August 30, 2008

Would you like to get to know me a little better?

Brace yourself.

Then check out my family blog.

I'm warning you. My hubby is a goofball. There's a story to this picture.


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August 29, 2008

Where have Pass It On Plates traveled to?

Here's a little Friday FYI for ya.
As of today, Pass It On Plates are circulating in these states:

Hm. I wanted to show off this neat map I found because I thought it would be fun and easy to change as states are added. Turns out I had to go back to BigHugeLabs.com and make another map from scratch when I realized I had forgotten a state. What a pain in the butt.

Well ok, just think of it as a static map.

It could still come in handy. Could you use a map like this? What would you use it for?

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August 28, 2008

*ahem* And the Winnersssss Are...

This morning I was looking through the box where I keep my shipping supplies and saw three envelopes waiting to go out to the winners of the last giveaway when my brain froze and I realized what I had done.
I howled, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!"

Holey Cheese, people, I am such a DOPE.
And to Misty and Miss Bliss, I am SO sorry!!

Ok. Let's re-announce the winners of the last giveaway correctly, this time. Later, I will blog about the importance of paying attention to the little details.
...Based on experience.

AAAaaaaaaand the winnerssss are:
(I'm emphasizing the ssss on winners)

Mary Jenkins of Giveaway Corral
Misty of Planet Misty
and Miss Bliss


Ladies, if you will email your mailing addresses to me at pam @ passitonplates.com I'll get your favorite Pass It On Plate Lite kits in the mail pronto.

Here is the original Random.org image of the winners.


random 8-23-08.JPG, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

In her blog post Mary Jenkins said, "I liked the birthday set in pastel best. They are all cute. Trust me! I would love the birthday one for my daughter's upcoming birthday!"
(Mary, I still need you to email your address to me so I can ship it out.)

On the giveaway post, Misty said, Kitty Kitty Kitty Cat with Pink Tie In & Fishy Cookie Cutter is my fave. Here you go, Misty. It's all ready to be mailed to you!

Miss Bliss said, "I like the 'MeeeOwww with Fishy cookie cutter' Very cute"
Thank you, Miss Bliss. It is now yours.

Whew! I'm glad I caught that. Again ladies, I'm sorry I'm such a dope and messed up with the first announcement. I promise I will pay better attention with the next giveaway.

...which is coming up in just 11 days. Mark your calendar and come on back Monday Sept 8th to see what else you can win!

August 27, 2008

Just the number, Ma'am

Call me crazy, but I have started selling numbers.

No, this has nothing to do with horse racing or gambling.
I'm not in the stock market or involved in any Multi Level Marketing plan.

These tracking numbers are not used to bring lost dogs or cats home, they're not used to identify a batch of canned pears, and have nothing to do with trains.


Pears, originally uploaded by Jennifwr.

Have you ever made or had a sentimental item that you know would pass from friend to friend?
Have you ever thought how interesting it would be if you could track its journey from person to person? Hmmm, how in the world could you do that?

Aha! Add a tracking number to it!
This great idea is now available in my Etsy shop.

Wouldn't it be neat to be able to tell the story of certain baby items as they travel from one baby to the next?

You could add a number to a Christening gown, a stroller, a play pen, fancy dress clothes, a swing, crib, etc...


Christening Gown, originally uploaded by JJ Knits.

Don't forget those cherished wedding items that you only use once but that your friends need when they tie the knot -
  • Wedding items that are either old, new, borrowed, or blue?
  • Wedding cake toppers or cake knives
  • Wedding champagne glasses


Celebration toast with champagne, originally uploaded by dotw.

Can you think of other items that are just begging for a tracking number?
Try adding a tracking number to:
  • Aprons
  • Tote bags
  • Wine bottle stoppers
  • Cloth gift bags
  • Gift baskets (the actual basket)

...and don't forget to try:
  • Pot luck dishes and serving utensils
  • Cake pans
  • Casserole dishes

What other items can you think of?

Your unique tracking number can be written, embroidered, painted, stamped, fused, decoupaged, quilted, added to a tag or label, or attached to your item any way you like.

Visit my Etsy shop and get your tracking number today!



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August 26, 2008

Finding HTML Colors

Have you ever tried changing the look of your blog or website and wanted to use a very specific color? No matter what program you use, be it a website or blog development software, Blogger or some other blog platform, there is usually a set collection of colors available and that's it.

This was the case when I made a recent tweak to this blog. I was frustrated with my "Thisaway Rose" template loading slowly on my cable connection and knew something had to change.

The little light bulb cam on in my head over my morning coffee today as I realized I should just switch to the "Minima Stretch" template and just change the background color. Duh. Don't know why I didn't think of that before...

So I make the switch and click the pink button to change the background. I wanted the blog to look pretty much the same as before, and when talking to Donna, my Pass It On Plates partner in Wisconsin, I like referring to this blog as "The Pink Blog" and the Plate Diaries as "The White Blog." We have one other blog that we use, just between ourselves, that we call "Projects." It's marked 'private' and we chat back and forth there and post articles, business links that we use, and it's a great place to collaborate. Our "Projects" blog is the subject of another post, though.

Back to colors.The Blogger color choices were way too dark and I don't really understand the Hex Code used. I tried fiddling with the numbers and letters but nothing seemed to change. Enter a Google search on "Hex code." The site December.com was at the top of the list so I checked it out.

Wowie. If you have ever searched for hex codes, this is the place to go.
Mind you, these are only the named cool-pinks. There are other hues, other saturations, and a whole section of un-named colors. I did try some un-named colors and Blogger didn't recognize them, but with thousands of hex codes at my disposal, I was able to find exactly what I was looking for.

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August 25, 2008

Giveaway reminder - - -

Over the past few weeks, several Pass It On Plate Lite and DIY Pass It On Plate kits have been sent out for testing. In addition, several of the Original Pass It On Plates have been distributed in the Salem, Oregon area. All of these Pass It On Plates are "live" plates and they qualify for any promotions we happen to be running.

I just wanted to remind everyone about the promo we are currently running. I'd love to see a lot of you get all six entries per plate. Here are the details:


Over 20 names, originally uploaded by passitonplates.
It’s our biggest giveaway yet!
Enter to
win a free Pass It On Plate
in our monthly drawing.
All monthly drawing entries have a chance to win our Grand Prize:
a set of four Pass It On Plates!
That would help with your Christmas shopping, wouldn’t it?

From July 1 through the end of September, you can enter to win every time you make a plate diary entry. The more plate diary entries you make, the more chances you have to win!

Whoo hoo!

Winners of these plates get to mix and match the plate color, the PlateWrap, the Pretty Little Doo Dad, and special paint pen color of their choice to totally personalize their prize.

Here are three ways to enter:

You get one entry when you leave a qualifying comment in the official Plate Diary (right here)
(see below to learn more about what a qualifying comment is)

You get two entries when you email us a picture of your plate.

You get three entries when you email us a picture of you with the plate as you pass it on.

1 + 2 + 3 = 6
For example, if you make a comment in your plate’s online diary,
and email a picture of your plate,
and email another picture of you giving the plate to a friend,
you’ll get six entries to win!

Just pass it on &
encourage your friends to keep it moving.


Click here for the rest of the details and contest rules.


August 24, 2008

OMGoodness! Another award!

Warning. This is a really long post. I'm sorry.
I tried to keep it brief, I really did.

My good friend Laurie B of Laurie Beggin Glass Musings is not afraid to admit that she reads this blog. In fact, she is bold enough to tell others that she likes it. Today, (you might want to sit down for this one) I read that she bestowed the Brillante Weblog award to me for all my unsolicited advice and restrained craziness. (I'll tell you all about the rocks later.)

Anyway, besides admiring her bravery, I am deeply honored with the compliment and promise to continue doing what I have been doing. Thank you, Laurie, for the award. It means a lot to me to be recognized this way.

While I was writing this humble thanks, my email thingie popped up with a new message. (Yes, "thingie" is a technical computer term.) Lo and behold, a brand-new friend, Denise, honored me with the same award. I am just starting to get to know Denise, but love her painted furniture. Have you seen it? You must hop over there and check it out.

I feel like I'm double-dipping in the treat jar!

Ok, so the assignment is to give away the award to seven brilliante bloggers. Oh wait. I have to come up with 14? I think I will do my best to send some much deserved recognition to a large handful bloggers that I read religiously in my Google Reader. I don't comment often, or at all on many of these blogs, but I feel like these talented people are old friends. I hope they're not too freaked out when I pass the award on to them!



~* Auroras Garden *~
I absolutely love Libby's blog. Her attitude is infectious, I love her projects (you have to see her ACEO with her daughter Maylee, OMG it's so cute!) and she shows you her projects like soap making and various sewing projects. Libby, don't take this the wrong way, but I appreciate that you took the pictures without first trying to clean up the soap glob mess on your stove. Seeing that made me feel good about the creative process and I decided to dig in to some projects I had been afraid to start. Of course, like your soap, mine were a success.



Albina Rose
Have you ever seen crocheted wire? Oh, you must. I met Sylvie through the Considerations - The Art In Marketing group on Ning. (There's a link near the bottom of my sidebar.) Her contributions to the group are one of the first things I look for when I log in because I know I'm going to learn more of her business savvy. She also makes the most breathtaking items. Please check her out and ooh and aah over her crocheted wrist cuffs.



a muted palette
Diana is creepy and I mean that in a good way. I met Diana at the same place and same time as Sylvie. Her art has a dark edgy feel to it that constantly reminds me of my favorite holiday, Halloween. While at Considerations she has raised thoughtful questions that pointed me in the right direction with my business. Right now her blogging is slowing down as she goes into high nesting mode in preparation for baby #3, but please take a look.



*Deaf Chef at Large*
Confession time. I read this blog and comment on the posts all the time. My new post alerts aren't from Google Reader, though. This blogger pokes his head in the bathroom when I'm showering or brushing my teeth and asks, "You see my post?" Of course, I could be biased, especially since I've eaten most every recipe he posts. Take a look and you'll get a glimpse into my kitchen, pantry, gadget storage shelves, and bookshelves. Please pardon his grammar, though. English is his second language, after American Sign Language, and his syntax follows the sign language rules.



The Wishing Star
She may not have a huge number of posts, but her pencil pouches are darned cute. My nonconformist, soon-to-be-7th-grader has told me time and again that she needs (not wants but needs) one of the Jolly Roger pouches. Take a peek!



Craft Yourself Rich
Cara is crafting herself rich and sharing all her tips and resources along the way. She gets into the nitty gritty details, such as approaching a retail store to carry your work, packaging, trade shows, pricing, etc. In between this business related brain expansion, she's got photos of her trips to Central America, sewing-related posts, a gocco experiment, and lots and lots of other fun stuff. She doesn't know it (because I pounce on her posts via my reader) but I look up to her with starry eyes and hang on every word.
P.S. Cara translates "rich" as having a "big fabric stash." Oh yeah. I can relate.



W.O.W! Are You Ready To Get Noticed
Alicia is a talented jewelry artist AND a savvy marketing pro. If you are selling anything or working hard to make your blog a success, you must read her blog. She explains a marketing tip and includes questions or exercises to get you thinking about how you can make the marketing tip work for you. Please check out her blog and book mark it so you don't miss a single post.



Lisa C Writes
Lisa is funny, sweet, sexy, maternal, and she blogs about some great products to try. I first discovered her when she had a Preserve toothbrush giveaway. (Made from recycled plastic yogurt containers. No, don't say Yuck! They're fantastic and are curved to fit in your mouth just right.) I was so surprised when she told me I won! Unfortunately, my darling daughter stole the toothbrush from me and so now I need to buy another one. But about Lisa C, I'd rather read her blog any day over womens' magazines. She's much more real. Go check her out - and wish her well during her move to a new home.



Stronger Than Dirt
Funny story here. A search on Flickr for my hometown, Moquah, WI brought me to her flickr page. During a nostalgic visit through her pictures I saw a lady who looked an awful lot like my Aunt Elsie. Amazingly, this lady happened to be the photographer's Aunt Elsie. Hey, wait - that's MY Aunt Elsie! Turns out we are somehow related by Elsie's marriage to a guy named John, although I don't think we ever knew each other in person. Hmm, I never did ask her what school she graduated from, though. Anyway, we became Flickr friends and then I checked out her blog.
She's a hoot! I giggle until I snort every time I read stuff like her post about Aunt Rose at the Rose Garden. Check her out - if not for her warped but pointed sense of humor, at least to get a glimpse of the crazy town where I grew up (where logic is often on vacation, elsewhere.)



Crafterella
She is so creative with polymer clay (check out her Mokume Gane from early July - wow!) shares photos of her swaps and altered clothing, garage sale finds, Halloween projects, craft challenges... Her writing style is very down to earth and I feel like we're two girlfriends hanging out when I read her blog posts. Too bad she lives so far away from me or I'd hang out with her in person every day.



by One Pretty Thing
Rachel scours the web for interesting DIY projects. I must explain why I love her blog so darned much. My parents were born during the depression and live the values taught during that time. When I was growing up in the 70's, every time I said, "I want that," Mom would reply, "You can make that yourself." So now when I want to buy something cool, if I possess any skill whatsoever to make it, I can't get myself to buy it. Unfortunately, I have a lot of crafting and sewing skills, so you know what that means. Ok, so back to Rachel's blog. I have needed a zipper pouch for quite some time. Voila! She's got a great tutorial for it. I also really wanted to update my Halloween decor this year and wasn't sure where to start. Et voila! She's not only got a few great tutorials, but an ENTIRE SERIES FOR HALLOWEEN TUTORIALS!! Go look!



Kelly Malouf's Blog
Kelly has recently been working through a list of 20 wishes she would like to see come true. She's been taking pictures along the way. Maybe you would like to make your own list of 20 wishes?


A World of Creativity
Ronalyn finds the most amazing artists and crafters and showcases them on her blog. My words cannot even begin to describe the creations she finds. Like the green teapot (a la Dr. Seuss?) or the art by Shayla Maddox. Just go and look. Try to keep your jaw from dropping wide open.


To the nominees here are the rules:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!
Tell 'em Pass It On Plates sent you!

August 23, 2008

And The Winner Is... (drumroll please!)


random 8-23-08.JPG, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

Mary Jenkins of Giveaway Corral won a pre-release of our new Pass It On Plate Lite.

In her blog post she said, "I liked the birthday set in pastel best. They are all cute. Trust me! I would love the birthday one for my daughter's upcoming birthday!"

Have you met Mary yet? She has two blogs worth checking out. One, of course, is Giveaway Corral, where she compiles giveaways of all sorts, especially those with prizes that appeal to moms with little ones and moms who deserve some pampering and fashionable accessories.

Her other blog, Now Entering Momville is a fun mix of giveaways and thought-provoking blog posts asking questions like "What would life be like if you married your first love?"

Go check her out and offer her your congratulations.
Because of the great response to this giveaway, we'll be posting another one soon! Stay tuned!

Here's a little teaser


Bird's Eye View
Originally uploaded by passitonplates

I have a fun tutorial coming up for you and your sewing machine. And a pair of pants. And a fat quarter of some fabric that looks great with those pants.

This is pretty easy and requires only basic sewing skills.

August 22, 2008

Please be patient...

I've got news, I've got news, I've got news!
Several things have been keeping me too busy to share all the good stuff, so please be patient while I try to get everything done. (It's #3 below that's bogging me down at the moment. It came up all of a sudden.)

Here are two tidbits to tide you over. I don't want you holding your breath until you turn blue. That's just not good for your complexion.

1. I have a double award to announce and spare
2. We have Giveaway winner!
3... all I can say about the last bit of news is: We put the wheels in motion yesterday and hope to beat an October 1st deadline. (Eek! That's less than 5 weeks away! But if Mr. Pass It On Plates can propose marriage to me after only two months, we should be able to get this done fast.) Step two comes Sunday at 12:30, and if all goes well we may be in for a LOT of paperwork.

Intrigued by my cryptic #3?
Good.

Stay tuned.
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PS: We have been happily married for over 15 years now. I tell ya, when we know something's good, it's good.

Oh. And #3 came with an offer of fresh figs. Anyone have fig recipes to share?
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Connecting with your readers

A couple of weeks ago I was surfing through my Technorati Experiment post to check out some of the blogs in the list and ask to have my links added to their list. I left a comment at one of the blogs and promptly forgot about it until later when I checked my email.
Here is what it said:

Hey Pam Hawk,

Just wanted to thank you for stopping by http://Bradblogging.com on August 3rd, 2008.

Your comment definitely helps me write better articles, and allows other readers to see your opinion about the article (http://bradblogging.com/more-traffic/give-and-go-technorati-authority-increase-anyone/) that you talked about.

I hope to see you back again soon! If you have a busy schedule, you could always subscribe to my R.S.S feed so that my posts are available at your convenience. Simply click this link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/bradblogging or go to the main home page and click the corresponding button.

Cheers!
Brad @ Bradblogging.com


Now while I realize Brad has probably set up an auto responder to send this email the second I left his site, it left a positive impression on me, and I did go back to read more posts.

You know what? I found some valuable information on his blog and have since subscribed.

If the email hadn't been sent to me, I probably would never have returned to his blog. Instead, this tiny effort on his part gained him another regular reader. Pretty darned smart, if you ask me.

When people leave comments for me, I read them all and try to respond accordingly. I also visit the sites of my commenters and read their posts and try to leave relevant comments as well.

Connecting with your readers encourages a sense of community in your blog. It also makes you more human and it does increase your readership, whether it's through regular visits or RSS subscribers. In fact, if you enjoy reading my blog, I invite you to subscribe, as well. Just click one of these buttons in the sidebar and select your reader.

So tell me, what do you do to connect with your readers?
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August 20, 2008

Six steps to designing a Project Wonderful ad

Now that you have some info on buying and selling advertising with Project Wonderful, what ad will you use to advertise your site or hot new product? Today I'll show you how to make a great-looking Project Wonderful ad without any special computer programs.

You can create one in just 6 easy steps using your Flickr account.

1. Look at Project Wonderful and decide what ad size you want to make. This quick tutorial is for the 125x125 square ad.

2. Log into your Flickr account and choose an image. Click on it.
(I made an ad based on the image used for the giveaway blog post so they matched.)



2. Click Edit. Flickr's editing program, Picnik, will open. Be patient, it takes a moment. When it opens, you will see two tabs. One is Edit and the other is Create. You will start out in the Edit tab.



3. Crop your photo. If you are making a square ad, select the square from the drop down box. (These screenshots are from an upcoming blog post... You'll just have to bookmark this blog or subscribe so you don't miss my next Flickr tutorial.)



4. Resize your photo to the Project Wonderful ad size you want to make. In my case, I typed in 125 and Picnik did the rest. When the shape and size are to your liking, click OK.

5. Now for the fun part. Click the tab named Create. Type in your advertising word or words and play with the color, font, layout, and other settings until it's perfect.

..........

6. Save your work. Before you complete the save process, let Picnik know if you want to save a new copy or replace the original. I recommend always saving a new copy so you can use the original for other ads or projects. Save this image to a location on your computer so you can easily upload it to Project Wonderful.

Ta dah! Quick and easy.
And fantastic-looking.

If/when you make one, comment here with a link to your ad. I'd love to see how it turned out. Plus, if you send me a link to your ad, I'll write up a post to be published next week to show off all the ads. Hey, that's free advertising for you.

Ok, also... Come back tomorrow to find out who won the big giveaway!

August 19, 2008

How to fine tune your PW ad box search

Laurie B asked another good question about advertising on PW. In a comment on a post below, she asked,

"I've searched for where I would specify US sales and can't seem to locate that. Also, how did you figure out what your best demographics are? I plugged in home decor, interior design, and got over 586 ad options and very few looked like what I was interested in. I'm trying to understand the search criteria and get to the types of sites I want to advertise on..."

The screen shot below is what you'll see when you start your search for ad boxes. If you look toward the bottom of the screen, you'll see an option for an advanced search. This link can tend to blend in, so I put a big arrow down there to point it out.

(I didn't discover this until I had been using PW for about a month. And I have to say, the PW FAQ is sorely lacking in organization and helpful information. But I digress...)


So once you've clicked on advanced search, you'll see the screen below. I stuck another big obnoxious arrow by the spot where you can specify where most of your preferred traffic comes from. In Laurie's case, she makes large stained glass pieces which require very careful shipping considerations, so I'm guessing she wants to keep her advertising focused on potential customers in her own continent. That's not to say someone half way around the world wouldn't want to buy her work, but it is more likely that her purchases would be coming from a more local audience.

Anyway, here is where you can fine tune your search for PW ad boxes to make sure your ad is getting in front of your target market.



As for finding the right keywords to narrow your search, that may take some experimentation. I'm still trying out different keywords but am pretty happy with what I'm using at the moment.

Again, my keywords are: women, cooking, baking, cookies, craft, handmade
I chose these because I know that women who bake and like to share their goodies with friends would be the kind of people interested in Pass It On Plates. I'm sure I could keep working on this, because these are still fairly general terms.

When I added the words craft and handmade to my keywords my search results dropped from over 800 to about 200. That's when I did the advanced search to specify the ad size, advertising region, and traffic stats. Now my search results are between 0-8. The next thing I do is check out the websites to make sure my potential customers are hanging out there. If they are, I place an ad. If not, I move on.

One other tip: When you find a website that is perfect for your ad and/or you have a lot of ad clicks coming from this site, ad that advertiser as a buddy so you can find them again in the future. There are so many advertisers on PW that if you don't "buddy" one when you realize they're a good place to advertise, you may not be able to find them again. I made that mistake and am still searching for those two elusive sites.

Thanks again, Laurie, for asking about this.

If anyone else has questions, please comment here. I check my comments daily. (Ok, the truth is... between Pass It On Plates and my *ahem* day job, I sit at a computer for over 10 hrs a day at least 4 days a week, and I get the comments emailed to me the second you submit them and I check on them as soon as I am able to.) What I'm trying to say is, if you have a question about this, please ask and I'll do my best to reply as quickly as I can. If I don't know the answer, I'll either research it or refer you to a place that can answer it. Normally I'll research it because I'd like to learn the answer, too.

Making money with Project Wonderful

Today we'll go over how you can use Project Wonderful to make a little moolah.

Like I said in an earlier post, you probably won't be able to quit your day job,
but at the very least you should earn enough to fun
your own Project Wonderful advertising efforts.


In order to make a little money with Project Wonderful, you'll first need to set up some ad space on your blog. If you have been following these posts for the past few days, you know these ad spaces are called Ad Boxes. It may take a little time (a day or two at most) to get your blog approved initially, since the PW staff needs to make sure your blog is valid and meets their criteria. (They don't like spam blogs or other bogus sites.) Once approved, you can set up your ad boxes based on your preferred size and location of the box on your site.

One last note, I have two ad boxes on this blog; one at the top and another in the sidebar. It took some experimentation to figure out that the best ad box size for this particular blog was to have one header ad at the top and one large skyscraper ad on the side. When I offer more ad boxes, I end up with fewer bids and the price drops. As my traffic grows, it may be worthwhile to increase the amount of ad space, but supply and demand has shown me that for now, two large ads work the best for me. What baffles me about this is that my personal blog, The Adventures of Pam & Frank, has very little traffic, maybe an average of 4 hits per day, but the ad box prices are generally higher there than they are here. My only guess is that different content from one site to another can also affect pricing. Oh. And for the record, I'm not saying the content over there is better than over here. It's just different.

Some things I recommend doing, especially if you're starting out are:

1. Be prepared to fiddle with your ad box over the next week or so until you find what size and placement work best for you. Keep in mind that the price your ad box demands is based completely on supply and demand. The more ad boxes you have available, the lower the bids will be. If you have a lot of traffic and only a few ad boxes, the price will go up as advertisers try to outbid each other for the coveted space on your site.

2. Regardless of how you set your preferences for approving ads, you will need to check your ad boxes every day for at least a few weeks. Why?
  • If you set your ad boxes to auto-approve every ad, you will get a lot of bids and ads in your boxes right away, but you will need to check and make sure the the type of ads shown in your ad box(s) are of a nature that you want showing on your site.
    My ad boxes were set up this way and despite designating them to be "Safe for Children" I was still getting adult-oriented ads showing graphic renditions of T&A (ummm, that's breasts and bottoms.) I immediately put up a notice on my profile explaining that ads not save for children would be canceled and the bidders would be banned from placing future bids on my ad boxes. Then I did just that. I still occasionally ban bidders for not following these rules.

  • If you set your ad boxes to approve every bid by hand, plan to check bids at least once a day to approve ads for your site. If you wait too long between checking bids, you run the risk of having no ads in your ad boxes, advertisers will retract their bids, or their funds could be depleted from other bids they have placed before the bid on your ad box is approved.

3. When you see an ad you like on your site, consider adding that advertiser as a buddy so at some point if you decide to only auto-approve ads from your buddies, their ads will continue to be approved for your site.

4. When you see an ad you like on your site, or if you have been earning steady payments on your site from a regular advertiser, go to your PW Admin page and click on their avatar. What you'll want to do next takes just a minute but can create a long term benefit:

Send them a message thanking them for advertising on your site and inviting them to continue bidding.

If you have any events coming up where you know your traffic will increase significantly, you may want to let them know ahead of time. Since a traffic increase can increase your ad price, your regular advertisers may appreciate knowing that their ad could be outbid and might want to adjust their bid accordingly to make sure that your extra traffic sees their ad.

This is a great way to develop a relationship with your advertisers and could pay off to your advantage in other ways.

Does your advertiser have a blog?

Do you think they may modify their bid to make sure they outbid any competition that comes along when your traffic goes up?
They may want to.

Do you think they may blog about your message, giving them a chance to get in on your extra traffic?
Possibly.

Knowing that you are keeping them in mind when conducting your business, do you think they would be more likely to continue advertising on your site?
Very likely.

What other kinds of things have you done or seen people do with their ad boxes or for their advertisers?

Next:
A quick and easy way to make PW ads (like the giveway one shown above)
Don't want to miss a post? Click the subscribe button on the sidebar today!

August 18, 2008

My August PW campaign


PW-8-08.JPG, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

I set up an ad campaign on PW specifically for the giveaway that runs through August 20. When setting up a campaign, I tell PW what kind of bids I want to make and it automatically does the work for me.

In this campaign, I specified that PW should look for adboxes that:

  • Support square ads
  • Support text and graphical ads
  • Have at least 1 page views today
  • Have on average at least 20 unique users over the past 5 days
  • Have at least 80% of their hits from United States over the past 5 days.
  • Describe itself using these tags: women, cooking, baking, cookies, craft, handmade

As you can see, I've had a few thousand views and a couple dozen hits, which gives me a nice CPC (cost per click).

I have two other ads that I'm bidding on by hand (same ad, same goal) on the website Corporette and Lipstick to Crayons. You can see how lower traffic and lower click rate affects my cost per click.

So why on earth am I bidding so much more on Lipstick than Corporette? I checked out their websites and see my target demographic there and I figured it would be worth the higher bid price to get my ad in front of their readers.

I hope that helps!

Oh - one more tip. You can click on each website with an ad box to find out their traffic stats. I feel like my figurative slip is showing by telling you this, because I wish my stats were a lot higher, but it's important for you to know how to see what kind of traffic a site has before you commit to placing a paid ad on their site.

(I guess I'm happy that my stats are not consistantly zero day after day!)

Advertising on Project Wonderful

Continuing from last Friday's post, let's talk about how to advertise your blog or online store through Project Wonderful (aka PW.) There are two ways to find the ad boxes that you want to bid on.

One way to find ad boxes to bid on is to surf other blogs and look for PW ad boxes. If they have one or more with a link inviting you to advertise on that site, just click that link to get to their bidding page. From there you can see their traffic stats and ad pricing over the last month, maybe learn a little about that site and their policies regarding advertising they allow on their site, and a link to see all their other ad boxes.

The other way is to go to the PW website and do a search based on your preferred ad box size, how much traffic the site gets, where the traffic comes from, etc. There are a lot of online comix sites, but you can tailor your search by keyword, so if you want to advertise on sites within a specific topic you can search for that. Just like any internet search, if you use general keywords you will have a long list of ad boxes to browse through, and if you use more specific keywords you will see ad boxes that are more in line with your desired niche. From there, you can sort your results based on the ad box price, amount of traffic, alphabetically, etc.

You may find it handy to use both techniques to find ad boxes.

Some things I recommend doing, especially if you're starting out are:

1. Bid $0 or $.01 on as many boxes as you can, even if the current bid is a few cents. When the higher priced bids expire, your ad will be shown in the space until the bidding price goes up again. It's a great way to take advantage of supply and demand pricing and get your ad seen on boxes you may otherwise not have budgeted for.

2. Set up an advertising campaign. You set the parameters, such as the level of traffic to the site, what country a certain % of traffic comes from, keywords used to describe the sites, price range of the ad boxes, etc. This will get your ads to a broad range of sites automatically and you don't have to babysit your ad to keep placing it here and there. This is quite simple to do, as PW walks you through the entire process. It's all point and click.

3. Send a message to the ad box owners where you are having success. Thank them for the opportunity to advertise on their site, point out what you like about their site, and let them know how you have benefited from their ad box. If you have ad boxes on your site, invite them to check it out and consider placing a bid on your ad boxes. It's kind of an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" approach, but joint efforts in advertising is almost always a win-win. If this first step develops into a nice conversation, you could blog about it and let them know about the blog post. They, in turn, may mention your blog post, driving more (free) traffic to your site.

4. Do you have a special sale or event going on? Make up an ad specifically to draw people to that event. Set up a campaign to have PW automatically bid on sites that compliment your event, and schedule your ad campaign to end just before your event ends. An example is the giveaway I have going on through August 20. I set up a campaign with the ad shown below. The ad linked to my blog post and the ads will disappear about 15 minutes before the giveaway ends.


Remember, the key to great advertising is patience and consistency. Once you place your ads, give it a few days, weeks, or maybe even a few months to really see how your efforts are paying off.

Coming up next:
Setting up ad boxes on your sites (or, making money with PW)
A quick and easy way to make PW ads (like the giveway one shown above)

Don't want to miss a post? Click the subscribe button on the sidebar today!
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August 17, 2008

August 16, 2008

Hey! Where'd the dog go?

One very hot day recently, we decided to go over to our storage unit and do a little cleaning out. Rachel was still at Grandma's on the farm in Wisconsin, so it was just Pam, Frank, and the dog.

At first, Caesar was sniffing around and checking his 'pee-mail' but then Frank stopped and asked,
"Hey! Where'd the dog go?"

Of course.
Five minutes after we arrived and started working, Caesar was back in the car, ready to go for another ride.

I like the way that dog thinks.

August 15, 2008

Do you use Project Wonderful?

"How do I get my name out there?"

is a question that frequently comes up in Etsy forums and from new bloggers wanting to promote their blog. One answer to this question is:

Try good old-fashioned advertising.

Fortunately, a new company called Project Wonderful has made it easy and almost fun to advertise an Etsy store, a blog, or any other online activity.

If you're not familiar with Project Wonderful or are new to it and would like some tips, check back here over the next couple of days. On Monday I'll share a couple easy tips for advertising via Project Wonderful, and on Tuesday I'll give you a few pointers on how to make money with Project Wonderful. Maybe not enough to quit your day job, but certainly enough to fund your own advertising efforts.

Check back again on Wednesday because I'll post a quick and easy tutorial on how to make a great-looking Project Wonderful ad without any special computer programs. Don't want to miss a post? Click the subscribe button on the sidebar today!

Meanwhile, do you use Project Wonderful? If you do, please comment here and let us know how it's working out for you.

August 12, 2008

Giveaway Alert!


Pink grosgrain tie in with fishy cookie cutter (on the Kitty Kitty Kitty Cat PlateWrap)
originally uploaded by passitonplates.

We have so many new items to show off, and so many of these are my favorite!
In fact, I can't decide which one I like best.

Which new Pass It On Plate is your favorite?
Tell me and you could get it sent to you for free!
These aren't even available in our Etsy shop yet.

We're giving away over $100 in prizes - Whoo hoo!

There are three ways to enter:
Visit my "New Items!" set on Flickr first, and then...

1. Leave a comment here to tell me what your favorite item is - 1 entry
2. Blog about this giveaway - 5 entries
3. Blog about Pass It On Plates and
mention who you would give one to - 10 entries


This giveaway runs from August 12 through August 20, 2008, ending at 11:59pm PST on Wednesday 8/20/08. Three winners will be chosen through Random.org.

Each winner will receive their favorite item in a pre-release of our new Pass It On Plate Lite.

For more information about Pass It On Plates, check out our FAQ.


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August 11, 2008

A "good day at the office"

Guess what I did today! I packed up a tote bag full of good stuff, grabbed the camera, and went to the park. It was a beautiful day with plenty of sun and I didn't want to be cooped up inside while I worked.


One of each of EVERYTHING, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

So guess what was in my tote bag?
(That's the big light blue bag on the left end of the table.)

I put one of each of all my PlateWraps in it, a box containing one of every kind of Pretty Little Doo Dad, a big white sheet, and an empty plate. On my way to the park I stopped at a grocery store and asked them to load the plate with their huge cookies.


Makeshift photo studio, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

Here's where I took today's pictures.

The butterfly PlateWrap is on the plate full of cookies with the turquoise paint pen. That Pretty Little Doo Dad on top is the pink organza bow.

Piled on the table to the left are aaaallllllllll the PlateWraps. In the plastic shoe box are every style of Pretty Little Doo Dad available so far.

It was a perfect day to take pictures, and I shot as many as I could until the camera battery died. (About 158, I think?) There are still several PlateWraps left to shoot, so if next Wednesday is nice, I'll head back to the park and take the rest of the pictures. I'm so glad I did this and will definitely plan to return to the park when the next batch of PlateWraps are ready.

Meanwhile, be sure to check back here often as I share some pictures of the new Pass It On Plates. There are some really fun PlateWraps coming up as well as a totally cool gift idea for Grandma or Auntie from the kiddos. Also - attention animal lovers! We have two new cat and two new dog PlateWraps coming up and boy oh boy are they cute! I'll be posting these in our Etsy shop over the next several weeks so be sure to check it out.

Speaking of Etsy, there are some good changes coming up for you over there as well. Some totally new items are in the testing stage and we can't wait to unveil them as soon they're ready!

Until then... come back tomorrow when we have some more exciting things going on!

August 9, 2008

Blue Flame Pillow


Blue Flame Pillow, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

I made a pair of pyramid pillows for Rachel a couple years ago. (This is one of the pair.)
It was so easy to do.

Materials:
One piece of fabric, twice as long as it is wide
Polyfoam pillow stuffing
Coordinating thread

Instructions:
1. Fold the fabric in half, right sides together , and matching the short ends. (It should look like a square.)
2. Sew along the short ends to make a tube.
3. Sew along one of the other open ends so the square is open on only one of the four sides.
4. Lay out the square with the open side at the top, the folded side on your right, and the side seam on your left.
5. Measure along the raw edge of the open side and mark the center point.
6. Flip the square over and repeat step 5.
7. Pinch one of your marks between the fingers on your right hand, pinch the other mark between the fingers on your left hand, and pull taut. The side seam should now be at the center point on the open end. Pin.
8. Sew along this edge to close, leaving about 6" open.
9. Turn right side out, stuff to desired softness, tuck in the raw edges, and topstitch to close.

August 7, 2008

Get a free Pass It On Plates mug!


PIOP mug, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

Send us:

  • a picture of your Pass It On Plate loaded with cookies or any other treat,
  • and include your recipe with it
and we'll send you a free mug and your choice of gourmet cocoa or gourmet coffee!

Email your photos and recipes to:
pam [at] passitonplates.com

Your photo and recipe will be featured in the Plate Diary blog as the recipe of the week! For an example, check out Andi's Andes cookies.

(Offer good while supplies last)

August 6, 2008

And the winner is...


Andi! She won the drawing for July's Flying Plate promo and has a free Pass It On Plate heading her way.

And just to get the rest of you excited about this contest, Andi earned two contest entries using the same plate. She earned her two entries when she emailed us a picture of the plate. Take a look here.

On top of that, she sent us a picture of the plate loaded with some very addictive Andes Candies cookies and shared her recipe with us. For that, she gets a free mug. Yeah, a free mug, with either gourmet cocoa or coffee. (I'm betting she'll choose the gourmet cocoa.) Details about the free mug are in the sidebar of Plate Diaries and we'll tell you more about that tomorrow.

By the way Andi, YOU are just plain awesome!

(Um, Andi, did you want to leave a plate diary entry, too? Since it's now August, this will earn you one entry in the August contest.)


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August 5, 2008

Interview with Laurie Beth Beggin

Dear readers, today we have another interview with my good friend and very talented stained glass artist Laurie B. I have mentioned her and linked to her several times here and now is your chance to find out more about her promotion techniques. If you're not familiar with Laurie B, please visit her Etsy shop to see her work. She is skilled in the Tiffany style of creating stained glass and her pieces range in style from flowers, craftsman, mosaic, abstract, and a collection of custom-made angels. Have you seen her Harry Potter? Wow.

Do you blog for the sake of blogging or do you blog to promote another activity? If you blog to promote another activity, please tell us a little bit about it.

My primary reason for blogging is to promote my store on Etsy, 27lauriebethbeggin.etsy.com. I do REALLY enjoy it though. I enjoy photography and as I go through my day I'm always thinking about topics to blog about, and picture to share on my blog.

Of all the blogging tools, blogging communities, blogging techniques, and widgets and gadgets, what do you think has made the biggest impact for you?

I'm still so new to blogging that this is a tough one to answer. I recently joined Interior Design Team and they seem incredibly organized. I'm really trying to dig my heels into that group. At this point I'd say Marmalade Pink has been the most supportive and helpful. Amy has great articles and she's so willing to share her knowledge.

What is Marmalade Pink and how does it help you?

Marmalade Pink is an online community for networking of artists all around the globe. It is a community on the Ning network that you join. It has a place for blogging, photo sharing and the main page has wonderful articles, a list of members who you can befriend and a spot for advertising.

How much time do you spend at Marmalade Pink?

I spend at least a 1/2 hour every day surfing Marmalade Pink to see who is new, what the articles have to say, read the marketing articles, new posts, etc.

What kind of results have you had?

I think with all marketing and networking it takes time to see the results. I've made a direct sale from this group but I think more importantly I've made consistant, wonderful friends. Since I'm so new I think it's going to be six months to a year before I see results from all of my hard work. I just keep connecting and trusting that it will bring results down the road.

Regarding your Etsy shop, what technique has been the most successful in generating sales?

I relist at least one item once or twice a week on Esty.

How do you relist an item on Etsy?

To relist an item you simply go to your expiration dates, click on the item you want to relist, and click renew. You're then charged the listing fee to relist the item. You don't have to wait for it to expire to relist it...

How much time do you spend doing this?

Oh, probably 10 minutes a week at most.

Has it increased overall sales for you?

I think this has helped my sales, but only slightly.

What one piece of advice would you like to tell other bloggers or Etsians who want to increase their traffic and/or sales?

Blog EVERY day, share interesting stories about yourself, your art, your life and SUPPORT OTHER ARTISTS! Commenting on THEIR life, their art and their blog is very important.
United we stand!
With gratitude, Laurie Beggin http://lauriebethbeggin.blogspot.com

And so, Dear Readers, please look for Laurie B on these various networks and visit her Etsy shop to see other breathtaking stained glass work that she has done. Is there one listed that you can't live without? Please visit her blog, as well. Like I've said in an earlier post here, visiting her blog is sure to inspire, inform, and entertain you - if you haven't been over there, please take a look. If you also have an Etsy shop please do check out Marmalade Pink and consider how becoming a member can help you promote your own shop.
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