What Time Do You Post Your Blog Posts?

Usually when I wake up in the morning, I come downstairs with the kids and get on the computer to post my blog post for the day, check emails, and see what else is going on in the world. This morning though, that didn’t happen. I got sidetracked and by the time I realized that I didn’t post what I wanted to, I thought to myself Well, it’s too late to post now.

Then I started cleaning and went on with my day. And that’s when it hit me: why do I always post in the morning? Why not in the afternoon or evening? And why do I always feel like I have to post at the same time? Does anybody even care or are there any consequences of either doing or not doing it the same way day in and day out?

I used to post every evening at 8:45 pm PST. I don’t know why, that’s just when I did it. Then when Ethan started preschool last year, my schedule got tossed all over the place and I started posting first thing in the morning, between 7 and 8 am. I noticed no increase or decrease in visits to my blog. Nobody asked about the change. Heck, I never even pay attention to other people post so I didn’t think it mattered much.

Then last week, I read something Mama Kat wrote about your blog feed and she mentioned that she likes to get new blog posts delivered to her inbox early in the day so she doesn’t feel like she’s late to the party when she goes to leave a comment. I don’t pay attention to how many comments are left before mine on someone’s blog, but it made me wonder if others do. Because if I’m being honest, I read a TON of blogs but don’t leave a whole lot of comments.

I’ve also heard that you should publish blog posts early in the morning, east coast time. But I looked back at my stats and it seems that I get traffic to my blog in the morning, at noon, and again in the evening. So I don’t know if it really matters or not when I’m posting.

Which then led me to wonder about ya’ll – do you care about how many comments are posted before you get around to reading a blog post?  Do you leave lots of comments or do you just read lots of posts and then help promote the ones you like? What time do you post your blog posts? Why did you pick that specific time? What are your thoughts on this? Am I driving myself crazy about this for absolutely no reason?

Photo Source: dmangust/flickr.com

Why I Fell In Love With Microsoft Office 2010 At Blissdom

I recently told you about Blissdom 2012 and how much I loved it and got out of it. But one of my biggest, most beneficial takeaways that I got out of Blissdom didn’t come from a session or networking. It came from an invitation I got from Microsoft to come and check out their Microsoft Office products that make blogging easier.

Now as a fan of Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel and Outlook, I was interested, but I didn’t really think there was much I would get out of it – I didnt know there were other products out there that could help! I was SO wrong! There are a ton of products out there for bloggers, and if you don’t know about them, let me introduce you to some of the ones I was introduced to when I swung by the Microsoft Suite…

  • Live Writer: As a blogger, Windows Live Writer allows you to create stunning blog posts in minutes, with photos, videos, maps, and more. Then publish them to any of your favorite blog service providers such as WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad.
  • SkyDrive: With SkyDrive you can store, organize, and download your files, photos, and favorites on Windows Live servers, and access them from any computer with an Internet connection—simply using your Windows Live ID. The services allows you to share photos and files that you create with your friends, collaborate on documents, or display photos and files that you create for anyone on the Windows Live network.
  • Hotmail: Whether you’re opening a message or sending photos, Hotmail helps you save time and get more done. And now, Hotmail and SkyDrive work great together by allowing you to send hundreds of photos and docs without the annoying attachment limits. Plus, if you’re feeling chatty, you can IM with your Messenger friends, right from your inbox. With SkyDrive, no one needs any special programs, just a web browser—and, your files aren’t shared by default but only when you want them to be, the way you want them to be. In addition, can add friends from places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, AOL Mail, and Outlook. Your contacts stay organized in one place.
  • Photo Gallery/Movie Maker: Whether you prefer Hollywood or the indie scene, you’re the director with Movie Maker. Use these free and easy-to-use tools to quickly add photos and footage from your PC or camera into Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. Use Movie Maker to enhance your movie with audio and a theme then sharing it online on Facebook, YouTube or other social networking and video sharing sites. In addition, Photo Gallery tools help you organize and edit your photos, then share them online whether you’re creating a panorama, merging shots with photo fuse of creating multi-media slideshows of last summer’s vacation.

Initially, I was going to tell you all about LiveWriter, with a tutorial of all the benefits. But then I thought, why not tell you about all of them? And this is just the tip of the iceburg! There are so many ways that Office products can make blogging easier. So next week, I’ll tell you more about LiveWriter, and if you want more, I’ll continue with other products. And while there are some great tips here that offer deeper info on some of the most popular Office tools, I’ll also feature some of the coolest ones I’ve found.

But in the meantime, how about a little giveaway?! I was SO in love with Microsoft Office 2010 that the cool people at Microsoft gave me a copy for my computer AND THEY GAVE ME ANOTHER ONE TO GIVEAWAY TO ONE OF YOU! To enter leave a comment and let me know what Microsoft tool you are most interested in learning more about.

For additional entries (don’t forget to leave a SEPARATE comment for each) you can…

Tweet about this giveaway: “Hey @NatalieHoage has a @Microsoft Office 2010 #giveaway! Enter to win AND learn how it can help you blog better! http://wp.me/p1DozA-Tf ”

Tell your friends on Facebook about this giveaway: “I entered to win Microsoft Office 2010 in Mommy of a Monster’s #giveaway. Check it out for your chance to win and see how these tools can help you blog better! http://wp.me/p1DozA-Tf”

This giveaway begins on Wednesday, March 7th and will end on Tuesday, March 13th, 2011 at 8:30 pm. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. The winner will be announced on Wednesday and must respond within 48 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Microsoft Office 2010 while visiting Microsoft at Blissdom.  All opinions expressed are my own. But I do love them big time!

Getting Paid To Blog: How To Get Sponsored Posts To Write

After writing my post titled Talking Taboo: How Much Do You Make With Your Blog?, I was overwhelmed with the responses and questions I got from readers. I don’t have all the answers…not even close, but I do know some ladies that do! A group of us got together to tackle topics about freelancing, sponsored posts, ads, brand ambassadorships, product reviews, and more – and how much to charge for these things. We’ll be talking about media kits, how to pitch a brand, why people do and don’t monetize, and fears about monetizing.

It’s a lot right? But don’t worry – the group of bloggers that have come together to help answer your questions are some of the nicest bloggers I know, and they’ve helped me out more than once! So sit back, get ready to take some notes, relax, and learn how to make some money…

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So you decided to take the plunge and try to make some money with your blog. Why not? We spend enough time and effort to have people read it – to trust our words. And companies are starting to recognize that a lot of people do trust and listen to what bloggers have to say. They know our product reviews and things we write about can change people’s minds or sway the decisions about the products that they use and buy. We have a voice, and it’s a loud one.

What is a Sponsored Post?

If you do decide to make money, you might not know where to start…I didn’t! One of the easiest ways to monetize your blog is through sponsored posts. What is a sponsored post? According to Wikipedia: “A promoted post, also known as a sponsored post, is a post to any community-driven notification-oriented website which is explicitly sponsored as an advertisement by a particular company in order to draw a large amount of popularity through user promotion and moderation to the most active or most viewed page on the website. The model has become adopted by various ad-supported but community-driven websites as an addition, substitute or replacement of other pay-per-click advertisement formats, such as web banners, text and rich media.

Specifically referring to context of blogs, ‘sponsored post was defined by Mutum and Wang (2010) as “The promoted blog entries or posts that contain links that point to the home page or specific product pages of the website of the sponsor for which the blogger receives compensation in the form of money, products, services or in other ways”.[1] They are also known as paid posts or sponsored reviews.”

A brand might ask you to link back to their site, or to a specific product. Or they might ask you to use specific keywords and link to certain pages on their site. Or sometimes they want you to talk about a certain topic. There’s a lot of different ways that you might be asked to write a sponsored post.

Where Do You Find Sponsored Post Opportunities

Where do you find sponsored posts? For me, most of the sponsored posts I write I have to “apply” for (meaning the brand doesn’t approach me directly). Sometimes I’ll be contacted by PR reps I’ve worked with in the past and asked if I’d like to write a sponsored post. Other times, friends will ask if I’d be interested, and then they’ll pass my name along to their contacts.

There are also lots of places that you can find these opportunities yourself. Usually you have to become a member of the site and you may have to put their button on your blog to (a) help promote their site (b) show people that you are a member. Here are a few that I’ve had great success with…

Mom Spark Media

Mom Central

Clever Girls Collective

The Blog Frog

One2One Network

Don’t Forget to Disclose!

I think the most important thing to remember is to disclose that your post is a sponsored post.Often times, you’ll be given specific wording to use that you include at the bottom of the post. Sometimes though, you’ll have to do it yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – if you check out some of mine (posts where I was asked to write about anything but use specific keywords and link back to certain sites and pages), you’ll see I simply said “I was compensated for this post, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.” at the bottom of the post. You might not even have known it was sponsored when you read it, but I still need to be honest and let my readers know that I got paid to write the post.

Blog With Integrity

What I mean by this is that you should never write a post that makes you feel uncomfortable. Stay real and true to yourself. The reason I’m mentioning this is because about a year ago, I was asked to write several posts, using specific keywords and linking back to sites. They didn’t have to be long, and I was paid $50 to write each post. Because I wanted the money, I said yes. I wrote about topics that had nothing to do with me or my readers. I sold out.

Since then, I’ve taken those posts down, but I learned that sometimes monetizing just isn’t worth it. Keep it in mind is if your approached to write sponsored posts that you really have no interest in.

Questions?

I’d be happy to answer specific questions you may have! Feel free to leave them in the comment section below!

There are as many ways to earn money blogging as to blog so check out the other bloggers participating in Lifting the Veil On Making Money In Blogging:

Also….some topics weren’t covered in this blog hop (like product reviews, ads, and some questions that you asked). Over the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing those topics so stay tuned!

 

Lila and Mia Host The Bidness – Round 14

I am SUPER excited to be guest posting over at SITS and sharing my tips for how to build a blog community (loyal readership) on your blog! If you are interested in growing your readership, definitely stop over and read it! But Lila and Mia also have a few things to say here, so I’m handing the floor over to them now…

The Business Lila: My mom never lets us talk anymore. Even though she knows you guys like it when we do.

 

The Business Mia: Yeah, she’s mean sometimes. She doesn’t even want us to play on her iPad. We love Angry Birds.

 

Lila: Maybe she would let us if we didn’t get into so much trouble all the time. She always says that we start one mess and while she cleans it up, we make two more.

Mia: I don’t think that’s true, though. I think she just thinks everything is a mess. We are just having fun!

Lila: I know! And then she makes us go play outside, so we throw rocks. Daddy doesn’t like that. We like to take the bark out of the planters, too. We throw it in the lawn, all over the patio and at the dogs. We get in trouble for that a lot.

Mia: Uh huh, we do. Mommy says “I never let you play with that and you always get in trouble, so why do you keep doing it?!”

Lila: Doesn’t she know it’s fun? That’s why we do it!

Mia: You know what else is fun? Throwing stuff in the toilet.

Lila: Yeah! And unwinding the toilet paper roll. And trying to flush our diapers. Did you guys know that doesn’t work?

Mia: Mom doesn’t think so. Mom is never fun.

Lila: You know what else is fun that mom doesn’t like? When we dump cereal all over the couch. Or out of the box. Or try to feed it to the dogs. She doesn’t like any of those things.

Mia: Getting Tater in trouble is fun too. All I have to do is start crying and mom yells “TATER!” like she’s really mad.

Lila: Even when he doesn’t do anything! That’s probably why he hits us all the time because he knows that even if he doesn’t he’s still gonna get into trouble.

Mia: Our mommy got our haircut finally. Did she tell you that? Now they call me Lloyd because she says that is what my haircut looks like.

Lila: Well, at least you have hair! The lady told mommy I can’t wear piggy tails in my hair anymore or it won’t grow!

Mia: Yeah, I do have more hair than you.

Lila: We got tricycles for Christmas, and I love riding mine. Mia just pushes hers around though.

Mia: It’s not my fault that my feet don’t reach the pedals! You’re a giant!

Lila: No I’m not! I am big like Tater.

Mia: Well, it’s still fun even if I just push it.

Lila: And the last thing we want to tell you is that mommy says we talk a lot. And ask a lot of questions. And she says we are going to drive her to drink with all the questions.

Mia: She just gets mad because she doesn’t know the answers, I bet!

Lila: Tater knows the answers! He knows everything.

Mia: Mommy says he thinks he knows everything.

Lila: I don’t know. Maybe he is smarter than mommy. He’s way more fun than mommy!

Mia: SHHHHH! What’s that? I think Mommy’s coming! Or is it Tater?

Lila: Well if it’s Tater, he can help us find a mess to make, right?

Mia: Let’s go find out!

Are You Participating In The SITS Girls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Event?

Next week on Monday, January 16th, the SITS Girls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog event begins. Have you heard of it? If not,  head over and sign up NOW! This is an event where bloggers support each other through a series of assignments to…you guessed it…build a better blog. It will not only help you improve your blog, but also take it to the next level. There are three different tracks you can sign up for: Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced, and each track will be working through content in the Problogger book by Darren Rowse . I’ll be doing it – and I’m looking forward to it!

My lovely friend Nicole from moments that define life is leading the Intermediate Track. Yay Nicole! Anyways, she asked 10 of her favorite seasoned bloggers to answer a series of questions related to the content that will be covered in an effort to provide you with additional motivation and perspective when tackling the upcoming week’s assignments. She’s calling it her Blog Idol Interview Lineup, and guess what? I’m one of her favorite bloggers!

So head over to Nicole’s place to read all about it and see the other amazing bloggers (I’m honored to be included in such a fantastic lineup) that will be sharing their input and helping YOU improve your blog!

Are you planning on participating in SITS Girls 31 Days To Build A Better Blog? If so, which track are you in?