! Awesomeness heading your way!

All of you who are reading this blog and wondering if you should start one of your own, there is super news for you. And for those who have already taken the plunge but are looking for bits of help and tips, it is for you too.Newbies, you’ll love this.

Love what? A whole new series here: Brick By Brick. Posts that offer generous servings of help on blogging. Topics range from content creation, to blog elements, to writer’s block , to great blogging resources and whole lot more.Tips, treats, freebies – all coming your way !!

Friday is the day. You can expect your weekly dose of B-by-B. Every friday, starting with the coming one, one aspect of blogging will come your way. One aspect simplified for you.

Now, while I have my schedule for this, I prefer to address your needs first and so any request for posts, any topics to be covered, any questions, please post on the comments. I will cover as many as I can , either by replies, or if the topic warrants, a whole post by itself!!

Count your days down, Friday is just round the corner!!

p.s: First post is out !! Here :)!