Get the Party Started: 5 Ways to Revamp Your Blogging Techniques

CCC is excited to welcome guest contributor, Katrina Manning! You can learn more about Katrina at the end of her article. 

When it comes to marketing your business, one of your most critical tools is blogging. For starters, it gives you an effective way to communicate with your customers. Secondly, it can help boost the SEO of your website. Yet, is your blog still having trouble getting noticed? There isn’t any question that blogs have a lot of competition. In order to get people to read your blog, you need to make it easy to find, produce high-quality and relevant content and have a design aesthetic that appeals to the contemporary viewer.

Revamp your blogging techniques to invite more readers to the party!

Revamp your blogging techniques to invite more readers to the party!

Here are five tips for revamping your blogging techniques:

Keep your content original and interesting

It should be common sense to understand that people only want to read articles that are original and interesting. Yet, you may be surprised to see that there are thousands of blogs with copied and illogical articles that cause most viewers to shake their heads and never return to those spammy sites again. When it comes to revamping your blogging techniques, you might want to take inventory of your current article cache. Do they provide relevant and informative content? Are they original? If not, it may be time to do some housekeeping. You don’t want search engines to pass over your blog. Use keyword searches to look for fresh ideas, or offer a different angle on a popular topic. Just make sure you are not writing the same types of articles found on almost every other blog within your niche.

 

Put mobile first

In 2015, Google announced that more searches were performed on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries. In fact, U.S. web designers always advise building sites that are mobile-first, then creating desktop versions. Smartphone screens are getting larger, and tablets continue to increase in popularity. Many users enjoy the card-style layouts, made trendy by Pinterest. This might be something to consider with regard to revamping the overall look of your blog.

 

Think of video

When it comes to external communication strategies, brands are increasingly focusing on video and — the buzzword for 2016 — virtual reality. Although video is helping to strengthen messages many brands are trying to convey, content isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Think of the stories that videos tell, different formats and even videos with no sound. If you can successfully integrate video with content and perhaps start dabbling in virtual reality, you’ll have something superior on your hands.

 

Work on your social media profiles

One of the most cost-efficient methods of advertising is through social media. With that being said, you should make sure you cross-link your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with your blog. In addition, you need a voice of your brand to promote your blog posts throughout your social media platforms. Do this on a consistent basis to get the word out and drive more traffic.

 

Connect with readers

One thing that readers will value is a personal connection. Other than your content, there isn’t anything to keep your readers coming back to your blog. On the other hand, if they have an outlet to share their thoughts and get the sense that a response will be made, they might be more inclined to revisit. Compare this to your personal Facebook page. When you post about something you like, do you not go back to see if any of your friends liked or commented on your post? When one of your readers has the opportunity to comment on your articles, they may come back to see if you’ve responded or if anyone else has responded.

On top of that, you can create an email list of willing subscribers by placing an optional subscription link on your blog. You can make it non-optional, but people don’t like to feel they were forced into doing things. If you make it optional, you have a higher likelihood that the people who signed up will be more receptive to your messages. When you email your subscribers with your updates, you can use your real voice to give it a more personal touch. You can be a subject matter expert and still appeal to the human trait of desiring companionship. People don’t want to feel like a number, they want to feel important.

As markets and personal preferences change, so should your blog. Performing a revamp every several years isn’t just good for you, it’s also good for business.

Katrina Manning is a web writer and editor with over six years of experience penning content for a wide variety of sites and publications, such as Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, IBM, The Purple Cow Agency blog, Sweet Lemon Magazine, Udemy, Business 2 Community, Personal Finance Hub, The Iowa City Owl, Newsiosity and Seven12 Magazine. 

2015: Storytelling, Platelets & Facebook, Oh My!

2015: what a long, strange road it’s been.

Our visitors and views climbed for the 4th straight year!

Thank you for visiting the CCC blog this year! We’re excited to see an increase in visitors and views for the 4th straight year, each year of our existence.

We publish a wide range of content and that showed in the diversity of our most viewed posts in 2015.

Our top 5 posts as voted by your eyeballs:

  1. The Psychology of Color: Following Guides or Going With Your Gut?
  2. To Give or Not To Give…
  3. 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Facebook
  4. Kindness in the Workplace: A Guide for Your Organization
  5. Mad Men: Master Storytelling In Any Era

Bonus: Things I Carry: Pen and Paper (missed the top 5 by 1 view)

As wide-ranging as our content is, it all leads back to our four main categories: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection (including entrepreneurship/small business).

Our fourth most viewed post this year was written by one of our contributors, Carol Preibis from Ahh the Simple Life. If you would like to contribute an article (or series), check out our guest blogger invite.

We’ve had contributors from all over the world, just like our audience. Here are the top 5 countries that read our blog:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Brazil
  4. India
  5. Canada

How did our visitors find us? Search engines refer most of our traffic, although social media plays a role too. Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook all sent readers to our front door.

We look at analytics to help us craft future content, but we’d love to hear from you! Are there any subjects that you’d love to see an article on in 2016? How about follow-ups to any articles you’ve read? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or contact us to make your voice heard.

Chime in on 2015 (and beyond)!

What was your favorite article or series on the CCC blog?
What country do you join us from?
How did you first find the CCC blog?
What topic(s) would you like to see covered in 2016?
How will you ring in the New Year?

As we count down toward the ball drop, enjoy one of my favorite memories of last year.

In 2016, may we all be champions.

Happy New Year!
Jaime

Let’s chat (about content, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Ten Common Misconceptions about Quick SEO

CCC welcomes Eve Haugen to the blog! Anyone with a website (or blog) is always looking to improve his or her search engine optimization (SEO), and of course, you don’t want to wait to see the results. Insert quick SEO — tips and tactics to give you a quick boost in your search rankings and website traffic. Eve’s here to share her knowledge on the subject and dispel ten common misconceptions about the practice. Enjoy!

The science of SEO is constantly evolving. Although a long-term strategy, it can also yield quick results with the right tactics. While there is a range of tips on how to get around quick SEO, the misconceptions about it are galore and the people spreading such rumors are the ones who have hardly dabbled in it.

Ranking factors of Google's search algorithms

Ranking factors of Google’s search algorithms

So, here are some of the SEO myths – If you are alert enough, you will immediately package these practices in a box and throw them away.

  • Google will NOT build strategy for you: This is a well-followed mantra of website building. You build a website fattened with content and you expect traffic to flow into it. Well, it doesn’t! That is why SEO professionals are still needed. You need to pay attention to the best keywords, develop your user’s experience (UXD/UED), insert links and ensure fast page downloads so that your website stands out.
  • Stuffing your page with unnecessary keywords can instantly get you a better rank: Well, that is not a good SEO tip. Keyword density – the number of keywords found on your page that determines the relevancy of your work – should never exceed a certain maximum. Keyword density may be an important metric for ranking a page, but it isn’t the only one. Your keywords also need to be relevant to your material. Don’t add them randomly because they always stick out.
  • Adding unnecessary promo boxes and ads can give you more clicks: Times have changed, and with it, mindsets. It’s best to do away with these ads as they hardly generate extra clicks. People are no longer interested in them.
  • Guest posts do not matter: Hell yeah, they do! Moving posts from guest bloggers to your page is an excellent technique to generate quick traffic. Recently, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, drew attention to the importance of guest posting and promoted it on his blog. Well, he said it, so is there any reason to doubt it?
  • Link building can be ignored: A content marketing team greatly benefits from a link builder. Link building is an important aspect of Google’s ranking schemes that give you a greater visibility to the outside world. Especially back links – when you acquire back links in relation to your content, you make it visible to a larger audience. It’s a much needed SEO tip for good promotion.
  • Quick SEO is all that matters – after all it’s just a one-time strategy: SEO in its essence is a long-term process that requires immense planning, but in case you’re in a hurry, quick SEO tips can be of great use. However, these tips should only be used once in a while.
  • SEO is just a one-time strategy – do it quickly and get it done: SEO requires a continual investment of your time and energy. Otherwise, your website’s content just rots. Continuous SEO integration helps in keeping the competition away and allows you to keep track of the continuously evolving techniques.
  • We can miss out on the social buzz – after all we are in a hurry: Google doesn’t care about the number of Facebook shares or your Twitter followers but successful social buzz can put your content right in front of your target market. It helps in building links, search engine discovery and spreading of content to the outside world.
  • The flashier, the merrier: Excessive use of flash content can go against your desired SEO results as search engines mostly understand the language of HTML.
  • SEO is easy so anyone can do it: SEO is not child’s play; even quick SEO techniques require an able hand who knows how to implement them. It requires care and analysis and well-informed people can help you with this.

Well, these are just a few misconceptions about SEO techniques, which stem from people who are still fixated on black hat SEO. These unethical techniques are supposedly cheap and easy to work with, but they can cost you dearly.

Remember, quick SEO can work for a certain time frame. Once, twice – that’s okay. But never fall into the allure of quick SEO all of the time.

Eve Haugen, author of this post


Eve Haugen
is a freelance writer, whose passion in writing drives her to craft articles that are engaging, informative and meaningful. Her partnership with QuickSEOResults has given her an opportunity to take her writing to a new level.

Your Invite: It’s Spring Training At The CCC Blog

Welcome to the CCC blog, rookies and veterans alike!

Root, Root, Root for the home team!

Nothing beats a night at the ballpark!

With spring training coming to a close, we thought it would be a great time to show you around the place. This blog (and website) is set up to help you, so here’s how to navigate it with ease.

Popular Content

Today, everyone wants to know, “What’s hot? What’s everyone else doing?” Well, here’s our answer. The Popular Content area on the right hand side toolbar shows you what people are reading every day that you visit. It varies wildly from recent posts to ones penned a few years ago. Rest assured, you’ll find an intriguing topic in Popular Content.

Categories & Tags

While we do have a search box (upper right hand corner), the Categories and Tags clouds on the right hand side toolbar can point you in the right direction quickly. In general, our posts fall into one of four categories: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection. However, we take a variety of routes to get there, as evidenced by some of our tags. What’s the difference between a category and tag? A category classifies the main topic of a post while there may be 10-12 tags or other topics mentioned. Does that make sense?

Archives

Our Archives (on the right hand side toolbar) are like those scrapbooks you never get around to making. With one click, you can see what we were writing about in October 2012 or the beginning of this year. Easy peasy!

Contributors to the CCC Blog

This is where it gets interesting (and fun). We’re fortunate enough to have some fantastic contributors to this blog, who are noted in this special section on the right hand side toolbar. CCC values different opinions and viewpoints, so we’re always open to guest bloggers. For more on a guest blogging opportunity, click here. If you’d like to check out our guest posts, just click on the Guest Bloggers Category link.

CCC Wants to Give You A Voice

Clearly Conveyed Communications offers marketing, writing and social media services, which you may have figured out by our main blog categories. Check out more information on our services, and let us know if you have a specific project to discuss or a question in general. We’re here to help!

If you stumbled across our blog and like what you see, subscribe. At the very top of the right hand side toolbar, you can choose to receive email or RSS Feed updates. Want to read our posts in your pj’s? Go ahead. We won’t judge!

“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.” -George Will

Pitch In!

We’d love to hear from you! Join the discussion by adding your unique voice to a topic raised on a post, or contact us if you’d like a little more privacy. As a communications company, we welcome your opinion and recognize that more voices add to the discussion and create amazing solutions. All we ask is that you be respectful of others while you’re here, so everyone can enjoy themselves.

What topics would you like to see covered in future posts?

What’s an incredible blog post you read (or wrote) recently?

What’s your favorite tag on the CCC blog?

We love trading ideas and supporting fellow blog owners. Feel free to leave your blog URL in the comments, and remember to let us know what you write about. Happy blogging and baseball season!

CCC’s Manager,
Jaime

Tag, tweet, mention or pin us –> Join the conversation:  
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Auld Lang Syne & Happy New Year!

The time has come to say goodbye to 2014.

Happy New Year from CCC!

Before we watch the ball drop to kick off 2015, let’s take a quick look back at the year that was. My helper monkeys, Mojo and Penelope, have prepared an end-of-year report for the CCC blog. Thanks to you, what a year it’s been!

Consider this:

 A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

We shared 69 new posts this past year, usually sticking to our Tuesday and Thursday schedule. You came early and often, culminating on November 20th (Mexican Revolution Day?!), our most popular day with 54 views.

What posts tickled your fancy the most?

  1. Promotional Products as Effective Marketing Tools
  2. 50 Things I’m Grateful For… Summer 2014 Edition
  3. A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Search Engine Optimization
  4. Kindness in the Workplace: A Guide for Your Organization
  5. To Give or Not To Give…

Along the way, we hit two notable milestones: 200 followers and 500 likes. Thank you!

CCC hits 200 likes! 11.25.14CCC hits 500 likes! 11.21.14

Loyal readers, you came from near and far. The United States, India and Brazil were our most represented countries, and we had visitors from 91 countries around the world. Some of you found us through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, our top referrers.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.  -Dr. Seuss

OK, now you can sing “Auld Lang Syne.”

Cheers to peace and prosperity in 2015!

The CCC crew,
Jaime, Mojo and Penelope

Welcoming old friends and new, connect with us!
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Where else can you read about MacGyver, Marketing and Leg Lamp Cookies?

As we approach the 200 follower mark, it seemed like a good time to officially welcome (or re-welcome) everyone to the blog and answer some frequently asked questions.

The doors open... come on in!

What’s this blog about? 

In a nutshell, posts typically fall into 4 main categories: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection. As loyal readers will tell you though, we may take any number of roads to arrive at the destination. Elvis? Check. MacGyver? Yes. Leg lamp cookies. What else would you expect?

How can I check out previous posts? 

The categories and tags balloons on the right hand side of the page are great for delving into posts on specific topics — booksbranding, paying it forward, etc. If you’re looking for what others are reading, check out the popular content section on the right hand side. It changes daily based on what people are reading that particular day. The archives heading, again on the right side, is a great way to find a past post from a specific time period, say September 2013. Looking for different voices? Scroll down to the Contributors to the CCC Blog section on the right sidebar to enjoy business insight, thoughts on branding and even original poetry.

Do you host guest bloggers? 

Yes! We’ve been blessed to host some wonderful guest bloggers, including those referenced in the aforementioned Contributors to the CCC Blog section (on the right hand side). You can browse all of our guest posts here.

Are you interested in being published on the CCC blog? Click here for more information.

What’s CCC stand for anyway?

Clearly Conveyed Communications. We give companies and brands a voice by assisting them with their marketing, writing and social media needs. Wondering what to post on Facebook? Looking for some magical marketing copy? Trying to keep tabs on your ever-changing market? Give us a call (or email or tweet or message…)! We’ll be happy to discuss your next project — no strings attached. Just have a question? That’s OK too! Hit us up; we might just know the answer.

Who’s the voice behind this blog (and site)?

Me. 😉

What can we expect to read in the future?

This is where you come in! Are you looking for information on a particular topic? Would you love to hear more about something previously touched on? We love your feedback and try to use it to shape future content. Drop us a line or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

So that should just about do it. Any other questions? Thoughts? Suggestions?

–>Who’s read this blog in their pj’s?<–

Photo credit: the doors open by Torley Olmstead via CC BY-SA 2.0 // modified by the author

Cheers,
Jaime

Join the conversation: 
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Walking on the Wild Side to a Devoted Blog Following

In our last post, we talked about attracting an audience when you first begin your blog, and a little about Field of Dreams. (Hey, it was a great movie.) Thanks to all who contributed to the discussion. Now that people are coming through the turnstiles, how do you keep them at the park?


Google Calendar’s a lifesaver, but I couldn’t live without my Harley-Davidson wall calendar.

Publish Consistently

Of course, quality content is important, but so is publishing consistency (even more so than frequency, in my humble opinion). Choose a frequency that you can handle (realistically, not in your dream world), and stick to it. When I first started this blog, that was my biggest issue. I’d publish a post here and there, which didn’t help with drawing visitors. Once I committed to a schedule, business definitely started to pick up. Last year, I decided to up my frequency to twice a week, publishing on Tuesdays and Thursdays (after initially experimenting with Tuesdays and Fridays). It’s a commitment, but I’ve managed to stick with the schedule pretty well with a little planning and guest bloggers.

A Note on Guest Blogging

Note that I only began inviting guest bloggers once the CCC blog had reached a decent readership. Second, guest blogging has come under fire recently because some marketers and social media folks (OK, a lot of them) have abused it as an SEO tactic. Google has been criticized by some circles for warning against this practice, but you shouldn’t be guest blogging or accepting guest bloggers purely for SEO purposes. Will the proposed content interest and benefit your audience? If not, then pass. The same is true if you’re looking to write for other blogs. Only propose content that fits their audiences and don’t stuff it with unnecessary links back to your work.

Yours Truly, in leopard print

Yours Truly, in leopard print. Hey, I’m not really a buttoned-up kind of gal.

Walk on the Wild Side

It’s OK to walk a little on the wild side sometimes or have a wide path to begin with. It may take a little time to figure out exactly what topic(s) you want to discuss. This blog is a little different because it covers a myriad of subjects, but they’re all related to four main topics: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection. It just so happens that Elvis, MacGyver, The American President and leg lamp cookies all relate to these topics while giving the blog a breath of fresh air. I have a plethora of passions and like to try new things, so it’s only appropriate that my blog is wide-ranging as well. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to take a stand on an issue or two. (Just don’t hate; that’s never helpful.)

Open Mic Night 

Involve your readers; don’t lecture at them. People like to share their opinions and experiences, which will add another dimension to your blog. Always ask for comments, and feel free to throw some specific questions out there. It’s always fun to hear others’ points of view. We’re fortunate to have people around the world reading this blog, and I love hearing from them. (Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for British accents, so I always read comments from Great Britain out loud complete with accent.) Sometimes a post can take on a whole new meaning because of a question posed or insight provided by a reader.

Don’t worry if your blog’s comment box isn’t blowing up either. You may have loyal readers who love your posts who would never venture past the like button, if that. Some people prefer to remain silent while others don’t want to take the time to leave insightful comments or just don’t have anything else to add. Regardless, if your follower count keeps creeping higher, then people are listening.

That’s the leopard print lady’s take on filling the grandstands with devoted readers. What do you think?

What other suggestions do you have?

Is anyone else in love with animal print? 🙂

As a reminder, we covered how to get folks to visit your blog in our last post. We’d still love to hear your thoughts on that subject as well.

Still walking on the wild side,
Jaime

Constant Readers, let’s get social…
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Using Google+ to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings

This is the final post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you missed any of the first 3 posts, you can review them here.

Clearly Conveyed Communications Google+ header

Search engines like Google are influenced by social media profiles, especially Google+. As Google’s own social network, Google+ carries major weight in boosting rankings on the largest search engine in the world. Its profiles are very helpful in personalizing search results that go beyond the local search results. If you wish to personalize searches, then carry out the following steps:

  • Create a Google+ profile for personal use and a business page.
  • Give a +1 share to the websites that you wish to generate rankings for. You can also share websites on the profile page and link to them using the personal information boxes in the recommended websites section.
  • Completely fill out the personal profile, so it comes up in appropriate searches and draws interest from other people.
  • Update your status regularly, and keep the status of your profile information public (for better search results).
  • Share interesting information from other people so you’re not entirely self-promotional (and to help connect with others).
  • Network with people who you feel can benefit from seeing your website in the search results. You can use the search box on Google+ to search for people and add them to your circles.

The idea is to gain popularity on Google+ so that you can get better rankings in personalized search results.

Keeping Track of Your Results

After all the hard work and effort taken to achieve better SEO of your website, it only makes sense to keep track of the results. You can use the following two tools to monitor such results easily:

  • Authority Labs – very effective in tracking keyword rankings that are used for your website and helps to check whether they have moved up in the search results or not. The account comes with a fee but has a 30-day trial period to test it.
  • Google Analytics – an all-around solution for SEO monitoring. It helps with monitoring visitors to your website, checking organic search traffic sources and understanding which keywords are used by people to find your website on search engines. This tool also tracks the keywords that can lead to people visiting your site and joining a mailing list, purchasing a product and other actions you want them to perform.

There are many tools and resources available to improve your SEO but the above two can help start off your campaign in the right direction. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this 4-part SEO guide to help you improve your website’s search engine optimization efforts. A special thank you to Ramya Raju for writing the guide and sharing it with CCC’s readers. For more on the first 3 parts or Ramya, see below.

Ramya Raju

Ramya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.

Link Building to Success: Optimize Your Website

This is the third post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you missed part one or two, we’d recommend reviewing them first.

While reading the first two parts of this series, you were probably wondering when I’d get to link building.

chain links

Link building is without a doubt one of the most discussed topics in SEO today. The idea is that your website is linked to by other websites and blogs, which helps in building higher rankings for your website for specific keywords. By using keyword anchor text, your site will get ranked for that particular keyword. For example, Adobe Reader is ranked number one for ‘click here’ anchor text because most download links for the reader shared on different websites are labeled with these keywords.

There are a few ways in which link building can be performed.

  • Organic Linking – the best way to gain rankings is through organic links. Such links are generated without you putting in any effort, and if they come from sites with higher rankings, like media websites and well recognized ones, then there is nothing better for your website’s SEO.
  • White Hat – quality link building efforts that follow search engines’ policies and still focus on your human audience. For example, only link to quality content when it fits within the context of your post. Don’t spam your audience (or someone else’s) with unnecessary, broken or unhelpful links that don’t contribute to the discussion.
  • Black Hat – the wrong way of link building that involves spamming and low quality back links, which should be completely avoided. It can lead to penalization by search engines and actually damage your SEO efforts.

Getting other websites and blogs to organically link to you is tough. It takes time and effort for your site to become popular enough to draw the required attention. That’s the reason why link building is an art and building quality links has to be planned well. The following methods will help you receive quality, organic links from outside sites:

  • Submit blog posts as a guest writer on the most notable blogs pertaining to your industry. These blogs will allow you to link back to your site in the author box.
  • Partner with related businesses that have their own websites and try to get a link back from their pages for partners, vendors, suppliers, etc.
  • To generate better incoming traffic to your website, create local search and social media profiles. The direct effect of these profiles on your search engine rankings is debatable but they will help drive more traffic to your website (which in turn will boost your SEO efforts).
  • Buy advertising space and/or submit your website links to dedicated industry directories and online trade journals. Don’t submit links or purchase ad space on low quality websites that are unrelated to your website (even if it’s free to do so).
  • Publish content which is so rich that people share it on their sites and blogs, providing you with useful back links. Infographics are an example of content that is typically shared at a high rate.

Photo: “Chain Links” by Eric Martin / CC BY 2.0

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first three parts of this 4-part series on search engine optimization. Check back next Thursday for part 4, Using Google+ to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings. As a reminder, posts are published on the CCC  blog every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

Ramya RajuRamya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.