FREE & PAID Online Writing Leads

The Reality of It All

Writing online can be a legitimate source of residual income. Many of the articles here on shit-head.com are about my own personal experience earning a passive income online writing, especially on Hubpages.com. That’s real income I see deposited every month to my account.

Over the years I’ve come across many fake (scams) and authentic writing offers. I’ve compiled a list of free and paid online writing leads that are legitimate. But YOU are going to have to do the work. You can be lead to water, but nobody can make you drink! This list of online jobs can be given to you, but nobody can make you take advantage of the opportunities and do the work, no one but you.

Very, very, very, very, rarely, has any success happened overnight. It was a solid year before I began reaping any rewards worthy of talking about. I’ve been writing on Hubpages.com since 2012. I was earning pennies at first. That sucked. I could have done without the demoralizing .09 cents each month. But that didn’t last very long. Soon it jumped to $25 a month, then $75, and $100 and so on, until I am now. Reviewing my earnings page, it was one year before I had income over $100 a month. All the while I was writing, and submitting articles furiously. It was after 100 articles that the income really started to be worthy. My score as a writer has always been well above 90. Your score is determined by how well your articles are written. Not by how popular the article is, but how well you wrote it, so that’s nice. If you’re really putting your best effort forward with good grammar and thoughtful insights, etc., you’re rewarded for it with a high score even if the public doesn’t find your article interesting, you still get the kudo’s for your hard work with a high score.

Just because Hubpages.com worked out well for me, doesn’t mean it’s meant for everyone. Different strokes for different folks, right! That’s the whole reason I write these articles, so you will get the whole picture, not just my view, or what someone pays me to tell you! No way! I got your back!

Sometimes people have a difficult time finding their place on the internet to write articles. Seeking and discovering legitimate writing opportunities is one of the most difficult endeavors out there. That’s one of the reasons I offered up my success with Hubpages.com because I know any help finding legit work in this arena is very welcome by writers out there.

SCAMS

You have to be hyper vigilant for scams! Working from home and online writing are two of the biggest scam attractions. It was a lot worse a few years ago. Out of every five opportunities four were scams maybe even all five were sometimes! If these scammers would be in an honest days work they would progress so much further. They cut their own throat running all these scams. As soon as they are found out, it’s over. Talk about a dead end career! But I digress. In more recent years authentic work at home opportunities and writing jobs have begun to out number the scams. but you still need to be on your toes!

REVIEWS

Reviews aren’t always what they seem. Online, the competition for attention from shoppers is out of this world! When you have 500 websites and they are all trying to sell you the same shirt, you can imagine the virtual cat fights that go on. The fur flies! Remember this when you are reading reviews in your search for online writing gigs.
Above is the ad for writing-jobs.net . The research on this website offer for writing is skewed, but if you keep on digging you will find that it is legit. There were reviews that didn’t paint writing-jobs.net in a bright light, yet they did admit they are legit. For example a review on www.letsworkonline.net was negative. But if you step back for a minute and read the sign above the door of this reviewers business you will find why their review is negative. . .writing-jobs.net is letsworkonline.net’s direct competitor! Any reasonable person can realize this review has a conflict of interest! You can’t expect an honest, unbiased, review on a competitors site! That’s just ridiculous.
If you owned a business are you going to post a positive, business endorsing, review about your competitor? Of course not! It’s your competitor. If you give them a bright and shiny review the patrons you give the review to will most likely purchase from your competitor that you just told them was so great. Let’s be honest. If you wrote a review about your competitor it would be negative, highlighting anything that can be perceived as bad. You would keep in mind that shoppers don’t want to hear anyone bash a business hard. It makes you and your business look bad. So you bash them just enough and for proper online review etiquette you mention your competitors highlights, very few, and at the bottom of the article. Am I right or what?

Typical of a competitor letsworkonline.net fits the above mold perfectly. At least letsworkonline.net did not go into bashing writing-jobs.net . They didn’t write anything positive but they also didn’t try to drag writing-jobs,net over the coals. That would have been very tacky. I would seriously question any review that drags another business over the coals.

Writing-jobs.net does provide you with leads, websites that provide legitimate work. They do have a training program they offer to hone your writing skills. The owner, Glenn Anderson, does own further, similar types websites (I have no idea how that attributes to the legitimacy of the websites, but reviews mention it often enough I thought I should as well). writing-jobs.net does charge a monthly fee to access their website. The last I looked it was $17 a month. That’s isn’t very much to pay if this is what you need. Maybe you just need to find some legitimate leads, or procure courses on writing skills. For $17 a month it’s a reasonable source if only to boost you up.

FREE OPPORTUNITIES

So far we’ve gone over the reality of a career writing online and searching for work. We’ve looked at scams on the internet concerning online work. Then we talked about the errant nature of website reviews. It is time for the Free list of opportunities!

That was just my experience with that type of writing. Alas, different strokes for different folks, so here is the list of websites offering leads for FREE. Some websites, such as MTurk, are better known as “microwork” because the jobs are small, like writing an article or taking a survey.

(The following list are linked to their specific webpage. Each link is only for your convenience. Nothing is gained. It’s just a simple safe link. Every link has been checked and all are working fine.)

Websites such as Fivrr.com and upwork.com do provide work opportunites. You just have to sign up to their website. The problem with these types of websites is, the competition for writing jobs is extraordinarily high! I went this route years ago. When I would “bid” for a writing job ten to twenty people with several years writing on that website, with stars and kudo’s I didn’t have, would apply as well. Guess who would get the work? Not the one without all the kudo’s I can tell you that! I gave it a shot for about six months before I realized I was wasting way too much time bidding on work that I wasn’t getting. I needed to be more pro-active and write!

The Internal Cascading Stylesheet

You have a website document that you’re setting up and want to add some styles to it. That’s great! Adding styles to your website will definitely add to its curbside appeal and attract more readers! Now you have to ask yourself, “How do I add a CSS code to my webpage?”

There are three methods for adding CSS code, aka: styles, to your webpage(s) document:

  • The internal stylesheet – Usually applied to a single page.
  • The inline stylesheet – Used to style an element on a page.
  • The external stylesheet – This type of stylesheet is used for a multi-page website.

Each style type has its benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will go over the internal CSS.

The internal CSS is used when you have a single page you want to style. If you add more than one page to your website, you will want to use an external stylesheet. This is due to two reasons. One being the internal stylesheet can make your website load slower. And the second reason is an external stylesheet is far more practical for a website with multiple pages.

The external CSS file is more practical for multiple page websites because one file is created, a .css file, which styles all of the website out of this one file. Otherwise, if you used an internal or inline CSS style, you would have to place it on every single page of your website! This would be a huge, time intensive, task. Imagine if you had a website that included twenty, or more pages! This is not an unheard of size of a website. Actually that is a conservative number of pages. Placing internal or inline on all those pagers would be impractical. By using an external CSS file it affects all of the pages. When you edit the one CSS file, it will affect all the pages on your website.

On occasion you may find that you want to alter some of the text on your webpage, or maybe you’re intending to set-up a one page landing page. For these situations the internal CSS code would be used.

When you are competing for screen time on the internet, the speed at which your website loads is paramount. The latest study on page speed and user engagement, by Forrester Consulting, reveals the average American user will wait all of 2 seconds for a website to load before they will abandon the page!

If you plan on competing with a 2 second load time, an internal style sheet won’t always cut it.

Why does it take longer to load? The internal style sheet is written into the <head> section of the page. With more information written into this section, and anywhere on the page, there is more for the browser to process and present. Albeit some information like styles is hidden from the user’s view, it still must be processed by the browser.

Yes, we are talking about milliseconds, but when you have 2 seconds to present your page to the user, every millisecond counts!

Create An HTML5 Document

Let’s create a document together. We’ll write an HTML5 document without any CSS code. We’ll save it, then open it in a browser to view it.

Then, we’ll go back and add an internal CSS code to the same HTML5 document, save it, and open it again in a browser to see the difference!

The 1st step is to open a new document in either notepad or wordpad where we will type up a webpage using HTML5 code. I’ll be using notepad.

This is a sample template of the format for an Internal CSS code. If you want you can copy it for practice. The “. . . . . .” should be replaced with your CSS code accordingly as we will see below.

What you need to do now is copy exactly what I have written below. Either copy and paste it into your note or wordpad document. Or type it into your document just make sure it is exactly the same.

<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>

</head>

<body>
<h1>No Styles Page</h1>
<p>This is an HTML5 document, or page, with no styles added. This is what the whole internet would look like if we did not have CSS code we can add to spice up this drab writing.</p>
</body>

</html>

The 2nd thing we need to do is Click File and Save as… In the window the pops up there is a box at the bottom that says File Type. Click it and from the drop-down menu select All File Types. Above All File Types is a box for you to name your file. Type in a name for your file, then a period and HTML. For example: mywork.html or firstpage.html. And be sure to put the period with HTML. Make a note of the folder you are saving this file in. Click Save.

After you save your page as an HTML document leave the original open, or save it again but save it as a .txt document so we can edit it later.

Locate your new file where you noted that you saved it. It should have your browser as its icon. Double click on your file, and it will open a new browser tab with your page just like the photo below.

If the entire internet looked like that you and I would be bored out of our minds!

This is where your CSS stylesheet comes in! We will be adding an internal stylesheet. This will be contained within those </head> and </head> labels we put in our HTML5 document.

Go back to the original document we typed up in the 1st step. Add to the document, or copy and paste the text below:

<!doctype html>
<html>

<head>

<style>
h1 {color: red;}
body {color: green;}
p {text-align: center; font-family: "Georgia"}
</style>

</head>

<body>
<h1>Styled Page!</h1>
<p>This is an HTML5 document, or page, with styles added! This catches your attention    much better don't you think? There are so many elements you can change with a CSS stylesheet the limits are virtually endless!</p>
</body>

</html>

We have only added the <style> and closing </style> tags and there elements to the document. I updated the content of the body to go with the theme of the page better.

Now we need to save it again. You can save it the same way as in step 2: File –> Save As –> File Type: All File Types –> and the name of your document.

Now find the document you just saved and double click on it, and it will open in your browser with the new attributes we just added!

You can see the changes we made just by adding a CSS style in the document. The title or h1 element stands out in large red letters. And the font is now Georgia and green!

You can play around with the elements in your document all you like. After you change an element, save it as .html and open it in your browser to see the changes!

CSS Elements

When using the name of a color, you can use HEX, RGB, HSL, RGBA or HSLA values. Also each color value IE: red, blue, green, etc. can be manipulated within the CSS code to alter its values. A simple Google search for CSS styles will display a list of websites where all the codes are listed. Listing all of them here is outside the scope of this article. CSS color code alone has 140 color value names, that does not include the alternate methods of entering a color name!

Using the sample practice pages we created earlier practice changing the values of the elements, save and then display them to see how it worked out. Try adding different values such as Borders, Outline and Icon. With a little practice you’ll be able to style your pages to your satisfaction!

Thanks for reading!

Adding Photo’s to Your Website – Newbies

I like to share what I have learned from creating my websites so that maybe you won’t have to stumble over the same things I did. If sharing what I’ve learned can make creating your own website just that much easier then it’s worth it.

Adding photos to your website sounds simple enough right? Wrong. Photos can be an insidious addition to a website, for a couple of reasons. One is they take up a huge amount of memory if your not careful. And second, a website wouldn’t be a website without several photos right? When these memory hogs are uploaded to your website, and you place two maybe three photos on a page, they will slow down your page load time significantly!

If you’re thinking, “I don’t use a fancy digital camera. I take pictures with my cell phone so they can’t be very big.” Guess again. The highest pixelated photos I take are with my Samsung cell phone. On average they contain 5312 x 2998 pixels. That is a humongous number of pixels!! Considering that your average profile picture online is recommended to be 200 x 200. Now 5312 x 2998 looks huge!

I found out about posting huge pictures on my website when I was running out of memory. I had been so busy filling in the content I didn’t even consider the size of the photos!

The image below is straight off of my cell phone. It’s an enormous 5312 x 2988 pixels!! To put it on my website I would want to get rid of as much of the background as possible so the focus will be on the flower. But I also want to reduce the size of the resulting photo. I’m using GIMP to do this.

Enormous photo off of my cell phone at more than 5000 pixels!
I select the specific part of the photo I want the focus to be on….the flower. So I select and copy it.
I open a new file and set the pixels at 500 x 300 and paste my selected flower onto the page.
As you can see the flower is way bigger than my new 500 pixel area so I use the GIMP scale tool. The box reflects the size of the flower at over 2000 pixels. I just delete the numbers the arrow is pointing at and enter 500 x 300 or click the down arrows until 500 x 300.
After entering or arrowing down to 500 x 300 I hit enter and there is your new reduced size photo. This does not reduce the pixels! It reduces the dimensions of the photo.

Reducing a photo isn’t difficult to do. You do need a software that can reduce and not just resize your photo. There is a difference. I use GIMP for all my photo needs. It’s free and very functional. It takes a little bit of practice to get good with GIMP but there are tons of tutorials online to help.

Photoshop has a resize/reduce feature as well and Adobe has a photo manipulation tool. There is also Irfanview. This is another totally free software you can download like GIMP. It doesn’t have all the functionality that GIMP has but it does have photo reducing abilities.

Check your photo’s for optimal page load and save your memory!

What Is The Meaning Of All This?

Have you ever received a bouquet of flowers and wondered, “What is the meaning of all this?” Probably not, but flowers were a common means of communication for hundreds of years!

The meaning behind various flower types and their color was established long ago. Over the years their meaning has been steadfast. You knew what was meant if you received a bouquet of white Camellia’s. The sender was telling you they felt that you are adorable! If your birthday is in March you could expect a bouquet of Daffodils!

Now-a-days you won’t come across very many people who know the meaning of flowers (and foliage), but a well versed florist will definitely know.

Whether the receiver is aware of the meaning of the arrangement you send. it can still be fun to choose particular flowers for the arrangement that mean something to you.

On the other hand, if the receiver may be wise to flowers and their meaning, you may want to consult your flower guide before sending a bouquet of pink Camellia’s to an acquaintance!

If your birth month is:

  • January – Your flower is the Snowdrop which means purity and hope.
  • February – Your flower is a Violet which reflects modesty and kindness.
  • March – You covet the Daffodil that are sincere and gracious.
  • April – Looks to the Primrose representing lovers.
  • May – Has the White Lily that is purity and sweetness.
  • June – Enjoys the Wild Rose of love and loyalty.
  • July – Only has Carnations on their mind of kind thoughts.
  • August – Puts it all on White Heather for luck and good fortune.
  • September enjoys Michaelmas Daisy with riches and happiness.
  • October reminisces of Rosemary with remembrance.
  • November dutifully seeks Chrysanthemum holding true to faith and truth.
  • December is always the Ivy of fidelity and faithfulness.

When you, or your florist, create a bouquet you can select flowers with certain meaning to get your message across to the receiver. If you are a shy person you might send a bouquet of Mignonette with Clovers (four leaf of course). And what better way to let the office flirt know your tired of the flirting than with white Carnations and Deadly Nightshade!

Common Flowers in a Bouquet and Their Meanings:

  • Aster – Love, daintiness.
  • Bird-Of-Paradise – Joyfulness.
  • Camellia – Beauty, loveliness.
  • – Camellia (White) – Your adorable.
  • – Camellia (Pink) – Longing for you.
  • – Camellia (Red) – You are a flame in my heart.
  • Candytuft – Indifference, lack of affection.
  • Carnation (Red) – I long for you.
  • – Carnation (White) – Disregard, disdain.
  • Clover four leafed – Be mine.
  • Columbine – Foolishness.
  • Daffodil – Chivalry.
  • Daisy – Innocent, pure.
  • Deadly Nightshade – Falsehood, untrue.
  • Fern – You fascinate me.
  • Forget-me-not – Do not forget about me.
  • Foxglove – I bow down to you.
  • Geranium – To console you.
  • Golden Rod – Be on your guard.
  • Heliotrope – I am devoted to you.
  • Hyacinth (White) – Sweetness.
  • Ivy – Faithfulness. I cling to you.
  • Lily of the Valley – Happiness will return.
  • – Lily (White) – Sweetness.
  • – Lily (Yellow) – Gay, Happy.
  • Mignonette – Your qualities are even greater than your charms.
  • Myrtle – Love.
  • Orchid – Beautiful lady.
  • Orange Blossom – Chastity.
  • Pansy – Thoughts.
  • Passion Flower – Willing to suffer hardship for you.
  • Peach Blossom – I am captivated by you.
  • Primrose – A token of love.
  • Rose – A token of love.
  • – Rose (Red) – Bashful, shy.
  • – Rose (Pink) – Please believe me.
  • – Rose (White) – I will be worthy.
  • – Rose (Yellow) – Jealousy.
  • Rosebuds – A confession of great love.
  • Snapdragon – Desire.
  • Statice – Remembrance.
  • Sweet Pea – You leave me or I leave you.
  • Tulip – Love and caring.
  • Verbena – Pray for me.

Phrases

Some floral combinations have well known messages already…

  • Daisy and Mignonette – Your qualities surpass even your great beauty.
  • Ferns and Lily of the Valley – You are sweet and charming and you fascinate me.
  • Ivy leaves and yellow rose – Your jealousy has put an end to our friendship.
  • Columbine, daisy and lily – You have played false and broken our friendship.
  • Pink and laurel leaves – Your high qualities have been noticed by me.
  • Goldenrod, sweet pea and forget me not – Danger is at hand, be careful, I go away but don’t forget me.

Now, the next time you receive a bouquet of flowers you won’t have to ask, “What’s the meaning of all this?” You will know!

Your Business & Your Budget (Or Lack There Of)

As I said in previous posts, my intention here is to help you get your business rolling and tell/show you what I did to become successful myself.

I have also talked about how I started out without a penny to spare. SO many people IE: business’s and their apps, have their hand out for your money it can seem impossible, for anyone without a large sum of money set aside, to start an online business! You have the cost of a domain, the cost of a host for your domain, an email program to deal with email, apps you may want to put on your website and the cost of placing ads to get your domain name out there. It’s just overwhelming.

After all that you need some sort of a phone number, besides your home phone, because every single thing listed above, and any single thing you plan on obtaining, requires a phone number! Now-a-days providing your phone number isn’t enough for these entities….they text you to verify that the phone number really works and it is yours before they will let you access the product you need.

Your phone number is not sacred to any of these entities, it’s money in their eyes. Your phone number will be sold to the highest bidder. Now you’ll be getting calls from every Tom, Dick and Harry with something to sell!

Personally, I didn’t/don’t want to give out my phone number to anyone that might sell it or share it. I don’t want advertisers calling me! I get enough ads from the internet, my email, the slide-in ads on my laptop, television and driving down the road. I certainly don’t need them calling me as well!! So how do I get around this without forking out MORE money for a business phone number?

The answer is voice.google.com . I checked out this service that is offered by Google and was very impressed! I use my Google account when I opened voice.google. I’m not sure if you have to have a Google account to use the website, but that’s free as well, so why not!

You don’t use your phone number here. You can create and send text messages and phone calls that go through Google. You can select to have a phone number. It is all FREE!

You have the option to select a phone number for yourself. You just select your city and they offer up several phone numbers. This is really nice because you can select any city you wish and select the phone number you like best. When you select a phone number, it’s yours, just like a regular telephone. You can:

  • Make phone calls and the phone number will be displayed.
  • Register the phone number as your business phone so it will display your business name with the phone number.
  • You can receive phone calls with this phone number.
  • If you’re not online when the phone call comes through it will go to a voicemail. When you access the voice.google site again it will have a notation on the left side of the screen by the voicemail icon of how many voicemails you have.
  • The voicemail is also transcribed into text message format as well so you don’t have to call the voicemail (by clicking on the icon) you can just read it under the text message icon! There voice recognition system is very accurate.
  • When you fill out the various forms online for your business you can use this phone number to verify your account.
  • When any entity text messages you to verify your account the text message arrives at your voice.google page and you can enter the code as needed. As a matter of fact one time I used a pay-per-minute phone number and it wouldn’t verify. The website kept saying “Please use a valid phone number”. I put in my Google number and it went through just fine!
  • You can select to have phone calls and text messages from your Google number forwarded to your personal phone for convenience!
  • If you don’t select a phone number when you make calls it will show an 888 or 800 number as the number your calling from and people can call it back while your online but as soon as your offline the number is of no use.

The other things I jumped on was Google Business, Yelp and Yellow Pages. These are similar to the good old Yellow Pages Directory of days gone by, but these are directories that are online and they are totally Free. They can boost your ad for a price in which you will be guaranteed so many views, but I have not found I needed any boosting.

Google Business has out paced Yelp and Yellow Pages as to business referrals. They also send a full report to your gmail about how your page is doing. This is the actual email from Google about my business. I only marked out my business name and search word queries because my brick & mortar business (which this is a report of) is unrelated to my online business and I don’t want to confuse readers. And the 11 calls to my business, that’s my voice.google number that is forwarded to my phone!

As you can see advertising by the giant Google and a business phone line are both taken care of by these free and reliable services. This is exactly what an entrepreneur on a limited budget needs!

(I will receive nothing for recommending these products listed above. I have no affiliation with Google, Yelp or Yellow Pages in any way shape or form. This is just me sharing what worked for me, to you. Simple advice for nothing. See you can get some things for free!(

A Realistic Look At Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has become a true contender in the entrepreneur arena. In the recent past hardly anyone had heard the word affiliate! Now it’s a common word especially among search engines. Personally, I stepped onto the affiliate marketing stage in 2010. I’ve jumped through the hoops, and I am now earning an income.

An incredible 97% of people that attempt affiliate marketing fail. It seems like obvious reasons: #1 They have unrealistic goals. You are not going to come out of the gate making $1,000 a day. For the average affiliate marketer you won’t see numbers like this for a few months. #2 They try to accomplish everything by skipping important steps. There are hoops you just can’t ignore. Like learning how to write so people will want to read your work. Just last night I was looking up some information on the internet. The third option down hit the nail on the head so I clicked on it. The language and content of the copy was so misaligned, confusing and poorly written that I clicked out of there after the first sentence! Am I going to favorite that website? Not even. Am I going to pass it on, or share this website? I don’t think so! The writer on this website skipped one of the first important steps, learn to write well and he paid for it by losing me and probably several others.

Since I’ve been through the ringer I can help you streamline your affiliate marketing. Some of the hoops are pointless, well, many of them, but some are essential.

Essentials of A Website

Content is King

If you haven’t heard this phrase yet, well now you have! Content IS King! You may as well hang it up if you have no intention of learning proper English and how to write great copy.

The content, copy, articles, whichever you like to call it, what you write must be impeccable. Could you imagine shopping on a website like Amazon and the items had misspellings? You’d never find what you were looking for!

When a consumer is searching for an item the search engines will look for similar words in the content of the websites. If the spelling is wrong, they will never find you! If you are selling bicycles, but your website has it as “bycycles” for sale. You won’t be found. So just as important as sounding like someone who knows what they are doing. You need to be identified by search engines as selling “bicycles” not “bycycles”. Plus, if you’re an authority in that arena, which you need to be if you want to gain and retain customers, you’re are obviously going to know how to spell “bicycles” correctly, right!

Mentors

If you can find a mentor, that, will put you way ahead of the game! Good mentors are few and far between. I am, in a sense, mentoring you here. Providing you with sound, honest, good, advice. That is what a mentor does.

You may choose to pay for a mentor. It streamlines the process of obtaining a mentor. Money is the name of the game with 99% of affiliate marketers. But even the mentors you pay for may not be up to snuff. This is one of those hoops I should have avoided.

I couldn’t find a free mentor in my time frame, so I decided to pay for one. The mentor assigned to me was completely unhelpful. She criticized my websites with nothing positive. There was no constructive criticism. The problem is I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket. She didn’t like that. She was of the mindset that I should have one website and only one site. Obviously we were not a match for mentoring. I was able to get my money back.

I use the investing strategy where I don’t put all my money in stocks. Especially in the affiliate marketing arena, don’t put it on one endeavor. Diversify and put your where it works best for you weather that be purchasing traffic, or investing in a mentor. If you can find a mentor that has the same strategy as you do, then it would be well worth it to have one.

Marketing

No matter how you look at it you will need traffic to your website. This is one of those hoops you don’t want to ignore. If the only people that know about your website is your friends and family you will need to advertise, there is no question about it. The options for advertising are huge.

When I first launched my websites my advertising budget was near nil! I hadn’t really planned on an advertising budget. I had focused so hard on optimizing my content and its value to my readers, marketing hadn’t really dawned on me.

If you do a little research on top performing companies you will find that their advertising budget takes the lions share of their budget! Many times their marketing budget far out weighs their employees salaries. It’s simple, you want customers, you need to get the word out there that you are available.

Your Money

Yes, you will, at some point in time, need to put some money where your website is. Some important words of caution. Everywhere you turn people have their hands out for your money. If they aren’t up front about the fact they are seeking your fortune, then watch your back because they’ll have a hand in your bag behind your back! Use complete caution when purchasing anything online! I will only use reputable companies. Always beware of the https: compared to the http: on a website. You should know by now that http: is an unprotected site whereas https: is protected. It’s subtle things like that you need to watch for. You could clean out your bank account in a minute if your not careful. Research what you plan on purchasing. What exactly will you receive for your dollar? How much traffic will you see? Where will this traffic come from? What kind of guarantee do they provide, etcetera, etcetera.

Free Traffic Sources

I started by using free sources of advertising such as Google business, Facebook and Yelp. Google allows you to create a profile of your business with them for free. They encourage you to make a complete profile with pictures and pricing. Facebook and Yelp offer the same thing. Yelp will have a salesperson call you and try to get you to pay for advertising. They will say that they can get you so many calls per day. They even asked me, “How many calls per day would you like? For 100 – 200 calls per day it will cost ???? (what ever the salesman offered).” But you are not obligated to purchase. To this day, I get more calls from my Google profile than any other source!! Yelp is a close second and Facebook I get a few. Facebook offers “ad boosting” where you can boost a post you have put on your website for so much money. The budget is very flexible and totally under your control. You choose who to advertise to (targeted advertising) and how long you want your ad to run. Then you set your budget and your ads start running. Even if you don’t run a Facebook ad you still have your website profile anyone can can see.

Mailing Lists

Your mailing list is important, but it is not the Holy Grail! Don’t let anyone tell you it is. Your mailing list, or opt in list, contains people that definitely have interest in your product, that’s why they signed onto your mailing list. But think about your own email. How often do you do mass deletions? You open your personal email and there’s so many ads and junk email you just click that button at the top and then Delete All! I’ve abandoned two email addresses because there is so much junk mail going to them! You don’t want to be in that Delete All category. Use discretion when deciding to use your mailing list for advertising or contacting your parties of interest.

Only email your email list when you truly have something different or important to offer to your readers. The days of indiscriminately sending out mass mailings are over. Spam protection, wise consumers, and ad blockers have changed all that. It was rude from the start, mass mailings, now the consumer has methods to fight back. I use mass delete for mass mailings!

A Favorite Website, Dumped

I had one website I really liked a lot. It was about herbal gardening. I signed up to her email list. Little did I know that she sends out an email several times a week!! When that first week I received several emails from the website I thought, “This won’t go on forever. She’ll reduce the emailing soon.” But it didn’t stop. Several times a week all these emails from her, I was overwhelmed. Who ever thought someone could talk so much about gardening!! The emails were coming so fast and furious, I opted out within the first two weeks of opting in to her site. I had enjoyed her topic, but she drove me nuts and she lost my subscription because of it.

Purchasing Email Lists

I don’t recommend purchasing an email list. As I mentioned above the days of mass emailing people whether you know them or not are over. Books about affiliate market still have a section on how to email people and how often (daily to weekly). I don’t recommend purchasing a list or harassing people in this manner. Don’t be that person that buys an email list and emails these people that never asked you to in the first place. This can also get you marked as a spammer and that will ruin your business!

The absolute BEST thing you can do is create a relationship with your customers! Learn what they want and how you can get it to them! Be that friend that knows all the right people and how to get things. Send your customer quality information and quality products and you will see your business flourish! Look at your own online experience. How important are your contacts that you know will get you what you need, fast and reliable? They are at the top of your list, maybe starred or thumbed up, right. Be that person!!

Education

Education is vital to the whole affiliate marketing world. Even if you are only learning what doesn’t work, you’re still ahead. Learn what people want. Learn what people are shopping for. Learn what website layout works best. Learn, learn, learn! The more you know the better off you will be. It’s the guy with the most information, presented in the best manner, that wins. Joe Blo that doesn’t know how to write interesting copy, has no idea what a website layout is and has no clue what people want to buy is one of those 97% that don’t make it.

I see education as a life long endeavor. You can be 20 years old or 70 years old and there’s still many things you don’t know. The best thing of all, education is FREE. And once you have it, nobody can take it away. It’s yours forever!

Get out there and learn everything you can about your niche, about the English language and marketing skills!

Last words: Use discretion spending your money!

What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

I hear this more often than necessary, “What IS a reverse mortgage?” Most people that use the reverse mortgage and enjoy the benefits of it, are no longer here on Earth to brag about it to the rest of us.

The reverse mortgage is utilized by people in their twilight years. When they are done using the reverse mortgage it’s because they have gone off to the retirement home in the sky. So we mortals don’t hear about the results. Whether it worked out well for the user or not.

Although we do hear about the disgruntled heirs of the deceased that opted for the reverse mortgage. I’ve heard the heirs grievances over and over again. One person, in particular, still grumbles about his parents obtaining a reverse mortgage as if it happened yesterday! They moved on to the silver lining in the sky years ago. “It was MY inheritance!” He says.

To start this, our children are not entitled to an inheritance. They may very well receive an inheritance, but entitled, no. But you wouldn’t know they weren’t entitled if you talked with some of them!

A reverse mortgage is not in favor of the heir(s) IE: Our children. It is for the person that owns the home. It’s all about the homeowner getting some, maybe all, of the money he/she put into the home, back out.

The way I understand the reverse mortgage is a person that is 62+ years old AND outright owns their home, or has a very low mortgage due, can obtain a loan against the equity that they have in their home. This equity loan is then distributed to the homeowner. They can receive it in monthly payments a lot like a retirement account. The homeowner has options as to how much they want to receive each month and other loan options.

Now, if the homeowner dies before they have repaid the reverse mortgage loan, then the reverse mortgage lender can still recoup their funds when the home is sold. That’s why the homeowner must have a low balance owing, so there is plenty of money to pay off the original mortgage and the reverse mortgage.

If the homeowner still had a high balance owing on their mortgage, that would mean they have a low equity amount in the home. When the homeowner passes away and the home is sold, the original loan must be fulfilled before the reverse mortgage. The reverse mortgage lender might not be able to recoup their loaned funds. Thus, the home must have enough equity to cover the original mortgage balance and the reverse mortgage balance.

The grievance that heirs have about the reverse mortgage is they are expected to fulfill the reverse mortgage loan when the homeowner dies by selling the home and paying off the original mortgage loan and the reverse mortgage loan. Heirs don’t like that.

From my experience heirs do not like to pay off any bills belonging to their parents even if it is paid off with equity the parents left in the home. Heirs want all the equity.

I have experienced first hand the anger and despise of an adult sibling attempting to obtain all that he could from our mother’s estate, but was accidently thwarted by me.

Our aged mother owned a home which she bought for mere pennies on the dollar back in the 1950’s. She was well over 65 years old and still working full time to pay bills. When we all met on vacation I was talking with my mother and suggested, “Mom, why don’t you sell the house, or do one of those reverse mortgages, use the money to travel for a few years? You would be able to retire and not worry about bills anymore. You’d be able to enjoy your Golden years instead of working and worrying.” Mother said she’d think about it, but she was doubtful she would stop working since it gave her something to do and feel needed in this world. That was the end of the conversation.

I hoped she would take my advice. I wanted to see her enjoy all the equity she worked so many years to achieve. It felt like it would be a reward for her and all seniors that work so hard to save. They should enjoy their money finally!

Not long after that conversation, I received a scathing letter from my older brother accusing me of “ruining” him. He had overheard my conversation with our mother. We weren’t hiding our conversation at all. He should have sat down and joined us, but instead he just listened and became enraged. His letter also stated that because I had “told our mother to sell the house” I didn’t tell her to, I suggested it, and she didn’t sell it anyways! According to him, I now owed him $1,000,000! No, joke, seriously. I owed him $1,000,000 for suggesting our mother sell the home and enjoy her money.

Why? Why did he feel this way? Because he had intentions of our mother signing the home over to him alone so he would inherit everything. Then, he would sell it for $1,000,000 and now I had ruined it for him.

After his letter he still tried to take the home from our mother. When she passed away he insisted she had signed documents releasing the equity and home to him alone. These documents were never found. We gave him over a month to produce proof of this claim, but he produced nothing. Not even a note from our mother stating so.

What does this have to do with a reverse mortgage? It gives you insight into how the heirs mind works. They are counting up their parents money before the parent has even become ill. They are shoveling the dirt into the hole before the parent has turned 60 years old! Siblings, friends, acquaintances, multiple people, have aired their grievances to me when they learned they were not going to receive all the money they’ve decided they will inherit from their parents.

When one of these people finds out about a reverse mortgage their parent has taken out, the heir more often than not, becomes enraged. There is nothing they can do about it and they know it.

The parent that enjoyed the reverse mortgage is gone. All we have left to provide some sort of feedback about reverse mortgages are the heirs. How do you think these heirs are going to rate reverse mortgages, regardless of the fact their parent probably enjoyed their twilight years and had less stress? I have never heard a positive review by an heir, yet.

It’s very sad to see so many people looking at their parents with dollar signs in their eyes. I might leave something to my kids, I hope not. I hope I have a grand old time, one last Yahoo that takes everything I earned with me! We only live once, so LIVE IT, ENJOY IT! Reverse Mortgage it! 🙂

My favorite bumper sticker!

Disclaimer – I do not work for any mortgage company. I am not drumming up business for anyone or any lender. I am just a person that loved my parent and always put her happiness before anything I could ever want. Her happiness was what I wanted. I am not tolerant of people that do not respect others, their parents especially! I am outspoken on the subject of respect and those that do not utilize it. LOVE YOUR FAMILY. RESPECT YOUR PARENTS!! They OWE you nothing!

Keeping A Watchful Eye On Your Work

We have done a lot of work learning how to create useful, above average content, but there’s one topic we haven’t covered. Through it all I’ve always had a way to access my work online and be able to edit it. There are a couple of book readers available, I use the Kindle.

As a new writer (1st year or 2) I had a constant companion, my Kindle. With my websites and articles I was writing, when there was a comment, I needed to answer it NOW. When there was an error reported, I needed to fix it NOW. I knew I needed to be faster and better than the next guy, or I’d go down in rank, especially when I first started out. This runs true for you as well.

Online work is all about being better and faster than the other guys. If a question or comment is posed and your competitor answers it within 5 minutes of its posting and you get around to it 30 minutes later, who do you think is going to rise up in the ranks? Not you that’s for sure. You need to be on it to get your position with the search engine. That means have a way of connecting at all times.

A cell phone is simply too small to answer questions and edit your work. A computer works great but who can haul around a PC all day? That’s where the Kindle slips right into action. I can get a notification on my phone, while out shopping, or whatever I’m doing, stop what I’m doing for a minute, pull out my Kindle and do whatever the notification required. I don’t carry a purse so I slip my Kindle into my waste band for convenience. The Kindle has a smooth surface and it won’t start-up by itself while you carry it.

I have gone through two Kindle’s and I’m ready for a third. Don’t get the wrong idea, Kindle’s are sturdy little things! Each one has lasted five years plus. Even the one that was left outside, in the rain, for an entire Winter, fired right up when we found it! I’m terribly rough on my gadgets, it’s just my lifestyle and Kindle is the only one that can keep up with me! The Kindle below is mine. Surprisingly you barely see the crack running all the way through the screen. From the top left, through the 12:37 to the other edge. Either my dog or myself sat on it by accident and the thing still works perfectly. The crack bugs me to look at, and I saw this deal, so I’m looking at a new one.

My Kindle. It’s like the Energizer Bunny! It keeps going, and going, and going!

I grabbed the code to share with you all. It’s only good for 10 days, sorry, but that’s the way good deals always go. I’m sure there will be others in the future sometime, but right now this is what I’m using.

How to Get Online With a Kindle

I use my phones Mobile Hot Spot option and then the hot spot shows up on my Kindles Wifi list and I can click on it and go online with the Kindle.

Also I downloaded apps that would help me edit my websites and articles when I’m using my Kindle. Apps like Microsoft Word and spell check, stuff like that. I can literally create posts where ever I am with my Kiindle.

Not to leave out other book readers, I haven’t heard much about the other reader called the Nook. I don’t know if it is still in production. I’ve been so pleased with the Kindle I haven’t needed to look elsewhere. But it is another option for you.

What Goes Around…

I’m a firm believer in the adage “What Goes Around Comes Around” and the older I get the more often I see it happen in real life.

This adage especially hits home when it comes to children. Children are a reflection of us, for the most part. We can do our best to instill respect and kindness in our children, but it won’t necessarily be the behavior they decide to retain when they become an adult. If the latest trend with their peers is easier, better or makes them look good in their friends eyes, they will follow that path.

They grow up to be their own individual, with the addition of what their generation see’s as cool. And it appears the last generation found parental alienation to be their “thing”. It’s like an epidemic, an illness, one that is spreading across America like a post gone viral! We never know who it will infect. A perfectly good parent, raises a happy child, then the adult child catches the virus and all is lost. The affected adult child becomes distant and secretive. Then they stop calling and texting. Then, when the parent attempts to contact the adult child the parent is unwittingly attacked verbally by the adult child. Blamed for all kinds of abuses completely unknown to the parent. The venom and anger in the attack is heartbreaking. The illness only progresses from there to complete alienation of the unsuspecting, heartbroken parent. The disease takes the adult child, the grandchildren and anyone else that can be recruited by the infected adult child.

Estrangement….The Epidemic

Adult children that choose to estrange themselves from their mother, or father, or both, will decide to start a family before they have resolved the issue. Or, sometimes, to try and fill the gaping hole left when they estranged themselves.

If they do have children amidst their estrangement illness they unknowingly, and intentionally, involve their children. Withholding visits with the grandparent, not allowing the grandparent to meet the child, etc. Maybe having a child of their own is their way of “showing” their estranged parent how to raise a child “right” since they feel they were raised so wrong. It’s just part of the illness. You can’t take it personally.

Every estranged adult child that I have heard talk, and there are several hundred, they always come to the conclusion that their parent was terrible and raised them poorly. It’s the “Blame Your Parents for Your Screwed Up Life” syndrome we all experienced back in the 1980’s. When people were seeking counseling for their issues in life and their counselors were directing them to blame their parents. Absolving the person of all responsibility for their life pretty much.

Well, It’s a major part of this illness. It’s been polished up with some new tactics added and key phrases like estranged son, estranged daughter, estranged parent and toxic parenting to name a few.

Fortunately my generation, the X Gen, realized all this blaming our parents wasn’t getting US anywhere. If anything we were digressing in our everyday affairs and blaming our parents for it. A lot of us, if not most of us, kicked the counseling to the curb and took responsibility for our actions and our future. Without damaging our relationships with our parents, we took the reins of our life and moved forward.

With this enigma rearing its ugly head again in this epidemic, we are seeing the estranged adult damage their family unit like never before. The estranged adult child doesn’t appear to care to self reflect, or take responsibility for their lives, or what they say and do to their parent(s). They want to strip their parent(s) of any love or family contact. They’re teaching their parents a lesson that doesn’t end. What they are really doing is sewing seeds. Seeds of destruction and despair. Seeds of devastating hurt to come. Insidious, evil little seeds. And they are unwittingly planting them in their own children.

Beware of what thou sew, for thou shall reap the same!

These estranged adults show their children; We don’t call our family regularly. If our family calls we are to be rude, cold, irritated on the phone with them. Tell them we don’t want to talk to them anymore. Tell them they are toxic and hang up. Tell them don’t call anymore. Remind them that they’ll never see their grandchildren. And we have no explanation to give for treating our family like this, but that is how we treat family.

Day in and day out, these little children see the way their mother or father treats their parents. That’s all they know. It’s the only thing they learn about treating family members is what their parent does. These little children learn it, they learn it well.

When the estranged adult parent becomes older, and their child starts treating them, the way they were taught to treat family, it’s going to be a sad downward spiral. And just like their own parents did, they will beg for their child to stop, to listen, to just let them be a part of their lives. But they taught their children well, and their sweet little child that they never took to visit grandma, that they never spoke of grandma, or nicely about her, that sweet little child will turn his/her back, with the coldest of shoulder, and walk out, just like mommy (or daddy) did to their parents and they might say, “This is how you taught me to treat my family.”

What It Feels Like When Your Adult Child Estranges You.

What goes around . . . . will come around……you can mark my words.

Create a CSS Stylesheet in Notepad

We went over creating an HTML page with Notepad yesterday. Today we’ll create a CSS AKA: Cascading Style Sheet.

A CSS code is used to style an HTML document. When you create a website a browser reads the HTML file and any CSS code, javascript, etc., written within the HTML. It then displays it according to what those codes tell it to do.

Internal Style Sheet

Sometimes the CSS code is written directly into the HTML. This is called an internal style sheet. The code is written between the <head> and </head> tags using the <style> tag.

Inline Style Sheet

Other times the CSS code will affect only a specific phrase, word or paragraph. This is called an in line style sheet. It is written on the same line that it is to affect using the <style> tag and the attribute that is to be applied.

External Style Sheet

When the website has several pages in it an external CSS is used. This is the type of style sheet we will go over today. The external style sheet can be applied to several HTML documents. When the CSS code is altered it will affect all the pages. An entire website can be formatted from one style sheet. This saves a lot of time, otherwise you would have to modify every single page of a website.

By entering the <link> tag the browser reads the file you have entered a link to, and applies it across all the pages of the website.

The <link> tag is a pointer that is placed inside the <head> and </head> tags of the HTML document.

Any text editor can be used to write a CSS style sheet. We can use Notepad as we did with the HTML we wrote yesterday. We’ll have it affect the HTML we created yesterday as well.

Create Your CSS Code

Open a new Notepad document. Click Start ->All Programs -> Notepad. This is going to be the CSS file that we put a link to our HTML document.

Enter the code:

body
{background-color:yellow;}
h1
{color: white;text-align: center;}
p
{font-family:”Georgia”;font-size:30px;}

Click Save and name it something like “mystyle” (minus the quotes). Save it as a .css file type.

To save it as a .css file type: Click File, then Save. In the box at the bottom where it says name type mystyle.css. Below that box is another box. Click on the arrow at the side of it and select ALL FILES. Click Save.

Now we will add a link to the .css file you just created in the HTML document from yesterday. It will cause the HTML document to “look” for your style sheet, we just created, in the folder you direct it to look in, and then it will apply what you have written.


Open the HTML from yesterday. If you can’t find it make sure the ALL FILES is selected in the Open File window at the bottom of the box (see photo below).

Add the following <link> to the HTML after the <head> section. (Insert the name in which you saved your .css file if it is different than the suggested mystyle.css: <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”mystyle.css”> It should look like the photo below.

This tells the browser you’re using a style sheet and it is in the format of text/css and to retrieve it in “mystyle.css”

Now save the HTML document = File, Save.

Locate the HTML you just now saved. This time double click on it with your left clicker. Your document should open in your web browser like a web page with the edits you just did. It should look like the photo below:

That Was Too Easy! Congratulations!

You should practice changing the color, font and size. Just open your style sheet and change the words. For example: change yellow to blue, or light blue, or pink, whatever you like. If you know the number for a color you like you can enter that number instead of the color name. HTML understands literal color names and color code numbers. Then save the style sheet and open your HTML by double clicking on it and voila, your changes have taken place on the screen!

If an external link is placed after the internal style sheet in the HTML <head> section the external will take precedence over the internal style sheet.

Website Development Shortcut

As you have learned, writing HTML is meticulous. Every semicolon, every bracket, every closing / must be in place or the browser won’t display it correctly, or at all. This can be HIGHLY frustrating when your page won’t display, or displays wrong, and you have to go through line after line of your code looking for what you missed (Yes, what you missed. Browsers don’t read wrong.)

If you will be writing more than one page of HTML, or just don’t want to forget how to write it, you can simplify the process by saving a template, or commonly called a frame of the HTML that you know works. Then, when you need to write an HTML page all you need to do is open your frame and fill in the details!

It looks like an article explaining frames is called for next!