Somehow Chaotic’s Top 5 Posts

Even though it’s a brand new year, it’s still important to look back. Today, I’m looking back to my past blog posts to see which ones were the most popular.

It’s important to see what resonated with my readers as I prep my new posts for the year. So, without further ado, here are Somehow Chaotic’s Top 5 Posts:

  1. Top Ten Ways to Be the Worst Blogger – This one was a lot of fun to write because so frequently, I feel like I am a terrible blogger. I got a lot of comments and I really felt like I was writing in my voice. What can I learn from this? Lists are great. And when I get to be cheeky and sarcastic, I’m at my prime.
  2. Porn Review (From a Lady): Bob’s Boners – To be honest, I did not think this one would be anywhere near the top. This is a surprise. What can I learn from this? Apparently my feelings, as a lady, on porn are important.
  3. The Great Insta-Purge of 2014 – This post was a thinly veiled attempt to get more Instagram followers (by the way – I’m on Instagram). What can I learn from this? This was a pretty big event that I didn’t see a lot of coverage on, so I jumped on it. Maybe more current event posts would be beneficial.
  4. 5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Hitting Publish – Another post about how-to blogging. What can I learn from this? My little graph, as sad as it is, is a super helpful way. I think a lot of my hits from this post came from Pinterest – something I need to use more often.
  5. 5 Ways to Save Money in Your Coffee Cup – Another list to round out this list. I think I might have a problem. As a former barista, this post was incredibly easy for me to write. What can I learn from this? Lists are important in blogging. And popular.

There is a lot to take away from this – lists are great, graphics are important, and my voice seems to be more popular than I once thought.

Your Assignment …

Check out your most popular posts and see why they’re so popular. What did you do? Let’s examine our past successes to make sure 2016 is a success too!

Tell me in the comments what your post popular post was – I’d love to check it out!



Blog Tip: Utilize a Blog Calendar

Planning is important. I am a huge proponent of planners. I don’t think I could live my life without my planner, so why would I be able to blog without a blog calendar?

To my bloggers that don’t use a blog calendar, how do you do it? How do you keep track of all of your ideas? How do you know what the hell you’re doing week to week? I commend you, but I can’t wrap my head around you.

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Here’s why you should utilize a blog calendar:

  1. Set Goals:  I love having a goal section for each month – that way I can write what I want to attain for the upcoming month. And, I can flip back to it at the end of the month to see if I reached my goal.
  2. Prep Posts: Never again do you need to panic at night because you have no idea what you’re going to post on your blog. Utilize a blog calendar and you can plan out exactly what posts you’ll have for the entire year. Even better, you can see what you’ve been posting at a quick glance instead of scroll through pages and pages on your computer screen.
  3. Brainstorm: I always come up with blog post ideas when I can’t write out the actual post. By jotting down these ideas on my blog calendar, I’m able to come back and write a great post (like this one!) when I have the time.

My blog calendar recommendation?

Right now, I’m taking advantage of the free 2016 blog planner/calendar over at Journal Wild. Sign up for the awesome newsletter and you get access to not only a great blog planner, but tons of other stuff!

How I Utilize a Blog Calendar:

I printed off a month’s worth of pages of a calendar and I have a binder that I keep all my blog stuff in. I break down each section into the following:

  1. Current Month: Pretty obvious – this is where I keep my calendar and all my information for the current month. It’s right at the front so I never have to go searching.
  2. Stats: I keep track of where I’m at in terms of followers, page views, etc. so I can easily see where I’m at and where I’m trying to go.
  3. Goals: Just like with my stats, I keep track of my monthly and yearly goals.
  4. Promotions: Whenever I participate in any kind of giveaway, I want to be able to track the results and see the success (or failures).
  5. Previous: I keep previous months in here – why throw it away when it can make a great reference later on?

If you weren’t using a blog calendar before this post, I hope you’re currently downloading one by now. To utilize a blog calendar is to be a successful blogger. 



2016’s Somehow Chaotic

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been here. And, I make the same promises at the beginning of every new year – “I will blog more!” But, I actually really want to do it this year and I’m prepared to make more of this little space in the coming year.

2016

Instead of looking back at all the failings of 2015 and the drama and the stress, I want to take the time to look forward to 2016. Mike and I are engaged and plan to wed this year. We are thinking about buying a house. There are a lot of really great things that are going to happen. And, I plan to share all of that here – at Somehow Chaotic. Because it’s going to be chaotic and it’s going to be worth it.

Expect more posts. Expect more content. Expect big things this year.



5 Things To Ask Yourself Before Hitting Publish

5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Hitting Publish

Before you hit “PUBLISH” on that next blog post, stop and ask yourself these five basic questions.

1) How many red squiggle lines are there? And, more importantly, should they be there?

With automatic spell check, we don’t really need to worry about correct spellings anymore, but we’re getting so used to seeing that red squiggle for words like Instagram, one misspelled word might slip through the cracks.

2) Did you include a picture?

Posts with pictures always seem to get more traction, so make sure you include one. Looking for free photos for your blog? Here’s where I get most of mine.

3) Are you publishing now or scheduling?

Better double check! I’ve made this mistake many times. It’s a simple fix, but why all the hassle?

4) Did you re-read what you wrote?

Just give it a quick read-through to check for any major errors.

5) Are your tweets scheduled?

I use HootSuite to schedule all my tweets for my blog.

And just like that – five simple questions to a much better blog post. Do you have any questions you ask yourself before hitting publish? Let me know in the comments!



The Great Insta-Purge of 2014

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On December 18th, 2014, at approximately a time during that day, Instagram deleted all of its bot users. Meaning, the amount of anyone’s followers on that day probably dropped. Sometimes, dramatically (I’m looking at you, Kim K). In other cases, not at all.

Trust me, I’ve contemplated “buying” insta-followers because more followers on any social media is better for any blogger out there. Unfortunately, the engagement is even more important and just having 20K followers means nothing if no one is engaging on the posts. One would almost look stupid if they had that many followers, but no likes on his/her pictures.

Also, when shit like this happens, you are found out pretty quickly as a faker. For non-celebrities with a ton of followers, their numbers dropped on that fateful day by leaps and bounds. And for those who noticed, it was pretty funny.

I lost one follower. But then again, I didn’t have a million on December 17th.

I’m going to take the Great Insta-Purge as a reminder that it isn’t wise to buy followers. Even though we all know that more followers = more money. Stick to the old fashion ways to get followers – hashtags and pimping yourself out on your own blog.

Remember to follow me on Instagram to see a million pictures of my dog.

To all the bloggers out there – don’t buy followers. And here’s an awesome site to help you keep tracking of your follows/unfollows, likes, and all other engagement – Iconosquare. I use it fairly frequently and I definitely went to go check after the Great Insta-Purge.



Free 2015 Blog Calendar

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The best piece of advice I have ever received about blogging was: Create a calendar.

Simple, right? Unfortunately, not every calendar works for every blogger. I’ve found the most success with an Excel spreadsheet. Since it is that time of year for sharing, I want to spread the wealth. This is completely customizable and I urge you to change it to fit your needs. But, the basics are there — Monday-Friday, with dates, most major holidays, and a space to include your blogging ideas.

Please download this 2015 blog calendar and remember to share this with others. Even if it doesn’t work for you, it could definitely work for another blogger!

2015 Blogging Calendar with Checklist

P.S. – I highly recommend downloading it and using it in Excel — it looks a little wonky in the Google Drive.



Life Lately – An Update of Sorts.

It’s funny to me that in the beginning of April, I swore up and down that I would take more time out for this little blog of mine. I had huge plans. I was ready. But life is funny like that and some of the things you want to make the most time for fall by the wayside.

I started this blog during a very dark time in my life. I was depressed. I was hiding from my loved ones. I spent all my time inside. It was my Dark Age. And now, I cannot even imagine feeling like that. I’m happy. I have a job that I love. I’m with the man that I love. And I have the best friends anyone could ask for.

And I think the progression of my little space here as shown how happy I’ve become. How that depression ended. How I fell in love with Mike.

I want to continue to show my progression and share my life and create a blog that I would want to read. I want to fit into that niche that I haven’t found on any other blog — something for me.

So yes — big things are going to happen here. And it’s going to be a slow progress. Things have finally started settling down after starting my new job and it only took two months!

Be prepared and get ready. I’m back to blogging.



The Balance Act.

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I could sit and complain for hours about how hard this life and work balance is, but everyone already knows that. Because it’s tough. It’s tough to work all day and come home and know that other things need to be done. The laundry. The dishes. Dinner needs cooked. Groceries need bought. 
I’m having a hard time adjusting to this. I don’t come home in the middle of the afternoon anymore. I don’t get to take a nap around 1 pm anymore. The times are a changin’.  
And that leaves me in a place for growth. 
I’m making an official commitment to working on the balance act between work and life. I want to be able to do all the things I enjoy, such as blogging, running, hiking, spending time with Mike, and so forth while working full-time. I know it’s possible because everyone else seems to have a much better handle on it than I. 

Any tips are greatly appreciated. I am serious about getting my life back. 


Top Ten Ways to Be the Worst Blogger.

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1) Don’t use Twitter.
Reaching out and connecting with other bloggers is overrated. And using it as a tool to promote your posts — as if! Twitter is time consuming. It’s not like you can schedule your posts via websites like Hootsuite to post for you while you’re at work.

2) Never post pictures.
Readers will connect better with huge blocks of text without any visual distractions such as pictures of your dogs, babies, and food. Describing them in full James Joyce detail will go much further than actually showing your readers what you’ve been up to.

3) Never comment.
Don’t comment on other blogs. Why should you help out other bloggers? This is a dog-eat-dog world! They won’t return the favor anyway. And, if someone should comment on your blog, definitely do not reply. It adds to your mystery and will attract more readers. Nobody wants a meaningful connection with the blogger they’ve been following.

4) Blog design — white text on an aqua background.
Your readers should have to work to see what you wrote. Don’t make it easy for them or their eyes. If they really want to see your post, then they’ll do the legwork for it.

5) About Me’s are overrated.
As I mentioned earlier, you should be a mystery to your readers. They don’t need to understand who these people are that you’re blogging about. They’ll figure out who your husband is after you mentioned “Joe” multiple times in one post. And as for new readers, they’ll eventually get the gist of who you are after a few posts.

6) Ditch the calendar.
Never use an editorial calendar to help you plan your posts. Why should you keep track of things? Or plan? You’ll figure it out.

7) Don’t write anything down.
If you have an idea, don’t write it down! Try really, really hard to remember it. It’ll totally come back to you when you’re sitting down to write out that post. I promise.

8) Do everything yourself.
Resources? Psh. Ignore those. If you see posts from other bloggers about their favorite blogging resources, don’t bookmark it. It won’t help you. You can find your own blogging sites. And, it’s not like you need any tips from other bloggers. You’ve got this thing down to a science.

9) Pinterest won’t help you.
Pinterest isn’t going to drive any traffic to your blog, so don’t even bother pinning your posts there. And since you’re already avoiding pictures — you don’t have to bother making “pinnable” pictures. And, if you have a food blog, don’t put any “Pin It” add-on’s onto your site. Readers will save things to their bookmarks instead.

10) Don’t join any communities.
This blog is all about you! Why are you joining communities of other bloggers? Tip #8 clearly states you need to do this alone. These communities won’t offer you help or friends or great opportunities to meet people or make money. No good can come of joining blogging communities. If you wanted to be apart of a community, you wouldn’t have started blogging in the first place.



SOMEHOW CHAOTIC’S 13 MONTH ANNIVERSARY.

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I’m a lovely woman, I swear.

Leave it to me to forget to celebrate my blog’s actual anniversary – September 2nd.

Here are some of my favorite posts from this year:
WEEKENDS / Sedona – Mike and my trip up to Sedona. It was so much fun and so romantic. Everything I wanted in a weekend trip.
23 for 23: Run a 5K – One of my proudest moments over the last year. 
Pumpkin Beer Review – One of my favorite topics.
Am I Really Making an Introductory Post? – And of course, where it all began.