Blogging

Brand New Blogger List Building Tips

When you first join the blogging world it can be really exciting. You have so many ideas and dreams for your blog. Your thoughts are completely consumed with amazing blog topics and you feel like you're a walking content machine.

While you're submersed in blog posts, you may be forgetting something SUPER important. Your list. So many new bloggers put this off until they feel like they're more established and I'm here to tell you that that's a huge mistake!

Brand New Blogger List Building Tips

List building gets pushed to the side much too often because brand new bloggers may not be aware that email marketing isn't just for selling. So, when you're just starting out, it can be pretty intimidating to enter this field. But, let me tell you, this thought process could be doing your blog a lot of damage.

So, before you sign up for your ESP (email service provider) let's talk about 4 things you need to be amazingly clear on first.

  • Know exactly who you are serving
  • Know their pains and struggles
  • Feel confident in your solution(s)
  • Adjust as you go (blogger growing pains)

Know exactly who you are serving. As you've been traveling along on your blog journey, you may have heard this phrase (or variations of it) quite a bit. You know it's important, but you may not feel like you have this down yet. On a scale from 1-10, how well do you feel you know your ideal client? Write that number down.

let's do a fun little exercise.

I want you to seriously get a notebook out or bring up your notebook app. on your phone and answer these questions. Close your eyes and write down everything you feel and know about this person you serve. Pretend you're sitting at a park bench with your ideal reader/client/customer and answer the following questions:

  • Male or female?
  • How old?
  • Pets?
  • Family?
  • What does he/she do for a living?
  • Are they happy?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What excites them in the morning?
  • What are their goals?
  • What kinds of questions do they ask you?
  • What could you two talk about for hours?

After you've written down your answers to each of these questions (extra credit if you can elaborate and add extra details!) I want you to rate yourself again, from 1-10.

Did your number increase or decrease? Take a step back and ask yourself why? Were you overly confident and your answers didn't come easy to you? Or did you surprise yourself?

Know their pains and struggles. We touched a bit on this topic when you went through the exercise above (what keeps them up at night). Now, I want you to dig even deeper. Think about their biggest pain. What keeps them up at night and what kind of answers are they looking for. I want you to write down their biggest pain. Then ask yourself , "why?" 5 times! This process will get you so crystal clear on their problems you will be amazed! So, here's an example: 

Clients biggest pain: She wants to lose 20 pounds.

WHY? Because she gained a lot of baby weight.

WHY? Because she ate too much ice cream when she was pregnant.

WHY? Because she had huge cravings!

WHY? Because she wasn't eating the right/healthier foods.

WHY? Because she had no guidance when it came to diet during pregnancy.

Wow, do you see how I narrowed that down? Originally you thought you knew your clients biggest problem, lose 20 pounds. But, how generic is that? Pretty much everybody wants to lose 20 pounds, so that doesn't help you create your own market, much less show people that you are the expert. You can't be the expert in helping everyone lose 20 pounds. That's too generic and way too broad. What you can do, is specialize in helping women stay at a healthy weight during pregnancy by providing guidance, education, etc.

Feel confident in your solution(s). Now, let's talk about your solution. You identified with your client's biggest pain, now think about how you can help them. If your client came to you and asked you to help them with their 5th WHY, would you be able to? Think about what kinds of solutions you would have for this problem, topics you could cover, programs you could offer, etc. What kind of transformation are they looking for? Asking yourself the WHY's and brainstorming each of them is an excellent way to create content your readers and clients will adore!

Adjust as you go (blogger growing pains).  If you do your job well, your blog will grow and evolve. You may find that a different group of customers/readers are totally into your blog while the original group you had set it up for went to a different party! And you know what? That's totally ok! The important thing is that you are always in the right mindset to serve and help others and accept the people who show up at your blog door because they're the ones who feel a connection with you and need your help.

When you have all four of these things down, you can then start focusing on building and nurturing your list. Content will come so much easier to you now!

How to Be the Most Organized Blogger Ever

Don't you hate it when you have nothing planned ahead? It makes me so nervous. The very last thing I want to be doing is staying up too late (past ten for me) or working during my non-work hours on something I really could and should have done a long time ago.

I work best when I'm strict with myself and when I create a system that I can stick to. I've shared this template before, but I want to share it again because it keeps me on track and it helped me plan months ahead for my maternity leave. 

This template helps you go from the ideas in your head to putting down the final blog post link. It also has the reminders that I need to have in order to officially complete a post. So, yours might be a bit different, but you'll get the gist!

I love creating templates like this on Google Sheets because not only can I work on it on my desktop computer, but I can also access it from my phone too, which is super handy!

So go ahead and grab all of your blog post ideas that you have written everywhere, download the template, and make it your own! You will be the most organized blogger ever!

How to Stop Doing Things that Aren't Working

It is so easy to convince yourself to try this and to try that when it comes to new and bright ideas for your online business. We are all so desperately trying to make something stick that we suddenly realize we have about 4,000 irons in the fire.

Now you can go and learn this lesson the hard way (have everything come crashing down on you) or you listen to me and take a look at what you have going on in your business life. 

When I first started my coaching business I was FULL of ideas. I was constantly listening to podcasts, writing down everything that came to my mind. I was so anxious to get out there and stand out I was willing to try a little bit of everything until "my time" came. I was involved in WAY TOO MANY PROJECTS. 

And the worst part of all was I was the creator of them all. So, I felt like I had to keep them going otherwise I'd look like a quitter. 

Are you nodding your head? Do have a feeling in your gut that you're tackling too much?

One of the first things I started to look at when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed was money. I wrote down all of "irons" I had in the fire and then I wrote down if they were passion projects, money makers, time suckers, making me money or costing me money (you get the picture). 

I noticed there were a few things on my list that I spent way too much time on AND that were costing me money. No brainer huh? It took me a little time, but I finally made the decision that I was going to step away from those time and money suckers. These projects didn't relate to my main purpose and goal and the more I thought about it I was totally OK with letting them go. 

I'm a pretty spontaneous person, but I did take my time closing the curtains on the projects I could no longer devote to. I mean I spent a lot of time on these things and it sure wasn't easy to let them go!

One thing you have to remember when you decide not to do something any longer is..sadly...not many people will even notice. And the few that do will just shrug their shoulders and think, "hmm, she must be focusing more on ___." It's really not as big of a deal as you may make it out to be. 

So, what are the projects that you're devoting all of your time and money on that don't bring in any money?

I'm not all about the money here. Don't get the wrong idea. But it's a big priority! However, another really important (actually the most important) thing to me is TIME! I have a full time job, three kids, a husband, and a home to take care of. I literally CANNOT spend all my time doing things that have no promise. 

Once I got that through to myself and scraped some things off my plate I felt like I lost 100 pounds. It was so much easier to schedule my work time, plan ahead, and focus. Now, when I think back to everything else I used to do for pretty much no reason, I just shake my head. I can't get mad at my past because it taught me a lesson and made me who I am today.

What you Need to Start a Blog

Starting a blog sounds so fun right? Once you finally decide to actually go ahead and start one you then realize that there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle.

The hardest part is trying to figure everything out yourself. You have so many questions like:

  • what should I blog about
  • where should i blog
  • what template should i pick
  • how will I get website traffic
  • how will I monetize
  • and about a million more...

What's really difficult about the whole process is there really isn't one way to do anything. You either have to find someone you trust to do it for you or teach you how or you have to learn it all by yourself. 

I created my first website in an advanced computer summer class 16 years ago. Yes. I was that girl.

I've created a ton of different sites on several platforms for myself since then. The domains are no longer valid and no, I didn't save any screenshots of them. #embarrassing #didtheyevenhavescreenshotsbackthen

Once I learned what the heck I was doing and found my footing I started building sites for clients and businesses (on Squarespace of course). 

And what I've learned by doing all of this work is THEY ALL START OUT THE SAME. 

A blank template with a dream. So many options and so much to think about. And that's where people get completely lost. 

All of the Squarespace templates look amazing right? Of course they do. Why? Because they all have professional photography and are created by designers. The biggest drag is when you finally select your template of choice (expecting it to look just like theirs)  and then you slap up your photos and you wonder what the heck happened? My site looks nothing like the Pacific template example! You throw up your hands and walk away.

So many people get stuck at this step. They don't even move onto something else because they aren't even aware they CAN move onto something else. They just stop. And that's just sad.

I created a checklist that I use personally and that I recommend to all of my Blog Accelerator students to help guide them through the fun and not so fun tasks of creating and launching their blogs. 

How to Get Your Act Together and Get Things Done

When you work from home, the best feeling ever is having a a clean and organized workspace where you feel like you can be creative and work as efficient as possible. It gets a little chaotic work from home though.

Random things end up on your desk. For me it's little toys, snacks, diapers, or sippy cups. When things get cluttered around me that's how my brain feels and that doesn't work to well. Especially when this is a one woman machine. And I know I'm not alone!

I created a challenge to help you GET IT TOGETHER! If you have kiddos at home, they'll be starting school again soon. And how nice would it be to just finally....have it together. 

I like to make lists and work in doable sets. I learned that tactic from my lovely grandma. So, I took that approach when I created this challenge. Each day is a new and totally doable assignment for you to get it together. 

By the time you're done with this challenge you are going to feel so amazing and proud of yourself! And it's only 5 days! I am super excited because this is not just a challenge you can and will do once. It's something you can come back to again and again when you need it. 

So, what are you waiting for? Let's get it together!

How I Prepared My Business for Maternity Leave

As I'm writing this post I am 28 weeks pregnant and it's April 19. When you finally get to read this I will have a newborn hanging out with me and I will NOT be worried about blogging, social media, or building my list. The only things I will be focused on is our new baby and my family. And I'm only allowed to do this because I prepared myself and my business. 

Having a baby is a pretty major life event. Even if you get months to prepare it seems like the last couple sneak up on you. Especially when you have other little ones running around. 

My online business is very important to me. When I found out I was having number 3 I knew right away that I didn't want to hit pause. I went into full blown planning mode for a few reasons:

  • I didn't want to have to worry about blogging for at least a month
  • I didn't want to have to worry about social media for at least a month
  • I didn't want to have to worry that my email list was collecting dust

The thought of nursing a baby and trying to figure out what to blog about just didn't mesh well. I wanted all my focus to be on this new little person (right now I don't know if it's a boy or a girl.) #drivingmycrazy

So, I thought about the next (this was at the beginning of April) 5 months and I started writing ideas on a piece of paper. I ended up with 17 different ideas.

Then I looked at each one and labeled them as to what category/theme they would fall into. Like email marking, personal development, sales, etc. 

I ended up with 5 different themes, which worked out perfectly. I like to plan my months in chunks so I knew this system was working well for me so far. 

Here's an example: for the month of May I blogged about email marketing. I had 5 different ideas/blog posts and they fell under the email marketing theme. So, May's blog schedule looked like this:

How I prepared my business for maternity leave

I did this type of planning all up to the end of August. I assigned myself to get 1 blog post done a day (more on the weekends) and I ended up finishing everything in less then two and half weeks. That's a lot of blog posts for that amount of time! 

It's the best feeling ever to see all of the scheduled posts ready to go in the backend of my site!

I also scheduled all of my Instagram posts, Pinterest pins, and Podcast images (and episodes) in this amount of time as well.

I wouldn't have been able to do all of this so seamlessly if I didn't have a template to guide me right through it all. I got a huge feeling of satisfaction every time I got to check off a new task as complete. 

You don't need some fancy project management system to get things done. All you need is all you need. Make sense?

You can use this template for anything. Being pregnant is not a pre-requisite ;) I highly suggest you take a peak and see it's something you'd use because it saved me!

10 Blogging Tips for Introverts

Blogging is the perfect pastime/profession for introverts. But in order to do it successfully there are a few things to keep in mind.

We talked a bit about how introverts can grow their business here, but today I want to give some advice to my fellow introverts who are trying to do this all alone and have no clue how to handle everything that's thrown at them. Because...we don't really like asking for help...

10 Blogging Tips for Introverts

  • Start slow.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Work ahead of yourself.
  • Follow a schedule you can handle.
  • Keep personal and business accounts separate.
  • Set your hours.
  • Make your contact system seamless.
  • Automate as much as you can.
  • Network on your level.
  • Know your audience.

Let's dig into these.

Start slow. With everything! It takes a while for us to get comfortable with a setting or a process. When you attempt to do anything new with your business it can be tempting to go full speed ahead (because you sort of think that will propel your business forward even faster). Instead of taking off with a sprint and never paying attention to anything around you because you don't want your business to fail try doing the complete opposite.

For example, let's say you want to get into Pinterest more and you sign up for BoardBooster and Tailwind in the same day with absolutely no clue what your strategy is. What happens? You get completely overwhelmed and both of these incredibly helpful tools start collecting dust and you jump onto the next thing. 

What you should do is research and write down everything you learn. Look on YouTube for tutorials or read blog posts. Soak up everything you can and write down what you took away from your learning experience. Then go back to the software and implement what you know. You're starting slow. As you keep working with something, the more questions you will have, and you will continue to improve your experience.

Plan ahead. I'm a big believer in planning. My favorite planner right now is from here. I love it because it's very basic and doesn't have a lot of random junk in it that I don't need. The minimalist approach will get me every time. Use a physical planner to help retain and record your future events and important dates. I also have a calendar marker board as well. It's duplicate information, but it helps me remember everything that our family and business have going on.

Work ahead of yourself. For your business, I recommend planning and scheduling at least a month ahead of time. Only do this if you want less stress and more time though...

Follow a schedule you can handle. It's so easy to go crazy and fall into the trap of claiming you can be super woman next month when you're planning ahead, but make sure you're being totally realistic with yourself, your business, your family, and your sanity. You can always set the "extra to-do's" aside incase you happen to have the time to do them, but don't overwhelm yourself.

Keep personal and business accounts separate. I remember when I first started I noticed that everyone I followed (bloggers) were very transparent with their family and personal life. For some reason I thought that was something you had to do and I did not feel comfortable with that. I personally, just didn't like the fact of putting my kiddos on social media/on my website or anywhere really. That's completely my choice and I think that so many people feel they have to share or tell their life story if they're a blogger when the truth is...you don't. It's your business. It's all completely up to your discretion and comfort.

Set your hours. I only get "in the zone" a few hours per day and that's between 1 and 5. Winging things gives me major anxiety and I have to have that structure to keep me happy/sane.

Make your contact system seamless. When people email you or set up an appointment with you make sure you have a seamless line of communication. I used to get so nervous when people would set up a call with me and I had no standard email to send them. Again, winging it does not work for me.

Automate as much as you can. This is huge and is a big lifesaver. Invest in the extra $10 a month in your MailChimp account for automated emails or upgrade to ConvertKit when you're ready. I promise you, you will not regret it. When someone signs up for a freebie, you no longer have to wonder and worry how and when they're going to get what they asked for. Automation just makes life easier. Take the time and look at  your systems of communication. What can you automate? Make your email system WORK for you. 

Network on your level. If reaching out to people you think are more advanced in this journey than you, then reach out to people you feel comfortable reaching out to. Just because you're at home, behind your computer does not mean you don't ever have to talk to anyone again. The beauty of it all is that it can be done via text (our favorite way of communication).

Know your audience. If you're a bit clueless in this area then of course you're going to be uncomfortable when you have to "get out there" and talk. When you post on your social media accounts, send out an email, or write copy for your site think about who your audience is, what their problem is, and how you can help them in a way no one else can. 

How to Create a Digital Vision Board

I have always loved the idea of a vision board. I really believe visual inspiration is very effective. I have one problem though. I literally have no where to put one. I've moved my office 3 times in the last six months...

This Spring we made a lot of changes to our home. Our family was growing and we were busy playing switcheroo with rooms trying to find the best spot for this kid and that kid, mom's office, and mom's other office. I finally ended up in a good spot, but there's just no room for a board. I also don't want one hanging up where my office is either. So, I had to get creative. Which means...I went to Pinterest and started pinning away!

I knew this wasn't the way I wanted to visualize my goals because, let's face it, I can't focus on Pinterest. I'm all over the place. One minute I'm looking up hairstyles and the next I'm looking up fun Summer homework for the kid. Then I thought, this was a really great starting point though. So, I just kept on pinning and it finally led to the ideal vision board! Let me show you how I did it.

This vision board is purely business goals. Since I'm going digital, I'm going to categorize my visions. So, I will create a business board, health board, and maybe a home board. That's off the top of my head right now, but you get where I'm going.

Here are the "topics" of my business vision board:

  • Office space inspiration
  • Wall decor
  • Motivational quotes
  • Vacation goals

Creative process:

  • I went and pinned around 5 different pins from each topic to a new board I created in Pinterest.
  • Then I took a screen shot of each pin and saved them to my desktop.
  • I opened up Canva and I chose to create my own design. I used custom dimensions of 800/600 (because I wanted to use this has a screen background.)
  • I drug all of my screenshots that were saved to my desktop over to my Canva photo uploads.
  • I decided against their layouts because it messed with the photos too much. So, I went ahead and grabbed some rectangle frames as most of my photos were that size anyway. 
  • Then I went ahead and started dragging pictures over and rearranging them until I was satisfied with the look.
Vision Board

And that's it! What took the longest was making my template in Canva, but I kept you in mind and I created two templates for you to use! So this will literally take you minutes!

So, now I don't have to have a bulletin board up or random pieces of paper on my wall. I can just save the image on my desktop or print it out on one page and clip it into my planner. Easy peasy.

How Introverts Can Grow Their Business

Our time has finally come fellow introverts. The time for us to shine. From the comfort of our homes. 

I love this quote I found on Pinterest. It reads, "Introverts unite! Separately. In our own homes." I can totally relate. What about you?

I didn't even know about the word introvert until I heard someone talk about it on their podcast a couple of years ago and I thought immediately to myself, that is so me!

I resonate a lot with being an introvert, but I don't like titling myself as that because I don't want to fit into just one space. Does that make me even more of an introvert? 

So, why is it our time to shine? Because we love being in our comfort zone. And for the majority of us, our comfort zone is our own home. How great is it that we can work from our comfort zone yet too? Pretty dang great. 

But, how do you grow your business if you're an introvert?

Never follow one set of rules. Take bits and pieces from different people/areas of expertise and use the ones you like and know you can handle. I like to make things my own so I'm comfortable with the process and the end result.

So, let me tell you what has worked for me.

I found it very helpful to join Facebook groups that I knew I had something in common with. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my favorite Facebook group is Melyssa Griffin's Online Business BFF's group.

I've met so many amazing women here that I've collaborated with on my podcast, guest blog posts, virtual blog summits, and jv webinars. I found it so easy to reach out in a group where I felt comfortable and I love how everyone is or has been in the same boat. 

If this would have been in real life at some kind of networking event... Yeah. None of this magic would have happened. 

This worked and continues to work for me because I was able to test the waters on my own time, reach out when I felt it was right, and know that I was going to be accepted in one way or another. 

The best way to grow your business as an introvert is to develop relationships that you feel comfortable with via your preference. So, you're not a phone person right? Me neither. That God for email and DM's!

Have you downloaded my template for tracking your Connections Catalog? It will help you keep track of all of the relationships you want to build and are building. 

I love this type of relationship building because I feel in control and in my zone. As you start building these relationships your confidence in what you do and who you are is only going to increase and who knows, maybe you'll start doing some Instagram stories or going live in your Facebook group! These are big steps for those of us that prefer to hide behind our screen!

As long as you're willing to grow in some way or another a shift will happen. As you keep taking these new and small steps your business will grow. People will start to take notice in what you do more and more because you are portraying yourself in a new light and you're exposing yourself to new audiences that never even knew you existed all from the comfort of your home office/dining room/bedroom/living room. Now how great is that!?

 

 

Are you ready to make money with your blog?

When you realized you could possibly make money with your blog, did you suddenly switch gears and start to "blog seriously?"

Do you spend so much time on your posts and infographics that you keep refreshing the page just to get a look at them?

Are you strategically planning out all of your social media posts and spending all of your spare time on Pinterest?

I have to admit that I used to do a lot of busy work because I wasn't getting paid to do anything at that moment. So, in order to validate the time that I spend on my computer I would just keep on being busy doing all. the. things. 

Are you kind of sick of all that busy work?

It's time to take it up a notch. It's time to learn from the experts. Over 20 of them. Myself included FOR FREE.

In the MoneyMaking Blog Virtual Summit, you will learn from me and 20+ experts and discover the secrets to a profitable blog.

This event is going to be so amazing because we have experts who use their blogs in different ways, so whether you want to

  • get sponsors
  • or you want to create courses,
  • or you want to launch a coaching service

I look forward to seeing you there!

Blogging on Squarespace

Blogging used to be a chore. I used to be a Wordpress girl, years back, and it seemed like such a pain just to get my words out there. I was introduced to Squarespace over a year ago and I’ve never looked back. Squarespace allows you to do what you want to do. Blog. No need for fancy plug-ins. It’s simple and easy to do . And it looks great! Let me show you!

I strongly suggest you draft your blog posts in Google Docs first. This way it auto saves for you, it’s easily accessible from all of your devices, and, for me, it allows me to think more clearly as I write without having to worry about anything else at the time. This isn’t a must, but I think it will help you just as much as it does me. So, let's get to work.

But first, get your blog checklist here >>>

If you're short on time and just want to see how I do it, watch my 3 minute video on how I create a blog post.


  • Log in to your Squarespace account
  • Click on Pages
  • Do you have a blog page already created?
  • Yes? → Click on BLOG and then the + sign in the upper right corner 
Blogging on Squarespace
  • No? → You will need to add a BLOG page to your navigation. Click on the + in the upper right corner and then BLOG then Click on BLOG and then the + sign in the upper right corner 
  • Now, it’s time to enter in your post title. This should be something catchy and something that people are looking for. You don’t want to title it, “What a great day I had.” Because...no one probably cares too much. If you’re blogging to make a living, then you need to be strategic about what you are blogging about and what you’re using as your title.

*side tips--use the Google Keyword Planner or Pinterest to give you ideas on what you should blog about.

*think about what your readers would love to read. What would help them? Write about something they will find helpful. Something so great, they’ll pin it and maybe even print it! So for example, your blog post may be titled, “The Ultimate Wedding To-Do List.”

Blogging On Squarespace
  • After you put in the title, highlight and copy it.
  • Go over to the OPTIONS tab.
  • Paste the title in your blog post URL.
  • If you have a thumbnail image created (the image that would post when shared on social media) You can go ahead and add that as well. Sometimes I leave this to the end. Either way is fine.
  • Source anything that needs to be sourced in the Source URL.
  • You can also create an excerpt to be used if you want to display your blog posts on the blog list page.
  • Featured Post can be click on  if you choose to highlight or flag in elsewhere on your website such as on the gallery feature.
  • The OPTIONS screen is complete 
  • Click on over to the Location tab. If you have a brick and mortar business or a location you would like to tag, you can do so here.
  • Slide on over to Social. This is assuming all of your social media accounts are integrated (super easy to do). All you have to do is click on the social media account that you would like your post to automatically post to once it is published. I usually to Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 
Blogging on Squarespace

 

  • Now you can go back to the CONTENT TAB. I usually go ahead and paste in my blog copy from Google Docs now.
  • Sometimes when you paste in copy that was created in Squarespace, the format can be goofy. So I like to highlight all of the text once it’s pasted and then remove any formatting.
  • Go through your post again. See if needs any changes. Delete any extra spacing. Just spruce it up a bit.
  • You have options to add a little sparkle to your posts by adjusting your formats like adding larger text through different headline options. And of course you can add bold and italicized text as well.
Blogging on Squarespace
  • Adding any element to your post like an image, button, link, video, etc. is very simple. All you have to do is click on the black handle and choose what you desire. 
Blogging on Squarespace
 
Blogging on Squarespace

*side tip when you upload an image, be sure your title is keyword rich. You don’t want to have an image with a file name like ijfawe;ifjs;dkjf.jpg

*if you add something you wish to remove, just click on the trash can and confirm you deleting the element

  • Tag your blog post with words that describe the content like wedding, wedding tips, wedding checklist, bride, bridal tips. Just click on the + sign and start adding your tags!
Blogging on Squarespace

 

  • Categorizing your post makes it easier for your readers to find exactly what they are looking for when they’re searching on your site. This is almost like your filing system. You could file this under Wedding and/or Bride.
  • Turn comments on or off
  • Now you’re ready to commit. Publish your post now or schedule it out. Click on the word DRAFT and select your option 
Blogging on Squarespace

 

  • If you choose SCHEDULED then you’ll have to click on scheduled one more time to set the date. You’ll notice that Squarespace will back date the publish date and time so no oopsies are made. Once you’ve click on the date you are able to schedule your publishing date. 
Blogging on Squarespace

SAVE!