Resources for Seniors

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I was recently contacted by Kathleen Carter from http://educatorlabs.org/who has put together a collection of resources for seniors and the various challenges we face as we grow older.

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I hope this will be of value to any seniors among my readers or those who are carers for someone with a disability or other health problem.

 

From Elmer George of elderville.org

“As a senior who recently purchased a home and made significant modifications to it, I can’t tell you how much people like me (people of all ages, really) appreciate having easy access to info about buying and maintaining a home.” so here are his list of recommended links.

A Guide to Downsizing for Seniors and Their Loved Ones

Should You Own or Rent a Home in Retirement?

Saving for a Home Post-Bankruptcy: A Three-Step Guide for Families

7 Home Improvement & Remodeling Ideas That Increase Home Value (And What To Avoid)

How to Deter Burglars: Keeping Potential Robbers Away From Your Home

 

Five Key Factors for Compelling Web Content

Readers-searching1-618wAlthough content has always been considered the be the “king” when it comes to writing compelling web material, with the rapidly increasing numbers of websites “out there”, never has it been so vitally important to make your content better that of your competition, so it pays to take the time to create high quality articles that visitors truly want to read.

Forget about taking shortcuts; no matter what niche or business you are in, the quality of your articles, posts & sales material will always be the key to a successful online venture.

To write content that really conveys the message you want to get across, take note of these 5 key factors:

Make It Easy To Read
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Keep that in mind many people skim-read webpages. Your target readers are probably subscribed to several news feeds or  blogs, so if you want to hold their interest, you need to make your content easy to read.

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Remember readers like white space, so use short paragraphs and bullet points or numbered lists with subheadings. Use web recommended fonts because research has shown them to be the most easily read by the majority of readers. A particular font might appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean it will have universal appeal or be easily read by others, especially those with poorer eyesight.

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Add graphics to your articles where that is appropriate as this makes the structure of your post more visually appealing and helps to keep your article focused on the point you want to get across.

Good Quality Material

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While it is true that you can get articles written very cheaply when you don’t want (or don’t have time) to write them yourself and also true that some so-called “gurus” claim to still make money using poorly written articles, these guru’s may well have a very large list of people who will buy whatever they recommend, regardless of quality.

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Therefore, it isn’t a good idea for you to do what they do because you want to build a good reputation for yourself, build your business so that your readers and customers see you as a quality provider and will be more interested in your next offer. Remember, it is easier to sell something to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.

Be Natural

Cute_Vector_Robot_Character_176x189Don’t try to fill your article with keywords; make your sentences flow in a clear, informative and entertaining manner.  Search engines have evolved to the point where you will be penalised for overuse of keywords, rather than rewarded in the rankings.

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The best advice is to stop worrying about keywords. If you are answering the questions your searchers are asking then the keywords will come into the content naturally.

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Of course you can add some in on purpose after the article is finished, but in a way that does not upset the flow. Keywords should be secondary to creating an article that’s interesting and informative.

A comfortable Length

Funny_Robot_Vector_Character_25_2There may be accepted “rules” as to how long your online articles should be, but every article and every subject is different, so use your common sense about it.

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Imagine that you are the person searching for your content; ask yourself if you could find the answer to what you want to know in just 100 – 150 words? If the answer to this is “yes”, then 100 -150 words is long enough! The key is to use as many words as are required to address the subject without getting off track or including unnecessary detail and very often, that will require a lot more than 100 words.

Current

Most online content becomes out of date and needs updating from time to time. Yes, some things don’t change much over time, like how to grow vegetables or recipes, so articles about these subjects are considered “evergreen” because they are still relevant long after being written. Robot_Vector_Character_with_Thumbs_Up_175x215 However, just because they are still relevant doesn’t mean you can re-hash them without penalty from the search engines.

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Remember that Google, Bing and the like are businesses too, trying to please their customers (searchers) so they will reward those who upload content that is fresh, up to date and original. It pays to take advantage of this fact by keeping on top of your industry and keeping your readers informed. 

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It is a mistake to take shortcuts when it comes to high quality content. In the long term, it is well worth the time and effort it takes to write material that will convince your reader to take action and join your list or buy whatever you are offering.

Mighty Deals – Some Real Bargain Buys

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Mighty Deals is a great resource – they have super deals on regularly

– see my latest acquisition (birthday gift, lucky me!)

 

This product is usually $39 and good value at that price too, but from Mighty Deals I was able to get a full year of design templates and logos from SmartyLogo for just $17!

 
It isn’t just for website owners either, the package includes 60 stationery templates suitable for any business or for personal use.
SmartyLogo
Mighty Deals negotiates closely with some of the top creative providers out there to bring readers the best possible prices on the design/programming tools they want / need.
 
Almost all offers that appear on MightyDeals are available exclusively on their site for a very limited time.
 
Generally,  customers can save from 50% to 90% off on things like design tools (royalty-free vectors, PhotoShop actions, etc.), professional templates (WordPress, Drupal, Facebook), Mac toolkits, web development lessons and more.
 
Access to these unbelievable daily deals is free for everyone. You don’t even need to register but I’d recommend that you sign up for the free newsletter, so you can be kept in the loop on the latest Deals before they expire (and you also get access to free stuff!) 

Why not check out Mighty Deals today – I highly recommend them.

 

How To Get Ideas For Blog Posts

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We all experience bloggers block from time to time, but don’t let it stop you from giving your subscribers the content they’ve been waiting for.

Here are 7 ideas that will help you come up with blog posts worth reading.

 1) Test or Review Something And Post Your Results

 If you’re really stuck for ideas, why not give yourself a challenge and post the results? For example, in the personal development niche this could mean making a gratitude list each day and writing about the effects. Or you could try a new fitness program and write about how you’re dealing with it. In most cases, readers in any niche love to read real life case studies!

 2) Google It!

 Why not Google the main topic of your blog and see what appears? You don’t want to copy any other blogs, of course, but one idea will often lead to another. Have a read around blogs in your niche – maybe even blogs outside of your niche – and see what they’re writing about. Either use this as inspiration for your own topics or write a direct response to what’s already out there.

3) Find Helpful or Interesting Videos & Share Them With Your Readers

 Why not get surfing YouTube and see if there’s an interesting video you can share with your subscribers? Embed the video into a post where you give your own personal comments. This is a super-fast way to come up with content that’s still interesting.

 4) Use What Happens In Your Daily Life As Inspiration

 You might not be writing a personal blog, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring personal experience into the posts you write. If you can relate personal experience to the topics you write about, then do so. Sometimes you have to get creative, but your blog posts will be more interesting as a result!

5) Ask Readers To Ask Questions

 What better way of coming up with content that your readers will enjoy than to invite them to ask questions? Write up a quick post one day asking them what they want to know, then post a follow up a few days later with all the answers. This last method is also an excellent way to connect with your audience.

0006_TRS_3DC6) Give Your Readers a Poll to Participate In.

Not everyone will ask questions, but if you give your readers a short, relevant poll to complete you can get some great feedback

7) Check Your Analytics to see what people are typing in their searches

 Checking your stats can leave you with a whole range of blog post ideas. Take a look at the keywords people are typing in to find your site. Chances are that some of the things they’re searching for aren’t on your blog yet. Why not use these keywords as ideas for future blog posts? You’ll also have the added benefit of knowing there’s a future audience for those posts!

Using PLR Successfully (for Newbies)

 

UsingPLRMost people will already know what PLR is, but for any who want to learn more, a google search or this wiki page is a good place to start  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_label_rights

Although you have the right to publish any private label rights material “as is” on your site, there is a possibility that search engines will consider it as “duplicate content” meaning that if the identical material can be found on another site, your article can be considered duplicate content and penalised with regard to ranking. If you have some PLR you want ti use, you can easily find out how many other sites are using that same content by selecting a sentence from an article, putting quotes around it, and entering that sentence into a search engine. Often you’ll find 10, 50, or 100 other sites with the same article.

There is a lot of debate on the subject of duplicate content – only yesterday I heard one marketer proclaim that it is rubbish, using duplicate content didn’t affect his results adversely at all, while another IM teacher urged readers to avoid it at all costs.

So if you are a newbie, do you use it or not?  My suggestion is to use it, but change it enough to make it quite different from the original. For me, this is a lot faster than writing a new article from scratch. Here are three of the most common recommendations:

Firstly, you should add a new first paragraph to the article. This paragraph explain your purpose in the rest of the work and summarize what is coming up next.

Secondly,  rewrite most of the first two or three paragraphs in your own words. I like to read a few sentences in a paragraph and then reword them in my own style. Then I delete the original sentences and continue with the next sentences.

This process creates at least three or four paragraphs totally in your own words that are very unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere.

Just how may paragraphs you rewrite is up to you. The more your rewrite the better off you will be. And, the more you change, the more original the article will appear to both the search engines and your site’s visitors.

Thirdly, write a new closing paragraph. Make this a summary of the article. You may also include a lead-in to another page on your site with a link to that page.

It is often said that there is “nothing new under the sun”, in this context meaning that what has been said and written has been said and written before, the only thing that is new in each case is the presentation, so if you want to save some time when creating your own material, whether  articles or complete ebooks, using Private Label Rights in this way will avoid any duplicate content penalty.

 

For more information, subscribe to the blog (RHS of the page) – one of the June freebies is “25 Ways to Reuse PLR content”

 

 

Converting Cassette Tapes to MP3

Recently, friends of mine wanted to convert tapes to play on a new iPod and asked me for advice. Well, it had been a while since I had done it and about all I could remember was that I used audacity and had to buy a cable; the rest was well down in archives.

I think I made some notes at the time, but if they were digital, they too are lost in archives – it seems these days it is faster to search and download information again than hunt for it on my hard drive (doesn’t say much for my filing system, I know, but it’s the truth)

Anyway, I went looking again and found a tutorial on a very good site I sometimes use that showed exactly what to do.  I thought I would share it with my senior readers as many of you, like me,  probably still have tapes in the cupboard that you haven’t played for ages, but don’t want to throw out.

The site is Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and the article can be found at http://www.top-windows-tutorials.com/tape-to-mp3.html

I’m not affiliated with this site in any way, but it has a number of  good tutorials & is well worth a visit if you’re after any other Windows training.

Best wishes
Trish

Gail Bottomley & WordPress Plugins

For those of you who have got started with their own blog but still learning how to make it better, I recommend you head on over to Gail Bottomley’s site www.gailbottomleyonline.com – she is an amazing lady who gives away so much valuable information to her readers, that it’s a good site to visit often. Sign up too, so you get the news when something new has been added.

Gail’s latest posts are a prime example of the value she gives away – this time telling you what plug-ins you need on your wordpress blog and better still, many of these plug-ins are free. Have a look at this page to start with www.gailbottomleyonline.com/5-most-needed-wordpress-plugins and then head on back to her home page for more great info & links.

Best wishes
Trish

Five Different Kinds of Blog Posts

Do you have a blog already, but it has been a while since you posted something?

Or perhaps  you thinking of starting a Blog?

To keep your blog fresh and interesting, then you need to post frequently, preferable at regular intervals so your readers have an idea when to expect another instalment. Create different types of posts to keep your readers interested. This also helps you from getting bored with your own blog. It doesn’t matter if you have a blog to make money directly fromit, or you are blogging to drive traffic to someone else’s product to earn affiliate commissions, you need to be aware of the following types of post.

1. The Review Post

Review blog posts can help you to earn income because you review several products, including your affiliate link for each. When reviewing, be unbiased and give an honest review, including both positive and negative comments about the product. Even if you totally loved the product, keep your review balanced by mentioning a few things that could have been improved. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to trust your recommendation.

2. The Quick Tip Post

In between your longer posts you can do a “quick tips” type of post; these are approx 150-250 words.We may have a lot of information about our niche that we want to share but it may not rate a full length post. In that case, post a quick tip. Focus on ONE key area of the niche. For example, “How to connect a new monitor” would be a quick tip article for a beginner computer users blog.

3. The List Post

Blog readers love lists! The most popular blogs make good use of lists. You can create lists that fit with any topic imaginable. This is a great way to convey information online because it can be easily scanned by web readers who are “skimmers.” You can also create lists of different ways to accomplish a goal in your niche. “10 Ways To Prepare Your Soil For Planting” would be a great list for gardeners.

4. The Interview Post

Interviews will require some preparation, but they are very valuable to your blog. Interview someone in your niche and then share the results of that interview with your readers. This will not only provide valuable content for your blog, but will also bring more traffic. Most likely, the person you interview will also publicize the event on their blog or Website, directing traffic to your Blog.

5. The Instruction Post

This is similar to Quick Tips as you are providing your readers with valuable information. However, these Instruction posts will go into much more detail on a certain topic. Sometimes your instructions can even be divided into two or three posts or courses. Look at comments and questions from your readers to find what topic would be most beneficial to them.

As you blog, remember that your readers like variety. Don’t always write the same type of post, but add something different to keep it fresh and new.

Starting Your Own Blog

What is a blog and why would you want to start your own?

Firstly, a blog is often a mixture of what is happening in a person’s own life and what is happening on the web. It is usually in the form of  a  frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects,  there are as many unique types of blogs as there are people.

Blogging is part of the general trend of putting everything on the web, regardless of whether we are talking about business, hobbies or personal stuff. It can just be a means of communicating with friends, with others who share your hobbies or interests, or it can be a business tool. Of course it can also be a combination of these things.

So perhaps instead of asking why you would want to have your own blog, ask instead if you want to, or have a need to communicate with others. The great advantage of social media is that you don’t need to know people personally to communicate with them and for this reason it is ideal for bringing interaction with others into the lives of folk who may otherwise feel isolated.

Is this you or somebody you know? Don’t think that it would be too hard to learn how to blog, because it is in fact quite simple and there are dozens of free videos and help pages to show you exactly what to do. There is no need to have fancy looking pages, but if that is what you would like, you could soon learn how to spice them up a bit.

Generally speaking blogs tend to have a few things in common:

  • A main content area with articles listed from the lates backwards.
  • Articles are usually organized into categories.
  • There is an archive of older articles.
  • There is a way for people to leave comments about the articles.
  • A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll” is often included.
  • There can also be one or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files. (A Feedreader accesses other sites automatically looking for new content and then posts updates about that new content to another site).

Blogs can be stand-alone (self-hosted) or externally hosted. If you wish to host your own blog, you will be able to choose your own domain name, but you will be up for the cost of that domain name and your hosting at a minimum.

Externally hosted blogs are usually free but will often have limitations on what content and customisation you can have and perhaps also whether you can monetise it so if you want your blog to make some money, it is best to start out hosting your own. It is possible to change platforms later, but you would probably have to change the blog domain and that might lose you some readers. (For a more extensive discussion on the choice of blog platforms, go to  blogger.com

Some of the most popular free hosted blogs are listed below. All are very easy to set up and get you going quickly. Have a look at each one to see if it does what you want your blog to do, for example upload photos, videos, podcasts, run discussion boards etc.

wordpress.com
thoughts.com (as distinct from wordpress.org which supplies the platform for self-hosting)
weebly
yahoo 360
Windows Live

Problogger – Tips for Beginners

If you sign up to my blog this month you will get access to free ebooks about blogging (if you are already subscribed, you’ll be sent the link).

For more information, check outbecomeablogger.comProblogger – Tips for Beginners & becomeablogger.com for free video tutorials on how to create your own blog.

Blogging is an easy and economical way to share with family, friends and busuness associates alike. Make it fun!