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Boosting Your Blog With Instagram

What is a blog without readers? Increasing traffic to a blog’s website is a daily challenge all writers must face. Although it might seem nonsensical to use a photo app to acquire new blog viewers, Instagram is a huge network of potential viewers! As of 2016, Instagram boasts approximately 600 million followers. In addition to a large audience pool, it has several perfect features for marketing your site.  By using the right tools and strategies, an Instagram account can boost your readership exponentially. Here are a few tactics to help you succeed:

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1) Add the site link to your Instagram Bio

Thankfully, Instagram is a beautiful app. With the swipe and tap of your fingers, you can maneuver your way across the platform and easily access photos. To prevent spam, Instagram doesn’t allow you to add a hyperlink in the caption of your photos. However, Instagram allows you to add a hyperlink to your website inside of your bio, which appears at the top of your page. Upon clicking the link, Instagram redirects a user to your blog without even exiting the app. This increases viewership of your blog prevents upsetting users by forcing them to abandon the app. Whenever you publish a new blog post, add a relevant photo on Instagram and include in the caption “link in bio” so users know where to look.

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2) Post often and post smart to attract followers

The more Instagram followers who see your photo, the more people are exposed to your blog link. Use Instagram to your benefit by posting often and posting strategically. Use popular hashtags like #instagood, #love, #photooftheday, and other high traffic tags that offer maximum visibility. Hashtags might seem silly, but they’re one of the best tools for increasing followers and likes on your pictures. Additionally, studies show that posting at certain times helps increase likes, such as 5pm when Instagrammers are most active. Finally, avoid posting photos that could be mistaken for spam. 

Instagram - Wooden Bridge

3) Reach out to other Instagrammers

Are you wondering how someone gains followers? Keeping to yourself isn’t the answer. Follow, like, and comment. Performing these three actions on other people’s post will increase your following. Develop the habit of regularly reaching out to other users for consistent personal gains. Business blogger Neil Patel found that for every 100 “likes” he gave other followers, he gained about 6.7 followers and 21.7 more likes. In addition to liking posts, taking the time to comment on photos further increases your follower count. Users see that you’re interested and feel compelled to return the favor.

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4) Use Instagram Business

Instagram has a really cool feature that enables you to turn your account into a “Business Profile”. A business account gives users access to analytical tools showing which posts performed the best. These statistics are important for determining which posting tactics proved to have the highest levels of performance, including reach and impressions. Also, this type of profile comes with a “contact” button positioned in the Bio area,  encouraging other users to easily contact you. If you’re wanting to take things a step further, you can also produce ads which promote your post.

Instagram, a social platform dominated by pictures might not seem like the best place drive new blog viewership. However, knowing how to utilize the program to your advantage will open the door to success. With an estimated 600 million users, Instagram is a treasure chest waiting for you to discover its potential.

How to be Environmentally Friendly for the Holidays

environmentally friendly Christmas

The holidays are a time for cheer, happiness and everything bright! We’re always on the search for gifts for our friends and relatives while surrounded by decorations and lights. For many of us, it becomes easy to lose focus on things like school, work and even our finances. Gifting isn’t always cheap! One important thing that often gets overlooked during this joyful time of year by many is something that affects us all equally: the environment! Unfortunately, the holidays, with the lights and the gifts, is particularly non environmentally friendly. This year, however, if we all pitch in and pay a little extra attention, we can make some positive efforts towards preserving the Earth we all inhabit and love. Here are some tips on how to be environmentally friendly this holiday season:

Be Christmas Light Savvy

What are the holidays without Christmas lights? Boring? Dull? Anyways, as pretty as the twinkling bulbs all over your home are, they do tend to waste a lot of energy when not tended to. With the entire United States population of holiday lights combined, that’s a terrible amount of both air pollution from the carbon dioxide released when generating electricity and light pollution. There are several ways in which this could be reduced. One way is by adding a timer to your lights, causing them to shut off at a certain time. Another way would be to purchase energy efficient lights, including those of LED lights, which are much more energy efficient compared to incandescent lights. Christmas lights are necessary, but don’t have to be destructive.

Wrap Gifts Better

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d be upset if someone handed me a sweater without any wrapping. Year after year, we receive and wrap gifts in beautiful paper that we quickly rip off and throw away. The amount of waste from this process is exorbitant and it’s far from environmentally friendly. Compared to any other time of the year, there is a significantly higher amount of trash thrown away during the holidays.  It is estimated that there is enough wrapping paper used every year to cover 5,787 NFL football fields. I’m no running back, but I could tell that that’s terrifying. My suggestion is to find new ways to wrap your gifts. This can include old newspapers, paper shopping bags (Trader Joes?!) and old magazines. Paint them or add glitter for some extra pizzazz and you’ve got a gift whose wrapper kept on giving!

Shop Smarter

If I counted the miles I drove trying to find the perfect gift the in past few years, I’d have enough to circumnavigate the globe. Multiply my own inability to reasonably shop by everyone else in the same situation and that’s a lot of driving. Fortunately, the internet does exist. But for those that like to shop in actual stores, be strategic. Make lists ahead of time including a gift idea for everyone. Also make sure to add a backup idea if you can’t find what you need. Also, find people who also need to shop and carpool. By shopping in groups or pairs, not only are you being environmentally conscious by saving on gas, but you also have a group to give you advice when shopping. It’s a win-win.

I hope you can have a very merry environmentally friendly holidays using these simple and easy suggestions! Have some other tips? Drop them in the comments below!

DIY Father’s Day Gifts

Father's Day

Father’s day is coming up and if you’re anything like me, you don’t have a gift or even the money to get one. Working with a college budget can be tough for any gift-giving holiday, but this year have no fear for DIY gifts are here! These homemade crafty gifts are cost efficient and sure to put a smile on your dad’s face.

Candy in a Bottle

Collect some bottles you or someone you know may be getting ready to recycle. Paint them or decorate them as you see fit. Next get 6 of your dad’s favorite candy and fill the bottles. Get a cute card and you’re all set!

Dad’s Dessert

Whether you cook up your dad’s favorite meal or go out to eat you will still need dessert! Bake a cake or a batch of your dad’s favorite cupcakes and decorate them using his favorite sport as the theme. Delicious and made specially for him!

52 Reasons Why I Love You

Most people have a deck of old playing cards lying around. This father’s day switch it up by using the cards to show your dad why he’s the best man in your life. Write a reason why you love him on each card and add cute designs to the cards to jazz it up.

Father Frame

This idea actually comes from Martha Stewart. Make a frame out of the word dad and fill it with your favorite moments with your family. It seems pretty simple and is definitely a unique gift.

Fishing Pole

Some dad’s like to spend their time fishing, especially now that it’s summer. Check out how you can make him a fishing pole. If you make two you can plan a fishing trip together and use them!

Happy crafting! Comment below with other DIY Father’s Day gift ideas!

Why Seek Adventure?

Defining Adventure

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The dictionary definition of an adventure is an exciting or dangerous experience. Personally, I consider anything that awakens something inside of me to be an adventure. Whether it’s completing a workout I wasn’t sure I would be able to or seeing a live musician on my bucket list- these adventures make me feel something. Feelings create memories and memories are all we really have as time passes in our lives. We all want to look back on our life and be flooded with memories that made us feel alive. That’s what adventures of all forms and magnitudes can give us.

College: Opportunity for Adventure

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It’s never too early or too late to experience life to the fullest extent. But let’s be honest- there are definitely times in our lives where opportunity for adventure presents itself more than others. College is one of those times. Time spent in college is for most, the first time they really had complete freedom.  Your parents are not knocking on your door to wake you up for class nor are they waiting for your to return promptly by your curfew late at night. Hopefully you are also given at least some freedom in what you choose to study and ultimately how you want to spend the rest of your life. If you want to take the long way home from class or work up the nerve to ask someone new if they want to spend time with you, it’s all in your hands.  You spend your time how you want to spend your time. Please, seek adventure! But do remember that college is the time to set yourself up for success in the future. Just don’t forget to truly live.

Make Your College Adventure One for the Books!

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eCampus.com wants to help college students experience life to the fullest during the time in college. That’s why we launched the Make Your College Adventure One for the Books! campaign this August. We started it off by giving four lucky college students an adventure package- ranging from a hiking package to a sporting event package during the My College Adventure Giveaway. We don’t want it to stop there. We plan to continue our efforts to encourage college students to try things out of their comfort zone. Connect with eCampus.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for announcements of upcoming giveaways!

Why Ballet is Great for College Students

Ballet Culture

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A great way to take a short break from your studies during the week and learn relaxation techniques, strengthen your muscles, and endurance is by participating in ballet classes. Most ballet studios have classes for adults and college students can participate in the classes. Also, some liberal arts colleges offer introductory ballet courses to their students to earn an extra half a credit or so for physical exercise. Ballet helps you become a more successful individual and achiever in a multiplicity of subjects, since both your mind and body work at once when performing. The soothing classical music also helps your brain to think on a more advanced level while your body is working. Since modern culture does not possess the features of the past, ballet is one way to help you become a more accomplished and educated individual in a modern world. Modern culture is inculcated in technological advancements that do not promote the drive for individual success because the new devices think for us, as opposed to the specificity and quality of art, intellect, and talent shown as the main dynamic in the past culture’s focus on art. You become acquainted with French words, which not only increase your vocabulary, but also you attain a more complex understanding of a foreign culture and language.

Bar Exercises in Class

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Participating in ballet class helps your endurance, determination, and focus as you have to perform intricate moves and steps and piece them together. Class begins with exercises at the bar. During this time you complete a round of plies in various positions, rond de jambs, and arabesques. There are usually other bar stretching exercises to help you become limber before performing the main routines. At this time, you are warming up to complete more rigorous moves. You must keep your head raised and slightly tilted, your shoulders aligned, your back straight, hold your arms throughout the exercises slightly bent, your toes pointed at the correct angle, your legs turned out, and your fingers slightly separated and curved while doing the bar exercises. It is especially important to do this when beginning the bar exercises because you must start the lesson with technique. You are required to think about this technique all at once while executing the precision of the exercise, which helps you to learn to multitask. Multitasking is often required to succeed in college- so you’re training yourself.

Floor Exercises in Class

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After warming up at the bar, there are floor exercises. The dance instructor begins to work through routines beginning with less strenuous ones that progress into more complex performances by the end of the class. You have to learn to transition from the bar to the floor and keep your balance by tightening up and thinking even more about the technique at the bar. Usually the instructor starts with a series of simpler exercises such as pot de bourrees, piques, glissades, and pas de chats that lead into more complicated jumps and turns. These exercises teach you how to progressively think in more complex terms, and such thinking is necessary to succeed in most areas of life.

Final Performance in Class

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By the end of the class, you learn to put the ballet routines together in a more complex sequence and perform them. Each class is more of a new learning experience than others because each class has new and varied combinations to learn, which makes the art of ballet more intriguing than other forms of athletics. You have to constantly be thinking as you are on your toes when you take ballet to improve your technique, which makes it a worthwhile challenge.

To sum it up, ballet can be an extremely rewarding hobby for a college student. You will increase your vocabulary, learn to multitask and train yourself to think quicker and more complexly. Go ahead, give it a twirl. Find a dance studio near you.

Comment below with your thoughts and experiences of ballet.