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Posted: July 8, 2010
2

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: July 7, 2010
1
First off, let me say this one should be worth way more because it takes so long to get.  I normally also only post swag alerts on my Facebook page, but since this one is higher-value I decided to post it here too.
Check their latest swag blog post to unscramble the letters (Use Unscramble.net to unscramble words but make sure the CASE of the letters stay the same)
Posted: July 3, 2010
0

We are currently looking for Deal Contributors for this store!

If you don’t currently run a blog, you can still contribute deals – I’ll teach you how to do it and get paid at the same time.

If you do run a blog, you will get a link back to your site at the top of the post, as well as use your own affiliate links. Please email deidre(AT)cuckooforcoupondeals.com if you’d like to be a deal contributor for this or any other store!

Posted: June 30, 2010
1


Yeah! There’s a 12 pt. swag code on the swag blog until 10:30 MST today! I normally announce every swag code on my Facebook Fans page, so head over there to get alerts as soon as new swags are out!

What is swagbucks?

Posted: June 28, 2010
1

I get emails from people asking how to get in the “product review” business. You have to start off with small products and get followers, then work your way up.  That’s the short answer.  I’ll write a whole article in my “Wanna be a blogger series” when I get time.

For now, here is a great review site that they are accepting applicants for – Giant Wave Pool – even if your blog is new, you still have  a good chance of getting this review!  Also, you don’t have to have a review blog specifically.   You should find out within about 2 days, let me know if you get to review Neutrogena Sunblock!

Posted: June 13, 2010
0

Someone is building a house across the street from us, and I see in the junk pile tons of 2×4 pieces of wood that have nails in them, but aside from that are near perfect.  A true frugalista, I head over and ask the contractor why they would toss those.  He mumbles something about must only use perfect pieces.  I say I want them and he says go for it.

I started daydreaming of what the wood could become in my head.   I am doing a giveaway for CSN stores soon and while browsing their sites ran across a nice picture of some twin beds that had built in storage in them, and a pull-out bed underneath, and thought, wow what a great use of space!   My daughter has a wooden twin bed so I thought, maybe my husband can take this wood and make a pull-out drawer underneath the bed.  I even show him the picture.

Well yesterday I peek in the garage to see what he has been working on all day, and wouldn’t you know -he’s made some saw horses.   I asked him about his plans for the rest and he said he’s making his own windmill base.  He’s planning on making our own windmill in our backyard.  He even shows me the pictures online of the motor he’s going to build (or alternator? I can’t remember) Anyways, I wonder if I should blog about the windmill project as he does it.

It is funny how men and women look at wood and dream of totally different projects! Truth is, mine probably wouldn’t have worked with 2×4’s anyway, so here’s to you my hubby, good luck on your windmill!

Posted: June 7, 2010
2

I’m part of the Swag Bucks blog network, and they let me know they are going cuckoo this week.  1 in every 7 searches done from now until Friday will win the big Swag Bucks!

Also, they are releasing at least 5 swag codes each day.  I will be announcing when they are released on my Facebook page.  I can’t tell you the code, but I can tell you when it’s released!

How does Swag Bucks work?

This week only use code “SUMMEROFSWAG” to get 20 extra swag bucks when you sign up.   I see no reason not to sign up.  You sign up and search with their search engine instead of Yahoo or Google.  And they are powered by Google and Ask.com so results are still good.  But the difference is when you search with their site, you can randomly win swag bucks.  Save them up for great prizes or paypal cash.   I love swag bucks and love that I don’t have to take extra time out of my day for rewards-  I just search the same amount as usual and the swag bucks pile up.  I also enter in the codes they release on the Swag Bucks blog and on their Twitter page.

You can also get one swag code every day for taking their Swag Polls.

Posted: May 3, 2010
10

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.

Posted: April 29, 2010
0

There is a 12 point swag code on the blog, expires in 10 minutes.  Due to how often I find swag codes (2-3 times a day) I only post them on my Facebook page, because it’s just quicker, and people see it instantly.  On my blog, people see it in after its already expired in their email alerts or when they check my page at the end of the day.

So if you want to get all the Swag alerts and deals that are HOT and will be gone quickly, you’ll want to be a Facebook fan here.

Plus you will automatically get entered into my Facebook Fans Only daily giveaways, which I only talk about on my Facebook page.

Posted: April 16, 2010
0

Go to the blog until 6:00 MST to get a 9 point swag code.

Join HERE (you get 30 swagbucks for registering).  Got here to learn more about swag bucks

Posted: April 15, 2010
0

Go to the blog for the new 10 point swag buck code.

Not a member of swagbucks? Join HERE (you get 30 swagbucks for registering).  Got here to learn more about swag bucks

Posted: April 10, 2010
10

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS OVER

 

UPDATE: I Spent $48 after rebates, I Saved $78

So I didn’t get too many freebies at the doublers event.  I stuck to the rules my cashier had told me on the first day and only got 5 items, one of each item each day, instead of snatching 5 of all the good items on the first day.  This way there was more for everyone!

The first day I did this deal I talked about here, and was so excited for the cheap TP and paper towels! They work out to about $3.33 each after rebate, a hot price I think!

Guess what I spent and saved total for all 4 of my Kmart Doublers shopping trips:

The first person to guess within $5 what I spent will get a coupon for free up to $5.50 Heluva Good Cheese, and $20 in other coupons.

The first person to guess within $5 what I saved will get 5 coupons for free Mighty Dog food plus $20 in other coupons.

There is also a linky to link up your own deals you got week – if you are reading this in Google Reader you’ll need to go to my site. You can link to your coupon blog or personal blog, but please link directly to your pictures of shopping trips and not you home page.

What deals did you score this week? Link em’ up


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July 8, 2010
July 7, 2010
July 3, 2010
June 30, 2010
June 28, 2010
June 13, 2010
June 7, 2010
May 3, 2010
April 29, 2010
April 16, 2010
April 15, 2010
April 10, 2010
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