Struggling to get traffic to your website? I was in the same boat too until recently when I did these things differently. Now I get over 8000 monthly views, up from 2000 monthly views! What did I change? What can you do to increase traffic to your blog? Here are a 5 simple tips.
1. Social media
Many new bloggers often hit 'publish' and then wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more. They end up getting really disappointed because their blog attracts very little traffic. Well, no one is going to visit your blog if no one knows it exists. So hit up social media and get the word out. You got a new post out? Tell people about it on your socials. Use an eye-catching image and a clever caption to go along. Remember, you are marketing your website. You want people to 'buy' what you're 'selling'. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook; they're all at your disposal.
2. Read and comment on other blogs
You probably don't read other blogs, and, if you do, you probably don't leave a comment. Leaving a comment on another blog can be a source of traffic to your blog. When commenting, make sure that your comment is longer than 9 words and, if you do leave the link to your blog in the comment, make sure that it is not a broken link. However, be warned. Even though some may say that leaving blog links in blog comments is a good link-building strategy, most blog comments now are 'no-follow'. Still, commenting helps put your blog out there.
3. Guest posting
If you're trying to grow your audience, you should definitely consider guest posting. Guest posting is where you write an article that will appear on another website. It builds relationships, introduces you to new people, and is great for search engine results. A link to your blog is usually included in the guest post. These are usually 'do-follow' links. 'Do-follow' links are the links you want to build on. Do-follow links influence search engine results while no-follow links do not. By default, all links are do-follow links, unless they are made to be no-follow links. Another important term here: backlink. A backlink is an incoming link to a web page. Do-follow links to your website give your website backlinks, and backlinks are good for the ranking of your website by search engines like Google.
4. Email blasts
Do you have a mailing list for your website? If not, you should strongly consider getting one. Create a page or a newsletter form where people can opt to subscribe to your website. Those who opt-in will get website updates and promotional materials through email. Most platforms (Wordpress, Squarespace, Weebly, and the like) offer automation options, but you may find that these are paid options. In case they are paid options and you don't have that option yet, there are marketing automation platforms out there you can use for free, like MailChimp.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You want to optimize the results from search engines to have your website reflected. How do you do this? How do you get Google, for example, to notice you? Building quality links to your blog is one way, as covered in point 3. You also want to use eye-catching and relevant titles for your posts. Use keywords. Put meta descriptions that are relevant and unique. Check for broken links in your site and remove them. Submit a sitemap of your site to Google. Use SEO tools like Yoast SEO and get used to doing keyword research. If this is too techy for you, don't worry, there are people you can pay to do it for you, but it will cost you. Bottomline: SEO is not really that difficult once you understand the goal of it. You are marketing your site. You want people using Google to be able to see you. For example, if you write about cakes, if someone googles 'cakes', you want your site to show up in the search results.That's the purpose of SEO.
Bonus tip: Use images
Use images in your posts. Images are a great way to capture the reader's attention and to break up text to avoid monotony. They can also be pinned to Pinterest, so that's a plus!
Did you enjoy this post? Leave a comment below! And share, share, share this post!
Psst... You just read blogtober post #21. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
Are you looking for an easily workable graphic design tool? A tool you can use for both web designs and print media designs? For your blog posts, social media posts, posters, infographics, resumes, business cards, art, and so much more? Look no further, Canva is the tool for you.
Canva is a graphic design tool website that was created in 2012. It is used by both non-designers and professionals alike. It's drag-and-drop format makes it easy to use and it provides access to millions of photographs as well as graphics and fonts. Here are some designs I've made with Canva.
So, how do you access Canva? It's simple. Go to www.canva.com and follow the sign up instructions. Canva is a free tool to use. However, there are some photographs that are pay-to-use, but there are many more photographs in Canva that are free.
Psst... You just read blogtober post #20. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
Just who is Yvonne Wabai? I get this question on the daily. Who is the person behind Randomly Creative? Who keeps the cogwheels of this little machine running? Who makes sure the lights are always on in this place? Who is she? And WHY is she?
The question 'who are you' is such an existential question that it can send you into a tailspin. It's a difficult question to answer. Who do you say you are? Your name? Your age? Your ethnicity? Your nationality? Still doesn't answer the question.
"I DO NOT THINK I AM EASY TO DEFINE. I HAVE A WANDERING MIND. AND I AM NOT ANYTHING THAT YOU THINK I AM." - SOUL SISTERS
So, who is Yvonne Wabai? Last week, I had the honour of being featured in a blogger's showcase and a big part of the showcase was to answer that question: who am I? Interested? Click here to find out. I talk about a lot of things that go on in my life that make me who I am (no spoilers).
Psst... You just read blogtober post #19. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
So, I made a post where I talked about refractive errors of the eye and why it's important that you get your eyes checked. You can read it here. To recap: 153 million people worldwide live with visual impairments due to uncorrected refractive errors and refractive error is one of the most common causes of vision loss along with cataracts, macular degeneration, and vitamin A deficiency. You may these refractive errors by their common names e.g. nearsightedness/shortsightedness and farsightedness/longsightedness. I also mentioned that opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists are different professionals, which begs the question, how? What's the difference between an optician, an optometrist, and an ophthalmologist?
An optician is a technician who designs devices that corrects eyesight. Lenses, frames, contacts... This is the person you have to thank to those. They do the designing, verification, and fitting. There are no specific education requirements to become an optician but a degree in opticianry offers competitive advantage. Opticians are also trained by apprenticeship. Opticians give you your devices using prescriptions with specifications for your needs. They do not diagnose or treat eye diseases. So, who writes these prescriptions?
An optometrist is a healthcare professional whose role is to provide primary eye care. An optometrist does vision testing, vision correction, and diagnosis and treatment of vision changes. They perform eye exams and vision tests, prescribe and dispense corrective lenses, detect certain eye abnormalities, and prescribe medications for certain eye diseases. Optometrists are not medical doctors. However, their role is not to be diminished. Their degree is called a doctor of optometry. The qualifications to be an optometrist are as follows:
i) 4 years of college
ii) 4 years of optometry school after the the initial 4 years of college
N.B. In some countries, optometry is offered as a Bachelor's degree.
This is the medical eye doctor. An ophthalmologist differs from an optometrist in the level of training and also ophthalmologists are licensed to practice medicine and surgery. They can diagnose and treat all eye diseases and prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses. The qualifications to be an ophthalmologist are as follows:
i) 4 years of college
ii) 4 years of medical school after the initial 3 years of college
iii) 1 year of internship
iv) 3 years ophthalmology residency in a hospital - general ophthalmologist at this point
v) fellowship for specialization if you're interested in becoming a specialized ophthalmologist
N.B. In some countries, medicine and surgery is offered as a Bachelor's degree.
Do I see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?
For a complete eye exam, an ophthalmologist is the one to see. Complete eye exams are especially necessary if you are over 40 and/or if you have a history of eye disease in your family and/or if you have health conditions that affect your eyes or may affect your eyes in one way or another. For example, diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy which is the most common cause of vision loss amongst people with diabetes. It is recommended that everyone has a complete eye exam every one to two years. Your first comprehensive eye exam will set the tone for the rest. You and the doctor will agree on the course of action and your check-up schedule depending on your results.
Psst... You just read blogtober post #18. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
We all go through tough times in life. Here are 11 quotes to help you through those rough patches.
1. Sometimes you just have to be your own hero and save your own little heart because sometimes the people you can't imagine living without can actually live without you.
2. You can't turn back the clock but you can wind it up again.
3. Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's the little voice at the end of the day that says, " I'll try again tomorrow."
4. When you can't change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.
5. Just because today is a terrible day doesn't mean tomorrow won't be the best day of your life. You just have to be there.
6. Letting go doesn't mean you forget the person completely, it just means you find a way of surviving without them.
7. Two things that could measure who we are is the way we manage when we have nothing and we behave when we have everything.
8. When someone walks away from you, it's not the end of your story, it's the end of their character's role in your story.
9. Sometimes people don't cry because they are weak, it's because they've been strong for too long.
10. There's a difference in giving up and starting over.
11. There are only two days in a year that nothing can be done. One is tomorrow and the other is yesterday. So today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly, live.
Psst... You just read blogtober post #17. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
Stop what you're doing and pay attention to this immediately. If you don't already know, there's this chemical called dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO), and it is a very dangerous chemical and yet it is put in our food and drinks and deliberately sprayed onto organic crops. This chemical corrodes metals, causes tissue damage and burns, causes death by inhalation, causes electrical short circuits, causes soil erosion, and causes widespread disaster and destruction. Despite calls for the government to ban this chemical, the chemical is still being used. It's even in baby food. Baby food! Why is a chemical found in bleach and tumours being put in baby food?
Have I got your attention? Good, because you can calm down now. DHMO is water. No, really. That's what it is. Good old water. You see, water is a chemical, and its chemical name is dihydrogen monoxide. You probably know it as H2O (the two is supposed to be a subscript), which is its chemical formula. It also goes by the name hydroxyl acid. You probably already are familiar with all of this, in which case, congratulations, or you probably aren't, in which case, now you are.
The dihydrogen monoxide parody
In April 1983, for Fools Day, a weekly newspaper in Michigan reported that dihydrogen monoxide had been found in the city's water pipes and proceeded to list alarming effects of the chemical, e.g. it is fatal if inhaled, which we all know because people aren't fish; we can't breathe in water. But people didn't get it at the time that they were referring to water. In 1990, the parody made it's first appearance on the internet following a coalition by a parody organisation at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to ban dihydrogen monoxide. In 1997, a 14-year old by the name Nathan Zohner gathered petitions to ban DHMO for a class project he dubbed 'How Gullible Are We?'. Since then, campaigns have been going on in different parts of the world to ban this highly dangerous chemical. And people still fall for it. Why? Because science illiteracy is a huge problem the world over.
Fun story - I met this person who ran an Instagram account based on the fact that they were vegan and they would keep telling people that vegans don't need to adhere to the rules of sanitation because vegans can't get salmonella, cholera, tapeworms, roundworms, and all those other contamination diseases because those are all spread by worms and all worms live in and eat meat. I made the mistake of trying to save the lives of the vegans who followed that account, big mistake. There really are vegans out there who think that sanitation does not apply to them! I was shocked. Some other vegans tried to step in too, but that dude could not hear it. He went off on that trajectory of, "You're all bought by the man! You don't even know! Stay woke!" Food and water contamination meant nothing to this person; he was vegan, he was protected by the power of vegan magic! This, and a whole lot of other stories I could tell you, is why science literacy is important. But what is science literacy?
The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) defines science literacy as "The ability to engage with science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen." The U.S Centre for Education and Statistics states that scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. In short, science is everywhere, and you need to understand the basics of it. Not just to be considered 'literate', but to be able to make informed decisions about your life as well as to be able to participate in an informed way in your civic and cultural duties. Healthcare = science. Climate change = science. Food = science. Economy = science. I could go on and on, but you get the point. You can't escape science. If people can be fooled by something as simple as dihydrogen monoxide, imagine what else out there they can be fooled by.
Now, now, this isn't necessarily the general population's fault. Our education systems should be able to impart to us the tools and knowledge to be science literate, but that's not what's happening here, and a lot of people have talked about this over and over again. Education reforms are necessary in many places. You know things are going horribly when Neil deGrasse Tyson, a reknown astrophysicist, has to step in on a Twitter row with a flat-earther. Things are getting out of hand. Instead of moving forwards, we're moving backwards. That really isn't a pleasant thought. But most importantly is where the dissension is coming from: a fear of government control.
People all over the world are increasingly viewing governments with suspicion so anything that comes from or seems to come from the government won't be trusted. But it's the government's mandate to provide healthcare and education and to ensure that the citizens have adequate food and water and that they have jobs... so science literacy is trapped in the middle of it all. People will still believe all of these things that are not scientifically accurate because they take comfort in them somehow, and because they see them as less suspicious. People are desperately trying to 'stay woke' and that doesn't go all too well at times. Some, like the anti-vaccine movement, have had fatal consequences. But that doesn't mean we should give up. Science literacy is important. Without knowledge, you cannot succeed.
Psst... You just read blogtober post #16. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
It's the middle of October, and I just noticed that I didn't post the September video of the month. I started the video of the month posts to recognize the hard work of artists and today, I'd like to recognize Yemi Alade with her music video Oh My Gosh. Yemi Alade is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. Her music is categorized as Afropop. When I watched the video, I thought, "Ha! Johnny came back and and gave her cars as a forgiveness gift." Lol. Johnny is a character from another Yemi Alade song, Johnny, and the character basically goes around the village lying to different women and then disappearing. What I love about Yemi Alade is that her music and her videos are always on point and I love that it is Afropop.
Psst... You just read blogtober post #15. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
Imagine if you couldn't wear sunglasses. I know that seems like a really trivial thing, but just imagine it. You can't wear sunglasses. Why? Because you wear glasses. Prescription glasses. You see, there are some people whose eyesight is so bad that they can only wear glasses and not contacts and so they can't wear sunglasses unless they are prescription sunglasses. And, at that point, if your eyes are that bad, you're probably paying a fortune to see so, unless you're rich, you can't afford the sunglasses on top of the glasses you actually have to wear ALL THE TIME. Fun, isn't it? And, at this point in time, with where the earth's climate is headed to, wearing sunglasses is not about making fashion statements anymore. But hold up. What exactly is up with this person's eyes?
Refractive errors of the eye
For you to see, the eye has to allow light in, bend it correctly, the light has to fall onto the retina, and it has to be transmitted by the optic nerve to the brain. It's a complex process, but that's the simplified version. Refractive error of the eye means that the shape of the eye does not allow it to bend light correctly resulting in a blurry image. Refractive errors are a problem of accurately focusing light onto the retina due to eye shape. These errors are divided into spherical error and cylindrical errors. If the optical power of the eye is too large or too small to focus light on the retina, a spherical error occurs. If the optical power of the eye is too powerful or too weak across one line (meridian), a cylindrical error occurs. Refractive errors are very common eye disorders. According to WHO estimates, 153 million people worldwide live with visual impairments due to uncorrected refractive errors. Refractive error is one of the most common causes of vision loss along with cataracts, macular degeneration, and vitamin A deficiency. The most common refractive errors are: nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, and loss of near vision with age (presbyopia). 'Lazy eye' is also a refractive error.
People who are nearsighted have a problem seeing objects that are further away from them, hence the name nearsighted. Distant objects appear blurry while close objects appear normal. Explanation: the light focuses in front of the retina due to a long eyeball (axial myopia) and/or due to the cornea or the crystalline lens having too much curvature (refractive myopia). It is a spherical error. The severeness differs from individual to individual. Myopia is corrected with concave lenses (minus powered lenses) which diverge light rays before they reach the cornea. Biconcave lenses or myodiscs are two types of lenses that can be used for high (severe) myopia. However, biconcave lenses don’t allow for much peripheral vision.
People who are farsighted have a problem seeing objects that are closer to them, hence the name farsighted. Distant objects appear normal while close objects appear blurry. Explanation: the light focuses behind the retina due to a short eyeball (axial hyperopia) and/or due to the cornea or the crystalline lens having too little curvature (refractive hyperopia). It is a spherical error too. Severeness differs from individual to individual. Hyperopia is corrected with convex lenses (plus powered lenses) which cause light rays to converge before they reach the cornea.
In people with astigmatism, light is not focused evenly onto the retina, causing images to appear blurry and stretched out. Lines of a particular orientation are seen more clearly than those perpendicular to them. It is a cylindrical error. It is corrected by using cylindrical lenses. Astigmatism may occur on its own or in conjunction with another refractive error.
Loss of near vision with age
The eye lens loses flexibility with age. This leads to one progressively losing near vision. This is known as presbyopia. It is a spherical error. This is solved by using progressive lenses, bifocal lenses, or reading glasses.
One of the causes of amblyopia, commonly known as ‘lazy eye’, is refractive errors which result from anisometropia i.e. unequal refractive errors between the two eyes which results in the eye providing the clearer image becoming the dominant eye. Correction is typically by contact lenses and not glasses because both eyes require different specifications in the lenses. Paediatric refractive surgery is also an option where conventional approaches have failed.
Should you get your eyes checked?
Yes. Refractive errors are just one of many eye disorders, and it is recommended that you get a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years, depending on your history. Refractive errors are easily noticeable by an optometrist, so, if you are Kenyan/in Kenya, you can pop into Optica and get a check up. Optica charges KSH100/= for the first time, every consequent check up after that is free. However, you will have to pay if you do buy anything; the check up and the consultation is free but glasses, contacts, etc are not. Other options include: City Eye Hospital, PCEA Kikuyu Eye Unit, Lions SightFirst Eye Hospital... the options are many nowadays, I couldn't list them all here. P.S. Opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists are different professionals. They're all helpful and important, but, depending on your situation, you may need one and not the other. For a complete eye exam, it is advisable to see an ophthalmologist (eye doctor), especially if you have health conditions that may affect your vision or if it is your first eye exam. Learn about the differences between opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists here.
Psst... You just read blogtober post #14. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
It's two weeks into blogtober, and I wanted to see how I'm doing so far, hence 'taking stock'. Blogtober is basically a challenge to write 31 posts, one for each day of October. I've never done anything like it before, my regular schedule is once a week, so this is quite a challenging. The stamina and coordination needed to keep up is beyond what I had imagined. I have a new appreciation for people who do this every day in addition to everything else they've got going on in their lives.
Most popular posts
I've written 12 blogtober posts so far; this is the thirteenth. However, in looking at my stats for the past two weeks, in the top 5 of the most popular posts, 3 of them are not blogtober posts. One of the three was a post right before blogtober though. Without further ado, the top posts are:
1. My Top 5 Bodyposipanda posts
2. Meet Farhana Oberson
3. Blogger Recognition Award
4. The Fresher's Guide to University
5. Umoja Ni Nguvu Utengano Ni Udhaifu
The Fresher's Guide to University was actually a major hit and is still pulling in quite a number of views.
I got featured in a blogger's showcase by Louise of Jayandel. I am happy and honoured to have been a part of the showcase.
I wrote two articles for Shattering Stigmas, an event revolving around conversations on mental health. You can find the articles here:
I) On Writing Characters With Mental Illnesses
II) Mental Health From A Kenyan Perspective
I have so much planned, not just for blogtober, but for Randomly Creative in general. You may have noticed by now that the share buttons are up by the left side of your screen and you can share this article/page to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. Randomly Creative also has social media pages that you can follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Keep your eyes peeled!
Psst... You just read blogtober post #13. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.
October 11th was International Day of the Girl. Here are several issues I'd like to highlight.
Two issues dominated International Day of the Girl in Kenya. No. 1, medicalized female genital mutilation (FGM), and no. 2, sex education. Kenyan youths, led by youth activist Sadia Hussein, came together to urge anti-FGM board chief executive officer, Bernadette Loloju, to call on the government to increase disciplinary measures against medical professionals who do 'the cut'. Despite the government's commitment in fighting to end FGM, some medical professionals still practice it. Read more on that here. On the front of sex education, Nairobi women's representative Esther Passaris spoke on the importance of sex education and lack of or improper sex education enables a culture of sexual abuse. I had previously mentioned here that in many countries around the world, sex education is seen as taboo but that doesn't really help, if anything, it makes things worse. Read more on Esther Passaris' speech here.
I would like to highlight the work of 19-year old Kyrgyz singer Zere Asylbek who made a video advocating for the rights of women in her country and consequently received death threats for it. Zere noticed that although everyone in her country is, by law, granted the freedom of choice, for women, it is much more something that was in writing but not in practice. And so she decided to do something about it. The message in her video: freedom for all means freedom for all, regardless of gender, so why is one gender being denied that freedom? And when I say people really didn't like what she had to say, I mean people REALLY REALLY didn't like what she had to say. But Zere, and many others who feel like Zere does, soldier on. Read more on Zere's work here.
Scandal in Japan! Tokyo Medical University was caught red-handed manipulating entrance exam scores to restrict the number of women who gain entrance to the university, a practice it has done since 2010 and has only now gotten caught. Reason? In the university's eyes, women are 'a bad investment' due to pregnancy, maternity leave and raising children. The university purposefully lowered the scores of the women applicants for years because they did not want to have doctors who were women, and all this even though an equal employment opportunity law was in place, has been in place for 33 years! Read more about this here.
Where do I start? From the president of the country himself, the present leadership of this country is tainted with sexual misconduct/assault allegations. Very many people in this country don't seem to understand what sexual harassment/misconduct/assault and/or rape means, and that's where the problem begins. I would like to highlight the work of Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. I would also like to highlight the work of Mona Eltahawy, the founder of #MosqueMeToo. And, in closing, I would like to leave you with Trevor Noah's words of why #HimToo is not a thing and why there's no war on men.
Psst... You just read blogtober post #12. Blogtober is a challenge to write 31 posts, one for each day of October. Click the button below to read more blogtober posts.