8Last Minute Holiday Gifts For Everyone On Your List!

This post is sponsored by the great people at My Gift Stop

Last Minute Holiday Gifts for Everyone on your List!

Hey guys! Did you know there are only 10 days left until Christmas? 10! Wow, it feels like I just stuffed myself with turkey and pumpkin pie! Time sure is flying by! Do you have any last minute shopping to do?  If you are like me, of course!

I’d like to introduce you to a great place online to seek out last minute holiday gifts – My Gift Stop – an online shop founded in 2002 that offers luxury goods at fantastic prices.  My Gift Stop has direct relationships with manufacturers, and being an official retailer of some of the most popular brands in the world, allows them to offer luxury goods (such as watches, bags, jewelry, shoes, fragrances, etc) at amazing prices.

Another great feature of My Gift Stop is that they offer reward points just by signing up, making a purchase or referring a friend. Reward points can be used towards $10, $20 or $30 gift cards.

Ladies, if you are looking for a great gift for the man in your life, My Gift Stop has a wonderful selection of watches he’s sure to love. One such watch that immediately caught my eye when I was browsing was the Luminox 3059.SET Men’s Scott Cassell Orange Dial Dive Watch & Interchangeable Strap Set. This watch also comes with 3 interchangeable straps. Luminox 3059.SET men’s Scott Cassell orange dial dive watch & interchangeable strap set is brand new and comes in an original Luminox gift box and is backed by a 2 years store warranty. It’s retail price is normally $450, but it’s on sale right now for $218.99 (plus an extra 8% off with coupon code XMAS8).

You can buy watches online through My Gift Stop like the one above and in time for Christmas! As a Go Ask Your Daddy reader, you can save an additional 5% off your purchase using code: INFGOASKDADDY5.

Direct Relief Support

My Gift Stop donates 5% of every sale to Direct Relief. Direct Relief provides support to those impacted by poverty or by disasters. Whenever you make a purchase through My Gift Stop, you can be proud to say part of your purchase goes to make a difference in the lives of those who need help.

Toddler Basketball Season is Here

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Ah, it’s cold and snowy outside, so that means it’s basketball season! I’m coaching my 3 year old’s 4U basketball team this season. Last night was our first “practice.” I was really excited to start off the season because I’ve coached all of my kids at this age. Kids this young need to be introduced to basic fundamentals, fair play and teamwork.

I wasn’t sure how my son was going to do last night. He seemed to be really excited during the week and kept telling me I was going to be “Coach Daddy.”  He actually made it through almost half of the practice, and did a great job running, dribbling and passing. Then, there was a point in time where he had enough and decided he was going to sit the rest of the practice out.

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I remember when I coached my 9 year old in 4 and under basketball, I had to carry her in my arms while running up and down the court with the team during games.  My 11 year old threw his own tantrums, and my 8 year old cried some. It’s easy to get frustrated, but it’s very important to stay positive with them and encourage them along. It seems easier to quit and not have to deal with the fits, but what does that teach them? An NBA shooting coach once told me that it’s critical we make our kids see the entire season through to completion. If our kids learn to persevere through a simple basketball game, they’ll learn to persevere through other life events. There may be times when my son won’t want to step out on the court, but it doesn’t mean that I should give up on him.

If you are a parent watching your child participate in sports, I’m going to tell you the same thing the NBA coach above told me: Put your phone and other devices away during practices and games. Focus 100% of your attention on your child. When your child does something well, he or she shouldn’t have to look into the stands to see your face in your phone. Encourage your child through the difficult times and praise them when they do something exciting during the game. BE PRESENT!

I don’t know how the rest of the season is going to go, but I’m really looking forward to spending quality time with my son. I believe it’s very important that he be around kids his age and learn valuable life skills he’ll remember forever. As a coach, I have the opportunity to influence these young toddlers to love the game of basketball, participating in organized sports down the road and building life-long skills.

2 Years Blogging + The 7 Best Tips I’ve Learned Along The Way

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission. Thank you for supporting me!

Guys!!! Guess what??  It’s my 2 year blog-a-versary!  I can’t believe I’ve kept with this for so long and am still going strong with it. Blogging has been hard work, but a really fun side gig for me. I still occasionally go back and read my first posts from 2015 and chuckle a little (laughing now!).

I’ve learned so much along the way in the past 2 years, so I’d like to share the top 5 things I feel are the most important in running a successful blog.

2 Years Blogging + The 7 Best Tips I've Learned Along The Way

1. Don’t be spammy

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived at someone else’s blog to read their content and was immediately met with some sort of advertisement or promotion. Don’t get me wrong, monetizing a blog is a great way to earn extra income, but there’s a fine line between proper ad presentation and shoving that crap in my face. I don’t want to have to minimize a ton of pop ups just to get to your main blog. If that’s the case, I’m hitting the close button on my browser.

I follow the same rule above for affiliate links as I do for banner ads. You may have read one of my earlier posts where I said that I only insert one affiliate link per one thousand words. If you stick to that rule, search engines will love your site. Can you believe that 9 out of 10 blogs I visit where there are obvious affiliate links promote their links within the first paragraph? It’s b.s. Please don’t be one of those bloggers!

2. Organize your thoughts well

Ok guys, so I’m totally OCD. I am not embarrassed to say that, nor am I trying to change myself. I am who I am. Being so OCD really forces me to want to organize my thoughts. I’m one of those crazy people who use outlines for every blog post.

Outlines help me to make some sense of the madness that is the brainstorming going on inside my head. I find myself sticking closer to my topics when I create an outline versus when I just sit down and write. I’m not saying by any means that sitting down to write without an outline is necessarily bad, but there is a greater chance you aren’t staying as organized.

Believe me, there are some bloggers who write very well. This doesn’t just happen at one sitting. Like myself, many other bloggers put days, and sometimes weeks, into one blog post to make it perfect. Writing a perfectly organized blog post is a craft. I am jealous of those where this happens organically! For me, I have to put a lot of thought and rewriting into my work. Do whatever works for you to stay organized.

3. Be careful allowing guest posts

Guest posting is all the rage for bloggers these days. It’s a great way to allow someone else to post their content on your blog so that it will drive traffic your way. It’s also a fantastic way to build connections with other like-minded bloggers. But, be careful allowing guest posts. If you are going to allow them on your site, create firm guidelines and stick to them.

I have backed off from allowing most guest posts today unless it’s a paid opportunity. I probably get 20-30 requests per week from other bloggers who say “I’m a big fan of your work” and “my post would be perfect for your site.” I’m not buying it for one second.

4. Provide value to your readers

We can write all day and all night, but if what we are writing provides no value to our readers, what is the purpose of our blogs? Too many bloggers tend to focus on writing what interests them, and fail to recognize the poor value it provides to their readers.

How do you provide value? Research has shown that readers love posts that provide helpful and detailed information. Writing tutorial or how-to posts is a great way to convey value to your readers. Love a particular product?  Write a helpful product review. You can also stray away from the writing part of it and create podcasts or videos to reach your audience on an even more personal level.

5. Be active on social media

Your static blog site isn’t the only place where you can reach your audience. More and more bloggers are taking to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Snap Chat. In the early beginnings of my own blog, I wasn’t doing very much blog post promotion anywhere other than Facebook. Pinterest is now one of the best referrers of traffic to my site.

When I say to be active on social media, I don’t mean spam your accounts with your blog posts. I mean to engage with your readers, post meaningful comments and have thoughtful conversations with your audience. Twitter chats are a great place to start doing this.

Facebook groups are becoming more and more popular these days. Not only can you find groups that focus on your niche, you can connect with like-minded bloggers, find more bloggers to follow and capture some really cool ideas for your own blog. I will say, being a Facebook group owner, make sure to follow the group rules. It’s important not to join just to spam a group with your content. It’s a great way to get removed from the group. Most groups, like my own, have their own rules you must follow to remain an active member.

6. Mix up your content

It’s important to show your readers that there’s an actual human running your blog. If you post about the same exact thing every day, even if it’s your niche, you’ll struggle to get a lot of followers. Did you take an interesting family vacation? Share your experience, even if you don’t normally write about family activities.

7. Keep it short and sweet

The longer your blog posts, the harder it is for your readers to stay interested long enough to read it. My rule of thumb is to stay as close to the 1,000 word mark or below as possible. Most of your readers don’t dedicate more than a few minutes of their time browsing for information, so keeping things short and sweet is a good way to maximize the time in which you have their attention. Don’t just write fluff so that your post looks longer. Always get right to the point.

And now it’s YOUR turn!

How long have you been at this blogging thing? Have you found other tips that have helped you succeed? Share in the comments below.

Helpful Tips On Choosing A Mattress For Kids

Helpful Tips On Choosing A Mattress For Kids

With all the options available in the market today, finding the best mattress for your child can be difficult. There are so many brands, styles and models that choosing one can be quite a tedious task. Luckily for you, we have gathered some of the most helpful tips that can make your life easier.

  • Find the correct size

One of the most important considerations if you are buying a mattress is its size. This will, of course, depend on what your child needs. Many parents nowadays opt for a twin size mattress, which is ideal if your children will be sharing a single room. However, if you have a big space, a full-size mattress is recommended. This mattress is great for cuddling and story time since it is larger. A bigger mattress is also better if you intend to make your child’s space double as a guest room.

  • Check the materials used

Since there are children who are allergic to synthetic materials, many manufacturers now offer organic mattresses. This type is usually made of cotton, silk or wool. To be sure, do not be afraid to ask the store about it and also, read the manufacturer’s label. The bed is a safe space for your child and this will not be possible if he/she will suffer allergic reactions because of the materials used.

You should also take note of harmful chemicals which may have been used in building the mattress. For example, if it has polyvinyl chloride, it can have carcinogenic emissions, which are known to cause cancers.

  • Choose the proper style

Another important factor to consider is the style. Do you like the traditional one with an innerspring or the one with water or latex foam? According to reports, the former is still the most popular, although, at the end of the day, it will still depend on your preference. Just always keep in mind that proper support is crucial for your child to have a good sleep. A mattress that provides a great support will prevent rolling and discomfort.

  • Go for something that will last for a long time

In most cases, mattresses can be used for many years. Because of this, you may want to think of it as an investment. If you want something that will last for a long time, is reliable and durable, you may want to go for a brand that offers high quality products. Take the time to check out reviews and feedback before deciding what to get. You can always ask for recommendations from your families and friends. The more you know about the product you are eyeing to buy, the better.

Also, remember that if you buy an inexpensive and low quality one, there is a higher chance that you will have to replace it sooner.

  • Get a brand new mattress if possible

And while used mattresses are a lot cheaper, it is best to get brand new if possible. Used ones have likely accumulated not only bed bugs and molds, but also bacteria. Just like what we have mentioned earlier, think of it as an investment. Even if you will be spending more with a new mattress, we can assure you that it is worth it.

  • Ask for the opinion of your child

If your child is big enough, you can always ask for opinions. Transitioning to a big bed can be frightening for some kids so if you include them in the decision making, it may help them positively.

You can check out various mattresses and let them choose the most comfortable for them. Some of the most important questions you can ask include, “Are you comfortable in that mattress?”, “Is it too hard or too soft?” and “Are you contented with the size?” Listen to what your child has to say to help you come up with the best decision.

There you have it! These are just some of the most useful tips when choosing a mattress for your kid. This task may be daunting especially because there are so many factors to consider, but hopefully, the tips we have listed above will help make the process a whole lot easier.

10 Ways You Are Destroying Your Blog

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission. Thank you for supporting me!

Did you ever think that instead of making your blog sizzle that you are actually hurting it???

Yes, it’s possible. And too many bloggers are guilty of this than you’d think. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Blogging is a huge investment of time, focus, energy, and money. Just like any other business, the more you put into it, the better the output.

Are you guilty of hurting your blog? You may be and not even realize it. Take a look at 10 big ones I’ve identified below and see if you fell victim to any (or all) of them.

10 Ways You Are Destroying Your Blog

1. You picked the wrong niche

If you don’t pick the right niche, you’re in for loads of trouble. Picking a niche where you can be successful is important to do right away. If you start off blogging in a niche you know nothing about, you are going to have a hard time selling confidence to your readers. Trust me when I say you should pin down the right niche well before posting your first piece. It’s so much easier to switch your niche before you’ve purchased a domain name, designed your blog, and written 10+ posts.

When I was thinking about what my niche was going to be, I wrote down topics that interested me. I’m a dad, so naturally writing about my parenting experiences made sense. I also enjoy helping others learn how to blog, so that was another opportunity. If you are a basketball player, does it make sense to start a baseball sports blog? Probably not. Same holds true with any other niche. Don’t dive into a world of unfamiliarity. Stick with what you know and what you are good at. Remember, you are writing for your readers. If you sound like you have no clue what you are talking about, you are going to lose your readers’ trust (and probably see a spike in unsubscribe emails!).

2. You’re too focused on making money

Far too many bloggers only start a blog to make money, but fail to realize that connecting with their readers and instilling value in what they write is what drives more affiliate sales. If you are too focused on banner ads, affiliate links and other monetization tactics, you become less focused on creating high quality content. The advice I always give other bloggers is to establish a readership first, then jump into monetizing.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to want to try to earn money from your blog. Monetizing a blog can be a great way of earning extra income. As a daddy of 4 kids, and a household of 6 people, I’ll take any extra side income I can get. Don’t let the idea of earning money take over. Yes, you should try to monetize with affiliate links, but it should be a background to your main content.

3. You aren’t self-hosted

If you are serious about blogging, and I mean serious enough to want thousands of followers, you must go the self-hosted route. When you don’t have a professional domain name and stick with a free blog URL, you limit yourself and you tarnish your reputation from the start. To be taken seriously, you have to look serious.

Which blog are you going to visit first? www.makemillionsofdollars.com or www.makemillionsofdollars.wordpress.com? Probably the first one, right? Some bloggers have actually argued with me that it doesn’t matter as long as the content is superb. I politely disagree with them that your blog is like your marketing material. Spend the time and money necessary to make it WORK FOR YOU not AGAINST YOU!

4. Your blog’s design sucks

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the overall design of your blog is crucial to its success. If everything isn’t displayed and organized wisely, your readers will become confused. Make sure you have a theme that’s mobile-friendly, and a layout that puts your best foot forward.

Do not use the default WordPress theme. I know it’s simple and already ready for you, but resist the temptation! If you do, you are going to shout to the blogging world that you didn’t take the time to make your blog unique. Need a theme? I highly recommend ThemeIsle.

5. You don’t plan ahead

Are you guilty of this one? I think all bloggers can say that we have sometimes felt rushed to get a post published versus planning ahead to make sure the post will perform well. One way I stopped myself from doing this is by creating an outline for every post. An outline forces me to stop, organize all of those potentially great thoughts in my head, and make my post flow with a great introduction, a sizzling body, and a well-planned call-to-action. If you do this every time, your blog posts will look more organized.

6. You don’t provide any value to your readers

I can sit here and write all day until my hands are numb, but if the content I’m spitting out isn’t helpful or valuable, I’m just wasting everyone’s time. My rule of thumb is that if my post doesn’t teach someone something, or provide valuable information to help them, I don’t post it. I see so many other bloggers just writing to write. That’s fine that you chronicle every freaking marathon you run, but how does that help me?

7. You aren’t using social media to your advantage

Social media is so important to my blog. I depend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to help spread the word about my posts, as well as give my readers an insight to who I am when I’m not blogging. If you aren’t already connecting all of your blog posts to social media, now’s a great time to start. If you are using WordPress, you can connect most of them through your sharing settings.

8. You focus on yourself first

I want to elude back to the blogger that only writes about running marathons. Every time I read one of these posts, I wonder when he/she is going to focus on what their readers want and need. Focusing on yourself makes it very difficult for your readers to become engaged and see value in following you.

You may argue that your blog’s content should be about you, because you are the blogger after all, right? Wrong. If you are trying to gain followers and their trust, you have to focus on their needs. Does this mean you can’t ever write a post about yourself? Of course not, but not every post should focus on you. This post I wrote today focuses on my own experience as a blogger and how that experience can help other bloggers succeed.

9. Your images are low quality

If you aren’t using high quality images on your site today, you are damaging your reputation. Images add so much engagement and value to your site. While there are multiple free stock image sites available, try taking your own pictures to make your site more personal. Images do a great job of driving SEO and also are good ways to break up your content. I’m a visual learner, so if I see a picture that goes along with an idea, I do a better job of making connections and understanding what I’m reading.

10. Your email marketing strategy isn’t working

How many of us can say we are actively emailing our subscribers? If you can’t say it, you are missing out on talking directly to your readers. Use your content marketing system already in place to reach out to your readers and gauge their wants and needs. Selling affiliate products? Email marketing is a great forum to announce a great product you support and use. DON’T use this as an opportunity to spam your readers. Not only will you look spammy, but you’ll lose readers in the process.

Sound off…

What other ways have you found that have been detrimental to your blog? I’d love to add them to this list. Let me know in the comments!

15 Little Tricks To Get More Blog Traffic

Do you find yourself looking for new ways to drive traffic to your blog? Have you tried different tips and tricks to boost traffic only to find the same low stats every day? If you are like me, you are doing everything possible to increase engagement on your wonderfully written blog posts, but are coming up empty.

Today, I’d like to give you 15 little tricks that will help boost your blog traffic.

15 Little Tricks To Get More Blog Traffic

1. Write in first person

One of my biggest pet peeves when reading other blog posts is when the author doesn’t write in first person. Many bloggers make this mistake and as a result come across as less personal. The key to connecting with your readers is to write as if you are having a personal conversation with them.

2. Share multiple times

If you don’t already have a blog post schedule, now’s the time to make one. Share your content on a regular basis – new and old. Social media changes by the second so you want to make sure you expose your content to as many eyes as possible on a regular basis. Don’t spam your readers! There’s a big difference between spamming your readers’ email boxes vs regular promotion.

3. Post 3-4 times per week

Putting out new content 3-4 times per week will show your readers that you blog on a regular basis and are actively responding to feedback. Some bloggers will say they only produce 1-2 long posts per week, but it’s also a good idea to mix it up and share a few shorter posts. Focus more on the quality of the convent versus the word count.

4. Join Facebook groups

If you aren’t already a part of Facebook groups aimed at blogger promotion, now’s a great time to search for some in your niche. Be aware of the rules and participation requirements for the groups you join. There are many out there with strict rules and will ban members who don’t follow them. Start by joining my own group, Blogger Share and Promo Group.

5. Be active on social media

Social media is a gold mine for bloggers wanting more traffic. If you are not very active on Facebook or Twitter today, you are missing out on a potential boost in traffic. Create a Facebook page for your blog and share your blog content on it. Share your content across all of your main social media platforms and be sure to respond to comments immediately.

6. Link to other posts on your blog

I make it a rule to try to link to at least 2 of my older blog posts in every new post I write. Why? You connect your readers to more valuable information and keep them on your site longer. The longer a reader is on your site the more likely he or she will share your content.

7. Use a mobile-friendly theme

If you are using WordPress, you can filter down to only the themes that are mobile friendly. The majority of readers today are accessing your content through a mobile device, so make it easy for them to navigate your site. If you aren’t sure if your theme is mobile-friendly, pull it up on your phone and test it out.

8. Email your subscribers regularly

If you don’t already have a place for your readers to join your mailing list, take the steps today to get it set up so that you can begin sharing your content with your subscribers. I personally use MailChimp because of its wide variety of features and ease of use. Depending on your subscriber size, you may have to upgrade to their paid plan. One great feature of MailChimp I like is that it can send a list of all of the posts you published for the week to your subscriber list.

9. Comment on other blogs

One of the great ways to get your name out there is to simply read other blogs in your niche and make genuine comments on posts that interest you. Not only will you network with other bloggers, you’ll get the chance to share your own content with their followers.

10. Share with family and friends

Most of us probably don’t realize that there is a great source of traffic right at our fingertips. Our family and friends are great people to not only read and comment, but pass on the good content along to their friends. Just imagine if everyone in your family shared your content with their friends how much traffic you could get from it.

11. Ebay

How many of you have thought of eBay as a platform to draw in traffic to your blog? If you are one that sells products on eBay on a regular basis, simply add your blog URL with more information on the product for sale so that your customers can make an informed decision (and send you traffic!).

12. Join Blog Linkups

Blog linkups are regularly scheduled events created by bloggers for other bloggers to meet up and share their content. Many times, the link ups will have specific themes for each week/month.  Joining a link up means you share your content with other participating bloggers, thus increasing exposure to your blog. If you do join a linkup, read the participation rules and make sure to meet all of the sharing requirements.

13. Guest Post

If you haven’t provided guest posts up to this point in your blogging career, consider making it part of your regular blogging routine. Guest posting is a great way to have your content shared with many readers.

14. Host a Contest or Giveaway

One of the best (and fun) ways to draw traffic to your blog is to host a contest or giveaway. I periodically get emails from brands asking if I’d review a product for them and write a blog post about it. My usual response is to ask for a 2nd product that I can use as a giveaway item. Sometimes I reach out to brands directly and ask if they would be willing to provide one or two items for my giveaway. Make sure you are giving away quality products that people are interested in.

15. Create a video

Videos are a great way to get your face out there to your readers and allows them to hear your voice vs the words on a page. If you already have a ton of great content, you can take the post and turn it into a video tutorial or casual conversation. Create a YouTube channel and make sure to include a great description to draw in more search traffic.

Your turn

What tips and tricks do you have that have helped you grow your blog traffic? Share in the comments below!