A Successful Blog

Well, not mine. Another free course on Skillshare find today.

James Stafford has just released a new class, and it’s free. He teaches blogging and has taught a few courses before. His student counts are into the thousands and his previous courses are well rated.

His new course has an SEO heavy title, so here we go.

How To Start A Successful Blog And Make Money 2019

Son of a monkey badger, that’s a title… I’ve watched a bit of it and he’s using WordPress and Gutenburg. So it’s pretty relevant to a lot of my WordPress subscribers.

The parts I watched so far were mainly about SEO. My word, that’s something I need help with! I’ve never ranked well for SEO. My front page has no text on so Google down-rates me. I don’t work at all to counteract that on individual posts and pages. So I’ll be returning to this course tomorrow to take it in better.

In the meantime, head over to Skillshare via the link below to get this course and two free months of Skillshare premium.

Link: https://skl.sh/2IiVVq9

Shout out to Dee who bought me a Ko-Fi the other day (Jenny Haynes and DeesDaily). Thanks to Warren for the $10 Patronage.

Ko-Fi | Patreon | Etsy | Books | Skillshare | Threadless

Ibex

Introducing Ibex for this weeks #Colour_Collective. A lovely lady really. Big on climbing and biffing people up the butt. Small on collectable frog toys. This weeks colour is Scheveningen Orange.

With special thanks

Weekly shout out to my $10 patron, Warren from IWrite. Without people like Warren, I wouldn’t be able to wake you all with my little fears and you’d probably cry a lot less in the morning than you already do. So please do check out Warrens blog.

Paper Fears

Now, you may not have noticed this, but I’ve been putting a ton of original art on my Etsy store this week. It’s working out quite well as a creative horror outlet while my daily tales are running the current ongoing story.

A couple of things have occurred this week though. The main one being I have run out of the smaller paper I have been using. That’s not much of an issue right? Just go buy more. But I have a larger pad of the same stupidly thick, 240gsm card that I have been promising to use once the smaller pad ran out. That’s a fear for me. Use big fancy paper? Heck, the current 5-inch by 7-inch paper is the biggest scale I have ever drawn at. I have made bigger prints, but my actual illustrations are usually tiny. So yeah, this week, I have a fear of big paper.

Something else has occurred. I have been reunited my fancy paper that I left behind in London and the printer. So I can return to art prints again. Awesome. BUT! There’s another but… But I am pricing up a Moo.com order for the future of my art prints. Why? Well, I love my current canvas effect paper. But ordering the paper in batches of 50 then using official HP ink costs far more money than it ever should for something as simple as my prints. There’s also no difference in quality between my prints and the Moo prints. It’s just a different paper type. Moo use flat matte instead of canvas paper. By ordering 500 or more prints at a time through Moo I can bring down the costs to me and start hitting the markets up in Scotland. Though this is of course once I have a house and space to separate and organize 500 prints. Eesh. Nearly there. So, yes, if you still want to order my prints on fancy arse canvas effect paper, you have a couple of months at most before I’m ready to move onto bulk orders and new paper for my prints.

One last wee thing. I’ve mentioned ACEOs a great many times to fellow artists. Never done them properly myself. So this week I’ve put in an order for 200 or so cards of different paper types, and I’ll be having a go at them myself. What’s an ACEO, I hear the uninitiated cry? Well, it’s an original art piece on a canvas, card or paper the size of a playing card. You get fancy frames and sleeves for them. They only sell for about £6. But (another but? Really?), I think they will work well with what I do. Compact and quirky. The perfect creative outlet for the Little Fears. Keep your eyes peeled for them, they’ll be about in the coming weeks.

Now I know after all this, you’re busting to see my Etsy store right? Well, you’ll need a link, just like the one below.

etsy.com/uk/shop/LittleFears

I have another suggestion for you creatives while you’re here. It’s a Skillshare class by one of my favourite teachers. Melanie Greenwood. How To Sell Your Art Online With Etsy.

As always, my Skillshare sign up links offers 2 months of premium subscription for free. There’s no obligation to carry on past 2 months, you can cancel any time before your 60 days are up and you won’t pay a penny. It’s well worth it. Thousands of courses by creative lords and ladies. From photography and art to blogging and marketting.

Skillshare sign up Linky: https://skl.sh/2kvcAJi

 

 

GDPR & WordPress

Grr. I’m pro-GDPR. Data security and privacy are concerns of mine. But how the piss-feckery did Facebook and the like think they were going to continue to abuse peoples data without something like this having to come into force.

We, good people of the EU, are missing American websites today. Sorry about that. Also, Facebook, within 24 hours, haha, bloody ha.

For most of the internet, nothing changes. We just need to to have a few more warnings and we all need a privacy policy. For my self-hosted WordPress blog friends, being compliant is easy. Open Jetpack. Click the banner at the top about EU & Privacy. Fill in the privacy policy page template (takes 2 minutes) and you’re done. That’s it.

The only way that gets more involved is if you collect data and do anything else with it. Such as “download my free ebook, gimme your email address,” then add people to mailing lists. Or storing data outside of WordPress. Or if you’re collecting data and doing nefarious things with it. If you are collecting data and doing nefarious things with it, please stop. You’re being a dick and fucking it up for the rest of us.

To read my privacy policy, click here. It’s the WordPress template, with my email and web address on.



An edit to add, GJ’s description of how she summoned cookies and a privacy policy on the WordPress.com personal plan.

On a the personal plan site you navigate to the customise section, then go to widgets, select a section you want to add the privacy notice to, I used the lowest footer, footer 3. Select the consent and privacy widget, then update the details as required, setting how the banner reacts and the address of your privacy policy and publish. Done.

You can drop Gareth a thank you over at http://gjstevenscom.wordpress.com/

 

Another edit to add a tip from Aimer.

For anyone else on WordPress.com… WordPress adds the cookie banner automatically. If you add the cookie widget yourself, the banner never closes. Deleting the widget solves the problem.

You can drop Aimer a thank you over at https://aimerboyz.com/

Little Fears, Big Future

Thank you. Thank you for supporting me this last 18 months with the Little Fears. Thank you for supporting me on Patreon. Thank you for buying my books, tees and art prints. Thank you for sharing my posts. Thank you for dropping pennies in the tip jar. Thank you for turning up so often to leave a groan or chuckle. You are all absolutely fabulous.

So I think, after a two years run of bad luck. The loss of my entire life savings. Not seeing my missus in over a year. Much boo-hoo and stress, I may be about to sell my house. For those that have known me since before Fears started, you know what a big deal this is to me. I’m not popping the champagne yet as there’s one teeny hurdle to hop over, but I am now basing the next 3-4 months on being homeless. I may have to stay at my missus mum and dads house in the middle of the Scottish mountains with flaky internet at best with 4G style data caps. In addition to lacking internet, I’ll be sorting her parent’s house out into a liveable state during the time I stay there as it’s currently darn near uninhabitable.

So, without knowing how much time, peace or internet I am planning out the Little Fears website until 22nd of October.

Crime Capers

I grew up watching seventies and eighties cops shows. My dad allowed me to watch the Sweeney. I followed that with The Professionals. Then moved onto murder mysteries. David Suchet is Poirot. I shall not acknowledge any other attempt. I adore both Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie as Marple. I even love the riffs off of sleuths and buddy cop programs. The British fantasy shows, Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes were my idea of TV heaven. Also, who can forget The Detectives with Jasper Carrot and Robert Powell?

The gist here is I love a good crime story. So the next ninety stories on the Little Fears will make up three cops and robbers crime capers. Each story will be thirty tales long and follow DCI Lily and Inspector Sally as they solve crimes.

We will start with a sleuthing tale. Lily and Sally attending a crime scene where a woman’s been killed in a variety of ways with far too many motives. We follow that with a Starsky and Hutch style escapade as the intrepid duo chase down a master thief. The final story sees the pair in hot pursuit of a serial killer who’s also committed the heinous crime of putting pineapple on a pizza.

(I’ll add there, as a vegetarian, I’m pro-pizza-pineapple. Don’t tell Lily that!)

I’ll be posting these stories Monday to Friday as they form a singular narrative. Each story is entirely self-contained but they have a stronger overall story than Grey Moon and Seeking Hydra. If the names Lily and Sally sound familiar, yes, that is the name of my little arsehole Jack Russells.

TellyTube

I’m currently getting ahead on the audio for Lily and Sallys case files. I’ll be doing one more series of videos in the current format. Once I have moved home, I want a chair, with a tartan blanket thrown over it. I will sit in this chair and tell the stories to a camera. Some real Jackanory bedtime stories. With a dog on my lap and another dog at my feet. A cup of tea in one hand. A book in the other hand. Some digestive biscuits in the other hand. My trademark oddness and humour stamped all over the videos. That’s how I see them. It’s just going to be impossible to do that for the next three to four months. Blah. Something to look forward too!

Art

As I’m doing the tales, Monday to Friday, I’ll be moving the Colour Collective portraits to the weekend. I know they don’t get as much of a response as the daily tales, but I love doing the Fears portraits. By keeping the weekly portraits it ensures the Little Fears aren’t purely puns. A lot of bloggers insist you need to stay niche, I disagree. I say stay to a theme. If I niche the Fears as pure puns and nothing else, I think I’d get bored of them.

Speaking of not niching myself to puns…

Ivy - In which a horror arises

Horror

Oh man, what to do about horror. My next set of horror stories was going to be a 90 tale run of Denver going in search of his partner, Malcolm. The problem is I wrote it as a continuous story. I don’t think that’s going to work unless I post them daily like I will be with the Crime Capers storyline.

What would work is a Seeking Hydra style background plot to ninety stories. For those that are new to the Fears, Seeking Hydra was ninety tales mostly puns, that were nearly all separate. But had a theme of Hydra seeking his identity throughout. That would work with a story I’m only going to post once a week. I think I need to do a quick strategy change here on horror. Like the art, it stops me being fully niched into puns and I feel scary stories and weird fiction is now an important part of the Little Fears. I need to figure that out… For now, Denver’s search for Malcolm is on hold.

From obstructions can come creative thinking though. This is the kick that I need to start the horror postcards series. Images of spooky happenings, strange goings on and blood-curdling terrors accompanied by single sentence horror stories. It would be both different and in theme for the Little Fears. Maybe that should be my next thirty horrors.

Collaborations

It’s been forever since I did a collaboration with anyone. I started three since the last one and each time the other party lost interest or wandered off. I have a few good folks looking to do collabs. But I’ll be unable to do audio recording until I get my new house. Not sure what to do there.

If anybody wants to take the lead on a collab that doesn’t require my voice, leave me a comment. I’m brain farting on what to collab on at the moment though.

Movigos

One collaboration I have kept up is the Movigos. We spoke about dropping it from weekly to monthly and making it more an event. Perfect timing for me after this week. I wouldn’t be able to keep up weekly while I’m semi-homeless. Just need to sort something new out with the gang.

If you want to find us on Twitter, hit the hashtag #Movigos. Member list shamelessly ripped from Weird Shit with Alex.

Alex – https://weirdshitwithalex.blog/
Amberley – https://fuckthelemonade.wordpress.com/
Elijah – https://elijahrichard.com/
Eric – https://ericshayhoward.com/
Layne – https://chewing-on-glass.com/
Mel – https://fictioninmyhead.com/
Ward – https://wardclever.wordpress.com/

Patreon

And of course, if you wish to drop a few pennies in the tip jar, Patreon subs are always appreciated. Even just $1 a month contributes to the whole and enables me to continue waking you good people with a smile and a groan. Thank you.

https://www.patreon.com/littlefears

patreon little fears

Froggy Spirits

Do you think when froggy’s die they ascend to a pond in the sky? Looks more like a squid than a frog this gal, but I coloured her for this weeks #Colour_Collective on Twitter and she became a frog spirit. Original doodle in sepia when I got my new pens.

Affiliate links incoming for anyone that would like to snaffle the above gear for themselves.

Faber-Castell PITT artist pens – sepia
Daler Rowney ebony hardback sketchbook

Ko-Fi | Patreon | Etsy | Kindle | Skillshare | Threadless

Selling on WordPress

A wee post about my experience here. I figure I’ve done some experimenting now, so allow me to pass on some experience.

Earning as a blogger, writer or artist is hard darned work. Look at how many blogs and websites litter the internet and then count how many famous bloggers you know who’ve made it big. How many fingers and or toes did you count? So for most of us, the best we can hope for is getting by. Maybe reach a minimum wage. To me, that’s not depressing. It just shows that I need to do more than a website to earn a living. Such as selling prints at local markets (more on alternative earning later).

You all know what I sell by now. Art prints on Etsy. Art prints and Tees on Threadless. Books on Amazon.

The Beginning 

Back in the early days of the blog when I first started selling I had a signature in my posts like this:

~

Patreon | Etsy | Kindle | SkillshareThreadless

I quite liked that. It was subtle. I had maybe a 1%-2% per view click rate. That’s pretty high. I’d say there was a 1% rate of purchase from that though. Ouch, right? That’s not good when you’re only making £1 a sale.

The Middle Bit

At some point, I switched over to a series of icons at the bottom of each post.

   

They looked a bit more visually appealing and fitted nicely at the bottom of the posts. They looked awful in WordPress reader though. They enjoyed a 2%-3% views to click rate and had about 6% sales from that 2%-3%. By this my point my blog was over 20,000 subscribers and it was turning into £100 a month or more.

The Recent Bit

I removed everything from the bottom of my posts and left the links at the top of my screen the only links to my wares. The click-through plummeted and died a death. I’m into the less than 1% view to click through here.

What happened? Well, most of my readership on site is WordPress bloggers. Most bloggers use WordPress reader to view websites. So advertising in sidebars, header banners or menus is never going to be seen, let alone clicked. If the adverts aren’t in the post, WordPress bloggers will never click them.

Sales links in blog posts hurt Google ranks

It really does. Google isn’t stupid. If you include the same links in every post you make, Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines assume you’re an advert/bot farm website. They then actively push you down the search rankings. So what can you do?

Make a sale posts

Uuuuruurururuhghgh! Arreeghghgghgh! Nooooooooooooooo!

But they work…

An experiment follows with my recent books. Grey Moon and Seeking Hydra. When I released Hydra, I posted here daily about it being free for five days to readers. Asking people, please leave me a review. Hundreds of copies were taken for free. 10-20 copies paid for. Then I had a roll for a month or two where I sold one or two a day. It picked up 20 Amazon reviews (UK, USA and other) and did OK on Good Reads.

Contrast that with Grey Moon. I posted about it twice before and twice during the first five days of it being free. I gave away maybe 50 copies. Sold 8 copies. Then it died a death immediately after. I think I’ve sold 5 copies since. It has four reviews on Amazon.com and 3 on Amazon.co.uk. For all the effort I put into Grey Moon, it tanked.

(Click here to see Amazon.com review figures)

To follow that up, when I advertise a new Threadless tee, I get the most sales off the post I make about it. The has been shown with Walker and Terror-Dactyl.

So, yes, sales posts do work and are needed, even with freebies. The drawback? If you do a sales post every day, you’re gonna piss your readers off. The flip side of that is that when I have mentioned sales posts here before, the response is always “if you don’t tell us about your products, we don’t know they exist.”

Two more Fears Fears…

I have two other problems I need to address myself with sales. First, I don’t push products past the initial release. Like seriously, I launch a product, then never mention it again. What the crap?

My other issue is that I’m a terrible artist. I write awful. My spelling and grammar are poor. How can I possibly ask people to give me money for my rubbish?… What did you say? Imposter syndrome? Me? Well, I don’t think so mis…. Oh… Crap… Yes, you may be right…

I need to address both of those points, don’t I?

What will I do?

I will be giving more focus to other platforms and not be spending all my time on WordPress. Bluntly, there’s only so much marketing you can do on a blog. Post too many sales posts and you’ll annoy everyone, yourself included. Twitter and Instagram have a bit more leeway there. Even Tumblr you can post more frequently than WordPress. I’ve said I was going to spread myself out more a thousand times and I never do. Now, after my six-month long house sale has fallen through, I need the income. I need to sell. Twitter and Instagram, here I come. Though don’t talk to me about Facebook…

I will also try and do a weekly sales post on the blog. An entire post a week dedicated to something I am selling. Maybe explain or show the process of what I did to create the product. It doesn’t have to be all sell, sell, sell right? But it needs to be something. Posts dedicated to products work.

image of little fears presents spiders book 3, a book of flash fiction and short stories

The Alternative

The other thing to do is find alternative incomes in the real world. I adore the internet in all its messy, troll-filled, poorly spelt and grammarededy ways. But I’ve always felt I need real-world incomes too.

A market stall with my art prints on for example. This time I want to take books with me too. I recall seeing Emily with a pile of self-published books behind her sofa. A quick search only shows cats on her sofa, but imagine that sofa with a pile of books behind it. That’s what I need to do. Get a small print run of the Little Fears books and take them with me to a craft market along with my art prints. You get the idea.

What do you do?

Ooo, look at that. Ending a post on a question. How very professional blogger of me. So how do you feel about marketing on a WordPress blog? Have you tried different methods? Let me know in comments.

Little Fears, Big Update: Screech

Holy crud-muffins we are nearly into March!

  1. Screech
  2. Etsy
  3. Movigos

Screech

The eponymous dame returns as the lead lady for this weeks #Colour_Collective. Some link dropping here. You can see the original doodle of Screech in this post and I have a course on how to turn simple doodles into digital graphics assets, here.

Etsy

My Etsy store has re-opened. I haven’t sorted out an on-site shop yet, it’s on the to-do list. As you know, slightly strapped for cash right now so I have spent a few days this week doing in-house work for companies I used to work for and doing a fair bit of job hunting. Have a nosey at my currently, sparse but growing, Etsy store.

Shop link: etsy.com/uk/shop/LittleFears

Movigos

Clickety Click - A #LittleFears horror story in which something enters the room...

We’re back again this week, and Mel has chosen The Eye, a Korean film on YouTube for us to watch. Expect scary Asian ghosts and silliness. Come join us on Twitter for some fun, 9 pm UK time Saturday as we watch and tweet it. Hit me with an @ if you want to be added to the conversation.

For a read up on who the Movigos here, Alex made a Movigos post this week.

You can see my post from two weeks ago to see how we roll, here.

Come join us, it’s a bit of a laugh!

Little Fears, Big Update: Flowers

It’s been a while!

  1. Flowers
  2. Art Prints
  3. Movigos
  4. Patreon

Flowers

#Colour_Collective has returned to Twitter and the Fears are here for it! This week the colour is Boto Pink and conveniently, this week’s Scribblers Cove theme is flowers. Two birds with one doodle right there!

Art Prints

My art prints will return to the site this coming week and just look at that paper! My word is that canvas texture sexy. Something I haven’t sold for a long time. The prints are sized UK A4 and will cost £12 each (£3 shipping to the USA). I’ll have a shop page finished this weekend. If there’s an item you’ve seen doodled before or that’s on my Threadless store and you want to buy the canvas print version, please do let me know. I’ll make it a priority for the shop. Also. LOOK AT THAT TEXTURE!

Mmmmm, forbidden texture… Drools

Movigos

We’re back again this week, and Alex has chosen Spooky, a film on YouTube for us to watch. Expect cheap monsters and silliness. Come join us on Twitter for some fun, 9 pm UK time Saturday as we watch and tweet it. Hit me with an @ if you want to be added to the conversation.

Linky for details: weirdshitwithalex.blog

Patreon

patreon little fears

Did ya see her? Blue Bugly was given away to my patrons this week. Something I have been meaning to do for ages. Monthly monsters, given out to paying patrons. Interested in receiving monsters monthly and helping to pay for Hydras feed bill? Head over to our page and support the Little Fears for as little as $1 a month.

Clicky linky: https://www.patreon.com/posts/16974999

 

Little Fears, Big Update: Almost Gone

  1. Grey Moon
  2. Maya & Seth
  3. That Gal, That Guy
  4. You are invited, to strangeness
  5. Free class, four days left

Grey Moon

My preview book arrived. My house sale date may have also come. I intended to spend a week reading through Grey Moon a hundred times before I released it Monday 5th of February. I don’t know if I have time for that now, so you all may have to wait a couple of months until I have a new house before I have time and a decent internet connection to release it. Sorry! In the meantime, yeah, Reala look pretty handsome as the leading lady.

Maya & Seth

I mentioned a couple of weeks back, Maya got me into a marketing course with Seth Godin. Holy heck is it hard! It narrows down who you are, what you do and what change you want to make. A slice of the course.

“My goal is to help people start the day with a smile.”

I want to make people grin in the morning. Make them groan at an awful cheesy punchline or give an “oooh” to a Twilight Zone’esqe plot twist. Help people start the day right. Like that first cup of tea (or coffee) of the day. Where you take a sip and say “good grief, I needed that.”

Mayas design and writing website: Design Meets Writing

That Gal, That Guy

TeeshirtBlogger ran an e-interview with me as the star this week. I maintain, as question 30 asks, my most excellent quality is my moustache.

You can check out the interview here: That Guy, That Girl

You are invited, to strangeness

This Saturday at 9 pm UK time, Amberley (who won’t make lemonade), AlexLayne and I will be watching the Twilight Zone episode, Cold Fusion. Followed at 9:30 pm UK time, by Theatre of Puppets,  read by CreepsMcPasta. We’ll prattle along as always during the showing. If you’d like to join is, poke me on Twitter and I’ll be sure to @ you so you get in on the conversation early.

Full details here: Saturday Night Show

Free course, four days left

Properly surprised at how many people have taken the class and that it has a 100% rating. Apparently, this technique is more helpful than I gave it credit for. It’s going to remain free until the 1st of February. Once you have enrolled, it’s free to access for life.

Class link: How to convert a hand-drawn illustration into a digital graphic