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WordPress

Mark Twain once quipped, “I can live for two months on a good compliment,” and I can totally relate to his
sentiments. It just really feels good when someone points out something positive about you in a public way.
Hearing a compliment really can make all of the difference in a person’s day.

As bloggers, each of us knows that our blog can be compared to a single tree in a vast forest of millions of other trees just like it. We spend hours doing research to write what we hope will be useful, compelling content for our blogs, but there are days when you just feel like a small fish in a big pond. You’re not getting the steady flow of traffic that you dream of, and you spend more time than you’d like deleting comment spam.

Just one positive comment from a real live person who has actually taken the time to read your post and has
something thoughtful to say in response makes you feel really good when it first starts to happen. It reminds you of why you started blogging in the first place.

But commenting is not just you being magnanimous to the blog author. Commenting is a win-win. Please take a minute and watch this video training by Amanda-Marie, a blogger that I met in the Unified Tribe community, who’s got some great tips about how to select the right blogs to comment on. I first found Amanda-Marie’s blog post because another UTribe member, Chris Bernardo, shared it with me. So, the Unified Tribe really rocks:

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you start leaving comments on blogs:

As Amanda-Marie said, choose mid-level blogs that have at least one or more of the following plugins installed:

  • Top commentator’s plugin
  • Gravatar plugin
  • Comment Luv
    Coree Silvera from the marketlikeachick, blog recommends adding NoFollow Free WordPress plugin that allows you to determine the number of times a commenter should comment before being given a ‘do-follow’ link.

  • Write meaningful comments that shows you actually read the post and found something that resonated with you.
  • What is motivating you to write that comment? Being authentic and writing a thoughtful response can be more beneficial than trying to sound like an expert. (Nobody likes a smarty-pants know-it-all) ;-)
  • Keep your comments short and to the point.
  • Be respectful and remember my grandma’s advice that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

    For bloggers who want to encourage more comments:

  • Sounds pretty simple, but ask for comments in your post.
  • Make it simple and advantageous for people to comment by using plugins such as Comment Luv.
  • Respond to the comments you receive to create a continuing conversation.

Commenting on blogs benefits both you and the blogger. The blog gets more attention and better SEO with more comments, if done effectively, you can come off as an authority in your topic and attact traffic back to your blog.

Giving that which you’d most like to receive opens you up to receive even more. In Luke 6:38 of the Bible it says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

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posted by on personal development

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I can quite easily be described as a personal development ‘junkie.’ I discovered self-help books when I was in my late teens. Already a complete perfectionist, I think that my initial motivation for reading all of those books, listening to countless hours of tapes, and watching videos of motivational speakers talk about how great your life can be, was to learn how to be the best person I could be.

But at the heart of it–my basic belief was that I flawed and I was looking to these programs and to religiousness, to somehow ‘fix’ me where I was broken and show me how to be a powerhouse of success and achievement. Somehow, despite having read all of those hundreds of books and following teacher after teacher, my life was not improving, I was still working at a dead-end job that I hated and my relationships were a classic, dysfunctional mess.

Then I met Angela Bear on Facebook. I had been meeting several spiritual teachers and life coaches on Facebook and other places on the Internet. They all had a similar message related to the Law of Attraction and focusing on being positive–wonderful messages, but I was looking for something deeper.

I joined one of Angela’s free calls where she was introducing a private, three session class where a small group could work with her personally to get support for our business or personal issues and questions. What I learned by working with Angela during that class and in the private session I had with her transformed my life in a deeper, more profound way than any other book or course I had participated in.

Angela is an intuitive who reads energy, so she can cut through all of the crap, and tell you exactly what is going on. She does not want to hear your ‘story,’ she simply reads your energy and gives you some powerful questions to work with that help to get to the heart of whatever you perceive to be holding you back. By giving you the tools to eliminate those limiting beliefs that create the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ on your growth, it gives you a new perspective on the contextual reality that we happen to find ourselves in at this time.

Angela helps you to remember that you are an infinite being with absolutely infinite potential to realize your dreams and goals.

The Ultimate Dream Project is a membership program that Angela has created to provide a place where she can meet and interact with her clients and members can interact with each other to learn and grow and express their infinite potential. As you know, life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes when you are on a path of growth you will meet periods of resistance when you feel blocked and you wonder why you even waste your time trying to grow yourself. When I get into those funky places of resistance, Angela always has a way of snapping me out of it by asking me, “What creation of this energy am I using to validate other people’s realities?”

I cherish working with Angela because she reminds me that there is nothing about me that needs to be ‘fixed.’ I am confident now that I am an infinite being with infinite potential. Now that I have let go of closely examining the wrongness of me, I can put more energy on expanding the Universe, and modeling what she is teaching me and what I am learning for my children.

My business is now thriving, my relationships have been transformed and I feel so much more personal freedom now that I have stopped trying to ‘fix’ myself. I now have the confidence to pursue my dreams and desires because I know that everything I want is on the other side of my fears and limiting beliefs.

So, if you are ready to step away from the need for another ‘hit’ from motivational, self-help gurus who pump you up and get you excited about going for your dreams, but subconsciously, your limiting beliefs are holding up a ‘Stop’ sign on your progress, visit Angela Bear’s website, http://www.ultimatedreamproject.com, and sign up for her email list. You’ll receive a ‘taster packet,’ or what I call little mini-appetizers that will give you a feel for what it’s like to work with Angela.

You are an infinite being and when you are ready embrace the fabulousness of who you are, Angela is eager to support you in your discovery process.

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posted by on blogging, marketing, traffic

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When you launch your first blog and publish your first post, you’re full of excitement and anticipation. But the frightening news is that your new blog has been thrust out into a blogosphere that is full of millions of other blogs all clamoring for your reader’s attention. Guest blogging on established blogs in your niche/topic is an effective way to gain some favorable exposure with your audience quickly.

What you want to do is to find a way to show up where your ideal audience is already hanging out. Guest blogging is an effective way to do that. One of my favorite quotes on this topic is by Jeff Herring, the Article Marketing Guy, who says, The best way to get traffic is to find out where the traffic is going and get out in front of it.” When you get out in front of the traffic you can then direct it wherever you want it to go.

Begin by becoming familiar with the top blogs in your subject area or niche. You can do a search on alltop.com, blogsearch.google.com, technorati.com or simply type your topic into your favorite search engine. Let’s say you are looking for blogs on the topic of bird watching. Type: bird watching + blogs into the search field and see what you find.

Make a list of the blogs that appeal most to you and start commenting on them leaving a link back to your site. Actually read the posts and make comments that add value. Next, contact the blogger and ask if they are interested in guest posts. Keep the email short and tell them exactly what you are prepared to write about, but show that you are actually familiar with their blog and their audience.

Make contact with several bloggers and try to schedule your guest posts to appear closely following your launch. If the readers like your posts, they will come to your blog. It’s up to you to provide excellent content on your blog so that when your new visitors arrive they’ll find a reason to come back and maybe even subscribe.

For lots of great tips and resources to help you get started check out this guest blog posting guide. Save the time and frustration of trying to figure it out on your own and instead hit the ground running with fabulous results.

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posted by on blogging, Uncategorized

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wordpress security

WordPress Security


WordPress security is an important issue for wordpress bloggers. I maintain a network of about seven blogs, and thank God none have been hacked yet. Last year I installed a blog for a client, and recently she came to me saying that her blog had been hacked.

A hacker had gotten in and embedded some malicious code, so Google blocked it. Now imagine if your blog that you had worked on for months to develop a stream of traffic and revenue got hacked and then banned? Does the thought give your chills? It did for me, so I have taken this as a warning and I’ve done a little bit of research on WordPress security.

Since I am by no means an expert on this topic, I came up with some links to a few good blog posts about blog security that should be helpful to you:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress

http://blogsecurity.net/wordpress/wordpress-security-whitepaper

http://www.noupe.com/how-tos/wordpress-security-tips-and-hacks.html

Here are five of the tips that I gleaned from these articles that I plan to implement immediately:

• Always update to the latest version of WP. WordPress developers take security seriously. As new potential security vulnerabilities are discovered they are cleared up in subsequent versions.

• Back up regularly using the WP DB Backup plugin. Set a schedule and stick with it. Otherwise, you may be kissing your hard work goodbye.

• Change your username and password regularly. Don’t use the word ‘password’ for your password. Use a secure password which should be at least 7 digits, not a word in the dictionary or a name, contain numbers and letters and a capital letter.

• Add an index.html file to hide the contents within your directory. Upload to your ‘plugins’ directory to help prevent unwelcome intruders from seeing the plugins you are running. Just open up a Notepad file and save the blank file as index.html.

• Add a security plugin. WP Security Scan is a good one: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-security-scan, but there are many others to be found at wordpress.org.

Take a minute and put these security measures in place so that your blog will be secure.

Please share your favorite blog security methods here.

posted by on article marketing, facebook, marketing, social media, traffic, twitter, writing

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Scribd logo

If you are using article marketing to drive traffic to your blog, and you have not yet tried Scribd.com, you are missing out on a fabulous traffic source. Scribd is also a good resource for selling your eBooks, and establishing your credibility as an expert in your niche.

Called the, “Youtube.com of documents,” by Business Week, Scribd.com is a document sharing social media website where you can upload documents in several formats including .pdf, presentation or word processing documents for anyone to discover and read online or on mobile devices. After you have published a document you can get live statistics on page views and downloads.

Scribd.com is a vibrant community of users that make up the largest social publishing and reading website in the world according to their ‘about’ page. Through connections with Facebook and Twitter, and search engines like Google, a vast variety of free and paid documents are shared around the globe.

Discover a new audience for your articles
What this means for you as an article marketer is that you’ve got a whole new audience with which to share your articles and get exposure for your blog and your products. One of the limitations of the traditional model of article marketing has been the strict limitations that some of the better article directories place on writers.

Get more back links and targeted traffic to your blog

When you use social networking sites such as Scribd to publish your articles and eBooks you can put anchor text links in the body of your article allowing you to get more back links along with some nicely targeted traffic. If you know anything about Search Engine Optimization you know that the more, high quality, relevant back links you have to your site, the more important Google considers you to be.

Here are five quick tips to help you to make the most of scribd.com in your article marketing efforts:

1. Use a different profile for each topic/niche that you publish in. There is a ‘More from this user’ box on your profile page that allows viewers to see all of the previous documents you have published. If you have some articles on list building, some on fly fishing and another on porcelain doll collecting, you may come across as a dabbler and not a knowledgeable expert in any of those disparate topics.

2. Format your articles so that they are visually appealing. There will be a snapshot of the first page of the document. Make sure that you spell check and format the document so that it looks clean, professional and error-free. Use images where appropriate. Use Keywords in the title.

3. Tag documents with relevant keywords.
Use the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool and enter your main keywords. Select 20-30 related keywords appropriate to your article’s topic and add them to the ‘tag’ field separated by commas.

4. Write a clear, thorough description using keywords. People will read the description to decide if they are going to click on your document to read it. The description will accompany the title in the search results, so make sure it contains a brief synopsis of what they will find in your article.

5. Integrate with Facebook, and Twitter.
There are buttons that you can click that will integrate your profile so that your Facebook profile and Twitter feed are updated whenever you add a new document to scribd.com.

Follow these five tips and you should see a nice flow of traffic to your blog when you publish documents to scribd.com. If you’ve used Scribd.com, please share your impressions.

posted by on blogging, freelance writing, marketing, traffic

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Guest blogging is the new–or not so new article marketing. The practice of bloggers inviting other bloggers to publish on their blog has been going on since blogging began, but now this somewhat quietly kept practice is becoming more and more popular. If you are an online freelance writer you’re always looking for ways to get more exposure for your writing to attract more clients. The occasional guest blog posting gig can get you exposure with a new audience, confirms your expert status and attracts fresh traffic to your blog.

As bloggers see the fabulous results that they can gain from both guest blogging on other blogs and hosting guests on their blogs, they are engaging in the practice more and more.

In this article I want to share five simple tips for getting your feet wet so to speak as a guest blogger:

1. Choosing the right blogs
Your goal as a guest blogger is to find a new audience for your writing, to get wider exposure and to attract fresh traffic back to your blog. So, it makes sense to choose blogs that focus on keywords similar to yours, within the same industry and a similar compatible niche.

Choose blogs that are more established and higher ranked than yours for the biggest bang for your time, but don’t neglect those up-and-coming blogs with a growing, loyal following.

Spend the time to regularly visit the blogs in your niche that you would like to guest post for. Make note of their idiosyncrasies, practices and biases. Take notes and keep these issues in mind when you are writing your post so that you don’t slip up and offend your host.

2. Making contact with the author

Compose a simple email to the blog owner explaining that you are offering to do a guest blog post for them. If this is your first contact with this blogger, briefly explain your blog’s topic and include a link.

Let the blogger know what you like about their blog and how your writing will fit in with their blogging style and topic.

3. Establishing a clear, mutually beneficial arrangement

Guest blog posting is a win-win for the guest blogger and the host blogger. The guest blogger gets exposure to a fresh audience, a nice boost in traffic back to their blog and more favorable search engine ranking from the highly relevant link.

The blog host wins because they get some fresh, relevant content that provides something new for their readership, and buys them a bit of time to do other things. But the blog readers also benefit because they gain exposure to a new writer and a different look at the topic.

Be sure to spell out the terms of the arrangement so that both parties are clear on things like the approximate word count of the post, publication date, number and types of links, ownership of the content, etc.

4. Coming up with the right content for the blog
Refer to the notes you took when you were choosing blogs to guest post on, and write from the perspective of someone who is familiar with the audience. Read through recent posts to get ideas for filling in and rounding out the blogger’s approach to the topic. Ask the blog host if there is a particular topic they would like for you to cover.

Be sure to always present your best work when guest posting. Do your research, format the post carefully and ask for someone to proofread it for you before you submit it.

5. The importance of follow up
After your post has been published, be sure to check back and respond to the comments. This is a great opportunity to forge a real relationship with another blogger and their readers, so don’t overlook this important part of the arrangement.

Go ahead and start guest blogging. It’s a great way to broaden your reach as a freelancer, create relationships and get some new, targeted traffic for your blog. If you are looking to host guest bloggers, it’s a great way to add fresh perspectives to your blog and give your readers a bit of variety.

For more of the gritty details about getting started check out this guest posting guide. Save the time and frustration of trying to figure it out on your own and instead hit the ground running with fabulous results.

Have you tried guest blogging, or hosting a guest blogger on your blog? Share your results here.

**Affiliate Disclaimer**


posted by on freelance writing, personal development, Uncategorized, writing

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One of the coolest things about being a freelance writer is that you can work pretty much whenever you want to. If you are a morning person, you can get up before the crack of dawn and complete your writing projects early so that you can have the day free to do what you want. Night owls can burn the midnight oil to get projects completed on time. But regardless of your schedule, you might want to consider establishing a morning routine to get your day off to a productive start.

But what makes being a freelance writer cool can also be the most challenging and that is learning to manage our productive time and energy in the most efficient way. I was inspired to write this post when I was listening to Internet Business Mastery, which is one of my favorite podcasts. They were talking about how important it is to establish a healthy morning routine, and to create a sense of order in the way you approach your business.

I was so inspired that I decided to create a morning routine of my own:

• Wake up

• 15-30 minutes meditation

• 15-30 minutes Yoga

• Wake children up

• Prepare breakfast and lunches

• Get dressed

• Supervise girls getting ready for school

• Drive girls to school

• Return home

• Shower & get dressed

• 30 minutes devotional time

• Begin work

When I can stick to this routine I find that my day flows much more smoothly. Now that the weather is warm again there’s a struggle between fitting in my walking time and my devotional time, but if I skip either one I can feel the effect of it pretty quickly, so I find a way to balance the two.

Writing is a creative talent that needs a rested, alert mind in order for the output to be of any usable quality. Getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet and establishing healthy routines can serve to feed your creativity and enhance your productivity.

Your Turn:
Do you have a morning routine? Please feel free to share if you think it helps you to be a better or more productive writer.

posted by on personal development, Uncategorized

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“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

I have been giving a lot of thought about exactly what it takes to forge ahead despite the adversities that appear in the path to block us from our intended goals. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my comfort zone and about how it is more accurately called a rut. But guess what? The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.

It occurred to me that the only way to keep moving forward–to keep taking the massive action that leads to massive results–it would become necessary to completely destroy my comfort zone. It would require me to have nothing to fall back on so that I can move ahead fearlessly. It does not, however, mean making brash, foolish mistakes or plunging headlong into disaster for the sake of taking action.

What it does mean is letting go of that infantile urge to procrastinate. The time for pondering, planning, researching, and making priority lists has come to an abrupt end.

“Do,” as our wise friend Yoda said, “. . . or do not. There is no try.” I have a particular fondness for an expression that my mom used once or twice during heated exchanges with my Dad, which is “Sh*t or get off the pot.” Enough said.

So, how do you destroy your comfort zone in 2 easy steps?

Step 1. Do it

Step 2. Keep moving

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” -Anais Nin

I invite you to join me by choosing to embrace the greatness of who you are as you destroy your comfort zone every chance you get.

posted by on freelance writing, personal development, Uncategorized, writing

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meditation

April is stress awareness month, which is a great opportunity to take a look at the stress in your life and what you are doing to manage it. Freelance writers experience many different kinds of stress whether it’s from the ‘feast or famine’ nature of freelance consulting work, dealing with constant rejection, the endless waiting to hear back about submissions as well as the stress that comes when you are taking on writing jobs that you really don’t like so that you can pay the bills.

Since it is stress awareness month, let’s take a look at some strategies for managing stress that can make life as a writer more peaceful and rewarding.

1. Journaling
This may sound like a ‘no-brainer’ but there are writers out there who are not keeping a journal. Make it a
practice to start and end the day taking the time to write longhand in your journal. Get a nice journal and use a pen that you really like. If you write all day at the computer doing client work for others, writing longhand in a journal on paper can be very relaxing and therapeutic.

  • Write about things that make you feel good
  • Write snippets of poetry
  • Capture ideas to inspire your creative writing
  • Write out a list of the things that you accomplished that make you feel proud
  • Write about the goals that you are aspiring to

2. Meditation
Meditation is a wonderful stress management technique that helps you to relax, relieve stress and get centered. As a writer, meditation can also help you to clear your mind so that you can have an open channel to receive ideas and generate fresh ideas. It can help you to get clarity on projects that you are working on.

The simplest meditation is to sit quietly on the floor with legs folded in the lotus position with a cushion under your bottom to support your spine, seated in a straight back chair with feet flat on the floor, or laying flat on your back on a bed or on the floor. Begin by taking long, slow, deep breaths. Let your attention gently rest on your breath and as thoughts come up, notice them but keep your focus on your breath.

3. Walking
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, but walking is also a effective way to clear your head and sort out or work through ideas. Schedule in a mid-day walk to give your eyes a rest from staring at that screen. Vary your route so that you are seeing different scenery and experiencing different terrain. Walking vigorously and taking deep, full breaths will completely revive you and relieve any pent-up stress in your body.

4. Rest
Getting adequate sleep helps you to feel rested and refreshed and better equipped to handle stress in a more
productive way. If you are someone who takes their worries to bed, writing in your journal and or meditating
before you fall asleep are two good ways to diffuse that destructive habit.

5. Creative Visualization
This is another stress management technique that works to relieve stress, but it’s also a good way to build your creative muscles. Take a moment to create a mental picture of something that you desire be it a dream vacation spot, a new home you’d love to have, or maybe even the setting of a book you’re working on. Make the picture have color and sound and activity. Really look at the details like the flowers in the lobby of the resort, or the artwork on the walls of the new house. Visualization takes your mind off of your stress but it also serves to speed along the manifestation of those things that you are vividly imagining with your mind’s eye.

I’ve got more stress management tips that I’ll share throughout the month. Be sure to sign up for my email update list to get information that I don’t publish on the blog.

What are some of your favorite stress management strategies? Please feel free to share.

posted by on facebook, marketing, social media

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I came across this video on my colleague, Vincent Wright’s website. Watch and learn. The future is now.