Today marks a new day *breaks into song*. For whilst I have no lion cub to raise in the air, I *do* have Elton John playing in the background and I am feeling particularly optimistic. Last week I put something really big off all week. Scratch that, I actually put something really big off all month. I had finally done all my chores (because you know laundry only gets done on procrastination days) I delved deep into what's really going on and I realised what I really found absolutely joyous about what I do.
It all started two weeks ago when I had a bit of a meltdown. I know that that doesn't sound particularly optimistic does it but bear with.
You see, I had just done an Instagram story takeover, where I had literally hundreds of messages and new followers, and I was completely overwhelmed. I felt like such a total failure. Imposter syndrome kicked in. I'm supposed to act like a big (well, small to medium) hotshot success right? Like, who am I to be a human bean or something?!
I had a good truth serum served by people close to me. The next day, I stripped back a whole load of stuff on my To Do list that was making my business feel bloated and wham bam I felt a million times better.
Free of the shackles of my own doing (I never promised this email would be drama-free) I came to a realisation.
I decided to put myself out there more. Not just for any old thing but in a very decisive way.
You see, when I put myself out there more I actually enjoy what I do more. I get more enquiries. I feel *in control*. Oh yes we love a bit of control round here.
And guess what? I get SO many questions asking how you can put yourself out there more and so I put them together in one handy place....
Getting found online (i.e. SEO what I do) is about stepping up and stepping out. It’s about saying “Dream clients here I am, come and get me!"
1. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else who does what you do.
If I compared myself to other SEO consultants there’s no way I would do anything like I’ve done. If I compared myself to other business coaches there's definitely no way I would be able to muster up the courage to show up online. As the great Dolly Parton says 'Figure out who you are and do it on purpose'.
2. Stop worrying about what others think of you.
I have a newsflash for you: no one is thinking about you nearly as much as you'd like them to be. It used to consume me too. As soon as I just relaxed and continued on, I started having a lot more fun and actually enjoying all these things. What you love to see is what you do, because it’s your passion. So don’t be afraid of heading out there. If others don’t want to see it, they won’t interact with it, and you'll learn from that. It won’t always be just family and friends who are supporting you.
3. Keep a note of why you're awesome.
Realise that just as new competitors emerge each and every day, the market is saturated, argh what about Brexit, that they cannot actually directly affect what you sell as a product or service. You have had clients before and you will have clients again. Read through your testimonials to remind yourself of why you're amazing at what you do. (I do this every day, it's a wonderful habit).
4. Stop getting scared of doing it wrong.
It’s not actually that a big deal of a deal to do the hard things (whether it's write a blog post, get your website updated etc). Once new tasks become everyday habits, you find you learn by doing and hire experts *ahem* to help you upgrade that plan.
5. Set goals for what you want to do and make a plan of action.
I *love* helping others plan and sort out their business brains + lives. What do you want to sell, how often do you want to sell it, and where have you sold it before that worked well? Promote on the channels that work for you. Hire an expert to help you in the areas where you're stuck. Don't let fear of lack of time get in the way. Think of the time you're wasting deliberating and instead move on up!
6. Believe in yourself.
You've come this far already! If you follow me on Instagram (hello!) then you'll see I regularly post reflective posts recognising how far I've come, focusing on my wins of the week on my #ThingsILoveFridays💖 If you don't believe in yourself you'll watch Netflix all day and never achieve anything you want to do. With self belief comes positive action. It's not wishy washy. It's fact.
Tell me in the comments - which tip hit home for you?
I thought it would be useful to write a blog on how to protect your search engine ranking + hard work as so many people come to me in tears "Help! I've really messed this up. I/a friend re-designed my website and I've basically disappeared from Google!" or maybe you're putting off making changes to your website BECAUSE you've heard so many horror stories.
What I see around is a lack of knowhow about how to protect the content you've created whether its pages, image layouts or blog posts. There are many articles out there but they're in a language that is, shall we say, a tad dry.
And you know me, I don't do dry. I make SEO So Exciting Obviously! Hooray
So here's where to start....
First of all, you need to bear in mind that when you re-design your website, however small or radically, then search engines will need some time to register the new changes - even if you've got the same basic text and images content there, then you've still made significant changes to your site in Google's eyes.
You may have updated any or all of the following:
You may have moved content about to different sections whether it's images or text or whole pages, which may indicate to search engines that you consider it less / more important than other content and this will affect your rankings.
You may be creating brand new content + sections that may take longer to rank.
You may be removing content (in which case, of course, it won't rank if it's not there and your rankings may even drop)
You may be changing / updating content (which will take a while to register on search engines)
You may be changing the URLs (links) to the pages / posts in which case any other pages whether on your website or elsewhere will then have broken links
Now you may be thinking - OMG this is an ACTUAL MINEFIELD, but actually, *pushes glasses up nose* there are steps you can take to be reassured that all your hard work is not lost.
Here's what you need to do when protecting your website SEO after a re-design:
1. Keep the old website live whilst you build the new one
If you're sticking to the same platform, create a second site. If you're on WordPress, contact your hosting provider and ask them to show you how to create a staging site. This won't be live on the internet, this is a backroom situation.
2. Backup your website
When you come to move your site to go live, please for the love of all that is good and holy, backup your website. Here's how to backup your website on Wix and here's how to backup your website on Squarespace. If your website is on WordPress, then be in touch with your hosting provider to see how often they backup your website. If they don't back it up daily, then you'll need to use a backup plugin on your site. I've always quite liked BackupBuddy but there are many, many others.
3. Save everything first
Save all your text and images in a lovely little folder system. This is a good practice anyway where you have a folder for all your website content and then subfolders per page and then if there's subpages, then more subfolders within that. #gamechanger THEN create a spreadsheet with ALL your pages and posts. No really. Paste the links from each page and post into your spreadsheet. You'll see why in the next tip below.
4. Set up redirects
When you create new pages or blog posts then each new piece of content will have a new link (this is known as URL) and when you replace old pages with new pages you need to tell people and search engines where to look instead as otherwise they'll be met with a UH OH 404 CANNOT BE FOUND page which everyone knows is the most frustrating thing in the worldTM. Think of it like setting up a new address thing with Royal Mail. Dead frustrating if it doesn't work, wonderfully smooth when it does.
So this is where the spreadsheet you've set up in tip 3 above comes into play. You can create a column next to the page + blog post links and paste in the new links so you can see with ease which redirects you need to set up.
So here's how to set up redirects for Squarespace websites, here's how to set up redirects for Wix websites. If you have a WordPress website then you can download a Redirection plugin and then enter each link manually (Note to web designers + fellow nerds: yes there are many other ways to do this, but I figured this was one of the easiest ways to do it if you don't like tech). Going forward I recommend you upgrade your version of Yoast from the free to the premium because it has the rather jazzy function of prompting you whenever you delete a page or post or update a URL to actually redirect to the new link #jazzy
What are backlinks? Any other websites out there on the world wide web that link to you so that includes any press features, any directories you pay to be in, any guest blogs, any mentions of you that link to you. Somewhere you need to have a record of all the places on the internet. If you don't have this and it's stored on notes here there and everywhere then create another tab on your spreadsheet mentioned above and paste all the links you know about there. Then for all the ones you don't know about go to a free tool like this one (I mean there are many great paid options but perhaps budget doesn't make that an option right now).
You then need to work your way through each link and manually update to the updated link. If it links to your homepage which has not changed then no action needs to be taken, but if it links to a particular service page or product range or blog post then it will most likely need to be updated.
But I've set up redirects already I hear you say. True, but really Google doesn't like being redirected too many times and it's far to manually update your backlinks.
7. Update your internal links
Internal links are any links on your website that links to another part of your website. Again, you'll have set up redirects in tip 4 but again Google doesn't like lots of redirects. Using the analogy of your mail when you move, think about your post being battered by the time it's had a few redirects from house to house. It doesn't look great, does it. So it's the same with your SEO.
8. Re-submit your sitemap to Google Search Console
You need to tell Google (and Bing! Don't forget Bing!) about any time you make big changes to your website whether it's a re-launch or not. You can read my blog post all about how to submit your sitemap here.
9. Do a song and dance about your new website on social media because you're ready to share baby!
Finally you're ready to make a song and dance about your new website. GO FOR IT! Internet domination will be yours!
Have you had any horror stories happen to you about this? What did you do? Let me know in the comments.
a.k.a. How to prioritise self care even in the midst of wedding season / summer holidays.
Now I know what you're thinking...
Relax, you say? that’s something to do when you’ve FINISHED your To Do list not when you’re in the midst of the mental-crazy-busy season OMG someone save me from this pile of work even though I love it really <cue borderline maniacal laugh> But it’s true. You can *always* make time to relax, even if it’s just for five minutes. Earlier this summer I spent three weeks on a meditation retreat in Sweden and it’s something I do quite often. In fact, it’s how I came to start my own business in the first place more of which you can check out here.
The thing is, when it gets really super bloody busy the temptation is there to try and do everything at once. I've learned from more than one burnout in my life that this ain't the way my friend. You don't get anything done nearly to your satisfaction and end up feeling rubbish and like you've let everyone down, right?
Now, I don’t always leave the office for that long plus I can’t just pop onto a retreat every time something stresses me out or overwhelms me but I do have things that I do daily to help me relax so I I thought I’d share 10 ways I find time to relax even when I'm mega busy (especially when I look at my looming To Do list).
Whenever I say this to my clients you can practically see the relief and it’s something that comes up in conversation on my Gin and Magic YouTube channel too. We are not robots and yet we treat ourselves as such. We crave that connection with others to the point where we don’t want to put down the devices. We respond to emails at midnight because we are worried someone else will get the booking otherwise which sets a dangerous precedent for any working relationship we may have with that contact or client. It took me quite a while to really change this habit and I’m so much more productive as a result!
2. I remember that I am actually in control of my life
Ooh, this is a juicy one. For a long time I mistook serving my clients in the best way possible as forgetting about myself but now I prioritise taking care of myself along with serving my clients in the best way possible. If you take a look at my carefully time blocked colour-coded calendar you’ll see that I manage my schedule meticulously. Whenever I get booked for a talk or attend an event I always block our time afterwards because I’m an extroverted introvert who needs to regain energy after being around a lot of people. See also point 1 - I am not a robot and therefore need time to recuperate and catch up.
3. I delegate / postpone
I work with a few select contractors to delegate work to that I cannot / do not want to do and it’s been absolutely brilliant relinquishing control and outsourcing work in this way. Do I want to spend hours internally shrieking at a computer because the code won’t work or do I send it to one of my web developer associates? I know which one sounds most relaxing.
If it’s not urgent and it won’t harm your business not to do something right this minute, then block put some time in your calendar to take action this time next week instead. (Just don’t delay until the end of time because there is literally zero point in cluttering your To Do list with tasks you’re actually never going to do)
I know I know, this may feel as obvious as Queer Eye's Antoni making guacamole, but let me state this first: I bloody love junk food and booze. It’s delicious. I’m never going to choose a green juice over a pint of beer believing it tastes better. We all read about how drinking more water and eating better is good for us but I’ve been edging into it recently because dramatic changes in habits don’t last for me. So I have little reminders to make me drink more water, I have a FitBit that vibrates if I don’t get up from my desk in an hour and I try to eat at least one completely fresh food meal every day. I feel better for it, and I’m much more relaxed as a result because the highs and lows energy-wise of the junk food I love so dearly don’t serve me (I’ve also noticed this has got a lot worse since coming into the second half of my thirties?! Just me?).
5. I have hobbies not related to my work
A lovely industry friend said to me last year “What do you do in your spare time when you’re your hobby becomes your business?” and it got me thinking. I work a lot because I love it. But I am not a two dimensional person and my guess is you aren’t either. My friends, going to see shows and musicals, going for big walks are all needed so I can relax and stay refreshed. I love makeup and pampering and so I have started to do makeup for friends going to special events. I adore films so I’m now a member of a retro cinema here in London, and have scheduled in a few movies to go and see already. By making time for actual hobbies outside of work, then I can even schedule time to relax.
I try to go for a walk every day, even if it’s just round the block. Working from home makes this more challenging. But particularly if I get stuck or have no idea how to respond to an email, I’ll leave the house. It’s not procrastination, so therefore I do not have to berate myself about it. It helps!
7. I book a massage
Oh, self care how I love thee. I store all the memes on instagram but actually now have a monthly reminder in my task management app to book in a massage and allow the budget for it.
8. I keep my computer closed
The worst thing I can do sometimes is to open my computers / check my phone when I am feeling absolutely snowed under. So, I use a good old fashioned pen and paper to write out what I absolutely feel I need to do. I then mark next to each task – that day, that week, that month, sometime in the future. Then once I’ve done that, I feel oodles better and can open the computer and get stuck into the work.
9. I schedule
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, "I really don’t get how organising my calendar will support me to relax". But one of the things that I really have found to be useful is blocking out my time so that I can also schedule time out. This way I’m not taking time away from my desk stressing about my massive To Do list. I download my brain a lot whether on paper or in Asana, the task management system I use. Not everyone is an extreme scheduler like me I get it, but I wasn’t always like this, and it’s massively helped me.
10. I meditate
Of course, I was going to add this one in as I have a daily meditation practice I’ve been doing for 8 years with the Bright training and so with tonnes of free videos on YouTube I can just sit and watch one of these and relax as I am. I get so many comments from people who have been following me since the beginning and also those who have stalked me until the start of my Instagram feed that I have undergone quite the transformation and it’s not just my hair 😉
So there we have it, my top tips on how to relax even when it’s crazy busy. I’d love to know, did these tips help you?
P.S. If you’re feeling mega stressed about the biz and quite frankly you're a bit bored of feeling like that, check out my new free 12 minute video sharing my system of what separates the winners from the whingers here.
Hooray! The next interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women has dropped! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the smiley sweet and wise Magdalena Mahdy from Love That Smile Photography & Audacious Babe podcast
I was delighted to get Magda on the show because she's so open about her experience of burnout, workaholic to managing her time better, and now she's writing a book all about that major taboo MONEY! Magda talked about self care, her podcast, her book and so much more. So grab a cup of something hot and watch along as we delve into a fun chat.
Enjoy and please don’t forget to hit like + subscribe if you enjoy the Gin & Magic videos 🙂
Thanks so much Magda, you were brilliant!
Born and raised in Germany, after completing her Bachelor (BSc) in International Business Economics with a major in marketing at the Universiteit in Maastricht, Netherlands in 2008 and working in the marketing & advertising industry for nearly 7 years, Magdalena relocated to the UK in 2011 in the search for a new challenge; her passion for photography accompanied her entire life, and simply took over in 2013 when she has decided to setup and run her own photography business – Love That Smile Photography.
Capturing the beauty in the moments during a wedding or when a new member of the family arrives brings her pure joy and love for life. With her relaxed documentary approach she has now shot over 100 weddings and won an international wedding photography award. Due to her business background and running her own successful photography business, the University of Essex hired her on a freelance basis as a Student Business Mentor for any students who are interested in starting their own businesses (in any industry).
In 2017, Magdalena decided to add yet another new adventure to her own personal book of life and that is the adventures of THE AUDACIOUS BABE and the accompanying podcast. She simply loves working with other female photographers and helping them reach their own full potentials. Magdalena’s personal mission is to bring the fabulous world of business closer to you – empowering, helping and inspiring you to live more meaningful and incredibly passionate lives, and profit from showing up for your dreams and making them a reality. It’s like having a cheerleading support squad by your side to help you grow a business that you love!
Woop! It's Wednesday which means one important thing - the next interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women is live! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the super lovely and talented Jen Siomacco from Catalyst Wed Co, the US-based equality minded wedding publication.
As soon as I met Jen at (Un)Convention a few years ago I knew she was someone I had to get to know better. Luckily fate threw us together a few times that first year and since then we've been fans of each other across the ocean.
This was a juicy topic and the longest chat I've had to edit so far because Jen was so open with her wisdom and insights!
Jen talked about how Catalyst Wed Co continues to evolve it's all inclusive mission to include all, what exactly intersectional feminism is (and why it's OK to ask), as well as how to deliver value to your audience. Jen knows a lot, and I loved how she was so open about her knowledge. Of course we also talked about the fantasy dinner party, and just wait until you hear her story about Gloria Steinem! So grab a cuppa and watch along as we delve into a fantastic chat. I think you'll find yourself nodding along.
Enjoy and please don’t forget to hit like + subscribe if you enjoy the Gin & Magic videos 🙂
Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Catalyst Wedding Co. She works to mesh together her love of feminism, love stories, accessibility, equality, and design into the Catalyst brand. When she’s not traveling the country working to make the wedding industry a more inclusive place, she’s writing on her couch and snuggled up with her husband and SUPER lazy cats.
Yay! It’s Wednesday which can only mean one thing - the next interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women is live! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the amazing Beth from Bridebook the UK’s no 1 wedding planning app, frankly the bubbliest person I’ve met in the wedding industry (and coming from me that’s saying something - lol) Beth is an absolute ray of light on all things wedding business and general hilarity.
I wanted to get her on the show because I think she’s got a lot of useful knowledge to share with wedding business owners in her role as Head of Community at Bridebook.
Beth talks about what it takes to succeed in this ever changing marketplace, why she wants to Meryl Streep, Chris Hemsworth and Nova Reid in a room, and why jetskis are life. So grab a cuppa and watch along as we delve into a fantastic chat and giggles! Don’t forget to watch until after the end credits because we had to put this outtake in - it’s too funny! All topped off of course with a G&T!
Enjoy and please don’t forget to hit like + subscribe if you enjoy the Gin & Magic videos 🙂
Beth's official bio:
I am Bethany Wright, Head of Community at Bridebook.co.uk. A true northerner, originally from Manchester - I have a love for gravy, Oasis and building communities. My love for community fuels my day to day role at Bridebook, as I channel the importance of connecting with suppliers and learning from each other. In my spare time, you can find me reading Harry Potter, singing Tina Turner on karaoke or stuffing food in my face.
A little more about Bridebook...
Bridebook.co.uk is the No.1 wedding planning app used by over 120,000 couples across the UK. That’s 1 in 2 weddings planned through our platform. Couples use Bridebook to search for and book their wedding venues and suppliers and help them to plan their unforgettable wedding without any of the stress or fuss.
Bridebook Business supports this by offering a free listing service for dedicated and qualified wedding industry professionals. Our goal is to connect couples with their trusted wedding dream team and to help venues & suppliers across the country grow and market their business successfully. To join the Bridebook Business Community head to business.bridebook.co.uk and create your free business account and profile today.