How a WordPress Blog Can Empower & Enrich a Woman’s Life?

How a WordPress Blog Can Empower & Enrich a Woman’s Life?

Reading and writing has always been empowerment for me. I remember how, as a 5-year-old, I couldn’t wait to finally read the TV newspaper to be able to plan what I was watching and when.

In primary school, we wrote poetry albums of friends and I started keeping a diary. When I look at these written testimonies many years later, I feel proud. Proud of the young woman I was then and proud of the woman I am today who still has some of these friends in her life. The diary and the albums documented this journey with images, colourings, photos, comments from friends, teachers and relatives and any other memories such as tickets to unforgettable events, for example.

A blog can do this and much more in a flexible online format.

A Blog – an Online Presence for Self-Presentation and Realization

In the 21st century, the Internet allows us to use new media or implement old methods in new ways. In my opinion, a blog is a kind of online diary, but it offers much more than a traditional diary. A blog offers versatile design options such as

  • written design through websites with text, articles with text, images with text
  • visual design through images, graphics, any artistic illustration, video
  • auditory design through videos, podcasts, music clips, musical accompaniment, etc.
  • Links to other media, posts, channels, etc.

Due to this incredible wealth of design options, it is essential to define the purpose and motivation behind a blog in advance. There are now millions of blogs and basically you can divide them all into 2 main categories:

  1. Niche blogs – A niche blog focuses on a specific topic. Usually, the blog articles and content are aimed at a specific target group, such as families, professionals in different professional groups, sports fans, etc. Blog topics can thus cover everything from the minimalist blog to the financial blog. Niche blogs are therefore also mostly represented in the business world and companies use blogs to inform and entertain about their products or services.
  2. Personal blogs – A personal blog focuses on a person and their topics. Bloggers can document their lives from different angles such as the information aspect or the entertainment aspect. Many bloggers share with their readers where and how they travel, what they eat and cook, what they do for a living or how they live out and realize their hobbies. A personal blog can be designed relatively freely, as long as no generally applicable laws are violated.

In this article, I will focus mainly on a personal blog, but show ways in which it can also be used professionally as a CV or portfolio for example, with the main goal of presenting the potential of a blog.

What can a WordPress Blog do for a Superwoman?

superwoman-blog-to-fulfil-potentialIn the digital age, most people search for information via the Internet, more precisely, through search engines such as Google or Bing. In 2020, 81% of global internet users have searched online for products or services, according to SmartInsights.com. Whether this is done with the smartphone, the tablet or the computer, it is the fastest, easiest and often cheapest way to get information and answers fast.

If you want to reach people as a private or public person, a blog offers an ideal platform to make your voice heard, since a blog:

  • is easy to create and manage (I explain this step by step in my article “How To Start A Blog” and at the SeekaHost University, which I co-manage and where you can find  blogging online courses with short tutorials).
  • can be created and used cost-effectively.
  • offers endless design possibilities.
  • is a relatively independent mouthpiece that can be built up and designed creatively and on your own.

WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) among all blog platforms, as it is open-source and freely available to everyone, offering the greatest freedom of design. Compared to other blogging platforms like SquareSpace or Wix, which are used by about 1% of all bloggers, WordPress is used by about 35% of all bloggers worldwide in 2020, according to W3Techs.com.

For my personal blog, manuelawillbold.com, I use WordPress, as well as for all the other blogs I manage like the UK Education Blog or the Green Living Blog. To show how differently I have built and designed these 3 blogs, I share the homepage of each one here:

My personal blog manuelawillbold.com:

personal-blog-for-exposure-as-expert

My UK Education Blog:

wordpress-blog-about-uk-education-and-edtech

WordPress blog about UK educations and edtech

 My Green Living Blog:

lifestyle-or-better-living-blog-for-inspiration

I think one thing becomes clear here: A blog can convey at first glance what it is about through its presentation and content – the message is loud, powerful, and clear visually.

And in my opinion, this is the great potential for every female blogger and their empowerment.

Self-presentation of many Aspects of a Superwoman through Blogging

Based on my three blog examples, it will hopefully be clear that a strong woman blogger is not only one-dimensional, and therefore should not present herself only one-sided online.

With my blogs I present my passions: writing/blogging, education, and the environment.

Through my personal blog under my own name, I present myself as a private and professional person, blogger and digital nomad. The blog offers me the opportunity:

  • to present myself as a person and my personality through photos, videos and articles
  • to present and convey my interests and skills creatively
  • to share my knowledge, talents, tips and experiences and thus help others
  • to position myself with regards to trending topics and current affairs that are relevant

Through my UK Education Blog, I share my professional expertise and present myself as an education expert. The blog offers me the opportunity:

  • to present and share my experience of many years in early childhood and school education
  • to share my knowledge, expertise, emerging scientific facts, news and developments in education
  • to share advice, insights and tips in education on relevant topics

Through my Green Living blog, I share my private passion for environmental protection. Here I have the opportunity:

  • to convey my own findings and concerns on the subject of environmental protection
  • to make my contribution to environmental protection through information and education
  • To educate myself through writing and researching

What hopefully meets the eye is that I represent parts of myself as a woman through all three online presences. I expand my own awareness, knowledge, know-how and competence and at the same time realize my hobbies, passions, and main interests.

This is incredibly fulfilling. And when you receive encouragement from acquaintances and strangers and see how the blog grows in popularity, then this is an almost indescribable feeling of satisfaction and happiness. In the following video I explain this in more detail and show how my life has changed based on my blogs:

What is the Potential of a Blog for a Superwoman?

Blogging is often seen as a purely technical or writing process. However, blogging can be an extremely creative, challenging, and fun process. The prerequisite is, of course, a certain level of digital knowledge and skills, such as being able to use Microsoft programs, as well as being familiar with Internet browsers, computer systems and web applications like the web hosting control panel.

For me, running a blog as a strong woman has the following advantages and benefits that can empower every woman:

  • You can teach yourself and others a lot, such as digital skills, research results in specific subject areas, new and innovative concepts, etc.blogging-and-remote-working-for-healthy-work-life-balance
  • You can give free rein to your creativity and write articles and content according to your own ideas and wishes with the use of various media such as images, videos, text, podcasts, etc.
  • You can boost your self-confidence by highlighting and sharing your strengths and talents, using them to help or inspire other people. And by presenting and positioning yourself in a way you feel comfortable.
  • You can establish yourself as a person and combine pleasure with work through your online presence. When a blog is successful and attracts hundreds to thousands of readers monthly, new paths to success open up and a blogger can become a powerful woman influencer.
  • Women who pause their professional careers due to their role as mothers can use a blog as a “break filler” and thus continue to be active in their field of expertise during parental leave. The blog can then also be used as a portfolio or online CV for future applications or as a figurehead for independent work projects.
  • You can network with others and work on collaborations through the blog and through new, exciting projects that arise from the blogging.
  • You can enjoy more freedom and self-governance while working remotely under your own terms.

A skill that is essential if you want to make your blog successful is SEO (search engine optimization). It is learnable via SEO online courses and brings the important visibility via search engines that you need to expand your readership.  SEO content and many guest posts and infographics have allowed me to place the UK Education Blog at the top of Google (snapshot taken on 04/10/20):

How did I do that? In my reader friendly writing article I share tips and tricks and in my SEO copywriting online course as well.

Admittedly, it’s not easy to build a blog for success and it took me almost 3 years to rank my blogs on Google and Bing among certain keywords on the top rankings and thus reach the milestone of almost 1000 monthly visitors after over a year:

BUT I did this on the side while working 40 hours a week as an early years educator at a private school in London’s Notting Hill. This should encourage every powerful woman and at the end I would like to give all women the following message:

If the motivation is big enough and you are on fire for your blog project, then it will be a success, because where there is a will, there is a way!

I would like to help every woman to build an online presence via blogs and answer any questions about blogging and digital marketing at any time via my email: manuela@seekahost.org.

 

 

My Home Office Setup for Remote Work During The Emergency Lockdown

My Home Office Setup for Remote Work During The Emergency Lockdown

It’s a time of change, it’s a time of novelty. Now that working from home, telecommuting or working remotely is a new reality for many due to social distancing and lockdowns, I am preparing myself to teach and blog from my living room for the foreseeable near future. Recent studies show that remote employees that work online from anywhere are far more productive than in a standard office as they require less time to get ready or commute to work. Let’s see if I can put this theory to the test while creating a comfy home office with hopefully the best home office layout design I can come up with.

Analysis of my Current Work Situation at School and Home

Teacher-working-with-parents-and-students-in-classroom-and-school

So far, I have mainly taught in the classroom on a daily basis so this was my main work place. Here, I would have a desk with a laptop and I would spend probably one to two quarters of my day documenting, communicating and sharing my classroom work on the computer. The rest of the work day would be actively teaching, preparing activities, cleaning or tidying and of course most importantly interacting.

I have therefore never really set up a so called home office. I usually work on my laptop when blogging, sitting on my sofa, my bed or my bean bag when I am at home. With the majority of my time being spent using the computer during this isolation period, I probably will have to change that. Because apparently posture and efficiency are better in a properly set up home office.

How to rearrange the Home and Routine for a better Home Office Experience?

Remote-worker-setting-up-home-office-for-more-online-work-efficiency

Online orders have shot up during national lockdowns and so it is only natural that I start to browse Amazon and Co. for some home office equipment. However, I don’t want to rearrange my whole living room, so I try to look into options to use the furniture I already have and how to optimise it.

What can I change in my living room/main home office space?

I have a dining table and an office chair. It’s a good height and provides sufficient space. During the first few daysadjustable-standing-and-sitting-home-office-desk-for-blogging I work from here. I feel good, I hold video conference calls and write documents, emails, articles, but somehow I don’t enjoy facing the wall opposite me. I remember that I have an empty space next to my big balcony window with a view out to Canary Wharf. I purchase a foldable home office desk with two slim tables that are adjustable in height and wheels so that it is mobile.

I create space for all my things and I feel better looking out the window every now and then and enjoying the light coming in. Another plus is that I’m not next to the fridge any longer, which is tempting to eat more and take more short breaks. Maybe because I am “locked in”, I have more of a desire to look out. I improve my posture by alternating between working while sitting and standing up whenever I feel a need to. This also helps me from getting a stiff neck and back, which I tend to get easily. In between I can stretch or do a few yoga poses to refresh my body and mind.

What else to consider apart from the office space?

Since I won’t spend much at this stage, I want to focus on the basics plus the non-material aspects.

Light: Looking at the light, I feel having the desk by the window is a good choice as I’m utilising the natural light as much as possible. I won’t really need a desk lamp for most of the day and by that I also save energy. The sunlight streaming in doesn’t cause any disruption as my desk is in front of the wall, so not directly in the sun. We all know that natural sunlight has a lot of health benefits like being a good source of Vitamin D or increasing energy levels and productivity, so I’m happy with this decision.

Space Organisation: Taking a look at the organisation of the space around my desk, I have everything I might need to grab or get near me on my shelves. By that I’m avoiding time loss to fetch documents, gadgets or office tools. It’s not cluttered, but organised in different drawers and shelves, so it’s easily available.

Nutrition and noise: My living room is open plan and the kitchen is part of it. The good thing about it is that I Healthy-foods-for-remote-workers-working-from-homedon’t have to go far to grab a drink or food. The bad thing is that it can be tempting to take more snack breaks. However, staying hydrated throughout the day is important for a good performance level. And obviously eating healthy and light meals, so having fruits and vegetables handy should do the job. The other aspect is noise. There aren’t many loud noises around me usually, but of course, preparing food in the kitchen can be distracting. If that was the case, I could consider wearing headphones, playing my music playlist on Spotify or my audio book on Audible. Another tip for people who work better with white noise are sites like Coffitivity or Noisli for background noise that improves focus and productivity.

Movement: As already mentioned, my adjustable desk allows me to stand up instead of sitting when I feel like it. While standing I could make calls, hold video chats and virtual meetings or record videos such as tutorials. Writing also works while standing, but works slightly better when being seated I feel in terms of my posture. Because my office desk is mobile, I can move it around in my living room, which enables me to watch something on my laptop while cooking for example. However, it is also important for me to allocate time slots where I stretch, do some yoga or a quick workout.

Scheduling: I realise that I need to structure my day more effectively. The morning is probably the best time to be active and use the energy to hold meetings, record videos, delegate tasks and make phone calls. The afternoon is more suitable for writing and editing tasks, where I have to be focused and should avoid interruptions through messages and phone calls. It’s obviously not always possible to stick to the schedule, but to have a rough outline of the work day helps to get things done effectively with a goal in mind. Breaks should also be part of this. I usually take a snack break and a movement break every 2-3 hours. I have also found it useful to set myself goals for the day in the morning that are achievable in a day, which lead to achieving my long-term goals set out for the month or year. I use my Paulo Coelho planner for this and prefer to note it down in a handwritten manner.

Me-time: I start the day with a 10 minute meditation and a physical exercise to get ready for work. Mostly I do 30Being-active-for-best-posture-when-working-online-on-computer minutes of yoga or HIIT exercises. This wakes me up, prepares me and helps me plan the day ahead. I just have a coffee and a smoothie before getting started with work. My couch is next to my desk so if I feel like taking a little time out, I can just briefly lie down or take my bean bag to the balcony to catch a bit of sun for a breather.

Lessons From Remote Working during Lockdown #1

Lesson #1: Working from home has been challenging at times, especially with regards to delivering education in the same format and way as in the classroom at school and there are certainly many limitations to overcome in the future to provide remote learning and teaching at a high level that is satisfactory for everyone involved. I have covered these challenges in more detail on the UK Education Blog:

8 Most Pressing Challenges in Education Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lesson #2: Overall, it has been a pleasant experience though for me personally. I felt I could be more productive while using the additional time I had for outstanding tasks, because I didn’t have to commute. I also had more time to exercise and communicate with others via video chat and messaging platforms and was therefore able to devote more time to pastoral or team-related matters. This was vital during this period of complete isolation from colleagues, students and all other social contacts.

Lesson #3: I can certify that improving my home office has helped me feeling better working on the computer all day long and has improved my focus and enjoyment while working. I would highly recommend an adjustable and mobile desk to alternate between standing, sitting and moving around. There’s a reason why Microsoft Eyes Guard reminds us to take short breaks every 30 minutes or so. One should also bear this in mind when scheduling meetings to ensure they have 5 minute breaks in between each. I have written articles about home office improvement options:

15 Smart Tips For The Remote Worker’s Home Office Setup

Activities one can do during a lockdown in London:

10 Best Activities to do in Lockdown London this Autumn

And possible home business ideas in case you are inspired or are considering moving into online work: 48 Home Business Ideas Guide