With my 3 year anniversary as a mom blogger on the horizon, I thought it only fitting that I return here, where it all started, (and where I actually have a following) to share with y’all two these words of wisdom:
Blogging is not just about sharing what you ate today and making money from adsense.
It’s not about tweeting and liking posts just to boost numbers so you can impress a brand.
It’s about finding your community and growing with them.
Having people there who’ll have your back.
Being there for a friend in need.
Having a tribe that can relate.
Having a crew who’ll “totally get” your stupid twitter jokes and your need to rant about facebook.
or share your love of funny youtube videos that rant about facebook.
Blogging Is About Community
At least it has been for me. And in these 3 years as a mom blogger, I’ve come across 14 women who’ve had a direct impact in my life and have helped me grow. As a woman, as a parent and as an entrepreneur.
These 14 Female Bloggers
Angel, who inspires me to fight for others.
Christal, who’s inspired me to just be me and be frank with every word I write.
Waning who cheered me on even when i felt like i didn’t know what the hell I was doing.
Vidya who loves me for me, prays for me, and reminds me everyday that I. Can. Do. This. If she would just let me be Igor to her Dr. Frankenstein, we could take over the web.
Elle who pushes me everyday to dream big and reminds me that what I receive from the universe is only limited by my imagination. There is not one day that passes that Elle doesn’t email me to remind me that I’m loved.
Kate, who in the days of my extreme insecurity about being an entrepreneur, used her talents to guide me into making those decisions that have brought me here, to a place where I have been extremely happy and never once wondered about the path I didn’t take.
These 6 women have kept me sane and kept me moving forward. I love these women and I love that though we all may be too busy we can still reach out to each other with anything knowing that we’re sisters and that’s what sisters do. They have have cheered me on and pushed me onto this path to greatness, all the while giving me love and accepting me for who I am.
See this little man? He gave me a hell of a time when it came to learning his colors and numbers and anything at all.
I was frustrated to say the least.
Not at him, at myself.
I didn’t know how to”make” him learn and then Mia, took my hand, virtually, and gave me great suggestions to get my reluctant boy excited about learning and reading and they worked right from the start.
And as if that weren’t enough, Mia sent this little guy his very first book and he loved it do death.
Forget the fact that I’ve bought books for him.
Books he had no interest in.
Mia truly gave him a love of books and has continued to do so to this day.
There he is with his latest book from “mom’s book friend Mia“.
And it’s not just my little boy who’s benefiting from mommy being a blogger.
My youngest Natasha loves reading Ann’s Rhyming Stories from the itouch while sitting in my lap. Its one of our few daily Mommy and Tash moments.
The teens and I have a special bookmark list of only Jeanette’s How To Art Posts. This summer we’re getting all Artsy Fartsy thanks to Jeanette. And Alison’s recipes have helped me make my teens leave the sanctuary of the dark bedrooms and bright monitors to bake for me “not with me” while we hang out in the warm kitchen sans screaming preschoolers.
Not only have these women helped me in uncharted territory when it came to having quality time with all 4 of my kids, but many many times they were my marketing team before and after I launched the Google Luv Course. There are no words for how grateful I am to these women for their honest feedback always given with my best interests at heart.
And sure being with your kids is fun, but goofing off with friends is special fun and I truly enjoy my emails from Poppy. No matter how shitty I’m feeling, that woman knows how to crack me up with little remarks and then when she’s done, she’ll stroke my ego. I swear this chic totally gets me. And when you spend half your day answering work related emails, seeing someone fun lurking in your email box hits the spot.
Kiran is another woman who cracks me up with her quick wit but she is also influencing me deeply.
Since I learned of her soon to launch business’s mission: “By promoting fair trade practices and creating a strong cause marketing focus, Simply Om would like the purchase of every piece to help chip away at human slavery, human trafficking and human oppression.“
Kiran has inspired me to make some huge changes to my business. She has impressed me in such a way that I’m thinking outside the boundaries of how i can help my community to how can i help my world.
Val is the first female entrepreneur that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. The woman runs an empire and i believe that it was after getting to know Val that I decided to stop interviewing for jobs. Her success online as an entrepreneur inspired me to take the leap and rely on myself to make my income steady and secure.
But being a creative and an entrepreneur is not an easy task…yet. The admin side of business gets me so bogged down at times that I can’t seem to dig out my imagination when it’s time to design. That’s where Fran Sorin’s Digging Deep comes in. This book was published 10 years ago by Fran Sorin who’s a deep ecologist, a blogger, a broadcaster, a journalist, an Ordained Interfaith Minister, and Soul Tender.
That title of Soul Tender dragged me in and lived past my expectations. Thanks to Fran, I can now walk myself through creative blocks.
And that’s it my peeps. On May 6th, I will have been blogging for 3 years and the most important thing that I’ve gained from it, is community.
I’d love to learn how long you’ve been blogging and how it’s influenced your life. Feel free to share in the Comments Section.
It will be 3 years soon.
Three years that I’ve spent babying this blog as if it were a houseplant.
A very high maintenance houseplant.
Mind you, I don’t have any plants, because anything I have to care for beyond the kids, hubby, the home, the business and the parakeets, well, it wouldn’t make it.
But I have had plants. Plants that I’ve nurtured and grown from seeds.
That I took pride in caring for.
That I watched bloom into something beautiful. And then I’d get another plant. Something I found lovelier, that was a better match for my life, that needed my care and the first plant would get neglected.
And then life will get super busy and the 2nd plant will get neglected.
And then I’d start to resent both plants because they start to die and getting them back on track to healthy would just be too time consuming.
This is what has happened to both this blog and The Strategic Mama.
And at this point in life, one blog has to go to save the other.
And it will have to be this one.
Why Does It Have To Be This Blog?
The one of the two with the better alexa and all the lovely backlinks and the sizeable amount of G+ peeps and an actual sum of FB fans? The blog that actually made me a few thousand in affiliate sales for two years?
Why keep the one that’s barely known and has the alexa of 800k?
I’m not deleting it.
You just won’t find me here, I’ll be over at The Strategic Mama aka TSM.
It’s like keeping the pot but not planting anything new in it.
It’s a good pot, I don’t want to throw it away, I just don’t want to be here.
Outgrowing The Blog
Have you noticed I’m no longer the “after bedtime blogger”?
This blog morphed as it grew.
And so have I.
My having new goals, wanting other things…
Feeling constrained by what this blog was suppose to be…
Conflicted by what it is and frustrated by how really unorganized it is…
And always feeling guilty about not blogging here.
It happens to many of us.
I’ve moved several blogs the past two months because their owners had outgrown them.
I’ve outgrown this one.
The Process Has Begun
I’ll be hiring Alison of Little Love Media on a Social Media Strategy for TSM – cause gawd knows nobody knows about The Strategic Mama blog and Alison is kick ass and a total pro when it comes to building your presence across social media.
I started the move a few months ago when I moved the Google Luv Course to The Strategic Mama’s WP + SEO Training Blog..
Sidenote: the WP training library is a resource of how-to videos for those moving to wordpress or already on WP and feeling frustrated from it. I mean WP can be intimidating, so, The WP Video Library Membership is $1/year. Know how to use WP but never heard of BulletProof? Yep, this library is for you.
I’ve moved over the seo posts and if you find them in Google Search they will redirect to TSM.
I will be moving over my WordPress posts. I’m not moving everything. I don’t want this blog to die completely, I just don’t want to feel obligated to it. And guilty over it.
I want to drop by when I’ve got a PSA or I want to rant about FB or my kids.
I want to empty my head here.
When I feel like it.
and i know i know, the gurus say blog regularly so people will come by on schedule.
so why the hell do i auto tweet from this blog and have a rss feed?
I’m not chained, right?
So there you have it.
If you’d like to be notified of this blog’s new posts sign up here.
If you’d like my latest posts on seo and wordpress, sign up here.
Don’t be a stranger! Drop by and visit me at The Strategic Mama.
Check out the free seo webinar I did with sverve.
And Jason Fonceca and I are on the verge of launching a pretty hot ebook – Complete Game Changer!
Keep an eye out!
Photo By: Mikkel Zibrandtsen
Dear Blogging Friend,
You have been on my mind for months.
Through the holidays, past the beginning of the new year…
Not your blog, your humor or my need to get your awesome blog off that Blogger crap…
but you, your family, your friends, your town.
Every time I read your words I want to cry.
I’m so choked up with the sorrow of it all, that I can not even comment.
Can not give you words of support or sympathy, because really, what can I say?
And though I know not one soul there, though I watched it on the news and learned to detach myself after the first few horrifying weeks, learned to walk out of the room every time that massacre was mentioned, I could not avoid it on your blog.
I’m sorry to say I am grateful that you have always published occasionally.
This is a flaw I have.
I go to funerals because I care for those hurting.
I sit in hospital waiting rooms for the same reason.
But I never say a word.
All I’ve ever been able to do is offer a hug and a shoulder to cry on.
And girlfriend, though we’ve never met face-to-face, this is what I wanted to do for you, but I couldn’t.
I could not be there for you and I could not find words that could equal the hug I wanted to give you.
So I stay silent.
But, I want you to know girlfriend that I am listening.
I hear your words.
I feel your words.
Even as I write these words I want to cry.
I have no words and I can’t be there to hold your hand, or lend you my shoulder but I can do this…
Those who’d like to show their support and help get the word out about March For Change which is happening Feb 14, 2013 in Hartford, CT at 11am feel free to
1) right click and save the poster above to add to your own post
2) pin the poster
3) right click and save this badge for your sidebar
and link to http://www.marchforchange.org/page10/page8/index.html.
What is the March For Change about?
Enactment of SAFER GUN LAWS in the State of CT. Plain and simple. YES, there will be a specific bill to rally around, but the language is forthcoming. We DO know that the bill will address a ban on HIGH CAPACITY AMMUNITION MAGAZINES; it will STRENGTHEN OUR ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN; include UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS on ALL sales and transfers. These are referred to as COMMON SENSE GUN LAWS.
Where do I stand on the subject of guns?
People kill people and not every Tom, Dick and Harry should be allowed to carry a gun.
UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS on ALL sales and transfers.
ban on HIGH CAPACITY AMMUNITION MAGAZINES
Yesterday’s post Before You Hire That Blog Designer… received lots of great feedback.
There were also several negative comments from other designers. I didn’t “approve” them.
I looked at these comments that were each in a defensive tone along with being insulting to bloggers and I thought “i could shut her up and I could shut her up and I could make her look like a complete fool“…
What can I tell you, these comments pissed me off.
I dislike when people try to be “all technical” to “prove” that they’re right when all they’re really doing is complicating a simple situation and creating negative feelings for others.
So I looked at these comments, that could have been interesting for the post – you know what they say, a little bit of controversy never hurts – and I deleted them.
I didn’t want the negativity on my blog.
I didn’t want my blog to cause my readers negative feelings.
I knew there was a possibility other blog designers would have something to say if they came across my post, but I expected us to all be adults, ya know? Disagree with something I’ve said, share your experience, your feelings on the matter, whatever…it’s all good.
So I spammed the comments.
And then I thought about full disclosure…and I was perplexed.
So I emailed a fellow blogger who is also a student-turned-client-turned-really-good-brighten-my-day-kind-of-friend and I sent her one of the nicer comments and I said, I spammed this comment.
Did I want to attract that kind of unhappiness to my blog, my readers or my life? Oh gawd no.
Speaking of Negativity in My Life…
You may have noticed I’ve been scarce. On social media, on the blog…the truth is, I’ve been working and reading.
This hit I took when I changed the permalinks and then the hit I took due to the video storage guys (which finally resolved but I still had to add all the training videos back manually) had truly brought me down.
It was a major set back for me time-wise and money-wise. I was working longer hours to fix the training site and I’ve lost 3k in income from my pages dropping in the search engine results. (Not to mention my traffic has dropped significantly and my alexa is at it’s highest in over a year). The Strategic Mama is just sitting there waiting for me to write a damn post.
It was a rough last few months of the year. I was beginning to feel like I’d taken 5 steps back and the staircase could only lead downward.
So I worked. I kept to myself mostly and worked. And found time to read. I had to. Going to bed with nothing but php, fb and ranking reports on the brain isn’t good for anyone. So I read a lot and I wanted to share with you some of the new blogs I’ve added to my reading list, because really, these blogs have opened me up to a whole new way of thinking…the same thinking that caused me to spam those comments.
Below you’ll find 3 Personal Development Bloggers that I’ve truly enjoyed reading. They bring a certain light to my day, they create ah-ha moments. If you know me personally, you know I like reading fellow mom blogs who I can relate to and learn from and blogging + social media bloggers who feed my “online brain”. Adding personal development blogs has created a good mix for me that keeps me balanced. Most of all it’s bringing positivity into my life, shaping the way i think about and react to certain situations whether it be snarky bloggers online or sometimes overwhelming responsibilities offline.
Check them out and then come back and thank me:
I’ve been reading Vidya for a while now. All by herself she keeps me balanced. If there were no internet, I’d need to move to India and live closer to her. She easily fills my need for a mix of mommy/blogging/personal dev nourishment. She’s like a banana/strawberry/mango smoothie.
Vidya brings smiles with her stories of family, life and her encouragements to be happy. Her pictures are breathtaking and her stories help to remind you what’s important in life. I love this woman. She is a true friend and has helped me get through many frustrations these past few months.
Reflecting a Life has those “ah-ha moment” posts. The ones that show you that anything is possible. In everything she writes, in every interaction I have with her, Elle always stays true to this purpose listed on her About Me page.
“To remind everyone that they’re limitless beings, and to encourage them to choose love over fear. To remind them that they can create a life of their choosing, that they can experience their desires, that they can reclaim their power.”
Got Kids? Got TEENS? Got a lot of little things that make you sweat?
I’ve been secretly reading Betsy’s blog for a while now. Secretly because I always read from the old iphone when sipping coffee and commenting on that thing stinks. The wisdom I’ve found at The Zen Mama Blog has helped me to let go of the little things, especially when it comes to my kids. What they’re wearing, what they’re learning, if they’re learning too slow, if they’re too social, not social enough, if my day’s schedule is whacked out, if the little ones’ routines are interrupted, etc etc.
Feeling overwhelmed and cranky Mom? Go check out The Zen Mama Blog.
Life gets busy, overwhelming and sometimes hard.
Holding on to negative thoughts will get you know where darling.
Surrounding yourself with negative people can hurt your growth.
Doubting yourself will hold you back.
Letting go of negative thoughts and doubts may seem impossible.
It’s not. Believe me, it’s not.
Read the sound advice from these bloggers and change your thinking so you can change your life.
p.s. I’m taking a big leap and have accepted an opportunity by Sverve.com to present for a seo for mom bloggers webinar.
check it out and register! the event is free for members and membership is free. Visit sverve.com.
P.S. I know this shouldn’t bother me, but I am human, and this does bother me. Let me clarify, I spammed those comments because they were insulting to my audience. They were not a 2nd Point Of View. They were insults about my fellow bloggers needing to stick to blogging and that they should not be allowed cPanel access.
This tweet from this total stranger and her protected account bothers me.
People really take freedom of speech too far. It’s sad that the best she that she can be would be someone who passes judgement on another and feels feel being virtual gives her the right to insult others online.
I. Am. Appalled.
Being a blog designer myself, I’ve got to say I’ve been truly disgusted by my fellow [mom] blog designers due to the “save-my-blog” cases I’ve taken over the past few months.
Before you hire a blog designer, here’s a few questions I want you to ask your designer.
If the designer is offering to move your blog from free hosting to self hosting…
1. Do you have experience moving blogs? Do you have references I can check with?
Designers aren’t necessarily technical. Many will offer the service and think following an old ebook on how to move a blog from blogger to wordpress will get them through it. The fact is, every move is different and I’ve read through the most well known guide and it’s outdated.
2. My blog has x00 posts, have you moved a blog of that size?
I’ve had clients who’s designer “couldn’t move all of their posts because their blogs are too big”.
That’s bullshit. It can be done. Luckily my clients still have access to their Blogger blog and we’ve been able to pull all the posts with comments in – with some changes made to the host’s server.
3. Where will my pictures live?
Leaving your photos on Blogger and hotlinking to it from your new blog is no longer acceptable. There are ways to import those photos that were uploaded to Blogger.
If the designer is offering hosting…
You need this.
I have a client who’s designer told her she didn’t need it. That everything she needed doing could be done from within WordPress.
First, let me explain what a cPanel is. It’s an administration area for your hosting. Different services have slightly different cPanel areas but they all offer these basic options which are very important to your blog:
File Manager: Place files on your server for download, manually install themes and plugins, etc.
Back and Restore: download copies of your home directory and database to use in the event u lose your blog and you need to restore it.
phpMyAdmin: database optimization. ( a recent client had 100k spam comments on her blog because her designer suggested akismet and while she was on hiatus akismet performed as usual – it sucked. The site was so bogged down it couldn’t run, we couldn’t get a page to laod to delete comments either, so we used phpMyAdmin and wiped out all the comments. She lost her comments but saved 2 years worth of posts and pictures. and by the way, her designer who was also her host told her that her site couldn’t load because she had too many pictures. really? really? this is one of the many reasons I’m appalled.)
Why not just use WordPress plugins? Hmmph. There ARE lots of freebie plugins that you can use. I have a problem with relying on a freebie plugin to maintain my site. Why? Developers have lives. And if they’re not getting paid for the plugin, why rush to update it? Heck, I recently had a paid plugin fail me because the developer did not update the plugin for WP 3.5. Guess what happened. I had to manually add 40 videos back into the WordPress Training Library.
Also? It will save on your load time if you didn’t have these extra plugins installed.
5. How big is my hosting package?
Now this blog is 2 years old here’s the size of it at the moment:
and 715 photos.
It takes up 2GB.
Your designer could be a hosting reseller as I am. This means she has a cap on how much space she can give you. I charge $4/month, paid monthly or every 6 months, for 3GB of space. If you designer is charging anymore than you might as well go with Bluehost or Hostgator <-affiliate links. They will charge a bit more, payable by the year, but your package will offer unlimited space.
I have a client that I moved over the summer. Her designer charged her $78 for one year of hosting and she only had 500MB of space (that’s half of a GB). When she ran out of space, the designer offered to increase her package size at a higher rate.
Being a hosting reseller is NOT big bucks in the bank. At least it shouldn’t be. It really should be a way to increase the value of your design package. To be a one stop shop for clients. But you can only be such if you know what you’re doing.
When it comes to the actual design service…
6. Will you be installing and configuring the theme?
There’s a mom blog designer out there who is building the design on her computer, having the mom blogger to approve via emailed screenshots and once the design is paid for, she emails the blogger the theme all zipped up. When these bloggers install the theme, they are left spending hours trying to match the design in the screenshots or paying her more to configure the theme so it will match. The designer is only charging $59 for the themes and then $200 to install and configure. I understand charging $259 for a blog design, I don’t understand surprising clients like that.
7. Will we be using a framework and who pays for it?
Genesis Framework by StudioPress and Headway
These are awesome frameworks. Especially Genesis. If your designer is going to build using one of these, that’s awesome. BUT, BUY THE FRAMEWORK AND CHILD THEME YOURSELF! Own your design! Why? Because if you and your designer have a falling out, you’re out of a design and unless you’re paying her an ongoing rate for support, you’re shit-out-of-luck baby. If you don’t own the framework, you have no access to the support offered by the vendor.
Do your designer a kindness and use her affiliate link, it doesn’t change the cost to you, but own your design.
I recently moved a client to Bluehost because she needed more space. The designer said she was free to go but would have to get her own theme. Really? Really? Sheesh.
8. Will you be providing me with a copy of the artwork in editable format and a copy of the theme?
It’s your design, you’ve paid hundreds to have it built, it’s only fair that you have the finished product. It may not be assemble, because most designed are only assembled after everything is uploaded to WordPress, but you’ll have all the elements you paid for and it’s less expensive to pay someone to put it back together than it is for a whole new design.
And those are all the questions I can think of based on all the save-my-blog projects I’ve done recently.
Is there any question you suggest fellow momma bloggers ask based on your experience with a designer?
Are you a mommy blogger who objects to anything I’ve suggested and would like to share your take on it?
Please share in the comments section.
When I worked in corporate, every other Thursday night was THE night to schedule the sitter, meet up with friends and start winding down from the week.
Occasionally I’d get on the bar hop train.
A few friends and I would head out to meet up with other friends across the city.
Spend some time here, head over to the next pub, spend sometime there. All along the way seeing other friends and making new acquaintances. Shooting a game of pool here, having a chicken basket there. Listening to this band sing downtown, laughing at that comedian uptown.
All in one night.
Get home by 1am, up by 8am to head to work again.
Sounds great, right?
Get all your socializing done in a few hours. Be seen everywhere. Have a great time.
Ahhh, to be 26 again…
The downside to it all?
I’d see friends I hadn’t seen in a while, but there wasn’t much time to talk.
My chicken baskets went half eaten and many times I wasn’t in one spot long enough to get a pool table.
By the time we made it to the comedy club or the bar with the live show, it was standing room only with a bunch of drunks using the opportunity to cop a feel in passing.
And the commute between bars was a total time suck.
Wouldn’t it have been awesome if all my friends, food, the pool table, the band, the comedian and my favorite bartender were all in one space?
A bar court as opposed to a food court. Hahaha. That would have been so cool.
Lucky for my ulcer that doesn’t exist in my neck of the woods.
And 10 years and 2 more kids later, bar hopping is just not in the schedule.
Nor is it my cup of tea.
But socializing always has been, and sadly I didn’t do that enough in 2012.
I did a lot of platform hopping…I was seen almost everywhere for the first half of the year, but did it fill my need to socialize? To sit back and have interesting conversations around family, work, film, local news…ya know, everything you usually bullshit about, with friends, over a few drinks.
And having to time how long I spent on each platform, keep up with the updates from multiple platforms and sign into each platform…another time suck.
But, it’s a new year, right?
And as many of my fellow mom bloggers are doing, I’ve made some decisions about how I’m going to be more productive and engaging in the new year.
Enter…the Ultimate Social Media Platform For This Busy Mom Blogger.
In Google Plus I’ve found everything I need:
- I can easily connect with others.
- I can easily make new friends by commenting on their G+ posts.
- I get instant email alerts while cruising G+ posts and watching videos.
- I can chat publicly and privately.
- I can show off my portfolio.
- I can start communities, be a part of communities.
- I can express myself in more than 140 characters.
I know, you die hard facebook fans are saying, so what, I can do that on FB too.
This is true.
But, there’s a difference.
One: Google Plus is SEO friendly for my blog.
I can share a post now and you could find it within hours in your search results because I’m in your circles. You may have not thought of me in a while, you may have not visited my blog ever, you may have circled me randomly, but you search for the same topic I posted about and I’ll be in your personal search results.
Learn more in Why Bloggers Can’t Avoid Google Plus.
Two: Google Plus is sexier than Facebook.
Ok only for the moment. I won’t put it past Google to find a place for ads.
But for now, it’s super sexy ad-less space has me fanning myself.
It’s all about me and my peeps.
Any person with a Google account can go to Google Plus and instantly create or join a Hangout – a live video chat, where all members can:
Share data onscreen (including anything they’ve got open on their desktop)
Watch a YouTube video together, right within the Hangout
Create a Playlist, so your Hangout can re-watch any YouTube videos you’ve used
Work with Google Docs onscreen during the Hangout
Use SlideShare presentations during the Hangout
Click on any Hangout participant’s thumbnail video screen and talk to them directly
Work with texts on the side, if participants prefer to type questions and comments, rather then talk
This is a big deal for me and my 2013 plans for the Google Luv Course.
I always have Gmail open and building a Google Plus Private Community for the Google Luv Course students means I see group messages instantly and can respond from within my email in real time. Heck I can ever +1 posts and comments from within my email. I can add pictures, links and videos just as I would in a FB group, but guess what? No ads cluttering the page.
Five: Google Plus Pages
There’s no huge admin panel in my way.
I can easily navigate to communities and other pages.
Having a Google Plus Page for my blog means I can verify with Google that I am a publisher. This gives me a boost in the search engine results.
Does this mean I’m leaving Twitter and Facebook?
But if you want to find me, Google Plus is where I’ll be.
Wondering how to build a Google Plus Page for your blog and get it verified?
To the left of your Google Plus Profile is a little floating sidebar. It’s where you can access and switch between your feed, pages, communities, etc. You can organize it by pulling icons from the More menu..
- When you click on the little “Pages” icon, you’ll be taken to the “room” that houses your Google Plus Pages, as well as any Pages from your others you’ve been given rights to access.
Later, when you have your own page or maybe access to someone else’s, you can select from these already-created Pages to instantly open up the one you want.
- Press the red “Create Page” button to start setting one up.
You’ll be taken to a new page, where you’ll select the first of three simple steps – deciding what type of business yours is.
Being a blogger, I say go with Brand.
- Next, you’ll be asked to enter your Page data. Fill in:
Your Page name
The website URL you want it to point to
Click on the little arrow for a drop-down menu to set the rating
Check the radio button to agree to Google’s terms (do read them first. They’ll open up in a separate window)
Click the red “Continue” button
Once you’ve worked your way through fields to be filled out, you’ll finally be able to customize your Page.
- Start by uploading a custom background (akin to Facebook’s “Cover Photo”) to replace the default background.
A jpef or png file at 940px x 180px. If it’s bigger, you’ll have the opportunity to crop it.
You’ll find your Profile photo already there; I suggest leave it as it is – you should use the same Profile Photo across all your social networks unless you want to add your logo or blog badge instead.
But you can change your Profile Photo easy peasy. Hover over the picture for a link to change it.
Head over to the About page. Verify your email and Link your website.
It’s a good idea to configure your Google Analytic account before clicking that Link Website button. By doing so, you’ll find that once you click that button, you’ll receive a message that your site has been verified. Otherwise follow the steps provided by Google.
Remember to Share your page and promote it across other networks.
And that’s it! Super super easy.
So where will you be socializing online this year?
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“Subscribe” to win a $500 amazon gift card!
And then visit each of these 50 blogs, hunt through all the banner ads to find their subscribe boxes and subscribe to them too…
“Follow me” for an ipad!
Now visit this link, follow these 10 people, come back to the rafflecopter and confirmed you followed these people by entering your twitter handle.
Now visit this link, follow these 10 people, come back to the rafflecopter and confirmed you followed these people by entering your twitter handle.
No, I’m not being redundant. However I am being generous by not copying and pasting the above line 12 more times to exactly mimic a giveaway I once TRIED to enter.
Do we think we’re the only person in the world who has a job to do, kids to care for, a hubby to feed, a house to clean?
What makes us think it’s cool to dangle lovely prizes before a fellow mom blogger and then make her sit there for hours completing 506 entries to get it while the kids whine for mommy, dinner burns and the laundry gets backed up?
Because we’re giving away a cool new electronic toy? That justifies it? “Oh…well…she could win an iPad. Isn’t that worth the time suck?”
And why do we sink our $3 or $5 into these group giveaways anyway?
Why not just buy something and give it away ourselves?
We’ll get to that in a sec.
When Google+ pages was new on the scene, I blindly entered After Bedtime Blog as a sponsor for a giveaway that promised to give one lucky mom some crap gift, I can’t remember, and promised the sponsors a quick way to build a community on Google +.
After Bedtime Blog was circled 256 times during the giveaway.
So why did I invest my $5 into this group giveaway asking for a simple G+ page circle in return?
Call it what you like. It’s all about increasing your reach across the web.
Getting more exposure to your blog to increase your blog traffic and build your brand awareness.
Why didn’t I just buy something and give it away myself in return for the blog’s G+ page being circled?
1. I don’t have the same reach alone as I would when joining 80 other sponsors.
2. I don’t have the time to invest in managing a big ticket prize giveaway myself.
3. I sure as hell don’t have $500 to shell out to giveaway an iPad.
And what was the payoff from this group giveaway? After Bedtime Blog’s G+ page has 256 “followers” that are in no way engaged with me nor am I engaged with them. I did try to work it when it was fresh and newly followed, but how do you engage with 256 people you’ve never said hello too? It’s just me talking and them ignoring.
And I can’t blame them for ignoring…I do the same damn thing.
If I don’t know you, and I enter your giveaway where I have to like, follow, circle and subscribe to 79 other people, I won’t have time to get to know you honey.
I’m too busy trying to win a damn prize.
I came across this interesting post on ComLuv.com According to Mark Masters of the ID Group,
“Social Media Competitions Suck At Building New Customers”
And ya know what? The same goes for building a community around your mommy blog.
I know, you’re a busy mama and group giveaways hosted by someone else seems like the ideal way to build your stats to impress the PR folks while you’re busy scrubbing the tub.
I hear ya sister, truly I do.
I don’t blame you either.
I’m just saying, I am never sticking my $5 into a group giveaway again.
Not because I had a bad time that one time I did do it.
It’s because I know that as an entrant, I don’t have a moment to give a damn about you or your blog.
I want that prize and I need to follow ever Michael Jackson fan on the globe for a chance to win.
Being a blogging mom is busy enough. There’s better ways to build our communities.
Nothing worth it comes easy.
Well, nothing except smooth legs and hidden love handles…but even then you’ve got to find time for.
Story Time for Moms – Shaved Legs
Get More: Story Time for Moms – Shaved Legs
Art Credit: © Leah McDaniel
I’m about to bare my soul to you and tell you things that many Pros would say I shouldn’t.
But there’s something bigger than me going on here.
What do you do when you’re a little blogger stuck between two useless vendors?
I’ve been practically non-exist this month.
Along with work, I’ve been updating older posts on the blog, fixing all the errors caused by the permalink change and the WP update.
A few days ago, I came across a new error.
The videos on the Google Luv Course Page all have white backgrounds.
It’s weird, because new visitors will go to the page, see 4 lines of text and then only white space unless they scroll down to and see the big play buttons. Visit the link and tell me it’s not weird.
So I head over to MaxCDN and grab the video coding.
The videos won’t play.
My experience with MaxCDN has always been that they have great support, so I open a chat window and get on it.
The tech gives me coding to add to my site instead of the coding I have. He gives it to me via the chat window. Video still doesn’t work after a 20 minute chat support session. I’ve got a client call in 10 minutes, I ask if I can contact them again later to continue. He says yes.
Twenty minutes later I go to the blog to grab a link from a post to email to the client.
The blog is down.
All my blogs are down.
All my customers’ blogs are down.
I check email.
No one’s noticed.
No complaint emails.
I start troubleshooting.
I try to sign into the cPanel to dig through the SQL Database and remove the page. When I finally get in, the database is odd.
The posts aren’t listed where they should be.
Where the hell are all the posts?
I call Bluehost.
They say they server is undergoing maintenance. That’s Bullshit. I hang up.
I had to get my customers’ blogs up.
Don’t get me wrong, Bluehost has kick ass support for customers…I think it’s us resellers who get the shaft. More on this below.
Everything is running real slow, which means I pissed off the server.
I look at the clock. It had been 10 minutes since I noticed the blogs were down. I looked at my slow running cpanel and I made a decision.
I just spent the last month updating so many old posts.
Fixing so many errors.
I thought of my customers’ blogs, about their faith in me to provide a reliable service…
I wiped out my blog’s database.
All 2.5 years worth.
I wiped it out and then checked my customers’ blogs, all were running again.
And then I sat there and cried.
Feeling defeated, I left to cook dinner.
What else could I do?
After about an hour I remember…we just had a major WordPress update.
I backed up the blog before doing it.
OMG. I had a backup…somewhere.
Found it and restored the blog and found I’d lost A LOT of work and my last 4 posts. But I still had the past 2.4 years.
But my blog isn’t the same anymore.
Plugins that worked before do not work now.
A lot of elements are missing.
Some posts are scrambled…
On The BlueHost side
So I called Bluehost.
Here’s something I shouldn’t be telling you but i feel it’s important that vendors understand that sucky support is not acceptable.
This has happened on a smaller scale 4 times before – between 4am and 5am.
Shortly after signing up as a Bluehost reseller, I started working on The Strategic Mama Training site.
Four mornings, in one week, as I added MaxCDN coding to the training site to embed class videos, the sites have gone down a few minutes later.
By the time I get through to customer support, the sites are back up.
So I ask, does it have anything to do with my adding video? Is this something I can not do on your servers.
And they always tell me no, everything is fine, it’s not your fault, the server is being maintenance.
Since it was usually between 4am and 5am, and barely lasted 4 minutes, I could swallow that.
But since then, the sites had not gone down again until this incident.
So I call up Bluehost and explain to them what happened.
The Bluehost support guy says it has to be the coding.
So I ask, can I send you the new coding and you take a look and tell me what part of it is not compatible with the server and I’ll discuss with MaxCDN.
We only provide hosting, we are not coders, I don’t even know a coder to refer you to.
I understand you offer hosting, but you’re telling me that neither you or anyone on staff can look at this coding and tell me what’s causing this issue to take the sites down?
Well hell, that’s like being a toilet papar manufacturer but not knowing enough about toilet papaer to know it cleans poop off your arse.
Truth is, I’ve called before for clients who are direct customers of Bluehost and I never once got such a shitty response. Resellers get the shaft. What Bluehost doesn’t seem to get is that I’m not some fake hosting company with a fake name using their resources to compete and make money. I became a reseller so I can offer moms on a budget a less expensive hosting option. I make it clear that I’m a Bluehost reseller.
On the MaxCDN side
A few minutes after the blogs are running again, I checked my email and there was an email from the tech.
He wanted me to know that he realized the chat window messed up some of the coding he told me to use and that I should delete it right away and go back to my MaxCDN dashboard and grab the code from there again.
Too Little TOO Bloody Late Buddy.
We’ve had several emails since.
He is adamant that their coding aligns with Bluehost’s servers.
That their coding could not have hurt my website and that the page does not look weird having white video boxes no one can see.
So I head over to Flowplayer’s site. Flowplayer is the video player MaxCDN codes into the video embed code. On their site, the player also has a white background. So I ask the MaxCDN tech, is there a video player other than Flowplayer that he suggests.
He doesn’t know of any.
You offer video storage and video on demand streaming and you don’t know of any other player than Flowplayer?
That’s like not knowing that when you’re in the woods and out of toilet paper, you can use leaves.
I won’t be leaving Bluehost unless someone gives me a good offer and can move all my customer’s blogs and actually has support that is willing to go the extra mile – like APPLE.
I’m looking for a replacement for MaxCDN for storing my videos.
MaxCDN on Bluehost servers may not be the best combo is you decide to host your own videos.
I really do wish I weren’t such a little blogger…maybe then vendors would listen and offer better support.
After Bedtime Blog is alive and seems I’ll be busy again fixing it.
Hugs to all who read this.
Can you do a little blogger a solid and leave a comment sharing your feelings about my experience with Bluehost and MaxCDN support teams and share this post across social media? Maybe someone will listen to actual consumers.
p.s. if you have a pop up window blocker on your browser, the share buttons won’t seem to work.
No matter what industry you’re in, you never stop learning. The day you decide to stop, is the day you limit your potential.
These days, SEO is a hard industry to keep up in.
Google is forever changing and updating to “better” the info they provide in the search engine results.
Did you know Google pushed out 500 algorithm alone this year alone?
After the last update, I found many marketers griping about losing on average 30% of traffic.
It’s a dog eat dog world and Google is The Dawg.
But that’s only if you care about search engine ranking.
If you don’t, totally cool, just do a sistah a favor and share this post.
It’s a PSA for those who rely on search engine traffic for their income.
So here’s the deal.
One thing about seo that does not change is the importance of how you structure your permalink.
Or at least it hasn’t changed yet.
Many of us who start using WordPress, start with either the default WordPress structure that ads a page number to your domain name or we go with the whole year/month/postname format. When I moved this blog from Blogger to WordPress, I went with the category/postname. Just using postname format was not possible then, it was considered unstable.
Once this option became stable, I wanted to change my permalinks to domain name/postname.
Shorter format, better for SEO.
So I scoured the net.
Read everything I found.
Took the leap after I moved the blog.
Once I moved, I headed into Settings > Permalinks and change the site’s permalink structure.
I then added a bit of redirection coding to the .htaccess file.
For those that I told I would do this for you after I experimented with my own blog, I won’t be doing it. Read on…
ALL links converted fine.
Everything ran smoothly.
I submitted a new sitemap to Google.
Two weeks later, Google deindexes me.
But no fear, I saw that coming, AND my site is indexed again.
I know how to fix that problem.
However, there’s one thing I hadn’t foreseen that none of the SEO gurus I read mentioned.
Your digital footprint shrinks.
All links to your individual posts, though converting fine, will not contribute to the size of your website’s presence online.
So, my review posts that once ranked on page one of the search engine results are now on pages 2 to 5.
Let me clarify.
Though my site is indexed, though all my links redirect just fine…
Those backlinks I built to specific posts, though they redirect, no longer count.
Why does this matter?
Because without social proof and backlinks to a post, it’s dead in the water if competition is stiff.
So all the times that this post – >
WordPress Image Sliders And Galleries That Kick Ass
means nothing now
. My digital footprint has shrunk. And because of it, no affiliate payments this month.
That’s when I noticed.
When the payments didn’t come in like clockwork, from this post and 3 others, that’s when I knew. Those who know me well know that my affiliate payments covers my mom’s rent (as social security doesn’t do squat even after 36 years of paying taxes) and the website expenses. My income from the services I provide help me to help hubby pay all the other expenses like rent, bills, health insurance, food, things the kids need, etc and leaves a bit to nest away or spend.
November and December is a slow month when it comes to bloggers and entrepreneurs investing in their web presence. So the affiliate sales? I was counting on those puppies.
And yes, I can go back and undo it all, but the fact is, the shorter permalink is better and now that I have it, I shouldn’t let it go. Also, if I changed everything now, it wouldn’t make a difference before christmas, so what’s the point?
Might as well just keep moving forward.
There are two morals to this story.
1. Don’t change your Bloody permalink structure. yes, you can change the permalink for a post from the post area before you publish. And if you have a low performing post that you want to update, by all means, change the permalink and redirect the old one. But do not change your permalink if you have an established blog that generates and income or brings in a high amount of traffic.
I have to admit, I do now get about 50% more traffic, which is what I was hoping for at the least when I changed my permalink structure.
2. Sometimes you can’t really learn something until you do it.
I honestly don’t regret making the change, but if I had foreseen this one consequence, I would have waited.
Again, I’d really appreciate a share. As I mentioned, I didn’t come across this info anywhere when I was researching the permalink change, so I’d like to get this info out to those who are researching it now.
Also? If you have a bit of time to burn, I’d appreciate you sharing this post too ->
WordPress Image Sliders And Galleries That Kick Ass
Gawd knows it can use the help now.
Have a great weekend all!
So you’ve bought Commentluv Premium and you’re just not seeing the benefits from the social media features.
Or maybe you’re thinking of buying Commentluv premium and want to know how your blog can benefit from the social media features.
Or maybe you want to know why the Premium version is better than the free version.
Well this video’s for you bud!
I’m sure after watching this video, if you don’t have Commentluv Premium and you’ve got plans to up your blog’s game, buying it is going on your Must Buy list for 2013.
Well here’s an inside scoop…
Commentluv Premium has 3 license options available but really only two are worth looking at.
The Single site license (for one blog) is $67 and the Developer license (for many blogs) is $99.
As an existing Commentluv member I have lifetime updates. (Got my hands on the pro version of Reply Me for free).
But as of 2013 that incentive is only available to existing members. New members will have to pay $25 every six months for the updates. The plugin will continue to work (as long as a WordPress update doesn’t break it).
Now don’t get all pissy if you don’t already own the plugin. I find the updates cost fair. I’ve seen many improvements and additions to this plugin during the time that I’ve own it, and I’m not referring to bug fixes.
Andy keeps improving the plugin in a way that helps the members improve their blog’s exposure. But time is money and maintenance of such a program can be expensive.
I for one can relate. I set the pricing of TheStrategicMama’s WP + SEO Training at $65 for lifetime access before I realized the need to self host the videos instead of hosting on Youtube. At the moment, I’m struggling with the big picture. Because self hosting videos? Not cheap. There’s storage space and bandwidth expenses to deal with. But I wanted to offer students the best possible interface.
So I get where Andy’s coming from with the choice to charge new members for updates. He keeps improving the plugin and that is expensive.
That being said, grabbing the plugin now, before the new year is THE SMART SHOPPER WAY to get lifetime updates for free.
Now every link in this post to Commentluv is my affiliate link. Use my link to make your purchase before December 31st and email me your receipt to vanita@ this blog’s url and I will hook you up with a FREE Blog Structure Blueprint, retail priced $100, that will help kick your blog into gear for 2013!
And that’s all folks!
If you have any Qs about the video, please share in the comments section.
And please do a sistah a solid and share this post with your social media network!
You read it right.
And yes, I’ve been watching too much Spongebob Squarepants lately.
What can I say?
I’ve got two teens and two preschoolers in the house and they all bump heads and start screaming for mom.
Followed by complaints. Complaints I can’t understand cause they’re all yelling at the same time.
Damian stole my book. Sabrina won’t share the sofa. Natasha took my train. Vanessa won’t let me change the channel.
And you’ve got to hear all of it while you’re cooking dinner.
See why I burn dinner so often?
Or why I forget and throw salt into the pot twice?
But that hasn’t happened in two weeks.
Why? Cause every afternoon when I head into the kitchen to cook, I tune the TV to Spongebob and for 90 minutes the four of ‘em sit there mesmerized.
I did have some concerns after the first week of this little experiment. While I was cooking, I could hear the preschoolers chanting All Hail Plankton from the family room. Mentioned it to hubby and he said the wisest thing he’s ever said (other than will you marry me).
“Just be grateful they’re not chanting mommy”.
My hubby? Brilliant I tell you.
And if you’re ready to scroll down to the comments section to gripe about me allowing my kids to watch something as brain cell burning as Spongebob Squarepants, sistah, you can kiss my ass.
I need to have my sanity too and if Spongebob can help me get it, he can come on over for dinner every night. Slimy snail and all.
And honestly, I don’t mind the kids brains going to mush for an hour. These kids spend most of the day learning. That’s hard work no matter what age you are. Some vegetation time for them is similar to any adult turning on the boob tube after a long day at work.
But let’s move on to why bloggers need to Be Like Spongebob.
As enjoyable as blogging is, once you get sucked in and decide to make it a permanent part of your life, it’s a hard road to travel.
Its easy to give up within the first few months. There are road maps out there, but nothing specifically tailored to what we may dream up our blog should be. This causes discouragement, but in my humble opinion, if we were more like Spongebob, we could make it.
- Spongebob is relentless. He commits to something, he keeps at it with single minded focus. Whether it’s his goal to be the best fry cook ever or his need to get Squidward to play a game with him or his dream of getting his boating license, Spongebob keeps trying. He doesn’t see his small beginning as a hindrance, he doesn’t take no for an answer and even though he’s not the greatest driver, he keeps going knowing one day he’ll make it.
- Spongebob is optimistic. He always sees the silver lining. He believes anything is possible.
- Spongebob is brave. Though some may say he should be named Spongebob Scaredypants, he’ll step out of his comfort zone to prove his point. There was an episode where Sandy, the underwater squirrel dared Spongebob and company to head on up to dry land. He was afraid, yes, but he did it. True he was pecked at by seagulls afterwards, but he still did it and came back wiser. There’s also the episode where he and Patrick headed into the ring against wrestlers 10 times there size. He was scared to compete with pros but he didn’t give up.
- Spongebob is kind. He’s always willing to help someone out and gives them his best.
- Spongebob is friendly. Always happy to make a new friend. He’s the social butterfly of Bikini Bottom.
If us bloggers were
- relentless in our pursuits,
- optimistic even when are traffic is low,
- brave enough to put ourselves out there against bloggers who have bigger audiences and have been blogging longer,
- willing to give of ourselves by helping others,
- and really took the time to network and know our audience,
we could kick ass at blogging.
Now I plan on being more like Spongebob this New Year. I need to get more personal with my network and be relentless in pursuing my goals of building more exposure for this blog.
How about you? Do you find any of Spongebob’s traits admiring? Can you see where being relentless, optimistic, brave, kind or friendly can help you ROCK YOUR BLOG in 2013? Can you Be Kick Ass Like Spongebob? I hear he’s got Moves Like Jagger.
Recently I’ve been hearing a lot about the need to be famous online from fellow bloggers.
Famous blogger, famous vlogger, famous podcaster, famous online line radio host, etc, etc.
You get the picture right?
Yesterday when I spoke of my Fame, I mentioned a post I’d read about how to be a famous blogger from a pretty famous guy who’s making moolah on line.
Now I get ambition. It’s a driving force that’s a needed ingredient to become famous.
But there’s a few other ingredients that need to be thrown into the mix to get there too.
You won’t get anywhere without one.
Outline your strengths, the audience you want to reach, what you’ll be offering that will differentiate you from the pack, the time you have to invest, what you’ll need to produce what you’re offering and how much will it cost for you to produce it. You’ll most importantly need to research if what your strengths can offer is something people want. Fame can’t come without an audience and you need to speak to that audience about what they want to know.
You need to be dedicated to the strategy. You need to commit to sticking to it. Without commitment, you’ll jump from trying this to trying that and 5 years from now you’ll still be trying this and trying that. It’s the same idea behind being a WAHM, you need to start with a strategy and be committed to it.
Nothing worth anything comes without lots of hard work. Ignore the get rich scams. They’re built to make someone else rich, not you.
Yes, you’ll need to make sacrifices. You’ll need to not get that new iPhone 5 and get a good webcam and mic if you want to be a famous vlogger. You may have to give up one Starbucks Frap a month to cover hosting for your soon to be famous blog. You’re definitely going to have to sacrifice some of your time to learn things that will improve on what you offer and to learn how to market yourself.
You need to be confident of what you know, what you can do and how you’re doing it. It’s the only thing that will push you out of your comfort zone. And to be famous honey? You’ll need to step out of your comfort zone. So if you’re someone who doesn’t like speaking in public, who doesn’t like blogging about business stuff or who just doesn’t know how to do these things…forget that shit and just do it. It only take one try to get you past the fear.
It will come. Stick to your guns and keep working while you stay positive.
And no, I’m not famous. I’m a mom. I’m a blogger. I have a thriving work at home business from my mom blog. I’m living my dream of working from home while scheduling work around my life and my family. It doesn’t make me famous, but it’s my dream. And no matter what your dream is, you need the above ingredients to make it.
Do you dream of being a famous blogger?
P.S. The Exclusive Going Pro Blogger Sale for bloggers who want to kick that free blog to the curb is still going!
Includes Moving, Theme, Hosting and WP + SEO Training.
Again, check it out here.
Finishing up Vidya’s move. If you’re not familiar with my super sweet and witty sistah Vidya then here’s a screenshot of her before and after blog:
We’re still emptying boxes, need to put some knick knacks on the shelves, but we’re getting there. Drop by and tell her how cute her new home is. It’s not an original design, but it’s pretty damn cute!
photocredit: © Bruno Passigatti – Fotolia.com
It’s so odd.
Just this morning I was reading Jon Morrow’s The Brad Pitt School of Blogging Superstardom.
All about the benefits of being a famous blogger.
Cause you know, we could never imagine that.
But seriously, sarcasm aside, it’s a great post. And I’ll give you the link!
But before you head there, I’ve got two extraordinary bloggers for you!
not just because they both posted about me today which means I’m in the news and pretty damn famous if you ask me and you should cause i know all…
These are writers who write to encourage and motivate and bring joy into your life.
These women are two of my fav writers that speak to your heart and spirit.
If you don’t know these amazing women, then you’ve been living under a rock.
btw, I really hope it’s not patrick’s rock. last night that silly starfish got a nose job and finally got a nose!
after learning what food, garbage and spongebob really smell like, he went back to his Rock Sweet Rock and couldn’t stand the smells.
Bachelors I tell you.
They leave their underwear on the floor right next to 2 day old chinese take out. So you know, they can find it.
These women warm my heart everyday and I know they’ll put a smile on your face too!
First, you NEED to know Elle. I’ve mentioned her before. She kicks ass at teaching you how to shoot for the stars because the universe will answer. Now I knew this post was coming because she interviewed me for it. I just didn’t know how awesome it would be until it published! Go read Living A Purpose Filled Life Through Encouragement.
Then head over and visit my sis Vidya Sury of Going A-Musing and learn about her life of gratitude.
If you know Vidya, don’t be shocked by her new digs. She jumped on this sale and I moved her from Blogger to WordPress self hosted within 5 hours today. There’s still some techy things to do but she’s looking good! Also? The women tells the truth about me here!
And then if you still have time in your busy schedule check out Jon Morrow’s post on being the Brad Pitt of blogging.
And that my peeps is all I have for you today. While moving Vidya I’ve also been moving another client from Blogger to WordPress and I need to get back on that!
Busy Busy Busy
Back in the day, I would find myself surprised to log in to a new client’s site and find that they hadn’t updated WP or their plugins in ages.
Ya gotta understand people, updates are important for functionality and security.
But I know, some updates are daunting because of the techy gibberish that comes with it.
Commetluv Premium, though awesome as it is, has a bit of techy gibberish after the update that people ignore (big no-no) or freak out about.
So here’s a quickie to help you get over the fear.
Now go forth and update!
Also? New post up at TheStrategicMama.com. Drop by and say hi.
Don’t forget to do a sistah a solid and share this post.
Some time back I made a vlog post for a segment of my first Google Luv Course students. That first group was a mix of beta testers and paying students. Those who completed the course were invited to watch the video. Of me.
It’s the only vlog post I’ve ever made.
As I was building the strategy of the new blog, The Strategic Mama and it’s WP + SEO Training Membership site, I realized I wanted to put more of me in it and so I watched that video several times, trying to decide if I wanted to be on camera. Besides the puffy left eye from surgery, which will never ever go away, I’m pretty damn cute and somewhat entertaining. Seriously. (Those of you who saw the video better have my back in the comments section)
What bugged me about the video the most was my t-shirt. I mean I was already self conscious about the eye, but watching the video, the tshirt bugged me more. It was a high neck black tshirt with chinese writing.
“what the hell was i thinking wearing that ratty old thing? I should have worn a shirt with a collar, something pro looking”
“but mom you always wear tshirts”
“but it doesnt look professional”
the brilliant children with the 98% and 96% GPAs in High School said, “Can’t Kate make you a t-shirt with your new logo?”
My va-jay-jay? Spits out geniuses.
So I send Kate of Sew Gaelic the new logo, she was the first to see it and she went wild and said “We’re putting this on a T-Shirt right?”
Have I told you that woman is also psychic?
If you click on that link to Sew Gaelic you’ll see the process of putting my logo on this t-shirt.
I knew the t-shirt would look great, but I really didn’t know how wonderful it would be until I received it.
So now I’ve got the new site and the t-shirt, all I need is the webcam and we’ll have our first vlog. On TSM.
The teens were so impressed, they’ve decided to have custom t-shirts made for their boyfriends for Christmas.
And with Kate’s Christmas sale about to launch, where these custom made Tshirts are $20 instead of the regular $30 which includes shipping in the US, these are definitely the perfect gift.
So I figured, what the hell, why not gift one of my blog readers with a custom t-shirt with their blog name to wear to the bloggy conferences or while they make their own vlog or to playdates so they can pick up local readers without saying “Hey I’m a blogger, visit me”. Great conversation starter when you’re waiting with a bunch of moms for your kids’ ballet class to end.
The Wear Your Blog With Pride Giveaway
Sorry friends abroad, I’m too damn cheap to mail outside of the US, but if you’re willing to pay for shipping, feel free to enter! You can also enter to gift a USA friend/blogger.
I’m also opening up this giveaway to dad bloggers, cause though i don’t say it, you guys rock!
Here’s what you need to get your blog name on a t-shirt. And yes, I’m only accepting entries for blog names.
Ya’ll know me, I support my momma bloggers everywhere and the promotion of their blogs.
So here’s what you need.
A digital file of your blog logo.
If you have a blog header, then a digital file of the blog name.
Or you can supply the font (so much easier if you can find it or an equivalent on google web fonts) and the color (keep in mind, this is thread, it won’t match your screen which displays color in light) and an idea of the art you’d like added.
Since it’s a custom project, Kate works with her clients to come up with the design based on her library of digital art. More info here.
How to enter.
Now I’m sponsoring this Giveaway.
Kate doesn’t even know about it yet. LOL. The woman is a night owl and is no doubt still asleep(it’s almost 8am EST).
The entry is super easy. Leave a comment that you’re entering (be sure to turn on the commenluv option so I can visit your most recent or favorite post).
Then head over to the rafflecopter. (no I won’t host a rafflecopter here on the blog. Crashed my blog too many times)
Two likes and Two shares. Only 3 are mandatory.
And that’s it!
The contest starts now and ends Wednesday 11/28/2012 so I can get the order in.
If you’d like to place your own order with Sew Gaelic (maybe a non blog embroidered t-shirt), check out the Holiday Sale category.
The custom t-shirts are only available for a limited time.
It’s temporary and newly launched. Kate will be adding new products daily.
And that’s it peeps!
Now I’m off to work on the artwork for the teens’ boyfriends. Blah.
p.s. The Commentluv special is still going! I’m not sure for how long, but use my affiliate link and I’ll throw in a membership to The Strategic Mama WP + SEO Training Site. Get the details here.
Here’s a semi-oldie and not-so-goodie topic that many blogging/seo virgins have a skewed understanding of.
What the heck does a Penguin and Panda have to do with Google?
And what does Google want from me?
Honestly? Panda is a google engineer.
So they named the algorithm after him.
Penguin is another algorithm.
The Panda algorithm was created to filter the spammy sites to the last pages of the search engine results and sometimes deindex them.
The Panda is very suspicious of sites with shallow content and lots of affiliate links. So actual real blogs were deindexed too, by accident.
Then the Penguin came along and his job is really to look at your whole site, see if your site is structured, if you have crazy broken links, if you have porn sites linking to you, if you’re linking to porn sites,etc.
For a clear idea of how this affects your blog, I want you to check out this post I wrote in May http://afterbedtimeblog.com/seo/how-to-embrace-the-google-penguin.
Google SEO Tip: What does Google See?
How do they know you’re structured?
head over to http://www.yellowpipe.com/yis/tools/lynx/lynx_viewer.php and plug your blog url in.
I want you to then adjust your browser so it’s as narrow as the dashed line shown above your page info.
Next scroll the page so the dashed line is all the way on the top, barely visible.like this screenshot of mine:
Do Not Scroll the page any further! at least not yet. This is what google indexes as you having “above the fold”.
If you have lots of text here covering what your site is about – what services you offer or what your main topics is – then you’re in a good place. If all that’s in this area is coding, ya gotta rethink that structure.
Notice that the menu bar shows Google all the topics I cover on my blog?
Now here’s what Google sees when looking at one of your pages:
By looking at this page, Google can see that I have info above the fold based on that page topic. Not just links to other posts. This is why you want pages in your menu bar and not category links
It’s important for Google to have a clear understanding of what your site is about!
Be sure to give it to ‘em.
p.s. how sad is it that i have the word blog promotion so many times in the first paragraph?old school seo tactic. i’d change it, but the fact is, that page ranks for Blog Promotion Tips in the Search Engine Results on page one.
when (if) it bottoms out to page 2, i’ll change it.
I’m a bit pissy.
I didn’t expect this sale to go live until midnight.
So I missed out on offering you the $99 Premium Commentluv Plugin for $22.
At this moment, it’s priced at $32 and will be such for the next few hours.
If you’re not sure what commentluv is, let me tell you and then show u.
Commentluv Premium is not a commenting plugin.
Commentluv Premium is a comment control system.
Besides allowing people to promote their posts when leaving a comment (a great way to thank them for their time), Commentluv Premium is spam protection and a reply system too.
Watch the video and grab your copy for $32. If you use my affiliate link: http://afterbedtimeblog.com/commentluv to make your purchase, send me your receipt and I’ll give you a free year’s access to the WP + SEO Training Site. Click here for details. All genders welcome. That’s a $164 value for $32.
Watch the video and feel free to leave me any Qs in the comment section.,
Again, if you use my affiliate link: http://afterbedtimeblog.com/commentluv to make your purchase, send me your receipt and I’ll give you a free year’s access to the WP + SEO Training Site. Click here for details about the WP + SEO Training Membership Site and a video peek at what the membership offers.
The Commentluv Premium sales page says the price is frozen at $33.42 for 12 hours. I’m not sure how many hours are left, so don’t dilly dally if you’re interested in grabbing this plugin.
A Few Words about Akismet
Akismet doesn’t allow for the kind of control CL does.
Less chance of friend’s comments ending up in the spam folder.
Avoid spam comments slipping through the cracks and ruining your SEO. For example, let’s say akismet didn’t catch a spam comment and google crawls your site that same day. the link left by the spam comment gets indexed as you linking to that site and we know spammers are usually low quality sites.
Also by using Akismet, you’re relying on a third party’s server to not be down and you’ve given that 3rd party (Akismet) access to your site.
So I’m super super excited!!
While instructing the Google Luv Course I learned what worked and what didn’t work when it came to being user friendly and efficient. As the weeks passed I realized what my students needed and I’ve spent the last two weeks building it.
Check out the video:
For more info on the Google Luv Course Membership which teaches you how to increase traffic to your blog, visit the Traffic Boosting Training page.
WARNING: This is NOT a standard-run-of-the-mill SEO course that EVERYONE is teaching. This course goes beyond teaching SEO and may cause you to look at your blog in a whole new light. This course will plant seeds in your subconscious that will grow into a better understanding of how search engine work and how your blog- big or little – can grow and kick ass. This course can help you find what you’re really an authority on and show you how to expose yourself as such. Again, this is not a get rich overnight gimmick.
All existing students will be receiving their sign in info over the next few days. (beta testers who did not complete the course and submit a review, I will happily offer you membership at a discounted price if you’re ever interested in finishing).
Here’s an outline of the existing Google Luv Course Videos. New videos will be added regularly.
- What the Google Knowledge Team Loves
- How To Properly Structure Your Blog
- Basic Keyword Research – It’s not all about numbers.
- How to properly configure a SEO Plugin
- How To Properly use a SEO Plugin
- How To SEO Your Posts
- How to Create the Optimal Sitemap
- The Most Important Line in the Robots.txt file and how to make sure Google finds it
- How to use Webmaster Tools Effectively
- How to configure affiliate links properly
- Keyword Research for Service or Product Pages
- Keyword Research for Review posts with affiliate links
- The Post Method
- And more…
Here’s the video that shares how I make money from my blog:
If you’re like me – small following, low traffic numbers – or maybe you have a newish blog, and you’re wondering how to make money blogging…this video’s for you.
Keep in mind, the WP Training Video Library is also part of your package.
Here’s what’s available in the library so far:
Learn the ins and outs of WordPress and never feel lost again!
Got a WP question? Sign in to the WP Training Video Library and learn what you need to know within minutes!
Step by step walk through via video.
- - Basic Settings For Newbies
- - How to Customize Your WordPress Dashboard
- - How to Create New Posts in WordPress
- - How to Create New Pages in WordPress
- - How to Use and Format Images in WordPress
- - How To Install Plugins Automatically
- - How to Upload and Install Plugins Manually
- - How to Upgrade / Delete Plugins Automatically
- - How to Install WordPress Themes Automatically
- - How to Upload and Install Themes Manually
- - How to Upgrade WP Themes Automatically
- - How to Customize Your WordPress Theme
- - How to Use WordPress Widgets in The Sidebar
- - Controlling Spam Comments in WordPress
- - Using The Akismet Spam Plugin
- - How to Create A Contact Form in WordPress
- - How to Customize Your Contact Form
- - Adding and Managing Users in WordPress
- - How to Customize the Top Navigation Menus
- - How to Add Audio Player to WordPress
- - Customizing Your Audio Player for WordPress
- - Getting and Using Gravatars for Your Blogging
- - How to Display Testimonials on WP
- - How to Add Youtube Videos to Posts
- - How to Make Posts User Friendly For Your Readers
- - How to Use Privacy and Update Services to let Search Engines know when you release new content
- - How to Revert to a Previous Draft
- - How to Tune Up WordPress
- - How to Create Backups
- - How to Restore Backups
- - How to create a WP Custom 404 Page
- - How to remove footer words
- - How to Protect Your Email Address from Spammers
- - How to Post to Your Blog via Email (Configuration)
- - How to Post to Your Blog via Email (Configure Automation)
- - How to Secure Your Site
- - How to configure WP BulletProof
- - How to configure W3Total Cache
- - How to install FB Comments
- - How to embed Twitter Tweets in a post
- - How to Configure WP Touch for Mobile
- - How to Implement Google Analytics
New videos added every month.
Is there something about WordPress you’d love to learn but don’t see listed? Please share in the comments section.
Also if you’re a WAHM or aspiring to be one, stop by my new blog The Strategic Mama. I’ve got words of wisdom on how to be an efficient zombie
Ten years ago, when I was 26, a salaried corporate employee, divorced and raising two kids on my own, I discovered I needed something I never had since the day I got married. Regular time with friends. Time to socialize, hang out, bullshit. Release the tensions. Not be completely responsible for EVERYTHING for a few hours.
Now don’t misunderstand, when I was married and working, I did head out once every few months for dinner or shopping with a girlfriend. As my marriage soured, as the stress of an unemployed, alcoholic, verbally abusive and cheating husband took its toll, my schedule became work – home -work. I needed to invest my time caring for my kids, cause really, I was already a single parent at that stage, and to working to be the best and continue to be the breadwinner, supporting a family of four.
Then we divorced and my life continued being home-work-home. I was a single parent and the breadwinner still.
Two years after being divorced I realized I had no bloody life.
I love my kids and I loved my job, but the fact was, especially at that young age, trying to handle it all alone, was stressful.
I can’t remember when the change happened.
When I went out on that first dinner with friends.
I think it may have been after the first company Christmas party that I actually attended and realized that wow, this is what grown ups do.
After that, dinner with my girlfriend weekly, shopping with another girlfriend biweekly and barnights every other thursday after work became the norm.
I relieved tension and my kids were well taken care of and it was fun damnit.
On occasion there was a club night or a bar hop night.
Not even weekly.
This is what leads me to today’s post title.
You were wondering when I’d get to the point, weren’t you? Admit it.
Bar Hopping vs Social Media Hopping
It’s 10 years later, I run my own web based business from home and I now have a loving husband and 4 kids.
I’ve gone back to the point where I don’t have time to release the stress. To not be responsible for a few hours. To just kick back and bullshit.
I haven’t seen a bar, much less the motel, in ages and this last October, on my birthday, was the first time I’d been out to lunch with friends in years.
Social Media really has been my only time to socialize. It can be done from home while with the kids and during production breaks.
It was like my bi-weekly bar nights – except, done daily.
Until recently, Twitter was where I socialized. I wasn’t living under a rock, I had profiles on the other platforms, I used them weekly, but Twitter was where I could always be found. It’s where I socialized with friends.
Then a few months back I sat my butt down and worked out a strategy to focus and run my business. It’s something I develop for clients, but hadn’t done for myself.
So the business expanded, it took on a new dimension and I found that I needed to be on more platforms, to interact in more places, to make more connections to grow the business’s exposure.
How has that turned out?
Well truth is, even when I was 26 I couldn’t barhop every freakin night, what the hell made me think I could SM platform hop everyday? Throughout the bloody day.
Be social on twitter, facebook, g+ and linkedin? Not to mention be active on Pinterest, Instagram and use Stumble Upon? And to top it off, find time to visit my fav blogs and comment and share there too?
All while running a home and a business?
Part of that strategy was actually sticking to a schedule so I could be an efficient zombie.
Many days I find that I can not schedule in time to socialize. It’s just not happening.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m ashamed of the act that I haven’t been engaging on Twitter. Truth is, I haven’t been engaging anywhere. I barely find time to thank people and to share my fav posts and that’s it.
This has to change.
And the only way it’s going to change is if I stop trying to push myself to barhop aka social media hop daily.
Plus I’m not a young chicken, I’ve got a 2 shot limit.
I’ve got to pick a platform for engagement and stick to it.
Believe it or not, it may not be Twitter.
It sure as hell won’t be Facebook I can tell you that.
Google plus is looking really good to me right now.
I’l keep on Pinning and Instagram-ming cause I like doing it and can do it when with the kids.
I’ll keep sharing to all platforms, help to boost the exposure of awesome blogs.
But I need one place to engage. To call my pub, so to speak. Where everyone knows my name.
What social media platform is your pub?
I’d love to know and know why. Cheers.
Twitter has always been my first social media love.
I’ve actually made some great bloggy friends there and picked up several clients.
Imagine the shame I felt when I watched this video:
Yes, I feel ashamed.
I’ve been too busy for any social media platform lately. I just can’t seem to schedule it into my day.
And my day requires that when I schedule, I prioritize that which is most important.
Sadly, engaging via Social Media has been on the bottom of the list a lot lately.
I do find time to share posts.
And yes, many of my shares are me auto tweeting from my fav blogs’ feeds.
But there’s a reason I set that up.
So I could spend more time socializing and less time manually sharing.
But not it seems that all i do is share.
So I figured I had to start somewhere and signed in to Twitter.
Signed in with the intention to find twitter buddies who were tweeting and just bullshit with them.
What did i find in my feed?
Quotes, Sponsored Tweets and Shares.
Seems my buddies are doing what I do.
This needs to change.
I like twitter.
I also like using it to find great posts to read.
But it’s not meant to be a live RSS feed.
So everyday I’m jumping on for a half hour.
Have you been ignoring your social media buddies?
I’ve loved to know which platform and why.
Here’s a super simple way to fix this issue.
Sidenote: to watch the video in best quality, click the little gear on the right hand bottom corner of the video window and choose 480.
If you’ve enjoyed this video and are itching for more helpful WordPress videos, stay tuned for next week’s Launch of my new membership site:
At launch time, this affordable membership site, will have almost 30 WordPress videos from basics to intermediate to help you master WordPress. And all you Existing Google Luv Course Students, you get lifetime access for free!
So if you haven’t grabbed a seat yet for the Google Luv Course, this is a great weekend to do so because this is the last time you’ll be able to grab the class for $30 with lifetime access to the WP Training Library for free.
I’m asked this quite a bit. I won’t lie, I do not keep up to date with Google’s blogging platform, so many times, I gotta say “I don’t know girl…” and then say, go check out my good friend Mayura De Silva, he kicks ass at Blogger.
And today he’s as generous as usual by sharing with my peeps on Google’s blogger platform how to go about implementing Blogspot SEO.
Now, words of wisdom from Mayura…
1… 2… 3… May I have your ATTENTION, please? Well, thank you I’m from… No gibberish… Let’s move on.
You have been using search engines to find information on the web. I don’t need to explain how they can be used to find information on the web. Do I? It’s self-descriptive. Since you are a blogger, you may find that the term “SEO” is much popular among bloggers. Let me through it briefly.
Search engines helping people to find relevant and interesting information on the web and as you know, it’s much convenient. Can you think of days with no search engines? Basically search engines keep records of web content in their servers and whenever we search for information, we don’t search actual web content though it seems so. Each of search engines has a search index, which helps search engine to navigate easily through records of web content they have gathered. When you enter your words in search bar and hit go, your query will run through their search index, like we go through a book index to find a page where the term is on, and populate matching results quickly.
Search engines are not human beings. That’s why “Search Engine Optimization” matters. Eventhough search engine bots crawl your content and send people to your blogs, they aren’t smart enough always to identify what is your content about. Therefore you need to provide specific details of your pages for search engines to serve better for web searchers and hence it will bring even more traffic to your blog compared to non-optimized blogs.
Search engines are not smart enough, but kinda smart. So you don’t need to much obsess with optimization. Let’s see what we can do for your blog on Blogger blogging platform to optimize it for search engines and gain more attention of web searchers.
Use Headings Effectively
Do you use headings when you write posts? You just write a heading in normal text and increase font size of it (Smallest, Small, Large and Extra Large)? By doing so, we (human) can identify it as a heading by just looking at it. But search engines can’t. Search engines need you to convince them that they are headers by using standard HTML markup for them.
Basically, search engines can identify headings defined by header tags such as <h2>, <h3>, <h4> (See how headings differ from each other in here ~ HTML Headings), and assume the idea of content beneath the heading is reflected by that headings. But if you just use normal text with increased size as headings, it is just another piece of text for search engines. You see, search engines aren’t smart enough So you need to be.
If you have specified headings properly with header tags, search engines will identify them as headings and make use of them to index you post content in structured manner.
You don’t need to specify HTML heading tags manually on Blogger. Just use heading options available on post editor and they will define appropriate tags automatically for you. Below you can see available heading options at post editor when you compose or write a post.
Each header option on Blogger, applies different header tags. Let’s get to know about ‘em.
Heading – This is best to use for first-level headings in your posts and it will apply <h2> heading tags for that headings.
Subheading – This is applicable for the next level headings you use under first-level headings. It will apply <h3> heading tags for them.
Minor heading – This is lower level headings which can be used for headings comes under subheadings. This will apply <h4> tags for those headings.
Optimize Search Descriptions
I know you have already seen search description on search results. But, do you know what it is? Just take a look at below search result. The red colored text is called as the search description of that specific page. Hmm… Seems it describes what kind of content includes in that page. Isn’t it?
Search description helps web searchers, like you and me, to check out what kind of content is in that page before step into – A brief description of page content. If you don’t have search descriptions specified for you posts or pages, search engines will come up with a matching description based on content of the page as below.
What makes sense? The effective usage of search description help bring more visitors to your pages instead of the ones create by search engines automatically. Search descriptions are to attract users, which is more like advertising on the web. Also search engines go through search descriptions when someone searches online. So you can use keywords not used in the page to help online users to find your posts or pages. Make it sensible for humans and include keywords wisely. Bloggers know how to write lines well, right? Prove it.
Search Description for Blog
You can specify a search description for your blog to describe your blog and show it off in search results. You can use keywords in description that matches with your blog content to be more helpful for searchers to find your blog if they interested in.
1. Navigate to Blogger Dashboard.
2. Click on your Blog Title.
3. Jump to Settings from left pane.
4. Go to Search preferences.
5. Click Edit link corresponds to Description setting under Meta tags heading.
6. Now select Yes to enable search description feature.
7. Enter relevant blog description for your blog in given text area and save it. Make sure it has not more than 150 characters and did you notice the example given there? It’s simple and straightforward description for a blog
Search Description for Posts
Once you enabled search description feature as we discussed above, it will also available for your posts and pages too. Let’s see how you can specify a search description for a published post.
1. Open one of your posts in Post Editor. I mean, in edit view.
2. Now you can find Post Settings on right sidebar.
3. Locate Search Description setting and click on it.
4. Enter a relevant search description in given text area and click Done. It’s better if your search description is limited to 150 characters, else others will be truncated on search results. It’s not a rule
5. Now you can update your post and search description will apply for the page that your post is on.
Also you can add search descriptions for new posts when you compose ‘em as the way I discussed above. Make sure they are brief and reflect what’s inside the page. You need to think like a web searcher, not like a blogger
Use Custom Permalinks
Blogger usually create post URLs automatically according to post titles. Simply, the URL includes the same words that post title has. Search engines make use of words in both post title and URL, to offer better search results for users in accordance to search terms. That’s why the custom permalinks matters in SEO. You can include keywords that matters to your post even in your post URL too.
Let me go through a simple example,
If your post title is “The Beautiful Island in Indian Ocean”, its automatic URL is:
But with the help of custom permalink option, you can change it as below,
So if someone searches for beautiful island in Indian Ocean, your post will be listed in search results and also if someone searches for Sri Lanka, you post will list there too. It means better exposure for your post. But remember, your content matters SEO is just a little push to promote your content.
Even you can apply custom permalinks for your older posts by reverting ‘em to draft. But DON’T EVER DO IT. As your posts already linked by external services and spread across social media and other web sources, changing existing links could be a disaster and you will lose existing traffic. Therefore, use this option only for your new posts.
1. Open up a new post in compose mode.
2. On right sidebar, locate the Permalink setting under Post settings and click on it.
3. Now enter your custom URL with no spaces in it. Instead of spaces, you can use hyphen/minus or underscore symbol. Also try not to use prepositions (Such as in, on, from, for) in custom permalinks and focus on using keywords here as web searchers don’t pay attention on URL.
4. Once you done with custom URL, click Done.
Google Authorship – sounds familiar? Google authorship helps expose authors/users behind the content and it’s more about trustworthiness. If you know an author that good for something, you prefer to read his/her content rather than someone else’s, right? Google introduced authorship feature on search results and it helps bring you traffic depends on how much people believe in you and your work.
Did you notice author name and profile photo on search result below?
Let’s apply it for your posts too. This is one time thing. On Blogger, you just need to follow few simple steps to show author details on Google search results. In this process, you have to give up your traditional Blogger profile and it will replaced by your Google+ profile. Yeah, you have to, if you need to. Make sure you have already signed up for Google+ before you proceed.
1. Go to Blogger Switch Profile page.
2. Check the option I’ve read the above and fully understand… and click Switch Now button.
3. Now provide Google account credentials and sign in.
4. You will prompt to select your blogs to be added into Google+ profile. Select all your blogs and click Add.
I was talking about optimizing your blog and content for search engines. I hope those are very helpful options that Blogger offers and there are few more you can check out at Settings under Search preferences. Mostly I don’t think you wanna use all of ‘em. Just use ones you are comfortable with.
After all, I’d like to mention one helpful and easy to use tool I know which would be much helpful in assessing SEO effectiveness of your pages – Marketing Grader. I think this post will get too much lengthy if I describe all about it. So you can read here if you wish to know about it and make sure to run it for you blog at least once to see how your blog is doing with SEO and Marketing.
I hope I would able to cover helpful topics which relates to SEO for bloggers on Blogger blogging platform. Well, let me know about it as still I’m a newbie blogger. Make use of them wisely and let me remind you – “Don’t be SEO worshippers”. If you do, when there is no SEO, you will get lost. Bloggers are much more than that as I feel
Isn’t Mayura kick ass?
He is awesome and I always go running to him with Blogspot questions.
If you live in NYC, stay home.
It’s crap outside.
I was hopeful when I heard there was a bit of snowing coming.
Damian has been waiting months for snow.
What did I get?
No great pictures of Damian and his little sister in awe of the snow, so I figured I’d share some pics from my Hurricane Sandy vacation.
With the teens home, routine went out the window and the little ones barely napped.
Instead I had many moments of this…
a couple of these
We played lots of this
I caught one of these
Then we did this the day after the hurricane…
It wasn’t much of a party, but hey, I weathered a hurricane to find a birthday cake.
I also worked on this:
and i’m still getting this membership site together:
Yes, they are both my new sites.
http://thestrategicmama.com is live.
Now back to work!
Drop by and say hi.
Everyone was pinning…
Funny how we can add ING to any word and just know everyone else will know what we’re talking about.
stumbling…as in stumble upon, not tripping over our own feet or our own words which both sometimes leads to a foot in your mouth.
Everyone was pinning.
As in Pinterest-ing.
Can you tell yet that my brain is muddled?
Don’t leave. I have the flu. So bear with me.
And I got the invites. From friends that were on Pinterest.
Nobody gets an invite to the flu.
Come on people, keep up.
But there were already so many bloody platforms to deal with.
Hell, I was even using foursquare at the time.
Don’t ask me what the ING equivalent is…stalking? Nooo. I’d be the stalkee. The fool that tells the murders where I am.
Anyway, I didn’t pay Pinterest much mind until maybe 8 months ago.
Then I got hooked.
Even sat in on an online conference to learn more.
Pinterest. Way cool.
Total time suck I tell you.
I’m a visual person. I love looking at pretty and colorful.
Pinterest became a way for me to share cool things I found on blogs.
Instead of repinning other people’s pins I could pin stuff I found on blogs that maybe my Pinterest buddies didn’t know about and that would make me all cool and stuff…yeah.
I even signed up with Pinerly so I could track it.
And I’ve done maybe 3 of those that sent really nice traffic to blogging friends.
Check this out from May 2012:
And then I got disorganized. Cause I kept making these pinboards with these specific names…
and then stuff i wanted to pin didn’t fit into the boards i had…
so i had to make more boards…
Has this happened to you?
So I keep saying Imma sit down and organize Pinterest.
Especially after this post from Pragmaticmom where she mentions a new blogging friend who had like a bazillion pinterest followers.
Mind you, that was September 13, 2012. I can not tell you how many times I’ve signed into Pinterest with the intention to organize it and just LEFT. There’s no time.
Kids to chase.
Dinner to burn.
The list goes on people.
Hell, I’m so busy working on moving blogs, a few design projects and the launch of my newest blog, I haven’t seen twitter in weeks.
Who’s got time for Pinterest?
But…I want to PIN.
When I get to catch up with my Fav Blogs, I want to PIN. I need to PIN. And I don’t know where to put stuff, so I haven’t pinned anything lately.
So what’s a busy mama to do?
Meet Little Love Media.
Alison at Little Love Media has turned my Pinterest Boards into this space that makes me sigh with delight.
I’m itching to go blog reading just so I can Pin.
The woman improved my board titles and organized my pins.
In no time at all.
She was very quick, very efficient.
Asked me a few questions about what boards I needed.
Deleted all my duplicate Pins of stuff that I couldn’t decide where to place.
Create a couple of new boards and moved some of my Pins that were just sitting in the wrong boards to the new boards that fit just right and are so well thought out I can use them again and again.
I can not tell you the sense of relief I have now.
If you’re wicked busy and are having trouble keeping up with Social Media, but it’s a MUST for your business exposure, you need to check out Little Love Media’s Social Media Made Easy packages. Alison offers customized packages too, which is what my project was, so if you don’t see what you need, contact the woman, she knows her stuff.
And no, this is not a sponsored post.
This breaks my heart. And yes, I know there’s a lot more about this hurricane that should be breaking my heart at the moment. But this saddens me. On a personal level. It’s where hubby proposed to me April 2, 2006. We had went away to Atlantic City for a night. My first time out of NYC in 20 years. Also my last time out of NYC.
This will definitely be my last Sandy post. We were left well and safe and intact and I thank God for that. The worst we had was last night between 6pm and 10pm when the house was actually swaying (we’re on the top floor of a 3 story house). I would not be surprised to look out the window to find the siding gone, but I’m pretty sure it’s still intact otherwise it would be colder in here.
Yes, old frame house. Very thin. We get a draft from leaving the closet door open.
But we’re okay.
We came out really lucky.
Really really lucky.
I spent most of last night worrying about the people in Jersey that I love.
It was good to see their posts on Facebook this morning.
Eh, Facebook has it’s uses.
Today is oldest teen’s 16th birthday.
I’m hoping to head out later and find a cake or ingredients to make one.
My heart goes out to those we’ve lost and my heart is grateful for those who made it.
Thank you to all who thought of me and for the good vibes and prayers that helped keep us safe.
And I gotta wonder, if she’s a witch, wouldn’t she be a she?
I know, I know…Trivial in the face of this:
- Hazards: damaging winds of long duration.
- Winds: east 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 75 mph, becoming southeast this evening.
- Timing: through Tuesday afternoon. Strongest winds are expected this afternoon and evening.
- Impacts: a significant threat to life and property exists. Damaging winds are expected. Winds will be capable of Downing trees and snapping off large tree branches. Power outages could be widespread and last at least several days. Debris will block some roads. Most poorly anchored mobile homes will be damaged. Other homes may have damage to shingles, siding, gutters and windows, especially if these items are not properly secured. Loose outdoor items will become airborne, causing additional damage and possible injury. Windows in High rise buildings could be broken by flying debris.
But honestly, news anchors?
One on abc7news keeps dropping a line about “the ocean in motion”.
Yes I’m nitpicking.
Because when it’s 7am and still dark outside and the tree a block away looks like all it needs is a strong gust to snap off and come flying [a block over] through your window, ya gotta find something else to do other than panic over not having enough toilet paper.
And how can I see the tree through my boarded up third floor window?
Because we did what our neighbors did, nothing.
No boarding up anything.
According to my landlady all I need worry about it the one window that leaks when there’s a lot of rain.
I hope she’s right.
Cause once a window breaks, we’re all heading to the basement. Invitation or not.
In other news, I’m working on launching the other blog while the power is out. I figure I can play monopoly and write at least 5 blog posts and call it a productive day.
I closed up class signup for this week.
Don’t want to leave anyone hanging, you know?
Still got some work to do to get this blog back in shape, so I’ll catch y’all later.
Girl’s a coming.
We can see it in the trees.
They’re moving like they’re doing the shuffle.
I’m always unprepared when it comes to storms.
I mean really, we haven’t had it bad here in our part of NYC. We’re kinda inland, away from the ocean.
So glad I don’t live in Brooklyn anymore.
Our cupboards are stacked and i’ve got lots of water and toilet paper.
Yes toilet paper.
When you’ve got a family of 6, being sure you have enough toilet paper is essential.
My biggest worry, the possible lack of power.
Our power lines, unlike most of NYC, are above ground. here’s a view from my window this morning:
Notice how bright it was? Not sunny, but still bright.
Two hours later around 10am, standing at the same corner in the above picture:
Yep, she’s a coming and I’ll no doubt lose power due to those bastard poles and cables you see in the picture.
Just when I got the blog moved and functional again.
and yes! the blog has moved.
it was a hassle, i started at 4am yesterday and i’m not quite down yet.
still need to scrape up some social media icons and add some links to the sidebar.
while i was moving, noticed that Bluehost owes me a free domain.
Yes, V’s starting yet another site.
And the new blog name is…
eh, I’ll tell you later.
Anyway, the stats on this hurricane kinda freak me out.
the winds are promised to gust at 80 mph.
our mayor has shut down the transit system.
which has me very happy.
My insane teens were still planning to go to school.
I argued bitterly with them since the train runs above ground on a platform here in new york.
But the mayor is shutting it down this afternoon. So my girls have no choice now.
I dunno what’s up with these girls. It’s like turning down a snow day.
though we’re away from the ocean, we’ve got a river nearby that will no doubt flood and maybe back up the sewer systems.
and my biggest issue? well it goes back to the power.
Can you imagine hours and hours or maybe days in a house with two teens, a year old and a 3 year old and no internet or tv?
I can already hear the whines.
“There’s nothing to do”
“She’s looking at me”
“I’ve read all my books”
Pray for me people.
Pray for me.
Blog looks awesome doesn’t it?
like nothing’s changed?
cause nothing has.
after realizing i can not move a blog with 41 plugins, 635 pictures and 12+ subdomains, without days of work, i’ve kinda just stepped back from it.
which sucks because i have a membership site for WP training to launch and i can’t do it until i move the blog. blah.
sometimes…even when we know our stuff, even when we can do it for anybody else…we get overwhelmed when it comes to taking care of our own stuff.
and we just need to step back.
release the stress of it into the winds.
so at the moment, I’m not moving the blog. I’ll do it this weekend.
for now, I’m just…regrouping.
not that I’ve been lying around watching tv. I wish.
I was tied up with two bloggers for 5 days who were both asking me for moving and design quotes. this is a good thing right? but what happens when those bloggers ask you many many questions. average 30 emails worth between the two. those who’ve worked with me on design projects can tell you i always delve into what their goals for their blogs are. it gives me a sense of what they need. it’s not all about design ya know. or about looking pretty. anyway, i submitted both bloggers with quotes, multiple quotes that offer alternative options and were all value packed and they both kept trying to beat the price down. i understand budgets. i try to work within budgets. but i’ve got to also account for my time and resources.
so i took a step back and looked at all the emails as a whole. i then asked the 2nd blogger if she was recommended to me by the first. and she said yes. funny that when i asked her in the first email how she came across me she said she google. so i gave both final quotes and said this is the best i can do for you. they both turned me down within an hour of each other. the first one said my design style didn’t fit her and she was going with someone else. that’s ok. you can’t please everybody but you’ve got to stay sane.
speaking of design style…
Though Kate will tell you that she can look at a blog and tell I designed it, (nothing to do with being a psychic intuitive) blog designs are totally up to the client. Remember when Kate wanted pink and sparkly for Sew Gaelic? So i made it pink and sparkly.
I recently designed a site for KaileyRose.com. The client supplied me with the font graphics and left the rest up to me. Considering the site was about her daughter, the font choice really threw me off. It seemed more wedding than little girl to me, but my client was definitely happy with the new design. it’s still a bit of a work in progress since i’m waiting for her to have multiple posts before adding a slider, but it’s pretty good to go.
i also just finished an awesome project, where another blogger was in trouble and i moved her AND hooked her up with a new design. in the space of a couple of days. her blog is way bigger than mine. she’s a house blogger, so the pics are huge, but i got her moved with lots of elbow grease. (i am very thankful for my buddy Darin by the way. Working with a partner on these types of projects has totally reduced my stress levels) then i designed a new site for her. this was super easy because she knew exactly what she wanted from colors to fonts. i’m still looking for the perfect social media icons. any suggestions? Here’s her new design and the testimonial:
Vanita literally saved my blog! I was in crisis mode with server problems and a slow-as-molasses load-time when I sent a frantic email to Vanita. She responded right away and was able to figure out the problem and save my blog. She is also a whiz at WordPress themes so she worked her magic and came up with a kickin’ visual for my blog! Whether you have immediate blog problems or want a larger blog makeover, Vanita is the go to gal! She is wonderful to work with!
*****FIVE STARS***** – Sarah of House Crazy
As you can see, a little distance, just stepping back, can do a world of wonders and open the door to other projects.
This entrepreneur gig? It’s hard. But not impossible. Stepping back is not the same as quitting, it’s just regrouping and it can lead to better things. I’m very fond of these two projects. Though challenging in their own ways, my clients are happy.
Along those lines, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused or simply afraid about anything, remember this…
We’re always making our creations within before they materialize. All fears, all lack and limitation and all success and prosperity are ideas and mental pictures long before they become our reality. It’s the Laws of Life operating and the beauty of it is, the Law doesn’t say it can’t be done, it’s not affordable, you could never do that, never have that. It doesn’t give a flying fig…that’s our stuff. We’re the limiting factor in our life. -Elle of Reflecting A Life
Elle is a great source of encouragement and motivation. Check out her post The Minimalist Guide To Prosperity Consciousness and don’t forget to grab her freebie video!
Within the past two weeks, my unix-guru tech friend Darin and I have moved 7 blogs from hostgator and that slick reseller’s hosting to Bluehost. Without. A. Hitch.
Of course this blog’s move from godaddy has to be the streak breaker.
This blog with it’s 10 subdomains for the free themes demos is 2GB large.
Godaddy doesn’t like you downloading something that big.
Also? Darin found a virus hanging out in my blog’s directory.
Don’t want to take baggage with me to he new server, so we deleted all.
I’m thinking these came along sometime during that time godaddy was
hacked down for a day.
So some time tonight ABB will be switched over to it’s new home and you may find nothing more than posts and pics and comments.
Once my 41 plugins are reloaded, and my sidebar widgets installed, it should look right again.
Don’t judge me.
Having the cdn lets me do lots of shit. lol.
Since I’m not changing the domain name, I can’t just ready the new site and then switch the dns, cause i won’t be able to login to wordpress until i point the domain name to the new hosting. isn’t life beautiful?
so forgive me while my house is messy.
I know you’ll still love me.
How could u not?
Excuse me while I gripe about bloggers being taken for a ride.
In my blog moving adventures I’ve found that I’ve moved several blogs off reseller accounts to bigger brands.
Bigger, more expensive hosting plans.
It’s sad, because these bloggers didn’t need unlimited this and unlimited that.
They just needed a host who understood WordPress and Hosting.
Many bloggers, when making the move from Blogger to WordPress, go with their designer and signed up for the designer’s hosting.
Not a bad move, unless your designer doesn’t understand hosting.
And that’s what has pissed me off a lot lately.
Yesterday I moved a blog from a hosting plan where the designer sold a fellow blogger with a picture heavy blog a 15MB plan.
A fresh install of WordPress is 11.6 MB alone. What exactly are you suppose to do with 15MB?
So this blogger, let’s call her Sue, found herself continuously upgrading her plan to a bigger space.
Bad for Sue, money in the bank for the designer.
This is wrong.
I get the need to expand your web based business.
But it’s not only about making money.
A few weeks ago a blogger reached out to me to save her blog.
Let’s call her Mary.
Mary had decided her blog was too big for her current hosting plan and learned that moving to Bluehost was less expensive then upgrading to her host’s bigger plan.
She mentioned to the host that she would be moving to Bluehost.
After several emails where the host tried to convince her to stay (Mary sent me the emails) the host finally “agreed” that Mary should move and sent Mary a link to download her blog from a drop box.
WordPress has the export option right?
You can export your blog posts, import it somewhere else.
The host exported Mary’s blog posts and then shut down her blog.
When importing blog posts into a new WordPress environment, you need the old one still up.
That export files doesn’t include your pictures or your theme.
Just links to where your pictures live so the files can be downloaded to the new WordPress install.
Mary lost 2 years worth of pictures.
She also lost the theme she paid the designer for.
It can’t only be about making money.
It can’t be about making a continuous income from a past client.
That’s internet marketer thinking.
You might as well be Empower Network.
Having a web based business does not allow you to take people for a ride.
When you expand your web based business, it should be to provide a service your audience can benefit from too.
A blog designer’s audience can definitely use hosting.
But just providing hosting is not enough.
You need to actually understand it.
Now, I recently signed up as a Bluehost reseller so I can offer affordable hosting to my fellow bloggers and clients that I design for.
I mean really affordable.
Especially for newbies to WordPress who are unsure about taking the leap from the free platform to the paid one.
The basic package offers 1000MB of storage for $3/month.
Again, a fresh install of WordPress sucks up less than 12MB of that.
So lots of space to start with the ability to grow.
Did I offer to move Sue to my hosting?
Pimping your services is important yes.
But it’s also important to do what’s best for the customer and sometimes what’s best…isn’t you.
I’m all for growing your business.
Gawd knows this blog has gone grown a lot.
But keep in mind, the customer comes first and it can’t all be about the money.
Side note to fellow bloggers: Many artists offer their services as a WordPress designer because StudioPress and Thesis has made it easy to build a website. Do not automatically assume that because a person offers WordPress Design it means they are host side savvy. Ask questions first.
By the way, After Bedtime Blog is hauling ass over to Bluehost today. Wish me luck.