12 Favorite Blog Posts

12 Favorite Blog Posts

I recently celebrated 1 year of blogging here at Aduke Schulist, and while I sort of let the year slip by without doing as much as I wanted, I still marvel at the progress I made here. I am always so humbled that even 1 person finds interest in my writing, let alone all of you who faithfully read and comment – us bloggers live for comments – on Aduke Schulist.

In celebration of the past 12 months, I wanted to first share with you my 12 favorite blog posts from the past year.

12 Favorite Blog Posts by Aduke Schulist

1. Get Down Downtown 2016 – Outdoor Festival

One of my first posts on this new blog covered a yearly event called Get Down Downtown. Coincidentally that same event is coming up soon, so be on the lookout for this years coverage.
Get Down Downtown - Street Festival - Vendor Event 2016

2. Day Out at the Outlets of Little Rock

I enjoyed a girls day out with fellow blogging friend Tiffany while we shopped and learned about some of the great deals being offered by stores in the Outlets of Little Rock Shopping Mall (I still want those shoes! Why have I not bought them yet?!)

We had good food, good fun, and good memories. I can’t tell you how many times I have been back, but even the kids enjoy it.

Outlets of Little Rock

3. We are… ADOPTING! – Single Mom Adoption

We announced we are adopting. Since then, so much has changed, but not the desire to adopt. I have been putting off updating regarding the process, because there isn’t a whole lot to update at this time, but know that we are STILL planning on adopting! The time line has just been pushed back a bit while I hammer out some details.

4. Stand Still. Stay Strong. Have a VOICE.

It’s hard for me to stand up for myself and to speak my mind, but for 2017 I chose VOICE as my word of the year. With every decision I make, I am reminded of this word and what it means to me to have a say in my life.

I have noticed that I am a much stronger person because of this. I am not as easily intimidated. It has taken a lot of work, and is still a work in progress, but the progress is what’s important.

5. Fertility Awareness Method Explained and Tracking for Health

I gotta admit, I cringed myself when writing this post about the Fertility Awareness Method. Not because I don’t believe in it, but I was nervous of the reactions I would get. It still baffles me that some women are so ignorant about their own bodies. I was once one of them! Learning about my body and it’s functions has empowered me.

Ovulatory Cycle using Kindara for Fertility Awareness Method - Natural Birth Control

6. Mommy Med Spa Day – A Day Of Pampering and Pedicures

I joined Tiffany again for a day of pampering provided by the Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa, Arkansas’s first med spa. That is a day I would love to re-live. Everything about the Spa was so relaxing, and my pedicure lasted for weeks!

Getting My Pedicure On At Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa in Little Rock

7. 5 Reasons I Have Body Hair

Things got a little hairy when I shared 5 Reasons I Have Body Hair.

Woman with Armpit Hair - Natural Body Hair

I was surprised at how supportive some of the comments were. I was really expecting to be bombarded with how gross it is.

8. Boy Scout Camp & Disabilities

Both of my boys are in Boy Scouts, and this Summer, they both attended their first week long Boy Scout camp. Because of Losh’s disabilities and his need for assistance, I had to attend with him.
Boy Scout Camp - Camp Rockefeller - 2017

We had so much fun. I had hesitations with going, but looking back, it was a blast. I even learned how to tie a few knots myself.

9. 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My love of reading was shared when I posted about the 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge. Because of it, I found a few new favorite authors. This year, I did not participate in a reading challenge.

10. Why Being A Single Parent Is Awesome

My kids mean everything to me, and while parenting them alone is a challenge, there is so much to love. I shared some of my favorite things in Why Being A Single Parent Is Awesome.

11. Before You Get 4-H Chickens

My desire to raise chickens for eggs was somewhat fulfilled last year when we raised our first flock of baby chicks.

4-h-chickens-walking-in-food

Spoiler: most of them died, and we ultimately didn’t get a single egg, but learned a lot and are patiently awaiting an egg from our second flock of chickens.

12. Hashimoto’s and Dietary Changes

Sharing my health journey began when I learned that I had Hashimoto’s and started taking medication to treat it. I posted about how I am making dietary changes to help keep this in check…

Thyroid Medication for Hashimoto's Levothyroxine

It’s hard y’all! I’m still struggling with removing gluten from my diet, but have drastically reduced my intake. I don’t notice any difference yet.

So, there you have it.. my 12 favorite posts from the last 12 months. I hope you took the time to view a few of these as you were making your way down the list. Tell me below in the comments…

Which one of these was your favorite?

How To Start A Blog

How To Start A Blog

I’ve been blogging since the early 2000’s. Since then, I’ve had many people ask me how to start a blog. Because blogging means so much to different people, it is hard to give a simple answer.

This post contains affiliate links.

If you have any intention of growing your blog into a business, or making money with it, then the answer is a little more complicated than simply signing up for an account on WordPress, Blogger, or one of the other many blogging platforms available these days.

If you want to stand out from the competition (and let’s be real, there are a LOT of blogs out there), then you want to make sure you do it right. These are the things I recommend you do if you are curious how to start a blog:

How To Start A Blog with Bluehost by Aduke Schulist

Choose A Niche

The first thing to decide is WHAT you want to blog about. This could be food, lifestyle, health, parenting, DIY, etc.  Make sure you are passionate about your subject. Keep in mind, general lifestyle blogs (like Aduke Schulist) can cover a lot of different topics, but should still be narrowed down to a few categories. Not everybody is interested in just you. They want to know what you can do for them. For the purpose of this blog, we are going to assume you want to blog about parenting.

Choose A Name

Now that you have decided what you want to blog about, the next step is choosing a name. Make sure the name you choose is available on every single social media platform. You don’t want to be NewMommy23 on Twitter and NewMommy532 on Instagram Because NewMommy has already been taken on those platform. The goal here is to be consistent.

Make sure the name reflects the content. Are you still going to be a New Mommy 2-3 years after starting your blog? Are you comfortable with sharing only content geared towards other new moms?

Purchase A Domain Name & Host

Once you have figured out your name, it’s time to build the foundation. This includes purchasing a domain name and securing the name on all social media platforms. Securing the name just involves creating a new account, or page on FaceBook, with your chosen name on each social media platform.

There is much debate whether the domain name and host should be with the same company. I’ve tried it both ways and really have no preference. You can purchase a new domain name as well as host your existing domain name with some companies like Bluehost. Bluehost offers hosting for as little as $3.95 per month and is who I use.
How To Start a Blog using Bluehost

Install WordPress

There are various ways to actually write your blog, but WordPress is the most common, supported, and easiest to use option. Thankfully, Bluehost has the ability to install WordPress – and keep it up to date – automatically when you install using your Bluehost account.

Start blogging

That’s it! It’s now time for the fun part: Blogging!

This is the moment you waited for. You have everything in place, WordPress has been installed, now you can blog until your heart is content.

To help me stay organized and keep a record of various things, I use the Epic Blog Planner.

Epic Blog Planner - Editorial Blogging Calendar

It’s an editorial calendar with so much information. It’s designed to help you figure out where your blog is going. You can find the Epic Blog Planner on Amazon.

What kind of blog would you start? Or, what kind of blog do you have now? 

How To Start a Blog using Bluehost

March & April 2017 Blog Goals & Report

March & April Blog Report

About 2 months ago, I shared my first ever blog report. In it, I told you guys how I was coming along with this “new” blog and some of the goals I had for the upcoming months. I’m here today to update again and set some more goals.

March started off strong. I had my plan all laid out and must say I stuck to it pretty well.. and then came April and everything went downhill. I had a plan to update with a new post every 4th day. Between writing and promoting the posts that I updated, I was busy! I definitely saw progress though.

Then in April, I didn’t follow the “post every 4th day” schedule I had intended. I missed posting 5 times that month, but still saw a good amount of engagement considering I had half the amount of posts.

March & April Blog Goals and Report

BY THE NUMBERS:

March’s Numbers:
# of Posts: 8 (+5)
# of comments: 127
# of sponsored posts: 1
# of views: 430 (+128)

April’s Numbers:
# of Posts: 4 (-4)
# of comments: 93
# of sponsored posts: 0
# of views: 306 (-124)

Blog Posts Worth Mentioning

In March, my daughter started attending a weight loss clinic. It has helped our entire family take a look at our choices and make healthier ones.

I attended a sponsored event at the Outlets of Little Rock with some fellow bloggers. Who wouldn’t love to get paid to drink Starbucks and shop?!

Then, in April I posted an informative article about the Fertility Awareness Method and how I use it as birth control.

And finally, I revealed my DIY Laundry Room Reveal using items from the Dollar Tree and Big Lots.

Social Media Followers:

I’m going to be honest here.. I’m a little bummed at the lack of progress across my social media platforms. In fact, I went backwards on some of these! I am mostly bummed about Instagram. I put a lot of effort into my Instagram, sharing some of the best images at the most ideal times, and LOST followers. Ugh!

Regarding Twitter: I used to follow everybody who followed me, but then realized I didn’t want to be spammed with blog links / sponsored content every time I went on there. It ultimately led me to using Twitter less and less because I just wasn’t interested in those who I was following and was no longer enjoying it. I cleaned up my list and “unfollowed” a lot of people which led to them unfollowing me also. I really have no problem with that as I’d rather have those who are truly interested in my content as followers and not those that are just there for a follow.

So, here is what my numbers looked like from the end of February until now.

YouTube: 1,024 / 1069 (+45)
Facebook: 1,141 / 1145 (+4)
Twitter: 759 / 741 (-18)
Instagram: 1,945 / 1935 (-10)
Pinterest: 793 / 794 (+1)

Total gain: 50

March & April Goal Check-Up

My goals were:

  • Post at least 6 times (each month)
    • FAIL. I was *this.close* to making this one.
  • Double my page views (from February)
    • FAIL. I was on track in March, but slacked off in April.
  • Get at least 60 comments (each month)
    • SUCCESS! I went beyond this goal.
  • Increase my social media following
    • SUCCESS! Even though I lost followers, my total amount increased, so I am considering this one a win.
  • Use Pinterest more
    • SUCCESS! I’m not sure if this will show on my next report, but I have been using pinterest more and more.

Additionally, I had a goal to create a media kit, and update my privacy policy and disclosure policy which I completed. All in all, I would say not too bad.

May & June Goals

I know we are already nearing the end of May, but humor me here.. These are the goals I have set for May and June.

  • Make my blog a priority! Life has been super busy in other areas and I haven’t set aside enough time to really do what I’ve wanted to with my blog. Now that some things are taken care of (I’m looking at you chicken coop!) I have more time to give to my blog.
  • Continue working on increasing social media following
  • Reach out to a few brands about collaborating
  • Network with other bloggers
  • Guest post on another blog

That about wraps it up. I can’t say I’m disappointed with my progress, especially given the effort I put into it, but I am hoping that May and June look a little better.

Curious what my blog report from January & February looked like? You can see it here.  

How To Be A Blogging Boss (And Stay On Track With Blogging)

How To Be A Blogging Boss (And Stay On Track With Blogging)

Do you know a Blogging Boss? Somebody who does it all, has a super busy life, yet consistently produces quality content? I call these people Blogging Bosses. I picked the brains of some of my favorite blogging bosses and what they told me was all similar. Here is how to be a Blogging Boss and stay on track with blogging.

How To Be A Blogging Boss - Tips to Stay on Track With Blogging by Aduke Schulist

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. 

Plan Ahead

Keep a list of everything that must be done and use it to plan ahead. Prioritize tasks and complete the most important ones first. Use a calendar, app, physical planner, or something that helps you see what needs to be done on a daily basis. Use what fits your lifestyle.

Keep a list of all the “overdue” tasks that need to be done. This includes those things you have been pushing back for weeks or months. Schedule these tasks into your plan. Make it a priority to complete one of these tasks every week until you are caught up.

Write in Batches

If you are anything like me, then it is sometimes hard to sit down and focus on writing a blog post. There are so many distractions and my mind just isn’t in it.

Pick a day to just write posts. You will be amazed at how many posts you can get written in a single day.  When I get those moments where I am really focused and my mind is there, I’ve found it easy to knock out 3 or 4 posts before even getting up. Then…

Schedule Content

Once you have written a few blog posts, schedule them throughout the week or month, depending on how often you publish new articles. When I finally sat down and put together a plan for this blog, I decided that every 4th day I would post an article. This way it is easy for me to keep up with what needs to be done and I am able to schedule posts in advance.

Be Consistent With Images

I recently found this one out the hard way. I always just made an image depending on the mood I was in. This wasn’t good for a lot of reasons. For one, it took a lot of time, and for two, my brand wasn’t easily recognizable by the images I was putting out. When I started using a template that I had created for my images I found it so much easier and less stressful. I felt like I was a blogging boss. Now, all of my images match and it only takes me a few seconds to create an image.

Get up Early

This is not one I find myself doing… like EVER! I’m not a morning person, and getting up early to work is not appealing to me. I haven’t found myself setting alarms yet, but if they say it works, then I probably should.

I am more of the stay up late kind of blogger who is working when the kids are in bed. Plus, my kids are awake the moment they hear noise in the house.

Work Time = Work Time

Stay focused and on task by making work time only for work. Set a timer if you need to, and take short breaks for every 15-20 minutes that you work, but schedule time just for work.

I call myself multitasking, but that’s basically me saying I am not truly focusing on my work when I am working. I tend to have twelve windows and two or three conversations going at anytime. I know I could get a lot more done if I followed this advice consistently and closed out those distractions. Being a single parent who homeschools, I also find this one a little hard. I don’t really have time away from my kids, so interruptions are constant. Perhaps that is where getting up early comes into play.

Be Passionate

There came a point in my blogging career where I felt like I was blogging for everybody else and not for me and I noticed that I basically quit. That’s when I had to reignite the passion I had for blogging and get back to my roots.

If you are passionate about your blog, then it will come easy. But if you aren’t, switch things up until it feels right.

Goals

With all that said, I have some ideas of what I need to work on and I already have some goals on my blog report, but thought I should make a few more goals. These are all things I am committing to completing before my next blog report on May 5th.

  • Create Privacy Policy/Disclosure
  • Create an email list
  • Finish editorial calendar through June
  • Clear 2 sticky notes off of computer (These are lists of overdue tasks. I currently have 9 sticky notes on there and they are all full. Some have been there for a ridiculously long time.)

What are some ways you rock your blog as a blogging boss?

Do you have any overdue tasks?  

 

January & February 2017 Blog Report

January & February Blog Report

Are you comfortable sharing your income with the entire world? I’m not! But, I am all about accountability and progress. I know it’s a trend in the blogging world to share income and traffic reports and while I’m not quite comfortable sharing income reports yet, I thought it would be fun (and a great way to track progress) to share a general blog report.

I will be sharing these bi-monthly along with my goals for the upcoming months. Because this is my first one I am sharing a little bit more. Let’s see how I did with my first blog report…

January & February Blog Report by Aduke Schulist

By the Numbers:

2016’s Numbers:
Blog Created: September 23, 2016
# of Blog Posts in 2016: 11
# of comments in 2016: 21
# of sponsored posts: 1
# of views: 1,088

January’s Numbers:
# of Posts: 2
# of comments: 21
# of sponsored posts: 0
# of views: 152

February’s Numbers:
# of Posts: 4
# of comments: 3
# of sponsored posts: 0
# of views: 302

Note-worthy Happenings:

At the end of February, I did a slight re-vamp of my blog, making it more user-friendly and doing some customizations to my theme.

I streamlined my images, not only making them easier to create, but also matching my branding.

Blog Posts Worth Mentioning

We announced we are adopting in: We are… ADOPTING! – Single Mom Adoption

..and answered some questions that stemmed from that announcement in: What Are You Adopting? (And other questions answered)

I shared the start of a DIY project in: DIY Laundry Room Makeover (In Progress)

and created a new series answering some questions single moms always get in: How Do I Do It? Financially? #SingleMom #Budget

Social Media Followers:

I made no attempts to grow my social media following professionally other than using social media on a personal level. I did reach a YouTube milestone. Our channel (where we started regularly posting videos in November of 2013) reached 1,000 subscribers. While I do generate an income from YouTube, I do not put any professional effort into it and am very humbled by each and every one of those subscribers who find interest in our daily life happenings.

YouTube: 1,024
Facebook: 1,141
Twitter: 759
Instagram: 1,945
Pinterest: 793

March & April Goals

As far as my March and April goals, I hope to:

  • Post at least 6 times (each month)
  • Double my page views (from February)
  • Get at least 60 comments (each month)
  • Increase my social media following
  • Use Pinterest more

Are you a blogger who does income or blog reports? I’d love to see yours. Feel free to share them in the comments.