Tag Archives: Blogging

Blogging Bucket List

This is my first blogging bucket list.  In fact, I was so unsure what a bucket list was, I looked it up.  For your information, a bucket list is “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying” according to Merriam-Webster.  Not that I plan on dying anytime soon, but I do think there will come a time when my blog dies (as in I won’t be blogging anymore).  So before that happens, here’s a list of things that would be good to do before that happens, so I can at least go out with a blaze of glory.  

Have at least 10 pages and 100 posts with a customized menu bar.  

As of May 10, 2017, I have 23 pages and 399 posts published (with 22 scheduled for publication). My Resources for a life well lived in Mexico page is currently undergoing some changes.  Feel free to drop by and add your two-cents (or submit a resource you think would be of interest to my readers).  I recently redid my menu bar to better organize my topics.

Dress up my theme with customizations.

Since I discovered Canva, I have been having a field day changing my headers and featured images.  I’m far from finished, but I hope that it all is looking a bit more professional.

Pay for a custom domain URL.

When I first started blogging, I went with the free WordPress.com domain name. Now I’m just a .com–moving up in the world!

Win a cheesy blogger award in your niche.

brotherhood-award

I was nominated for the Brotherhood of the World Award in 2015 and passed the goodness forward (although I never did hear from any of my nominees).

Join a blog hop or carnival to meet new bloggers in your niche.

SOTBS Blog Hop Op1Sq

I am in several blogging groups and have participated in several blog hops and carnivals.  I thought my niche would be homeschooling moms, but it turns out it wasn’t.  My niche is women living in Mexico.  Who’d a thought?  Anyhoo, I participate regularly now with my  South of the Border Bloggers monthly link up.  Are you a woman?  Do you live south of the US border?  Do you blog?  Join us!

Guest post on another blog.

I’ve actually been a guest blogger three times now.  Twice with WritersBra (Failing at your own business–Blogging and Blogging Tips) and once with Inspired livelihood (Failing at your own business (or not)–Saturday School) although it looks like that post has been taken down and lost in cyberspace.  

Have a guest writer on your own blog.

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My son WPTF has been a guest blogger on my site.  My artist friend Claudia has been a guest poster on my site with her adventures in San Pancho.  I had 9 brave women tell their stories in the series Modern Day Marias. Recently, I began interviewing authors in a monthly series, Inspirational women writers in Mexico.  The newest guest blogger series is entitled Blogs About Mexico Worth Reading.

Reach 100 Visitors in a Single Day

stats 2017

I average 200 visitors most days, but it certainly wasn’t that way at the beginning.  Although it isn’t a huge amount of traffic, I feel like it’s a solid number.  The next goal is Get to 500 page view hits a day.

Receiving Your First Piece of Fan Mail (Well, Email)

This happened in December of 2016 and was from Judy King, who I later featured in the Inspirational Women Writers in Mexico series.  She had been doing some research on Mexican women in the revolution and came across my post about Marcelina.  We’ve kept up a regular correspondence since.

Getting Your First Negative Comment

Although it wasn’t a positive experience, it certainly was memorable.  One of my email subscribers posted a comment to the effect that my blog was boring and wanted to know how to unsubscribe.  I unsubscribed him and deleted his comment.  Who needs that kind of negativity?

Hitting Your First 100 Email Subscribers

I have 82 email subscribers.  I’m nearly there!

Seeing a Post You Wrote Go Viral

This hasn’t happened yet, but it will be neat when it does.

Getting Mentioned or Followed by an A-list Blogger

I have two OMG experiences.  The first was when Barbara Winters, the author of one of my all-time favorite books Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work That You Love, followed my Surviving Mexico page on Facebook.  And the second was when Worldschooling Central featured one of my pictures on Instagram.

Get a custom logo.

I’m not exactly sure what prompted my desire for a personalized logo, but once I set my mind to it, I went out and got it.  Many thanks to Clau Guzes for her patience with me during the designing process.

Monetize your blog through ad networks or affiliates.

Although I have affiliate links throughout my blog, I really only make money with Amazon.  For two years straight, I’ve made enough from the commission to pay for my domain name.  Yeah me!

Set up a Google + page.

I have a Google + page.  I have 3 followers.  It seems that only I can see my posts.  It looks like I’ll have to work on that!  I’m actually thinking I should just delete it. 

Make a go at Tumblr.

I can’t say that Tumblr has been a great success either.  I did recently reach a new level of achievement with 250 posts, but my followers are few and far between.

Turn a year’s worth of blog posts into a book.

I’ll let you know when this happens!

Get 1000 Twitter followers.

twitter stats

I have 108 followers.  I do however have 316 likes.  So that’s something right?  I think I need to work on my Twitter account.

Have a television show contact you.

animal planet

I was contacted March 2017 by Animal Planet.  Apparently, they were looking for off-grid families in Mexico to feature.  Because my son is now a teenager and less apt to do command performances, and because we have fewer animals these days, I regretfully declined.  But it was pretty cool to be considered!

Be featured in a magazine.

We were chosen as one of the Star 2014 Modern Homesteaders sponsored by Mother Earth News. Really!  Check it out!

Start a blogging challenge of some sort and get others to join you.

This would be fun! Any ideas?

Earn a monthly income from blogging of at least $500.00.

Boy, this would be nice.  I’ve begun featuring some of my book reviews on my site which has generated a modest income, but nowhere near $500 per month.

Achieve World Domination

pinky-and-the-brain

At one time I thought that world domination was what I wanted.  I’ve since decided that would be too much work.  I’m happy with where I am in the blogging world right now, although there are a few more things on my bucket list yet to cross off.

What’s on your blogging bucket list?

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On Becoming an Ultimate Bundles Affiliate

eek (3)Back in May, Herbal Academy sent me an email saying that the Herbal Materia Medica Course that I liked so much would be featured in an Ultimate Bundle packet.  If you remember, I LOVED the Herbal Materia Medica Course.  It really helped me focus my interest in local herbs as medicine and inspired several blog posts. (Hibiscus Tea, Cilantro Tea, Tamarindo, Garlic, Matali Tea)

The email from Herbal Academy suggested I sign up for the Ultimate Bundle Affiliate program so that I could feature this bundle on my blog.  So I did. (See Herbs and Essential Oils Super Bundle).  I thought I’d make the bundle available and be done with it.  

Little did I know that the Ultimate Bundle group offers several of these bundle packages per year.  I soon realized that these would be excellent items to offer my readers!  I did pass on featuring a bundle or two.  They couldn’t really be classified into one of the categories I typically write about.  However, there were some that did fit.  

For instance, I often write about my most recent income generating failure.  Enter The Ultimate Work At Home Bundle.  I also am a proponent of natural alternatives for health issues.  Let me present the Gut Health Super Bundle.  

 

Then there’s the Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle which came out just at the end of my transition year.  Perfect!

In August, you can bet I’ll be featuring the Parenting Super Bundle.  I aim to be a Super Parent after all!

The best part of this affiliate program is the work I don’t have to do.  I don’t have to find images.  I don’t have to code links. I don’t have to figure out how to add the buy now button.  Why not?  Because it’s done for me. I can pick and choose from a whole slew of banners, buttons, and images for each bundle.  

How about promotion?  Studies say that the average person must be presented with something an average of 7 times before buying.  Well, I post to my blog.  Then my blog posts to Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google + and my email followers.  That’s pretty much all the promotion I do.  I’m not one of those pushy types.  If you want it, great, if not, that’s ok too.  

So how has it been going?  In the two months since I’ve become an affiliate, I’ve made $30 USD.  No, it’s not a lot of money, but it sure is less work than some of my other business ventures recently. (See Failing as an Online Book Reviewer).  I’m not in the business of blogging to get rich.  Really my goal is to cover my blogging expenses like domain names and hosting and if there is a little left over, maybe splurge on something fun. (Failing at your own business-Blogging)  With such modest goals, I’ve found being an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles to be a great fit for me!

Not convinced yet? Here are some more successful Ultimate Bundle affiliates stories for you.

*Become an Ultimate Bundles Affiliate – Earn Money from Your Blog

*Ultimate Bundles: Love or Leave? 2017 Affiliate Program Review

*HOW TO MAKE MONEY AS AN ULTIMATE BUNDLE AFFILIATE

*THE ONE AFFILIATE PROGRAM YOU SHOULD LOOK INTO RIGHT NOW

Does it sound like something that would work for you and your blog?  

Sign up to be an affiliate here.

Here are the upcoming bundles for 2017.  Do any work for your niche?

AUGUST 9-14: Parenting Super Bundle

AUGUST 23-28: Ultimate Fitness Bundle

SEPTEMBER 20-25: Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

OCTOBER 4-9: The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit

OCTOBER 16-17: Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Flash Sale

NOVEMBER 1-5: Indie Travel Super Bundle

DECEMBER 27-JANUARY 2: Ultimate Healthy Recipe Bundle

Sign up to be an affiliate here.

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Blogging Tips

I was honored a few weeks ago when WritersBra asked me to write a guest post as part of the 31-day blogging challenge.  Therefore, I’d like to share some blogging tips with you today. (16 Blogging Tips to Help Your Blog Blossom and Grow)

I won’t say that I am a typical blogger.  I’m not so concerned with numbers or shares or followers.  I write for my own enjoyment and my readership growth has been slow, but steady over time.  I thought I’d offer some blogging tips and examples on how I personally apply them at Surviving Mexico–Adventures and Disasters.

La Yacata Revolution

Write for yourself first (or your mom).  Blogs are personal and initially you won’t have many followers.  So if there is something you need to write about, do it.  Worry about stats and follows later.  When I first began blogging, I wrote about my community’s efforts to get water and electricity.  It wasn’t a popular series then.  It still isn’t popular.  But now I’ve set the basis for the rest of my blog.  I can reference those beginning blog posts instead of writing about it all over again. (See In the Beginning…the birth of the revolution)

Love your existing readers and make commenting easy. If someone takes the time to comment, like or share your post, take the time to thank them personally.  Everyone loves being acknowledged and that good feeling will transfer when your reader waxes poetically to someone else about your blog.  You might just get another reader or two that way. Remember to check your commenting security requirements.  If your reader has to check the box to prove he or she is not a robot, submit to a retina scan and promise you his or her firstborn before commenting, odds are there will be no comment.  If you are worried about spam comments, install a plugin like Akismet.

Be a consistent poster.  I know it’s hard.  I know you have other things to do.  But if you want blogging to work, you need to write regularly.  That could be once a week, once a month, three times a month, daily or whatever you decide is enough.  Don’t be a dump blogger.  Nothing for 6 weeks then 5 posts in one day.  If you write 5 posts, space them out using the schedule button.

Give away your knowledge.  Don’t make your readers sign up for your awesome course to read your posts.  Most won’t.  There are too many other free sites out there. Share what you have to share freely.  If you have compiled a stellar bundle, offer that.  If you have a fabulous product, offer that.  But your information, that should be free.

Be true to your voice.  Your readers will follow you because you are unique.  They enjoy your stories, they learn from your wisdom, they find value in what you spew out onto the computer screen.  Don’t try to be someone else.  

Give it time. You really want a slow, steady growth.  Think of your blog as an organic being.  Those that go from zero to 60 in 30 seconds last about as long.  While you are waiting to be discovered, use that time to perfect your image, find your niche, improve your posts.

Make it worth referencing and make it easy to share. Quality posts begged to be shared.  BUT if you don’t have buttons for sharing or following easily found on your page and every post, it just won’t happen.  Recently I participated in a blogging challenge and was astonished at the number of blogs that had no way for me to share their good stuff.  Don’t be one of those!

Inspirational Women Writers in Mexico (1)

Pick a theme.  If you want to find your niche, your blog needs to be focused enough for a reader to identify the theme you write about and decide if that is what he or she is interested in reading.  Of course, your theme may evolve over time, so make sure you don’t begin too narrow.  For instance, my blog has the general theme of living in Mexico.  Initially, I wrote only about my own personal experiences.  Recently, I have expanded my reach by including the experiences of other people who live in Mexico. (See Share your Story)  The posts are more varied, including interviews and books, but they remain under the umbrella topic of living in Mexico.

Mexican

Write timeless content and promote blog posts over time.  A few years ago, I wrote a series about Mexican holidays.  Every year since, those posts generate quite a number of views.  I can also share them when I come across a question in a Facebook discussion or another blog.  For instance, if the topic is Mother’s Day, I can share a link to my post about how Mother’s Day is celebrated in Mexico. (See May Holidays in Mexico–Mother’s Day).

Spell check, proofread and fact check!  Poor grammar, terrible spelling and incorrect information takes away from your credibility. You want to be known as an expert in your field, not an amateur.  I use the free version of Grammarly for general spelling and grammar issues.  Wordpress also lets you know if you have something that seems awkwardly written.  

Avoid clutter on your page.  I know that monetizing your blog means including product banners and links.  However, if every single space is filled to overflowing or you have floating promotions across your page, nobody can read your post, which is the whole purpose of visiting your page in the first place.  Be discreet in your ad placements.  Your readers will appreciate it.

Playing Tourist

Find ways to regularly get inspired.  That means leaving your desk for awhile and having some adventures.  You’ll come back refreshed, revitalized and full of new post ideas.  (See Playing Tourist)

Provide a Series of Articles  breaking up blog content to increase readability.  Instead of a LONG blog post, see if it can be divided into a series of smaller posts.  People have busy lives and may not take the time to read a long post, even if it is fascinating.  (See Buying property–as easy as buying a piece of heaven)

Set defined goals for your blogging.  As with any activity, if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never get there.  Write out your goals and work towards them regularly. Some of my goals for this year include revitalizing my posts, adding more postable images, and participating in various blogging challenges this year. I also recently started using a separate calendar to organize my blogging goals and obligations.  It has been extremely helpful in staying on top of things!

Create a unique image for your social media posts.  This is something I’m working on improving.  Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are the top social media networks.  Having an image that is recognized by the algorithms of these sites will add to the visibility of your posts.  I have discovered that Canva is an amazing site for this and it’s free!

Know why you are blogging.  If you can identify why you blog, you have a better chance of making a go of it.  You’ll be able to design your blog along with your purpose.  If your purpose is to tell your story,  your blog will be set up differently than someone who wants to sell a product.  If your aim is to save the world one post at a time, your niche is different from someone who shares kitten pictures. And, of course, the tips that you will find useful from this list will depend on that purpose as well.

What other bits of wisdom would you like to share?  What have you learned on your blogging journey that would help others?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

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