Getting Personal: A BLOG + LIFE UPDATE

Hello everyone. Its been a marathon of posts about blogging, photography and design for the past four months, so I just decided to sit down and have a general chat with you all today. 

Well, its been over close to an year and a half since I started this little web space of mine. I had just moved into a foreign country and one evening after a visit to the beauty heaven called Sephora, a little google search led me to the world of beauty blogging and that's how it all started - PinkPot became the place to ramble about my love for beauty and style. Somewhere after four months into blogging, while doing my own blog design, I realized how much I loved the whole designing and coding process. Well, given my technical background in software engineering, this was not a surprise. However, it was the creative aspect that came along with the designing that I seemed to enjoy a LOT. My passion for design also led me to start my Etsy design shop - PinkPot Designs - less than three months ago. 

Over the past few months, things here have changed a bit from where it started. The core of my content has shifted towards design, photography and blogging, and this was only natural as my interaction and interest in these subjects increased gradually. Whatever I learn, I love to share with you to make this blog more purposeful and resourceful - A place to foster a creative community where everyone shares and learns. I have exciting things in the coming few months for my blog and my design venture, all of which I will share with you very soon. 

On a personal note, I am going to India, Yay!! I haven't seen my family in over 10 months now, so I will be heading home to India this Monday and will be spending my time there for a good three weeks. I am really looking forward to this trip and I hope to share details and photographs from my trip very soon! 

Its feels good to just sit down and chat generally about life with you all - light-hearted, fun and personal. May be I should do this more :) 

Happy Sunday :) 
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Its been 4 weeks since me and holly from Bloomin' Rouge started the series #bbb - Blogging building blocks. Today is the final part of the series and we 'll be talking about building an audience for your blog. 

Okay, so you have created a blog which is well designed, has great photography and you are writing stellar content as well. Now you'd like to gain an audience and create a community around your blog. But how? Social media can be an extremely helpful tool for growing your blog audience and here are a few tips and experiences from my blogging journey:

Growing your audience with Social media

Make your blog social-media friendly: If you want to encourage your readers to connect with you on social media, the first step would be to make your blog social media friendly. If someone lands on your blog and likes what they see, they are likely to be interested in following you on other social media platforms as well. It is a 2-way street , use your blog to drive traffic to your social media and vice-versa. I wrote an entire post on how to make your blog social media friendly here.

Share and promote peer content: Social media is not only about promoting your content, but also about building and nurturing the community you are in. If you think the post you just read on your peer's blog is cool, and is something that your followers would love, share it. Social media is as much (or more) about giving as receiving.

Interact with influencers and peers in your niche: I know it can be intimidating at first when you sign up for a social media platform, the big question is where do you start? Find people in your niche who inspire you and connect with them on social media. If they post something that interests you, strike a conversation with a genuine response. Once you begin to make an effort to interact with others, you will see an increase in the people who are interested in engaging with you and your content.

Be consistent: As with anything else, being consistent is important for social media. Be present and interact with your social media friends on a regular basis. I know, it can be draining and distracting to be there all the time, and this is why I love Buffer. It is a super useful app that helps you schedule your social media posts. So just get scheduling and voila! even when you are asleep, buffer will make sure you are active on social media!

How social media platforms have helped my blog

Bloglovin': I am not sure if bloglovin' counts as a social media platform, but it is has hugely helped me gain an audience so far. I remember signing up for Bloglovin' after a couple of months I started blogging, and since then it has been the biggest traffic driver to my blog. Bloglovin' helps you  find and follow blogs that you like, and likewise it helps people discover and follow along with your blog as well.

Twitter was probably the first platform I signed up for when I started my blog. During my initial months of blogging, twitter was a great help in finding other bloggers in my niche. I have made some wonderful friends through twitter who I would otherwise not have found. Now I continue to use twitter to connect with like-minded bloggers and creatives and also to promote my content and Etsy design shop. I have to mention here, joining twitter chats has been extremely helpful in growing my audience. So whenever you can, join a few twitter chats in your niche, they are a lot of fun.

Pinterest is not just a social media platform anymore, but also a search engine. So if you want to reach a bigger and more varied audience, Pinterest is a great platform to consider. Sometime in November, this blog post of mine got pinned by a reader and I suddenly noticed a huge increase in traffic from Pinterest. However, while I know there is a lot of potential here, I am yet to explore and use it fully for my own blog. 

Instagram: I've been posting photos on Instagram for a while now, and I 've noticed consistency is key when it comes to Instagram. In addition to posting great quality photos, using hashtags helps reach a bigger audience. Sharing my blog design templates on Instagram, has helped me gain a couple of design clients which is amazing. Again, Instagram is a platform I am trying to be more active on, and I'll be sure to share my experience with you soon. 

There are probably a 100 social media platforms out there that you could use to grow your blog, but choosing and concentrating on  2 - 4 platforms is probably more effective in the long run. Managing social media can be really time consuming, but using it strategically can go a long way in helping you blog. Holly's blog has gained a significantly large audience in a very short period of time, so make sure to read her tips for growing a blog by clicking here.

Me and holly had a lot of fun creating this series, hope you find it useful! Happy Sunday folks :) 

What are your favorite social media platforms?
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I've been so fortunate to discover Skillshare classes during these past few months. Skillshare is an amazing resource for anybody who is interested in developing their skills. They have classes covering a wide range of topics from culinary to crafts to design to technology. 

I have taken a few of their creative classes and I can't recommend them enough. You can sign up to receive a free membership for the first month here. Head over to ALO to read about my Top skillshare classes for creative bloggers and creatives

Have you tried Skillshare?
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Hello! Here is the third part in the series Blogging building blocks (#bbb)  by me and the lovely holly from Bloomin' Rouge. After talking about design and photography in the previous two posts, today we will be discussing  about the crux of blogging - Content creation

Brainstorming Content ideas:

Get inspired: Inspiration is all around us. By just being more aware of our surroundings, we can come up with content ideas. At times, if you find yourself in need of inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to go to. Also reading articles on other blogs and websites can set off ideas in your mind. Most times inspiration hits at the most unexpected times, so keep a notebook or a notes app on your phone at all times to jot down content ideas.

Indulge your audience: Finding out what your readers want to read about is a great way to come up with post ideas. Conduct a reader survey on your blog to find out what topics in your niche your readers are  interested in. Take a look at posts that received great reader interaction to inspire your future posts. Listen to your readers; many times the comments on my blog posts give me ideas for new blog posts. Writing content that is audience driven will help you foster a nice community around your blog which is one of the biggest joys of blogging, isn't it?

Dig up your archives: Going through your old posts is a good way to spark off new content ideas. Looking into your google analytics to find out which posts were popular and were enjoyed the most will give you a good idea of what to write next. You can write an update to an old post, write a follow up or create a series that aligns with your old content. 

Use a timer: One more quick way of coming up with new ideas is using a timer. For eg. I challenge myself to come up with 15 high quality post ideas in 5 minutes. The urgency factor forces my mind to think out of the box and come up with ideas for blog posts which I would otherwise not think of.

Writing content:

Find your USP: Unique Selling proposition is what makes your blog stand out. It is a value that you add that no one else does, to the content your audience is reading. It can be as simple as your ability to take amazing photographs or your ability to explain difficult concepts in easy terms. It can even be a combination of skills that no-one possesses that gives your content an edge over others'. Writing content that people want to read, but no one has written about is a great way to showcase your expertise.

Adding your personality  is a great way of making your content interesting. Writing content as if you were talking to a friend or a close-confidant will help your readers connect more with your content. Share your stories, experiences, thoughts and opinions through your content and never be afraid to be use your voice on your blog, because that's what makes it unique.

Be Authentic: It may be a good idea to do research about your topic and scourge the internet to come up with content. But, what will set you apart is when the content comes from your own experiences and struggles. People come to our blogs to read about our opinions and thoughts, so let's give them that. 

Provide value: If you want sustainable audience, writing content that is useful for your readers is important. Providing value to your readers will make them come back for more. Solve a problem, address topics that are helpful for your readers, share lessons and experiences that have helped you on the way. 

Break the rules: Most importantly, my biggest tip would be to stay true to yourself. All these points I wrote above are pointers, but creating blog content can be very personal depending on the purpose of your blog. So break the rules, write what you feel, have fun - its your blog.

Head over to Holly's awesome blog to read about her tips on Creating well-written blog content. Click here to read her post, man she surely puts out some of the best content out there!

Next week is the last post in the series, so if you have any questions or topics that you'd like us to talk about tweet us with the hashtag #bbb or leave us a comment :)

What are your biggest content creation tips?
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Spring is my favorite time of the year. It is sunny, bright and chirpy - the perfect balance between the cold and hot months. During these months, I keep my makeup pretty light with pops of bright colors. This spring, I am totally in the mood for soft pinks and peaches. A couple of weeks ago, I shared my top drugstore lipsticks for spring, and in today's post I'll be sharing my spring beauty routine. Most days, I keep it really simple with some eyeliner and lip balm. But on days when I am in the mood for more, here is a simply routine that works for me. 

For the base I keep it really light by using the Bare Minerals original powder foundation. This is the first powder foundation I have tried and I have to say, I quite like the super-light texture. It gives a soft airbrush finish with great coverage and doesn't look patchy or cakey at all. Then for the eyes, I have been absolutely loving the Laura Mercier caviar stick in the shade Copper. Oh my, these sticks have a brilliant formula, and all you need is just one swipe on the eyelids. It is super easy to blend and last a long time even without a primer. I follow this up with my Urban decay 24/7 eyeliner in the shade Zero and curl my lashes with my Shu Uemura curlers.

For the lips, I love Charlotte Tilbury's lip liner in Pillow talk - it is the perfect pink nude and matches my natural lip color perfectly. Most days I leave it at that as it looks gorgeous on its own, but on some days when I want to go a little bold, I love the NARS audacious lipstick in the shade Audrey. This is such a pretty classy magenta pink shade and is perfect for wear throughout the year. It also doubles as a lovely cream blush for the cheeks with a subtle and pretty pop of pink. That's it, I just finish off with a spritz of my Bombshell perfume from Victoria secret which is a fresh floral scent, perfect for this time of the year.

This all together just takes me about 5 minutes - Super quick, easy and good to go! 

What are your favorite makeup bits for spring? 
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