5 Ideas To Inspire You When You're Struggling To Create Blog Content

By Zoe Arpin

Struggling to create blog content? Here are five ideas to get you inspired....

1. Write a list
PEOPLE. LOVE. LISTS. (You clicked on this blog post, right?!) Humans have short attention spans. Many people leave web pages in less than a minute. Receiving information in concise, bite-sized chunks is ideal. If the list is related to your business in some way, that’s great, for example “Five reasons you should start a blog”, or “Ten ways to improve your Facebook business page” But it can also be a way of sharing information about you as a person, such as “Three Netflix shows I’m loving right now”; or “Five things I did that helped me quit smoking.”

Whatever the topic, blog posts involving lists are nearly always some of the most popular on any blog.

2. Interview someone
We humans don’t just love lists: we’re insatiably curious about each other! Doing a Q&A with someone you think your audience will find interesting is always a great way to get traffic to your website. For example, if your target audience is working mums, you could feature a mum who runs their own business and get them to share tips for juggling home and work. Or if you run a blog about reading, you could interview an author (which admittedly will be easier if the author is quite early on in their career - J.K Rowling’s probably a bit busy!) You could even turn these interviews into a series and turn it into a regular feature.

The win-win about doing something like this is that the person you’ve interviewed will often promote the blog post, too. That’s double the promotion for your website and opening your business up to a whole new audience.

3. Answer commonly asked questions
No matter what your business is, I will bet that you often find yourself being asked certain questions time and time again. “How do you find inspiration for your products?” “Where do you find interesting content for your blog? “How do you find the time to run your business and look after your family?” Take your regular answer to a question you are often asked and elaborate. “I find inspiration for my products by doing X, reading Y and listening to Z.” Go into more detail on each point and you’ve got yourself a blog post.

4. Educate
By sharing your knowledge, you are not only educating your audience about a certain topic; you are positioning yourself as an “expert” in this area, and people will return to your blog when they want to learn more. Dietitian? Write a blog post advising people on how to manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Photographer? Write a post about how to best photograph a child in motion. Own a clothing line? Write a blog post about accessorising.

5. Write a “how to” post
This is a particularly popular type of educational blog post, and one which Google loves. Think about it: how many time have you typed “How to do XYZ” into the Google search bar find out how to do something? If your blog post title matches the question that someone else is looking for, your blog post is almost certainly going to be near the top of the search results, especially if it’s something specific. Illustrator and designer Sarah Renae Clark writes some really great “how to” blog posts related to illustration, such as “How to draw a rose.” Writing a “how to” blog post is just another way to position yourself as expert in a certain area in the eyes of potential and current customer.

Zoë Arpin of Teapot Communications specialises in helping small business navigate the world of marketing. She has a particular focus on copywriting, content creation and social media management. If marketing's not your cup of tea, Zoë would love to help you! You can reach her at her website, Facebook or Instagram

4 Photography Tips To Level Up Your Blog

By Gemma Peanut

As creatives, we can love our art so much that we may struggle to think of it as a business. 

It may even seem wrong to promote and sell it for monetary gain - but we all need to make a living and what better way than by doing what you are bonkers passionate about! 

That being said, I do cringe at the thought of bookkeeping and even invoicing clients which are all parts of working for yourself - but one area that I am more comfortable with these days, is marketing.

And the reason for this, is I think I’ve cracked the code...

3 years ago, I was crying myself to sleep, stressing my little heart out over what the heck I was going to do with my life.  A friend suggested that I start blogging as an outlet and a way of deciphering through all the confusion and so begun Gemma Peanut Gallery

As I continued to share my musings and adventures, I realised the power of imagery. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I quickly learnt this first-hand by seeing the response on my blog to different images. It seemed that having great visuals was a easy win on the marketing side! This realisation fed my curiosity about learning how to take better photos and so began my foray into photography… 

Today, I am a professional shutterbug on a mission to help creative creatures become the boss of their cameras once and for all so that they can produce stunning imagery that shows off their art to the masses.

I’m going to share with you the photography tips that helped me level up my blog.

1/ MOVEMENT
The most compelling photos have movement OOZING out of them and because of this, they tell a story instead of just showing a static, frozen moment in time. The viewer is drawn in and invited to daydream about what’s going on in the image. 

My favourite cues to capture a sense of motion in photographs is to take a walk or to do a twirl which instantly injects playfulness and spirit. 

2/ IMAGE BANKING
Ever typed up the final word of your masterpiece, been super eager to hit “publish” and then realised you have no images to jazz it up and to use to share on Facebook? This is where image banking comes in real handy.

To key to creating a plentiful and versatile arsenal of photographs is to shoot for variety. Consider capturing a range of emotions from smiling straight to camera, to side-profiles staring off pensively, to candid and whimsical back shots. Shoot a scene with both portrait and landscape framing and both close-ups and wide-angle shots. 

3/ FLAT LAYS
Flat lays are so visually captivating when everything falls together effortlessly - but trust me, there is a lot of effort involved! You have to select and arrange the items in a way that expresses an idea or a theme and then you have to take the photo from the right angle, with the right framing and the right lighting. 

Never fear! There are some sure-fire ways to make your flat lay ultra-pinnable! Pick a tonal palette and stick to it to create instant harmony in your flat lay and choose a background that allows these colours to shine. Matte cardstock, hardwood floors and granite bench tops work wonders! 

Now for how many objects...I find that the magic number is 3. You can create so many balanced arrangements with just 3 items such as all 3 in a row, or peeking in from 3 of the corners leaving one corner intriguingly blank which leads me to…

4/ NEGATIVE SPACE
As with many things, less is more and photography is no different with the nifty technique of negative space. Negative space is simply the space surrounding the hero of your image - so picture your model against a big, blank wall or a pretty trinket against a patterned rug. Negative space makes your subject or object really pop!

And it’s also handy for blogging because you’ll be able to easily add in some text to form a header image or a quote perfect for Instagram. 

Photography is the ultimate marketing tool and its uses to give your blog that extra edge are endless! 

Gemma Peanut is a professional shutterbug and story teller. Armed with her camera, her untamed heart and a boundlessly messy imagination. If you’d like to keep on learning about photography, check out Photography 101 with Gemma Peanut where manual mode photography is broken down into human-speak across several beautifully presented video tutorials + the super-active and exclusive Shutterbug Club. 

Biz Mama // Maternity Photoshoot

Maternity Photoshoot

I don't often post too many deeply personal updates here on the blog - but with the impending arrival (any day now!) of our little bub I have a feeling that is all about to change. As I begin to shift and transform into the role of business woman and mother I find myself re-examining how best to forge this path for Blog Society and I'm excited about the prospect of change.

While I don't know exactly what this new direction will look like I do know that I will continue to be here to help support, guide and nurture other women along their own business journey, specifically as they navigate the marketing world.  I also am feeling called to be more personally present and to share more openly this journey as a new biz mama and the challenges that unfold over the coming months/year.  I've always been a fan of learning from each other and feel that sharing this new adventure is another way to dispel the often unrealistic expectations that women are held to.  

So to kick things off I wanted to share a little behind the scenes update on what's been happening in my world.  This pregnancy has been a joyful and gratitude filled 9 months, one that I'm personally sad to see go but at the same time am so excited for the chance to finally meet this little soul earth side.

We were so grateful to be able to capture this moment in time when Nikki from The Milk Teeth stopped by our house a few weeks back to snap some maternity photos.  I've always been one to feel extremely shy in front of the camera but Nikki had us completely at ease, laughing and having fun in the process.  Looking back now I am completely thrilled we decided to go for it as I couldn't be happier with how they turned out and the special moment in time they captured for us. We'll be able to share these photos with our little man in the future and I'm so thankful to Nikki for the opportunity. If you are in need of any family or lifestyle pics I can't recommend Nikki enough, she's top of her game and soooo fun to work with - I promise she'll have you laughing the entire time!

On a side note, thank you for all the kind words and notes of support about our pregnancy - it's been incredible to share this journey with all of you via social media and looking forward to more updates as soon as he arrives. In the meantime we'll continue to post killer content from around the globe to keep you inspired on your own business journey. 

xx Jac

Maternity Photoshoot 2
Jac+James 13 EDIT.jpg

8 Reasons To Choose Squarespace Over Wordpress

By Rachel Gadiel

One question I hear all the time is how to choose the best platform for your website.

I’ve experimented with various platforms including Wordpress, however in recent years, I’ve become a Squarespace convert and now I host all of my websites with them.

It’s the platform I use for my clients’ websites and it’s the platform I recommend most often to anyone looking to create a beautiful, well-executed, mobile responsive website.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend Wordpress - I believe Wordpress to be an incredibly powerful and robust platform - plus it can make for a lovely website, but at the end of the day it comes down to your specific needs; your skill set; and how hands-on you want to be with your site.

Many people opt for a Wordpress site simply because their designer or website developer recommend it; or because they see the insane number of plugins and programs that can be integrated.

However, in both of these scenarios you can end up finding yourself out-laying significant costs as your site evolves - simply because you don’t have the time or expertise needed to maintain the site and you end up needing to pay someone to help.

Ask any person who is starting a new business how much time they have to dedicate to learning code to configure their website and make changes - the answer is always: not a whole lot.

So today, I’m sharing 8 reasons why I recommend Squarespace as the best option for aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners to launch a web presence, with maximum impact.

 

1. Squarespace offers an all-in-one hosting and publishing solution.The most significant difference between Wordpress and Squarespace is that Squarespace offers an all in one web publishing solution, with all of their services including hosting and publishing bundled together.

Given this, it offers new business owners simplicity, ease of use and the convenience of having their website, hosting and publishing tools all safely housed in the one platform - which is a very attractive offering to time-poor entrepreneurs and business owners.

The biggest upside to this means that you don’t need to worry about having multiple providers when it comes to your domains and hosting.

The integration Squarespace provides with third party domain providers is brilliant, making it a seamless process to integrate your domain from providers like Google, GoDaddy and Blue Host.

Plus, it also offers the ability to connect multiple domains and then choose a primary domain and configure all other domains to point to your nominated primary domain.

It is important to note that your website code base ultimately belongs to Squarespace as it is hosted on their servers.

But, unless you have a very specific reason as to why your site requires self-hosting (for example, organizations like banks and telecommunications companies have unique security requirements), given the level of convenience Squarespace offers, the benefits are overwhelmingly compelling.

 

2. Simplicity and ease of use.The simplicity and ease of use of Squarespace is not just limited to their hosting and domain bundling - it extends to their entire publishing platform.

Not only is it easy to navigate your way around the various functions of the site, the seamless process it offers users to update images, copy, add pages, forms, newsletter integration, or audio files, make it an incredibly attractive option.

Users need zero coding experience to navigate their way around and the highly intuitive platform, making it a breeze to use.

 

3. Beautiful range of fully customizable designs.Given Squarespace is a closed source platform, the only designs available are the templates they create and offer to their customers.

I see this as a huge benefit as there are so many beautiful design options to choose from. In the majority of cases, users will be able to find a design that matches their requirements.

And if not, they can tweak the templates via the ‘content blocks’ Squarespace offers to suit their needs.

What I love about Squarespace is they are continually updating their range of designs and there are always new designs being added.

4. Seamless eCommerce integration.
Opening an online store has never been easier with Squarespace. All stores integrate with Stripe and incorporate the appropriate taxes rules for your region.

Inventory management, coupons, discounts, order confirmations and invoicing are all taken care of within the platform.

 

5. Your website can grow and evolve as your business does.This is probably one of the main reasons why I’d go for Squarespace over Wordpress. I remember when I had my Wordpress site and any time I wanted to add a new page, or change the layout of something, I’d spend hours trying to work out how to do it, eventually getting frustrated by it and ending up pay someone to help me.

It is natural for your business offerings and services to evolve and grow over time. It should not mean that you need to hire a developer each time you want to add a new feature or page to your site and Squarespace makes it super easy for you to do so.

 

6. All designs are mobile responsive.64% of americans own a smartphone which means there is a strong likelihood the people checking out your website will be doing so from their mobile device.

Add into the mix the latest Google SEO ranking factors meaning organic search results will now take into account how well your site has been optimized for a mobile-friendly experience.

Never before has it been more important for your website to look amazing and offer an exceptionally seamless user experience across all devices, including mobile, tablet and web.

All Squarespace designs are fully mobile responsive, which essentially means that regardless of what size or type of device you are using to view a website, the design will automagically render to fit your screen.

No more having to configure multiple design layouts to work across various browsers; no more ugly designs randomly showing up because the design doesn’t work on a specific screen - none of these are a concern with your Squarespace website.

Even better - there is even a nifty viewer in the content management system to switch between your design and how it will look on each platform.

7. Cover pages are a smart way to promote special offerings, launch products or services and encourage newsletter sign-ups.
I
 love the ability Squarespace offers to create and add cover pages to your site which can be used to your advantage in numerous ways.

From promoting features, special offers or even to as a way to grow your newsletter database, you can put cover pages to work in just about anyway you want.

It also means that if you are just starting out and building your site, you can put up a cover page on your domain and start generating buzz for your site launch, along with capturing email addresses at the same time.

And, if at any point need to update your site design, a cover page will allow you to seamlessly make the transition between your old and new website design.

 

8. Squarespace support and documentation.In case you need more convincing at this point, I think it’s worth mentioning the fantastic support Squarespace provides their customers. Any time I’ve needed support with my site, or even just to ask a question, I’ve been easily able to have a live chat with one of the friendly Squarespace team members who are always incredibly helpful!

There is also a huge archive of support documentation available so it’s super easy to find the information you need.

Their documentation is written in plain English - meaning you don’t need to understand complex coding or design language - it’s written in a super digestible and straightforward way that is easy to make sense of.

Still on the fence? Here are a few questions to consider when choosing the best platform for your new website:

  • What is the most important thing you need your website to do for your business?
  • What are the main functions you need your website to perform?
  • Are you happy to get your ‘hands dirty' and learn some basic (and potentially more advanced) HTML and CSS?

Nothing gets me more excited than helping ambitious women launch their businesses to the world with a strong brand that gets you noticed.

If you’re in the market for a new website, I’d love to chat more about how I can help create a gorgeous Squarespace website for you that will let your dream clients find you; connect with you; as well as positioning you as an expert in your field.

How To Grow Your Business By Trusting Your Intuition

By Rachel Allan

You already know the answer. Before you were aware of the question, you already knew the answer. What you lack is the confidence to believe in yourself and trust your intuition.

When you are next deciding and you are not sure, focus on what your body and mind is telling you, this is your intuition guiding you.

Making decisions guided by your intuition will feel right, and will have more chance of successful outcomes. You will be committed to success, because it is on path for your goal achievements.

What is intuition? It is simply a feeling. Have you ever had a feeling that you shouldn’t be doing something or the feeling that what you are doing is just perfect. That is intuition. Next time you are stuck trying to make a decision toss a coin and make your decision based on heads – yes and tails – no. Once the coin gives you the answer how do you feel. Do you feel that it is the right decision or the wrong decision – this is your intuition working.

Here are my four top tips to using intuition in your business:

  1. Does it fit with your goals? The answer is simple

  2. Are you excited about the opportunity or project? Then give it a go

  3. Do you think it may be OK but not sure? Don’t rush a decision – give yourself 24 hours

  4. It doesn’t feel right. The answer is simple.

  5. Have confidence to make the decision

Once you believe in yourself, and trust your intuition, it will make the everyday decision making in your business, and your life, both easier and true to you. If you would like to learn more on intuition check out the free course, Getting Closer to Balance at www.rachel-allan.thinkific.com

Rachel Allan has been a business owner for 12 years, and a mum for 5½ years. On her business-and-baby journey she has learned a lot about life, business and herself. She shares her discoveries (and the wisdom of other parents and experts) with you in her new book, When Business Meets Baby. Rachel is honoured to be Sophie’s mum, and she is also an author, integrated marketer, entrepreneur and property investor. From 2007 she has shared her journey with her business and life partner Craig.

If you would like to discover more about Rachel and the services she offers, visit her at www.rachelallan.com.au.