Tag 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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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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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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Enhance Your Life and Career With Thousands of Free Online Courses From Distinguished Universities!!! See our list!!!

online-learning

If we’re lucky we will learn at least one new thing a day, every day, until the last day of our life.  I can tell you the last few days I have learned quite a few things about sewing.  I finally feel like I just may learn to love my sewing machine which has intimidated me for almost 2 years.

Learning new things keeps us sharp and current.  If you are wanting to gain some new business knowledge, learn how to build apps, or delve into product design, journalism, photography, storytelling for work, leadership skills, teaching, chemistry, philosophy, math, medicine, coding, Facebook marketing, blogging, content marketing, poetry, technology, design and much more, I have great news!  Did you know there are a multitude of classes and courses you can attend online for free?

Free courses from Harvard, MIT, Stanford and other distinguished universities are available for you to take online!   I have compiled a list of some of the top resources and hope you find them helpful.  So go on and embrace that knowledge, it could change your life but it will definitely enhance your life!

willingness-to-learn

Coursera– an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.  Coursera envisions a future where everyone has access to a world-class education. They aim to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

Kahn Academy– Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. They’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.  All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

Academic Earth-Academic Earth was launched on the premise that everyone deserves access to a world-class education. In 2009, they built the first collection of free online college courses from the world’s top universities. The world of open education has exploded since then, so today their curated lists of online courses are hand selected by our staff to show you the very best offerings by subject area. They also make sure there is something for everyone: whether you want to explore a new topic or advance in your current field, Academic Earth brings the amazing world of academia to you for free.

Open Culture-Get 1000 free online courses from the world’s leading universities —  Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more. You can download these audio & video courses (often from iTunes, YouTube, or university web sites) straight to your computer or mp3 player. Over 30,000 hours of free audio & video lectures, await you now.

Learn when you can

NovoEd-NovoEd partners with leading education institutions and corporations to offer collaborative, experiential online courses.  Choose the Free courses and search for a great variety of courses.

edX-EdX offers interactive online courses and MOOCs from the world’s best universities, and institutions. Online classes are available from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many others. Topics include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more. EdX is a nonprofit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.

I am still learning

Alison– Their mission at ALISON is simple: to enable you, wherever you are in the world, to learn and get certified – at your own pace – using their free, interactive, multimedia. Every course is standards-based and certified. That means bragging rights with family and friends, an edge in your first job or new job, and inspiration to be all you can be. There are 600 free courses for you to choose from!

SkilledUp-Our ultimate vision is to transform education as we know it — how it’s delivered, how much it costs, how quickly it helps people get to a career they love.

Open Education Database OEDb-The most comprehensive collection of online college rankings and free courses anywhere online. They welcome learners of all levels to explore their interests and prepare for exciting new careers, build on existing foundations of education and experience, or just satisfy a craving to learn something completely new.

Open Culture-Get 1000 free online courses from the world’s leading universities —  Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more. You can download these audio & video courses (often from iTunes, YouTube, or university web sites) straight to your computer or mp3 player. Over 30,000 hours of free audio & video lectures, await you now.

E-learning or distance learning concept


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Young House Love Blog Says Goodbye For Now!!!

I will admit upfront I have  visited the blog Young House Love a few times at best and am not a follower or dedicated reader of the blog.   However, I heard about the turmoil that happened recently and how it led to the couple bidding blogging goodbye.  The did not specify how long the goodbye would last, but said it would be at least a month.  What I did learn is that the couple (Sherry and John) asked for honest feedback from their readers about not being able to blog so much and if they felt it would be okay to cut down on their posts per week.  They had many supporters who felt that would be completely fine but a poster named Margaret wrote this:

If you hadn’t asked for feedback, I would not be commenting. I used to read faithfully, but then less and less with each house. Why? Because all three houses LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME. Pale walls, cheap furniture, spray painted stuff. It’s totally fine in your first house, but it’s so very tired now. I was excited to start reading again with the house 3 purchase, because you promised more grown-up, expensive furnishings, etc. So far all I see is Ikea-Target-HomeGoods. Anything more expensive, you either scored it from the showhouse or got it at an outlet. I love a good bargain too, but am also willing to splurge on key pieces. I like the DIY big projects, but the decor stuff needs seriously rethought if you want to keep readers engaged. One last thing, you should absolutely not be using 2 small kids as your excuse for lack of blog posts, or projects, or anything. You make big bucks from this blog (I have no problem at all with that), and IT’S YOUR JOB. Most of us have kids, work, and do stuff around the house. You have encouraged honest feedback here.

That of course led to supporters responding back in defense of the YHL couple and others agreeing with Margaret.

Following a few posters who admonished Margaret for her “mean-spirited” comments were posters  like Meg who supported Margaret and took the YHL bloggers down a few pegs herself

But CE they ASKED for feedback. They ASKED for readers opinions.

And honestly, 5 posts a week isn’t that much for readers to expect when they are two fully functioning adults who are supposedly working on this 80 hours a week. They get paid to decorate their house and fix it up (which almost every other couple in America does on the evenings or weekends) so expecting quality content isn’t too much. If it’s “too much of a load from them to bear” well I hope they polish up their resumes and start looking elsewhere for income. They chose this career path and business.

After several more posts in support of YHL or with posters like Margaret and Meg, there was Paula who wrote this:

I find it amazing that John and Sherry asked for feedback and then when people give their honest opinion they are attacked by the “John and Sherry” lovers. This is a decorating blog people. The Petersiks aren’t your best friends. You probably don’t even know them. I come here to get ideas for my own house. I don’t believe for one minute they do all of this by themselves or with a little bit of money like most of us do. There is no way they can do over an entire room in a couple of days, have two kids and a dog, and run this huge blog. It’s just lost it’s initial realism to me. But I will continue to drop in and see what they are up to. But, please, allow everyone to have an opinion. It was asked for!!!

This continued on for say some 1000 plus comments and led Sherry to  post that the couple would be taking a break. The last two paragraphs of her 3000 word post from September 9th are:

So in an attempt to stop stumbling around and feeling like we just can’t get it back, we’re taking a break. We don’t know exactly how long we’ll be stepping away, but our guess would be at least a month. We will certainly be exploring other options for supporting our family (something we mentioned we were considering back in April). We had that fiery blog-spark back when we had day jobs and did this as a hobby, so we think it could be a good change. We’ll also be taking a break on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but the blog will stay public so you guys can access the archives whenever you’d like.

Our internal struggle and the state of this blog is entirely of our making, and we completely own that. Please don’t get mad at anyone for being honest with their feedback last week or accuse them of sending us packing. We have been struggling with that “something is off” feeling for a while now, and after way too much denial and “we’ll turn it around” pep talks, we finally asked for your feedback because we truly wanted to hear what you were thinking. It was cathartic and helpful for us. It has allowed us to very clearly see that if we have any respect for this blog and our love of it, and for you guys and what you’d like to see, we need to take break if we ever want any hope of getting back to that fun/real/spontaneous place it used to be when this was something we did for the love instead of the high stakes game of supporting a family.

In summary: we love you, we thank you, and we hope you understand.

Do you know what?  That post has over 4500 comments!   There is no way I would even attempt to read them, nor do I want to read them.  Why do I say that?  Well, I don’t follow them, I don’t know much about them and I really don’t care to learn.  Way too much of my own stuff to focus on but found it amusing that this DIY blog would be this controversial.  After all TV series get cancelled, reality shows get cancelled, shows that run for many seasons end and life goes on.  In the blogging  world we have to understand that things change, people get burnt out, go on to other opportunities, have life issues or just stop blogging.  There is nothing anyone can do or say to make them keep blogging if they don’t but the reality is that there are thousands and thousands of other blogs covering the same type of topics and life goes on.

 

 

All in all there were


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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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