Wanna Be A Blogger Series

Posted: March 11, 2016

How to Start

If I did it, you can do it.

Trust me, when it comes to scary terms like “web hosting” and “cloud technology”, I’m no guru. But setting up a website these days is really not as technical as you’d think. So, moms and dads? Fear not. This handy-dandy guide will show you how to transform empty, void space on the web into a money-making machine. That’s the dream at least!

Step 1: Pick Your Package

You can do this by heading over to Bluehost. They’ll give you a free domain (that is your blog’s URL) with the purchase of a hosting package, which you’re gonna need anyway. You might have to tweak your domain a little if the one you want is taken, but eventually you’ll find your happy place with your very own URL and hosting account to go with it!

You know I love deals, so here’s one of the best deals that includes everything and makes setup easy – Bluehost has you get setup in the cheapest and easiest way possible:

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Here’s what you do…

At bluehost.com, click the “get started now” button up top and it will take you to this plan selector:Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 3.01.42 PMIf you are just getting started, you the $3.95 plan and it is easy to upgrade later if your blog grows and you need to expand your website space.

Step 2: Name Your Baby

This is it, the birth of your brand! Time to throw all inhibitions out the window and go with the title that suits your fancy… for the most part at least. Choosing your blog’s name is something you can really have fun with, just keep in mind that humans tend to like things simple. So something like thecouponator.com might be easier to remember than theeasybreezybeautifulcouponator.com.

I choose CuckooForCouponDeals.com before I knew anything about blogging, and quickly realized it was too long for some people to remember.  So I ended up purchasing CuckooForCoupons.com and Cuckoo4Coupons.com.  Now if anyone goes to either of those URL’s, they are redirected – or sent – to my main page.  That makes it easier for people to find my site.

Once you feel rock solid about your catchy title, the next step is to cross your fingers and hope it’s available! There’s about a zillion blogs out there, so don’t get too attached before you check your new title’s availability.

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Quick Tips for a Killer Blog Title

  • Stay true to your audience. Would they like it? Is it their style?
  • Stay true to you. Does it capture the essence and tone of your blog-to-be?
  • Go shorter rather than longer – it’s easier to remember.
  • Keep search terms in mind. Think of the type of words your audience will be searching for, and incorporate a few if you can.
  • Make sure it’s a name you can live with for….ever. Rebranding is always a messy business.
  • Take your time. Some of the greatest marketing slogans of all time took weeks to muster up.
  • Last of all… have fun with it! Boring never sells, so be creative and catchy.

Since you’re just starting out, I’d say go ahead and select the cheapest plan (you can always upgrade later when your blog becomes mega-successful!). From there it’s pretty simple. You’ll type in your domain, account and billing information, the nitty gritty stuff.

Wait, what is hosting?!

Not sure what “hosting” even means? It’s okay… I didn’t either. Long story short, every site on the internet needs a place to live, right? A place to store all its files and keep itself running smoothly. That’s where a web host comes in. You absolutely have to have one to start a site. Thus, my Bluehost recommendation.

Now, enough tech talk!

Step 3: Install WordPress

This is my favorite part. I believe there’s a little designer in all of us, and that’s why piecing together the look and feel of your coupon blog will have you oozing with happiness.

Once you log into your new Bluehost account, go to your dashboard and you should be able to find an “Install WordPress” button, shown by the huge blue arrow below:

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The installation is pretty straightforward, but try this walkthrough if you have any trouble.

If you have any trouble at all just call Bluehost they are super friendly and helpful!  I worked on one late at night and they will still answering the phones!

Quick Review

Bluehost is your host… while WordPress is your site builder (and it is free). One is your site’s house, the other is your site’s tools. Got it?!

Once WordPress is installed, you can sift through hundreds of themes, customize your design, and start filling in the blanks with your killer content! I’d recommend publishing a few posts before going public. Clean your house and put up the decor before your company comes over, and then they’ll be enticed to come back.

And vuela! You’re ready to start blogging, sniffing out coupons, and saving the world. No biggie, right? Just remember… the set-up may be easy, but the dedication can be hard.

A successful blog takes time and lovin’.

Happy blogging!

Posted: July 14, 2010

Here’s part 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 if you are new to the Wanna Be A Blogger series.

This will probably be my shortest post in this series.   Linking is so simple, yet so many newbie bloggers make the mistake of linking incorrectly. Make sure to link correctly. 

Which is correct?

  1. Go here for a Hot Fritos Printable coupon
  2. Hot Fritos Printable coupon
  3. Hot Fritos Printable coupon, click here

Option 2 is correct.  When linking to anything, you should have the link include the name of what you are linking to.  This way, Google and other search engines rank you and the site you are linking to higher for the words in the link.

You certainly don’t want to be ranked high for “here” or “click here”.  No one searches those terms!  Infact, don’t even include those terms in your posts ever, because they sound advertise-y and probably will hurt you.

Posted: July 8, 2010

So this post should have been the first one, sorry.

Here’s part 1, 2, 3, & 4 if you are new to the Wanna Be A Blogger series.

I forgot to say the very first things you must do to be a blogger!

1.  Go to WordPress.com and create your blog. It will start out as blogname.wordpress.com, but once you buy your domain name you will be able to take the .wordpress off.

2.   Buy all domain names similar to yours. If someone spells your domain name wrong, where will they end up? Look at the example above! I own lots of domains, including CuckooCouponDeals.com.  If you type it in to a web browser, it re-directs you to CuckooForCouponDeals.com.  Redirects are great if your site becomes popular- another company can’t swoop in and steal traffic by getting a very similar domain name that people end up at when they miss-spell your site name.  Once you buy your domain name, and all ones similar to it, you can choose the one you like best and have the rest re-direct to that new domain.    It is actually kinda complicated; here is an in-depth article on redirecting.

3.   Don’t go to blogger.com or blogspot.com to start your blog. Don’t even think about it! Blogger has so many problems I don’t know where to start.   It is hard to customize, the plugins are not as sophisticated and easy to customize, javascript on blogger is restricted, and I could go on and on.  Just do wordpress.  You will not regret it! I can not count how many blogs start out on Blogger then go through the big process of moving over to WordPress.

4.  Create your logo. I once emailed a company asking for quotes on designing my site.  They said, well it will be $250, and you need to go to iStockPhoto.com and pick out an image for your logo.  I thought, well if they are just using an iStockphoto then I can do that! So I did.  I bought the photo, created some text to go with it in Photoshop, and wah-laa, saved $250.00.  You can download Photoshop for 30 days free is you don’t own it; however, I had extensive training in Photoshop in college.  Unless you have used it previously or had training, you probably will not be able to use it to create your logo.  If you don’t have photoshop or editing skills, you can use LogoEase to get a free logo.

Now if I can ever get a designer to re-do my blog for free in exchange for a review I would do it in a heartbeat.  But for now my blog is designer-free and I am okay with that.  I still would wait until you have been blogging at least 6 months before you hire a designer.   1/2 of all blogs die in 6 months, once people realize how hard they are to make successful.  You don’t want to fork over a lot of dough and then decide blogging isn’t for you. Also, you won’t know for sure what categories and sidebar images you want until you’ve been around awhile.  Definitely hold off on the designer until you know what you want -you don’t want to have it re-designed in 2 months!  And if you find a fantastic, creative designer (creative as in financing- will trade design work for an ad on my blog), let me know… I am frugal after all!

UPDATE: after one year of blogging I did finally get a new logo – about 1/2 the price of most blogs! I got it at 99designs.com

5.  Create your blog button:

Standard size is 150 x 150 pixels.

  • Upload your button to your site
  • Copy the URL (link) of that image and paste it in notepad for later use
  • Add a new HTML widget to your blog.
  • Create a “grab my button” widget with the following code in your widget:

<center><img src=”http://YOURSITENAME.com/button.jpg”><textarea style=”width: 100%; height: 100px” name=”textfield”><center><a title=”Blog Name” href=”http://YOURSITENAME.com”><img border=”0? src=”http://YOURSITENAME.com/button.jpg”></a></center></textarea></center>

Now your button will appear on your sidebar, with a text area below it for other bloggers to grab the code and insert it in their own blog!

Please note: You must place your own blog’s information where necessary in the paragraph above. In other words, http://YOURSITENAME. should actually be YOUR blog’s web address and everywhere it says button.jpg is should be the entire link you copied into your notepad for your button link earlier.

Make sure to go to every blog you like and email them to ask if they want to exchange buttons.  It’s a great way to get started getting new people to find out about your site!

5.  Create your icon – HowBits has a great tutorial here on how to do it free & install it on your site! Your icon is the image that appears next to your name on bookmarks, on internet tabs, and on RSS feeds.  Here is my icon : Notice the icon size is 16 x 16 pixels, this is the only size an icon can be and it must be in .ico format.   I would suggest using no words, since they would be difficult to read at that tiny size.

Well now you’ve got a descent looking site! That’s just the beginning of blogging.   I have tons more ideas on topics to cover, but would love for you to email any questions about blogging that you have so I could answer those!

Posted: June 22, 2010

The Coupon Bloggers Dilemma: The Duplicate Content Issue

Straight from Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team: You don’t want duplicate content within your own site.  You may notice, on my Pampers codes posts I don’t copy and paste my explanation of how the program works on all new posts.  I link back to my Pampers page.

Also, as Matt Cutts explained, you don’t want too much information on one page because Google won’t know what that pages main topic is.  I used to have all my store’s policies on one big long list.  Now, if you click on Store Policies on my menu bar, it goes to a page with a list of stores, and you click on them to go to each individual stores policy. It’s easier for Google to index this!

What about duplicate contect across sites? There’s a reason people do press releases and submit their articles to article submitters – they want their content pulled up on search results, even if it’s not from their page, because when someone clicks on that page it will have a link to their page – “the second link”.   I have read multiple articles on Google Webmaster, the official policy source from Google, that iframes do not deteriorate your rankings unless they are used in excess.   And duplicate content is fine as long as the content links back to your site. And the duplicate content is not within your own site.

Now you don’t want to copy people’s content word for word! Don’t get me wrong – you want to have your own voice on your blog and be unique.  But if someone out there puts your content on their site, as long as there is a link back, you are fine.   This is a “hot” topic – many people will disagree with me. I am just stating what I’ve found from my research and what’s worked for me – if you don’t believe me, look at the search I did in Wanna Be A Blogger (Part 3) when I searched for Shopko.

Posted: June 16, 2010

Be an authority!
Choose something  to do better than everyone else.  If you are a blogger who does Joe’s Supermarket store deals & match-ups, do them better than anyone else.  Create deal scenerios on top of matchups.  Then when people think of shopping at Joe’s, they’ll go to you because you are the best.  If you are a blogger who eats at a new restaurant everyday, take pictures, do interviews with other people at the restaurant, do everything in depth and the best possible.

Get the word out that you are the authority.
If your blog has a 5,003,003 alexa ranking, and you aren’t getting any traffic, just posting the best deals won’t get you into the number one spot on a Google search.  Why? Google is going to put information from highly rated blogs/sites first *my opinion- I couldn’t find this on their webmaster site*.  So until you can build followers and traffic (part 5 of this series), how do you get people to view your amazing deals?

I do  (or used to, before I became to busy!) Shopko Deals & Matchups.  I just did a Google search for  “Shopko Deals” and here’s what pulled up:

Lot’s of “Big Blogs” come up. That is what people are going to click on  – but wait! I supplied those deals to those sites so alas, when you click on a “A Thrifty Mom”, the first line says “Thanks to Cuckoo for Coupon Deals for these…” as shown below:

And same with Money Saving Mom:

If you can’t be the number one link, isn’t it better when someone clicks on that link to immediately see your link and be “the second link” clicked on!?!?

Blog traffic is 90% referral. Some people worry so much about their deals being posted all over the internet and duplicate content that no-one sees their deals.  A Thrifty Mom literally copies (with my permission!) my deals word-for-word.   And she is pulling up on the top of search results.  It’s great for her site, and mine because I’m the “second link” people are shown.  Plus, again, blog traffic is 90% referral so you want to have your link out there in as many places as possible.

Amy at Savvy Shopper Deals had a 3 hour talk with me and other bloggers discussing all the info she learned at the Casual Bloggers Conference.  I knew most of it already, but one thing that stuck out to me was “work with other bloggers”.  That’s how they got big; you’ve got to get links on their site and do anything you can to be in their “group”.

For example, Money Saving Mom said at the bottom of her post announcing her coupon database:

She worked with other bloggers to make something happen.

Let’s take, for an example, a blogger who posts weekly list of store sales and deals matched to coupons for Joe’s Supermarkets.  Once the blogger picks their store (s) to rock and be the best at, they should partner with blogs with a low alexa rank to become the authority for their store (or whatever other type of information they want to be the authority for).  Alexa over here ranks blogs by visits etc…, the lower the alexa number the better.

Back to the blogger who posts weekly deals for Joe’s Supermarkets.  Here’s a list of places where that blogger may be able to get their deals published and get extra exposure for their site (if you don’t, someone else will or already has and their link will be the link that is clicked on second!)  I have listed each blogs alexa rank as of 06/16/2010 determined by Alexa.com:

Those are the only ones I know of  that will let you post your deals on their site – let me know if you know of any more.  If a blog’s alexa rank is above 400,000 I won’t list them since it wouldn’t be worth your time to get your deals on their blog, in my opinion. Definitely worth working with them though, since as a blogger you want to work with as many fellow bloggers as possible and make as many connections as possible.

What if you are a blogger doing something besides store deals? Find a bigger blogger and write a guest post for them.  Find a way to help that blogger in any way possible to get your link on their site.

Wrap-up: Become an authority and work with bigger blogs to get your information and link in as many places as possible!

Now, you are inevitably scratching your head about my idea to get your “posts” or “articles” all over the web if you are  an anti-duplicate content nazi (I discuss this in Wanna Be A Blogger Part 4) coming next Tuesday.

Why is your alexa ranking better then blogs I’ve heard about and yours is fairly new? I wonder the same thing myself often.  I don’t get as many comments on my site as A Thrifty Mom.  I bet she probably gets more page views daily then me.   I just happen to be married to an SEO / Web Programmer guru and I do what he says to do, and things just work out for me.

Why share these secrets? I’m a sharing kinda gal. And most of the info above is what you’d learn at Blog Her or other pricey conferences, and if you’re reading my site you are probably a fruaglista like me – you like your info free!

Posted: May 5, 2010


Wanna Be A Blogger Series:

Part 1Blogger Link Back Love (what you can and can’t copy, and how to give proper credit)

Part 2 Hotlinking Photos (or a big no-no) & How to Edit An Image Size to Under 20 KB’s

Part 3 – Comments and Followers

Part 4 – Schedules/Series

Part 5 – When you insert a link, right under where you post the link location, where it says “Target” then shows a drop-down list, click on “open link in a new window”. You don’t want people to click on your links and leave your site for good!

Part 6 – Rock your Ethical Blogger badge & sign the pledge

Please leave a comment if you have any questions/suggestions or ideas for more topics to cover in this series.

Posted: May 3, 2010

Blogger Link Back Love

The reason I started this series is because when I was a newbie blogger, there were so many unwritten “blogger rules & codes of conduct” I didn’t know about.   I broke them all. Not intentionally. But other people didn’t know that. There still may be blogs hatin’ on me thinking I’m a jerk.  I have learned the rules and strive to be an ethical blogger, and would love to teach anyone thinking of creating a blog, or new at their blog, the lessons I learned the hard way.

I run a coupon deals blog.   I try to find original deals, but I also post hot deals my fellow coupon bloggers post. I have most coupon blogs in my Google Reader.

  1. I browse their posts until I find one I love.  Let’s say I find a great Kraft Cheese sale at Target, on Deal&More’s site.
  2. I see who Deal&More used to help find the deal, i.e., they say “Thanks,  CouponSite” at the bottom of their post.
  3. Then I click on the link to go to “CouponSite” to make sure it is the original source.  Often, it is not.
  4. CouponSite.com may have on their post of the Kraft Cheese deal “Thanks, SamsCoupons”
  5. So I go to Sams Coupons. They have no links back at the end of their post, so it is probably their deal.
  6. I run a Google Reader search for Kraft Cheese and see which blogs post for the deal is the oldest.  I see who they linked back to.

This way I can verify who originally posted a deal.  This may seem time-consuming, but it is important to give credit to the person who originally found the deal.  Often it takes a long time to find original deals. Sometimes I give credit to multiple blogs for a deal, for example a blog added new information to a previous deal so I credit both the original deal poster and the blog that I found out new information on.

One time I posted an original deal that took me a very long time to verify and get worked up.  Another blog posted it on their site word-for-word copying me, and didn’t link back.

Virtually every coupon blog posted this deal, linking back to the deal stealer.  I was quite upset, since links back are actually very valuable to a blog and increase its ratings/views. I vowed to try to never make someone else feel that way.  So from then on, I have taken greater steps to give credit to whoever finds deals.  Also, if other bloggers think you aren’t linking back, then they won’t link back to you.  Not only is it the right thing to do, it is better for your blog to give credit where credit is due.

Now there are situations where people are going to find the same deal all by themselves.  Particularly with affiliate offers. Many companies actually email me deals to post on my site.  Other sites may post them before I do, but since I got the deal on my own from the company, I don’t have to link back to anyone.   There are also situations where I post a deal and think its completely original, only to find other bloggers have already posted it.   So if you see something on my site without a link back to anyone, that means I think I found that deal first.  Someone else might have, but realistically I can’t track all the thousands of coupon blogs and know every deal they post.  If you think someone stole your deal, more times then not they never even saw your deal.  Give them the benefit of the doubt (unless they posted the deal word-for-word).

If you find an original deal, you can always email me and if I haven’t seen it before and I think its great, I’ll post it up with a link back.

Always post in your own words.  Copying word-for-word will kill your page ranking.

Some posts you shouldn’t copy (even if you change the wording and give a link back):

Simple deal posts are commonly shared around the coupon blog world, with bloggers putting them in their own words and giving a link back.  However, I did not know this until recently, posts which take a lot of time to write up should not be copied at all.

For example, this post.  I have spent many hours on this post and would be annoyed if someone copied it.   Entire coupon match-ups for a store should not be copied (these can take up to 4 hours for one blogger to do!).  Any blogger series posts or recipe posts should not be copied.   Basically, if a blogger puts a lot of work into it, don’t change the words and post it up on your site.  You could ask them if they’d like to do a guest post, or you could post on your site “I just read about this great way to shop at yard sells at CouponSpot.com, check it out!”

A guest post: where a blogger asks another blogger if they can post a post word-for-word, with “Guest post by” and a link to your site.  For coupon match-ups, if you want to post someone else’s, just email them first to make sure its okay.  A Thrify Mom and Money Saving Mom post my Shopko & Fresh Market matchups each week.  This works great for me because I get the link back and new traffic, and they get the deals on their site.  Its not “stealing” because I have given them permission to post them in full each week.

You generally don’t have to email to ask permission if you say “Here’s my top 5 deals at Walmart this week” and then say “Here’s a link to CouponSite to see the rest of the deals”.  Many bloggers do this.

As always, if you have any questions about about this or any other subject, email me. I personally respond to all emails sent to me.

Wanna Be A Blogger Series:

Part 1 – Blogger Link Back Love (what you can and can’t copy, and how to give proper credit)

Part 2 – Hotlinking Photos (or a big no-no)

Part 3 – Comments and Followers

Part 4 – Schedules

Part 5 – When you insert a link, right under where you post the link location, where it says “Target” then shows a drop-down list, click on “open link in a new window”.  You don’t want people to click on your links and leave your site for good!

Part 6 – Rock your Ethical Blogger badge & sign the pledge

Email deidre(AT)cuckooforcoupondeals.com if you have any other topics you would like covered or suggestions.

March 11, 2016
July 14, 2010
July 8, 2010
June 22, 2010
June 16, 2010
May 5, 2010
May 3, 2010
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