What is the Hardest Thing about Blogging for Profit in 2020?
This is How to Spring Clean Your Blog and Why It’s a Must Do
The Definitive Guide to Blog Post Inspiration for Budget Bloggers
As a blogger, your greatest resource will always be your ability to create and curate information into valuable content for your readers. When resources, however, are limited both financially and creatively, stashing away a wealth of inspiration in your frugal hip pocket today, may prove to be your most sensible savings plan for tomorrow. The Definitive Guide to Blog Post Inspiration for Budget Bloggers Stashing away a wealth of inspiration in your frugal hip pocket today may prove to be your most sensible savings plan for tomorrow. These 6 Must-Do Tips Will Help You Dramatically Cut Your Grocery Bill Try These 4 Homemade Cleaning Products That Work Just As Well As The Store Bought Version 8 Budget Tools That You Need To Start Managing Your Money With Today This is How to Make Restaurant Style Foods Right In Your Own Home Saving For Retirement: Are Your Finances Fit For Your Future? 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These are the Only Social Media Automation Tools We Actually Use on Our Multi-site Blogging Empire
As a blogger, one of the most important and difficult parts of our job is connecting on a personal level while vying for the attention of thousands of people every day through our social networks. In an age where your digital footprint lives on to haunt you far longer than your high school yearbook photo ever will, getting it right on social media is growing more and more important with every passing year. Though the task of maintaining a constant presence on the most popular networks may be unpleasant at times, there are definitely a few tools you can use to lighten your load in the social media world. These are the Only Social Media Automation Tools we Actually Use on Our Multi-site Blogging Empire Ninja Pinner- If your big problem with Pinterest is trying to find followers then We strongly suggest trying Ninja Pinner. This easy peasy program can quickly gather long lists of users to follow or even pins to like. It also has the handy little capability of unfollowing users who haven't followed you back within a certain period of time and can leave automatic comments based on sets of rules you create. Tailwind- If you can only afford one tool for your blog, THIS should be your choice. Pinterest drives over 45 percent of our traffic and it offer's much more of a creative experience than other social networks. The only problem with Pinterest is that you can't set your pins to trickle out over time so that you aren't flooding your audience with a ton of Office Updo's or Coffee Recipes at once... but with Tailwind, NOW. YOU. CAN. Cue the Doves please. Tailwind not only allows you to set up a backlog of pins that your feed pulls from but it also lets you randomize them once they are in that queue and suggests the best possible times to pin so you are most likely to get the highest amount of engagement from your users. Already the must use tool for anyone looking to blog Professionally, in early 2018 these social media slayers changed the blogging game once more with their much-anticipated release of Tailwind for Instagram. Pinterest Automatic - We’ve had this handy automatic Pinterest pusher for a couple of years now, and we don’t know what we’d do without it. Automatically posting all the images out of a post to Pinterest when it publishes, this plugin is a huge timesaver and one of our favorite ways to stay active on social media. Ninja Gram- Created by the same snazzy team that made Ninja Pinner, NinjaGram is an amazing suite of automation software for IG that allows you to gather usernames from lists, keyword searches, or Instagram accounts and like, follow, or comment on them automatically. This is super great for improving your following, but you still need to spend a ton of time on IG commenting on other peoples photos to drive traffic. WP to Twitter - A few years back we decided to look into automation tools to cut down on the amount of time that we were spending pushing new posts out to social media. For Twitter, we found WP to Twitter, a simple to use, super lightweight plugin that automatically pushes all of our latest posts titles and excerpts, and since then we’ve made sure that it was installed on every site we've worked on. Hootsuite- Hootsuite allows you to display feeds from a variety of Networks side by side, making it simpler to keep track of your social media presence across multiple sites. It's a great way not only to automate your posting, but also to keep an eye on your mentions, likes, and reposts, giving you a powerful measuring stick to monitor the effects you're having across the whole blogosphere. TumbleNinja- Into Tumbler? Well, they've got a ninja for that too. TumbleNinja works quite like the other two ninja products, but it has a couple of Tumblr-specific features that help it stand out from the pack. One of these snazzy new features is the ability to reblog posts from bloggers on a schedule. No more worrying about reblogging at the wrong times, just set it and forget it like a Ronco Rotisserie, and let it do the work. Buffer- Buffer has a similar feel to Tailwind, as they are both automation tools used to schedule and release content at specific times. Buffer, however, has a heavy focus on Twitter and Facebook, rather than Pinterest. One touch publishing allows you to schedule a tweet, retweet, or a Facebook post from any page, add it to the queue and when its turn arrives, it gets published. Buffer also comes with a suite of automation tools that are ideal for figuring out when to publish to ensure maximum visibility based on your demographics. Social Pilot - After experiencing the automation prowess of the Ninjas, we went on the hunt for other tools to keep us further from the drudgery of social media management. Though we went through the process of testing dozens of tools (and oh what a process it was), the next to really stand out in our minds was SocialPilot, a scheduling system that worked with all of the major social media networks we regularly used (and several we didn’t regularly use at the time.) We are nothing if not fans of making a solid schedule, so having the ability to create a cross-platform post plan is exactly what we want in our automation tools. CoSchedule - With direct blog integration if you’re on Wordpress, and the ability to handle multiple platforms in a single place, CoSchedule has become our modern day Mass Planner (May it Rest in peace) for All in one Social Media Management. Click to Tweet - We’ve been using click to tweet for the last few years to increase social shares for our posts. The plugin lets us quickly create tweetable blurbs embedded within our articles so that we can highlight our favorite passages and make them easily shareable for our readers. While we don’t use the plug in anymore due to Twitter’s dwindling popularity, its a great plug in if you’re in a Twitter heavy Niche. Planoly - Because Instagram is such a visual platform, it needs to be perfect every time. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to mentally visualize what photo is going to look good next to another photo. Being the organization loving control freaks we are, we set out for a solution and found one in the well recommended Planoly. It enabled us to see how all potential posts will look in our feed BEFORE publishing and let’s us get most of our post planning for the month out of the way all at once. Plluuuss There’s a free version with less importable photos that’s the perfect size for small accounts.
Real Talk: This is What it Takes to Work as a Full-Time Freelancer
Much like the Perfect Beach Body or The Ultimate Morning Routine, a life as a Full-time Freelancer has become as much an over conceptualized vision of entrepreneurial freedom as the avocado eating beach-bound Twenty-something influencers that have adopted it as their mantra. Though a life as a Full-time Freelancer is an absolutely attainable goal that many entrepreneurs achieve in their careers, we can tell you from first-hand experience, that as a Full-Time Freelancer, the only place your business-running-body is likely bound to go, is to the nearest Starbucks and back for your much needed daily latte. Real Talk: This is What it Takes to Work as a Full-Time Freelancer The Good, The Bad, and The Angry - Bad News Doll Face, the Internet is not a nice place. The same person who might pay for the groceries of the elderly Veteran standing in line behind them at the whole foods irl, might tell you that your blog is a piece of sh*t and that you're a waste of life online (Direct quote.) You have to develop a thick skin, and a thicker portfolio to focus on for when you need to keep the haters at bay while you're working on gettin' your pay. Discount Den - One of the biggest struggles with making a living as a Full-Time Freelancer is fighting for customers like a hyena scavenging on the Savannah. There are always bigger and more well-known people in your field who are going to be competing against you for jobs but don't give in to the temptation to bottom out your prices just to get a bid or you will be certain to undermine your worth both literally and figuratively. That Nomadic Strife - Here's the thing, Instagram's only got it half right. The Life of a Full-Time Freelancer can be glamorously nomadic and because you work for yourself, you are able to be more mobile than in almost any other career. The bad news, however, is that there are definitely restrictions on the practicality of being a mobile entrepreneur. Though the glory of cloud computing, laptops, and smartphones has enabled us to have more work/travel options than ever before, Shorter Customer Deadlines due to the advancement of technology, Poor WiFi Signals, and Bad Cell Reception all factor into a last minute hotel lobby panic attack about an impending deadline that is soon to be missed due to 5 hour upload times, spotty reception, and a trip that was quite possibly more trouble than it was worth. The Side Hustle - Becoming a Full-Time Freelancer isn't going to happen overnight. You'll need time to build up your personal brand, gain the required skills, and get to know a regular set of clientele which means that starting out the pickings are gonna be slim. If you want to keep living at the lifestyle you're accustomed to, you're gonna need to either dig into a side hustle, or that 100th bowl of Ramen. Missing The Benefits - In the modern era of hospitals and healthcare, unless you intend on living your life like the boy in the bubble, it's probably safe to say you're gonna need Insurance. Though most positions come with the standard Health, Dental, and Vision package, when you start working for yourself, you could find that you are suddenly sans safety net, and seriously super sick. Lookin' Lonely - As much as it sucks, it turns out that working for yourself actually means that you have to do the work by yourself. If you're used to having a manager watching, and a strict set of rules and guidelines to follow, you'll realize all too soon that you're the only one in the room. Though freelancing presents an unmatched opportunity for growth financially, personally, and professionally, it also means that no one is watching over you to make sure that you meet deadlines, and no one is there to save you if you fall behind.
These are the Essential Free WordPress Plugins Every New Blogger Should be Using
As the simplest solution to the larger problem of how to create and manage a website with no programming experience, more than any other blogging platform, WordPress dominates the space like a mother lion on the prowl. When WordPress stops working, however, or needs a customization beyond the bounds of a normal blog, both budding bloggers and proven professionals turn to the pre-packaged problem solving of plugins. Offering an all in one solution to getting the functionality you need from WordPress while still being able to bury your head in the sand and not learn php, plugins provide the blogosphere with a host of site saving options without the time-sink of custom dev. These are the Essential Free WordPress Plugins Every New Blogger Should be Using Click to Tweet – We’ve been using click to tweet for the last few years to increase social shares for our posts. The plugin lets us quickly create tweetable blurbs embedded within our articles so that we can highlight our favorite passages and make them easily shareable for our readers. While we don’t use the plugin anymore due to Twitter’s dwindling popularity, its a great plugin if you’re in a Twitter heavy Niche. Akismet – Coming Pre-installed on most standard WordPress installations, for as long as we’ve been making sites on WordPress, we’ve been using Akismet to keep spammers at bay. Free of charge for smaller bloggers and businesses, this plugin provides quick and easy protection from spam, and is completely automated, meaning that we don’t have to take time out of our busy days for the tedious task of filtering out nonsense comments on our blogs. Yoast SEO – Yoast is the quickest, and easiest way to set up a system for SEO on WordPress based blogs. It automates a lot of the more tedious parts of SEO and offers a somewhat set it and forget it option for most of our metadata needs. CommentLuv – The quick and easy way to draw in commenters from other blogs while adding extra links to your pages, we’ve used CommentLuv for years on nearly every site we’ve produced. Automatically pulling the commenters latest blog post, giving them an incentive to comment and you a higher likelihood that they will leave a comment, we love using it for our new blogs that need a quick comment surge in a well-read, but not highly engaged niche. WordPress Editorial Calendar – Scheduling can be a rough game for bloggers, and while paper might work when you’re small, when you have multiple blogs running at once, a posted post-it of posts just isn’t going to do the trick. Enabling us to Post on the regular while keeping track of the progress of our upcoming articles, editorial calendar has been the organizational boon we needed, ever since we first began. WP to Twitter – A few years back we decided to look into automation tools to cut down on the amount of time that we were spending pushing new posts out to social media. For Twitter, we found WP to Twitter, a simple to use, super lightweight plugin that automatically pushes all of our latest posts titles and excerpts, and since then we’ve made sure that it was installed on every site we worked on. It’s a great way to fill up your feed without having to Actually visit Twitter. Pinterest Automatic – We’ve had this handy automatic Pinterest pusher for a couple of years now, and we don’t know what we’d do without it. Automatically posting all the images out of a post to Pinterest when it publishes, this plugin is a huge timesaver and one of our favorite ways to stay active on social media. Heartbeat Control – As content management systems go, we’re pretty big fans of WordPress, but if there was one tiny issue we would take with it, it’s that it sometimes freezes solid and eats 4 hours worth of work. Sick of slow load times and out of nowhere crashes, we decided that it might be time to cut back on some of the more resource intensive functions of WordPress, namely, the Heartbeat. This slick little plugin lets us turn the heartbeat process on or off at will, ironically enough keeping our WordPress from dying right in the middle of writing an article. WooCommerce – While on the hunt for a solution to a store building issue in WordPress we came across a young WooCommerce only a couple of years out from its initial release. While we ended up going with a different solution to that particular problem, we were impressed enough to watch it grow into the staple of WordPress blogs that it is today, and even include it on a few of our other sites. Google XML Sitemaps - Providing more SEO goodness to enjoy in the form of a sitemap created to Google standards, this search engine supercharger allows spiders to more easily traverse your blog, adding a little boost to your Google search ranking without any added effort. Wordfence - If you have a blog, you need Wordfence. With the ability to scan files to determine if they have already been infected, and allowing us to limit login attempts while blacklisting problematic IPs, free of charge, this plugin gives us enterprise level security on an entry level budget.
6 Essential Must Do’s for Your First 6 Months of Blogging for Profit
The well-worn path from publishing your first post to life as a full-time blogger is a long and winding road marred with breakdowns, fueled by bad gas station coffee, and musically accompanied by your friends and family incessantly asking you to stop for a break. While it is technically possible to get there without a roadmap, it's always easier to follow the detailed directions of someone who's taken this road before. 6 Essential Must Do’s for your first 6 Months of Blogging for Profit 1. Crank Out Quality Content - A blog without posts is like a car without fuel, it may look nice, but it's not going to take you very far. As soon as you start your blog, you also need to start cranking out quality content that is insanely useful, while adhering to a Very Strict and Rigid schedule. No exceptions. Focusing on putting out a large volume of garbage or, over on the opposite site of crazy town, just one artfully written post a month, isn't going to do anything for your blog. Regular readers crave new and ever more engaging content, and one time viewers need valuable information at the ready if they're ever to be transformed into subscribers. Creative Tip: Pair down Your efforts by bulking up Your actions. Doing similar tasks like writing and photographing in dedicated bulk chunks of time enables you to stay organized and not miss a day of posting when you're not feeling in the groove. 2. Build Your List - This is a PSA to every Blogger, Business person, MLMer, Youtuber, Social Media Influencer, Marketing Maven or Grandma who just accidentally clicked on our site and can't figure out how to leave. If you have built your audience through ANY platform that is not an email list, You can and will lose it all if the algorithm Gods decide it's time to smite you. (See Facebook.) Don't let your hard fought blogging business become just another dusty mummified ancient relic of an internet gone by, build your list, and build it now. Put in multiple ways to sign up on every page and offer completely kick-ass opt-in incentives that not only get your new found reader to give up their digital dets, but get's them excited to keep coming back for more. Creative Tip: Always Giveaway Usable Goods. Just because you can trick someone into giving you their info once, doesn't mean they can't click the unsubscribe button once they realize your goods aren't that great. 3. Get Money Minded - Take the Time to Incorporate a strong monetization strategy from the ground up. If you’re going to be using an affiliate heavy strategy, start writing incredibly long and highly targeted posts that detail how to do something your audience needs help with. Include affiliate links to high dollar items that are incorporated directly into the subject matter. If you're using ads, learn how to optimally place them on the page where they will get a lot of clicks but not annoy your readers (also please don’t solely rely on ads for revenue.) If you're planning on selling courses, start building that course RTFN. Putting off the monetization stage is an easy way for people who think that their blog isn't "ready" to avoid the scary feeling of potentially failing. Your blog can make money, but not if you don't let it. Creative Tip: Find an Accountability Partner who's going to hold you to your blogging promises. You'll never know just what you are capable of doing if you don't get out of your own way long enough to do it. 4. Get your branding Together - I’m not going to take fashion advice from someone who’s wearing gauchos with Birkenstocks and your readers aren’t going to take life advice from someone who can’t even get their blog's theme together. Can you make it with an ugly blog? Yes. Is it going to be much harder? Obviously. Before you ever even start to put yourself out there as an authority on your topic, you need to look, sound, and act like you know what the hell you're talking about by getting your blog template, logo, web assets, and social media feeds All. The. Way. Together. to create a professional and cohesive look. Creative Tip: If you can't make it, buy it. Places like Etsy, Creative Market, and Blu Chic make affordable feminine blog themes, which means that even if you don't have a huge budget to blow on your business, there's no excuse for your blog looking unprofessional and tacky. 5. Get Your Social Media Going and Growing - You can't just ignore social media because it sucks, make and adhere to a set social media schedule for posting, commenting, reposting, and replying. Buy or Design beautiful posting templates for each platform you intend to participate in and coordinate your feed's color scheme with your brand. Build your audience without being cheesy, spammy, or any other calorie ridden social faux pas by engaging with followers as you would want them to engage with you, genuinely, frequently, and without an agenda. Creative Tip: Keep track of what filters you are using for each platform so that your feed actually looks unified rather than like you snapped a bunch of pictures at random and then picked them out of a bin to post. 6. Know Better So You Can Do Better - As any good business woman knows, the learning doesn't stop when your business starts. Even Marketing demigods like Neil Patel and Gary Vaynerchuk consistently immerse themselves in the newest and most up-to-date information, and sweetie, if it's good enough for Neil P. and Gary V., then rest assured it's good enough for you and it's good enough for me. Strive to thoroughly and relentlessly continue to educate yourself about Business and Blogging through quality sources. To paraphrase an old saying, a wise man knows that he knows nothing. Bad information will kill your brand new blogging baby and, unless you want the obituary to read "Time of Death: That time you took major business advice from the Rando on Quora," It’s time to stop reading the Cliff Notes version of blogging for dummies and start truly educating yourself like the big boys. Creative Tip: Audio Books are by far the best source of career information for busy professionals with too much sh*t to do. Listen to them in the car, listen to them at the bar, listen to them in the house, listen to them with your spouse...
This is How to Write a Newsletter for Your Blog that Gets Opened
After all your hard work and dedication to your budding blogging career, someone has finally picked up what you've been puttin' down and settled in to sign up for your newsletter. Huzzah Friend, someone finally cares about your blog besides you. Huzzah Friend, someone finally cares about your blog besides you. Nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that not only does another Actual Human being enjoy your posts enough to read them at the moment they found them but, that they liked what they read enough to want to read more in the future. Unfortunately, what most bloggers and small business owners don't realize is that even though you feel like you've just been handed the keys to the kingdom with that fancy new email address someone just gave you, without the proper understanding of how to avert the dreaded spam filter, your key won't be opening any doors for you and your blog any time soon. The sad truth is that even when using professional newsletter generating tools from legitimate companies, a large portion of your hard-fought list will never even see your email. This is How to Write a Newsletter for Your Blog that Gets Opened If You use salesmen like phrasing in your email the All Knowing Keepers of the Inbox will banish your newsletter. Careful With Content: Be super careful when writing your Newsletter. Spam filters work by reading the content of incoming emails and tossing the ones that have phrases that match certain patterns. If You use salesmen like phrasing in your email the All-Knowing Keepers of the Inbox will banish your newsletter to the darkest corners of the spam folder, never to be seen again. Creative Tip: Try removing words like "special offer," "buy now" or "Sale." Other topics to avoid mentioning include large sums of money, free cash, and most importantly the Prince of Nigeria. True Story, malformed html in your newsletter is often seen as a possible indication of a hidden attack. Watch Your Formatting: Another HUGE problem that sends tons of bloggers right into the cold, dark grasp of the spam filters is the use of improper formatting. True Story, malformed HTML in your newsletter is often seen as a possible indication of a hidden attack within the code, and will often be filtered out or stopped by the email client before even entering the inbox. Because most of the malformed code comes from places like converted Microsoft Word documents or other files that have gone through a converter to HTML display, try using professional email services instead of converting your own documents, as they have a number of pre-built templates that are both standards compliant and world's easier to use. Creative Tip: Some of the most popular email services are Constant Contact and ConvertKit, but because we love doing things on the cheap, we still manage our entire 5 Site Empire through Mail Chimp. ♥ The trick is to keep your content interesting enough that your readers will be willing to follow it back to your site. Be Exciting, Not Excited: Alright, Truth time, while it may be tempting to do things in your Newsletters like write your new and amazing subject line in all caps, add in a ton of exclamation points after a sentence, or use super bright colors with a cool font, these are all super quick ways to earn your Newsletter a one way ticket to spam land. The trick is to keep your content interesting enough that your readers will be willing to follow it back to your site to read more, while avoiding pitfalls that, if sent by someone else to you, would make you immediately reach for the hand sanitizer and run for the virus protector. Creative Tip: Though your newsletter isn't in all bold, it's anything but basic. Use Pretty Templates to Jazz up its look, or better yet, pair it down with a simple heart to heart format for a full proof inbox hero. Spam filters will whip your little letter right off into oblivion if they suspect you of being an advertisement. Friends Don't Send Friends a Ton of Links: Here's the sitch peeps, keep your link happy self under control when trying to get your Newsletter to its goal. Spam filters, (especially Gmail) will whip your little letter right off into oblivion if they suspect you of being an advertisement, and what do most advertisements provide in their newsletters? A ton of links. Keep your linking to no more than 1 or 2 at the very most if you want to keep your email in their inbox. Creative Tip: If you want to be able to easily link them to multiple products or services, add what you want to offer to a single custom page, and then link to that to keep your link count low and your view count high. Since the filters don't see any difference between your shady deeds and theirs, your lonely little email will be left at the losers table once more. Picture Perfect: One of the most common ways that people try to get around these spam filters is by using one large image, rather than formatted HTML. Alright, so the logic is sound, after all, the spam filter can't scan your text if there isn't any... but, my friend, the problem with that devious thought process is that we bloggers aren't the only ones to try that strategy. Many spammers, scammers and other ne'er do wells try the same tactic pretty regularly and since the filters don't see any difference between your shady deeds and theirs, your lonely little email will be left at the losers table once more. Creative Tip: There’s nothing wrong with using smaller images, and in fact, a newsletter with no images is bound to get far less interaction than one with them, but be careful to balance. If someone is too dim to like your stuff, let them go. Simply Marvelous: I don't care what blackhat tricks you think you know or what bad information has been given to you by another blog, by now, you should know that you always need to put your unsubscribe link in your email. It's Excessive, it's annoying, it's unfair that not everyone does it, but if someone is too dim to like your stuff, let them go. You don't need them anyway. If they flag you as spam, it can cause you issues with other readers who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. Creative Tip: We understand the temptation to try to keep your readers in by leaving your unsubscribe link out, but losing a few subscribers who weren’t going to read anyway is a drop in the bucket compared to the legal repercussions you could be facing for not including it. If you’re not giving your subscribers a reason to open your emails, there’s 0 chance of them wasting their time. Opulent Offerings: Your newsletter is one of the biggest traffic drivers you have for your site, and one of the biggest drivers for newsletter signups is a solid, high-value optin. If your optin isn’t on point, or, even worse, non-existent, then your readers aren’t going to have any reason to fill their already too full inboxes with yet another time-draining newsletter. If you’re not giving your subscribers a reason to open your emails, there’s 0 chance of them wasting their time by going to see your actual content. Make sure that whatever your offering, it gives your readers some reason not only to open your beautifully branded emails, but to also follow your links back to your stylish site. Creative Tip: Up your optin game with a multi-email experience, spreading that welcome out across multiple days with a mini-course. In one quick burst, you’ll have shown them that you can offer valuable content, gotten them in the habit of reading your emails, and offered up a memorable intro that is sure to keep them coming back for more.
The Definitive Guide to Blog Post Inspiration for Travel Bloggers
A lack of creativity has guided you to a bland and uninspired place. With a literal world of experiences and unfamiliar sights to explore, the excursion fueled life of a travel blogger is filled with the wondrous undertaking of seeing the world while digitally documenting the infinite splendor of their far-flung, adventurous days. Though the constant treks and surreal expeditions may belie that the next adventurous outing is always just around the bend, when the lustrous grandeur of the unknown has begun to lose its wonder, you may find that much like the paper towns on an old map, a lack of creativity during your overabundance of awe has guided you to a bland and uninspired place. 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