Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guest Posting on other Blogs

When I started looking at ways to market my websites, one of the strongest ways I've found to do it is to write up a quality article with a few links back to my site. It's proven to be extremely powerful.

Because social media is all about spreading the word, I'd like to point you toward the latest post I've written on a blog called Born 2 Impress. The article is called Top 3 Travel Systems for Newborns and you'll be surprised at how small babies can be to ride in these strollers and car seats. While you're there, check out Jen's fabulous giveaways. She's always got some incredible deal going on. :)

I would also like to promote an article I wrote on the air travel with strollers on Simply Stacie called Mangled on Arrival Or... Simply Stacie is a blog that also promotes giveaways and contests and has some great articles in the mix as well. Go check it out!

I'm also looking at what else I can do with this blog to bring in more income. It's all about diversifying your streams, right? Today I found a site called LinkFromBlog where advertisers can buy blog reviews from blog owners like me to write about them and link to their site. Much like what I did for the owner at Born 2 Impress. Kind of neat, huh? I'm still learning more, but I will let you know what I find out. 

Advertise with my Blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Clearer Focus on My Career

Have you ever ventured forth on a project and discovered a skill you have but need to improve and sharpen? Knowing that you can perfect this skill could mean far better opportunities for you in the future - a leveraging of your skill, so to say.

I've always known my writing was good. I used to write emails to my friends and family when I lived in Thailand telling them about my adventures. Then I started this blog shortly afterward. I'd get feedback saying how well I wrote and I could grip my audience with a story.

Now I write for business purposes, but that does not equate to boring, dry, dead content. Quite the opposite actually! Because I am genuinely interested in the product I'm selling and when I write about it, that interest shines through.

How am I getting a clearer focus on my career then, you ask. I'm honing my writing skills for creating better value while at the same time perfecting the ad copy within that content. It's one thing to provide information, quite another to create desire.

That whole playing with the mind thing has perked my interest and has me hooked. Now being in control of my own mind, my own feelings and emotions and being aware of what I'm thinking and feeling is fascinating as it is. But using my words on a website to influence and guide other people's thoughts and feelings is almost the same thing and I find it utterly irresistible!

I've been studying how to do this effectively and have been trying it out and I think it looks pretty good. I have LOTS to do, lots to practice, but it looks like it is beginning to work. If I can do this and do it well, which is my intention and goal, then this skill can translate to a business asset I can leverage no matter how my websites are doing. I can take it to the world at large and market myself as a successful copywriter. In other words, I'm making myself more marketable in the work place. That's always a good thing.

I'll give you an update in a few months to let you know how this little experiment is doing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rainy Spring Break

Aidan's been home this week because it's spring break and it's been rainy most the time. We didn't sign him up for any extracurricular activities, so Golf and I have been trying our best to keep him occupied and engaged. Golf bought some clay and papier mache to make some masks, and while it didn't go as planned, they both had lots of fun.

Yesterday I took Aidan to see a friend of mine who has a 9 month old baby and it was fun to see him interact with the infant. My friend Stella and I got to catch up a lot and talk babies; she's a SAHM and is all baby all the time, so she was craving some time with a friend. I brought some sushi and we enjoyed lunch together.

I finally got to see her stroller, too, which I had been bugging her about, but it was always kept in her car trunk because it is heavy and bulky. She got a First Years Wave, one of those beautiful prams with reversible seat that can also hold a car seat. She loves it but the frame is just too big for her to get it out of the car on her own while holding her baby. I got to play around with it and while it is ungainly while setting it up, it is VERY nice once assembled. I can see why she likes it when she has it out.

But baby Luke doesn't care for it a whole lot. He's still young, though. Aidan didn't much like his stroller when he was that age, but at least he liked his Snuggli. I still remember pushing my stroller til Aidan got tired of being in it, then I'd put him in the carrier, and I'd carry him and push the stroller. It wasn't til he was about a year old that he dug going for stroller rides.

I'm also on a bit of a vacation, too. Since Aidan is at home, I don't frustrate myself by trying to get much work done. Instead of working on my websites, I'm improving my writing skills by learning how to write better copy that sells. I had bought a book before called Hypnotic Writing: How to Seduce and Persuade Customers with Only Your Words, by Joe Vitale. It's been a very good lesson and I have some additional resources to better my writing style. It is my intention that these skills will serve me in the future with or without a website, as I think that persuasive selling writing is always going to be in demand.

So while my week is not nearly as productive, per se, it is productive in a different way as I am gaining something. Perhaps it is better like this, because ALL workers must take time to improve and learn new skills.

Man oh man how I love what I do.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Made a Hard Choice

I made a painful decision at the beginning of March. I decided to let my blog go. Not this one - my Expat Women in Thailand blog.

It had been giving me troubles since the beginning - for nearly two years you could not find it in Google at all. As it turns out, I think I had made a selection in WordPress options that it not be found in search engines! Whoa, exactly what I DON'T want!

Then I only updated the blog once a month. Used to be bi-weekly, and before that weekly. I just didn't have the time to keep it up, nor was I in the proper environment rich with topics to write about (actually LIVING there!)

The entire reason I started the blog was that I had written an e-book and built the blog around the e-book to support it and market it. However, since I haven't actually LIVED in Thailand for going on six years now, it no longer felt authentic. Things change quickly in Bangkok. We visited for three weeks in Nov. 2008 and my how it had changed since we left in late 2005! I can't write like I know what I'm talking about if I'm not actually THERE, as I'm sure you'd agree.

Golf and I didn't expect we'd be back here in the States this long, either, but this Great Recession has kicked our butts and we've basically been in survival mode for years now, just paying our monthly bills and getting by. The good news is that within a year it is our goal to return for a couple of years for Aidan's schooling, we should be ready by then.

I hope to make my living outside of teaching and make my income purely online for the greatest flexibility. Ideally, maybe I'd teach part time, like an English reading and writing extracurricular class to improve English literacy for those students who show interest or who excel in English - it will also ensure that Aidan stay current with his English while living there. I've given that some thought, as you can tell!  It will also get me out into the community, which is important to me when living in Thailand.

Will I keep my Expat blog going then? Not likely. There are so many resources online right now and the niche for expat women in Thailand is still so small that I cannot make any money with it.

I sold one copy of my e-Book once every three months or so. That's just under $15 USD or about $5 per month. I need to update my guide once every six months because I use active URLs as resources. Companies and restaurants change or go out of business - MANY of them - and new ones come onto the scene. It takes me a full WEEK to update and change all the information in my eBook to keep it current. One week for an average of $5 per month - or less? I don't think so.

I've been working, instead, on my Stroller Envy site and it's coming along quite well. Traffic is increasing 50% every month. A few months ago it was a 100% increase. I'm already making decent money from it and I only get a couple hundred visitors a day - average for a new site.

Thailand is not a profitable niche to get into if you want to make any money. Unless you write about the tourism aspect or meeting Thai women aspect, neither of which interests me at all and both are oversaturated anyway.

So that's it. I'm not deleting my blog, just not updating it. The articles currently on there are still good and provide value, but it's simply an unprofitable endeavor that I cannot afford to continue any longer. It is sad but that's life!