Katy Flint 1

Tips From A New Blogger, Katy Flint On Using WordPress.Com

A huge thank you to Katy Flint of Learning As I Go for sharing her experience with WordPress.Com. Katy is a member of the North Iowa Bloggers and her blog has been inspiring others for several months. I am over the top excited that Katy agreed to share her experience with all of you, as I understand how challenging it can be when it comes to getting your blog up and running.

Katy Flint 1

I can’t believe that it’s been about 8 months since I started my blog, Learning As I Go.  Last summer I found myself blogging for my job, but had so many things I felt like I wanted to “say” and “get out” but the professional blog wasn’t the place for it!  So, I took a leap of faith and started my page.  I knew of other bloggers and what they did and often read their posts, but really didn’t know HOW to blog or WHERE to blog.  I knew that WordPress.Com existed (from Googling it of course) and that it was free (Free is good when you’re starting out, right?)!!  So, I thought….why not? I set up the name of my blog and dug in.  Then you learn things and you learn that it’s not as simple or as easy or FREE as it seems.  A couple things I’ve learned from having a WordPress.Com account and wish I had known before I began:

  • The web address of your blog is going to be really long!  When I started out mine was www.learningasigokf.wordpress.com !  Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.  I’ve since purchased a domain and have it routed to my WordPress site (www.katyflint.com.  A lot more fluid, right?)
  • Widgets – you get what you pay for, right?  Some widgets that a lot of bloggers use are not supported by WordPress.com like Rafflecopter.
Donna Hup Rafflecopter
Screen Shot: Courtesy of DonnaHup.Com


  • Layouts – the layout (or design) or your webpage/blog should be a description and illustration of who you are and what your blog is about…when working with FREE you are much more limited.  Yes, WordPress.Com does offer several nice layouts, the best cost money (typically $69 and up) and then when you want to personalize colors, etc…you add another $99 fee on top!  Starting with the free layouts will cause one to want to change and personalize as your blog grows (trust me, I’ve been there.)

One thing I will say that I love about WordPress.Com is it’s a great app (both Android & Apple).  From my phone and iPad, I can see my stats, edit & write posts, upload media, etc.  It’s great for on the go (which I often am) and when I feel that writing itch start!

So, while free is good when you’re starting out, there are some things to be aware of that can hinder your growth as a blogger!  Good luck and blog on my friends!

Connect with Katy on Learning As I Go, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. and Instagram!

Three New Year’s Success Strategies For Your Blog

Strategies for blog 2015

The New Year is upon us and it’s time to think about your blog and your goals for the New Year. I have never been much of a New Year’s resolution person, but I can tell you that it’s important to develop a strategy for success when it comes to you and your blog. Many folks blog as a hobby and several blog to make money. No matter the reason, you will feel better about things if you set some goals and try to meet them. After all, doesn’t everyone feel good when they can reflect upon a success story?


The easiest way to meet new people and be inspired is to attend a blog conference. Yes, there are conferences for bloggers. Two conferences that I would highly recommend would be Type A Conference and Bloggy Conference. This is where I have met some of my best friends and some of the most inspirational people on the planet. And you know what? Here is where you will surround yourself with people that “get'” you. How cool is that? Need a little financial help getting yourself to a blog conference? Find a sponsor and make those travel plans now!


Local does matter! Join your local Chamber of Commerce and dive in. This is one of the simplest ways to meet new people in your local business community. Volunteer for an event or two and I do think you will be pleasantly surprised. Is there a social media breakfast club in your area? If there is, attend asap! If not, start one.


Let’s face it, even bloggers need a break now and then, as bloggers are human. Never apologize to your readers. For example, if you need to take a little break from blogging, that’s your choice. Your blog is online and always available. I often see bloggers take a little break and come back with, “I am so sorry…..,” really? There is no need to apologize when in fact several of your readers may have never noticed your absence until you brought it to their attention.

Most importantly be yourself online and I can guarantee that you will have great things come to you. It’s ok to check out what other bloggers are doing and ask questions. Bloggers can be your best resource when it comes to growing your blog. Chances are good that they may have the same questions you do or have had the same question in the past. When you do your thing you will have the most success.

Make 2015 your best year yet and embrace change. Step out of your comfort zone and I think you will be pleasantly surprised as to where your blog will take you. Tell me…. What are your goals for 2015? I’d love to hear about them.


North Iowa Blogger Meet & Greet January 6, 2015: 1:30-3:30 P.M.

The North Iowa Bloggers have been very active throughout 2014 here in North Iowa. They are gearing up for an exciting 2015 and would like to meet you! On January 6, 2015, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., you can meet the North Iowa Bloggers in the Band Festival Room at the Regional Commerce Center Downtown Mason City. 9 North Federal is the exact location and these bloggers would love to show you what they do.


North Iowa Bloggers Sampling Oreos


Maybe you have always wondered what a blogger does and how they can help you with your business? This is an opportunity to find out more. I have personally worked with Jacqui McPhillips of Tuckaway Shores  and she has this to say, in regards to bloggers.

“In my capacity as both an owner of a small hotel management company and as a member of the marketing committee for the Florida Superior Small Lodging Assn., I have worked with travel and life style bloggers for the past 1 ½ years.  Without hesitation, I can state that I believe that working with bloggers may be one of the best ways a company can economically brand themselves.  I view exposure on a bloggers’ site and through their various social media platforms as kin to word of mouth advertising, which has always been the best forms of advertising/marketing.”

Bloggers offer a “new” way of marketing and many business owners in North Iowa are not aware of what a blogger can do for them. The North Iowa Bloggers would love to meet you! If you want to get to know the bloggers a little better, “Like” their Facebook page and see what they are all about.

Bell ringing


Take the time now to plan for January 6, 2015. The North Iowa Bloggers want to meet you and learn more about you. And you never know, you may find that new “spark” that you have been searching for you and your business. 2015 looks to be an exciting year in North Iowa and the North Iowa Bloggers are ready to help you along the way!


North Iowa Bloggers Are Online Influencers

There’s a new term that has crept into the world of blogging the past few months and it’s online influencer. It is true, the North Iowa bloggers are online influencers. The cool thing about the North Iowa bloggers is the fact that they each have their own unique blogs and they each have their favorite social media platforms. So, you may be asking what exactly is an online influencer?

In my words: An online influencer is someone who has a loyal following online and is a go to person for a particular topic of interest. There ya go, that’s my definition of an online influencer. The North Iowa Bloggers are a core group of bloggers that support each other. They go to different events together and showcase their experience online. They write about the experience on their blog, they post on Facebook, they Tweet, and they also post to other social media platforms such as Instagram. Each blogger shares their authentic experience with their readers, as no two bloggers will walk away with the same experience. That’s the beauty of blogging, each blogger is able to share their voice.

You may be asking, “I’d love to share my business and/or event with the North Iowa Bloggers, how do I do that?” You can comment right here on this post and I will get in touch with you and make things happen. And yes, this may be a seen at your place of business, lots of things happening here!

Bloggers at Barrel


The North Iowa Bloggers ate a great meal at The Barrel Drive In in Clear Lake and several posts were written! They also danced the night away with KCMR Radio in Downtown Mason City this past summer. And once Fall rolled around, they visited Enchanted Acres near Sheffield, Iowa. And just a couple days ago they visited Hoover’s Hatchery while Iowa’s Lt. Governor, Kim Reynolds, stopped to visit.

Bloggers at Hatchery

The Bloggers of North Iowa are busy and yet they are ready and willing to help your business online. These bloggers are online influencers, as they know how to drive traffic to your website and give you additional visibility online.

I can tell you this, this group of North Iowa Bloggers are all online influencers and can help you grow your business. They are not afraid of hard work and they want to help you tell your story!





The Four Doors And And Your Online Resumé: Your Blog


Bloggers at Bloggy Con



I recently returned from a speaking engagement at Bloggy Conference in Sandusky, Ohio. I talked about how your blog is your online resumé. I shared with attendees how I had built a business out of my blogs, by building relationships online and then following up offline. The event was a great success and I was honored to have met so many awesome bloggers that are sharing their stories to inspire all of you!

A friend of mine, Beth Ann of It’s Just Life, Finding the Ordinary in the Extraordinary, had recently given me the book; The Four Doors by Richard Paul Evans.

The Four Doors Book


I read it after I returned from my speaking engagement and can say that I honestly hope I left a positive note with all of the people I met at Bloggy Conference. I have tried new things, I have stepped out of my comfort zone, and I do want others to succeed. It’s not about the money, it’s about people. Blogging is all about relationships and once those relationships flourish, that’s when your business flourishes. This book, just reinforced that what I was doing is a GOOD THING!  Thank you, Beth Ann, from the bottom of my heart!

If you are afraid of leaping forward, being imaginative, or even hard work, can I ask? Why are you doing what you are doing? Life is too short to do something you do not enjoy and are not passionate about. Richard Paul Evans’ book, The Four Doors, just reinforced that what I had shared at Bloggy Conference was from the bottom of my heart.

My life has been blessed with challenges, new experiences, a supportive husband, two young adult sons that are two of my favorite fans, a great extended family, and the opportunity to work towards success. In order to move forward, it is true; you often have to give and work hard. We’ve all heard the saying, “It is better to give than to receive.” Make that your mission and see where life takes you.

In the world of blogging a lot of folks focus on the numbers. I have never focused on the numbers and I know my banking/accounting friends are cringing right now;  but for me the number of followers I have do not matter. What matters is when I have a new “follower” and they are a true friend- a connection has been made!

So, tell me, have you read the book, The Four Doors? If not, I would highly encourage you to read it. I do believe it will reinforce that you are doing what you need to be doing or be the kick in the pants that you need to change things around.





North Iowa Bloggers Are Online Influencers

Over the course of the last year, I went from knowing one other blogger locally to now knowing several. It’s no secret, that Social Media Breakfast has opened the doors for a lot of businesses in North Iowa, bloggers included. The bloggers in North Iowa do get together on a regular basis and of course, they recently met while I was out of town. The really cool thing about this event was the fact that they still included me in in the event. Yes, that is how #FlatSara came to be.

Group Photo


Beth Ann Chiles of It’s Just Life, organized the get together at her home. Several bloggers attended, as well as #FlatSara and Lay’s Potato Chips! You may be asking, “What on earth does Lay’s Potato Chips have to do with a blogger gathering?” In case you didn’t know, bloggers are considered online influencers. The bloggers of North Iowa participated in a scientific study of Lay’s Potato Chips! They were the taste testers of the bold, new flavors that Lay’s Potato Chips has rolled out. The best part of all of this, they did all of this on their own, as in Lay’s Potato Chips did not provide them with product or information. This is a creative group of bloggers and they all reside in North Iowa.


Chip Voting


Bloggers are online influencers and I do believe you will see by reading their posts, that the bloggers in North Iowa are honest and real! They are not out to fool their readers and they want to be known as genuine people. Many folks do not understand how bloggers work, what they are about, and how businesses can work with them. The easiest way to find out how to work with one of these bloggers is to ask them! A simple way to reach out to them, is to read their blog and follow up with them through the contact form on their blog.

Lay’s Potato Chips comes out as the winner of this event! Look at all the press a small potato chip received from a little get together in North Iowa. The bloggers of North Iowa are creative and would love to show you how they can help you grow your business. And just in case you want to know what new flavor of Lay’s Potato Chips you should be investing in, read up!

Katy Flint of Learning As I Go Along : Me & All Of My New Friends

Amy Hild of Modern Rural Living: Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” Taste Testing With North Iowa Bloggers

Donna Hup of DonnaHup.Com: Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Chip Tasting & Voting Party

Beth Ann Chiles of  It’s Just Life: It All Started With A Chip

Jeni Flaa of Jeni Eats: North Iowa Bloggers Taste Test Lay’s “Do Us A Favor” Flavors


Take a glance at the other blogs that come right out of North Iowa. The best part about this, is the fact that all of these bloggers are sharing their passions with all of you. You will see that each blogger is unique and has something different to bring to the table.

Joy of Living Life Joyfully 

Debbie of Debbie’s Midwestern Kitchen

Laura of All Things Travel

Val of Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids

Emily of  The Koob Triplets

Bryan of Psuche Running 

Sara of Travel With Sara and All In An Iowa Mom’s Day

If you own a business and are thinking of reaching out to new people, consider working with a blogger in North Iowa. You will find that these people are genuine and do care greatly about North Iowa.

*A Thank you to Beth Ann and Amy for letting me use their photos for this post!


Tips For Finding Sponsorship To Attend A Blog Conference

You’ve decided you want to attend a blog conference and realize it may cost you a little more than your budget currently reflects. So, what should you do? Opt to forget about the blog conference or dig your heels in and find a way to go? If you want to grow your blog and/or your business, I’d suggest you dig those heels in! By attending, you will be a step ahead of the game.

Find Companies You Like

Twitter is a great resource for looking for blog conference sponsorship. Find companies you are connected with and see if they would be a good fit for you. If a company offers a product you enjoy and would like to learn more about, by all means, reach out to them through a private message. If you have never interacted with them through Twitter, you need to start interacting with them before you reach out to them. Companies want to know that you are an influencer and are someone that reflects their company values.

Sara speaking at Cedar Point


The Pitch

A personal E-mail is in order here as you share your blog stats and your reach. Potential blog conference sponsors want to know why they should sponsor you. Let them know about the conference you want to attend and why you want to attend. Then show them how you will showcase their brand while attending the conference. You may offer to Tweet, share photos on Instagram, update to Facebook, and Pin with a hashtag you have mutually agreed upon. Then, when you come home you can offer to write one or two blog posts about their product, in exchange for blog conference sponsorship. Maybe you rock at video- Offer a couple videos on your YouTube channel featuring their company. Show that you are an influencer and something unique to offer them. Between the two of you, a brain storming session could produce something new and exciting! The big numbers are not always important, it’s the fact that you are present in social media. An example would be: You need to interact on Twitter, not have a stream filled with scheduled tweets and NO interaction!

Most importantly, you need to be positive and be supportive of bloggers and brands. Let’s face it, nobody wants to partner with a Negative Nelly! If your Tweets are a little questionable and you are searching for blog conference sponsorship. I’d suggest that you take a year to clean it up and then pitch a company for sponsorship to attend a blog conference.

If you take the time and spend some money to attend a blog conference, your business will grow! By partnering with a brand that you love, it’s a win/win for everyone. And remember, to do what you say you will do. Blog conference sponsorship is an opportunity to show how you can work with others and opens the doorway for future opportunities.

Have you ever partnered with a company for blog conference sponsorship? Did you find the experience to be fun and exciting? I’d love to hear the brand side of this, specifically how bloggers can help brands while attending blog conferences.

Now, go make it happen-  Attend the blog conference of your dreams and grow your business!


Bloggers Are Professionals And Should Be Treated That Way

If you are a blogger, you know that bloggers are often not taken seriously. Many people think that it’s OK to use the term “Mommy Blogger.” Well, let me educate you. 99.9% of bloggers that I personally know, do not appreciate being called a Mommy Blogger. Women spend a lot of time and money building up a blog, while educating others on topics of their choice. And by the way, there are men, such as Adam Sommer, of Visit Fly Over Country, that have embraced blogging and are very good at it.

For those of us in the blogging industry, we consider ourselves to be professionals and wish to be treated with respect. As a blogger that writes about travel and living in Iowa with my family; I have always despised it when someone labeled me a Mommy Blogger. I learned to roll with the punches, as it seemed trivial. But you know what? It’s really a slap in the face to women that blog and have built some really nice, reputable businesses with their blogs. And yes, that is what happened to me.

Bloggers need to step up their game a little bit when it comes to professionalism. When we present ourselves as professionals, others will be less likely to use the term Mommy Blogger. If you are running around with a baby on your hip while meeting with a brand representative, let’s just say; it’s not doing bloggers a favor. This welcomes the term that I cannot stand. If you happen to be meeting with a brand representative of baby supplies, it would probably fly. But, in all reality, professionalism matters.

Bloggy Conference
Bloggy Conference 2013: Photo By Brad Crooks of www.trippingtheglobe.com

The first thing a blogger needs to do is get out of bed in the morning and get dressed! When you dress the part, your productivity level will rise. For some reason, many folks think that bloggers spend all day hanging out in their pajamas while writing away. Well, for successful bloggers, that is simply not the case. The bloggers that are going places are out networking, meeting people face to face, and working on new strategies to move their blogs forward.

Let me introduce you to two young Moms that blog. Debbie shares her passion for food and fitness at Debbie’s Midwestern Kitchen, while Val of Corn, Beans, Pigs, and Kids focuses on all things related to agriculture. They do a wonderful job of incorporating their families into their blogs and I do know they hear the term “Mommy Blogger” on an occasional basis. We need to change that, as these are two great examples of bloggers that are writing great material and inspiring others! Can we call these bloggers business professionals?

If we all, as bloggers, start treating ourselves as professionals others will see us as professionals. If you are a blogger, what do you call yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, because bloggers are the ones in the trenches and growing businesses with their blogs.