Start Living Today is a workbook to help you figure what your goals in life are and puts you on the path towards achieving them. I used this workbook myself and this is what I think about it.
Some time ago, I published a post about how to achieve anything you want in life, I shared how I had this awakening moment where I felt the need to make a change and decided I no longer wanted to be a passerby in my own life, but to live consciously and with a purpose and a plan in order to create the type of life I want to live.
And this week, I am going to share with you something that can help you figure out the kind of goals you need to have in front of you and which can help you put your feet on the first steps towards achieving them.
This post is my review of the Start Living Today workbook by one of my favourite bloggers, Vanessa C. Dias (The Wellbeing Blogger). It is “a 30-page e-book designed to help people organise their goals and life in general.”
This workbook was gifted to me to use it and share my honest thoughts about it here.
This review is more of my own reflection and my thoughts on some parts of the workbook. This post certainly does not contain all the material or all the ideas discussed in this workbook. You can jump to my conclusion here.
What does your life look like?
When reading the intro to this workbook, I couldn’t help but relate to every word. The motive behind creating this workbook was also my motive to finally stop wondering about what my life could have been like, had I been there or had I done that, and start taking actual steps towards creating the life I want to live.
“I craved real change and I was tired of reading and listening to hundreds and hundreds of inspirational messages without achieving any real progress in life.” Dias says in the intro.
This workbook is designed with the purpose of helping you take this step too. To define your goals in life and work your way through towards achieving them.
The book starts by first helping you figure out what your life consists of and what matters to you in general.
What does your life currently look like? What are the things that are most important to you?
In order to make real progress in life, you need to have a very clear and defined point of view which will help you create a plan, but you first need to know exactly where you are in life and exactly where you want to be.
Where do you want to be in life?
After you make a list of the most important aspects/dimensions of your life, the workbook helps you decide where you stand now in each dimension of life, and it then proceeds to take you step by step to see how you can achieve the progress you need in order to get where you want to be in each of these aspects you specified.
The design of the workbook itself is created in a way that helps you write down every thing. There are questions to lead you on and then there are spaces so you can go ahead and write down your thoughts.
This way you become more aware of each aspect of your life. You are able to have an overview of your thoughts on each aspect in an organized, written form, and this makes you see things more clearly.
What is the story of your future self?
Towards the end of this workbook, you are asked to write the story of your life, given that you have followed all the steps in the book and achieved all the goals set there. And this was my favourite part!
As you have documented the way you see everything in your life right now and what you wish to change or achieve. You will have a clear idea of what kind of life you would be having when you do all those steps and achieve your goals.
When writing this part, of what my life would look like, describing everything in detail and including every aspect of my life that I wish to progress in, it honestly felt incredible.
It felt real and doable. It felt like this is something that I can work through and achieve. It made me want to move and start taking more actions towards my dream life, and start taking them right now.
What do I think of this workbook?
To be completely honest, when I first checked this workbook, I didn’t really feel like it could be of any help to me. I thought in my mind, “well, I already know this stuff,” and so I was skeptic that it was actually going to help me much.
But I decided to sit down and follow through and write down the answer to every question anyway, because I wanted to review it, and I wanted the review to be honest and based on my own experience with it.
After I went through all the questions and wrote the last answer to the last question.. I felt amazing! I felt happy and motivated.
There is a huge difference between knowing the answers to the questions in your head, and taking the time to sit down and write them in detail.
You may actually surprise yourself with things you didn’t even know were on your mind, or things that just slipped your mind due to the many other aspects of your life that you are juggling everyday.
The best part about this workbook, and why it is different from reading a self-help book, for example, is that it is something that actually pushes you to take steps as you go with every page.
So you’re not just sitting there, stuffing words into your brain that may or may not stick with you, you’re actually applying what you learn, and with every page you take a practical step forward towards your goal.
Final words on this:
If you already have your plan figured out and/or already took the first steps towards achieving your goals, it may still be helpful in the way that it was to me, helping me write down things I didn’t realize I had in mind, but I honestly don’t think it is mainly designed for you.
If you are someone who feels they are not living a life they are happy with, or if you feel like you need to make a change and you just don’t know how to start and you wish someone could help you and talk you through it, then this workbook will definitely help you.
It is going to help you have a closer look at your current situation and encourage you to think of different ways to make it better.
Till next week, happy days!
As explained by the creator of this workbook:
It’s may be a good alternative for those who don’t want or aren’t ready yet to work with a professional coach/psychologist and still want to improve their quality of life.
This workbook is currently available as an e-book.
If you don’t know how to use Pinterest to promote your blog, what Pinterest’s SEO means, or how to choose the right keywords, then this post is for you.
Before we start, I just want to say that after reading all that has been said of Pinterest and how to use it (and there is a seriously overwhelming number of articles out there!), I found that the amount of this information cannot fit in one single post. Unless, of course, my plan was to write a 10k words long post, which it wasn’t, to be honest.
So, in this post, I go over some of the basics for those who just don’t know where to start with Pinterest. And I discuss a few major points, like Pinterest’s SEO and how to choose the right keywords, plus some tips that should help you get off the ground and create some changes towards better traffic.
However, there will, most certainly, be more posts to come on Pinterest in the very near future, so I can share the remainder of everything I learned.
I have seen so many bloggers use Pinterest to drive traffic to their websites and it amazed me how much traffic some of them could get. However, most (if not all) of these blogs are lifestyle, beauty, cooking, or travelling blogs. All of these blogs are great with images.
There is nothing more expressive than a photo to show a great outfit, or a beautiful scenery, or a delicious recipe.
So while I had Pinterest on my mind as something I was tempted to try, I honestly wasn’t sure if this was something that could work for me given the nature of my blog and how it doesn’t at all depend on beautifully taken photos.
So I was clueless as to what I could do to benefit from this platform.
But I was persistent and I didn’t like the idea of letting a chance of such an opportunity, to drive traffic to my blog, pass by me without even giving it a shot.
So, I started searching on Pinterest to see if there is anything that is relevant to what I blog about and to my surprise, it was FULL.
One of the things I realized I could benefit of is “infographics;” for some reason I didn’t ever think about that, and no one ever suggested it to me when I asked a few for advice. But it turns out this is the perfect way I could incorporate my website’s material into a “pinnable” photo on Pinterest.
This brings us to the answer of this question:
Which niche can benefit from Pinterest? – Every single one of them.
Should you use Pinterest to promote your blog?
Yes, you most certainly should.
At the moment, Pinterest has around 250 million monthly users and it is used by people in every region in the world. Pinterest has proven to be a lead competitor among search engines because of how resourceful it is (some even go as far as saying it’s competing against Google, but that’s a little far-fetched in my opinion).
But I also wanted to know what bloggers around me think of it, so I started a poll on Twitter earlier this week to have some sort of an insight; and it looks like the majority of bloggers do believe that you should use it since the majority of them are already using Pinterest for their blogs.
According to this very humble poll, 74% of the 197 bloggers who voted are using Pinterest.
However, it seems that Pinterest is quite the confusing platform, because I also asked bloggers to share their experience with Pinterest so far, and although 74% of the voters are in fact using pinterest, not necessarily all of them know how exactly they can benefit from it.
And those 26% who are not using it are mostly either not interested in the platform or, like myself, bloggers who had no idea where to start.
But before we dive into how to use this platform, let’s first make one tiny clarification..
Pinterest is not Instagram
There is a misconception that some people seem to still have about Pinterest from what I’ve read and that is that they dub it as a “social media platform,” like Facebook or Instagram, which it was at some point in time, but now Pinterest is mainly a search engine, more like a visual search engine.
Now, people use Pinterest like they use Google. Maybe some people still use it to connect with other followers, but the vast majority of visitors use it for search. They type in a keyword in the search bar and Pinterest provides matching results to what they are looking for.
If you use this site with that mindset, you will have a different approach as to how to better your rankings there.
Because just like you should pay attention to Google’s SEO for your ranking on Google’s serp, you should pay that same attention for Pinterest’s SEO rules to get higher rankings on it’s search result page.
I would very much recommend reading my last week’s post on Google’s SEO The Simplest Guide To SEO For Beginners, in addition to this post, because you will need to have an understanding of both SEOs to be able to get more traffic.
What is Pinterest’s SEO?
Pinterest’s SEO is optimizing everything on your Pinterest account to follow the specific guidelines and Pinterest best practices in order to appear on a Pinterest search results page.
However, Pinterest is known for continuously changing/updating their rules (much like Google), so what may have worked a year or two ago, could get your account penalized now.
That’s why you need to be on the lookout for any updates that might affect your current pins and how they rank.
How to choose the right keywords for Pinterest
One of the most important things to pay attention to when applying Pinterest’s SEO is focus on optimizing your account with the right keywords.
These keywords should be in the descriptions of your board, board sections, and pins, as well as the titles of each one of those.
(If you’re new to Pinterest and don’t know how to create boards or pins yet, I’ll get to that in the next section.)
To know which keywords to use, you can do the following:
1. Pinterest’s search suggestions
When you search for something on Pinterest, it shows you a list of relevant keywords that is related to your search. These words should be your guide as to what most users who search that word would be interested to see.
Try searching on Pinterest with relevant keywords to your niche and look for the type of results you get.
How much interaction the pins appearing for this specific word are getting? You want to aim for the keywords that are getting the highest number of interaction.
2. Category search
You can search in the specific category that matches your niche. When you click on a category it will show you how many users are following this category and the most popular pins.
Under each category there are several topics, each topic you click will show you the number of followers of this topic along with the most popular pins shared in that topic, which should also help you figure which titles and images work best for this topic.
It will also show you a list of other related topics to this one. This information will give you an idea of which topic branches in your niche would perform best on Pinterest.
You can also go to the popular category and find out which topics and pins are the most popular at the moment on Pinterest in general.
How to start using Pinterest
I’m aware that probably most of those reading this post already have a Pinterest account set up; so if this is you, you may check if you forgot one of those steps or just skip this section.
If you are, however, brand new to this platform, here are the very first steps to take to start using Pinterest for your blog:
First you will need to go to Pinterest and sign up for an account.
Upgrade to Pinterest Business account to get more in-depth analysis of your account’s stats (it’s free).
Install a plugin to your website that adds a “save it” button on your blog post images which allows visitors to share it on Pinterest. Or get it from Pinterest here.
If you’re using WP and want to add a “save it” button on your image without installing a plugin, check these steps.
You can also add a Pinterest share button on your page along with the Twitter and Facebook ones (for WP users).
Allow your site visitors to follow you on Pinterest by adding it among your social media links widget. (for WP users).
Start creating new images for your blog posts with image size 600×900 (more on this below).
How to customize your Pinterest account
Once you have done the basic work which is join the platform and set your website to become Pinterest friendly. It’s time to work on the Pinterest account.
First you will want to create a board. The title of this board should be the title of your website/blog, for the sake of SEO, but also to make it easier for your visitors to know they will find everything related to your blog posts in this one board.
You should then edit the description of this board. And, when doing so, use as many relevant keywords to your website as you can; this helps with your SEO.
However, add these words in structured sentences, don’t just stuff many keywords randomly. This is because apparently Pinterest algorithms can tell if your are trying to use too many keywords to rank and will consider it a spam.
In your newly created board you can either add pins directly or you have the option to create separate sections and then add pins to each section.
This will entirely depend on your content. If you post about a variety of topics, it’s better to set a separate section for each topic.
This makes it easier for users to find the relevant material to their search query and, also, makes it easier for Pinterest to understand what your pins are about in order to suggest them under the right search terms.
And the section title should have relevant keywords and should give a clear idea to the user and Pinterest of what kind of pins it includes.
Now this is where most of the work lies. Creating attractive and relevant pins that will drive the user to interact with it, either on Pinterest or through clicking the link to your website.
As I am not exactly an expert on this yet, I can only tell you what I found to have been working, looking at the most popular Pinterest accounts out there.
In order to create an attractive pin, you need to consider three main aspects:
A. Image size
The ideal Pinterest image size as of 2019 is 600 x 900 pixels. And it’s important to note that super long images are no longer working on Pinterest, so you don’t want your image to be much longer than this range between 600 x 900 and 735 x 1102 (which is generally a 2:3 ratio) to be on the good side of Pineterst’s algorithms.
Some articles I read claim sometimes a square-sized image (600 x 600) can do you well with traffic because, for mobile users, it is the fastest to load. And one of Google’s most important SEO aspects is speed for mobile users, with that being said, it makes sense if it would favor showing a faster loading pin.
You can also see that Pinterest now gives you the option to share your Instagram photos, which are ideally square-sized ones.
So while the ideal Pinterest image size is bigger than that, it won’t hurt to add a smaller sized pin for one of your posts every now and then and monitor the performance.
Remember that Google Image search results page shows Pinterest images, so don’t forget Google’s SEO when setting up your Pinterest.
B. Photo quality
This goes without saying, but in order to have an attractive pin you need to make sure that the photo you are using is of high quality. Pay attention to the colors and the contrast.
The photo should also be relevant to the topic and one that conveys the message you are trying to give to the user.
C. Text overlay
Whether you actually need to add text or not will depend on your content. Some Pins wouldn’t necessarily need text to deliver the point, while others would make no sense without a text overlay.
When adding text, you should make sure that it’s bold and clear, and that it compliments the photo and not just adding visual noise to it.
You can do this by trying to use proper, readable font styles and font size and use coherent colors that goes well with the colors of your photo.
You can experiment with different photos and fonts and monitor their performance until you figure out which style works best for your content and gets the most interactions.
Infographics are a very good type of pin on Pinterest; and it works well for mostly every niche as it directly provides information to the user.
This will hopefully also create a bigger motive for them to read more into the topic and, therefore, will result in a click-through to your website. Or can result in sharing your pin, which is just as good.
When creating an infographic, there are a few things you would need to pay attention to:
Creating useful content. Beneficial and useful content is important for an infographic. You need to bring the “info” to infographic.
Engaging content. While focusing on the quality of the information, try to put it in a way that will get a reaction out of the viewer. This can be through asking an intriguing question or adding a motivational, funny or even shocking sentences/info. (This may not be an option for every post, but just keep it mind.)
Using the right layout to deliver your message. Try searching for similar keywords to your topic and see what is the most popular? Is it lists? Is it illustrations? Is it charts? The content of the specific post you’ll link to may also decide that for you.
Organized look. Regardless of the layout you will decide to use, make sure that it is organized and easy to read, don’t overcrowd it with information or use fonts that are too small to read.
Always remember mobile users. You might want to check how your pin will look on a mobile phone to make sure it’s clear enough.
How to drive traffic to your Pinterest account
Alongside the number one factor in driving traffic which is using the right keywords and adding them to your titles and descriptions, here are four more tips that can help increase traffic to your Pinterest account.
One thing that I found in common in all the articles I read is that being active on Pinterest is one the of the important factors in generating traffic to your Pinterest account.
So, just like with blogging, consistency is key in gaining audience and driving traffic.
It is best if you are adding pins daily. However, not everyone has enough time to login and add a new pin every single day, so Pinterest facilitated that for you by giving business accounts the option to schedule pins in advance; you can schedule up to 30 pins.
There is another way that I found a lot of users recommending and that is using Tailwind. It is an app that allows you to schedule pins to share on your Pinterest, among many other perks.
It is also approved by Pinterest, so it is safe to use. I honestly haven’t tried it (and I don’t plan to soon), so I can’t vouch for it, but I have only read good reviews about it.
B. Repin related pins
Another thing that can help your account be recognized on Pinterest is if you repin from other accounts that are related to your niche or things that those who would be interested in your content, might also be interested in seeing.
You can create a separate board on your account for those pins you add from other people and save those pins there, to keep everything organized.
C. Join group boards
Joining group boards on Pinterest that post about similar topics to yours, helps your account get recognized by visitors interested in this topic.
When you join a Pinterest group, you each add your pins and then repin each other’s pins to your board.
This way you get more exposure through the other accounts’ following and increase your Pin’s popularity by increasing its impressions and repin rates.
However, when joining borads, make sure to join ones that are in fact related to your niche and ones that aren’t overcrowded with members, a good number would maybe range between 20-25 members, as it is said that Pinterest has been paying more attention to group boards due to high pinning/repinning ratios which can equate spamming.
D. Use #hashtags
On Pinterest, you can use hashtags like you do on Twitter; and it is said that this can increase your visibility on the search result page for both the actual word and the word with the hashtag, as it let’s Pinterest recognize your content as relevant to this specific topic
Usually you would add the hashtagged keywords in the description box of your Pin, after you’ve explained what your pin is about in sentences that are also rich with the relevant keywords.
To get more pin views on Pinterest:
The below steps are the things you need to check and fix in order to help you get more pin views on Pinterest which can hopefully lead to more traffic to your blog.
Here are the 10 tips to get out of this post.
Proper size (600×900) and high quality images.
Put mobile users in mind (clear and bold fonts are best).
Useful and organized infographics.
Use Pinterest search suggestions and category search to choose the right keywords.
Proper use of Pinterest’s SEO: Make sure you use as many relevant keywords in the titles and descriptions.
Remember that Google Image search results shows Pinterest images. So pay attention to Google’s SEO.
Join group boards and repin related pins to your niche.
Treat Pinterest like you treat your blog, in that, be consistent with pinning (preferably daily).
Create new pins for old posts. Pinterest likes active accounts with new pins.