Blogging

  • 5 Courses You Need to Make Money Blogging

    Is it your dream to make money blogging?

    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.

    5 Courses You Need to Make Money Blogging

    **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

    5 Courses You Need to Make Money Blogging

    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.

    What’s Included

    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:

    1. Building the Foundations
    2. Creating Your Brand
    3. How to Get Your Blog Up and Running
    4. WordPress Basics and Designing Your Blog
    5. Creating Quality Content
    6. SEO
    7. Your Social Media Presence
    8. Increasing Your Blog Traffic
    9. Building an Email List
    10. Monetising Your Blog

    Price – $97


    From Zero to Superhero Affiliate Marketing Bundle – The She Approach

    5 Courses You Need to Make Money Blogging

    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.

    What’s Included

    • “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

    5 Courses You Need to Make Money Blogging

    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.

    What’s Included

    • Three Modules – 15+ video lessons, 5+ text-based lessons
    • Video tech training
    • 204+ Pinterest Group Boards in 17 niches
    • Ready-to-use templates and swipe copy
    • Guest blogging guide

    Price – $45


    Uncork Your Dork Membership

    5 Courses You Need to Make Money Blogging

    Overview of the Course

    Okay, so technically speaking, this isn’t a course, it’s a membership site BUT it had to go on this list.

    The membership area is jam-packed full of useful training. The content is split into three phases:

    • Your Foundation
    • Grow and Grind
    • Show Me The Money

    I’ll put my hands up and say that I’m actually still working my way through the content BUT it’s been invaluable so far.

    What’s Included

    • 25 full traffic training courses with videos and downloads
    • Monthly live events
    • Replays of all past live events and webinars
    • Replays of UCYD summits
    • A library of workbooks, worksheets and eBooks not found on the blog

    Price – $39 per month


    Pageviews from Pinterest – Blog Beautifully

     

    5 Courses You Need to Make Money Blogging

    Overview of the Course

    This 7-step system from Krista Dickson is the reason that my Pinterest account generates over 300,000 impressions each month!

    5 Courses You Need to Make Money Blogging

    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!

    What’s Included

    • 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.

     


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  • Honesty vs. Oversharing: When To Draw The Line

    Honesty vs. oversharing: do you know where to draw the line?

    That’s the question that’s being addressed by today’s guest poster, Lucy Wyndham.

    For those of you who are new to Flourishing Freelancer, Lucy is a freelance writer who wrote a great post for us at the end of last year entitled 8 Ways to Make Money in Minutes.

    Now, she’s taking on the fascinating topic of honesty vs. oversharing and where to draw the line as a blogger.

    So, without further ado, I’ll hand this post over to Lucy!

    Honesty vs. Oversharing

    **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**


    These days, honesty is important. Kelly Samuel, Social Media Director of Code Social, says that “Authenticity is the key component of what makes social media so successful for businesses”. That being said, there comes the point when your honesty turns to oversharing. How can you walk this fine line while staying true to your blogging voice?

    Here are some tips:

     

    Know Your Audience

    When you write on your blog, you should know who you are talking to. Be able to imagine your audience. When you write, imagine their faces as they read your words. This will help you decide what to share, and what to keep private.

    For example, if you were writing an email to your best friend, you might include some embarrassing details about a night out with friends. However, if you were at a dinner with your extended family, you may not share that same exact information. The deciding factor is your readership, so if you know who you’re writing for, you know how to tailor your content to your audience.

    Honesty vs. Oversharing

    Let Your Purpose Guide You

    What is the purpose of your blog? Keep this goal in mind when you infuse your blogs with honesty. For example, you could be writing a blog so that you establish yourself as an authority figure. If this is the case, you want to share details that highlight your strengths. Yes, you can include weaknesses so that you are relatable, but don’t go over the top.

     

    Take Wise Risks

    Your blog is like a piece of real estate in the vast online space. It is all yours. In this corner of the world, you have the power to let your real character and spirit shine. Don’t hold back. As long as it feels good and empowering to do so, say what is on your mind.

    Be vulnerable. Your authenticity will help your readers relate to you. Neurobiologically, the human mind is designed to form bonds when a relationship meets specific criteria. When another human can tell that you are saying something from the heart, they may connect to what you say on a deep level.

    Finding the right balance between authenticity and oversharing takes some practice. When you write a post, imagine your audience members’ faces. Keep your purpose in mind, and then be true to yourself and open up if it feels right.

    8 Ways to Make Money in Minutes


    My Thoughts on Honesty vs. Oversharing

    I want to say a MASSIVE “Thank You” to Lucy for taking the time to write this post on such an interesting topic. In fact, I found it so interesting that I actually just wanted to add my own thoughts in here at the end but I’ll keep it really brief:

    • Share what you are comfortable with – if you’re naturally a reserved person, don’t force yourself to share things you don’t want to. If, on the other hand, you’re open in real-life, share away!
    • Stay true to your own style Vix Meldrew is one of my absolute favourite bloggers and she shares EVERYTHING. And I mean everything. But she’s killing it in the blogging world because that’s her style and that’s why people love her. I’m not saying that she would lose followers if she stopped sharing as much but her 100% honest and transparent (and sometimes, naughty) content certainly gains her lots of deserved attention.
    • Think about your audience – I know that Lucy mentioned this but I think it’s an important one. If I suddenly started talking about my sex life on here, people would be freaked out. It’s not the topic itself, it’s just not the place. It’s not why readers come to Flourishing Freelancer. However, if you want to start sharing stories and advice that don’t apply to your current blog’s audience, just start a new one! I have four blogs in total, each sharing different content. Don’t let the fact that you have a particular audience on your current blog stop you from pursuing another interest.

    Honesty vs. Oversharing


    This guest post was written by Lucy Wyndham (thanks again, you’re a star!)

    If you’re interested in submitting a guest post, check out our guidelines here and get in touch!

     

  • Everything You Need to Know About Hosting Your First Webinar

    Are you thinking about hosting your first webinar?

    Even if you haven’t hosted a webinar before, you’ve probably attended one or two.  And, if you’re thinking of hosting your own webinar, you probably enjoyed the ones you attended.

    There are a number of things that you need to think about before going live including what tools you’re going to use, how you’ll get people to sign-up and, most importantly, what the purpose of hosting the webinar is!

    It can feel overwhelming but don’t worry, this post will guide you through everything you need to know about hosting your first webinar.

    ** For the purposes of this post, I will be talking about webinars that are being offered for free, either as an opt-in incentive or as part of a sales funnel**

    Hosting Your First Webinar

    **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 Webinars?

    If you’re thinking about hosting your first webinar, you probably already know the benefits of them. But, just in case you’re sitting there thinking that hosting webinars was just a fun way to fill time, here are some of the other reasons you might be considering hosting a webinar:

    To increase email subscribers

    Hosting a webinar is a fantastic way to gain new email subscribers and boost your list.

    As part of the registration process for attending the webinar, people will need to subscribe to your email list. In theory, it’s the same as any other freebie or opt-in incentive – your readers will give you their contact details in exchange for valuable content.

    Hosting Your First Webinar

    As the starting point to a sales funnel

    We all know that offering something valuable for free is a great way to start off your sales funnel. It’s a great way to know who is interested in a particular topic (so you can market directly to them) and to show them how much value you can offer to students, clients and/or customers.

    For more information on sales funnels and systems that really convert, check out Sweet Sales Systems from Elise at House of Brazen.

    Hosting Your First Webinar

    They are a great way to connect with your audience FOR FREE!

    Webinars are one of the best ways to engage with and reach your target audience. They allow you to interact with your audience and share valuable, actionable content with them in a way that written content just can’t.


    So, now that you know why they’re the bee’s knees, here’s everything you need to know about hosting your first webinar:

     

    Choosing a Topic

    Or, more specifically, choosing a topic that people want to learn about.

    If your webinar is going to be the starting point for a sales funnel, the webinar topic should be similar to the end product that your funnel leads to. It might be a sneak preview of the end product’s content, or it might just be similar.

    Already having an end product in place (or at least planned out) takes away the need for you to brainstorm topics for your webinar!

    If, on the other hand, your webinar is going to be serving as a way to grow your email list, you’ll need to generate ideas that your target audience will be interested in.

     

    1. Look at your most popular posts

    Check your Google Analytics and find out what your most popular topics are. You can repurpose this content into a webinar or address a different angle.

     

    2. Ask your audience what they want

    There are a couple of ways you can find out what your audience wants. You can ask your readers directly using your email list and/or Facebook Group, you can create a poll on Facebook and Twitter or you can look around other Facebook Groups to see what questions are being asked.

     

    3. Expand on your most popular downloads

    Is there an opt-in incentive that consistently performs better than the others? Then it’s probably a topic that your audience are interested in learning more about.

    One of the main things to remember when choosing a topic is to keep it specific. Don’t try to cram too much into your webinar as it will feel rushed. Instead, focus on giving your audience specific, actionable content on one small topic.

     

    Creating a Title and Purpose for Your Webinar

    Creating a title for your webinar is the same as creating a title for your blog posts. They need to let your audience know what the webinar is about but, at the same time, entice them into registering to find out more.

    As with blog post titles, anything with “How to” in it works really well, as do “Learn how I….” titles.

    Alongside a gripping title that piques your audience’s curiosity, you need a purpose for your webinar. This is a couple of bullet points that set out exactly what lessons your audience will learn from the webinar.

    As I mentioned earlier, your webinar should be simple and succinct in terms of the topic so no more than 3 or 4 bullet points are needed. These will help you stay on track when it comes to creating the main content of the webinar.

    Related Post → The Perfect Blog Post – Incredible Post Ideas and Titles

     

    Where to Host Your Webinar

    Before you start planning the content of your webinar, it’s important to decide where you are going to host it.

    The reason for choosing the platform first is to ensure that you’re not rushing around last minute looking for a system that meets all of your needs. It also ensures that you have time to explore the system and experiment with it well in advance and, if you need to, you’ll still have time to find another.

    There are lots of options available out there for you to choose from BUT most of them are expensive. Like, seriously expensive.

    Even if your level of income means that you can pay for one of these platforms, it doesn’t mean that you should.

    A lot of big webinars that I have attended have been run through WebinarJam or CrowdCast. At the time of writing, WebinarJam is $479 per year and CrowdCast ranges between $49 and $195 per month!

    That’s a lot of money, especially when you can host your webinar for free using a very well known and reliable platform – YouTube.

    For options outside of YouTube, check out this post from the Elegant Themes Blog: The 15 Best Webinar Software Products from Around the Web

    Hosting Your First Webinar

    Using YouTube Live to Host Your Webinar

    Previously known as Google+Hangouts, YouTube Live is a fantastic and reliable way to host your webinars for free.

    You can send the YouTube link to your attendees or, use a code to embed it into a page on your site. Whatever works best for you.

     

    1. Create a Google account (or log into YouTube if you already have one)

    YouTube is owned by Google so, in order to log into YouTube, you need to have a Google account. Don’t worry though, it’s completely free and takes a matter of minutes to set up. Simply head to the sign-up page and follow the instructions.

    Once you’re in your YouTube account, set up and verify your channel, making sure you read the terms and conditions well before proceeding.

     

    2. Set Up the Webinar

    Select “Creator Studio”, then from the left-hand menu select “Live Streaming”. Next, click on “Events” and “Enable Live Streaming”.

    Hosting Your First Webinar

    You will then be taken to a screen where you can add all of the details such as your webinar name, time and date etc.

    You can also choose the privacy settings here. I would opt for “Unlisted” as this means that it can only be viewed by people who have the link i.e. those who have registered using your sign-up form and have received a link to the webinar (more on setting this up in a minute).

     

    3. Embedding the webinar on your site

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your viewers watching your webinar on YouTube. It’s simple and clean, plus you have access to their live chat function so you can answer your viewers’ questions during the webinar.

    You may, however, decide that you want to embed the video into a dedicated page on your site. Why? Because you can add your branding to the page and make it look like it really belongs to you rather than being any old video on YouTube.

    Like I said, it’s entirely your choice. I’ve hosted webinars both ways and not seen any markable difference in either method in terms of the number of attendees and conversions.

    Once your webinar is set up on YouTube, you will be taken to the Google screen where you will record the video. In the bottom right-hand corner, there is a button called “Links”. Click on that to find the embed code, copy it and then pop it onto the page on your site where you’ll be hosting the video.

    Hosting Your First Webinar

    If you’re a WordPress user, I’d recommend using a free page builder plugin like Elementor to get the different “blocks” in the exact places you want.

    You’ll want to add a live chat function to the page too so that you can engage and communicate with your audience throughout the webinar itself. For this, I use the free Chatango tool. Again, it’s just a simple case of embedding it onto your page.

     

    Inviting Attendees

    Getting people to sign up for your webinar is the same as getting them to sign up for any opt-in incentive that you offer.

    Start by creating a stand-alone sign-up form that you can include in your sidebar or in blog posts etc. as well as a landing page.

    Treat your landing page like a sales page and tell your readers how they will benefit from attending your webinar. For example, what skills they will learn. It’s also a great incentive to offer an exclusive bonus for people to attend live, like a checklist or workbook that isn’t available elsewhere on your site.

    Promote your upcoming webinar on your social media accounts and to your newsletter subscribers.

    Use your email marketing service provider to tag people who have signed up for the webinar so that you can send them reminder emails and a link to the webinar closer to the time.

    Related Post → Creating Sign-Up Forms and Where to Place Them to Increase SubscribersHosting Your First Webinar

    Get Your Content Ready

    There’s not a lot I can tell you for this stage of the process because it’s entirely up to you!

    You can present your webinar in any way you want to. You can use Powerpoint slides and talk to them (with your face never being on camera), you can sit face on and talk directly into the camera, you can share your screen or a combination of all of these.

    Remember to focus on those few bullet points that you set out as the purpose of your webinar early on so as not to try and cover too much.

    I tend to do my webinars as Powerpoint presentations with me talking to the slides. I create the slides first and then write out bullet points for each to guide me on what to say. Personally, I don’t like to write a full script because there’s then a temptation to read it during the webinar and I sound all strange and staged!

    Make sure that you have adequate time to practice your webinar a couple of times before the big day. Practicing will not only ensure that you have the timing right (you don’t want to get 20 minutes into an hour-long webinar and find that you’ve run out of things to say) but it will also reduce your reliance on your notes or script.

     

    A Note on Pitching

    If the sole purpose of hosting your first webinar (or any other webinar!) is to gain more subscribers, you probably aren’t going to be pitching anything during your webinar.

    However, if you’re using the webinar as the start of a sales funnel or to promote a product, you’ll want to pitch during your webinar.

    From a personal point of view, there’s nothing worse than joining a webinar and the whole thing is just a sales pitch and I don’t actually learn anything from it.

    Whilst you need to be direct with your pitching and have a clear call-to-action, make sure that you are delivering valuable, actionable content in the webinar itself. To help your pitch convert into actual sales, add some kind of “urgency”. This could be a limited time free bonus in addition to your paid product or a discount that expires

    If you are pitching a product or service, make sure that your offer is clear and your checkout cart (or whatever system you’re using) is ready to process orders. You don’t want your audience thinking “wow, that sounds great”, clicking on the link to your new course and not being able to access the page or purchase the damn thing!

    Hosting Your First Webinar

    Start Your Event

    When it’s time to go live (well, about 20 minutes beforehand), head back to YouTube, “Live Streaming” and “Events”. Then hit “Start Hangout on Air” under the event that you’ve created.

    Going live when you’re hosting your first webinar can be really daunting so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get things in order well in advance.

    You won’t be live right away, but you will be taken through to the webinar screen. From this screen, you can select what you will be streaming (your screen or your webcam).

    About 5 minutes before the official start time, go live just to check that the sound and video are working and to welcome any early viewers.

    In the first couple of minutes of your webinar, you might want to cover a few housekeeping issues such as how you will deal with comments (will you be in the live chat throughout the webinar or will you answer all questions at the end). Then give an outline of what will be covered before diving into the meaty content. Hosting Your First Webinar

    After the Webinar

    There’s no obligation to send out a replay of the webinar but I’ve seen good results from it. I only send it those people who had registered to attend rather than my whole list. I know how busy we all get so I don’t want people to miss out.

    The post-webinar follow-up phase is particularly important if you pitched your product or service during the webinar.

    The first email I send out is to say thanks to those who attended and the link to the replay of the webinar. I also include a reminder of the bonuses.

    I then follow up with two more emails; one reminder of the time limit on the deal or bonus and then a final reminder an hour or so before the offer expires.


    And that’s all there is to hosting your first webinar!

    Your first webinar might take a lot of work and feel a bit stressful but trust me, once you have that first one under your belt, your confidence will skyrocket and the whole process and experience will become much quicker and more relaxed.

    Simply follow these steps and use the free schedule and checklists below. There’ll be no stopping you!

  • Blogging Bosses – An Interview with Ana from The She Approach

    Hello wonderful bloggers and entrepreneurs!

    Welcome to the second instalment of Blogging Bosses. A place for bloggers and entrepreneurs to celebrate themselves and their achievements, as well as offering inspiration to others.

    In case you missed it, you can read the first instalment here.

    So, we’ll get straight into this month’s bad-ass blogger interview – Ana from The She Approach.

    Blogging Bosses - Episode Two

    Tell Us a Little Bit About Your Blog/Biz

    Hi there! My name is Ana and I run The She Approach, a blog aimed at inspiring and empowering women to speak out online through blogging. I use my website as a platform where I document my own blogging journey and talk about what strategies worked for me, blogging, social media or marketing wise. I do not claim to know it all, but I greatly enjoy writing about what bring me results in the blogging world and hope to inspire others who are just starting out or are looking to take their blog to the next level.

    What Inspired You to Start Your Own Blog/Biz

    I am passionate about cheering women on and helping them thrive in the online world, which is why I started by blog.

    I’ve always been a blogger. I love writing and I initially started off The She Approach as a lifestyle blog, but quickly realised that my passion lies in helping other people by sharing my own experience, so I rebranded.

    What Were the First Steps Your Took to Put Your Dreams into Action?

    I wasn’t sure what I wanted to achieve by investing hours and days on end on my blog at first, which is why I had to create a vision map and that brought some clarity to my goals.

    After that, I had to just start somewhere. So I started my blog, purchased my hosting and started to create content.




    What is the Biggest Challenge You’ve Faced so Far and How Did You Overcome it?

    The biggest challenge I had to face was the thought that there were already millions of blogs out there that were approaching the same subjects I was. I was fearful of being just another blog lost as sea and that I had nothing unique to offer.

    It’s an ugly fear and almost got the best of me. But upon talking to a few of my blogger friends and getting some good advice, I realised that we all have something unique to offer and that even if I offer blogging advice, I have my own blogging journey and my own experience to share.

    What is Your Biggest Achievement to Date?

    Blogging wise, I just launched my first ebook and it feels unreal! I’ve always wanted to be an author and the fact that I was able to share my blogging experience with people and help them get more blog traffic and recognition for their amazing content was a huge accomplishment for me!

    What is Your Favourite Thing About Running Your Own Blog/Biz?

    I love the freedom of expression that I get with having my own blog and side hustle. I love being able to make mistakes and having to answer to now one but me. And I love the community of solopreneurs out there that understand your struggle and lift you up when you need to as well.

    What Could You/Your Blog Your Business Not Function Without?

    I don’t think my blog would be the same without my amazing theme from Themeforest or my stock photos from Color U Bold. I actually have an entire resource library filled with tools and resources I use to run my blog and business and I updated it periodically with freebies.

    What Keeps You Motivated and Focused When Things Get Tough?

    I am a very forward thinker and future-focused person. So for me, setting goals and writing them down helps a lot in terms of getting stuff done.

    Setting deadlines for myself also helps and even if life gets in the way or I have days where I doubt myself and my content, I manage to power through by getting back to my “why”.

    Why did I start to do this in the first place? Why do I love it? And why would others benefit from what I’m doing and so on.




    What One Thing do You Wish You Had Known Before You Started Out?

    I wish I knew the tech side isn’t so scary. I am not the most technologically advanced person and the thought of creating my own website and making it look professional terrified me.

    The truth is, it’s always easier that you imagine it to be and there are so many resources out there that can help you along the way.

    What Does the Future Hold for Your Blog/Biz?

    I have big plans for my blog. In fact, I am taking a year off university to pursue my digital career. I am planning to launch one more ebook and a course in the following year and offer my VA and blog coaching services in the near future.

    The thought of starting blogging workshops in my city and helping others this way has also crossed my mind.

    Long story short, I want more than just be a full-time blogger. I want to be able to actually reach out to other people and help them rock the digital world.

    Finally, Tell us One Random Thing About Yourself!

    My personality type classifies me as a “Logician”, a thing I only share with 3% of the population. To skip the nerdy talk,  that means I love observing patterns and creating systems and nothing brings me more satisfaction that clicking that final puzzle piece into place. (I guess this explains my passion for figuring out what brings the best results online, blogging and business wise.)

    I also have an adorable staffy puppy brought on by my sudden decision that I can no longer live my life without a dog surrounding me 24/7. (Best decision I ever made!)Blogging Bosses - Episode Two

    A huge thank you to Ana for taking the time to share her story with us!

    If you want to know more or get in touch with Ana, you can reach her here:

    Blog: http://www.thesheapproach.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesheapproach

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesheapproach

    Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/thesheapproach/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesheapproach/

     

    If you’re interested in being featured as a Blogging Boss, you can find more information (along with the interview documents) here.



  • How to Use Stock Images on Your Blog and Social Media

    Ever wondered how to use stock images on your blog?

    This might sound like an odd question and that’s because there are actually two elements to it. You can ask this question in two different ways with two different meanings.

    The first question is aimed at those who don’t use stock images and want to know how to find and use them on their site.

    The second question is for those who know about stock images but don’t necessarily know how to use them legally or how to make the most of them.

    Deciding to use stock images on your blog, sadly, isn’t as easy as you might think. It’s not simply a case of searching for a term on Google and hitting “Save” on any image you find that you like.

    Every single image out there has some form of Copyright attached to it. Before you can use them on your site you either need to seek permission from the owner or, find stock photo providers that you can purchase images from.

    As well as ensuring that any images you have aren’t breaking any laws, you also need to know how to use them to enhance your blog and boost your brand.

    Use Stock Images on 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**

    Finding Stock Images

    As I already mentioned, it’s not simply a case of finding images on Google and adding them to your site. A lot of people assume that images they find this way are free to use. That’s not true. Even if you link back to the original source.

    This blogger made that mistake and it cost her $7,500!

    Not a mistake you want to be making really, is it?

    So the question is, “where do you find stock images to use legally?”

    There are two different types of stock image providers. First are the sites like Pixabay and Pexels which are great if you are looking for something specific. For example, if you are writing up a recipe and you need an image of one of the ingredients you can just search for it on these sites. Just remember to check the terms of use.

    The second type of stock image sites (and the type that I use) are those who offer styled photos. With these sites, you can often buy individual photos, bundles or, on some sites, subscriptions.

    Using paid images will ensure that you have high-quality images on your site that will stand out from other sites (a lot of people opt for free images). It will also ensure that you have the legal right to use those images.

    Having said this, make sure you check the terms and conditions of all photos. Some will allow you to use them on your blog only, others your blog and social media. Most draw the line at using the images on products you are selling (like eBooks) but there are some out there that do allow it.

    Here are three of my favourite sites (you can find a longer list here):

    Color U Bold

    I’m new to Color U Bold but I am totally obsessed.

    This girl knows how to take and edit photos. The packages that are offered on the Color U Bold site are amazing value for money too.

    I use images taken from Color U Bold in pretty much all elements of Flourishing Freelancer from blog images to social media accounts and newsletter headers. The great thing about Color U Bold is the variety of styles of images and the different colour schemes on offer too – there really is something for everyone here!

    Use Stock Images on Your Blog

    Wonderfelle

    Wonderfelle has some gorgeous feminine stock photos. Elle’s site is amazing for all things blogging and there’s loads of hints, tips and useful information on there. If you subscribe to her site, you get 10 stock images for free and new ones emailed out to you each month.

    Her images are seriously pretty and you can find a few scattered across my site and social media accounts. Her Styled Desktop Bundle is amazing and only $75 for 100 photos. That’s less than $1 per image that you can use in loads of different ways over and over again.

    Use Stock Images on Your Blog

    Ivory Mix

    Ivory Mix is a great site for all things blogging and branding. The amount of free stock photos available once you’ve signed up is amazing; there really is something for everyone on here and more photos get added each month. In fact, if you sign up to the free stock photos library now, you’ll have 300 images to use on your site immediately!

    There is also the option of buying individual bundles or subscribing (monthly and annual options are available).

    Again, you’ve probably noticed me using some of these images on my blog. The only downside? There’s so many to choose from!

    Use Stock Images on Your Blog

    Styling Your Images

    Okay, so now you have your images, how do you use stock images on your blog?

    Chances are, if you’re using the stock images that sites like Ivory Mix and Wonderfelle give away for free, you’ll be seeing them all over the internet.

    I don’t want to discourage you from using those freebies as they are great but, you can make them your own in a few simple steps.

    Crop

    By cropping the images you have got from stock image sites, you can make them look quite different to the original. And, as an added bonus, you can end up with two or three images to use on your site from one single photo.

    Here’s an example:

    How to Use Stock Images on Your Blog

    Original image downloaded from Color U Bold stock album

    How to Use Stock Images on Your Blog4 images for my site/social media account created from the original image

    By focusing on different elements in the main image, you can see that I have created four, very different looking images. As long as the original image that you are using is high-quality, you should be able to zoom in and crop without losing any of the image quality.

    Creating Graphics with Text

    Another great way to make images your own, is to add a text overlay to make graphics for your blog.

    I absolutely love Canva for this. It’s super easy to use and you can save your brand’s colours and templates making it easy to edit new images.

    There are lot of different ways you can add layers to your images to make them look less like the original stock image and more a part of your original branding.  One of my favourite ways is to add coloured shapes as a background to my text.

    Here’s an example of an image I might use to promote this post on Instagram:

    How to Use Stock Images on Your Blog

    As you can see, it looks totally different to the original photo that I posted above and definitely fits my site’s branding.

    Optimising Your Images

    Search engines can only read text, so any images you use should be optimised. This is especially true of those at the start of your post.

    So, how do you SEO your images? There are a few really simple steps:

    Rename Your Images

    Whether you take your own photos or you buy stock images, they will have an odd name like “IMG201” or “June27”. The first thing you need to do before you upload your images is to rename them.

    To do this, simply open the file on your desktop/laptop and right click on the image you want to rename. You will see an option on the menu that appears to rename the file.

    Rename your images to describe what they are or, if you know that you’re only going to use that image for a certain post and no others, rename it to include the keywords for that post.




    Resize and Compress Your Images

    Having the wrong size image on your site might not only look untidy but also risks slowing your site down.

    Before you upload your image to your blog, make sure that it is the correct size. For this, I use Canva. It makes resizing your images super easy. You just choose the dimensions you want and then upload your photo. I would suggest experimenting and finding a width of the photo that suits your blog. Personally, I go for the standard Pinterest dimensions to ensure that my main image for each post is perfectly suited for pinning.

    One of my favourite features of Canva Pro is that once you have your image ready, you can click the “magic resize” button and it automatically generates new versions of your image in the dimensions you have chosen. For example, I click on “magic resize” and then select Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Canva then automatically generates three copies of the image for me in the correct dimensions for those three social media channels.

    Compressing is next on the list. Not to be confused with resizing.

    Compressing makes the file size smaller. On Flourishing Freelancer, I don’t actually bother with this step (Yes, I know, I’m a hypocrite!) I only use one image on each of my posts and they’re all very small in terms of file size. But, if you’re a blogger who uses lots of images on each post, it’s really important.

    To compress your images, you can simply use a site called TinyPNG. All you have to do is drag and drop your image into the box at the top of the site and it does the rest for you. Once your compressed image has been downloaded, make sure you save it with the correct name (as I mentioned above).

    Use ALT Tags

    So, I’ve already mentioned that search engines can’t “read” images so this is where ALT tags come in. By adding keywords into the ALT tag section for each image on WordPress, these keywords will be picked up by search engines.

    Every time you use stock images on your blog you should make sure that they are fully optimised to give your blog’s SEO an extra little boost!




    Where to Use Your Stock Images

    Now that you have sources your images and know how to optimise them, where do you actually put them?

    This post is called “How to Use Stock Images on Your Blog and Social Media” as some of the ideas below stretch outside of your blog itself.

    Pinterest Images

    I’ll start with Pinterest because I’ve been writing about it a lot on here lately (check out my post on Exploding your Pinterest account here).

    There are actually two ways that you can use stock images on Pinterest.

    First, and probably the most obvious, is to use them as your main pinnable image on each blog post. The key to creating pinnable images that others click on and re-pin is to make it each-catching. For this, I would recommend a combination of high-quality, on-brand photos and some interesting keywords.

    The second way to use your stock images on Pinterest is to create cover images for each of your boards. It definitely makes your boards look more professional and I’ve since an increase in my Pinterest activity since adding these covers.

    How to Use Stock Images on Your Blog

    Instagram

    I know this isn’t technically a way to use stock images on your blog but, as we all know, social media is a huge part of promoting your blog!

    Again, there are two different ways you can use stock images to fill up your Instagram feed.

    Firstly, you can just use the images on their own to create a feed full of beautiful images.

    You can also use those stock images as backgrounds to quotes. And, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good quote on Instagram! A lot of stock photo providers like Color U Bold even offer ready made social media quote images to make your blogging life that little bit easier!

    In Your Actual Blog Posts!

    You didn’t think I’d leave this one out did you?

    Afterall, what would a post about how to use stock images on your blog be without advice on using those images on your blog?

    In my post How to Increase Traffic to Your New Blog, I mentioned that longer blog posts seem to perform better. It’s important to break up those long posts with images.

    Sometimes, this is very easy. Especially in “how to” posts where you can include screenshots to illustrate each step. Where this isn’t possible (or useful), you might want to consider breaking up your text with stock images. Just remember to make sure that they are optimised.

    Final Words

    Stock images are an absolute Godsend, especially for busy bloggers. And now you know how to use stock images on your blog!

    The most important thing when using stock images is to check the terms and conditions of each provider you use. And remember that they may have different terms for different sets of images (usually different for free and paid for images).

    Take some time to find a provider that you like and who produces images that fit your blog and brand. Then spend a bit of time playing around with them – cropping the images and overlaying shapes and text – until you find a look that you are 100% happy with.

    Where do you get your stock images from? Let me know in the comments below as I’m always on the look out for new images!

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  • Blogging Bosses – An Interview with Rosalind Brookman

    Happy Tuesday my lovelies!

    Today I want to Introduce you to a new feature on the Flourishing Freelancer site – Blogging Bosses.

    If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, you’ll know that FF was originally created to document my blogging journey and share what I learnt with others. If you’re new here, you probably didn’t know that…but now you do!

    Anyway, one thing that I’ve noticed from Facebook Groups and emails I receive, is that a lot of us feel like we’re making no progress in the early days.

    Trust me, I know that feeling.

    I remember the days when I questioned whether any of this was worth it. The days when I looked at every other blogger out there, thinking they were all doing a million times better than I ever could.

    So, I’ve decided to start the Blogging Bosses feature for other bloggers and entrepreneurs to share their stories. For them to tell you exactly what they went through, challenges they overcame and how frickin’ awesome they’re doing!

    I want the bloggers and entrepreneurs featured here to be able to celebrate themselves and their achievements and those reading to draw inspiration and confidence that they can do it too!

    So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the first ever Blogging Boss, Rosalind Brookman.

    Blogging Bosses - Episode One

    1. Tell us a little bit about your blog/biz

    My name is Rosalind Brookman and business is freelance writing. I currently spend some of my time writing articles for big organisations but the projects I enjoy the most are writing blog posts, articles, marketing materials and profiles for small businesses. Helping them to turn the passion they have for their products or services into something that will win them clients or sales is really satisfying.

    My blog is on a slightly different path: it’s a mixture of my own personal fiction writing journey and my ‘Freelancer’s Guide to Getting Out of the House’. That’s a review of various coffee shops in my local area that people who work from home can use for a change of scene!

    2. What inspired you to start your own blog/biz?

    The event that triggered me working for myself was my son being born (and the opportunity to leave an office job I hated) but it would definitely have been sooner if I’d figured out sooner that working for myself was a thing!

    3. What were the first steps you took to put your dreams into action?

    It was more of a gradual process: I was desperate not to go back to work after my maternity leave was up and my entrepreneurial cousin offered to pay me to do some proofreading. Once I’d done that the lightbulb went off and I explored what else I could do. I found a website that supported homeworkers and started voluntarily contributing content; it wasn’t long before the owner contacted me to see if I’d be interested in doing some paid work. Once I had one client it gave me the confidence to look for more. I was lucky in that my husband trained as a journalist and had some good contacts I could use. The rest have been through my own making.




    4. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far and how did you overcome it?

    Finding new clients. A lot of what I do are one-offs and so, especially with the internet opening the gateway for writers to advertise themselves, it can often feel like you’re constantly networking and looking for new work. I have a few regular clients but not enough so I can’t say I’ve overcome this challenge yet – but I’m working on it all the time!

    5. What is your biggest achievement to date?

    I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve managed to keep going for nearly six years (although I’ve gone through a lot of learning recently about how I should be running a proper business and what I actually want to be doing so it still feels pretty new) and that I’ve just about achieved the ability to work as well as look after my family/pets/house/garden without running myself into the ground!

    6. What is your favourite thing about running your own blog or biz?

    There are many, many positives but if I’m pushed I’d say that it’s the fact that I’m now doing what I love (writing) for a living, without having to spend my day in an office!

    7. What could you, your blog or your business not function without?

    My husband; he works really hard to keep the family going financially and I’m not earning enough to take some of the weight off him yet. He could, very reasonably, suggest that I get a ‘proper’ job until I have built my business up but he’s always been so supportive with what I’m doing.

    8. What keeps you motivated and focused when things get tough?

    My motivation is simply reminding myself how lucky I am to be able to do this. (And that if I don’t keep pushing myself then I might have to go back out into the wide world and find a job doing something I don’t like…)

    My son is also a budding writer so I hope my writing will encourage him to keep at it!




    9. What one thing do you wish you had known before you started out?

    That it’s ok to promote yourself and tell people that you’re good at what you do! It took me a long time to realise that nobody will be able to see me if I don’t advertise the fact I’m here.

    10. What does the future hold for your blog or biz?

    For the business side of things I’d like to build a bigger list of regular clients and get some work on a really interesting publication. On the blog side I’d be really happy to see it read and shared on a wider scale – and I’d like to discover some quirky coffee shops for my Freelancer’s Guide to Getting Out of the House!

    11. Finally, tell us one random thing about yourself!

    I have an obsession with seagulls and take more photos of them when we’re on holiday than I do of my own family!

    Blogging Bosses - Rosalind Brookman

     

    I want to say a HUGE thank you to Rosalind for her time to complete the interview with me. Oh, and also for being the first ever Blogging Boss!

    If you want to know more or get in touch with Rosalind, you can reach her here:

    Website: https://www.rosalindbrookman.com/

    Blog: https://www.rosalindbrookman.com/blog

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RosalindBrookmanFreelanceWriter/

    Twitter: @RoRoBrookman

    Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/rorobrookman/

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosalindbrookman/

    If you’re interested in being featured as a Blogging Boss, you can find more information (along with the interview documents) here.

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