Showing posts with label Website Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Website Reviews. Show all posts

Monday, August 17, 2020

Writing: Website, Blogging, & Book Publish Tips Reviewed on Review This Reviews!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This Reviews! 


Every writer needs a little help at times. Whether you are writing online, or writing a book, there are moments when you are stumped or don't know how to do something.

Starting a new blog or website can be a daunting task.  Self-publishing a book is equally, if not more so, challenging.

Writers want to focus on writing.  We don't want to get bogged down with the "mechanics" behind it all.  However, there are necessary elements that are requirements of any art form.  Writing is no exception.

Don't let those irritants, or your lack of platform or software  knowledge, end your dreams and ambitions because you give up due to exasperating chores.  

Several of our contributors have taken the time to write easy to follow tutorials and writing tip reviews.  We have all benefited from experienced writers who are willing to share the secrets of the trade.  Well, they feel like secrets because information is elusive.


Writing: Blogging Tips


Many companies self-promote with blogs.  Even if they own a website, they have a blog writer to keep the website current and relevant in the search engine's "eyes".   

There are thousands of individuals who work from home as promotion affiliates.  In fact, all of the contributors of Review This Reviews are promotion affiliates.  Several of us work on multiple websites.  This makes us uniquely qualified to help other writers who are seeking help.

Blogger, aka Blogspot, and Wordpress are the most commonly used online writing software.  They each require a writer to jump in and learn through experience.  Once a writer gets past the basics of writing with online software, they want to know how to do things they see on other sites.  Therefore, we publish how-to articles for specific tasks such as using link jumps in an article that allows your reader to "jump" to a specific section of an article.  

If you wish to have your Blogger blog use a custom domain name instead of a blogspot domain name, we have an article that shows you how to set that up.

You can check out our Blogging Tips & Tutorials by clicking here!  Plus, if you see something on our site that you wish to do on your own site, simply ask us.  If we don't already have a published tutorial, we will try to write one.


Writing: Book Publishing Tips & Tutorials


A few of our contributors self-publish their own books.  Barbara Tremblay Cipak (Brite-Ideas) has written several in-depth and informative reviews on writing and publishing your own book.

If your dream is to be an Indie Writer (an author who self-publishes), than Barbara will be your best friend!  She shares writing tips and publishing recommendations based on her own experience.  You get the benefit of her publishing pains!

Book Self-publishing help can be found by clicking here.


Writing: Website Reviews


Our contributors have reviewed websites that are available to help online writers create beautiful promotion images, banners, & introduction images.  These image websites are essential, especially when preparing images for multiple social media sites.  Most of these sites offer a free version.

If you are a promotion affiliate, Easy Product Displays (linked here) is a website that helps you search and set up a beautiful display of items from Amazon, Zazzle, and ShareASale.  This is a tremendous help if you don't like writing your own html code, but want an attractive display of products.  




You will find dozens writing articles on Review This Reviews to help you create the blog, website, or published book you desire.  


A Review This Reviews Pinterest Board - Writing


The board below features 30 of our most recent reviews.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, July 27, 2020

Instacart Vs Shipt Reviewed

My how we have become attached to the Grocery Delivery services Instacart and Shipt in my area. These services have been invaluable for no contact grocery delivery during a time of grocery challenge!


I've used Shipt and Instacart frequently in the past months and have been pleased with both services. Shipt is an annual fee of $99 with delivery for free on orders with a $35 minimum. Instacart is $99 annually or a monthly fee of $9.99 with Instacart Express and delivery for free on orders with a $35 minimum.

The App Design


Both the Instacart app and Shipt app have definitely progressed in the last year. The product offering has increased along with a huge improvement in the accuracy of stock on the shelves. I slightly prefer the Instacart app as it it more intuitively friendly for me, but each app is easy to use and does not require any skills beyond beginner.

Both apps are also available on desktop for those not phone friendly or prefer a larger screen when ordering. The functionality of the desktop or the phone app is the same.

The Stores


The selection of stores for Instacart far exceeds Shipt. The stores will vary by your location. Instacart offers: Meijer, Target, CVS, 2 higher end Independent Grocery Stores, Gordon Food, Kroger, Costco, Aldi, Big Lots, Staples, Petco, B.J.'s Wholesale, Fresh Thyme, Better Health.

Shipt offers: Meijer, Target, Petco, CVS, Office Depot, Sur La Table, Fresh Thyme and Meijer Corner Market.

Shipt is owned by Target. Instacart is privately owned with rounds of fund raising.

Substitutions

Each app has evolved to offer the option of choosing a substitution from a similar product when the order is placed. This can save time for the shopper and yourself for if the stores are running low on stock, given the advance authorization the shopper can substitute in real time without having to text you mid shop.

I have found shoppers for each service to be very good at choosing substitutions or initiating contact via text to approve a substitution. Many shoppers will text an image of the proposed substitution to ensure the order is accurate.

The Surcharge

Once upon a time (as in last year) I paid the same price via the app as I did when shopping in store. This is no more. Each service does bump up the prices and it also varies per store. One store charged a 12 percent surcharge on each item which I found was not cost friendly! Be sure to read the fine print for each store on the app. For items you frequently purchase in store you will recognize the surcharge amount.

No Contact Delivery

Just a few short months ago I would meet the shopper on the driveway. Now and for the foreseeable future no contact delivery is preferred. There is an option in the app to specify exactly where the order should be delivered.

The shopper will text when on the way and text after delivery. I have been utilizing this all purpose cart for groceries and while this cart wasn't the intent when purchasing -  it has sure come in handy. I roll the cart out to the door and the shopper can easily unload the groceries.

This rolling and foldable utility cart has a multitude of uses around the home and I have been very pleased with the purchase. The cart is rugged and can be easily pulled across the lawn for gardening, weeding, planting.

Tipping


Each app gives the option to choose the amount of tip before or after the order is placed. This was not always the case when the apps offered tipping after delivery. There are pros and cons to this feature. In times of high demand a tip can be an incentive for your order to be chosen; however the option always exists post order to adjust the tip.


My Preference?

I actually do not have a preference; however, one of the perks of Shipt is the new Meijer Corner Market. This is  a new version of the traditional Meijer store. It is a much smaller Meijer specializing in groceries plus products from local merchants. This store has become a go to favorite.

Now that demand is less I have found the delivery time slots are available on each. Shipt does have an option to delivery early which I have found very handy and convenient. This is an option where the shopper is allowed to select and deliver the order early; so if a 10-11 a.m. delivery is selected then the shopper could deliver anywhere from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. You will be notified when the shopper is starting order and notified along the way as the shopper progresses throughout the order to actual delivery.


More Grocery Delivery App Reviews


Instacart Review by Bev Owens
Shipt Review by The Savvy Age
Grocery Delivery Services Reviewed by The Savvy Age


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, July 19, 2020

One of My Best Decisions Ever Was Switching to This Webhosting Company

Five Stars for This Hosting Company - Which One? Read More

Towards the end of 2019, I finally took the leap to switch my Webhosting company for my then two websites. I've since created another site, and now have three websites in total hosted with this new excellent firm.

This new hosting company is SiteGround and based on my own personal experience, I highly recommend them.

BEST Biz Decision I Made!

I'm not a website techy guru, and for that reason, I was always reluctant to begin the process of switching to a new WebHost. Honestly, it scared me!

I was worried that the new company would be worse than the previous firm I had been using - and I had been using them for nearly two decades!

I'm not going to name my previous hosting company, because mama always said: "if you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all." I can't say anything nice, so my lips are sealed.

The fear of transferring my sites was what held me back. I needed to find a company that would be completely dependable, helpful, answer dumb questions, fix dumb problems, fix WordPress related issues, and fix significant problems if they arose.

Mostly I wanted a company to do the transfer for me and not charge a ridiculous price! And reassure me that everything would be fine.

I Started Researching Possible New Companies in Early 2019

I had so many problems with my previous host that frustrated me that I decided it was time to look into switching companies. I knew I wouldn't be able to jump into using a new company without feeling comfortable, so I started reading reviews and checking out options.

The reviews for SiteGround were excellent, so I researched them in more detail. By the fall of 2019, I knew I was going to make the switch.

Around December 2019, I took the plunge with SiteGround.

Summary of My Experience to Date

1) I used their "Professional Migration Services" - guess what, that service only cost an additional $30 per site. It's still only $30 as of this date - (prices can change, just saying)

2) I'm such a nervous nelly, I contacted them via online chat first to confirm what they offer - explained the problems I had with my previous hosting company, and why I was transferring. I think I called them on the phone too - I've spoken to them on the phone a few times since and their service is incredible. They assured me the transfer would go smoothly and that I wouldn't have the problems I had been having ... and I haven't had them since.

3) I get a lot more Server space for my websites now, for less money! I took the 'Grow Big Plan.'  The current set price is $9.99/mth, and it includes: Unlimited websites, 20GB of webspace, 25000 visitors monthly, unmetered traffic, free SSL, daily back-up, free CDN, free email, managed WordPress, unlimited databases, 100 percent renewable energy match (not sure what this is? - but I have it, lol), 30 days money-back guarantee, on-demand back-up copies, speed-boosting caching, staging, add collaborators.

4) They offer two other plans, "Start-Up" (lower price) and "Go-Geek" (higher price).

5) They are quick to respond and resolve service tickets - and I haven't had many.

6) They never say "That's a WordPress issue, we don't handle that, you'll have to resolve that yourself" - My previous hosting company was notorious for that - it was so maddening!

7) They never try to use a problem as an excuse to upsell you! My previous host was well-known for that! SiteGround finds the problem and fixes it for you - at least that's what they've always done for me - not that I've had many issues.

8) The website panels are super-easy to understand and go through compared to my previous hosting company. SiteGround's website is not confusing: quite the opposite, I'd say it's dummy-proof lol.

9) One of my favorite features is that I get 20GB of space for less money compared to my previous host, which was 2GB. My sites were down several times a day with my last hosting company. That hosting company kept telling me it was a WordPress issue, and I had to hire someone to resolve it, or pay them more money for further investigation - yah right!

10) The SiteGround staff is knowledgeable, skilled, and helpful. They explain things in simple terms for the average user to understand. They aren't about trying to impress you or themselves with their techy brains. I love that about their staff.

11) If I'm not confident about changing something or doing anything on my site(s) that is above my low-grade-tech-ability, I contact them, and they're always helpful, and willing to take care of the matter for me.

Here's a link to SiteGround so you can do your own due diligence. Just a side-note, I get a few months of free hosting added to my account for anyone I refer.

I'm genuinely doing this review to help those who are still in the nightmare situation I used to be in with my previous hosting company. I feel confident in recommending them.

The best thing I ever did was switch to SiteGround Hosting!

My hopes for SiteGround in the future: That they never sell to a big, useless company - because they are genuinely awesome to deal with, and I wouldn't want that to change.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Friday, June 26, 2020

How to Use Ebay to Find Old Automobile Parts Reviewed

My husband recently purchased an older model jeep that needed a lot of repairs and restoration.  He has spent the last few months under the hood or under the jeep assessing, then replacing worn or rotted parts.  The interior also needed a tremendous amount of loving care.  This jeep sure chose the right new owner!  My husband is meticulous and dedicated.

As for me, my job with this restoration has been to assist in finding replacement parts.  I'm not very keen on walking junkyards or old vehicle graveyards to find parts.  However, I am extremely familiar and experienced with finding impossible things on Ebay.  Locating the needed parts for his jeep on Ebay has actually been a lot of fun!

Because of the needed work, this pretty Jeep Wrangler will always hold a special place in our hearts.  You can't focus and work on something for so long without becoming attached to it.  We have already enjoyed a day out exploring jeep trails in one State Park and we look forward to spending a lot more time having fun with our restored jeep.



How to Find Replacement Automobile Parts on Ebay


You might not even realize that Ebay has old automobile parts listed.  However, there are several sellers who tear down old or wrecked vehicles and sell individual parts separately.  For us, those sellers were essential for our jeep's restoration.

Almost every dashboard trim piece on our jeep had to be replaced.  One of the previous owners had painted them white with splatter dots.  The paint job didn't appeal to us.  We purchased and replaced every individual trim piece that was painted.  The dashboard area looks a million times better.




In order to find the correct trim pieces, my husband removed each piece and wrote down the trim piece number which was found molded into the backside of each piece.  In several cases, it was as simple as typing in the year, make and model of the vehicle, plus the trim piece name and number in the Ebay search bar.  Then making our selection by color and condition.  

Before we embarked on this restoration, I had no idea each trim piece had an identity number stamped into the molded piece.  That makes finding a replacement much easier than simply matching by looks.

Example Search:  "2004 Jeep TJ Wrangler Knee Bolster 5G00TRM" 


The part number was not always listed in the title.  Details in the title vary by seller.  However, we were always able to verify those numbers in the photos provided by the sellers.  That guaranteed the piece would fit our jeep when it arrived.  

I found the Ebay parts sellers usually know more than I do about piece numbers & names, therefore whatever I put in a search, as long as I included the year, model, and name of the piece, I could find what we needed.  The sellers pictures for proper piece identity made it easy!

We also replaced the wheels, several engine parts, and the jack tools by finding them on Ebay.  The OEM jack & lug tool set had a few rusty areas, but my husband cleaned them up like new by letting them soak in Evapo-rust overnight.  

Example Part Searches
  "Jeep Wrangler TJ OEM Tire Jack Tool Set",

  "Jeep Wrangler TJ Heater Drain Tube", 
  "2004 Jeep Wranger 15" Refinished Steel Wheel"



When Total Price Matters


When restoring an old vehicle, you can find yourself financially upside down pretty quick.  We didn't want to spend "new car" money on an older jeep.  

Purchasing the exact individual used part on Ebay and replacing it ourselves was a lot cheaper than buying new parts, if available.  

Keep in mind though, not all parts are even still available.  That is another reason we love shopping for vehicle parts on Ebay.  The sellers competitively price parts, therefore price gouging is minimal, if even existent. 

If you are buying several parts from the same Ebay seller, contact them and ask for combined shipping costs.  That literally costs them nothing and can often save you a lot.  Why pay more when you don't have to?

If you don't find exactly what you want on Ebay today, go back tomorrow. 
There are new listings daily




 






House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Grocery Delivery Service Instacart Reviewed

Easy App For Grocery Delivery

I would like to review an App today that assists you in grocery delivery to your door that is easy to use and affordable. In this trying time, many of you reading this are under orders to stay at home except for essential trips that you need to make. Well, getting groceries is essential but when you fall into the age group that is vulnerable it might be that it isn't the safest trip to make. 

grocery delivery
Grocery Delivery Made Easy
First, I would like to be transparent and let you know that my recommendation for this service is not something that I will earn any money on. It isn't paid for by the company nor am I given any kind of credit for it's recommendation. I am doing it as a public service to offer an option to our readers for not having to leave the safety of their homes to get food. I am also hoping that if just one person decides to use it that I have given someone the opportunity for employment. With millions of people unemployed at the moment, a job like this might be just what they need.


Not All Delivery Services Are The Same


To your door delivery service for groceries isn't new, many areas have had one or another available for a while. Some are easier to use than others. Some are more costly than others. Currently with the demand as it is, some are almost impossible to order from. My daughter has used Shipt for over 18 months. She loved it until recently. With more people using the app, she found that every time she tried to order a delivery that all of the shopping slots were filled for days ahead. I tried to sign-up for it to use in the area that my 87 year old father lives in but it wasn't available there yet. 

I tried to use the Walmart App to order groceries to be delivered to my Dad but finally gave up. It was easy to place things in the virtual cart but after that it became very frustrating. You have the option of home delivery or pick-up with their service. The rub comes in when you are ready to place the order. They only got 48 hours out...in other words if they are booked up for the next 48 hours you can't order the things you need for delivery OR pick-up. I think it is wonderful that so many people are using the service so that they can comply with social distancing and staying at home but when you need groceries delivered or are willing to pick them up at the curb, well, this wasn't much help. 

So, I looked for other options. I mentioned my father is 87. He really shouldn't be out risking exposure but the thing is, neither should I. My age falls into that vulnerable area, too. I did find a solution that was good for both of us. The app is called Instacart. You will need to download it to your phone in order for it to work the best. The app is free so no problem there. There is a small fee for using the app but it is less than $4. Another fee is added on that amounts to 5% of your grocery total and you have the option to leave a tip for your shopper. 

Depending on your area, there will be different places that your shopper can shop for your groceries. For my Dad's area there were two well known grocery stores, a bulk type retailer and a pharmacy. I chose one of the grocery stores and began to add items to the virtual cart. Once I had all of the items that Dad needed, I proceeded to the next step. It gave me possible delivery times for that day and several days into the future. I liked that! So, I opted for a time and day for his items to be delivered, filled in the payment options and closed the app. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezey!

OK, so delivery day arrives. Dad's order was supposed to be delivered between 10 AM and Noon on that day. At 9:23 AM, I got a message telling me that my shopper was at the store and working on the order. Cool beans! It showed me his avatar which I thought was neat. Anyway, as he worked his way through the aisles, I would get a message through the app that they were out of something and he gave me an option for a substitute. I had the option to approve or decline. I must say, his choices were spot on as a substitute. There were only 3 things that needed to be changed. When he was finished, the app let me know that he was done and that the groceries would be delivered at Dad's door at 11:05 AM. I called Dad to let him know they were on the way. At exactly 11:05, the app let me know that the shopper was there. Bingo! That was so easy! The frozen and refrigerated items were brought in a thermal container to keep them at the proper temperature, too. The shopper was so sweet to my Dad. He let Dad take the thermal container in, remove the items and place it back out the door. He waited patiently because Dad moves kind of slow. 

Was I pleased? You bet! Will I use it again? You bet! I loved that everything went through the app. The shopper could contact me and I could answer through the app. At the end of the transaction, I was given the total that would be charged to Dad's card with a breakdown of what was charged. A virtual receipt. It was so easy and very pleasant to use. 

I highly recommend this particular app for grocery delivery if it is available in your area. It might even be an opportunity for employment for full or part-time work if you are looking for something like that. It is turning out to be a blessing for me and my sweet father.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Site Review ~ Dinner, then Dessert, a Recipe Website

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2020/02/site-review-dinner-then-dessert-recipe.html
Source:  Pixabay & Fotojet

The other night I decided I wanted to fix Egg Foo Young for my dinner, as I had some leftover ham to put in it.  I almost always order Egg Foo Young at a Chinese restaurant, as it is my favorite. Since one doesn't often 'eat out', I sometimes fix restaurant favorites at home.  

I have made Egg Foo Young often over the years, but, while good, it just never tasted the same as my favorite at a Chinese restaurant or Chinese Take-out. And I never knew why. So I decided to look online for a new recipe to see if I could duplicate my favorite. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I have been 'cooking' my version incorrectly.  I would beat the eggs and add the ingredients (vegetables, and  sometimes meat or seafood) and cook it all at once like an omelet.  Aha ~ THAT was my mistake.  I discovered you cook individual helpings like a pancake! 

When I did a Google search for a new Egg Foo Young recipe, I accidentally came across a recipe blog called Dinner, then Dessert, and I am SO glad I did.  The author is a trained professional cook who worked as a Private Chef for 10 years, and all the recipes on her site are her own. Not only are her recipes delicious, but her presentation is attractive and easy to follow and her writing is delightful. Her name is Sabrina Snyder. 


Meet Sabrina Snyder



Sabrina Snyder, Professional Chef
Author of Dinner, then Dessert
Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years. 

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches, before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef. 

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook a family's entire week of dinners one day a week, including all grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up, and leave them with instructions on reheating each meal.

As a private chef, she cooked for private parties in family homes in the evenings.

Sabrina enjoyed this lifestyle for 10 years, until her life and kids became her priority and  she stepped away from other people's kitchens to stay in her own kitchen.

In  2015, Dinner, then Dessert became an online recipe website where Sabrina began posting recipes she had shared with clients over the years. 

In addition, she still has private chef clients she cooks for.  Sabrina treasures her distinction of being a trained professional  chef. 


Sabrina's Egg Foo Young Recipe



Sabrina Snyder's Egg Foo Young Recipe
Sabrina's Photo from Dinner, then Dessert

Egg Foo Young is a Chinese egg omelet dish made with  vegetables with an easy gravy topping. I share her recipe here:

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total  Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

8 eggs
½ onion, chopped
½ cut carrots (chopped and steamed)
¼ cup green peas
½ cut green bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup bean sprouts, cut in half
½ cup mushrooms
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

Instructions:


  1. Add the eggs, onion, mushrooms, bell pepper,  bean sprouts and soy sauce together in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil at a time for each pancake you cook on medium heat.
  3. Add about 1/3 cup of mixture per pancake and cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side and 1-2 minutes on the second side.


Egg Foo Young Gravy

1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Add everything to a small sauce pan and whisk well before the liquid heats up.  Cook and whisk until thickened. 


Recipe Notes from Sabrina about this Egg Foo Young Dish:



Egg Foo Young is sort of the classic leftovers meal made into a restaurant favorite. At our local Chinese restaurant the classic egg version of the dish comes out with a different assortment of ingredients mixed in almost every time we go.
I’ve asked our favorite waiter (who puts up with our circus of a family) why the fillings change and he explained to me that Egg Foo Young is a leftovers recipe and that when they have more or less of certain vegetables they just adjust the filling to what they have.


My Recipe Notes:



Cooking my version of Egg Foo Young
from Sabrina's Dinner, then Dessert site
Photos by Wednesday Elf, using a Fotojet collage

Following what Sabrina learned  about this Egg Foo Young recipe filling being adjusted, I made my recent version using only fresh mushrooms, diced onions and ham diced up from a leftover ham slice. I briefly sauteed the ham, onions and mushrooms in butter prior to adding them to the egg mixture.

I used only 3 eggs and cooked my pancakes one at a time in a small pan, as I was only making enough for myself. I chose NOT to make the gravy, as I like my Egg Foo Young plain. 

I then served the Egg Foo Young pancakes on rice. The  image below is of my result. YUM!


My Egg Foo Young Dinner

PS: In addition to learning the proper way to COOK this dish as pancakes, I think the other secret to getting homemade Egg Foo Young to taste more like a Chinese restaurant version is using sesame oil to cook it in. 


Site Review Summary


Having now discovered this delightful online recipe website by Sabrina Snyder, I will be visiting Dinner, then Dessert frequently to try out several of her other delicious-looking recipes  from her Main Dish, Desserts, Appetizers and Slow Cooker lists. Her 'Easy Chicken Parmesan' recipe is already calling my name! 

Quick Link:

Dinner, then Dessert Recipe Website

For more Chinese Takeout dishes to  fix at home, check out this cookbook:







(c) Dinner, then Dessert Website Review by Wednesday Elf, written on 2/15/2020





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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Reviewing FlexClip, a Free, Online Video Maker

How to make videos for social media sharing for FREE!
When it comes to social media it really seems as though video is king, but how can you create videos to promote yourself without buying expensive video equipment and having to learn new videography skills?   You use an online video maker!   I have tried a few different online video makers and have found they all have pros and cons, today I'm going to talk to you about FlexClip.

FlexClip are a completely free video maker which is awesome, but they also offer 2 other plans - basic and plus which offer better quality videos, longer videos and the ability to do more projects - they also allow you to add a custom watermark.

I love the fact that you can use it for free and see if you like it before committing to buying a plan.   The other thing I love is that when you make a video it doesn't include a watermark as many of the other free online video makers do.

Making a Video from Stills 


Now I am only reviewing using this to make videos from still images, but you can use it with video which I haven't had a chance to do yet.

So the actual making of the video is pretty simple and it tells you exactly how to do it BUT one of the biggest problems I felt with the program was that I could not find out what size images were best to be used.   They have lots of articles for you to read for help, but there doesn't appear to be a search function for you to simply ask the question you have which is a shame.

They list common FAQs for you to search, but when your question doesn't appear in there it is a little disheartening.

My first video was for my Arbonne business and you can see that I should've used different sized images.


What I really liked when I made this video was adding the music, there was a lot of Christmas music available for me to use.

The music that is available is definitely something that I think is good as other online video makers that I have used have not had as many different options as FlexClip.

As I enjoyed making that video I quickly turned around and made one for the offline business I work with, I still hadn't found what size images I should be using so used ones that I thought should be okay - I think they worked.

I used a different text style in this video and there are quite a few different options to use when adding text as well which I think is another positive.


I used both of these videos on Facebook and the quality seemed really good on there.

Adding Backgrounds to Images

I did have a play around and found that where I have images that aren't really the best size for this program I could add a colored background which really seemed to help.

Video Templates


FlexClip also offer a number of video templates which look great and depending on your business you may like to use them.   I have used video templates in the past, but I usually prefer to create my own initially when trying out a platform.

There are definitely a couple of the templates that I could see myself using in the future though.


My Thoughts on FlexClip


I really had my reservations when I first used it because I couldn't get an answer to my image size, but I did like all the other features and I think when I use it more I'll naturally get a feel for the size that works best anyway.

I am keen to try uploading videos and editing them (I only have my phone for taking videos so that could be interesting!) and when I do that I will review that aspect and link to it from here.

I would definitely recommend trying the free version and love, love, love that it doesn't have their logo on your videos as it looks so much better when sharing.   I am also seriously considering purchasing one of the plans as I think it's great for promoting for bloggers, zazzlers, affiliate marketers, social marketers as well as brick and mortar businesses.








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Biblio.com - A Site Review for Booklovers and Booksellers

Biblio.com - A Site Review for Booklovers and Booksellers
Logo created on PicMonkey


Do You Buy or Sell Used Books?



Just last week I started listing some of my new, used, and slightly shop-worn Preschool - Grade 12 textbooks, workbooks, and teaching materials at Biblio.com. I created a logo on PicMonkey using this image from Pixabay for my storefront at Biblio. That's what you see above.

I have added a few books manually while updating my 6000+ book database for a bulk upload. I'm getting back into the bookselling game again. I chose Biblio as my new bookselling home for many reasons, but I haven't been there long enough yet to review the site from a seller's point of view. I will say Biblio has a very responsive support team that answers my questions. You can watch my store shelves at Biblio fill as I begin to offer bargain books on cooking, gardening, crafting, and other interests as I have time. Please check out Barb's People Builders' new home at Bibio.com 

As I've been spending more time on the site, I've discovered a lot of new features that weren't there a few years ago. It's a very user-friendly place for book buyers. I like to support the independent booksellers who have opted not to rely completely on Amazon as a selling site. Many of those sellers you see at Amazon also list on Biblio. But on Biblio they are able to offer you more than they can on Amazon.

I Love the Newest Biblio Search Feature

Biblio.com has unique search features.
Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay 


As you may expect, you can search Biblio for books by author, title, ISBN, and keyword. There are also several filters you can apply to narrow your search, including price, attributes such as type of cover, condition, whether a dust jacket is present, publish date, whether the seller has included a photo,  and more. There are also many ways you can sort your results.

The new feature I especially love is the ability to always show or exclude certain dealers from your searches. You can easily change your mind later about your favorite stores to search or include excluded stores again. I hate having a couple of bargain sites with multiple copies of the same book monopolizing my search results, and I can easily exclude them so I can see what other dealers are offering.

Biblio Sellers Are Independent and Can Communicate with You


If you have a question about a book you can probably call or email a Biblio seller directly without a middleman getting in the way. Although many of us work from home and don't list our phone numbers, you can email us and arrange for  phone call if you prefer that.

Independent booksellers, especially those with open stores, know their books. I don't know of any of us who have had time to list them all yet. I still have hundreds unlisted I'd like to sell. Let's say, for example, a homeschool wants to teach a unit study on frogs or pond life. So far I haven't listed the books I have on those subjects, but I do have lots of them I could suggest if someone contacts me.

Nonfiction books for children are one of my specialties. I could probably meet most of your needs from unlisted books sitting on my shelves and give you a consolidated shipping price for them if you contact me directly. In contrast, Amazon often charges a standard $3.99 shipping fee per book, even if five books are shipped together. Not everything you buy from third party sellers qualifies for free or prime shipping. Some Biblio sellers also offer free shipping. We are also required to ship internationally.

Are you a book collector? There probably are Biblio sellers who specialize in the books that interest you. When you contact them directly they can watch for books you might want as they acquire them and let you know about them. On Amazon  you need to put specific titles on their wish list. They use artificial intelligence. A human bookseller uses human intelligence and may know about books in your specialty you don't know about yet.

Amazon sells books, but it's not a bookseller in the same sense as an independent bookseller is. Amazon is primarily a book marketer. There's a difference. Independent booksellers know what's on their shelves at home or in their storefronts. They've often read a lot of them related to the topics they specialize in. They can advise you on content or style. Most of them love to talk to customers about what they are both interested in. You may find that this direct communication is worth the extra bit you might have to pay for postage.

Other Reasons I Like Biblio.com


Biblio provides services to independent sellers with reasonable fees and lets them communicate with buyers directly. Their individual stores post a way to contact them.

Biblio.com - A Site Review for a Socially Responsible Independent Used Book Site
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 


Biblio is socially responsible. It cares about the environment. It uses its profits to provide jobs and benefits to its employees as well as to give back to the community. Think of it as your local bookstore in the worldwide community. It is independent instead of being owned by a large corporation. Biblio also founded a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring literacy and education to impoverished communities. See the details here.

I hope next time you're searching for an out-of-print or used book you will give Biblio a try. And please check out my storefront while you're there, especially if you have children or grandchildren who like to read or need academic practice at home.

More Places You Can Find Great Books for Children and Education


If you are homeschooling, you also may want to check out this post: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book? I think it's not only a good place for homeschoolers to find materials they need, but they can also find new homes for teaching resources and textbooks they no longer need. They can use credit from from their sales to buy different books they see listed on the site. Or they can get cash for their sales instead.

And don't forget to visit the site I've been resurrecting since going back to bookselling -- Books to Remember. I'll be listing and reviewing many of my education resources there with links to where you can get them. The site also hosts one of my book blogs for parents and educators.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book?

Review: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book?
Some of the Books I'm Selling at Homeschool Used Book, © B. Radisavljevic

A New Site for Homeschoolers to Shop and Sell


Before I started blogging, I was a homeschooling mom. When Jason died in 1991, I became a homeschool vendor, exhibiting at conventions on both coasts. That adventure ended in 2015 when Hubby's knees gave out. So I turned to selling online.

I built a website, and sold on many used book listing services.  In 2014 I had neck surgery and couldn't ship in a timely manner. I had to take my books offline. It's amazing what two months without a web presence can do to your customer base. So I retired the business and started blogging. It hurt to have to sell the same books sitting in my warehouse as an Amazon affiliate instead of selling them direct and shipping them.

That's why I was so happy this week to discover a new way for homeschoolers to shop for and sell their curriculum and living books: Homeschool Used Book.com. Since I still have a house and shed full of books, I read the vendor friendly terms and signed up to sell. I have temporarily turned half the guest room into a shipping area until I can redo my office.

I started listing on July 13 and sold my first book the next day. Homeschool Used Books sent my shipping label the next night and I shipped the book the next afternoon. I couldn't be happier.

Review: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book?
Book Labeled and Ready to Go, © B. Radisavljevic


The Pros of Selling on Homeschool Used Book

First, Homeschool Used Book is not for selling just any used books. It's a specialized marketplace designed for homeschoolers to help each other out. Those who are homeschooling know what is useful to homeschoolers. They know what's popular and what's hard to find. They list what they have used or thought they would use and list it when they no longer need it. It is not a place for general booksellers who have not been part of the homeschooling community to expand their markets.

These are the reasons I believe Homeschool Used Book is a good deal for vendors.

  • They don't have to build their own sites
  • They don't have to collect money
  • They don't have to pay for a shipping account to print postage and drop off packages without standing in line at the post office
  • They don't have to maintain a database themselves
  • The listing interface is simple and easy to understand
  • Payments can come either through PayPal or as credit to buy books on the site. 
  • Vendors pay fees only when they sell something. No listing fees. 
  • When a sale is made, the vendor gets the listing price minus a 12% commission. 
  • Each vendor gets a "store" space to introduce themselves and let customers see all their books in one place.  
Because Homeschool Used Book absorbs most of the overhead I had selling on other sites, it's ideal for me. One reason I quit selling was that my website had become obsolete and I had to rebuild. That's hard with a 600-page website. I didn't want to do it. I also had to pay for Endicia's shipping program to get the best shipping rates, print labels at home, and skip the line at the post office. 

To get my merchandise into one of the large used book selling sites online (ABE Books, Amazon, etc) with the least effort and fees I needed to use a listing interface that allowed me to upload easily to one or more sites and keep track of inventory and customer data, print packing slips and invoices, and help make catalogs. 

Until 2015 I used a version of Booktrakker that did all I needed and more.  I could install the program on my computer and get the new updates for a one-time price. Every couple of years there was an additional charge for a major update. About the time I recovered from surgery, there was a major update. I could no longer use the version I had to upload to the various sites.

Instead I would need to subscribe to an internet version. I didn't want to start paying a monthly fee with no guarantee I'd sell enough to cover it. I don't need my own database to sell at Homeschool Used Book. That saves me $20 a month in fees that I pay whether I sell anything or not.

I calculate that I save at least $40 on monthly charges by selling on Homeschool Used Book. I also save by not needing to accept credit cards directly. What's not to like?

The Cons of Selling on Homeschool Used Books


So far I haven't found many. Because I'm so new, I haven't experienced a payday yet. My one sale did not total the $50 needed for a payout. I can live with that just as I do on every other site that pays through PayPal. I have no reason to believe I won't be paid what I'm owed when it gets up to $50. 

Parts of the site are a bit clunky in the vendor area. I've had the most trouble getting my vendor "store" to look right. Be that as it may, I doubt if that will keep someone who wants one of my books from buying it.

While trying to compare my prices to those of other vendors and to see if the book I want to list is already there, I've used the search function a lot. It returns a lot of inaccurate results, but that could be due to vendors putting their products into too many categories just to get them seen by more people. 

Another con may be limited traffic. I have no idea how many homeschoolers search here for their materials. I made one sale quickly. I see others are making sales, as messages pop up saying who bought what when, but some of the sales reported were over a week old. This is probably not the first place homeschoolers go to shop -- yet. As more people begin to list, it should attract more buyers and increase sales for all the vendors. I hope this post will help get the word out. 

The thing I liked least when making my first listings was not knowing how much weight is allowed for packing material. I used to be able to weigh the complete package before printing a label. Now the site takes the weights I've provided for individual items, adds them, and estimates how much my packaging will add to that. If they guess wrong, the package can be returned for not enough postage. I've just found out they calculate two ounces for every additional one to two pounds. So it might be a good idea to adjust your weights if you anticipate your packing may weigh more than allowed in the estimate. Shipping more than one product to a customer may mean the difference between using a bubble bag or a box that needs extra padding. 

I checked at the post office today and discovered there's no way I can pay extra at the post office before shipping if the package is overweight. It's hard to predict which items may be combined in an order going to one customer and whether that will mean shipping in a box or a padded bag. So I'm now adding extra weight when I list something that may require non-standard packaging.

So Far It's Been a Smooth Experience

Review: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book?
My Hall Bookcase Stores Part of What I'd Still Like to Sell.  © B. Radisavljevic


I'm actually enjoying being a bookseller again. This abundance of books has stolen a lot of my joy, not to mention how much of my house I can use. I want my living room back. If you need children's books or homeschooling materials, I hope you'll visit my store at Homeschool Used Book. While you're there, you can check out the other vendors, too. And if you've got used curriculum to sell, give the site a try. You've got nothing to lose and you may have much to gain.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Review of Medium Partner Program: Should You Pay to Earn?

What is the Medium Partner Program?

Review of Medium Partner Program: Should You Pay to Earn?
Image by PixLoger from Pixabay, edited on PicMonkey


I joined the Medium blogging platform in 2016, before the beginning of the Medium Partner Program (MPP.) A blogging friend had said the platform was a good place to have a presence. I discovered it was a good place to keep some of my posts from sites that had died until I could post them elsewhere. So in 2016 old posts I'd republished were all I had on Medium, and only a few of them. I didn't post anything else because at the time there was no way for someone like me to earn money at Medium.

In February 2019, my HubPages friend Glenn Stok told me about the Medium Partner Program that now provides an opportunity for writers like me to earn money. But there's a catch.

It takes money to have that opportunity. One must pay $5.00 a month or $50 a year to join the Medium Partner Program. That link provides all the program details and everything else you need to know in order to join the MPP. Only you, though, can decide whether it's worth the money to get this opportunity.

Should You Join the Medium Partner Program?


I asked Glenn, "Is it worth the money to become a MPP member?" His answer convinced me to give it a try. No one gets any affiliate commission by recruiting members, so he had no reason to exaggerate his results and I don't think he would anyway. He wrote a comprehensive article on Medium and the Partner program so I see no reason to try to rehash it here. He did an excellent job. Here's the link to Glenn's article: How to Make Money Writing Articles Without Ads on Medium. I prefer to tell you my own opinions based on my results and the other opinions I found was I was surfing the web.

My Experience as a Medium Partner Program Member


February 2019


I joined the Medium Partner Program on February 5, 2019. At the time I had nine posts there left over from 2016. I put five of them behind the paywall. The other four did not meet the content guidelines for the program. The pay period ended on February 24, so my work was only behind the paywall for 19 days in February.

Here is a chart of my first payday on February 27, and the money did go into my account on time. Post titles are on left. Earnings for each post are on right. Red letters are for posts removed from dead or non-paying sites. Green letters show posts I removed from HubPages, revised, and reposted on Medium. Blue letters show the name of Medium publication where a post was accepted and now appears. You can see that not all my old posts made money, but some did. Articles published on Friday-Sunday of a week often don't start getting views counted until the next week. Pay weeks go from Monday - Sunday. Where there is no publication, it means I didn't submit to a publication or the publication didn't accept that article.

During this same period, with 44 featured hubs, I earned $5.10 on HubPages.


Review of Medium Partner Program: Should You Pay to Earn?

March, 2019

In March I revised and republished more of my old stories and added some new ones. Here are the results. Again, the blue script shows what publications accepted the articles. The red shows where the revised articles originally appeared if they weren't on the last February image. PP stands for Persona Paper. Bub stands for Bubblews. Some articles from either of those sites may have appeared on both and I can't always remember which only came from Bubblews. Green still represents hubs (HP) revised and moved here.

During this same period, with 44 featured hubs, I earned $9.27 on HubPages.

Review of Medium Partner Program: Should You Pay to Earn?

April 2019


I have not repeated the sources here, but I have included the publications that accepted my posts. I did not  repeat the publications for the articles that earned nothing this month. You can see that although I made more money this month, some of the articles that earned money last month earned nothing this month. Unlike sites like HubPages, an article may have a short earning life.

During this same period, with 44 featured hubs, I earned $12.45 on HubPages. (Note: I have not written anything new on HubPages for a long time and interact there rarely now, but I do publicize my Hubs on social media. )



Review of Medium Partner Program: Should You Pay to Earn?

Update January 29, 2020


I added many more posts in 2019. The list is so long now that it would not fit on one screen in an image. There were only three months when I did not make at least $5. Those three months occurred during and just after the time in July when I went back to listing and selling books online and had to transfer a lot of records and establish new selling venues.

Selling on Instagram took much more time than selling from my Biblio store. In spite of not having time to write more than about 2-4 posts a month during and after July, my total earnings for 2019 were $123.61. After taking out my membership fee, I still had $73.61 left. This month, I've earned $5.58 so far. I will renew my membership next month.

 Even if I'd not broken even, I still would have been happy with the value I received from all the posts I read by others daily. Many were on subjects like brain health, written by experts, that I might not have searched for, but were conveniently served on Medium.

Conclusions from My Results


Unpublished Posts Moved from Other Sites Can Earn On Medium


I currently have thirty posts on Medium. Twenty-six are behind the paywall. Four are not. Of those behind the paywall, only eleven were written just for Medium. "Starved for Attention," which made the most the first month, made nothing the next two months. It was previously on another site, revised, and moved to Medium. "Jason, I'll Always Love You" was picked up by a popular publication, P.S. I Love You, and earned only .18 in February. In March it was my highest earner. It still did well in April.

Articles Published by Publications Usually Get Seen by More People than Those Published Independently


In the second month, some of the articles were picked up by publications, some of which I didn't even submit. Articles that appear in popular publications with lots of subscribers are distributed more widely than those one self-publishes. However, inclusion in a publication does not guarantee more earnings.

Curated Articles Get Wide Distribution and Usually Earn the Most. 


My three curated articles have performed best for me so far. When you put your article behind the paywall you can also choose to have it sent to the curators for consideration. They pick which articles Medium itself will promote in its newsletters that go out to all Medium subscribers. Curation gives articles the best chance to be seen by lots of eyes. These are my curated articles so far.


Medium Earns More for Me Than HubPages on New Articles


On the other hand, older Hubs retain more earning power than older Medium posts. Working together Medium and HubPages give you the both of best worlds. Would I make more on HubPages if I kept submitting more hubs and interacting as much as I do on Medium? Possibly. The statistics I gave for HubPages above my earning charts are for my original account. My Squidoo transfer account makes almost nothing there, and it's those articles I plan to revise and transfer to Medium or somewhere else. 


Review of Medium Partner Program: Should You Pay to Earn?
Image by isuru prabath from Pixabay, edited in PicMonkey 


Medium Is a User Friendly Site for Readers and Writers

After a struggle with the quirks of the WordPress and even the Blogger editor, Medium's editor is simplicity itself. One can just concentrate on writing. It's the words and the images that are important. No quizzes, polls, videos, etc. are considered important post ingredients as they are on HubPages. The focus is on what you say. I  like not having to sell anything to make money. I would like to focus on stories and ideas as opposed to products. 

As a reader, I also like reading Medium posts because they're not full of affiliate links and ads. You can read all the way through a Medium article without encountering one pop-up asking you to subscribe to a newsletter. Readers can concentrate on content. I think many people subscribe for that reason. 

There is a wealth of interesting content on Medium. Many Medium members are not writers, but readers. They are not part of the Medium Partner Program, but they are the ones who read our work and help us earn for our writing. 


What I Like Best About the Medium Partner Program


Medium allows me as much freedom as I want. I can write in any genre. I can apply to a publication or not. I can write on any subject, though some subjects won't earn as much as others. As long as I follow the guidelines for the Medium Partner Program, I can put any article I want to behind the paywall. Of course, that doesn't mean it will earn anything. 

Medium treats me like an adult. It lets me take responsibility for my own work. I can publish it independently without submitting it to a publication editor and waiting for approval and publication. That means I am also free to publish inferior work that is less likely to earn than more polished work.

Proofreading is my responsibility alone. Publications want quality, so they do have editors to make sure what they publish is worth reading and is free of errors. But they don't correct it for you. They send it back to you or reject it outright. If a publication rejects your work, you are still free to publish it yourself. 

For an article to earn, other Medium subscribers need to see it, read it, and interact with it. Curated articles are most likely to get a kick start leading to more views on Medium. Articles in publications also get help from a newsletter the publication sends to its members listing new articles. In late 2019 this payment plan changed. Now payments depend on how much time paying members spend reading one's work. This suits me even better. A writer will be read more, not just clapped for by people wanting return claps. It's harder to game this system. 

Views from promotional links on social media don't usually bring in paid views. Traffic from Twitter automatically gets past the paywall for free. Most writers usually post a friend link when they post to social media so that readers can bypass the paywall if people click through. That means a well-promoted post with lots of traffic may not earn much if the readers aren't Medium members. 

Writers for publications often have their own Facebook groups for promotion. Koinonia is one of my favorite publications for Christian writers and it has an active Facebook Group. I know of three other active Facebook groups that are open to any Medium writers for discussion and threads for sharing posts. All these promotion opportunities and the support from other members is very helpful to new Medium writers. 

Most Medium publications encourage personal articles. They like authors to share what they've learned about  relationships, family life, work, mental health, business, and a number of other topics. Unlike HubPages, they prefer articles written in the first person rather than the third person, unless they deal with science or other very objective subject matter. Articles that speak directly to readers with a personal voice seem to do best.

Medium makes it easy to build your own following. You can even start your own publication on Medium if you don't find another that suits you or you want to keep your work in one place to make it more accessible to your followers.




The Downside of the Medium Partner Program


You are making an investment of five dollars a month or fifty dollars a year. There is no guarantee you will earn it back within those time frames. I'm on my eleventh week. If my earnings hold to their current pattern I will have covered my first year's membership by the end of the twelfth week and the rest will be profit. There is no guarantee that will happen. But I've never yet earned back with ads and affiliate links what it cost me to self-host a WordPress blog, and that was a far larger investment. My membership also allows me unlimited reading behind the paywall, and that's been worth the fee by itself.

You cannot include affiliate links or a call to action in a post that goes behind the paywall. You can, however link to another Medium post you have not put behind the paywall. In that post you may have an affiliate link or a call to action. You just need to make sure it's not interpreted as writing a post behind the paywall that only exists to point to another site.

If your posts aren't curated or promoted by a publication, they may not get much traffic. I have four posts that have received no fans or applause. Three were first published somewhere else between 2014 and 2016 and their original publishing dates followed them. If I publish older posts again, I will not use the importer which retains the original date. I will unpublish from the first site and revise for Medium.

The other unloved post was a rant published just for Medium. A few people read it, but no one liked it enough to applaud. That happens. I'm wondering if I should tweak the title and republish it.

If my current results on Medium hold up until the end of the year and my earnings keep growing, I will join again next year. A full year will help me see whether this is the direction I should go. But even if it's a wonderful year and I earn even more than I expect, there is that final downside. Medium can change the terms of the MPP any time they choose. They could stop paying. They could even close the site, though I think that's unlikely.

I have written the obituaries for many sites. One was What Can We Learn from the Fall of Bubblews? It was first published when Bubblews was still alive -- to answer questions about the living site. Some of the original predictions remain intact, but the post itself has been updated many times as things changed. I updated it once again and changed the title when when Bubblews finally died. Many of us who used to rely on Squidoo for income were crushed when it died.

We can never depend on any site we don't own for future income. It's always better to own your own site if you can make a profit. Meanwhile, as we build an audience, we can introduce ourselves to new readers on sites like Medium and  HubPages.

Possibly the biggest downside to writing for Medium is that you may be tempted to to neglect your own blogs. I have. I've also neglected other sites like HubPages. It's always a good plan to back up one's work on all sites, just in case, and not to put all one's eggs in one basket.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
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