1 Start a Blog Research Phase

Start a Blog Research Phase – Part 1

Hello! In honor of my one year blog birthday coming up in August, I have written a 4 part series on my lessons learned in my blogging adventures!

Woot, woot! Blog Birthday numero uno!

The first part is called “1: Start a Blog – Research Phase.” I’ve tried to structure this series in a way that will help you, step by step, including my mis-steps.

>>This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. Thank you!<<

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Tip: You will need an empty binder with dividers to get started. Print my organizers for free!

  • Label your dividers something like this:
  • 1. January – December (12 dividers) in each place a double paged spread monthly calendar.
  • 2. Blog Ideas: Time for a brain dump of all the stuff you plan on writing.
  • 3. Accounts: You are going to have a gazillion passwords and such for all sorts of things. Write everything down here in this section so you don’t forget!
  • 4. Social Media: Notes about FB Groups to join, worksheets about growing Insta with hashtags, ideas about your social media content calendar and themes, Social Media cheat sheets for content ideas, etc.
  • 5. Expenses: Insert a page protector here to hold all your receipts for tax time.
  • 6. Trainings: Which trainings have you taken and which do you plan to take? Keep notes on trainings here.
  • 7. Branding: You will want to write down hex codes for colors you use in your brand and images. You might even want photos or color copies of your vision for branding. You can share this with others or just keep it as a reminder for yourself when you are making images.
  • 8. SEO: I have a keyword list that I add to when I am searching keywords on Ubersuggest. You can print reports and keep them here also.
  • 9. Digital Products: You will soon learn that to start and grow an email list you will need to create some sort of incentive for a new user to be your subscriber. Keep your ideas on a list here!
  • 10. Email: Grow your subscriber list with email. If you see any good ideas to try for yourself, keep a copy of them here and a lot of paper to keep notes on. You can add a calendar here too, for how often and when and what topic you will be emailing about that week, or month, etc.
  • 11. Headlines: Don’t do all this blog writing and then slap a boring headline on it. It needs to be catchy, engaging, solve a problem and other things. Yep, look it up right now and you will see. Print out any good info you find headlines and keep it here to right notes on.
  • 12. Pinterest: Did you know that Pinterest can generate traffic for your blog? There is a lot to learn about this. Two things I personally tried and loved and I highly recommend:
  • 1.
  • Digital Sheo: Pinterest Reboot 5 day YouTube
  • 2. Kayla Butler from Ivory Mix reviewing Pinterest accounts. Lots of great tips!
Watch this right now! It is really a good jumping off point!


Have you been looking at other blogs to get an idea of the style and layout that will best represent your topic? Well, if you haven’t, then that should be your first step. I suggest heading over to WordPress.org to see what themes fit your vision. Now don’t get too excited and purchase anything yet, we are still just browsing and getting our ducks in a row.

There are themes for magazine style blogs, business websites, creative portfolio style blogs that showcase artists, musicians, photographers. Some themes are designed for Influencers and travel bloggers or coffee shops. There are over 7000 themes to choose from. Take some notes on which themes you need to take a closer look at.


What’s Your Name?

Observe the name they (you know… the clever web site you would like to model) picked for the domain name and the handles they chose for their other social media.  You will want to pick something that is memorable, makes sense, describes what you write about or something that calls to mind nostalgia or something sensory or a certain vibe you are going for. If you want an elegant blog you will want an elegant name most likely. If you want a blog about country style barbecue, your “vibe” will be less elegant and more rustic. You get the idea. There are blog name generators you can find on Google or get creative!


Tip: Don’t pick a name that is too long. You will be typing that URL out a lot in your future!


A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. 


Think about the way you will be branding your blog. Choose a style that will go with your logo and colors. Branding is important and something I’ve personally struggled with. There is a lot to know about branding and I’m no expert. I will just simply mention that a cohesive look across your social media and blog ultimately looks more professional. It makes your content look less all over the place. I mention Ivory Mix in this next section about photos, but I’ve also learned about Branding from Kayla at Ivory Mix. She’s got a great article about it here:

The ultimate guide to branding for blogs and businesses

Some questions to ponder about photos and design

  1. 1. Do you already have photos? Are you taking your own photos? Will you be joining a stock photo membership?
  2. 2. Will you be paying a designer to create your logo or doing it yourself? Do you know of the free resources available to create your own graphics?
  3. I personally use Ivory Mix for my photos and graphic templates. I am so glad I stumbled upon this company on YouTube. I have learned so much from them and I love my images. I can’t say enough good things about this membership and how inspiring Kayla’s business and resources are.
Free Colorful and Creative Stock Photos from Ivory Mix. **affiliate link”
Free stock photos for mom and parent blogs from Ivory Mix. **affiliate link**

There are tons of free photo options like the WordPress free library, Unsplash, Canva free library, Pexels. Keep your eye out for awesome round up blog posts like this one from Kate Doster who has listed tons of free stock photos for female bloggers.

Writing for Your Blog

[Blog, Blawg] a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.


When I first started my blog I thought blog writing was just an informal platform where I could write on the fly and anything would do. You can definitely take this approach, but if you want your blog to ever show up on Google, you need to write with some Search Engine Optimization strategies. Trust me, you will be happy later if you don’t have to go back and fix your articles because they are getting zero traffic.

I’m nearly a year in to blogging and I’ve just discovered Rank Math for SEO, (Search Engine Optimization.) I wish I’d found it sooner because it has helped me tremendously. I was using the free Yoast that came with my WordPress business site for a long time and it was not getting the job done. Sorry Yoast. Rank Math really holds your hand and gives you reminders for all the different elements of SEO. I use the free version. (Naming your URL, using the alt tag for that same phrase, using headings, writing a description for your page with keywords and more.)

Facebook Blogging Groups

Join a FaceBook Bloggers group! Don’t join too many. It can get overwhelming. But it is a great way to ask questions, get advice and see how other bloggers are promoting their blogs. When we start a blog we tend to think that everyone will be reading it right away, but sadly this is not true. Building relationships and collaborating with other bloggers will help with your domain authority so that the traffic will appear down the road. 

Domain Name & Web Hosting

Have you chosen web hosting for your site? Some of the expenses involved will be purchasing a domain name (www.whateveryouchoose.com) and web hosting that you can pay upfront annually or monthly. If you plan to monetize your blog you will not be able to do this on a free site, so keep that in mind when you choose your web hosting plan. I started with a free, then premium, then business plan with WordPress.com. 

Tip: If you plan to monetize your website and blog, you won’t be able to do that on a free platform. Lol, I tried.

Monetizing your blog can mean many different approaches, not just a shopping cart to sell a tangible item. What are you planning to promote or sell? There are tons of affiliate options out there if you are interested in incorporating products that you like or recommend into your blog posts. I’m affiliated with Amazon, Target, Share-a-Sale, Pigment and Ultimate Bundles. I also sell essential oils through doTERRA.com. These are some of my other favorite affiliate products:

The Photography Super Bundle by Ultimate Bundles.
start a blog research phase - lyrical hosting is a favorite.
I’m switching to Lyrical Host before my other WordPress.com site renews! I can’t wait! You can use my discount code at checkout! JESSICA007
Check back soon for my review of Lyrical Host!

Are you planning to build your site yourself in WordPress? If so, I recommend creating a free practice website before going to work on your actual blog. It is very beneficial to start using WordPress with an actual site so that you can become familiar with the features. This was something I did and it was so helpful. I’m still learning things about WordPress!

Course available from Lyrical Host. **affiliate

Again, knowing what WordPress theme suits your vision is the best way to begin instead of feeling the need to rearrange your site. Take a look too at the Plug-In options that are available in your web hosting. I use the WordPress Plug-Ins that I know have been tested in the version of the theme that I have for my blog. 

Well, that’s it for Part 1. Don’t forget to Subscribe so you know when Part 2 of this article is published. Enjoy!

xoxo Jessica start a blog research phase
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What Self Care Is Not

This is an article about What Self Care is Not.

It’s Friday!

Can I get an Amen? What is it about Friday and Saturday that just feels different from the rest of the week? If you’re a mom, there’s really not a huge difference because chances are you are still driving all around taking care of your family and their commitments, catching up on housework and shopping and cooking and all that.

Keep reading, I’m going to explain MY perception of what self care is and what it is not. This subject matter expertise is coming straight to you from a middle aged, adrenal fatigued, hypothyroid mother of two with menopause. Yep! I’m guarding my energy like crazy!

Friday is Standing on a Mountain Top

Back to Friday! Friday still settles differently in the brain! Friday is standing on top of a mountain, taking stock, looking around at your surroundings and thinking, “Maybe I will climb that distant mountain tomorrow!” or “Maybe I’ll sleep in and meet a friend for brunch.” 

Break From Regular Routine

When you think closely about this you realize that it’s not entirely what you do or don’t do on the weekend that you look forward to. No, it’s really the mental milestone you reach at the end of the week where you lower your expectations of yourself and you allow yourself to break from your regular routine. Hopefully you are able to reach out and grab a bit of personal time to do things you are excited about!

This is What Self Care is About

Taking time to do things for yourself. Recharging your own personal battery. The following are my personal opinions, you might feel differently about some or all of these comments.

This subject matter expertise is coming straight to you from a middle aged, adrenal fatigued, hypothyroid mother of two in menopause.

Yours truly

I have discovered that Self Care is NOT the following things:

  1. 1. Self Care is not watching TV and simultaneously multi-tasking with a day of laundry. This is actually called being productive while you are mentally wiped out.  
  1. 2. Enjoying a cup of coffee while loading the dishwasher and stuffing breakfast down your throat is NOT Self Care. Again this is multi-tasking. 
  1. 3. Getting your housekeeping mess put back in place everyday is not Self Care. Although it does feel good to cross this off the list. 
  1. 4. Doing errands and organizing is not Self Care. Yes, there is a lot about this that can ease the mind. 
  1. 5. Making arrangements for your kids and preparing to go on a weekend away with your spouse or significant other is not Self Care. This is still an important thing to do for your relationship and it is lovely to get away for a bit.
  1. 6. Self Care is not grocery shopping and making healthy meals for your family. It is, however, a fundamental part of happiness and creating energy for getting those things done.
  1. 7. Spending time with a loved one who needs you is not Self Care, but it does feed your soul. 
  1. 8. Serving others is not Self Care. I feel this does help with gratitude though, and a grateful heart is happier, it’s true. 
  1. 9. Making a plan for every hour of your week is not Self Care. We are not meant to go, go, go every minute of life. This level of  productivity is amazing, but it is not Self Care.
  1. 10. Sitting on the couch eating unhealthy food and wasting the day away is not Self Care either. It’s a delicate balance, isn’t it? This Self Care thing? 

If all these things aren’t Self Care, then what is?

Again, these are my personal opinions. 

  1. 1. Saying no to things that deplete your energy. This is guarding your personal energy. If you are constantly giving away your energy there is nothing left for you. Accept help or delegate things so you aren’t constantly doing everything. 
  1. 2. Setting and achieving personal goals. Create a vision board or become a mompreneur.
  1. 3. Taking some time every day to think, plan, create, work through the things on your mind. These are good things to think about when you take a walk, especially when you have those good endorphins cycling in your body from exercise. This is different from meditating.
  1. 4. Meditate. Sitting in the stillness, forcing your mind to clear of all the clutter and appreciating your place in the universe. The wonder of your physical self and nature’s beauty. 
  1. 5. Doing something for yourself that you don’t usually have time to do. Like soaking in the tub or getting a pedicure. 
  1. 6. Learn how to do something that you’ve been wanting to explore. This could be reading a book or taking a class.
  1. 7. Make peace with yourself for doing something that turned out to be a mistake, or with something that hurt you.
  1. 8. Exercise in the sunshine. Do yoga at home or in a studio. Hike, walk, surf, bicycle, stretch. Whatever makes you sweat.
  1. 9. Write down something you are thankful for every day.
  1. 10. Take care of your physical health. Drink lots of water, eat food that provides good energy and get enough sleep. 

This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links I will make a small commission, at not additional cost to you. Thank you.

I’m really excited about the Self Care bundle that is being released Monday, June 1st from Ultimate Bundles. >>affiliate link<<

For seriously cheap. $28 for nearly $600 worth of resources.

Categories of Mind, Body and Soul… Here are some of the resources that come in the bundle, plus 4 bonus items… It’s loaded with good stuff if you are working on your own personal happiness project!


Building More Positvity (eBook) by Christine Mooney
The happier you are, the more you lean into the best version of yourself.

Creating a Personal Growth Plan with Trello (eCourse) by Cara Harvey
Learn how to use Trello to create a personal growth plan.

Gratitude Builds Fortitude 30 Day Challenge (eCourse) by Holly Bertone
Build your fortitude with 30 easy daily gratitude challenges!

Life Luvers 21-Day Challenge (eCourse) by Lindsay Preston
The program that will teach you in 21 days the neuroscience backed tools for life-long success so you can create the life you’re dreaming of!

Resilience & Self-Care (eCourse) by Jess Stuart
Staying strong when times get tough.

Sacred Self-Care for Moms (Printable) by Jessica Dimas
A guide on real, soul-transforming self-care that includes self-care worksheets to help you touch base with yourself on a daily basis.

Self Care: Beyond the Bathtub (eCourse) by Karen Shopoff Rooff Encourages women to consciously choose how we spend our time and energy, so that we can better live in alignment with what we really value.

The Worry Journal (Workbook) by Kimberly C Dickerson
If you find that you’ve been worrying more or have a sense of unease or anxiety, journaling can be a great tool to help you. Let this journal gently guide you through your thoughts and anxieties.


  • 6 Simple Steps to Reset Your Hormones and Shed Stubborn Weight (eCourse) by Naomi Judge & Brenda Janshek
    A 6-Step Video Series to help you go from feeling frazzled and frumpy to feeling sexy, vital and in control!
  • DIY Face Masks & Scrubs: Natural & Nourishing Homemade Skincare (eBook) by Stacy KarenYour guide to creating luxurious beauty products at home at a fraction of the cost of store-bought (and without questionable ingredients).
  • Health Coach Bundle: How to Be Your Own Health Coach + Health and Wellness Planner (Workbook/eBook) by Laura Mapstead
    Everything you need to start taking charge of your own natural health journey.
  • Self-Care Guide with Acupressure & Essential Oils (eBook) by Katie Schablon
    With the help of acupressure and essential oils, Katie will take you through points and blends to help calm down, increase your energy, and increase your mood.
  • Stripped Bare (eBook) by Adele O’Connell
    Get ready to glow! This guidebook will give you the know-how to nourish your body, get clear glowing skin, and how to be at peace with yourself.
  • Soulful Cycle: A Creative Journal For a Sacred Menstrual Experience (eBook) by Lucy Aitkenread
    This creative journal guides you to a place of trusting yourself and of harnessing the power of your womb. 
  • The What-to-Wear Outfit Calendar for Moms (Workbook) by Corina Holden
    Gives you an easy but unique outfit idea for every single day of the year so you can feel stylishly put together without even having to think about it!


  • 31 Day Gratitude Journal (Workbook) by Mim Jenkinson
    This printable tracker sparks happy thoughts and positivity in just a few minutes each day.
  • Coloring Affirmation Cards: Gratitude-Based Affirmations & Mindful Reflections (Printable) by Tico+Tina
    The easy way to start or nurture a fun and impactful gratitude/affirmation ritual for yourself and your family!
  • Positivity 365 (Membership) by Kristen Miller
    The fastest way to a positive mindset with a new affirmation every day.
  • Simple Self Care: A 7-Day Mini Course for Moms (eCourse) by Catherine Wilde
    In just a few minutes a day this course will help you create space in your busy days so you can be a calm, happy mom!
  • The Busy Mom’s Guide to Creativity: A Self-Care Workbook to Help You Make Time for Your Creative Interests (eBook) by Bev Feldman
    Tap into your creative side and get back to what brings you joy with this self-care guided workbook.
  • The Self-Care Toolkit (Workbook) by Briana Hollis
    Both a guide to self-care and a workbook to help you create an empowering and effective self-care practice. 
  • Uplifting & Maritime Collection Coloring Pages (Printable) by Sarah Renae Clark
    24 beautiful adult coloring pages to help you relax, unwind and awaken your creative side.

Thanks for reading! Please share if you think this bundle could be helpful to someone you know.