Behind the Scenes: September 2016

It’s September 1st and I already accomplished more in one little day than most of the entire month of August. It is really a fantastic feeling to know that the progress is still happening for Wanderlust Conqueror.

Completed Tasks

  1. Pinterest
    • Optimized all my boards for SEO based on some of Obstacle.co’s recommendations. I am going to see if I get an uptick of repins or outright new followers within my boards
      • made sure all of them had a description, although I will probably tweak some later, as I just got a bit lazy with them (not as relevant to the blog)
      • in their proper categories (as best that I could manage) – luckily most were in “Food & Drink”
      • I even optimized my secret boards in the event I want to take them public
    • Joined a couple large group collaboration boards within the travel industry
  2. The WC Blog – While taking a break from my self-education on blogging SEO, I was playing around in the WP-admin section of stuff
    • Decided to use the “Sidebar” option now that I can provide a circular photo of myself – not just for vanity, but I think I connect easier to other bloggers when I see their photos on their articles, so I’m hoping that will help readers connect with me on a personal level beyond just the content I write.
    • Found the widget for finding me on different social media platforms that made them more prominent than what WordPress and my current theme was providing. I’m still working on the Google+ link because it keeps showing as an error URL so that’s something on the To-Do List now.
    • Got the MailChimp Subscription Popup widget. I know, I hate them too but apparently they still work because even the professional bloggers I follow for improving my site swear by the popup. I got the code and pasted it into the widget but it almost immediately changes to a completely different text (not in the popup itself, but in the box). So, got to find out if that’s normal or not. #2 on the To-Do List. I really, really, really want to have this sorted out before I launch the blog. Have a list growing from Day 1, you know?
    • Emailed Nashville CVB about using some of their photos for an article I began. At the time of my trip, I had a camera phone that had a weird purple haze in the “no filter” setting so none of my photos were all that great. Already been approved to use them. Is it weird to almost feel like a professional over something like this? Haha

To-Do List

  1. Figure out what the problem is with my Google+ link that the widget won’t accept it as real
  2. MailChimp Popup Widget Coding – is it supposed to change after you hit the save & publish button?
  3. Create a MailChimp Email Subscriber Link to add to all my public posts.
  4. Get back to DuoLingo. For real. I’ve always wanted to be able to speak a second language. Before the move, I was doing so well. Then everything got put on hold. The entire month of August I didn’t even do 5 minutes. When I get back into it hardcore like before, I’ll be blocking an hour each day in my planner to develop my foreign language skills.
    • First: Be conversationally fluent in Spanish by March 2017
    • Secondly: Be mostly fluent in French, German, Italian, or Hindi by November 2017
    • Third: Be mostly fluent in all of the above continuously through 2020 and beyond (you’ve gotta think long term)
  5. July To-Do’s – yeah, it’s rough. Actually, I’m re-prioritizing and deleting some things that may not really be as important to my purpose as I originally thought.
    • Creating and start maintaining a Content Planner/Calendar. Probably going to get a physical planner, since those usually work best for me.
    • Check out my biggest competition’s websites – only for website designs (what I like and more importantly, what I don’t like) – Reminder: it is still not cool to scout out topic ideas from competitors, y’all. Make your own way and find out what’s going to interest you and your readers.
    • Strengthen my relationships with photographers I know.
      • Follow and comment on their social pages
      • Remind them of how we know each other
      • Ask about their level of interest in collaborating to share the exposure (no pun intended) on each other’s platforms
      • I’d like to be able to get to the point that I could afford a professional photographer to handle images from each experience while I focus on important details to use for my stories. I also want to get a professional headshot for the website (and LinkedIn) that isn’t going to cost a few hundred dollars that I don’t have. That’s not to say they aren’t worth their money, it’s just my bank account isn’t the same level of their target clients.
    • Research relevant conventions to improve my blog
      • Try to attend said conventions
      • Network
      • Bring Media Kits (maybe use Issuu?) and Business Cards
    • Revisit what a Twitter Card is.
      • Apparently, I wanted to create Twitter Card to boost subscribed readership (Thanks again, Femtrepreneur for telling me about that!)
      • Also, determine the best way to relay my messages through Twitter
    • Find a way to Password Protect the “Behind The Scenes” Category – I’m considering doing this for a couple of reasons:
      • Build up my professional networking tribe
      • Help generate email subscribers
      • I don’t want to have to make sure I mark each BTS post as “Private” until I’m ready to allow readers access to it.
    • Goal: Write out 20+ quality, properly edited & cited (as necessary) content before launching the blog live
      • Try to get to the point that I can write, edit, and finalize an article in one day. This proves to be a lofty dream for me currently.
      • This time span of just one day doesn’t include the time it takes to choose between my photos, create proper names, descriptions, alt text & tags, create text on the photos through Canva for social media sharing purposes.

Update: September 3

More Completed Tasks or Progress on Current Tasks

  1. Converted my personal Pinterest account to a Business account. After I made some Pinterest SEO changes to my boards, I did notice a bit of an uptick in followers and repins. Of course, none of my articles are on there yet, but I wanted to get an idea of how well Pinterest SEO will help me through their analytics tool.
  2. Began working on Uncork Your Dork’s 30 Day September Challenge. I got lucky and caught the class sign up in advance before she put a price tag on it. This Challenge/Month-long Class will help me decide if her monetized classes are something I will be interested in later.
  3. Photographers – It finally dawned on me that my mom-in-law is a hobbyist in portrait photography. We have a good relationship so I may ask her to take a couple head shots for me that’s not just my selfie in my car after voting in the primaries. I’ll probably do some minor post-editing before uploading it here. Don’t get me wrong – she’s pretty good – I mean, I blew up one of her photos of my son to a 20×30 framed image. She shoots in a way that she doesn’t feel the need to crop down (and if we’re being real here, I think that’s how it should be too…. #OldSchool). I think her work could help polish my overall image better until I can afford to get headshots from the expensive fashion photographer I like. The networking with professional photographers is still on the to-do list but this will help me fake it until I make it with my headshot.
  4. Google+ Profile Issues – FINALLY RESOLVED. I kept doing the whole stinking URL when all I really needed to do was that little section within the URL that was about 20 numerical characters long. I went from “D’oh!” to “I am so smart! S-M-R-T!” I eventually want to get a Custom  G+ Profile URL and I noticed something in one of the Techwalls’ Guide to Custom G+ URLs screenshots that made me think that was what I should be doing – just the snippet of the line of numbers instead of the full link or starting after the “u/” of my profile link. Worked like a charm.
  5. MailChimp’s Email Subscriber Popup – Since I do all my work by laptop, I signed out of WP on my phone. Went to my website and sure enough, after 5 seconds, it popped up. I’m not super excited about it being so close to the top but for now, it’s fine. Things are working, even if they’re not perfect.

Update: September 14

Progress & Completed Tasks

  1. Finally managed to watch byRegina.com’s “Monetize & Market Your Mind” webinar/video course earlier this week. It’s almost 4 hours long but it did help some. I’ll have to revisit it because sometimes she just talked too fast for me to comprehend some of her material. And then there’s my son, who has a knack for interrupting only when I need to pay attention to something.
  2. Completed my Nashville Bachelorette story only to realize it was over 3,000 words. 0.0 So, yeah, it was broken down into 3 parts, roughly about 1,000 words each. I mean, I’m proud of myself for keeping the content relevant and helpful. But somehow I feel like I milked it without trying. I don’t know, it could just be normal writer’s anxiety.
  3. Do you remember when I was talking about the Travel Photography class with Laura Grier on CreativeLive? Yeah, just yesterday I was looking through the upcoming classes calendar and it was listed again. So, yeah – I went ahead and RSVP’d to that real quick. Now that I know there is some quality stuff to be had on Day 2, I am straight up ready for it. The best part is that I don’t have to pay for it as long as I do 2 things:
    1. RSVP before the showing
    2. Watch it during the designated times that CreativeLive set up for the class.
  4. I have noticed I get about 2-4 new Pinterest followers each day since changing up the SEO stuff on there. To clarify, this is without promoting it on other social media or anything. I can’t wait to see how it plays out when I actually start sharing my work.
  5. Joined a few Closed groups for bloggers and specifically some for Travel bloggers.
  6. Finally, I have 5 blog posts for public consumption (not counting the 3 previous Behind The Scenes posts I have right now).
  7. I think CrowdFire is going to be a good thing for me when I start publicly releasing my content.
  8. Joined Media Kitty for jobs and Travel Massive to connect with other travelers and tourism people.
  9. I now have “[email protected]” forwarded to my proper accounts. I updated my Gravatar to include the new email address then realized I had to update my photo too. :/ Not a big deal, though.

To-Do’s:

  1. Duolingo. Ugh. Still have not gone near it even though I really, really enjoy it.
  2. Actually work on the stuff for the Uncork Your Dork September 30 Day Challenge. It’s more time consuming than I expected from her. I underestimated her use of the word “challenge.”
  3. Effin plug up my printer and actually print out all the workbooks I have from various “infopreneurs.” I wouldn’t bother if I didn’t think they were worth it.
  4. Watch the damn photography video I actually paid for on Craftsy.
  5. Keep researching on the Professional Travel Bloggers Association. They’re still a bit new (a few years now) and say they’re non-profit but they don’t really specify where the $75 membership money is being used. In the FAQs section, they pull a politician’s answer out of the hat on that particular question. So I have my reservations on it currently. Transparency people! It’s a good thing!
  6. Buy a planner! At this point, either I need to pop up to the Big Box store begrudgingly or fricking print one out. I have no clue why I keep putting this off.
  7. Since I bought a domain with Google but am using WordPress, I’m trying to figure out if I should upgrade my WP services, just use the Domain Mapping option for $13, or what. WP doesn’t really seem to go into detail very well on if their paid plans are shared or self-hosted. Or if they’re even hosted at all. I read the articles they have but it just seems like they’re not directly touching on it. :/ Took my question to a few blogging groups I’m in and they’re thinking I’m talking about website design. No. Just no. I even did a follow up to explain my questions in a more precise way and they’ve all ignored it. Apparently, I’m Forever Alone on this issue. And of course the WP Support Team started their weeklong hiatus yesterday, so I can’t even email them to be put in the queue. Ugh. In a world of Instant Gratification, I cannot get this question resolved. Yeah, I know – 1st World Problems. Whatever.

Update: September 30

So, outside of plugging my printer into the wall, literally NONE of my To-Do’s were completed. None. I do have a good reason, though: I received an email from Regina from ByRegina.com about a free access pass for Navid Moazzez’s List Building School.

There were about 3-6 live videos each day for 2 WEEKS with online professionals including Regina and Mariah Coz from Femtrepreneur.co. If I missed one after he closed that particular session (usually the next day) then I wouldn’t get to watch it without paying for it. But after watching ALL those videos, the price tag on it is legitimately worth it. I don’t say this lightly because I am highly skeptical of spending Multiple $100s on a course/summit/webinar, etc. Navid and all the participants within his LBS Summit showed the value by offering a limited time free viewing of ALL the work they’re offering. I now am more willing to invest in Regina, Mariah, and now Navid’s courses because I know they’re offering proper value and it’s not just a gimmick to take our money.

Of course, I’m still not dropping more than $100 on any online course anytime soon. Since I’ve got very, very limited funds to work with, my current strategy is micro investments. Which is why I will always advocate for Obstacle.co and their sister site aimed specifically at brand-new bloggers, BlogRocket.co. Paul Scrivens and his team make truly quality-first free content in the library section on Obstacle. They are offering courses and e-books, which are reasonably priced and I can trust that what is for sale on both sites will be amazing. Just so everyone is aware, every time I get an email from Obstacle, I immediately read it. Seriously, the emails alone can be quite helpful.

Investment in Wanderlust Conqueror

  • Amazon Kindle Unlimited – $10 monthly
    • Turns out the free trial was totally worth what I was trying to find since everyone only wants to do e-books now that you have to pay for
    • I don’t end up feeling ripped off when I come across poorly written and structured books that are supposed to help me enhance my own professional life
  • Purchased my domain with Google for $12 for a year!

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