9 June : Mastering your camera – getting off auto and onto manual with Jeanne Horak-Druiff

Photography is one of the most important aspects on our blogs and most of us (like me) just muddle along with our phones and miscellaneous cameras. Having attended a few workshops on photography, I can say that the tips I have picked up have been really helpful in helping me take much better pictures with the equipment I have.

Our speaker this month, Jeanne Horak-Druiffe (@cooksisterblog) is one of the most experienced UK food and travel blogger who has been blogging for over 11 years. She is a fabulous photographer, teaches photography workshops and has spoken on at numerous events too.

What is this event about: 

Note: this is an interactive event where you will learn to use your camera. If you use a smartphone to take pictures, you can apply all that you learn by using the Manual photography app. This will help you control your exposures and settings and take better pictures.

Are you a keen traveller who loves to record your adventures on camera but can’t understand why your pics never look like the brochures? Or maybe a food blogger who is frustrated by having an idea of the photos you want to take but never being able to capture the look you are after? Then this one’s for you.

There’s no point in knowing all about the rule of thirds when you do not know how to work your own camera, so this session aims to equip you with the knowledge you need to understand how your camera “thinks”, and how to use its functions to the fullest, enabling you to make the leap from auto to manual. Amongst other things, Jeanne will cover:
– ISO
– Shutter speed
– Aperture/f-stops
– White balance
– Shooting on aperture priority, shutter speed priority and full manual

Please bring your camera with you, as well as your manual (yes, that booklet that came with the camera that you never read!) so that I can help you find all the settings that I will be speaking about.

Who should attend? 

This event would be great for any blogger regardless of their niche, who wants to improve their food, travel and lifestyle photos on their blog.

Get your ticket now to confirm your place!

Date: Tuesday 9 June 2015

Tickets: £15 (sold out) 

Agenda

6.30pm – Registration and networking
7.00pm – Guest Speaker in private room

8.30pm – Networking Drinks

Venue :

O2 Business Centre

229 Tottenham Court Road
London, W1T 7QG

 

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.

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

 

About Jeanne

JeanneHorakDruiff-headshot1

Jeanne Horak-Druiff is a born and bred South African who has been living in London since 2002. Jeanne received her first camera as a gift from her father in 1981 and has been recording her life, travels and food with near-obsessive interest ever since. Jeanne started her award-winning food and travel blog CookSister in May 2004 and it has since won a number of accolades and a large audience.

She is a self-taught photographer who focuses on food and travel and her individual and distinctive style of teaching has led to her being sought after as a conference speaker at Food Blogger Connect, Britmums and the South African Food Blogger Conference. She firmly believes that “it’s not about the camera” and that anyone can take great travel shots with fairly basic equimpent, once they learn some basic rules (and when to break them!)

You can find her blog at cooksister.com and connect with her @cooksisterblog.

11 May : Journey to Problogging with the French Yummy Mummy

Muriel French Yummy Mummy

If you thought that English had to be your first language to succeed in blogging here, then Muriel aka the French Yummy Mummy is here to dispel that myth.

Muriel will share her story with us on how she started blogging and where it has taken her. She blogs about the cultural differences between the British and the French. She writes with a British sense of humour but delivered in a French accent.

Her writing has brought her modelling contracts (yes it’s possible even if you are not a spindly twenty something) and professional writing gigs for newspapers and magazines.

Some along and meet Muriel on 11 May. You’ll be charmed.

Date: 11 May 2015, from 6.30pm

Venue: The Slug And Lettuce
19-20 Hanover Street
Mayfair, London W1S 1YR

Nearest tube: Oxford Circus

Tickets: 


No of Tickets



More about Muriel

Muriel Demarcus is a self-proclaimed French Yummy Mummy living in London. She used to live in Paris and, when her husband found a job in London, she had two options: change husband, or change job. She chose the latter, and the whole family moved to London.
She writes about being a French woman/wife/mother/friend on http://frenchyummymummy.com, writes columns for various newspapers and magazines, and has been famously featured on the cover of The Times clutching a baguette.

 

If you miss this one, our next event in June on Photography with Cooksister

Saturday 20 June Blog Traffic and Practical SEO for Bloggers- One Day Workshop

Get More Traffic  with SEO a Practical Workshop

This is one of the most requested topics at Ladies in Blogging and since SEO is such a fast moving subject, we will host some regular workshops on this. Bloggers need to understand and use SEO to get better and more targetted traffic.

This will be a full day practical workshop with a lot of takeaways that you can apply to your blogs

What this SEO workshop will cover

  • Introduction to SEO
  • What is new in SEO in 2015
  • Essential tools for SEO
  • How to do competition research
  • How to do keyword research
  • SEO friendly content
  • Follow / No follow tags
  • Duplicate content issues
  • Using Social Media for SEO

…and much more.

Who is this for?

Bloggers who want to  learn more about SEO and how to apply it on their blogs

This is suitable for beginners or if you don’t know very much about SEO.

Date: Saturday 23 May 2015, all day from 9.30 to 5pm

Venue: Central London. You will be notified by email when you sign up.

Tickets: £150 per person or £250 for two. There are limited spaces, so please book early.


Multiple ticket discount



 

Is Google going to find the Loch Ness Monster

Google Loch ness monster

Today’s Google Doodle, the Loch Ness Monster

I always knew that there would be a really good use for Google Street View. Today, Google announced that they have done a secret imaging project.

They have uploaded images in, around and underwater in Loch Ness. This project was kept secret from the locals but they used divers and some local experts to take all the images.  The accompanying Google doodle is making fun of the original sighting by Col Robert Wilson in 1934. It was a fake picture of Nessie using a toy submarine and a serpent head.

The Telegraph said that they found one of the images of interest, a picture of the Loch with something floating in the distance.

So far, Nessie hunters have been unsuccessful in getting any evidence of its existence. Will technology solve this mystery?

 

 

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

This event will be held at the stylish Westbury Hotel on Conduit Street. (Nearest tube: Bond Street)

6.30pm – Registration and networking
7.00pm – Guest Speaker in private room

8.00pm – Adjourn to the Polo Bar for drinks and canpaes Including Q&A and 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