#KZNbloggers Meetup - August 2017

#KZNbloggers Meetup in Durban Photos by Roxy Hutton of CGScreative & CityGirlSearching-02.png

Last month I attended the #KZNbloggers meetup which was held at I Want My Coffee in Umhalanga. The venue itself was delightful and we were greeted with a wonderful selection of eats and drinks.

I Want My Coffee is situated just opposite Chris Saunders Park, which is just round the corner from Gateway Shopping Centre. I was so happy I arrived early because this meant I was able to spend some time admiring the decor and awesome little quotes punctuating the wall space. It was the perfect venue for our meet-up, and I can highly recommend their hot chocolate!

I had booked tickets for both myself and my lovely fellow photographer & blogger friend Julie (of Julia Jane Photography & Design) who you can see looking cute with the glass of 'wine' & coffee below. I also was able to meet Claire (from the blog Design By Claire) in person after having known each other for many a year online.

The line of speakers included Verushka from SpiceGoddess (who spoke about her blogging journey and what she wished she knew when she started blogging and whom I've known 'digitally' for years and so it was soooo nice to finally connect in person);  Nelisiwe from Conversation Lab (who spoke about how influencers are identified for brand campaigns); we had a spokesperson from MUD (Make-Up Designatory) sharing more about the brand and finally Ryan from Rain Africa.

Rain Africa had a beautiful display of some giveaway items. I loved their use of natural elements (like the pine cones you can see in the pictures below):

I loved what Susan from Goddess  has said about these meet-ups: "A bloggers’ meet-up is not so much about the goodie bag (but that sure is nice too!) as it is about stepping out of your own space. A meet-up offers you the opportunity to meet other bloggers, meet PR people and experience brands". While goodie bags are a lovely extra, the entire experience of meeting new people and learning from one another is what makes an event like this so special.

On the note of the goodie bag, here are some close up shots of all of the amazing things we were all gifted with.  I can't wait to start using all of these amazing products! 

Rain Africa

 


Origin Stationery

Personalised stationery from Origin Stationery (I LOVE how Origin went out of their way to ensure I got a package of pretty pink items!)






A huge thank you to Susan from Goddess who was our host and who did such a fantastic job bringing us all together and organising the event. I so enjoyed my time at the meet-up, especially meeting new (and old!) bloggers and creatives. I will most definitely be attending the next one!

If you want to attend the next #KZNbloggers meet-up, make sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page by clicking here. If you're not in Durban, don't worry!

These blogging meet-ups also took place this year in:

I'm so looking forward to the next one here in Durban!

#FromBlog2Biz How to make money from your blog

#FromBlog2Biz How to make money from your blog

WELCOME TO PART 2 OF THE #FROMBLOG2BIZ SERIES

In this post I'm sharing with you how I've made money with my blog (it's probably going to shock you), ways that other people have made money blogging (plus ideas for you) and how I plan on monetizing moving forward.

Let's get started right away!

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My Favourite Tools for Blogging - Awesome Programs, hosting, apps and software to help grow your blog

My  Favourite Tools for Blogging - Awesome Programs, hosting, apps and software to help grow your blog

I'm coming up to my 6th year of blogging (what?!) and so I can safely say I know a thing or two about tools that help you blog better. Most of what we need to know about growing our blogs can be found on Pineterest, right? This is all very well, and I don't know about you but whenever I head to Pinterest to search for blogging resources I get sucked into images of beautiful quotes, cute puppies and ways to save space in my home (tell me I'm not the only one?). 

So I thought I'd create this post for you, with a list of all the resources and tools I use when blogging. I've also created a useful printable cheatsheet of all these resources for you to print out to help you in your blogging journey. You can get your paws on this checklist in my *FREE* Resource Library (which is filled with stock photos and loads of other blog & biz resources) and which you can join below.

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Beautiful Free stock photos for bloggers and business owners

Beautiful Free stock photos for bloggers and business owners

When I first started blogging back in 2010 (6 years ago...eeek!) I used to shamelessly copy and paste images from We Heart It, which was kind of the OG of the visual world before Pinterest came along. I had no idea about copy-write (in fact, I couldn't even really spell that word properly) never mind understand the legal ramifications of using someone else's work without giving them full credit.

It wasn't until 2012 when I came across an article from a blogger who had been sued for a HUGE amount of money after using someones photograph on her blog. The blogger had actually given the photographer credit in her blog post, but she hadn't asked him for permission to re-post his image and so she ended up going to court and was found guilty of intellectual property theft! Can you imagine being charged with a criminal offense for using an image on your blog? Madness!

I was terrified after reading that blog post and promptly set out to learn how to take my own photographs so as not to have to worry about image copy-right ever again! I ended up falling in love with photography, and have since gone onto to freelance and now go under the title 'professional photographer'. I understand that not everyone has the time, or the desire, to pursue photography full time, especially if their interests lie somewhere else, in writing for example or making or drawing or painting. This is where stock photographs come in and this is where I wave a little (pink) flag that says I've got you covered and have FREE STOCK PHOTOGRAPHS JUST FOR YOU!

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#FromBlog2Biz My journey from Blogger to Business Owner: Let's start at the very beginning

#FromBlog2Biz My journey from Blogger to Business Owner: Let's start at the very beginning

Hi everyone!

In case you're new around these parts and have stumbled across this blog series, I thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself.

My name is Roxy and I am the blogger, photographer, planner, crafter, maker, designer and general busy-bee behind CityGirlSearching. I am South African, but have been living in South Korea with my husband and rescue pup (Shadow, who yes, has his own # and Instagram account and FB page because that's what you do these days) for the past 3/technically 4 years.

We are about to wrap up our final contract and will be heading home to South Africa at the end of June...yippeee!

In this series #FromBlog2Biz, I am going to be sharing with you my journey from blogger to business owner. In this post (Part 1) I want to share with you my blogging journey so far (it's been a good number of years) and to set the scene for you for where I am at right now and how I have been making money from my blog and how I plan to monetize moving forward from here.

I do hope you'll join me on this journey as I share with what I've done so far, what has worked and what hasn't. It's going to be an awesome adventure so let's get started right away.

 

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A beginners guide to Blog Photography & Styling - What you need to get started

A beginners guide to Blog Photography & Styling - What you need to get started

I've been blogging for about 6 years now, and I do so because I genuinely love providing free, useful content for people. This blog is not a diary showcasing my life but rather I hope that it is a platform for you to learn new things (like my blogging tipstravel guides and posts about owning a dog in Korea) as well as a place to be inspired (by my travel posts, recipes and my photography). 

One thing that I have learned from all these years of tapping away at my keyboard is that the images on your blog can make or break your brand. 

These days technology has advanced so much, there really is no excuse for anyone to have poor quality images on their blog. This doesn't mean you have to own the fanciest camera on the market, your cellphone/ipad/tablet will work just fine.

In this post I'm going to be sharing with you what I use to style & take photographs for my blog. 

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Introducing the #BeautifyYourBlog Handbook for Bloggers

Introducing the #BeautifyYourBlog Handbook for Bloggers

I recently created and launched #BeautifyYourBlog an easy to follow, free online course for bloggers. Alongside this course, I created a handbook which I'd love to share more of with you today.

Making your blog look it's shiny best can be a difficult process...But it doesn't have to be.

When I first started blogging, I wish I had had someone show me the ins and outs of branding and what it means to build a brand around your blog.

I fumbled my way through the first 4 years of blogging, making so many changes and wasting so much time creating graphics for my blog that really didn't fit my style.

If someone had given me this handbook when I first started blogging, it would have saved me so much frustration, not to mention time.  

This Handbook goes through the how's and the why's of branding your blog and most importantly, it shows you how you can do it yourself.

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The #CGScreative Instagram Photo Challenge - An easy way to grow your Instagram Following!

The #CGScreative Instagram Photo Challenge - An easy way to grow your Instagram Following!

Has your Instagram feed also been taken over by posts asking you to turn on notifications? I know that a lot of people are rather upset by the latest changes announced by Instagram, but I'm here to tell you today that it's not going to be the end of the world for you.

It's also not a huge surprise that Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, is implementing these changes. 

If you're not sure what the changes mean, here is a easy to digest summary of what has got everyone in a tizz.

Instagram is planning to show us the content it thinks we like, based on our previous actions (ie. our likes and comments). This means that it is now more important than ever to be liking and commenting on those accounts that you really love and want to follow, rather than engaging with accounts that you hope will follow you if you spam their feed enough.

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My top 15 insanely useful tips for bloggers

My top 15 insanely useful tips for bloggers

I've been thinking of ways to condense all of the useful posts I've written on blogging, and so created this insanely useful list for bloggers of all niches and topics. Whether you've been blogging for years or whether you've just started your journey & are feeling a little overwhelmed, these tips are bound to help you on your way.

1. Read, re-read & update your About page.  

When I look at the traffic stats on this site, my About page is one of the most popular pages. And I know that when I visit other blogs, I always click on their about/welcome pages to find out more about who they are as a person. Don't let the thought that is has to be perfect put you off editing yours (or even making one if you don't already have one). I am constently updating and editing mine, adding in or taking out information that is no longer relevant to my blogging journey. Your About page should grow with your blog, as should your profile picture (mentioned above).

Here are some tips for your About Page.

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How to create a custom landing page in Squarespace

How to create a custom landing page in Squarespace

While creating my recent e-course, I've spent a lot of time researching the best tools and resources to use to ensure a smooth launch. Today I want to share with you how you can use your Squarespace site to create your own, customized landing pages without having to make use of a landing page generator site like Leadpages.

One of the benefits of blogging with Squarespace is the ability to create Cover Pages (just like this one that I made for BeautifyYourBlog.

But

Cover Pages are designed to be super simple landing pages, with just one or two call to actions. If you are looking for something a little heftier to be able to add in more images & your own custom sign up forms (currently if you want to connect Squarespace Cover Pages & their Forms blocks to Convertkit, you need to use a site like Zapier to run an integration) then a custom landing page is what you're after. I've found some super simple tweaks that you can do to a regular Squarespace page to make it look like a fancy landing page.

If, you're like me, and not quite ready to make the jump to LeadPages, then creating your own landing pages on Squarespace is a great workaround, and with just a few coding tweaks you can make it look like an actual landing page, as opposed to the rest of the pages on your Squarespace site which have things like your menu bar & header image. Convertkit (which I just LOVE!) does offer a few options for landing pages, but the customization is very limited, and I like to make my pages look as pretty as can be. That's why I have been playing around with using Squarespace pages as customized landing pages.

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BeautifyYourBlog - Want to find out more about my new E-course? Join me on Periscope this week!

I have some exciting news everyone! I have been busy behind the scenes creating something very special for all of you. If you're a blogger, or have been thinking about starting a blog, this FREE course is for you!

I've spent the last few weeks creating a simple, easy to follow, 6-part course on blogging and I can't wait to share it with you.

If you've feeling a little bleugh with your online space and are looking for some inspiration, and not to mention loads of helpful tips, then you're going to love my new e-course; BeautifyYourBlog.

In this 6-part email series I'm going to be teaching you:

  1. How to build a beautiful brand around your blog
  2. How to make your blog layout really pop
  3. How to up your blog photo game
  4. How to make your most NB blog pages work hard 
  5. How to put your social media bios to work more effectively (especially Instagram!)
  6. How to use branding to create droolworthy Pinalicious photos for Pinterest

To join the course, simply enter your name and email address into the form below.

You can hang out with me and the rest of the course takers over on Twitter & Instagram (@roxyhutton) using the hashtag #BeautifyYourBlog.

Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox! The course will be going live very soon.

In the mean time, I'll be on Periscope every day this week talking all things blog. I'd love it if you joined me over there (the app is FREE to download) and if you miss me live, you can catch the replay for up to 24 hours after each scope.

BeautifyYourBlog Periscope CityGirlSearching

Click here to get the app: http://periscope.tv/roxyhutton. I hope to see you there! You can find me as @roxyhutton.

Here's to creating beautiful things together.

How to avoid the overwhelm in your creative business + a Helpful Checklist

How to avoid the overwhelm in your creative business + a Helpful Checklist

About 3 months ago I started dipping my toe into the world of online business and passive income, and goodness me, it's a whole other world out there.

The idea of online businesses isn't new, people have been producing online courses and selling information products ever since the internet first began in 1969. What has changed dramatically is the people behind the courses. No longer do you have to have a doctorate in computer programming or some other fancy sounding degree, regular people like you and me are making money selling their social media strategies in the form of webinars, workshops and coaching packages.

Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Being able to make money doing what you love. Isn't that so many people are striving to do? Striving to free themselves from their 9-5's to make more money and have more time to do the things they love?

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How to Create a Style Guide for your blog + Free Template

How to Create a Style Guide for your blog + Free Template

I know I know, blogging these days is definitely not for sissies. If you have a blog and want to stand out amongst the masses, you have to up your game & make your blog look as fancy & professional as possible.

That doesn't mean spending a fortune, or betraying you own personal sense of style. There is space enough for all of us (from the pastel pink lovers to those who go nuts for shades of neon yellow & black) and it's your own unique sense of style that you should be portraying through your blog in the first place. You just need to do it in the best way possible to make your blog stand out while still looking polished.

So how do you do that I hear you ask?

Well, apart from hiring a fancy smancy graphic designer to do your branding, you can start by creating your own style guide for your blog. I would still suggest getting a professional to create your logo (although you could definitely create something yourself using a free online design site like Canva).

Once you have your logo, it's all downhill from there! You can then work on the rest of your branding yourself and take your blog from drab to fab. Having a style guide as a reference for your branding will make your life so much easier, and will help you to keep your blogs look & feel cohesive.

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Creating a Media Kit for your Blog - Designing the perfect Media Kit + FREE Template

Creating a Media Kit for your Blog - Designing the perfect Media Kit + FREE Template

Media kits.

Those scary things that only the big & successful bloggers have.

Those intricate pieces of design that must have cost a fortune for a graphic designer to whip up.

Are these the things that come to mind when you think of the term 'Media Kit'? Some might view media kits in this way, but I try and view a media kit as a simple 'CV' for your blog.

If you have no idea what a Media kit is or why you need one, then click here for a great post by Glamorous Glitter 

No matter whether you are a newbie blogger with only 5 fans on Facebook, or someone who has been around for a while and has thousands of followers, you need a Media Kit.. You might be a mix of the two, having been blogging for years but struggling to grow your readership & social media following. No matter where you are in the blogging game, having a media kit shows you take your blog seriously, that you are professional, and that you mean business (even with your 5 Facebook likes!).

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The #CGSCreative Community: FREE stock Photos & SO much more awaits

The #CGSCreative Community: FREE stock Photos & SO much more awaits

I've been throwing around the #CGScreative hashtag on Instagram & Facebook for a little while now, and I think it's time I told you what it's all about. 

If you're already a part of my special mailing list, you will already know all about it (and you would have already received your Love Inspired photo pack..yay!).

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about but like the idea of getting beautiful FREE stock photographs to use on your blog/Facebook Page/Instagram etc. then please do read on.

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How to easily make photo collages for your blog and Facebook: A Blogstomp Tutorial

How to easily make photo collages for your blog and Facebook: A Blogstomp Tutorial

In order to build a cohesive brand, it's important to make sure the images & graphics you share are aligned with the look and feel of your business. An easy way to do this is to share groups of images (collages) that tell a story. 

I use collages here on my blog when I want to share a lot of images, but I don't want to slow down my site loading speed. 

Using full sized images in a blog post means lots and lots and lots of scrolling for your readers. Creating beautiful collages is an easy way to make your blog posts look better, and it helps the back end of your site by making it faster to load.

In today's blog post I'm sharing with you how I create collages for my blog and Facebook page using Blogstomp.

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Help people find & connect with you on Disqus: Why you should update your Disqus profile

Help People Find and Connect with you on Disqus why you should update your disqus profile

Are you a Disqus user? Do you use Disqus as your comment managing system on your blog or website? I've been using Disqus to manage my comments for the past 4 years and just LOVE the interface (and the fact that its FREE!) as well as how easy it is to leave comments on other peoples blogs. I also love how easy it is to track and reply to comments left my own blog. Before Disqus I was using the standard Blogger commenting system which was terrible at dealing with spam, and was just terrible with 'loosing' my comments. Disqus has made my life so much easier, and worked flawlessly when I was on Blogger and works perfectly with SquareSpace.

https://disqus.com/home/

Apart from being a great system for storing and managing the comments on your blog, Disqus is a fabulous place to find and connect with other bloggers & readers. I haven't spent too much time delving into their voting system (you can recommend commetn discussions as well as 'upvote' comments) but what I do often is go through the comments on my site and click through to find the bloggers and lovely people who have taken the time to leave me a comment.

This is where I start pulling my hair out.

I can't tell you the number of times I've been left frustrated with people who make it so difficult for me to find and connect with them. Basically, if you don't update your Disqus profile and include links to your website & social media platforms, you are basically closing the door on future connections and possible business. And it's so easy to fix! 

If you're a blogger or business owner, you know how important it is to have all your links (website/facebook/twitter/instagram) in an easy to find place so that people can connect with you and ultimately contact you if they like what you are all about. If you don't provide them with your details how are they supposed to find you? The amount of time I have wasted copying and pasting Disqus usernames into Google, only to have to sift through hundreds of search results leaves me stone cold and ultimately I click away and forget about them. Not out of choice but out of frustration. 

So why not make it easy for people to find you. Disqus allows you to include your Facebook Account (at this stage only personal profiles can be connected), Twitter & Google accounts, as well as your website. Not only does this increase your chances of connecting with other like minded people, but it's great for SEO! The more your brand name and blog/business accounts are online, the more exposure your brand gets. It's basically free advertising.

How to update your disqus profile

So what are you waiting for?

Pop on over to your Disqus dashboard and get to customizing your profile. Change your name, avatar (the little picture that shows up when you leave a comment) & try to keep it consistent with your brand. Add in your links (under the 'Account' tab on the left hand side of your dashboard), write a quick blurb (biography) about who you are and what you do and then you're good to go! Drop a comment below once you've done so as I'd love to pop over to your site and leave you some social media love too.

Here's to helping you connect with more people, and to making your site easier to find for others.

Happy blogging!

Why you need a 'START HERE' page for your blog

Blog Tips Citygirlsearching Why you need a Start Here page on your blog

Have you ever clicked a link for something on Pinterest, and then been redirected to the home page or blog of that site only to have no idea what you're looking at? So many times I get lost on blogs, looking for something in particular that I saw on Pinterest, only to give up a few seconds later and click away. You may think your blog is incredibly user friendly, but that's because you designed it and know where everything lives.

If someone was visiting your blog for the first time, would they know, just from the first few seconds, what it is you do and what you offer or sell? It's so hard to look at our own blogs objectively, so why not make it super easy for people to find their way around your site by adding a START HERE page (see image below):

Why you need a start here age for your blog

Your Start Here page is another opportunity (just like your About Page & Home Landing Page if you choose to have one) for you to tell your readers what is is you do, and to give them a brief summary of your business or blog. I use my Start Here page as a place to show my blog categories, and as a way to have people sign up for a particular email. I am starting a new email list of people interested in improving their photography for their blog or business, and so use this page as a place for them to sign up. Some people use their Start Here page to sum up their previous blog posts, to answer FAQ's or to share more about themselves.

A few months ago I found a platform called Peek that allows you to submit your website to a panel of random testers who visit your site and answer specific questions about your sites usability. Once you enter your web address and email address up (it's free!) you are then sent a 5 minute video of people testing out your site, their first impressions and their answers to a few questions about the functionality of your site as well as whether you can improve on anything. 

My site was sent first to an older gentleman who really had no idea what I was writing about. At first I was so frustrated watching him make his way around my blog, but then I realised that my site was confusing. He thought the beauty reviews I did were for products I actually sold, and kept trying to find where to buy them. As the first blog post he saw when he clicked on my site was a review for a beauty product, he thought I was a selling skincare & makeup.


PRO TIP: Your latest Blog Posts conveys a lot to your readers and can influence their decision to stay or leave your site


I was happy to see he was actually interested in buying the product after my review, but I was disheartened as I soon realised he had no idea what my site was all about. At that time I even had a Home or Landing page set up, but as I use a lot of images in my design, it took so long for the Home page to show the images that he quickly clicked straight to my blog. I realised very quickly that you need to assume everyone who arrives at your blog (whether they are first time visitors or returning visitors) needs clear instructions about where to click and where to find information...


PRO TIP: This is why SEARCH BARS are so important in your blog design!


The next person to view my site was a young woman who clearly was a blogger herself. She immediately found her way to my blog and my about page, and proceeded to navigate my site with ease. As much as she liked the functionality and white space of my blog design, she did comment on how long the images were taking to load and that she found it rather frustrating. I have since learned to decrease the size of the images I upload, in the hopes that the loading time doesn't scare off my visitors!

So, by implementing a 'Start Here' page on your blog, you are giving your readers one more place to be able to find out about you and what you can offer them. It also helps them to learn how to navigate your site, and in turn, will make them more likely to stick around and come back.

Landing Page Example SquareSpace Blog

I am STILL tweaking my blog design (that's why I love SquareSpace so much as I am able to customise so much without having to know ANY code) and I think I will continue to tweak the functionality of it as I go along. I have just added a Home/Landing page back to my site (see image above). SquareSpace gives you the option to add easy-to-customize landing pages to your site in just a few minutes.  I have chosen to introduce a landing page because I have been told me that this site has so many different things going on that some of my visitors feel rather overwhelmed and unsure of where to start when they first arrive. We can't assume everyone who lands up on our site will be a well seasoned blogger. 

Do you have a Start Here page on your blog? Have you ever tried a user testing site before? How do you feel about your sites functionality and user-friendliness? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!  

#TeaWithRoxy: My new LIVE weekly Periscope Series

Hello everyone!

I have been having so much fun on Periscope (click here to read the post I did last week on what Periscope is all about and how to use it to grow your blog or business). I want to share MEANINGFUL content with you guys, as opposed to just showcasing random streams of my dog and my Christmas Tree (although I will still be including a few of these as they are fun and a lot of you seem to really enjoy them). 

Incase you're new to the whole Periscope thing, Pericope is a free app (available on both IOS & Android) that allows you to live stream video footage. Not only can you live stream your own content, but you can also watch other peoples content, and share you support by giving 'hearts' while commenting & asking questions. It may seem a bit creepy and weird (and yes there are a few strange people on there) but it's a fantastic way to build engagement as well as me create real, live time relationships with people. I've met so many new blogging friends in the last 2 weeks and I can't wait to continue to engage with all of you through this exciting new platform.

TeaWithRoxy Blogging Tips Series

As a blogger and photographer, I want to do more for you than just show you the behind the scenes of my life. I want to stream useful content that helps you and gives you the inspiration you need to actually do what you've been dreaming about doing. And so, I'd like to introduce you to my new Periscope series; #TeaWithRoxy.

I want this to be a a daily series (I am going to stream at the same time, Monday to Friday) with a different theme or topic each week. That's the plan, but I will be listening to you and your feedback and that will guide me as to whether it will continue to be a daily series or perhaps a weekly series if that's what you'd prefer. I am really excited for the first week's topic, as it's going to be all about blogging!

Here is the schedule for this week, starting tomorrow (Monday 14th December). I have tried to pick a time that will work for the majority of my readers who are all over the world, but if it doesn't work for you don't worry! The great thing about Periscope is it keeps your broadcast for 24 hours, so if you miss it, you're able to go back and re-watch it.

  • Monday 14th - Blogging: Where to Begin (I'll be talking about blogging platforms and which ones I love and use)
  • Tuesday 15th - Making your blog pop (I'll be talking about what I use to make my blog graphics and some tips and tricks to help you create yours)
  • Wednesday 16th - Pro Tips (I'll be sharing with you some of the favourite tools that I use to make my blogging life a lot easier)
  • Thursday 17th - Make or Break (I'll be talking about your 'About' page and why you need one, as well as how to make yours awesome!)
  • Friday 18th - Q & A (I'll be wrapping up the series as well as answering any questions you may have about blogging)

If this sounds like something you'd like to be a part of, all you have to do it download the app (it's FREE!), make a quick profile (you don't have to get too fancy with this, but try and include profile photo so I can see who you are) and then find and follow me @ROXYHUTTON. As soon as you follow me you'll get a notification of when I go live so you know when to pop on and start watching.

Citygirlsearching Persicope Roxy Hutton Blogging Tips

Like I said before, you'll be able to watch the replay for up to 24 hours after I have broadcast the stream, so don't worry if you can't make the time slot. 

I am so excited to have you all be a part of this series, and I can't wait to help you take your blog to the next level. Come and join an exciting community of likeminded people who want you to succeed with your goals. 


Want to make sure you never miss out on blogging or photography posts and freebies? Then make sure you subscribe to my Blogging & Photography email list by clicking the image below:

The #Hashtags you should be using on Instagram to get your photos noticed + FREE Printable Guide

When I first started using Instagram I was very afraid of the hashtag. I thought using them made me sound cheesy, like I was trying to be cool. But, having been an avid Instagram user for a while now I feel confident in saying that using hashtags will get you more likes and more followers and increase your engagement.

Why?

Well hashtags are a way of categorising your photographs so they are grouped together. This means you can look for things really easily. If you're a beauty blogger and you want to connect with and find other beauty bloggers you might use the following hashtags: #bblogger #beautyblogger #fotd (Face Of The Day)

By tagging your photographs with these hashtags you are ensuring your photo appears in anyones search for that particular subject. If you don't use hashtags, then the only people that can see your photos will be your followers. If you want to keep your photos private then you might deliberately choose not to use hashtags, but if you want to grow your blog/brand using hashtags will help your photographs be seen by more people. 

TIP: create a note on your phone with the hashtags you use most often (for me these are the hashtags under the 'lifestyle' heading below) and save it. That way you don't have to wrack your brains trying to remember all the hashtags and you can simply copy and paste them into the description box or comment below your photo.

There are hundreds of thousands of hashtags out there, and you can also make up your own like I did with #ShadowTheJindo & #WhatILoveMostAboutMarriage (although a few random people have popped on that one and started tagging their photographs with it so be open to the the idea that you can't 'own' a hashtag and anyone can tag their photographs with that particular tag and their photo will appear under it).

If you have a blog and want to create more of awareness for your brand as a blogger, why don't you consider starting a hashtag? It's not pretentious at all, see it rather as a way to connect with more people and to keep your ideas/photos categorised and easy to find. 

Here are some lists of the Hashtags I use when I post different things to Instagram. Some of them may seem obvious, but these are usually the tags that are widely used. Others I have found via searches and my own network of followers.

Beauty Products/Make up

  • #bblogger
  • #beautyblogger
  • #beautyjunkie
  • #beautyinkorea (if posting about a Korean product)
  • #southkoreanbeautyproducts
  • #skincare
  • #motd (makeup of the day)
  • #fotd (face of the day)
  • #beauty
  • #makeupaddict
  • #makeupjunkie

Nails

  • #notd (nails of the day)
  • #manimonday (when posting on a monday)
  • #manicure
  • #nailstagram
  • #instanail
  • #nailswag
  • #nailsofinstagram
  • #nailinspo

Dog

I had no idea that so many people had Jindos as pets until I started using hashtags! I found so many wonderful new friends to follow who share the same passion as I do for this unusual breed of dog. If you'd like to read more about our rescue pup, #ShadowTheJindo click here

  • #instajindo (or insta-  insert your dogs breed here)
  • #instapuppy
  • #dogsofinstagram
  • #woofwoof
  • #ilovemydog
  • #dogoftheday
  • #dogsagram 
  • #petsagram
What hashtags to use on Instagram

General Blog/Lifestyle Content

I have been using the following hashtags on all my photographs for the last 2 weeks and have noticed a general increase in engagement. These tags are really popular and are suited for lifestyle bloggers (those of use who post all sorts of content that doesn't always fit into one category).

  • #thatsdarling
  • #thehappynow
  • #petitejoys
  • #livecolorfully
  • #howyouglow
  • #myunicornlife
  • #abmlifeissweet (From the awesome blog A Beautiful Mess...there are a number of different hashtags you could use from A Beautiful Mess to connect with likeminded people)

The great thing about Instagram is that you can add new hashtags to your photographs after they have been posted and that way you can make sure to categorise even your older photographs. There are no hard and fast rules to Instagram so play around and have fun with your hashtags!

If you don't want to look like you are spamming Instagram with your hashtags you can post a few in the image description of your photo, and then post the rest of them in a comment under your photo. That way once people start commenting on your photo, your own comment with the hashtags will be pushed up to the top and hidden by the other comments. Its a little sneaky way to seem a little less brash while still getting your photos seen. 


To help you remember all of the hashtags mentioned in this post, I created a free cheat sheet just for you! This cheat sheet was created exclusively for members of my #CGScreative community. By joining this community of over 900 creatives you'll gain exclusive access to the CGScreative resource library. The resource library is filled with loads of worksheets, printables and what has made this community famous, beautiful stock photoraphs. Best of all, it's free to join! Simply click the image below to find out more:


What hashtags do you use when posting on Instagram? If you're on Instagram come by and say hello (@roxyhutton) I love making new friends there!