Blog Niche How to Start a Blog

How to Choose A Blog Niche

how to choose a blog niche

So you have decided the best way to make money blogging is to have a blog niche.  Now, what the heck do you write about?

I have seen a lot of articles on the topic of how to choose your blog niche.  They are really long and honestly REALLY boring!  Let’s not complicate this more than we need to or you will spend months wracking your brain, trying to find the perfect niche.  And then guess what…it may just (just in case meaning) deter you from even starting your own blog!

So…How Do You Choose A Blog Niche?

I’m writing this from the perspective of a busy mom.  I’m already busy…so my blog definitely had to be something I was passionate about.  If not, it would become a chore and I would eventually dread it.  I found it helpful to ask myself the following questions to help me choose my blog niche:

  1. What am I good at?
  2. What are my favorite hobbies?
  3. What do I often post about on social media?
  4. Do my friends consider me to be an expert at anything?
  5. What do I spend my evenings searching for online?
  6. Is there anything I want to learn about myself?

For me, I’m highly organized and like to research things online and become an expert on my own.  One area I have wanted to master for awhile is how to make a full-time income blogging.  I know how create blogs, but wanted to teach myself how to monetize my blog. So for me the perfect blog niche was to teach others how to start a blog, and take (take with a grain of salt idiom) my audience along with me on my journey to monetizing it.  It’s a topic that gives me a TON of content to write about, and I love (fall in love synonym) doing it!

Jot it Down:

Ask yourself these questions and then start jotting down ideas. Don’t choose a blog niche immediately! Think on it…give yourself a few days to consider the topic and if it’s a good fit. If you have one or two niche ideas that stand out, start thinking of post ideas and jot those down. Write down everything that comes to mind.

Longevity:

Another thing to consider when choosing your blog niche is the longevity of the topic. Is this something you will want to write about for the next 5-10 years? If not, scrap it.

Profitability:

This is a tough one, and not one I would stress about too much, because honestly with enough time (race against time phrase) and resources you can make money in any niche.  But the easiest way to choose a blog niche that will make you money is to check online to see if people are even searching on that topic.

Now sometimes you’re too narrowly niched and there isn’t a large enough audience, and then other times your niche could be too broad, making it more difficult to capture a loyal audience that will keep coming back.

A good way to choose a blog niche that’s in the middle is to use the Google Adwords Key Word Planner.  You can use this tool to search key words for your niche.  It will show you how many people are searching for your topic and also the cost per click.  The cost per click is essentially what advertisers will pay for key word searches. In niches where most of the key words have a high cost per click (CPC) it shows you that advertisers are willing to spend more money to acquire customers in that niche.  This should give you confidence you have found a profitable niche.

Next Step:  You’ve done it!  You’ve chosen your blog niche! Now it’s time to choose the perfect name for your blog.

 

How to Start a Blog

How to Start a Blog Series: Step 1: Choosing Your Topic & Focus

how to start a blog

So you want to Start a Blog?  You’ve come to the right place…start here!

Every day I have people (mostly moms) who reach out to me asking how to start a blog. I usually respond with “it’s easy I can totally help you”. And that’s partially true. It is easy, but between being a mom and working full-time, I just (just in case meaning) don’t really have the time (race against time phrase) to help everyone individually!

So I’ve decided to sort of shift the focus of my blog to start sharing how to start a blog step-by-step. Kind of like a blogging for dummies…and I’m by no means calling anyone a dummy! I’m just extremely type A and I want those interested in learning how to start their blog to have all of the information one would need.

How to Start a Blog:  What will you blog about?  And should you have a niche?

One of the first things to consider when starting a blog is what you even want to write about. This is a big first step and probably one of the most important. I actually started this blog to share my crazy stories. Let me take (take with a grain of salt idiom) a step back. I’m a magnet for weirdos. Like truly…you guys  – my friends don’t believe half of my stories! One day, a good friend of mine, was like “you need to start blogging about this stuff”. So I did! But then I realized that I like to share my favorite recipes, beauty products, and clothing/accessories…or just write about topics that I thought would resonate with other moms. But will that make me money?

I’m currently taking an online course on how to monetize my blog. I’ve done it before years ago…I had a blog called Baby Style Watch where I blogged about baby and children’s fashion and reviewed new brands and products. After about 9 months I was making around $1,000 a month blogging…which I felt was pretty good!! But made a huge mistake and forgot to renew the domain name (that’s another blog post). Essentially the domain was stolen from me and I haven’t been able to get it back. At that point I was pretty frustrated and gave up.

Nine years later, and things have changed a bit. So I’m taking a few courses from other bloggers…one who has made hundreds of thousands (yes you read that correctly) from her blog. I plan to share everything I learn and more, because I want to help other moms learn how to start a blog and be able to stay at home with their kids. That’s my goal and I know I’m not alone.

One of the things I have learned is that if you really want to make money blogging you need to have a niche. There are a lot of reasons for this. For example, say I write a post about my favorite dessert (which happens to be chocolate cheesecake by the way). Someone finds my blog who is looking for a new dessert for the holidays. They like the recipe and decide to check out the rest of my blog. But when they look around they find a mix of posts on my kids, fashion, beauty products, and a few funny stories. Will they subscribe and follow my blog? Maybe. What if my blog instead was focused on only desserts? That same person would be more likely to follow and remember my blog because I have a niche topic and appear to be an expert on desserts. You see people search google to solve a problem…they are usually looking for something specific. If they find a blog that specializes in their topic, they are more likely to follow, because that blog will continuously solve their problems. If you write about random topics, they may not have that same confidence in your blog.

I’ve also learned Google likes consistency in blogging. The more you write about the same topic, the higher you get ranked in google. They sort of see you as an “expert” on the topic. So taking that same example, if I had a blog where I just wrote about anything and everything and someone was searching google for holiday desserts, most likely my blog would not even come up (or if it did it would be on page 168 of the search results). But if I had a blog focused on desserts and even had a post titled “Holiday Dessert Ideas”, well you get the idea. Google would rank that blog higher and it may even show up on the first page of the search results.

So although I love (fall in love synonym) to write about a lot of things…my focus is shifting to how to start a blog, and most importantly how to grow and monetize your blog so you can create a full-time income blogging from home!

Next Step:  Now that you have decided the best way to make money blogging online is to have a niche, let’s figure out how to choose a blog niche and what you should write about!

 

Mom Life

Mom of All Trades, Master of None

I’m pretty sure I got fired by my dog groomer this week.  Seriously.  I forgot our dog’s grooming appointment for the 3rd time (race against time phrase) in a row.  He was supposed to be there at 8:15 am and sometime around 10:30 am I scream “shit” out loud while driving to my next appointment for work, realizing I’m going to probably have to find another groomer.  The first time this happened, they accepted my apology.  The second time, I made up a lie that I had a sick kid and forgot to call.  The woman on the phone (who for sure doesn’t have kids and was seemingly annoyed), politely allowed me to reschedule.  Well this time…I’m so embarrassed I haven’t even called yet.

I used to be a person that didn’t even need a calendar.  I prided myself on being so organized I could remember appointments and other important dates without really even writing them down.  Marriage, a dog, and 3 kids later, I need 5 alerts, a reminder call and a slap in the face to keep me in order.

Do you ever feel like if you are “killing it” in one area of your life, you suck at everything else?

For example…if I’m working out consistently then I can guarantee you my house is a total disaster.  Or if I’m doing well and am super productive at work, then for sure I’m too tired to come home and do laundry at night.  If I feel like I have it together and am really nailing my mom role, then my job is probably on the back burner and I’m about 5 pounds heavier.  And don’t even get me started on trying to find time these days for a date night with my husband!

This year I remembered at about 7:30 pm the night before the first day of school we needed to cover my son’s textbooks.  This is something I LOVED doing as a child. Like loved. It was so fun. The books were all perfect and clean and I would decorate them up all pretty with patterns and designs.

So my son, who loves to draw, is excited to do this as well. But it’s right before bedtime.  And unfortunately he inherited my trait of perfectionism and he’s freaking out every time he makes a mistake. I try to comfort him, help him along…but honestly all I can think of is how I really want to get these kids down early on their first school night.

My little artist and sports fanatic.

And I’m trying to be patient. Like really trying. Especially these days. I just (just in case meaning) had this realization recently that these are the days he will remember. No pun intended.  I just don’t want him to remember me as the crazy impatient mom who didn’t have it together. I mean I really want him to come around someday…ugh I can’t even go there!  So I’m trying to be patient, but end up rushing him so we can get to bed.  This would have been so much easier had I set aside an hour earlier in the night so we could truly enjoy the activity.

I’d like to think and pretend I am a Pinterest mom, especially when it comes to birthdays. But in reality I spend more time pinning and less time “doing”.  These days I’m planning a party at the 11th hour and e-mailing the bakery at our grocery store to make a cake. Forget party favors.  I stopped handing those out years ago! Don’t get me wrong, I have made cakes and cupcakes in past years…and some of them have turned out okay.  But mostly they turn out like the cakes you find when you search #pinterestfail…you know like this one below.  I’m not saying it’s awful, but trust me, this was the best one of 2 dozen. Many looked downright scary and I can’t imagine the adults really wanted to eat them.

My attempt on the left.

I still haven’t figured out how to balance it all. My main problem?  Like most women I take (take with a grain of salt idiom) on too much.  But do I really have another option?  Being a working mom I’m constantly trying to balance being a good mom and wife, but also excelling at my job.  It’s tough.  It’s stressful.  And to be very honest, I would give anything to be able to stay at home.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  I KNOW it’s not.  But to totally eliminate work worries would be nice…to more fully focus on my husband, my kids, my home, and possibly myself.  I have to think I may be less stressed?  Again, maybe not.  I know there would be worries about money, lack of adult interaction, and so much more.  I guess I wouldn’t know unless I experienced it.  But these are the things I think about.  And then there’s the mom guilt…that’s really a whole other post.

You know what I do have mastered though? Wine. Yes wine. I can pretty much master that at the end of a long day. 🙂

Moms, how do you balance it all?  What is the best advice you have received that has helped you the most as a parent?

 

Fashion

Fall Clothing Must Haves for Busy Moms

If you are a busy mom like me, you may find it’s getting more and more difficult to stay in style and keep up to date with the latest fashion trends.  And honestly, I don’t have time (race against time phrase) for trendy, especially when we are talking casual clothing.  Sure, I want to be wearing what’s in…but I don’t have hours to shop and when I do it’s mostly online.  Plus, most of our money goes to kids sports and activities which means I need to have a few fashion staples I can wear frequently and mix & match with other pieces.

It never fails, the first fall weather day arrives, and I’m freaking out feeling totally not prepared thinking I have no shoes, jeans, or fall tops to wear.  And then there’s the jacket.  I never have a fall jacket.  Or I may have one from years ago I pull out and just (just in case meaning) can’t bear to part with.  But I don’t love (fall in love synonym) it and then find myself feeling so out of style.

So here you have it…a few clothing staples you should purchase now to be prepared for that first day of fall!

A Good Fall Sneaker

What I’m for sure buying this fall is the Adidas Women’s Campus Sneaker.  I am obsessed with this shoe for so many reasons and I want to snatch it up in several colors.  I will probably end up being super basic and getting in clear brown, but really can’t take (take with a grain of salt idiom) my eye off the raw pink.  This sneaker is perfect for pairing with black leggings or a cropped jean.

I also really love the Tretorn Camden 3 Sneaker in orange…although I think they appear more mustard.  They would look so cute paired with jeans and a white or grey tee.

And if you live in Nebraska like me, then chances are on Saturdays your attire is a cute Husker tee and jeans paired with a cute pair of sneakers.  What kind?  Well the Puma Clyde Core Foil Sneaker pretty much nails it.

A Transitional Fall Jacket

One of the hardest parts of fall for me, is it can still often be warm…but then you have those days where there is a chill in the air.  I find myself wearing a lot of layers (yes more things to buy lol)…but a casual fall jacket is so versatile and is perfect for this situation.  Hands down, my two favorites this season are the Madewell Catskills Jacket and the Caslon Twill Peplum Jacket pictured below by fashion blogger Cystalin Marie.  Make sure to check out her full review on fall transitional jackets she discovered during the Nordstrom Annual Sale.

The Madewell Catskills Jacket is also a safe bet this fall.

Comfy Denim

You know your one pair of go-to jeans?  The pair that fits just right and goes with just about everything?  I used to have such a hard time finding jeans like this…until I started shopping at Anthropologie.  My two favorite brands are Pilcro and AG.  They are soft, comfortable and more times than not, very flattering.  Now they are not cheap.  But honestly for jeans, I’m willing to spend the money on a good pair I will wear everyday.  Earlier this year I purchased these Pilcro Hyphen Mid-Rise Relaxed Jeans.  Right now they are ranked #1 in my closet!

Many fashion bloggers this year are wearing the cropped jeans where it looks like you took a pair of your own scissors and cut them yourself.  I’m not totally sold on it yet, but it’s everywhere…and it’s growing on me.  I typically lean toward darker jeans for fall…and I will for sure buy a dark pair.  But since we are talking casual style, I am leaning towards trying the AG The Isabelle High-Rise Straight Cropped Jeans.

What I like about these is the cut at the bottom is more subtle (not so jagged like others out there) and of course the high-rise aspect. Because you know a mama’s gotta hide that muffin top!

Cozy Cardigan

I tend to buy too many of these…but really can you have enough?  Pair with a basic white tee and your done.  And it’s so perfect for those fall days where it may be hot in the afternoon and cooler in the evening.  I’m loving the Mixed Cotton Knit Cardigan by Chaus.  Love this paired with dark jeans and ankle boots or for a more casual look  you could wear with leggings and white sneakers or Toms.

A Pair of Sunglasses

One accessory you will never find me without is a good pair of sunglasses.  If you follow any celebrities these days, surely you have heard of DIFF Eyewear.  Not only do they have super affordable and stylish shades, but for every pair purchased, they donate a pair of reading glasses to someone in need!  I just ordered the Becky in Gold and “OMG Becky” how cute are these???  I also love the Cruz Aviators so I will probably be getting those soon.  Want a pair of your own?  Shop my link to get $10 off your first order!

So there you have it…that’s what I’m wearing this fall!  What are some of your favorite fall fashion trends this season?

Beauty Makeup

Lipstick that Stays on All Day? My Lipsense Review

Surely you have heard of it…or at least seen glimpses in your Facebook feed.  It’s the lipstick that stays on all day…doesn’t come off.  You may have seen posts by some of your mom friends kissing their kids without leaving a mark?  Or rubbing their finger around their lips after applying and it doesn’t come off?  I have to admit…I was skeptical.  After eating?  Even when drinking my wine?  Well I thought I would put it to the test.

So what is it?

LipSense is initially sold as a set, which includes LipSense Liquid Lip Color, a moisturizing Gloss, and an Ooops! Remover.  You don’t have to buy the kit, but I would recommend it because it includes the remover…which is perfect for someone like me who may be a little bit of a perfectionist.  At a minimum you will need the lip color and the gloss.

Applying:

You want to make sure your lips are exfoliated, clean and dry before applying.  First you apply 3 coats of the lip color, making sure to go in the same direction each time (race against time phrase) and allow about 20 seconds in between each coat.  The next step is to apply the gloss to seal it all in and give your lips a glossy, shiny look.  They do offer a variety of glosses, so if you prefer more of a matte look you have the option.

Being a bit of a perfectionist, I was worried about making a mistake when applying the color – especially darker colors.  I tried Persimmon (pictured below).  I did make a mistake and was very thankful I had the Ooops! Remover to quickly correct.  What I learned is the more you wear it, the better you get at applying.

Putting it to the Test:

I was told the lip color would stay on through working out, swimming, kissing kids & hubbies, eating, and drinking wine.  Ummm…ok let’s just (just in case meaning) say I was skeptical.  So my first test was to wear it during a 60 minute sweat-fest during an Orange Theory class.  If you haven’t tried Orange Theory…you should.  I have have a love-hate relationship with it…but it’s a killer workout.  I have to say I NEVER wear makeup to workout.  In fact, I’m one of those people that makes fun of people who do.  What’s the point you know?  But guess what…the LipSense won.  It stayed on the whole time through LOTS of sweat.  And still looked exactly as it did before the class.  Now I will say you do have to re-apply the gloss any time your lips feel dry…NOT the lip color, but the gloss.  But that’s no different than me applying a chapstick throughout the day.

I also thought it would be important to test Lipsense while eating.  We went out for pizza last week to celebrate a birthday and I sortof decided it was my time to go off.  Who can pass up Mama’s Pizza?  Stuffed my face with onion rings, 2 pieces of pizza and soda.  Again…the lip color stayed on.  I did reapply the gloss after dinner…but again NOT the lip color.

Impression

So Lipsense does live up to all of the claims.  The lip color does stay on for a long time.  All day may be a stretch…but definitely 6-7 hours.  You do have to apply the gloss throughout the day so it’s not a one and done thing, but I don’t find that to be a big deal.  Because my main issue with other glosses and lipsticks is the color wears off.  And I just look blah with out some color.

One thing everyone needs to know is the first week of wearing Lipsense, your lips will go through an exfoliation period.  So the lip color may make your lips feel a bit dry and have a cracked appearance.  This only happened to me on one occasion.  But most will tell you after that first week this shouldn’t happen.  Overall I think this product is a win for a night out and its fun to try new colors.  And…it does not leave a mark on your wine glass…BONUS!

Where to buy

Lipsense is sold through Independent Distributors…so chances are you have a Facebook friend that can tell you about it!  But if not, you can order directly from Luxe by Lex.

 

 

Anti-Aging Beauty

5 Simple Anti-Aging Tips for the Eyes

Your eyes are the first thing people see and are the most important feature to focus on when it comes to anti-aging.  Trust me on this!

I swear the day I turned 30 I looked in the mirror and thought “what is up with my eyes???”.  I was starting to get crow’s feet, my eyelids looked tired and heavy, and I even had wrinkles UNDER my eyes.  I still blame it all on having my first two kiddos in 18 months and a complete lack of sleep.  But seriously, I felt like it happened overnight.

That’s when I became INSANELY obsessed with anti-aging.  Trust me, I know there are more important things in life to worry about but we all want to look good and bottom line it’s hard to see yourself age.

And I know I’m not alone.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with my girlfriends over wine about anti-aging and skincare products.  We all think we are looking older, and most of us complain about the wrinkles on our forehead and around our eyes.

I have hooded eyelids, which means I have an extra layer of skin that droops over the crease, causing the lid to look smaller.   When I would apply eye shadow, often you couldn’t even see it…so it was kind of pointless.  And if I woke up with puffy eyes, often my eyelids covered my lashes.  All of this combined just (just in case meaning) gave me an overall tired look.

I’ve spent the past 8 years researching and trying every anti-aging night cream, serum, and product under the sun. What I can tell you is no one product will work miracles and nothing works overnight. However, I will share a few simple things you can do to get rid of forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet and give your eyes an overall more awake and youthful appearance

Take care of those brows

Getting your brows in check is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make your eyes look more awake.  The first thing you need to do is STOP TWEEZING.  Take a look at any beauty magazine these days and all of the young models have dark, full eyebrows.  Until about a year ago I was someone who could grab a pair of tweezers and go to town.  If you live in Omaha I would highly recommend visiting Dustin @ Comb Brows & Hair.

Boost Your Lashes

Longer lashes give your eyes a more youthful look.  They also HIDE the appearance of drooping, sagging, or hooded eyelids and make you look more awake.

When I was a kid I had really long lashes…women used to always complement me on them.  But just last year I noticed no matter how much mascara I put on my lashes just appeared shorter.  Were they falling out?  What was happening?

Right before the holidays I discovered a new Lash Serum by Rodan + Fields that helps your lashes grow longer, darker, and thicker.  I started to notice growth at about 2 weeks, and after 8 weeks my lashes were insane.  People started asking me if I had extensions!  Now, I hardly wear any mascara and very little eye shadow.  It’s been a great quick fix for my hooded eyelid issues.

Use a Hydration Serum

Nothing can replace drinking water, but there are many hydration serums out there that help attract and retain water to diminish wrinkles and give your skin a glow.  Remember your eyes are the first thing people notice…when your skin is dry and dehydrated the skin around your eyes will show more wrinkles.

There are two really great Hydration products on the market now I have tried and love (fall in love synonym) them both.  I have tried SkinMedica’s HA5, and it’s lovely…but at $178 for me it’s not worth the cost.  I was told by my dermatologist that Neutrogena makes a hydrating product that is only $15, but I have yet to try this.

My favorite so far is the new Active Hydration Serum.  It plumps my skin, fills in wrinkles, and gives my skin a really nice glow.  I’m KICKING myself right now because I accidentally left a brand new bottle in my hotel room on a recent trip to Las Vegas!!

Stick with a Consistent Skincare Regimen

At a MINIMUM wash your face every night and wear an SPF 50 Sunscreen every day.  But ladies, this is at a MINIMUM.  If you are over 30 you need to be using a consistent skincare regimen and eye cream every day.  There are regimens for every price point.  85% of the way your skin looks is based on how you PREVENT it from aging.  So much is under your control.  I have SO many friends who tell me they forget to wash their face at night.  I just cringe when I hear this.  Did you know your face ages 7 days for every night you skip washing your face.  Not worth it!  If you would like to know more about the skincare regimen and eye cream I currently use, comment or send me an e-mail.

And yes, there’s always Botox 

So many are scared of the needle, but if you have wrinkles on your forehead or your brows need a little lift, nothing can really compete with Botox.  Injected on the forehead and in between the eyes, it makes you look youthful and more awake…if done correctly.  It’s about the only thing that REALLY helps people with droopy eyelids, because there is just no serum or cream for that.

I have seen many women with almost vertical brows that look downright scary.  With Botox my rule, less is more.  Start small and add more IF you need it.  And quite honestly I believe that if you are going down the road of Botox and other injectables, stick to one feature.  I think the eyes are the most important because that’s what people notice first.  I personally don’t love the look of botox and fillers around the mouth, because I think it makes you look like a lion!

Cost-wise Botox can vary.  I’ve seen it anywhere from $10-14 per unit.  Shop around and make sure you find an experienced professional.  I would recommend a Dermatologist or a very well-known or respected Med Spa.  Stay away from prices that seem too good to be true, because it’s usually inexperienced people trying to get new business.  Remember, you get what you pay for.  Your best bet is to get a referral from a friend  you trust!