Monday, 31 December 2012

6 Warning Signs That Your Blog Is Deflating

This guest post is by Ashkan of

Looking at your analytics and seeing that your blog traffic is going down is not a pretty sight.

For those of us who have been blogging for a while, the chances are that we all have experienced periods of downturn and are used to such stormy weather. But what if, heaven forbid, the situation is even more serious, and the downturn looks as if it is here to stay?

Nothing is more painful than seeing the demise of your labour of love; if you make your living from your blog, even worse! 

The question is, “How do I spot the end of a growth period?”

How can we spot the warning signs that the decrease of visitor numbers is the start of a long downturn, and requires drastic action?

I have owned a couple of blogs, including This multi-contributor blog grew really fast last year, but then reached a peak before entering a period of deflating visitor numbers.

Thankfully, we managed to turn that around, but you can imagine the panic that I went through during that awful period!

Having analysed all the factors on my blog, I can pinpoint six key warning signs that you’ll need to pay close attention to if you want to spot the downturn early on.

You should be able to get this figure from any analytics tool. What it reflects is the average number of pages a visitor views every time they visit your blog. Generally, if a visitor likes your blog then they want to click on other links to find out more.

If you look at this figure over the past three or six months and notice the Pages per visit figure is decreasing, then the chances are that your website appeal is also decreasing.

This one normally goes hand in hand with the first point. If the reader doesn’t find the content they are looking for, or they’re not happy with the quality of your content, then they will spend less time on your website and abandon the page even before they reach the end of the post.

You put all that hard labour and those long hours in at the beginning and you managed to grow your blog traffic dramatically.

Now you have entered a period where it all looks too good to be true! You are not doing anything new and not promoting the blog actively, but still the traffic just keeps growing!

Well you know what they say: if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Nothing in the real world comes easily, and sooner or later either your competition or the Google algorithm is going to catch up with you. There is no room for complacency.

I think that this one is a well-known point but it’s still worth reminding ourselves of it. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket!

If 90% of your blog traffic comes from Google, you run the risk of being hit by algorithm updates. I know from personal experience that doing something about this can be very challenging, seeing as most people find the content they’re looking for by using search engines. So, if your ranking is decreasing what can you do?

There are many other ways to get traffic, such as: social networks, links from other websites, videos, banner advertising, and more. A good article to get you thinking about these options is, How to Build a Traffic-siphoning Marketing Funnel.

Two sources that I successfully generate good traffic from are my email newsletter, and creating viral content that gets shared in social media.

Is it getting harder and harder for you to dedicate time to your blog? Are you suffering from the dreaded writer’s block?

The challenge here is to maintain the level of passion and energy that you had for your blog in the beginning. If you are a creative person, then like many creative people you may love to start things but then struggle to do the same thing year after year.

I must say that I don’t have a definitive answer here, except to say that you should focus on a bigger goal: the purpose of your blog and your writing. Think about how much your readers are benefiting from your blog, and stay in close touch with your biggest fans.

At iPhoneAppCafe, we constantly get together and brainstorm ideas or think of ways to attract new writers to our blog so that the passion for the topic remains strong—and is clearly communicated through every post.

If the initial traffic arrived because your blog’s topic was trending, it is possible that, with time, your topic of focus will lose its popularity.

When iPhoneAppCafe launched in 2010, the iPhone was more of a hot topic than it is now. We considered covering Android apps as well, but we decided that there was too big a risk of losing focus on our original goal if we covered that too.

Instead, we diversified the breadth of our coverage by doing more accessory reviews, video reviews, news, and insights.

These are the six warning signs I’ve noticed usually indicate my blog traffic will plateau or fall. What signs have you noticed? Share them with us in the comments, so we can all watch for them, and take action before it’s too late.

Ashkan (@AshkanTalk) is the founder of, a community blog dedicated to reviewing and sharing the best iPhone apps. He started the blog in 2010 and got it to 5000 visitors a day within 9 months. For his day job, Ashkan manages e-commerce projects.

View the original article here

Merry Christmas Boats Parade

written by John Chow on December 26, 2012

Buy and Sell Links

What can be better than watching the 104th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade? Watching the parade from a $10 million waterview house, of course! Because of my generous donation to Cradle to Career: Kenya, I was offered the house to host my Christmas party.

The house was tailored made to host parties. It offered a fantastic view of the water, and had a wall of glass that opens up to a two level patio with a hot tub, bar, and wood fire pizza oven. I want to thank Raffy and her husband Paul for letting use their house, and allowing the Sally and her friends to rampage through it. Everyone had a great time and the view of the parade and fireworks were spectacular.

Merry Christmas everyone!








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WordPress Feature Review: New Features You Missed in 2012, Part 2

This guest post is by Michael Scott of

Yesterday, we started our tour of new features added to WordPress in version 3.4.

Today we continue the tour with a look at helpful new features available in version 3.5.

Released late last year, WordPress 3.5 was the second and final major WordPress release of 2012.

This was the first release to include the new default design Twenty Twelve. It comes with a cool new feature that lets you install plugins you marked as a favorite on directly from your dashboard. However, many bloggers were surprised that the link manager has been removed from the default version of WordPress (though most agree removing this was a good decision).

Let’s take a look at the features.

Now you can install your favorite plugins directly from your WordPress dashboard.

If you are logged in at, you will see a new option to favorite a plugin. You simply need to click on the link in order to add a plugin to your favorites.


As you can see, a new link for favorites has been added to the WordPress plugin area.


After you enter your username, you will see a list of all the plugins you have added as favorites. You can then install your chosen plugin easily.


Most WordPress users tend to use the same plugins on each of their WordPress websites. In the past, most people would bookmark their favorite plugins or keep a list of useful plugins so that they didn’t forget them. Saving important plugins at will allow you to quickly install frequently used plugins on every website you own very easily.

The way this new feature is set up, you don’t have to log in to your account on your blog, you only need to enter your username. This means you can see which plugins have been marked as favorites by any user on WordPress. You can share your favorites list with friends simply by telling them your username.

Also, if you know the WordPress username a website owner uses, you could enter their username into the plugin area to get a sneaky look into their favorite plugins (though there is no guarantee they are using a certain plugin on any given website).

The Link Manager is no longer part of the core WordPress install.

The WordPress link manager, more commonly known as the Blogroll, was once one of the most popular features with bloggers and was used to display links on millions of blog sidebars. Thankfully, WordPress isn’t too sentimental—they know that the link manager is now only used by a small percentage of users.

The removal of the link manager follows the policy to remove non-essential items from the WordPress core to make the default version of WordPress quicker and leave additional functionality to plugins and themes.


Those who upgrade to WordPress 3.5 will no longer see the link manager in the WordPress menu if you haven’t used it before.


If you used your blogroll before you upgrade, the links manager will not be removed. It’s only removed on installations where no links were added (i.e. only the default links to WordPress-related websites were in your database). The link manager is available via an official plugin for anyone who wants to add the functionality back to their WordPress website.

The default design for WordPress has been released with this new version.

Twenty Twelve was originally planned to be part of WordPress 3.4 but was delayed. It was later released in the official WordPress theme directory in between the release of 3.4 and 3.5.

WordPress 3.5 is the first official release that includes this new theme (Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven are included, too).

Some WordPress users have voiced their disappointment in Twenty Twelve’s minimal design, however most WordPress designers have been pleased with the evolutionary steps in this new official theme. The theme was clearly made with child themes in mind, and with the inclusion of child themes being introduced six months before, I imagine we are going to see a lot of varied designs being created from this base.


As before, the design can be modified using the theme customizer. Small differences are apparent—no header image is set by default, and no sidebar is shown if no sidebar widgets are present. In addition to the sidebar widget, the static home page also comes with two widget areas (each takes up 50% of the screen width). This makes creating a corporate-style home page very straightforward.


Like Twenty Eleven, Twenty Twelve supports post formats. Each of the additional post formats have a different design to distinguish them from other formats.


You’ll find that there isn’t much difference in styling between some post formats. There’s a content template for each one, so these designs can easily be changed with just a few small edits.


Twenty Twelve has a responsive design, so it looks the same on any browser and any device. It has beautiful typography too which makes reading a joy. If you know a little coding, you should be able to design some interesting websites using Twenty Twelve.

WordPress have improved the Welcome screen in 3.5.

Previously, the Welcome screen had an introduction and three columns of links.


The new Welcome screen looks much cleaner. The introductory description is gone, as is the description for each section. There are fewer links to choose from, and the link fonts have increased in size too. It’s much easier to use because of these changes.


Slight improvements have been made to the color picker.

The color picker for the built-in theme customizer has had a small visual improvement. Previously WordPress used the popular color wheel.


The new color picker looks much more modern. Common colors are displayed at the bottom and there is a new Default button which lets you return to the default color for the property instantly.


The WordPress media interface has been vastly improved.

The media interface has had a much-needed overhaul. The old Upload/Insert text above your TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor has been replaced with a more prominent Add media button.


Clicking on the Add media button will bring up the new media interface. The old interface used to appear in an overlay that covered approximately 40% of the page (centered). The new overlay covers around 95% of the page. The same three options are available as before: Upload Files, Media Library and Embed from URL.

The media library not only looks better, it works better too. All items are shown in the center panel, with details of any selected item being shown on the right panel. Previously, items were shown vertically using a list and you had to click a Show link in order to see more details.

You can show all items, items uploaded to the post you are modifying, images, audio, and video. You can enter search terms to filter results, too.


Multiple items can now be selected at once. Not only can you modify details of uploaded items more quickly, you can now insert multiple images, audio files, and videos directly into posts. This saves you a huge amount of time. The days of bloggers inserting dozens of images into blog posts one by one are over.


If you select more than one item, you will have the option of inserting them into a post together. You will also see an option to Create a new gallery. In the past, media items were always grouped together with the post or page they were uploaded from. This new system means you can group items together at any time and insert them anywhere you want.


The new media interface is arguably the most important new feature for WordPress bloggers. Images, videos, and audio are so important to us. The new interface really speeds up the process of inserting these assets into your blog posts.

XML-RPC is now enabled by default.

XML-RPC needs to be enabled in WordPress so that external applications can connect to WordPress. Historically, this setting has always been disabled by default.


When XML-RPC is enabled, WordPress can be used through a host of different mobile applications and you can use third-party blog editors such as Windows Live Writer, BlogDesk and Post2Blog.

The WordPress dashboard now supports retina display,

Those who have shiny new high-resolution retina display devices will be pleased to know that the WordPress dashboard is fully compatible with HiDPI.

Below is a list of some of the other features that were added to WordPress 3.5:

improved support for keyboard navigation and screen readingsearch for comments of a particular statusexternal libraries for scripts such as TinyMCE, SimplePie, jQuery 1.8.2 and jQuery UI have all been updated. Backbone and Underscore have also been added.

A full list of features added to WordPress in version 3.5 can be found in the WordPress codex.

Each year the WordPress platform evolves and 2012 was no different. Features such as the theme customizer, live preview, and favorite plugins install option have made using WordPress easier for both beginners and veterans.

Whilst WordPress has moved beyond its humble blogging roots somewhat, it is still the best blogging platform available. The Link Manager has been downgraded, however new features such as inserting multiple media items, Twitter embeds and continued support for micro blogging post formats such as asides, quotes, and links, have ensured that WordPress remains number one in the blogging world.

WordPress have ensured they are keeping up with user habits, too. The Admin interface supports retina display, the new default design is responsive and they continue to improve their mobile applications. In short, WordPress is a mobile-friendly platform.

I hope you have enjoyed this review of the new features introduced to WordPress in 2012. Let us know what your favorite new feature is and why!

Michael Scott has been working with WordPress themes and websites in varying capacities since 2007. It was mainly as a project manager where he quickly developed a love for their simplicity and scalability. As a strong advocate of all things WordPress, he enjoys any opportunity to promote its use across the Interweb and on

View the original article here

Backing Up WordPress? Don’t Make These 9 Mistakes

This guest post is by Anders Vinther of The WordPress Security Checklist.

Do you have insurance on your car? And on your house? Of course you do.

Do you have insurance on your WordPress site?

What? Insurance?!

A good backup plan is your insurance policy on your WordPress site!

You might be a serious blogger who is already aware of the value represented by your WordPress site. The time and money you have invested in building it. The income stream it provides. The audience you have attracted. The traffic you get.

Or maybe you are a hobby blogger, and over time you have, little by little, built significant value on your site, be that emotional or monetary value.

Your web presence is like your real life presence. You buy your first house, move in, and get your first home and contents insurance based on the value of your possessions at the time. And ten years later you are still only insured for that initial value.

As with your real house, your WordPress site could disappear in an instant.

It does not matter if the reason is criminal intent, a natural catastrophe, or an accident. If you do not have good insurance, you have to start again from scratch.

So just how good is your WordPress insurance?

Here I’ve compiled a list of the most common WordPress backup mistakes, and added a few tips on how to avoid them.

In no particular order, these are the mistakes:

not making a backup at allnot making a complete backuprelying on manual backupsnot getting the backup frequency rightrelying on your hosting company’s backuponly storing your backup on your hosting account not storing your backups securelynot testing your backupnot storing your backups long enough.

Yes, it’s sad, but it happens more often than you would think! Some people don’t take out insurance either. Don’t be one of them.

Tip: Do make backups!

Some WordPress plugins only back up your WordPress database. WordPress consists of a database and a number of files. Unless you have a good backup of everything you probably don’t have anything!

A backup of your database will take you some of the way to a working site, but without images, plugins and themes (some of which might have been customized), you are a long way away from a fully functional site. And if you only have a backup of your files you have lost all your settings, posts and comments.

Tip: Make sure you back everything up!

When the topic of WordPress backups comes up on discussion forums, there is almost always someone who swears by manual backups.

Why is that a problem?

Computers are excellent at performing routine tasks at scheduled intervals. Human beings, not so much. We tend to forget. And go on holidays. Before we know it it’s been six months since we last made a backup. All of a sudden we desperately need that backup. That’s when grown men start crying.

Tip: Let the computers do what they do best: automate your backups!

If your WordPress site changes daily, a monthly backup schedule could cost you up to a months work.

If your site changes monthly and you make daily backups storing only 30 backup archives you could be left without a usable backup archive. This could happen if you discover that you were infected with malware three months ago, for instance.

Different parts of your WordPress site change at different frequencies.

If you have a large site, you might want to split up your backup based on the update frequency:

Themes and plugins rarely change.Backups of the uploads directory can be split by year, or even by month if necessary. Under normal circumstances, only the directory for the current month changes.The database might change daily if you get many comments or release new posts.?Tip: Understand your site and adopt a backup schedule that fits!

Many hosting companies back up their customer’s accounts on their behalf.

While this is a very good service, you need to ask yourself some questions about it:

What will you do if your hosting company cannot give you your backup archives?If they go bankrupt and everything is shut down from one day to another.If they are hacked and all their data disappears (see 4800 Aussie Sites Evaporate After Hack).If they can only go back one month and you need to go further back.If the backup you need did not complete successfully for whatever reason.What do they back up?How often do they back up?For how long to do they keep the backup files?Can they restore single files or tables in the database selectively?Have you tested that they can restore your data?

While relying on your hosting provider to back up your data can be a very convenient solution to an unwanted technical challenge, it is most likely not the right solution for you.

You need control.

Consider that it is quite simple to implement a good backup strategy of your own. If you use the right WordPress plugin, you can customize your backup jobs to match the needs of your WordPress site. And your backup archives can be stored in an offsite location that’s completely under your control.

Best of all the solution does not have to cost you a thing if you know how to do it right.

Fortunately the strategy is laid out in my article WordPress Backup – The Plugin and The Plan, which has easy-to-follow instructions.

Tip: While your hosting company’s backups can be a good complement to your own, don’t let them be the only backups you have!

Your hosting provider might offer you daily backups of your account. And most WordPress backup plugins allow you to store backups on your hosting account.

But your hosting account might be compromised and all data erased, or the server might crash, losing all your data. You get the picture.

That is why we recommend that you have at least two separate backup locations: your hosting account could be one, but make sure at least one of them is off site. Even if you lose one backup location, you’ll still have your backup archives.

If you’re paranoid, you can also store a backup on a USB drive in your bank vault. You need to ask yourself: how much is your business (web site) worth?

Tip: Make sure you have complete control over at least one copy of your backup archive and store it outside of your hosting account.

Your backups contain sensitive data. For example, your database userid and password, and the names of your administrative users are stored in your backup archives. If your backup falls into the wrong hands, this makes it too easy for malicious parties to break into your site.

Some backup plugins allow you to email a backup to yourself. Email is inherently insecure. You have no control over the path an email follows on the way to your inbox, for example. And it gets even worse if you create a webmail account with an easy to remember (and to guess) password.

Imagine what happens if a hacker takes over control of your webmail account: you have not only left the doors to your WordPress site wide open, but also lost your offsite backup! Ouch!

It is much safer to upload your backup archives via Secure FTP to an offsite location, or store them on a Dropbox, Amazon S3, or Google Drive account which only you have access to.

Tip: Make sure you store your backups in a safe location.

For more information on this topic see the post Are WordPress Backups On Dropbox Safe?

An essential part of backing up your WordPress site is to test that the backup can be restored. This is a step that many people miss. But it is a crucial step.

Testing that you can restore your backup serves two purposes:

It ensures that your backup software has created a useful backup archive.It forces you to learn and practice the procedure for restoring your WordPress site.

Would you rather discover that the restore process is broken or the backup archive is unusable while you are testing, or while you are trying to restore your live site after a breakdown?

Ideally you need to test your backup every time the backup software is updated. But at a minimum you should do this once per year. At the same time, you can review your backup plan to determine if you need to change the frequency of your backups.

Tip: Make sure you can successfully restore your WordPress site from your backup!

For more information, see How To Test Your WordPress Backup and Have You Tested Your Backup Solution Lately?

One of the great reasons why you need a good backup is to make your blog easier to recover if someone breaks into your site.

Cyber criminals who compromise WordPress sites for financial gain (stealing traffic, boosting their own SEO rankings, posting ads etc.) do not want you to find out that your site has been compromised.

This means it could be months before you realize that you have been hacked.

If you do daily backups and only store them for 30 days, you could easily be out of luck when it comes to restoring your site.

I recommend that you use a mix of different backup types:

a daily backup that you store for two weeksa weekly backup that you store for three monthsa monthly backup that you store for two years.

This allows you to go up to two years back in time if needed.

Of course, you can adjust the retention period of each type of backup to suit your needs.

With the right choice of backup software this can all be run on auto-pilot with automatic purging of old backup archives to manage your space requirements.

Tip: Make sure your backup strategy allows you go to far enough back in time!

As the old saying goes, “Real men don’t make backups, but they cry a lot”.

With these tips, you can avoid the common pitfalls and sleep well at night knowing that no matter what happens, you’ll be able to recover your blog.

It doesn’t have to cost you anything to have a good backup plan, but it could cost you the world if you don’t!

Check out Anders Vinther’s free WordPress Security Checklist, which is all about protecting your WordPress assets properly and sleeping well at night.

View the original article here

Lookin’ Good! A Brief Intro to Inline CSS for Bloggers

This guest post is by Andrew Couch of

As a website owner it can be really handy to know a bit of web coding. The HTML editor in most blogging platforms gives you enough power to do a lot of cool things without any risk of screwing up your site.

Adding inline styles to elements is one of the easiest.

CSS is the style language of the web. It describes to the browser how web pages should look to the last detail. These styles can be packed together in a style sheet and attached to a site as a whole. Or they can be added to individual elements to affect only that element, not the entire site.

This second way of applying CSS styles is called inline styling. These pieces of CSS are inline styles.

You can add an inline style in the HTML editor of your platform. Just a few pieces of code can go a long way. And all without hacking into your theme.

The most common element to style is the paragraph. An inline paragraph style would affect all of the text in the styled paragraph. In WordPress HTML editor you need to add the tags


Type this into your HTML editor:

This is the text that I want to affect.

This is how it’ll look in the visual editor, and the post itself:

This is the text that I want to affect.

P is the name of the element. It stands for paragraph.

Style is the name of the element that lets you define an inline style.

So border:1px solid red;padding:5px; is the style in the example. It adds a red border around the paragraph and a bit of spacing to keep the border from running into the text. Pretty easy!

Since you are working only in one post instead of the theme itself, there is no chance you could screw up your entire site. This is often a worry of novice coders—that one mistake could take down their site. Inline styles can give you a safe place to play with your creations.

Using inline styles could at most affect the one post you are working on. However if you use your blog’s Preview feature to look at the post before it gets published, you can reduce even that risk.

Styles only affect how specific elements look, not how the site functions. At most, mistakes mean the effect you are going for won’t be seen; they don’t result in a loss of functionality.

Many effects can be created on a specific element using inline styles. They do not need to remain as bland as changing the color, or be as functional as spacing out paragraphs.

How about a box set aside as a tip?

This tip callout floats next to your text and lets you push something out of the flow of the text to highlight it. It looks impressive, but is just a slightly more complex inline style.

How about a box set aside as a tip.

Themes for blogs and custom-built websites include a set of CSS rules that are attached to the site as a whole. This style sheet dictates how the site looks. This means you don’t need to use inline styles to achieve effects that fit within the overall theme style.

At a technical level, these overall styles are more efficient than using inline styles on every element. This just means that you would never use them to build an entire site. But inline styles are still very powerful and often overlooked as a way to impact certain elements in a single post.

Basic knowledge of CSS can help you make small changes to the appearance of an individual post. It’s a simple way to make important parts of a post stand out, it can make your post look more professional, and it can break up the monotony.

Best of all, learning a few basics of CSS isn’t too complicated.

If you are intrigued about what CSS can do for you, check out the extensive list of examples at w3schools and their entire CSS section. These move beyond inline styles and into stylesheets, but can give you an idea of what’s possible for your blog.

Andrew Couch is a career web developer and author of a tech e-book for non-techs called Web Foundations for the Non-Geek. He also runs a travel blog at Ctrl-Alt-Travel with his wife.

View the original article here

Get Creative About Your Content … Consistently

This guest post is by Pratik Dholakiya of E2M Solutions.

You’ve heard it a thousand times. “You need great, original content.” And it’s becoming increasingly obvious that “original” isn’t the same thing as “not plagiarized.”

There’s just one problem. Doing something truly original is hard.

How can you make original ideas happen? The answer comes from an unexpected source: psychological research.

The solution to writer’s block is simple: keep writing. It doesn’t matter what. Just publish. Just ship.

This is where most bloggers give up. They get stuck on the belief that everything they publish needs to be gold. It won’t be. You need to make writing a habit. That’s all it takes to conquer writer’s block.

But it’s only half the battle.

If your content isn’t new and exciting to your visitors, most of them will leave. And since it’s very difficult for an individual blogger to come across a breaking news story before anybody else, most bloggers end up publishing well written and completely redundant material.

Creativity is the spice you need to keep your blog fresh.

Here’s where you can get it.

Consciously, no. But studies suggest that when we do have a fear of creative ideas, it’s subconscious, and we’re completely blind to the results.

One of these studies, led by researchers from Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of North Carolina, suggests that when we’re uncertain about the future, we reject creative ideas, even though we want them.

They discovered that if they paid participants by a random lottery, instead of a set fee, they would subconsciously associate creative words with negative words like, “hell,” and “vomit.”

In a second experiment, they found out that if the participants wrote an essay about how “there is only one way to solve a problem,” this also created a sense of uncertainty. Worse still, this caused them to rate ideas as less creative, rather than recognize their fear.

The implications are clear:

Take actions that make you feel more secure about your future.Embrace the mindset that there is more than one solution to every problem.Write down all of your ideas when you brainstorm, and be open minded. You might be rejecting creative ideas because they scare you, not because they are actually uncreative.

A study led by Ella Miron-Spektor of Israel, along with researchers from Harvard and Carnegie, suggests that paradoxical thinking plays a part in creativity.

In one of their experiments, they asked participants to read an article about an experimental new toy, and then they read comments made by “judges” of the product. The judges said one of four things:

The toy was creative or cheap.The toy was creative and cheap.The toy was creative but too expensive, because cheap is the opposite of creative.The toy was creative and cheap, and those are usually opposites.

Out of the four groups in the experiment, only one group stood out on a creativity test: the last one.

In other words, it wasn’t enough to be open to the idea that something could be creative and cheap at the same time. It also wasn’t enough to realize that creativity and low price were opposites. Creativity was only boosted by recognizing that two things could be somehow different and complimentary at the same time.

What does this mean for you?

Be open to ideas and concepts that don’t seem directly related to the subject of your blog.But don’t be so open that you fall back on “everything is related,” without being able to see the differences at the same time.

Again, you have to be able to see how things can be different and complimentary at the same time, not just one or the other, in order to get a boost in creative thinking. The “idea mashups” that result from this are some of the best blog posts on the web.

I like to think of it like this:

If you’re too closed, you won’t see interesting connections that result in new ideas.If you’re too open, no connection stands out as interesting or new, because “everything is already connected,” so who cares?

There is a belief among many intellectuals that in order to be creative, you need to be a tortured soul. But a meta-analysis of studies on the subject revealed that out of 29 experiments, only nine suggested there was any truth to this, and those studies had a flawed design.

In one example demonstrating just the opposite, Alice Isen and others tested the impact of mood on people’s ability to solve a creative problem, called the candle problem. They asked one group of students to watch a funny video before solving the problem, and the other group to watch a math video. Only one in five of the people who watched the math video solved it, but an amazing three out of four solved it if they watched the funny video.

Was this because of laughter, or just a positive mood in general? In another experiment, they gave the participants a decorated bag of candy. The results were similar, but not as dramatic.

It turns out maybe you don’t have to be depressed and self-loathing in order to be creative after all.

Vincent Van Gogh may have cut his ear off, and history does seem to favor the tragic stories about creative people, but the psychology is clear. At least when it comes to everyday creativity, positivity is the answer.

This is a weird one, so bear with me. I want to be absolutely clear here. It takes focus and dedication to complete anything you start. If you don’t stay focused on your goals, you’re likely to wander aimlessly for a long time before you get anywhere near where you want to be.

But when it comes to creating the ideas in the first place? In that case, focus may actually be working against you.

In one experiment, participants were asked questions like this:

Two people are born on the same day of the month, on the same year, to the same mother and father, but they are not twins. How is this possible?

The experiment was led by Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks, and it was based on people’s sleep schedules. Your sleep schedule determines which time of day you are most and least focused (which is not necessarily the same thing as being alert and sleepy).

People who were brought in during their least focused time of day actually did best on these types of creative solving problems.

(If you couldn’t think of it, the answer is that they’re triplets.)

And this isn’t the only experiment to suggest this. Another experiment demonstrated that people who have frontal lobe damage do better on these kinds of problems, and still another suggested that alcohol had the same effect.

Now, I’m not advocating drinking on the job or taking a hammer to your forehead, but we can’t ignore the implications. So here are a few ideas to take advantage of this knowledge:

The best time to brainstorm is during those “off” times of day when you can’t seem to focus on anything and everything is distracting.If you’re struggling with brainstorming, this is probably the best time of day to work on something that requires focus or something more routine, such as reading and research.Consider brainstorming during times when you are sleepy.

As a simple example:

When you can’t read: brainstorm.When you can’t brainstorm: read.When you have the right combination of knowledge and original ideas: write.

Here is a sample creativity “plan” that you can borrow from and adjust as you see fit, based on what we’ve learned.

When you brainstorm, don’t reject any ideas that come to mind. Write them down. You can sift through them later.Define the problems you are trying to solve with each blog post, and write at least two different solutions to those problems.For each article, pick a “parent” subject, and write down several other subjects, almost at random. Pick the other subjects you find most interesting, and write down how each is similar to and different from your parent subject.Research a few different things at the same time, and write a list of reasons why they are the same and why they are different.Get yourself in a positive mindset, and make the creative process as fun as possible. Use humor and stick to the subjects that you will enjoy learning and writing about.If you simply can’t brainstorm, you’re probably doing it at the wrong time of day. Try reading instead. It’s when you find yourself reading the same sentence over again five times that you should probably get back to brainstorming.

So there you have it: a plan for creating original material, based on solid science. You’ll find that when you have an unlimited number of ideas to work with, the whole writing process gets easier, and your quality levels will start to improve.

Have you tried using methods like these? What else has helped you come up with original content ideas? Tell us in the comments.

Pratik Dholakiya is a Lead SEO Strategist at E2M Solutions, a full service internet marketing company specializing in Organic SEO, PPC, Local Search, Social Media, Reputation Management, Content Marketing and more. He recently started an Interview platform where he’ll be interviewing various industry leaders. You can contact him on twitter @DholakiyaPratik or by email.

View the original article here

Sunday, 30 December 2012

The 3 Step Guide to Creating Pinterest-friendly Graphics for Your Blog

It´s well established that Pinterest can be a strong driver of traffic. We´ve been having a lot of success at our Digital Photography School account and have seen other blogs, like Hair Romance, experiencing similar success.

In my experience, most bloggers focus on curating boards to build their expertise and drive traffic back to their blogs. They regularly include their blog posts among the images they pin. This is great for attracting new visitors.

There is, however, an easier way.

You can save time and test whether your content will be shared on Pinterest by creating specific graphics for your blog posts. This simple method allows you to know if your blog and images resonate with users.

The most basic form is a title and a graphic. In this post, I´ll walk you through my three-step process for creating images that are Pinterest-bait. Also, I´ll be doing a follow-up post highlighting bloggers using Pinterest successfully, so let me know if you have any suggestions for that in the comments.

Sizing is an important issue. You want the graphic to be clear when it’s viewed as a small image. Additionally, you want the graphic to match the design of your blog. From a visual perspective, I prefer it when the graphic is the same width as the blog post. A great example is the image at the end of this post on Expert Photography.

The best shape is either a square or tall image. Dan Zarella´s research shows that taller images get repinned more often. I agree with this, but mostly because you can fit more text in a longer graphic. The size of the graphic will depend on a lot of variables such as your blog design and how much attention you want to give to branding or calls to action.

I recommend that you look at relevant images and take note of the sizes that appeal to you. Visit the original blog posts and see whether the graphics fit with the theme. Here are some example images on the original blog posts:

Tip: List posts and series do really well on Pinterest.

The best graphics are ones that have a similar template. I can look at pins from Elizabeth Halford and instantly know when one is from her blog.

You want this kind of recognition and consistency. It means that people are more likely to trust you and repin the image without reading the associated article.

I love it when the image matches contains similar elements from the blog design. Examples include:

The goal is for you, or a designer, to create a template that you can use for all of your graphics. You want to be able to make minor tweaks and get a new, pinnable image in just a couple of minutes.

Additionally, you need to consider the following:

Do you want to use photos in your pin? This often increases the likelihood of the image getting repinned.Will you incude a call to action asking for people to repin the image? This will take up extra room and can clash with your branding.How long are your post titles? Will you have to change them for the Pinterest graphic?

This is the hardest part of creating Pinterest-friendly graphics.

This is the easiest step, and the one that you will be repeating every time you write a new blog post. You simply have to add the title and, if necessary, an additional image in Photoshop.

If all of this sounds too complex, I recommend reading How To Create Pinterest Friendly Images. It contains a simply tutorial to create basic images.

A Resources page is an easy way for many bloggers to highlight their curation skills and potentially increase their affiliate income. You can attract new readers to this page by creating a graphic specifically targeted towards Pinterest browsers.

To really excel at this, the page needs to have a title that is more catchy than Recommended or Resources. Look at what Bree, from Blog Stylist, has done. She created a graphic for her page titled A-Z of blogging resources. This title is much more likely to be shared.

Posts that have numbers in them—especially list posts—do extremely well. However, that approach may not work if you are regularly updating you Resources page.

This is an idea that isn´t used by many bloggers. People will create graphics for their newer posts but will rarely revisit their archives. There is a lot of potential for Pinterest traffic here. Tutorials are extremely popular.

Check out this example from BlogcastFM. It´s really simple—just a couple of nice fonts over a photo. It takes a good eye to get the elements working together like this but it is something that anybody could achieve with a bit of practice.

Do you have any pillar content sitting in your achives? Revisit it and check to see if it has already been pinned. Also check to see if people have pinned similar articles from other blogs. This will let you know whether the topic will resonate with Pinterest users.

I´d focus on creating graphics for the posts that have the most demand. This will give users the tools they need to share the post, and image, further.

People love pinning motivational quotes and images. This is also one of the easiest ways to find material for graphics.

Go through your previous posts—especially the more popular, thought-provoking posts. Look for feedback on the sentences and phrases that people resonated with. Some people have even identified these and highlighted them so that people can tweet them easily.

Colin Wright, from Exile, has created a page featuring images of his most popular quotes. He added an extra income stream by making these images available on T-shirts.

An infographic is a graphic, eye-catching visual representation of information, data or knowledge. Consider investing in having an infographic designed to provide information useful to your core audience—it makes for a highly “repinnable” image.—Donna Moritz via Amy Porterfield

Occasionally, you will have a post that would be perfect for an infographic. This if often a list post. It can take a bit of work to create the infographic, and for many bloggers, it may be beyond their budget or technical expertise. It does, however, give the post a chance to go incredibly viral.

Check out the post that I referred to in that quote.  The 10 Commandments of Using Pinterest for Business went viral on many networks because it was a comprehensive, well-written post. It went absolutely crazy on Pinterest: it felt like that graphic was haunting me for weeks! That´s how powerful it can be.

Are you thinking about using any of these techniques? Do you know of any bloggers who are doing this to builds their visibility on Pinterest? Let me know in the comments.

View the original article here

Get More Blog Readers Using Lessons from Email Marketers

This guest post is by Alana Bender.

Bloggers could probably stand to learn a few marketing tips from email marketers.

For years, email marketers have used all kinds of demographic email lists to build up customer bases. They’ve created lists aimed at women aged 40-plus, with kids, driving a family car, and working part-time from home. And there’s a list targeted to reaching those professionals who work in a particular field of industry or service. Another list for guys in their 20's who are single and spend $500 a year on electronic devices.

Acquiring or developing these lists is the first step for a good email marketer. But it takes a bit more than that. Email marketers (or in-house writers) must be skilled in the practice of writing great subject lines (sound familiar?), catchy copy (know what I mean?), and an offer to buy (comments, please?).

Then they have to wrap their message into a great email marketing design, one emphasizing Buy now buttons and with a mobile-optimized view that’s readable on both Android and iPhone. Without a compelling visual to back up the content on offer, a particular marketing promotion might fall flat.

As it stands, email marketing isn’t fading away as a marketing tool. In fact, it’s likely growing in usage. Internet research firm eMarketer points out that email volume and revenue increased over the previous year. And customer retention and acquisition are leading priorities for marketers.

What does all this have to do with blogging, you might ask? Well, the same touch points that make customers respond to emails are the same touch points provoking your readers to comment on a post and/or email.

Simply put, customers reply to emails because they’re interesting and relevant to the customer. If a customer regularly purchases school supplies from a local small business site, the likelihood is that this person will be open to new, interesting emails about new school-focused items.

The same goes for blogging. If you write regularly about a topic that amasses a large amount of comments, why not return to that topic (if possible) on a monthly basis? You have proven the relevance (check) and interest to your readers (check) of that particular topic. Come back to it.

As a pro blogger, ask yourself these questions:

How do I reach my customers (readers)?Where do I look for new customers (readers)?What tools do I use to retain these current readers, and what tools do I use to find new readers?What can I learn from pros in the email marketing business?

If you’re unsure of how you’re building your base of readers, or you’re just blogging away happily without an idea of how to gain new readers, then maybe the lessons of email marketers will apply. That’s what we want to focus on in this piece.

There are email marketing tips that easily transfer over to your blogging strategies, to help build readers, find sponsors, and grow advertising. And, with the ease of email marketing software programs, you can learn how to create a great-looking email to help find new potential readers, and use repeated emails to turn an interested reader into a daily subscriber.

Let’s look first at creating a smart email marketing list for small business or blog sites. How can you get your site out to interested readers or customers using good email marketing practices in the most effective way possible?

In the presentation mentioned above, eMarketer suggested several key ways that email marketers can increase their success with finding new customers and retaining existing customers.

Personalization helps build relationships. We all want emails to be personalized to some extent. Sure, it doesn’t always mean, the Dear (Your name here) email will be fantastic every time, but it beats a completely anonymous email send.

You can do the same thing with blog posts. Address a topic you absolutely know is near and dear to your readers’ personal interests, or be open and transparent on your own blog about a personal issue that you feel might be applicable to others.

You’ll see that getting to the core of an issue at a blog can be a boon for social media pass-alongs and comments at your site.

Good email marketing software can help develop a professional and effective marketing campaign, to help you win over new readers for your blog. Most email software packages feature options to allow you to design and create an attractive email. You can fully import already-developed landing pages from your site right into the email template or use one of the email templates to create a new design.

Draw in new blog readers with pictures, video clips, background images and audio clips in your emails.

Can you customize landing pages at your blog? Sure you can. Offer a special deal or discount to existing readers (or use new subscribers) on a personalized landing page the reader can go from a link in the email directly to a page for the discount. One-on-one communications rule here.

Have you ever found who reads your blog, and more importantly, why they read your blog? Take a chance to survey readers once or twice a year to get to know some general knowledge about who they are, what work they do, and why they read your blog.

Learning why a large portion of readership cares about what you do can inspire you to blog more frequently about issues that matter most to readers.

Let your blogging tone of voice be unique (all your own) and uniform (consistency is key). When readers see that your blog has a good release consistency, that it’s well-written, and more prepared than not, they’ll respond to your blog’s direct emails for special offers and joy.

As bloggers, we all know the value of a consistent readership. Our readers not only keep us on our editorial toes, but help to serve our content with tips, ideas, and suggestions throughout the year. So it makes sense that we should continue to look for ways to keep existing readers on board, while using techniques from email marketing pros to acquire new readers.

How is your blog working to acquire new readers? Are you using customizing your email content? Are you developing special landing pages for new and existing readers for discounts on reports and case studies? Can you use your reader data to bolster your editorial efforts? Let us know in the comments!

After getting my Computer Science degree in NorCal, my interest in writing about technology took over and I started freelancing for various blogs and publications. I love the beach and Apple products!

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Make Money From a Low-traffic Blog [Case Study]

This guest post is by Nathan Barry of Designing Web Applications.

It seems like every day you read a story about a blogger who released a product to their audience and made a ton of money overnight. But then after you read more details about their story, you learn that they already had a popular blog with a huge audience.

That’s the point in the process where I always used to feel disappointed. While I wanted to replicate their success, I didn’t have an audience.

My story is different. Yes, I managed to pull off a massively successful product launch, but I did it with a tiny audience. I hope this is a story you can relate to and learn from.

In June 2012, I had 100 RSS subscribers for my blog. Not 10,000, just 100. And I’d been working steadily on my blog, pushing everyone to subscribe by RSS, for over a year. Not great results.

But a few months later, on September 4th, I released my first product, an ebook called The App Design Handbook, which went on to make $12,000 on launch day and has passed $35,000 in total sales.

Now are you interested?

What happened in those three months between June and the September launch? The biggest change I made was focus. Since I was working on the book I decided that my blog was going to be almost entirely focused on the topic of designing iPhone and iPad applications. So I started writing posts and tutorials that would be valuable to that audience.

I was hardly the first person to write tutorials about designing apps. In fact, there were many much more popular blogs out there. But I was one of the first to write an ebook on the subject. So when people came to my site and saw that I was working on The App Design Handbook, it gave me instant credibility.

Focusing on a big goal, in my case writing a book, will give you credibility and a reason for visitors to follow your progress.

At the bottom of each post I wrote from then on, I placed an email signup form for the book. It didn’t provide much information (it would have been better had I provided more), but I did give people a chance to hear about the book when it launched.

This list gradually grew to 795 subscribers by the time I released the book.

Watching this list grow gave me the confidence that my methods were working and encouraged me to keep writing posts on designing iOS apps.

It is really important that you give your readers a way to opt in and let you know they are interested in your work. I’ve found email to be the best way to do this.

The posts I wrote were all tutorials about designing and coding better products. Nothing super-elaborate, just what I thought would be helpful to someone learning about design. My most popular post was titled “User Experience Lessons from the New Facebook iOS App.”

Facebook’s iOS application had been notorious for its mediocre user experience and slow speeds. So when Facebook released a new version, I took the opportunity to dissect all the design changes they made to see what I could learn. The designers at Facebook didn’t change anything major, but they made a lot of minor improvements that designers everywhere could learn from.

I hoped this post would do well on sites like Reddit and Hacker News, but it didn’t really get any traction. To my surprise, though, it started getting shared on Twitter. After three days, it had been tweeted and retweeted over 100 times, driving a lot of traffic.

More importantly, that drove a lot of email signups to my book list.

It would be a waste to spend months building up to a brilliant product launch, only to have a poor product. So, I spent most of my time in those three months actually working on the book itself.

It’s important to do the marketing and promotion posts (that’s the part most people ignore), but you still need to write the book or meet your larger goal.

Yet, like all things, it’s a balance. If you focus 100% of your attention on the product, you won’t sell any copies. So find the right balance between creating the product and marketing the product. I find my time is split 50/50.

Some people say you should let people pre-order the product to test demand. While I really like this idea, I didn’t do it. I decided that the email list was enough validation that there was a demand from the market, and I wanted to create a lot of buzz by focusing everything to the launch day.

While this strategy turned out fine for me, I don’t know enough to make a recommendation one way or the other.

I do know that if you can make a big splash, a single-day launch can help sales.

Speaking of a big splash, I did some guest posting as well. My original goal was to have between 15 and 20 guest posts all go live on launch day. I didn’t even make it close! But five really solid posts went live on some great sites on September 4th, with one more the next day.

It just goes to show that if you set high goals, even your failures are still a small success.

None of these posts drove a lot of traffic, but I think they helped remind people about the book. That’s why I love a single-day launch event. The first time someone mentions a book on Twitter you may not pay any attention. But then if you see an article by the same author on one of your favorite blogs, the two impressions together may be enough to get you to check it out.

So, do guest posts related to your product launches, but don’t expect thousands of visitors from guest posts. Guest posts are more about building relationships and name recognition than they are about driving traffic.

A week before launch I sent out a sample chapter and the table of contents to my pre-launch list. A few people unsubscribed, but they wouldn’t have purchased the book anyway.

It’s important to stay in contact with your email list, rather than trying to sell to them out of the blue months after they signed up. If you’ve been completely silent until asking for the sale, the common response will be, “Who are you, and how did you get my email address?” rather than them remembering who you are, that they opted in to your list, and are interested in your product.

It would have been better if I had delivered valuable content to them for a couple weeks leading up to the launch, but at least I did something. Then on launch day, everyone was expecting the sales email. I sent it out at 6:00 AM Mountain Time and had $1,000 in sales within ten minutes. For me, that was absolutely crazy! I never expected success so quickly.

That’s the power of a good email list.

The total was $12,000 in sales by the end of the first 24 hours, and $35,000 after two months, all from a blog that was visited fewer than 100 times a day a few months prior.

I hope it’s helped to you to follow my process and see how your own blog could make money, even if you aren’t popular. You need to focus on a big project, give people a way to opt in and follow along, focus on delivering value, and make a big splash on launch day.

Got it? I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments!

Nathan Barry is the author of Designing Web Applications, a complete guide to designing beautiful, easy-to-use web software. He also writes about design and business at

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Come with Me-Party at the Affiliate Summit Las Vegas

written by John Chow on December 19, 2012

Get 364,000 reader a day!

Affiliate Summit 2013 West of Las Vegas is less than a month away and I like to invite you to the hottest Las Vegas party will ever see. We got an open bar all night, the hotest DJ spinning the tunes, go-go dancers shaking their money makers and a performance by Chingy!

Industry legends will be Monday 14 January units from 22 to 2 at Tao Las Vegas. Normally, a night at Tao will cost you a few hundred dollars. However, thanks to our sponsor members 1%, you get to party like a Dot Com Mogul for free! All you have to do is RSVP and get the invite list. See you in Las Vegas!

John Chow party

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15 Social Media Mistakes that are Strangling Your Success

While it’s not new, I’m often surprised by the way bloggers use—and mis-use—social media.

Each of us has our own blogging journey, and we use different tools in our own unique ways. Yet there are still quite a few very common errors that I continue to see bloggers making as they work with social media.

Norwegian_viper Image by stock.xchng user

These mistakes have the potential to make your social media experience a struggle—if not put you off it completely. But if you persist with them over time, they have the potential to do significant harm to your brand and your blog.

Think about it: social media is a very public space, perhaps even more public than your blog. Although we might not be conscious of it, every time we make a status update on a social network, we have the potential to reach a huge audience of people we don’t know through others sharing our messages.

That can happen whether the messages are good or bad, for better or for worse.

Take a look at these 15 mistakes, which definitely send the wrong message. Then, let me know in the comments if you’re making any of these errors.

We all know that social media is an engagement tool, but how many of us treat it that way?

What’s your ratio of “broadcast” updates to direct, personal updates that address other users individually? And who are those direct updates to—friends and family and people you feel “safe” with, or are you reaching out to new contacts, readers, and others in your niche?

While you may not want to connect with everyone on every social network, the blogger looking to build an online presence should focus on responding to contacts from others on social media.

Avoiding one-word responses is ideal—look for ways to connect naturally and easily with every person who approaches you, and you’ll see real benefits from social media.

Where are your users congregating online? Which networks do they use? Are you on those networks, or are you holding off because you think you don’t have enough time or energy to tackle a new network?

Not long ago, I started developing the dPS presence on Pinterest, and I’ve never looked back. While there’s no perfect time for anything, leaving yourself out of a social network where your audience is active could mean you’re leaving money on the tqble—or readers out of the loop!

On your post pages, do you offer readers the option to share the post on social networks and the opportunity to follow you on those networks?

Offering one or the other is better than nothing, but it’s important to offer both. Of course, your follow buttons might appear in a location that’s globally available throughout your blog—like in the header or sidebar. But do make sure users have both options.

If a reader contacts you on social media, do you follow them?

While following massive numbers of people can be overwhelming, if you’re just starting out on a new network, connecting with those who contact you is a great way to make the most of the medium and get a feel for what your readers are doing on that network.

Connecting with people from your broader niche is an excellent way to stay abreast of news and get on the radars of others you haven’t met, but whose work you admire.

Who knows? They might follow you back—and share your updates with their followers. But even if they don’t, you have the potential to get a sound perspective of the players in your niche, and their work, on social media.

Every blogger and blog brand has a range of facets, but these need to be carefully managed—even curated—if you want to give your followers a clear idea of who you are and what you’re about.

Chop and change in the way you approach a given network or your followers, or present your brand, and you might do more harm than good.

Following on from the previous point, you will have readers who follow you on multiple networks, so it’s important to present yourself and behave consistently in all your dealings, whatever the network.

Your blog’s Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts should share brand characteristics, even if you target the information you share with each network individually.

Social networks have come a long way since they were first launched. Even the more recent arrivals to this industry are evolving new features all the time. Yet many of us ignore these developments, and just keep posting the same stuff, day in, day out.

Are you aware of the features of each of the networks you’re using? Are you up-to-date with what each network offers your blog? If you’re not, you could be missing valuable opportunities to promote your blog, to meet potential readers, and eventually, to make sales.

At the most basic level, it’s worth knowing what portion of your blog’s traffic comes from social media, and from which networks.

This knowledge can help you focus your efforts, prioritize your work, and manage your time to best effect. It can also help you to respond to one-off traffic events arising from particular networks.

On the other side of the coin, it’s also important to keep an eye on how much your content is shared. I’ve found this particularly useful when I’ve joined a new network, as it helps me to understand what works in that space and what doesn’t.

Looking at what’s shared—in terms of blog content and my own social media updates—is an essential step in making the most of a social network.

Similarly, it’s important to track not just what people on a given social network are saying about your blog and brand, but also about your niche itself. Social listening is the answer.

This can give you post ideas, opportunities to connect with readers on topical issues that they care about—even ideas for updating your blog’s layout or post categorisation. Social media listening is a great way to get to know what your audience is thinking and feeling.

The listening doesn’t stop there, though. you can also set up searches for social media discussions of your main competitors, or key players in your niche, and find out what the audience has to say about them.

This can help you find gaps in your market for information and commentary, give you prodict ideas, and a lot more.

This is a big one. Even if your social media followers are in your timezone, there are going to be better and worse times to share on social media.

If you’re listening to find out the way your niche works on social media, you should have an idea of when its players—organizations and audience members—are most active. By tying that information to the traffic and sharing tracking mentioned above, you should be able to piece together a picture of the best times to get traction from social media among your target readership.

Social media has its place, but it’s only one way to reach the people you want to read your blog. It’s one piece in a big promotional puzzle, and it’s one that’s actually independent of a digital presence that you own.

That presence is on your blog itself. But if you only ever use social media to try to get people to your site, you’ll soon kill off any goodwill you’d established. This is why social media really should be used as part of a broader promotional toolkit that lets you attract some of the other kinds of readers we mentioned late last week.

Are you making any of these 15 mistakes? They could be slowly strangling your blog’s authority, brand, and ability to attract new readers! Share your thoughts—and tips for social media success—with us in the comments.

View the original article here

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Millionaire operating system

How I Make $40K A Month From My Blog

Many people have tried to make money on the Internet and have failed for any number of reasons. Maybe they bought into a system and it didn't work for them. Maybe they got discouraged by the lack of success from the beginning and get out early. Maybe they don't have someone to guide them through the process and teaching them the right way to do things.

You don't want to fail. You want to succeed. And that is what is supposed Millionaire operating system to deliver. Over the course of the review today, we have a look at this comprehensive system and the people behind it. And no, it has nothing to do with replacing Windows or Mac OS.

Is an online business system that aims to equip you with all the tools and guidance you need to be a successful Internet entrepreneur.


Not only is a marketing system designed to help you capture leads, funnel and filter these leads and sell the right kind of product mix in these potential customers on the Internet, but the OS is also a millionaire online training system. You can get started with right away, earn while you're learning.

When you become a member of OS millionaire, you get automatic enrollment in 8 key affiliate programs, a comprehensive curriculum 180 days on Internet marketing, coaching (including One to One time), direct access to a professional sales staff, a comprehensive website and access to a cooperative of traffic.

So, why is it called the millionaire operating system? Well, the "inner circle" who founded this project all happen to be very Internet successful entrepreneurs in their own right, earning seven figure income from the web.


When you go to the main landing page for MOS, are treated to a video featuring Jeff Lerner that explains its history and how does the MOS. Jeff is ranked as one of the Top 500 Home Business entrepreneurs in the world.

The co-founders have different types of expertise and experience, but they say all that have experienced substantial success online. Inner Circle also includes Mike Antoni copywriter, traffic gurus Jashin Howell, sales expert Jeremy Miner, conversion specialist Dave Nayavich and others. These are the guys who are going to act as your personal tutor.

One of the main differentiators that separates the millionaire OS from other seemingly similar systems is that it integrates a fair bit of training with a comprehensive system of online business. You get one-on-one coaching to guide you along the way, as well as various training modules that allow you to move "forward business members." day by day

The MOS also marketing system is meant to be absolutely complete, including five key factors or components of any successful online business: traffic lines, funnel, filter, follow-up and produced. They allow you to generate traffic, they automatically funnel leads to build a relationship of trust with visitors, filter traffic automatically to find the most qualified contacts and actually help generate sales by leveraging the right follow-up and products.

The key difference? Not everyone can subscribe. Not that it's a limited time offer; is that they provide limited membership.

So yes, you have to apply to join the community of Millionaire OS. Just like the funnel and filter traffic to make money, they do the same with applicants. They want to make sure that the "right kind of people," with the right kind of mentality are joining so that they can ensure your success.


The application package is $ 29.95 and comes with some bonus material. If after the application and interview process decide that you're not a good fit, they'll refund your payment. It took some digging around, but it seems that the membership fee of the MOS itself is one-off and $297 then $ 199 per month. And ensure that bends a profit in your first year.


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7 Surefire Ways to Make Money from Your Email List

Cemmerce – Where Content Meets Commerce

How many times have you heard that “the money is in the list?”

For me, I’ve used it over a gazillion times in my content but slightly paraphrased.

For instance, I don’t think you can make money by collecting any kind of leads.

And even if you capture the right emails, it’s no guarantee that you’d make money from such a list.

I don’t know where I first read this line, but I agree with it 100%.

The money is in the list

It says, “The money is not in the list, but in the relationship you build with the list.”

In other words, you’ve to be actively involved in turning cold leads into customers. I’ve seen bloggers who had over 10k email subscribers, but they’re still broke – whereas, a new blogger with less than 1000 responsive subscribers makes a lot of money from that tiny list.

But this post isn’t about building relationships with your list subscribers. I’d talk about that aspect next time.

For now, here are 7 surefire ways to make money from your list members. Directly or indirectly, you should benefit from your email list – let me show you how…

The first legit way to profit from your list is membership site. Who doesn’t want a recurring income?

The only way you can eliminate the struggles for more money online is to channel your efforts on passive income. Membership sites usually bill customers monthly.

The initial hard work you put into this model can generate $1k – $20k from your email list alone, depending on how responsive your list members are.

Make sure that the membership site offers great value, which can’t be accessed for free elsewhere.

It’s true that nothing is new on the internet including the information on a membership site – but if someone must invest into your program every single month, there must be a strong reason – “what’s in it for them?”

If you’re a wordpress blogger, then there are products & services you have been using that work. Such as web hosting, autoresponder, social media tools and the likes. Now that you’ve an email list, you can make money by recommending such offers.

It’s simple actually – so don’t complicate it. You’d make a lot of money if you create a short video that lays out the step by step process of using a particular product.

Please don’t recommend programs that didn’t work for you. Your list members already have a level of trust for you – don’t adulterate your brand image for a few bucks.

If you build a free email list, it can be difficult when you try to sell them a product. But all hope isn’t lost.

You can promote cost per action offers and earn a commission from your referrals. For instance, auto insurance companies are looking for leads, not initial sales.

They can pay you $2 – $20 to refer your subscribers to their services. To get paid, the person you referred to their site must sign up, click on the confirmation link the CPA Company sent her and that’s all.

These days, a simple survey, tweet or Facebook like from those you referred can generate commissions for you. To me, this is better than AdSense or pay per click offers. Do you agree with me?

When I first started affiliate marketing, one time offers (OTO) generated a lot of sales for me. I could recall the day I earned $294.93 from clickbank, just because my OTO salespage was catchy and valuable.

And you can activate OTO offers into your landing page easily. Rather than redirecting subscribers to a thank you page automatically, send them to a page where you’ve a PLR (private label right) products.

Yes, OTO works perfectly when you use PLR products that are hot, with beautiful e-covers and well-written copy. You can send the OTO page to your email list and hopefully, you’d make extra income easily.

As I write this, I’m working on my own product. It’s going to be an e-book and I plan to launch it in the first quarter of 2013.

Of course, my subscribers would be the first to grab the “early birds offer” at a reduced cost. You should consider selling your own product for more passive income.

If you’ve been a blogger for 3 months, I see no reason why writing and selling a short valuable report or e-book is hectic.

Your blog posts can be compiled, organized, edited and spiced up. It takes creativity to become a product owner – not years of hard work.

BTW: you don’t have to write your e-book yourself, you could hire a professional ghost writer to help you.

Maybe you’ve written more than 50 blog posts already, which sits dormant in your archive. The truth is, you’re wasting the content, instead of turning it into money balls.

Besides, having your own product gives you an edge – builds your credibility as a true expert and could help you get speaking engagements.

Internet marketing is changing so rapidly. Few months ago, one of my email subscribers contacted me to write for him. That was it, I’m still with this client and he still receives my newsletter.

When you send a product to your list, below your signature, add a P.S. A post script is vital because it can help you summarize what you do.

If you’re a freelance web developer, writer, virtual assistant and so forth, inform your subscribers about it.

Your list members are humans – they’re not pieces of scripts. For this very reason, they can hire your professional services.

You need to understand that being a freelancer wouldn’t bring passive income at the surface – it takes hard work to make a living freelancing. But if you work hard like me, you can make $3k – $10k monthly.

Can you offer a premium email course? I know that you’re a rare gem waiting for an opportunity to transform lives around the world.

The truth is, thousands of people on your list are waiting to give you their money, only if you can proof your worth.

A premium email course can be on any topic. For instance, if your list members are mostly beginners to affiliate marketing, you could charge $12 – $99 or more to teach the basics of making money from clickbank.

You must be good at what you do. Sharing the best content via videos, podcasts, articles, blog posts and slides can bring more money to you.

There you’ve it, the seven surefire ways to make money from your list.

The bottom line is to build a strong relationship with your list members. Once they know you and what you’re capable of doing, you’d make more money online marketing to them. To reach your target audience easily, and make more money, use my guest posting service.

What do you say? Have you started building your email list yet? If not, what’s stopping you? Share your view in the comment below…

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The Anatomy Of A $315,000 Per Month Business

How I Make $40K A Month From My Blog

I’ve talked a lot about MOBE (even offered a great MOBE bonus) in the past week, and I’ve received a ton of questions about it from readers and commentators. The main questions seems to be what is it and can it work for me?

To help answer these questions, I have an 80 minute long video of Matt Lloyd talking about MOBE from the stage of Unstoppable Entrepreneur 2. No opt in is required to watch the video. Just play and enjoy. I guarantee you’re going to have a few epiphanies.

Matt Lloyd Speaking

I was going through the comments in the video and noticed this one from Deborah Robertson:


Deborah is in Matt’s MOBE License Rights Program. She probably would not refer to herself as an internet marketing guru. Like many people (possibly you) she’s bought a ton of internet marketing “systems”, and has got little to zero results with any of them.

But, recently she made her first $1,000 commission from her involvement in the MOBE License Rights program and I think that is awesome because it shows that you don’t need to be like me to make money from this.

The reason why so many people have become Licensees in the last few months, is because this system symplifies the role of the parnters. To get results, you only need to do one thing: Get leads.

Here’s what it doesn’t require:

You building your own list, and coming up with content to email them dailyYou creating dozens of your own products You setting up blogs or websites, doing coding, or any of that ‘techy’ stuffYou hiring a team of staff, and having to manage / babysit them

Instead, you can spend that time doing the things you like. Now, am I saying that you should never do any of that stuff? Absolutely not. If you want to build a 7 figure business in this, or any other niche, then YES – you will need to build your own list, create your own products, etc., eventually.

But for most people, being able to start making commissions TODAY, would make them happy. And it would also shut up those people around them, who keep asking, “why are you spending all that time on the computer? Have you even made your first dollar yet?”

If you’d be happy just to finally start getting real results, then you need to do what Deborah did:

Become a MOBE Licensee.Claim my MOBE bonus of an Apple iPad and over $8,500 of my best products.Start driving some traffic to your MOBE links.

Increase Your brand by Partnering with MOBE

For those of you who are ready to start building your list, and branding yourself, Matt’s team have something for that too. They’ve just spent a small fortune, having their programmers create a new “co-branding” sales funnel the MOBE Licensees can promote.

It not only allows you to build your own email list (with popular autoresponders like Aweber), but you also get to put your name and photo on the sales material, next to Matt’s, so you can be branding yourself. Here’s an example, with MOBE Licensee Samith Pich:

Co-branding with Matt Lloyd

See how his name and photo is alongside Matt’s? Every time Samith now generates a lead, he’ll also be building his own list, along with his own brand.

My point is, whatever stage you’re at, whether it’s new or experienced, the MOBE License Rights Program is better at converting traffic to dollars than any other system on the market today. That’s a bold claim, I know. However, based on my results (I made over $20K in the first month with MOBE), no other system has came close to doing what Matt’s team does.

Matt’s goal over the next 12 months is to grow his companie’s revenue from its current $2 million to $20 million. And it’s the partners like me (and possibly you) who stand to take a huge share of that.

If you’d like to know more, leave your phone number below the video, and one of Matt’s staff will call you back. They won’t try and hard sell you either. They’ll simply answer your questions, and help you determine if this is the right program for you, based on your unique circumstances. Otherwise, you can enroll in the MOBE License Rights program at the bottom of the page.

Extending My MOBE Bonus

Originally, my MOBE bonus of a free Apple iPad and over $8,500 of my best products expires after ten licenses or until the end month, which ever comes first. The ten came and went pretty quick, but I’ve decided to keep the bonus open for a few more days. To get the bonus, I recommend you get your MOBE License right now.

Watch Anatomy Of A $315,000 Per Month Business | Enroll In MOBE

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Dot Com Pho – the world didn't end Edition

written by John Chow on December 22, 2012

J-O-B is a dirty word...

Well, the world isn't over so that means that I get to do a Dot Com Pho to bitch about it. Once again, we headed for the patio of Pho Ba Co in sunny Orange County for an afternoon of fun and networking. Anyone is welcome to join us. Follow me on Twitter to find the time and location of the next meetup.

For this edition of Dot Com Pho, we all complain that the world is still here, the man was not wearing a cravat tie, Sally burst stuff, homemade pho and a whole lot more. Enjoy!

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Start your Blog before it ends the world!

How I Make $40K A Month From My Blog

The world is suppose to end today, and if you haven't started your blog yet, this is your final opportunity! To help him out, HostGator (host my blog) is having a 50% off the end of The World for sale! All webhosting plans are 50% off today, or until the world ends, whichever comes first.

50% off and free installation of WordPress

If you order web hosting through me you can have WordPress installed for free. In addition, it will install the following free WordPress plugins to get your blog started on the right foot:

All In one SEOGoogle total SitemapW3 StatsAfter Top CacheShow the DeadlineAkismetJetpack

If you were to hire someone to set up WordPress with plugins listed above, it would cost you over $ 100. However, you're getting for free because the world is going to end!

All you have to do is order a web hosting plan by HostGator, then forward me the login info to johnchow [at], you will install WordPress for you. Afterwards, we'll send you an email back the login information for your new WordPress blog and you can start blogging!

Click here to order your new WordPress Blog

Not only will get your blog hosting at one end of the discount, but every hosting plan at HostGator has 100 $ and $ 25 Google AdWords credit of Bing that you can use to promote your new blog. Start your own blog for 50%, get WordPress and plugins installed for free and get $ 125 on advertising claims. This is the best web hosting deal around the world!

But the sale is only for today! If you were thinking of starting your own blog, today is the last day to do so. The world may not be here tomorrow! Order your web hosting plan and allow me to set your new WordPress blog before it's too late!

Happy end of the world!


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Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Laptop Millionaire: How Anyone Can Escape the 9 to 5 and Make Money Online

The Laptop Millionaire: How Anyone Can Escape the 9 to 5 and Make Money Online
Go from ZERO to $10,000 a month in 28 days and discover financial freedom online!
Every day thousands of people are losing their jobs, their income, and their security—perhaps you are one of them. However, with the right strategies, you can easily achieve financial independence. The Laptop Millionaire provides easy to follow step-by-step strategies you can use to make real money online. Author Mark Anastasi reveals the exact strategies he used to make millions and includes the success stories of other millionaire Internet entrepreneurs. Whether you need an extra hundred dollars a day or want to start an Internet Empire, this book gives you the tools and advice you need.
His no-fluff, no-filler strategies provide a blueprint to online success allowing you to discover the laptop lifestyle for yourself.
  • How anyone can make $700-3,000 a week thanks to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other Social Media sites
  • The simple steps to creating an online business—featuring the 3 steps that led Mark to his first $10,000 a month business!
  • How the 21 Millionaire Secrets can transform your life
If you read and apply what Anastasi has laid out in his book, you will be well on your way to becoming a millionaire.
Price: $22.95

Click here to buy from Amazon

10 LEGITIMATE Ways to Make Money Online

10 LEGITIMATE Ways to Make Money OnlineIn these tough times creating any source of additional income can really help your financial situation. This book, 10 LEGITIMATE Ways to Make Money Online will show you how to make the extra money you need right now to help get you through this rough economic period. This book outlines, in detail, ten legitimate ways to make real money online. You can make this money in your spare time and it will not affect your current job.

Author MJ Wolfe is an expert in creating multiple streams of income. You won't get rich from these sources, but you can easily earn an additional $500 to $1,000 per month.


Click here to buy from Amazon

Make Money Teaching Online: How to Land Your First Academic Job, Build Credibility, and Earn a Six-Figure Salary

Make Money Teaching Online: How to Land Your First Academic Job, Build Credibility, and Earn a Six-Figure SalaryDid you know you could teach from home and earn a six-figure salary? Thousands of people make a great living teaching online courses from home, and the more classes they teach the more they earn! If you want into this exciting profession, this guide will show you how to get started, find great jobs, and earn more than you thought possible.

Price: $27.95

Click here to buy from Amazon

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The success stories speak for themselves in this book from money maestro Dave Ramsey. Instead of promising the normal dose of quick fixes, Ramsey offers a bold, no-nonsense approach to money matters, providing not only the how-to but also a grounded and uplifting hope for getting out of debt and achieving total financial health.

Ramsey debunks the many myths of money (exposing the dangers of cash advance, rent-to-own, debt consolidation) and attacks the illusions and downright deceptions of the American dream, which encourages nothing but overspending and massive amounts of debt. "Don't even consider keeping up with the Joneses," Ramsey declares in his typically candid style. "They're broke!"

The Total Money Makeover isn't theory. It works every single time. It works because it is simple. It works because it gets to the heart of the money problems: you.

Price: $24.99

Click here to buy from Amazon