Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

How to Start a Blog and Make Money

If you're wanting to work from home and are wondering how to start a blog and make money, this site tells you the best tips of the trade I have to offer as someone who has made money blogging professionally for over a decade. 

On June 30th will officially be nine-years-old. It's hard to believe I've kept this thing running for that long, and it's seen a lot of variations throughout the years. I had originally started the blog as a family journal and had another food blog called The Flammily Kitchen. Sometime around 2012 I merged the two sites and have been blogging here exclusively ever since. 

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I made a goal this year to start making a consistent full-time income blogging, and to do that I had to implement a lot of strategies that I haven't done the previous eight years on the internet. I've learned so much about how to make money blogging, and how to market your blog in 2020 that I've been able to hit some huge milestones, the biggest was signing onto a new ad network that has dramatically increased my ad revenue by over 2200%! Crazy right? Here are three things I'm doing to make money blogging in 2020.

How to Start A Blog and Make Money:

The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to blog about. Books, food, family, photography, medical, etc... Once you decide your topic, stick to it and don't vary from that category. This is often referred to as a "niche" in blogging. Then you will use a key word generating software such as Word Tracker to find all the relevant keywords for your niche. You can then use these exact keywords to focus and write your blog posts. 

You want to aim for the keywords that have the highest volume and the lowest competition. This is how you rank on Google and get traffic to your site which will convert to money eventually. You need to make sure that those keywords are in the title of the post, the permalink to the post, and in a heading within the post. That is the best way to rank for the desired keywords. Google often likes longer form blog posts so aiming for 1,000 words if possible is always a great target, but Google has also said if you can get the point across in less words that's fine too. Basically be thorough, but don't ramble. 

Use Pinterest to Increase Blog Traffic:

I've had the biggest love-hate relationship with Pinterest since it's creation 10+ years ago. Every blogger I know says this is their number one traffic source and I just couldn't get it to work. This year I finally cracked the code on Pinterest and have taken my account form 100K monthly views, to over 2.6 million monthly views on my Pinterest account. This has led to a dramatic increase in traffic, and is the main reason behind me signing onto a new ad network. You can read all about my Pinterest strategy here.

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Russell Brunson 30 Day Challenge:

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you might have seen that I'm participating in a 30 Day Challenge. Russell Brunson recently published Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook For Filling Your Websites and Funnels With Your Dream Customers. I've been reading this book the last several weeks and have been implementing it's teachings to help build my site. It's all about identifying who your dream customers or visitors are, figuring out where they're hanging out online, and then being able to convert them to your site and business. By completing the 30-day challenge, you'll learn key strategies to increase your site traffic.

The biggest problem most entrepreneurs have isn't creating content for blogs, or amazing goods and services for business owners, it's getting their customers to discover that they even exist. Businesses start and fail each year because business owners don't understand the science behind getting customers or website visitors to find them.

It's honestly helped me really focus and identify where I want my blog to go in the future, and has given me tangible, actionable steps, that are evergreen and can be carried over to any platform, no matter what algorithm changes or social media platforms rise up in the future. If you're a business owner or blogger, you need to get your hands on a copy of Traffic Secrets.

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Learning The Basics Behind SEO:

At this point in time, I use Word Tracker exclusively for my SEO. I enter the term I want to write about, it tells me the best titles and keywords to use to rank on google, and I implement them into my blog post titles and permalink on my post. You want to use the phrases that offer the highest search volume for the lowest amount of competition. I then plug several of these keywords into my pinterest captions to help me gain traffic over there as well. 

Are you a blogger or business owner? What have you found to be the best ways to get customers to your sites? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below! 

If you liked this post, How to Make Money Blogging 2020, you might also like:

Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along in instagram @thehappyflammily!

The Happy Flammily Top 10 Posts of 2020

This blog has become a huge passion project of mine in 2020 as I really worked to increase my knowledge in a lot of different skills to grow my blog beyond what it's been the last nine years. I've learned so much about keyword research, search engine optimization, and so many little details that could make the same posts I was going to write anyways, reach a much wider audience than they would have previously. It's been so fun to learn about all the little pieces that go into writing a well formatted blog post, and seeing them come together in just the right way to make these posts that have out performed anything else I've done previously. 

With all of that being said, here are 10 blog posts that both you, and the mythical Pinterest and Google search engines have liked the most in 2020. 

1) Five Ingredient Everything Bagel Recipe: 

This blog post blew up in a way I never expected. It ranks in second place on google, and the amount of people who have found it on Pinterest, made the bagels, and posted pictures to share with me blows my mind. This post has been read 27,000+ times and has definitely been a top recipe for the year. 

2) Holiday Guest Bathroom Essentials:

This post was recently written with Angel Soft Toilet Paper, and was how we paid to remodel the upstairs guest bathroom in our home. It was a fun project for Derek and I to work on together. I did all the painting and he did all the woodwork by adding shelves and framing in the mirror. This post was one of those SEO moments where all the pieces to the post just worked well for Google, and so far it's amassed over 14,000 views in a little over two months. 

3) Month Supply of Food Storage List Family of Four:

When I was in Ohio at the end of February, everyone was buzzing about the incoming coronavirus and were a little shook about what it was going to look like when it got here. I being the paranoid person I am bought an entire storage shelf and all the food storage we did not have and had it delivered to our home while Derek was with the kids. I shared the post on the blog in case it would be helpful for others and it's been viewed over 10,000 times. It's weird to think it's now December, the world is vastly different, and we've eaten through 95% of the things we bought in that post... I need to restock again. 

4) Social Distant Summer Schedule:

One of my most popular posts on my blog of all time is this weekly summer schedule post I wrote in 2018. I decided to write a 2020 version with socially distant activities that you could do with your children each day during the summer and it was well received! This saved our bacon so much this summer and I hope it helped you too! 

5) Four Ingredient Artisan Bread Recipe:

2020 was the year that everyone learned to make sourdough bread. I don't have the patience to learn that kind of thing, but really appreciated learning how to make these easy loaves of artisan bread to accompany our dinners throughout the week. It's super easy to make, and I've loved seeing pictures of other people making it too on Pinterest!

6) 15 Best Meals to Take A Friend:

Someone asked me what a good meal to take a friend would be, and on a whim I decided to write and publish this post! I had no clue it would make it into the top 10 for the year, but it's been well loved! If you're looking to take a meal to someone after they've had a baby, been sick, etc... these are some of our. tried and true family favorites. 

7) Amish Friendship Bread Without A Starter:

This has probably been the most made recipe in our home in 2020. It comes together with basic pantry ingredients that we always have on hands, and is just the perfect cinnamon sugar treat that everyone loves. I don't think a loaf of this has lasted more than 12 hours in our home. 

8) Our Daily Routine During Coronavirus:

In March I wrote this post about what our routine was looking like in the new world of doing school, work, and everything else from home. It's so wild to think that this was our life at one point, and is till the reality for millions of people around the world. It makes me so grateful are kids were able to return to school this fall and that we've been able to get a little bit of normalcy back into our lives. 

9) No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies:

This year I started going back and updating old posts on my blog that had died long ago. I updated them for SEO, remade the recipes and took new pictures, and republished them onto the site. This cookie recipe was one of the first old recipes to get updated, and it started to soar once I did! These are the perfect cookies to make when you want a quick, easy, and fast dessert after dinner!

10) Super Easy Rocky Road Fudge:

This was a fun and easy fudge recipe that I shared over the summer. Perfect for those months when you want all things s'mores, chocolate, and marshmallow related... or Christmas when you need and easy treat to gift someone. This recipe comes together with four ingredients and is sure to wow whoever you gift it to!

What has been your favorite post over here in 2020? I'd love to know in the comments below!

If you liked this post, The Happy Flammily Top 10 Posts of 2020, You might also like:

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects. 

How to Use Pinterest for Business and Grow

A lot of people get the idea that in order to be a successful blogger you need to have a massive social media following, particularly on Instagram. Ever since I shared how much money I made blogging last year, I've had people of all different sized platforms tell me ways in which I could improve. The interesting thing was that your Instagram size doesn't matter. There were people bigger and smaller than me offering advice, all making more money than me, because they know how to drive traffic from Pinterest. This lit the fire in me to get my act together, and finally make Pinterest work for me as well.

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If you're looking for a step by step action plan to drive more referral traffic to your blog, here is how I am gaining traction with Pinterest users without being a professional social media marketer, without paying for promoted pins, and without driving everyone crazy on all my other social networks.

How to Use Pinterest for Business and Growth:

Before I tell you how I did this, lets take a look at where I was at with Pinterest previously. From November 1, 2019 through November 30, 2019, my blog was getting 2038 page views a month from Pinterest (top image below, multiply the sessions by pages per session). Since implementing these changes in just the last 30 days, Dec 24, 2019 through Jan 23, 2020 my Pinterest page views have grown to over 6,087 per month. That's triple the amount of traffic in just a month since I've adopted my Pinterest strategy.

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How to pin your blog post on Pinterest. How to optimize your blog for Pinterest. Pinterest traffic 2019. How to use Pinterest. How to get traffic from Pinterest. Pinterest for bloggers. How to get views on Pinterest. How to create a blog board on Pinterest.

Making Pinterest Friendly Images:

The first thing I did was go through all of my recipe posts on the blog (almost 400 posts!) and made them more Pinterest friendly. I had a ton of old recipe posts with horizontal images instead of vertical (vertical do much better on Pinterest), and I converted them into those fancy Pinterest images that everyone loves pinning. You can see in the images below, all I did was take these old spaghetti images, make a vertical collage with text (tutorial coming next week!) and that one change already makes the image for this Slow Cooker Meatball Recipe look more interesting to pin.

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How to pin your blog post on Pinterest. How to optimize your blog for Pinterest. Pinterest traffic 2019. How to use Pinterest. How to get traffic from Pinterest. Pinterest for bloggers. How to get views on Pinterest. How to create a blog board on Pinterest.

One more note about images, Pinterest likes pictures to be 1500 pixels long by 1000 pixels wide (Again, vertical pins are much better than horizontal images.) If I'm pinning a vertical image from my blog, I don't worry about them being this correct size, but if I'm adding text to a vertical image on Picmonkey, then I resize it in Picmonkey to meet that image size. 

How to get people to see your images on Pinterest:

After I spent an entire week correcting all of these recipe posts to have better images, I then had the task of actually repining them to Pinterest, and cross my fingers that they got some traction. The key to Pinterest is to write your captions with searchable terms. What are people going to type into the search box in Pinterest that is going to allow your pin to appear in the search results? This is what I ask myself when I write my new captions.

Previously I would write something like, "This spaghetti was so good. My kids loved it and even asked for seconds! It's sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next big gathering!"

That kind of caption might be great for Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, but it's not going to get you incredibly far on Pinterest. At least, it wasn't getting me very far.

My new caption for this pin is. "Easy slow cooker meals. Easy crockpot meals. Easy weeknight meals. Dinner ideas. Easy dinner ideas. Easy meatball recipe. Easy meatballs. Easy crockpot meals. Five ingredient meal ideas. Slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs. Easy spaghetti and meatballs. Spaghetti and meatballs recipe."

While that might seem like overkill, that has gotten this post a lot of traffic in the last couple weeks, and has taken this post from 57 page views in the last 7 years, to 476 page views in the last month.

You can even use hashtags on Pinterest, which I'm still playing around with, but for a post like this you could use things like #food #dinner #spaghetti #slowcooker #crockpot #healthymeals #meatballs #marinara etc... You aren't going to be using the same hashtags that you would on instagram though like #foodporn #foodie, etc...

Utilizing Group Boards:

Group boards are huge on Pinterest. These are boards where many people collaborate together and pin onto one board. These boards then have the ability to reach the entire audience of all the people that are in the board. If I have 3,000 followers and someone else has 10k followers, and another person with 80k followers, now all of a sudden I have the ability to reach 93k people instead of just my 3k people. This leads to more eyes on your pins, more potential repins, and more potential followers for you. Right now I'm a member of a small handful of group boards, but this is something that I really need to be proactive with getting into more of them.

How to Get into Group Boards:

I used to be a contributor for a couple larger blogs, and part of those deals allowed me to be on their boards. Other ones I'm a part of through Tailwind, a company that allows you to automate Pinterest posts (we'll talk more about that in a second!). Another part of Tailwind is joining tribes. These tribes are group boards you can join through Tailwind, and pin your content on them through the Tailwind platform, and reach more people that way too.

Tailwind and Scheduling Pins:

I've been a Tailwind member on and off for the last few years. I've gone through phases where I tried to make Pinterest work, join tailwind, can't get it to work for me, cancel tailwind, and repeat the cycle 10 times and here we are today.

Tailwind costs $14.99/month (you can get a month free through my link), and allows you to schedule your pins for the most optimal time of the day so that your pins can be seen when the most people are on the platform. When I'm pinning a pin on Pinterest I schedule it on Tailwind for all the possible relevant boards it can go onto (usually about 6-7 different boards), and then move onto the next pin. Right now I'm scheduling about 72 pins per day, which I read somewhere online that 72 was a good number, decided that worked for me, and then went with it. I also have 1,280 blog posts though, if you have fewer posts than that, you might want to shoot for around 30 pins per day.

Tailwind has a plugin for Google Chrome, so if you're on your blog and want to pin something, you just need to hover over your image, click the Tailwind button, write the pin description, select the boards you want it to go to, and then schedule it.

I've read a lot of things that say you should also be pinning other people's content too. I've been doing that the last couple days and don't know if it's really helping anything, but all this major growth from Pinterest has come without sharing other content too. So take that detail for what it's worth.

Organize your Pinterest Boards:

I used to have a lot of random boards with weird titles, and a million different food boards for different things. I finally consolidated boards (you can do this by taking a board clicking and dragging it over to another board and plop it inside the new board and Pinterest will combine them for you!). I then labeled all the boards that were specifically pins from my own site with "Flammily" on them, and then organized them at the top of my profile. I then organized the rest of my boards alphabetically, with all my group boards at the bottom. You can see how mine are organized here.

Other Random Notes:

I don't really know what this means, but I have Rich Pins setup on Pinterest. You can see how to do this here. I also have a pin it button installed on my blog so that whenever people hover over my images, they can pin them directly to their Pinterest profile. You can have a Pinterest Business Account, but I'm 99% sure I don't have that setup.

The Results:

You can see the results for themselves in the screenshot below. Previously my Total Monthly Audience was about 130k per month on Pinterest. This is the amount of people seeing my Pinterest pins and profile each month. By implementing these things right after Christmas (where you can see an immediate increase in the graph below!), I've had steady growth these last few weeks and am now at 591.23k for my Total Monthly Audience. This is basically a 500% increase in just a few weeks, which has led to 300% increase in the amount of traffic actually getting to my blog from the platform.

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Anyways this post was crazy long, but that's everything I've been doing these last few months, and it's hard work that is paying off. If you have any further questions, let me know in the comments and I'd love to answer them if I can! 

If you liked this post, How to Use Pinterest for Business and Growth, you might also like:

Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along on instagram @thehappyflammily!

My 2019 Income Report + Ways to Work From Home

Something that I feel very strongly about is that anyone can be making money from home while raising their children and wanting to do all the other things in their lives. I started my blog eight years ago from nothing. I was a girl with a digital camera she didn't know how to use, and a free blogger hosted blog (still going strong BTW) and I just got gritty and made it happen. 

I don't share any of these numbers to brag, or say look at me, because I am so low on the rich blogger totem pole it's not even funny. But what I will say is that I made this money this year, while finishing my Bachelor's and taking 16 credits a semester, raising my children, and going to more doctors and therapy appointments than I can shake a stick at. So while this was actually one of my lowest earning years since making money on my blog, I'm actually really proud of what I've been able to do in 2019. 

That being said, the grand total for what I've made this year is $16,345. I did this while still being able to drive my kids to school each day. Taking college classes. Taking my kids to doctor appointments. Putting on a parenting conference for 50+ parents that I didn't make a single penny off of. If I can do it, I promise you can too. Here's the breakdown:

Sponsored Blog Posts: $12,046
Freelance Social Media Marketing: $3,246
Photography: $900
Affiliate Marketing: $153
Total: $16,345

And in case anyone is wondering if this is sitting in a fat savings account... unfortunately that is not the case. The freelance social media marketing work almost entirely went to paying for Kinsley's physical therapy. Without this work, I'd have to pay for it out of pocket with money that I don't have, and so I'm grateful to be able to basically exchange services for something that is so crucial in our lives. 

During the fall I broke one of my camera lenses and needed to replace it with a new lens. That was roughly about $700, and I did family photo sessions to offset the cost of purchasing a new lens. 

So where did all that sponsored blog money go? Well I wondered that too, so I dug through all of our credit cards, and bank statements and here's what we got: Derek tore his retina and had emergency eye surgery. We bought a dog and paid way more than I ever want to admit to have him neutered. We took our kids to California and Bear Lake (two experiences that are worth more than money.) Kyle played baseball, soccer, and ran cross country. We bought a sofa to replace the futon we'd been using for three years. I made a whirlwind trip to NY to say goodbye to my dying grandmother (and for anyone following that roller coaster, it's been almost a year since that trip and she's somehow still here...). 

But most importantly, the most amazing thing that this income has gone to this year is paying off my student loans. It's amazing to think that my college diploma will be arriving at our home in just a few weeks, and I will be completely free of my school debt. At the beginning of this year I still had $7,000+ left to pay on my loans, and finally this summer I'd had money saved in the bank for what would be the down payment for our next home, and decided that it was better to pay off this debt first. And I really can't tell you how good that feels. 

So if you're wondering if this is for you, read these three blog posts I wrote years ago about getting started:

And if you read through all of that and still have more questions, hit me up, I'm a literal open book about this stuff. 

And if you're thinking, "good for you but not for me, but I still need money..." 
1) Don't do Uber or Lyft. Derek tried it a few years ago and it's not worth the money you lose in gas and the wear and tear that goes on your car. And while I haven't done any of the others, I feel similar to Door Dash and Instacart. For what people pay for those services, I'm not convinced the delivery people are making enough money to make that worth it in the long run for the same above reasons.

2) Have a DSLR camera? Learn how to REALLY use it. You can find so many free tutorials online, and practice, practice, practice. You can start a photography business for basically zero start up costs. When we lived in NC I made a blogger hosted photography website (See here:, contacted Living Social and Groupon, got them to host my photography deal on their site, and I made a couple thousand bucks in just a month or two. 

3) Teach english online with sites like VIPKID or Gogo KID These sites pay $20 an hour as long as you don't mind staying up late or waking up early! 

4) Can you make things? Knit scarves to sell on Etsy. Have a degree? Can you create a product or program using your degree that you can market and sell online? Like my parenting conference? (ps I haven't made money from that because all the online sales have gone to charity.) Can you draw and make beautiful digital downloads that people can hang as art in their homes, or huge coloring pages that are all the rage right now? Maybe you have a degree in nutrition and can make a digital e-cookbook to sell? 

5) I'm not going to bash MLMs, but I will say I used to be a part of one, and was chronically $1,000 in debt to the business at all times. When I left the company they did let me return my product and get 90% of my money back, but I was spending way more than I was ever making, and had to spend and sell at least $600/month to get whatever paycheck I did earn... Oh man... I'm being triggered by so many memories right now... maybe this is another post for another day? 

There are literally millions of ways that you can make money from home doing things you love. If you get a little creative, and a little gritty, you can totally make anything happen. Have a growth mindset, get out of your comfort zone, believe in yourself, and what you're doing, and you can make things happen. 

Ps. Come back tomorrow to see our wild plans for 2020. 

Be sure to stay up to date on all of the latest by following on instagram @thehappyflammily


I'm back for another installment on my blogging series today. Be sure to check out my first two posts in the series, How I Make Money Blogging, and How to Start a Blog if you missed them. Today I'm going to be talking about how to get traffic to your blog. This is obviously important because as a writer, if no one is reading your work, then what's the point? I feel like this is the biggest strength for me and my blog. My social media may fall short very often, but I feel like I definitely do a pretty decent job at getting readers over here despite that. So today I'm going to let you know how I do it!

As a little experiment, last year I launched a fashion blog for 30 days that I didn't tell anyone about. I didn't write about it here, I created a secret Instagram for it, never posted anything on Facebook, and still got 300 pageviews that first day, and 10,000 pageviews that first month. So either that was a fluke, or my tricks do work. I wound up deleting the blog because I'm not a fashion blogger, and I just was recycling fashion posts from this blog over there, and was purely doing it for experiment sake, but these tips really do work in my opinion. 

1. Comment on Other Blogs: This one is huge. By commenting on other blogs, you're creating a network with other content creators in your niche, and other people will see your blog comment, and this will also kickback traffic to your blog. When I write comments, I be sure to read the entire article, give a well thought out comment, and then sign at the bottom like this:


Leaving my website there will provide people a link back to my site. There is a lot of controversy as to whether its right or not to plug your blog at the bottom of the comment but I do it. I won't leave a link back to my site if I personally know the blogger, or if I know that it really does bother that particular blogger.  I don't have a problem with it over here, but if I've done it to you and it bothers you, let me know :)

I find blogs to comment on by going to Bloglovin' and browsing through the blogs that they have for each of their categories. I've scoured through the best of the best in DIY and Crafts, Family, and Lifestyle. I'm currently following 300 bloggers and comment on about 50-70 blogs per day. That may seem excessive, but the traffic kickback is worth it to me, and this is my job, so for me its advantageous. 

Also, be sure to interact within the blogging community. Not only commenting on other people's posts, but actively engaging and commenting back to people who comment on your post. I notice that when I comment back, and engage with my readers they're more likely to come back and read more posts. There are about 10 or so ladies that I know regularly read my blog and I love emailing back and forth with them and keeping the conversation going. 

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is another huge one. What this means is optimizing your posts for higher ranks within the search engines. Right now Google is my number two traffic source for my blog. That is amazing to me, and it really happened with little effort. 

The first thing I do is change the file names of the pictures that I upload to my blog. When the picture comes out of the camera it gets a default name of "IMG_8743" or something to that affect. People aren't going to be searching for that on Google though, so I change the file name to something searchable. For instance, if I'm writing a brownie post, I'm going to change the file name to, "Best Brownie Recipe", because that is something that someone is likely to Google, and will therefore get your post a better shot at getting noticed. 

The next thing I do is make the title of my post something searchable as well. I see a lot of times on fashion blogs people titling their posts obscure things like "Mint for Days...", or "Pleats and Poppies", but those aren't things that I would personally be searching for. Instead go for titles like "The Mint Pencil Skirt", or "3 Ways to Wear a Striped Dress". Those in my opinion will have a far better chance at being seen. 

My third trick I do for SEO is changing my permalink. You can do this on blogger by looking in the right sidebar before you go and publish your post. You'll see a permalink button. Click that, and once again, make it something more searchable, and shorter if you can. 

3. Social Media: This one is another big one, but unfortunately isn't my strong suit. Facebook is currently my number one traffic source because I solicit my daily blog posts to my personal Facebook friends, along with my blog's Facebook page. After that I always publish my posts to Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

4. Blogger Traffic Sites: There are sites out there that specifically exists for bloggers to submit their content to. The three biggest ones that I use are FoodGawker, StyleGawker, and CraftGawker. The unfortunate thing about those sites (And TasteSpotting that I also use), is that you have to have super high quality images. You submit a link to your site, with a picture from your post, and a brief description, and then they have people that monitor the site and they will either accept or deny your work entirely based off of the quality of the image that you submit. Not all of my food posts get accepted, but most of my fashion and DIY posts do. This gives me a very dramatic spike in traffic for about a week and then it dies back down to normal for a while. But imagine how great your traffic could be if you were constantly submitting high quality images again, and again. These websites are gold in my opinion. 

Other sites I submit my work to that don't require approval by website administrators are Reddit, StumbleUpon (a HUGE traffic source for me!), My Recipe Magic, and tumblr. Be sure to follow the site rules though because if you post only your own content too much they'll block you and then the big traffic party is over. Hence why I no longer get traffic from Reddit #wompwomp

5. Your Email Signature:  I setup my email signature so that whenever I send an email the very bottom always says:

Paige Flamm

I leave this on there because it draws attention and people want to see this thing that I apparently write and own. This isn't a massive traffic source for me since 90% of my emails are blog related and people are contacting me about my blog that they already read, but when someone from church, or the doctor's office, or someone else emails me, that little signature is there nice and proud with a pretty little link back to the blog, and sometimes it gets clicked and turns into a new subscriber, And it's nice because you do it once, and then you never have to think about it again. 

That's all I have for today! Let me know what blogging tips you have and how you get more traffic to your site in the comments below. I love writing about blogging because I truly feel so blessed by all the opportunities that I've been given this past year, and if I can offer any knowledge to someone so that they can get those same opportunities than I feel like I'm paying my blessing forward. If you ever have any questions please feel free to ask. This blog would literally be nothing if  it wasn't for little bits of help that I've gotten from Janssen over the last couple years, so please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you!

Build Your Blog: How to Start a Blog

Back in November I wrote about how I make money blogging and it turned out to be one of my most popular posts. After that I had every intention of turning it into a monthly series over here, and then it never happened. So today I'm back with part two, how to start a blog. If you're just blogging about your family and what not then these tips don't necessarily need to apply to you. But if you're looking to build a career as a blogger and do it on a more daily basis with the intention of one day millions of people reading your writing (note: millions of people don't read my blog... only about 5000 people a month actually), but that's the dream. Anyways these are my tips based off of my meager 4 years experience on how to start a blog.  

I also want to say that while I do make a small living off of blogging now, it did take me over three years to get to that point. I don't think it necessarily has to take that long. I've made a lot of mistakes along the way, but my hope is with these few tips, you won't make as many as I did. So here are my tips, in no particular order, of what I think are the most important things you need to get started blogging on a Blogger/Blogspot hosted blog. 

Name: Think of a name for your blog. Originally this blog was just a food blog titled, "The Flammily Kitchen", and then I had a separate family blog, "The Happy Flammily". I ultimately decided that I wanted to be able to blog about more than just food and decided to ditch, "The Flammily Kitchen" and merge everything into, "The Happy Flammily". That was all a huge headache though, and knowing what your blog is, and where you want it to go from the beginning will save you so much time, and Tylenol. Once you have your name picked out go ahead and purchase the domain name (that will make your blog be instead of I bought my domain for $10/yr through 1&1, and then used this tutorial to install it on my blogspot blog. Once you get that, go ahead and snag your name on twitter, instagram, pinterest, and all the social media you plan on utilizing for your blog. 

Niche: You're niche is what you're going to be blogging about. Over here I blog mostly about food, DIY, family related topics, and the occasional outfit post. I want my blog to ultimately be a place where mothers, fathers, caregivers, etc... can go to be inspired to make and do fun things with their family. That's the ultimate goal and what I try to stick to. That might not be what you want to do but knowing what your focus is, and sticking to it will help you a ton whether that's beauty, fashion, DIY, food, fitness etc... Knowing what you're writing and who your target audience is will help tremendously. 

Template: If you're just one of my friends writing a blog about your family updates and what's going on in your lives completely ignore this because it doesn't apply to you. I love reading your blog regardless of what it looks like. But if you're trying to make a career out of blogging you have about 30 seconds to impress someone with your blog and the first thing they're going to see is your template. This is something you can either design on your own by googling a thousand little tutorials to help you do each step, or you can do what I did and pay someone $25 on Etsy who has already designed a template and then you can download it and it will give you the step by step instructions on how to install it. You can also pay $10 more and have the shop owner install it for you. I bought my template from Eclair Designs on Etsy, and am super happy with how it looks. 

Voice: This is basically your writing style. It took me a long time to develop my voice and to know who I am as a person on the internet. In my mind I want my voice over here to be informative and inspiring, with a hint of humor and the tiniest pinch of sarcasm. That took me a long time to develop, but as you read my posts there is a general tone that you can find in the writing, and that's how I want to come across to other people. If you look through the blog archives from the earliest days of blogging you'll see terrible sentences like, "It was so much stinkin' fun =]!" The horror you guys, the horror. 

Content: After finding your niche, you're going to want to produce content. But with producing content comes consistency, which is something I even struggle with. When you're just starting out set a goal for what you know you can produce. If you can post three times a week great, but if you can only post once a week that's fine too. Just be consistent with what you do.  I try to post Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. But if you can only post one day a week just make sure it's the same day each week so your readers know when to come back for more content. 

With content comes pictures. We live in a very visual world. It has taken me a really long time to produce consistently good pictures on this blog. Most of my food pictures still fall short of where I want them to be, but it's something I continue to try and better myself at. I used to take really terrible food pictures, and no one read my blog. As I've gotten better at taking pictures though I've gotten more repins on pinterest and therefore more traffic. You don't need a $1,000 camera to take great pictures though. My friend Melanie from Garnish and Glaze, started off with a point and shoot camera and she has never once had an unfortunate picture on her blog. That girl is the real deal. But it's a skill that she's taken a long time to develop and cultivate, and her pictures inspire me tremendously. 

I'm just going to be real honest and say that I got a lot more traffic to my blog with this picture of popcorn, than I did with the sad picture of that jello salad. 

That's all I have for this week! If this is a series that you like, and that you find informative, let me know and I'll keep adding to the subject. I was thinking of writing next week on "How to get Traffic to Your Blog", so let me know if that is something you're interested in!

Build Your Blog: How to Make Money Blogging with a Small Blog

I've been writing this blog for almost three and a half years now. While my intentions weren't to make money when I started, over the last year or so this has kind of become a part-time gig. I'm really grateful for the opportunities that I've had, and I'm no where near being an expert on the topic, but I know that there are a lot of other smaller bloggers out there that could maybe find this useful. I'm going to be really open and honest with numbers and everything here... and like I said, I am a very small blogger. Right now on average my blog gets about 10,000-12,000 page views per month (it was about 15,000 over the summer when I was pregnant and blogging like a mad woman... but this is where I'm at as of today.) 

Right now I received income through a few different categories: sponsored posts, affiliate links, ads, and I don't know what category this one falls under but... My Recipe Magic. 

I work with a number of companies who pay me to test products, and I in return I write about them on this blog. These posts usually include a disclaimer at the top or bottom of the post, so you always know right away if I've been compensated for something that I'm writing about. The companies that I work with are:

Everywhere Agency: This company pays bloggers to attend events in their local area, and then write about the events on their blog, and post about it on all their social media outlets. When I got to meet Clinton Kelly from What Not To Wear last spring, this was the company that set that up. I was paid $75. That is the only campaign I've done with them, mostly because a lot of their events are in bigger cites that I don't live near, but I'm convinced if Derek gets a job in Atlanta, or Miami I'd be making bank. Most events pay about $100-150.

Linqia: I really love working with this company. They find bloggers to write posts about certain products and then you write your posts and share on social media. They give you a link that you have to incorporate in your posts and then you get paid off of the amount of times people click that link. They also give you a set number of clicks that you can make per campaign based off of previous campaigns and your social media reach. Typically I make more and more with each campaign that I do because they increase my click limit. I do about one campaign a month with them, and make about $200 per campaign. You can sign up for Linqia here.

Weave Made: These guys are the sister company to Pollinate Media Group. Their aim is to help small bloggers make money (yay!) Some campaigns that I've done with them include Lifeway Kefir, Klondike Bars, Instyle Magazine, and Smithfield Ribs. I typically do about one campaign a month with them, and make about $100 per campaign. 

My Recipe Magic: I'm not really sure what category this should go under, so I'll throw it here. One of my favorite blogs Six Sister's Stuff, started this website where bloggers can make money by posting their recipes on their site. When someone views your recipe on their site you make a small income, and it helps to drive traffic to your blog. I don't know exactly how much money I make per click from them, but I do make about $10 a month. 

Another way I make money off of this blog is through affiliate links. The company that I currently use for this is Shopsense. You can typically find these links on my outfit posts, or posts where I'm talking about certain products that I love, but they're not sponsored posts. Basically I'll link to the product and then when someone clicks on the link to the product, I make roughly 8 cents per click. I typically make about $5 a month through this. 

The final way that I make money is through the ads along the sidebar of my blog. Those are ran through Google Ad-sense. I basically get paid anytime anyone clicks on those ads, and the payout can be anywhere from a penny to a couple bucks... I typically make about $10/month through this. 

There you have it. You really don't need to be a huge blogger to make money blogging... although if I was a huge blogger I'm sure I would be making a lot more. Hopefully this was beneficial to someone... and hopefully everyone doesn't hate me for how open I was about everything. And again, thank you for reading and visiting my blog because if you didn't, I wouldn't even make a dime. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I really love you guys!