5 Gift Ideas for the Bloggers and Vloggers in Your Life!

Hey listen – blogging is serious business! Like literally – it is! And if you friend, family member, loved one or spouse is a blogger (or vlogger/video blogger) than you know just how serious it is to them! I began blogging in the early part of 2000, while it was still in it’s infancy.

Back then, it was still taboo and most people kept their online hobby on the down-low. Now here we are, a decade later, social media has taken over the internet and blogging has become a way of life for many. As we approach the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions – you are probably asking yourself – “What special gift can I give to the blogger in my life?”. I’ve put together a list of the top gift ideas for the blog fanatics!

1. Services

There are a few essential items that a blogger will need when he or she decides to take their website to the next level. Many will begin on free platforms such as Blogger (formerly known as BlogSpot), WordPress.com or Typepad, however if they want to be taken seriously – moving to a dedicated host (i.e. an independent.com) is a must. Having your very own website is a relatively simple process – you just purchase your domain name from a provider like GoDaddy.com and register for hosting service, with a company like HostGator.com. You can purchase a domain for as low as $1.99 with coupon codes, and hosting packages for as low as $4.99 – $9.99. Give the gift of a full year of hosting service paid upfront. For less than $100 – your loved one will be on their way to super blogger status!

2. Website Templates and Design

After your blogging friend upgrades to a dedicated hosting service and their own.com, they will then need to decide on a blog platform and begin to build their website. WordPress.com is the most popular CMS (content management system) available. It’s a free software that’s available in a one-click install via the HostGator.com hosting service. It’s the most versatile platform on the web, however – the “out of the box” install comes with one standard template that is pretty boring and plain. What I personally love the most about using WordPress is the ease of building a great looking website. There are literally thousands of web templates available on the net, a great number of them are free. Now, I’m not one to turn my back on “free” – but when it comes to establishing yourself as a reputable blogger and building your brand – it’s best to go with one of the Premium WordPress themes. Premium themes can cost anywhere from $25 to $150 – but it’s money well spent in my opinion. You get a streamlined, modern looking web template that you can edit to your discretion – and most packages come with support for a limited (or unlimited) amount of time. My favourite WordPress premium template sites are WooThemes and StudioPress. These are hands down, the go-to sites for quality themes and support.

3. Services

As a blogger, I know there are a ton of tedious tasks that must be done on the back-end if you really want to be successful in your chosen blog niche. Some of these assignments include managing a Facebook Fan Page, building back links, banner or logo design and building your social network. As mundane as they are, they are crucial to the success of a website, I like to outsource many of this tasks – doing so frees up my time to do other things (such as the actual blogging!). My favorite outsourcing site is Odesk.com – I’ve been able to hire workers to do tasks for as little as $2 per hour (yes, it’s true!). If there’s something that needs to be done, and it’s able to be outsourced – Odesk.com is the best place to go to find quality pre-screened talent who are competitively priced and ready to work!

4. Organization

An organized workspace is essential for successful bloggers. Similar to your office workspace – a website owner needs a place to store important books, items, drives, and a quiet place to work. If you’re bedroom has turned into a blog headquarters – it is a good time to dedicate a portion of the house just for their online hobby. If you have an extra room – spring for a high quality desk and chair. The desk should have enough space for multiple computers and/or computer screens, as well as a printer, scanner and hard drives. If you’re pressed for space, opt for a mobile desk – like the FoldAndStow mobile desk from StacksAndStacks.com.

5. Gadgets

In taking a brief, informal survey – there was one item that every blogger selected for their holiday wish list, and that was a new laptop! We aren’t casual internet surfers, there are days when I can spend hours working on my laptop, researching, writing, editing photos or doing general maintenance on my websites. Because of this, the computer of a dedicated blogger goes through more wear and tear than average. We need computers with a ton of space, wireless capabilities, easy to tote, and multi-media friendly.

Of course you can always go for the top of the line, coveted Macbook Pro, just keep in mind that there tends to be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the Apple products. Macbook Pro will run between $1999 and $2500, but they are known for security, durability, and includes all the bells and whistles. Generally speaking, Macs last a long time, although you’ll pay more on the front end – you will save a ton over the years as well.

If a Mac is out of the question, you’ll want to look for a laptop that is portable – thin, light with a decent sized hard drive. Netbooks are affordable, sleek, effective, and strike a balance between mobility and performance. I also find the standard notebooks to be great alternatives to Macbooks. I’d recommend the Sony Vaio Laptop (notebook) above anything else.

How to Host a Successful Candle Party – Hosting a Successful Candle Party in 7 Easy Steps

Hosting a successful candle party is not rocket science. You have to prepare a lot of things before hosting a candle Party and believe me its a Hectic Task. But Don’t worry we at Liteblue are always here to help you in Every case So , Here are seven easy steps to getting a free candle shopping spree:

So just follow these steps and you are good to Go,

1. Select a date and time that works for you and your friends.

2. Make a list of at least 30 people to invite. Invite people from all aspects of your life: work, friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors and people you know through your children or spouse. Only about 30% of the people that you invite will make it to the party, so always over invite. Don’t assume that everyone you invite will come. A successful candle party has at least ten guests in attendance.

3. Provide your guest list with addresses to your candle consultant at least two weeks before your scheduled date. Your candle consultant will create and mail the invitations for you. Your candle consultant may also provide the ability to e-mail invitations.

4. Many people who cannot attend will still want to place an order. Use the catalogs that your candle consultant gave you to get those outside orders. Outside orders will boost your show sales and earn you more hostess credit. Also ask those that cannot attend if they would be interested in hosting a show of their own. There are always benefits for the original host at subsequent parties that are booked.

5. Call all of your invited guests two days before the date of the show to remind them of the date and time. People get busy and forget. They always appreciate a reminder.

6. Don’t stress over the food and drink for your party. A successful candle party needs lots of guests, not lots of food. Pick up a bag of chips, some dip, and maybe some cheese and crackers. Serve water, soda and, if you like, wine.

7. Shop, shop, shop! You earned your free hostess shopping spree, half-price items and special hostess offers, now enjoy them!

How To Make Your Product Better And Cheaper At The Same Time

If you are in the sales game, then you know you need a great product in order for your company to succeed. Without a solid product, it is impossible to build that sought after word of mouth that every business needs to survive. But businesses should also be striving to make their products better.

Consumers evolve, and so should products, but that can be difficult if you are not prepared to handle the added costs. But what if someone told you that it is possible to make your product better and cheaper at the same time? Would you believe them, or would you call them crazy. The good news is, you can.

You just have to follow these steps to ensuring that it happens:

1. Develop the best product you can at the time.

If you can develop a solid product starting out, then it’s easy to get the things that you need to go back to the laboratory and experiment on improvements: customer feedback. Your customers, once they actually use your product, will be able to tell you the things that work and the things that don’t. Every customer knows that companies and products are not perfect. It’s how a company responds to these imperfections that set them apart from the rest of the competition. Are you the type, who will listen to your customers, or will you continue to bang your head against the proverbial wall?

2. Incorporate customer suggestions.

You should evaluate the target market thoroughly before you ever begin selling to them. Once you know who they are, you also know that you can trust their opinions. While one person may have an unreasonable complaint that contradicts the purpose behind the product, if the same feedback starts to come back multiple times, you may want to start considering it in a second generation of the product. If customers know you listen to them, then they are more likely to try your next gen model, and to tell their friends about you.

3. Mass production.

With customer satisfaction comes bargaining power when it comes to mass production. The more of your product you can produce, the cheaper the costs will be. And if you’ve got a market that’s already willing to back you with their buys and testimonials, then it is easier to negotiate with manufacturers on the future production of your product.

Over To you on Product Marketing

With all these factors in place, it is possible not just to get a better price, but to create a better product. Don’t try to do everything at once. It won’t work. Instead, put out your best effort, listen to your customers, and then use their feedback to source the right manufacturing company for mass production.

10 Features of Shopify That Make It the Best CMS

In order to successfully establish a business presence online, one should take care to choose the best CMS for themselves. By selecting the right CMS fit for yourself, you will be maximizing your own potential and benefits while ensuring that you are able to produce the best quality website you can. This is even more crucial for users who plan on creating online stores.

If you are searching for a CMS to use, a good recommendation would be Shopify. Taking a closer look at the features they have made available to users can further solidify their presence as one of the best CMS solutions available:

1. SEO

Search engine optimization is an ideal requirement for all website owners. This essentially helps improve their search engine result ranking and visibility, thereby drawing more viewer traffic as well as customers. Shopify comes with SEO features, even in their basic packages, and several other integrated SEO tools. This essentially helps website owners appeal to search engines with ease while they spend time working on other features on their website.

2. Web Hosting

Website owners wouldn’t have to worry about web hosting either since web hosting is essentially taken care of. Shopify actually helps eliminate the hassle of having to maintain the software program, manage payment gateways, or even maintain site servers. You won’t have to pay for hosting either since all essential functions requiring technical expertise are handled. This saves up much of your resources and allows you to run your business with ease. For start-ups who are looking to get started, this is the best possible solution.

3. Security

Shopify is capable of handling security compliance, upgrades and hacker protection. This prevents data or hacking breaches, allowing you to focus on raising money and user registration instead. In addition, you will also be given the reassurance of being able to access dedicated support whenever there are problems. For startups who require solutions that do not require further expenses, the support team can provide valuable insight and assistance.

4. Marketing Tools

Shopify is a CMS that is technically built for marketing purposes. Designed to facilitate users with essential marketing tools, Shopify assists users in providing a whole range of services without needing to break out coding as a resort. Some examples of what users can achieve includes setting discount codes, using custom gift cards, integrating social media, setting up product costs, managing inventory and more!

5. Analytics

Business owners can also keep track of online store/website progress by relying on Shopify’s analytic tools. Through Shopify’s analytic features, business owners can actually keep track of how their customers located them online, and other essential information that can be used to enhance inbound marketing efforts. In addition, business owners can also rely on targeted email marketing and track affiliate sales through the help of add-ons from the Shopify app store.

6. Content Marketing

Content marketing is a big aspect in terms of ensuring that organic traffic and social shares are consistent. Shopify helps users continue to grow their brand by introducing a built-in blogging software interface. Including features to help with SEO-friendly content blogging, Shopify allows users to consistently produce material with relative ease.

7. Customisation

Business owners who own little to no IT knowledge can also easily use Shopify due to its easy customization features. It is extremely convenient and simple when it comes to setting up an online store with Shopify’s interface. Simple guides and instructions are also included to facilitate the whole design process.

8. Templates

When it comes to customisation, there is no need to worry either since Shopify facilitates users with a wide range of comprehensive and beautiful template designs. Some of these templates are free while the rest requires payment with no hidden fees. Users can pick according to their requirements and simply apply the changes they require and they would be able to use their online store!

9. Integration

For business owners who rely on other software tools for help with business processes, Shopify creates an added layer of convenience by allowing integrations with useful tools like WooCommerce and MailChimp, thereby streamlining entire processes and eliminating the trouble of having to individually access different programs.

10. Mobile

In order to help improve business progress, Shopify has also enabled mobile features with their app. Business owners can now rely on their app to accept payments, manage their online store while they are outdoors, streamline experiences and more!

How Affiliate Marketing Works – A Step By Step Guide For Beginners

Looking to make an income online? Got a computer/laptop and an Internet connection? Then Affiliate Marketing could be the simplest and quickest path to fulfilling your dream.

Here, you’ll discover the 6 simple steps that will take you from complete beginner to Affiliate Marketer in as little as 48 hours.

WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing system where a product vendor pays an “affiliate” a commission when someone buys their product. That “someone” having been referred to the vendor by the “affiliate.”

And it all happens online: You have a web presence, usually a website, that you attract like-minded visitors to, where you “warm them up” to the idea that the product you’re promoting (as an affiliate) is the perfect answer to their pressing problem or need.

That “product” could be physical (books, CDs, DVDs, clothing, jewelry, natural medicines, etc.) or digital (e-books, e-reports, software, online courses / trainings, etc.).

When your visitor clicks on your affiliate link (on your site) they are redirected to the vendor’s site, where the vendor will close the sale; a lot easier after you’ve warmed them up! When your site visitor buys the vendor’s product you get paid a commission.

For example, if the product costs $100 and you get, say, 50% commission, you’ll get paid $50! And all for, basically, introducing someone with a pressing problem or need to someone who can fix that problem.

Affiliate marketing is ideal for beginners starting out online as it has a very low barrier to entry: it’s a very simple process that doesn’t need any particular technical skills, you don’t have to have your own product, and it doesn’t cost the earth to get started. In fact, you can get going for less than $20!

And, you don’t have to do selling, or fulfillment, or keep stock, or deal with payment systems, and you don’t have to deal with customers; the vendor does that.

All YOU need is an Internet connection and a computer/ laptop and you’re good to go.

AFFILIATE NETWORKS

Because affiliate marketing is so profitable for both affiliate and vendor, over the years many “affiliate networks” have sprung up to help both affiliates and vendors manage their affairs much more efficiently and easily.

Vendors can attract affiliates by advertising their products on these networks and affiliates can easily find products to promote. Once an affiliate decides to promote a certain product the network assigns an affiliate link / ID so that sales of that product can be linked back to the affiliate.

The affiliate network also takes on responsibility for managing the flow of money between vendor and affiliate either by electronic transfer or check. It also charges a small fee to both vendor and affiliate for the service.

There are many affiliate networks to choose from, but a beginner to affiliate marketing can easily get started with “ClickBank” and / or “Amazon.”

GETTING STARTED WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING

1. Choose Your Niche and Product

The first step is to decide which niche you wish to operate in. A “niche” is a group of people with very similar interests, e.g. gout sufferers, broken relationships, looking for car insurance, how to make money online, etc. But, of course, it also has to have proven “buyers” in it in order to make money.

So how do you find a profitable niche with lots of profitable products you can promote?

A very quick way to do this is to search affiliate networks for niches that have several products that their stats tell you are selling well. If there are lots of products that are selling well, you now know that the niche is a profitable one, and, the buyers in that niche like those products.

In other words, there’s no second-guessing; you know for a fact that you can make money in that niche and you know for a fact which products are successful, unlike if you had to develop your own product!

Once you’re happy with a product, you sign-up as an affiliate for it and are given a unique link that you place on your website. When a visitor clicks on that link they go to the vendor’s sales page where, if they buy, you get paid the commission assigned to that product.

2. Get Your Domain Name

Before you setup your website you need to get a domain name based around your niche. For example, fastgoutcure.com, weightlossforseniors.com. Get the idea? This will become your website “address.”

Two of the most popular domain registrars are “GoDaddy” and “NameCheap.”

3. Get Hosting

Next, you need to get hosting for your website. This is where all your website files will be stored and secured. When someone enters your domain name in their browser they will be directed to your website.

There are very many web hosting companies out there, but you can’t go far wrong as a newbie by going with “HostGator.”

4. Set-Up Your Website

You then need to set-up your website. This needs to be highly relevant to, and laser-focused on, your chosen niche and product. For example, having a website about “arthritis” and trying to promote a product that cures “gout” will neither rank well in the search engines nor make sales.

Although gout and arthritis are linked medically, most people don’t know that, so they’ll be searching for “arthritis” solutions or “gout” solutions and Google will present webpages on their search results that reflect that. So always stay laser-focused!

You need a platform or specialist software to build your website. The most popular platform today by far is “WordPress” which is free. Most good hosting companies like HostGator allow you to select WordPress directly from within your hosting control panel in just a couple of clicks.

5. Add Great Content

There’s a saying in marketing that “content is king!” I like to say that “GREAT content is king!” So the content on your website has to be highly relevant to, and laser-focused on, your niche, such that your site visitors get great value (and know they great value) from it.

For example, if your site is about “gout” you write content about what causes it, its symptoms, how it’s diagnosed, how it’s treated, any natural remedies, any specific diets, lifestyle changes, and so on. Give top tips, some recipes, the latest studies, news, etc. That is, keep adding “value.”

6. Drive Traffic (Visitors)

Now, you can have the best website in the world, the best product(s) to promote that will definitely, absolutely, help your target audience; but, if nobody ever lands on your site, you might as well not have bothered!

So getting visitors (called “traffic” in Internet marketing) to your website is absolutely critical to your success and to helping all those people who are desperately searching for a solution to their problem.

There’s basically two ways to get traffic; “pay for it” or “get it free.”

Paid traffic is things like advertising on other niche websites, Google, Bing, Facebook, etc. You can also pay people who have large email lists in the same niche as you to send out a promotional email of yours to their list.

But paying for traffic may not be the best option when starting out because you really need to know what you are doing because it’s very easy to get “burnt” when you don’t.

Free traffic comes from things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is the art of getting your website on page 1 of Google, Bing, and other search engines.

You can also get tons of free traffic from posting great content (with links back to your site) on Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. When people click on your link they end up on your website.

You can produce simple, short, YouTube videos that can drive traffic to your site via your site link in the video description.

One very popular way to drive free traffic to your site is to post comments on blogs and forums in the same or similar niche to you.

Another very simple way to get free traffic is by publishing short articles in Article Directories such as EzineArticles. The article you’re reading right now is an example of this technique.

Over to You on Affiliate Marketing

This also has the added benefit that other website owners in your niche are allowed to copy and publish your article on their sites, but they must leave your website link intact so that you can get free traffic from THEIR site too!

So, here’s your affiliate marketing checklist:

1. Choose Your Niche and Product

2. Get Your Domain Name

3. Get Hosting

4. Set-Up Your Website

5. Add Great Content

6. Drive Traffic (Visitors)

If you’re a beginner to affiliate marketing don’t be overawed by all this; it really is very easy to get going. Anybody, and I mean anybody, who has an Internet connection and a computer or laptop can be up and running, ready to start taking commissions, in as little as 48 hours. And all without any previous experience.