10 Tips for new bloggers!

Hey guys! I thought I’d share with you some of the things I wish I’d known before I started my blog seriously a few months ago! Hope you enjoy x

Start thinking of yourself as a brand.

This may seem a little daunting, but if you’re new or thinking of starting a blog it’s probably no different to what you were doing on social media anyway! We all have an “online persona”. Make sure your web design and content reflect you! When I first started I did a little brainstorm and considered the bloggers/influencers that inspired me. Set aside some time to really think about what it is you have to offer, and try to make sure that your personality shines through in your work. For example, for me, I’ve always been known amongst my friends for my humor and wit, so I like to break up some of my more serious posts with something a little light-hearted.

Engagement is key!

I know this one might seem obvious but the best way I’ve found to get a regular readership is simply making genuine connections with other bloggers and, well… just being pleasant! Twitter will become your best friend, you can genuinely never go wrong with following bloggers and engaging with their content. One of the best things that ever happened to my blog was joining a group chat on twitter, and a pod on Instagram. ‘Pods’ like this are a great way to ensure engagement because it allows you to connect and share links with people who have common interests as you. If nothing else, the mutual support will do wonders for your confidence, and especially if you are introverted like me, provides and amazing opportunity to make friends.

 

Participate on hot topics

Because the blogging community is so large and diverse, there is often controversy or ‘hot topics’ such as a controversial blog post, a new television show, or a trending hash-tag. While I’d never recommend getting involved with drama, sometimes it’s worth being aware or weighing in with an opinion or an issue. Again, these can be a good networking opportunities or at the very least a way to build familiarity with other bloggers/potential readers.

Also, there are often “chats” held at certain times. Usually this involves an account hosting a Q&A where people answer and discuss questions asked by a host. These are great chance to make new connections and can be great fun!

These Apps may save your life

Here are some of the apps I personally use and love:

One of the most frustrating parts of being a blogger is people who are only out for themselves. People who follow you, wait for you to follow back then unfollow you. This can be combatted by using:

Followers+ (instagram) This allows you to track your followers and see your unfollowers.

Crowdfire (Twitter) Crowdfire is great because it also allows you to schedule tweets, so that they post automatically at optimal times.

Bitly- This can be used to shorten links so that you fill up less characters when sharing your links on twitter. This helps you to include more vital hashtags that might get your post noticed!

Bloglovin’- Bloglovin’ is another way to help you keep up with other blogs and for others to follow you. This is particularly useful If you use a platform that isn’t WordPress as it gives you a “timeline” so you can keep track of content you love!

Influenster- Influenster allows you to make a profile tailored to products you love and is designed to let you review them. This can help brands to see your writing skills and to assess whether or not you might be suitable to review their products. Let’s be real, who doesn’t love a PR package?

 

Photography

Before I started blogging, I knew that photography was important but never knew quite how important it was. I would recommend purchasing a decent camera, because it just sets you apart from other bloggers and makes your content look more professional. However, if you can’t afford to splash out, or you don’t have access to a camera; there are some apps (for iPhone) that can help you out: the ones I use most often are VSCO, and Facetune. VSCO is great for general editing, lightening/brightening images, or adding tints/filters that might help you if you have an Instagram or blog image ‘theme’, where as Facetune is more aimed towards editing selfie’s or images of people.

Having mentioned ‘themes’, this is where all your images or photos abide by some sort of colour scheme or subject theme. This is regularly seen by bloggers on Instagram. Don’t feel pressured to have a theme or set aesthetic, but some people feel it adds something to their ‘brand’, as I mentioned before; since it makes their content more recognizable and consistent.

Buy your domain

This one isn’t essential, but it does help your website links to look more professional. The sooner you do this the better, that way it allows you to get to grips with your new website. If you aren’t ready to make this commitment yet, at least consider doing it as soon as possible.

Schedule/time posts for optimal times

Think about the time and day you personally are most likely to sit down and read other peoples posts. Often people do this on weekend afternoons, however, this also runs the risk that your post will be buried amongst many others written by people who were thinking the same thing. Some of my most viewed posts have actually gone live in the morning around commute time, presumably read by people using the tube or other public transport on their way to work. Find the time that works best for you! Using crowdfire as mentioned previously, you can schedule tweets (or links to your post within them) and they will post automatically for the “best time”.

Be consistent

As a newbie I know this can be daunting, but one of the easiest ways to lose followers and readers is to be inconsistent or to forget to post regularly. People are far more likely to subscribe and return to your site regularly if you are consistent. You don’t want return followers and potential subscribers to forget about you! Definitely think of writing and scheduling posts in advance to prevent this happening. If you haven’t yet launched I would even consider doing this a few weeks in advance while you find your feet with your new site.

This also applies to the content you are posting. Subscribers and repeat visitors are most likely returning to your page because they enjoy your content. As I said before, don’t feel pressured to fit into a theme or a niche, but try and work out what it is that your brand will concentrate on for the most part. For example, if you have gained subscribers through blogging about food, you might notice a decline in your engagement if you suddenly start to focus on interior design, and neglect your regular food posts. For example, for me, I try my best to stick to beauty and lifestyle. I will occasionally however break from that niche to discuss wider issues such as mental health, because it is important to me personally. I also think it is good to use my platform to do good and spread awareness. This is effective because it makes me seem relatable and human, and a lot of my audience are fellow bloggers. Blogging is a fantastic creative outlet and often a safe space to share! So, as it turns out, more of us than you know suffer from anxiety and/or struggle with mental health. I discovered this as this occasional change actually boosts my views, as a pose to harming them.

Don’t expect to become a Hollywood name overnight.

It takes time, work and a lot of learning to build your audience and become a big name in blogging. If you are blogging purely for numbers, free products or fame this is probably not the career for you, as your lack of passion will eventually shine through your content.

Most of all, have fun!

As I just mentioned, make sure you are truly passionate about what you are writing about, and provide genuine engagement and gratitude to your readership. But don’t tie yourself in knots trying to fit a niche or a theme that makes you feel less passionate about what you are doing. We blog for the love of blogging- it really is an affair of the heart. As the old saying goes, “if you chose a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.

Discounted Beauty: UltraWhite Home Teeth Whitening Kit

What’s up guys! Today I’m starting a new series that I’m hoping you’ll love. “Discounted Beauty” is going to be a series about products found on sale, or on online discount stores such as Groupon or Wowcher. Of course if there’s anything that you’ve seen that you think I should try and review please go ahead and let me know in the comments below!

The first product I have for you guys is the the “UltraWhite Home Teeth Whitening Kit”. The products come in a metallic medical/sterile feeling packaging, and as you can see in the top picture, this kit comes with three, six or nine 3ml non-peroxide gel syringes with gel caps to stop it from going bad, a tooth colour chart so that you can track your progress and see what shade you’ve achieved, a double silicone mouth tray, and an “ultra blue LED laser light” which claims to accelerate/enhance the process.

I’ve always looked after my teeth, they are not terribly yellow, having not smoked for long before giving up last year (go me!) – but I definitely feel like my coffee consumption during my three years at University have left them looking a little more sad than they used to. I spent a long while with the colour chart trying to assess what shade my teeth were at, but the colour chart seems to go from brilliant white to brownish, whereas mine are slightly yellow. I didn’t think any of them resembled my teeth but I suppose I would place it around a 5-6 if I had to.

The instructions tell you to essentially squeeze a small line of gel onto each side of the tray across your front 6-8 teeth. It then says to “insert” the light, and leave on for no more than 30 minutes before removing the tray, and rinsing your mouth and the products with water.

The first thing I noticed with this is, the sheer size of the mouth tray. When putting it in I felt more like I was going to film a YouTube video of me playing the “Speak Out” challenge. I don’t have the largest mouth, and I found it really hard to fit this piece in. The shape felt very unnatural and uncomfortable, and has a strange ridge that I found I had to physically pull my lips over.

The second thing I noticed is the light does not fit or secure into the tray at all. It had me wondering if the light was designed for a different product, so again, I had to try and fit this along with this enormous tray inside my mouth. Consequently, the light didn’t really sit flush with the product and I found myself having to adjust it several times.

About half way through, (skip this paragraph if you’re easily grossed out) I felt extremely uncomfortable as there were pools of saliva collecting in the bottom of my mouth. Because of this, it was obviously mixing with the gel, and I could taste it. I’m not sure how safe this is, and it seemed to numb the tip of my tongue.

It actually took a fair bit of willpower to last a full 30 minutes, but I told myself if my teeth looked even a shade whiter it would all be worth it. Unfortunately, as I removed the tray, (and the pools of drool/product collected in the bottom of my mouth) I looked in the mirror to see that absolutely nothing had changed.

QUITE FRANKLII… (lol) I was going to include a before and after picture at this point, but honestly, the pictures I took literally look exactly the same. I gave it another shot, and tried again the next day, only to find that I had now wasted £15 and an hour of my life instead of 30 feeling very dribbly and very uncomfortable all for nothing! I think it’s safe to conclude my lovelies, that I do not advise purchasing this product, and there is probably a reason it’s discounted on Groupon!

Despite my suffering I hope you guys enjoyed my first “discounted beauty” post! As I said before, feel free to share in the comments below any links or products to things you’d like to see me try below, I love hearing from you!

Lots of Love,

Francesca! x

 

5 Tips for Freshers/Freshmen!


Since I’m starting my Master’s at a new University next month (UEA), I was thinking about how daunting facing a new academic adventure is. University (NTU) held some of the best (and worst) times of my life, and your life really is about to change forever. Living away from home and studying something (hopefully) you love will help you to really grow and find yourself. It sounds cliché but though it’s certainly not for everyone, your experience really will be an intensely valuable one, and hopefully will contain some of the best days of your life. I’m genuinely very jealous that you are getting to do it for the first time! 

 Though I am still jittery with nerves and excitement this time around, I know that I can cope. I remember how anxious I was in the weeks leading up to my first day, so as an old Uni veteran now, I thought that I would share with you guys some tips and tricks I picked up in my first year that helped me survive the transition, and some of the things I wish I’d done differently! 

 


 

Ditch that fuckboy!

Starting off with a semi-serious topic, having seen many relationships fall to bits here is my advice to you: If you are not one hundred percent certain that your relationship was built to last, I would seriously advise you to consider entering University single.

The fact is, it is extremely difficult to make a relationship work long distance as it is, without the added burden of being a new student added on. Unless you are very lucky, chances are you will not be able to afford a social life on top of train tickets/fuel to go see your SO every other week unless he is attending the same establishment as you.

Then, from my experience, everyone in Fresher’s week is like a dog in heat. For many singleton’s, it is the ultimate opportunity to meet and *ahem* ‘connect‘ with new people. Even if you don’t think you are a jealous person, if there is even the slightest part of you that is insecure, ‘adulterous’ or jealous, Fresher’s week will probably bring that out in you. Temptation is everywhere, when you aren’t drunk you are probably very hungover and fragile, meaning that emotions will be running extremely high. You quite possibly may find yourself crying in the club bathroom arguing over the fit flatmate you saw in his pictures, even if there is nothing going on. (You have no idea how many girls I had to step over on the bathroom floor!) Sometimes however, you are right to be jealous. I’ve seen both boys and girls sleeping with other people knowing full well they were in a relationship.

Unless you trust them implicitly, please think about whether it’s worth it. Fresher’s week is such an incredible and fun experience for most, and I hate to think that you might spend it sad or jealous over someone who won’t even matter in 5 years time. I know many people who severely regret wasting their time in fruitless relationships that prevented them from experiencing Fresher’s to the full with a clean slate. I’m not saying immediately set out and ditch your partner of 7 years, but definitely talk about it and ensure you’re both on the same page. If this lad/lass is probably not the father/mother of your children, rip the band aid off early and ditch them.

 

Embrace the anxiety

This may sound strange, but anxiety is good. If you weren’t a little nervous, you’d probably be a psychopath. For many, uni/college is the first time they’ve ever lived away from home, let alone with a group of complete strangers. If not, it’s still an entirely different situation. Fortunately, adrenaline is a great confidence booster, and since everyone is probably feeling the exact same way, you will find that conversation starts extremely easily. If your Rep’s do their jobs right, they will get you all together and gently force you to engage with other people outside of your flat, provide ice breakers and drinking games. (My fresher’s reps at NTU were totally amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty. Remember that if you are in trouble you should definitely seek out someone in a Rep shirt and ask them for help. That’s what they are there for!) You will find you have new friends almost immediately, with everyone clinging to everyone and finding great comradery in your new situation! (If you do suffer from anxiety, you can find tips for coping here)!

 

Brace yourself for hangovers!

If your religion or beliefs dictate that you can’t drink, I would definitely recommend joining a club or society for people within your church or at the very least one for people who share similar interests.

If not, brace for impact guys and gals. You will be not just allowed, but encouraged to drink all week long, and to go out every single night. This is because it really does help loosen people up and makes making friends loads easier! This is amazing, but if you’ve ever heard the term “Fresher’s Flu” and thought it was a myth you were wrong. It is very very real. Because you are either drunk or hungover consistently, you will find your voice strained, you’re covered in bruises and probably very emotional and fragile for afterwards. Here are my tried and true livesaver’s for hangovers:

  1. Before you begin your sesh: place a 2L bottle of water, a banana and a glass of water with salt and sugar in it next to your bed every night. Down the glass and eat your banana first thing when you wake up. This sounds insane and gross, but its science. You lose potassium, salt and sugars from being drunk and dehydrated. Putting this back into your system first thing might help you recover quicker. Google it, its a thing. I promise.
  2. After your sesh: if you can stomach it, try and have eggs for breakfast. If you’re vegan or otherwise dislike eggs, oats/porridge contain something called ‘Cysteine’ that helps your liver to break down the toxins.
  3. After your sesh: not trying to turn you all into pill poppers and addicts, but pro-plus or caffiene tablets/coffee could be your saving grace if you feel your energy flagging as the week goes on. See also vodka redbulls/jagerbombs.
  4. After your sesh:  Have a warm shower, then flash it cold to finish. Again, maybe I am mental, but there’s a reason a lot of entrepreneurs swear by a cold shower. Consider athelete’s having an ice bath too. It just really wakes you up and helps to get rid of the brain fog.
  5. After your sesh: make a round of tea and discuss all the hilarity and probable bad decisions you made the night before! Nothing makes a hangover worth it like story time with your new pals.

 

Don’t just stick to people in your flat

Make sure you remember there are people outside your flat that you probably have way more in common with than the weirdo in room 6. If you’re lucky your flatmates will be great, but after a few weeks they will probably get annoying and you will need friends who don’t steal your milk and don’t argue over dishes for 3 weeks straight. I really wish I’d joined a society while I was at uni, or in the very least not been ill all the time so I could have attended more. Make the most of your experience!

 

Leave your door open!

Get decent and open your door as soon as possible. It makes you way more approachable. At my uni we got told off for propping all the fire doors open but it meant that it became a bizarre sort of hippy community with the whole block of flats. We made friends with most of the block and ended up walking in and out of peoples rooms when we were bored or hungover needing a pal. Harry Potter marathons are necessary in that first week, I’m telling ya. We even ended up pre-drinking to GBBO. No regrets.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you guys found this post helpful or at the very least entertaining! If you have any questions or want any advice, especially if you’ll be joining the Trent Army in September I would love to hear from you! Either reply in the comments or find me on twitter @quitefranklii ! Be sure to share this with anyone you think would find this useful and i’ll see you guys in my next post! 

Francesca x