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Lifestyle And Book Blogging – A Change In Direction

 

Hi everyone,

I have been AWOL for a little while, due to being pretty sick, as well as trying to overhaul Miss Fiercely Independent into a website, that serves you the best.

Because I primarily blog (if I am not on this site), about books (my book blog is Within The Pages Of A Book), and Lifestyle (Avalon-Media.org), I have decided to write here on MFI about the experiences and lessons I have learned by running a lifestyle and book blog.

What You Can Expect From Miss Fiercely Independent Blog

  1. Topics related to running a lifestyle blog – such as organizing a blog, finding topics, working with genre-specific sponsors, monetizing a lifestyle blog
  2. Topics related to running a book blog – such as how to write a better review, getting in contact with book tours, where to get books from, monetizing a book blog – and more
  3. How to promote your blog
  4. How to make money off your blog, to create an independent (perhaps even full-time) income
  5. How to expand your brand – there is more to blogging than just writing on your blog, if you want to turn it into a business
  6. How to juggle running multiple blogs

 

And more!

Because I think it is related to just about any content-creating business, I will also write on occasion about eBook publishing.

So stay tuned for some exciting new content, and please be patient with me, as I am creating a new, more regular posting schedule for MFI.

 

Blessings!

 

Claudia

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Blogging Tips Uncategorized

Choosing The Right Blogging Platform And Host For Your Blog – Blogging 101

Choosing The Right Blogging Platform And Host For You

Once you have chosen your niche your next most important decision when creating an affiliate marketing income is your blogging platform. There are many free and paid opportunities out there, each one of them having their own pro’s and con’s, which I want to highlight for you today.

Free Hosting Platforms

The following platforms are completely free and do not include the free versions of premium hosting services and platforms available.

Choosing The Right Blogging Platform For You - Blogging 101 #blogtips Click To Tweet

WordPress.com
This platform is not to be confused with wordpress.org, which needs a web host such as Siterubix, or Hostgator.  Wordpress.com offers responsive, yet basic free themes, as well as potential upgrades you can purchase – such as a  domain name, and premium themes. The downside is, that you can not add any plug-ins that are essential to monetizing your blog or site. This limits your ability to use this platform as a money making business and is therefore not a platform I suggest you should use.

Blogger
Blogger is similar to WordPress.com, as it is free, and allows you to upgrade your site for money. It is however, a little less restricted when it comes to making money. I don’t like the free themes available for Blogger as much as WordPress. They have a little bit of an “old school” feel to it, but you can change that with a little bit of coding knowledge. It is a decent place for a blog, but can not keep up with the more professional WordPress self-hosted sites, Shopify or even Wix

Related Post: How Book Bloggers Make Money

Paid Hosting Platform

Shopify
If you are looking to create an eCommerce site, Shopify is the best way to go. This platform is easy to turn into a responsive online shop and has visually pretty themes, that are easy to work with. You do not need to know anything about programming in order to set up your site, and the support is friendly and fast.

Weebly
While this website makes beautiful sites, it is not as effective in creating a responsive eCommerce site as Shopify. Yet, it is easy to use, with plenty of design options that make designing an individual unique site easy. No need to know anything about coding, unlike WordPress.org sites, you do not have to worry about installing your site, and the support is also very good, and always willing to help.

HostGator
One of my two favorite hosts for WordPress.org sites. Competitively priced, with great service, and plenty of potential add-ons, as well as the opportunity to buy domain names, domain emails, and other premium services. HostGator is the cheapest way to start building an effective WordPress.org site out there.

SiteRubix
SiteRubix is an all-inclusive webhosting service for WordPress.org sites. You can host up to 25 sites at a time, for one price, which also includes domain email, 24-hour site support and monitoring, free themes, and most importantly it  includes access to the Wealthy Affiliate Universities business building lessons. I host all of my sites there, simply because it makes economical sense, because I don’t have to purchase seperate services for each of my five websites. Not everyone needs this type of support, but I highly recommend this option for someone new to online marketing, or monetizing a blog.

Question: Which platform are you using currently for your blog/website? What are your favorite aspects of the platform you are using? Share your answers with the community below!

Fiercely Independent Blessings

Claudia

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Blogging Tips Monetize Your Blog Uncategorized

Blogging 102: Blogging Challenges – Are They Worth Your Time?

blogging 102, learn to blog, make money blogging

Over the last 5 years of blogging, I have participated in quite a few blogging challenges. At first, I only participated because they allowed me to connect with other bloggers, but after a while, I began to see the true value of these challenges.

Value of Blog Challenges

1. Connect with other bloggers in your niche.
It is easy to loose sight of what other bloggers are doing out there, in your niche, and by connecting with them via the link up of blogging challenges, you can get a better understanding of patterns, trends, and what is lacking in your particular niche.

Are Blogging Challenges Worth Your Time? Let me tell you why they are: #blogging Click To Tweet

2. Trading comments
Many participants will leave comments on other linked up blogs, which is a great way to get comments to your blog, especially if your blog is new. Not only is that good for your SEO ranking, but a great comment is also a confidence booster.

3. Blogging Discipline
Participating in challenges, may it be those who you have to post once a month, or once a day for a whole month, give you an accountability partner(s) pushing you to blog more regularly and with a clear theme or purpose in mind. By making a commitment, and knowing that you have people who will actually come to your blog, following along with you on that commitment gives you an incentive to blog more often.

Related Blogging 102 Posts:
How Book Bloggers Make Money
Don’t Be Intimidated By Your Competition
Rework Your Old Content

4. Networking Opportunities
With all of the other participants out there, you might run into one or two whom you want to network further with, for things like guest blogging on each other’s blogs, or just for emotional support. Either way, the world of blogging can be a lonely one without these connections. Cherish them.

Here are some challenges I will be participating via my multiple blogs this year:

NaBloPoMo
The Nationational Blog Posting Month is held in November. This is not niche or theme specific, so it is open for everyone. Check out the Unofficial Guide to NaBloPoMo here.

The Ultimate Blog Challenge
Happens a few times throughout each year – January, April, July and October. This challenge comes with support, and a newsletter. You can sign up for it today – no worries, you are not too late, just begin whatever day you read this, and make a commitment from here on out

April A to Z Blogging Challenge
I have participated in this blogging challenge for three years now and will do it for the 4th year as well. This was the first challenge I have ever been a part off, and it is the one what got me hooked. Look for the sign-up-page in March.

Want to increase your Adsense Earnings? Then check out this valuable training from Wealthy Affiliate University Today!

Niche specific blog challenges:

There are niche specific challenges available as well. Most prevalent tend to be book blogging challenges. I am participating in the following challenges via my book blog Within The Pages Of A Book

NetGalley Challenge
Pagan Books Challenge
Review Writing Challenge

Question:
What blogging challenges have you been a part off? Did I miss one, that you think others would benefit from? Please leave a note in the comment section below.

Fiercely Independent Blessings

Claudia

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Making Money Monetize Your Blog

How Book-Bloggers Make Money: Blogging 102 Series

How Book-Bloggers Make Money

Hi, everyone! I have received many questions about how bloggers make money, especially when it comes to niche blogging, so I decided to create a series called “Blogging 102”, to answer these questions. I am looking forward to sharing with you the tips and tricks I have collected over the last 5 years of blogging – yup, it has been 5 years now, wow!
Blogging 102 posts will come live every Friday!

Let’s get started with Book Blogging, shall we?

Book blogging can be a lot of fun for people who love to read and write. I am one of those people who can not imagine my life without having books accessible to me. But is it possible to turn your hobby, and the love for words into a  business? It is!

Want to know how book bloggers make money? Then read this! #amreading #books #blogging Click To Tweet

Where to get the books from?

While you can always buy books yourself, and as my ever growing collection of digital and physical books shows, I do
this quite often. However, when reviewing books on a regular basis, this can get rather expensive. Therefore utilizing
the power of the internet, and the need for Authors to receive reviews, it is possible to get your supply of books filled
without spending a dime.

Netgalley
Netgalley is my favorite place to find great books to review. This platform connects publishers and Authors with professional readers, who in return for receiving books, leave reviews on the site itself, and on their blogs. All books are received digitally, either via a download or directly to your Kindle. There are some books that you can read right away, others need to have the publisher give you the green light. You will then receive a notification and can download the book.

It's a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together - read more here! #business… Click To Tweet

Kindle Unlimited
While not completely free, (it costs 9.99 a month for this Amazon service), you can read an unlimited amount of books that are offered through the program. Not all Kindle books are, but there are quite a few high-profile Authors who choose to list their books on Kindle Unlimited, for which they will receive pay per read. You can “borrow” up to 10 books at a time, which is plenty, and review these books.

Directly from Authors
Authors are always looking for reviews for their books, and you can receive them directly from the creator via two ways.
1. Ask the Author directly. Send them a message and ask them directly to review their book for them. Many will be happy to give you a copy of their book. This is a great way to establish a relationship with Authors and gain a reputation as a person to go to.
2. Authors contact you. After reviewing a few books for a variety of Authors, many times, you will find yourself contacted by them directly. Reliable book bloggers are not as easy to come by, as many might think, so you can position yourself well, by creating high-quality reviews.
3. Facebook groups.
This is not my favorite way of receiving books because you have to wade through a ton of books who are poor quality, and some even plain awful, and unprofessional. You can get lucky but try the other options first.

How To Monetize Your Book Blog

1. Affiliate links (Amazon and otherwise). If you become a member of the Amazon Affiliate program (they are called Associates), you can use an affiliate link within your reviews. Many people reading a book blog, are ready to purchase something to read  right away, and you can take advantage of that fact by linking them directly to the books listing. How cool is that!  Of course, there are other companies and publishers besides Amazon you can utilize. Target, Walmart, Barnes and Nobels, Dover Publishing are just a few sites, that you can use for your book links.
2. Highlight the benefits of the Kindle Unlimited program. Another Amazon Affiliate perk is that you can make money each time someone signs up for Kindle Unlimited if they are using your blog link. It is a great program that is easy to promote, which means cash flow!
3. Google Adsense. Adding Google Adsense to your blog is probably the first thing that most people think off when they consider making money off blogging in general. While this is not exactly the most lucrative way of making cash, it is one you should consider. However, I personally do not use Google Adsense in any of my blogs, no matter what niche, because it is simply a less attractive option than other ways of monetization.
4. Youtube videos. Connecting a youtube vlog to your actual written blog strategy, however will give you another way  of utilizing the power of Google Adsense. In that case, that option is much less intrusive, and it is how a lot of YouTubers make money. Also, adding videos to your blog posts, makes them more likely to be shared, and gives you additional exposure. Do not overlook the power of youtube videos, even for book blogging!
5. Sponsorships. Larger book bloggers, and those who participate in Influencer Networks (more on that in another post),  will sometimes be contacted by companies, publishers and editors to review a product or book for payment. This can range from a few dollars to a more lucrative pay, but largely depends on the size of your blog following as well as your social media presence. If you are a small blogger, you can expect to get less sponsored posts, but that also depends on your book niche. Which brings me to my next point:

Choose a narrow book niche!

In order to monetize your book blog more effectively and increase your chances of finding targeted sponsors, you should narrow your book blog down to a specific sub-niche. Examples of that would be “young adult”, “contemporary romance”, ‘crime books”, or “cookbooks”, “health and fitness books”, and so forth.
You can also utilize the power of book blogging by combining it with a  broader subject blog, which is what I do for 3 of my current blogs. You will see me highlight business books here on this site, healthy living books on my site Happy Health And Herbs, and budgeting, organization and productivity books on my site “Save Money, Save Time, Succeed!”.

If this info got you interested in starting a book blog but you have no idea where to start, check out the Wealthy Affiliate training program, which includes free WordPress hosting for your blog. You will learn how to set up your blog, how to choose your niche, anything you need to know about making money via affiliate marketing, as well as social media  marketing and more. Sign up for free today!


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Monetize Your Blog Tools Uncategorized

Make Money Online: Up Your Blogging Productivity With These 5 Tips

Up Your Blogging Productivity

Need to get more done then you have time? While this seems to be a constant state for anyone who wants to make money online, there are ways to make our lives a little easier. Streamlining some of your daily activities can make a marvellous difference in your productivity, and help you maybe even have a little bit a life left? Wouldn’t that be nice?

Up Your Blogging Productivity! 5 Tips - Read more here! #blogging #blogtips #blogs Click To Tweet

Here are 5 Blogging Productivity Tips That Will Assist You In Getting More Things Done

  1. Use automation tools. Whether you use Hootsuite, Tailwind or Buffer (my personal favorite), all three of these will allow you to maximise your ability to have a consistent social media presence without being a slave to the computer. I chose the professional version of Buffer because it allows me to also schedule pins for Pinterest, the free version only allows you to use Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Goggle +, and you are limited to 10 scheduled posts, while the professional version gives you the freedom to choose 100 posts ahead of time.
  2. Find out about promo days in Facebook groups. There are tons of facebook groups that allow you to post your blog posts, twitter posts, and pins – on specific days. Blogging support groups and marketing groups are easy to find on facebook, just make sure that you are clear about their rules when it comes to posting. Some have daily threads, others weekly. Note these days in your editorial calendar
  3. Create an editorial calendar. Seriously, that is one of the most important strategies that will keep you producing content at a higher rate, and with a much more coherent theme, then if you just post randomly throughout the week. You can create different themes for a specific day – for example, I have a weekly series on my wellness blog Avalon-Media.org, where I post a gratitude list and weekly recap every Friday. Knowing what to post saves you time, and you can research in bulk, considering that some of your content will relate to each other – at least I hope it does.
  4. Be open to guest posting. Having someone else write relevant content on your blog is a great way to connect with other bloggers and grow your audience, but it is also a great way to fill blank space in your editorial calendar. Just make sure that the guest blogger knows exactly what you are expecting, so it is a good idea to have a pre-set guidelines for guest posting. I write more extensively about that subject here.
  5. Get a Virtual Assistant. While that might seem like a million miles away from being affordable for some new bloggers, it is actually cheaper than you might think. You can outsource specific tasks on Fiverr, or hire a part time Virtual Assistant from a reputable company, who lives in a country outside of the US. I use Virtual Staff Finder, which hires exclusively from the Philippines, and I have always been very happy about their service.

Up Your Blogging Productivity (1)

 

Question: What are your favorite ways to be a more prolific blogger and content creator?

As always,

Fiercely Independent Blessings

Claudia

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Tools

Getting Started: Creating A Website and Blog

Getting Started- Creating A Website and Blog

Congratulations, for deciding to begin your journey to creating a passive income. No matter which path, or a combination of paths (which is what I highly suggest) of passive income streams you choose, you will need a blog and website to serve you as a starting point for your online endeavour. But, if you are new to this, the choices can be
overwhelming.

There are blogging platform options that are completely free, which you could use to get started. While this works
for some, it is not the best for someone who is trying to build more than a simple personal blog, and here is why:
1. Does not allow monetization. WordPress.com does not allow the use of Goggle Adsense ads and frowns upon affiliate links placed upon their websites.

START-A-BLOG-WITH-WORDPRESS-AND-1
2. You can only use limited plugins. Email newsletter options, pop-ups and social media sharing plug-in are just a few options that are very limited on those free websites. All of these options can not only make your life easier but are essential in creating and collecting a subscriber base, from which you can market your products, services or books from.
I use SiteRubix to host my sites (yes, I have multiple websites) and am very happy with them. My only regret is, that I did not switch over to this host earlier, as I would have avoided some disasters along the way. Their customer support is superb, always available, fast and friendly.

You can get started right now, and try it out free – hosting for two sites is free and there is no credit card required.
The best thing is that it comes with the free membership of Wealthy Affiliate (you can check out my review here), which teaches you every step on how to set up your website – from picking a theme, to installing plug-ins.

4626a5837bce0c8288c46a2957d6e331_1424056601_croppedHow to get started:
Simply follow this link and follow the sign-up instructions. You will have access to video lessons that will talk you
through the setup, which takes only a few seconds.

If you have any additional questions about how to setup your website, or how about SiteRubix, leave a comment below, and I will be happy to answer any question you might have.

 

Fiercely Independent Blessings

Claudia

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Uncategorized

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Zazzle’s Affiliate Marketing Program

2016

 

Zazzle, a unique and popular site for Product on demand designs, not only offers a platform for designers to find
consumers for their art and creative expressions, but also an opportunity for bloggers and marketers. Zazzle’s Affiliate  Marketing program offers a unique opportunity within the passive income choices, that can be quite profitable with the right mindset and strategies.
Why you should consider Zazzle as one of your affiliate marketing programs:
1. Popular in specific categories
Zazzle is a very popular platform for those consumers looking for customizable paper products, specifically for
business cards, Wedding invitations (and related products), Birthday invitations (especially those with significance, like the 50th) party invitations and custom cards. Because Zazzle gives the consumer the unique opportunity to order the exact amount of items needed, it makes an affordable and economical choice, while still providing unique products. You can use these niches and their sub-niches to your advantage.

getimage (3)

 

2. High commission rate
At a 15% commission rate, Zazzle is in the higher paying spectrum of affiliate marketing. With the average commission in the 10 percent range, Zazzle offers easy multiple sale opportunities for you, with  potential high earnings.

3. It is easy to sign up.
An account with Zazzle allows you to be both designers, affiliates, and consumer, with no extra hoops to go through, or extra cost to you.

getimage (2)4. Double commission
If you decide to design your own products, you can simultaneously earn an affiliate commission as well! When sharing your designs, simply make sure your affiliate link is included in your postings, and you can earn double commission!

5. It caters to a wide audience
With an extensive amount of products available and an even more extensive amount of designs upon each of these products, it is easy to pinpoint a niche within this vast site, no matter what your target audience is. You can touch stamp collectors, to those who like to decorate their home, from people preparing for a Wedding to those who need supplies for a children’s birthday party – it is all there in one place.

Zazzle

An additional tip:

I have mentioned niche many times throughout this post because I highly suggest that as an Affiliate marketer working  with Zazzle, that you choose a very specific niche to promote. The same goes for any potential designers, who have the opportunity to create niche stores within Zazzle, and truly should take advantage of the fact that this website allows you to create multiple stores.

There is no reason to ignore Zazzle as a potential income source when choosing passive income streams.

Fiercely Independent Blessings

Claudia

P.S. Want to learn more about affiliate marketing? Check out Wealthy Affiliate – a one-stop educational platform.
Free memberships available! You can check out my review about Wealthy Affiliate right here for more information!

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Monetize Your Blog

How Do I Get Products To Review – And A Word Of Caution

How Do I Get Products To Review - And A Word Of Caution

One way to monetize your blog is to review products and connect your affiliate links to those products. But that means you need actual products to review ( I am not a fan of reviewing products that I do not own, more on that another time).

Luckily there are websites that connect influencers, reviewers, and bloggers with companies who offer their products and services for free, or at a discount for you to review. I am going to talk about a few of those I am a part of here:
ReviewKick:
ReviewKick is for Amazon reviews only. That means, unlike some of the other companies, ReviewKick only asks you to post an Amazon review in exchange for a free or discounted product. I like their setup because they make it very easy to leave a review – and are very responsive when you have any questions. The products listed tend to be high quality.

Tomoson:
Tomoson is similar to ReviewKick with a noticeable difference that companies can ask you to review their products on  different social media networks, to which you have to commit to. For example, a company can ask you to create a
blog post and a youtube video, while another only asks for a facebook mention or an Amazon review. You can pick and choose which products you want, just like with ReviewKick, and they are also available for free or via a discount. The other difference to ReviewKick is that it has some offers where the companies pay you to post on social media – which is pretty cool, on top of getting a free product

Influenster:
I honestly do not like influenster as much as I like the above two, out of two reasons. You need a high social media
engagement in order to get any boxes (they call them voxboxes). You do not get always full size products, sometimes they give only samples away. You do not get to choose your products, either. The pressure to write a positive review on a negative item is relatively great, and you had no influence over what you get – if you want more boxes, you got to write good reviews no matter what.

BuzzAgent
You can become a buzzagent to review full size and sample products when available. Unlike influenster you have a little bit more control over what you get – you do not have to take all assignments offered, and you are told beforehand what the offers are. Those offers are limited,  though, and so far I only received household goods through them. All products are  completely free, though.

A word of caution:
I have received hundreds of dollars of free products through these companies, which is great. But not all products are
of the highest standard, so you need to be very selective about what you choose to accept. The pressure to write a good review is there, and sometimes you have to make the decision between making a company happy, or being honest with your readers. I always opt for the latter, even if that sometimes means that I do not receive as many paid sponsor offers, or get a negative reaction from the company. But I do take reviewing seriously.

And so should you

Fiercely Independent Blessings!

Claudia

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