This article presents a review of Copy and Profit Blueprint, a course I bought from Neil Stafford, owner of The Internet Marketing Review. Neil has been producing quality information marketing products for over 12 years now, in the Internet Marketing niche, and also in many
Bit of a rant today, but the positive message is how I used some training to fix something that made me cross! As an aside: We’ve probably all bought online courses before. It’s one thing to buy them, but USING Internet Marketing Training Courses we’ve
If you’ve seen the little box that pops up at the bottom right hand corner of my blog, this is produced by a plugin called WP Stealthnote produced by George Katsoudas, and today I’d like to do a review of WP Stealth Note. George has
One of the services I have mentioned briefly before, is my membership of the Internet Marketing Review support group. I have been a member for so long now that I almost take it for granted, but I shouldn’t as it is such an essential part
Regular readers may have noticed that I have been blogging a lot less frequently of late. What a trial this last few weeks has been! My disaster recovery plan has been tested to the limit, together with my patience. The Disaster…. The unusual bad health
I’ve recently read a selection of useful Essential WordPress Plugin blog posts, including the ones below. They are in memory order and please forgive me if I have missed your particular post!
- Angela McCall – 21 Best WordPress Plugins 28th July 2014
- Jan Kearney – 12.5 Essential WP Plugins 21st June 2014 (I have to thank Jan for introducing me to P3 Profiler)
- Enstine Muki – Essential Plugins for New WordPress Blogs November 12th 2013
- Adrienne Smith – 2013 List of Favorite WordPress Plugins Although this is a 2013 list Adrienne’s blog is regularly updated on all blogging topics and a complete “Must Read” for all bloggers
- Tim Bonner – 2013 Round up of WordPress Plugins Another 2013 list, but Tim’s blog is also a great source of up-to-date info
I make no apology for including the 2013 lists from three of my favorite bloggers, because some plugins are just “ever-green” and if you’re a new blogger, better learn about them sooner rather than later!
However, one plugin I personally find very useful, and was missing from some – but by no means all – lists was:
P3 Plugin Performance Profiler
It’s a free plugin, created by GoDaddy and its stated function is to:
See which plugins are slowing down your site. Create a profile of your WordPress site’s plugins’ performance by measuring their impact on your site’s load time.
I’m afraid I’m a bit of a “plug-in-aholic” (thanks to Jan – above for coining this term) and every so often I have to have a bit of a prune, in which case P3 Plugin Performance Profiler is just the ticket!
“Borrowing” from the GoDaddy description, here are the features that I find most useful:
- Scan option shows an easy to read “Runtime by Plugin” pie chart that displays the relative run-time for each plugin. If a plugin takes up a large slice of the pie, then it takes a long time to run relative to other plugins. Within the “Current” tab, you will find
- Detailed Breakdown shows the absolute run-time of each component, including your theme and the WP Core
- Simple Timeline correlates each visited URL with the recorded run-times for core, theme, and plugin. Hovering over the data point shows the exact URL of the page.
- The Advanced Metrics display an overview of the scan.
- Send email summary of the report.
The History tab lists the previous scans of your site allowing you to view or delete them.
Here’s a sample chart from P3 Plugin Performance Profiler.
It’s obviously too small for you to see details, but that’s not the point because YOUR results will definitely be different from mine.
The only way for you to evaluate the results from this plugin is to install it and give it a try!
Running P3 Plugin Performance Profiler
When you install the plugin you will find it under Tools in the WordPress dashboard. Make sure you are on the “Current” tab, and then click “Start Scan”
You have the choice of:
- Auto-scan – which is fairly obvious and what I use. It takes just a few minutes and you have to stay with that same window open. Go make yourself a quick coffee if this is too hard!
- Manual Scan – Probably for more advanced users. Click the links and pages of your site, and the scanner will analyze the speed and resource usage of all of your active plugins.
Maybe this isn’t a plugin you would want to keep active on your site all the time – although its own results don’t flag it as a “big drain”!
However I’d certainly keep it in mind if your blog starts slowing down. (I just ran it now to check out the functionality to describe in this post and the results pointed out a big OUCH for me to look at!)
Banned From Worldwide Trading
One of the themes of this blog is charting the ups and downs of my online business – and just before I went on holiday I had a definite slap in the face when my supplier banned me from trading worldwide:-(
In case you missed the post about the setback in my complementary therapy business, here it is: click here. The post, and the web-pages I had to change as a result of the ban were put together in haste because I was off on holiday in days and didn’t want to leave my temporary assistant with complications.
The one job that remained, which I couldn’t get done in time, was updating my Kindle book. Originally it gave details of how anyone in the world could make payment by PayPal and post me a hair sample. I would arrange for the test to be done and then I would return the client’s results by email.
Of course all that has changed now.
Outsourcing The Kindle Update
It was ages since I originally did this and I had completely forgotten the steps in producing a Kindle book. I’m really busy with my offline business, AND my coaching program with Neil Stafford, so the last thing I needed was a diversion to try and remember how to produce a Kindle book and cover.
It’s probably a piece of cake to many of my readers, but I can sense when I’m heading for what I call my “overwhelm mode” and it’s not good for me. So I decided to take my own advice and pay for a bit of out-sourcing.
While revisiting the process there was one thing I’d been promising myself…
They haven’t exactly flown off the shelf – and someone told me it was because my cover was “rubbish”. Looking at the old cover, I could see what he meant! So I decided to reinvest some of my profits in an improved cover.
- I had the Kindle cover shown on the left designed for me using a lady from Fiverr.com
- A friend from Neil Stafford’s Internet Marketing Review recommended one of his personal contacts to do the Kindle formatting for me. He did a good job, quickly, and for a very reasonable price.
- His work included validating it for errors as per EPUB guidelines and checking its appearance on Adobe Digital. He did the work quickly and fixed one minor glitch very promptly, so I will certainly use him again.
- I then updated the book by going to: http://kdp.amazon.com/
- I selected the book I wanted to update, clicked on “Actions,” and then “Edit Book Details” and there were detailed instructions for uploading my updated book.
- Finally I clicked on Save and Publish.
The book was now marked as being in a “Review” process – which I expected might take a long time. However, very quickly I got an email back asking me to confirm that I had world-wide rights to the material. They seemed to have found my ebook online and were presumably checking I hadn’t pinched it from that.
After I confirmed my right as author, final approval was fairly fast.
Overall I think it probably took about 12 hours before my uploaded changes were visible – which I was warned about.
So that task has been put firmly to bed, and it’s been a useful learning curve for when I add more products to Kindle. Neil is a firm believer in re-purposing your work on more than one platform.
The Future of This Service?
To be honest, having lost my world-wide customer base I think I’m going to let it slide, other than any UK sales, ebook sales or Kindle sales that happen to come my way.
It was a useful learning curve and I found out about:
- Producing an information product – eBook and Kindle
- Taking payments on-line
- Setting up a website
- Then a blog
- And an auto-responder
These were important stages in my learning curve – and I made a decent profit from it. But now it’s time to move on.
- It has been an example of a lesson I NOW understand, but didn’t when I first started out. Have your OWN product, don’t be at the mercy of any supplier
- In the original post I described the problems caused by the manual steps the process needs. When I was tied to my home by other commitments that wasn’t a real problem. In the last year life has changed for me and I am more free to please myself.
- Russ and his family probably have a better Internet and technology setup in his place in Spain than I do here, and I want to be free to spend more time with them – not waiting for clumps of hair to drop through the letter box!
- I’m trying to spread myself in too many different directions and I want to focus on my coaching with Neil.
So, with thanks for the memories and the lessons, this service won’t have much more of my attention.
Nevertheless, I hope that the steps I took in updating my Kindle book will be useful to others.
A quick post today as I’m still playing catchup after my holiday – but I couldn’t wait to tell you about the My Comment Authors Plugin developed by blogger Enstine Muki, whose informative posts have been adding no end of information to my blogging knowledge. (And he’s a thoroughly nice guy too!)
What is the purpose of My Comment Authors?
This is such a clever idea. What it does is very special for those of us who understand the importance of building a blogging community. Here are the highlights from the WordPress.org plugin directory:
- Generates a list of your comment authors for a chosen month of the year.
- Then creates a blog post to thank them for commenting on your blog.
- Emails them (optionally) to thank them, which encourages them back to your blog.
- For those who are more active, you may choose to give them a dofollow link on the list by setting a certain number.
How many times have you found an interesting blog, left a comment, intended to come back for more posts, but forgotten? Sorry, I do it all the time, it’s so easy to do!
When I received Enstine’s email thanking me for my comments I returned to his blog, and in turn that reminded me of several other interesting bloggers whose posts I had read. I have since re-visited their blogs too, and had the benefit of their comments on my posts in return. Yes, it IS time-consuming, but I’m afraid there’s just no shortcut to learning and building a sustainable business online.
Don’t Download My Comment Authors Until…
… you have read Enstine’s blog post about it. I haven’t done it justice in the brief notes above!
My Comment Authors version 1 from Enstine Muki – Read this first
And – I can’t keep up with him – he’s responded super-quick to feedback from other bloggers and come up with even more features in version 1.2 (at the time of writing, but knowing Enstine goodness knows how many enhancements there may be by the time you read this).
Version 1.2 from Enstine Muki – Read this second LOTS more features added
I can’t wait for the end of the month to try it out. So to see how it works and be on my list of commentators (and Enstine’s) please be sure to leave a comment on my blog and on his. I’ve already set up a reminder on my calendar.
Couple of Asides
As a computer programmer myself, I was really interested in the insights I gained into what goes into writing WordPress plugins. It’s certainly not something I plan to do myself, but it was interesting.
Second aside (sorry) if you’re not sure of the value of comments, well – neither was I. Until a fairly nondescript (but controversial) post on one of my health blogs found its way onto page 1 of Google because it had attracted a bunch of comments from people who either agreed or disagreed with my opinion! I hadn’t promoted that post at all. Google obviously just liked the fact that real people were making relevant comments.
So – please drop me a comment below to let me know you are getting your copy of the My Comment Authors plugin, then grab the plugin, thank Enstine on his blog (he deserves it) and USE it!!
The best part of being my own boss is that I can take my holidays when I want, without having to ask anyone’s permission.
The worst, of course, is that the work that needs doing over that period won’t be done by anyone else. So I have three options:
- Leave it undone
- Pay someone else to do it
- Schedule it in advance
Having spent a lot of time establishing a consistent and regular routine I couldn’t bring myself to adopt option 1, so I used a mixture of 2 and 3. Also a business colleague and I have a mutual self-help arrangement to do some daily task for each other when one of us is on holiday.
So, after all the planning and the extra work of preparing to go away, I finally switched off for a my first EVER two week break. (No-one ever believes me on that, but it’s true!)
Back From Holiday – How Did It Go?
And now here I am again – back from a beautiful cruise holiday. Two weeks cruising the Baltic on my favorite P&O ship Arcadia. Pictured here is the scene from our “Sail-away” to return home to Southampton after visiting:
- Helsinki including a delightful visit to Unique Lapland, complete with husky ride
- St Petersburg (with an overnight stay when we went to see Swan Lake)
- Warnemunde (in the former East Germany)
- Skagen (Norway)
The scenery was fantastic. I had no idea Russia had so many beautiful buildings and treasures. The weather was just unbelievable. I took heavy jumpers and cardigans and a raincoat and umbrella – all came back untouched.
Here’s a picture of just one of the yummy desserts we enjoyed. We weren’t FORCED to eat them, of course, but it would have been rude not to!
And finally, there’s me – relaxing outside the Vordgaard Castle in Denmark having NOT seen their resident ghost!
It was great to get away from the keyboard – although Matt reckoned I was getting keyboard-withdrawal symptoms because I was sending him more texts than usual!
So why the enforced keyboard absence? Well the one draw-back of the otherwise excellent facilities on the Arcadia is that Internet access was about 50p per minute. OUCH. In this day and age? And having tried it on a previous voyage, all I can say is that it was so slow it cost me about £8 to download a day’s worth of spam emails.
It shows how much I must like P&O’s Arcadia if I will deprive myself of Internet for a two weeks. My travel companions were pleased I managed to stay away…. I don’t THINK they were stalking me to check up!
So how did I manage to tear myself away? Plain and simple – a good spell of preparation beforehand.
- Blog posts written in advance and scheduled for forward posting (I cheated and used some videos so I had less to write)
- Broadcasts scheduled for sending to my email lists by my auto-responder
- Tweets – I use Tweet Old Post (a free WordPress plugin) that tweets old blog posts at pre-defined intervals.
- I could have left Tweetadder running, but the UK weather was so hot I was seriously concerned about leaving my PC on with no windows open to give it ventilation
All the above went to plan.
Facebook Post Scheduling
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned posts to my Facebook pages. That was the only part of the plan that fell apart. I’ve previously tried a couple of approaches to automating these and never really struck the right balance.
The traditional school of thought is that you shouldn’t automate Facebook posts, and in an ideal world that’s right. However, like most sole-entrepreneurs I live a busy life and occasionally like to take a holiday, so I prefer to have some background posts going out and supplement these with manual posts I share from other people’s pages / profiles.
Facebook Scheduling Software
Here are some of the tools I’ve used in the past. Where prices are quoted, these are correct at the time of writing, and I have selected the most affordable level for a home business.
- I used the free version of PostPlanner for a while which I liked. However when I ran into problems, quite understandably there was no support, and so far I haven’t felt confident enough to stump up for the paid version at $29 a month.
- I bought a software package that was supposed to schedule to pages but it just clean didn’t work (for me – I guess it must have worked for some people!) At the owner’s suggestion I upgraded to the higher paid level and still couldn’t get it to work so the owner finally lost patience with me – not that he’d ever shown much patience, and I’d waited almost the 7 day guarantee period to get a response to my support email. I note there have been updates since then, and I’m running on a new PC, so I may try and resurrect that one again, having paid for it!
- My best success was RSS Graffiti. Again, the free version served me well for a time and then “things unraveled”. However, at $5 per page per month for the pro version, this is a front-runner in the candidates for my business.
- Another candidate I like the look of is Postradamus – and although that’s an affiliate link, it’s not mine! There are simple ways to monetize your posts (e.g. via Amazon), but at $29 per month I’m not yet sure….
- Last but not least, I shall be re-evaluating HootSuite – maybe the best known of all the Facebook scheduling tools. I remember when I first looked at HootSuite I thought it was expensive at $14.99 per month – but I’ve long since given up my “free blogging” aspirations so $14.99 is “looking good”.
So – over to you!
Do YOU use any automated solution for posting to Facebook pages? Do you use any of the above, or any others?
If so, please tell me what you think to them. I’d love to hear your experiences before I make my final choice.
How would you like to predict what your next 5 years of life will be like?
According to Jim Rohn, it’s easy – just look at the last five! Does that fill you with delight or with horror?
Speaking to a group of teenagers, Jim defines the passage from childhood to maturity as the time when you take responsibility for your own life.
At one time I had included a YouTube video here, but sadly it was removed from YouTube.
That’s a great shame – however, I hope you will be interested to read the notes I took when I watched the video.
Two Signs of Maturity
- Don’t apologize if you do well
- Don’t complain if you don’t
10 Reasons For Failure
It’s easy to blame:
- The weather
- Your car
- Your relatives
- Your neighbours
- The economy
- Your community
However the real reason for failure is NOT on the list above. Look in the mirror to find out.
Those things happen to everybody else too – it rains on the rich, their cars break down, their relatives maybe even shun them.
It’s not what happens to you that determines the quality of your life, but what you DO with it.
So what will you do to change your life tomorrow? Because unless you change something there’s every chance that the next five years of your life will rub along pretty much the same as the last five.
With an unusual few spare minutes the other night I was browsing online and bumped into the videos of the late, great Jim Rohn and they were too good not to share, so I hope you’ll enjoy a coffee as I bring you some of his best over the next few days. This first is about changing your fortunes by changing yourself.
Despite the appearance of CDs in the middle of the video there is nothing for sale here, so just relax and enjoy his unique style of teaching.
Jim’s hypothesis is that “Getting Rich Is Easy” – there are just 3 things you need, and it’s the third one that’s what many of us, including me, have been missing up to now.
I really recommend that you watch the whole video – it’s only just over 10 minutes and well worth your time. His delivery is so entertaining.
However, if you’re really short of time, in the story he relates, Jim’s fortunes changed when he found a teacher and realized that for the desired improvement in his life, HE (Jim) had to change – not the economy, nor his family, nor the government, but Jim himself.
Or me, or you, if we’re looking for an improvement in our lives.
It’s Easy? Tell Me More!
The “easy” part comes from finding something “easy” – where that’s defined as finding something that you can DO easily – but the trick is to then work hard at it.
Do it every day, day in day out. For you and I that might be blogging, or creating videos, or podcasts.
But the real lesson of the video, and where most people go wrong, is that
- What is easy TO DO every day
- Is also easy NOT TO DO
So everyone can start off blogging for a few days, or even weeks. But it’s EASY to neglect the easy things you can do and easier to let them slip, and that’s the difference between success and failure.
To take a simple analogy of health:
- It’s easy to take a 15 minute walk every day to improve your health
- But it’s easier NOT to take that walk
Neglecting to do the easy things regularly enough is why most people fail to have what they want out of life: health, wealth, whatever.
How Will YOU Change Your Fortunes?
I have changed my “Struggle on and do-it-yourself” approach to being willing to take shortcuts by paying for training with people who can teach me the skills I need to learn.
What are you willing to change, so that you can change your fortunes?