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Theme Frameworks – They’re Not That Simple

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Just how easy is it for bloggers to use a theme framework? Theme frameworks are generally created so you don’t have to mess around too much with the basic code. In fact in many cases you can use the theme options in the WordPress dashboard to fix your settings and get the look you want. Sitting on top of the framework (depending on the one you choose) can be a so-called ‘child theme’ which gives you a fresh look while leaving the underlying architecture untouched. I first came across the theme framework concept with Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid themes, which are still going strong, though somehow I never quite achieved the look that I wanted.

Thesis Theme

Next, I tried the Thesis theme. It’s amazing how much you can do with this theme (which is really a framework) without having to touch a single line of code. I love the fact that you can setup your layout, customize colors and tweak the search engine optimization options from within the dashboard. What I love even more is that any changes you make are stored in one of two files, a custom stylesheet and a custom functions file. (As long as you keep a backup of these files you will never have to lose your customizations.)

However, this is not to say that using Thesis is straightforward. When I first started customizing this site I spent hours running to research the things I wanted to do on the DIYThemes site. Often, the explanations were straightforward but occasionally I ended up breaking something and had to start again. Although it’s said to be easy, Thesis really isn’t that simple unless you already have great design and coding skills. However, if you want a search engine optimized theme that will look pretty good (if plain) as soon as you install it, then Thesis works. I have seen some awesome customizations of this theme, but mine wasn’t one of them so I decided to try something else.

Headway Theme

My most recent foray into working with theme frameworks has been the Headway theme. This theme seems more promising because you can drag and drop boxes on the page you are editing, save and see exactly how your site will look. Unlike Thesis, when you first install Headway, it doesn’t look that great, as you have to set up some options first.

The Headway theme offers many of the same options as Thesis but with the added advantage of a visual editor. I’ve found this theme the easiest for someone who has limited design or coding skills. You can select every element and see how it will look when you change it. If you don’t like something, just exit without saving and start again. Having said that, if you really want to fine tune your design you will have to make some customizations in the style sheet or functions file.

Choosing A Theme Framework

So how do you decide which one to choose? As I said before one of the key issues when choosing a theme is support. The DIY Themes forum is active and you can get advice on almost any topic related to the theme. There is also a large community of thesis users who are always willing to help. Although the headway forum has less to offer, the online support from other users is excellent. To give an example, I asked a question on Twitter and in 10 minutes I had five people offering to help, one of whom created a video. (Since both themes work using hooks, I sometimes find the help I need via the Thesis site and apply the tips to Headway; it works 90 per cent of the time.)

Sitting On The Fence

If you are comfortable messing around with the custom files, then the real question to consider is whether you want the instant gratification of drag-and-drop or whether you are happy to wait a while and see how it all looks together. I couldn’t decide, so I use Thesis on one of my sites (which I hardly tweak) and Headway on the other (which I tweak a LOT). My one niggle with Headway is that the drag and drop can be buggy, occasionally randomly loading an image on another page and forcing you to start over.

Finally, there is one thing that I have learned from this whole process. Web designers really are worth their hire because even with the help of killer theme frameworks like the ones listed here you still have to spend a lot of time – and patience – to get exactly the look you want.

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Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website or Google+.

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Landing Page Optimization Tips for Better Conversion

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Properly designed and optimized landing pages often generate more leads than those that are poorly built. Overall layout and design of a landing page should support your compelling copy and also work great with other elements to persuade landing users to take an action you want. Whether you want to build a landing page for your next digital marketing campaign or simply want to optimize an existing one for better conversion, you can make use of the following landing page optimization tips to generate more leads.

Be Sure to Craft Convincing & Catchy Headlines

A perfect landing page always has a headline that describes an offer or product clearly. You can make a headline compelling and catchy too by adding some strong and convincing words in it. By doing so, you will successfully be able to persuade your audience to read the full copy. You can also test different headlines to find out which one works well for you.

Design Makes the Difference

A landing page sounds like a virtual shopping window for each your visitors, and if it is appealing enough to grab the attention, it will make your service, product or offer look great too for them. Simple yet creative and pleasing to eye design and a well-written copy are the most important elements of a winning landing page. These both should work together in order to encourage visitors to take action. After choosing a perfect design, you need to make sure that content is also placed in the right order to make sense. You can also visit https://landingi.com/blog/create-landing-pages-that-convert to create landing pages for better conversions.

Choose Typography Prudently

Typography can make a huge difference between an appealing and ugly landing page. That is the reason you should choose the typography for your landing pages carefully to make the content more logical to the visitors. A well formatted and easy to read copy keeps the visitors focused and also reduce the efforts required to read.

Compelling & Scannable Copy

Clean and crisp tone should be used to create a compelling copy for a landing page, in order to convey the value of your offer or product. Majority of the web users usually scan the web content to find exactly what they need to know. That’s why the copy create for a landing page should also be scannable for the visitors. Use of the different font sizes is a superb idea to differentiate between the more and less important contents of a landing page.

Optimize for Search Engines

Make your landing page appear in top search engine results by using different on-page SEO tactics. Optimizing your landing page for search engines is the best way to get a huge amount of organic visits. Creative use of target keywords in the content, personalized URL, meta tags, meta description and image alt tags are some best-known SEO practices to increase the visibility of your landing page in search engines.

An attention-grabbing CTA

You have to be careful while making and placing CTA (call to action) on your landing page because the design and location of the CTA matters a lot. The core purpose of a call to action is to get visitors excited about the offer by letting them know what they are going to get. Adding it on the page too early can irritate and even scare your visitors. So, find out the best time and location to add CTA ingeniously into the page.

A/B Test

A/B testing is the way to compare two different designs or pages in order to find out which one is more effective and fertile as well. After getting the test results, optimize each and every element of your landing page to make it work the best for you.

If you want to improve your blogging or affiliate marketing earnings and conversions, be sure to start implementing each of these methods above into your content creation and marketing strategies.

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How to Do Blogger Outreach Right

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Blogger outreach confuses most bloggers.

People reach out in desperation.

Or bloggers reach out trying to get something from influential bloggers.

I either block or ignore most blogger outreach emails because people want to use me for my blogging platform. Sure I am promised a rich link, a valuable post or some other enticement, but most bloggers using crappy outreach tactics:

  • are unknown
  • offer little value
  • want to use me and my blog for their gain
  • are not connected
  • are not influential
  • have no clout
  • have not paid their dues
  • have not helped people freely
  • have not earned the right to appear on my blog

Observe Bubbie Gunter. Follow him. He does outreach right.

He reaches out to me by helping me. He is generous. He focuses on me. What does this prove? He wanted to befriend me because he was interested in me, NOT in what I could do for him. Naturally, I happily promoted him, we became friends and one neat benefit is we keep helping each other. Bubbie also purchased some of my stuff; bonus points, my Young Blogging Padawans, if you want to stand out in my mind.

I get emails from bloggers all the time who want to appear on my blog but who complain about spending money for sponsored posts. Other bloggers complain about spending money for a freaking 4 dollar eBook. Other bloggers complain about spending money on my 350 dollar blogger course. How in God’s name do you expect to impress me if you complain about what I offer? Thousands of people complain. I ignore these thousands of people. A handful of generous, kind bloggers like Bubbie promote me and buy my stuff. Can you see why he gets a link on Blogging Tips?

I trust him because he did blogger outreach right. He helped me. He did not reach out, to manipulate me to help him. He did not reach out cold. He did not reach out as a stranger. He reached out generously, warmly and genuinely. He did blogger outreach right.

Picture break; check out my current street in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Blogger Outreach Is Helping and Hugging Not Asking for Hand Outs

Most bloggers reach out to bloggers, asking for a hand out. Hey, can you help me out? Hey, I need a link on your blog. Hey, I need a link to my business but even though I love your blog SO much, your rate does not fit into my budget. Lame.

A few bloggers reach out to help me and hug me. Warm and generous, these wise bloggers retweet my post, buy an eBook and email me to connect deeper. Help and a hug. Meanwhile, all other bloggers find my spam folder or simply give up after I ignore their 3 follow up emails.

Strangers fade away. Friends thrive.

Strangers vanish. Friends prosper.

Self-serving, greedy or desperate bloggers fail. Generous, connected bloggers succeed.

Watch my recent live video from Thailand:

Alonzo Pichardo, Jan Verhoeff and Monna Ellithorpe watched my video and chatted with me. No agendas. Not trying to GET anything. Doing what friends do. I take care of my friends. I love giving my friends oodles of links on my blog and via my guest posts. I love helping them. Organic, pure, powerful blogger outreach in action. Help people, make friends, have fun, prosper.

The alternative; try blog on your own, as a stranger. Reach out cold. Get pissed off when you only deal with strangers pitching you, said strangers not respecting you because they do not know you.

You can be on the outside looking in. Or you can do blogger outreach right and be connected.

Your choice.

Before we go, you can grab my blogger outreach eBook here:

13 Tips to Make Your Blogger Outreach Campaign Sizzle

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1 Uncomfortable But Necessary Step to Making More Money through Your Blog

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10 years ago I relied on 1 prospering stream.

Today I rely on no income streams.

I figured out; helping people for free and being detached about 5 to 10 to 15 income streams helped me make more money through my blog.

Making this journey from attachment to one stream, to detachment from many streams, felt incredibly uncomfortable. I felt terrified to gradually release different income streams on the journey too. I loved freelance writing. Made some nice coin through the income channel. But intuitively, I knew I had to let it go to move toward eBooks, courses and a 100% passive income model because going passive helps me focus exclusively on creating content and earning money around the clock as I traveled the globe.

Heck yeah I enjoyed trading time for money many years ago because doing so felt comfortable and familiar. Heck yeah I feared trusting that my passive income would grow if I added many passive streams to my blogging portfolio and if I focused on creating content.

But here I am. Living in Thailand for months.

The Step

Eventually, to make more money through your blog, you need to add a passive or semi-passive income model and get incredibly busy helping people for free, because few folks on earth charge $50,000 or more per hour. I have no idea about Tony Robbin’s hourly coaching rates. But I know he ain’t charging only $1000 per hour. He is the most famous coach on earth. He coaches former presidents and the best athletes on earth. Outside of being the most famous or most skilled human on earth in your niche, you WILL hit an earnings ceiling trading time for money solely via an active income model.

But if you add 1, 2 then 10 passive income elements to your blog, earnings potential has no ceiling. Someone can buy my blogging course in the next hour. $350. 10 people can buy my eBooks, priced at about 4 smackers. Someone may advertise on my blog. Another blogger buys 3 of my audio books. All buys occur while I write this post or perhaps fall within a window where I write 3 posts for my blog.

Passive income can increase exponentially through as many channels as you open, at any time, from all over the globe.

Photo break; me by the roof top pool here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Owners do not trade time for money. Owners invest money and energy, and build a fortune passively. Why? Owners know passive income potential has no limits, with exponential growth over time. Every one of the top 1,000 wealthiest people on earth worked for FREE for many years to set up passive income that made them the wealthiest people on earth. Although some of these icons may make coin through sky high hourly consulting rates, the billions of their net worth flowed in passively, due to their free service, free help and generous value shared.

Leave the employee mindset of trading time for money behind.

Embrace the owner mindset of opening 1, 2 or 15 passive income streams. Give 99% of your time and energy to creating helpful content and building bonds with top bloggers like Kulwant Nagi. He teaches you how to make money blogging through passive income models and is a fabulous dude too. Follow him.

Feel free to keep an active income model open. Coaching, freelance writing or consulting can be lucrative streams, for sure. But every hour you spend trading time for money, I am creating free content that expands my reach and helps me earn money through 15 passive income streams.

I learned from the great Bob Proctor that multiple sources of passive income can help you live a life of freedom. Years ago, Bob had already opened and earned through 220 passive income streams. No; that is not a typo.

Are you trading time for money, solely?

You better open passive streams and get busy helping people for free.

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