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Archive of ‘Blogging’ category

Does Your Website Need a Makeover?

Extreme Makeover

Extreme Makeover Blog Edition (Image by Patrishe via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Did you notice?

Jane got a makeover!

That’s right, SeeJaneWriteBham.com has a new look! I hope you like it. Take a look around and let me know what you think.

Have you been wondering if it’s time for you to give your website or blog a makeover? Here’s how I knew it was time to revamp this website:

Are you bored? If you feel unmotivated and stuck in a blogging rut, revamping your site could give you the push you need to get back in the groove of posting regularly. Now that Jane has a new look, I’ll be updated the See Jane Write blog twice a week — every Tuesday and Thursday.

Does your website reflect your brand? People often refer to See Jane Write as a blog, but it is meant to be so much more. See Jane Write is a network and it’s a business. Our website needs to reflect that. Thus I moved SeeJaneWriteBham.com from Blogger to WordPress so it would have a more professional look. Also, SeeJaneWriteBham.com now has a static homepage and the blog is just a component of the site. And since a business’ list of contacts is one of its most important assets, the e-mail list signup form is one of the site’s most prominent features. I’m currently working on revamping SeeJaneWriteMagazine.com as well so that it will look more like a magazine than a blog and I’m hoping the new look will give me new inspiration.

Has the mission of your blog or business changed? This year I decided that See Jane Write will not only seek to serve women writers, but female entrepreneurs, too. A new look is a great way to signify this new focus.

Redesigning a website can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. While I did spend a pretty penny on on getting help with the move from Blogger to WordPress, I only spent $79 on the design. I simply purchased a theme from Blu Chic , which specializes in WordPress themes for female entrepreneurs, and then I customized it.

Next, I plan to embark on a social media makeover. And then, I’m giving myself a makeover, too! Stay tuned!

 

Belk Fall Fashion Preview for Style Bloggers



Last month I had the opportunity to join several local style bloggers at a fall fashion preview event hosted by Arlene Goldstein of Belk. Goldstein, vice president of trend merchandising and fashion direction at Belk, was there to help us “find our fabulous,” which was the theme of the evening. She told us all about Belk’s style statements for the upcoming season and how best to rock these looks. The evening also gave me the chance to chat with a few Birmingham bloggers about their favorite fall fashion trends. 

If you’re a style blogger, here are three looks that should be on your radar for fall: 

Complex Simplicity 

This look is all about new proportions and shape shifts, Goldstein said. From oversized and boxy silhouettes to exaggerated sleeves and new age layering, this is an ultra modern look. Playing with textures is key while extreme coatings, metallic finishes, trapunto stitches, and new knits will ensure that your look is far from ordinary. Goldstein recommends sharpening this look with edgy accents, including statement jewelry in architectural shapes, structured handbags, sleek ankle boots, and the always-chic over-the-knee boots. 

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5 Reasons You Should Attend WordCamp Birmingham

wplogoblue

Jane needs a makeover.

In the next month or so SeeJaneWriteBham.com is getting a major redesign. Part of this website overhaul will include changing platforms: I’ll be moving See Jane Write from Blogger to WordPress.

For years I was fiercely loyal to Blogger. And even though last year I launched See Jane Write Magazine using WordPress.org and my portfolio website, Javacia.com, using WordPress.com, I still had a soft spot for Blogger. I couldn’t help it. It’s so easy to use and it’s the platform with which I started my very first blog.

Then I attended WordCamp.

WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences that cover various topics related to WordPress, the free and open source publishing software that powers over 75 million websites.

At last year’s WordCamp Birmingham, Sara Cannon — one of the event’s organizers and speakers — said something that was music to my ears: “You can do anything with WordPress.”

I was sold.

I have big plans for See Jane Write and most of those plans will rely on having an amazing website. And so I’m making the move.

This year’s WordCamp Birmingham is set for Saturday, August 16. I’ll be there, of course, and I would love to see some See Jane Write readers there too.

So I’m here to convince you to join me. This isn’t a sponsored post — WordCamp is paying me to sway you. I just really believe that whether you run your blog on WordPress or not, you could learn a lot from this event. (And you’ll get a cool t-shirt.)

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6 Game Changers For Your Blog, Brand or Business

At See Jane Write’s Bloganista Mini-Conference our closing keynote speaker Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Southern Femme talked about things that were game changers for her blog and her business – things like better promoting her newsletter, getting a new logo, and moving into an office space.

For those of you who attended, my hope is that the Bloganista Mini-Conference was a game changer for you. I hope you left with the information and the inspiration you needed to take your blog, business, or writing career to the next level.

If you want to review some of the highlights from the conference, check out my recap post.

Here are six additional game changers for your blog, brand, or business.

1. Join See Jane Write. Over the next several months, most See Jane Write events will be for members only. If you don’t want to be left out, became an official member of See Jane Write today. Basic membership is only $25 per year. Click here for details.

2. Learn the game of golf. You may be thinking, “What on earth does golf have to do with my life as an entrepreneur?” Plenty. We all know that men make business deals out on the green. It’s time you join the boys club by picking up some clubs and learning to golf. Shella Sylla of SisterGolf is offering a $50 discount off her upcoming Introduction to Business Golf for Ladies Class.  

Click here to register. The promo code is SJW14.

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Every Bloganista Needs a Game Changer

On July 19, See Jane Write hosted its first mini-conference.  Seventy five people showed up for our  Bloganista Mini-Con. I count it as a major success and not simply because of a packed house.

I believe the Bloganista Mini-Con was a success because so many people left the event feeling inspired.

I was so inspired by #bloganista that I am, as of RIGHT NOW, starting my new blog on @Squarespace! #sjwbhm @seejanewritebhm More to come!
— Mandy Shunnarah (@fixedbaroque) July 20, 2014

Tweets like the one above made my day. And days after the conference I ran into other attendees who told me they left the conference so motivated that they’ve been on Cloud 9 ever since.
And I left the conference feeling just as inspired as they did.

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The Bloganista Mini-Conference

 
 
See Jane Write believes you, your life and your blog should be fabulous. And so we present to you our first mini-conference – The Bloganista Mini-Con, a partial day conference for fashion, fitness, and lifestyle bloggers.  The mini-conference will be held 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 19 at the Homewood Public Library, 1721 Oxmoor Road.
 
Don’t worry if you’re not a style blogger; this conference has something for everyone. Topics we’ll cover include: 
  • Using your blog to land freelance writing gigs and speaking engagements
  • How your blog can land you a new job
  • Working with brands
  • Niche blogging 
  • Time management tips 
  • How to dress like a fashion blogger (even if you’re not one)
  • Turning your blog into a business
  • Spreading the word about your blog 
 
Our Speakers/Panelists: 
 
Alexis Barton of Same Chic Different Day
Heather Brown of My Life Well Loved
Erica Bunker of Erica Bunker DIY Style
Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Southern Femme
Vanessa Culpepper of Budding Fashionista
Bertha Hidalgo of Chic In Academia 
Williesha Morris of My Freelance Life 
Tanya Sylvan of All In Stride
Carla Jean Whitley of Birmingham magazine
 
Tentative Conference Schedule
 
Morning Mingle     10 – 11 a.m.
Enjoy a continental breakfast and network with other local bloggers. 

Welcome by Javacia Harris Bowser, Founder of See Jane Write 11 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. 
 
Morning Keynote by Alexis Barton of Same Chic Different Day     11:15 a.m. – noon  
 
LUNCH ON YOUR OWN     NOON – 1:30 P.M. 
 
How to Be a Bloganista     1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
Local bloggers will share tips on time management, blog promotion, developing blog post ideas, working with brands, how to dress like a fashion blogger, and much more. Panelists: Heather Brown of My Life Well LovedErica Bunker of Erica Bunker DIY StyleVanessa Culpepper of Budding Fashionistaand Bertha Hidalgo of Chic In Academia
 
Beyond the Blog     2:15 – 3 p.m.
Editors of local publications and local bloggers will share tips on how you can use your blog to land freelance writing gigs and even a full-time job. Panelists: Alexis Barton of Same Chic Different DayWilliesha Morris of My Freelance LifeTanya Sylvan of All In Stride, and Carla Jean Whitley of Birmingham magazine
 
Break     3 – 3:30 p.m. 
 
Afternoon Keynote
by Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Southern Femme     3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
 
Farewell     4:15 – 4:30 p.m. 

Blog, Baby, Blog!

 


Last month Birmingham-based communications consultant Wade Kwon came to speak to members of See Jane Write about blogging. Kwon is the director of the social media conference Y’all Connect and he was one of the founders of the award-winning website Magic City Post

Kwon’s advice to us was much simpler than I expected. His secret to success: “Blog, baby, blog!” Kwon stressed the importance of consistency and gave great advice on how we can keep our blogs alive. 


Wade Kwon addressing See Jane Write members at a recent workshop
(Photo by Audrey Atkins)



Pursue your passion. “Tap into something you could write about all the time,” Kwon said. But you still need to know why you’re blogging. What is your objective? What do you want to get out of your blog? 

Tackle your tagline. Develop a phrase that succinctly describes everything you want to cover. When Kwon and his partners started Magic City Post, they figured out that their site would celebrate all that’s right about Birmingham. The site’s About page read: 

Magic City Post in two words? Unrelentingly Positive! 

MCP in 18 words? A daily look at the Birmingham metro area that shows off the best the region has to offer.

I believe that if you can describe your blog in a concise way such as that, you can use that tagline as a mission statement that will not only help you decide what to write but also help you make decisions about posts from guest bloggers, sponsored posts and more. 

Create catchy content. The thing new bloggers struggle with most is usually a lack of readership. Kwon offered some practical advice on how to get the word out about your blog. First, create content that will be shared over and over. This can be compelling, controversial posts but it can also be posts that are very useful. For example, if you write a hyperlocal blog, consider a post of highlighting important city events of the year or a list of local restaurants open on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Throughout the year stop and ask yourself what kind of information are people seeking right now. 
Be sure to share your content via social media but don’t underestimate the power of email marketing. Your blog should have on its front page a way for readers to sign up for regular updates about your site. 

Click here if you’d like more highlights from Kwon’s talk. 

Kwon’s talk left me with a lot to think about. I’m at a point of truly trying to figure out who I want to be in the World Wide Web. Do I want my blog to be the place people turn to for writing tips or do I want it to be full of feminist musings? Do I want to be a fitness blogger? (After all, I am exercising EVERY SINGLE DAY.) Do I want to blog about my love for Birmingham? Or do I want to blog about my life as a teacher? Or perhaps there’s a way I could blog about ALL OF THIS, but then I run the risk of being a Jane of all trades and master of none. 
I’m not sure how I want my writing career to look.

But until I figure out what I truly want I’m just going to blog, baby, blog. 


Cross-posted at The Writeous Babe Project

Jane About Town: Birmingham Bloggers Monthly Meetup

There’s a new blogging group in town and See Jane Write is eager to support this organization. Birmingham Bloggers is led by Meredith Davis, Beth Branch and Molly Moon and caters to male and female bloggers of all ages in the Birmingham metro area. Their goal is simple — to help local bloggers meet and collaborate. 

Birmingham Bloggers will host its first monthly meetup at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Chuy’s in the Summit. RSVP via Twitter @bhambloggers or via email at bhambloggers@gmail.com

Looking Ahead

There are many great blogging and social media conferences coming up this summer that you don’t want to miss. 
Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power is a blogging and social media conference taking place Friday, June 13 in Birmingham. The mission of Y’all Connect is to give attendees practical takeaways in corporate storytelling. See Jane Write fans can save $30 on Y’all Connect tickets using the code SJW110. But hurry. This offer expires May 30. 
The Bloganista Mini-Con is See Jane Write’s first mini-conference. This partial day conference is designed for fashion, fitness, and lifestyle bloggers but has something for everyone. Early bird tickets are only $20! Learn about our speakers and session topics and get your tickets today at thebloganistaconference.eventbrite.com
Save the date! This year’s WordCamp Birmingham is set for Saturday, August 16. WordCamp Birmingham is the South’s oldest running WordCamp having its first in 2008. WordCamp is a great opportunity to learn about WordPress whether you are a beginninger or advanced user. Visit  http://2014.birmingham.wordcamp.org to sign up for updates on this year’s conference. 

5 Lessons Bloggers Can Learn from Fashion Designers

Milo Beloved of Harold&MOD

Last week while covering events for Birmingham Fashion Week 2014 I had the opportunity to interview Milo Beloved of the locally-based vintage lifestyle brand Harold&MOD. Located at 2323 1st Avenue North, Harold&MOD is a unique shop offering fashion, art, jewelry, gifts, and home decor all locally designed and produced and they specialize in revamping vintage clothing.

While chatting with Milo I was struck by how so much of what he said could be valuable advice not only for fashion designers but for bloggers too.

Here are five lessons bloggers can learn from fashion designers like Milo Beloved of Harold&MOD.

1. Tell a story. In a recent video interview with Ivette Thomas of AllAboutBham.com, Milo said that he and his partner Heidi Smith try to tell a story with their store and with their designs. Likewise, you need to tell a story with your blog. Even if you’re simply trying to pass along information, tell a story with each post. Furthermore, think of your entire blog as one big story. And the next time you’re struggling with your blog’s focus or theme simply ask yourself: What story do I want my blog to tell?

2. Find out what’s missing. Milo says that he wants to design for a variety of women from “the business woman” to the “fun, flirty college girl.” So he makes sure his inventory reflects this goal. “When I see one end  (of the spectrum) start to dissipate I try to provide for that,” Milo said. Take a look at the different aspects of the mission of your blog and see if you’ve been slacking a bit on one of those objectives. Did you start a fashion blog that you hoped would tackle tough industry issues but lately all you’ve been doing are outfit posts? Then step up your game! Also, if you’re trying to refocus your blog figure out what’s missing in your niche. What is the blog you want to read but can’t find? That’s the blog you need to write.

3. Embrace being in the South. Birmingham-based bloggers, this tip is for you. Birmingham may seem an unlikely place for a shop like Harold&MOD but Milo thinks it’s just right. The Harold&MOD line debuted last year with a pop-up shop during Birmingham Fashion Week 2013. That was a huge success and soon the brand was being featured in magazines and Milo and Heidi were being asked to help with video shoots. “There was this collective energy around it that pushed us forward and launched us in a way that I don’t know I would get in a bigger city,” Milo said. So instead of thinking you need to move to New York for your writing career to blossom, decide to bloom where you’ve been planed and know that you can find the support in Birmingham to do just that. In the South, Milo said, “We’re friendlier, we’re warmer, we’re a little bit more relaxed in a lot of ways. There’s something sweet about Southern fashion that you don’t necessarily see in other places. You can make up your own rules if you’re daring enough to do it.” Be daring enough to not only make up your own fashion rules, but make your own rules about your writing career too.

4. Pay attention to people. “I watch our customers very closely,”  Milo said when asked how he decides what he will design next. And he said he feels a true connection with his customers, too. Likewise, bloggers should get to know their audience and be sure to produce content that will add value to their readers’ lives.

5. Keep moving up. “I always want to think up and think bigger,” Milo said. He went on to say he’d like to see the Harold&MOD shop offer more local art and that they’re working on creating a product that they can mass produce. So what’s next for you? Figure out how you can take your blog to the next level. Maybe it’s a new feature. Perhaps your blog needs a new look. Or maybe you want to completely change the focus on your site. Decide what you need to do to get bigger and better and then do it!

A few looks from the Harold&MOD featured at this year’s Birmingham Fashion Week:

Want more from Birmingham Fashion Week 2014? Check out the Birmingham Jane feature on designer Elizabeth Singleton at SeeJaneWriteMagazine.com.

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