Time Sure Flies …

Time Sure Flies …

When I saw that my last posting was two years ago I was like — “Huh? Nah, it must be wrong!” but that’s where we are folks.  A lot has happened in that time including my mother’s final illness with cancer, her death, and all the changes that it encompasses.

But now, I’m back on track ready to share the insights I’ve gathered while working from home. Hopefully you will find my mistakes (and wise decisions) useful so that you can avoid the pitfalls that I’ve encountered. My #1 lesson is never ever neverdy ever sign up for an expensive monthly service in the hopes of attracting new clients. [Read more…]

MPS in Review—PayPal, Square and Google Wallet

MPS in Review—PayPal, Square and Google Wallet

Now that we have run through the components , considerations and hidden charges of having Merchant Payment Services (MPS), let’s end this wonderful journey by reviewing 3 different MPS to check which would suit your business needs:

Once again, I’ve asked my brother Beecher to help us with the reviews of Paypal, Square and Google Wallet:

  1. PayPal – Ease and convenience may very well be the reasons why PayPal is top in terms of online payments. You and your customers can even use your phones to send invoice and transfer money to and fro in a jiffy. And since it is a well-established company, customer support and troubleshooting are not a problem. You can reach them via email, phone and social media and throw away your questions in whatever language you know.

    Though this MPS does not require monthly fees, setup fees or termination fees, some would avoid using PayPal as they prefer the money to be transferred directly to their bank accounts than to their PayPal account. While transferring funds from one PayPal account to another takes less than a minute, the transfer to a bank would take two to three days for clearing.On another note, it charges you a fee from 1.9% to 2.9% plus 30¢ per transaction depending on your sales volume and accepts payments from Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.As a takeaway, Beecher said that PayPal is going into retails stores. “It’s cool because you don’t have to change terminals or anything. It’s based on a PIN number so when you go in to a store that takes PayPal and you put in your PIN into the terminal, it goes right in and accesses the funds the same way the online account works”.

[Read more…]

Considerations before Signing Up to a Merchant Payment Service

Considerations before Signing Up to a Merchant Payment Service

After reading my previous blog about why Merchant Payment Services (MPS) is good for your online business, you might have been wondering how to proceed. You may or may not have found countless results, not knowing what exactly to type in the search bar. Being a mompreneur like you, I want to exhaust all resources to find a comprehensive explanation to foreign things such as the Merchant Payment Services. (Being a Dora left me wanting to explore more!)

Good thing I don’t have to look far. I have my brother Beecher to help us out. He has a deeper understanding of how MPS works and is kind enough to share the Top 3 considerations before committing to a specific merchant payment service: [Read more…]

5 Hidden Charges in Merchant Payment Service that You Should Know

5 Hidden Charges in Merchant Payment Service that You Should Know

In my previous blog, my brother, Beecher, shared with us 3 important factors in deciding which Merchant Payment Service (MPS) to get for our online business. One of those was the notorious fees hidden in the very, very, very fine print called the terms and conditions.

Nobody wants to be ripped off. The experience, the trauma and the battle to get your money back are very draining that you want to avoid being duped in the first place.

[Read more…]

Components You Need to Know about Merchant Payment Service

Components You Need to Know about Merchant Payment Service

Now that you know about the cool reasons to have a Merchant Payment Service (MPS) to your online business, let’s take a short ride and discover the essential components of an MPS.

I feel like we are ready to explore the digital payment world! Okay, here we go.

Merchant Service Account

 This is your first entry to the world of MPS. This is like your Gmail, Facebook or LinkedIn account. Having no account means no real-time processing will take place. Your account provides access to a processor that is able to authorize, capture and settle credit card transactions from your customer’s to your bank account. [Read more…]

3 Reasons Why Merchant Payment Service is Important

3 Reasons Why Merchant Payment Service is Important

Part 1 Pic 3One thing I’m proud about being a mompreneur is that we have that oompf in dealing with clients and customers. Sure, we market our products like any businessman in his suit yet our mother instinct autopilots and propels us to do more than that. Just like when we are off to some nice place with our kids, we don’t let them scamper like headless chickens in search of something.

What we do is grab their hands and gently lead from the start of their search to filling their shopping carts all the way to the payment of the service or product. Doing less of that makes us jumpy, unaccomplished and incomplete, don’t you think so? I’m sure you would agree if I say that we share that extra tender loving care to our customers as if they are our kids! [Read more…]

Can I Monetize My Blogs?

Absolutely. Once you’ve got a good stream of traffic coming in, monetizing your blogs is a cinch. Today’s most popular method of monetizing blogs is allowing advertisements on it. And the company offering the world’s largest online contextual advertising program is Google. This program is known as Adsense.

By signing-up with Adsense, you are allowing Google to place targeted ads on your blog that are relevant to the theme of your blog. If a reader sees an ad and clicks on it out of interest, you earn yourself some money. The more readers that click on the ads, the more money you make. There are people making a full-time income doing nothing but creating sites for Adsense. This may not necessarily be the best way to monetize your blog, but it is one of the easiest.

There are many more types of advertising programs like CPC advertising, Impression-Based Ads, Text Ads, etc. Take some time to study which advertising model works best for your blog.

The other way of monetizing your blog is to place affiliate links throughout your content. Amazon.com is an example of a company that offers an affiliate program. Signing-up for it is free as with most companies offering such programs. CommissionJunction.com is another. If you find a product that appeals to both you and your audience, you can sign-up as an affiliate to sell it. Doing so involves either placing banners on your site, or text-links that you can weave into your content. When a reader clicks on that link or banner and buys the product, you earn a commission.

Here are some other ideas you could implement towards monetizing your blog:

• Seeking sponsorship

• Donations or tip jars

• Selling merchandise

• Selling blogs

• Selling content via a subscription-based model. Your subscribers pay to read your high-value posts. To make this work, you need to offer something very unique to your readers that they can’t get anywhere else.

• Get paid to write for a blog network. Sites like Squidoo.com and HubPages.com, provide a revenue share on advertising. Other sites may pay you per post.

• Turn your blog content into a book. You can self-publish a print book or sell it in ebook format.

• Selling original downloadable products like ebooks and information products.

Ultimately, the key to making your business blog an overwhelming success is to keep it real and have fun with it. Make it a point to interact with everyone of your subscribers. The truth about publishing a blog is that it does not belong to you. It belongs to the community. Use this to your advantage to tap into the minds of your readers. If you’re planning a new product, ask them for some of the features they would like to see in it. The blog makes it a perfect feedback mechanism to get the answers you need to make your business an ongoing success.

Ways to Promote Your Blog to Find Even More Readers

If you’ve read this far, you’re already armed with enough knowledge to publish well-optimized business blogs. But there can never be enough readers for your blog. This is where some promotional strategies can come into play. Let’s run through some of them:

• Guest Blog Posting: One of the most effective ways to increase your blog traffic is by posting original content for other blogs related to your niche topic. Look for popular blogs and check is they have guest posting guidelines and submit your content. Also, start building relationships with other bloggers in your niche, so they are more likely publish your content. When you guest post, you get to promote your website in a byline, so people who love your content will be interested in coming to your site for more.

• Use Trackbacks – We mentioned commenting on other blogs previously, but trackbacks is another useful feature found on most blog platforms. If you were writing about someone else’s blog, you should perform a trackback.

Trackbacks deposit your content onto that particular person’s blog you just wrote about. Sounds complicated but this is a great way of getting another person’s audience to pay attention to what you have to say. Not all blogs display trackbacks on their websites, but other blog owners will usually be notified when you do link to them, so they are more likely to be aware of your work and potentially share it with their readers.

• Post To Article Directories – You know about submitting your blogs to blog directories, but why not submit your content as articles to article directories? You will be reaching out to a significant amount of targeted readers this way. A website publisher could easily use your articles as content for his audience and that could mean lots more eyeballs for your blog. The most popular article directory is ezinearticles.com.

• Use Offline Promotional Methods – Get your blog’s URL printed on your business brochures, flyers, business cards, letter heads, envelopes, ads or anywhere else you advertise offline. This is a great potential stream of new targeted readers. You may consider advertising online too.

• Add Your Blog’s URL To Outgoing E-mail – An often overlooked strategy but very effective. You never know, your recipient might be a potential customer.

• Promote Using Web 2.0 Methods – Participate in social networking sites, online groups and forums to let them know about your business blog. Because they share the same interest, they are bound to pay your blog a visit.

Make use of social bookmarking services to spread the word about your blog. You can do this by placing icons offered by these bookmarking services on your blog. Anytime your readers find something worthy of being spread around, they would click this icon. It works like the “Tell-A-Friend” script used by many websites during the Paleolithic age (ok, about two years ago), but with these bookmarking services, the reach is far greater.

What’s The Deal With RSS?

Work on the above SEO tactics for your blog and you will be well on your way towards a healthy search engine ranking. Meaning, be prepared for traffic to your blog.

Another very important benefit to publishing a blog, is something called “Real Simple Syndication” or RSS for short. RSS is a content delivery channel, distributing your content to your audience wherever they may be. Blogs use RSS to automatically deliver your content to your readers without them having to visit your site everyday to check whether your blog had been updated recently.

To accomplish this, your audience needs to subscribe to your blog’s feed. Using an RSS Feed Reader, they can now read your latest posts from the reader itself. It works like a simple subscription form. You place your feed icons in a prominent place on your blog where your readers simply click on it and get subscribed. You must have seen these icons. They look something like this:

RSS Feed Readers are available as desktop downloads or as Web-based applications. Many are freely available like Feedly.com and Newsblur.com.

Using RSS is a much better way of syndicating your content than e-mail because RSS goes beyond just e-zines. And if you were wondering how managing your blog’s subscribers could be possible, there’s Feedburner.com to answer your question. Probably the best in the business, Feedburner.com provides the most detailed stats about your blog subscribers, giving you the edge to improve your blog’s performance as you see fit.

Splitting Your Blog’s Search Engine Optimization into Offsite and Onsite SEO

Offsite SEO can be summed up as just this – inbound links. This means blogs other than your own, are linking to your blog and a wide variety of your content. Inbound links are quite possibly the most important SEO tactic that could get your blogs highly ranked in the search engines.

So how do you get others to link to you? Here are some ways to get you started:

• Write Quality Content – Nothing gets you links faster than writing content that affects your readers. If a little bit of controversy helps, throw that in. As word gets around about your posts, bloggers will inevitably link to you.

• Post Comments On Blogs You Read – Don’t hesitate to post worthwhile comments on other blogs, be it your competitors or not, but realize blog comments themselves don’t have impact on your SEO results. You may get a follow-up with a link pointing to your blog. And if that happens to be from a competitor with a huge audience, you’ll be looking at some major traffic influx to your blog.

• Submit Your Blog To Directories – You can submit your blogs to blog directories to generate more inbound links. Apart from buying links, this is something many bloggers do to get more traffic. Technorati.com and DayPop.com are amongst two of the more popular blog directories right now, but you can perform a Web search to find more.

Onsite SEO requires customization within your blog itself. Here’s how to get started:

• Optimize Your Content With Targeted Keywords – This topic really requires intense study, as it is one of the more important subjects when discussing SEO. But in a nutshell, your blog posts should contain the keywords or keyword phrases that your potential customers or readers would most likely type into the search engines to find what they are looking for.

This requires advanced research of keywords on your part so that you can place these targeted keywords within your blog content. The result would be a highly optimized blog for the very information your potential customers are looking for.

Have each of your posts focused on one specific topic so that you can moderate the keywords going into your content. Over-stuffing keywords can make for terrible reading which defeats the purpose of finding and keeping your customers.

Make your posts as original as possible and update your blog frequently, at least three times a week.

• Place Your Keywords Here Too – Within the URL of the page, page and post titles, heading tags such as H1, image alt tags and meta tags. Bold your keywords where you can too.

• Create A Good Linking Structure Within Your Blog – Create links that link from a certain post in your blog to another relevant post which you had written previously. This interlinking makes it very easy for search engines to re-index your blog, allowing for more of your pages to be indexed. Categorize your information and place them on your blog’s sidebar. Create a sitemap once your blog starts growing larger in size.

But one thing to remember is not to over-optimize your blog. Write naturally and don’t overdo it with keywords. Use descriptive wording and use synonyms rather than repeating the same keyword phrases over and over.