The Importance of Creating a Special Learning and Playing Corner for Your Kids

The Importance of Creating a Special Learning and Playing Corner for Your Kids

The process of learning is complex, and it requires much more than parents’ attention, teachers and books. In fact, many experts often view the environment as the “third teacher”, because it enhances or interferes learning and independence. Playing, as a special form of learning, also deserves some attention, especially in younger kids’ rooms. Let us see the reasons behind this before moving on to some practical tips about creating these zones and making our kids’ childhood the best and most productive it can be.

The “third teacher” phenomenon

The way the kids’ room is set up will contribute to the overall atmosphere and affect children’s behavior and skills. Ideally, the environment should pose both challenges and opportunities. And while there should be easy-to-access objects and easy-to-tackle toys, kids should also be presented with some challenges that will motivate them to use their logic and motor skills to achieve a goal (e.g. building blocks). Also, it is very important for the kids to feel safe and protected in their rooms.

Isn’t the entire room a “third teacher” then?

Of course it is. Kids (especially younger) will learn a number of things in the most unexpected places, even in living rooms and kitchens, so you won’t be mistaken if you claim that the whole room is the kids’ learning space. However, when the kids acquire the basic skills and when they become ready for more studious learning, they should have a space where they can express their creativity and further develop their skills and intelligence.

Zoning the room

Although we should never set boundaries for our kids’ imagination, especially not in the space they think of as their own, zoning the room can help them focus on different activities. Here are some useful kids’ room zones you should consider:

  • Reading nook: Reading is not something we were born into, it is something we fall in love with slowly, if we start early. Instill your kids with passion for reading early on, by designing an imaginative reading nook (throw in some soft pillows, hang a canopy or construct a tepee and install a bookshelf).
  • Motor skills area: Depending on their age, this room zone can have various building blocks and similar toys, as well as indoor swings, floating ladder, swing hooks, gymnast rings and a climbing wall.
  • Logic skills corner: Logic and problem solving are great tools for children to use throughout their education and life. For younger kids, that zone should be filled with different shapes, names and objects, etc.
  • Arts & crafts nook: Creativity is an indispensable part of childhood and it should never be suppressed. On the contrary. Enhance your kids’ creative skills by introducing a drawing desk, collage papers, blackboard wall, interactive wallpaper, etc.
  • Studying station: Studying (for school kids), usually requires a working desk, a comfy chair and some “office supplies” (pens, papers, notebooks, etc.). Some older kids will also need a computer, but you should make sure they’re mature enough to use the computer responsibly.

If you are going to introduce more of these zones into the kids’ room, you should separate them aesthetically and spatially. Leave some free space between them and find attractive rugs online to create unique spaces.

Let there be freedom

Believe it or not, the most important space in kids’ room isn’t packed with toys, books, or any kind of other things. On the contrary, it is completely empty. Kids feel cramped in cluttered spaces, where they don’t have enough room to run, jump and create all sorts of imaginative scenarios. So, make sure you leave enough of free space in the middle of the room, and also enough space between different zones so that they can move freely throughout their room.

Our children are born with immense potential. What they are going to do with it is primarily up to us, especially in their early years. Therefore, it is crucial to create a friendly environment where their knowledge and confidence can thrive.

About author:

Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”

 

5 things I wish I knew before I started a blog

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Blogger

This post contains affiliate links and any purchases you make through these links will allow me to receive commission to help keep this blog running. I appreciate all of your support and thank you for any of the purchases you make through my links!

Has it really been over a year and a half since I posted my first blog post? I can’t believe that so much time has gone by since December 2015! I’m still thinking of myself as a relatively new blogger. My followers are going up, my income is rising, and the quality of my posts are improving. Yes, I’m advancing in the world of a blogger.

As I sit here today, I think about the many things I wish I would have known before I hit “Publish” on my first blog post. I’d like to share 5 of those things with you in hopes that it provides you with valuable advice, and helps you along your own blogging journey.

1. Creating a website takes forever

Ok, so there are these companies that claim you can throw a website up in a few minutes and be ready to start your blog. I assure you, a nicely designed and organized blog will take MUCH longer than a few minutes. For bloggers who are serious about monetizing and traffic growth, tossing up a free website is not a good route to take.

I like everything to be as close to perfect as possible.  I’ve spent tons of hours sifting through themes, trying out different layouts, and making different logos for the blog on Photoshop. If you’re telling yourself, “I just need to get online and make my first post,” think again. I look at my blog as does a retailer does for their products. I make sure everything I do puts a positive view on my blog, my content, and my reputation. Spend the extra time necessary in the very beginning to get it right. Don’t wait until your followers have abandoned you.

Like I said above, I look at my blog as a business, because it is! That means I’m the first, middle, and last set of eyes that looks at everything that goes on the blog. You really need to think about every aspect of the site.  Make it your own, make it presentable, and make it work for your readers.

2. Outline every blog post

Some bloggers say they just get online and write whatever comes to mind. I guess that’s one way to get going. But, as you begin to develop a following, and look for ways to help your readers, you need to show them you’ve put some thought and structure into your writing.  

In a post I wrote last January, “Why I Create An Outline For Every Blog Post,” I go through the steps I take to structure every blog post I write. If you are new to blogging, I highly suggest you read it and get familiar with what it takes to put a successful post together.

3. Don’t get discouraged if a post doesn’t go viral right away

In the beginning, I wrote what I thought were high-quality, sensational blog posts that were sure to draw in thousands of readers. You know what happened next? Nothing. Zilch. Zippo. Crickets.  I was heartbroken. All of the time, effort, and emotion I poured into my post went for nothing.

There are going to be times when you feel like no one wants to read your blog. Don’t give up. If you believe in what you are doing and write content that matters, people will soon join in and follow you too.  If you are posting just to post something, be prepared for the criticism. Check out my earlier post, “5 Reasons Why No One Cares About Your Blog.” If you are putting out crap, expect crap to follow it. You need to put real though into your posts and write posts that solve problems, provide advice, and give back to your readers.  Your posts should never always be about you. Write content that others can relate to and you’ll see a big difference.

WordPress Themes with a bang

4. Create a media kit right away

A lot of bloggers will tell you not to make a media kit at the beginning of your blogging career because you won’t have the brand relationships or traffic to really put forth an effort. I have always disagreed with this thinking. If you are setting yourself up as a serious blogger, making a media kit is a critical piece of marketing material you need to have right from the start. The great thing about media kits is that they can be updated as your followers and services grow.  It’s super easy to make one using Microsoft Word!

5. Don’t forget about old content

One thing I wish I knew when I started blogging was to never forget about old content.  Old content can still be relevant today.  Take these posts and update them if there is new information to add. Keep sharing your old content. If it drew in tons of views months ago, you can still make it work for you today. Revitalize your old content! Visitors want to see the old content just as much as the new, so continue to feed them the information that they want and need.

Another big reason you want to remember your old content is that social media accounts are moving so fast. Not sharing more than once will only hurt you. I recommend sharing your content several times per week.  Make it impossible for your followers to miss it. Be careful to draw a line between frequent sharing and oversharing. You have to find a good balance.

 

If you are a new or seasoned blogger, I would love to know of any additional tips and tricks that would help me or other bloggers like me. If you are getting ready to start your very own blog, I encourage you to ask questions in the comment section. I can’t wait to see what you have to say, and am looking forward to visiting your own blog.

 

Earn up to $7500 for one sale!

Chococurb Classic Subscription Box Review and Coupon

This post may contain affiliate links.  I may be compensated for any purchases you make by clicking on the link.  I was sent a free Chococurb Classic Subscription Box in exchange for my honest review of this product.  All opinions are my own. I am not a food or nutrition expert. If you have certain allergies to food products, it is your responsibility to review all nutritional information prior to purchasing or consuming these products. 

Chococurb Classic Subscription Box Review and Coupon

Subscription Box:  Chococurb Classic

Cost: $35 a month plus free shipping.

Coupon: 10% off with code GOASK 

Product Contents: 5 to 7 gourmet, premium chocolate items each month.

This product ships only to the United States.

Registration Process: It is a very easy process to set up your first Chococurb subscription box at www.chococurb.com. The homepage has a blue “Get Started” button. Clicking on this button sends you to the next page to complete your chocolate profile. The chocolate profile allows you to tell Chococurb what your preferences are so that your Chococurb Subscription Box can be customized.

The first step in completing your chocolate profile is to tell Chococurb why you are signing up for their service. Basically, there are three options:

  • One for those who want to upgrade their chocolate game.
  • Two for those who just love chocolate and want to learn more about it.
  • Three is for those who crave chocolate but don’t want to have to go to the store just to get it.

The second step in completing your chocolate profile is to tell Chococurb what your chocolate IQ is. You can choose from beginner, intermediate, advanced, or expert.

The third step is really getting into the fun part of setting up your subscription box. Here is where you tell Chococurb exactly what kind of chocolate you like. You can choose from milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. You then tell Chococurb what you want to put in your dream box. The options here include:

  • chocolate with alcohol
  • chocolate with caramel
  • chocolate with coffee
  • chocolate with fruit
  • chocolate with nuts
  • chocolate with spices
  • chocolate with tea
  • pure chocolate

Once you have completed your chocolate profile, you will be asked to enter in your first name, last name, email address, password, birthday, and an option to tell Chococurb how you heard about them. Pretty please….tell them you heard about them at Go Ask Your Daddy!

Once you hit the blue sign-up button, you are taken to the subscription page.  Here, you have two choices to choose from. The first choice is the Chococurb Mini Box, which comes with a personalized assortment of three gourmet, premium chocolate items each month. This choice starts at just $20 per month. The box I received, and will be reviewing today, is the Chococurb Classic Box. If you’re interested in ordering the Classic Box, select the blue choose button to proceed to check out.

You are presented with three different subscription choices:

  1. One month
  2. Three months
  3. Six months

Once you have selected your subscription, enter in your shipping address. If you have a promo code, which you do at the top of this review, enter it in the box and hit the blue apply button. You’ll then be given your subtotal and the total for your purchase.

Once you’ve entered in your shipping and billing information, you will then complete your purchase. From here on out, you will wait less than a week for your first personalized subscription box to arrive in the mail.

What came in my box:

I received 5 pieces of chocolate in the complementary subscription box that Chococurb sent me for review purposes:

  • Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate
  • Fran’s Macadamia Gold Bar
  • Pitch Dark Pinot Noir Salt & Chocolate
  • Amedi Toscano Blond
  • Theo Cinnamon Horchada

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate 

Chococurb Classic Subscription Box Review and Coupon

Ingredients: Organic Cacao & Organic Cane Sugar

Weight: 2 oz (57g)

Value: $8.50

Taste Test Results: This one was my favorite of the 5 pieces because I enjoy very sweet chocolates with mixed in cherry flavors.


Fran’s Macadamia Gold Bar

Chococurb Classic Subscription Box Review and Coupon

Ingredients: Caramel and macadamia nuts covered in dark chocolate

Weight: 1.5 oz (42g)

Value:  $5

Taste Test Results: Not my overall favorite, but is one that tasted great and left me wanting for more. I normally like my chocolate without nuts, but this one is one I’d buy more of because it was the perfect mixture.


Pitch Dark Pinot Noir Salt & Chocolate

Chococurb Classic Subscription Box Review and Coupon

Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar, cocoa butter, Jacobsen Pinot Noir Sea Salt

Weight: 1.86 oz (52.7g)

Value: $8.00

Taste Test Results: I’ve never been a fan of salty chocolate, and it remains true with this one. It just didn’t have the flavor I’d expect from a piece of chocolate I’m known to buy.


Amedi Toscano Blond

Chococurb Classic Subscription Box Review and Coupon

 

Chococurb Classic Subscription Box Review and Coupon

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, dried fruit (10% peach, apricot), vanilla. Cocoa min. 63%. May contain traces of hazelnut, almond, pistachio, walnut, milk.

Weight: 50g

Value: $7.83

Taste Test Results: Absolutely perfect chocolate! I don’t normally associate fine chocolate coming from Italy, at least chocolate I’ve had in the past, but this one surprised me!  I would order this one again!


Theo Cinnamon Horchada

Chococurb Classic Subscription Box Review and Coupon

Ingredients: Cane Sugar+, Cocoa Beans+, Cocoa Butter+, Milk Powder, Crisped Brown Rice*, Crisped Quinoa+, Cinnamon+, Ground Vanilla Bean*+. CONTAINS: MILK
*Organic +Fair Trade Contains 79% FT Ingredients. Allergen Information: Manufactured on shared equipment with products containing eggs, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts.

Weight: 1.9 oz (53g)

Value: $3.00

Taste Test Results: Chocolate mixed with cinnamon and quinoa? Definitely a first for me, but surprisingly, was one of my favorite! Very tasty!


Overall Review: This is the very first chocolate subscription box I have tried, and honestly, I’m not one to pay $35 per month just for chocolate. I will say, though, that if you are a true chocolate connoisseur, Chococurb hits the sweet spot in terms of quality. These chocolates measure up to par with chocolates I had while traveling in Germany. I like that there are two boxes.  If the Classic box is a little out of your budget, the Mini box surely can satisfy both your sweet tooth and your wallet.  If you haven’t already, give Chococurb a try today with an exclusive 10% off coupon code for Go Ask Your Daddy readers – GOASK.

Check out all of my reviews here!

Great Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Great Mothers Day Gift Ideas

I can’t believe it’s almost Mother’s Day! Winter has flown by and now spring is in full bloom. You still have plenty of time to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift. If you are like me, coming up with a great gift idea every year can be a challenge.  Here are some great gift ideas surely to put a smile on mom’s face!

Flowers

Great Mothers Day Gift Ideas

There are always great deals on flowers for Mother’s Day. You can never go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of roses, lilies, or tulips. Many of the main stream florists will put out coupon codes especially for Mother’s Day. Search the web for the flower special for Mother’s Day and you’re sure to find great discounts. You can also never go wrong with a local florist. If you have a trusted shop you’ve used in the past, call them and ask if there is a repeat customer discount, or any other special discount available for Mother’s Day.

Breakfast in Bed

Great Mothers Day Gift Ideas

What mom doesn’t like to have breakfast in bed?  This is a very simple way to show mom how much you appreciate all that she does for the family. Have your dad help you make a simple breakfast items such as pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, and orange juice.

The most important thing about this gift is to not let mom do any of the work. If you are the husband, make this the first thing she sees in the morning. By now, hopefully you know what she likes and what she doesn’t like. Make the start of her day relaxing, tasting, and special! Men, you will have to wake up early to accomplish this. Take the time and make an effort to make this gift extra special for her!

A Spa Day

Great Mothers Day Gift Ideas

We have several local spas in the Dayton area that are top notch. They often provide special services for moms around the Mother’s Day holiday. All it takes is a phone call or a visit to local spas to find out what deals they have. I recommend scheduling her a massage and a pedicure. This is a gift that Mom will surely love and can use anytime she’s ready. Plus, it gives her time to herself to relax without the husband or kids for a while!

I’ve given my wife a spa day gift before, and it’s always been one of those gifts she almost always immediately uses. Be creative with the services you choose for her. Don’t be afraid to call and ask about the spa’s most popular services. Many spas offer monthly or annual memberships. This is a great opportunity to schedule these appointments for her ahead of time and all she has to do is show up. Great, huh?

Maid Service

Great Mothers Day Gift Ideas

OK, this may be one of the more expensive gifts to get mom for Mother’s Day, but can truly be something that she really enjoys. No mom will tell you she would not enjoy having a maid service come do a full cleaning of the house. Prices for maid services will depend on the size of your house, and the level of detail work you would like to have done. One good idea for this gift is to make it a surprise. Schedule the cleaning for a time when you know she’ll be out of the house, and when she returns home she’ll come home to a clean house. An instant Mother’s Day success!

One piece of advice for you if you do choose to hire a maid service to surprise your wife or mom is to call several companies to get comparative rates. Some companies book out well in advance, so know what you want and when you want it weeks before Mother’s Day. Some companies also only stay for a minimum. Decide what you want cleaned (I suggest the dirtiest spots in the house (kitchen, living room, bathrooms, KIDS’ ROOMS!)

Kids can contribute too!

It’s very important for dads to include the kids in with gift-giving on Mother’s Day. It’s easy to factor them out of the decision since they don’t usually have a lot of money saved for a gift. Gifts from kids can be personally-made free gifts that mom will love.

With the vast variety of social media networks out there, there are even more and more opportunities to give mom an electronic gift. There’s a great Mother’s Day song on Youtube that moms will surely love. Dads, help your kids craft a special email that falls into mom’s email box on Mother’s Day. When she watches the video, she’s sure to have a melted heart and a giant grin on her face.

Pinterest also has such a great selection of ideas. Simply perform a search for Mother’s Day gift ideas for kids, and you’ll be presented with more than you could possibly imagine. The key is to let your kids do the work and let them present it to mom on Mother’s Day. My mom always told me that the gift she loves the most were the gifts that my brother and I made for her. We don’t have to spend a lot of money to show mom how much we appreciate her. Just kids make from the heart are the ones that mom will treasure for years and years to come.

Don’t procrastinate

Great Mothers Day Gift Ideas

If you’re like any man, the tendency is there to procrastinate. The key to finding great gifts at a great price is to continue searching for the best coupon codes and the best services weeks before Mother’s Day. A lot of merchants put out their Mother’s Day products at least a month in advance. Do your research, decide what gift are going to buy, and don’t wait until the last minute.

Speak back

Are you a mother? What have been your favorite Mother’s Day gift? What ideas do you have that you could share with the readers today? Let us know in the comments below. I look forward to reading what you have to say!

Outdoor Fun With The Kids

It’s getting to the time of the year when we can spend more time outdoors with our children. After all, the last few months we have been locked inside doing activities such as crafting and cooking. And while it can be educational and fun for kids, it can leave you longing for a bit of outdoor fun. Thankfully, now is the time where we can get some sun while having some fun. However, a lot of dads get stuck on what to do with their children. Therefore, here are some outdoor activities that your kids, and you, will love!

Go for a day out cycling with the kids

Now is the time to dust off those bikes as it’s a perfect time to do some cycling with the kids. After all, you can go out and enjoy the sun while taking in the local views. And biking is definitely something the whole family can get involved in. You can all get on your bikes and then follow a planned route. You can even stop for some lunch half-way at a park which is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your kids. And a bike ride is a great chance for you to bond with your kid. After all, you can talk while you are biking around the local area. And having something you both enjoy doing will ensure you get plenty of quality time together. Moreover, cycling is an active sport that will help you all to stay fit. Therefore, there is a ton of benefits for your health too!

Outdoor Fun With The Kids

Pixabay

Take the kids on a hiking adventure

You can also enjoy the outdoors while having a great family day out by going hiking. After all, it can be a fun day out for the whole family. You get to enjoy amazing views while getting fit at the same time. And it’s the perfect way to enjoy the sunshine with your family. Of course, if you are going hiking, you need to make sure the kids have all the kit they require including a good pair of hiking boots. In fact, you can look online on websites like the FamilyFuntures site to ensure you get everything you need for the outdoor activities. And the kids are bound to love hiking so it can become a hobby you all enjoy doing together. To finish off the day with a bang, you might want to camp overnight. After all, you can all have fun around the campfire telling stories and singing songs. And the kids will love spending the night in their own tent!

Spend some time gardening in the yard

You don’t have to even leave your property to have some outdoor fun. You can head outside in the garden for a fun time doing some gardening with the kids. You might be surprised how much the kids actually enjoy digging and watering the plants. And if you set tasks such as planting certain flowers or vegetables, it can be a fun experience for all. In fact, the kids will love watching the fruit and veg growing over time. And then it can ensure they are more keen to eat them when they are fully grown!

And remember heading out to the park can be a fun activity for the whole family during the summer months!

How to Start a Blog in 2017

How to Start a Blog in 2017

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll make a little bit of pocket change to keep this blog up and running when you make a purchase through them.  Thanks as always for your support!

Crazy 8 Sale On Now!

There are millions upon millions of blogs in the world. If you’ve finally decided to take the opportunity to earn some extra income by blogging, this is the post for you. My goal today is to explain the critical steps necessary to getting off to a strong start in the blogging world

I’m relatively new to the blogging world. I didn’t start until late 2015. At that time, my blog wasn’t about making money, but more about documenting my experiences as a dad of 4 kids. As I slowly got acquainted to the blogging world, I quickly began to realize that I needed to do more than just write.

Why Start A Blog in 2017?

There are many reasons you would want to start a blog. Here are a few of those:

  • Make money – Most people start a blog as a way to earn a full-time income, or to supplement existing income.  Blogging has a very low startup cost and the level of knowledge needed to succeed is relatively low. This doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. Running a blog is hard work and takes a lot of time and effort.
  • Promote your business – If you already have a business, starting a blog is a great way to promote the business and connect with your clients.
  • Connect with others – Blogging is a fantastic way to build common ground, touch lives, and form communities of like-minded individuals. I can’t tell you how valuable the new connections I’ve made are to the success of my blog.

Steps to get up and running today

Here are the main topics we’ll touch on today.  After reading these steps, you should be able to have your blog up and running within minutes.

  1. Determine your subject matter
  2. Decide on a platform
  3. Choose a web hosting provider
  4. Find a creative domain name
  5. Choose a theme
  6. Write your first post
  7. Share your posts
  8. Incorporate affiliate links
  9. Continuously improve

Determine your subject matter

The very first step in starting a blog is figuring out what you are going to write about.  I don’t care if you are the most popular person in the world, if you write about lame and boring topics, no one is going to waste time reading what you have to say. You must choose what you are going to focus on before you move any further in the process, because the theme and domain name of your blog will depend on this. My blog, Go Ask Your Daddy, focuses on several topics that I know a lot about – blogging tools and tips, parenting tips from a dad’s perspective, and the Catholic faith.

You need to do a lot of research before you decide on your niche. Find out what subject matter does well. Know your audience – who are you talking to?  My blog caters to several types of audiences. For the blogging tips, it caters to just about anyone curious about starting and promoting a blog.  I’ve found that mostly women between the ages of 25-35 are interested in what I have to say on parenting topics. The key to succeeding in your niche is knowing who you are gearing your content to, and catering your posts to them.

Decide on a blogging platform

Okay, so you’ve chosen your niche.  Great!  The next step is determining how you are going to produce your content. There are several options available to choose from, so do your research ahead of time and choose the one that suits your needs the most. Watch out for the free services. Yes, they are free, which is good for some things, but let me tell you from experience, free is not always the best route to go. If you are looking to make a name for yourself and rise among the professional bloggers, free is the wrong way to go. WordPress does offer a free version, but as I’ve said before in previous posts, you don’t want to use a domain name that’s obviously free.

I use WordPress, have used WordPress for 2 years, and don’t plan on using anything but WordPress in the future. WordPress is the industry standard for blogging. It has a little bit of a learning curve, but is very effective in doing everything you need to do to run a successful blog. You’ll see two types of WordPress sites out there today. WordPress.com and WordPress.org.  Wordpress.com is not a self-hosted option, which means you are limited in what you can do and the income you can earn. WordPress.org means you are self-hosted and can do more in terms of options and income. Choose wisely!

Choose a web hosting provider

One of the most critical decisions you need to make when starting a blog is in choosing a web hosting provider. A web hosting company provides you with the online space to publish your blog. You will store all of your online files through your hosting company.

There are many, many providers out there.  If you don’t do research on anything else I tell you today, do your research on web hosting companies. Your hosting plan can make or break your blog very easily. If you have a hosting provider that is notoriously slow and/or down, your blog will suffer.

I started my blog using Bluehost. I found them to be very reliable and also found a lot of my blogging friends used them as well. They have good options, fast and reliable speed, and their customer support is top-notch. When my year was up with them, I was angered to see a major increase in the cost of my hosting, which caused me to have to go to another provider – eHost. I hadn’t heard too much about eHost, so I was initially skeptical about switching to them.  eHost has been very stable and their range of options are wide. The only complaint I have after the last few months is that their technical support responses have been slow by email. I recommend using their live chat vs sending them an email.

Find a creative domain name

Most of the time, you can choose your domain name at the same time you are signing up for web hosting, but this isn’t always the case. If you find a cheaper price elsewhere, but want to host it with another company, you can, but I find it easier to do everything with a one-stop shop. Your domain name is the web address people will type in to find your blog. Mine is www.goaskyourdaddy.com.

Be creative when you are choosing a domain name. Some bloggers go with their actual name, while others use a creative name. I chose www.goaskyourdaddy.com because I knew people would know I’m a daddy blogger, and it’s easy to remember. Make sure you select a domain name that relates to your niche. It’s going to go EVERYWHERE  – in email signatures, in Facebook groups, on media kits and business cards, etc. Choose wisely!

Choose a theme

Since I use WordPress, I have access to THOUSANDS of creative themes for my blog. WordPress makes it easy to browse for themes inside of the dashboard. What I like most about it is that you can filter down to the features you want the theme to have. This saves a lot of time browsing through themes that don’t meet your needs.  Right now, I’m using the light version of my theme, but plan on upgrading to the pro soon. Your theme should reflect your blog’s niche.  There are some themes that are too noisy in terms of color and features – steer clear of these. Make sure your theme provides you with all the tools you need to set your blog up to your expectations. Most of the time, you’ll have to invest a little money here. It’s money well-spent!

Write your first post

Now that your blog is ready to go, it’s time to write your first post. I do want to admit that my very first post sucked badly. This is because I had no clue in how to structure a blog post. Now that I’ve done my research on the best ways to structure blog posts, readers have given me positive feedback. My trick in structuring my blog posts is by using an outline. An outline allows you time to think about where you want to place your headers and links, and gives you time to analyze the structure before you write it down. Outlines do take a little extra time, but in my opinion are worth every second because it makes the post much easier to read and follow.

In WordPress, you have the option to save as a draft, which is a great feature if you like to write in pieces and then come back to finish up. There are several other options you’ll want to pay attention to as you are creating your post.

  • Categories – Categories are like the table of contents in a book. Let’s use my site for an example of how categories work. Look to the right of this post into my sidebar. You’ll see a drop down menu called “Categories.” Let’s say you want to see every post I’ve written about sports. I created a “Sports” category and selected it every time I wrote a sports-related blog post. If you select “Sports” from the Category menu, you’ll be presented with any post I’ve written about Sports. Go ahead and try it, but come back to this post!
  • Tags – Tags are more like an index than a table of contents. Tags are keywords that tell the reader what the post is about. Go ahead and scroll to the bottom of this post. You’ll see I’ve included several tags that tie to the subject matter of this post. Tags are also a good way to group related posts. Think of them as being just like hashtags on Twitter. If you click on a hashtag in Twitter, you’ll be presented with any posts that include that tag. It’s a great way to read related content.
  • Featured Image – The featured image is the image that will show up at the top of your blog post.  Look at the top of this post. Do you see the very cool image I’ve created for this post?  That’s the featured image.  Whenever you share your post, unless you’ve told WordPress to use a different image, by default, it will use the featured image. I use a creative featured image for every blog post.
  • Sharing –  Under the featured image is an option to select which social media sites you want to share the post to once you’ve hit publish. While you can connect to any service you want, I usually share to the big boys – Facebook and Twitter.
  • Post format – I don’t mess with this feature very much, but can be useful depending on the type of post you are writing. If you are only posting an image or a video, this feature will format the post to that particular medium. Since I primarily post in regular text and images, I leave this setting at “Standard.”

Share your posts

You’ve spent hours writing and perfecting your post before publishing it. The next step is critical in getting readers to it. I always share my posts through a variety of mediums: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flipboard, etc. I take the extra steps in sharing my new post inside the many Facebook groups in which I participate.  For Pinterest, I highly recommend you try out Tailwind. It is doing wonders for my blog traffic and engagement!

Incorporate affiliate links

If you are looking to make income with your blog, and don’t want to rely on Google Adsense, affiliate links are fantastic income producers. If you find the opportunity to incorporate an affiliate link to promote a product that relates to your post, do it. I wrote a very informative post on how to make the most of affiliate links. I recommend checking it out, as well as my post on how to make passive income with affiliate marketing.

I’m a big supporter of ShareASale. They are one of the best networks out there with thousands of approved merchants. I wrote a review of ShareASale earlier this year so if you are trying to decide whether or not to check them out, read the review to help make that decision.

Continuously improve

I hope you’ve found this post helpful.  One more piece of I advice I have for you is to always be willing to change things up and find ways to improve.  Stay updated on the latest blogging trends and always look for ways to stick out above the competition. There are so many ways to get your content out there. I’m currently writing an Ebook composed of all of my blogging posts.  This post will be in it as well. The Ebook will allow me to share my content even more.

If you have any questions about how to start a blog (that I didn’t answer today), feel free to email me at jeremy@goaskyourdaddy.com.