My Monthly Blogging Routine Including a Promote Your Blog Checklist

Monthly Blogging Routine

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Before you Start Your Blogging Routine

Hopfully you have already set up your blog, and now you are ready to start a regular blogging routine. If you have not set up your blog, I recommend registering your domain and setting up your blog through the hosting site Bluehost.

If you want more information on how to start a blog, you may find my post “How to Start a Blog when you are Feeling Called to Blog” helpful

Now that you have set up your blog you will need to do a few things before starting your monthly blogging routine. So here they are!

The 5 Steps You Should Take Before Starting Your Regular Blogging  Routine

Step 1

You should get a Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Business page and link these pages to your site.

Step 2

You may also want to sign up for Tailwind. Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduler. This has been so helpful for me. I am able to schedule the pinning of my posts to all my pinterest boards months in advance. I am also a member of several Tailwind’s tribes. Members of the tribes basically pin each other’s pins! You can do all this through Tailwind. You can schedule 100 pins for free. They don’t even ask for your credit card for the free trial. Click here to try Tailwind for free. After the free trial, I decided Tailwind was sooo worth purchasing, and I am the type of blogger who uses mostly the free plugins, themes, etc. So this is coming from a blogger who doesn’t purchase much.

Step 3

You will want to start requesting invites to Pinterest group boards. These are boards where many people pin to the same boards. We also pin each other’s pins. These boards are a great way to get your pins seen. Some group boards are open to any topic, and some are specific. For example, I am in a Pinterest group board specifically for dietitians. Are you looking for a Pinterest group board to join? I have an “any topic” group board called “Best of the Blogs”. To join my group board, just follow “Mindfulness in Faith and Food” on Pinterest and follow all the requirements listed at the Top of the “Best of the Blogs” board. To request a group board invite, just send me your Pinterest Profile URL through the “contact me” form on Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

Step 4

Next you will want to start requesting invites to Facebook blogging group boards. Like Pinterest boards, some group boards are open to any topic, and some are specific. I am a member of several faith-based blogger group boards as well as dietitian blogger group boards. I am even a member of a faith-based nutrtion group board. Talk about specific. Bloggers support each other on these boards. You can ask your questions, share blogging experiences and opportunities with each other, and read and share each other’s blog posts.

On a personal note, I try to write Facebook comments about other blogger’s posts often, instead of always talking about and promoting my blog. I know how much it means to get that comment on your blog so I try to do this for other bloggers. I noticed something interesting when I started doing this. Although I was trying to support someone else’s blog, bloggers started supporting my blog in return. So I recommend you do this as well. Don’t do it expecting someone to recipicate. Genuinely support other blogs, and eventually you will notice others supporting you as well. One of the many reason I love blogging is that other blog are not completions. Engaging and supporting each other actual helps your blog become more successful! Isn’t blogging a beautiful way to make extra income?

Step 5

If you are interested in monetizing your blog, you may want to apply to become a blogger affiliate associate. A blogger affliate associate is someone who partners with a company and promotes the company’s products on their blog. When someone buys something after clinking on the company’s link in the blog, the blogger affiliate gets a commission from the sale. The Share-A-Sale affiliate program has become one of my favorites. I like Share-a-sale because you get to pick which companies you want to partner. Because Share-a-Sale has over 4,500, you get to pick the companies and products you love and use. I only write about products I naturally talk about in my blog, and I only choose companies I actually love.  Some of the merchants include Etsy, Tailwind, and even Share-a-Sale. Yes, I said Etsy! You can feel out an application with Shareasale here. After you join Share-a-Sale, browse the companies and apply to partner with the individual companies you love.

Where does he get this stuff?

I definitely don’t make enough to get a Bugatti (not even close!) and move to THE LA, like my son says, but it’s nice to be able to make a little money on the side.

So now that you have these important tools in place, you can get into a  writing and promoting routine.

What I Do the First Week of Every Month

The first week of every month, I write several blog post drafts. I keep these posts in draft form until I am ready to post. I often write 4-5 posts that are related to each other in a series.

But before I start writing each Blog post, I try to remember to pray. I pray that I am still following God and not just my own wants, and I pray that I say the things God wants me to say. I pray that my blog finds the people who need to read them and helps somehow. If you have read some of my past blogs, you know I like to practice mindfulness. I feel that pausing to pray is a way to stay mindful of God’s presence and a way to stay mindful of THAT very moment. When I pray before I blog, I focus on the joy of blogging and live in the moment.

After I have written 4-5 individual posts,  I am ready to post one blog post each week.

By the end of week one, I am ready to post one of the drafts. I pick one to post, and then I follow the steps below. I do these same steps each week for the blog posts I have pre-written.

My Weekly Routine

Step 1:

Proof read my blog post

Step 2:

Add pictures to the Blog by uploading my pictures or using ImageInject. ImageInject is a plugin on my page. With ImageInject, I am able to easily search for free images and photos and insert them into my blog.

Step 3:

Add any links to my past-related posts.

Step 4:

Add an affiliate disclaimer at the top of the post. An affiliate disclaimer just lets the reader know that you will get a small commission if someone purchases a product you mentioned in your post by clicking on the link on your site.

Step 5:

Add a Copyright note at the bottom of the post.

Step 6:

Add any affiliate links for products discussed in my post. (My affiliate program recommendation is Share-A-Sale)

Step 7:

Scroll down to the Yoast SEO notes at the bottom of the blog. I make corrections to my blog based of the Yoast SEO suggestions. Yoast SEO is a plugin that makes your post as search-friendly as possible.

Step 8:

Change my Meta Description. A Meta Description is a snippet that summarizes your blog post content. The search engine shows this description under the title when the searched phrase shows up in the description. You are more likely to pop up when someone searches for your blog topic when you have an optimized meta description.

Step 9:

Add tags to the post. Tags are a list of the specific items discussed in your post. The Tags are key words and points you have discussed in the blog post. When you are reading a blog, tags are often listed at the bottom of a post to help you see all the topics and items discussed in the individual blog post.

Step 10:

Develop Pinterest friendly graphics and Instagram friendly graphics. You want your Pinterest Graphics to be vertical images. You can create these graphics using apps like Canva. Add these graphics to your blog.

Step 11:

Hit the Publish button. Your blog post is now live!

The Next Steps Involve Promoting your Blog:

Step 12:

Share my blog on my personal and business Facebook pages

Step 13:

Remember that Pinterest image we developed in step 9? You can post that graphic straight from Canva to Pinterest. Once you have posted your Pinterent pin to a board, you have to add your link to the image. You can do this under the little edit pencil on your pin. You should add a great description while you are editing as well. Remember you can now use hashtags in your Pinterest descriptions. This will help your pin show up when people are searching in Pinterest. If you have added the pinterest image to your post, you can also pin  your blog straight from your blog.

Step 14:

Use Tailwinds to schedule your pin to be posted on additional boards.

Step 15:

Add your Pin to Tailwind’s tribes, and schedule other bloggers pins on Tailwinds.

Step 16:

Support other bloggers in your group boards by pinning their pins to your own Pinterest boards.

Step 17:

Post the image you created for Instagram on my Instagram page. Again, you can post this image directly from Canva.

Step 18:

Promote your post on all your Facebook blogger group boards. I made a list of all my Facebook group boards and all the participation threads of each group. I put this list in a clear notebook sleeve. Next, I use a dry erase marker to mark when I am finished with a Facebook group thread. The marker will wipe right off of the sleeve when I am finished so that I can use the Facebook group thread list again for the next blog posts. When I am participating in Facebook group threads, I want to genuinely support other bloggers. I try to carefully read and provide authentic and encouraging comments to other blogger posts.

You Are Finished! Now What?

Step 1-18 usually takes a whole week. When I have finished with steps 1-17, it’s time to post another blog and go through the steps again.

The ways you can promote your blog are endless. You can use Bloglovin’, Twitter, G+, Stumbleupon, and so much more. I have done a little with these, but I would like to do more at some point. My advice would be to promote on just a few Social Media sites at first. You don’t want to get too overwhelmed when you are first starting out as a blogger. You can build a following much better if you put most of your energy in just a few areas.

And there you have it, my blogging routine. I hope you have enjoyed this series. Are you interested in starting a blog? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food. You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

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How to Start a Blog When You Feel Called to Blog

Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series (Part 5)

 This site may contain affiliate links (see full disclosure here)

How to Start a Blog when You Feel Called to Blog

Starting a Blog from Scratch

In Mindfulness in Faith and Food’s call series, I have talked about finding your call by using the clues checklist. I explained how clues, signs, and circumstances lead me to believe blogging was my call. Perhaps you feel like starting a blog is your call as well, but you don’t know where to begin. Don’t worry; I can walk you through the steps I took to start a blog.

When I started blogging, I was starting from scratch. My blog facebook page and pinterest account had zero followers! I didn’t even have a personal Instagram account! I remember looking at my zero followers on my facebook and Pintertest pages and thinking, ‘how am I ever going to get people to read these blog posts? Jump to seven months later, and I am so surprised at how much the Mindfulness in Faith and Food blog has grown. Since I started from scratch, I thought a post about how to start a blog from scratch might be helpful. So here are the steps I took to start a blog from scratch:

Step 1: Pray

I believe we should remember to pray before every choice we make. When I pray, I ask God to lead me and help me know what is the right thing to do. Praying before working on my blog helps me feel closer to God and helps me remember why I started blogging in the first place. I also pray that I am careful with my words and write words that God would want me to write. I am sure I mess up at this sometimes, but I hope that I focus on what God wants me to say instead of letting my emotions, insecurities, and biases rule the blog.

Step 2: Determine your Niche

Your niche is the topic you feel knowledgeable and passionate about. This is the topic you are going to discuss in your blog. Your topic can be broad like “being a mom” or specific like “how to save money with a big family.” My blog is called Mindfulness in Faith and Food, and discusses nutrition as well as what I call my personal “God Moment” stories. I also emphasize the importance of mindfulness in our eating habits and in our faith journey. See why the name fits so well? You will pick your name in the next step.

Along with figuring out your niche, you should probably think about why you want to start a blog in the first place. Knowing why you are blogging will keep you motivated during the times when you aren’t making money or getting as many likes. When you are in a blogging slump, focus on your purpose.

So why are you blogging? Do you just want a place to record your thoughts? Are you hoping to help others by teaching, inspiring, or encouraging your readers? I am hoping my blog provides tools that are helpful to other’s lives, and I hope my ‘God Moment” stories provide hope and encouragement that just maybe God REALLY IS working in our lives TODAY. When times are hard and our faith and hope is weak (I have been there), I cling to these stories. I remember God really DOES care, LOVE us, and is truly INVOLVED in our life.

Step 3: Determine your Blog Name and Domain

After you determine your niche, you need to pick a name. You may want to make a list of possible names in case your first choice is taken. You can use this name to come up with your domain name. This is the blog web address. The web address is sometimes a variation of your Blog name. Fortunately, my blog name wasn’t taken so my blog domain name is www.mindfulnessinfaithandfood.com. I registered my domain name through the hosting company, Bluehost.

Step 4: Pick Your Host Site

I picked Bluehost, and I am so happy I went with them. After researching, I felt Bluehost was the way to go. You can use other free platforms, but if you even think you MIGHT monetize your blog one day, I would go with a selfhosted platform like Bluehost. Self-hosted means you own your blog and the content. I also like Bluehost because I can take care of several steps on one site. I was able to register my domain through Bluehost and install WordPress. Plus you can get your domain name for free if you decide to use Bluehost! Since I was just starting out, I picked the least expensive Bluehost package. I figured ‘why spend a bunch of money before you are making money?’ If you want to look through the great Bluehost plans click here.

Step 5: Install WordPress

Next I installed WordPress. This is WordPress.org NOT wordpress.com. WordPress is a website creation tool. In other words, you build your blog through them. You can install WordPress through Bluehost. You just need to login to your Bluehost account adn click the wordpress icon to install!

Step 6: Select a Blogging Theme

Now that you have WordPress you can play around and customize your blog. You do this on the WordPress Dashboard. I would first select a theme. Again, I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on this blog since I wasn’t making any money yet, so I picked one of the free Themes. I picked the “Twenty Fifteen Theme.” I think this is a nice free theme and seems to work well for blog style websites.

Step 7: Pray and then Write a Post

Again, I pray for me to know what God wants me to say, and that I remember that my true purpose is helping others. Now you can write your first blog posts!  I decided to write several posts in draft form before going live with my blog. I wanted my blog to have a little substance and depth before the blog was viewable. Having 4 or 5 post already written before going live just looks nice and more established.

Step 8: Write an ‘About Me’ Page

You don’t have to do this yet, but I think having a place where readers can find out about you and your topics helps establish your blog’s identity. You can always write a short ‘About Me’ page, and go back to make changes as your blog evolves.

Step 9: Add Plugins and Play around with the Appearance of the Blog

Now you have to play with the appearance of your blog and add plugins. A Plugin is software that can add specific features to your blog. Plugins are a BIG part of creating your desired blog, and many plugins are free. I recommend adding plugins for “sharing buttons” so that readers can share, pin, and like your post by simply clicking a button. I used the “Ultimate Social Media” plugin for my sharing buttons. “ImageInject” was one of the first Plugins I added. With ImageInject, I am able to easily search for free images and photos and insert them into my blog.

I also installed a subscriber sign up form through Mailchimp. People sign up to receive email updates whenever I publish a new post. These are just three of the many plugins available.

You are Now a Blogger!

Setting up my blog takes time. I played around in the WordPress dashboard until I was satisfied enough with the blog to go live. I am still often making changes here and there as I learn more and more.

That is it! Now you have a blog! The next steps are to promote the blog and look into monetizing your blog.

So you have a blog, now what? Check out my blogging work schedule to see what things you should be doing each month, week, and day as a blogger.

Did you find this post helpful? Did you decided to go with Bluehost through the links on this blog? If so, let me know so that I can celebrate with you by being one of the first to promote your blog through one of my social media accounts!

 Part 6 of this series, “Monthly Blogging Routine Including a Promote Blog Checklist

 

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food. You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

 

Please follow and like us:

Did God Give you a Passion for a Reason?

Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series

 Part 2: Did God Give you a Passion for a Reason? If so, What is Your God-Given Passion? 

Did God give you a Passion for a Reason?

Blogging is my Passion. What is Your Passion?

 I had the hardest time picking a title. I am hoping this post will be helpful for anyone searching for their God-given passion and calling, but I also want this to help people specifically contemplating blogging. Although I talk about my passion for blogging, this post is about so much more than blogging.

Ask your Own Questions as you Read

I hope this post is helpful to you. As you read my story, I hope you can begin thinking about your passions and where God might be calling you to serve.  Although I am using my call story as an example, I really hope you to use this post to think about your call story. As you read, think about your God-given passions. Is writing one of your passions? Look back on your own life. Do you see your passion continue to pop up throughout your life? Is there a group of people your heart breaks for whom you want to help?

My Call Story

So here is my call to blog story…

When I think about my call to blog, I have to go back and I mean way back. Isn’t it funny to realize how God was putting your call into place even from childhood?

My call to blog started even before blogging existed. When I was little I would say, “I want to be a writer when I grow up.” When other kids wanted to be teachers, athletes, princesses, singers, and firemen, I wanted to be a writer. I was often reading and writing. In 5th grade my first “published” work was a short story printed in our local newspaper.

By high school, I realized becoming an author wasn’t practical so I put those thoughts aside. I started looking into more practical careers that  would still fit my interest and heart. Being a school councilor or a dietitian sounded appealing. (Read here to find out about why nutrition became important to me). Ironically, I am now a dietitian who writes about faith, nutrition, and spiritual growth. How amazing that I get to write (my passion) about my other passions!?!?

I Kept Going Back to Writing

Saying writing has always been my passion doesn’t tell the whole story. Writing feels more like a need. I have kept journals since I was little, and I have little short stories and unfinished books from childhood still sitting around my house.

I would push this God-given passion aside and say journaling is just a hobby, but I kept finding myself writing in different areas of my life.

After college, I was dealing with something difficult. I just couldn’t make peace with broken friendships and my lack of trust in men after experiencing broken promises. I just couldn’t get past this, so I asked God to help me make peace and move on. This next part is so hard to explain. Suddenly, as if a whisper in my mind, I thought, ‘write your story.’  I had not thought of writing in years, but this thought popped in my head. The thought was strong and immediate.

So I got up from my prayer position, went to the computer, and started writing everything that happened. In fact, I wrote about every experience I could think of in which I felt God’s presence.

My story started in middle school and ended after college. I not only wrote the story, but I also wrote how God helped me through different challenging times, and I wrote about the lessons I had learned, and the mistakes I had made. Writing down my story brought me peace, and writing down the moments I had felt God in my life, helped solidify those moments to my memory. After writing those stories, I was able to easily remember and share those stories with people in conversation, and I have even shared written portions of those stories in my blogging.

My Husband Based His Marriage Proposal Around my Writing!

Do you know that writing is such a part of who I am that my marriage proposal was based around it!

When I wrote this particular story, I was dating a really sweet guy (He is now my husband). I mentioned to him that I had written a story, but I hadn’t finished it yet. I told him that one part of the story was about my lack of trust, and I even told him that I had a hard time trusting even his words. After all, I explained to my boyfriend,  people say they will love you forever and then change their mind. I was scared that everything my current boyfriend said would turn out not true, and I was scared that eventually he would change his mind about the way he feels and break promises too.

My boyfriend knew I had written about this so when he proposed he had written what he said was the ending to my book. The night of the proposal, he had left  pieces of paper and a flower on a park bench. As I looked at the pieces of paper, he tells me that he knew I had not finished the story I was writing so he wrote an ending for the story. He made me read the whole thing. He wrote that I had finally found someone I can trust, and I had found someone who would be committed forever. At the end of the page he wrote, “Will you marry me?”

What is your God-given passion?

Still Writing as a Dietitian

Again I never connected my writing hobby as a possible calling. And yet, I continued to feel an urge to write. As a dietitian, I found ways to write. I wrote a full book for my weight loss clients, and I gave each of them this book when they hired me. I also wrote for a nutrition column for our local paper.

Throughout my career, I would write about nutrition just so that I could organize my thoughts and ideas.

Writing Personal “God Moment” Stories

I also wrote anytime I was humbled and awe struck by something that God did. I kept what I called “God journals,” and I would write out my prayers, my questions, and my thoughts in these journals. You can find stacks and stacks of these journals in my home. Again, it never registered that writing could be a calling.

Looking Back, Now I See It!

NOOOW that I blog, I see it! When I look back at my old journals, I realize how much writing has been a part of my life. I keep coming back to writing over and over.

My passion for writing now feels like it was the first of many clues that writing was my calling.

Why Passion Might Be The First Clue to the Question, “What is my Calling?”

So what is the lesson in this? Having a passion may be the first hint to your calling.

1 Corinthians and Romans tells us that God gives us spiritual gifts that will help us do God’s work. Knowing your gifts may help you determine your call. However, I think God not only gives us gifts and talents, but God also gives us a passion for where we are being called to serve. If we don’t have a passion, we are probably not going to give the job our best efforts. If we are not passionate, we may do something only halfway.

When we are passionate, we feel driven to do the best we can do. The Bible seems to back this up through example after example. Most people in the Bible, who were called by God, also had a passion for their calling. Moses, Paul, Mark, John, Isaiah and of course, Jesus, all were passionate about what they were called to do.

You May Have a God-Given Passion and STILL Not WANT to Do It

Passion doesn’t mean we won’t have to step out of our comfort zone. We may have a passion for something and STILL not want to do it. We may have a passion but feel too busy or too scared. Take those same people in the Bible who had a passion for their calling. Many still felt scared and even incapable at first.

Take Moses for example. He didn’t want to step out of his comfort zone and into danger by leading the Israelites out of slavery. But you could see he had a passion for helping the Israelites fight this injustice. My goodness, he even attacked a man for beating an Israelite. Luckily Moses started following God’s lead instead of JUST his passion after God called on Moses. Some had such a passion for God and others that they even gave their own life. They didn’t WANT to give their life, but their passion for God and others gave them strength.

Whew, You Mean I Don’t Have to Do Something I Despise?

Understanding that I will probably have a passion for my calling was such a comfort. Before I began to think about my calling this way, I would say ‘yes’ to everything. As crazy as it sounds, I even felt like I should be slightly miserable as I served. I felt like I should ALWAYS sacrifice my happiness since Jesus had sacrificed so much for me. What a relief to realize that God gave the people of the Bible a passion for their calling. I could really focus on a few ways to serve instead of saying ‘yes’ to everything. I could give my all to those few areas instead of spreading myself too thin. By saying yes to everything, I was not being very helpful anywhere!

Let me add here that sometimes we feel passionate to do something, but don’t love every aspect of the calling. Yet our passion drives us to push through. Maybe you feel passionate about helping the homeless, but you don’t love all the early morning hard work that goes into working at a certain organization. Your passion and calling can drive you to do the less appealing stuff. Does this make since? Jesus certainly didn’t enjoy the pain he endured on the cross, but because of Jesus’ passion and love for us, Jesus suffered the pain for us.

Blogging is my Passion. Could Blogging be Your Passion Too?

So when trying to determine your calling, first look at your spiritual gifts AND your passions. (You can see more about Spiritual Gifts in Part 1 of this series.)

So my questions for you:

  • Do you have a God-given passion?
  • Do you have a love for something? Perhaps you have a love for reading and writing? Or do you have a love for something else?
  • Is there an area or need you feel passionate towards?

Do you feel like Blogging might be a passion for you, but you are not sure how to start? Coming soon, learn about blogging in Part 4 of this series on “How to Start a Blog when you are Called to Blog” AND Part 5 of this series entitled “My Monthly Blogging Routine Including a Blog Promoting Checklist.”

Although God Gives us a Passion for Where We Are Called to Serve, Not Every Passion is from God

One more little side note. Just because you have a passion, does not mean you are called to pursue it. Also, every passion we have is not a calling. After all, we often have passions for not so good things. Passion is just one clue to look for. This series looks at several pieces to “what is your calling?” One of these pieces or clues is that your calling and passion matches up with God’s teachings. Make sure you weigh your passions against God’s teachings when trying to determine if your passion is a God-given passion.

So the take home message is that every passion is NOT a calling, but your calling MAY be one of your passions or will become a passion.

Your Calling Doesn’t Have to Be Your Job

Sometimes our jobs are different than our calling and even passion and that is okay. Some people feel called to volunteer in certain areas. I love how Bob Goff, a lawyer, looked at his job. In his book, “Love Does,” Goff said he viewed his job as fundraising for his mission. We can also view our jobs as a fundraiser for our passion to serve other.  Our calling can even be how we feel we should live our lives. For example, maybe you feel called to be an encourager, so you try to encourage others wherever you are. You encourage your co-workers, your family, or random people at a store.

Bob Goff’s book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World is a really good read. His wife, Maria Goff, wrote a book as well called Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want. I have read and enjoyed both books.

Keeping a Jouranl May Help you Figure Out Your Passion

Even if you are not a writer, I think keeping a journal might be helpful. Sometimes writing helps us organize our thoughts. Writing your thoughts, ideas, spiritual gifts, talents, and listing your God-Given passions in a journal may help you begin to contemplate what your calling might be. I find that I am more open to hearing God’s call when I pray before I write. You can also use a journal to write your prayers and write down your awe-inspiring God experiences. I am able to remember those amazing “God moments” in my life when I write them down as soon as they happen.

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Here are a few beautiful inspiring journals.

 

Check out Part one of the Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series: “What is God Calling you to Do?

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

 

 

 

 

 

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