The Top 5 Apps To Make Your Instagram Pretty!

The Top 5 Apps To Make Your Instagram Pretty! | via Michelle Lynn Media

This post goes out to all my blogger and business friends who are struggling with the following:


  1. Instagram’s Algorithm

  2. Growing Your Social Media Accounts

  3. Maintaining An Engaged Audience

  4. And all the struggles that come with managing social media…


My Interior Design friend Cris, from Awaken Your Abode, who I have mentioned a few times on Instagram, recently introduced me to Michelle from Michelle Lynn Media - she’s a fabulous Instagram Coach so go check out her IG feed that I’ve linked.

Michelle is hosting a FREE 5-day challenge on how to create content that converts - the challenge starts Monday, January 14! You can sign up for the challenge here - it will be hosted on Facebook! All you need is 20 minutes a day for 5 days and she will teach you how to start creating content that converts followers into paying clients - or whatever your business/blog goal may be. For me, it’s creating content that converts my followers into site traffic and helps build my fan base.

Follow Michelle on Instagram here and sign up for the challenge here.


With that said, I wanted to shares some useful tips that I discovered through Michelle’s Facebook Group. She’s compiled a detailed list on the The Top 5 Apps To Make Your Instagram Pretty! I’ve used a few of them, but Michelle has several on the list that I’d never even heard of before - PLUS there are useful tips on how to use each app! I’ve already starting using some of of these to improve my Instagram Stories :)

And if you want more tips on social media, sign up for our mailing list and get the scoop from Michelle delivered right to your inbox!


If you don’t want more tips on social media and how to make your Instagram pretty, you can view the free guide below. If you don’t want to miss out and you want from Michelle and would love to get a free 1:1 Instagram Audit from her, then submit your email above and you’ll get an additional page with all of the details, plus a link to her private Facebook Group!

 

To Stay or Not to Stay? 3 Signs You Should Keep (or Leave) Your Job

Keep or Leave?

My BFF has been a constant source of inspiration throughout my years of blogging and has inspired yet another blog post today! Being that we are both in our mid/late 20's and navigating adult life, our careers are so important to us and we're constantly "hustling" and being girl bosses looking for the next move so we can achieve our dreams. 

Recently, she was faced with a tough challenge because she just started a new job several weeks ago, but received an offer out of the blue from her dream job! To stay or not to stay? Career coach and workplace issues expert Holly Caplan shares the answers in her article, "Should I Stay or Should I Go? Three signs you should keep your job and three signs you shouldn’t.


SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

3 Signs You Should Keep Your Job & 3 Signs You Shouldn’t
By Holly Caplan

How employees view their current companies & jobs:

• 71% of workers said they are looking to change employers
• 37% of engaged employees are looking for jobs or watching for opportunities, as are 56% of not engaged and 73% of actively disengaged employees
• 47% of people actively looking for new positions say company culture is the main reason

So if you are feeling like you need a job change, you are not alone. Here are three signs that maybe it is time to take the leap, and three signs that you should tough it out a bit longer:

 

3 Signs You Should Quit Your Job:

1.    Deficit in Development:

If you notice that your company isn’t doing anything to develop, train, or promote you, it is a sign that it may be time to go.  This is two-fold. First, it shows they have little interest in your future and how you contribute to the organization. Second, your professional growth can be hindered if the company does not actively develop or promote. This deficit can create frustration on the employee’s behalf and it shows that the company is not invested in their people.

2.    Getting Out of Bed:

 We all go through periods where our jobs are miserable, or we are just flat bored. Getting out of bed can feel like a chore itself.  If you are not mentally engaged in what you are doing for a living, don’t wait too long to make a change. Staying in a role you find completely uninspiring will do a number on your self-worth will and will be detected by your manager. When you feel this stagnancy or boredom linger, it is a sign that it is time to go. Give yourself the chance to find something new that will interest and inspire you!           

3.    High turnover:

Employees stay in their jobs if they actually like their work environment. If they have a good boss, work-life balance and consistency, they will stay for a while. But, if these components are not present, most people will jump ship. If you see your respected colleagues leaving right and left, know the issues are most likely systemic. This is a signal that it is time to find a new ship that is sailing in the right direction.

 

3 Signs You Shouldn’t Quit Your job:

1.    If you are under 12 months of employment:

This is the sweet spot, 12 months. Say you get involved in a job that you don’t feel is a right fit or you wish you didn’t take, do your best to make it last one year. Leaving at 6-9 months can look questionable to your next employer. Staying 12-18 months, even if you want to go, will show stability and that you were dedicated to this period of your career journey.

2.    Leadership change is coming:

When you see that the people above you are moving on or moving out, hold tight. This could mean a positive change for you. Their movement makes room for perhaps your advancement, a role change or maybe even just a better work culture. This type of transition can yield professional growth, so watch what happens and then figure out what this can mean for you!

3.    Look for a job while you have one:

It has been said, again and again, it is best to look for a new job while you have a job. Even if you know you want to quit, stick with your current position (barring horrible circumstances) while you are in the new job search. Clearly, by doing this, you are maintaining your current income, while at the same time you appear more marketable and desirable to your potential employer.

In today’s environment, there is a lot more freedom of choice based on social acceptance of job hops, which can work in your favor. If you find you are in disengaged or perhaps indifferent, don’t waste any more time. Assess your current professional situation and don’t be afraid to ask yourself if you should stay or if you should go.

Holly Caplan is a workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male-Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit,www.hollycaplan.com and connect with her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.


Everyone's career path is different, but keeping the above in mind can come in handy if you're unsure of what to do. What did my BFF do? She took her dream job is officially moving to Naples! I'm so proud of her for following her dreams and working hard to get where she is today. I can't wait to visit her so please send us recommendations for things to do in her new city!

 

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

Many of you ask me for advice about starting your own blog and I try to give quick tips here and there as best as I can, but today I thought it would be great to share an entire post dedicated to starting your own blog. You probably already have a few ideas in mind for names and content, but if you’re feeling completely lost don’t worry because we’re here to help! The main thing I want to show you today is how simple it is to set up a platform to publish your content. There are many different platforms to choose from, but today we’re going to discuss Squarespace because it’s the platform we use and in my opinion is the easiest and most seamless. So let’s get started!

 

Before You Begin

Hopefully you’re reading this post because you already have the key components of starting a blog - like a name and a niche. Although you can change these at anytime, it’s important to try to find something permanent that you’ll love forever - especially because you don’t want to confuse your audience by constantly changing things up and it can get costly to buy new domains - so pick name a stick to it.

Squarespace makes it super simple to search for and buy domains. Check to see if yours is available here. You can then purchase your domain following the steps below once you've signed up for your account.

Pro tip: do a quick social media search to ensure you can have the same name on any platforms you want to use. Our best advice? Keep it simple and easy to spell (a lifesaver).

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

1. Pick Your Template

Squarespace has a variety of templates available. Our favorites are Five (currently using), Farro (great for high quality imagery), Avenue (for simple galleries) and Anya (great for seamless scrolling on one page) - all gorgeous and easy to customize to your liking.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

 

2. Customize Your Site Title & Header

Your header is essentially the first impression. It's the first thing visitors see when they enter your site so consider it very important. You'll want to make sure it’s branded with either your logo or site title and easy to navigate. If you have a custom logo, you can upload it here or choose to stay with the matching font of your template. We chose to use our logo that also include the name our website.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

 

3. Set Up Your Site Navigation

You think about your navigation in terms of the topics you want to cover so that your readers can easily find your content. You can see how we’ve broken out our navigation into Food & Drink, Travel, Living, and more. If you decide to add footer navigation, make sure you replicate the main header so the two match in order.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

 

4. Create An "About Me" or "Contact" Page

People like to know who are they reading about and engaging with. Your About Me page will introduce you to readers and should give a bit of background information on you. You can combine your About Me page with a Contact page or keep them separate. We've done it both ways, but have them broken out into separate pages right now. Choose whichever way you prefer to do it - combining helps declutter your site navigation.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

 

5. Connect Your Social Channels

If you haven't noticed, blogging is all about connecting and engaging with other people so you'll want to make it easy for readers to find your social channels. Instagram will likely be your biggest channel so make you start with that account. Place your social handles at the top near your header and in your sidebar or footer if you're template has either. Squarespace makes it easy to set up connections, just watch this video if you need additional help.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

 

6. Begin Blogging

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Head to the blog section under your “Pages” and click the "+" symbol add your first post. We'll use our post "The REAL Cost of Buying a Home" as an example.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

I always leave a text box at the top of every post because it changes the format, but play around with it and decide what you like best. At the top of each post I recommend always using a main image that has a text overlay featuring the post title - this will come in handy in the future when you want to pin your posts and when readers begin to pin your posts! You can use Canva to easily add text overlays to your images if you don't have photoshop.

You can add tags and categories to help readers find your posts and to make it easier when you want to add "Summary Blocks" to share specific content across your home page or even other blog posts.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

Additionally, you can enter into the "options" tab to customize your content further. I regularly use the Post URL box to make sure my URL dates match the post publish dates whenever I have draft content going live or am pushing previously scheduled content live. You can also choose to feature content, which will also come in handy when using "Summary Blocks" on your homepage.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

Pro tip: Before pushing your blog live, make sure have 5 - 10 posts up to keep readers engaged. You can write these all at once and use the options tab to change the dates in the URL so they seem more authentically published. We recommend building out your content log even further and using the "draft" or "schedule" options so you always have a backlog of content ready.

 

BONUS: 7. Constantly Customize

You should think of your template as a guide to designing your blog rather than letting it stand as is. While no two blogs are ever the same, you can make yours stand our even more by tweaking the template and adding your own elements. Don't stress out about this too much, trust me you will end up changing things around throughout the years, but keep it in mind.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

We added a sidebar to all of our pages that includes the social media handles, newsletter sign up, archives, our pinterest board and more. Check to see if your template included a sidebar, otherwise you will have to play around with your home page and manually create one yourself.

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

We used a "Summary Block" on the home page to showcase our most recent posts using the "featured post" filter I mentioned earlier. You can do a lot with the "Summary Block" feature so it's important to use tags and categories accurately so that you can easily group your content together. The block below the featured post on our homepage also a "Summary Block" that automatically pulls in our most recent posts. 

How To Start A Blog: Squarespace

If you've read our "How To Make Money Blogging" post then you may have noticed the "Additional Resources" summary block at the bottom - this is where tagging and categories come into play and become a life saver! I have tagged every resource post with "resource" and created a summary block that automatically pulls in each article using the tags option. This has made it super easy for my readers to navigate to other posts that they may find helpful.

 
 

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to start a blog using Squarespace. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us here. You can find additional resources below.

 

How To Grow Your Instagram

How To Grow Your Instagram

6 SIMPLE WAYS TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM 

So you want to increase your following on Instagram? With millions of users posting beautiful photos it's definitely my favorite social media outlet and well-loved by others. Having a large follower means more views on your blog (or sales for your business) and  therefore more opportunities for sponsorship and collaboration with other bloggers.

So, how does one obtain thousands of followers? Well, today I'm sharing 10 easy tips that will help you grow your Instagram following!

 

1. CREATE A COHESIVE FEED

Before you do anything, you should decide on an overall aesthetic and theme. You can view my feed here for example. I use the sample filters and follow the seasons, but have my own aesthetic that you can identify with my blog. I use the VSCO App to edit my photos and highly recommend using it if you're not currently using a photo editor.

2. LIKE PHOTOS WITHIN YOUR NICHE

Right after I started my blog, I created my Instagram feed and quickly built up 4,000 followers within the first 2 months. I did this by literally spending hours liking other people's photos throughout the day. I created a list of relevant, yet highly used, hashtags (#Coffee, #Brunch, etc.) and would like each photos that had been posted within 1-2 minutes under those tags. It also helps if you go to someone's feed, like a few photos and leave some genuine comments. By liking other people's photos, you're getting your name out there and driving people straight to your Instagram feed. You can also view the followers of your favorite Instagrammers or the people who comment on your favorite IG feeds and like their photos as well (since not everyone uses hashtags). This is the best way to grow your Instagram feed FAST. Remember, be authentic and avoid spamming.

3. ENGAGE WITH FANS

If someone comments on your photo, respond back! Engage with your fans and consider liking some of their photos and commenting on their work - even if you don't follow them - it will help strengthen your brand and build loyal fans. They may even tell their friends to follow you!

4. CREATE A HASHTAG 

Build your own community within Instagram with a unique hashtag! All you have to do is create your own hashtag like how I created #chaoswithcoffee, use it and then encourage others to use it when they post. Many big Instagrammers do this, for example VSCO uses #vscocam and A Beautiful Mess uses #ABMLifeIsColorful, #ABMLifeIsBeautiful and more - millions of people now share photos with these hashtags. Once people start using your hashtag, you can ask to feature their beautiful content on your feed, which will further build your brand, following and content library.

5. GEOTAG YOUR PHOTOS

Remember that really cool restaurant you ate brunch at? Well, when you're ready to post the photo you took of your eggs benedict and mimosa, use a GEOTAG! Other people will who have used (or later on use) the same geotag will potentially see your photo and discover your Instagram feed!

6. COLLABORATE

Reach out to other Instagrammers or bloggers and ask to collaborate. It might sound scary, but you'd be surprised how many other bloggers or brands are in the same boat as you! Work together to host contests or take over each other's feeds! If you live in the same area, meet up for coffee and then share photos, tagging each other, on your feeds. Be creative and make it fun!

BONUS: hashtag your photos with #chaoswithcoffee for a change to be featured on my Instagram feed! You can also email me directly at hello@chaoswithcoffee.com if you're interested in collaborating or have additional questions regarding this post.

 
 

Check out our Instagram feed below for inspiration and don't forget to share your content with us using #chaoswithcofee

How To Make Money Blogging

How To Make Money Blogging

3 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING

So you want to make money with your blog? Well, I'm here to show you three ways that you can earn extra income through blogging. There are many ways you can earn money by blogging, but I am going to show you the easiest and most effective ways to do so as long as you are willing to work hard and put in the extra hours.

Izea: 

Izea is a creator marketplace for bloggers and social media influencers. Izea works with local businesses and top brands, such as Ford, who are willing to pay you to do what you love: create content in your own voice. Izea is great because it the platform is really simple to use and you can set up an account here for free! They have a great support team as well who is standing by to help you reach your goals an maximize your income. I love working with Izea because they make it super easy to find sponsored content opportunities on a variety of platforms aside from just my blog, such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. All you have to do is sign-up here and Izea brings the advertisers to you. The only thing you have to do is set your own prices and explain why advertisers should work with you.

ACTIVATE by Bloglovin'

Activate is another influencer platform that has quickly become a favorite! I recently discovered Activate and have already started generating a profit. Activate is another easy-to-use platform where you can apply for sponsored blog posts, social content and more. Signup for Activate here, it's easy and FREE!

Linqia:

Linqia is another extremely awesome influencer platform. I have definitely made the most money through Linqia by creating sponsored blog posts and sharing target tweets and sponsored content on my social platforms. Linqia is free influencer network, however you have to apply in order to be accepted. Before joining, make sure you have a Google Analytics account set up for your blog because you will be required to submit a screenshot of your insights, but don't worry this is mostly just so they can gauge how much you should get paid for your content. You can sign up for your Linqia account here and I HIGHLY recommend you apply. They have a high acceptance rate and the best relationships with TOP tier advertisers, such as Advil, U by Kotex, and many more who are willing to pay big bucks for sponsored blog posts.

 
 

I hope you enjoy exploring these wonderful influencer networks! I'll continue to update this page as I learn about more platforms that can help bring in additional income. Let me know if you'd like to see more tips or email me if you have additional questions: hello@chaoswithcoffee.com