I know it’s a little crazy to be thinking about Christmas when we haven’t even had Halloween yet, but my husband and I have been talking about what we’re going to get everybody for Christmas. I’m pretty sure my mother in law does her Christmas shopping as soon as school starts, something that I wish I could be better about! We’ve been busy working on our budget for Christmas this year and have been putting money aside at the end of the summer so that we aren’t left stranded this holiday!
Taking my 1 year old into the store has been challenging lately so I’ve resorted to shopping online as much as possible. While trying to figure out what we want to get everybody for Christmas, I came across a site called Uncommon Goods. They have Christmas gifts for everybody and all of their products are cruelty free. None of their products contain leather, feathers or fur and have also featured products that contain recycled components. Another great thing about Uncommon Goods is they have a passion for giving back and created the Better Give Back Program. When you make a purchase through their website, Uncommon Goods donates $1 to a non-profit organization that you choose at checkout.
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time finding gifts for my family, especially the men. My kids are generally pretty easy, and are helpful in letting us know what they want for Christmas. If you’re struggling with some ideas, I’ve found some great Christmas Gifts for Men and Women you have to check out:
To help put some ease into your Holiday planning, I’ve created this Holiday Shopping List printable to help keep you organized. Whether you’re trying to stick to a budget or need to remember what you’re planning on getting a friend or family member for the holidays, this is the perfect printable for you! There’s also a spot at the end of the sheet so that you can mark off that you’ve bought the gift and if it has been wrapped. I hope these gift ideas and shopping list helps you throughout the busy holiday season!
My 1st grader is a total goofball and knows it. He also loves hearing jokes and tries to make up his own knock knock jokes even if they aren’t very good. Now that he’s able to read, I thought it would be fun to put some Halloween Jokes in his lunches when he goes to school so he can get a bit of a laugh during the day. Now he can try and make his friends laugh in the lunch room too!
All of the answers are on the bottom of the of each cut out and upside down to make it a little trickier for your kiddo to see the answer. I like to print these Halloween Lunch Box Jokes onto cardstock so they don’t get destroyed in their lunch box. Scroll down below to grab your own lunchbox printables for your kids!
Who’s ready for the holidays to commence? The 1st of October means, to me at least, that the beginning of the holidays are finally about to start! I remember thinking last year I was just ready for them to end, but it’s amazing how another year flies by and I’m ready to get back into the holiday spirit!
This month’s wallpaper is a tad bit difference as I’ve added a Halloween Countdown Printable into the mix! You can print it out, frame it and use a chalk paint marker to write the remaining days until Halloween. My kids are so excited to dress up, our second kid can hardly contain his enthusiasm. We purchased Danny’s costume at the beginning of September (at little too early, right?) but we couldn’t pass it up since it was the costume he really wanted and we just wanted to get it out of the way. Our kids are going to be “what they want to be when they grow up” costumes. JD is going to be a baseball player, Danny will be a pilot, and Riley will be Doc McStuffins (a cuter version of a doctor). My husband has had their careers all lined up even before they were born, it is insane but somehow it has managed to work for the first two!! We’ll see how Riley feels in a couple of years.
Hopefully, these wallpapers + printables will get you into the Halloween spirit of things! Enjoy the month of October!
Welcome to part 2 of How to Start a Money Making Blog! Today I’m sharing tips that I wish I had known when I first started blogging and I hope this helps those who are new to blogging or those who are still figuring out how to earn some money on your blog. If you’re thinking about starting a blog to earn some money, see how on my previous post: How to Start a Money Making Blog.
Add Click Ads + Affiliate Advertising
Now that your blog is hosted, you can start adding click ads and affiliate banners and links! Google AdSense is a great place to start and you earn your commission through viewer clicks. ShareASaleis where you can find Affiliate Advertising and they have multiple affiliate programs to fit your blog style. Amazon has a great affiliate program and many bloggers find success through their program. You can add banners with your affiliate link on the side bar of your blog, but the best way to incorporate affiliates and make money through these programs is by including them in your post and mentioning a specific product.
While having advertising on your blog is great, it’s not much help when you don’t have visitors coming to your site. Here’s how you can increase traffic and start seeing some money come in.
Create Social Media Pages for your Blog
After creating your blog, this is the next important step. You’ll need to create a Facebook Page, Instagram Account, Twitter Account, and Pinterest Account. It will definitely keep you busy, but it is totally worth it! You’re viewers are going to want to see that you are active in the social media world and readers like bloggers who engage with them.
How to Grow Your Social Media + Email List
After you’ve set up your social media accounts, it’s time to find followers. But how do you get people to follow you on your social media accounts? I recently added MiloTree to my blog earlier this year and it has made a huge difference in my followers and my views! MiloTree is the little pop up in the corner or sidebar of your blog that asks if your viewers would like to follow you on social media. You can focus on one specific account like Facebook only, or add multiple social media accounts for your viewers to follow, but it only pops up one social media for each visit, not all of them at once. Instead, it rotates your social media for each visitor.
Your e-mail list is another great way to get viewers to come back to your blog. You’ll want to set up an e-mail marketing newsletter so that you can let readers know what’s new on your blog. MailChimp is easy to set up and it’s free for the first 2,000 subscribers on your e-mail list, and you can send up to 12,000 emails per month.
Getting readers to subscribe to your e-mail list is really easy with Hello Bar. It’s just like MiloTree, but it pops up right in the middle of your page. You can link Hello Bar with Mail Chimp, as well as many other e-mail marketing newsletters.
Post “Blog-Worthy” Content
You might see this a lot, but I cannot stress the truth on this statement. Starting out is going to be busy, especially if you want to have people viewing your blog. When I first started blogging, I created day and night, and posted 3 times a week. It was A LOT! When I finally felt like I had enough blog posts, I started to slow down and learned that it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality in your posts. I posted a lot just to get people to see my blog, but I didn’t see a lot of growth. When I did finally post something that was generating a lot of traffic, I took my time to think of other posts that would continue to increase traffic on my blog. Now, I try and post once a week so that I have time to create a quality design and not rush through it, and also because I still have a family to take care of. J
Team Up with Other Bloggers in your Niche
As I kept posting more content to my blog, I was looking for other ways to increase traffic. I remember seeing opportunities to be a guest blogger on other popular blogs and “applying” for a spot. I did a guest post for Eighteen25, and they liked my work so much, they asked me to be a contributor to their blog, and I post every other month for them. It was a great opportunity for me and I see more traffic because of that.
Other ways you can team up with bloggers is by commenting on fellow bloggers’ posts. I remember seeing comments from Rae of Sparkles on my posts, and I was so excited and appreciated that she took the time to comment on my posts and returned the favor! We would occasionally share each other’s posts through Instagram and that helped with getting more viewers over to the blog.
Social media is also a great way to connect! Team up with bloggers in your niche by creating a group board on Pinterest, or a Facebook group and exchange pins/posts to share. The best way to find bloggers to team up with is by connecting with those who have the same amount (or close to) of followers you do on their social media pages.
When I first started blogging, I only Pinned my post once because I thought you were only allowed 1 pin. Turns out, you are able to pin your post more than once! Total game changer! Here’s how you can continue to post your pin more than once.
First, make sure if you have more than one image on your post. More pictures equal more opportunities for your post to get noticed. If you have 3 images on your post, you’ll be able to pin all three images and it’s a great way to get your pins circulating through Pinterest.
You’ll also want to save each picture as something that relates to the blog title or post. If someone wants to pin an image from your post, they’re not saving it to Pinterest as “Image1234”. You need to give it a good description so that it is easy to find when others are looking for a subject relating to your title. For example, one of my blog posts is titled “Bill Pay Checklist,” and I have 4 images that can be pinned on Pinterest. I can save these images as “Bill Pay Checklist,” “Bill Pay Checklist Printable,” “Monthly Bill Pay Checklist” and “Monthly Bill Pay Checklist Printable.” They are all similar, but they are still describing the post. Descriptions are very important when it comes to getting found!
Second, create multiple boards that relate to your blog’s niche. Remember how I said you can pin your post multiple times? This is where it comes in handy. Anything that your post relates to, make a board for it and add other pins from your blog and other blogs that are in the same category. The more pins that are in that board, the better and the more it will get noticed. Nobody wants to look at a board that only has a few pins under that category. Keep adding to it over time, and those extra pictures you used in your post, pin them here too!
Here’s how I put this into practice. I have a board for “Short Stop Design’s Posts,” and this includes all my posts from my blog. “Printables” has all my printables from my blog as well as many other printables I’ve found throughout Pinterest. “Organization”: I have a few calendar printables that I offer on my blog and that’s where I pin them, and everything else that relates to organization. If you have Holiday posts, divide those up into each holiday: Christmas, Halloween, Valentines Day, etc. Make multiple boards so that you can pin your posts in as many places as possible.
You should also try and pin from the original pin so that it has more opportunities to be viewed. What I mean by this is don’t keep going back to your blog and pin from your site, instead pin from your boards If you notice in the bottom right corner of each picture, there is a number that shows how many times the post has been pinned. The more pins it gets, the greater the chance it has to be noticed.
Third, find group boards that are in the same niche as your blog.Just like you would search for a pin, you would use the same search bar on Pinterest to find a specific board. My blog is mainly about offering Free Printables, so when I search for boards within the same niche I look for “Free Printables Group” or “Printables Group Boards.” After you have searched for your group, directly underneath the search bar you will see options for “All Pins,” “Your Pins,” “Buyable Pins,” “People” and “Boards.” You will then want to select “Boards” to find a group that fits your niche. Many of the groups have instructions on how to be added to the group, and some will have limitations on how many pins you can post. It is a great way to get your pins viewed by other users on Pinterest!
There is a lot that goes into making a successful money making blog, but these are the tips I wish I would have known when I first started blogging. These tips have helped my blog tremendously and I have seen a lot of success using these methods. Money does not come in right away, but it does over time if you are willing to put in the effort. When you first start off, there will be lots of late night or early mornings just to get your blog started. If you really want to blog and make money, keep at it and don’t give up!
*This post contains affiliate links. I receive a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.
We are approaching the 3-year anniversary of Short Stop Designs and I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you how it all started, and how you can start your own blog and make money doing what you love!
I have been seriously blogging for 3 years now, and it has been one of the best creative outlets for me! I’m a mom to 3 little ones, and as you can imagine life with kids can get a little hectic. Anytime my kids were asleep I’d use that time to design something for my home, make something for a friend or an invitation for someone in the family. This blog has allowed me develop my skill in graphic design by sharing my projects with readers and help make some money on the side!
I started blogging about 9 months after our second son, Danny, was born and we were on one income. My husband had recently joined the army, and I had quit my job a few weeks before Danny was born. I had been looking for ways to make money without having to go back to work so that I could stay home with my two boys, and I had done different things already to save money and earn money. I tried couponing, the rebate apps, and even tried the online survey apps. That was pretty much getting me nowhere fast. I was terrible at couponing, I believe I spent more money buying things I didn’t need because there was a coupon or a great deal on it, and the surveys were quite frankly, a big joke and waste of time.
I kept looking and looking, and kept seeing that you could make money from a blog. I already had a personal blog, so blogging wasn’t new to me, but what I was unsure of was what I going to blog about that would keep people interested? I kept racking my brain for some good ideas. What was I good at? What was I always looking at on Pinterest? After thinking about what I had learned from college and what I enjoyed doing, I settled on a blog that offered printables, DIY crafting projects and anything else that was similar to those two topics.
If you want to make some money, and you enjoy writing or sharing things with others, you should definitely consider starting a blog! Here are the steps you’ll need to make it happen:
Pick Your Niche
If you are seriously considering starting a blog, this is your first step. This will either be the easiest decision you will make, or one of the hardest when it comes to figuring out what you want your blog to be about. Here are some questions to ask yourself when coming up with a blog.
-What are you passionate about?
-Is it something that you won’t get tired of blogging about?
-Do you see yourself writing about this for a long time?
-Will this keep people interested?
– Are there other bloggers in this same niche?
-Is this something you can make money from?
Pick a Name
Once you’ve decided on your niche, here comes the fun part, picking a name for your blog. You’ll want to make sure it’s easy to remember, and pretty easy to spell. Extra points if you’re able to come up with something catchy!
I had a photography blog for a class in college, and it was titled: “McKissick Creations Photography.” That was a mouthful and not that easy to remember. I remember a friend telling me that it was a little too much for a title, so I only kept it for a semester. My personal blog was “Megan’s Short Stop” pretty much for the same reasons you’ll see in my About Me page. I liked it a lot, and I was bummed I had already used it. For my own reasons, I just didn’t want my personal blog and my new blog to be linked together. Lucky for me, since it was already my own blog, I didn’t feel bad for “stealing” it and using it for my new blog and changed it to Short Stop Designs.
Choose a Host
There are many different options out there when it comes to using a blog host. When I first started, I didn’t want to pay for a host for a couple reasons. The first reason, I wanted to see if this was something I was going to keep at. The second reason, I wasn’t ready to put in money for a blog that I wasn’t sure I was going to make any money on. That was a big mistake for me, mainly because you cannot big make money off a blog that is not hosted. If you want to add pay-per-click ads like AdThrive, BlogHer, etc, they want you to be hosted.
I researched many different types of hosting options and the one I chose was Bluehost, mostly because I had already heard really good things about them, and I knew that it would be easy to transfer my non-hosted blog from WordPress with Bluehost. It has been a great experience overall and I am happy with how easy it was to get my WordPress blog hosted. Plus, they’re technical support is helpful and they’re quick to respond, especially when you’re not tech savy! And the biggest reason for choosing Bluehost, their prices are affordable! You can host your blog for as low as $3.95/month. Here is the step-by-step on how to create your blog through Bluehost.
Go to Bluehost’s website and click the “Get Started Now” button.
Next you’ll need to select your plan. If you’re just starting out, their basic plan is the best place to start. If you need to, you can move up to a different plan later on.
Since you’ve already decided on your Blog Name, you’ll enter it on the left under “New Domain” or enter a domain you registered previously under “I have a domain name.”
This is where you’ll fill out all your account information and choose your package. You get the cheapest monthly rate of $3.95/month by selecting 36 months, but note that Bluehost charges you for the full 36 months upfront. It’s a big commitment, but if you want to build a successful money making blog, this would be a great way to keep you committed to building your blog. Another great thing about Bluehost is they offer a money-back guarantee.
The extras are optional, but the “Site Backup Pro” and “SiteLock Security – Find” are recommended!
Enter your payment information, confirm that you’ve read the Terms and Agreements and then click “next.”
You did it! You took the leap forward and purchased a hosting plan! From this point you will need to create a password to log in to your account.
Once you’ve created a password, log into your account.
This is the exciting part! You get to choose a theme, don’t worry you can always customize your theme or change it through WordPress’ free themes or purchase them later on.
Once you’ve picked a theme, click “start building.”
Before building your site, you will need to choose if you’re blog is going to a business blog or a personal blog.
At this point, your site has not been made public just yet. You can either create blog posts and pages before you launch your blog, or just take the plunge and launch before setting up your blog. Whichever route you decide to take, you will need to press the “launch” button before anyone can see your blog.
And for your final step, add a site title that welcomes your viewers, and a short description of what you’re blog is all about. Once you’ve completed that, click “next step.”
It’s official! You’ve created a web-hosted blog and have overcome the first obstacle of starting a money making blog!
We are getting to my favorite time of year! Cooler weather, fall smells, and the upcoming holidays. While they can be stressful at times, they are still fun and I love sharing these holidays with my kids.
These Halloween Treat Bags are fun to do with kiddos and are great to hand out to friends, your students, or use as party favors. They only take minutes to make and can be filled with any type of small candy.
Start by cutting out all your Treat bags & pieces. Fold along the gray lines, and fold the tops accordingly so that it forms a triangle as pictured.
For the Mummy: Skip to steps 2-4.
For the Witch: add hot glue to the top corns of the face, making sure that the flap is folded over so that it’s not accidentally glued instead. She will look like a bald witch at this point, totally normal. 🙂
Add the witch’s hat with hot glue. Skip to steps 2-4.
For Frankenstein: After folding, add Frankenstein’s pieces to the back of his “face.” Follow steps 2-4 below.
2. Insert the candy into the plastic treat bag, and cut the tops if desired.
3. Staple the candy bag to the back of the folded treat bag printable.
4. For all the printable Treat Bags, except the pumpkin, add tape or a glue gun to seal the candy bag in the back to cover the staple.
For the Pumpkin: Hole punch two holes at the top of the treat bag once the flap has been folded over.
Insert the ribbon into the holes and tie the ends together, and you’re done!
I got a Cricut for my birthday, and I fell in love! There are so many things you can create with it and one of my most favorite things to make are these Happy Birthday Glitter Gift tags. Let me tell you, they look so pretty and so perfect on presents and really add some “sparkle” to your gifts! I’m sharing how to make them over at Eighteen25and these are great for making ahead of time!
These are the perfect addition to any gift, and they even add some eye candy to a batch of cookies you’re handing out to a friend, or around a mason jar like the one pictured above! Tie these gift tags with some baker’s twine to presents wrapped in tissue paper, or a brown gift bag and you’ve got an elegantly wrapped present. 🙂 There is no wrong way to use these gift tags, and you’re friends will love them!
I know we’re still technically in the Summer season when we hit September, but in all fairness Fall does begin later in the month, and I am ready for some Fall. I am not a hot weather person, although I’m not a cold weather person either, but if I had to choose I would definitely prefer the Fall season over any other time of the year. 🙂
Since Fall is on my mind, I was inspired by it for this month’s wallpaper and printable! I took one of my favorite designs from the 2018 Printable Calendar, and changed up the colors to represent Fall, and I love it! Anyone else ready for some cooler temps?
I’ve been married for 8 years, and I still do not have an effective way to keep track of my bills. Granted, a lot of our bills are on auto pay but sometimes I cannot remember for the life of me how much exactly comes out. This totally drives me crazy and I’ve been wanting to make one of these for a while, and I thought it was finally time! So here is something to help you keep track of your own bills at home!
These are perfect to keep on your office wall, fridge, binder, or anywhere that will help remind you when an upcoming bill is due. I’ve created a yearly checklist as well as a monthly checklist or for those payments that are not a reoccurring monthly bill. I hope these help keep you stay organized and prepared for those routine payments!
I can’t believe that the beginning of the school year is just around the corner! The summer always seems to go by faster than I plan and while it has been fun, it has also been a little crazy in our house with 3 little kiddos running around (I’m sure many of you moms know exactly what I mean). This year, we’ll be putting our 3 year old in pre-school for the first time and I know he’s super excited about it! He’s been waiting to go ever since his brother started kindergarten last year.
Today, I’m happy to share with you a “First Day of School Sign” that you can use to capture your cute kiddos on the first day of a new school year. These make it so much easier to help you remember what they looked like on the first day of school in a new grade and what year they actually started that grade. They’re also great for scrapbooking or using them as a binder cover that you keep your child’s projects in for safekeeping.
I’d love to see how you use your First Day of School sign on Instagram! Have a great school year!