Family And Love: Grow, Don't Destroy

Family And Love: Grow, Don’t Destroy

There is a thin line between a loving family relationship and a nightmare family crisis. It is a lot thinner than you may think, and unfortunately a lot quicker to cross too. Most people, who end up in a difficult family situation, have at a moment or another forgotten to feed their family with love. It sounds simplistic, but in truth, love is an art that is difficult to master. Things don’t always go according to plan. People are not always easy to deal with. In fact, there is no perfect family. But there are families that try harder than others at protecting their togetherness and building their happiness. The best tool that you can use for this is love, as you would have probably guessed. Admittedly it takes a little more than just loving each other really hard to make it work. Family is hard work! But here are some keys to help you along the way.

Learn To Love: Creating A Solid Nucleus

Most families struggle with what they call difficult relatives. If you are perfectly honest, everyone is a difficult relative, including you. That is simply because nobody is perfect; consequently, your behavior might seem incomprehensible to someone else. There is no solution other than understanding that you need to maintain a healthy and honest relationship to each other. It is okay to let people know that they have hurt you, but you need to give them the chance to come back too. It is important to maintain a healthy communication with your family, and not to walk away. The only way to sort things out is to work on them together.

Spread The Love: Grow The Family

Then, when your family nucleus is strong and can sustain pressure, this is generally the time when most people consider growing the family. There are a variety of ways to grow your family and spread your love. For some, it’s about adopting a pet to love and cherish – if this is your case and you are still trying to decide about it, OurFavoritePets.com has a great article on finding the ideal pet for your family. For others, it’s about deciding to have a child. There is no right or wrong, and your decision will also depend on your situation in your professional and financial life. As a general rule of the thumb, it’s best to consider children when you are sure that you have a stable situation and a decent home. But you probably know that already!

Family And Love: Grow, Don't Destroy

Why not grow the family with a puppy?

Share The Love: Get Things Right From The Start

Most families tend to start the day together, around a family breakfast. This is the moment when you can make sure that everyone feels loved and cared for. It might sound a little silly, but life keeps people busy during the day. On GoAskYourDaddy.com, you’ll find tips to cut down the daily stress. It’s important to maintain your togetherness day after day. This means looking after yourself and your relatives: From investing into a great coffee machine – it’s best to bond over a cup of coffee than sleepy pillow heads – going for a morning jog together.

5 Reasons Why No One Cares About Your Blog

Hey gang! Are you one of those bloggers struggling to get comments, likes, and shares on your shiny new blog post? Are you getting frustrated at the end of the month to see that you’ve actually LOST followers? For many bloggers, the only sound in the world they hear after posting what they think is the best blog post they’ve ever written is the sound of chirping crickets.  Sound like you? If so, this post is perfect for you!

Today, I’m going to talk about 5 reasons why this is happening and give you the tools you need to overcome this.

1 – You’re spitting out garbage

Producing high-quality content is CRITICAL in drawing in and maintaining readers. If you are posting just to post, it’s not going to get you anywhere. I don’t post a blog post unless I know that the content I’m writing solves a reader’s problem or provides guidance on an important topic.  The post I’m writing today helps solve a problem. You may think it’s fun to write about a random activity you did during the day, but to 99% of the rest of the world, it’s just not that interesting. Sorry to inform you, but it’s true.

Too many blogs I follow today seem to post 2-3 times a day with random, unimportant information. I usually just hit the delete button because I just am not interested in reading random gobbldy-gook.

Before you publish your next blog post, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I plan to accomplish with this blog post?
  2. Am I providing solutions to common problems that my readers experience?
  3. Is this information relevant to my readers?

If you can’t answer these questions with valid answers, chances are your post will not get many eyes on it. Think twice before posting it. Find ways to make that post interesting, useful, and valuable. If you can’t find ways, scrap it!

2 – Your site is hard to follow

Blog design and structure is so important in bringing in and retaining readers. If your site is covered with pop up ads and useless buttons all over the place, it’s going to make it very difficult to navigate and follow.  Limit your WordPress widgets! The more widgets you have, the slower your site will be.

When a visitor comes to your site, you have less than several seconds to impress (or detract) them. Make the most of the space you have to only include vital information about you, your blog, your social media contact information, and how to subscribe.

Your blog’s sidebar can be a very tempting place to throw in all of those “award” buttons you’ve collected, or all of your social media feeds. Keep in mind, though, while it’s not always a bad thing to have a full sidebar, each of those things you add to your sidebar contribute to the overall loading time of your site.  Not only that, but it also can make your site look cluttered. I recently removed all of my social media feeds from my sidebar. If someone wants to see my Twitter feed, they can follow me and view it on Twitter itself. Why waste valuable space on the sidebar?

3 – You’re posting too much

Yes, there is such thing as posting too many blog posts.  Unless you have groundbreaking news or information to share with your writers, don’t overwhelm their inbox with 10 posts a day. My personal goal is no more than 3 posts per week.  I spend the rest of my time participating in my Facebook groups, my Pinterest group boards, and engaging with other bloggers.

The reason I spend so much of my time engaging with others is that your readers need to see that you are a genuine person, full of valuable ideas and information to share, and not just another one of the million plus bloggers trying to earn a quick buck.

Set a schedule for when and what you are going to post. Stick to it. There are going to be times when it’s ok to ignore that rule. As I’ve increased my following and influence in the blogging world, I get more opportunities to review products and host giveaways. Since those come in unannounced most of the time, I usually prioritize them and post them right away.  But, in general, never bombard your readers with tons of worthless blog posts unless you have a damn good reason!

4 – You’re not promoting enough

No one will read your posts if they don’t know about it.  Utilize your social media channels to promote your valuable content. Use keywords and the right hashtags to make your posts fall under more eyes. Make SEO research part of your posting process.

There are many good tools to help you share your content. I personally use Hootsuite to schedule blog posts to Facebook and Twitter. I also recommend trying out Tailwind and Boardbooster for your Pinterest account.  While there are fees tied to all of these, sometimes you’ve got to put a little money into it to get a good rate of return.

The bottom line is – just hitting the publish button isn’t enough. No one will see your post unless they have subscribed to your blog. Your key is to draw in NEW readers while retaining CURRENT readers. Here’s how I share each and every post I publish:

5 – You don’t own a domain name

How many times have you seen someone with a blogname.wordpress.com URL and thought to yourself – FREE blog? NOT having a customized domain name that truly reflects your blog topics is a big turnoff! Spend the less than $10 per year it takes to own your own domain and self-host your blog. When I see someone’s blog URL isn’t customized, I move on and don’t value the information they’re sharing.  I’m 99% sure other serious bloggers do the same.

Time to get to work!

If any of the above applies to you, it’s time to get to work. Procrastinating on making these changes only continues to hurt you. Spend the time and money it takes to get a good blog moving in the direction of a great blog. If you identify with making any of these mistakes, the time is now to improve!

There are resources out there to help. I recommend my Blogging Tools and Tips Pinterest group board as a good place to start. There are over 2,000 pins strictly about blogging from seasoned professionals on this board.  Sort through them and see if any of them strike a chord with you. I’ve found unending value from reading how others do things and applying what I’ve learned to my own site.

Join my Blogger Share and Promo Facebook group.  We are all about sharing content, providing advice, and helping each other’s blogs grow.

Until next time!

8 Things You Can Do to Quadruple Blog Traffic

8 Things You Can Do to Quadruple Blog Traffic

Hey, you know the deal, I gotta tell you that this post contains affiliate links. 

I haven’t been a blogger for long – just over 1 year to be exact. In that time I’ve learned a lot of what to do and what NOT to do. There are 8 specific steps you can take today to make your blog’s traffic increase light-years ahead of where it is today. I’m really excited to share these 8 steps with you today in hopes that you will experience the same success that I have.

Increase Word Length

8 Things You Can Do to Quadruple Blog Traffic

It’s been proven that Google, as well as the other search engines out there, love longer posts. But, you shouldn’t just focus on hitting 1,000 words per post.  If your content doesn’t help anyone solve a problem, or provide a wealth of knowledge, what good is word count? Specific examples and specific directions lead to more blog engagement.

I challenged myself as a part of my New Year’s resolutions to write posts with a minimum of 800 words.  The posts where I’ve hit or exceeded this target have seen higher engagement and page views. Rather than throwing together 2-3 500 word blog posts per week, I reduced my blog posts to 1-2 longer-crafted posts focused on real engagement.

When I reviewed my older blog posts, I quickly came to notice that the shorter blog posts still did ok, but they weren’t ground-breaking. I was lucky to get 10 views on them.  Occasionally, they would see higher views, but not to the extent that my longer posts get.

Make the Sharing Process a No-Brainer

8 Things You Can Do to Quadruple Blog Traffic

Have you ever been to another blog post and tried to figure out where the share bar was? You read some super cool content, but now have no easy way to share it. Bummer, right? It is YOUR job as the author to make it a breeze to share content across multiple mediums.

Since I use WordPress to run my blog, I rely on Shareaholic buttons.  Shareaholic is a simple WordPress plugin that makes sharing content across dozens of social media accounts so easy. I use the float buttons on the left side of my blog and make it easy for readers to click and share. It shouldn’t be harder than that.  If readers are having to scroll to find your share buttons, click on a drop down menu, or even go to another page, you’re set up to fail. MAKE IT SIMPLE!!

Focus on Pinterest

Pinterest is by far my most engaging social media account.  Not only do I share a lot of other content across multiple boards, but every time I create a blog post, I’m posting it to one or more Pinterest boards.

Join group boards and become a collaborator on boards that fit your niche. You’ll find that repins will easily quadruple with the use of automatic scheduling apps such as Tailwind or Boardbooster. Yes, there is a fee to use these services, but it’s worth it in the end. For a small price, you can dramatically blast traffic well beyond where you ever thought was possible.

I spent all of February doing nothing but reworking all of my images to be friendly for Pinterest. I had hundreds of blog posts – but all of them got worked over again. Making your images Pinterest friendly is key to seeing higher engagement and repins.

Oh yeah, and please don’t set up a Pinterest account without creating matching cover photos for all of your boards. It’s worth it!  It makes your account look professional, clean, and consistent. Do it. No matter how much time it may take.

Content is Key

No matter what else you do to your blog –  whether it be a new theme, shiny banner ads, or slick widgets running down the sidebar, no one is going to give a rat’s ass about your blog unless you write useful and helpful content. This is why it’s so important to pick your niche right away and go with it. Writing on a slew of various topics and not keying in on your niche will set you up for a very useless blog. As a matter of fact, there are a few blogs I’ve unsubscribed from over the past few weeks for that reason. Some bloggers are just spitting out crap every day just to post. I guess that’s OK if you aren’t trying to build a brand.  Quality vs quantity is ALWAYS better!

So, I’m going to give you a challenge for reworking your content. Go back through each post and find at least 2 more ways to present the content. Did you know that some blog posts can easily become videos or slide shows?  Creating your content in more than one medium GREATLY increases the opportunity to increase views. Try it!

Cut out Crap

8 Things You Can Do to Quadruple Blog Traffic

We all have crap on our blogs that we know isn’t the best content.  If you are unable to find use for it, or rework it into valuable content, hit the DELETE button immediately. I went through every single blog post over the course of 30 days, and deleted the crap off of my blog. You want to put your best foot forward every time you create a post.

I had a weekly linky party that wasn’t getting much attention, but took a lot of time to manage and schedule. I cut it out of my regular posts and opened up more time to try newer and better things. Of course, what works for me may not work for you. If something is drawing in a ton of views, by all means don’t cut it out. Be smart about it!

Reviews and Giveaways

8 Things You Can Do to Quadruple Blog Traffic

I’ve hosted a few giveaways, and I can tell you there is a lot of interest in FREE STUFF! If you don’t have a product of your own to offer, don’t cry. I’ve reached out to multiple companies to request free stuff for the purpose of an honest review and giveaway. Sometimes the company may not respond, sometimes they may say no, but most of the time you’ll get some sort of sample.

When I wrote my latest review of Candy Club, I emailed my affiliate marketing contact to ask for a free box of candy to review. They gave me what I asked for, and as a result, I was able to draw in a lot of attention to that blog post.  And, the candy was absolutely delicious too!

Product reviews should be written in such a way that readers feel your honesty. Just because you get a free product to review doesn’t mean you have to be 100% positive about it. There are going to be times when you get a really crappy product to review. It is your responsibility to share your experiences and opinions with your readers. If you give them fluff on every review, they will move on to another review. Be honest, be candid, and be detailed!

Network

I can’t tell you how much impact being a part of Facebook groups and Pinterest boards has been in growing my network of blogging friends and boosting my traffic. One of the best ways to get your name out there is to respond to comments, form friendships with niche bloggers, and be a friend to all of those on their blogging journey as well.

I run my own Facebook group, Blogger Share and Promo Group.  As I have transitioned to more of a blogger about blogging vs a blogger about parenting and sports, I’ve been able to join specific groups of like-minded bloggers to share content and swap advice.  The information I have gained from these groups is so valuable!  By the way, it’s a small group right now, but I’m always welcome to adding new members.

Remember when I was talking about Pinterest above? Well, I also have a group board called Blogging Tools and Tips.  I’ve grown from a few pins to over 2,200 pins with over 40 collaborators. Make it a point to always follow every member of your groups and to welcome them. Be the one that opens up that first line of communication. The more ideas that are shared, the better we will all become at blogging. Make it intentional!  And, who doesn’t like their content to be shared?

Don’t Ignore Your Email List

Uh oh, I may be guilty of this one. I haven’t done much with my email list yet. I have about 60 subscribers, but right now they only get emails when I post something on my blog. I think I’m hesitant to do much more than that just because I haven’t had much experience using subscription services. I signed up for MailChimp and have a simple subscription form on my sidebar, but my goal is to really use my email list to drive affiliate sales and grow my following.

Hit the Ground Running!

I hope these tips are beneficial to you.  They have been so incredibly important to me as I have grown my following.  If you ever have any questions on any of the tips above, please email me at jeremy@goaskyourdaddy.com.  I hope you continue to succeed in your quest to high traffic!

How to Keep Calm When Money's Running Low

How to Keep Calm When Money’s Running Low

This post contains affiliate links. Go Ask Your Daddy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

 

Why Trust National Debt Relief

There’s no doubt about it – money issues are stressful for anyone. Whether you are single, or you have a large family, when the cash stops flowing and the bills pile up, no one is feeling at ease. But, it doesn’t have to always be a stressful time. There are ways to manage income and expenses to keep everyone calm and to get back on track.

Let’s begin…

Make A List

What do you bring in?  What do you owe? Write down everything so that you can look at everything flowing in and out of your household each month. I recommend Quicken to track everything. If you are familiar with using Quicken, it is so easy to import your bank account and categorize everything so that you won’t miss anything.

Make a list of everyone’s net income.  Net income is after everything comes out of your paycheck. Then, make a list of every regular monthly expense.  Try to be exact. You’ll want to capture utilities, mortgages, insurance, tuition, credit cards, student loans, etc. No expense should stay off the list unless you’v eliminated it.

Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses

Cutting expenses is easier than you might think.  Just today, I cut my Dish Network bill from $129 per month to $75 by adjusting my programming package.  I then saved $40 with AT&T by calling their Customer Loyalty department and negotiated my internet from $80 per month down to $40.

Other ways to cut expenses include calling your utilities (water, trash, sewer, electric, gas) and setting your accounts up on budget billing.  Budget billing averages out your last 12 months of usage and creates a steady monthly payment.  This means no surprises come bill time.

Analyze how often you dine out. Do you eat out at restaurants 2-3 times a week? Cut it down to 1, or even 0. Make eating out a luxury or a reward for a special accomplishment.

Look at what you spend at the grocery store.  Buying store brands, using coupons, and only buying what you need will help make a huge dent in your grocery bill. Never go to the grocery store hungry. I’ve made that mistake way too many times.

Analyze Your Paycheck

Another great place to save money is by looking at your paycheck. Do you have the right amount of taxes withheld? Visit www.irs.gov for advice on how to calculate how many exemptions you qualify for, and adjust your paycheck accordingly.

Do you have other items coming out of your paycheck that aren’t necessary? Although putting back money into a 401K is always a great idea, most employers allow you to adjust your contribution level at any time. May temporary adjustments to this level to adjust your paycheck in a positive direction.

Call a Credit Counseling Agency

A great place for anyone to go for credit counseling advice is with certified credit counseling agencies. If you are drowning in credit card, agencies such as National Debt Relief are equipped with many different debt management plan options. Here is the link to fill out the debt relief application.

Be cautious with the agencies you choose from, as many work for credit card companies and not for the consumer. Many agencies charge a fee to participate in plans, so make sure you aren’t hurting yourself instead of helping yourself. Most agencies will work with creditors to lower interest rates and reduce minimum payments to help you get caught up and pay off debt.

Don’t Fight About Finances

The number one problem in any household usually has to do with money issues. Fighting and blaming do no good. If you follow my recommendations above, you can alleviate pain and stress caused by financial disorder.  Keep a cool head and remember that you control the outcome.

There are going to be unavoidable times when couples disagree with finances. Marital counseling, as well as financial counseling, can both be positives in the midst of disaster. Never be afraid to admit when you need the help of outside parties.

Don’t Procrastinate

The last thing you want to do when you are experiencing debt problems is to procrastinate. Not only can late payments impact your credit rating, waiting to seek help only causes the debt and late fees to mount. Take action as soon as you know you are starting to have problems.  The earlier you start seeking help, the more likely you can obtain the help that you need.

Consider Legal Help

Many people simply dig themselves in too big of a hole to be able to dig out without help. There is no shame in consulting with a bankruptcy attorney.  Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, while they can be embarrassing, do work if all of the steps are followed.  While you will take years of a credit hit, sometimes its the only way to get completely out of debt.

When you file for bankruptcy, you are required to complete a credit counseling class before you are allowed to proceed.  Pay attention in these courses and make all efforts to follow the steps after the bankruptcy is over.

Bankruptcy may not be the right course of action for everyone, and I’m not an attorney, so seek professional help from a licensed attorney for assistance with your specific needs.

Over to You…

What ways have you found to help out your household in times of financial crisis? Share in the comments below.

Less Stress and Less debt is only 30 seconds away

Starting The Day Right As A Family

Starting The Day Right As A Family

The morning is one of the most vital parts of the day, and many families also find that it is surprisingly stressful. If you find it stressful, this probably means that you are not approaching it in the healthiest or most helpful manner. This can be an easy habit to slip into, but it is probably a good idea to try and change it if you find yourself and your family doing so. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to make the most of your mornings, so long as you follow a few basic ideas. That way, you should find that your whole family are much more ready to get going with the rest of their day.

Starting The Day Right As A Family

Pic Credit

Breakfast

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but do you actually ensure that you get a decent breakfast every morning? For you as well as your kids, having a good meal to start the day off is always going to be a vital thing, so make sure that you make this a priority, if it is not already. A good breakfast is one which is not too sugar-heavy or carb-heavy, but instead focuses on high levels of fiber. You can also treat yourself to a little coffee in the mornings to help you get going, if you like. If you do, make sure that you make decent coffee. This means you need to find the best coffee grinder for you, as well as the best beans. It really does make all the difference, and it can perk you up just when you need it.

Exercise

If you don’t already get a decent amount of exercise in the morning, then this might be one change that you really want to make. Although it might not seem like the most fun you can possibly have, the fact is that exercise is an essential part of living a long and healthy life. What’s more, the morning is the best time to exercise, as its many diverse benefits are greatly increased at this time of the day. If you can, get your kids involved as well, and you will soon be one of the healthiest families around. It doesn’t have to be that much exercise; even just a little will help greatly in keeping you active and fit and healthy.

Starting The Day Right As A Family

Pic Credit

Prayer Or Meditation

If you have some kind of faith, then you might find the morning a great time to indulge in that faith. Whatever religion or spiritual following you might be, take some time in the mornings to pay reverence to it, and this is sure to have some positive effects in the long run. For meditation in particular, you will find that a daily practice has a great way of keeping you centered in an increasingly chaotic world. If you choose prayer, then this can also help keep you in touch with yourself, and is likely to improve your morning greatly.

Labracadabrador: Which Dog Will Be Magic With Your Kids

Labracadabrador: Which Dog Will Be Magic With Your Kids

Labracadabrador: Which Dog Will Be Magic With Your Kids

Image source

If you have got a young family, then it is more than understandable why you wouldn’t want to add a dog to the equation. Dogs and children can grow to have the most incredible bond. But choosing a dog that will best allow this bond to blossom is a tough decision to make. That is why it is important that you make your choice based on these three main factors: temperament, size, and energy level.

Of course, the choice of breed is completely up to you, and could completely depend on your preference, and even your experience. However, in order to be of some use, we have read a little bit of research regarding dogs and kids, and these seem to be the best breeds to go with:

A Beagle

There is so much about a beagle that makes it the perfect dog for families with little ‘uns, not least their size. These dogs have the most wonderful temperament, and an incredible enthusiasm for the outdoors, which could prove to be a perfect characteristic for your exploring toddler. But that’s not all because they always seem to have the energy to play games (a characteristic that could sound a little familiar).

A Bulldog

Now, we haven’t read everything about bulldogs but, from what we have read, these animals seem to be completely devoted to kids, and nothing but affectionate and friendly too. What more could any parent want to hear? This is only part of the plusses, though, because their shape alone makes them the ideal companion for kids that love to play a little bit of rough and tumble. Of course, they aren’t the most energetic of dogs (you may be pleased to hear) but they are docile, friendly and loyal.

A Golden Retriever

Everything great you’ve ever heard about golden retrievers is true. They are known to be some of the smartest, confident, kind, caring and loyal dogs around. They have this unbelievable composure that makes them 100% compatible with kids. The two main characteristics that you may like to know about, however, is that they are both obedient and affectionate. Yeah, obedient. Imagine having someone in the house who actually listens to what you say? Sounds too good to be true, huh. Well, it’s not. They are incredible animals.

A Labrador

Okay, so we need to get this one off our chests before we can continue. What do you call a dog that performs magic? A labracadabrador. Sorry. Anyway, labrador’s are one of the most popular breeds out there because they are packed full of someone of the best ingredients ever. Playful, intelligent, loving, patient, reliable, obedient and protective. They known to be so easy to train as well. It’s amazing. Of course, they do require a fair bit of exercising. But that could be done by your never-out-of-breath child?

A Collie

Let’s get this one out there straightaway. Lassie was a border collie. Lassie! The dog that was able to save people who were stuck down wells. In short, collie’s are gentle, smart and predictable. They are obedient and kind too. Basically, they are excellent with kids.

America's Pastime is Back

America’s Pastime is Back

This post contains affiliate links

Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Champions

It’s that glorious time of year when America’s pastime returns for a brand new season. Ever since I was a tiny baby, I grew up learning about the game of baseball. I can remember my younger brother and I spending hours in our front yard (back yard if it was an away game) pretending to be stars from the Atlanta Braves.  We would pretend that the leaves hanging in the trees were the fans, and the large ditch at the front of our property was the home run area.

It seems just like yesterday that I took our old Snapper riding mower and mowed a baseball diamond in our yard. I’m not really sure if my mom and dad appreciated me doing that. My brother and I loved the game of baseball, and we shared our passion together almost every day in the summer.

My parents got me involved in baseball from the time I could swing a bat. I remember playing catcher on my t-ball team, and eventually, when I moved up to kid pitch, because infatuated with pitching. It was so enjoyable to go to the ballpark on Saturday mornings for games. I couldn’t wait for the game to start.  Everything throughout the week seemed to move slowly, until it was finally game day.

There is no greater feeling than cracking a triple with the bases loaded, or making a fabulous diving catch to save a run from scoring. I experienced it all.  Good winning seasons, bad losing seasons, and everything in between. I didn’t care if we won or lost, I just wanted to suit up and play the game.

I grew up in north Georgia, so naturally everyone in my hometown supported the Atlanta Braves. If you are about as old as me, or a little older, you probably remember how terrible many of the Braves’ seasons were.  It was horrific to go to Fulton County Stadium only to find less than 5,000 fans at a game. We had years and years of misery.

The 1990s were the absolute best time to watch the Braves. From the now very famous Sid Bream slide into home to the World Series title in 1995, the Atlanta Braves experienced more success than any other Major League Baseball team. The Braves were famous for star pitching – pitchers such as Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux should be familiar names in any sports household.

When I moved to Ohio in 2004, I went to my first Cincinnati Reds game. I immediately fell in love with the city of Cincinnati, Great American Ballpark, and the Reds organization. I didn’t know too much about the Reds, except for the Big Red Machine.  After years of terrible baseball, they finally started producing winning seasons. I was able to attend several division-clinching games – one was a walk-off home run.

Although I’m a Reds fan now, there’s always a special place in my heart for the team that got me loving baseball. Anytime I watch the Reds and Braves play, it’s always a joy to think back on my childhood.

This weekend marks a brand new season. What’s NOT to love about everything the game of baseball has to offer?  The crowds, the crack of the bat, the strategy, and the push through a 162-game season, all make baseball a unique sport from all the others. Some people complain that the game takes too long. I never thought one second about the length of games when I was growing up. Escaping to a MLB baseball game for 3-4 hours was all I ever wanted to do. I never thought things would change to make the game faster. I truly hope that the league keeps those traditions alive that make the game so great.

As a daddy, I am so lucky to be so close to a Major League ballpark, as well as a minor league team right here in our hometown. Instilling a love for baseball into my kids’ lives is a real treat for me. When I see them step up to the plate, they remind me of myself.  The smiles on their faces when they get a hit, or throw a runner out, makes it all worthwhile.

No matter what sport(s) your kids end up playing and loving, be a parent that is present in their games. Support their development, encourage them when they are down, and always keep your eyes on them during the game – PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN!  Kids want to see engaged parents who applaud and shout for joy – not face down in a phone. Make it a rule for everyone in the family – and stick to it!

Major League Baseball is Back

Major League Baseball is Back

Major League Baseball is Back

Major League Baseball is Back

What do you love most about baseball? Did you grow up playing the game?

 

Go Ask Your Daddy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

How I Made $618.10 With My Blog in March 2017 [Income Report]

How I Made $265.84 With My Blog in March 2017 [Income Report]

This post contains affiliate links

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Once a month I publish the income and expenses for running Go Ask Your Daddy. I hope you enjoy reading my blog month-to-month and share the excitement as I turn my blog into a business.  Did you miss my February report?  Check it out here.

March 2017 Blog Stats

Top 5 viewed blog posts of the month:

Highest referrring social media outlet:  Facebook – 957 views

Link clicks:  ShareASale.com – 42 clicks

Total unique visitors: 2,223 (+765 from February)

Total page views: 3,737 (+774 from February)

Total likes: 3 (-1 from February)

Total comments: 35 (-7 from February)

Total Facebook Likes: 1,427 (+ 109 from February)

Total Instagram Followers: 1,694 (-6 from February)

Total Twitter Followers: 1,775 (+175 from February)

Total Pinterest Followers: 7,152 (+689 from February)

Total Google+ Followers: 38 (-1 from February)

Blogger Share and Promo Group Members: 93 (+ 20 from February)

Blogging Tools and Tips Pinterest Group Board Collaborators: 42 (+3 from February)

Total Income for March 2017:

  • Adsense: $2.81 (-$.74 from February)
  • Sponsored Posts: $278.24 (-$351.52 from February)

Total: $281.05 

Total Expenses for March 2017:

  • Photoshop: $10.71
  • ManageWP: $4.50

Total: $15.21

Total Profit: $265.84

Making the Most Of Affiliate Links

Making the Most Of Affiliate Links

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated for purchases you make through them. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written several posts about affiliate marketing. Today, let’s talk about how to really make the most of the time and effort spent on affiliate links. Many bloggers fail to make any money off of affiliate marketing, but there are ways to maximize the opportunity.

Affiliate Marketing Definition

You see the term all the time, but what is it?  Basically, affiliate marketing, also known as affiliate advertising,  is the promotion of products and services in exchange for a commission. As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to push traffic in direction of a merchant’s website.  You earn commission whenever someone makes a purchase through the affiliate link on your site.  The amount of commission varies depending on which program you join.

How do Affiliate Links Work?

Each time you use an affiliate link inside a blog or social media post, there is a tracking cookie that is stored in the user’s browser to track sales. Merchant program their cookies to track a user’s purchase activity for different lengths of time.  For example, I may have a link with Candy Club that tracks a user’s activity for 30 days, while Cricut may track for 45. It all depends on the merchant. This information is disclosed to you up front when you apply to a specific affiliate’s program.

Driving Traffic to Merchants

The key to driving traffic to your affiliate merchants is by producing quality content. Writing quality blog posts, along with dropping in an affiliate link if there’s a product or service that relates to your post, will show your readers you are truly supporting what you write, and will prevent readers from thinking that all you are trying to do is sell something. Once you stop writing genuinely, you will lose credibility, and your subscribers won’t be far behind.

Ways to Share Affiliate Links

There are so many creative ways to share affiliate links.  Just because you are sharing them on your site doesn’t mean anyone is going to click on them and buy them. Here are several ways to creatively and effectively include affiliate links into your blog posts.

  • Banner Ads:  Banner ads are easy affiliate links to include on your blog. Simply paste the html code into your post and you’ve got a nice visual creative linked directly to your affiliate’s product. I usually use banner ads in addition to regular text links in my blog posts.
  • Tutorial posts:  Find products you want to promote, then write a post showing your users step-by-step instructions on how to use that product.
  • Persuasive posts:  Write a post comparing several products, persuading your readers to choose your affiliate’s products over a competitor product.
  • Product reviews:  Product reviews are one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to affiliate products. I wrote a review about Candy Club last week, and have already seen income from that post.  The key to product reviews is to only review products you would (and do) actually use. Readers can spot a fake a mile away. Again, the key is to be genuine about what you post.
  • Social Media: Social media is a great way to share affiliate links.  Most of the sales I have made have come from clicks originated from my social media posts.

Becoming an Affiliate

There are many different affiliate programs out there.  Here’s a list of popular ones:

When you log on to ShareASale or any other affiliate network, you get to see a grand list of all of the merchants that have signed up to participate in that network’s affiliate marketing program. Each merchant will set its own terms, conditions, and commission rates. It is your responsibility as an affiliate to read the fine print before you sign up for any program.

Once you have signed up for a program and the merchant has approved you, you now have access to all of that merchant’s coupons, discounts, banners, text links, and datafeed files. How you promote these links is totally up to you, but there are some guidelines set by the FTC that you must follow:

Disclosing Affiliate Links on Your Blog

The FTC requires bloggers promoting affiliate links to disclose this relationship to its readers. What does that mean?  Let’s explore in depth:

You’ve most likely been in a situation where you’ve had to sign a legal document.  A good example of this is when you buy a home. The seller is required to disclose certain conditions by law to you as the buyer so that you can make an educated decision.  It’s the same concept with disclosing affiliate links. Because we are making a commission off of a reader’s purchase through those links, we have to tell our readers this information so that they know. Consider it the “fine print” of your blog post.

The FTC’s purpose in requiring this disclosure is to continue to protect consumers when making online purchases. Consumers have the right to understand what they are buying.  It’s a good thing. If I were buying a car, I’d want the dealer to tell me if the car I’m buying has ever been in an accident.  If they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t be able to make the best educated decision because I’m being left in the dark about the condition of the car.

Bottom line:  Always, always, always include a clear disclosure in every post that contains affiliate links or banners.  Don’t link to a separate disclosure page on your blog, don’t put it within the body of the post, and definitely don’t put it at the bottom of the post. None of these methods are acceptable.  While you can have a separate disclosure page for your blog, it is not sufficient for the FTC. You must disclose affiliate links BEFORE the first link appears on your post. If you haven’t been disclosing, go back to old posts and add it. The FTC can fine you for violating this rule. Don’t take that risk!

Being Genuine Is The Key

Over everything you do to promote affiliate links, being genuine is the absolute best way of all to gain your readers’ trust in a product. I make it a practice of only recommending products I believe in and would/do use myself. Don’t waste your time just trying to make a quick buck by throwing up any affiliate links.  If you promote high-quality products and services you find useful, chances are, your rate of return will be much greater.

Some of the affiliate products I love and recommend you join include:

Over to You

How have you succeeded with affiliate links?  Was this post helpful in your quest to earning affiliate income?

Bouncing Back: How To Get Back To Normal After Life Knocks You Down

Bouncing Back: How To Get Back To Normal After Life Knocks You Down

Bouncing Back: How To Get Back To Normal After Life Knocks You Down

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We all know the old saying, you’ve got to roll with the punches. Well, do you ever feel like your life is a lot less rolling and a lot more punches? That no matter what you do life seems intent on knocking you to the ground and keeping you there? It’s something that everyone goes through periods like this but while it’s happening it can be really hard to see a way out. The very best thing that you can do if try your hardest to bounce back. The longer you let life keep you down, the harder it’s going to be to get up again. With that in mind, here are a few of the kinds of lumps that life is probably going to dish out, and how to bounce back from them and take charge of your life again.

An accident

There are few more traumatic things that a person can go through that suffering an accident of some kind. Whether you got hurt at work, at home, or out on the road. It’s especially bad if you’re hurt to the point where you can’t actually do many of the things that you really want to do. The first thing to do is to make sure that you’re covered in a legal sense. If you were in an accident while out driving and it wasn’t your fault, then you’re entitled to seek both justice and compensation for it. If you’re not sure about whether or you’re entitled to something like that then get some info on it. At the very least it gives you something to focus on. The next step is trying to get your life back to the way it was before. Even if you still can’t work or get around as much, try to stay active and do as much as you can. Laying around all day isn’t going to help you or anyone.

Getting fired

Getting fired isn’t just a disaster because you’re left without a paycheck. Of course, that is a part of it, but it can also have a serious long-term impact on your self-esteem and confidence levels. It can make it difficult to even think about trying to find another job. This is especially true if it was a job you’d worked at for a long time and given a lot of time and energy to. The important thing to remember is that changes happen throughout your life and all you can do is be ready to meet them head-on. Take this as a chance to try something new and find something that you’re really passionate about.

A relationship breaks down

This doesn’t necessarily have to mean a romantic relationship, though that is probably the most common. It can mean a friendship or a relationship with a member of your family. Even though it’s hard, it’s important to remember that sometimes relationships are just going to come to an end. Seek out the love and support of the people that are still in your life and do try as hard as you can to focus on that. Some people are going to come and go throughout your life, but other’s are there to stay, and those are the ones you want to focus on the most.

Falling In Love Is Easy; Staying In Love Is The Hard Part

Falling In Love Is Easy; Staying In Love Is The Hard Part

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As parents we sometimes forget how important it is for us to stay together, stay in love and show our children how positive relationships work. We can grow quite far apart and distant from one another, especially when we have growing children. It might not mean we have fallen out of love, merely that the dynamic has changed and we haven’t adjusted. However, for the sake of the children, it is time to pull yourselves back together again.

Before the kids came along, it was just the two of you. You had learned how to live with the differences you both had when it came to daily living. Simple things such as one of you may think very logically, while the other is very creative. You used to find yourselves in turmoil when you first moved in together but soon realized it was your differences which made you work so well. You both had your lives and the one you shared together. Work meant you would discuss issues from your day and you both had a mutual respect and understanding of what your daily life was like. You were on top of your finances and nicely flowing through life.

And then you had children.

Falling In Love Is Easy; Staying In Love Is The Hard Part

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They are the love of your lives and, as such, they have become the most important thing in both of your worlds. Suddenly there is more pressure on you both. For many dads that pressure comes through a need to provide for the family. For the mother to be able to take time off work for as long as she needs. While he may not say it, there is a natural desire to allow mom to be at home with the babies, without the pressure of having to return to work. It is how men work; we want to provide. Of course, our partners don’t expect that level of commitment from us; they want us to stay open and be honest. If they are needed to return to work, then say. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. And a sort of unfair resentment can begin to build towards your partner at home.  This can create tension which the children will pick up on and sense, kids are like little empaths and they know there is an issue before you do. If you think your kids may be feeling the pressure you can find some great ways to boost their happiness here.

Moms tend to lose it a bit too because they feel like they have all the pressure on them to raise the children, most moms don’t feel like their partner understands how hard it is to be a stay at home mom. That it is the same as having a busy job during the day, except you never get to leave the office.

Having children changes the game. So make sure you stay in it. The simple fix for anyone who is looking to stay in love is to listen first and then talk. If you can do that, you will continue to grow and be happy!

Why You Should Save Your Marriage Every Single Day

So many articles out there talk about how you should salvage your relationship. You can go on any relationship website and you’ll find an article with ways you can put the spark back into the relationship. My question? Why don’t we do that from day one?

Why You Should Save Your Marriage Every Single Day

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You meet someone, you fall in love with them and get to know them and their habits, their amazing features and their quirks. You propose and tell them how much you want your entire life with them. This is the person you believe your heart belongs to, so why should you wait until things are going wrong to work on them? Marriage is a lot of work from the moment you are at the church and saying your vows. Work doesn’t always mean difficult, nor does it mean bad. Marriage needs effort from both people to keep things light, fun and alive – even when the struggles hit and the stresses happen.

Why You Should Save Your Marriage Every Single Day

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Your marriage deserves your attention. Your children do, too, when they come along, but your marriage was here first and you wouldn’t have that family without the person you chose to be with. Every day you are married, you should be lighting sparks and keeping the fires burning. Reminding your partner that they’re an amazing parent. Cooking them a meal and picking up the slack around the house when things get overwhelming. There are a million and one ways you can go out of your way to work together to keep your marriage strong. Get the grandparents to take the children away for you for a weekend so you can find the perfect venue for a marriage retreat and have concentrated time together with yourselves and God. Keeping faith in your marriage is important and carving the time out in your busy lives to do so is the only way to make it amazing.

Why You Should Save Your Marriage Every Single Day

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Don’t forget the fun. You fell in love with a person who was fun, intelligent and hard-working. That person is still there, despite the work stress and the family stress and the house that never seems clean no matter what you do. Buy Nerf guns and have a shootout in the house. Play silly games and pranks on one another so you can enjoy the fun you had before you became more than a couple. Do this from day one, and your marriage never need become stale.

You go into marriage with the idea of a life together. Thinking about the end game can make you forget about the time you’re spending together in the right here and now. Saving your marriage shouldn’t wait until it’s already broken. Working on your relationship and your love every day will mean you go into every milestone as a couple, from the honeymoon to your first grandchild, as a united and solid front. Being together should mean that you stick together through thick and thin, in sickness and in health and as long as you both shall live. Those were your vows – make them count.

Sports That Build Bonds Between Dads And Their Kids

Sports That Build Bonds Between Dads And Their Kids

Sports That Build Bonds Between Dads And Their Kids

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The world is changing and equality is near leveling out, and with that has come a bigger role for dad’s to play in their kid’s lives. But evenings and weekends don’t constitute enough quality time, not when you fall into a routine of playing video games with your kids, or just watching TV.

No, the best way to bond with them is to get out there and do something together, some sort of active sport that brings you and them into the great outdoors. These are the things they will remember and the memories you will cherish. It is a chance to enjoy that all-important one-on-one time with them, to laugh with them, to huff and puff next to them, and to support them in their growth.

As such, we’ve come up with a quick list of the best bonding sports you can play with your kids. Enjoy.

Cycling

It is a rite of passage this one. There are so many things where the mummy takes the lead in their upbringing, but cycling is not one of them. That is a dad lesson, and the moment your kid starts peddling away from you all on their own is a real proud dad moment. But this should just be the beginning because nothing brings dad and child closer together than a long, muddy bike ride. Is your chance to get away from the humdrum of it all and enjoy some quality family time.

Golf

As one of the least strenuous and most all-day sports going, this provides you ample time to bond with your kid. Stood side by side at the tee, encouraging each other and helping them perfect their swing. Then there are the long walks down the fairway to talk the day away. But that isn’t all because let’s be honest, there is the chance to be a little mischievous as well, you know, on the golf carts. As such, it is well worth checking out some golf cart reviews to see which are the fastest and steadiest, because nothing is going to make you both laugh as much as doing donuts on a golf cart, let’s be honest.

Tennis

Kids seem to adore tennis from such an early day now, which probably has something to do with how light the racquets are nowadays. As such, why not get involved with their obsession. Don’t let them just hit a ball against a wall for hours; be that wall instead. Take them to the nearest courts, teach them a backhand, laugh with them, be proud of them and get fit at the same time. What more could you want from a bonding session?

Kayaking

Or canoeing, they are basically the same thing. What we are getting at here, though, is that messing around on the water is really fun, and one of the best catalysts of a long-term memory. It’s your chance to hop into a double kayak and wade through waters, chatting away as you paddle, learning something about each other in an entirely new environment. And it is bound to end in some laughs because there is a chance to splash each other.

Little Tricks To Camping With Your Teenagers

Little Tricks To Camping With Your Teenagers

Little Tricks To Camping With Your Teenagers

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When it comes to making memories as a family that will last a lifetime, there is nothing better than a camping holiday. It is something so far removed from your family’s everyday existence, that your brains just can’t forget it as an experience. There are no creature comforts, not easy to access luxuries, no radiators or bedrooms to escape to. It is the unpredictable great outdoors.

The other things that make it so unforgettable, though, is the fact you get to bond as a familiar but in a completely different environment. That means you will get to know one another a little better, spend some quality time together, laugh and joke and explore the gift that is nature. No televisions, no phones, just you and your family.

But if you want this to become an annual tradition, well, you’re really going to want to get it right first time.

Pick A Good Destination

If your kids are interested in something, then that is going to be a pretty good base to start from. Seriously. If you can land somewhere that will automatically peak the interest of your teenage kids then boom, you’re onto a winner. If you have a got a teenage girl that is into all things adventurous and loves the idea of living off the land for a weekend, like they do in her history books, then run with that. Look for campsites that have lakes and rivers, go and buy some inflatable kayaks and a bunch of fishing rods and enjoy the adventure. If you’ve got a teenage boy who likes the idea of getting a tan and chatting up girls, then why not enjoy a beach break. Perhaps you are a cycling family. No problem. There are plenty of trails out there that you can head to. But getting this part right will be a big factor to the longevity of your camping trips.

Fill Your Car With Everything

Okay, there is a simple equation you can follow on this one; if there is some space left over in your vehicle, then find something to go in it. Seriously, the more balls you throw at the coconut shy the better your chance of hitting one. It could be that you pack a spare tent to be used as a communal space, or a storage spot. Why not pack a hammock or two? It could be the very thing that your little girl loves. It could be the very thing that gets your little boy into reading or astrology, as he looks up at the stars. If a footwell is free then fill it with balls; footballs, beach balls, volleyballs, cricket balls, tennis balls. The more choice they have the better. Or perhaps you have space for some fairy lights, that little something to make your campsite more magical and memorable.

Make The Food Seriously Special

Camping is all about getting into the spirit of the outdoors, and that means it is your chance to get creative with the food. It could be that you brought a 6ft barbecue grill with you, or it could be that you decided on exploring one-pot meals for three days; it doesn’t matter. Just get creative and get everyone involved. Try wrapping bananas in foil and grilling them, or making cheese toasties with odd fillings, or even going traditional with smores. Of course, a great camping trip should never neglect the classics, but the most memorable stories will come from statements like, “do you remember that time dad tried to make cookies on an open fire.”

What You Need To Know Before Your Child Starts Driving

Every parent knows that each stage of raising your child brings with it its own unique worries and concerns. In the first few years, you worry about practically everything. Do they have a temperature? Should they be walking or talking by now? How well will they learn to share and play with others? Are they happy? Are they hungry? The questions go on and on and never seem to end. As they grow up, you worry whether they are making friends at school, and of course that they are studying enough. But as they approach their teenage years, a new, particularly terrifying possibility occurs to you: they will be driving soon. Your first thought might be about the safety of your child and of the other drivers. But the very next thing that you think of will probably be buying them a car. Should you get them something big and sturdy, or should they start out with something small without much power? If you are worried about the prospect of setting your teenager free on the open road, here are a few things to put your mind at rest:

First, the way cars are built now makes them much safer than ever before. Besides seatbelts, airbags and crumple zones, a great deal of progress has been made in just the last few years. For instance, the strength of steel used to make cars is three times as strong as it was at the turn of the century. Not only that, the design of the frames in cars is slowly being perfected. New cars are being designed so that if they do feature in an accident, the frame itself will redistribute the force in a way that causes as little possible danger to passengers. Besides, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that between 2006 and 2015, the percentage of high severity-crashes fell 16.8%. While the roads are still a dangerous place, there are indications that they are becoming less dangerous.

What You Need To Know Before Your Child Starts Driving

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Your next concern might be how much a car will cost. They can be quite expensive, and the insurance that is required for new, inexperienced drivers is often exorbitant. As for purchasing the car itself, there are many options available. https://www.approvenow.com/ offer loans which can be paid every month. You could even have your child get a job and help you with the payments. Once they learn to drive, the car may well be theirs.

It might seem rather ironic, but if the trend of technology in cars continues as it’s been going, your child may not need to learn to drive after all. Self-driving cars are no longer part of science fiction but will soon be in reality. A few different models are being tested now, and while they are not completely autonomous yet, they do make driving a safer experience, especially when it comes to things that are difficult for humans to do quickly enough, like an emergency break.

Letting your child get behind the wheel of a car is still a difficult thing to do, but it is probably the best time ever for them to be doing it and it is only going to get safer.