The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz Book Launch Giveaway

To celebrate the launch of my book, The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It's Really Starting To Stink in Here and to say thank you to everyone who helped and encouraged me in this journey, we're hosting this awesome giveaway. 

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I'm quite certain you don't want to miss this so be sure to fill out the widget at the bottom of this post. 

All of the items in the giveaway are in some way connected to the book. You'll have to read the book to find out how they connect. The giveaway runs till July 10,2018 at midnight and includes:  

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  • a signed copy of The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It's Really Starting to Stink in Here. 
  • a $25.00 Amazon gift card
  • an adorable bracelet with fire themed charms (have you been refined by fire?)
  • an even more adorable giraffe
  • a beautiful blank journal with Psalm 37:4 on the cover
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From one reader:

"Through scripture, Shelley proves God is with us in dark valleys. Her life experiences are not ones we all have experienced but are ones in which we can translate to our own trials and gain comfort exampled from the "angels" in her trials. We see God's provision for her and her family and relate it to our own. Through study questions, Shelley shows us the strength we find through scripture. In her directives for prayer, she guides us in HOW to pray and WHAT to pray during our particular trial(s). In this book with the hilarious title, you will laugh, you will cry, and you will be blessed!"

To enter the contest:

To purchase Shelley's book go here, it is currently at a limited time sale price for the launch. You can get the Kindle version for only $.99. 

Join My Book Launch Team

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About the Book:

“Your book has a funny title, what’s it about?” 

Yup, it's the book with the long funny title. The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It’s Really Starting to Stink in Here is a bible study about learning how to surrender to God in the midst of Trials. It is also a parallel to the story of Noah’s ark and the title is a quote from inside the book. (I lovingly call the book "Humidity"). 

It has moments of laughter and moments of tears but is an easy read. It has study questions at the end of each short chapter. The book and it’s chapters were intentionally kept brief to enable the reader to complete the reading and questions without feeling overwhelmed by a lengthy study. 

Launch Team Benefits

As part of the launch team, you will get:

  • An electronic advanced reader copy (PDF) of “The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It’s Really Starting to Stink in Here”  once accepted as part of the launch team.
  • Membership into the private Launch Team Facebook Group. In this group we will be sharing ideas for promotion/marketing so if you are planning to launch anything at any time in the future (book, course, etc.) you may find this beneficial.
  • A free paperback copy of The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It’s Really Starting to Stink in Here” once it releases and once your review is posted. (The paperback copies can only ship to the US and Canada due to high shipping costs).
  • I will be sharing what I am doing for marketing and promotion as well as my timeline for the launch and you will have a “behind the scenes look” at what I am doing. You may be able to use what I learn through this launch, or what I find works and what doesn’t for your own launch in the future. I am willing to share any launch information with you which you are interested in gleaning from.
  • Links to your site and a thank you on my social media profiles and on Faithful Bloggers.com if you host me as a guest post, interview, etc. on your blog. This gives you opportunity to expose your site to the Faithfulbloggers.com audience of readers. 
  • A special THANK YOU post on Faithful Bloggers.com after the launch. This post will include links to your blog or website.
  • For participating on my launch team, if in the future you will be launching anything (book, course, etc.) and you need launch team members, you can count me in.

Your role as part of the Launch Team

  • First and foremost, this launch team will be made up of prayer warriors. It is my desire that my work be used of the Lord for His glory and for Kingdom growth. As with all my work, I give this book to the Lord for Him to do with what He will and I leave the results up to Him. Each email update to the Launch Team will include a prayer request.
  • If you like the book, write a book review on Amazon before or during the book’s launch period (between June 15-26, 2018). If you don’t like the book, you are not required to do anything (and…we can still be friends). I would never want you to promote something you do not believe in. 
  • Help spread the word any other way or time you feel led. (Facebook, Twitter, your blog, direct people to my website, etc.)
  • Interact with the rest of the launch team in the private Facebook group and share ideas for promotion/marketing for the launch.
  • If you are a blogger, please consider interviewing me or allowing me to guest post on your blog.
  • Do at least ONE social media post to help get the word out about the book. 
    • Mention it on Facebook
    • upload a photo to Instagram
    • Tweet about it with a link
    • Pin the cover or other graphics I provide to Pinterest
  • Of course I also won’t object to other things such as:
    • Buying copies of the book for your study group at church or for your friends
    • Booking me to speak at your church

A book launch takes tons of time, effort, and planning; it is a LOT of work. I ask that you prayerfully consider being a part but please do not sign up if you will not take the time to post a review before or during the launch (June 15-26, 2018)

The launch team will be kept to a certain number of participants in order to keep the book launch manageable. If you want to join the launch team, fill out the form below. You will be notified by May 5th, 2018 if you will be a part of the launch team.

Name *
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How to Get Unstuck in 3 Steps

My friend Yvette asked me how things were going with my ministry and blog.

"Ummm....I'm stuck."

With all the trials I have gone through (as you may have read in my prior post) I have found my writing to be at a standstill. I understand this is to be expected as I have needed to go through a period of healing. But as I began to take steps to normalcy, I felt as though the mire was holding my feet so strongly I couldn't even figure out how to take the first steps. 

When I told her "I'm stuck", guess how she answered..she said,

"Then write about that." 

Now, I love my friend dearly, but I wanted to say to her was,

"Yvette, that is no help at all."

I mean, really, people don't want to know what it's like to be stuck. Lot's of people are stuck. If you're not, trust me, stuck stinks!!!!  

I also thought, "I certainly can't write about how to get unstuck because if I knew how, I'd just do it."

I had been stuck before but somehow this stuck was bigger and more daunting. I'm unstuck now, or at least well on my way, and here's what I've learned. Bigger stuck and little stuck require the same solution. Bigger stuck just requires MORE of the solution, and it has three parts. 

1) Embrace the Stuck. 

I know this may seem contrary to where you are trying to get to but really, sometimes you just have to embrace the stuck.

I'm not talking about embracing the stuck indefinitely, I'm talking about embracing God's plan.

If God has you in a period of being stuck, examine your situation and see if He is asking you to take time off for renewal. Fallow ground is mentioned many times in scripture.

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The definition of fallow is: “(of farmland) plowed and harrowed but left unsown for a period in order to restore its fertility as part of a crop rotation or to avoid surplus production.”

We think of fallow ground as cracked, dry, and lacking growth.

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But under that dry ground rest and renewal is happening. When a farmer has a fallow field it is intentional. Fields are left for a period of rest because the farmer knows that if he plants in that field when all the nutrients are depleted the crop will not produce well.

We are like that field. Without a period of rest and renewal, we too are not capable of producing good fruit.

Just trust me on this… embrace the stuck.

2)  Pray

During your fallow ground period spend tons of time in prayer. Don’t focus on getting unstuck, focus on God. Let Him do the unsticking and let Him do it in His timing. If you attempt to push something forward before God’s perfect timing, things are bound to not go well.

Pray about everything. Ask God for guidance and wait patiently for answers, and don't act until you have them.

During your prayer time there are a couple things you should also consider

  • Confess sins: 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  • Forgive others: Service and ministry is a gift to God. Matthew 5:23 says “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

3) Step Out in Faith

At the end of your fallow ground period, you'll eventually have to step out in faith. There are two accounts in scripture of times when God parted water for the Israelites to walk across on dry ground. One is in Exodus and one is in Joshua. One involves Moses leading, the other involves Joshua.

Both times the men were asked to do something before God parted the water.

Exodus 14:16 “But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.”

Joshua 3:8 “You shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.”

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Both men were asked to do something in faith, Moses had to hold out a rod, Joshua had to get in the water. Both would have looked silly to those present if nothing had happened. Both only knew what to do because they had heard from God

We hear from God through spending time with Him. You should never jump to step 3 with out completing step 2 (Prayer).

After you spend time in prayer, what is God asking you to do to step out in faith? What is the first step He is asking you to take in order to get unstuck?

Take that first step. Get in the water.

The second and third steps will shortly follow and you will suddenly find you are no longer stuck.

UPDATE:  Yvette called...she said "The blog post is great but you forgot something."

"What's that?", I asked.

She said "You forgot to say, 'Yvette was right'".  

So here you go... Yvette was right!

I'm Ready to Talk

(This is a duplicate post also posted at www.becauseliada.com.)

After 6 months of silence...I’m ready to talk.

August 18th, 2017 will forever be the day my life changed. It is the day my entire world crashed at my feet. As I stood at the side of a cruise ship ready to board I received news which would change my life...forever.  I never got on that ship. I paid for a cruise which I was not able to take.

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For a number of reasons, including the privacy and protection of my family, I can not discuss the details of what has happened in my life (and to be a bit transparent, there are times that the silence just about suffocates me) but I will say that in Psalm 46 where is says:

“…even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though it’s waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountain shake with it’s swelling”,

this fairly accurately describes my life this past 6 months. The most common phrase from people who know the situation is "I have no words for you". 

My life is forever changed. But my God is not.

Just before that above passage, Psalm 46 also reads

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear”. 

This too describes my past 6 months.

He has been faithful. He will continue to be faithful. And He will continue to be a place of refuge and a source of strength, both in this storm as well as through any other storms my life may bring.

One day at a time, with the Lord at my side and cheering me on, I take that day’s steps. They are steps on a journey unknown. Steps into a life placed entirely at the foot of the cross. Honestly, I can’t think of a place I’d rather be.

Due to circumstances in my life, I have been completely absent from my two websites (becauseliada.com and faithfulbloggers.com) for the last 6 months. I have known in time I would return to writing, but I also knew it had to be in the Lord’s timing, and when I felt ready…

…today, with God at the helm, I'm ready. Today I take my first step in that direction.

I want to apologize to anyone who has emailed me through either website and received no response. There has been good reason. 

In addition to plans for me and my children (mostly young adults), I also have plans for both Faithful Bloggers and for Because Liada. There are many exciting things in the works which will be unfolding slowly over the next number of months. I am working in the Lord’s timing but also in the timing I can personally handle. I have healing to do, my children and I have healing to do and I have had tremendous responsibility placed suddenly and solely in my lap with my primary business. All of the work ahead will be of the Lord, not of me and not in my strength...as it should be. 

I do not know why things have happened in my life as they have. I do not know why myself and my children have had to endure the overwhelming heartbreak and unimaginable devastation we have endured. But I do know this, I serve a faithful God and to His promises I will cling. It is from His promises I daily find my hope and my strength. It is through His promises I am each day able to take the next step to climb the enormous, overwhelming mountain ahead of me. I would appreciate your prayers as my family and I step forward in faith. We look forward with hope and anticipation. Please keep your eyes out for exciting new things with becauseliada.com and faithfulbloggers.com

In closing, here are some of His promises which have carried me on this journey. These precious promises from His word are for you too.

He promises:

  • To renew my strength, and to make me soar: (No matter how weak I feel currently, He will strengthen me and although I may not be able to see it at the moment, He is going to make me soar!)

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31"
  • To strengthen me when I am weak

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29
  • To walk with me through storms.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” Deuteronomy 31:8
  • To fight my battles. (At times the battle can seem scary and so overwhelming that I want to run and hide. But not only do I not have to hide, I don’t even have to fight it, He is going to fight the battle for me).  

"The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."  Exodus 14:14
  • He has a future in store for me. (Despite what my current situation looks like He has a plan and future in mind for me and they are to prosper me and not for my harm)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11
  • That He will bless me.  (Even in the midst of these storms I have tried to be a blessing to others. The returned blessings of Him sending people into my life and other situations I have experienced have been truly a cup running over.)

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
  • That I am not alone and He will be with me on this journey (At times the loneliness of this journey has just about taken my breath away, but He has promised, I am NOT alone)

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9
  • That He hears me when I cry out to Him…and He delivers me from trouble.

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles."  Psalm 34:17
  • That He will keep me in perfect peace if I keep Him my focus. 

"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3
  • That He will make even this (the most difficult of paths) straight. But that I should trust not my own understanding (In the midst of the storm, when things are at their most scary and I can’t see a solution, that is the most important time to NOT trust my own understanding).

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."Proverbs 3:5-6

Overcoming Obstacles in Life and Business

Recently two of my kids and I went on a road trip to The Paper House in Pigeon Cove, Massachusetts.

I had visited the paper house with my mom when I was a child, but I had not been back till the other day. It was nice to see it looking just as I remembered.

The Paper House was built by Mr. Elis F. Stenman with the help of his family. Work on it began in 1922. It was lived in during the summer months in the 1920’s.

My visit to the paper house got me thinking about all the obstacles he had to overcome in order to complete such a project. It also got me thinking about the obstacles which we have to overcome in life, entrepreneurship, business and blogging.

I have no idea what gave Mr. Stenman the idea or the desire to build a house made of paper but I am fairly certain he had no guide to follow.

Just like so many things in our own lives, I’m sure Mr. Stenman used the process of trial and error, along with some yankee ingenuity to figure out how to make walls of newspaper (215 layers thick). I’m sure he used trial and error and had to overcome many obstacles to figure out how to make furniture from newspaper which could actually be sat on and used and figure out which coating would stand the test of time. 

The walls are made of paper

All of the furniture is made of rolled newspaper

When I entered the words “overcoming obstacles in life” into a google search this list of four points was the first result which appeared (it comes from inc.com).

  1. Embrace Self-Awareness
  2. Use Time to Your Advantage
  3. Commit to Focused Discipline
  4. Engage Your Own Creativity

While I do not disagree with these points, I believe there is more to it… much more.

Let’s look at each point from a Christian perspective.

1. Embrace Self-Awareness:

To me this phrase screams of new-age and humanism. If I were to rephrase this from a Christian perspective I would say “Embrace Who You Are in Christ”.  God created us each unique and amazing. He put incredible abilities in each of us to give us the ability to overcome obstacles when the need arises. That is what we should be embracing; who we are in Him! 

2. Use Time To Your Advantage:

Time is a funny thing. Time can either be a positive or a negative and it all really depends upon our heart and if we have truly given our desire over to the Lord.

Sometimes we start out to undertake a particular project. We push and push the project forward only to be met with roadblock after roadblock, obstacle after obstacle. If we are not in tune with the Lord, we have a tendency to keep pushing, often with an overwhelming, obsessive drive almost as if racing against time. We can even convince ourselves it is of the Lord when in all actuality, it is really of ourselves. Obstacles are often a sign to slow down or even to completely change course. The sad reality is that often when someone is in this situation, they can’t see it for themselves but many around them can.

On the other hand time can also be a positive and can be used to push us on to completion. For example, when we are in tune with the Lord’s plan for our lives and following his plan, a time deadline for a project is often beneficial to bring the project to completion. A deadline can be a great incentive to overcome obstacles.

Don't race time. Be willing to wait on the Lord. Be willing to put your project on the back burner for awhile. Anything pushed forward before the Lord's time will more than likely face much difficulty.

3. Commit to Focused Discipline.

If I were to rewrite this phrase I would say “Commit to Focused, Disciplined Prayer, and then Commit to Focused, Disciplined Work”….I know, it’s wordy. We could also use a phrase which is on a sign in my office which reads “Work as though it depends on you, pray as though it depends on God”.

If you are undertaking any project concentrated time of prayer will not only help you avoid some of the pitfalls but will give you clarity and help you in overcoming obstacles.

4. Engage Your Own Creativity

How about we use “Engage The Creativity God Put In You”. I think that is a good 4th point for our Christian list of ways to overcome obstacles. God has given you incredible gifts and talents which were given to you to be used for His glory. If you are walking with the Lord, are in tune with His plan for your life and your projects, then you probably have the ability within you to overcome the obstacles you will face. Tap into that creativity.

Sometimes tapping into that God given creativity means getting right in the midst of things and figuring out how to do something, maybe learning something new. Sometimes it means that God has given you the ability to tap into the talents of others around you. Either way, He has either equipped you to accomplish what He is leading you towards or He will send the people your way to bring it to pass.

The clock has newspapers from every state capital

Some questions to consider as you move forward in your entrepreneurial/blogging journey:

  • What are the obstacles in your path?
  • Are you ignoring any of the signs which may be meant to help you change course? 
  • What creativity did God put in you and how can you use it to overcome your current obstacles?
  • Have Christians in your life who care about you said anything to you which can either confirm your plans or be warning signs?

What obstacles are your working on overcoming today?

How To Ask To Guest Post on a Blog

How To Ask To Guest Post on a Blog

There is an issue which is huge problem in the world of blogging. That issue is: how to ask to guest post.  I suspected that Faithful Bloggers was not the only website frustrated by this issue so I sent out a survey to some of the Faithful Bloggers community who I knew participated in guest posting either on the giving or receiving end. This post contains their responses and some helpful words of wisdom.

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The Importance of an Email List: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (Part 9 of 10)

The Importance of an Email List:  10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (Part 9 of 10)

When you are just starting your blog you need to consider if you are going to start an email list and which email server you are going to use.  Not everyone who starts a blog has to have an email list.  But for the vast majority of people who blog, the question of whether or not you are going to collect email addresses should be answered with a “yes”.

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Keep Your Blog Accounts Separate: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (Part 8 of 10)

Keep Your Blog Accounts Separate: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (Part 8 of 10)

Some people know right from the first key stroke on their blog that one day they hope to grow their blog into something bigger and possibly even one day earn money from it. Other people start out blogging as a hobby and for some this hobby turns into a bigger venture which earns them some income.

Either way, if you end up with a blog which becomes more of a business than a hobby, you'll be glad you read today's post. 

One of the best things you can do for yourself to make your life easier down the road is to keep your accounts separate. 

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Why You Need To Install Google Analytics: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (Part 7 of 10)

Once you decide to start a blog, have settled on which platform you are going to use and have begun to design it, then it's time to install Google Analytics. 

Google Analytics is a powerhouse of a tool which can provide you an abundance of information about your blog. You can then utilize that information to improve your blog or website. 

Best of all:  Google Analytics is FREE!!!

It is important to install Google Analytics right from the start. That way you can track and watch the growth of your blog over time to see what is working and what isn't. When you write and publish a blog post, Google Analytics will let you know which of those posts your readers are responding to the most. Then you can write more posts with similar or complementary content. 

Another reason you want to install Google Analytics immediately is so you have history. If down the road you want to sell advertising on your website, or need any statistical information for any reason, you'll have it. If you wait to install Google Analytics until the moment you need the statistical information, you will have no historical data and you'll regret not doing it right from the start. 

Installing Google Analytics on your website is not a difficult task.

It is a matter of logging into your Analytics account and finding your tracking code and installing it in the appropriate place on your website. This will be done differently depending upon which platform you are using for your blog. 

You will be able to see in your "real time" dashboard on Analytics if your tracking code has been installed correctly. If you are having any trouble with the installation of your tracking code, search in the Google Analytics help section for a step by step walk through. I hesitate you give you any directions because as soon as I hit publish, google will change where things are located on their Analytics site and my directions would be obsolete. 

If you have never logged into a Google Analytics account before, at first glance it can seem overwhelming.

There is a ton of information to be found once you log in.

My advice to you is, make a cup of tea, set aside a good chunk of time and just start clicking. The best way to really familiarize your self with what is in your Analytics account is to simply explore.

Keep in mind as you explore around in Google Analytics, there have been entire courses and books written on how to get the most out of Analytics. Take your time and don't expect to learn it all in one sitting. 

A couple of the things you should track over time are the number of Unique Visitors to your site as well as your Page Views but this is just scratching the surface.

As you familiarize yourself with Analytics, you'll be able to see where your readers are coming from geographically, what pages they are spending time on, what pages they go to from another page and so much more. You'll be able to find out which of your social media accounts is driving the most traffic to your website. This will let you know which social media platform you should be spending the most time on. 

You'll also be able to see how your readers have responded to something such as an Adwords campaign.

If you do not have Analytics installed on your website, go do it today. 

If you would like a form to help you keep track of the information which you gather from Google Analytics we have added a "Website Stats Tracking Form" to the resource library (for FREE). You can access the library with the password which will be emailed to you by filling out the form below. 

If you do have Google Analytics installed, what information do you find the most useful to track on your own website? 

Gaming and God: Directory Participant Spotlight

Not being a fan of video games myself, I admit I was skeptical when the random number generator choose a gaming site for the next directory spotlight. However, I reached out to the owner of the site and found a man who not only loves the Lord but who could write on a topic which I am unable to write about.

Whether you are a "gamer" or not, I encourage you to read His spotlight post. You will be glad you did, especially if you have children or grandchildren who enjoy video games. 

It is my honor to introduce you to a man who is using his passion to honor the Lord....Michael Morejon. 

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Organizing Your Blogging Business: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (Part 6 of 10)


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click links we may receive some compensation at no additional cost to you.

Organizing your blog business

One of the most important things to consider before you start your blog is how you are going to keep your blog business organized. 

Some of you may not be blogging as a business, I understand, but it would still be helpful to you to get a good system of organization in place.  

If you set up a good organizational system right from the start you will save yourself a lot of headache later. 

Let's take a look at some of the basics of organizing your blog business.

1. Create a Plan

I am a firm believer in the process of planning. Planning has had a huge part to play in the success of our family businesses. Trust me on this, right from the start of your blogging journey, create a plan. You will not regret the time spent on planning. 

There are two types of plans I would suggest you write.

The first is an overall plan for your year. This would include your goals for your blog business but would also include your goals and plan for your family, other work, etc. This planning does not have to take place at the beginning of the year, you can put a plan in place no matter what month you are currently in. If you need a resource to help you with your yearly planning, take a look at our course called "Write a Yearly Plan", it's a faith based yearly planning course.

The second type of plan you should create is a blog plan. You can do your planning with a calendar or other type of planner but if you are looking for a great resource to assist you check out "Epic Blog", it's a one year blog planner. It's a very helpful resource. 

2.  Bookkeeping for Your Blog Business

It is super important to set up a system right from the start for keeping track of your blog business bookkeeping. I personally use Quickbooks and it works well for my needs. In addition, by using Quickbooks, I am ready with all the paperwork needed when tax time rolls around. Whatever you choose to keep track of your income and expenses, get it set up right away. 

3.  Passwords and Logins

Right from the start decide on a system to keep track of all your login and password information. Don't make the mistake of thinking you are going to remember them all and don't make the mistake of thinking you will use the same password for everything...it won't work!  Some password requirements are different than others and require symbols or different number of upper and lower case letters. Just choose a system and use it for every single place you have to log in to. You can use a word document, or open up a notepad. You could even use paper and pen....whatever you choose is fine. Just get it set up. There are also password apps available if you prefer to keep track of passwords electronically. 

4.  Blog Post Ideas

Create a place to capture your blog post ideas. I use a combination of post it notes on a board in my office and I also use a binder. I jot down ideas onto post it notes and put them on the board. Once they become more than a single thought I transfer them to a blog post planner sheet and put them in a binder. Here is a link to read about and access for free the exact blog post planner which I use. If you prefer to keep track of things digitally you can use something like Evernote or even just use your notepad in your smartphone. Even if you use a paper version system for keeping track of ideas it is good to have a plan in place for capturing these ideas when you are out and about and don't have your paper system on hand. When I am out and have ideas I add them to the notepad in my phone. 

5. Files

Set up a system for your paper files. Get yourself a file cabinet and some hanging as well as manilla folders. Set up your system and use it daily.

Then set up a system for your online files and documents. Set up online storage using something such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Organize your online files using folders and create a system which makes sense to you so you'll be able to find things when you need them. 

6. Miscellaneous Stuff

Set up a way to keep track of anything which you would need to find later. For example you may want to create a document in Excel to keep track of importantant things. I find using an Excel spreadsheet works well because I can add a sheet to it for each group of information I want to keep track of. Then I have all my important things together in one document but separated and organized by sheet (page). You can use your Excel spreadsheet to track things such as:

  • Links to websites which have mentioned your blog
  • Affiliate links
  • People whom you've developed relationships with
  • Websites where you'd like to guest post
  • Anything else you want to be able to keep track of

These are just some of the things which you will want to have a system for. Think through all aspects of your blog business and put systems in place for everything. Setting up systems for keeping your blogging business organized right from the start will save you much frustration and headaches later. 

What are some other things you have found important to organize for your blog business? 


If you'd like to read the other posts in this series they can be found at the following links:

To access our members area and the free resources fill out this form. 

Lose Weight and Gain Faith, Five17 Fitness: Directory Participant Spotlight

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click links, we may receive compensation. 

I am excited to write this Directory Spotlight because I am writing it out of my personal experience with the individual/business which is being spotlighted.

Have you have ever stood on the scale and stared in discouragement at the number?

I can relate.

I’ve known for quite some time that I needed to make some changes in my life. I knew this because my health, as well as my scale, told me so.  

I have always been skeptical of many weight loss “programs” and “diet fads”. I knew when it came time to make changes in my life it was going to have to be in a way that was not “fad” like in nature, it had to be in a way I could feel good about.

Scripture says:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In all honesty, I was not treating my body like it was the temple of the Holy Spirit, I was not taking the time to take care of me and I certainly was not honoring God with my body.

At the same time as I was considering the changes I needed to make, and asking the Lord for guidance, He connected me to a biblically based health and fitness program I could feel good about participating in. It was a program right within the Faithful Bloggers Directory.

Let me introduce you to Five17 Fitness and Tyler Inloes, my personal coach.

I am currently 12 days into a 40 day fitness challenge withFive17 Fitness. When I set the date I was going to begin the challenge, I was so excited to start.

Then just a couple days before the date I chose to begin, I injured my foot, like seriously injured it.

I have been told to keep my foot up as much as possible for the next couple months. (Yes, months!)

Believe me when I tell you, I was tempted to say, “I have to wait to start this.” 

I was tempted to say, “I can’t right now because…”

But I made the decision that healthy is healthy, foot injury or not. So, I told Tyler about my injury and he too encouraged me to begin anyway. And so I did.

I have had to make adjustments to accommodate my injury. I cannot do any exercise which bends my foot at the ankle. I also can do almost no cardiovascular types of exercise (walking, running, jumping motions, etc.). Talk about needing to get creative.

If I can do this with my injury, so can you!

Because of my limitations with my foot, I do believe my progress may not be as swift as other people may experience, but I’m good with that. Healthwise I feel great.

When I started this, I had expected it to help me begin a path towards better health. Yes, it has done that. I feel great and yes, I’ve lost weight and inches. But this program has been so much more than I expected:

  • I’ve received daily spiritual encouragement right from scripture.
  • I’ve learned so much about God’s plan for my health.
  • There’s been someone behind the program who really cares about me, my family and my health.

All of these have strengthened my faith, just like the Five17 Fitness tag line says (lose weight & gain faith).

Tyler’s program teaches about and includes fasting, detoxing, healthy recipes, scripture, and daily emails which include encouragement, and health and exercise tips. All of which is written from a Christian, biblical basis. From the Five17 Fitness website:

In our opinion, the best way to lose weight isn’t by just eating kale and spending hours on a treadmill, but to follow the groundwork God lays out in the Bible”

Tyler is hosting a live webinar this Thursday, June 15th at 1:00p.m.

This webinar is called:

The Holy Detox: How to Lose 10 Pounds in 5 Days using the Bible. The link to register for the webinar is below.

I encourage you to register for the webinar, (I’ll be there!). If you are feeling run down, and haven’t been taking care of you, then maybe that one hour could be the kickstart you need (just like I needed) to get your healthy journey started.

Or you could jump right into the 40 day challenge and join me on the journey (this link to the 40 day challenge shows you everything that is covered during the challenge). It would be so exciting to have others on this journey with me, maybe we could encourage each other! If you begin, email me and let me know. 

Either way, check out the Five17 Fitness website and tell them Shelley sent you.

I want to say thank you to Tyler Inloes for using his passions to bring honor and glory to the Lord!

Here’s the info about the webinar in his own words:

I am on a mission.

My mission is to transform as many lives as possible through faith and nutrition.

I’ve seen first hand how eating biblically can transform people’s lives. And I know that if I can help take your nutrition to the next level, more lives will be changed.

Join me, Tyler Inloes, a Certified Personal Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist, for a 1-hour webinar where I’ll cover:

  • How to find purpose through fasting
  • What scripture says regarding what we eat
  • How to get on the right path to building your body, His temple
  • And much, much more!

Claim your FREE spot now!

https://five17fitness.webinarninja.co/my/wnwebinarlist/index?webinar_id=78924

 

Join our Collaborative Board on Pinterest

In the interest of fostering a community where we lift each other up Faithful Bloggers has started a collaborative board on Pinterest. 

This is a place for you to promote your own stuff but to also gives you a chance to give back to the Christian community, a win/win for everyone. 

Our Collaborative Pinterest board is meant for you to share anything which would resonate with Christians or bloggers. Your pins do not have to be related to the topic of blogging. 

So, come join us and start pinning!

Faithful Bloggers Collaborative Board on Pinterest

 

Are You Listening to Your Blog?

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" James 1:19 Having the ability to listen is a characteristic everyone should have as shown in James 1:19.  Not only do we need to be able to listen to what God is telling us, but we need to be able to listen to what others are telling us also.  Listening does not occur naturally but is a result of a conscious choice.  You may hear what is being said but do you listen to what is being said?

Do you listen to what being said on your blog?  I know this might sound like a stupid question.  Of course bloggers read the comments left on their blogs but do you take the time to really listen and connect with that person? Listening and connecting builds community.

So how can you listen to your blog?  Here are some ideas:

  1. Respond to comments.  Either by email or on your post, respond to the reader.  Let them know that you are indeed listening to what your readers have to say.
  2. Make yourself available to answer to questions any reader may have whether it be by a contact form, email, Twitter, or Skype.
  3. Find out what your readers want and need and then provide it.  If you readers are asking for a series of blog posts on certain subject, pray about it, and if you feel God is leading you to write it, write it.
  4. Pay attention to your stats.  Just because a post doesn’t get a lot of comments doesn’t mean it wasn’t popular or enjoyed by your readers.  Check your stats and see how the numbers compare with other posts that get a lot more comments.

By showing your readers that you are actually listening to them, they will become loyal readers and you will eventually begin to build a great community.  Of course this is something I still need to work on I am adding it to my blogging prayer list.

Blog Branding: 10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog (part 5 of 10)

This post contains affiliate links which means we may be compensated if you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of the links.

What is your blog brand? What is your blog going to look and feel like?

When someone arrives to your blog the look of your blog should match the content of your blog.

For example, when someone walks into a hardware store, if that hardware store had the look inside of a doctor’s office waiting room, the “feel” would be wrong. The same applies for your website.

If you are a blogger who blogs about gardening and the look and feel of your website is sterile and sleek with minimal color, the feel would be off similar to walking into the above mentioned hardware store.

How do you create the look and feel for your blog brand?

Good question. There are a few things you should consider when branding your blog. Your blog should have its own signature style. When people arrive at your site, they should immediately know where they are. For example, if someone blindfolded you and walked you into a Lowe’s store and uncovered your eyes and asked you where you were, you would not say you were in Home Depot because even though they are both home improvement stores they each have their own signature style, very different from the other’s.

Things you should consider when branding your blog include:

  • The Name of Your Blog
  • Colors
  • Logo
  • Fonts
  • Decorative Elements

Things to consider when naming your blog.

Naming your blog comes easy for some people and difficult for others. Sometimes the difficulty arises simply because the name someone chooses for their blog is already taken as a domain name. But other times it comes about because of just finding it difficult to come up with a name. To help with this a bit there are a couple things you may want to take into consideration as you name your blog

  1. Does the name you are considering reflect the goals and purpose of your blog?
  2. Will the name cause any confusion for your readers?
  3. Will you choose to name your blog a generic name or after yourself?

If you are considering naming your blog after yourself, here’s one more thing to take into consideration.

Many people believe naming a blog after yourself is the best option. I believe this to be true for some people but not for others. For example, if you are a writer and will be blogging to promote your written works, etc. then yes, name your blog after yourself and purchase the matching domain if it is available.

If you are blogging simply for your own enjoyment or for journaling/diary purposes then naming it after yourself would be fine. And if you are growing your blog for a business to earn some income then using your own name may or may not be a good decision.

When is it not a good idea to name your blog after yourself?

If you have as a goal for your blog to grow a business which has equity and you can one day sell it, then I believe it is best to NOT name it after yourself.

As an example, I will use this website (faithfulbloggers.com). I purchased Faithful Bloggers from the prior owner back in January. I am actually the third owner of Faithful Bloggers. If this site had been named “Suzie loves Jesus and Blogging.com” it would not have been worth as much to me because my name is not Suzie. Does that make sense?

If you grow a blog to a point where it is earning income and making profit, then you have created something of value (an asset), at that point you could at any time choose to sell it. You could still sell it if it is named after yourself, I just believe it will be more difficult and may not have as much value. This is an aspect of naming your blog or website which I have rarely seen discussed. 

How do you choose colors for your blog?

Colors:  Thinking back to the audience you are writing for (we discussed choosing your niche in part three of this series "Who is Your Audience"). When you are considering colors, consider if the colors you are choosing are a good match for your chosen niche. Think of other businesses or websites which cater to your chosen audience. Are they using similar colors?  Don’t copy them but you can use them for inspiration, remember your style should be your own, not theirs.

Choose colors which resonate with you but which also match what you are blogging about. Look in the home goods aisles of your favorite store, do you see a comforter set with colors which speak to you? Do you see a mug with a pretty pattern in colors you like? What do you have around your house which has a set of colors on it which you are drawn to?

Another good place to go to explore possible color palettes is www.colourlovers.com. If you visit that website and click on “browse”, you’ll be able to explore color combinations to your hearts content. If you would like to play around with some color combinations visit PicMonkey.com and check out their templates. Spend some time exploring the options and playing around with the tools.

How do you choose fonts for your blog?

Fonts, like colors, suggest a particular style. For example, some fonts are rounded and playful, some are sleek and crisp. Some fonts are serif fonts and some are sans serif. If you have no idea what a serif is, I will tell you. A serif is that little line that is at the bottom or the top of some letters.

These are examples of Serif fonts:

Picture1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

“Sans” means “without”, therefore, sans-serif fonts do not have those little lines.

These are examples of Sans-serif fonts:

 

 

Choose fonts which match the style you are aiming for. Look at other websites in your niche and see what types of fonts they use.

 

Some good rules of thumb are:

  • You should stick to at most 3-4 fonts on any page or website.
  • Don’t constantly change fonts.
  • Don’t use fonts which may be difficult to read.

One of the most important things to do with your branding is to be consistent. Whatever you choose, do it all the time. If you choose one font, stick with it, once you choose your colors, always use them and if you choose to brand your images, do it all the time. Consistency is key.

If any of the blog branding aspects seem overwhelming to you, you have options other than doing it yourself.

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win

You could hire a designer to set up the visual aspects of your blog. If you are looking for a designer you may be able to find one on Fiverr.com. On Fiverr.com you can browse through the portfolios of designers and find someone who's work resonates with you. Or, alternatively you could visit Picmonkey and play around with templates and logos. Picmonkey is what I use to create almost all the images here on Faithful Bloggers. They have a free version which has tons of tools for you to use. The paid version is very reasonably priced.

 Alternatively try out www.canva.com and play around with some of their templates. The templates at those two websites have prechosen fonts and colors to make some of these decisions easier for you. By looking at the templates you can see examples of fonts which will look good together as well as color combinations.

I know this is a lot to think about if you are just starting out your blog. Just take it one step at a time and remember, nothing is permanent. You can change the colors or fonts on your blog any time you choose. Just choose something to start and take it from there.

Happy Blogging.

To see the other posts in this series: 

Blog Posting Schedule: 10 Things to Consider Before You Start a Blog (part 4 of 10)

With you answers to the questions from the first three posts in this series, you can now answer a new question:  What is your posting schedule going to be?

It is a good idea to establish what your blog posting schedule is going to be, right from the start of your blog. Posting schedules for bloggers range from posting every day or even a couple times a day to posting once a week or even once per month. None of those schedules are wrong.

Your blog posting schedule should be just that, YOUR posting schedule, not someone else’s.

If you do online research on what is the best posting schedule for blogging, you will find a wide variety of answers. But the truth is, what may be right for one blogger may not be right for another. There is no “one-size fits all” answer.  What is important is that you be comfortable with whatever you choose for a blog posting schedule.

When you are choosing how frequently you are going to post new blog content here are some things you should take into consideration:

  • Can you come up with new content at that frequency?
  • Can you do that long term?
  • Is the schedule you are considering a good fit for your family?
  • Is the schedule you are considering a good fit for other work/social/etc. things in your life?
  • What frequency would your readers want to hear from you?
  • What frequency would be a bother to your readers?

I have read writing by many people who recommend posting daily. I do not necessarily agree with this. A daily posting schedule works well for some blogs and for some niches but not for all.  

Although I understand why they find this important, I know for me personally that schedule would not work for a number of reasons. First, I think it’s unnecessary, second, it would be just too overwhelming for me and the other things in my life, and third, I don’t think my readers want to hear from me that often. However, I do know there are bloggers who do post according to a daily schedule and it works for them and their blog. Remember, what works for one does not necessarily work for another when it comes to blog posting schedules.

One of the keys when it comes to choosing your blog posting schedule is consistency. You should choose a schedule which you believe you can maintain consistently. You are going to be writing and posting at this frequency for a very long time so choose wisely and then be consistent.

Why is consistency so important?

Consistency with your blog posting schedule is important because you are basically training your readers in what to expect from you. If you post at a regular schedule, they grow to expect that schedule. In addition, when you post on a consistent schedule, you will see the traffic to your website will also be consistent. However, if you post at one schedule and then change it on your readers, you will see that the traffic to your website also changes.

There are two types of changes with posting to your blog which could occur. The first is, you begin with a heavy posting schedule, maybe posting every day. Then you change it and just publish a post once a week. Your readers will see this sudden drop and wonder what is going on.

The other change is the opposite where you are posting once a week and then suddenly you are posting constantly. Your readers will notice this as well and if the thought “Why on earth is she sending out so much information?” crosses their mind, they may unsubscribe to your mailing list. Consistency is key, choose a schedule and stick to it.

Once you choose a blog posting schedule you will have to decide how you are going to fill those posts.

If you think you will have any trouble coming up with content by just sitting down to a blank page or computer screen, here are some ideas for content.

  •    Consider scheduling guest posts
  •    Do some product reviews
  •    Write a blog post series (like this one)
  •    Post a video post.
  •    Post images with brief captions
  •    Record an interview of someone in your niche

These are just a few of the methods you can use to come up with creative content for your blog. If you add some of these ideas from time to time between regular blog posts, the variety will help to keep your readers engaged and it will help you keep your posting schedule commitment.

If you would like some more ideas for how to fill you blog posts, you can download our free tool: 25 Blog Post Ideas for Christian Bloggers, it can be found in our Freebie area along with other helpful resources. Click Here:  Take me to the FREEBIES

How to Write Your Testimony - and a Giveaway

WOO HOO!!! We have a new resource available which we think you are going to LOVE!!!

And it's FREE!  We all love free right? It can be found in the members area.  To access the members area fill out the form below. 

To launch this exciting new resource we have a giveaway going on. Details on how to enter are down below

HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY is our latest resource to help you share your God story.

HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY will walk you step by step through the process of writing your testimony.

It comes with worksheets and ideas for what to do with your testimony once you have it written. 

We're so excited to hear about your testimony getting written and your plans for sharing it with the world. 

If you just want to access this resource and are not interested in joining the giveaway, simply fill out the form in the sidebar, you will be emailed the current password to our member area where you can access HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY as well as other resources.

Now for the giveaway:  

Watch this video to see the giveaway items: 

This giveaway includes a box of beautiful cards to color One is Psalms to color, the Other is Proverbs to color. Two winners will be chosen, each will get one box plus a variety of items perfect for art or mixed media journaling. 

Giveaway
It's Leave the Office Early Day!.png
giveaway 2.jpg

UPDATE:  This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to our winners. Dianna and Elaine...enjoy your goodies.

To Enter the Giveaway: 

  • giveaway closed. 

Thanks to everyone who helps us get the word out about our new resource HOW TO WRITE YOUR TESTIMONY. We are very excited about it being used to help people tell their God story. 

Find Your Niche : 10 Things To Consider Before Starting A Blog (part 3 of 10)

This post contains affiliate links, for more information see our affiliate statement.

Who are you writing for? 

This is an important question to ask yourself before you even set up your blog. Finding your niche first can provide you direction when it comes to naming your website or blog a name which will resonate with your readers. It can also help guide you in your decision regarding the colors and branding look which you choose for your blog. In addition, when you brainstorm a list of potential writing topics for blog posts, knowing your niche will help the ideas flow more freely. 

If you are a Christian blogger, you have tremendous opportunity online to share regarding your faith. 

When people arrive at your blog or website you want them to stay awhile.

The best way to do that is for your site to have a clear purpose. There must be something there which resonates with them in order for them to stay. If you are a gardener who also loves fashion and cooking, these three things may be too disconnected in the mind of your reader for you to write on all three topics. for example, if someone who is seeking gardening tips arrives at your website but the page they land on has an article on the new dress you purchased and how stylish it is, you will probably lose the reader.  

However, if you choose to write about your gardening adventures and you also include cooking and recipes using things you've grown in your garden, now you have an attentive audience.

You could even throw in an article or two on the latest gardening hat to protect gardeners from the sun while gardening. This way you are adding in your love of fashion but still keeping it focused on gardeners.  

How to find your niche audience.

When choosing your topic, one very important thing is that you be interested in it. You will be writing about the topic for a very long time and it will get boring quickly if you don't like the topic. Narrow down your audience. By this I mean, don't just write to computer geeks, write to computer geeks who play games or computer geeks who build websites. Don't just write to moms, write to Christian homeschooling moms. Don't just write to those who have lost a loved one, write to those who have lost a child, or who are single after the loss of a spouse. Narrow it down and then write to that audience.

Make sure when you narrow it down, you don't narrow so much that there isn't enough to write about. 

If you are not sure who you want to write for begin by making a list of the things which you love. What are the things which resonate with you or which you enjoy doing in your spare time? Your hobbies and interests are topics which you would probably enjoy writing about. They are also the topics for which you would probably have the greatest ease coming up with content. 

If you need ideas for possible niches there are many places to go for ideas.

Take a trip to your local library and browse the books. Go to the non-fiction section and notice how the books are broken down into categories on the shelves. All the computer books are together, all the business books are together. They are even further broken down into business start up, business funding, business marketing, etc. As you browse through the books, notice the topics you are drawn to, those are good potential niches.

You could also visit a store which has a large magazine selection. You'll notice magazines are written to niche audiences. Home magazines are written to southern home owners, or owners of barn homes, or to those who like DIY projects at their home. They are also written to those who like the cottage look, or those who like victorian style, or those who prefer contemporary style. Magazine niches also make good blog niches.

Another thing to think about as you are finding your niche is that a niche is solving a problem.

For example, for the above magazine readers the problems might include "How do I decorate with cottage decor?", or "How do I do that DIY project?". The problem a person might need solved could be as simple as "What is the next knitting project I'm going to knit?" (and you'll provide the answer), or "What can I cook with all this zucchini from my garden?" (and you, the expert gardener, will provide the recipes). 

Another way to explore possible niches is to visit www.amazon.com and browse through the categories. Read book reviews. If a book topic resonates with you, explore what other subjects that author has written on, maybe they have a niche they write for. 

Take a look at article websites such as ezinearticles.com. You will see that their categories are further broken down into subcategories. These subcategories are all possible niches for your website or blog. 

Things to consider as you choose your niche

There are a few things you should consider as you choose your niche audience for your blog. One thing you must take into consideration is the answer to the question which we asked you in the first post in this series "Why Do You Want To Blog?" If your answer to this question was that you are blogging for a hobby or for personal enjoyment then your niche won't matter a whole lot. However, if you are blogging for profit, or to grow a business or ministry, or even if you are blogging for a hobby but would very much like to grow a following then choosing a niche is important. 

  • If you are blogging in hopes of making any money from your blog, you will need to choose a niche which can be profitable and for which you can produce ongoing content. Explore how much demand there is for your topic, then explore how much competition you'll have.
  • Can you produce amazing content on the subject? As of 2013 there were 152 million blogs on the internet. If you want to be noticed you are going to have to put out some pretty amazing content. Competition can be fierce, but it can also be a good thing if we allow it to push us on to excellence.
  • Are you giving yourself enough flexibility? As I mentioned before, don't narrow down the topic to the point of not being flexible or not providing enough possible content. 
  • Am I going to love this topic forever? Or, is this hobby I'm currently enjoying just a passing phase?

I hope your gears are turning with thoughts of possible niche audiences you can write for. Go visit your library or book store and write down possible ideas. Then once you have chosen a possible niche spend some time brainstorming a list of potential topics you could write on which fall under that niche. If you can brainstorm a decent list of topics, then you may have found your audience. 

To read the other posts in this series:

(part 1 of 10) Why do you want to blog?

(part 2 of 10) Which Platform Should You Choose? 

Happy Blogging!

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In addition, when you submit the form below, you will receive a password to access our member area where you will find helpful resources.