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Review of Copy and Profit Blueprint

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

Using Internet Marketing Training Course

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

Hosting and Auto-Responder. No Need To Pay Twice

I have been working with my son Russ to set up an additional income stream for him, working online, helping small businesses set up a blog on a combined hosting and auto-responder package. Our site is SystemicsLtd.com – this is the bespoke software company I

Review of WP Stealth Note

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

Internet Marketing Support Group

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

Disaster Recovery Plan

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

My Comment Authors in August 2014

In the middle of August I produced a blog post about the My Comment Authors plugin, created by Enstine Muki. In those two posts you can read more about how the free WordPress plugin can help YOUR blog.

At the bottom of this post is the output generated by the plugin – and I will be emailing those who kindly commented on my blog to thank them for their engagement – and hope they’ll be returning :-)

August Written Off

I’m producing this post and emailing my comment authors a little before the end of August because – to be honest – I need a quick post for this week as August has for me been a bit of a write-off work-wise, online AND offline!

I had a lovely couple of weeks holiday in the early part of the month, and pre-scheduled a few short posts to “hold the fort” while I was away, then I was back for about a fortnight and playing catch-up, hoping for “normal service” to be resumed to ALL clients – only to receive a rather worrying phone call from my 90+ year-old parents which sent me into a panic, dropped everything and made the 5+ hour trip to spend a few days with them and check on their health.

The most important thing is that “medicines have been adjusted” and TLC administered so they’re feeling brighter now and after a few days stay I drove back yesterday (another 5+ hours) to try and go into catch-up phase two.

The less important thing is that I am behind with everything else – paid and unpaid, including blogging.

Mum and Dad have no Internet in the house, but I was able to connect my laptop to my phone Mum_n_Dadand approve/reply to a few comments but it was so slow I could have cried. Furthermore, I managed to use up my entire month’s phone allowance in about two hours of blog-commenting PLUS a Skype call to my son Russ in Spain so that my parents could see his family – especially the babies who they haven’t seen for four months now.

To see Mum and Dad’s faces when they saw the little ones was well-worth the Internet usage, but obviously another thing to add to my ever expanding “to-do-list” is looking at better off-site Internet access.

What I have is normally perfectly adequate, but then it’s fair to say I don’t stray far from my home wi-fi.

Is “Everyone” Online Yet?

Brief aside… We tend to take for granted that “everyone” is online these days, but it is NOT so.

My 90+ year old parents are actually still running their own business and get very frustrated by being told to look things up on “www” all the time. Obviously any business – even my parents’ business – really SHOULD have Internet access, and I have offered to set them up a laptop, but at their age they can’t be bothered with the hassle of it. And there are days when I understand exactly what they mean :-)

I showed my Dad my holiday photos on my laptop and he said he could see the value of it – it kept his lap nice and warm! He’s a very astute business man and can haggle with the best of his off-line network of local suppliers and tradespeople but “www – you can keep it”!

Less understandable is a friend of mine in her 40s, also with no PC / Internet / email. Again, offers to help have been politely ignored.

My offline work, which earns me far more than my online work, is for clients some of whom have no, or a very limited Internet presence, and the work I do for them has no relation to the Internet. They do business face-to-face and are happy that way. These small businesses have full order books just from word-of-mouth and no plans to change it.

So NO – many people and business are still NOT online – yet. Those who do want to make the change (not everyone!) can become our customers! No doubt many readers here can help out those people who want to start a small business online.

Apologies for my brief musing, and back to the point of this post which is…

Thanks to My Comment Authors

Total Comments on this blog in August 2014

23 comment authors with 98 comments in the month of August 2014


Enstine Muki
6 comments

Edward Thorpe
5 comments

Jan Kearney
4 comments

Adrienne
4 comments

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Essential WordPress Plugin: P3 Plugin Performance Profiler

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!

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.
p3-results

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!)

Updating My Kindle Book

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.

hair-mineral-analysis-kindle-2014-07.blogHere are the steps I took:

  • 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.

Facebook Scheduling Solution

Last week I was disappointed that my Facebook Post Scheduling fell apart over my holiday, and I asked if anyone had any of their own favorite tools.

Initially people mainly mentioned the ones I’d already tried, so I asked in a support group I belong to. Click here to learn more or take a trial. As usual, someone came up with answers and I hopped off to try them out. In the end I chose one that was recommended in the support group AND in a comment to my original blog post, by Jan Kearney.

The application I chose to take forward is Buffer. Before I tell you a little about it, let me remind you that Facebook dislikes automated posts, so do use with caution. However, I’m not sending too many automatic posts, and I spend more time on the site interacting. So hope they’ll be a little forgiving of a one-woman-band’s time pressures.

How To Use Buffer

With Buffer I can easily share great pictures, videos and links across my Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest and other networks on my computer or mobile phone.

For my own particular requirement I am able to set up scheduled posts for times when I’m away or busy on other projects.

Below is a screenshot of the Buffer Dashboard. Down the left hand side are my social accounts, and across the horizontal are the functions.

buffer-q

Having added your social accounts down the left hand side you select the account you want to work on, then select the required functions from the top of the wide pane. (Some are only accessible to higher monthly cost plans.)

Each social account has a “Queue” of posts waiting to be made, and also a tab of Suggestions – interesting posts you may, or may not, wish to share. When you click on the Add for any displayed Suggestion it will be added to the queue for that account and shared according to the schedule which you define on the schedule tab. You can just add posts one after the other and then, if you wish, Shuffle the queue randomly – for instance to mix up posts that you added sequentially from separate sources.

Buffer Weekly Report

My “weekly” report (below) was emailed to me showing me the stats below – which aren’t at all bad considering my “week” only consisted of a couple of days. There were also more detailed stats which I won’t include for fear of making the image too big. However those stats showed that ONE of my 13 Tweets got 499 of those ReTweets.

buffer-report

 

Buffer Across The Web

The fun really starts outside the application. I have added a “Bufffer” tool to my Firefox browser, so when browsing the web, if I see a post that’s of interest, I click the Buffer tool and can add it to the queue to be posted when more convenient. No more trying to remember where I saw an interesting post – I can just store it in my queue for later viewing or posting.

The free version would probably be adequate for most small businesses, but it only allows one Facebook page, I have two – one of which is rather neglected. So I upgraded to the lowest priced paid version – about $10 a month. This gives me additional social accounts and a longer queue for each. The paid version also lets you add your favorite feeds (up to 15) onto each account. There are also “Business” versions that give access to more accounts and team members, plus more detailed analytics.

Finding Targeted Content

One slight criticism is that – with only a little use so far – the daily Suggestions put forward by the application seem slanted towards social media and marketing blog posts, which is fine for my “online business” Facebook page, but not for my complementary therapy page. This is a minor gripe, because I come across enough pages in my general web and Facebook browsing to be able to add them to my queue for posting or scheduling when I choose.

However, not long after I started using Buffer I came across an excellent blog post that introduces the content discovery tool Swayy. Read the blog post > Finding Buffer Content. The improvement of Swayy over Buffer is that you can request topics matched to your audience

Remember - it’s best to just store posts in your buffer queue then post them manually to Facebook.

New Floating Social Bar Plugin

Finding Buffer also helped me to locate the new floating social bar that you’ll now see on my blog. You’ll note that it has a Buffer icon. Feel free to click it and see what happens :-)

This is social sharing bar I’d envied from a distance for a while, so it’s been a bonus to find that it’s from Buffer. (It’s called Digg Digg and it’s free if you prefer it to whatever you are currently using.)

When I click my (or anyone’s) Buffer icon on the social sharing bar, I can add the post to my queue for later sharing on whichever social account I choose.

Buffer’s Support Desk

Out of interest I was introduced to Digg Digg by Buffer’s help-desk which turned out to be one of the best support experiences I’ve had in a long time. Fast, friendly and answered all my questions, even as a free member. That may not sound a lot to ask for, but it’s surprising how few deliver on any of the three, let along all of them. This was a big influence in my decision to upgrade to the paid version. Click here to try out Buffer.

Facebook Scheduling Solution

And those, for the moment, will be my Content Discovery and Facebook Scheduling tools.  At the moment there is no affiliate program, but if anyone joins from a free account (which has a limited queue – 20 I think), you get extra space in your queue. This doesn’t help paid members like me, but it’s a useful tool and I’m pleased to introduce it to you. I hope this has been useful and do let me know in the comments below if you try either of these tools.

My Comment Authors Plugin

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!)

My Comment AuthorsThis is a free WordPress plugin that you can download and install on your blog in the normal way, and then you can customise it under “Settings” in your WordPress dashboard.

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.

What Now?

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!!

Back from Holiday To Facebook Scheduling Problems

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:

  1. Leave it undone
  2. Pay someone else to do it
  3. 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?

sail-away-homeAnd 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:

  • Stockholm
  • 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)
  • Copenhagen
  • 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.

dessert-webHere’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!

Relaxation Enforced!

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.

warnemunde-2014-08-04It 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.

The Cost of Running A Successful Blog

Cost of Running A Successful BlogI have recently been trying to “educate” readers on my opinion that starting an online business “free” isn’t really viable.

There I’ve said it (again) and I do hope people will start to accept this.

But even I was a little startled at the excellent post by Laura Williams that you can read here: the true cost of running a successful blog. This is a real wake-up call and I think many of my readers will be as shocked as I was.

It is an excellent article, because it looks at blogging for three categories of blogger, classified as:

  • The Bare-Bones Blogger who is doing it just for fun and needing to keep costs right down
  • The Serious Hobbyist defined as someone who is working to make their blog into a proper business capable of support them (in time) and realizes that to grow their blog they need to spend some money
  • The Blogpreneur is not just a blogger but a business owner. Like any business owner they will spend money to increase profitability short-term or long-term.

Here’s a quote from the article to give you a flavor, but DO read the original post, then come back here to learn how I make some savings of my own:

Too many bloggers, though, refuse to invest in their efforts at all – even to buy their own domain name – and then wonder why they can’t grow their following or struggle to get taken seriously.

I classify myself as a Blogpreneur. (Note to self: remember that word for next time someone asks that dreaded question “What do YOU do for a living”. It will either shut them up or be a great conversation opener….)

That doesn’t mean I am currently spending the kind of money described in the post above, but it’s a wake-up call as to what I should be expecting to spend. And believe me, that is CHEAP compared to the cost of running a bricks and mortar business. I’ve done that – and the figures mentioned in the post above are low compared to the off-line business.

What is the Purpose of YOUR Blog?

The first stage is to decide which category of blogger you belong to at the moment – and then decide which one you want to become.

It’s no shame to stay as a hobbyist blogger, and you will save yourself much grief if you accept that’s what you’re doing and enjoy blogging with no expectation of making an income.

Can you Have a Successful Free Blog?

Of course it’s POSSIBLE – see a real-life example below. I just think it’s pretty unlikely because there are some serious hurdles to overcome.

Taking the pressure off yourself you may even find that you become an exception to the rule. One of the comments on the article above points to a successful blogger Linda Ikeji reputed to be making more money blogging on blogspot than many pro bloggers. It’s certainly an attractive blog. Far too attractive, in my opinion to be trusted to a free service!

I’m guessing that Linda started off as a hobbyist blogger and worked damned hard to get to where she is today. She is to be congratulated for that, but would she be even more successful if she had lobbed out (say) $10 a year for her own domain name and “a bit more” for hosting? Imponderable questions LOL, but I would NEVER recommend anyone to skip these two basic costs.

Laura Williams’ post (recommended above) gives you excellent savings tips, and explains how you can transition gently to blogpreneur, with no need to lob out all the expenses at the start.

My Own Cost Savings

I have cut costs by:

  • Using PLR graphics by PLR Productions that provide the “bare-bones” of images – such as the one on this post, to which I add my own text using the free tool PicMonkey.com.
  • Using a service on Fiverr.com to create an ebook cover.
  • My biggest saving has been combining my hosting and auto-responder costs into one monthly payment instead of two. Take a look here.

The Cost of Free

Nothing is truly free – it is paid for either by Time or Money.

Never forget that the cost of running a successful blog does not only mean “money”. It includes time and, from my past mistakes, stress.

Time wasted doing something you could have paid someone else to do more quickly (and possibly better than you) is time you will NEVER regain. Could you have spent that TIME more profitably (in all sense of the word) than if you had done without a couple of designer coffees and spent the $5 “coffee savings” to get someone else to do it for you?

You’ll probably never miss the $5, but missing an afternoon with the family can never be regained.

Would your business have got off the ground and into profit faster if you had wasted less TIME and spent a little MONEY?

Over To YOU?

Which category of blogger do you think you are currently, and do you plan to change that? Having read this post, please share your thoughts.

Using HTML for Beginners

idea-pxLet me say right away that I consider myself a complete beginner using HTML (the language in which many websites are written). That’s precisely why I need this tip for my own sites.

Update August 18th 2014:

Thanks to Adrienne Smith for sharing with me the site she uses when she needs to look up HTML coding :-) The link is in the comments, but I felt it deserved more prominence up here. Click here for HTML coding.

Tip For WordPress Users With HTML Sites Too

To save you reading further, you’ll need a WordPress site to implement this tip, so it’s only applicable to those blog users who still need to maintain HTML sites.

Background: Before I found out about WordPress I tried to teach myself HTML and failed dismally. Thankfully I then (through my usual circuitous route) found WordPress and thank goodness! Nevertheless, the snippets of HTML that DID stay in my head stand me in good stead when something in WordPress doesn’t look quite right and I can’t figure out why. Flipping over to the Text tab and looking at the HTML is often enough to let me see what’s going on and tidy things up a little.

I would never create a NEW site in HTML, because WordPress is so much easier (for me!), but I’m left with a few HTML sites that I still need to maintain – for the simple reason that I still make sales from them. (It it’s not broken, don’t fix it!)

One of them was the site I was changing in my recent post about using an Internet Marketing Training course.

While I was hurrying to implement the changes necessary on that HTML site I had to add some new download links. For anyone who uses HTML regularly, this is a straightforward piece of HTML code to write, but it was getting late – as usual – and I just couldn’t get it right. All those greater and less than signs kept ending up in the wrong place :-)

So I resorted to a little trick I’ve used before to produce the right HTML coding.

How To Create HTML Links

  • I popped over into one of my WordPress blogs and added a new (draft) post.
  • In the Visual tab I created the bit of text and link that I wanted to use on my HTML site.
  • Then I switched to the Text view and copied the HTML code that had been generated.
  • Then back to my HTML website, pasted it into the source view there, and hey-presto, a working bit of code.

How To Create HTML Bullet Lists

The tip above also works well with bullet lists, such as the one above. While this is very easy HTML code (once you know what is needed!) typing it all in is a bit tedious, so use the tip above and create your bullet lists in WordPress, then copy the Text version to your HTML source.

Your Own HTML Library

I’ve used this tip so often that I now keep a special Draft post in my blog with all these useful bits of code ready prepared.

Let’s hope I never accidentally publish it, as my HTML for beginners post would look VERY strange! If you think this tip could help someone, please share it.

How to Predict Your Next 5 Years

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

  1. Don’t apologize if you do well
  2. Don’t complain if you don’t

10 Reasons For Failure

It’s easy to blame:

  • Government
  • Taxes
  • Prices
  • The weather
  • Traffic
  • 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.

Changing Your Fortunes

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?

From: Joy Healey

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