A Shocking Surprise: The New “Improved” Editor at WordPress.com
When I recently returned to the free version of WordPress after a long absence, I was shocked to see how much the editor had changed. I had started a business blog several years ago before I could self-host WordPress. I discovered that for some reason I was getting new subscribers, so I returned to write a new post for them. The new “improved” editor was very frustrating.
It’s apparently designed for those trying to blog from mobile devices, but it’s agony for those of us on desktops. What’s worse is that you can’t easily find a way to write new posts in the old Classic Editor. The new dashboard associated with the new editor is also confusing — especially if you also have self-hosted blogs tied into JetPack.
The New Dashboard at the Free Version WordPress
First, let’s see how your posts look in the new editor’s dashboard. As you can see in the image below, instead of the compact list you find in your dashboard on self-hosted blogs, you see previews, including images, of your posts. You need to do a lot of scrolling to find the one you want.
It’s harder to see your previously created tags so that you can put them on the new post. Instead of seeing a cloud of tags, you see a list you have to scroll and click on one at a time. What a pain! Previous tags may appear if you start writing a tag that starts with the same letters.
The New “Improved” Editor on the Free WordPress Version
The image below shows how the new “improved”editor itself looks.
As you can see, this offers no view of the handy interfaces for Zemanta, categories, tags, and the Save, Preview, and Publish buttons in the upper right corner where you are used to finding them on the right sidebar. They are on the upper left, except you only see the Save button if the post was not saved automatically.
The reason you don’t see those handy things is because most of them aren’t options in the free version of WordPress.com. The free version also limits you to 3GB of storage for your images.
Also, unless you turn it off, you have no choice in picking your related posts — even if you can see your Zemanta interface. If you check the box to show related posts, you will see a row of them. On my new post, the same linked image was repeated several times to fill the available space, since links were all picked by computer. If you want to show related posts you pick yourself, you will have to upgrade or get a self-hosted site. My related links looked so bad I turned them off.
When I started my blog at WordPress.com, it appeared I had a lot of freedom — as long as I didn’t try to monetize it. I could only link to non-affiliated pages. Unlike a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can’t place ads in your sidebar or anywhere else. If you upgrade to a paid version, they will take the ads they profit from off. To remove the ads and be able to profit from your own ads, you will pay WordPress.com $8.95 a month. It costs $2.95 a month just to remove the ads.
Upgrades offer you more space and added features, but for a price. By the time you pay the price for a premium plan, you might as well self-host and get a lot more features and control. This is especially true if you use the link below. Then you can place ads on your site and use affiliate links to help pay your hosting expenses.
Self-Host with SiteGround
I have been hosting several sites on SiteGround for over a year now. Their support people got me through a tough migration with no problems. They are reasonably priced and your web site is kept safely backed up. My sites hosted at SiteGround load more quickly than my sites hosted at GoDaddy. SiteGround also offers the best WordPress support and security.
If you want to monetize your blog, you should seriously consider investing in a course taught by experienced affiliate marketers who have proved they have made a good blogging income . I believe the best blogging course value for those interested in affiliate marketing is Pajama Affiliates. Click the photo above to check out their courses. Usually at least one of them is one sale. You may want to read these posts before you start your blog.
Free Blog Hosting Can Be Yanked Away Without Notice
Here’s how I learned the dangers of free blog hosting. A few years ago I almost had a WordPress.com blog deleted. At that time I did not know affiliate links were forbidden. I had never used them during my first two years of posts, but I almost lost all my work by using that one link. Fortunately for me, they warned me and when I appealed and removed the link they gave me another chance. Recently someone with more to lose than I had his free blog hosting yanked. His blog is gone. And that’s what inspired this post.
Blogger’s Free Blog Hosting Has Risks
In my last post I warned readers about the need to host their own sites. Now I’ve just read that artist Dennis Cooper’s 14-year-old Blogger blog was pulled by Google with no warning. I will admit I am not familiar with Cooper’s work and I have no idea what about his blog violated Google’s terms of service. I do know, though, from my own WordPress.com experience, that we may sometimes miss some part of the TOS or misunderstand it. That failure might cause the destruction of all our posts.
It’s one thing for Google to penalize content it doesn’t like in search results. It’s quite another to remove your blog.
When you own your own site, you have a lot more control. It’s true that paid hosting sites also have their terms of service, but they generally only disallow illegal content or behavior that threatens the server or other sites that share it. I use SiteGround for hosting my newest sites, and their terms are pretty typical. They don’t host MLM sites, though.
Whichever host you choose, be sure to read the terms of service before you sign up. Make sure the type of site you have in mind is compatible. Also read the details of your hosting plan to be familiar with its space and bandwidth limitations. You could be in trouble if you use too many resources. That happened to me on Hostgator once.
I once hosted my most important site, Books to Remember, there, but I no longer felt good about it after some problems with tech support. One person I talked to made it sound like there would be no charge for a certain support task, and I should just call back when I was ready and any support person could help. I did that. After the task was complete they charged me $75 I had not counted on.
That’s one reason why SiteGround, now hosts that site. Click link above or one of the sidebar banners to check it out. I heard from many others how reliable SiteGround hosting is and how helpful the tech support is. I have also found that to be true since I moved my site there . I’ve always been happy with the results. My tech support call waiting time is also very short compared to that I spent when I was with Hostgator.
Even if you lose your hosting suddenly, you will have your content. It’s easy to export your blogs on a regular basis as XML files. In Blogger, click settings on your dashboard and select other. It will have an option to back up your blog. Click it and you will have your backup XML file. Save it wherever you want it to be.
If you have a WordPress.comsite, you choose settings again and at the top you choose export. Save to wherever you want to keep it. On a self-hosted WordPress site, choose tools on your dashboard. Then click export. I just exported one third-party hosted Wordpress.org blog to a new site by just importing that file.
My exported arrived blog with everything, even the photos, comments, and theme, intact. I decided to change the dates on all the posts and upload them one at at time to start the new site. That gave me a chance to edit the posts and improve them with what I learned from The Pajama Affiliates Blogging courses.
Set Up Your New Self-Hosted WordPress Blog the Right Way from the Beginning
I had already set up several self-hosted WordPress blogs before I discovered the Pajama Affiliates Courses. When I signed up for my new blog on SiteGround, I wanted to get off to a good start. I decided to do it while watching the 20 Pajama Affiliate videos in the WordPress in a Day Course.
I went step by step, with my blog open in one tab and a video open in another. I couldn’t believe how much I hadn’t known when I set up my other sites. I still need to make changes in those first sites I built, but at least I now have one that was set up properly at the beginning. This one isn’t it.
Check Content and Prices on All Pajama Affiliates Courses. They are often on Sale.
I highly recommend the WordPress in a Day Course if you are just starting a new self-hosted WordPress blog. You can look all these great courses over and get a free sample to try before you buy. I now own most of these courses.
It’s Time to Leave Free Hosting Sites Behind
Back up your sites and move them to sites you own. The Pajama Affiliates can help you. Even if all you have is the free sample course, you will have access to the Facebook support group where you can ask questions and find answers to your blogging problems.
You simply should not risk all the work you’ve put into your blog by keeping it on a site you don’t control. Buying hosting and a domain name is a small price to pay to maintain your independence. Check out SiteGround. They often give you your domain name free for the first year if you sign up for a new site. They did that for me. Get it before January 3 while it’s still 50% off.
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It’s very tempting for affiliate marketers to take advantage of “free” blogging platforms such as BlogJob or revenue sharing sites using a WordPress interface. These platforms have their advantages and many of us have used them with varying results. BlogJob is great if you want to be in a community situation and be able to earn with social activity as well as your blogs. If you are a serious affiliate marketing blogger, who wants control over the monetizing options and how your blog looks, it’s important to self-host your WordPress site.
I have six blogs on BlogJob. I wanted to try some different themes that were new to me. I chose the Arcade Basic theme for my blog Trees in My World because I wanted to feature a lot of photos and I liked the large photo header. What I could not predict when writing my posts was what would happen when BlogJob’s placed their Adsense ads on my blog. Here’s what did happen.
As you can see, the ad is covering my text — not something readers will appreciate. It makes me look bad and most readers will just click away, increasing my bounce rate..
I only discovered this was happening again when I was about to promote the page. These ads are pesky because when you are writing your post, you have no idea where they will appear and what form they will take. They don’t show up until someone is actually reading the post. This only has happened when I’ve been using this theme. In all fairness, the administration fixed this for me once, but the site just had a major update and it’s broken again.
When you self-host, you place all the ads. You don’t have to put one in the middle of your post if you don’t want the flow interrupted. You don’t have to worry about ads that will compete for clicks on the products you are linking to yourself. I remember times on revenue sharing sites when I was promoting certain Zazzle products and the same products would also appear in the ads to the right, competing for clicks and commission.
When you self-host, you don’t have to worry about nasty or questionable ads being placed by your host that you would never approve or want your readers to see. (In all fairness, BlogJob has never placed ads I was ashamed of. ) You have full control in Google’s interface over what ads you do and don’t want to see when you host a site yourself.
Third Party Display Aids
Affiliate marketers want to make their products look attractive on their pages. Some like to use Amazon’s Native Ads. I like to use Easy Product Displays. It’s a very reasonable paid service that lets you easily build attractive displays of affiliate products.
I’m still on the basic plan that lets me search Amazon and Zazzle, my two main affiliate programs. It costs a bit more to include Share-a-Sale. You can choose between several layouts to find the best fit for your page, preview it, and switch products around in the display until you get it just right. Then you copy the code and put it in the text view of your page where you want it. Here’s an example of a display I just built. (Disclaimer: I chose these books at random because they looked interesting to me.)
There are ways I could adjust this display in the code to make the Amazon buttons line up more evenly, but that isn’t the primary focus of this post. You can display only one product or more than fifteen, if you please, in different sizes or in rows of two, three, and four products. It’s fun to play with it before you get your code.
I cannot use this display in BlogJob because of code conflicts. Amazon Native ads also have to replace one of your Adsense ads at BlogJob. I discovered today I can’t even display the normal text/image ad from Amazon there. I have no control over how the code is written. BlogJob pays the bills and they get to call the shots. They have to make money, too, but if you want control you need to self-host.
Full Control of Affiliate Products Promoted
So far, BlogJob has not limited how many products I may promote per post, only how they are displayed. Revenue sharing sites like HubPages are the most controlling when it comes to this. I hate having robots decide where affiliate links can be placed and how many. Anyone using HubPages will understand what I mean. That is one reason why affiliate marketers are leaving HubPages to self-host. Many who have done that are making much more money after moving their posts to self-hosted sites than they ever did on HubPages.
If You Are Serious about Monetizing, Self-Host
If you are starting from scratch with self-hosted WordPress, I recommend you spend the small amount of money it takes to purchase the course that will show you how to set it up correctly to make money and get traffic. It’s called Set Up a WordPress Site in One Day, and I have purchased it myself. I thought I knew plenty already, since I had been using self-hosted WordPress for years. After getting this course, I was surprised to learn how much I didn’t know yet.
If you want to blog mainly for personal satisfaction or you don’t care if you make money with your blog, go ahead and join BlogJob. You can still make a bit of money there — probably faster than on HubPages — while enjoying the community aspects of the site and participating in forums. Just keep in mind that if you want to start seriously monetizing a blog to make a business of blogging, you will get much better results if you self-host.
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Get Your Pajama Affiliate Marketing Blogging Course Now!
Many of us struggle for years on blogs that don’t make any money from affiliate marketing. We put in our links, but they don’t convert to sales. We wonder why. That was me. I was working hard, but not smart.
Then I heard about the Pajama Affiliate blogging classes. I had read lots of blogs on blogging and affiliate marketing, but they didn’t help. My friends started raving about the Pajama Affiliates, so I first bought the Amazon Masterclass they were so excited about.
These video courses are very practical. You learn about finding the right niche, the right keywords, and the best way to make your blog friendly to search engines. You also learn how to use your affiliate links in ways that will convert to sales. You can find the details of what’s covered in each course here. There’s even the option of a free sample that lets you get a feel for the courses before you buy them.
The Affiliate Marketing and Amazon Masterclass is also on sale for a limited time. You might want to pick up this class now, since it was upgraded in mid-October and then the price may double any day. Those who already have the course get the updates grandfathered in. All sales prices are limited time offers. Meanwhile, if you click the links above, the current prices will be accurate for the time you are there. There usually is a sale on one or more classes going on.
Here’s What’s in the Business Bundle
This course tells you all you need to know in order to start your own self-hosted WordPress blogging business.
These courses are about much more than blogging. They teach you how to find your blogging niche, how to organize your blogs, how to write blogs that reach and motivate people who are ready to buy your products. You learn how to offer your readers what they are looking for, and if you do that correctly, your posts will start getting sales. If you don’t take any other course, take “How to Write a Blog Post that Converts Sales.” It has completely transformed my approach to blogging.
Success Depends Upon Applying What You Learn
Of course, all the courses in the world won’t improve your sales unless you watch the videos, read the notes, and apply what you learn. But after six years of blogging without this course, I never got a payment from Amazon. I bought the course at the end of December and got my first check from the Amazon affiliate program at the end of the next January. I’m about ready for another one. My Zazzle sales are also improving since I also promote my Zazzle products in my blogs.
I’m not yet making the kind of money Robin and Lesley are making. It takes time to start making hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. I need to redo most of my already published blogs and also write new ones applying what Robin and Lesley have taught me. I expect, though, that by the end of this year I will have earned back all I’ve paid for the course, pro versions of apps that help me, and website expenses for new blogs and renewals of old ones and still have more to buy services I need for my home.
It does take money to make money sometimes. One just needs to spend it wisely. If you buy a Pajama Affiliates blogging course, you will be spending it wisely. Just hurry so you don’t miss current sale prices Tomorrow may be too late. My income increases more every day as I apply what I’ve learned and am still learning.
Are You Still Waiting to Make Money from Your Blog?
Do you want to learn how to monetize your blog or website? Adsense may be putting ads on your sites, but you may only make a penny every two weeks or so from those ads. You don’t make much from Google unless you have thousands of people visiting your site every day. I’m not there yet. Are you?
I Finally Got Serious about my Blogging Business
I just started my serious blogging journey in December. Until last year I relied on content sites like Squidoo (now defunct), HubPages, and Bubblews (also now defunct) to make my writing pay off. I never made much from affiliate sales and I like to think it’s because I didn’t try very hard. I’d like to turn my blogs into cash cows.
I currently belong to two direct affiliate programs — Amazon and Zazzle. So far Zazzle has done better for me. If you aren’t a member of their affiliate program, you should join. It’s free and Zazzle products are easy to promote on a blog since they have products to relate to anything you can think of to write about. Here’s how to get started with Zazzle. There are many Zazzle support groups on Facebook to help once you get started.
I have now connected with a group of other former Squidoo writers who used to make a lot of money with affiliate marketing on Squidoo. They now are making it with affiliate sales on their own blogs. Some make thousands of dollars a month.
Two of them have put together a course that teaches anyone how to do what they have done, as long as they can communicate well in writing and are willing to work hard. I thought I couldn’t afford it.
Finally, I decided I would take the plunge anyway as an investment in my future, and at the end of December 2015, I bought my first course. Participating showed me how much I could learn from Leslie (who just bought her first home with her affiliate earnings) and Robin. I signed up for even more courses.
Here’s the Scoop on Pajama Affiliate Marketing Courses
For a complete description of the courses, you can save time by going directly to the Pajama Affiliate Home Page. The complete Pajama Affiliate Marketing course includes more than the Amazon Associates Master Class I describe below. I have known the people who put these courses together for a long time on Squidoo. I know that taking courses is not a magic pill that will transform your blog overnight, but if you put the work in, you will begin to make more money with your blog if you work smart. I decided it was time for me to learn to work smart.
The price for the courses fluctuates as they go on sale for limited times and then go up again.I’m excited about the all-in-one blogging bundle that was introduced on February 18, 2016. It shows you everything you need to know about blogging. It will teach you how to make money from your blog. Check it out.
All Pajama Affiliate courses are reasonably priced for what they offer, but they often go on sale. The best way to find out immediately about any sales is to take advantage of the free Fastpass described at the end of this post. It gives you access to the private Facebook group where sale announcements are first made.
My first course was the Pajama Affiliates Amazon Associates Master Class. When you click the link you will land on a page that describes all you will learn along with the current price. It’s quite likely it will be a sale price. This course is part of the all new blogging bundle described above.
The courses include videos with written summaries of what the videos cover. That makes it easy for me to recap what I’ve heard without listening again. I’ve only had time to watch a few videos since I signed up, but already I’m learning a lot I never knew about how to do the things I knew I should be doing.
knowing where to put them
putting content and images together for the best selling results
adding products and affiliate links to my pages effectively
using the different social media most effectively to bring in traffic
much, much more
Learn to Make Your Blog Profitable
Support in Your Blogging Journey Helps
One reason I signed up is because many of my friends from Squidoo days are also taking the course and they say it has really helped them increase their affiliate income. Keep in mind that these ladies have been doing serious affiliate selling for much longer than I, and they say they are learning way more than they ever knew before about how to make their writing time pay off.
If you purchase this course, you also have lifelong access to Leslie’s coaching.Getting the information about the course costs nothing. I had saved the little bit left in my PayPal account after Bubblews closed, and I decided I would spend what it took to learn how to make real money — not just a few dollars a month — from my websites.
The Pajama Affiliates have two Facebook groups for help and support where members can work together to make each other more successful. The groups have challenges. Members help promote each other. Those who have purchased any course have access to the groups.
Other Affiliate Programs You Can Join
Zazzle and Amazon aren’t the only affiliate programs you can join. There are also those that are under the umbrella of a network such as Skimlinks, ShareASale, or CJ Affiliate(formerly Commission Junction.) I am currently enrolled in the first two, and I’m beginning to see some earnings accumulating in my Skimlinks account. I’m not ready to give up on ShareASale yet, because I’ve not worked hard enough at it. I don’t like CJ Affiliates terms because they deactivate your account if you don’t make a sale in a ninety-day period. Mine is currently deactivated. Skimlinks and ShareASale are more reasonable and I do know people who are making money with them. I will concentrate on Zazzle and Amazon until I’m happy with my results and then I will probably tackle ShareaSale with more enthusiasm.
I don’t like CJ Affiliates’ terms because they deactivate your account if you don’t make a sale in a ninety-day period. Mine is currently deactivated. Skimlinks and ShareASale are more reasonable and I do know people who are making money with them. I will concentrate on Zazzle and Amazon until I’m happy with my results and then I will probably tackle ShareaSale with more enthusiasm.
Skimlinks is a good alternative for those who cannot become Amazon affiliates directly because of tax laws in their states. If you use Skimlinks you don’t have to be approved by the individual merchants in their programs because you are sending your referral links with their referral codes through the Skimlinks account and Skimlinks pays you directly when your commissions add up to $10. They take a cut, but they also have a much lower payment threshold than the individual sites.
Zazzle and ShareASale pay when you have $50, and Amazon requires $10 for payout unless you want a check, for which you need $100. If you use ShareASale, you need to be accepted into each of their individual merchant programs. Since merchant programs and deals can come and go, it can be hard to keep track of them.
I’m convinced if my friends, people I know are telling the truth, are making some real money with their blogs, I can do the same thing. I will have to change my blogging habits to do more than working by instinct and writing just what’s easy for me. I will have to work smart and put the time in to plan my blogs as money makers and then execute those plans. It will take discipline, but I’m going to make money from my blogs.
I bought my first course at the end of December 2015, and have not yet had time to complete it. I apply what I learn as I learn it in every new post I write. In all of 2015 I had earned only 52.08 in affiliate income and all of it was from Zazzle.
This year, from January 1 to May 1, I have earned 61.24 from Zazzle (more than I earned all last year) and $11.28 from Amazon, when I’d never gotten a payment from them before. I can see my earnings increasing. As I have time to complete the courses and apply more of what I am learning, I know these earnings will increase. The income from my remaining third party site, HubPages, brought in only $25.10 during this same period, as the total earnings for both my accounts there. Amazon earnings alone beat those totals this year. And I know they will grow.
December 2016 Update
If I count what I made on my blogs from Google Adsense and affiliate sales, my income from blogging doubled in 2016 over 2015. If I leave out Goggle, my affiliate income alone tripled over 2015. I realize that’s no fortune. But most of the year I was still learning and practicing new techniques. As of the end of June this year Amazon had paid me $21.65. My December Amazon sales as of today, December 22, are 29.14 since my last payment in June. I had not received any Amazon payments in 2014 or 2015.
Earning are going up, and I’m getting the hang of how to make this work. I think by this time next year I will see a geometric progression in sales. I will have to work harder this year to make money from my blogs and not spend so much time writing for content sites that distract me and don’t pay well.