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Build a Successful Creative Blog

Lesson 17 of 26

Marketing Through SEO and Guest Posting

April Bowles-Olin

Build a Successful Creative Blog

April Bowles-Olin

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Lesson Info

17. Marketing Through SEO and Guest Posting

Lesson Info

Marketing Through SEO and Guest Posting

We are gonna talk about promoting your blog, something I bet everybody is interested in. In increasing their traffic, getting more views, getting the right people on their blog. So if you don't already know this, blogging rocks. It gives you an inexpensive way to share your work, story and creations with the world. And you're not limited by where you live, how much money you have, or who you know. We all have the same playing field. We all have this online space that's ours, that we can make whatever we want of it. But it won't work to just build it and expect them to come. There's too much noise going on online, there's too many blogs. You have to get your stuff in front of your ideal reader, and get them onto your blog. So we're gonna talk about ways to do that. First, you need a marketing plan, you've got to have one. You have to figure out, how am I going to promote my blog? How am I going to get it in front of my ideal reader? You have to set aside time for marketing and promotion...

. So I know that some people are already feeling overwhelmed by the amount of time that they have to put into their blog to make it what they want it to be. But there does have to be some time set aside for marketing and promotion. Obviously, this shouldn't be the majority of the time. Hopefully, it will be a percentage of the time, so that you're not spending all your time on marketing. That's another thing that some people will tell me is that, "Now I have no more time for creating. "I have no more time for blogging "because I'm spending all my time on marketing." So we don't want either of those things to happen. But you do need to have a marketing plan, unless you're cool with just your mom reading your blog. And if that's the case then so be it, that's awesome. First thing that I want to kind of get out of the way because I don't love is SEO, Search Engine Optimization. So basically, how you rank on search engines like Google. I use a plug-in called Scribe, so that I don't have to think too much about this stuff. SEO stuff, for me, isn't really that fun, and I don't enjoy it. And I like to do the least amount of work while still paying attention to SEO as much as I can. So what counts? Your keywords. What you want to be known for when people search for you. So somebody goes to Google, and they search for newborn photographer in such and such area. So you want to be found if your a newborn photographer in that area, so you want to rank high. Or whatever it is that's your specific business, what you do. You want to be found as high up as possible because lots of people don't scroll through page after page, after page, after page. So I suggest using some sort of plug-in for this if you're on WordPress. You can use Scribe, you can use other ones. There's like All in One SEO Pack, that's another one. I believe that one's free, I used that one for a while. And you just want to pay attention to your keywords. Also, things that help user engagement, referral traffic from websites and social media. So how many people are talking about you, how many people are linking to you. And what's the size of those blogs and websites? So the more popular they are, if they're linking to you the better, the more it's gonna help your SEO. So high-quality features and guest posts. Those things are all gonna help you get a higher rank on Google. So if you guys have any questions about SEO you can definitely ask, but I may not know. What is Scribe or the other one, what is it actually doing? What is it doing for you that you're not having to do? Okay, so Scribe, basically, it walks me through every step I need to do. It will tell me, like, this is 76% optimized. You could do this, this, and this to make it better. For the blog post itself? For the blog post itself, yes, for each individual blog post. Oh, okay. So it will say these are the keywords that are coming up for this blog post. You want to be ranking for these keywords. It kind of walks you step by step through that process. And it tells you the exact things you can do to make it better. So it looks at it, kind of scrolls through it, and says either you need more content because there are too many pictures based on how much text. Or whatever it is that Google doesn't like, it kind of tells you. Did you have a question? No, okay. Any other questions on SEO. Is there other tools that aren't related to, because I don't have a WordPress site, so I don't think I can do a plug-in. So I can add keywords, and I do add keywords. Am I just doing it manually, is that what's going on right now? Yeah. Okay. (laughs) And you're doing your best guess, right? So you're-- Well, I'm doing it based on what I'm writing about. Yeah. And if there's something that I know in the article, I didn't use that word but I know it is still that, then I, so that it's still searchable. Yeah, so you are thinking about it. Okay. But you don't base your post on SEO. Do you base your post on keywords, or do you write what you want to write, and then try to, yeah. I write what I write, and then if there's something, like I know I used blue, but I'm not saying blue in the post, I'll tag it with blue in case somebody's looking for blue wrapping paper or something like that. Okay, so one of the things for that is you want to make sure whatever keywords you want to rank for, that you're using them in the post. Oh, okay. Because that's something that it depends on how often they show up. But you don't want to sound like a robot. So sometimes you'll see these posts that have the same keyword over and over and over again. And that's because they want to rank really high for that keyword. But then when people get there it's not nice to read, so it doesn't really work out. But you definitely want it within the content. And then also tagging your photos with your keywords, also really helps too. And if anybody who is watching this has tips for SEO to make that even easier, you guys can definitely share those. That would be awesome because this is not my area of expertise, but it is something I like to think about and consider with each post. Because I do want people to be able to find me when they're searching. And that's why I use a plug-in that makes it easy. And then the All in One SEO Pack is also an easy one to use. Is anybody saying anything? Not yet, we'll be keeping that conversation going though. Okay, just let me know. Great. If you want higher user engagement and sharing, don't make visitors sign in to comment. Make it easy for them to comment. Maybe just their name and email with the option of adding their site. You don't want to make it super difficult for people because if they want to leave a comment, and they have to fill out a username and password. Or they have all of these weird options that they can use, and none of them work for them. Like they have to sign in through Facebook and they don't have Facebook, or whatever it is. You found that to be... Yeah, or those awful Captchas, I hate those. Like, don't make me jump through hoops. Yeah, yeah, sometimes I will just not comment. And a lot of times I can't even figure out what they say when, and I'm not a robot, and I'm trying to fill that out. I understand you're trying to filter out spam, but there are other ways like that plug-in that we talked about earlier for dealing with spam. So don't make people jump through hoops if you're trying to create a community. If commenting is big, and that's what you really want on your blogs. You really want people to be commenting and sharing. In your workbook on page 53, you will see an exercise, Your Ideal Reader's Favs. And what you're gonna do is make a list of the blogs and websites that your ideal customer regular visits and reads, regularly visits and reads. Then, you're also gonna list some magazines, so what blogs and websites. Knowing your ideal customer after you've done that imaginary interview, you know her. Where does she go on a regular basis online? And then what magazines does she read on a regular basis. I know for Blacksburg Belle that my ideal reader, she often reads the Biz Ladies posts on Design Sponge. So that is somewhere that I targeted for a guest post. So you're thinking about these sites because then you want to think about how you could possibly get in front of your ideal reader on these sites and in these magazines. So list all the ones that come to mind, brainstorm as many as possible. And you can always come back to this later. This is a list that you are gonna keep adding to on a regular basis, so this isn't a we do this right now and that's it. Because once you come across more of these sites, just add them to your list. And then another trick is looking at these sites and seeing where they link to. See what other sites they talk about, and then you can figure even more blogs and websites to add to your list. So share with me some places online or some magazines, either one, that your ideal reader regularly visits and pays attention to. Sage. The Levo League blog which is all for young professionals. Okay, and what kind of content is shared there regularly. A lot of the same stuff that I do, like how to prepare for an interview, how to dress appropriately, how to get paid what you're worth. Okay, and do they allow guest posting? Do they do any interviews, do they do any features? They do lots of interviews, I actually don't know if they take guest posts. That's definitely something I need to find out. Okay, so that's a big one for your reader. Mh-hm. Okay, what else, what have you guys got on your lists? Shout it out, tell me. From the chatroom, Shroomie's got, Okay. Those, and let's see here. What was the site that you just recommended? Levo League, L-E-V-O League. Okay, Levo League. We do have, actually, a recommendation on SEO. Green Machine says, "Read Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO." And that's, M-O-Z dot com. Once you read this, which should take a few hours, you will know more about SEO than 99% of your competitors. Wow. Awesome, thank you so much for adding that into the chat. Yeah, and then there was a plug-in that they mentioned, which was an All in One SEO Pack. Yep, yeah. So, yeah. All right, thank you guys for adding to that, that's really awesome. So keeping in mind these websites that your ideal reader is going to on a regular basis. You want to get featured on them because then they'll know about you. And then they'll come to your blog, hopefully, and sign up for your email newsletter, or start following your blog, or follow you on social media and get to know you better. Your goal is to try to land guest posts, interviews, or features on as many of those places as possible. And as you build this list keep going with it, and try to get as many of these as possible. So what you're gonna do is you're gonna start with one, and you're gonna see do they accept guest posts. Or do they interview people like me? So if they do either of those things, you can make a pitch, and send in a pitch. And I'm going to help you figure out if you're ready for that. I'm also going to give you an example of a pitch that I've used, so that you know kind of what you could model yours after. Of course you can change it up to make it more you, but we're gonna go through that. But that's the goal, and the good news is that this is not difficult. It sounds like a huge mountain for people who have never done it before. And it sounds really scary sometimes, but this is not hard. Because if these websites already accept guest posts, if they accept interviews, they are looking for people like you in order to write a guest post for them, or in order to interview. And if you're sending in a pitch, it's like it's landing in their lap and it feels easy. I have done an interview series on Blacksburg Belle where I said, "If you're a creative entrepreneur "and you fit this criteria," I had certain criteria, "send me an email with your information, "and I'll possibly interview you on Blacksburg Belle, "and get you in front of my audience." And one of the reasons I wanted to do this was because one of my main goals is to help creative entrepreneurs improve their businesses. So I thought what better way than to get them in front of my audience. And then people who love what they're doing will go to their blogs, their shops, their websites. So I did it because of that reason, also because I'm really interested in other creative entrepreneurs. And how they spend their time, and how they build their businesses, and what's most successful for them. All of that stuff is really interesting to me. So it really made sense to do something like that. And lots of people sent in emails to me. Sending me to their sites, saying this is who I am, this is what I've got going on, I would love to do an interview on Blacksburg Belle, it was very easy. I have sent in lots of pitches for guest posts, for interviews. Not for features because I don't sell a particular product. But if you sell a specific product like pottery, or you sell jewelry, then you'll want to get featured on certain sites. I want to know from you guys, have you done any guest posts? Have you done any interviews? What was it like doing your first one? What was it, has it brought a lot of traffic to your site, was it worth it? I know Sage has, so I'm gonna put you on the spot, tell us about it. Yeah, doing guest posts or doing interviews is a total game changer. Like I was telling you, you featured me on your blog a year ago, and I still get people coming to my blog telling me that they found me through your blog. Every time I do a guest post, or I'm interviewed or featured somewhere, I notice a dramatic spike in the number of subscribers, and in the number of comments that I'm getting. It's great, I'm finding readers that I wouldn't have found on my own if I hadn't had done the guest post. Were you nervous at first? Yeah, it is a little nerveracking. I mean, especially putting myself out there to a much, much larger audience. You have to be prepared for how many people are gonna come back and find you. Yeah. Were you nervous about getting a no? About somebody saying, "No, this isn't "the right fit for my site." I've gotten nos. And was it the worst thing in the entire world? No. (laughs) Actually it's not. Because you get a no for a reason. Maybe they can see something, that maybe you're not the best fit for their audience. And that's actually a good thing because you don't want to be attracting people to your blog who are never gonna buy from you, who are never gonna comment on your articles, and they're not gonna like what you're doing. You actually want to be featured where your ideal readers are. Exactly, yeah, yeah. So it's not the end of the world when you hear a no. Have you guys done any guest posting or got interviewed anywhere, no, no, no? The experience of our online readers, Mahogany Media used to be a news producer. And they've been a journalist since high school, so they are used to doing interviews, they love doing features. My Apple City New York, I guest post twice a month on a French travel blog about New York. I pitched her showing what people were wearing, as she has a different readership. It expanded my audience as well. Nice. Yeah. Yes. So sometimes creatives will ask me, "Is it the right fit for me "if I'm a products-based business? "If I sell jewelry, what am I going "to be guest posting about?" Well, you could post about the same stuff that you would post on your blog. So maybe, how to clean your jewelry or something like that. Or you could stay away from guest posts, and just do interviews and features. I know someone who, she used to make these really large calendars. She designed them every year, and sold them around the holidays. And she noticed that there was a site that featured calendars, and had a little roundup. And it was a very popular site. So she sent her calendar in, and said, "You may be interested in including this in your roundup. "I see that you do this each year." It was featured, her calendar sold out. So it can be as easy as just sending an email, and saying, "Hey, I see that you feature this kind of thing. "I have something that your audience "might like, here it is." Link to it, the worst that can happen is the person says that's not the right fit. Or, "No, I've already done something similar." Or no for whatever reason, and usually there is a reason. I know when I say no to people who send me pitches for things, it's always because of something, nothing personal. It's never, ever personal. It is that I have just done something similar. Or people send me in guest posts pitches, and I don't do guest posts on Blacksburg Belle. So I'll say, "No, because I don't do guest posts." But some of those people, I've said, "Hey, but I think it would be "really cool if you were interviewed. "How about I send you some interview questions." And it worked out that way, so often it's not personal. So if you get a no, just move on to the next one, I highly suggest this. And I suggest putting time in your calendar to do this each month. So having time in your calendar for a guest post, for an interview. Sending out a couple of pitches for features. And doing the research for these pitches, which I'll talk about, which makes it much more likely that it will be successful. So first, let's talk about if you're ready. There is a quiz on page 54, and it is the "are you ready to pitch" quiz. This will help you figure out whether or not you should be sending pitches, or you need to do a little bit more work. Do you have an offering or stock to shop? So do you have some sort of service, one-on-one consulting? Do you have a course, do you have a product? Do you have products in your Etsy shop? Because if you're sending out pitches, and you have nothing to sell, then it's a little bit backwards. Yes, you can start building your traffic, some people do that, and that's okay. But it would be better if you spent time working on your product, or working on your service, making that awesome. So that when you do send out pitches, something really great is coming out of it, and you're able to send people to your shop, to your offers. Do you have professional quality pictures of your products? Professional quality pictures of yourself? Because almost always they're going to ask for one. And that is one reason that I say no for interviews. Is if the person doesn't have professional quality pictures that I think will be a good addition to Blacksburg Belle. Because I have a certain level of quality that I have in my pictures. They don't have to be like my pictures, but they have to be on that level or it doesn't make sense for my audience. And they're not going to react well, and go to your site, and be excited about your stuff. Do you have an email newsletter opt-in to capture leads? So when people are coming to your site because they read your guest post or because they saw your interview or read your interview, is there a way for them to put in their name and email address so that you can stay in contact with them? Because here's what often happens, they say, "Oh, this is a great interview," or, "Oh, I really like this person's products." And they go to the site, and they look at it for a couple minutes. Then they leave and they forget about that person because we're busy, and we just don't have the brain space for it. So if you don't have a way that you're capturing those leads, you're going to lose so much of that traffic. And not everyone is going to opt-in to your email newsletter that comes over from an interview or a guest post. It's going to be a percentage of people that actually opt-in. But those are the people that are saying, "I love this so much. "I love this blog so much. "I love this business so much that I want more." I want to know what's going on, I want to stay up-to-date. Those are your ideal readers, your ideal customers, the people you want. So do you have a place on your website to capture those leads? And sometimes you may want to even setup a specific landing page just for a guest post or an interview that you do. Maybe you want to make a special offer to those readers. That you know you're going to be on this really popular blog, and you're gonna offer them 15% off their first purchase. So you send them to a specific landing page. A landing page is a page on your website that doesn't have anything else but that content. It's not gonna have your sidebar, it's not gonna have your navigation bar. It's going to be the specific content that you put on there. And they can't do anything else. They can't click over to your About page, they can't click over to your blog, they're on that specific landing page. And I've done this before, and it's been very successful. Setting up and saying, welcome such and such readers from this other blog. And you give a little spiel about what your blog, your business is. "If you want free updates, put your name "and email information in below. "And you'll receive them on a weekly basis." Or whatever it is, or, "I have a special offer for you "because you're coming from such "and such blog, and you're new to my business. "Put in your name and email, "and you will get your 15% off discount. That way you're capturing lots of leads, people are coming to a specific page. So that can be really successful. Do you also have a professional blog website to send leads to? So that's something that we've been working on, right? If you said yes to all of the above, then you're ready to start sending out pitches. If you said no, then you know what you need to work on first. So you know what you need to get prepared before you start sending out those pitches. So that's what I would put as priority on top of that to-do list. Get that stuff done, and then put in your calendar, time to do the pitching for interviews, for guest posts. Would you clarify a little bit about the opt-in, DaringCC wants to know, "If you ask the reader "only for their email in exchange for the subscription, "how can you get to know more "about that person that subscribed? "Like their full name, occupation, age, et cetera." You can't if you're just asking for their email. And often, you want to keep it, you don't want to ask for too much information. Sometimes product-based businesses will ask for birthdays, and then they'll send that person a little special something on their birthday. Maybe it's a sample-sized product, or maybe it's just an email that says "Happy Birthday, we're thinking about you." Or a discount code to shop in their Etsy shop, or whatever it is. Normally, people just ask for name and email address. Some people only ask for email address, and they have seen a much higher subscriber rate because they're only asking for the email address. So less information is more. And I would say could make a suggestion, what I've decided to do is I have opt-in forms on my site. But then I also allow people through Wufoo, which is W-U-F-O-O, I've created a separate form where they can actually go through a little three-questionnaire. And that way that gives me a chance for them to reach out to me. Then I get to know, you know, where they stand, which helps me to create a dialogue with them. Yeah, definitely. You think about what you want the first thing to be when people sign up for your email list. For me, I have something that asks people to send me their biggest business struggle, and it makes sense for my business. And that creates a conversation because people reply to that email with "this is what I'm struggling with." So not only do I get to connect with that person a little bit more, but also that gives me amazing ideas for blog topics. Especially if I'm hearing the same thing over and over and over again. So that has been really successful for me. So you can have something that is your "thank you for subscribing" email, asking for something like three questions to get to know the person better. Or something like I have set up. Or 15% off your first purchase, or free shipping. And we'll talk more about email newsletters. There is an entire segment on that. So making your pitch, you're gonna start with one of the blogs on your list. You're gonna check to see if they feature creatives like you. If they interview artists like you. Or if they accept guest posts. If they don't, then they get crossed off the list because you don't want to make a pitch to somebody who doesn't ever do guest posts. Because they're going to say no, because the don't do guest posts. If they don't ever do interviews, then they're probably going to say no. So you want to pitch to the sites that's the right fit for you and for them. And if you get a yes, you've got your first site to send your guest post, or to do your interview, or to send your information for a feature. If no, move on to the next one. You want to look for directions on how they accept pitches. So some sites will say exactly what they want from you. "If you want to submit for a guest post, "we want this, this, and this. "We want a link to your About page. "We want a short summary of who you are. "We want the title of the post. "And then we want two to three sentences "on what the post would be." And you want to follow their directions to a T because that's what's gonna also get you a no. If you do something, and submit something that they didn't ask for. If you didn't follow their directions, they're gonna think this person isn't a good fit. And that seems so obvious, but sometimes people just don't follow those guidelines. I know when I asked for interviews, I had specific guidelines set up. And some people just didn't follow them whatsoever. So it didn't seem like the right fit if they're not paying attention to that. If they don't have directions anywhere, what do you do? You figure out who you'll make the pitch to. So if it's a blog, it's usually the blogger who you're going to be sending an email to. Learn a little bit about that person, and make a personal connection in your pitch. This always stands out to me. If somebody sends me an email, and they say, "I read Blacksburg Belle on a regular basis. Go Hokies!" Because they know that I live in Blacksburg, Virginia. Or they say something about Gilmore Girls. Or they say something about how they love my big red balloon pictures. Or they say something about how on my About page I say that I hate chocolate, that I despise it, that I never eat it, and they'll say, "How could you not like chocolate? I love chocolate." Or, "I also hate chocolate, we're weird together." Something like that, make a connection. Make some sort of personal connection. Show them that you're paying attention to their blog. It's going to make a world of a difference. Those stand out much more than anything else. And sometimes it's just in a P.S. Like the person will write, "P.S. Go Hokies! "I love cheering on Virginia Tech football." Whatever it is, so sometimes it's very simple. But I can tell that that person has been paying attention to my site. They know who they're pitching to, it's not something random, and make sure it's the right fit. Like, I'll sometimes get these really odd pitches, like, "Will you put a picture of this chair that I sell?" And it's just very odd, it's nothing that I would ever post on Blacksburg Belle. And you can tell that person isn't paying attention. Often, they start off with "Hi, blogger." Don't do that, don't ever write hi, blogger, or just hi, use the person's name. You don't use their name, that's a big turnoff. Well, Sage, don't you think this is kind of like interview advice? Do some research on the company? A little crossover there? (laughs) Absolutely. Yeah, and I totally get what you're saying. I get emails where people don't use my name either. They say "I love your blog posts." They won't tell me which one, I'm like, well, what are you talking about? Yeah, get specific, say I loved this particular post. Those stand out to me, or you know what else works really well is if somebody has used my advice, and it's worked for them. And then they're asking for an interview. And they're saying, "This worked really well for me. "Thank you so much for everything that you do." Those are the ones that I pay the really close attention to, and I say yes. So this is an example that I used for my pitch to Design*Sponge. This was, goodness, maybe three years ago, but it worked. "Hi Stephanie! Over the past year, the biz ladies posts "have been invaluable to growing my business, "and I'd love to contribute with a guest post, "How to Entice Your Blog Readers to Buy Your Products." "One big problem I see in the creative community "is that creative entrepreneurs "build blogs that don't lead to sales. "And, I'd like to help creative people fix this problem. "Just so you know that I'm legit: "I've been interviewed on BlogcastFM "for growing a one month old blog from 20 readers "to over 800 readers, two of my posts have been featured "on the Etsy Success Reading List, "and I've had three posts {including one guest post} "featured in the Etsy newsletter. "Please let me know if this is something you'd be interested "in or would like to here more about. "I can have the post ready "in 2 business days if you're interested. "Thanks so much for your time." And I didn't know anything about Stephanie because she just put together the biz ladies posts. And so there wasn't any information about her. However, one of the things that I did in here was I showed her I've already been featured on these other places, so that it's an easy yes for her. Okay, if Etsy has featured her, then she's doing something right, I can say yes. And this makes it easier, once you've landed a couple of these features. Once you've been interviewed on a couple of blogs, and you can say I've been interviewed on such and such blog. Or I've also been featured on such and such blog, it makes it an easier yes. So that's another tip I have for you is including that in there.

Class Description

There are over 200 million blogs on the Internet, so how do you cut through the noise and stand out in the crowd? A quality blog boasts great content, a powerful voice, and relevant, useful information. The problem is, putting all of those pieces together, understanding how to find the right audience, and marketing your blog is no easy juggling act.

Join the founder of Blacksburg Belle and author of Marketing for Creatives April Bowles-Olin for a comprehensive course dedicated to teaching you how to write, create, and market a successful blog. Drawing on the same methods she’s used to help successful entrepreneurs around the world grow their online presence, April will teach you how to find your own voice and get more comfortable writing like yourself. You’ll learn how to develop a strong editorial strategy, attract the right readers and write engaging headlines that will drive traffic to your site. April will also explore some of the key problems that hold bloggers back -- from writer’s block to boredom to insecurity about what you’re writing -- and explain how to overcome them. Best of all, April will teach you how to save time and have fun while contributing to the success of your blog.

After just three short days with April, you’ll possess the perfect foundation for better copywriting and creating a powerful, traffic generating blog.



This course is absolutely amazing. April is so enthusiastic and inspiring. It is clear she has spent a lot of time preparing for this course with a wealth of useful information in the videos and the workbook and the resource pack. Having just launched my new photography website, I have been looking for ideas and help with the blog- a new area for me. This has made me feel excited about my business. It's helped me plan my blog posts for the coming months and highlighted the importance of a good blog for keeping a website fresh. I found myself excited for each new video and sad when it was all finished! I've purchase a few courses through Creative Live but this is my favourite so far and April has a lot to do with that.

Kristina Zambrano

Where to start? ... Um I took my blog to the groomer ha! you guys must be thinking how on earth you take a blog to the groomer pretty easy actually you just go and click where it says "Build a Successful Creative Blog with April Bowles and you are taking it to the groomer. Now leaving my pet-related talking if you are creative and have no idea where to start in blogging this is your place to start she (April) will teach you everything about the blog world with a touch of joy, fun and creativity. She will take you from Zero, Nada, Nothing to Something or better say to a brand new groomed blog. And if you need more to convince you to get this workshop you just read April Bowles "26 post you gotta read - blog tour" and if that doesn't make you get it, then you are totally not ready to Blog. Thank you so much April for everything you shared with us.


This course gave me both the impetus to begin the blog whose domain I was sitting on for nearly a year and the skills to do it well. April was - and still is - supportive and helpful to all of the people who participated in the course. It became a community of people, supporting and helping each other to follow through with the amazing instructions that she gave us during the course itself. The resources she gave us are still useful, and the connections I made on her site and the sites she pointed us to have made my blog successful in only a few months. AWESOME course!