Pinterest Tips for Business

Pinterest is reported to have over 70 million users and has surpassed email as one of the top sharing platforms online according to Share This.  It’s no wonder why so may businesses are riding the wave of Pinterest. With these stats, I became curious as to what made this channel so darn powerful. So, after getting past the learning curve, I went on a hunt to figure some things out. If you still don’t get what Pinterest is all about take a look at this cute and short video  (less than 2 minutes) to gain some understanding on how it works.

pinterestlistFor businesses, Pinterest is a great tool because you can share content by way of appealing images, graphics, pictures etc. that can ultimately increase your sales. Since many people absorb better through visuals, the growth of Pinterest is  expected to continue to stay on the rise.

So, in light of this predicted growth, I set out to research the most recent and popular articles online related to Pinterest in an effort to gain some understanding. Learning some Pinterest tips for business will improve my overall interaction level on this platform through the use of methods and tools in order to bring more visitors to my websites. Here’s what I found:

Copyblogger's Pinterest WorksDoes Pinterest convert? According to Copyblogger’s Pinterest Works article, heck yeah and they have proof to show it. Copyblogger is considered one of the pioneers of blogging so when they have something to say, I usually listen. I enjoyed this article because I was a skeptic myself on the power of Pinterest for business. Delineated in it is some social proof of how this amazing tool drives thousands of referral traffic to a couple of online publishers. It also offers a simple step-by-step process on how you can use Pinterest to drive more traffic to your website. Copplyblogger debunks the the Pinterest naysayers.

Smart Strategies for PinterestNeed more proof? Here it is. This blogger shrugged Pinterest off because she thought her “marketing” and “tech” themes weren’t visually enticing enough to use Pinterest. Therefore, she embarked on a research bend and now Pinterst is her second top referral source for social traffic. She offers 40+ strategies to drive more traffic.

Optimize your imagesHow do you optimize your images for more traffic? This is one of my favorites because Cynthia Sanchez offers a video on how to do this exactly through the use keyword rich descriptions to help your pins be found. She also offers a podcast that may be helpful.


Hashtags for PinterestHow are Hashtags used? Hashtags are profusely used in in many social marketing platforms. Hashtags use on Pinterest, as per this article, is used differently than on twitter. If you want to learn to use of Hashtags for Pinterest for better search results, this resource offers 7 tips.

Must follow Pinterest BoardsIf what you’ve heard is that Pinterst is mostly a social media platform for recipes, arts & crafts and shoes well, here is a list of 15 bloggers using Pinterest for their blogging efforts. From SEO to Internet Marketing and social media pinboards, take a look at how these bloggers use Pinterest. It will give you a some ideas on how to combine blogging and Pinterest in creative ways.

Tools for PinterestWant to know what the best tools are to heighten the efficiency of Pinterest for your business? Here are 9 tools shared in this article by Business 2 Community that can help you make the best of your Pinterest pinboards. From Pinterest analytics to creating an online store on Pinterest you’ll be able to find at least one item on the list that you’ll be able to put to use right away.
Tricks for Pinterest

Besides tools, learn some Pinterest tricks that all bloggers should consider – 7 to be exact. In this article, Hello Society dishes out some cool tricks that can catapult your blogging and put you on the  Pinterest map. Up until know, I have just been posting my social friendly images attached to my blog content all over social media but with this article, I learned to not only have an exclusive blogging content pinboard but also exclusive images for Pinterst. This entices people to keep coming back for more so you can continue to optimize this avenue further in your marketing. There are also examples of blog content boards that just got my creative juices flowing all over the place.

Pinterest PlacesIn November of 2013, Pinterest introduced Place Pins which as per Pinterest, combines the imgery of a travel magazine with an online map. Social Media Examiner shows you 6 ways in which you can promote your business with this new feature. It also has a tutorial on how to create a Place Board.


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The Truth About Your Blog Stats

If you’re new to Google Analytics or confused about how to use it effectively to help grow your business then chances are know your blog statsyou (and your pocket perhaps) may benefit greatly from understanding fully what the numbers really mean and how to use the tools to help you gather intelligent info about what is making or breaking your website.

When I first took a look at my numbers utilizing the Google Analytics tool, I was completely perplexed.  Yet, the information offered some mystery that I knew I had to further evaluate.


I don’t know how but by some miraculous reason I managed to ace my Statistics 101 class in college.  However, the numbers I was looking at behind my website just seemed like a whole different animal. And if you are anything like me, I couldn’t scream help fast enough before my eyes started rolling back into my head and I was overwhelmed with trying to make sense of the seemingly important data that was flashing right before my eyes.

Thankfully, I have a great mentor who not only offered some guidance but also has a Blog Statistics Workshop replay that helps break down the numbers into edible pieces. This allowed me to understand what it all meant in order to work efficiently on getting more traffic.

It is true for many of us who run businesses online that our Google Analytics tool is the go to place for reference in order to see what our website traffic looks like.

But when you get there, wouldn’t you want to know what the numbers really mean? Why they’re so important? And what that information tells you about the health of your site?

In Know Your Blog Stats,  Kelly discusses the significance of  this information and what it tells you about your readers.  If you think you already have what you need, take a look at this article I read in Inc magazine where it describes how you may actually know less than they think about your website’s analytics.  

Billions Are Connected

There are billions of Internet users across all continents around the world. I think it comes to no surprise that the number keeps growing by the day. This means that as time goes on, there will be more businesses competing with each other online and more people available who can potentially be your customers.

Many people have come to rely on the Internet as a referential point in making a decision about something.

Think about it. How many times a day do you “Google” something, look something up for a review or attempt to make a decision about a fancy restaurant you’ve never been to without first searching for it online?

Because of the prospective of reaching an extraordinary amount of people online, businesses have vested interest in developing solid marketing strategies that are competitive in nature and produce the desired results

How do businesses produce results?

By learning about what is working in their business and doing more of it while identifying what is not working in order to trash it or tweak it as deemed necessary.

What can you do to figure out if your blogging is working? [Read more…]

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Being Bold in Business for Bigger Wins

Welcome to Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their business from home.

Today’s Q is: 

As you look back on your business to date, where do you wish you’d been bolder and trusted yourself enough to take a risk?

Jessica Lee from Psychic Readings Guide says: 

jessica-lee, being bold in businessTo tell you the truth, I wish I had been bolder and trusted myself more overall.  I’m now about 15 months into my business and the one thing I kick myself for is over analyzing every decision I made last year.  I second-guessed, analyzed, and researched every decision so much that it became really stressful.  For example, sometimes I would spend days trying to decide on a title for an article.

Over thinking slowed me down tremendously and kept me from being as productive as I wanted to be.  It’s only in the last few months that I’ve been much bolder about this.  I’m learning that I don’t have to marry each decision I make.  It’s OK if I make a mistake – things can always be changed down the road.

Stephanie L. Watson from Barry Publishing says

Stephanie, L. Watson, being bold in businessThis is a really loaded question for me. There are too many times since the mid 1990’s when I entered the online marketing and business arena where I did not trust myself, or take a risk when my gut told me to. Email lists, using & learning WordPress, Self-Promotion are all areas in which I failed.

I’ve developed a system that works for me now, and I am working on every one of those things and then some, today. But it took me going through both undergraduate school and graduate school before I got it. Not everyone has to do that to finally realize the opportunities that are available to them, but I needed all that to gain confidence in my abilities and trust in my ideas.

Back in 1998 or 99, I was invited to a conference for an online magazine based on my association with a particular community website — I felt so out of place. I had no idea what anyone was talking about. In my mind I was just a mother earning pocket money so she didn’t have to get a job. It didn’t matter that I had a great mentor who was trying to help me. I didn’t trust myself to move forward — and frankly, I was very intimidated. That’s when I decided to get a degree in Business.

I earned enough money to put myself through college helping local businesses build simple HTML based websites. I also performed administrative tasks, like creating snail mail invitations, basically working as a Virtual Assistant before we knew that term. This was before the advent of inexpensive email. I still remember when it cost 25 cents to send an email and being online was very expensive. My business slowly moved forward to being 99 percent online with the advent of AdSense and niche mini websites.

But, I still just saw it all as a hobby. When I finished school, I’d get a real job. My hobby put me through grad school. I graduated in 2011.  My children left the nest. Only then did I finally see that what I have is a real business. When I went to job interviews and realized what they were offering was far less than I was already making on an hourly basis, and that my freedom would be taken from me, I finally gave into the idea that I’m an online business owner and I need to trust myself.

So, if I could have just trusted myself more, that would be nice. However, I am where I am, and due to these experiences I can help other women who want to start online businesses realize, sooner than I did, that this is a real life business, not a hobby, that can produce real life changing income. If only you believe in it and do the work.

Courtney Chowning from says:

Courtney Chowning, being bold in businessWhen I first started online back in 2006 social media wasn’t what it is today.  In a way, running a online business was so much easier for me then.  I only had to worry about SEO and ranking in search results.  When social media started to get really popular I didn’t jump on board.  In fact, I still struggle with social media today.  I wish I would have been bolder in social media and putting myself out there to make connections.  I feel like I am late to the party and playing catch up.  But late is better than never and I’m making social media a priority this year.

Reba Collins from PLR One Stop says:

Reba Collins, being bold in businessThere’s no doubt there are a lot of areas where I could be bolder but I’m learning how to ‘feel the fear and then do it anyway’. I’ve been telling my kids that since they were tiny but so often I don’t listen to my own advice. Knowing that, I decided to make my word for the year – GUTS! I’ve got to have the guts to do the stuff that will make my website a success, there’s no way around it.

With PLR One Stop being so new, I haven’t yet run across much I wouldn’t do to make it grow. But that being said, I know I’m avoiding video and webinars. I will need to ‘feel the fear and then do it anyway’, and I will, I just need feel the fear a little bit longer :-) [Read more…]

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How Do You Promote Your Home-based Business?

Introducing Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their business from home.

Today’s Q is:Depositphotos_22521519_xs

 “At this stage in your home-based business, what is working for you in terms of promotion and getting more exposure for your business?”

Stephanie L. Watson from Barry Publishing says:

1) Promote to My Current Clients
The clients I already have want to be included in sales, or specials. It’s hard to be a current client and then see a better deal come along that you can’t take part in. I have an ongoing special this entire year that only current clients get. They are able to double their contracted current orders any time they want to, and they get 10 percent off. They really love this and over half of my clients take advantage of this every single month.

2) Blog Often
I still fail at this sometimes due to all the writing I do for everyone else. But, when I do it consistently, and by that I mean at least 20 blog posts a month, I always attract new clients. Always. I tell people they should be their own best client. When I take my own advice, it works.

3) Get Out of My Own Way
I tend to make excuses for myself. I’m “scared” of interviews online. I’m “scared” to see my own name in print on my own articles. I’m “scared” of being criticized. But, you know what, you have to get out of your own way if you really want to succeed  — and this is the year that I will really accomplish that.

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

At this point, I’ve gotten my “biggest bang” from public speaking. Even smaller networking groups have given me a lot of credibility. There is something magical about being in front of a group teaching them something. You are automatically the expert and everyone wants to work with you. It was much easier to get in as a speaker once they knew about the book I’d written.

Jessica Lee from Psychic Readings Guide says: 

I’ve really been focusing on building a solid foundation.  So for me, driving traffic to my website and interacting on my Facebook page have been key.  I find that the more people get a chance to connect with me, the more they get a sense of who I am. This gives them the trust they need to take that next step and reach out to me. This year, I also plan to reach out and try some guest blogging.

Courtney Chowning from says:

What works best for me is to consistently email my list!  I have a pretty responsive list and with almost every email send I get a great click through rate and personal response.  I do some social media promotions as well but they don’t come close to what I get by sending out an email once a week.

Tracy Roberts from Moms In A Blog says: 

Guest posting & cross promotion has been working well for me and my clients. I’ve been reaching out to other bloggers and community leaders with creative ideas for cross promotions.

For example, we’ve started sharing “Sites of Note” where we curate a post or two from a site we admire and then feature them in our weekly newsletter.  We promote it to our lists and on social media and the Sites of Note share us with their audiences too.  We get fresh content and new connections.  Our Sites of Note gets exposure and the followers of both sites get to learn about new people, places and things. Win/Win/Win.

Karin Magar, an Independent Presenter from Younique Products says:

In relation to direct sales, I would say that Facebook is playing a huge role in getting more exposure for my business.  I am utilizing Facebook’s “group” settings to create online virtual parties for my direct sales business.  By having a Facebook friend as a hostess for the virtual party, they can invite their “friends” to the party, which creates a much broader reach for new customers in my target market.  I do have to post frequently to keep the party going.  But, posting on Facebook has never been more fun!

Reba Collins from PLR One Stop says:

My business is brand new and really just opened its virtual doors on January 1st. So far the thing that has brought the most exposure to PLR One Stop is forum posting. And that’s not so much having my web address in my signature; it was more the announcement about what I’m doing and what I’m about.

Second place would be Facebook ads, however, this month I have two interviews scheduled and I think that will be the biggest draw yet. Next on my list is guest blogging but since I’m also holding down a demanding full time job, having the time to get everything done is hard. So I’m just doing the most I can with the time I have.

Joyce Reid from Gift Retailers Connection says:

I operate several businesses so answers would be different for each one.  For my ecommerce gift site, I only use organic SEO and a niche specific directory that sends people looking for gifts to local businesses.  It’s old enough and ranked well enough that that approach is effective.  But for my site for gift and gift basket business owners, I rely more on email.  I send out a once-a-month newsletter as well as weekly updates to remind people to visit the free forum.  The forum itself was established to promote the digital magazine, which is available, only by a paid subscription.

Samantha Angel from Advancing Steps says: 

The thing that works best for me is building relationships with other people in home based businesses. Over the course of building these relationships I have been provided with a lot of word of mouth referrals, which to me is the highest compliment. [Read more…]

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Interview with Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips

This is an email interview that former Sparkplugging Intern Cindy Bidar conducted with Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips during her internship. Thanks to Daniel for taking the time to answer her insightful questions!

How has blogging changed in the years since you started?

I believe that around four years ago blogging had more close relationships. That is, you would create a blog on a certain niche, and within weeks you would already know everyone inside that niche. They would come to comment on your posts, you would comment on theirs and so on. Obviously this was only possible because you didn’t have thousands of blogs on every niche.

As the blogging phenomenon grew we lost some of that closeness.

I don’t think that this is necessarily bad though. It is just how things evolve.

What traffic building strategies would you suggest for a new blogger?

Focus on writing posts that are insanely useful. I call those “killer posts.”

There are thousands of blogs and websites on every single niche these days, so if you want to stand out from the crowd and attract readers you need to make your content top notch.

Once you have that, work on the promotion, as a killer post is only good if people are actually reading and sharing it.

Who’s blog is on your must read list?

There are many. Here are some that I read daily:

What are some mistakes you see newbie bloggers making?

There are a couple that people make over and over again. The first one is to choose a niche just because you see someone else making good money inside it. Instead you should choose a niche where you believe you will be able to create value.

The second one is trying to make money too early in the game. Some bloggers pack their blogs with ads even before they reach a significant audience. As a consequence, new visitors will go away as fast as they came, and the blog will never grow enough to become an authority.

Do you have any tips for coming up with fresh ideas all the time?

I can share what works for me.

First of all you need to have a system to store all your ideas. Some people will use a voice recorder, others a notebook, others yet will just save drafts on their blogging software. It does not matter what you use, as long as you can store all your ideas.

With this step alone you should already have enough ideas to keep going for a while.

If despite using it you find yourself with a shortage of ideas, take a look on websites and blogs on different niches and check what of their ideas could be adapted into your own niche.

Can you explain duplicate content? Is it something bloggers should be worried about?

According to Google itself duplicate content “generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”

This is something that bloggers need to worry about because it can affect how many of their posts will get indexed by Google.

There are two things to worry about: internal duplicate content and external duplicate content. Internal refers to having the same content displayed in two or more locations of your blog (e.g., the single post page and the monthly archive). This can be solved by using excerpts on your homepage, category and archive pages.

To avoid external duplicate content problems just make sure that you are not submitting your own posts to other blogs or article directories, and don’t allow other people to republish them. Scrapers might still do it against your will, but Google knows how to handle those most of the times.

Are RSS subscriber counts a valid measure of a blog’s popularity, or is RSS still too underused in the general population to be useful as a measuring device?

I believe RSS subscriber base is a good measure of the reach of a blog. If a certain blog has 10,000 RSS readers, for example, you know that around 10,000 people will be exposed to a post published on that blog.

What the RSS count can not predict, though, is the traffic levels of the blog.

Do you recommend bloggers have an opt-in list?

Yes. Email marketing is one of the most effective communication forms, and it should be used by anyone who is trying to make money online or to build a popular website.

How should  bloggers approach other blog owners about guest posting?

First of all take some time to analyze what kind of content is popular with the audience of that blog. Then write a top notch article around one of those topics. Finally, email the blogger, and make sure to attach your guest post in the very first email you will send. Writing a preliminary email just asking permission to send a guest post for consideration is a waste of time for everyone, and could get you rejected even before you got your shot.

Is it more important to post often, or to post really informative “pillar” content, when trying to build traffic?

It is much more important to post killer posts. These are the ones who will build the authority of your site and attract new readers.

What is the most effective way to monetize a blog?

It depends. Some blogs will do better with Google AdSense, while others will do really well with affiliate marketing deals. The key to finding the most effective way is testing, testing and some more testing.

What do bloggers need to know about SEO? Is it really that important for a blog? Or should they concentrate on other marketing methods?

It depends on the objectives of the blogger. If he wants to generate substantial money with his blog and possibly turn into a business, then he will need to learn at least the core SEO principles.

If he is blogging as a hobby, though, then it is better to focus his time on content creating and promotion.

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Sparkbits 08.19.09

Just a few quick links I want to share with Sparkplugging readers today:

What is the Actual Cost of Your Blogging – Great post by J. Angelo Racoma about what it costs to be a blogger.  I found it interesting to consider, especially when she compares what is earned from blog ad income to what could be earned doing other work.

ProBlogger is launching a Community – This is exciting news from Darren Rouse and I can’t wait to see what shape it takes.

The Get Started Now Guide to Becoming Self Employed – Excellent post from Zen Habits I found in my Google Reader tonight thanks to my friend Christie. (She’s great about sharing good posts!)  If you’re thinking about being self employed, definitely give it a read.

Free Event for new Work at Home Moms – We’re putting together an incredible one day orientation for new work at home moms, featuring speakers, free learning resources and some really terrific giveaways.  I’ll be sure to tell you more about it as the date draws near but right now I’m actually still looking for a few interesting WAHMs to come and share their story during the event so if you’re interested in being a speaker, shout out to me by email. (

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9 Useful Twitter Search Phrases

There are so many social media networks these days it is beginning to be really hard to choose. Some of my friends love Facebook. It’s OK, despite all the redesigning, I still find it difficult to navigate. Also, because of privacy settings. I am not able to reach or tap into the crowd like you can on Twitter.Twitter Search

If you ask a question on Facebook, you’ll only get responses from your own network of friends. That may not be a bad thing, yet, I believe in the wisdom of the crowd. I’ve received some really good answers to my questions I get from Twitter come from people who don’t know me, don’t follow me and vice versa.

This is not saying my peeps don’t have good answers. They do but throwing a question out on twitter is like polling the real public whereas asking your fans/friends is like – well, asking your friends which can skew your results depending on what you ask. Anyhow, I’m going down a different rabbit hole here so let’s get back to the point.

Besides asking questions myself, I like to search Twitter. Sometimes it is to find questions that I can answer or write a blog post about. Sometimes, to find people or experts whom I can feature. Other times, to find good stuff to share with others. These are just a few search phrases that can be used to achieve all that.

Find questions to answer or to blog about

  • “Does anyone know”
  • “Anyone know”
  • “How do I”
  • “How do you”

To find experts

  • “Available for interview”
  • “Expert available”

Finding holidays/events to blog about

  • “Month is” e.g. “August is”

Looking to hire someone?

  • “Hire me”
  • “Available for hire”

More search options

If you think you will be searching some of these phrases over and over again, you can also save your search. After you complete your search, just click on the “Save this search” link on the top right corner of your search results list.

Twitter Search

If you want to narrow down your search, filter out the noise, consider using these search operators.

Lynette enjoys discovering new ways to use technology or new technologies to use in a business and in turn help her clients apply them. You can find also Lynette at her blog, Twitter and Facebook

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