As a blogger, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of courses out there that offer to help you make money.
It seems as though there are courses available on every single little part of blogging and online entrepreneurship. Some of them claim to be able to make you six figures in a matter of months. Others claim to make you a pro at marketing overnight. Some are free and others cost $1,000+.
So, how do you know which courses are for you? How do you justify spending money on some courses when others are free? Are you learning from “the best” in that area?
I’ll start off by saying that nothing is “free”. I know I sound cynical but it’s true. Almost every free course out there is part of a sales funnel to entice you into buying a premium product or service. There’s nothing wrong with that at all (it’s something most bloggers and business owners do) but it is worth bearing in mind.
The best way to ascertain whether a course is right “good” and worth the money is to ask people who have already taken the course. For every course that I have purchased (outside of the Ultimate Bundles packages), I have carried out research and asked for feedback from other people. Either in Facebook Groups, on Twitter, or just people I know who have completed the course.
There are a few courses that I have invested in over the years that have really helped me reach the next step in my blogging journey and allowed me to transition into being self-employed. So I decided that I would write a post with the best 5 courses to help you earn money from your blog. It is these five courses that I would thoroughly recommend to others, especially if you’re trying to monetise your blog.
**This post may contain affiliate links for products I love. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. For my full disclaimer, please click here**
Blogging Babe to Business Boss – Flourishing Freelancer
Overview of the Course
This course was always going to feature first on this list!
Blogging Babe to Business Boss covers everything a blogger needs to set up their site, grow their traffic, build a tribe and make money. From choosing a profitable niche at the outset to growing an email list and monetizing your blog, this course gives you a step-by-step guide to building your online empire from the ground.
With this course, you’ll be fully equipped to start your own blog from scratch and generate income through multiple revenue streams. All from the comfort of your own home, doing something you love.
Each lesson has actionable steps and tasks for you to follow plus, you get access to an exclusive Facebook Group offering additional support.
The curriculum for this course is huge!
There are 10 modules with over 60 lessons. The 10 modules cover the following areas of creating a profitable blog:
Building the Foundations
Creating Your Brand
How to Get Your Blog Up and Running
WordPress Basics and Designing Your Blog
Creating Quality Content
Your Social Media Presence
Increasing Your Blog Traffic
Building an Email List
Monetising Your Blog
Price – $97
From Zero to Superhero Affiliate Marketing Bundle – The She Approach
Overview of the Course
Whether you’re brand new to affiliate marketing or you just need a boost, this course covers the perfect strategy for making money through affiliate marketing.
From teaching you basic strategies to helping you make affiliate sales in your sleep (literally!), this training bundle is an invaluable resource for bloggers wanting to grow their income. The Zero to Superhero affiliate marketing bundle us a collection of resources and tutorials that you can use to create an amazing affiliate marketing strategy that really works! Since taking this course, affiliate marketing has become my number one source of income from Flourishing Freelancer.
One of the things that I love the most about this bundle is the case studies; they really show you how to put the information into practice and highlight the kind of results you can achieve with an excellent affiliate marketing strategy in place.
“The She Approach to Making Your First Affiliate Sale” – eBook
The Affiliate Programs Masterlist
A library of short video tutorials
Affiliate marketing case studies
Private Facebook Community
Price – $57
Ready, Set, Blog for Traffic – Twins Mommy
Overview of the Course
I love Elna Cain from Twins Mommy and have always had her blog bookmarked for her latest tips. So, when I saw that she had a course, I knew that it would be amazing. And I wasn’t wrong. This course came at the right time for me. I’d read a lot of posts online about how to boost my traffic and, after implementing those strategies I had seen an increase in my daily pageviews. What I also noticed was that my bounce rate was insanely high and hardly any of my viewers were converting into subscribers, let alone customers!
One of the biggest lessons that I took from this course was the fact that I didn’t just need “traffic”, I needed the right kinds of traffic. I found that I was wasting time promoting myself in the wrong places and driving the wrong kinds of traffic to my site. Once I realised this mistake and started driving the right kind of traffic – the kind that engages and buys – I saw a huge difference in the amount of income I was making.
Three Modules – 15+ video lessons, 5+ text-based lessons
Not only have the impressions, views and repins on Pinterest itself improved but so has my blog traffic. In fact, the pageviews I received as a direct result from Pinterest has tripled!
The course is split out into 8 super-easy-to-follow modules. As well as how to grow your traffic from Pinterest, this course also includes advanced strategies that help you to grow your email list, create sales funnels and make affiliate sales, all with Pinterest!
8 step-by-step modules
Ebooks, video tutorials and checklists
Bonus workbook on discovering your blog’s profitable niche
Bonus branding eBook
3,000 free pins on BoardBooster
Bonus video tutorial on BoardBooster tribes
Price – $197
Making the Most of Blogging Courses
So now that you know which courses I recommend taking, here are my top tips for making the most of them:
Don’t enrol in too many courses at the same time – you want to be able to dedicate time to learning which you can’t do if you’re enroled in hundreds of courses at the same time! It’s also easy to become overwhelmed if you have lots of courses waiting to be started.
Even if you’re enroled in a couple of courses at the same time, make sure you only work on one at a time to allow yourself to fully absorb the information.
Make time to study – block out dedicated study time so that you can fully focus on learning as much as possible from the course. Make sure that your study time is free from any distractions.
Find your own learning style – we all learn in different ways. Some people take handwritten notes, others like to type notes. Some people don’t do notes at all! Do whatever works best for you.
Take time to implement the strategies you learn – one thing you need to remember is that no matter how good the courses are, you won’t see any results unless you put the work in.
Do you offer a free email course to your audience? If not, now is the time to create one!
You might have heard mixed things about email courses. Are they worth the extra effort? Do downloads and swipe files perform just as well?
Email courses are a fantastic way to grow your list, offer extra value to your readers and get them into a habit of opening emails from you! And, the best bit is, they don’t take that much more effort to create than your regular content.
Once you’ve set up the course with your chosen email marketing service provider, you can automate everything. Your readers sign up for the course and then have the content delivered to them automatically. After the course content is written, you don’t have to do any more work on it (apart from promoting).
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to creating your first free email course.
**This post may contain affiliate links for products I love. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. For my full disclaimer, please click here**
Why create a free email course?
I just mentioned this briefly in the intro to the post but email courses are a great way to grow your email list. Readers often view email courses as offering much more value than a simple PDF download. They are also much more invasive when it comes to their inbox.
So, whilst people will think more carefully before subscribing to an email course (and you’ll probably get fewer subscribers than with other opt-in freebies individually), you’ll be getting the right kind of subscribers. They will be genuinely interested in the topic and be looking for expert advice on it.
This, in turn, means that you are able to establish yourself as an expert in that topic. Your subscribers have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with your teaching style, as well as your personality. And, if they found your free course helpful, they’re much more likely to invest in your paid course or eBook. For this reason, a free email course also makes a great starting point for a sales funnel.
How to Choose a Topic
The process of choosing a topic for your email course is the same as choosing a topic for any other opt-in freebie that you create for your site.
Head to Google Analytics and find out which of your posts are most popular. These are the ideal topics to create a course on because you know that your ideal audience wants to learn more about them.
Another way to discover topics that your audience want to learn about is to check out what questions are being asked in Facebook Groups.
If you have a paid course or eBook already, you may want to use a free email course as an introduction to it. If this is the case, your topic has already been chosen! Deliver some amazing content that leads on to your paid product.
How to Create the Course
When it comes to the creation and delivery of the course, it’s really quite simple.
I think a lot of people put off creating their first email course because they think that it’s going to be super difficult and time-consuming. And I guess, if you overthink it, it can be! But don’t worry, here’s my simple step-by-step guide to creating your first email course in just a couple of days.
1. Draw up an outline
Before you get into the meat of your course, it’s important to draw up an outline so that you don’t spend hours on end going off on a pointless tangent!
The first step is to identify the purpose of your course. What is the one thing that your readers are going to take away from the course? Once you have identified the purpose, everything else that you work on and write will lead towards that end goal.
As with writing any sort of content, an outline will help you know what to research and what to write. With an email course, your outline will also help you to identify how many lessons your course will have and what each lesson will cover.
2. Create a timeline
Now that you have an outline, it’s time to create a timeline.
Your timeline is basically how many emails you’re going to send and when. Think about how many days you want your course to last and how often you want to email people.
A lot of email courses tend to be 5-7 days with an email being sent each day. But, if you’re planning to cram lots of information into each email, you may want to spread them out to every couple of days to allow students time to read, digest and action each lesson before moving on to the next.
Remember that this is about getting the right balance: you don’t want to email your readers so often that they become overwhelmed and end up unsubscribing but you also don’t want to leave huge gaps in between emails leading them to forget about you and the course.
3. Creating the content
Once you have your purpose and your outline in place, it’s time to fill out the bulk of things.
As a personal preference, I like to write up all of the lessons in Word or Google Docs first and then copy and paste them over into my email sequence. The main reason for this is to use the spellcheck functions but it also means that I have a backup of the sequence saved somewhere which is always useful!
I would work through the lessons in order to ensure that each one builds on the information provided in the previous lesson.
The format of the lessons themselves is completely up to you. You may choose to rely on text-based emails only. You may also consider embedding or adding links to video tutorials. Another option is to include downloadable worksheets or checklists.
If you mention something in your course that falls outside of the course curriculum itself, you might want to add a link to a blog post that you wrote on that course or use an affiliate link to a relevant eBook. An example of this might be where you say something like “Make sure that your images are on brand” and you link through to a post you wrote about branding.
Regardless of which format you choose your lessons to be presented in, it’s important to remember to make each lesson actionable. The best way to ensure this happens is to include some sort of tasks for your readers to complete at the end of each lesson.
4. Creating a new sequence
You want your lessons to be delivered automatically to those who sign up for your email course so there’s no additional work on your part. Luckily for us, most email marketing service providers have some sort of automation or sequence function for this.
I would always recommend Convertkit for bloggers and businesses as the functionality is beyond anything that I’ve experienced with other providers.
The process for setting up your email sequence is easy. Select “Sequences” from the header menu:
Then select “+Create Sequence” from the top right-hand corner. Give your sequence a name. Your subscribers won’t see this so don’t worry about it too much, just make sure that it makes sense to you.
You will then be taken to a screen that looks like this, which is where you are going to set up those emails.
Adding emails to the sequence
In the first email you want to create a welcome message and set this to send immediately (i.e. 0 days after the subscriber signs up). This will confirm to your subscriber that their sign up has been successful and also ensure that they have marked your emails to land in their inbox rather than spam!
So, set the “Delay Sending By” to 0 days. The delay here refers to the time since the person signed up for your course. This means that it’s not a one-time-only course; it will run continually so people can sign up whenever they want and will receive the email sequence then, rather than at a fixed time (e.g. on two specific weeks of the year).
Next, add a subject line and write your introduction email. Once you’re done, change the “Status” to “Published” and make sure you hit “Save”.
Next, use the menu on the left-hand side of the screen to add your first lesson by using the “+Add Lesson” button. You will have the same options as the previous email.
Set the “Delay Sending By” to the time you want – most email courses are a short series over 5-7 days, with one email being sent out each day. If this is the case, set your delay to 1 day since the last email.
Add in your catchy subject line (avoid something dull like “X Course: Lesson One”) and copy and paste lesson one into the body of the email. Once you’re done, change the status to “Published” and hit “Save”.
Repeat this process for each of your lessons until all of them are in the sequence.
End with a CTA
Remember to end your email sequence with a clear Call-to-Action. This final email is probably the most difficult email to write, especially if your CTA is inviting your readers to purchase something. No matter how experienced you are as a blogger or an entrepreneur, the “selling” part always feels a little uncomfortable. The only secret I have is to not overthink it. Keep it casual and light (not too pushy). And, if your lessons have been well-written they will have been leading up to this in a non-salesy way.
5. Creating the sign-up form
Okay, so your course now exists. And the sequence is set up to deliver one lesson each day to your students. Now you need a way for your students to register for the course. Your sign-up form is what you are going to place into relevant blog posts. You’ll also need a landing page for your course but I’ll get on to that in a moment.
Create a sign-up form as you would do usually within Convertkit.
Once you have created the form itself, complete with your branding, it’s time to link the form to the email sequence that you just created.
Head to the “Settings” tab of the form.
Under “Main Settings” you have the option to add your subscribers to an email sequence. Select the sequence you just created from the drop-down menu and tick the box underneath to “Make sequence mandatory for all new subscribers”.
Your form and your email sequence are now linked. So, when a reader signs-up using that particular form, they will receive the emails in your sequence (in the order that you have set them).
6. Creating a landing page
Yes, your course is free but you still need a landing page.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, an email course is more of a commitment that signing up for a downloadable PDF. So explain to your readers exactly why they should be enrolling in your free email course.
Tell your readers exactly what they will learn and take away from this course. If you’ve decided to include worksheets and/or checklists, let them know (and include mockups of them on the landing page because…you know, visuals!)
It’s also worth including a “curriculum”. Let your readers know what you will be covering in each lesson and when they will have access to each lesson.
Don’t forget to embed your sign-up form into the landing page so that they can actually enrol in the course!
One of the features I love the most about Convertkit is the “Automations” section where you can add tags and rules to your subscribers depending on a number of different triggers.
When someone signed up to one of my email courses or sequences, I add a number of different rules.
So, an example of this is my 201 Facebook Groups download. Although it’s not an email course, the rules are the same:
As you can see here, the trigger is set to “Subscribers to a form – 201 Facebook Groups”. Anyone who signs up to get this download is tagged with “201 Facebook Groups”. This lets me know which downloads each subscriber has accessed (and therefore, which topics they are interested in). They are also subscribed to the “201 Facebook Groups – Follow Up” sequence which means that they will receive the emails in the sequence that I have created.
You might have noticed that they are also tagged with “New – Don’t Send Newsletter”. I do this because I don’t want to bombard my subscribers with tonnes of emails. So, if they are receiving emails from a sequence, I don’t want them to receive my regular weekly newsletter emails at the same time. When I send out email newsletters I send them to my entire list EXCEPT those who are tagged with “New – Don’t Send Newsletter”.
Because of this rule, I create a second rule to undo this once the sequence is finished.
Here the trigger is “Completes a Sequence – 201 Facebook Groups – Follow Up” and the actions are “Add Tag – NEwsletter Subscriber” and “Remove Tag – New-Don’t Send Newsletter”. So, once they have finished the sequence (or email course), they then automatically get added to your usual newsletter list.
What Happens After the Sequence?
As I just mentioned, you probably want to add your subscribers into your main email list once they have finished the course. This is really easy to do and can be completely automated by following the steps outlined above.
If, however, your email course is the start of a sales funnel, you should add those subscribers into another sequence. This is really to set up with Convertkit.
Simply create your sales funnel sequence in the same way that you set up your email course sequence.
Then head into the “Automations” section again and add a new rule. The trigger is “Completes a Sequence – Your Email Course” and the action is“Subscriber to a Sequence – Your Sales Funnel”.
For more information on sales funnels and systems that really convert, check out Sweet Sales Systems from Elise at House of Brazen.
Promoting Your Email Course
So, now you have everything set up, how do you tell people about your course?
It’s no different to promoting anything else that you create really!
Using a tool like CanvaCanva, create some eye-catching graphics and share your amazing new email course on social media!
You can promote your free course in Facebook Groups too but make sure that you check the rules first. As I’ve mentioned a few times in various blog posts, one of the easiest ways to find the right place to promote your course is to use the search function.
Simply type in a keyword relating to your product and hit search. Then narrow down the search results to groups that you’re a member of and sort them by most recent. Scroll through the results and share your course where relevant. Remember, don’t just drop a link a run!
If someone has asked for advice on a topic that your course is perfect for, reply to them with a few hints and tips, and then refer them to your course for further information, followed by the link.
Another great place to promote your email course is in your email signature.
And that is all there is to creating your first free email course with Convertkit.
You can create an email course in a single day so you have no excuses!
Don’t forget to let me know once you’ve launched it, I’d love to see what you’ve created.
Welcome to the Flourishing Freelancer guide to starting a blog – the overwhelm-free way!
Deciding to start a blog is an exciting time. You want the world to see what you have to offer. You want to create amazing content and get it out there on the internet for people to see. But, there’s a lot more to it than simply sitting down and writing.
Let me guess, you’ve done some research online into starting a blog and you’re completely overwhelmed by everything you found? There’s SO much information out there. And for good reason, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to blogging, especially if you want to make money from it.
Don’t worry though, this post is the overwhelm-free guide to starting a blog.
**This post may contain affiliate links for products I love. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. For my full disclaimer, please click here**
1. Decide What to Write About
We’re starting right at the beginning with this guide to starting a blog!
You might see people describing this as “choosing your niche” but we’re keeping things plain and simple here.
Before you go any further with starting your blog, you need to decide what you’re going to write about. You might already have a rough idea of the types of thing you want to write about; fashion, beauty, dog training…it could be almost anything you want.
But there are a couple of factors to consider before firmly deciding on your blog topic:
Is it a topic that you’re passionate about? – It needs to be something that you could talk about for days on end and love every minute of it.
Is it an area that you have expertise or experience in? – Most people go to a blog looking for advice or a solution to a problem, do you have the expertise or experience to provide that advice or solution? If so, then people will come to your blog.
Do you have an audience? – I don’t mean right now. I mean is there an audience out there? The answer is most likely going to be yes to this question as there will be someone, somewhere in the world who is interested in your chosen topic. But, if you’re thinking about monetising your blog at some point in the future, you probably want to choose a topic that has a big audience.
After you’ve considered these questions, you need to get specific with your topic. When you choose a specific topic, you’re likely to attract readers who are interested in what you have to say.
So, think about how you might be able to make your topic more specific. For example, your topic might be “travel” but there are millions of travel blogs out there. However, your specific topic might be “solo female travel in South America”, of which there will be a lot less out. Not only does it mean that there’s less competition, but it also means that your readers who want to read what you write will be able to find you more easily.
2. Decide on a Name and Check the Domain
I’ve grouped these two elements together here purely because they are so closely connected. I’d hate for you to take ages deciding on a name only to find that the domain (and all its variations) are already taken.
When choosing a name for your blog, you don’t want to get too fancy. Try to convey your chosen topic within your blog name. When it comes to lifestyle bloggers this is a little tougher and I know a lot of bloggers simply go with their name or some sort of nickname.
Your blog’s name needs to be something that is easy to remember too. Try to steer away from obscure spellings as well. Having a strange name or quirky spelling might seem like a good idea to help you stand out but, if no one can remember it, they’re unlikely to be able to find you online.
As you’re thinking about your blog’s name, start doing some searches to see if the domain is available.
Checking for Your Domain Name
I promised you I would keep this simple so…what is a domain name? It’s the address of your site. So, my domain name is flourishingbusinessmum.com.
You can check to see if your chosen blog name is available as a domain name by going to GoDaddy. I recommend searching for available domain names on GoDaddy as it’s a good place to buy your domain from if your host doesn’t offer a good deal. But I’ll explain more about that in a minute.
Checking if your preferred domain name is available is simple; just type it into the search bar and hit go.
Once you have found a blog name and matching domain name, it’s time to purchase that domain name (before someone else does).
You have two choices here: you can purchase your domain name through GoDaddy or you can purchase it through your hosting provider. DON’T PANIC. I’ll be explaining what/who your hosting provider is in a moment. So, I would recommend you read the next two points and checking if, at the end of those, your chosen host provider has any offers on domain names (I’ll remind you again when we get there!)
3. Choosing Your Blogging Platform
This is one of the tougher decisions you’ll be making. For me, it was an easy decision. I knew that I wanted to use WordPress for my blog but there are a lot of other options out there. One of the most popular amongst other bloggers I know personally is Squarespace.
I’m a WordPress gal through and through. It’s so versatile and does everything I could possibly need it to and more! I think one of the appeals to Squarespace is it’s drag and drop site builder which is something that I found myself wanting when it came to creating sales pages, landing pages and my home page BUT I found an amazing plugin called Elementor which gives you this function.
Explaining each platform in depth is outside the scope of this blog post (I’m already at 1,028 words and we’ve still got lots to cover). Instead, I’ve created this nifty little visual to give you an overview of each platform.
If you need more help in deciding which platform to choose, there’s an entire lesson dedicated to this in my free course – From Idea to Launch. Simply click the button below to sign up.
So, why did I really decide to go with WordPress.org? I knew that I wanted a self-hosted option because one day in the future I wanted to monetise my site. Self-hosting gives you the flexibility to do pretty much what you want on your site – you can place ads on it, start an e-commerce store, customise your themes and have access to tonnes of plugins to improve functionality and reader experience.
Here are just a few reasons why you should start your blog on WordPress.org:
Suitable for bloggers in all niches
Great for bloggers who want complete control over their site
Ideal for bloggers looking to maximise and capitalise on their site traffic
Easy to use – suitable for beginners and pros!
Lots of themes and plugins to choose from
Great functionality (great if you plan to make money from your blog)
Easy to customise
Quick install – many host sites offer a single-click install
Self-Hosted and own Domain Name
If you do decide to go for WordPress.org, you don’t need to do anything right now.
4. Choosing a Hosting Provider
If you Google “blog host provider” or “hosting service” or anything similar you will be completely overwhelmed by the results. I know I was. To me, they all looked the same. They all offered similar packages at similar prices and I had no idea where to start in choosing one other than the one that I liked the look of the most! And I don’t mean, like the look of in terms of their packages. I mean, like the look of in the shallow sense. The one that was the prettiest looking!
So I did a bit of research and read a whole load of comparison blog posts. It came down to two: SiteGround and Bluehost. So I hosted one site on each! After 5 years of using both, they do come in very close but, if I had to choose one, I’d say SiteGround.
Whilst Bluehost is slightly cheaper (especially when it comes to renewing after your initial period), the customer service on SiteGround is so much better. Fortunately, I’ve hardly experienced problems with either host but the team at SiteGround go above and beyond when it comes to sorting things out.
So, if you’re looking for a simple answer/recommendation, I would say go with SiteGround. Especially if you’re completely new to this whole blogging thing as their customer service team will help you out no end!
5. Getting Started with WordPress and SiteGround
You’ve made all of your decisions and checked your domain name is available. Now it’s time to take action!
Here’s your complete step-by-step guide to getting your blog set up using WordPress and SiteGround:
This will take you through to a screen where you can select the hosting package that you want.
From the above packages, the “StartUp” package might be all you will need but I have the “Grow Big” package because it allows me to host 3 of my current sites on there (it actually allows more but that’s all I need at the moment). If you think you might be starting more than one site then I’d definitely go for the “Grow Big” package as it doesn’t cost much more and you get more web space, monthly visits and access to the premium features too.
Click on the package that you want, and you will be taken through to the screen where you register your domain name.
As you can see, you have the opportunity to register a new domain name or, sign up using an existing domain name that you have purchased through a different site.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Input that domain name that you’ve decided on. If for some reason, it’s no longer available (it depends on how long ago you checked), SiteGround will give you a list of alternatives.
You can purchase your domain name somewhere else, like GoDaddy and then use it on SiteGround (you can see the option to use a domain name you already own in the image above) but personally, I like having everything in one place as it’s easier to manage. This is especially true if, like me, you decide to run multiple blogs and sites at a later date!
Once you’re ready to hit “Proceed” at the bottom of the page.
2. Choosing the Hosting Period (and any extras)
On the next page, you will be asked to create your account details and to confirm your purchase.
Siteground offers you a 60% discount on the regular hosting price BUT only for the first invoice. This means that you can have the discount price of £3.95 per month for up to 3 years but only if you purchase those 3 years now. It’s a lot to pay up front but, if you can afford it, it will save you money in the long run.
For £142.20 you can have your site hosted on one of the most popular web hosting sites for three whole years. No need to worry about renewing each month or losing your site because you missed a payment or hadn’t set up auto-renewal etc.
However, if you’re unsure about blogging at this moment in time (I know, I know, it can be daunting), or you’re simply not in a position to part with that much money, the 12-month package is still excellent value.
You can see in the above image that this example domain name will be an additional £12.95.
When it comes to extras, you should definitely invest in the Domain Privacy Protection at £0.75 per month. Again, this offer of 50% off only applies to your first invoice. This ensures that your personal contact information remains private. Without it, if someone searches for the owner of your domain, they can access your personal information such as full name and address.
Once you’ve made a decision, all you need to do is complete the payment information and hit “Submit”.
3. Install WordPress
Yay! Now we’re on to the fun part.
You should have received confirmation that your payment has been processed and that you are now the proud new owner of your domain (and your hosting plan).
Installing WordPress in super easy and FREE with Siteground.
Simply log into your Siteground account and go to your cPanel. Scroll down through the menus until you get to the “WordPress Tools”. Then select the first icon called “WordPress Installer”.
This is a link to Softaculous WordPress Installer. On the next page, you will see the option to install WordPress – click on “Install”.
Follow the step-by-step instructions on the screen. Firstly, you will be asked to confirm which domain you want to use – select your domain name from the drop-down menu.
Next, you will see “Advanced Options” which is where you will set up your username and password for your WordPress website. As with any usernames and passwords, make sure that they are unique and not easy for people to guess!
Once you’ve completed the above you will see a success message that says “Congratulations, the software was installed successfully”. Just below that message, you will see the “Administrative URL” which is how you will access your site to edit it and add posts etc.
Congratulations, you now have your own WordPress blog with your very own domain name! Go you!
That was pretty easy, right? No need for stress and overwhelm at all!
Okay, so you now own your blog but, as you’re probably already aware, there’s still a bit of work to do. So, let’s keep going, shall we?
6. Getting Familiar with WordPress
Once you’ve completed the installation process outlined above, you will be emailed a link to access your WordPress dashboard. That is how you will access your WordPress site.
When you log in for the first time, take your time looking around and exploring the WordPress dashboard.
The main menu down the left-hand side of your screen is where you will create pages, write posts and install and manage widgets and plugins.
I would recommend that you play around with settings and learning how to create pages and posts on your WordPress account before your site goes live. Until you hit “publish” on your site, no one apart from you can see it so now is the ideal time.
Installing a Theme
Before you start working on your actual content – the stuff that you want people to see – you should choose and instal a theme. The theme is what makes your site look a certain way.
Once you’ve chosen and purchased a theme for your site, follow the installation instructions. These will be different for each theme so it’s not something I can include in this guide to starting a blog. After your theme has been installed, take some time to carefully read through any guide or instructions that came with it and start customising your site.
It’s really important to do this before you start creating content as it can be a pain to change your theme and layout once you have content and things often don’t look right.
Now that you have your site and a beautiful theme, it’s time to start installing some plugins.
Plugins are like apps for your site. You can find a plugin for almost anything you could ever need. You will find that, over time, you need more plugins to serve different functions. And that’s fine because you can install and uninstall them at any point. But, to get you started, here are some basic plugins that I love:
Akismet Anti-Spam – kind of does what it says on the tin and helps protect your blog from spam!
Broken Link Checker – another obviously named one! This highlights any links on your site that are broken (which is super annoying when readers try to click on links)
Elementor – allows you to build pages with a drag and drop interface.
Sumo – helps capture email addresses and allows you to have the awesome floating share bar that you can see on the left-hand side of my posts (or at the bottom if you’re viewing on a mobile).
W3 Total Cache – This is a performance plugin and helps to improve the speed and user experience of your site.
WPtouch Mobile Plugin – Makes a beautiful mobile-friendly version of your website. This means that your audience will have a great experience no matter what device they are using (and you don’t have to manually create a mobile-friendly version of everything!)
Yoast SEO – SEO is a huge part of blogging and Yoast SEO is a great plugin that helps you ensure that all of your posts and pages are SEO ready.
7. Start Creating – Pages
This is the really fun part! It’s time to start creating some content to get out there.
As well as having a couple of blog posts in the bag, there are a couple of essential pages that you should have up and running before hitting launch on your site.
With WordPress, you have two options for your home page. It can be where your latest posts are displayed or you can have what’s called a static home page.
A static homepage basically means a page that you have designed and created (Elementor is amazing for doing this) that doesn’t change. My homepage is a static homepage. As you might have seen, I use this page to tell people a bit about Flourishing Freelancer and help them to navigate to the parts of the site that they need.
Which option you choose is entirely up to you and you can change it at a later date. I would suggest having your blog posts as your homepage until you have other things to offer on your site. If all you ever plan to have on your site is blog posts, then you can have your latest posts on your homepage forever. But, if you decide to offer more on your site such as a shop, courses, services etc. you can create a static homepage that acts as a navigation tool or menu.
You should use this page to introduce yourself to your audience and let them know who you really are. It’s also a great place to introduce your site and the aims of your bog to people.
One thing that I see a lot of new bloggers missing out is a contact page.
You might be wondering why you need contact information on your site, especially in the early stages but it’s super important.
Even in the early days, I received messages asking me to write posts on specific topics and enquiring about collaborations. As you continue to grow, you may find brands reaching out to you for collaborations too.
So, make it easy for people to reach out to you by including some contact information. If you don’t have an email account dedicated to your blog yet and don’t want to share your personal email account, don’t worry. There’s a great plugin called WPForms Lite that helps you create lovely contact forms that people can use to get in touch with you.
The Legal Stuff Pages
There are three key pages that you really need to have: Privacy Statement, Terms and Conditions, and a Disclosure Policy.
Now, although I was a lawyer many years ago, I’m not an expert in this kind of thing. Jackie, from Jade & Oak, is! She offers a free course on making your blog legal that you can access here. She also offers an epic paid course called Blog and Be Legal which is game-changing (and has templates for these three key pages included). It is a little pricey so not necessarily for you if you’re starting out on a budget. BUT it is so worth the money. If you can’t afford it right now, add it to your list of “must haves” for the future.
Next up on the list is to start writing some blog posts and to set up your social media accounts.
If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to these, plus starting and growing an email list, boosting your traffic and monetising your blog, then you probably need Blogging Babe to Business Boss in your life!
You can grab the course, for an exclusive early-bird price at the moment. The course will officially be launching on the 15th January. But, between now and then, you can grab it at 50% of the original price. You’ll then get full access to the course content when it goes live on the 15th. If you wait until the 15th to purchase, the price will be increased back to full-price. So, don’t miss out on this amazing offer, get your discount here today.
It’s no secret that bloggers are busy, busy, busy. But fear not, there’s tonnes of Apps for Bloggers out there that can help with your productivity.
Blogging is a 24 hour job but we all know that it’s not possible to be sat at your computer or laptop all the time. We live in a world where everyone is constantly on the move, especially bloggers! So what’s important is being able to manage your blog and everything else that goes along with it no matter where you are. Luckily, apps exist!
Here are my 20 favourite apps for bloggers.
**This post contains affiliate links**
I usually get inspiration for blog posts at the strangest of times…on the tube, when I’m out running, when I’m at the shops.
I used to just make notes in the notepad app that came with my phone and then copy them over to WordPress and fill them out into full blog posts once I was back at my laptop. Then I realised I was wasting my time!
Every time I started making notes on the notes app I was copying them over into WordPress. That was before I realised that there was a WordPress app. Downloading that app was the best idea ever!
Now I can do draft blog posts straight into the app which syncs with my WordPress account online. It also allows me to read and reply to comments on the go, as well as checking my WordPress stats.
If your blog has it’s own Facebook Page, I would highly recommend downloading the app as it allows you to do so much more on your page than the normal Facebook app does.
As with all social media accounts, I like to stay engaged all day rather than trying to spend hours “catching up” in the evenings.
This might just be me but I’m a bit of a Twitter addict so whether or not I had a blog, I’d have Twitter on my phone.
It’s no secret that engagement is one of the key factors in getting traffic onto your blog so having social media accounts at your fingertips 24 hours a day is a godsend! Especially when it comes to Twitter as it moves so quickly.
If like me, you schedule promotional Tweets for your blog throughout the day, it’s nice to be able to Tweet naturally in between. For example, breaking up your promotional Tweets with photos of a cute dog your saw on the train or your morning coffee. It also allows you to retweet things as and when they show up in your feed and reply to any Tweets you receive.
This is more of a peace of mind app for me. I schedule all of my social media updates for the week ahead on a Sunday afternoon using Hootsuite. So I like to have the app on my phone to check what I’ve scheduled whilst I’m out and about.
I like being able to check when my promotional Tweets are going to be posted before I post something to make sure that nothing clashes.
The Hootsuite app is super easy to use and, whilst I like to schedule all my updates for the week on my laptop at the weekend, this app is perfect for doing this on the go!
You can access a 30 day free trial of Hootsuite Pro below.
Formerly known as Latergramme, Later is my favourite tool for scheduling my Instagram posts. The best part of it is that you can see your 3×3 grid preview and drag and drop images into an order that you are happy with before you hit “schedule”. This makes styling your Instagram so much easier than trying to guess whether or not your latest image fits in with the rest of your images!
Pinterest is kind of a big deal in the blogging world right now. One of the main “problems” in implementing a good Pinterest strategy for your blog is pinning consistently throughout the day. Most of us have lots of other things to be doing during the day than sitting at our laptops refreshing our Pinterest home page and pinning to our boards. BoardBooster takes this out of the equation by allowing you to queue and schedule pins.
The basic package is free but you can buy add-ons in the app such as extra filters/settings.
The app is really easy to use and makes basic iPhone images look much more professional. You can either take photos through the app itself or upload them from your camera roll.
9. Layout by Instagram
This free app is great for creating photo collages. It’s really easy to use and you just access photos straight off your camera roll. Then you can move the photos around to the positions that suit you using the pre-set templates.
WordSwag is an amazing app for making images with text that are perfect for Instagram.
You can select from the image library on the app or upload your own photos. Then you can add your own text or choose quotes from the menus on the app.
Finally, you can edit by choosing from different fonts, text layouts and colours. The app lets you save the image to your camera roll or upload it to your social media accounts directly.
This app lets you create beautiful graphics and professional looking designs. You can edit images, add text, stickers and frames etc. Canva lets you upload your own photos or choose from the hundreds of free stock images on there.
Canva is what I use to edit all of my photos for my blog by adding my branding. Being able to do this on the move saves me loads of time in the long run.
As a blogger, I love to keep up to date with all of my favourite blogs. Sometimes the only chance I have to do this is when I’m on the move.
The app also means that I can save blog posts to read later rather than having to trawl through my Twitter feed to try and find it when I get home.
You can also use the Bloglovin’ app to track stats and new followers (which I know pretty much every blogger is obsessed with!)
Whilst this isn’t necessarily an app that will help you blog, it will help you get more reading done. As a blogger/writer, reading is one of the most important things you can do to improve your writing.
We’ve already touched on how busy bloggers are so, if like me, you find it hard to find time to sit down and read, having the Kindle app in your hand at all times is a dream come true!
I primarily use Evernote on my laptop but I also have it on my phone too.
Evernote lets you take notes, create to-do lists, take snippets of websites and save pretty much anything you find online.
The best part is that the app syncs between your phone and your laptop so you will always have access to everything no matter where you created it.
Wunderlist is a beautiful organisational app. You can create to-do lists and manage your tasks all in one place using different categories and folders.
It’s great for productivity and staying organised. What’s even better is that you can share your lists with other people and you can both work on, and tick off things from the same list. Fantastic if your blog has a whole team working on it!
It’s essentially a to-do list but you can set up reminders to come through by email, text or notifications on your phone.
One fantastic thing about this app is the ability to arrange things how you want with different priorities, lists, categories and tags. The app also integrates with Gmail, Google Calendar and Evernote which is an added bonus.
17. Google Drive
I cannot recommend Google Drive enough for bloggers both on your laptop and your phone.
Laptops have a horrible habit of dying at the most inconvenient times which could lead to lost work. Saving documents on Google Drive takes this risk away.
Having the phone app means that you can access and edit your documents no matter where you are.
Having so many apps on your phone will inevitably take up large amounts of your phone’s memory. Add to that the hundreds and hundreds of photos us bloggers take every day and your phone’s constantly reminding you that it has no storage space left.
Uploading your photos into a Dropbox account straight from your phone is a massive help with this storage issue.
19. Gmail (or other email account)
This one is really obvious in my opinion but no blogger could possibly survive without having access to all of their email accounts on the go.
Whether it’s to email yourself a reminder for something (hopefully you’re using one of the above apps for that) or replying to time sensitive writing opportunities, emails on your phone is a must have.
Quite simply, 1Password is one of the best apps ever invented! You can store all of your login details to everything all in one place! How good is that?!
Whilst I’m usually pretty good at remembering my passwords, having 48,000 different passwords can sometimes get a little too much for my blogging brain.
Are there any apps that you swear by? Have I missed anything off the list? Let me know in the comments below.
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Researching your blog topic is an essential part of writing quality content. Especially if you want to be a credible expert in your chosen niche. Doing research can be really time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing – the internet is a pretty big place and you can get lost on there for hours on end.
There are a few things you can do to make research easier and less time-consuming.
Seems fairly obvious but if you’re making notes in three different notebooks and then spending an hour trying to remember which notebook you wrote in, things are going to take a while.
Before you even start doing your research, know how you want to organise what you find.
Using online tools like Google Docs or Evernote are a great way of making sure everything is kept in the same place. Evernote is a wonderful free tool that lets you clip, take screenshots and keep them organised. The beauty of both Evernote and Google Docs is that you can log into them from anywhere meaning you have access to your notes wherever you are.
Ideally, you want an organised approach to conducting your research too but I’ll cover this below.
Where to Do Your Research
Good question my friend. Unfortunately, I don’t have a straight answer as it depends on your topic. Generally speaking, these are steps I follow when undertaking research for a blog post.
Other Bloggers – A great place to start, regardless of your topic is on the blog or site of other experts in your field. Not only will they cover the topic but there’s quite often some useful links in their posts to other sites. Just remember not to steal work from other bloggers.
Google my post title – Next up, I search the title of my blog post and read what comes up. This usually overlaps with #1 and #3 but it’s a really helpful step in the research process.
Google Keywords – In the last post, I explained how to search for different keywords and phrases using Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Now’s the time to search for articles related to all of the relevant keywords and phrases you found.
After a little while of searching, you’ll get to a point where you’re reading the same advice over and over again. At that point, I decide I’ve done enough research and move on to writing my post outline. Just remember to give credit to work you use.
Ask the Right Questions
Don’t assume that your readers have the same base knowledge as you. Think about every question that they might have about this particular topic and make sure that your post answers them all (within reason).
You might realise that there are questions that you hadn’t thought of initially or that there are questions you don’t actually know the answer to.
By asking these questions whilst doing your research you can ensure that you have all the information necessary to answer them.
When to Do Your Research
This is a personal choice. But in my mind, there are two ways to do your research.
You can draft your entire post and then do research to fill in any gaps you might have. Or – and this is the way that I do it – you can do all of your research before you start writing.
I guess it really depends on how familiar you are with the topic and what type of topic it is. For example, if you’re doing a beauty post and all you need to research is the cost of the product on 5 different sites, that’s something you can do right at the end. If you want to be able to reference facts and figures such as how many of that product is sold in the UK every day and give a detailed history of the company, it’s probably a good idea to research before you start writing.
There’s no harm in researching as you write but this is likely to break your writing flow which isn’t great for creativity.
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Writing the Main Body of the Post
Set a Goal
Before you start writing the main part of your post, set yourself a goal.
What do you want this post to achieve? How will it benefit your readers?
Having a goal in mind at the outset will keep your post focused and hopefully stop you going off on too much of a tangent. Remember that your readers came here for an answer or solution based on the title of the post, make sure you deliver on that by setting a relevant goal.
The first few sentences of your post should act as a hook and convince people to keep reading. The best way to catch their attention is to explain the purpose of the post and let your readers know how you’re going to solve their problems and answer their questions.
Depending on your blog style and your chosen topic you could consider starting your post in some of these ways:
Start with a story about yourself or a friend that relates to the topic
Open with a question – preferably related to the blog topic
Try a witty remark or a joke – take your readers by surprise, leaving them wanting to read on
State an interesting fact – the more unusual and intriguing the better!
Remember, the idea of your opening sentence or paragraph is to hook your readers and make them want to read more. So, if nothing else, don’t make it dull!
Organise Your Content
If your post doesn’t flow well, your readers may well get lost.
Organising your content is also essential if you’re writing long posts. It’s easy for readers to become overwhelmed by vast amounts of information so organising it using sections, subheadings and bullet points can help immensely.
The best way to organise your content is to draw up an outline of your post before you start writing. This will help you identify what points you want to cover and the best way order to write about them in. You want to ensure that you are only including key information and, if at all possible, actionable information. There’s no point in writing a post full of “fluff”. Your readers are here looking for an answer to a question or problem, give them that answer in an easy to follow, information resource.
I’ve already mentioned above that subheadings and sections within you post help the reader to focus. But they also help to organise your content so make sure you use these tools when you’re creating your outline.
Now you have your topic, your catchy blog title and an outline of your post, it’s time to start writing.
Using your outline as a guide, fill out the details with the research you did earlier, along with your own thoughts, opinions and angles.
If you’re writing informational posts, you should be aiming for 1,500+ words. This is something I still struggle with as I’m keen not to simply fill my posts with “extras”. Having said that, almost every post I write is over 1,000 so I’m getting there!
On that note, don’t just fill your posts with “fluff” to make it longer.
Make your posts actionable. What do I mean by this? Don’t just tell your readers what to do, tell them exactly how to do it. How many times have you read posts telling you to do something and just sat there thinking, “Yeah, that’s all well and good but how the bloody hell do I actually do that?”
To keep me focused, I like to use the Pomorodo technique. This is a technique where you work for 25 minutes with no distractions at all and then take a 5-minute break. This is a really great way to stay focused on big tasks.
Call to Action
You should, where possible, end your posts with a call to action.
Think about what you want your readers to do once they’ve finished reading through the post. Do you want them to stay on your site and read more posts? Then flag up related posts to them. Simply want them to engage with you? Encourage them to leave comments and opinions at the end of your post.
Phew! That’s it, you should now have a complete post. But it’s not over just yet! You still need to edit and SEO-ify your post but for now, try out some of these tips and let me know your thoughts.
Welcome to the second post in my Curating the Perfect Blog Post mini-series. Today’s post is the first part of The Actual Writing Bit – Incredible Post Ideas and Titles.
As you might have guessed, the actual writing bit is an essential part of curating the perfect blog post. After all, if you have a blog, your blog posts are what your readers are on your site for!
But blogging isn’t as easy as simply throwing some words together on the screen, hitting publish and hoping people read it. Your blog posts need a strategy. They need to be well thought out, planned and perfectly executed, starting with your post ideas and titles.
Before you start working on the main body of your blog post, here’s your step-by-step guide to creating incredible post ideas and titles for your blog.
Picking Your Idea
It’s pretty obvious that before you can even start writing your perfect blog post, you need to know what you’re going to write about. Sure, you could just write about whatever you feel like on the day but, if you want your blog to be a successful business, there needs to be some sort of strategy behind your idea selection.
Once you have a topic in mind, ask yourself the following questions before deciding whether to pursue that post any further:
Does it appeal to my ideal reader? Does it solve the questions/problems my audience have?
Will this post help me make more sales? Can I use affiliate links? Does it lead nicely into my sales funnel/opt in?
The target here is to be creating content that both helps your readers and helps grow your business.
Keywords and Phrases
One great way to choose ideas that will actually bring readers to your site is to search for keywords using tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This is a free tool that helps you find keywords and phrases that people are searching for. It also tells you how much competition there is out there relating to those keywords and phrases. The trick here is to find an idea that people are regularly searching for but that not too many people are writing about. Play around with your keyword search until you find the one that is relevant to you and your audience, and has the right amount of searches and competition.
Look for Inspiration
You can also find inspiration from reading other blogs and articles. Taking inspiration from other blog posts is all well and good but make sure that you’re not straight up copying someone else’s hard work. You can take a post that has inspired you and make it your own – write it in your own voice and add a fresh perspective to the topic.
Creating an Attention-Grabbing Title
The post title is most likely the first thing your readers will see (depending on where they find your post) and it’s what they’ll most likely use to decide whether or not to read the post. Your title needs to grab the attention of your readers and make them feel compelled to click through and read the post.
Titles that include “How” and “Why” are popular choices because a lot of the time, your readers are looking for an answer or a solution to a question or problem that they have. Including these words lets them know that the answer lies within your post.
1. Start with a Working Title
Writing your title before writing your post will help you focus. Start by writing what you want your post to achieve.
Don’t worry too much about the exact wording at this stage. Just get a rough draft of your title down. Then, once you’ve finished writing your post, you can go back, edit and finalise your title.
2. Think About Search Terms
If you’ve followed the steps above, you should have already done your keyword search and settled on something. Now you have to make sure that it’s in your post title. After all, if people are searching for it, you want it to be obvious that your post includes that keyword.
3. Make the Value to Your Readers Clear
As you know, most readers will be coming to your site looking for something specific. It might be advice, an answer to a particular question, or just entertainment. Whatever it is that you’re offering to your reader, make it clear in the title. Using words such as “How to” and “Why” will help with this.
4. Use Strong Language
No, I don’t mean start swearing in all of your post titles. What I mean is include words that get people excited or intrigued like “amazing”, “life changing”, “devastating”…These words make your readers want to click through to find out what it is you’re talking about and why you’re describing it in that way.
5. Keep It Short and Accurate
Your title shouldn’t be too long – around 60-70 characters. This will ensure that your title is visible in search engine results and on most mobile devices.
Keeping your title accurate is also important. People are looking for something specific so don’t tell them that you’re going to provide them with that if you’re not. Whilst it might get that reader to click through onto your site, they’re definitely not going to hang around. It works the other way too. You want people to know what’s inside – tell them exactly what they can expect!
If all else fails, you can use one of these 50 blog post ideas!
Access the 50 Blog Post Ideas Download Here
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So, now you have your idea, your keywords and a catchy (working) title. The next post in this mini-series will cover planning and filling out the details.
Got any questions? Let me know in the comments below.