Let’s admit it: Instagram is all the rage.

I personally love Instagram because it allows me to curate my own personal brand and aesthetic. (Check it out below and follow me here!)

I like to edit my photos in a very specific way, and frequently get questions about how I edit my photos. Keep in mind: I spend quite a lot of time on editing my photos because I want them to represent my own unique style. (In other words: I realize not everyone edits a photo to the extent I do!)

Nevertheless, I’m very open to sharing my creative process with you all and letting you into my little world of Instagram photo editing.

How I Edit My Instagram Photos for a Minimal, Desaturated Feed

1. Make Basic Edits

Not every picture is perfectly framed/cropped when it’s shot, so I like to start my editing process off by making some basic edits. I use my iPhone for this step.

Before Basic Edits

How I Edit Instagram Photos

The image you see above is a photo I received from a photographer. It was shot on a DSLR camera, and sent to me via Dropbox.

I love this photo, but don’t like some of the tones in the background (which I will fix later), and I also don’t like the parked cars, either.

To fix this, I will use my iPhone to make some basic edits (cropping, straightening.)

After Basic Edits

How I Edit Instagram Photos

2. Desaturate Harsh Tones

This step is crucial in my photo-editing process. I like my photos to have a monochromatic, neutral feel, but sometimes; the surroundings aren’t always perfect.

No worries! That’s what Photoshop is for ūüėä

I learned how to desaturate my photos from one of my favorite bloggers, Fashionlush. She has an awesome post up about how she desaturates her photos, which includes a follow-through YouTube video. Instead of trying to recreate the tutorial, I decided it would probably be best to link you to hers! (Click here to see how to desaturate photos in Photoshop.)

After Desaturating

How I Edit Instagram Photos

As you can see, I took out some of the green tones from the trees in the background, and also the blue undertones in the street/pavement. The end result is a more cohesive and less busy photo.

3. Apply Filters and Add Finishing Touches

The last things I like to do before uploading a photo to my Instagram feed is to apply a filter and make finishing touches.

I like to use VSCO Cam for applying filters to my photos, because it allows me to fine-tune how heavy I want the filter to be. *Secret: My go-to Instagram filter in VSCO Cam is called “S3”

After Filter

It’s in the VSCO Cam that you can also fix things like Contrast, Brightness, Grain, and more. A lot of these settings depend on the photo and personal preference.

And now, it’s time to upload to Instagram!

If you follow these steps, you will be left with a beautiful, desaturated + natural-looking photo.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram here to keep up with my life (and let me know your Instagram handle in the comments.)

How to Edit Instagram Photos

Follow:

Blogging starts out as a hobby for many people. We somehow stumble upon the beautiful world of blogging, and fall in love from first Bloglovin’ follow.

But for many, blogging can turn into a side-hustle, if not full-time job. It takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to make an awesome blog. (Interested in starting your own blog? Check out my step-by-step guide to get your blog up and running today!)

Making money while doing what you love (blogging) is not a crime. In fact, I believe that bloggers should be fairly compensated for their work + creativity, just like any other “normal” job. It’s 2017 people, get with the program!

I’m sharing the affiliate programs that I personally use on the blog to be more transparent with you all and to help out my fellow #bloggerbabes. There’s enough room for us all to succeed + make money online!

Top 5 Affiliate Programs for Lifestyle Bloggers

1. ShareASale

ShareASale is a website that allows you to easily become an affiliate for some of your favorite brands + services. I personally love ShareASale because how easy it is to use, and their minimum payout is only $50.

Some ShareASale merchants include:

2. Offerjuice

This affiliate network is very underrated. It is my highest earning affiliate and adds a substantial amount of money to my income each and every month. Offerjuice allows you to become an affiliate for several survey companies, like Opinion Outpost and Pinecone Research. You can apply to become an Offerjuice affiliate here.

These survey sites (Opinion Outpost and Pinecone Research) allow your readers to voice their opinion through a series of questions, in order to get paid real cash. I love sharing these services because I’m all about helping my readers make some extra money! This way, we both get something out of it. (Check out this post I wrote all about Opinion Outpost to understand more!)

3. Viglink

Viglink is a great affiliate to use if you are a new blogger, or are new to working with affiliates. It’s great because it turns your pre-written blog content into affiliate links, without you having to do anything (after installing Viglink‘s code on your site.)

Viglink is extremely passive and I frequently forget that I use this affiliate until I get a notification that I am due for payment! *insert happy dance*

4. Ebates

Another one of my favorite affiliates is Ebates. Mostly because I use Ebates myself almost every time I online shop!

Ebates is a service that allows you to earn cash back when making online and in-store purchases. They also offer special coupons and frequent double-cash back days.

The Ebates affiliate program allows you to earn $50 for every 2 people that sign up and use Ebates under your affiliate link. How awesome is that?!

5. Amazon Affiliates

Amazon Affiliates is an oldie, but a goodie. Any blogger, of any niche, can use Amazon Affiliates to monetize their content. A great thing about this program is that the person clicking your affiliate link doesn’t even have to buy the exact product you are linking to. Let’s say you link to a lipstick, but your reader gets distracted after clicking your link to lipstick and buys a book instead. You will still earn commission from that book purchase!


Affiliate Programs for Lifestyle Bloggers

*This post does contain affiliate and referral links.*

Follow:

*This post does contain affiliate and referral links although all programs/websites mentioned are what I actually use to get more Pinterest followers!*

One thing necessary for getting all the perks of Pinterest is somewhat inevitable: followers. It seems like everyone is constantly looking for ways to get more Pinterest followers. Understandably, because like many other social media networks, followers are an important part of the game. Without followers, it will be hard to get new eyeballs on your awesome content and blog.

Pinterest has been all the rage for bloggers lately. It seems like the answer to every blog-related question can be answered with one word: Pinterest. Looking for new blog traffic? Pinterest. Ideas for blog posts? Check Pinterest. You get the point.

Lucky for you, I consider myself somewhat a Pinterest-hacker and have spent a lot of time researching the best ways to get more Pinterest followers. Some of my methods are unconventional, but I promise you…they work! I currently have over 32,000 Pinterest followers and I gain hundreds more on a weekly basis. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

Get More Pinterest Followers Graph

See that blue line? That’s how fast my Pinterest account is gaining new followers. The gray line is a trendline that shows the average account growth for other accounts with a similar audience as mine. My Pinterest account has been growing exponentially ever since I implemented a few easy new strategies. I’m now ready to share all of my secrets with you for how to get more Pinterest followers!

Exciting news! I am now offering PINTEREST MANAGEMENT services to entrepreneurs, bloggers, and start-ups! This means that you can now hire me to manage + grow your Pinterest account. I promise to give you more website traffic + leads, all while growing your Pinterest following. Interested? Click here.

How to Get Pinterest Followers

4 Ways to Get More Pinterest Followers

Make a Quote Board

This may sound odd, but I promise you it works. Making a board specifically for motivational/inspirational quotes will get your account a lot of traction. I’ve found that some of my most popular pins are actually other people’s quotes. Why is this so?

A lot of people use Pinterest as a source for inspiration and cool images. This means that people are constantly searching for quotes or affirmations, and let’s be honest…you can spend a lot of time falling down the rabbit hole of Pinterest quotes. I personally love using Pinterest as a way to find quotes, and so I totally understand why quote boards perform so well.

Get More Pinterest Followers Quote Board

In order to copy my results, create a “Quotes” or “Motivational Sayings” board for your account. Then, simply pin images that you like and speak to you! It’s that easy. Over time, you will see that your quotes get a lot of traffic and attention. More traffic = more repins = more followers!

Use + Create Bold Images

Creating beautiful graphics and pins for your account is essential because of how competitive Pinterest can be. Think about it…if you are searching for a topic and 200 results (or pins) come up, aren’t you more inclined to pick on a pin that looks bright, happy and professional rather than a small, fuzzy or boring look one?

I like to create a sort of rough template for my pins so that they all resemble each other in some ways and match my EmmaLenhart.com brand.¬†Canva¬†is the program I use to make all of my pins because it’s free and super easy to use! I also love all of the clip art and fonts they have available for use.

Other people also use programs such as Photoshop or Picmonkey to make their pins. Try out your options and settle on a program that works well for you!

A/B Testing

The Pinterest algorithm doesn’t like having duplicate source pins for the same content (example: making 5 different graphics for one blog post and pinning them all.) However, you can test out which graphics perform best on Pinterest by using short-term A/B testing. In order to do this, make 2 or 3 different variations of your graphic, and pin them to your account. After a week, check back in and see which graphic performed the best (got the most repins/comments.) After finding out the best graphic for a specific blog post, delete the other pin variations and you will see your repins skyrocket!

Join Many Group Boards

If you learn nothing else from this blog post, please learn this: JOIN GROUP BOARDS.

Group boards are the key to success on Pinterest. If you look at my Pinterest profile it’s almost ridiculous because of how many group boards I am a part of. But I’ve never found anything negative come from joining group boards, so I keep doing it!

My favorite way to find group boards is by using PinGroupie. PinGroupie lets you easily search for group boards to become a part of, and sorts them based on how many followers they have/etc.

In the example below, I searched for group boards having to do with blogging. Check out how many awesome results came up!

Get More Pinterest Followers PinGroupie

BoardBooster (a service we will discuss later in this post) also has a component of it that finds the best group boards for you to join based on your content category. In the example below, I searched for group boards to join about travel.

Get More Pinterest Followers Group Boards

Another free way to find group boards is to visit other bloggers in your niche and see what group boards they are a part of by looking on their Pinterest profile. These group boards are a great place to contribute to because your “competition” is doing it already!

Gaining Access to Group Boards

Joining group boards is usually pretty easy, and the instructions for joining can be found in the board description. Most times, you only have to email the admin of the group board to ask for permission to join and then you will receive an invitation to collaborate!

Tip: Share your best blog content and pins to group boards on a regular basis to get new traffic and readership. Group boards combine followers from a lot of different places and people, so you have a higher chance of reaching new followers and people via group boards!

Schedule + Loop Your Pins

If you want to have a stellar account and get more Pinterest followers, you have to schedule and loop your pins. It’s as simple as that and very necessary. My favorite program to use for scheduling and looping my pins is¬†BoardBooster.

BoardBooster is also super helpful for keeping track of your account’s growth and for analyzing what is working best. Free tools that come with your BoardBooster subscription include a “Board Performance” report, a “Best Time to Pin” report, and more.

Scheduler

BoardBooster is a service that starts at just $5 per month. After signing up for BoardBooster, you will be able to start scheduling pins to be sent out automatically. This is important for your Pinterest account because it will make it appear as though you are always on Pinterest, actively pinning new things. When in reality, you aren’t and have just scheduled pins to be in your BoardBooster queue!

BoardBooster’s scheduler works by making a¬†duplicate or¬†second version of your already existing boards. When this happens, the duplicate board will become a “Secret” board that only you can see in your account. Having a secret board allows you to add pins to be scheduled and sent out through BoardBooster, without anyone else knowing!

BoardBooster also allows you to change the settings and times when your pins will be released and actively pinned. Right now, I have 56 pins being sent out by BoardBooster scheduler.

Are you ready to increase your blog traffic through Pinterest? Gain new followers? Find out how Emma Lenhart got 30,000 Pinterest followers to her account as a new blogger.

Looping

Looping is a feature that allows you to get the most out of the pins that you have already pinned to your boards/account. BoardBooster looping brings the pins from the bottom of your board and pins them back to the top of the board. Because of this, you get new people finding your pins and there is more than one chance for people to see your content.

Right now I have 32 total pins being looped on my account.

Are you ready to increase your blog traffic through Pinterest? Gain new followers? Find out how Emma Lenhart got 30,000 Pinterest followers to her account as a new blogger.

If you’re not ready to start paying for BoardBooster (which I highly recommend, as it has skyrocketed my followers), try out the FREE trial by clicking here

Get Help!

Not ready to commit time to growing your Pinterest account? No worries!

I am a Pinterest specialist and offer my services to help people like YOU grow their Pinterest following, leads, and conversions! Learn more about my services HERE. 


What are your favorite ways to get more Pinterest followers? Have you had any luck with the strategies I mentioned above?

Pssst! If you liked this post + learned something new, I would love for you to share it with your friends. Sharing this post takes just a few seconds + helps with the growth of this blog. Click the blue social sharing buttons to the left or at the top of this page. Thank you!

Follow:

Looking to start a blog? You’re in the right spot.

I’ve been blogging for over a year now, and let me tell you: it’s awesome. Blogging has changed my life for the better and allowed me to tap into doing what I am truly passionate about. However, I know how daunting it may seem to start a blog. I’m here to tell you it’s not as hard as you may think it is to start a blog, (and I have helpful posts about getting started, like¬†this post about how to gain Pinterest followers as a new blogger!)

This post is meant to be a step-by-step guide on how to start a blog of your own! I have followed these exact steps (through some trial and error), and swear by the process explained below.

Without further ado, let’s get you started on the journey of how to start a blog!

How to Start a Blog in College

Side note: If you choose to use Hostgator, the hosting company¬†that I recommend in this post (and have always used as a blogger), then I will receive a small commission. I have a coupon code for you to receive up to 60% OFF your order by using the code EMMA60. Purchasing a HostGator package through this post gives me a small reward for helping a new blogger find the awesomeness that is HostGator ūüėČ ¬†If you don’t want to use my code to receive up to 60% OFF, that’s fine and you can go directly to whichever website hosting you choose.¬†

Step 1: Hosting (Recieve up to 60% off your package!)

Hosting is perhaps the most vital part of how to start a blog. It’s a necessary step to take if you want to have your very own WordPress.org blog. It also allows you to have complete and total control of your website or blog, instead of just “running” a blog on someone else’s site (WordPress.com, Wix.com). If you want to protect your content against spam, hackers, and copyright, you need to get web hosting.

While there are tons of options between hosting programs, I truly believe that HostGator is the best. HostGator is the program that I use myself for EmmaLenhart.com, and I have experienced precisely 0 problems with my site since using HostGator.

I have a coupon code for you to receive up to 60% OFF your order by using the code EMMA60.

 

If you would rather try a short-term test, then try this¬†1 penny for your first-month offer. In the long term, this does not give you the greatest value, but if you’re just looking to test the waters, you may want to give this discount a shot

HostGator allows you to claim your own domain, create custom email addresses (like mine, hello@emmalenhart.com), and more. Plus, HostGator has amazing customer support and they are always willing to work with their customers on any problems that may arrive.

 

If you choose to use HostGator for your domain + website hosting, use my coupon code EMMA60 to receive up to 60% off your order! 

Installing HostGator into Your Blog

  • Navigate to¬†HostGator.com by clicking here. Select “Web¬†Hosting” from the navigation bar at the top of the site. Here, you will find options for buying your web hosting (see picture below.) I pay for the Baby Plan every month, but pick the plan that seems to best fit your needs!
    Start a Blog HostGator Plans
  • After signing up for a HostGator account, log into your account and go to your CPanel (this is what HostGator refers to your Dashboard/Home Page as.)
  • Navigate to the Software/Services tab, and click “Quick Install.”
  • Locate “WordPress” under the column titled “Popular Installs.” Then, click Install WordPress.
  • Fill out the form that appears. This will include your site name (domain), Admin information, etc.
  • Click “Install WordPress” and watch the progress bar load!

Looking to get an easier start with HostGator?

You can skip everything above and get started with your HostGator account easily by clicking here and using my own personalized HostGator site!

Click here or on the photo below to get started with your 1-Click WordPress Installation. You also get a 45-day money-back guarantee when you sign up with HostGator (heck yeah!)

How to Start a Blog HostGator

Step 2: Design

Your WordPress blog will look pretty bare when you first log in. Don’t worry! It’s simple to pick a new theme and start blogging. The design of your blog is what will give readers their first impression of you, so you want to make sure things look pretty + professional!

How to Choose + Install a Theme

If you don’t want to spend any more money on your blog, I would recommend finding a free theme for your blog. There are lots of free options out there and it honestly just takes some trial and error to find something you like!

To find a theme:

  • Log into your WordPress site.
  • Navigate to “Appearance” in the left-hand column of your back-end. Then, click “Themes.” It should look like this (picture below.)

Start a Blog WordPress Themes

  • Click around and search until you find a theme that you like.
  • You can click “Live Preview” by hovering over the theme to preview what the theme would look like with your blog. This is temporary (picture below.)

Start a Blog WordPress Theme Live Preview

  • Once you find a theme you like, click “Activate.” This will install the theme into your blog!

Tip: to fine-tune your new theme, navigate to “Appearance” once again and click “Customize.” This will bring up a ton of different settings your specific theme has, which you can play around with until they reach your liking. This is how you change things like heading size/color, font type, adding a sidebar, etc.

Which theme do I use for EmmaLenhart.com?

I personally use a paid theme for EmmaLenhart.com, called “Aruba Nights” by Pipdig.¬†¬†Pipdig creates a ton of beautiful themes, made specifically for bloggers. I highly recommend these themes for those starting a blog!

Pages + Posts

Now that you have your blog’s theme selected, it’s time to add some content. This will vary, depending on what type of blogger you want to be. However, WordPress works the same for all of us.

WordPress works with things called “Pages” and “Posts.” These two things are what will help you populate your new blog with content.

Pages are static and will usually be displayed on a navigation or menu bar. My pages include “About Emma + Contact”, “Career”, “Lifestyle”, “Fashion”, “College” and “Ecourse.” You can find these pages on my main menu (the bar at the top of EmmaLenhart.com before you click on anything else.)

Posts are where you will actually write your separate blog posts, draft them, and finally, publish. Figuring out how to write a post may seem tricky at first, but it’s really very simple. After selecting “Posts” and “Add New” from the column on the left column in your WordPress account, you will see something that looks like this: (image below)

Start a Blog New Blog Post

Once you write out your post, you can select to either save it as a draft, preview the post, or publish it (image below.) You’ll also be able to see how your post is doing in terms of readability and SEO. This will be explained in more detail in the next “Plugins” section.

Start a Blog Publishing Options

Step 3: Plugins

Am I a nerd because I love talking about WordPress plugins? Maybe.

Plugins are the little accessories you can add to your WordPress blog to spruce it up and add more functionality. Plugins can involve anything from social media (Pinterest wall, Facebook Page Like Button) to email marketing (contact form, mailing list sign-up.) There is a huge marketplace of plugins, and I am constantly on the lookout for the next, new plugin I haven’t heard about yet to add to my site.

Top Recommended Plugins

To skip the learning curve, I’m listing out some of my favorite plugins that I recommend you add when starting a blog.

  • Better Click to Tweet. This plugin allows you to insert a “Tweet this” button into your blog post. This is an awesome feature to have for your readers so that they can share your post easily to their Twitter followers.
  • Disqus Comment System. This plugin is vital. Disqus is a program that seamlessly integrates with WordPress blogs and will replace the default commenting system. Disqus runs so much smoother, connects to Facebook, and looks a lot more professional (in my opinion.)
  • Yoast SEO. This is the best plugin for SEO that I have found so far. Pretty much all lifestyle bloggers out there use it or swear by it, too. Yoast will guide you when writing blog posts to help boost your SEO score¬†and make sure your post is easily readable.
  • Lightweight Social Icons. This plugin allows you to display icons for your blog readers to click on and follow you on social media.
  • Instagram Slider Widget. Want to display your latest Instagram photos on your blog? This plugin is perfect for doing just that!

Once you install a new plugin, navigate to “Installed Plugins” under the “Plugins” category on the left-hand column in your WordPress account. Once you find your new plugin in the list, click “Activate.” Once your plugin is activated, it will appear blue in the list (image below.)

Start a Blog Plugin Activation

There are lots of other great plugins out there!¬†Check out this guide for “26 Widgets to Dress Up Your WordPress Sidebar” by Mel of A Prettier Web here.¬†


And that’s it! You are now equipped to start a blog and have it be successful. If you’re ready to start your blog, CLICK HERE to head on over to HostGator and get blogging!

How to Start a Blog

Have any other questions about how to start a blog? Feel free to email me or tweet me! I would love to answer them or give advice. Happy blogging ūüôā

*This post does contain affiliate and referral links.*

Follow: