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how to use basecamp to organize your blog

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Basecamp is a project management software, and using something like this isn’t just a good way to organize your blog or business. It’s also a good tool to have on your resume – especially if you want to transition to a remote career. Many companies use this to organize projects and tasks within the organization, and you can make it work for your own business as well. Here’s how I’m using it for the Desi Does empire!

basecamp

The first screen displays your “Teams” as well as your “Projects.” I use two different teams – one for Desi Does Pizza ideas, since it’s less structured than my business here. I use the second one to manage communication or plan out any ideas I might have for guest posts or social media help. The “My Stuff” section of Basecamp lets you easily see your outstanding assignments, quick links to your most used parts of Basecamp, tasks that are due, and things you’ve recently worked on.

how to use basecamp to organize your blog

You can sync Google Drive files or even create a doc directly on Basecamp. I love this because I can just note down any post ideas or start to draft a post.

My favorite part is the option to create project templates, so every month I can easily duplicate my content calendar project.

In this project, I have my schedule of what’s getting posted when, and in the Docs & Files section, I upload the related assets to each blog post. I do this in case I’m out and about and want to be able to easily retrieve any photos if I want to put together a quick social media post.

The best part of Basecamp for business, in my opinion, is the To-dos section. In this section, I have a To-Do card for each day that a blog post will be published. On that card, I break down the process: writing a post, editing a post, taking and editing photos, etc. It may seem basic and obvious, but if you like checking things off, it’s a really great feature.

Checking off and seeing what I’ve already done and what’s still coming up makes it super easy to follow a process and not feel overwhelmed. Here’s a deeper look at the card for last week’s Best Self Co. giveaway post (which is still open for another week!)

Basecamp’s flexibility makes it perfect no matter how big your blog or business is. You could even set it up for your daily tasks or freelance writing. It might seem like a lot of setup, but investing time into setting up templates for your routines can be a huge timesaver in the long run. It might even save you from forgetting simple marketing tasks that you should do weekly!

How do you organize your processes? Do you use a project management tool like Basecamp?

August 9, 2017
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67 evergreen blog post ideas for lifestyle bloggers

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evergreen blog post ideas

What is an “evergreen” post? It’s exactly what it sounds like – it’s not necessarily time sensitive, and it can be a great way to blog about topics you don’t normally touch on, or just share more about yourself with your readers. I actually have a bunch of these already written and just ready to fill in on a hole in my content calendar if needed. Since they’re timeless, you could batch write several anytime throughout the year! Here are 67 ideas (with a link to 36 more.)

  1. How you organize your blog
  2. Giveaways: host a giveaway for one of your favorite apps or products
  3. Biggest fears
  4. Beauty product dupes
  5. Your favorite sports teams
  6. What’s your favorite place to shop?
  7. Link roundup: share your favorite websites and blogs
  8. How to boost blog traffic
  9. Favorite food or restaurant
  10. Handwriting post: handwrite a post for visitors to read, or just show us your writing
  11. Travel journal for a trip you’ve been on
  12. Nighttime routine
  13. Gift guide for ___: share your favorite gift ideas for friends and family
  14. Holiday posts: donut day, pancake day… every day is a holiday, so if there’s a hole in your content calendar, fill it with a holiday post!
  15. Your five favorite quotes & phone background photos for visitors to download
  16. Weekend recap with photos: show your readers what you did this weekend!
  17. What’s in my bag?
  18. Take the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory test: do you agree with your results?
  19. Share your weekly workout routine
  20. Favorite apps on your phone
  21. Haul posts: did you get some great scores? Share them with your readers!
  22. Must-read blogs
  23. Share your favorite childhood recipe
  24. Favorite podcasts
  25. Walk through your bullet journal/planner
  26. Product empties and products you can’t live without
  27. How to pass time when you’re bored
  28. Favorite things: pick a topic, and write about it!
  29. Blog resources: where do you find things for your blog like photos, fonts, or plugins?
  30. Story of a selfie
  31. If you could move anywhere, where would you go?
  32. Favorite bands
  33. What product do you wish you had invented?
  34. Intro to your favorite thing – do you love a TV show or movie series? Write a primer for newbies!
  35. Your favorite fonts & include download links
  36. Share your annual goals – this can help keep you accountable and motivated!
  37. Your idea of the perfect day
  38. How to create content readers love
  39. Playlists: share your favorite playlists for working, working out, or anything else!
  40. Product reviews
  41. DIY post: teach your readers how to do something you’ve recently tackled!
  42. Post your vision board and explain what it means for your readers
  43. What is your proudest moment?
  44. Home tour: include photos and links to where you purchased your favorite pieces
  45. Tattoo stories: what do they mean, where did you get them, did it hurt?
  46. Favorite beer/wine
  47. If you had a TV show, what would it be like?
  48. Share your best productivity tips
  49. How to save money on ___: what unique things have you found savings for that other people can benefit from?
  50. What was your favorite road trip?
  51. Book club: review recent reads and make recommendations!
  52. What is your love language?
  53. Blog post ideas post 😉
  54. What’s your morning routine?
  55. How to start a blog
  56. Share your favorite food trend
  57. Favorite vloggers
  58. Guide to your city: share hidden gems that won’t turn up on a Google search… until you write the post!
  59. Things you don’t know about me
  60. Guilty pleasures
  61. Write a letter to yourself
  62. Update a version of an old post
  63. How to use ___ plugin
  64. What’s in your gym bag?
  65. How do you pack for a weekend trip?
  66. A day in the life
  67. Your dream job

Still need more ideas? Check out Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator!

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July 19, 2017
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necessities for your outdoor office

Posted in Blogging, Career by
I recieved products from NuShield and CoolerPad for review. All opinions are my own.

my outdoor office

Summer, summer, summertime. Just because you still have to go to work (which is totally unfair) doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the sunshine and weather. We have a great patio at our apartment and I couldn’t resist the urge to move my office outside this season. There are definitely some necessities you need specifically for an outdoor office – here are my must-haves for making the move away from the desk!

A Great Table: I have this set from Target – it even fit in my Ford Fiesta! I definitely recommend getting an umbrella, even if you don’t opt for a set like this. It will help to have something to hide some of the reflection on your screen (and give you a place to sit in the shade when the temps get too hot.)

An Eye Saver: Speaking of screen glare, something that has been a total game changer for me is the NuShield Dayvue Antireflective Screen Protector. It has solved a problem I didn’t even really know I had. Initially, I got it to help with the glare I was suffering with outside. Basically, I was only able to work outside in the mornings, and the sun was so harsh by the afternoon that even the umbrella couldn’t do enough. With this film, it’s possible to read my screen more easily outside and inside. Until I put it on, I didn’t realize how often I was squinting at the screen, causing tension and headaches. It was an easy application and though it suggests having someone help out on standby, I was able to apply it well on my own. You can even see in these photos how well it’s working: before I put the film on, and after!

Something To Keep Splinters At Bay: Since you’re likely spending a lot of time outside, your toes will want to stay comfy too. Outdoor rugs are great and really trendy right now. I got one that matches the color of the patio set, and I think Dani is just glad I didn’t outfit the patio with astroturf. (Even though I really want to.)

SPF… A Lot of SPF: With the extra time in the sun, you’ll want to be sure to keep your skin safe. My favorite facial sunscreen is still Block Island Organics facial moisturizer (yep, I’m still loving it.) Your body needs to be covered, too – Sun Bum is my favorite sunscreen for its cool coconutty scent.

Laptop Air Conditioning: Your body isn’t the only thing that will heat up outside. Computers are also susceptible to heating up. I recently upgraded to a Cooler Master Notepal after using the ultra-slim model for years. It’s an external fan that will help keep your computer from overheating, helping with ventilation and even adding some ergonomics to your keyboard. Keeping your tools in working order is important in keeping the outdoor office working! I personally prefer the ultra-slim model because the Notepal doesn’t have anything to stop the laptop from sliding forward – it’s better for lap use vs. flat surfaces.

Bug Repellent: I like to work into the night (and even if I’m not typing away, I’m probably out there with my nose in a book.) The bugs around us aren’t too bad, but I like a citronella candle on deck just in case they get overwhelming.

Water, Water, Water: Even if you don’t feel it, you’re going to be sweating in that heat. Stave off dehydration or sunstroke by staying ahead on your H2O. I like Hydroflasks – they really do keep your water cool, even in 80 degree heat. If it’s hard for you to remember to drink a specific amount, get a Nalgene bottle and mark off times so you’re sure to be drinking throughout the day. Or, take a page from Dani’s bullet journal and add a water tracker to yours!


Snacks: The best part, right? Keeping your body full is just as important as drinking enough water. Fruit salad is my favorite summer snack. A charcuterie board and cheese plate is also a really great option! Protein is also super important for energy – I really like paleovalley’s meat sticks and, of course, Justin’s Nut Butters.

Do you work outside in the summer? What do you bring to your outdoor office with you?

July 12, 2017
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50+ free stock photo websites for your blog or business

Posted in Blogging by

stock photo websites

My last post on places to find gorgeous stock photos for free was really successful, so it’s clear that there’s a demand for these kind of resources! I’m back today not only with more websites to try out, but also a freebie that will share even more places to find free stock photos. Here are some of my favorite new discoveries!

And if these aren’t enough, check out these other photo and graphic resources:

Gold & Berry: The aesthetic she has is gorgeous, and I love the glittery gold features she includes. She also includes a .psd file with drag and drop assets, so you can customize the look of the photo!

A Prettier Web: That ban.do planner from last year is super cute, so I’m glad that it gets featured in so many stock photo collections! This one is no different. Perfect for entrepreneurs or bloggers, this pack features photos that are great for different types of posts or products.

50 free stock photo website resources

Shafaq Omair: Similar to Gold & Berry, Shafaq’s photos focus heavily on the black and gold, which is such a nice combo. Her photos are also really feminine, which make them perfect for female entrepreneurs. As soon as you sign up for the mailing list, you’ll have access to the library, which contains many different photo packs.

Ashley Creates Things: It looks like Ashley is no longer an active blogger, but her pretty stock photos are still accessible. Several different options would be great for a wide variety of businesses, from home design to getting beach ready!

The Pattern Library: It’s not a stock photo website in the strictest sense, but they provide patterns that can be used as backgrounds for websites or even in marketing graphics! Or just scroll through their library – it’s surprisingly relaxing to watch the images fly by.

Like these? Sign up for the mailing list to access the full list of more than 50 free stock photo resources (that’s hundreds of free images for your website!

July 5, 2017
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what’s wrong with your blog

Posted in Blogging by
This post contains affiliate links.

what's wrong with your blog

You’ve been focusing hard on your blog – picking a theme that puts the focus on your content and creating great, engaging posts that benefit your readers. So why aren’t you getting the traffic, engagement, or brand partnerships that you’ve been working for? Sometimes you can have the best content in the world, but have some other issues going on with your blog or website. In my day job, I often review and audit websites and offer tips and tricks for the owner to improve the site going forward. These are some of the most common issues I see when looking at other websites!

You’re Not Self-Hosted: This is the number one mistake anyone could ever make, especially new bloggers. I get it – it can be hard to shell out the money for hosting and a domain name, but without your own domain name, you won’t ever look professional. Consider a brand or potential sponsor getting a request to sponsor “yourblog.blogspot.com” – this could lead readers to think that the brand is associated with Blogspot, rather than your particular website. And if you do find a partner with a URL like that, readers might not remember what your website is going forward – they might only remember the top-level domain, which will make it harder to find you again. It doesn’t even have to be very expensive – my hosting and domain names are less than $100 per year. If you’re looking to make the move to self-hosted and start to increase your traffic and monetization, check out BigScoots – they’re my favorite!

You’re Using Comic Sans: Poor old Comic Sans takes the fall, but there are a lot of terrible fonts that are sorely overused in design and blogging. Papyrus, Bleeding Cowboys, Stencil… the list goes on, and you can probably think of a few others. There’s a reason these fonts regularly get listed on “do not use” lists – they’re unprofessional and dated, and when used on your blog or website, that’s the message they convey. If you’re using these fonts, consider browsing some alternatives. Google Fonts is super easy to integrate into a WordPress blog, and DaFont has a huge library of free fonts to check out – Pinterest is also a good place to look for free fonts to use!

You Don’t Interact With Readers On Social Media or In Comments: Creating a loyal audience is important when growing your blog, but you can’t build a relationship based on one-way communication. If visitors are commenting on your posts, be sure to reply – maybe they’re sharing more valuable tips you can benefit from, or have questions about a point in your post. If you’re struggling to get comments, consider including a question at the end of your posts as a call to action. Check your notifications on social media regularly – engage with your followers by posting content they’ll benefit from, and reply to their posts! Twitter is especially fun to interact on – it’s easy to find other people with your interests.

Your Bio Sucks: Admittedly, the bio page is a delicate balance, so it can be tough to get “right”. Without drawing on your entire life story, you want readers to be able to quickly get an idea of who you are and what you’re like. I’ve seen bios that detail each year of someone’s school life, pages that include little substance or are written in a way that doesn’t connect, or worst of all – blogs without any sort of “about” page. Your readers want to quickly get your backstory – especially new readers who might be jumping into your blog without any context. If you aren’t feeling very inspired, this is a great post on how to improve your biography, or look at this post with some of my favorite examples!

Your Layout Is Bad: If you’re using the WordPress default layout, it might make you look a bit amateur – you don’t have to spend a ton (or any!) on a theme for your blog for it to look great. I’ve gotten my last two themes on Etsy for super reasonable prices, and many designers even offer installation, if you’re a total newbie. There are tons of resources for free themes, like these for WordPress and Blogger. Be sure that it’s mobile responsive, though – almost 60% of all traffic online now is on a mobile device. Themes that aren’t responsive won’t display well for visitors on phones or tablets, and they might not be able to read any of your content. If you lose them, you might not get them back!

You Have Pop-Ups: Repeat after me: I will not use pop-ups on my website. There’s nothing worse for me than visiting a website and having to close an opt-in or call to action (and it’s even worse when something pops up on every page.) Instead, consider adding your mailing list signup to the top of your content or sidebar areas, or adding a call to action as a header image. I’ve always found it to be a bit presumptive to ask someone to subscribe to you before they’ve even had a chance to check out your content! Some pop-up widgets aren’t responsive either, meaning they can’t be closed or minimized by mobile visitors. If you have to use a pop-up, be sure to test out to make sure it can be closed on a mobile device. Google is actually starting to penalize websites that use pop-ups, so be sure you’re working within their guidelines if you do choose to use these.

There’s No Mailing List: When your visitors do click through to read your great posts, they’ll want to subscribe to get emails from you. If you don’t have a mailing list yet, there’s no better time than now to start! ConvertKit is really popular with bloggers and entrepreneurs to manage mailing lists, but the old standby MailChimp is great for beginners (and free for up to 2,000 subscribers!)

Your Site Isn’t Secure: A few months ago, Google and other search engines started penalizing websites that aren’t using a secure SSL certificate. Basically, SSL is a setting that provides extra security for your visitors – it lets browsers connect securely to different websites. In addition to being penalized in search results, Google Chrome (the most popular web browser) will display a message to visitors that your site is not secure if you don’t have an SSL certificate. This can definitely scare away visitors who think your site may be hosting malware or other material harmful to their computers. It’s typically pretty easy to turn it on – I just emailed the guys at BigScoots, and they issued the SSL certificate right away for no extra cost. Your host can help you out more with this. You can learn more about encryption here!

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June 28, 2017
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