How often have you gone to a website, or a blog because you were promised something for free? Such as a free book, a free article, a top ten listing, free training course materials, videos, mediations, … the list goes on. I don’t do that. I have never asked for an email address. I do give you the reader the option to stay updated.
When you give someone your email address you are giving them permission into your life anytime they feel like it. Your email probably goes to your smartphone, and you are attached to the internet and your computer or tablet almost non-stop. Chances are that person that asked for your email in return for something free secretly wants you to pay them even more money. Usually it is something like “Go to my weekend seminar” or “subscribe to my class”. Ultimately it is usually that they want to make money off of you. Now this is not always the case. However if you do your own research you will find the “experts” telling you to build an email list and that is the way to do it.
So onto the topic of today’s article. Infomercials. You either love them or you hate them. I sort of like watching the Shark vacuum on television. I don’t like reading an entire book to find out I wasted my time and money to learn I have to go buy the seminar. I won’t name any names, but I think we all know someone who has used this tactic before. It seems to work for them. Maybe some people are just so awesome and their fans love them so much, they would LOVE to be in that person’s energy/workshop.
Keep in mind that this usually only happens in the non-fiction market and typically in the self-help arena. Let me also say that many people use this book arena in lieu of a formal education. That is fine when the author is credible. Did you know that the majority of self-help authors use their own personal experience for their book, neglecting many other sources. Most colleges require a master’s degree in that subject field with thousands documented work experience hours to teach a student. There are no requirements to sit at a computer and start typing.
I earned my master’s degree in business administration in human resources. It took me several years to complete and gave me a very good foundation for business. I chose human resources as my emphasis as I already had experience in that arena. I also taught at Westwood College for 9 years. I left teaching formal education and focused working with CEO’s and small business owners.
Thousands of my followers/fans are former students who have reconnected with me. Although many don’t know me, many feel like they know me because they have spent hundreds of hours reading my blogs. It’s true. Many have spent time in my classroom, and all of them have had to interview with me before graduation. People tell me all the time how much they enjoy reading my writing. My personal blog, which you can access on the menu, is another fun reading afternoon adventure. It is much more of a motivational website. I like that one because it is easy on the eyes visually with all the graphics.
Another thing I am annoyed with by some websites is the constant overkill on advertising. Don’t you like how my website doesn’t do that? I actually have been contacted by advertisers who would LOVE to be using my blank, white space on the sides of my blogs. As you can see, I have declined to annoy my readers. Seriously, it’s annoying. How often do you REALLY click on the thing that is blinking or flashing at you on the side of the site? Like almost never. Trust me. I have designed hundreds of sites and banner/side advertising only is brand awareness. Your click-through rate is almost non-existent. Don’t do it on your website.
So if you don’t advertise, trick people for email addresses, or use pop up windows, how do you get people to buy your product? There are several ways. One, let them get to know you. Use your writing in your consistent writing schedule to share with your readers. Two, be likeable. Three, be trustworthy. While those things may sound simple, they are not simple. If if was so simple then everyone would do it.
Trust, for me, is something that is earned. It is a privilege, not a right. Your readers will learn to trust you when you give them reasons. If you are a fiction writer, did your book have a happy ending? Was it so satisfying someone would be willing to recommend it? If you are a non-fiction writer, did you teach someone something that would be of benefit or value? Was it something that they would not have learned searching the internet on their own? Do you bring something to the table that no one else has? Your personality, or unique perspective might be something you bring to the table. A well-known television personality is Ellen Degeneres. Sure she can act, but it is her dynamic fun personality that she is known for by most people.
Many times you can definitely get a “feel” for the author’s writing style. There are a lot of my fans who read my writing and tell me that it “sounds” like a friend that they know. Nope, the work is always original, it’s always mine. Sure the angels interject their two cents. Pennies from heaven? Did you know that angels usually are always working in pairs? If your writing style is conversational and your personality deems it, you can also throw in some humor into your writing style. This can sometimes be challenging if your personality is not well-known. Wanda Sykes making a statement may have a different meaning or tone coming from you. You may think you are being funny, but you may indirectly offend someone.
Writers rule the world. Every movie was once a book. Our laws were written by writers. Our favorite children’s story was written by one person, and read by millions. Writers. Give thanks if you are one of them.
Get Your Geek On
When I was growing up as a kid, being called a geek was not a term of endearment. In fact it sort of had a negative connotation to it. Today I think we agree that the term has taken on new meaning.
What does it mean to me?
Being a “geek” means you are a guru at that topic or subject. Or as closely as possible. No one knows everything, even about one subject. Most of us know a little about a little. Who knows, maybe people will like the term “Angel Geek”. I sort of do. I like people talking about angels. Truth be told, even though I wrote a book about angels, I don’t know that much about them. I don’t even know the divine hierarchy of domains. If I had to take a test, I would fail.
I truly believe that we are all spiritual magnets, either attracting or repelling those who enter into our awareness. So should I be surprised when other angel fanatics show up and love my book? Not really. I was actually wondering what took them so long to manifest into my reality. My new angel friends aren’t going to make me take a test. They just use their psychic powers on me.
So why the blog on angels today? You got me. I guess angels felt they needed some showcasing. I actually don’t write about angels that much, other than when they get in my face and tell me to do something. Seriously. I was telling a friend how I really wasn’t into angels before the book. I was into websites. Someone out there in my big domain of followers needed some sort of validation. Like “show up in my life angels” and they are doing it in the form of this blog. Lucky you. I don’t ask. I just do. You should too.
Your guardian angel has been with you since the day you were born. He or she was assigned to you. According to my book, that angel made an agreement to be your protector until the day you die, and at that point will relinquish you to your angel of death who will take you to your next destination. That guardian will also serve a minimum of 5 earth lives before moving onto a new assignment. Your guardian is with your for at least 5 lives on earth, so they know you better than you know yourself.
There is an entire collection of small stories about angels that will become one of the books in the series. I have been thinking about what could I write about for 20 more books? Unlike other people, I actually got answers. My advanced writing skills will really be put to the test as I will continue to dazzle readers with exciting adventurous escapes. Not all angels are good and you will get to see sides of the story from an angel point of view.
Some people have been fascinated with death and the afterlife, ghosts and demons. I get it. You are very naive if you do not believe in some of these things. There is evil in this world. Few can articulate it well. I plan on being one of those individuals. Stephanie Meyer had a great idea. Change the perspective of the main character. So, I write some pretty scary or horrific stories and show the reader what the angels are doing in the background.
One of the coolest things I did in the book was give you the angel perspective. What happens when millions are about to die, and they all stop and pray to God? Well normally, you sit back, hear nothing and hope you don’t die. In my book, you see the angels and God respond, with very imaginable results. I think it is just awesome. Yes, there is a God.
This weekend my book will be proudly for sale and on display at the psychic fair at the Denver Merchandise Mart. I have a feeling that my book will go over very well and it is just the momentum it needs. Angels tell me frequently “We got this.” If you happen to be in the Denver area, it goes Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My book will be there Saturday and Sunday. Hours are 10-7 Saturday, 10-6 on Sunday. Here is their website.
If you are reading this article chance are you are relatively computer literate. Heck, you might have a tablet, smartphone and a computer. I have a Kindle. I also have the app to use on my iPhone.
Seriously, what would it hurt to say you believe in your angels and you want their help? Ask. Believe. Receive.
Angels have a message for you. You will find it here.
Ready To Start Your Blog?
Did you know that there are actually lots of different choices and alternatives for blogging. Personally I think anyone who has a thought to share should have a blog. The world needs more writers.
I get a lot of questions from readers who want to start a blog or a website. These probably are not potential clients for me as I usually build websites for clients who have a steady stream of income. Most “blogs” are more informative and usually don’t sell a lot of products or services. I would say that blogs are a collection of ideas, and are composed as a “post”, whereas your website is made of “pages”. All WordPress blogs have to include 2 pages in order to make the site work. The first page is the home page and the second is the blog page. If you do not have these two pages configured correctly then your site will not appear correctly.
Now you don’t have to use WordPress, you can use something else. One of my prior blogs lived on Blogger.com. It is also a free blogging system, has lots of customization, and like WordPress.com, you can use your custom domain name, but you have to pay additional for it of course. If all you want to do is record your thoughts and ideas, then using a free blogging system will do the job.
Your website doesn’t need to be super fancy. Look at this one. It’s pretty plain and simple. It is the layout and the size of the font that makes it easy to read. It is the content that keeps readers coming back for more.
Blogger Advice – More Website Jewels
Hello my blogging friends! Chances are you like to read blogs and you might even fancy writing one or two yourself. Personally I have several blogs and all of them are for different reasons. One thing that I learned a long time ago, is most people can only focus on one concept at a time. Hence the reason large sites have categories. The layout of your website/blog can make or break your readers experience.
This blog’s specific purpose is to educate, inform, and even entertain the reader. Most of the readers of this blog have been following me for years or are fans from Facebook. Those 3 things, educate – inform – entertain, are the key building blocks in developing your own base of readers.
If you are just starting your blog or you are rebranding yourself, what do you want your blog to accomplish? When someone is done reading one of your clever, crafty articles, what experience or feeling are they left with at that moment? Was your blog too short? Blogs are never too long. Trust me on that one. Write with passion and write from your heart. Always read your own work and spell check.
I use WordPress 4.11 and you should too. I get a lot of people wanting to know what theme I use. The theme I use is not for the average user and most will find it very difficult and frustrating. I say this because my site needs CSS access to modify the code. I use a child theme, which probably means nothing to you. I use very little plugins and most of my site is static. If you want a wow me, dazzle super cool theme, then I will recommend you head over to ThemeForest.net, which has thousands of really cool themes. If you are a blogger, go for a magazine/writers theme. In addition to cool themes you can find any plugin you could possibly imagine.
If you were to use the same theme as me, it would not look anything like my site. Sorry, that’s why I like this theme. I can customize it for any company, person, purpose, event or product. AaronMstephens.com, Angel.Academy, SuzanneGrandchamp.com, and many, many more use the same theme. If you want to see a few sites that I have done with different themes, my personal blog, AaronsAfterthoughts.com uses a cool magazine type of theme. My business website, OpusDeorum.com also uses a complex theme. Many of my clients will buy a theme and try to configure it themselves, which is a very long process if you do not know what you are doing.
If you are a writer, and blogging is your thing, then you should configure your site a lot like a magazine or news site. Your blog, the writing part, may or may not be a driving force in your website. Your witty thoughts are being captured by Google, Bing and MSN, and answered in a Jeopardy like format. Reverse your answers to a possible question. If you are not a writer, you can hire writers. Although, most of your fans would rather hear your thoughts, ideas and imagination.
Being a good writer and being a great writer takes practice, repetition, and convey some sort of a message. If you are someone who just rambles and doesn’t have a lot to say, you won’t hold the attention of your readers. Most people don’t like to be overwhelmed with a lot of data. This is one of the reasons I have my blog display little bits of information at a time. I highly recommend that you read, re-read your work before you hit publish. Did you personally learn something from your own writing? If the answer is no, then maybe go back to the drawing board until the answer is yes.
Keep in mind that if you are using a free WordPress site you cannot use these themes, plugins or anything they sell as you do not have that functionality. You just cant have a cool site with these themes. Bummer.
Once you have your website or blog set up, all you really have to do is focus on your writing. I personally like this blog because it is easy to read, it has big black fonts and scrolls easily on my tablet or phone. It’s not busy at all, and in fact is very black and white.
Before you launch your site, play around with different themes after you have some content. You should always have your home page (landing), about, products/services, blog and contact methods. You may not want to give out your email or phone number. If it is a real lead, they will call you directly, so you may want to get a Google Voice number to list on your site. Create your pages, a few postings, your menu and configure your logo. Your branding should also include your professionally lit photograph suitable for 4 print color. Good luck with branding/creating your website!
Goodreads Part 2
It really is amazing how often the Aaron blogs are read. If you weren’t aware of it, this blog is getting tremendous traffic and depending on how many are on the site, it may be a little sluggish. My servers are located in eastern Europe so should not be affected by internet traffic. Sometimes it is at the local level. People send me messages asking if the site is slow, but it’s not. I check it and it is fine. Just a fyi for everyone.
I have received a lot of feedback on the Goodreads international contest that I ran awhile back and evidently people would like a little more details. For starters, the contest to run, as an author, was free. I just had to incur the cost of mailing a paper version of the book and pay for postage. The first contest I ran, was in the United States, Canada, and a couple of other countries. It was a total of 10 books that I autographed and mailed out. 7 books went in the US, 1 to Canada, 1 United Kingdom and 1 to Australia. The contest was advertised on Goodreads as well as my own platforms. Thousands of people entered and I felt it was highly successful for a marketing/advertising campaign. It was exposed to thousands upon thousands on Goodreads. With my own platform hundreds of thousands knew about the contest. In return, hundreds of Goodreads users put my book in their “to read” after they entered the contest. In addition to the contest I also started a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign that would run on the right hand side of the website targeted to people who had indicated a liking for certain authors. So for instance, Doreen Virtue writes a lot of angel books. My ad now shows on her page.
I have a huge following of fans & friends in southeast Asia, the middle east, Egypt, and lots of fans in Algeria. So for my friends in those countries who could not participate in the first contest I ran a second contest after the first one completed. Goodreads only allows you to do one at a time. I opened it to the rest of the world, and only picked one winner. It cost me more than the value of the book to mail it. Goodreads picked the winner for me and notified me of her mailing address. There was no promise that a review would come from the free book, but most of the people who entered had an understanding. I also put a note in the book asking for a review when I mailed it out with signed bookmark.
The winner came from Israel. It’s kind of a cool story of how I picked up that country for fans. I think it was through Twitter that one of my tweets about the book was retweeted to someone in Israel. That someone happened to be a journalist from the Huffington Post, who like a lot of reporters, checked out AaronMstephens.com, liked what he saw and came back for more.
Word of Mouth
I have talked about word of mouth marketing a little bit in my prior articles. We all know how important and valuable it is. If you didn’t know, a recommendation from a trusted source is extremely valuable in this day and age. You trust that whomever told you, is going to give you good information. Don’t waste your money on that movie, restaurant, book, or whatever. That is what the recommendation or “willing to recommend” is all about these days.
Fortunately for me, there are a lot of people who are willing to recommend (WTR) me. In fact, daily people are telling their friends and coworkers to come check out my blog. Keep in mind that I do have a pretty big following of fans due to my extensive, consistent writing routine. Why? Because I write often, a lot, and I don’t disappoint. Goodreads and Facebook both indirectly provide the WTR. By choosing to enter the contest (after you read the overview of the book) already demonstrates an interest. If you are interested, and your friends see you are interested, guess what … they are interested too. After people started reading the book, they gave it a four or five-star review or a thumbs up on Facebook. There are a lot of people who found out about me because Facebook said their friend liked me.
Facebook “Book” Page
Using the Facebook “book” page, dedicated just to the book, was extremely important in the marketing of the book. Initially I started with that page and later created another page. My new book, Platform MBA, actually goes over in great detail what I did, how I did it, what my strategy was, and still is, the budget, timing, audience, images and so much more.
Angel Academy received record likes. Faster than any other book in history. Trust me when I tell you this. As of today it has over 96 thousand likes and it was created in June. Do you know that some books and authors never get that many likes? I used to analyze Facebook business pages day and night, who had the most likes, how old was their page, what did they do to get likes. After I built that page I realized I needed a page just for me. I was getting too many messages daily on the Angel Academy page that I didn’t feel were relevant to the book or angels.
Shazam, AaronMstephens, author page was born a month or two later. What was most interesting is that page actually got likes faster than Angel Academy. Today that page has over 102 thousand likes. Both pages increase with likes daily. They are totally different audiences from different countries. I also have to confess that I lose followers also. It happens to everyone. After you get to a certain level you don’t take it so personally. When you first start out and have less than 100 likes, you certainly know when the number drops. Chin up. Pouting won’t change things. That is what my mom would tell me as a kid.
If you were go and look at the Angel page on Facebook from the very beginning, you will see I did a lot of very creative things to engage with my audience. When you first start getting followers it is natural to see who they are. So I would spend time looking at profiles, pictures, see what they posted and put on their wall. It was fun. I even would randomly pick a profile and highlight it and give a shout out. People really liked it and I learned a lot about my new friends. The book page was really important BEFORE the book launched. I don’t update that page as often as I do my public figure page. In the new book I will probably go into a lot of detail in my marketing executions.
I have had some people ask me what is the difference with being an author and a public figure. Good question. Think of your favorite author, that you have no idea what he/she looks like. Okay. Got it? Why don’t you know what they look like? Many authors, believe it or not, do not want to be in the public eye. In fact, there are thousands of authors who NEVER show their face. They are just a name. Some even go further and change their name, or just use initials. J.K. for example. Why? Well for some women, fear they will not sell books because they are a woman. It’s true.
For myself I am in the public eye. Writing is only one of the things that I do. I also perform. I’m a singer and a dancer. My website shows me smiling at you. Go to Facebook and I am branded with a big picture. Personally I felt if you want to be a celebrity, a well-known personality, then people need to see your smiling face and they need to see it on a regular basis. I actually do get people who recognize me in public every now and then. I share with my fans on Facebook when I am singing in the choir. For now I am using their platform, literally, so my fans can see me. I’m not a big YouTube kind of guy right now. I am starting to use SnapChat here and there.
Chances are you might have a book in you and need some help. If you want exposure and to be successful, having a book page to start as your platform is a good place. Don’t share it with anyone until you have 30 minutes of worthy reading content. You only get one chance to make a great first impression.
A Note on Comments
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More Blogs & Articles
Hello friends and welcome to another edition of Aaron’s highly informative and extremely entertaining blogs. One of the things I pride myself is the fact the no one writes like me. I’m not scheduled, repetitive, and certainly not boring. I am always looking for new blogs/writers and many times I find myself let down.
I am a member of a lot of different Facebook groups so I am exposed to a lot of authors. Naturally I am curious what other authors are doing and go check out their website(s), Facebook Business page, if they have one, and what they rank on Amazon for their book. Lately I have seen quite a few authors tooting their horn at what a great social media person they are, and you should register for their class/workshop, and of course, purchase their book. If you give them an email address they might give you something free. Personally I don’t ever feel that whatever they are giving is worth signing up for another mailing list.
Seriously, I get so much email another newsletter just is not going to do it for me. But wait! You are thinking, “Aaron, you have a newsletter sign up on your website.” Nope, I don’t. Have you ever gotten an email directly FROM me? Nope. Do I ever send out mass emails on my own? No. If you subscribe to my site, I don’t know it. WordPress automatically sends out a notification that a new blog was created. I never promised anyone anything, other than stealing you away from what you really should be doing … work. However, you may argue that reading this article IS work as it will help you in your own endeavors. How? I am getting there.
I honestly do not even know how many people are signed up for email notifications or RSS, but I do know it is in the thousands. So I never ask anyone to sign up or promise them anything. Chances are by the time you have lost a half an hour or so of time, you can make up you own mind if you want to read more. An RSS is really super simple to set up. What makes it cool is people will still be notified of your update/article without actually going to your site, opening up email, or getting a notification on your smartphone. It just silently scrolls along the bottom of your screen. Very sneaky marketing. If your blog is interesting, people will look forward to seeing updates. If you slam them with “Buy my product/services” they will quickly get rid of you. Sorry, but that is the way it is.
If you are visiting my site for the first time, you will find there is a lot to read. I like to write. If you are returning for a second or third time you will notice that I keep on writing, just like Dory from Finding Nemo. Just keep writing. Just keep writing. I tell that to writers all the time. Who cares if it isn’t good the first draft, just keep writing. We can fix those things later. The other day I wrote a really long blog. The longer the blog, the better the SEO. It got a lot of exposure and people really liked it. Sweet. I’m glad I can be so entertaining. Seriously, I personally get annoyed reading a blog that is like ten seconds long. Almost all of my writing is pretty lengthy. Since I “usually” write quite early in the morning, many people have already started making it a habit of sitting down with their morning coffee and reading my blog. I think I am a little more entertaining than the same old Facebook newsfeed. Well, that is what a reader told me this week.
One of the really cool things I like about having a large fan base, is the constant stream of comments, messages and tweets I receive. There aren’t a lot of writers you can contact and say “Hey will you write about _____ just for me?” I would like to write Stephen King and say, “Oooooo…write a Colorado marijuana horror story just for me! Even a short story, please????” Yeah, that certainly won’t happen anytime soon. I’m not writing short stories, but I am addressing a lot of topics that people find interesting. Some people are even using my articles in their research papers for school. Yes really. Because they tell me. Anytime I write about WordPress I get a lot of hits on the site. Why? Because millions of people are using it and millions of people don’t know how to use it. They fiddle their way through it and barely make use of it. It’s like cooking. Everyone can cook something. Not everyone is a chef.
So today I want to direct your attention to social media. Why? Because everyone loves talking and reading about it. Mostly people who don’t know what it is, or feel like they are lost in the crowd. Everyone has moved on but you. You are now figuring out how this how Facebook thing works and you hear that people are moving on to other things. Like what? Well, that is why you are here on this site. So I can share that with you. Social Media is this giant elephant in the room. Some people like to brand themselves as experts, write books and charge thousands of dollars just to talk. John Maxwell, Darren Hardy are two that quickly come to mind. The thing I find most interesting, is these “experts” are all old. Sorry, they are. They didn’t grow up with a smartphone, they grew up with something called a “rotary dial”. Older people also use Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. The younger generation, we use things like Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat and StumbleUpon.
I am not going to go into a lot of detail of how to use these outlets, someone has already written about them. For a lot of readers, they are thinking “Okay I know that one, … and that one, but what are those other ones?” I have several people in mind right now. You know who you are. I didn’t know about SnapChat until my friends from one of my Facebook groups told me to start using it with my fans. Of course I asked a dozen questions, but after seeing how it worked I could see a lot of value in it.
I have been struggling with how to reach MY younger reading audience. They aren’t on Facebook. Why? “My parents are on Facebook. They cyber-stalk me.” How freaking funny is that? Well, that is what the kids are saying. “My mom is a total ****** and reads all my text messages and makes me give her my lock code.” SnapChat is a 1-10 second video or message that deletes after viewed. So I signed up for a SnapChat account and then I put a picture of the logo on my Facebook page. I didn’t say what it was, and it did not take you off of Facebook’s site. This is important when you want to have larger exposure. Sure enough, my fans all around the world knew what that app logo was and thousands quickly added me to their friend list. Quite a few older “friends” asked me what it was. I didn’t want to let everyone in on the secret just yet, so I just said it was a way for me to connect with my fans.
As a writer it is critical to connect with your audience. Your audience could span across several demographics. For instance, I seriously doubt there are a lot of kids under the age of 12 that read my blog. Why? The information is not relevant or interesting to them. In the United States a lot of children found out about my book through their parents. Why? Because I wasn’t able to connect with kids. I have several audiences, and perhaps in another article I will go into greater depth. International kids are a different story. I don’t know why.
One way you can connect with your readers is by your writing style. For the most part, I write in a very casual conversational style, just as if I were talking with you. Many of my personal friends say they can actually hear my voice as they read my blogs. Some writers talk above their audience reading level (and lose them) and I just find that frustrating. You should always write at a sixth grade reading level. Why? Most average adults only read at a sixth grade reading level.
The key word I use is CONNECT. Once you have that connection with your readers they are more likely to share, and recommend you and your blog. The “willing to recommend” is very key in getting a viral marketing plan for your book/blog. When you write something, in the back of your mind you should be thinking “WHY would anyone want to read this article? Or tell someone else to go read it?”
So to answer my own question; “This blog introduced me to some new marketing data, social media insights and made me start thinking about whom might want to read my own writing.”
Psychic Circle of Friends
Today was very interesting as I met a new set of friends; they are all psychics. They are all very powerful psychics and it is by invite only. The really cool thing, is these new friends are all angel GEEKS! Oh. My. Angels. These peeps are the real thing, like helping police and FBI on missing people cases. Needless to say, they loved me and welcomed me to their secret club. I love talking about my book and angels and they do too.
Not only did we talk about angels, we did a meditation and channeled a few. It was very different from what I experience myself. It was awkward having an angel get in my face and ask me direct questions. I confessed that I feared book 2 would never live up to book 1. I was told to set that aside, and know that this book series will publish 21-22 books. My jaw was dropped and my eyes were as big as Asian eyes can get. Everything that I have been guided was validated. Naturally I inquired about my NYC endeavors and I was told that NYC is only one of many places that I need to be. I AM international and I should be prepared … to perform.
So needless to say, today was the best day of my life. It’s not every day you meet 6 new people who are going to champion your angelic cause. Just the other day I was thinking, “Where are MY earth angels? Shouldn’t they be surfacing by now?” Wish granted. The thing that is just so amazing, is I don’t know anything about angels. I still stand that I was channeled to write the book and I had no idea what I was writing. However, what I “did” write, magically falls in line with what the angel geeks believe.
I told my new friends my book originally was written for adults, but the when the message is too complicated, you dumb it down to a six grade reading level, which is what I did. Religion can be complicated, … when you are a human, simple when you are a new-born angel.
Lately I have been receiving a lot of comments regarding my website; this one that you are on right now. As many people know, there are a lot of ways that one can make/create a website. My first days of websites involved something called HTML coding. It is a very ugly, but logical, computer programming language that I taught myself. I actually wrote my own webpage on Geocities back in the 90’s. It took me 3 months to write ONE page of code. It was, and still is, very difficult and something like a slash / or > can totally mess up the entire page/site.
Later in life I moved onto other software. There was this really confusing program called Dreamweaver, and another even harder called Macromedia Flash. Just the thought of it gives me the shivers. So much work for so little reward. Not my favorite tools and at some point Microsoft got into the game and created FrontPage. It was somewhat user-friendly, and you could make basic sites without a lot of programming knowledge. FrontPage required the server to install “extensions” for it to be compatible. It also required extensive knowledge of cPanel, which is the server side interface that manages the domain, email accounts, redirects, subdomains, 404 pages, FTP access and a whole lot more. At some point Microsoft does what Microsoft does and they discontinued the product and released something called Microsoft Expressions. Again, not the most easiest product to use, but I managed to still create somewhat decent looking websites.
Flash forward and I discover this new platform that everyone is switching to called WordPress. There is nothing I love more than learning something entirely new. So I immersed myself in the WordPress Bible among dozens of other books that were not designed for a beginner like me. I knew code. Fortunately I am also a designer, and a wiz in Adobe Photoshop. You really can’t be a good web developer if you aren’t a web designer. WordPress took me about a year to master, and the things I was forced to learn included tweaking CSS code, using a true CMS system, databases, and of course, plugins. A plugin is another term for WordPress software. Some plugins are free, others cost money.
Probably the single most reason a person would NOT want to use a WordPress.com FREE account, is that you are unable to access the code to modify it, OR install any plugins. Sure you can upgrade through their site to get the functionality, but you end up pay WAY more than if you hosted it yourself, or had someone host it for you. When you decide on a server/host, it should be on a UNIX system (my preference, more stable), and if you can afford it, an SSL certificate so you can sell products. Unlimited everything is great, however realistically, your site will get less than 100 hits per day when you first launch. The standard WordPress installation is only 10 megs. Yes, you heard me correctly. With WordPress you can link all your pictures from somewhere else, such as DropBox.com, Pinterest, or wherever, so you never really need to host big graphics on your account. The same goes with video. You link your YouTube, don’t host it yourself.
Do anything you can to take the load off of your server for when you do have a lot of traffic. I also use a caching plugin on my site. It creates static files to serve to users when they return so it does not take as long to load the site. My site also does something called a “lazy load” where it loads each pages one at a time, from top to bottom. Why? Your reader can only read so fast, why load all pages equally (like old school) when you risk losing your reader. There is something that I call the 8 second rule. After analyzing countless website statistics reports I found that the average user only gives your website 8 seconds before they leave, shut it down, or just give up. Yes, we are impatient people. Using scrolling websites with good text, graphics and organization I am more likely to keep a user on my site than if I let them navigate through the menu alone.
I like to use analogies. People can relate. You can think of your website like a car. In this day and age, almost everyone has a car, just like everyone has a web presence. It may not be owned by yourself, such as your personal Facebook page, but most people have something. Is everyone’s car the same? No. Is everyone’s website the same? No. Could I build a car? Perhaps, with the right training, education, mentors, and on the job training, I am sure I could at some point. Can everyone build a website? Again, same answer.
I am not here to sell you building your own website. Chances are, you already have one and you find it confusing, overwhelming and “Googling” your question gives you a plethora of answers that don’t answer your question. You know I am right. How do I know? I’m psychic. Heh heh. Actually I had those same questions myself long, long ago and there was no one there to answer them for me. Sure there is a huge community, but it takes a lot of research to finally find what you need to know. Notice how I say need.
So what do you need to know? I will decide you are an aspiring author, as I was once upon a time. You need to brand yourself. I can help with that. What do you stand for? What does your book stand for? Who is your audience? How do you know? Prove it. Sorry, that’s how I am. Write it down. You need to pick a font that you like. You need a professional photo. All of those things will be used in your header on your website, the footer on your letterhead and the signature of your email. If you need an example take a look at mine. One thing you might notice is I don’t brand myself as an author immediately, with the major group. It is something that I do, not who I am. There are a lot of things that I am, just as there are a lot of things that you do. What do you want your readers/fans/audience to know you when they think of you?
I add an additional line of branding, using a red font, stating a worldwide best-selling author. I include “The next New York Times …” In this day and age most people don’t give too much attention to the wording and the eyes scan over the words, and brain puts the association where you want them. To think you actually ARE on the New York Times list, when you haven’t made it just yet. The day you have readers/fans from more than a few countries, then you too can call yourself a worldwide critically acclaimed international author. When you break some records, you can call yourself best-selling. I hit #3 on Amazon in my category, so I can call myself best-selling. Some people say top 100 of your category, some say top 50, and others say top 10. Whatever floats your halo works for me. The only person it should really matter is you anyway. You will have your competitive edge that gives readers a reason for liking you and your writing.
You need a biography. Who are you? What have you done? What would people find interesting? Go read other authors’ bios. The day I decided to create this site, I decided people wanted to know a lot about me. I was getting messages daily on Facebook and Twitter so I felt it was time to put something decent together. So my bio is lengthy, but as you know, all of my writing is lengthy. Let me remind you that it is YOUR bio and you can write anything you want. If you aren’t interesting, people will skim over it. I find that people like to “relate” to you. They want to connect and feel that there is something in common. There are thousands of alumni who went to the same University, as well as alumni from graduate school. Guess what? What people connect with you on some level, they are more likely to like you, and also trust you.
Your website should also list your writing. It should be your blogs, online articles, and of course any books you have currently for sale. If you are a debut author, meaning, unpublished, be sure you give your potential readers lots to read. Your blog is free. You can write as often as you like. You can write as much as you like. People like to read, and they like to read for free. There is nothing more satisfying than to have someone get lost in your work, thoughts, and ideas.
Your blog should be incorporated into your website. If it isn’t, you are just redirecting someone to a blog somewhere else, then you lose all your SEO marketability. Ultimately, your goal should be, your blog answers a question, that someone, at some point will type into their browser. When you DO … then Google, or whomever will send them to the site where the article lives. WordPress is not just a bunch of webpages, it is a database. A posting, which looks like a page, is not a page. It is filed and categorized differently. Your postings have categories, tags, and other things that help search engines index your site better. The longer the blogs, the better the SEO. Every time I write a new blog with valuable WordPress knowledge, a new sitemap is submitted to Google, Bing, and MSN.
So I’d just like to end this article, with “What would YOU want to read, that others also would want to read?” That is what you should write. Be original. Be creative. I had challenges, just like everyone else. It has taken me decades to have the design skill level and the technology know how. I have worked with hundreds of owners, C level executives and decision makers consulting, telling them the exact same information I just gave you. As an author/writer, readers expect you to write. What a concept. If you don’t do it on a regular basis you will lose your readers. You don’t want to be a one hit wonder. You want to be a wondrous hit.
Everyone is psychic. Just like everyone can sing. It is a skill not a talent. Some are talented and it comes easy to them, others have to focus and concentrate. Psychic means different things to different people.
Frequently with my friends “coincidence” things happen and rather than go into a long detailed explanation of who I am, I just tell people I am psychic. Since I believe I am a spiritual magnet it would be very unlikely that I would attract a non-psychic person in my energy.
One of my psychic powers is thought projection and mind reading. Thought projection? What is that? It basically is me sending thoughts anywhere in the Universe to whomever needs to hear it, and they do. I have often played this little parlor tricks at cocktail parties guessing what item in the room a person is thinking of. I call it my little “black magic” trick. The mind is easily fooled. I have used it for giving the hint of a place for dinner, a movie or event that I want to attend. My mother said I have the power of persuasion. Some people call it charisma. Mind reading is a little different. I have spoke with other psychics who are telepaths and others whom are empaths. Each “sees” or hears things a little differently. Myself I can sometimes hear things, I sometimes can see images, sometimes I sense things. Sort of like Spiderman. Spidersense tingles.
So today I decided to write a random “Oh that’s kind of interesting” kind of blog. I don’t make a living as a psychic, charging an hourly rate for whatever it is you would seem to need. I could, I just never have. I have done readings and many, many healings at no charge. Another one of my powers is the power to heal. Yes, it is true. I have healed people, animals, plants. I quit trying to prove it to people years ago. I knew what I knew and it really didn’t matter if they believed me or believed in me. That was okay. I wasn’t doing it for those reasons. My chakras burn and spin bright, always. Most people’s chakras do not. My energy somehow jump starts those people.
People tell me all the time that my hugs feel so good. It is because I give really good bear hugs, and a lot of chakras get energized in that short amount of time. Seriously, I’m not making it up. I told my mom, who introduced me to Reiki and she said it made a lot of sense. How do I know these things? I just do. Okay, how about in my deep meditations daily with spirit, angels fill my soul with energizing harmonic messages? You should make an effort to hug more people. Your chakras will thank you for it.