Category Archives: Tech

Funny Prank on Windows Technical Support Scammer

If you have ever received a call from someone in India claiming to be calling from Windows Technical Support, you will love this post. I cannot stand those calls, and worse, I feel sorry for the people they scam. They call telling you that they received a report, and something is wrong with your “Windows Computer”. Don’t worry though, because they will help you fix it.

They usually want you to grant them access to your computer. NEVER DO THAT!!! They tell you that you have a virus, or outdated drivers and your computer is going to crash. Then they want money to fix your computer and they are ripping off tens of thousands of people every day.

So, I thought rather than just hanging up on this guy, giving him time to scam other people, I would turn the tables and have some fun with him. This would tie him up from pulling his scam on others, and give us all a bit of entertainment.

I recorded the call and it is quite funny. Best of all, even though these scammers can get very vicious and go into profanity laced rants (Yes, that has happened before with another of their scams for a medical mesh product), this call is G rated. Hope you like it.

So what did you think? Let me know if you receive these calls and if you have ever done anything like this. I would love to hear all about it.


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YouTube’s New Policy Strips Tools & Monetization From Small & New Channels

YouTube delivered a devastating blow to video creators today. It came in the form of an email. It came on the heels of last year’s policy change and it concerns monetization of video content. It hurts channels with under 1,000 subscribers and less than 4,000 hours of view time per year.

Last year, they said channels needed to have 10,000 lifetime views in order to be monetized. Now, that some brand new channels have just achieved that or surpassed it, they are dealt a swift kick to the ribs. If you read the comments, you can just feel the wind knocked out of their sails.

This also encourages the use of services that offer to get channels followers for a fee. Channels that want authentic subscribers are penalized for not moving fast enough, and while 1,000 subscribers is not that many, the 4,000 hours is quite daunting. There are small YouTube channels that were making about $100-$200 dollars a year per channel and just starting to grow. Some have 2-3 channels so, maybe they are making $600 a year. Not a fortune, but it helped them buy equipment or other things for their videos, and they were encouraged by the growth and revenue they saw slowly increasing. Now they feel like they were just knocked to the ground, and feel YouTube does not support budding video creators.

YouTube says it is doing this in an effort to prevent bad actors, but many think that is not the case. I don’t agree either. If you see some of the content they allow on their platform, you would be appalled, content that is racist, pornographic or grotesque. The other thing is that while the small YouTubers are not able to earn even a small amount on their videos, YouTube still will. Nice isn’t it?

Oh, and the tools that creators can use now to help them grow their audience like ends screens, cards that come up and recommend other videos and playlists, they will not be available to those creators who do not qualify for the YouTube Partner Program.  So this is just another blow, tell them to grow their channels and then take away the tools they need to do it.

They told video creators that they have until February 20th to meet these requirements and if not, the lights go out on their monetization efforts and ability to use creator tools. You might think this only affects new YouTubers, but truth is, it is affecting smaller channels that have been around for years and are growing slowly and producing specialized, quality content. The requirement of 4,000 hours of view time is crippling to most channels like that.

Here is the email that was sent today:

What’s Changing
Under the new eligibility requirements announced today, your YouTube channel, is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. As a result, your channel will lose access to all monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program on February 20, 2018 unless you surpass this threshold in the next 30 days. Accordingly, this email serves as 30 days notice that your YouTube Partner Program terms are terminated.
One of YouTube’s core values is to provide anyone the opportunity to earn money from a thriving channel. Creators who haven’t yet reached this new threshold can continue to benefit from our Creator Academy, our Help Center, and all the resources on the Creator Site to grow their channels. Once your channel reaches the new threshold, it will be reviewed to make sure it adheres to our policies and guidelines, and if so, monetization will be re-enabled.

Below is the additional information posted on their creator blog:

YouTube Partner Program overview

We’ll be making updates to the YouTube Partner Program eligibility thresholds starting February 20, 2018. Channels will need to have 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers to be reviewed to join the program. Get more details on the YouTube Creator Blog.

The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) lets creators monetize their content on YouTube. Creators can earn money from advertisements served on their videos and from YouTube Red subscribers watching their content. You can apply to join the YouTube Partner Program from your account in Creator Studio.

Access to end screens & cards
Note that your channel currently needs to be in the YouTube Partner Program in order to access certain features, such as end screens and cards that link to associated websites, crowdfunding, or merchandise sites. Channels do not have to monetize any videos as part of this requirement. This helps us evaluate the validity of the channel, as well as determine whether the channel is following our Community Guidelines.
When YPP eligibility requirements are updated in February 2018, channels that currently have access to these features will continue to have access even if they’re no longer in the YouTube Partner Program. We’ll share updates here if the eligibility criteria changes.

Additional Changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to Better Protect Creators

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017 marked a tough year for many of you, with several issues affecting our community and the revenue earned from advertising through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Despite those issues more creators than ever are earning a living on YouTube, with the number of channels making over six figures up over 40% year-over-year. In 2018, a major focus for everyone at YouTube is protecting our creator ecosystem and ensuring your revenue is more stable.

As Susan mentioned in December, we’re making changes to address the issues that affected our community in 2017 so we can prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube. A big part of that effort will be strengthening our requirements for monetization so spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors can’t hurt our ecosystem or take advantage of you, while continuing to reward those who make our platform great.

Back in April of 2017, we set a YPP eligibility requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. While that threshold provided more information to determine whether a channel followed our community guidelines and policies, it’s been clear over the last few months that we need a higher standard.

Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you. They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.

On February 20th, 2018, we’ll also implement this threshold across existing channels on the platform, to allow for a 30 day grace period. On that date, channels with fewer than 1,000 subs or 4,000 watch hours will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube. When they reach 1,000 subs and 4,000 watch hours they will be automatically re-evaluated under strict criteria to ensure they comply with our policies. New channels will need to apply, and their application will be evaluated when they hit these milestones.

Though these changes will affect a significant number of channels, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month. Any of the channels who no longer meet this threshold will be paid what they’ve already earned based on our AdSense policies. After thoughtful consideration, we believe these are necessary compromises to protect our community.

Of course, size alone is not enough to determine whether a channel is suitable for monetization, so we’ll continue to use signals like community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags to ensure we’re protecting our creator community from bad actors. As we continue to protect our platform from abuse, we want to remind all of you to follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines, Monetization Basics & Policies, Terms of Service, and Google AdSense program policies, as violating any of these may lead to removal from the YouTube Partner Program.

While this change will tackle the potential abuse of a large but disparate group of smaller channels, we also know that the bad action of a single, large channel can also have an impact on the community and how advertisers view YouTube. We’ll be working to schedule conversations with our creators in the months ahead so we can hear your thoughts and ideas and what more we can do to tackle that challenge.

One of YouTube’s core values is to provide anyone the opportunity to earn money from a thriving channel, and while our policies will evolve over time, our commitment to that value remains. Those of you who want more details around this change, or haven’t yet reached this new 4,000 hour/1,000 subscriber threshold can continue to benefit from our Creator Academy, our Help Center, and all the resources on the Creator Site to grow your channels.

Even though 2017 was a challenging year, thanks to creators like you, it was full of the moments that make YouTube such a special place. Creators large and small, established and emerging, transformed their talent and originality into videos that captivated over a billion people around the world. They made us laugh, taught us about our world and warmed our hearts. We’re confident the steps we’re taking today will help protect and grow our inspiring community well into the future.

Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer and Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer

Well Neal and Robert certainly know how to brighten the day and from reading the comments, they must relish in their ability to prey on the smallest creators who are building slowly but authentically. Of course pay the channels with bought followers and click bait titles. Forget fly tying tutorials or gardening videos, forget DIY segments, go get a Star Wars mask and laugh hysterically into your rear view mirror while recording it, That is the stuff people want to see!
What do you think? Has it affected your channel?

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Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet

Your Child Will Be Exposed To The Internet

There are a wide range of threats to children online. These threats come in many different forms, from cyberbullying to identity theft schemes to predators who want to meet your child offline. These threats can be daunting and difficult to fathom, but with solid awareness and a plan to keep your child protected, your child can avoid most online pitfalls.

Your child is going to be exposed to the internet. In this day and age, it is unavoidable. Your child will be online at school, or at a friend’s house, and you won’t always be able to directly monitor them. You can’t prevent your child from being online, but you can instill good habits and keep tabs on their internet use in general. Here is what you need to do in order to keep your child safe when they are online.

Defining Safe Internet Use For Children

The first thing that you need to do is work to understand what safe internet use for children is. You should instill in your children that they need to keep their phone numbers, home addresses, and personal contact information offline. They shouldn’t talk to strangers online, and you should let your children know what types of websites are acceptable for viewing and which types of websites to avoid.

A child without direction could give away personal information to a stranger in a chatroom. If a child feels uncomfortable or that they made a mistake online, they should contact an adult they know and trust immediately. One easy way to keep you and your child’s personal information safe is through the use of a VPN.

 

Parents And Children Need To Stay Aware Online

There are new dangers popping up online each year, and parents need to know the dangers so that they can keep their children protected. There are email phishing schemes that seek to gain access to children’s personal information with a seemingly harmless email message. There are the risks of cyberbullying and pornography. Parents should stay aware of the risks and keep their children up to date on new potential threats online.

 

Tips For Parents

The good news for parents is that when children stay safe online, they can have a good time and learn more than if they were offline. The key is to establish rules early in the process so children know what is in bounds and what is off-limits. Make sure that your children use strong passwords and always log out of their email and social media accounts, so that they don’t allow access to the next person who uses their computer (such as at a school computer library).

Parents should always read the fine print on social media sites that their children join, so they are aware of the information that brands and other third parties can gain access to.

This is a sponsored guest post that does not necessarily represent the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.


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Stay Connected with The Motorola Talkabout 2 Way Radio Sets #Giveaway

Do you love staying active with your family? I know we do, we love traveling, hiking, biking and setting off on adventures together. We also want to make sure that we take precautions to keep everyone safe.

That means proper helmets for biking, the right type of hiking shoes, water bottles to keep us all hydrated, safe sunscreen and more. When thinking about safety gear, we cannot dismiss the need for a way to keep us all connected and to receive important weather alerts.

That is why we love our Motorola Talkabout T260 two-way radios. We have the three radio set, but they also have a two radio set. The set has everything we need, it comes complete with belt clips, NiMH rechargeable batteries, Y cable charging adaptor with dual micro-USB connectors to charge 2 radios and a single micro-USB connector to charge a single radio.

I like that I can walk around the lake we live on which is over one mile around, and at any point check in with my husband or family at home. The connection is clear as a bell and that says a lot because we live in the mountains and get sketchy cell service.  Having a radio with a clear connection makes me and my husband feel better when I am out walking alone.

Our kids love using them too! They can communicate from the dock or boat up to the house or use them when they are playing around our property to contact each other. They are easy to operate, lightweight, compact and durable. The radios have essential features like NOAA weather channel and alerts as well as iVOX/VOX hands-free communication making it easy to stay in touch no matter your location or situation.

They cover a long-range of up to 25 miles which really makes me happy. If we were ever separated on a hiking or cycling trip, the long-range gives me the peace of mind that I would be able to contact a member of our family.

You can check out our unboxing and review video below:

Features

Know the Weather In Advance
Keep updated with real-time weather conditions by turning on one of 11 weather channels or initiating weather alerts. NOAA radio service may not be available in all areas. Check with your local weather office for frequency and details, or visit www.weather.gov/nwr (Canada: www.msc.ec.gc.ca/msb/weatheradio).

Be Hands-free
With iVOX/VOX acting like a speakerphone and allowing hands-free communication, you can keep on moving without stopping to answer a call.

22 Channels Each with 121 Privacy Codes
With 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, totaling 2,662 combinations, it’s easy to find an available channel.

Compatible with Any Radio
You can communicate with other FRS/GMRS radios regardless of brand by being on the same channel and privacy code.

Power Through Your Adventures
There are two ways to power your Talkabout T260 radio: use the included NiMH rechargeable batteries for up to 12 hours or use 3 AA batteries for up to 29 hours. To recharge the NiMH batteries, choose from one of three ways: connect it to your vehicle adaptor or your computer, or plug the micro-USB cable into an outlet.

20 Call Tones
A call tone is what people calling you can hear instead of the normal default ring. It grabs the attention of your family and friends before you start speaking.

Eco Smart
Most of the energy wasted when using a mobile device occurs during the charge. This radio consumes less power during its idle condition.

Quickly Find a Channel
Use the scanning feature to see which channels are currently in use.

Low Battery Alert
Low battery alert reminds you when batteries are running low.

Keypad Lock
The keypad lock prevents your personalized settings from being inadvertently changed.

T260 Packaging Includes:

• 2 radios
• 2 belt clips
• 2 NiMH rechargeable batteries
• 1 Y cable adaptor with dual micro-USB connectors
• 1 user guide

Holiday Gift Guide Pick

Mommy Ramblings thinks that the twin or triple pack of the T-260 Motorola Talkabout make a great gifts for those active people and families on your holiday gift list. We have added the T-260 Talkabout to Mommy Ramblings’ 2017 Holiday Gift Guide. The twin pack has a MSRP of $64.99 and the triple pack has a MSRP of $89.99. Right now these sets are on sale on Amazon! You can pick up the 2 pack for just $41,22 and the 3 pack for only $69.99.  Hurry though, Amazon prices change quickly, so you never know how long they will last. 

You can stay in the loop with Motorola Solutions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

Giveaway

 

Motorola Solutions is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings. One lucky blog reader will win a Motorola Talkabout T-260 Twin Pack! Thank you to Motorola Solutions for the review T-260 Triple Pack and for sponsoring this amazing giveaway on Mommy Ramblings! Open to US residents.

Motorola Talkabout T-260 Twin Pack 2-Way Radio Set Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Enter for your chance to win using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good Luck!!!

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Filed under Family, Gifts, Giveaway, Home & Garden, Outdoor, Review, Tech

Parental Control Apps To Track Your Kids’ Locations & More

If you are the parent of a teenager, you probably want to know where they go when they are not at home. You may have heard of physical GPS tracking devices that are commonly used, but why go through the trouble and expense of buying that equipment when you can get the information you want using mobile Apps? Apps like Kidgy.com give parents the control they want to monitor their kids and make sure they are safe. Using the Kidgy App, parents can easily track their child using GPS through their smartphone.

 

Life360

Life360 is available for iPhone and Android devices and keeps millions of families and close friends connected, no matter what chaos life throws their way. Organize your family, friends, caregivers and more easily with circles. Add favorite locations like school, work, home and more and receive alerts when circle members arrive at or depart from them. Message the entire circle at once or privately, eliminating the need for endless texts and calls.

Life360’s free version allows you to set up 2 places and keeps location history for 2 days. The PLUS version gives users full access and maintains location history for 30 days. The cost of Life360 PLUS is just $24.99 a year.

My Family GPS tracker

My Family is another good family tracking App. Unlike Life360, My Family is available for Windows and Amazon powered devices in addition to android and iOS devices. This App has premium features like the ability to save location history for up to 3 years. My Family also allows parents to make force calls to their kids that cannot be ignored. While this may seem intrusive, sometimes parents need to be, when it comes to the safety of their kids.

My Family also has an emergency button that notifies parents if their child comes across some type of trouble or leaves or enters a certain location. The user interface for My Family is user-friendly, so operating the App is simple. Best of all, My Family is free to use for android, iOS, amazon and windows users.

ZoeMob Family Locator

Finally, ZoeMob Family Locator is another useful App for keeping track of your kids’ location. Think of it as a family assistant because it is more than just a family locator. With additional features like calendars, shared lists, built-in messengers and more, it helps you to keep everyone connected.

Despite all the add-ons, this App is simple to use to keep track of your family members, set driving speed limits, program it to receive notifications for certain locations and so much more. The free version of ZoeMob is available for both android and iOS and can be accessed through the product website.

This is a sponsored guest post that does not necessarily reflect the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.


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Epson’s Expression Photo XP-8500 Small-in-One Printer is the Ultimate Family Gift — #Giveaway

Do you give family gifts for the holidays? Many families do, gifts of smart TVs, gaming systems, special trips, trampolines, cameras, etc. make great family gifts. The Epson XP-8500 Small-in-One Printer is a really great family gift. This printer has such a small footprint, but don’t let that fool you, this printer will allow you to wirelessly print, scan, copy and fax and so much more!

Quickly print high-quality photos with top-of-the-line performance in a compact, space-saving design. You can share all those great shots with everyone easily, print borderless photos up to 8” by 10” with six-color Claria Photo HD inks for smooth gradations and amazing skin tones. Since you only need to replace individual ink cartridges as they run out, it makes it much more affordable.

 

This printer is perfect for all kinds of projects , you can even print on heavyweight card stock by loading  it through the rear specialty paper feed. You can also print to a CD/DVD. Talk about ease of use, you can edit your photos right from the printer to remove red eyes, restore old photos and more.  This printer has so many fun features, like the ability to make coloring pages from a photo.

 

The Creative Print Mobile App lets you easily create custom borderless photo collages from Instagram, print stationery and more. This printer is a gift that keeps on giving because with it, you can make great gifts for others!

This printer is your ultimate wireless solution, you can print from anywhere  using and iPad, iPhone, Android tablet and smartphone, it includes Wi-Fi Direct for network-free printing. Scan and share automatically to Facebook and the cloud with the bonus software.

Check out our unboxing and demonstration video below:

This printer is the ultimate family printer and a great addition to any home office. We think it makes such a great gift, we have added it to Mommy Ramblings’ 2017 Holiday Gift Guide.

Giveaway:

Epson is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings! One lucky blog reader will win their own Epson XP-8500 Small-in-One Printer! Thank you to Epson for the review printer and for sponsoring this amazing giveaway on Mommy Ramblings. Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Open to US residents.

Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 Small-in-One Printer Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

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

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Start a Facebook Page for Your Blog or Business-Step-By-Step Guide

If you have a blog or business and you want to create a Facebook Fan Page but don’t know where to start, we can help. If you still have not started a blog and need help, go to our, How To Start A Blog Tutorial first.

You might wonder if you really need a Facebook Page for your blog or business. Social media is one of the easiest ways to connect with your target market or audience. A Facebook Page allows you to bring targeted content, promotions, sales and giveaways in front of hundreds of thousands of potential customers, clients or readers who are looking for what you have. It also gives you a platform to showcase photos of your work. We know a picture is worth 1,000 words. If you are an artist, photographer, restaurant owner, contractor, decorator, DIY blogger, crafter and more, post fabulous photos of your best work to attract your audience.

Bloggers should use a Facebook Fan Page to interact daily with their audience. They can do this by posting call to action posts that ask a simple question like, what is the last book they read or what is their favorite classic movie. Beyond that, all blog posts should be promoted on your Facebook Page. There are many plugins or widgets that will automatically post to your page as soon as new posts are published.

Businesses can use their Facebook Page to connect with clients and customers and improve customer service by engaging and answering any questions or concerns they may have. 

So, now that you understand the importance, let’s get your Facebook Fan Page up and running. I promise, it will take only a few minutes. 

The first thing you need is the name of your page.  If you already have your business or blog, it is easy, just use that name. If you do not have anything and are just starting, think of a name.

Once you have your name, you might want to check on domains for that name if you don’t already have one. The reason I am saying this, is because you may be thinking small now and just want the Facebook page. However, if you decide to start a website for your business or blog later, and want a domain with that name, you might be very disappointed to find it is not available.

You can research domain names on  BlueHost , if you sign up for their low-cost hosting for your website, it includes a free domain! If you do find an available domain for your business or blog, it is a good idea to purchase it while it is available.

Step one,  go to Facebook. Click “HOME” on the top of your page. On the side You will see pages and then on the bottom something that says “create a page” and you click that.

create-page

After that, you will be directed to a page where you pick a category for your blog. For bloggers, photographers, musicians etc. you should choose the Artist, Band or Public Figure. If you have a cause, choose Cause or Community and so on. Just pick the best category for your page. Then, you can choose a sub-category and add your page name.

artist-band-or-public-figure

Next, it will take you to where you can enter your “About” information. Let everyone know what your page is about. You can also skip this, but the more details you have, the more people will find your page.

about-page

Now, you need to add a profile photo. I am also going to cover the cover photo here too. To add photos, you can use your own photos but if you don’t have any that will work, you can try free photo sites like Pixabay.com. These are royalty free and can be used without any attribution. Type a word or two into the search bar and search for images. When you find one you like click on it and then save in your files.

ice_screenshot_20161005-141854

You can then upload the images to Facebook to customize your page. If you want to add elements to your cover photo you can use FotoJet.  Just upload your image and customize.

To add a title you can choose an overlay or just add text directly. Many of the features are available for free. Anything with a special icon is only available if you have a subscription. This screenshot is from PicMonkey which has a free trial or you could use FotoJet or any other photo editing software you like.

ice_screenshot_20161005-142731
ice_screenshot_20161005-142801

You can change colors, sizes and more to really make it your own.

 

ice_screenshot_20161005-142823

ice_screenshot_20161005-142848

ice_screenshot_20161005-143027

When you are happy, save it to your computer and then upload to your page.

ice_screenshot_20161005-143210

 

Add your page to your favorites so you can find it easily.

add-to-favorites

You can customize who the ideal audience for your page is. Do not limit your audience too much.

demographic

At this point you are ready to go, you can learn more about promotion and adding buttons etc. but the basic page is done.

ice_screenshot_20161005-143615

So what are you waiting for? Write your first post. Good luck guys, any questions you can ask them in the comments. 

 

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. 

 


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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.

 

 

 

 


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

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. 

 


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Print and Share Photos Easily with Your Own Personal Photo Lab!

Do you take a lot of photos? I sure do! I love my DSLR and how easy it is to share, save and edit my photos instantly. While it may be ideal to share your photos through email, social media and online photo sharing sites with your family and friends, there are benefits to being able to print and share photos at home.

Imagine taking a rare family photo with all your aunts, uncles and cousins at your holiday gathering. Sure, you can tell most `you will post the photos to Facebook and that will be good, but what about Aunt Harriet who does not have a computer and thinks if she tries to use one her identity will be stolen? Wouldn’t it be nice to send Aunt Harriet, Uncle Earl and Aunt Ethel home with that rare group photo? It sure would be, and it can be hassle free!

All you need to do is insert your SD card or use Wi-Fi Direct and print from your smart phone with the Epson PictureMate PM-400 Personal Photo Lab.

This unit was so easy to set up, we inserted the 1 ink cartridge and let it go through a 4 minute set up. Then I inserted my SD card and it was so easy, my 7 and 9-year-old were able to select their favorite photos and print them. The pictures were great quality, the colors vibrant and the image was clear and sharp. Check out our video review below:

 

This compact unit is small on size and big on features! It uses MicroPiezo inkjet technology to create detailed prints at 5760 x 1440 dpi at up to 5 x 7″, ideal for snapshots and family photos. You can also set the layout to print multiple photos to one page. You can use 3.5 x 5″, 4 x 6″, and 5 x 7″ paper, as well as No. 10 envelopes, for producing your most common and convenient photo sizes. It is fast, capable of producing a 4 x 6″ photo in about 36 seconds.

Have a big family? No worries, everyone can go home with a copy without having to reload the printer because it can hold 50 sheets of plain paper and 20 sheets of gloss photo paper. It is versatile and will power up with the conventional power plug included or you can use a USB 2.0 cable to connect to a USB port.

You can do some photo editing directly on the printer like cropping, removing red-eye and more. There is only one ink cartridge to install and the dye based ink is rated to last up to 200 years in album storage. The photos are scratch, water, smudge and fade resistant.

I will be inserting a video review of this printer so you can get an up close and personal look at the unit. While you are waiting, would you like to enter our giveaway for your chance to win one of these awesome units of your own? You can enter by using the widget below. We added the PM-400 to our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide at Mommy Ramblings!

Giveaway:

Epson is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win a Epson PictureMate PM-400 Personal Photo Lab. Thanks to Epson for the review product and for sponsoring this fantastic giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Epson PictureMate PM-400 Personal Photo Lab Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

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

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Filed under Gift, Giveaway, Holiday Gift Guide, Photography, Review, Tech