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Blogging Tasks You Can Do on your Smartphone

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Shiny object syndrome

With such a busy schedule it is extremely hard for me to sit down and get a blog post typed up. I need to save every moment I get of free time just to get that done.

Other tasks just don’t make it into the schedule. It is hard to post when you have no idea what to write about. I end up using my free time staring at a blank screen frustrated by writer’s block.

That is why it is good to get minimal tasks done on the go. With only my smart phone handy I have compiled a list of things that you can get done on quick little breaks with just a smart phone in hand.

1. Speech to text

The speech to text feature on your phone allows you to just speak memos or ideas into the phone and it is typed out. If you are an Iphone user, you can use speech to text by going into your Notes app>Clicking on the microphone on the phone’s keyboard>and start speaking. If you prefer talking over writing, you can have an entire blog created just by speaking your ideas into existence.

2. Take notes for ideas on posts

Take quick notes for ideas on posts by using a simple headline formula. Think of How to or Top Ways to, then find an action and how it will help your reader.

I like to use Evernote for note-taking because it is simple to use and spans across all platforms so I can finish my notes on my PC or tablet later.

3. Make outlines

Make an outline of a blog post so when you are back home and on the computer you can easily type it up by following the outline.

4. Create Pinterest images with Canva

Canva is extremely easy to work with on all platforms, which is the number one reason I use it to create my social media images. Pinterest images are easy to create with Canva and the smart phone version gives you more capability and ease of use than the tablet version does.

5. Pin on Pinterest

Manual pinning has been proven to be effective in bringing traffic to your blog. You can also schedule your pins on Tailwind to get more exposure right on your smart phone.

6. Answer emails

Checking your email and writing a quick note back is an easy and quick task you can do easily on your smart phone. Just make sure you delete the “sent from a smartphone” at the bottom of the email to make it seem more professional.

7. Review posts for SEO

You can always make your posts more SEO friendly. Use the Yoast SEO plug-in to analyze your keyword and readability of your post. Go through and apply the suggestions that are offered to make your post more SEO friendly.

Don’t forget to review your previous posts and improve the SEO on those. You can also make your images more SEO friendly by adding alt tags and descriptions to all images on the post.

8. Comment and connect with other bloggers

If you have a little extra time you can browse through other blogs and add your two cents in their comment box. This will allow you to connect with other bloggers in your niche. Create a connection so they remember you in case you have to reach out to them for a favor.

In your comment you can also place a link back to your blog which will get your blog more page views and back links. A simple comment about what you think about another person’s post is easy to do right from your phone.

9. Watch and Listen to Courses

Looking to learn more about a topic to improve your blog?

Watching and listening to courses on your smartphone is easy to do virtually anywhere. Skillshare is the best course platform I have found as their courses go way in depth on their topics and they offer a free two months. The Skillshare platform is easy to navigate and you can learn anything from beginner level to very advanced in a plethora of different topics.

Don’t Waste Time

You don’t have to remain idol when you don’t have your computer handy. There are plenty of blogging tasks you can do on your smartphone in your spare time.

The more you get done on your spare time, the more you can focus on the work that needs to get done on a computer. Typing posts, building the webpage and email sequences, and uploading video is hard to do on a phone, so you can reserve those specifically for when you have time to sit down at a computer.

Time management is very important when it comes to building your online blog or business. Ready to get started with the necessary steps to start a blog of your own? Join my FREE Blogging Course and start building your blog now!



How to Blog on a Budget

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Blogging on a budget

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read about this more on my disclosure page.

Updated: Sept 4, 2019

Are you trying to start a blog to take care of some expenses passively?

Blogging is not easy. It takes a lot of time and dedication as well as a lot of knowledge to make a successful blog.

Not only does it require patience to learn all that is needed, but also it may require investments.

When I first started blogging, I didn’t see any need in spending money. Essentially it was just a hobby for me. I just wrote about my life and challenges. I was happy enough on a free platform such as Blogger.

But as the months and years went on, I learned that sometimes the free route isn’t always the best route.

So I started to do some investing in my blog. I got an email responder, a domain name, a lead page software, and I started playing around with them. It took some time to get to learn the different platforms and I felt like the money I spent was a waste.

I’m not saying that the best way is the free way. In fact, I’m saying the opposite. If you really want a successful blog, one that could be profitable in the future, you will have to invest some money into it.

As with anything in life, you can invest a lot or a little. There are some programs out there that will teach you the ins and outs of making a profitable blog for over $100. I understand that when you are first starting out, this is a lot of money.

I am in this boat. I live paycheck to paycheck, I don’t have time or money to drop any large amount on investing in just one program.

 

Why start a blog

Starting a blog can be fulfilling, both emotionally and financially. You are able to own a little piece of internet real estate, a corner that you can write about whatever you like.

Not only can you personalize your blog and allow it to revolve around you, but you can also make a substantial amount of money for it if you do it right.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner started a finance blog called Making Sense of Cents. She write about what she knows. She has grown her blog to the point of making $179,000 last month alone. Here is her latest income report for February 2018.

How can this be? You may be asking.

What is she doing on her blog to make this much?

And most of all, what is she spending to make that much?

For further clarification check out: A Complete List of Expenses for a Multi-Million Dollar Blog 

While typically someone like Michelle will have the necessary costs associated with running a blog of that size, someone who is first starting out can keep their costs to a minimum until they start to see the returns. Surprisingly, Michelle doesn’t even have that much in costs. This is why blogging is a great option to do on a budget.

How to stay in your blog budget

The trick to staying within your budget for your blog is to analyze what stage your blog is in and designate the amount of money you can spend.

Step 1: If you just started putting up posts you don’t need to spend more than just the domain name and hosting. First, build up your post count before you begin promoting and spending money on gaining traffic.

Step 2: Once you develop your blog you can work on gaining traffic. The more readers you gain the more you can develop a specific focus on their needs. Pick a social media platform and invest in tools that will help you succeed in that platform.

Step 3: When you start pulling in an income from your blog, you can then work on getting materials that will help you develop as a blogger into your budget.

Step 4: When you are pulling in a decent income, then you can begin to outsource things that you don’t want to do such as hiring a social media manager, a website content editor, and more. You want to be able to consistently work with the same people.

Tip: A good rule of thumb is to spend the first couple of months of income from your blog on the blog itself. Improving the theme, learning new strategies with content creation, email marketing, and building traffic can be a couple hundred in courses and products. Investing back into your blog is investing in yourself.

What should you pay for?

I’m not saying that you should go completely free everything with your blog. What I am saying is that, like most things in life, your blog should have a budget too.

If you don’t budget for your blog, you will find that you lose interest in it too fast. You will start to become depressed that every one else is doing much better because they were able to invest more money and more time, and you are left struggling to make a dollar with your blog.

The number one thing that I would say that is okay to invest in is your own domain name and hosting.

Domain name and Hosting on a Budget

A domain name and hosting is not something that is going to break the bank, and it will give you the piece of mind that you fully own your blog.

I personally use Namecheap for my domain as they are the most cost-efficient domain name provider I have found. Although some hosting companies give you a free domain name when you start a hosting plan. 

If you are looking for cheap domain name and hosting option all in one, one of the most popular ones is Bluehost which offers plans for $3.95/mo. This small investment will mean a lot to you and your blog in the future, so write it into the budget.

 

Services to plan and budget for

You will need several services to get your blog up and running successfully and also making a profit for you.

You will need an email marketing service in order to create an email marketing list. This will be important in gaining traction as a new blogger.

The email marketing service I use is called ConvertKit. It has a 14 day free trial but after it is about $29. The system is a little easier to use than some other email autoresponders and there are more features like landing page options and templates.

You can use this email list to:

  • offer a free product for a lead magnet (free ebook, guide, checklist)
  • keep your subscribers updated on your blog
  • offer them affiliate offers

When you create an email list or opt-in, you have a list of people that are niche specific. You know that you can market to these people about the same category of product that they originally signed up for and they may be interested in it. This will be very important once you begin to gain traffic.

If you are really on a budget, opt for Mailerlite as it is free for the first 100 subscribers. The Mailerlite platform is easy to use, provides free tutorials, and will give you all the functionality of a premium email marketing service.

Blog on a budget

Free Services for your Blog 

You don’t need a budget for everything as a lot of helpful services for your blog are free to use. For example, graphics, some SEO tools, and organization programs you don’t need to spend a dime on. 

Graphics on a Budget

In order to promote your blog posts, making a graphic for social media is a great idea. Using a free service like Canva can really cut down on the costs associated with graphics. Try to make a graphic a day and you will not be left short on graphics.

SEO Tools on a Budget

Certain SEO tools you need a zero dollar budget to take advantage of. My favorite out of these is a site called Answer the Public which allows you to look up questions someone would ask about your niche or topic. 

Another SEO tool that is free to use is Google Keyword Planner tool. Get a good idea of how much traffic and competition is in a keyword that you choose. 

Organization on a Budget 

Blogging on a budgetWhen I first started building a blog, organization was important to me. I personally use Evernote to organize notes and affiliate links. I like them because I can use them on any device, from my phone to tablet to PC. 

 

Services to invest in once you start bringing in income

Once you start bringing in a bit of income, then it will be time to invest in a few more helpful items that can take your blog to the next level. 

Themes on a Budget

Once you start bringing in income from your blog, you can start to expand into other services and products. One product I would invest in is a good theme. Having a great theme can take your blog to the next level.

Here are a few things having a premium theme can do for you:

  • It can allow you to customize your menus and header and really create a brand for you and your blog
  • Having a great theme makes your blog look more professional and gives it appeal so people will want to stay on it longer
  • It can also allow you to customize your ads so that they are in optimum places for making money
  • It infuses personality into your blog

 

A premium theme doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can spend as little as a one time cost of $17 for a theme. The best part about it is once you purchase it, it is yours. You don’t have a re-occurring payment each month to keep it on your blog.

See also: 6 Websites for Beautiful Customizable Themes 

 

Marketing on Budget

One service that you should invest in after you start to gain traction is a service for promotion. I use Tailwind. Tailwind is the top service for blog promotion on Pinterest. They offer a free trial and then have monthly packages that come with more features.

 

 

So how much should starting a blog cost you?

Starting a blog can cost you as little as $10 for a domain name and hosting.

Realistically, starting and running a profitable blog will cost you…

Domain name – $10/year

Website hosting – $3.95/mo

Convertkit for email marketing – $29/mo

Tailwind or other pin scheduler – $9.99/mo

 

So there you have it! I’ve totaled above about $45/mo as a good blog budget and will allow you to get all the necessary items needed to run your blog in the beginning. 

*Half that if you opt for the FREE email marketing serivce Mailerlite

Keep in mind that whatever you should be purchasing for the blog, should have the blogs goals in mind and will eventually help it get new and continuing traffic so that your income rises in proportion to the tools for your blog. 

 

Stay within your budget by avoiding this one thing

Shiny object syndrome

Also, I am sure you have heard of Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s when you start to subscribe and buy everything that you come across about building a blog. Don’t do this!

You will go through hundreds of dollars and tons of repetitive information. Believe me, I know.

If you decide that you do have some extra money you want to spend on some knowledge about blogging then first do this…

Check out the free email courses that are offered by bloggers on how to start a blog or get traffic.

Research specifically what you need help with and see if a course would help you or not.

– Find the free course helpful and valuable? Then subscribe to a paid course by the same author because you know it will be jammed packed with useful information.

Check out reviews on paid courses to see what others have thought about them and how it helped them.

 

I hope you have found these tips helpful. Blogging can be a very lucrative gig and it will take some time to get there so be patient. When you are first starting out, it is important to create a blog budget and make sure you stay within your budget. Hope this helps!

6 Websites for Beautiful Customizable Themes

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Customizable themes beautiful

One crucial part of designing your blog is to make sure that you have a fully functional, easy to navigate, stylish, and customizable theme. A premium WordPress theme gives your blog a unique style and allows you to manage it easier.

*This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about it on my disclosure page.

What should you look for in a theme?

Your theme should have some elements in it that will make your life easier as a blogger. Of course, it does depend on the goal of your blog. Do you want your blog to look professional, do you want it to promoted design, do you want it to convert, is it for a business?

What are you trying to accomplish with your blog?

The platform that I find is the easiest to blog on is WordPress. With that being said, you need to make sure that it is WordPress compatible. I made the bad mistake once of paying for a theme and then realizing it was not compatible with WordPress. Big bummer!

Your blog should also:

  1. Support plugins
  2. Be responsive on all types of media
  3. Have customer support
  4. Allow customizable menus and features
  5. Be dynamic and easy to navigate through
  6. Have great design elements

Many of the premium blog themes have all of these features and more. Free themes won’t give you that much freedom on your blog.

Don’t waste your time with free themes as you will get annoyed at some point that the fuctionality you need is not there.

Why get a premium WordPress theme?

If you are on the fence about getting a premium theme, then I am here to push you over (figuratively speaking!) Having a premium theme can be beneficial in a lot of ways. Some of the main benefits of a premium theme will allow you much more flexibility when designing your site.

Customization

Premium themes are customizable. Have you seen blogs with amazing looking titles or menus that are different colors? With a customizable theme you are able to change the logo of your site to an image that you created, making your blog title and brand stand out.

You can create an easy logo using Canva and upload the logo as your site title.

Options

Premium themes give you more menu options. Maybe you have the basic top menu on your current theme. If your blog is a business you may want a separate menu just for information on the business such as policies, returns, or contact information. With a customizable theme you can add another menu with ease.

Colors

Premium themes allow you to use custom CSS and colors. Custom CSS is handy if you have to make changes to a specific feature on several pages of your site. For example, changing the link color throughout your entire website. With CSS a simple code can change it on every page.

Customizable theme

Support

Premium themes give you support. Are you having trouble setting up a theme? Is it not functioning the way you thought it would? Instead of hiring a professional developer to work with your theme, you can just contact the support that comes with premium themes. It is included at no cost and many themes have additional support on how to set up a WordPress site or how to use other products that are recommended for that theme.

Beautiful customizable themes

Why I like Premium WordPress Themes

I am not super savvy when it comes to website development. I don’t code my own website or use the custom CSS option but I do like designing my page.

The great thing about premium themes is it actually cuts down on the amount of tech work and programming that will have to do for your blog. You can get your blog designed the way you want with just a couple pushes of a button.

Why not a free theme?

For the absolute beginner who is just trying to get words on a page, a free theme may work well. It will give you a platform to start on and a generic set up for you to start building. Sure you are saving money but is a free theme worth it?

The short answer, no.

A free theme is not worth the time and frustration that it will take just for your blog to look halfway decent. If you are going to do all the work, why not do it on a theme that you will love to look at?

Free themes are not only poorly designed but they don’t have the same functions as a premium theme would have. There are some things you just can’t customize and it will drive you up the wall.

Save the headache and just invest in a good theme.

Where to get a Premium WordPress Theme

I’ve found several websites where you can buy premium themes that are functional, feminine, and customizable. I like these because they are all designed for the modern blogger.

Customizable theme pretty

#1: Pretty Darn Cute Designs

A fun site that has a variety of different themes for all types of blogs. These responsive WordPress themes are built for blogs that revolve around a specific topic, but you can adapt them to any type of website you have. They are colorful, fun, and feminine.

#2: ThemeForest

ThemeForest is my personal favorite and I have been using it for a while. They have many diffrerent types of premium themes at all different prices. You can find a responsive WordPress theme for cheap. They have a variety of styles to choose from and they are customizable.

Customizable theme beautiful

#3: Beautiful Dawn Designs

Beautiful Dawn Designs also makes premium themes with a feminine touch. The themes are beautiful and girly. With simple design they look clean and they are fully functional and customizable.

Customizable theme girl blog

#4: Bluchic

If you are looking for beautifully designed feminine WordPress themes, this is the perfect place. These themes are perfect for a blog and come with customizable features that will make your blog stand out.

#5: Alienwp

I’ve used this theme on my blog for a while. Easy to use with no glitches or errors on their themes. They are responsive and customizable. Alienwp gives you the added benefit when you purchase a theme of their free signature maker and discounts on popular services that you can use on your blog.

#6: Pipdig.co

This company offers responsive and customizable themes for WordPress. I love that in their support section they teach you exactly how to fully set up a functional WordPress site. They can even transfer your blog from a free platform like Blogger or Wp.com to WordPress. You get free installation and support all the way through.

What themes do the professional bloggers use?

Recently I found a great resource for bloggers. If you ever go to your favorite bloggers webpage and wonder what theme they have set up on there blog, you can go here and find out. Just type in the webpage and wa la, the theme will come up.

Getting a premium WordPress theme is worth every penny. It saves you a lot of time and frustration when you go to customize and design your blog and it’s settings. The most popular theme used by bloggers who make the most money monthly was Genesis by StudioPress. I can see why, as this theme is highly customizable and looks great on mobile.

Customizable You will spend anywhere from $20-$75 on a good theme. But don’t worry, it is a one time purchase and you will benefit vastly from having one.

If you want to know how to blog on a budget please check out my post here.

Please view my tutorial here on how to install a premium theme on your WordPress blog.

If you haven’t started your blog yet, please take a look at my post Stop Wasting Time and Start a Blog. where I walk through the exact steps on how to start a blog with WordPress.

Hope that helps guys! Please comment below if you love your theme and where you got it.

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