Other VanOrden Posts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blogging for Fun and Profit---Traffic, Traffic, and more Traffic

I started blogging for fun about two years ago.  I just began writing on whatever topic seemed of interest to me on any given day.  Then over time I began to focus in on themes such as weight loss, since I was trying to lose 80 pounds and matters of faith because I was a lay leader in a religious congregation.  I signed up for two online courses about how to build your presence on the internet mostly because my oldest son was making a living doing so to the tune of six figures.  I was about to retire and thought “what the heck” may as well try it to supplement my retirement income. 

Here’s some of what I learned:     

Internet business is fueled by the number of people who come to your website.  The term used by internet entrepreneurs is “traffic”.  The more traffic you get to your site the better.  Advertisers pay you by the number of clicks on their ad.  The number of sales you are able to secure is mathematically predictable by the number of visitors to your site.  Internet traffic is the magic that makes money flow in cyberspace.

The first thing a new online business or individual needs is a website or blog-site.  Neither is particularly difficult to establish if you know where to go on the world-wide-web.  I used Blogger for my first website.  You can get a free blog at “Blogger” by going to https://www.blogger.com/tour_start.g.

If you wish to start right off with a website you can use WordPress at http://wordpress.org/.  Don’t be overwhelmed with the process, just be methodical and it all will make sense, especially if you check your site regularly. 

An important hint is to keep track of passwords.  If you begin to have too many to deal with you can use a password memory program such as RoboForm.  Don’t worry about what to write, just start writing about whatever is on your mind. You will find a niche as you get better at writing and using the programs.     

Link your blog posts to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  You can track the number of “reads” your blog gets overall by putting a tracker on your site. If you wish to know which posts get read the most you can do so on your Blogger stats by clicking on “design” in the upper right hand corner of your blog and then click stats on the list that pops up to the left hand side of the next page.   

After two years and 130 blog posts I am approaching 14,000 reads.  It begins to grow exponentially as you improve your skills and consistency.  Doubling retirement income is not really hard if you persist and know some of the tools used by successful online entrepreneurs. Give it a shot and you will probably fall in love with the power of the internet while the $$$$ begin to flow.       

If you would like a look at more detail of how to grow traffic at your website or blog, sign up for my secure email group to the left of this post.  I will always respect your email privacy by not giving your address to anyone else.        

Embracing Discomfort By Jean VanOrden

I had a disappointing week on the golf course.  I was on the verge of giving it all up.  After a solitary moment of despair on the seventh hole, I had an epiphany.  My venture into the game of golf is not about becoming competent enough not to embarrass myself.  It is the symbolic quest of never giving up, of challenging myself to continue to learn and grow at a time in my life when I could easily say, “I’ve done enough, I’ve worked hard enough, I’ve had enough of pushing myself.” 

Golfing is a handy reminder that, as in life, if you are standing still you are falling behind.  That is not to say I am going to be a perfectionist who drives herself mercilessly ( I have plenty of experience with that.)  I have grown up enough to relax on the subject of excellence. Ideals have their place, but reality is unrelenting.   

However,   if I don’t keep my sights on some stars and reach for them, it is easy to let my body and brain slump into disrepair.  (I am far too fond of sleeping in.)  

In my golf game, each time I think I’ve found the secret mechanical tweak that would end all my embarrassing flubs, I find a new variation of the old flub.  Each improvement seems to change everything, and everything then needs to be adjusted to fit.  Maddening or tantalizing.  I will choose the latter. 

The next logical epiphany:  I will stop yearning for a space and time when I will eliminate my embarrassing lack of mastery.  I will embrace my deficits and know that I am not sinking but rising to the occasion. 

The next occasion will be at a women’s golf event I have signed up for.  That irritant will motivate me to get up and do my swing drills.  I am very uncomfortable about exposing my weaknesses so publicly but I have a week to prepare and, meanwhile, my discomfort will keep me moving. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Doubling Retirement Income---Simple Steps to Success

We recently visited our oldest son Jason, his wife Melanie and one of our beautiful grandchildren named Calliope or CeCe for short.  It was especially fun since CeCe started walking while we were there.  

About two months ago they moved into a very nice three level condominium in Portland Oregon.  It provides nicely for all the room they need with modern amenities, not common in Portland, plus a huge office so Jason can set up his at-home online business and a video studio.

Jason has worked from home and owned an internet business for seven years.  He has become a celebrity on the online business media lecture-tour teaching people how to use internet resources to generate income.  In addition to his online money, he earns thousands of dollars from consultation fees helping people learn how to maximize their online entrepreneurial success.  Thus I relish every opportunity to pick his brain about online commerce. 

Here is the bottom line:  Jason suggests the time has come for me to be more open about the process by which I earn money on the internet, so here’s goes. 

Several years ago I started to dabble in the use of online media to communicate.  My group of friends on Facebook grew to over 2800 before I realized it was becoming unmanageable.  My private email group grew to over 100. 

Last August I retired from my career of 34 years as an educator and moved out of Alaska to be closer to our children and grand-children.  My business motivation suffered because of the enormous change in our lives.  I wasn’t writing or researching as much.  But my internet media presence had taken on a life of its own.  After not even posting updates for months, I checked my blog to discover it was being accessed by about a 100 people every week.  I was shocked but pleased, and felt an responsibility to provide new content. 

So here is some detail on what I have learned and earned from internet business over the past two years.  My earnings come from multiple sources: advertizing, direct distribution of my own copyrighted material, payments from affiliates, and investments growth.  During my first year of online business I took in just over $700.  In the last 8 months since I retired and have a bit more time to dabble online, I have computer based supplemental earnings over $30,000. 

My goal has been to double my peak retirement income which will come from a pension, an annuity, transition pay which kicked in since I retired before I was 65, investment income from our savings during employment, and eventually Social Security.  I am trying to be a bit coy here since I don’t want to share exactly what money I have for retirement, but needless to say, I will need to double my online income from my last eight months.

The first steps to becoming and online entrepreneur are:  1) learn how to blog, podcast and/or video cast online, 2) start a blog and post your own content 2-3 times a week, 3) start using a simple financial tracking program to monitor your progress, I use Mint.com.  My next several posts will give a step by step overview of how I became an internet entrepreneur earning a supplemental retirement income by following these steps.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Video of Our First Fruit Tree Planting in Idaho

It is video of our first fruit tree being planted on our property in Idaho.  Keep in mind that we are amateur organic gardeners not experts, though we have grown successful gardens for about 35 years. We would love to hear comments that may improve our efforts to be productive on breezy mountainside land in a warm climate. 

Here's the link to the video at my YouTube Channel: