Category Archives: Blogging For Beginners Series

Discussing Blogger Blackmail, and Mutually Beneficial Working Relationships

Posted on August 17, 2015

Hi Guys!

I’ve just been sitting here with my morning tea, catching up with a few emails and scrolling my Twitter feed for the latest news and gossip, when I came across a fair few people (well three that I saw) sharing this post.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 08.57.59

I’ve gone over this post a couple if times now, and just wanted to share a few thoughts with you.

Firstly, let’s look at this fact – the blogger is said to have ’emailed a few times asking for free macaron and marshmallow samples in return for posting a positive review’.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with approaching companies you’d like to work with, but if she’s 1. pestering them, and 2. guaranteeing them a positive review from the offset, before trying the products, this instantly reeks of ‘blagging’ for free products, and greatly affects her credibility.

Then when this happens… ‘she asks for 3 large boxes of Muffles, Marshmallows and Macarons, plus two drinks. That’s almost £100 worth of stuff!’

It is never acceptable for a blogger (or anyone for that matter) to demand things like this, it’s unprofessional, gives the blogging community a bad name, and frankly it’s just plain rude.

And not forgetting this – ‘…insinuating that if we didn’t hand over all that stuff she’d be giving us bad reviews’

Just wow. I literally have no words for this.

I’ve taken a look at the bloggers social sites and her tweets and instagram posts about this appear to have been removed. Take from this what you will.

So we’ve established that the blogger has really been pretty out of order in this instance (assuming this is all true – we don’t know the bloggers version of events at this point) That aside though, I think the issue here is the expectations from both sides, and an apparent lack of communication.

We don’t know the email exchange between the company and the blogger – and I’m giving the blogger the benefit of the doubt here, but maybe she was expecting to be gifted some boxes of products? Maybe she was told she could have what she liked from the shop? We don’t know.

The overall lesson to be learned here is that when bloggers and brands work together, the relationship should be mutually beneficial, otherwise one side will end up unhappy or feeling either out of pocket, or like the other is using them.

Brands and companies need to recognise that bloggers spend a lot of time, effort and money building up and working on their blog, and for many, offering a small item of low monetary value in return for a full review that takes a lot of time and effort, just isn’t worth it.

That said, if the agreement in this instance was that the blogger would received a goody bag, and she agreed to it, then that’s her prerogative, and she should have honoured that. At the end of the day it’s your blog, and you can do exactly as you please.

Obviously nobody knows the full story in this case as we haven’t heard things from the bloggers perspective, but it appears that the blogger expected to be receiving quite a lot of product for her review, and when that didn’t happen, she had a diva strop. The problem is a simple lack of communication that has gone very wrong.

It’s never acceptable for a blogger to demand anything, wether it’s in a shop or via an email. This is NOT COOL and gives bloggers such a bad name. 99% of bloggers would never dream of acting in this way, and it’s such a shame that some do this, as it negatively impacts the rest of the community, and makes building relationships with companies and brands that much harder.

Brands and companies should be also clear about what they’re offering, and expecting from a blogger in their initial communication – I often find myself that it can take a fair few emails back and forth before I find out exactly what the situation is. It would be fantastic and easier for everyone if companies we’re more upfront from the beginning of a conversation.

Anyway, you can see I’ve been playing devils advocate a bit here. Hopefully the blogger will write up about her experience soon too so we can hear her version of events.

I’d love to hear what you think about this situation?

*Update – the blogger has now written her side of the story, you can read it here. As I suspected, this whole mess has happened due to a breakdown in communication. Let me know what you think xx

Eight Accessory Ideas To Improve Your Blog Photographs.

Posted on July 15, 2015

Hi Guys!

Since I’m still setting up my new office slash beauty mecca, which was meant to be done ages ago, but you know, life! I really feel like I want to get stuck in and improve every aspect of my blogging. Also now I’ve recently had my blog design revamped, and I’m pretty much blogging full time, I’ve been thinking of ways I can improve my photos in term of the accessories I use. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know the famous marble tray is no more. Sob sob! I now have brand new box-tray things, yay! And I also have a few other ideas up my sleeve too – watch this space! On the back of this I thought it would be handy to put together a list of popular accessory ideas to give others a bit of inspiration…


1. Flowers. Ok so personally I’m not really that into flowers aesthetically, but they can make an otherwise fairly plain and boring background look pretty and colourful. You could have some laying next to your products in a flat-lay set out, standing up in a vase, out of focus in the background. The possibilities really are are endless when it comes to flowers! Of course fresh is always going to be best, but this can work out pretty expensive in the long run. I’d recommend investing in some decent quality fake flowers that will last you for a very long time. (Image from


2. Plates, bowls and trays. The ring dish and of course marble tray seem to be quite popular photography accessories at the moment, but what about placing your products on a colourful bowl? Or a cute little plate? There are loads of similar alternatives available, just take a look around the net and see what takes your fancy! I think trays are probably my favourite accessory right now, they just add a bit of interest and you can play around a lot with placing products in them.


3. Jewellery. Following on from ring dishes, jewellery can be a great accessory to add to photos. I’m having a bit of a rose gold theme at the moment and often include my Michael Kors rose gold watch (I’m pretty sure every blogger owns one of these, right!?) one of my favourite bracelets and sometimes a pretty rose gold necklace with a swallow pendant. I complement these with my pink and rose gold Zoeva brushes too. Why not try picking out some of your favourite jewellery and practice placing it in your photos, it’s easy once you figure out what works for you. (Image from

washi jars

4. Washi tape. I LOVE washi tape, but just haven’t got round to using mine yet. If you’re not sure what it is you can check out my post on washi tape ideas here. It can be used in literally zillions of ways – stick it on a wipe clean surface such as kitchen floors to add interest to an otherwise boring background. Use it on your plain makeup storage jars to jazz them up a bit. Take a look on Pinterest too for loads of washi tape ideas.


5. Magazines. Another popular, easy and inexpensive idea. Open a fashion magazine to a particularly nice shot and use this as a background. easy peasy! Loads of bloggers do this already as it’s really simple and effective. Sprinkle some jewellery on the page too to add further interest. (Image from missstephanieusher)


6. Wallpaper and fabric samples. You can get samples of wallpapers either for free or for next to nothing from so many places these days. I have a few which I’ll be featuring in an upcoming post. Take a look in your local DIY store, grab a load of samples and practice setting up your products on them to see which works for you.


7. Clippings and cuttings. So this is what I’ve been doing for a while now, and it really couldn’t be easier, I bought a roll of shiny, iridescent paper from ebay and literally just chopped out a load of tiny triangles and sprinkled them around the products I was photographing. It couldn’t be any easier! You could also do this with a pretty paper or card.


8. Candles, pots and vases. An obvious choice, candles especially are a beauty blogger’s favourite background accessory! Again the options are limitless, take a look in your local charity shops to pick out some more unusual options too!

I hope this has given you some inspiration! Let me know if you have any other accessory ideas! And massive thanks to the bloggers who have let me include some of their fantastic images in this post!

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

How Much Do REAL Bloggers Earn? My Survey Results

Posted on May 12, 2015

how much do real bloggers earn

Hi Guys!

Today I want to talk about sponsored posts. In case you weren’t sure, this is where a blogger is paid to post about a product or brand. Some bloggers are lucky enough to be offered sponsored posts – but how do we know if we’re getting ripped off?

I hate to see bloggers selling themselves short when it comes to sponsored posts, but how does anyone know what to charge? Blogging doesn’t fall into a standard job category; everyone has different follower numbers and varying amounts of views, and don’t forget social media interaction and PA and DA scores! So how do we know we’re not under charging, or even over charging for that matter when it comes to sponsored posts?

Well there is no way to know. We don’t talk about money, so there’s no way to compare ourselves against each other if this is something that’s not openly discussed. So I decided to start a survey where self hosted bloggers could leave their viewing figures, follower numbers and how much their charging – completely anonymously, so I could find out what bloggers are ACTUALLY charging, and take a look at how rates vs stats compare.

I was overwhelmed to receive 89 responses in all – I had to disqualify some for not completing all the questions but I still ended up with 79 bloggers figures, covering the most popular blogging genres such as fashion, beauty, lifestyle, food and parenting.

I asked the following questions –

  1. What category / categories does your blog fall under?
  2. How old is your blog?
  3. What is your PA score?
  4. What is your DA score?
  5. How many Bloglovin followers do you have?
  6. How many Twitter followers do you have?
  7. How many Facebook followers do you have?
  8. How many Instagram followers do you have?
  9. How many monthly unique views do you have?
  10. How much do you charge for a sponsored post? Please leave as much info as you can.

I then separated the responses into three groups – Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle bloggers (FBL), Family & Parenting blogers, and Food bloggers. Some blogs crossed different categories so FBL ended up with 48 responses, Family – 31 and Food – 6.

In reply to the last question, I understand some people would have a set sponsored post rate, and some would have varying rates depending on the situation. So for those that didn’t give a specific rate, I took an average of what they said. For example if they said £50 – £100, for the purpose of analysing the results I noted this down as £75.

So what did the results look like?

Well hardly surprisingly, the figures were all over the place. In an ideal world you’d expect the sponsored post rate would increase with higher followers and views, but that wasn’t necessarily the case…

Out of all the FBL bloggers the sponsored post rates ranged from £0 (free) up to £150, with the average rate coming out at £73.60. In at the top end, the blogger with the most unique views (280k) is charging £100 on average per sponsored post, but there’s also a blogger up there with only 3k views charging £110. Personally I think these are both quite extreme. Maybe the blogger with the lower views is charging a bit high? Or maybe the blogger with the higher views is charging way too little??

For FBL bloggers at the lower end of the views spectrum (up to 5k unique views) people will charge anything from £10 up to £110 for a sponsored post. Interestingly, the person that charges £10 has more unique views and higher social media stats that the one charging £110! I should also point out that the one charging £110 says this is what they charge but they often accept less.

Bloggers with 10k – 20k views are charging anywhere from £50 – £130 for s sponsored post, and from 25k – 50k views they’re charging £75 – £125. The blogger with the highest views (280k) and highest DA & PA for that matter, is only charging on average £100 for a sponsored post. Considering there’s someone with 12k views that’s charging £150, I think the ‘bigger’ blogger is missing a trick there.

The highest anyone is charging at a minimum is £260, this falls under the family / lifestyle category, this person has one of the highest PA and DA scores and has 95k views. There’s also someone with over 4x this many views (400k), a slightly lower PA and DA score, and similar social media stats, but they’re only charging £80…

Overall it would appear that Food bloggers are charging the highest, with an average of £81.66 for a sponsored post. Family bloggers are second and FBL bloggers are charging the lowest rates.

Under the parenting section, the blogger with the highest views (400k) is only charging £80 for a sponsored post, and yet someone else under the same category is charging £100 and they only have 1.5k views. It would definitely appear that the bloggers with the highest stats should be charging more than they currently are.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are nine FBL bloggers charging £30 or less for a sponsored post, with one of them having pretty decent stats including a DA of 27 and 19k views. There’s no question that this blogger is definitely selling themselves short, just to prove this, there’s another FBL blogger with only 16k views charging £75 per post.

You can see that these figures really are all over the place, and of course what we charge may be one thing, but what we are actually offered or receive my be completely different. I really want to see an end to smaller / newer bloggers being used and taken for a ride for $10 a post. I’m hoping that by discussing these figures and putting together a rough guide at the end of this post, it will help everyone as a point of reference, so you can see what would roughly be a reasonable amount to charge considering your views and social media followings.


It looks like the bloggers with the highest views and stats should really be charging more. Some of them are charging very similar if not the same amounts as bloggers with a fraction of their views. For example someone with 10k views is charging £130, and someone with 258k views is charging €150. To me this seems crazy! I think across the board, bloggers are undervaluing themselves and how much they should be charging. I personally don’t think that anyone should accept less than £30 for a sponsored post.

Of course there are SO many variables, such as how active are you on social media? How often do you publish and promote your posts? Do said sponsored posts contain links? And are they follow or no follow? Maybe your stats aren’t that high but you might have 500k followers on Pinterest? There are loads of things to take into consideration when deciding how much to charge, and how much to accept for a sponsored post.

Taking everyones responses into consideration, I’ve made my own rough guide to sponsored posts rates tables. This was actually more of a challenge than I first anticipated as I wanted to consider the main variables –

  • DA Score
  • Follower Numbers
  • Monthly Unique Views

So I ended up creating two tables, the first one compares your combined follow number to your DA score, to give you a Low, Medium or High score. I was going to refer to this as an influence score but it’s not exactly, nor is it popularity as such but more of a combination of the two.

You then jump to the second table where you start with your unique view number, and whether you scored a Low, Medium or High score earlier, it’ll tell you a rough price for how much you should be charging. I hope that makes sense!

Here’s a quick example. Say I have 20k unique views, 8k followers and a DA score of 27. I should roughly be charging £120 for a sponsored post.

followers da scores table

sponsored post rates table

Please remember this is completely subjective, and this is just my opinion based on the results of the survey. I really hope it will be useful for everyone though.

So what do you think? Were you surprised by the results of my survey? I’d also be really interested to hear your thoughts on my rates tables?

I hope you found this post useful xxx

Ten Ways To Promote Your Blog

Posted on January 7, 2015

ten easy ways to promote your blog

Hi Guys!

After noticing my 10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Blog post has in fact been one of my most popular posts (thank you to everyone that’s read and commented!) I thought I’d follow on with some more helpful posts along the same lines. Today I’ve put together a few simple tips for promoting and sharing your blog. Enjoy!

1. Social media. A blogger without social media profiles is like a butterfly without wings – you’re really missing some vital parts crucial to development and growth. Using social media is SO important for promoting your blog. Firstly you need to get yourself signed up to all the social media sites you can – Twitter, Intagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Facebook are the main players but there are plenty more worth signing up to if you have the time. Then use them. Follow like minded people. Interact. Share your blog posts, and in time you’ll see your followings grow, whilst also creating a fantastic audience for your blog.

2. Facebook groups. Out of all the social media sites, Facebook isn’t really the best place for promoting your blog now because they’ve changed the way they work. If you already have a Facebook page for your blog, you may have noticed you’re receiving less views per post than previously, basically this is because Facebook now want you to you pay them for advertising your page. Another (possibly better) way to utilise the power of Facebook is to join relevant groups. The easiest way to find groups is to try loads of keyword searches in the search bar – ‘beauty blogger’ ‘bloggers’ ‘beauty lovers’ are a few examples I might use as a predominantly beauty blogger. Then just join the groups! Some are purely for chatting, you can share your blog post links in others, and some have more specific blogger help, sharing threads and much more.

3. Advertise on other blogs. Many bloggers offer advertising for both companies and other bloggers – and often their rates for bloggers are very reasonable, I love that we’re nice like that!  For a small fee (usually on a monthly basis) you can have your advert in a bloggers sidebar, and they often offer extra perks too, such as weekly #FF mentions on Twitter, sharing your posts on Twitter / Instagram, including your link at the bottom of their posts and some also have a dedicated blog post for their sponsors each month. These will all help to promote your blog. I’d recommend checking out the rates for your favourite bloggers, or you could also do an ad swap with other bloggers that you know, which I think is a great idea as it’s beneficial to you both, with no costs – I’ve done this myself for the month of January 😀

4. Business cards. If you’ve been, or are hoping to go to any events, it’s imperative that you have your own business cards to offer. Business cards hold all your vital info – basically your blog address and contact details, plus more if you want, so people can get in touch with you. I had my cards printed at a while ago, they were really reasonably priced and fantastic quality. I handed loads of them out at the next event I went to and it was fantastic to see people were getting in touch because of they had my card! (I’ll have a separate post written to show you my business cards soon)

5. Linkys. What the heck is a linky? A linky, link up, or blog hop is when a ‘host’ blog invites other blogs to link up to a specific post. Usually there will be a theme – say a giveaway for example – so you link your own giveaway post to the host’s linky giveaway post, with the idea that everyone involved visits each others posts, comments on, promotes and therefore drives traffic to their own as well as each other’s blogs. The more effort everyone puts in to a linky, the more everyone gets out of it. You can search for linkys on Twitter if you’re interested in joining up.

6. Guest post. Guest posting for other bloggers or even companies and brands can be a great way to introduce yourself and your blog to a new audience, and also expose your writing to a mass of new potential readers. Ask other bloggers if you can guest post for them, give them some ideas of what you’d like to write, or maybe you could swap guest posts? Guest posting on companies’ blogs is a fantastic way to promote yourself too, as your blog will be exposed to their customer base. Don’t forget to include some info about your blog and your blog link in your post too!

7. Collaborate with other bloggers. Guest posting is one thing, but what about actually collaborating with other bloggers? I’ve done a few collaborations in my time, the latest one – Makeup To Make Your Blue Eyes POP! was a collaboration with Emma from Not Your average. I have blue eyes so I wrote a ‘blue eyes’ themed post and she has brown eyes so she wrote about brown eyes. We then both linked to each others post, published at the same time, and promoted each others posts on our social media sites. Collaborating with other bloggers is a win-win situation which exposes your blog to new readers. If you have any collaboration ideas, ask around on Twitter using the relevant hashtags (#bbloggers for example) to see if anyone would like to work with you.

8. Comment on other blogs. If you read blogs (which I’m guessing you do) please try to take a moment to leave a comment (preferably 8 words or over if you can, as less than that can be seen as spam by Google so I’ve heard) Every blogger LOVES receiving comments on their post – it shows that people have taken the time to read, think about what they’ve read, and offer their thoughts. This makes us feel warm and fuzzy and we really do appreciate it. So, bloggers, if you want to receive comments, also make sure you take the time to leave some for others, and don’t forget to include your blog link so they can click through to check your writing out too.

9. Include relevant links in your posts to companies, brands, products and other bloggers, and let them know you’ve included them in your post via social media or email. Many people will at least take a look at what you’ve written, and some will also share / retweet your post too. When I mention other bloggers, companies or brands in a post, I always tweet them directly letting them know and include the post link with the hope that they will take a look!

Sorry this was another long post, well done for making it to the end!

I hope this has been helpful – I’d love to hear if you have any other tips for promoting your blog? xxx

My Blogging Goals for 2015

Posted on January 2, 2015

my blogging goals for 2015

Hi Guys!

Well it’s now officially 2015 – Happy New Year! And just like most of us, I’ve been thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions. I’m actually still working on them so I’m going to save them for a separate post of their own (yes there’s a lot) and keep my goals and resolutions specifically for my blog separate. I’ll have actually been blogging for two years in February – seriously where has the time gone!? So I really want to up my game and improve my blog in different ways this year. Here are my plans…

Blog Less. If you don’t know me so well you won’t know that I currently have a part time job, two freelancing roles, a three year old to look after, a husband, a house to run, a pretty much full time blog, and just to top it off I’ve actually been pretty ill too. I’m sure you can imagine that even though I’ve been trying my best, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in. I’m pretty much knackered all the time! In the new year I’m plan to start cutting down on the amount of blogging I’m doing so I’ll have more time for other things. Which leads me on to…

Quality over quantity. I’ve been blogging a lot lately, I know. I’ve taken on tons of projects, reviews and collaborations because I thought they’d be ‘good for the blog’, interesting to read about, and also  because I didnt want to miss any opportunities. Some of them really were fantastic, and I’m thankful for every opportunity that comes my way. But I’ve been taking too much on, and even though I had good intentions I now realise that this has affected the quality of my writing and taken me away from writing about other things, just because I haven’t had the time. My aim is for 2015 to start by upping the quality of my posts, whilst reducing the quantity. Hopefully this will make for more interesting reading for you too.

Be more selective with what I take on. One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve gradually been blogging more and more. I started off 2014 writing a couple of posts a week, which then increased to about 4 days a week, then every day, and then right before Christmas I was sometimes posting twice a day to keep up with everything. I don’t want to appear like I’m complaining, this is all of my own doing, but I’ve decided I’m definitely going to be more selective with what I take on from now on. Collaboration and review posts must really be right for me and my blog otherwise it’s going to be a no I’m afraid. I already turn opportunities down because they’re not a good fit for my blog, or just not worth it with some companies just wanting free advertising / competition entries / links (take your pick) for nothing in return. I hope the combination of this selectiveness, increasing the quality of my posts and decreasing the quantity will all come together to take my blog to the next level in 2015.

Write more conversational posts. I know what you’re thinking, I never write conversational posts, this is probably the most conversation you’ve seen from me in a long time, and you’d pretty much be right. I’ve been spending most of my time putting together reviews and similar posts over the last few months, and as much as I do love reviewing products, I really want to mix it up a bit next year. For the few conversational / opinion type posts I’ve written, I’ve had a fantastic response in comments so I know it’s something that people like to read, and interact with. I’m definitely going to put more effort into these in 2015. (There are a couple of posts you might like to take a look at here and here)

Conquer Pinterest! Ahh Pinterest. I signed up not long after I started my blog, and I have the grand total of 151 followers, YAY! Some people have thousands upon thousands, but I’m just completely flummoxed by the site. I started pinning images from my blog, but it didnt seem to make any difference or bring in any more traffic. I just don’t know what I’m doing at all. I need a Pinterest tutorial! Anyone want to show me what I should be doing? Or link me to a post that explains it all? It would be much appreciated!

Instagram. Ok so I do use Instagram, but no where near to its full potential, and word on the street is that Instagram is the new Twitter, so I really want to learn how to maximise my usage of this app. I also have a Samsung phone, which makes it slightly harder as I think the app is slightly different to the iPhone app (I think – is it?) Anyway my photos aren’t too bad, but I need to make better use of hashtags – and learn which ones I should be using – and just be more active on there in general. If anyone has any Insta tips or advice posts please send me the links over!

Perfect my photos. I must firstly say that I do in fact think my photos have come a long way since I started blogging. I originally just used my Samsung Galaxy, which does have a good camera – for a phone – it just didnt have the capability I needed for for the pictures I wanted to take so I upgraded to a ‘proper’ camera. Now I’m used to how my camera works I feel that the only thing holding me back is my lighting situation. At the moment I’m always using natural light – and we all know how much of a pain that is. I do actually have some lights specifically for blogging, but due to the lack of space in my house I haven’t been able to set them up yet. So I guess this is a kind of ‘get your act together’ reminder to 1. Sort out a space, 2. Set my lights up, 3. Practice photography, and 4. Perfect photography. I guess I also need to make time to do all this too!

Blogging Room. As you’ve just read, I have space issues in my house, so I’ve decided I’m going to convert my spare room into the ultimate blogging and beauty mecca! At the moment my spare room has a desk, which is very small, and storage for my makeup, which is great, but there’s also a massive wardrobe in there full of junk, and a chest of drawers that need sorting out. Oh and the floor and every available space is covered in ‘stuff’. I’m going to get rid of everything – bin, sell or giveaway what I can (and I need to be ruthless because I’m a complete hoarder) and kit the room out with some sexy Ikea Alex drawers and a bigger desk, get my lighting set up, and basically get the spare room organised so I can actually use it. My aim is to have this done by the summer. Wish me luck!!

So there you go, it does actually feel pretty good to get this all written down, all this has been swimming around in my head for a while now. I feel like I now have some clear goals and objectives to aim for in 2015!

Have you got any blogging goals for 2015? I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Blog

Posted on December 31, 2014

10 ways to improve your blog_edited-1

Hi Guys!

So as we’re now at the end of 2014, and nearly two years of blogging for me, blimey! I thought I’d gather together a handy list of some of the things I’ve learned in my blogging lifetime that could be really helpful to others.

Whenever I’ve had a lightbulb moment over the last two years with my blog, I’ve often always thought I wish I’d known that information earlier. Also, I now freelance in blogger outreach, so I read lots of other blogs, and I’ve noticed on occasion where I couldn’t find contact details, or a bloglovin link to follow, or some other minor thing that could be easily added to really improve that particular blog.

Before I go any further though, I just want to add that I definitely don’t know it all, and I’m still learning new things all the time. Getting my head around Pinterest and perfecting my photography are two of my goals for 2015! Anyway here’s my list of tips, I hope you find them helpful.

1. Add a search bar. Seriously, do not under estimate the importance of a search bar! It’s such a handy tool so visitors can search your entire blog for a brand or product, or anything at all, rather than having to scroll through zillions of posts and just hope to come across what they’re looking for. A search bar in an easy to spot location at the top of your blog or in your side bar is the perfect place. If you google it there are plenty of posts and sites showing you how you can easily add one to your blog!

2. Make sure your contact details are visible. I can’t stress the importance of having your contact details made clear and visible – and I can’t tell you the amount of blogs that I’ve skimmed past because I couldn’t find their email address. Many bloggers have a contact page but also include their email in their side bar too, usually at the top under their profile image, which is a really great easy to see spot. If people want to contact you, whether it’s PR’s or anyone else, you need your contact details easily accessible.

3. Visible social media links. As above, it’s vital that firstly you are signed up to as many social media sites as you can, and all your social media site links are clear to see – and working – on your front page. Depending on your preference, there may be sites you use more than others, for example I don’t really use Pinterest (though I really should) and I don’t use Tumblr, but I’m signed up to both sites, and have my blog posts auto published to Tumblr, so those that prefer to use that platform can follow my blog that way if they wish.

4. And on that note – Autopost to your social media sites. I’d highly recommend setting this up. I have my WordPress set up to auto post to Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr and G+, then I manually post to my Facebook page as I like to select my preferred image to go with the post. In WordPress this is super easy to edit and amend in your settings, if you use Blogger though I’ve found this post which should help you set it up.

5. Add your follow links to the bottom of every post. This is such a simple, yet effective way to increase your social media following. If somebody happens to be reading a post and they like it, they’ll be more inclined to follow your blog too if you have all your network links conveniently situated at the bottom of the post they’re reading. This is slightly more technical to do, so I actually had my blog designer set this up for me. Again google can help, but if you’re not technically minded then there are plenty of blog designers out there who can help!

6. Sign up to blogger networks. Sign up to as many networks as you can to increase your chances of ‘getting your blog out there’. Linking up with different networks can also lead to creating new contacts, collaborations, sponsored posts and who knows what else! I’ve written a post on Blogger Networks which includes all the networks I currently know of. Please do check this out and let me know if there’s any more I should add to the list.

7. Include links to previous posts. Where you can, and where relevant, always link to your previous posts. Apart from providing information, this drives traffic to your older posts, and is also fantastic for SEO purposes. I’ve just added the SEO Automatic Links widget to my site, so hopefully this will work and include relevant links! (I’ve literally just done this so I’ll update this post when I’ve had a chance to check it out properly)

8. Install a ‘You Might Also Like…’ widget. If you don’t know what this is, take a look at one of my posts, you’ll see at the end of the post there is a section called You Might Also Like… with images and links to four other blog posts. I use Engageya or there’s also Related Posts and Linkwithin. This is a fantastic way to self-promote you posts, and once it’s set up, you don’t need to do anything!

9. Photography is everything! Do not under estimate the power of a beautiful image to attract readers. Of course you don’t need to be an expert, but practicing with you camera or camera phone will really help improve your photography, as will playing around with lighting and compositions. One of my favourite blogs, A Beautiful Mess has a great post on photography tips here. And don’t forget to Make sure your images are LARGE. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed when a great blog has tiny images. Of course content is important, but imagery really is equally important! You should be able to change the size of your images easily in your settings.

10. And lastly, Add an archive. Adding an archive widget to your sidebar is another super handy navigation tool. I love the ones where you click to open the month, and it opens up a list of clickable blog post titles from that month. It’s an easy way to display and also promote all of your posts in chronological order. I use EZ Post Archives for WordPress, and I also found this post on how you can create an archive list in Blogger.

Well I hope this has been a helpful post! I’d love to hear your thoughts? xxx

PR Samples – Keep Them, Sell Them, or Give Them Away?

Posted on September 23, 2014

Hi Guys!

Today I want to talk about a topic that comes up time and time again – PR samples. Firstly for those not in the know, some bloggers are lucky enough to receive PR samples (also called gifted products) to review on their blog in return for getting to keep the product. The question often comes up regarding what to do with these samples in the long run, as it did yesterday on Twitter where somebody was asking what people think about bloggers selling on their PR samples. I thought this was a great topic for discussion which affects most bloggers, and it’s definitely a subject that everyone has an opinion on. So here goes…

As a blogger that’s lucky enough and extremely grateful to receive PR samples, I think I fall in the minority when I say I believe it’s ok to sell them on – but hear me out, I think it’s ok in certain circumstances only. Firstly here’s an example where I believe samples shouldn’t be sold on… It was only the other day that I saw a blogger selling an item that was a brand new release, I checked her blog and read about how much she ‘really loved’ said product, but there it was, sitting in her blog sale only a few days after the post went live. Now in my opinion this isn’t right. So you really loved that item so much that you’re instantly selling it?? Hmm. Doing this completely invalidates her review of the product and also her credibility as a blogger. Personally I think this is a pretty bad move. So this, I disagree with.

On the other hand though – I haven’t sold any PR samples – yet – but should I want to sell something in future if it ends up laying around with my heaps of other makeup and skincare bits, surely I should I have the right to sell it? I do own it after all? Is it not mine to do as I please with? I own lots of makeup and skincare, and when I say lots I mean seriously LOTS. I have a slight addiction, combine this with hoarding issues and you might get an idea! So because I buy so many products, a fair few products that I genuinely love don’t actually get used up, and they end up in my ever growing stash. Should I keep them all until my house is held up solely by cosmetics? Should I give them away coz I’m such a nice person – or even bin them (what a waste!) Or should I sell them??

So what about in a situation like mine, where a blogger owns (for example) 15 foundations and say three of them have been PR samples over the last few months. She loves them all and has written positive reviews but some of them have to go as she’s running out of space. Is there anything worng with her selling the PR samples that she genuinely loved, along with her own products that she also loved? Well personally I say no, there is nothing wrong with this. The only thing I will say though, that regardless of the fact that her PR sample product reviews were genuine at the time of writing, if others see she is now selling those samples on, this may cast her in a bad light.

Personally though, I’ve always bought and sold things as required to meet my current needs. So, if I need cash I sell my assets. Simple as that. Wether this be my beloved Limecrime lipstick collection (sob sob), a designer bag (goodbye Miu Miu) or whatever. I sell things I own to generate cash when I really need it. I have responsibilities – a mortgage and a family to feed so I sometimes I have to sell things I love to bring in some dosh, is this so wrong? I would like to point out that I haven’t actually sold any PR samples as yet as I haven’t had the need to. But if the need really did arise then I would sell my entire makeup collection and the clothes off my own back (regardless of where they came from) along with anything else I own, if I really did need the money.

Also, I think it’s also important to remember, that when I say ‘PR samples’ this goes for everything – all types of bloggers. Not just beauty. Should popular fashion bloggers with ever bulging wardrobes have to give away their gifted clothes simply because they don’t have enough storage space? Or do you think they should have the right to sell them on without being judged? Why shouldn’t they make some money??

What about parent bloggers – when their little ones grow older should they give their gifted toys away? Or should they have the right to sell them on so they can buy their child some new toys with the money?

I don’t think I’ve ever written so many questions in a blog post! At the end of the day of course it’s down to personal preference. I’m sure some people will see where I’m coming from, and others will disagree and say that selling any PR samples under any circumstances is wrong. That’s cool, we’re all entitled to our opinions. I know this is a bit of a controversial topic, and my aim is not to upset anyone or ruffle any feathers! I personally believe people can do as they please and that we are all entitled to our own opinions. But saying that please be aware – if you do decide to sell samples on straight after reviewing them, this will most definitely be frowned upon by the blogging community – as well as PR’s, so do it at your own risk…

I’d love to hear what you think? Let me know xxx

Which Blogger Networks Can I Sign Up To?

Posted on September 2, 2014

blogger networks pic

Hi Guys!

A while ago I was looking to start a new series on my blog called Blogging For Beginners – I thought it would be handy to put together a series of posts with hints, tips and tricks for newer bloggers as there are so many things I’ve learned along the way, I thought if I could put it all together in one place it could be a really handy resource to help others. I also asked other bloggers for their thoughts and input on this, and before I start I really wanted to apologise to everyone that contacted me for the ridiculously massive delay with this. It was literally months ago, so I’m really really sorry it’s taken me this long to pull my finger out and get organised. I am now putting the posts together and I will be crediting everyone for the input they have offered over the coming weeks.

Anyway, today’s Blogging For Beginners post consists of a few recommendations from me. I thought it would be really handy to list all the Blogger Networking sites I could think of that offer review opportunities, collaborations, networking and blogger events. I’ve had many different opportunities arise from being signed up the the below sites and programmes, so they’re definitely worth signing up to! I’d also like to point out that some are better than others, but rather than offer my personal opinions on each of the sites I thought I’d just list them all for you so you can find out for yourself. It’s definitely worth signing up to them all to get your blog and your name out there!

The below companies are all different. Some, such as Etail PR and The Blogger Programme you log in to and sign up to work with companies (it’s a bit more complicated than that but just so you get the jist) whereas with others you just sign up and leave your details and they will contact you if any opportunities arise…

  • Blogdash
  • Bloggabase
  • Bloggers Lounge
  • Bloggers Love
  • Bloggers Required
  • Blogionaire
  • Brand Backer
  • Etail PR
  • Handpicked Media
  • HeartIFB
  • ifabbo
  • Next Blogger Network
  • Nuffnang
  • Spread It Fast
  • Sverve
  • The Blogger Programme

So there are actually a lot more companies than I originally realised! These are all I can think of at the moment, so please let me know if you know of or have heard of any more and I’ll add them to the list!

While I’m on the subject of opportunities, some other tips are to take note of which buttons other bloggers have in their sidebar, and use them to find new sites – this is how I found out about many I’ve used! And also don’t forget to stalk twitter! Stalk it like a madman! There are always companies and PR’s on the hunt for bloggers to work with! 🙂

I’d love to hear if you’ve worked with any of these companies? I hope this has been of some help! xxx

Knowing Your Worth As A Blogger and A Writer…

Posted on August 15, 2014


image source

Hi Guys!

As a blogger I receive loads of emails every day, everyone and their dog wants to improve my site and my SEO, CONSTANTLY and I frequently have people wanting to send me millions of dollars because I won some faraway countries lottery. They just need my full name and bank account details… Anyway, another type of email I often receive is people wanting a guest post for their own sites or blogs. Now I’m well up for guest posting, it’s great to post on different sites – as long as they’re relevant to my blog and my own interests. I really love working with other beauty bloggers too, wether it’s writing or receiving guest posts.

So let me explain what recently happened. A guy contacted me wanting me to post for his site regularly, it was a beauty site and they had their own blog, I hadn’t heard of them before. The site was not something you’d easily come across. He insisted on speaking to me on Skype which I went along with as it sounded like a great opportunity – paid regular guest posting sounded right up my street! He said he wanted me to write full beauty tutorials – and I thought I was on to a winner! Then when payment came into question he said he would pay me £10 per post. TEN POUNDS. You might think, hey that’s a tenner, great! But think about it – he wants me to plan a beauty look, create said look whilst photographic each stage, write the whole thing up, edit the post and the photos, and include his relevant links, all for £10? I work this out to be about 4 hours of work. For £10. So I will be earning £2.50 an hour. Now my time is precious (I’m not saying yours isn’t by the way) I have a part time job and a family and a house to run. So if I’m going to guest blog I need it to be worth it. For the sake of £10 I’d rather put it on my own site. I told him politely that I would either need more pay or I couldn’t write the post. He replied that other bloggers he worked with were quite happy with the deal, and he had another ‘junior’ blogger who was doing something similar for £5 a post. Arrrrgh!

Now, if I were a new blogger I know my response to this situation would be completely different. It would be more along the lines of –

‘OMG he wants to work with ME!’

‘He wants my writing on HIS site! AND he’s going to pay me!’

I imagine I would be pretty thrilled and would snap the offer up in an instant, not even considering the fact that he would just be using me to get some (pretty much) free content on his blog, with next to no compensation in it for me.

This is where I want to tell you to KNOW YOUR WORTH. If bloggers happily spend hours of their time working for nothing or next to nothing, then these type companies will expect everyone to do the same. It’s important to remember though that guest blogging can be mutually beneficial, and of course you can do it for free. Now I’m going to completely contradict myself here… if a well known / high profile company or brand asked me to do the same, or if it was a brand I loved I would do it for free, or for compensation in products if they were offered to me. But for a small company that I’ve never heard of it just seems crazy to put so much time and effort into a blog post for little or no return.

I understand this is a fairly controversial subject. Some bloggers won’t get out of bed for less than £100 (or more), some will tell you not to write for less than you’d like to be paid per hour, whereas others will happily write completely for free. Everyone has different reasons for doing what they do, and it’s important to remember we all have different personal situations too. Personally though, I think you need to weigh up the pros and cons, and whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject?

Blogging for Beginners Series – How Do I…?

Posted on December 30, 2013

Hi Guys!

I’ve put a shout out on Twitter to see if anyone is interested in contributing to a new blog series I want to start. I’ve just realised I’ve had nearly 40 people show interest so rather than email everyone individually I thought I’d explain everything here!

So basically I want to create a series of blog posts, each focussing on a different subject to help beginners. I’ve been blogging for nearly a year now, and I am by no means an expert, but I think I can offer some help and advice to newer bloggers. Nobody knows it all, so I’m hoping by gathering advice from a large spectrum of different bloggers, I can put together a fantastic mix of handy hints, tips and advice to help others. My primary aim will be towards beauty, fashion and lifestyle bloggers but I’d like the advice to be universal really.

I don’t want the blog posts to be too complicated, just easy to read and understand, for newbies and more experienced bloggers alike.

The series will be called -Blogging for Beginners – How Do I…?

I like the idea of having each blog post as a question somebody would ask. These are the questions I’ve thought of so far and some have been suggested –

1. How do I get people to read and follow my blog?

2. How do I take good photos?

3. How do I share my blog posts?

4. How do I connect with bloggers, companies and brands?

5. How do I get sent products for review?

6. How do I write a successful review?

7. What is a sponsored post and how do I write one?

8. How do I make money from my blog?

9. What is SEO and how do I use it?

10. How do I run a competition or giveaway?

11. How do I find out about blogger events?

12. How do I deal with negativity about my blog?

13. How do I create a good blog design?

(UPDATE! I’ve put a strike through through the posts that have bloggers assigned to them, everything else is up for grabs!)

I think these are all quite common questions. If you can think of any more please let me know! Nothing is set in stone at the moment so please feel free to recommend any changes!

I would like to add everyone’s comments with a picture of the blogger and a link to their blog. When each post goes live I’ll tweet using hashtag #BloggingQandA so it will be easy for people to recognise the posts. I’d like to start this by mid January with one post a week on Sundays.

Ok I think that’s it for now! So if you’re a blogger with questions you’d like answering, or a blogger with advice to offer, please leave me a comment or drop me an email at

I look forward to hearing from you! xxx

UPDATE! Ok so I wasn’t entirely sure how this was going to pan out, so thought I should give you all an update. I have some people that are interested in writing a whole guest post, and some that just want to write a few paragraphs. I also have more than one person interested in writing some of the same posts (if that makes sense). What I’m going to do is ask everyone to write exactly what they want to, then if I need to I will combine different bloggers posts into one to cover each subject. All posts will be credited to each blogger involved and I’ll include blog links too. I’m also happy for people to contribute after posts go live, if they think of something or have a handy tip that’s been missed, I’ll happily add it on and credit the blogger, I hope that all makes sense! xx