6 Essential Things Your Blog Needs Now

6 Essential Things Your Blog Needs Now

So it's the best it can be.

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Is your blog as ready as you are when it comes to stepping into the online world? The excitement of creating a blog can quickly wear off once you start to get your hands dirty.

Blogs are like newborns. They need to be tended to almost every minute and there are essential things needed to ensure they grow healthy and strong.

To make sure yours is the best it can be, let's go over some of the things every blog needs, especially yours. Ready to see what they are?

Here we go!


A Good Hosting Platform

It doesn't matter whether your blog is a few days old or a few years old. Everyone needs a good hosting platform. Why?

This is to ensure your site runs as smoothly as possible. No one likes to visit a site where it's loading slow and isn't up half the time.

However, a good hosting platform won't promise 100% uptime either. That's just unrealistic. Things happen.

What to look for is a company with good reviews and one that offers 99.9% of uptime. Uptime is what keeps your blog alive on the internet. It also means visitors won't see an error page.

Along with making sure their uptime guarantees are suitable, another area to research them on is cyber attack prevention. What lengths do they go to so your site is protected?

With a hosting platform, you're technically leaving your site in the hands of others. That said, it's crucial you know what steps they take should their own servers be hacked or your blog is infected with a virus.

Contact Form/Page

It doesn't matter what niche you're in or if you're not selling any type of product or service, you need a contact form or page! What if readers have questions? Or perhaps a brand wants to collaborate?

You need a way for them to get in touch. Not only that but a contact page or form shows that you're reachable. Without one, visitors might get turned off seeing that the blog owner refuses to be contacted.

Let them know there's a human on the other side, waiting to answer questions and respond to comments. Even if you get no takers on a daily basis, at least you'll have a way for them to contact you should they have questions.

Search Bar

Sure, there might be tags and categories to sort your blog posts accordingly. However, some people don't want to take the time to sift through years of content. They may be looking for something specific on your site.

To make it easier for them, include a search bar on your blog. They might've really liked the topic you wrote about in one post and then want to find more content on the same subject. The easiest way for them to do that is to use a search bar to type in keywords to find more related content.

Email Newsletter

A lot of bloggers don't realize the importance of a newsletter. Some think it's a waste of time while others believe that readers will continue to visit without one.

That's simply not the case. An email newsletter is crucial because of two things.

First, you've gained access to their inbox. That means you're reaching them directly.

Secondly, you're reminding them that you're still around. Hoping readers will come back without the assistance of a newsletter isn't a good idea. They have busy lives and the last thing on their mind would be to remember to visit your blog.

Your newsletter doesn't have to be anything spectacular or sent out every day. You can choose to alert subscribers of new content when it's posted.

As for the number of times to send it out, that's really up to you. You want to make sure you're consistent with whatever amount you choose. If you're really not sure, twice a month is a good start.

An Easy Way to Comment

What's a surefire way to make sure no one comments on your posts? Captcha requests (especially the one that is a picture and you have to click on the appropriate squares), confirming contact details or signing up for a commenting website.

All of those things mentioned contribute to having no comments on your posts. We understand you want to make sure you don't get spam but think of those who have thoughtful things to say. They won't spend the time confirming minute details to tell you what an awesome post you wrote.

Legible Fonts

This may seem like a no-brainer but we've seen a lot of bloggers get this one wrong. While you want to make your blog stand out, one way to NOT do that is by picking illegible fonts and colors.

While your audience may be young, they shouldn't have to get close to the screen to read what you typed. Nor should they have to spend minutes staring at your headline because it's in an impossible-to-read font.

For color, go with black. Sure, grey or even blue seems more appealing brand-wise but it's a no-no. People are used to fonts being typed in black. There's no point in deviating from that.

As for fonts, serif or sans-serif is a good choice. Choosing handwritten fonts are great for your blog name but not for anything else relating to your posts.

Simplicity is best in this case. Go all out when it comes to your brand but keep the fonts used for your posts legible.

While these may seem like essentials you would know to put, all too often bloggers forget the basic. To ensure your blog is the best it can be, keep these tips in mind.

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Gift Guide: College BFF Edition

Thoughtful and budget-friendly gifts for all your favorite gal pals.

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After we fill our bellies full of turkey and stuffing, it's time to think about Christmas. Gifts, food, bright lights and snow... Who doesn't love the holidays? While all of these things may be fun, it can be a little difficult to prepare for.

Gift giving, which is super exciting and thoughtful, can sometimes be overwhelming. Presents for our parents, our siblings, our friends... Money can get tight. In order to maintain a stable budget & be a great gift-giver, a simple college gift guide is below. Enjoy!

1. Restaurant Gift Cards

While this may seem like a strange gift, it is definitely practical and something your friend will thank you for in the long run. Make sure to do some research; find out your friend's favorite restaurant or what the best restaurants around their college campus are. Some of my go-tos are Chipotle, Starbucks, or Calios (Syracuse students will understand). If you're not sure what restaurant to choose, delivery services like GrubHub also offer gift cards.

2. Uber Gift Card 

For another easy gift card idea, get your friend an Uber gift card! Coming to college, I didn't expect to be Ubering all the time, but then again, a freshman on campus do not have cars! Even if you do have cars on campus, it's a good gesture in case you and your friends need a DD after a party.

3. Throw Blanket

Who doesn't love a cozy throw blanket? Keep warm during these chilly months and spice up any dorm room. Best places for throw blankets? Target, Home Goods, or Marshalls.

4. Socks... Always socks. 

Getting socks was the worst as a kid, but now I'm elated when I receive them as a gift. Cabin socks are the best for your friends at cold places, but you can also get them ones with Christmas patterns or different funny sayings. A great company that sells some pretty quirky socks is Blue-Q. You've probably seen them before... and if not, check them out!

5. Framed Pictures

Framed pictures of you and your bestie are cheap, easy, and thoughtful. They work as cute dorm decorations and will also remind your friend of you, even if you are halfway across the country. Want to make it extra special? Write a letter on the back of the picture.

6. Coffee Mugs / Water Bottles 

You can't really go wrong with this. College students are always on the go, and sometimes even up to the late hours of the night, (catch me in the library at 3 a.m. on finals week). Hook your friends up with a cute water bottle or coffee mug so they can grab it and run!

7. Anything from B&BW... Except Candles

Bath and Body Works is a go-to for a simple gift. Choose from body sprays, lotions, and shower gels... But don't get candles! Dorm fire safety is a bummer. Adhere to a Christmas theme by choosing scents like Vanilla Bean Noel, Winter Candy Apple, or Twisted Peppermint.

8. College Paraphernalia 

Whether you and your BFF go to the same college or are miles away, you can always get them some college gear. In my opinion, you can never have enough college hoodies... but if they do, you can always opt for a winter hat or some pajamas. Keep it unique!

I hope you found something budget friendly and cute to give to your BFFs. Maybe you'll get one of these things in return!

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11 Beauty Trends for 2018

From glitter eyeshadow to barrettes.

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Trends come and go. But ones that are here to stay are within the beauty industry.

These trends are not just one-time fads, they're here to last. Whether the seasons are becoming cooler or hotter, any way you wear these trends will look timeless.

Ready to see what made the list? Check them out!

Inclusive Beauty Products

This year has been groundbreaking in terms of diversity. Beauty companies worldwide have become more willing to expand their shade collections to include women (and men) of all skin types and colors.

Thanks to Fenty by Rihanna, she unleashed an array of 40 different shade options of her foundation. While this might not be much of a trend (because it'll be here to stay), it was worth mentioning. Now if only all the beauty companies to ever exist could get on the inclusive bandwagon.

Multi-Use Products

Today's busy woman on the go deserves beauty products to enhance her hectic lifestyle. Enter all-in-one kits.

These wonders are made up of multiple products but all in one palette. Every product included can double as another. Eyeshadows become highlighters, lipsticks as blushes, the list goes on.

The convenience these types of kits offer is why it's a trend. There's no longer a need to cram all of your foundations, highlighter, bronzers, and blushes into your purse when you can have them all inside one palette.

Graphic Nails

We aren't talking about your classic French manicure anymore. For the end of 2018, it's all about graphic nails.

Don't think vibrant colors, think of causes. Causes such as breast cancer and feminine health. Those are good reasons to paint boobs and vaginas on your nails!

While this trend might not be suited for everyone, start small and maybe paint one nail full of boobs.

Bright Eyeshadow

Nude eyeshadow is a thing of the past when bold, vibrant colors come into play. For the fall, warmer colors with a punch are in.

Think electric blue, violet purple, and rusted red. The brighter, the better.

If this trend is a little scary or just won't work for your day job, try a brightly colored eyeliner instead. Purple works great for those with brown eyes while lighter colored eyes will benefit from green or blue colored eyeliner.

Skincare as Makeup

Feeling beautiful starts with having great skin. Rather than fake it by pilling every product of makeup you have, focus on your skincare routine.

Moisturizers, facial oils, toners, and masks are all in. This trend will actually benefit you rather than make you wary to try it.

Layer on the moisturizer and serums for an ultimate no-makeup look. You'll be proud you took the time to tend to your skin when you can use #nomakeupselfies on all your photos.

The Wet Hair Look

To compliment that bold eyeshadow (because let's face it, it's a lot of look), you need something that's simple but not boring. Enter the wet hair look.

Just in time for the cooler seasons, this hairstyle can go with any outfit. The experts over at Cuvee have three ways to perfectly style this look using great products.

Glitter

For those into unicorns and anything sparkly, you'll get a kick of this beauty trend. Glitter is in! And it's not just appropriate anywhere, it's appropriate everywhere!

We're talking glitter eyeshadow, lip gloss, and oh yeah, glitter highlighters! Some of your favorite beauty lines have gotten in on the action---KKW Beauty, Fenty, even Huda.

But don't think you have to look like a rainbow to pull this look off. To make it socially acceptable, choose a palette that resembles nude or pastel colors. That way, you won't look like you're trying to relive your childhood.

Messy Bun

It's the perfect hairstyle that says you're effortless. It's no wonder why it's trending yet again for the cooler seasons.

And nothing has you looking cooler than ice than a messy bun paired with a loose-fitting sweater. If the messy bun has you feeling sheepish to try it, just know it can be recreated when it's not planned. Don't soak your hair with serums or creams.

Second-day hair works best as it'll have more natural texture. As you put it into a bun, don't worry about bumps or flyaways. That's the whole point of a messy bun is for it to look intentionally messy!

Inner-Eye Highlights

To give your eyes more of a pop, placing highlighter in the inner corner of your eyes will do just the trick. It adds a subtle brightness that'll draw attention to your peepers.

If you want in on the glitter trend as well, pair these two together! It's a great look if you're planning to go out for the evening or just more of a punch.

Two-toned French Manicure

While we discussed the graphic nail trend, there's another manicure sharing the spotlight. For those that love a classic nail, you'll also love the two-toned French manicure.

There's really nothing to it besides picking out two colors that complement one another. You can do pink with red or for a more sophiscated look, go for oxblood with a white tip.

Barrettes

Barrettes, comb headbands, and claw clips, oh my! The 90s reign supreme with all these heavy-hitters stepping back onto to the scene in 2018.

You'll soon be seeing them everywhere as they all made their comeback debut on the runways of Fashion Week. Style them however you'd like, that's the freedom that comes with these babies.

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