November 2017 – 5 Ways to Rock a Blog Without Losing Your Cool

Thank you to all who came out for our November Meetup! It was a great success and everyone I talked to about it loved everything Sylvia had to say about blogging.

 

Sylvia Hubbard

Sylvia Hubbard is a Detroit author and founder of Motown Writers Network. She has published over 40 books on suspense romance and one book on Internet Marketing for Writers. She presented various tips and tricks on the basics of blogging, how to organize, monetize, and get content to keep your blog up and running for 365 days without driving yourself to distraction.

 

The Basics of Blogging

“Blogging is part of social media, you should engage.” – Sylvia Hubbard

The presentation started by going over the basics of a blog. A blog is a collection of regularly updated articles or stories on a website, sometimes written in an informal or conversational style as well as more formally or as a case study.

Why Blog?

A blog helps you establish authority, as well as creating opportunities for you and other people. By establihsing authority and blogging consistently you become a thought leader in your space, while helping other learn from you and your work. There are a lot of different ways and things you can blog about as well.

Different types of Blogs

The variety of different blog types help you to fit into the niche that you want. We went over a few different types:

  • Personal – Mommy Blogs, Cooking, Kids, Birdwatching, etc.
  • Corporate – Healthcare, Marketing, Web Design, Accessibility, etc.
  • By Genre – This could cover specific topics in each category. Mommy Blogs, Web Design, etc.
  • By Media Type – Video Blogs (YouTube), Photo Blogs (Flickr), Audio Blogs (Podcasts), etc.
  • Combination of Types – Sometimes people combine all of there stuff into one, and separate the categories, which works just as well. It also gives your users more insight on who you are as an individual, professionally and personally.

The web being what is is today, there are a variety of tools to help you get a blog up and running, most of the time for little to no cost.

Blogging Platforms

The blogging platform you choose matters. The short list of Blogging platforms that you are free to explore: WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Blogger, YouTube, Tumblr, Medium and More. Though our Meetup we are partial to WordPress, the other options out there work well in a variety of circumstances.

One of our leaders, Deborah, wrote a blog post on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org that has a great comparison of features.

Based on the presentation, Sylvia describes WordPress:

WordPress.com is like an apartment. You can’t change the complete structure, or move everything around. But some things can be changed to your liking.

WordPress.org is like a House. You are open to do anything you want. You can change the structure completely, make it look exactly like you want it to.

The platform you choose will depend on the content you want to put out, your audience, your preferences on how the platform works. You also want to take into account the must haves to gain and retain your audience.

Must Haves for a Blog

Whatever platform you choose, make sure that you give your users access to: Email Subscription, Feed-burner, and Sharing Tools. WordPress and Blogger have a widget for the various necessities.

If you want to do a blog about something you may have different types of content, using written words, spoken words or video. So you may use a combination of WordPress, Youtube and SoundCloud to host your blog posts. You should definitely strategize before getting to far ahead of yourself.

Strategy is Key – Organizing Your Thoughts

Your first step in anything is to plan, planning is a great habit to get into. I personally have a plan for the plan and a backup plan just in case. Sylvia suggests keeping a blogging journal and that you should set up an Editorial Calendar. Gather your ideas and make your decisions, the what, why and how.

What: Setting up any plan for anything is great.

  • What are you blogging about?
  • What is your plan?
  • What are your interests?
  • What are your goals? Present Goals? One Year Goals? Future Goals?

Why: Reasons for blogging.

  • Compare yourself to the competition.
  • Why should people buy from you? Read from you?
  • What should they care about your product or service?Do you have a product people want?
  • Why are you credible? Do you offer value or expertise?

How: Tailor a strategy.

  • How are you going to get new eyes on your content?
  • How will you get return visitors to buy/subscribe?
  • How will you generate drip income?

Once you have an answer to all of the above questions you can get started. Knowing what you want to blog about, why people should read your blog over the competitions and how you are going to get people coming back gives you a great backbone. After establishing that, work out your plan of attack and get going on your editorial calendar, plan of the next year of blogging with different types of content.

Types of Content for Your Blog

So overall you want to keep a theme for your blog and talk about your expertise and knowledge in the subject matter, but as mentioned before it can sometime spill into multiple niches.

Start with an introduction to the blog, tell the users about your story. Give the users the reasons why they should read your blog. Give the users a sense of what your pillar content and what they can expect to read on your blog with a variety of different ways to post.

Content + Consistency = Success

People say content is king, but consistency is queen and she wears the pants! – Sylvia Hubbard

Engage! Engage! Engage!

Posting Ideas – 52 Weeks in a Year

Each week you can post a few different ways that highlight your content. Sylvia showed us a different way to post every day of the week, users like consistency.

  • You can write 52 articles / quotes from your book / tag lines with explanations
  • You can make 52 videos (no more than a minute long)
  • You can take 52 pictures (high quality, no bathroom photos)
  • You can make 52 audio files or interviews with other authors (no more than 3 minutes long)
  • You can reuse evergreen material 52 times or reposts other authors resources
  • You can find 52 quotes
  • You can give 52 ways tips you’ve succeeded & failed at writing, publishing and marketing

Other Posting Ideas for Unique Traffic Increases

There are even more ways to post, these can specifically get you some unique traffic increases:

  • Collaboration – Two Heads are better than one, the sum is greater than the parts; you get the benefit of multiple author perspectives and appeal to more readers.
  • Strategic Alliances – Together you can response faster to market development and trends. You can easily develop a new combined strategy and share research or investment costs.
  • Guest Articles – You have the opportunity to get readership from the guest authors user base and vice versa. You bring in users that may not be typical to your blog.
  • Takeovers – Cross-over with different blog authors to take over there blog for a month. This way you get other bloggers traffic and the other blogger gets your traffic.
  • Linking – Definitely necessary to create the SEO that you need. You should link to links within your site and outside of your blog. Create material that people will link to, get that cross-pollination going.

Un-marketing

Remember: do not babysit, bandwagon or boast. Don’t just write something to have a presence. Do not jump on every trend, especially if it does not relate to your readers.

Talk about the subject, platform or brand, but don’t sell too much. You want to give value, give resources and share other blogs in your brand.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Remember what you have done in the past to the best of your ability. Same as in like don’t make the same mistake twice. Be sure to evaluate your successes and failures and learn from them, then teach others, so thay don’t make the same mistakes. Learning and sharing is important for growth.

Don’t forget to keep to your goals that you set, develop new goals, hit them and exceed them. If you do not have relevant, consistant content and you are not engaging your audience you may not make it too far.

Content + Consistency = Success

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Productivity & Workflow – WordPress Meetup (Notes)

5 “Getting Started” Productivity Hacks

(Download Slides)
Anthony Montalbano

@italianst4
ambrdetroit.com

It can be difficult to just get started and make an idea a reality. Anthony shared a few quick tips and methods for how to execute on your idea and ways to better hold yourself accountable. Let’s stop dreaming and start doing.

Do something

  • 1-3-5 Todo List
  • Today I will accomplish 1 big thing, 3 medium things, 5 little things

Keeps you on track with your tasks and helps to make sure you get the most important stuff done first.

Better Habits – Habit Forming/Breaking

  • Way of Life App
  • Every day the app asks you what you did to keep you on track with what you want to actually accomplish.

Keep tabs on you long term goals by making them your short term goals.

Zone Out

  • RescueTime App / Service
  • Flic button + IFTTT + Rescue Time
  • With the push of a button it locks the computer for productivity.

Keep yourself focused on the task at hand, block out the distractions.

Accountability

  • Google Calendar
  • When things are in a calendar they are more likely to get done.
    • Phone Calls
    • “Googling” / Research
    • Todo Items
    • Reading
    • Recreation Time
    • Meals
    • Meditation
    • Gym

Keep yourself accountable, keep in in your schedule.

Record Everything

  • Evernote / Voice Recorder
  • Simple voice recorder
    • USB built in to offload to computer.
    • Separate by folders
      • Random Thoughts
      • Projects
      • Etc.

Keep a record of everything, much easier to recall and remember if you have notes.

 

Benefits of Using Harvest – Invoicing and Time Management

Deborah Edwards-Onoro
@redcrew
lireo.com

Harvest is an online application that simplifies time tracking and invoicing. It provides powerful reporting, real-time access to tracking time, and fast invoicing and payment.

For Small Business Owners

  • Easy
  • Dependable
  • Customer Invoicing
  • Time Tracking

Easily do the admin and billing stuff you need to with clients.

It’s Online

  • Access Anywhere

Web-based so it can be used anywhere with an internet connection as well as on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device with ease.

Send Invoices to pay online

  • Or have a pdf emailed

Payments are easily handled online, or in a standard invoice format pdf for the client to print and mail a check.

Secure Online Payment Processing

  • Stripe Integration
  • PayPal Integration
  • Etc.

Plenty of payment processing options to integrate with.

Other Benefits

  • Customize invoices
  • Add personalized messages per invoice
  • Automatic late notices
  • Time Tracking Made Easy
    • Track by client, project, task
    • Create itemized invoices

Makes tracking, invoicing and collecting easy!

Integration

  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Slack
  • Basecamp

Plenty of integration options to choose from.

Apps

  • Android and iPhone
  • Chrome and Safari Extension

Use it on the go or in your workflow, great apps/extensions to use.

 

Task Management with Trello

Eric Malcolm
@eric_malcolm
malcolmdigital.com

Trello is an online task management application that uses boards (lists of lists), filled with cards to organize projects of any size as well as life.

Break it Down with Boards

  • Boards, Lists and Cards to break things down
  • Board for a “Project”
  • Board for “In-Progress” for the Week:
    • Days listed and tasks updated daily

Project Board

  • Resources
    • “Project A” – Link to Article
  • Ideas
    • “Project A” – We should do this
  • Features
    • “Project A” – Blogging Ability (categories, tags, etc.)
  • Tasks
    • “Project A” – Setup Theme
    • “Project A” – Install This Plugin
  • In-Progress
    • “Project A” – Setup WordPress
  • Blocked
    • “Project A” – Install This Plugin
      • Client hasn’t decide whether or not to use this plugin
  • Complete

In-Progress Board

  • Sunday
    • Relax
    • Do some Reading
  • Monday
    • “Project A” – Setup WordPress
    • “Project B” – This Task
  • Tuesday
    • “Project B” – That Task
    • “Project A” – Setup Theme
    • “Project A” – Install This Plugin
  • Etc.

Easily keep track of you daily tasks, project tasks, notes and more with Trello boards, lists and cards. Check out some Trello Board Inspiration to see what ways it is used by many, many people and organizations.

 

Pomodoro-ish

Amit Rathi
@amitrathik
ambrdetroit.com

Amit covered the traditional approach of Pomodoro, and how he adapted it into something that works with his day-to-day flow.

Use Time Tracking

  • Useful for billing
  • Useful to see where time is spent
  • Useful to make sure time is spent efficiently.

Always track your time, know what you are doing, how long it is taking you, etc.

Keep yourself accountable.

  • Time Track and “Bill” yourself, make sure you are doing what your time is worth

Bill yourself to keep yourself accountable.

What is pomodoro?

  • Time tracking technique
  • Set tasks that are doable within an allotted amount of time.
  • About single tasks and single focus for a certain amount for time.
  • Usually 25 minutes.
    • 25 minutes
    • 5 minute break
  • 4 times, then a 10 minute break.

Is this something I can get done in 25 minutes?

Website Header – 2 hours

Instead….

Website Logo – 25 minutes
Website Navigation Layout – 25 minute
Website Phone Number and Social Media – 25 Minutes
Website individual navigation – 25 minutes

Pros

  • Smaller, more completable tasks
  • Incorporate breaks
  • Makes it easier to stay focused
  • Works with time

Cons

  • Requires you to stick to a timer, even if you are done with a task
    only useful for individuals.
  • Difficult for team and collaborative tasks.

Getting started

  • Pick a task to do
  • Start the timer
  • Stop. Take a break
  • Repeat

Start by creating a task and a timer for 25 minutes. Tweak the time as needed on a case by case basis. Keep it simple. Make it flexible.

Thus, Pomodoro-ish..

Keep yourself accountable and productive with smaller tasks.

 

WordCamp Cincinnati 2016 – Call for Speakers, Sponsors and Volunteers

WordCamps, which are held each year across the globe, are informal, community-organized events that are put together by enthusiastic WordPress users to share information regarding website design and best practices within the WordPress ecosystem. WordPress Cincinnati, 2016 is the first WordCamp to ever be held in Cincinnati.

WordCamp attendees will include website developers, bloggers, and business owners that cut across a broad spectrum of interests and experiences. During WordCamp we will discuss how WordPress can be used to build websites, blogs, and apps. Because WordCamp is run by a dedicated group of volunteers and subsidized by generous sponsors, we are able to offer two days of knowledge based sharing for just $40. Comparable events range in price from $400 to upwards of $1900.

We invite the local and regional community to contribute to the success of this first event by participating as outlined below.

Invitation to Speakers:

If you would like to support the WordPress community by sharing your WordPress insights, please submit your proposal at WordCamp Cincinnati Speakers. Application deadline is August 14, 2016. We look forward to hearing from you!

Invitation to Sponsors:

Sponsorship of WordCamp Cincinnati 2016 will provide exposure to a broad assortment of WordPress users – from agencies, businesses, developers, bloggers, and designers. We invite you to support the local WordPress community. Enroll to be a sponsor at WordCamp Cincinnati Sponsors.

Invitation to Volunteers:

If you would like to support the WordPress community by volunteering, please sign up at WordCamp Cincinnati Volunteers.

Invitation to Attendees:

If you’d like to guarantee a spot at this popular event, register to attend at WordCamp Attendees.

We look forward to your participation and support of WordCamp Cincinnati 2016!

What’s New with WordPress 4.1 and the Twenty Fifteen Theme – January 2015 Meetup

Monday, January 12, 2015
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

For our January meetup, we’re taking a look at the recent WordPress 4.1 release and the new Twenty Fifteen default theme. Join us as our Metro Detroit WordPress leaders give an overview of the features and updates you can expect to find in WordPress 4.1 at the first meetup of 2015. Continue reading “What’s New with WordPress 4.1 and the Twenty Fifteen Theme – January 2015 Meetup”