A Week of Barefoot Girl: 14.07.2013

Diary of a Freelancer

a week of barefoot girlHey guys, I hope that everyone is having a great Sunday and enjoying the lovely sunny weather. I love summer, because it means that I can get my bare feet out without worrying 🙂

Anyway, I thought that it would be fun to start a new feature, looking back at what I’ve been up to over the past seven days, in terms of writing and blogging etc. That way, if you’ve missed anything, well you can catch up – how awesome is that?

 

Monday

WRITING. Monday, on Barefoot Girl Writes, was all about Camp NaNoWriMo, and how I was getting on, as I reached Day 8 and 5,859 words towards my 15,000 word target, which left me feeling incredibly positive about my mini adventure.

Catch up on my Day 8 update from Camp NaNoWriMo, right here. And the next update will be with you tomorrow!

BEAUTY. Over on the original Barefoot Girl Beauty Blog, I reviewed Yves Saint Laurent’s The Black Eyeliner, a liquid eyeliner that I was hoping would be a great alternative to the cheaper Rimmel Glam’Eyes liquid liner. How did the YSL liner fare?

Read my review and comparison here, to find out.

Tuesday

WRITING. Tuesday was Word of the Week day, with this weeks addition being: Myth.

Find out the origins of the word Myth, and what it actually means.

RE-BRANDING. Tuesday was also the day when I officially wrote the final blog post over on my original freelance writing blog; Kat Musselwhite Writer, which seemed a little bit sad. However, this blog was designed to take it over, so it’s not all sad 🙂

If you want to check out my final post, relating to the re-branding, then you can read that here.

Wednesday

RE-BRANDING. After writing my final blog post as Kat Musselwhite (well, I’m still Kat Musselwhite, but that’s no long my professional “brand”), I decided to have a play around with the Barefoot Girl website.

First of all, I added a sub-domain for this very blog, so that I could run the blog a little independently of the website, but it is still connected to it, literally, so the domain is just http://www.abarefootgirlwrites.com/blog, but it’s actually separate. If that makes sense!

By splitting the website and blog, I allowed the main page to be dedicated to my freelance writing as a whole, with the blog a part of it. I wanted to do this, because I felt like the blog was taking over, a little bit too much, from what I actually do.

I also felt that the original Barefoot Girl Writes website was a little bit complicated, so splitting the website in two (hypothetically) allowed me to simplify everything, and I’m very happy with the results.

WRITING. In the meantime, this weeks Confessions of a Bookaholic looked at writing that scares you, and whether it’s possible to write about what you know.

Read my confessions here.

BEAUTY. On Barefoot Girl, I shared my latest Bargain Hunting spoil, which amazingly didn’t come from a Charity Shop. Instead, this eye shadow (which only cost £3) came from T.K. Maxx – a shop that I love to hate – and was a colour that baffled me a little. Then again, I’m pretty easy to baffle!

Check out my new eye shadow, and decide for yourself what colour it really is.

FILM. Wednesday was definitely a very busy day, but I also managed to squeeze in a quick review (that wasn’t really that “quick”) of Anne Hathaway’s One Day.

Find out what I thought of One Day here.

Thursday

WRITING. Thursday came was a writing inspiration from my favourite children’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I chose this book because I felt that the time had finally come to read the series all over again, and it seemed fitting!

Do you remember the opening and closing line to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? Have they inspired you to get writing?

BEAUTY. I re-visited a topic that I’ve covered a number of times on Barefoot Girl, which was the question of What is Beauty? I love this question, because everyone has a very different outlook on it. I also like to re-visit it every-so-often just to see how much my own opinions have – or haven’t – changed.

Here’s my 2013 response to What is Beauty?

Friday

After a busy week of writing, I ended with a easy-to-follow guide to moving images from your phone, into your PC (or laptop) without the need for cables. This is something that I find myself needing a lot, since my cables have a habit of going AWOL on a regular basis.

Find out how here.

So, that’s it for this week’s round up. Thanks for reading, and if there is anything you would like me to blog about, or if you have a question about my writing, blogging or you’d like to hire me, then please do feel free to get in touch 🙂

Advertisements

Re-Branding: Want to Come Along?

Writing

Morning lovely readers, well, you might have noticed that it’s gone a bit quiet over here recently – again, you could say. It’s not because I don’t love you any more, I assure you.

keep calm we're moving

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was time to move my website to Word Press Self-Hosting, because it’s something that I’ve meant to do for a long time, and in doing so I was given the opportunity to bring together both my website and my blog. Having the two together was the one thing that I resented the most about my old web provider.

Needless to say, the move went well (with only a couple of minor hiccups), but it is one that makes perfect sense, because I run self-hosted blogs for several of my clients, so it’s just common logic that I should use it too.

Along the way, I also decided that it was time to re-brand the writing side of my work, and since I wanted to form a deeper connection between my beauty blog and my freelance writing, I thought that it would be great to continue the Barefoot Girl brand, so let me introduce to you….

Barefoot Girl Writes

It does, sadly, mean that I won’t be blogging here any more. But, I would really love it if you guys came along for the ride. I’ve moved all the posts that I exist here with me, and I am still blogging the same stuff – albeit a lot more regularly now, which is an awesome perk don’t you think 😉

Anyway, if you go feel like coming along and checking out the new website, then everyone is welcome. Whether you are a fellow writer, or a potential client, I’d love for you to pop along, take a browse and share your thoughts, or even get in touch, so just click on the link below, and I shall hopefully see you very soon:

comejoinme

Jargon Busting HTML Part One

HTML, Jargon

jargon busting htmlA long time ago, someone told me that you can’t teach yourself HTML, that it’s too complicated etc etc. Okay, so if you want to learn HTML to create an entire website, then yeah, you’d probably need a bit more help but when it comes to running a blog, or a pre-made website, knowing a little bit of the basics can be incredibly helpful. This is especially so, if you just want to edit text or move an image around, and it’s actually really easy to do…as long as you understand it.

The problem is that for a lot of people, me included, HTML acts in the exact same way as jargon (hence why I’m including it in my ongoing Jargon feature!). HTML was created by people with a great deal of knowledge, and it was created – just like jargon – to make their own work easier. The problem with this is, that anyone who isn’t in that area of expertise is going to look at it, and think “what the hell?”.

But what does it all mean? I aim to help figure it out…a little at a time.

Nevertheless, first of all…

What is HTML?

Standing for HyperText Markup Language, HTML is the basic, broken down, jargon (or code) that is used to build-up a web page. Every single action that a website does or needs to exist, from frames to text size and colour, to the location of images, and headers etc will have various pieces of HTML code that singularly may have no real purpose, but together create the website that exists for you and your followers to appreciate.

Brackets

Another important thing to remember about HTML is that the vast majority of the basic HTML always begins with a “<” and ends with a “>”. These symbols help the code to figure out the difference between code and actual content.

 

Code: <BR>

Meaning: Line Break

Used For: Creating a literal break between two lines. Typically this is lines of text, however, it can also be used to creates a break in between images, charts or virtually anything that appears on a web page.

Another way of looking at this “break”, is to imagine starting a new line for a new paragraph.

Example: If you start writing, and then want to start a new paragraph, you would add

<BR>

Which would shift the text that comes after it, on to another line

<BR>

Like so…

 

Code: <H1> </H1> etc

Meaning: Heading Size

Used For: The H stands for Heading, meaning that anything placed between these two pieces of code will be emboldened. The number following the H determines the size of the font.

Example: For example, 1 as used here will be a larger, main heading, whilst higher numbers will create smaller headings. Like this:

<H1>

<H2>

<H3>

<H4>

It does seem a little backwards to have smaller fonts determined by a higher number, but hopefully you get the idea about how it works.

To ensure that you only create Headers using the font that you actually want as a Header, it is important to remember to close off the code. This is the same code as before, however, this time you will need to include the “/” symbol, before the H like this </H1>. So, your code should look like this:

<H1> Heading </H1>

In order to look like this:

Heading

 

Jargon Busting Business Part Four

Jargon

Ooh look, another Jargon Busting post for you 🙂 I really hope that these are helpful in some way to my amazing readers:

FAO – For Attention Of

FYI – For Your Information

ALAP – As Late As Possible

FY – Fiscal Year

R&D – Research and Development

GO – General Office

WE – Week Ending

SME – Small to Medium Enterprise

ROI – Return on Investment or Republic of Ireland

Bring to the table – Typically refers to what a business or individual offers during negotiations

Dialogue – A discussion between two parties

Monetise – Make money out of a blog or website, typically in the form of advertising

Msg – Message

Read Part One of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Two of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Three of my Jargon Busting Guide.

 

Hire Me // Portfolio

Top Tips: How to be a Great Blogger

Blogging, Marketing, Writing

Virtually every single “advice” blog and website is telling us that we need to be writing a blog, especially if we run a business. However, what a lot of those sites never seem to do, is tell us exactly how to write those blogs, or even what we should be writing about. So, how are we supposed to get it right?

The truth is, that there isn’t really a right or a wrong answer to blogging. For most people, it’s a case of trial and error and discovering what works for you and your business.

Nevertheless, here are a few tips for how you could start on the road to success, as a blogger, no matter what your business, your niche or your passion in life.

Write about what you are passionate about. I am a huge believer that it is only possible to create anything successful, if you are truly passionate about it. It all goes back to when I was choosing my GCSE options, and my Mum told me to pick subjects that I enjoy, because I’d enjoy studying them and hence I would do better. She was definitely right, and I think the same applies in both business, and in blogging. If something interests you, the chances are that there are people out there, that are just as interested as you are.

Blog regularly, but only when you really have something to say. It’s easy to find yourself trying to write a blog, because you feel that you need to get something out there, so that readers don’t lose interest. However, readers are far more interested in reading interesting posts, every few days, than reading poorly written and underwhelming posts every day that waste their time.

Don’t be afraid to step away from your blog if you are struggling for inspiration. There is nothing wrong with taking a break, especially when you’re just not “feeling it” with your blog, however, be careful not to completely abandon it.

Keep posts short, because most internet-users are “skimmers“, meaning that they probably don’t read things fully, but rather skim for the most important points. If it interests them, there’s a good chance that they’ll read it in depth.

If your posts do need to be long, make sure that you make them interesting. Plus, to help skimmers to figure out if your post is worth reading – for their own interests – try putting key points and words in bold and/or italic. Also, remember to use sub headings, to further enhance what your post is all about.

Put a lot of thought into headlines, because this is what is going to draw your audience in. Entice them, and give people a real reason they want to read your post.

Write in first person, and make your posts really personal. People love to read content that they can relate to, and feels like a human being in talking to them, because it’s like reading the inner thoughts of a friend.

Add images, to break up the monotony of a long post, or to help in making a point. Images can also help to show what you are talking about, or a product that you are selling.

Be uncomplicated, and avoid jargon. I don’t need to tell you how annoying I find jargon, slang terms and highly technical language. So, keep your posts simple and easy to understand. I’m not suggesting that your over-simplify, but ensure that someone who knows nothing about your industry could understand what you are trying to say.

Don’t be afraid to be controversial, especially if you have an opinion that “goes against the grain”. In other words, don’t be afraid to say what you really think about something, however, avoid being controversial just to stir up a reaction, otherwise you may be accused of “trolling“.

On the other hand, expect to bear the brunt of “trolls – people who deliberately say controversial things (typically in comments, disagreeing with you or making personal comments), to stimulate responses of anger. Trolls are typically not very nice people, and certainly not worth the hassle. Try to ignore them, and definitely delete any troll-type comments.

Include links to other websites that are relevant to what your blog is about. It’s good to share the love, and search engines feel quite highly about outgoing links, as much as they do for incoming ones.

Most importantly, enjoy blogging, because it isn’t meant to be stressful.

Hire Me // Portfolio

Jargon Busting The Online World

Jargon

When I got my first job, one of the roles I had to perform was writing the minutes for the weekly staff meetings which took place between my department and the Architects. It was company policy, that the meeting Chairman had to read out a long piece put together by the Managers at the top, of all the things that needed to be discussed. It was all ridiculously regimented and tedious and not to mention full of technical jargon, that even the Architects themselves didn’t know what it meant, because it was basically the type of jargon that only the Managers knew, and the underdogs were just expected to know what it meant.

I don’t know if this is part of the reason why I am such an advocate against unnecessary jargon, that doesn’t help anyone, but I absolutely hate jargon. It is pointless, and verging on being a representation of laziness for people who can’t be bothered to write out the whole word. Amongst friendship groups and even on social media this is fine, especially when limited to 140 words on Twitter, but in business it is a huge no-no!

So yes, it bugs me, and it’s confusing for a lot of people especially when it is included in copy that is designed to be read by customers.

In the world of the Internet, the biggest form of jargon is most definitely the Acronym (when several words are abbreviated into letters). It started with the LOL and BRB, but then it moved on to KMU and I got confused, so I’m going to start a small dictionary that will include all of those annoying acronyms that so many of us don’t understand.

Here are a few to get us started. Many of these may seem obvious, especially to a lot of people because these are probably the most well-known across the Internet, but I’m including them because not everyone knows them. Interestingly, some of the Acronyms actually stem back further than the internet:

LOL – Laugh Out Loud

LMAO – Laughing My Ass Off

LMFAO – Laughing My F***ing Ass Off

ROTFL – Rolling On The Floor Laughing

G2G – Got To Go

ETA – Expected Time of Arrival

BRB – Be Right Back

ONO – Or Nearest Offer

KMU – Keep Me Updated

IDK – I Don’t Know

WTF – What The F***

I’ll be adding to this list in the future, so if there are any Acronyms that you think should be included, let me know.

Also, what is your stance on jargon?

Necessary – under the right circumstances – or just really annoying?

Read Part Two of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Three of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Four of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Hire Me // Portfolio

Debate: Free Blogging – WordPress or Blogger?

Blogging, Debate, Writing

I’ve been blogging, in various shapes and forms pretty much since 2004, when I was at university, and sharing the woes of my love life – or, should I say my serious lack of…! Over the past eight years, blogging has changed immensely. Blogging today is less about sharing your personal diaries, and more about sharing opinions and getting your voice heard.

For me, it has been great to see blogging grow and thrive into the crazy world that it is today. I’ve seen – and used – various forms of blogging platforms that have attempted to crack the market with varying success, many of which have clung on for dear life before eventually being kicked into the abyss either by lack of users, or when they are bought out by the Big Dogs.

However, two platforms have always been popular choices, and are definitely the two most prominent choices amongst bloggers today. They are of course Blogger and WordPress.

Personally, I’m always torn between the two. When I started my beauty blog in 2010, I actually started out using WordPress, because I couldn’t get my head around Blogger. Eventually, I moved over there because it was where all of the other Beauty Bloggers appeared to be. It took me a long time to get used to Blogger, and for a long time I had my gripes with it. In fact, to this day, I find Blogger to be glitchy and often annoying.

I currently have two blogs over there, my beauty blog: Barefoot Girl and my entertainment blog: Entertained.

However, I recently chose to move my writing blog (which you are reading right now) over here to WordPress. So, as you can tell, I have a big conflict of interests over which I consider to be the best, because they both have their pros and their cons.

Now, it’s important to point out, that when I talk about WordPress, I’m not talking about wordpress.org which is paid for. I’m concentrating on the free alternative.

Image of Blogger's Logo

User-Friendly.

Despite my early misgivings, when you get used to it, Blogger is an absolute doddle to use, and I actually find it more user-friendly than WordPress. It’s really easy to edit templates, and if you know a little basic HTML it’s easy to use other independently-made templates, to create a blog that is personal to you and what your blog is about, which leads us to my next point.

Personal.

With Blogger, you are not confined to using the templates that are offer to you, as they allow you do use your own templates if you wish, or ones that you have downloaded from elsewhere. This is great for making blog personal, especially if you run a business and can afford to pay someone to create a template that matches your company in terms of logos etc, and even your website in terms of design. This makes it easier to bring websites and blogs together.

Advertising.

In case you didn’t know, Blogger is owned by Google, making it super easy to use your blog for advertising using Google AdSense. However, until you’re getting a lot of hits, it’s unlikely that you’ll make much money this way.

Image of WordPress's Logo

Professional.

There is something so much sleeker about WordPress’s templates, which makes them look more professional. For a business, this is incredibly important, however if you’re running a personal blog, it’s probably not what you’d be looking for. However, unless you are willing to pay, you are limited to only using the templates on offer. Most templates are pretty customisable, meaning that you can alter the backgrounds and headers to how you want them, but for some people there still isn’t enough control.

SEO.

WordPress is perfect for Search Engine Optimisation, and I certainly get a lot more feedback from blogs that I run through it. I’m more likely to get “likes” and comments when I post on WordPress, than I am with Blogger. I don’t know if people on WordPress are just more “chatty“, because I do still get a fair amount of readers to Blogger.

The image uploader is also better designed for optimising your images to draw in more people.

Opinion:

These days, I’m finding myself leaning more towards WordPress, purely because it is much less “glitchy” than Blogger. However, I do still love the ease at which you can make changes to blogs on Blogger, and I enjoy the fact that I’ve learnt a bit of HTML on my blogging journey, which is always helpful.

Which platform do you prefer? WordPress or Blogger?

Or perhaps they are both ideal, just for different purposes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Hire Me // Portfolio