Creating a Blogging Schedule - Blogging for beginners

This is the second post in my blogging for beginners series, and I'll be showing you a couple of ways to create a blogging schedule. First we will go into how many times you should be posting, and what the exceptions are. Then I'll go over the different ways to create a blog schedule that works around your week. 

Most beginning bloggers don't know how to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. I didn't really know what I was doing at first either, admittedly, which is perfectly okay! If you don't really know where to start or what you're doing, then sit tight because this post will hopefully help give you some clarity.

Time Management (12).png

 

How often should you post to your blog?

This has always been a topic of conversation, because nobody can seem to figure out the perfect formula to what works the best. So this is the best advice I can give you as to what to do.

First off, take a general look at how your schedule is from day to day. This is the most important thing. If you can manage 2 blog posts a week, do it. A number of studies show that posting twice a week helps with your search optimization. So basically, your website is considered "active" by Google or whatever search engine. This helps your site show up closer towards the top of the search. I always recommend putting out as many posts as you can when you're first starting out. Maybe you do twice or three times a week. 

However, once you get active readers coming to your blog (which is a lot more attainable than you think!) you can tone it down a bit if you need to. However, two times a week is still recommended. 

What's more important than how many times you post, is how consistently you post. This is where the schedule comes into play. If your readers know you post twice a month, then stick with that. If your readers know you post three times a week, stick with that. It's equally how many times you post, and how consistent you are with it.

How to make your blog schedule

There are a few ways you could go about making your ACTUAL schedule. However, there are a few things you should do before hand to accomplish this.

  1. Look at your weekly schedule for re-occurring events
  2. Brain storm a lot of ideas (like.... A LOT)
  3. Figure out what type of schedule you like best: digital or paper

I'll go over both digital schedules and paper schedules.

Digital schedules

Bloggers usually prefer this method because it allows you to move things around without much repercussion and mess. It's super easy to just change the date or time on your event  versus scratching something out. 

I suggest using google spreadsheets or excel for this one. Most of the time they will have calendar templates built into the program. I know for sure google does.

The digital method doesn't work as well for me, so I use paper.

Paper Schedules

This is great for those of you who need to have it in front of your face, physically in order to remember. Writing things down also helps you remember more than just typing something into your phone or computer.

There are a ton of different planners out there. More recently; however, I have ALWAYS recommended an hourly planner. 

Time Management (13).png

 

Actually Creating the Schedule

First what you'll want to do is dissect your week. Look at what events are reoccurring and schedule those in first. Then look at the time you have left. For example: if you work a 9-5, then you know what needs to get done has to be before or after those times. Maybe you have a one hour break for lunch. LEAVE SPACE FOR IT! You'd be surprised how much you can get done in that hour break period. 

Now that you have your reoccurring events down, look at what other major events you have.  Some examples would be doctors appointments, school activities, date night, etc. Be sure you schedule time for these next, or you might accidentally schedule something over it.

Last should be your other obligations, and/or hobbies, and errands. THIS is where you schedule in time for you blog. If you're looking at your schedule thinking "omg I can't do this". STOP. It's not that hard. You're making excuses for yourself, and you know it. If your blog is high on your priority list, then you'll get it done. Trust me. 

If you have to get up an hour earlier, then do it. If you have to stay up an extra hour, then do it. If you have to spend 30 minutes of your 1 hour break making graphics, then do it. If all you have is Friday night or the weekend, you gotta do it if it's that important to you.

Be stubborn with your schedule once you have it. However, make sure you have some cushion room. What I mean by this is: if you get out of class at 1:25, and you have to drive home, but you schedule yourself to do your blog post at 1:30. This probably isn't the smartest thing to do because you aren't allowing yourself that cushion time to get home and chill out for a second. If a task takes you longer than you thought, you want to make sure there's a time cushion.

Something you should keep in mind is that you do NOT have to get everything done in one sitting AT ALL. I actually recommend breaking things up and doing them throughout the week. It's less overwhelming this way. 

If you want to get a better look at how I schedule things out, be sure you are following me on my planner Instagram. I share how my planner looks and some awesome tools I use in conjunction with it.

 

Blogging for Beginners - finding your niche

When picking a focus for work, our blogs, etc. It can get pretty tricky. I've heard many complaints on this topic, and it's overall confusion.

We simply don't know where to begin, and starting is most definitely the hardest part. 

To get started with picking our focus we have to think of a few things:

  1. Our interests  
  2. The longevity of the topic  
  3. How you can grow / expand with that topic
  4. What our end goal is for ourselves  

So, lets get started. 

Looking at our interests  

Looking at our interests is step number 1. what are we interested in ? What topics spark  your interest ?? Maybe you love helping other bloggers, or perhaps you're passionate about helping people succeed financially. If you like social media or planning for example use these interests to create your focus. Things you're interested in make good niches. However, really look deep with this one. Have you always been interested in this, or is this interest just a fad? "Fad interests" are something that is only a temporary fascination. Make sure you're watching out for this, because you don't want to choose a niche that you'll only be interested in for a little while and then get bored.

Looking at the end goal  

I know I have this listed as number 4, but after giving it some thought, it honestly should go after number 1. Looking at the end goal is the most important part in my opinion. You've looked at your interests which is awesome. So now you probably have a physical or mental list of topics. However, what is your overall goal ? What are you trying to achieve in opening your blog ?  

For example, I created paper and a plan to help women content creators and biz owners alike, achieve success through planning and productivity. I had to think about who I wanted to help, and how I wanted to do it. 

The longevity of your niche  

Now that you may have narrowed down your ideas, let's look at what the hell I'm talking about in this point. Can this topic be covered over time? If so, then this may be a good choice. Create a short list of possible topics. If the ideas keep flowing, that's good! Topics and solutions are consistent in the world. Maybe there's a new blogging platform you can cover. Or a new social media platform comes out.

 How can you expand

what can you see yourself covering for a long time ? Will you still be interested in this topic in the future ?? You can of course shift your focus, but you want to still remain consistent in your content niche. Plus can you create evergreen content ? Evergreen content is content you can write now and it can still be relevant in 5 years to some extent. For example: how to build a WordPress site. Or basic fashion advice for newbies. If evergreen content can be easily made then this might be a good choice. With a little thinking, almost any topic can have evergreen content, but it's always good to have a large selection of topics. you'll want to also be sure you can shift within your niche. Maybe one day you'll want to focus on all desserts instead of just cakes. Make sure there's room for growth. 

If you have questions feel free to leave a comment,  and don't be shy! Share this with other beginning bloggers.  

upload.jpg

Snapchat for bloggers and business

Snapchat is one of the newer business tools, and it's often overlooked. I know I completely overlooked Snapchat myself. However it targets my exact ideal audience. While I'm not opposed to people outside the millenial range following me, it is who I target. I was reading a few other posts about Snapchat statistics and one of them said that about 90% of Snapchat is millennials. So when I heard that I figured I'd better hop on the platform. So now I'm on Snapchat

Snapchat, for those of you who don't know, is a platform in which you can send videos, pictures, or text, and it only stays for 10 seconds before it deletes forever. If you post to your story it'll stay for 24 hours. You can also chat with people and, unless you save the conversation, it'll delete after you read it. So it's a very fast paced platform which a lot of people like. You can add people via username, snapcode (you just screenshot the code, go to add via snapcode, and select the screenshot. It'll scan the code for you and add that person.), contacts, etc. 

The buzz lately has been how to use this for bloggers and business owners. So today I'm gonna tell you the top 3 reasons why you should be on this platform.

 

Limited time content  

Content on Snapchat is very exclusive in the fact that it only lasts for 24 hours. You can create limited time coupons, flash sales, give sneak peeks,  and more with the notion that it's 24 hours only. Promote your special coupons on Snapchat, and then drive in traffic by posting it to your Instagram saying "Snapchat followers get a coupon for 24 hours only!". This will let people on your other platforms know that they should be following you on Snapchat as well if they want exclusive content. Everyone loves feeling in the loop about something. Especially if it's exclusive.  

More of a personal platform  

Snapchat is definitely a more personal platform. This is awesome because your audience gets to connect with you in a way they can't really do over Instagram or Facebook. This is a huge plus, because if clients are looking to work with you, they can easily see another side of your personality through Snapchat. Don't be afraid to be relatable on Snapchat ! Yeah Instagram and Facebook are definitely more formal platforms that require a more professional look, but not on Snapchat. Be your raw self.

"Swipe up" link feature  

So far, Instagram's link feature is exclusive to only certain accounts. This is what gives Snapchat the advantage. Snapchats link feature is available to all accounts. Which means you can link to blog posts, websites, lead pages, etc. This is great for those days when you want to promote something without saying "Link in my bio" instead you can literally swipe up on the snap to get there. This was one of the main features that drew me in. 

 

If you use snapchat, what are some ways you use it for your blog or business ??? Comment down below, and don't forget to re-pin if you found this helpful.  

As always, thanks for reading! 

How to increase blog traffic without spending money

A lot of the time you see Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and even paid Pinterest ads when you're just scrolling through your feed. 

It's somewhat of a misconception that you need to pay for ads in order to increase traffic to a post or product. Of course paying for ads will in fact increase traffic, but it is most definitely NOT a requirement. I currently rake in about 1,000 views every month  (And it's only my 4th month blogging) by not paying a single dime. 

Here's a not so secret: most of my traffic comes from Pinterest. However that's not all I use to increase my traffic. It comes from quite a few other sources as well, and I'll be listing my top sources of traffic for you today, as well as what I'm doing on each platform.

*This post contains affiliate links* 

Pinterest  

Pinterest is my main source of blog traffic with over 40% last month, and 60% the month previous. To newbies, Pinterest can seem like a puzzle. You're just sort of pinning things and hoping for results. I've been there. Trust me. However there are a few things you need to do to be successful on Pinterest. 

  1. Join group boards. Pinterest Group boards can give you a ton of exposure. One of my pins is saved to over 150 boards because I posted it to a well known group board. This gets your blog more views because hundreds of eyes see that pin. I have a Productivity and Organization Group Board if you want to check it out. Just click here to get to my Pinterest profile. 
  2. Join Pinterest Facebook groups. I'm in a group called "bloggers unite on pinterest" And it's the best group I've ever been in for pinterest promotion and engagement. Just type that in to Facebook search and they should come up
  3. Make sure you have a board specifically for just your blog posts. This way people who like your content can read your posts directly instead of hunting for them. 

 

Facebook groups  

  1. Not a ton of traffic comes from Facebook groups, but it does help! Like I mentioned above "bloggers unite on pinterest" is a good group to be in. You can also join other groups that allow promotion on certain days or even a bloggers promotion group which they do have out there. My Facebook group had promotion Wednesday's so feel free to request to join
  1. This is one of the most genius ways to get more eyes on your posts. It's already on Facebook so people have the ability to instantly share the post, and in a group with a medium amount of people (overly large groups tend to loose posts quick), it's sure to be seen. 

Instagram

Instagram has been a driver of traffic for some time now. I always make sure to use my linktr.ee to my advantage. If you haven't heard of linktr.ee yet, it's a platform that allows you to create somewhat idea basic landing page with all the links you want to share. It then generates a link to the landing page in which you then put that link in your Instagram website section. 

I have a link to my blog there along with my other freebies and offers.  

Hashtags are also an extremely important part of my Instagram strategy. The instantbossclub membership has over 2,000 hashtags for a wide range of niches.  It's worth looking in to.  

I always make a weekly post sharing the newest blog post, so people know they can go read it. Unfortunately Instagram's link feature isn't available for all accounts yet which is why I love Snapchat.

Snapchat  

While Snapchat isn't a huge driver of traffic yet, but it helps to be able to directly link my posts somewhere. The Snapchat link feature is available to all users. I wish Instagram would get on board. Snapchat for me is more of a personal place for my followers who truly care about the person behind the blog. If you want to be part of my snapchat fam use my Snap code below or click this link

 

upload.jpg

Social media is the biggest driver of my traffic at over 70%. Others include direct links, searches, etc. However with social media you don't have to spend a dime.  That's the beauty of social media marketing, and joining like minded groups. The ability to freely share your posts, and the overwhelming support you can get through your followers is priceless.

Let me know how you drive traffic in the comments !

How I made $200 my fourth month blogging (July income report)

I never ever thought I'd do one of these let me tell ya. I was positive there was no way you could really make any money off of your blog, and the people that did had some kind of secret formula. After making  $200 in my 4th month blogging, I get it now. It's not easy, there's no formula, and it's hard work. You're not going to wake up one morning with thousands of dollars hitting your PayPal right off the bat. However I can tell you what i did to earn some extra money for my blog. $73 out of the money I made is saved aside to help pay my blog at the end of the year. Which I think is a pretty good start.

I didn't make this post to brag about what I made, or that I made anything at all, but instead to encourage new bloggers to get started. It IS POSSIBLE to make money from you blog early on.

(There are affiliate links in this post !) 

So how exactly did i make money on my blog ?

There's a few ways actually. So keep reading to find out what I made and how I did it.

 

Time Management (6).png

1. Affiliate marketing  

That made at least one of you close out of this blog post, but what people don't realize is that affiliate marketing is gonna be your main source of blog income if you don't have a product to sell. Even if you have a product to sell, if you're just starting out, affiliate income is a great way to stay afloat while you wait for sales.

So what is affiliate income  ?

In a nut shell, affiliate income is when you promote someone else's products in exchange for a commission of the sale. For example I'm an affiliate with Instantbossclub  . I use their services, I love them, and I recommend them to others. If they sign up, then i get a little extra money in my pocket to help me continue to support this blog. It's truly an awesome thing. You help others and make a little extra cash. There are tons and tons of affiliate programs out there that pay a pretty penny, and I highly recommend you guys check some out. 

2. Amazon

So this is another site I am an affiliate for, but it's a little different in that I have to promote certain products in order to see results and such. There's a lot more leeway to promote whatever I choose, but some items pay better than others. It's a great first program in my opinion and I recommend getting started with amazon. I post links to Amazon products and when someone purchases using the link I get a small percentage.

>> For 30 days of free amazon prime click HERE<<

3. YouTube Monetization  

YouTube is a huge part of my income and I actually do promote my YouTube on my blog ! If you notice sometimes I'll attatch a video that relates to what I'm talking about in the post. I also promote my videos heavily on Pinterest which is always a stat and income booster. I get paid from YouTube every month via paypal. It's also dependant on interaction with the ads on my videos and on my view count.  If you want to start a YouTube channel here are my tips for starting one. 

4. Instagram Ads  

So I actually get paid by a company called heartbeat. They pay you a certain amount of money to make a post for 72 hours promoting a product or service. My rate is $10 per post and it adds up quick. I didn't get any paid offers this month, but they're always adding new campaigns. Last month I made $20. You can CLICK HERE to sign up for heartbeat and start making money too. It's a super simple sign up process.

So what did I make in July?

Amazon affiliates- $8

Instant boss club affiliates- $41.25

client work - $160 

heartbeat- $0 

teami - $0

YouTube- $23.95  

____________________

(Rounded)  $233

So there you go ! That's the total amount of money I made in July 2017.  

I didn't make this post to brag about how much I made or anything, but instead to encourage you that you can accomplish great things too! And while I have another....... 1,700 to go until I hit my monthly goal (lol!), it's a start. 

As always, thanks for reading. 

Why I Chose Squarespace Over WordPress

One of the hardest choices a blogger has to make is where they are going to create their website. There's all this talk about hosts and domains and blah blah blah, but the main topic of conversation I can't stop hearing about is WordPress VS Squarespace. 

I knew from the get go which one I wanted to go with (spoiler alert, this is Squarespace).  

Of course there are people who will agree and people who will disagree with everything I'm about to say, and that's totally alright. A lot of the articles I read really don't have any elaborate explanation of why they went with one or the other. I usually see vague descriptions like "WordPress is just cool and professional. Everyone uses it!" Which doesn't really help anyone to be honest...  

Just because everyone is using it doesn't mean you also have to use it, and Squarespace is just as professional.  

Here are some of the reasons I chose Squarespace over WordPress.

It's way more user friendly  

I think I may have spent actual full hours trying to beat the learning curve of WordPress. This is coming from someone who was fixing HTML codes when they were 9, took a web design class, and a video game design class (yes they are related). WordPress has got to be one of the most confusing platforms I have ever tampered with because there is such a high learning curve. It's not just like "here's some options start customizing to your hearts content". They give you some super vague options to start off with, and some equally ridiculous themes to try and work with. None of them are fully customizable until you purchase the monthly subscription.

Their themes are also even harder to make yourself and 3x as much to buy pre-made depending on how fancy you're going to get. I would not recommend trying to make the theme yourself unless you're a literal web designer.

I wish I was exhadutating. 

With Squarespace it probably could've taken me 24 hours to make a full website if I had actually sat down to do it instead of taking my time over the course of 2 weeks.  

Everything is customizable and drag and drop. I'm not sure if there's even an option to see the HTML code. If there is I haven't found it. 

Customization options are way more.... customizable  

As I started talking about above, Squarespace gives you immediate access to edit every single aspect of your website before you buy it.  

  • Pinterest pin it buttons
  • Social icons  
  • Connected accounts  
  • Fonts  
  • Font colors  
  • Navigation  
  • images 
  • sign ups for emails 
  • Social media feeds for Instagram  
  • The list could go on for a long time

with WordPress you have to buy the full version before you can install any kind of plugins. If you want most of the things I listed above you're gonna need a lot of them. The sad part is a lot of the WordPress plugins are out of date. 

With Squarespace you don't need any out of date plugins. 

I am so serious when I say everything is click and add. A little arrow comes up on the side of the screen, you click it where you want to put an item, and you get a whole drop down menu of options.  

It's so easy you can make a cover page in 10 minutes. I tried it.  

While WordPress probably does offer you FULL range of customization because of its HTML code option, it's very hard to use and figure out when adding things in unless you're very experienced. 

 Cost effective 

While WordPress has a free option and Squarespace   requires a purchase after 14 days, the cost of squarespace still ends up being less expensive than WordPress. With the countless themes and add ons WordPress has, it's almost laughable to say you won't spend at least $200 on customization if you want a clean website. To purchase a whole year of squarespace upfront with a free domain name (squarespace is also it's own host), it was only $145. 

you can actually turn off your comment sections. 

This is something I couldn't figure out how to do in WordPress. You might be asking yourself why I would ever WANT comments disabled. I want them disabled simply because there are so many spam sites out there, and I'm not about to deal with that. It happened when I was on WordPress and I'm not having it happen again.  

mobile friendly ALWAYS

My site has been mobile friendly from the get go. I know a few friends who have WordPress for their websites and it took them a few theme switches to get it right on mobile. Obviously my site looks 5x more stunning on a computer, but everything still looks, and works the same as far as individual components. It's also still in order (since my theme places everything vertical when viewing from mobile) and not in random places. I played around with some themes in the beginning and it was functional on mobile every time. 

Ecommerce built in to all plans 

If you do the personal or business plan for Squarespace you still get built in ecommerce. Let me tell you how amazing that is compared to the price you have to pay with some platforms.  

I haven't heard specifically but when I was researching WordPress versus squarespace when I was thinking about switching over, one of the main complaints was that WordPress was extremely buggy when it came to the ecommerce portion. This isn't necessarily something you want to have to put up with. 

 Conclusion 

All in all I'm pretty confident in my desicion to say that Squarespace was definitely more for me.  

If you're someone experienced in web design, coding, or have a lot of patience to learn, then WordPress is where you want to be. It's fully customizable in pretty much every aspect because of the HTML; however, you should expect some bugs and out of date features sometimes with the plugins. 

If you're looking for a quick to set up, professional looking website, then Squarespace is where you want to be. Its user friendly, cost friendly, and continues to surprise me.

 

upload.png

How to start your own Facebook Group

I'm sure by now you've joined or at least seen some pretty awesome Facebook groups. If not let me tell you they are an extremely powerful community building tool. Millions of people are on Facebook every day and at least a few hundred could be your target audience! If you're not on Facebook you definitely need to be. I use to be just like you and think "No way! Why on Earth do I need to be on Facebook.." Trust me on this one, you're gonna want to be there.

So today I will be explaining how to start your own Facebook group and what you'll need to be successful in it and keep up the engagement.

Read More

5 Free Stock Photo Resources

I'm sure we have all been there. Can't figure out what to post on Instagram, can't find a high quality image, or you simply want a cohesive feed. Trying to take every single image by yourself or even searching for stock photos takes up a TON of your time. Wouldn't you rather be doing something else ? Well look no further ! Today I am going to direct you to 5 of my favorite free stock photo resources. 

1. Wonderfelle   

upload.jpg

@Wonderfelle is an absolutely amazing stock photo resource. Not only are her paid works affordable and professional, but she has a free stock photo offer on her Instagram ! Signing up for her email list will get you a bundle of free stock photos to use with no strings attatched for your use. Credit is always appreciated.

2. Ivorymix 

upload.jpg

My personal favorite is ivorymix. I bought two bundles of 10 photos for  $15 on her website (Yes. $15 total). However signing up for her email list will land you a free bundle EVERY month and access to the previous free bundles. Giving you a library of about 100 photos (currently) to choose from with more being added every single month. It's a deal you can't pass up.

3. Pexels

upload.jpg

Pexels is a free website for pictures to use for personal or commercial use. All of the pictures are under the creative commons license, so you can literally use them however. It's one of my absolute favorite places for blog images and commercial use photos.

4. PicsArt  (@freetoedit)  

upload.jpg

If you go to the picsart app and follow @freetoedit, they post HUNDREDS of photos that are free to use commercially and personally. Consider it your collection of photos acquired from all the creative commons places out there. IF there is someone to be crdited it will tell you at the top where the original image is from; however, all the ones I've ever encountered  (and that's a lot) have been from creative commons.

5. Pixabay  

 

upload.jpg

Pixabay is another creative commons website. Here you can search free images, videos, vectors, etc. If you're ever confused if you need to give credit, it will tell you next to the download button. Make sure you're under the free photos section and you should be all good. 

What are your favorite stock photo resources ?? Leave me a comment and let me know ! 💖 

 

upload.png

Best planner for content creator's

Wether you're a blogger or instagramer,  you know how hard it is to keep track of your life, content,  and schedule all at the same time. You are probably like I was and have a bunch of ideas written down in 3 different notebooks, or have a dry erase board for your schedule. Not that any of these ideas are bad,  but there's something better. 

*This is a sponsored post. However all the statements said in this post are my own opinions. I would never recommend a product I didn't like. 

Introducting the Protopreneur Planner! 

upload.jpg

who was this designed for ?

The protopreneur planner was designed for businesses and content creators alike. Wether you have a blog,  youtube channel, Instagram, email list, business, etc. You'll find that this planner is an amazing fit for you.

Let's dive into the features 

*There will be a video at the bottom walking you through if you'd rather not read.  

It comes in multiple different colors and even a plain black, so you can pick which planner best represents your style. (I obviously chose the pink for myself 😉.) The interior has multiple card slots and a secretarial pocket for business cards, ID cards, or extra note paper. 

upload.jpg

The cover to this planner is extremely sturdy so I wouldn't worry about harm to your planner much. It has a faux leather look and feel, and it looks very well made with little to no errors. One of my planners was put in upside down, but it was an easy fix since the planner slides out of the cover.(With a little force of course. No need to worry about it flopping around in there on its own.) All I had to do was flip it around. The pages are an off white color by the way. Just a fair warning. 

There are multiple different pages and tools within the planner. The first few pages are for visualization of your life and business. It then talks about your goals and who your target audience is. 

The next few pages are for content schedules, and then it starts the first monthly page.  The monthly had a spot for your content of the week, your finance tracker, notes, and work days. Its a very helpful overview and is extremely unique in its composition. 

Then you have your weekly overview. This is a two page overview. The left side is your weekly to do list and your project planner. The right side is for tracking your habits, and any important follow ups or people you need to contact.

Then you get to the weekly pages. It is a vertical style weekly spread with time slots titled AM, Noon, and PM. I'll include a picture below.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg

There is a notes section, your daily focus, daily highlights, gratitude and your time slots. There are no times written in, so you can write in your own ! A huge seller for me was that my happy planner stickers fit perfectly in the columns, and the headers fit perfectly in between lines. 

In the back of the planner there are some extra spots for brain dumps and project planning.  

 

Overall, I would highly recommend this planner to anyone who has a business, or just in general creates content.  

Be sure to check out the video for more in depth views of the planner and it's features.  

Comment below and let me know what you think !  

 

upload.png
upload.jpg