Qassia, come to mama

Qassia is another form of generating backlinks to your site.  You get credits for adding bits of “intel“, information you can share. At the end of each intel, a link to your site is added.

The more intel you add, the more credits you receive and the higher you rank in Qassia’s directory.

On top of this, you can add google adsense to your Qassia page and you get 100% of the revenue generated by those ads.

Btw, your intel is not a wiki – it can not be edited.  It’s just a way for people to share the info they know about a subject… or a person, a place, a company.  Intel can also be rated by other users.

I just signed up with Qassia, I’m going to check it out some, add some bits of my own intel and see what it’s all about.. They are still in beta and joining is by invite only… but if you want to check it out for yourself, you can visit my page and sign up through there. Momma Muse @ Qassia

Favorite WordPress Plugins – Revised

Check this page for WordPress Plugins currently used on Momma Muse.

MommaMuse.com is happily wordpress powered.. And, I’ll admit, I’m a wordpress plugin addict. So.. it’s been almost 2 years since I totally updated my first favorite wordpress plugins list. Here you go. If I’ve left out one of your favorites, please feel free to comment it.

Akismet – I did not active akismet when I first started using wp… it took me quite some time to activate it actually.. but anyway, here’s what it says today “Akismet has caught 23,705 spam for you since you first installed it.” Woo hoo.. go akismet!

Breadcrumb Navigation XT – You can see this in action on each page – what can I say.. but I like it.

Commentluv – Just installed this recently – works great and I love the concept – basically when a visitor leaves a comment, commentluv looks for the last post they made on their blog, if there is one, it puts it under their comment, if not..no big deal.. have been seeing this on more and more sites… like it, like it.

Contact Form 7 – I like this form, but wish the form itself was a little easier to edit – size, etc.. works, and that’s good for me.. though at some point, I may look for something else.. maybe, maybe not.. whatever.

Dashboard Editor – This, for me, is just to clean up the dashboard. I don’t visit that tab very often, but when I do, I want to see exactly what I want and that’s it. This works just fine!

EmailShroud – Jumbles an email address on the site to make it harder for email harvesters.. works, but I probably don’t have email address on my site so I could probably do without.. but then.. maybe I do and I don’t want to take the chance.

Google Blog Search Preview – On the wp dashboard it shows backlinks in google.. it’s ok..

Google XML Sitemaps – I have this installed and on my google analytics site.. but I don’t pay much attention to it. If it helps alert the bots to what my new posts are great.. I don’t think it hurts anything and when it comes to SEO, I read a sitemap is good… hmmm.. now that I think about it, maybe this is why google visits me so much more than any other search engine? Anyone know?

In Series – I haven’t tried this one yet, though I see it, right down there in my write post tab… hmm.. since this is the second “favorite wordpress plugin” I’ve done, maybe I should give the in-series a try… (maybe I did.. ?)

MyAvatar – You’ll see this plugin in action on comments – see the avatar that links to the commenters mybloglog? There you go.. nifty, huh?

NoFollow Free – Hey.. your link is here, and I appreciate it! I will give all the link luv I can.. removing the nofollow sounds good to me!

Popularity Contest – Just for fun? You’ll see this at the bottom of each post. I like being able to view the stats in the dashboard.

Post Templates by Category – Each of my categories have their own page, post templates.. I use it so I can add category specific info.. like my soap pages all show soap pictures… my recipes show pictures of food, etc. Makes for a lot of files in my theme template, and sometimes I want to give it all up, lol.. but really, I like the post/category specifications.

Simple Tags – I’d been using one tag system – from Jerome.. then he quit updates and passed along to someone else… with the new wp upgrades, it became essential to find a new tag plugin…this one is aweome – I mean, really, I love this one.. improvement.. !!

SRG Clean Archives – I like my archive page.. a very quick and easy way to see what’s been posted and how many comments. This one also requires another template file.. but hey.. are the archives nice and clean? (at least something gets organized around here!)

StatPress – stat program.. sometimes I obsess on the stats..who’s been here.. how many.. etc, etc.. sometimes I ignore it..

Subscribe To Comments – Simple, works fine, as far as I know… 🙂

WordPress.com Stats – another stat program.. again.. sometimes I pay attention, sometimes I don’t. Has good info though.

WordPress Database Backup – Quick way to back things up. Like it.. use it.. keeper.

WP-Bookwormr – I love bookwormr.. though I’m starting to suspect it’s development is at a standstill. Anyway, it shows what books I am currently reading.. like that. 🙂

WP-EMail – I like knowing that people can send a post to themselves or their friends.. I often look for this option when I find a good post/recipe/idea… I did take this off most of my pages and reserved it for the recipes and soap info pages.. just trying to declutter some… Oh and it also shows up in the dashboard to show when and who is emailing.. very nice.

WP-Flickr – Just installed this one.. give me some time to try it out. Although, I am able to post from my flickr site.. I just can’t add tags… so I have to come here to edit, so I hope it works! It installed easily enough, and I am able to click the wp-flickr tab in the write post and all my pics show up.. so it looks like it’s on the path to goodness.

WP-PostViews – Not a necessary plugin by any means, and really doesn’t tell much – because it accumulates, new posts will probably always have a smaller view count than some of my other older, popular posts.

WP-Print – This one is up there with the wp-email.. though I can’t see how many print pages.. it does clean up the print page and lists links at the bottom of the post. It’s nice. I also restricted this to recipes and soap info.. seems like those are the most likely pages to be printed.

~:~:~

I wanted to install Comment Relish, and tried, and tried.. and … well… it just wouldn’t work. It broke my mail sending capabilities, which I guess isn’t uncommon, since I found posts about it when I googled it. However, I really, really wanted this one to work – what it does is sends a reply to first time commenters… you can tell them thanks for the comment and encourage them to subscribe to your feed… just really a great idea… so sad it didn’t work.

Entrecard Credits Winner – Sharing the Wealth

Remember the contest I posted about for 500 entrecard credits? Well… got an email from belolats.com bright and early this morning telling me to go cash in my coupon!

Woo-hoo… 500 entrecard credits for me! Don’t forget – Zobel’s contest is a weekly thing.. so go read her contest requirements, join entrecard and have a go!

So.. now, I’m going to share.. I’ll give away 250 credits, 125 to two entrecard newbies… sign up, comment here and you just may get some ec luv…

Another Entrecard Contest – and another!

Wow… I join entrecard, find all the great blogs and even get to meet some new people too.

So, here’s a few things I’ve found (geez.. at this rate, I’m going to have to add something about entrecard to my category list!)..

First, I found (or rather, they found me) fawnzy.com – a forum specifically for entrecard… come join us for information and contests.

Then somewhere alone the clicking road, I came across a contest to win 1000 ec! Oh My! Read all about this awesome (and easy to participate) contest at 1000 Entrecard Credit Contest.

More ec contest to come, I’m sure!

New Laptop, WordPress Plugin Updates

After 2 years of problems with my Toshiba Laptop, I’ve finally gotten a new one – and yes, a different brand. A Dell Inspiron 1521, in green. I’m a happy momma.

I also started working outside the house this past winter (the Emporium), as well as developed an illness (Crohn’s Disease – but that’s another post). So, the past several months have been slim for me regarding computer time (as you can tell). However, I’m back! Still working, but a little more manageable, medication has started getting crohn’s under control and a new laptop makes me ready to go.

Spent some time manually upgrading my WordPress to the newest release and I even got my sidebar “widget” ready. Though I’m not using widgets, I did find a few new Plugins to use. I’ve updated my Favorite WordPress Plugins post.

August Scratch-off Card Contest Contributors

The winner is Renee Sciara!

Momma Muse has some great work at home mom businesses hosting the August scratch-off card contest; Our second scratch-off ticket / card contest!

Scratch-off cards are good for promoting your business, as well as for fun. Use them for baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties, the list is on-going and only limited to your imagination.

Terra, of EasyScratchOffs.com, is a great source for scratch-off stickers. She’ll even design and make the cards for you.

Delightful Scents – For handmade candles, tarts, wax-dipped animals, handmade soaps, lip balms and more!

Busy Buds Personalized Favors & Gifts – Specializing in personalized candy wrappers, tic-tac-toe tiles, scratch-offs, bottle cap gifts, mousepads, wedding coffee & tea pack favors and many more items. Custom design is also available at no additional cost.

bead’n babe offers stunning handcrafted Grandmothers, Mother’s, Children’s, Baby and other special occasion bracelets, that are custom made for you or that special someone on your shopping list!

Soaps and Potions – Natural handmade soaps bath and body.

Tarts by Hummingbird – Soy Wax Tarts – Extra strong wax tarts that last extra long.

Charmed Stores – Printed and Personalized materials for your home & business.

One of a Kind by Lexi – Personalized hand-painted greeting cards, address labels, business cards, graphic design & more!

The Scented Frog – Handmade lotion and body products, hand made jewelry, pain relief and more.

If you make scratch-off cards for your home business and would like to contribute to the contest(s) hosted on Momma Muse, please contact me for more information.

August Scratch-off Card Contest

The winner is Renee Sciara!

Promoting Work at Home Moms & Businesses

Momma Muse participating scratch-off contest contributors.

Hosting our second Scratch-off card contest and it’s FREE!

Scratch-off Cards Contest / Sweepstakes Guidelines

What’s the prize? A bunch of scratch-off lottery tickets from mom owned businesses across the ‘net! All scratch-off tickets are winners! There are NO “sorry, this isn’t a winning ticket” or “try again”. Not here!

Official Rules

– Must be 18 years old or older to participate.

– Limited to US/Canada.

– To enter, subscribe to the Momma Muse Newsletter.

– Contest runs through the end of August 2006. Ending on August 31th.

– A randomly chosen winner from our newsletter subscription list will be notified within 1 week of contest end via email.

– Winner must respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.

– If the 1st winner doesn’t respond, another will be chosen, up to 3 times. If each, in turn does not respond, the tickets will then carry over to the next contest.

– Full name and snail mail address will be required from winner to have the package mailed.

Winner’s name and contact information will be given to sponsoring businesses for follow-up purposes. Concerned? Consider visiting the scratch-off ticket providers’ websites to view their privacy policies.

– Acceptance of prize constitutes Winner’s permission for Momma Muse, and each scratch-off ticket provider, to use the Winner’s first name and last initial and/or any comments made by Winner on our website(s) or in newsletters and advertising.

– Remember: No purchase necessary to be eligible to win – just join the newsletter with a valid email address.

 

* Number of tickets dependent on number of sponsors.

Check out June 2006 Contest Contributors and visit their sites.

Momma Muse does not believe in spamming our newsletter subscribers. You will receive only a handful of newsletters per-month, at most. You may unsubscribe at any time. Your Privacy is important to us. Read our Privacy Policy for details.

Disclaimer: “Winner” or “Winning” in reference to the scratch-off tickets means that there are no “sorry, this isn’t a winning ticket”. The winning prize(s) is/are unknown to us (Judi & MommaMuse.com) and we are in no way held liable for any prizes claimed or unclaimed. This is strictly for fun, and used as a promotional tool for the work-at-home business we are promoting.

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Find our contest listed at these contest sites:

EasyScratchOffs.com


Contest Alley


Win Prizes Online!

Sandy's Realm Sweepstakes- FREE listing of Sweepstakes, Freebies & More!

ContestHound.com Contest and Sweepstakes Directory


Grandma Jam's Sweepstakes Guide - Online Contests and Sweepstakes. Win Cash and Prizes!

Enter to Win a Dodge Durango Limited with a Hemi engine

ClubMom Introduces the MomNetwork

CLUBMOM INTRODUCES THE MOMNETWORK
-THE WEB’S FIRST SOCIAL
NETWORK FOR MOMS –
Click here to join the ClubMom Mom Network

Join the MomNetwork

The Best of What Moms Have to Say is Available Online, All in One Place

ClubMom, the premier online destination for moms, by moms, announces the launch of The MomNetwork, the Web’s first social network customized to fit the needs of the nation’s largest niche group – moms. Through The MomNetwork, moms can search for and connect with each other based on shared challenges, interests, kids’ ages, and geography. Moms across the country can now visit ClubMom.com to create their profiles for free.

“Moms have always looked to other moms for advice, practical wisdom, and a sense that they’re not alone,” says Meredith Vieira, moderator of ABC-TV’s The View. The expertise moms have shared while on playgrounds, at soccer games, and around their neighborhoods, has now been aggregated through the power of the Internet. The MomNetwork fosters this mom-to-mom camaraderie, while bringing together the best of what real moms have to say.”

In contrast to social networks targeting young people, The MomNetwork has been uniquely developed to meet the needs of busy moms. The MomNetwork helps moms find practical solutions to their everyday challenges and issues by directly connecting them with other moms dealing with similar situations. Moms are concerned about Internet security so The MomNetwork has been designed to allow moms to strictly control their privacy and anonymity. ClubMom will continue to rollout new features of The MomNetwork, including online groups, which moms can join based on their shared challenges, interests, or kids’ ages.

Copyright © 2006, CMI Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Scratch-off stickers

What exactly ARE they?
A little, clear sticker, with the shiny scratch-off material on top.

To make, use the business card template in your favorite printing program on your computer (Word, Avery, etc). Design your card with an area for your prize or reward. Print. Cut the cards. After you cut the cards, place a sticer over the prize or reward wording.

Ideas for use:
Business promotion – add a coupon code, percentage off order, free shipping, dollar amount -off, free gift or product, etc.
Parties – baby showers, wedding showers, brides maid parties, family gatherings, etc – use inexpensive prizes for the reward.
Kids love scratch-off cards – use them for rewards, rather than “coupons”

Don’t forget to visit Terra at EasyScratchOffs.com for more ideas, and for your stickers. She has terrific customer service and great prices! Tell her Judi sent you!

If you have other ideas for use, please let us know!

SEO – Building a Successful Website – The Basics

Content

Content on site is a must. The more pages of relevant content your site provides, the more pages the search engines will index. Index pages equal search engine saturation. The more pages of relevant content you provide on your site, the more of an authority you become to the spiders and bots.

Linking

This is another important way of getting your site seen. By trading links with other relevant sites, you reinforce your sites content, thus making your site “important”. The more relevant the links you trade with, the more important your site becomes. If you are a gaming site trading links with a pharmaceutical site, you are not going to appear very relevant to the search engines.

As it sounds trading links is a link swap.. you post my link on your site, I’ll post yours on my site. However, there are places you may “purchase” a listing without reciprocation.

Remember, the more friends a person had in high school, the more popular they were. Link exchanges are a similar concept. The more links you have (remember, stay relevant) coming into and going out of your site, the more “popular” your site becomes.

What’s your Niche?

Narrow down your topic. “Computers” gives a Google search result (as of this moment) of 1,720,000,000… the chance of being found in that ocean of results is about a good as finding a penny in the Atlantic ocean. Narrow down your topic, get more specific. A search for laptop computers receives a Google result of 106,000,000 – that’s better, but still an ocean. Get the picture?

Build your keywords around your niche. If you are aiming your site at light weight laptop computers, build your keywords around that… “Computers” as a keyword isn’t going to be very helpful. Get specific.

Articles

Writing articles and listing them on free reprint article sites allows for other web publishers to print your article, with your author byline in-tact. Author byline would include a link(s) to your site(s). This gives “links back” to your site.

Become an Authority in your field. 🙂

There are also paid article submission sites. The more you pay, the higher in their site your article is placed.

Remember, basically what you are doing is offering your knowledge and free article for a link or advertising for your site.

Blog

A web log (later shorted to just blog) started as an online journal for personal websites, but have begun to infiltrate the online business world. They give a business a quick, easy way to update several times a week, daily, or even several times a day. Search engines like blogs because they are typically updated often. Therefore, they send their spiders to those sites that are most frequently updated.

There are blog directories to which your blog could be listed – free.

Keywords, Site Description, Title

Make sure each page has a relevant page title, relevant keywords and a good over-all description.

Search Engine Smarts

Search engines look for site relevancy. Each page must relate to the site topic/theme. Each individual page must have a specific topic. Where possible, name the page specifically for that topic. If your page is about Light weight Sony laptops, name it accordingly. Ex: http://www.yoursite.com/light-wieght-sony-laptops Note: Hyphens signify to spiders and bots separate words.

Make use of h1, h2, h3 tags header tags within your content pages. Why? This tells the search engine bots and spiders that this is keyword, a relevant topic.

Use title tags in any links and alt tags in all image tags.

Use CSS to style a page – this reduces clutter within the page code making it cleaner for the spiders and bots to navigate the pertinent information. Too much clutter and the spiders and bots are likely to hit the road.

Frames are NOT search engine friendly. They are difficult for spiders and bots to index, because of the way they are put together. If you want to optimize your site, ditch the frames.

Flash
– it’s flashy, visually fun, appealing to some… but it’s a killer in the search engines. Spiders and Bots cannot read flash. If they cannot read your page, how do the index it? Again… when it comes to optimizing your site, if search engines spiders and bots can’t read the file, why bother? Just because it looks good? Sure, ok… but if the search engines can’t or won’t spider your page, and you aren’t in the index, no one knows your site is out there, who is going to see it? You have a great looking site sitting there doing nothing.

Splash page – this is the page you come to that has a cool flash file, cute image, etc and says “Enter” (or similar). Re-read the Flash information and ditch the splash page.

WWW or not?

If you type “www.microsoft.com” and “microsoft.com” into your browser window, you get the same page right? We see it’s the same page, we know, as site builders they ARE the same page. But search engine bots and spiders DON’T know that. They view with and without www as two different sites.

Why does this matter? If your site is out there on the web with both links, you stand the chance of penalization from certain search engines – they view it as duplicate content. Duplicate content don’t typically get indexed, at least, not very high in the rankings.

The work around on this is a redirect, or an .htaccess mod rewrite. Tell your server to point to one page, either with the www, or without it. Ex, point to www.mysite.com and when someone types in mysite.com (less the www) it will automatically add the www to the link.

Is it absolutely necessary to do this? Maybe, maybe not, maybe one day the search engines will be programmed to view with and without www as the same. Until then, do you want to take a chance the search engines dump all your pages because they can’t figure out which is the original?

Advertising

How many times have you moved past the first couple of pages when doing a search? Chances are, not very often. Yet, as a site/business owner, it may take forever and a day to get your site to the top 20 in a search engine for any given keyword. Are you ready to get your name out there NOW? Consider advertising on the major search engines. Google has Google Adwords, Yahoo has Yahoo! Search Marketing. Both will get you listing within the first couple pages, depending on your willing bid amount.

Newsletters

Now, you have visitors coming to your site. Is your site sticky enough to keep them coming back?

How many times have you been to a site you liked, wanted to browse more… so you bookmark it, never to return again. Life is busy, we forget. And you lost a visitor and potential customer.

Offer a free newsletter subscription. Entice visitors to join by offering free tips, valuable information, free products, etc. Once a week, or every other week, send out a newsletter to encourage and pull those subscribers to your site. They may turn from a newsletter subscriber to a customer.


Judi Cox is a work at home mom living in the Ohio Valley with her husband and 4 children. Judi’s interests include working websites (two of her websites http://www.momslittlegarden.com and http://www.mommamuse.com). She enjoys gardening for fun and for the birds, playing with the kids, reading, website design and promotion.