Browsing Category: blogging

Blog Design | BeYOUtifully Made

Design board for the new and improved BeYOUtifully Made blog at http://aprilmcdonaldfitness.com

Guys, I can’t believe it!

I actually designed a blog!!!

Now, I don’t have a degree in graphic design or any Adobe programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator. But, I have had quite the learning curve after blogging for almost seven years. I’ve gone to workshops, read instruction articles, and experimented.

For the past 8 months, I have been a virtual assistant to a beach body coach named April who blogs at BeYOUtifully Made. She is quite the #girlboss–building her business from scratch to the point where her husband was able to quit the job he hated. She needed someone to help manage her blog, as well as create monthly newsletters. And she found me. April became more than a fun employer–she became a friend. However, she was stuck in a bad situation in a WordPress multi-site owned by someone else that she didn’t have a lot of access or ability to edit or redesign (even though she owned her own domain). She also didn’t like the way her blog looked. So, I suggested I take a whack at it.

And boy, was it a process. Not necessarily the design stuff–that was all fun. But the technical stuff. Getting her own hosting, connecting her domain to the new hosting, downloading and deleting her blog from the multi-site to her own self-hosted WordPress site. Yikes! Talk about trial by fire! However, I was able to figure it all out and everything worked out fine.

After having worked with April for a few months, I knew what she liked and what easily able to create a new design for her.

[ctt title=”New blog design for BeYOUtifully Made! @themorrelltale” tweet=”New blog design for BeYOUtifully Made! @themorrelltale” coverup=”S5flX”]

Design board for the new and improved BeYOUtifully Made blog at http://aprilmcdonaldfitness.com

Working with Tayler was SO awesome. I previously had a blog designer that didn’t allow me much freedom and I felt like it wasn’t even MY blog. Tayler has been so sweet and diligent in TOTALLY redesigning my blog, making sure it’s EXACTLY what I want, and making changes quickly. It’s nice to feel like you are working with a friend that GETS you. I highly recommend her!

5x5blog // facebook // instagram // pinterest

April was a sweetheart and actually  referred me to another BeachBody coach who wants me to redesign her blog and switch her over from Blogger to WordPress. Soooooo…..shameless plug…

If you are interested in some Virtual Assisting work from me, click here. If you are interested in a blog design, fill out the form below!

[ctt title=”Need some help with your blog duties or redesigning? Click here! @themorrelltale” tweet=”Need some help with your blog duties or redesigning? Click here! @themorrelltale” coverup=”fgekU”]

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

My Experience Redoing Pinterest

Is your Pinterest account hindering you as a blogger rather than helping? Is Pinterest dragging you down? Do you not feel inspired or part of a community on Pinterest anymore? Click here to read my story.

When Pinterest first came out, I absolutely loved it. I pinned everything for my dream wedding and my dream home. Pictures were the main interest on Pinterest, not links to articles.

But, when Pinterest became a huge tool for blogging, I jumped right on the bandwagon of using it to try to build traffic. Yet, there weren’t really any “rules” for images. Square images were just as popular as vertical images.

Then, blogging changed. Marketing, professionalism, and how-tos became the format for successful blogs and their successful Pinterest accounts. Pinning had “rules” to follow–good, quality stock photos, good photography, click-bait, vertical pictures.

I started to change the way I created images on my posts, and tried to always have a “pinnable image”. However, Pinterest was losing my interest. It was all, “How-tos” or “5 Ways to” or “Build your blog”. I wasn’t necessarily being inspired by Pinterest. I began to steer away. I would still pin my posts, but I wasn’t being active on Pinterest anymore.

[ctt title=”I wasn\’t loving Pinterest anymore. So I redid my boards! @themorrelltale” tweet=”I wasn’t loving Pinterest anymore. So I redid my boards! @themorrelltale” coverup=”Ir4Wl”]

Then, I begin hearing about people who had thousands of Pinterest followers and getting a vast majority of their blog traffic from Pinterest. How? Where they all using Rich Pins and using the option to pay to “boost” their pins?

My friend, Emilie, from Burke Does, wrote about why she completely deleted all her pins and started over from scratch. She said that since she did that, she’s had a lot more followers from Pinterest and more traffic coming from it. So, I began to research. I didn’t really find anything useful on how to redo your Pinterest, typically just marketing strategies. So, I decided to do it on my own.

Is your Pinterest account hindering you as a blogger rather than helping? Is Pinterest dragging you down? Do you not feel inspired or part of a community on Pinterest anymore? Click here to read my story.

I began by looking through my boards: what boards did I want to keep, which did I want to combine, what group boards did I still participate in or felt like I would get traffic from?

After that, I went through each board one at a time. I edited the board’s name, made sure it had a category, and an appeasing board cover image.

Then, came the absolute grueling part–going through each pin. This took sooooo long, but was worth it. I deleted any pins that had broken links, wasn’t of interest to me anymore, looked poor quality, almost all of my pins referring to my blog, and pins that didn’t have any likes/comments/repins.

I still kept a few pins that I really liked myself even if they weren’t vertical or had any traffic on them. I still wanted to be true to myself. After all, the main reason Pinterest was created was to “pin” your interests!

I have started pinning my blog posts back to Pinterest, to my own boards and to group boards. It is a process, but it is going, even if slowly. My “On The Blog” board only has the last 25 blog posts on it. But, as I am slowly going back through old posts and updating SEO and images, I am also repinning them. I am glad that I have CoSchedule now to help me schedule ahead these pins.

After the first few days of redoing my Pinterest, I had about 30 people drop from following me. I mean, I probably only had about 1/3 of my pins left after deleting so many, and hardly any were my own. I understand. Still, it was a big dip as I only had 353 to begin with. But, as of today, almost two and a half weeks later, I’ve made back those 30 followers. I’m sure that more will follow as I continue to be more strategical about my Pinterest.

[ctt title=”Redoing your Pinterest boards may help you as a blogger! Read here! @themorrelltale” tweet=”Redoing your Pinterest boards may help you as a blogger! Read here! @themorrelltale” coverup=”3Jie9″]

What has been your experience with Pinterest as a blogger?

Tayler signature

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

How to Create a Pinnable Image with BeFunky (with giveaway)

There are many free photo editing options online to help you create that perfect pinnable image. However, BeFunky is one of my favorites because of its features. Here are detailed instructions on how to create a pinnable image on BeFunky.com

I have been created my own pinnable image for years. True, the ones I made three years ago would definitely fail on Pinterest with today’s standards, but it was great practice for me to figure out my aesthetic. As the years went by, I began to get better, and then, lo and behold, I discovered free stock photos! I no longer needed to rely on my amateur beyond belief skills with my DSLR! Then, I discovered a few other options other than just PicMonkey to edit my photos for free, with more flexibility. Finally, after having redesigned my blog, I finally decided on a pattern, per say, for my photos.

I have been blogging for 7 long years. I may not have thousands of followers on my social media (because I don’t really put money into my blog–maybe $5-$15 every now and then), nor do I have a graphic design, web design, or social marketing degree. But, I definitely feel that I have been around the block a few times and know my way around following the trends. So, today, I want to share with you one of my favorite sites to create pinnable images: befunky.com!

[ctt title=”Design your own pinnable image with @befunky very easily with these step-by-step directions! @themorrelltale” tweet=”Design your own pinnable image with @befunky very easily with these step-by-step directions! @themorrelltale” coverup=”SyOtQ”]

There are many free photo editing options online to help you create that perfect pinnable image. However, BeFunky is one of my favorites because of its features. Here are detailed instructions on how to create a pinnable image on BeFunky.com

Find a photo to use

The first step is to find a photo. You can use one of your own, or a stock photo, but just make sure it is related to your actual content and looks professional. If I decide to use a stock photo, I usually go to unsplash.com or pexels.com, which both use royalty free, common use photos. When you find one you like, download it.

Step by step instructions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunky

Upload to BeFunky

Open up BeFunky.com and click on photo editor. Upload your picture.

Step by step instructions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunky

Go to the edit button on the side, then click on crop. Under Aspect Ratio, there will be a drop down button. Click on the option that says Pinterest Pin. Decide where you want your photo cropped. Then, go to resize. You want it to be at least 1000 pixels vertically for the best results on Pinterest.

Step by step instructions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunky

Add in Text

The next step is to add in your text. As for me, I just use two fonts: the two fonts I use on my blog. Make sure that your font choices work well with each other. I’d suggest having an more eye-popping font, then a plainer font.

BeFunky allows you to use their wide range of fonts (which look more blogger friendly than PicMonkey) or your own (and more of your own fonts, especially the brush scripts, work better than on PicMonkey). You can change the font size and color to your satisfaction. What I really like about BeFunky is that you can change the font color, the outline of the font, and even a background color for your fonts. I really like using the outline feature.

Step by step instructions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunky

I suggest having no more than two or three words in a text box. That way, it is more easily to rearrange and modify. BeFunky also has ruler lines that appear when you are placing a graphic or text box to help you align. You can also click on “options” at the bottom of the text tool and have a specific alignment for your text. Take a few drafts. See what works best. While creating your texts, make sure to also incorporate your website or brand name. I typically have this on the center bottom of my images.

Optional: Add in Graphics

Word to the wise: sometimes, less is more. However, sometimes you want a graphic to make your image pop a bit more. BeFunky has a wide range of options for you. Clock on the heart icon–the “graphics” option. I typically go with the design elements or the geometry groups of graphics. Again, you can edit the size, the color, the opacity, and the placement of these images, just as you could the text.

Step by step instructions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunky

Save!

Make sure you have a specified folder on your device to save all your pinnable images. BeFunky allows you to save your images as either PNGs or JPGs. Make sure to name your image, as well. I typically name it with the same text on the image or the name of the post.

Step by step instructions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunky

Add Into Your Post

If you use WordPress, first add the image into the Featured Image option. After it uploads, fill out the alt text with what you’d like to appear when people pin your image. Make sure that your image shows up near the top of your post.

Step by step instructions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunkyStep by step instructions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunky

Post and Pin!

When you are completely done with your post and you have published it, make sure that you pin it! You can use your scheduling program, like CoSchedule, Tailwind, ViralTag, etc., or you could just manually use the PinIt web extension.

Pin it to your blog’s board on your profile, as well as any other boards you have that relate. Also, take advantage of group boards. But, don’t do it all in the same day! Take advantage of your schedulers, or create a spreadsheet to keep track of what pin was pinned where and when.

Step by step directions on creating a pinnable image with BeFunky.com

And there you have it!

Later, I will do a post on creating a pinnable image with PicMonkey, editing pictures on PicMonkey, using social media schedulers, and creating a Pinterest pin spreadsheet.

To help you start making your way towards better looking pinnable image, I am going to host a giveaway offering my services! I am currently the virtual assistant for a beachbody coach’s blog. I create pinnable images for each of her posts, as well as her monthly newsletter, and I am currently working on helping her to redesign her blog. I’d love to do the same for you.

You will receive the opportunity to have 5 pinnable images created by me (I will follow your aesthetic, and make numerous drafts if need be), and I will follow your blog, follow your Pinterest, and pin all your posts for the next month!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What is your favorite program to use to make a pinnable image?

Tayler signature

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Blog Post Checklist

A checklist to make sure you do everything you need to for your blog post before you click publish!

After having blogged for 7 years, I have gotten how I do my posts down to a science. So, I decided to make this checklist for each blog post just for you!

A checklist to make sure you do everything you need to for your blog post before you click publish!

Before You Write Your Post

  • Get inspired. Your thoughts, your day, your family, experiences, faith, knowledge, opinions, and anything you see can be turned into a blog post.
  • Write your ideas down. I use OneNote and the voice memo apps on my Phone to keep track of my post ideas.
  • Use a calendar to plan out your posts.

Draft

  • Just write it out.
  • Go back and organize into paragraphs with a good logical order. Make sure to do a grammar and spell check.
  • Add in quotes or links.
  • Add in images.

Images

  • Create at least one pinnable image. Use a high quality photo you’ve taken or use a royalty free image. I typically get mine from pexels.com or unsplash.com.
  • Use a photo editing program. I use the free versions of Picmonkey and BeFunky.
  • **I will do a later post on how to create pinnable images.**
  •  Insert your images where you want them. It is preferable to have them be the width of your post and center. Make sure horizontal and vertical images are the same width.
  • Make sure to add an alt tag to at least the pinnable image.

Finish Your Post

  • Add in your signature and a call to action (question, challenge, something at the end to engage your readers).
  • Select the categories and tags for your post.
  • Work on your SEO. I am still new to this, and as a WP user, I have the Yoast SEO plugin which makes it sooooo easy!
  • Preview your post to make sure everything looks good.
  • Schedule it out or immediately publish.

Share

  • Use the link to share your post on different social media. I typically schedule out my social media for the entire week on Saturdays, so I use schedulers.
  • Use Tweetdeck to schedule out tweets with a hyperlink. I tend to only do it three times a day. Include an image for at least one of these tweets.
  • Use your blog’s Facebook Page to schedule out a post–make sure you include an image.
  • Use Latergram to schedule out an instagram image. Try not to use your pinnable image if it has text (especially if it is the title of the post). When the Latergram notification comes up to post it, make sure it links to at least Facebook. This will get it on your personal page.
  • Join linkups!
  • Join comment or share threads on different Facebook blogging groups! But, make sure to pay it forward!
  • Reply to comments as soon as possible–you’ll get more engagement that way.
  • Pin it to at least one relevant board on your Pinterest acount.
  • Schedule out to have it pinned on different relevant boards and group boards intermittently throughout the next few weeks. I use Tailwind.

So, there you have it! I typically write all my posts for a week on Fridays/Saturdays and follow this checklist for each one. Meaning, I’ll go through this entire checklist for Monday’s post before beginning on Tuesday’s post. It works for me, I know exactly what to do and when, and it gets done.

What is your current Blog Post Checklist?

Tayler signature

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Blogger Love, #LoveBlog Challenge

I believe love is reciprocated. To get love, you have to show love. But, you shouldn’t expect love back. You should always try to pay it forward. And I love the different ways that happens in blogging: mentions and links, #fridayfollow, etc. So, I, as a blogger, want to share with you the blogs that I love to read every time they post.



In No Particular Order…


Burke Does Emilie and her sister Laura talk about finances, life, goals, and trying to be a #girlboss.

 

Christine Everyday Christine gives advice on blogging, loves to host linkups to build community, and has a positive outlook.

 

Coming Up Roses Erica is full of #motivationalmondays and loves to experiment with fashion. She has also just rebranded and is ready to help you becoming a blogging #girlboss.

 

Danikan Skywalker Danica is actually a IRL friend. She is obsessed with the Office, Star Wars, and Diet Coke. She talks about fashion, her darling daughter Reese, and loves being sarcastic.

 

Enduring All Things Charlene loves to blog about marriage and uses an uplifting Christian viewpoint.

 

Love, Ashley Ashley is another IRL friend. She loves sharing her love of Christ and her religion, as well as her love of photography.

 

Macke Monologues Desiree was my very first blogger friend. She loves writing about her two darling kids and all the adventures they go on together.

 

My Little Sunshines Britt is another IRL friend. She is the sweetest, most humble Mormon I’ve ever known. She loves sharing her love of religion and her family.

 

My New Lines Sharlee writes about trying to be the best mother she possibly can be and how to love yourself.

 

Shanndelier Shannon is a IRL friend who is a wife to a sous-chef. She loves sharing photos of her nature hikes and walks, as well as books she loves reading.

 

Silver Linings Brooke is yet another IRL friend whose daughter Claire is only 5 days older than Rhys. And now she’s pregnant with twins!! Brooke has begun her own Arizona-based photography business and loves gushing about her daughter and the adorable DIY crafts she does.

 

The Life of Bon Bonnie is a IRL friend who loves telling stories, talking about her students and what she teaches, as well as what is going on in her life.

 

Brooklyn Jolley Brooklyn is a IRL friend who lets the light of Christ shine so brightly through her eyes and her blog. She also writes about her marriage and goals.

 

A Prioritized Marriage Amberly focuses on making marriage a priority no matter what your stage in life is. She has a bazillion ideas!

 

Aubrey Zaruba Aubrey is a social butterfly. She loves hanging with friends and meeting new people and is always on the go!

Who are your favorite bloggers? Which blogs inspire you? How did you get into blogging? What do you appreciate most about your blog readers?

And now, I want to introduce two new friends, my lovely co-hosts for the #LoveBlog Challenge.



Meet Brita Long: Christian feminist blissfully married to Dan Fleck for almost two years. Lover of Paris, pink sparkles, sensible shoes, manicures, and books. Fueled by hot tea and mimosas.

Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest // Tumblr // Google+ // Bloglovin

Meet Pam of The Coastie Couple: Coastie wife married to Josh for a year and a half. Experienced at fending for herself after a year of long distance and multiple deployments courtesy of the Coast Guard. Teacher, writer, lover of puppies, obsessed with anchors, and adventurous at the core. Fitness and wine help her through the tough times.

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

And of course, Me: Mormon stay at home mom married to her best friend, Justin, for 3.5 years. Mother to 19 month old Rhys. “Retired” history and English teacher, runner, lover of video games, fantasy, books, and cooking. Consumer of Italian food, chocolate, steak, and strawberries.

Bloglovin // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest

 

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.