How to Choose a Good Laptop Bag

Folks who own and fancy laptop usually want to have the ability to take their little packages of processing fashion with them wherever they go. Obtaining a good laptop bag or case for the laptop computer is not optional as the case provides necessary protection. Considering the many choices that there are these days in laptop bags and cases, typically the choice of what kind to purchase can be fairly challenging.

Laptop Bag

Nevertheless if you don’t simply hurry out and get one, and stick to a action plan instead, you can be sure to get exactly what you wish and need from the new laptop bag. After you realize your needs and priorities it really is simply a matter of getting rid of likely prospects until you reach the logical purchase decision.

Primarily, consider the type of design you want for your laptop carrier. There are wide ranging choices, although individual design and style will dictate the one you finally pick out. There are lots of really sophisticated and hip laptop computer bags, in addition to the no-frills bags that are simply created to be functional. You really should pick the type that reflects your look.

Most of the the times it is easy to pick one because some best laptop brands have their own laptop bags line. Example, if you go to the Apple stores you will sure get a case or bag for your all apple devices like MacBook cover or iPad case. This is similar with other brands.

After that, it’s best to select the type of fabric you would like the laptop carrying bag to be composed of. This topic is intimately related to your price range. Although leather laptop bags are beautiful, they are the priciest material you could choose and they furthermore tend to be heavier than other sorts of materials to be had, such as nylon or canvas.

Next in turn is the measurements of the carrying bag. This is needless to say fully dictated by what sort of computer you happen to own. If you have a large, 17-inch screen, then you must filter your searches for that size of bag exclusively. On the other hand, when you have a 12-inch screen, then you must be positive you purchase a bag that will not be too big since you need the laptop to fit snugly inside.

Finally you should consider what additional areas you want in your laptop case. What kind of pens, papers, folders and other tools do you usually need to have along with you? Then you want a bag that features a separate location just for that. Do you have numerous special accessories that you at all times want on hand when you take the laptop on the road? The bag should have ample space to carry these with you also.

If you keep these essential concerns in the forefront of your mind, you will seek for a plain or sophisticated laptop bag that’s just made for you. You’ll find laptop bags cases on the internet or in “offline” shops near you. No longer is it necessary to search for a computer store to get these specialty cases. Most sizeable department shops as well as many countrywide discount chain retailers may have an extensive selection in all sorts of prices to match just about any spending budget.

How Hashtags Work and Using Them to Grow Your Traffic

Most people discover hashtags quite early in their Twitter journey.  And many more ignore them till much, much later, when their Twitter habits are set and established.  If you are new to this unique social network, you need to know that you can instantly attract the right followers, find the right people to follower and hook into the best network segment for your goals straight away… simply by using and following hashtags.

This is what an effective hashtag (Penguin’s “#DailyDeal”) looks like, in action:

It doesn’t have to be used for just promotion or branding.  A hashtag can be a keyword, hook, topic indicator, community connection tool and search filter all in one go.  It strains out the hordes of spammy tweets that seem to populate the Twitterverse at times, and instead brings up ones relevant to your interests – specifically, to the keyword (hashtag) that you chose as your filter.  It also makes your tweets easier to find for your audience, when you share your hashtag.  (Get it right, and it may even go viral!)

What is a Hashtag?

Hashtags look like this… A word, acronym or collection of characters preceded by (#).

The above screenshot shows one quick way, incidentally, to find out which hashtags are trending right at the moment, while you’re logged in:  By glancing over to your left-hand menu bar and checking the top hashtags that are trending, under the “Trends” window.

You can create your own hashtags.

You can follow other peoples’.

You can follow company or resource hashtags too (e.g. “#Nike”, “#freefood”).

Google+, Pinterest, Pheed, YouTube and Instagram also allow hashtags.  Pinterest and Pheed hashtags in particular, however, are not the same as Twitter hashtags, so make sure you study each network’s specific hashtag guidelines.

8 Benefits of Using Hashtags

You can use hashtags for a variety of functions – and reasons.  We’ve already mentioned narrowing the focus on who to follow, and you can create your own hashtags to serve more than one purpose too.  But before you start using them, you have to be aware of their specific benefits.  Knowing these will affect how you choose to use hashtags.

  • Grow your following and extend your reach
  • Find relevant people, companies and organizations to follow
  • Brand a product or business (e.g. “#Nike”)
  • Brand, promote, manage and track an event through its distinctive hashtag
  • Participate in Tweet Chats and Twitter Parties
  • Quickly tweet information to people (Twitter followers, forum members, subscribers, etc.) who follow your custom hashtag
  • Networking with industry or niche influencers and peers
  • Grow traffic

Creating Your Own Hashtags: 101

Creating your own hashtags is a wonderful way to brand a product, business – or a particular promotion.  (You can use your hashtag as a metrics tool, if you create one for a campaign.)

But it’s like anything else in marketing:  You need to know what not to do, and how to get the maximum effect.

Don’t…

  • Use hashtags containing more than two words (e.g. “#marketingmythsfifteentips”)
  • Create hashtags that are too quirky – unless you have a whole army of promotion tactics to spread it. (Example:  You want to create a unique identity for an event)
  • Start your tweet with numbers (e.g. “#999”). You can include numbers – but only after alpha characters (e.g. “#fuzzimals123”)
  • Overuse hashtags. Keep them for important and highly relevant use.

Do…

  • Make your hashtag short
  • Make your hashtag easy to read (e.g. “freepizza”)
  • Make your hashtag as vividly descriptive – and simple – as possible (e.g. “freepizza”)
  • Remember to use your hashtags to designate topics, subjects or categories

So how do you make a hashtag?  Simply preface any word or word combination with the “#” sign (#MyHashtag) – and share it in a tweet.

You can make your hashtags all lower-case, or use initial caps as above, to help people make visual sense of your combination hashtag.  (“#MyHashtag” is easier to read than “#myhashtag”.)

That’s the easy part.

Making your hashtags go viral is the real trick.

Making Your Hashtags Go Viral

The only way to grow traffic with your hashtags is to make sure they are shared – and more than shared.  You want them to explode on the scene like a spectacular firework and go viral.

We’ve already spoken about the importance of creating hashtags that are short, catchy, easy to read and relevant.  The real trick is to pick the right keyword(s); then pair your new hashtag with a relevant, active hashtag.  For example, if you have created “#FBbloopers”, pairing it with the existing, highly-active hashtag “#socialmedia”.

And, of course, the bigger your list, the more likely your hashtag is to be retweeted and followed.  If you don’t yet have a big list, introducing it on membership sites or forums (if allowed), as well as the above tactic of pairing it with an existing, relevant hashtag should help you get started.

Finding Good Hashtags to Follow

Following the right people via their hashtag can also help boost your own credibility (think  “credibility-by-assocation”), which can net you followers of your own.  You become part of any community built around a strong, evergreen hashtag.  But how do you find them?

In addition to simply searching via the Twitter search bar, there are even more focused ways to find hashtags to follow – especially off Twitter.

1. TweetChat – You do have to log in with your Twitter name and password. What this does is allow to focus on one hashtag, each having its own dedicated chat room.

This can save you hours of monitoring tweets you’re not interested in on Twitter by allowing you to focus just on that particular discussion/hashtag.

2. Twubs – Another strong hashtag directory, which also shows you hashtags and conversations to follow, and allows you to register your hashtags in their directory

3. Hashtag.org – allows you to analyze which hashtags are trending, allowing you to “listen, measure and engage”… as well as track!

There are many more Twitter sites and online management tools.  Pick one that feels a comfortable fits for you.

Hashtag Mistakes

Yes, you can dilute the effectiveness of hashtags – or even do the opposite of what you intended.  For example, if you load each tweet with too many hashtags, people will eventually mentally and literally skim over them without reading.  They’ll feel like “spam”.

So here’s what not to do with your Twitter hashtags, starting with the tip we just mentioned:

  • Overloading your tweets with multiple hashtags. It looks and feels aggressively spammy; it’s confusing; it’s hard to read the message you presumably wanted people to read.
  • Following hashtags that are not consistent with your brand or stated core values. Doing so is okay if you are using Twitter as personal recreation – but not if you’re using it for business purposes.

(Example:  Following “#ReallyHateSmallKids” if your business is all about selling quality toys suited for the 3—7-year-old age range to university-educated mothers in a high income bracket.)

  • Inserting popular, trending hashtags not relevant to your tweet content just to ensure your tweet is seen. The only thing does is annoy the people who are seriously follow that hashtag.
  • Going off topic while using a hashtag. Don’t get sidetracked into personal discussions that have nothing to do with the hashtag while still using it!
  • Not tracking your hashtags. Sites such has Hashtags.org often provide easy and thorough tracking tools (free or at paid levels of subscription)
  • Trying to use other special characters in your hashtags. It’s alphabetical characters only – with numerals allowed in the middle or end.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Focus your hashtag on your goal and your followers.  Make it easy to read and catchy to remember and share.

Now that you know how hashtags work, and what to do/avoid, put them to use.  Make your traffic grow.

Ensuring Your Guest Post Produces the Result You Want

Guest blogging is an art and it requires work on your part. If you are willing to commit the time and the effort, you can produce content that will meet your goals.

Guest blogging is exchanging content between two websites, but the relationship is not always exactly matched. Some blog owners like to offer guest blogging spots because they are always guest blogging elsewhere. It can be quite hard to keep up your own blog supplied with fresh posts when you are crafting them for others as well. In this way, you are helping them out by accepting a guest blogging spot.

Choose wisely. All blogs are not equal and those that have a poor reputation or no reputation at all are not going to help you with your goals of increasing your traffic, building links and list building. We are taking for granted here that you have read up on how to do what every good guest blogger must and researched the blogs before submitting a pitch to the host blog.

Guest Blogging Mistakes

To gain the best opportunities pay attention to these common mistakes and then avoid them entirely.

Go into the Process Blind – Research the host blog thoroughly.  This means understanding what the blog can offer you as well as what they are asking of you. Know the host guidelines for submitting a pitch, formatting your post, creating links and adding a bio box. Check out the site’s traffic through Alexa.com. Search for the blog on social media sites and see who is talking about it and how many fans and followers they currently have.

Blatantly Advertising – When you guest blog, the purpose is not to shamelessly promote your products or your website. Certainly that was not the idea that you pitched to the host blog and you won’t be invited back if you persist. What can you add to the host site to build them up? By focusing on them, you are actually building your reputation and people will want to learn more about you. Instead, concentrate on providing relevant and rich content for the host’s audience. You are viewed as an expert and someone worth watching in the future.

Not Solving the Blog Owner’s Problem – Create unique content and you might be asked back again to guest blog. As you research these host blogs, look for information that you can provide that solves a problem that readers might have. It will most likely pertain to the niche market. If it’s unconventional, it might just peak their interest. At the very least, it can put a new spin on an old way of doing a certain task. Avoid recycling the same old content.

Unresponsive to Comments – Remember you are a guest on a blog. You want people to comment. In order to gain the trust and curiosity of the readership, they’ll want to know more about you. Offer that when you respond to their comments. Provide concise responses to their questions that will perpetuate more talk and not just one word answers.

Not Continuing the Journey – Once you begin guest blogging, keep it up. Commit to gaining guest spots on other blogs. You are gaining traffic from your posts, so keep up the good work.

Getting the Results You Want from Guest Blogging

There are a couple of ways of doing this that we will discuss here.

Concentrate on Building Your List – To that end choose a blog that has a large but involved list of subscribers. Choosing such a blog means that the subscribers are actively participating in the blog and buying products, either at the recommendation of the blog owner or right from the blog itself.

Check publishing frequency. Blogs that publish new content every day or every week give your content time to be seen by their vast audience and other visitors as well. More views can lead to more tweets, pins, likes and social bookmarking recommendations

Write using the keywords that rank highest on the host blog. In this way, you will gain the same traffic as this blog in another way besides your links. Your posts will begin to show up in the keyword searches most likely to be performed by that audience.

Use Your Links Effectively – Do you want to include list promotions in your guest blog posts? Try to do it in a way that doesn’t sound like a sales pitch. Connect the dots for the readers. Show how your products and the products promoted by the host blog are complementary. Consumers can benefit from supporting them both. Explain how your business works to demonstrate that point.

Whatever promotional item you are offering to your list, make sure that you can contextually match it with your guest post. Highlight the same keywords that you are pushing in your guest post. With one of your links, send visitors to the page that shows a sample of that promotional eBook or special report. In order to read the rest, they must click and subscribe on your site.

What do you hope to accomplish with your guest blog posts? Define your goals and then work to incorporate them with research, engaging content that solves a problem and carefully choosing where to link within your content.

Tips for Writing Effective and Useful Product Reviews

More and more people are reading reviews before they buy online and offline. As an affiliate marketer, you have a unique position when it comes to providing people with the information that they seek. Here are some tips for writing effective and useful product reviews.

What are Product Reviews?

Product reviews are blurbs written about an item, right? Wrong. Those looking to read about the newest coffeemaker or the latest high definition television are not asking for two paragraphs and a handful of stars. They want to know details.

A winning product review contains many elements:

  • Knowledge of the product being reviewed
  • Pros and cons of the product
  • Perspective (speak as a new user and also as someone who has used that type of product before)
  • Images that show the product
  • Accurate research on the product
  • Examples of product features

From a consumer’s perspective, anything less than that is simply fluff. If you aren’t giving detailed information about the product in question, then the content you provide is not useful. Visitors will begin to bypass your site in favor of one can offer an in-depth review.

What’s the Purpose of Your Review?

The answer to this question will help when crafting the review. Sure, as an affiliate, you want to make money with your content. Hopefully the reader will click on your affiliate link. Actually, this motivation will be secondary if you hope to gain a following from your reviews.

Some reviews are so full of affiliate links that people think they are sales messages. They learn more about how much they need to purchase the item instead of any real information about the product itself. Readers become suspicious of your motives and can learn not to trust your reviews as unbiased portrayals of a product.

Add your affiliate link to the review but do so at the end. Allow the person to read all the information about the product, forming their own opinion as they do so, and then wrap it all up by clicking your link.

Remember, the elements of a winning review are also some of the most common reasons people read reviews in the first place.

Become Acquainted with the Product

Buy the product before you review it. As an affiliate, you might be eligible for a discount on the product, so ask if that’s possible. Either way, become familiar with items you are writing about.

Be honest. Readers can see through a smokescreen. Think of it this way: If you are the only person not writing something negative about the product, consumers will think you have something to hide especially if you are also an affiliate of the company.

Leave the decision whether to buy up to the reader. Yes, you can make a few sales with biased reviews but where will that put your reputation? Create quality review content and people will continue to read what you have to say and click on your links. Try to deceive them and go for the quick sale and risk losing your audience.

Craft Your Content

How you deliver your review is just as important as what you actually say. Introduce the product through its features. List them in bullet form for easier reading. Make your content as visually appealing as it is informative.

Who will buy the product? Let your audience know who can benefit most from purchasing the item or others like it. Speaking of benefits, list the biggest value that customers can receive from owning the item. Don’t forget to list other advantages as well.

Answer the silent questions that everyone wants to ask: How much does it cost? Is there a warranty? Where can the product be purchased?

List the pros and cons of the product. Everyone knows that there is a downside to any product. Display both sides honestly. For some, what is listed as a con is negligible in light of the other benefits of the product.

Add your experiences. This isn’t a separate section. Sprinkle them throughout. For instance, as you describe the main benefit of the product, remark about how that benefit has enhanced your life. Readers will realize that you also use the product, or have used it, so they can trust your opinion of it. It also shows that you have the necessary expertise to write the review in the first place.

Keep the language simple. Say what you have to say in plain terms so that everyone can understand it. The same goes for your affiliate link. Instead of a big button, link the affiliate URL to the product name with a strong call to action.

What do you look for in a product review? Those are the same things that your readers are searching for. Providing that information in an effective way produces a useful product review that will breed trust and bring clicks.

Top 10 Tips for Creating an Editorial Calendar

If magazine editors waited for inspiration or for free time, no magazine would ever get published.  So how do they churn out high quality content, month after month?

By using an editorial calendar.  And top bloggers have learned this secret too.

An editorial calendar is a plan for producing regular written or media content, at regular intervals (e.g. monthly) at a perfect pace.  It leaves you with deadlines you can use as a roadmap. You won’t have gaps in your postings and there’s no chance for people to forget who you are or give up on your blog.

And it can help eliminate writer’s block and reactivity – the sort that leaves you realizing you forgot that your readers and subscribers were expecting Part Three of your series… yesterday!

01. Use the Method that Works Best With Your Learning Style

An editorial calendar is only useful if you use it.  And if you set up a physical calendar that doesn’t work with your natural learning style, you’re more likely to forget to use it… or even, ultimately, abandon it.

a) If you are a kinesthetic learner who likes the hands-on approach, a paper calendar may be your best option. (Tip:  You will most likely to be able to find plain desktop calendars with large enough slots to be useful in your local Dollar Store.)

Just be sure to put it in a place where you are likely to see it, rather than hiding it away in a desk.

b) If you are an aural learner, make an audio recording of your upcoming schedule.

c) If you are a visual learner, paper or digital will work – it’s just a matter of preference

d) If you are a read/write learner, a dated, chronological list format will probably work better for you than a graphic calendar format.

If you want to find out or confirm your ideal learning style, try one of the free online questionnaires or quizzes, such as the VARK model.

(No sign-up required for the basic assessment.)

02. Create and Coordinate Monthly and Annual Calendars

Many people find that two versions of their editorial schedule work best:

  • monthly calendar (e.g. WordPress Editorial Plugin)
  • An annual calendar (manual or digital)

The reason for this?  On your Annual Editorial Calendar, you can enter important posts to tie in with events scheduled far down the road; or with seasonal events.

Then, every month when you sit down to fill out your monthly Calendar, a quick visual check with the Annual Calendar will allow you to transpose these events onto your monthly Calendar before you input new posts for the current month, making sure nothing gets double-booked – or missed.

(If you like the format in the example above, download it by going to  Angela B.me.)

03. Use the WordPress Editor Calendar Plugin

If you use WordPress, then the free WordPress Editorial Calendar  plugin can be your best post-scheduling friend.  So do install it.

While you’re writing your posts or maintaining your blog, you have access to the Editorial Calendar at a click of the button.  And you can log in and glance at your Calendar to see what you have to do today before writing a word.

04. Use MS Excel to Create Your Editorial Calendar

If you are more comfortable using Microsoft Excel or you are a text-based learner, you may find Excel the best tool for creating your Editorial Calendar.

Another reason for using MS Excel:  If your business is highly fluid, and you know you are going to be tweaking and adjusting your Editorial Calendar perhaps more than the average blogger.

In fact, there are many MS Excel templates for doing precisely that.  (You can download – without signing up; just right-click and save – a very nice template courtesy of Vertical Measures.

05. Use Color Coding

If you are a visual or kinesthetic learner, try color coding the different cycles – then highlighting scheduled posts according to each cycle color.

This is also a fabulous trick if you have learning disabilities or any other form of cognitive impairment, as the visual stimulus and cueing helps you mentally “sort” and remember better.

You could also designate cycles by creating a Category field in your Calendar, along with corresponding two- or three-letter Category codes… or combine  both categories and color coding.  (Tip:  Include a Legend at the top of your chart-style annual Calendar or beginning of your multi-page or monthly Calendar.)

06. Include Your Calls to Action in Your Editorial Calendar

Write down the call to action (CTA) for each item on your editorial calendar.  Not only will this ensure you remember to include it in your blog post, but you will be able to more objectively judge the level of engagement your post is likely to create.

07. Learn to Think in Cycles

No matter what your learning style, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think in a linear fashion – I. E.  A B C D E F G.

Your blog will feel fuller, richer, more organized and more enjoyable to your readers if you learn to schedule your blog in multiple cycles.

Take your Annual Editorial Calendar and go through using the following “cycles” (and any others unique to your business), one after the other:

  • Seasonal cycle (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
  • Holiday cycle (Christmas, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.)
  • Events cycle (e.g. Annual Cycling Workshop, Victoria Day Race, etc.)
  • Contest cycle (e.g. Summer Photo Challenge, Christmas Giveaway, etc.)
  • iscal Cycle (e.g. .  Your annual business quarter-years, from beginning to end)
  • Product Cycle (All your scheduled, upcoming product launches)
  • Sales Cycles (High and low buying trends – base these on previous sales metrics)

Learning to plan your editorial calendar in this fashion will really help ingrain your business’ “big picture” in mind – and make much better business (and editorial) decisions.

08. Formalize Your Editorial Calendar Management Protocol

It really doesn’t matter whether you alone update the calendar and distribute information, or your authors or staff are allowed to cross things off and add them – the important thing is a clear understanding of the ground rules – and a clear chain of communication.

So decide on…

  1. Who will update the Editorial Calendar(s)
  2. How the Editorial Calendar(s) will be updated
  3. Who will notify the rest of the team of necessary changes or completions
  4. How they will do this

Making sure everyone understands the system is the best way to avoid scheduling conflicts or omissions.

09. Create Other Types of Editorial Calendar too

Consider adding social media coding – or a separate Social Media Editorial Calendar.  If you don’t coordinate your social media campaigns with your posts, you could be missing opportunities to allow each platform – blog and social media – to enhance the other.

Plan on the keywords you are going to use in your social media posts, as well as in your blog posts. Align these with ad campaigns, if you are planning any.  (Yes.  Have an Advertising Editorial Calendar too.)

You can download the Social Media and Blogging Editorial Calendar template illustrating this tip simply, without sign-up, from Eydie’s Office.

And if handling multiple versions of Editorial Calendar seems too overwhelming – start off with just one, for your blog.

10. Consider Publishing Your Upcoming Editorial Calendar

Not only will it inspire you to meet your own deadline (since there is nothing more lame than not following through to your readers) but you may attract quality submissions – leaving you with great content to use for your blog and the time to plan next month’s editorial calendar in comfort.

You don’t have to publish it in full Editorial Calendar format:  You can simply make sure you create a section of upcoming stories (with Submission Guidelines) on your website or blog, just as many online magazines and publishing companies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul does.

But when all is said and done, remember that Editorial Calendars are simply tools:  Only you can decide what type works best for you.

And, of course, they’ll be no use unless you use them!