A couple of weeks ago, I asked if you guys wanted to see more posts about blogging and y’all overwhelmingly said YES! So, here we go with post #1. This may be a weird place to start, but lately I have been a very “in the moment” blogger, and this is something I have wanted to talk about for a while, so why not start here? For the last couple of years, my “work week” has started on Sunday evenings. I can tell a huge difference in when I get those 2 hours of work done on this night and when I don’t, and they really do make or break my entire week as far as blogging is concerned.
I have made no bones about the fact that I love blogging. It started out as a hobby that I started up one day because I was working on websites at the time and thought it would be fun to start my own. It was something I did totally on a whim and had no idea it would turn into a full-time job. I wanted to write this post today because a lot of people have been asking me what I do lately. It has always been easier just to say I am a SAHM, but that’s not the whole truth. The truth is, I work my tail off. I have been working 40-60 hours a week for the last year now. There is a lot to the world of blogging. With millions of blogs out there, there is a lot of work you have to do to stand out. Some bloggers get lucky and have a post go viral that can carry them for a while, but for most of us, that is not the case.
I get asked all the time how I have so much time to play around on social media. The truth is, I don’t, and I’m not. I have two babies that I am taking care of. I am a freelancer and blogger in my spare time. I don’t have time to sit around and play on Twitter or Instagram all day long. Pinterest on the other hand, I can always make time for (kidding!).
My secret: I schedule everything. Everything.
Twitter and Facebook – So how do I appear to be tweeting all day long? I schedule every tweet and most of my Facebook posts through Hootsuite. A lot of bloggers I follow also use Buffer. I don’t think there is a whole lot of difference between the two. They both schedule and shorten links for you. I love it because I can spend 10 minutes on Sunday night scheduling my tweets and Facebook posts (for the most part) for the entire week. It saves so much time because I don’t have to worry about it during the week and I don’t get addicted to my twitter feed every time I sit down to tweet. It is still important to share other’s tweets and interact with your followers, so don’t forget to do this daily.
Pinterest – For Pinterest, I use Tailwind. I tried the free month trial and was addicted! It is so nice to be able to schedule my blog posts on Pinterest and other’s pins as well. I love Tailwind because they tell you your peak times to pin every day. It is really helpful and I have seen an increase in repins since scheduling through them.
Instagram – There is no app that actually posts to your Instagram for you. There is however a way to save your edited photo and caption and schedule it to remind you to post at a certain time – Latergramme. Since using this app, I have been posting to Instagram more frequently and at the times of day I want to. It is so simple to use and I love it because it helps me schedule my edited photos for the week all in one sitting. Then, Latergramme alerts me when it is time to post and all I have to do is click through to Instagram and paste the caption in the description and post! It also saves a lot of time! I love Instagram and it is probably my favorite social media network. I do spend most of my time on here because I love seeing everyone’s lovely photos and being inspired by them!
So, there you have it! Those are my secrets to save time on social media and give the appearance that you’re always around, even when you’re wrestling a 22 month old and cleaning up spit up from a 5 month old!
Do you schedule your social media? How do you save time during the week?
A couple of weeks ago, I had a serious case of writer’s block. This rarely happens to me because I am always thinking of ideas for blog posts and jotting them down, but I just could not think of anything. I blame it on a certain 4 month old’s growth spurt and lack of sleep lately. I decided I had to get out of the house and try to ignite my brain somehow. I wasn’t coming up with anything by just sitting around there anyways.
I ran out to Hobby Lobby and BOOM the idea for my DIY burlap wreath tutorial (and something else that is coming soon) was formed. I was checking out at the counter when I saw a Taste of Home /magazine – hello, 3 more ideas for blog posts! Then, the idea for this post flew in my head! I see that a lot of bloggers struggle with writer’s block from time to time. I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the ways I stay inspired and gain ideas to form my own blog posts.
Look through magazines – one magazine gave me 3 instant ideas for great holiday themed blog posts. Just remember to make them your own. Add your own flavor the them. Do not ever copy anything verbatim. Plagiarism isn’t just for high-schoolers. There are also these things called copyright laws…
Go for a walk – Getting outside always inspires me. I love to be out in nature and I gain so much by being outside in the peace and quiet. It allows me to clear my head and think a little more clearly about my goals and ideas.
Grab your camera and take random photos – I have just recently started doing this. I love taking photos of random things. Sometimes they even spark a great story, tutorial or recipe idea!
Step away from your computer – This is HUGE for us bloggers! We are on our computer ALL the time. Writing, applying for sponsored posts, editing pictures, scheduling social media, participating in Facebook groups, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes, you (and definitely me) can get burned out really easily. It is healthy and smart to step away from it all sometimes.
Peruse Pinterest – I see so many great recipes, crafts, how-tos, etc on Pinterest that trigger an idea for me. Whether it is taking my own spin on How to Start a Blog, an OOTD, or a simple dinner recipe, I love checking out Pinterest regularly for inspiration.
Read a book – It is no secret that I love to read. It is my favorite form of “escaping.” Some people throw themselves into a job, some drink alcohol, I read. I love to get wrapped up in a good story. Even better? Books inspire me. They are constantly giving me ideas and keeping me focused and constantly examining my own life and keeping me on track to be where I want to be. Also, I can always type up a book review of my latest read when I need a post for a Tuesday.
Other bloggers – I will say it a million times. I love this community of bloggers. Everyone is so supportive of one another. For the most part everyone is kind and encouraging. I love feeding off of other bloggers. I also love doing round-up posts and sharing other bloggers work. Others have been so kind to share mine and I love doing the same for them. I love reading my favorite blogs and being encouraged and inspired by them. They help me set my next goals and help me succeed.
Where do you turn for inspiration? Which blogger most inspires you? Leave a link to their blog in the comments!
As of April 2015, I stopped working for the web company I had been with for nearly 4 years and went to full time blogging. It was a scary decision because frankly, blogging income can be unpredictable from month to month. I have had good months, bad months and amazing months. It all averages out in the end. I have been asked by so many friends and family how I make money blogging or how I have time to do it with two babies. I will be really honest, it is not easy at all, but I am an avid planner/scheduler and that has really worked in my favor.
Here are some tips for all of you SAHMs who want to blog but are unsure if you will have time:
– Figure out when and how often to post. I try to consistently post 5 days a week (Monday – Friday), but you don’t have to post that often. A lot of bloggers I follow only post 2 or 3 times a week. I also typically schedule my posts to go live at 8a.m. because I have had most success with that time. It may be different for you depending on your location and niche. Figure out what works best for you.
– Create a schedule. This is key. Whether you take photos while the babies are napping and write/edit at night or you wake up early to get it all done before they rise, it is important to have a schedule and stick to it so you don’t fall behind.
-Be consistent. Once you decide what days you are going to post be sure to do it. It can be frustrating and turn readers off if you don’t post consistently. They might quit checking back for new posts.
– Make blogging a priority. Obviously your family comes before blogging, after all, you are a SAHM. Your kids come first, always. Mine do as well. However, if you are monetizing your blog to make an income, it has to become a priority just as a job is a priority.
– Have fun with it. I love blogging. I did it for 2 years before I ever made a dime just because I enjoyed it. It has been an awesome creative outlet for me and it has taught me so much about myself. It has challenged me in numerous ways and I am so thankful for this community. If you don’t love what you are doing, you won’t be successful. Blogging is not a quick way to earn a buck. It takes a lot of hard work for little pay.
New to Blogging? Read How to Start a Blog!
Do you have any other advice for a SAHM wanting to start a blog?
Picmonkey is a free photo editor that is extremely easy to use. I absolutely love it and use it for most of my photos on my blog. It is so simple to edit the exposure, size, add text and create great collages.
StumbleUpon is great for gaining more exposure to your blog. By stumbling your blog posts, you are broadening your audience and putting your posts before new faces. You have to be really careful about stumbling your own posts too much. I try to stumble about 15 to 20 other people’s posts for every one of my own just to be safe. SU will penalize you for stumbling your own work too often.
Pinterest continues to be my #1 referral site to my blog. Take advantage of this free site. Create pinnable photos and pin every post to Pinterest. Pin each post to different boards on different days at different times so that more people will see them. Do you follow me on Pinterest?
Facebook Groups have been amazing for my blog. I have found some wonderful blogs to follow and read every day through these groups. It is so nice to have bloggers sharing your work for you, but you also spend a good amount of time sharing their work as well. Since working with these groups, my pageviews and unique visitors has seen a substantial increase.
Link-Ups are wonderful for bloggers. There are so many link-ups every day of the week that you can participate in. In the (almost) 3 years I have been blogging, I can tell you that most of my readers are other bloggers. Sure, a handful of my friends and family read it occasionally, but the ones that read it daily and leave comments are other bloggers. Link-ups are a great way to find posts to read and new blogs that are in your niche to fall in love with! Visit my link-up list here!
What are some of your favorite free blogging resources?
Be sure to check out GraphicStock and make your own printables, invitations and whatever else your heart desires!
So you have a blog. Now what?
I know every blogger has a set of their own blog tips that they like to share, so I thought I would throw in my two cents and share what has helped me, and what I wish I had known from the beginning.
Social Media is probably my most important tip for you. If you don’t already have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest and Instagram for your blog, get them ASAP. Like, now. Promoting through social media is how most people will end up on your blog. See those pretty pins on Pinterest? Those are blog posts. People click on them like crazy and drive traffic to those blogs. More on Pinterest below. It is equally important to share all of your blog posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Everyone is on social media these days and spend a lot more time on the internet. It is important to use these facts to your advantage.
Photos are so important. Make them beautiful. Don;t ever put a picture in your post that you aren’t proud of because chances are, you’ll regret it. Make at least one photo pinnable in your posts. Add text if you want, and always edit them to make them beautiful and to make them fit perfectly in your post. I use PicMonkey for all of my editing.
Utilize Pinterest. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Pinterest has driven so much traffic to my blog, and for that I am very thankful. Start pinning your posts if you aren’t already. Be descriptive in your pin description, and use hashtags, but not too many. I try to use one or two.
Stumble Stumble Stumble and ask others to Stumble your posts. This is a great way to increase your traffic and help other bloggers. Read other tips on how to increase your blog traffic here.
Network. Join Facebook groups, and share other bloggers content. They will reciprocate.
Participate in Link-Ups. Here is a list of link-ups I love to participate in. If you host or know of any great link-ups that aren’t on my list, let me know in the comments! Link-ups are a great way to get noticed by other bloggers and drive more traffic to your posts. You might even find a new blog that you will fall in love with!
Give it time. For some, traffic increases steady and quick, for others, it takes more time. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Don’t bother copying everyone else around you. Do the best you can and be yourself. People will read your blog for YOU.
Stay Out of Blog Drama
I think this speaks for itself. I lose so much respect when I see a great blogger let internet drama bring her down. It’s so silly and really sad. It’s best to just stay out of it. Be kind, always.
I’m preaching to myself on this one. I have taken blog breaks here and there and it really messes up my stats/page views. Not cool. I always regret it. Be consistent and stay consistent. If you don’t, people will quit visiting your blog.
Do you have any other tips for beginners? Was this post helpful?
Decide what you want to write about. This is pretty important. Do you want to be a fashion blogger, lifestyle blogger, food blogger, craft blogger? I would say mine is a lifestyle blog. I like to share about my life as a mother as well as my fashion, recipes, book reviews, etc. It’s important to know what type of blogger you want to be so that you can have a clear vision of the topics you will write about.
Blogger vs. WordPress is and has been the biggest controversial topic amongst bloggers. Everyone has their opinion. I am on Blogger. I love it and haven’t really wanted to change because it is so easy to work with. A lot of bloggers will preach WordPress all the way, but I have been very happy with Blogger as well. The decision is ultimately yours. Do your research on both and make the decision based on what you want for your blog.
Picking a name for your blog is the next step. This is huge. My blog started out as Southern, Sunflowers and Coffee Beans, because those are two of my favorite things that also describe me. I am a southern girl who loves the outdoors and I’m always hyped up on coffee. I changed my blog name to Logan Can last year because I wanted a simpler, shorter and clearer name for my blog. Put a lot of thought into your name because it will definitely become your identity in blogland. Also, be conscious of social media handles. Make sure the handles are available for your blog before you begin.
Blog Design is also very important. You want your blog to be organized and look professional while also describing your personality. You might want to splurge and hire a designer to do this for you. It will be much easier and quicker than you trying to do it yourself. Most designers are very easy to work with and can help you creatively design your blog to fit your personality.
Write. And write some more. I try to write every day. Some days I just don’t have time, but I at least try to jot down my ideas or an outline for a post. Always write about things that matter to you, current events that are important to you. Use holidays to your advantage to write holiday themed posts, or posts about your favorite shows or music/movie awards. Whatever the topic, make sure you’re always writing.
Write down every idea you have. I know this kind of goes along with my previous point, but I wanted to emphasize it. However insignificant, you will always wish you had written down your thoughts or ideas when you are having a bloggy brain fart – which happens OFTEN. Start writing blog posts immediately. Blog about anything and everything you want to, after all, it is your space.
Good luck on your new blogging adventure! Was this post helpful? What other tips would you add to this list?
Turn off your captcha.
It’s amazing to me how many bloggers still use this. Honestly, I usually skip over the comment section if a blog has their captcha turned on, even if I have already typed out the comment. It is so frustrating when you type the wrong letter/number sequence and it makes you do it over and over…it happens all the time and frustrates people, so just turn it off. I’ve never had mine on and I’ve had no serious issues with spammers. If you get a spam comment, all you have to do is click and delete it. Done. No big deal at all.
Write an engaging post.
Engage your audience. Make them ask questions or force them to have an opinion about your post topic.
I try to always end my post with a question. That is the easiest way to get people to leave a comment. Ask a question that they will want to answer.
If you’re doing all of these things and are still having trouble, here are two tips on how to get more comments on your blog:
Leave comments on other blogs.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from blogging, it’s that if you visit a blog and leave a comment, they will usually visit your blog as well. They may even leave a comment!
Join a Facebook group.
I am a part of a couple Facebook groups. These groups are awesome because they bring new people to my blog that wouldn’t visit otherwise and they are encouraged to leave comments. If you comment on their blog, they normally comment on yours as well.
Do you have any other tips on how to make your posts comment-friendly?
Read how I doubled my pageviews in 2 months!