Category Archives: Blogging

Why Even New Bloggers Should Never Work For Free

As a professional blogger, social media influencer and digital marketing strategist for almost 10 years, there is something that really gets under my skin.  I rarely see it myself, because I nipped it in the bud many years ago. However, blogging forums are peppered with posts from new bloggers sharing how they received an email from a PR rep asking them 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 they meekly ask, if this is okay.  Some will try to justify it by saying  they really have no right to ask for compensation, because their blog is brand new.

It isn’t just bloggers, who are routinely asked to “donate” their services. Photographers, Magicians, Vocalists, Graphic Artists and DJ’s  are often asked by friends to provide their services for free. These well meaning friends will even go so far as to tell them it will be great experience, they will make new contacts and build their portfolio. The way they spin it, they should be so grateful to provide their services for nothing. When people get something for free, they don’t put much value in it. By accepting the gig, they are putting a nail in the coffin of their career. The bottom line is, if they want to be treated like a professional, they need to start acting like one!

Even the newest blogger needs to quit acting like their work has no value, and their time is not precious.  This is easier said than done because many newbies have a hard time standing their ground. They may even try to justify taking the job for free, telling themselves it is a portfolio builder.

I will-not work for free

I tell new bloggers they are going to need a strong backbone. Next , they need to respond to the email  with confidence.  Their response should let the PR rep know that they think the app or service sounds like it would be a great fit for their blog audience and social media followers.  Further more, they need to explain they are skilled at creating buzz worthy content that will drive targeted traffic to the brand’s website and social media accounts. Lastly, they need to ask what the compensation is for promoting this content on their blog and social media channels,  I guarantee Gloria from  XYZ Media is getting paid to find the bloggers and social media influencers to promote this, so why shouldn’t they?

I also prep them about how to respond if they receive a reply from Gloria stating the client has a very small budget and while they are not able to provide compensation for this campaign, they have many other clients and may contact them in the future for paid promotions.

Now, they say that for a reason, they want the new blogger to think, if they throw this away, they will never hear from this agency with any other opportunities.  It usually works like a charm, and the rep gets free promotion that they then charge their client for. To make it worse, the blogger goes on the agency’s  “Will Blog For Free” List.  Their name will never make it to big budget clients, because by accepting the free gig, it showed the rep  they are not a professional blogger.

The bottom line is, if  you  want to be taken seriously, you need to respond confidently, that you can definitely create buzz worthy content to promote the product or service, but you don’t work for free. Go even further, turn the tables and ask them if they work for free? Don’t be afraid, let them know, you are well aware they are not a volunteer at XYZ Media.

I’m not saying you should never volunteer for worthwhile things, but make sure you are not being taken advantage of. The perception some 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 want us to think, they are really doing us a 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 audience which likely is their target market. Bloggers have the  power to create and amplify stories, experiences, services, images and ideas through their posts as well as ingniting a social media fire storm of tweets, pins, posts, likes and shares on every major social media channel.

Start valuing your work! The next time you get an email from any rep or agency trying to make you feel special because they picked you to promote their client for free, just ask what the blogger 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 about 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.

 

 

 

 


Leave a Comment

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

My Blogging FAQ Answered For You

When someone finds out I work from home as a blogger, they are usually very intrigued. Their curiosity leads them to ask me several questions. After answering the same kind of questions, literally, hundreds of times, and my good friends and colleagues constantly telling me to make a post about it, I am  finally doing it!

This post will cover many of the questions I have been asked over the nearly ten years I have been blogging. If you are looking to start a blog or just want to learn more, you are in the right place. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and get cozy while I give you answers to my most frequently asked blogger questions. If you still have questions after reading this, leave them in the comments and I will answer them for you.

Why Did I Start My Blog?

Believe it or not, earning income from my blog was the furthest thing from my mind when I started it almost 10 years ago. At that time, I did not even believe people could make money from blogging. I started my blog to share my photos (I am a hobby photographer) and tales of our family (I am a wife and mother of 5) with others. I also wanted to create a sort of online scrapbook/journal of our lives for us all to be able to look back on.

How Did I Start Working With Companies?

A little less than a year into blogging, I started connecting with companies and doing product reviews. I was bitten pretty bad by that bug, and it became a conquest for me to see what kind of products I could get to review. Adding giveaways really brought me traffic. I have to laugh, in the beginning I was so lost. I had some amazing giveaways too and because I was so new, the entries were low, so I started to get some loyal fans who loved the high chances of winning.

Shortly after I started with reviews and giveaways, things started to take off. My pageviews shot through the roof over the course of a few weeks. I was getting many high-end products that more established bloggers were not getting, and the reason was, because I used my advertising and marketing background to my advantage. I have many years of experience dealing with companies and so I knew how to approach them. I did not follow any of the other bloggers, I decided to use what I learned in the corporate world and approach things as a confident, professional entrepreneur. My confidence and digital marketing experience helped me to connect with companies and led to great partnerships.

What Sets My Blog Apart From Others?

I have always loved writing, and that along with my insatiable love of photography was another thing that set my blog apart. I saw so many bloggers putting up generic posts with stock photographs. It turned me off, and it turned companies off. When a company wants a top promote a product through a blog review, they want to see authenticity.

Other bloggers were so obsessed with numbers they were churning out content at record speed and their blogs lacked any personal flair.  From their posts it was evident, they did not even open the box or try the products. They copied and pasted most of the content in their post right from the company website. Around this time, media contacts and PR agencies were getting wise, and knew that engagement was more important than exaggerated stats.

Does A Large Number of Followers Guarantee Your Success?

Many bloggers felt blogging was a numbers game and the blogger with the most followers on social media wins. They took it so far as to use services like Fiverr to buy tens of thousands of bogus followers for their social media accounts. The problem was, since they were fake followers, they did not engage with the content. What good is that to a company? PR agencies and media contacts are wise to that now and care more about engagement. Smaller bloggers with good engagement are a better choice than a blog with inflated numbers of fake fans.

What Kind of Feedback Did Companies Give You?

Companies told me they appreciated the authenticity of my blog content.  There was no doubt we were using the products, because my detailed photographs and original content clearly showed that.

I had converted part of my third floor to a photo studio shortly after my fifth child was born. I upgraded cameras, bought some Alien Bees lights, got a ton of props and backdrops and was in my glory. When I started blogging my studio came in very handy. Companies loved my photos, and I know it led to me landing products that some would have said, were out of a new bloggers league.

I was getting Stokke Tripp Trapp high chairs 2 at a time plus holding giveaways for the same products. I received all kinds of designer clothing, jewelry, lighting fixtures for my house that cost thousands of dollars, area rugs, appliances large and small, furniture and so much more.

How Did You Start Working With Blogger Networks?

From that point, I began to really get noticed and companies started coming to me. I joined a few blog networks, became an Amazon affiliate and was having a great time.

I started receiving emails from a major blogger network that I signed up with.  They had different campaigns you could apply for. Up to that point, I had been dealing direct with companies. I was also a staff writer for a children’s trade publication that introduced me to many established and up and coming companies. This blog network kept asking me to go to a brief online meeting so they could show me how their site worked. I literally dragged my heels on attending for about six months. I finally went, and literally a week later they asked me to write a post for a major television network.

I remember seeing the price they were going to pay me to string together some words and was floored. That was the first time I was paid for creating content on my own blog without reviewing anything or holding giveaways. They just wanted me to write about the channel.

After that post, I was getting picked frequently by that network, and I had joined others. I started working with several blogger networks and was being chosen for all types of campaigns. Some were more creative like creating recipes, throwing parties or coming up with crafts and tutorials using the products they were promoting.

Did That Lead To Other Opportunities for You?

I was asked by that first blogger network to teach a time management course for bloggers. I was paid very well to create my curriculum and produce a video course.

After my course was published to their blogger university, they selected me to be on their creative council. I was one of four bloggers paid to brainstorm and come up with marketing campaigns for companies like Nabisco,  Pepperidge Farms, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and more.  It was fast paced, with a quick turnaround time and I thrived because, I work best under pressure. I was a natural because my marketing and advertising background gave me the insight needed to outline the best ways to meet the company’s goals.

Along the way, I was asked to write as a staff writer for other sites and it provided a significant stream of income. I believe in multiple streams of income, and it helped to get my name out there, and looked good on my resume.

What Kind of Advantage Did Your Experience Give You?

My years in social media marketing and advertising  helped me to be hired as a consultant for a very large company where I work to evaluate the effectiveness of social media advertising. I do that a few hours a day and I am a staff writer for a major retail coupon site. I not only write three blog posts a week for them, I write website copy for them and post about great deals. I like the variety, and I have a great deal of freedom with my writing on their site, allowing met to put my creative spin on things.

What Do I Have Planned For Mommy Ramblings?

I am currently working on some huge projects for my blog which I will be revealing very soon. They are things that have not been done before, and I am majorly excited to be working on them with some amazing companies. I consider myself very blessed by the opportunities I have been given. I do work very hard, and if you are looking to become a blogger, you will need to work hard.

Is Blogging an Easy Way To Make Money?

If the only reason you want to start a blog, is to make money, it will probably be a drudgery for you. I would even go so far, as to advise you to look into something else. I feel that way because I have seen countless others start a blog because they think it is an easy way to make money. Many of them do not even like to write. When they find out the amount of work and time they need to put in, they soon become frustrated. It is not long after, they throw in the towel.

It is easy to see the ones who are not in it for the long haul. Go to any blogging group of new bloggers, and you will see post after post of whining want-to-be bloggers complaining that they have been blogging a whole month and are not making any money. I have to laugh, when I read posts like that. The next thing they say is that they are giving it 3 more months before they give up. I want to tell them to just save themselves the headache, and give up now.

How Do People Set Themselves Up To Fail?

Once you say you are going to try anything for a set period of time, you already have one foot out the door. You have to have, a failure is not an option attitude if you want to succeed at anything.

Are There Other Ways To Work From Home Other Than Blogging?

It is said, that making a living doing something you love is priceless.  I totally believe that, there are many ways to make money with your passion beyond blogging. The internet has opened a lot of doors that we never would have dreamed of , and blogging is not the only way to work from home.

Many people are doing well on YouTube creating video content about  everything you can imagine. You will find videos showing people how to organize their homes, sharing what they bought at the store in a shopping haul, demonstrating home repairs or craft projects and so much more. If you have a a passion for something, you can bet others do to and that is how you find your audience.

I Still Want To Start A Blog. How Do I Get Started?

If you still want to start a blog, the next step is to read my post-How To Start A Blog In Fifteen Minutes. 

Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links, if you purchase through these links, I may earn a commission. All of the links in this post are products or services that I recommend because I truly believe they are the best and would recommend them whether or not I earn a small commission from them. 

 

 


Leave a Comment

Filed under Blogging, Resources

How To Start A Blog In 15 Minutes

So, you want to start a blog, this step-by-step guide will get you started with your domain name, blog server and website in about 15 minutes.

What Kind of Blog?

Think about what kind of blog you want to start. Maybe you already know, and that is good. If not, the first thing to consider is, the type of blog you want to start. Do you want to have a niche blog that will limit you to one topic or do you want a more general blog that gives you the freedom to post about different topics?

There are pros and cons to both.  A niche blog on a subject you are knowledgeable about can help build your credibility as an expert. Some say they rank better and are easier to make money with than a broad subject blog. However, others will say that a broad subject blog allows you to appeal to a larger audience and get more new readers from search engines thanks to the wide range of topics.

In the end, I believe if you are sharing great content, your followers will come whether you have a niche or broad topic blog, so blog about what you like to write about.  It is always easier to write about what you know and are passionate about. 

Own Your Domain 

Next,  you need to think of a name for your blog and register your domain URL. You might think you would rather skip buying your own URL and start blogging on a free site like Blogger or WordPress.com. If I can offer my first piece of advice,  it would be to start with your own domain name on self hosted site. I speak from experience as someone who started on wordpress.com. Within 6 months of my blog taking off,  I switched to a self hosted WordPress.org blog for a number of reasons.

First, it allowed me to add sidebar ads and affiliate links to monetize my blog as well as being able to use plugins which helped me to customize my blog easily. When you switch platforms, you have to transfer all your content from one platform to another. Many bloggers are not comfortable moving their content over, and so they have to hire someone to do the transfer for them.

Luckily, I am tech savvy and performed the transfer myself or I would have had to shell out a few hundred dollars to have my site transferred. Beyond that, when you do switch, you have to build up your stats again. All of that could have been avoided had I just started on a self-hosted WordPress.org site in the first place.

Register Your Domain 

After you chose your domain name, you have to register it. The first step is to make sure your domain name is available. Go to BlueHost and click GET STARTED.

You will then be taken to a page that shows you the plans. I know you will be thrilled to see that it is not going to cost you an arm and a leg to get started when you use BlueHost. They have some amazing deals on their already low-cost hosting.

The great thing is one domain name is included with any hosting package you pick. The thing I love about BlueHost is that for their Plus, Prime or Pro hosting plans you  can host an unlimited number of websites with them for the same price.

That means you pay the same low price a month to host 10 sites as you would 1 site. If you want to branch out in the future and add more sites, you will not have to pay any extra. Right now, the Prime plan is the same as the Plus and so, it is a no brainer to go with the Prime. 

Choose your plan and it will take you to the next screen where you can check to see if your domain is available. Just type the name in the new domain box and click on next. If your name is available, you are golden. If it is not, they will give you some alternatives or you can think of something else.

Once you have a name that is available you can advance to the next page where you will fill in your information.

 

There was a nice surprise on this page. As I was scrolling down, a pop up appeared with an offer to save even more. It said I could get 3 years for the price of 2. The new price was $4.95 a month, and as you can see, it is quite a savings.

The other great thing is with the Prime membership, many extras other companies charge you for things like domain privacy protection, site backup pro  and domain registration are FREE. You can add SiteLock security for just $1.99 a month, and I would recommend it. Okay, you are all set, just hit submit and we can move on to the fun part.

Install WordPress

Once you have checked out, you will get an email from BlueHost that will have your login information. Once you have that, you are ready to log on to your BlueHost CPanel.

The second icon on the first row under the heading WEBSITE is what you will click to install WordPress.org.

You will be advanced to another screen where you will click the down arrow to select your website and it will show up as the domain for installation. Click NEXT.

On the next page, you will fill out your site name which would be the name of your blog, your admin name that you will log on to WordPress with and your WordPress Password as well as, your admin email. Acknowledge the terms of service and click NEXT.

While WordPress is installing, you will see a bunch of themes on the page. Don’t worry about those and just wait until the installation is complete. I will go over themes once you log into your WordPress site. There are many free themes available as well as some like Genesis that many bloggers use because it is so easy to work with.

When the installation is complete, you will get an email with everything you need to log on to your new WordPress site. 

As you will see in your email, the address for your login will be http://www.YourDomainName.com/wp-admin. When you enter that address, you see the log in screen below.

Choose A Theme

Log in and look at the sidebar, you will see a paint brush icon and the word APPEARANCE. Click it and you will see THEMES. When you click that, you can have fun browsing themes for your blog. There are so many to choose from . There are many free themes you can choose from or you can go with the very popular Genesis Framework.

Genesis is very flexible and makes it easy to customize your blog easily whether you are a novice or advanced developer. The Genesis theme provides a secure, search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go, for a one time purchase price of $59.95. Once you purchase this theme you can use it on as many sites as you have, at any time. That is a super value!

You can then get a return customer discount on a Child Theme that works with your Genesis Framework. There are Child Themes for Lifestyle Blogs, Food Blogs, Business Blogs, Real Estate Blogs and more.

If you are looking for a low cost logo or custom blog theme etc, check out Fiverr. You can find some great graphic artists on there as well as virtual assistants or any other services you need to help you build a great income producing blog.

When you start making that income and need some user-friendly accounting software to help you manage payments, send invoices, manage projects, track time and so much more, try the free trial of FreshBooks. They are helping the self employed and small business owners, including bloggers to easily manage and run their business.

See, that was easy wasn’t it. We will cover more about customizing your blog and the best plugins to install but the hardest part is done! Give yourself a pat on the back, I am really proud of you!

 

Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links, if you purchase through these links, I may earn a commission. All of the links in this post are products or services that I recommend because I truly believe they are the best and would recommend them whether or not I earn a small commission from them. 

 


Leave a Comment

Filed under Blogging, Resources, Tech

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. Do you want to start a blog and don’t know where to start? Follow my step-by-step guide and get your blog started in about 15 minutes!


Leave a Comment

Filed under Blogging

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!!!

Continue reading


5 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Giveaway, Resources, Review

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!

 


Leave a Comment

Filed under Blogging

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.


1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, Main Page Post, Mommy Ramblings

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!


45 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Ramblings & Rants