In Conversation with Sasha Wilkins Liberty London Girl

Sasha Wilkins Liberty London Girl

We are so thrilled to that Lifestyle Blogger Sasha Wilkins aka Liberty London Girl (@LibertyLndnGirl) is joining us in April. She is one of the UK’s most successful bloggers and is a well known brand in her own right. Her blog gets over 250,00 hits a month and she has been named of one of London’s most influential people. She is going to share her story with us. There will be a Q&A session after her presentation.

About Sasha Wilkins

Style journalist, editor and broadcaster, and entrepreneur, Sasha Wilkins is probably best known as the founder of the multi-award winning lifestyle digital platform LibertyLondonGirl.com.

Founded eight years ago, read in 140 countries, and reaching over half a million people each month, LibertyLondonGirl includes the popular blog, Instagram & Twitter feeds which between them showcase Sasha’s singular, curated view into the worlds of fashion, food, art, travel, design and sausage dogs.

Sasha is also a talented cook, and her recipe book Friends, Food, Family: Recipes & Secrets from LibertyLondonGirl was published by Quadrille in the UK in 2014. It will debut in America in Autumn 2015.

Before launching LibertyLondonGirl, Sasha’s career as a senior fashion editor included roles as Executive Style Editor, both at The Wall Street Journal in New York and at The Observer’s O: Magazine in London. Her features journalism has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Red and The Sunday Times, amongst others. She remains a regular fashion week critic for both Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio and The LFW Daily, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and on ABC’s Good Morning America as a style expert.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Date: Tuesday 7 April 2015

Tickets: £15


No of Tickets



Agenda

6.30pm – Registration and networking
7.00pm – Guest Speaker and Q&A
8.00pm – Networking

Get your ticket now to confirm your place.

Venue :

Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar, County Hall Marriott Hotel
Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB
Nearest tube: Waterloo or Westminster
Note: There are 2 entrances, one is the main hotel entrance and the other is on the South Bank, just past the London Eye, above the Aquarium which leads directly to the restaurant.

Hashtag: #LadiesBlogging

 

 

Alternatives to nRelate Plugin for Related Posts

Alternative Related Post Plugins to nRelate

I know a lot of you use the nRelate plugin for related posts but they have just announced that they are going to discontinue this. This is a real bummer as I really like the options that this plugin allows and the ability to edit the CSS to fit my blogs.

I have been looking at alternatives and have found a few below:

My favourite new plugin Contextly – Free and Paid

Contextly is available for WordPress blogs as a plugin. This one is most similar to nRelate and is the best alternative I have found so far. Just install it, get the API and you are done. The best thing is that all the processes are not done on your server so it doesn’t hog up your resources. It will not slow down your site.

You can customise your Contextly feeds by adding two RSS feeds to the “Interesting” and “Custom” sections. You can also add in-post sidebars manually or automatically.

Another useful perk is that you can get daily or weekly emails that show you detailed stats per post and identifies which post got the most traffic. I think this is quite a nice addition service.

contextly plugin reporting

This one is free up to 10,00 uniques a month. I believe you pay for the premium service if your traffic exceeds this.

Link Within – Free

Link Within is a service that I used to use a while back before I found these other ones. You can use this on Blogger, Wordpres, Typepad and other blogs too. This is easy to install with just a code from their website. The issue with this one is that there are no choices for settings, to exclude categories, to change layout and designs. It is the most basic but has its limitations.

Engageya – Free

This works on Blogger, WordPress and has a JavaScript option for other platforms. You need to sign up for an account to get the widget.

Shareaholic – Free

I found out that they had this option recently when they automatically turned it on when I updated the plugin. I used this for the Sexy Bookmarks option but I really don’t like it when they force new options on you without warning. I have turned this option off now.

There are some choices in the settings section but I didn’t spend a lot of time testing them out.

Other WordPress Plugins

There’s a number of Related Posts plugins for WordPress such as

9 blogging detox tasks for the first week of the year

9 blogging detox tasks for the new year

It’s the new year and it’s time for a blog detox. Here are 9 things that you should do to update, clean up to maintain and protect your blogs.

1. Update copyright on your blogs

Does your blog still say “copyright 2014″? This is one that is often forgotten and ignored. If your blog does not have have an automatic or dynamic year inserted in the footer, you will need to get into the code and edit it.

2. Audit your social media accounts and set goals for 2015

If you are like me and you just let your social media account run without much thought on promotions, this year might be the year that you take a more proactive approach. Assess where you are and set up a goal for numbers to achieve this year. For Ladies In Blogging, I will be setting up some new goals and will probably do a few follow along posts. If you would be interested in this, let me know in the comments below.

3. Edit your editorial calendar

Plan your blog content by using an editorial calendar. If you are on WordPress, you can use this free plugin. If not, just use Google Calendar or something similar. Mark down all the major events of the year, seasonal events and anything else that is relevant to your audience. Prepare content to suit the seasons or to promote for an event.

4. Change your passwords

With so many bot attacks on blogs it is imperative that you keep your sites secure. Check that your login in name is not a first name, if it is change it. Change your password to something that is more secure with caps, numbers and symbols.

5. Check that your site security is in place

These wordpress plugins are useful for deterring software from hacking your sites, login lockdown and wordfence security plugins can help add that extra layer of security.

6. Review your blog backup plan

Do you have a blog backup plan? If not, make sure you add one. Regularly backup your blogs in case your server fails or you get hacked. You can easily restore your blog without losing years of content that you have painstakingly created.

7. Fix your broken links

This is important for SEO as broken links will put a damper on your SEO efforts. Use this site Broken Link Checker and run a report. Fix all the links that are listed on that site and keep doing this on a regular basis.

8. Update your about page

Your about page is one of the pages that a lot of people will visit if they want to learn more about you and your blog. If you have not updated this in a while, then you should take this week to revisit it and update all the pertinent information on it.

9. Update your Media Kit

Lots have probably happened on your blog in the last year so it is probably time to update your Media Kit. If you don’t have one, come along to our next event to learn more about how to create one.

If there are other things that you do on your blog, do share in the comments below. Please feel free to share on social media too.

January Networking: Create Your Media Kit and Working With PRs

NOTE: New Date announced! 24 March 2015

If you are progressing from a hobby blogger to getting more commercial and monetising your blog, you need to be prepared for all the questions potential clients will ask. Having a comprehensive media kit will answer all these questions.

At this month’s event we will talk about Media Kits or Media Packs, what they are, what you need to include and show you a sample of some innovative ways to design your own media pack. There will be a lot of takeaways from this session.

  • Introduction of media kits
  • What to include in a media kit
  • What stats to include
  • Media kit design dos and don’ts
  • Learn how to communicate with brands and potential sponsors
  • Why work with brands at all
  • What brands really want
  • How to remain authentic

Our Speaker of the month is Helen Best Shaw of FussFreeFlavours.com

Helen“Helen Best-Shaw (@FussFreeFlavour) is the food writer, recipe developer and the voice behind Fuss Free Flavours, one of the UK’s most popular food blogs. Having spent many years as a financial analyst, she now works with food, full time. With her firmly held belief that everyone deserves good food, and mantra of “tasty stuff without the fuss”, Helen’s recipes aim to be achievable, attainable and affordable as well as delicious.” FussFreeFlavours.com

Helen, a top UK Food Blogger, will be our guest speaker on this topic. She is frequently at the top of the UK food Bloggers’ charts and she now makes a full time living from her blog and she will share with you her tips and tricks on how to put together your own media pack.

Date: Monday, 12 January 2015. 24 March 2015 From 6.30pm.

Tickets: £15




 

Agenda
6.30pm – Registration and networking

7.00pm – Guest Speaker and Q&A

8.00pm – Networking

Get your ticket now to confirm your place.

Venue : (Note new venue)

Four to Eight Restaurant
G5 Catherine Street,
Covent Garden  
London WC2B 5JZ

Hashtag: #LadiesInBlogging

Writing: Most misused English words

As bloggers we tend to write as we speak. Sometimes, there is little attention paid to the usage of proper spelling or grammar. As a reader of many blogs, I find it hard to read blogs that are filled with typos and grammatical errors.

Another common problem is the misuse of words, like “there” and “their”. Here is a handy chart that explains the 12 most misused words.

12_Misused_English_Words

Source for Infographic: Listmonde

 

SEO Essentials for Bloggers 2014

PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE!!  MONDAY 27 OCTOBER 2014

The SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) landscape is changing rapidly and especially so in the last year or so. It’s time for an update since our last SEO session so we won’t be going over the SEO basics again. If you are a blogger, you need to understand SEO to optimise your site to ensure that get high search engine rankings and lots of traffic.

In October 2014 alone, there has been a major upheaval in the SEO landscape with the latest Google Penguin update. As a result, you might have seen your rankings and traffic drop. As a blogger, you need to understand how these changes can impact your blog.

Judith-LewisThis month’s topic is specifically on SEO for bloggers with our Guest Speaker, Judith Lewis. If you blog, knowing SEO is going to help you get more traffic. You will learn about :

  • Latest SEO practices since the recent Google updates
  • Practical tips on how to make sure your blog is SEO friendly
  • What best plugins to use
  • Writing SEO optimised content

There will be an open Q&A session where you can get your SEO questions answered.

More about Judith

Judith is a specialist online marketer with skills in SEO, PPC, social media marketing as well as other digital marketing techniques. She also blogs about Chocolate on MostlyAboutChocolate.com (@MostlyAboutChocolate)

Date: Monday 27 October 2014 (NEW DATE)

Time : 6.30

Price: £15 incl drinks




Agenda
6.30pm – Registration and networking

7.00pm – Guest Speaker and Q&A

8.00pm – Networking

Get your ticket now to confirm your place.

Venue :

Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar, County Hall Marriott Hotel
Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB
Nearest tube: Waterloo or Westminster
Note: There are 2 entrances, one is the main hotel entrance and the other is on the South Bank, just past the London Eye, above the Aquarium which leads directly to the restaurant.

Hashtag: #LadiesInBlogging

August Networking: 3 Course Dinner at Gillray’s and How to be a Social Media Manager

Our networking event for August is a little bit different, we are going to have a sit down to a Beef Feast with Gillray’s 258 oz Steak Platter, a 3 course meal with a speaker at Gillray’s Steak House.

Rib of Beef - 258 oz Steak Feast

Rib of Beef – 258 oz Steak Feast at Gillray’s

In celebration of John Gillray’s 258th Anniversary, they are serving up this monster platter of steak, all 258 ozs of beef (for groups of 10). Gillray’s is an English Steak House and on the night, the head chef of Gillray’s is going to do a menu of their special dishes including their famous Yorkshire puddings, a whole salmon and some fabulous steaks. If you have not been to Gillray’s, besides having great steaks, they have the most stunning view of the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the Thames from the restaurant.

August Speaker Topic:How to be a Social Media Manager

Denise Medrano (@TheWineSleuth)  is our speaker for this event and she will share her experience working as a freelance Social Media Manager for lots of brands. Denise is a London based wine expert, wine blogger and Social Media Manager.

Gillrays at County Hall Marriot

A view from the Restaurant

Of course there will be the usual networking opportunities to meet other bloggers too.

There are limited spaces for this one so book early.

Venue: Gillray’s Steak House
Tickets: £15 (as usual) includes food and drink.

To book, you need to email me to register your interest. with your blog name and twitter id. You will then be sent a link for payment.

Please email hello [at] ladiesinblogging.com

 

2 Sept -Mobile Photography Masterclass with James Madelin

Live, Interactive, Mobile Photography Masterclass

Most bloggers today use their mobile to take pictures, whether it’s of food or when they are travelling. Do you know that there are some great tricks that you can use to take better pictures with your mobiles, using inbuilt settings on your camera phone and easily available apps.

This month’s speaker is James Madelin. He will be showing us some practical tips on taking stunning pics with your phones. These tips will work for the iphone and any other brand of phone you might have. He’ll even cover some of the new innovations that Apple are about to introduce to the iphone in September.

Tickets: £15
Date: Tuesday, 2nd September 2014
Time: 6.30pm





 

Venue :

Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar, County Hall Marriott Hotel
Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB
Nearest tube: Waterloo or Westminster
Note: There are 2 entrances, one is the main hotel entrance and the other is on the South Bank, just past the London Eye, above the Aquarium which leads directly to the restaurant. 

Hashtag: #LadiesInBlogging

 

 

 

 

28 July Blog Content Masterclass with Urvashi Roe

There are really no rules to writing a blog. Some people just write when they have something to say, some people have a fixed schedule to write a number of posts each week. The really successful bloggers have a plan and this includes a content plan.

This is mostly dependant on your style, your audience and the goals of your blog.

This month, our topic is Planning Your Blog Content with Urvashi Roe. She was on the second series of Great British Bake Off and besides being an ardent baker, she is also a digital marketing maven. She recently spoke at the Food Blogger Connect conference and was very well received. If you missed that, come along to this session.

This masterclass will cover

  • Things you need to know to be a more effective blogger.
  • How to create content easily
  • Where to get content ideas
  • How often to blog
  • Do you need an editorial calendar?
  • Multimedia content

More about Urvashi

Urvashi-Roe

Urvashi Roe (@BotanicalBaker) is the Head of Banking Marketing at KPMG.  She is also Director at iCreativity, her own company, which supports small businesses with content creation for marketing campaigns to drive website visits, brand awareness and engagement.  Urvashi will be talking about content creation covering photo driven, event driven and seasonal posts, sponsored content benefits and downsides and maximising content areas to create multiple posts.  She will also cover practical tips on advance planning your content to help you get organised for the months ahead.

Tickets: £15
Date: Monday, 28th July 2014
Time: 6.30pm




Venue :

Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar, County Hall Marriott Hotel
Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB
Nearest tube: Waterloo or Westminster
Note: There are 2 entrances, one is the main hotel entrance and the other is on the South Bank, just past the London Eye, above the Aquarium which leads directly to the restaurant. 

Hashtag: #LadiesInBlogging

Meanwhile, follow us on twitter @LadiesBlogging and on Facebook http://Facebook.com/LadiesinBlogging

28 June Learn Food Styling and Food Photography with Jemma Watts

Our first workshop was a great success and we have had quite a few requests to have more food photography workshops.

Jemma is busy into wedding season but she has managed to find a day to fit another workshop in.

This will be a full day hands on workshop from 10am to 5pm. You will be learning about how to style for a shoot, how to use natural day light to make your photos look amazing.

Jemma Watts Food Photography

Image by Jemma Watts

What you will learn: 

  • Understanding your camera and settings
  • The anatomy of a food photography shoot
  • Using textures and props to style your photos and bring them to life
  • Understanding natural and artificial lighting and much more.

Who should attend: 

  • Any blogger who wants to learn how to take better pictures for your blog, not just food photographers as the techniques you learn will be very beneficial even if you are taking still life photos of beauty products or fashion products too.
  • Food bloggers who wants to learn some professional food styling tricks
  • Any budding food photographer who wants to improve on their skills
  • Any restauranters or B&B owners who wants to learn to take great shots for their own websites or brochures.

Note: You need to bring along a DSLR or a proper camera to get the most out of this workshop. Smartphone cameras will not be appropriate. You can bring along a tripod too but it’s not essential.

About Jemma Watts

Jemma is a professional photographer and she specialises in food, lifestyle and weddings.

Learn more about Jemma and see her photography on her website http://www.jemmawatts.com/food/

When: Saturday 28th June 2014 (Note new date)

Venue: Central London (TBC)

Time: From 11am to 5pm,  to use the best of natural daylight

Tickets

Book Early!

Workshop Tickets £99 per person




 

TESTIMONIAL: This is what Tina had to say about the last food photography workshop:

“I found the session to be very useful, with Jemma being incredibly patient in answering all our questions. The day was a good balance between theory (without too much technical jargon!) and practice. 
 
Before the workshop, I was too afraid to use my DSLR, especially on the manual mode but Jemma explained how changing the aperture and shutter speeds can affect your shot. I liked that she gave us the opportunity to take the same picture on different aperture settings so we could see for ourselves how it can affect the shot. I also picked up useful tips on food props and styling. My photography has definitely improved since the workshop and I am having fun experimenting with my DSLR. 
 
I would definitely recommend this workshop for beginners, who are looking improve their food photography.
 
Thank you for organising the workshop.” Tina @TheSpicyPear, London