I think I’ll get up at 5am, go for a run, make breakfast for everyone, get showered and dressed (in a great outfit with heals and makeup), pack lunches, drop my kids off at school, go to work for 10 hours, meet the kids at their practice, handle the parents who are complaining but not volunteering for the team, come home, cook dinner, clean up, monitor homework, get the kids showered, spend some quiet time with each of them while I tuck them in bed, then open up my laptop to do some more work until midnight because I couldn’t get it all done at work, sleep for about 5 hours so that I can do it all again tomorrow.
Laundry. Cleaning. Groceries. Pets. Getting the kids where they need to go. Healthy meals.
We expect women to raise kids like they don’t have jobs, and work like they don’t have kids. Mothers didn’t just enter the career world, they signed on for two full-time jobs and then some.
The allure is strong…yoga pants instead of corporate attire, tending to a load of laundry when you need a quick break from your computer, and chopping some veggies at lunch to throw in your crock pot.
But before we go any further, please allow me to check my privilege at the door so you don’t have to make assumptions: I am a white woman with a college education. I am married. I live in a small Normand Rockwell-ish town and I have a career I genuinely like. #grateful
Here’s the stark reality
Universities train students for the dream of a corner office…but at a certain point, women, especially mothers, begin to recognize that working a 9 to 5 outside the home is a constant source of fatigue and frustration.
“Having it all” can mean different things to different people, and this is especially dependent upon your “stage” in life.
I’d like to think I’ve had some exceptional work “accomplishments”, I worked a 9 to 5 for the first 10 years after college, in fact at the time, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and made more money than my husband did.
But then life changed in an instant. My mom became very sick, I was pregnant, and I knew that working remotely was not going to get me a 6-figure salary. At least not in 2006!
Fast forward a few years after freelancing and starting a blog while my kids were napping, answering emails with puke in my hair, no time to breathe. Trying to at least make enough money to pay our taxes because my husband is a teacher and supporting 4 of us now. I am a strong woman and I have it all. I got this.
Um, Livin' the dream…right?
When my kids were finally ready to go to school, I was ready to leave the unpredictability of freelance work and get back to a regular salary. But something strange happened. A loyal friend had seen some of my work creating websites and online marketing plans, and asked me to come work for him, in an industry that I knew nothing about.
I put in countless hours outside the home, doing a job that was only partly what I signed up for. I worked for 12 hours a day while he was on a tropical vacation with his family. I was lucky if I got to hug my kids while they were awake before bed.
Does this sound like you too? If so, let me know in the comments below.
When I walked in the door after a 12 hour day, my husband pleasantly asked “what's the plan for dinner?”
I scream: “Shit!! I guess we’ll just have eggs and toast tonight.”
Calm down. Take a deep breath. Everything will come together.
I truly believe he helps out more than the average husband.
I’m not working a minimum wage job. I’m not disadvantaged in any way…except that I am a working mother in the United States.
So, about that opportunity to Start a Mom Blog so you can Work from Home?
What I’m saying here is that we need to start changing some social norms…especially the notion that blogging is not a “real” job. It’s like we all said hey, let’s change the narrative for women, #womenempowerment, but lets not change anything else. Like it doesn’t matter if your 22 or 42 or 62…it’s not too late to start a blog and make money from it.
It needs to be truly okay for women to opt-out of working outside the home and realize that starting a blog from the comfort of your home IS A CAREER, WHERE YOU CAN EARN A LIVING. Not just like “oh, you started a blog” but behind your back everyone thinks you don’t have a “real” job or you’re wasting your potential.
This whole “having it all” thing has been grossly misinterpreted by American society. The fact is, you CAN have it all, just not all at the same time.
Here’s what Starting a Blog looks like…
Women need to join together to provide support for ALL women, regardless of color or income level. Because there is enough space online for all of us to thrive. Women who support other women are truly magical.
The CMO at a company is no more entitled to paid maternity leave, job security, and adequate childcare than the waitress who works long hours at the only restaurant in town. Working is not a luxury or a choice for the vast majority of us, so we need to stop acting like it is.
Why are we even calling this a “mom blog”? Just because you're a mom and you're starting a blog, it may or may not be on the topic of your children, the childrearing process. That's ok. Your blog doesn't have to be about your children to be a “mom blog” although it certain can be! I consider myself a mom-blogger, yet I blog about business. Anyway, here are the facts about starting a blog (or a mom blog!) so that you can decide if it’s something that will fulfill your need for choice.
It takes just as much work to make a blog profitable (ie: Make Money with your blog) as it does to be good at any other business. It doesn’t happen instantly and if you think you can write a blog article here or there and then the social media fairies will automatically send people to your website to read it or pay you for your opinion then you’re mistaken.
If you’re contemplating giving up your corporate job to work from home, here are a 3 realities to help you transition smoothly:
1. Master the Mindset
It sure is nice when you don’t have to rush everyone out the door in the morning. You might envision a morning walk, yoga, or even just a quiet cup of coffee before the kids wake up. When I left my corporate job, I was initially thrilled at how the morning changed. I actually planned a morning run after the kids went to school. But until I got back, showered, had something to eat and sat down at my laptop, half my day already seemed like it was gone, and I still had to get to the grocery store. Before you know it, the blessing and curse of working from home becomes a reality. It take work to build a business, so if you treat it like a regular job and stick to some goals and a routine, you’ll be much more productive!
2. Ace Time Management
This one may seem obvious, but when you’re a new mom with a baby who runs the show, and a home-based business owner, it isn’t always a walk in the park. You’re used to being in control of your time, and with a baby, time management looks a little different for everyone. Babies thrive on routine, and so do adults, so don’t be afraid to do what works for you and your family, even if it’s different from what everyone else is doing or suggesting. A consistent mealtime, bath time, play time, going for a walk time, or whatever it is that works for you can also be factored in to the time you spend building your business. Give yourself some grace if it takes a few extra weeks or months to nail down your routine.
3. Plan for Distractions
Sometimes, I feel like I have a hundred things to do before I open my laptop. Other times, I’m in an incredible groove, only to be interrupted by my kids bickering about nonsense. Even if I’m in a room with the door shut. It’s 3:30, they just walked in from school, “Mom, what are we having for dinner, I’m starving” is all too familiar, maybe I should have used my Sunday Prep-Day a little more wisely. I’m better at being a mom when I’m prepared for the week. Often on a Sunday I just want to sit down on the couch with a cup of coffee and a book and relax, but instead I make a list for the grocery store and plan dinners for the week because that is more productive. Then Sunday night rolls around and I think I’ll finally get out that book until my daughter says “can we make s’mores with the neighbors because it’s national s’more day after all”.
GirlBoss Secret: Don't Stop Until You're Proud!
Bloggers who work from home might not experience the glamorous happy hours and spa retreats that some of our corporate counterparts do, but I’ve learned that owning your own business is certainly better than working toward someone else’s vision.
The moral of the story is, if you don’t set some goals for yourself and take risks, you’ll always work for someone who does.
It’s challenging building a business from scratch, but is it worth it to get more flexibility and less stress? Damn straight it is! Take my Free Quiz and I'll send you a Free Blogger Getting Started Guide!
Now the fun part…let's find out what your Blogger Personality is!
There are so many benefits of having a guest posts on your blog. You can build relationships, help boost your SEO and SERP ranking and most importantly, it can help you maintain and build content for your blog. This is especially important when you are just getting started as it often takes a year or longer for Google to notice your blog or you as an authority in your nîche.
I started guest blogging only a couple months into my blogging career and have found it tremendously rewarding and great for my blog. Doing so enables me to create content for my readers that I may not be an authority in and also builds credibility with Google as I grow the number of posts I have. WIN-WIN.
If you’ve been thinking about accepting guest posts on your site, here is a great system to help you get started!
Benefits of Accepting Blog Posts on Your Website
1. Build Relationships
One of the best things I have found about guest blogging is building relationships and doing collaborations with other bloggers. This is one of the key elements to being successful in blogging. Add to that idea the boost of bonus SEO juice and you’ve got a match made in heaven.
2. Can help boost SEO and SERP ranking
Most times, the blog host will agree to post at least one “dofollow” backlink to your blog. If the host blog happens to have a Domain Authority (DA) that is higher than yours, it can help you rank on Google as an authority in your nîche. Also, when you are first building out your content, it will take a long time for search engines to rank you based on authority because you don’t have enough content for them to “see”. Adding valuable content that fits your audience will help you build that faster.
3. Can Help You Maintain or Build Content
If you are a busy blogger, maybe even working full-time outside your side-hustle, you will inevitably run into times where you don’t have enough content to consistently post. When I was creating my blogging course, I completely depended on my weekly guest posts to fill my content void so that I could focus on just my course. It was a great way to continue to add value to my blog while I couldn’t commit to the schedule.
4. Can Help You Provide Valuable Information to Your Audience
Although you may be an expert in your own industry, asking other experts to create content for your audience can enhance your blog, especially if the content relates to your nîche. This can help bring readers back more often. YAY!
How to Set Up Your Blog for Guest Blogging Submissions
When I finally decided I was going to accept guest posts on my blog, I decided that I needed to create a very specific way of doing it so that I wouldn’t lose submissions and could easily keep track of everything.
The first thing I did was to create new post specific to guest posts. I laid out the page similar to how I would a regular blog post with a title and graphics as well as an explanation of what it was all about. This was important for me because I wanted to create a shareable pin as well as page that others could share in the future to help spread the word.
This also meant the page could potentially rank for Google and other search engines.
How To Set Up A Successful Guest Blogging Info Page
Create a Post or Page
Create a page/post on your site just for guest bloggers
Outline what kind of guest blog posts you are interested in accepting
Share why they would want to guest blog for you – share your stats, how you will market their blog
Be very specific on what you are looking for
Check out the Guest Blogging Opportunities Page on this site or on my site for inspiration
Set Guest Posting Guidelines
From the very beginning, I thought it would be really important to set definite requirements to make sure that the posts that I received were great quality and would provide the best value to my readers. I sat down and created some guidelines to let the guest posters understand the expectations right from the beginning. This is a really great idea to make sure that you don’t disappoint yourself or the person submitting the guest post.
Here are some examples of submission requirements:
Must be an article that is within your nîche
Must use SEO
Must be at least 1000 words
State the number of links or affiliate links (if allowed)
Must not be published anywhere else, including your own blog
Include a short bio and picture
Do not request graphics or other images copyright infringement
Deadline for submission (ie: one week prior to publish date)
How To Manage Your Guest Post Pitches And Submissions
If you spend some time marketing your guest posting opportunities, you will start getting flooded with requests. Creating a system for collecting and organizing these requests from the start will save you a ton of headaches.
I have worked with several guest post hosts that don’t ask for a pitch before submitting. My thinking was that I would like to have a good idea whether the content would be a good fit for my audience before I ask them to spend the time creating the post. So, I decided to create two submission forms, one for submitting the pitch idea and one to submit the post after I have contacted them to accept the pitch and set a date.
To do this, on your guest post submission page, you’ll need to set up two buttons – one for submitting pitch, one for submitting the post.
Create a Guest Post Pitch Form
In order to collect all the guest post ideas in an orderly way, you’ll want to create a form to collect all of the information that you want. For this, I use Google Forms, which is an incredibly easy way to collect and store all the information I need.
To start, go to Google Drive, click on New and click on Google Forms. There are a few things you will want to make sure to include:
Include a reminder and overview of requirements (can copy from page). Include a way for them to contact you
What is blog post topic
More info on post
Checkbox agreeing to terms set out
Click on the art easel to change settings and make it look pretty
In settings (gear icon):
Make sure to check off that you want to collect email addresses, allow a response receipt and allow your guest poster to edit the document after they submit in case they need to make changes.
Also, it’s a good idea set a confirmation message in the Presentation tab so that they know it was sent.
Creating a Post Submission Form
This is very similar to the pitch form so I created one, copied it and made minor changes for the submission form to save some time.
Include a reminder and overview of requirements (can copy from page). Include a way for them to contact you
Link to Google Docs (shared-editable). I have found this the easiest way to upload into WordPress afterwards with very little extra editing, especially if they use the headings features
Checkbox agreeing to terms set out
Click on the art easel to change settings and make it look pretty
• If you decide to make a copy of the first sheet, don’t forget to change the name of your new spreadsheet so that you don’t have two different fields of information.
Important Things to Do for Tracking Your Guest Post Pitches and Submissions
1. Have responses sent directly to your email so that you know when something new is added
2. You also want to set up a “Response Destination” so that all of your pitches and submissions are tracked in a Google spreadsheet. Just click on “Select response destination” and click on the button to “Create a new spreadsheet”. Name your new spreadsheet and that’s it. Google will do all the tough work for you.
Vett Your Submissions
Once I get a new pitch in my email, I will review it, vett the submitter’s URL to make sure that their submission will work well with my audience. If I am happy with the pitch and writer, I will contact them via email to let them know that their pitch has been accepted (remind them what it was- they often have submitted to other places) and give a publish date with a reminder to have it submitted a week before. It’s also a good idea to include the link back to your submission page for them to submit their content.
Publishing Guest Post Content
When I receive the post for submission, I copy and paste the doc into a new WordPress post and set up my CoSchedule guest post task list to make sure I don’t forget any steps. (Using Google docs makes this a super easy transition with little editing, especially if they’ve used the right headings in the doc).
I will review if for spelling and grammar and do an SEO check to make sure I am maximizing any opportunities in the headings and content. I also create graphics and insert images as needed and create meta and Pinterest descriptions. As a side-note, I prefer to do all my own graphics so that I am completely sure that there is no chance of plagiarism or copyright infringements.
Once I am 100% happy with all the content, I will schedule the work for publishing and contact the writer to let them know when it will be published and give the URL and remind them to share and respond to comments. Although the post is written by someone else, it is living on my blog, so the more I share, the more we both win.
Interested in additional sharing opportunities for your blog posts?
To help generate even more engagement and traffic to your website, bloggers of all nîches are welcome to join The Digital Collective of Women Entrepreneurs, a Private Facebook Group (it's FREE!) where you can connect with other bloggers, ask questions, gain valuable insight that is exclusive to the group, and participate in social media networking and sharing threads!
Do You Accept Guest Blog Posts?
Setting up a formal guest post submission strategy can take a bit of time, but once it is all set up, the system works all on it’s own, keeping track of all of your pitches and submissions in one place.
Have you done a guest post before? Do you accept guest posts on your website? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
Sasha Lassey is a blogger who has a passion for entrepreneurial life. She has been building businesses and growing teams for the past 15 years and now she helps other women entrepreneurs grow their side-hustles and earn money through her course, Simply Blogging. Be sure to check out her blogging tips and tutorials at: Everyday She’s Sparkling
Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org share a similar name, but there are some very big differences between the two.
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.
Lets start with what exactly is FREE about WordPress. The code itself that makes up the WordPress core files is free. This code is found on the website WordPress.org (the term “open source” means that developers, or people who know how to write the code, can go to WordPress.org and download the files for free, modify those files any way they want, and also find information about the codex for free). However, in order to use those “free” files, you need to know what to do with them. The WordPress core files consist of hundreds, if not thousands of files of code that makes your website work.
In order for your website or blog to be up and running on the world wide web 24 hours a day 7 days a week, those files you got for ‘free’ need to be stored somewhere…and that is called hosting.
Hosting, or storing your website’s files, is not free, and neither is owning your domain name. However, hosting is very inexpensive, especially if you choose a reputable host such as BlueHost, so the benefit of setting up your website or blog through a registrar is of the utmost importance. BlueHost offers hosting for $3.95 per month along with a free domain name and free SSL Certificate, so it's really a no-brainer.
So what does all this talk about hosting actually mean?
If you want a WordPress website that has the ability to make money, in other words, if you want to sell something on your website or if you’re a blogger who wants to make money by blogging with affiliate marketing, then you absolutely need to purchase your website through a registrar such as BlueHost or GoDaddy (GoDaddy is also very reputable but much more expensive than BlueHost).
Back to the comparison. WordPress.com is free to use, however, there are some big disadvantages to using the free version:
You cannot pick a custom domain name (i.e. your URL will be yoursite.wordpress.com)
Very limited monetization options (in other words, you can’t sell anything on your website and ads are very limited, so there is little opportunity to make money with your blog if you opt for the “free” version
Limited use of plugins for such things as an email list
You have to pay anyway if you want to have the WordPress branding removed
There is very limited theme support and very basic design themes
Limited analytics and SEO capabilities
Fully customizable design
Unlimited plugin options
Your own branding
Powerful SEO features (so people can find your site easier on Google)
Capability for a membership site, or affiliate site
Looking for a Step-by-Step Guide to setting up your new blog or website?
Check out my Free Guide, it's a .pdf download which includes all resources you need to get started creating your blog or website the right way: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your First Blog or Website There's a lot of junk out there on the internet, sometime's it's hard to distinguish between solid advice and advice that is based on the foundation of a good methodology. In fact, as much as I love the blogosphere, I sometimes find that there are a lot of self-proclaimed experts who are “selling” SEO as well as information about how to “start a blog” when the only blog they've ever created was their own.
This guide is unique in that it's filled with actionable tips and real value from a seasoned expert. I have worked in Agency and Corporate marketing for over two decades, and I've personally built over 250 websites for clients of all sizes ranging from small business owners to multi-million dollar corporations. I've created content and written blogs for over 14 years. I've learned a thing or two about my craft over the years. Some folks have told me I could sell this guide, but that's not my goal. I sell my knowledge in other ways. I created this guide for the beginner to get crystal clear answers to questions, and get a blog set up the right way the first time. It will save you time and money to get it right the first time.
An abridged version of this article was printed in The Reading Eagle Business Weekly on September 5, 2017.
Successful companies use email marketing to connect with their customers, build loyalty, and drive revenue. While you might think of email as something old and clunky, standing in social media’s shadow, according to digital research, email is still the platform with the number one return on investment, both in terms of customer loyalty and real monetary returns. It’s also still the largest digital platform by far, over four billion people use email on a daily basis.
With numbers like those, savvy businesses are looking for ways to use email to help them meet their goals. Whether you’re new to email marketing, or a seasoned professional, here are some things to consider to help you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.
PERSONALIZE EMAIL MARKETING BASED ON SEGMENTATION
If you’re looking for a way to improve your email marketing, the first thing you need to look at is your database of customers and prospects, and how it’s segmented. Context is just as valuable as content and delivering a more targeted and personal message is more important than ever. 94% of business say that personalization is important to their success. To begin segmentation, if your list is in just one bucket, first look at behavioral metrics. In other words, to begin sending a personalized message which is automated based on something a user does or shows interest in is the most effective way to market. This represents one of the most fundamental changes email has undergone since the first email was sent back in 1972. It’s hard to overstate the amount of impact email analytics has on a marketers ability to grow their business. Data driven decision making allows you to prioritize, hypothesize, test and evaluate your marketing efforts.
DELIVERABILITY: OPTIMIZE FOR OPENS FIRST
Your Subject Line is kind of like the gatekeeper of your email. It’s your first and only opportunity to entice a user to take the next action, which is to open your email. You can’t measure click-through rates unless people open your email first, so think of it this way: in just 1-3 words, the person on the other end of that email will formulate brand perception and decide in a split second whether or not their time is valuable enough to read more. Often times, the importance of this simple first impression is overlooked. Your subject line should be thoughtfully planned out.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR SUBJECT LINES:
Shorter is better
Avoid salesy language
Don’t use Free and % off, those words trigger spam in most email clients
Use very simple copy, pose a question or statement
Personalize when appropriate, something about using name or demographics
Another simple but often overlooked factor that many people notice is the sender’s name and email. It’s always more professional to use a company email address, not a free one such as gmail or aol. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, the importance of using a company email address may sound counter intuitive, but the reality is that people judge professionalism by how well you communicate, and even this tiny detail matters. Whether you use a name that is recognizable to the recipient such as their account manager, depends upon whether they already know that account manager personally. Using a company name or department name makes sense depending upon what the email is about. Use an address that indicates purpose (newsletter@, support@, etc.) Worst case scenario, never send from a “noreply” email address if you are aiming for a potential customer to click a call-to-action. The idea is to be “customer centric” and offer them ways to get in touch with you, not turn them away.
The snippet of text, about a sentence or two, is pulled from the body of the email. Paying close attention to your preview text is especially important on a mobile device since over half of all emails read occur on a smartphone (source: https://litmus.com/blog/2016-email-client-market-share-infographic) this tiny detail plays a big part in their decision about whether to open the email. Use the preview text to:
CONTINUE YOUR SUBJECT LINE
Tease content or provide a call-to-action. You’re answering these questions: what do you want the reader to do, why should they do it, and how will they know to do it? Use direct and clearly stated language. “Start improving your conversion rate” or “Register Now” provide for zero confusion as to what will happen once they click on that CTA. While we’re on the topic, you should only have one (1) CTA in your email so as not to confuse your reader. Again, this advice may seem counter-intuitive to the way most marketers used to send emails in the form of a newsletter with lots of pictures and links.
Well planned email automation avoids this old strategy like the plague. Why? Tune in to my blog next week to find out!