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The MacGregor Legacy 3-book series

From Scotland to the colonial Carolinas a family's faith is tested as they find grace

Dark Biology by Bonnie Doran

"Propels...into a realm of storytelling once dominated by Michael Crichton." ~ Robert Liparulo, author of Germ, The 13th Tribe and The Judgment Stone

Awakened Redemption by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Inspirational Regency Romance
DOWNLOAD Now! Only $3.99!

The Heart Remembers by Michele Huey

A tale of enduring love & faithfulness.
www.michelethuey.com DOWNLOAD NOW!

"A Cup of Christmas Cheer"

Vol I, a collection of Christmas short stories available at Guidposts.org

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Timing Your Blog Posts for Success

If you are like many #bloggers and #email marketers, you finish writing your masterpiece and hit “publish” as soon as you’re done. But have you ever stopped to consider that those moments may not be the best time to reach the most readership for your blog? Timing your post can have a huge impact on who will read your blog and who may never see it.

How time zones affects blog readers

Since the American west coast is 3 hours behind the east, it’s safe to assume that posting a blog early morning on the east coast would mean that the people on the west are still sleeping. People are more likely to delete a blog post in their inbox early in the morning because their inboxes are full and they are in a hurry to get to work, drop the kids off to school or at the bus stop, and are thinking ahead to their morning meetings.

Another reason inboxes are cluttered in the morning, is because almost 40% of ALL email messages are sent between 6 AM and noon. By afternoon, most people are starting to wind down from the day, have ciphered through their emails, and have more time to read a blog post.

Timing posts for international readership is even more complicated and would be another post all by itself. Therefore, since most of our readership is located in America and Canada, we will concentrate on those areas.

Besides location, another consideration is the industry of your target audience. For instance, if you’re sending out an email to a list of child care professionals, the worst time to send it would be early morning between 6-8 AM or late afternoon between 4-6 PM when most parents are dropping off or picking up their kids. An industry of employees who work 2nd or 3rd shift may be best to reach when it is least appropriate for everyone else. Remember the demographics of the majority of your target audience and schedule your blog posts accordingly.

What do the stats say?


Statistics show that close to 24% of all emails are opened during the first hour of being received, but open rates rapidly decline over the next 23 hours after that. Subscribers’ highest open rate is between 8 – 10 AM, which contributes to cluttered inboxes in the morning. If that is when most people open and read email, then that is when businesses will want to send email. The second highest open rate time is between 3 – 4 PM.

The problem with hitting these timing slots, is the risk of being sandwiched between hundreds of other emails in overly cluttered inboxes. While the open rates are highest during this time, the number of deletes are elevated as well, resulting in subscribers receiving and opening a lot of emails—to glance at them, barely scanning through them, and then hitting the delete button. It is much harder to gain their attention when all your subscribers want to do is clear out their inbox so they will feel more in control of their lives. This leaves the option of sending your email at another high open rate time, to avoid some of the highest clutter. Therefore, consider early afternoon.

If you have subscribers from all over the globe, then you might want to try the Time Travel feature that GetResponse provides or Time Warp through MailChimp. They allow you to set the same time delivery for all your subscribers based on their specific time zone regardless of where they are located. Check with your current email provider to find out if they offer something similar. Most of these features are only available through a paid service.

A/B Testing

This is an email testing service that allows you to break up your subscribers into different groups. You can choose different subject lines and headers, as well as different times to send out your emails. It will allow you to figure out which settings work for your particular subscribers. What works for other businesses will not necessarily be the best fit for you, so it is a great way to test your subscribers without actually having to poll and survey them.

What other timing solutions have you tried?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Build a Platform Without Steroidal Fluff


#blogging #platform #social media
Building a platform often includes creating a blog. First time bloggers are usually overwhelmed and have no clue where to start. Let’s take a look at a few ideas that will get you successfully started on building your platform.
First, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
  • Do you have time to create a blog?
  • Are you committed to maintaining a blog?
  • Will you bring something new to an already over-saturated market?
  • Can you adapt to market trend changes?
  • Do you see blogging as a burden?

Social media is booming and everyone feels like they need a platform. Blogs and podcasts are all over the web and it seems like everyone is concerned with content. People think beyond words when it comes to blogging. Content includes videos, images, and podcasts. In order for your blog to attract interest, you must provide information that people want. Merely creating steroidal fluff will get you criticized and ignored.

Your blogging content needs:
Valued Information – Share content that you have learned and are knowledgeable. Teach others what you know. Try not to sound like everyone else. This will help establish credibility, trust and likability.

Creative Mixture – Your blog must keep visitors interested and entertained. Utilize images, photos and videos to get your points across in an exciting and creative way.

Distinction – Separate yourself from others by approaching your topic from different angles. Don’t be afraid to allow other knowledgeable colleagues to guest post on your blog. This will help you gain access to new patrons that might not otherwise visit your blog.

Consistency – Blogging once a month is unacceptable as readers will forget about you or lose interest. Most readers have a reading schedule, so post a schedule for your blog and stick to it. Blogging 2 to 3 times a week should be sufficient.

Organization – Readers who find your blog for the first time will want additional information similar to what initially landed them on your blog. Creating static web pages with your best posts in various categories is an excellent way to organize an archived system. Have a search feature in the sidebar to make it easy for readers to find what they are looking for.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – While it is important to get your pages ranked higher on a web search, steroidal fluff stuffed with multiple keywords in your titles and posts could backfire on you. Google may drop your site in the rankings and you and your site could be labeled unreliable and untrustworthy. The best SEO is creating original content that is relevant and helpful with a few select keywords.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Photoshop Tutorial - Using the Color Variation Tool to Restore Old Photos

You might have many reasons to change the color tint of a photo. In this Photoshop tutorial, I show you how to use the color variation tool to give an old photo a vintage look. This image is of one of my ancestors in the late 1800's. It's of poor quality, black and white, and has frayed edges. To clean up the white spots and frayed edges, I used the brush tool to give it a smooth background and cropped the edges. I used the color variation tool to give it a brown, faded color.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Heart Remembers by Author Michele Huey

#Christianfiction
~ The perfect Memorial Day weekend story ~
A tale of enduring love & faithfulness, blending the Vietnam era with today!

About the Book
During her tour as an Army nurse in Vietnam, Evangeline “Vangie” Martin lost her beloved husband Seth, a Dust Off pilot, to the war when he was declared MIA. Vangie decides it’s time to move on and has Seth declared dead. She heads to a mountain resort for her fortieth high school reunion, hoping to reconnect with her high school sweetheart, but fate has other plans. The resort caretaker is none other than her husband, Seth. With no memory of his life before being shot down, he refuses to acknowledge his true identity.

Vangie must make a decision. Should she cling to the past and try to make Seth remember, or forget the past and accept Seth as he is now?


"Romance, heartbreak, laughter and suspense, all rolled up in a book that will keep you turning pages into the wee hours of the morning."

Kathleen Bolduc, Amazon Review

"I loved everything about this book, as it was true to life and showed how God intervenes in our daily lives to make everything work out for our good."
Sybil Nichol, Amazon Review 



About the Author
Michele writes an award-winning weekly newspaper column, God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, placing 2nd in the 2009 Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s Keystone Press Awards. Her work has appeared in numerous national publications, including Guideposts, Upper Room, Home Life, Teachers in Focus, Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayer, God’s Abundance, and One Year Life Verse Devotional.
 
Her daily radio program, God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, aired on stations in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Alabama for 10 years. Michele's debut novel, The Heart Remembers, was published by Helping Hands in March 2014 with 5-star reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. She’s since signed three contracts with HHP, so look for more fiction from this author!

In addition to her addiction to reading, she’s an avid (sometimes rabid) Pirates fan and grandmother; loves baseball, Italian food, and hiking; and makes the best homemade pizza around. Michele and her husband, Dean, live in western Pennsylvania and have three grown children and five grandchildren.

Visit Michele online at www.michelethuey.com


 

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