Free Printable Blog Planners and Calendars for 2017

blog planners

At the beginning of each year I like to share a few blog planners and calendars that I’ve found for the new year.  Since it is mid January already, I feel this post is a little late, but I try to devote my entire month of January to organizing and reorganizing, as well as setting my goals for the new year.  If you’re like me, and you’re still trying to wrap your head around the new year and make plans, then these printables should be a great resource for you.  I hope you enjoy them! [Read more…]

6 Printable Blog Planners for 2016

Free Printable Blog Planners for 2016

2015 has been such a crazy time for me!  I had so many projects going on from week to week that I barely had time to breathe (but it was a good thing, I’m not complaining at all!)

On the other hand, my year got off to sort of a rough start.  My husband was sick and in the hospital, and he had a long recovery time.  Needless to say, that was a very stressful time, and unfortunately it greatly affected everything from my housekeeping and personal organization to my blog organization! [Read more…]

Making Good Decisions Online and #ShareAwesome Contest

The National PTA and LifeLock are teaming up for  #ShareAwesome, an advocacy campaign designed to encourage families to embrace technology and use it for good, making positive, safe decisions online.  Secondly they wish to open up a conversation between parents and kids, so that teens and tweens can make good decisions online.

This campaign is of particular interest to me, because every afternoon when I sit down at my desk to edit photos or write I post, I can’t help but overhear a young gamer playing on his computer in the next room.  When he’s not at school, participating in activities, or sleeping, Noah is glued to his computer! The fact that we can hear him through the walls is a good thing, as it gives us a chance to monitor his activities without constantly looking over his shoulder.  But apart from this, we try to encourage positive and safe behavior online, so that we won’t have to worry about Noah in times when we can’t be there to listen in. [Read more…]

My New Tablet with T-Mobile Free Data

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #TabletTrio

T-Mobile Trio AXS

I am so excited to introduce you to my newest toy….err blogging tool!  I’ve been wanting a tablet for the longest time, but our budget doesn’t allow for me to just go out and spend hundreds of dollars on something like this, especially when I already have my laptop and smart phone for my blog and Etsy business.  But when I heard about the new tablets at Walmart, featuring a free T-Mobile Data Plan, I immediately got excited! [Read more…]

Blogging with Advowire

Advowire

As a blogger, I’m always looking for new companies to connect and work with.  Having said that, anytime the subject of blogging comes up in conversation, I am always asked how you make money doing it and how you connect with companies.  This can be a hard question to answer, especially if you are talking to someone who is unfamiliar with the concepts of blogging and online marketing. [Read more…]

Friday Favorites – Week 209 – Featuring Our Great Sponsors

friday favorites

Hey guys! Last week there was a problem with the linky.  I’m not sure what happened; after I posted, it appeared to be working perfectly.  It wasn’t until Saturday that I realized there were NO links! Eek!  Sorry about that!  Anyway, since there we didn’t really get to have a proper party I decided to use this week’s party as an opportunity to give thanks to my wonderful sponsors and affiliates! [Read more…]

Designing Business Cards for Your Blog

Simply Sweet Home Business Card

As a blogger and Etsy shop owner one thing I’ve learned about is branding.  It’s important to have a unique banner/logo at the top of your blog to help you stand out.  And you, of course, want to use matching elements or colors throughout your website to create a cohesive look.  Furthermore,  it is important to use your logo and/or head shot and other matching thematic elements on your social media accounts.  But what about print media, such as business cards?

How do you take the elements from your website and use them to create a business card or a printed media kit?  The easiest thing to do would be to hand your elements over to a designer and have them fashion a card for you.  Some web designers even include a card design in with your blog design package. [Read more…]

Creative Ways to Promote Your Blog Offline

OnTimeScreen Shirts

Although I don’t consider myself a complete expert, I like to give advice on blogging any time I can.  One thing I think everyone struggles with in one way or the other is marketing their blog or business.  And truthfully, you could spend hours learning about how to effectively market yourself on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, or through commenting on other blogs, running giveaway promotions, going to conferences…and well, the list goes on and on!  But if you don’t put those strategies that you learn in to place and be consistent about it, you will not have good long term results and success.  Luckily there is no time limit, and we can choose to adopt any of these strategies whenever we choose.

In the meantime, today I’m going to talk about an old fashioned, yet still highly effective way to bring traffic to your site and your business.  Back in the “old days” before we all had websites, businesses promoted themselves using cards, shirts, and hats.  It was effective and still is!

Although commenting on blogs and using social media is free, there is something to be said for apparel that promotes your business.  For one thing, as you wear these items out, people in your local area, who might not find your website on Google, who might not even have a profile on Twitter or Facebook, will see your blog or business name.  And then maybe they will go home and Google it or even strike up a conversation with you about it.  This is a great way for you to build a local following for your site, beyond friends and family.

You can even get friends and family to wear apparel with your blog or business name.   They will be happy to do it, because they want to help you out, and because everyone loves hats and t-shirts.  And the more people wearing items with your business name on it, the more people will see it.

And with today’s technology it has never been easier or more affordable to get these items.  You can get a screen printing of your logo on t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats, with a quick turn-around time and a low minimum order, so it is very budget friendly.

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Find Your Social Media #StrengthFactor with HireInfluence

HireInfluence

 

I’m always interested in finding new ways to measure how well my blog and my social media accounts are performing.  I was recently introduced to HireInfluence, a new social media ranking and reporting system.

When you activate your profile on HireInfluence (via your twitter account), you’ll receive a fully detailed report that, among other things, lists your social media strength factor.  You can then add your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.  After you link your accounts you will get a detailed report on your social media influence or “Strength Factor.”

Your strength factor is a score out of a 100, and it is a scoring based on the number of network contacts within your profile and the level of impact each social channel has in relation to proven inbound marketing results.

HireInfluence also evaluates eachs social media account.  For example, on Twitter, it tells you how many followers you have, as well as your number of mentions and retweets, links posted, names mentioned, etc.  It also tells you which links, hashtags, and keywords you have tweeted the most.

Now you may be wondering, besides this statistical data, what else can I gain by activating my profile at HireInfluence.  For one, the information in your report may be printed or saved to use in your blog’s media attach or attach to a resume.

Secondly, once you activate your profile, you are now listed in a database used by brands, marketing companies, PR firms and businesses looking for social media stars to work with.  Basically it is a win-win!

Giveaway! HireInfluence is giving away 3 $100 Amazon gift cards.  All you have to do is activate your profile by March 25 and you will be entered to win!

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Disclosure: I was not monetarily compensated for this post but will receive a $25 Amazon card.

My Blog Calendar and Tips to Organize Your Blog

Planner

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to become more organized and more efficient with my blog.  One way that I attempt to do this is with a planner.  Today I’m going to be sharing the planner that I use with you, along with some other tips to organize your blog.

For my blogging, I use a simple monthly/weekly calendar.  I’ve been using these since I was in college.  Last year I bought one from Blue Sky, and I really liked it, so I bought from the again this year.  The one that I bought is currently sold out, but they have similar planners in some really cute designs, and they have others sizes and formats available if you prefer.

2013 Calendar

My favorite thing about this type of planner is that it has a monthly calendar that you can lay out in front of you.  This is where I write out my blogging schedule for the month, as well as any important dates that I need to remember.

2013 Weekly Calendar

 

And then it also has week pages.  This comes in handy to jot down specific notes, make to do lists, or even to use as a mini journal.

And what I’ll usually do is make a tentative schedule on the monthly calendar. I say “tentative” because sometimes things happen to change my schedule: a review product comes earlier or later than expected, I get a paid post opportunity that pushes back something else I was planning, or I simply change my mind!

I know my blog sometimes seems completely random.  But it actually does have a bit of structure:

  • I post recipes at the beginning of the week, usually on Monday.
  • I do most reviews/giveaways on Tuesday, unless I’m double booked for the week or the sponsor requires a different date.
  • Wednesday is wide open. This Wednesday is an organizing post, but next week could be home decor, or a sponsored post.
  • On Thursday night my Friday Favorites party is posted. And sometimes earlier in the day, I may have something else, particularly if I didn’t get a chance to post on Wednesday.
  • And then the weekend is generally reserved for sponsored posts that might come up.

So as you can see it’s pretty flexible, but it still gives me that little bit of structure that I need to get things done and be half way organized.

You can also print out your own monthly calendars.  I shared some cute ones here the other day.  Or consider printing out of these blog planners.

Now for just a few more tips:

Outlook Calendar

Use online calendars.  My email service is Outlook/Windows Live (also known as Hotmail).  I add upcoming projects to my calendar, due dates for sponsored posts, as well as reminders to contact people.

I could seriously write an entire series of posts on how great the Outlook calendar is.  But for the purposes of this post, I will tell you that my favorite thing about it is that you can set up your calendar so that alerts come to your email, as well as your Iphone or other mobile device.  The alerts are great, because a calendar alone just sits there–if you don’t look at it, it is useless, but if something pops up in my email or chimes on my phone I will see it.  And that is what I need!

Keep a sponsor notebook.  Aside from any accounting that you may do on your computer or using paperwork, I suggest keeping a simple notebook for writing down your upcoming projects.  I just have basic 70 page notebook.  And I write the month at the top of the page, and as I get chosen for a campaign or contacted by a sponsor, I make a simple note, such as “T-shirts.com – Rev/Giveaway.”

This just serves as a list to-do list, and it helps to keep me on task  And I’ve even referred back to this list to help  me verify my Paypal transactions when I do my accounting.

Come up with a balanced routine.  I can’t really give advice on this because I struggle with this a lot!  I would love to be the person that writes at this time, and answers emails at this time, and always comments, and always tweets, etc. But I just haven’t got a system down for this yet.  Maybe it will happen this year!

One thing that I’m going to TRY and do is come up with a sort of  “check list” of things I need to do each week.  It would be similar to the printable blog planners, but it would mostly revolve around networking and other tasks and sometimes get thrown on the backburner.

I’m also using this article as an inspiration: 4 Steps to Better Blogging Time Mangement from Amy Lynn Andrews. (Love her!)

Do you have any tips for better blog organizing? Or tips on keeping a balanced routine?  If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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I’m linking up at Tidy Mom and these parties.