5-things-new-bloggers-need

Ok, you’ve spent the last 5 months deciding on if you wanted to start a blog or not. After constant deliberation, you finally take the plunge and go for it! You’ve been posting things and taking cute pictures, but you’re ready to take it up a notch! What do you need? Today I’m sharing 5 must-have tools every new blogger needs if you’re starting out or ready to take your blog up a notch!

1.) Tripod

This goes without saying, but a floor tripod is a must-have as a blogger for photoshoots. I’d suggest making sure you get one with an iPhone attachment for when you’re creating content.

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My Picks:

2.) Ring Light –

Ring Lights are vital for creating clear, and visually appealing content! Floor ring lights are clutch, but so are desktop ring lights if you’re creating makeup videos or recording YouTube videos! Again, the type of ring light is dependent upon the content you’re creating.

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My Picks:

3.) Table Top Tripod –

Just like tabletop ring lights are clutch, so are tabletop tripods with moveable legs. I’ve been in a situation where my floor top tripod broke on me and all I had was my tabletop tripod! I definitely consider it a must-have.

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My Picks:

  • These type of tripods are a must! They are flexible and can wrap around anything, so they’re perfect for photoshoots on the go!
  • This bad boy is coming in at $10 so it’s perfect if you’re on a budget!
  • This tripod not only is compatible with a tabletop, but it also extends to be a full tripod!

**Extra Tip: You don’t necessarily need a tabletop tripod for creating content! Grab some books, stack them up, and prop your phone against a cup or a candle!

4.) Soft-Box Lights –

I honestly didn’t see the importance of softbox lights until I got them. For the most part, all of my content was filmed during the day time for the natural light. But THEN I got hip to softbox lights and BAYBEE…. the quality! Basically, you need lights to take your content up a notch!

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My Picks:

5.) Camera/Phone Remote –

A remote has saved my life so many times when I’ve been filming and I didn’t realize how useful it was until mine broke and I didn’t have it anymore! Lol. So from personal experience, you NEED a remote that will sync with your camera or phone so you can start and stop your picture taking and video filming.

Image result for camera remote

My Pick:

**If you have a camera, getting a remote specific to that is a good hack too!

And there you go! My top 5 tools that every new blogger needs! What’s your go-to tool? Let me know below!

xoxo,

Raee

a list of 5 things to purchase for new bloggers to take their content to the next level.

3-WAYS-TO-SPICE-OLD-BLOG-POSTS

I never really understood the power of repurposing blog posts until I began struggling with new topics and my blog was at a standstill! I mean let’s face it… when the schedule gets busy and the ideas dry up, then what?

Over the past few months, I’ve learned not to create extra work for myself when it comes to blogging. When I’ve run out of ideas, I just repurposed what I already had, hit publish, and watched the numbers increase! Since this strategy has helped me, I’m going to help you by sharing 3 super easy tips to help you spice up your old blog posts and increase your site traffic!

1.) Change the Cover Photos

One of the easiest ways to update your old blog posts is to freshen up the cover photos. Times change, your audience changes, and so should your designs. My advice is when creating your cover photos, is to create up to three for your blog and up to four or five for your pinterest images. Here’s how I do my break down for a blog post:

  • Blog – create 2 cover photos
  • Pinterest – create 3-4 pin covers
  • Instagram – have 2 images in mind to post on different days [one is usually a selfie and the other is a random picture that may fit my theme]

2.) Change the Titles

Changing the titles of your blog posts are also important. You’d be surprised at how big of a role your title plays on your engagement. When I first started blogging, my titles were either too long or too specific that there wasn’t an incentive for clicking the post. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve learned how to play with my titles and make them work in my favor. Some tips on titles are:

  • Use numbers [3 reasons why… ; 5 lessons I learned; 30 blog titles for…]
  • Use Hashtag Words [#CoffeeTalk, #Style Guide]
  • Create ‘Reasons Why’ Posts [4 Reasons Why… ; Here’s Why You Need…]

3.) Change Parts of the Post

Sometimes the content of our posts needs to be freshened up too, especially if other blog posts related to the topic have been created! One thing to do with old posts, is to add new information or lessons, and to link newer posts to the old posts and old posts to newer posts. I love linking my old post to my new posts because I knock two birds out with one stone!

Hopefully you found these three quick tips helpful and useful! If you have any tips of your own to share, drop them below so we all can see!!

Talk to ya’ll soon!

xoxo,

Raee

5-reasons-to-start-blog

I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now, but when you include the seven month, blogging sabbatical I took and the blog relaunch I had in October, I feel I’ve really been blogging for about two months now. Although I’m not at all where I want to be, I truly enjoy it and whole -heartedly support anyone who’s thought about starting a blog.

A few weeks ago, I put up a poll on my Instastory asking my followers different questions about blogging. From my poll, I walked away with these three realizations:

  1. People want to start blogging but don’t know how or don’t know what to blog about.
  2. They aren’t confident that people are going to want to read their blog
  3. They don’t know if they have all of the tools and resources needed to start a blog.

I’ve decided that I’m going to break these realizations down over the course of several posts. If any of those realizations resonated with you, don’t worry. I’m here to help you. To start off, I’ve put together a list of why you should put all those hesitations and fears aside, and start your blog!

start a blolg

 

1.) Allows For Self-Expression

Blogging is one of the ultimate ways to express yourself the way you want. Me personally, I can’t draw, can’t design clothes, can’t make music, do hair, or any other form of creative expression that I’m envious of everyone else for being able to do. But you know what I can do? I can write!

Just like with any other creative medium, with blogging, you can take on another persona if you wanted to, write about whatever your heart desires, and post about literally anything you want to. In fact, that’s how many blogs have started out – because someone wanted to express themselves. The same can go for you.

2.) Creates a Gateway to Helping Others

In the process of blogging, you inadvertently end up helping so many other people. You may put up a post about ‘Ways to Handle Heartache’ because you needed an outlet to get your pain out, and in turn, ended up helping someone else! Blogging creates a space that allows you to touch, encourage, inspire, and embrace thousands of people every day. Who wouldn’t want that kind of impact?

3.) Provides Unbelievable Networking Opportunities

While blogging is an independent thing, it is also very much a group thing too. It requires support from other bloggers and influencers. Before I started taking blogging seriously, I just posted whatever and didn’t worry about supporting other bloggers and their content. When I finally decided to take my blog into a brand, I quickly learned how mutual support and networking is key to your blog’s success. Also, you can make legit friends just from blogging.

The blogging world opens so many doors from panels, conventions, books, and even new job opportunities! It really can be an amazing thing.

4.) Constant Wealth of Knowledge

I am learning something new about blogging, social media, strategy, planning and more literally every day. EVERY. DAY. When I say that blogging is a constant wealth of knowledge, it’s literally a constant wealth of knowledge. Your brain is constantly learning something new every day.

With blogging, you’re not just a blogger. You’re a Website Designer, Photographer, Writer, Editor, Publicist, Social Media Manager, and much more! [Experience you can definitely put on your resume if you wanted to! *wink wink*]

5.) Earn Dem’ Coins

If the other four reasons didn’t motivate you enough, then this reason definitely should. Blogging can easily become a second, third, or fourth check if you let it.

Before we get into making the coins, let’s talk about spending the coins to start a blog first. Simply put, starting a blog is pretty cheap. The two biggest things you need is web hosting and a domain name. For me, I used GoDaddy for both my web hosting and for creating my domain name [i.e. your .com or .co URL].

Now you may dish out more coins depending on what all you’re trying to do with your blog, but that is a personal decision. So now that we know starting a blog is cheap, let’s talk about how you can make money from your blog. Speaking honestly here, I haven’t made much money from my blog. I’ve landed two affiliate sales which I’m obviously very proud about, but I definitely have a long way to go.

Here are some streams of revenue that you can try with your blog:

  • Affiliate income
  • Sponsored posts with brands
  • Adverts
  • Creating an online shop selling products
  • Selling digital products like courses or eBooks

The opportunities for generating income are endless and let’s be honest, we all need several ways to get the bag so here it is.

Curating a blog isn’t easy, but it’s definitely rewarding in more ways than one. If you’ve been sitting on the idea of starting a blog, then it’s time to start making moves. You don’t need to wait on the New Year, when you can start today. You can use my blog starting checklist to get started with creating your blog today.

Don’t forget to keep up with my on Twitter and Instagram! Talk later!

xoxo,

Raee

 

5 hard lessons blogging

Am I crazy that even though I’ve had 50 Shades of Raee for over a year, I consider this my first full month of blogging? If you’ve been rocking with me since day one, then you know that over the course of my journey, I’ve had to take breaks – long ones. For one, balancing graduate school and work was just too much for me to handle and then when I got back into it, self- doubt put a stop on my motivation. Now, I’m back and better and am excited about the upcoming content I’m coming with!

I took some time out to reflect on this path month regarding what I’ve learned so far and what I should’ve done differently and wanted to share with you all.

Here are five hard lessons that I’ve learned so far in my first month of blogging.

 

Lesson 1: You Have to Remember Your Focus

It’s easy with all of the content being dished out from other bloggers to want to try what they’re doing to see if it’ll stick. But that’s the biggest mistake to make! Whatever reasons you have for creating your blog, remember not to lose focus on you. If you want a travel blog, then focus on travel. Fashion? Work on dishing out quality style content. Whatever it is that your blog is about, keep that focus and keep it on you and no one else.

Lesson 2: Engagement Is Hard But It Matters

This was and still is one of the biggest things that I’m struggling with. Engagement is hard simply because it requires effort from other people. It is truly a challenge to get people to care enough about what you have to say to support you! For me, my question before I press ‘publish’ is, “Is this enough for someone to care?” If the answer is no, I go back to the drawing board. But engagement doesn’t just stop at posts. It deals with you engaging on social media also. Are you liking people’s posts? Do you ever leave quality comments? How about that Twitter conversation you see. Do you ever chime in? If the answer is no, then it’s time you consider how you can boost your engagement!

Lesson 3: Your Theme Is Actually Important

I would see other bloggers constantly talk about how important having a cohesive theme for your blog is and to be honest, I never paid them too much attention, until I started transitioning my blog into a brand. Now, I’m learning just how important your theme actually is and how it needs to be consistent across your social media platforms. The good thing about themes is that it can be completely customizable and you can use whatever colors and aesthetic you’d like.

 

 

For my blog, I knew that I wanted a crisp yet classy theme that had touches of femininity. As far as my colors, my two favorite colors are pink and black. If you look at my blog and all of my other social media platforms, you’ll see pink and black somewhere in the mix. This is important because when it’s my work, my followers will know and new followers will see the same thing across the board.

Lesson 4: Comparison Kills

I had to learn the hard way that comparison kills. Comparing yourself and your journey to other people will keep you grasping for straws and searching for something that will stick! I had to learn quickly to enjoy my blogging journey and to appreciate my blog for what it was. My blog is a representation of me and includes topics and content that I find interesting and that my audience will find interesting. I’m only in competition with myself and that’s how I move. As you are on your blogging journey, focus on yourself and ensure that your audience hears your voice and not the voice of three other bloggers rolled in one.

Lesson 5: Consistency Is Vital

Whewwwwww!!! This is a lesson that I’m still learning. But in sum,

Consistency Matters!

Consistency Matters!

Consistency Matters!

At the end of the day, if you want your blog to grow, you have to be consistent. If you want more followers and more engagement, you have to be consistent. If you want your blog to turn into a brand, you have to be consistent. Now for me, it’s almost like calling the kettle black, because consistency is hard for me, especially when I have life and work going on. But I will say, I’ve gotten A LOT better at it due to my editorial calendar! My advice is to take small steps when aiming for consistency. If you know you’re going to get burned out from posting four times a week, then only post twice a week and fill in your day spaces with social media posts instead! Do what works for you as long you stay consistent!

—Have you learned anything in your blogging journey? If so, leave a comment below and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

 

hard lessons learned blogging - pinterest



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