What You Ought to Know About Driving People to Your Website Content

Photo Credit: Creative April via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Creative April via Compfight cc

You have your website set up with a fast domain and you’ve already posted great, high quality content. You’ve shared your articles on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and many other social media sharing websites. You’re feeling good about yourself because you update and share your amazing content daily, almost religiously. However, at the end of the day, when you check your numbers, they’re abysmal. You’re scratching your head asking why very few people are visiting your website. What should you do?

Don’t fear. The solutions to your traffic problems don’t require a major miracle. Follow the points listed below, and you’ll soon be smiling from a consistent boost in your stats.

First, you need to have clearly defined social media goals.

Jumping into this social media jungle without goals or a game plan offers a sure path to obscurity. You don’t want your competitors raking in the visitors that could potentially be milling around your website. Before a new week or month starts, make sure to set a specific amount for the number of people you want visiting your website per week/month. Set numbers for new likes and followers for your Facebook and Twitter accounts respectively as well. Having these numeric goals down will help put in motion the habits that will deliver these numbers. Furthermore, when you track your progress through your website’s analytics page, you’ll know what strategies work best or are lukewarm.

Next, it’s time to develop a social media plan to achieve your numbers.

Incorporate effective social media sharing habits into your plan. Go beyond the idea of mere sharing and engage with potential visitors.

You must erase from your mind that clients, visitors, and other parties of interest will come flocking to your website because it has great content. One of the most important habits you can develop is to go to where your audience is and engage with them, building trust and valuable relationships. Focus on people, not your self-interests. Let this principle shine in your interactions. Communicate in a genuine manner that shows you care about your audience’s wants or needs. People are smarter than you think. They’ll run away at the first sight of anything gimmicky or shallow. Make potential visitors believe you’re here for them and not the other way around.

And where can you find these potential visitors? Engage with pockets of communities on Facebook pages, Google+ groups, relevant blogs, and websites that have people who would be interested in your content or products. Form meaningful and reciprocal alliances with other websites or blogs similar to your content. If they find your content valuable, they’ll share it, and be sure to scratch their backs and share their content too.

 Use popular sharing websites to increase traffic toward your content: ViralContentBuzz, Justretweet, Triberr, Stumbleupon, Digg, and Socialbuzzclub just to name a few.

Twitter and Facebook are just only a few of the countless many ways to share and promote your content. Dip into these many other sharing tools to increase traffic toward your website. Most are very simple to use, and others make it easy to sign up through your Twitter or Facebook accounts. You’ll soon see boosts in your stats by regularly using these websites.

Use rich images in your posts and take advantage of image sharing websites such as Imgur, Pinterest, and Instagram to lead people to your content.

Our society is more image-oriented than ever with popular applications and websites such as Instagram and Pinterest leading the way. It would be remiss to ignore the power of pictures. If you don’t already have vivid images on your website, make sure you do. Sometimes a Google image search isn’t enough to find that right picture, and you can have potential copyright headaches if you take pictures without permission or credit. Check out these websites for visually appealing photos and image ideas without the fear of a copyright battle:

Once you have your great images, pin them on Pinterest and be sure to include a link to your website. People who come across your pictures and click on them will go straight to your content. You can employ the same strategy with Instagram as well! The key thing to remember is to be creative in how you reach potential visitors.

Photo Credit: morrissey via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: morrissey via Compfight cc

Increase your visibility in search engine results to make it easier for people to find your website.

Having a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for driving people to your content. In a nutshell, SEO helps increase your website’s visibility to potential visitors who use search engines such as Google or Bing. The higher you rank on the result pages of these searches, the more people will go to your website. So, how do you go about taking advantage of SEO? First, make sure to use SEO tools such as Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and Google Keyword planner to name a few.

Second, make sure the words in your headlines, content, and links are optimized for search engines. What do I mean? Say, for example, you have a personal development website and you would like to promote your books, webinars, etc. If you have great content, but use words less likely to show up in the keywords typed in a search engine, very few people will come across your site in the results. Do your research and find the key words people use to search material related to your content. Once you have these words, incorporate them into your headlines and the rest of your website. This is a basic overview of SEO, but it’s always good to start somewhere.

The most important thing to remember when seeking to drive people toward your website is that you have to be consistent and persistent. Promoting your website in an effective, genuine manner is just as important as creating high quality content.

How about you? What do you think bloggers ought to know about driving people to their website? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Stay Amazing,

Sammy

If you found this article helpful, please spread the love and share! Thank you!

Pride in a Cradle

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I’m all out of oxygen

For ways out of fixing them

Come on out and tell me then

How they burned this heart

To a crisp

Overdue

Lost

With no promise of glitz

A victim of second hands ticking sideways

After first hands offered up closed fists

Time bombs, all of them

Don’t let me see you out of college then

But to hell with the nodding man

Cause here I am with my own clan

Black hoodies, sipping tea

Tofu lickers, you and me

Little simple mushroom clouds

These fungi eat up the tree

Decorated with broken veins

But separated from hollow claims

And I’m all out of oxygen

For ways out of fixing them

Come on out and tell me then

How they burn themselves

Review of STRANGER by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith

via amblingbooks.com

STRANGER is a YA sci-fi novel that features the voices of five distinct teenagers living in a post-apocalyptic town called Las Anclas. The book starts on an exciting note with Ross Suarez, one of the main characters, running away from a bounty hunter who is after a book in Suarez’s possession. The primary villain, Voske, hired the mercenary to get this special book, which is described as being quite important. Although I got echoes of the Book of Eli in these scenes, I found the chase to be quite entertaining.

Without spoiling too much, Suarez finds himself in the tight-knit, structured community of Las Anclas where like every fort trying to survive in a new harsh world has citizens with specifically assigned roles: rangers, teachers, farmers, sentries, engineers, etc. Also, some people have mutant abilities due to radiation from past nuclear wars and are called Changed. An X-MEN theme surfaces where a group of people dislikes the Changed and others defend them. The Changed, however, are an integral part of the town.

Aside from Ross, we get to intimately know the four local inhabitants of this city such as Mia, the incredibly intelligent but socially awkward engineer; Yuki the cool and collected ‘prince’; Felicité, the haughty, brown nosing town scribe; and Jennie, the smart and strong ranger. I must admit I was a bit confused with all the different characters in the beginning, but that dissipated as I continued reading.

I also think it’s important to note that all of these characters are young people of color. I can’t remember the last time I read a YA science fiction novel that featured so many distinct voices from different backgrounds. And Yuki is gay, so the book scores high on diversity overall without making a big deal about it. As a person of color myself, I found it pretty refreshing.

We jump from one POV to the next as Stranger unravels the daily on goings of Las Anclas. I found the middle to be quite weak in terms of conflict and tension. I kept waiting for something to happen, which I rightly predicted would have something to do with some big confrontation with Voske, a powerful man fond of overtaking cities and putting people’s heads on spikes as a warning to outsiders.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy learning about each character individually; usually I’m all for strong character driven stories, but conflict plays an essential part as well. We don’t see much happening until the final arc of the book when war breaks out between the people of Las Anclas and Voske’s army. STRANGER shines in these final scenes because you care very deeply about these characters and don’t want to see them to lose.

Overall, I enjoyed STRANGER, despite the lagging middle, and look forward to reading the next book in the series. However, this novel is a stand-alone. If you’re looking for a diverse book that mixes post-apocalyptic survival with minor X-MEN themes, then this book is for you.

I give STRANGER a 4.3/5.0

Stay Amazing,

Sammy

I’m currently reading…

Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith

I’m almost done reading this novel, and it’s been pretty interesting so far despite a slow middle. It starts fast and then dips to stay in a straight line before going up toward an exciting end. I’ll give a full review soon!

Get Over the Small Stuff And Live Better: #3 Road Rage vs. Road Peace

Seriously, people, use it!

When I get behind the wheel, I’m pretty much convinced that I’m the best driver out there (ten years driving and no accidents yet, knock on wood), and everyone else got his or her license out of a cereal box as my good friend would always say. I live in Boston, and the drivers here drive. Me. CRAZY. But not as crazy as before when I suffered from a serious case of road rage. Every drive would be a nightmare because someone would cut me off, drive too slowly, or simply forget basic road rules.

And the rotaries.

OMG, don’t get me started on the rotaries. If you have the fortunate luck of never coming across these circles of perpetual annoyance in your home state, then thank your lucky stars; there are no faults written there. Some Boston drivers do not know what to do around a rotary. Others think it’s the best time to start driving around from another direction at the same moment when I’m driving—the moment when it’s clearly my right of way. I keep driving and dare the idiot to come crashing my way.

via chuck.goolsbee.org

Expletives used to fly out my mouth as if they were eggs hitting the other driver’s windshields. Shaking fists, exasperated sighs, gritting teeth, severe eye rolls, and the long WTF-were-you-thinking stare at the driver upon the red light.

BUT, not anymore.

My road rage was out of control and adding unnecessary stress to my brain and my life. Yeah, people out there were bad drivers, but that didn’t mean I had to lose my cool over it. Why should I let idiot drivers ruin my day and turn me into this angry bird? Why should I sacrifice my peace for something so insignificant, especially when there are no accidents involved? Why should I work myself up into a whirlwind of negative emotions for dumb drivers?

The answer: I shouldn’t have to.

Anger is a powerful emotion that should be reserved only for moments where it can be harnessed intelligently to create meaningful change like in unjust circumstances where people are being physically or emotionally hurt or displaced by others. Anger has no place in our every day lives. Allowing anger to fester in the presence of simple annoyances shows a lack of control and reveals deeper problems from within—problems that should be dealt with so one can find peace, the optimal state of mind.

My poor anger management stemmed from past disappointments and rejections that I hadn’t been able to release. I held on to these failures so tightly because I didn’t know what else I could do. It was as if letting go would nullify all the hard work I put in to achieving the results that I so desperately wanted. When those results failed to come true, I felt stuck, hurt, and angry all the time. My anger seeped out when I drove, interacted with family, or did every day tasks. I had no peace.

It wasn’t until that I confronted my anger head on, unpacking its deeper meaning and sources, that I was able to become aware of how I was hurting the people around me and myself. I finally let go of my failures, rejections, and disappointments, and consciously decided to learn from them and move the hell on.

And with that came peace. So, now when I drive I’m a lot less annoyed and angry. I experience peace and take joy being behind the wheel. But I’ll be honest. Sometimes that one driver will drag an eye roll out of me because Boston. But it’s not that serious. 😉

How about you? Do you have road rage? How do you deal with it? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

If you enjoyed reading this article, please spread the love and share it on Twitter, Facebook, or both! Thanks for reading!

Also check out: Get Over the Small Stuff And Live Better: #2 Commuter Rage vs. Commuter Peace

From College to Today: How I Fought and Won Against Self-Doubt, Disappointment, and Negativity. Part III

My Stop!
My Stop!

I jumped into life in New York with my eyes closed and my faith and confidence level high. I relished the beauty of the present and looked forward to the promise of the future. Every day was new and guaranteed surprises and laughter.

I exuded a great beam of light wherever I went. My friends would sometimes comment on how my eyes shone bright or how I gave off a glow. The joy swelling in my chest simply overflowed.

My love for my new friends and desire to meet new people knew no boundaries. I sought them and made plans, something I hardly ever did back in Boston. I went out with friends for dinners, movies, Broadway shows, rooftop parties, social justice events, intimate gatherings, and seminars with keynote speakers. I experienced fun study sessions that lasted until 4 in the morning, bonding with my study buddies. I wanted people to be joyful and safe around me. My bubble was a no-judgment zone full acceptance and love.

And yet, despite all this positive energy, negativity held on to a portion of my mind, opening it up to fears of rejection and emotional pain. I knew I suffered from depression but dragged my feet on seeing a therapist. As a Haitian American, it wasn’t part of my culture growing up to seek mental health services. Praying was our therapy.

But sometimes prayer honestly isn’t enough and one needs physical medical attention or assistance.

My depression wasn’t crippling enough to stop me from attending classes and functioning in day-to-day activities. Therefore, I didn’t think it was necessary to seek help. I thought I could handle the pain myself and overcome the pressure behind my eyes, the creeping thoughts of loneliness, and occasional aches from unexplained sadness. I couldn’t visualize speaking to a person about my problems so I would write down my thoughts in a journal instead.

It helped to be surrounded by a group of caring, wonderful people. Most of the time I wasn’t even aware of my negativity, only when I was alone. And then one day I had an interesting exchange of text messages with a very good friend, someone I would eventually fall in love with. She was a Buddhist and exposed me to Buddhist philosophy and teachings. I’ll never forget an analogy of life she gave me.

vis www.vizant.com
via http://www.vizant.com

She told me to imagine my mind as a tall building. If I wanted to turn all the lights in each floor, it would take a lot of time and effort. But if I brought out the sun, then the whole building would be illuminated all at once. She told me to bring out the sun. Back then I wasn’t exactly sure how to do that, but her words comforted me and helped pull me further out of my quicksand of negativity. She led me to become more aware of my thoughts and feelings, and to catch negativity at its root.

Little did she know, she was saving my life and shifting it towards a new, liberating direction. I would take this new perspective with me to my next destination after New York.

My graduation from Columbia was bittersweet. I knew I would miss my friends, the City, the great food, and the simple joy of walking down Riverside and Central Park. But I had to move on.

I made the wild decision of leaving the U.S. and spending a year in another country with a completely different culture.

I was going to Seoul, South Korea.

Oh Korea!
Oh Korea!

To be continued…

How about you? I’m sure we all have met someone how has helped change our lives for the better. How has that person helped you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

If you enjoyed reading this article, please spread the love and share it! Thanks in advance!

The Secret to Making Your Dreams Come True Revealed!

When I was in the third grade, my teacher gave us an assignment in which we had to use the week’s spelling words to create a story. I wrote about a detective bunny rabbit that solved a very difficult case. I enjoyed the assignment tremendously and had a fun time making up the story.

I’ve got a mystery to solve!

The next day, while I was chatting with my friend during our snack break, my teacher, Ms. Bess, a very kind petite woman with long blond hair, called for everyone’s attention. Her next words would change my life forever. She said, “Everyone, listen to Carla’s story!”

I jumped at the mention of my name and my heart kept beating faster and faster as Ms. Bess read my story to the whole class. My classmates all clapped for me at the end and told me how much they liked it. I was elated and couldn’t wait to get home to tell my parents. My older cousin was visiting that day and she, along with my folks, complimented me.

It was one of the happiest days of my childhood.

child-laughing
OMG, you loved my story! Waaaah, so cool!

From then on, I set out to write more stories and read more books. I devoured the written word, allowing myself to be transported to different worlds while envying the power of these authors to share their stories and stir up so many different emotions inside of me. I wanted to be a writer. An author. A creator of worlds. It was my dream to share my stories with as many people as possible.

There is power in the pages of books.

At thirteen, hungry for powerful female characters, I embarked on the journey of writing my first novel. I called the book The Fusion Girls, a tale of three remarkable sisters who possessed a dangerous power capable of saving the world from an intergalactic threat. The title of my book changed from the Fusion Girls to the Elementals to The Daughters of Destiny to Truth and Destiny and then finally to Children of Tokua.

The story followed me throughout the rest of my adolescence and onwards to college to graduate school and now to my late twenties. It has changed so much since its conception that I’m not even sure how many times I’ve rewritten it while keeping the same core theme. The book has grown with me, reflecting my changes in attitudes, philosophies, and perspectives in life. What began as the dream of a thirteen-year-old tomboy had become one of the defining features of my life.

I call it passion, but I wouldn’t judge others who would call it insanity.

Set your imagination free.

I am in the final stages of closing this incredible chapter in my life. Although the characters are creations of my imagination, they have become something more, taking on lives of their own a long time ago.

They are my children, my siblings, and my friends—tenants forever taking up space in my head.

So, what is the secret to making dreams come true?

2 Things: Tenacity and a willingness to change.

These two cannot be underestimated nor ignored. If you really want to see your dreams come true, you must persevere against all odds, frustrations, negativity, rejections, and failures. Most of all you must face yourself, which is oftentimes your biggest enemy.

But none of that means anything if you aren’t willing to be flexible and change to find out what works and what doesn’t. It pays to be humble and acknowledge your mistakes, to learn from your failures and listen to wise counsel. With that you can move forward intelligently while believing that victory is yours. Because if you have tenacity and a willingness to adapt, you can accomplish anything. Anything.

Keep going, but keep going intelligently.

It’s been almost fifteen years since I first started writing with the hopes of becoming published. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I’ve learned so much and know how to move forward now. It’s only a matter of time before my dream is a reality. And when it is, you’ll be the first to know.

What about you? What do you think is the secret to making dreams come true? I’d love to hear your response!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

If you enjoyed this article, please spread the love and share it! Thanks in advance!

5 Things Life Has Taught Me about Friendship (So far…)

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” ~ William Shakespeare

The nature of friendships has been on my mind lately. I don’t need to tell you the benefits of having a friend because I’m sure we’ve all felt the positive impacts of a friend, especially a good friend. And if we haven’t, we soon will. Sometimes when I emerge for a quick break out of my writing world, I think about how somewhat anti-social I’ve been or rather that I haven’t been as a good a friend as I should be. I obsess over the details of what makes a great friend and that process leads to absolutely nothing because in the end there really is no perfect formula for the perfect friendship. And who wants to stress over friendships? Love and the actions that back it up are the most important things. But, I still want to share a list of what life has taught me about friendship:

1.) Don’t over think it.

It’s better to let things be without torturing yourself over minute details about whether this was done right or wrong, especially when it concerns the past. Just go with the flow, live in the moment, and if there are big decisions to be made, trust your gut to do the right thing. We’re all old enough to have learned a little from life about right and wrong. You should also never ever be anyone but yourself because if you can’t be real with your friends, then who can see the real you? Sometimes we feel we can’t be our true selves around our own families. That’s when friends lend an arm to save us from drowning.

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
~ Bob Marley

2.) A long period of non-communication doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over.

Sometimes you can pick up where you left off. We’re all involved in some project or other, and it can take time away from friendships, but as long as one friend or the other remembers to give that call or send that message, true friends can continue right along as if there was never a lull in the friendship to begin with.

3.) Don’t force it.

There’s a time for everything, and if you sense a friendship is stagnant with no more room for growth, it’s okay to let that person go and move on. Also, if you’re the only one putting effort into a friendship and the other person isn’t, well, that can be a signal to release as well. It’s never a good feeling for both sides when someone is forcing something to exist that is no longer there. People change, and that’s okay.

“Silence makes the real conversations between friends. Not the saying, but the never needing to say that counts.” ~ Margaret Lee Runbeck

4.) Don’t mistake companionate love for Eros love.

This one is tricky. There’s this consensus peering over our shoulders that you if love someone, you should tell them, which is true, but not all love is the same. Misunderstandings can take over to bring about painful awkwardness and may even transform a friendship into something else that is less satisfying or poignant than the previous nature of the relationship. However, I’m not saying people shouldn’t fall in love with their friends because it’s been shown to happen, and sometimes friends even marry each other. Shoot, I hope the person I marry ends up being my best friend as well. But, this isn’t always the case, so this is where a little thinking before acting wouldn’t hurt.

5.) You will find a friend who becomes family.

Soul mates aren’t limited to couples that have found eternal romantic love, but include friends too: two people who swear they must have been born from the same mother sometime or another. Or as like to I call my own soul mate of a friend: “My sister from another mother.” You’re in sync, cry and laugh together, share the deepest secrets, reveal yourself completely and truly without fear of judgment or rejection, and love unconditionally. No fear, no pressure, total acceptance, and genuine love for each other and each other’s growth. If something good happens to this person, you feel as if it’s happening to you. This friendship is no accident and has no end.

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

These are solely my experiences with friendship. How about you? What do you think when it comes to friendship? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

For The Dreamers With Passion Who Refuse to Quit!

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