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New WordPress Plugin – P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)

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A new WordPress plugin authored by GoDaddy has been released. The P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) “creates a profile of your WordPress site’s plugins’ performance by measuring their impact on your site’s load time.”

Many plugins can cause major issues with WordPress sites, but this plugin helps profile and report performance issues.

If you have ever had issues with a site that loads slow, it can often be due to a poorly configured plugin or because there are too many plugins installed in the first place. With the P3 plugin, you can pinpoint what’s causing the slowness of your site.

To download the P3 plugin, visit the plugin page on the WordPress.org site here.

Have you downloaded the P3 plugin yet? I am downloading it now and am hoping it will help my blogs’ performances.

Parenting Blogging is a Business, Let’s Work on Treating It That Way

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Parenting blogging is a business. That’s what Type A Parent founder Kelby Carr expressed today (November 4th) at BlogWorld Los Angeles. In her session entitled “Parent Bloggers Mean Business: Building Success, Respect, Confidence and Income”, she covered some fantastic points on ways parent bloggers can step it up to the next level and be taken seriously.

She had so many insightful words to say about this industry, (And yes, blogging is an industry. Be sure and take a look at some stats from Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere Report from today.) but I want to cover just a few that stood out to me.

If you want to set yourself up as a business and be taken seriously, it all starts with earning respect. Here are five points Kelby gave on building respect as a parent blogger:

1. Have confidence.

When it comes to parent bloggers in general, Kelby said what she would like to see is “people having a healthy confidence”. Meaning, not seeing yourself as entitled, but also not having a low self-esteem.

2. Don’t obsess over the competition.

Instead of competing against other bloggers, compete against yourself. Don’t get into dragging other people down, so you can try to win.

3. Get paid for work.

This is a touchy and interesting subject among bloggers and PR companies. Do we pay bloggers and how much? Kelby said “If we work for free, it will bring down our image.”

4. Don’t be a brand groupie.

There is a fine line between networking and falling all over a brand. You don’t need to be rude, but remember it’s a business relationship. Kelby said “Don’t be a fan girl just because they’re a fortune 500 company.”

5. Behave like a professional and treat your blog like the business it is.

Spell check is your friend. A good design is your friend. Being mindful of how you act in the social space is your friend. You know the saying, “If you treat your blog like a business, it will pay like a business”.

Kelby shared many more valuable tips on parenting blogger success including strategic risk taking, reigning in your focus and some tactics for making a living at this thing we call blogging. To hear these tips and more, watch Kelby’s entire session when you purchase the BlogWorld Virtual Ticket.

What are some ways you think parent bloggers can gain respect and do better at treating their blog as a business?

Three Books Written For Bloggers by Bloggers

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I’ve really been into reading books about blogging lately and have snatched up some good ones I think you should know about. Two are geared specifically for mom bloggers and one is for anyone who blogs.

As bloggers, I truly believe we should continually be educating ourselves about this ever-changing industry. Allison gives us some fantastic blogging tips here and there are several blogs I follow on a weekly basis that give me ideas and insight into the blogging industry.

There are also some great books out there that I believe are a must-read. Here’s my list of three books written by bloggers for bloggers:

1. ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income – by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

I devoured Darren and Chris‘s first Problogger book when it came out in 2008. I had only been blogging for about 3 years and knew I had so much more to learn. I still remember fixing myself a cup of coffee, turning off the TV and computer and snuggling up on the couch for a good read. I am so glad I invested the money and the time in this book.

And now they have the updated version of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income that came out in April of 2010. Yes, I bought that one as well.

If you’re fairly new to blogging, I would recommend picking up a copy of this book. It lays a good foundation for you and walks you through the steps of turning your blogging hobby, into a full-time career. Which is exactly what the authors of the book have done.

2. Mom Blogging for Dummies by Wendy Piersall, Foreward by Heather Armstrong

Obviously the title gives it away that this is for mom bloggers. Mom Blogging for Dummies was written by Wendy Piersall, who is a brilliant blogger and has turned it into a career. The book came out in July of this year, so it’s very up-to-date (although blogging seems to change everyday doesn’t it?).

Whether you are ready to start your very first mom blog or you need some help taking your existing one to the next level, this book is for you. I’ve been blogging since 2005 and gained so much by reading Wendy’s book.

My favorite part was definitely the 10 examples of successful mom bloggers that she gave. It was interesting to read about their stories and how they got to where they are today. Some make money from their blogs and some make money as a direct result of their blog. It goes to show blogging isn’t a cookie cutter industry.

Wendy takes you through topics such as choosing a business model, writing a blog post people will want to read, how to be brand friendly and how to think like an entrepreneur.

3. The Digital Mom Handbook: How to Blog, Vlog, Tweet, and Facebook Your Way to a Dream Career at Home by Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla

The Digital Mom Handbook to me was very inspirational. It also was recently released in July of this year. Audrey and Colleen told their stories of how they got to where they are now – both top mom bloggers and making a fantastic living at it. They also talk about juggling the role as mom and business woman, something a lot of moms struggle with on a daily basis.

Here are their seven basic steps to success given in the book:

1. Find your passion.
2. Hang a digital “shingle” and start typing.
3. Find your tribe.
4. Make opportunity knock and learn how to answer that door.
5. Manage the Benjamins.
6. Don’t forget the children!
7. Live happily ever after by living your values.

A great read for any mom who has found herself, by accident or on purpose, in the world of blogging and trying to turn it into a living.

All of these books do have one common theme – find your passion and write about it. Don’t do what Deal Debbie is doing just because it seems to be working for her. Find a topic you love and go for it!

Are there any books on blogging you have read and would recommend?

Three Ways to Use Twitter Lists to Build Blog Traffic

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When I first signed up for Twitter, I didn’t use the list function at all. I didn’t even realize they had one, and I was following so few people that it didn’t really matter whether or not I had them categorized. As I began to “meet” people online and the number of people I followed grew, I suddenly needed to create lists in order to make sure I didn’t miss the tweets I really wanted to see. I have lists for blogging friends, lists for people I know in real life, lists for those I’m following who are gamers, and more. Organization is important to me, so I make good use of lists.

But lists are great for another reason too. When used correctly, they can actually help you build blog traffic. Today, I wanted to talk about three ways I’ve seen people using lists to drive traffic to their blogs, including some tips I’ve done myself.

Disclaimer: I do not encourage you to have “fake friendships” on Twitter or other social media sites. Basically, tweet with people because you like them, not because you think you can leverage your friendship to make money in the future! These tips are simply ways you can organize Twitter to make it more effective for driving blog traffic while still maintaining friendships and meeting new people.

Twitter List Tip #1: List chat participants.

I love taking part in Twitter chats, including our very own #BWEchat (held every Wednesday). When I participate in a chat that has to do with my blog niche, I like to add participants to a special list. After all, they’re all talking about the same topic, so they must be interested in it! Throughout the week, I often see chat participants asking questions about the topic at hand, and I can swoop in to answer them, even linking to past blog posts if relevant. Throughout the week, I’ll delete people who don’t engage or are spammy, follow the people who are friendly, and then clean out the list to prepare for the next chat.

Twitter List Tip #2: Create a list for conferences.

BWELA is coming up in less than a month, so now’s prime time to start preparing for BlogWorld and test out this tip for yourself. As you see people tweeting about going (follow the #BWELA hashtag), add them to a list of your own and interact with them. You’ll make some new friends, and be able to plan some great meet-ups while you’re in LA. The added bonus (and traffic-driving portion of this tip) is that most people who are going to meet you in real life take a moment to check out your blog.

Twitter List Tip #3: Go for the multiple RTs.

People retweet posts all the time. Sometimes because they’re friends with you already, while other times because they just happened across your link via a friend or search engine and liked the post. Those are people who have already raised their hands and said they like your blog! Add them to a list and build that relationship. You can even notify them when you’ve written something similar to something they’ve retweeted in the past (though try not to be too spammy).

Do you use Twitter lists to build traffic? Share your tips with a comment below!

About.com Reveals “The Three Mindsets of Search” Study Findings

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About.com released their findings of “The Three Mindsets of Search” study that I thought was very interesting.

As I am writing up a blog post, I do focus on keywords and a few other basic SEO principles, but am offering what the people who arrive at my blog were searching for? Am I catering to their search mindset?

The study revealed three types of search mindsets: “Answer Me”, “Educate Me” and “Inspire Me.” Here are each of the mindsets explained and the categories they apply to. Find out which mindset your blog topic falls under.

Answer Me (46% of all searches) — People in an Answer Me search want exactly what they ask for, and no more, delivered in a way that allows them to get to it as directly as possible. The top categories in Answer Me search are Entertainment, Fashion and Beauty & Style.

Educate Me (26% of all searches) — People in an Educate Me search want 360 degrees of understanding, and multiple perspectives on critical topics. They will search until their goal is achieved — which may stretch over long periods of time and through related topics. The top categories in Educate Me search are Health and Finance.

Inspire Me (28% of all searches) — The fun, “browsy” type of search, where people are looking for surprises, have open minds and want to be led. The top categories in Inspire Me search are Travel and Home & Garden.

The basics of this study show marketers how to really connect with the people who use their products. It also helps us bloggers know the types of searchers that are arriving on our site.

For example, if you write about topics in the Health and Finance realm, you really need to lay it all out there, as well as provide them with a way to get more information. For those of you who write about Entertainment or Style topics, you need to provide quick and easy ways to help them find exactly what they were looking for.

What is your blog topic and what are some ways you can improve the overall design of your blog, as well as your individual blog posts to cater to your type of searcher?

How Not to Pitch to a Blogger

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I’ve been blogging for about 6 years, so I have a few PR connections. Which means my inbox is full (overflowing!) with pitches from PR companies everyday.

I can tell when a pitch is personal and I can tell when it’s been copied and pasted and sent to 1000s of other bloggers. If the pitch is personal or I have a long-standing working relationship with you, the more likely I am to respond.

This news article from SocialMedia.biz caught my eye. It’s entitled “How not to treat bloggers and how not to pitch blogs“.

Here are a couple of no-nos when it comes to pitching a blogger mentioned in the article:

Start off your pitch with “Dear Blogger”. I get these a lot or other forms such as Dear Staff or Dear Entertainment Bloggers. It’s nice to open your email with a pitch and see that they actually know your name. I’ve even had pitches sent that included the wrong name somewhere else in the email!

Formatting that is off. This always makes me laugh. I’ve received quite a few pitches that you can tell they copied and pasted the email from somewhere else. The strange mix of fonts and weird spacing clues you in.

As the author mentioned in the article, many times PR firms are understaffed, juggling too many tasks, do not have the proper training or are just starting out and haven’t acquired the proper tech skills yet. Which is why they sometimes come up short when it comes to their style of reaching out to bloggers.

Do you have any annoyances when it comes to a PR person reaching out to you?

For those of you who are new to working with brands and PR agencies, a couple of great articles to read are 28 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Working with Brands and Setting Up Your Blog to Work with Brands.

A New Way to Share Images with mrror.com

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A super easy new way to share photos from your webcam was released today. It’s called mrror and I’ve been playing around with it a little this morning.

Mrror gives you a quick way to posts photos to your blog or social media streams. You can also send a quick photo via email or IM. They say you’re only two clicks away from sharing a photo from your webcam and they aren’t kidding. Here’s a picture of me and my dog D’art that I took.


Just click the camera to take your picture and down at the bottom, there are several buttons to click on. You can choose from Twitter, Facebook, tumblr and the download button for quick saving to your computer. There’s also a link button which allows you to share links to your webcam photos.

After snapping the photo above, I shared it on Twitter with one click, as well as downloaded it to my computer.

Mrror also allows your webcam to be used as a mirror, a handy tool when time-crunched between meetings or video calls.

Can you think of ways you would use mrror.com either for blogging or social media?

Another Google Panda Update Made Late Last Week

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Have you noticed any changes in your blog traffic or rankings the last few days? I’ll be honest. I’ve been so busy I haven’t even checked my stats lately, but I am definitely about to after reading this latest news. I’m crossing my fingers it’s good news.

Google confirmed to Search Engine Land that they did indeed push out a small Google Panda update late last week. A Google spokesperson told them, “We’re continuing to iterate on our Panda algorithm as part of our commitment to returning high-quality sites to Google users. This most recent update is one of the roughly 500 changes we make to our ranking algorithms each year”.

Some webmasters have said that the changes in rankings was a positive one for them, which is always nice to hear after one of these updates.

Here are the Panda updates so far:

  • Panda Update 1.0: Feb. 24, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.0: April 11, 2011 (about 7 weeks later)
  • Panda Update 2.1: May 10, 2011 (about  4 weeks later)
  • Panda Update 2.2: June 16, 2011 (about 5 weeks later)
  • Panda Update 2.3: July 23, 2011 (about 5 weeks later)

So, it looks like about every month Google is pushing out a Panda update.

What does that means for us bloggers? Not much really, except keep pumping out good solid content and hope that if your site was hit badly one month, it might go up the next month. Or, you could try the little experiment HubPages has done with sub-domains.

Did you notice a drop in traffic or rankings and do you have any tips or tricks to share?

Grocery Chain Publix Gets Their Facebook Strategy Right

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According to TampaBayOnline, grocery chain Publix gained 100  friends a minute the day they launched their Facebook page. It seems they get it and their strategy was spot on. They currently have over 18,000 fans.

What are they doing exactly? You can’t purchase anything directly from the site and they’re not offering fans any special deals or offers. What they do have are lists of their BOGO deals, recipes from the Publix Aprons cooking brand and a place to learn about the Publix store brand products.

The page is very well organized and set up so you can browse and find exactly what you are looking for.

Believe it or not, this is Publix’s first experience with social media. A spokesperson for the store said, “we are excited to have a new way to communicate with and engage our customers”.

Having a Facebook page also allows fans of your store, brand, product or website to express their love, which you can see clearly happening on the Publix page.

What can we as bloggers take away from this example?

  • Find out what people visiting your Facebook page want to see
  • Make sure your page is well organized and easy to navigate
  • Give your fans a reason to come back to your page over and over again
  • Interact with your fans and let them know their comments are appreciated

Do you have any other Facebook tips to add?

Will Sub-Domains Help You Recover from the Google Panda Update?

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If you were one of the many people who’s sites were affected by the Google Panda update, most likely you are still trying to figure out how to bounce back. The update showed us one thing – that Google wants quality content, so those who have been hit are doing their best to give Google what they’re looking for.

Content is king, as we all know, but there might be some other tweaks you can make to help you climb back up the Google ladder. According to HubPages.com, it looks like they may have stumbled upon something that is helping make a difference.

HubPages.com was one of the largest sites hit by the Google Panda update. According to Paul Edmondson, it’s chief executive, after the update their web traffic dropped by 50%. That’s a huge drop, especially for a site which does have a lot of quality content.

So, what’s the secret? Sub-domains. You see, Google’s search engine had indexed some pages that were tied to “ww.hubpages.com” rather than “hubpages.com,” and they were ranking higher. Was this just a fluke of some sort? I don’t think so.

Edmondson sent an email to Google asking if sub-domains would make a difference in their rankings and he was told in an email that he might want to try them. They started implementing this in late June and here are the early results as reported by WSJ:

The HubPages subdomain testing began in late June and already has shown positive results. Edmondson’s own articles on HubPages, which saw a 50% drop in page views after Google’s Panda updates, have returned to pre-Panda levels in the first three weeks since he activated subdomains for himself and several other authors. The other authors saw significant, if not full, recoveries of Web traffic.

On Wednesday, HubPages.com began a full roll-out of sub-domains for its authors.

Were you hit by the Google Panda update and if so, are you willing to give sub-domains a try?

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