Blog Staycation April 2016

It’s that time again…time for the next Blog Staycation!!!  We host the Blog Staycation a couple of times a year and let me just tell you…this virtual blog conference and retreat is one of my favorite weekends of the year.  I love taking time to invest in my blog…all without leaving my home (at least not further than the coffee shop on the corner by my house!) to network with other bloggers, cross items off my lengthy blogging to do list, and learn new blogging strategies to help me continue growing my blog.  You can sign up for the Staycation HERE.

Blog Staycation - A virtual blog conference and retreat
We launched the Staycation back in August of 2014 because while blog conferences are amazing it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to go away for a conference or to pull together the financial resources needed to attend.  Additionally, blog conferences are all about learning (which is awesome), but most of the time, they are not about doing.  So this virtual blog conference and retreat is designed to help you connect, learn and most importantly, take action on your blog.  And the best part is, the weekend is free!  If you’re interested in joining us for the next Staycation (April 28-May 1), you can sign up HERE and then you can look forward to your welcome email!

A few details: Since this is a virtual blog conference you’ll receive a daily email with helpful information and then you’ll have the chance to connect through Twitter parties, Facebook chats and NEW this time…mastermind groups!  There will also be giveaways during the weekend so you’ll have the chance to win tools for growing your blog.  Whether you are a brand new blogger (or haven’t even started your blog yet), the Blog Staycation is for YOU!

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below and I’d love to hear in the comments if you sign up!

Social Media Algorithms

Oh man, it seems as though social media is in an uproar today!  All over Facebook and Instagram I’m seeing posts about social media algorithms, turning notifications on, turning notifications off, basically just general mayhem!  While I can not claim to be a social media expert (a lawyer recently explained what it actually requires to be called an expert and let me just say that all of you so-called experts…aren’t), I have done more than my share of research on the topic and am constantly learning new social media strategies…so I wanted to share a couple of thoughts…

  1. Just because you see someone post a dire warning on social media, DOES NOT mean that you should also post this warning.  Copying and pasting statuses or reposting pictures without fully understanding what they mean will often leave  you backpedaling later.  Instead, take a minute (or five!) to do a little research and get the whole story before you decide to go ahead and post it yourself.  It’s like your mother used to tell you, “If all of your friends jump off the cliff, will you?”
  2. Want to help your Facebook customers and friends make sure they see your posts on Facebook?  Encourage them to select “See First” for your page or profile…and this will allow them to better stalk connect with you.
    Understanding social media algorithms
  3. Should you ask your Instagram followers to turn on notifications?  No!  You don’t want to be the reason someone wants to throw their phone in the nearest body of water because it keeps dinging with notifications!  Because then they might unfollow you!
    Understanding social media algorithms
    4. Back in the day when Mark Z created Facebook it was designed to foster person-to-person connections.  Even though Facebook is now a publicly traded company, at it’s core it is still meant to connect people.  Same goes for Instagram.  And Twitter.  And any other social media platform.  Sure, businesses use these platforms to connect with their customers but, and I’ve said this before, social media is meant to be SOCIAL!  Interact, engage, and connect with people…don’t simply use these platforms as a place to throw your content in the hopes that someone will see it, your content will go viral and your blog/business/brand will explode over night.  Use these platforms as a place to build relationships.  Because, “It’s more difficult to unsubscribe from a relationship” – David Armano.  So before we all send ourselves into a frenzy figuring out exactly how these algorithm changes will impact us (because honestly, we don’t fully know!), instead take that time and focus on relationship building!
    What are your thoughts on the changes to the social media algorithms?  What will you do today to help build relationships on social media?

Build a relationship to beat the social media algorithms

Blogging Lessons I Learned from WITS

This weekend I had the opportunity to not only attend the Women in Travel Summit (WITS), but also to speak on How to Be a Social Media Rockstar!  I had a fabulous three days filled with meeting new people, sharing what I’ve learned about social media, and soaking up incredible amounts of helpful information.  And now I can’t wait to share a few of the most important blogging lessons I learned while at WITS.  (p.s. here’s a look at what I’ve learned from previous conferences I’ve attended)

Lesson #1 – If you want to successfully monetize your blog, you need to treat it as a business.  This is one of the blogging lessons I heard during several presentations and in various conversations throughout the weekend.  Just like anything else, if you want to be paid as a hobby than you should treat it like a hobby.  But if you want to be paid as a business, than you need to treat it as business.  This might mean investing in your blog (sometimes you have to spend money to make money!), taking the time to sit down and actually create a business plan, or taking time to reach out to potential blog mentors.  Treating your blog is not going to be easy and as keynote speaker Hey Nadine shared, “There’s money to be made but it’s not going to fall from the sky just because you started a travel blog.”  Just like any other start-up business, it will take a lot of hard work but it is absolutely possible!  I think Erin Bender, of Travel with Bender, articulated this lesson incredibly well in her session…
Blogging Lessons - Treat your blog as a business to reach successful monetization

Lesson #2 – Just say yes!  While conference organizers spend a considerable amount of time assembling a great line-up of speakers, one of the blogging lessons I learned is that sometimes you’ll learn the most between conference sessions.  The learning and connections happen when you say yes to impromptu dinners, picnics, conversations outside the bathroom or at a charging station.  And I think the same applies to between conferences.  While you will likely learn a lot whenever you attend a conference you can learn a lot between attending conferences by just saying yes.  Say yes to blogging meet-ups, collaboration opportunities, and the chance to connect with other bloggers and your readers.

Lesson #3 – Networking is not just about quantity, it’s about quality.  You could easily go into a conference determined to walk away with hundreds of business cards, BUT how valuable will this collection be for you after the conference?  If you are challenging yourself to collect as many business cards as possible you’re most likely not going to learn much about the person behind each card and I think it is an incredibly valuable blogging lesson to remember that making connections with people and understanding how you can genuinely help them, is going to help you the most in the long run.

Lesson #4 – Be YOU!  I think this is one of the most important blogging lessons I learned.  In this big, fabulous world of blogging you are going to meet and come across so many absolutely amazing bloggers, but here’s the thing… you don’t need to be just like them to be successful.  You need to the best, most sparkly version of YOU to be successful.  Don’t blog about topics you aren’t passionate about, or try to create a social media feed that looks just like the feed of your favorite blogger…do you.  And do you well.

What blogging lessons have you learned recently?  

Make Money Blogging: Income Report Lessons

This post about how to make money blogging contains some affiliate links. That means some of the links you click on will earn me a little money…to buy cupcakes and running shoes. Of course.

One of the questions I hear most often from other bloggers is, “How do I make money blogging?” Because let’s be honest, blogging is a lot of work…creating content, managing social media accounts (and their ever changing algorithms), networking with other bloggers, staying on-top of the latest trends…and so it seems like it would be really nice to get paid for all of your time. And you hear of bloggers making money, maybe even lots of money, and it makes you think about how you can turn your little space on the internet into an income-producing business.

So you decide to research, “How to Make Money Blogging” and your Google search yields 17,893 results…where do you even begin? What’s the best way to make money? Are some of these methods scams? Which of these ways will help me earn 6-figures a year? And ultimately your search just leaves you with more questions.

And so I decided to do a little research. Well actually, a LOT of research. Because here’s the thing…if I had just looked at five or six blog income reports that wouldn’t really be a big enough sample size to find any generalizations about how to make money blogging. So I looked at income reports for bloggers making $100,000+ per month (WOW!), and I looked at income reports for bloggers making $157 per month and I looked at TONS of income reports for bloggers making every amount between there.

And here’s a look at what I learned…

Disclaimer: 1. There are obviously exceptions to these trends (like this report), but overall these trends held true across all of the blog income reports I studied. 2. This data comes from blog income reports made available to the public.

*As a blogger’s income increased, the percent of their income that came from sponsored posts decreased. That’s right, the more money bloggers made, the less they made through sponsored content…because that’s a one-time paycheck! In all of the income reports I studied, I noticed the biggest shift as a blogger’s income crossed over the $10,000/month threshold. Simply put: Bloggers making $10,000+ per month made very little of their money through sponsored posts.  So if you want to make a lot of money blogging, don’t spend all of your time doing sponsored posts!

Tweet: “As a blogger’s income increased, the percent of their income that came from sponsored posts decreased” – @jmdenouden
How to Make Money Blogging: Lessons Learned from Blog Income Reports

*It’s important to spend a little time reading through blog income reports, especially if you are new to blog monetization! If you’ve ever wondered how to find blog networks that pay, you can find tons of ideas for how to make money blogging in various blog income reports. You’ll also get other ideas for how to increase your number of income streams. Read through blog income reports and jot down a list of money-making ideas that would also work for your blog.

Also, if you are new to blogging, I’d recommend checking out this Bloggy Bootcamp for additional resources for taking your blog to the next level!

Follow Girl on the Move’s board Blog Income Reports on Pinterest.
*Establish your self as a value-added expert, and then share affiliate links! As I looked through income reports I found some astonishingly high incomes for affiliate links. In a recent month, Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income made $79,927.94 from affiliates (that’s 74% of his income!!!!) and $40,800 of that came from BlueHost affiliate income alone.   For every income report I studied where the blogger made a significant amount of money off of affiliate links I could also browse through their blog and see how they had established themselves as an expert…in something.   Here’s the thing, people are busy. They don’t have time to read 373 blogs a week. They are going to make the time to read the blogs that add the most value to their life. So be that blog. Offer value to your readers. And then share with them the products and services you use by sharing affiliate links. (But please, disclose correctly!!!!)

*Low page views doesn’t necessarily mean low income. And high page views doesn’t necessarily mean high income. There are a lot of other factors that help determine how much money bloggers are making. There were some bloggers that only publish one blog post a week, but have built up incredible email lists and social media followings so whenever they offer a product or service they have a committed group of people ready to click, “Purchase.” They don’t need to create 12 blog posts a week, because they create one really good…and add value to their readers’ lives.

*Diversify, diversify, diversify. I can tell you that this is the one piece of advice with ZERO outliers. I did not find one single income report (at ANY income level) where all of their income came from the same source. Most income reports had at least 4-5 sources of income, and many had 15+ sources of income. If one income stream doesn’t do well that’s okay because you still have multiple other income streams bringing in money.

How to Make Money Blogging: Lessons Learned from Blog Income Reports

*BIG blogging incomes come from creating products or offering services. Y’all after looking at countless blog income reports I decided that this is my biggest takeaway. Remember how I said bloggers make big money weren’t doing sponsored posts? Well that means they have to be making their money another way. And they are! By creating products or offering services. Podcasts, webinars, e-courses, e-books, consulting services, design services, speaking engagements, etc. And I’ll even take it a step further…the bloggers making the most money have created products or services that don’t require their one-on-one time and attention. That means they spend the time to create a webinar (or something similar) and then it sells over and over again. Month after month.  Bottom line is that if you want to make big money blogging you’ll need to create some type of product or service.

Tweet: “BIG blogging incomes come from creating products or offering services” – @jmdenouden
So what does this mean for you right now?

Action Steps to Make Money Blogging

1.Establish yourself as an expert and determine how you will add value to your reader’s life. And then include affiliate links for your readers! Again, just remember to disclose correctly!

2.Brainstorm a list of products and/or services you can offer through your blog

3.Take one item off that list and make a plan for how you’re going to make that happen. Don’t make a list of excuses for why you can’t create the product or service. Instead make an actionable plan and get it done!

How do you make money blogging? What questions do you have about blog income reports? What is your next step to begin making money with your blog or increase the amount of money you make with your blog?


December Scopers Challenge

I’m pretty sure Periscope just gets better and better with every passing month.  It could be because I’ve finally figured out who I need to unfollow (you’ll definitely want to check out this list so you can avoid these scoping sins!) and it could be because this scoping challenge group just continues to be more amazing…but whatever the reason, I am becoming more and more addicted to Periscope!  Back when Lauren, from Working Mom Magic, and I started September Scopers, and then continued the challenge with October Scopers and then November Scopers, we had no idea how awesome it would be…but we’d love to have you join us for #DecemberScopers!

This month I wanted to share a few accounts I HIGHLY recommend following…

Tara Newman – Absolutely outstanding business advice…I learn something from every single one of her scopes!

Melyssa Griffin (The Nectar Collective) – If you want tips and inspiration to turn your blog into full-time income, Melyssa is your girl!

Amanda (Run to the Finish) – I love Amanda’s running tips and inspiration..and you can’t help but smile as you’re giving fist bumps!

Taylor Bradford (Boss Girl Creative) – I look forward to her weekly Q & A scopes all week long because I learn soooo much!

December Scopers challenge...a daily periscope challenge

To join us for #DecemberScopers all you need to do is jump on Periscope and add the December Scopers hashtag to your title…there are no rules about following the prompts exactly, do what works for you!

There are a few ways you can connect with other #DecemberScopers…

  • The Facebook group!  Join us over on Facebook to share your handle, replays and ask all of your scoping questions!
  • Explore the #DecemberScopers hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to connect with other people participating…it truly is a fabulous group!
  • Find me on Periscope so we can watch each other’s broadcasts!

I’d love to hear…Have you tried Periscope?  If you have, what do you think of it?  If you haven’t, what’s been holding you back?  Also, I’d love more recommendations of which accounts I should be following so leave all of your suggestions below!

Unfollowing You On Periscope

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these last few months or on some remote island (in which case I wish I had your life!) you’ve probably heard something about this Periscope craze! It’s taking the social media world by storm and I for one, am LOVING Periscope! I’ve watched scopes on cooking recipes, life hacks, just making connections, fun games, and so much more. But sometimes the dreaded moment comes when I just have to unfollow someone…and even though I feel bad, sometimes it just has to be done!

Inspired by a conversation in the Facebook group for the #NovemberScopers (and #SeptemberScopers and #OctoberScopers) I decided it might be time to share with you four reasons I’m probably going to unfollow you on Periscope so you can hopefully avoid committing these Periscope sins!

*Sidenote…I will also unfollow you if you scope and drive!  This is not on the list below because there is not a funny perspective on this one…it is incredibly dangerous and if you are driving, put the phone down and wait to scope until later!

Top Four Reasons I'll Unfollow You on Periscope for anyone who uses Periscope

  1. If you spend half of your scope asking people to invite followers and give hearts…I am watching your scope to connect with YOU or learn something from YOU, not listen to you ask your viewers for more viewers. If I wanted to listen to someone begging for my attention I’d go back to teaching middle school 😉
  2. If you scope 17 times a day…but for real, people, there is no need to scope 7, 8, or more times a day and just like I’ll unfollow you on Instagram if you post 10 pictures from the same event in a 60-minute period, if you scope incessantly, consider yourself unfollowed!
  3. If you share 73 scopes a day…again this one’s for real, people…when you share 10, 20 or 30 scopes a day I have no idea if these are actually quality scopes you’re inviting me to or if you’re just a person who takes what they learned in preschool very seriously and shares EVERYTHING. It’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf and after you start sharing a lot I’ll stop jumping on the scopes you share.
    And then I’ll unfollow you.
  4. If you consistently ignore all of the comments…I get it, some people have way more than my 15 viewers on a scope and so it’s not easy to keep up with all of those comments. But, one of the things I love about Periscope is the real-time interaction, so if you consistently don’t respond to a single comment I can just as well watch you on YouTube. And I probably will since I’ll have unfollowed you on Periscope.

Tweet: Here are the top four reasons I'll unfollow you on #Periscope commit these
If you are someone that doesn’t do those things, let’s connect!!! You can find me at @jmdenouden and I’d love to have you comment below with your Periscope handle! And I’d love to hear, what makes you unfollow someone?

More on Periscope: Periscope for Bloggers

Live on Periscope