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Convertkit vs. Drip: Which email service provider is better?

young woman sitting at laptop computer

I am always looking for recommendations to make my blogging life easier and more profitable.

Email is very important in blogging and I spend quite a bit of time on it for both of my blogs.


As I have said before, if email isn’t your top blogging priority, it should be.

If you haven’t started an email list, check out this post to see why you should —> Growing a Strong Email List is Vital for Your Blog

If you need ideas about opt-ins to get people to sign up for your list, check out this post —> 23 Email Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your List Fast

I had been using Convertkit for my homesteading blog from the beginning.

But I had been hearing good things about Drip from many bloggers that I look up to and admire.

So when I started this blog, I decided to start with Drip so I can see which one I liked better.

Well, I have been using Drip on this blog since October and here are my findings:

What I like about Convertkit:

  1. Ease of Use-Convertkit is very intuitive and easy to use. It is easy to find your way around even if you haven’t done email marketing before.
  2. Segmentation of my audience-I like the option of segmenting my audience into different groups if I want to. Some of the free email service providers don’t have that option.
  3. Price-All of the automations and segmenting capabilities make Convertkit a great price (even if it isn’t free).
  4. Helpful documentation-When you do have a problem, there is a lot of help available in the documentation section to teach you what to do.

What I don’t like about Convertkit:

  1. It costs money right from the start-There is no grace period for free service. There is a free trial, but by the time you get everything set up the trial is over. So basically you start paying even if you don’t have very many subscribers.
  2. Forms aren’t pretty-I don’t like the native forms in Convertkit. I just don’t think they look good. You can change this with code, but I don’t know how to do that. I use LeadPages and/or Thrive Leads for that, which cost extra money.

quote

What I like about Drip:

  1. You can start for free-You get your first 100 subscribers for free. So you aren’t paying while you are figuring out the system and what works. This is a big benefit.
  2. The software tracks the journey of the customer from the beginning-I like how you can follow the journey of your customer, when they joined you and what they have done while they were on your list.
  3. Open rates were 2 or 3% higher than Convertkit- This is hard to validate because there are so many factors, but when I moved my emails to Convertkit from Drip, my newsletter open rate went down slightly. Better open rates are key to people seeing your emails.

What I don’t like about Drip:

  1. Price-After the first 100 subscribers, Drip costs more for the next 900 subscribers (see photo below). It could take you awhile to gain 900 more subscribers, so this could be a significant cost difference. After that, from 1k-3k subscribers are the same price and then it goes up again at 3k subscribers. Depending on how fast you are growing your list, those differences could be a big deal or not. It depends on your circumstances.
  2. I couldn’t get one-off emails to send- For some reason, I could never get a one-off email to send in Drip. I could do a campaign or broadcast, no problem. I’m not sure if it was an actual problem or user error, but it was very frustrating. I looked in the help section, but couldn’t figure it out.
  3. More complicated to learn-I felt like Drip was harder to learn than Convertkit. If I had not had the Convertkit background, I think I would have been lost.
  4. You have to put in your address with each new email or campaign- This seems like a small thing, but it is kind of a pain. I wish it remembered the information (like Convertkit does) so that I wouldn’t have to enter it in every time I start a new opt-in campaign.
  5. My subscribers were getting strange looking confirmation emails- A friend of mine got this message on her phone after subscribing to my list:

Convertkit & Drip Price Comparison:

Pricing as of 2/13/2018

Drip Pricing:                                                                                     

   

Convertkit Pricing:

What was my decision?

Because of the price and the problems I was having with the confirmation and one-off emails, I decided to switch back to (affiliate link) Convertkit. I have made the switch back and only noticed a very small drop in open rates. Of course, then I had to change all of the opt in forms on my site, but since I only had 2 opt-ins for this site at the moment, it wasn’t that bad.

Are you looking for an email service provider for your blog? Click here to see which one I use: Convertkit or Drip and why!Click To Tweet

Action Steps:

  1. Do you have an email service provider? If not, you need one ASAP.
  2. Are you able to pay $29 a month for advanced features? Check out (affiliate link) Convertkit.
  3. Sign up for Convertkit to up your email game and bring in more revenue for your blog.

In conclusion, I think it is important to try new things in blogging. You never know if things that work for others will work for you, unless you try. I would suggest if you do decide to go with (affiliate link) Convertkit, that you go month to month. I like to have that option, because it is only $5 more and if you want to move somewhere else, you can. It also isn’t such a big payment, all at once. But I love Convertkit, so I won’t be moving anywhere else anytime soon. I am glad to be an affiliate for their product and now I know for sure that this is the program for me!

What email service provider do you use and why? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks!



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Tasty Pins vs. Social Warfare: Which One Is Best?

a phone, notebook and cup of coffee on wooden background

Tasty Pins is a new WordPress plugin that was recently rolled out.

The creators of the plugin (Lindsey & Bjork Ostrom of Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro) created this plugin to solve a specific problem.


The problem: How do you use the alt text for it’s original purpose (to describe the photo for screen readers or when the photo doesn’t show) and still have an optimized description for Pinterest (which most people put in the alt text)?

For Google SEO, you need to have accurate alt text. For Pinterest SEO, you need to have a good, optimized pin description.

How do you make both of these sites happy?

The solution: You add a separate box under your photos to add the Pinterest description.

When Tasty Pins came out, I thought it was an ingenious fix for the problem and bought it for my homesteading blog. I thought I would try it out there first and then add it to this blog.

The only paid plug in I had before Tasty Pins on either blog was Social Warfare Pro.

You can read this post about how much I love that plugin—> 8 Ways Social Warfare Can Help Your Blog Be More Social

Meanwhile, this plug in that I already have and love (Social Warfare Pro) added a similar solution to the problem in an update. I found this out through a Blogging Facebook Group and felt like I needed to get to the bottom of this.

Was Social Warfare Pro just as good as Tasty Pins at solving this problem?

Before I answer that, lets review the benefits of each of these WordPress Premium Plugins.

a quote from the post

What are the benefits of Tasty Pins?

  • It adds a Pinterest Description Box to each photo, so that you can put a keyword optimized Pinterest Description in for each photo.
  • It leaves the alt text box alone so that you can add a description of the photo for Google SEO and screen readers.
  • You can hide a Pinterest pin so that it will not appear in the blog post, but will show up when someone goes to pin an image.
  • You can click a check box to disarm a photo for pinning if you don’t want people to see the photo when they are choosing what to pin (without code).
  • One year of support if you need help with the plugin.
  • 15 day money back guarantee.

Here is a video that shows how the Tasty Pins plugin works on my homesteading blog:

What are the benefits of Social Warfare Pro?

  • Social share buttons for all of the major social media sites.
  • Share counts for social proof.
  • Pinterest image hover pin button.
  • You can customize the share buttons to match your brand colors.
  • Click to tweet feature.
  • It allows you to choose what image will be shared for social such as Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
  • You can hide a Pinterest pin so that it will not appear in the blog post, but will show up when someone goes to pin an image.
  • The share recovery feature allows you to regain social shares on a site that has redirects or has been changed to HTTPS.
  • You can connect your Bitly account for link shortening.
  • New update: you can choose to use the pinterest description instead of the alt text for Pinterest pinning. It will use the same description for every photo in the post.

Here is a video that shows how the Social Warfare Pro plugin works on this site:

Which one did I choose?

So, with this new information, I have decided:

For my homesteading blog, I will continue to use both plugins. I have already paid for both and they are working well.

For this blog, I will not buy Tasty Pins, but will just use Social Warfare Pro.

What do I recommend for you?

I am presenting you this information so that you can make an informed decision for your blog.

I would recommend that if you already have Social Warfare Pro, you don’t need to add the Tasty Pins plugin. Social Warfare does mostly the same things (except the pin description can not be changed for each individual photo and there isn’t a click box to disarm pins). Social Warfare does so many other things, it is a great plugin. Also, the more plugins you add to your blog, the more likely it is to have a slower load time.

If you don’t have Social Warfare Pro and are not interested in getting it, you should get the Tasty Pins plugin. It is a great plugin that works well to allow you to optimize for both Google SEO and Pinterest SEO at the same time. You can also hide a pin and disarm a pin without code.

The cost is the same for both plugins: $29 per year (Tasty Pins can be used as a one time fee if you don’t want support or updates after the first year). Here are my affiliate links if you want to check them out yourself: Tasty Pins and Social Warfare Pro. Using these links helps me earn a small commission to support the upkeep of this site.

Action Steps:

  1. If you have Social Warfare Pro, turn on the pinterest description change as showed in the video above.
  2. If you don’t have Social Warfare Pro, consider the many benefits of this plugin for your blog.
  3. If you don’t want Social Warfare Pro, consider Tasty Pins for the Pinterest and SEO benefits.

Sometimes the technical aspects of blogging can be really tough to understand. You don’t want to spend money on unnecessary things, especially in the beginning when you aren’t making much. But you should consider getting one of these plugins if you don’t have them already. Optimizing your blog posts for Pinterest and Google is critical. Those sites are usually the top traffic drivers to most blogs. You want to make sure you focus on them for blog success.

pin for this post

Do you have Social Warfare Pro or Tasty Pins? What has been your experience with these plugins? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Blog Monetization: How Do I Make Money Blogging?

Are wondering how bloggers make money? Click here to see the 5 ways to monetize your blog and examples of how other bloggers are doing it. #blogmonetization #blogging #makemoneyblogging #startablog #blogincome

So you started a blog. Maybe it was to share recipes or stories with friends and family. Maybe it was for a topic you are passionate about.

No matter the reason, you started a blog to share your thoughts with the world.



Now that you are in the blogging world, you hear about how people are making a full time living with their blogs.

Here are a few examples:

Michelle @ Making Sense of Cents

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum

Rosemarie @ The Busy Budgeter

I linked their last income reports to let you look at their income and what they are doing to earn it. Some of those numbers are crazy, right?

These bloggers did not start making the big bucks overnight. It took a lot of hard work and learning about what works for them and their audience.

In this post I discuss my belief about passive income—> Don’t Be Fooled: Passive Income Is A Lie.

Are wondering how bloggers make money? Click here to see the 5 ways to monetize your blog and examples of how other bloggers are doing it. #blogmonetization #blogging #makemoneyblogging #startablog #blogincome

There are 6 Main Ways to Make Income From Your Blog

  1. Ads- Allowing advertising on your site (from Google Adsense or other sites) is the easiest way to make money from your blog. In the beginning, it will be minimal because you probably won’t have much traffic. But as your traffic grows, you can start using other ad networks such as MediaVine and AdThrive to earn more money for ads. This is the most passive way to make money while blogging.
  2. Sponsored Content- Sponsored content is when you write a blog post for someone else’s product or service, and they pay you a flat fee. You need to disclose that the post is sponsored and the business owner may have a say in what you post and where you share it to. You usually need a fairly steady amount of traffic to gain a good sponsorship, but you can start with sites like BlogHer to get started.
  3. Services- Bloggers often start with selling services when they begin blogging because it can help you earn an income while you are building your blog. What do I mean by services? Hiring out to be a virtual assistant, web designer, graphic designer, social media strategist and freelance writer are examples of services that might pay the bills until you can start earning money other ways. This income is limited to your time and availability, but it can also give you insight into your customers wants and needs.
  4. Affiliate Marketing- Affiliate marketing is where you sell someone else’s product and get a commission off that sale. Like sponsored content, you need to disclose that you are making a commission on the product you are advertising. This can be a great way to earn money and learn the marketing process if you don’t yet have your own product to sell. I discuss affiliate marketing in this post—> Make Affiliate Marketing Part of Your Blog Income Strategy Today!
  5. Sell Your Own Products- The most productive and long term way to make money with your blog is by making and selling your own products. You can sell either physical or digital products (or both) online. Digital products have very little overhead (such as online courses, printables or ebooks) and therefore are popular with many bloggers. It takes time and creativity to make and sell your own products, but the payoff can be huge!
  6. Events– Some bloggers host events to make money. These can be anything from large conferences to small retreats. Getting people to show up in person can be a new way to make money blogging.

The best way to make money blogging is to do several of these methods on your blog at the same time. The more revenue streams you can earn, the more stable and healthy your income will be.

On my homesteading blog, I make money through ads, affiliate marketing and my own products. On this blog, I earn money with ads and affiliate marketing. I will be starting with products and services towards the end of the year.

You don’t want to lean on just one thing for an income stream. What happens if you lean only on ads and then your traffic falls? What if you only have your personal services and then you get sick for an extended amount of time? By having multiple income streams, if one is eliminated it doesn’t devastate your bottom line.

Are wondering how bloggers make money? Click here to see the 5 ways to monetize your blog and examples of how other bloggers are doing it. #bloggingClick To Tweet

Action Steps:

  1. Research how others in your niche are making money.
  2. Use the list above to evaluate what you might do to make money on your blog.
  3. Start trying something. You won’t know what works with your audience until you try.

Blogging is a great way to make an income while working at home. As you can see from the bloggers linked above, it is totally doable. But it isn’t a get rich quick scheme and it will take some time. Choose a new revenue stream to start with and get going. Then once you have mastered that one, add another one. Blog monetization is all about trying things out, seeing what works and starting over if necessary. Eventually you will figure out what your audience wants and then- jackpot!

How do you make money blogging? What new ways do you want to try this year? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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23 Email Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your List Fast

Do you need help growing your email list? Click here to see 23 email opt-in ideas to grow your list fast and build a lasting relationship with your subscribers. #emailmarketing #blogging #email

It seems like everyone is talking about email lists lately. Have you heard “the money is in the list”? Well, it’s true.

Growing your email list is one of the best things you can do for your blog. It can help you serve and get to know your reader. You can also use the list to increase your income.




You can check out this post if you want to learn more about why an email list is important to your blog: Growing a Strong Email List is Vital for Your Blog.

But today, I want to help you get some ideas for email opt-ins that will help you grow your list quickly. If you provide value to your readers, they will stay on your list and become loyal customers.

23 Email Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your List Fast:

  1. PDF Printable- This is one of the most popular email opt-ins. You can make a printable PDF that goes along with your blog or post topic which would help people implement whatever you are trying to teach them.
  2. Ebook- Turn a few blog posts into a free ebook for easy access. Just make sure you don’t make it too long or people will lose interest.
  3. Email Course- Take a concept and break it down over several emails for several days. This gives your reader a quick win and establishes your authority in a subject. You will need some kind of Email Service Provider for this (such as Convertkit).
  4. Online Mini Course- Teach a mini course that is only a few modules, but allows the reader to learn from you and find out your style. This should be something you can make quickly and easily in Teachable or Thinkific.
  5. Checklist- Do you have certain steps you want your readers to take? Make up a checklist that they can print out and take with them to get the job done.
  6. Cheatsheet- This is another kind of printable that works well when you are trying to show your reader how to do something.
  7. Swipe File- A swipe file is an example of something you have done in your business that they can copy (blog headlines, email copy, etc).
  8. Coupon Code- If you have an online store, you can give them a coupon to the store in exchange for their email address.
  9. Private Facebook Group- Why not set up a Facebook Group for your readers and have them sign up to your list in order to join?
  10. Resource Library- Do you have several freebies on your site already? Put them together as a resource library and that way your reader can find them all in one place without having to sign up multiple times.
  11. Webinar- Can you teach something to your audience over a webinar? This is a high value opt-in, especially if you aren’t selling a product at the end. Do you need help growing your email list? Click here to see 23 email opt-in ideas to grow your list fast and build a lasting relationship with your subscribers. #emailmarketing #blogging #email
  12. Stock Photos- Are you an awesome photographer? Give away free stock photos in different styles to your audience as an opt-in.
  13. One Chapter of a Book- Do you have an ebook or physical book for sale? Giving them one chapter is a great opt-in and may sell the book as well.
  14. Video Series- Could you make a quick 2 or 3 videos on a relevant topic? People love seeing you on video and you can help them learn something too.
  15. Opt-in Inside Your Ebook for a Bundle- Are you participating in a bundle sale by having your book in the bundle? Inside the download, add a sign up for a printable that goes with the book to capture those people too.
  16. Challenge- You can use a 5 or 10 day challenge (usually via email) to teach your readers in small, actionable steps to get a quick result. This could be a healthy eating challenge, declutter your house challenge or whatever is relevant to your blog topic.
  17. Physical Product- You could send your subscriber a physical product for free. You just have to decide if you are going to pay shipping or have them pay.
  18. Quiz- Have you seen these funny quizzes on Facebook that everyone seems to love? You can let them take the quiz for free but put their email address in to see the results.
  19. Giveaway- Do you have a digital or physical product you could give away for free? Doing a giveaway can help you get the word out because people are more likely to share with their friends if their is an incentive to do so.
  20. Coaching Call or Consultation-  15 minute coaching or consultation calls are a great way to help your reader and find out what their pain points are.
  21. Social Media Graphics- If you have an eye for design, you could offer quotes, pin designs or other social media graphics.
  22. One Module of an Online Course- Do you already have a paid online course? Offering the first module for free may entice them to sign up for your list and maybe even buy the course.
  23. Spreadsheet- Do you use spreadsheets to keep things organized? Make a copy for your readers so they can get organized too.

The point of all of these freebies is to give value and help to your customers. Gone are the days where you can just post “Subscribe to our newsletter” on your blog and people will sign up. Our inboxes are so full these days and people do not want to get spammed with random stuff. They know how valuable their email address is and they aren’t about to give it away for free. By giving them something of value, you will give them a reason to want to share that information with you. Then you need to continue to provide value with your emails. But that is a lesson for another day.

Get 23 email opt-in ideas to grow your email list and build a relationship with your subscribers.Click To Tweet

Action Steps:

  1. Look over this list and determine which opt-in ideas might be right for your blog.
  2. Choose one freebie from the list for your main blog opt-in. You can advertise this on your sidebar, hello bar or pop up window.
  3. Start adding post specific opt-ins (these are usually called content upgrades) to your most popular posts first.

I hope these ideas help you get motivated to invest time and energy into building your email list. If you manage it properly, your email list can be a big asset to your blog and business.

Do you need help growing your email list? Click here to see 23 email opt-in ideas to grow your list fast and build a lasting relationship with your subscribers. #emailmarketing #blogging #email

Do you have other opt-in ideas to add? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Top 10 Favorite Websites for Bloggers

How do learn more about blogging? Click here to see my top 10 favorite websites for bloggers and how they can help your business. #blogging #topwebsites #blogsaboutblogging

I love to follow other bloggers and find out what they are doing in their businesses that I might be able to do too.

We are all at different levels and it is fun to find new things and perspectives.



Today, I want to list my favorite websites that help bloggers. Whatever topic that may be: blogging, time management, social media, email marketing, affiliate marketing, etc.

Obviously, I didn’t put this blog on the list. I would consider these people my mentors in blogging, and much of what I know now comes from them.

Top 10 Favorite Websites for Bloggers:

  1. Elite Blog Academy– Ruth Soukup shares so many great tips and helps on the EBA blog. As an EBA alumni, I appreciate everything Ruth has taught me and look forward to what she is offering in the future.
  2. Melyssa Griffin– Melyssa was one of the first people I found talking about blogging online. I have taken a course from her and have learned from her blog posts as well. This is a great resource for bloggers.
  3. ProBlogger– Darren Rowse gives so much information away on his blog and podcast. He is very helpful and personable. He has been blogging for well over a decade and his expertise is amazing.
  4. Redefining Mom– Monica Froese discusses working at home as a mom, productivity and other helpful topics. She is the blogger that introduced me to EBA a year ago and I am so thankful she did!
  5. Jenna Kutcher– Jenna Kutcher is an amazing wedding photographer, blogger and podcaster. I love her personality and how she makes things feel so relatable and easy to understand.  How do learn more about blogging? Click here to see my top 10 favorite websites for bloggers and how they can help your business. #blogging #topwebsites #blogsaboutblogging
  6. Food Blogger Pro– Bjork Ostrom is the podcaster/blogger behind the Food Blogger Pro website and membership site. I enjoy his podcasts on blogging topics and blog posts on trends in blogging.
  7. Smart Passive Income– Pat Flynn is a podcaster, blogger, speaker and money making powerhouse that really opens up his business and lets the reader/listener behind the scenes to see how he does what he does.
  8. Start a Mom Blog– Suzi Whitford is a blogger that has several great courses on starting a blog, an email list, etc. She is very relatable to stay at home moms that want to make money with their blogs but only have a few hours a day to do it in.
  9. Amy Porterfield– Amy is so fun to listen to and learn from on her podcast. She also teaches courses on building your email list, webinars and creating your own online course. She is very knowledgeable in online marketing and gives a ton of real value in her podcasts.
  10. Simple Pin Media– Kate Ahl has a great podcast about Pinterest marketing and tips on how you can get more traffic with Pinterest. Her tips have really helped my business grow and I enjoy her down to earth teaching style.

In the online world, there are so many people out there trying to get your attention. When I first starting blogging, I would get swayed by people that made big promises but really didn’t deliver. I trust these 10 people (and their websites) to give me solid, actionable information that can help me with my blog and online business. They have earned that trust through the information they give away for free and in many cases the paid options I have bought from them as well. If some of these names don’t look familiar, you need to check them out. They may be the ones that can move your blog forward in the new year.

Action Steps:

  1. Look over this list of amazing entrepreneurs.
  2. Check out the link on the names of those you don’t recognize.
  3. Add these amazing people to your list of bloggers you can trust to give you awesome, actionable information for the future.
See my top 10 favorite websites for bloggers and how they can help your business. #blogging Click To Tweet

It is important to have people in the blogging community that you can trust. Those that have gone before you and truly want to see you succeed. I feel like all of these people are that for me. Maybe they can be that for you too!

How do learn more about blogging? Click here to see my top 10 favorite websites for bloggers and how they can help your business. #blogging #topwebsites #blogsaboutblogging

Who would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Don’t Be Fooled: Passive Income is a Lie

Are you trying to earn money blogging? Click here to see why passive income is a lie and how you can work to make your blog profitable. #blogging #passiveincome #onlinebusiness

We have all heard the stories. They go something like this:

“I made $2000 in my sleep!”

“I took a trip to Italy and made $3600 in my business while I was on vacation!”

“I only work one day a week and make a 6 figure income!”

The gurus go on and on about passive income and they make it sound so simple.



Basically, you work very minimally and the money just rolls in automatically.

That may be true for them now, but I know it wasn’t like that when they started.

How do bloggers make big bucks without working very much?

  1. They have been doing this for a while.
  2. They have a team working for them.
  3. They have a large, loyal following.

Are you trying to earn money blogging? Click here to see why passive income is a lie and how you can work to make your blog profitable. #blogging #passiveincome #onlinebusiness

What is passive income?

Passive income is making money online (or anywhere) by building online businesses that take advantage of systems that allow transactions, cash flow, and growth to happen without requiring a real-time presence.

How do I get passive income?

Am I against passive income? Absolutely not. I love waking up to a notification that says I have new money in my bank account. That is awesome!

But “passive” income isn’t passive.

It takes work to grow a website, an email list, a loyal following on social media and create your own products. So while they may be living the good life now, I guarantee you they worked hard for several years before they got to this point.

So why do they make it sound so easy? Why don’t they tell you how much you have to work to get there? I think they feel if they don’t tell you the hard stuff, you will be more likely to buy their product showing how you can do it too!

Is it worth it to show up everyday?

In the beginning, when you are first getting started with blogging and online business, you have to show up everyday.

You have to put in the hours of figuring out technology, finding your audience, creating content and products.

You have to grow your email list, find related affiliate programs and build relationships.

These things take time and effort, but they will be worth it.

Are you trying to earn money blogging? Click here to see why passive income is a lie and how you can work to make your blog profitable. #blogging #passiveincome #onlinebusiness

Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme:

  1. It takes some money (although not as much as a traditional business) to get started.
  2. You probably won’t see much returns the first year.
  3. You have to be consistent in content delivery to get your name and expertise out into the world.
  4. If you want to make money, you may need to offer extra services to make ends meet.
  5. You will feel frustrated and want to quit before it finally all starts paying off.

Someone who really explains this well is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. He is great about telling it how it is and helping people make money online. I love his podcasts and website.

I have some resources below that will help you further explore this issue and how you can learn to get passive income the right way. They are podcasts (go figure, I love podcasts!).

Action Steps:

  1. Show up everyday (or as much as possible) to spend time and effort in your business.
  2. Create consistent content for your readers and get them on your email list.
  3. Don’t expect money to start rolling in overnight after minimal effort.

I don’t say these things to discourage you from blogging. I love blogging. It is a creative outlet for me and I love helping people. Blogging can be a great way to earn money from home and grow as a person.

But it is not passive (especially at first) and it is not a get rich quick scheme. You need to show up everyday and give it your best effort.

So keep showing up. Keep paying your dues and getting better. Keep blogging until you get where you want to go.

See why passive income is a lie and how you can work to make your blog profitable. #startablogClick To Tweet

Resources:

Ask Pat Podcast Episode 695: How Do I Find the Balance Between Actively Working and Earning a Passive Income? @ Smart Passive Income w/ Pat Flynn

Smart Passive Income Podcast Episode 192 (1 of 3 series): Types of Passive Income @ Smart Passive Income w/ Pat Flynn

Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast Episode 188: What I Learned From a Year of Automating My Business @ Amy Porterfield

How do you feel about passive income? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Intentional Goal Setting to Skyrocket Your Blog in 2018

Do you have big plans for 2018? Click here to see how intentional goals setting can skyrocket your blog for next year and get your online business noticed.

The year is almost over. I can’t believe it is December already!

This is the time of year that bloggers and other entrepreneurs look ahead to the next year.

What do we want to accomplish? What could we do different?



I just started this new blog in October, so the new year will be my first full year with this blog.

But with my homesteading blog, I have big and lofty goals for 2018.

For both blogs, I plan on creating and selling new products, launching new affiliate promotions and becoming more efficient with my time.

So how do we go about goal setting for next year? It seems so overwhelming to even know where to start.

Let’s start by evaluating where we are now so we can see where we want to go:

Review 2017:

  • What worked/didn’t work this year? Be honest with yourself. Did something that you thought would be awesome just bomb? Maybe you just put out a product without doing a proper launch. You might need to nail down your “avatar” and understand what your audience really needs. Maybe you had a great year. What worked that you could scale bigger or add to for next year? Let’s build on our triumphs and learn from our mistakes.
  • What new thing do you want to try next year? Are you interested in creating an online course but you aren’t sure if it will do well? Maybe you could create a free course first to get your feet wet or do a reduced price beta launch to get feedback from your customers. Creating something new is scary, but you never know until you try, right? Survey your audience, find their pain points, and go for it!
  • How can you add to what you have already done? Did you write a ebook that did well this year? Maybe you should make it into an online course. Did you find that you are good at Facebook Lives? Maybe a YouTube channel would be right for you. Adding to what you have already done makes a new thing not as scary as starting from scratch. Your audience wants more from you, so give it to them.
  • What do you want to learn how to do next year? Are you scared to be on video but know that it will be good for your business? Maybe you should decide to do one Facebook Live a month to get more comfortable in that medium. Do you think Instagram or Facebook Ads or podcasting would help your business grow, but you don’t know the first thing about them? Take a course and learn a new skill to move your business forward. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

Set goals for 2018:

There are many types of goals you can make for your blog and business. Here are a few to get you started thinking. . .

  • Traffic goals- What was your traffic number this year? Is that up or down from the year before? Is traffic important to you or just a vanity metric? Would boosting your traffic increase your income significantly (with ad revenue or email subscribers)? By analyzing your traffic, you can make a reasonable goal and make a plan to accomplish it. Maybe you need to learn more about Pinterest or SEO to increase traffic. Maybe a website redesign would help make your blog more user or mobile friendly. Thinking about these things will help you determine how to reach your traffic goals for next year.
  • Email subscriber goals- How many people do you have on your email subscriber list? Is that up significantly from last year? What worked this year to get the numbers up? By analyzing your list, you can tell what your best opt in was and what didn’t work at all. Maybe you need to change email service providers to increase the viability of your list. Email subscribers can directly correlate to income if you use your list correctly, so you should be focused on this for next year.
  • Income goals- Did you make an income this year? Did you make more than you spent? What can you do next year to make more income? Maybe you could incorporate ads, sponsored content, affiliate marketing or sell your own products/services to increase your income.
  • Collaboration goals- Collaborating with other bloggers can help you grow your traffic and following. What can you do to help someone else in your niche? How can you work with someone else on a project you will both benefit from? By working with others, you can build friendships and your bottom line.
  • Social Media follower goals- Is social media important to you? What social channels are you rocking this year? Which ones do you need to work on next year? Which ones do you need to stop using because they aren’t bringing a return on investment? Social media is important for bloggers, but it can also be a time suck. Figure out which channel your people are on and don’t worry about all the others!
  • Content creation goals- Were you consistent in your content creation this year? How often did you post to your blog a week? Was that enough or should you do it more? Do you have an editorial calendar planned out in advance or are you flying by the seat of your pants? Did that strategy work for you? Consistency is rewarded in many places, including Google SEO and Social Media algorithms. So figure out how many times a week you want to post and stick to it. It helps me to brainstorm ideas ahead of time so that I know what I am going to write about and I don’t have to stress out the day before. Whatever works for you is best.
  • Education goals- Bloggers are always needing continuing education because the industry is constantly changing. What do you do to educate yourself? How do you learn best (online courses, podcasts, other blogs, etc.)? Have you set aside money for education? Reinvesting in your business through education will always move your business forward.
  • Networking goals- Did you go to any conferences or workshops this year? How do you meet other bloggers? Going to conferences is a great way to meet people and learn new things at the same time. I have my ticket for Activate next September, and I am so excited!
  • Spending goals- What things do you need to spend money on next year? Maybe it is education, conferences, blogging tools, hiring a VA or even a house cleaner if necessary. Look into how you can best reinvest into your business to make things run smoother and increase the time you have to work on bigger projects.

Do you have big plans for 2018? Click here to see how intentional goals setting can skyrocket your blog for next year and get your online business noticed. #goalsetting #goals #blogging

How do you want to complete these goals?

Now that you’ve got your goals set, how are you going to do it? You have to be proactive to get things done in your business. No one else is going to do it for you.

  • Do you want to create a new product to increase your income or email subscribers? Create it.
  • Do you want to try a new strategy to increase traffic or social media followers? Try it.
  • Who could you reach out to for a collaboration that would be mutually beneficial? Search for them.
  • What new affiliate program could you get involved in to increase your income? Sign up for it.
  • What new medium (podcasting, YouTubing, etc.) could you try to diversify your income/content? Learn it.

Plan out your year:

  1. Look at your year as a whole. What are your big goals for the whole year?
  2. Break your goals down in quarters. Do you have a big project or launch (your product or an affiliate) for each quarter?
  3. Map out your affiliate promotions (the ones that you already know about or can predict dates for) on your calendar.
  4. Fill in your launches for your own products or services.
  5. Make sure you are spreading things out throughout the year. This will help you not to be overwhelmed and it will spread out your income as well.
  6. Make an editorial calendar. I make one calendar for content and one for promotion.
  7. Work backwards on what needs to be done to get to your goal each quarter.

Action Steps:

  1. Review this year with the questions above.
  2. Write goals for next year using the suggestions above.
  3. Plan out next year using the steps above.

Resources:

Podcast Episode #183: How to Create Your Promotional Calendar @ Online Marketing Made Easy w/ Amy Porterfield (This podcast is awesome and even has a free printable to help you plan.)

Podcast Episode #218: How to Set Smart Blogging Goals for the New Year @ ProBlogger w/ Darren Rowse (I loved this podcast and how Darren goes through the SMART goal setting strategy.)

The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran (This book revolutionized how I thought about goal setting and product completion for my blog.)

Let's see how intentional goal setting can skyrocket your blog for next year. #goalsetting #blogClick To Tweet

I hope these thoughts and resources will help you plan a great, productive 2018. The most important thing you can do when making goals is to WRITE THEM DOWN and keep them somewhere you can refer to often. Maybe next to your computer, on the wall in your office or anywhere you can see it regularly. Many experts have said that the biggest part of achieving your goals is writing them down and working towards them consistently over time. Consistency is key to goal achieving. Good luck in 2018 and I hope you crush it!

Do you have big plans for 2018? Click here to see how intentional goals setting can skyrocket your blog for next year and get your online business noticed. #goalsetting #goals #blogging

What are your big goals for 2018? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Growing a Strong Email List is Vital for Your Blog

Do you have a healthy email list for your blog? Click here to see how growing a strong email list is vital to your blogging income and success. #emailmarketing #blogging #emaillist #startablog

There are so many things new bloggers need to do: website development, post writing, photography, social media. . .

Email just sounds like one more confusing thing you don’t have time for.



Today, I want to talk about why having an email list is important, how to get one and what you do with it once you have one.

Why should I have an email list?

  • An email list helps you keep in touch with your readers, even if social media breaks down.
  • Readers are more likely to open an email than see your post on social media (especially with algorithm changes)
  • You can sell products and services to your email list.
  • Your email list is full of people that like and trust you, which makes it a major asset for your business.

How do I get an email list?

In order to get people on your email list, you need to offer them something for free. Here are a few ideas to get you started thinking:

What do I need to get started?

As far as technology goes, you need an Email Service Provider to get the technology part of your email list running.

I recommend ConvertKit. It is not free, but it is affordable for most people ($29 a month). You can find free services to do this, but they don’t have as many automations as ConvertKit has, so you will probably need to switch in the future.

With ConvertKit, you can have control over your list, your opt ins (the freebies you give away) and you can send new emails to your list whenever you want.

Do you have a healthy email list for your blog? Click here to see how growing a strong email list is vital to your blogging income and success. #emailmarketing #blogging #emaillist #startablog

Are there laws regarding an email list?

Yes. Here are a few things you need to be aware of when having an email list for your blog:

  1. You can’t just send out emails from your regular email (gmail or yahoo or whatever). You have to get people’s permission for them to be added to your email list. This is done through an Email Service Provider.
  2. You have to have a physical address on all of your emails. Some people use a PO Box so that people don’t have their home address.
  3. You have to have a way for people to unsubscribe to the list visible on each email you send.
  4. You can not use Amazon affiliate links in your emails.

What do I do once I have a list?

Once you have people on your list, you have to stay in contact with them so they remember what you and your blog is about.

You can start with a welcome series that gets sent right after they subscribe. In this series (3 to 5 emails) you can introduce your blog, direct them to your social media channels and give them solid advice that will keep them coming back for more!

Then, you should send them weekly newsletters, which can include what is going on with you and your posts for that week.

You can also send promotional (sales) emails to your list, as long as you don’t do it too often. This is a judgement call on your part.

Most of all, try to be helpful to the people that are on your list. You can give them exclusive freebies, extra tips and tricks on your topic, or anything else that will help you stand out from your competitors.

I have some awesome resources at the bottom of this post that will help you rock your email list and therefore your income as well.

Your email list will be full of warm traffic, which means they are more likely to buy from you when you recommend something. A strong email list can skyrocket your income because of that trust, so don’t take it lightly.

Action Steps:

  1. Sign up for an Email Service Provider (I prefer ConvertKit).
  2. Produce a quick freebie that you can offer your readers in exchange for their email address.
  3. Stay in touch with your list by sending a welcome series and weekly newsletters.

Email is very important to your blog and business. I would venture to say that working on increasing your email list should be one of your top priorities for your blog. It helps you create a bond with your readers and allows you to increase revenue when used correctly. Check out these resources below to get your email list healthy and happy today.

See how growing a strong email list is vital to your blogging income and success. #emailmarketingClick To Tweet

Resources:

Date Your List by Rosemarie Groner

How to Build a Lucrative Email List That Fuels Your Business (Podcast Episode) by Amy Porterfield

Do you have a healthy email list for your blog? Click here to see how growing a strong email list is vital to your blogging income and success. #emailmarketing #blogging #emaillist #startablog

Do you have tricks to share about growing your email list? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Top 10 Podcasts for Bloggers: Listening Your Way To A Better Business

Are you a blogger with a passion for learning? Click here to see the top 10 best podcasts for bloggers and how you can listen your way to a better business. Get tips for blogging, social media, being an entrepreneur, and more with this fun medium. #podcasts #bloggingpodcasts #blogging

Bloggers are always struggling to learn the next thing they need to know in their business. Sometimes, that learning can be pretty expensive.

That’s why I love podcasts!

I love to listen to podcasts while I am gardening, folding laundry, driving or waiting to pick my kids up from their various activities.



Why do I like podcasts?

Podcasts are a simple way I can gain more knowledge in the blogging world while I am doing something else. They are free and these podcasters below give amazing information that move my business forward.

How do I evaluate a podcast to see if I want to subscribe?

I am kinda strict on what I listen to and what I don’t. Here are the criteria I use for a good podcast:

  1. No bad language. I don’t curse and I don’t need to hear others talk that way either. There are many podcasts I have started, but the language didn’t work for me. So now, if I see a little E next to the podcast, I don’t even bother. Intelligent people shouldn’t have to use bad language to get their point across.
  2. On topic. There are several bloggers that have podcasts that I was super excited about, but once I got to listening it didn’t work for me. I want tips and tricks for blogging and online marketing. The last thing I need is people talking about religion or “spiritual” goals or guru stuff. I just want blogging helps. That is what I am there for and these podcasters below do a great job with that.
  3. Not too feminist. Ok, I know this seems weird, because I am a woman. But I am just so sick of women in the online business world who are blaring the “women rule” mantra every other minute. I do believe women can do just as well as men in this space, but I can learn from everyone, not just women. So if they are too over the top feminist, I move on.

Are you a blogger with a passion for learning? Click here to see the top 10 best podcasts for bloggers and how you can listen your way to a better business. Get tips for blogging, social media, being an entrepreneur, and more with this fun medium. #podcasts #bloggingpodcasts #blogging

What are my favorite podcasts for bloggers?

(in no particular order-I love them all!)

  1. Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn– This podcast is chocked full of great information, and Pat is so personable while he is talking. You almost feel like you know him. He knows his stuff and doesn’t mind sharing what he knows.
  2. Simple Pin Podcast with Kate Ahl– I found about Kate Ahl through the EBA community, and she is great. She gives great, easy to follow advise about Pinterest and isn’t afraid to change her advice when Pinterest changes their rules.
  3. Food Blogger Pro Podcast with Bjork Ostrom– Bjork is a great interviewer and has diverse and fun people come on his podcast. He and Lindsey (Pinch of Yum) are veterans in the blogging world and are helpful to all bloggers, not just foodies.
  4. Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast with Amy Porterfield– Amy is a household name in the online space. She is fun and has great tips for Facebook Ads, webinars and everything online business. She also gives away great freebies to help her listeners move forward.
  5. The Biz Chix Podcast with Natalie Eckdahl– Natalie has some really fun series (On-Air Coaching and High Performing Women) that are very helpful and informative. She also talks about juggling everything as a work at home mom.
  6. ProBlogger Podcast with Darren Rowse– First, I just love his accent. Second, he is a veteran blogger as well that gives great blogging tips anyone can use no matter how long you’ve been blogging. He seems very humble and down to Earth.
  7. Ask Pat with Pat Flynn– This is a quick, 10 minute or less, daily podcast where Pat answers a question from his listeners. He is very helpful and insightful, and I can’t believe he is up to almost 1,000 episodes on this one!
  8. She’s Building Her Empire with Stacy Tuschl– Stacy does a Facebook Live and records it as a podcast. She talks alot about launching a product and growing your online business.
  9. Just Keep Blogging with Kim Anderson– I also found Kim through the EBA community and we met at the Activate Conference this year! She gives solid, down to Earth advice that is helpful to get bloggers motivated to keep moving forward.
  10. The Businessese Influencer Marketing Podcast with Jamie Lieberman and Danielle Liss– This is a new podcast, but I have really been enjoying it. Jamie and Danielle give legal advice for all things online business. A great resource!

These podcasts are something I look forward to listening to each time they are released. Many of them have lots of episodes in the archives that I have binged listened to while traveling or working outside. There is so much blogging and online marketing experience in this group, and it is all for FREE! You can’t beat that!

Click here to see the top 10 best podcasts for bloggers and what you can learn from them. #blogClick To Tweet

Action Steps:

  1. Download an app for listening and subscribing to podcasts ( I use Apple iTunes ).
  2. Choose 2 or 3 of these that you haven’t listened to before and give them a try.
  3. Most of these podcasters have free Facebook Groups you can join to stay connected in the community, so join them.

Are you a blogger with a passion for learning? Click here to see the top 10 best podcasts for bloggers and how you can listen your way to a better business. Get tips for blogging, social media, being an entrepreneur, and more with this fun medium. #podcasts #bloggingpodcasts #blogging

What are your favorite podcasts? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Learn Blogging with Food Blogger Pro: Not Just For Foodies

Are you looking for a good resource to help move your blog forward? Click here to see how Food Blogger Pro can help your blog, even if you're not a foodie. #foodbloggerpro #bloggingresources #blogging

I found a great resource for bloggers about 6 months ago, and I wanted to share it with my readers.

The resource is called Food Blogger Pro. It is a membership site that helps you to grow your blog, no matter your niche.



Who developed Food Blogger Pro?

Food Blogger Pro was developed by Bjork and Lindsey Ostrom.

Bjork Ostrom is the podcaster behind the Food Blogger Pro podcast.

Lindsey is the blogger behind the huge food blog Pinch of Yum.

Together, they have vast knowledge on everything blogging, including social media, photography and promotion.

screenshots from food blogger pro

What do I get for the membership fee?

  1. Classes on various blogging topics- There are many classes on FBP including food photography, food videos, social media, creating an e-book, setting up a blog, etc.
  2. Live monthly Q&As- Each month they have a live Q&A which is then recorded in the site for later reference.
  3. Member discounts- They have arranged many discounts for members only for all kinds of things around the blogging world.
  4. Group forum for members only- There are discussions going on all the time with members and food blogger pro experts about different topics. You can also ask your own questions for quick help on any blogging topic.

Are you looking for a good resource to help move your blog forward? Click here to see how Food Blogger Pro can help your blog, even if you're not a foodie. #foodbloggerpro #bloggingresources #blogging

How has it helped my blogging journey?

I learned SO MUCH from Food Blogger Pro. I binged watched the classes and learned blog photography, how to make videos, social media tips, and so much more.

They also have a section about writing an e-book which helped me launch an e-book for my homesteading blog.

Also, the forum is really helpful to, so you can ask questions about all kinds of blog problems.

Also, monthly you get a special email that gives you behind the scenes info on Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro for extra learning.

How much is it?

Food Blogger Pro is $29 a month or you can save by buying a yearly membership. The great thing about the membership site is that you can consume content for a month or two, and then when you have everything you need, you can cancel.

Click here to see how Food Blogger Pro can help your blog, even if you're not a foodie. #bloggingClick To Tweet

How do I find out more information?

You can click here (affiliate link) to find out more information and sign up for the waitlist. The cart for signups will be open from November 14-21, 2017. If you find this after that time, you can sign up for the waitlist for a future open enrollment period.

Food Blogger Pro is a great resource for bloggers, no matter what your niche. It covers just about all aspects of blogging, not just food blogging. Check it out today!

Are you looking for a good resource to help move your blog forward? Click here to see how Food Blogger Pro can help your blog, even if you're not a foodie. #foodbloggerpro #bloggingresources #blogging

Do you have any experience with Food Blogger Pro? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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