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If You Aren’t Involved with Holiday Gift Guides, Why You Should Be

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The blogging world has quickly made the advent of the online holiday gift guide less of a one-of-a-kind idea and more of the latest super hot trend that readers now eagerly wait for and anticipate anxiously come November.  If you haven’t yet caught the gift guide bug, regardless of whether or not your blog is necessarily “product” related, I would highly, highly suggest you jump on track with the bloggers that have.  We will look at this from both sides, whether it makes sense to host a gift guide or whether you can get involved by promoting others.  And then we’ll look at just a few of the many benefits.

Hosting a Giveaway

If it makes any sense at all for you to host a gift guide on your blog, then I suggest you do so.  If nothing else, you should find yourself inundated with free products, which makes it a lot like Christmas at your house for the month or two preceding the holiday.  You have easy content to write for the product reviews, and you can reap the rewards of the benefits we’re about to discuss.  It can be time-consuming, of course.  It may require some extra site design, and it will demand some organizational skills to keep up with product offerings, writing reviews and socially promoting all your products.  But, in the long run, your payoff will be more than ample to compensate for the extra time spent on the blog.

Promoting Everyone Else’s Giveaways

If you run a strictly content-loaded site in which it would be entirely out of character for you to put something together like a gift guide, then I suggest you make it your ambition to produce top-notch content that condenses and lists everyone else’s hottest gift guides.  You can tailor this to whatever your niche is.  If you write content on economics and finance, then choose to compile the hottest gift guides targeted towards businessmen, the office worker, the hip & trendy of 2011, etc.  If you write content on SEO, I’d list all the gift guides geared to writers, readers, Google lovers, etc.  However, I happen to think the Holiday Gift Guide is one place you can very easily get away with unrelated content.  If you’ve come across the gift guides offering the coolest, most expensive products out there even if they’re recliners and wine coolers that have nothing to do with SEO, who cares?  Everyone wants a free recliner and a free wine cooler.  If you save readers time with awesome compiled lists of gift guides, there’s a good chance your lists will go viral, because we all want the best of the best, we all want discounts, we all want free stuff and we all want to save time.  You provide us any of that and we’ll probably tell our friends about you.

Benefits: The Traffic

Because gift guides typically do much more than simply offer “ideas” for gifts and in addition, come complete with discounts, specials, and in most cases, product giveaways, you’re almost guaranteed terrific increases in traffic (unless you hide the gift guide in your queue and do absolutely zero promotion).  We all know that nothing brings in readers and traffic quite like the idea of savings, especially the idea of something free, and in this economy with a holiday season that guarantees shoppers who are out to save and cut costs perhaps more than ever, a gift guide on your blog cannot help but bring in new eyes.  The giveaways, especially, can become your ticket to success.  Depending upon the value of products you can secure, you have the opportunity to infinitely boost your site traffic as word gets out about your $250 ice cream maker for giveaway or a gift of a wine-of-the-month club.

Benefits: The Linking

If you’re hosting a gift guide, your linking benefits will hopefully be achieved by the company donating to you.  Most companies want to get as much traffic to their product on your site as you do.  This means they will quite often promote you via their own blog, in which they will link out to your site.  The value of a high quality, high PR site linking out to you with a keyword or two is almost invaluable.  There’s also a very good chance they’ll promote your guide on their social media outlets, and while not producing a link, this will produce extra traffic.  If you are the blogger compiling lists of other gift guides, you’ll often find your linking benefit as other bloggers link back to you.  Sites that you promote by including them in your gift guide will often return the favor and link out to you somehow, as in: “See this Gift Guide listed in ‘The Top 10 Gift Guides of 2011’ at ___(your site here)____.”  You should also get all kinds of Tweets and Facebook likes from the bloggers you include as well as the deal savvy shoppers (who are more often than not hugely into social media).

Benefits: Increase Your Reputation

In the end, if nothing else you should have boosted your reputation.  Whether you offered the products or you helped save readers time by pointing them to the products, readers will love you.  They’ll probably at the very least, become a follower on Twitter and maybe even subscribe to your feed.  And, you can probably guarantee that if you actually put out something spectacular, that the next time you send out something saying that your readers “can’t miss it,” they probably wouldn’t dare to do so.  This means you’ve got increased and valuable reputation and credibility in your readers’ eyes, and if you can get some good, high-quality links out of it while you’re at it, you’ll also boost your reputation in Google’s eyes.  Win-win all around.

Bottom Line:  You Should Try It

I speak from personal experience here, which is why I feel so strongly about this.  This tactic works.  It’s painless and it’s actually downright fun when you get into it.  So, why not take the extra time and put something together that truly benefits your readers.  Make it your gift to them this holiday season as a thank you for sticking with you all year long.  And, if you still have any lingering doubts, just try it for a season and see how it works for you.

This guest post was written by freelancer Jocelyn, a blogger for Heater Home and has been working around the clock to get gifts like gorgeous fireplace heaters in gift guides across the nation. 

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Discover How to Build Your Website for Free with Mobirise

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Have you been thinking about designing a new website, but you’re worried that your technical skills are not up to spec? Would you rather avoid looking at any code whatsoever, instead working within an intuitive visual interface where you can drag-and-drop website elements, easily adjusting their parameters and specifics with just a few quick clicks of the mouse? And maybe you want to do all of this without spending a dime?

You’re in luck. Mobirise is a free website builder software package that is “perfect for non-techies who are not familiar with the intricacies of web development.” And every website you build with Mobirise will already be mobile-friendly, easily adapting to almost any screen for an excellent user experience. And yes, it really is free.

The Offline Website Builder

There are many aspects that separate Mobirise from other similar website builders, but perhaps one of the most important is that it functions as an offline app. Simply download the installer package for Windows or Mac.

What you’ll find with a lot of other website builders is that they are browser-based, meaning that you need to have an active Internet connection. This also means you’re at the mercy of potentially limited server-side resources too. What’s more, many of these website builders are heavily integrated with specific paid services. If you want to use XYZ site builder, you need to buy a hosting package from XYZ, for example.

That’s not at all the case with Mobirise. It’s locally-installed software on your computer, running like any other local program. What this means is that you are much more in control of your creations. The offline app is perfect for creating small and medium websites, landing pages, business pages, online resumes, portfolios, and even online stores.

Once the software is installed, you simply login with Facebook or Google. Alternatively, you can create a new account with just an email and password. They don’t ask for any other information and you can get started right away.

Designing a Website

By default, you’ll be shown a sample page when you first launch Mobirise on your computer. This is a good way to play around with the features and options before designing your own custom website. The interface is minimalist and very visual.

Website design is completed with “blocks” that you can drag and drop into the web design. There is a button at the top for switching between desktop and mobile view, so you’ll know what your website looks like on the two sizes of device displays. For each block, if you click on the “gear” icon near the top right, you’ll be presented with a series of block options and settings.

For the intro block above, for example, you can choose which elements to display. There’s also the option to change the background to an image, a solid color or a video. In the case of the last one, you simply provide a link (like to a YouTube video) and you can even add an overlay to the video with your choice of opacity. This is very useful for ensuring your intro text remains clearly legible.

Block Choice and Customization

You can choose to create a new website from scratch or, more likely, you can start with a template or theme that you can then customize to suit your needs. All said, you can expect to find over 1500 website blocks, templates and themes.

To add a block, you click on the “plus” icon near the bottom right of the interface. This brings up the block menu. The blocks are organized into a number of categories, including headers, counters, images & videos, animated features, pricing tables, timelines & steps, forms, contacts and more. Simply drag a block onto the page to add it. The blocks are easily reordered and moved on your webpage by clicking on the up and down arrow (“drag block”) near the “gear” icon for that block.

Once you’ve added a block to your website design, you can click on any of the elements in that block to edit them accordingly. Text is straightforward enough. In this example where I added a group of products, clicking on an image lets me change that image. You can upload your own, browse a free online library (via Pixabay), or look at the site library for images you’re already using.

The image can then be linked too, including linking to a block on the homepage. That’s perfect for single-page designs, as might be the case for your online business site or portfolio page.

While you can choose from a huge variety of blocks, and the blocks can be heavily customized, I did encounter at least one limitation. Continuing with the example of the shop block, I can change the background color behind the cards, change the number of cards and so on. I can change the spacing above and below the block too.

However, the text description on each card cannot really be moved. You can see here that the left-align is right up to the edge of each card. I would’ve liked the ability to resize and/or move the text areas to address odd formatting and spacing issues like that.

You can view the whole site creation process and the many benefits of Mobirise through the video below.

Check Out the Demo Sites

A great way to see what is possible with Mobirise is to take a look at some of the live demo sites. If you scroll about three-quarters of the way down the main Mobirise webpage, you’ll find several live demos available.

The HTML eCommerce Website Template is a great example of using background images, a variety of blocks, and a professional-looking parallax effect on scroll. There’s even a great hover effect on the “meet our team” profile pictures for linking to social media. It looks really professional!

Is It Really Free?

The core Mobirise product is completely free to use, including a great number of blocks and features you can use to customize your website. However, once you start building your website, you’ll find you have the option to purchase a number of “extensions” and other upgrades.

These are all relatively affordable, typically around the $39 mark each, and they can unlock new themes, blocks and other functions that you may want to have on your website. The additional premium features and functions are not at all a requirement; they’re completely optional and since the app is offline, you can always build with the core framework.

You really have nothing to lose. If you’re looking to create a new website that’s mobile-friendly and great to look at, consider using Mobirise. It’s easier than you might think.

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How to Drive Blog Traffic through Facebook: 7 Tips

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I drive oodles of blog traffic through Facebook.

Easiest platform for building blogging success because Facebook makes it simple to build bonds 1 to 1.

As the crickets serenade me on this fine evening in Thailand, I feel at peace. Everything comes together more quickly blogging-wise and I see win after win.

Facebook played a role in my blogging success. Seems to be the best platform for making friends and sharing value.

How to Drive Blog Traffic through Facebook

Facebook blog traffic converts. People addicted to FB follow my updates and Like freely, expanding my blogging reach far and wide.

I see it as a simple channel for helping folks and making friends.

1: See Yourself Successfully Driving Traffic through Facebook

As within, so without.

Speed up your Facebook success. Paint a mental picture of your blogging success on FB.

Clearly see your latest post registering 100 Likes. Read the 40 comments in your mind’s eye. Have it, by seeing it and feeling it to be real. Having a vision moves you into relaxed, calm, confident blogging actions accelerating your success.

Everything flows according to your focus. Visualize success. Success follows.

2: Share Blog Posts Aligned with Your Reader Dreams

I noticed a quick surge on Facebook recently.

Not only do my success-themed posts vibe with my readers, my selfies in the world’s most stunning tropical spots inspire readers to follow my blog diligently, to buy my stuff, to hire me, to endorse me and to become rabid fans.

how to drive blog traffic through facebook

I share how I spend months in places like Fiji, Bali and Thailand and back it up with a picture. Facebook folks love images. Eye candy.

My readers dream of seeing the world. I supply the dream through my example. Engagement jumps and my Facebook blog traffic increases.

3: Keep Updates Positive

I only post positive, uplifting content to Facebook. Doing so aligns me with positive people, positive circumstances and greater success because where your attention and energy goes, grows.

Inspire people to live their dreams. Be warm. Share your inspired blog posts. Follow up with positive images and stories. Motivate people with love and fun. Drive traffic by being a bright light in the world of Facebook.

4: Respond to Like’rs

I find this to be the easiest way to drive blog traffic through Facebook successfully.

I go to where I am loved by responding to folks who Like my blog post status updates. Addressing Like’rs by name builds bonds. Plus every comment response boosts engagement and increases your exposure in the main feed.

1 to 1 engagement gives your attention and energy to readers who see your success. Observe as your success expands in response to giving fans and friends your attention and energy.

Check in 2-3 times daily as Likes grow. Give your energy to fans to expand your fan base. Increase your blog traffic.

5: Respond to Comments

Respond to comments on status updates. Boost engagement. Increase your blog traffic.

Someone comments on one of my status updates linking to my blog. One engagement alerts Facebook; people are talking. I respond. Facebook gets alerted again. Plus I engage someone 1 to 1 to build a stronger friendship.

Responding to comments is easy on your phone. Type a few words or speak a few sentences via voice to text to boost your blog traffic through the concept of engagement.

Answer comments. Give your energy to users who enjoy your content. Increase the size of your tribe. Watch how more visitors find your blog through Facebook.

6: Post Inspirational Updates in Blogging Themed Groups

I share a few inspirational updates to blogging themed Groups daily on Facebook.

New folks find my blog through these updates daily.

Why?

People crave inspiration. If everybody zigs by sharing links and business opportunities, stunningly successful bloggers zag by sharing an inspirational update and a link of them living their dreams.

Folks have been going gaga over my New Zealand pictures recently. For good reason; this may be the most gorgeous country on earth. Picture the eye-popping Southern Alps, the semi-tropical North Island and rolling pastures filled with grazing sheep and cows.

This is from my 3 month trip to New Zealand.

Of course anybody who sees me in New Zealand sharing inspiration wants to follow my blog; more traffic for me.

Be inspiring. Share uplifting updates on blogging themed Groups.

Answer questions too for a nice blog traffic post.

7: Give Your Energy Only to Positive Facebook’ers

I only engage and follow positive folks sharing uplifting updates. As I align with success I notice success finds me easily on Facebook and through all channels online.

Where your attention and energy goes, grows. Giving your energy to positive, inspired people increases your blog traffic and profits. Positive folks are prospering folks. Inspired people freely buy your products and services. Plus these successful people endorse you and promote you for a nice blogging success surge.

Follow bright lights closely. My successful, wise readers Like my updates quickly, hungry for an inspirational boost. I noticed my latest blog post status update garnered 6 Likes in minutes. People want positive bloggers in their stream. Super successful bloggers keep it positive all the time on Facebook.

Be positive, focus on success and the sky is the limit for your Facebook blog traffic.

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Blogging Mindset: How to Go from Survival Mode to Servant to Stunning Success

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Tropical birds provide background music for me as I write these words from Thailand. How’s that sound for developing  successful blogging mindset?

The sun shines brilliantly. My home office feels cool and inviting.

A cold drink sits on the desk.

I am a stunning success now but did live in survival mode for a bit. I also became a humble servant. Servants do not get paid well. Ask a maid or butler.

The best blogging role you can play in this life time is that of a stunning success.

Success is your birthright. Success is yours now. Take it. Seize it. Give your energy to success. See your wins. Accelerate your blogging growth.

Blogging Mindset

Realize this: being successful is as simple as shifting your focus to positive ideas. After making that shift everything changes, from your thoughts, to feelings, to actions.

Example; you are reading this post. See this as being positive. Stunning success is yours because you are learning from a guy whose life reads like a movie. Big time win. Easy win too.

Check out this photo I snapped from my 4 month trip to Fiji.

blogging mindset

What 10 positive things happened blogging-wise today? You published a post. I see that as a positive. You broadcast live on Facebook. Make that a positive. You feel better about your blog, right? Good. You have success within and feel successful so you will see success in the physical world. Where your energy goes, grows.

How to Leave Survival Mode and Servant Mode Behind

Kill 2 birds with one stunning success stone: leave both poverty conscious states of mind behind by developing a vision of your dream life.

Easy peasy.

This step involves sitting in a quiet room and allowing a picture of your dream life to appear in your mind. Either narrate the picture to yourself or let the image pop up in your mind.

Add details to make it feel real. Visualize your success.

Relax and listen to intuitive nudges.

The split second you see your dream and feel it as being real, the dream expands into physical form, for where your attention and energy goes, grows. See success. Success expands. Quite simple.

Exit survival mode – just trying to get by and pay bills with your blog – and leave servant mode while you are at it. Success seekers become the best in the world in their blogging niche. Forget trying to just survive. Leave behind the self-image of being a humble servant, a less than slave, putting people on a pedestal or not seizing your success, your brilliance, your most spectacular dream.

Success is your birthright. Grab the spotlight. Make more money. Help more folks. Step up into stunning success as you move higher and higher in blogging circles.

Create and Connect

Create uplifting content to inspire your readers.

This is from one of my many trips to Bali.

From one of my many trips to Bali.

Connect with top pros in your blogging niche by helping them.

Following these practical tips becomes easier and easier after you give your sole attention to:

  • your dreams
  • your success
  • positive thoughts and feelings

Focus on success. Watch how quickly success expands in your experience.

Creating and connecting is the work part of blogging but if you focus on positive ideas the work becomes easy because it is simple. Listen to your readers. How can you help them? Serve up valuable content through your blog posts.

Connecting with top pros is as simple as reading their posts, commenting genuinely on their blogs and promoting them. Easy.

World Famous Features

I landed features on Fox News among other world famous sites by building a vision of a fun, freeing life.

Do the same to see stunning success.

Features on famous blogs follow positive focused bloggers who know they are succeeding now. Focus on the moment. Feel good about every blogging win you see today. Feel good about your success. Success is as certain as the night following the day because you were born into a legacy of success. Let go any mental image of being a struggling servant or someone desperately trying to survive.

Step into your most spectacular dreams now.

Spectacular is ordinary in my life because I see spectacular as normal. Who knows if I am going to Bali or Malaysia next? Maybe I will just fly back to New York City. We will see.

I visualized this dream life and followed my intuition. My intuition nudged me to take certain actions from a chill, relaxed energy.

Energy Game

Energy is everything guys. Your life follows your energy. Focus on your dreams but do so from a relaxed, peaceful, chill vibe. See your vision as if it is real, already. Know you are succeeding now.

If you have this picture in mind you can relax. No need to work hard, to panic or to hurry. No need to rush or force things. Survival mode bloggers panic and hurry because these folks have no vision or dreams; survival mode bloggers just want to survive, being desperately driven by circumstances.

This is from one of my many trips to Thailand.

You know better.

You follow Blogging From Paradise.

Slow Down and Calm Down Because Success Is Already Yours

Your vision tells you to slow down, to calm down and to allow stunning success to flow your way in calm, confident fashion.

I spent most of today offline. After watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones – second time – with expat buddies here in Chiang Mai I am settling in to finish this post. My mental image makes it happen. My focus on success allows my blogging success to expand.

You get to have a life offline – and a rich one at that – as your online success expands. Seize this chief benefit of developing a winning blogging mindset. Exit survival mode and cease being a lowly servant by using your mind power to picture immense blogging success. Move into calm, confident, relaxed action to allow this success to come into form.

 

 

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