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Pinterest 101: Pin Like a Rockstar

Pinterest, Social Media, Blogging

Hi. My name is Meagan, and I’m addicted to Pinterest….

Anyone else here a Pinterest junkie too? It’s such a simple idea, you wonder why no one invented this sooner – and once you start using it, you wonder how we ever lived without it. I’m like a little Magpie on the web each day, collecting new shiny things I find. I used to have huge bookmark lists – But like Amber from Thrifty Ninja shows you in the video below – when you look at your bookmark lists, it’s hard to remember what each link goes to. With Pinterest, I can easily save all of those shiny bits of the web, categorize them into themed boards, and easily find inspiration when I need it. Perfection!

Pinterest, Computer, Procrastinator, Humor

Getting Started on Pinterest

You’ve probably heard the warnings – Beware of joining Pinterest! You’ll get sucked in. You’ll spend hours dreaming and pinning pretty projects to make, organizing strategies you plan to use, recipes you’ll make…. tomorrow. You spend so much time pinning, you don’t have enough time left to DO any of those things you pin. Sometimes you’ll sit down with a glass of wine, to browse, and find yourself on a “pin-binge”, and as you re-pin more and more, you’ll start to hear a Charlie Sheen voice in your head yell, “PINNING!!” It’s ok. We all go off the edge a few times when we first get started. You’ll learn to manage it soon enough. And once you get the hang of it all, it will become one of your most useful tools on the web, guaranteed! Here are a few resources to check out, if you’re new to Pinterest, and need a little help getting started:

Learn to Pin Like a Rockstar

Now that you’ve figured out the basics, you’re ready to pin like a rockstar. Since Pinterest isone of the fastest growing social media sites, ever – it’s definitely something you want to use to the fullest. If you’re a blogger, crafter, designer, or business owner – You can drive huge amounts of traffic to your sites using Pinterest! For many people, it’s now their top traffic referrer – bringing more new faces their way than search engines, StumbleUpon, or any other social media. Here are a few resources to give you some awesome ideas:

  • Seven Cool Ways to Use Pinterest: Once you grasp the basics, this second post from Blogworld.com will show you some more interesting ways to maximize your time using it. Love this post.
  • 10 Creative Ways to Use Pinterest for Marketing: Love these ideas. I also like that he talks about cross-promotion between your Pinterest page and your other social media – I have a few tips to share on that too – Keep reading. But the thing I don’t agree with is pinning coupons – I’ll explain that one too.
Pinterest, Pottery Barn, DIY, Social Media, Humor

A Few Tips for Using Pinterest 

Since Pinterest is still new, the “rules” to using it are still being figured out. You can read a little bit about Pinterest Etiquette on their site. And here are a few of my own personal opinions on using Pinterest. There is no real right or wrong, and not everyone will agree with me, but here we go…

  • Only Pin Evergreen Content: Evergreen content is the type that will still be as relevant a year from now as it is today. A cool recipe for lasagna cupcakes is just as awesome next fall as it was when you pinned it today. But a coupon? That pin only has value for a week or two. If we start pinning and re-pinning content that will quickly expire, then we end up spamming up Pinterest with things that turn into junk. Plus – Yes, pinning that coupon from your site might drive some short-term traffic. But what about 6 months from now when someone comes across that old coupon because it’s pinned on someone else’s wall – If they click it, and their first visit to your site brings them to an expired coupon, it’s doubtful that they’ll be back. – Quick tip: Did you know you can pin videos too? Love that!
  • Link to Correct Sources: One thing that I see a lot is when people pin from the homepage of a blog, instead of going to the post itself first. Then when I click that pin a week later to go and check it out – It takes me to the home page, and the post has been buried away. Another problem is when someone pins directly from Google Images – that pin won’t take me back to original content either. And while Pinterest is all about pretty pictures, the whole point is to be able to easily find the original post for reference too, so be sure to “pin it” so that it links back correctly. Thank you in advance :)
  • Learn What People Pin: You can check to see what content on your site is being pinned, to learn what is most popular. The first time I looked this up, I was really surprised at some of things that people were pinning from my old posts. Type this into your browser to check it out: http://pinterest.com/source/yourdomainhere.com – obviously, type in your site name instead. Very cool tool!
Pinterest, Wine, Humor

Cross Promotion

If you really want to build a following on Pinterest, there are some easy ways to connect it to the other places that you “live” on the web. When I find someone cool online, I always look to see where else I can find them too. Make it easy, since people have short attention spans on the web.

  • Edit Your Profile: On your home page, right under your profile picture, is a button to, yep, you guessed it – “edit profile”. Click it, and link your page to your website, Facebook, and Twitter. Save it, and go back to your profile – See those little social icons under your profile? Now if someone visits your pinterest page and loves it – they can find you everywhere else too. Very cool, right?
  • Add to Facebook: You can also add a Pinterest tab directly to your Facebook page too – If you get confused by her instructions {I did!} read down in the comments, someone left a great tip on installing the tab. If you want to see what it looks like in action – Check it out on my Facebook page.
  • Plugins: Another great way to really maximize your Pinterest page is to add a Plugin – You can see mine, the Pinterest RSS Widget, in my sidebar, under Recent Pins. There are a few others to choose from too, and you’re sure to find one that will be perfect for your site.

Wrapping it up

This is the longest post I’ve written in quite awhile – But heck, when you love something so much, it’s hard to keep it short and sweet, right? I hope I’ve answered some questions, helped you get started, or helped you learn something new. If you have any Pinterest related questions, feel free to ask them here, or on my Facebook page, and I’ll share any answers that I have. Above all, remember – It’s Pinterest – Not Brain Surgery. Have fun with it!

Already pinning? Follow me on Pinterest!

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Building a Better Blog in 2012 – Day 2: Finding Systems and Building Presence

Building a Better Blog Series

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am very excited to be a part of a great group of bloggers as we challenge ourselves to “Build a Better Blog in 2012!” Today is Day 2 & we will be going over Chapter 2 in ProBlogger’s “Guide to your First Week of Blogging”.  I highly recommend purchasing and reading this e-book {and subscribing for email or RSS updates from Problogger.net too!} Click here to view more details on how to get a copy of the ProBlogger’s ebook. {And if you missed Chapter 1, read more – Build a Better Blog in 2012 Intro Post.}

Chapter 2 – Publish and Build Presence

Since I didn’t get the copy of this first book, I’m following along by using the notes on CEO of Me, Inc – So if you’d like the full run down of all of the key points from Chapter 2, read her post first. She covers everything really well – So I’ll just add some of my thoughts to the points that she covers.

Reviewing Your Posts

This is SO important. Errors happen to the best of us – and if you’re blogging full time like I am, plus keeping up with the house and family, you sometimes write posts in a rush, which leads to mistakes. But – Spelling and grammar errors make your blog look unprofessional, so do your best to avoid them! A few tips:

  • 1. Spell check! This is such a simple tool, it only takes a moment, and there is no reason not to use it. I use Google Chrome as my browser, and it has a built-in spelling and grammar check – Love that!
  • 2. Proof read. I admit, I don’t always have time for this. I sit down with an idea, and I write until I’m done. 90% of the time I go back through and read my post again, and usually find a few spots to change up – so I’m sure that mistakes are getting through on the other 10% of the time. If you can’t proof read every post – that’s ok. The most important posts to double check are the ones that are “Evergreen” content – This means, a post that won’t get outdated. A post about a sale at Macy’s = Not Evergreen. A post about tips on cleaning your kitchen = Evergreen.
  • 3. Effective closing. Make sure that you close with a call to action. This can be as simple as saying – “Like this post? Use the buttons below to share it to your favorite networks!” I guarantee you’ll see a jump in sharing, just for asking. Or close your post with an open-ended question, to encourage comments and discussion. Are you selling a product or service? Then remind them why and how to buy. Whatever you want a reader to do with the information you’re sharing – remind them of it at the end of the post.
  • 4. Set up a Post Checklist. This is great for beginners, and can even be a great activity for advanced bloggers too – Sit down and make a list of what you should be doing on every single post. After awhile, you won’t need your list – it will become a habit.

What should be in a Post Checklist?

The following are just some ideas that you can use – Add your own too, print out a list of them all, and add it to your blogging binder, planner, desktop calendar, or just pin it to the wall above your desk! {And watch for a post next week on how I set up my blogging binder to stay organized…}

  • Make sure your title is not too long, and has loads of keywords.
  • Include an image that’s relevant and high quality.
  • Spell check!
  • Does your closing encourage interaction and sharing?
  • Did you cross link to other related content on your site, if possible?
  • SEO – are you optimizing your post to be found in search engines? {Hint, get a Plug-in like Yoast for WP!}
  • Are you adding the right categories and tags to each post?
  • And are you sharing posts to social media?

Building a Presence on the Web

The more addresses you have on the web, the more likely people are to find you. Some people ask – “Why should I get a Twitter account? I already share everything to Facebook – can’t they check it out there?” But it’s important to remember that everyone has a favorite network, make sure your readers can follow you where THEY want to follow you! Here are a few places where you can find me – some networks I’ve had for a long time, and have built a large fan base. Some are brand new, with few followers. Some of them I use daily, and some I have only used a couple of times. A goal for 2012 is to get them all built into fun communities, where I can interact with some new faces. If you’d like to join me, I’d love to “meet” you too!

  • Facebook – My favorite social media site!
  • Twitter – I’m new to Twitter {8 months} – and finally “get” it.
  • LinkedIn – Great networking site.
  • Google+ – I’m excited to see what happens here.
  • Pinterest – I am a total Pinterest junkie – LOVE it!
  • YouTube – Very new, but video reviews will be rolling out in February!
  • Tumblr – Brand new, and ready to have some fun setting it up.

Closing Notes – Day 2

The main lesson of Chapter 2 is to get into good habits, and find systems that will work for you. {I talked a little about how to stay organized in yesterdays post too – Building a Better Blog Day 1} Setting up some great systems will make you MORE efficient, and make you LESS stressed. My big goal for this month is to take on very few new projects, so that I can really get organized again, set very ambitious goals for the new year – with monthly steps to achieve them! – and find some new systems, apps, sites, and gadgets to help me work smarter – so that I actually have time to live a life worth blogging about! Lol.

What do YOU Think?

What are your biggest challenges to staying organized in your blogging? What solutions have you found that work best for you? Share them in the comments – they might be just what another reader has been looking for!

We’re starting the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge next week! If you’d like to join us, just purchase the book from ProBlogger so you can follow along {Click here to view more details} and then add your link below!



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Building a Better Blog in 2012

Building Our Blogs 2012

Join Me in Building a Better Blog in 2012!

I’ve partnered with a group of bloggers to follow the advice from the super duper amazing guys at Problogger, to follow the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog book together – And I am SUPER excited to take on this challenge! I started my blogging journey in late February of 2011, and what a fun {and sleepless!} year it’s been so far! Now that I feel like I’ve got my feet planted pretty firmly here on my little patch of the web, I’m ready to take things up a notch. I think that the 31 days of ideas, tasks, projects, and posts is going to be pretty darn cool. I’m also participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge this month too – And again, I’m a day behind – {I’ve got a sick baby, so I’m lucky to get anything done at all!} – so this is my post for Day 2 – share a resource that’s been super useful to you.

Getting Started

I bought the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog ebook to use for this challenge – Then learned that some of the ladies in the group wanted to also get a jump start on our big Blog Improvement project by starting out with ProBlogger’s Guide to your First Week of Blogging. I didn’t buy this one, and wasn’t planning to join in on this – But have had a last minute change of mind after reading a few of their posts. While the information in the ‘First Week’ book is geared towards beginners, it’s always helpful to get back to basics, to make sure that you’re still on track and headed the direction you intended to go.

probloggers first week of blogging ebook

Chapter One

Since I didn’t buy this first book, I’m following along by reading the notes and main points from the book that the totally amazing Misty has been posting over in CEO of Me, Inc. – Read Day 1 of Building a Better Blog here. {Sign up for her email updates if you’d like to follow along too!} You can start this at any time too – each days info will be linked up at the bottom of this post as we go, so if you are finding this after we’ve completed the First Week, you can still learn the material!

CEO of Me, Inc = Rock Star

Since Misty already covered the key points from the chapter really well, I won’t share it all again. But I’d like to add my thoughts and tips to some of the points that she covered. These are things that are super helpful to me – and I hope that some of my tricks can help YOU this year too!

Build an Idea Folder

This is an idea that you simply MUST act on! At first, you find yourself with a million and one ideas that you want to post about – how could you ever run out of things to say! You finally have your own website! Hooray! …. But eventually, like any new adventure, reality sets in. Sometimes you lose a bit of the excitement, and struggle to create new content. If you build up a collection of inspiration and fun ideas, you always have something to come back to. Here a few ways you can do this:

  • 1. Paper and Pen – Keep a notebook on your desk, in your purse, next to the bed, everywhere. Whenever someone asks a great question that you could answer with a blog post, write it down. Funny story you’d love to share? Write it down. Totally world changing great idea? Write it down, so you can share it on your blog. Trust me, if you don’t capture it – odd’s are that you’ll never remember it again.
  • 2. Press This – This deserves it’s own blog post, coming soon. Press This is a super duper amazing little gadget that you simply add to your toolbar – then you use it to collect little shiny tidbits you find around the web, like a Magpie! {Yes, my name is Meagan. Sparkle is my favorite color – everyone knows that. So I’ve of course been nicknamed Magpie many times, lol} If you get distracted easily when online the way that I do, this is a total must have, since it helps you organize all of those cool ideas you come up with while surfin’ around.
  • 3. Pinterest – I also use Pinterest to help me organize my ideas. I have tons of boards, and am always adding more. Instead of filing all of those helpful articles, fun tips, and creative ideas into email folders, I can Pin them to different boards – which makes it SO much easier to find post inspiration! If I’m looking for fun holiday ideas – I’m building boards for each holiday! If I want to write about kids crafts – there’s a board for that. Blogging tips? Yep, I have a new board for that too! If you’re a Pinterest addict too, come and visit me!

Get into a Posting Rhythm

This is very important – and there is no “Right” answer. You have to find what works best for you, and stick to it. This is important for you, so that you can plan your weekly schedule. It’s also important for your readers, so they know what to expect. Here are a few ideas:

  • 1. 10+ times per day: This is a necessary part of the game if you’re a deal blogger: sales, coupons, and freebies expire quickly, they’ve got to post the hottest finds as they come across them. Don’t judge yourself because you post less often – The majority of deal or coupon posts are short and sweet, making them easy to pop out a bunch real quick. I know this, because during big shopping seasons, I post like this too!
  • 2. Once a Week:  If you blog is mostly crafts or cool DIY projects, it might work best to post just once a week. It takes some time to complete those amazing projects, take pictures, edit them, put together tutorials, and the make it all work together in an informative post. Try posting on the same day each week, so that your readers know when to come visit and find your latest creation.
  • 3. Post Daily: This one is a little tougher. It takes a lot more planning and organization to post daily. If you’re trying to come up with original content every single day, if you have to find new ideas to write about every day – you need to do some prep work. And that’s what the these two books are all about!

Build on the Basics

Before I started Sunshine and Sippy Cups, I bought a few books to help me get an idea of how to get started. I was {and still am!} totally tech-challenged. I read a lot of blogs, I felt like I had a ton of great info to share, but I had no idea where to start. The first two books that I read are still my VERY favorite – ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, and Using WordPress, which now comes with a DVD – awesome. In Using WordPress, Tris Hussey has such an easy to read, funny way of explaining all of the tech stuff – I was totally encouraged, and realized that I could do this whole blogging thing. Then I read Darren’s ProBlogger book – and ohmyheck! I was so excited to get started. It is seriously a must-read. So I am totally excited to get back to basics like this – The First Week of Blogging book reminds me to make sure I have a good foundation, to get more organized, and ensure that I’m moving in the right direction. I’m positive that this challenge is going to set me up for a great 2012!

What do YOU think?

Have you read any of the books? Excited to check them out? I’d love for you to share your goals or challenges in the comments here – I learn so much from other bloggers! And, If you are participating in our Building a Better Blog Group, please add your blog to the linky below, so I can read your posts too.  Who’s ready to Build a Better Blog in 2012??

Read More:

Building a Better Blog – Day 2, Finding Systems and Building Presence

Building a Better Blog – Day 3, Concentrate on Content

Building a Better Blog – Day 4, Understanding Your Blog as a Product

Building a Better Blog – Day 5, Putting Yourself Out There

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Stumble Tumble Tuesday! – Link Up and Grow Your Blog with StumbleUpon!

Stumble Tumble Tuesday

Welcome to Stumble Tumble Tuesday hosted by Acting Balanced, Sunshine and Sippy Cups and Wyoming Girl Turned Coastie Wife! The goal of this hop is to use Stumble Upon to help you promote your blog posts and get more traffic.

Even if you think you are stumbling correctly, please read this post on how to check and see if your stumble was successful. Some stumbles aren’t showing up, thanks!

To take part is simple!

  1. Add a link to a blog post that you would like people to stumble to the linky below. It *must* be a link to an actual post and NOT your main site. Please do not list giveaways.
  2. Stumble as many other posts as you care to, check to make sure that your stumble went through by clicking on the “Info” icon. Then leave a comment on their post saying, “I stumbled you, my post is _____(add link)”. The great thing about Stumble Upon is that it is fast and easy to do with the Stumble Upon toolbar. PLEASE DO NOT ADD YOUR LINK IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO STUMBLE ANY POSTS.
  3. Remember LINK TO AN ACTUAL POST, NOT YOUR MAIN SITE.
  4. PLEASE DON’T LIST ANY GIVEAWAYS.
  5. PLEASE ONLY ONE LINK PER BLOG.

Important: If you are the first person to Stumble a post, please take a minute and fill out the Stumble Upon review page. This is a one shot deal so if you don’t fill it out, that particular post will never get the same opportunity again. It only takes a minute to do, and has a big impact!

Feel free to post about Stumble Tumble Tuesday on your blog and help us spread the word.

Have fun with it and let’s discover and stumble some posts!

The first person to “like” a post on StumbleUpon assigns it a category. If your post has not been discovered yet, please leave the category you would like, in your link to help the discoverer assign it correctly. Example: Strawberry Shortcake Recipe (food).

I LOVE StumbleUpon!

I loved this personally – it’s just a really fun way to find cool new pictures and pages, interesting articles, and content that’s totally relevant to YOU. It reminds me of Pandora radio… By giving pages thumbs up or down, you help StumbleUpon “get” you, so it can find more things that you’ll like. And as a blogger – I have seen a DRAMATIC increase in traffic since I’ve started using StumbleUpon for my site. If you have ANY questions at all, leave a comment here or on my Facebook page, and I’ll answer you asap!

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List Your Blog on The Blog Guidebook for Free

The Blog Guidebook Rocks

Their site has an incredible amount of really great information that can help you whether you’re a brand new blogger, or a pro. You’ll find some newbie blogger tips and tutorials, tips on using new tools, like this one how to make cool photo-collage tutorials,  and a great resource page of linky parties to join each week. Awesome stuff, right?

Add Your Blog to the Guidebook Listing

To add your site to their listing pages, simply go visit Blog Guidebook and click the tab that says {SIGN UP} and follow the directions. You can add your blog to as many categories as you like. And make sure to check out some of the other sites too – you might find a new favorite.

Do you have a favorite blogging tips site?

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