I’m Seeing Stars!

Stars, stars, nothing but stars.

star picture

Last month I discussed 4 of the best WordPress Feedback forms and would like to show you additional survey and rating type plugins to help you communicate with your readership. Readers comments and ratings will guide you to write blogs on subjects that are of interest to them and this in turn will make you more popular.

Rating Widget: Star Rating System

Rating widget



The most popular Five Star Rating System on the web. User-friendly ratings for: posts, pages, comments, WooCommerce, BuddyPress and bbPress forums.

The Star Ratings WordPress plugin allows you to create and manage ratings from within your WordPress dashboard. You can embed thumb & star ratings into your posts, pages or comments.

All Rating-Widget star ratings are fully customizable, cross-browser, support multi-language, CSS3 compliant and hosted by Rating-Widget.com. You can create unlimited thumb & star ratings and collect unlimited votes.

The star ratings editor allows you to fully customize your ratings and its placement on your blog’s layout. You can also avail of the ‘Top Rated’ widget that will allow you to place the widget in your sidebar. This widget will show you the top rated posts, pages and comments.

Read the rest of this entry

To Blog or Not to Blog…



that is the question.

Many people ask me “Do you have any advice about blogging? I don’t know where  to   start.”

Well, the best place to start is to answer the questions:

“What am I going to write about?”

“What am I passionate about?”

“What do I know about?”

“Who am I?”

Who are you?

To be a successful blogger you will need to be a self-starter, to think quickly, organize your thoughts and express them immediately. You will also need to be thick skinned because, believe it or not, there are going to be readers who will not like what you write and will disagree with the  opinions you express on your blog. You will also need to be consistent and blog regularly to establish a large readership of followers. This requires time, energy and will probably be unrewarding until you get some momentum and then things will take off and be very rewarding indeed.

What do you know about?

Expertise in any given topic gives you a great head start over your competition. Even obscure subjects will find an audience if you truly know a lot more than most people out there in the internet world. You will soon be seen as the one to go to and your blog readership will grow by leaps and bounds. You can easily do a quick search on Google to see what else is available on your topic on the internet and where there may be a gap you can fill in.

If you have a business, you can add a blog to your homepage and quickly capture an audience of people who are interested in what you have to say. Let’s say you sell paint, you could create a blog and video podcast showing  different painting techniques using the paint brand you sell. Your  expertise will be seen directly by website visitors who will be more likely to purchase paint from you because you can offer valuable advice as a free bonus.

In any case, you blog needs to have some type of specific topic to get any traction. A topic blog about watch collecting will succeed if you do lots of research to keep writing regularly. The more focused the better. You could talk about your 1980 quartz watch and then do a series on other quartz watches of the same year. You now have what is known as a niche.

Read the rest of this entry

Video Production

I’ve been away for a good two weeks already. I  just can’t believe how fast time is going by while I move forward in my Internet journey  acquiring new software tools and learning new skills while I master each tool to help me reach my goal.

A challenge was issued to my Internet coaching group to find a PLR product, rebrand it, re-write the sales letter and integrate it with a payment process, put the whole thing online and document the process in the form of a screencast video.

I can never resist a challenge :-).

First, I needed a plan on how to achieve this goal of producing a video product. I used to do project management so I’m used to breaking down any project into a list of tasks to be done in a sequential manner to finally arrive at the finish line.

Alright, what was needed?

  1. PLR product with a license that would allow me to make changes and publish as my own product.
  2. New domain name for online access of video product.
  3. New graphics for cover and minisite where the finished product would be sold.
  4. Editor to rewrite the sales letter which is in HTML.
  5. Form where buyers would enter their name and email address to purchase the product, also known as a squeeze page.
  6. Software to capture my computer screen in video format as I went about documenting the changes I was making to the original product, sales letter and so on.
  7. Software to create slides for introduction and conclusion of video.

I purchased a PLR e-Book product called “Social Media Marketing 101″, came up with a new title for the e-Book and the video presentation and secured a new domain name.

Then, I went to create the introductory slides using MS PowerPoint and discovered that I could capture the screen and add the voice over with Camtasia, the tool I have chosen to do the screen capture that will result in a video product.

That will save time later when I am editing the video. What a bonus!

I wanted to show the PLR license on one of the slides and discovered that I could not make changes to the product and sell it as my own. :-(

Now I need a new PLR product with the right licensing clauses before I continue any further. it is not always possible to get the license details before purchase which is a real pain. Oh well, live and learn, I say.

I do have a much clearer idea of what I will need to do now to complete this challenge so the time spent so far has not been a total loss.

Graphics are not my forte, so they will be done by GFX-1.  I have used them before and they do a great job for a reasonable price.

The sales letter rewriting will be done using KompoZer once I’m ready to capture the screencast. I will however, pre-write the changes I will make to ensure the video presentation will flow smoothly and  easily.

The form will be done through aWeber, my autoresponder and will be based on a previous squeeze page.

The screen capture and editing will be done using Camtasia.

That is the plan for the upcoming week which I will talk about next week.

E-Mail Campaign Strategy

Email Marketing

Email Marketing

As an internet marketer belonging to multiple lists, I receive offers for products practically on a daily basis most of which I ignore usually because of time constraints especially if the subject line does not grab my interest immediately.

I know I’m not the only one to do this, so when it comes time for me to send out emails to my list it is important to craft each  message to not only maximize the open rate but increase  the optin or sale rate as well.

Subscriber Avatar

To achieve these goals, I need to spend time getting to know my subscribers properly. I need to know exactly who I am talking to when I write a blog or email to make sure the information I provide is something of value to them because I know their needs, desires and what motivates them.

Otherwise, I am just working blind, here, and I am not likely to hit any target audience any time soon.

I need to know what age group they fall into, are they male or female, how much do they earn, do they have children, what type of clothes do they wear, what is their mental state, what hobbies interest them.

I need to know what their ambitions and dreams are, what goals  they want to achieve in the short and long term and  how  they measure success in their lives.

What are their fears and frustrations, what makes them angry, what hurts them what are they looking for to solve these problems.

Who do they listen to and respect, who is holding them back or putting them down.

Once I have a clear understanding of my subscriber needs and wants, I can begin providing them with products, information and affiliate offers that will make their life easier and help them achieve the goals they have set themselves.

Perfect E-mail

Each email I send should only have one purpose or goal. The subscriber when reading the e-mail will immediately understand whether this is a sales e-mail, and informational e-mail, a notification of an upcoming webinar or product in development, or a request for feedback on a product purchased at an earlier date.

If for some reason I have two different topics to cover, I will write two separate emails and not write about both. This would be counterproductive and confusing for the reader.

The subject line needs to grab the readers ‘ attention and make them open the email to find out more. Short and snappy wins the day, here. I save great subject lines in a folder that I refer to when sending emails so I can  imitate them, never copy them!

A short two line introduction comes next to keep up the interest. This can be a reference to something personal that happened on the day of writing and leads in to what is written in the main body of the message. “I just returned from picking up the paper and this happened which made me think of …”

The body of the email will contain the bulk of my writing and explain all the reasons and benefits of the offer. This is where storytelling comes into play to illustrate any point I am trying to make. I might choose to talk about case studies I’ve found which demonstrate the value of the offer or show examples of how it has benefited others.

I’ll make sure to give several reasons why I think this is something the reader will want to have a look at. After all, people are attracted to the same thing for many different reasons. The more information I provide the better the understanding of the readership.

Then comes the call to action, unless this is an informative email or I am requesting feedback only. This call to action will usually include a link to another site to sign up to an upcoming event, grab a free giveaway or check out a new product. All these offers are directly aimed at the needs of my subscribers to make sure I am not wasting their time sending them information about products they do not want or need.

Finally comes the close where I  may give more reasons why I think the product or webinar or whatever, will have value for the reader.

PS comes after the signature and reinforces the need to act quickly; webinar starts in a few hours, only a few copies are available, the sales deadline is approaching, price increase is coming up.

I hope you find this short expose on email marketing to your liking.

Relationship Dynamics

Relationship Dynamics

Relationship Dynamics

New week, new post!

I’m really excited today to tell you what I have been learning this week to help me move forward in my journey to build an Internet Marketing business.

It has been a very hot, sunny week here in Vancouver and I am guilty of spending a lot of my time on the balcony during meal time staying much too long over my coffee or tea reading a novel.

You see, in the winter we get a lot of rain. I mean, a lot of rain. Along with this rain, it is very dark and gloomy all day long. I feel as though I am living in a cave or as if it is perpetually nightfall.

A couple of years ago we had 72 consecutive days of rain. A record. Yes, you read that right over 2 months without ever seeing the sun or getting even a glimpse of blue sky. It was very depressing. So, you’ll understand that when the sun shines I want to take full advantage of it and I do.

At the same time, I am aware that to move forward on this journey of mine I must put in the time to learn and put into practice every little bit of knowledge I acquire.

 List Nurturing

I last wrote about building a list by offering  a free giveaway product. Now, what do I do with it?

The most important thing for me to do is to stay in touch with the people who were interested enough to opt in by asking me to send them my freebie.

This will let them know that I care about them as people, that they are not just a list of faceless robots out there who are willing to buy from me.

I’ll send them an email with some additional information related to the  free giveaway product they may be interested in. Then I might  send them an email with a link to an affiliate offer explaining why I think they may find it useful.

I’ll follow by asking them how they liked the free giveaway product, what they liked best, what else they may want to know on this topic.

I’ll send them notification of my new blog posts and ask them if they have suggestions for topics they would like to read about in later posts .

I’ll ask them about who they are: their gender, nationality, age group, marital status, income range, hobbies and interests, what are their dreams, goals and what are they trying to achieve in their lives.

I’ll send them a short multiple choice survey  to find out what aspect of internet marketing they need or want most to find out about so I can provide them with what interests them rather than what I think they want.

Too often we make assumptions about others but until we actually ask these questions we really have no clue.

We may think we are attracting young, hip, males under 30 years of age when in fact our list consists mainly of individuals over 40 who are fed up of working for a boss, want to work from home to be close to their families or just want to make an extra $1000 – $2000 a month to fund their hobbies.

Knowing who is on  my list will help me establish a trusting relationship with the people behind the names. People don’t just buy products. They buy from those they know, like and trust.

Enjoy your life!

List Building

Sales Funnel

Sales Funnel

Hi, I’m back again!

This  last week has been busy learning the basics of list building, creating my first free product for distribution, preparing a sales letter, signing up to an Autoresponder, writing broadcast emails for subscribers and so much more.

List Building Components

The first step to success is of course having a loyal list of customers who like my products so much they want to buy them and tell all their friends about it so my list grows and grows. Problem is, how does one go about getting this list of customers in the first place?

Well, one way is to offer a free giveaway product with lots of useful information on a particular topic of interest to hoards of people who can’t wait to learn more about it especially if it’s free! Now what is better than free, I ask you? Not much! ;-)

So, I proceeded to put together a short document on how to make money with Private Label Rights (PLR) products. I researched the topic thoroughly, decided on the main points I wanted to cover, wrote down some bullets points, expanded each one until I had something I felt happy with and voila! One freebie to promote.

Now I needed a nice catchy title that could be translated into a unique domain name where I could place this document ready for promotion. Oh, and let’s not forget a cool cover to attract lots of interest in my audience. This is called branding.

Catchy title done! Making Money With PLR

Dot com domain available, yeah! Purchase done!

Now I needed a nice graphical image for the cover. I have a lot of skills but art and design is definitely not one of them. :-(

No need to panic, there are many options out there to get the work done by a third party for a reasonable price. Best known are www.fiverr.com, www.elance.com and www.odesk.com.

I personally think it best to spend a few dollars for a great visual result rather than try to save money and  end up with an unattractive representation of a product I spent time working on.

I contacted www.gfx-1.com, recommended by my coach Marc Milburn, telling them about my product and they very quickly came back with what I consider to be a very professional looking cover for my free giveaway product.


What, exactly, is an autoresponder?

It is a tool used to send emails to a specified list easily. It can be set up to send  emails on a predefined schedule so that for example if you want to send  3 consecutive emails about a product in the next week you can specify that the messages go out every 2 days after subscription.

It makes the whole business of staying in touch with a customer list much more manageable than by doing it by hand from an email account having to remember to send emails on a prearranged schedule to customers who have signed up on different days.

You can set up different lists for different products, write all the emails and the whole thing will work on automatic. Managing lists becomes really easy!

There are many free and paid choices but remember that free options are often very limited in what they offer so I recommend you do your homework before deciding on any particular option.

The most referred paid options are AWeber, Getresponse, iContact,  and MailChimp. However, Mailchimp does not allow links to be sent in the emails so before you go ahead and use it make sure that is not one feature that you will need in future.

Single or Double Opt-in?

I decided to use  double opt-in to ensure that anyone who signs up for the free report needs to confirm their email address before receiving the product. This is to avoid creating a list made up of fake or non-existent emails which will be of absolutely no use to me.

I prefer having a small confirmed list of members rather than a larger list which I really cannot trust to reflect actual members.

Once that decision had been made I created my opt-in form, wrote the “please confirm” and the follow up emails I was now ready for the next step, the list building machine!

HTML Here I Come

Now for the really fun part. ;-)

Only three more pages to go but they have to be in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and although I have worked with it before I am not overly fond of having to use it.

It basically requires me to program, an activity I have worked very hard to avoid because I get so frustrated with the tiny details.

However, I knew this day was coming and gritting my teeth I proceeded to write a capture page, a confirmation page and a download page for my mini site using a neat free tool called Kompozer which makes things much more efficient because it is WYSIWYG.


Once these three pages were error free and completed to my satisfaction I needed to upload them to my new domain via FTP. I will not bore you with the mechanics of this step as it is not relevant here.

Once uploaded, I tested that everything was indeed where it was meant to be and after some minor adjustments to the web form, adding the download link for the free report I tested again to make sure everything worked as expected.

A few iterations later, it was ready to go!

Check it out here: makingmoneywithplr

Storytelling: Marvelous Marketing Tool

Fairy Castle

Fairy Castle

I read a lot of Internet Marketing material, watch training videos and webinars on a regular basis and  I have noticed a growing trend in all these media.

More and more people are using storytelling as a way to engage the reader or listener emotionally while providing relevant information.

Why Use Storytelling?

Storytelling  grabs our attention immediately.

I remember hearing the words “Once upon a time in a land far far away….” when  either my grandmother or grandfather read me a fairytale during a lazy afternoon visiting their home or at bedtime to lull me to sleep.

Just hearing these words had my attention. I knew I was in for a treat.  I loved not only the words that were read to me but the wonderful worlds which were evoked through the pages of the book and which my imagination embellished as I lay listening.

Most of these books also had beautiful illustrations  drawn in vivid colors showing the characters in the story dressed in clothes from  an era far removed from my own experience adding to the enjoyment of the occasion.

I felt safe, happy, loved and excited all at the same time.



Storytelling entertains us.

I think of all the characters I met over the years as I learned  to read my own books  taking me through many adventures I could not possibly have experienced  personally.

I laughed out loud at funny situations, I cried when someone became seriously ill or died, I became anxious when the plot moved the main character towards danger, I puzzled over complex situations, I raged at unfairness or bad treatment, I was full of wonder and amazement when traveling through magical kingdoms.

I was able to experience travel in carriages, trains, buses, large and small planes, cruise  ships, sailing ships or small crafts, on horseback, by camel caravan or even on a magic carpet.

I enjoyed subtle sunrises, spectacular sunsets,  soft warm sunlight, calm lagoons, survived raging storms, churning seas, , deep dark jungles, arid hot deserts, snow storms, whistling arctic winds, escaped wild animals, monsters, giants, pirates and much much more.

And all that without leaving the comfort of my own safe space.


Storytelling Educates Us

I have visited,  through books, so many far away countries around the world learning about foreign customs, exotic food, tribal clothing, dances, music, non-Christian religions, birth, marriage and death rituals and  art forms far removed from what I had been exposed to.

I really believe that I have learned more about the world around me over the years through reading stories than I ever did when attending school and I’m sure the same is true for many of you.

Aesop's Fables

Aesop’s Fables


Stories Instill Moral Values

……and life lessons.

Think of Aesop’s fables which have come to us from ancient Greece, have been translated in so many languages, are still relevant to our life experience today and are continually reinterpreted for new generations of children.

We all know the story of ‘The Hare and the Tortoise”, slow and steady wins the race, “The Ant and the Grasshopper”, save for a rainy day and  “The Fox and the Crow”, do not trust flatterers.

We have heard of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and “Pinocchio” both teaching children very important lessons about behavior.

Storytelling in Marketing

There really is nothing like storytelling to grab your readers’ attention, touch their emotion, identify with you as a real person and begin to trust you.

When people trust you, they are much more likely to buy from you and once they have sampled your products and seen the quality of what is on offer they are very likely going to do so again and again when you market new material.

As an example look at https://www.freshpressedoliveoil.com/ or http://www.winespectator.com/wwdn/show/id/47969 you see that your interest is piqued from beginning to end with the story told. There is no need to sell the audience anything at all. The story says it all!

Until next time!



Video Ads

Video ads are taking the Internet world by storm.

Viewers can’t seem to get enough of it with literally billions being watched each month!

Here is my first attempt at creating a short video using VideoMakerFX.

I’d love to hear your comments on this video.



Traffic Triggers

IMG_0066It seems it has been a while since I last wrote a blog.  Not that I have been idle, what with walking Lola (seen here on the left walking along the beach) several times a day, volunteering, visiting with friends and of course, pursuing my education in the intricacies of Internet Marketing.

Writing a blog is only the first step in my journey to success. What is really much more important is attracting readers who will benefit from the knowledge I have acquired along the way.

These readers are referred as Traffic in web speak and I would like to mention some of the popular methods used to obtain lots of free trageted traffic to any website in any niche you can possibly think of.

How do you get your share of traffic?

You need to flood your websites with targeted traffic that is genuinely interested in your offers, and who will become part of your customer base. Relevant, targeted – and active traffic that will power your business and fuel your marketing campaigns.

There are over 40 different ways to generate traffic to your website but I will only cover the Top Three methods: Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and Forum Marketing.

Search Engine Optimization

Most often called SEO, so that you are able to generate organic traffic from the major search engines, you need to first focus on optimizing every square inch of your website.

Organic traffic is the crème de la crème of traffic, as it’s natural and targeted. Organic traffic  comes directly to your site after a user enters in relevant keyword phrases that the search engine has identified as being associated with your site.

Optimizing your website is relatively simple but it does involve editing different areas of your HTML pages. To start, you need to include a title for every page of your site, each one including relevant keyword strings based on what your website is about.

You want each page title to carry a different keyword phrase, so that you are able to rank for various phrases within the search engines.

Next, you will want to include a meta description that includes important information regarding your website. Meta descriptions provide a summary to visitors of your website from the search engines and also help spiders identify what your website is about.

You should also use the <h1> tag throughout your pages to separate sections of your page with Headings. H1 instructs search engine spiders to pay particular attention to text located within the heading, and also helps visitors identify important areas of your site.

Another very important element to SEO is including a site map on your website. What a site map does is helps both visitors and search engine spiders navigate their way throughout your pages and categories, by outlining all of the different areas of your site.

You can create a sitemap very easily by using free services such as:


Social Media

Nowadays, just about everyone has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, Pinterest account, YouTube channel and a LinkedIn presence. Social marketing allows you to take a personal approach to connecting with your target audience, and in doing so, you can gain a better feel for what your audience is genuinely interested in and what motivates them into taking action.

The downside to social marketing used to be  that it was time consuming, as you had to update your profile accounts, status updates and send out messages and broadcasts in order to keep your accounts fresh.

Now your blog is propagated to  Twitter and Facebook automatically by using http://twitterfeed.com and linking the accounts.

You have probably noticed that  I have a floating bar on the left of my blog which allows readers to share my content with their social media leading to even more traffic!

This is done by the plugin Sharebar which adds a floating Social media bar on the left or right of your blog https://wordpress.org/plugins/sharebar.

Another Social Media plugin,  Shareaholic adds an attractive social bookmarking menu and related content widget to your posts, pages, index, or any combination of the three:https://wordpress.org/plugins/shareaholic/( see below and above right).

Forum Marketing

One of the easiest ways of generating traffic to your website is through forum marketing.

Not only will you be able to claim your share of traffic but forums provide you with the opportunity to quickly build brand awareness, so that you are recognized as an authority in your market.

You will need to spend time providing quality information to the community, as well as helping members by addressing questions, offering guidance, and doing your best to contribute to the network, but it’s one of the easiest ways to jumpstart your website, absolutely free.

Allocate 1 hour a day to marketing your business via community forums, but make sure to promote INDIRECTLY! You want your website to be seen within your forum’s signature box, rather than in spamming your link within discussion threads or posts, otherwise you’ll lose your account and likely end up banned from the community.

You also want to focus only on active, established forums, keeping in mind that your posts will be quickly indexed, sending additional traffic to your website from the search engines directly.

Some popular forums to explore:




Slowly, Slowly Progress is Made

Well, here we are a little more than a week later and you must be wondering what has been going on since I last wrote this blog.

The big event of the week was  Wednesday morning when  I had to get  up at 6:30 AM (I am so not a morning person!) to  drive my son David to the airport to catch the first  flight of his journey to Nairobi.

He will be traveling in Africa for 2 months and meanwhile guess who is looking after the dog Lola? That’s right, little old me, so now I have to get my work done between walkies morning, noon and night. :-) Good thing she is very cute!

I am  in the middle of another week of hard work after a very busy week behind me with a ton  of learning and of course,  a few mishaps along the way.

I learned how to change the appearance of the site by customizing the color scheme and having a very cool pattern wallpaper on either side of the main page. Read the rest of this entry

 Page 1 of 2  1  2 »