Saturday, September 29, 2018

How to Create a Blog for Free - and start Earning Money

There are two main ways to begin blogging:

If you are 100% committed to blogging and know you are going to work diligently to make money than you can get a website, web hosting, buy a domain and begin.

However if you are a little more hesitant  - maybe its more of a hobby than an income your dependent on, maybe your blogging around a full time job and 8 children to make some disposable income - you can begin a blog absolutely free and begin making money. It's not going to be an overnight affair and I'm not going to sugar coat it but it is definitely possible; I have created two successful blogs with a $0 investment. 

How to start a money making blog for free

Creating a Blog:

First you will want to start by signing up for a Google account and begin a blog on Blogger (the free version of Wordpress doesn't support advertisements) Then you just click on New Blog and choose a name and url.

After you have chosen a name and url you can choose a template and begin! Make sure you put thought into the blog name you choose and search it on Google because you don't want someone else with the same name - makes it a lot harder to distinguish yourself. The template however can be customized at any time.

Now you got your blog set up you are going to start writing some content. It's fairly easy to navigate just click on 'New Post' and start writing:

Your blog post is going to want to contain a few things (besides great content!):
- a pinnable title image (as over half my traffic is derived from Pinterest)
- gorgeous images, that are your own or you have permission to use

You can find a list of 9 of my favourite sites for finding beautiful (and free) stock images.

You can use almost any editing software to create a pinnable image, personally I use PicMonkey. Originally when I started with PicMonkey basic editing was free and if you wanted the premium features you needed to upgrade.

Graphic design templates sized just for social. Take PicMonkey's ad-vice.

Now they are selling three tiers, I personally purchased the pro so that I could use my own fonts but the Basic version has a ton of features and standard fonts too.  You can sign up for a free 7 day trial (without inputting credit card info)

I use picmonkey to create all my title images for my blog posts the ones that I will save to my Pinterest boards, the program is simple to use, they have tons of free templates you can edit and I also like the collage option which you can just import images in and arrange them.

As Pinterest accounts for over 50% of my traffic I thought the investment was worth it. I also make all the free printables and birthday party printables  I offer on my blog in PicMonkey

Getting Traffic

In order for your blog to make any money your going to need traffic. There are two main ways to do this (in my opinion)  SEO (Search Engine optimization) so Google and other search engines will find your post and social media.

 A lot of people now search Google by images so it is important to label your images with searchable text, to label your images simply right click your image, click on properties and enter your alt text. If you are having difficulty trying to decide what people search you can begin typing something into Google and see what it suggests or you can use Google Trends. Enter a search term and it will show you the interest and related queries. 

You also need to create social media accounts: Pinterest is my biggest source of traffic and so where I concentrate most of my time. I recommend having your first board be all the articles from your blog, I often check out my favourite bloggers accounts to try to see all their articles in one place and give up when they are strewed among 50 different boards. 

Your not going to have 5000 followers to start so one great method to get your pins viewed more is to join related group Pinterest boards; I have several if you want to request an invite And also you can go to Pinterest link parties. 

You also want to create a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram account which I have to admit I need to invest more time in, and make the easy for readers to find; most likely by adding them to your side bar in your blog. I created a tutorial on how to add social media icons and sidebar titles to you blogger sidebar here.

After a year I decided to join Tailwind, I am always hesitant to spend money on my blog because there are so many options and not all of them are a great return on your investment. So I was glad they had a 30 day trial membership which didn't automatically charge you at the end of it!

So I tried it and what's great is that you can create groups and schedule a pin to 14 different boards with one click, have them scheduled at prime times during the day and shuffle your ques so that 20 of the same pins are not posted at once. This is great to optimize your pinning without trying to manually track which boards you have pinned which pin to.

They also have tribes you can subscribe to; groups of bloggers with similar interest (such as free printables or party ideas) are two I belong to where you can share your pins to. Everyone who shares is expected to pin at least 1:1 or will be removed from the group. I have received a ton of traffic from tribes!

Making Money

Throughout my 10 year blogging history I have tried tons of affiliates and several of them were a complete waste of time, and the one I would recommend the most for a starting blogger would be InfoLinks. 

I have been with them for several years, and continue to recommend them. They have very low requirements for joining and pay you for every $50 you earn via paypal. I received my first blogging cheque from Infolinks and it feels great when you finally get something back for your hard work. Here are my current week's earning: 

Not super amazing but it's a great place to start and it still a portion of my blogging revenue. 

The first investment I made on my blog was purchasing a domain name, some larger affiliates require it and also I didn't want someone else to purchase it and take away traffic which were searching for my content. As soon as you make your first $20 I suggest investing it in a domain (or even before) as you will have to switch over all your links once you do purchase one. And my website was down for a 48 hour period, not to mention I had a super difficult time redirecting my google adsense ads. Have you ever tried to directly contact Google? It's damn near impossible!

I purchased my domain name: from Namecheap you may want to purchase all the options .ca and .net and redirect them back to your .com website as other people would be able to purchase them otherwise.

domains for less than $1

I also joined Share a Sale and Amazon and incorporated their links and banners into relevant content within my blog posts and also as advertisements within my blog side bar. 

Share a Sale is now one of my favourite companies, I haven't been using them very long but they have a lot of companies they work with, their ads are really attractive looking, and their commissions are quite reasonable. I am still hovering under the minimum payout but have seen a spike around holidays and incorporating products into blog posts. 

Share A Sale also has a referral program in which you get $1 for referring new affiliate referrals, and I believe it's $150 for referring a new merchant (so I would really appreciate if you used my link =)  )

The only complaint I have with Share A Sale is that when I am searching for a specific product I cannot always seem to find a merchant who is selling it. 

You can find absolutely everything on Amazon! So it's not difficult to link to products that relate to your blog content; for instance you're offering free printables? Then you can link to the card stock you like to use best. I get paid by cheque by Amazon and love December as I make gift guides and link to relate-able product. Also when I first joined I could only offer as I'm Canadian but now you can link to all countries so you don't miss out on your blogs main traffic.

Awin is another great affiliate network, like Share a Sale they work with a lot of reputable companies such as one of my favourites; Etsy. I love all the unique handmade goods I find! And love sharing them, especially for a commission. 😏

They also have a generous commission for referring publishers so I would sooo appreciate you using my link. 😀

After I had an established blog I joined Google Adsense. Google Adsense is one of my best and most consistent revenue streams and see an average of $10 a day profit from it (not bad for a side job) Just don't be too eager to join Google adsense as you will not be accepted if you don't meet their requirements of having a blog that is at least 90 days old and it's nearly impossible to re-apply.

Sponsored Posts

There are several different options for writing sponsored posts, I can't say I have completely taken advantage of this revenue stream as they take a little effort to find relevant posts for your audience and apply.

One of the sites I use is Valued Voice. They email you when ever they have a sponsored post and they write the content so you simply have to copy and paste the text and submit the url.

Originally they paid you out for every post, now they have a minimum payout of $100 (unless you upgrade - which I haven't) which sucks but it takes me 5 minutes and I get credited $12 for every post and have been paid by them in the past so I would still recommend them. 

I have also joined you usually have to have an established blog as the post have minimum social media requirements and some post offer free products only which is good if you wanted to try out the product anyways. I have received a free teeth whitening product from them as well as paid collab as well so they are worth looking at. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Baby Shower Invitations

It can get expensive throwing a baby shower so to help you out I've created a round-up of free and pretty baby shower invitations, most of them you can edit online so you can add your own information or you can print them and fill it out by hand. And there are also bring a book instead of a card inserts. 

free baby shower invitations

Get this beautiful free printable baby shower invitation from Melissa Esplin

free printable baby shower invitation

Get this about to Pop baby shower invitation free from Frog Prince Paperie

free baby shower invitation to print

Here are some pink and mint Baby Shower invitations I designed, you can print them and hand write in the information or edit them online using free fonts and then print them. 

Free editable baby shower invitations

Get free Simple Baby Shower Storybook Invitations from My Fabuless Life

baby shower storybook invitation

Get free printable baby shower invitations and 3 games from uplifting mayhem

free baby shower printables

Get free Ombre baby shower invitations from Paper Trail Design

baby shower invitation template

Get this cute elephant baby shower invitation from Free Printables Online

free printable baby shower invite

Get a free printable baby shower invitation from All Brit

free baby shower invitation you can edit

Get Free baby shower invitations from Shining Mom

free boy baby shower invitationsfree girl baby shower invitations

Get this free printable Baby Shower invitation which comes with a bookmark and bookplate from Martha Stewart

Get this free editable baby shower invitation from Chick a Dee Art and Co

Get Free Printable It]s a Girl or It's a Boy baby shower invite from Melissa Esplin

Get this gorgeous editable invitation from Printabell

Get baby shower invitations from the girl on the go

baby shower invitations free

Find tons of free editable baby shower invitations from Greeting Island, which you can print or send online

pretty baby shower invitations

Please bring a book instead of a card freebie from Instant Download Printables or find the pink version here

free bring a book inserts

baby shower book printable

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Tangled Birthday Party

I think Tangled is such a cute movie and it was one of the first Disney movies my daughter and I watched together as she thought Ariel and Beauty and the Beast were to scary and Tangled is fairly tame in comparison. So I compiled a round-up of free Tangled birthday printables 

free tangled birthday printables

Get free Tangled party invitations from Disney Family

free tangled birthday invitations

Get this free printable Tangled birthday invitation from Punch Bowl

tangled the series invitation

Get free Tangled sun flags from My Paper Lily

tangled birthday party ideas

Get free printable Tangled cupcake toppers - source unknown

free rapunzel party printables

Get Tangled food labels from Oh My Fiesta

Get Tangled water bottle labels from Daisy Celebrates

Make Pascal Party blowers with free template from Disney Family

Get a Tangled party hat or crown from Family Shopping Bag

Make Rapunzel's purple popcorn with recipe from Disney Family

Make Rapunzel's paint palette cupcakes with recipe from Disney

Get free printable Thank You cards from Disney Family

Send guests home with a Tangled candy gift box

And you can find Tangled activities and printables here

tangled printables

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Miles from TomorrowLand Birthday Party

I love Disney Junior,and I often catch myself watching Disney Junior shows when the kids aren't even in the room. So here are tons of free Miles from Tomorrowland printables to throw your next themed birthday. 

Miles from tomorrowland birthday party

Get Miles from Tomorrowland invitations from Disney Family

Miles from tomorowland birthday party printables

Get this Miles from Tomorrowland birthday banner

free Miles from tomorowland birthday party printables

Decorate with Mile's catchphrases - 4 different phrases

Decorate with this Miles from Tomorrowland hanging mobile printable

Get free Miles from Tomorrowland cupcake toppers

Get the recipe for Blodger Blop cupcakes

Get Miles from Tommorowland themed recipes, with printable recipe cards from Disney Junior

Get Superstellar cup wrappers

Get Miles from Tomorrowland Space bark recipe

Get Miles water bottle labels from Daisy Celebrates

Get free photo props from Disney Family

Get Miles from Tomorrowland Thank You Cards

Get Miles from Tomorrow tableware from Amazon

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