How One Couple Drastically Changed Their Life by Blogging

How blogging changed one average American couple's life / is a guest contribution from Gina Horkey.

Two years ago, my husband and I were just like any other American couple.

We were both working in Corporate America, had a one and a half year old and another on the way. Our work schedules and commutes weren’t bad, we just weren’t doing work that we were passionate about.

Someone else was also raising our child. It could have been much worse – our son was maybe in daycare for 30 hours per week. And the provider was great! It just wasn’t what we wanted. Plus, with another on the way, daycare was about to get real expensive!

Since I’m not one to sit back and accept less-than-ideal circumstances, we decided to make some changes. Here’s our story of going from a dual income, Corporate America household, to a single earning one dependent on just my freelancing income. Buckle up!

Finding a Better Solution

Even though I was a financial advisor, we never thought it’d be possible for one of us to quit work and stay at home with our growing family. After a couple failed nanny attempts and the end of my pregnancy looming, we got desperate and finally entertained the idea.

My husband had always expressed interest in becoming a SAHD and my career was more promising at the time, so we set out to see if it was possible for him, the carrier of all benefits to quit.

By significantly cutting our expenses (cutting cable, reducing our dining out, raising our insurance deductibles, stopping our retirement savings, etc) we were just able to make it work!

Thank goodness we had the good sense to pay-off most of our debt the year or two before.

Fast Forward a Year

Our second child was going on a year old and Wade was enjoying staying at home. All should be well then, right?

Wrong. It should have been.

But I couldn’t help to acknowledge the growing discontent I was experiencing with my work. My clients were great and so were my colleagues. I just didn’t really enjoy talking and reading about investing, tax law or compliance all day long.

I tried to throw myself further into my career by enrolling in an accredited program and pitching a plan to buy into the larger practice. I began studying and we began talks to make it happen.

But then I realized it wasn’t what I really wanted. And I actually listened to myself for once.

Starting a Freelance Writing Side Hustle

So, I did what any other “normal” person did and turned to the world wide internet!

I explored my passions, my available options and started freelance writing on the side a little over a year ago. I secured an unpaid contributorship with The Huffington Post, got some samples by guest posting elsewhere and started my own blog.

I would get up every weekday morning at 4:30 and write for an hour or two before my family woke up and I had to get ready for work. I also had a four-day workweek at the time, so I used Fridays to work on my writing business as well.

I even hired a babysitter from time to time on the weekend to give Wade a break and get some time-sensitive client work done. It was fun, I saw the potential and I was committed to taking charge of my own career future.

All of my hard work and perseverance started to pay off. My income grew month-over-month and I figured out I really enjoyed this world of freelance. I had blogged socially for years, but this was the first time I was treating blogging like a business and reaping the financial rewards.

Putting In My Notice

Eventually things came to a head at work. I opened up about my freelance success and that I had changed my mind about what I wanted for my career future.

I was super nervous about it, but the conversation went better than I had expected. I had been an advisor for almost a decade at this point and with this particular practice for six years. We had a great relationship and I considered them almost like family. But it was hard to disappoint a father-figure!

Due to our great mutual respect, we worked out a plan for them to buy my small practice, for us to find my replacement (for the support duties I performed for the office) and that I’d have a long transition schedule to both train in said replacement and continue to build up my freelance career into a viable business that would support my family.

Becoming a Full-time Freelancer

Right around Christmas, 2014 I had my last day of work. I was now officially a full-time freelancer!

It was exhilarating and a bit frightening all at once. But now, six months later, I can happily say that I made the right decision.

I may work more than ever, but it’s work that I’m passionate about (I write, am a virtual assistant, coach newbie freelance writers and have a course to help aspiring writers for the web launch their own business in as little as 30 days). We also own our schedule, our time and choose how we get to spend it.

Better yet, we choose WHO we get to spend it with.

In Conclusion

Blogging changed our life.

We now decide our schedule, rather than our Corporate America jobs dictating it.

For us, it’s not about being rich or continuing to earn more money – it’s about defining and living out our own priorities, which just so happens to include spending as much time as we can raising our own children.

Want to know my favorite part of each workday now? Coming in for lunch with my family and laying my two toddlers down for their naps. I never would have been able to do that a year ago!

How would your life look different if you felt empowered to make big changes?
Gina Horkey is a writer for hire, with a background in personal finance. She also offers coaching services and really enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. Please stop by Horkey HandBook and say hello and download a free copy of 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot!

The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Building a Profitable Blog in 2015


Episode 38 of the ProBlogger podcast is focused on something I’ve learned in the course of the past year that I think has the potential to transform not only your blogging, but many areas of your life.

Today’s episode is personal – my personal journey of the last nine months. I talked about it at the ProBlogger event a few weeks ago now in my opening keynote – an unexpected topic perhaps, but one that I think is so useful as the foundation of everything, including building a profitable blog.

The question I want to ask you today is the question we get asked all the time: “how are you?”. Not your blog, not your business, but you?

Not just answering “good”, or “busy”, but finding out how are you really? Don’t gloss over the question – really ponder the answer.

The biggest lesson in blogging I’ve learned this year, is that if I want my blog to shine, I need to move beyond the minutiae of monetising, finding readers, creating content – I need to work on making myself shine. The wellbeing of my blogs is directly linked to the wellbeing of me, and I had been letting myself go.

Late last year I went to the doctor for my annual health checkup, and what he told me changed the trajectory of not only my life, but my blogs as well. He gave me a list of things to work on to get my health back up to speed – a whole list. It was stuff I already knew but had never really done anything about. Seeing it there, in list form, was confronting.

I left that doctor’s office feeling pretty low. I didn’t sleep well that night, as I thought about all the things I needed to change in my life. I even pondered the stuff that the doctor didn’t know, but that I knew was an issue.

The story I want to tell you today is how that day was a pivot point for me, and how putting my health and wellbeing first has made such an impact on my blogs and my work ever since.

I hope it inspires you to examine the parts of your life that need changing, to inspire you to take your health seriously and to stop forgetting to exercise, forgetting to eat well, forgetting to get your priorities in order as we churn on through the hamster wheel of work. I hope it helps you set a solid foundation from which your blogs and online endeavours can grow.

Click here to listen to episode 38 of the ProBlogger Podcast: The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Building a Profitable Blog in 2015.

I’d also love to hear your feedback on today’s episode, either here or at, and your answer to the question: “how are you?”.

Further Reading:

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

Here we are again! Fridays come around so fast, it seems… which is good, and bad.

There are heads full of knowledge and excitement and ideas after last week‘s ProBlogger Training Event, and it’s thrilling to see people starting to put their dreams into practise. Such a surge of energy and hustle! If you missed out and would love to keep updated about future events, feel free to join the Facebook group to keep in touch, and also connect with the attendees who have formed a wonderfully supportive and informative community.

For now though, let’s check out blog news:

Three Reasons Why You Should Take Snapchat Seriously // Hootsuite

I’m the first to admit I let Snapchat fall by the wayside years ago. But I’ve noticed a resurgence of late and I reinstalled the app. This is just the beginning, they say…

Facebook Now Drives More Traffic to Media Sites than Google // Fortune

And will blogs be next? I know Facebook is the number-one referrer for a lot of blogs – what lessons can we learn from it?

How to Optimise your Tweets for Search // Social Media Examiner

I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS! Especially seeing as Twitter accounts are showing up in Google search results.

A Brief History of Internet “Joke Aggregator” The Fat Jew // Mashable

When curating your content, for goodness’ sake, attribute your sources! Goes for images on Instagram and elsewhere, “image via Pinterest” is not enough.

How to Use Evernote at a Conference // Veggie Mama

I know I wrote it, but it’s useful! How you can keep all the notes, audio, and images you take at each session in neat files, and what to do with all those business cards you accumulate through networking. You won’t know what you ever did without Evernote at conferences before!

So what did you learn this week? Care to share? Gonna revive that Snapchat account?!

Stacey is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

9 Habits of Bloggers Who Have Huge Audiences

9 Habits of Bloggers Who Have Huge AudiencesThis is a guest contribution from Jeff Foster.

If you’re just starting out as a blogger, you’re probably wondering how to grow your audience.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can learn from bloggers who have already built an enormous following – no matter what they blog about, great bloggers share a number of habits that make them successful. If you’re diligent about developing these habits yourself, you too can build an army of loyal supporters.

Let’s look at why highly successful bloggers truly connect with their audience:

1. They are Passionate About Their Subject

When you’re truly excited, it comes across in your writing – it arouses your audience and makes them feel that you have something worth saying. Don’t pick a blog niche just because there are lots of potential readers, write about something you truly care about, and readers will come flocking. In any case, if you’re not deeply passionate about your subject, chances are you’ll get bored and abandon your blog very quickly.

2. They Take the Time to Make Themselves Experts

People read blogs because they want unique insights and interesting points of view. If you just repeat what other bloggers are saying, then you’re not adding any value.

You need to take the time to become a true expert. If you’re passionate about your subject, this should be a labor of love – not a burden. Read widely and keep up with the latest news so that you have your finger on the pulse of your subject.

Engage in social media – not just your own blog – to build your knowledge and have meaningful discussions. By making learning a lifelong process, you’ll give your readers something that they just can’t get anywhere else.

3. They Create Incredibly Useful Content

Not only are top bloggers experts, they also give their readers genuinely helpful information.

Don’t just focus on expressing your own views – think about what your audience wants to know, and then give them this information.

For example, if you blog about cooking, ask kitchen equipment manufacturers for product samples. Then try these samples out, and tell your readers what you think. On the other hand, if you’re a fashion blogger, make the effort to go to real fashion shows and give your followers a first-hand account of what went on.

4. They’re Prolific

To grow a huge audience for your blog, you need to keep your readers coming back. Sure, it’s important to add new readers all the time, but if your existing audience is drifting away, then you’re fighting an uphill battle.

The way to build a loyal following is to produce lots of fresh content – every day if possible. This doesn’t mean you should write for the sake of writing – fuzz and fluff are useless. You have to deliver concise, insightful material on a regular basis – it’s tough to do this, but the more you try, the easier it gets.

5. They’re Motivated Self-Starters

The great thing about blogging is that you don’t have a boss telling you what to do – it’s also one of the biggest challenges.

No one is going to force you to sit down and write that next blog post, or tell you to go out and interview industry experts. What you do has to come from within yourself. Unless you can get up each morning and tear into life with a fresh appetite, you’re going to struggle. That’s why it’s so important to be passionate about your subject – if you believe in what you’re doing, then staying motivated is much easier.

6. They Know How to Manage Their Time

As a blogger, it’s so easy to waste time. There are countless ways to pretend to yourself that you’re getting useful work done. For instance, you may find it fun to play around with the latest plug-ins for your blog – but you need to ask yourself whether this is the best use of your time.

Successful bloggers look at their time as a precious resource – they plan ahead, schedule activities, and then do what they say they’re going to do. Everything in their plan is there for a reason. If something isn’t in the plan, it isn’t a priority.

7. They Persist

Even the most successful bloggers have setbacks. Not all of your blog posts will hit the mark, and you’re going to get turned down again and again by people you want to interview.

It’s easy to get discouraged, but to succeed you need to carry on. Talent isn’t enough – there are lots of skilled bloggers who don’t succeed because they can’t keep going when the going gets tough. The best bloggers are determined and won’t take no for an answer – if something doesn’t work, they just move on to their next great idea.

8. They Engage in Meaningful Dialogs With Their Readers

A blog isn’t a lecture. The best bloggers listen to their readers and create a dynamic community.

By responding positively to what their readers say, answering their questions, and engaging in meaningful conversations, they make their readers feel like they belong. This in turn creates a deep bond and a sense of trust – turning readers into impassioned supporters.

9. They Build Strong Relationships With Other Bloggers

Blogging isn’t a competition.

Great bloggers take the time to build relationships with other bloggers. They leave thoughtful comments, share other bloggers’ posts and even get in contact with them directly. If you do this, you’ll get amazing insights that you can share with your own blog readers. Equally important, connecting with other bloggers gives you exposure and helps you to build your audience. When you build a relationship with other successful bloggers, they’ll be the first to talk about what you do. Just make sure that you’re completely genuine. You have to truly care about what other bloggers are saying – otherwise you’ll just come across as engaging in cynical promotion, and they’ll spot you a mile away.

Jeff Foster is co-founder and CEO at Tomoson, the influencer marketplace. The platform allows bloggers and social media influencers to get paid for posting sponsored content, and lets businesses connect with targeted, niche audiences.

3 Growth Hacking Strategies for Bloggers to Quadruple Their Blog Traffic without SEO

This is a guest contribution from Anil Agarwal.

Who else wants more blog traffic?

Hands down, everyone wants it.

Unfortunately getting traffic to a blog is not easy. Every single visitor counts.

One of the hardest things for most bloggers is boosting their blog traffic. If you have a fairly new blog, it’s definitely a daunting task.

The #1 reason most bloggers quit is because they don’t see any growth in their traffic.

If you’re one among them, this article is for you! We’ll discuss a few growth-hacking tips to grow your blog traffic without actually doing any SEO. Are you ready?

What is growth hacking all about?

Growth hacking is the trending keyword phrase these days. It was first introduced by startup marketer Sean Ellis to redefine the startup marketing role.

Growth hacking is a method of achieving incredible growth by using non-traditional strategies.

In simple terms, growth hacking means driving measurable results by focusing on what WORKS! It is similar to 80-20 rule, identifying the 20% of your activities that will result in 80% of the gain. When you apply growth hacking, you’ll get more results in less time by focusing on the things that matter.

So how can you use growth hacking techniques to increase your overall traffic?

1. Reverse engineer your content creation

The simplest way to increase your blog traffic is to create more content, right?


Posting articles daily is simply not going to help. You need to write content that attracts more links, shares and comments from others. How can you do that?

You simply need to reverse engineer your content creation strategy. Instead of writing posts without thinking twice, it’s better to create content that is proven to work.

This is also known as skyscraper technique, it was the term coined by Brian Dean from Backlinko. And it is one of the most effective ways to increase your overall blog traffic.

Skyscraper technique involves in three steps:

  1. Finding link-worthy content
  2. Making it even better than the competition
  3. Reaching to the right people to get more buzz

Let’s discuss these three steps now.

Step 1: Find top performing content in your niche

I know that finding profitable keywords isn’t easy. But you can use tools like Buzzsumo for finding share-worthy content in your industry. Whether you know it or not, Buzzsumo is one of the best tools out there to help you come up with amazing content ideas. You can discover a lot of high-performing blog posts, videos, Infographics, etc using Buzzsumo.

Head over to Buzzsumo and enter the keyword phrases you want.

For instance, my favorite blog topic is “SEO marketing” and here it how to use Buzzsumo to find content that gets more shares and links.


Instantly after entering your keyword you’re not only provided with lots of articles, but it also shows you the total number of shares including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

In the above scenario, we’re came up with excellent post ideas like “17 SEO Myths”, “15 SEO Best Practices” etc. All of these are great blog post ideas and you can definitely improve them by providing more data, creating Infographics, or doing expert roundups, etc.

On the left side, it also has some filters to help you find what type of content form you want (including articles, Infographics, videos etc).

Buzzsumo is not only free (although it has premium version) but it is amazing way to find high quality content in your industry.

Step 2: Make it even better (create timeless content around it)

Once you have a list of great content ideas that are proven to bring you results, you now need to make it even better.

One of the simplest ways to get more backlinks, shares and comments on your blog posts is to making your content a “one-stop source”. How can you do that?

If you’re posting textual format of contents on your blog, write detailed posts.

In one of his blog posts, Neil Patel discovered an “average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words.”


Similarly, if you’re creating videos or Infographics, make them better by creating an appealing design. In summary, add something extra to the high performing content in your niche and make it epic.

Step 3: Outreach to the right people to get more buzz

Once you have epic content on your blog, it’s now time to reaching out to the right people in your niche.

How can you find out the people who are interested in promoting your content?

You can again use Buzzsumo. Here’s how. When you enter a keyword on Buzzsumo, it shows you who linked to the top content including the social sharers.


Now, reach out to them. Connect them on twitter, find out their emails and start creating more buzz. You can also use tools like Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer, ahrefs etc to find all of the links pointing to your competitor’s content. And when you reach out to them after creating a link worthy post, you’ll have more chances of getting links to your sites too by asking them without being pushy.

#2. Using content upgrades to boost your email list

Whether you agree it or not, email list is golden. Having a list of hungry email subscribers is an asset for every blogger.

Having an email list will not only increase your blog traffic but it will also boost your sales and trust with the readers. Email list is the second biggest traffic source for Neil Patel’s QuickSprout blog. And for most bloggers the same is true – email list is their top traffic source!

So why not invest your time wisely on building an email list instead of focusing on SEO? Instead of trying all the list building strategies under the sun, it’s better to go for one crazy idea that increases your list. Content upgrade is one such list building strategy that helps your boost your subscribers quickly.

What is a content upgrade?

A content upgrade is an extra bonus that is extremely relevant to your post topic.

For instance, if you’ve a popular blog post titled “10 ways to supercharge your SEO”, you could create something like “on-page SEO checklist” to use as a content upgrade to boost your email list.

A content upgrade looks something like this:


How using content upgrades can triple your email list?

Content upgrades are usually given away for free to the blog visitors in exchange of their emails.

Content upgrades are extremely specific. Hence, they convert really well. If you want to convert normal website visitors into subscribers, start using content upgrades.

Do they work? Yes, they do.

Brian Dean gives away a post-specific resource on one of his most popular posts.

Did you know that he got a whopping 785% increase in conversions (compared to the previous month).


That’s A LOT, right? That’s the reason why you need to start focusing on creating content upgrades for your top performing posts or pages.

So how to create content upgrades to increase your overall email list and traffic?

First off, find out five top-performing posts on your blog.

Create a list of posts that got more comments and shares. Also use Google Analytics to find out the top pages that are sending you more traffic from search engines.

Once you’ve the list of popular contents on your blog, you now need to create content upgrades. You can create a bonus, checklist, video or anything that adds more value to the current post.

And you can use tools like LeadPages, SumoMe etc to create content upgrades on your blog posts or pages to grab more email subscribers.

#3. Create an “after post” checklist to get more visibility

Did you know that you’ll get better results when you spend most of your time on promoting your content rather than creating it? Blog post promotion is to get more visibility on your blog posts.

If you’ve creating a great blog post, instead of sitting back and waiting for someone to find your content – it’s way better to create a content promoting routine.

After you publish a blog post, make sure to do the following:

Promoting on social media: Social media is the new SEO. If you want to boost your overall website traffic, be active on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ etc. Almost every blogger on earth use these social media networks, so you’ll get more exposure for your blog posts if they have attention grabbing headlines.

Posting to forums: Find out the relevant forums in your niche and connect with the other bloggers. Share and comment on their links, and whenever you have posted something on your blog, make sure to submit your links. And ask for a feedback from other bloggers. This is the surefire way to get more visibility on your posts.

Submit to social bookmarking sites: Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious – all are social bookmarking sites that have huge readers. If your post does well on these sites, take it for granted that your overall search traffic will also increase overtime.

Leave comments on other blogs: Want to get more comments on your blog posts? Then, start leaving thoughtful comments on other blogs that are similar to your blog’s topic. Use their names while leaving comments and ask intelligent questions to spread your name across the blogosphere.

Here’s a great blog post checklist written by Pat Flynn, although it was written a couple of years ago – but it’s still worth following.

Spend 2/3 time on promoting “others” stuff and spend the remaining 1/3rd time on promoting your stuff. Why?

Everyone wants more shares, likes, tweets and comments. But most people don’t spend much time on promoting others. What happens if you spend most of your time on promoting others stuff instead of yours? Bang!!

You’ll get more attention from the bloggers. You’re also helping the community by promoting quality stuff on your networks like Facebook and twitter. Eventually, you’ll get more visibility, followers and shares on your own posts too.

So where do you go next?

Then see the results and watch your website traffic grow. Increasing traffic to a blog or website is not a rocket science. By following what works, you can dramatically boost traffic to your blog posts.

Check out the growth hack techniques mentioned above, pick anyone of them and start implementing.

The best part about using growth hacking to your content marketing strategy is this: you’ll get results really fast. They don’t take months to see the results. You’ll see the rewards within days or weeks.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and apply growth hacking techniques to improve your blog traffic.

Do you have any more strategies that will increase website traffic without doing any SEO? Let me know if you’ve any more insightful growth hacking tips in the comments.

Anil Agarwal is the guy behind Bloggers Passion blog where he is helping readers in building their first professional blog and at the same time, helping them build high quality traffic to their blogs.

ProBlogger Podcast: Turn Blog Surfers into Loyal Readers by Building a Sticky Blog

How to get blog readers to keep coming back for more:

When someone lands on your blog for the first time, you want them to stay as long as possible.

In he last two ProBlogger Podcast episodes, I’ve shared some tactics for finding readers by first asking yourselves some really important questions, and by discussing two types of content that you need. In today’s episode, I talk about how you keep those readers there by building a sticky blog. What I mean by that is having your blog set up so there is something that motivates readers to explore it further, making the decision to return and keep connected in some way, which I think is a fundamental component of any successful blog.

I always say it’s much better to find a new reader and hook them into becoming a regular than it is to have to find fresh readers every day. This is really how readership grows over time.

In the podcast, I discuss the ways you can make your blog completely irresistible to first-time viewers. From first impressions to subscription options, I go through all the things I believe a blog needs in order to be sticky. How can you build anticipation? What kind of content works for recurrent traffic? How can you drive interaction from your audience? What are their incentives to stick around?

Click here to listen to the episode 35 of the ProBlogger Podcast and view the show notes, and as always, I’d love to get your feedback on this episode.

Further Reading

2 Incredibly Innovative Ways to Draft a Spectacular Blog Post

typing hands

This is a guest contribution from Lorraine Reguly.

“Damn. It’s not perfect, but it’ll have to do.”

“Shit. I wanted it to be better than that.”

Have you ever felt that way before hitting the “schedule” or “publish” button?

I bet you have, during at least one point in your blogging career.

Writing is difficult for many people, and bloggers are no exception. Creating a stellar blog post is the goal, but drafting a blog post often takes a lot of time and frustration. Many bloggers know what they want to say, but just can’t seem to follow an outline or compose a post in a logical order on their first try.

Perfectionists, especially, suffer from this. I know this to be a fact, because I am the mother of all perfectionists! Not only am I a blogger, but I’m a writer AND an editor, too.

As such, I have pretty high standards, and I tend to edit as I write. Most of the time, it drives me crazy. I can’t stand making mistakes, and I hate typos with a passion. When I’m writing with a pen, the paper ends up looking like something a six-year-old might write, full of scribbles. When I’m writing on my laptop, the “backspace” key gets hit more than any other!

To tame my perfectionistic ways and combat overuse of that key, I’ve learned to approach writing by creating drafts first, using two incredibly innovative methods.

The first method is by using stream-of-consciousness writing. The second is by blindfolding myself.

Sometimes I even use the two together!

Innovative Method #1: Stream-of-Consciousness Writing

By definition, stream-of-consciousness writing involves writing down whatever comes to mind, ignoring typos, omitting periods, and basically separating the writing from the editing process. Stream-of-consciousness writing does not have to be logical or follow an order. Instead, rules can be broken and complete freedom from writing conventions should be had.

Psst. Let me tell you a secret. I don’t usually swear online. It’s a bit unprofessional, and the vulgarity of cursing often turns people off.

But guess what?

Swearing can attract people, too. Many people curse, and if they see you doing it, they’ll know you’re a real person, too.

Are you the same person online as off?

Do you “pretend” to be a little bit better, a little bit nicer, and end up being – or feeling – just a little bit phony instead?

With stream-of-consciousness writing, the best thing you can do is to be yourself, your TRUE self. Swear as often as you want. You can delete the curse words later. After all, that is what the editing process is for!

When writing this post, I thought of a few different opening lines.

Here’s an example of how I originally wanted to begin this article:

“Here we go again. More f@!*in’ advice from a damn guest poster.”

“Shee-iiit. She’d better deliver the goods.”

That is SO NOT ME!

But you have to admit, it IS kind of interesting. It also probably would have caused you to continue reading, right?

Either that, or it would have caused you to immediately move on to another post.

As you can see, I wasn’t willing to take that risk. Alternatively, for demonstration purposes, I included it in the body of the post. I wanted to show you that you can move things around when you are finished writing. Again, that’s what the editing process is for, and why posts such as how to edit your own blog posts have been written already!

Benefits of Stream-of-Consciousness Writing

1. You will not be burdened by the constricts of grammar and punctuation.

2. You will feel freer once you get into it.

3. You will appreciate and understand the difference between the writing process, the editing and the formatting process.

4. You can drop the F-bomb… as often as you like!

5. You won’t be judged on what you initially write.

6. You will get addicted to the freedom stream-of-consciousness writing affords you, and you will become more productive as a result.

7. The quality of your blog posts will improve! (Well, hopefully, they will!)

Innovative Method #2: Writing While Blindfolded

This is a great option for you if you tend to write and edit simultaneously – like I do!

To write while blindfolded, you would obviously have to be working at a computer in order to create a draft this way. I don’t know anyone who can write with a pen on paper while blindfolded!

To achieve the blindfolded state, there are many things you could do. You could simply take a scarf or a mask of some sort and cover your eyes, or create one using this template.

Closing your eyes isn’t enough; the temptation to peek is too great! By physically covering your eyes, you will be more conscious of the fact that you have to keep them covered in order to achieve your writing goal.

There are many other ways for you to “blindfold” yourself. You could take an old pair of sunglasses and paint them with nail polish so that you cannot see through them. You could tape paper over them. You could use a cut-up tea towel or pillowcase or some other soft material. If you have access to a dental or surgeon’s mask, you could cover your eyes instead of your mouth and nose with that. Get innovative. Make this exercise fun! Blindfolds come in many shapes and sizes!

4 Benefits of Writing While Blindfolded

1. You might feel a bit ridiculous wearing a blindfold, but the benefits that you will reap will be worth it.

2. You will have a better focus on your content, and won’t be distracted by any typos you see.

3. You’ll train yourself to write faster. Of course, you can improve your writing skills by learning how to type faster, too. ;)

4. You’ll have a greater appreciation for the various stages of editing and formatting a blog post.

Relevant links and images can be added when the bulk of your post has been written.

You can re-order the points of your post, fix the typos, and correct your grammar and punctuation then, too. For the third time, that’s what the editing process is for!

(If you need assistance editing your blog posts, you could always ask me for help. I’ve received recognition for my editing services from BookVetter, from a few authors, and from bloggers, and am rapidly building a plethora of testimonials from others for the quality of my services.)

Innovation Is Key

Innovation when writing can help you create better blog posts.

What other things have you discovered that have helped you write better?

Let’s discuss them in the comments.

Lorraine Reguly is an English teacher-turned-blogger who offers both writing and editing services to anyone in need. She has been a guest blogger on various websites, is an author, and is currently giving away a free blogging ebook. She can also help you turn your ebook into a print book! Visit Wording Well for more details.

Opening image of typing hands courtesy of Naypong and, although altered with text by guest post author.

ProBlogger Podcast: Two Types of Content to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog

ProBlogger Podcast: Two Types of Content to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog

Today’s episode of the ProBlogger Podcast is part two of a mini Finding Readers series (you can find out more about part one here in the Two Questions to Ask to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog), and it’s all about what you’re writing when it comes to getting traffic.

After you’ve asked yourself those two very important questions in the previous podcast, you can move on to fulfilling that brief on your blog with today’s.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the journey I’ve taken in blogging, and as I look back I can see that the strategies and techniques I used to drive traffic weren’t as important as the content on my blog. I’ll talk about what I mean in a few episodes’ time (as you may find those techniques useful yourself), but today it’s all about what you’re serving to your readers.

In this episode I go over the two things I think you should provide to your community which will both help you grow that community and find new readers, and also keep the current ones sticking around. It’s really important, particularly if you are at the start of your blogging journey. I would recommend that if that is you, that you focus on today’s topic 100%, before you worry about anything else. It’s real foundation stuff that will not only help you now, but will reap you the benefits in years to come.

As always you can find the podcast at, and today’s episode and show notes here.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this topic, so feel free to chat here or in the comments on the show notes.

Further Reading

How to Build Your Blog’s Audience with Long Form Evergreen Content
Top Takeaways from ProBlogger Perth Training Event: Content, Blog Design, Social Media, Productivity, and Monetization
Most Popular Posts on ProBlogger 2014: Creating Content
The Nine Ingredients that Make Great Content: Kissmetrics
How to Write a Blog Post –  Your Five-Point Checklist to Rock a Perfect Blog Post: CoSchedule

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog - tried and tested tips to boost your traffic with some simple changes. On ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Marie-Eve Vallieres.

Nobody puts Pinterest in a corner. With 73 million users (85% of which are females), an expanding presence outside the United States and upcoming buyable pins, this social media platform/search engine is now more powerful and sophisticated than ever.

After months of pinning diligently and engaging with my subscribers, my analytics exploded, figuratively speaking – Pinterest has become the #1 referral for my blog, bringing a steady flow of high-quality visitors (that stay on my site for more than a microsecond and comment on/share the content) every day.

And that’s the beauty of Pinterest right there: their algorithm is not aggressive in the way Facebook’s is. People are either following your boards or they are not. There is no such thing as playing the Pinterest game or paying for advertisement in the hopes that an infinitely small slice of your subscribers will get to see your post in their feed. Pinterest popularity is entirely a question of how your subscribers engage with you and how easy you make it for them to share your content.

Here a few tested and tried tips that helped me reach over 160,000 followers on Pinterest.

Create bespoke pins

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

Millions of pins are being shared every minute. Your subscribers are constantly being thrown new information. How could they possibly know that your content is more relevant than the rest?

Think about it: by creating custom-made pins, you will immediately stand out on your subscriber’s home feed because you will present something they’ve never seen before. You want to create something that will, 1: catch their attention, and 2: that will make them want to click through. Spend an hour or two in Photoshop to create a memorable template that you will adapt for each new pin and that your subscribers, in time, will come to recognize and associate with your brand.

There are four “rules” you should follow when it comes to creating bespoke pins:

  • Always opt for vertical images. Pinterest automatically resizes pins to the same exact width. Play around with your image’s length in order to create something big enough to be noticed.
  • Don’t shy away from bright and bold colors. You do want to catch your readers’ attention, don’t you?
  • Clearly state what the pin is about. Opt for concise yet engaging wording that reflects the content of your blog post.
  • Stay in line with your blog’s visual identity. Use the same fonts or color scheme if you have one.

Find out what blog posts are already being pinned

The first custom pins you will want to create are for blog posts that are already being shared on the platform; enhance the appearance of your own popular content in order to make it even more shareable.

In order to find out which posts are attracting the attention of other users, simply follow the URL and see what comes up. These are the posts you want to make as Pinterest-friendly as possible.

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

Be loyal to your online persona

Nobody likes a spammer; don’t be that person who only shares his or her own content. Strengthen your brand’s identity by pinning things that are relevant to your niche or personality that you haven’t created. Identify lacks in your competitor’s strategy and enforce them on your own boards. Engage with the influencers in your community. Participate in collaborative boards. This will ensure that you won’t bore or annoy your subscribers, and that your brand’s presence on Pinterest will be as organic as possible.

Make your blog Pinterest-friendly

It’s one thing to improve your Pinterest interventions directly on the platform; it’s another to fine-tune your blog in order to make it inherently more pin-able. There are two ways to encourage your readers to pin your content (I strongly encourage you use both and not just one of the two).

First is by adding Pinterest buttons to your social sharing plugin – this method will allow your readers to share the post straight to their boards, as the featured image and title will generate automatically.

The second and most effective option is by adding a “Pin It” plugin for your images – this, on the other hand, will enable your readers to pin whatever image they like in the post (a hover Pin It button will appear when they mouse over your images) and create their personalized caption. This technique works particularly well if you use lots of vertical images on your site.

Marie-Eve Vallieres is a professional travel blogger at and social media strategist from Montreal. She has been to more than 20 countries, lived abroad in both France and the U.K., and is always on the lookout for authentic experiences wherever she travels – as long as she has WiFi.