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How to Increase Blog #Traffic and #Pageviews | Click through for a list of submission websites you can use to submit your blog posts for features.

8 Easy Ways To Increase Your Blog Traffic and Pageviews

Page views and traffic can be a major obsession for bloggers.

Before we dive into strategies on how to increase blog traffic, let’s just set the record straight: Page views should NOT be the be-all-and-end-off of your success as a blogger.

You actually DON’T need huge numbers to make an income blogging (I talked about that here), and you shouldn’t stare at your numbers day in and day out. You can get stuck in the rat race of trying to build your views, and it can be so discouraging if it takes a while to get there or whenever you see a dip.

So just remember all that as we go through this post, OK?

Having said that, you DO need to get some eyeballs on your content in order to grow your blogging biz. I have rounded up some of the best strategies to help drive traffic to your site, particularly as a blogger in the home decor and DIY niche.

 

How to Grow your Blog Traffic:

1 // Have a Strong  Pinterest Strategy

I have said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but Pinterest has GOT to be on your radar as a blogger. It’s a MAJOR traffic generator for bloggers in any genre, but especially in the home + DIY niche. It’s a visual search engine, and design and decorating is ALL about the visuals.

Pinterest is my #1 traffic generator, and I know that many of my blogging friends would tell you the same. If you are going to spend time on any platform, this should be it.

There are lots of things you can do to improve your Pinterest game to make sure you are using it to it’s capacity. There is a 3-pronged strategy you want to put in place: Pin your new content to your own boards, pin all of your content to group boards, and pin other people’s content to your boards.

Make sure that the images on your blog are Pinterest-friendly: beautiful, vertical, and have good 1-2 sentence descriptions in the alt-tag.

Check out this post for tactics to grow your Pinterest.

And this post to set up your pinning on autopilot using Boardbooster.

FREE Pinterest Workbook

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Build your traffic and your brand on Pinterest with these quick-to-implement strategies.

Powered by ConvertKit

One of my favourite people to follow for Pinterest advice is Katie Ahl from Simple Pin Media. She’s gold! Get on her email list for sure.

 

2 // Pay Attention to SEO

SEO (“search engine optimization”) is super important so that your blog posts come up as high as possible in google searches. Writing an evergreen post (ie. one that doesn’t go out of style) that ranks high in Google will continue to bring you traffic for months and years to come.

There are tons of factors at play that go into how Google ranks pages, and it isn’t the most straight-forward thing, but there are some basic things you can do to improve your ranking.

The first is to install some kind of SEO plugin on your site to make sure each post is optimized. I personally like the Yoast SEO plugin that gives you a green light when you are good to go.

Secondly, you need to use a good keyword phrase. You will be identifying a new keyword phrase for each blog post you write. The phrase should be 2-4 words in length, and something that you can imagine people would search for (and you want them to land on your post). This post, for example, would be “increase blog traffic”.

There are a number of keyword search tools you can use to do research on your keyword phrase. Google Keyword Tool (but you now need to have an AdWords account), Google Trends, SEOBook, Moz, and more.

So for example, say you were writing a post on faucets. You would want to do some research into google to see what the search term is that a lot of people are searching for. If “brass kitchen faucets” is a highly searched term, then you would want to use that as your keyword for that blog post. It could be something like “20 affordable brass kitchen faucets to transform your space”. You would aim to use that same “brass kitchen faucets” phrase in your title, throughout your post, and again in your meta-description.

I know all of this can be overwhelming, but even just doing the basics for better SEO will be great for your posts to help drive traffic to your site from Google.

 

3 // Submit your Post for Features

Submitting your blog posts to other larger sites to get featured is a great way to help bring some of their traffic over to your blog. Having other sites link to you is also a great way of boosting your blog’s overall SEO.

An example of a feature would be getting a room makeover showcased on Apartment Therapy. They would feature some photos of the transformation, but link to your blog as the source of the images. Then the interested readers from that post would click on over to your site and hopefully become raving fans of yours.

It’s an amazing feeling to get featured on big sites that you follow and love. It really makes your day!

There are lots of big sites out there that you can submit your work to. I have built up a list over the years of sites that offer features – it’s like my handy little reference tool whenever I do a really stellar project or have a room makeover I would love to get some extra attention. Instead of keeping it all to myself and making you do the legwork of creating your own list, I thought I would just share it here with you!

Click below and I’ll send you the list straight to your inbox. It has over 25 websites where you can do submissions!

Get the list of over 25 submission sites!

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Get your blog seen by more people with features on these home decor + DIY sites!

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The only caveat I’d throw in here is that it can be time consuming to send out your work to a bunch of sites. I would watch closely to see which sites actually feature your work often, and track whether you get much traffic whenever there is a feature. This will help you know which sites are worth your time submitting to.

 

4 // Amplify Across Social Media (repeatedly)

I’m guessing that you already have yourself set up across several social media platforms – be it facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. Remember that only a tiny percentage of your followers on each of these platforms are actually see your content when you post. I think it’s like less than 5%? Those damn algorithms.

So don’t stress about over-sharing your blog posts across social media. I promise that no one is going to complain of being bombarded by it, since they will very likely only see a small portion.

This means you want to have a strategy in place for regularly sharing your blog posts (both new and older ones) across your social media platforms often. I just recycle through my older content and keep mixing it up with other things, like favourite finds, sharing other bloggers’ posts, and promo’s for my etsy shop.

I want you to create a schedule like this for all of your social media platforms and use a scheduling tool to batch schedule it all out in advance. Check out my Blogger Resources for my favourite scheduling tools.

 

5 // Share your Posts in Facebook Share Threads

Facebook groups have become quite a popular way of bloggers helping bloggers to share their content. Search around for facebook groups in your niche, and see if they have facebook share threads. Usually what you do is share your own blog post link, and then send the love back by sharing and interacting with other bloggers’ posts.

Like submitting for features, I would suggest that you monitor which threads actually produce a good result for you in terms of engagement building and traffic. Don’t spend hours on Facebook everyday submitting your links all over the place if it’s not bringing back tangible results.

Here are some blogger Facebook groups you might want to check out.

 

6 // Truncate your Posts

Did you realize that every click a person makes on your site means another page view?

If you have your blog setup so that each blog post is “truncated” – ie. has only a snippet of the text on the main page and the reader has to click “continue reading” or “read more” to get to the rest of the post – that just totally increased your page views. Same person, but double the views when they click on the button to get to the rest of the post. It’s also just a nicer way of showing off more posts on one page (and your reader can click the posts they are interested in, versus having to scroll through a ton of text).

If you look on my homepage, you’ll see an example of this. See how there are half a dozen of my latest posts but you have to click on “continue reading” to get to them? That’s truncating!

blog-post-truncate

 

To actually do this, you’ll need to look into your blog theme and platform to change the settings to truncate. Usually it’s a checkbox located in the theme settings area.

 

7 // Be Consistent

Another way of increasing your traffic is actually just to make sure you are being consistent. Choose how often you want to publish to your blog, and then pick a particular day(s) of the week and stick to it.

It’s surprising how this can actually affect blog traffic. If your loyal readers know that you post every Tuesday morning, they will start to come to your site regularly at this time knowing they can expect a new update.

I used to think that this wouldn’t play a huge role, but it’s been shown over and over again that once a blogger gets super consistent with their publishing schedule, their traffic goes up (even if the number of posts doesn’t go up – just the consistency of them).

Grab my free editorial calendar below and get planning!

Editorial Calendar & Goal Setting Worksheets

Editorial_calendar_and_goal_setting_sheets

Grab these free templates (the exact ones I use!) to help you plan out your blog content and set goals. Your productivity is about to go through the roof, yo.

Powered by ConvertKit

 

 

8 // Collaborate with Other Bloggers

This one is equal parts fun and advantageous for your blog. Since every blogger has a different audience, if you are able to collaborate with other bloggers in your niche, you can share your audiences and both grow your readerships. The idea here is that you write guest posts for each other, include links back to your own blog, and then when you publish you are each directing your readers to the other’s site.

If swapping guest posts takes too much time or isn’t up your alley, there are totally other ways to do this too. You could gather a group of bloggers together and do a series – like a house tour series or a DIY project series of some kind. Each post in the series links to the others, so it encourages readers to click around and check out the other bloggers’ posts.

Another option is simply to do a lot of sharing of other bloggers’ stuff on social media. By sharing their work, they are likely to check out yours and share it back. Bloggers are nice people and it’s all about spreading the love!

 

That’s a wrap! 8 tried and true strategies for increasing page views and blog traffic.

 

Free List of Submission Sites:

If you are a home / DIY blogger, don’t forget to download your free list of submission sites below. Save yourself the time of creating your own list and just use mine! Click below to get it sent straight to your inbox.

Get the list of over 25 submission sites!

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Get your blog seen by more people with features on these home decor + DIY sites!

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Don’t forget to Pin it!

How to Increase Blog #Traffic and #Pageviews | Click through for a list of submission websites you can use to submit your blog posts for features.

How to Increase Blog Traffic and Pageviews | The tried and true ways I have grown my DIY and home decor blog. Tips & tricks for bloggers to help grow their blog and make money blogging. Plus a list of submission websites you can use to submit your posts for features. Click through for the free download!

 

Related Posts:

5 Strategies to Grow your Pinterest Traffic

One Quick Tip to Explode your Traffic

How to Start a Blog

Want one simple, easy tip to increase your #blog traffic? Click through to get this juicy secret strategy that will help drive traffic from Pinterest and google search. A must for any blogger!

The Easiest Way to Increase Blog Traffic Fast

Do you want one quick tip that could majorly increase blog traffic fast?

Something so simple you might have wondered why you didn’t think of it before?

Want one simple, easy tip to increase your #blog traffic? Click through to get this juicy secret strategy that will help drive traffic from Pinterest and google search. A must for any blogger!

Here it comes …

Create round-up posts of your own content.

I’m not talking about round up posts where you are using other people’s content (ie. “The 10 best all-white kitchens”). Nope. Caution: if you do ever want to write a post like that, make sure you ALWAYS get written permission from any blogger you want to feature.

What I’m talking about is rounding up your own content. You may not have realized it, but you probably write blog content with the same overall themes.

If you post a lot of DIY project tutorials, could you round them up into “10 DIY projects under $10”? Or “8 projects you can make with paint chips”?

If you are a food blogger, it might be more like “The 10 best chocolate dessert recipes” or “Easy Crockpot Dinners for Big Families”, etc.

If you post holiday content, it might be “5 Simple Easter Decorations you can make with your kids”, or “10 Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas”.

If you are a home decor blogger, it could be “5 room transformations for less than $500” (assuming these are all rooms you have posted).

See where I’m going with this?

Before we dive into the how-to, be sure to snag my list of submission sites below. Included in the list are 25+ spots you can send your blog posts to get featured (not the round ups – send the original posts!). This is great for building your traffic and getting your blog out there.

Get the list of over 25 submission sites!

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Get your blog seen by more people with features on these home decor + DIY sites!

Promise I won't send spam. Like, ever. Powered by ConvertKit

 

How to Create your Round Up:

Sit down with your blog and look through past content. What blog posts could you pull together into a round-up? What are some of your over-arching themes?

Once you’ve identified a round-up theme, the most important thing you want to do is create a great pinnable graphic for that blog post that features the images from the individual blog posts. Use some text overlay to demonstrate what the theme of the round-up is to entice viewers to click over.

You can easily create collage graphics like this using free software like PicMonkey or Canva. Both are very user-friendly. Keep reading to get the step-by-step on how to create one in Canva.

 

Want to see a great example?

My girlfriend Colleen from Lemon Thistle has done a great job at rounding up some of her themed projects.

Here is one with brush lettering projects (you’ll have to click over to really see the pin!).

And she did it again here for some St. Patrick’s Day themed blog posts.

So smart, right?

You don’t need to include a ton of text in these blog posts. Basically just little blurbs about each project with a link. The main purpose of doing these round-ups is to get some good Pinterest and search engine traffic.

You should be able to whip one of these out pretty quickly. Maybe make it a goal for yourself to do 1 per month?

 

How to Design your Pinnable Collage in Canva:

Let’s go through a quick example of how to create a collage in Canva.

First up, I use the “custom dimensions” for making longer collage-style pins. I go with 730 by 1300 (the usual pin size is more like 1100 in length, but I go longer for collages).

In Canva, you create collages by going into “layouts” and choosing the collage layout you like that matches the number of images you have. You might cover up a few of the images with a rectangle and overlay text, so keep that in mind.

Alternatively, you don’t have to use layouts. You can just use the blank canvas, upload your photos, and place them yourself (basically skip this layout step and hop down to the “uploads” step).

Next, click on “uploads” and upload your blog post images.

Drag and drop them into each spot (you can see below that I started placing two of my images into the collage).

Once you’ve filled up your collage, then add in a rectangle (under “Elements”) and some text on top with the title of your pin.

Download the finished product, and you’re done!

Once you’ve created one of these, it’s easy to replicate for additional round up posts.

How to create a round-up blog post using Canva. Create this pinnable graphic with a collage of photos - great to drive traffic from Pinterest.

 

How to Get Traffic To the Round Up:

There are two things I want you to do to get this round-up post to gain traction.

The first is your Pinterest strategy. Make sure that you pin that graphic to all of your own relevant pinterest boards, plus regularly pin it to group boards that you are a part of. Slowly but surely it should gain traction. Remember that Pinterest is a “slow burn” kind of platform – you need to be patient! Monitor how these pins do and adjust them as you go and learn what does well.

If you want more tips on how to use Pinterest, grab my workbook below.

FREE Pinterest Workbook

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Build your traffic and your brand on Pinterest with these quick-to-implement strategies.

Powered by ConvertKit

Then secondly, when you are creating the title for your round-up blog post, I want you to make sure it’s optimized well for SEO. This means it will come up in Google searches.

Use a 3-4 word keyword phrase that is highly searched in Google. You can use Google’s Keyword Tool for this, or just search in Google to see what auto-pops up (what pops up = more highly searched) and scroll to the bottom of that first google page for other relevant search phrases. Use something like the wordpress Yoast plugin so you can get the “green light” when you know you are optimized with that keyword phrase.

 

Want more?

For more traffic generating tips, head on over to this post: 8 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic and Pageviews.

And don’t forget to grab that list of submission sites for places to send your blog posts for features!

Get the list of over 25 submission sites!

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Get your blog seen by more people with features on these home decor + DIY sites!

Promise I won't send spam. Like, ever. Powered by ConvertKit

 

Related: How to Start A Blog

 

#Convertkit Review | Wondering what email service provider you should use for your blog newsletter? I have used Mailchimp and others, but ultimately landed on Convertkit. I'm laying out the benefits and features - like email funnels, opt-ins, landing pages, automations, tagging, and more.

My Honest ConvertKit Review

Email lists are a really important part of running a successful blogging business. I truly believe that you need to stop worrying too much about social media and instead focus on building your email list: It’s going to stay with you no matter what algorithm changes happen, or what social media fads come and go.

That group of people on your list are going to be your biggest fans and your most important customers. You are building up a really engaged audience on that list. Very different from the blog reader who clicks over from Pinterest, stays for 50 seconds, and bounces off again.

And let’s be clear, email lists aren’t just for people who sell digital products. You can use them to drive traffic to your blog (therefore increasing your ad revenue), to sell affiliate products, to sell your actual products (you might have an Etsy shop or whatever), and to use as a negotiating tool when pitching brands for sponsored work.

So bottom line: email lists are important. And therefore, your email service provider is too.

While I haven’t used every email service provider out there, I have used a few and haven’t found one that is as packed with blogger-friendly features like ConvertKit.

 

Why I Love ConvertKit:

While there are a few little things I would change if I could, I have honestly loved using ConvertKit from the moment I started with them.

Here’s why…

Forms & Landing Pages

One of my favourite things about ConvertKit is how crazy easy it is to setup places for people to sign up to your list.

Within ConvertKit you build sign-up forms that you embed into your blog (if you use wordpress they even have a plugin so you don’t have to copy/paste any code).

To create a “form” (ie. a sign up box) you upload a photo (optional), some text about what the opt-in incentive is, customize the colours, and boom: you’ve got yourself a great looking sign-up form. Then you edit the settings so that it automatically sends the opt-in incentive to your new subscriber, and maybe puts them into a sequence of some kind (up to you!).

You can see here that they have different template options for the form, so it can be as much or as little as you want.

This is an example of one of my ConvertKit forms (and yes, you can actually get on my email list if you want by filling it out – I’ll send you a sweet plug and play newsletter template you can use!):

Get the Newsletter Template

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Get the plug-and-play newsletter template to take all the guesswork out of writing your weekly newsletters!

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Similarly, you can build landing pages right in ConvertKit. So if you want to create a whole page that is dedicated to promoting a product of yours, you can. They don’t have a ton of landing page templates, which is something I hope they add to down the line. I would love it if they would have more templates similar to what you can find through LeadPages.

But even still, it only takes 15 minutes to put one of these together and you can edit them to your colours and overall aesthetic. Super easy!

Here is one of my landing pages I created in ConvertKit – very simple but effective.

Tagging

In ConvertKit you have the ability to create an unlimited number of “tags”.

What this means is that you can tag subscribers based on their interests. For example, in my own account I have some subscribers that have signed up to my list to be able to use a coupon code in my Etsy shop. I will tag those as etsy customers. I also have another tag setup for people who have signed up for local workshops – I have them tagged as “ottawa” (where I live). Or two of my biggest tags are just “The Sweetest Digs subscriber” (for all of my subscribers who opted in on my DIY and home decor blog) and “Bloggers” for folks like you who would have opted in to my list from this site.

Here is a quick snapshot from in my account. You can see that I have a whole bunch of opt-in’s that I created for my blog, The Sweetest Digs, and that they are tagged as a “The Sweetest Digs Subscriber” when they opt-in. You can also see “GBC Subscriber” further down, which are subscribers to this site. And like I said above, I have the Etsy tag, a local tag, and more. The sky is the limit here.

By having all of these tags, it means you can send seriously customized emails. For me,  if I want to run a promo for my Etsy shop but don’t want to send it out to my whole list, I can easily segment the list and send it just to those who will be interested. Or if I’m hosting a local workshop, I can send that email to just my local subscribers. Or if I’m sending out a blogging tips newsletter, I just send that to those tagged as bloggers.

It’s such a useful tool!

 

Sequences

This is the money. I have come to LOVE sequences. Also known as “email funnels”.

The idea is that you create a sequence of emails – so whether it’s an email course, or a series of emails that eventually sells one of your products or an affiliate product, or a welcome/onboarding sequence. Then when someone opts in to a certain form that you setup as being the “funnel” for this sequence, every new subscriber automatically goes into the sequence and is sent those emails. You can set up when they get the emails (ie. 1 day after subscribing, 5 days after subscribing, etc.) and you can connect multiple opt-in forms to the same sequence.

Sequences are AMAZING for creating passive flows of income. If you sell any kind of product, create an opt-in related to that topic and then write up a sequence that eventually leads the subscriber into a potential sale.

I have a friend who has a sequence like this set up for her de-cluttering eBook and it generates on average about 2 sales a week, just through her sequence that she only had to set up once. She has multiple spots throughout her blog where readers opt-in for a free printable related to de-cluttering, and then she has a few more emails that send around de-cluttering in general (including another freebie), and then in the end she has a promotional email for her eBook. She is generating trust and credibility through the sequence, and so the customer feels more motivated to buy her product at the end.

Similarly, I have a sequence setup that takes customers through a funnel ending in an affiliate product promotion. That really cranks up my affiliate revenue every month because it is consistently generating sales.

Here is what it looks like in ConvertKit when you go to write a sequence. You just write as many emails as you want for the funnel, connect it to an opt-in form, and then you’re golden.

 

Automations

The automations feature in ConvertKit is kind of like your rule-book. You can create all of these “rules” that tells the system to do certain things at certain times.

So if someone opts-in to Lead Magnet #1, you can tag them with a few tags and send them directly into a sequence. Or you can create a rule that says those who opt-in to Lead Magnet #2 are automatically sent a welcome email. Or when someone buys a product from you, they are tagged with X, so you know not to send them promotional emails regarding that product anymore.

You can see, there are lots of triggers and rules you can setup:

This level of automation is incredible. I love the whole “set it and forget it” approach because who has time to go in and do these things manually when you are trying to run your online biz?

 

Subscribers

So you know how people will opt-in to multiple places on your site? Like in one spot to get a printable, and then in another to get a free eBook or something? Well, some email service providers will charge you double because they are list-based versus being subscriber-based. So that subscriber that opted in to 2 or 3 different things on your site – you are paying for him or her 2 or 3 times!

Not ConvertKit. They recognize the email address and won’t ever double-charge you. They are “subscriber-based”, which is awesome.

 

Deliverability

When I first switched over to ConvertKit from Mailchimp, I felt like my emails got ugly. That they were missing all the pretty colours, pictures, and styling of my previous emails (which was really easy to do in MailChimp). However, I also quickly noticed that my emails got a higher open rate and click-through rate without all that stuff.

The more images and HTML you have in your emails, the more likely it is to get put in people’s spam boxes because it looks like a promotion. Not good!

ConvertKit on the other hand is setup so that your emails make it into inboxes. They have a whole deliverability team dedicated to this. It’s also why the emails you create in ConvertKit generally just look like a normal email that you would get from a friend. No fancy stuff.

Take your images out of your email and you’ll see your click-through rates go up. It’s weird and counter-intuitive to me…. but it works!

 

Pricing

Sure it would be great to use a free email service provider forever, but as you build your list and need more functionality, you are going to have to pay for an email service. I find the ConvertKit rates extremely reasonable, particularly when you consider all of the features it comes with.

I used to have LeadPages AND my email service provider, and I’m slowly moving away from needing LeadPages at all. I’m switching everything over to ConvertKit forms and landing pages, and won’t need to renew my subscription with LeadPages this year (hundreds of dollars per year saved!).

Maybe you don’t use any other software providers right now, but you bootstrap the delivery of your opt-in’s. Or have some big complicated system for keeping your subscribers organized. ConvertKit will save you all that headache and time. Totally worth the investment. Spend that time on other elements of your blogging business that will help grow your income.

 

So that’s that. My honest review of ConvertKit. I’m clearly a fan;) The other thing I like about this company is that you feel really connected to it. They have a face behind the product, a very accessible customer service team, and great support in their Help forums.

If you are thinking about building your list, or want to make a switch from your current provider, I’d say go for it. Sign up here!

Free Template

Don’t forget to snag my newsletter template. It’ll take the “what do I send this week?” out of the equation and give you a template to use week-after-week to send a great newsletter to your subscribers!

Get the Newsletter Template

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Get the plug-and-play newsletter template to take all the guesswork out of writing your weekly newsletters!

Powered by ConvertKit

 

Don’t forget to Pin it!

#Convertkit Review | Wondering what email service provider you should use for your blog newsletter? I have used Mailchimp and others, but ultimately landed on Convertkit. I'm laying out the benefits and features - like email funnels, opt-ins, landing pages, automations, tagging, and more.

 

Related:

Why You Should be Building Your Email List

Free Email Course on How to Create Email Funnels

How to Start a Blog

Seasonal #Blog Post Ideas for Every Month of the Year - perfect for home, DIY and lifestyle bloggers. No more writer's block when you use this as your guide to blog content creation!

How To Create a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 1 Hour

Do you ever struggle with coming up with blog post ideas and planning out your content?

Hit writer’s block from time to time, or just feel plain un-motivated?

Working from some overall theme guidelines might just be what you need to stay on track and come up with a ton of blog posts.

I plan content for 3 months in advance for my home decor blog, The Sweetest Digs.

 

Using an Editorial Calendar

Before I started using an editorial calendar, I was flying by the seat of my pants and inevitably felt rushed, didn’t produce quality content, and felt a little bit like a crazy person trying to finish up DIYs the night before I wanted to post them. Exactly the kind of thing that leads to blogger burnout.

So, planning content out in advance is KEY. To do this quickly and to stay on trend, I have created overall topic ideas for each month of the year that any home decor / DIY / lifestyle blogger can use.

These fall in line with holidays and general interests, so your readers will feel that your posts are timely and relevant.

Before we dive in, make sure to grab my editorial calendar printable, so you can sit down and start filling it out with blog post ideas for each month. It feels *amazing* to have your year largely mapped out. You also get some sweet goal-setting worksheets too!

Editorial Calendar & Goal Setting Worksheets

Editorial_calendar_and_goal_setting_sheets

Grab these free templates (the exact ones I use!) to help you plan out your blog content and set goals. Your productivity is about to go through the roof, yo.

Powered by ConvertKit

The infographic above is perfect to pin on Pinterest as a reminder, but here are all the topic ideas by month…

 

January:

  • De-cluttering
  • Organization projects – you could even offer free printables related to organizing and budgeting
  • Budget-friendly DIYs (people have just spent money on the holidays, so purse strings are tight at this time of year!)
  • New Year Resolutions
  • Healthy living – Recipes, Exercise, Clean Homes, etc.

 

February:

  • Valentine’s day gift guide
  • Valentine’s day decor and crafts
  • Date ideas
  • Handmade gift ideas
  • Any pink decor or DIYs

March:

  • St Patrick’s day decor
  • Easter home decor
  • Easter egg decorating
  • Any interior room makeover is great at this time of year, since people are usually stuck inside (winter!)

 

April:

  • Easter home decor
  • Easter egg decorating
  • Freshening up the home with lots of white, pastels, and spring patterns – time to break away from the winter stuff!
  • Spring wardrobe and accessories

 

May:

  • Cleaning tips
  • Organization Ideas
  • Gardening tips; Landscaping ideas
  • Porch Makeovers
  • Flower arranging
  • Switching out your decor to that summery, beach-y aesthetic. Think light and bright.

 

June:

  • Upcycling projects – garage sale season is in full swing this month!
  • Backyard makeovers
  • Curb appeal projects
  • Landscaping
  • Pools / Spa
  • Fitness (people want to feel healthy and fit for summer time!)

 

July:

  • Colourful and fun projects
  • Outdoor parties and events
  • Cottage Decor
  • Gardening
  • Road trips
  • Summer bucket lists
  • Cocktails and BBQ
  • Summer style
  • Summer reading list
  • Beach must-haves

An example of a cottage bunkie makeover I did – a perfect type of post for July/August.

August:

  • Beach must-haves
  • Outdoor parties and events
  • Back to school shopping guides (give people enough time to order online)
  • Back to school projects and traditions
  • Flea market decorating (people have been hitting up garage sales and flea markets this summer!)

 

September:

  • Fall decor ideas
  • Decorating with warm colours – think red/orange/brown/pinks – and lots of layers and textures
  • Fall fashion and transitional pieces
  • Fall printables are always popular!
  • We’re getting into all things pumpkin spice 🙂

 

October:

  • Halloween decor and DIYs
  • Costume ideas
  • Thanksgiving table decor
  • Thanksgiving DIYs
  • Fall Wreaths
  • Using natural elements in your decor and DIYs – acorns, leaves, rocks, sticks, etc.
  • Pumpkin painting and carving ideas

November:

  • Christmas gift guides (get these out in November to ensure your readers have time to order online!)
  • Holiday home decor
  • Any indoor projects popular as people move inside for the colder months
  • Cozy decorating – lots of layers, textures, etc.

 

December:

  • Holiday home decor
  • Handmade gift ideas
  • Holiday traditions
  • Winter Printable
  • Christmas Tree Decor

 

Posts that work all year round:

Beyond these seasonal ideas, there are many styles of blog posts that will work all year round. Try and mix these in throughout the year, where they make sense for your schedule.

  • Room makeovers (everyone loves a good before and after!)
  • Renovations (always try to write these as evergreen posts where you are teaching the reader something tangible – not just “stories” of your own renovations, which won’t have a long lifespan on the internet)
  • DIY project tutorials
  • “Day in your life” posts (great for injecting some really personal stuff into your blog and connecting with your readers!)
  • Reviews of products or “favourite things” round ups – just be sure to keep these really genuine, not just an obvious spot for affiliate links
  • Recipes and/or Fashion Tips, if you blog about those topics
  • Personal stories – It’s great to do these every now and then to create a deeper connection with your reader. I would just warn against doing these ALL the time, as often they don’t become evergreen pieces of content that bring you traffic for months and years down the road. Try to mostly create blog posts that solve a problem, make sense on their own, and can stand the test of time, and then throw in personal stories and anecdotes when you can.

Don’t forget to Pin it!

Seasonal #Blog Post Ideas for Every Month of the Year - perfect for home, DIY and lifestyle bloggers. No more writer's block when you use this as your guide to blog content creation!

Seasonal Blog Post Ideas for Every Month of the Year - perfect for home, DIY and lifestyle bloggers. No more writer's block when you use this as your guide to blog content creation!

Want more?

How to grow your blog with goal setting

How to utilize an editorial calendar

How to Start a Blog

 

Free Printable

Don’t forget to snag the editorial calendar I use for my own blog content creation. Once you’ve printed those, go make yourself a cup of tea and have fun blog post brainstorming. I loooooove that part! You’ve got this.

#Free #Stock Photos | The best websites to find royalty free stock photos and images that you can use for any personal or commercial project. Perfect for bloggers who need images for their blogs and social media! Click through for the full list.

The 10 Best Sites For Free Stock Photos

One of the things that I notice a lot when new bloggers hit the scene, is that they don’t realize that photos out on the internet cannot be used on their blogs. Even if you link back to the original source, it constitutes a copyright violation to have any photo on your blog that isn’t yours unless you have written permission from the photographer.

I totally made this mistake myself when I first started blogging. I was just trying to pull together images to highlight a certain home decor trend, but either didn’t link back to the original source, or if I did, I hadn’t gotten permission from them to do so. A huge No-No that I could have been fined for!

So, what do you do if you have a blog post that needs pictures but you don’t have your own original photography?

Or if you want some images to use on social media or even in some graphic artwork or digital download?

That’s where stock photos come in.

 

Free Workbook:

Before we dive into the list, I want to make sure you know how to use those images to grow your blog traffic with Pinterest. Pinterest is all about using amazing graphics to pique a readers’ interest and send them your way.

Grab the free Pinterest workbook below.

FREE Pinterest Workbook

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Build your traffic and your brand on Pinterest with these quick-to-implement strategies.

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Paid Stock Photos:

If you are looking for something really specific or unique, you may need to go the paid route for stock photos.There are plenty of sites where you can go to search out what you’re after.

For instance, I personally need quite a lot of office/desk stock photography for this blog, so I use Haute Stock (affiliate), which is a subscription-based service. It means I get fresh new photos each month and have a LOT to choose from.

For my Etsy shop on the other hand, I’ll usually head on over to Creative Market (affiliate) if I’m looking for a stock photo for digital art prints or my mugs.

Creative Market is like my bad habit of choice. There are soooo many pretty things to browse!

 

However, if you don’t need stock photos all that often, you may just be able to get away with using free ones. Luckily, there are quite a few sites out there that offer free stock photos that you are able to use on your blog or on your social media, without permissions or often attribution required.

Let me just explain the terminology regarding copyrights for a sec.

“Creative Commons” or “Creative Commons Zero” means that you can use those photos  in any way you’d like, without asking permission or linking back to the photographer. You can copy, modify and use the photos (even for commercial purposes) without asking permission.

“Creative Commons with attribution” means that you can use the photo in any way you want, BUT you have to give credit to the photographer (ie. a link under the photo).

 

 

Now on to the round up…

Top 10 sites for free stock photos:

 

1 / Pixabay

Pixabay is a huuuuge site. Beyond great stock photos, they also have vectors and art illustrations, if you’re looking for something to do some graphic design work.

I find the quality of the files on Pixabay to be really professional. There are so many beautiful images to choose from!

Because everything on their site is released free of Copyrights, there is absolutely no attribution you need to worry about. You can use everything royalty-free and modify however you wish. So great!

I found these lovely images on Pixabay in a matter of minutes – no digging required!

blue-furniture-stock-pixabay

coffee-mug-stock-pixabay

 

2 / Pexels

There is a pretty huge variety of photography on Pexels and I find the quality to be good. They have an easy search bar up at the top, so best if you go in there with an idea of what you’re looking for.

The other nice feature is that if you find a pic you like, they have suggested other free stock right underneath. So sometimes I’ll click on something that is “okay”, but then it leads me to the perfect one. I like having those “suggested for you” features.

coffee-work-desk-free-stock-pexels

 

 

3 / StockSnap.io

A lot of landscape and scenic photos are over on StockSnap. One thing I really like about this particular site is that there are a bigger variety of shapes and sizes to the photos (they aren’t all horizontal, like many stock photo sites stick to).

Seriously, I could browse through the homepage for a long, long while … so many beauties!

You could totally grab some of these to use for your instagram.

StockSnap_6F8QGSMGLW

StockSnap_8Z6ZCTO07P

 

4 / UnSplash

GORGEOUS photographs over on Unsplash. It’s a very simple, streamlined site featuring super beautiful pics. Lots of landscapes. All horizontal, though.

The other downside? There isn’t a search bar. Means a lot of scrolling to find what you’re looking for.

Doesn’t this look appetizing?

Unsplash-free-stock-photo-food

 

5 / Death to the Stock Photo

I love love love the options on Death to the Stock Photo (“DTTSP”). They are so professional and gorgeous. They also have quite a variety of things from quotes, photoshop actions, art prints, writers’ prompts, and more. You can sign up for a monthly email from them, which delivers new stock right into your inbox.

DTTSP included this statement on their site, which is a basic guideline in terms of copyright: “Under the license, you may display a DTTSP photo as you please, reproduce it, add it to a collection, and make adaptations of it. However, you may not distribute the photo—so don’t include it in any photo packs or give it out for others to use.”

So, use their pics, but don’t claim as your own or redistribute in any way. Pretty obvious.

Check out these adventure themed art prints (from here). Fun, hey!? You could even use these for a DIY art project and then write a blog post about it!

scenic-route-art-print-smaller

great-outdoors-art-print-small

 

6 / Picjumbo

PicJumbo has really beautiful photographs, but not as many as some of these other sites.

I like the way their homepage is laid out and I find it really easy to search for whatever I’m looking for. From what I can tell, all the photos are horizontal.

I kinda love this pink sneaker shot, don’t you?

girl-with-pink-shoes-laying-in-meadow-picjumbo-com

7 / Morguefile

In Morguefile, there is quite a mixture of photos uploaded by the general public, meaning some definitely are NOT so great. You need to go to this site with a specific need in mind and then search for it. If you do that though, you may just find a gem (like this one I found below!).

Unlike the other sites on my list, Morguefile indicates that if you use the image exactly as-is, you need to credit the photographer underneath the photo. Of all of these sites (at this time of writing), this is the only one that requires an attribution.

Desk-stock-photo-Morgue

Photo by: Agatha Brown

 

8 / Creative Commons on Flickr

On Flickr you can check on the Creative Commons area, which has a variety of free photos that fall under different categories. There are some that require attribution to the photographer, but the photos that fall into the “Public Domain Dedication” group means that they are up for grabs by you and you can alter and use those images however you please without any credit or attribution required.

If you go here, these are all images within the “Public Domain Dedication” group. Use the search bar to find what you’re looking for, and just double check before downloading it that it does indeed say “Public Domain” under the image.

I find this site to be harder to find great photos because anyone and everyone can upload to Flickr, but if you are looking for something specific then it might just be the right spot!

Desk-scene-Flickr-stock

 

9 / Gratisography

All of the images on Gratisography are photographed by the same photographer (Ryan McGuire) and so they have a similar modern and artsy aesthetic, which is really nice for cohesiveness.

There are definitely some quirky shots. The photographer obviously has a sense of humour. If you are looking for something a little different, then this may be the right site for you.

From what I can tell, all the photos are horizontal.

free-stock-photography-palm-trees

stock-photo-camera-pic

 

10 / Free Images

I don’t actually love the stock photos on Free Images, but the one thing they have that most of the others don’t are textures and patterns.

These are great to be able to use as backgrounds for something you might be designing. Want to make a printable or some other kind of graphic? You’ll probably need a background pattern of some kind.

Like images, patterns you find online aren’t free to just copy – you need permission. You kinda need to look through the weeds, but if you look around you can find some cute ones (the turquoise one is here, anchor one is here).

One thing I don’t like as much about this site is that I find it has more ads than the others, and you also need to create an account to download (which you don’t with the ones above).

free-turquoise-geometric-pattern free-anchors-pattern

Alright – there you have it! My insider tips on where to snag the best stock photos and graphic design elements FO’ FREE.

 

Don’t forget to Pin it!

#Free #Stock Photos | The best websites to find royalty free stock photos and images that you can use for any personal or commercial project. Perfect for bloggers who need images for their blogs and social media! Click through for the full list.

Free Stock Photos | The best websites to find royalty free stock photos and images that you can use for any personal or commercial project. Perfect for bloggers who need images for their blogs and social media! Click through for the full list.

 

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Want more? Check out these related articles. 

How to Increase your Blog Traffic

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-How to Start a Blog

Printable Blog Planner | Blog Tools | Blogging Editorial Calendar and Worksheets | Blogger Guidebook

The Printable Blog Planner That Will Help You Grow Your Blog Biz

Do you want to double or triple your productivity as a blogger?

Start actually using an editorial calendar and goal-setting method and stick to it?

Use a system for each blog post that will ensure it’s written in an evergreen, SEO and Pinterest-ready way?

Then grab your coffee and keep reading. I’ve got a really sweet printable blog planner you need to hear about.

Printable Blog Planner | Blog Tools | Blogging Editorial Calendar and Worksheets | Blogger Guidebook

 

There came a point in my blogging career where I realized that I felt “busy” all the time, but that the busy didn’t necessarily translate into productivity.

You know the feeling: You are doing a thousand things every day but never feel like you are *actually* growing your blogging biz. I knew I needed a concrete tool for myself to stay on track with my task list, streamline my systems, and keep myself organized.

I had a traditional agenda that was pretty, but I wasn’t actually using it. The design wasn’t laid out for a blogger. I tried to use a google calendar for my blog stuff but I never really liked having to look at it online. I was constantly making hand-written to-do lists, brainstorming, and trying to set goals on random sheets of paper, because my agenda didn’t have any dedicated space for it. And I couldn’t track any of my blog growth or other blogging-specific info, since there wasn’t a spot for it.

I kept feeling like there were important things I wanted to write down or keep in one spot, and I didn’t have the right tool to do it.

So, I created it for myself. I designed printable sheets that were dedicated specifically to growing a blogging business. There is an editorial calendar. There is a goal setting section. There is an audit tool that works like a checklist for each blog post before you hit publish. There is a section for tracking social stats and blog growth. Multiple sheets for tracking income by month and year. Contact sheets. A blog post brainstorm sheet. And more.

You can buy the Printable Blog Planner here. It’s currently on special at $9.95. A steal!!

blog-planner-5

All in all, there are over 20 sheets that make up the planner. I wanted each and every sheet to be seriously useful. No frilly stuff just to bulk it up. Just sheets that I knew I would actually use and that would help me build a better blog.

Ever since I printed out that first version, there literally hasn’t been a day that I don’t use it. I printed the sheets and put them into a slim white binder, and it sits on my desk right beside my computer. I can glance over and know exactly what’s on my calendar for the week, exactly what I need to be working on to reach my goals, and so much more.

Because it’s date-less, I can just re-print any sheets I need and re-fill the binder as required.

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

Plus, did I mention it’s pretty?! There is a whole lotta pink and fun graphics. And since I couldn’t settle on just one, there are 6 cover page options. Ha.

blog-planner-2

 

Oh and I threw in 3 free art printables that you can either print out to use in your planner as section dividers, or just frame and put up in your home office!

I’m especially obsessed with the shine bright one. It looks amazing just up on a white wall with some washi tape.

blog-planner-5

blog-planner-7

planner-buy-button

Because the calendar sheets don’t have months on them, you can just print off 12 for each year. It means you can use the planner year after year, without having to buy a new one.

In terms of printing – don’t stress. It’s super easy. There are detailed instructions on how to print included in the purchase, but basically you just print the sheets on regular 8.5 x 11 white paper, hole punch, and slip into a 1/2″ binder. You can do it all in colour or not, and do different numbers of sheets as it makes sense for your use (printing in black and white makes the binder super cheap to print).

You need to print several copies of the following pages, as you’ll need multiples to take you through the year. This is generally what I recommend:

  • Calendar sheet: 12 copies (1 for each month)
  • 90-Day Goals: 4 copies (1 for each quarter)
  • To-Do List: 5-6 copies
  • Blog Post Ideas: 5-6 copies
  • Blog Post Brainstorm: 10 to get started
  • Blog Post Audit: 1 if you are going to use it as a guide and not mark it up, multiple if you plan to mark up the sheet for each post
  • Biz Expenses – Monthly: 12
  • Income – Monthly: 12
  • Income Breakdown – Monthly: 12
  • The rest –> Print just a single copy for the year! You may find that you have to print additional sheets every now and again, but these will be good quantities to get you started.

blog-income-report

Here are what a few folks are saying…

“With pieces of note papers everywhere, to-do lists and blog post ideas swirling around in my head, I’ve been looking for a good system to capture it all in one place. Not only did this planner help me to get organized, but included in it are extremely helpful tips and templates to take our blogging to the next level, such as ones for blog post brainstorming and short- and long-term goal-setting. I highly recommend this valuable resource.” – Jane (& Sonja), Sustain My Craft Habit

“Gemma’s blogger planner was EXACTLY what I needed to help me develop and stick to my blogging strategies. Anything that could be added to this planner is in there and I now depend on it daily. A blogger planner isn’t something that you can really appreciate until you have tried it and now there’s no turning back for me! This planner meets my needs, is super chic, and the price can’t be beaten. Thank you for thinking of it all, Gemma!”– Amy, AmyHowardSocial.com

“I honestly didn’t think I’d benefit from a blog planner. I have an editorial calendar system that is rocking BUT I’ve struggled to keep all the information a blogger needs in order. Affiliate spreadsheets, brand contacts, and social stats? Come on! And goals? I couldn’t even remember where I’d written them down to see if I’d met them. It is such a lifesaver to have all this information in one place and looking beautiful. Thank you Gemma for changing the way I look at blog planning!” – Colleen, LemonThistle.com

blog-post-audit-tool

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

You can buy the Printable Blog Planner here. It’s on special at $9.95. A steal!!

blog-planner-1

planner-buy-button

 

Related: How to Start a Blog

 

If you don’t want the full planner yet, then grab the editorial calendar and goal setting worksheets below. Free!! 

#Free Blog #Editorial Calendar Printable | How to use a blogging content planning system to grow your blog and maximize your productivity!

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog [FREE printable]

If you aren’t using some kind of editorial calendar for your blog and you want to be serious about growing your blogging business, then stop what you’re doing, grab a coffee, and read this post, OK?

Why A Blog Editorial Calendar is So Important:

When I got serious about using a monthly calendar and actually sticking to it, woah did it ever made a HUGE difference to my ability to stay on track, plan out my work, and be way more productive.

Instead of using any kind of software or online calendar, I decided to go old school and plan out my calendar with pen and paper. I had been using a google calendar before, but once I went to paper (and kept my calendar with other blogging paperwork in my blog planner), the whole routine just stuck.

*Note: If you are working with a team, then you’ll need some kind of online tool like Asana or Trello to manage your calendar and task list so that everyone can update it and knows what’s going on. The paper method is better for a solopreneur, or someone  who does all the content but hires help for tasks like social media managing.

Free Blog Editorial Calendar Printable | How to use a blogging content planning system to grow your blog.

 

Snag the FREE Editorial calendar:

Before we dive in to how to actually use the editorial calendar, make sure you snag it. Enter your email address below and I’ll send the printable straight to your inbox, along with some goal setting sheets too!

Editorial Calendar & Goal Setting Worksheets

Editorial_calendar_and_goal_setting_sheets

Grab these free templates (the exact ones I use!) to help you plan out your blog content and set goals. Your productivity is about to go through the roof, yo.

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Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

 

My editorial calendar method:

Step 1 / Brainstorm

At the end of each month (before the next one starts), I sit down and have a brainstorming sesion.

My first step is to write out all of my blog post ideas for that month. Usually I go overboard and write out every single idea that comes to mind.

When you are doing this, be mindful of any products you are wanting to promote. If you have an Etsy shop with printables, think about a blog post that somehow incorporates a framed print (maybe in a room makeover?). If you are trying to sell online decorating services, maybe you could have one post that is dedicated to showcasing some past client work. You always want to use your blog posts as a marketing tool for any paid product or service you have.

Once I have those ideas down, I also add in any sponsored posts I know are coming up. Because I only plan one month at a time, it means that I usually have a pretty good idea of any sponsored content I have coming down the pipeline.

You also want to think about the seasonal themes and incorporate some of those types of posts into your calendar. If you are stuck for ideas, this post lays out blog post ideas for every month of the year.

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

 

Step 2 / Categorize

After all of the ideas and sponsored posts are down on paper, I categorize them.

If you are a home and DIY blogger, then those categories might look something like this:

  • DIY project tutorial
  • Home decor finds or some kind of round up
  • Room makeover (not necessarily just “before + after” – could be a progress post of a makeover)
  • Home decor lesson or trends
  • Product Review (this is a great spot to integrate some affiliate marketing!)
  • … etc, etc. (you may also do recipes, fashion, or other “lifestyle” posts – these categories will be different from blogger to blogger)

Why do I categorize?

Well, not only to make sure that I have scattered the posts appropriately throughout the month, but it’s also because each category has a different time requirement. Doing a DIY project where I need to gather supplies, do the project, take photography, edit photos, write, etc, takes WAY longer than doing a round-up post of favourite marble bathroom accessories. A room makeover update post would be somewhere in between those two. So by categorizing, I can be realistic about how many of each type of post I can get done within the month.

You want to focus on writing good evergreen content instead of too many “filler” or quickie posts, so you need to be realistic about how many you can actually do in a month without running yourself ragged or not accomplishing your other, bigger blog biz goals (you can read about my method for planning and accomplishing goals here).

I’m a big believer in quality over quantity in terms of blog posts. By focusing on really stellar evergreen content and not trying to stick to an unrealistic posting schedule, you still have time to grow the other parts of your business model AND stay sane.

 

Step 3 / Enter into the Calendar

When I go and actually write out the posts into my calendar, I do it on paper. I have a binder-based blog planner that I use every single day.  I print out 12 date-less calendar sheets. Then I use one calendar sheet per month and plan my content out on it.

Why paper?

I like to be able to look at the calendar easily within my blog planner and if it’s hidden in a software, then it’s just one more tab I need to have open on my computer. By seeing the calendar everyday on my desk (along with other things like my to-do list, goal sheet, etc.) I stay WAY more focused and on track. Plus, I just like putting pen to paper. I’m old school.

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

I keep the editorial calendar mostly just focused on content: blog posts and email newsletters. If I’m launching a product or have a webinar, or something like that, I would add those in too.

What I don’t write on this calendar?

Social media posts, my to-do list tasks, appointments, calls, etc. Things like appointments and calls I put into my Google calendar. My to-do list tasks go onto another sheet within my blog planner. And I use scheduling tools for social media (find out which social media tools I use here).

Getting the calendar down on paper not only means I can look it over and make sure I like the overall plan for the month, but it also makes it super clear to me what I need to be working on. It gives a natural priority to the task list.

 

Step 4 / Be a blogging badass

Since I started utilizing this method, I can usually be a couple of weeks ahead of schedule for blog post writing. No more feeling rushed to whip out a last minute blog post because I feel like I “have to”. Honestly, it’s been a huge time AND stress saver. And I actually feel like I have my shit together (most of the time).

Oh, it also means that your content will be better – it’ll planned more thoughtfully and strategically. Basically it’s an all around win.

 

Download Yours:

Make sure you grab the calendar and goal setting sheet printables. This printable is date-less so you’ll be able to print out a whole year’s worth at once!

Editorial Calendar & Goal Setting Worksheets

Editorial_calendar_and_goal_setting_sheets

Grab these free templates (the exact ones I use!) to help you plan out your blog content and set goals. Your productivity is about to go through the roof, yo.

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Don’t forget to Pin it!

#Free Blog #Editorial Calendar Printable | How to use a blogging content planning system to grow your blog and maximize your productivity!

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

 

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Blogging Legally: 6 Legal Issues You Need To Understand

In our Bloggers Facebook Group (join here!) a little while ago, I asked what people were struggling with.

One of the questions that came up was a bit more clarity regarding the legal aspects of blogging: What you do and don’t have to do to cover your butt when working with sponsors, doing giveaways, and making money.

Luckily I knew exactly who to turn to for that stuff – Jackie from Jade and Oak.

Blogging Legally | Following all the laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, images, disclosures, and more? Click over for the blogging legal basics - what you need to know to avoid any trouble!

Jackie is a lawyer in her day job and blogs on the side, and I have been following her blog for years. I sent her a message to see if she’d be willing to pop on over here and share some of the blogging legally basics…. and lucky us, she agreed!

jackiejadefr-2

 

I’ll let her take it away…

 

////////

Blogging is big business and I love that more and more people are treating their blog like a business. Being a business means that you also need to make sure you’re covered on the legal side of things. So I’m so happy Gemma invited me to post today about the legal basics of blogging.

My name is Jackie and I’ve blogged at Jade and Oak for over 4 years and have been an attorney for over 6 years. I provide legal info and tips for bloggers and small biz owners on my blog, so today I’m here to educate on the legal basics you need to know as a blogger.

(PS >> Although I am an attorney, I’m not your attorney and this post does not create an attorney-client relationship. As an American attorney, this post was written with US laws and regulations in mind. If you live in another country, research your country’s laws. This post is legal information and should not be seen as legal advice. If you need legal advice, be sure to consult with an attorney who specializes in your subject matter and jurisdiction.)

 

1 // Legal statements on blogs

Most blogs need several different statements (in order to protect yourself and your readers). At the very least, you need to have a “privacy statement” if you are collecting any personal info on your blog. Most blogs are collecting some sort of info, either through the use of cookies for Google Analytics or even just email addresses when people leave comments. If you collect personal info, you must have a privacy statement, letting your readers know what info you collect, how you collect it and what you do with that info.

It’s also important to include a terms and conditions statement, which basically lets people know the “rules” of your blog, including what kind of behavior is/isn’t okay.

Lastly, disclosure statements are necessary anytime you are working with a company or brand and are being compensated in any way (through a sponsored post, getting a free product or getting paid an affiliate commission).

It’s important to have these statements to show that you are running a professional blog and you understand legal requirements to have a legit business. This will help to put your readers at ease because they know you’re educated regarding the law and aren’t running a shady operation. Definitely a good thing.

 

2 // Copyright issues

In the US, your work is actually copyright protected the moment that it is created. As a blogger, that’s great – it means your work is protected without needing to formally go out and do anything. BUT that won’t necessarily stop anyone from stealing your work (the internet is obviously an easy place for people to take other people’s work).

So it’s a good idea to include a general copyright statement on every page of your blog – with the © symbol and/or “copyright,” your name/blog name and year or years of publication. Mine says: Copyright 2012-2016 Jade and Oak.

You should also include a longer statement somewhere on your blog indicating what you are/aren’t okay with others using.

For example, if you want people to use your stock photos for any reason, indicate that. But if you don’t want anyone to reuse your work or you require a link back, lay all of that out as well. (You can read more about copyrights here.)

 

3 // Linking to other content

Speaking of links, as a blogger you will likely be linking to other people’s content or blog posts.

Most people are more than happy to have you refer to their content if you are providing a link to their site. Just sharing a link isn’t a copyright issue, but if you are sharing someone else’s photos, graphics, videos or quoting a huge section of their blog post, you need to email them and make sure that they are ok with it.

 

 

4 // Your email list

If you are using email marketing for your blog or business, there are a few things to consider to make sure you’re not breaking the law.

The most important thing is to include an address in every email newsletter (physical address or a PO Box). This is to help prevent spam. In general, you want to avoid being spammy with your email list and want to make sure you aren’t emailing people who have opted out.

You can learn more about email lists and the law on my blog.

 

5 // Protecting yourself from liability

Blogs are an amaaaaazing source of info – I love that you can learn so much from fellow bloggers. However, you should be careful to make sure you won’t be held liable for something that could be seen as professional advice. Just like how I included a legal disclaimer at the top of this post, consider if you need any disclaimers for info that you provide.

For example, if you write about weight loss on your blog, it’s important to remind your readers that you aren’t a health professional and your blog posts are for informational or entertainment purposes only and should not be relied upon for health advice. (And if you are some sort of professional, remind people that you aren’t acting in your professional capacity and providing them with any specific or personalized advice.)

Most people will realize that your blog posts are informational in nature and aren’t medical, legal, health, tax, etc advice. But it doesn’t hurt to just remind people that you aren’t providing professional advice, so include a clear disclaimer as necessary. If someone could maybe mistake it as professional advice, err on the side of caution.

 

6 // Money issues

Yay you’re making money on your blog! Now you just need to make sure that you’re properly reporting it to the IRS for taxes.

In general, once you are making more than $400 per year, you need to start reporting that to the government and pay taxes as necessary. However, you can also take advantage of legitimate business expenses or deductions for your blog as well (things like your hosting service, email service provider, graphic designer, etc.)

Whether you’re a brand new blogger or you’ve been making money for awhile, start tracking your income and expenses right now so you can be ready when it’s tax time.

(**Canadian bloggers –> This is the same for us! You need to claim your income and any gifts received in your income taxes.)

 

Free Email Course

I know the law can be daunting and overwhelming. These are some legal basics to get you started but there is more to know! If you are interested in learning more, sign up for my free email course, Legalize Your Blog, to get legal tips sent straight to your inbox.

Also check out my blog Jade and Oak for even more about running your blog and biz legally! If you have any more questions about the legal side of blogging, let me know!

Blogging Legally 101 | Following all the laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, images, disclosures, and more? Click over to the post for the blogging legal basics - what you need to know to avoid any legal pitfalls!

Thanks a mill, Jackie for popping in here and giving up some Legal 101 Scoop! Guys, be sure to head over to Jade and Oak for all your legal questions. 

Related: How to Start a Blog

Related: Easily Increase Blog Traffic

Related: 5 Mistakes Bloggers Make when they Monetize Their Blogs

 

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Free #Blogging #Goal Setting #Printable Worksheet | How to set goals to maximize your productivity and grow your blog fast!

How To Grow Your Blog Faster By Setting Blogging Goals [FREE printable!]

When I finally got serious about treating my blog like a business, I started setting blogging goals.

Do you do this? I can’t even tell you how much it has helped me.

By actually sitting down, having brainstorming sessions, getting laser clear about my focus, and then setting those goals and planning out all the steps I need to do to get there, my productivity has gone through the roof. No more spending time on things that don’t get me closer to where I want to be. It makes everything SO. MUCH. CLEARER.

And as a mama who only gets work-time during naps and sometimes evenings, I needed that clarity. I couldn’t waste time on fluffy stuff.

I thought I’d share the method that is really working for me so you can maximize your productivity too!

How to set blogging goals to grow your blog, including a free goal setting worksheet and printable editorial calendar!

FREE Goal Setting Worksheet

Before we dive in, get instant access to the goal-setting worksheet AND printable editorial calendar here. These two resources are going to be SO helpful in getting you organized and insanely productive… promise.

Editorial Calendar & Goal Setting Worksheets

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Grab these free templates (the exact ones I use!) to help you plan out your blog content and set goals. Your productivity is about to go through the roof, yo.

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What are not blog goals:

Let me be clear on what I consider goals to be.

Something like “publish 10 posts” doesn’t count.

I don’t actually consider blog posts and newsletters “goals”. This is where my editorial calendar comes in. I have a certain schedule that I stick to (for example: blog posts on Sundays and Tuesdays and a newsletter on Wednesdays).

That content is just my regular, weekly stuff that doesn’t change. I plan out my content on the editorial calendar, and tackle my goal-setting and related to-do list for that on a separate sheet.

 

So ARE blog goals?

My blogging goals tend to be things that are growing my biz outside of content and newsletters. It’s like working ON my business instead of just “in it”.

Things like developing new products to launch, working on site improvements, creating an email sequence, pitching sponsored posts, doing webinars or collaborations, working on my social media strategy, updating old posts with new pinnable images, etc.

See how those are different from regular content production?

If I forget to set goals, then all I end up doing is producing more content but without my working on strategies to continually grow my blogging income.

 

Alright, let’s dive into the goal-setting method…

 

1 // Set 90 Day Goals

I personally like working in 90-day chunks, but you can work in 30-day if that is better for you.

The reason why I like 90-day is because since I tend to be setting quite large business goals, I need to give myself enough time to actually accomplish them.

The 90 day chunks means that your year is broken up into 4 quarters:

  • Quarter 1: January – March (deadline: April 1)
  • Quarter 2: April – June (deadline: July 1)
  • Quarter 3: July – September (deadline: Oct 1)
  • Quarter 4: October – December (deadline: Jan 1)

Here are a few examples of some 90 day goals: 

  • 90 Day Goal: Launch new line of art prints
  • 90 Day Goal: Go live with new blog design
  • 90 Day Goal: Start blog newsletter and have 5 opt in spots across blog
  • 90 Day Goal: Audit and update old blog posts with better SEO, affiliate links, and pinterest image
  • 90 Day Goal: Launch a new webinar series of DIY project tutorials on blog

See how those are pretty big goals?

You don’t want to set more than 2-5 goals for the 90 day period. Keep them attainable and realistic. If you always set too many goals or goals that are too big, it’ll just get overwhelming.

On the other hand, if you don’t set any goals, then you’ll probably spend your 90 days producing blog content, floating around on social media, but not actually moving your business forward.

Have a brainstorming session once per quarter to flush out these big ideas. I make a morning of it. I grab my coffee, notebook, and carve out a few quiet hours to dedicate JUST to brainstorming. I get so much more done this way and I can plan out months of work, tasks, content, in advance.

Blogging Goals | How to set goals for your blog and business | Blog Goal Setting Worksheet | Using a blog planner and editorial calendar

 

2 // Break Goals Down into Tasks

Once you’ve written out your 90-day goals, it’s time to break those down into task lists. The task list might be long and that’s OK. I want you to literally break it down as much as you can so that these become very specific items that you can cross off your to-do list as you work through it.

So let’s take the 90-day goal of “Start a blog newsletter and have 5 opt-in spots across blog”. The task list for this might look like:

  • Research and decide on email system to use
  • Sign up for email system
  • Design overall template to use for newsletters
  • Find your top 3 most popular blog posts on Google Analytics and brainstorm opt-in freebie for each post (opt-in might be a worksheet, design guide, printable, etc)
  • Create opt-in freebie #1
  • Create opt-in freebie #2
  • Create opt-in freebie #3
  • Develop opt-in sign up boxes and embed them into the 3 blog posts
  • Embed those opt-in boxes in any additional blog posts where the freebie might be relevant
  • Add general opt-in box to blog homepage
  • Add general pop-up opt-in box to blog
  • Create newsletter schedule

See how that’s a big list? It’s a lot. That’s why you want to focus on just a handful (or less) of goals over a 90 day period so that you can actually see them through.

It’s the worst when you only get things half finished before moving on to the next, and then you never go back and call it done.

3 // Allocate Tasks into Calendar

Once you have those big lists written out for each goal, then it’s time to take those lists and plan them into your calendar.

You may not know exactly which day you are going to work on each thing, but you might plan it out by week. So for instance, week 1 you would want X, Y, and Z done. Then week 2 you’d move onto the next 3 things. That way each week you know *exactly* what smaller tasks you need to accomplish in order to be able to cross that big goal off the list after 30 or 90 days.

Having this sort of to do list for each week, along with my overall blog editorial calendar for content, means that I always know exactly what I’m meant to be working on. There is never a morning where I get to my computer and say “Hmm, what do I feel like doing today?” It’s already planned out for me. This saves me so much time and has put my productivity into overdrive.

Blogging Goals | How to set goals for your blog and business | Blog Goal Setting Worksheet | Using a blog planner and editorial calendar

 

4 // Keep tabs on Progress

At the end of every month I’ll check in to see how I’m doing against the bigger list. Sometimes things have gone off the rails (hello, life!) and that’s cool. I’ll just try to course-correct and see what I can do to try to still accomplish the 90 day goal.

By checking in at the end of each month, it means that I can see pretty clearly if I’m getting done what I need to.

 

5 // Re-visit and Move to Next Quarter

When you get to the end of that quarter? Daaaamn it feels good to check those big goals off the list. You actually feel like you accomplished something BIG instead of just keeping up with the status quo.

If you don’t get all of them crossed off, then evaluate why that was. Maybe life just got crazy and it wasn’t feasible. Maybe you bit off more than you could chew and planned too many big goals. Maybe you under-estimated the task list associated with each goal. Whatever it was, try to understand it so that you don’t make the same mistake again.

Like I said earlier, I tend to only have say 2 big 90-day goals at a time. There is still lots of other work going on from writing blog content, writing newsletters, managing etsy shop, scheduling social media, etc. I want to stay realistic about what I can accomplish.

Blogging Goals | How to set goals for your blog and business | Blog Goal Setting Worksheet | Using a blog planner and editorial calendar

 

Grab The (FREE!) Goal Setting Worksheet

I designed these printables for myself to use and have LOVED using them. I write out my goals and brainstorm the tasks on the goals worksheet, and then allocate the tasks to my editorial calendar and to-do list for that week.

Editorial Calendar & Goal Setting Worksheets

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Grab these free templates (the exact ones I use!) to help you plan out your blog content and set goals. Your productivity is about to go through the roof, yo.

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Free #Blogging #Goal Setting #Printable Worksheet | How to set goals to maximize your productivity and grow your blog fast!

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Why You Need to Build an #Email List as a #Blogger. The 5 reasons why you should grow an email list to increase your sales and traffic.

5 Reasons Why Every Blogger Needs To Build An Email List

Email lists are having a moment, and as a blogger I’m sure you’ve read over and over again that you *NEED* to have one.

When I started blogging in 2010 blog email lists weren’t really a thing – you had RSS feeds where each of your posts would pop into the reader’s email inbox, but it was all automated and you didn’t have to produce extra content for it. Then newsletters slowly became more popular, and now NOT having an email list is pretty shocking.

I didn’t start collecting emails until 2015 (5 years into blogging!!) and damn if I’m not kicking myself for starting earlier.

 

Free Newsletter Template:

Before we get started, make sure to grab my email newsletter template. This is a plug-and-play guide, so you won’t ever be stuck wondering what to write in your blog newsletters! Such a win.

Get the Newsletter Template

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Get the plug-and-play newsletter template to take all the guesswork out of writing your weekly newsletters!

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Why You Need to Build an Email List:

If you are still on the fence about whether you want to start collecting emails, I think you are about to be convinced.

Here’s why…

 

1 / You Own It

With social media platforms, you can build up your audience like crazy, but then one day the algorithm changes and all of a sudden only a small portion of that audience actually sees your stuff. Or your account could get hacked. Or maybe that platform goes away all together. Or your blog might go down. You just never know.

With an email list though, that bad boy is ALL yours. You own that list and can pop in on your readers there whenever you need to.

 

2 / It’s a Direct Line of Communication

Getting an email is SO much more personal than seeing an update on social media or a new blog post. It’s more like getting a little love note from a friend.

Having such a direct line of communication is an amazing tool. You know your readers are probably checking their email multiple times a day (unlike social media or your blog itself) and will see your email no matter what.

You can also ask for feedback via email way easier than with blog posts or on social media. Ask your list what they would like from you. Ask them to take a survey, or ask their opinion on something. It’s a great way to figure out what kind of content you should produce and what potential products you could develop in order to serve your audience better.

The biggest thing about an email list is that you want to be providing them with TONS of value. They should be your VIPs – getting all the insider scoop and be the first to know about everything.

 

3 / You Can Build Stronger Relationships

Because email is such a personal form of communication, it is a great way to build a really strong relationship with your audience.

Make sure you personalize those emails (after all, they signed up to hear from YOU, so don’t be shy!). Elicit conversation by asking them to hit reply and tell you what they think. Respond to them when they do write to you.

All of those things help to foster a meaningful connection and trust. You want to cultivate an engaged and loyal readership in that list – people who are going to be your biggest cheerleaders and who can’t wait to read what you have to say. Plus, building up that trust and credibility? Well when you have a product to sell, well that’s gonna convert into more sales. We all like to buy from people we feel like we really know and like.

 

4 / It’s Your Best Sales Tool

Your email list is going to be your absolute best sales tool. It’s the most effective and targeted way to make sales, and get your product or service seen.

Once you have an email list setup and you have a product to sell, you will want to create a “sales funnel”. Basically this means that you get people to sign up to your list by offering some kind of opt-in incentive, and then walk them through what you can do for them that will help them.

So let’s go through an example. Say you had an opt-in incentive which was a design guide to decorate a room, and your product is a course on how to decorate your house or a service like design consulting, then you would want to create a series of intro emails that give the reader lots of value but also pitches them (in a non-sleazy way) what you’re selling. You might send them 2-3 emails on various tips on how to decorate, but then also 1-2 emails that pitch your product.

There is a whole art to creating sales funnels, so google around for more info on that if you want to do further reading!

[FYI – I use (and loveConvertKit as my email service provider because the ability to create email funnels is ridiculously easy!! Plus you can create opt-in’s, segment your list, landing pages, and all kinds of cool stuff.]

 

5 / It’s A Monetization Asset

Beyond selling your own products or services, you can also monetize your email list in other ways. You can insert a display ad right into the email. You can highlight affiliate products really well in email and drive those affiliate sales.

Be clear on the rules of whatever affiliate program you’re using (Amazon for example doesn’t like you to use affiliate links in emails) and you always need to make it clear that affiliate links have been used.

Similarly, ff you are working with brands on sponsored campaigns, offering them a mention in your newsletter can help you drive up your sponsored post fee. If the brand knows that they are going to get a mention in front of 500 or 5000 eyes on email, that’s a huge asset.

 

My best advice? Grow your list with intention.

This is my one caveat when it comes to list-building.

Be intentional about why you are creating your list and who you want on it. Even if you don’t have any products or services to sell yet (that’s cool!), think about what kinds of products you might create in the future and who might buy them. You need to be really clear on your target market and make sure you are getting those people on your list.

Just having random people sign up to your list for all kinds of various opt-in’s will build your numbers, but it will be a disjointed list that doesn’t have a common theme. You’ll likely get a lot of unsubscribes and be at a loss for what type of product to create since everyone’s interests will be really different.

You want to make sure your opt-in freebie relates to the end product you will be trying to sell. For example, if someone signs up to your list because you offered a free meal planning printable, then it wouldn’t make much sense if down the road you were trying to sell them interior design services. They don’t really connect well, you know?

Plus, if you have this great targeted list and build up that community, then it will be much easier to know what to write about in your newsletters. Because you know what those people are interested in, you will be able to come up with lots of ways of providing them value.

As always, you need to think of your blog as an overall brand and biz if you’re going to be successful at building it up into a super profitable gig.

 

Free Newsletter Template:

Before you go, make sure to snag my email list template. Take the guesswork out of your weekly newsletters and use this as a insert-and-go guide!

Get the Newsletter Template

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Get the plug-and-play newsletter template to take all the guesswork out of writing your weekly newsletters!

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How to Build Email Funnels:

If you are ready to take building your list to the next level, I put together an email course all about how to create email funnels, or “sequences”.

How to Grow your Email List [free course!]

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Want to know how to grow your email list AND how to build "funnels" or email sequences that work on autopilot? Get in on this free email course and I'll show you how!

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Don’t forget to Pin it!

Why You Need to Build an #Email List as a #Blogger. The 5 reasons why you should grow an email list to increase your sales and traffic.

Blogger Email Lists 101 | If you aren't building an email list as a blogger, you're making a HUGE mistake. Here are the 5 reasons why you should build an email list to grow your sales and increase your audience from the beginning. Click through to read why, and tips on getting started!

 

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8 Ways to Increase your Blog Traffic

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