Ask a Blogger: Blogging Tips

Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.

Thanks to Amee with Madame Deals for this weeks article.

I have had been blogging since April 2009 at Madame Deals. I decided in December I was going to take my blog from a hobby to a business. I knew I had to make a business plan. I had to set goals. I had to come up with strategies to manage it all. I also know the website would be a part of my life but not my life. It is easy to get caught up in making sure everything you see gets posted and every deal appears on your site. If you a careful you will neglect your “real” life and family. The only way to avoid this to make a schedule. You also have to be selective as to watch you are going to write about and develop a methodology for doing so. I decided I would share some of my tips with you.

Here are five great tips to make you a super star blogger

1) When you receive a pitch and you have decided you are going to do the review
a) Put it on your calendar when it is due
b) Put a reminder in your calendar to actually do it
c) Create a post template by copying and pasting the requirements found in the email in your post
d) Set the template to the date it needs to be posted and then use a year that is one year greater than the year your are in so you can easily find it
e) Place in the email address from which it came so you can send the link to the company easily
f) Create a google doc and place in the contact name and email and payment information and the products they represent in case you need to pitch them in the future. It is great to say I loved working with you on such and such.

2) Use a calendar and create a schedule. On your calendar should be your post schedule and your product review schedule.

3) I believe you need to educate yourself. You need to spend at least 15 minutes a day learning something new to grow your business. I pick a new topic each week to learn.

4) Once you learn your new item. You need to implement your idea. If you just read or see something new you will not remember it unless you actually use it.

5) Tip is do not put all your efforts on one area. You need to grow your business every week. I pick a different place each week to expand my reach and create new readers.

You can search all of our Articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: How to Create a Dropdown Nav Menu in Thesis

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I was recently asked how I created my Nav Bar to have Dropdown Menus and how I redirected my menu items to specific Categories and Tags on my website.  I know there are better ways to accomplish a redirect, but with my limited knowledge of coding – I took the simple route.

Watch the video below to learn How to Create a Dropdown Menu and How to Redirect a Page in Thesis.

Having trouble viewing the video?  Click here.

**I timed out on my video, so make sure you hit “Save” after selecting your Pages at the end of the video.

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Please leave a comment on posts you would like to see in this series.

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Ask a Blogger: Advertising on a Limited Budget

Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.

Thanks to Madame Deals for this weeks Ask a Blogger Post.

Are you broke? Are you just starting out? Have you been doing this for awhile and your site is not going anywhere. The resolution to all of those issues is advertising your business to a different audience. I often get asked how did you grow quickly. The answer is marketing and advertising and being creative. I believe it takes money to make money. I say that but I do not actually use my money to advertise.

Here are three simple ideas that you can use right now to improve your reach without spending a dime.

1) Ask everyone you know to talk about you. I would get myself a FREE t-Shirt from Vista Print and where it everywhere. I would “buy” some business cards when they are free on Vista Print. I would hand them out to anyone who moves. You never know.

2) I would sign up for sites like Swag Bucks . They pay you to search on the internet. You can make money and use it to purchase advertising without spending any money out of your pocket. The other option is one I have been very successful with to the tune of $50 a week in superpoints. Here are codes to join.

  • http://superpoints.com/wrpgs/j5lrbm
  • http://superpoints.com/wrpgs/4djinh
  • http://superpoints.com/wrpgs/n2zw1o

What you do here is build a multilevel team and then you all spin to win prizes and money. I use the money/ giftcards I earn as prizes on my site. The prizes increase the fans who come to my site. They increase the page views on my ads which increase my revenue. I didn’t pay a thing and I am making money and my fans are winning things. The fans are also able to earn by spinning so it is a win-win situation.

3) Exchange advertising. I have set up a place on my site MADAME DEALS to place other bloggers buttons on my real deal site. If you are interested in a swap fill out my Button Exchange document here!

You can search all of our Articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

Please leave a comment on posts you would like to see in this series.

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Ask a Blogger: WordPress Plug-ins to Help with SEO

Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.

SEO is an utterly confusing topic for me.  I understand the basics (mostly) but after that, you may as well be talking Chinese to me.  Luckily, there are a few plug-ins to help the SEO disadvantaged, like myself.

Some of these plug-ins will help with index and crawling while others help with the speed and load time of your site.  All of these plug-ins have come recommended to me and are active on my website.

  1. XML-Sitemap
  2. PC Robots.txt
  3. DB – Optimize
  4. All in one SEO
  5. W3 Total Cache
  6. Smush.it
  7. Askimet – for spam

See more of our favorite WordPress Plugins on a past post

*All sites are different, so you may need to speak with your tech guy before installing.

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Ask a Blogger: Benefits of Escalate Affiliate Network

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I have been trying to decide what to write about all week.  Then I received an email with new offers from one of my affiliates and it hit me.  I’ll write about one of my favorite affiliates: Escalate Network.

Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of great affiliate networks out there.  Escalate Network is not the only affiliate network I use.  You’ve read from previous posts that Amee and I belong to a lot of affiliate networks and are extremely pleased with most of them.  However, Escalate has proven to be reliable, user-friendly and the affiliate managers are easy to work with.

What is Escalate Network?

It is a performance-based affiliate network that brings together choice affiliates and quality online advertisers as partners according to their website.  They offer programs such as coupons.com, RedPlum, JcPenny and many more.

Why is Escalate Network one of my favorites?

  • Pays Net 15
  • Exclusive offers and great payouts
  • Easy to navigate dashboard
  • Fast approval for new affiliates
  • Easy to locate links and banners
  • Real time reporting
  • Responsive & Knowledgeable affiliate managers

The fact that Escalate Network pays Net 15 is one reason why they are at the top of my list.  Why? Most of my affiliates pay Net 30 – Net 60.  I get my money by the 15th of the month with Escalate and usually sooner.  That means any money I earned in August, I will get paid for by September 15th.  That is a HUGE deal!

I have also found their tracking to be accurate and the advertisers provide legitimate offers that can truly benefit my readers.  I will not post something that can’t benefit my readers in some way.  I was also pleasantly surprised that Escalate came to the Savvy Blogging Conference to meet their affiliates and discuss ways to make their network better.  I started using Escalate more often after meeting Chris and David in person.

Overall, I (as well as many of my blogging friends) have been impressed with Escalate Network.  If you are not an affiliate – you should be.

What are you waiting for?  Sign up with Escalate Network today and let me know if you have any questions.

You can search all of our Articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

Please leave a comment on posts you would like to see in this series.

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Ask a Blogger: Using “Stuff Buff” to Make Money

Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.

 

Thanks to Madame Deals for this weeks Ask a Blogger post

The number one question we get asked is how do you make money? The answer is work hard and build a following and then let your work pay off. How? We talk about ads in this previous post. We talked about paid reviews in this one. How about by installing a plug in to pay you? If you go to my site here. Highlight a word and you will see a product. If you buy that product I get a small portion of your purchase. It is that easy.

Does that interest you? If it does and you have worked hard to have 50k page views a month or more you can sign up here using this Google Document for more information. If you are unsure of how many page views you have look here at Google Analytics .

 

Here’s a short video:

 

If you want to see this in action it is currently on www.madamedeals.com. You just highlight a word and if there is a product to buy it will appear in the box. This software does not interfere with any other link programs you may have. It is easy to install and if you qualify you will earn money just for trying Stuff Buff out on your site.

Fill out the form to try it out or get more information below.

Here’s the latest article on their 2.0 Launch

http://businessbewareradioshow.com/a-new-way-to-ecommerce-stuffbuff.html

 

If you need hosting we both use Host Gator and Love them.

You can search all of our Articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

*Please note that Stuff Buff is not currently installed on The Coupon Challenge

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Ask a Blogger: Tracking Your Stats with Google Analytics

Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.

Blogging as a business requires you to know a few things about who is coming to your site, where they came from and what content they are viewing.  In order to have a successful business, you need to a way to analyze and track this information.  I personally use Google Analytics for this purpose. It provides an accurate account of my blog statistics plus it’s a FREE service.

I check the following statistics on a regular basis:

  • Visitors and unique visitors
  • Pageviews
  • Content
  • Referring sites

Knowing your blog’s statistics enables you to determine what posts your visitors are reading (so you can write more on those subjects), which sites provide you the most referral traffic and keywords that brought visitors to your site from search engines.

Additionally, it allows you to accurately provide statistical information to advertisers and companies for paid opportunities.  I am frequently asked for my number of monthly pageviews and unique visitors when I am being considered for a paid opportunity.  Google Analytics allows me to easily provide this information current to the previous day.

I also like the graph feature for viewing my site number trends.  It’s interesting to see where I am at on a particular day and the trends my visitors follow.  For instance, Wednesday’s are my highest traffic day.  Since that is the day a majority of grocery store ads come out; I always have a spike on that day.  Knowing your traffic can also help you work on which days may be a “slow” day.  You can strive to attract new visitors to your site on those days to generate more traffic and revenue.

There are countless other programs can that track website traffic.  I started my site using Site Meter.  While I have left site meter on my site to gauge my traffic from conception; Google Analytics provides more detailed and relevant information.

Spend some time learning the some of the features of Google Analytics and set a goal for yourself to help grow your blog to a new level.

Do you use Google Analytics?  What is your favorite feature?

If you need hosting we both use Host Gator and Love them.

You can search all of our Articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: Blogging on an Ipad2

Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.

Thanks to Madame Deals for this weeks Ask a Blogger post

Can you blog on an Ipad2? I just recently went on a vacation to Prague and I didn’t want to take my computer. I wondered how was I going to keep up my site Madame Deals and not have to have a laptop with me. The answer was simple borrow my husband’s ipad2. The first thing you need to do is determine if you have access to wifi. If you do not what are your alternatives?

I bought the ipad2 to be used with AT&T service. I did this for two reasons. The first reason was I may not be near wifi and I need to use my ipad2. The second reason is my service plan is only $25.00 a month. They have one for $14.99. I am actually going to switch to the lower one since I know I will not be traveling for awhile. I can cancel my contract anytime which is nice. The international rate was reasonable in case I could not find wifi.
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Ask a Blogger: Blogging Takes Time

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The blogging how-to’s are often discussed, but we don’t usually share how much time, sweat and sometimes tears go into blogging.  Blogging for me is a passion but it has also become a business out of necessity for the shear volume of time I spend on the computer.

Blogging is a full time job.  Working from home has it’s rewards, but it doesn’t end at 5pm.  Yes, there is the luxury of being able to go to the soccer game or help in your child’s classroom in the middle of the afternoon, but the blog to-do list is always in the back of your mind.  There are posts to write, coupons to find and HOT deals and freebies that you don’t want your readers to miss.

How much time to I spend blogging?  I can say that it is over 40 hours per week.  I blog every day of the week.  Some days more than others.  I don’t take the weekends off & even blog a few hours per day on vacation.  I blog before the kids get up, while I have them occupied with an activity, during naptime, after they go to bed.  There is always another post to write.

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Ask a Blogger: How to Use Google +

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We’ve talked about Facebook and Twitter as necessary tools to promote your blog and to connect with readers.  Since we know you didn’t have enough to keep up with,  Google + is the new “must have” in Social Media.  While Google + is still in it’s early stages; I would venture to guess that if will eventually become just as popular (if not more so) as Facebook and Twitter.

How to Use Google +

In order to get a Google + profile, you need to set up a Google account if you don’t already have one.

Once you have set up your profile.  Start adding people to connect with on Google +.  Look for “suggestions” on the right sidebar to see people that you have previously connected with on Google such as via Gmail.  If you need to learn more about a person before adding them, you can click on their profile photo box.  Information will be displayed to you based on the privacy setting they have selected.

Once you find people you would like to connect with on Google +, you can add them to your Circles.  Your connections are grouped by Circles to assist in separating the people you would like to share information with.  I have deleted the default “acquaintances” circle.  It wasn’t relevant to me or my goals for Google +.  I have added a new circle titled “bloggers” to keep up with what fellow bloggers are doing.  Since I’m just getting started with google +, I am only grouping my connections into “Family”, “Friends” and “Bloggers.”  I’m sure I’ll add more circle as I go along, but this works well for me right now.

If you’re looking to delete or manager your circles, simply go to “Google+ Setting”, click on “Profile and Privacy” and scroll down to “Manage Circle.”  You can also access this page by clicking on the “Circle Icon” located to the left on the search box on your home page.  From there you can right click on one of the Circles on the bottom of you page.  You will also be able to move people between circles and new suggestions from this page.

It is worth noting that when you add someone to one of your Circles, they will be notified that you have added them; however, the  name of the circle you added them to will not be shown.

You can set your email preference by going to your Google + settings and clicking on “Google +”.  Here you can select your email notifications to alert you when someone adds you to a circle, comments on your post, tags you in a photo and more.

You can also grab your Profile link from the Profile and Privacy settings page.

Lastly, I wanted to mention Google +1.  You have likely seen an icon pop up on websites similar to the Facebook Like and Tweet icons.  This is a handy tool to show you like a post. According to Google+, “Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1’s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search”.

Get started with Google + now and don’t forget to click the +1 icon on this post :-)

Watch the Google + Demo video to learn more

Want to connect with us?

The Coupon Challenge: https://profiles.google.com/109092395184800374564
Madame Deals: https://plus.google.com/101381945682665962704

 

 

 

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