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Everything bloggers need to know about their tax self-assessment

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably left your tax self-assessment return to the very last minute. Perhaps you’re even worse than me and didn’t realise the Self Assessment submission deadline is midnight on the 31st January! But it is fast upon us and most of us avoid it until we really have to face it; last year, 33,000 people filed in the final hour, while a staggering 840,000 people missed the deadline altogether. If it’s late, HMRC delivers a straight £100 fine; with even more penalties if it continues to be missed.

You get the idea. It’s a faff but it needs to be done. To avoid getting stressed,  I’ve teamed up with SimpleTax to share lots of expert advice and tips on filling in your tax return properly as a blogger. Make sure you read to the bottom of the post so you can claim a 14 day completely free trial (bank details not needed) of SimpleTax to help you fill in your return with zero effort!

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How I Reached 1000 Daily Views

Today I’m back with some blogging tips, and this time I am going to be chatting with you about my continued efforts to grow my blog traffic. Last week, I hit over 1000 daily views (on my main blog: A Balanced Belly) for several days in a row and a couple of you in my Facebook group asked me to share my top tips.

 

Revamping Old Content

I decided I’d try to blog a little bit more but knew I couldn’t post lengthy blogs every day. For this, I adopted two strategies. Firstly, revamping old content. As winter is coming, I went over my old recipes and updated the images. Like this pumpkin pie smoothie. I created new pics for Instagram and pins for Pinterest. I then shared in relevant groups. This is definitely worth doing with Christmas content too, especially since older content has built up with Google.

Old Pin                                                                                                                       New Pin

Looking for a dairy free pumpkin smoothie recipe? This anti-inflammatory smoothie contains turmeric, pumpkin and cinammon. It is perfect for those with IBS and IBD. If you are looking for recipes for crohn's disease, IBS or weak digestion give this a try.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used Canva to make my images. The second pin looks more ‘autumny’ and the quality of images are much better. However, the first pin still does ok on Pinterest- so using the two together brings more traffic! This is something I plan to experiment with more and use several pins for the same post. I have two popular posts with google: gluten-free subscription boxes and dairy free advent calendars. So I plan to revamp these too: adding better images and links to other posts to lower bounce rate.

Start Spreading The News!

Another thing I focused on to increase content was shorter news stories. Being gluten-free, there’s always new product launches and a write-up of one (like this one about dairy-free pizza) only takes about ten minutes but can bring in lots of traffic. Always try to answer questions the audience has, e.g. the price of something, their ingredients or a launch date. These types of stories do well on Facebook too.

A side note to this is to start thinking about what people would be excited about. I do think transitioning from a hobby blog to a site that is more of a job is thinking more of the reader and traffic. It doesn’t mean that what you write can’t be fun- but the balance has to be there.

Social Media

Pinterest is also a bit traffic driver for me (you can read more about how I get traffic from Pinterest in this post) but I decided to join a few more boards and get pinning my seasonal content. I also had an overhaul of my Facebook page~changing the header so it clearly summed up my content and experimenting with video. One of my videos went a bit viral gaining about 400 followers in a week. It is hard work but video definitely seems to be the way forward. Especially videos that link to your content that you can link to in the post.

I then ensured I kept posting relevant content~creating a Canva image with a question or unusual fact that prompted discussion worked well. I also started to share the Facebook post into groups (rather than post links in there). Here’s an example…

It actually reached 9821 people according to Facebook, which is a massive increase of the usual few hundred I get.

Sidenote: This was working really well but then Facebook randomly blocked me from sharing in groups for 7 days. Apparently, this has happened to a few bloggers, so while I don’t think I overdid at all (sharing daily in a few groups) just a word of warning !!

I was also verified on twitter! I am planning a seperate post about that and whether it has any impact on my views!

Anyway, that’s just a few tips on growing my page views. For more info on this, the following blog posts might also help!

 The Only Blogging Course I’ve Ever Taken

   How I Get 400 Views A Day From Pinterest

 

 

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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Brand Spotlight: Interview with Sam from Socially Famous PR

Happy Friday everyone! Today, I am interviewing Sam from Socially Famous PR     Sam runs 2 blogs (sociallysam.com a business blog and a lifestyle blog which is currently being revamped.) as well as running Socially Famous PR. Not only did Sam help me out by answering these questions super last minute; she was incredibly honest and there is so much value in all of her answers. So get a notepad and a cup of tea at the ready!

If you enjoy this interview, you can check out all my chats with PRs here. 

 Q: Hi Sam! Tell me a bit more about yourself- what brands do you represent?

We started out purely as a social media marketing agency but because I’ve been a blogger myself for nearly 10 years now I found I was getting my social media clients asking about working with bloggers. It became natural to add that as a service. We tend to work with smaller brands who have more niche products on the blogger’s side. At the moment we’ve got a skincare brand, a pet product, a wedding services business and we have a new health food product that will be launching later in the year.

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How I Turned My Blog Into My Job

 

Hi guys, today I am going to be sitting down with you and telling you all about my blogging journey. I started to think about this when I inadvertently stumbled across my first ever blog from a whole 7 years ago! So I wanted to hop on here to let you know about how I turned my blog into a job and that not everyone is a success straight away. In fact, my blog had 7, yes 7, reincarnations- everything from fashion to music to travel until I finally found my match at A Balanced Belly (and hopefully The Bloglancer will stick around too!)

Find a Blog That Fits

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Image source: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com

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Yes, Bloggers. Sometimes you SHOULD work for free.

Ooh, I do love a click bait title. Don’t worry, today’s blog post is not designed to preach to you the benefits of exposure. In fact, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I am pretty vocal on the subject of not working for free and knowing your worth. However, somewhere down the line, the message has got lost and what I’m seeing is bloggers still not talking sensibly about money, trying to charge for everything, missing out on the opportunity to develop their blog and still undercutting each other left, right and centre. So, today rather than repeating motivation phrases, I am going to give you the dos and don’ts and look at answering the old age question (well since 2010): when should bloggers work for free? As always, this is just my take on it all but I’d love to hear your opinions too.

 

Yes, consider working for free when….

  • Looking to boost your Domain Authority. I do not personally think DA is the be all and end all (and I’m not asked for it all that often) but given that the Bloglancer is brand new, I am devoting 3o mins a day to creating a guest post for other sites. Now, this is one example, where doing your research is absolutely key. Make sure you check potential sites using the MOZ toolbar as I get emails every day for sites with a DA of 1 offering me an amazing opportunity to write for them!

 

  • The opportunity adds at least equal value to you as it does the other party. Writing for free is something most of us get asked to do every day.  Although I don’t generally recommend writing for free, it needs to be thought of as a transaction and it’s only worth considering if what you get back is of equal value to what the other site gets. This is why I have rarely written for brand blogs for free because let me ask you this: have you ever read a brand blog and followed the writer that very instant? Therefore a brand is getting a valuable resource of content (which helps their search engine rankings too) and you are probably receiving little back in return. Instead, especially if you have a product or ebook to promote, I’d recommend channelling your energy towards pitching for freelance writing in online and print media as a longer term strategy If you’re going to do it, make sure it has maximum benefit. Getting featured on online sites (e.g. Get the Gloss, The Mighty, Female First and to a lesser extent, Huff Post) or even print publications, will not only provide a big traffic boost if the content is thought provoking (I once got 1000 extra visitors a day after a thumbnail size feature in the Mail on Sunday) but it’ll be something to pop on your media kit (‘as featured in…) and writing portfolio (should you want to develop a freelance career). Therefore, while the publication is getting free content, you are getting something equally beneficial in return. I appreciate this might cause an angry rant of writers saying you should never write for free and yes, ideally there is nothing wrong at all at being paid from the onset (that is the goal). If your idea is unique and can’t be done by another writer, you should absolutely be compensated.  However, you can also be strategic about it and use it as a starting point- not an end point. As I say, you can also ensure your best post, product or ebook is linked to the bottom of an article to attract readers. A compromise can be contributing to articles as an expert. Use the #journorequest hashtag to search for current opportunities. Doing this lead to me being featured in The Guardian!

 

  • It will actually benefit your readers.  Sometimes, you can put aside the concept of a ‘transaction’ if it’s something really valuable to your readers.  We forget that there are real people reading our blog and the information we provide helps them. Linking to sites is too often seen as ‘currency’. If you follow me over at A Balanced Belly you’ll notice that most of my blog posts have about 20 links in them! Not because I am being paid to promote but because I know my readers are actually looking for the information and/or products. And sometimes bloggers lose sight of that. I have in the past pitched to a supplement company and an accountancy software company that I think have really valuable stuff for my readers but they haven’t had a budget. The difference being is I include them on my own terms (not an infographic) because I know they’re useful for my readers.  This is the similarly the case for giveaways. Although many bloggers do charge for giveaways, if it is a once in a lifetime prize that you know your readers will love you for, then it might be worth it. I remember my site almost crashed when I gave away a Nutribullet.

 

  • You just love something. Which leads on to my last point. Recently on my blog, I did a round up of 14 things I had loved that month. Here, on the Bloglancer, I wrote about how much I loved Response Source.   Both of those times, it was me writing about something I was passionate about with no brand or PR agenda- which is largely what blogging should be all about. The same goes for supporting a charity your passionate about.

 

No, don’t even think about working for free when…

  • Someone is getting more value out of something than you are.  Whether it be monetary compensation or value for your readers, if the person on the other end of the email is getting more value out of it than you, then be cautious. This is why you won’t find any dodgy infographics on my site. If they have emailed you, they already recognise your value so therefore you shouldn’t have to prove yourself by working for free first.  And warning, those who build links will often promise ‘quality content’. If the only thing you are getting out of a transaction is content, then consider supporting your fellow bloggers instead and popping a guest post request on a facebook group instead.

 

  • To undercut others. One of the weirdest exchanges I saw on a Facebook recently was a brand asking about a general costing for a post and a whole host of bloggers comment underneath to the point where people were offering to do it for completely free. Why would you do this? The brand clearly asked about costing and therefore was prepared to pay. Let me tell you this if you are new to blogging: there will always be someone who comes along and tries to undercut you. If your thing is being the cheapest blogger, you won’t get very far with that strategy.You have to stand firm and believe what you can offer is truly valuable and unique because the minute you try to drop your prices to compete, you find yourself just going lower and lower.So, while it is frustrating, it is all about the long game and if you set a value on your work, then believe in it!

 

  • The onus is on you to ‘prove yourself’. If you are pitching an article to an online website or a brand you absolutely love, it makes sense they might want to see what you are made of and it’s clear its something of value to you too. However, far too often, I receive emails offering me the chance to work for free to ‘prove’ myself or with paid work further down the line. Never work for free simply because there’s a possibility of paid work if you meet someone’s approval. You can always redirect them to your blog which has a whole host of articles that show exactly what you can do. 

 

I hope this blog post made sense! As you can see, working for free is a complicated (and wordy!) issue but hopefully these tips will be useful! If you enjoyed this post, please do take a second to share and find out below how you can follow me and The Bloglancer!

 

 

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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