8 WAYS TO GET BLOG POST IDEAS

You’re sitting in front of your computer and you’re trying to come up with a blog post for this week, or for your schedule for the next two months, and you’ve got… nothing. It happens! Some days, the muse just isn’t kicking into high gear and you’re drawing a complete blank. Here are 8 ways to get blog post ideas.

There are some easy ways to mine information and your brain for ideas though, so don’t despair!

8 WAYS TO GET BLOG POST IDEAS

Check out the competition

Okay, you don’t want to plagiarize anyone here, but it can be useful to see what your competitors are writing about on their blogs. You might see something they missed that would be useful to your customers and readers, or you might see a great idea that you can riff into something that suits your unique selling propositions. What you’re looking for is the inspiration, not the opportunity to copy and paste!

Rejuvenate something old

If you’ve covered a topic before but there are updates to it, something new to say, bring it back, reference it and keep writing! You can also recycle old post ideas that were popular by giving them a new angle. This is particularly true for pieces that aren’t evergreen. For example, if you wrote a post last year on the latest trends for Facebook, you can write a sequel this year on the same topic. Or if you did a podcast that was particularly popular, you might want to write a blog post on the same material. There’s always a way to recycle and reuse popular material!

Review a product or service

Is there a new product or service that complements but does not compete with yours? Review it on your blog! Not only will you create external links that are vital for SEO but you are providing information on the product/service AND on your own knowledge. For example, if you were a writer, you could review the last book you read. The review shows a different side of your skills and is entertaining for the reader.

Share an experience

Getting a little personal in a post isn’t a bad thing. In fact, letting people into know you a little is a good way to build a business. After all, when you’re selling something, people are often buying YOU as much as they are buying the product or service, so let them know who you are. Did you recently attend a conference and have an epiphany about something you were doing in your business? Share it. Did you make a mistake in your business but you’ve learned from it?

Share it.

Did you make a mistake in your business but you’ve learned from it?

Share that too.

Skip the REALLY personal details that you wouldn’t want out there but let people know who you are and what you stand for.

Teach your readers something

A mini-tutorial on a specific element of your business is a great way to show your knowledge and give something to the reader, without giving away the store! Example? If you were a yoga instructor, you could write (with pictures) a short piece on how to master a specific pose, one that you have found most of your students struggle with. It doesn’t have to be an exhaustively long post, but if it answers a question that you’ve seen come up again and again, you’ll know it will be one that others will ask too!

Interview someone else

Do you know someone whose knowledge would complement your own and your business? Interview them and post that on your blog! It will give your readers a different and interesting perspective on the line of work that you do, and can open up questions and queries that you might not have thought of, which could lead to more topics for more posts!

Keep a notebook

Ultimately, the ideas for blog posts will come at odd times. Me? I sometimes get them in the shower. You? You might be at a party and someone asks something about what you do that it never occurred to you people didn’t understand automatically. Ding! Blog post idea. Have a note file on your phone or a book in your bag to keep handy and make a quick note so that you can go home and add it to your blog schedule!

I personally have a “future blog posts” area on the app – Wunderlist.

Google it!

Google your area of interest, your business, and see what others are saying/asking/wondering about it. This isn’t about checking out the competition so much as seeing what the general lay of the land is in your area of expertise. You might end up coming across some information or news item that you weren’t even aware of that could end up being a very timely ‘news item’ type post.

In an ideal world, you’d have your schedule set up months in advance, but even when you do, you can hit a rut where the words just aren’t flowing. When that happens, just relax and try one of these ways to get your mojo going and you’ll find the ideas!

Looking for more blog knowledge? Check out our blog tips section.

Do you have a way that you get blog post ideas that you want to share? Do so in the comments!

Best Blogging Tools & Resources

This resource guide for bloggers contains affiliate links.

Courses, apps, tools, and resources! This is an ongoing list, so please check back often.

Join our Facebook community. Both Stacie and I will be there to answer your questions and give you support – along with some other super cool people!

Blogging Downloads

Free Blog Planner

Courses We LOVE

Both Stacie and I are course junkies! Here are some of our favorites! When we find new ones that we love, we will add them below.

Editing with Photoshop & Lightroom

Video Master School

AsanaHQ – Learn how to set up Asana to get your life and business organized.

Pinning Perfect – Learn the ins and outs of Pinterest and how to make it work for your business.

Email on Autopilot – All I can say about this course is that in an hour, I created an Opt-In, 5 sequences and 10 weeks worth of content.

How to Master Gift Guides – A low-cost course that can bring you a quick ROI (return on investment).

SEO

SEMrush

SEO Tips from Google

Marketing Tools

Tailwind

ConvertKit

Pinterest

Pinning Perfect (course)

Simple Pin Pinterest Group

Tasty Pins

Business Operations

Asana

Slack

Photography

How to Set Up Your DSLR

Food Photography Props: Where to Buy and What to Buy

Apps

A Color Story (for editing images)

Food Blogging

Nutrifox (nutritional information to show on your blog)

Tasty Recipes (recipe card built for SEO)

Food Blogger Pro

Helpful Posts

11 Chrome Extensions for Bloggers

How to Get Your Blog Ready for Q4

Time Management Tips for Bloggers

Productivity is learned—you weren’t born being able to plan your day perfectly—and if it’s a skill that you haven’t mastered yet, don’t worry! It’s well within your grasp! Here are some time management tips for bloggers and entrepreneurs.

Time Management Tips for Bloggers and Entrepreneurs

Time is money, or so the old saying goes…

There are some essential things you can do to be more productive in your day to day because there is a nugget of truth in the old saying ‘Time is Money’. Wasting time ultimately wastes money, along with other resources, so eliminating as much waste has to be part of your master plan!

Have a vision

If you don’t have a clear vision as to what your business looks like, if you can’t describe it to a stranger in 20 seconds, you will not be able to find a productive path to get there. Once your vision is clear, you can establish the lists of tasks that need to be taken care of in order to achieve your vision. If you don’t physically list out your to do’s and prioritize them, you can end up flailing about in multitasking rabbit holes, looking at Twitter and Facebook, instead of getting things done.

The key to a clear vision is the ability to say no. It’s hard to do, particularly in the face of favored clients, but if you are continually taking on tasks that haven’t got anything to do with your business goals and vision, you’re going to go off track quickly. A clear vision helps you to see what fits into the scope of your business and what doesn’t.

Delegate

If you can manage it, delegate tasks that you don’t enjoy, like house cleaning for example, or hire some help so that you can focus on what you need to do to grow your business. You can also delegate things you enjoy but don’t have time for.

For example, having guest bloggers opens up some new discussion and points of view on your blog, as well as freeing up some of your time in the area of content production. Or hire a VA to run some of your social media so you can focus on your content creation.

Recycle Your Content

And don’t forget to repurpose your content, when you can. This is why evergreen content is best—content that is not tied to a specific time/date/season. You can repurpose it at different times and on different platforms.

Example: For this post about time management tips for bloggers could become a series of tweets, an Instagram series with photos from your office, or a podcast! Hmmm… Great ideas!

Choose the tools that work for you

Crowdsource on Twitter and you’ll get a different response from every single person as to what tools work best for keeping up your productivity and staying organized! There’s an app for every kind of work style and there are even those who like to live old school, with pen and paper. Scheduling posts on social or creating your editorial calendar with the next three months of posts require nothing more than a simple spread sheet. Don’t get bogged down in the ‘how’ you’re going to plan. Just do it!

Experiment, try things out and figure out what works for you. Don’t just buy an expensive app because it what’s trending. Eventually, you will find a system that works for all aspects of your life: personal, family, business!

Here are the blogging tools that we can’t live without. We both can’t stress the amazing capabilities of Tailwind enough! This tool is a lifesaver!

Know that time in the chair doesn’t mean productivity

Being in the office at 7 am and not leaving it until 7 pm does not make you productive. You could just be sitting there playing Candy Crush on your phone. And that’s the rub: there are so many distractions, even at your desk! Where inspiration hits isn’t the issue: you just have to run with it. You could be sitting on the sofa and have some great ideas for future blog posts, so go with it and put them in your editorial calendar right there and then!

One way maximize your productivity and minimize distraction is to have time in your day when all your notifiers are off. Turn your phone to ‘do not disturb’ and disconnect.

Tip: If you’re worried about missing an urgent call from the school or your kid’s camp, put their numbers as a favorite and have these calls bypass the do no disturb sign!

Know yourself

Are you more productive first thing in the morning or are you a night owl? Do you function best right after a workout or when your kids are napping? Make sure use those high productivity times to get thinking work done and leave the more mundane, routine tasks for when you’re least productive.

Don’t be afraid to take a break when you need to: slogging through tasks when you’re not focused, hungry or just not ‘with it’ isn’t going to produce maximum results. It’s definitely okay to take a break now and again and spend time doing something that rejuvenates you.

Deal with the tasks you dread first thing

“Eat that frog!” – Brian Tracy

If you attack and complete the task that you hate the most, first thing in your day, it sets a positive tone for success for the rest of the day. A task that has been bugging you or dragging on, once checked off the list, provides a lot of momentum. Productivity is about mindset: free your mind from a task that was infringing on your creative juices and your productivity levels will go through the roof!

Even if your current instinct when you get a little overwhelmed is to curl up on the sofa with a coffee, you can learn to stop that and move forward by just implementing a little structure in your day. It works! Try it!


We recommend the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, it talks about this topic in full detail.

Answer us this question: what time are you the most productive?

Looking for more blogging and business tips? Be sure to check out the blogging tips section of our blog. You’re also invited to join our Blogging and Business Facebook Group!

Share you blogger time management tips in the comments!

5 Ways to Make Money as a Blogger

If there is one key lesson you should take away from any advice I have given blogger to blogger, it’s this: diversify your income. If you’re wondering how, here are a few different ways to make money as a blogger.

How to Make Money as a Blogger

This post contains affiliate links.

I’ll never forget the first time I found out a blogger was actually making money. Do you want to know something funny? It was my business partner and co-founder of Click Start Club, Stacie. I followed Stacie’s blog from the beginning and I’ll never forget one of her older posts (pre 2010) stating that she was making money. I couldn’t freaking believe it, all I was doing at the time was a few product reviews. I was curious and eager to turn The Bewitchin’ Kitchen into a full fledged business. It took a few years, some hiccups, and a lot of lessons but I’m here to share with you some tips on how to make money as a blogger.

1. Sponsored Posts

In the beginning, this was one of the only ways I thought was possible for monetizing your blog. I took any offer that was thrown at me too (even the $2.50 – $5 opps that Social Spark offered me), I gasp at that now but during that time it was really exciting. Humble beginnings my friends! I didn’t know any better, and let’s just say they got what they paid for. The posts themselves didn’t resonate with my readers, they were slapped together in 5-10 minutes and there weren’t any images. Truth be told the quality was pure crap and I’m embarrassed to have them on my blog.

Today if I write a sponsored post, it’s going to be something that I believe in. A brand or a topic that I can truly get behind and weave into the direction that I know my readers would like. Gone are the days where I write just to write something (anything), I take the time and try to turn the topic into something that could help someone. I enjoy sponsored posts, but only if I love what I’m writing about. I’ve learned that over the last two years: if it makes you miserable thinking about it, don’t accept the opportunity.

What should you charge for sponsored posts?

This is a blog topic in itself but I urge you all to know your worth and to not do what I did back in 2009/2010 and take the slap in your face offers. What do you have to make in order to make blogging worth it? What do you need to pay your host, your blog bills, and yourself? Start with that. If there is an exclusivity clause, double it (at least), if the client wants to buy the rights that’s another charge. Do you take beautiful photos? Do you have a strong engagement on your blog? Large social following? Take it all into consideration when providing a quote. We’ll do more on this topic another time.

2. Ad Networks

My ad network (AdThrive) is my biggest source of income. It took me a few years to get my ads to work for me but it was truly worth the frustration and going through a few other networks to find the right one for me. Stacie and I both recommend either AdThrive or Mediavine. AdThrive does have a pre-requisite of 100,000 page views and Mediavine is 30,000 sessions (I believe, don’t quote me on that). The best part? It’s passive income. I don’t have to do a thing and it brings my blog (roughly) an extra $3000 a month.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is somewhat new to me. I’ve been a member of affiliate organizations for a since the beginning but it wasn’t until the last few years that I started to implement them. 2017 is the year that I put more of a focus and effort into it. The great thing about affiliate marketing is it’s another source of passive income! Put in the links when you write the post and then it’s done. As long as that link is still active and someone clicks and then buys: you get a commission. There are many people who make a huge chunk of change this way (some people make over $100,000 a month with affiliate marketing on their blog). If you want to get started with affiliate marketing but you’re not sure how, I recommend Michelle’s course: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (she’s one of those affiliate marketing rock stars I just mentioned). Anything you love, whether it’s a course, a brand, or a service – there is probably an affiliate for that. Simply scroll to the bottom of the company’s webpage and look for affiliate or partners.

Tools and affiliate networks we use for affiliate marketing:

  • Amazon Associates
  • Shareasale
  • Commission Junction
  • Pretty Link (I love this plugin, it takes ugly links that are difficult to remember and turns them into something easy. Example: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=69&U=1485413&M=47&urllink= and turns it into http://clickstartclub.com/shareasale. The best part? You can use that link in all your posts, update on the plugin side (if the link changes) and it will update on every single post!)

Important: When you are monetizing your blog with affiliate links or sponsored posts, it’s important to let your readers know that and disclose. Here’s how to disclose in Canada and how to disclose sponsorship in the U.S.

4. Digital Products

Another way to make additional passive income is to have a digital product. A digital product could be an eBook, a course, or something else that you offer that can be purchased and downloaded.

Click Start Club offers the following digital products: 

5. Provide a Service

Everyone has something to offer. You are good at something, you just have to figure it out. You don’t have to be the best to offer a service, just one step ahead of your ideal customer. Every day we learn new things that allow us to put our new skills to what we offer. We are always learning! You don’t have to be an expert to provide a service.

Click Start Club offers the following service: 

Other Ways to Make Money Blogging

Those are my favorite five ways to make money as a blogger. I chose these five ways because the have something to do directly with your blog. Other options include:

  • Freelancing (not a huge money maker but you can freelance for magazines, online publishings, other blogs, etc).
  • Virtual Assisting (I know many people who make an income being a VA. If you’re interested, I recommend the Rockin’ VA’s Course).
  • Recipe development (developing a recipe for a brand for their website for their ownership).
  • Recipe photography (licensing a photo taken by you and selling it to a brand or blogger).

I didn’t dive deep into them because the work doesn’t stay on your blog, but they are options to look at to make money as a blogger.

I hope this post helped you! Please make sure to check out 7 ways to make money from home with photography to find out how signing up for our free photography course could help you earn an additional income.

5 Blogger Habits You Need In Your Arsenal

After many trial and errors, experiments, and failures I have decided to share (what I believe) a few blogger habits you should have.

Blogger Habits You Need In Your Life

This post contains affilliate links.

1. Save Save Save!

Save your work! WordPress automatically saves every so often, but there have been many times that I’ve lost my work and it wasn’t updated on WordPress’s back end up. So now, I save all the time. After every paragraph, any edits, or additions of photos. It’s second nature to me now, and I highly suggest you hit save often too!

2. Share Your Blog Post On Pinterest.

I’m sure many of you already do this, but if you don’t – you are missing out big time on traffic. Every time a post is published, I share it to Pinterest ASAP. I manually pin it to my main blog board (whether it’s for Click Start Club or The Bewitchin’ Kitchen), share it to Tailwind Tribes, and then I schedule it to all of my relevant boards via Tailwind.

Follow Click Start Club on Pinterest!

3. Check Your Analytics.

I know, they can seem confusing but it’s such an important habit to have as a blogger to dive in and learn about your Google Analytics. Google Analytics, along with Google Search Console, can tell you so much not just about your blog but about your readers as well. This is truly the key to see what your readers want, then you can write more for them and have more success. See how to create a custom dashboard in Google Analytics.

Want more information?

I recommend taking the following Learn To Blog’s courses:

Skyrocket Your Pageviews with Google Analytics.
Dominate Search Engines with Webmaster Tools.

I personally took both and had success, plus I learned how to understand both tools without losing my mind.

4. Be Persistent.

I hate to break it to you, but you’re not going to be huge overnight. It’s going to take years of hard work and determination (and even then, there is a chance you won’t get to where you thought you would be). Keep pushing! You will have moments where you want to quit but don’t. You can do this.

Be consistent with your schedule, if you post once a week – keep it up. Twice a week, continue. Every Tuesday? Sure! Whatever you do do it with determination and treat your blog as a business. Wouldn’t you show up to a paying gig Tuesday morning at 7am? Think of each post as a paying job, because one day – it will be. Persistent with your email list, social media account, blog posts. It all matters.

5. Always Be Learning!

I feel that this last tip is the most important. This is the blogger habit that you should never drop! You don’t know it all, and even if you’re confident you know what you need to know: things change! I’m a serial course taker. If I see an opportunity to learn and absorb an expert’s knowledge, I jump at it. Build up your knowledge by:

  • Asking other bloggers
  • Take courses
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Read blog posts
  • Subscribe to webinars
  • Watch YouTube videos
  • Schedule a consultation with an expert in the field

You can find out whatever you want to expand your knowledge on by putting more effort into blog education, from SEO help to our FREE PHOTOGRAPHY COURSEwhatever you want to know is out there (and if there isn’t and you figure it out, you can offer that service)! You can find anything out for free, but that does take a lot of time and effort to piece it all together.

If you’re looking for a shortcut to get it and get it fast don’t shy away from paid courses. I’m happy to pay someone for their time for getting the answers I want in a way that I can understand!

Click Start Club offers courses on photo editing! Starting at $79, we teach out our workflows for editing photography for your blog.

Want to improve your blog and social media images? Enroll here!

Blogging Habits From Bloggers

I asked the members in the Click Start Club Facebook Group (which is totally open to new members) blog habits they think every blogger should have and here is what people are saying:

  • Proofreading their posts. EVERY POST. – Jenn, Jenn Writes. PS: want to avoid grammar mistakes? Check out Grammarly.
  • A monthly calendar on their desk with their daily tasks, social shares for campaigns, blog posts for those days, invoices sent that month, etc. For me visibility is key. If I can’t see it, it often gets forgotten. – Aimee, Aimee Geroux.
  • Schedule a tweet the moment your blog post goes live, and schedule a few more throughout the next few months. – Kristen, My 3 Little Kittens.
  • Building and establishing genuine relationships with your readers and supporters. It’s so important to reciprocate and show love and support back on social media as well. And don’t be afraid to get personal. – Debbie, Sass and Smalls.
  • At least twice a year, take some time to tidy up your blog. Fix or delete broken links, update any posts that have become “dated”, review your sidebar to see if there are ads or other links you should remove, and optimize old posts for SEO. Consider having a professional take a look at the back end of your blog to see if there is anything they can do to refresh your blog such as completing tasks that can help your blog run faster. Make sure you are backing up your blog at least weekly. – Sandi, Canadian Blog House.
  • Consistency. Post on a weekly basis. I’ve seen bloggers complain that blogging can’t be a full-time income or even a part time income but then when I look at their blog their last post was 4 months ago, before that 3 months, before that 2 months etc. If you aren’t putting out new content your readers have no reason to come back if they’ve read everything. – Aimee, Aimee Geroux.

Share your best blogger habits with us in the comments.

How to Make Your Blog STAND OUT?

According to Blogger.org, in 2016, there were 6.7 million people blogging on blogging sites and 12 million on social media. That’s a lot of blogs! With those figures in mind, it’s clear that if you want to have a successful blog, you have to stand out from the crowd. So here are some tips on how to make your blog stand out.

Make Your Blog Stand Out

1. Don’t Shout

We were only half kidding with this one. Some people insist on having flashing, crazy images and colors on their blogs, or auto play music, or other equally irritating things that will turn people away from your blog. This doesn’t look professional and, ultimately, will cost you some readers.

A well thought out design, with appropriate visuals, is far more compelling than LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS text or music.

Looking for a new blog design? Here are our favorite WordPress themes and designs.

2. Quality of the content is key

High quality content is both engaging and useful to the reader. Answering questions that they might have about your line of business and how you can solve their problems is one way, but how you do it matters as much as what you do. A flat recitation of fact won’t keep anyone reading. Incorporating storytelling is a great way to keep their attention focused.

Be mindful of the tone of your blog: people who are reading it now won’t want to see a big change in style. Your personality and unique voice need to shine through if you are in the business of blogging. Readers aren’t just coming for the words: they’re coming for you and how you convey your message! 

3. Use different media

Images, infographics, videos… All great ways to get information to your reader and changing up the style a little to appeal to readers is never a bad thing. Ultimately, the written word is what controls your SEO, but it’s not all about SEO.

When it comes to these other forms of media, make sure you use high quality ones! Low resolution images or badly formatted infographics won’t help you. People are more likely to share when they’re blown away by something, either written or visual, so make it good!

Want help with this? Check out our Editing Bundles!

4. Make your content easy to read

Short sentences and paragraphs, sub-headers for easy scanning, and an easy on the eyes font and color scheme, all make a difference in the readability of your blog.

5. Publish consistently

A blog that hasn’t been updated in six months looks like a sign outside your store, hanging by the hinges and blowing in the wind: it gives the impression that no one is home! Consistency builds trust. While you’re at it, pay attention to those people who are reading your blog! If they share your materials on social or make comments, be sure to engage with them. Readers are turned off when they try to engage online, only to be ignored!

Another good way to develop a readership is to build momentum by providing content that relates to one another. In other words, develop a series of posts on a topic and then issue them one at a time, with a promise of more to come.

What I’m trying to say: don’t publish every day in the beginning and taper off. Do what you can from the start! We at Click Start Club aim for two posts a week, but since it’s Q4 an we both have The Bewitchin’ Kitchen and Simply Stacie to take care of – we have limited it to once a week right now.

6. Be where your readers are

You can promote your blog without ever mentioning it directly by simply being where your readers are, particularly on social media. If they get the feeling they’ve seen you before and they like what you’ve said, they’ll check out your profile, which must, of course, contain a link to your blog! We recommend Linkin Profile for Instagram, you have one link but it goes to all your blog posts. It’s awesome.

Be mindful of acting professional online because it can all add up to a bad image if your readers like your blog but don’t like what you say elsewhere. If you wouldn’t want your parent’s seeing it, you probably shouldn’t post it. 

Don’t be daunted by the number of blogs out there: successful blogging isn’t something that happens overnight, but rather through persistence and consistency, you’ll build up a readership and a following. It takes time but it’s worth it in the end!

Do you have any tips on how you make your blog stand out? Share them in the comments.

12 Daily Tasks to Grow Your Blog

I keep track of what I need to do each day in Asana and many of the tasks are ones that I use to grow my blog. Rome wasn’t built in a day…so they say and I’m a firm believer that small changes can make a big impact over time. If you are stretched for time already, hire a VA to do some of these daily tasks for you.

Daily Tasks to Grow Your Blog

This post contains affiliate links.

1. Pin a top pin from your Pinterest analytics. Look under Website in your Pinterest analytics and pin a top performing pin to your best boards.

2. Pin something from your Pinterest source link. Your source link will show you what is being pinned right now from your site. Grab a few pins to repin from there. This is what your source link will look like: https://www.pinterest.ca/source/yoursitename.com/

3. Schedule holiday posts in Tailwind and add to tribes. I make a list of all my seasonal posts and will begin to share them a few months before the holiday. I generally share about two a day on Pinterest and in my tribes.

4. Analyze your top posts. Take your top 10 posts with most traffic and add a newsletter form, interlink to other posts and schedule to social media.

5. Share a post in Facebook groups. Find relevant Facebook groups that allow you to share your posts. Check out these list of recipe sharing Facebook groups.

6. Add to linky parties. You can do this yourself or hire a VA to do it for you. I use Liza Coulter (tell her Stacie sent you!).

7. Add posts to round up groups. Bloggers are often looking for posts to use in their round ups. Check out this list of round up groups to join on Facebook.

8. Take your top traffic post from this date last year and share on social media. Look in Google Analytics on last year’s date and see what post was getting the most traffic. Then, schedule to share the post again on social media to give it a little boost.

9. SEO an older post. Choose one post from your archives and give it a little SEO boost by adding H2 tags, alt tags and making sure it has a keyword rich description at the start.

10. Add a Pinterest description to an older post and/or make a long pin. I look at old recipes and choose one a day. I make sure it has a good keyword rich Pinterest description and a long pin. Remember to pin it, too.

11. Add post to recipe or craft submission sites. I submit all my recipe posts to Foodgawker and my craft posts to Craftgawker. Traffic is ok, but I find big sites and magazines will often find me this way for features.

12. Ensure your recipe cards are filled out entirely. Make sure you add in the prep time, cook time, total time and nutritional value on your recipe card. Google and Pinterest will use this info in searches. We recommend Tasty Recipe as a recipe card and Nutrifox to get your nutrition information.

Do you have any daily tasks to add to this list?

Ultimate Guide to Profitable Blogging

Setting Up

There are a few technical details you need to take care of when setting up your first blog:

Domain

Your domain name is one of the most important decisions you can make. Keep these tips in mind when choosing a blog (and domain) name:

— A short domain is better, because it’s easier to remember.
— Spell everything the way it’s expected to be; don’t try to be too clever with the name.
— Choose a .com if possible.
— Check all social media to make sure your blog name is available before committing.
— Use a Thesaurus to find other words to use if your name is taken.

Hosting

This is the next important decision you will need to make! The host you choose is a big deal, because if you choose a bad host, you’re going to have major issues with your blog on a regular basis.

These are the bare bones basics. There are other optional blog related expenses including design, premium plugins, tech support, and more. Just start with the basics and move up from there.

Why are you starting a blog? So many people think starting a blog will be easy and they’ll make $100,000 a year (or more!) like so many income reports boast. Blogging is a lot of things, but is not an easy way to make money by any means. It’s a long term game, not a get rich quick scheme.

Remember: blogging all comes down to content. Post on a consistent basis, and make sure you deliver value in every single post. If you need help, here are 101 blog post topic ideas. It might seem like a lot of work to spend hours and hours (and hours!) on your blog when it isn’t paying you at first. That’s because it is! Blogging is not easy but if you write what you’re passionate about, you’ll find yourself looking forward to most blog-related tasks, at least most of the time.

Growing Your Blog

This post contains affiliate links.

The next step after setting your blog up is growing your blog. They say “if you build it, they will come”. That’s partially true, but it’s not that easy. You’ll want to make sure your blog is visually pleasing and well-rounded.

Work on diversifying your income from the beginning: ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and products/services are just a few ways to make sure all your eggs aren’t in one basket. Always have a plan. Use this free blog planner to stay on track. Anyone who monetizes their blog should also start tracking blog income, even if it’s just a few bucks here and there at first.

Track your stats from the beginning by setting up custom dashboards in Google Analytics. You need to know what is (and isn’t) performing well, so you can change things as needed. You’ll also need to know your blog stats to apply for paid (sponsored) posts. Looking to increase your page views? We really like Dominate, a complete guide to dominating the search engines.

Photography

One of the best ways to improve your blog is to learn photography. It might sound intimidating, but it’s simple once you break it down into a few easy steps. Improving your photography will help you get featured on other websites (increasing your SEO from links back), and can drastically increase your traffic from social media.

You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars for photography equipment, but you do need a basic understanding of staging and lighting. I recommend our free food photography course.

Enroll in Click Start Club’s Editing in Photoshop & Lightroom bundle! We have options for everyone!

If you still aren’t convinced or don’t have time to deal with taking your own photos right now, use stock images until you are ready!

Our Favorite Tools

The tools mentioned here are designed to make your life easier. Time is money, and each tool on the list will save you massive amounts of time! It’s not always possible to invest money at first, so don’t freak out if you can’t. However, these are the first tools you should invest in once you’re ready to start making the big bucks!

Tailwind – We use Tailwind for scheduling pins on Pinterest. This saves lots of time but Tailwind also provides detailed insights so you know which boards are performing best.

Grum – Much like Tailwind, Grum saves you a lot of time by allowing you to schedule posts – but for Instagram.

Social Warfare – Remember when we said a domain and hosting were the bare bones basics? Plugins like Social Warfare take your blog to the next level and are worth the investment! The best way to get traffic, besides SEO, is social shares. This plugin makes it easy.

ConvertKit – The “golden ticket” to getting blog traffic to your new posts (before SEO and social shares kick in) is an email list. People subscribe to email lists to get your latest posts delivered right to their inbox every day (or week). ConvertKit is a great tool for this because you can segment your list, among other things.

What’s stopping you from creating a blog?

10 Things Bloggers Should Be Doing to Reach Success

What Bloggers Should Be Doing

Here are a few things that bloggers should be doing to reach success. I left out the obvious such as: work on SEO, share on social media, treat Pinterest as a search engine. I did that because I felt like those are posts within themselves and could make this topic to a never ending discussion. I did lightly touch on Google Analytics and Search Console, but it’s up to you to do some more digging and educate yourself (see tip #10).

This post contains affiliate links.

1. Be Yourself

This sounds basic enough, but there are so many blogs out there that are trying to be someone else. Or even worse, trying to be the person that they believe their readers think they should be. I’m guilty of this! Up until the few years, when I wrote on The Bewitchin’ Kitchen I did whatever I could to make the situation I was writing out perfect. It was exhausting and it was boring! Guess what? I’m not an English major and although my grammar isn’t terrible, it’s not the best (however I do use the Grammarly app and it helps). I realized that I speak with my readers in a conversational tone because that’s how I talk to my friends. This makes it easier for myself as a blogger, and it shows the real me. If people don’t like it, there are so many blogs out there that they can align themselves with. The only thing I don’t do? Curse. The truth is, I have a potty mouth in real life but I don’t cross that over to my blog.

2. Get familiar with Google Analytics.

Up until recently, I only understood how to find my page views, traffic sources, and other basic things. I knew there was power being Google Analytics, but I never knew how to find the information I needed to make my blog better and understand what my readers wanted. I now have a few custom dashboards and I can dive in a little more to see what makes my blog tick.

Resources I used to understand Google Analytics:

3. Get familiar with Google Search Console

I still call it webmaster tools, but it’s the same thing. If you’re diving into Google Analytics, you better be diving into webmaster tools as well! In the search console, you can ensure that Google is crawling your site properly. It will show you crawl errors and where they stem from, what people are searching your site for, and you can even build a custom search engine (which is great for round-ups).

Resources I used to understand Google Search Console:

4. Set Goals

I’m a big goal setter. I have my goals written in notebooks, in various apps (Evernote, Wunderlist, and Notes app), and I think about them daily. I have them accessible for that constant reminder of what I’m working for. I like to have a goal for the year, a goal for 6 months from now, 1 month from now, and weekly goals. The little goals build up to being successful in achieving my big goal.

5. Be Part of a Community

I was a lone wolf for the first few years of blogging and guess what? I didn’t get far. It’s so nice to have a community of blogging friends who understand what makes each other tick, to celebrate our online victories, and to bounce ideas off of. Collaborations and inspiration from each other’s work are also great ways to expand your blog and reach.

Join our community on Facebook!

6. Diversify Your Income

If you’ve decided to not monetize your blog, you can skip this one.

This just makes sense. If your blog is your business, or you have hopes for it to be in the future, why would you rely on one (or even two) sources of income? Diversify and work smarter, not harder.

An example of ways you can monetize your blog:

  • Sponsored Posts
  • Ads
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Products/Services
  • Social media

Resources that may spark inspiration:

7. Make It Easy for Your Readers to Share Your Content!

It always baffles me when I go to a blog, devour their content, and when I go to share it there is no way for me to do so! Not only is it a huge annoyance as a reader, but as a content creator: you are missing a huge opportunity for expanding your reach and potentially going viral.

Social sharing plugins we recommend:

8. Just Keep Swimming

Ah Dory, she’s so wise. So many bloggers start a blog because they know of someone who makes 100k/year and they thought it would be an easy way to make some money.

…excuse me while I hold back laughter.

Blogging is hard work, and a lot of people who go into it with that mindset will become frustrated and fail. Blogging is a long term game and if you don’t have the content to back it up, you’ll be in for a lot of disappointment.

  1. Publish your posts on a consistent basis.
  2. Give your readers value. They’re giving you their time, you owe them valuable content.
  3. Your blog is not about you, it’s how you can help others. People are reading your blog not to see your selfies but they want to learn something! Whether it’s a recipe, tutorial, or advice on where hiking spots are in your local area. Give knowledge and value!
  4. Keep pushing.

If you blog with those four steps, you’ll be in it for the long haul. Blogging is a long term game! Not everyone goes viral and has a million page views a month and those that have gone viral have possibly been pushing out valuable content for a long time. Keep up the value, people will find it, people will share it and you’ll get the readers.

Go into your Google Analytics and Search Console, see what your readers are coming to your site to see and you’ll have even more of an upper hand (the same goes for Pinterest analytics).

9. Make Your Blog Visually Appealing

We are visual beings! If it’s not pretty, it’s not going to get much attention. Invest in a proper camera, learn some basic editing (whether it’s using Photoshop, Lightroom or basic Picmonkey), and make your images pinnable, shareable, and beautiful.

Here at Click Start Club, we have a free photography course that you could enroll in. 

Resources:

10. Always Be Learning!

Education is HUGE! Things will always be changing and there are experts out there who can guide you to success. Even if you think you understand a topic, don’t dismiss the idea of furthering your knowledge. The moment I started investing in my business with blogging courses, things changed for me. They can for you too. Blogging education doesn’t have to be only courses either. I listen to Podcasts all the time! Don’t just listen to podcasts niched to blogging either, expand to all forms of business and self-development. You may just find the bit of inspiration or the sliver of a topic that makes it all click.

Some of my favorite blogging courses and membership sites:

These are simple things that bloggers should be doing and I wish that I started thinking about these blogging tasks from the beginning. So learn from my mistakes and start doing this from the beginning and you’ll be reaching success in no time.

Paying Blog Contributors – How to Know If It’s Worth It

If you’ve hired a blog contributor to create content for your site, you may be wondering if you’ll ever make that money back. How do you decide what price to pay for content and if it’s even worth it? Yes, a lot of factors should be considered, but one should be your ROI.

Paying Blog Contributors – How to Know If It’s Worth It

To help me (and you!) figure that out, I’ve come up with a couple of formulas. It’s math, but it’s easy math, promise! Let’s take a look at what the post’s value was to your blog and how many pageviews you’d need to recoup your money via ads.

What was the post worth?

The formula:

Pageviews on that post since you posted it X (Average RPM/1000)

Examples: 

1. The post has received 1500 pageviews since it was posted. Your average RPM is $9.66. You paid $50 for the post. How much should you have paid?

Formula: 1500 X (9.66/1000) = $14.49

Therefore, the post hasn’t made me back my money yet as I paid $50 for it and only earned about $14.49 on it.

2. The post has received 12,000 pageviews since it was posted. Your average RPM is $9.33. You paid $75 for the post. How much should you have paid?

Formula: 12000 X (9.33/1000) = $111.96

Therefore, I’ve earned my money back on this post since I only paid $75 for it.

How many page views do I need to make back the money I paid?

The formula:

Price you paid/(Average RPM/1000)

Examples:

1. I paid $100 for the post. My average RPM is $9.45. How many pageviews do I need to get on that post to make my money back?

Formula: 100/(9.45/1000) = 10582

I would need 10,582 pageviews before the post paid for itself.

2. I paid $30 for the post. My average RPM is $9.02. How many pageviews do I need to get on that post to make my money back?

Formula: 30/(9.02/1000) = 3326

I would need 3,326 pageviews before I made my money back.

Some things to consider:

What currency did you use to pay for the post? If you paid CAD and your ad network pays in USD, you’ll need to calculate the price you paid in USD to figure it out. Alternatively, you could calculate the RPM in CAD and do it that way. Just make sure you are working in the same currency.

I hope these formulas help you out as you examine if the benefits of having a contributor outweigh the costs. For me personally, sometimes those posts go viral and pay for themselves tenfold. Other times, it’s crickets and I can never expect to earn my money back. You just never know what will happen with a post!

Try Our Photo Editing Courses

It’s been a busy week here at Click Start Club. We launched two new editing courses: Editing in Photoshop and Editing in Lightroom. We are also selling a bundle with both courses to save you money. If you’re still unsure about the courses, I wanted to share some reasons why they are a great deal and how they can benefit you.

  1. Self-paced. If you’re busy right now and thinking I just don’t have the time, I wanted to let you know that’s ok. These courses are self-paced and you can do them when you are ready and have more time. The lessons are broken up into small chunks to keep it manageable so you can watch three minutes here and five minutes there. They aren’t long lessons so you won’t be tied down to your computer for hours on end listening to us – unless, of course, you want to! Do them on your own time whenever you are ready and it’s convenient for you.
  2. Small investment. During the launch period, the courses are priced at $79 each and $139 for the bundle of two. Compared to other courses I’ve taken, that isn’t much at all!
  3. Non-technical. Neither Randa or I are technical people so we won’t be using terms you won’t understand. It’s taught from a non-technical standpoint so you can just jump in and start using the software and editing your photos.
  4. No special equipment. The only thing you’ll need is Adobe Creative Cloud with Lightroom/Photoshop!
  5. Watch over and over. You have lifetime access to the course lessons and can watch them more than once. You’ll also have access to any updates we do to the course in the future.
  6. Deals. We have secured some special deals for our students including coupons at Overhead Pro, Shiny Heads Productions, Tailwind, Erickson Woodworks and more! We will continue to add to the deals page and you’ll have access to it all!
  7. Affiliate program. As an enrolled student, you can become an affiliate and earn 20% of every sale you refer to the course. We have images and copy you can use to promote with your affiliate link.
  8. Support. We also have a Facebook group for students to ask questions and get feedback from other students. Randa and I are both active in the group so if you have any issues or questions, just ask and we’ll do our best to help you out!
  9. Grow your business by improving your skills. Think of this course like investing in your business. By improving your editing skills, you can grow your traffic and income. For me, it’s made a huge difference in both areas!

Take a peek at Editing in Photoshop and Editing in Lightroom (plus the bundle!) and if you like what you see, sign up! Our special introductory price is on for a limited time only so snag it while you can!

Getting starting in photography doesn’t have to be hard or overwhelming. We created this 10 day FREE eCourse on Photography tips and tricks that will improve your photography and earn you more money with your blog. PLUS get a free workflow checklist.

How to Create an Online Portfolio for Your Media Kit

About a year ago, I was looking for a way to showcase my photos in my media kit. I didn’t want to include them in the kit because that would make it too large. I also didn’t want to put them on my site because I was afraid the page would be too slow to open with all those huge pics. I searched for an alternative and found my solution: SmugMug, a photo sharing site that I use as an online portfolio.

This post contains affiliate links.

Online Portfolio for Bloggers & Photographers

SmugMug was exactly what I was looking for. It allows me to showcase my best photography on a beautiful interface and easily share it with the world. I link to my portfolio in my media kit so prospective clients can check it out before they hire me. It lets me show everything conveniently in one spot so people don’t have to go searching my site.

Take a peek at what mine look like. I have them organized into the different types of photos.

  • Main Portfolio
  • Food Photography
  • DIY Beauty Photography
  • DIY Photography

I love being able to customize my portfolio. I can turn on right click protection so people can’t save my photos. I can also watermark them too.

Another bonus is that my photos are safe in SmugMug. I don’t have to worry about my computer or external hard drive failing (it happens!). It’s a bit of peace of mind. And yes, it’s unlimited storage so add as many pictures as you like!

SmugMug for Blogging

It’s not free, but it’s cheap! I have the Power Plan at $5.99/month. I think it’s worth it for all the perks SmugMug offers. They also have a cheaper Basic Plan at $3.99/month, but you won’t be able to customize your portfolio. I think either one of those plans would suit bloggers’ purposes.

If you are wanting to sell your photos, you can do it via SmugMug, too. I’m not at that point so I don’t need that feature. I keep all my photos for myself. Maybe I’m greedy!

Check out SmugMug and see how it can benefit your blogging business! If you have SmugMug already, leave a link to your portfolio so we can check it out.

Free eCourse on Photography

Getting starting in photography doesn’t have to be hard or overwhelming. We created this 10 day FREE eCourse on Photography tips and tricks that will improve your photography and earn you more money with your blog. PLUS get a free workflow checklist.

Adthrive Review

What is AdThrive?

AdThrive is a premium full-service ad management service for high quality Websites and Bloggers.

AdThrive allows publishers ability to make money from their websites through running AdThrive Advertising.

AdThrive Ad Methods

AdThrive Desktop Ad Unit Review

AdThrive serves all popular desktop ad units and formats you would expect from a premium ad network such as:

  • 300×250,
  • 728×900,
  • 160×600,
  • 300×600,
  • sliders and video units.

AdThrive Mobile Ad Unit Review

On mobile, AdThrive implements the popular mobile formats like:

  • 320×50,
  • 300×250,
  • mobile footers and mobile video units. 

AdThrive Payment Method

AdThrive is a reliable network and they pay on time and the correct amount. 

The minimum payment requirement is $25 dollars. 

AdThrive Payments methods include:

  • Direct Deposit
  • PayPal
  • US Wire Transfer
  • International Wire Transfer

AdThrive Requirements

  • Adthrive requires 100k pageviews Monthly minimum proof from Google Analytics
  • US Traffic
  • No Bans from other networks like Google AdSense
  • Unique content

For more information visit AdThrive.com

Why a Business Bank Account for Bloggers?

We can hope our blogging website can became successful enough to start thinking about opening a Business Bank for your Blog Business

Why open a Business Bank Accounts for Bloggers?

  • For Recording Income and Expenses
  • Budgeting
  • Forecasting
  • For Tax Reporting

How to Setup Business Bank Account For Bloggers?

  • Proof of ID / Address
  • Proof of Company Ownership
  • Proof of business address

Best Business Bank WorldWide

  1. TransferWise
  2. Payoneer

Best Business Bank Accounts in USA

  1. JP Morgan Chase
  2. Bank of America
  3. Citibank

Best Business Bank Accounts in UK

  1. Royal Bank of Scotland
  2. Barclays
  3. HSBC

39 PHOTOSHOP SHORTCUTS TO MAKE EDITING PHOTOGRAPHY PRODUCTIVE

I’ve been using Photoshop since high school, using the editing software was part of a few of my courses but it wasn’t until I started my blog where I began to dabble in the art of editing photography. That being said clicking around and figuring out what icon means what can take a little time, so I put together this Photoshop shortcuts cheat sheet for you to download.

PHOTOSHOP SHORTCUTS CHEAT SHEETS

Originally this cheat sheet for Photoshop Shortcuts was made as a bonus for Click Start Club students who enrolled in the Editing with Photoshop Course, but after talking we realized that this would be a great way to show you that Photoshop isn’t as overwhelming as it seems.

We hope this cheat sheet download helps you, and if you’re interested in both the Editing with Photoshop and Editing with Lightroom courses, check out the information below.

THE ULTIMATE BLOG PLANNER {FREE DOWNLOAD}

The Ultimate Blog Planner was originally created to be a sales item, but after we saw how this could change the game for so many bloggers we decided to make it a free download. Yup! That’s right, it’s free or best offer.

Click Start Club originally started out with a free photography course and now we’re in a beta group for a Photoshop for beginners course with a Lightroom course and a video creation course in development. Now that was always the plan, but what we didn’t plan on was building blog resources but here we are and I’m so happy our plans grew to help you grow the blog of your dreams.

THE ULTIMATE BLOG PLANNER

Stacie and I put our heads together and thought of all the blog printables we could put to paper and had them put together in this blogger eBook. You can either print them out as you need them or all at once and toss them in a binder.

FREE BLOG PLANNER DOWNLOAD

Take your blog to the next level by downloading the FREE Ultimate Blog Planner!

What’s included in The Ultimate Blog Planner:

  • 22 free blog printables
  • Cover page
  • Binder spines in a variety of sizes.

Free blog printables that are included:

  1. Affiliate program tracker
  2. Blog post planner
  3. Blog post schedule
  4. Blog post ideas
  5. Rate sheet
  6. Blog statistic tracker
  7. Linky party tracker
  8. Blog post schedule
  9. Blog giveaway tracker
  10. Sponsored post tracker
  11. Blog post ideas
  12. Monthly planner, weekly planner, and daily planner
  13. Project planner
  14. Goal tracker
  15. Invoice tracker
  16. Income tracker
  17. Expenses tracker
  18. Yearly finances
  19. Mileage tracker
  20. Password tracker
  21. Social media planner

We hope this blogger planner helps solve a few of your problems when it comes to building your blog business. However, we’re always wanting to help our fellow bloggers and make their lives easier and to help uncover roadblocks and bring on success.

So please, leave us a comment telling us what your biggest blogging challenge is.

9 Blogging Mistakes I Wish I Never Made

I’ve been blogging since 2008 and during that time, I’ve made soooo many blogging mistakes. I sat down to make a list and was overwhelmed by my bad decisions. What was I thinking? I guess at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing. I didn’t intentionally make so many errors. But, if I’m being totally honest, some of these mistakes were a result of pure laziness on my part. At least I can admit it now.

I’ll list out the top blogging mistakes I’ve made and maybe you can relate to some of them. I hope I’m not the only one with regrets!

My Blogging Mistakes

1. Sticking with reviews & giveaways for as long as I did. For my first several years of blogging, I was an entirely review and giveaway blog. I had a team of contributors from USA and Canada who would receive the items and write a post. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I should have been more picky about the quality some of them were sending me.

Some of the posts are very thin content (under 300 words) and I ended up no-indexing them. The majority of the reviews don’t receive any traffic. I’ve been trying to update them and put them into SEMrush to see if they rank. I’m shocked if they do at all.

In 2015, I decided to phase out the reviews and focus more on lifestyle and food topics that I wrote myself. I had to end some relationships which was tough and I had one person take it very personally. It was a business decision though and I had to do what was best for me.

Nowadays, I’ll only take reviews if it’s an item I reallyyyyyyy want and don’t want to buy myself OR if they pay my rates for a sponsored posts. Products don’t pay the bills unfortunately and running a blog isn’t cheap.

2. Posting so much “dud” content. I’m trying to decide what to do with these posts. They are posts like group giveaways, expired coupons and promotions, etc. Right now, they are no-indexed, but I may just delete them down the road.

Back then, I was posting multiple times a day. No wonder I was tired all the time! These days, I’m posting three times a week. Much more manageable and I can focus more on quality, not quantity.

3. Posting so much “thin” content. What I mean here is posts that are under 300 words and are just a couple paragraphs. Some of these posts are ranking, but could probably do so much better if they were lengthened considerably. I was pumping out so much content back then that I just didn’t have the energy to write a lengthy post. My bad. I’m going through these posts slowly and adding more meat to them.

4. Ignoring my email newsletter. I took the “If you build it, they will come” approach to my email newsletter. I put it in my giveaways (and attracted the wrong type of reader for my newer stuff) and stuck a box on my sidebar for people to subscribe (no one barely did).

Last August, I took the plunge into building my email newsletter and working on growing a strong list of engaged subscribers. I switched to ConvertKit, made multiple opt-in freebies, and promoted my newsletter in all my top content. I grew to the point where I was paying almost $300/month!

In Bloggers Tell All, they suggested to prune your newsletter regularly. I deleted about 10,000 cold subscribers and am paying about $150 less per month. My open rates and click through rates have improved. Don’t pay for the dead weight, friends! Get rid of your cold subscribers. I’ll be doing this quarterly to keep my list healthy.

5. Not filling out my recipe card completely. This is just sheer laziness. I’m now going back through old recipes and adding the prep, cook and total time. It’s a big job. I’ll have to update them AGAIN when I move to the Mediavine recipe plugin because it will have nutritional info on it.

6. Not putting my recipe card at the end of the posts. I stuck them in the middle for some reason. I don’t know why. I just did it. My ad network, Mediavine, recommends that recipe cards go at the end of your posts so users have to scroll through and view your ads. More $$$. I’ve got another spreadsheet going in Google Drive where I’m moving the recipe cards. One. At. A. Time. Sigh.

7. Thinking Yoast was enough for SEO. Until I joined Bloggers Tell All, that’s what I thought. I’d make sure my lights were green on my posts and thought I was good to go. Please tell me I’m not alone here!!! In February, I started my deep dive into the wonderful world of SEO thanks to SEMrush and Bloggers Tell All (Thanks Stephanie!). I’m working on low hanging fruit and writing better posts now keeping in mind best practices. I know SEO is a long game and I’m committed.

8. Not removing the Rafflecopter codes after each giveaway ended. Why oh why didn’t I do this???? It would have taken two seconds. My Site Speed Audit said to remove all giveaway codes (and linkys) to improve my site speed. I have 130 pages of giveaways…..I know, it’s nuts (see #1). Each day, I go through about 10 giveaways and remove the codes. I’ll get there….eventually.

9. Making more pin sizes. Pinterest said in a live Facebook show that they are now penalizing those long “giraffe” pins and focusing more on pins with a 2:3 ratio. Long collage pins were popular for sooooo long so every post has them. I’m not deleting them, but moving forward I’m making more sizes. I’m still doing the long pin (because they are still performing for me), a 2:3 collage and 2:3 with just text.

Whew! There are more, but I’d be here all day writing and I know you’re busy. I’d love to hear what are some of your blogging mistakes?