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why creativemarket is the best resource for bloggers and businesses

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creativemarket

creative market

I’ve shared plenty of resources before on where you can find free stock photos for your blog or business – you can even get a spreadsheet by signing up for the email list! If you’re a blogger or business owner, sometimes it’s easier to create your own graphics than contracting out. There are tons of resources that make this easier than ever (like Canva). My favorite resource for building a graphic assets library is CreativeMarket.

CreativeMarket has HUNDREDS of fonts, website themes, social media templates, and anything else you need to create beautiful graphics. Best of all, every Monday they provide six freebies you can download. Some of the freebies I’ve gotten include fonts, stock photos, and even WordPress themes!

Though this post does contain affiliate links, it’s not sponsored – I just see a lot of benefit in CreativeMarket, and hope to help others with the same design needs!

creative market for bloggers

There are a lot of things to love about CreativeMarket, but these are a few of my favorites.

  • The best feature is that they store all your purchases, including freebie downloads. You can access any of your assets at any time to download them to a different computer, or just remember what the name of that one specific font is. (I use it for this more often than I’d like to admit!)
  • Since CreativeMarket keeps a record of your downloads, they also notify you when an updated version is available. Sometimes fonts get updated, graphics have spelling corrections, or stock photo packs get new photos added (yay!) Keeping your assets up to date by downloading each ensures that they’ll keep working with tech updates as well.
  • They also offer an option to sync purchases (and freebies) to Dropbox. This is great if you store your design assets in the cloud -I recommend this because I’ve lost assets before, or needed to access something on a different computer. Now, I have a pCloud account dedicated specifically to graphic design assets so I’ll never lose anything!
  • The bundles many shops offer are a great deal too. You can get entire packs of fonts or marketing mockups to get everything you need for your brand’s graphics in one pack. Bundles are also often discounted massively (think 100 fonts for less than $20!)
  • Tons of fonts from handwritten script to straight-laced sans serifs mean there’s more than one you’ll love. (I’ve more than doubled my font library since discovering CreativeMarket. Whoops.)
  • If you’re working on a client presentation, you might get bored of the same old Powerpoint looks but not have the drive to make your own. CreativeMarket also features Powerpoint templates so your clients aren’t looking at the same slides over and over.
  • It’s also easy to purchase additional licenses. Most products come with a base standard license, but if you need a corporate license or more than one, it’s easy to add on.
  • Every category has a variety of styles to fit your brand. Whether your content is feminine, artsy, “loud,” summery, or anything else, there are assets that will match!
  • Being able to download full social media packs makes it easy to bring a cohesive look to your blog without having to create your own templates. This saves time not only in creating your own but in getting your images completed and ready to post without too much work!
  • Less common design needs are also explored here. I’ve seen invitations and save the date cards, resumes and business cards, and even infographic templates and product mockups on CreativeMarket.
  • Having access to products created by the same maker ensures consistent branding across your marketing platforms. It helps to create brand recognition in the reader’s mind!

A few of my favorite products:

Do you use CreativeMarket? What are your favorite products?

June 21, 2017
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6 blog management skills to put on your resume

Posted in Blogging, Career by
This post contains affiliate links.

blog management skills to add to your resume

You might think that blogging is a fun hobby, and it is! But it’s also a great way to build marketable skills for your resume. As a blogger, you’re not only a writer, but also a marketer, designer, editor, and creative director. Depending on your niche, you’re also developing valuable sales skills as well. That’s nothing to shake a stick at! For years I wrestled with including my blog on my resume or professional portfolio at all, but I’ve been doing this for five years and have become an expert in many things I’ve never had the opportunity to explore in my day jobs. It’s important for prospective new employers to have a view of all of your skills – and if they check out your blog, they’ll even get to know more about you! Here are just six of the blogging skills you can add to your resume today.

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Marketing: You oversee the social media marketing plan for your blog – what tools do you use? Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and your blogging platform should all be listed on your resume or portfolio. Much like your media kit, you could also add in your social stats. Google Analytics and any other tools you use can be added here as well. Any advertising you do with other bloggers (or even in Facebook groups) are also really great to add. You’re also focused on writing posts with great SEO, which companies will find attractive (and add value with highlighting your Pinterest SEO skills as well.) Email marketing tools are popular in all industries as well, so if you’ve tried a couple out, be sure to outline that!

Community Building: While having a huge number of followers (probably) feels really great, building a dedicated audience interested in what you have to say is even better. Being able to show employers that you can engage readers and customers displays that you can create worthwhile content that adds value to their existing brand.

Brand Partnerships: Speaking of brands, partnerships and sponsors are definitely worthy of your resume. Showing that you have partnered successfully with brands or companies is impressive, especially if you’ve collaborated with them multiple times. It also shows that you excel at the “cold call” approach since it’s rare for brands to reach out to bloggers directly. This is a really valuable skill, especially once you’ve mastered it!

Graphic Design/Photography: Even if you’re just shooting snaps on your iPhone or editing graphics in Canva or phone apps, there’s a lot of design work that goes into blog planning. Finding stock photography, choosing fonts and colors, and even selecting a layout or theme for your blog helps to enhance your design skills every day. I even know some bloggers who had no design skills when they started, and now they side hustle creating graphics for other bloggers or brands. It’s helped me tremendously – the other day I got a glance of my first media kit and just wanted to shudder!

Chief Creative: What post goes where? What kinds of brands will you work with? What’s the color scheme, layout, and font pairings? You’re in charge of all the artistic decisions as well. Using HTML and CSS, even if it’s basic, is definitely worth adding this to your resume. It comes in handy if you’re writing or formatting blog posts or email marketing newsletters (and even on social media.) Mapping out your content calendar shows your skills at pre-planning, which will set you apart in a world full of procrastinators!

Copywriting: In blogging, we’re responsible for a pretty wide variety of copy. From blog posts to social media blurbs and newsletters, they each beg for their own tone. Running your own blog (and marketing) helps you exercise this muscle outside the workplace, and bring in the skills to apply to your new position.

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June 14, 2017
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blog about me pages i love

Posted in Blogging by

blog about pages

blog about page

Sometimes, writing about yourself can be the hardest part of your blog or website. A great about page is one of the most important parts of your website, though! What should you include, and what makes a great bio page anyway? Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite blogger about pages, as well as some tips on how to make sure yours stands out!

Helene In Between: Helene is a HUGELY successful lifestyle blogger, and I’ve been following her for quite a few years. Her “about” page is very personal. It tells the story of how and why she and her husband were able to move to Germany. That might not seem like it relates to her blog at all, but it’s exactly what allowed her to move abroad! I’ve gotten so much value from her blog that I joined her Blog Boss Babes group and highly recommend it.

Secret Blogger’s Business: Kate started her second (majorly) successful blog in Secret Blogger’s Business, and her bio page here is gorgeous. The layout makes the content easy to read – as you scroll down, images alternate from left to right, which makes the content super easy to read. It also walks through her past blog journey, some personal info, and successes she’s had with her websites! By the time you finish reading her bio, it’s clear what she’s about and how she can help you.

Emma Lenhart: Emma has a cool, clean blog aesthetic, and her biography page matches as well. She uses a professionally done headshot, and the content on the page aligns perfectly with the photo! That makes it really visually interesting and easy to read.

Like your bio page, but want to make it “pop” more? Check out my favorite tools and apps to improve your writing!

It’s Carmen: Carmen’s “about” page is another very complete bio. She shares her blogging history as well as personal anecdotes (we share the same mac & cheese philosophy!) Plus, she updates it regularly – as soon as she left her corporate job, she noted it in her biography right away.

Catherine Chicotka: A new find for me, I really like Catherine’s site! Her about page, like the others, is well organized and not only talks about what visitors will find on her website but also her brief bio. The photos she’s chosen also tells a lot about her personality, which is great to show on your blog.

Blog Beautifully: I like Krista’s biography page because of its simplicity. Her headshot photo blends in perfectly with the white background, which makes the content stick out. She includes two calls to action at the bottom – a mailing list signup form, as well as the option to enroll in her free e-course. I highly recommend including a mailing list signup form on each page of your site – you never know when someone will be ready to subscribe!

Fitnancials: I’ve been following Alexis’ blog since she started in 2013 (around the same time as me!) and she continues to impress. Her about page is great because she blogs often about her travel journey, and she includes many photos from her trips in her bio. It’s great to see how her blog has helped her succeed!

byRegina: If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, byRegina is a blog you have to read. She has a ton of great resources on how to market yourself and monetize your brand. Her bio clearly displays her experience (i.e. why you should trust her) and the clean layout of her website is easy to navigate!

26 and Not Counting: Another Chicago blogger, Jess’ bio page is really fun. She has a quick blurb about her but then features a “Q&A” style survey for a more conversational tone. Even though she doesn’t like coffee, we’ll have to forgive her – it’s a creative and informative biography!

Another one that I think is exemplary is this one from Louise of Oh So Sensitive. Not only is this one of my favorite blogs, it might be my favorite about page as well. She gives some fun facts and quick biographical information about herself, and weaves it into the story of how her blog started and why.

So what should be on your blog about page?

  • Be sure to include at least one photo of yourself. Even if you have one in the sidebar that appears on all your pages, use a different one – it shows different sides of your personality! Plus, not all blog themes display the sidebar on pages.
  • Tell the story of your blog: why you started it, what you write about, and what readers can expect. Think of it as an elevator pitch for your blog – just a few short sentences on what and why!
  • Fun facts about you also help your readers connect with you. You never know – maybe someone visiting your site has the same weird phobia as you, or also speaks Bulgarian! (Swans are terrifying, though, am I right?)
  • I’d also recommend including links to your social media. Even though they’re likely built in to your theme, someone might not choose to follow you until they’ve learned about your personality. This is also a good place to dump in the “extra” social media networks you don’t include in your main navigation, like Goodreads and Spotify!
  • After all that, visitors will be dying to work with you or buy from you. Be sure to include some kind of sales pitch, whether it’s a link to your online store or a call to action for brands to work together!

Join the mailing list and get a free worksheet to improve your blog bio in a few short steps. It includes a checklist to make sure you’ve covered everything, as well as space to brainstorm and perfect your elevator pitch!

Share your blog with us in the comments – I’d love to take a look at your bio page as well!

June 7, 2017
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tools for bloggers for your best writing ever

Posted in Blogging by
This post contains affiliate links from Grammarly.

best writing ever

So you’ve worked hard on filling up your content calendar and now you’re writing your posts. You want to make sure that you’re not using “filler” content – higher quality posts will help you get more traffic and build a dedicated base of readers. (Plus, high-quality blogs will attract more brands and sponsors!) These are some of my favorite tools for bloggers that can help ensure you’re putting your best writing forward.

Hemingway: Hemingway is an editor that you can paste your writing into and it will grade it (their recommendation is to write for a ninth grade reading level), offer feedback for hard to read passages and more. You can even write full posts in Hemingway now (including formatting, for easy pasting into your post) and download a desktop app if you prefer to work in a window without website distractions. Readable is a similar service and can grade URLs as well, but their free version only lets you grade a few links at a time.

Grammarly: I’ve posted before about how much I love Grammarly (including screencasts of it in action!) and it continues to be one of my writing must-haves. Since it works in real-time, it really serves my internal editor and helps me make sure I’m not missing any misspellings or errant commas. I highly, highly recommend checking Grammarly out because it’s the number one thing that has helped my writing out more than any other app or service.

Thesaurus: Grab a desktop copy from Amazon or use thesaurus.com – this is one of the most relied upon tools in my kit. Especially when I’m writing a series or very focused post, I might find myself repeating the same word over and over. A thesaurus helps me mix it up and adds variety to my writing!

Byword: A full-screen program for writing, Byword is great for those who get easily distracted when writing in web-based apps. It’s downloadable for Mac and Apple mobile devices, and I love its simplicity. It also lets you export formatted text to PDF, rich text, or HTML for Blogger, WordPress, and other blogging platforms. If you don’t have a Mac or prefer a web-based editor, sign up to find out with Quabel Writer launches. Or for a more extreme option, try BlindWriter – it lets you set a time limit, then blurs out your composition until the time is up. If you’re a merciless editor (like me,) this is a great way to start exercising editing after writing.

Rough Drafts: While blogging shouldn’t bring back nightmares of homework assignments from school, writing drafts of your posts before scheduling them can help you make sure you’re putting the best content forward. I really like Krista’s five question method and printable – her questions help you really focus on your content.

BlaBlaMeter: If you’ve ever wondered about “junky” words in your writing, BlaBlaMeter is a great judge. Paste in your text and it will grade the quality of your writing – if you’re using all the other tools, your writing is probably checking out pretty well here!

Other Bloggers: There’s no substitute for another pair of eyes. Facebook Groups can be a great resource – many of them have weekly schedules, and some of them (like Rock Your Blog & Biz) even have feedback days scheduled in. Check out a subreddit like r/blogging if you’re more comfortable there. Use these opportunities to solicit advice from readers – they might have some advice you’d never have thought of!

Do you use any of these tools for bloggers? Did I miss out on any that you swear by?

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May 24, 2017
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how to quickly fill your content calendar and get ahead on blog posts

Posted in Blogging by

fill your blog content calendar

If you’re just starting a blog, it can be intimidating to think of enough topics to regularly post about to keep your visitors engaged. Having a schedule is really important, though – otherwise, your readers won’t know when to keep an eye out for your new posts! There’s an easy way to quickly fill your content calendar. These are the steps I use to write up my blog posts and stay ahead of the game.

Develop a posting schedule: Do you want to write three times a week, or just twice a week? Block out regular days for posts, and you’ll have a feel for exactly how many posts per month you’re looking at.

Make a content calendar so you can visualize your posts: I’m a very visual person, so I have my month calendars in my bullet journal. Since I have two blogs, I color code each of them so I can tell what post is for what website. You can use a digital calendar like iCal or Google if that’s how you prefer to plan. Laying out a month at a time helps me see what’s coming up, what I have time for, and can even help me plan posts far in advance. If you only have one blog, you could color code your themed posts or series if that helps you plot out your posts better.

Do recurring series or themed posts: There are a lot of themed weekly linkups to participate in: I’ve done Music Mondays, Tune Tuesdays, Workout Wednesdays, and Fashion Fridays here on the blog. Sometimes having this kind of theme makes it easier to focus and sit down to write. Right now I’m working on developing series, focusing on remote work as well as blog management. I’ve found that picking a broader topic like that makes it a lot easier to get ahead on my content calendar – in March, I was already planning content into May. (This is also a really great way to keep fresh content coming on your blog if you plan to take some time off.) Plus, using a series allows you to re-use the opening paragraph – this gives the series cohesion, and saves time on writing the post!

Another benefit I’ve found in developing a series is that it’s made it super easy to brainstorm topics and build off each post. For example, this series on blogging stemmed from an idea I had on doing a walkthrough of my blogging bullet journal. I’m still going to do a larger post on that, but breaking them down into individual topics allows for more in-depth information to be shared. Be sure that once you’ve written the new posts, you go through any related posts to drop backlinks in so your readers can easily access related content!

Dedicate a few hours each week to developing future content: There’s always going to be some part of blogging that has to be done every day, like sharing posts on Facebook groups, submitting to StumbleUpon and Pinterest, and responding to comments. (If you aren’t into that, think about hiring a VA to outsource the parts of blogging you find icky!) Getting ahead on writing your posts and shooting photos frees up a lot of your daily time – instead, I like to sit down a few Saturday afternoons per month and churn out posts. (Of course, if you aren’t feeling particularly inspired, this might not work.) I prefer doing this because it lets me tune out any other distractions and really focus on creating great content – once I get in the zone, it’s easy to stay on task!

Write some unscheduled evergreen posts: Life happens, right? One way you can stay on top of your posting schedule is by having evergreen posts you can lean on when you have off weeks (or months.) If you see a blank spot in your calendar that you’re struggling to fill, pop in and post one of your evergreens. Even if it doesn’t exactly fit into a series you might be working on, at least your visitors have new content (and are probably getting the chance to learn more about you!)

Do you plan your blog in advance? What’s your process like for planning your content calendar?

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May 17, 2017
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