Category Archives: Blogging

The Hard Truth New Bloggers Need To Hear


I belong to a few blogging groups on Facebook. I really don’t frequent them, because I have always been the kind of person that does my own thing. A lot of those groups are full of things that bloggers “need” to do, to be successful. What I see now, are many people starting blogs to make money.

When I started blogging, making money from blogging did not even enter my mind. It truly didn’t. I started blogging because I wanted to share things about my family and myself with the world. When I started doing posts about products I loved, that was natural for me, since I was always recommending things to friends and family.

It was not long before I was courted by influencer networks to join them. I was very resistant to join and waited several months before I accepted their invitations.  When I was selected for a campaign a short time after and was paid, very well, for a post about a mom’s comedy site, I was shocked. After that, I had constant work coming in, I was paid to create and teach a course for bloggers on that same network, and before long, blogging was a substantial part of my income.

Besides just earning money, there have been other perks like big-ticket items for our home, tickets to area attractions, vacations, large recreational toys and more. I am also invited and paid to attend all kind of events in New York City and the surrounding area.

Blogging has enhanced our lives in many ways. I know the reason I am successful, is because I blog to the beat of my own drum. I don’t follow cookie cutter courses, I don’t get hung up on numbers, I write about what I am passionate about and I use my marketing and advertising background to connect with companies and PR agencies for all kinds of projects.

My blog was the reason I was approached by a large retail promo code site, and asked  to be a staff writer for them. Before that, I was a staff write for a children’s industry press publication. I have several streams of income that allow me to work from home, a real blessing.

So, when I see posts from new bloggers asking why after 2 months of blogging they do not have the stats they want and then start complaining, it irks me. When they say they are going to try it until the end of the summer and then… I just want to tell them, get out now and do yourself a favor. When you say something like, “I am just going to try it until…”, your foot is already out the door, so just keep walking.

Blogging takes commitment, there are no overnight successes in anything, so chin up buttercup. If you don’t really like to write, if you don’t want to write about what you know and are passionate about, blogging will be a drudgery for you. Stop worrying about numbers, learn some basic SEO and write about what you love, take photos, connect with your readers. Learn to write better headlines, promote your site and just relax.

If you want to just create niche sites for passive income, they take time too and they often fall flat if you do not have a real desire to write Most “want-to-be-bloggers” lose interest and their sites die out within the first year.

Here are some other things for new bloggers to know:

  • Don’t whine, it is not attractive and gives you the wrong mindset. 
  • Don’t work for free, EVER. 
  • Believe in yourself and what you do, never minimize it.
  • Connect genuinely with other bloggers, and I don’t mean just following for follows. Engage, get to know them, read and genuinely comment on other blogs that you are truly interested in. 
  • Join blogging and influencer networks. 
  • Take what you read in Facebook blogging groups with a grain of salt. I have seen so many filled with erroneous advice from bloggers who have just started. 
  • Don’t be afraid to do your own thing. 

Lastly, reach for the stars! I started in my first year working with companies that one might have said, were way too big for me to be working with. The reason I had dynamic partnerships with these companies, was my confidence and my unique blogging style. They liked my photos, they liked my style, they felt my passion, they loved my advertising and marketing background, and the presentations I made.

I have been blogging for nearly a decade, and I am getting ready to reveal some incredible partnerships with companies that I am ecstatic to be working with. Many are working with us on our home renovation series and others for some tech savvy campaigns and sporting equipment. These are going to be very different from anything we have ever done before and will include blog posts, social media posts and video content.

I will also be filming videos about cooking, baking, using essential oils and DIY. I am excited to get more connected to all of you, and hope you will enjoy the new content. We have so much planned for the rest of this year and 2018. Thank you so much for being such loyal Mommy Ramblings readers. I appreciate and care about you all so much. I have had the pleasure of getting to know many of you very well and have made many friends. I am looking to get to know more of you and share things you want to see.

Let me know what kind of video content you would like to see.



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The Easy Way To Create Stunning Graphics For Your Blog or Event #Giveaway

Are you looking for an easy way to create stunning graphics that will help make your blog posts pop? If so, let me tell you about some great graphic design software I discovered that makes it amazingly easy to edit photos, create graphics, logs, event invitations, collages, banners for your social media channels, hero images and more.

It is called FotoJet and it is free to use. To make things really easy, their site puts a massive amount of templates and resources at your fingertips. Tired of trying to navigate graphic design software that is so complicated all you get is frustrated? Then you will love FotoJet, because with just a few clicks you can get professional results even if you have no experience. That is because everything is user-friendly and effortless. You can try it for free for yourself right now. There is no registration or downloading required.

I was checking out the site recently and was playing around with some of their templates. I made these Save The Date examples to show you how easy it is to start with one of their designs and change it up to fit your style or the style of a client.

Both of those designs above were made using one of FotoJet’s templates. I just switched out backgrounds, fonts, colors, graphics etc. It was a lot of fun and I could easily undo anything I did not like.

Here are some graphics I made recently made to go with some of my blog articles.

Both of the above images started with a free stock image and I added overlays, frames, texts and other effects to dress them up.

Best of all, the free version gives you many options to create the graphics, flyers, collages, headers and more you need. You will be amazed at just how quickly you can create beautiful Hero Images that will make your posts pop and get shared and pinned all over social media. That means your blog traffic will increase and isn’t that what we are all looking for?

Add text and overlays to your photos or stock images, make graphics for your YouTube videos, create channel art and so much more for free with FotoJet. Check out their tutorials and resources to get your creativity flowing.  If you want to do even more, they do have a membership that is less than $3 a month when paid annually. Or pay just $4.99 a month.

We have great news because FotoJet is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings. One lucky blog reader will win a One Year Premium FotoJet Membership! Thank you FotoJet for my complimentary premium membership and for sponsoring this amazing giveaway on Mommy Ramblings. Open to US residents.

FotoJet Premium One Year Membership Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good Luck!!!

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Bluehost Support Is Like Talking To A Magic 8 Ball

If you like the answers you get from a Magic 8 Ball, you will love talking and chatting with Bluehost support. A 2 hour waste of time in chat and a 1 hour waste of time on the phone and I still have no incoming email and no estimated time for restoration. The best part is, they did not even know their server handling mine and other customer’s email accounts had an issue. I called in 14 hours after I noticed and they had no idea. I asked how that was possible and that was when I was given those lovely “I can’t tell you at this time” kind of answers.BlueHost Support

The other thing they love to do is pass that buck. “Oh you can call our senior support specialists for that answer.” “Oh you can email Feedback for that.” Excuse me, I have been a customer for 6 years and I want answers. It is the most incompetence I have ever seen. They still cannot tell me what is wrong except that it is on their end in the third step of the email process. They told me they would be able to restore my incoming emails and then they told me they could not. Ask why and the Magic 8 Ball comes on the line. The really bad part is that the clients who have emailed me are not even getting a message that their email was not sent successfully.  So now they think I am just not responding and new contacts, well they are just going to make their own assumptions that we don’t even answer our email.

Here are the answers that Bluehost cannot give me:

Why did I have to call in an alert you to this?

Shouldn’t you have someone or some type of program that alerts you to these issues?

Why are customers not informed of any issue now that I have alerted you about it?

Where are these emails going? Why isn’t the sender notified that it did not reach the recipient?

Why cant the emails be restored?

Why don’t you offer compensation to your customers without their email for at least 24 hours with no estimated time of restoration?

Why does your chat agent not know what option you should press when he gives you a number to contact a senior support specialist?

Why does your chat agent abruptly end a chat?

Magic 8 BAll

So I still have no incoming email and no answers. I did get to waste 3 hours of my life I will never get back with the most incompetent support staff imaginable. If you are looking for a host, run as fast as you can from Bluehost. I tell you this as a 6 year customer who was shown today they have no consumer loyalty at all! Way to go Bluehost! I truly think the Magic 8 Ball Company should make a Bluehost special edition Magic 8 Ball.

 

 


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Brand-Blogger Relations Focus of NYC Type-A Bootcamp-Will You Be There? #typeacon

 

I am making it a point to attend more conferences and network with other bloggers this year.  One of the conferences I am excited about is the Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp which is going to focus on brand-blogger relations.  Not only is NYC super convenient for me, the focus of the bootcamp is perfect!

Type-A Parent was founded in 2007 and hosts the world’s top conferences for mom and dad bloggers.  In addition to the New York City bootcamp, there will be the 7th annual conference in Atlanta.  Type-A Parent conferences are packed with powerful networking with the best and brightest parent bloggers along with major brands and firms who want to engage with them.

Influential digital parents like myself will be attending  Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations) and Type-A Parent 7th Annual Conference (Atlanta, October 8-10, 2015) this year.  Will we see you there?  Register at Type-A Parent Conferences, the premier events for mom and dad bloggers. Use CODEPARTNERSPECIAL to get 20% off for one day only!  Hope to see you there!

 


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Why Bloggers Should Never Work For Free

Blogger-Don't-Work-Free

 

Working professionally as a blogger and social media influencer and strategist for over 5 years, there is something that really gets under my skin.  I see it less myself because I nipped it in the bud. However, in blogging forums, I see many new bloggers posting they’ve been asked to promote a service or app without any mention of compensation.  Even over the internet, I can see the quivering lip of the new blogger, as she meekly asks, if this is okay.  Some will try to justify they have no right to ask for compensation because they are just too new.

It isn’t just bloggers, it’s the photographer who is asked to photograph a friend’s daughter’s Sweet 16.  You notice I didn’t say “hired” because, it should be an honor.  The professional magician who is asked to just do a little strolling magic at his neighbors wedding, after all he’s going to be there and it comes so easy to him.  The graphic artist who should be turning cartwheels over her friend’s suggestion to design a new website, logo and marketing materials for her new business.  It goes on, but if you ever want to be treated as a professional, you need to act like one.

Stop thinking that your work has no value and your time is not precious.  As a newbie it’s hard for some to stand up and say something.   Most feel maybe they should take it, it could be a portfolio builder, they don’t feel worthy to say anything else.

I will-not work for free

I tell new bloggers never be afraid, respond to the email with confidence.  Write back, that the app or service sounds like it would be a great match for your readers and social media followers.  Then ask them what the compensation is for promotion on your blog and social media channels?  Be assertive and stand your ground.  I guarantee Gloria from  XYZMedia is getting paid to find people to promote this, why shouldn’t you?

I also prepare them, how to respond  if they receive a reply from Gloria saying that the client has a small budget and they could use the piece to get their audience excited.  They may also go on to say that while they are not able to provide any type of compensation this time, they do work with other clients and there is a chance of other partnerships down the road.

Now, they say that for a reason, they want the newbie to think if she throws this away, she will never hear from them with any other opportunities.  It usually works like a charm, and the agent gets the client free promotion and the blogger gets put on the “Will Blog For Free” List.  Their name will never make it to big budget clients because accepting it showed the media agent they’re not professional.  If  they want to be taken seriously they need to write back that they know they could create buzz for the app or service but that they don’t work for free and turn the tables and ask if they do?  Ask if the are being paid for the work they’re doing now or are they volunteering their time at XYZMedia?

I’m not saying you should not volunteer for worthwhile things, but make sure you are not taken advantage of.  The perception many have of bloggers is that what we do is so easy, or of such little value, we should be glad to have some content to post.  They are really doing us the favor.

It is the exact opposite, bloggers are powerful influencers brands can plug-in with to have their product or service promoted to the blog’s loyal target market.  The bloggers have the  power to amplify stories, experiences, services, images and ideas through their posts and create a social media storm of  tweets, pins, posts, likes and shares on every major social media channel.

Start valuing your work and the next time you get an email from Larry, Felicia, Susan or Gloria, acting like you should be tickled they picked you to promote their client for free, just ask what the compensation is.  Go on, you can do it.  Be proud of your work.  When you feel the butterflies, just ask yourself if the client they are pitching you is paying them for their services.  You know the answer is yes, so why would you let them take advantage of you?

Have you ever dealt with someone asking you to do your craft for free like they were doing you a favor?  How did you respond?  Please share your stories, I would love to hear them.

 

 

 

 


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Filed under Blogging, Education, Life, Main Page Post, Mommy Ramblings, Tech

Goodbye Blog Hackers!!! Don’t Let The Door Hit You On Your Way Out!!! #NoHacking

What a stressful week it has been.  Discovering  our blog was hacked 2 weeks ago when we got what is called the “white screen of death” which matched the color of my face, was bad enough.  The wonderful tech support from my server had me thinking we cleaned any back doors from being entered again, but I found out this week, that was not the case.  I had to put a lockdown on brute force attacks and then resurrect my poor blog.  I now know that the security I have in place will not allow brute force attacks and also let me ban countries where most of these mechanical bot hackers were coming from.

I don’t understand why any time is wasted hacking a “mommy blog.”  Is it just to make the moms crazy or is it for some other reason?  I wish someone would enlighten me because I don’t have my credit card numbers or bank account info anywhere on my blog.  Absolutely baffling, but worse than that is all the time I lost having to spend days to get everything back up and running.  It also occurred at the worst time of the year since sponsors are really in a time crunch and losing days getting holiday gift guide products up is unacceptable.

no_hacking

I however, feel empowered now and the new security installed alerts me right away and bans the user ip of anyone trying to guess the password to log on.  Beyond that we have added a telephone code that changes every 30 minutes to the password so they would literally have to come and steal my phone now to have a chance at logging on.  All the malicious code they hid on my site has been detected and erased.  I look at the reports each day and smile, our spam has been reduced 1000 fold, declining  log on attempts are reported since we banned countries and the hackers ip addresses.  I almost was physically ill looking at the log on attempts to my blog, It made me scared but then turned to anger and finally to action, putting the plan in place to lock them out for good.  Now, I feel great about the security of my site.

I know you all had difficulty leaving comments or not being able to bring the blog up while we were in maintenance mode and I thank you for you patience.  I am scrambling to catch up but have some awesome giveaways to put up this weekend so please stay tuned.  We also are behind drawing winners and we will get to that too!

Thanks again for sticking around, I truly appreciate it.


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The Dark Side of Blogging!!!

I love being a blogger, but there are some things that really suck.  That’s when you realize people have either been cheating in their entries or other bloggers are doing unscrupulous things.  That is when I become very irritated.  I thought I had seen it all; but every day I am privy to even more underhanded tactics that taint what I do, the fabulous people I have come to know and the PR reps and sponsoring companies who so generously host these reviews and giveaways.

I know many will say one person cannot make a difference but, I will certainly try. If you frequent blog giveaways you may have noticed a new trend in the blogging community.  That trend is that many bloggers are promoting the same giveaway on their pages.  Why would they do this?  They do it for inflated stats that have nothing to do with their blog, their writing, their reviews or giveaways, but are the result of riding on the coat tails of  a blogger with good stats and a good following.

These giveaways make you like as many as 100 or more Facebook pages and follow the same number on Twitter and Pinterest, subscribe to the blog newsletters and more. All the bloggers either pay for a spot or promote the giveaway earning them one free link and pay for additional links. Confused yet? The Facebook pages that a person must like are often arranged 25 to a page and the entrant must like every one, if one is not liked, they will not receive credit.

The other thing they do, is that certain entries can count as multiple entries in an effort to drive up their number of entries. For instance a blogger may say that following them on twitter counts for 25 entries, this way they get 25 entries for one small task. Why is all this done you may be asking.  It is all done in order to gain blog subscribers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, and to boost the number of entries on their giveaways.

Why is this important?  Well, it is important to them because they believe that PR reps and sponsoring companies will be impressed by the inflated stats and send them enormous review items like washers , dryers, kitchen appliances, etc.  Sad truth is they have been getting away with it for a while now.  They are not about blogging anymore, not about content, many of them post nothing but these joint giveaways of 100 or more bloggers together for even the smallest giveaway prizes.  It hurts the people entering the giveaways because when bloggers wrote their own reviews and did individual giveaways there were more for them to enter and the amount of entries were not in the tens of thousands.

These bloggers that are doing this now are making the chances for an entrant similar to being struck by lighting with the number of entries zooming up in the hundreds of thousands. When does it end?  Well, more and more bloggers who truly care about their craft and the integrity of their blog are speaking out.  PR companies are being alerted of these inflated stats that do not mean a thing because many of the giveaways are entered by “sweepers” who will enter for any product and either sell on ebay or hoard.  They are not a representation of followers and probably have never even followed the blog prior to them having to like it for an entry.

More ugly things happening, are brand new bloggers do not put dates on their blog posts to make it look like they have been blogging longer. Another sneaky and underhanded tactic is that many unscrupulous, new bloggers are taking on the name of a very popular blog and sending that blog’s stats to the PR companies.  For instance, let’s say there is a blog that is very popular called “Rambling Mommy” a newbie will create a blog called “A Rambling Mommy” or Rambling Mommie” etc and when the PR companies ask for their social media accounts and followers they submit that blogger’s stats.  See?  They already have their blog loaded with reviews of products that they have in their house, big group giveaways and no dates so they look like this big time blogger.

If you see a new blogger suddenly getting sponsors that we as bloggers know require much hoop jumping, you can be rest assured that something fishy is going on. The last ugly thing for now is about bloggers rigging  Rafflecopter giveaways so that their immediate family members are winning the “big” giveaways.  These are on the independent giveaways but, it is more than obvious.  It really disgusts me, can you tell? I for one will not be running any of these multi giveaways on my blog and I do not rig my giveaways.  I would love to start a coalition of bloggers who feel the same and want to create a society of true bloggers with integrity.  If you are interested in banding together with me on this please contact me at carolyn@mommyramblings.org or use our contact form. Our giveaway rules can be found HERE!


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