Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Favorite Blogging Resources (& meet some new friends!)


I LOVE blogging. I love the platform this blog gives me to be creative & to share my life with others. I love meeting new friends and being encouraged as I read of the ways God is working in their lives.

But let's face it - blogging is NOT easy. Some people might be under the impression that having a blog requires very little effort, but that is absolutely not the case! There is a lot of planning, organization, and creativity that goes into every single post. Also, a lot happens behind the scenes such as emailing, tracking my Google Analytics account, designing graphics, fixing bugs in HTML, returning comments, searching for link-ups, and actually reading other blogs!

While I wouldn't even remotely call myself an expert at this yet, I HAVE picked up a few tricks along the way these past couple of years. There's a boatload of information out there for beginners, but here's some of the resources I've used time and time and time again!

// PINTEREST

Pinterest is a fantastic tool for bloggers. Have you ever noticed that most of the DIY projects and recipes you pin lead you back to someone's blog? Not only is Pinterest great for promoting YOUR hard work, it's a great source for inspiration and tips. Take advantage of the search bar at the top - I use it instead of Google sometimes!


Also, if you haven't already, download a Pinterest Plugin for your browser. This makes it easy to pin your own content directly from your blog! If you have a PC, here's one for Chrome and also one for Firefox.

// PICMONKEY

PicMonkey (affiliate link) is a free photo editing website that allows you to tweak pictures & design simple graphics for FREE. I designed my entire blog using PicMonkey! They also offer a Royale Membership for $33 a year that opens more options on their site. Until I learn PhotoShop or something of a similar nature, PicMonkey is just fine for me.

// GOOGLE ANALYTICS

When it comes to tracking your blog traffic and site referrals, Google Analytics shows you what your Blogger or Wordpress dashboard does NOT. Analytics helps you analyze your traffic and views more efficiently by tracking the average time readers spend on your blog, what brought them there, and how many pages visited. I'm still studying up on how to utilize this more effectively, but that's basically it in a nutshell.

// BLOGLOVIN'

A huge part of my blogging time is spent reading other blogs. Why should I expect others to invest time into reading & encouraging my hard work if I'm not out doing the same? Bloglovin' is my favorite way to keep track of all my favorite blogs. It organizes every new post in a nifty feed I can scroll through at my leisure. There's even an iPhone & Android app! Oh, and if you haven't followed The Castilles yet, what are you waiting for? ;)

// AMAZON AFFILIATES

Did you know that you can make money blogging? (There's loads of information out there today that explains this concept in greater detail, so I won't get into that right now.) One easy way is to sign up as an Amazon Affiliate. Through this program, you can earn small commissions when people buy products off of Amazon using your special links. I've made a few bucks here and there over the past six months, so it's not impossible!
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One last thing before I close...I've had the privilege of having these girls hang out on my sidebar this past month (it's seriously been an honor), and I want to introduce them! Meet Victoria and Chelsea, and check out their little corners of the internet once you're done here! I have gleaned SO much from these ladies since discovering their blogs, whether it's new recipes, DIY projects, or their thoughts on motherhood, life, and saving money. Enjoy!

Chelsea @ The Contented Wife Blog



Some favorite posts: Focusing on the Positives of Parenting // Why I Take My Baby to Church Services // I'll Never Be THAT Mom

"I absolutely love marriage and family relationships, and I want to encourage others to focus on their families and realize the importance of building their homes. My prayer is that the readers of my blog are inspired to strengthen their families and lead a more spiritual life." 

Victoria @ Poverty-Luxe



"Hello! My name is Victoria, I have a husband named James and a daughter named Alice, and we live in a tiny apartment in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I blog over at poverty luxe., where I mainly write about clothes, crafts, cooking, and our adventures as we learn to love living the broke life in the city of angels. I also have an etsy shop of the same name, where I sell clothing and accessories that I make from vintage and recycled fabrics, and just started the fashion program at our local community college, so I suppose you’ll read a lot about that too. Hope you stop by to say hello!"

Want to sponsor The Castilles for the month of June? Check out my Sponsorship page for more information!

A Harvest of Blessing

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