The Ultimate Guide To Pinterest For Beginners

PINTEREST-BEGINNERS

Looking to up your blogging game? 

Pinterest is a great tool you can use to grow your blog’s traffic, community, email list, and overall profit. If you are still new to this amazing platform, here are some facts you need to know:

What is a pin?

A pin consists of an image (sometimes with a text overlay) and a text caption. 

A pin links to an outside source like a blog post, product, or landing page. Once you click on this, a new tab will be opened, leading you to that linked page. 

How to pin

If anything catches your eye, you can “pin” it. This can be done either through the Pinterest site itself or from an external website. 

1. To pin on Pinterest hover over one of the pins in your feed or on a board and thenclick the button that looks like a either a red "P" or it may look like thumbtack and is most often found on the top corner of the pin. You can then select a specific board where you would want to share that image with and click on the thumbtack icon found at the right side of that board. 

2. To pin when you are visiting a website, hover over an image with your mouse and most often a pin it button will appear. Click the button that looks like a either a red "P" or it may look like thumbtack and is most often found on the top corner of the pin. Then select the board you would like to save it to.

pinterest-beginners

3. If you have installed a Pinterest extension on your browser you can also pin images or you can use the “pin it” button that could be installed on that site in order to share the image. 

Create a Pinterest business account

When you have a business account on Pinterest, you can look at Pinterest Analytics, set up promoted pins, enable rich pins, and also use a business name instead of a personal one. All you need to do is choose the “Business” option. If you already have a personal account, you can just convert it to a business one in order to keep the existing followers you have. 

pinterest-beginners

Setting up your profile

When creating your bio, use the keywords that you have come up with and write 2 to 3 sentences describing yourself and what you do. 

Including keywords also applies to your business name. Incorporate those keywords as well in order to give it a more interesting take. 

Make sure your profile description is true to what you are and really describes what you can do or what you are offering. In your profile, include a little bit of information about yourself, a call to action, and a site link. 

Don’t forget to also upload your photo or profile picture. I recommend a photo that is at least 600 x 600 pixels. Choose a profile picture of you that is in color, and you are genuinely smiling. 

Enabling Rich Pins

Rich pins are more attractive because of their bold titles found under the image. They offer more details as well making them more valuable.

When you enable rich pins, you can have your pins gain recognition when you share or re-pin. Your business also gains more credibility and you will find that your engagement will also increase.  

Branding + Design

If you want your brand and pins to be recognizable, you need to focus on branding. This means being consistent with the kind of pins you put out there. 

Not every pin has to be exactly the same, but you can be creative and come up with ways to make each pin unique but still stay true to your overall brand or theme. Keep on trying new things out and eventually, you will find the right balance and style for you. 

Here is an example of a few of my recent posts, they all are similar and use the same fonts and colors, but are slightly different. 

pinterest-beginners

In order to make the most out of your pins, they have to have these characteristics: 

  • long and vertical 
  • have the brand fonts and colors that are consistent with your brand colors
  • high-quality images or graphics

Taller pins work better on mobile screens and because of the way Pinterest shows images, vertical images is the way to go. The standard size of a Pinterest image is 735 x 1102, however, I often make my pins longer than that. 

Studies have shown that generally, pins with more than one color are more effective. Red usually gets more re-pins compared to blue. If there is too much going on though it can become distracting or overwhelming. Try to stick to a color palette of 1-3 colors. 

When it comes to fonts, you can even pair 2 different ones to give a little personality but make sure you also don’t overdo. I usually go with a bold font and then a scripted font. 

Make sure to always post your watermark or site URL at the bottom of your pin. This helps readers know where the pin is coming from and also gives you some protection in case someone wanted to steal your image.

Look for 10-20 keywords that are relevant to your niche

Many people think of Pinterest as a social media tool, but Pinterest is actually more similar to a search engine where keywords are vital. SEO strategies can be used so that you can increase your following, views, and reach. To get the most out of search engine aspect of this platform start by brainstorming 10-20 keywords that are relevant to your niche.

By doing this process and implementing these keywords strategically, you can boost your SEO and traffic on  Pinterest. This is key to getting your online business visible on Pinterest.

You can find these keywords by going on Pinterest and using the search engine. You can then come up with long-tail keywords (meaning a keyword phrase that is 3 words or longer) that are usually ranked in order of popularity from right to left.

Once you have these keywords, you can put them in your profile, board descriptions, titles of blog posts, board titles, and pin descriptions. 

 

pinterest-beginners

 

Just remember not to overdo it and “stuff” your keywords. Make sure they are relevant and engaging, but still incorporated in a natural way.  

Pin Descriptions

When writing your descriptions under your images, make sure they catch the eye of your reader right away and encourage them to click on the link. You don’t have to make your descriptions lengthy since only about the first 1-2 sentences can be seen. 

It is better to write shorter descriptions that will make an impact. Don’t forget to also incorporate your keywords that are niche-relevant but make sure you are not overstuffing it with keywords just for the sake of doing so. Doing all this will help increase your search ranking. 

Having titles and descriptions that are relevant and straight to the point is best since you are trying to come up for common search terms and if your name is too unique or different, people may not be searching for that and thereby your content might not be found. 

Pin titles are one of the first things that your readers will see and what you put there can make all the difference for your audience to click on the image or not. Your title should help your reader know exactly what they are going to get when they click through to your post and what problem it will solve for them.

How to create boards

Now that you know how to create a pin and pin them you need somewhere to pin them to, right? 

So that you can easily locate your pins, later on, it is best to create a board or groups for them. You can choose the board’s name, topic, category, and description. This will also make it easier for your followers to check out your content. 

To create a board go to your profile and then sort by boards. Then click the red + sign and it will pop up and let you create a board. 
 

pinterest-beginners

Once these boards are on your profile, you can make them either public or secret. As their names suggest, public can be seen by others while the secret boards will only be available to you. This is also beneficial when you want to pin a lot of things that may not necessarily be relevant to your niche. 

A group board is where multiple pinners can contribute their pins or ideas. Each one will have a specific topic and there are also a set of rules and regulations that you must adhere to. 

You can also follow other pinners or their boards. When you do so, you will be able to see their pins in your homefeed. Your homefeed will have pins from boards and accounts that you follow, recommended pins, and promoted pins or Pinterest ads. 

Creating relevant niche boards

This step is important in order for you to attract your ideal followers to your account. Make sure they are well organized not only for your own benefit but also so that people will have a good impression on your account or business. 

These boards will help your readers get the information or content they need and want. Make around 10 to 20 boards that are significant to your niche (the keywords that you brainstormed earlier will give you some ideas for board themes).

If you want, you can create even more, but if you are just starting out it is better to have 10 high-quality than 20 or more low-quality boards with only a few pins.

You can also edit their names and descriptions in order to incorporate your keywords. There are also various categories that you can choose from. 

Board descriptions should be engaging and describe the content correctly. It is also essential to have one board that will have your blog posts, products or services. Put this board on the top row of your Pinterest profile. 

Board Covers

You can also add board covers to increase their visual appeal. You can use design software like Canva or Picmonkey to make them, or I personally just use stock photos. 

pinterest-beginners

This keeps a cohesive theme, and if Pinterest changes their board sizes it won't affect my covers. These board covers can not only make your boards look more appealing, but it can also help get more attention and make you stand out amongst the competition.  

Group boards

If you want your account to grow fast and gain a lot of traffic, group boards are key. This is because group boards will usually have around 1,000 to 50,000 or even more followers. 

This means that your pins will get a lot of exposure, increasing your chances to gain even more followers. They are also great sources for relevant pins to be shared or get inspiration from. Try to keep on looking for new group boards and pin often on them as well. 

You can find group boards by checking out the Pinterest profile of your favorite bloggers in your niche. Most likely you can find group boards that they are a part of that are also relevant to your niche and that you can also join. 

When applying to join a group board, make sure you follow their rules and guidelines and always be polite. You can also keep track of your group board applications through Excel or Google Docs. 

This way you can see which boards you haven’t been accepted yet and you can get back to them after a while. Not everyone will respond right away and not everyone will accept you, but the key is to be patient and persistent and you will eventually you can create your own group boards. 

“Pin it” and “follow” buttons on your website

By adding a pin it or follow button on your site, you can make it easier for your readers to share your posts or content. All they need to do is hover over the image and they can click that button.

Don’t forget to also add social media follow icons on the site to link to your accounts. You can place these on the top menu, sidebar, footer, or all of these places. 

Split Testing

Choose 5-10 popular blog posts on your site and create 2-4 pins for each of them. You can change the fonts, colors, headlines, descriptions for each one and see which ones get the most re-pins and likes and you can use this as a reference to create similar ones in the future. This process is called “split testing” or “A/B testing.”

Re-pinning

Make it your goal to re-pin pins every day. Start with 50 and increase the number later on. To help you with this process, you can automate using tools like Boardbooster. You can do things like scheduling pins, looping, campaigns, and others. All you need to do is set up the features according to your needs and you it does everything for you automatically. 

 

 

Following boards

When you follow a lot of people or boards, you can get a lot of relevant content that you can use to pin from your homefeed. You can look for people to follow by searching for keywords that are relevant to your niche and filtering them later on to just people or boards. Doing this step can also increase your followers since the people you follow may follow you back. 

Promoted Pins

If you are a bit more of an advanced pinner and you have the budget for advertising, you also have the option of paying to promote your pins. This will increase the reach of that pin and increase views. You can also choose where you would like to target those promoted pins. 

You can quickly promote a pin by clicking on the red promote button or clicking on “Ads” in the top navigation bar. You can also choose a daily budget indicating how much you are willing to pay per day to promote your pins. Costs are usually based on a per click basis. 

Through Ads Manager, you can also monitor how your promoted pins are doing. It is important to remember that with advertising things change frequently and so it is best to check in often to see how your promoted pins are doing and to tweak your strategy. 

For more tips on how to use Pinterest to bring traffic to your blog grab your seat in my free Pinterest course Pinterest Primer. 

10 Ways To Use ConvertKit Automations

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CONVERTKIT-AUTOMATIONS

Automation is when you set up a system to run automatically over and over again.

Why haven’t they set up laundry automation yet? 

Automation will save you time while giving you the freedom to do other things. It will also ensure that those little things that you need to do throughout the day will still be done in an efficient and effective manner. 

When it comes to marketing techniques and strategies, it may be difficult to do everything all at once, but with the help of automation, you can achieve this feat and increase your revenue at the same time. 

ConvertKit is email marketing tool that can help you create automation system so you can achieve your goals. This tool will help you tag subscribers, add them to email sequences, remove them from sequences, and much more.ConvertKit is awesome because it is an email marketing platform designed by bloggers for bloggers so its interface is pretty simple to understand and master. 

Automations can help your business grow since you would be able to develop potential customers and convert subscribers to actual paying customers.  

First, you need to login to your ConvertKit account and then click on the Automations tab. 

You will then see the automation rules section where you can make your own detailed rules. Click on “Add Rule”. Next, a screen indicating triggers and actions can be seen.

Triggers happen when a subscriber will complete a specific action. Examples of this are when they click on a link, completing an email sequence, or subscribe to a form.  Actions are what you would want ConvertKit to do or record whenever these triggers are completed. 

You can have someone be automatically added to an email sequence once they subscribe to a form you have specified. After you have clicked on “save rule”, you will then be able to see it at the bottom of your Automation Rules list. You can put as many automation rules as you want (I think I’m pushing 50!) since there is an unlimited number that is allowed with ConvertKit. You can also have more than one action that will correspond to a certain trigger. 

Tips on how you can use ConvertKit Automation: 

1. Choose Your Own Adventure

You can create your own path sequence that will give your customers options on what they would like to do next. This is like a choose your own adventure style email. This will help you nurture and meet their goals and provide them different options according to those objectives. 

For example, if you have multiple categories on your blog you can ask them which topic they are most interested in. Then in the future, you can send them content that is similar to that. 

All you would need to do is set up an automation so that when some clicks a link, a tag is added to their account. 

2. Opt-out Of A Promotion

There are times when your customers would not be interested in a specific campaign or topic that you are promoting. This is where having customized unsubscribe links will be helpful. Aside from the mandatory unsubscribe button, you can create a custom unsubscribe link that will let your subscriber choose to just opt out of that certain campaign. Once they would click on this link, they would then be tagged.

Here are steps to create this customized unsubscribe link:

  1. Make a custom URL for that link. Once this opt-out link is chosen or clicked, they will then be redirected to a page where you can put something like “Thank you for updating your email preferences”. 
     
  2. Make a new automation rule by selecting “clicks a link” under triggers. You can then key in your URL. Under action, you can then choose “add tag”. You will also have the option to name those tags. 
     
  3. A new segment can also be set up where you can send out broadcasts about a specific campaign that you are sending emails about. 

Here is an example from one of my launch emails for my course Pinterest to Profits, 

convertkit-automations

This is super helpful if you are launching a product. A portion of your audience might not be interested in that topic or product so instead of them unsubscribing they can just opt-out of those launch emails. 

3. VIP List & End Of Sale Reminders

If you are launching a product and want to build a list of people that are interested in your product you can create a VIP list. This is a group of people that will have early access to your sale and by clicking on the link confirm to you that they are interested in your product. These VIP lists can build momentum for your launch and help your readers feel special.

Here’s how you can set up your VIP list: 

  1. Create your custom “VIP” link that will lead your subscribers to a page stating that they will be sent a last minute reminder before the sale ends. 
     
  2. Set up “clicks a link” under trigger, and have the action as “add tag”. 
     
  3. You can then email the broadcast to the people who have chosen to be notified. 

This is also great for those last minute sales reminders. Sending multiple reminders can bother your subscribers, but for those that really do appreciate the last minute reminder, this option is perfect for them. 

4. Nurture Sequence

Automatic nurture sequences allow you to lead your customers to buy your product or services.

You can set it up through the following steps:

  1. Add a new automation rule that will have “clicks a link” as a trigger. You can then enter the URL for the sales page of your product or service. Your action will be “add a tag” and “subscribe to a sequence”. The tag will be something like “interested in (your topic or product)” and the sequence will be made of a series of emails that will have valuable information on your product or that topic. 
     
  2. The link trigger should be used every time you address your product in your email. If there is someone that would be interested in what you have to offer, then they will be added to that nurture sequence. 

5. Learn More About Your Readers & Customers

By tagging your subscribers and potential customers as often as possible, you are learning more and will increase your chances of making money. There are a lot of tags you can use. Some examples are as follows: 

  • Clicked a promotion
  • Clicked a product
  • Clicked on my affiliate link
  • Clicked to join my group
  • Clicked a video 

You can easily add new tags for people that opt-in, click on links, complete a sequence, or purchase a product. 

6. Move Between Sequences & Keep Them Warm

You can move subscribers between sequences by creating a new automation rule. Your trigger would be “completes a sequence” and you can select that sequence that the customer will be moving from. 

Your action will then be “subscribe to a sequence” and you can then choose the sequence that the subscriber will be moving to. 

This is great so you can continue to keep the conversation warm with your subscriber. 

7. GIVE THEM A Super Special Coupon Code

Triggering a coupon code is similar to adding customers to a nurture sequence, with the addition of sending them to a sales page that has a discount. You can achieve this with the following steps:

  1. Create an automation rule with a trigger “clicks a link”. Enter the URL for that sales page containing the discount. Use “add tag” and “subscribe to a sequence” for your actions. Make a tag stating “interested in (the name of your topic/product) “ and a sequence that will have emails relating to your product. 
     
  2. Use the link trigger when you talk about your product in the email. Your interested customers will not only be part of the nurture sequence, but they can also avail of the coupon code.  

8. Create Urgency With Deadline Funnel

Similar to the last option you can use a tool called Deadline Funnel to create timers within your emails. For example, when someone opts into one of my content upgrades they are automatically added to a certain tag. When that tag is triggered it sets their timer in Deadline Funnel. 

They have a certain window of time to get that coupon, discount, or bonuses before their timer is up. This increases urgency and sales. 

9. Add Purchasers To A TaG

Add new members of your course to a tag. Once someone has purchased your product, course, or service you won’t want to continue to send them launch emails and promotions for that same product.

You can integrate ConvertKit with your sales service to add a tag when someone makes a purchase. That way when you send out a broadcast it won't be going to those that have already ordered.

10. Follow Up With Your Customers

You also can send a follow-up sequence to those that have made a purchase. This is a great way to check in and make sure that they are enjoying the product. This is also awesome for getting feedback and testimonials. 

This is strong customer service and your customers will appreciate this. 

ConvertKit integrates with many online tools. If you have a specific tool that you want to integrate with ConvertKit try searching “(Name of your tool) integration with ConvertKit.” 

I personally use Teachable to sell the majority of my products and they have a super simple integration with ConvertKit. 

To set up this automation,

  1. Click “Add rule” then “purchases a product” and then select Teachable (or whatever tool you have set up your integration with). Then you will select which product.
     
  2. On the “Action” side you will select to “Subscribe to a Sequence” and add them to your follow up sequence. 

ConvertKit Automations are helpful since you can keep track of how a subscriber got added to your list, add them to your sequences, and also tag them according to their interests. You will be able to answer the needs of your customers by providing them the right content at the right time. 

21 Free Productivity Tools For Bloggers

productivity-tools-bloggers

Have you ever had a day with an extra long to-do list, but it seems like nothing actually gets done?

We all have! So many times the projects pile on or distractions keep popping up (ahem, I mean you social media notifications). As mamas, we are busy and have to maximize every minute, and these will help you do just that 😊 . 

After using these tools I have noticed a significant increase in my productivity and I waste way less time! It is amazing how much more you can accomplish when you focus and block out the distractions. 

Here are some of my favorite apps to help you be more productive as a mommy blogger. 

1-3-5 List

This app will help you determine which tasks to prioritize and complete. Aside from helping you achieve your goals, this will also prevent you from trying to take on all tasks all at once so you don’t end up failing or giving up.

Asana

This is one of my favorite project management tools. You can outline tasks, upload files, make notes and organize your calendar. If you are a visual person like me it makes it so much easier to be able to see all of your projects outlined on one calendar.

I try to map out my calendar one week at a time. That way in the morning when I wake up I can look at my calendar and I immediately know what I need to work on that day. No more guessing or getting distracted!

productivity-tools-bloggers

Coffitivity

This app will make it seem like you are in your fave local coffee shop, listening to your favorite playlist and getting those creative juices flowing (this will start playing the coffee shop sound when you click on the link, so if you have a little one sleeping near your turn your volume off first). 

Dropbox

This cloud storage tool allows you to access your files from any device. This means you wouldn’t need to use a USB or email files just to get your important data. Since it is on a cloud, your files are backed up online and you wouldn’t need to worry about losing your precious data for when you have any accidents and mishaps with your laptop.

E.ggTimer.com

This app can be placed in your browser and is good for when you would need to be reminded to return to your work. If you are browsing pages like Facebook or Twitter, you could easily get distracted by a lot of things and by setting a timer, you can stay on track.

Evernote

When you’re working with a group or a team, things could get pretty hectic. Evernote will help you with assigning tasks, setting up reminders, and saving notes for all the members to be on the same page. You will be able to exchange ideas and get everything done in a smooth flow.

Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator

If you are going to use only one of these tools use this one. Facebook is one of the biggest time-wasters and it is one of the sites that can draw us in the worst. This chrome extension will block it so you can't see your newsfeed and instead it is replaced with an inspiring quote.

You can still access your notifications, messages, and groups, but the main newsfeed won't show up when you log in. I do a lot of my business on Facebook and I can't tell you how many hours this has already saved me! 

productivity-tools-bloggers

Grammarly

This might make me sound bad, but...I really hate proofreading, especially when I’m trying to finish up a blog post really late at night and my brain is feeling a little mushy. When it’s one in the morning and I miss the difference between to and too Grammarly will catch my little mistakes.

Inbox by Gmail

You can have your inbox sorted out and streamlined to prioritize your most important tasks so you can act on them asap. You can separate those that can be for later and you can even set a reminder to help you get back to that email at the proper time. You no longer have to spend your mornings sorting out your inbox. How awesome is that?!

LastPass

Tired of remembering all your passwords? This app will store all of them for you in a ‘vault’ so everything is found in one place and you can easily log into multiple accounts with great ease. It will also help you create better passwords.

productivity-tools-bloggers

Mindly

Having a lot on your plate can thwart off productivity since you don’t know where to start and have too much on your mind. With this app, you can organize your thoughts, goals, and objectives to make it clearer and even edit them to help you complete your tasks.

Momentum

This app sends you a daily goal complete with motivational images and quotes to give you that inspiration to get things done and achieve your goals.

Noisli

You can create your own mix of background noises for those cases when you need music and sound to help you focus and boost productivity.

Plan

You will be forced to make time for those tasks that you have to complete with this app and the help of Google calendar.

productivity-tools-bloggers

Pomodoro Keepers

If you are working four hours straight, you probably get burned out and tired. By working in small bursts of time with some breaks, you can accomplish more and still feel energized and not drained out. This app has the timers to help you with these breaks and increments.

Rescue Time

This app will track down which websites you spend a lot of time on. It will also let you know which times during the day are you most unproductive. You can then schedule your breaks to fall around this time and optimize your work day.

Simple Habit

If stress is starting to get to you, you can take advantage of this app to keep you back on track. With meditation, you can relax, center your attention, and get rid of any anxieties.

Stay Focusd

This is a Google Chrome extension that will lock you out of your favorite sites so that you can keep from being distracted and it will also help you finish your work faster.

SwiftKey

It predicts words and phrases in English and even in other languages to make email and texting from your mobile device really fast.

Toby

You can now have your active tabs stored in customized folders so that all the open tabs won’t distract you, but you can still have them ready for when you need to use them.

Unroll.Me

This app looks through your inbox and searches for those newsletters that you are subscribed to that you never open. If you don’t ever read them, then there is no point in keeping them all in your inbox. You can easily mass unsubscribe from newsletters you are no longer interested in.

Have you tried any of these tools? Which are your favorites?

I saved one of the best resources for last! Pinterest is so important for marketing your blog, but it can be super distracting, so I put together this free guide with my three best strategies for optimizing your system and saving you TONS of time on Pinterest. Just enter in your email below and I'll send it over to you!

The Ultimate Guide To Creating Your Online Course

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This is exactly what I was looking for! She covers it all. This is a must read for anyone considering creating an online course. Plus, her Teachable tutorial was super helpful.

Have you taken an online course?
 
I am what you may call an online course junkie. I seriously love taking online courses and it turns out that I love creating them too!
 
Online courses have changed the way people take in information and learn new things. People are looking for a straight path to solve their problems and an online course is a neat little package that can help them reach their goals fast. 
 
You have your own unique experiences and visions that can be shared with people and monetized at the same time. An online course is also a reusable asset since it is an e-product that you can sell over and over again. Once you’ve created it is a resource that can continue to bring in revenue, even when you aren’t working. 
 
The good news is you don’t even have to be an expert at coding, building websites or even on the course topic. You only need to be one step ahead or know 10% more than the next guy!

Plus, due to new tools that have come out in the last few years creating your online course is seriously a breeze.

If you want to check out my full walkthrough of my favorite online course platform check it out here. Plus, click here to get a month of Teachable for free! 

If you are new to creating online courses it can seem overwhelming, but I’ve broken it down into nine simple steps to help you create and launch your online course.

Step 1: Decide on what topic you would like to teach in your online course

When figuring out what kind of online course you want to teach, it is best to choose a topic that you feel comfortable with, something that you can use your knowledge and experience in order to create the best e-course possible. 
 
Ask yourself questions like, 

  • “What topic is exciting to me that others would want to learn?” 
  • “What topic is helpful for others?” or 
  • “Is there a demand for this product?” 

It is important that you ask these questions in order to determine if the project is worth the time and effort you will spend on creating it. 
 
Validating your course topic is super important too. Try surveying your audience to see what they are most interested in learning. 

  • Let them choose between a few different course ideas (or if you aren’t ready to announce the course, let them choose between potential opt-ins)
     
  • Presell the course. This is the best way to validate your course idea because you know that your audience is willing to put their money where their mouth is. As you see the pre-sale sales come in, it will keep your motivated and it makes the course creation process so much more enjoyable because you can create with those specific students in mind. 

When it comes to coming up with a topic, the more specific it is, the better. This is to help you stand out amongst others and also create a bond with your audience. 

Step 2: Outlining the content for your online course

This process is where you will brainstorm your course outline. At first, this can be a collection of bulleted lists, questions your audience has asked about the topic, or simply the transformation you want your student to experience. Once you have gotten your ideas out, you can then sort them out to have a clear outline of the order of your content. 
 
Then group your notes into, 

  • Modules 
  • Lessons
  • Bonuses
  • Worksheets
  • Etc.

Make sure you cover everything you need to and that it is clear and easy for people to understand. 

Step 3: Selecting a medium for your online course

This step is all about how you want to deliver your course to your students. This can be done through audio, video, or written content. Depending on your preference and goals, you can pick the right kind of medium for you. 
 
In my courses, I usually do a mix of video and text lessons. I have found this has been the most helpful to my students, but ultimately the choice is yours. It is YOUR course! 

VIDEO

Video is a great way you can teach your course since it combines both visual and written content. You can also have the option to teach on-screen or off-screen. If you are teaching on-screen, you can engage and form that personal connection with your audience. 
 
If you choose to be on screen for your videos try to choose a place with a clean background and natural lighting. 

Creating video content for your course can actually be relatively inexpensive depending on your goals. 

If you are off screen here are the tools I recommend, 

  • Screencast-o-matic - This ultra cheap tool only costs $15 a year and allows you to record your screen. It is a lifesaver for recording “over the shoulder” type video tutorials or slideshow presentations. 
     
  • A Microphone - This isn’t mandatory but it will significantly improve your sound quality. I personally use the Blue Yeti Microphone and love it. If you can’t afford it yet try using iPhone speakers with the built in mic. That will pick up the sound better than your computer's built-in mic.  

If you are on screen there are a few additional resources you may want to purchase, 

  • A higher resolution camera or webcam - To increase your video quality and resolution pick up a camera or a webcam. If you need a higher end camera for other aspects of your business, check out a DSLR like this one, or for a more budget-friendly option, check out this super effective webcam
     
  • A lighting kit - If you don’t have access to an area with natural (window) light (or you have to film at night after the kids are asleep), you may want to invest in a lighting kit or a ring light. These kits will give you just the right lighting balance.

TEXT

Text is the easiest type of content to create, but generally, is perceived as lower value and impersonal, so I don’t recommend that your entire course is text-based. However, this is the easiest option and has no additional expenses.

You can write up your lessons in Microsoft Word, Pages or in a Google Doc and when the lesson is completed you can paste it into your course-hosting platform, easy peasy. 

AUDIO

Using audio as your medium is another option you have. These are like podcasts that you can use to not only educate your audience but also get your personality across.

Good sound equipment like a quality microphone is an asset to have since it can really make a difference and improve your final product. Like I mentioned above, the Blue Yeti Mic is an inexpensive yet good quality option that is a popular one among podcasters. 
 
This a good option if your students have little free time or long commutes since you can make these audio lessons downloadable so they can listen to them anywhere. 

Step 4: Creating Your Online Course

Using programs like Keynote, PowerPoint, or Google Slides, you can create slides out of your content. Create bullet points to guide your students on the important things to remember and you can explain the bulk of it through your audio. 
 
You can come up with a script for when you record your video, or you can just use your bullet points to naturally guide your lesson and to make it feel as authentic as possible. 
 
Depending on how you would like to come across, you can edit your videos as much as you would like. You can do the same with audio files. Screencast-o-matic and many of the other screen recording software have easy edit functions built in.
 
For written content like emails, you can start writing them down on Google Doc and then upload it to your course-hosting platform on when converting it to a PDF. The most important thing to remember is to pick a medium that will be the most beneficial to your students. 

Step 5: Styling your online course

In order to get a professional feel to your course, you need to determine design elements that can work for you and that will truly represent your course or product. 
 
Stick to branding that is similar to what you already have on your site. You can branch out to some extent, but make sure the colors and the design are complementary to the branding that you have on your blog. 

To create your PDF’s you can design them in Word, Canva, Adobe Indesign or even PowerPoint. 
 
For free stock photos, you can use sites like, 

Or for premium stock photos, I like to use Deposit Photo

Step 6: Delivering your online course

When it comes to video and audio files, they need to be hosted somewhere online.

Some options include: 

YouTube

When uploading videos, you can make them “unlisted” which means only the people with the link to the video will know about it. You can use a platform that will allow you to embed the videos so that you will be able to host the video content for free. 
 
Wistia
 
This is another video host that allows you to customize your player and have custom thumbnail images which can give a more modern and high-quality look to your content. Since this is a paid service, you would need to set aside a budget for this. 
 
SoundCloud is great for audio files and it even allows you to customize button colors. 
 
Teachable

 
It is simple to navigate but at the same time, you can do advanced things you can implement.
 
I love the built in affiliate program, co-authors, and user-friendly interface. 
 
Related: Why I chose Teachable to host my online course
 
If you want to take a sneak peak at the back end of Teachable, I’ve put together ten video lessons to walk you through how to get set up. PLUS, click here and you can sign up to get your first month from Teachable for free!  


ConvertKit
 
An ultra important and beneficial feature of ConvertKit is it allows your email subscribers to opt-out of a product launch without totally unsubscribing from your list.  This will help you retain your subscribers that are interested in your other content, but aren't ready to purchase.

They can just click on a link that will allow them to not receive the emails in case that product will not be applicable to them.  
 
ConvertKit can also automatically connect with Teachable so when someone enrolls in your course they can be added to a list. This is a great way to send a follow-up sequence to your new students. 

Related: The Beginners Guide To ConvertKit

Step 7: Creating Bonuses for your online course

In order to improve your online course and make it more appealing, you can put in additional resources like worksheets, PDF downloads, and a course community in order to support the learning experience of your students. 
 
Worksheets or study guides can help them understand each stage of the course and put what they’ve learned into action.

Chat apps like Slack or a course community like a Facebook group can help them get in touch with other people who are also taking the course and share their knowledge and experiences. 
 
Bonuses can be a huge selling item for your course, so try to come up with a few additional resources that will complement your course content. 

Step 8: Marketing your online course

When getting your online course out there, it is important to have a good grasp of who your target audience is. 
 
You can ask questions like, 

  • Who will benefit the most from this course? 
  • What problems will this course solve for them? 
  • Where does your ideal student hangout online?
  • What are their possible hesitations when it comes to buying your course? 

Based on this, you will know where to market your online course. It is important to really focus in on your demographic because a potential customer is much more likely to buy if they feel like this course was created just for them than if it is a broad, blanketed course topic. 
 
If you do not have a marketing budget that is totally okay! You can begin by promoting your course to

  • Your email list
  • On Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Or guest posting on other sites.

 
You also can reach out to other influencers in your niche and invite them to be an affiliate for your program.
That way you can leverage their audience and they will earn a commission when someone buys through their affiliate link. 
 
If you have a bit of a marketing budget or as you begin to see revenue coming in from your course you can invest in,

  • Facebook Ads
  • Promoted Pins
  • Or sponsorships on other blogs or podcasts etc. 

Step 9: Pricing your online course

Pricing your online course can be a bit tricky, but it is good to do some analyzing and consider the following factors. 
 
Determine your target audience’s financial condition and how much are they willing to spend for your online courses. 

A course targeted at college students is going to need to be a smaller price point than a program targeted at B2B sales executives.
 
You also can compare what similar products are selling for. I recommend starting on the lower end of the price range and then you can increase your prices as you add more content and test the demand for your course. 

Step 10: Launching your online course

A sales page is where your audience will be sent to in order to purchase your course. Make sure you design it in a way that would give them a clear idea of what they can get out of the course and how you can provide them a solution to a current problem or issue they have. 
 
Before officially launching go through your checkout process to ensure there are no errors and that you have a smooth flow for people to pay for your product. There always seem to be tech issues on launch day so try to double check as much as you can ahead of time!
 
Evergreen or Open Close?
 
It is important to also figure out how long you want your course to be available for. There are a lot of opinions about if you should have an evergreen (always available) course or an open and close launch. I personally think it is up to you to try it and see what your audience is receptive to! 
 
If your course is always on sale, people will not feel urgency to purchase your product right away. On the other hand, when someone who needs the course will land on your sales page, they would be able to order now instead of waiting until your next launch.

With an evergreen course, I recommend setting up a sales funnel so you will also be able to earn consistently throughout the year. 
 
Limiting your launch window will make people purchase your product on the spot and creates urgency because they know they won't be able to purchase it again until the next time you open the cart for your course. You can test out these different options and see which ones drive the most sales from your audience.
 
You have something the world needs to learn! You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be one step ahead of someone. 
 
You’ve got this! Grab your free month of Teachable and get started

Moms Make Cents: One Year Blogging Update

one-year-blogging-update

Are you one of those people that like to seem like they have it all together?

Yeah, me too.

So, this post is a little hard to write. You are going to see the good, the bad and the ugly side of the journey of the blog this last year.

This will be a post where I “keep it real.”

I published my first blog posts on Moms Make Cents exactly a year ago today. 

I remember nervously hitting publish on my first few posts on Moms Make Cents. I had a vision, but I had no idea where the journey was going to take me.

Well, what an amazing whirlwind it has been. I started with the goal in mind to help other moms start their businesses and understand their finances so that they could have the choice to stay at home with their children.

BACKGROUND - BEFORE MOMS MAKE CENTS

So you may be wondering what is my background in the blogging & online marketing realm.

I started my first blog five years ago, back in June 2012. It was a lifestyle blog and was when I first dipped my toes in the blogging sphere. This is where I learned the importance of connecting with other bloggers, taking high-quality pictures, and little touches of web design.

Since then I created a handful of other small blogs that varied from a couponing/frugality blog to a more professional lifestyle blog.

In January 2015, I began helping an old friend with social media and influencer marketing for her startup company. It initially began as an unpaid thing helping her on the side, but eventually turned into a paid position.

During this time I managed all of their social media accounts, created the majority of their content and coordinated collaborations with dozens of bloggers and influencers. This period of time helped refine my experience with working with bloggers from a business perspective.


Around this time the company my husband worked for began to have some serious challenges. He worked in the oil industry and in that industry there are a lot of ups and downs.

This was in the third trimester of my pregnancy, right before I was about to have our first baby. We were panicking.

His pay was immediately cut by ⅓ and over the course of the next year, 60% of his co-workers would get laid off.

In hopes that he could get a new job with more stability, we rented out our home and moved in with family.

I continued to work my businesses, while my husband kept applying for more and more jobs. After a few months more and more of his co-worker's wives began to ask me how they could start their own businesses to help offset the pay cuts that they’d experienced.

One night I remember sitting up writing a 2,000-word document on how to get started selling on Amazon FBA and then it clicked.

If there were this many people so close to home that needed help, I could help so many more people if I published them online. That 2,000 word how to I sent to my friend, ended up becoming one of the very first blog posts on this site.

Now I want to cover the awesome, and not so awesome things that happened on the blog this year.

I’m a bad news first type of gal, so we will start with the not so awesome.

NOT SO AWESOME

1. One thing I struggled with A LOT this year is comparison.

There are so many talented people online and for a while, I was getting down on myself because I didn’t feel like I was measuring up. Now, this was all in my head, but it caused me a lot of anxiety. The turning point for me was when I heard this quote.

“Stop comparing your beginning to someone else's middle.”

How true is that?

When I changed my thinking and stopped comparing myself I felt loads better about myself and my blog.

When I look back on how much my blog has grown and changed in the last year, if I could have just seen my potential, in the beginning, I would have never felt down on myself.

2. I went down the rabbit hole of over analyzing & distraction.

With blogging there is so much to do, to learn, to experience and sometimes I got caught up in it all! I would find that I was reading so much about how to do something, that I would never actually do anything. Sound familiar?

This can be a major productivity killer so now I try to focus on one thing at a time and have batch days where I get similar projects done all at once.

I also recently downloaded the News Feed Eradicator for Facebook chrome extension to help me from getting distracted when I go on Facebook for work.

AWESOME

Here are some of the awesome experiences from this year,

1. I made so many friends!

When I sit back and think that a year ago I didn’t have any of these blogging friends, it is like, “how did I survive without them?!” They have become some of my closest friends and I know there is always someone I can talk to or count on.

Now, I am blessed with friends all over the world, that enjoy the same things that I do, that I can talk and collaborate with.

Plus, motherhood can be lonely sometimes, right? If you are a mom with little ones it can be hard to not have a single adult conversation during the day. Having your blogging friends can be your lifeline for socialization.

2. I learned so much!

Now, I am kind of a nerd and love learning and school. So much that I actually got two bachelor's degrees while I was in college. But, I feel like this year I have learned even more than I did when I was in school.

I learned about,

  • Marketing
  • Business
  • Finances
  • Graphic design
  • Webdesign
  • Online course creation
  • Interpersonal skills

I’m the type of person that can’t sit still and loves to be learning something new and this year I feel like my knowledge and experience exploded.

Many bloggers start out as “amateurs” in their field. They have an interest in a topic and know more than the next person, but haven’t reached that “expert” status yet. As you blog, engage more with your writing and hone your trade you truly become an expert in the topic you cover on your site.

3. I made almost $35,000 😱

When I added it all up and showed my husband that I’d made almost $35,000 in revenue from my blog in its first year. His jaw hit the floor. That was like the salary at my first full-time job out of college and this I was doing during nap time and in the evenings in my pj’s!

The income from my blog has seriously blessed our lives so much.

There were two primary ways that I generated income from my blog this year.

1. Digital Products / Courses

In September of last year I launched my course Pinterest to Profits and in January I relaunched it with a big update. This is an evergreen (always available) course that I sell using a funnel.

Recently I also launched a mini product called Traffic Trajectory. This is a collection of resources including Pinterest group boards, blogging Facebook groups, blogs accepting guest posts, and blogs to comment on to increase brand awareness. Because it is at a lower price point it has sold very well, with little promotion.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has been a big player for me ever since I started this site. I only recommend products that I have used and actually like and I know that my readers appreciate that. I focus on promoting offers that my audience may be interested in and that are complementary to the topics I cover on my blog.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing check out these blog posts,

1. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: The Secret to Making $50,000 a Month Blogging. 

 2. How To Make Money Blogging With Affiliate Marketing

3. Eight Affiliate Networks To Boost Your Blog's Income

THINGS THAT WORKED

1. I focused on one social media platform

In the beginning I tried to do it all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and I was spread too thin. I observed which actions were getting me the most return on my time and Pinterest was by far the most valuable. So I shifted my efforts and put the majority of the focus on Pinterest. 

There are a million ways to succeed online, but if you try to do all of them, you won't succeed at anything. 

2. I invested in my business

By no means am I saying that if you don't invest you can't succeed, but by making small strategic investments you can scale up your business and your income much faster. For example, in my first month blogging I invested in the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and by my third month blogging I made over $1,200 in affiliate income. 

3. I built relationships

By connecting with other bloggers in my niche I've been able to bounce off ideas, get inspiration and have support while working in this industry. These connections can also help you secure guest posts, affiliates, and you can cross promote each others posts! 

GOALS GOING FORWARD

This year has truly been phenomenal and I am so excited for what the next year will bring.

Here are some of my goals for year two,

  1. Come out with a new opt-in or freebie every month to provide more value to my readers
  2. Be more active in my Facebook group Blogging Newbs
  3. Create more digital products
  4. Double my blogging income
  5. Spend more time with my family

Where are you at in your blogging journey? Do you have goals written down for the next year or your blog?