Blogging Conferences: I’m going to be at ShiftCon 2018! Will you? #ShiftCon

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ShiftCon

Are you still finalizing your blogging conference schedule for 2017-2017? I know I am! I’m so excited to be speaking at ConnectHer17 and also facilitating at ShiftCon2018. Two very different conferences but both with unique learning and networking opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and influencers.   ShiftCon is the only eco-wellness influencer conference in the US and after 2016 in New Orleans it is returning to California.

You may be thinking, “But Lisa, I’m not a ‘green’ blogger.  But you maybe more eco-well than you think you are. Do you worry about what your children eat? Do you research what cosmetics you use before you buy them? Do you look at labels before you buy a sunscreen? Are you going gluten free? Are you making changes to your lifestyle for health and wellness and sharing with your readers? Maybe you are great at creating crafts and recycling products and “trash.” Whatever it is that you are doing and sharing may be more eco-friendly than you think. You can learn how to do all those things better – AND -how you can better share them with your audience. Not to mention the chance to learn from other influencers, network and so much more!

ShiftCon 2018 Details

ShiftCon Social Media Conference will be February 1-3, 2018 in Irvine, California at Hotel Irvine. ShiftCon was born, by Leah Segedie of Mamavation.com, out of the idea that together we can create a profound impact on the world around us.  I first started working with Leah when it was “BookieWe can literally shift the way we eat, raise our families and our impact on the environment. That shift has begun, and now it’s time to come together and leverage our collective voice. ShiftCon was created to give wellness and eco-friendly influencers a place to network, share ideas, learn from experts, empower one another and organize their efforts into social change.

What happens at ShiftCon?

  • Professional workshops on social media growth, wellness topics & ways to increase your revenue without compromising your values
  • Keynote messages from professionals who are pioneers in their field
  • An exhibitor hall with over 50 brands and organizations who want to work with influencers
  • Networking with hundreds of your peers
  • Fitness events and NonGMO meals

 

 

Get Connected with ShiftCon 20178and find out more about speakers, topics, events and opportunities to volunteer! 

Visit the Website: http://www.shiftconmedia.com

Follow on Twitter: Twitter.com/shiftconmedia

Like on Facebook.com/ShiftCon

Are you ready to register for ShiftCon 2018?

Here’s my referral link. I would appreciate it if you would use and am excited to see you there!

Want to be involved? Apply to be a speaker, a sponsor or a volunteer at ShiftCon 2018

From the 2016 conference:

ShiftCon 2016 Videos On Sale For a Limited Time

ShiftCon 2016 was very memorable in the fun loving city of New Orleans. Did you miss out on all the fun? Or did you miss out on some workshops you wanted to see because they were during the same time as another one you went to? Well, we have solved you problem! ShiftCon is offering workshops from 2016 on sale TODAY. We have broken up the video series into two categories for you: wellness and professional. The wellness videos concentrate on science, wellness, public health, safer products & food, sustainability and justice issues. The professional videos focus on helping you build up your social media platforms, make more money and sharpen your skills.

Sale Starts Today and Ends Friday 6/16

We are offering you a discount to purchase your videos THIS WEEK and giving you $50 off each video set. Both sets are $99 each and if you take advantage of our sale you can have one for only $49! And if you decide to pick up both of them, they will be less than $100 for all the workshops at ShiftCon last year. If you would like to purchase one or both sets of videos, use code “shiftconwithlove” at checkout.

The Wellness Video Track

The ShiftCon 2016 Wellness Track: Click here to purchase. This series has eight videos. Speakers include Pete Meyers, Dr. Jessica Shade, Amy Love, and more! This video track includes the following:

Session 1: Dropping Science – Pete Myers of Environmental Sciences takes on Endocrine Disruption and Causes

Session 3: The Race Forward – How Challenging Racial Stereotypes Benefit Eco-Friendly Industry Growth

Session 9: Hot Science – How Organic Agriculture Improves the Environment

Session 10: What the F-ck Are We Eating – An Overview of Labels

Session 12: Hot Science – How Organic Supports a Healthy You

Session 13: From Garbage Islands to Poisonous Plastics – Solutions to Safeguard Our Children, Health, Family & the Ocean

Session 14: The Future of Sustainable Food Production in a Time of Climate Change. Sponsored by California Almonds

Session 15: Overcoming Obstacles – Keeping It Real When Life Is Crazy

The Professional Video Track

ShiftCon 2016 Professional Track videos: Click here to purchase. This series has seven videos. Speakers include Robyn O’Brien, JP Sears, Anya Katts and more! This video track includes the following:

Session 2: Going Pro – Using Email to Grow Your Audience and Turn it into a Profitable Business

Session 4: Backlash and Blowback – How to Navigate the Frontline, from Hashtags to Haters, to the Strength of the Human Heart with Robyn O’Brien

Session 5: From Pitch to Publish – How to Navigate the Realm of Traditional Publishing

Session 6: How to Successfully Pitch Traditional Media Outlets

Session 7: SEO Tips, Techniques, and New Technologies You Can Easily Utilize to Build More Traffic and Expand Your Audience

Session 8: How to Use Video to Grow Your Presence

Session 11: Stories, Not Selfies – Instagram Awesomeness for Influencers

 

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Facebook Pages Feed: Instant engagement and feed information

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How to and Benefits of Using Facebook Pages Feed

A great number of bloggers I know frequently say “just don’t know what to share on Facebook.” They don’t want to be egocentric and only share content from their blog. But what they do want is engaging content, information and hopefully not have to pay for the increasing their engagement through the use of boost or ads. One really fun way of finding new content for my pages Facebook Feed is to look to use the “Pages Feed” tool available on each of your Facebook Business Pages.

How to Use the Facebook Pages Feed Tool

facebook pages

Start with making sure you are following the blogs, brands and news sources you know and love. For example, if you frequently create and/or share recipes there are probably a number of food brands out there that you follow like Red Gold or Hillshire Farm.

facebook pages feed tool

Check your Facebook Pages Feed when you are looking for interesting content to share.

facebook pages feed tool

Read down through the pages feed content and when you find something you think your readers will enjoy share it.

Be sure to include the original content and create a status post which not only includes a tag back to the original source, but add a few comments or thoughts. Returning to the food brand idea – say Hillshire Farms posts a recipe. You could share it, tag Hillshire Farms and indicate that you may try it tonight – after all it’s easy and you already have all the ingredients at home. Then maybe ask them to share what they are making for dinner that night.

Benefits of Using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool

There are actually several benefits to using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool.

Stay on top of the brands, blogs, services and events which are of interest to you as a blogger and writer, but also those which may be of interest to your audience. 

  • The key to this: know your audience. Look at other posts and see what types of content they respond to on your Facebook business page. What makes them like, share or comment.

Using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool saves you time.

  • I also use Google alerts, but the pages feed tool helps me quickly and easily stay on top of the information I need and want to know from brands, businesses, services and events. The less time I have to spend on research the more time I can spend on other things like graphics, social media, content, images, and learning more about the tools of my trade.

Be seen as an expert in your “field.” 

  • Using the Facebook Pages Feed tool you are “in the know.” So could everyone else be if we actually saw EVERYTHING which those we follow share on Facebook. But thanks to the Facebook algorithm we don’t. As a result, you may have knowledge which others don’t. This creates a trusting relationship with your audience as they continue to see you as knowing what they want to know you that you will share it.

Creates engagement. 

  • Not just engagement with your audience, though that may be a result too. But you will also create engagement with the brands, businesses, events, services etc., which you want to get to know and which you want to get to know you. I know I check to see (and I know brands do too) who has shared what from my Facebook feed and as a result use those opportunities to not only learn what my audience likes, but also to create opportunities for engagement, conversation and relationships with those I want to work with in the future. Brands will do the same thing. Noticing that your ability to share and create opportunities for others to know what they are doing, will continue to bring you to their attention and possibly lead to an email or private message and an opportunity to work with them on a more official basis.

 

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10 reasons to Switch to a Custom Domain Name

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reasons to own a custom domain name

I did it. I admit it. I was once upon a time a blogspot blogger. I started out with a blog, just for fun while I was freelance writing for Yahoo and other online and print magazines. I know how easy it can be, but I also know that at some point you may want to grow beyond where those types of sites can take you. Once you are ready to take that step it is time for a custom domain name.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which are used to support this site and my family. All opinions expressed are 100% my own, based on my own experiences and education.

 10 reasons to switch to a custom domain name

  • Increased opportunities to make money. Have you ever wondered why you didn’t get an opportunity you applied for in a network, affiliate company or group? Or even get accepted to some blogger networks? Some have rules that they can’t accept anyone without a custom domain name.
  • You control what people see when they “Google” you. Did you know having a custom domain name can actually make some of your less than complimentary posts, comments, or pictures drop further down in search engines? On the other hand, it increases your presence in search engines as they identify you with your brand and your blog. It also can translate into increased page views – as visitors are more likely to click on a custom domain name link than those which are not.
  • You have control over your online presence. Some people purchase their name as a domain name just so no one else can have it. They don’t plan on using it, but it makes sure that no one else uses it for less than honorable purposes.
  • It’s a tax write off as a business expense. Both your hosting and domain name purchases are tax write offs in the expense column. If you are making any money you know how important those can be, no matter how small.
  • FREE – doesn’t always mean free. It can come with a pretty hefty price. You know all that work you have put into your images and content. You may own it, but someone else (WordPress, Weebly, Google) actually OWNS your site. This means that they in essence own your content. They can shut you down and no one even has to tell you why. All your hard work is GONE.
  • As a blogger your online presence is evidence of your brand. How often have you visited a website and quickly “bounced” off of it because you didn’t think it professional? Because it wasn’t well organized? Unfortunately, not having your own custom domain says that to those who visit your site.
  • You are limited in what you can do – from the types of design you can have to the types of ads you can use. Sure you can depend on sponsored content as your only source of income but why would you? And why wouldn’t you create a website, presence and brand which shows off who YOU really are and what your expertise and interests are?  Do you want to be limited in your business efforts?
  • Customer support. How often have you encountered difficulties on your site and have to spend time looking for how to fix them? And how often have you just given up and let it go or moved everything else around to accommodate the problem. I’m not saying you don’t have site outages or other problems, but when you do have your hosting company, who is quite often your domain name provider can provide you with customer and technical support.
  • Other forms of revenue. Do you have a store? Create printables? Plan on adding e-books, clothing or other branded items to your blogging business? Adding yourname.weebly.com simply is advertising for your free service not for your business.
  • Which brings me to no. 10. Don’t take it personal – but in the online world it’s not considered professional. With a custom domain name you now have a professional business email address in addition to your blog.  If you don’t take the time, effort and money to invest in something as minor as a custom domain name then others aren’t going to consider you a professional blogger- and they may not be willing to invest in you and your skills.  It adds to your credibility as a social media influencer, author, expert or other business owner.

Getting a domain name and hosting service can cost you less than the price of a couple of visits to Starbucks each month depending on your services. I’ve purchased domain names for $1.99.  Purchasing a custom domain name doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and in the end it may even make you much more than you will ever spend on it.

There are many hosting services available both where you purchase your domain name or you can purchase them separately. You can start with “baby” plans and always increase your services to more bandwidth, faster speed, and more image storage when that day comes around. But it won’t come around as long as you let someone else have control over your online presence.

 

Resources: 

HostGator has made WordPress a breeze! Optimized WP Packages for as low as $12.95 a month!

To switch from Blogspot to Custom Domain Name

www.whois.net – lists registered domain names

Yahoo Small Business

GoDaddy.com

Carol Jones/PinkhairedPixels.com 

Debbie Tortorigi/ Langniappe Group  you can also submit a request for a quote under “Project Inquiry”

Affiliate Networks 

shareasale.com

Flexoffers

Impact Radius

Commission Junction

Enroll Now

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What to Write: 29 Writing Prompts for February

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february writing prompts

If you are anything like me, and many of the writers and bloggers I know, you started off with really great ideas about writing topics and goals for the year. You were ready to fill in your editorial calendar with topics and ideas and be ready to plan ahead and even take some time off from work occasionally because you could work ahead.  But sometimes are best laid plans just don’t work out the way we had hoped, especially when we pick up extra projects and work and have all those spots to fill. To help out with this months planning here are 29 writing prompts inspired by this month, the season and the topics which people are searching for during the month of February.

Holidays always provide great inspiration. You have crafts, decorating, DIY projects, and events to attend. Here are some unique and not so unique holidays in February which can provide you with some inspiration and writing ideas.

*Note while not a “list” of 29 ideas, it is 29 ideas based on groupings of various topics.

Super Bowl Sunday gets a lot of hype, and it’s a great way of sharing party planning ideas, recipes and more. But you have to act fast to fit them into the beginning of the month.

American Heart Month – Talk about heart healthy tips, clean cooking and even offer recipes which are heart healthy. Cover events and share your experiences with getting your heart checked this month, or how your family is dealing with heart disease or other heart health issues.

Black History Month – What are some changes you have seen and experienced the course of history? What are some African American historical figures which inspire you?

Related content:  Black History Month activities for kids

Creative Romance Month – Sure it’s Valentine’s Day, but let’s think about creative ways to bring romance into the relationship. Do you have some ideas about inexpensive date night ideas? How about some romantic inspiration in fashion or decorating the home/bedroom?

Related content:  7 Romantic free and inexpensive date night ideas

 

Great American Pie Month and National Cherry Month – My mouth waters over these two topics. While you can post your favorite pie recipes don’t forget about things like Chicken Pot Pie or delicious recipes made with pie crusts. To monetize using your favorite pie pans, mixers and more.

Related content: 3 Cherri-fic Recipes 

National Children’s Dental Health Month – Do you have a neat trick to share about teaching your children to brush their teeth? Maybe like our family you got to do a tour of a pediatric dentist office to help kids become more comfortable with dental health care? Maybe you could share some fun book reviews or free printables. Feb. 28th is also National Tooth Fairy Day.

Related content: Making and using a free toothbrushing chart 

Valentine’s Day – This one is easy. Thing of love, romance, activities, dinner or snacks for the kids. Free printables, Valentine’s Day party favors or gifts for teachers are also all good ideas this month. Actually you probably should have started these in January, but it’s not too late.

Gardening and Pruning – Gardening content if for planning ahead. While people may not actually be starting the projects until later on in the month or on into March, they are looking for ideas and starting to purchase their supplies. Pruning trees and bushes after the long winter months (at least here in Houston) is recommended. It’s the perfect time especially for the flowering bushes so they bloom nicely once spring arrives officially.

Start looking ahead to March and April and work on getting your content out there for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.

Daylight savings time is just around the corner. What are some regular activities people should do that it is a good reminder. This is a great time to remind readers or provide them with a checklist of DIY items in the home like changing out filters or checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Consider creating a free printable which you can also use in your newsletter or as a thank you for subscribing.

With Valentine’s Day, consider doing last minute gift ideas for those you love. These can be anything from crafts and DIY at home or quick purchases. It’s a great time to do a round up of crafts, foods, or even create your own top ten items like gifts for him, gifts for her or movies to enjoy. These topics are also really easy to monetize.

Online dating – Do you have some great online dating tips or funny stories to share. It’s that time of the year when many look to blind dates or online dating as a method of meeting a new “love.”

Relationship tips – Every marriage or relationship has their share of ups and downs. Share with your readers what you have learned about love.

Google alerts can keep you up to date about the latest trends and topics in your niche. Have you set up your alerts yet to find out what’s new in your area of expertise or what other are talking about. Use that to help you with a little or a lot of inspiration.

Remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You could also Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle Your Old Content making the most of the work you have already done.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Unofficial Tax Handbook for Bloggers

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unofficial tax handbook bloggers

It’s that time of the year again when bloggers thoughts turn towards taxes. To be honest, we should be thinking about them all the time, but with the approaching deadline to file taxes it becomes even more urgent that we look at our income, expenses and muddle through all the tax do’s and don’t. Becky Mansfield, Mickey Mansfield and Paula Rollo have put been doing this for years, and consulting with CPA professionals in their states and offer up their answers to the most pressing questions which many bloggers have.

If I cook and post the recipe on my site can I deduct the groceries?

Is my gas to and from an event tax deductible?

I have a home office – but it’s the corner of my living room. What do I do?

Frequently asked questions are answered by bloggers who do what you do every day. How do they organize for tax season? What have they learned about home offices and deductions?  Taxes used to be easy for many of us, as we either handed everything to an accountant or simply filled in the boxes on the 1040 on our own, but as blogs grow and turn into businesses it’s important to know what we can and can’t do with our income and expenses.

Find out more about The Unofficial Tax Handbook for Bloggers and pick up your copy. Find out more about Becky and Paula as well as How to Start Your Blog, Get Private Blog Coaching, Why Your Blog is Failing and How to Fix it, you  visit them at Blogging on the Side.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, however all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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10 ways to Reuse and Repurpose your Content

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reduce and reuse content

I remember when writing web content meant writing quality content, free of errors and with topics and titles which readers would enjoy. Of course you had to learn some writing skills for Search Engine Optimization, because that was back in the dark ages without the popularity of the many social media channels we enjoy sharing on content on now. But now there is so much more to writing web content, whether it’s for your own blog, a business blog or as a freelance writer. Does that mean your content you wrote in the past is obsolete? It doesn’t have to! There are many things you can do to bring your evergreen content back to life.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Well not exactly, but with the advent of sites like Pinterest and Instagram, as well as other social media channels becoming image intensive it is more important than ever before to include an image in your content. Not only does it make sharing your content more inviting but gets the attention of the reader, as well as makes it more appealing to the eye as you battle against getting the attention with so much other content out there.  You can use your own original images, images available in the public domain or released for use by the public or create your own graphic using sites like Picmonkey or Canva or tools like Photoshop. Whatever you do, (I’m sure you already know this) don’t use someone else’s image, unless you have asked permission and obtained it.

Other ways to incorporate images include creating an infographic, slideshow, podcase or video to accompany the evergreen content.

 

Update your images “content.” Can you turn the image into a graphic which shows off your content? For example 25 Christmas Gifts for Dad, you may have made a collage for. Now can you add the words to the image making it instantly possible for the reader to know what your collage is for? Also make sure your image now has a title, alt text and description. This makes it easier for search engines to pick up not only the content but the image too and show it in the search results. Your image and content now may rank higher and it is definitely easier to find. Without the information it is drowning in competition.

Share and share alike.  Since you first created your content you may have joined new social media media channels or for example created new boards on Pinterest.  Re-share your content on your social media channels, especially that seasonal content. Add it to new boards on Pinterest. Share it with links and new images on your other social media channels. Add it to share threads. You may be surprised how your bring new life – and page views to old content again.

Give old content an SEO boost.  Maybe you didn’t know about SEO when you first published your evergreen content. Maybe you didn’t have a really cool plug in to tell you what you are doing right and wrong. Maybe it just seemed like too much effort to go back and designate keywords for each post. Don’t do it for each post, do it for the evergreen content first as well as seasonal as each season comes around.

Make a list and check it twice. Break your list down into individual post and take your individual posts and create a list. Do you have say 15 great slow cooker recipes individually posted on your site? Do a list or round up (15 Chicken Slow Cooker Recipes). You can also work with other bloggers and make your list grow by adding in some links to their recipes – and hopefully they will return the favor.  The advantages of link list and round-ups? Linkback value, as well as new purpose for old content. Now it can be shared/syndicated and breath new life into old posts.

Update and evaluate. Does your evergreen content need a little dust off? Updated stats or information? Has a recent news article or announcement happened about that topic/brand/business which could be incorporated into the content? Could bullets, headlines or even titles get changed?

Dig it up.  Incorporate older content in your newsletter.

Form relationships between new and previously published content. Have you ever really looked at news articles? Have you noticed the “related content” or “you may also like?”  Link back to other content on your site which is related or there are also several plug ins you can use so that previously published content is noted in new posts.

Create an FAQ page.  Start with an FAQ page and then link to the content to answer the questions. Start with a sentence or so then link back to the content which offers more assistance or advice.

Create an e-book. Pull out all those DIY tips, crafts, recipes, tutorials and experiences. Start working on that book you always hoped to write. If you are going to use it in an ebook make sure you have all your I’s dotted and T’s crossed with additional images, information and research. Now you have another avenue for making money or as an incentive for joining your email list.

work smarter not harder

Why Repurpose and Reuse Your Content

There are several advantages to breathing new life to already published content.

  1. Work smarter not harder. You have already written quality content. There’s no reason for it to slide to the bottom of your blog simply because the day changes.
  2. Helps to avoid burnout and writer’s block. Take the opportunity in front of you to do something new with your content and then take some time off.
  3. It is good for SEO.
  4. Reach a new audience.
  5. Reinforces your expertise with your existing audience.
  6. Allows you the opportunity to rework your content, making it stronger than before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free printable: Blogger at Work

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Blogger at Work

One of the joys of being a blogger and content writer is being able to work from anywhere, but most especially from home. However it can also be one of the “cons” as there are so many interruptions. If you family likes mine comes into the office with regularity it may be time to hang out your own “shingle.” But in this case it’s a free printable for your home office door. Insert into a lightweight photo frame and use twine to hang from the door knob. Or simple tape it to the office door so they know now is NOT a good time to interrupt.

Related content:

(Free printable) Perfecting your post: The ultimate blogging checklist

Working at home: Not so friendly friends at family

A beginners guide to shorten URls

14 reasons to love being a work at home parent

 

 

Free Printable Blogger at Work

 

 

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Perfecting your post before you publish: The ultimate blogging checklist

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blogging checklist

Whether you are an experienced blogger with many years behind you blogging or a brand new blogger a blogger checklist can help you make sure that you do more than dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s before you hit that publish button.

Creating Your Content

  • Research your topic thoroughly.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a parenting tip, article or product review. It doesn’t matter if it’s an “editorial” piece of content on something you saw in the news. Make sure you know all sides of the content you are going to write and be ready to provide sources for them too. Sure, there are plenty of times that you are just writing your own thoughts, but it doesn’t hurt to know what else is out there as you share your experiences with a topic.
  • Draft your content. Now is the time to get it organized, think about transitions and of course concentrate on your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Know what your most common mistakes are and look for them.
  • Have clear and concise content. Break things up with an ad, image or other graphic (like a tweet this) or quote so that content isn’t too long (unlike this list- see I’m not following that checklist item today).
  • Create a call to action. This may be to encourage your reader to leave a comment and share their own experiences, directions to by tickets or another method of follow up like an ad for the product you mentioned.
  • SAVE FREQUENTLY! It doesn’t matter if you are drafting in a document program like WORD or if you are drafting in our blog, be sure to hit SAVE DRAFT after each change.
  • Can you use a header, or other breaks in the content? the <h2> before content and </h2> after creates a visible break as well as adds to your SEO. Use it well.
  • Do you need list or bullets to break up your content into more manageable pieces?
  • Include any sources or links you need to in order to support the content.
  • Final draft. Now that your content is clear, concise and error free put your final draft into place.

Headline and Titles

  • This is where I like to create my headline. Sometimes I just need the content to be completed before I know how to do the headline. Other times I already know what the headline/title will be. It should be catchy, thought provoking and clear. It should be between 40 and 69 characters.
  • Decide if you are going to use a hashtag in your title. It is helpful and something I’ve started doing for some content but not all.
  • Edit your pictures. Are you using just the pictures you have taken? Do they need some cropping, straightening or formatting? What size are your pictures? Are they visible. While bigger may be better 640×640 usually works quite well on most blogs. It all depends on your design and spacing.
  • Add your image to your media library. Be sure to create a title, caption, alt text and description. You can skip the caption if you like, but adding the alt text and description can help with your placement in search engines as well as search engine results.

image in post

  • Consider this .. .would a pinnable graphic be more useful or should you let the pictures share the story.
  • Connect to other content of a similar type. This can be done through a plug in or you can insert a line of text with anything from “related content” or “for more on this topic,” then link to your complimentary topic.
  • Create social media content. You can even take that Tweet or Instagram post and embed it into your content so that it is easy for your audience to share.  I don’t do this often, but when I do I like the results. I admit I should do it more frequently.
  • Mark your categories on your content.
  • Mark your tags on your content.

categories and tags

  • Set a featured image. This will be the one most likely to be pulled when content is shared or pinned. However not always. If you have a slider it will be the image which appears on your featured content slider.

SEO Settings

  • Complete your SEO settings – this can include a title, excerpt, meta description (133-160 characters) and any changes you may want to make to no-follow links. It depends on your SEO settings tool. Many find that Yoast is one of the easiest for them to use because the tool tells you with red, yellow and green as well as a list after you check what you are missing or could do better.
  • Is your main keyword in your title, header, meta description, excerpt and content. On content make sure it’s no more than 4.0% . Some experts say only 2.5%.
  • Do all your outbound links open in a new tab? No need to direct traffic away from your site.  And yes, there’s a plug in for that, or you can pick and choose as your create your links.
  • Do these links need to be no-follow or can they be do-follow.

seo settings

  • Schedule or Publish
  • Promote on social media channels. Not all channels work for all content.
  • Use your hashtags.
  • On your editorial calendar  set additional days to share again. This is especially important with seasonal content.

 

I’ll be honest. Some days I get all the checklist done. Other days I don’t, for whatever reason.  A great deal of what I do is from memory, and from practice. Sure I’ve been doing this for many years, and I’ve worked with many clients and other publications. But that doesn’t mean I always get it right and that’s where a checklist comes in handy. We forget things. We get in a hurry and we may make mistakes.

While this may be considered by some to be the ultimate blogger checklist it’s also much like a recipe. Sometimes a recipe includes an ingredient, which says “optional” and so should your checklist work. If one or more of these things suggested don’t work for you, your voice or your audience then you shouldn’t do them. But by having them on the checklist, it also may just provide you with the new idea, concept or boost you may need.

Free printable one page ultimate blogging checklist available in PDF

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Can you improve your Instagram instantly?

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instantly improve instagram

After attending a blogger conference where Instagram was one of the sessions, I started wondering is it possible to instantly improve your Instagram? I think it is. But then again it depends on what you mean by improve. Do you judge your improvement by the number of hearts your images receive, the number of followers you have or on being true to yourself and being the best you can be. Personally I sort of judge my success by all of the above. Here are a few ideas you can use to instantly improve your Instagram, no matter what your goals are.

Should you have both your personal and professional Instagram as all one feed? At Blog Elevated  the brand Lilly Jade  recommended you separate your personal from professional and I agree. Here’s why.

  • Everyone needs a little break from work.
  • While you may adore that your baby is learning to walk, and the family wants to know every step, your audience nor the brands you hope to work with may not.
  • Your personal life may not always mesh with your professional life and as a result having one account can “muddy” the message which you are hoping to bring to brands and your audience.

hashtags on Instagram

Hating on hashtags? There is a great deal of discussion out there about hashtags. Hashtags are awesome! Though some may say they water down your message.  While some brands may feel that way, others may not. And, let’s face it hashtags work. As you can see from above. GreatBeerNow headed out to a brand new sports pub in the area. Here he’s used 18 hashtags. He has engagement and 155 likes. It is true to his brand and information his audience wants to know. Would he have received that interaction with fewer hashtags? He thinks not. Take a look at his Instagram feed, where he consistently receives over 100 to over 200 “LIKES” on his Instagram posts using upwards of 10 hashtags.

Do I need to edit pictures before sharing on Instagram? You of course always want to put your best foot forward. Research indicates that first impressions are 80% of a person’s impression of you. But Instagram is meant to be “instant.” Instant means in the moment, but with the easy to use filters available on Instagram as well as many cell phones it doesn’t have to take long to do a little cleaning up of your images.  Look at saturation, the depth of your colors. Look for distractions in the image, does it need cropped? Look at the texture and layers of the image. Remember dominant colors are blue and green. They are appealing to the eye. You do want bright, clear images and if there is a background, Lilly Jade says leave it. It only adds to the story you are trying to tell. Use a variety of images from close up to far away. Use a consistent color palette. The details matter and variety keeps your feed from looking flat.

How can I gain followers on Instagram?  Doing all of the things above can organically gain you followers. It may take time but they will be followers which really are interested in what you have to share. Other ways to gain followers is to follow others, whether it is bloggers or brands or individuals who have images you admire. Give their images a little love and see who else is following them. Follow those that follow the images you are interested in, if they appeal to you. Try an Instagram “loop” giveaway, though I’ve heard many bloggers say that it has gained them followers immediately, but in some cases they eventually fall off.

instagram features

Instagram features are actually perfect for getting attention.  Don’t miss out on the Instagram features which can help you gain attention to your feed. Look carefully at your screen. Are you making the most of the features which Instagram offers?

  • Tag people: Are you posting a picture which features a brand or product, a restaurant, attraction, hotel, travel destination? Then tag them and let them know you are sharing what you like.
  • Location: You will need to turn on your location device for this feature but it can help you gain followers. It will automatically pull up your location (or nearby locations) and then when people do a search on Instagram for that location it pulls up your images. You now have an audience you wouldn’t have otherwise. Be sure you use this nearby, as I’ve been unable to if I’ve moved too far away or tried to do it later from the hotel so I dont’ lose my family while we are traveling.
  • Direct: Direct your images to a specific audience, using a menu much like the Facebook tagging system.
  • Social Media connections: You can link your images to each of these social media channels and your post on Instagram will be posted to these social media account. However only Facebook will actually show the image. Personally I try to take separate ones and do another post to Twitter but link the Facebook account. If you are using both Twitter and Instagram use “tag people” then use the @ symbol for Twitter. This can bring in followers to your Instagram feed from your other accounts.

There are several things which hold true when trying to instantly improve your Instagram and I’ll let others say it better than I can.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. ~ Shakespeare

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11 Reasons why you need evergreen content

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evergreen content

Evergreen is described by Dictionary.com as “something that is evergreen, or enduringly fresh” and “retaining its relevance, popularity, usefulness, etc.; enduring.” I first encountered the concept of evergreen content in college while I was studying Journalism. Evergreen content is content, no matter where it is published, which remains of value to the reader. Some examples may be a recipe or potty training tips or a tutorial.  Other examples are your “About Me” page, interviews, resources and biographical information (e.g. 7 Do’s and Don’ts for those Doing In-Vitro Fertilizaion IVF). As a blogger or web content writer we may find it far too easy to concentrate on the “hot topic” of the day or the Google alerts or “trending” articles to spend much time thinking about evergreen content and why it’s important.  But we should.

Reasons Why You Need Evergreen Content

  1. You can continually attract traffic to your blog or website. For example, a recipe is something someone may be searching for and they come across yours.
  2. Evergreen content, when combined with your SEO tools can increase your placement and rankings. As more people find your content, the more you are seen to be a valuable resource.
  3. Use evergreen content to break up all those “sponsored” posts and “no follow” links which Google doesn’t like.
  4. Be seen as an expert on a topic or topics. For example if you continually share your delicious recipes you can be seen by your audience as an expert in the area of food.
  5. Make sales. By creating evergreen content you aren’t given up the opportunity to monetize your content. You can simply tailor your ads to fit that content. For example say you discuss winterizing your car. Insert affiliate ads which relate to the content, a video you created (with ads), or a free or for pay printable they can use to do their own car winterization.
  6. Brings people back to your “door.” Now that you have been seen by your readers and even brands as an expert they are more likely to a) come back for more, b) buy from your site or c) engage you in sponsorship or ambassadorship opportunities. My favorite emails from publicists say they have visited my site and actually points out specific content which they enjoyed – and which brought them to contact me.
  7. You get more backlinks with evergreen content. As you are researching information and find someone who looks like an expert don’t you link to them? Why not BE the expert and have people linking to you.
  8. Evergreen content drives traffic your way through being continually relevant and backlinks.
  9. You don’t have to delete it. Now, you may want to update it or make sure that the information is still accurate. Maybe you want to even go back and take a new picture or create a pinnable graphic for it to make it more marketable. Maybe you should revisit it to check the keywords. But you don’t have to start all over again.
  10. You always have something to share. Has it been a hard month? Has there been an illness in the family? Are their demands on your time which has made it difficult for you to write? Share your evergreen content with you audience and keep them coming back for more, even while you aren’t publishing more content.
  11. Evergreen content provides you the opportunity to explore your social sharing strategy. For example, Google+ and Pinterest has not always been around. (GASP – say it isn’t so!) So some of your content, like those great crafts, decorations, organization tips, or recipes – while they may be pinned — haven’t been pinned to your profile or account. This leaves you one more opportunity to share your content again.

Don’t underestimate the value and the power of evergreen content. People like reading it. People like sharing it. Some people may even learn from it. Others may be helped by it.

Takeaway – Grab you pen and paper and make a list of evergreen topics and content you currently have available to share. Also start brainstorming ideas for evergreen content you can write for the future.

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