Why Blogging Is Like Painting?

While I was evaluating my progress as a blogger, I noticed one thing that made me realize that indeed blogging is like an art. We know that there are many forms of arts but I’ll compare blogging with painting.

We all learn art at school, even at college. We learn the fundamentals of paintings. But, at the end of the day, we are told to create our own craft with our own style. Although there are guidelines to follow, we are encouraged to break the rule and just paint freely. Just same with blogging. We were told a lot of guides and tips to blogging. We learned the same blogging 101, SEO, driving traffic ideas, marketing strategies and a lot more.  But still pro bloggers told us to be creative and authentic with blogging.

We learn the same thing and it’s really necessary to know the basic ones because it is where we all start. But, what really makes blogging an art is that your blog should stand out by having its own originality, creativity and a personal touch of who you are. Imagine if each one of us blog the same thing, and have the same blog niches. It’ll be boring but if you discover what you have, and what you’re good at and use that as your blog niche then surely your blog will have its own brand

Unlike those, who are just copying the art of other or the blogposts ideas of others…. it’s obsolete and it’s not that interesting.

So, treat blogging as an art. Be creative, and be expressive with your own originality and voice. Don’t adapt a niche just because you see it effective with others. I met a lot who started blogging about a specific niche just because they see others doing great in that niche, disregarding what they may be good at. Maybe they will have more potential if they embrace what they are good at and not what other people are good at.

So, at first… explore.

Blog about different things, and then you’ll discover a long the process what kind of niche you see yourself comfortable, expressive and creative at.

In blogging, we all must know the basic fundamentals but we have to add our authentic side on it to make it different from the others.

When you stop looking at what everyone else is doing and focus on your own thing.. although you may fail several times what important is, it’s yours. Just like every art, every person is completely unique. Your journey as a blogger, will completely be different from the journey of other bloggers. Two blogs can’t be the same. Give your blog its unique identity, and you’ll see it grow. Imagine if you just have a copied content from others, most probably audience may find your blog less interesting. But, if they see your blog completely unique, there is a high possibility that they won’t forget your domain name and will bookmark your site and visit again.

If you want to shine, I encourage you to have the courage to put blinders on. To stop looking around what everyone else is doing and just think of ways you can bring your readers more of what they want.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

3 Google Chrome Apps You Can Use To Design Your Blog Without Coding

For those who want to make small changes on the design of their blogs, no need to pay blog designers. You can customize your own blog using these three Google Chrome Apps. These help in experimenting with designs because these apps allow you to see right away every customization you make.

No one told me about these apps, I just discovered these on my own. Also, I don’t see this technique shared elsewhere. I find now the perfect time to share what I know about these amazing tools to those who want to have their blogs uniquely designed by themselves. Take note that using these apps have limits. They don’t change the layout of your blog but can do minor customization such as changing fonts, colors, sizes, margin, padding, borderline, and many more.  Also, you need to install a pre-built theme of your choice first. You can choose among the free themes or templates and customize it using these apps.

Customize Your Blog Like A PRO With These 3 Google Chrome Apps:

ColorZillaThis app will help you get the exact color code you want to apply for your site. The app has a feature that you can use to know the color codes any website uses. So, if you want to imitate a website’s color combination, this app is your hero.

WhatFont — This app will help you know the font used by your ideal website. If you want to use the same font as your ideal website. Don’t ask them what font they use because they might not tell you. This app will find it out for you.

Stylebot — First thing you should do is to install and activate any free theme on your blog. It doesn’t have to be perfectly your ideal theme because customizing it is this app’s work. But, make sure the layout and theme should be something you almost like but needs more customization.

I know installing these apps are easy but how to use it might be hard for you. If you want to learn how to use these apps, just leave a comment below so I can create a separate blog post about how to use these.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

WordPress vs. Squarespace: Choosing the best platform for your blog

Recently, someone asked me about which is better between WordPress and Squarespace.  But, I couldn’t answer her question because even I am so curious about the potential of Squarespace. Seeing bloggers moving from WordPress to Squarespace made me think that there is something special with Squarespace.  I am eager to give an honest comparison between the two platforms. So, instead of giving conclusions based on others’ opinions, I tried Squarespace myself.
Surprisingly, I find Squarespace pretty, clean and another great platform. Squarespace is a platform that I may recommend to others depends on their needs. Squarespace has a great potential to be the platform that works best for many, but not what works best for me. Let me tell you why.

Why WordPress is the best platform for me?

As a blogger, blog designer, and someone who owns an online shop, I choose WordPress because I have  100% control over my blogs and websites. I have the freedom to choose which hosting and domain providers I prefer to host my sites. Also,  I can turn my websites just how I imagined it. It’s been too flexible as I expand my blogs and websites.

When WordPress is the best platform for you

If you are a blogger who loves to try different things and create big improvements as you expand your blog and business then WordPress is for you. WordPress can handle both small and wide range of  needs – forum, e-commerce, etc. In instances that you need to do a major change, WordPress can do the work easily. If you are willing to exert effort in learning, building and maintaining your website then WordPress is the best for you. But, having full control can be overwhelming so if you are confident that you can manage things, then join the WordPress family.

When Squarespace is the better platform for you

I love WordPress because it is what works well for me, but it may not be what works well for others. Although I believe that WordPress is the best choice in most instances, it may not be in some instances. WordPress is not an easy solution. If you are a super busy and non-techy blogger or entrepreneur, then you may not afford to spend more time in learning the how-to of WordPress. You may prefer a platform that can provide you the domain,  hosting and theme you need at one click. Then, Squarespace is that platform that works best for you.
I asked other bloggers who moved their blogs to Squarespace from WordPress about the reasons of their migration. They have similar reasons.  First, they find the wide features on WordPress distracting which make them unable to concentrate with blogging (I admit, sometimes I find Wordpress distracting.). Second, they have less time to spend in the learning-curve of WordPress.
To conclude, there is no better platform between Squarespace and WordPress.There’s no platform that satisfies everyone’s needs. In choosing a blog platform, check your needs, budget and abilities. It’s all about you and not about the platform. If you prefer full control over your blog and websites, and  willing to exert effort in learning the how-to of WordPress, then WordPress is for you. If you prefer an instant yet professional and pretty looking website that does all the work for you, then Squarespace is for you.
Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

List of Sites That Offer Freebies for Designers

I’m sharing this list of sites where you can download free stuff for your personal and commercial design projects. Most of these are my personal choice of resources too. Make sure that you read licenses of the items if it is for personal use only or if it allows commercial use too.

Another thing you should consider before downloading is the format of the item. Most of the items are in png, psd and ai formats.

For those images or vectors in png format, you can use those using picmonkey.com or canva.com while to use those psd and ai formats you need to have photoshop and illustrator.

Tip: Subscribe to these sites because they send freebies or big discounts exclusive to subscribers only. I’ve been receiving amazing stuff from these already so I’m sharing this list with you. Hope it helps you in designing your personal and commercial projects.

If you want to receive premium freebies and big discounts, I advice you to subscribe to some of these sites because they send freebies and deals exclusive to subscribers only. Hope this collection helps you in finding resources for your designs.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

How To Build An Online Presence Without Relying On Traffic

Years ago, I considered having a high traffic as they key in building my online presence. I used to check my traffic, domain authority and page rankings daily. I thought that those define the potential success of my online brand. After a year of freelancing, I learnt that having a high traffic is not necessary in building an online presence. I still do track my analytics but not as often as before. I check it to assess the health of my blog by identifying which page/post attracts more visitors.

On this blog post, I will share how I build my online presence without relying on traffic. I noticed one thing among bloggers and entrepreneurs. They are too anxious of their SEO, website traffic and page ranks. That anxiety prevents them from actually working to boost their online presence.

Before I continue sharing what I’ve learned, I want to clarify few things.

  1. I offer blog design, graphic design and other services on my creative studio
  2. I sell hosting space and domain names

I mentioned these to give you an idea that most of my earnings are not from advertisement, sponsored posts and such (which usually need high domain authority, page ranking and monthly traffic).

I agree that having a higher website traffic could increase my potential of earning. But, I’m building a career online not to earn more money but to earn enough to sustain the simple life I want to live while still doing other things I want to do in my life.

In my case, instead of building my online presence using traffic, SEO and page ranking, I’m building it by building a community, providing quality service, having a kind and friendly relationship with clients, collaborating with other bloggers and entrepreneurs and doing whatever I want.

Three top lessons I’ve learned from building my online presence

creativemess

Community is not measured by Analytics

A traffic is just a tracker of visitors who viewed your website/blog while a community is a group of real people who are living a life. A community is the people who communicate with you, support your projects, share it, buy it and promote it to others. Having high website traffic doesn’t mean having an engaged community. These two don’t correlate with each other.

My traffic decreased in the past few months but those were the months my income started to increase. It was because I focused on my chosen communities. I left several communities and stick to few that I know I can take part and that will help me grow. I got to know people who I share the same interests with, people I got inspired knowing and people who need my services.

Having a community helped me by inspiring me and motivating me to improve in whatever I do.

My community is more about real people while my analytics are empty numbers.

BE A COMPANION, NOT A COMPETITOR

In this saturated industry, you should not see your potential companions as competitors. Instead of having the thoughts of competing with them, why not support them and ask them for a collaboration. Be a companion by inspiring others, especially those newbies, even though they have the same blog niche and business as you.

By removing those competition thoughts, you are converting a friendly atmosphere. Those you think are threat to your online career are actually the ones who can help you. Make them feel that you aren’t a threat to them but a friend they can rely. At the same time, allow them to be your companion. Doing collaboration projects or making a mastermind group will help you grow together.

CONSIDER OPPORTUNITIES MORE THAN THE PROFIT

When I was starting freelancing, the top advice I got was never to work for free. I didn’t follow that advice. As a new freelancer, I didn’t have a portfolio and I lack experience. So, I offered my services for free and then charged my clients for a small amount for extra services. I grab every opportunity that I know will help me learn, experience great things and help others.  My aim is to provide a quality service that my clients would never forget. Then since then, my clients recommend me to their friends and it helped in increasing my exposure.  It is a proof that the word of others is a lot powerful than the traffic I had.

I know that many find traffic an important tool in their growth and online presence but it has not been the case for me. I’m sharing this for those who want to build their career online without relying on traffic. I want you to know that there’s no one way in building your online presence. Although everyone promotes ways to increase traffic and page rankings, it doesn’t mean it is the only way for you to build your online presence. You may discover your own ways just like how I discovered mine.

Hope this blog post has helped you in a way. Share us your ways of building your online presence.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

You Don’t Need To Earn Like How Other Bloggers Do

When I decided to start monetizing my blog the only ways I knew were what other bloggers used to recommend. These are — Google Adsense, selling ad space, sponsored posts, etc. I applied for Google adsense but failed twice and waited to receive sponsored post proposals but none. At some point, I wondered why couldn’t I earn as how other bloggers do.

But, I’ve learned that spending time comparing my journey to others won’t help me in moving my own work forward. So instead of trying hard to imitate what others do, I thought of working from what I already have and discovering my own ways to earn from blogging.

I admitted my flaws and discovered my abilities. I’m not good in freelance writing — okay. I’m not good in writing a review of a product — okay. I’m not getting sponsored posts proposals — okay. My site was denied by Google Adsense — okay. But, I can design and create websites for others so I decided to make profit from the skill I already have. From that, I sold hosting and domain names too. But, I didn’t stop there, I researched more and discovered that I could earn from Aliexpress Dropshipping too. For now, those are my main source of online earnings. However, I didn’t reject the opportunity of earning from ads and affiliate marketing — I started blogging with affiliates and putting ads on my site using Google Ads alternatives like Media.net by Yahoo and Halal.ads exclusive for Muslims. I’m earning less from those but eventually, with consistency and right strategy, I know my income from those will grow too.

Today was the day when I received my first 10 dollars I earned from selling a domain. It’s been four years since I followed my own trail and stopped trying to join the bandwagon. I don’t earn like how others do but I earn by doing what exactly I enjoy doing. I’m not a full time designer or solopreneur because I’m focused with med school. I spend just 5–12 hours a week in designing, selling domains and hosting. Although I’m not working that fast due to other priorities, I believe that taking it slowly won’t slow down my progress. So far, I earned enough to invest in the expansion of my own business.

I may try other ways to monetize my blog but I won’t compare my journey to others. Everyone has a unique journey. I shouldn’t compare my result to what others’ have reached because they only show the highlights of their success not the behind the scene difficulties, the sleepless nights, and the headaches they had to go through. They may be earning 6 figures but they worked hard for it and it took time for them to be where they are now.

So for those who thought earning online is an overnight success, I’m sorry to disappoint you but it’s not. It takes hard work, investment, months or years, series of failures, etc. Your goal shouldn’t be earning 6 figures like others but to focus on financial freedom — and you can achieve that with lesser than what other make. Also, focus on more important things in life — God, family, faith, and yourself. Don’t stop in dreaming and achieving more but make sure you are not neglecting the important aspects of life- pleasing God, loving your family and valuing yourself.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

8 Things to Stay Sane in 2017 (For Bloggers & Solopreneurs with BIG plans)

Just like other full time bloggers and solopreneurs, you also have big plans this coming 2017. You may have plans to upgrade your blogging experience, buy your domain name, set up content upgrades, set up a shop, sell products or provide services. Whatever those are, you will encounter challenges and difficulties that may distract you from achieving your goals.
Another thing that may distract you from achieving your goals is when you meet new people who share what they have achieved and how they do it. Then, you change your entire plans right away. Reason?
Insecurities.
If you don’t have belief and dedication towards your goals, plans and ideas, it will be easy for you to have insecurities and end up changing your plans every time you get inspired by others you meet. It’s okay to get inspirations from others, but use those as your motivation not distractions. Make sure if you need to change something it is because it is the better plan and not because you just saw others did it that way.
The community of bloggers and solopreneurs is growing and if you keep allowing yourself to get distracted, you will have a duplicated or imitated content that will end up unnoticed. Why?
Because, readers and clients are wiser and they prefer unique things.
2017 will be another year of innovations, trends and changes and getting distracted could happen at a single snap. If you keep yourself distracted then you may lose your sanity. There are many bloggers and solopreneurs who become depressed because they didn’t meet their expectations. Then, they quit because they felt like they wasted time, money and effort. But the worst feeling they felt, is the feeling that they are not noticed no matter how hard they try.
To avoid being in that situation, it is important that before you kick-start your plans in 2016, you should know how to take good care of yourself. Before anything else, yourself is your biggest asset in whatever BIG plans you have this coming year.
Here I’m listing 10 things you should do this 2016 that will help you not to lose your sanity whatever happens.

1.) Put faith in everything you do

I’m not preaching here but this is the most important thing that you should keep in mind if you want to keep your sanity. It is easy to fall out of track if you neglect your faith in God. If you keep yourself connected to Him, whatever happens you will be strong enough to live your life because of His guidance. So, make Him your top priority and the center in everything you do. Don’t neglect your faith in exchange of temporary fame, wealth and achievements that you could get out from working 24 hours a day. Because if you do, no matter how productive you become in 2016, you won’t feel contentment and genuine happiness.

2.) Focus on quality

I understand that when you have BIG plans, part of it is about having more sales, clients or subscribers. And, you wanted to do more, to create more and to earn more. This year, focus on doing better by providing better content and better service. Quality is a long term strategy that will never hurt your blog or brand. Even if you just published once a month, if that post has high quality and unique content, it will be a hit. That single blog post will drive traffic to your blog.
To focus on quality, keep these three things in mind:
– Build your tribe with loyal readers, not forced viewers by providing quality content.
– Provide quality service by being professional with them.
– Create a quality content that will get your blog noticed by preparing your blog post well.

3.) Sail with your own boat

You have unique ideas and skills that you should not neglect. You should enhance those and discover more of yourself. That uniqueness will contribute to putting personality into your blog and business. And that personality is what will make your work stand out from the rest.

4.) Focus on long term strategies

One of the mistakes that most of us fall into is committing to short term strategies to market our blog and brand. That includes:
– Trade of views, comments or subscriptions
– Droplinking your blog and brand on forums or other sites
– Advertisement
– Discounts
These would help in building your exposure but these should not be your only priority. Focus on long term strategies as well. Such as:
– Publish High Quality content
– Offer High Quality service
– Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
– Building relationships with other bloggers and solopreneurs
– Taking good care of your readers and clients
Both strategies are necessary and if you have enough time to have a balance of both then that would be great. If you want to focus on one then focus more on long term strategy. Not only your readers and clients would recommend you to others for giving them quality content and service, Google will recommend you too on its search engine if you practice good SEO!

5.) Practice the art of waiting

You have expectations of course but you should be realistic about seeing results. Big brands built their brands for years and encountered several failures. So you should not be too unrealistic by wanting to see BIG results after a short period of time.
You might have heard of this quote:
Never worry about the delay of your success compared to others, because construction of a palace takes more time than an ordinary building.
So, practice the art of waiting and try to be a little more patient.

6.) Live your life

Don’t make excuses. You don’t need 24 hours to build that quality brand. Do your offline responsibilities and don’t neglect your time with family. Set up a schedule on when you should blog and when you should work. It’s alright to put schedules and to set limits with your clients. And, smart solopreneurs and full time bloggers have their day off too! Set up a day to disconnect and to do whatever with your family and friends. It won’t hurt your blog and business. If part of your marketing plan is publishing content every weekends then create your content during weekdays and use tools to schedule it on weekends. So, even when you’re offline, your content will be published.
Also, don’t neglect your personal quality time. Get fit, healthy and feel beautiful.

7.) Break down big goals into smaller goals

Don’t just list your plans and wait for it to happen. Break down those big goals into smaller goals. You could try achieving one single task/smaller goal every week or every month. Make a theme or task each month that you want to focus on. Doing these small goals will lead to achieving more because you can concentrate on one thing and that would make you complete your tasks with quality.

8.) Learn

Always challenge yourself to learn and do complicated things that will benefit your blog and brand. You may choose to learn more about SEO, marketing strategies, or even coding or designing your own website. Learning is challenging but it will always be fun and self fulfilling.
These 8 things will help you this 2016. But, keep in mind that you don’t need to let a year pass by to test your progress. You should check your self and progress every day so will know when and how to take immediate action.
Do you have other advice and tips to keep sanity in 2017? Share those on comments.
Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

7 Free Stock Footage For Personal and Commercial Use

Free Stock Footage is popular nowadays. If you are updated with the latest trend on web design, you know how important footage is for web designers. If you spend few minutes browsing modern websites, you’ll see that using videos as background, slider, banner or on any part of the webpage is common.
If your want to add a free stock video on your website, or to any project you have you may check these sites that offer free stock videos for personal and commercial use. You may use these videos anyway you want.

List of Free Stock Footage or Short Videos

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

Not The Typical How-To-Start-Blogging Tips

Nowadays, starting a blog could be intimidating. People think more about things that aren’t really necessary to start a blog such as blog identity, brand, site design, and niche. Today, I received emails about the same question – how to start blogging?  I noticed that some of those who have plans to start blogging are hindered by their own confusions, and fears. They are more concerned with having their own domain, hosting, and blog design even they are just about to start blogging. They want to gain blog identity and to attract huge audience right away. Having such thoughts would only make one stressed due to over thinking, false intention and vague ideas.
One essential thing to do before starting a blog is to know your message. Ask yourself what your purpose is in wanting to start a blog? Answer that question honestly. If you get answers like; “I want to be famous”, “I want to be like her”, “I want to earn”, then it’s not yet the right time for you to start blogging. Blogging effectively is a long process, and it is not simple as it seems. If you don’t have a genuine message then it’ll be hard for you to be  consistent, dedicated, patient, exploratory and passionate with blogging. Blogging is not a one sided love affair. Blogging is about I inspire you, you inspire me thing. Blogging is about building a community. If you don’t have a message that is to help others rather your message evolves only around selfish reasons, then you won’t be an effective blogger.
Another thing you should do is to write down your goals. Message and goals are different. Your message is your purpose or reason why you want to blog while your goals are those things you want to achieve from blogging. Make sure your goals are not evolving around pleasing other people but related to accomplishments that will help you grow as an individual and will help others by learning from you.
Another important thing you should do is to list down few blog post ideas or titles.  You can do a lot with a simple idea written down. But, don’t over think about these. You don’t need to stick on the list because these are just ideas. There’s no point in preparing long list of post ideas ahead of time as you’ll probably change your mind later anyway. Don’t pressure yourself in writing just a specific topic or else you’ll come up with a writer’s block.
Lastly, keep things simple and slowly. You don’t need to invest money to start blogging, you might want to do that later in your blogging journey. Don’t waste your time choosing domain name, hosting company and theme designs. Just start blogging, begin by using the free blog platforms, explore blogging and discover what kind of blogger you could be. Don’t rush things. Don’t be obsessed with stats and traffic. Touching one’s life by your message is beyond enough than having thousand of viewers a day, without really touching them with an informative and beneficial message.
Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

SEO Practices To Get Your Blog Noticed in 2017

Although SEO is known as technical process for many bloggers, it is considered as an essential process in making websites or blogs noticed online. Many bloggers find ways to understand the basic and advanced SEO techniques and practices to improve page rankings, to increase sales and to drive traffic to their blogs.
As the number of bloggers continues to increase, the blogosphere becomes more saturated and getting noticed becomes harder. This 2017, SEO is not anymore limited to tags and technical stuff. It’s now also about simple practices that would definitely bring positive results.  It is the right time to start practicing these new trends. These require long term commitment and consistency but expect that its advantages is long term.

Blog exposure

For years, traffic and page ranks are the metrics that are used to track the success of a blog. Although, these numbers are essential in checking and monitoring the health of a blog it doesn’t directly determine the rate of sales and number of loyal readers. Instead of focusing on how to rank first and to reach thousands of views a day, focus more on boosting the exposure of your blog (communities, guest posts, etc), marketing your blog creatively and building a personality and transparency in your blog.

Diversify Your Traffic Source

There are a lot of ways to diversify the traffic source of your blog. It could be  social media marketing, guest writing and many more. There are a lot of social media, network or tools that may help you in marketing your blog. Don’t focus on using only the common ones such as Facebook and Twitter. Try other tools also such as periscope, snapchat, whatsapp, telegram, youtube, pinterest, stumbledupon and many more.

Learn True SEO knowledge

Learn how SEO really works. Basic knowledge will make you understand how this works and what are the best practices you may do to optimize your site. SEO is actually simple and easy to learn if you just focus and concentrate on learning it.

Do Not Copy

Now that there are a lot of blogs being published everyday, to stand out you need to have originality. Readers will leave your blog if they see contents that are just like what other blogs have. There is a need to put your own content and to share your original thoughts and ideas on your social media, if you want to increase your loyal readers.

Build A Personality in Your Blog

Privacy and having a personality in your blog are two different things. Bloggers value and protect privacy. But, building a personality online is by being honest with your blogposts and by blogging as if you are talking with your readers. You don’t need to be too personal or to provide sensitive information to be authentic and real online. You just have to be sincere and honest with your blogging voice.

Optimize readers experience and user engagement

You may have encountered blogs which blogposts look like run by robots. Those are blogs that prioritize SEO and keywords too much that they no longer blog with authenticity and personality. If you are building a blog that way just to level up your page ranks without really caring about the the information you provide online, then that strategy won’t last for a long time. Bloggers and online readers have become wiser when it comes to reading blogposts online, they don’t just read and believe a blogpost that don’t sound authentic. Blogs that have authentic voice stand out more and for a long time, because these blogs build real relationships, solve real problems and create personal authority. These blogs have blogposts not for the sake of SEO or keywords, but for the sake of providing authentic information online.
Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

10+ WordPress Plugins Must Haves To Manage Your Blog

There are too many plugins to install for self-hosted WordPress blogs but actually you need just few plugins that do greatly help you. Take note that installing too many plugins will slow down your site or may interfere with your theme so as much as possible keep only those that are necessary. Here are 10+ plugins must haves to manage your blog.
1.) Jetpack – I recommend this plugin a must have in every blogs or website. I believe this plugin is what completes a blog site. The features it offers are very helpful to make the blog look good and function well.
2.) Yoast SEO – This plugin is noted as one of the best WordPress plugins for its power, ease-of-use, and functionality for optimizing your posts for search engines.  This plugin works the way it sounds: simply download it, install the plugin, and it goes to work getting your blog or website search engine optimized. You may check out my tutorial on how to use Yoast SEO.
3.) Akismet – This plugin will protect your blog from spammy comments. With this feature enabled, there is no need for the dreaded CAPTCHA! Just turn it on and it will filter all the spam comments out of your blog and place them in a separate queue.
4.) Comment Luv – For some, built in wp comment system looks boring. Comment luv makes commenting easy  for your blog readers.
5.) W3 Total  Cache – This plugin caches your website, meaning it creates static copies of the posts and pages. Caching is super important for WordPress blogs and can really help with page load times! Make your site faster by installing this plugin.
6.) Revive Old Post – Don’t keep your old blog post stay forgotten, revive those by sharing it automatically to your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Tumblr. Just set it based on your preference and let it do the work.
7.) WP-Optimize – It will optimize your database tables and delete old post revisions. This is a great way to clean up and speed up your blog.
8.) EWWW Image Optimizer  – Make your blog speed fast or save more disk space from your hosting by reducing file sizes of your images.
9.) Back Up WordPress – Keep your content and entire blog secured by saving a back up scheduled based on your preference.
10.) Meks Easy Ads Widget – Place unlimited ads to your widget and organize those by defining the sizes of your ads, randomizing, etc.
11.) Symple Shortcodes – You’ll fall in love with these shortcodes. If you need columns, buttons, pricing, toggle (and many more) on your blog post, try this shortcodes.
12.) WordFence Security – Protect your blog from virus and hackers. This plugin also provides high speed cache.
13.) Page Builder by SiteOrigin – You can build responsive pages and designed it however you want, place widgets, and many more.
These plugins mentioned are personally tested and have installed it to my clients’ sites. But, it may not be compatible with yours. Keep in mind that for some, installing a plugin may interfere with your theme or site that may result to turning down of your site. Make sure that you always have a back up of your site.
Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

20+ Tools Every Blog Designer Should Use

Are you a blog designer who wants to explore some tools to make designing easy for you? Are you an aspiring blog designer who doesn’t know what tools to use to begin? I’m sharing these tools I use personally in designing my clients blogs and brands so you can try these too in designing your next project.
1.) Google Chrome – You’ll need Google Chrome as browser to use the extensions no. 2-6
2.) Colorzilla – Use this to get the color code of a color on a webpage. This is ideal to get the exact color from your ideal website or from a photo.
3.) CSS Viewer – Use this to view the CSS style of a segment on a webpage.
4.) What Font – Saw your ideal font on a webpage but don’t know how to get the name of that font? Use what font to detect what font that is.
5.) Screencastify – If you need to record your screen to send to your client, use this extension. Works for tutorials too.
6.) Full Page Screen Capture – You may need to capture your web design to send to your client, this extension will make capturing easy just in a single click.
7.)  Sublime Text – Code your CSS style with ST. It is the text editor for coders.
8.) WampServer  For convenience, it is highly recommended to design a blog on a local server first. It will also reduce CPU usage of the actual site. With WampServer, you can have an actual wordpress installed on your computer and customize a theme without the need of an internet.
9.) Adobe Kuler – Choose a color and get its code. You can ask your client to browse her preferred color from this tool and send you the color codes.
10.) Colour Lovers – Don’t know what color theme to use for your next design? Get an inspiration from Colour Lovers.
11.) Tabifier – Make your CSS code pretty and organized with Tabifier. Having your CSS style not well organized will slow down your site.
12.) Creative Market’s Free Goods – If you love premium freebies, sign up and subscribe to Creative Market to access six weekly freebies. Make sure to keep updated because each set of freebies is only valid for a week. Tip: Connect your Dropbox to Creative Market to sync the freebies easily. If you love freebies, check our my list of sites that offer freebies for designers.
13.) Designing Tutorials on Skill Share – Learn more about designing on Skill Share.
14.) Dropbox – have your files saved online so it is secured and so that you can access those using any device. With Dropbox, you can share files to your clients easily just by sharing a link.
15.) Mock Ups – To showcase your designs, you may want to use a pre-made mock-up. You can insert your design using Illustrator or Photoshop.
16). Type Genius – Find out which fonts you can use that go well together.
17.) Fonts for Commercial Use – Not all freebies are free for commercial use, most of those are free for personal use only. Make sure to read license or terms of use. This collection of fonts is free for both personal and commercial use. It means you can use any of these on items you sell or on your clients’ websites.
18.) Photoshop – Although it has a lot of uses, mainly it works on editing an image.
19.) Illustrator – It works best in making logos, branding materials and vectors.
20.) PicMonkey – For simple editing tasks, I use PicMonkey. It does a lot simple tasks that Photoshop and Illustrator can do.
Hope you find these tools interesting and helpful. Being a blog designer is fun and exciting but it is also challenging. Keeping yourself updated with the latest design trends and tools will make designing easy for you. No doubt that there is an increasing demand of blog designers especially the number of blogs and shop sites is increasing. Not only it will make you earn, but it will also enhance your creativity and designing skills.
Check out these 3 amazing Google Chrome Apps you can use to design your blog without coding.
Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks