The Best Blogging Resource Tools To Make You Money

I have been blogging for a long time now, but am a perpetual student. I literally learn new things every day, and that is what I find so fun and fascinating about blogging and social media. I have been lucky enough to make money from my blog over the years, but have recently stepped up my game to make my blog even more profitable. I feel like there is plenty of space for everyone in the blogging world, and didn’t want to keep my methods to myself.

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So, I decided to create a Resources page for my blog, giving you the best blogging resource tools, and pin it up in my menu bar for easy access. When you click that link, you will be taken to a page that lists out (and links to) many of the tools, programs, and websites I use to keep my blog running smoothly. I will constantly be updating it I’m sure, but it’s a great start for someone not sure what they could do to take their blog or social media accounts to the next level.

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While I won’t go through every single one here as the descriptions on my resources page are pretty straightforward, I did want to gush a little about my new favorite. If you subscribe to my email list then you already heard about this (and are hopefully using it!)

I have recently been loving using Link in Profile for my Instagram account. (<—Affiliate link) For years, whenever I had a blog post I wanted my Instagram followers to know about, I would post a relevant photo, tell everyone to go to my profile and click the link to be taken to my blog post. That’s definitely a great thing to do and a way to boost traffic, but I got frustrated with having to go in and change that link every single time I wanted to redirect it to a new post. With Link in Profile, you don’t ever have to do that again (Halleluiah!)

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You have ONE link that is forever in your Insta profile, and when people click it, they are taken to a page with all of your photos that have links associated with them. From there they can choose what blog post to go to. (Below you will see my most recent Instagram photo that has a blog link attached to it. On this page you can scroll down and see more photos and click more links!)

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It’s awesome, super easy to use, and a great value for the price. During the free trial, I saw a huge uptick in traffic being referred from Instagram to my blog. (YES I said free trial! What are you waiting for?) It’s definitely been a game changer and time saver for me.

You will find links such as this on my resources page that can be a game changer for you, too. As always, feel free to email me at heather@heatherslookingglass.com if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!

 

PS- Can you take 10 seconds and fill out a poll for me? THANK YOU!

QOTD: What tools would you add to my resources page?

7 Year Blogiversary

Well, with all the moving madness I am a little late, but did you know that I have now been blogging for SEVEN years?!? Looking back, my blog has evolved so much over the years, and it is truly my baby. I have put so much time, love, and many tears into my little corner of the world, and I thank you for taking this journey with me!

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Our first big race expo. Training for the runDisney half is what inspired me to start blogging.

For those of you who may have been here since the beginning, you will remember that this blog started out as Running With Sass, a running/training journal to hold me accountable. I had never blogged before and had zero idea what I was doing. (Heck, there are still days I have no idea what I am doing!) The blogging world has changed so much and some days it’s hard to keep up with all of the “new things” going on with blogs and social media, but I do love it and hope to do it for many more years to come.

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First half marathon

I realized as the years went on that I loved this community, the other bloggers, the readers, and the support. I love encouraging others and helping people, and am so thankful for all of the doors that blogging has opened for me. Heck, Bobby’s new job all came from a connection I never would have made if not for blogging! I owe my little blog so much, and I owe YOU my readers so much! Thank you for hanging in there with me through thick and thin, good times and bad.

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I can’t wait to share our new Tampa adventures with you in 2017 and beyond! Cheers to another year. XOXO.

5 Tips for Starting a Blog

Good morning! I have been getting a ton of questions lately about starting a new blog or how to improve your current blog. One of the main questions I get is “can I even blog?” The answer is YES! That’s what is so great about it. Anyone can blog, it’s YOUR words, your stories, you make the rules. You may know my blog started out as a training journal for running and morphed into so much more. I am by no means an expert, but as a 6+ year blogger, I do have 5 tips for starting a blog I wanted to share with you.

5 tips for starting a blog

1.) Don’t pigeon hole yourself with your domain name. My blog started as running only, so the name “Running With Sass” completely fit. However, after three years I was itching to branch out and blog about other things, so I had to go through the painful process of switching everything over to Through Heather’s Looking Glass which was quite a pain! If you know for a fact all you will ever blog about is running, or crafting, or whatever it is that is getting you to start a blog, then that’s fine, however…six years ago I didn’t think I would want to blog about other things, so it *may* be a good idea to do a  semi-generic domain/blog name to give you more freedom.

2.) Pick a platform. I started out on wordpress.com (My blog was runningwithsass.wordpress.com) I soon paid the extra money to have the “wordpress” part taken off, and after a year of blogging I went self hosted on WordPress.org. This allows me to be a part of blog networks, get paid for posts, etc. Some people use and love Blogger, but I am definitely a WordPress gal and think it’s very user friendly, and it is not very expensive. I am NOT great with technical stuff, but was able to easily navigate WordPress.org, and use Bluehost for my web hosting, and WordPress through Bluehost is FREE, and they offer technical support.

Click the picture below to check out Bluehost.


3.) Get involved on social media So you didn’t realize that starting a blog also meant juggling social media accounts did you? Of course, you don’t HAVE to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, but they will greatly help grow your blog. Not only do I suggest joining them, but be ACTIVE on them, and don’t just talk about yourself. Actually interact. Also, comment on other people’s blogs. No one likes “that girl” who gets tons of comments but never interacts with the audience. It makes you seem un-relatable and not a real person. (Note: I’m not saying you should have to respond to EVERY comment, but some interaction is nice!)

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4.) Don’t compare. This is a biggie. A lot of new bloggers will look at blogs that have been around for years and immediately want to be like them, with the same number of followers, pageviews, etc. Very few people became an overnight success, so put in the hard work and your blog will grow, evolve, and change. You are at a different part of your journey, and everyone has to start somewhere.

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5.) Use Live Writer. I am a PC gal, and this is not available for Mac, but I use Windows Live Writer to draft and upload all of my posts. I remember when I first started using it, I was so mad I had been wasting so much time actually composing posts in WordPress all that time! Picture placement and adding links is so much easier in live writer, and then you can publish or schedule a post to go straight to your blog. Super easy, and a great blogging tool.

Want more of a step by step guide to setting up your blog plus more tips? Enroll in my FREE e-course now! 

QOTD: New bloggers- did you find this helpful? Veteran bloggers: What would you add?

Congrats to the winners of my eBook giveaway! (Please email me at heather@heatherslookingglass.com) You can see who it is on the Rafflecoptor widget on my birthday blog post.  If you didn’t win, you can go pre order my eBook now! You will receive the eBook on Wednesday.

It’s My Birthday & a Giveaway

Hola friends. It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday! Birthdays have always been big in my house. Cake, presents, and even eating out of the special birthday plate. (What, you don’t have one?) Today is a VERY special birthday though, because my baby, my eBook that I worked super hard on (and may have cried over a few times) is starting it’s pre sale today, like as in you can pre order it RIGHT NOW!

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ok…. so what are you waiting for? I’ll be here when you get back.

A couple of notes about the pre order just to make sure we are on the same page (pun intended). 1.) Your card/account will not be charged until the 20th, which is when the book will be delivered digitally to your inbox. 2.) The price of the book will go up on the official launch day which is the 20th of July. So don’t miss out on pre sale pricing!

This is my very first digital product, so I will admit I am a little nervous. I really hope you will love the eBook and will be able to sense the effort, time, and love I put into each chapter. I feel that my blog is a platform I use to reach others, and I hope to encourage, inspire, and motivate with The Average Girl’s Guide to Living an Above Average Life.

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I wanted to give the opportunity for two of you to get the eBook totally FREE, since it’s my birthday and all. (Please note, don’t let the giveaway stop you from pre ordering. If you win and have already ordered, I will refund your money via paypal!) Please follow the directions below and good luck! The contest runs from now through July 16th. I will announce the winner Monday morning here on the blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The technical side of this eBook would not be possible without two very special and encouraging people. Katy built my landing page and sells a host of products and services that any blogger would find helpful. Abby (and Donnie) created the Book Boss program that made me feel like I could really actually do this, and I can’t believe it’s finally here. be sure to show them some love!

QOTD: No question today, just go check out my pre sale page and have a great July 13th! It’s a pretty good date if I do say so myself.

More eBook Information

Hey guys! We are getting closer and closer to the launch, and I am getting really excited to share more eBook information with you! I wanted to share more of it with you today so you will know what is coming. My tentative plan right now is to have a week long pre launch period. That way, you can pre purchase the book at a special price. Then, I will have the actual “launch day”, and pricing will go up a little bit. That day is also when my pre sale buyers will get their copy delivered to their inbox!

I also wanted to share with you the table of contents for the book. If you are a VIP on my e-mail list, then you already got to see the table of contents. Don’t worry, you can sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already and be the first to see new things, too!

I worked really hard on how to break my eBook down into sections and chapters that flowed together. I wanted everything to make sense!

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Next week, I will be sharing an excerpt from the eBook with my subscribers. I will also be posting here on the blog a little bit more about the content and why I chose to write about what I did.

One more thing. If you are interested in helping me spread the word about my eBook during the presale and/or launch by a blog post mention or social media post, please send me an email at heather@heatherslookingglass.com. I would give you a graphic, hash tags, and even talking points if you would like so there is minimal work on your part. (of course if you want to say more you are welcome to do so!) I would so appreciate your help. I hope to be able to inspire and help as many average feeling ladies as I can, and you can be a part of that! Get excited, it’s almost time!

QOTD: What section are you most excited to read? What books are you reading this summer? What is your favorite eBook written by a blogger? 

My Big Secret

If you subscribe to my e-mail list, then you already heard the revealing of my big secret. I have been hanging onto this for several months now, and it has been driving me crazy not being able to share it with you. I have felt like I was a liar, and being deceitful, even though the reality was I just wanted to get the ball really rolling before I spilled the beans…

I have almost finished writing an eBook.

Yes! I have felt the call to write something more than just my blog for many years now, but I would always stop trying because all of the technical “stuff” got me frustrated. I would get bogged down in logistics and how sales would work, how I would publish my eBook, and then of course…would anyone read it?

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Thanks to a well timed and awesome e-course by Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog*, I was able to really dig in, get to writing, and get help with the technical side of things. I kept it a secret for a long time because I felt like if I said it out loud, it meant that I really had to follow through. I know all of you would hold me accountable, which is awesome but equally scary.  So I waited until I was in the (current) editing/formatting stage to break the news, because it’s coming out SOON. Yes, I plan to launch in July. That’s next month in case you aren’t keeping track.

I admitted to my email subscribers how terrified I am to actually do this, because I have put my whole heart into this project and would be pretty upset if it did not go over well. However, I am proud of myself for doing something that seemed so, so hard for me. In the end that will be enough. I proved to myself I can do hard things!

Here are some of the details about my eBook. The title is: “The Average Girl’s Guide to Living an Above Average Life.” Tips and tricks for becoming the best version of yourself.

Back when I sent out my first newsletter to my email subscribers, I asked you all to respond with something that is a current struggle. I received a lot of great responses, and the overwhelming theme of them had to do with stress, a lack of time, and a lack of confidence or motivation. I read responses like:

“I am so tired all the time, there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.”

“My house is a MESS, and I lack motivation to clean it.”

“I have a goal of doing XYZ but I am too busy to even think about my dreams/goals let alone have the time to accomplish them.”

“I want to lose weight/eat better/workout more but I lack the confidence and don’t even know where to start.”

Can you relate to any of these? I know I could! It was heart breaking to read, because I could feel the stress, sadness, and longing seeping  through the emails. It reminded me of a time in the not so distant past when I was feeling the exact same way. I had just given birth to Emma Kate, and was really struggling with my identity, my stress level, exhaustion, and a mountain of a to do list. I felt like I would never get through it, so why bother? I’m just a regular average girl who would never amount to a whole lot.

Eventually I was able to come out of the fog, and I immediately started to make some changes that have been beneficial to my family as whole. Do I have it all together? Absolutely not. I still get stressed out, sometimes have a messy house, and definitely don’t feel like working out all the time. However, I have a system in place and have learned a few key tips and tricks. Most importantly, I learned to BELIEVE IN MYSELF. In my eBook I aim to teach you the things I learned, along with personal stories sprinkled in, most of which I have never shared on the blog before (and some laughing at my expense!)

At first I thought no one would really care what I had to say, but then I realized when you find something that you believe works, it just feels wrong to keep it to yourself. I wanted to help other women who have been there and done that in terms of feeling overwhelmed, forgotten, and average. Even if my eBook only helps one person, then it will be worth it to me.

I am thrilled to share with you all how I was able to get my life (sort of ) in order, and reach my full potential. I am still growing and learning every day, but I feel like I am in a really good place. I don’t have an official launch day yet, but please stay tuned! I will be doing a pre-sale with a lower price for the eBook, so you won’t want to miss out on that. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. My VIP’s on that list will be the first to know my launch date, pre-pricing info, and more.

I hope you are as excited as I am, I can’t wait to share my heart with you and prove to you that you are more than average.

QOTD: Have you ever thought about writing an eBook? Do you read eBooks?

*This is an affiliate link. This means if you click through and purchase, a small portion of sales go to me. Of course I would never post a link to something I didn’t believe in or use myself. Thanks for supporting THLG!

Blogger and Social Media Influencer Resource List

As a blogger and social media influencer who has been at it for several years, I feel like I have learned a lot. It’s kind of comical to look back at those first couple of years worth of posts (and cringe a little bit) and also think of the time wasted because I didn’t know about certain tools to help me to do things more efficiently, quickly, or professionally. I know TIME is so precious, and for most people, blogging or using social media is a hobby or job in addition to a “regular” day job. If you are like me, you don’t have time to waste trying to figure everything out on your own. That’s why I created a resource list.

blogger and social resource list

I used to try to edit photos in Paint (bless it) and didn’t even know what a plugin was and didn’t dare touch any of the settings in my dashboard. I posted long long long links on Twitter taking up all 140 characters, and my sentence structure was sometimes hard to read (and still can be when I don’t take the time to sue certain tools to help me!) Writing a single post plus editing photos and writing out social shares used to take me hours, but now I have it pretty streamlined into a more focused effort.

I have learned that having great photos, and making sure your page is optimized for SEO is so important. As is checking that links aren’t broken, and making sure my writing too hard to read. These may seem like little things, but they can make the difference in a reader coming back to your site again, or not. Or it could make them choose to give you a “like” or “follow” or not.

I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did, so I have put together a resource list of ten tools that I use as a blogger and social media influencer that will help you with posting, photo editing, and social sharing. You have heard of some, all, or none, but even if I just teach you one new thing it will have been worth it for me!

Sign up in the box below, and I will immediately send you over a copy of 10 of the resources I use on an almost daily basis. Let me know if you have any questions!

May 2016 Goals

Why hello May, when did you get here? I saw Justin Timberlake meme’s all weekend, so…tis the season I guess! I’m super excited about May now that I have my fitness tracking and goal setting printables to give me a tangible reminder of my goals. (You can get yours HERE or clicking the button below).

Free fitness and goal tracking printables

Anyway, before we dive into my May goals, let’s take a peek at how I did in April.

1.) Continue PT exercises: C- The first half of the month I didn’t do any, and then my hip started acting up (go figure) so I started them again.

2.) Read one book: B+ I am about 3/4 of the way through a book, so I am giving myself some credit here!

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3.) Give away or sell items: B+ I gave a few clothing items and DVD’s to my mom, but didn’t do any selling like I wanted to.

4.) Keep a running base of 6 miles: C- I ran four miles once and several 3 milers, but I’m determined to do 6 next weekend!

Looking back on these, I see see exactly why I failed on some of them. I had yet to print out my printables because I wanted to wait to start a new month fresh, and I totally see how if I would have taken a few action steps to ensure I met my goals, it would have been way more likely to happen. My pages are now printed, and I am filling them out today so that I can have success this month!

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May goals:

1.) Sell items in the garage: We have a neighborhood garage sale next weekend, I may participate. if not, I’m either giving away or selling what’s left in the garage.

2.) Clean up my closet: Now that it’s officially pretty much summer here, I need to take my sweaters and relocate them to give myself more room, as well as get rid of things I don’t wear anymore.

3.) Boot camp 4 times a week: I got a little off track the past couple of weeks with classes (Missed one this past week and two the week before), so I am ready to get back in the swing of things with a more set schedule.

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4.) Keep a running base of 6 miles: Putting this one back on there again. Determined to get my six miles in! It’s getting hot out and I know my pace will be slower, but I want to keep a decent base for when fall comes back around.

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QOTD: What is one of your goals for May? Don’t forget to take action steps to help you reach your goals!

Summer, runDisney, and Outdoor Play

Hey friends! I hope you are all having a good week. We have officially ended our two whole weeks of spring and moved into summer. Man it’s been warm and humid this week! As the owner of a frozen yogurt shop I can’t really complain about the heat because…job security, but it’s not good for running outside! I am sitting outside in the shade under a fan writing this post, and I am still sweating. I understand those of you up north may be green with envy reading this, and while I would hate your winters, I would totally take your summers!

Anyway, who signed up for runDisney marathon weekend on Tuesday? I totally forgot about sign up until a friend reminded me. I have been asked a few times if I was running, and while the original plan was yes, it has changed to a no…or a well, I’m not sure. Trust me, I would love to run the half, it’s an anniversary year for the race, AND it falls on my 10 year wedding anniversary weekend! (January 6). The plan has always been to run it, but there are a few things up in the air for us this winter so I would hate to have to register and then defer. A huge CONRATS to those of you that are running though! You will have so much fun, and I can’t wait to hear your stories. (You can go here for more info on signing up).

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I have been reading a lot of blog posts about outdoor play with your kids. Now that it’s plenty warm enough, I want to come up with some fun summer activities for Emma Kate. We have a baby pool and a splash pad, but what else? I’m going to attempt (haha) to make homemade sidewalk paint, and I want to get her a water table, but yall, I think we have established over the years that I am just not a crafty or creative person. Who has tips and ideas for me that are cheap or free?

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(When I say cheap or free, I mean…this is what we did on Sunday.)

Lastly, a huge thanks to those of you that continue to sign up for my free goal setting printables and my free how to start a blog e-course. I had a lot of fun working on them, and am in the process of working on some more fun things! I have loved getting the e-mail feedback from you, and hope that you are learning/getting something out of it. I so wish I had someone to walk me through the basics when I was starting out, so I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did, plus, sometimes everyone just needs a little kick in the butt to get started on something, am I right? (You can sign up for my free e-course here).

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Have a great day my friends!

QOTD: Favorite outside activities with your kids? Are you running marathon weekend?

How To Start a Blog: FREE E-Course

Good morning! How is everyone today? Before I get going on how super excited I am to launch my very first email course (and it’s completely free!), I want to thank those of you that signed up for my free fitness and goal tracking printables. I am new to this e-mail list thing, and I wanted to do something simple yet fun and helpful to YOU to see what kind of traction I would get, and I was very pleased with my results! Also, a huge thank you to those of you that responded to the initial newsletter question. I am still reading them and decided to respond to each of you, but it may take me a few days so hang tight. There is a common theme among the responses I have gotten so far, so I can’t wait to share with each one of you.

Anyway, the free printables were really just an introduction to something I have been wanting to offer for awhile, and that is a free e-course. Blog posts packed with information are great, but some topics are just too big to put into a single post, and could get really overwhelming.

I have truly enjoyed the few e-courses I have participated in, and thought to myself “hey, I can do that!” Basically if you choose to sign up you will be getting a series of five days worth of emails on a topic near and dear to my heart, which is starting a blog.

how to start a blog free e-course

I wrote a blog post about three years ago with tips on starting your own blog, and to this day it is one of my number one most read posts of all time. (All time being 6.5 years, but that’s still a long time!) The post was decent, but I feel like I barely scratched the surface and left a lot of readers hanging on exactly how to go about doing the things I talked about in my blog post. Enter my e-course!

I am SO excited to be offering this to my awesome readers. I know there are a bunch of you out there who would love to start a blog (and would be great at it!) but have no idea where to begin. It can be scary and overwhelming, but it is totally doable. Back when I started blogging, I had no help and just learned as I went.  I want to help you to not make the same mistakes I did, and I want to simplify the process for you. Also, if you already have a blog, you may still enjoy the course because in the last couple days of it, I give some tips and tricks that could be helpful to you.

Please don’t waste months trying to figure things out on your own when I have already done the hard work for you. Sign up for my five day free e-course and get to blogging. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! You can sign up by clicking the photo above or by clicking this link.

QOTD: Have you ever taken an e-course? What was the topic?

PS: You can still sign up to get the free fitness and goal tracking printables, you didn’t miss out!