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I’ve gotten quite a few questions from the blogger community about my blog. How did you design it? How do you market it? How does this replace your full-time income?
Blogging as a whole is definitely not simple, nor is it easy, and anyone who tells you that it is is a liar. There’s a lot going on in the background behind the blog posts and pictures, and most bloggers don’t realize this until they get their feet wet. There is a terrible amount of multi-tasking to be done, and unless you figure out how to divide and conquer your to-do list, you can drown in it.
With that said, I’ve found a few tools that have made my blogging life much less hectic and much more streamlined. I am no web design expert nor am I a marketing extraordinaire, but these tools have helped me get my blog out there and into the laps of my audience.
Now, can you blog without investing into these things? Short answer: yes, you can. But you’ll probably be doing things incorrectly or inefficiently for months or even years on end. I was never a believer to invest extraneous amounts into creative fields because I thought that you should learn hands-on through experience. But with blogging, there are so many resources out there that will help you expedite the process instead of blindly walking in the dark and wasting both time and money.
RELATED POST – 8 HUGE MISTAKES I MADE DURING MY FIRST YEAR OF BLOGGING
There isn’t anything wrong with frugality (duh, who’s blog are you reading right now?). But if you’re trying to make blogging your full-time job, you should consider taking it seriously and invest in it the way you would a business. Your blog is your business. Blogging takes time, dedication, and resourcefulness to grow, so if you have all of the above, then great! Keep reading for the best tools you’ll need to refine your blog and get your message out there.
#1: A Step-By-Step Guide to Start Blogging: THE BLOGGER BLUEPRINT
A special freebie for my readers: If you need a step-by-step guide on getting started with your blog, download your FREE copy of THE BLOGGER BLUEPRINT. My e-book will help you create your own blog, publish amazing blog posts that generate tons of traffic and build your audience across several social media platforms.
#2: A Course that Covers All the Blogging Bases From A-Z: The Blogger Bible
Using the strategies in The Blogger Bible, I was able to grow my Instagram audience to over 10,000 followers in less than 4 months and expand my Pinterest reach to over 900,000 people in 4 months as well! Not only was I able to grow my audience across several social media platforms in a matter of months, but I took out the guesswork for new bloggers too. In The Blogger Bible, you will also learn how to:
- Build a gorgeous blog from the ground-up
- Develop a branded aesthetic that carries on throughout your blog and social media platforms
- Create a voice and personality that your audience will love
- Take beautiful pictures without paying a professional photographer
- Expose your blog to new eyes everyday
- Grow a targeted audience that is loyal to your brand (and therefore generate more sales!)
- Market with Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook
- Use Pinterest to build your traffic
- Monetize your blog using several different avenues
- Monetize your Instagram
- Build passive income without needing to sell a product
- Work with your dream brands and get free products and services
The Blogger Bible is definitely for you if you:
- Are a brand-new blogger and have no idea where to start
- Want to make money blogging
- Have been blogging for some time now and need guidance on how to improve, build your audience and increase your profits
- Need to increase your existing blog traffic
- Want to learn how to work with your favorite brands
- Do not understand the business, legal and tax aspects of the blogging world
- Have trouble with constructing and creating your blog
- Struggle with taking beautiful and professional photos
- Want to leverage the power of free social media marketing
- Need help with your Instagram strategy
Make sure to enroll as soon as possible, as the introductory price of $197 is scheduled to go up in late Fall 2017. I also have payment plans available to make the course affordable to everyone. Click here to enroll now.
Web Design and Monetization
People who claim not to be web designers will more than likely slap on a basic template provided by whatever blog website they first Google up and call it a day. This practice will not only waste your time but also deter people from wanting to visit your blog. Design, easy navigation and hosting are key components of creating a quality blog that people can trust, and without trust, there is no potential to earn money.
You don’t need to be a design extraordinaire to create a beautiful blog that people want to buy from. Here are my top solutions.
#3: Web Hosting: Siteground
With blogging, it’s extremely important to find a reliable host for your website. Cheaper websites usually mean tons of slow loading times or low-level security, leaving the host open to things like DDoS attacks and other unwanted problems. I’ve used plenty of hosts in the past, but Siteground has always given me great quality hosting as well as affordability. Their StartUp plan starts at $3.95 a month, and their most expensive plan is a mere $11.95. Move over, Squarespace!
Siteground customer support is amazing as well – something apparently rare in the hosting business. They helped me switch my website over from my previous host with absolutely no issues!
#4: Web Design: WordPress.org
If you’re using Squarespace or WordPress.com, make the switch to WordPress.org. In fact, if you’re using anything else other than WordPress.org, make the switch.
WordPress.org is the best blogger platform out there – it makes it easier for you to rank higher in Google search results, there are thousands of plugins to fill your website up with tons of features (no plugins with .com), and the most important part – you’re self-hosted.
There have been nightmares with WordPress.com, from having templates deleted without warning to having their blog deleted altogether. Not only that, but WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to place ads on your website unless you meet certain statistics, which can be very limiting for monetizing brand-new blogs. If you connect your WordPress.org blog to Siteground, you have much more freedom and control over your website.
Sidenote: WordPress.com offers hosting directly through them, but they charge for a variety of features, making it more expensive in the long-run.
More Posts on How to Blog:
- 8 Huge Mistakes I Made During My First Year of Blogging
- The Blogger Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog
- Are You an Influencer or a Blogger?
- The Blogger Crash Course: 9 Must-Have Tools to Make Money Blogging
- Blogger Tax Deductions and Tips That Can Prevent a Huge Tax Bill (And An Audit)
Building Your Subscriber List
Most bloggers will tell you that the money is in the list – and they’re right. Although many bloggers profit from social media platforms like Instagram, social media can be very limiting. The key to guaranteeing “return customers” is having your readers subscribe to your newsletter. By doing this, you have the ability to directly communicate with your readers and send them your latest blog posts, rather than hoping that they’ll log back onto your website and catch up on reading whenever they feel like it. It also assures that they don’t forget about you.
Here are a few of my favorite services and apps that help me build my subscriber list.
#5: Converting Visitors into Subscribers: SumoMe
SumoMe is one of my favorite WordPress.org plugins. This app features several tools for you capture emails, from pop-ups to landing pages. SumoMe recently added a bunch of paid features to their impressive free tools, which is why they are #1 on my list.
#6: Email Service: MailerLite
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds between free yet efficient, then choose MailerLite. MailerLite is free up to 1,000 subscribers and even offers extremely reasonable pricing, starting at $10/month for 1,001-2,500 subscribers.
Mailerlite focuses more on text-based emails, meaning that even though your emails may not be as beautiful as Mailchimp’s, it will more than likely land in the inbox of a Gmail reader rather than in the Promotions tab.
MailerLite is much better than Mailchimp at dividing your subscribers into different groups and segments, which can be extremely useful if you’re blogging about different niches. For example, if someone subscribed to you to get notifications about food but they don’t care much about fashion, they would probably get annoyed and unsubscribe if you constantly send them emails about your outfits.
MailerLite features a variety of tools to capture leads, from landing pages to creating email automations for a welcome series. If you’re looking for a powerful and free software, then start here.
#7: Engaging Your Audience With Freebies: Interact
Another wonderful way to entice readers to subscribe to your newsletter is providing them with an engaging way to learn more about what it is that you write about. I’m currently creating a quiz using Interact in my beauty section for my beauty audience to learn more about their skin type, and because I am an esthetician I am able to provide valuable information from an educated perspective. This alone is valuable enough for readers to take a free quiz. At the end of the quiz, they must subscribe to my newsletter to get their results – there you go, a subscriber! After they subscribe, they are given a full analysis of their results as well as a recommended regimen chock-full of products for them to buy (and thus, another opportunity to earn affiliate commission).
Interact also gives you the opportunity to conduct giveaways on your blog in exchange for the visitor to subscribe to your newsletter. This is a great way to gain a committed audience rather than through an Instagram giveaway where a person can quickly unfollow you after the contest is over.
Interact starts at $29 a month, and I wouldn’t recommend prioritizing a quiz generator off the bat, but if you have the money to do it from the get-go, it’ll definitely help with capturing email leads.
Getting Exposure: How to Market
One of the most lucrative and genius platforms that generates revenue through blogging is Pinterest. With Pinterest, users can click pretty pins and pictures that direct straight to your blog post – or even better, directly to your affiliate link!
Unlike Instagram, once something is posted on Pinterest it can continuously be re-pinned and therefore have the potential to go viral. With Instagram, you only have one link in your bio section, and once a picture is posted, it gets buried in your feed. As time passes on Pinterest, you just need to re-pin an old pin to revive its life and gain momentum again. Hello, residual income!
Pinterest marketing can be easy, but if you aren’t getting the proper exposure it can definitely flop. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing has a pretty sizeable bonus module on marketing with Pinterest, so if you need a crash course, you’ve got it right there.
One of the biggest strategies of Pinterest is to constantly pin and never stop – whether its content relevant to your blog or your own. Constant pins maximize your chances of your pins being seen by more users, so it’s important to pin as much as you can. At the minimum, I recommend one pin every hour – yes, that means 24 hours a day. And you shouldn’t pin 24 pins in a single hour and leave it at that. Your account must be active at all times!
But how do you pin nonstop all hours of the day? I have tried this and realized how inconvenient and time-consuming it is (literally, I was glued to Pinterest all day and had no time for anything else). Luckily, there are automation tools meant just for this! Below are my favorite ones.
#8: Scheduling Pins With Ease- Tailwind
Tailwind is my go-to when it comes to filling up my Pinterest queue with relevant pins that are not mine. Naturally, if you pin only your own content, you’ll wind up pinning the same pins over and over. Not having a variety of pins to pick from may deter people from following you as it will look like spam.
With Tailwind, you can add other people’s pins to your queue directly through Pinterest (no third-party apps here, yay for ease!) and schedule them to go off at the times you want. Set up a schedule first, and then fill up the queue. It’s that simple!
Tailwind is only $10 a month, and $10 well-spent. My blog continues to get visibility on the Pinterest platform and increases daily.
#9: Set-it-and-Forget-it Pinning: BoardBooster
BoardBooster is another program that is used for Pinterest, but I use this primarily for the pins from my own blog. BoardBooster’s looping features allows for me to pin my own content towards designated boards, and after a few days it will go back and delete the underperforming copies of that pin so that your board isn’t spammed with the same pin over and over.
BoardBooster also features a similar looping tool for group boards called “campaigns,” where it re-pins your pins to group boards that you are a member of. One of the most important aspects of Pinterest marketing is being a member of group boards – the more, the better. In a group board, members can share their pins in exchange for sharing other people’s pins on the board. This is a community effort that helps to circulate pins and gain exposure from other member’s audiences. I am a member of over 40 group boards, from fashion to DIY and budget recipes. This allows for me to have tons of options and chances to get my pins seen by hundreds of different audiences.
More Posts on How to Blog:
- What is the CCPA and How Will It Affect Your Online Income?
- 8 Huge Mistakes I Made During My First Year of Blogging
- Are You an Influencer or a Blogger?
- 5 Tips on Getting a Business License For Your Blog
- 2019 Income Report: Tough Lessons I Learned During My 3rd Year of Being Self-Employed
Blogging is a lucrative business, and the money-making concept is simple. Sure, anyone can write, but the real trouble here is running a successful blog and marketing it. Are you going to work smarter and get to where you want to be quicker, or are you going to waste time and money by growing at a slower pace?
Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of THE BLOGGER BLUEPRINT!
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