New Years’ Update: Blogging My Own Way

Happy New Year, friends! I’m so excited for this year. I have a feeling it’ll be a great one. In the few months leading up to the New Year, I was thinking about what I could do starting January to improve my blog. I read a bunch of blogging tips on Pinterest and took notes from them. I considered changing the way I blogged just so I could follow these “rules”. After a while, I decided against it. I reminded myself that this is MY blog, and I can run it however I want.

This New Year, I want to blog my way, not the way everyone says I should. I know it’s ironic, since I love to write about blogging tips. But once you’ve been involved in a creative endeavor long enough, the “rules” begin to become optional. The “rules” are only there to teach you the basics, but after a certain point, you can bend and twist them. Creativity is all about putting your own spin on the “rules”.

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How to be a Creator, not a Consumer

Hi friends, I recently read a post by Sam from Smart Twenties about the difference between being a consumer and a creator. Sam raised a great point that caused me to think about my own feelings on this issue. With access to so much material, it’s easy to be a consumer. You have as much consumption material as you want. Being a creator, though, is a different story. Creating requires time and effort. Specifically, for bloggers, there are so many posts out there on how to run a successful blog. You can read them all, but if you don’t take the step to become a creator rather than a consumer, then those posts won’t help you.

Note: In this post, I focus on blogging as a creative project, but these principles can apply to any creative project (ex: writing, graphic design, music, videos…)

How to Be a Creator, not a Consumer| In today's media heavy world, it's easy to just be a consumer. But do you want to be more than that? Here are some tips to help you stop being just a consumer and start being a creator.

Limit your consumption

Consuming from other sources is a good way to get ideas for your own projects and to help you improve your ideas. Consuming information from blogs or from other educational sources can help you improve your craft. For example, reading articles about how to run a successful blog will help you improve your blog…

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An Organized Approach to Productivity

Hi, friends! Have you ever had 3 tests, 2 papers due, and a presentation to give all in the span of a few days? If you have, you’re not alone. College students often have to get a lot of work done in a short period of time. In other words, we have to be super productive. It’s possible to achieve a lot with little time, as long as you’re organized and manage your time wisely. In this post, I want to help you be very productive with little time.
An Organized Approach to Productivity| Want to complete a ton of work in a short time? This simple productivity method will help you achieve a lot in little time!
Want to complete a ton of work in a short time? This simple productivity method will help you… Click To Tweet

Figure out what exactly you need to do.

Before you attack your assignments, you need to figure out what exactly you need to do. Go class by class, extracurricular activity by extracurricular activity, and create a list of all the tasks you need to complete. Once you finish this list, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by how long it is. But don’t stress! Now that you know what you need to do, you can create a plan of attack to get all those assignments/tasks done.

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Plugins that’ll Improve Your Blog

Hi, friends! I’ve seen many of you talking on Twitter and Facebook about useful plugins, so I put together a list of plugins to help you improve your self hosted site. I personally use these plugins often and love them. Here are some plugins to improve your blog.

Plugins That'll Improve Your Blog | Here are some great plugins that'll improve your blog!

Want to improve your blog? These 6 plugins will help you! Click To Tweet

Disqus

Have you ever had trouble commenting on a blog that uses a different platform than yours? I’m a WordPress user, and sometimes it’s difficult to comment on Blogger blogs. Plugins like Disqus or Commentluv that work across multiple platforms solve this problem. So even if someone is using a different platform, as long as they have Disqus, it’s easy for anyone to comment. It’s also organized and aesthetically pleasing.

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How to Write a High Quality Blog Post (+ A Free Worksheet!)

Hi, friends! I’ve been reading posts about how bloggers create high quality blog posts. The knowledge I’ve learned from these posts has inspired me to write a part 2 to my popular post “How to Create Great Content for Your Blog”, about a blogging process that’ll help YOU produce a high quality blog post. Here is the way to construct a great blog post, from start to finish.
"How

Outline Your High Quality Blog Post

  • Bullet point outlines: The first step to writing a high quality blog post is writing a “bare bones” outline in bullet point format. These bullet points can become the post’s headings. Starting with an outline keeps the post organized and makes sure the ideas flow logically.
  • Do your research: It’s a good idea to do a quick search on Pinterest to see what has already been written about this topic. This helps make sure you’re not copying someone else’s post, and it can also provide inspiration for new points to cover in your own post.
  • Divide the post into headings: Once the headings are established, use sub-points to add details to support your main points (like in a high school English class!). Then, turn the sub-points into complete sentences. These sentences will make up the paragraph that goes underneath that heading.
  • Transfer to paragraph form: When you feel the post has enough detail, remove the bullet points and sub-points to make the outline look more like a paragraph.
  • Add the intro and conclusion: Don’t forget to write the introduction and conclusion/call to action for your post. I’d recommend saving this part until the post is in paragraph form, because it’s much easier to introduce and conclude a post that already has some sort of substance. At this point, the outline should start looking like a blog post.
The first step to writing a great blog post is a great outline. Click To Tweet

Editing

  • Proofread: Edit and proofread your post for spelling and grammar errors.
  • Proofread again: Read it over one more time, but this time, look at the “big picture.” During this reading, make sure the post, as a whole, is coherent and makes sense. At this point, the actual text of the post is finished!
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Why You Should Switch to Self Hosted

Hi, friends! I’ve noticed that many of you are considering the switch to self hosted on WordPress.org. I was afraid to take the plunge and spend money on my blog, but a few months ago, I finally did. It was so worth it! I love the freedom that self hosted provides. Making the switch is a big decision, so I wanted to help those who are still on the fence. Here are a few reasons you should consider the switch to self hosted.

Why You Should Switch to Self Hosted| Have you been considering switching to WordPress.org? I was afraid to do it, but I finally did and I love it! Here are some reasons why you should switch to self hosted.

Still on the fence about moving to self hosted? Here's why I think you should go for it! Click To Tweet

Your content belongs to you.

When you’re on WordPress.com, your content belongs to them. You are at their mercy in that they can deactivate your blog at any time if they believe you have violated their terms of service. When you are self hosted, your content belongs to you and only you…

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Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog

Hi, friends! We work hard on our blogs because we want them to be the best they can be. However, sometimes, there are some little changes here and there we can make that could improve our blogs. I’ve visited many blogs over the years and there are a few particular things I repeatedly see that could be improved. Here are some ways you can improve your blog.
Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog| Want to improve your blog? Here are some quick tips to make your blog more reader friendly.
Here are some easy things you can do to improve your blog and make it more reader friendly! Click To Tweet

To improve your blog, make your text bigger

One of my biggest pet peeves in the blogosphere is when people use a microscopically small font size. Small fonts are hard on the eyes. When I see a post written in a small font, it makes me not want to read the post. That’s why I use a size 18pt font for my posts and an even larger size for my headings.

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How to Avoid Getting Sick in College

Hi, friends! Getting sick in college really sucks. This past Thursday, I came down with a sore throat, fever, and stuffy nose. Thankfully, I was able to rest this weekend and I feel much better now. It’s hard to stay healthy in college, since students share so many common spaces, so I decided to do a post to help you when you get sick.

How to Avoid Getting Sick in College| Here are ways to help you avoid getting sick and to help you get better quickly!

The best way to deal with this is prevention. Unfortunately, it’s often too late.

It's very easy to get sick in college. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting sick! Click To Tweet
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Interview With a Professor

Hi, friends! Over the course of my college career, I’ve heard fellow students talk about how “intimidating” or “hard” their professors are, but I’ve never been able to relate 100%. Of course, I’ve had professors who expected a lot of work from their students, but I wouldn’t use those words to describe them. I think people feel this way because they don’t understand how a professor’s mind works. In this post, I want to break down the stereotype of the intimidating/mean professor by introducing you to Dr. L, one of my favorite professors who works in the college of engineering. I had the chance to interview Dr. L recently, and I asked some questions that would help you gain some insight into the mind of a professor. Without further ado, here is the interview!

Interview With A Professor

Aly: Some students are afraid to get to know their professors. Why should a student take the time to sit in front of the class and introduce him/herself to the professor?
Dr. L: Professors are people, too. Most are in the profession because they enjoy teaching. When you introduce yourself to your professor, you stand out from the crowd as someone who has given more thought to the subject than others. When it comes to grading, professors will remember students who come to them for help. Establishing a relationship with a professor can help you with research opportunities, scholarships, and even acceptance into graduate school. Remember: you are paying a lot of money to go to school. You have the right to ask questions of your professors and they have a duty to spend the time to answer them…

Ever wanted to get inside the head of a professor? Well, I did! Here's my interview with a… Click To Tweet
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How to Balance Blogging and School

Hey everyone! Recently, I had a Twitter conversation with fellow bloggers. We were talking about how to balance blogging and school. I’m sure many of us have had the same problem at some point, so I decided to dedicate an entire post on the topic. As college students, we have enough on our plates, so trying to juggle another hobby, like blogging, can be a challenge. Still, it’s possible to be an A+ student and an active blogger. Here are some tips on how to balance college and blogging!

Are you struggling to balance blogging and school? This post will help you be an A+ student and an active blogger at the same time!

Want to be an A+ student but still be an active blogger? Here's how! Click To Tweet

Set aside a designated time for blogging.

Setting aside time to blog will make sure you actually have time for your blog. When you don’t intentionally set aside a time block for blogging, it’s easy to let it slip through the cracks when you have so many other commitments to attend to. If you set aside the same time block every week, it’ll help you stay consistent, because you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing at that time. Intentionally planning to blog will encourage you to actually do it…

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