Have you ever had a conversation with someone about something and they’ve just stared at you blankly? You’re going on and on about a subject you’re passionate about, but they just don’t seem to get it, or even be taking it in.
My point is that communication isn’t always easy. Sometimes, people get what you’re saying with no questions asked. Other times, you’re trying to explain your thoughts or visions to someone and they just don’t make sense. There’s usually a barrier, because it seems like you’re spouting jargon, which a lot of people try to avoid.
Specifically, I’m talking about building an online presence. And blogging. Over the past few years, as I’ve gained more and more experience, my strategies have developed to help improve communication.
In this post, not only will you find definitions that will really help you out, but you’ll also find questions to help you break down the strategies you have for running your blog. Plus a PDF of everything so you can keep it in an easy-to-access place. All I want to do is help you bring the party to your blog and get yourself even more organised. But we’ll talk more about that later.
What all bloggers fear
Every year we go on holiday. Every year that will involve driving, flying, going on a boat, or a mixture of the three. Every year I re-explain that I hate any method of transport apart from walking, even though I know it won’t make a difference. You’ve got to travel to get to different places, right? I try really hard to not be scared (like that’s possible). But sometimes, my worst fears materialise right in front of me.
It’s exactly the same as being a blogger. Sometimes, our worst fears materialise in the form of scenarios we don’t want to happen or emails we receive. So I might be over-exaggerating a little, but honestly - want to know some of the biggest fears of your fellow bloggers?
“I don’t have any new ideas left in me.”
“No one is reading my blog.”
“Bloggers block. Imposter syndrome."
“I’m creating content but nobody wants to read it.”
"My Google Analytics isn't working - what do I do?"
In addition to the lingo you’ll see in this post, I’ve got a few other suggestions of how you can build your confidence as a blogger.
The most expensive software won’t work miracles
I’ll admit - Photoshop, Canon cameras and automating tools like Buffer and Tailwind are all useful. (And I also know a lot of pro-bloggers that use all of these tools and more).
I bring this up because often, a lot of people believe you need expensive equipment to become a successful blogger. For instance, surely a blogger using an Olympus Pen will get much better results than someone who just shoots on an iPhone?
I took part in the #BloggerationChat on Sunday morning and it was about vlogging and taking photos. I’d say 90% of people said that they used their iPhone as their main tool.
Takeaway: More expensive equipment doesn’t equal better photos. Keep in mind that you need to find your style and you can invest in a camera and other equipment when you’re ready.
Search for inspiration
One of the best ways to find your true path as a blogger is to search for lots of inspiration and find a circle of bloggers you can go to for support. The idea here is to find who speaks to you the most, figure out why that is and how you can use that to develop yourself.
When looking for inspiration, consider these things:
Branding across platforms
I’m not going to tell you to avoid copying anything directly, because I know you’re more than capable of coming up with your own ideas. Collecting inspiration and making it your own is exactly what you need to develop yourself as a blogger.
Trust your instincts
You are the one that runs your blog. You are the one that knows your own mind and knows what you want. You are the professional and that’s what you need to remember - but you also need to take your audience into account too.
The right content you choose to create will be a mixture between what you’re passionate about, where your knowledge lies and what your audience needs the most help with. Once you’ve got those things in mind, it’s time to allow for a little flexibility. You know as well as I do that we can’t just write about anything and everything and hope to build a successful online presence. The more you figure out why you’re doing this in the first place, the more that will help you.
Right, now let’s get into it. (I always love using a phrase like this to lead into the next section 😉)
What’s going to be listed here aren’t words I’ve taken from the dictionary. They’re (hopefully) helpful explanations written in words that I’ve taken from my own blogging brain.
#BloggerProblems - A trending hashtag on Twitter that relates to all general problems bloggers come across whether serious, or slightly humorous.
Blogging Burnout - When you lose your passion for blogging. Really, it’s when you lose everything. Your motivation, your ideas, your drive.
Blogiversary - The anniversary of the day you started blogging, aka your blog’s birthday!
Blogosphere - Blogs considered collectively with writers and readers together as a distinct online network.
Branding - This is the image that you’re projecting for others through all the platforms you are on. You as an individual are your brand, and these, what we call brand extensions – so your website, Twitter, your newsletter, your LinkedIn page - all work together to project your brand values to your community and audience. It’s about how you represent your values in your everyday life.
Comment - a response that’s provided as an answer or reaction to a blog post or something you share to a social media channel.
Content - This is anything and everything you create for your blog. Posts, social media updates, videos, eBooks, podcasts, photography. It’s all content.
Editorial calendar - This is used to define the process of creating content, from the initial idea through to writing or creating and finally, publication.
Logo - A design that represents your blog and is used to identify it. Your logo can be anything from the name or your blog to a symbol. Either way, it serves the same purpose.
Monetize - To make money with, so to make money with your blog.
Niche - A website that focuses on very specific information that is both useful and interesting for the audience. For instance, instead of having a blog about social media, a more niche blog would just encompass one platform, like a blog about Facebook.
Selfie - a photograph that you take of yourself...smile! 😉
Troll - A person who is known for creating controversy and negativity online. You can usually find them lurking in forums, comment sections and chat rooms with the intent of disrupting any and every conversation by trying to evoke a reaction.
Analytics - The tracking of your blog data including page views, visitors, popular content and other things related to SEO. This is very useful to learn more about your audience, how many views your content is receiving and more importantly - how people are finding your website.
Affiliate Marketing - A way of making money online whereby you as a publisher are rewarded for helping a business by promoting either their product, service or website.
Algorithm - A set of formulas developed for a system to be able to perform a certain function. This is very important in terms of social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, and now even Instagram use all algorithms to develop content promotion strategies.
Bounce Rate - the percentages of visitors to your website who leave the site after viewing only one page. A low bounce rate is better than a high one.
Clickthrough Rate - This is a very common social media metric. It is used to represent the number of times a visitor clicks through to a piece of content, divided by the total number of impressions a piece of content receives.
Conversion Rate - This is another common metric that is tracked in social media. It is used to track the percentage of people who completed a particular action, for instance, signing up to a newsletter or following a social account, etc.
HTML - Otherwise known as HyperText Markup Language. It’s a programming language for web pages that provides content and structure.
SEO - This stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to your website from search engines.
Bio - On social media, this refers to a short bit of explainer text that explains who the user is. You want this to be the same or very similar across all your platforms.
Channel - This can refer to any social platforms you are active on. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and so on, are all social channels.
Flat lay - A picture of items or objects taken from above so as to give an impression of them laying flat on the ground. Most of my blog photos are flat lay images, or check out this Pinterest board for more inspiration.
#FollowFriday - A hashtag that used to just be used on Twitter but is now also used on Instagram - you can tag or mention people in your post that you think your audience should follow.
GIF - This is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. In social media, these serve as small-scale animations and film clips. You can now even add them to your Twitter posts.
Handle - The term used to describe someone’s @username on Twitter. For example, my Twitter handle is @abranchofholly.
Hashtag - These are used on a variety of social networks as a way to annotate a message and even create a community of like-minded people. Hashtags are always preceded with a ‘#’. Social channels use these to categorise information and make it easily searchable.
Snap - Refers to an image or video that someone has captured in their Snapchat story.
Above-the-fold - Everything on your blog that appears without the need to scroll down. You want this to be the most important information.
Backend - This term is used when people refer to the place where the code, content and files can be accessed and managed for a website.
CMS - Otherwise known as Content Management Systems. Think WordPress or Squarespace. They allow you to update, modify (or even create) a website without having to know any code.
CSS - This stands for Cascading Style Sheets and is the sister of HTML. It’s the type of code that makes a website look the way it does.
Header - Your header is at the top of your website and usually stays there no matter what page you’re on. It usually includes things like your logo, social media links and your navigation menu.
Icon - these are usually small, simple designs that represent something more. For instance, a lot of people use icons for their blog categories. Elle & Company is a great example of this. They can be used anywhere when you want to represent something visually.
Sidebar - The area down the left or right side of your blog that contains information like social links, and email sign-up form, your most popular posts and so on.
Web design - The process of creating websites. It involves different aspects, including layout, content, graphic design and imagery.
White space - areas of your website or any element of design that are not covered by graphics or text. White space is incredible. It can emphasise certain areas or your design or help provide a clean and professional look. Whatever your style, white space is essential.
Widget - An application that enables a user to perform a function or access a service. You can install your Instagram feed, your Twitter account and your Pinterest profile onto your site for people to view - these are all widgets.
P.S Ready for the free checklist that has all these need-to-know terms in alphabetical order? You better believe it.
Now next time someone asks you a question about something on Twitter, you can just check this handy little list. Win win.