Category

Blogging

This category covers my experiences as a blogger, including making money as a blogger.

Month 1 Blogging: My Goals and Income!

Going into blogging, I had some really unrealistic goals!  I had researched starting a blog, and had formed some large opinions about it.  I will go ahead and share my goals and realities, before sharing my new goals for month 2.

Month 1 Goals:

Goal 1: Have 1 post go viral.  This was a fail.  I did not have any posts go viral, but I also did not write as much relevant content as I should have.  I read on another blog (I forgot which one) that about 85% of what we write is average.  Only about 15% really connects with an audience.

Goal 2: Make $500 through affiliates.  This was another fail.  I managed to not make ANY money through affiliates this month.  This was a big disappointment, but once again, my research shed some light here.  We have to build our following before we are able to make money.  In light of this, I took some time these last few weeks to work on building my following, and really narrowing down the niche(s) for my blog.

Goal 3: Post 3 researched posts each week.  This was a fail, too.  Honestly, this was the last month of a very hectic school year.  I simply struggled to find the time or energy to post 3 times per week.  Also, towards the end of the month, I stopped posting so much and spent my time building my social medias, and also defining my niche(s).

Goal 4: Grow ALL social medias to at least 100.  This was mostly a fail, but with some small successes.

  • Pinterest started at 37 and grew to 84.  Fail, but not bad.
  • Facebook started at 6 and grew to 32.  Another fail, but I really did not put much effort into Facebook.
  • Instagram started at 29 and grew to 69.  Another fail, but another area that I did not put much effort in.
  • Twitter started at 46 and grew to 619!  Yes, you read that correctly- big success!  I used an app called Crowdfire to help me with Twitter, and it has really helped grow my following.  While it has helped with followers, I do not see it generating much traffic to my blog.

Goal 5: Create a freebie.  Another fail.  Not to keep making excuses, but this school year whipped my behind!  I could not muster up the energy to create my freebie, but I have started my design for it.  More on that will be coming soon!

Month 2 Goals

As you can see, I failed at the majority of my month 1 goals.  However, the quote “I never fail.  I succeed in finding out what does not work” sums up my views from here.  Month 1 has really helped me with setting my goals for month 2.

Goal 1: Have 1 post go viral (at least 1,000 views). This was a fail last month, but I did not post relevant content as I should have.

Goal 2: Make $100 through affiliates.  I lowered my goal since I am still working on building my following.

Goal 3: Post every Tuesday and Thursday.  I slacked off on my posting last month because I had not really defined my topic.  Now that I have, I will be posting on a schedule.  I will also update my reading list post on Saturdays.

Goal 4: Grow social media accounts. 

Twitter was my huge success, so I plan to grow that one to 1,000 followers.  Pinterest was not quite successful, but not too big of a failure.  I was only 16 people away from my goal.  I plan to grow Pinterest to about 120 followers. Facebook and Instagram were huge fails, though, so I plan to merely have them reach about 100 followers.

Goal 5: Create a freebie.  As I said, I did not have the time or energy this past month for this one, but I will definitely be using my summer vacation to make this happen.  The plan is to roll my freebie out by mid-July.

Goal 6: Have 1,200 page views.  This month, I barely had 500 page views.  I also noticed that many of these were from the very salesy post that I wrote when I first rolled out (Mother’s Day).  Those types of posts are not what I would like to be defined by, so I have made a decision to never post those again.

Goal 7: Post 1 Vlog.  I would like to post one vlog.  I am trying to step out of my comfort zone, so this is one of the areas that would really push me to do that.

Conclusion

So now you see what worked and what did not for me.  Starting this blog was one of the best decisions that I made, but I want you to have a more realistic picture than I did.  It is unlikely that you will make money right out of the gate.  You really have to work on building your following and making connections with people.  I put my plan together as if I would be a great success immediately.  I should have planned on gradually becoming a success while steadily working towards growing my critical areas.

Sometimes reading the posts on Pinterest will make you feel as if you are doing things wrong.  Most of them seem as if they start off with at least 1,000 page views per day.  I barely had half of that.  They also make it seem as if you should be making big money immediately.  I did not even make a dollar!

However, I plan to grow this blog to great proportions, and I want people to be able to look back at the beginning and see that it was not always a huge success.  So remember our quote for the day- “I never fail.  I succeed in finding out what does not work.”  Do not give up!  Keep reaching for those dreams and they will come true!

 

5 Blogging Tools That Every Beginner Blogger Must Have!

So here I am, three weeks into blogging and still going strong.  Blogging is a totally different world, one which you must immerse yourself to learn it.  There are so many different aspects that must be considered in order to make your blog successful.  If you have not yet started a blog, view this post that I wrote to get you started!

Blogging is a LOT of work, but it is one of the most satisfying things that you can do.  Without further ado, I will list some of the most helpful blogging tools that I have found in my short career.

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.

Blogging Tools

Tailwind.

Tailwind allows you to schedule your pins and Instagram posts.  Most people have this down to the point where they schedule things once a week, and let Tailwind do the rest!  I had been on the fence between ViralTag and Tailwind, but have finally decided to make it work with Tailwind.  The tribes and scheduling layout was what finally swayed me in the end.

Crowdfire.

You have to increase your followers to be successful in the long run.  Crowdfire is an app that helps you gain a following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  I increased from 46 followers to 300 on Twitter and it has only been about 2 weeks since I started using it!

Adobe Spark.

Some people are able to make beautiful pins using PowerPoint.  I am not one.  Adobe Spark helps me here.  Not only am I able to create pins, I am also able to do my social media posts and blog photos here.  #Winning!

Google Analytics.

One of the major goals of blogging is to monetize it (for me, at least).  Google Analytics will help you see the traffic coming to your blog, where it is coming from, your bounce rate, and so on.  Very helpful for tracking leads and what worked!

Mailchimp.

One of the keys to long term success with a blog is by gaining loyal followers, or people who will come back to see you over and over again.  However, people are humans, right?  And humans are selfish…  Humans are only going to come back to see you if you give them a reason to.  Enter Mailchimp.  Mailchimp allows you to set up an email list that will send your humans a newsletter telling them about all of the new stuff that they are missing out on.  And it’s FREE!

I hope this list helps you get your blog headed in the right direction.  Are there any tools that I missed?  Leave me your comments!

A Beginner’s Guide to Monetizing Their Blog!

I have survived my first week of blogging!  For a person who is a little technically challenged, this is a HUGE accomplishment!  Not only have I survived the first week, but I have everything in place to begin monetizing my blog.  I am now going to share with you the most helpful tools, blogs, and sites that I have found for all aspects of my blog.  Let’s get started with your blog!

*Disclosure: Affiliate links are included, however, all opinions are truly my own.

Set up your domain.

This is a given!  To start off, you need a website.  If you know that you want to monetize your blog, go ahead and set your page up using Bluehost.  Click the link below to get started, and I will walk you through.

  • Click the green “get started” button.  You are given three options at this point” basic, plus, or prime.  Basic is all that you need at this time, so click the “select” button.

 

  • Choose the domain name.  This is what your site will be called.  I had been planning my blog for awhile, and really thinking about my passions.  I decided that I wanted my blog to be about family, teaching, and running a monetized blog.  For this reason, I chose the name Moteapreneur- it was all of my passions combined.  You may be a lot more creative than I am, but make sure your name is a symbol of what you want your blog to be about.  You may have to try a few times if the name is taken, but you will get it!

 

  • Create your account and choose your package add-ons.  I researched this, and in the end decided that the only add-on that I needed was domain privacy.  My total cost for 36 months was $154.08.  Read and agree to the terms, and then hit submit.  You have now created your domain!
  • Once you have started your domain, you will need to download WordPress.  Simply scroll down your screen and click on the WordPress icon.
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Design your site.

  Now you have set up your page, but it is not yet launched!  You need to spend some time designing your site before launching it.  It took me about a week of non-stop working to get my site set up the way that I wanted it.  If you start planning before purchasing your site, it could take you less time.  If you do not want to work non-stop, it could take you more time.  This part really depends on you.  Here are the things you need to get your site ready to launch.

  • Pictures for your pages.  The only camera that I had was my IPhone, so I ended up purchasing a Panasonic Lumix from Amazon.  While your cellphone may work for you, I wanted something that would make my pictures appear more professional.  The other option is stock photos.  Elna from Twins Mommy blog has some great tips for my favorite type of stock photos- free!  Check out her post on this here.   A big no-no for photos is do not use any photos that are not your own unless you have permission!  Either take your own photos or get stock photos, but do not copy and paste them!  You are going to need a professional looking photo of yourself for your homepage, and also a header image that people will see when they first land on your site.  I had my husband take a picture of me in the front yard for the first, and used a stock photo for the second.

 

  • Sign up for Adobe Spark.  It is free and allows you to create posts for blogs and social media.  You will be able to upload your photos, add captions, and more.  You want to have a theme for your blog, including colors and fonts that you are using.  Regina at byregina.com has an awesome post that really helps you when designing your theme.  Check the post out here, and know that it does include freebies to help you design…are you seeing a trend with me?  I LOVE freebies!  Use Adobe Spark to make 3 different pictures for every blog, one for Pinterest, one for the blog, and one for social medias.  Check out Kelly at the Red Lantern Creative blog here as she tells you why this is so important!  I found her post after I had already written a few posts, and I went back and changed them all using her advice.

 

  • Write some posts!  When you roll your site out, having 3-5 (or more) posts already prepared is ideal.  You want people to read your first post and fall in love.  Once they are in love, you want to have something else for them to read available right away.  I broke my site up into a few different categories, and I tried to have at least one post in each category. You do not want people to have to search through all of your posts to find the information about riding horses, or raising chickens.  This is where categories come into place.  My specialty topics are mothering, teaching, and blogging.  I also did an overflow category titled knick knacks for whatever else I may want to post about.  This helps visitors find the information they are looking for easily.

 

  • Now log onto your site, and let’s start customizing.  I end up on a page that looked like this when I was ready to start designing my page.
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  • Click on Appearance to choose a theme.  I went with Kale, which is a free theme.  There are also many paid ones.  One thing I focused on was the ratings for each one.  I do not know why a theme would have a rating of 2/5 or 3/5, but I also knew that I did not want to find out.  I stuck with the 4/5 or 5/5 ratings.

 

  • Click dashboard when you are ready to go back to the main page.  Next, Click on the button with the name of your site at the top left.
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  • This will take you to the main page of your blog.  Now click on the customize button at the top left.  

 

  • This will give you options for customizing your page, while also seeing what it looks like on your actual page.
  • Pay attention to those icons at the bottom.  This allows you to see how your changes look on a computer, a tablet, or a smart phone.  Click them to see the differences.

 

  • Now click through each tab and add photos and content as necessary.  This is the part that you can only learn by doing.  There is no way to prepare you for this, just click around and make changes.  If you like it, save it.  If you don’t like it, don’t save it.

 

  • Once you are finished, save your changes and close out of the customization tab.  This will take you back to your web page.
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  • This time, click on the name of your site beside the customization tab.  This will take you back to the page you started on.
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  • Now begin customizing everything else using the links on the left.  Add your posts, edit your categories, check your pages.  I also added some plugins and widgets that will probably be helpful to you.  These are Ad Inserter, Black Studio TinyMCE Widget, Bluehost Affiliator, Google Analytics, MOJO Marketplace, and Pinterest Badge.  To add these, click on the Plugins tab on the left of your page.  From the drop down menu, choose Add New, and then type in the name of the one you will like to add.  Descriptions are located on each one, so read them and be sure they are something you will use.  After adding them, activate them.

 

  • Your website is now ready to launch, but there is still much to do first.  Set up an email address for your website.  I used Outlook, but there are also ways to have an email account ending in your domain name.  I do not feel that is important, so I will let you research that on your own if that is what you would like to do.  In my opinion, Outlook, AOL, Gmail, or Yahoo will get the job done here.

Set up your social media accounts.

Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the ones that I focus on.  After setting up my social media accounts, I began using Tailwind to help me schedule posts.  To build your following, you have to post things quite often. After you set up your social media accounts, you also need to try to build them.  I use CrowdFire for this.  It reminds me when to post, and also helps me make my posts sound better.  I am using the free version, and my Twitter and Instagram followings are growing already!

Set up your Affiliates.

  The easiest ones to set up were Groupon Affiliates, Amazon Affiliates, and Bluehost Affiliates.  Others that I applied for were Commission Junction (CJ) and ShareASale.  These are all free to set up, and allow you to start earning money immediately.  I had to apply for ShareASale and Commision Junction, but I had an answer back within a couple of days.  As a beginner, these affiliates can be a lot to keep up with, so I suggest choosing about 5 to start off with.  When you write these posts, link whatever you can back to an affiliate item.  There are wonderful posts to help you with affiliates, but I simply highlight the word that I would like people to be able to click on, and then paste my affiliate link to the item there.

*Remember to ALWAYS add a disclosure clause to sites that will include affiliate links.  My disclosure clause is simple:

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a commission with no extra charge to you if your purchase this item.  While I may receive a commission, all opinions are my own.

The last thing for you to do is set up a schedule for your posting.

I plan to start using a 3 day per week posting schedule where I post new items on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  The other days will be for me to grow social media and promote my posts.  Check out Erin Shebish’s blog here for a free business plan workbook to help you with planning.  This workbook offers spaces for you to plan your month, set up any giveaways, set goals, and really define your blog.  And it is FREE!

This should get your started.  There is no way to give you all of the information that you will need, but I tried to consider all of the research that I did, and present the things that I found most helpful.  Once all of this is finished, launch your blog and promote, promote, promote!

 

Getting Your Blog Up and Running!

Starting a blog, WOW!  What a process!  I am a planner by nature, so when I decided to start a blog, the first thing that I did was research, research, and research.  Even with all of my research, nothing really prepares you for starting your blog except for starting your blog.  That sounds crazy, but it is true.  The things outlined in this post are the things that I felt as if I were completely unprepared for.  I have done the research to help you get the answers that you need, simply click on the links for the topics you have questions about.  Here are the basics on getting you started.

*Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post but all opinions are my own.

Step 1: Decide what to blog about and what to name your blog.   All of the research that I looked at said that it is very important to make your blog about your passion.  I have multiple passions, so I chose to write a lifestyle blog about my top three.  Once I knew what I would write about, I looked at how to combine those things into a name.  From there Moteapreneur was built- mo for mothering, the family portion of my blog, tea for teaching, the teaching part of my blog, and trepreneur for the blogness part of my blog.  This part was the easiest for me, but I included it because you will need to have this decided before you actually create your blog.

Step 2: Setup a blue host account and download word press to it.  When you do this, you need to have a name picked out.  My afore mentioned research led me to Blue Host, and I must admit that signing up for this site is quick, easy, and only $3.95 per month.  When you click on the link below, you will receive step by step instructions to set up your blog.  I really appreciated the fact that although my domain was created, it was not yet launched.  I was able to update content and continuously check each portion of my blog before actually launching my site.

Step 3: You will need really nice photos to help your blog stand out from the other blogs.  I did not have a camera, so I ended up purchasing this one from Amazon.  This one cost a bit more than I wanted to spend, however, I felt that a really good camera was necessary to get the best pictures.  Plus, I plan to do this for years to come so I knew it would eventually pay for itself.

Once you have your camera, update your home and about pages on your website.  Like I said, I would preview my page after every change to make sure that it would be perfect when rolled out.

Step 4: Set up your affiliate accounts.  Amazon Affiliates is the best because all that you have to do it set up an account and you are able to begin immediately!  I also set up an account with ShareASale, CJ.com, Bluehost, and Rakuten Linkshare.  Between these sites, I found everything that I wanted to associated with amongst these sites, and I feel that if I choose to add more in the future, I will.  Other sites that you are able to choose from are Affiliate Window and Impact Radius.  Check out the Moteapreneur blogging board on Pinterest for more ideas.

Step 5: Write some posts!  I had 3 categories, teaching, family, and blogging.  My plan was to have 2 posts per category, but I ended up launching the site with only 1 post per category.  Sometimes you have to ditch your plans and just roll with it, just be sure that whatever you are doing you are comfortable with.  In order to be successful with affiliates, you need to make sure that your links for your affiliate accounts are woven into your posts.  One of my first posts talked about teacher appreciate gifts, and Amazon links were all through there.  Find a way to build your links into your posts without being too salesy.

Step 6: Social Media is now your life!  I am not a huge social media person.  I had a Facebook page and of course Pinterest, but I was reluctant to set up Twitter and Instagram.  If you are like that, you need to change it now.  I created a page within my Facebook page for Moteapreneur.  That was the easy part.  I then used my images to really set up my page.  I also rearranged my Pinterest page a little to make it more friendly for my business.  I set up a board just for Moteapreneur, and then I started posting my own pins instead of just repining others pins.  Twitter was probably the easiest to use, and I really do not know why I avoided it for so long.  Nevertheless, set up your social media accounts and get them linked to your domain.  For more information setting up and gaining followers on social media, visit Marie Mwimba over at Ladies Make Money.

Step 7: Embedding social media pins into your domain.  I struggled with this until I came across Carrie Loves blog.  She had the pins available to download AND walked me through setting them up on my page!

Step 8: Set up Mailchimp.  Once again, I knew an email list was necessary because I will be in this business for a long time, but I struggled again with getting it set up on my page.  I chose Mailchimp because of my research and because it was FREE.  If you don’t know by now, free is one of my favorite words:)  Marie Mwimba also has information available about really building up your email list available here.

The wonderful thing about Mailchimp is that they have step by step instructions for everything.  This also happened to be one of the reasons that I found it so difficult.  However, to get your email list built, embedded, and even where it pops up when visitors come to your site, visit here.  Very helpful, and like I said, step by step instructions.

Step 9: Launch your site!  Of course, there will be a lot of follow up from here, but you are now up and running.  Sign up for my newsletter to find out when these follow up posts come out and Happy Blogging!