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How to Start a Blog for Beginners

This post contains affiliate links.

If you are wondering how to start a blog or perhaps feel like you missed a step when creating a blog, WELCOME! Starting a blog is not as complicated as you might think, and this post will prove it with step-by-step details and instructions.

In 2010, I started a blog to share the grocery deals I was able to purchase using coupons. My goal was aimless and my understanding of how a blog worked was nonexistent. I thought of my blog as a place to share more detailed information than I could on Facebook.

You can start a blog! This step-by-step guide makes starting a blog look easy... because it is. Build the necessary foundation and create a blog with income potential.

After two years of start, stop, and start again blogging, I realized that people all over the blogosphere were actually making money with their websites. Since we were in a financial pit, I was determined to learn more.

What is a blog?

When a friend first told me that I should start a blog, I was confused. I had never heard the term before and asked her, “What’s a blog?” It’s funny now – six years later – that I teach others to make money blogging.

A blog, formerly referred to as “weblog,” is a website where an individual or group of individuals routinely share stories, tutorials, images, videos, and other content.

While the primary content on most blogs is text, many blog authors use images, video, and audio as additions and alternatives for creating their websites.

Reasons to start a blog

Many people start blogging as an online diary without intending for their content to be seen while others create a blog in an effort to build a career. And yet, many others begin blogging as a hobby only to realize that blogging can be a very profitable business.

Due to the increasing popularity of blogging, many companies have added a content marketing strategy to their promotional efforts by creating a blog on their business websites. By producing high-quality content that solves problems, brands and bloggers can attract their ideal client or reader and grow a community of like-minded people.

How expensive is blogging?

One thing that keeps many people from starting a blog is the perceived expense. However, blogging is one of the most affordable hobbies/small businesses to begin.

To purchase a kit in a direct sales business, you will pay $19 and up with the average starter kit costing $99. [SOURCE]

In order to start blogging, you need the following:

That’s it!

Step-by-step guide to starting a blog

If you are ready to create a blog, I am happy to guide you through the process. Bookmark or pin this post to keep handy and take each step slowly. Or, download this post as a printable.

You can start a blog! This step-by-step guide makes starting a blog look easy... because it is. Build the necessary foundation and create a blog with income potential.

Identify your purpose.

While starting a blog is not difficult, beginning with a clearly defined purpose will focus your content. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you plan to make blogging a career?
  • Are you blogging for fun?
  • Are you attempting to create a community that will buy your product?
  • Will your blog be an extension of a ministry?

Or perhaps you could answer, “All of the above?” Blogging can meet all of these needs.

Narrow your topic.

Once your purpose is clear, you should start narrowing the subject of your blog.

Chances are, you have tons of topics about which you could write. When I started, I would write a bit about coupons, add a recipe here or there, and post “happy birthday” messages to my kids. My content was totally random.

If you are just writing as a hobby, your topic is not as important as a niche is for a profitable blog. You can write about whatever you want and whenever you want. Your consistency and content can ebb and flow with your creativity.

However, if you are determined to create a career from blogging or are trying to gather a community, you must find your blog niche as soon as possible in this process.

When I decided to treat my blog like a business, I had to stop posting casual messages to my kids on their birthdays (I save those for social media) and write with intent. My goal was to draw an audience that would eventually buy my products and the products I promoted from other sources.

Yes, there are still moments when I think, “Wow. That would make a GREAT blog post.” But, if the topic doesn’t fit my niche, I save those ideas to use as guest posts on other blogs.

>>Check out this exhaustive list of blog niches for inspiration.<<

Define your audience.

The most successful bloggers understand who their audience is and what their problems are. When you can create content that feeds your readers the solutions they need, you will create a community of raving followers.

Think about the type of person you want to attract to your blog by asking yourself several questions:

  • Where does she/he live?
  • Is she/he married? Divorced? Etc.?
  • How many children does she/he have?
  • What does she/he do for a living?
  • What does she/he dream about?
  • What is her/his biggest problem?
  • What does she/he worry about?
  • What is she/he planning to do within the next 6 months?
  • Etc.

Create an ideal reader, or avatar, that is so clearly defined you have no doubts about why that person is reading your website.

Shop for domain names.

With your topic in mind, you can brainstorm a list of potential domains for your blog.

Your blog’s domain name is the address at which people will locate you.

You can search and purchase a domain for as little as $0.99 for the first year at GoDaddy and NameCheap or get it for free when you start an account with Siteground. (More on that below.)

Before purchasing your domain name, consider these tips:

  • Shorter domains are better because they are easier to say and remember.
  • Avoid cutesy misspelled words in your domain as it makes finding you more difficult.
  • Do not use numbers since people will not know whether to spell the number or use the numeric form when typing your domain name.
  • Avoid hyphens because they are also difficult to say and remember.
  • Choose a domain ending with .com over any other domain extension as it is the most popular and fits most situations.
  • Pick words that clearly represent your topic to avoid confusing readers.

If someone is already using the domain you love, you can attempt to contact them and offer to buy the domain name from them. However, expect to pay a lot of money for the domain name, especially if it is currently in use.

Find a blog host.

Next, you need a host for your blog.

If a domain is your blog’s address, then the web host is the plot of land where your blog resides. Essentially, you are renting a spot on the internet, and the host is your landlord.

How to choose webhosting can be confusing since so many popular bloggers promote companies because of the large commission they receive and not due to the quality service that a host offers.

Hobby bloggers can browse free hosting options but investigate the differences between Blogger and WordPress carefully. Some free hosting companies may limit your flexibility and options. However, bloggers intending to profit should invest in a paid hosting solution.

The Inspired Bloggers University is hosted on Rainmaker because it is a highly comprehensive service that includes many of the options I need, but it is overkill for new bloggers.

While no host is always perfect, one of the most reputable companies right now is Siteground.

A fabulous step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog.

Due to the number of bloggers in the Inspired Bloggers Network who are thrilled with the service they receive, I feel very comfortable recommending Siteground to those who are starting a blog.

You can start a blog! This step-by-step guide makes starting a blog look easy... because it is. Build the necessary foundation and create a blog with income potential.

Choose a host that has raving reviews from people who are not trying to gain clicks through their affiliate links.

>>Read more about choosing a web host for your blog.<<

Install WordPress.

A blog needs a content management system that helps translate the geek-speak into common language. The majority of successful bloggers use WordPress, a free program available through most major hosting companies.

Don’t be intimidated by this step. Within the dashboard of your hosting company, you should have the option to “1-Click Install” WordPress. One click. That’s all. Then, a series of simple prompts – like entering your title – that helps you get your website running.

You can start a blog! This step-by-step guide makes starting a blog look easy... because it is. Build the necessary foundation and create a blog with income potential.

With Siteground, you can select a domain and start installing WordPress from the same screen.

Let me pause for just a second to clear up one confusing topic that often arises when you mention “Wordpress.”

WordPress offers a free hosting option but as I mentioned, a free host may limit your ability to grow, monetize, and make enhancements to your website. Blogs hosted by WordPress are referred to as “ blogs.”

I recommend using WordPress as the content management software of your “self-hosted” blog. Yes, you are renting space with a web host but you are still considered to be “self-hosted” when you use software.

Choose a blog theme.

A blog theme defines the features that allow you to personalize how your blog looks.

When you install WordPress, the program will use the latest free theme designed by WordPress as default.

The default WordPress theme is a great place to start. When you are ready for more features, you can add a premium theme.

Why not use the other free themes in WordPress or found on the internet?

The primary reason to not use a free theme for WordPress is security. Not all free themes are updated as often as they should be to keep your website secure. Some free themes may also include malware or hidden scripts that allow your website security to be compromised.

Free themes (not created by WordPress) may also impact your SEO (search engine optimization), website speed, navigation, and ability to receive customer support.

>>Read more about why you should avoid free WordPress themes.<<

When you are ready to invest in a new theme, the Genesis Framework by Studio Press offers a secure alternative with an abundance of premium features as well as outstanding customer support.

You can start a blog! This step-by-step guide makes starting a blog look easy... because it is. Build the necessary foundation and create a blog with income potential.

The Genesis Framework gives your website a reliable structure and responsive design. Then, you add a “child theme” to give it the colors and style.

Studiopress has a variety of child themes available that you can purchase as a bundle with the Genesis Framework. If you prefer a child theme with a more feminine appeal, Restored 316 Designs offers child themes compatible with Genesis.

Install an email subscriber widget.

One of the most important aspects of starting a blog (and most neglected) is collecting email subscribers. Many bloggers think they should wait for a certain milestone before gathering subscribers. In reality, you should begin building your email list immediately.

Your email list is the primary tool you will use when communicating with your readers. Email is more reliable than social media and gives you the benefit of more personalized contact with your followers.

You can begin building your email list for free using Mailchimp or Mad Mimi although you will need to upgrade to send autoresponders (also referred to as automations or drip campaigns).

how to start a blog and email

I personally use ConvertKit, which might be a little more expensive but is totally worth the price for the added features. I can protect my email subscribers from too much or useless information by tagging them based on their preferences. This keeps my email open rate higher than sending the same email to all of my subscribers.

Why are autoresponders important?

Autoresponders are necessary when sending content to email subscribers as they sign up. Readers are more willing to surrender their email addresses when you are offering them an incentive or content upgrade. However, they do not like to wait. Autoresponders work without someone triggering an email to send.

One word of caution… When getting email subscribers with freebies, be thoughtful about your offer. The temptation is to collect as many email subscribers as possible, but you must remember your ideal reader and create something that will be helpful to their unique needs. The quality of your email subscribers is much more important than the quantity.

Sign up for social media accounts.

Social media is a necessary component of a profitable blog as many advertisers use the number of followers across various social media platforms as an indicator of a blog’s total reach.

Typically, bloggers create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Google+ is also popular especially if you want to use SEO or Google+ Collections to increase the number of visitors to your blog.

As you build your social media, stay focused on your ideal reader and share quality content that solves their problems.

Be aware that social media can be a tremendous time-suck. You can streamline your social media with tools like Hootsuite and Tailwind.

>>Browse more resources for maintaining your social media.<<

Write 10 to 20 high-quality posts.

Once your blog is structurally sound, visually appealing, and has promotional outlets established, you are ready to write your content.

Consider your ideal reader and their most pressing concerns. From what you know about your reader avatar, brainstorm a list of potential topics.

Your blog content should start with three categories. Once you have enough content to create a strong base, you can expand your topics. However, a blog should consist of no more than eight categories. Total.

Each of your posts should provide the best quality content possible. Also, include at least one vertical image because beautiful pictures are essential for using Pinterest, the quickest way to generate blog traffic.

Begin promoting your blog.

After you have ten to twenty posts written and published, start promoting your blog.

You can boost your blog traffic by using social media, regular email to subscribers, networking with other bloggers, etc.

With consistent effort, you will see traffic increase to your blog. When you reach 10,000 pageviews a month, you are ready to make money blogging.

More resources for creating a blog

Get started with your own blog

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9 Things Pro-Bloggers Know about Blog Content Creation

Content is King! Bloggers know… but do you struggle with planning quality blog content?

Blogging for beginners - What the professional bloggers know about blog content that you should know too.Regardless of any angst, content creation is the most important thing you do as a blogger. The majority of your time should be spent on planning and developing amazing content.

Optimizing Your Blog Posts

One of the printables that you receive with the Blog Success Planner is the Blog Post Optimization Checklist. This printable prompts you to review your current and old posts for maximum impact.

1) Check for errors.

First of all, you want to review your content for obvious errors. I understand that life happens and you cannot always write your blog content weeks in advance. However, you should write your post and save it as a draft. Then go back in the next day – or maybe a week later – and read the blog post to check for errors.

Why wait that long to review the post for typos?

Because if you are like me, you tend to get glazed over. You know, I write it all out and think, “There are no mistakes here!” Then, I will proof it quickly and will not see anything. I hit publish and sure enough… somebody is going to email me to say, “I think you didn’t mean to say ‘you.’ You meant to say ‘your.’” You get numb to your typos.

So go back and check for obvious errors:  punctuation, spelling, grammar. If you are not great with grammar, I recommend Grammarly.

Grammarly is a FREE browser extension that automatically checks for up to 250 types of grammatical mistakes, contextual spelling errors, and poor vocabulary usage.

2) Review for relevance.

This step is very important especially if you are going back and reviewing an old post.

An evergreen post that means it is going to be great information over and over and over again. The post might be seasonal but the content will still apply later. For instance, if you write a post this December that will also apply next December. I consider that an evergreen post.

It is very important to revisit old posts seasonally. Review your evergreen content and cycle
the posts through your social media again. Just make sure it is still relevant.

3) Use quality images.

Look at your post images through a fresh set of eyes. Create your featured image and then ask a blogging friend to take a peek.

Your images should be used legally. If you have questions about copyright, Creative Commons, or where to find free stock photos, download The Blogger’s Guide to Royalty Free Images.

Your featured photo also needs to be pinnable. What does that mean?

Pinnable images are long, not horizontal but vertical. Edit your photos in ratios of 2×3, 4×6, 4×5, and 5×7. Vertical images take up more real estate on Pinterest, and you will get you more attraction from the feed.

Are you Pinteresting? Audit your blog and Pinterest account using this step by step assessment.
Are you Pinteresting? Audit your blog and Pinterest account using this step by step assessment.

Horizontal images do not capture as much attention in the feed because everything else is long, beautiful, and vertical.

But, I think having a horizontal image optimized for Facebook is also a great strategy. The two images (one for Pinterest and one for Facebook) do not need to look exactly alike but they can.

If you do not want duplicate images in different sizes within your blog post, there are ways to hide images behind the background. If you upload an image to the social tab of WordPress SEO by Yoast, you can use a different image for Facebook that is seen only when shared.

4) Check your SEO keywords.

As you are reviewing your content, make sure your keywords are in the:

  • title of the blog post
  • URL (or permalink)
  • image alt
  • etc.

We have a separate checklist for SEO is in the SEO section of the Blog Success Planner.

5) Insert monetized links.

Have at least one or two monetized links in each post. These links include your affiliate links,
referral links, some type of commissionable link where you are directing traffic towards that click so if you make a sale you get the credit for it.

6) Include links to related blog content.

Do you have links within your post to other related content on your blog? Ideally, you want to keep people on your blog for as long as possible.

If you review your Google Analytics and notice that readers are not clicking on additional pages, you need to go back and evaluate whether your post is linking to other content on your blog.

9 Tips for Better Blog Post Creation
Get the Blog Success Planning Pages for FREE when you subscribe below.

I recommend including a list of related content at the bottom of your post. For instance, let’s say your post is about homemade Christmas decorations. You know that you have two or three other posts about homemade Christmas decorations or something else related to Christmas. Then, at the bottom of your post, you would type “Other Homemade Christmas Ornament Ideas” as a subheading and list posts.

Anyone who makes it to the bottom of your blog post is a perfect candidate for subscribing.

Why place this list at the bottom? Because if the reader has reached the bottom of your post,  they are willing to click around and see if you have more content on that topic. Anyone who makes it to the bottom of your post is a perfect candidate for subscribing. The more readers see that you have related to what they like, the apter they are to subscribe.

Managing the Frequency of Your Blog Content

How often you post is a personal decision. You might only post once a week. You might only post once a month. However, whatever you choose to do, do consistently.

7) Accept that seasons change.

The more often you post the higher your page views will be.

I have gone through seasons where I will post every day because there is an ebook bundle sale, and I want to drive traffic to my links. Right now, I am in a season where I cannot post as often.

Did I make that change suddenly? No! I back off the amount of content I am pushing out each week slowly. I might transition from five posts a week to three posts a week for a couple of weeks. Then, I will post twice a week for a month or so before shifting to one post a week.

The point is: if you do need to change the pace at which you post blog content, change slowly.

I want to maintain a consistency and predictability, but at the same time, I know those moments in life are going to happen when I cannot be writing as much content and maintain quality.

The point is: if you do need to change your pace, change slowly. Don’t just make a sudden shift and by all means… do not announce to your readers that you are making a change because 1) they don’t really care, and 2) it shows you are inconsistent.

8) Post to most popular categories regularly.

When you are planning your monthly content in your Blog Success Planner, take into account any special events and holidays but also verify you are maintaining consistency in how often you post to your categories.

Do I post to every category every month? No, I don’t.

Research your most popular categories – where people are clicking most often – and consider it an indicator of what they are really wanting to read.  Then, publish to those categories consistently. Add new blog content to those categories frequently.

9) Plan your publication dates.

As you brainstorm post ideas and know how often you are posting that month, use the blog post schedule to evenly space your content throughout the month.

You do not want to post five posts in one week and then… your readers hear crickets. It’s like choking readers with too much and then starving them for the rest of the month.

No matter how passionate you are about that topic, no matter how badly you are wanting to push that blog content out, space it out evenly.

Content is King. We all know.


But it sure can feel overwhelming to create amazing content week after week.

With these FREE content planning pages, you’ll discover the secret to creating memorable (and profitable) blog posts. And you’ll feel more organized, less overwhelmed and more productive with your time!

Powered by ConvertKit


Worksheets reviewed in this video:

  • Blog Post Optimization Checklist (0:12)
  • Monthly Content Plan (7:16)
  • Blog Post Schedule (8:04)
  • Blog Post Planner (8:55)

Products mentioned in this video:

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The Blogger’s Guide to Royalty Free Images

When you need an image for a post or product and do not have the opportunity to take a picture, you look for a reputable website with royalty free images… and you get frustrated. Right?

But don’t fret, my friend! Free stock photos are easy to find if you know where to look. Grab this list of over 80 places to get royalty free images.

Have you broken copyright law without knowing it? Free stock photos are easy to find if you know where to look. Grab this guide of important terms to know and a list of over 80 places to get royalty free images.

However, while there are places to find copyright free images, you need to understand the legalese to avoid getting into trouble using stock photography that requires additional licensing.

Stop! Have you made these copyright mistakes?

Have you ever used a photo you discovered through an internet search?

Did you think the photo was free because it did not have a watermark?

Have you used a photo because you do not blog for profit and thought you would not be prosecuted since you are not a business?

Did you comply with a DMCA takedown notice by removing a photo and feel like “all is well”?

Do you have a disclaimer on your website saying that you “do not claim copyright to any of the images” on your blog?

Answer “yes” to any of these questions and you are in jeopardy of copyright infringement.

Understanding copyright

Every photograph, blog post, graphic… everything created and published in the internet is immediately covered by copyright law whether it is register or not. Even if an image is void of watermark, the intellectual property rights belong to the original photographer and may not be used without permission or licensing.


>>Read more about copyright for bloggers.

>>Learn about United States Copyright.

>>Learn about International Copyright.

Finding free images through search

Many internet newbies make a huge mistake by searching for an image with a search engine like Google Images or Pinterest and assume that if the photograph is online, it is readily available for any use.

Not so!

Actually, the majority of images that show up in searches are all copyrighted images.

>>Read more about Copyright and Fair Use of images.

Whether an image carries a watermark or not, it is the property of the original owner. You may not use these images even if you remove the watermark or alter the image. These photos do not belong to you and using them can get you in tremendous trouble.

Bloggers can be sued for using images!

Don’t believe me? Read these articles about bloggers who were sued for thousands because they used what they thought were “free images”:

Important Terms to Understand

You might see one blogger say, “I am safe because I use Public Domain images” while another blogger boasts, “I am just as safe because I use photos with Creative Commons.” But what is the difference? What do all of these terms mean?

Intellectual Property Rights

Creations of the mind are protected by certain laws and may have rights to additional patents and trademarks. Works include but are not limited to music, literature, discoveries, inventions, words, phrases, symbols, photographs, and designs.

>>Read more about intellectual property rights.


Selected by the owner based on perceived value, licensing imparts certain rights to others on how the property may be used. The terms of a license should include the requirements and restraints for use.

Royalty Free

The term “royalty-free” means that the owner shares the right to use copyrighted material without charging the consumer with royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization intent on providing creates with the ability to share their art with certain protections.

They have created several levels of licensing to help others understand how the property can be copied, distributed, edited, and altered.

The 6 basic Creative Commons Licenses

With a Creative Commons license, you can build upon the original work. However, each work may have additional conditions attached. Look for these terms when searching for photographs:

  • Non-Commercial (NC) means the image may not used for business intentions.
  • No Derivative Works (ND) gives you permission to use the original work only and not to change it in any way.
  • Share Alike (SA) refers back to the original license and means you can only use that image based on the conditions placed on the original work. An image denoting CC BY-SA means that you can change the work but you have to maintain the original works designated licensing. For instance, you cannot change the photograph and then insist on a ND condition.

These options are combined into six basic Creative Commons licenses.

CC BY – Attribution required

“This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered.”

CC BY-SA – Attribution and sharing required

“This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.”

CC BY-ND – Attribution required and no derivatives allowed

“This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.”

CC BY-NC – Attribution required and noncommercial use only

“This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.”

CC BY-NC-SA – Attribution required, noncommercial only, and sharing required

“This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.”

CC BY-NC-ND – Attribution required, noncommercial use only, and no derivatives allowed

The most restrictive of the six main licenses, this license only allows others to “download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.”

CC0 – No attribution required, no limitations

This license allows commercial use and derivative works without requiring attribution. Many websites refer to this as a “do anything you want” license. Sometimes, this is referred to as Public Domain.

Read more about Creative Commons licensing.


Credit is required to use property requiring attribution. Correct attribution means that under the image you will place the name of the work (with link), name of the photographer (with link), and the CC license number (with link).

Are you crediting free stock photos correctly? Did you know there was a specific order to attribution and that you needed to link to the source? Includes a long list of places to get royalty free images.

Public Domain

A public domain photograph can be used by anyone and altered without giving attribution to the original artist. The copyright or licensing has expired or been forfeited. [SOURCE]

Using royalty free images

Personally, I seek royalty free images, meaning that I pay for a membership to an image library or buy the image and can use it without owing the company further payment based on my profit. [SOURCE]

Most royalty-free images also come with licensing guidelines. Make sure that you read the guidelines as they may differ based on the company.

For example, on Canva you can pay $1 per image but only have rights to use the image once.

If you want to use any of Canva’s Stock Media, you have to pay to obtain a license.
If you pay for a One-time Use License, then you can only use that Stock Media in one of your Canva Designs and you’re not allowed to edit the PDFs, PNGs or JPGs that we give you as part of that license. [SOURCE]

According to my understanding of these terms, you can can create an image for a blog post but need to purchase the image again if you want to resize it for social media or an email campaign.

Also with Canva, you are not allowed to use their images if you will be profiting from the image. Within the terms, Canva specifically mentions posters, templates of any nature, and “on demand” products, including postcards, mugs, t-shirts, posters and other items. [SOURCE]

Where to find royalty free images

Free and cheap images are available but finding them through a basic search can be difficult so I compiled a list of websites that I either use or have been recommended to me.

Please be aware that the licensing on these websites may change. A link is provided (when available) for you to verify the terms of the website before using. – My primary source for images. Pay once a year and never have to worry about individual licenses. They have a tremendous selection of photos, design elements, and more. [TERMS] – Typically, images are $1 each for a one-time use license. Some elements are free. A multi-use license is available. [TERMS]

PicJumbo – Choose from a large selection of free photos or upgrade to premium membership. [TERMS] – A collection of free and donated media. To find images, navigate to Wikimedia Commons. [TERMS]

Snapwire Snaps – A Tumblr-based website, seven free photographs are made available every seven days. You can also search for image by topic. [TERMS: not found] – Free clip art “for printing, scrapooking, teacher created lessons, craft projects, to decorate your blog and more. The clip art you find here is 100% original and free for personal and educational use.” [TERMS]

Unsplash – Photographs are divided into collections or available by search. [TERMS]

Flickr – Search by “license” to find images available for free use without attribution. [TERMS: vary by image]

Epicantus – A Tumblr-based website. “Feel free to use these hi-res photos for your landing pages, blog posts & designs.” [TERMS: not found]

Raw Pixel – Authentically styled, unique stock photography. Email registration required. [TERMS: not found]

Death to the Stock Photo – Subscribe to receive new photos every week. Some photos are available on the website but not easily searched. [TERMS] – A collection of free images but licensing and attribution may vary. [TERMS]

Burst – Over 1000 high-quality images available under the Creative Commons Zero license so you’re free to use and edit them as you see fit. [TERMS]

Epicva – “All photos on Epicva are our property, but anyone can download them and use them for both personal and commercial projects. No attribution needed but much appreciated.” [TERMS: not found]

IM Creator – A collection for free elements intended for website design including templates, photos, icons, and more. [TERMS: not found]

Creative Convex – A floral photo pack available in exchange for email registration. [TERMS]

Sketch Jar – Although they promote two new pictures every day, nothing new has been added since 2015. Even so, you will still find an eclectic collection on images here. [TERMS: not found]

Free JPG – The tagline mentions these images are free for commercial and editorial use. [TERMS: not found]

Splashbase – Free photographs and videos available under the CC0 license. [TERMS: not found]

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Photo Collections – Browse CC0 photos by category, including industrial, nature, people, transportation, food, and animals. [TERMS: not found]   MMT Stock – Free for commercial use, these photos are by Jeffrey Betts with a CC0 license. [TERMS: not found]   Designers Pic – All images listed are “free for personal and commercial use” with the condition that you do not sell the photographs. [TERMS] – “Free vintage photos to use any way you want…” but they offer a lot more than vintage photography. [TERMS: not found] – A collection of free and premium images. Also includes vectors and videos. [TERMS: not found]   Jay Mantri – A Tumblr based photo blog where all photos are available to use for free under CC0. [TERMS: not found]   stokpic – Download images from various categories or subscribe to receive ten premium images each week. [TERMS]   Re:Splashed – Landscape and architectural photography “for website and design projects.” [TERMS: not found] – A large collection of vectors and stock photos. [TERMS]   Stocka – Beware the click-bating of advertisements on this site. Search by category (and there are several) or with the search bar. [TERMS: not found]   Picography  Free high resolution images of animals, architecture, and landscapes. [TERMS]   Lime Lane Photography – A collection of photographs intended to be used by bloggers. Includes nature, food, crafts, and more. [TERMS]   Travel Coffee Book – A collection of landscapes and travel photos listed with Creative Commons. [TERMS: not found]   Refe – Not everything is free but they do have a category for free images. [TERMS]   SplitShire – More like a blog that a stock photography site, you can browse this collection of Creative Commons images by category or search. New images are added daily. [TERMS: not found]   Little Visuals – Unfortunately, this website is no longer updated due to the tragic death of the photographer but a large selection of landscape and architecture images are available. [TERMS: not found]   Titania Foto – A German website featuring animals, landscapes, food, and backgrounds. [TERMS]   Gratisography – “Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects. “ [TERMS]   StockSnap – Primarily nature and architecture, you can browse through recently available photos or using their search bar. [TERMS] – “High quality copyright friendly images, not copyrighted and no restriction for their use. Images explicitly placed in the public domain, no any rights reserved. Public domain images can be used for whatever you want, use it freely for any personal or commercial use.” [TERMS] – “Download free and premium stock photos and illustrations for websites, advertising materials, newspapers, magazines, ebooks, book covers and pages, music artwork, software applications and much more.” [TERMS: not found] – Search millions of premium royalty-free images selected from Getty Images and iStock pulled using API. Also features premium services. [TERMS]   Bucketlistly – “A free creative common collection of over 2800+ travel photos anyone can use.” [TERMS]   ISO Republic – Free and premium photographs with people, landscape, urban, and texture categories. [TERMS] – “ allows you to search, manage and add free stock photos to blogs, forums, websites and other online media. We host over 220 million free Creative Commons images from many online sources and the entire system is also available as a WordPress plugin for seamless use within the WordPress platform.” [TERMS: not found] – A collection of over 300,000 free images and illustrations. [TERMS]   Frankenfotos – A German photograph website with a focus on travel photography. Licensing is CC-BY. [TERMS]   Fancy Crave – Free high resolution photos from professional photographers. Two new images every day. [TERMS] – Browse a curated collection of images by photographer, dominant color, category, or license requirement. [TERMS: none found. Varies based on image.] – “No subscriptions, commission plans or shopping of any kind. These are free stock photos and backgrounds for you to use.” [TERMS]   Foodies Feed – Choose free images or become a premium member. Images are all food themed. [TERMS]   Skitterphoto – Over 800 photos from people to landscapes and everything in between. All photos are CC0. [TERMS]   New Old Stock – Copyright free vintage photographs. Most in black and white. [TERMS: not found] – Over 58 million stock photographs, vectors, footage and audio clips available for purchase through a credit system. [TERMS]   Negative Space – Browse images by search and sort based on category, copy space position and color. [TERMS] – A photographer community where not all images are CC0. [TERMS] – Search by keyword and browse a database of images including holidays, insects, arts, flowers, food, fitness, and more. [TERMS]   KaboomPics – Lovely photographs of architecture, fashion, food, and more. According to their terms, you “can do virtually anything” with these images. [TERMS]   Tookapic – User submitted photo database of free and premium images. [TERMS: not found] – An older website with a category listing in the sidebar, most are copyright free but some are not. [TERMS]   BossFight – Promises new images are added daily. Just look for the small text to “download” and avoid the click-bait ads trying to distract you. [TERMS]   Photo Everywhere – Over 3,000 travel related photos that you browse using an image map of the world. [TERMS] – “We are a search engine for free photos. These come from many sources and are license-specific.” [TERMS]   Startup Stock Photo – Business-themed photographs listed with Creative Commons as CC0. [TERMS: not found]   Cupcake – “Free (do what ever you want) photos.” [TERMS]   Minimography – A stark collection of minimalist photographs. Browse by number, tag, or category. [TERMS] – True to the name, expect over 3,500 free images from old rare antique and vintage books. [TERMS: not found]   Pexels – Promising to add 50 new photos every day, choose from a wide variety of CC0 images. [TERMS]   Shutteroo – A collection of travel-related photographs. [TERMS] – A large database of user submitted animal photos. “Image Copyright is held by original owners; all are licensed as either CC-BY or CC-BY-SA.” [TERMS: not found] – An abundance of automobile photography. “Images on this site are licensed CC-BY or CC-BY-SA; Image descriptions and metadata are CC-BY-SA.” [TERMS: not found]   Visual Hunt – Images are pulled using the Flickr API and a search for Creative Commons photos. I recommend verifying the photos licensing before use. [TERMS] – Primarily clip art and graphics, these are available for unlimited commercial use. [TERMS] – A variety of free clip art and images covered under CC0 licensing. [TERMS]   Skuawk – A varied collection of photographs without need for license or attribution. [TERMS]   Libreshot – Browse images based on category or keyword. (Just beware the advertising strategically placed below their search bar.) “A collection of hundreds of high quality free stock images for personal or commercial use.” It is not necessary to indicate the author or source. [TERMS] – “Compfight is an image search engine tailored to efficiently locate images for blogs, comps, inspiration, and research. We make good use of the flickr™ API, but aren’t affiliated with flickr.” [TERMS: not found]   Creative Vix – All images are CC0 but be aware that repeats were on the home page from others similar websites. [TERMS]   Pixabay – Over 660000 high quality photos, illustrations, and vector graphics. Free for commercial use. No attribution required. [TERMS] – Free images, videos and more but a sketchy disclaimer: “Please note that is not a search engine, but rather offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations. CC has no control over the results that are returned. Do not assume that the results displayed in this search portal are under a CC license.” [TERMS]   Good Stock Photos – Browse free images, purchase photo packs, or choose a membership. [TERMS]   moveast – “This is a journey of a Portuguese guy moving that decided that every photo should be used for free.” [TERMS – not found] – Free image database that you can search based on type of license. [TERMS]   Realistic Shots – “Free stock photos (high resolution) for personal and commercial use. 7 new photos every week.” [TERMS]   Photos8 – Free photos are available but you can only use a small size and attribution is required. They have a complex licensing system. [TERMS]   Barn Images – Despite the name, this website hosts a wide variety of photos with free and premium images available. [TERMS]  

Have a favorite spot for royalty free photos?

  Leave the link in the comments and tell us about the type of images (and the licensing required) that you find there.

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How to Choose Webhosting for Your Blog

This post contains affiliate links. 

Wondering how to choose webhosting for your blog?

Your webhost will dramatically impact your blog’s ability to maintain traffic demand, remain search engine optimized, and provide a quality user experience. But when you are shopping for a blog host company, the jargon can be confusing.

Wondering how to choose webhosting? Confused by all the jargon when choosing a blog host? Understand what those terms mean so you can make a wise decision and learn ways to save money on webhosting.Let’s discuss the most important features of webhosting and how you can discern the best blog host for your needs.


All quality webhosting companies offer 1-Click WordPress Installs. However, not all companies will transfer your website from one blogging platform to another for free.

So, if you are in the market for a change, consider how much the company will charge your to move your website or the cost to have a professional to transfer your blog.

Money Saving Tip: High-quality blog hosting companies like Siteground offer a one-time transfer as a complimentary service. Having your website migrated for FREE is a huge stress-reliever.

Blog Accessibility

Your blog host regulates the accessibility of your website including the amount of traffic your blog can take at any given time as well as the amount of resources it can provide to a number of people simultaneously.

Two extremely important factors in choosing webhosting are website space and bandwidth.

Website space

Some hosting companies may refer to website space as disk space or storage space as this is the memory of your blog.

Your need for website space depends on the number of posts and pages as well as the size and types of files: text files, images, scripts, databases, and emails.

A younger blog will naturally have less need for webspace as there are not as many images and posts to store in the memory. Therefore, almost any webhost can accommodate a new blog.

Money Saving Tip: Save large files (like PDFs and videos) on a 3rd party platform like Amazon S3 instead of in your media library to avoid needing additional website space on your hosting plan.


The amount of data transferred during each connection is your blog’s bandwidth.

Usually counted in bits per second(bps) or bytes per second, bandwidth can be impacted by high traffic volume as well as large file sizes. If too many resources are being pulled from your blog’s memory by readers at the same time, your blog bandwidth will become full and the website load time will slow or stop.

Money Saving Tip: If you plan to host a linky party or affiliate program where other bloggers will be sharing your images, use a 3rd party cloud for images. Every time an image from your website is loaded on another blog, it pulls resources from your webhost and can force you to upgrade your service.

User Experience

If your website peaks around your hosting limitations, you may notice connection errors that are hazardous to your SEO and user experience. Examples include “connection timed out” or 504 error code.

504 Connection ErrorMany hosting companies use words like “unlimited” and “unmetered” to draw you attention. Understand that “unmetered” does not mean “without limitations.” If an offer seems to good to be true, be sure to read the terms for hidden messages like:

For plans or packages featuring unlimited websites, domains, or email accounts, we do not enforce any official limitations. Customers are able to utilize as many of these features as they wish. That said, these are of course not infinite resources and there are inherent maximums associated with the technology powering them.

That disclosure is code for “We can shut down your blog without notice if something seems weird to us or you receive a high volume of traffic.”

Shared Hosting Problems

Another issue that can hamper your blog growth occurs when your blog is on a shared platform with other large blogs or spammy websites.

Shared hosting means that several websites are grouped together on one platform within the hosting company’s resources.

Shared hosting is an excellent option for small blogs. The problem occurs when other blogs on your shared hosting platform begin to peak beyond their allowed limitations. Memory and bandwidth may be redistributed within the platform and slow your website.

Rarely, a shared hosting platform may include a website marked as spammy. In some situations, all websites on the platform will suffer as search engines react and block the content from the server.

Money Saving Tip: If your blog host is pressuring you to upgrade your service, ask to be moved to a different shared hosting block first to determine if it is another website on your shared host causing your issues. Also, seek a second opinion. Some hosting companies will review your blog’s memory usage and make recommendations to help you avoid unnecessary upgrades.

When to change webhosting companies

If your blog is experiencing repeated downtime, connectivity errors, and/or slow page speed, you might consider changing your plan or hosting company.

If you are thinking you need to move to another host, here are the most popular companies (although this is list should not be considered a recommendation):

Please be aware that no one stays with the same blog host forever. Likewise, every hosting company eventually has problems. However, many blogging experts push webhosting companies as “the best” because of the huge affiliate payout involved.

For instance, Blue Host offers between $75 and $150 for each account created. Therefore, when looking for reviews on webhosting, make note of the articles that include affiliate links. Try to discern whether or not a company is just recommended based on payout.

One way you can check for accurate reviews is to search the name of the webhost and the word “downtime.” Searching the word “review” often pulls up planted efforts to drive affiliate conversions. The word “downtime” seems to reveal a more authentic detail of user experience.

You can also check Twitter for honest reviews. You can spot the sincere responses because they are not pushing an affiliate link or blog post URL.

Also be aware that many blog hosting companies are owned by the same parent company. BlueHost, Host Gator, and A Small Orange are all related so you can expect the policies and service to be similar.

Money Saving Tip: Sign up for your webhosting company’s affiliate or referral platform and link to them from your footer. Use your affiliate link when talking about your awesome host and schedule tweets to promote your link. Take your affiliate income and invest it back into your hosting.

Why not free blog hosting?

If you are thinking about blogging and not sure you will like blogging as a career, I think dabbling with a free host is fine. However, once you decide to blog for profit, you should upgrade to a paid, professional hosting platform.

Unfortunately, free hosting options do not offer the options of paid hosting companies.

With free blog hosting, you often have problems with:

  • limited website design and theme options;
  • rules against your freedom to monetize; and,
  • inability to add useful plugins and extend your website’s abilities.

Some bloggers have even discovered their “free” blogs were deleted suddenly and without notice because they broke an unknown rule.

Another negative… free hosting companies are often dinged by search engine robots because so many spammers use free hosting platforms. The exception to this rule seems to be Blogger, who is owned by Google and therefore can still appear in Google search results. Even so, it can take longer for a website on a free webhosting platform to be recognized by search engines as a reputable website.

Just to be clear… the vast majority of all bloggers change hosting companies from time to time and every webhosting company will have routine problems. But, if you find your blog is down more than once a year or your blog is loading slowly (or not at all), it is time to choose a new webhost.

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Optimize Blog Posts for Better Performance

Recently, I decided to look over my most popular blog posts from this time last year and I was stunned to see how many mistakes were in each post. It was time to optimize blog posts to harness more traffic and make it work for me.

6 things to check when optimizing old blog posts. Then, push them back out into social media seasonally. Printable checklist included.

When I am reviewing old blog posts, I focus on the content relevant for the current season. I used to think it was best to just go back to the beginning and start there but realized I was wasting a tremendous amount of time. A more useful strategy is to consider which evergreen post where the most popular on your blog during this same time last year. You can find this information creating a report in Google Analytics.

Next, view these popular posts and look for these specific items:

  1. Obvious errors – Check your grammar and spelling. It should already be perfect but accidents happen.
  2. Relevance – Review the content of the post to see if it is still current or needs updating. Also check to make sure any links within the post are still functioning.
  3. Pinnable picture – Is your featured image good enough for Pinterest? The image should be vertical and have your chosen pin description loaded into the alt title.
  4. SEO keywords – Are your keywords in the title, first paragraph, subheadings, and picture alt title? If you did not previously check, use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast to check your search engine optimization quality.
  5. Monetized links – Does your post have at least one affiliate link? Did you place a banner ad in the middle of the post?
  6. Related content – Do you have links to additional related content on your blog and on other blogs within the post? If you do not have other related content on your blog and this post performed really well for you, write a new post on the same topic. Remember to link those posts together.

Once your post is refreshed, it is time to push out the optimized blog post into social media again. Pin it to Pinterest. Post it to Facebook. Ask friends to do the same.

If you are struggling to find new ways to get traffic to our best posts take the Inspired Bloggers University e-course BOOST: Taking Your Blog’s Traffic to the Next Level. You will learn 25 different ways to increase your traffic and build your blog’s page views.

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How to Overcome Blogger Burnout

Are you feeling disgusted with your blog? Wondering if you should keep blogging? Ready to walk away but wondering if there is something you can do to overcome blogger burnout?

Are you feeling disgusted with your blog? Wondering if you should keep blogging? Ready to walk away but wondering if there is something you can do to overcome blogger burnout?

Blogger burnout is very real and everyone feels it at some time of another… even the BIG bloggers. But should you quit? Is your blogging career over?

No one can really answer those questions but YOU, but there are seven steps I recommend that will help you take an inventory of these emotions and make a decision.

Steps mentioned in this video:

1) Consider your passion.
2) Evaluate your vision.
3) Reset your goals.
4) Network with like-minded bloggers.
5) Keep a file of encouragement.
6) Accept the season.
7) Take a break.

If you are feeling blogger burnout or have additional tips and/or testimonies about overcoming blogger burnout, please share in the comments.

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Finding the Time, Money, and Everything Else to Be a Successful Blogger

Since launching Inspired Bloggers University last week, I’ve heard a few concerns that I think are extremely valid for bloggers. When I first started investing in my business, I had tons of questions too.

online blogging classes community

I felt completely alone and wondered where I would get the money to invest, where I would find friends and support, and where I would find the time to do everything I needed to do each day. I struggled. A lot. But when I finally knew enough to teach others, I created the Inspired Bloggers University.

How can I spend money when I have yet to make money?

In any business, you have to invest. In direct sales, you buy a kit or inventory. In retail, you purchase product to sale. In blogging, you purchase a domain, hosting, and knowledge.

During the month preceding the time I truly invested into my education as a blogger, my family did not even have money for groceries. How in the world could I afford to invest into my business? My husband and I had no idea how to make it work but were willing to make sacrifices to help me grow in my chosen career.

Join the Inspired Bloggers University before April 15th and save 15%.

The results were almost immediate. Within the next business quarter, my blog traffic doubled. During the next quarter, traffic doubled again. The third quarter, AGAIN… and I started seeing an income from my blog. By the end of the year, our investment had been completely paid back plus more.

Encouragement from an Expert

Can I just say as someone who has been blogging since 2009, I wish there was a course like this around when I started. I spent so much time thinking I was too “broke” to pay someone else for their knowledge and wasted countless hours in front of “Mr. Google” trying to find an answer. In retrospect, it wasn’t until I took a leap of faith on attending a conference (it was around $1K to go) and started believing that I could make a regular income from my blog, that my blog took off. If you think of what you can give up in the short term (for me, I took money out of our grocery budget for five months) in order to follow your dreams for the long term, won’t it be worth it. If this was easy, everyone would be an entrepreneur and everyone would have a blog. There are always sacrifices that have to be made in the short term to get to your long term goals.

Kelly Snyder, Redefined Mom

How will I find the time to take the classes at IBU?

We all have 24 hours in a day, and while it may seem like we have more to do than we have time, our priorities are reflected in what we accomplish each day.

Join the Inspired Bloggers University before April 15th and save 15%.

When I was first starting to blog as a career, I worked long hours at night and rose early. I had four small children and homeschooled, and even with an extremely supportive spouse, my work-life balance was confused. However, as I began to structure my time, I saw a significant improvement.

I have set office hours and within those hours, I equally designate time for content creation, promotion, and education. Why? Because the more I learn, the more money I seem to make.

Encouragement from an Expert

I think fear of failure is what holds most people back. It’s certainly held me back for a long time. I do make a full-time income blogging, but I’ve had to take lots of death leaps and try lots of things to be successful. This is absolutely not a sales pitch, and I get nothing monetarily from encouraging you guys… But what Tabitha has created here is an absolute goldmine of resources. If you push yourself, it very well could be a catalyst to your success. Yes, it will take some money, some time, and a lot of energy and effort. However, you cannot be successful in blogging by being passive. Blogging takes full force contact every day to be successful.

Jamerrill Stewart, Free Homeschool Deals

Blogging is never easy. It’s not a “get rich quick” business. You will struggle. You will be faced with tough decisions. Your business will be full of risk.

But it is the most fulfilling experience… growing a blog… building a business… supplementing your family’s income… and changing your life.

Join the Inspired Bloggers University before April 15th and save 15%.

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How to Customize an RSS Feed for Subscribers

Please welcome guest blogger, Katie Hornor, founder of Paradise Praises as well as a bilingual author and international speaker. 


Many bloggers write on multiple topics in the same niche. And yet often times our audience may desire to follow only a part of our offerings. Allowing readers to customize the information they receive is just one more way we can serve them better.

How to customize your rss feed for subscribers.


How to Customize an RSS Feed

RSS means Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication and it is a term we use to describe posts or updates that are automatically sent to subscribers via email.

Your subscribers do not HAVE to get everything you publish. Your audience could sign up to receive only the posts of their choice or only for the specific categories they are interested in.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the 3 steps to setting up customized RSS feeds for your subscribers. The first one is to create your list, the second is to create the RSS customized campaign, and the third is get the sign up form and place it on your site.

Step 1: Create the List

To create your list, you will want to go into your mail service provider and create either a list for each category (which could get cumbersome in step 3) or create one main list that is segmented (divided into sub-lists). The way you choose to set this up may depend somewhat on how your mail service works. I use MailChimp, and it is possible to do it either way, but other mail services may be different.

For example sake, we will choose a fictional family blog; The Family Blog and our main list is “The Family Blog Posts by Email” list. The lists or the segments that we would want to set up for our blog might be:

  • marriage
  • parenting
  • education
  • family entertainment
  • finances

Step 2: Customize the RSS Campaign

In this step we want to set up our automatic emails so that each time a post publishes on our blog it will send to those on that list. In MailChimp this is called an “RSS Campaign”. And to create it, follow these steps:

  1. Choose campaigns from the menu
  2. Click on the “create campaign” button
  3. Choose “RSS-Driven campaign
  4. For RSS Feed, enter the following replacing “marriage” with the specific category of posts:
  5. Choose date and time to send Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 10.50.23 PM
  6. Choose which list (or segment of a list) to send it to
  7. Fill out campaign name, email subject, from name and from email
  8. Select a template
  9. Edit the design (don’t forget to add in the RSS items/content block)
  10. Confirm and start the RSS campaign.

You will want to repeat step 2 for each one of your lists, or segments.

Step 3: Place the sign-up form on your site

Now that we have it set up to send out posts by category, we want to add the correct sign up form to our site. To get the html sign up form for the desired list or the list with segmented sign up options, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Lists in the MailChimp menu
  2. Click on the name of your list
  3. Go to sign up forms
  4. Choose embedded forms
  5. Preview the form and make any changes (If you have one segmented list, it should show the segmented options below the name/email options)
  6. Copy/paste the html form code onto your page or post in text view, or into your text widget.

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 10.46.15 PM


If you have chosen to do a different mailing list for each segment then you will need to create a separate sign up for each list. If you have chosen to segment one list, the segment options should appear on the form (as seen above).

So, now that you know you can offer different sign up options and you know how to offer them, go serve your people by offering them options when signing up for your RSS content!

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MailChimp Vs. Mad Mimi for Subscribers

If you haven’t set up a newsletter for your site then you need to read this. A newsletter should be your blog treasure, Facebook and Pinterest can change their algorithms and stop sending any traffic to your blog. You own your email list and those subscribers will be your most loyal readers, because they are allowing you into their inbox.

MailChimp vs. Mad Mimi... which e-mail service is right for you?

If you’d like to start growing your email list, a great way to do so is to provide an incentive for those who join up for your email newsletter. To deliver a freebie to your readers, the best way is to use a newsletter service like MailChimp or Mad Mimi.

With a substantial email list, you can use it to promote your blog posts, eblasts and any other sales/freebies from your affiliate.

If you’d like your readers to receive an email each time you post on your blog, you will need to set up an RSS feed campaign. You will need to enter your feed address from either Feedburner or if you’re on self-hosted WordPress as your feed address so that your readers will get your new posts.

If you’d like to manually create your newsletter each week so that you can send them a summary of your posts for the week as well as other tips, sales, freebies or giveaways then you will need to go in a create a new campaign each time.

Both services allow your to design a color scheme and save it so that you can use it for each newsletter. I suggest going with the color scheme of your blog to keep your branding consistent.

One of the best ways to grow your email list is to offer an incentive for those who sign up for your newsletter. That can be a mini ebook, printable or list of tips or recipes, depending on your blog audience. It doesn’t have to be a huge freebie, but get something out there for your subscribers.

Once you have something to offer your readers, you can use one of the email services to deliver your freebie to them. They can be redirected to a page on your blog that has your freebie available for download. This page can be password protected to ensure it is not found. If you’re on the Pro plans, this allows you to use the auto responder option, and you can send them an email with your freebie included.

I also list my current freebie at the bottom of my newsletter just to make sure everyone has access to it if they’ve forgotten about it.


On their free plan, you’re allowed 2000 subscribers on your contact list, with 12,000 emails per month. This would influence the type of campaign you would set up based on the size of your list. If you have a larger list and do daily email updates, then you’ll run out of emails by the end of the month. This would be a great time to switch to a weekly or biweekly newsletter.

There are many options to design your newsletter template with the ability to add code and even a small sidebar area for your promotions. The stats are right there front and center as soon as you login so that you can check your open rates and click through rates as well.

Monthly Pro Plan includes unlimited number of emails per month

Based on the number of subscribers

  • up to 500 – $10/mth
  • up to 1,000 – $15/mth
  • up to 10,000 – $75/mth
  • up to 25,000 – $150/mth


  • More design and layout options
  • Integrates more easily with other plugins
  • Free plan includes 2000 subscribers


  • Bigger learning curve
  • Price once you get to the point of a paid subscription

Mad Mimi

I have tried both services for my personal blogs but I have opted for Mad Mimi because  of price and they have wonderful customer service, you can quickly speak to somebody on their live chat. I figured I didn’t want to have to deal with the hassle of moving my subscribers over from another platform. although it seems to be a painless process of downloading your list of subscribers via a csv file.

Monthly Pro Plan includes unlimited number of emails per month

Based on the number of subscribers

  • up to 500 – $10/mth
  • up to 1,000 – $12/mth
  • up to 10,000 – $42/mth
  • up to 25,000 – $89/mth


  • Easy to use and set up
  • Great customer service


  • Only allows 100 subscribers on their free plan
  • Less design options
  • Free plan includes only 100 subscribers

Be sure to sign up for your own newsletter to ensure that they are being sent out correctly and so that you can view your newsletter on your phone/tablet as well as your computer. This will give you an idea on what you need to tweak in terms of design for your next newletter.

Go ahead and create an account with both companies to see which one you like best and start growing your email list.

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How to Make Printables on a PC

How to Make Printables on a PC I

Bloggers are always on the lookout for ways to bring more traffic to their site. One of my favorite ways to do this is to offer free printables! I use mostly free clipart and a standard program on my PC called Word.

Tools to make free printables

Word is a program included in Microsoft Office, but if you are on a tight budget or need a free version, check out OpenOffice. I used OpenOffice for years and it’s virtually identical to Word when it comes to features and things you can do with it. For purposes of this tutorial, I’ll be referencing Word.

Finding Images (free or low cost)

You can find clipart for free or low cost. With a quick google search for “free clipart” you’ll have loads of options to pick from! One of my go-to places for free images is MyCuteGraphics. They offer images by theme and seasons, plus they have some great background images too.  Another great site is 123RF. They sell images but also have free images available.

If you’re part of the Inspired Bloggers Network Facebook group, you can access a document under the files tab with a list of sites that offer free images.

**Be sure to check out the terms of use from any website you use images from. Make sure you can use the images in the way you intend to. Email customer service if you have any doubts!

How to make printables on a PC with Word

Below you’ll see a guide that will help you create printables in Word. It’s very easy and you can tweak the steps and items as needed for your creative ideas!

I eyeball the placement on all of my printables but I suggest using an invisible table to help you get the hang of it, or if you’re not good at visually lining things up.

Go to: Insert – Table – Highlight the boxes you want – Click Enter or the bottom right box. Now you have this:

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Now we need to extend those boxes so they fill the page. Click on the bottom line, hold down the left mouse button and drag that bottom line to the end of the page. It will look like this:

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Next, highlight the rows (minus the top row).

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Right Click on the box at the top left of the table. Select Distribute Rows Evenly. The rows you selected will be distributed evenly like this:

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Next, we’re going to remove the borders color. This way when we print the page we will only see the images. To remove the border colors, click on the square at the top left of the table so it selects the whole table. Then, go to Design – Borders – No Borders. This will change them all to dotted lines so that you can still see them, but they will not be there when printed.

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Now, let’s insert some images. Click inside the box you wish to insert an image into. Go to: Insert – Picture – Select image from your desktop or the file you have it saved in. In my case, the image is huge and it’s aligned automatically in such a way that it distorts my table, like this:

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To fix this you can do a few things, but I find this method the easiest. Click on the “Layout Options” box found floating at the top right of the image. Choose “In front of text”.

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Now you will have this:

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To reduce the size, grab the bottom right corner of the image and drag it to your desired size. Because the image is no “In front of text” you can manipulate it’s position anywhere. It will no longer automatically align to the table or page. Like this:

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Once you insert your various images, add a title to the top box we left as the original size. You can also manipulate the width of the columns. Simply grab the vertical line you wish to move, hold down your mouse button, and drag to where you want it. I wanted more space between the left and right column so I move the vertical lines closer to the edge of the page.

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Save the Word Doc file. Then go back to File – Save As – Select PDF. This will now save the file as a PDF File.

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**Be sure to add your disclosures to your first page and give credit to the website you found the images from if needed.