Blog DIY: Info on Affiliate Programs For New Bloggers


The first 7 months that I blogged, I didn’t make a dime. This was completely my choice. I thought that if I put up ads, my opinions might seem compromised, which for those that know me, know that would never be true! Then I realized that I was actually hurting my readers by not joining some affiliate programs. I was missing out on Exclusive offers to Bloggers, Freebies, Giveaways, etc. Not to mention, I could have been doing good with that money, such as donating to charities, helping those in need, etc.

Well, I have been so blessed in a growing readership, and I am spending more time than I expected blogging. So now, I allow some profits to filter back into the pocket of my family to somewhat counteract the time I am away from them. I always say, “We are going to take a nice vacation someday!” (Or, “I’m going to Disney World”—and I hope I’m saving my readers enough for them to do the same someday, too!)

Anyway, I get asked often, “How do you make money blogging?” to which I say, “I have no idea!” I am still learning myself but I have found some nice companies to join that will give you great offers for you and your readers. Just please, never ever sell out to a “shady deal.” You’d never want to jump through hoops yourself, so don’t do that to them. If your readers are like mine, they are AMAZING and basically will become your second circle of friends. So please, examine each offer closely!

Here are a few of the companies that I do recommend:

The next three companies get exclusive offers for publishers, such as bloggers. Make sure you check out the offers thoroughly and only use ones that you’d participate in yourself!

Logical Media

My Savings Media

Panthera

Now the next three are kind of “portals” for stores that give you a small commission for a sale. Stores that you are probably already finding awesome deals for your readers for!

Commission Junction

Linkshare

Connect Commerce (Google Affiliate Network)

Amazon – My favorite online company! I advertised for them for free for so long, not knowing they had an affiliate program. They are my first choice to link to when I am referring to a product because they almost always have the best prices.

MyBlogSpark – These are the absolute friendliest people to work with. They will offer you products to review and giveaways for your readers. Lots of yummy foods and more!

SwagBucks – Just like I refer this for my readers, I do the same for my fellow bloggers. You can turn your points in for gift cards or even Paypal $.

I have no idea if most of these have referral links, as you’ll notice. They may or may not have those types of programs.

And as far as any further blog profit advice, I have none. I put my main focus on finding deals, freebies and such for my readers and any spare time that I have, I focus on my own income. (which is usually zero time!) I blog as a hobby and to connect with people. It’s the biggest payout for me when I hear my readers tell me that they’ve saved money themselves. Most bloggers begin blogging with the goal of helping others. Please, never lose sight of that.

For those of you wanting to start your own blog, you can read my other postings in the Blog DIY Series HERE. (Scroll to the bottom and work your way up.)

This will be under “Blog DIY Series” in my left sidebar under “Resources” for future reference.

NOTE: If you are affiliated with any others that you like, I’m all ears! :) Please let me know and I’ll update the list. Thanks!

Blog DIY Series: Scheduling Postings, Comments Message, Text Strike Throughs and Blog Design Resources


This series is going way slower than I wanted or anticipated but we’ll get through everything eventually! Here are a few things you can do to your postings and comment screen.

SCHEDULING POSTINGS

What a great day it was when I figured this one out! It’s fairly simple and it’s great for:
1) When you find a futuristic deal and want to schedule a reminder posting for your readers
2) Setting up set-timed postings, such as my 9AM tip.
3) Working on things in advance and not having to worry about publishing them accidentally!

Here’s how:
1) Under your Create tab under Posting, click on the “Post Options” next to labels.
2) It will then open up a new window and you’ll see the date/time.
3) You can change this to any day/time that you want. Make sure to fix the AM/PM, as needed! That’s it!
4) Once you hit publish, if it’s a futuristic day/time, you’ll see a note at the top saying it’s scheduled. Under Edit Posts, you can select Scheduled to view all of your scheduled postings and you can edit them like you normally do.

COMMENTS PERSONALIZED MESSAGE

I’m sure you’ve seen sometimes when you go to leave a comment on a blog and they have a personalized message there for their readers. This is how you do that:

1) Under Settings/Comments, there is a box called “Comments Form Message.”
2) Type in your personalized message and click “Save Settings” at the bottom. Easy, huh?

STRIKING THROUGH TEXT

This is one I’ve been wanting to know and just didn’t take the time to figure out. It’s fairly simple. This is nice for deal bloggers so you can cross off “dead deals.”

1) Under your Create tab of Posting, make sure you are in the Edit Html tab.
2) Put the word strike with <> around it before the text you want to cross off.
3) You then need to put /strike with <> around it after the last word in the text you want to cross off. (It’s VERY important that you put the slash in front of the word strike or you’ll see the wrong things crossed off!)
4) If you do it properly, it will cross off a word/phrase like this Example.

If this last one is confusing, you can see an example of it HERE if you scroll down to “Strikethrough Code.” (There are other great tips here, too!)

BLOG DESIGN RESOURCES

I know some of you have been wanting to add a third column, horizontal menu etc. I have zero design ability (that’s why I found Lindsey Joy Design!) but for those of you that are more technically savvy, you can check out these resources:

Horizontal Menu Tips HERE

Lots of Blogger Tips HERE

The one thing I cannot stress enough is…ALWAYS save a copy of your current template before you make any design changes!

Hope these tips help! I’ve got two more planned before I wrap this series up. One on the Layout Tab and one on blogging for profit resources.

Blog DIY Series: How to Create a Posting In Blogger


If you missed the last segment on how to create a blog, click here. This segment is on how to create a posting in Blogger. So the first thing you must do is log back in to Blogger if you aren’t already there.

1) Click on “New Post” either at the top of the screen, if you are on your homepage or under your blog in dashboard. This will take you to the “Posting” main tab.

2) Click on the Create button.

3) You’ll see at the top a field called “Title.” This is where you’ll enter the title for your posting. (Your title should be descriptive yet catchy enough that people will want to click through to it.)

4) You’ll also see a bunch of icons at the top of the posting under the tab “Edit Html.” Edit Html is a way to type your posting and also be able to view all the coding that goes with it, such as bold coding or links etc. Here’s what they all do:

a) b = This is the bold feature. It will bold the text that you have highlighted with your mouse.

b) i = This is the italics feature. It will put the text that you have highlighted with your mouse in italics.

c) Globe-shape = I always think this looks like a globe, so that’s what I call it. :) This is your insert link feature. When you want a word/phrase to link to another site, you’ll highlight it and use this feature to add the URL. (We’ll go over more later.)

d) – This is the block quote feature. It will put the text that you have highlighted with your mouse in it’s own indented area, making it look blocked off from the other text

e) ABC check mark – This is your spell check feature.

f) Scenic icon – This is what you use to add a picture to your posting.

g) Filmstrip icon- This is what you use to add a video clip to your posting. (I’ve never used this one.)

h) Preview – This is what you click to get a preview of what your posting will look like. After you click on it, it will then say Hide Preview. That’s what you’ll click to get back to your posting screen.

There’s also a tab called “Compose.” Here’s what features are there:

a) Font dropdown – This is where you can change the fonts of your text.
b) TT- This is where you can change the size of your text.
c) T Colored Box – This is how you can change the color of your text.
d) Four lined icons – These are all various alignments you can use to indent, center, (etc) your text.
e) 1-2-3-This is a tool you can use to create a numbered list within
your posting.
f) dot/dash icon - This is a tool you can use to create a bulleted list within your posting.
g) Eraser icon- This is how you can remove any of these features you’ve added.

You can toggle back to Edit Html by clicking that tab.

At the bottom of the posting screen, you’ll also see “Post Options.” If you click there, it will open up these features:
a)Reader Comments – With options of Allow, Don’t allow, show existing, Don’t allow, hide existing
b) Post date and time – These fields can be altered.

Next to Post Options, you’ll see “Labels For This Post.” Next to that is an empty box and then the words “Show All.” The labels box is a way of grouping your postings so others can find similar postings to that subject. If you click on one of these under a posting, it will take you to all postings with that label. It will also create a unique URL (link) that you can use for your horizonal menu bar later.

By clicking Show All, you’ll get a listing of all of the labels you have previously used. This is nice in case you forget exactly how you labeled one and so you don’t have to type them all if you are adding multiple labels. Just click on the ones you want added and they’ll be put in the box.

At the very bottom of the screen, there are “Publish Post” and “Save Now” buttons, along with a “Return to list of posts” option.

As soon as you click on “Publish Post,” your posting will be visible on your blog. If you aren’t quite finished with your posting or want to wait to publish it, click the “Save Now.” button. You’ll see it update the phrase “Draft saved” to the time. (The system also auto-saves it for you in case of an outage, etc.)

Don’t worry if you post something you meant to save. You can go into the “Edit Post” tab, copy it, delete it and paste it into a new posting! Also, if you accidently leave the posting window, your posting will be saved under “Edit Post” as a “draft.” You can either go back in and finish your posting or delete it.

Next to the Create and Edit posts options, you’ll see a “Comment Moderation.” This is where you’ll go to either accept or reject comments that were added to your postings by readers. (That is, if you’ve set your blog to require this feature.) If there aren’t any comments, it will say, “No Unmoderated Comments Found.” Otherwise the comments will be listed and you can choose to accept or reject them.

These are all of the tools and features for postings. There are a few “advanced” options that I will go over, though, as I frequently get questions on them.

Q:How do you change the word “here” to link to another website?
A:
1)First, go to the site that you want to link to. With your left mouse button, click the URL (link/web address) to highlight it. Then Right Click and choose Paste.
2)Now go back to your posting. With your mouse, click and hold the left button and drag it over the word “here” to highlight it.
3)Next, click the “globe icon.” (It may pop-up with a window at the top saying,”This website is using a scripted window….” Select the “allow scripted windows” option. You’ll then have to select the “globe icon” again.)
4)Right click on your mouse and select paste to add the URL (link) of where you want the word “here” to take the readers. And choose “OK.”

Q: How do you make a link open up with a new window so the readers aren’t taken away from your blog?
A: This is easy but tricky to explain. :) Once you have mastered the above steps of switching the word “here” with a link (or any other word/phrase other than “here”) you can do this.
1) In front of the word here, you’ll see a > symbol. Click in front of it so your cursor is now blinking there.
2) Next you’ll want to insert this coding: target=”_blank”
3) Make sure you add in the quote marks and underscore mark. That’s it. A new window will now be created.

Just a note, if you are on your homepage, you may see a pencil shaped icon underneath your posting. If you click that feature, it will take you directly into that specific posting so you can edit it.

I hope you are following along OK. If not, please email me and I’ll can see if I can help you out. The next lesson will be over more specialty things on postings.

Blog DIY Series: How to Create a Blog in Blogger


Well, here is the first installment of the Blog DIY Series. This series is for those of you that want to start your own blog, but don’t know how. Today’s segment will teach you how to create a blog and adjust your basic settings.

1) Go to Blogger here.

2) Under the tab: Create A Blog, you’ll enter your account info, such as email address, password and display name. I’d recommend that you create an email account specifically for your blog. Most prefer gmail, here.

3)Under the tab: Name Your Blog, you’ll enter info such as Blog Title (shows up in blog header,) and Blog Address URL. Hopefully you’ve come up with a good name for your blog already.

4) Next is Choose Template. You can pick any you want but most of the free background sites require Minima, so that’s what I picked.

5) And now…you officially have a blog! :) Easy, right?

Moving on to settings…Always click “Save Settings” if you make any changes to these areas:

You’ll see the choices of Posting-Settings-Layout-View Blog. There’s also a choice of “dashboard” at the top. Let’s choose dashboard.

The dashboard is where you can see all your blogs and reading lists. If at this point, you wanted to create another blog, you’d choose “create blog.” I’d recommend that if you are unfamiliar with blog creation that you may want to create a “test environment” blog. This is where you can test out new features and not risk messing up your main blog. I have one I just called “Coupon Geek Test Site.”

Under dashboard is also the reading lists. This is where you can see all the blogs that you follow and scroll through their postings. There’s also Blogger Buzz and Blogs of Note. These are just tidbits or suggested blogs to check out from Blogger. (In order to get back to dashboard from your home page, choose New Post at the top.)

At this point, let’s choose “Settings” under your blog. Settings is where you can change your basic settings, publishing, formatting, comments, archiving, site feed, email, openid and permissions.

Basic
You can see all of the options listed. Under this one, I only changed these:
~I added a description that went under my blog title in the header.
~I also checked yes to allow search engines. If you want a family/private blog, you may not want to choose yes. But if you plan on blogging for profit, DEFINITELY choose yes. You’ll find that 30%+ of your traffic comes from Google searches.

Publishing
If you want to buy your domain (.com, .net, .org, etc) you can buy it here for $10 through Google. Or you can buy it elsewhere and enter it here. Just click “Custom Domain” and follow the steps.

Formatting
~This is where you can change the # of postings on your page. I leave quite a few on mine. It may take a little longer loading but then my readers aren’t scrolling page after page.
~You can also change your date format that appears across that day’s worth of postings.
~Make sure you check your timestamp/time zone to be sure you have the correct one for your area.
~Under post template, this is where you can put something that will appear at the top/bottom of each posting. This is where you’ll add your signature code, if you want one later.

Comments
~This is where you can show/hide comments on your postings.
~You can set if who you want to be able to comment.
~You can set how you want your comments moderated–ranging from always to never. I set mine to always so I can eliminate any spam comments that sneak through.
~You can add your email address here so you will be emailed anytime someone leaves a comment.
~You can set it so a word verification will pop-up before a comment will be accepted. This is a good feature to turn on to prevent spam.

Archiving
~This is where you set how you’d like your postings to be archived and displayed on your sidebar. You can set weekly/monthly etc or remove them entirely.

Site Feed~This is where you can set up a feedburner feed. We’ll go over that later.

Email~This is where you can add email addresses that would like to receive each of your postings to their inbox. I’ll teach you how to put a subscribe option so they’ll only get one email for any day you post.

OpenID~I haven’t done anything with this feature.

Permissions
~This is where you can add other authors to your blog.
~This is also where you can set who you’d like to be blog readers–anybody, only people chosen or only blog authors.

You now have your blog created and the important settings set. The next segment will go over how to create a posting in Blogger.

I hope you are following along OK. If you have any questions at this point, please leave a comment or email me directly.

Blog DIY Series: It’s Still Coming!


I promise I am working on this series! :) My little princess, Kaydi, has had some strange sleeping patterns this week, making it difficult to be on the computer for any long period of time. Since this series is a step-by-step instructional one, it’s not something that can be just quickly written up, like a deal posting. So stay tuned…it’s coming!

Blog DIY Series: It’s a Go! And Your First Assignment

It looks like there is an interest for the Blog DIY Series.

I’ll start this up next week but you have a very important first assignment. It’s actually one of the most important parts of your blog –creating your “identity.”

So over the next few days, think about what you’d like to name your blog and what you’d like to blog about.

How did I come up with mine?

I started blogging because I felt I was overloading my family/friend’s inboxes with too many “Look what I found” deals. My friend, Debbie, and I were constantly swapping deals with our other Mommy friends. They would always say, “You guys are a bunch of geeks” when we’d tell them we got hundreds of dollars worth of stuff for pennies. We’d all laugh and they’d pick up the deals sometimes, too, if they could. So the term “geek” became a term of endearment for us. Hence…that became my identity–Coupon Geek that shared deals and helped out friends.

So ask yourself two questions: What do I want to blog about–what will the main focus be? And what do you want to be identified as throughout the blogosphere or just between family/friends, if you only authorized them as viewers. (You do have that option.)

Once you find something you like, try typing it in to see if it’s available. (name.blogspot.com) Blogger will let you know if it’s available or not. If you have your heart set on being a .com later, go here to see if that name is available as a .com, too. (If not, they’ll give you other choices like a .net or an alternative name, etc.) But we’ll go into how to buy your domain name later.

Have fun brainstorming and we’ll continue on next week!

Blog DIY Series: Anyone Interested?

I know some of you have been wanting to start your own blogs but just didn’t know how. I was wondering if you’d be interested in an “Extreme Dummies” version of some Blog DIY Tips. (The extreme dummy would be me, your “teacher,” not you!!)

I can probably only show you on one template in Blogger but it would be a start. Somewhere to put your ideas/deals etc. The series would look something like this:

1) How to create a blog in Blogger and how to buy your domain, if interested (.com, .net, etc)

2) How to create postings, including info on adding pictures, changing links from long URLs to the word “here,” how to make your links open separate windows and how to link to other sites

3) How to add a Mr. Linky feature, a signature and a traffic meter to your blog.

4) How to add features like blogrolls, link lists and an email subscribers list.

5) How to add a background.

6) Resources on how to blog for profit. (Not my advice, but links to great articles out there.)

So if any of you are interested in something like this, please let me know and I’ll get the series rolling next week. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume no one is interested and not proceed forward. So please leave me a comment and let me know.

How to leave a comment? Below each posting is the word “comment.” You can log in under your Google ID or just choose Anonymous.

Thanks for your input! And remember, I’m the furthest thing from an expert but I can give you some basic tips!