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THIS is why you need to go live on Facebook

live video

“I wish I could be as comfortable on camera as you!”  

This has been said to me over and over again in recent months.

You guys, I need let you in on something… something that might surprise you quite a bit: I WAS TERRIFIED OF LIVE VIDEO when I first started.

(And yes, I’m using all caps. But that statement deserves all caps! Some people are terrified of snakes or spiders or tornadoes… Me? I would have chosen to kill a snack or spider or live through a tornado over going live on video any day!)Continue Reading

13 Things to Do When Your Blog Post Goes Viral

Have you had a post go viral? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to turn that into more than a short term spike in traffic!

Here are my top tips on what to do when one of your posts goes viral:

1. Examine why it went viral. Did you have a great title or beautiful image? Was it a topic that is widely relatable to many people? Did a larger blogger share your post? Examine why it went viral, and think about how you might be able to replicate that again in the future on other posts.

2. Say thank you. If your post went viral as a result of someone sharing your post, be sure to go and tell them thank you! So often, just a simple and genuine thank you can open up the door to a relationship with a larger blogger.Continue Reading

Stop Doing What the Bigwig Bloggers Do

It’s so easy to look around and get distracted by what all the “cool kids” in the blogosphere are doing. The more you pay attention to them, the more tempting it is to begin to think that you need to pattern your posts, your Instagram stories, your Pinterest images, and your blogging goals after them.

But I’ve learned a thing or two in the past 13+ years of blogging, and one of those is this: You should never do something just because all of the bigwig bloggers are doing it.

In fact, that’s just a really good rule of life! Don’t do something just because it seems like “everyone else” is doing it. Continue Reading

The 3 Most Important Things to Look For in an Email Service Provider

With the launch of our newest course, Email List Setup 101, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to get an email list set up — more specifically, how to choose a great email service provider.

As a new blogger, setting up an email list is one of the most important things you can do to boost your blog’s likelihood of success for the longterm. But what exactly should one look for in an email service provider?

If you’re looking to get your email list started the right way from the start, here are some important things to look for when choosing an email service provider:Continue Reading

3 Things You Should Stop Doing in Your Blog Posts

I am currently leading a group of 200+ bloggers through my 4-Week Live Blog Coaching Program. Last week, we talked about how to better monetize our blog posts, and I assigned them the project of writing a blog post using at least one affiliate link.

They submitted these blog posts to me, and I chose some of them to critique on live video. I noticed three things over and over again in posts that people need to stop doing.

I got up on my soapbox on the live video critique to talk about why my coaching students need to stop doing these things, and I thought they were so important to remember, that I wanted to devote an entire post to them, too!

1. Stop Using Boring Titles

If you use a title that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t sound interesting or intriguing enough, you’re going to have trouble getting people to click through and read your blog post!

For instance, one of my coaching students had titled her post “Counting Games for Preschoolers With Pompoms”. While that does tell you a little bit about what the post is about and it does use keywords, it’s a pretty bland title.

After my critique of her post, she changed the title to “How to Teach Your Preschooler to Count With Pompoms”. Do you see how much better that is? It tells you how she’s going to solve a problem and help you with a struggle that you might have (i.e. teaching your preschooler how to count).

Another student wrote a fantastic post on gift cards and how she had lost money by not having a good organizational system for them. She had originally titled her post “Tackle the Gift Card Chaos” — which didn’t really tell you what problem she was going to solve or cause you to be intrigued enough to click through.

When she changed her title to “Never Lose a Gift Card Again”, she completely transformed how interesting her post was. Because now you know that she’s got some extremely helpful idea or system and you have to click through to see what it is!

2. Stop Using Stock Photos

I know, I know! Taking your own photos is more work — and it requires a little bit of practice to take decent photos. But it will take your blog from blah to amazing.

Why? Because truly, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Real photos of your real house and your real books and your real life make you human. People don’t have connections to stock photos; they have connections to humans.

This is why Instagram is so effective. Because people love real photos. They love following people who they feel like they know through photos (and sometimes, videos) online.

Now, that said, I do think there is a time and a place for stock photos. For instance, I mostly use stock photos here because this is a more professional blog, and I’m not blogging about my life or my family or even much about behind-the-scenes. This blog is about helping you take your blog to the next level.

But if I only posted stock photos over on, people would never have the connection to me and my husband and my kids and my life that they do. They’ve watched my kids grow up. They seen photos of my messy house and my clean house.

They’ve seen photos of flopped food I’ve cooked and amazing food I’ve cooked. They seem photos of my grocery shopping trips, failed frugal experiments, amazing savings, freebies I’ve gotten in the mail, and many, many photos of our every day life.

This is why they trust me and continue to follow me as I grow and morph and change. This is why they read what I wrote, watch my videos, tell their friends about my site, buy my books and courses, check out products I promote, and continue to come back day after day.

Photo tip: Turn off the flash and all lights and take your photos mid-day in the brightest natural lighting possible (I sometimes take photos outside if I’m struggling to get good lighting!).

3. Stop Using Long Paragraphs

People skim posts. It’s just the nature of readers on the internet. They rarely will stop and read every word of a post — especially a long post.

That’s why breaking things up with header text, bullet points, and short paragraphs is essential.

I recommend no more than 2-3 shorter sentences per paragraph and no more than 3-4 lines per paragraph. If your paragraph is longer than 3-4 lines, figure out how to split it into two paragraphs.

Yes, it goes against all the rules you probably learned when you were writing short stories and essays in English class, but trust me, your readers will appreciate it. And there’s a good chance that people will read more of what you’re writing if you’re making it easier for them to read.

What are some of your biggest blogging pet peeves or things you wish people would stop doing in their blog posts? I’d love to hear!

3 Insider Tips To Get a Guest Post Accepted

guest post

Writing guest posts for other blogs is an easy (and free!) way to broaden your reach, increase your traffic, and (hopefully) build your online following.

In order to have a guest post published on another site, you first need get your post accepted by the site owner or editor. This can be a process that requires some effort, but it is worth the effort!

Over the years, I’ve accepted hundreds of guest posts on my site, and I’ve rejected thousands of guest posts and guest post pitches for my site. So I wanted to share three insider tips on how to get a guest post accepted…Continue Reading

How to Make Money Blogging — Without Being a Sleazy Salesperson

digital marketing

Does the idea of making money on your blog through marketing make you feel a bit icky? Does the word “marketing” leave a bad taste in your mouth?

If so, then I think you can relate to my reader Angie a lot. 

Recently Angie wrote to me expressing her concern about starting her first blog, wondering if she could actually make money blogging without marketing. She didn’t like the idea of marketing at all, and was hoping for some advice. Here’s what she said:

I have lots of strong values (e.g., ethical products, environment care, standing strong against marketing strategies) so I feel like it would almost be going against my values to create a blog that makes money because how could I do that? But I still want to share what I’ve been learning because surely there are people like me.  So I was just wondering if you guys have any thoughts. ~Angie

I applaud Angie for not wanting to compromise her values for a quick buck. However, I couldn’t help but feel that Angie’s hangup may be due to a very common misperception of what marketing is … or should I say, what good marketing is.Continue Reading