Link Love

Link Love

Thanks so much for all the love on my last link love post! I think that’s the best part about sharing these links. Helping and interacting with other bloggers, designers and entrepreneurs.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and research this week. It seems like every now and then I stop and question what I’m doing. It’s so hard to stay focused when things aren’t going the way you planned. One thing I’m learning to do is take those fears and doubts and turn them into actions. It’s okay to not have all the answers.

I’ve also been working on a resource list. I wanted to share some of my favorite tools and links that I personally use and recommend. It should be ready soon!

Vanessa shared a great post about how she prepared to make the leap into freelancing full-time.

Kory’s inspiring story about her freelance journey almost made me ugly cry. I can relate, and I think so many other bloggers and entrepreneurs can relate, too.

Melyssa’s 10 tips for new freelance designers are really helpful! I’m not a new freelancer but I’m still working on a lot of these things.

Check out this post by Grace Bonney about what she learned about life from blogging.

Halloween is right around the corner, and you know I love movies, so these 5 last-minute costume ideas based on movie characters are so awesome. They are simple, you can make them for cheap, and I bet you already have a few of these pieces in your closet! My favorite is the Cher costume!

These two posts are inspiring me to do a makeover on my living room! Beautiful!

Reading List 02

Reading List #2

I wanted to share a few of the books on my reading list. I’m usually reading a lot of fiction books that are just for fun, but I throw in a few non-fiction books from time to time because I love reading about other people’s experiences in life and business. I think going forward I’m going to keep posting reading lists and start posting book recommendations, instead of doing individual book reviews. Maybe I’ll do the same for movies? I’ll try it out and see how I like it. I love sharing some of my recommendations!

  1. Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham
    Girls is one of my favorite shows. I just love Lena’s honesty and her sense of humor. I’ve heard great things about this one!
  2. Every Idea Is a Good Idea: Be Creative Anytime, Anywhere by Tom Sturges
    This book landed on my list after a glowing recommendation from Sara. I’m always looking for ways to boost my creativity and the quotes and structure of this book sound really interesting to me.
  3. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
    I’m reading this one now and I’m almost done. Everybody’s been talking about it, and I’m kinda late reading it but it’s been on my list for a while. I’ll definitely share my thoughts in my next book post.

Link Love 02

Link Love

I’m so glad it’s Friday! This week seemed to creep by so slowly for me. I got so much done, though. I had a few small victories with my clients, I reorganized the categories here on my blog, I did a bunch of writing, found a new web host, and I finally setup an editorial calendar and schedule for my blog. It’s so crazy how organizing and planning can give you so much clarity, because you can focus on the task itself instead of how and when to get it done. I’ll definitely share how I setup my calendar with you guys in a couple of weeks!

Emily wrote a piece about jealousy and envy and how she learned to deal with it.

Melyssa shared 6 ways to grow your blog using Twitter.

I absolutely LOVE Corina’s beautiful lettering, business cards and free wallpaper.

Just discovered a new tool for sharing links, called Linkis.

Angie shared 10 brush-lettered fonts for free or cheap. I love these!

Regina shares how she started making a full-time blogging income and the tips and tools she used to earn $7000 last month. I’m taking notes!

Michelle has 6 ways being cheap can cost you money.

I love this post about how to build your creative tribe over at Braid Creative. I’ve always wanted to have a circle of like-minded friends so I’m making this a goal.

Check out this beautiful cake blog by one of my recent clients, Natasha!

Mixtape: Yellow Flicker Beat

Mixtape: Yellow Flicker Beat

I’ve been influenced by a lot of R&B and urban pop music lately. It’s no surprise, since the top songs in the country right now are all pop songs with hard-hitting bass by female artists. All of the songs on this mixtape are by female artists and they’ve all inspired my work lately. They all have a classy feel but then are also very dark. This has become one of my favorite playlists to listen to while I work!

♪ Listen on Spotify

  1. Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat
  2. Justine Sky – Collide (feat. Tyga)
  3. Jhene Aiko – The Pressure
  4. Niykee Heaton – Champagne For The Pain
  5. Tove Lo – Thousand Miles
  6. Tinashe – Feels Like Vegas
  7. Jasmine V – That’s Me Right There (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  8. Ariana Grande – Love Me Harder (feat. The Weeknd)
  9. Niykee Heaton – Bad Intentions
  10. Ariana Grande – Best Mistake (feat. Big Sean)
  11. Jhene Aiko – To Love & Die (feat. Cocaine 80s)

Moodboard: Clean & Simple

Moodboard: Clean & Simple

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a moodboard! To be honest, I wasn’t really taking on any client work for a while. Now, I’m back to it and I’m excited to finish this project. I’m working with this client on giving her blog design a facelift. She wanted something minimal and clean, that puts the focus on her logo and content. It wasn’t hard for me to find inspiration, since clean and minimal with lots of white space is so popular right now. This moodboard also matches my own blog style, doesn’t it? We’ve got a couple more weeks left on this project, so we may make some tweaks, but I loved this moodboard so much I thought I’d share!

Link Love 01

Galveston, TX
Dallas, TX

Last weekend, Brian and I took a weekend trip to Galveston, TX. Living in the Dallas area, we have lakes, but it’s nothing compared to going to an actual beach. It was so beautiful and I got some really great shots. Plus, we ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., which was awesome because we’re both big fans of Forrest Gump. We had so much fun walking the pier and just taking it all in. The drive was killer (6+ hours one way) but it was worth it to just get away for a while.

Then, at work this week, we moved into our new office building downtown, and the view is so amazing. The picture above is just a small part of my new view. You can see everything!

I started reading Ugly Love this week. I’m almost done and I love it so far! I also have a ton of other books I want to read. I’m going to start doing more reading list posts here on the blog, so look out for those.

I also decided to start doing link posts again!

This weekend, Brian and I will be going to the State Fair. Do you have any plans for this weekend?

SEO Tips for bloggers

SEO Tips for Bloggers

So you have great content on your site, and you share it on social media. That’s great, but what if you’re looking to expand your reach beyond your social media followers?

This is where SEO comes in. If you don’t know what SEO is, it’s the art of optimizing your blog and content for search engines. I have successfully used SEO and content marketing to rank and increase the following on my own projects. I understand the idea of it is foreign or scary to some people, but I actually really enjoy it. I love that I can use SEO to put my content out there and help people find what they’re looking for, all while increasing my following.

Needless to say, SEO is VERY complex and there is way more to it than what I’ve mentioned below, but these are really good habits to make that will help you in the long run.

Use a plugin

For WordPress users, there are some very powerful SEO plugins out there that can help you optimize your site! I currently use WordPress SEO by Yoast. It’s packed with features that you can customize to fit your needs, but it’s also ready to go right out of the box for beginners. If you’re looking for another solution, another good one is All In One SEO Pack.

Use keywords and keyphrases

I’ve seen so many bloggers try to rank with keywords that they never use on their site. How are you going to rank with a keyword if you never use it? Try to find natural ways to incorporate your keywords into your site. I emphasize “natural” here because if you overuse keywords, also known as keyword stuffing, you could be penalized for it. If you don’t have any keywords or keyphrases, I suggest putting together a list. A great place to start is with Google. Search for a generic keyword to start and then scroll to the bottom to the “Searches related to” section. For example, if I search “photography,” one of the keywords is “photography tips.” If I click on that, one of the new keywords is “photography lighting tips.” Make sure you choose keywords that are related to your niche.

Tag and label your posts appropriately

Use categories as general buckets for your posts (example: design, life, blogging, etc.) but use tags to describe what is in your individual posts (or, if you use blogger, categories and tags are combined together as labels). Try to think in terms of what your readers and people in your niche may be searching for. Google seems to really like tag and category archive pages — they always rank really well for me. I recommend that you use keywords and keyphrases for tags, but like I said above, don’t go overboard with it. You should be using these naturally. Also, if you’re going to use tags and you want them to rank, you may want to include them in your post footer or somewhere on your site (don’t hide them!). This can be considered deep linking (more on that below).

Optimize your images

A lot of people forget about images! When you save your images, name them descriptively. For example, my image above is titled “seo-tips-for-bloggers.jpg” — this makes it easy for Google to “read” what my image is about. After you upload an image, make sure you give it ALT and Title tag descriptions.

Deep link your content

Deep linking is the technique of linking to your own internal content. If you’ve already got a lot of great content, you should be linking to it! So, for example, if I’m writing a new post about a project I just launched, and I have a previous post where I shared part of my process on this project, I can link to that in my new post. I can also maybe link to my tag archive for “process,” so that people can click through and see more process posts. Again, this should be linked naturally so that it’s helpful, and not annoying, to your readers. Deep linking also has other benefits. It can help lower your bounce rate and increase your pageviews.

Get quality backlinks

Google will start to recognize your blog as an “authority” if you have good, quality backlinks. Backlinks are links to your site from other sites. Some examples of how to get backlinks: create really good content, guest post on other blogs, and increase community/readership on your blog. Remember that people tend to link to blogs and posts they love. But, you should know that not all links are created equal. If you ever notice a really spammy site with a permanent link to your blog, you may want to ask them to remove it, as this can hurt your rank.

Do you use any of these SEO techniques on your blog? If you have any questions or if you’d like to work with me to optimize your blog, get in touch!