Work at Home Success: Tips for Bloggers & Online Business Owners

Notice: This is an exclusive featured post by Jenny Daniels!

Work at Home Success:

Tips for Bloggers and Online Business Owners

Running a successful home-based venture is the dream of many, but it is not something you can magically create with zero effort. Many are lured into this world with hopes of easy money. Convenience is confused with ease and not having to do anything. With no boss to answer to, or the fear of getting fired motivating you to do your job well, you might find yourself faltering in the discipline department.

It is really easy to just not do anything with no consequence, except sabotaging your venture, of course. If you are just starting out, or are well into the game, but are finding yourself a bit adrift, here are a few key points to help you keep on track and achieve the success you so desire.


Why Do You Want This?

Without a strong motivator anchoring you to your vision, you’ll really have a hard time building a successful business on your own. This isn’t easy, and that’s why as much as many people think they would like to do it, never actually attempt it. It takes hard work. It involves making a lot of uncomfortable decisions, learning lots of new things, and going through periods of frustration and uncertainty. There is no set paycheck being deposited into your bank account every two weeks.

Keep Calm Stay Motivated

You are responsible for motivating yourself, and planning your whole day. This is not as easy as it may sound. Enthusiasm can easily wane. The most successful home-based entrepreneurs have identified their ‘why’ down to the deepest levels. Why do you want this business? What benefits do you think it will bring you? You need to go beyond the surface reasons of more money, flexible schedule and the like. It goes deeper than that, and once you identify those core drivers, you will stay the course much more successfully.

Create Some Order

Successful people come from all walks of life, philosophies and what have you, but at the core, they share many common traits. One such is creating order in their day and minds. There is no one best schedule, but you need to find one that works for you. Some feel most motivated working first thing in the morning, while others do their best work at night, or in the afternoon after getting all their errands out of the way. They have some sort of daily schedule of tasks they will complete—maybe it is a variety of items, or perhaps they devote one day to just one or two primary tasks, like producing a blog post, or networking with other people in their niche. Their files are neatly organized, both online and off. 

Blog From Home Schedule

Keeping Your Blog Secure

A plug-in to limit log-in attempts is good to keep hackers at bay–don’t ever assume you blog wouldn’t draw an interest because it is not a major website.You can also set it up so that the admin can only be accessed from designated IP addresses–anyone else will get a message notifying them they are not allowed to access this area.

Blog Security WordPress

If you run a multi-author blog, a password manager can be good for keeping track of all the passwords you assign and easily accessing these accounts. Activate a security plug-in, and consider blocking pings. Unless you have a membership site, there is no need for guest registrations.
Wordpress Security

Commit to Your Personal Development

When reading about successful people from any industry, you quickly see a common thread in terms of mindset. These are not the kind of
people who abdicate responsibility for their life, have a poverty consciousness or believe anyone but themselves determines their success. True success comes with not only working on your business, but working on yourself. Unless you were blessed to grow up around people with a hardcore success consciousness, you are probably contending with a host of limiting beliefs and bad habits that are holding you back from reaching your fullest potential.

Make it a point to work on your personal development. Read books, attend lectures, watch videos on YouTube, join forums or whatever else will get your focus on bettering yourself. There is a lot of reconditioning of your mind that needs to take place, and repeated exposure to empowering information and deliberate focus on changing thought patterns and habits will be required. Don’t underestimate the role this will play in making your home-based venture a success.

So, there you have it. Three helpful hints to find the success you so want and deserve. Always go back to your ‘why.’ Create order. Work on yourself.

Yes You Can

How To Use Pinterest Messages: Conversations & Send Pins

   Pinterest messages how to

I have been using Pinterest ever since I received my invitation back in 2012 when the social site was by invite only. I quickly fell in love with the concept of creating boards and collecting my favorite images from around the web. One of the greatest parts of being a Millenial is the fact that I have been savvy with the Internet and social networking since the early days of MySpace and Facebook, but I also had a chance to “enjoy” the much-much earlier days of the Internet when dial-up services like MSN and Prodigy were first introduced to the world.

I have the opportunity to watch a social media network develop, grow, and sometimes crash into the deep depths of the Internet black hole – too far down into the search engines for anyone to remember that they ever existed.

How To Send Messages Pinterest

Possibilities with Pinterest Messages & Conversations:

Pinterest logo red  just announced their brand new feature: conversations and messaging! I have enjoyed watching all of the other social networks grow and develop (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and even shook my head, “I saw that one coming from a mile away!”, when others failed (MySpace).

Pinterest has been one of my favorite networks to watch and I love their clean and crisp demeanor about rolling out new features (if that makes sense…). They have never gone overboard or pounded out a dozen updates that could easily leave a members head spinning, overwhelmed by all of the new functionality tools that they need to learn. It’s simple, far from complicated, and a lot of fun to collect those pins!

Pinterest Share Pins Friends Followers

Your conversation box will appear on the left bottom portion of your browser window.

Did you know that people are sending more than 2 million pins per day?

Pinterest has created an easy way for members to converse back and fourth about their pins and boards. When someone sends you a Pin on Pinterest, you can reply with a message, or even opt to send a Pin on Pinterest right on back to them! The idea behind implementing a messaging service on the site is to help members with project planning, allow those creative ideas to flow, and to provide a platform where we can share our best discoveries.

Sending Pins and messages to one friend is fun, but it’s even better when you get a group of people together to share your latest discoveries with on Pinterest. The intended recipient(s) do need to follow you, which is similar to the Twitter platform for direct messaging. I can’t wait to see what becomes of the new messaging capabilities on Pinterest as the possibilities really seem endless now that we have the ability to discuss our Pins with our followers!

Pinterest makes it possible to converse with multiple Pinners:

Pinterest Conversations Messages How To Instructions

Sending bulk messages on Pinterest is a great idea for someone that is organizing a team project or even a surprise birthday party for a family member! If you can’t remember who was in charge of table decor and which family member said that they would research great 40th birthday party recipes for your husbands birthday party, simply pulling up your Pinterest conversation with your team of party organizers will be a great way to remember (and proof that they did commit to getting those decorations!)

Plan a Project Pinterest Group Messages

Carry on your conversation through text — and toss

in a discovered Pin right along with your words!

Interior designers, graphic designers, and even when you’re hired to create stationary or invitations for a client, Pinterest is a great way to communicate back and fourth by sharing pins with logo ideas or graphics that you’d like to use on an upcoming project. With Pinterest being all about the visuals, creating a way to share your recent discoveries and to talk about them is going to broaden the horizons for all future design work, parties, events – the possibilities are endless.

Using Pinterest Messages: Starting a Conversation

Conversing with your fellow Pinners is very easy to do and there’s really no secret to getting started. Simply select the “Send Profile” button located in the center of a profile (use your Pinterest profile, or any member profile for that matter! It is a new icon that is visible on any and all Pinterest profiles).

Pinterest Send Profile Messages

 A popup box will appear directly below the Send Profile icon. There will essentially be three different areas separated by thin gray lines – top area is where you will compose your message; middle area, whichwill have the word ‘search’ in gray text, is where you can find a fellow Pinner that you want to send a message to and can begin by slowly typing the first few letters of their username until the correct icon and profile appears. The third bottom area will display your results for your username search, so this isn’t quite an editable area per say.

Pinterest Sending Messages Conversations

Once you’ve composed your entire message, press the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard to send your discovery or message to your fellow Pinner. The conversation will then be moved to the bottom left corner of your browser window. Keep the conversation open, or minimize to save space on the screen.

Pinterest Messages Conversations Instruction How To

*Bottom left corner of your browser screen, you’ll be able to minimize, reopen, or continue your Pinterest conversations.

When minimized, you’ll see your fellow Pinners icon (only), but the conversation itself will be closed. You can click the icon in the future to reopen the conversation.

Checking your Pinterest messages is simple to do and you can also avoid using the “Send Profile” icon when you choose the messages tab in the very top right corner of the browser. The icon features two thumbtacks and will be lit up RED when you have a new message inside of your inbox.

Pinterest Messages Inbox

Once you have clicked on the thumbtack icon, Pinterest messages and notifications appear. Use this area to reopen or read new or old conversations with your fellow Pinners.

Pinterest Messages Notifications Box

Share discoveries with the people who’d appreciate them most

Plan a project with friends

Reach out to people who share your interests

Send a message to a friend with a few of your recent discoveries, or send a board with Pin ideas to a coworker or consultant who manages your Pinterest account. Show off a few of your bedroom redecorating ideas to your girlfriends, or see what their opinions are for your upcoming wedding theme.

Pinterest Logo Tag Icon

Follow MamaNYC on Pinterest, too!

Have you had a chance to try out the new Pinterest conversations and messages feature? What do you talk about with friends and fellow Pinners through messages? Have any other ideas for how the new feature can be used?


6 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging When I Started a Blog

Isn’t it funny how we never seem to forget those life-changing moments when something big happened that changed the course of our entire future, but we didn’t know that was going to be the moment when we changed the course of our own history? There are only a small handful of those types of moments that I can recall in my lifetime, but the day that I decided to become a blogger stands out the most distinctly and vividly above the others.

Naively and bored as a new stay-at-home mom, I thought it would be cool and fun if I started a blog. Although I had been designing websites since the age of 11 and worked in e-commerce and Internet marketing for well over a decade, I knew nothing about blogging except for the fact that it was some sort of online journalism or narrative of ones life. I really had no idea what to expect, but I had somehow stumbled onto blog giveaways and liked what I saw, so I ran with it.

The earlier days as a blogger were a bit different than the present (I like how I speak about it as if it was decades and decades ago, but I actually began MamaNYC in mid-2010), or at least I like to think that things have changed, for the better. I began blogging with little to no direction or knowledge of blogging. I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it, but I didn’t mind at all.

Here I am, 4-years later. As I prepare to celebrate my 4-year blogiversary next month, I wanted to share a list of a few things that I would have done differently had I known at the time and what has been helpful in gaining success for MamaNYC, but no one told me about back in 2010.

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging tips

1. You must be a social butterfly blogger!

Back in my day, we didn’t have things like Facebook support groups!

I remember how eager I was to begin a blog to not only share my own stories and parenting tips, but to get some words of wisdom from my fellow mamas and to make some new friends. Facebook groups were very premature in 2010 and really didn’t begin to sprout up until mid-2011. I didn’t quite know how to connect with other bloggers, so I totally grant a lot of my success to all of the Facebook support groups that I have been a part of or joined throughout the years.

When I started a blog, we only knew one another through comments that we would leave on each others blog posts. Once Facebook support groups began to sprout up, we started to connect. When a blogger was hosting a blog giveaway hop, we would start a group specifically meant for that event – and that event, only. If your event was called “Happy Holidays 2010 Giveaway Hop”, so was your group. Event participants joined your group when they added their blog name to your linky — and the group was closed by the admin once the event ended.

Eventually, event hosts decided to keep those members and change their group names. We began discussing upcoming campaigns, our dealings with PR representatives, and how to blog better. We started to mingle and tell stories about our in-laws and the kids. Friendships were developed and through that, I was able to gain a powerful network of friends and learn about many opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

Join a Facebook support group for bloggers, retweet for your fellow bloggers, like, share, repin. Showing support and socializing with other bloggers is not only good karma, but it will reciprocate and eventually lead to your blogger stardom (or, at least get your name out there and somewhere on the map!)

2. Success won’t happen overnight (and you will need to invest a lot of time to get it)

Regardless of what those online advertisements and what the media has to say about it, blogging will not happen overnight nor will you begin to rake in thousands of dollars per week (or even month) until you’ve put your time in. Just like any other brick-and-mortar business, blogging is going to take time before you begin to see a return for your time invested.

If you aren’t in this for the long haul, abandon your blog and run the other way (fast). Think of yourself as a new business owner willing to go without a salary for a few months just to ensure the business stays afloat. Yes, you will begin to make money soon if you put in a decent amount of time and energy, but you will (or, should) put that money right back into your business (see #3 below).

Overnight Success Quote Eddie Cantor

Getting your blog indexed by search engines, being discovered by your target audience, building a following of dedicated readers, and getting your brand developed and recognized is going to take time. It will especially take time to get your Google pagerank up from N/A to zero to 1, 2, 3, and 4. It took nearly 3 1/2 years to get to my current PR4 status for MamaNYC. It was frustrating, but I had to remind myself that the future benefits would make all of that sweat and hair pulling worth it all.

The more content you create, the better your blog will become and the larger your audience will be. Blogging is going to be difficult and depending on your goals, time investment requirements may vary. If you are looking to build a blog similar to MamaNYC, I would expect to write 4-6 article per day for the first 2-3 years. Social networking should become a daily task and checking your emails several times a day should become a habit (attach the phone to your hip, actually).

Eternal Clock Time Invested Started a Blog

How much of my time do I invest into MamaNYC?

MamaNYC began in mid-2010. Here is an average amount of hours spent each year as a work-at-home mom (I barely slept and pulled a lot of all-nighters during the first 2-years)

2010-2011: 60-70 hours per week – I look back and wonder how in the world I was able to handle all of that, but my son was an excellent napper and I was able to stay awake into the wee hours of the night and wake up extra early. My work hours were something like 5am-9am, 1pm-4pm, and 10pm-2am bringing me to only sleep around 3-4 hours per day.

2012-2013: 40-50 hours per week – MamaNYC saw a great deal of success in 2012 and I was able to skim back on my workload since fees that I was able to charge at the time gave me a little extra room to sleep. Plus, I also became pregnant with our second child in May 2012, so I had to skim down just a bit. Trust me, I was still working just as hard as I was the prior 2-years, but I was able to catch up on sleep instead of pulling so many all-nighters (although there still were quite a few!)

Present Day (2014): I am not blogging nearly as much as I would like to right now. Currently, I have a lot going on since we are moving cross country from NYC to Los Angeles. Prior to the whirlwind storm of stress and moving boxes, I was working approximately 40-50 hours per week just as I did in 2012-2013. I have skimmed down to around the 35-40 hour range over the last 6+ weeks, but I look forward to increasing my time once things settle down.

Future (September 2014 and beyond): I have plans to ‘up’ my hours once again to 50+ hours once my first born son begins kindergarten (mid-August 2014). Since my youngest doesn’t know the meaning of a nap, I am sure this will be a struggle, but I will have more help around to make sure I get quiet time in my future office in L.A.! The last 2-years have been a struggle as far as the time I have been able to put into blogging, but that is why I am so glad that I had invested all of my energy into MamaNYC during the first 2-years.

3. Blogging costs money

Let me start off by saying….I didn’t expect blogging to be 110% free. I had never believed in any online gimmick that said I could ‘get rich instantly .. just for opening these emails!’, so I knew there had to be some sort of an investment made in order to see any sort of income from blogging.

As I said above, money made should be put right back into your blog whenever possible. I made it a personal rule for myself that 80% of my monthly income would be put straight back into MamaNYC. It would go towards giveaway prizes, necessary plugins to help advance the user experience, hosting and maintenance costs, and participating in paid group giveaway events.

I have always believed that it takes money to make money. I began MamaNYC on Blogger (blogspot) and didn’t earn a DIME during my short time on a Blogspot free hosting solution for bloggers. It was a good way to start off and make sure this was the right thing for me and not just another unfinished project. Luckily, I stuck with blogging and eventually transferred my blog to WordPress, purchased a hosting package, and saw my very first sponsored post pay day within 30-days.

I am all about WordPress (and owning your own domain). Most often when a fellow blogger asks me why they aren’t making money, I will later discover they are using a Blogger (blogspot) domain with free ‘hosting’ (you do not own the rights to your materials when on Blogspot, but that’s a totally different story…). It is almost a guarantee that you will begin to earn an income and receive the deserved traffic once you’ve invested as little as $18.00 for your first month (hosting + domain) and $7-8 (or less) each month thereafter.

If you are eager enough, skip the free blog options like Wix and Blogger, and skip straight to purchasing a host and a domain. In reality, your investment won’t cost too much and you will likely gain a return in no time. If you aren’t willing to spring a few bucks up front, don’t get upset or wonder why no one is offering up paid jobs in the beginning.

Starting a personal blog is free and you can use or Blogger to get started. You can also host a blog and purchase your own domain name for well under $50.00 annually. However, if you are looking to earn an income from your blog, you will need to spend money to make money.

Spend Money To Make Money Plautus

*I don’t always believe in the Plautus quote or belief that you need to spend money to make money, but I do believe in a small initial investment for bloggers to become a success.

Here is a list of a few of my expenses and a few other additional items that may need to be purchased:

1. Blog Design/Theme: $100-$1,000 (or more) – whenever you want to change your look (yearly, semi-annually, every 3-years)

Luckily, I am a graphic and web designer, so I don’t need to spend anything on my design. There are plenty of free WordPress themes available, but you will want to purchase a premium theme and customize it to help build your brand and stand out from all of the others. Depending on your designer, tastes, and niche, blog designers may charge upwards from $100 to $1,000. If you just started a blog and aren’t sure where it will go, I would spend somewhere on the lower end of that ($100-300).

2. Domain Registration (and annual renewal): $10.00 – annually

Having your very own unique domain name is a must in my opinion. Having a subdomain name or anything besides your very own .com shows that you aren’t too serious about all of this ‘blogging stuff‘. Plus, domain registration is generally going to only cost you $10/annually. I have been using Netfirms for the last 3-4 years and highly recommend their services.

Once you’ve decided on a blog name and want to get serious, consider purchasing more (or – all) extensions. I currently own, .org, .info, .biz, .com, and most recently: since we will be moving to Los Angeles and I don’t know what the future holds.

3. Web Hosting Package: $7.95- monthly ($95~ annually)

Purchase a cheap basic hosting package to get you started and pay month-to-month. This is best since you may not want to pay in advance in the beginning and you should at least test out your host for 6-8 months before making a long-term commitment (or check their refund policy).

I currently use RFE Hosting and highly recommend their services. Their cheapest web hosting package runs $7.95/month, which brings us to an annual cost of only $95.40. This expense will be well worth it once you’re able to score at least one sponsored post job per week at $50-100+ each. This small monthly expense is well worth it considering how much growth you will see for your blog within the first 1-2 months.

These three things are just the beginning of your expenses. Once your blog begins to grow, you will find yourself needing many (many) more services and spending more money to get your name out there (advertising). You’ll need to invest in services that can help your site run faster and smoother (I currently pay $7/month for MaxCDN) and email services like MailChimp or Mad Mimi to deliver emails to your newsletter subscribers lists ($50+/month).

I also pay $6.35 monthly for HootSuite’s pro plan so that I can have social media network posts scheduled around the clock. But always remember, you are spending money to make money! Even if you don’t see as much as a $5.00 return in the first 4-6 weeks, patience.

4. Content may be KING, but not the be-all & end-all of blogging

You will hear it at least a dozen times within your first month of blogging as you network and connect with fellow bloggers or read blogging tutorial articles: “Content is KING! Content is KING!”. Yes, but no

I put so much focus and effort into my content earlier on that I neglected the other aspects of what makes the blog whole and well-rounded. Yes, content is very important and you should strive to obtain a pattern of publishing posts on a regular basis — and stick with that pattern (for SEO purposes; search engines like patterns as opposed to unreliable bloggers with spotty publish dates). You should absolutely create unique, interesting, interactive, and different content with a catchy title and large, clear, and eye-catching photographs that will capture the readers attention.

You should not believe that the blog is a blog because of your content – and only your content.

Content is King Not Started a Blog

There is much, much more that is involved in creating and developing a successful blog. Getting stuck in the “Content is KING” dead zone can actually kill your blog. It is simply impossible (or, nearly impossible) for a blog to thrive on content alone. You will need to wear a hundred hats and educate yourself (immensely) on a variety of topics and issues that surround the world of a blogger: promotion, social networking, design, search engine optimization, production, editing, coding, clipart design and/or obtaining license free images, photography — just for starters.

The best advice that I could give to a newbie blogger: balance yourself between your content and everything else. Devote half of your time to composing quality content, editing, and checking your grammar. Spend the other half of your time networking with other bloggers, engaging in conversations by leaving comments on other blogs, teaching yourself about a topic you need to learn all about (check MamaNYC’s blogging tutorials for a good start!).

One good rule of thumb for newer bloggers: learn something new about blogging every week. It’s been more than 4-years since I started MamaNYC and I still find myself discovering new techniques and tools that can help me improve as a blogger. Just as technological advancements are made and changed on a daily basis, so is the blogosphere. Keep yourself updated on what else is going on with other blogs and around your own blog before you get too caught up in content – you’ll suddenly look up and wonder why you were left behind in the dust while everyone else started to do that new, cool, and easier way of doing something. #Truth!

5. Just because you know how to spell and write doesn’t mean you should be a blogger.

Sure, I think it helps (a lot) when you know how to write a complete sentence and know what the squiggly red line means underneath your misspelled typos (forget content…spell checker is king!), but there are many other skills that you will need in order to be a success. Your blog posts are the products on your new business store shelf. If you don’t go out and spread the word about those new products that you have in stock at your new store, how will anyone know how to find you?

I wish I had known that blogging wasn’t all about the writing skills and

– Even if you aren’t the worlds best writer, don’t feel like you aren’t qualified enough to be a blogger.

– Even if you are the worlds best writer, don’t feel like you are going to be an instant success as a blogger.

What Makes a Blogger Good Writer

Brush up on your editing and writing skills, but also consider doing some research on marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). You will need to research email marketing and obtain the skills required to manage a newsletter and subscriber emails. You will need to at least know the HTML coding basics and some basic design skills to create your own graphics for your posts (I suggest using; great for beginner through experts! ** Use my PicMonkey link and get one free day of PicMonkey Royale from MamaNYC!

You will need to know how to use social media and network with fellow bloggers, brands, and readers. Ask a friend, colleague, or one of your children to give you a beginners course in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ Plus. Knowing the basics is a MUST and spending time on each network for at least a few minutes each day will ultimately pave the way for a successful blog.

Being able to properly compose an email using business jargon and proper English (or whatever language you are using on your blog) will be important if you plan to work with large brands, PR firms, and seal deals for sidebar advertising and sponsored posts. Become well-rounded and stretch yourself out to get your feet wet in all areas of blogging. As you grow a fan base and begin to see things coming together, you’ll be able to dig a little bit deeper into each of these areas in the future. Get your basics down pronto, but continually brush up and learn more.

the more you know slogan

6. As difficult as it can be, blogging is easier than it looks.

Blogging is just like learning how to ride a bicycle. You watch everyone else doing it and it looks so darn easy. You buy yourself a bike, hop on and start peddling – and you fall. Your first 6-months as a blogger will require training wheels. Once you get the knack of it and feel comfortable, you will feel those wheels break free as you begin to peddle a little faster each day. Just as any other professional cyclist, exercise routinely and constantly brush up on your skills.

Don’t over-analyze your first few posts to death and worry about how each and every word sounds. I drove myself nuts when publishing my first dozen or so posts. “What is so-and-so sees my post? What if I spelled something wrong? What if I made a grammatical error and I haven’t caught it yet?” Read over your posts 1-2 times, but don’t feel trapped in your content so much that you find yourself petrified to publish. Write freely and the words will come out much easier than you’d expect!

Write now, edit later. I used to edit as I went along – sentence or paragraphs at a time. Compose your entire post – start to finish – and read it again once you’ve completed what you had set out to write about. Don’t stop in the middle, steer off and start another post before finishing the current, and most certainly do not plagiarize or steal from another blogger!

It is a BIG, BIG world out there and the Internet is full of many, many articles. HOWEVER – you would be shocked and surprised to discover what a small, small world our blogosphere actually is and how well connected we all are; just a few short degrees of separation between your blog and the blog you decided to steal an image from last night.


Have you recently started a blog and have a question for MamaNYC? Leave a comment below and I would be happy to answer!

What is something that you wish you had known about blogging when you began your blog? Do you wish that you had a mentor for blogging that could have clued you in on a few things that would have saved you from hours and hours of legwork? Share your experiences in the comments section below.


7 WordPress Related Posts Plugins: Display Similar Blog Posts!

WordPress Related Posts Plugins

Earlier this week, I started putting together the new design and theme for MamaNYC and began to think about what other changes were overdue or necessary in order to bring the blog through a full transformation. When I complete a theme makeover, I like to go from header to footer – all and many changes to create a fresh, clean, and unique experience for my readers. One of the things that I put on my to do list was to find a new WordPress related posts plugin for WordPress.

Why do you need a related posts plugin?

If you are looking for a way to keep your readers on your site and want to improve engagement on your site, WordPress related posts plugins can help you do just that as they direct the visitor towards other posts that seem similar. It is a great way to start fixing that bounce rate and to increase your pageviews. Once you have a new visitor on your site, you want them to stay, but they likely don’t know where to go next.

That is where a related posts plugin comes in handy! I had been using the Shareaholic feature, but it wasn’t fitting for my new look. There was minimal functionality and the plugin also required an advertisement for Shareaholic (small box on the right top corner; see image below), which led to their website.

Shareaholic Related Content Dashboard

Here is what the Shareaholic feature displayed on MamaNYC:

Shareaholic Related Content Plugin

I do like the Shareaholic related posts feature, but it wasn’t suitable for MamaNYC anymore and therefore, I moved onto another. All of the posts that were being displayed on current [June/July 2014] posts, Shareaholic was bringing up very old (2010-2012) posts and calling them related. Similar in subject, possibly. Current and related? Not so much.  After playing around with the settings and receiving the same dismal results, I decided it was time to move onto another.

Throughout the years, I have had the chance (oh, lucky me!) to try and test a variety of WordPress related post plugins. Even though I may not be using them right now, I still have a list of several recommendations.

My primary reason for changing related posts plugins is generally due to a theme, color scheme, or design change. With no other issues or discrepancies, I usually head out into the WordPress Plugins directory to find a better suited match for my current theme. With that being said, I am pleased to present my top 7 related posts plugin recommendations!


1. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

YARPP Related Posts Plugin

One of the most popular related posts plugins for WordPress is Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP). Download and install YARPP within minutes and stick with their Basic or Pro package (both are free, but Pro requires user registration). With well over 2.5 million downloads, Yet Another Related Posts Plugin supports textual and thumbnail display of your related blog posts.

Registration for the Pro plan is simple and provides additional features to the plugin, such as pulling related content from multiple sites, detailed traffic reports, customization of thumbnail layouts, and earning money from sponsored content. Mix and match YARPP Basic and Pro to get the best of both worlds!

You can display related post recommendations beneath your articles or right on your sidebar as a widget (or, both!). I also love the ability to decide on what time frame should be shown: “Show only posts from the past: [#] [Days/Months/Years]“. This feature is especially helpful for bloggers with time sensitive or current event articles. 

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

I do like YARPP and the functionality that it provides, but it was missing the ability to choose a font color, size, and other design choices. I wanted the WordPress related posts plugin to blend in while standing out. The display blended too well with my current theme, so I decided it wouldn’t work well for my current theme (still a top recommendation though!).

YARPP supports custom post types and an RSS feed display as well. Their built-in algorithmic method helps to find the most accurately related posts on your site(s) whereas competitors sometimes seem to snatch a post and call it related based off on 1 or 2 similar words.

Just because you’ve used the word “blogging” in a recipe post does not mean it should be related to a blogging tutorial post, right? YARPP will catch that and realize those two topics are not similar or by any means related. Interested? Download YARPP and get it installed on your blog today!

Sorry, WPEngine users! YARPP is on the Disallowed Plugins list and you’ll have to skip this one. 

2. nRelate Related Content

nRelate is another plugin that I have used in the past on MamaNYC and BloggerPR. After much trial and error, I decided to stick with nRelate Related Content. I preferred their look and the settings made it simple to modify the posts that would be displayed and how they would appear. *Keep in mind: nRelate has a variety of plugins. Their brand is ‘nRelate’ and the plugin name is ‘Related Content’.

Users are not required to create an account and register upon installation and it will take some time to process all of your blog posts into the system before nRelate begins to display similar posts (under 5-minutes).

nrelate Related Content

This plugin provides a great way for bloggers to present their readers with similarly related content from their blog and around the web through sponsored advertising opportunities for publishers. Choose to display ads along with your related posts to earn some extra cash (which is also an option with YARPP and many other related posts plugins).

“Did you know that readers are more likely to click on a related article found on your site, than they are to click that same article shared on Facebook? It’s true. Readers trust your editors to give them great content- we help that content get found. The nRelate platform will help you increase page views, acquire traffic, and monetize in a reader-friendly way.” – nRelate

The user settings page features configurable settings that gives the site owner full control over how related posts will be displayed. Since the plugin utilizes resources through the nRelate servers, you won’t feel the intense pull and lag. Plus, nRelate branding is optional, which is a huge plus to many since other free related posts plugins require a logo or advertisement of some sort.

nrelate Related Content Settings Thumbnails

Users have four different display choices for their nRelate content: automatically display related posts before or after each post, manually insert the [nrelate-related] shortcode into your post, paste the relate_related() function code into your theme files, or use their widget anywhere on your theme sidebars or footers. Download and learn more about the nRelate Related Content plugin to get started!

3. Contextual Related Posts

contextual related posts Plugin

Contextual Related Posts attempts to improve relevancy by contextually matching posts. It displays related posts as thumbnails, widgets, custom post types, and shortcodes on your WordPress blog and feed. However, Contextual Related Posts does not feature a template ability to display thumbnails, but rather displays thumbnails as a bulleted list.

If you are looking to display text-only related posts, I would recommend using this plugin as the settings page is quite simple and basic. Another cool feature to note for this plugin is how it will pull images found inside of a post when there is no featured image or thumbnail. This is a cool benefit to have for those that ‘forgot’ or neglected to place a featured image on their posts.

Unfortunately, WordPress hosts have actually blocked this plugin from being used by customers. Contextual Related Posts is also found on the WPEngine Disallowed Plugins list right along with YARPP due to its lag and unfortunate ability to slow down large sites.

Side note: Here is WPEngine’s list of disallowed plugins for related posts:

    • Dynamic Related Posts
    • SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
    • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
    • Similar Posts
    • Contextual Related Posts

4. Related Posts Thumbnails

Related Posts Thumbnails images similar

The Related Posts Thumbnails plugins is fairly self explanatory by its name. This free plugin will display your related posts as a thumbnail below each of your blog posts. You can adjust the thumbnail size, alter display settings, and modify type of relations options to better suit your needs. You can also decide if your related content should show up under your posts, with or without excerpts.

Related Posts Thumbnails settings

The settings dashboard makes it simple for the site owner to make adjustments to the font, color, borders, and overall display of the related posts on your site. Choose a design that will match with your site and blend in well, or go in the opposite direction and choose contrasting colors that will help it stand out and catch the readers attention.

5. Outbrain

Outbrain Related Content Logo

Outbrain is another third party service plugin, which offers the ability to increase user engagement on your site by simply displaying contextually relevant links. Create a user account and add your blog to obtain an Outbrain authorization key upon installation. Doing so will allow you to configure the plugin to display related posts that are only from your website.

Outbrain related posts plugi

This plugin supports both list and thumbnail views and also provides click-thru engagement reports to see your posts’ performance. You will need to alter most of your settings on the Outbrain website dashboard. The Outbrain plugin also displays an advertisement link back to their website on the plugin. Bloggers with over 1,000,000 pageviews have an opportunity to generate revenue, too.

6.  LinkWithin

Another very popular related posts plugin for WordPress users is LinkWithin, which I actually used for many years on MamaNYC and several other blogs that I have owned. Users can control the number of posts that will be displayed and the plugin will retrieve and index stories from your blog archive to make them accessible to your new or casual readers who may not have otherwise found them!

LinkWithin Related Similar post plugin

The LinkWithin plugin design is simple and features a minimalist style that will blend well with any theme or color scheme. One particular issue that I read about in the past was that LinkWithin was actually redirecting your traffic through their own site. Why does this matter? They’ve got a link to themselves all over your site with a 301 directing back to your site, which is essentially stealing your internal link juice.

I remember hearing about this back in 2012, so I am unsure about their current policies and procedures. The plugin itself worked and appeared great, but I would consider doing further research on the issue prior to installation. Click here to download LinkWithin in the WordPress plugin directory for free and learn more about installation and plugin features.

7. IGIT Related Posts With Thumb Image After Posts

Another simple, stylish, and clean WordPress plugin for displaying similar posts for your readers to stay a little while longer! The IGIT Related Posts plugin will automatically insert one widget after each post having related posts. There are many options available, such as the option to display a thumbnail or text only, set a thumbnail height and width, and choosing your related posts style (horizontal, vertical, or simple style).

IGIT Related Posts With Thumb Image After Posts

IGIT Related Posts features Ajax based administrative options, excludes your categories from related posts, and has the option of displaying a related posts widget that you can manually place on your sidebar(s) or footer(s).


Do you have any other WordPress related posts plugins worth recommending? Let me know in the comments below! I am always looking for new plugins to help improve MamaNYC and the visitor experience!


Parenting & Mom Blogger Summer Survival Tips for Blogging

Parenting Mom Blogger Summer Blog Tips

Parenting is a hard, hard, hard job. We work 365 days a year: cooking, laundry, balancing schedules and activities, paying the bills, handling vaccinations and all of those lovely meltdowns that our kids decide to have always when we are out in the public eye (why is that!?). Toss in the fact that you’re a mom blogger working from home and it’s a whole new ballgame.

As a parenting blogger, I have a huge workload and the responsibilities weigh a ton on my shoulders. We work when the sun goes down, comes up, and especially when the little one’s decide it’s finally nap time. We do a lot — and as if those winter months aren’t tough enough for blogging, suddenly summer comes along as a game changer and we are whisked into a tornado-filled season of activities, parties, holidays, and of course our school districts think it’s real funny to lock the doors to the buildings. I guess that means school’s out for summer?

Parenting & Mom Blogger Summer Survival Plan:

With the kids being home from school, a bright and warm sun shining outside, and a whole slew of activities to enjoy in the great outdoors, mom bloggers often struggle to get those blog posts published during the warmer months. As a mom blogger, you will have to think up a plan that helps to balance your time between the blog and the kids. How can you keep your blog afloat, kids happy, and manage a household during the summer? It won’t be easy, but utilizing these quick and simple tips will help things go fairly smoothly!

Plan Ahead

Creating a long-term plan for your editorial calendar can be difficult and it will never be perfect. Things happen, plans change, events are rescheduled or popup unexpectedly. While you may not be able to plan for sponsored posts or product reviews, devising a plan for your organic blog posts will help you stay on schedule and producing fresh content for your readers will flow out much easier than you would think.

Find Your Perfect Babysitter
I personally struggle with creating a long-term editorial calendar plan year round, but I force myself to spend a full day choosing great topics to write about during the summer. I actually just finished compiling a summer-long plan last week! It took a few hours, but I sat down with a pencil (because nothing is permanent!) and monthly calendars printed out for June, July, August and September.

Start out by jotting down summer related topics, ideas that flow from your mind and that you would love to see on your blog this summer. Be specific (“How to Survive Summer as a Mom Blogger”) or general (“mom blogging tips”, “blogging”, “surviving summer”). I allowed myself to write down 25 ideas before I started placing those topics into specific days that I would write about them in the future.

Using this pre-planning editorial calendar method makes it easier on me when those specific days come: I can just sit down and start writing, researching, and compiling the posts. I don’t have to think about what I want to write about. This has worked for me in the past and I am confident it will make my 2014 summer as a mom blogger flow just as easily, too.

Schedule Posts

This second tip sort of flows along with the previous, somewhat. Scheduling blog posts ahead of time has been a lifesaver for my blogging career, especially when I am traveling.

Psst… Wanna know a secret? I actually composed, compiled, and scheduled this post on Sunday, June 1st. Why? Because I knew that I would be way too busy to publish any posts this week since I am on a blog press trip in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. While I am enjoying a tour of the beautiful Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa, I can rest comfortably knowing that my blog is simultaneously publishing posts that I wrote ahead of time!

If you have a 7-day family vacation planned for July, start writing up some blog posts a few weeks ahead of time. I will generally try to produce at least one blog post per day that I will be vacationing plus the day before and after my trip (if possible). You know that you will be too busy packing and unpacking, so think ahead and be logical about your capabilities.

Don’t overdo it and only pre-write posts if your regular work for that day is done. I’ve made the mistake in the past where I would devote too much of my time to scheduling future posts for a vacation and neglecting the present. Work on publishing a post for today first — once you’ve published that post, move on and start compiling a vacation day post that you can schedule for one of the days you will be out of town.

Besides a vacation, scheduling posts is also a great sanity and time saver. You know that your summertime activities are going to keep you away from the keyboard. Spend a few days going blog post crazy! Compose, add pictures, work on your SEO, and schedule posts like crazy for the next few weeks. You will go a little nuts and be overworked, tired, and very cranky. However, you will save yourself from worrying about blog and publishing fresh content on a daily basis.

schedule posts hootsuite buffer

Utilizing scheduling sites, such as Hootsuite or Buffer, will be a huge help and time saver for the busy mom blogger this summer. I use Hootsuite all year long, but especially during the summer months. I will pre-schedule tweets and Facebook posts for MamaNYC at least 5-7 days in advance. Summer is unpredictable and you never know when a barbecue or summer vacation may pop up!

ECOlunchbox - Healthy Lunchboxes to hold your treats!

Plan ahead and you’ll rest easy knowing your followers are still getting fed links to your hottest blog posts. I like to save tweets and social media posts in a spreadsheet that I created so that I can keep old posts alive. You can download and save the social media scheduling spreadsheet, learn how to schedule and use tweets to your advantage and more thanks to a tutorial that I put together for my readers.

Ask Fellow Bloggers for Guest Posts

When time is not on your side and it’s tough to keep up the momentum this summer, why not seek out the help of fellow bloggers? Guest posts are a great way to introduce your readers to another blogger, keep up the steady flow of published posts even when you are too busy to write, and it will give you some extra time with the kiddo’s!

I am always open to receiving guest posts from fellow bloggers and I keep a guest post form open at all times for anyone interested to submit. Outline your guidelines and guest posting policies (topics that you will not allow, how many images and links, and how you prefer to receive the posts – HTML? Text format?).

Get On A New Schedule

Just as seasons change, so will your schedule. Allow yourself the flexibility to move and shift things around while school is out for the summer. You will find that there is a lot you can do in the morning when you wake up only 30-60 minutes earlier than the kids. I will normally set my alarm clock for 6:00am and my 16-month of daughter sleeps in until 8:00am usually. This gives me enough time to catch up on my emails and any unfinished blog work.

While I used to be able to pull an all-nighter quite easily (oh, college!), I am suddenly unable to do so (wait, when did that happen?!). Monitor your time working online and move things around if you must. The summer can be much busier, but it’s also a much more flexible season the others (in my opinion, anyway!). I am able to pull an all-nighter sometimes, but very rarely. You know what you are capable of doing. Avoid overkill and sleep when possible. Don’t let your blog determine how your summer will pan out. Learn how to write blog posts faster and manage your time — wisely.

Pick a time of day when the kids are generally reading, coloring, napping or watching a movie. Use that midday downtime to blog, but set an alarm so that you can pull yourself away from the desk. We don’t always notice how fast the time seems to go while we are on our computers. Normally, I try to set an alarm for 30-minutes. Thereafter, I will take a 5-minute break, walk around and make sure all is fine. If everyone is still napping or busy playing solo, I may or may not return to my work for another 30-minute stretch. Take breaks and get some sun, too!

Prioritize Family First

You don’t have to tell me how important your blog is to you; I am (and always have been!) a total work-a-holic. While I want to spend every waking moment with my little angels, I also know how important it is to keep the blog fresh and lively with new content. At the end of the day: family is first.

It is very important to meet those deadlines, but plan accordingly and contact your clients or brands should an emergency happen. After all, we are mom and parenting bloggers! Things happen in life, especially when kids are involved.

Try to do all work at least 2-days prior to your deadlines. I normally “lie to myself” by noting a campaign post to be due on an earlier date than it is actually due (unless we are only to post on a specified due date and not a day earlier). Telling myself that a post is due on Monday when it actually has a due date for Wednesday means that I won’t be sweating when it is an hour until the deadline and my kids are both dealing with a belly ache.

When the going gets tough, just try to remember why you started a blog and use that for inspiration. Go back to your roots and motivate yourself based on those previous motivations and purposes that you had intended for your blog. I started blogging and founded MamaNYC because I wanted to connect with like-minded moms and share product reviews, parenting advice and more.

Whenever I start to feel like this is just too much, I reflect and think back to what it was like without MamaNYC. I started doing all of this for a reason and I like to think it has made a better parent out of me. With that being said, I know I can only be the best mom when I pick my family before my blog.

Summer is a Blogger Best Friend

Of course there are trillions of topics to talk about all yearlong, but the possibilities are endless during the summertime! Just think of all the photos and stories you will have to share with your readers. Activities and photo opps with the kids galore as you set off to the beach, playground, or local amusement park.

Share your summer with your readers and they’ll be a great memory to look back on in the future as the kids grow. Create a summer long series documenting all of your adventures with the family, provide tips and tricks on how you are maximizing your time with the family this summer.

Think of all the great stuff you can share with the readers that you normally can’t do during those brutal colder months. Snap hundreds (or, thousands!) of photos outside. You’ll not only be enjoying the great outdoors with the kids, but those photos will look marvelous in your next blog post!

Happy Summer, Bloggers!


Why YOU Should Start a Blog & REASONS To Start Blogging

  Why Should You Start a Blog

So, you are considering blogging, eh? You’ve heard that they can be profitable, fun, a great hobby, perfect for a second income. You heard a story on the news or read an article in a magazine about a woman that earns $50,000 a month with her blog. While those things aren’t exactly true — they can be! Then again — they can’t be. If you are thinking about starting a blog, consider what you’re about to get into and make sure you’ve got your expectations in check.

What I thought I was getting into when I began MamaNYC in mid-2010:

I remember the day that I decided to start a blog quite vividly (strange, right?). I had recently transitioned from work-a-holic business woman with an important position at an e-commerce business into the role of stay-at-home mom. It was like I had gone from a roller coaster ride on top of Mount Everest into an empty, padded room with nothing but white walls. It’s a long story, so let’s pinpoint three simple expectations that I had on day one as a blogger:

[1] I didn’t expect to make a dime from my blog: I came into this with very little expectations about monetization. Although I had worked in e-commerce, web design, and Internet marketing for well over a decade at that point, blogging was something that I wasn’t all too familiar with. I didn’t expect to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a week, which the media would later broadcast to unknowing bystanders.

blogging tips make money

You’ve heard the saying, “expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed”. While I don’t think you should expect nothing, don’t expect to become super rich and the next big thing. Yes, it happens. Things go viral and suddenly you’ve got 1.5 million followers on Twitter. However, it may not be your story.

[2] I thought this would be a small hobby: Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate MamaNYC to become a largely successful blog. I expected to possibly meet a few fellow moms in passing, exchange parenting ideas, complain about life, and do the girl thing where we secretly converse about our men and babies. Somewhere down the line, I guess blogging became my thing and it took a whole different direction. I went from spending a few minutes a day working on my blog into spending 50+ hours a week!

[3] I never thought I would have readers (never mind followers!): MamaNYC began on Blogspot back in 2010 and my very first blog post (I still cringe and laugh when I read it!) received it’s very first comment within 1-hour! Woah… someone, read that?! I wish I could tell that woman just how much she inspired me to keep blogging and give it a real go.

I had no ideas or topics in mind, but I started to think up random titles that could maybe, possibly interest someone in the world! Now, MamaNYC has over 18,000 Twitter followers and 14,000+ Facebook fans. That’s nearly 4-5,000 fans gained per year. Amazing! Hey, I may not be retaining millions yet, but I am proud of myself. Why? Because one again, I didn’t expect much, so how could I be disappointed?

I still look back at some of my very first blog posts and shake my head (“what was I thinking?!”), but that’s part of the process. You are going to make many of the same mistakes bloggers make over and over again. Think of each blog post and social media interaction as a new lesson. You may trip and fall, do double the amount of work needed to be done, and miss out on a few dozen paid blogger opps. It’s all normal and we have all been there. Trust me, you are only human!

Moral of my story: Don’t expect much. You won’t be disappointed, but rather excited and inspired once your blog really kicks off. I’m not trying to say that you should set yourself up for disappointment, but rather be realistic about your blogging goals and what you will do with your blog.

Why did I start MamaNYC? I was bored, wanted to connect with like-minded people (mothers, stay-at-home moms), and needed a place that I could go to every day to remind myself that I was an adult. I still look back and find the story of how I started blogging to be fate, really! As much as I loved being home with my son, I was starting to feel a true disconnect with the outside world. I needed an outlet and something to do. I didn’t have many hobbies, so this was a nice match for my at-home situation.

Why Should I Blog Tips

Next, let’s figure out why you should start a blog:

…because you want to help people.

Many blogs are written in an attempt to help people who many be dealing with similar situations. If you’ve had an experience in the past or currently face a difficult issue, blogging about it will help to connect with others that are struggling, dealing, coping, or living in the same situation as you or your family. Parenting, health-related, or career focused blogs are designed around the idea of helping others.

…because you want to meet & connect with like-minded people.

Blogging brings like-minded people together. Starting a blog can help you find those people and share your opinions and thoughts. Whatever sort of audience you attract through blogging doesn’t necessarily have to be just an “audience.” I have met some of my greatest friends through blogging (shout out to the wonderful Maggie over at Literary Winner — because she deserves one.).

You’ll start off with only blogging or a niche in common, but quickly develop a long-term friendship that will hopefully continue to grow for many years to come. Your audience can become friends, partners, business contacts, or colleagues. Skies the limit, really!

 …because you want to make money.

Remember, I didn’t start blogging with an intent of gaining income or any revenue at all. I started blogging knowing that it was possible and the potential to generate revenue did exist. However, I did not want to expect much more than a few bucks per month or else my true purpose would be lost.

I am sure you have heard or read stories about “mom bloggers generating $100,000 blogging per month”. True? Sure – maybe 1% of bloggers earn that sort of income, but it’s going to take a lot of practice, patience, and time to start gaining a healthful income. There are plenty of resources available and you can find paid blogging jobs in no time. You will need to establish yourself as a writer and gain a social media following before seeing a decent income for your hard work. Don’t give up; have patience!

I saw my very first dollar from MamaNYC after 5-months of blogging. Fast-forward to present day — its been over 4-years and I am bringing in a steady income for my family and consider this to be my full-time job.

If you are looking to replace your current employment, I would advise you to keep your job until you are seeing a matched amount or greater income than present for a steady run of 6-8 months or more. Don’t jump the gun and quit a job when your first dollar rolls in from blogging. It’s a very up and down scale with some high months and other very low months — you may earn $3,500 this month, but only see $400 next month.

…because you have something to say.

Everyone has an opinion on something. Maybe you want to express your thoughts on a particular subject, such as your political viewpoint or the way your town government is being mismanaged. If you feel like you’ve got a strong enough voice and the writing skills necessary to put those opinions on paper (or, computer screen rather!), blogs are the perfect venue to say what you want and be heard.

I think therefore I blog MamaNYC

…because you want to promote something.

Marketing your product, service, or business through blogging is a great way to promote. You will have to work hard to bring visitors to your business blog, but utilizing social media and hosting giveaways is a great driving force to bring readers to your blog.

Offer topics, tips, and tricks that focus around your businesses industry. If you are running a local dog walking blog, write up a blog post with dog training tips for owners. They will not only visit and gain knowledge from your expert advice, but your business name will also catch their attention (and hopefully their business in the near future!).

…because you want to make a difference.

Just because you are an Average Joe in your average small town doesn’t mean that your voice needs to go unheard. You have a strong opinion and you are full of fantastic ideas, but how will you let the world know? How can you change their opinions and ideals on social or political issues? Why, a blog, of course!
Starting an issue-based blog means that you will have a great platform, but you need a strong voice. Be prepared for backlash from the nay-say’ers and disagree’ers. If you feel confident enough, go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose, but a strong voice to be gained.

…because you want to stay current & active.

If you love reading the news, keeping up with the latest Hollywood news, or stalk changes and events in a particular industry or field, blogging can be a great place to stay knowledgeable in a certain topic or subject area. Provide your readers with daily updates, fresh and current news, and frequently posted material that can serve as their first destination for that particular subject.

…because you want to learn something new.

Blogging will teach you how to effectively communicate online, write articles using those journalism skills learned in school, self-promotion and marketing, learn HTML coding for bloggers, graphic design work, and so much more.

If you are a good writer — don’t be scared by the idea of opening a website and buying a .COM for your blog.

If you are good at coding HTML and graphics — don’t be scared of brushing up on your writing skills and presenting an article for the world to read.

It’s completely up to you on how skilled you will become in each of these areas, but the chance and opportunity to grow is there.

…because you want to stay in touch with family & friends

It is a small world after all, so why not start a blog as a way to stay in touch with friends and family members in different parts of the world? Share stories, videos, photos, and experiences. Let everyone follow your journey through pregnancy, parenting, or planning a wedding. Blogging is a perfect method of connecting your loved ones with your day to day adventures.

…because you want to be creative, have fun, and teach things.

Becoming a successful blogger and owning a slam dunk blog depends on your passion for the blog’s topic or niche. You should choose and find topics to blog about that you could write about until the cows come home. Be prolific and have a previous interest or skill set devoted around the topic. If you love crafts and DIY projects, why not start a blog that outlines specific ideas you’ve put together along with photographic step-by-step instructions for readers to give it a whirl themselves?

Teach your readers about a certain talent or topic you have a deep interest in, or want to learn more about a niche area (Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit? Start a blog that chronologizes your adventures in knitting!).

Why Blog Niche Topic Tips

Moral of the Story:

Whatever it is that you decide to do as a blogger or with your blog, make sure it’s something you can write about on a frequent basis. Don’t choose a narrow subject that you may only be able to carry on for a few weeks. If you prefer to write about a wide variety of topics – no problem! Create a blog with a general scope – lifestyle, daily rantings, journal style, everyday topics.

Have passion. Be patient. Use goals.

Good Luck & Happy Blogging!



BloggerPR July 4th Event: For The Luck of Liberty Giveaway Hop

Luck of Liberty July 4th Event 2014

BloggerPR’s 2nd annual

For The Luck of Liberty Giveaway Hop

July 4th Event Sign Up’s are OPEN!

red white blue flag July 4th Event

Join me as I celebrate July 4th with an amazing group of bloggers in the FOR THE LUCK OF LIBERTY GIVEAWAY HOP! This event is hosted by BloggerPR, which is my blogger support and campaign outreach network that I started in 2012 and has grown to a strong group of 500+ professional bloggers. All of our events are FREE and this particular event has a $20.00 prize minimum.


BloggerPR events are run similarly to MamaNYC hosted events, so you will know to expect an organized and fun giveaway hop if you have participated in one of my MamaNYC events in the past. This event will celebrate Independence Day, but we always like to keep the theme open. Bloggers are encouraged to try for a red, white & blue themed prize, but anything goes (family friendly, of course!).

Sign ups are now open and the deadline isn’t until June 28, 2014. The event will kickoff on July 1st and run until July 8th, which gives our readers a little over a week to hop down the linky and enter all of our giveaways.


Ready to sign up? Want to learn more about this event? Head on over to BloggerPR and add your blog name and URL to our July 4th giveaway linky. We also hope you will register to become a member of our blog support group!

Hope you’ll join us and I look forward to teaming up together for another fantastic BloggerPR hosted event!

Join our conversation and keep an eye out for our giveaways with the official #LUCKYliberty hashtag!

Blog Maintenance Monthly Checklist for WordPress Bloggers

Blog Maintenance Checklist

Blog Maintenance Checklist:

18 things you should do monthly for your WordPress Blog

It’s been a while since I last published a post for my Blogging 101 series. I was sadly inspired to write this post due to a sad series of events and a realization that Google was not crawling MamaNYC as much as it should have been (sigh). If the point of creating a blog and publishing content is to find readers that will actually enjoy it, I want to make sure Google is actually noticing my posts! Otherwise, I would be talking to myself.

When I came back from a short hiatus from blogging in January (2014), I knew that there would be an enormous mess to clean up. Between emails piling up, an abandoned blog with lots to fix and update, and the fact that my hosting bill went unpaid for about 6-weeks (hooray! my entire blog was DOWN and nonexistent to the world!) — I had a diaster, to say the least. I had to act fast and work hard, but I am fully recovered and back to ‘normal’, which includes completing the following checklist at least once per month.

I know how difficult it can be to blog and worry about all the other stuff (“…you mean I can’t just write content? There’s MORE?!”). Hey, unless you want your blog to resemble a dead bag of bones, of course you will need to do lots of other legwork to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Think of your blog as a car…

The fine folks at the auto factory built my car (your web designer). They put all the nuts and bolts, oil and brake fluid,  windows and tires.

Blog Maintenance Monthly Checklist WordPress

Every few days, I run to the gas station to fill my gas tank (posts; content). The gas keeps my car running on a daily basis. I add more gas (blog posts) whenever I can. I don’t want to be left stranded on the side of the road (Google abandonment issues).

However, I still need to do routine maintenance:

Tire rotation (updates!), Oil change (removing unused plugins), Car wash (review your sidebar)

All of these things are done on a routine basis to ensure top performance of my vehicle. If I neglect my car… well, you all know what will happen!

How often should you maintain your blog?

Daily, if possible! I try to do at least one or two tasks per day, such as emptying spam comments and approving the good ones. That sort of stuff should take less than 5-minutes per day. Let them build up and you might find yourself approving comments for 30-minutes!

Doing those smaller tasks will make your life (and blog!) much easier and happier. However, I still recommend setting aside at least 1-day per month to really dig in deep and take a peak at everything in your dashboard, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, and CDN account (if you have one, which I highly recommend!)

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Update your About page

Did you know that the ‘About’ page is one of the most popular pages created and also the least edited content? Just as your blog and life has changed it the last few weeks or months, I can assure your ‘About’ page has become outdated and requires a spruce up. Many people may argue that there’s literally no reason to update this page. Nothing has changed, right?

I remember when I first created MamaNYC and whipped together an ‘About Me’ page. It was a novel (to say the least) and eventually became a forgotten thought. Months went by before I realized that the entire dynamic, focus, and target of my blog and lifestyle had dramatically increased.

Neglecting to update your ‘About’ page may lead to misinforming your visitors, losing out on a potential job, or worse! (Who knows… it could be bad. Real, real bad! Aaah!) But seriously, I try to read my ‘About’ page at least once a month to make sure I am not forgetting anything — and I make edits every single time.

Writing About Me Page Blog

Update plug-ins, themes, and WordPress software (if necessary)

These updates should be done as they become available to ensure your blog is running with the latest versions. Plugin updates may include a security hole patch. WordPress software might have an update that will speed up your site. Although these should be done as soon as possible, I recommend checking everything for updates during your monthly checkup at the very least.

Get rid of unused plugins

Plugins can really bog down your blog speed. Look through your list of installed plugins. Permanently delete any inactive plugins – they are taking up space and can also make your blog vulnerable for security issues — even though you’ve deactivated them.

Decide if the active plugins are actually valuable for your blog. Is it really worth slowing your blog down a bit? Is that blog even doing its job? Find out which plugins are slowing you down with P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). This tool will help you scan your blog to find out which plugins are causing a slow performance. It will measure the impact that each plugin has on your site’s load time.

While you’re at it, look around for plugins that might actually be useful! You can check my list of the top free WordPress plugins — (oh, I have another one here, too!)

Clean up drafts and revisions

Here’s something I didn’t know until after at least 1-year of being on the WordPress platform…

WordPress saves a draft of every post and page every time you update them.

Even the slightest change, press “Save Draft”, WordPress just saved another draft revision copy. So, let’s say you’ve written 500 blog posts and made 5 revisions each (even though it is generally much more!). Let’s do the math and say you’ve written 400 blog posts ->

5 (revisions) 500 (blog posts written) = 2,500 revised post/page files

Now do you see just how bloated your database can become by useless and unused revised data files? Also, clean up your drafts and empty your trash – regularly! Go through each and ask yourself if you seriously plan to ever finish composing that post. I’ve had drafts sit for months at a time! It’s a waste of space and I will hardly ever use them again. If I really like the topic idea, I write it down in my notebook.

Get started and clean your WordPress database with the WP Optimize, which is an effective plugin that allows you to clean up your WordPress database and optimize it without phpMyAdmin. Next, install Revision Control plugin so that you can limit the number of revisions that will be kept on file for each page or post.

Conduct a malware scan

Did you know that your blog can become infected with malware? It will linger in your files and you can’t exactly ‘see’ or necessarily notice it is there right away.Do you know who will notice? Google.

Semi-luckily, Google won’t immediately blacklist your site, so you will have a little bit of time to correct any problems before the search engines start to prevent visitors from visiting and getting infected. That’s why this task is crucial and should be done every 4-weeks – minimum! If you can do a scan weekly or bi-weekly, do it! Get a free website malware scan at for detection.

Confirm social feeds are working

Do you utilize a social fee service for your blog? Make sure they’re all working and test them all out — individually. If you are using tools to automatically push your blog posts onto Twitter, Facebook, Google+ Plus, LinkedIn, or another social site, you should verify each is working properly.

Check all of your forms

If you are using forms on your blog, fill them out and submit as a test to ensure they are working properly. Do this at least once a month to determine functionality, especially if your Contact Form is the only way for a client to reach you. If you are using a third-party plugin to create and manage your forms, make sure they are updated as soon as possible.

Review your sidebar, spruce it up, create value for visitors

There are generally three spaces that are seen by every single visitor: header (w/ navigation menus), footer, and sidebar. They can grow outdated just as fast as your About page, so don’t forget to audit each space at least once a month. Are you utilizing that space in the best way possible? Review that sidebar from top to bottom and check all links, images, and affiliate ads.

If you implanted affiliate banners, make sure each of them is giving you a return! That space is valuable and there isn’t much available. Treat is 125×125 square of space like gold. If there’s an affiliate banner taking up space and not earning any income — why is it there?

Think about where you are placing certain banners and text. Is your sidebar overcrowded? Remove a few things and tidy the place up! Make sure you have displayed all of your social networks, feeds, and contact details in the sidebar. Since this is the most universally seen space on your blog, I cannot stress just how important it is to make sure each widget area includes useful, relevant, and resourceful links or banners for visitors.

Analyze, review, update your Google Webmaster Tools account

This was my major fail moment. February and March were quite busy months and I neglected to keep an eye on my Google Webmaster Tools. Make sure Google is crawling your website and update your sitemap if necessary. Make updates if any other changes have occurred since your last monthly checkup. Check your sitemap and make sure Google is crawling your pages.

*Type this into Google (as a regular search term): — Is the number of results close or exact to the number of posts + pages you’ve published? If you’ve published well over 800 blog posts and the number of search results is 75, you’ve got a problem. Take a closer look at your sitemap.

Back up your blog

This is a MUST — and the best part of all? You can automate the entire process so that you don’t even have to think about doing it! You have enough on your plate, so how can you possibly remember to conduct a monthly backup? (I actually think this should be a daily or weekly chore, but at least — please, once a month!)

I like to use WordPress Backup to Dropbox, which is a free plugin that allows the user to choose a day, time and frequency for backups to be performed. Thereafter, I can have the file delivered directly to my Dropbox account. It’s a no-brainer solution and definitely a great way to protect yourself and your content.

WordPress BackUp Dropbox

Some may not be comfortable with that backup solution, so I would also suggest BackUpWordPress, which backs up your entire WordPress installation. Everything from your posts, pages, comments, widgets, themes, plugins and files will be saved. The only difference is that there will be a file that you can thereafter save on your hard drive as opposed to your Dropbox cloud account.

Test and speed up your site load times

Did you know that Google recommends a site load time of 2 seconds or less? As one of my biggest pet peeves, I am constantly struggling to improve the page speed for MamaNYC. There are tons of things that you can do to lessen the download time. I found some great resources on how to speed up WordPress blog.

Work on your image optimization and make sure they’re all equipped with alt=, title=, and dimensions (height & width).

– First, I like to run a website test speed (run it a few times spread out over a course of about 10-15 minutes; no need to record your times – use the “History” tab to see your previous load times).

– Next, I will do a few recommended changes, such as removing unused plugins and deleting revisions.

– Thereafter, I run a few more speed tests and see if my hard work made a difference. *Remember, even a few milliseconds can make a difference.

Delete spam and trash comments

Clean out your comments by deleting spam and trash comments. These can pile up quickly, so make sure deleting them is part of your ongoing blog maintenance activities. I make it a point of emptying my comment spam at least every other day since I generally average about 1,500-3,000 within a 72-hour span usually. (Side note – use Akismet to control spam blog comments!)

Check your RSS and email feeds

It is essential that your blog RSS feed and email updates service works properly. Your readers rely on those updates as a way of knowing what new content has been added for the day or week. Without those services working properly, visitors are being lost and you may be talking to yourself (no one to read your blog posts!!!).

*Tip: If you aren’t already a subscriber for your own feed and email newsletter – do it now! This is the best way for you to notice that there is a problem with your feed. I actually signed up for my newsletter using two different email accounts just to be sure (or, is that called paranoia?). You will be able to quickly notice when something goes wrong with your feed or email subscriptions.

Test your email subscription form to ensure functionality is perfect. You don’t want to be that blogger that lost new subscribers because her sign up form was coded incorrectly!

Check for broken links

There’s nothing more annoying then clicking on a link that you expect to bring you to a resource you’re interested in learning more about — only to learn that the website owner tricked you (well, not intentionally…). Think about that disappointment that you feel when another blogger has a broken link. (Do you cry, too?) This is another thing that should be done fairly regularly, but at least dealt with while you’re going down your monthly checklist.

Check Broken Links WordPress

Not only can a broken link totally annoy your visitors, they’ll also lead to a negative impact on your site’s ranking with the search engines. This can become a huge problem and the fix is probably one of the easiest on this list! You can use an online broken links checker to find broken links and make any necessary fixes. WordPress users can download the Broken Link Checker plugin. I’ve used it for years to regularly check my links on all posts, comments and other content on MamaNYC for broken links and missing images. It’s quite simple to use and you can also set it up to send you an email summary.

Erase all unused themes

Head on over to your themes (Appearance–>Themes). Make sure that the only theme is the one you are currently using. Remove the default themes if you haven’t already (Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven, etc.), but choose one of them to stay. Leaving one of the default themes is important because WordPress will reload and activate that theme should your current one break during an update or accidentally become inactive/removed. So, leave TWO themes: [1] current active theme; [2] WordPress default theme — all others get the boot!

(Note, just so that I don’t get myself or someone else into a boatload of trouble: If you are using a child theme, do not delete the parent! Ex: StudioPress users need the Genesis parent theme to remain!)

Test your navigation

Conduct a thorough test of all your internal links along your navigation menu, sidebar, and footer. Make sure they’re all working! It may seem obvious (“Why would I want to check my navigation? I already set it up and know it’s working. Duh!), but you may be surprised. Something may have broken. You may realize that one of the menu options is obsolete or unpopular with your visitors.

404 error page


I use a website heat map through to find out where my visitors are clicking. Create a project on ClickTale so that you can have recordings of your visitors’ pageviews, find out where they are clicking (heat map), and where they may be experiencing trouble. I find heat maps to be extremely beneficial in my navigation menu planning.

Analyze your Google Analytics

Although I do log into my Google Analytics account fairly regularly (every 2-5 days), I am really just a passerby on a fast moving train. Maybe I will log in to quickly see how my pageviews did for the last few days, or to log incoming referrals for a campaign that I am working on. I always like to stay in the habit of at least checking in every few days so that I can ensure my analytical code is still detecting visitors (nothing worse than realizing Google Analytics hasn’t logged any visitors for 3-weeks!).

Check Google Analytics Traffic

However! Once a month, I try to really sit down (when the kids are asleep) and analyze, research, discover, and plan. There’s so much power behind your Analytics reports and many people don’t know how to use it to maximize their own performance. Spend a few hours learning what it all means, how to customize reports, segments, create goals. Your traffic tells the story of your blog – use it to your advantage.

Discover what keywords are bringing a high volume of readers – consider doing another post (or two) based on the same topic (and be sure to link to the older post, too!). Where does most incoming traffic originate from? What social network is quickly slipping in the ranks? Have you been tweeting lately? Maybe that’s why your traffic decreased -19% this month. Do some research and find out what’s working and what’s failing on your blog.

(And now… last, but certainly not least!)

Pretend it’s your first visit on your blog

Visit your blog as though it is your very first time looking at your navigation, font sizes and styles, theme layout, and sidebar. Huh? Why? Simply because you’ve grown quite accustomed to your blog and it’s navigation. You might be missing something that your visitors aren’t, which may leave them to click onto the next blog.

Set aside 15-minutes and really try to clear your mind of everything you know about your blog. Have a pad and pen by your side to take notes of any posts, links, images, or pages that need to be refined. Take a peak at all of your different navigation menu options and ask yourself those questions you ask when you’re on another blog: How can I contact this blogger? Is she on Facebook? Does he have a Twitter account? I wonder where she’s from and if she’s an expert in this area. Has she won any awards or nominations for blogging and writing? When did she start this blog, or blogging altogether? Where can I find a list of her current giveaways? Does she offer parenting tips and motherhood advice?

This can be trick and I often miss things since I am going too fast (“I know this page is fine!”). Stop and give yourself a minute on each page. Whenever I do this task, I use a piece of paper and write #1-10. I don’t let myself stop looking until I have found at least 10 things that I can improve or fix on my blog. Trust me, I always find more than ten!



Take this checklist to go! I’ve put together an easy to use blog maintenance checklist printable worksheet. It lists all 18 of these tasks accompanied by a checkbox. Simple, right!? Print it out, share with your friends, and don’t forget to jot down a few notes to the side if there’s something you would like to further investigate. Good luck!

Blog Maintenance Monthly Checklist thumbnail

Blog Maintenance Monthly Checklist Printable

Is there ANYTHING that I missed?!?

Leave a comment below and tell me if there’s a monthly (or daily, weekly) routine that you conduct as part of your blog maintenance. Is there any other vital task(s) that I left out? Do you set aside ‘Maintenance Time’ already each week or month? Tell me your tips and tricks! I love to hear about other bloggers’ routines!


Genesis Framework & StudioPress Theme: How To Install on WordPress

Genesis Framework Logo

As an avid Genesis framework user and fan, I am always trying to recruit fellow bloggers. MamaNYC has been on the Genesis Framework ever since I moved onto WordPress and can’t imagine myself leaving! Incase you don’t know what I am talking about…

As explained on, it’s best to think of WordPress as the engine of a car. Genesis works along the exterior shell as the frame and body of a car and StudioPress as the paint job. All of these things put together (plus a lot of hard work and love!) create a premium WordPress theme.

Studio Press Themes

Installation and setup isn’t difficult, but it can be tricky. What I love about StudioPress themes is the ability to individualize, customize, and transform their themes in ways you couldn’t imagine. The functionality of the framework makes it simple for the beginner, but complex for the advanced. (Huh?) If you want StudioPress to simply upload and work — it will! If you enjoy the structure of a theme and want to make everything else your own — you can!



*CLICK HERE if you already installed WordPress and chose a theme!

[1] Install WordPress Software: This may seem obvious to many, but I cant to make sure we are all on the same page before we begin. You should already possess the login details to your hosting account and have an installation of the most current WordPress software on your server. Ask your host for the details or assistance if necessary. Once you’ve got your hands on the WordPress login information, let’s go!

[2] Choose Your Theme: Head on over to the StudioPress website and browse through their collection of premium WordPress themes. Pick a theme that feels best for your blog genre or personality. They have everything from an executive business theme to a spunky and fun artist feel, so you are going to find what you were looking for in their collection!

I always tell my web design clients to think out of the shell when choosing a WordPress theme. Everything is customizable — everything. The StudioPress themes are so customizable that you wouldn’t know what it was intended to look like in the first place! Let’s take an example from my previous design here at MamaNYC:

StudioPress Family Tree: Before & After

Genesis StudioPress Family Tree studio press mamanyc

When you look at a StudioPress theme, look at it as if there were no colors. Imagine a black and white shell with the navigation only as small boxes lined up next to one another. Exclude font styles, sizes, colors, and backgrounds. If you like them — they will be there as seen in the demo. If you want to change something or all of it — you’ll have an opportunity to do so once installed.

For starters, you will need to purchase the Genesis Framework ($59.99) and theme (usually run around $29.95~). The StudioPress themes will not work without the framework. Once you own the Genesis Framework, you won’t need to buy it again should you decide to change to another StudioPress theme in the future. The framework is your four walls and the theme is your stuffing inside. It is required!


Once you’ve installed WordPress and purchased your framework and theme from StudioPress, you may proceed and follow the instructions below:

STEP ONE: StudioPress Welcome Email & Download Links

Check your inbox for a “Welcome” email from StudioPress. This email will include everything from instructions to download links necessary to begin your software installation.Open the links and download the Genesis framework and your selected theme onto your computer. Place them in a folder where you can easily locate them later, such as your desktop or “Download” folder.

STEP TWO: WordPress Login – Head on over to your WordPress account and enter your login information. This is not the same username/password used to log into your hosting account cPanel. The username and password was selected by you or chosen for you during the WordPress software install.

WordPress login window

STEP THREE: Open your Dashboard and find Appearance (middle of the righthand sidebar). Hover over and select “Themes” on the secondary menu.

WordPress Appearance Themes

STEP FOUR: “Add New” – Once your theme section appears, click on the blue “Add New” button across the top of the page. 

WordPress Add New Theme

STEP FIVE: Select “Upload” from the options across the top of your window.

WordPress Install New Themes

STEP SIX: Find Your File — Click “Choose File” and find the folder where you saved your framework and theme. First, select the Genesis framework .zip file and click ‘install’. 

WordPress Upload Install Theme

STEP SIX: Activate & Preview – Congratulations! You have successfully installed your Genesis framework! Click “Activate” and thereafter you can type your URL into the browser (I recommend opening another tab) to see a live preview of your new framework. Don’t get nervous! You will only see the Genesis theme. You haven’t installed your theme yet, which is a “child theme” to Genesis (“parent theme).

WordPress Theme Upload Activate

STEP SEVEN: Repeat for Theme Installation — Now you will need to repeat steps one through six, but replace the framework file with your StudioPress theme .zip file.

You can only have one theme set as “Active” at a time, so you want to make sure the StudioPress theme is selected. Think of Genesis as working backstage as a stagehand and your theme as the starring actor in a play.

Genesis StudioPress Theme Installed

Notice my child theme, Beautiful Pro, sits alongside the Genesis Framework under my “Themes” setting. Beautiful Pro is the “Active” theme.

Voila! Now you are the proud owner of a brand new StudioPress theme running on the Genesis Framework! There’s plenty more to do with your new theme, such as customizing your header and installing a plethora of Genesis plugins (search for ‘Genesis’ under the Plugins settings in your dashboard. There’s plenty of useful plugins to aide you along!)

Good Luck & Happy Blogging!


Get Paid Blogging: How to Find Paid Opps & Jobs – Blogging 101

  Monetize Get Paid Blogging

Learn How to Get Paid Blogging!

Every blogger wants to know how and where to find paid jobs. Monetizing your blog is actually very easy to get started, but being a sucess requires determination and dediction. It isn't as simple as you might think, but it isn't difficult once you get your feet wet and start to recceive steady work.

There really isn't aspecific network that I would particularly label as the only network you should focus on. In order to successfully monetize your blog, I would suggest that you strive to become as active and successful in a variety of monetization platforms and networks. Focusing your attention on one particular area of monetization or specific network will only hold you back. Remain diverse and the you will definitely see positive results!

One of the greatest ways to get paid blogging and grow your blog itself is by joining and partnering up with blogging networks and sites that will match you up with top quality sponsored post opps. Depending on the network and/or your blogging goals, you will land gigs for product reviews, giveaways, opportunities to voice your opinion or share a brand experience, get paid to use your social media presence to market a product, or attend a local event/attraction in your city!

I have put together an extraordinary list of nearly all blogging networks that I have come across in my years as a blogger. I have worked with a large majority of these networks or heard great things about them through fellow bloggers. I will not include any networks that have failed me in the past! 

Yes — there are a lot of networks on this list. However, I would highly recommend bookmarking this page to make sure you visit each and every one to decide which one(s) work best for your blog. Your chances of blog growth, development, and monetization will grow immensely as you continue down this list and register for as many as you can. Do not focus on one particular network and e

  And one great way to find new opportunities is by joining quality blogging networks, and sponsored post sites. You’ll get opps to review products, write posts about brands, sites, or services, and earn an income while doing it. So – I put together this list of totally legit ways to get paid blogging opps. {These are all networks that I’ve worked with, and have earned at least one check from. So I can vouch for every single one.}

*This list is in alphabethical order; not sorted from best to worst or anything else! I will do my best to provide a short description, but this won't be possible for every single network listed.



BookiebooClever Girl Network Badge Icon


Clever Girl Network

Double Duty Divas

GLAM: If I had to pick one network to work with, GLAM Media would be it. GLAM is actually an ad network that also partners up their brand clients with bloggers on sponsored posts and amazing campaigns! In order to qualify for a paid sponsored post opp, bloggers must be a part of their ad network. The payout is great and I must say my monetization really changed for the better (I saw results!) once I was approved by GLAM. Their campaigns are always a lot of fun, too! Here are some of my favorite GLAM posts from the archive:

* Target Kids Winter Apparel: Our Holiday Fashion Photo Shoot with Target!

* Fight Breast Cancer w/ Making Strides American Cancer Society

* Hewlett Packard Helps Mom with Back to School Printables Checklist & Worksheets w/ HP Ink!

Global Influence: With nearly 2,000+ bloggers, Global Influence Network features a great selection of opps and an active community, too! You'll not only find some great jobs to make money for your blog, but also gain new friends and learn something new thanks to their strong support system. 




MassiveSway (*formerly SITS Girls)

Mom Select

Mom Spark Media: There is a fee in order to join this network. You'll be required to either pay $5/month or $40 annually. Lots of great campaigns and a great community for support, too!

The Motherhood

One 2 One: Although you won't find a lot of paid opps on One 2 One, their campaigns are still a lot of fun. You pick and choose which one of their campaigns you'd like to publish on your blog. In doing so, One 2 One grants each blogger participant a "chance to win" a prize. Therefore, compensation isn't exactly a guarantee on all of their opps. I generally find that their prizes include gift cards or other gifts. Although I tend to steer away from networks that don't compensate everyone for their time and efforts, I do dabble with One 2 One on occassion. If the content is valuable for my readers, I will devote the time and cross my fingers that I am the chosen winner! on really often, and enjoy working with them. Learn more and sign up for One2One today.

Pollinate Media Group

– SITS Girls: Definitely one of my favorite networks, SITS Girls recently merged with MassiveSway (see above). I have been a SITS Girl for as long as I can remember and I have loved to be a part of their amazing campaigns in the past. Their campaigns are always very well planned, different and original, fun, and they compensate very well for the amount of work and effort you'll devote on their opps. SITS Girls has an amazing collection of resources for bloggers and a great community foundation. You don't want to skip this one!

Social Fabric: As a part of the Collective Bias community, Social Fabric focuses on the shopping experience versus the product. You'll be asked to tell the story of your purchasing experience from start to finish when you are selected to participate in a SoFab "Shoppertunity". Use big and clear pictures to help tell your story. Let your reader feel like they were pushing a cart next to you as you strolled the aisles for the ingredients to put togther a romantic date night dinner for two! Fun, unique, and Social Fabric is surely one of my favorite communities for learning and support!

If you’ve never heard of them – it’s a community of Collective Bias, where they put a big focus on the shopper experience. You’ll participate in “Shoppertunities” – {see an example of a Shoppertunity here.} Learn more on the Social Fabric site.

Social Spark: This is definitely one of my top network picks! They are great to work with and the jobs are well organized from start to finish! First you receive an offer (leads) for a job, which you can accept or decline. There's no shame in skipping an offer that won't be a good fit for your blog! Thereafter, brands will decide whether or not to offer you the job. When you receive an offer, create your content and insert your own pictures right inside of your member account portal. You'll be required to use specific links and/or graphics in your posts, but it is always reasonable requests and very simple to do. Yes, I think you should join Social Spark today!

Sponsored Tweets: Get paid to send out tweets — it's that simple!

SponsoredTweets referral badge

TapInfluence (formerly known as BlogFrog): BlogFrog was one of the very first networks that I joined as a blogger back in 2010. I was very excited to see massive changes going on over the last year or so as they transformed into bigger and better things —  TapInfluence! You'll work with TapInfluence as an 'influencer' in order to provide top notch content marketing for their clients – the brands! They believe in the power of influence — share your stories and experience with your readers through some great brand partnerships when you join their team.

* * * * * * * 

Do you know of another great blogger network that I forgot to mention? Send me an email and I will consider adding it to the list. All submissions will be tested and researched prior to inclusion.