While this isn't exactly what I do now it is the base for my everyday task list. I modified this below to add things like water intake but it is still 90% of what makes me productive. One of the biggest mistakes when starting this system was I put more than 10 things on my to-do list. Don't do that. You may think that doing 10 things in a day makes you productive but I would rather focus on 2-4 things and do them right.
It's been a while since I updated the blog. I can't let that happen anymore, now that I have a new system.
Over the last couple weeks I have been experiencing a change with the way I write. I started using a voice recorder, and Dragon dictate software to transcribe the text. The results are mixed, but they seem to get better with time and training.
I joined a couple Facebook groups where they talk about dictating with using Dragon and using voice recorders. Using the voice recorder with Dragon is a bit tricky especially if using the Mac version to transcribe your text.
The Mac version of Dragon Dictate isn't as good as the Windows version. Last time I drove across the country, I listened to a lot of podcasts. One was the Author Biz podcast that is hosted by Stephen Campbell and it had in-depth listen with Scott Baker.
Scott Baker has writing books down to a science using Dragon. It was a really eye-opening podcast for me, it made me realize that I can talk a lot faster than I can type. This has put my writing back on track. What used to be an afterthought, is now turning into a full-fledged book writing experience.
For years I wanted to write a book about all the people that I've met in the subway while I was working there. I met some pretty interesting characters as you can imagine. When I started back in 1988 I basically had the worst subway stations to work in since I was a junior guy and of course that led to the most craziest people you can ever imagine.
I'm writing a book right now which is going to be a series call “Six feet on the Brooklyn”. The book is probably going to be about 10 to 12 books long in a series from what I can see. The Beatles put out 12 albums, so I will put out 12 books. It should be a fun journey! Go like the Facebook page to keep updated.
Each book will be about 50,000 words and will probably be on a timeline from 1988 and on. I am about 15,000 words into the first book right now and the plan is that 1000-2000 words a day. So that means every six day weeks will be another book, because you have to leave time for editing. A few weeks ago I went into New York City and took some pictures of subway stations that will eventually be my book covers.
Finding the right book cover artist is hard but since I already have the pictures, and I know what I want it should be pretty easy.
It is also part of my plan for 2017 to get a little bit more diverse of when it comes to income. Writing books is just to be part of it going forward.
Another thing I've been expanding into his T-shirts using Amazon Merch. It's pretty cool to take a photo, and put it on a design and then be able to sell it on Amazon. The cool thing about this program as they do all the printing and the shipping all you have to do is make the design and make it once. I've been listening to a few podcasts, and joined a few Facebook groups on the subject.
I am also going to have a podcast in the near future. I've been putting it off too long. The problem I have is what the main focus of the podcast is going to be is going to be! Affiliate marketing, social media, writing books, Amazon merch, the list is endless. The other day I was interviewed on Shawn Collins This is affiliate marketing podcast and it really got my juices flowing and to start podcasting again.
I use Hootsuite a lot for scheduling my social media post. I have a few spreadsheets that I upload every month with 30-50 items in each and when the month changes to the next month I have to go into my Google Drive (Never use Excel with Hootsuite) and open the spreadsheet. One of the things you would think is that you can just do a simple search and replace and change the month. Normally you would think that would work but what ends up happening is the days of the week also get messed up.
Let's say I am going from July to August. I would open the spreadsheet and go EDIT > Search and Replace and change the date from 7/ to 8/. Well it works fine but it also changes the date on the 7th, 17th, and 27th of the month to the 8th, 18th, and 28th. Needless to say that if you don't fix this the spreadsheet will have errors in it when you upload it via the Hootsuite bulk upload tool because the post are not in order date anymore and the times will get messed up.
Hootsuite Bulk Uploader Solution
After months of struggling with this I finally figured out a solution. In the find and replace box add a caret (That funny thing above the 6 key on your keyboard) in the find section. Then scroll down and check off match case and search using regular expressions. You should then be able to look at your csv file and notice that the dates for the 7th, 17th, and 28th hasn't changed at all.
Save the file as a csv and you are good to go. Then make the same changes the next month. This will save you valuable time using the bulk upload tool.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of one of the worst business decisions in american business history. The changing of the original recipe for Coke and calling it “New Coke” is probably taught in business classes all over the world on what not to do. I forget how long it took someone to say hey this was a mistake and quickly go back to the old recipe. Probably as long as it took to sell off the old stock on new Coke would be my guess.
While that disaster is fresh in everyones mind today I want to talk about what Coca-cola is doing today with their content strategy plan because it is quite brilliant. We can all learn from them.
The other day I was browsing Twitter and saw one of my photographer mentors Scott Kelby tweet out a link to a post he did on the Coca-Cola blog. First thing I said to myself was Coca-Cola has a blog? What they heck do they blog about. They have had the same can forever and the same recipe, it must be a bitch to try to come up with content to talk about a brand of soda.
My new post for CocaCola just went live. Hope you can check it out. 🙂 https://t.co/Vv7xCLIWSf
— Scott Kelby (@ScottKelby) April 23, 2015
When I went and read Scotts post I was blown away. Not by the great pictures because I knew that would be a given but after I read the post I went back to the main section of the Coca Cola blog and discovered a million “List post” just like Scotts 7 great places to celebrate Earth day.
Their plan seems to be get influential people and let them write the post and help them spread it around. Scott has 256k followers on Twitter alone and I am sure he shared it with all his other social media accounts as well. It really is a brilliant way to get content that is on a topic people will be searching for “Earth Day” and have someone that has a lot of followers help spread it around.
My question is how hard is this to do? I bet you can find some people in your niche or a complimentary niche and do this until the cows come home. This brand has it really going on when it comes to content. Scott's post is already #9 in Google for “Celebrate Earth Day” and I am sure it will move up once all the photographers that follow Scott give the post some social media love and maybe some backlinks. Heck the post is so well done the media may pick up on it every year. I am sure Coca Cola will be using this post every Earth day forever.
After reading the headline you may have thought “Has Vinny finally lost his mind?” Let me explain a little bit how I use Evernote to keep Debbie happy.
A few months back I was at a store and I saw a red velvet cake and said to myself I should get that for Debbie so I did. I was proud of myself that I remembered this because she had ordered it a few weeks earlier when we went out to eat with her daughter Liz. I couldn't wait to get home with it. Well I was in for a shock when I arrived home.
I walked in the house and made Debbie come into the kitchen to show her what I brought her. I opened the bag and pulled out the red velvet cake and the look on her face said it all. Turns out Debbie hates red velvet cake. Vinny went from hero to doghouse in seconds.
For a few minutes I was wondering was it a former girlfriend that like red velvet cake? Turns out I had remembered it was Debbie's daughter Liz ordered the red velvet cake and loved it. She had ordered it a few weeks before at a restaurant we were at so that is why it was fresh in my head.
This is how I started what I call my “Debbie List” I made a list in Evernote that I put in that Deb hates red velvet cake. I asked Deb what type of cake I should get next time? Of course being in the doghouse I got a snarl but eventually she told me. I put the answer in the Debbie list. At first this was just a reminder system for me but I have turned it into my happy list.
Over the next month any time I was at a store or fast food restaurant I asked Deb what she wanted then made a detailed note in my Evernote. At first Deb had no idea but I soon realized that was kind of creepy plus she could add to my list voluntary.
In casual conversation I asked her what size clothes she wears, her favorite flower, etc
She loves it as much as me. She will often tell me to add this or that into Evernote.
I can go to McDonald's and just bring home her favorite without even telling her I was stopping. Can stop at Victora secrets and pick up something I like in her size, and bring her flowers also. All without her knowing what I am doing.
As I add more and more stuff life has gotten so much better. Start your list, get your spouse involved, have them make a list on your favorite things. You can make it into a fun game.
- Favorite flower
- Favorite wine
- Favorite color
- Clothes size – get specific shoes – shirts, etc
- Favorite food
- Go to Stabucks drink
Sometimes a reminder isn't good enough though. In the case of Deb's favorite wine I know she likes moscato by a certain brand. Even though I have it written down I also have a picture of the label saved in Evernote so I make sure I get the right one every time.
I also make notes when we go out to eat when a meal was really good or bad. A few weeks after the meal I can suggest we go to a place and remind her about the great meal and mention what it was. Makes date night so much better.
These are just some suggestions. Along with this list I also have a section on the bottom of my list things she hates. Just not bringing these things home has improved my out of the doghouse odds immensely.
Go pick up Evernote today and save yourself a headache and keep yourself out of the doghouse.
Affiliate Summit once again proved to be the best show when it comes to affiliate marketing. This year they had around 6000 attendees making deals and learning about whats new in the industry.
As usual for us we registered as soon as the show registration opened. This year it was a lot more crowded than previous years which is good because trying to get your pass the day of the show is crazy. It only took us 10 minutes.
High Roller Speaker Party
After registering we ran over to the newest attraction in Las Vegas the “High Roller” ferris wheel. Actually I am not sure you could call it a ferris wheel. Whatever it is it is big. We had a great time and the view is fabulous. Thanks to Missy and Shawn for inviting us.
Performance Horizon Affiliate Summit West Party
After a quick meal and getting changed we headed over to the Performance Horizon Party at the Hakkasan Nightclub at MGM. It was a great time. It was great to see some old friends and find out what is up at Performance Horizon.
After the party it was back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep and get ready for Affiliate Summit to actually begin. I have to admit I did take it easy since I had to speak the next day. More on that in the next post.
Every time you tweet out a link to your website or make a Facebook post that has your URL you are inviting people to hack into your website. On average I get 5 to 10 WordPress attacks on my sites when I tweet out a link. If you are using WordPress and you are not securing your website you will get hacked. This is the plugin that I use on all my sites WP All In One Security.
In this video I will explain step by step including installing the plugin. The plugin also makes automatic backups of your site with just a few clicks.
What Should I do If My Website Is Hacked
Like this article says the first thing is not to panic. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to get mad for 30 seconds and get over it. Being mad doesn't help with rational thinking. Take a look at How to clean a hacked wordpress website as it will give you some good ideas on how to approach it.
I often get asked about how I do my social media post scheduling. One of my worst kept secrets is I use the Hootsuite bulk uploader. I am a Hootsuite Ambassador and love talking about all the features they have. I will be talking about this more at my Affiliate Summit roundtable session if you will be in Las Vegas I encourage you to come hear the exact steps I use. I am a set up once and rinse a repeat type of guy and the Hootsuite bulk uploader lets me do this. In my case I use a monthly bulk upload plan.
Hootsuite has a video on this that you can see in the first post below. Odds are you saw this post because it was shared on social media. 🙂
Here's how to schedule tweets with Hootsuite's Twitter scheduler. Schedule Twitter messages easily today!
Of course having a plan and taking stock of what works and more important what doesn't work is important. I will take my most popular social media post and reschedule them and take the non performers out or add a hashtag to it to make the post better. Below is a few templates that you can use.
We all know that social media post get more traction when there is an image involved in the post. Below you will find some new tools to make your images stand out.
Are you wondering why your business has been flat or even worse been falling off lately? Maybe you need to go to a conference and make some new connections. We just got back from Shareasale's Think Tank and it was a great event. We met so many new bloggers I could fill my Rolodex twice. (Think I just dated myself) Below is a list of some conferences that can help your business.
I will be speaking again at Affiliate Summit. Talking about automation and social media tools. Probably one of my favorite subjects. Odds are you saw this post because it was automatically shared to social media. Click above to see the agenda.
If there’s one thing that every business owner craves and seeks, it’s more time. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to cross everything off your to-do list, strategize for
Mobile is here whether you like it or not. For years I had a site that was older guys that barely knew how to operate a computer and now even that site traffic has exploded with mobile. If your site isn't ready for it you are losing out.
Using a mix of its own data and third party data, mobile ad personalization platform AppLovin is predicting that nearly 30 percent of Cyber Monday transact
YouTube mobile traffic now accounts for 50% of the views on YouTube. The site is also seeing an increase in overall viewer watch time by 50% per year.
So Vinny set up his photography site and figured people would run over and click on the photos and buy prints. Sounds good in theory but it doesn't work that way. Sometimes you have to point the user and tell them what to do on your site. If you check your internal search stats and see people typing in the same thing over and over this would tell you that you have a problem.
A few months back I was noticing the same search term in my search box. It was “Where is Vinnys photo” or “where is Vinnys Sunset Photo”. Needless to say Vinny had a problem or I should say a broken sales funnel. I did not guide the visitor through the site as well as I could be. Then I listened to a Smart Passive Income podcast where Pat explained about having a “Start Here” button.
I placed the start here button on Camerawe.com and now the user gets directed to the most popular page on my site which also starts the sales funnel. As you can see that section of the site gets 60% of my visitors. No one at all clicks on the buy prints. They are not coming to the site to buy prints but to look at photos. If they see a photo that strikes them they will pull out their credit card and buy. The best place for that to happen is by using the start here link in the navigation.
Sales have increased as well as people are browsing through more pages on the site. Traffic is up probably because my bounce rate went down by a large margin. Even though bounce rate is no longer as useful as it once was the search engines see that my bounce rate went down and the organic traffic has gone up.
Just putting on the finishing touches to our presentation for Author Marketing Live. Debbie and I are doing a presentation called “Fast & Easy Ways To Find True Fans & Rabid Readers with Social Media” which I have to say I am quite proud of.
I have about 4 or 5 tips that will help authors save time when using social media while building a fan base that will want to read their books. While I can't say exactly what these tools are I can say that it will be a sold out audience and we are prepared to have authors sitting there with their eyes wide open and writing down the tips we are giving them.
It will be my first time in Cleveland unless you count the 2 minutes I spent there changing planes once. If you are going to be there I look forward to seeing you, please come up and say Hi!
If you waited to long and didn't get a ticket I suggest you follow the hashtag #AMLive14 as I will be tweeting from the stage. Well not really since I set up the tweets to go out last week.
I am always amazed at good photo's. I try to think about what people see and think when they look at them. I have to say that I see things a little different when it comes to photos. Look at these two photos below. You may think what beautiful balloons, or what beautiful mountains. The second picture you may be saying what beautiful clocks. The two pictures may be totally different but they are the same. Can you figure it out? Can you see what I see?
My answer is 50 people using smartphones. I bet that wasn't the answer you were thinking. My next thought is how can I get my website into their pockets. Think about it a second if you were an operator of a hot air balloon wouldn't you need a smartphone for weather updates, reservation changes etc.
The woman on the cliff is probably taking a picture with her smartphone. So are the people that are in the hot air balloons. There could be up to 75 people that have a smartphone in this picture.
The photo on the right is a city picture with people hustling around. They need smartphones to stay connected. You can even see the guy in the blue shirt on the right using his. Now my question is what are you doing to get your business into peoples pockets.
Is your address on your website for local searches? If you are a local store do you have Google Maps embedded on your site. Are you using Schema mark up on your pages? Do you know what Schema markup is?
This past Monday I had the honor of speaking at Affiliate Summit East. My Affiliate Summit roundtable session was well received and we even went into overtime. When I looked around our table still had about 7 people at it and the others were all finished.
We had a good crowd come and go from the table as well as 2 or 3 people that heard me explain my system for making blog posts a few times. It was a little challenging when it came to questions as they were on many topics all at once but a lot of the people had the same questions so it was good they were asked.
One thing I wasn't expecting was to have affiliates from all over the world. At one time I had someone from Portugal, India, and Germany all asking questions. Combine that with my Brooklyn accent and we had a lot of fun. Everyone walked away with either a game plan or a way of taking my notes and putting it into their existing business.
It is always hard to judge how a session went but later on that day and the next day I had numerous people come up to me and tell me they really enjoyed the session. With all the note taking I saw there is no doubt that in a few months there will be affiliates creating content using the methods I explained in my session.
One affiliate wanted me to build their system for them and go partners on it. He was not happy when I declined but I have enough projects of my own that my content system has not been applied to and I have no time to build websites for partners.
Now I have to plan something for Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas.
Before I get on with the post I want you to see where I am writing this post right now. I am on a NYC subway train traveling through Brooklyn. This weekend I had a roundtable at the Affiliate Summit conference and it was all about making blog post. The post below was typed on my phone and saved in Evernote. If you have an hour commute make the most of that time by writing a blog post or at least starting one. Now on to the post.
Affiliates normally work by themselves in their home office or whatever part of the world they call their writing home.
Even though it happens from time to time it is always kind of strange when you are at a conference and someone you don't know comes up to you like they know you because they read your blog.
Today that happened to me at Affiliate Summit. As I was browsing the show floor a nice guy looked at my badge and zoomed across the aisle and says my name and puts his hand out to shake mine. At first you think you know them and you try to place the face in your memory bank but you never do. The guy explains that he reads my site, is on my newsletter list and bought my book.
I stood there flattered and excited. I asked him what he liked about the site and what he wanted to see more of. We probably talked about a 1/2 hour. Then he told me what his biggest problem was and let's just say my solution made his trip to Affiliate Summit totally worth it.
I could see it in his eyes as he dropped his stuff on the floor as if he was in shock at how simple it was.
I told him if he had sent me an email with the problem I could of answered him years ago.
This past week I was honored to be a guest on James Martell's Affiliate Buzz Podcast. James and I have been friends for about 10 years now since we met at an affiliate event sponsored by Shareasale in Manhattan in 2004.
While we did have a plan on what we were going to talk about when James and I get going we covered a lot of topics. We mentioned taking photos and getting traffic back to your website.
Our ordeal with Hurricane Sandy was another topic we discussed. I had no idea James was watching my Klout score during the storm. I still find that funny.
Sit back and have a cup of coffee or two and listen to James and I discuss affiliate marketing.