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Business

5 Essentials To A More Productive Work Space

Working in an office is often seen as soul-crushing and monotonous, but it doesn’t have to be!

While you need a functioning space with all the essential accessories, technology, and supplies, it also needs to speak to you and represent who you are. Whether you work from a home office or a corporate one, own it and make it yours—because let’s face it: You spend more than half your life there! Scroll down to find out what my 5 essentials to a more productive work space are.

Essentials To A More Productive Work Space

Get organized with a planner

How will you know you’ve reached your destination if you don’t have a map? Don’t write down everything you have to do: limit yourself to a short list of actionable items that will move you forward in some way. They could help you with health, fitness, your relationship, work, or whatever you want to do. The point is to focus on key tasks that are relevant.

Burn your favorite candle

I love any warm fall scented candles for this time of year. This They add a beautiful glow to your home giving a cozy vibe for sure. I am candle crazy and probably own way too many candles.

Remove excess sound with headphones

Ever get distracted from any noises that could be interfering with being productive during the day? I snagged some noise cancelling headphones the other day. They have been an amazing asset to my work space.

Make yourself a cup of coffee

I drink coffee all year round, but something about the cooler weather that makes me crave coffee even more. As a coffee lover I switch up my coffee and I am currently loving NESCAFÉ Taster’s Choice in their House Blend. I like the new jar, but I also love the individual packets. They are great to have at your desk whenever you need some coffee…and fast! I am instantly more productive when I have a coffee next to me at my work space, am I right?

Add in a plant

Studies have actually shown that people are more productive when they have some greenery in their environment, so maybe it’s time to get that little potted plant you’ve always wanted. If you’re worried you might cause it to die (that would be me), get a plant that is tough to kill! Or go get yourself a fake plant – I love mine!

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Business

How To Use Hashtags To Your Advantage On Instagram

Oh, the beloved hashtag. It connects us to others like us, and allows those who are interested in our topics to see all of our lovely Instagram pictures. Utilizing hashtags in the right way has allowed me to grow my Instagram following and connect with people in my niche. I’ve listed out my top tips for navigating Instagram and put together this guide to show you how you too can learn how to use hashtags to your advantage on Instagram. BONUS – I’ve also put together of a list of hashtags for your specific blogging niche! Located at the bottom of this post 🙂

How To Use Hashtags To Your Advantage On Instagram

Use relevant hashtags

Only use hashtags that are relevant to your brand, niche and audience. Having more relevant and specific hashtags equals the more specific your audience will be. There may be moments where there is a big trending hashtag, but that doesn’t mean you need to use that hashtags on every photo for that day or week. Using the right hashtags will allow your account to grow faster with real organic followers because you are providing them something of their interest. Creating a specific hashtag for a campaign is beneficial as well for your audience.

For instance – Zicococonutwater has created a hashtag that followers and people drinking their coconut water – #InsideIsEverything

Use relevant hashtags

Use branded hashtags

A great idea for your brand, business, or blog is to create at least one branded hashtag. I created the hashtag #thecreativelocal. This is also a blog column I created and use often with photos I post. Using branded hashtags helps to establish brand recognition. So if you haven’t yet established one yet for your business/blog, get to it!

Make Sure To Do your Research

There is more to hashtags than meets the eye. Look up your competition and see what hashtags they are using, and other Instagrammers that fit into your niche. Ask yourself if they fit your brand/business. You can typically learn a lot from others and what hashtags they are using – it might just fit in with your blog/business.

Search Related Hashtags

If you have one hashtag that you know represents your brand or business well, then using the new feature ‘Related Hashtags’ will be beneficial to you. If you know one specific hashtag fits your brand and photo you are posting perfectly, more than likely the “Related Hashtags” will fit in with that same photo as well. Instagram rolled out this feature in 2016. When you’re on the page of a certain hashtag, you can see the related hashtags of the hashtag you searched at the top of page. Instagram allows 30 hashtags for each different type of Instagram post you have, so take advantage of that!

Search Related Hashtags

Use a combination of popular and niche specific hashtags

Using the more popular of hashtags will definitely bring in new likes, but when you use a VERY popular hashtag, your post will soon be lost in the shuffle. Using less popular hashtags usually live longer and have a better chance of being featured as the top 9 posts for that hashtag.

Save Your Hashtags

When you find that right combination of hashtags, save them so that you aren’t wasting precious time trying to remember them each time you post! I’ve heard a variety of ways to save them but one of my personal favorite ways is to save it in the notes section of my phone. I have specific lists saved for each type of photo I post. That way, I’m not wasting valuable time trying to remember my hashtags! For instance I have business, food, drink/cocktail, travel, quotes, and craft posts with hashtags related to each type of post. I saved these to get to them easily after posting an Instagram post.

Top Hashtags Are Money

For each hashtag there is a section on the hashtag page for the top posts. There are 9 photos in this section. Using more specific hashtags will gain you a higher chance of seeing your photo featured in this section. I have seen my photos featured in the section from time to time and I can tell you that I definitely see an uptick in new followers during the time period the photo stays in the top posts section.

My photos in the bottom three photos are indicated by where the red arrow is pointing.I utilized these hashtags (#cocktailtime, #bourbon, #midwestbloggers) on this photo.

Timing Matters

If you post your hashtags in a separate comment, make sure to post your hashtags as quickly as possible afterwards. This will make it easier and more likely for your photo to show up in the Top Posts of each hashtag page.

Use hashtags in your comment section

Okay, you can use a few hashtags in your caption, however, it makes your caption look too cluttered, spammy and salesy. You want an amazing caption to go with your amazing picture, so why clutter it up with # after #? The caption should clearly and coherently relate what your image is about as it should function supplementarily. It has also been shown that engagement goes down when you have more than five hashtags in your caption. Where you should be placing your hashtags, instead, are in the comments section where you can post up to 30 hashtags. This way your hashtags are hidden but yet still functioning.

Looking for Companies To Collaborate With?

Many companies have their influencers use the hashtags #ad #sponsored as a disclosure when collaborating. You can look up those two hashtags to see what brands other bloggers are working with. Find the companies contact info and reach out to them asking if you could promote their product(s). This is a great way to start earning some money blogging!

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Business

How To Make Money Blogging For Beginners

Blogging is definitely a legit way to make money – contrary to what many may think. Granted, it’s not a fast way to earn money since it can take a while to get traffic and readers, but once you’ve established your online presence, there’s a lot of potential to earn an income with your blog.

When people ask me what I do from home and I tell them I’m a blogger, the next question to follow that is almost always, “How does a blogger make money?“. Most people I know fail to realize that profitable blogs exist! I’ve listed out below how to make money blogging for beginners.

How To Make Money Blogging For Beginners

When people ask me this, I usually just give them the short answer — advertisers. And while that’s certainly a large part of it, it’s not the only way bloggers earn.

So today I’m breaking down for you the primary ways how to make money blogging for beginners.

#1 – Ad Networks

Ad networks are often the main earner for many bloggers and definitely the easiest to maintain because it’s possible to “set it and forget it” once it’s in place. Bloggers sign up with popular ad networks like Google Adsense or Media.net and place code in the sidebar, header, footer, or inside posts that will display third party advertisements. These usually pay bloggers a certain amount per thousand impressions or a certain amount per click.

#2 – Sell Ad Space

As you grow your blog and become established, you can make even more money through blogging with private ads and sponsorships. Whether you provide advertising to other bloggers or large companies, you can use your traffic to make more cash for you.

In order to do this, you likely need to demonstrate that your blog receives a decent amount of traffic and that you’re a good fit with a company’s product or service. You can use a media kit to put together your blogging statistics + necessary info and convince more people to advertise on your site.

#3 – Affiliates

This is another form of advertising, but instead of getting paid a flat rate or a certain amount per click or impression as you do with advertisers, the blogger gets paid a certain amount per lead or per sale of what they are promoting.

Some Examples:

Amazon Associates

CJ Affiliate by Conversant

Share A Sale

RewardStyle

Then, if a reader clicks through the link and buys or signs up for what I recommended, I will earn a small amount of money per lead or per sale!

As a blogger, you have complete control over what products and services you want to promote as an affiliate, so it is possible to only recommend things you approve of.

#4 – Selling Your Own Products & Services

A blog is an excellent platform for selling your own stuff. No matter what your area of expertise is with blogging, you can create your own products to make money. You can offer services like coaching, graphic design, virtual assisting, and writing. Bloggers can also sell products like e-books or courses they’ve written or crafts they’ve made.

#5 – Sponsored Posts

Bloggers earn money by writing posts paid for by advertisers to promote the products and services of different companies. It is a form of permanent advertising for companies.

Some examples of companies that facilitate sponsored posts are:

Social Stars

Linqia

The Shelf

Brand Backer

Social Fabric

One of my recent favorites is doing sponsored social media posts. I have worked with Popular Pays (an app) to promote posts on Instagram. You can bid for different companies you would like to work with.

How Do Bloggers Get the Money They Earn?

As it is with anything, different companies pay in different ways — usually direct deposit, Paypal, or mailed check. However, one thing that doesn’t vary much is the frequency of the pay. The vast majority of companies bloggers use to earn an income pay once a month — either at the end of the month, the middle, or the very beginning of the month just depending on their terms.

Should Bloggers Earn Money?

I can tell you that running a blog can easily be a 30 – 40 hour per week undertaking. There is always writing to do, outdated posts to update, comments to moderate, emails to answer, social media accounts to keep updated, graphics to create, and lots of other “behind the scenes” tasks that take up quite a bit of time.

It also costs money to run a blog successfully. I have to pay for my domain, hosting, newsletter, stock photos, writers, occasional advertising on Facebook and Pinterest, and some social media services I use.

So with all that in mind it’s easy to see why yes, bloggers should earn money because they put in a lot of time and effort in addition to investing money. Blogging is real work for professional bloggers.