In Blogging, Social Media on
November 21, 2017

How to Schedule Social Media to Save Time

Social media is one of the biggest assets for a blogger, but also one of the biggest time sucks. I’ve experimented with tons of different ways of scheduling and posting things to social media, and while many of them took hours of time, I think I’ve developed a social media plan for my business that seems to work. Today I want to share with you how you can schedule social media to save you some time. (PS – this post focuses mostly on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I’ll be doing a post soon on how I schedule Pinterest posts using Tailwind!)

Evaluate

The first step in developing a social media plan is to evaluate what you’re currently doing. What’s working, and what isn’t? Maybe you schedule all your tweets, but feel like you try to do too much on Instagram, and it’s taking up hours of your time. Figure out where you’re struggling and apply these tips to those problem areas. Also, pay attention to what platforms your audience is using and responding to. If you’re spending hours on Facebook scheduling, but less than 1% of your traffic comes from Facebook, that’s a huge waste of time!

Figure Out What You Want to Post (and when!)

The next step in your social media scheduling adventure is to figure out what you want to post. Do you want to recycle old posts on twitter? Do you want to only promote new posts? Or maybe you want to do promotion manually, and just schedule fun facts and quotes. Whatever you want to do, grab a sheet of paper or use your computer and write out everything you want to be posting regularly, and develop a schedule. You can use resources like Pinterest to tell you when you should be posting, and what you should be posting.

Decide on Your Scheduling Tool

Twitter

I use Buffer for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram scheduling. I’m able to view all of my accounts in one area and it just overall keeps things less busy and stressful for me. Buffer has a free plan, as well as a paid one, and I use the paid one. If Buffer isn’t your thing, there are a few other options. HootSuite is a very popular tweet scheduler. HootSuite also has a paid and free plan, depending on how many users and accounts you need. HootSuite also has some features such as analytics and content curation. Tweetdeck used to be its own company but has since been acquired by Twitter. It allows you to schedule tweets, respond to messages, see activity and see notifications all on one screen.

Facebook

I use Buffer for Facebook as well. Facebook also has its own built-in scheduler, which I think should be used as much as possible, since the algorithms favor posts made on Facebook and not through an outside tool. If you aren’t a fan of Facebooks scheduler, you can use Postcron or Hootsuite.

Instagram

Instagram schedulers are recently becoming fairly popular. I use Buffer for Instagram, but of course, Instagram doesn’t allow it to post for me, so I have to post when it notifies me. It’s not my favorite thing, but the Instagram algorithm doesn’t like scheduling apps to begin with, so I like posting it myself anyway. Later is an awesome Instagram scheduler, and even has a free plan for 30 pictures per month. Later also has really neat features with their paid plans, such as link in bio, which enables users to click the links from your Instagram pictures just by clicking one link in your bio.

How I Schedule My Social Media

For Twitter and Facebook, I sit down each night and schedule a handful of posts. It takes me about a half hour, sometimes less. I’ve tried scheduling for weeks at a time, but I find it ends up taking me hours and hours to come up with content for an entire week, but if I’m just scheduling for one day, it goes by quickly.

For Instagram, I sit down once a month and plan out images for my various accounts. I use Photoshop to put the images together to make sure they fit my ‘theme’ and then once a week, I schedule those images using Buffer and post as the app notifies me. This is what currently works for me, and maybe it can work for you too!

Thanks for reading!

In Entrepreneurship on
November 2, 2017

How & Why You Should Have a Contract in Your Online Business

Having a contract in your online business is essential. You and your client need to be signing a contract every time you perform services or do work for any client. Today I want to share with you why you should have one and also how you can create one.

Why

Essentially, having a contract helps avoid any issues and helps prevent you from getting screwed, put simply. We’ve all heard the horror stories. “I didn’t have a contract and my client refused to pay.” “I didn’t have it in my contract and I ended up doing hundreds of dollars of work for free.” It amazes me that in today’s day and age, people don’t have contracts that go into extreme detail about everything in order to protect themselves.

In addition to making sure that you’re getting paid for the correct services and are making sure the client is aware of all moving parts, it also makes you look so much more professional. A client should know that signing a contract is protecting them just as much as it’s protecting you. A client should see a professional with a contract as much more trustworthy and professional than one without.

A contract ensures that not only is the client doing what they are supposed to do (paying you), but you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. A contract should outline everything you’re doing and everything the client is doing. This way there is absolutely no confusion, and things can’t get said or did later on.

How

The first way to create a contract is to write it yourself. There are tons and tons and tons of articles online that can be of help in writing a contract. This is the most budget friendly option, and honestly, when you’re first starting out, it may not be essential to have a lawyer look over your contract. If you can afford it and that seems like an option, it is a great one.

The second way to create a contract is to hire a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to write a contract can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to do your research and find one that’s going to be extremely helpful and one that is knowledgeable in your area of business. Something that is less expensive than a lawyer, and usually less personalized, but will get the contract writing done and done correctly, is a website such as LegalZoom. In addition to contract writing services, they offer a ton of different types of legal assistance and is a great tool for growing and maintaining your business.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about my favorite ways to get contracts signed. The best way is to do it in person, but for much of online business that just isn’t possible. I’ve experimented with a bunch of different signing tools, and here are some of my favorites.

The first tool that I’ve played around with is DocuSign. It starts at just $5 a month for 5 monthly contracts and goes up from there, adding features like personal branding. They have a mobile app, making it easy for people to sign with their finger on their phone.

The second tool that I’ve experimented with is HelloSign. I think HelloSign might be my favorite, only because I’m a huge aesthetics person and their layout is fantastic. Their plans start at just $0, for only 3 documents a month. If you only have a couple clients a month, this is an awesome deal. For unlimited, it’s just $13 per month. It’s insanely easy to use, and also links with Google Drive, meaning people can literally sign right from their Gmail. I love integrations with products I constantly use, so this is a big advantage for me.

The last tool I have not experimented with but thought I’d mention in case the above two aren’t quite right for you. It’s called Agree, and also has a great interface and a mobile app where people can sign documents with their finger. Agree also features online payments, which may be an awesome tool if you wanted to combine contract signing and payments all in one app. They have a free plan which enables you to have 3 active contracts and a processing fee for payments of $0.30 + 2.9%. Their plans then go up from there, beginning at $13 per month.

Thanks for reading!

In Social Media on
August 22, 2017

Comprehensive Guide to Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are an extremely powerful marketing tool. They’re something that I’ve only recently really gotten into, and boy I’ve loved it! They definitely take a lot of time but can be a game changer for your blog or online business if you allow them to.

Join Groups in Your Niche

The first step in your Facebook group adventure is to join groups in your niche. I promise you, there’s a Facebook group for whatever you’re writing about. Google “Facebook groups for ____ bloggers” or just “blogging Facebook groups”. Join any group that looks like it will be a good fit for you, and wait for them to approve your join request.

Read the Rules

Once you’re approved, read the rules. I promise you, this is probably one of the most important steps. You have to know what you should and shouldn’t be posting in the group. Reading the rules (and following them) is a great way to stay in good standing with the group’s admin and the other members.

Interact

Don’t just promote your own stuff on promotion days/in promotion threads. If you know the answer, answer someone’s question. If you have a question, ask! Interact with the other members, don’t be spammy.

Be Active Every Day

Or at least as much as possible. Check in with your groups once a day, and post if it feels appropriate. Press like on posts that are interesting to you, and make sure you’re adding value.

Take a Step Back

After you’ve joined groups and are active in them for at least a month, take a step back and look at your traffic. Has it increased? Where’s the traffic coming from? Use tools like MixPanel and Google Analytics to track your traffic. I’ll be publishing posts on how to use these valuable tools soon!

Thanks for reading!

 

In Blogging on
August 16, 2017

How to Use Google Analytics to Grow Your Blog

Google Analytics is probably the most popular analytics software out there. It’s free, easy to use and owned by a company we all know. When I first started blogging, I loved looking at analytics to see my page views growing. Now, I’ve learned some different tips and tricks on growing my blog by using google analytics!

Check Out Your Aquisition

Take a look where your audience is coming from. Are they coming from google searches? What are they searching most often? What social media networks are they clicking through from? Use this information to pour your valuable time into the right platforms. If you’re spending hours a week on StumbleUpon and only 1% of your traffic is coming from there, maybe it’s time to look at some other ways you could be spending your time.

Set Up a Goal

I’ll go through the exact steps in a separate post of how to set up an exact goal in google analytics, but for now, let me tell you why you should. Set up a goal to track your conversions. Say you track someone all the way through from your blog page to your opt in. What steps do they take? What percentage of people end up signing up for the opt in from your blog page? Do some opt ins work better than others?

Top Posts

Check out your top posts. What category are they in? What are they about? Start to think about ways to branch off from these top posts. Can you go back through and add in an email opt-in? Can you write a mini guide or e-book and put it up for sale on that blogpost? Using a page that’s already gaining traction is a fantastic way to get more readers & more money.

Track Behavior

This is something (I think) is new, because I’ve never messed around with it before. From behavior on the left hand side, you can click track or follow behavior, and it will show you the common paths that people take through your website. If you’re a blogger, it’s the unfortunate truth that most people won’t bounce to another page on your blog. But,  if they do, where are they going? What pages tend to appeal to your audience? Condense unnecessary pages, as they are just taking up precious viewing area.

Thanks for reading!

 

In Blogging on
July 27, 2017

How to Rock Your About Page

Your about page should and will be one of your most viewed pages on your website. Visitors will go there first when trying to figure out what you are all about, and what your blog can offer them. Here are my tips for rocking your about page.

Keep it Conversational

You want your about page to be light, fun and interesting for people to read. Write in the first person, so people can connect with you. Give them an insight into what your life looks like, why you created this blog or website, and what you have to offer them.

Highlight the Benefits

Many times, people head to your about page because they want to see how you can help them, and what benefits your website or blog will provide for them. Use this opportunity to make them see exactly what you’ll provide for them. What services does your blog offer? What do you write about on your blog? More specifically, what do you provide for free? You have to provide evergreen content before people will buy anything from you.

Tell Your Story

How did you get into blogging? How did you come to create your business? Creating a personal connection with your readers and future customers is a great way to rock your about page. Tell them your personal story, and reveal important details about yourself. Make your readers feel like friends.

Extras

Have an email opt in? Have it on your about page. Show your readers where they can find you outside your website, like on social media. Also, include images. As always, you want these to be high quality, beautiful images that fit your blog’s aesthetic.

Thanks for reading!

 

In Social Media on
July 14, 2017

How to Style Your Instagram & Create a Theme

I LOVE Instagram. It’s by far one of my favorite social media platforms. It’s a very visual platform and it grew quickly! Something that’s very “on-trend” right now is having an “Instagram theme”.  Essentially, an Instagram theme is having all of your pictures look like a cohesive feed. They should have a similar color/pattern/aesthetic. Today I wanted to share my tips for creating an awesome Instagram theme.

Explore

Go through the people you follow and love on Instagram. What do you like sharing? If you run a business, the more important question is, what is your target audience looking at and liking? Try to base your photos around what your target audience and target followers are going to love and interact with.

Plan

Decide what color scheme/aesthetic you want to go with. Either make it something you’re passionate about or something that matches your branding. It will be easier to take photos of colors that are all around you. Many people I follow have white/monochrome homes, so it’s easy for them to take photos in their house with that theme.

Photo Shoot

Find thing’s lying around your house that fit your theme. Head to locations near you that fit your scheme. Plan out some photos that will fit your theme and then head out and take some photos! If you aren’t the best photographer, look for new photographers in your area to see if they’d want to exchange some photos for some press. Or, book one in your budget.

Editing

My biggest piece of advice when creating an Instagram theme is to edit all of your photos in a similar way. If you like to use filters, use the same filter on all of them. Adjust the contrast, exposure and more to be somewhat similar throughout your photos.

If you use these tips, you’ll have an awesome Instagram theme in no time!

 

In Social Media on
May 17, 2017

How to Join Pinterest Group Boards to Grow Your Readers

Pinterest Group Boards are a fairly recent obsession of mine, and are something that I don’t think I could live without now! They are seriously a great way to meet other people, introduce new people to your content, and just in general grow your blog. Let’s check out my favorite ways to join Pinterest group boards.

How to Find Pinterest Group Boards

PinGroupie

PinGroupie is probably the most popular directory for Pinterest group boards. They have categories for pretty much anything you can imagine. I like to find the group boards with high followers but low contributors. These can be harder to join, but the benefits you’ll reap are much higher than if you join one with low followers but high contributors. Even if you can only find ones with high followers and high contributors, those will be better to join as well.

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are something that I’ve come across fairly recently in my trek to grow my blog and online presence as well, and I’m hooked. They seriously are fantastic resources for growing your blog. But, we’ll talk about Facebook groups in another post. Many times, Facebook groups have posts dedicated to people wanting other’s to join their Pinterest group boards. Lots of times, these are newer group boards, but Facebook groups have a serious way of growing things like weeds, so joining smaller ones now will certainly reap benefits over time.

Search Pinterest

I love finding new boards to follow, whether they are group boards or regular boards. I’m obsessed with finding new content and new things to pique my interest. On your daily, weekly or monthly search, see if any of the boards that pop up are group boards.

How to Join Boards

Once you’ve found the group board, now you are tasked with actually joining it. I would say 90% of the time, it’s a fairly painless and easy process. If a group isn’t accepting new members, it will almost always say that in the description. Most of the time as well, there’s directions on how to join, such as ‘follow us, and then email ____’. Sometimes, though, it’s more difficult. If there are no directions, but you still really want to join that board, I suggest finding whoever is the owner, and then going on a bit of a stalking mission. Sometimes he/she will have their email in their profile description, but other times you’ll have to head to their blog or website to locate their email. Sometimes, they don’t even have it there! In this case, I resort to either 1) not joining the group or 2) contacting them via social media such as Twitter or Instagram.

How do you like Pinterest group boards?

Thanks for reading!

In Social Media on
April 28, 2017

Create a Social Media Plan: Facebook

Today begins a series on social media, showing you how to create a detailed plan for social media. Today’s features Facebook and how to create a solid plan for Facebook posting and growth.

Create a Page

Rather than run your Facebook through your personal profile, creating a page is the first step in getting a Facebook following. Create a Facebook page with your business/blog name, and then create an SEO optimized description featuring the keywords you want to be found for. Add a profile picture that matches your blog and other social media sites, and create a cover photo that represents your branding.

See Also: How my Teeth Have Stayed Perfect With Cosmetic Dentistry

What Should I Post?

Research other companies like yours. If you run a blog, research other bloggers in your niche. If you’re an insurance company, check out what other insurance companies are posting. Write down what your competitors are posting, and create posts similar to them. For example, I post other blog posts relating to my B2B niche, and I post my own blog posts. I use Facebook less than other social media outlets, so I don’t really post as many ‘updates’ there as other platforms. I suggest you do the same if that’s what works for your business.

Join Groups

This has been revolutionary for my business. Joining Facebook groups will explode your blog traffic. Join Facebook groups related to your niche and be extremely active in them. I’m talking every single day. Don’t just promote your own stuff – talk to other members, provide advice and ask questions. Make connections and network. It’s the best way to grow your business.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more social media plan posts. If you need help planning out your social media check out my website here to see how I can help you run social media.

In Entrepreneurship on
April 14, 2017

My Favorite Apps & Websites for Entrepreneurs

Today I thought I’d give you all a peek into the resources I use as an entrepreneur. These are all the websites and apps I use to keep track of my freelance load as well as earn money. Let’s take a look at my resources for entrepreneurs!

Apps

Expensify

Expensify is a website as well as an app. This site allows you to categorize all of your receipts and expenses for your business, and send them to someone (like a boss) or just keep them for yourself. I have been using this app for three years and I love using it to keep track of my expenses.

Hours

I use hours to keep track of all of my client work. Most of my work is unbillable, meaning I sell package deals that essentially come with ‘unlimited’ hours. But, sometimes I run support or certain hourly projects and this really helps to keep track of what everyone owes me.

MileIQ

MileIQ automatically detects when you’re driving and you are able to classify those trips as business or pleasure. I love this because it tracks it without me having to do anything, which makes my life that much easier. You can get 20% off a plan here.

Tools

Buffer

Buffer is a website that I’ve used basically since the start of my blog and YouTube. I love scheduling social media and seriously saves me so much mental energy. I use the $10 a month buffer awesome plan, but they have a free one as well if you’re just starting out.

Asana

Asana is a fantastic tool for project management. I use this for most of my design clients so that we can both see what’s going on. I use this project management tool in conjunction with the next one, and it has created a system for me that makes so much sense that I love.

Trello

Trello is another awesome project program that I love. I use it in conjunction with Asana (post coming soon about how I use both to manage my business). It utilizes a system of boards and cards which is like using post-it notes on my wall which I LOVE. Trello is amazing and I hands down recommend it.

Upwork

Upwork is a great freelancing website when you are just starting out. The jobs don’t pay a ton, but they’re great to gain some online experience. If you have some marketable skills, like a law degree or web design/development skills, you can usually find some more jobs that pay more.

Later

Later is great for scheduling Instagram posts. I currently use buffer for that, but plan on investing in Later as soon as possible. My favorite feature is the link in bio. It essentially allows you to actually link to things in your Instagram captions by having one place that people click in your bio where they can see any link you added to the caption. It’s revolutionary and awesome!

Leadpages

Leadpages is revolutionary for growing your business. Through their program you can create beautiful landing pages, webinar opt ins, email opt ins and more. They really do a great job at growing your audience. It’s definitely one of the better purchases I’ve ever made.

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is an email marketing specifically made for bloggers and entrepreneurs. It’s an easy way to grow your email list and create fantastic emails.

Tailwind

Tailwind is a program I just started using and I’m absolutely loving it right now. It’s really made an impact on my Pinterest account, of which I’ve seen a 100% increase over the past few weeks.

Edgar

Edgar is an amazing platform for scheduling social media. While Buffer does save some time, it also takes time. Edgar pretty much saves that. You simply go in and schedule social media whenever you find interesting content or things you want to share and Edgar will simply cycle it based on categories. Trust me, it’s lifesaving.

WPEngine Hosting

This is a hosting platform dedicated solely to WordPress. It’s an awesome hosting platform and has had numerous fantastic reviews. It’s definitely the best managed wordpress hosting and I highly recommend it.

StudioPress Themes

StudioPress themes are easy to customize for people without even the slightest idea of coding. They have absolutely BEAUTIFUL themes that I highly recommend you check out. I usually use StudioPress themes for my clients.

Thanks for reading and keep this page bookmarked for future recommendations!

In Blogging, Entrepreneurship on
April 4, 2017

How to Become Creative (When You Don’t Feel Creative)

There was a period in my life where I would have classified myself as not being a creative type. I colored maps in US History in seventh grade messily and never stayed within the lines. My drawings as a kid were stick figures that were disproportionate and ugly. I was much better on the computer. I could type faster than anyone else I knew, and I loved creating things online and on other programs. My love for computers and online creativity began. Then, I discovered web development and hit a wall where I told myself I wasn’t creative enough for it. But, these tips helped me so I thought I’d share how to become creative, even if you don’t feel like you are ‘the creative type’.

Read Blogs

Read blogs of other creatives and gain inspiration from their work and posts. Sometimes I’ll find a blogger that I’m obsessed with and I’ll spend hours browsing and reading through all of their posts and gathering as much knowledge and inspiration from them as I can. I also recommend browsing Pinterest to find other great bloggers and posts that you can gather inspiration from.

Follow Creatives on Instagram

My Instagram feed consists of two types of posts. I follow people I know from my personal life, and then I follow bloggers, creatives, YouTubers and anyone else who inspires me. I love browsing my Instagram feed nowadays because it encourages me and forces me to want to do better. I used to compare myself to everyone online, but I’ve tried to change my mindset so that everyone who’s doing ‘better’ than me is inspiring me to be like them and to be better.

Take Classes

Figure out what you want to get better at and then take classes in it. Take classes in drawing, graphic design, color theory or typography. Whatever makes you tick. You’ll soon have the tools you need to feel more creative.

Go for a Walk

Sometimes you generally are creative, but you’re having trouble getting creative on a certain day or at a certain point. A great way to get into your creative groove is to head out for a walk. It’s amazing how being outside, in nature and having a change of scenery can really inspire you and spark your mind.

Meditate

This is something I’ve started to do but it really will help you feel more creative. Concentrating on breathing and just being for even just a few minutes will change your perspective and allow you to get more done and feel more creativity through your veins.

Thanks for reading!