Friday Favorites 12/23

Oh hey there! Notice anything different about the site? We got a little makeover! Not only did we get a new site design, but we also have a brand new logo, designed by Alexa of Alexa Marie Photography! Isn’t it cute?

 

 

Alright, before you shut down for the holidays, share your latest blog post on Friday Favorites:

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Share your post on Friday Favorites:

  • If you are a Virginia Bloggers¬†MEMBER, you do not need to worry about adding a button or link to your post, as long as you have the membership button on your blog!
  • If you are not a member and do not have the member badge, then please add a link back to this page¬†so other local bloggers can join the fun!
  • You can add one post per week! It does not need to be about a specific theme or topic, but you¬†do¬†have to be a blogger in the state of Virginia.
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How to Save Time Using CoSchedule

Raise your hand if you often feel completely overwhelmed by social media.

Yeah, me too.

I love blogging and I love writing posts and I love engaging with others on social media. But scheduling social media posts? Not my favorite thing in the world. And I’ve heard it before: you should spend more time sharing the posts you’ve already created rather than constantly trying to create new posts. It’s true. That’s a very efficient way to grow your blog! The problem? Scheduling is tedious and time consuming.

But I recently started using CoSchedule¬†and it’s a game changer. I’ve tried Buffer. I’ve tried Hootsuite. I’ve tried Edgar. They’re all great, but CoSchedule seriously takes it to another level. Here’s why I love it:

  1. It integrates right into WordPress.
  2. It works with blog posts and social media.
  3. The template functionality is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

This is an example of the calendar functionality that lives inside WordPress. You can click on a blog post and then schedule social posts with that blog post across all of your channels. It even works with Pinterest and Google+!

Coschedule Screen shot

My favorite functionality is the ability to make a template. For example, you can create a template that will share the post across Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and 5 of your favorite Pinterest boards, pulling in the title, the image, and the post link. Then you can use that template over and over again on each blog post. It saves SO much time. It’s also super easy to drag and drop posts to different days, which makes rescheduling so simple.

How to save time using coschedule

It auto imports all your old blog posts and you can schedule times to share the post across all your channels, right in the calendar.

CoSchedule also has tons of helpful resources and training videos on their site, so it’s easy to learn how the tool works. I’ve already watched a couple of the training videos and downloaded some of their ebooks. All of them have been hugely helpful!

You can watch a full overview here:

If you want to try CoSchedule, you can get a free 14-day trial to see how you like it. That’s what I did, and after 3 days I was hooked.

Sign Up For a Free Trial HERE

Note: if you sign up using my affiliate link, I get a discount on the service. Obviously, I’d never promote a product I didn’t truly believe in,¬†or wouldn’t use myself!

How to Save Time Using CoSchedule (1)

Do you use a content calendar or social media scheduling program?

Fire, Flour & Fork Blogger Opportunity

Hey bloggers! Big Spoon Agency has a pretty exciting opportunity for us! I’ll let Kevin share the details:¬†

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We want to personally extend an invitation for you to come immerse yourself in Richmond‚Äôs dining scene and have a special meetup during Fire, Flour and Fork weekend this fall. ¬†Fire, Flour and Fork is Virginia‚Äôs premiere gathering for the food curious. To be held on Halloween weekend in Richmond, VA, one of Frommer’s Top Destinations of 2014, this highly-curated culinary event is organized by Real Richmond Food Tours and presenting sponsor Virginia Is For Lovers. It brings together nationally-known chefs with the region‚Äôs best talent for one-of-a-kind meal collaborations, demos, and workshops with local restaurants. Additionally, food producers, cookbook authors, filmmakers, poets, playwrights, culinary historians, craft spirit makers and more will be participating to celebrate Richmond’s complex history and dining scene. This event is the first of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.

 

How does this opportunity work? Simple. Write a preview post outlining your ideal schedule for Saturday’s culinary track. You must also include a link to buy tickets in your post. Shoot it over to us, and we’ll follow up with a ticket so that you can attend on Saturday, 11/1/14. You’ll experience a total of four sessions, plus book signings, a tasting square, networking opportunities, and facetime with some of Virginia’s most prolific food purveyors. All we ask in return is that you share blog post with your social networks. You pick your schedule, and we make it happen. Everybody wins.

 

The first twenty bloggers to respond with a published post will be selected for this opportunity. To be eligible for your ticket, you must complete your post with preferred tracks and have it emailed to kevin@bigspoonagency.com by September 30th.

 

To choose your track and learn more about the weekend, get started over on our website –¬†fireflourandfork.com.

 

Huge thank you to Kevin & Big Spoon Agency for the opportunity! Got questions? Shoot Kevin an e-mail! We’ll try to keep you posted on how many spots are left, but if you know you want to join, start writing your post as soon as possible!

SEO Tips for Bloggers

We had a great turn out on Tuesday night for the Virginia Bloggers SEO Seminar with Key Web Concepts! Ashley was the perfect liaison between Key Web and Virginia Bloggers and the event turned out to be so much fun!

Key web concepts SEO SeminarSaison Market (a new market attached to Saison restaurant) graciously offered to host us. They provided us with some really delicious food. There was no room for boring food! The pimento cheese with kimchi was my personal favorite.

Gavin, one of the awesomely-smart guys from Key Web Concepts, did an amazing job breaking down the (somewhat confusing) topic of SEO for bloggers and I thought I’d share some of the takeaways! I am far from an SEO expert, so I’m not pretending to have all the answers, but I’m eager to learn more!

SEO Tips for Bloggers

  • Link to other relevant sources! If you know the basics of SEO, you probably know that when people link to your site, it helps your ranking. But did you know that linking to other relevant sites can also help? It’s almost like paying it forward ūüėČ
  • Headers aren’t just for looks.¬†Not going to lie, I thought the difference in header text was just for aesthetics, but it’s actually like a hierarchy of your content! It gives the little search engine “crawlers” a way to determine what’s important in your post.
  • It’s not all about keywords. That’s an “old” way of thinking. Metadata (as in, your URL, title, & description) are much more important. It’s good to know where to focus my efforts!
  • Don’t let text go to waste. Tag your photos, both in the description and alt text, with information related to your post. Your header, your link, and obviously your content all play a part in creating searchable content.
  • Consider the bounce rate. How long someone stays on your page can have an impact on your search ranking. Think about how to break up your content so it’s bite sized and people will stick around to read it. Think about when you’ve googled something and landed on a page that was just solid pages of text. It seems too difficult to find your answer, so you click back and try something else. Headers, bullets, and numbered lists can make it easier for people to stay and digest your content.

P.S. A couple of people e-mailed me saying they missed the announcement. Please make sure that you’re subscribed to the blog via e-mail, which you can do by adding your e-mail address to the box on the right hand side bar over there —>

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Also be sure you’re following us on¬†Facebook¬†&¬†Twitter¬†so you’re always in the know!

Thanks to Key Web Concepts, Ashley, and Saison Market for making this event happen!

Liz

Got any SEO tips to share?

An Apple Craft and An Apple Snack

It’s Foodie Friday! Today’s post is from our very own contributor, Tinsley over¬†@ CookingShorts.com. Her blog is “designed to bring short recipes and good food to your table.” What a great mission!

There’s still time to¬†get out to your local orchards and enjoy¬†Apple Picking Season. Let’s plan to¬†do something fun with¬†all those¬†apples and¬†make a craft and a snack.¬†¬†These Sticky Caramel Apples and¬†Apple Stamps are easy to make¬†and they‚Äôre a big hit with the kids!

How have you enjoyed this Apple Season?

Sticky Caramel Apples:

Caramel Apples

Ingredients:

  • 9 assorted apples, room temperature
  • 9 popsicle sticks
  • 8 oz. package individually wrapped soft chewy caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 ounces white chocolate

Click here for directions ….

Apple Stamps:

apple-bag-4787

  • canvas bag
  • newspaper ‚Äď to go inside bag
  • 2-3 apples, halved (or any fruit)
  • fabric paint
  • 2-3 triangular sponge brushes
  • 1 paint brush
  • envelope cardstock

Apple Supplies-300x179Apple-1Apple-2Apple-4

Click here for directions ….

Enjoy – <3 Always Tinsley

 

 

 

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