First 9 Steps to a Money-Making Blog for Total Beginners (in Just 2 Hours a Day)

First 9 Steps to a Money-Making Blog for Total Beginners (in Just 2 Hours a Day)

“Spending my free time sharing what I’m passionate about and getting paid to do it really sucks”… SAID NO ONE EVER. And that’s pretty much what you’re getting yourself into when you decide to start blogging seriously.

Is it a lot of work? Yes. Is it head-bangingly frustrating at times? Yes. Does it mean that you’ll probably have to sacrifice some of your Netflix and Facebook-scrolling time? Yep.

But it is also extremely fulfilling, rewarding and fun! Plus, if you follow the right plan (ahem, see below), you can save yourself a ton of time chasing “blogging tips” and actually start to make an impact on others’ lives and an income for yourself and your family as soon as possible. It’s a pretty great gig. But you’re already here so I probably don’t need to convince you of that!

But before we dive into this detailed 9-step plan, I need to tell you quickly WHY I wrote it, and I can do it in two words: information overload.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, when you start to Google around about how to start a blog and make money, you come head-on to a huge and heavy brick wall called “information overload”. Articles on how to start, what to write, how to write, headlines, tech, design, hosting (what’s that?!), SEO (what’s that?!), alt tags and algorithms and plugins (what the heck are all those??!!!) and before you know it your brain hurts and you just want to curl up on the couch and eat chips and watch Lifetime and never look at a computer screen again.

It’s all just too much, and it scares people away from doing something that is really quite easy, fun and lucrative. The thing is, you don’t need to know it all right now. You just need to know the basics, the right framework for getting started on the right foot.

In my network marketing business, we have a saying that “Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice” which basically just means get over yourself and get started, even if you don’t know all the steps ahead of you yet. But I’ll do you one better: I’ll give you the first 9 steps you should take after you’ve decided to start a money-making blog so you don’t waste time on stuff that doesn’t matter right now. If you do these things first, in order, you’ll have set the foundation for a strong and profitable blog that will be a joy to work on.

And that’s why I wrote this post. I recommend you read/skim this guide in it’s entirety first so you get a clear big-picture overview, then start back at the beginning and actually follow along and do the work step-by-step. You can also download this entire guide for free as a PDF so you can access it anytime. Okay, let’s dive in!

Step 1: Treat This Like a Business From Day 1

A “sometimes” blog is a hobby blog, which is fine, but it won’t make you money. This doesn’t mean you have to spend 40+ hours a week on it, but it DOES mean you have to schedule hard, non-negotiable time into your calendar to work on your blog.

10 hours a week is a great start, scheduled in 30, 60, or 90-minute time blocks. This might mean you have to wake up an hour earlier or sacrifice your evening Netflix habit to make it work, but the time has to come from somewhere.

'I don't have time' is a lie. CHECK THIS >> 'Wake up an hour earlier and use that time for yourself, use that time to work on your goal. You have time. You're just spending it doing something else' - Rachel HollisClick To Tweet

Action Step: Schedule 10 hours each week into your calendar in 30, 60, or 90-minute time blocks.

Step 2: Decide WHO You Want to Write To/For

Before your write a single word on your blog, you should decide who you’re going to be writing to. In blogging and online marketing, this is typically called your “Avatar” (this will come in handy when you choose your blog name in the next step).

In the beginning, you might just have a vague idea, and that’s okay, but the earlier you can narrow this down, the better since it will help you create the most relevant and helpful content for your readers.

Think about who could benefit from what you’ll teach. This doesn’t mean you have to be a credentialed expert or have a prestigious degree on your topic! Just think about topics you’re passionate about, can’t stop talking about and naturally love sharing about and helping people with.

Oftentimes your Avatar will be YOU from one or two years ago. This is a little hack I learned from Ruth Soukup in her course, Elite Blog Academy (which teaches you EVERYTHING you’ll ever need to know about running a successful blog… more on that at the end).

No need to feign authority or act as if you know it all. Just be yourself, and share tips, advice, hacks and revelations you’ve learned along the way. We’ll talk more about creating content like this in Step #5.

Action Step: Spend 15-30 minutes writing a list of things you love talking and sharing about. This can be anything from parenting to yoga to business to weight loss to crafting to psychology to fitness to… well, you get the idea ;). You’ll probably have several things written down, but choose the one that sparks the most joy (yes, I’m a huge Marie Kondo fan).

Step 3: Install Your Blog on WordPress

When you start a new blog, there are many different options for which platform to use to write on. I’m going to save you a bunch of time, frustration and money down the line and just tell you which platform is the best: self-hosted WordPress**.

Ask around to any professional blogger and 99% of them will tell you they use self-hosted WordPress. It’s the most versatile and user-friendly of all the blogging platforms and is widely considered THE go-to for anyone who is serious about blogging.

Self-hosted WordPress is a free blogging platform, but you will need to pay for hosting to make your blog “live” on the internet. There are hundreds of hosting providers out there, but I use and recommend Siteground, because of their affordable pricing & freaking amazing customer service.

It’s $3.95 per month (paid annually) and all you do is go to their site, click “WordPress Hosting” on the home page, and sign up with your credit card info for the “StartUp Plan”.

Once you’re done (takes like 5 minutes), just open a chat or support ticket there and let them know you’re a new blogger and would like them to install WordPress for you. They do it for free!

Let them know what you want your blog name to be (www.yourblogname.com). When deciding on your blog name, consider your blog topic and Avatar and make it relevant. For example, my blog’s Avatar is a stay-at-home-mom looking to make money from home, so I named my blog “SmartMomBlogger.com”. Another option is to use your own name for your blog name. Don’t obsess over this too much, just make sure it’s not confusing or hard to spell and doesn’t have any numbers, dashes or special characters in it (gets waayyyy too confusing for people).

**Quick side note: We’re talking about self-hosted WordPress here, not WordPress.com. WordPress.com is really just suited for hobby bloggers. Self-hosted WordPress is for bloggers who intend to make money with their blog.

Action Step: Set up hosting at Siteground and ask them to install WordPress on your new blog.

Step 4: Choose a Theme/Design For Your Blog

Once you get word from Siteground that your blog is ready, you can log in and start writing. BUT, hold up! There a few steps you need to take care of before you dive in, the first of which is the design of your blog (called a “theme” in WordPress).

My #1 tip for you when choosing your blog theme? Don’t spend more than 20 minutes deciding! Just choose a free theme from the gallery (screenshot below) that you like the general look & feel of.

To do this, once logged in, click “Appearance” > “Themes” > “Add New” from the sidebar menu to browse the free themes.

I know you want a professionally branded blog with amazing colors and graphics that perfectly match your vision and design aesthetic… I know. But so many bloggers spend WAAAYYYY too much time in this phase and get sucked down the never-ending rabbit hole of trying to design a logo and make their blog look perfect. The problem is, that’s the wrong thing to spend time on in the beginning.

You need to focus your time on creating amazing blog posts and getting them in front of the right people. Otherwise you’ll have a perfect-looking blog that no one ever sees.

So just pick a theme you generally like, skip the logo for now (your blog name will still show at the top), and move on to the next step! You can – and should – upgrade your blog design later once you start to get readers… but focusing on this in the beginning really is a waste of time. Just trust me on this one 😉

Action Step: Choose a design (theme) for your blog from the free WordPress gallery. Don’t obsess. Just pick one and move it along!

Step 5: Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas

I always tell people that a good blog post (the kind that gets shared) will focus on the reader, as opposed to being about you. This is one of the fundamentals of a successful and profitable blog: make it about your readers.

It should help them do one or more of the following: solve a problem, reach a goal, inspire them to action, or help them shift their thinking.

With that in mind, make a list of at least 25 problems or questions that your readers might have.

For example, if your blog topic is health & wellness and your Avatar is a millennial mom, the items on your list might look something like this:

  • How to find time to workout with a new baby
  • How to get your newborn baby to sleep through the night (so you can too!)
  • 5 easy mommy and me exercises
  • 10 foods that will increase your energy
  • How to get rid of your mommy pooch
  • How to (safely!) lose weight while breastfeeding
  • How to create a morning routine when you’re a new mom
  • How to make time for self care with toddlers in the house
  • 7 screen-free activities to keep toddlers busy while you work out
  • An easy 10-minute home workout for new moms
  • How to create a routine for your toddlers (and bring peace back into your home!)
  • 21 common health mistakes stay-at-home-moms make
  • Time-blocking for millennial moms (how to actually get stuff done!)

Okay, I think you get the idea 😉 Just make a list of 25 things that you can help your ideal reader with. These will be your very first blog posts!

Action Step: Make a list of 25 problems or questions your Avatar has.

Also! Be sure to grab this freebie download that has 120 blog post ideas for more inspiration:

Step 6: Start Writing Posts

Now that you have plenty of blog post ideas to get started… get started!

As you sit down to write your first post you might find yourself struggling with how to start, what to actually say, how long it should be, and how to end it all off.

It’s the curse of the blank white screen. It can be intimidating for anyone, and especially so for new bloggers! But I’ve got a fix for that, and it’s another trick I learned from Elite Blog Academy.

It’s called the F.O.C.U.S. method.

When you use the F.O.C.U.S. framework to write your blog posts, writer’s block pretty much disappears and it helps the words just flow through your fingertips and onto the (digital) page. To use the F.O.C.U.S. method on your blog posts, just follow the instructions in this post.

One final piece of advice on writing before we move on: be consistent!

This doesn’t mean you have to write every day, but it does mean you should be posting consistently on a regular schedule, not sporadically whenever you feel like it. 1-2 x per week is great.

I can’t stress this point enough: your blog will not grow if you are not consistent.

So plan out your content (use your list of 25 + the freebie with 120 additional post ideas) and plug those titles into your calendar so you know exactly what you’ll be posting and when.

You can use Google calendar, post-it notes on your paper wall calendar, or whichever method you like, but DO PLAN IT and BE CONSISTENT.

Action Step: Write and publish your first post using the F.O.C.U.S. method.

Step 7: Start Using Pinterest

Okay, so now you’re all set up and writing amazing blog posts consistently. What’s next? Can you guess?

Readers! You need people to actually read your blog! In the blogging world, you might hear this referred to as “traffic” or “pageviews”, but it all basically means you want eyeballs on your blog.

But how do you find them? First, let’s shift that question around because it’s actually a matter of how they find you.

There are many, many, many strategies and tactics to getting readers to your blog, but I’m going to share with you the #1 best way to start: Pinterest.

I’m sure you’ve already heard of Pinterest, but probably think of it as a place to save recipes, kids birthday party ideas and DIY projects for your home. And it is that.

But it’s also the successful bloggers’ secret weapon for getting massive traffic to their blogs.

It’s impossible to explain Pinterest blog marketing in one bullet point, but the basic gist is that you create “Pin” images for each blog post (super easy with a free tool like Canva) and pin them on Pinterest for others to find.

You can see my “Pin” image for this blog post at the top of this page. If you hover over it with your mouse or click on it from your smartphone, you’ll see that you can share it on Piinterest. Now that “Pin” is on Pinterest for others to find and “Re-pin” and it links back to my blog.

When you’re ready for this step, take McKinzie’s free Pinterest course so you make sure you do it right (and save yourself time and frustration trying to “wing it”).

**Quick side note! You’re going to be tempted with many other traffic strategies you hear about, such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Facebook pages and groups, live video, YouTube videos, blog networking, Facebook ads, and many others, but I implore you to put your blinders on and just focus on Pinterest to start. It’s the easiest and fastest way to gain traction in the beginning, and if you split your focus onto other things you’re going to get overwhelmed and make very little progress. Stay laser focused!

Action Step: Set up a Pinterest account for your blog and sign up for McKinzie’s free Pinterest Primer marketing course.

Step 8: Set Up Your Email Newsletter

Having an email list is suuuppper important! You should get this going as soon as you can as it will help you leverage your sporadic and unpredictable blog traffic and convert it into loyal readers and fans who come back to your blog again and again.

To start, you can use a free mail service like Mailerlite or Mailchimp until you reach your first 1,000 subscribers. Just sign up and follow the instructions to create an email sign up form to place on your blog.

Email marketing for your blog is a whole other topic, and when used effectively, can help grow your blog and income by leaps and bounds. But for now, just keep it simple.

When you’re ready to dive into the details of email marketing and making money with your blog (here are the 6 ways most bloggers actually make money), then you’re probably also ready for Step #9, so here we go…

Action Step: Sign up for a free account at Mailerlite or Mailchimp and create an email sign up form for your blog. Place it in your sidebar and footer for now.

Step 9: Invest in Your Blog

Here’s the part where I give you advice that you don’t really want to hear.

As we talked about in Step #1 above, if you think you can create a successful blog by working on it for a few hours every once in a while – you’re wrong. You need to invest time into this and commit to it for the long haul.

But you also need to invest money, specifically in training or you’ll just end up spinning your wheels following endless “blogging tips” and getting nowhere. You need a cohesive blog growth plan.

After all, we’re treating this like a business, remember? I love the way Rosemarie from The Busy Budgeter puts it:

“Whatever job you have now, you probably trained for right? Maybe you went to college, maybe you interned, or maybe your predecessor trained you. Well, trying to blog without investing in training is kind of like trying to do your job without anyone ever telling you what your job is. Without investing BOTH time and money into your blog, this isn’t going to happen.”

Books and courses on blogging, marketing, running an online business are all great investments.

I’ve mentioned several resources throughout this article to help you start your blog and take your education further, but my #1 recommendation is Elite Blog Academy. It’s the only complete blogging program I know of that covers every single thing you need to turn your blog into a successful business.

The catch? It’s only open once a year. The creator, 7-figure blogger Ruth Soukup, is dedicated to making sure each year’s students get the attention and training they need to really make their blog successful.

Just take a peek at these bloggers’ stories… aren’t they fall-out-of-your-seat amazing?! So even if right now you’re thinking there’s no way you can afford to invest in your blog, just get on the free waitlist anyway, because you never know what could happen between now and the time it opens up again and I would hate for you to miss out and have to wait for another YEAR to really take your blog to amazing levels!

Action Step: Sign up for the free waitlist at Elite Blog Academy.

– – – – – – –

Okay, I know that was a lot of information packed into these 9 steps! Your head is probably spinning with ideas and information, but just pause for a moment and take a deep breath. The fact that you’re still here reading this means that you’re serious – congratulations!!

Just take things one step at a time… the really great news is NOW YOU KNOW WHICH STEPS TO TAKE! Doesn’t that feel great?! Isn’t that a relief?!

But now, you have work to do. Knowledge isn’t enough to start your blog or make any money; you need to take action!

So let’s quickly circle back to the beginning and commit to completing Steps #1-3 THIS WEEK to make this happen. Will you do that for me? For YOU? I hope you say yes.

5 Best Affiliate Programs to Boost Your Blog Income

5 Best Affiliate Programs to Boost Your Blog Income

GET YOUR FREE $100 AFFILIATE MARKETING CHEAT SHEET FOR BLOGGERS

Discover the “Affiliate Marketing Profit Equation” you need to plan your first $100 in blog revenue + 3 affiliate programs that'll get you there quick!

Want easy-access to 5 passive income affiliate programs to boost your blog income? You’re in the right place – read on!

Blogging is fun and all, but at some point you’re going to want to actually some make money at it, am I right?

So let’s get rolling with some Affiliate Marketing! IMHO, it’s the #1 best place to start because it’s super low-hassle and low maintenance.

No products to create or store, no services to provide (huge time suck!), no customer service to provide and no need for huge amounts of traffic.

You just need to create helpful, value-packed content (read: not sales-ey) that clearly explains the benefits of the product, and be sure to use your affiliate link so you get the commission. This content can be in the form of blog posts, tutorials, emails, social media posts, videos or anything else you can think up!

>> Also Read: 5 Super Simple Ways Mom Bloggers Can Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Here’s a short list of some of the best affiliate programs to boost your blog income:

Each of the 5 programs below can be applied to many different blog niches and have at least 20% (or $25) commission! Be sure to download your free $100 Affiliate Marketing Cheat Sheet to use the profit equation to easily plan, calculate and predict your income!

1. CreativeLive Affiliate Program

CreativeLive is an online platform that hosts tons of top-quality classes taught by experts in their field. From family photography to online business to personal growth and so much more, there is something for almost everyone.

Program Highlights: 

  • 20% commission on new customer purchases
  • 10% commission on return customer purchases
  • $1 lead payout for every new member registration (this means when someone signs up top their free email list, you still get paid!)
  • 30-day tracking cookie
  • Large selection of text links and banners
  • Newsletters with program updates, promotions, contests and incentive opportunities

SIGN UP FOR CREATIVELIVE AFFILIATE PROGRAM RIGHT NOW >>

 

2. Craftsy Affiliate Program

Craftsy is an online platform for creatives, aspiring creatives, and families who want to encourage a culture of exploration and creativity. From physical products like project kits for kids and baking supplies, to craft, creative and family online classes, Craftsy is a perfect affiliate program for Family/Parenting Bloggers and Craft/Creative Bloggers.

Program Highlights: 

  • 75% of first-time class or DVD purchases by new customers
  • 15% of class or DVD purchase by existing customers
  • 15% of physical product purchases by new customers
  • 4% of physical product purchases by existing customers
  • $5 Bluprint trial signup (similar to the CreativeLive program above, you get paid even when someone signs up for free)
  • $15 Bluprint monthly membership signup

SIGN UP FOR THE CRAFTSY AFFILIATE PROGRAM RIGHT NOW >>

 

3. Ultimate Bundles Affiliate Program

Ultimate Bundles is a unique resource that offers huge digital bundles on a range of topics including parenting, homemaking, blogging, photography, healthy living, essential oils, handmade crafting, and meal planning

Program Highlights:

  • 40% commission on every bundle sold through your unique link
  • Most bundles are only available once a year, so there’s a built-in sense of urgency when you tell your readers about them (increases sales)
  • Huge value for your readers since the bundles are 90%-98% off the retail price of the products
  • Top-quality affiliate marketing training built right in. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest perks to the program: they give you access to an entire course on affiliate marketing including videos, swipe files, email templates and more.

SIGN UP FOR THE ULTIMATE BUNDLES AFFILIATE PROGRAM RIGHT NOW >>

 

4. Ebates Affiliate Program

Ebates is a website that pays you cashback on purchases you make online and is a perfect to promote to your readers if you are a budget, lifestyle or mom blogger.

Program Highlights:

  • You get $25 for every qualifying referral you send through your affiliate link
  • You gift your readers with $10 automatically when they sign up through your link
  • Vacation Giveaways for affiliates! As of this email, the current giveaway is the Maui Prize Package and includes Roundtrip airfare for 4 (up to $4,000 value), a 5-night stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani ($4,000 value), Roundtrip transportation to and from airport, and Food and entertainment stipend!

SIGN UP FOR THE EBATES AFFILIATE PROGRAM RIGHT NOW >>
**When you sign up for an Ebates account, you automatically get access to your unique affiliate link. Just go to the “Refer & Earn” link at the top of the page.

 

5. Elite Marketing Pro Affiliate Program

Elite Marketing Pro is an online training program for people who are doing (or want to do) a Network Marketing business (eg. Arbonne, DoTerra, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.). It teaches them how to generate leads and sales online so they don’t have to harass friends and family to try and grow their business.

Program Highlights:

  • 20% – 70% commission on every sale (depending on which affiliate level you are)
  • Lots of free resources and training you can offer your readers that lead right into a sales funnel for effortless sales.
  • Residual income potential. This perk is HUGE! This means that you get recurring commissions month-after-month on autopilot.

To sign up for the Elite Marketing Pro affiliate program, you first need to be a customer, but the entry-level product is only $27 so it’s definitely worth it if you have an audience of readers who are interested in starting a side-hustle or working from home since the commissions are so generous and you get recurring income every month.

SIGN UP FOR THE ELITEMARKETINGPRO AFFILIATE PROGRAM RIGHT NOW ($27 purchase required) >>>

 

And that’s a wrap! You may not be able to use ALL of these affiliate programs on your blog, but I’m willing to bet that at least ONE of them will work for you!

And that’s really where you should start anyhow… with ONE affiliate program. If you try to incorporate a gazillion affiliate programs into your blog all at once, it’s going to get confusing and overwhelming… to you AND your readers.

💡 Also… the best thing that can happen to a bad idea is that it’s forgotten. The best thing that can happen to a good idea is that it’s shared. If you liked this post, I’d be so grateful if you shared it on Pinterest, Facebook or however you like to share good ideas best!

 

Best affiliate marketing programs for new bloggers to boost income! Can apply to many different niches :)

Pin this to share and access later!

GET YOUR FREE $100 AFFILIATE MARKETING CHEAT SHEET FOR BLOGGERS

Discover the “Affiliate Marketing Profit Equation” you need to plan your first $100 in blog revenue + 3 affiliate programs that'll get you there quick!

The Popular Blog Post Formula: How to Write a Blog Post That Gets Shared

The Popular Blog Post Formula: How to Write a Blog Post That Gets Shared

Love this! How to write a popular blog post every time - the formula makes it so easy to remember!The babies are finally down for a nap, you just poured yourself a piping hot cup of coffee, you settle into your chair, open up your content calendar and start typing away to create your next viral blog post.

But after a few words in, you stop. Then delete what you just wrote. Then let your mind wander in search of some inspiration for how to start and what you want to actually say in the post.

Then you check Facebook… or worse yet, Pinterest. And we all know what happens after that, don’t we?

I always teach people to make sure they’re blogging about things that can help their audience solve a problem or reach a goal. This is a surefire way to make sure your audience stays interested in what you have to say.

Related: Don’t Start a Blog Before Answering These 2 Questions

And there’s a simple formula you can follow to make sure you’re writing posts that your readers can’t get enough of and want to come back for again and again… viral blog posts.

This method for how to write popular blog posts comes from Ruth Soukup, New York Times Bestselling Author and owner of the popular blog, Living Well Spending Less.

In her free blogging video series, Blogging Made Simple, she shares the writing method she used to catapult her own blog to epic success.

You see, Ruth started her blog simply as a way to keep herself accountable to her new family budget. As she got deeper into this whole “blogging thing” she realized that she absolutely loved it and wanted to dedicate herself to making it grow.

But that was easier said than done. She started comparing herself to other bloggers that were farther along than she was and felt like she could never catch up.

She became obsessed with learning about how to grow her blog traffic and turn her blog into a success.

And that’s exactly what she did. Through this process, she developed a blog posting method that catapulted her blog to epic status.

She calls it the F.O.C.U.S. method, and it’s quite brilliant.

Watch This: Ruth dives deep into all of this and more in her free video series, “Blogging Made Simple”. It’s honestly the simplest and smartest way I’ve heard for creating a blog that people want to read and want to share.

F IS FOR FIRST IMPRESSION

In this age of busyness, we all know that we have about 3 seconds to grab someone’s attention with our post before they’re off looking for something else. But how do you do this?

The First Impression, or title, of your post is the first thing people see, and it’s got to be magnetic.

Your title must grab your readers’ attention and let them know right away what the benefit will be to them for reading.

As Ruth says in her free training: “Don’t ever underestimate the importance of your title. It will make or break your post.”

O IS FOR OPENING

If you’ve succeeded at winning your reader’s attention with your awesome title, then you better make sure your opening paragraph is just as powerful. In writing, this is often called “the hook”.

It should set the stage for your Central Idea (see next point) and draw the reader in for more.

Ruth suggests these tips for using in your Opening:

  • An interesting illustration (this is what I used in my opening to this post)
  • A bold statement of fact
  • Ask a hypothetical question
  • Share a startling statistic

C IS FOR CENTRAL IDEA

If you’ve gotten your reader this far, congrats! You’re well on your way to having learned how to write popular blog posts that get comments and shares.

But don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. You still need to craft the heart of your post: your Central Idea.

You need to have JUST ONE central idea, and it should be either instructive or influential in order to make an impact.

Remember, your reader is interested in the BENEFIT TO THEMSELVES, so make sure your Central Idea clearly conveys that. Watch this for specific examples on how to do this.

U IS FOR USEFUL LOGIC AND ILLUSTRATIONS

The “U” is what Ruth calls the “meat” of your post, and it’s what makes your post come alive and actually be interesting to read!

After all, no one wants just bland information that’s going to put them to sleep.

You need to include bullet points with interesting facts, statistics, images/graphics and personal illustrations that support your main Central Idea. Don’t expect your readers to “just get it”… paint a picture and your readers will understand your message on a deeper level!

S IS FOR STRONG CONCLUSION

Watch This: Ruth dives deep into all of this and more in her free video series, “Blogging Made Simple”. It’s honestly the simplest and smartest way I’ve heard for creating a blog that people want to read and want to share.

The last thing you want to do after taking your reader through an epic post is to leave them hanging out to dry!

Be sure to make your conclusion work for you and take the time to wrap the post up in a nice tidy bow. Reiterate your main points and remind them of the key benefits that were shared. This is also a great place to have a “call-to-action”, which basically just means giving your reader a “next step” to take once they’ve finished reading. Is it to share your article on social media? Sign up for your email list? Download a worksheet related to the post? Chat in the comments? Be sure to lead your readers on an intentional journey to start building a relationship.

When all is said and done, you want your blog to be a success. We all do. But the old Field of Dreams mantra “If you build it, they will come” just doesn’t cut it when it comes to blogging.

You need to give your audience a compelling reason to read your posts and come back for more again and again and the F.O.C.U.S. method for writing blog posts is the best way to do just that. Give a great First Impression, Open strong, share a clear Central Idea, include Useful examples, and finish Strong. It works like magic every time 🙂

Want to Pin this post for later or share it on Facebook? Use the handy-dandy share buttons on the side or bottom of this post. ❤

Yours Free: 10 Steps to Take When Your Blog Post Goes Viral

How To Use Tailwind Tribes: The Epic Guide For Bloggers

How To Use Tailwind Tribes: The Epic Guide For Bloggers

She shows how to use Tailwind Tribes to get traffic to your blog. Step-by-step instructions and screenshots... need to do this asap on my blog! Pin for later.As a busy mom who’s running a family and a blog, you know how important it is to make the best use of your time. There’s always so much to do, it seems virtually impossible to get it all done.

So when it comes to using social media for getting traffic to your blog, being ruthlessly efficient is a must (we’ve all been down that Facebook and Pinterest black hole where entire hours disappear in seconds)!

I am still learning the ins and outs of using social media to help me grow my blog, but have had huge success with using Tailwind Tribes to get blog traffic from Pinterest.

I thought I would share my Epic Guid on how to use Tailwind Tribes to help you get started and find your way around the inside of the Tribes dashboard so you can get your own surge of blog traffic!

If you’ve been wanting to jump on Pinterest to help you grow your blog, you’re definitely in the right place. I am going to walk you through step-by-step on how to get started.

While I don’t have any secret Pinterest traffic secrets to share, I can say that this guide will help you understand how to get started using the Tailwind Tribes.

I know what you’re thinking: another tool that’s going to cost me money.

But if you’re serious about turning your blog into a business, then you know that it’s impossible to do everything for free.

The great thing is that you can use the power of Pinterest and Tailwind Tribes to help you grow your blog, and once you have your blog profit plan in place, the boatloads of traffic are going to pay you back 10 times over.

How To Use Tailwind Tribes to Grow Your Blog

So ask yourself, do you want to make your life easier? If you understand that all business owners have to spend on their business, then you’re in the right place. I am going to show you how I use Pinterest to grow my blog.

Now if you’re new to Pinterest, you may not know what Tailwind is. It’s nothing more than an automated scheduler. It costs $10 per month or you can save by paying for the annual subscription. I went ahead and purchased the annual subscription because I love saving money.

YOU CAN TRY TAILWIND FOR FREE >>> (but you’ll probably want to go “all in” after reading the rest of this post!)

Tailwind has helped hundreds of bloggers make better use of Pinterest, without having to spend hours online. As bloggers who don’t have a lot of free time, it’s important for us to know which tools will actually help us grow our blogs without needlessly wasting hours on something that can be done in minutes.

As bloggers, it’s important to be able to get traffic to our blogs. Without traffic, no one is going to sign up for your email list, buy your products and services or click on your affiliate links.

Your Own Personal Virtual Assistant

Most successful bloggers hire virtual assistants for all those repetitive tasks. They no longer have to worry about wasting times on tasks such as; finding pins to share, creating pins, responding to emails, creating book covers and etc… You know those repetitive tasks that take time away from our money making tasks.

Unfortunately, as a new blogger, when you start your blog, you’ll have to do everything yourself. Most of us don’t have the money to hire our own virtual assistants. This is where Tailwind comes in handy. While you may not be able to hire a human virtual assistant, this tool will help you automate your Pinterest efforts.

I couldn’t imagine trying to do everything it does manually. I don’t have enough time in the day to do it all by myself.

How to Make the Most From Tailwind

Tailwind offers a 30-day free trial and you’ll be tempted to start with that. However, I recommend signing up for their annual subscription. They will give you a discount for doing so and you’ll be able to start pinning as many pins as you want.

Once you sign up, head on over to your dashboard. I recommend taking some time to watch the Tailwind training videos. You’ll find it inside of your dashboard.

Tailwind training videos

Once you’ve watched the videos, it’s time to start finding the pins to schedule. I recommend scheduling at least 30-60 pins per day.

Of course, everyone’s opinion will vary on this, the best thing you can do is test things out to see what number of pins is your sweet spot.

Join Tailwind Tribes

One of the reasons that I love using Tailwind and decided to keep using it even when I started with Board Booster is because of the Tribes feature. If you don’t know about Tailwind tribes, read this. I recommend taking the time to join as many tribes as possible. Find tribes that your blog will fit into, here’s a list of 10 tribes you can join right now.

Editor’s Note: Some were reporting difficulty joining the Tribes via the original links in this post. I have contacted Tailwind support and identified the problem, so all of the links should now be working properly. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding 🙂

  1. Striving Bloggers
  2. Blogging Friends Pins
  3. Pinterest Friends
  4. Milspouse Bloggers
  5. Bloggers Chalkboard
  6. Blogging Tips
  7. Small Business
  8. Christian Bloggers-Faith
  9. Home Design & DIY
  10. Practical Mommy Lifestyle

These are just a few of the Pinterest tribe groups you can join. There are literally hundreds of Tribes available.

To find even more Tribes: Google is your friend! A simple search for “Tailwind Tribes for bloggers” will uncover boatloads of Tribes in every niche. Join as many as possible!

Before You Add Your Pins to the Tribes

I know you’re going to be extremely excited about getting started using the awesome Tribes feature in Pinterest. However, every Tribe is different. They all have their own rules, so you want to make sure that you take the time to read their rules.

Most Tribes will require that you pin at least 1 pin for each pin you submit to the group. This means that before you start submitting your own pins, you need to take the time to share the other member’s pins. I recommend taking the time to share other people’s pins before adding your own pins.

The last thing you want to do is break the rules and get kicked out. Plus, it’s not hard to share other people’s pins.

Adding Your Pins to The Tribes

Once you’ve shared some of the tribe member’s pins and have a reserve of shares built up, it’s time to start adding your own pins. After all, you want people to share your pins too.

Head on over to your Tailwind dashboard again and click on published pins. This is where you’re going to find the pins from your own blog. I submit all my published pins from my own blog to all the tribes.

published pins

Adding Your Pins to the Tribes from Tailwind

Once you’re inside of your published pins on Tailwind, you’ll see all the pins from your own blog. I start from the top and work my way down to add them to the group.

On the far right, you’ll see a button 3 buttons, click on the “add to tribes button.” This will bring up all the tribes that you are a member of.

adding your pins to the tribes

A box will popup that lists all the Tribes you are a member of. You’ll notice that a little red caution icon appears next to the Tribes that your pin has already been added to. You never want to add duplicate pins to any Tribe. Once you’ve added the pin to the tribe you’ll notice that Tailwind will inform you that the pin has been added successfully.

added to tribes

You can add as many pins as you want to, as long as you’ve met the sharing ratio guidelines. Most tribes have a certain limit of pins you can share on a daily basis. They set a limit so you won’t flood their members with a bunch of new pins. If there’s a limit, you can always keep sharing on a daily basis, until you submit all your pins.

Adding Your Pins to the Tribes from Pinterest

You may want to add your pins to the Tribes from inside of your Pinterest account. It’s really easy to do, just follow along. Log into your Pinterest account and find the pin your want to add.

Click on the schedule button, instead of clicking on the red save button.

Tailwind scheduler

Once you do that you’ll be taken to the Tailwind scheduler. On this screen, you can add the pin to any of the Tribes.

Click on “add to tribes” and find the tribe you want to submit your pin to.

add to tribes

This will add your pins to the Tribes board. You can also use this method if you want to add pins directly from your blog to the tribes. If you want people to share your pins on Pinterest, you may want to read which social sharing plugin makes it easy to get more shares.

How to Find Your Pins In Your Dashboard

I personally found it a little confusing at first to find my pins inside the Tribe dashboard. It’s NOT hard and once you get a quick tour of where to find your pins, you’ll be a Pinterest Tribe champion.

When you’re inside of your Tribe dashboard, you’ll see these tabs.

tribe dashboard

Let’s run through all these tabs so you’ll have a better understanding of what each one means.

  1. All: These are all the pins inside of the tribe. In this tab, you’ll find all the pins of every member in the Tribe.
  2. New: These are the new pins that have been added recently.
  3. Yours: These are your pins that you’ve added and people are sharing.
  4. Shared: In this tab, you’ll see all the pins that you’ve shared from that tribe.
  5. Skipped: This tab contains pins that you’ve skipped. For instance, if you are constantly seeing pins that you know you’ll never share because the pins won’t fit on any of your boards, you can stick those pins in the skipped tab.

The Tribe Members

You’ll also be able to see all the Tribe members inside of the dashboard. Pinterest will also give you some stats about your pins.

tribe members

Let me run through what each of these mean so you have a better understanding of it.

  1. Re-shares: This is the number of times that your tribe mates have shared your pins. If you’re not getting any shares, it may be because your pins are not high quality.
  2. Re-pins: These numbers indicate how many people are re-sharing your content.
  3. Reach: This number represents the number of potential impressions from all the re-shares.

If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of what these tabs mean, read this.

It’s important to create awesome looking images people want to share. Learn how to create captivating images for Pinterest.

Why Are My Pins Showing Up As Drafts

When you add pins to your Tailwind Tribes and aren’t scheduling on one of your own boards, you may notice that your pin will show up as a draft. I had this happen to some of my pins and freaked out. People were still sharing the pins, but they said draft.

The easiest thing to do to remove the draft label is to head on over to your drafts inside of Tailwind and delete the draft that was created. Tailwind automatically creates a draft of your pins, if you don’t add them to any of your boards when adding them to tribes.

Leaving Tribes

The main purpose of joining tribes is for the traffic benefit. We want other people to share our pins because we are sharing their pins. It’s kind of like you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back.

However, if you’re not getting enough shares or don’t feel like the Tribe is worth your time, you may want to consider leaving. When I first got started with Tailwind Tribes, I was scared to join a Tribe. I thought what if I join and I decide that I don’t want to stay.

I finally figured out how to do it and the best part is that it’s extremely easy to do. So don’t be afraid to join tribes to see if they will work out. If they don’t you can always leave.

Let me walk you through the process, don’t feel like you have to stay in a Tribe if it’s not meeting your standards. It’s extremely easy to leave and you won’t feel bad.

Log into Tailwind and head on over to the tribe that you want to leave. Scroll down to all the members section of the group.

Find your personal member info.
leave tribe

Once you find yourself on the members dashboard, place your cursor on it. You will see two options, chat and leave the tribe. Click leave tribe.

You’ll see a toolbox that pops up and asks you if you are sure you want to leave the tribe. You’ll also be notified that any content you’ve added to the tribe will be removed.

Click on the leave tribe button once you’re positive you want to leave. Now you’re no longer a member of that tribe.

Final Take Away

I suggest setting aside some time this weekend to get started with Tailwind. Join some of the Tailwind Tribes from above or find some other ones online.

Start sharing other people’s content and don’t forget to add your own content into the tribes so they’ll share your pins. Start learning as much as you can about Tailwind to get the best bang for your buck.

Once you start making use of Tailwind and the tribes, you’ll realize how much free time you have for other productive tasks like guest posting on Candis’s blog to help you grow your blog.

A Word of Warning

You’re going to realize that after a couple months your Pinterest traffic is going to start growing. You might even be tempted to ditch all your other traffic generating methods.

However, you never want to put all your eggs in one basket. While Pinterest is fun and can definitely be a huge game-changer it’s important to find other traffic methods as well.

Susan Velez is helping people start, grow and monetize their passions through blogging. She loves helping people with the techie side of blogging sign up for her FREE 7 day WordPress Course at susanvelez.com

How To Make an Online Quiz To Grow Your Email List

How To Make an Online Quiz To Grow Your Email List

I've been seeing quizzes everywhere! Here's how to create an online quiz to grow your email list (step-by-step with examples). Pin for later or click through to read the full article right now.You’ve seen them, you’ve taken them, you’ve loved them and loathed them.

It’s that BuzzFeed style quiz that has taken over your Facebook newsfeed and promises to tell you what kind of Disney Princess you are if you’ll just answer a few short questions about your coffee preferences.

They reel you in with the carrot of revealing something about your personality or intelligence, and before you know it you’ve not only taken the quiz in its entirety but are also now sharing your results on social media.

It’s viral marketing at it’s best, and companies, entrepreneurs, and bloggers are using this strategy to grow their email lists like crazy.

Take the one I created to see how it works: “What Type of Mom Blogger Are You, Actually?”

This article on Forbes explains why online quizzes are so effective:

“If you want a lot of people to share something online, there has to be something personal, interesting, or fun about it… Most people love reading and hearing about themselves.

 

A quiz can offer that same satisfaction of speaking to something about who the reader is, but it does it in a way that offers instant gratification. A person on Facebook can do a 10-question quiz and see a result within a couple of minutes. At that point, they’re excited and it’s easy to coax them into sharing the link to see what kinds of results their friends get.”

You’ve heard you need to build your email list with freebies and checklists and resource files. And those can work great!

But if you’re looking to try something a bit more fun and “out-of-the-box” that will both delight your audience and grow your email list at the same time, then I think you’re going to love creating an online quiz for your blog.

I created my first quiz last month and it was so much fun! Well, not fun like having crazy dance parties with your kids, but wayyy more fun than creating ebooks.

Want To Create Your Own Quiz Right Now?

You can begin creating your quizzes immediately with an online quiz creator like Interact (this is the one I used). They have a fantastic tutorial and a bunch of examples and tips to help you create an awesome quiz.

How To Create an Online Quiz that Grows Your Blog Email Subscribers

When I first heard about using online quizzes as a marketing strategy and list building tactic I was intrigued and excited to try it but, having a bazillion things on my blogging to-do list already, filed it away on my “someday” list of things to try.

Then I came across this super-easy online quiz builder so I had to give it a go. All in all, it took me a few hours to brainstorm, create and publish my quiz. Here’s how I did it:

Step #1: Create Quiz Title, Questions & Answers

When you’re thinking about what type of online quiz to create, try to keep these three things in mind:

1. It should be enticing and fun for your ideal readers

Make sure you create a “clickable” title and cover image that piques your ideal reader’s interest and makes them want to click. Here’s a screenshot of my quiz, and the simple addition of the word “actually” to make it pop a bit more.

If you miss the mark on the title then your quiz is DOA (as is also the case with your blog post titles!), so spend time brainstorming and coming up with one that’s great.

2. It should give your readers a sense of what your blog is about and why they should care

The questions and answers inside your quiz are the heart of the quiz. They should be related to your blog topic and also lead the reader to take the ideal next step (sign up to your email list).

The Interact quiz builder I used makes it really easy to set up questions and answers. Their quiz builder guides you through adding questions and multiple choice answers. You can also add pictures to spice things up (they have a bunch you can choose from for free).

3. It should get them to sign up to your email list

At this point, you’ve had fun creating a quiz that will delight your readers, but don’t forget about your ultimate objective of getting email subscribers! You can set it up so that people will have to give you their email address in order to see their results.

Pro Tip: Add a “freebie” offer at the end of the quiz to increase conversions. When I did this, it increased my email sign ups dramatically! The first week I promoted the quiz I got 36 new subscribers, which I was happy with. But after adding the freebie incentive, my promotion efforts after the second week increased 72%!

The quiz builder integrates with most major email service providers (like MailChimp, ConvertKit, Aweber and many more), so connecting this with your email list is a breeze.

Step #2: Create Results

This is the part I was most skeptical about because a lot of the quizzes I’ve taken online seem to have such random answers. Like the one I recently took on BuzzFeed titled, “Build A Starbucks Frappuccino And We’ll Tell You How Many Kids You’ll Have”… it said I had one. Ummmm, not even close.

And even though I’d set up my questions and answers with specific results in mind, I was curious as to how the quiz builder would make it all work. Thankfully, it was really easy! They have a little tool that lets you easily correlate the answers with your desired result.

Step #3: Publish & Promote!

As I mentioned above, the entire setup – from brainstorming to creating all of the content – took me a few hours to complete. But I wasn’t done yet! Just like writing blog posts or any other type of content, you need to promote it to get the word out and readers in.

The quiz builder I used has a “viral” share feature built in so people are automatically prompted to share their results once they’ve completed the quiz. This was a HUGE help! But to get the ball rolling, I also:

  • Posted in Facebook blogging groups on promo days
  • Created a Pin image and pinned to relevant group boards on Pinterest
  • Emailed my list (Note: Even though these readers are already on my list, thanks to the “viral” aspect of the quiz, if they share their results on social media then that means more free traffic to my quiz!)

Here are a few things I plan to try going forward:

  • Facebook ads
  • Add a link to the quiz in my main menu
  • Add the quiz to relevant blog posts

Important Note: Don’t forget to welcome your new email subscribers with a strategic welcome email sequence. This will help ensure that your readers not only become subscribers, but also true fans that want to hear from you again and again.

Trying to build your blog email list can sometimes feel like a chore. Somewhere between daunting downloads and overdone ebooks, we’ve lost some of the FUN in growing our blogs! If you’re feeling stuck – either from boredom or lack of results – I think you’re going to love creating an online quiz for your blog.

It’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time, and if you keep these three tips in mind (from Step #1 above) then you’ll have set the foundation for a winning quiz that both delights your audience and grows your email list like whoa 🙂

❤ If you enjoyed this post, will you please share it on social media? That 5-second gesture goes a long way to support my blog. Thank you! ❤

Free Resource Guide: 8 Steps to a Money-Making Mom Blog in Just 2 Hours a Day

Everything you need to know, and in what order, to start and grow your own money-making blog in just 2 hours a day.

How To Create a Free Designer Logo For Your Blog

How To Create a Free Designer Logo For Your Blog

Such a neat trick. She shows how to create a free logo for your blog that looks like a professional designer made it. Tons of logo designs and styles to choose from and takes literally 5 minutes :)Ever tried to DIY your blog logo? How’d that turn out?

Unless you have the happy coincidence of being a blogging babe and a graphically gifted, I’m guessing not too great. Even attempting to create a basic text-based logo can take hours of your time and still come out looking home-grown… and not in a good way.

It’s sooo easy to get sucked into the design of your blog in the beginning. Forever tweaking your layout, colors, fonts and yes, your logo.

But when you’re just starting out, there are WAY MORE IMPORTANT things that you need to be spending your time on.

Things like creating awesome content, getting traffic, growing your email list and creating a profit plan for your blog. And tweaking your blog logo a gazillion times doesn’t contribute one bit to any of those important things you should be focusing on to grow your blog.

Some marketers will even tell you that ugly websites perform better than fancy ones.

The key here is not that “ugly” or “pretty” is better, but that you don’t have to dump a bunch of money into your logo or branding in order to have a successful blog. Especially in the beginning, it’s important to set a strong foundation and spend your time on tasks that will directly contribute to the growth of your blog.

That said, you don’t want your logo looking like a hot mess that your Kindergartner put together in his free time. A homemade logo that looks homemade can lead to a decrease in credibility in the eyes of your readers.

So if you could get a professionally designed logo for your blog in about 5 minutes – for FREE – would you want it? Stick with me, it’s coming 🙂

But first, let me just tell you that you’re not alone if you’ve already dumped a bunch of time and effort into your blog logo. I’m embarrassed at how much time I spent in the early days of this blog tweaking my logo. And completely changing it 100%. And then tweaking it again.

Here are a few of my early concepts (2 of which were actually on the blog for a time):

Attempt #1:

Attempt #2:

Attemp #I-lost-count:

The current logo I have isn’t perfect, but I’M NOT TOUCHING IT for a good long time! I’ve already wasted way too much time, and the thing that pains me the most is that I SO didn’t have to.

There’s a much faster, easier and smarter way to getting a designer logo for free. If you’re graphically challenged (or just a perfectionist who spends waayyyy too much time on your blog logo design), then this video is for you.

In it, I show you how to create your own free designer logo for your blog… fast.

Here’s a quick recap of what’s in the video in case you didn’t watch:

1. Log in to Canva.com (it’s free and takes seconds to sign up if you don’t already have an account)Click

2. Click on “More” (looks like a plus sign inside a square)

3. Click on one of the templates that best resembles the basic shape/orientation you want your logo to be (ignore the pictures and graphics on them… you’ll customize this in the next step). This will open a blank canvas in the shape/template you chose.

4. Once you have your blank canvas open, click on the T-Text tab in the left sidebar. Then scroll down and choose the designer logo template you like.

5. Now just customize it with your blog name and colors. Aaaand, done!

The logo templates are pre-designed by real designers who actually know what they’re doing, so you know it’s going to look legit when you place it on your blog. Of course, design is subjective, but pretty much everyone can spot a DIY logo that was done by a not-graphic-designer.

So save yourself the time and trouble, create a fast, free designer logo for your blog and call it a day!

Then move on to the truly important tasks when it comes to growing your blog, like you know, getting traffic, growing and nurturing your email list, and making money.

❤ If you enjoyed this post, will you please share it on social media? That 5-second gesture goes a long way to support my blog. Thank you! 😚

Free Resource Guide: 8 Steps to a Money-Making Mom Blog in Just 2 Hours a Day

Everything you need to know, and in what order, to start and grow your own money-making blog in just 2 hours a day.