The Newbie’s Guide To Setting Up A Mailing List On Your Blog

Mailing lists are so underrated and yet so beneficial for every blogger. With a mailing list, you have the chance to send targeted emails out to lots of your readers. This helps you promote your recent posts, provide them with unique content that helps create an attachment to your blog, and also serves as a good sales channel if you have anything to sell.

Setting up a mailing list is relatively easy, and here’s everything you need to do: 

Encourage People To Join
Naturally, the first step is ensuring people actually want to join the list. So, you have to give them some form of encouragement. This is best done with incentives. Let people know that they get exclusive content if they join the mailing list. Make them feel like they miss out on something when they don’t sign up. Also, be sure to push forward the point that you won’t spam them every day, and that it’s entirely free to sign up! 

Add A Form To Your Site
To get people to sign up, you need to provide them with a form. There are loads of ways you can add a form to your site, but the video above will give the best directions for you. With your form you need to ensure they put in their name and email; any other information is a bonus and entirely up to you. 

Create A Database For Your Contacts
You must ensure that you’ve made a note of everyone that signs up to your mailing list. Yes, they’ll be on the actual list in your email client, but you need to add them to a database as well. If you don’t know the first thing about databases, then you can contact Training Connection to learn Microsoft Access and hone your skills. When you have the knowledge, you can start creating a database full of your contacts. Why? Because it lets you store information on everyone, including their email address, how they found your site, and so on. This is helpful as you can spot patterns that allow you to change your approach to marketing, leading you a higher success rate of people joining the list.     

Create The List In Your Email Client
You can use any email client you want for your mailing list, it depends on whichever one you currently use. Here, you have to collect all the contact information from people who’ve provided it – again, this is where the database comes in handy – and add them to your email list of contacts. Once this has been done, you can create a mailing list by selecting all contacts and adding them to a specific group. In Gmail, this is done by adding people to a ‘label,’ but it may differ slightly from client to client. Then, you can just compose your emails and send them to this group. When new people sign up, you take their info and add them to the group; easy!

Now, you have a mailing list that will help push your blog forwards. This is one of the best ways to create a loyal audience, while also being an excellent tool for marketing your blog.

 

 

Tips for Making a Good Blog Even Better

Whether you are thinking of starting a blog or you’re already up and running, there’s always things we can do to improve our craft. Pick one or do all of my suggestions, to make your blog even better.

Blog, Leave, Texts, Blogger, Blogging, Report, Opinion

The first tip you need to do to improve your blog is look at your pictures. It’s critical that they match the topic and the tone of your blog. If you are a lifestyle blogger, focusing on fashion and chic trends, then make sure your pictures are stylish and posed. If you are a travel blogger, intersperse attractive stock images with your own travel pics to give it a more personalized feel. If you are still deciding what to blog about, get some inspiration here.

 

Camera, Olympus, Digital Camera, Black And White

Also, don’t overload your blog with pictures. One good picture that sums up what you are saying is much better that a load of random sort of relevant shots.

Layouts
The next tip I have for you is to get your layout right. The fashion at the moment is for wide screen layouts with scrolling categories and images. They can look more spacious than the traditional column approach, but you will also probably end up paying for a custom site or a hosting service.

The key is to keep things simple, but not dull. A clear but decorative font, good quality images and easy ways for your readership to interact are essential. Have obvious comment boxes and social media sharing buttons. This will improve the look and the interactive aspect of your blog.

Search facility
Another key tip is that you always need a search facility built into your blog. No matter how good your categories are, only the first few posts will show at any given time. So you need a way that your fans can easily search for older posts that they still want to use.

Having good categories also makes it a lot easier for you to keep on top of what you have covered and the type of content you would like to produce in the future.

Personal info
You personal information section is paramount. Of course, you don’t want to share all your personal information with the world, so never give out home addresses or phones numbers. But you do want to give your fan base a sense of who is behind the writing and why they do it. It makes it much easier for people to connect with you and your blog and will earn your a wider readership.

Keep it working for you
Whether you are blogging for income or as a hobby, it’s important to keep your site working efficiently.  Periodically check that you search functions work and your category links are not broken. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to navigate your site.
Man, Reading, Touchscreen, Blog, Digital, Tablet

Also, make sure your front page loads quickly. It’s all very well having some amazing visuals to grab people’s attention. But if they take too long to load, people will get bored and go to the next site on the search list.

 

My Bad Tuesday, Not That Bad After All

Today has been a bad day for me.  I wasted over 10 hours of my precious time salvaging and restoring my precious photos that had been posted in my recent and previous blog posts for all my 3 blogs.  All these photos were uploaded at Photobucket.

And I feel SO SO tricked.  Photobucket is a scam!  It lures you with free upload of photos up to a certain bandwidth, after which, when you exceed the bandwidth, the links of all the photos in your blog linked to Photobucket will be disconnected until you buy their service, in USD! In other words, Photobucket is trying to corner you. If you have a blog and your photos are uploaded using Photobucket, you will have very little choice but to buy their service just so your photos remain in your blog.  This is not the case with the old Picasa.  I used to upload my photos using the old Picasa. Though I had exceeded my bandwidth with the old Picasa, all my earlier photos were still intact in my blogs. The only thing is I could no longer upload new photos.

With Photobucket, I feel so tricked. And I am so not going to buy their monthly or yearly subscription, NEVER, period!

While googling how best to store and upload my photos, I discovered the new Picasa via plus.google.  If I did not read or misinterpret it wrongly, there is unlimited storage space, thanks to Google! 🙂

So while I was sorting out my photos, I found these old photos of my 3 darlings when they were toddlers.

Looking at these photos make me miss their baby and toddler days so much!!

Alycia was such a gorgeous baby!!

And so is Sherilyn!  And my baby Cass!

 

 

My head feels so heavy now, after spending the whole freaking day trying to do ‘reimplantation’ to my photos, by trying to out-trick Photobucket, using some of the skills that I discovered via trial and error in my 7 years of blogging.  For photos that I cannot ‘reimplant’, I had to re-upload them all over again.  The more I think of it, the more irate I get!  In fact, some of my old blogs posts are without photos, no thanks to Photobucket and I will just leave them as they are as I just don’t have the time to upload them again, one by one.  But it is always through failure that one finds a better way of doing things and I am so glad that I discovered another better way of uploading my photos.  Hopefully, the new Picasa and plus.google will not disappoint me in time to come.

 

 

 

Did I Let Go Of A Golden Opportunity To Be Famous?

Several days ago, someone from a Singapore newspaper publishing company approached me. She said she is looking for mommy bloggers who write product reviews and had chosen my blog. She wanted to interview me and publish an article on mommy bloggers, with me featured as one of the bloggers. She had only shortlisted 3 bloggers. I thought WOW, this is an opportunity for me to be a famous blogger! I must not let this opportunity slip. But her condition was that she needed a close up and high resolution picture of me with my 3 girls taken in front of my computer with my blog Health Freak Mommy on the screen and shown in the picture. She wanted it urgently. At that time, Alycia was still in school and Baby was napping. I told her that I would email her the pic the next day but the next day, I was too caught up with work that I did not have the time to snap the pic. Tomorrow I should be able to snap the picture just before we go to church. That’s when everyone’s dressed up to the nines and look good. Hmmm, I will email her the pic and I’ll see if she still wants it or she had already chosen another blogger.

Health Freak Mommy is 3 Years Old!

Exactly 3 years ago, I first started out blogging as a bored to tears SAHM. For someone who is really IT-challenged, it really wasn’t easy for me to create a blog. I started everything from scratch, registered myself in a dozen of forums, read every article there was on Blogger, on SEO and codes (reading codes for the first time was like reading Greek) and many, many sleepless nights later, I was a happy and content blogger. A few months later, I was a very proud blogger who blogs for money too. I felt a sense of achievement that I could earn a little moolah albeit being a ‘wong meen por’ (aka as yellow skin lady /  housewife in Cantonese ). Times were good then and I used to earn a few thousand bucks from writing ads.  I couldn’t be happier but that didn’t last for long when we were all hit cruelly by the global recession.

When I first started out blogging, I was obsessed with the number of hits / visitors to my blog. I was so fanatical about the stats that I would check on them every single day. Those were the days when I was a greenhorn in the blogosphere.  I have not been checking the stats for this blog for almost a year. Last night I decided to check my blog stats and I was bowled over when I saw the numbers there. I could not believe my eyes when I read that I have been getting an average of 24,000 visits a month to my dot com blog for the past 2 months and an average unique visitors of 11,000 per month!  Here’s the summary of the stats for the month of March 2010:

Unique visitors Number of visits Pages Hits
Viewed traffic * 11580 24392
(2.1 visits/visitor)
53660
(2.19 Pages/Visit)
293056
(12.01 Hits/Visit)
Not viewed traffic *

I can only thank you and you and you for being a loyal reader of my blog. You may ask why I am so fanatical about the stats. Well, it plays a contributing factor to the Google PR of my blog. After 3 years, this blog is now a PR2. Had it not been the ads in this blog, I am confident that the Google PR would even be higher.

Ok, PR aside (this ain’t that important to me anymore), I would like to say from the bottom of my heart to all my readers for dropping by my blog to read the nonsense that I write. Thank you so much!

Second Payment From Google Adsense

I received my second payment from Google Adsense several months ago but only had the time to withdraw the cash from Western Union several days ago.  The exchange rate was pretty good at 3.58 and I managed to cash out RM843.  Quite a lot of money eh?  I used to earn much more than that from writing paid posts during the good times 2 years ago. Oh well, nothing is forever.

So what am I going to do with the money? I wish I can splurge it anyhow I like but too bad, most of it will go towards my credit card account…. to partially settle the amount incurred on Baby C’s surgeries.

My Blog Is In The Top 10 Finalist Of The Supermummy Amazing Blogger Award!

Woohoo…. I just found out that my blog has been selected into the top 10 finalist of the Supermummy Amazing Blogger Award!

For being in the top 10, these are the prizes that I will be getting:

1. Gin & Jacqie digital camera pouch worth RM 36.00
2. RM10 cash voucher to purchase Gin & Jacqie online
3. Tini’s Spa milk bath voucher worth RM88

I would like to thank all those who have clicked on the Supermummy Amazing Blogger Award banner to help my blog get into the top 10 finalist.  You guys are the best!

For the final round of this award, you guys have to hop over to the Malaysian Supermummy blog and vote for me. Voting should be up by Monday next week.

I will be on a blog break from Monday next week  onwards when  Baby C goes in for a surgery next Tuesday. I’d really appreciate it if you guys could just hop over to the Malaysian Supermummy blog and vote for this blog! Thanks everyone and have a fruitful weekend with your loved ones!

Finally Got My Internet But…

….the connection sucks BIG time.  As expected, my Streamyx isn’t up yet.  I told yer earlier, TM Net will surely break their promise and as sure as the sun rises in the east, they really can’t deliver their promise of getting my Streamyx up within 3 working days.  Luckily smartie me already had a back-up plan and I have rented a 3G wireless internet modem but this 3G’s signal is soooooooo farking slow and unstable at my condo…. and it’s driving me nuts!  I had gotten 2 opps from one advertising network today but I lost both the opps because my internet connection was darn slow.  I also lost a USD20 opp from Elina all because my internet connection wasn’t up yet, bummer!

Anyway nuff of ranting.  I am really stressed up because Baby C is soooooooo clingy to me and I can hardly do anything.   When I wore her in my sling, she hated it and wanted to be down on the floor.  But how can I unpack my stuff when she’s everywhere on the not-so-clean floor and putting everything that looked so new and amusing to her into her mouth?  So I had to carry her and walk round the house to unpack and arrange my things and put her on my lap as I unpacked my things.   She also couldn’t nap for long as my 2 older monkeys have been screaming and laughing and banging on the doors the whole day… and driving me bonkers.  Sherilyn finds it so amusing to throw things down the condo… and also jumping up and down her new bed with her black feet!  Really kek sei ngor and I have been yelling at her a lot these days.

Ok, I better stop ranting and raving.  I’ve got more serious work to complete.  I’ve several assignments to dish out for the advertisers before they expire.  Will update again…..

New Header

How do you like my new header?  I think it’s awesome and I must thank my good blogging pal, Leena for her creativity and time in coming up with this beautiful header for both my blogs.

I must also thank Sue for squeezing her precious time out from caring for her 2 boys and newborn baby girl to help me upload the header into my blog.  WordPress blogs really suck big time… the procedures for every single task are just so tedious and confusing.  To be able to operate a WP blog on own domain, one really have to do some reading on WP, cPanel and FTP files.  I must really squeeze some time out to do the reading, otherwise I have to keep troubling my friends to help me each time I need to update the theme and header of my blog or to accessorize my blog.

Blog Statistics Breaches 1000 Visitors Per Day

I have not been checking the site statistics for both my blogs for quite some time and when I checked today, I was really astounded and ecstatic to find that my Blogspot blog has finally breached the 1,000-a-day visitor mark! Woot, that’s really great. Here’s an excerpt of the statistics from my Google Adsense account :

Friday, August 1, 2008        –   254
Saturday, August 2, 2008   –  452
Sunday, August 3, 2008       –  601
Monday, August 4, 2008      – 1,210
Tuesday, August 5, 2008     –  876
Wednesday, August 6, 2008 – 871
Thursday, August 7, 2008    – 836
Friday, August 8, 2008         – 589
Saturday, August 9, 2008     – 408
Sunday, August 10, 2008     – 322

Traffic is normally lower towards the weekend.

My statistics for my dot com blog isn’t too bad too and I have between 400-500+ visitors a day.

High traffic/visitors equals good Real Ranking and no wonder I got a USD100 opp (for only 50 words) from 3P today. To all my readers out there, thanks very much for visiting my blogs!

No Time To Blog Hop

I have not been blog hopping for almost 1 week now.  I really miss reading the updates in your blog.  Sorry my dear friends if I have not visited your blog.   Stupid Streamyx is still down… talking about it makes my blood boil.  I am now at my hub’s office…. and I can only afford to steal 2 hours to complete all my outstanding assignments.

I was told by our efficient Telekom staffers that my internet connection will only be up by Tuesday next week.  Now, I don’t believe a word they say.  I’ll just wait and see.  Maybe I should just fax a letter to their higher management to complain. 

Blog Break

I will be unable to blog for 1-3 days from today.  That’s because hubby has applied for the name for our fixed phone line to be changed from his sister to his name.  And our Streamyx connection has to be disconnected to facilitate the change in name.  Can you beat that?  I just don’t understand why our government departments are always so inefficient.  They just don’t realize that the broadband disconnection for 3 days will bring about so much inconvenience to people like me who work from home. Maybe I should ask them to compensate me for my loss of income for 3 days.   I just don’t understand why on earth Telekom needs 1-3 working days to get this done.  It’s ok if the disconnection is for several hours but 1-3 days is to the extreme!  I will surely have blogging withdrawal symptoms for these few days of not being able to go online.  But maybe it’s a good time for me to rest and spend some time with my 3 gals.

PR Back

One of my blogging buddies got the PR back for her blog.  So what did she do?  She simply removed everything related to the Big G’s rival (the links, the codes, the banners) and re-submitted her blog to Big G.  Within 3 days, she got her PR back, simple as that.  Oh I was just drooling when she told me that a moment ago.  I will try her strategy on my dot com blog next month after the long P has paid me for my latest posts.  If this strategy works, I will do the same for my blogspot blog.  Hopefully I will get a good PR for my dot com blog after ditching the long P.  As for my blogspot blog, I have been dreaming of getting back my PR4.  I will even be glad if Google gives me  a PR3.

Nerve-racking Moments

There were 3 high paying opps from TigaP network since this morning but they were all shaded grey.  Each time the opp turned white (3 times), it took ages to load the page, then ages for the damn captcha to appear, then after I had typed the hard-to-decipher captcha (at times typed it wrongly), I had to wait ages again for the page to load only for me to see the dreaded words in red after the page is loaded.  Do you face such nerve-racking moments too when you try to grab opps from TigaP?

Rush Rush Rush

I had woken up late this morning at 6:15am. Quickly rushed downstairs, turn on my computer and went to the website of this network. I have 4 opps expiring in 45 minutes and I know there’s no way I could complete them. Managed to complete 3 opps and when I had finished the last one, I was able to submit the task in the nick of time where I had less than 1 minute before it expired. After clicking on the submit tab, I saw the red word ‘expire’ appear on the 4th task. Phew, what a rush, really felt like I was competing in a race or something and came in second in place, LOL! Quite chee kek to get involved in this kind of rush and race sometimes, the pump of adrenalin through my body is really chee kek!

Headache!!

My head is hurting like mad, I think it’s caused by a lack of sleep last night. Hubby’s friend who helped me set up my new computer only left at 1:30am. Today is another blog rush day for me, rushing to complete deadlines for my assignments and then there’s no better time for stupid Streamyx to be down than when I’m at my busiest. It always has to be this way. I still have 5 outstanding tasks from this particular advertiser and I am pretty sure I will not be able to complete them by 8am tomorrow. It’s ok, I’ll just let them expire, sleep is more important to me now.