Home About 5:16 Club Forum Contact

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Blogoversary Party, Day 5 - Successful Blogging Tips (And Your Questions Answered)

This post is linked up with Real Life's "Your Life, Your Blog!"

If you are just joining the party, start here and check out all the amazing prizes! You can also meet me here as I explain a little bit about my blogaversary party week.

Your Questions To Moi

How did you start making money? More importantly, how do you get free stuff?
First of all, let me say that I do not make a lot of money blogging! I do however make a little bit by offering advertising spots on my blog (see Sarah Mae recommends). I started by approaching businesses that I liked and sincerely wanted to promote, and asked them if they would be willing to sponsor Like A Warm Cup Of Coffee. I had no idea what to charge at the time, so I started with a seriously low number. As my site grew, my rates did go up. The general rule of thumb is $2-$4 per 1000 pageviews a month (tip from Lara Kulpa, Ginkgo Consulting). As for getting the "free stuff," that just starts happening as your blog grows. Businesses will want you to promote their products, so they send you them for review. Sometimes, however, you just get lucky! Hoover Vacuum Cleaners contacted me when I had my 31 Days To Clean series going on and offered to send me two new vacuum cleaners. My blog had maybe 10 readers at the time! That was luck!

You'll have to share your time management secrets!
My biggest time management secret is this: put your kids to bed early! Our kiddos have a pretty strict bedtime of 7pm (granted, they are 3, 2, and 3 months old). This gives me plenty of time in the evenings to write. It also gives me time to hang out with my hubby!

I also would like to know what you do to "work at home" and how you make an income through blogging.
When I mentioned "working at home," I was referring to the high and noble call by God for young women to "love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled" (Titus 2: 4,5). My "work" at home is all about raising my children up in the Lord by daily, moment by moment, instruction in love, kindness, truth, grace, and discipline. It also involves being a creative and productive homemaker - giving life to every area that God has given me authority over. My writing (blogging) is just one of the domains God has entrusted me with, and it is the least of all. As for making an income, see the first question. :)

"I may have to find out how you got all these great giveaways."
Well, I'll tell you! I just asked. Yep, I just went around and asked different businesses that I truly liked if they would be interested in donating to my blog party. I shared with them my stats and what they could expect in return from me (being featured). Once I posted my initial prize list, businesses starting contacting me to be included. How fun is that?!

Tips From Successful Bloggers

"Be yourself. Be real. Be authentic. And don't neglect your real life." :-) Melissa Michaels, The Inspired Room

"My best tip for having a successful blog involves several things. First of all, I feel the same pride I do about my blog as I did on day one. So, I guess when I had one reader (hi, Mom!), I was proud of what I wrote and treated my blog like it was a success. Secondly, I made my participation in the blog community a priority. I left a comment for every one I received, I joined carnivals and answered emails. As my blog has grown, I haven't been able to keep up with that goal and that makes me sad! And I guess the most important part for me, is just being myself. I found my voice (or it found me on an ER visit) and I've tried hard to stay true to it. There are many distractions in the blogosphere and even pressure to conform your blog into something you didn't plan for it to be. My best advice is to set goals and keep a clear focus. I still do this on a regular basis. I reach for the stars and am happy when I hit the streetlamp! Lastly, if I focus too much on the numbers, traffic, trying to make my blog profitable, I don't enjoy it. But when I remember why I'm doing this, I have the time of my life!" Kristen Welch, We Are THAT Family

"Remember that finding your voice and developing your brand and building a community is how bloggers gain influence and become successful...Success online is not measured by our traffic, but the good we do and lives we brighten with our sites." Ali Worthington, Allison Worthington Media

"Provide value. Solve actual problems. Uncover what’s bugging people and fix it for them." Sonia Simone, Copyblogger, Remarkable Communication

"Give back & pay it forward. Helping other people is never out of fashion. It pays to be nice." Katja Presnal, PR/Media Marketing Consultant, Skimbaco Lifestyle

"My most successful blogging tip is "don't be afraid of your inner goofball" It has always paid off for me!" Tracy O Conor, I Hate My Message Board

Suggested Blogging Articles

Blogs Are Our Friends, by McMommy
How To Write An Article in 20 Minutes, Jim Estill, Time Leadership
It's Not Your Traffic, It's Your Voice, Ali Worthington, Mrs. Fussypants

Blogging Sites I Recommend


Super Awesome Businesses of the Day

Okay, Family Life Today isn't exactly a business...it's more a ministry that focuses on helping couples build healthier marriages and families. However, Family Life missionaries Emily and her husband have graciously donated Passport 2 Purity and So You're About To Be A Teenager to be given to one of you. All they ask is that you take some time to peruse the Family Life Today website to get a little more familiar with the ministry. You can do that, right? Thank you!

Next up, HydroChic!

HydroChic, "The Ultimate Feminine Modest Swimwear and UV
Swimwear So You Can Enjoy the Water Like Never Before!"

You can win this Dry Pouch Bag from HydroChic! Just head on over to their site and tell me which bathing suit or swim gear is your favorite!

Click this button to see all that HydroChic has to offer!

Prize List
Sumo Cookies! They're big, they're sweet, and they are custom
Twenty-Four Hours Is All You Get (CD)
Mom Walk and a Seasons of a Mother's Heart, by Sally Clarkson
5 Little Questions, plus journal, by Dannah Gresh and Nancy Leigh DeMoss
A Christa-Taylor Long Sailor Skirt (Denim)
A Stacey McDonald autographed copy of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God
One item of choice from the irresistible and unique Christian baby clothing store,
Faith Baby
The new CD "Shelter" by Marie Barlow Martin
Artwork by the very talented
Jennifer Ueckert
A custom blog design by
APH Boutique
Full Blogger Design by Extravagant Grace Designs
Your choice of one of Miss Breezy's
whimsical prints
Purple ipod case from Simply Vintagegirl
A free subscription to
LoobaLee , a place to buy and sell kids
Your choice of a
Kimbamade pin
Free membership to
List Plan It
Beautiful bracelet from Life Verse Jewelry (custom made)
ADORABLE earrings from
Our Daily Chocolate
The devotional book Rain on Me by Holley Gerth from Day Spring
Very cool necklace and earring set from Mattieleas
Passport 2 Purity and So You're About To Be A Teenager
Full Prize list and details about entering
here! (Comment, promote, subscribe! The more you do, the better your chances of winning! Leave a separate comment for each entry!)

Stay updated with Like A Warm Cup Of Coffee by clicking here!


Mandy said...

Thanks for those great answers! And I love the brown swim top and skirt with the cute green ruffle! Great for a mom on the go! *M

christinnjon said...

You are so amazing!!!!

I love those swim shorts. They are too cute and sooo my style! I haven't been in a bathing suit in 4+ years!!!

Kristen, The Pajama Mama said...

Good morning, Sarah Mae. Thanks for all your tips! Just visited the Family Life today website...it's packed with great ideas and information! I'll be back...

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

My hubby just got back from his Passport to Purity weekend away with our son. He has done it with our first three boys and I will do the getaway with our two girls. Amazing, amazing weekend. :)Great tips.
Yes, the vacuum give away was amazing. I remember just beginning to read blogs when you were doing your 31 days to clean.

Jamie said...

I love your '31 days to clean' series.

Sarah said...

I already looked at the swimwear last night. I think every single piece is awesome because it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to find modest swim wear. Awesome!

windycindy said...

What a delightful and helpful site!
There newsletters are great.
Many thanks to you.....Cindi

Yelowflower said...

Love that line, must make some purchases there, I'm too fair skinned to spend any time in the sun and we just decided to buy some kayaks! lol
I like that Women's Sporty Stripe 3/4 Sleeve Swim Shirt /Supportive Swim Bra and the hydroshorts


http:// yelowflowersgarden.blogspot.com/

BeLoVedAiMeE said...

Thanks for all the great answers. I may have to save this post for future reference ;-) ...well one can dream at least.

Loren said...

Thankyou! Wow, I never knew what went on behind those "computer walls" ;)
You have done an awesome job Sarah Mae!!!

We 2 B's said...

I love Family Life! My husband and I were able to go to one of their marriage conferences - AWESOME! It definitely was a weekend to remeber.
The swim shorts are so cute - and has great coverage! Great site! Thanks for sharing.

Anne Basso said...

Thank you, Sarah Mae!

Anne Basso said...

Wanted to add: I have been offered free books, software, and had a blog post published in an actual book on homeschooling. So, I know one can be found. I've just never had people approach me to advertise before. =)

irishmcmommy said...

Thanks for all of the tips...I will keep these thoughts in mind as I grow my blog.

I love the short sleeve rash guards - just the sporty ones. They are so perfect for moms with little ones...no worries.


L Harris said...

WOW! Some great tips in there. I know that as soon as I just wrote straight from my heart and mind and without care whether someone was offended or didn't like it, that I felt free for my blog to be more of me. I need it to be me or it becomes a chore. I don't need another chore.

Lori said...

This is a great post - thanks for sharing what you have learned about blogging. I especially appreciated your description of being a working mom in regard to Titus 2 - as a SAHM it was so affirming!

Now, re: the giveaways... Family Life is my favorite Christian org so I love that you gave them a shout out. Also, the swim shorts are so cute! Thanks!

Amydeanne said...

wow, loved this post, great answers, and those suits are so cute! never realized anyone made something like that!

Anonymous said...

I love your blogs! I will be ordering the swim shorts tommorrow, they are just what I needed! Thanks for visiting my site! letsmakeadifference09

Ladipierce said...

Your tips are invaluable. Thanks!!! Pleawe enter me in your giveaway. dpierce2007@comcast.net

Buildeth Her House said...

Thanks so much for sharing. I've gotten to know you a little better and I hope you are really enjoying yourself this week. HAVE FUN!!!

McMommy said...

Love all the blogging answers!! You are doing such a good job with your ultra-fun blogoversary party!!

tpillstrom said...

Ohhhh....the Family Life website looks awesome! I don't have time to dig into it right now...but I plan on it sometime this week! Thanks for introducing it to me!

Blessed Mom of 8 said...

Hi Sara Mae,

You are so gracious!

I love your humble heart and spirit!

Thanks for visiting my homeschool blog and joining in the fun!

I am going to look into some of the things you mentioned here because my readers love a good give-away too. And I really love to share my favorite finds :) Great tip!!!

Looking forward to getting to know you better!

God bless and love in Christ!
PS I share with my teen girl bible study about Family Life - it has been very encouraging to them!

Jacquie said...

Thank you for answering all of our questions - great information. I appreciate the blogging recommendations and resources too. I love the resources on the Family Life Today website - someday I want to attend that Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference!

Composing Hallelujahs said...

i'm pretty sure i started reading your blog during your 31 days to clean series :)

great tips!

Michelle said...

Okay, thank you so much for all of that info! Your awesome!
I go to Family Life all the time and love it!

Michelle said...

Women's Swim Tank/Supportive Swim Bra in Berry and the black hydroshorts:) That site is amazing!

Muthering Heights said...

Thank you for these blogging tips! I have been loving working on my blog, and it always makes me happy to be able to improve it. :)

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

Oh girl, you had more than 10 readers during your "31 Days to Clean" series...because I was one of them and I remember feeling like I was one of hundreds!

Your prize list is getting SO cool!

Debbie said...

Love, love, love all of the tips. I am fixing to do the 31 days till clean. I just can't wait!

heidi jo said...

TRULY modest swimwear? OH MY GOODNESS! HOW WONDERFUL! i love the skirts. :)

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing these tips! I just enjoyed my visit to the Family Life website. Their purity resources (free online as well as available for purchase) look very helpful.

Sarah said...

Great tips! You have to resist the fear of putting your self out there. Some will say yes, and some will say no, but it can't hurt to try! Congratulations on your blogaversary, and all you've done with your blog!

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Loved hearing your answers Sarah Mae! And you collected some great blogging tips and articles - thanks!

Family Life looks like it has some interesting stuff, including audio - will look at it some more later.

And the swimwear - very cool! I think I like those swim skorts and the turquoise shirt.

A House FULL of Grace said...

Thanks for answering questions of the unknown for us novice bloggers...so interesting and fun.

Hope you're enjoying your blogaversary week -- I sure am!

Blessings to you,

Ginger said...

Sarah, Thank you for posting these tips. I was wondering how the donations were done. Happy, happy blogaversary!

Raising Olives said...

I just found your blog and have enjoyed dropping in on your party.

I wanted to comment about putting your children to bed early. Our children also have a (not-quite-so) strict bedtime of 7:00pm, but our kids are 12, 11, 9, 8, 7, 5, 4, 2, and 1. Just to encourage you, it still works. Keep up the good work.


~Tami said...

I didn't think there was much reality in making money online from the comfort of one's own home. One can dream though! LOL

~Tami said...

I would love to win the Twenty-Four Hours Is All You Get CD.

~Tami said...

I would love to win any book, especially the 5 Little Questions, plus journal, by Dannah Gresh and Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

~Tami said...

I would love to win the Christa-Taylor Long Sailor Skirt (Denim).

~Tami said...

I have been wanting to read Passionate Housewives Desperate for God for awhile now.

~Tami said...

I would love to win a membership to List Plan It.

~Tami said...

My kiddos are almost teenagers. I would love to read Passport 2 Purity and So You're About To Be A Teenager.

LivingforGod said...

Thanks for your answers and for the blogging tips!

I visited Family Life website and bookmarked it in my favorites. It contains tons of good info.


LivingforGod said...

I also visited HydroChic and I really like their 30" Extra Coverage Panel Swim Skirt with Attached Hidden Swim Pants.


Kristina said...

I've been thinking of getting a new swimsuit this summer & have been dreading it! I love the swim top & shorts. I love that you can wear them out & in the water - great!

Debbie said...

I love the swim skort. I hate swim suits but this could be the answer to all my problems.

Have a great day!

quelleheure4 said...

I especially loved the tip that said "don't be afraid of your inner goofball." I LOVE that!

Reborn said...

I love Fmaily Life Today! I listen on the radio all the time. I would love any of those books-- they would be very helpful as parent resources in our youth ministry.

As for the swimwear my fave product is "Flatflock Stitched Water Skirt/Attached Pants for Coverage"... hahaha... I think they need a bit of help with their product names. ;)

Susan said...

I appreciate your tips! I'm a beginning blogger with a lot to learn. Those Sumo cookies look divine!

mom-2-4 said...

I love that there are options now to the usual swim suits that show way tooooo much, not only that- but they are actually cute too!
So great!

Robin said...

Lovely way to explain your working at home. It is the highest calling a woman could ever have. What an amazing way to serve the Lord by serving your family.

Breezy said...

I should probably take some of this advice! But "mild blogging" seems to work for now. We'll see where mine goes. ;)

Anonymous said...

Very good post..