Sorry if it seems we have gone MIA the last few days! It has been a hectic few days over here at the Odysseys Household. I wanted to share with you whats going on with Odysseys With Love. We have a few new things to share and several updates for you. Whats Going On: Giveaways We have a Giveaway currently running right now until midnight on February 14th, 2017. What is it you ask? A Seven Piece Nightmare Before Christmas Ornament Set. Our favorite movie to watch between Halloween Night and Christmas Eve, as we can NEVER figure out when we are really supposed to watch this one. Check it out below and use the signup form to win! Whats Going On: Skylers Blackouts Some of you may have seen a few post about Skyler’s doctor’s appointments that we have had. Luckily we were able to see the neurologistÂ last week and she is wanting us to have an MRI and EEG done to look at her brain as we have ruled out the cause being her eyes. We also received word back from her speechÂ therapist for the assessmentÂ for in-home speech therapy. So we have a lot going on with this one medically. Whats Going On: Weekend Adventures? I posted the video earlier this week of Skyler’s Archery Class, but in case you missed it, I will link it down below. Skyler has bugged us for weeks about getting a bow and arrow. When it was time to go to the class, Skyler was EXTREMELY excited. I even talked to the main trainer about scheduling Skyler private One-on-One classes with him as I am afraid Skyler will not receive the attention she needs in the larger class if this is what she is wanting to do. A New Baby! That’sÂ Whats Going On No, no, no! I am not pregnant, nor have I just had a new baby. But, Skyler’s Aunt, well I call her my Sister-In-Law, just had her little one this weekend and I had the most mind-blowingÂ experience! I got to sit in the operating room with her while she had a c-section! I caught her little one’s first moments and I couldn’t be more excited! She trusted me enough to call me when she needed me, I am VERY bad at being social even with family. Just a little capture from shortly after she was born! FREEBIES! Did You Know Whats Going On? Yes, by signing up for our email list I have a LOT more than just freebies for you! I have a huge section of resources available for both Bloggers wanting tips and resources for writing, but I have another for everyone else that reads the blog! I have a Photography and Video Tips and resource sections also! You will also get a coupon code for all of the digital products in our store to get them for free!
We are changing things up with Odysseys With Love and we are now including blogging tips on Thursdays. I have run some sort of blog over the last 10 years. Like what was mentioned in the last Blogger Tips Post, some were successful, others not so much. Life sometimes gets in the way. Over the past few weeks, I have dug deep into learning how to increase our visibilityÂ on Pinterest. We are still learning and invite you to learn with us about using Pinterest Group Boards and Tailwind. We are still learning why both of these are essential things to do starting out our blog. What are Pinterest Groups? Pinterest Groups and Group Boards are boards on Pinterest that have several members that all pin their post to this board in particular. If you look at our boards you will see that 90% of them have both James and I on them.Â You can add collaboratorsÂ to them from those that follow your board or your account. We created a Pinterest Group Board and have invited several of the other bloggers that are currently following us from another group. I have asked that others that would like to join this board also follow our Pinterest page and send me a quick email to let me know they would like to join. The boards all have different themes. Ours is a free-for-all board. Anyone can post any pin that their heart desires. I am part of another group board that it is only for travels post, and another for only female bloggers. Every owner of a group board can set their own rules to the board, we are very lax in ours since we want to help promote readership not only on our own post but for all of our blogging friends. How do you find Group Boards? In our research, I found a great way to find other boards to join, and have also entered our own board to this one. Head over to PinGroupie, and take a look around. I filter down my search by category. If I am wanting to find one with a lot of collaborators, you can filter it down by that. Another way is to filter it down by pins. Click on the board you would like to see, and it brings you to that PinterestÂ board. Make sure you read the description and instructions on how to join the board. After you do this, wait to be approved to join. Be a good Pinterest Neighbor. I don’t know about you or other pinners, but I do like to go through the boards and find the post I would like to read. I then Use the next item on this list to schedule pins out. Did you also know that you can comment on a pin? Not many bloggers or pinners know this. If I find a PinterestÂ account that I love, and find a pin that I have enjoyed, I try to comment on it. Why? It is showing love to that pinner and it may bring that pinner back to your Pinterest account, and they may follow you! So not only have you showed some love, but you may just well find a Pinterest/Blogging Buddy! What is Tailwind? Tailwind is a great program that we have installed into chrome that we are able to schedule our pins and other bloggers pin-worthy images. Tailwind also has a Smart Pinning aglitham that will let us know when the best time for us to pin our images to Pinterest. Want a free month? Using our link gives you a free month to try out Tailwind! Tailwind has opened up so much time for us that we are not constantly pinning things on Pinterest and I am not having to find the best times myself to pin our images. Go ahead and give it a try! Its free!
Over the past few years, I have run a few different blogs. Some were successful, others not so much. We know a lot of our readers are also travelÂ bloggers and are always looking for awesome blogging tools to help set up their blog for success. We wanted to share with you our favorite tools that we use on a daily basis. Why do we, as bloggers need different tools to help us? Blogging tools are actually essential when it comes to running a successfulÂ blog. We use all of the tools listed below on a daily basis to help run Odysseys With Love proficiently. Some of these we would not even be able to run the website at all without. Using these tools also helps free up time away from the computer and our smartphones. This way we are able to spend more time with our family, making memories and experiencing new things. One thing about Odysseys With Love is that as a family we are trying to earn an income with what we are doing here. Some of the tools we use are specifically for that. Others are to help make the website pretty and to keep our readers coming back forÂ more information. More views we have, the better chance that we make an income from the website. iPage – Our Hosting Company – First of the Blogging Tools You NEED In order to run and optimizeÂ a blog correctly, you need to have a blog page hosted on a hosting company. I have been running a website through iPage for a while now with Megan Nance Photography. If I have ever run into an issue with our sites, I jump onto their 24/7 chat window and we are able to get the issue sorted out fairly quickly. $1.99 Coupon Code: LOWESTPRICE, you can choose to only have one year of service for a little bit higher price and remove the extras. We also install WordPress through their CPanel and MOJO Marketplace, and it is just a one-click install. Canva for Work I am constantly on Canva creating graphics. We recently upgraded to the Canva for Work. We upgraded so we would be able to use their images for our Pinterest and blog banners. Canva also has 1,000’s of templates from logos to media kits that you can use even on the free side. We also use Canva for our YouTube cover art and so much more. Canva is free to use, but many of the graphics and images on the site do cost money to use. If you upgrade to a flat monthly fee, it opens up many of these graphics. Constant Contact – Email Marketing Â Have you seen our Magazine? We send out a monthly magazine using Constant Contact to our readers that choose to sign up for our email list. This means that these readers have a first look at the magazine and they are also entered into our monthly giveaway. WordPress and Jetpack offer an email subscriber signup list, but this only sends out emails as you write a post. You can not send out an email to your subscribers with other details and information. We signed up with Constant Contact through iPage, which is free for your first 500 email subscribers. If you are using another hosting provider, head over to Constant Contact and sign up for their free trial. Tailwind – Auto Pinning to Pinterest One thing I have noticed is Pinterest is one of the largest search engines driving traffic to our website. Before finding Tailwind, I would spend a lot of time pinning images and repining onto different boards to keep my pins always active. Tailwind does this for me now. I can schedule my pins for different times of the day, or I can schedule repins to revive old pins that would otherwise be dead. I use this a lot for not only my blog post pins but also for the pins in my Things We Love Board.Â This board is filled with our Amazon Finds. Sign up for a free month of Tailwind HERE. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom I am going to slip this one in right here. I actually use the all apps plan since I also create YouTube videos and other things. Yes, I still use Canva, but Photoshop and Lightroom organize my images and I am able to fully edit them to how I want. If I wanted to, I could create all of our graphics in Photoshop, but canva is so much easier. Lightroom has been a lifesaver as a photographer. I am able to organize all of my images for both Odysseys With Love and for Megan Nance Photography. I am able to also edit them right in Lightroom. Unless I am going to do a photomanipulation or I am doing heavy editing, I rarely ever open Photoshop. If you choose to go with the All App plan like we have, you will also get After Effects and Premiere Pro. Both of these I use when creating our YouTube Videos. I did create a “Master Template” for Premiere Pro that I just drag and drop our video clips into and then work on matching the frames to the music or if we are doing a voice over. Cameras! and Video Cameras Blogs heavily rely on images and graphics. The best camera is the camera that you have. A cell phone works wonders when you’re on the go. Want to invest in your blog, purchase one of the cameras listed below and watch a few YouTube videos to learn how to use it. I will be teaching a beginners class here on the blog also for the “momtographer.” YouTube is another addition to your blog. We use the Action camera listed below also 99% of the time. These two things have been the biggest investment for blogging tools for us. Fiverr There are things that we all can do, for the things that we can’t do, there is Fiverr! I couldn’t get our Logo out of our minds and onto Photoshop. I went to Fiverr and contacted an artist there about the design we had in our head. We ended up getting our simple logo, but it is who we are. You can go over to Fiverr and search for anything that you need or want to be done. You will always find someone within your budget that will be able to get it done to your liking. Things like Graphic and Design, Digital Marketing, Writing and Translation, Video and Animation, Music and Animations, Programming and Tech, Business and then you also have the Fun and Lifestyle sections. Have a service you could offer? Go ahead and offer it on Fiverr. Grammarly I don’t know about you, but I misspell things all the time. I sometimes use improper grammar. When I found out about Grammarly, I had to install it to my browser ASAP. It has been a huge relief.
What type of equipment do you need to start a blog, or in our case, a travel blog? Today I wanted to share with you the travel blog equipment that we are using and what we plan to buy to make our blogs even better. We don’t just use equipment, but we also use software to make our photos and videos even better than just a rough cut. What Travel Blog Equipment & Software Are We Currently Using? As Megan is a photographer as her other job, she already had some of the equipment that we needed to start blogging and vlogging our trips and adventures. But Below is a List of the Equipment that we use. We have them linked to where you can find the products on Amazon. Yi 4K Action Camera. For 99% of our videos, we use the 4K action camera to film everything that we are doing. We are still getting use to it. As you may have seen in the video of Dragon Park, we did break the screen. Yi was awesome enough to send me a NEW camera to replace this. We have to say, out of all the manufacturers we could have chosen, we did well when selecting this camera. You have seen videos of the Go Pro Hero 4? This camera is so much cheaper than that camera and has more options! They don’t call this the go pro killer for nothing. I will also mention that they have now come out with an even better camera now. The Yi 4K+ that has even more jam-packed into it that its predecessor. Yi Camera Batteries and Charger. This camera has already has a long battery life, but we also have extra batteries for when we are out and don’t have a location or time to recharge the batteries. The Canon EOS Rebel T5 SLR camera – Megan has had this camera since she enrolled in the Art Institute last year, but she upgraded from the T3i. It is a great camera, if you want to vlog with the camera, I would go with the newer rebels that have a flip out screen unlike the 5T that we only use for pictures now. (T6i) We will also be upgrading our camera to the Canon 5D or as you already know that we love the Yi brand to the Yi Mirrorless DSLR Canon 50mm 1.8 Lens – Most people would not agree with me on the 50mm lens being a good lens for travel. We like it because it is a prime lens, small and lightweight. It is great for our portrait photos while we are on our trips. Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom LensÂ – This is a kit lens and affordable, we don’t use it a lot as it is a slow lens but will if we need to use it.Â LowePro Tahoe BP 150Â – We need a backpack to hold all of our gear and lenses. This backpack is perfect for that and comfortable. As far as software goes, Megan is in love with the adobe creative cloud and has used Lightroom to store her photography clients images and has a whole new catalog for storing the Odysseys With Love images. If you will just need it for photos their photography plan is great. You can buy it from Amazon HERE. Now I am using the entire suite of adobe products since we are doing video but it is a lot more expensive in the long run. Â If you just want to use Premeire Pro like we do for video, you can pick that up here.Â If you prefer to make monthly payments to for Adobe Creative Cloud Don’t want to use Adobe Photoshop to create your graphic for your website like we have used below and make it easy?Â https://www.canva.com/Â is a great site for creating all of those. What is on our must buy list for Travel Blog Equipment? The few items that we want are below to help create a better blog and vlog in the long run. We REALLY want a drone to be able to add more interesting clips into our vlogs and as I walk with the Yi action camera I have notice one problem. I don’t have a smooth video always. We had a case for our camera at one point, but it broke on our way down to Padre Island and that is why it broke when we were at dragon park when it fell.
I absolutely loveÂ Amazon. I joinedÂ Amazon AssociatesÂ a while back with the hopes of earning a little extra pocket change. I used it on my YouTube channel and linked theÂ Imako Cosmetic TeethÂ on it all the time. I didnâ€™t earn a lot from it, but just a few extra dollars here and there from those sales. I am learning more and more about it all the time and love that I can add links here and earn for writing about things I love. I no longer run that YouTube Channel so I started to do a little research on how I can still use it. What is Amazon Associates? Amazon AssociatesÂ is a commission based affiliate program with you guessed it,Â Amazon. The commission isnâ€™t large. What it does is pay their affiliates for sending traffic to Amazon. The good thing about it is, it doesnâ€™t matter if they buy what product you have linked. As I said I promoted Imako Cosmetic Teeth on my old YouTube Channel and I had a few people buy them through Amazon. I didnâ€™t know about this when, but I had one viewer buy a few other things after clicking the original link. I received a commission on that purchase also. What is the Commission? Well, the commissions depend on what product is being sold. It use to be based on the amount of sales, but after reading about it more on the website, it is based on the category the products sold are in. So from what I am reading isÂ Video Games and Video Game Consoles are only 1% commissions. WhereÂ Amazon Fashion Women, Men & Kids Private Label,Â Digital Video Games,Â Luxury Beauty, Amazon Coins (but when I started to link coins, it said it wasnâ€™t qualified???) is 10% commission. One of the things I link on here is toÂ Try Amazon for 30 days for free. I also receive a commission on this for everyone that tries Amazon Prime. I really canâ€™t recommend their Prime Membership enough. Just at the holiday it has saved me so much in shipping cost and even gas money from searching for presents for my kids. How are you paid? I have chosen to be paid by direct deposit. But, they offer Amazon Gift Cards and also a hard copy check.
Hi! Im Megan! I am a photographer and writer behind Odysseys With Love. I am a Mother and Wife and enjoy sharing our everyday life journey. From our The Mesquite Texas Guide and Wandering In DFW to helping other bloggers work from home, I love what I do.
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