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Start Your Own Blog: 9 Tools To Make Blogging Less Stressful

Is keeping up with everything in blogging stressing you out? Click here to get 9 tools that will help take control of your blogging productivity. #bloggingtools #bloggingtips #blogginghelp #blogging #productivity

Blogging can be overwhelming when you first get started. How do you keep up with all the things everyone says you need to do?

First of all, you don’t. Don’t listen to people that tell you you need to be everywhere all the time.



We go into more about that in this post.

But there are some things that have to be done, so you want to get the right tools to help you work more efficiently.

1. Email Service Provider

Email is very important when you are blogging. It is the way you communicate with your “tribe” and keep them up to date with what is going on with you. They may not read your blog everyday and you know with social media algorithms, they aren’t seeing all of your social media posts. Email is the way to reach your readers and connect with them. So if you haven’t started your email list, get started now.

According to law, you can’t just start emailing people about your blog without their permission. And you can’t use your personal email to email them. So you need an email service provider to send out emails and keep email addresses for your business.

I have 2 blogs and I have 2 different service providers. I like them both. When I decided to start a new blog, I thought I would try out a different provider and see what I thought. As of now I like both, so here they are:

ConvertKit- This is the provider I have been using with my homesteading blog. I love their service and how easy it is to understand. They have the capability of complex funnels and segmenting your list. I have had nothing but a good experience with ConverKit, so I highly recommend them.

Cost: $29 a month for 0-1k subscribers

Here is my affiliate link if you are interested: ConvertKit

Drip– I started using Drip with this new blog. It was recommended to me by Ruth of Elite Blog Academy, so I thought I would try it. It has the same capabilities as ConvertKit, although they do things a little different. So far it has been great (my list is small right now) and I would highly recommend them as well.

Cost: Free for the first 100 subscribers. After that, it is $49 a month for 101-2500 subscribers

Here is my affiliate link if you are interested: Drip Free Trial

2. Pinterest Scheduler

Pinterest is the main traffic source for my homesteading blog, so I put priority on a scheduler just for Pinterest. I want to be able to schedule pins and look at analytics in an easy to understand program.

Tailwind-I have tried several Pinterest schedulers, and I love Tailwind the best. I use it to schedule posts and for Tailwind tribes. It is easy to use and understand. It is also approved by Pinterest, so there is no penalty for pinning with Tailwind.

Cost: $9.99/month after 100 pin free trial

Here is my affiliate link if you are interested: Tailwind for Pinterest

If you need help learning how to use Tailwind, Simple Pin Media has a great mini course that can walk you through it all called How to Master Tailwind.

3. Google Analytics

Once your blog is up and running, you need to be able to have insights on your readers and popular posts. Google analytics analyzes who is coming to your blog, when, how often and for which content. It is invaluable knowledge that helps you become a more effective blogger.

To learn how to install Google Analytics, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXcQ7rVn3ro

To learn how to analyze the data from Google Analytics, go here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/google-analytics-basics/

Cost: FREE!

4. Photo Editing Software

Adobe Creative Cloud-I come from a photography background, so I have been using Photoshop and Lightroom for many years. It used to come in a disc that was super expensive. Now you can get both for a subscription of only $10 per month. That’s crazy! And they do all the updates for you! When it comes to photo editing, Adobe is the king.

Cost: $9.99/month for Photoshop and Lightroom CC

Here is my affiliate link if you are interested: Adobe Creative Cloud

Kelby One offers a membership program where you can learn Photoshop and Lightroom online from the professionals. Here is my affiliate link: $20 off Kelby One Annual Membership

Is keeping up with everything in blogging stressing you out? Click here to get 9 tools that will help take control of your blogging productivity. #bloggingtools #bloggingtips #blogginghelp #blogging #productivity

5. Stock Photography Provider

When your first starting out on a new blog, getting everything done just to get a blog post out can be challenging. Although we encourage you to use your own photos if you can, sometimes it is just not possible. We discuss in this post why sometimes you may need to use stock photography for your blog. I also recommend several stock photography sites in this post. Here is my favorite and the one I use most for my homesteading blog:

StoryBlocks- This is a great site with tons of great photography for a reasonable price. They are royalty free photos you can use for commercial or personal use. I have always found something I can use for almost any topic there.

Cost: $149/year unlimited downloads

Here is my affiliate link if you are interested: StoryBlocks Free Trial

6. Facebook Scheduler

As recommended by Rachel Miller of FB Page Strategies Course, you should only use the native Facebook scheduler to schedule Facebook posts, so that is what I do. It’s free and easy to use. It’s simple, but if I get more love from Facebook by using it’s scheduler, I need all the help I can get.

Cost: FREE!

7.  Social Media Plugin

Social Warfare-This is the only plugin I pay for. Why? It makes social sharing on my blog easier to manage. It shows social shares (which gives your blog social proof) and helps you control what is shared from your blog. It’s pretty much awesome.

Cost: $29/year

Here is my affiliate link if you are interested: Social Warfare

8. Landing Page Maker

To sell products or get people to opt in to your email list, you need a eye catching and persuasive landing page to help explain why they should do that thing. You can do an extra page on WordPress, but I have found that nice landing pages convert better.

Lead Pages-I went the DIY way for a while before I broke down and started using Lead Pages for my landing pages. I am so glad I made the switch. Their drag and drop system makes things so much prettier and easier to follow for your reader. They also have things like countdown timers that can help influence your reader to become a customer more quickly. I think they are a great investment for your business.

Cost: $25/month

Here is my affiliate link if you are interested: LeadPages Free Trial

9. Google Apps

I am still scratching the surface with Google apps and all they offer, but here is what I use so far.

Gmail-I use gmail for work so that I can keep track of all the other things (see below) for my blog. It also helps me to sign in to analytics, adsense, search console and other google services I need for my blog.

Google Docs-Just like Word or Pages, Docs allows me to make documents for my business. And they save automatically just in case I forget (or the power goes out or something).

Google Sheets- I love using these spreadsheets to keep track of expenses, affiliate information, and a lot more.

Google Drive- This is where you store all of the documents you have collected. It saves automatically and is online whenever you need it.

Cost: FREE!

Check out 9 tools that will help take control of your blogging productivity. #bloggingtools Click To Tweet

First of all, I know that when you are just starting out, it is hard to spend money on your business. How do you justify to your spouse (or yourself) to spend money when you aren’t making any money yet? Blogging in general has very little overhead compared to traditional business models. Hosting, theme, internet and your done, right? That is true, but as you grow you will realize that other tools can make your job ALOT easier and help you save time in your business. Maybe pick one thing that you want to automate or invest in for your business each month or quarter. You will see dividends in extra time for more important tasks right away.

Action Steps:

  1. Think about how you could better streamline your blog.
  2. Choose a tool that will help you accomplish that goal.
  3. Save time on that project so you can increase productivity for other projects.

Is keeping up with everything in blogging stressing you out? Click here to get 9 tools that will help take control of your blogging productivity. #bloggingtools #bloggingtips #blogginghelp #blogging #productivity

What are your favorite blogging tools? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Start Your Own Blog: Begin Your Journey in 5 Easy Steps

Would you like to know ideas for starting a blog? Click here to learn how to set up a WordPress blog to make money in 5 easy steps. #startablog #blogging

The hardest part about starting a blog is all of the technical stuff you have to learn to get it going! There is a pretty big learning curve and sometimes you get so frustrated, you want to quit.

But you know what? You can learn it and you can get through it. At first, it seems like all you do in blogging is hit one wall after another. As soon as you figure out one thing, there is another impossible task to figure out.



So why put yourself through all of that trouble? Because it is worth it. It is worth sharing your story and your perspective on life. Helping people and hearing from others how your blog impacted their life is amazing. It is worth the creative outlet a blog can give you.

So here are a list of things that helped me in the beginning to get my blog off the ground:

Hosting

You want to have a self-hosted blog, so you will need to buy hosting.

Where should I get hosting from?

Bluehost-This is the company I use for both of my sites. I haven’t had any problems with it. It is cheap and works great. That being said, other bloggers have had problems and speak about those often. I think if you have a huge viral hit overnight on your blog, you will have problems and your site might go down. My traffic has been slow and steady, so that may be why I haven’t had a problem so far. If that changes, I will let you know and tell you who I switched to.

Website Design & Theme

Website design can be overwhelming at first. It is expensive to hire a designer, so you really should just DIY it in the beginning. There are many free and premium themes that you can choose from online to get started. You probably don’t even know what you want yet, so hiring a designer wouldn’t be beneficial. Your site doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be good enough to get started.

Many bloggers use the genesis framework with a child theme. I didn’t know that when I started, so I just picked a premium theme that I liked. Both of my blogs use the same theme, but they have different vibes because of colors and other design choices.

Here is the theme I use.

You can find the genesis framework here.

Here are some places to find great genesis child themes:

Restored 316 Themes

StudioPress Themes for WordPress

Pretty Darn Cute Designs

Would you like to know the basics of starting a blog? Click here to see how you can jump in and get your journey started in 5 easy steps. #startablog #blogging

WordPress Basics

Setting up your site with WordPress is a must! You want wordpress.org NOT wordpress.com (which is free). You can try other sites like Squarespace or Wix, but you will quickly grow out of it. I didn’t know anything about WordPress when I got started, but after a few weeks, it got easier. You just don’t want to start one place and then have to move everything when you hit a wall! If you want to monetize your blog (now or in the future), you need to use WordPress.

Here are some sites I recommend to help you with WordPress:

Understanding WordPress (free course) @ iMark Interactive – Grayson really knows his stuff. He is an awesome IT guy who can help you learn WordPress fast.

There are tons of tutorials on WPBeginner to search for what you need.

Free videos to get you started on WordPress @ wp101.com

Plugins To Get Started

Plugins are things that you can add to your blog instead of code that help your site run better. There are thousands of plugins you can use for your blog, but here are a few basic ones that are free for you to get started.

Yoast (helps you get a handle on SEO for Google rankings)

Akismet (spam fighting service to protect your blog)

Ultimate Social Media (helps you and others share your posts to social media)

Google Analytics (shows you how many visitors have visited your site and more)

Ultimate No Follow (makes your affiliate links no follow for better SEO)

UpDraftPlus Backups (helps you backup your blog in case something bad happens)

WP Content Copy Protection (makes it where people can’t right click on your blog and copy information)

Broken Link Checker (checks for broken links on your site)

You can add these to your site by going under Plugins in WordPress and searching for them in “add new”.

Beginner Blogging Courses

There are so many free blog posts you can read to help you get started. In fact, there is so much out there about starting a blog that it can be overwhelming. I am not super technical, so I am not going to cover the technical side of starting a blog.

Here are some resources I recommend to help you get started blogging:

How to Start a WordPress Blog @ iMark Interactive

How to Start a Blog in 20 minutes @ Redefining Mom

How to Start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost @ Making Sense of Cents

I love blogging for many reasons: a creative outlet, starting a business and sharing ideas. But actually starting a blog can be overwhelming. Just know that anything you do on your blog can be undone: design, writing, topic, etc. So the most important thing to do is get started. You can always change things later.

Click here to learn how to set up a WordPress blog to make money in 5 easy steps. #startablogClick To Tweet

Action Steps:

  1. Start a self-hosted blog with WordPress.org.
  2. Find a theme that you like and start with basic plugins.
  3. Click on the links above for further blogging resources to help with the technical stuff.

Would you like to know ideas for starting a blog? Click here to learn how to set up a WordPress blog to make money in 5 easy steps. #startablog #blogging

Do you have other questions about starting your blog? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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Start Your Own Blog: Follow Your Passion & More

Are you ready to start your own blog? Click here to get started by following your passion, finding your blogging niche and deciding on a blog name.

This is the first post in a series called “Start Your Own Blog”. It will be a 4 week series that will help you learn about blogging and if it is right for you.

This week we will focus on following your passion, finding your niche and deciding on a name.



Many bloggers have heard that you should follow your passion when starting a blog, but what does that mean?

Following your passion means blogging about something you are good at and something that you can teach to others. Think about your life and what you like to do. What are your hobbies? What do you spend extra money on? What do you think about constantly? If you had extra time in your day, how would you spend it?

Follow Your Passion:

Answering these questions could help you find what your passion is.

What do you love to do?

What do you continue to love learning about?

What do you have an expertise in?

What topic could you talk about forever?

By answering these questions, hopefully you have found a topic that you are interested in blogging about.

But that’s just the beginning. Now let’s find your niche.

Find Your Niche:

What’s a niche? A niche is the topic or category your blog will be in. There are many niches.

Here are a few niche ideas to get you started:

  • Knitting
  • Homesteading
  • Finance
  • Photography
  • Fitness
  • Parenting
  • Travel
  • Food

There are a million more niches on the internet. Once you pick a niche, see if you can get more specific. There is a saying in blogging, “The riches are in the niches”.

It is a common misconception that your blog topic should be broad so that you can attract more people. In truth, the more specialized or “niched down” you become, the more you attract your perfect reader and then you can help them more.

Examples:

Instead of just Finance, you could do Finance for Working Moms

Instead of just Food, you could do Gluten Free Food for Kids

Instead of just Travel, you could do Travel for Retirees in an RV

I think you get the point. So find your passion, and then narrow it down to a specific demographic or group that you want to attract.

Are you ready to start your own blog? Click here to get started by following your passion, finding your blogging niche and deciding on a blog name.

How Can You Monetize?

Now, do some research. Before you start a blog you want to make money with, you need to know if that niche will be profitable. Look at your potential competitors. How are they monetizing (making money) their blog? Are they selling products, running ads, selling other people’s products, etc. Can you find any with income reports to see how they are making their money?

If you are thinking about a super specific niche that you can’t find anywhere else, then look at the broader topic to see how others are doing in that topic. You will probably come up with new ideas to make money, but you want to make sure that the basics are possible before you get started.

This doesn’t mean you have to start a blog just to make money. Many successful bloggers started out blogging for fun, a hobby or a creative outlet. They didn’t start making money until years later. But it is always good to know you can make money if you choose to go that route.

Decide On A Name:

So now that you know what your blog niche is, it is time to come up with a blog name.

Hints for Awesome Blog Names:

  1. Make it catchy- Sometimes things that rhyme or go together work well such as Busy Budgeter or Making Sense of Cents
  2. Keep it simple- Sometimes the niche is in the title such as Start A Mom Blog or Digital Photography School
  3. Easy to spell- Try to pick a name that has the normal spelling (although A Whimsicle Life is rocking it with a funny spelling)
  4. Different- Thinking outside the box will help you find something unique like Pinch of Yum or Sticky Blogging
  5. Doesn’t include a trademark- Don’t use a brand or name someone else has already trademarked such as Pinterest Mom or Dr Pepper Drinker.
  6. Use a main word from your niche- Your blog name will come up easier in search if it includes your niche like Our Provident Homestead (for homesteading) or What Mommy Does (for a mom blog).
  7. It hasn’t been used before- You want to do an internet search and domain search for the name you are thinking of using. You also want to search social media channels to see if the name is being used. Look in the resources below on links to help.
  8. Use your name- One way to make your blog unique is to use your name. This will help you stick with your domain even if your niche changes. I wouldn’t recommend this if your name is too common or too hard to spell.

Wow! That is a lot of stuff to process! How do we get through all of this so we can get started? This is a step of the blog process that you want to spend some time on. You don’t want to hurry with a name or niche that you may not love later.

Of course, you can change your mind later, but it is easier if you don’t have to move things or start over.

Start a blog by following your passion, finding your blogging niche and deciding on a blog name.Click To Tweet

Here are some great courses to help your blog get started right:

Blog by Number by Suzi Whitford

Elite Blog Academy by Ruth Soukup

Start a Blog Bootcamp by Adventures in Blogging

I hope these tips help you get the wheels turning on what kind of blog you want to start and what your blog name might be. Next week we will be talking about what you need to start a blog, like the technical stuff.

Resources:

101 Niche Ideas for Your New Blog @ Ordinary Reviews

How to Find If a Trademark is Taken?

Which Type of Blog Gets the Most Google Searches? @ Kristie Hill

Action Steps:

  1. Find a niche that you are excited and passionate about.
  2. Narrow it down to something more specific.
  3. Research and decide on the name of your new blog.

Are you ready to start your own blog? Click here to get started by following your passion, finding your blogging niche and deciding on a blog name. #startablog #bloggingforbeginners

Do you have any question or comments about finding a niche and name for your blog? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks!




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