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Why Do Moms Go Online?

2010 May 19
by Annie Wallace

You would think that in our day and age, it would be unusual for a mom NOT to spend some time online. After all, the technology is easily accessible, and options are numerous. Limitless even!

What may come as a surprise, however, is just how much this Internet connection means to some moms. It is not merely a matter of enjoying the luxury of Internet access, but a whole lot more. For many full-time moms the Internet literally becomes their “connection to the outside world”. The various Internet destinations have to stand in as friends, neighbors, advisors, and centers of convenience.

As would be expected, most moms use the Internet to access email. After all, it is probably the cheapest form of communication available. Other activities include the use of online banking facilities, online shopping, and finding information. read more…

All You Need to Know about the Blog SEO: Just Keep Things Simple

2010 May 14
by Annie Wallace

When explaining SEO (search engine optimization) to a non-search person, my main rule of thumb is to make it clear that the key is in simplicity. You don’t need to browse hundreds of SEO forums and blogs to make a clean, SEO-friendly website. On the contrary, the more “weird” SEO rumors you come across and try to apply to your site, the worse things get.

So let’s just agree from the very beginning: don’t focus on SEO at all, focus on posts your publish and connections you build. SEO is just about a few basic steps you take from the very start. Then it just becomes the matter of your voice and personality.

Just a few things you need to remember about blog SEO: read more…

3 Basic Steps to Making Your New Blog SEO-Friendly

2010 May 11
by Annie Wallace

No matter, what you may have heard, SEO (search engine optimization) is not actually a rocket science and WordPress SEO is not really hard to handle at home.

Think of this the following way: search bots only “see” text and keywords, they are straightforward and, well, they are machines. Your only task is to make your blog easy to understand even for those empty-headed robots. This means, have your important words on the important places, have lots of content and update your blog often – this way you are making your blog “search-friendlier”).

This and an upcoming post will list some essential steps to improving your new blog SEO to ensure search engines will “like” it.

This post lists just few basic steps to take. It is important to follow those step from the very start so that the URL and blog structure did not change after the blog had been found and indexed by search engines.

So, here you go: read more…

Step 2: Choose a Reliable but Affordable Hosting Provider

2010 April 18
by Annie Wallace

Choose reliable and affordable hostingSo now that you have a domain, let’s host your blog (we have agreed that you need a self-hosted blog, remember? so no free hosting plans, please).

Why is this step important?

A good hosting choice is actually crucial. If you pick a good provider from the very start, you are lucky (I wasn’t when starting).

Web hosting directly influences your site user experience and its performance in Google search results pages. It determines the site speed and uptime (which means how often the site is working versus how often it is actually down and inaccessible for both your readers and search engine crawlers). read more…

How To Be a Successful Blogger

2010 April 17
Partial map of the Internet based on the Janua...

Image via Wikipedia

Ann was perfectly correct when she spoke about making a decision about hosted versus self-hosted, or free blog platforms in her 3 things to do from the very start post last week. She seems to think that a self hosted blog gives a blogger more respectability, and I think for the most part I agree. But there is an exception to every rule and this one is for you Ann!

Knowing Ann like I do she has probably been following this lady for a long time and I’ll come off looking like an idiot. Oh well, wouldn’t be the first time!. Anyway, she goes by the pen name Ms. Ileane Speaks and she is one of the best resources for new and experienced bloggers online today, being especially good at instructing new bloggers in how to navigate their way through the Blogosphere, using all the tips, shortcuts and those fascinating little tricks she knows to help bloggers gain authority in their niches and ways to improve page rank and increase traffic. read more…

Hosted or Self-Hosted Blogs

2010 April 16
by Dick Schaefer

for lightening fast posting, enjoy a frosty can of WordPress Energy Juice, NOT sold in stores!

I agree with Ann that a self-hosted blog is the better way to go if you hope to be taken as a serious blogger, however, in my opinion, a hosted (free) blog is a great way to start and an economical way to find out if you want to become a serious blogger. Later on you can easily upgrade to a self hosted blog, especially if you choose a WordPress platform.

The main problems I see with hosted (free) blogs is that, in the blogging world, the word “free”, translates into limited functionality, loss of control and a lack of respect. Here is a great article on the 10 Reasons to Self-Host Your Own Blog, a very well written and comprehensive post on the subject by Dele Alawa. Having said that, I can tell you as the owner of 9 self-hosted blogs, it gets a bit expensive when you have to upgrade to newer versions and it’s a bit more complicated to run depending on the number of plug-ins you decide you need.

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Mom’s Know All About Mistakes!

2010 April 16
by Dick Schaefer

Such as why did they marry that jerk in the 1st place and what can a single mom do to earn some extra money? Why, blog, of course, the easiest way to make money with your clothes on!

Blogging, according to my blogging friend Ann, is a great way to earn substantial income, just by talking about the things that moms do every day.  In her latest post, the three things to do from the very start she is telling bloggers where to start. That’s a good thing and something I wish would have been available when I started blogging. The best advice I could give to a new blogger would be to follow the advice and council of another more experienced blogger. Someone who came into blogging before you, bloggers who have learned from their mistakes and who want to share their knowledge with newbie bloggers, providing them with free advice, tips and shortcuts that will make blogging easier than ever for those already overstressed moms.

Any advice from a blogger you admire is free for the asking and you can get it via the comment system of a blog. Here is a great little tutorial on How To Comment from my friend and fellow blogger, Extreme John. Don’t be fooled by his appearance, he is an amazing individual. Learning the art of commenting is the thing that will eventually make you an authority in your niche – if you know the protocol.  We will offer new bloggers a whole bunch of time-saving and frustration-fighting tips and shortcuts within this blog and hope you will enjoy.

Forget all that stuff I said at the beginning of this paragraph, I was just being my usual obnoxious self.

read more…

The Three Things to Do From the Very Start

2010 April 9

Things to remember from the very startI know that no matter what everyone says, you’ll still screw at some things when starting over. This is inevitable and some mistakes you just need to make to become a better blogger and marketer in the future.

However there are things that you’d better learn from the very beginning before you make a mistake.

As the one who have been blogging for two years now, I can look back and easily tell what I did wrong from the very start. Some mistakes were exactly those that make me feel thankful for making them now (though at that time I didn’t feel that way). However about some of them I think “I wish I hadn’t done that”.

Those were not anything crucial. But those mistakes held me back for some time or caused some serious headache, so you’d better read further. Here are them:

1. Self-owned hosting and self-owned domain

This actually means no Blogger and no blog. Even if you don’t plan to make anything huge yet, you actually never know. Besides this is not going to be a huge investment. A domain costs around $10 and a basic hosting plan won’t cost you more than $5 per month. read more…

When Moms Speak Corporate America Listens?

2010 March 31
by Dick Schaefer

Note from Ann Smarty: OK, I understand (and appreciate) the reaction to this post. Since I am co-owner of this blog, it reflects on me. But it is NOT how I think (just to be clear). Also, please check out this post to get the discussion further the rant:

Should Businesses Pay Mommy Bloggers?

My friend and fellow blogger Ann Smarty and I have differing opinions about moms who blog.  She claims that chatter in the mommy blogosphere captures the attention of retailers and product makers and that mom bloggers have influence on their fellow shoppers as well. This may be true about a very limited number of mom’s who blog but as far as your everyday, average mom goes, my opinion still stands, and that is instead of wasting their precious mom time on endeavors better left to experts, that their time is better spent on making a good home for their working husbands.

When Moms Speak Do Retailers Listen?

Ann also suggests that these same retailers and product makers are listening,  as evidenced by a few companies like Gap, Walmart and Old Navy, companies who are asserting that these moms are “the voice of our customers, ” and that “we are working harder to develop and maintain their trust by responding to their feedback.” Or  “we see moms who blog as a vital force for our brand strategy.” read more…

Get a Domain Name That Sticks in the Mind

2010 March 12
by Annie Wallace

Domain name that sticksPicking a domain for your new blog is what you’ll need to do first. Your domain is what people will memorize and associate with your blog which is why finding a good catchy name is so important. While trying to create a domain name, be sure to keep the following rules of thumb in mind:

  • Your domain should create a clear association. What will people imagine when looking at it? A city? a family? a blogging woman? This clear association will help them remember your blog and its address next time when they think, “Where did I read about that just the other day?
  • Your domain should be ideally short. No more than 3 short words in it; more will be harder to remember.
  • Your domain should be easy to visualize via the blog design. Try to imagine how your blog might look like when choosing the name. Is it easy for you to draw the concept expressed by some domain?
  • .com domain still rocks: pick a .com domain unless you want to have hard time making people remember your blog is on .net, .org or .whatever domain. People still type .com instinctively.
  • Your domain should reflect your passion, lifestyle, topic you would be excited to cover.

Start with finding a concept. To help you get inspired, here are a few patterns that mommy bloggers use to create a good relevant domain name that is easy to remember and cool to brand in the blog design: read more…