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’m one of the most non-political animals I know, so when I write about the Scottish Independence Referendum (that happened on September 18th 2014) there has to be a blogging / marketing connection, tenuous as it is!
If you’re one of my UK readers you almost certainly can’t have failed to notice the Scottish Independence campaign that declared its result this morning.
For non-UK readers, in a nutshell (and I DO apologize to serious readers here) Scotland wanted to become an independent country rather than remain part of the United Kingdom.
Yes Or No?
Being British, rather than Scottish, I had no vote in the matter and along with most people I spoke to, I vaguely imagined that there would be a “Yes” vote – that’s to say, a vote in favor of Scottish independence by the Scottish voters, the only ones with a vote.
I presumed this because the only people with whom I had discussed the matter were Scottish people who were very passionately in favor of their Independence, and I assumed their passion and fervor would carry the day. This is no comment at all about the validity of their case as they have some real grievances that should be addressed.
That said, I’ll admit freely that I have always have been in favor of staying a United Kingdom, but my reasons were largely sentimental – nostalgia for happy holidays, beautiful scenery, bagpipe music, haggis, (yes – really), whiskey, salmon etc – and with no logical foundation. (OK – a tinge of greed for their oil!)
Had I been offered a vote on the subject I would certainly have taken the trouble to learn more – but it was just another of those political decisions that would be foisted onto me from “on high” whether I agreed or not.
To present a non-biased blog post, here’s the Independent Scotland website!
Given that I imagined my spending power would be as welcome in Scotland after either a Yes or a No vote, I just watched the debate with interest from the side-lines, wondering how all the myriad practical problems would be handled in the months to come.
For instance, on my next P&O Cruise Sail-away party, would we still be waving Union Jacks – or had P&O been quietly running down their stocks….? You get all the serious questions here!
Wake Up England!
Suddenly, about a week ago, it was almost as if everyone in the UK (who has any clout) woke up and realized the enormity of what could be about to happen.
I started receiving impassioned emails bemoaning the threatened split, Scottish music pod-casts, and invitations to rallies and marches. As if by magic, south of the border we all really LOVED Scotland and were begging “Don’t leave us!”
I “Tweeted” with the rest of them. Finally someone cared what I thought….
Then the “smear and fear” mongering started, with several high profile companies currently based in Scotland leaking the news that they had contingency plans to move out of Scotland in the event of an Independent Scotland.
Not on My Watch!
The Queen was pictured glum-faced in the new-papers, and for once the leaders of our main political parties saw (more or less) eye-to-eye. They could NOT preside over the break-up of the United Kingdom. It would NOT sit well on the CV!
Scottish Independence Referendum Results Statistics
The “just in time” passion and emotion of the marketing campaign fueled an unprecedented 84% turnout – the highest in any election campaign since 1951. Almost 45% voted for Scottish Independence, 55% against.
In the end, the campaign was a close call and the United Kingdom had been snatched from the jaws of its death. It was so close run that when I woke up and heard the results coming in this morning I thought the Independence voters had won and I was sad for what England would have lost.
Then as I “came to” fully I realized we were still United; and I was glad – yet sad for my Scottish friends who believed so fervently in their cause. I hope they will see the fulfillment of the last ditch promises that have been made, and that we truly can be “Better Together”.
Passion and Fear, Marketing and Blogging
Like any good marketing campaign I believe the Scottish Referendum decision was made on emotion – Fear (of loss) and / or “Love” – real or imaginary. When it’s crunch time, logic goes out of the window.
And that – dear reader – is how YOUR marketing campaigns will be won or lost. On emotion. Not logic.
As bloggers we too are “Better Together”, so I’d welcome your comments. (Who wants to blog into a void?)
If you’re outside the UK did you even NOTICE all this fervor and passion South and North of the England / Scotland border?
When making purchasing decisions, are YOU most swayed by emotion or logic?
Picture the scene, it’s late Saturday evening here in the UK and it’s not been the best of weeks, so I’m consoling myself with a little glass of red wine and doing my final email check before retiring for the night.
Because I use “Blog Commenting” as one of the methods of getting free visitors to my site, I subscribe to the newsletters of several high profile bloggers and we’re regular visitors to each others’ blogs.
They are good writers and publish some interesting and very informative articles – I’ve learned a lot from them. Reading their articles and commenting is a pleasant way to end the day feeling productive.
Then, all at once – shock, horror, my own face is staring back at me from my in-box in the newsletter from Enstine Muki, together with several other bloggers I subscribe to. But what caused my heart to skip a beat was the label – Fake bloggers.
Enstine’s blog is normally one of my favorite “reads”, and I thought he and I had exchanged some interesting comments. I’ve worked hard on my blog and done my best…
So what on earth could I have done to be named on his blog as a fake blogger?
I’m not going to repeat what Enstine said about me and my fellow bloggers. You’ll have to read his blog and form your own opinion. True or false?
The site opens in a new window, so don’t forget to come back here and let me know what you think in the comment box below.
The Value of Blog Commenting For Free Traffic
In case you’re wondering about the value of the time spent on blog commenting, I was recently checking my Google Analytics and the stats showed that the major source of my referral traffic comes from blog commenting.
I even got one fairly nondescript and unoptimized complementary health post on page one of Google and I’m sure it was just because of the number of comments on a fairly controversial topic.
What did you think of Enstine’s article? Do YOU use blog commenting and have you found it helpful? I’d love to hear from you.
Regular visitors to my blog will know I normally write about Internet Marketing, blogging, and starting an online business. So if that’s what you’re looking for – GOOD. There’s plenty of that on the site-map.
Today is a Little Different
Normally I’m placid and easy-going, but every so often something just “gets to me” and I have a rant. Today’s one of those days – and it’s been building up over a few weeks now.
I’m not really sure I should have published this article – because it’s not related to Internet Marketing. In fact it started out as something else, but my fingers just went their own way.
I’m angry and I’m upset. Because I’ve been…
Taken For A Mug Again
The only link to the Internet that I can really think of is “hacker”, loosely defined as someone who isn’t supposed to be somewhere and wreaks havoc. So forgive me the digression please.
No, I haven’t had a website hacked, but a part of my off-line business has been “hacked” and ruined and it’s going to cost £10,000 to put right. So I am cross and I am upset and I really didn’t need this.
Believe me, it’s not just online that softies like me are mugged off.
Being a Landlord in the UK
The background to my rant is that one of my off-line income streams is property rental. Not in a big way by any means. I have a flat I own jointly with my sister and we rent it out.
We didn’t put our savings into a conventional pension. We decided instead to use them to get a rental property to bring us a monthly income, and on the whole it works well – although it’s not the piece of cake that people imagine.
Yes, there are some terrible landlords out there, and I guess that’s why the UK laws are so heavily weighted in the favor of protecting tenants at the expense of the landlords.
Believe me it’s gone too far the wrong way now.
Three years ago we completely re-decorated and re-carpeted our flat and let it out.
Big mistake – and it was my fault for taking pity on someone in distress – we took on a tenant whose credit rating didn’t check out. But she told us a sob-story about being a single parent, husband left her, and she needed somewhere to live. At the time she had a job and the figures said she could afford the rent on the salary she was earning.
Let’s call her CP – not her initials, but my sister has a “name” for her that I won’t repeat here.
Rent Arrears Mounting
So far so good and CP paid her rent on time for a couple of years. Then she lost her job and got into arrears. Some rent came in occasionally but over time it was less frequently and less money. At the end of her tenancy we asked her to leave, because this is the pension income we have worked hard to provide for ourselves and OUR standard of living was starting to suffer.
In the UK we have a system whereby people struggling to pay their rent get “Housing Benefit” from the government. CP told us her housing benefit was “delayed” and when it came through she would settle up with us. Whether she got it or not I don’t know, but we weren’t seeing it.
We’re not talking abject poverty here. One the few occasions when she granted us access to the flat there were half-opened bottles of wine, flat-screen TV, “music gadgets” – and emails were sent to us from an iPhone. Her car also seemed to need such regular repairs that she couldn’t pay us.
The Vanishing Housing Benefit
Once upon a time Housing Benefit was sent directly to the landlord to ensure rent was paid and the money was used for the purpose intended. All that changed some time ago, so that the person struggling could “learn to manage their money”. HAH. She managed it OK.
We also started to be concerned about the state of the flat and asked the agent to get her to clean it up. He assured us she had and then she stopped letting him or us in. In English law, I am told the flat is “her home” not “our property”.
The debts grew and there were excuses and sob-stories and lies. Like an idiot I gave her the benefit of the doubt and we didn’t start court proceedings to get her out. About six months ago she told us she had a new job and would start paying again. To be honest, having seen the deterioration of the flat, we felt that if she was content to live there and pay rent it would delay the big renovation costs that we could see coming.
End of Tenancy
Anyway, to cut a long story short she didn’t go, she didn’t clean up the flat, she didn’t pay rent. Finally we flipped and prepared court papers, telling her we would start proceedings if she didn’t go right away. Of course we ended up giving her another month to find a friend who would take her in and someone who would “move” her.
Her moving out was a farce and she left us with a stack of furniture she no longer has room for that we have to pay to have removed. (Sofa, two cupboards, a bed, broken freezer – just to mention what comes to mind!)
But worse than that the flat is totally trashed.
See that mark on the floor on the left, by the yellow handle? That’s not a shadow. That’s the difference between the carpet that was covered by her furniture and the carpet exposed. That carpet was brand new three years ago, and it was of reasonable domestic quality. It is beyond cleaning and has to be ripped out from every room.
A door is damaged (see above), a new cooker that we put in is totally ruined, burned and will have to be replaced. Our new curtains have been torn. Two wall sockets are smashed as is the central heating thermostat. Two ceiling light fittings broken – I mean what do you do to break TWO ceiling light fittings? The kitchen units are so filthy and battered that we’re ripping them out.
Yes, she lost her deposit, but that won’t go anywhere near clearing up the devastation she has left. And she also owes us a third of a year’s rent.
So now we start the mega-clear-out and the estimated costs are of the order of £10,000. Not to mention the fact that the flat will be uninhabitable for at least two months – probably three until a tenant can be shown round and move in. And to add insult to injury the local government insist that we pay council tax while the property is empty.
Yes, we could have taken her to court earlier, but that costs money and takes a couple of months during which time the rent arrears would have mounted. And it’s no use suing her for money she hasn’t got! We just wanted her to go as fast as possible.
My rant is not about the rent arrears. She lost her job. Could happen to anyone – although she seems to have totally abused the UK’s very generous rescue system….. and got away with it.
What is angering and upsetting me in equal measure is that she could totally ruin our property and turn it from a freshly decorated and newly carpeted flat in a pleasant area of NW London, into a filthy hovel.
If I don’t make a lot of progress on my Internet Marketing business for the next few weeks you know what I’ll be doing instead Getting quotes and supervising the rebuild of our “hacked” flat.
Sorry for the major digression. I had initially intended to write about the “lack of focus” I have been suffering from over the last few weeks, but it’s hard to focus when all this is swilling round in your head.
Related articles across the web
If you are a small business blogger, does the statistic in the image scare you? Credit
If it’s shaken your confidence, you need these blogging tips for small business people.
We’ll start with the two basic skills a blogger needs to escape that 81% trap.
- Have a good level of writing skill
- Able to compose / find interesting content or they will soon lose their readers
Everyone makes the occasional grammar and spelling mistake – no-one’s perfect. But in the age of spell-checkers etc there’s really no excuse for multiple errors. They reflect badly on the professionalism of the author.
That’s not to say I don’t read and enjoy some “less than word-perfect” blogs – but the personality of these bloggers must really shine out to make me forgive more than a minimum of errors.
Beyond these absolute basics are tips and tricks that professional writers use to “super-charge” their writing.
Blogging Tips for Writers
I found an excellent post from Liz McGee that shows how: “With just a few writing tricks you can create blog posts that are reader friendly, get attention, hold attention and are more focused.”
There are 8 tips in all – here is just one of them. I think you’ll enjoy the rest too.
Everyone likes examples. They illustrate what you’re describing in a way people can relate to. For instance I wrote a post on how to create an article resource box. In the post I gave lots of examples that readers could use for their own resource box. Today it’s still one of my most accessed blog posts. Credits:
Blogging Tips for Business
It’s not just career “bloggers” who are blogging. Traditional businesses are turning to blogging too, as a way of building relationships with their clients and prospects.
A quick digression to explore why blogging has come to prominence – especially in the light of the above statistic about bloggers!
The traditional marketing playbook is broken. Almost everyone – 91 percent, to be precise – has unsubscribed from email lists. Two-out-of-three people (68 percent) who record TV content do so to skip advertisements (Motorola, December 2012) and, according to DoubleClick, the average click-through rate on display ads is only 0.2 percent. Credits:
That refers to Motorola in 2012 – so neither a small business, nor a recent statistic. What about 18 months on? If a company the size of Motorola isn’t finding a decent return on investment for their adverts, how much worse will it be for small businesses with much smaller marketing budgets?
So, when traditional marketing methods are failing to deliver, the smart business person looks for another way to attract and engage their clients.
Blogging Tips For Small Business
It’s said that a prospect will need exposure to your marketing message at least seven times before they trust you enough to buy from you. But, instead of having seven low conversion adverts that appear briefly and then are gone, how much more pleasant to receive an interesting newsletter (or in our terms, blog post) into your in-box, with a subtle call to action / special offer embedded?
And remember that newsletter will stay online to attract customers for the rest of its life.
One successful “product” blogger is Tanya Burr. Tanya uses her sumptuous blog to attract millions of viewers with their opinions about beauty and cosmetics products.
The beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger and vlogger trained in make-up and worked on beauty counters in department stores, but would record YouTube videos after work, using it as a creative outlet to play with all her products. Credits: Beauty bloggers reveal their secret tips to business success – The Guardian
Another top tip is to stay newsworthy, with posts use relevant and trending keywords.
Here’s what the Business 2 Community blog has to say:
Stay on top of the news. If there is any news brewing in your industry, you want to comment on it. That way, when consumers take to the search engines to look for information about that development, your blog will be among the results. Credits: 10 Tips for Blogging Success – Business 2 Community (blog)
Blogging Tips From Bloggers
In addition to those using blogging as a secondary aspect of their business – for example Bob the builder posting DIY tips – there are bloggers whose sole aim is to make an income from blogging.
To clarify – Tanya and Bob (above) were running their business first, then added on a blog as a marketing tool. Bloggers such as myself decided to earn an income online and chose blogging as their primary marketing tool.
Among this category of bloggers, my favorite tips are from:
Harleena at Aha!NOW: 5 Basic Steps To Create Your Own Blog
Carol Amato: 5 Tips To Improve Your Blog Visitor’s Experience
Enstine Muki shows: How 15 Top Bloggers Make Money
Tim Bonner has a whole series of: Blogging Tips Shared
And a lady who always over-delivers: Adrienne Smith with 60 Blogging Tips
Did I Miss Your Best Blog Tips Post?
I’m bound to have missed out several great bloggers – so apologies in advance, and just know that when I next read your blog I’ll be kicking myself and thinking – oh no, I missed out xxx.com. So, do us ALL a favor, and if you have one, leave a comment linking to your own “best blog tips”.
Failing that, please comment and share which of these tips is the most important for a successful blog.
Do YOU Want To Make Money Blogging?
On first sight, this looks a bit of a negative post – but let’s think positive.
With so many failing bloggers, given time, they’re going to quit. Not this week, maybe not this year. But they will quit.
YOU, on the other hand, have persistence and the drive to learn to become a successful blogger.
Follow the tips above and rise above the 81% of bloggers who make less than $100.
Top 100 Blogging Tips For Small Businesses
So, did you count them and find exactly 100 tips?
Duh – you spotted my “fib”. Some of them are double-counts and there weren’t exactly 100. Far more, thanks to Adrienne!
But you know what it’s like….. I had to have an eye-catching title
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.