A Tiny HGTV Problem (Shh! It’s a secret!)
January 20, 2016
Confession: I am obsessed with HGTV. My favorite show at the moment is Fixer Upper. I kinda want to move to Waco, Texas and stalk Chip & Joanna Gaines until they become best friends with me & my husband. Weird? I think not! (Ok, ok, I know it’s totally weird!). Anyway, I also love Property Brothers, Love It or List It, House Hunters, Flip or Flop, etc. If you watch HGTV, you know the drill.
But, I have a tiny HGTV problem. You know what it is? Continue Reading
Should I Use StumbleUpon to Build Blog Traffic?
January 14, 2016
I recently purchased a book written by another blogger about how she grew her traffic tremendously in less than 9 months. I don’t want to throw this blogger under the bus, as I think her intentions were great and overall I feel like I got some value from her book. One of the strategies she suggested was to share your blog content on StumbleUpon. So, I took her advice, and here’s what happened.
10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging
January 12, 2016
I have always loved to write. If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you a story about how I wrote my own magazine at the age of 6. When I decided to start a blog, I was pumped. An online outlet where I could share my thoughts, feelings, ideas, and advice with the world? Sign me up! I thought blogging would come naturally. I didn’t realize there’s an entire behind the scenes business of blogging world. It wasn’t until my readership really gained traction that I started thinking about monetizing my blog. When I began researching ways to earn an income from blogging, I realized just how behind I was. Why didn’t anyone tell me this when I started my blog?! If you’re just starting out, or you’re a few years into blogging like me, I hope this list will help you focus your efforts into something readable and profitable.
1. Never Use an Image from Google
Or any other source that you don’t have explicit permission to use. I understand the temptation. You want the perfect photo to represent your blog post. But heed this advice and learn from other bloggers who have paid dearly for this misstep. There are a lot of places to get royalty free, creative commons images. I like Pixabay. Or you can pay for images on Canva for $1 a piece. Canva also lets you edit images and add text, similar to Picmonkey, which is mostly free, too (but a bargain at less than $5/month!)
2. Brand Yourself
Creating a strong identity for your blog is very important. Decide if you will be part of your blog’s brand. Either way, you need to brand your blog and anything associated with it. A reader should be able to see an image from your blog and know immediately that the content came from you. I designed my new logo on Picmonkey for free, and I’m still working on making my images consistent. However, I finally invested in Canva so I’m pretty proud of taking that step.
3. Have a List of Topics Handy
I love, love, love to write. When I started this blog, I never imagined a day where I would be stumped over an article. But those days happen. Often. If you’re feeling inspired one day, jot down all your ideas for future posts. Pull up the list whenever you lack fresh ideas. You’ll be glad you did!
4. Come Up with a Plan (and Goals)
One of my biggest blogging problems is that my blog lacks direction. I just dove into blogging. I never thought of what the future of my blog would look like, or where I wanted my blog to take me. I’m having to look into those questions now. I have the Inspired Bloggers University Blog Success Planner, now. It definitely got me thinking about my blog’s purpose and direction. I highly recommend it.
5. Pace Yourself
There are some days where I just want to write, write, write. I can churn out 5-8 posts in less than 24 hours and I want to hit publish on all of them. But, it’s best that you plan and pace your content on a regular basis. So, if you write a bunch of new posts, schedule them for the future…1x a week or as often as you feel comfortable posting regularly. You want your readers to be able to expect new content from you on a consistent basis.
6. Ditch the Get Rich Quick Idea
Are there some bloggers who go viral on their first post? Yes. Is that the norm? No. Most successful bloggers who are earning a viable income from their blog have put in years of work before they see true profits. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Have an Opinion
I’ve written some really controversial parenting posts. There have been times when I’ve wondered if my opinion was really worth sharing, or if I should take a hot topic post down. Don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be afraid to have a voice. Don’t be afraid to respond to mean comments. I’ve found you’ll have more support than opposition, and there’s really no point in hiding your true self from your readers.
8. Take Care of Your Tribe
Your blog readers will become some of the most important people in your life. I have friends who regularly comment on my blog posts, and I truly appreciate their support and feedback. My regular readers mean the world to me. I care about delivering quality content to their day.
9. Don’t Skimp on Research
Some posts have taken me less than an hour to write. But my most popular, most well-received posts are the ones I’ve taken days or weeks to research. Don’t sell your audience short; even if your blog is only read by 4 people, those 4 people deserve the best content you can possibly produce. Look for evidence. Find different opinions. Be objective. Dare to be great, and you’ll become the best.
10. Just Post It
I have second guessed myself so many times. I’ve finally reached the point in my life where I’ve started to just trust my instincts and be true to who I am. Don’t let negative people prevent you from being your authentic self online and in real life. Who cares what someone thinks about your blog? Unless they think your blog is great, their opinion shouldn’t matter to you. You can’t let your fear of other people’s opinions control the action you take. So, rip off the bandaid and just post your articles, already. The world is waiting for you!
If you have a blog, I’d love to read it! Share it in the comments below or email me Happy writing!
How to Win the Lottery
January 11, 2016
The Powerball jackpot is up to $1.3 billion. Nearly everyone I know is talking about what they would do if they won the lottery. It’s fun to dream about what you’d do with that large chunk of change (even if the lump sum is only a few hundred million after taxes).
If I won the lottery, there’s a few things I’d do. First, I’d pay off all our student loans. Then, I’d buy a house in a good school district with taxes I could afford if somehow my magic lottery money disappeared. I’d put 90% of the remaining money in a trust for my children. And I’d keep working, building my business, and writing books.
Ok, maybe I’d go out for a few nice meals and go on a few nice vacations over the course of my lifetime. But, in reality? I never want my children and my grandchildren to know what it’s like to be poor. I’m already struggling to create a scenario where my kids don’t remember being poor.
Luckily, I know how to win the lottery. So, my future is looking pretty bright.
In order to win the lottery, you have to play the lottery. Start by investing in the lottery. Buy a lottery ticket. Better yet, buy your lottery ticket in advance. Don’t wait till the last minute. That’s stressful and it doesn’t improve your odds.
Next, Be Patient
Once you’ve bought your ticket, you have to wait for the winning numbers. It takes time. And time is something you just can’t speed up. So, be patient.
Create a Plan
Know what your goals are. Create a plan to achieve those goals. Work towards those goals, whether you’ve won the lottery or not.
Apply these principles to your children, and you’ve already won the lottery. Invest your time, your heart, and your soul into raising your littles. Be patient with them. Get down on the ground and play their games. Teach them new words and new ideas. Plan for their success. Plan for how you’ll reach their success. Plan to be a parent, and even if you don’t win at everything, you’ll be cashing in on a jackpot better than millions of dollars. You’ll be cashing in on life.
I know how to win the lottery, because it’s more than a cash prize: it’s roadmap to happiness, one smile at a time.
2 Ingredient Healthy Pancakes for Babies (And Adults, too!)
January 8, 2016
Pancakes are one of my favorite comfort foods. Who can say no to a pancake with butter and syrup? I can. Because I have a new favorite, healthy pancake. It requires just 2 ingredients, and you can let your babies and toddlers have it guilt free.
What are these 2 magical ingredients? A banana and an egg. Really. That’s it. Those two items make a delicious healthy pancake. You might never want a regular pancake again.
Simply mash up a banana, beat an egg, whisk the two together, and pour into a hot pan. Flip like a pancake and serve like a pancake. I cut mine up into bite size pieces for my 10 month old. She loves these “banana pancakes”.
If I’m making these for myself, I add some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. It kicks the flavor up a notch. Another tip is to cook the banana pancakes in coconut oil.
I’ll never forget the first time I tried this recipe. I didn’t believe it would make a pancake. I was like “eggs and banana? ew!” But it actually was really tasty and I ended up making these pancakes for myself, even when my littles weren’t hungry.
Since bananas are full of vitamins and eggs have lots of protein, this is actually a super healthy breakfast option. I mean, you could eat a hard boiled egg and a banana, but that’s boring. This is a much better breakfast.
Aside from spices, you can add things like slivered almonds or crushed walnuts. You can put butter on top and add syrup if you feel like fattening it up. Or you can go with agave syrup and keep your carbs & sugars on track.
No matter how you choose to eat it, these healthy pancakes are sure to be a hit. Did I mention they’re also BUDGET FRIENDLY? Yeah! Bananas and eggs are super cheap.
Try out the recipe and let me know how it goes I’m going to go make a banana pancake for my daughter now. Happy reading!