We have been spending a lot of time actually LEARNING how to blog. Now that we're doing the research, we keep re-reading the same thing over and over again: "blogging is a FULL-TIME JOB." And it's true!! We had no idea how much truly goes into this. Not only do you have to keep up with writing (which so far hasn't been a problem for us!) but we also keep finding things to improve on our page (and now we're actually changing our blogging platforms soon!). Making sure our page looks good and has good content is just part of the whole blogging thing. There's also social media - social media outlets that I didn't even know existed - and a number of things that go into keeping up with these platforms. Pinterest is WAY more than we all think it is. Who knew?? Pinterest seems to open up a world for all of us bloggers and present us with opportunities we didn't know were attainable so early on. We seriously owe a lot of our Pinterest knowledge to Carly who writes the Mommy on Purpose Blog. She wrote an e-book that was super helpful for us and referenced us to a lot of other useful e-books, websites, and sources to find the information we needed. (Shout out to my sister, Mary, for directing us to Carly's blog... through Pinterest of course!) We also want to shout out Hanna from ratedbyhanna.wordpress.com who has given us tips here and there throughout this blogging process! We're so lucky to have these two dedicated followers and the many others who have supported our blog!
We've been learning a great deal about Affiliates, Plugins, Analytics, and more. So this is our short & sweet blogger 101 for beginner bloggers:
- Affiliates: We call these our partners. They are companies that you link up with to get Ads onto your site. You should definitely consider doing this the moment you publish your first blog because when people click on your ad and purchase something through your link, you get a commission. You can check out our list of affiliates at the bottom of this page. We used CJ Affiliates and Awin Affiliates to get some of our affiliates.
- When using affiliates, you need to put a disclaimer message on your blog. We've added ours to the footer of every page so you can check it out there!
- Plugins: These are software programs that add features to your website. Some examples include Social Share Buttons (a definite for all blogs), Email Subscription Pop Up (also a must), Pin It Buttons for images, etc. This one we're still learning about but it's something to look in to when you're first starting out. Make sure you understand how they work and don't overdo it with the plugins; they can slow down your page. There are a lot of great articles about plugins that you can find on Pinterest!
- Analytics: There are a number of ways to track your page views and unique viewers. We use Google Analytics to track this information. Set this up right away so you're able to document where your site traffic is coming from. That'll help you focus on building up that traffic source to continue gaining viewers from that platform. And help you find out where you aren't gaining followers who translate to blog readers.
There is truly so much that goes into blogging and you need to be ready to take on this full-time job. Ricky & I are lucky to be able to divide and conquer as we both have 9-5 full-time jobs, but it is still a lot of work. We've each found our specialty areas and we're able to focus on the items involved in building the blog that we understand the most. If you're just starting a blog, reach out to us and we can tell you more about the things that we've learned thus far! If you are a seasoned blogger and have tips, we'd love to hear them!
Here's where we need to thank our first few affiliate partnerships:
Amazon: My first stop every time I need to buy pretty much anything is Amazon these days. I buy makeup products here, electronics, clothes, shoes, etc. Love Amazon so much! They have great deals and competitive prices so it's definitely worth the browse :) Now, if you NEED to purchase something, please click our link and head to Amazon! But don't go spending money if it's only a want and not a need! But don't go spending money if it's only a want and not need. You can seriously get caught up shopping on Amazon for hours!
Romwe: This is one of my favorite online shopping stores for fashion needs. They have the cutest trends on here and have sales all the time (their 60% off emails always get me!) I've got a number of cute tops, sweaters (that I'm obsessed with), bathing suits, and dresses from here. The few sweaters that I got from Romwe are my absolute favorites. I see them in my closet every day and they make me excited for the fall (which is never the case!) When Ricky and I launch our Fashion Gallery, you'll get to see my favorite pieces!
eBay: This is Ricky's go to place for purchases. When we got our Tandem Bike, he got all of the accessories (new seats, new handlebars, cell phone holders, etc.) on eBay. Anytime we mention we need something, Ricky hits eBay and I hit Amazon and we see what the best option is. They've expanded so much in the last 3-5 years and I've started purchasing clothing on here as well. So many good options!
FabFitFun: We are super excited to be partners with FabFitFun #FabFitFunPartner !! This is one of my favorite topics to talk about when I talk beauty & fashion. I've had the opportunity to try out so many new products through FabFitFun and learn about a number of incredible products (check out one of my favorites RealHer) You can get $10 off by using the code SUNSHINE here! #FabFitFun @fabfitfun
Naked Zebra: This place is located right in the heart of LA and it carries super cute & trendy clothes! It's good quality clothing. When you head to their site, you're going to get hooked so be ready!
We're so grateful for the opportunities that this blog is creating for us and the future of this blog. Can't wait to keep sharing with all of you!