In Blogging on
January 31, 2017

How to Start a Blog

Today I wanted to share an indepth ultimate guide to starting a blog. This is a question I get asked often, and most people don’t realize just how easy it is to start a blog. I’m going to be teaching you the ins and outs of beginning with a blog on both Squarespace and WordPress. Here’s how to start a blog.

The Pre-work

Deciding on a Niche

A niche is basically what your blog is going to be about. To start off, you want to select something that you’re both passionate about, and has value. Almost anything you have an interest in can be made to be valuable for people around you. You also want to think about whether or not you’ll be able to consistently think of posts for that topic.

Sit down and write down as many things that you’re interested as you can in ten minutes. Then, write down blogpost headlines for all those topics for ten minutes. Whichever one spawns the most headlines is the niche you should choose.

Your Web Design

Do you want to DIY this, or go professional? If you choose to DIY, you’re either going to need to do some research into how to DIY your web design or how you’re going to purchase one and edit it. To do the professional route, do some research and find designers in your niche and price range. If you’re looking for an affordable squarespace designer, check out my website.

Branding

You can either hire a designer for this aspect as well, or you can attempt to DIY it. My suggestion for branding is to leave it to the experts. But, if you want to get some of the pre-work out of the way, you can download my branding worksheet below and help define your brand. Even though this is just a blog, you’ll want to have a brand.

[mailmunch-form id=”432617″]

The Set Up

Choose a Host

Choosing a host for your blog can be a hard decision. I’m going to go into detail about Squarespace vs. WordPress at some point, but those are the two biggest platforms I recommend. Squarespace is easier design wise, and is an an all inclusive thing, meaning you don’t have to set up hosting. WordPress has a lot of customization options, and is a platform used by a ton of people.

Setting Up Your Site on Squarespace

Signing up for Squarespace is pretty straight forward. You select a username and password. You can then register a domain, and select a theme, all through Squarespace. Then, you can customize that theme to your heart’s content, and if you have any CSS or HTML knowledge, you can customize it even further. Squarespace employs an awesome drag and drop system that makes things super easy.

I’m going to be hosting a webinar at some point to teach you all how to set up your site on Squarespace, so make sure you are signed up for my newsletter & following me on social media so you don’t miss that!

Setting Up Your Site on WordPress

I’m hosting a WordPress Course, called the Easiest Way to Create a Blog Using WordPress. I’ll be going into extreme detail on setting up a site on WordPress, but today I’ll give you a run down on how to use it.

To begin, choose your hosting platform. I recommend Bluehost, because it’s inexpensive and extremely easy to use. You can even register your domain from directly in Bluehost, or link one if you’ve purchased from a different domain registrar.

Then, you’re going to want to install WordPress, which is very simple to do on Bluehost. You’ll go into the cPanel, and install wordpress. It’s that simple. Then you just head to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin to sign into WordPress and create your first post!

To find themes, I recommend searching on Etsy or StudioPress. Creative Market also has some awesome themes. Etsy and Creative Market have themes for every budget, whereas StudioPress themes are a little more pricey, but are usually worth the extra cost.

Thanks for reading!

In Blogging on
January 19, 2017

Top Ways to Get Your Blogpost Shared


Today I wanted to share some of the key ingredients that make people’s blogposts go viral. Obviously you have to be writing great, shareable content in order for people to want to share your blogposts, but there are some other ways to make sure your blogpost is as shareable as it can be. Here are the top ways to get your blogpost shared.

Create Pinnable Images

Pinterest is a huge traffic source for almost every blog. Pinterest took off in the past few years, and is consistently where people go to look for information on pretty much every topic. The pinning social network favors vertical images, so make sure you are creating graphics that are vertical and have a size of at least 800px. People also like to see what the blogpost will be about, so adding text to that picture of a coffee mug will ensure people are clicking through the image and not just pinning it to their ‘cute pictures’ board.

Have Links to Social Media

Having a hover pinterest button like the one above, or share links at the bottom make it easy for people to share an article that they deem interesting enough for other people to want to read. If it’s there, it makes sharing something easy and quick, rather than a struggle that they may give up halfway through.

Encourage Readers to Share

When posting on twitter, or facebook, encourage readers to share the tweet or post. You can do this by saying “RT if you love growing your blog!” or “Share this if you’re planning on growing your blog in 2017!”. This gives incentive to sharing something, and enables your readers to interact with you.

Create Captivating Headlines

Creating headlines that grab your readers attention is essential. I’m going to make an entire post on this, but there are several categories of perfect headlines. First of all, incorporate the key word you’re trying to promote. Second of all, using numbers (top 5…) or making readers feel left out (Secrets bloggers aren’t telling you) are great headlines that get a ton of shares.

Create Call to Actions

Give your readers something to do after they read your post. Whether it’s comment on something, sharing a tweet you embed in your post or doing an action on some stuff of their own. When readers see reactions from these call to actions, they will be more likely to share.

Join Groups

Joining Facebook groups, Triberr groups or just actual physical groups of people in your niche is a great idea. It can enable you to get your blogpost shared in new places. Create groups that are specifically for sharing your blogpost, and you’ll find that sharing readers is a great way to increase your views and shares.

What do you find gets you the most shares?

Thanks for reading!

In Blogging, Social Media on
January 17, 2017

How to Use Snapchat to Grow Your Blog

Snapchat is a fairly new social media tool in the grand scheme of things. But, it can be an extremely useful one, because it gives readers an inside look into a bloggers life. I love using snapchat (or even Instagram stories) to show behind the scenes of what a day in your life looks like. Let’s see how to use snapchat to grow your blog.

How to Grow Your Blog

Peek Into Your Life

Show snapchats from your daily life. Headed to a meeting? Snapchat. Watching TV? Snapchat. Drinking coffee? Snapchat. Sharing little bits of what makes your life ‘normal’ is great for your business. People love to see inside peeks at your life and all the things you do throughout your day.

Post When you Post Something New

Share on snapchat when you post a new blogpost and encourage readers to go read it and leave a comment. If you get excited for your blogpost, your readers will too.

Provide Exclusive Content

The main reason anyone follows anyone on social media is because they provide content they’re interested in. Create a series of 10 second long videos on your topic, one that hasn’t been covered, or hasn’t been covered as in depth, so that the friends on your snapchat are getting exclusive information.

Host Launches

When you’re excited about something big that’s happening, share it on snapchat! Create snaps featuring pictures of the new content or videos of sneak peeks. Get people as excited as you are.

Provide Sneak Peeks of Content

Speaking of sneak peeks, giving your readers an inside look at a post, or product is a great idea to get readers excited and allow them to feel like they are VIPs.

How to Grow Your Snapchat

Link to It

Post your snapchat username on all sorts of social media. Have it in your twitter and instagram bios, have it in your social media links on your blog, and post it occasionally on twitter.

Encourage

Encourage your readers in a blogpost to follow you on snapchat for more information on xyz. This will give your readers a specific reason to add you, and 9 times out of 10 they will continue to follow you after they get the new information.

Thanks for reading!

In Blogging on
November 11, 2016

The Tools I Pay for to Make Blogging Easier

There are free services that I love using and will always love using, but there are some paid services that I just find essential for making blogging easier. Here are some awesome paid blogging tools. As a beginning blogger, I don’t have that much stuff but here’s what I love.

Buffer

I’ve been a long time fan of Buffer. Now that I run two blogs, plus a side planner sticker business (opening soon), it’s essential that I keep all my social media accounts straight. Buffer helps me do that. I’m able to run both my Facebook pages, both my twitters, all three of my Instagrams and my Pinterest profile all from one easy to use interface. And, it’s only $10 a month. I don’t know how you can beat that.

Crowdfire

I seriously love growing my twitter and Instagram. Connecting with new people and growing my business and blog is a huge benefit for me. Crowdfire helps me do this by allowing me to follow people of interest, unfollow non-followers and follow people back. I can also see who my mutuals are and develop valuable contacts.

Bluehost

I hosted many of my early blogs on Blogger. That was fine for the time being, but as I’ve grown as a blogger and gotten bigger, WordPress has become my go to. It’s much more diverse, you can customize basically everything even without coding knowledge and it’s a great platform for hosting a blog. The only caveat with WordPress is you have to host your blog on a website. In comes bluehost. It’s an affordable, easy to use tool to host your WordPress blog. I highly recommend it.

Adobe Creative Suite

I edit and create all of my infographics and pictures in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is also where I create every single one of my planner stickers, making it a non-negotiable for my business. Since I’m still in school, I luckily get the student pricing but I’m not looking forward to when that increases.

What paid blogging tools do you use for your business?

Thanks for reading!