Michael and I are experimenting with monetizing the She Dreams of Alpine blog because we are looking for creative ways to pay off our massive student loan debt. For more about our big goal of paying off our student loan debt, read here. We love going on adventures and we figure we will be doing this stuff anyways, so we thought it could be fun and maybe even helpful if we gave everyone a sneak peak into She Dreams of Alpine's earnings and traffic as we grow and learn more about the blogging business. If this is something you are interested in, we want to make this process as painless as possible for you. Let us do the hard work, and learn from our experiences and mistakes. We have 2 main ways for you to learn more about blogging business.
- Our Monthly Income and Traffic Reports - These reports will be posted monthly and will not only detail our financial and blog traffic story, but also what we are learning and how we are growing in our own voice and endeavors.
- Patreon Exclusive Materials and Tutorials - As a thank you to our patrons on Patreon, who are helping support our site and helping us to pay off our debt, patrons will get access to the video tutorials we have created along the way as we are learning to create a side income with the blog. We will cover a wide range of topics including: Affiliate Programs, Avoiding Scams, Increasing your Instagram Following, Marketing... etc. We kicked off our first video tutorial in December 2017. Become a Patron to gain access to our video tutorials. You can gain access for only $3 a month.
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These reports will be posted monthly and will not only detail our financial and blog traffic story, but also what we are learning and how we are growing in our own voice and endeavors.
Since I am an engineer by trade, I have a big sense of "do-it-yourself" mentality, especially for learning. So I spend a lot of time doing research, sifting through and analyzing data, and working through all the new and interesting concepts I've discovered so far. This will be a space where I share what I've learned along the way with you, so you can learn faster and not have to sift through all (oh buddy, and there is a lot of it) the data for yourself. Become a Patron to gain access to our video tutorials. You can gain access for only $3 a month.
We currently have 2 posted tutorial videos up:
- 5 Crucial Items to Check Before Publishing Your Blog Posts.
- 10 Important Things I've Learned Since I started Blogging
Want access to our video content?
1) The easiest, cheapest way, is to become a patron. Only $3 a month, and it will include access to other freebies and giveaways that only our patrons will be notified of.
- Become a Patron
2) Sign up for Skillshare and join my classes. This is a bit more of an expensive option, but there are a bunch of wonderful classes you can join on this platform. I can't garuntee I will upload all of our classes to skillshare that we upload to Patreon, but I will likely load a few in there.
Tools I use for blogging:
Note: please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, but all the products I list are ones that I highly recommend and love myself!
Canva is an amazing tool that I just discovered in 2017. It allows you to create beautiful templates and makes it super easy. I didn't even need to take any tutorials to understand how to use Canva, its that user friendly. I can't believe I wasn't using this before! I primarily love using Canva for making images for Pinterest and slide covers for my youtube videos, but I've even used it before to create beautiful checklists. There is a free and a paid version of this tool, but I get by still using the free version only. Definitely check this tool out if you've never used it before.
I had been looking for a new “online photo management” system and had previously been using Flickr for having a backup database of our outdoor photos. However, I started having a lot of issues with Flickr’s upload tool and wasted a ton of time trying to load in albums that would just result in upload errors. So I quit that bad relationship despite its sweet promise of 1TB storage for free and moved my photo storage system to SmugMug and couldn’t be happier! It costs a bit of money, but you have unlimited storage for only $4/month, and the best part? The uploader actually works… every time. I also really love the way you can organize and tag your photos in SmugMug, it is exactly what I was looking for and I don’t mind paying for it. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a online photo storage system.
ConvertKit is an email marketing tool that allows you to build your email list and create email automations for your subscribers. I'm actually a newly converted ConvertKit user. Prior to December 2017 I had been using Mail Chimp as my email marketing tool. Mail Chimp is great, and free, but for the growth that I wanted to bring to the blog I found that Mail Chimp didn't provide me the options that I wanted to incorporate into my future growth. I will write a post on this one day to detail this a bit more, but to put things simply. I love the easy to use and powerful tool that ConvertKit is, I'm already finding it way easier to work with and super adapting to my needs.
If you post a lot of photos, like me, (or honestly, even if you don't), run your photos through this tool JPEGmini to reduce your photo file sizes by up to 80% without sacrificing the quality of your photo! I didn't believe it until I tried it, but I really can't tell the difference between my 2MB photos after they've been reduced down to 300KB. Having smaller photos will help your website to load faster, which will help boost your SEO, so definitely don't ignore this. It costs $29 for the lite version (which is what I use), but that is a ONE TIME cost.. then you have it for unlimited use. Not a bad deal in my opinion.
Bluehost is one of the largest and most powerful web hosting services out there. But wait Allison, don't you use Squarespace? Yes, I do, but that was a personal decision I decided to make, and before I decided to go with Squarespace I seriously considered a Wordpress blog with Bluehost web hosting. Many people prefer to use Wordpress over Squarespace, and I'll let you do that research yourself, but if you decide to go the Wordpress route, check out bBluehost for your web hosting. This is what I would've gone with myself. Squarespace websites already come with hosting, so this step isn't needed.
Like my top bar sign up form? Or my sidebar subscription form? I used Mail Munch to design those. This is a great way to create beautiful email opt-in forms and it integrates well with ConvertKit and Mail Chimp. You can create a beautiful design through Mail Munch and then link it to your ConvertKit email list. If you are HTML savvy, you can create pretty beautiful designs within ConvertKit too, but I am not as HTML savvy (not yet at least, it's something I'd like to learn soon), so I use Mail Munch.
If you are marketing on Pinterest, you should definitely use the Tailwind App. It makes scheduling pins and marketing your content super easy. It also has a great analytics tool to evaluate the progress you've made.
Skillshare is an online community where you can learn just about anything from anyone. I joined this community back in October 2017 and have loved using it as a resource to learning different things about blogging, social media marketing, and even just random things like watercolor painting. If you are looking to expand your knowledge, definitely check Skillshare out.
what's on The Blog: