30 Day Challenge Brings Social Media to a Grinding Halt?

<soapbox>

I won’t go into it too much because I don’t want to jump ahead of anything that Ed may be going over this coming week.

But when you are using social sites, you have to be really mindful of the community you are entering, because they ARE social…

Each site has it’s own expected behaviour. What has happened with Tumblr may happen with people’s individual accounts on these sites too.

So be careful. It takes a little longer, but when you open a new account on these sites (Digg, newsvine, etc) spend enough time on the site to become familiar with what is happening ON that site.

Then spend some time to use your account like it was actually intended to be used.

Only THEN should you actually start posting your own sites to them. And even then, your own content should never consist of more than 25% of the content you are posting (and much less on sites like Digg)

And remember too, not all posts are appropriate for all sites. If your keyword doesn’t fit into one of their categories… move on to the next site!

There could be a whole 30 day training just on how to appropriately use sites like these… so just use your head and remember what Ed has been trying to stress:

GOOD CONTENT

Picture it like this… You are sitting in the food court at a local mall when some guy (or girl) comes rushing in like a bull, throwing their business card around at everyone they see then goes rushing back out the other side of the food court.

What are you going to do with the business card that landed on your table?

Probably leave it there when you leave.

The moral is, try to leave a soft footprint. Join the conversation. Leave behind GOOD content. And always try to leave more than you took.

The social world will be a better place for your efforts.

</soapbox>

Carry on the good job Ed (et all)

101 Alternatives to Tumblr

So apparently a large number of 30DC’rs have run into their first true taste of Internet Marketing… The Inevitable Crash.

Unfortunately it happens occasionally, and I don’t know a single successful Internet Marketer who can’t share a few horror stories of large operations being crippled because of some minute change online.

They say that the online world is moving and evolving so fast that 1 year of Business Online is the equivalent of 5 years offline in a traditional Bricks-n-Morter. That means you’ll inevitably also have to deal with an accelerated stream of issues and problems that will always need to be solved…

So don’t panic already :)

Grab the next article, open the next account, and run with it!

And in order to help a little I’m going to share some potentially useful resources. For now, just save this list somewhere for reference and pick and choose one or two if you need them :)

Unfortuantely this list is a little older, maybe a year old or so. I installed Windows Vista last weekend and haven’t restored all my files quite yet and this was the only one I could find.

I was going to go through the list and remove the resources that didn’t exist anymore… but I thought this would be a good macrocosm view/lesson of what is happening to so many of you right now… Every single resource on this list, I have used at some point in the past. And at least 10% of them don’t exist anymore.

Lesson: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket… use as many of these as you can, create good & useful content and most importantly, HAVE FUN!

My title is 101 resources but that’s just an estimate… I didn’t count them :) There are probably closer to 150 here. But once you delete the ones that don’t exist anymore, you are probably going to be closer to 101.

ALSO!!! This list is hardly the End-All-Be-All!! This is a start, or an example even, to show you how many options are available. And I am not posting it to distract you either… I recommend NOT spending much time with it right now. Just save it, or bookmark this page, and grab a resource if and when needed!:

Free Blogs and Pages

360.yahoo.com

Best-Blogging.com

Blog.de

Blogbeee.com

BlogBugs.org

Blog-city.com

BlogEasy.com
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30 Day Challenge Update & Musings

Content:

3 targetted keyphrases so far on:
1 Tumblr Blog (still active Yay!)
1 Squidoo Lens
1 Previously owned domain (not qualified as part of the challenge, but using for practice!)

I have Google Analytics installed on Tumblr and my own domain.

Social Media:

Using SocialPoster.com I have signed up for close to 40 bookmarking/social media sites. I say most since a few don’t seem to work, and a couple of others have restricted signups right now :) I had accounts at a number of these sites already, but wanted to start fresh for the purposes of this challenge.

I have to say, that it took A LONG @!!@#**@!# time to signup for all of these services. The process is mind-numbing. The results from the vast majority of them negligible. That being said, running through the whole list for the second site was gratifyingly easy.

Articles:

Here I have been falling behind. I haven’t written many articles at all. For one keyword I am even a little confused on what to write about.

While the main reason I haven’t done many articles is lack of time (been playing catch up for a week) I am also confused about what we are supposed to be doing with those articles. If I am writing 3 per day on each topic… do they go in a blog or am I supposed to be submitting them all to an article directory?

Re-Watching one of the more recent videos last night, I noticed Ed mentioned something about NOT adding more and more content to the Tumblr blog, which I noticed from their examples (wedding planning etc). So shall I write 12 articles and Spam an article directory with them then?

Or is the article writing strictly a practice tool (which there was mention of) and they can just be filed locally to be used later possibly?

Ed has been very clear that this program is NOT about the affiliate sales but about starting an online business. That means, eventually I would expect them to talk about product creation (it is Step 4 of the Magnificent Symphony after all!) Perhaps there is an ebook on the way and all these articles (3 per day X 17ish days = 55+ articles per keyword) are merely prewritten fodder for the pdf!

Well, I put myself in hands of the instructors, but have to say, I’m not new to Internet Marketing and it’s been very difficult to not run ahead and assume I know what is coming next. But I promised myself I would try and FORGET (or at least ignore) what I already know and follow the 30DC outline.

So here I am, looking at a week of missed article writing and trying to decide whether to lock myself in a room and write for the next 4 days to catch up :)

Positioning:

My own domain is rocking the Serps. Easily on the first page in 24 hours and moving towards the top.

Squidoo and Tumblr pages have not shown up yet… but I just used SocialPoster on them both for the first time, so we’ll see.

First Sale:

How critical is an affiliate sale at this stage of the game? Is a sale going to be the determining factor on whether or not we move forward with that specific keyword? What if my Squidoo page just doesn’t convert? I woultn’t want to lose a potentially good keyword because I used the wrong platform!

Symphony of 3:

Finding a niche:

I’ve defined a large number of potentially great markets; including one with almost as much traffic as it has competition. For me, finding niche markets has always been easy. And while I don’t want to get distracted with too many sites, and therefore too much work, I think I will setup at least one more of my keywords on another, separate blog service.

Getting the traffic:

I’ve been playing around with social media sites for a couple of years and am familiar with the traffic they can bring.

That being said, I’ve been extremely suprised with Stumble during the past couple of weeks, and the large number of visits I am seeing from their service… Happy, but suprised.

So again, for me, getting traffic is not an issue.

Conversion:

Here’s where things are getting a little tricky. I have a really bad habit of Finding niches, Getting large amounts of traffic, and not doing anything with the results (I currently have a website that see’s 12k unique visitors per month… and I’m not monetizing the traffic in the slightest!)

So I have a clickbank affiliate link on my Tumblr Blog, I have amazon links on my own domain and on my Squidoo lens, and I have google ads on my squidoo lens too (as part of squidoo). But is it enough?

I haven’t made a sale… apparently I haven’t even had a click on my outgoing sales links. Bah. Maybe I’m telling the wrong story? But, as you can see, writing is not a sore point with me either (although perhaps sales writing is? :) don’t tell my day job or I’m in trouble!)

I’m getting fidgety right now.

Next Steps:

  • start one more site on a new platform
  • Find time to write articles
  • Spend some time in the 30DC forums trying to figure out what to do next

I’d love to hear where you are in your 30DC, please leave me a comment!

Cooking Scallops

Scallops are expensive, so they should be treated with some class. But then, I suppose that every creature that gives his life for our table should be treated with class.

— Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet)

 

Did you know the word Scallops is derived from the old french word for shell? Scallops, a close relative to mussels, oysters, and clams, have been a staple diet item in many cultures for thousands of years, and even appear in literature in the west as early as the 13th century!!!

Today, thanks to people’s love of Cooking Scallops, it’s developed into a huge industry worth millions of dollars every year divided by three main markets:

  1. Bay Scallops – The sweetest of the three!
  2. Calico Scallops – Generally tougher than the other two types
  3. Sea Scallops – The most commonly available (at least here in Canada)

My sister, a fitness coach and body builder introduced me to scallops a number of years ago. She included them in her diet because they are so high in protein (88 percent!) and low in both fat and carbs.

Checkout my famous Prosciutto-wrapped BBQ Cooked Scallops. I’ll be adding more recipies for cooking scallops over the coming weeks, so check back often!

Cooking Homemade Burgers?

Tip of the week:

It was BBQ time here in Barrie this weekend and we had a small BYO-BBQ gathering with family and friends…

One family member (who will remain nameless) brought a box of pre-formed pattys to cook.

Now, if you look at two burgers sizzling away on a grill, one store bought and the other homemade, it’s pretty easy to tell which is which.

I’ve never come across an out-of-the-box burger that doesn’t look like a thin slice off the end of a big ground-beef meat stick; and when you’re looking at the two burgers on a grill, that flat processed piece of meat looks about as appealing as it tastes, especially compared to it’s thicker hand-made counterpart.

But the mechanically flattened factory burger does have one advantage… and that’s, consistent heating (and cooking) across the entire burger.

Unfortunately the same is not always the case for the tastier (and usually larger) homemade burgers. Homemades tend to swell more when cooked and often end up with a much thicker center. Which means, if you want to serve burgers and not meatballs, you have to spend some of the burgers cooking time trying to flatten it out on the grill. The bigger problem is of course that, round burgers tend to have crispy outsides and barely cooked innards.

So what to do?

The rule of thumb here is to prepare the burger before it goes on the grill by making an indentation in the center of each patty about the size of a loonie (or a little bigger than a quarter for all you non-Canadians) and about 1/4 to 1/2 way deep.

The thinned out center means you will always be assured of a perfectly cooked burger, and one that won’t swell as much.

And don’t worry about anyone making comments about a thumb-print in their burger because it should swell just enough that the indent is no longer visible when it comes time to serve!

BBQ Beef Tips?

The summer is heating up and, going into a nice weekend my thoughts are on my BBQ so I thought I’d share a few hints that will come in handy if you plan on Grilling up some Beef this weekend:

  • Choose choice or prime cuts for the BBQ. The more abundant marbling adds tons of flavour after sizzling on a grill
  • Always marinate less tender cuts of beef before grilling. In order to properly tenderize, your marinade must contain an acidic ingredient.  Good additions to a tenderizing marinade include fruit or vegetable juice, yogurt, wine or a vinegar
  • For a really tender and juicy steak, let your meat sit at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes and then salt it just before grilling
  • If you are the kind of BBQ chef who likes to deliver a side of beef with perfect grilling lines charred into your meat, try lightly brushing your next steak with an extra-virgin olive oil just before placing it on the BBQ
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