Thursday 23 May 2019

Ways To Take Your Blogging Game To The Next Level

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When you first start a blog or if you're thinking about starting one, you don't always know what to expect. Although blogging has been around for some time now, when you're a newbie you often feel unsure of what you're doing. As long as you're enjoying creating your content, that's all that really matters. When you put in the hard work, your blog will begin to grow organically & opportunities will start to flood your inbox. If things are going really well you might consider turning your blog into a business instead of a hobby. Taking your blog as a serious business can actually be a lot of fun & it doesn't have to be a big deal or a lot of pressure. Sometimes you think that in order to take things to the next level, you have to put in a lot more time & effort. However you can continue to do it with the same passion & enthusiasm as you are now, just with a few simple changes to get some incredible results.

It's important to remember to work smarter, not always harder. That's quite often the difference between blogging for fun & blogging as a business or earning money from your blog. Most of the time, you can still put in the same amount of work (or perhaps a little more) but notice that the results you're getting are just infinitely better. When you've been blogging for a while you naturally become more knowledgeable & have a lot more experience in order to propel your blog to the next level. Blogging is an ever changing industry so there's always new things to learn & new ways to improve your results. Here are a few handy hints to help you to develop your blog & achieve professional success.

Set Goals For Yourself
Setting goals gives you a clear purpose of why you're doing this & what you want to achieve. I'd highly recommend coming up with a set of goals for blogging because they give you a reason to keep going when you feel like giving up. You can always go back to your goals & remember why you started blogging in the first place. Goals hold us accountable, especially if we share them with others. You might have a huge goal to strive towards like earning enough money to give up your regular job or it might be something much smaller like being able to pay for your weekly food shop using your blogging income. Come up with a positive statement or mantra & use this as motivation.

Create A Better Brand
Something that a lot of new bloggers often overlook is that you need to think about creating a brand for your blog. What is your blogging niche? Do you want to provide the best makeup swatches or inspire people with your stylish outfits? Do you like sharing delicious recipes or documenting the lives of your children? There's nothing wrong with being an all-rounder but there are some clear benefits to having a distinct topic for your blog. You can target specific clients & show them that you're a specialist in that subject. Plus you'll only be writing about stuff you love which makes the whole process so much easier. Also think about how the way your blog looks represents your niche. You might decide to use different styles of photography for each subject. Colours, fonts, imagery - all of it matters.

Redesign The Blog
To help you make sure that you're creating the brand that you want & bring it to life, you could also think about redesigning the blog. Sometimes your old blog design might not look all that professional, nor does it suit your niche or what you're trying to achieve. You may find that you can improve your blog design to better suit your brand. When you do this, you'll feel so much more professional because of it. There's plenty of wonderful designs on Etsy that you can customise to your heart's desire or you might commission a web designer to make you something truly unique. If your blog looks good, it'll showcase your content in the way that it deserves.

Come Up With A Marketing Plan
Next you'll want to make sure that you have a plan for your marketing. This can seem quite daunting as there are so many different areas to focus on. When it comes to your social media, you'll want to be strategic about it. Make sure you post regularly, even if you don't have new blog content to share. Tag brands that you've featured on your blog because this can be a great way to find new contacts. Try to include SEO in all of your posts. Simple things like adding alt tags to your images & correctly naming your photos can make a huge difference. You may also want to start a newsletter to further interact with the people that love your blog. You can offer something in exchange for their subscription such as a free E-Book or some Photoshop Actions for them to download.

Get Your Name Out There
If you want your blog to be able to grow, it needs to be known. In order to be successful, it's important to get your name out there into the world. Brands won't offer you any opportunities if they don't know that you exist. So as you're coming up with your marketing ideas, make sure that you know how you're going to deal with your own online reputation management or get help with it. You can do this with social media but there are other PR tactics to consider too & that's why it might be a good idea to enlist the help of an expert.

Work With Experts
As blogs become bigger businesses, many people have started to hire others to help them out. If you become really successful you might want to hire an assistant to go through your emails or edit your photos. Not many people are quite at that level yet but you might still want to think about working with experts to help you grow your blog. This could be a graphic designer, a web developer, a marketing consultant or even an accountant, to help you with all the behind the scenes stuff. That way you can carry on creating content without being bogged down with the finer details.

Monetise In New Ways
When it comes to levelling up, you'll definitely want to think about how you can make more money. To do this, you need to consider diversifying the ways in which you do it. Are you using affiliate links, advertising or sponsored posts? If not, can you use all three to take your earnings up a notch? Personally I've found the most success from sponsored posts & affiliate links. Most of the time brands approach me for sponsored posts but I've recently started sending out pitches & it's not as scary as it sounds. Choose some brands that you love or are planning to feature on your blog anyway & ask them if they would be interested in working with you. Make your pitch personal to the client & explain what you can bring to table. Give them examples of your best work & tell them about your experience. Include some of your personality & finish with a subtle call to action. An easier way to do this would be to create a media kit with your stats & rates. It'll make you look really professional to boot!

Take On Freelance Work
One of the ways that many bloggers earn money is by offering freelance services. You might think that you can only make money from the blog itself but you can also use your skills & experience to find other work. This is where the idea of being a freelance writer can come in. You can write for businesses or media outlets & these often tend to pay better than sponsored blog content. Another thing to consider is registering for freelance job boards such as PeoplePerHour, UpWork or Fiverr. They might only be small jobs but they can certainly set you on the right path when it comes to making connections, building your portfolio & getting references. You never know, a client might really like your work & hire you for a much bigger project.

Create A Product
Another idea for you here is to launch a product. This could work in one of two ways. You could think about downloadables such as E-Books, online courses or design services. Some people are willing to pay a lot of money for your photo editing secrets. But another thing to consider is making merchandise. A lot of YouTubers come out with merch but there's nothing to stop bloggers from doing it too. Maybe you like the idea of creating t-shirts or notebooks or anything else related to your niche? I'd love to design a set of enamel pins based around makeup or skincare products. Let me know if you'd be interested in buying some haha!

Write A Book
Now this may not be the case for you but if you love blogging because you really love to write, then maybe you've always wanted to write your own book. If this is the case, you may find that you're actually put off from doing it because it feels like such a distant dream. But as you're building your blog, & essentially your online presence, you may find that it's the perfect time for you to think about writing that book. While you will need to actually get to writing, find yourself an agent & aim to get published. You could even publish it yourself via Amazon as the Kindle book market is growing all the time. There are so many bloggers, YouTubers & even Instagram influencers that have come out with books now so there's no reason why you can't write one yourself.

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Wednesday 22 May 2019

Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask

Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask
Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask Powder
Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask* - £23

Face masks will always be the most fun way to treat your skin at home. I really enjoy trying them out, especially when they're as unique as this one. Not only does this mask come in powder form, you get to peel it off your face! The Algae Peel-Off Mask from Ultrasonic Beauty is designed to tighten & lift your skin. It is suitable for all skin types but has been specially formulated to treat tired, mature skin that has started to show visible signs of aging. This mask would be great for anyone with dry, dehydrated skin, wrinkles, loose skin, signs of fatigue or enlarged pores. It can also be used to soothe the skin after professional cosmetic procedures. I'm only 30 but sadly I have to admit that my face has already started to look puffier & saggier than before so I was rather keen to slap it on my skin & get peeling!

Inside the tub you get 200g of powder which you mix with water to create the peel-off mask. You only need to use a little bit each time so there's enough in here for several applications. The only other powdered mask I've tried is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay which I mix with apple cider vinegar to create a supercharged clay mask that will eliminate all impurities from deep within your pores. Mixing masks up yourself can be a bit messy but it's also kinda enjoyable. Much like the Aztec Secret mask, this one has a very short ingredient list but it's packed full of nutrients to rejuvenate the skin. As the name suggests, the star ingredient here is algae in the form of spirulina. This blue-green algae is an extremely rich natural source of essential vitamins (A, B1, B2, B12, D, E, K) & minerals including zinc, sodium, calcium, selenium, iron, phosphorus, potassium & magnesium. When used topically spirulina intensively moisturises, reduces inflammation, tones the skin & encourages cell turnover to promote a more youthful looking complexion. As well as your face, this mask can be applied to the neck & décolletage so that they can also benefit from the firming & lifting properties. We often neglect these areas when using skincare products but they tend to be some of the biggest telltale signs of age, since the skin on our chest area is very thin & sensitive.

Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask Mix
Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask Applied
Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask Peeled

The instructions recommend using 2-3 tablespoons of the powder mixed with water to create a thick paste. However they don't tell you how much water to use. Personally I found that a 1:2 mixture of powder to water worked best. It kinda looked like thick green glacé icing once I found the right consistency. Another thing to bear in mind is how much of the mask to apply to your face. If you put too much on, it'll take forever to dry down. If your application is too thin, the mask will crack & won't actually peel off your skin. You want a nice even layer of product to truly benefit from the mask & make it easy to remove. The amount I tested on my hand was perfect & peeled off in huge chunks so I knew exactly how much to use on my face & neck. The wet mask mixture feels extremely cooling & refreshing on the skin. About 20 minutes after application, the mask will harden to a rubbery finish providing an instant lifting & firming effect. It doesn't feel tight on the skin like a clay mask but I definitely noticed that firming sensation. I then peeled the mask off starting from the bottom first.

As long as your application was decent, the mask is fairly easy to remove. It comes off in chunks rather than one huge piece but it's still really satisfying to peel it off your skin. There was a powdery line around my face where the edge of the mask had been but this is easily removed with a flannel & some water. After peeling off the mask you're left with super fresh, well hydrated skin that looks visibly lifted. It also leaves the skin feeling much softer & gives it such a healthy looking glow. The algae mask almost acts as a skin serum, helping to regulate the acid mantle. This increases elasticity & improves skin tone. It helps to smooth out fine lines & soothe irritation, minimising pores & imperfections. In terms of results it's very much like a sheet mask. You'll notice an immediate difference to your skin but the effects aren't particularly long lasting. Overall, I was really impressed with the Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask. I was amazed at how quickly it had de-puffed my skin & brightened up my complexion. It does a brilliant job at making the skin feel firmer & more hydrated whilst also minimising the appearance of pores. This mask is definitely worth checking out if you want younger looking skin without resorting to cosmetic procedures!

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Thursday 16 May 2019

April Favourites

Josh Wood Colour Renewing Shampoo For Brunette Hair Prone To Frizz
When I dyed my hair back to brown, I needed to get some new products to help maintain the colour. Being brunette is much lower maintenance than platinum blonde but when you use a darker dye over bleached hair, the blonde bits will inevitably start peeking through over time. Using the wrong kind of shampoo & conditioner can make the colour fade even quicker. To keep these chocolate tones looking fresh I picked up some of the Josh Wood Colour products specifically for brunette hair. They contain advanced UV filters to prevent fade as well as saffron & turmeric to keep brunette hair looking glossy & vibrant. The shampoo & conditioner for brunette hair prone to frizz are a dreamy duo that have made my hair look healthier than ever before. They make my hair feel really clean & soft whilst keeping frizz in check. I love how gloriously shiny my hair looks & I'll definitely be picking up some new bottles this week as I've just ran out!

Soap & Glory Bubble In Paradise Refreshing Body Wash
Soap & Glory make some fabulous shower gels with utterly gorgeous scents. I normally go for their Sugar Crush Body Wash because I love the fresh citrusy notes but a couple of months ago I couldn't find it in any Boots store for some reason. In it's absence I decided to try their Bubble In Paradise Body Wash. This product is part of their Call Of Fruity scented range which is their exotic new fragrance with mango, papaya & coconut. It's such a lovely tropical scent that completely fills the bathroom. The formula is really creamy & feels moisturising on the skin. It lathers up well so you only need to use a tiny amount & having a shower with this beaut body wash is a great way to start your day.

Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation
IT Cosmetics are so annoying. They've made one of the most gorgeous looking foundations of all time & yet they refuse to fully expand the shade range. 12 shades is nowhere near comprehensive enough & when drugstore brands like Revolution manage to bring out 50 shades of foundation, it just makes IT Cosmetics seem like they don't care. So when I heard rumours that Maybelline's latest foundation was a dupe for the Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream, I went out & bought it immediately. Maybelline are yet another drugstore brand who have a very inclusive range of foundation colours & 100 Warm Ivory is a perfect match for me. I use their Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation in the same colour so I knew it would be a safe choice. The foundation has quite a liquidy formula & it feels very lightweight on the skin but it still delivers in terms of coverage. I wouldn't say it's as full coverage as they claim but it certainly does a excellent job of concealing any redness & hiding the vast majority of my skin imperfections. I love the healthy natural looking radiance it gives to my skin & the smooth satin finish. The foundation provides SPF 50 & is enriched with antioxidants to protect against pollution. This is definitely my base product of choice for this Summer. The extra sun protection is always welcome & it lasts all day long on my skin. I don't think it's a perfect dupe for the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream because it's not as moisturising & gives more coverage but it's still a brilliant foundation.

Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturiser
I used to be really obsessed with Origins skincare products but I kinda fell out of love with them as newer brands such as The Ordinary began to emerge. One product I always meant to try is their GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturiser & I recently got this little sample bottle from a beauty box. I'm a big fan of gel formulas because they work really well for oily/combination skin types. The lightweight formula provides just the right amount of hydration & sinks in really quickly so you can get on with applying your makeup. It has a gorgeous orange sherbet scent which makes it a joy to use. If your skin is looking a little tired then I'd definitely recommend trying this moisturiser. It's fortified with panax ginseng & coffee bean to instantly energise the skin giving you a healthy looking, vibrant glow. It really perks me up in the morning & has an immediate effect on the brightness of my complexion. I never looked this good without makeup until I tried this moisturiser. For super soft radiant skin, Origins GinZing is a wonderful product.

Nu Skin Nu Colour LightShine Lip Plumping Balm in Pink Tinge
I still haven't 100% decided if I want to get lip fillers or not. I've found a fantastic aesthetic practitioner to perform the procedure but I'm just worried it won't look right on my face. Until I fully make my mind up I've been trying out different lip plumping products to achieve a similar but less permanent effect. One of my favourite products I've discovered is this Lip Plumping Balm from Nu Skin. This lip balm feels silky & deeply moisturising on the lips. Rose hip oil is one of the main ingredients so it's rich in fatty acids. These fatty acids help the lip balm to improve the elasticity & moisture levels of the skin whilst giving your lips a full & even glow. There is a slight tingle when applying the lip balm because it contains menthol which improves blood circulation. It doesn't quite give you Kylie Jenner lips but it adds a more natural plumpness. This makes it a great base for lipsticks because it gives your lips a smoother appearance, so anything you put on top will be less likely to sink into fine lines. It also looks really pretty used by itself because it tints your lips with a soft baby pink hue.

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