The eMoms at Home Blog

Monday Motivation :: GTD Today!


Monday MotivationI just spent 51 hours over the last three days as a trainer with an Anthony Robbins & Associates sales training. These seminars are actually quite magical - but I must admit - when Monday comes, it hits me like a ton of bricks. ;)

So I’m going to go easy on myself for today’s Monday Motivation. You are free to do the same or whip my unproductive butt today!

So how does Monday Motivation work? Simple.

  1. Tell us what you’re going to do.
  2. Tell us what will motivate you to get it done.
    (either your reward or your ‘leverage’).

For example, today I will:

  • Write two more blog posts
  • Clean out my inbox
  • Schedule a conference call
  • Write a marketing email for a client

If I don’t get this stuff done, I will give away my five favorite pairs of jeans away to my daughter (I only have 6-7 pairs!!) - never to be worn again! :(

Want to kick your own productive butt into gear today? Simply leave a comment with what you will be getting done today, or throw up your own post - then go get to work!


Get Ready for Blogging and Social Media Week!


eMoms Birthday Party ContestWell, I’m wrapping up Advertising and Affiliate Week, and it’s been a bit hectic - so I haven’t been able to put up as much material on these topics as I would have liked. Nonetheless, next week we’ll be talking about blogging and social media as we wrap up the eMoms Birthday Party Contest (and I’ll have plenty of time to write more and more about this stuff in the future!).

Monday we’ll be celebrating the Blog Birthday by giving out the following prizes:

  • A FREE copy of Uncommon AdSense - by Eric Giguere
  • 2 FREE years of GoStats analytics tracking from Richard Chmura
  • A FREE SEO site analysis and improvement plan from Viperchill
    (I know, I know, better late than never!)
  • FREE hosting for a year from Bill Hartzer
  • The book Meet and Grow Rich by Joe Vitale and Bill Hibbler
  • A $500 Coupon off of a ticket to Elite Retreat donated by the Elite Retreat founders themselves!

Then for Blogging and Social Media Week, look forward to some of the best giveaways of all:

  • A FREE Premium subscription EarnersForum donated by Lee Dodd
  • The book Meet and Grow Rich by Joe Vitale and Bill Hibbler
  • A $500 Coupon off of an Elite Retreat ticket (Orlando in June, anyone?)
  • The *Grand Prize* is a FREE phone consultation with Jeremy “ShoeMoney” Shoemaker and myself to talk specifically about how to grow your blog or business

What to do to win?

For the Grand Prize, you must subscribe to the eMoms at Home feed - there is a secret link in the feed that steers you to a page with simple instructions to enter the drawing to talk to ShoeMoney. For all other prizes, simply link to the blog and you are entered.
I really hope everyone has read this, because only 25% of the new subscribers to this blog have actually officially entered the contest. I want you to win!!!
**Important clarifying fine print: Any link to this blog in the month of April enters you into the contest automatically. You don’t need to link every week, and you can link to it however is appropriate for your site. You needn’t stay subscribed to the feed any longer than you want to, but you do need to be subscribed in order to win the prizes as stated (though I have my fingers crossed you’ll stick around!). Links from Splogs won’t count. You must have a way for me to contact you on your site so that I can deliver your prize if you win, too.

If you don’t own a blog, but do have a web site, you can still post a link to this site to enter. If your blog link hasn’t appeared in Technorati, then I don’t know you have linked to the site.


The Biggest Blog Post of My Life


Let me start at the beginning. Not at the beginning of this blog. Not even at the beginning of this decade. I’ll start at the beginning of my career. Why? Because this is a journey that has been tragic and difficult, exhilarating and amazing. I want to start at the beginning, because I want you to see yourself in this post. I want you to come with me, because I want you to write a post like this yourself someday, too. (Oh, God, I’m crying already.)

When I graduated from college, I was living out of my truck in Colorado. I had no home, no savings, and was making about $75 a week. I was desperately depressed, 50 pounds overweight, and had just broken up with my college sweetheart who I was deeply in love with at the time.

I knew I was going nowhere. Then my heart said, “Move back to Arizona, where your college community is.” I dismissed it. But my heart persisted. I kept telling myself, “No, wait until the end of the summer, when you can save up money and get a place to live”.

My heart persisted. I gave in July 10th. I had $80 to my name. It cost me $50 in gas to get there. My first morning in Arizona, I went to eat at the Salvation Army. I decided I would never do that again (yeah, the food was just as bad as the hit to my pride!!). I went to the State Unemployment Office. I figured they would think I was nuts - my only work experience was as a waitress and as a whitewater rafting guide. I thought I was nuts - what the hell was I doing here with $30 bucks in my pocket, with no place to go, and no job prospects?

But that morning, I experienced a miracle that forever changed life.

The woman at the desk was nice. In fact, she was downright genuinely caring. I told her my story, and she went to the other side of the office. She came back with a piece of paper.

Then she said to me, “The Girl Scouts of America just lost a counselor at their summer camp two days ago. They have an urgent job opening which will pay you a weekly stipend, and they will also provide you room and board. Pending an interview, you can start tomorrow.” I got the job - and the roof over my head.

That experience taught me the most important life lesson I have ever learned - to listen to my heart.

  • I listened to my heart when I started my first business as a single mom in my parents basement.
  • I listened to my heart when I almost divorced my alcoholic husband, which was the catalyst to his recovery.
  • And I listened to my heart when I quit my job last year to start this site, even though we would have to live off of our 401K to make ends meet until it started making money.

Today, I get to share my good news with you, which has been the culmination of this entire journey of listening to my heart into one of the biggest announcements of my career to date.

As of May 1, I will be launching a new blog called Inspired Business Growth with as part of their new site for Women Entrepreneurs. I will be writing alongside four eight other extremely accomplished women as we discuss business building, entrepreneurship, work life balance, side businesses, and business after the age of 55. I’ll post a link to the actual blog any day now (it’s still a little dusty from construction!).

At this point, I want to acknowledge and thank each and every one of you. A successful blog isn’t a successful person - it is a successful community of smart people who know how to add to the conversation with great insights, great questions, and great blogs in their own right. An extra special shout out goes to Darren Rowse and Liz Strauss, who not only have been my own inspiration and virtual mentors, but were also extremely helpful in helping me navigate through the process of bringing this project to fruition.

eMoms at Home wouldn’t be what it is without you, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to your success with both of these blogs as you have to mine! Thank you!


Orlando Elite Retreat Announced


The Elite Guys announced the details today on the next Elite Retreat coming up in Orlando, June 8-9th.

Now, this time around they are handing out a screaming deal - if you sign up for the event before April 30th, they will cover your hotel costs. Remember anyone who links to this blog in the month of April can email me for a coupon code for $500 off of the purchase price - but I don’t know if you can get both deals at once - you’ll have to ask them about that one. ;)

I know the ticket is a lot of money for some of you. Consider it an investment that will pay itself back very quickly. By April 6th of this month, I had already DOUBLED what I made in March, with a lot of that being directly tied to being at the March Elite Retreat in San Francisco. It’s TOTALLY worth it!!!


Help Wanted :: Work at Home Doing Blog Design


Friend and recent interviewee Sarah Lewis from Blogging Expertise seems to be riding the wave of success lately.  She got tons of inquiries from the ProBlogger post I wrote about her SEO coding skills, went on to get hit with a StumbleUpon surge for her follow up post, and soon she will be releasing her own set of WordPress themes (which look AMAZING, I might add!!).

Sarah has a problem we all love to have: she’s got too much work on her hands. :D

She’s seeking someone to work with some of her regular clients - here’s the scoop in her own words:

I’m in search of a person to do blog maintenance for my regular clients–I want to focus on other areas of my business, so I’d like to refer them to someone who can help with small blog tweaks, answering questions, that kind of thing.  I’m looking for someone who will work directly with the clients and bill them directly (I’ll be out of the picture entirely).

The ideal person would have a solid understanding of WordPress and TypePad from a user perspective (you don’t need to write plugins or anything like that).  Basic HTML and CSS skills are also needed, and if you can create simple graphics, that’s even better still.

Personality-wise, it’s important that you enjoy lots of small tasks and are patient with less tech-savvy folks.  Occasional phone calls are the norm and the clients expect quick responses to their emails.

It’s been really cool to watch Sarah take her business to the next level as I have gotten to know her since we met last summer. I know that I have quite a few readers who would be a great fit for this work (I won’t name names, but you know who you are!!). So I wanted to help spread the word and spread the work!

Learn Affiliate Marketing from Rosalind Gardner
She Raked in $436,797 Online in One Year!

Affiliate Marketing Lessons Learned from Merchant Mistakes


Right before I started this site, I was the Director of Business Development for , managing among other things their affiliate program. Socrates sells business forms - the most unsexy, boring and ho-hum products on the planet (ok, maybe not that bad, but bad nonetheless).

But this was my first introduction to affiliate marketing - and learning it from the merchant side of things was a rare and fantastic opportunity. I was able to analyze each affiliate site knowing which ones were doing well, and which ones weren’t selling a thing.

What was interesting to me was that high volumes of traffic was absolutely NOT an absolute indicator of success - in fact, some of our partners with an Alexa rank in the top 1000 sites didn’t do as well as some of our partners with an Alexa in the 40K - 60K range.

Even targeting the right niche audience wasn’t enough - affiliate success depended on the context:

  • Where the ad was placed on the site
  • What was on the rest of the page
  • What was on the rest of the site
  • Who was promoting our products
  • How the site was steering readers to the ad from the home page
  • How the site was building traffic
  • And most importantly, how the site was pre-selling our product to potential customers, which is really a combination of all of the above.

We had some great successes and some great flops. Here are the lessons we learned that will help you understand what contributes to success in affiliate marketing.

Pre-selling the Product

This isn’t just a testimonial or review. It comes down to why are your site visitors at your site in the first place. Socrates has an entire line of Do it Yourself Landlord products - and you might think that our ads on the Real Estate Investing section would do well. In fact, I think we sold ONE product over the course of several months.

Why? Because our ads were placed in areas of the site in which site visitors were expecting FREE advice and resources. It didn’t matter that the editor loved our stuff.

Lesson Learned: An affiliate marketer needs to present an offer to the right people, in the right place, at the right time. It is also up to the merchant to carefully screen where ads are placed and work with affiliates to ensure the right message is sent. A lead generation program would have been a better fit for, but our business at the time wasn’t set up to market that way.

Choosing the Right Affiliate Offers and Partners

We had another partner who had the right audience - real estate investors who were looking to pay for advice and resources. We invested thousands of dollars and hours into building out a microsite for this partner. Although this site sold thousands of dollars worth of products, we thought it would sell HUNDREDS of thousands. It didn’t.

Why? The site author made $3-$10 off of one of our products. Other offers made him $50-$150. Guess which products got the most attention? Not ours. He refused to integrate our products into the product navigation system, and simply threw up a couple of links to our microsite. It was a hard lesson for us to learn.

Lesson Learned: Carefully analyze what products you are promoting, and build a relationship with that merchant. Affiliate Marketing works best when both parties are invested in a successful campaign.

Steering a Site Visitor to an Offer

Our best affiliate partner was These people converted visitors to customers from DAY ONE. They had the right audience - people who were willing to pay. They were a great partner - we worked hand in hand cross promoting to each other’s customers, which were extremely complimentary. Our products added value to their site, and vice versa - it was a perfect offer.

We hand selected relevant products and put them on a page that was ONE CLICK away from the home page. The page was set up with Buy Now buttons that landed our products into a shopping cart within FOUR clicks.

Lesson Learned: This combination of being in front of people who needed our products, at a time when they needed them the most while making it easy for people to buy, created a hugely profitable partnership that is still generating revenue today with very little maintenance.


This all may seem a little daunting for the person just getting started with affiliate marketing. There is a lot of competition out there. But I reviewed thousands of sites seeking to promote our products through Commission Junction and here’s the good news: There are MOSTLY REALLY CRAPPY affiliate sites out there, which means that if you even do a halfway decent job of putting together an affiliate offer, you will be head and shoulders above most of your competition.

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Basic Blogging Questions You Might Have Been Afraid to Ask


Top Commentator and brave reader Lorna Doone asked me some questions recently about blogging. Although her questions cover the blogging basics, I must admit she asked me some really great questions. By no means is she computer illiterate (in fact, she’s quite tech savvy), but I realized that these questions she asked are things that I ASSumed you knew (my bad!!).

I was going to send her an email, then I realized that if she was asking, perhaps a few others might want in on the action as well. :) If you like this post, I might make a habit out of this!

What the heck are tags?

Tags are basically keywords, and Technorati is the only site that pays attention to the fact that you add them to your posts. When you search for a blog on Technorati, you can search by regular keywords AND by tags. When you put up a post, you add just a few tags (keywords) that you think are the most relevant and most common to the content in the article.

So if you did a keyword search on SEO, you will pull up EVERY post that mentions SEO. But if you did a tag search on SEO, you would only pull up the posts specifically ‘tagged’ “SEO”, which would narrow your search results to the posts that authors have written more specifically about “SEO” rather than mentioning it in passing (like I just did).

For the complete lowdown on tags - and it’s way more than I could ever *yawn* write on the subject, A Consuming Experience wrote an, um, “Consuming” post on everything you could ever want to know about Technorati Tags.

What’s the difference between Technorati and FeedBurner?

They are related, but do two totally different things. Your blog automatically produces a feed - which enables feed readers everywhere to pull, or “syndicate” your content to wherever it is that your blog readers want to read your posts. Different blogging platforms have different feed formats, which raises compatibility issues. Additionally, some blogs generate several different feeds just from one blog - I know, confusing.

All you need to know about this is that FeedBurner takes care of all of this, so you don’t have to. It is super-simple to set up. Then they will also provide statistics on the number of people who are subscribed to your feed, how many items are clicked, and several other things.

Technorati, on the other hand, is basically a blog search engine. Technorati pulls the feeds of millions of blogs into one place so that people can search them, organize them, read them, etc. They also track who links to who. Because they were the first to do this for blogs, they became the industry leader in knowing which blogs were the most popular based on who got the most links. This is where your Technorati rank comes in - the more links from the more blogs, the lower (and better) your rank. The way that they track all of this is with the feeds that FeedBurner (and a few others) provide.

Why would someone want to set up a web site vs. a blog?

Well, a blog is a web site - the difference being primarily that blogs display posts in reverse chronological order. Some blogs platforms ONLY show posts, whereas others (like WordPress), also have pages. You would want to set up pages for anything that you want people to access on a regular basis, such as an About or Contact page. I use pages frequently for things such as advertising info, email subscription confirmation pages, landing pages, and to highlight areas of the site that I want to drive traffic to, for example, this Top Articles page.

I originally set up this site as a site, with an added blog. Once I realized I could manage almost everything within WordPress, I pretty much gave up on the rest of the site. But there are a few times I want pages completely outside of the blog:

  • Ecommerce - you don’t want a sidebar stuffed with links and widgets distracting potential customers from buying a product. If you are selling products, you want the entire focus to be on that product, and you want to control that page much more closely than you would in a blog post that is intended to drive interactivity with the rest of the site.
  • Lead generation - same as above. If you are trying to build a mailing list, you want the ONLY option on that page to be one thing -> grab the email address. You want to control these pages even more than a product page. A product page might still have site navigation or product reviews.

Sites like aren’t blogs, but they are still run on what’s called a Content Management System (CMS). With THAT much content, they really need something more powerful than a blog, but they both work on the same premise - content is stored in a database and pulled up into pages by the CMS. Their site is kind of like a blog on steroids. :D

Um… what is PHP? Will I need a professional to set up a WordPress Blog, or will pure tenacity and strength of will get me there?

Lorna, I didn’t know PHP when I started and I STILL really don’t know it. Many hosting companies offer one-click installation of WordPress (and after much trial and error, Blue Host is my absolute favorite).

I will say that you do need to know (or learn) some html. The extent of my web development skills is putting a table together in DreamWeaver in WYSIWYG mode (and I can’t even get that right sometimes!!).

To customize your blog, yeah, you will want to dig around in that PHP code. But pure tenacity and strength totally can get you there - I basically just stared at that damn code for a long time until I understood the concept of it. PHP does use some natural language, and with what little I understood of HTML, I was able to change font colors, fonts, and manipulate at least a little bit of where things appeared on the page.


SEO Week Prize Giveaways - Get Your Google Juice!


Congrats to our SEO Week winners!!! :D

I’m off for the evening to celebrate my niece’s birthday party, so I’ll be in touch with all of you soon to grab your info to deliver your prizes - congrats again!

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Monday Motivation :: Get Things Done!


Monday MotivationI am SO lucky I didn’t throw down the gauntlet with cash last week - because I didn’t get my stuff done! So, true to my word, I washed and detailed my husband’s car yesterday. It wasn’t fun, especially because I didn’t remember until 6:00pm Sunday night, and the last thing I wanted to do at that time was get up and start a new cleaning project!

So, a little pie on the face is good for us, eh? :D

This week I’ll be a little more careful about what I commit to - and here’s how Monday Motivation works, so you can be motivated and productive today, too:

Tell us what you’re going to do. Tell us what will motivate you to get it done (either your reward or your ‘leverage’). I work better under pressure, so I put some leverage in place that I want to avoid like the plague. Throw up your own post, or leave a comment - whatever works for you!

Today I will:

  • Clean out my inbox :roll:
  • Answer Lornadoone’s questions
  • Add the new eMoms Feed2Podcast service link
    (Converts typed text to audio! Way Cool!!)

If I don’t get this stuff done by the time I go to bed tonight, I will spend two hours cleaning out our barn. Blegch.

So what are you going to do today?


Wrapping Up SEO Week with 7 SEO Optimized WP Themes


Sarah Lewis, the designer who coded the theme on this site, was my super-hero when she increased my search traffic so dramatically.

She’s dug up 5 more SEO friendly WordPress themes that are free, so you no longer have to stress about losing out if you can’t afford a custom redesign!!

Also, Chris Pearson’s Cutline Theme is, of course, one of the best out there.

Sandbox is good too, but it needs some serious tweaking to look pretty, imho. :D

Hope you don’t spend your entire weekend tweaking code - make sure you get out and enjoy the nice spring weather (well, just grin and bear it if you’re in the Midwest, like me).