Category Archives: Blog Business

Break Through Your Blogging Barriers with the Blog Boost Bundle!

Happy Tuesday, friends! I’m popping in with a different kind of post today…one that is geared specifically to my friends and readers who write their own blogs! (If that’s not you, I promise I’ll be back on Thursday with the basement reveal post I’ve been hinting about!) If you are a fellow blogger who is looking for a great resource to boost your income, traffic, confidence and more, there is a super exciting new e-course bundle launching today, and I can’t wait for you to check it out! Friends, let me introduce you to the Blog Boost Bundle!

*I am proud to be an affiliate for the Blog Boost Bundle, and this post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission for any purchases made via my links at no additional charge to you. You can read more about my policies here

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

The Blog Boost Bundle is a series of 6 intensive webinars created and assembled by 5 amazing bloggers (Lesley from Chaotically Creative, Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage, Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body, and Bre from Rooms for Rent). These ladies have assembled over 24 hours of amazing, detailed and crazy helpful video content across 6 platforms that we bloggers need to know and master including Google+, Instagram, Facebook, Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing and SEO. Each workshop includes a series of videos, interviews, worksheets and more and goes in-depth into each of these all-important but often challenging and mysterious topics. I was given the amazing opportunity to access this course early so that I could dive in and give you all my honest-to-goodness review. And friends…I am just so blown away by all the content jam-packed into this bundle!

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

WHY I AM ALL IN FOR THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE

I am passionate about what I do here and about getting my ideas in front of more people; but after 4 years of relative traffic and income stagnation, I finally realized that passion alone wasn’t bringing people to my site or helping me reach bigger goals. After years of ignoring the wealth of wisdom available from more experienced bloggers around me, last Fall I finally committed to learning the tricks, strategies, and techniques necessary to grow my blog, my readership, and my income. I poured myself into every blog post, e-book and e-course I could in order to learn all the tips and tricks I was missing. I started to create friendships and connections that I saw other bloggers making but could never figure out how to establish myself. And in the 9 months since I jumped all in, The Homes I Have Made has experienced some tremendous growth of which still makes me humble and giddy every single day.

But there are only so many hours in a day. Right now, I am still a One Woman Show and trying to learn and do everything I needed to know in order to grow my blog was zapping my energy and stealing my joy from creating the content and writing the posts that actually kept the blog chugging along. I had to pull away from the “growing” side of my business in order to get back to creating content I loved. And for the last few months, that’s what I’ve been doing: focusing on content. But that too came at a price…and since I’ve been slightly “neglecting” the business side of my blog, my traffic and income have suffered.

I knew I needed to get back to all the workshops and e-books I have invested in over the last year to learn and implement even more growth strategies, but I just didn’t have it in me. So when my friend and one of the expert bloggers on the Blog Goals team, Lesley, reached out to me about the Blog Boost Bundle, it didn’t take long for the overwhelm to set in. I was so eager to learn what these gals had to teach, but I was picturing more and more hours dedicated to ideas and techniques I just didn’t have time to implement. But as soon as I logged in for the first time, I couldn’t help but dive right into the first course and before I knew it, I had worked my way through almost the entire first lesson (I started with Google+). I was honestly blown away at how easy and digestible the content was. The videos were short enough to be engaging yet long-enough to be jam-packed with usable, easy-to-understand, and action-packed tips. With our upcoming move literally around the corner and what seems like a million other things going on right now, I knew I had finally found a way to actively educate myself and grow my blog without burning the midnight oil or stressing myself out!

MY FAVORITE PARTS OF THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE

  • The platform! I don’t know about you, but when I’m taking e-courses, I get so frustrated when I can’t figure out what to watch first, which worksheet goes with with video or what I have and haven’t done. The Blog Boost Bundle is delivered on the snazzy, easy-to-use platform Teachable, and I am obsessed with it! The platform is so easy to navigate. Worksheets are uploaded right beneath the corresponding videos, and shading and percentage graphics tell you exactly where you are in each course. You can do each course in sequence or bounce around and never loose your place. The platform alone makes working through the courses in this bundle seamless, intuitive and downright fun!
  • The time commitment! As I mentioned above, when I was faced with starting yet another e-course to grow my blog, I just didn’t know if I could make the time in my already crazy schedule. I have worked (and am currently working) my way through A LOT of other e-course and there is just something about this one that feels so manageable and easy. The topics are focused, and the videos are a great length. The tips are implementable, and I know with certainty I will actually finish this one…and soon!
  • The topics! There are A LOT of topics that could and should be covered in a blogging course, but the Blog Goals ladies have zeroed in on 6 of the most important and toughest ones to figure out and get right. These ladies are experts in their particular topics and have a wealth to teach. When looking for efficient and manageable ways to grow your blog and your income, these 6 courses strip away the chatter that abounds on the Internet and focuses you on the strategies and platforms that will really make a difference.

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE?

There are 6 courses totaling over 24 hours of instruction, as well as expert interviews, worksheets, a private Facebook group, and 2 roundtable discussions. Here’s a quick breakdown of each course:

Simplified SEO

­ Confused about SEO? Let us help! We will walk you through everything you need for your posts and your blog overall. Plus we are spilling our secrets on how to plan for your blog so that you are going after the right keywords on every single post. Get more focused with your blog plan and implement our strategies for a website that ranks in those all important search algorithms. We have taken the mystery out of SEO!

Instagram

­ Bre has grown her personal Instagram following to over 100,000 followers and has used the platform to grow her blog as well. Learn her secrets for unlocking the power of Instagram! You can get hits to your blog from Instagram and even use the platform to make money. This workshop will walk you through everything you need to do to implement the strategy on your own Instagram account!

Affiliate Marketing

Learn all about how to build a steady stream of income from affiliate marketing by utilizing affiliate links on your blog, on social media and through your email list! In this workshop, Tasha will teach you about the logistics of affiliate marketing, how to comply with applicable rules and regulations and tons of strategies for rocking affiliate marketing on your blog and other channels.

Email Marketing

Learn all about email marketing and the strategies to use when building a list for your brand. We cover how to offer freebies to grow your list plus so much more. If you are confused by things like segmented lists and drip campaigns, let us take the mystery out of your email marketing strategy. Your email subscribers are your biggest fans! Be sure to grow and use your list in a way that will benefit your blog in the long run!

Facebook

­ Frustrated with Facebook? We have all been there! After a lot of research, and a lot of just trying crazy ideas, Gina finally found a method that works. In this workshop you’ll learn the bare basics bloggers need ­ plus more advanced strategies that will help you grow your engagement and reach.

Google Plus

­ Did you think Google Plus was going away? Guess what! It is not! Google Plus is actually very important for your blog! Google Plus is the one thing that most people overlook when it comes to SEO. Every post on your blog should be shared on Google Plus for maximum rank in Google search engines. Angie will show you how to use Google Plus for maximum effectiveness and to increase your rank in those all important Google search results. Follow along with the course from the beginner’s guide that will take you through all of that confusing terminology that probably made you leave Google Plus in the first place. Then deep dive into more advanced tactics including incorporating Google Plus into your overall SEO strategy.

HOW MUCH IS THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE?

All 6 webinars, plus the roundtable discussions and private Facebook group (where you can interact with all 5 expert bloggers) can be purchased HERE for $299. Private consultations or individual courses on each topic could easily run you thousands of dollars…so this bundle really is a fantastic investment into tangible and applicable techniques to grow your blog from experts who know it and have done it.

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

If you are interested in individual courses, you can buy those too! Each individual course is available for $119 and can each be accessed at the links below!

GOOGLE+ | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | SEO | AFFILIATE MARKETING | EMAIL MARKETING

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

The content in this course is exactly as the title suggests: it’s a boost! It is not a step-by-step for setting up a blog and is not necessarily information for beginner bloggers who are just getting started and learning the ropes. BUT! If you are in a blogging funk, need expert info on a specific topic, and/or need a serious boost to get your blog back on track, this is the course for you! I do hope you’ll check it out, and if you do, be sure to come back and let me know YOUR favorite parts and how it’s helped you!

Take your blog to the next level with the Blog Boost Bundle - over 24 hours of amazing content include Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ Workshops!

I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! On Thursday, I’ll be back with our “final” playroom/basement revel! See you then!

Megan Signature

Printable Password Tracker (and some other digital organizing tips!)

As a blogger, I certainly spend more than my fair share of time on the computer. From editing photos, writing posts, researching articles and project ideas, to promoting my work (and others’!) on social media and a whole slew of personal stuff, these days it feels like I am at the computer more time than I’m not. While I am far from a computer technical guru, I have found some ways to streamline my processes and keep my computer organized so that I can find and work with my files quickly and easily! On this “Printable Tuesday,” I thought I’d step away from the more hands-on organizing solutions and show you some of my tried-and-true ways for keeping my computer organized!

How I Organize My Computer With a Free Printable Password Tracker

Over the past 8 weeks, I’ve come up with all sorts of printables to share with you guys. Some of them were made due to reader requests, and others were made out of a need I had in my own life/home. Today’s free printable is the latter. Like many of you, I feel like I am logging in and out of websites all the time…and more often than not, I am always submitting to get my username or reset my password because I can’t remember which one I used where. And this problem is much exacerbated by the various sites, platforms, accounts and databases I maintain for the blog. I decided enough was enough and made myself a pretty password tracker printable…and am sharing two different versions with you guys today!

Free Printable Password Trackers

This week’s printable kit includes both a general password tracker as well as a categorized one…5 printable pages all designed to match the other printables in this series! If you would like your own copy of these Printable Password Trackers, I have them available for download over in The Organization Toolbox right now! Hop on over and grab your set, then come back to see how to use them!

If you need access to my Organization Toolbox, simply subscribe to THIHM Newsletter below and the Organization Toolbox Password will be delivered straight to your inbox

(Pssst – if you’re already a subscriber, the password was delivered in the most recent newsletter! If you just subscribed but didn’t receive the final password email, please check your Spam/Trash folders! The password is case sensitive, please use ALL CAPS!)

Already have access? Visit the Organization Toolbox HERE to access your free Printable Password Trackers!

Using the Printable Password Trackers

The “general” password tracker is just that…a tracker with no categories or labels and you can use it for whatever sites/accounts you need it for!

Free Printable Password Trackers

Now, I do want to note that account names, numbers, and passwords are private and secure information that should be protected. Most security experts don’t recommend writing them down; but honestly, the second I clear my browser for one reason or another, I’m locked out of everything. So I’ve been wanting and needing a cheat sheet for quite some time. To keep these hand-written trackers safe without having to put them away in a safe, I fill them out with hints instead of actual account names and passwords. So much is done by email, so I denote which email was used and then give myself a little hint to remember the password. Even just the first letter is enough to jog my memory!

Free Printable Password Trackers

The above trackers have little boxes for you to write in the name of the website or account and then the lock (username) and key (password) lines. In the categorized trackers below, I included three separate lines to be filled out as follows:Printable Password Tracker CodeThe categories included are WORK | SCHOOL | MEDICAL | BANKING | SHOPPING | SOCIAL | OTHER. Print out as many as you need for each category and fill them up as you come across new accounts!

Free Printable Password Trackers

Free Printable Password Trackers

Tip for Keeping Your Desktop Clear

While I’m talking tech-related organization today, I thought I would share a few other quick and easy tricks I’ve started using to help keep my computer organized and my files easily accessible! The first is a problem I think we all have…keeping our computer desktop clear! Saving or dropping files onto the Desktop is surely the easiest and quickest option when you are working on something actively. But it doesn’t take long for your desktop to be overrun with files, leaving it looking cluttered and you unable to find anything! Below is a glimpse of my computer desktop…notice that it is CLEAR with three small files in the upper right-hand corner: one is my computer, one is our hard drive, and the third is a file that says “Desktop.” Instead of having dozens (or more!) files and folders spread all over my desktop, everything gets dropped into that folder. That way, it’s still on my desktop, but dropped into a single bucket. Oftentimes it’s quite disorganized, but once a week or so I will go in and put things into the right files. This tiny little trick of making a dedicated “Desktop” folder ON the Desktop seems silly and trivial, but it has made a big difference for me in keeping my desktop tidy!

How to Keep Your Desktop Clear

Organize Your Bookmarks

For the longest time, I had one, long list of bookmarks that included everything form photo sites, blogs I read, shopping sites, recipe sites and more. Finally, I sat down one day and organized them all into categories that made sense. Oh my gosh – what a game changer. I’m partial to Google Chrome, and the Bookmark Manager is really easy to use and you can drag and drop, make folders, etc with ease. I am pretty sure most browsers have the same capability. Using Chrome also allows me to sync across all my devices, so whether I’m on my computer, laptop, phone or tablet, all my bookmarks are there and organized the same way! Again, something so simple and obvious…but there are SO many different sites and programs I use on a daily basis, that this simple little step saves me so much time!

How to Keep your Bookmarks Sorted

Organizing Photos with Ease

As a blogger, I have a TON of photos. If I didn’t proactively organize, sort and purge my photos on a very regular basis, my computer would quickly become overrun and bogged down! When I first made the switch to using Apple products about 8 years ago, I fell in love with using iPhoto, Apple’s photo program that automatically sorted your uploaded photos into albums by date or self-made categories. Somewhere along the way, iPhoto went out and now the Apple program is Photos…and while it took me some time to figure out, I use it in the same way. Here’s a few tips for keeping photos under control:

  • When you upload photos from either a camera or phone, don’t load them into an album right away. First go through the uploaded photos and flag all the “worthy” photos. These photos should then get put into a dedicated albums/folders with a descriptive title and an obvious feature photo.
  • After decent photos are set into an album, immediately delete out any and all bad/extra photos. Do this with every.single.upload. Whether it’s family or work, I get rid of the bad photos as soon as they are uploaded. If I wait, I never go back and before I know it, I have too many photos to go through.
  • If you take a lot of photos and purge as I suggest above, empty your computer trash weekly.
  • Consider separating out family photos from work/home photos as necessary. I have all my personal photos separate from my blog photo database.
  • Backup photos onto an external hard drive or upload to a photo site for safe keeping and easy access across devices.

Organizing Photos

How I Pass Items Across Devices

Whether it’s photos for posting to Instagram on my phone or an e-book I want to read on my tablet, I find that I am constantly shuffling documents back and forth across devices. Gone are the days of thumb drives, and cloud-type services are the key to making everything you have/need accessible all the time. I personally am partial to Dropbox, and use it ALL the time. I have Dropbox loaded onto all my devices and can easily bring up PDFs, Word documents, photos and more without having to text/email them back and forth. Admittedly, Dropbox has become my quick drop and access spot for many of my files…sometimes even more than my Desktop! What’s great is that since it’s limited by size, I am forced to go in and clean it out on a regular basis!

How I Use Dropbox

The Organization Toolbox

The Organization Toolbox | 100+ FREE Printable Pages to Help Organize Your Life & Home

I’m spending the first 12 Tuesdays of 2016 filling up my new Organization Toolbox with small organizing projects and helpful printables! If you missed other posts in this series, catch up here:

So there you have it! Nothing overly technical or too hard, but some tips and tricks for keeping the digital side of your life a little more organized! Do you have tips to you use and love? I’m always looking for ways to streamline my process, so please share in the comments below!

How I Organize My Computer-12

See you back here Thursday with my next dresser makeover! I shared a peek on Instagram..so check it out here if you missed it!

Megan Signature

A Tour of My 2016 Planner (with FREE Printable Planner Stickers!)

I originally got into DIYing because I liked being able to make things exactly as I wanted them…on my budget, in my color scheme, to my specifications. And while it is often much easier (and sometimes cheaper) to just buy store-bought versions, having something perfectly tailored to your wants and needs is pretty awesome and can be worth the hassle to get it exactly right. Such is the case with my 2016 Planner! After struggling with several store-bought versions over the last year, I set out to assemble my own ultimate planner this year. My goal? A planner that would allow me to keep track of all of my personal, family, and blog/business stuff in one, single, efficient, easy-to-use spot. I think I succeeded, and I can’t wait to give you a tour of my 2016 Planner. I am also sharing some tips and tricks for making the most of out printable planners so let’s get started!

My 2016 Planner with FREE Printable Planner Labels

My quest for the ultimate planner began on Etsy. I do love designing printables, but planners are a different beast. They are detailed and complicated and time intensive to create. I don’t mind spending time and effort to make things personal and just right, but I knew I could save myself a ton of time by starting with an already-designed planner. There are so many wonderful printable planners out there…both free and paid..and you can really drive yourself batty trying to find the right one.

Here were my main criteria:

  • Had the options for monthly view, weekly view, and daily view pages
  • Included a wide variety of blog-specific tasks and tools built into the planner
  • Had a simple, modern, clean, black and white aesthetic so I could add my own personal color and details

I ultimately decided on THIS comprehensive Blog Planner from Grafika Studio. I am so thrilled with this choice. Not only does it have so many usable blog resources and a nice clean look, but the price was a great! And best of all? The designer offered a Word version of the planner for customization. Sold!

If you are able to get your hands on an editable planner, one of the best ways to fully customize it for yourself is to pre-type in recurring events, important dates, and other items you specifically need in your planner. Before getting this planner printed, I spent A LOT of time streamlining our home chores as well as my blog tasks…deciding what needs to happen when so that I am tracking things (especially blog-related taskers) across the week, month and year. It was a time investment on the front end that I hope will pay off as the year goes along!

Editing a Printable Planner

Once I had the entire planner filled out with my specific tasks and reminders, I saved it as a PDF. Using the Preview program on a Mac, did you know you can quickly and easily delete out and rearrange pages in a PDF document? Yep! All you have to do is drag and drop the document’s thumbnails! You can also add in additional documents already saved to your computer, allowing you to make the ultimate printable resource. Whether you PDFd it yourself or bought a PDF, I encourage you to spend some time deleting out and re-ordering pages so that your planner makes the most sense to you and everything is in there that you want. I added in monthly goal worksheets to each month layout, notes pages to each week layout, as well as a bunch of other blog planning/tracking resources to the back of the entire planner. I deleted out any and all pages I wouldn’t use…and BEORE printing, I went through the entire document to make sure everything would print out on the correct-facing pages!

Editing a Printable Planner

To save myself time, printer ink, and a big ol’ headache, I took my fully edited, customized, and arranged file to a local print shop for printing and binding. It cost me about $40 to have 250 double-sized pages print and bound.

Bound Printable Planner

Before I share with you all the fun ways I made my planner pretty, I want to show you a few other features of my planner and share some ways I’m making the most out of this single digital file! One of my favorite features of this planner was that it was completely date free…meaning I can use this same planner year after year!

Printable Planner

On each month layout, I added all the tasks (both personal and blog-related) that need to be accomplished at the start of every month. Now when I sit down to plan out that month’s content, I am also reminded to take care of maintenance and business stuff too! (Note: some of these tasks were already here, but I added most of them in via the Word document before printing!)

Printable Planner

Like I sad before, I split out all my necessary tasks across the week and assigned them to specific days. Now I have a single sheet dedicated to each and every day of the year…and each sheet has specific tasks as well as spots for a daily schedule, blog post, social media schedule, and a meal plan! Everything I need is in one single spot…and I love it!

Printable Planner

Beyond having everything I need to track on a single day in one spot, I also have everything I need to keep the blog organized and moving in the same place. You guys know I hate redundant systems, so now the back of my planner is dedicated to goals, brainstorming, maintenance checklists, trackers and more (all provided in the printable blog planner, I just tweaked the order and some of the topics)! Yes, this guy turned out to be huge…but it has everything I need to stay on top of life and the blog for the coming year! Huzzah!

Customized Printable Planner

Now that I’ve shown you how I bought, customized, organized, and printed my planner…I thought it would be fun to show you some ways I dressed it up and made it more fun! Like I said, I picked a neutral planner design so I could add colors and accessories in my own way! Thanks to fun combination of vinyl, dividers, labels, stickers and tapes…my planner is now as pretty as it is functional!

My 2016 Planner with FREE Printable Planner Labels

Let’s first talk about my awesome tabbed dividers! I found these bright and colorful dividers in the Dollar Spot at Target. Not only were the colors fun and fresh, but at $1 for 5, they were the perfect solution! I had them bound right into the planner, then used my label maker to add on the month names.

DIY Tabbed Dividers

DIY Tabbed Dividers

I also took the extra step to label the backs of each tab so I can easily flip back and forth as necessary!

DIY Tabbed Dividers

By the way…need some labels typed and printed? Ask your pre-schooler if you have one! Henry thinks our label maker is the coolest thing ever, and loves typing in the letters and watching it print. Just give yourself some extra time…24 labels took forever 😉

Label Making

I used some gold and pink vinyl to dress up the dividers even more. Using transfer tape, I applied decals to the planner cover…

DIY Tabbed Dividers

…as well as the front of each month’s tab!

DIY Tabbed Dividers

DIY Tabbed Dividers

I love that my planner came undated, but just penciling in the numbers felt a little bland. I made some month/date stickers using the Print and Cut feature of my Cricut Explore. I’m not going to share a tutorial on how I made these here because there are SO many out there (just Google “Planner Stickers on a Cricut”)…but I will say that it seemed more trouble than it was worth. Like I said in the beginning, sometimes DIY versions are NOT the easier or quicker route 😉 Still…I have pretty cute date stickers for each month now!

DIY Planner Stickers with a Cricut

But what’s so much more fun than the little date stickers I made with my Cricut…are the Planner Stickers I designed and made for you guys! Thanks to these planner stickers, I now have fun and noticeable ways to add events and tasks to my planner!

DIY Planner Stickers

I’ve never used cute Planner Stickers before, but always loved the idea! I was going to order some until I saw the price tags of some of the sets available – ouch! I knew I could make my own (of course)…and decided to design some that everyone can use…not just those with e-cutters!

FREE Ready-to-Print Planner Stickers

I’ve designed 5 sheets of Planner Stickers, all formatted to fit onto AVERY 6450 1″ Round Labels. I tried to come up with as many useful icons as possible. Since I am sure I forgot some, I also made a sheet of blank labels you can write onto with a pen/marker!

FREE Ready-to-Print Planner Stickers FREE Ready-to-Print Planner Stickers

If you would like your own copy of these Printable Planner Stickers, I have it available for download over in The Organization Toolbox right now! Hop on over and grab it, then come back to see how printed them out!

If you need access to my Organization Toolbox, simply subscribe to THIHM Newsletter below and the Organization Toolbox Password will be delivered straight to your inbox!

Already have access? Visit the Organizing Toolbox HERE to access your free Printable Planner Stickers!

How To Print the Planner Stickers

Once you’ve purchased your Avery 6450 1″ Round Labels and downloaded the FREE printable file, just open the document, select which sheet(s) you want to print, load the paper into your printer (according to your printer’s directions) and print at 100% scale.

FREE Ready-to-Print Planner Stickers

I’ve built in a small bleed margin, so hopefully they will print just right for you! Once you peel away all the excess paper, you will be left with sheets of fun and vibrant stickers to use all over your planner or calendar!

FREE Ready-to-Print Planner Stickers

FREE Ready-to-Print Planner Stickers

I hope you guys will print them out and give them a try! I think they would be awesome on a large wall calendar for the whole family to see and use!

FREE Ready-to-Print Planner Stickers

Yes, it took a little bit of work, but with my new, fully customized planner and a slew of these fun Planner Stickers…I am ready to organize and (more importantly) stay on top of everything in the coming year!

The Organization Toolbox

The Organization Toolbox | 100+ FREE Printable Pages to Help Organize Your Life & Home

I’m spending the first 12 Tuesdays of 2016 filling up my new Organization Toolbox with small organizing projects and helpful printables! If you missed other posts in this series, catch up here:

Tell me…have you ever used a printable planner? Have you ever tried to customize it just right for your needs? Are you a pen and paper planner or all digital? As much as I try to go digital, I like having everything written down right in front of me! Instead of fighting it, I’m now embracing my pen and paper (and stickers!) in a big way!

See you back here Thursday with my latest fabric organization solution!

Megan Signature

*affiliate links used

2015 Reader Survey Results!

2015 Reader Survey Results

Happy Weekend, friends! I hope you all had a great week and are gearing up for a fun- and/or rest-filled weekend! We’re running a bunch of errands to finally take care of some Christmas present returns and then I am breaking out the paint brushes and working on a small furniture project. I can’t tell you how excited I am! Today, I wanted to pop in and share the results of my 2015 Reader Survey and chat a bit more about my thoughts and plans for the blog in the coming year. Above all, I can’t thank those of you who took the survey enough. Your honest, genuine, and constructive feedback helped me not only sort through a bunch of ideas and plans I have for the future, but also made me feel like I have the most awesome, dedicated, loving readers ever! So before I dive into the nitty gritty…thank you for the love, the support, and the ideas!

About You

I always like to ask a few demographic questions to get a better sense of who is reading. It becomes easy as a blogger to envision who is out there, but that can sometimes be quite different than who actually is. One of my biggest surprises in these few questions was how few of my readers are renters and how few are military spouses. While I was originally a bit sad to see that my renter-friendly and military-themed ideas and content aren’t reaching those who might actually want and need them, but so many of you said that even though you’re not renters or military, you still find the projects applicable to your living situation and find the military insights enlightening. Phew!

2015 Reader Survey Results 2015 Reader Survey Results

About You as a Reader

It is really helpful for me as a blogger to better understand how you read, access, and follow my posts and projects. It helps me decide where to place my efforts, what issues need to be resolved, and what is working and not working. In looking at my stats over the last year, I can see that I’ve experienced some pretty considerable growth, and that was only emphasized by how many of you are new readers (over half of you started following in the last year!). It is so encouraging that all of my hustle and hard work of the last 6-8 months really did pay off!

2015 Reader Survey Results

I prefer to read my favorite blogs in a blog reader, so I often underestimate how many people really do click over to the website…and it turns out that it’s most of you! I am incredibly aware and very sensitive to the host of site issues here over the last few months…trust me…it’s been a painful period behind the scenes for me too.  I want you to know that I am 100% committed to making my site as easy to load, read, and navigate as possible. A few of you had some site recommendations, and I will be re-visiting some of them to see if there are a good fit for my blog. I still have some things to work through in order to speed things up around here, but fingers crossed, the worst is behind us!

2015 Reader Survey Results

I did want to comment briefly on my free-lance work for other websites. I currently write between 5-9 posts a month for other websites. And while I do realize this is time and effort not put toward THIHM, these opportunities also make up about 80% of my income…which in turn allows me to spend the time and money to buy supplies and create content for this blog. I appreciate, more than I can say, that you all take the time and extra effort to visit my projects on other sites. As THIHM grows, I may be able to cut back on these assignments, but for now, they are an important aspect of my business model.

2015 Reader Survey Results

I addressed the slow site loading above (I promise I am working on it!), but a few more things to note here too. I just recently added advertising back onto my site. For whatever it’s worth, blogging takes an enormous amount of time and resources, and the 5 months I went without ad revenue significantly affected my ability to offset supply costs and contribute to our family budgetary goals. I am still working with my ad agency to fine tune the ads and their placement so that everything is just right. While it’s important for me to make some ad revenue, I never want that to be at the expense of your reading experience. For those of you who primarily read on my mobile theme…fixes are coming!

2015 Reader Survey Results

THIHM Content Feedback

One proposed fixes to my site loading issues was to truncate posts. Several of you voiced some pretty legitimate concerns (of which I share…I don’t like truncated posts either), so for the time being, things will remain as they are 🙂

2015 Reader Survey Results

My posting schedule was one of the biggest things I was looking for feedback on, and I was so relieved to see that a majority of you will read what I post, whenever I post it. If you haven’t noticed already, I am “officially” switching my posting schedule to Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays. All-too-often, our weekends were a mess and I was up until crazy hours on Sunday nights just to get a post out by Monday morning. This simple shift allows me to re-claim my weekends a bit more and better use the days Henry is in school. Admittedly, it’s taken me some time to get used to it. I keep thinking  it’s a different day of the week than it is based on if I had a post go live or not. But already, I can see this schedule will better help me remain present with my family on weekends while still producing consistent content for you all.

2015 Reader Survey Results

So this question (above) was my most favorite, and the answers you all provided warmed my heart so much. It is the best feeling in the world to put your heart, your passions, your experiences, your ideas, and your failures out into the world only for people to say “I love it all!” This question alone showed me that despite any number of survey responses, pins, likes, comments I get on various posts and projects…I should trust my gut and post things I am passionate about.

2015 Reader Survey Results

This one was another really useful question for me because it helps me better understand which types of posts you all like the most. I was so excited to see that the most popular responses were the ones that I love to do the most: room makeovers, organizing projects, furniture makeovers, sewing projects and printables! So that’s where we’re heading folks! You better bet you’ll see lots more of these kinds of projects coming up this year with personal posts and other things sprinkled throughout!

2015 Reader Survey Results

I had to giggle at the comments I got about these two questions. So many of you didn’t like picking one for either question, and I appreciate that. However, forcing you all to choose your favorite and least favorite really helped me tease out what you guys REALLY like and don’t like! Don’t worry, none of these types of posts are going to fully go away because I think they each have a valuable place on this blog. However, each one may be a little less consistent, while others may be a little more consistent.

2015 Reader Survey Results

So admittedly, the answers to these two questions surprised me a bit. In the months that I narrowed my site to a more renter-friendly focus, I’ve seen the most growth of my blog in the four years I’ve been writing it. While I thought this was correlated, the answers to these two questions (and a few others) might suggest differently. As I said above, I have no plans to make any drastic changes to my content/focus at this time. I’m going to keep plugging away at our rental houses and share the projects that make the most sense for our living situation…but I won’t hesitate to share some other types of projects too!

All in all, 2015 was a pretty great year for THIHM in so many ways. I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to work with brands; I have connected with so many of you in really meaningful ways; and both my stats and income have grown. However, this year I’ve also struggled a TON with technical site issues (understatement of the year!), comparing myself to others, and a never-ending struggle to stay motivated and creative. More than anything, I want this next year to be more about sharing creative projects and smart solutions (the part I love), and less about the relentless blog race that so many bloggers seem to be on…myself included.

You all make what I do here worth every minute and every penny. Thank you for being here, friends! Let’s have a great 2016!

Megan Signature

2015 Reader Survey!

Happy New Year, friends! I’m just popping in quickly to say that I’m going to be shifting my blog schedule to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays! This schedule will (hopefully) allow me to achieve a better home/work balance while still providing you fresh content on a regular basis! Sooooo…check back tomorrow because I have an awesome organization series kicking off and you won’t want to miss it! See you tomorrow! 
The Homes I Have Made Reader Survey 2015

Happy Monday, dear blog friends! And Merry Christmas and (early!) Happy New Year! I do hope you and yours’ all had a great holiday, and you are recovering from the hustle and bustle of it all. We have had the most wonderfully relaxing holiday so far…complete with lots of snuggles, movie watching, and family outings. Not only has our last week been festive and special, but all three of us have gotten the rest and rejuvenation we all badly needed.

While I plan to take one more week to spend time with my boys, relax a bit more, and brainstorm the year ahead, I did want to pop in today with a big ol’ favor for each of you sweet readers. This time last year, I hosted my very first blog survey…and the results I received were eye-opening, immensely helpful, and partially responsible for many of the positive changes I made here over this last year. So…I’m doing it again! If you could, pretty please, take a few moments and give me your honest feedback about my little corner here on the web, what I do here, and how well I do it. It’s not too many questions, and it should only take a few minutes, but I do hope you will be honest and genuine in your feedback. I have so many hopes, plans and dreams for this little site of mine, but I’m anxious to know what you guys like, don’t like, and want more of too!

If you’re reading in a web browser, the survey should appear below. If you’re reading this post in a reader (or for some reason the survey isn’t showing), please visit this link HERE to submit your responses!


Create your own user feedback survey
 

I know I say it often, but it’s certainly worth repeating. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to visit me here. Your comments, emails, likes, pins, and shares mean so much to me…and I am just so grateful that I get to share what I love so much with so many of you kind and generous hearts. I wish you a very happy and safe New Year, and I look forward to bringing you more great things here on THIHM!

Megan Signature