Kenora Thistle Stanley Cup Champions

Small Town Spirit

February 13th, 2017

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There is just quite something unique, authentic and empowering about small town spirit. The people of Kenora will reach new heights of spirit this week, as they host #Scotiabank #HockeyDay in Canada.

Centre of Canada

Growing up in Kenora Ontario was just an awesome experience. Having the Lake of the Woods lapping up along the shore of our town, being two hours from Winnipeg, six hours from Duluth, five hours from Thunder Bay, ninety minutes from Dryden, two and a half hours from Ignace, three hours to Sioux Lookout, three hours to Red Lake, an hour and a half to Ear Falls, thirty minutes to Sioux Narrows, sixty minutes to Vermillion Bay, thirty minutes to Minaki, forty-five minutes to Falcon Lake, two hours to Fort Frances and the International border crossing to the USA at International Falls, two hours to Rainy River and the international crossing at Beaudette Minnesota and everything in between and beyond; how could you beat being in the centre of Canada experiencing the four seasons this country provides?

Lake of the Woods

Kenora sits on the northernmost channel of beautiful Lake of the Woods, at the headwaters of the Winnipeg River.Lake of the Woods is over 70 miles (110 km) long and wide, and contains more than 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles (105,000 km) of shoreline. It would amount to the longest coastline of any Canadian lake, except that the lake is not entirely within Canada. Lake of the Woods is the sixth largest freshwater lake located (at least partially) in the United States, after the five Great Lakes. Northwestern Ontario is located in the far reaches of the province of Ontario, a full two-day drive. Yes, a two-day drive – or 24 hours straight through; if you must. Whether you cross at Sarnia into Michigan State and start the US “south of Superior” route, or head north from Toronto along the top of Superior on Highway 17, or take the “truckers route” up along the longest street in the world (Yonge Street from Toronto to Rainy River,over 1,896 kilometres or 1,178 miles long); it is a great distance way from Ontario’s capital to the capital of lake life and the great outdoors – Kenora Ontario. Actually, the official slogan is “North America’s Premier Boating Destination”.Enough context, let’s get back to talking about small town spirit.

Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada

February 18th, 2017 Scotiabank brings #HockeyDay in Canada to Kenora Ontario. As all of the Canadian NHL teams face off against each other, Kenora will be a buzzing with hockey related festivities along the shoreline of the northernmost channel of Lake of the Woods. Hockey Night in Canada personalities Don Cherry and Ron MacLean will be hosting their Coaches Corner from Kenora. SportsNet will be broadcasting all day long and into the evening starting at 12 noon ET (11 am Central Time in Kenora).

All eyes of our nation, hockey fans coast to coast to coast, will turn their eyes to capture wonderful grassroots stories about Kenora and its hockey heritage. Did you know that Kenora is the smallest town to have won the Stanely Cup? They will play a re-enactment game on the lake in front of the “Thistle Pavillion” Saturday morning. More recently the Stanley Cup returned to Kenora and was proudly hoisted high by local hockey hero Mike Richards, member of two LA King Stanley Cup Champion teams. And the Kenora Thistles’ name lives on with their current AAA Midget roster. They will play Saturday afternoon.

When it comes to small town spirit, there will be nothing to compare with February 18th as Kenora’s 15,000 population welcome the eyes and hearts of the nation, and visitors to their town. Be sure to take in the winter beauty of Kenora Ontario, in celebration of our national sport and Scotiabank’s Hockey Day in Canada.

Tune in to SportsNet

Throughout the day, check it out on SportsNet . The small town spirit will shine through proudly. Happy #Scotiabank #HockeyDay Canada! We’ll be “posting” small town spirit from Kenora. @FergDevins

Consider Blogging

February 12th, 2017

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A @ChrisBrogan Nudge

In Chris Brogan’s weekly newsletter February 12th , I was reminded of the wonderful early days of exploring social media in 2007. It prompted me to suggest that you consider blogging. 2007 was a time when blogs were exploding. If you couldn’t get traditional media to tell your story; you could develop your own media and shout your story out as loud as you wanted. Well, that said; you could create and post it – the level of sound and noise was up to you. In fact you had to follow through with your integrated and well-defined communications plan.

You Are In Control

They were the best of times. Brands were “early adopting” and exploring social channels. Marketing practices and long-standing media planning was put to the challenge. A community was unfolding and growing as people sought out social networks as channels for communication.

Chris’ Sunday newsletter wasn’t so much about challenging readers to write blogs, but it was a nudge to embrace what we have in our command. I see his nudge as a challenge to stand in a place of action, rather than contemplation. How many times have you seen a post and let it pass? Have you ever read a blog and considered commenting, but didn’t? Now more than ever, it is time to engage.

Channels are Open – Start Communicating

We have more social networks and media channels at our fingertips today than ever before. Many traditional media outlets have opened up their journalists and reporters to comment and debate. Unfortunately, some members of the public have been hiding behind trollish profiles and crass comments, compromising this dialogue in some areas. Respect is key, in creating meaningful dialogue. Mutual respect and appreciating and valuing that there are differing opinions, is critical to meaningful engagement.

Tell Your Story

What opportunity are you missing by letting others tell stories about you, your brand, your cause, your business or your community? Why let someone else lead that conversation?  You can embrace the opportunity to jump into the dialogue and bring your voice to the discussion, or sit in the stands and watch the play go back and forth. There’s more fun in the heat of the action, isn’t there?

Choose a Channel

For me, I like to be in the conversation. You need not be a techno expert to get into social media and generate a conversation. There are so many platforms options to consider blogging. Platforms today are built for any and all levels of comfort with technology. Gosh, if you can type or use a key board – you can create media for yourself, your brand, your cause, your business or enterprise. If you’ve got a solid idea or concept then write, click, drag and drop – you’re ready to roll. Personally, I’m active across many different social channels – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Obviously, this “blog” is also part of my footprint. I use a few tools to keep it all singing together. These include but are not limited to EClincher, Promo Republic, Commun.it, Buffer and Co-Schedule. I utilize CisionPoint, for media outreach, and Constant Contact for CRM. Canva is wonderful for developing photo assets. Filmora is terrific for video editing and pulling together quick video clips. Lots of resources to discover once you start exploring.

Naturally, it is not just about posting the story and they will come. It will take some planning and targeting of an audience. These channels are also wide open and easy to access and use.

Happy to Assist

If I’ve sparked something here for you let’s chat further. If you’ve got a story but don’t know where to start, connect with me and I’d be glad to talk about your business or peronal brand or cause purpose and where you might begin.

Truly, the first step is really up to you. If you don’t consider blogging, at least consider what network might help you get in a conversation with your community.

Let’s get that story out there now. @FergDevins 

PS – If you’d like some terrific ongoing coaching from a couple of guys that “get it”, check out @ChrisBrogan and @RobHatch and all that they’ve got going on at Owner Media Group.

Queen's Alumni

Queen’s Alumni Volunteer Summit

February 7th, 2017

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Queen’s Spirit

Ah – the spirit of Queen’s University. The strength of continuing the spirit of the tricolour is founded in the successful recruitment and engagement of alumni volunteers over 175 years. I have the pleasure of continuing to support my class of Arts and Science 1984 as a coordinator for our reunions. I was honoured to have served as Queen’s Alumni President in 1995-96. Although there has been much change on campus over multiple decades, the spirit, bond and community of Queen’s and it’s school spirit persists.

Volunteer Summit April 7-8

The Alumni Association introduced the notion of a “volunteer summit” a couple of years ago.

The Queen’s Alumni Volunteer Summit takes place April 7-8 at the Donald Gordon Centre near west campus in Kingston Ontario.

The weekend is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to gather, share ideas, re-connect and get tooled up for their branches and class reunions. The event involves a cross section of alumni through the decades. Branch representatives from around the world congregate to discover opportunities to better connect with fellow alumni.

The summit includes presentations and workshops led by the Queen’s University Alumni executive, staff, subject matter experts and guest faculty. During the weekend, the Alumni Awards gala takes place to honour those and their service to the Queen’s community.

Be Sure to Attend

If you are involved in your class reunions, branch activities or curious about how you might like to re-connect with the Queen’s community as a volunteer, be sure to seek further information and consider attending the volunteer summit. Yes, there will be an Oil Thigh…smiles. @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

This post was published on Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 at 10:32 am and is filed under Uncategorised.

Thanks to Social Media Today for posting this great infographic on some compelling social media facts. Often times people question the “why” of social networking. I truly believe that this snap shot gives you some valuable insight and facts around the power of social media. These facts provide a top line illustration of some of the channels and their relevance to various audiences. Enjoy the view ! CLICK here for the Infographic.  @FergDevins

Parliament Flame by Richard McGuire

Government Relations for Small Enterprise

January 31st, 2017

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Government Relations for small enterprise can be a daunting situation. However, it need not be an impossible path to discover in your pursuit of being heard.

After 30 years in the corporate world, with the last half of my career in corporate affairs; I believe that I have a good handle on understanding government relations. It was close to 50% of my “accountability”, as a Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. My success was also grounded in the relationships that were built over time. Through relationships, you build an opportunity to better understand each other; your needs, your desires, the barriers and the opportunities for success.

Make it Local

The first premise for me is to make it local. Whatever your issue or opportunity beholds, you will gain the most traction if it is seen as local by your elected official. This is true for all levels of government. If you can strike an emotional local tie related to your issue or opportunity, you have a good place in the starting gate of government relations. If your issue or opportunity has little to do with the person you are reaching out to, they will have a difficult time finding time to review your matters. The fact is, all politics is local.

“Government Relations”

What I find fascinating about understanding government relations is the constant evolution of the practice. With a continued push for much-needed transparency and public accountability, the “relations” side of the game has come under pressure and increased scrutiny.

Across Canada, provincial and federal governments and their ethics commissioners challenge the established models of “pay for access and influence”. Lobbyists used to cozy up with clients at banquets, sporting events and fundraisers to enable a “meet and greet” with influencers. With new fundraising rules emerging, it now becomes more difficult to gain easy access to the ear of our elected officials.

Lobbyists and industry advocates will need to continue to build and maintain relationships with elected officials, their staff and the civil service. That is their business. Dialogue on issues is still required.

Many limitations have come into existence. There are now cooling off periods prevailing for the staff of Ministers. Watch dogs keep track of paid or volunteer work by lobbyists on campaigns. There continues to be cross party line squawking about who’s influencing whom.  Political donations (where still allowed) are scrutinized to the absolute penny. Understanding government relations has become a much more complex game.

Even some municipalities have invoked lobbying regulations and process. However, in the hierarchy of the three levels of government, municipalities continue to have the most open accessibility to elected officials. I continue to be very impressed with ward staff at the municipal level. I guess it makes sense, based on my earlier point, all politics is local.

Access

Access has become a challenge. With the explosion of social media, and so many channels flowing into an elected official’s office, it is no surprise that there need to be filters in place. Priorities need to be set. The tough part of this game is that “your priority” may not be “their priority”. Without access, you will lack influence. Even sadder is that correspondence may never even reach the eyes of your intended recipient. Given the volumes, it is likely that a staff member handles this for the member. Sad, but a practical reality, given the multitude of requests.

Breaking Through

It takes hard work and determination to break through with your message, cause, concern or business issue. It takes persistence and multiple fronts of communication to get your matter on the radar. Email, phone calls, tweets are all required. I also think that the constituency office might afford you more assured access. By taking the time to raise your issue at their home office in their constituency, you might get a better return on the time you invest. It is back to the first premise of getting local with your issue or opportunity.

The “contact information” submission tools on elected official websites provide a filter but do not appear to provide a quick response.

Where the Parties Fail

Do you receive emails from a political party or elected officials? In most instances, political parties sending out propaganda tend not even to allow the recipient to reply. Another fault of the party propaganda system. If a party is going to send information to the electorate, they might as well open up the opportunity for the electorate to respond to an email. If pushing messaging is intended to garner support. I can only imagine that a conversation and dialogue about the message will help lead to that result. One-way “non responsive messaging” fails on that front. One area of influence however is that party executives have the ear of the elected members. Sometimes this can provide you with an avenue of accessibility.

Persist in Social with Your Voice

There is an opportunity, in understanding government relations, to tell your story and engage through social networks. Your blog, your post in Facebook, your article in LinkedIn, your tweet; are all communication tools that may help to position your issue or cause on the radar of the elected official. The old model would have seen a stack of “clippings” from news media dropped on a communications staffer’s desk each morning. Today it is more likely to be a google alert or other social networking monitoring tools to catch the conversation in the moment. The key word most likely to get your attention is the name of that elected official in a post. Those mentions will be monitored closely in a context of issues management.

The Final Point

The final point to be made is that in understanding government relations, you must realize that getting the attention of government is a complex and multi-layered grid. If you are experiencing frustration in your efforts to break through, perhaps I can help with some counsel on getting your message heard.  Here’s to simplifying working with our governments. Have an awesome 2017.  @FergDevins

 

#BellLetsTalk

Supporting #BellLetsTalk Day

January 25th, 2017

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A shout out to Bell and their major commitment to make a difference in getting people to talk about mental health. Thank you for creating #BellLetsTalk.

January 25th

January 25th is a wonderful day to bring attention to mental health issues coast to coast to coast. Bringing situations to open conversation will start a journey of recovery and hope.

Take the Challenge

It is incumbent upon “us” to take the challenge, accept the nudge and truly undertake our own personal campaign to engage in removing the stigma attached to mental illness. By embracing the challenge, we can turn to helping those in need.

Listen

As much as there is a need to talk, there is a need to listen. Listen for those who may be dealing with a difficult situation in their lives. Listen for those who are struggling alone. Listen to those who many be signalling to you that they need help. Listen for opportunities to help a loved one. Listen for those who may be on the street, with hat in hand and in need of your support. With a small action, you might make a huge difference in their day.

All Year

Through the awareness that #BellLetsTalk brings to us all, we can embrace this day of January 25th. We can “click and drag” its impact to the other 364 days of the year. Mental health challenges are not a one day and done effort. It will take effort each day, each hour, each moment with our family and friends, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances or strangers in need –  to truly support each other on this journey.

From I to WE

I recall a message on a bulletin board at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. It suggested that we should all consider taking the “I” out of Mental Illness and replacing it with a “WE”. Transform the challenge from Mental Illness to a context of Mental Wellness.

By thinking of how we can work through the issue, the challenge, the strife, the moment, the depression or anxiety; we may be able to move from ill to well. I am not in any way mimimizing the huge challenge faced by those dealing with mental health issues, and their care givers. Each situation is individual. Each requires its own attention. Each will differ in plan for care and recovery. Each will require a plan from ill to well.

However, if we can all be a little more sensitive to the fact that mental health challenges surround us, we can listen, we can talk and we can move forward in this journey of getting better.

#BellLetsTalk

Thanks for engaging on this day of #BellLetsTalk. Wishing you wellness, today and all year long.

Embrace Change

It is time to Embrace Change

January 10th, 2017

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How’s that status quo going out there? If there is one thing for sure in 2017, change will continue to be at the forefront. Time to embrace change.

Change is constant in a world that embraces and drives for greater efficiency. Change is constant in dealing with streams of innovation and a passion for doing things more quickly. One can decide to embrace change or take a seat on the sideline of these exciting times. I’m not suggesting that one should blindly follow along. Take a stance. Follow and lead within the change that is taking place.

Is that harsh? Perhaps so. However, I truly believe that embracing change and taking a stand for leading change will propel one’s career and guide them toward their aspirations.

Not too long ago, job and career pursuits saw young people working hard to “get in” to the blue chip firm or corporate entity. Corporations offered thousands of jobs with multi-level positions and a clearly articulated multi-runged corporate ladder to climb.

With challenging economic times and many traditional business models judged as broken, businesses have had to change to maintain their position in the market. Two hard examples of reality are Kodak and Blackberry. Another sector example might be traditional travel agency models. Passion for breakthroughs by competitors, a strong sense of consumer desire, technology, apps, online marketing and aggressive pursuits of innovation have upset what were solid traditional models.

It used to be you could “get in” at the bottom level and if you worked hard you would progress up and through an organisation. One of the challenges to that model is that organisations are challenged more today than ever before. They can’t take the time to nurture, build, train and grow with their people. The market is just too competitive. They need the best and they need the best now. They need to hire the experts to deliver the results now, in real time.

Some would say that millennials are less loyal than previous generations. Are they less loyal? Perhaps they are more willing and able to accept change. Let’s face it, moving from one job to the next is not the easiest task to undertake. In making a move from one place to another there are new people, new responsibilities, different corporate cultures, new office politics. Every time one changes job, the individual is met with new challenges. Perhaps the millennials are the best example of embracing change. They adapt, accept, move…

The other reality check is that progressive companies and their leadership will continue to drive a change and innovation agenda. If you don’t want to be part of the solution in delivering the change, you’re probably not long for that company.

I am not suggesting for a moment that one should blindly accept change. IF you can accept the change and believe in the intent – why not jump on board and enrol yourself in the opportunity?  Clinging on to the past, the good old days, the way things were, is not truly embracing change and what the future beholds.

If you embrace change, you are more likely to become a thought leader with an ability to own and promote that change. If you can’t enrol in the change – get out.

What is the change that you are resisting today in your life, work or play?  How could you embrace the change and be happier in your pursuit? Or, how might you discover that the change underway is not the path you are choosing. Seeking an alternate change agenda is in your hands. What stance can you take to help lead the change?

Celebrate the past for what it was. Revel in the memories, the collegiality, the good times, the storytelling. With that as your foundation, you can embrace what the future might be and the path of change that will lead you to discovery.

Cheers to change ! Embrace it.

@FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Swimability Ottawa a great cause

Support a Cause this New Year

January 2nd, 2017

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Day Two 2017 – Support a Cause

The dawn of a new year. We give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. There is a multitude of opportunity to support causes in our society. On this second day of the new year, we are stepping up to support a cause in our nation’s capital. There is no shortage of cause, charity or not for profit to choose from in Canada. In fact, there are over 170,000 charities and not for profit organizations in this country. This suggests that every Canadian could likely find “a cause” that aligns with their values or interests.

I have had the honour and pleasure of being engaged with many different causes over the years. In my role at Molson Coors, I had chaired the Molson Coors Donations Fund. I was exposed to tens of thousands of charities that had benefited from over two centuries of giving, led by the oldest brewer in the Americas.

My interests have taken me to involvement with Variety Village, Raising the Roof, several Food Banks, Queen’s University, Coney Island Music Festival, United Way, Bladder Cancer Canada and Swimability (formerly Making Waves). I have also had the honour and pleasure of serving on several not for profit boards. It is of great satisfaction for me to see the difference that we can make in our community. That difference comes from our decision to take action as individuals. We can truly make a difference, by choosing to support a cause.

This Year’s Cause

This year, the Devins Network will continue to call upon members of our greater community to get involved and support a cause. Through your actions, we can truly make a difference for those in need. Whether through financial support, or volunteerism, we can make a meaningful impact.

I am delighted to announce that the Devins Network is renewing our support of Swimability Ottawa . The team of student volunteers truly make a difference in the lives of ability challenged youth in Ottawa. My daughter Helena was personally involved as an instructor, while she was attending the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College. Given that Helena is no longer a student, her duties as an active volunteer have come to an end. The Devins Network is proud to continue our association and support of Swimability Ottawa. We are proud of the difference that they make in the lives of youth and their families in Ottawa. Keep up the great work!

The Mission of Swimability is clear

SwimAbility Ottawa is a not-for-profit student initiative founded as a registered chapter of SwimAbility Canada in 2009. Our mission is to provide affordable and accessible one-on-one swimming instruction to children with disabilities. For more information about our parent organization, as well as about the history of the SwimAbility movement, please visit www.SwimAbility.org.

Wishing you well in 2017

We thank the many student volunteers that help to make Swimability a success in the Ottawa community. We are proud to support their efforts in 2017. We are hopeful that you will join us and support a cause this new year in your community.

Have a great 2017. Working together to support a cause, we can make it even better.

FERG DEVINS @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 23rd, 2016

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Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

The country was a buzz from St. John’s to Grouse
The stockings were hung by the chimneys with care
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there

Each province was covered with a blanket of snow
And ploughs ready with salt in their yards row on row
RIDE checks were in place for the high season drive

Telling folks to be safe being sure to arrive alive

When out on the lawns there arose such a clatter
The US election had caused quite a chatter
The New Year should bring more political debate
Hoping free trade continues, because it has been great

The moon on the crest of the new-fallen snow
Families gathering together by travelling to and fro
When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, pulled by Canadian reindeer

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
The goodwill he could bring was like a magical trick
He was dressed all in red like the flag of our nation

His whistle stops lined up including Union Station

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
In the west, through Ontario, across Quebec and Atlantic

His journey would begin and it would be quite frantic

From the east coast to west and then through the north

A big country to cover as he went to set forth
Near rivers and lakes over tree tops and valleys
Close to ten million square miles, with no dilly dallies

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
He’d made it to our place so soon on this night
He slid down the chimney with ease not too tight

He was dressed all in fur, red and white to the top
Said the snow on the prairies should yield a good crop
He was a weary old traveler with joy from inside
Said the country was glowing on his celestial ride

His eyes how they twinkled, his cheeks full of frost
Across provinces and territories his path quite criss crossed
He spoke of goodwill and joy across our great land
Encouraging young and old to just lend a hand

He toasted our country with so many people
And our cultural mosaic including mosques and church steeples
He said we are peace keepers with intent that is great
Bringing the world closer together is really at stake

He smiled ear to ear for Canada’s 150
Citing many celebrations and no doubt they’ll be nifty
From Cities to Towns whether urban or rural
Canada’s birthday celebrations will be sure to unfurl

He googled his route and loaded up his apps
With his mobile device positioned solidly on his lap
He was ready to tweet from his red glow in the sky
Pleasing those on the ground with a twinkle their eye

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim, as he flew east to west

Merry Christmas to Canada you’re truly the best


Love My Blog

Tips for the New Blogger

December 18th, 2016

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A Blog ?

The Holidays offer a time to relax, consider new pursuits, adjust your plan for the new year or perhaps just try something you’ve never thought of attempting before. In that regard one might consider writing a blog.

Blog Support

Sarah Smith had reached out to me about this great article and infographic that she has produced for the “new blogger”. I thought that is was certainly a great infographic capturing terrific tips for the blogger just starting out in the wonderful world of the blogosphere. Thanks to Sarah. I hope that bloggers find it useful. Cheers to the season.

Do you want to become a blogger? You might think that blogging is easy, just like what other people may have told you.  You just have to go to the Internet the entire day and write about ideas that you have in your mind. Well, the truth is, starting a blog is not as simple as it seems.

When you start writing your first blog, you will certainly realize that it is harder than what you thought it would be. You will encounter different issues that you must learn to overcome. Even the ones who have been blogging for a long time also experience some challenges or difficulties along their way.

Do not feel bad if you make some mistakes. Mistakes will not end your world. It is fine as long as you take them as a chance to learn and step up. You can also learn from other bloggers’ mistakes in the past to avoid committing such similar mistakes.

Blogging is fun and convenient for some people, so we want to help you make it a bit easier to start with. We have prepared this amazing infographic that contains a list of generally known mistakes a beginner blogger usually makes.

See the image below and gain information from the list. You can also follow the team on Twitter at Start Blog.

 Be aware of these common mistakes in blogging so you can avoid them when you start to create your own blog. Our website http://www.startbloggingonline.com can provide you with more helpful and simple blogging tips that you can also share with your friends.

beginning blogger mistakes to avoid