How Do The Social Algorithms Really Work?

Features

Instagram Algorithm

Why chasing followers is pointless

If you are on social media there is a good chance you have seen someone posting recently asking for help to reach their follower goals. There is nothing about this I disagree with. If I am scrolling on social media and it is going to take me 3 seconds to follow you and help you I will gladly do it. What concerns me is that people don’t realise how these social networks actually work. Follower numbers is something that is very low down in the list of what helps your engagement. Both Twitter and Instagram have algorithms that favour certain factors well over the actual number of followers you have, and someone with 10 followers could easily post a post that absolutely kills it compared to someone with 20k followers who posts a post that gets little engagement.

So the question is, how do the social media algorithms work?

Twitter

Remember when Twitter changed their timeline from a chronological one to one that works in a similar way to Facebook? Then made it possible for you to see tweets someone else has ‘liked’? Do you want to know the reason for this?

Twitter are WAY, WAY behind Facebook in selling advertising space (or inventory as it is called in the business). The only way they can increase the space they have to sell advertising on is by showing you more tweets. Now obviously, everyone would start going crazy if they started getting shown absolutely random tweets that have nothing to do with their interests. Thus, Twitters little tweaks were born.

When you are looking at your timeline, you are actually looking at a collection of tweets that have been gathered by Twitter and then scored by ‘relevance model’. This is the first indication follower count means nothing. If you usually tweet about beauty, it is likely that most of your followers have the similar interest of beauty. If you start going out there on a limb and tweeting about politics, it is highly likely near enough none of your followers will see it.

This is also the case with the ‘in case you missed it’ part of your feed. You may not necessarily be shown tweets from people you know, but if they are scored as relevant you will see tweets by people you do not follow.

How does Twitter rank tweets for you?

There are a number of different ways that tweets are ranked using the Twitter algorithm. Twitter now borrow quite heavily from how Facebook’s newsfeed works. There are three main factors to your tweets being ranked.

The tweet itself

The tweet itself is a big factor in how it is ranked in other peoples newsfeed. The media and language used in the tweet is one way that relevancy is determined, but also interactions. Once a tweet starts to gain interactions. So this is where the domino effect comes in. Basically you want to post out a tweet that gets as many interactions as possible in the first few minutes of it’s lifetime. These interactions then ensure the circle widens a little. Then the interactions from these users makes it widen more, and it continues. If you want a tweet to go viral you really want to be looking at getting as many RT’s and likes as possible in the first few minutes. Timing and hashtags, I have often found, are the best way to do this.

When you are A/B testing the best times to tweet, remember the above. The way your tweets appear on someones newsfeed will be completely different to the way someone else’s will. You cannot just read a generic “this is the best time to post” guide and hope it works for you.

The tweet’s author

The second thing the Twitter algorithm takes into account is the author. Randomly, the origin of your relationship is one of the factors they count. So if you both followed each other around the same time, you have more chance of seeing each others tweets in your feed. If one of you followed then the other took ages, there is less chance. Past interaction also plays a part here. If you have interacted with this persons content in the past, regardless of relevancy, you will be more likely to be shown their content now. Your ongoing connection to them is also a huge factor. This is to ensure people see stuff from family and friends and continue to use the platform. If you regularly interact with someone you will see their content all of the time.

This is why, rather than follower hunting or furrowing your brow over algorithms, the best thing really is to just make friends and interact with people.

The tweet’s you found engaging in the past, and how often you use twitter

The engaging in the past bit sounds pretty self explanatory doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Twitter will show you similar content to what you have liked and RT’s in the past.

The “how often you use Twitter’ seems a bit confusing doesn’t it?

Well let’s put it like this. Say Twitter ranks content 1 – 10, 10 being the most important and relevant to you. If you use Twitter really rarely, like once a week, then your feed is going to be filled with solid 10s from that week. If you are on Twitter a lot more often, you have more chance of those pieces of content ranked below 10 being shown to you. So engaging with people on Twitter will benefit you, but knowing who is on Twitter a lot and engaging with them more is going to be absolutely worth it’s weight in gold to you.

Instagram

Instagram is probably one of the biggest bug bears of bloggers recently. The merger with Facebook did nothing for us, and also the constantly changing goal posts seem to make it impossible to get a break. Like Twitter, they have also recently released the ‘you might like’ feature which is again down to not having enough inventory to sell to maximise profit on their ad space.

The good thing about Instagram is, although it can see confusing from the outside, it is a really simple, sequential process that you can easily learn to take advantage of. Here are the steps Instagram takes with it’s algorithm, and how to make the most of them.

Step 1

Your post is shown to a small percentage of your followers. No one seems to be able to agree on what this percentage is, but LinkedIn’s is 10% so it is likely that it will be around this figure as all of the social networks use very similar algorithms.

Step 2

Instagram measures how much engagement your post gets from this smaller audience. Again, the trick is to get as much engagement as possible. The more views, likes and comments your Instagram post gets the more likely Instagram is to bring it to a larger audience of people. It is the same as the way engagement works with Twitter, it is like a domino effect. As soon as your post starts picking up steam it just gets shown to more and more people.

Step 3

Now for the comparison stage. Instagram compares the engagement of your posts to previous posts. If it is getting more engagement, it will get shown to more people. If it gets less, it will get shown to less. This part of the sequence is why when you start to do well on Instagram it just snowballs. Posts that are getting less engagement tend to be shown further down in the timeline.

Posts that are getting a lot of engagement, especially in a short time, are shown higher up on the newsfeed and also the knock on effect means that they will be shown to other people. Posts with high engagement are the ones that get exposure on the explorer pages.

So there you have it guys. You could have millions upon millions of followers, but if you are posting content that no one engages with it will seriously get you nowhere.

Adding on to this, a really helpful Reddit user also added on that the posts are shown to a smaller audience for one hour. Instagram then works out what PERCENTAGE of your followers engaged. So not only is it silly to have ghost followers, it is actively detrimental.

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9 Foods You’ll Remember If You Were A 90s Kid

Features, Food, Quick Reads

It’s a strange old thing to think that even at the tender age of 30 there are foods I used to eat when I was younger that have now disappeared off of the face of the earth. I can remember if it was a gradual thing that Angel Delight worked its own way out of my life or if I simply stopped buying it because I became an adult. In either case, here are some foods that will TOTALLY take you back to the good old days of dressing up as the Spice Girls and trying no to choke on your Push Pop while playing pogs.

Custard

Custard

I get it – custard still exists. When you pass about 10 though, does it REALLY? I cannot remember the last time I thought “oh, do you know what, I’ll grab some custard at shopping”. What do you even eat it with as an adult? Can eating custard ever be as good as it was when you lost your shit over it being on the school dinner menu that day, or is it just banished to the world of nostalgia?

Tottenham Cake

Tottenham Cake

Admission time. For the entire time at school I had Tottenham cake I had no idea it was called that. To me it was just sponge cake with pink icing. Reason being, it’s just sponge cake with pink icing. A few months ago I was reading a Twitter conversation about foods people missed and I saw it named, with a picture. I don’t know how it got it’s name or if it is affiliated with Tottenham in any way but if it is I need to take a trip there because this is one food I truly miss.

Parma Violets

Parma Violets

Ok first of all can we just get something straight? If you feed your kid Parma Violets, this is child abuse. Seriously, what weirdo actually liked these? I’ll never forget the sheer horror and disappointment of getting a party bag with these little twats in instead of Fizzers. To a 9 year old that really is the end of the world.

Angel Delight

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I know you can still buy Angel Delight but I really feel like the 90s were it’s heyday. Such a versatile dish, so cheap, so easy to make. Was there anything more exciting in the whole world than coming home and seeing a big bowl of Angel Delight setting in the fridge? Usefully, it could either be a side or a topping to an existing dish, or a dish on it’s own.

Frubes

90s Foods

A lot of people don’t like or understand Frubes and while I am not one of them I can understand their sentiment. Pre-social media, Miley Cyrus and Trump, the idea of yoghurt in a tube was seriously controversial. Some Mums even went to the great length of banning them from their kids lunch boxes. The most hilarious thing is, there is absolutely ZERO difference between yoghurt in a tub and yoghurt in a tube. The launch of Frubes was probably one of the earliest forms of successful marketing, and you have to salute them for thinking outside of the box (well, pot).

Smiley Faces

90s Foods

As a long time potato fan, I like to think I have been around the block when it comes to foods formed of them. I’ve tried wonderful fondant potatoes in London restaurants, dauphinoise in truffle oil at a leading Thailand restaurant and also many, MANY forms of “posh mash”. But there will be nothing that beats a good smiley face. For a start, you cannot look at one and not be happy. This inevitably puts you in a great mood for the rest of your meal. Also, if you cook them right, they are the perfect balance of crunchy outside and fluffy inside.

Vol-au-vents

90s Foods

What ever happened to these? I look back on family parties and remember my Mum running around, flustered, stressed, and downing Martini because her vol-au-vent cases were not rising and there was no room to fit the filling in the fridge. EVERY party in the 90s served them.

Cress

Cress

Remember the days when cress used to be kicking about everywhere? I remember my Junior school being a bit like that film, “The Birds”, but with cress. it was everywhere. Not satisfied with growing it at school, I am pretty sure I made my Mum and Dad let me grow it at home. It took approximately 67 years to become long enough to be picked and used, and then when you did use it, it added NO additional flavour what so ever to whatever it is you were eating.

Capri Sun

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Not technically a food, but still up there with things that had a massive wave of popularity in the 90s. I think one of the things they succeeded in was creating packaging that could be squished down into a lunch box, thus leaving you room for more food. I’m sure everyone has had at least one incident where they have accidentally stabbed themselves with a straw, but it really made achieving the ultimate goal of getting it in the hole to actually drink it that much sweeter. Capri Sun still exists but they are bigger now and they have some ‘safe’ screw top lid. NOT THE SAME CAPRI SUN, NOT THE SAME.

The Ivy Grill, London

Features, Food

The Ivy Grill, London

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A couple of weeks into my new role in Seven Dials, I flirted with the idea of getting off at Leicester Square instead of Covent Garden. You must realise that for a woman of my age throwing that into my daily routine really is quite the source of excitement. Having trained myself to learn every shortcut from Covent Garden station to the office since I started, a new station was like a whole new world to me.

Once I got off and realised where I was I found a charming little street that led me straight to the office. Charming mostly because I passed The Ivy and Dishes. Passing The Ivy was pleasant because I had heard of it and passing Dishroom was pleasant because it always smelled incredible. When a friend recently suggested meeting up at The Ivy after work I was keen not to pass up on the opportunity to see the inside, especially as it is so well hidden from the view of the proletariat like myself.

Although I am. life long fan of surprises, I find it terribly difficult to not look at the menu before I go somewhere. Between being pescatarian and not being able to eat certain foods for health reasons I always like to be prepared so that I do not faff and hold up the other diners. The vegetarian options on the menu at The Ivy were less than overwhelming.

Oh ANOTHER mushroom risotto. How lovely.

I’m surprised I did not see the appearance of the one food item that really is the last refuge of the unimaginative chef – the bean burger. So we changed it to The Ivy Grill which is a bit further in to central Covent Garden, just behind the market.

Outwardly and inwardly The Ivy is a cosy experience. We were shown to a little booth which was just about spacious enough for the four of us and meant I didn’t have to curb my regular foul language in fear of offending fellow diners. Our conversations about awful Tinder dates and our favourite drag queens were perfectly safe.

I opted for the fish and chips because despite the vegetarian menu being more limited but also more appealing here there is something inside of me from various trips to Southend On Sea as a child that just cannot pass up the chance to have a really good fish and chips. Spending half of your life dieting means you spend the other half being seriously invested in finding foods that have your entire daily recommendation of calories in them. The battered cod did not disappoint.  The batter was crispy and light and I couldn’t help but think how much less satisfied I would have been with a mushroom risotto. The fish was just about fish enough for me to imagine some poor staff member freezing their tits off at Billinsgate fish market that morning. The chips were the dictionary definition of “man chips”. If you do not know what man chips are I’m talking the thick, long crispy numbers that could fend off a burglar with one swing. It was a perfect hearty meal for a drizzly London evening. My friends had the duck curry and the shepherds pie and I certainly heard no complaints their end.

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While the food is pleasant and palatable it isn’t very experimental so if this is what you are looking for from your culinary experience in London then it is maybe not you. If however, you are sick of having your mashed potato spiked persimmon and pomegranate and you just want a simple, elegant meal, this is the place for you.If you don’t go for the food, go for the atmosphere. It’s a welcome little bubble of privacy in a place in central London where personal space is a about as common as a free lunch.

The Ivy Grill is on Henrietta street just behind Covent Garden market. Menu items on the A La Carte menu start from around £15. 

CoolSculpting at Pulse Light Clinic, London

Features

Because of the complications that are associated with surgery many more people are now looking for non-surgical options for those touch ups that help their body confidence make a come back. Non-invasive lip plumping and face lifting have gained popularity in the last few years and there is now a fat freezing treatment available that doesn’t involve surgery.

Pulse Light Clinic in London offer the CoolSculpting treatment across all of their London clinics. The FDA approved therapy freezes fat cells and eliminates them without the use of a needle or any invasive procedures. Most people see results after 8 weeks and one of the main benefits of having a CoolSculpting treatment at Pulse Light Clinic is the fact that the CoolSculpting treatment requires no recovery time. The Liverpool Street clinic is centrally located and is open until 8pm on weekdays – giving you the perfect opportunity to pop by after work for a treatment.

If you want to find out more, you ca attend their upcoming event for a live demonstration. Details below.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pulselightclinic 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pulselight

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pulselightclinic/ 

Five Of The best places To Eat In Essex, And One Of The Worst

Features, Food

It hasn’t escaped me that my posts relating to food are the most read. In 2018 I plan on giving the people what they want and focusing more on food and events around Essex and London. Kicking off 2018, I am going to tell you 5 of the places you simply must eat in Essex, and one of the places you should avoid at all costs. People may think Essex is all TOWIE and bling, but there really are some hidden gems when it comes to fantastic food.

Best places to eat in Essex

Andi Walker Pop Up at the Riverside Inn Chelmsford

Places to eat in Essex

A few months back I was invited to Masterchef finalist Andi Walker’s pop up at the Riverside Inn in Chelmsford. The Riverside Inn itself made a wonderful impression on me as despite always hearing good reviews I had never been before. Andi Walker had taken over the top floor with his pop up. I spent a lovely evening eating inventive, original and of course, tasty food. Andi uses locally sourced products that are in season at the time, so everything on your plate is as fresh as possible. One of the things I remember making a lasting impression were the leek haji’s – amazing idea! I’ve recently been invited to another evening hosted by Andi, so I am hoping this means he will be at the Riverside Inn for a lot of 2018.

Best for: catching up with friends over amazing food and wine.

The King William IV in Chigwell

Places to eat in Essex

No roundup of places to eat in Essex written by me would be complete without paying homage to The King William IV in Chigwell. Saying I like it is an understatement. I like it so much, I plan on getting a flat in Chigwell as one of my 2018 goals specifically so this is my local. I’ve visited loads of times but one of the main attractions here is the Sunday roast. You’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else in Essex that does a roast as well as these guys. I’m hoping I’ll be able to start next year’s roundup with a lot more visits to this place. They refurbished last year and the atmosphere is incredible. in the winter you can take advantage of how warm and cosy it is, but in the summer they also have a stunning outdoor area for food and drinks.

Best for: Sunday roasts

The Dukes Head in Billericay

Places To Eat In Essex

The Dukes Head, which is in the Little Burstead area of Billericay is one of my families favourites. It’s ten minutes up the road from Basildon which is great because let’s be honest there are absolutely no decent places to eat in Basildon. We recently went for a Boxing Day meal and it was perfect. They obviously put a lot of thought and effort into their seasonal menu and also what they can offer outside of the standard Christmas dinner. The produce isn’t just fresh, it’s also really good quality, and you can tell whoever is in charge of the kitchen has a hand in the process from start to finish.

Best for: special occasions

Sheesh in Chigwell

Places to eat in Essex

Another restaurant in Chigwell that has made it on the list. It really isn’t fair those guys get all of the good places is it? Can you not chuck a restaurant to Basildon so we have some decent places to eat please? Sheesh gets a lot of press for being a huge favourite of the TOWIE set, and I think that actually is a double edged sword to be honest.  Because it is seen as trendy, I think people forget how good quality the food actually is. The Turkish themed menu has a huge amount of choice and unlike other similar restaurants you actually get quite a good portion size. There’s also a bar upstairs so you can certainly make an evening out of it. I recently tried to book while they were closed for some refurbishment, so I’m hoping I get to go back this year. Aside from the food, there is a reason it is a celebrity favourite. The luxurious interior and five star service will make you feel like a famous face from the moment you walk in.

Best for: glitz and glamour

Lifehouse Spa in Frinton

Places to eat in Essex

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking “is she REALLY putting a spa as one of her best places to eat in Essex?”. I know it seems highly illogical but among my many visits to Lifehouse one of the times that really stands out is the time I ate there. The restaurant uses locally sourced food, and unlike other spa restaurant that take themselves far too seriously, it offers healthy food but also a choice of ‘treats’. If you can’t get down in time for dinner, I’d highly recommend having the breakfast the next day. If you are only visiting for a day then book the lunch. I had lunch there when I reviewed them for Spabreaks and the lunchtime buffet restaurant looks out on to the grounds which are an English Heritage site. Also, in case you need any further persuasion YOU ARE IN A SPA. I’m booking up to go back here in a few weeks and I’ll definitely be getting my hands on as much food there as possible.

Best for: relaxing

And the worst place to eat in Essex

Reids in Billericay

A few months ago, I visited Reids in Billericay for a friends surprise baby shower meal (yep, they are a thing now). We were to order off of the set menu but the lack of vegetarian options was astounding. Because there were no starters which catered for vegetarians I ended up with two pieces of dry bread which despite assuring me they wouldn’t, they tried to charge me extra for because they were not on the set menu and were a side.

I can’t have cream, so the main that was the ONLY vegetarian option was out of the question (side note guys, you have NO CHANCE of eating here if you are vegan). I ended up having to have fish which is not ideal but is my go to when restaurants are so poorly equipped to cater to vegetarians as Reids were. The lack of actual food was also astonishing.  Our party were so hungry afterwards some of us actually went to Mcdonalds. They have the sheer audacity to charge more than most of the places I have listed above which is laughable. To top the evening off the waiter made a huge mistake with our bill and instead of just getting a manager like a normal person he argued and argued for around an hour before a manager did come over and ascertained it was actually their mistake. They had just started a new system so one would assume that common sense would have prevailed and he would have figured out this was the issue.

Common sense, evidently, does not prevail anywhere within Reids bar.

I wrote them a TripAdvisor review and they advised they were to have a new menu coming out which would be a lot more vegetarian friendly. My Mum went to her Christmas meal there and said it was still lacking in choice significantly (she is vegetarian too) and the food is awful.

Spend your money on Nando’s instead.

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RJ Hair, Rayleigh

Fashion, Features, Health & Beauty, Out & About, Quick Reads

RJ Hair, Rayleigh

Hair Cut Rayleigh

It’s no secret that I hate having my haircut. There isn’t a particular reason, a hairdresser has not ever chopped my head off or anything, but I just find it boring. So when I found RJ Hair in Rayleigh, the first thing I thought was “wow, that looks like a nice place to spend a couple of hours” and I was sold.

Getting a haircut in Rayleigh

RJ Hair in Rayleigh is situated on the high street right opposite The Roebuck. So if you have ever been to Pink Toothbrush and had a few drinks first then you will know EXACTLY where it is. Parking is located more or less behind the salon so it’s easily accessible from public transport or car.

I booked in for a trim as I haven’t had one since before Cyprus which is preposterous, and my Mum booked in for a cut and colour. Everyone at the salon is really welcoming and the inside is lovely. They even have a colour bar complete with iPads you can use while waiting for your colour.

The staff are really talented and my wash cut and blow dry was amazing, I popped up to the chemist afterwards feeling like a pure 10/10 (I’m about a 4/10 on a good day). My Mum stole my thunder though as her hair came out lovely.

Having your hair coloured in Rayleigh

Mum wanted a full on change. She had hated her hair for ages and even asked me to trim the ends for her (I said no, last person who should be trusted with scissors).  She had a lot but off and a full head of highlights and it looked AMAZING. I can’’t believe how natural the highlights look and the cut is perfect. The team there are so good, I’d really recommend them and I’m thrilled that I’ve finally found my forever hairdresser. Everyone obviously feels the same as me as EVERY SINGLE Facebook review on their page is 5*. 

Hairdressers Rayleigh

Get in touch with RJ Hair, Rayleigh

01268 947030

Website: https://www.rjhair.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RJHair.x/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rjhair.x/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjhair_x

Flyte Energy Drink

Features, Food, Health & Beauty, Quick Reads

There are three things everyone on this God given earth wants more of. Time, money and energy. Unfortunately, until that time machine I am working on gets going I can’t offer you more time, and believe me after Christmas I cannot give you any money – but I can offer you a solution to the energy issue.

Energy drinks are one of my biggest vices. Despite the fact I know they are terrible for the numerous stomach problems I have, I still drink them all of the time. If they are available I’ll always go for a cleaner one with less calories, but it really isn’t often you find one. When Flyte offered to send me some of their clean energy drinks to try I was expecting a couple of bottle to rock up so I could give them a go instead of my daily Red Bull.

When I got home from Iceland there were two big boxes of Red Berry and Orange Clementine then Green Mango and Citrus waiting for me and after the most jam packed holiday ever I was more than eager to try them.

The first flavour I tried was the Red Berry because I am a girl and will automatically go for anything red or pink given the opportunity. I really liked the flavour and one of the things I liked was that it wasn’t syrupy or sickly like some energy drinks are. I tried the Green Mango one after and this is the same, if anything it is light and refreshing. I drunk my Flyte in the morning mainly because I am actually a weirdo and I’ll have a fizzy drink in the morning on the way to work and then water for the rest of the day.

I replaced one of my MANY pre-work coffee’s with Flyte and it definitely gave me more energy. In fact, one day I had two along with my regular vitamins and I was bouncing off of the walls! Flyte is 100% something I would recommend if you want more energy. The bottles it is packaged in are really convenient as well – how many times do you end up downing a Red Bull in record speed because you can’t do it back up and save some for later?

Because Flyte is made from natural, organic products and contains caffeine that is extracted from Green Coffee, you don’t get that slump you get after the huge sugar rush of other energy drinks. They also do a lot of work to ensure they are carbon positive so if you are looking for something a bit more ethical than standard then visit their website for more info.

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How To Make Money From Your Blog

Features, Lifestyle, Quick Reads

Have you ever wondered how bloggers make money from blogging?

If you have just started out and you want to learn how to make money on your blog from affiliate marketing it can seem daunting, but it is really simple once you get the hang of it.

Make Money From Blogging

It occurred to me the other day that my day job gives me loads of insight and information that I could use to help bloggers who want to make some money through advertising on their blogs. Going into 2018 I am hoping to create some informative posts as well as normal ones. Affiliate marketing is something a lot of people shy away from dipping into because they do not feel they will get it right, but it’s super easy once you know how.

Pick the right affiliate or affiliate network

If you want to start running some affiliate marketing on your blog, you can either contact companies you have worked with directly or use a network. There are different benefits to each method and it really depends on how niche your blog is.

Direct

Setting up a direct affiliate programme may be a little bit more tricky than a network one as you need to ensure that the company is tracking your conversions. If you are going to approach a company to start running some affiliate marketing for them agree to the terms and conditions before you start running the promotion. Make sure they are able to provide you with a link that tracks the conversion back to you and test it before you start.

Networks

Using an affiliate network is probably the best way to get started if you are a beginner. I use one of the largest networks, Rakuten. I use them because they have big names on board like Beauty Bay, Smashbox and Charlotte Tilbury. Everything is pre-packaged so all you need to do is copy the links to your blog and then you are set. Obviously, Rakuten takes a cut, but if you are just starting out with affiliate it is worth the cost for how easy it is to use.

Learn the types of commission

One of the first things you will want to find out if you are going to venture into affiliate marketing is how much you will get paid and when. There are a few terms that circulate around when it comes to affiliate marketing that sound super confusing, but trust me they are easy to understand once you have them explained.

Last click commission

Last click commission means that whatever affiliate is the last to place a cookie on the user’s machine gets the commission. This means even if the user has clicked on a link through to the website from another affiliate in the past, you will get the commission for being the last person to direct them to the website and encourage the conversion to a sale.

CPA

CPA stands for ‘cost per acquisition’. The company you are hosting affiliate links for will set the acquisition before you start running the affiliate programme. It can be a number of different things but one of the most common ones is a completed sale. Once the users convert to a sale you will get the pre-agreed rate of commission which is usually a percentage.

There are also websites like CPA Lead where you can earn commission on things like account creation web form sign-ups. These are usually things like online casino’s so you may need to think about whether this will fit in with your blog or not.

CPC
CPC stands for ‘cost per click’. It is more unusual in affiliate programmes but there are some that will pay you per click. If the campaign is for brand awareness rather than to drive direct sales then you may find that the advertiser is willing to pay you per click or per lead rather than per acquisition.

Fixed Cost

If all else fails, and you are working with a small company who may not be able to provide links that track back to you, or you just find the affiliate pricing structure confusing, you can always set a fixed price. You will agree a time frame with the advertiser and then both come to a mutual agreement on how much you get paid. This can seem like an attractive offer for bloggers as you do not need to do much if they have already paid you, but remember, this company may grow and want to pay you a high rate at CPA or CPC in the future.

Think about how you are going to drive traffic

Getting signed up to a network or an affiliate programme is the easy part. Now comes the hard work. How are you going to drive traffic to your blog? If you already have loads of organic traffic, great. If not, you will need to take measures to ensure you make the most out of your live affiliate programmes. You can easily use the model content arbitrage websites use. Basically, those slideshows about Kim Kardashian you see at the bottom of the Daily Mail are huge money makers. They get paid every time you refresh the So all you need to do is set up a Facebook or similar social media campaign promoting the blog with your affiliate programme on it, and work how much you can bid from your conversion rate.

Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? It’s not. If I get it, anyone can.

Let’s say for example you have a lovely brand that are going to pay you £10 every time someone signs up for their newsletter. GREAT SUCCESS. This is quite lucrative, so you want to put some paid advertising on Facebook in the mix to get things started.

Facebook gives you the opportunity to bid whatever you want, so let’s start with £0.05.

If you are bidding £0.05 and you get paid £10.00 per lead, you need a conversion rate of 1/200 to break even.

£10.00 divided by £0.05 equals 200. 1/200 is your conversion rate.

Once you have been running the campaign for a while you can track the conversions. If more than 1 in 200 people are converting, then you can afford to bid higher and get in front of a larger audience.

If fewer people than 1 in 200 are converting then you need to bid lower.

See, it wasn’t as hard as it sounded, was it?

Support other bloggers

If you support other bloggers by reading and engaging with their posts, then they are more likely to support you and use your affiliate links. Even if it doesn’t bring you any conversions, it’s just nice to be nice and great for networking.

If you want to host banner ads you will need to upgrade to a self hosted blog. Blue Host seem to be the cheapest people to do this with.

The Dukes Head, Little Burstead

Features, Food, Out & About

There’s a lot of horrific food knocking about in Basildon. Not content with having one of the poorest hospitals in the country, a giant mock “Hollywood” sign and the most unhelpful train station in the world, Basildon has a knack for taking crap chain restaurants and bunching them all together for the convenience of the inexperienced palette. If you have never heard of “Bas Vegas” or the Festival Leisure Park as it is actually called, then I am completely jealous of you. Sometime in the 90s, a board of people sat together and thought “let’s make things easy for the people of Basildon and bunch together as many cheap restaurants as possible in a car park with a cinema and a gym”.

Where to eat in Basildon?

So if you have a celebration or a special occasion in Basildon you are pretty much limited to one of the three, yes THREE Nando’s we have here, Frankie and effing Benny’s or Coast to Coast, which has changed names more time than P Diddy. If you are a bit of a foodie, like me, the outlook is pretty grim. Luckily, quite some time ago, I had an interview at a wonderful little pub called The Dukes Head in Little Burstead. A few months later while choosing somewhere to eat I remembered the charm of this place and we booked up.

The Dukes Head, Billericay

I’ve reviewed it a few times before as I love it here, and this has now become the “go to” place for nice meals out and celebrations. For anyone in Basildon, The Dukes Head is ten minutes up the road and well worth the petrol. As my Mum and I volunteer together on Christmas Day, we tend to go out for a nice meal on Boxing Day so we can actually eat together and chat, so this was the obvious choice. The hearty Christmas Menu from The Dukes Head was everything you would expect from the festive season.

When it comes to starters I am the most boring, un-adventurous person in the world. Tomato soup is always a winner for me. People may look down their nose at that but I think there is a lot to be said for a bowl of really fresh, well-made tomato soup. Consistency is key. There is nothing worse than looking forward to a bowl of thick, creamy tomato soup and being delivered a watery monstrosity that mirrors the cup-a-soups you get on a Ryanair flight for about £5. The Dukes Head served up a simple, yet elegant tomato that was thick enough without being sludgy. Sludgy soup is also a no from me. They were also kind enough to serve up some oil and balsamic vinegar to accompany the ciabatta. A welcome surprise for bread enthusiasts like myself.

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No Christmas menu would be complete without a Christmas dinner with all of the trimmings. One of the things that keep me coming back to The Dukes Head is the fact that they put so much effort into the smaller details. The clementine stuffing balls for example. A slight twist on a classic that makes all the difference taste-wise. The mouth watering gravy. Lord only knows what they put in it but I need to find their secret. The other secret to their success is the cooking in general. If you are looking to fill yourself up with overcooked or undercooked mass-produced swill then maybe you are better off going to Bas Vegas. If you want to eat something that has been cooked specifically for you by expert hand then come here.

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Following on from dinner was the great dessert debate I engage in at every dinner. As someone who has such an intense interest in all things cheese – I’ll usually go for the cheeseboard at the end of a meal. But there was one word on the menu that caught my eye: gingerbread. Yes, ladies and gentleman of the company-owning world if you want to catch a bloggers eye, just add gingerbread. Gingerbread lattes, gingerbread creme brûlée, gingerbread toilet roll, whatever. It works. So in a break from my cheese tradition, I ordered the gingerbread creme brûlée with a nice, strong Americano just so I’d have the energy to walk to the car.

Anyone who indulges in pimple popper videos will probably, also enjoy the sheer, unadulterated pleasure of cracking the top of a creme brûlée and having the creamy underneath mixture pop through like a volcano. Not a proper volcano though, a less angry volcano. Miffed or mildly annoyed if not raging. The brûlée was served with a tiny gingerbread man and in all honesty, despite my constant battle to try and get the UK population to eat like they were raised by humans and not wolves, I did pick him up with my fingers and dip him in. It was what he was there for, and were I to eat him separate from the brûlée I would have felt that I was diminishing his entire life purpose.

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Is it nice at The Dukes Head, Billericay?

As well as the delightful food, the nice atmosphere, and the friendly service, there is another thing I absolutely love about The Dukes Head. Rolling to the car absolutely full to the brim.

The Dukes Head Boxing day menu was £25.95 for three courses.

Things I’ve Learned This Year

Features, Lifestyle, Quick Reads

2017 has taught me a lot. After losing my Nan in 2015, I would say that the back end of this year is the first time I have really started to level out, feel well and feel like myself again. Unfortunately, that has come at a cost. There have been a hell of a lot of people that haven’t understood this year that I’ve needed to take a step back to get better. Life is all one big learning curve, and I’m glad I have learned what I did this year even if some things were the hard way.

Even people with mental health issues, may not understand your mental health issues

This year I gave up drinking and decided to focus on my work and getting myself better. That has put a lot of people off being friends with me. Not being available like a helpline 24/7 has offended some people I am close to, literally, the last people who I would have thought would not be understanding of how much I need this time and space to get well. Fortunately, taking some time out from everyone and everything is the easiest way to figure out who your true friends and family are. The ones who wish you well will be right back there waiting to pick up where you left off.

Alcohol isn’t good for me

I gave up alcohol in August and despite one setback getting a bit drunk at the work do and going missing in action, I haven’t really drunk. Being drunk makes me incredibly “not-remembery” and heightens my anxiety massively. I won’t even get the whole morning after fear – it literally is about three weeks that my anxiety is bad for if I have a drink. I’ve now learned that if I do drink, it makes me really unwell because I don’t tend to do it now. As I sit writing this I am feeling rather smug as I drunk water all of last night at my friends and I have no doubt they are hungover the amount they put away. This is also one thing where I have found out who my real, true friends are. All of my friends have been super supportive. They’ve managed to find the balance between being polite and still asking me if I want a drink, but not pushing me into it. Now I can actually remember conversations I have with people the next morning.

Sometimes friends or friend groups just shouldn’t be mixed

I was really close to a someone a little while ago and if I am going to be perfectly honest, she treated me awfully. It wasn’t until just recently that I found out literally all of my other friends disliked her because of how badly she treated me. Despite being the typical Pisces and wanting everyone to get along – sometimes friends just don’t mix. I’m the sort of person who loves organising big events and getting everyone together, but sometimes people are just kept better separately.

You can get that dream job

I worked in my care job for six years more or less (there was some traveling and working abroad in that time). I worked my way up to a manager because this is what I thought I should be doing and what everyone told me I should be doing. I hated it, and it took a toll on my mental health. All being a manager meant was that I didn’t get time with the customers and I had even more stress. When an area manager started that hated me from my care days because I had to be a whistleblower and she did NOTHING about it until I started telling other managers, I knew my time was up. Needless to say, she did everything she could to get me out so I left.

At the grand old age of 29, I had to rethink my entire career path. I got a job for a small start up as a digital marketer based off of my experience outside of this job with my blog and some bits and bobs I was doing there for their marketing team. six months down the line the investors pulled out. It didn’t matter. I had quickly identified that the way I could make myself the most valuable was to find out EVERYTHING about programmatic so I asked and asked and asked some more and spent many a train ride reading and learning about the real-time bidding process. Now I have a job at an advertising agency in Covent Garden, and my probation is up more or less the same week I would have left my care company a year ago. I’m working hard and praying I pass it, as I love it there. I actually left my care job on my birthday last year, so this year all I want for my 30th is to pass my probation and hope I have finally found my forever job.

Physical health is really important

When I was about 14, I used to have McDonald’s breakfast EVERY day. I’m not even joking. Our school bus stopped outside McDonald’s and I got breakfast there every day without putting on an inch. 16 years later and a spell of the pill and antidepressants and I only have to look at a cheese melt dipper and I put on a stone. The whole giving up alcohol thing has done wonders for my weight and my skin, so I thought why not carry it on. Now I eat fairly healthy and take Hello Day vitamins as well as going to the gym. The buzz I used to get from alcohol I now get from knowing that I am doing absolutely everything I can to keep my body healthy.

In 2018 I am going to try Prepp’d  who deliver fitness food straight to your door. This may sound lazy but I am a firm believer in paying someone else to do things you can’t be bothered to do yourself.

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