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

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+
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

 

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Using the Paypal invoice feature for your small business needs

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Whether your are a new blogger or an experienced blogger, a small business owner or freelancer you may have been asked if “you accept Paypal.” You may have also been asked to submit an invoice via PayPal or by some clients to accept credit cards. All of these things can be done, making PayPal an efficient way of keeping track of payments and expenses as well as what is outstanding or unpaid, and providing a quick way to send a reminder. I find PayPal (other than the fees) to be one of my favorite methods of handling my small business finances.

+ The information provided is based on the belief that you currently have a PayPal account. If you don’t have one, it can be easily created by visiting Paypal.com. If additional assistance is needed when setting up your account or using it for business be sure to talk to the helpful customer support system.

creating a paypal invoice

Log into your account and select the Send and Request option.

creating a paypal invoice

Select Create Invoice.

paypal invoice feature

 

Select the type of invoice you need to submit. I usually use the default function because my invoices usually are a flat rate sum but I like being able to detail what it is. You can also use the amount function if you are charging a rate only. Select hours if you charge by the hour (example 4 hours at $55 an hour).  The invoice number and date are automatic, however you may want to change the invoice number if you have for example submitted other invoices using an alternate method.

If you need to you can create your own template, however the three provided do offer most the itemization that they need.

Optional items: You can upload your logo and use your logo on your invoice. Other optional items include changing the due date, reference number, currency or due date. Additional options include attaching files like reports.

Include the email address to the person you need to bill. Once you have included their address it can be saved and used  repeatedly by starting to type the name. You can also send to multiple parties. For example I’ve had some clients where I send it to the accountant for payment, but also to the marketing department so that she would know it had been submitted and be aware of where it was in the process.

paypal invoicing

I like to end my invoices in the notes section with “Thank you for your business,” or other note of appreciation. I leave other correspondence for email messages. Terms and conditions can be stated, for example my contractor included a note about the warranty on the parts and labor for the repairs made in my house and attached the files of the items used and hours worked.

PREVIEW: It’s important to preview and review your invoices before sending. The wrong number can cause difficulties with your client. You can also save them to be sent at a later date should you get called away from the office.

SEND: Click send and you will receive an email message to the email account associated with your Paypal account confirming your invoice has been issued. An email will be sent to the client to pay and they may use their debit or credit card or their PayPal funds available in their account.

It’s that easy. I like that I can also go through the unpaid invoices quickly and easily with the sorting function or I can look at the full list of all paid and unpaid. Use the “REMIND” button to remind clients that they invoice remains unpaid when it has not been paid by the time agreed upon.

Remember PayPal just charge a fee but then again most of these types of services as well as even some banks do. Consult your accountant to determine if it is a tax deductible expense.

This is just the basics of using the PayPal invoice feature, be sure to contact their customer service department for additional information as well as assistance should you have any problems.

 

 

 

 

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

10 reasons to Switch to a Custom Domain Name

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

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

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

What to Write: 29 Writing Prompts for February

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

The Unofficial Tax Handbook for Bloggers

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

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.

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Top 10 benefits to bloggers of an editorial calendar

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

editorial calendar

 

Have you every sat down at your computer and wondered “What am I going to write today?” Or complained about “writers/bloggers block?” Those two reasons and many others are why it is important to have an editorial calendar.

Reasons to have an editorial calendar

  1. Avoid writer’s block and brain blanks. Instead of staring at a blank page on your word processing program you will be looking at your editorial calendar which you carefully and thoughtfully created. It will provide you with the topic or the prompt you need for the day.
  2. Avoid missing deadlines. Bloggers have deadlines, and if we miss them we lose out on future jobs, earnings and yes, even make other bloggers look bad. Make sure that you do what you are doing what you say you are going to do and when with an editorial calendar.
  3. Use an editorial calendar to keep you “on topic” and focused. Do you have a Food Blog? Don’t be tempted to just jump on the most recent topic simply because it’s trending on Twitter or because you think it will gain you traffic, or worst of all to fill in the space because you haven’t written in a while.  This doesn’t mean you can’t go off topic – you know your audience best and there are things you may feel strongly about or important topics you want to share. If that is the case, then share them.
  4. An editorial calendar can not only keep you focused but let you know what is best received. As you check your analytics each month you may want to mark those items of content which are receiving the most traffic. Note where the traffic is coming from and what you did to make that happen. Once you know that you can repeat it.
  5. An editorial calendar helps you create quality and consistent content by spreading out not only the topics, but also your guests posts, sponsored content. We all want to earn a living, but let’s not forget that it’s important (especially to Google) to have content which is not sponsored, not to mention the value of link backs which can occur courtesy of guests posts.
  6. Do you have more than one contributor to your blog? An editorial calendar can help you with your collaboration, assignments, scheduling and delegating tasks.
  7. An editorial calendar can help you take a break! Bloggers are notorious for not taking a vacation. Even when they are on vacation there is still social media and content to create. Use an editorial calendar to plan ahead, create content in advance, gather the support of other bloggers and actually take a vacation when you go on vacation.
  8. Coordinate your content with your social media with an editorial calendar. It’s no secret we need to create our content on certain subjects far in advance, maybe even up to three months. But just because the content is on the blog doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to share it on social media. For example, while people may be getting excited about Christmas, your content may come up in a search but not necessarily be of interest on social media. Think about it, how often do you see a recipe or DIY on Facebook and think oh yeah that would be cool to try but then can never find it when you need it. It’s not a priority right then. But one week before Christmas it might be. use the calendar to help you integrate your social media with your content in the most effective way.
  9. An editorial calendar can help you just say no.  It’s hard to say no when something comes along that is exciting or interesting, but sometimes it just has to be done. But not always. An editorial calendar can tell you when you are over extended  and when you could move content to another date giving you openings for those interesting and often last minute opportunities which come your way.
  10. An editorial calendar is a one stop calendar shop.  Instead of writing down ideas here and there, as well as having one calendar for this and one for that your editorial calendar helps you have all your thoughts, events, opportunities and deadlines in one spot. You will know when to attend and event and when your content should be published for it, for example, all at one glance.

 

Editorial Calendar Resources

There are actually tons of editorial calendar resources out there. Some are free, some are for pay.  Some offer only the calendar, while others may also include social media, goals, as well as brainstorming or other calendar features. You can use electronic calendars, even something as simple at Google Calendar or you can use a more traditional type with pen and paper (I prefer pencil it makes it easier to adapt). But whatever you use – use what works for you!

Hubspot offers up this free editorial calendar template you can use in an Excel spreadsheet.  Or you can use anyone of these suggestions available on Amazon.com. Many bloggers have created their own forms, ask around and see what your blogging buddies are using and if it may work for you

An editorial calendar doesn’t have to be the Bloggers Bible. Be flexible, be creative and be yourself. Let the editorial calendar help you do that and be organized, as well as informed about your blog and your content.

 

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Sverve: Serving up blogger outreach campaigns and opportunities

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

sverve1

Someone recently asked me about the influencer program, Sverve. They wanted to know all the typical information like do they have fun campaigns? Do they pay on time? How does it work? Do I like it? The answers are yes to all of the above. But I am sure you want to know more than a simple “yes.”

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

sverve

 

When you first visit Sverve you will need to create an account. It’s very simple to do. There is also a survey in which you indicate your family, your shopping habits and other habits so that you may be best matched with brands and programs. Next you connect your social media accounts, no plug ins or coding needed or necessary, it’s pretty much a push of the button (or mouse as the case may be).  In your profile you will also indicate your specialities. You can only have up to a certain number and be sure you are careful in your selections. I say this because I can’t seem to find a way to change mine, now that my interest and focus has changed a little bit.

If you want to take the easy way, use your Facebook or Twitter log in to create you profile. It will connect the two, but it is fast and easy.

Campaigns

Campaigns are listed with descriptions of what is needed, and in some cases it may indicate the payment amount. If so that amount is set and you simply click the “apply” button. In other cases you can read the description and indicate your requested payment amount. Brands look over your application from the information provided and then make a determination.

Campaigns may be as varied as a long term campaign such as I did over the month of December with Walmart and a variety of toy brands.

Campaigns and opportunities vary from content to YouTube, to Twitter shares. It’s important to visit frequently to see what is going on, however the newsletters are very helpful and informative.

Messages

You will receive messages when you are selected for a campaign, as well as a Tweet which is fun to RT and share. Other instructions and information come via the messages, but it is limited to brands and Sverve communications. You won’t be chatting with your friends on there, however for community/group campaigns there is a great chat and community tool and room which is set up so that you may all interact as well as receive information about the campaign.

Notifications

Get a notice when you get a new follower or when someone endorses you. Endorsements are a little bit like those on Linked In and are based on the categories you provide in your Sverve profile.

How do you get chosen for campaigns? 

I’m going to make a guess here that it is your based on your experience, your profile, your numbers, and your endorsements. Why else would there even be a ranking system? But since it is all based on the brands selections, the ultimate way to get chosen may be a well kept, long time secret.

Money

You see that my current amount is at $0.00, that’s because every Saturday whatever money you have earned is transferred automatically to your PayPal account. I like that. I also like that I can see what I am making right on my dashboard as soon as I log in.

Let’s talk tips . . . 

Sverve doesn’t just give you helpful information about blogging and social media as well as fun campaigns, but they have a tips section where you as a blogger can showcase your skills and expertise. Best of all, it’s a link back to your site to read the content. This is one of my favorite features.

Overall, Sverve has been a positive experience for me. I’ve worked with a number of name brands such as Banana Boat, Toys, Post Cereal, apps and gadgets, toys and food. The campaigns I’ve been selected for fit me and my blogs. Would I like to get selected for more campaigns with them? Absolutely but I know I can’t get everything I apply for. S

Show me the money!

The payments have been made on time and are always what they promised. Do I wish some of them paid more? No, not really, but that’s because I don’t apply for something if I don’t feel that the payment matches the effort.  I felt that in most cases the payment offered was commensurate with my effort, my audience, my experience and my reach.

Are you a member of Sverve? If so look me up. Follow and/or endorse me and I’ll return the favor. You can also join the conversation about Sverve on Facebook if you are a member.

Not a member of Sverve? Hopefully I’ve answered some of your questions and you may even give it a try.

 

 

 

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

A beginners guide to shorten URL’s

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

shorten url

There are many reasons why you may want to shorten a url. Two that come quickly to mind is social media sharing. After all with Twitter’s limit on characters, every space counts. But Twitter isn’t the only place you can use a shortened URL. Using a short URL also helps with all your social media channel sharing, frequently you may not even realize it’s happening. It looks neat and tidy, and depending on the services you use you can even create a report to show you who is clicking on what URL’s that your are sharing.

URL shortener services

I don’t like to reinvent the wheel, so I’m sharing what I think are two really good lists of URL shortener services.

URL examples long and short

Here’s an example of a share that is not shortened by a sharing service or shortner service.

example of URL

Most of the time when you share you probably use a share tool on a website or blog. In most cases this share tool automatically shortens the URL providing you more room to add content or hashtags. It may look a lot like this.

URL shortened by Hoot Suite

 

 

See how much more space you have? So what do you do when you may want to share something, like a news article or other link such as an affiliate link that is very long and unsightly?  You turn to one of the services listed in the articles above.

I know that bitly.com is a very popular URL shortener service. If you use the Hootsuite bookmarklet it’s easily and quickly done as you see above. Hootsuite also makes it easy to shorten URLs and schedule your social media shares and syndication.

Those are a few ways, but sometimes you may need to manually create it and for that I normally head to tinyurl.com  or goo.gl url shortener which is an extension you add to your Chrome browser. Tinyurl is sort of my go to, since I started using it many, many, many — okay you get the idea – years ago when I started writing content online for both clients as well as content providers like Yahoo. Maybe I use it because it’s just so easy!

Shortening Your URL

Say you want to share something from Amazon, and it is an affiliate link.

1) Select text option. It’s easier to find the code than if you are using image. Your code will look a little something like this

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J3ZPNCI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00J3ZPNCI&linkCode=as2&tag=XXXXXX-XX&linkId=Q3DNQNSIDBLPAPZK”>&#x26BE;&#xFE0E; MARCH MADNESS SALE 50% OFF &#x26BE;&#xFE0E; Zoom Power Bank – External Cell Phone Battery Pack – Provides 80 Hrs Talk-time/320 Hrs Audio Playback For Most Cell Phone Batteries. Lifetime Guarantee, See Why Zoom is the #1 Rated Brand.(Electric Blue)</a><img src=”http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=freefind03-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00J3ZPNCI” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Who wants to share that?

2.Find your code for just the link. that would be from the “http:// ….. until the ” so in this case you would want to select this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J3ZPNCI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00J3ZPNCI&linkCode=as2&tag=XXXXXX-XX&linkId=Q3DNQNSIDBLPAPZK

Do not select the ”

Now that is a little shorter but it’s definitely not leaving you a lot of room for any content or hashtags.

3. Head over to your URL shortener service of choice. For this example I’m going to use tinyurl.com. Enter your long URL.

tinyurl.com

Copy paste the long URL into the space provide. Select make Tiny URL! And you get this!

urlshortenerex4

 

Your URL went from 169 character to 26 characters. That leaves a whole lot of room for adding a description, statement, content, and or hashtags.

3. Look at the first picture and note “never expires.” What does this mean? Do you plan on sharing this information or content again and again? If so I recommend starting as shorty spreadsheet using your favorite spreadsheet tool. In one column describe what the URL is shortened for (for example Zoom Power Bank portable charger on Amazon) and then in the next column insert the shortened link. You can now easily use it over and over again wherever you need to.

Remember if you do an affiliate link shortener service you better use the #ad hashtag when you share because it’s not clear, conspicuous and concise that there is a relationship between you and what you are sharing.

The cons of a URL shortener

We’ve talked a little about the advantages of using  URL shortener and why you may want to use it. Let’s talk a little bit about the cons. In the first URL you can tell exactly where this content is coming from (Amazon). As a result it is more likely to be trusted. However, not everyone uses a shortened URL for good. You know those email messages you get which say have just a line of content – usually a shortened link? What does that mean? It means the not so good guys know about the URL shortener services and use them too. They use them to hide malware, viruses and other phishing schemes. That’s the downside. Many consumers and readers are aware of that so may be cautious about accessing a link from a shortener service. It’s up to you to be reputable and honest so they know they can trust yours.

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Making reviews work for you: Creating an Amazon store on your web or blog

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Amazon is quite possibly one of my favorite places to shop online. I know it’s the first place I turn to to order everything from office supplies to birthday presents, not to mention free Kindle books, instant videos and PRIME shipping. But did you know that there are a number of ways to make Amazon work for your blog or website? There are! Some of these options include participating in the affiliate program and using their amazing services to create your own online store.

Why create an online store on your blog?

Many bloggers do tons of product reviews. Let’s face it we like being in the know about what’s new and what’s improved and we love sharing that with our audience. While products are great, why not make those reviews work for you by adding an affiliate link in your post, with proper disclosure in your content of course. But there’s another way to make the review work for you and it’s by creating your own store using the tools from Amazon and feature the products you know and love. Your readers can visit your storefront, make a purchase and you will make your commission. It also helps with keeping a nice neat storefront package of products, all in one place for your readers to turn to. Lastly, some bloggers may find they enjoy the storefront better than placing a typical ad in their content, though others may say, “Why not do both?”

Typical Amazon ad in your content

Your typical review post probably goes a little something like this: image, content, image, content, ad and your ad looks a lot like this.

Your Amazon Store could look like this!

Amazon Store

 

Sure, you can include the ad in the post, but you can also create an Amazon Storefront page just for your blog. Here’s an example from our blog GreatBeerNow.com.  The store is linked up top, so your categories can still be featured on the main menu. After all content is king!

Creating an Amazon store

Creating your own Amazon store is fun and easy. First you have to have an affiliate relationship with Amazon. If you don’t have one here’s how to get one.

Once you have your affiliate ID, you simply visit amazonassociates. This is at the top right hand corner of your screen with EVERY page you visit on Amazon making it easy to find it.

Select the aStore button to get started.

amazon store

You will then select “add aStore” (you can go back later and select prior stores to duplicate or to edit but for now we are doing the first storefront).

amazonstore4

 

1) Access Category pages

2) You want to add your categories to your drop down menu. It doesn’t have to be the ones that Amazon provides you can create your own. In the sample above it’s “Toys.” On Great Beer Now you see we have books, movies, dining and snacks. After all good beer deserves good food.

3) On the drop down menu you select add individual items. This is where you get to have some fun! Just start searching for and adding the items you have reviewed.

astore on amazon

Up next on the left sidebar select color and design. There are any number of options available or you can pick and choose your colors yourself. Personally I think if it “ain’t broke” don’t fix it and I was able to find colors to match each of our blogs. You can select the colors individually or use the html code for the colors you choose. As you select colors you get to preview your store.

creating an amazon store on your blog

 

The end is in sight … no pun intended.

Select “Get Link” and select which one you want to choose. In the case of GreatBeerNow.com we selected the inline frame.” The code will appear in the box and then you highlight the html. Copy the html code and take it to your site.

To place the code on your site you will need to have created your own page, titled it “Store” and then go into the text editor. I admit I’ve only done this on WordPress, so that’s what we are working with today.

Paste the code into the page in the text editor and then hit publish. Of course you should want to do the SEO content for that page, and include a share button so you can share it frequently with your audience.

Just think! Say there’s a sale or lightening deal on something you have reviewed. You can post about the deal, link to the store and who knows what else they may buy! Keep all your reviews in one place and make a commission on each sale that is processed!

 

 

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Twitter Audit: How fake are your Twitter followers?

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

twitterauditgbn

There has been a great deal of discussion about fake followers, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Bloggers, brands, businesses and events are frequently offered a “special offer to help them get more followers.”  Translation, paying for your followers as opposed to the good old fashioned way of organic followings. Twitter has decided to help you find out how fake are your followers.

How to do an audit of your Twitter followers

Head over to Twitter Audit, which is not affiliated with Twitter and simply type in the name of the Twitter user you are auditing. For this example we used the Twitter account from our blog GreatBeerNow. A “timer” will start. We were first told it would be approximately 20 minutes for our results to appear, however it was really about 6 minutes.

twitter audit

So there we have it! Our audience on Great Beer Now is 96% “real” with only 105 “fake” followers. You can audit as many Twitter accounts as you like, however, if you decide to “re-audit” there is a charge (as of time of writing) of $3.99 and a request for your email and credit card information.

It also provides links and information to other recent audits, not just your own, in case you are curious.

What are fake followers according to Twitter Audit?

First, Twitter Audit is not a tool owned by Twitter. It is independent of the Twitter brand. According to the service their results are determined by:

Each audit takes a random sample of 5000 Twitter followers for a user and calculates a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends. We use these scores to determine whether any given user is real or fake.

So basically they are taking the engagement and involvement on Twitter of your followers and using it to determine if they are real or fake. For example, a “fake” follower maybe one that, according to this service, which is not actively involved on Twitter according to their particular calculations.

My question is, what if it’s a “real” follower, but they just aren’t that active on Twitter. There are those that just use it for fun and rarely use it on a regular basis.

Why is it important to know about fake followers?

As bloggers our “value” is often seen in our numbers (the discussion on how that really works we will save for another day). However, if our numbers are inaccurate then it is possible that we are kept out of certain opportunities. Add to that, we just like the social media tools we rely on, also want real engagement and interaction with our readers. Lastly, if we can find out how “fake” our followers are, we can be sure that social media savvy brands can too. That being the case, we can end up again losing out on opportunities because no one wants a fake friend, or in this case – a fake follower.

Sharing is simple . . .
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on Google+