How to Automate Your Media Kit

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In my last few Blog Income Reports, I’ve mentioned that I was working on creating an automated Media Kit.  I am very happy that my media kit is now complete!

Before you read the post, open my media kit in a new tab so it will be easier to follow along.

The header

I began the post with a simple image header.  The image includes a photo of me on the left with a short bio on the right.  I created this image as one graphic in PowerPoint.  Clicking this image takes  the reader to my About Me page.

Social interaction

This is where it starts to get exciting.  I went back and forth so many times trying to figure out how to get a live count of my followers.  Really, I made this more complicated than it needed to be because I wanted to use my own graphics.  I tried a table where row 1 was the image and row 2 was the count.  This looked great in desktop mode but not mobile.  I eventually landed on using the image caption.

I use a plug-in for the plugin Social Count Plus to generate the live counts.  This plugin will allow you to use social icons they have pre-loaded or if will allow you to generate a short-code for just the count.  I used just the count and added the short-code to the description of my image.

*This taught me that you can use HTML in the image caption!  Fantastic!

My social interaction also has a basic image that I created for my blog income reports and a link to the page where I have them all compiled.

General Info

The next section is pretty simple.  I created two graphics in Power Point and uploaded them to the page.  The services graphic links to all of the webpages where I’ve been featured. My Say Goodbye to Living Paycheck to Paycheck series is linked in the image about the posting schedule.

Stats

This is the part that probably took me the longest to figure out.  I was originally trying to use advanced coding to show my unique users and pageviews.  These are the most often used stats in the blogging world it seems.  It ended up being way to complicated though so I settled on a live image of sessions.  Sessions still gives a general idea of how to blog is doing plus I post my exact page views and users each month in my Blog Income Reports.

Two plugins were needed to get this widget onto the Media Kit.  The first plug-in is Google Analytics Dashboard.  This is the plugin I used to create the widget.  I chose to show the last 30 days of traffic.  The second plugin is Widgets on Pages.  This plugin allowed me to display the widget on the page by using short-code.

Have you also automated your media kit?  If so, I’d love to see it!

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10 Blogging Mistakes I’ve Made

10-blogging-mistakes-ive-made In the year and a half that I’ve been regularly blogging, I’ve learned so much.  Of course, part of the learning process is making mistakes.  Mistakes, while annoying at the time, are a tool for growth.   Today I’m sharing 10 blogging mistakes I’ve made so far hoping that this will help you grow without having to make the mistake.

I didn’t create pinterest worthy images

For the first six months of posting on my blog, I didn’t create Pinterest worthy images.  I didn’t see why the images mattered since the content was what I was trying to promote.  Little did I know that the way you promote the content is with the eye catching picture.  I’ve now finished going back to old posts and making images.

I switched to the wrong wordpress

How many people have done this?  I started my blog on Blogger and knew that I needed to make the switch to WordPress.  Problem was, I didn’t even know there was a .org so I registered with WordPress.com.  Then I had to switch everything over to WordPress.org.  Switching twice was such a pain!

I updated my theme file without having a child theme

Yes, this was quite painful.  I did quite a bit of customizing to my theme and CSS file.  For quite some time Child Themes didn’t make any sense to me and I didn’t even think about using a plugin.  So, when my theme updated, all of my changes were lost.  I eventually found that there are plugins that create a child theme for you.

I added two sets of google api tracking code

This was an interesting one.  I was working on my Media Kit  and trying to show live stats.  I decided I’d try some plugins to see how they worked.  One of the plugins worked pretty well but my stats seemed off.  One major red flag was that my bounce rate was 0.  I then realized that the plugin added tracking code to my site so the code was then being tracked twice. Deleting the new plugin to resolve the issue.

I deleted my blog’s pinterest board

While working on Pinterest images for my old posts, I uploaded some pins to my blog’s board.  The pins wouldn’t load properly and I decided to delete the pin and try again.  I ended up moving too quickly and deleted the board without realizing what I was doing.  There is no way of getting the board back so I had to re-create it and add all of the pins one by one.

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I used categories as tags and didn’t use tags

Categories and tags didn’t make any sense to me at first.  I ended up adding a ton of categories and decided I would use those instead of the tags.  Once I was a bit more versed in WordPress I learned that categories are a way to sort your posts and tags are more for SEO.  I had to go back and re-categorize and tag all of my posts.

I didn’t use Yoast SEO

SEO is yet another thing I didn’t know anything about.  Actually, I still don’t know much about it.  But, I do know now that I need to have an optimized focus keyword the post needs to have good readability.  I look for those green dots!

I didn’t set a featured image

The featured image showed up looking a bit off when it was displayed on the post so I didn’t use it.  When I created my pages that automatically show posts in each category, I realized that the featured image was needed to show an image for the post.  After a bit of research, I found that there are quite a few plugins that allow you to choose if you want to display your featured image on the main post or not.

I burned myself out

When I started my blog, I decided to post three times a week.  This was way too much!  In the beginning, there’s a ton of behind the scenes webpage design.  This makes it hard to have time to create great posts.  After about two months of blogging I was completely worn out and took a three month break.  When I started up again, I decided I would only post once per week until I was ready to post more.  Now, i post twice per week.  I knew I was ready when I had so many ideas for posts that I didn’t know when I would be able to post them all.

I didn’t have any group boards on pinterest

This wasn’t exactly a mistake.  I just literally didn’t know how to add a group board.  I’d found many group boards but I was at a loss for how to add them.  One day I had a light bulb moment though and I clicked into other bloggers pages to see which boards they were part of.  Many of those board has instructions at the top of the board giving contact information to request addition to the boards.

There we have it.  I know I will continue to make mistakes, learn, and grow.  Hopefully this post causes you to avoid the troubles that I went  through.

Let me know in the comments what your biggest mistake blogging has been.

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How I Made Over $1500 Blogging!

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**This post contains affiliate links**

Today’s post is a very exciting one!  I began blogging in July of 2015 and by the end of October 2016, I had made over $1500!  I began this blog because I thought about it one day and realized that I no longer had any hobbies.  I had previously been in grad school, working 50 hours per week, and buying my first house.  This definitely left me no free time.

A few years after life settled down, I was working 40 hours per week and had no side obligations.  I thought about creating another book but I wasn’t really in the mood for a long drawn out project.  Thus, I began the blog with no idea what I was going to write about!

In November of 2015, I made my first $9 on Izea. I think I just got lucky with this one.  I hadn’t been trying to make money blogging at this point but I did know if was something I wanted to look into.  At this point I decided I was going to take my blog more seriously in 2016.

The first steps

The first step I took towards monitizing my blog was to become self-hosted through wordpress.org.  I made this transition at the end of 2015 and in January of 2016 I added Google Adsense.  Adsense has been by far my most consistent income source.

Here is a rough breakdown of my income sources.

Ads – $1020.00
Freelancing –  $410.00
Affiliate –  $15
Sponsored – $140.00
Product Sales – $8.00

Ads

Ads have been by far my largest income source.  I use Google Adsense and Media.net but I’ve only made about $4.00 from Media.net.  The rest comes from Google Adsense.

I do have a trick for Google Adsense.  The more present I am on my blog and social media, the more money I make.  There are quite a few Facebook Groups that I use to gain interaction through my site.  As long as I’m consistently participating in these threads, I see the reward.  One thing to note is that you cannot ask anyone to click on your ads!

Freelancing

Earlier this year,  Izea had a survey for Ebyline, a company they bought that creates product descriptions for Ebay.  I participated in their projects for two months and earned over $400.00.  I haven’t had any freelancing work since.

Affiliate Programs

I’ve heard a lot of great news about affiliate programs but honestly I haven’t been that impressed.  I’ve made about $15 in affiliate programs and could list all of the ones I belong to but, I wouldn’t recommend using any of them.  Plus, it just adds a bunch of unnecessary selling to a page which could turn off your readers.

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are something that just starting working for me!  Early in the year, I had a couple of small sponsored posts through Izea (roughly $10 total).  Once I hit 3000 followers, I was able to sign up for Linquia.  I have now participated in two campaigns and have made about $120.  Something to note here is that I also turned down two campaigns because they didn’t align with my blog or my opinions.

Product sales

This area is one of my goals to improve over the next year or so.  I have a couple digital products on Etsy and I have my book.  Once I finish my Paycheck Series, I will compile the posts into a digi-book.  At this point, I haven’t seen very much activity or income generated from Product Sales.

Something else to note is that I don’t have a large following.  I get roughly 3000-4000 page views every month.  This stat also just increased from the 2000-3000 range a couple months ago.  Anything is possible.  Best of luck to all of you bloggers!  Let me know if you have any tips as well!

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