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The 5 Mistakes Bloggers Make When They Monetize Their Blog

Back when I started my own DIY + design blog in 2010, most fellow bloggers were also just starting theirs as a hobby – an interest in sharing their creativity and developing a community online. I feel like today there are a lot more people who start blogs for business, with an intention of monetizing their new venture. Either way, whether you start as a hobby and then eventually monetize, or monetize your blog right from the beginning, there are mistakes that I notice over and over again.

If you’re wanting to launch your own DIY + design blog, listen up. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid.

Oh… and how do I know? Because I made every single one of them myself. #truthtime

Want to make money blogging? Don't make these blog monetization mistakes. Click through to find out what they are and how to avoid them.

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5 Biggest Mistakes Bloggers Make When Monetizing:

Alright. Here they are.

The 5 mistakes I don’t want you to make.

– Mistake 1: Under-valuing their work

As a new blogger, one of the biggest questions that I had when I started working with brands was what the heck to charge. I’m pretty sure I did an in-depth blog post and campaign in exchange for one can of paint.

As much as I want to support and work with brands that I trust and love, you also need to get paid for the content you are providing. Freebies are wonderful, but they don’t pay the bills, you know?

As a blogger, you are running your brand and your business. You need to treat it as such. Your time, costs, and skills all have to be taken into account when setting a rate for working with brands. You have taken time and effort to cultivate an engaged audience who trust what you are saying, and that is hugely valuable from a marketing point of you.  You are offering some great PR for a brand when you highlight a product to your readership, and so that needs to be compensated accordingly. You are providing amazing photography, possibly even a video, social media outreach, and a piece of blog content that is going to live on the internet. All of that means something.

Make sure your rates are fair for all parties involved.

 

-Mistake 2: Bombarding readers with display ads

Have you ever landed on a blog and can barely read the article or get a feel for the blogger because there are ads coming at you from every direction?

Yeah, me too.

And I hate to say it, but I have totally been guilty of this myself on my own blog.

There is nothing worse as a reader than getting totally bombarded with ads. You can’t really blame them for quickly exiting from your site when there are a zillion things flashing, popping up, and possibly even making noises at them. And how are you going to build a loyal and large readership like that?

It can be exciting to think that you can make money by placing ads on your website, but you need to weigh that against the experience for your reader. Ultimately the more you are able to grow your readership, the more you’ll be able to make from your blog in all revenue streams, so you don’t want to turn people off. If you do decide to place display ads on your site, you need to do it in strategic spots that are high revenue-generators without being totally off-putting to your readers.

 

-Mistake 3: Not having a strategic business plan

Often when people start a blog they think of it as an online diary. Usually there isn’t any forethought into what the blog might grow into, or what the ultimate business goals are. And that’s totally cool if you want to just be a hobby blogger.

But if you are serious about making an income from your blog, then you need to get your business hat on and realize that you are building a brand. You need to have goals and a direction, and as I mentioned in this post, you need to be thinking about what products or services you are going to start selling. This is how you are going to diversify your revenue streams and have the opportunity to build a business for yourself that is going to pay well.

What is your ultimate monetization goal for your blog and how do you plan to get there?

You need to have a concrete vision of where you want to go with your blogging biz and map out the steps you need to take to achieve it.

Want to start making money blogging? Do it the smart way and avoid these 5 mistakes every blogger makes when they monetize their blog! Click through for the full post and more online entrepreneur biz tips.

 

-Mistake 4: Forgetting to focus on creating amazing content

When you decide to monetize your blog, you can get totally swept up in trying to understand how to do it, optimizing ad placements, reaching out to brands, sharing a zillion affiliate links, brainstorming product and service ideas, and figuring out how to approach marketing them.

But here’s the thing: You still need to focus on creating really amazing content for your blog to build that readership.

None of those avenues of monetization are going to pay you a dollar if you don’t have anyone to sell it to.

Display ads rely on traffic, affiliate marketing relies on having an audience that are going to trust your opinion and buy products, brands are only going to want to work with you if you have a reasonable following of engaged readers, and you aren’t going to be able to sell any products and services if you don’t have an audience to market them to.

So while I don’t want you to ignore monetization, you need to also make sure you spend enough time creating super stellar content that gives tons of value. This is going to be what cultivates that amazing readership who trust what you say, who actually want to hear from you, and eventually will feel comfortable buying from you.

 

-Mistake 5: Not building an email list

You can have a huge instagram following, big numbers on facebook, or large audiences on any other social media platform, but here’s the catch: you don’t OWN any of that.

Any of those platforms can make a change in their algorithm or disappear tomorrow, and you wouldn’t have anything to show for it.

The most important thing you need to be focusing on? Building your email list.

These are folks who are going to let you into their inbox every week – that’s HUGE. It isn’t just some passing pic in a feed that they may or may not see, this is major access right to them. This is going to help you monetize in so many ways.

Want to work with a brand? Tell them how many email subscribers you have and how you could offer a mention of their product in a newsletter.

Want to sell a product or service? You aren’t going to get better conversion numbers than from the people on your list.

Want to do some affiliate marketing? An email list means direct access to people who trust your voice.

Work on providing insane value to your readers so that they not only want to join your list, but look forward to opening that email from you week after week. Create opt-in incentives and make sure you have obvious places on your blog for readers to sign up.

I personally use and recommend ConvertKit as an email service provider. They have so many amazing features and are built specifically for bloggers.

Want to start making money blogging? Do it the smart way and avoid these 5 mistakes every blogger makes when they monetize their blog! Click through for the full post and more online entrepreneur biz tips.

Want FREE blog monetization tips?

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I made every single one of these mistakes. It’s no big deal if you have too, but it’s time to course-correct.

Maybe you are just starting out with monetizing your blog, or have been haphazardly trying out monetization strategies without any success. Either way, let’s figure it out and get you on the right track. Make sure you sign up for my FREE 7-day email course that takes you through how to monetize the smart way, right from the start.

Sign up below.

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Top 10 Must-Have Tools For Bloggers

There are so many tools and software out there to help you run and create a blog, it can be totally overwhelming. I’m constantly hearing about new programs coming out, things seem to be ever-changing, and it’s hard to stay on top of it all.

There are a few programs and websites though that are my absolute go-to’s as a DIY + design blogger and keep my business afloat. I love it when I find something that is user-friendly and makes my life easier in some way. I try to create “systems” in my business so that everything runs as efficiently as possible.

If you’re looking to create a blog or already run a blogging biz, here are my top 10 must-have tools

(Please note that you don’t need ALL of these things to run a successful blog biz. I know that costs can add up! So be sure to add new tools to your toolbox as your budget allows.)

The top 10 must-have tools and programs for running your DIY and design blogging biz. Ever blogger and online entrepreneur needs these!! Click through for the free download cheatsheet!

Affiliate links have been used when appropriate. Please see my Policies page for more info.

 

My Top 10 Blogging Tools:

 

1 / WORDPRESS: For creating your blog

I know Squarespace can be all kinds of pretty and easy to setup (I hear great things!), but I am a wordpress girl through and through. Once you get used to it, it’s pretty easy to figure things out on your own (and worst case, google it! Honestly, there is an answer for ALL wordpress issues out there).

I also love that I can feel somewhat tech-y knowing how to edit my site, change up the look, ensure good SEO, etc. Oh and the other great thing? Because WordPress is used by a zillion people, there are plugins for everything. And most of them are free. For example, if you want to start selling products, then the WooCommerce plugin is free and waiting for you.

If you want to get more of the in’s and out’s on how to start and create a blog, including wordpress install info and plugins, be sure to check out this step-by-step guide. It’s walks you through all the nitty gritty stuff.

 

2 / SITEGROUND: For hosting your blog

SiteGround is widely popular with wordpress bloggers and is so highly regarded in general. In my own experience (they host all my sites) – there is nothing bad to say about this company. Their rates are very competitive and the customer service is un-matched.

[FYI – I also recommend BlueHost as an excellent start-up host provider since you literally can’t beat their prices. Although I have had good experience with them in the past, I have heard from a few folks that haven’t had the best time with their customer service. But if you are just starting out and want the absolute cheapest option, this is likely it.]

Click here for my “How to Start a Blog” page for way more info, including detailed instructions to get you up and running.

 

Get access to all of my resource guides, printables, and worksheets for bloggers below!

Get Access the Private Blogger's Library

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Want free worksheets, guides, templates, and swipe files that will help you grow your blog, pitch brands, increase your affiliate revenue, get organized, and start your own online shop? Obviously, right? Sign up here and get access to literally every resource I have ever created. This is gold, yo.

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3 / CANVA: For creating amazing images

Ever wondered how to create amazing graphics for your blog? Especially if you don’t have the bucks to shell out for Illustrator or another paid program?

Well, get ready, because you’re about to lose hours and hours of time on Canva creating the most gorgeous graphics ever. Honestly, I LOVE this program.

I use Adobe Illustrator for a lot of things, but I come back to Canva regularly because their design templates are great, they have so many options, and the interface is just crazy easy to use. Major heart eyes over here.

 

4 / BOARDBOOSTER: For scheduling Pinterest

Pinterest is ridiculously important for bloggers, and particularly those in the DIY + design niche, where good graphics and photography are a big player in attracting readers to your site.

My fave Pinterest scheduler without a doubt is Boardbooster. This little tool will change your  life. I use all 3 of the features (campaigns, scheduler, and looping) to manage my Pinterest. I pin to group boards, pin new content to my own boards, and then loop older pins up to the top of my boards to ensure daily pinning. It means that I look like an active pinner and gain lots of followers, but only have to spend an hour a week on Pinterest. Amazing, right? It’s the best money I spend every month (they have plans starting at only $5!).

I wrote a detailed post about how to setup your Boardbooster, that takes you through step-by-step, with screenshots.

The top 10 must-have tools and programs for running your DIY and design blogging biz. Ever blogger and online entrepreneur needs these!! Click through for the free download cheatsheet!

 

5 / BUFFER: For social media scheduling

Buffer is another excellent scheduling tool – I use it for Facebook (pages and groups) and Instagram. It allows you to upload all of your pics, write out your captions, and schedule your posts for weeks and months in advance.

For instagram, it can’t actually post for you, but you get a little pop-up on your phone when it’s time to post and then it’s just a matter of hitting a few clicks to publish.

Sitting down once every few weeks to plan out your social media content will make your life so much easier.

 

 

6 / CONVERT KIT: For your email provider

If you plan on focusing on list-building (which I reeeeally encourage you do to build your biz!), and want to have a smart email system to do it with, then ConvertKit is it.

I switched over to ConvertKit  from MailChimp and I’m loving it. The creator of ConvertKit built it specifically for bloggers, and it means that there are some really smart features.

Do you have multiple opt-in’s on your site? No problem – they only get counted as 1 subscriber so you aren’t having to double pay for them.

Want to setup an automation sequence for a free course or other marketing tool? Easy-peasy in ConvertKit.

Need to tag folks so that you know what particular things they are interested in from you? Takes 5 seconds.

I could go on and on. There are lots of really great features at an affordable monthly price.

When I first switched over, I was a little bummed that the emails didn’t look as “pretty” and didn’t have the drag-and-drop setup feature that Mailchimp had. But then I realized that I actually like getting emails from bloggers that look more like an email from a friend and don’t take a million years to load with a ton of images. Plus apparently fewer images also means they are less likely to go into spam folders. Who knew?!

Read more here about why it’s so important that you build an email list as a blogger.

 

7 / CREATIVE MARKET: For graphics, fonts, and all things pretty

Creative Market is a rabbit hole that I get COMPLETELY lost in from time to time. From amazing fonts, to gorgeous stock photography, to really cute graphics and clip art, there is so much fun stuff to browse. If you are going to create printables, do any kind of graphic design (even basic stuff) for your blog, or need stock photos for your posts, then this is where you want to go to.

If you sign up for their newsletter, you get free stuff every Monday to download! I’m always super pumped to see what they are sending out every week. Go sign up now – you’ll love it!

 

8 / WAVE APPS: For your bookkeeping

One downside of running your own biz is having to handle all the numbers and bookkeeping, but I have found a tool that makes this WAY less painful. Stop using a plain spreadsheet to track your biz expenses and sign up for Wave. It will change your life (it’s free!).

I track all of my expenses and pay-days in there, create super profresh looking invoices, and can get a quick glimpse of what my overall income is in a flash on the dashboard. You can even have multiple profiles – so I separate out blog, etsy shop, and in-person design/consulting services as 3 separate entities so that I can see the income from them super clearly. It’s an amazing tool! Makes tax time so much easier, too.

 

9 / LEADPAGES: For your marketing

Leadpages is a tool that allows you to create really beautiful landing pages and leadboxes. You use these when you have some kind of incentive to offer your readers and want them to opt-in with their email address.

LeadPages is not a cheap tool, but they really have it nailed when it comes to understanding how to increase conversions and turn readers into subscribers. Their templates make it really easy to create attractive pop ups and sales pages.

I also wanted to point out that ConvertKit also offers landing pages and opt-in forms, but they are more basic and don’t have the variety of templates and functionality LeadPages does. That’s why I use both systems and integrate them together.

 

10 / KingSumo Giveaways: To build your email list with giveaways

If you do any giveaways on your blog, you might have used a free service like RaffleCopter or Gleam. Those are fine, but generally when I do giveaways I want the entry to focus on the thing I’m after most: the email address. Building my email list is waaaay more important to me than social media follows.

The best tool I have found to do this is called KingSumo Giveaways.

With KingSumo Giveaways, the ONLY thing you collect as an entry is the reader’s email address. It’s an amaaazing way to help build your list. Then if the reader wants even more entries, they share the giveaway with a special URL and for every friend they refer they get a bunch of additional entries (you set the number). It means that there is major incentive to share the giveaway – total win for the blogger.

It’s a little bit pricey, but it’s a one-time cost and if you do giveaways a few times a year and have list-building as an important aspect of your biz, then I totally think it’s worth it. I much prefer a one time cost then a monthly subscription for something like this.

 

That’s a wrap! My top 10 tools.

 

You can check out other programs and tools I love over on this page, and you can also get in on my FREE 7-day email course on how to monetize your blog by dropping your email below.

Create a Profitable Blog: FREE eCourse

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Sign up for my FREE 7-day email course to get action-packed lessons on monetizing your blog delivered straight to your inbox. Go from hobby blog to legit biz.

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How To Make Money Blogging Selling Products and Services

How to make money blogging. It’s one of the most popular questions I get asked.

Blog monetization can look different from blogger to blogger, genre to genre. Everyone has a slightly different revenue mix, depending on what monetization strategies they have put in place.

There are 4 main streams of income generation as a blogger:

#1 // Display advertising
#2 // Sponsored work
#3 // Affiliate marketing
#4 // Selling products and services

Streams 1-3 are the more “traditional” forms of direct blog monetization, but if you want to have an income stream that YOU are in control of, has the potential for large growth and major financial reward, then #4 is where it’s at.

The most successful bloggers know that the keys to really making money blogging is diversity and selling your own product or service.

Want to make money blogging? Here is why you NEED to sell products or services on your blog and how to get started. Blogging biz tips you don't want to miss! Click through for the blog post and FREE eBook download!!

Selling your own stuff is all about using your blog as a vehicle to highlight your product or service and sell to your readership. This is the “secret sauce” to making the dolla dolla bills, you guys.

You need to think of yourself as an overall brand – not “just a blog”. If you look at the most successful bloggers out there in the DIY and design space, they pretty much all sell something. Even the blogs that get insanely high traffic aren’t just relying on display ads and sponsored work – they want in on a piece of that selling action themselves! From apps, planners, eBooks, interior design services, coaching, prints, pillows, mugs, whatever – most are selling something.

Here’s the thing. As a DIY + design blogger, you are a creative person by nature. I can pretty much bank on that. And because you have started a blog and are thinking about monetizing, that also tells me that you are entrepreneurial. I know… it’s like I know you, right? Ha.

Well, this combo is epic. Creative + Entrepreneur = BOSS.

 

THE ADVANTAGES:

In case you haven’t already guessed it, you have so much opportunity with this stream! It can be easily the most rewarding and exciting part about your blogging biz. If you really want to make a full-time income, then you NEED to think about this stream of revenue. With the other 3 streams you are relying on other brands and companies to pay you, whereas here you are paying yourself. YESSSSS.

The biggest pro’s:

Highest Income Potential

You are selling your own stuff, so the sky is the limit here. Figure out the right product or service, hustle hard, and this could be hugely rewarding financially!

You are in Control 

No relying on other brands for sponsored work or ad agencies for campaigns, this is ALL YOU. You decide each biz move you want to make.

Major Creative Opportunity

I can safely bet that part of the reason you started blogging was because you wanted a creative outlet. Take that one step further with a product line or service. You’re going to love it!

Better able to rely on Income

Sure you still can’t rely on this revenue stream as you would with a 9-5 paycheque, but once you are selling, you will be able to get a good sense of what you can expect month over month. Plus, if it’s a service that you are offering, you can book yourself ahead of time with clients and have a clear idea of what your pay will look like.

 

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

If you haven’t already guessed it, this stream is also going to be the most time consuming and daunting. Figuring out what products or services to sell, manufacturing, liaising with customers, marketing, and all of the elements that go into operating a successful business are going to be hard work.

Some of the con’s?

Time Investment

Obviously developing, manufacturing, shipping a product line or offering a service, plus all the marketing and other elements that come with those, is a big time investment. Are there things you are currently doing in your blog biz that aren’t seeing a good return on investment? If so, I would try to eliminate those tasks so that you can free up your time to focus on this. Are there other tasks you can streamline better (like for example, scheduling social media or writing your blog posts in batches)? Get those systems in place.

Potential Start-Up Cost

Whether it’s materials, website development, software, courses, whatever … there is likely going to be some level of start up cost associated with developing this new arm of your biz. I suggest trying to bite off only small chunks at a time so that you aren’t going in way deep right from the get go. It can take a few try’s to figure out what is and isn’t going to work.

Higher level of Risk

Both in terms of money and time. But highest potential pay-off, too.

Scary!

It’s hard enough to put yourself out there on a blog, let alone trying to sell something that you created. It feels all kinds of personal and scary. But you know what? You just need to put it aside and get out there. You’ll never know until you try.

Yep, I went and created a free eBook on the topic! Scroll to the bottom of the post to snag it. 

Want to make money blogging? Here is why you NEED to sell products or services on your blog and how to get started. Blogging biz tips you don't want to miss! Click through for the blog post and FREE eBook download!!

 

WHAT COULD YOU SELL? 

I listed a whole bunch of ideas in this blog post, but there are generally 3 categories of things you might sell as a blogger: Physical Products, Digital Products, and Services.

1 // Physical Products

I would recommend starting with a base product line of 10 stellar items. These can be the same general item, but with variations (for instance – a pillow line with 10 designs).

One of the great things about physical products is that you can sell online through your existing blogging biz and potentially a third party site (like Etsy), but then also move some of those sales offline and sell at craft shows / trade fairs and wholesale to boutiques. This is what I have done with my own shop and it has been a good way of testing different avenues of selling, and building up a solid income.

Think back to some of your fave projects. Are any of them things you could potentially make, sell, and ship?  Are the cost margins good? Could you scale up and make many at once (or hire parts of it out) if you got big order volume? Is the product easy enough to ship? Could you develop a base product line of 10 items and then potentially introduce seasonal product lines a few times a year? These are all questions you’ll want to consider as you decide on a product.

2 // Digital Products

Digital products are items that are virtual – there is nothing physical about them. The product is sold and delivered online to the customer. The best thing about digital products is how passive they are. The time commitment upfront can be huge in terms of prepping the product, but once you’ve completed it and have it for sale, there is usually almost no activity required on your part. Just listening to those cha-ching’s, as the cash hits your bank account. YESSSS.

3 // Services

Like with products, the sky is the limit here on what you could offer. Here are some key questions to consider:

  • What are you especially skilled at?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What is it that your readers are always asking for your help on?
  • Are there other folks offering the same or similar services? If so, what would your unique slant be?
  • Do you want to offer your services solely online, or are you interested in in­-person services as well? 

If you’re really stumped, or want some feedback on a few ideas, I suggest surveying your readers. They are your target audience and you want to be sure that whatever you offer would appeal to them and answer a problem they might have.

Obviously there is a cap in service-based biz in terms of how much you can do. If you have a clear idea though of the number of clients or hours of work you need per month to make the income that you are shooting for, then this will be your goal. Down the road you could always look at hiring parts of your services out to an employee in order to expand and take on more clients.

 

FREE DOWNLOAD TO HELP GET YOU STARTED: 

I know all of this can seem daunting at first, but it is going to be so worth the time investment if you really want to grow your biz and make money blogging.

Grab the eBook I have created below — it’s got more info, case studies, and big ol’ lists of product and service ideas. Plus we do a deeper dive into how to actually start manufacturing products for your line… super useful stuff!

 

5 Simple Strategies To Grow Your Pinterest Traffic and Followers

If you are a blogger or online business owner of any kind, I really hope you are using Pinterest. It is a major game-changer. It can be a HUGE traffic generator for a blogger in any genre – you just need to have a few strategies under your belt to use it effectively. If you understand how set up your Pinterest properly, your audience will grow exponentially and you’ll be able to drive lots of traffic to your blog or biz.

I had been blogging  for 5+ years and used Pinterest haphazardly … mostly for personal use. SUCH A MISTAKE! At the end of 2015, I decided to spend some time amping up my Pinterest game. I purchased a course on Pinterest by Melyssa Griffin. Melyssa lays things out in such an easy to understand way, with step-by-step instructions on what to do. She provides an exact system that you can implement to utilize Pinterest to drive loads of traffic to your blog. She offers a free Pinterest webinar, which you should totally sign up for!

Between implementing her tips, reading tons of blog posts on using Pinterest, and just good ol’ trial and error, I 5x my Pinterest following in about 3 months and increased my Pinterest referral traffic to my blog by about 300%. I’m totally regretting not paying attention to it sooner!

How To Gain Pinterest Followers | Pinterest Branding | Pinterest for Bloggers | Increase Pinterest Following

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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5 Strategies to Grow your Pinterest Traffic:

Here are 5 strategies you can implement TODAY to improve your Pinterest branding, be seen, and gain followers.

 

1 / Amp Up Your Pinterest Profile

That short little area at the top of your Pinterest page is super important. It is your one place to sell yourself!

Have a stellar profile picture that is bright and profesh. I personally like a headshot over a logo – folks are more likely to feel connected to you that way.

Next up, make sure your description explains exactly what you blog about. Be sure to include keywords in here that people might use to find you.  For a home and DIY blogger, you might include “DIY projects”, “interior design”, “decorate” or “home decor”.

Your profile is also a great spot to include a link. You should already have a link to your blog under your main Pinterest name, so this is a good spot to promote any kind of opt-in incentive you might offer to get people to join your email list. Building your email list should be a constant goal!

pinterest-profile

2 / Pin For Your Target Market

You need to consider your Pinterest page as part of your overall brand, instead of as a personal bulletin board.
I made this mistake for a long time and had boards like “Maya’s first birthday” or “Our hallway” that had images in it just for me. Utilize the secret boards feature for that sort of thing, and instead keep your public boards dedicated to your audience.
You need to be pinning what your target market want to see, and always have them in mind. Every single pin should be something that your ideal reader would want to see.

 

3 / On Point Board Branding

When someone visits your Pinterest page, they are making a snap judgment very quickly about your style. They will see your top 10-12 boards, those cover images, and likely decide right then and there about whether to follow you.

You need to make sure that your boards appear cohesive and fit your overall brand. Aim to stick to an overall aesthetic with all of your board pins, so that you develop a branded, cohesive look.

Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse does this really well. As soon as you land on her Pinterest page, you have a very clear sense of her style — and fave color! Yep, the girl is a true-and-true turquoise lover.

want-to-increase-your-blog-traffic-amp-up-your-pinterest-game-here-are-5-strategies-for-improving-your-pinterest-profile-gaining-new-followers-and-driving-traffic-to-your-blog

4 / Better Board Descriptions

Rather than being funny or catchy with your board titles and descriptions, you need to think about showing up high in searches. Name your boards with an accurate title of what they include. For example, “DIY project tutorials” instead of “things to try”. You need to be thinking about search keywords when creating your titles.

Then go in and edit your board descriptions, too. Again, you want the descriptions to include any relevant keywords that are appropriate to your board. For example, on my kitchen design ideas board I have the following words in the description: home decor, kitchen inspiration, decorate, decorating, chic kitchens, IKEA kitchen, kitchen decor, DIY, interior design, kitchen DIY ideas, scandinavian, modern, bohemian, eclectic.
And don’t forget to also make sure you have selected the right category from the drop-down menu when you are creating your boards.

 

5 / Add a “Best Of” Board

As a blogger and biz owner, you want to make sure you are showing off your own fabulous work. Have a board dedicated to your blog as your very first board, and fill it with the best images from your blog posts. This helps show visitors right away what you’re all about and they get to easily dig into your best posts.

You can see an example of this on my girl Amy’s Pinterest page. That first board you see is dedicated to pins from her own blog.

want-to-increase-your-blog-traffic-amp-up-your-pinterest-game-here-are-5-strategies-for-improving-your-pinterest-profile-gaining-new-followers-and-driving-traffic-to-your-blog

These are 5 simple things you can implement right away. Once you do, you’ll suddenly have a way more professional Pinterest page that people are going to want to follow and repin from.

More repins = more engagement = increased traffic to your blog. Holla!

Grow your Pinterest Account - followers, repins, and traffic - by implementing some key strategies. Pinterest can help you grow your blog traffic and income in a huge way if used correctly!

Read about how I setup my scheduling tool, Boardbooster, to auto-pin my content (which saves me soooo much time!).

Want more?

Enter your email below to get instant access to a cheatsheet and workbook that will help guide you through your Pinterest branding. I am gaining a minimum of 1000 new followers every month by implementing these techniques and you totally can too!

How To Make Money Blogging: 24 Ways To Monetize Your Blog

Have you ever wondered how to monetize your blog?

 

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If you want to actually start making a profit from your hobby blog, keep reading… I’m going to give you the insider scoop.

Want to make money blogging? Here are 24 creative ways to increase your income as a blogger and online entrepreneur.

Every blogger has a slightly different revenue mix, depending on what monetization strategies they choose to put in place.

Most successful bloggers will diversify their revenue streams, so that there is money coming in from a variety of sources. It’s a safer bet that way, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket.

There are 4 main streams of income for bloggers:

  1. Display advertising,
  2. Sponsored work,
  3. Affiliate marketing, and
  4. Selling products and services.

 

Within these four main revenue streams, here are 24 ways that bloggers (particularly in the home decor and DIY niche) can monetize.

 

STREAM 1: DISPLAY ADS

 

1 // Display ads through a network

Sell advertising space on your blog through an advertising agency. The network or agency acts as the middle man between you, the blogger, and the brand. Most popular ad network? Google Adsense.

 

2 // Privately sold display ads

Sell advertising space on your blog directly to a company or brand. More work for the blogger as they need to find those companies and manage the relationship, but the income generated is typically higher than with a network as the blogger gets 100% of the profit.

 

looking-to-start-making-money-from-your-blog-24-strategies-for-monetizing-your-diy-and-design-blog-click-through-for-the-full-list-and-a-free-workbook

STREAM 2: SPONSORED WORK

 

3 // Sponsored blog post

A sponsored post is when you write a blog post that reviews a company or a particular product. You are highlighting that product to your readers and including product photography and a link to purchase or learn more.

 

4 // Sponsored social media post or campaign

Similar to writing a sponsored blog post, but on social media instead. This could be a sponsored instagram post or instagram series, facebook campaign, etc. where you are highlight a company and its product(s).

Sponsored work in general can really vary from collaboration to collaboration. Packages could include a blog post + social media outreach, or different combinations of work. You may get sponsored work through an ad agency if you work with one, or can pitch brands yourself and develop relationships and collaborations with them.

 

[If you work with brands on sponsored work, make sure to check out this post on how to pitch brands and how to create a media kit.]

 

STREAM 3: AFFILIATE MARKETING

 

5 // Affiliate product links:

Incorporating affiliate links within your blog so that when a reader clicks that link and purchases the item, you receive a commission. Commission levels vary from around 2-10% for a physical product to up to 50% for a digital product like an eBook or eCourse.

For example, having a “shop your house” section like Chris loves Julia has, would be a great spot to embed affiliate links.

clj

 

Check out this post for 11 Affiliate Marketing Networks you should join, and this post on how to create a strong affiliate marketing strategy.

 

STREAM 4: SELLING YOUR OWN PRODUCTS + SERVICES

This is the secret sauce to building a blog biz and really making money. You aren’t selling anybody else’s products – you are selling your very own. Yes, this stream is going to take more work, but the potential for major revenue is so much greater.

This is really where you are turning your blog into a brand and thriving business.

There are loads of potential product and service ideas….

 

6 // Freelance writing

Write blog posts for other brands and companies or articles for design magazines and other publications.

 

7 // Brand social media management

Freelance as a social media consultant and manage facebook / twitter / pinterest / instagram / etc accounts for other companies and brands. You have become a social media expert with you own blogging biz and many others would love to have your insight!

 

8 // Brand campaign creative management

Run creative campaigns for other brands and companies. Use your talents and network as a blogger to run a campaign that uses blogger outreach, social media outreach, etc.

 

9 // eBook

Write an eBook from scratch or re-purpose some of your existing content into an eBook. Sell on your blog and/or through avenues like Amazon.

 

10 // Create an Online course

Develop an online course that addresses some of the most popular questions you get asked as a blogger. It’s important to think about your target market and be sure you develop something that they need the answer(s) to. Your course could take a number of forms and include workbooks, written content, videos, etc. What do you teach on your blog already? Sewing? Decorating? Hand-lettering? A software? Turn it into a course.

 

11 // Host a Paid Webinar

Paid webinars where you offer your expertise in a 1-2 hour session.

 

12 // Printables

Create printables like worksheets, organizational tools, event printables, and others and sell either on your website or using a selling platform like Etsy (use this link to get your first 40 listings on Etsy free!).

 

13 // Digital artwork

If you are familiar with graphic design, you could sell digital art prints on your website or using a selling platform like Etsy. These are direct downloads so the consumer buys the JPG or PDF version and prints at home.

I do this in my own Etsy shop!

looking-to-start-making-money-from-your-blog-24-strategies-for-monetizing-your-diy-and-design-blog-click-through-for-the-full-list-and-a-free-workbook

 

14 // Photography

If you have become an amazing photographer, you can sell your photography (directly on your blog, through Etsy, or another external platform). Sell as prints or as digital downloads.

You can also sell photography to be used as stock photography for other business owners (this is HUGE right now!).

 

15 // Handmade goods

If you are a DIY and design blogger, you likely make amazing handmade goods. Ever thought of selling any of them? Opening up an Etsy shop or selling directly on your site can be an amazing way for readers to get a little piece of your creations!

 

16 // Interior design e-services

Your readers probably love your style (that’s why they keep coming back to your blog!). Offering e-design services allows them the opportunity to hire you to help them with their pressing design needs. Usually the product delivered is a moodboard and a design plan with layouts and links to purchase products.

 

17 // Virtual assistant services

As a blogger you have developed a bunch of very sought after skills, like writing, editing, social media knowledge, graphic design, and more. These are super valuable and you can market yourself as a Virtual Assistant (VA) for other bloggers.

 

18 // Web design

Have you become a web design rockstar? Market website design as your new service for clients, or create wordpress/blogger templates and sell those.

 

19 // Sell graphics, fonts and/or clip art

If you create amazing graphics or fonts for your blog, try selling them through Creative Market, Etsy, or other platforms out there. There is a big marketplace out there for that.

 

20 // Sewing patterns

Do you blog about sewing? If so, start selling your patterns! I bet your readers will snap ’em up.

 

21 // 3rd party fulfillment products

There are so many more options these days for selling physical products where another company handles the fulfillment so you don’t have to buy and store a bunch of inventory (and handle shipping!). You do the original designs, and then they take over: printing on tee-shirts, mugs, posters, tote bags, whatever. Check out Society6, Zazzle, and other websites to compare pricing and products. This is a really great option for selling physical products but in a passive way.

Kate from Centsational Girl sells photography and styling services, in addition to a fabric lines through Spoonflower, and other products through Zazzle. That is some stellar diversity!

centsational-girl

22 // Subscription newsletter

Offering something super valuable in a weekly newsletter? Lessons or downloadable content? Then turn that into a paid subscription.

 

23 // Membership community

Create a member login area to your website where you share valuable content for your readers. These are usually offered as monthly subscriptions where you promise to upload a certain number of new documents / content each month for your users.

 

24 // Public speaking

There are lots of conferences and training events all over the place that are constantly looking for outgoing folks to speak about their experience and knowledge. Market yourself as an expert within your niche and/or as an expert in blogging. This can be a great way of getting introduced to new audiences, too!

 

The Bottom Line?

I have tested and tried out various monetization strategies myself over the last 5+ years of blogging and have found different levels of success with each.

Unless you have super enormous traffic, selling your own products and services have the potential to be your biggest revenue earnier. Don’t hesitate to dive in to one of these product or service ideas, or something else you’ve been dreaming up. Even if it scares you a little, just push that fear aside and give it a go.

It may take some trial and error before you find the right product or service that sells and brings a good return on investment, but don’t hesitate to get started. Done is better than perfect!

 

Sign up for my FREE email course below where I go through each blog monetization tactic in a lot more detail.

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Do you want to make money blogging? Sign up for this FREE 7-day email course that takes you through all the steps to launching your online business. From blog monetization 101, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, display ads, and products and services - we're going through it all. So many tips and actionable advice! Click through to sign up.

7 Strategies To Increase Blog Traffic

As a blogger, you want each post you write to get noticed! There is nothing worse then spending a whole whack of time crafting an amazing post, just to have it bring you little to no traffic and hear crickets. It’s not just a game of luck though. There are really specific things you can focus on and do with each blog post to make sure it reaches its full potential. From my experience of writing blog posts that have done super well AND not so great (trial and error, peeps!!), here is what I have learned: 7 proven strategies to increase blog traffic.

Increase blog traffic | Viral blog post strategies | Increase blog pageviews | SEO, Pinterest and Blog audits | Click through for a free workbook!

1 // TEACH SOMETHING

The types of blog posts that not only get read, favorited, shared, and stand the test of time, are the ones that provide ultra valuable content.

A short post that doesn’t leave the reader feeling like they gained a lot from it ain’t going to have much of a lifespan on the internet. On the other hand, if you write a really comprehensive article that imparts some kind of knowledge to the reader, they are going to really value it and share that bad boy.

Try to write every blog post with the intention that readers would want to bookmark and come back to to read again, because it was THAT GOOD. I’m not saying that each post needs to be a tutorial of some kind (though those are great!), but try to always write your post from the perspective of offering value in some way to your reader.

My top posts that do well and continue to send traffic my way, even years later, are comprehensive posts that taught the reader something – usually a DIY project tutorial or some kind of how-to. This post on choosing quartz countertops for our kitchen is an example of one of my best performing posts. In it, I took the readers through our experience of selecting countertop options and included all the marble-lookalike quartz options out there, our decision making process, which we choose, and how we ended up liking it. It’s a pretty clear guide for someone wanting to do something similar.

 

2 // HAVE STELLAR PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography, particularly in the design / DIY / food / fashion / lifestyle arenas, plays such a huge role in blogging. Let me embarrass myself for a minute, k? Here is a photo from one of my very early blog posts. It was one of my first furniture makeover posts – this was the “during the makeover” pic.

pic-2

Small, SO dark, a weird angle, and terribly composed with the sofa and random stuff in the background. NOBODY is going to find that inspiring. It’s just plain bad.

This image, on the other hand, is well-lit, better composed, and is all around more appealing. Waaaay better. Obviously I have learned a thing or two in my 5+ years of blogging.

looking-for-nursery-or-kids-room-decor-ideas-check-out-this-black-white-and-green-boys-room-with-a-scandi-meets-camp-design-7

I know all bloggers aren’t photography experts. I’m definitely not. But, I promise that you can get better if you just dedicate a bit of time to figuring it out.

Look up tutorials online, read through tips, and get to know photography editing software like Photoshop, LightRoom or PicMonkey (only $40 for the Royale version). There are even tons of apps out there for creating amazing photography just using your phone – here is an article outlining some of the best ones.

If you don’t need to use original photography in your posts, then be sure to use beautiful stock images to amp up the visual factor of your article. There are plenty of sites that offer free stock photos. If you are looking for something more unique or specific, then there is also a whole market out there for paid stock (check out Creative Market, Etsy, etc.). Just never ever ever use a photo that isn’t yours without knowing that you have permission to do so.

 

3 // MAKE IT PINTEREST-FRIENDLY

Pinterest is a huge driver of traffic for most bloggers. It is consistently in my top 3 referrers to my blog, sending me a minimum of 1000 hits a day. In order to get your full potential out of Pinterest, you NEED to make sure you have a “pinterest-friendly” image in each and every blog post you write.

What does this mean?

Size –  The image should be vertical and sized around 735 x 1100 pixels. Vertical images are proven to be way more successful on Pinterest than horizontal ones (they always appear really small), so please please please don’t ignore this piece of advice.

Text – Although I would argue that it isn’t always necessary, images with a text overlay tend to do well on Pinterest. An overlay refers to your post title or some descriptive phrase placed on top of the image, like the one below.

There are two free software tools you can use to do this. The first is Canva, which if you’re anything like me, you will get obsessed with. They even have a Pinterest image option with templates you can use – your designs are going to suddenly look SO good! The other option is PicMonkey, another solid option that I use regularly.

Tags – Alt tagging. I know, I know. You’re like “alt whaaat?”. You know how when you pin an image from a website it automatically pulls a description into the Pinterest description? Well, if you don’t alt tag your image with something, then it’ll pull whatever the title of the image is (think “DSC_0959”). Not great. You want to ensure that you have entered a good phrase into your image’s alt tag so that it pulls this as its’ description, making it way more search and reader friendly in Pinterest (meaning it’s more likely to get re-pinned). If you don’t know how to edit the alt tag, google it for instructions using your platform (wordpress, blogger, squarespace, etc).

Here is an example of one of my post photos that I would consider Pinterest-friendly:

chalk-painted-mason-jars

If you want to get all the Pinterest info you’ll ever need, you HAVE to check out Melyssa’s Pinfinite Growth course. I took it and have 5x my following and saw a 300% increase in Pinterest traffic. The girl delivers an incredible system that works.

 

4 // SMART SEO

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. Basically, there are a whole bunch of things to do with keywords and the tagging of your post, that are going to help make your post rank high in google search. The higher your post ranks, the more people are going to see it and click on it.

Here are the basic things you want to think about:

Your keyword phrase. This is the phrase that when searched in google, you would want YOUR blog post to show up nice and high in the results. Make sure your phrase isn’t too long, but also specific enough. If you were writing a post about a paleo chocolate cake that uses zucchini (does such a thing exist?), you would want to have the keyword phrase be “paleo zucchini chocolate cake recipe” instead of just “chocolate cake recipe”, where your competition is going to be much higher. Make sense?

You want your keyword phrase to be included somewhere near the top of your post (first paragraph is good), in the title, in the URL, and elsewhere in your post if possible.

Your title. As much as it might be cute to have a title with a funny pun, you want to have a title that is explanatory and grabs peoples’ attention. That fine line between being both educational AND interesting / thought provoking. When you show up in google, you want the title to encourage folks to click over. Something like “Friday Faves” doesn’t tell you anything about the post. I’ll admit – I struggle with titles! I feel like it’s a total art that I definitely haven’t mastered yet. Here is a good article on title creation.

If you use WordPress, there is a plugin called Yoast SEO that I really recommend. It takes the guesswork out of SEO tagging and gives you a green light once you have “good” SEO. I use it for each and every blog post I write. It’s especially perfect if, like me, you don’t totally understand all the nuances of SEO but want to make sure you are going to rank well.

There is WAY more info you can learn on improving your SEO, but that’s a good place to start.

 

5 // MAKE SHARING EASY

Having other people share your content is one of the absolute BEST ways of getting your content out there. You need to make it super easy for people to do this. Make sure you have social sharing buttons placed in a really obvious spot in or throughout your post so that your readers are encouraged to click on them. When someone hovers over an image in your post, the social icons should pop up for the reader to click them (hover over any of the images in this post to see what I mean).

There are tons of plugins that you can use to make this possible. I keep hearing and reading great things about SumoMe, both for sharing buttons and email sign-ups. I’m just getting started with it on my own site, and will report back if I notice a huge leap in sharing!

the-7-things-you-need-to-do-in-each-of-your-blog-posts-to-make-them-go-viral-get-shared-and-boost-your-traffic-click-through-for-the-article-and-free-worksheet

 

6 // AMPLIFY ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA

Speaking of social media, you need to make sure you share each and every blog post you create across your own platforms. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, and wherever else you and your target audience hang out.

Now, I don’t just mean share it once and call it a day. The best thing you can do with your blog’s social media strategy is to continue to share these evergreen blog posts for a long time to come. That’s why we are making sure they are valuable and comprehensive … because those posts ain’t going to go out of style!

There are loads of tools out there you can use to schedule your social media updates. What I recommend is keeping a record of all of your blog posts in some kind of document (like a Word doc, even). Have the link, title, and short description saved and build it up over time with all of your posts. That way you have this amazing document you can pull all of your old blog posts from to schedule into your social media.

For scheduling, these are the software tools I recommend as I find them to be the “smartest” and least time consuming for me (but there are tons of others too, like HootSuite and Tailwind):

pinterest-profile

7 // HAVE A CONTENT UPGRADE

What is a content upgrade? It’s the “freebie” you sometimes see at the end or within a blog post available for instant download. The blogger has thought about the reader and created some kind of ‘extra’ to give them. Like I mentioned above, it’s allllll about creating value for your readers to get your post shared and folks coming back for more.

You always want your content upgrade to be related to your blog post’s subject matter (having it be totally un-related would be a little weird). Some content upgrade ideas:

  • Cheatsheet (like a one-pager that summarizes your post content)
  • Workbook
  • Checklist
  • Resource List
  • Worksheet / Assignment
  • Guide
  • Printable
  • Podcast
  • Case Study
  • Templates
  • Course
  • eBook
  • basically whatever you think your readers will dig!

Content upgrades not only increase the sharing of your post, but they are also a great opportunity to collect email addresses and turn those readers into subscribers. Building up your email list is really important for your blogging biz, so you want to use this as an opportunity to land some new folks on there.

 

So that’s a wrap. Start doing those 7 things with each and every blog post you write, and I PROMISE you are going to see a boost in traffic. You’ve got this!