Hey guys! It's time for Part 4 of my “Is There Anybody Out There” series. Only this go around I'm going to need to break it down into 2 Volumes. Just thinking about month four as a blogger sends me into a tailspin, my mind is literally running in a million different directions. This last month has been full of complexities, challenges and exhilaration. I’ve had incredible highs followed by some pretty low lows. There’s so much I want to share with you guys, so much I need to get out of my head and into the universe.
So here it goes. Today, in Volume 1, I'm going to cover:
-How to break down affiliate links and why I hate HTML.
-Google+ comments, why the stink, and how grateful I am to have someone looking out for me.
-Making my first dollar as a blogger and the can of worms that that has opened.
-Attending my first event as a blogger (with terrible business cards).
-And writing my first ever guest post and hosting my first ever guest blogger.
On Thursday, and in Volume 2, I'll be covering:
-Not meeting my personal goals
-Creating a blogging schedule and sticking to it.
-Why you shouldn’t pay for a blog design until you've been a blogger for at least a few months.
-And how happy I am that D is finally taking my blogging seriously.
Phew, I told you there was a lot going on in my mind right now (hence the reason for the 2 Volumes, I hope you guys don't mind). I guess we should start at the beginning and get the technical stuff out of the way first.
Affiliate links, a love hate relationship, and why I hate HTML. Well that’s an easy one. I hate HTML and anything that makes me feel stupid, which is exactly how these beloved links have made me feel. I mentioned in Part 3 of Is There Anybody Out There that I had signed up as a Nordstrom affiliate. Well, I only actually started using affiliate links in my last post (here). I’m happy to share that I've already made a few bucks, which is absolutely amazing (thank you Christmas!) but as we all know, nothing worth having comes without it's struggles. I'm not lying when I say it literally took me a full two days to figure out why I was getting huge gaps in my content after I’d post an affiliate link. See my screenshot below (not a good look).
Obviously, the huge gap between the image and the link wasn’t going to cut it so I Googled my little heart out. I read through the forums on Linkshare (the affiliate program I’m using) and I exchanged at least a dozen e-mails with a pal I have in IT. Two days later and nothing! I hadn’t felt that helpless since month one. No joke, I literally had my head down on the desk when D came in and asked if I wanted his help. I don’t know why I feel it necessary to exhaust ever other resource before I finally turn it over to him, but I do. I’ll be working on that one. Anyways, an hour later and he had the link broken down and all figured out for me.
Now, I know I'm not a rocket scientist, but I also know I'm not the only one in this great big world who has ever had this happen to them. I don't know why on earth I couldn't find the answer to my problem, but I know I would hate for anyone to struggle like I did. So here goes, I’m breaking it down for you right here, right now. Below is an affiliate link I generated from Linkshare (I’ve changed my ID for confidentiality reasons, but everything else remains intact).
<a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/link?id=XXXXXXXXXXX&offerid=276224.3605089&type=2&murl=http%3A%2F%2Fshop.nordstrom.com%2FS%2F3605089%3Fcm_cat%3Ddatafeed%26cm_pla%3Dbags%3Awomen%3Aclutch%26cm_ite%3Dtory_burch_%2527adalyn%2527_clutch%3A970907%26cm_ven%3DLinkshare">Tory Burch 'Adalyn' Clutch</a><IMG border=0 width=1 height=1 src="http://ad.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/show?id=XXXXXXXXXXX&bids=276224.3605089&type=2&subid=0" >
The highlighted portion is the only portion of the link you need (I tested it and purchased this fun little happy hour clutch that I’ll be giving away here on the blog real soon). Whatever the rest of link is, it's irrelevant and is causing the huge gaps. Not cool.
Also not cool, Google+ comments. In fact, they stink! You may or may not have noticed that all Google+ comments posted prior to Monday 12/2 have been deleted from this blog, not by me, but that was one of the fall outs from disabling Google+ comments. I had no idea I had Google+ comments enabled, and furthermore, I had no idea that by having them enabled I was pretty much forcing anyone who wanted to leave a comment to either sign up for Google+ or leave without sending their message. Never in a million years would I ask a reader to sign up for something that they don’t want so that they could leave me a comment. That's just crazy.
If you’re a new blogger with a Google+ account, please do yourself and your readers a favor and be sure you have Google+ comments disabled. If you’re using Blogger it’s quite easy to disable Google+ comments. Simply click on the Google+ tab on the left hand side of your Blogger dashboard and then uncheck the "Use Google+ comments on this blog" box.
A HUGE thank you to Amanda from Voyage Of The MeeMee for letting me know she’s been reading but unable to comment. I don’t know what I’d do without you guys looking out for me. It really means so much.
With that said, I’m calling out for your help now ladies! Earlier, I mentioned affiliate links and why I hate HTML but what I failed to mention is the giant can of worms that making my first dollar has opened up. I mean I'm sure the IRS is going to want their piece right. I’m only just starting to look into the steps I need to take to turn this little ole blog from hobby to business so any advice, tips, or just general conversation if you're going through this process yourself would be awesome! Let's do this together.
Now less tech and more fun. Let’s move onto greener pasture shall we. The last thing I want this post to be is a bitch fest about all my "struggles" to figure this blogging stuff out. The truth is for all of the challenges this month has brought, there have been just as many new and wonderful experiences thrown my way. The first of which was my attending the Kendra Scott LUXE launch. I went on and on for an entire week, most recently here, about how great the night was and how it was one of the best experiences of my life, bad business cards and all.
Let me explain...
So immediately after receiving my invitation, I jumped online and did what any normal girl would do, I consulted my Facebook friends for business card vendor recommendations. Yep, because in my head, nobody was going to take me seriously as a blogger if I didn't have business cards. I was in a mad rush to get my cards here (which is never a good scenario when making a big decision) so I ended up going with the vendor that could get me my cards the fastest without me having to pay an excessive amount for expedited shipping (because of course I need expedited shipping). Let's just say sometimes it's best to pay a little more to get a little more. I used X vendor who turned out to be a total nightmare. Cards were delivered on the day I needed them, only they weren't my cards! I immediately called X vendor (outraged, of course) and they advised me that I would need to prove that I had received the wrong cards by e-mailing them a photo of the cards I received, seriously? Ok, so I e-mailed the photo and 3 days later my actual cards arrived (the night before the event) and they stunk. See for yourself.
Paper quality bad, color bad (this is suppose to be gold), design ok. Now admittedly I went with something simple, so the design of course was my choosing, but wow, not really the impression I wanted to make at my first big event. I handed the cards out though none the less because I figured bad cards were better than no cards and remember, I wanted to be taken seriously :)
Simultaneously, Tiny Prints had reached out to me after they saw this post and wanted to collaborate. At the time, I had pitched a few ideas, but only after receiving the cards above did I know how they could help me and vice versa. There's a reason I felt like nobody would take me seriously without business cards. As much as we'd like to pretend that there's no money behind blogging, there is, which in fact makes it our own little business. OURS. I take great pride in this blog because it's mine and mine alone. With that said, business cards are our way to be remembered (good or bad). I received 100 of the business cards below c/o Tiny Prints and I have since sent Kendra Scott and her team a hand written thank you for my invitation, along with one of my new cards. Hopefully they lost the old one, ha! It really is the details and the little things that will get you noticed.
Now that you all have my telephone number, ha.
Ok, so moving on to other happy news. Early on, I knew I would be one of "those" bloggers who would host guest bloggers, not for profit, but rather to give you guys something I personally couldn’t give you. I by no means am a one man show. I mean I can’t cook for $hit, I don’t have the patience or desire to DIY and I’ll never be able to take you on a journey of my most recent trip to Paris (because I’ll never go). That doesn’t mean these things don’t interest me though, so I look at these gaps in my personal life as opportunities for guest bloggers.
Did you guys meet Mollie? Well Mollie was my first ever guest blogger and I chose to work with her particularly because she has a way of making complex DSLR things seem simple to me. If you haven't read my 101 Things To Do In 1001 Days, you should, and after you do you'll know that I’ve challenged myself to learn how to manually use our camera (judging from the above pictures you'll see I haven't gotten very far with that). Having Mollie here to go over some of the fundamentals was a great start to that and to building what I hope will be a great friendship.
When Mollie asked me to do a guest post on her blog, I was beyond honored. You can check it out here. I’ve said this before, but it’s not everyday someone takes a chance on a newbie. I’m sure it’s a lot easier to turn your space over to someone with 1000 readers and ten other guest posts to give them credibility, but it takes someone really special to give someone their first chance. One of the reasons I think our post swap worked out as well as it did is because we both really believed that the other had something valuable to offer our readers. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from bloggers who have done guest posts or hosted guest bloggers and they’ve come away completely turned off to the experience, it’s very sad really. I consider myself very lucky to have worked with Mollie and to have gotten off to such a great start in this area.
If you're interested in post swapping, I'd love to hear from you. Never say never I know but it's my intent to never charge for a guest post on Brass Honey. I don't plan to ever pay to be a guest blogger on another blog either. I think once money gets involved things get complicated which is why so many bloggers are turned off by guest blogging to begin with. This is so going to sound corny but we're all here to help each other out aren't we. I don't care if you have one reader or ten thousand, if you can offer my readers something valuable, then I welcome you. Off my soap box now, I promise.
Well guys, that's it, Volume 1 of Part 4 is complete. I hope to see you back her on Thursday for Volume 2, and if you want to know how this whole "Is There Anybody Out There" thing got started, click here.
See you soon friends and have a great day!
I love these posts of yours, and I continue to be jealous of your blogging entrepreneurial skills!ReplyDelete
Awww, don't be jealous Dani. Trust me, it's not coming easy. Wait until you see my blogging schedule :). If there's anything I can do to help you, let me know!Delete
I love your series. BTW I found it on IFB. I just started blogging myself....kind of. I'm a writer and I'm trying to get a blog up and running before my book comes out, so I can capitalize on it from both ends. Like you, I've read all the "how to start a blog...blah...blah...blah by people who speak in generalities or already have a huge readership. I'm curious...what made you decide to use Blogger? I'm using Tumblr and know I will need to move to something that is more text driven, but don't know what platform to start with. And don't get me started on social media....hope you are covering that soon!ReplyDelete
Patricia! That's awesome, congratulations on your book. I'm so glad you found me! Let me know when your blog goes live, I'd love to check it out.Delete
As for what made me decide to use Blogger, it pretty funny now that I think about it. I didn't really know at the time that I was making such a big decision. Some of my favorite bloggers used Blogger, so I did too. I've been really happy with it so far and I find that it's incredibly user friendly (despite my hiccups with Google+).
I've only recently started using social media to promote my blog (mainly Pinterest), but I'm sure I'll be touching on that at some point. I haven't seen much traffic from social media sites, but again, I'm really just testing the waters.
Wishing you so much success. Thank you for your commend and I hope you'll come back real soon.
Thanks for posting this! I love reading about what you're learning on your entrepreneurial journey! Thanks for sharing! (PS Have you heard of rewardstyle.com and shopsense.shopstyle.com ?? I've heard great things about these as far as affiliate links go)ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for reading and for your comment. I haven't heard of either affiliate program, but after just browising both sites I can see why so many bloggers direct traffic to ShopStyle :). Thanks so for sharing!
I love hearing how other bloggers are doing when they are just starting out. Your new business cards look fantastic! I'm stuck with nearly 50 cards that have a pic of myself that I don't like- it really makes all the difference to have cards you feel confident handing out! I also really respect your decision about guest posts and wish more bloggers took that route. I've done 1 paid and 1 unpaid guest post, and let me tell you, the unpaid was a far better experience. When I'm ready for guest posts on my own blog, I intend to reach out to other bloggers and have no money involved. Money can really sully a relationship.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and for the compliment on my business cards. I really do love them! I hate to say it, but maybe ditch the cards you feel "stuck with" and start fresh. You have it right when you say you've got to feel good about what you're handing out.
As for guest posting, it seems like people have such strong feelings on whether or not to charge. I'd never dream of telling anyone else what's best for them, I guess I just feel better taking money from the "big guys" (the brands) and not from readers or peers. Anyways, to each his/her own right.
Thank you again for stopping by.
I just discovered your blog yesterday and I'm loving it! I especially love the series on blogging since I'm also a new (and intermittent) blogger. I also enjoyed the posts on your job and being a childfree woman - you are preaching to the choir! Look forward to reading more!ReplyDelete
I have JUST been getting the BASICS of HTML. Idk how people can work with it for a living... it makes me feel like I'm going cross eyed!ReplyDelete