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

Monday, October 1, 2018

Reviewing Vistaprint for Business Cards

Business cards from Vistaprint
I am in the process of starting a small business. An Etsy store to offer my crocheted items to an audience beyond my circle of friends. In this beginning stage of the process, I quickly decided that I wanted a "business card" to include with my sold items. I chose Vistaprint and am thrilled with the service and product they provided. So thrilled that I'm writing this review to share the information with you.


Vistaprint - The "Everything to Market Your Business" Site


I see the Vistaprint commercials frequently. This constant advertising is why I checked out their site first. Sheer laziness on my part. I ordered with some skepticism - as some businesses that advertise the most are not the best. But I am glad I ordered my cards from Vistaprint. Before I start rambling, the mini-review is:

  • Super easy-to-navigate website
  • Many business card styles to choose from
  • Choices ranging from completely designed by you (including your own photo) or use one of the existing designs
  • Preview function that shows you exactly what you have created
  • Fast service (ordered on 8/22 and received on 8/29) even with standard shipping


My Business Cards


I knew I wanted a somewhat "rustic" design. The purpose of the card would be a thank you and continued advertising with my store URL. I needed a thicker paperstock as I would be punching a hole in many of the cards and attaching them to my handmade item with a ribbon.

I was able to choose rounded corners (to avoid snags in my yarn), "standard glossy" front of card (to add to the durability of the card), and print on the back of the card (for a more personal message). Not feeling creative enough to design my own card, I quickly found one of their templates. The overall front design of the template was not adjustable, but I could add customize with my store name.  I could also choose a couple of color variations.  Scroll to the very bottom of this article to see a very small sample of some of the designs. 

The back of the card allows for print. So I added the personalized printed message I wanted. The back of my card is not glossy paper.


I had expected to receive flimsy, poor-quality business cards (like the ones we have at work). Instead, I received cards that I am thrilled with. I paid $25.58 for 100 cards and shipping. 

I will continue my orders with Vistaprint, adding fabric care cards to my packaging. I have also begun to consider purchasing postcards for advertising after seeing all of the fantastic design possibilities.

If you are in need of business cards and other paper products for your business, I highly recommend Vistaprint

finished and ready for delivery - with card attached


Related Links:

Our own Tracey (The Savvy Age) recently reviewed a free online logo maker called DesignEvo. If you feel more confident in your creative abilities than I do mine, DesignEvo Free Logo Maker may be a great site to use. I LOVE the logo she created in "2.5 minutes". 

My Etsy Store. My goal is to retire at The Shack; tending my garden, chickens, and land. That retirement dream includes sitting in a rocking chair on the deck and crocheting. If that crochet adds a very small bit of retirement income (aka more money for yarn) all the better. 


an extremely small sample of some of the existing business card designs on Vistaprint




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

DesignEvo: Free Logo Maker Reviewed

Need a logo in minutes? DesignEvo is a free online logo maker which gives users the ability to make a logo in minutes; whether a novice or graphics professional DesignEvo provides the online software to make, create and design a logo quickly and easily.

Easy As 1-2-3

 

DesignEvo promises that a logo can be made in minutes and what is promised is delivered. I actually timed the making of this logo with a DesignEvo template. I used my lifestyle website and tagline to explore designing a new logo.


How To Use DesignEvo


I launched the free logo maker, scrolled down to my chosen category (Letter), scrolled through the options, entered the website name (or Company Name),  tagline and voila! Total creation time including download and social share =  2.5 minutes.
After creating the logo I quickly modified a few parts of the design. I tweeked the size,  modified the dot icons, changed the background color and then proceeded to download the logo and the required social share.

The requirement for a FREE logo to download for your use is very simple; a social share is required prior to downloading and credit on your website or blog. After downloading you will find a zip file with the logo as a jpg, png and a readme file with the share requirements.


What You See Is What You Get

The design interface is very user friendly and intuitive. Once the logo is created a Preview is available to see your logo on business cards, letterhead or media products.

This is a very nice program for novices to instantly create a logo by using the provided templates; for those with more advanced graphic skills the online software has the features to further customize the logo.



Customize Your Free Logo

Your logo can be easily customized with the color, font and transparency options. If you have the HEX colors for your company then the color of your logo can be changed with a few clicks of the mouse. The interface is clean, self explanatory and easy to navigate; if help is needed video tutorials and FAQ's are available under Support.


Who Is DesignEvo?

The About page of DesignEvo gives insight into the evolution of DesignEvo. Pearl Mountain developed Fotojet, a free online collage maker and is also the creator of DesignEvo. The logo maker is free or users have the option to purchase advanced features for a one time annual fee. Logo features such as resolution, copyright, vector files are restricted to the paid version.


Recommendation

I enjoyed the ease of using DesignEvo, the user friendly interface and the instantaneous results of a ready to use logo within minutes.  Colors, fonts, icons and graphics are just a click away to personalize your logo to your brand or create a brand new logo with a customizable template.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Blogging from the Heart at Treasures, Travel, and Tales

Blogging from the Heart at Treasures, Travel & Tales
In a world of structure that yells "niche, niche" all day, every day, I personally find it extremely refreshing to read a blog written in the old style, from the heart.  Of course niche blogs can be from the heart too, please don't misunderstand me.   But, I love having blogs to visit where I feel like I really get to know the author, not just a niche.  A place where the author tells me about the things she enjoys in life, from the best movie to her favorite soap, or breakfast.  

Who am I specially talking about, you ask?  Well, honestly there are several that I could name, but today I want to tell you about Dawn and her blog "Treasures, Travel, and Tales".  

The blog is exactly what the name implies.  Dawn shares with her readers about the treasures that she has found in life.  Her posts might be about her discovery of figs, roasted beets or pawpaws.  The next week, she might share about traveling to her "shack" in the woods where she plans to retire and how she cooks without a stove or oven in the place.  I frequently find myself laughing with the visual images she creates for her readers while reading her tales.

Treasures, Travel, and Tales is a journal of Dawn's life experiences and every article is an adventure for the reader to share.  Her site is definitely "blogging from the heart" and her heart speaks to mine.


Blogging from the Heart at Treasures, Travel, and Tales
This is Willy and his Chew Treats for Finicky Dogs


What to Expect from Treasures, Travel, and Tales


Review of the Website "Treasures, Travel, and Tales". The author, Dawn, shares with her readers about the treasures that she has found in life.
Keystone Kabins Park Model - Tiny Home Option
If an SEO (search engine optimization) expert stopped by Treasures, Travel, and Tales, they would be critical.  However, that same SEO expert would rip the heart right out of the site and that would be more than a crime.  

Treasures, Travel, and Tales isn't about ranking with Google.  It is about sharing with real people, not bots.  It is what writing online should be about.  It is what writing anywhere should be about.

Visiting Dawn's site is like walking beside a best friend as they experience things in life for the first time.  It's like sharing a musical with someone who has never seen Les Miserables before.  Or listening to a song with sentimental words that speak directly to a feeling we would never be able to express ourselves.

It is not just about the words in her posts either.  Dawn shares the photos she has personally taken.  Her love of nature shows in so many of her images.  She has a bee photo that makes you feel like you could just reach out and touch that little bumble bee.  (Yes, I am going to make you click that link to see the bumble bee yourself!)

Oh, and I don't want to forget to tell you that there is something there for everyone.  Even a crocheter will find a pattern to a crochet beanie hat.



Some of My Favorite Articles on Treasures, Travel, and Tales


Every article on Treasure, Travel, and Tales is a delight to read.  I do have some favorites that I have featured above and listed below, but they are just a place to get started.  I would love for you to visit the entire site to discover your own favorites.  I know you will find her honesty and wide-eyed exuberance refreshing and fun.

 



Read More Site Reviews on
ReviewThis




All Photos in this Review are Used with Permission from Dawn at Treasures, Travel, and Tales
Cynthia



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reviewing Prime Reading

Free Access to Books, Magazines, and More With Your Amazon Prime Membership


If you love to read, Prime Reading is an Amazon Prime feature that you won't want to miss!
Prime Reading is a Feature of Amazon Prime
that you won't want to miss.
If you're an Amazon Prime customer, you probably already take advantage of free two-day shipping and several of the other discounts and freebies available with Prime. But there's one advantage that you might not be aware of. It's called Prime Reading and if you love to read, it's a feature that you won’t want to miss. Here's how it works.

With Prime Reading, automatically included with your Prime membership, you get access to a library of over a thousand books, magazines, and Audible narration recordings, all at no additional cost. While 1000+ books and magazines doesn't sound like much in the big scheme of the Amazon bookstore, the selection is good and, personally, I've saved quite a bit of money borrowing books and magazines from Prime Reading as opposed to buying them. I think it's a great deal!

Do I Need a Kindle To Use Prime Reading?


You might be wondering if you need a Kindle reader to take advantage of this program and the answer is "no," you do not. As with all e-books in the huge Amazon library, each can be read from your phone, your iPad, or your other Android or iOS device using Amazon's free reading app which is simple to download to your device. If you don't own a Kindle reader or Fire tablet, simply look for the "Read with Our Free App" link below the Kindle format of any book to get started. (To learn more, check out my review of "The Three Best Ways to Read Kindle Books.")

What Types of Books Are Available for Prime Reading?  


The Prime Reading library consists of books in many genres from nonfiction to romance to business and money and more. Titles include current bestsellers, classics, and likely books by quite a few authors that you haven't read yet. What a great opportunity to explore new titles when you're on a budget (I'm always on a budget!).

The magazines that are available are current issues of many of the bestsellers on the Kindle Newsstand. While e-magazine subscriptions are very reasonably priced, as far as I'm concerned you can't beat "free" for the cost of a magazine. I'll admit, I'd rather borrow HGTV Magazine or Birds & Blooms or Real Simple and read them for free than pay for a subscription. Borrow it, read it, save it for a while then exchange it for something else, all from the comfort of your own computer. It's even "greener" than recycling, don't you agree?

Where Do I Find Prime Reading?


Find Prime Reading Eligible items in the left margin of the Kindle Store.
When you're logged in to your Amazon account, visit the Prime Reading page to see the catalog of what's available and view your personal library. You can always access a link to Prime Reading Eligible items in the left margin of the Kindle store, as shown in the photo.

If you're not an Amazon Prime member yet, this is another great reason to join. Currently the price is just $99 a year, very worth it, especially when you take advantage of all the features of the program that you may not even know exist, including Prime Reading. To see the list of what's included or to join Amazon Prime, just follow the link.

So tell me, if you're a member of Amazon Prime, did you already know about Prime Reading or did you learn something new today? I love to save money on books and magazines and hopefully this information will help you save a few dollars here and there, too. Happy reading!

~Susan
Read more of my reviews.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Halloween Haven - Website Review

Halloween Haven's Safety Tips
Reviewing a website is always an interesting job for me. And the website Halloween Haven proved to be that and more. Since the site is so specific to a single day, I was delightfully surprised with the amount of information I found. Certainly costumes and party goodies for the ghoulish annual event, but plenty more ways to celebrate this event. Halloween Haven shows itself to be the place for everything Halloween.

Let the Fun of Halloween Begin


Certainly in the U.S., but in other parts of the world as well, Halloween is considered a holiday. Not one where everybody gets the day off work and the banks are closed. No, not that kind of holiday. Rather one that lets those who enjoy it, celebrate it.

Many, myself included, truly enjoy the event of Halloween. We start early planning:
  • parties, 
  • costumes,
  • home decor,
  • trick or treating.
So it was great news for me to wander around Halloween Haven and find all sorts of ideas and suggestions. It's never too early to start planning for Halloween.


Even Off-beat Ideas for Halloween


Halloween Haven
Halloween Haven caught me by surprise, I have to admit. Not just the usual stuff, but some good Halloween Puzzles. Now who would have thought that? If you are part of the crowd that greets trick or treaters, you know how much time you spend waiting for the knock on the door. As the author suggests, working through a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to pass the time.


And she found plenty of fun Halloween jigsaw puzzles to keep us happy. So let me add another suggestion. Set out one of those puzzles on a card table at your Halloween party. Some of your guests may have fun just fitting a few (or more) pieces together.

Halloween Jewelry for Some Added Costume Fun


One of the fun discoveries I made on the website Halloween Haven was a whole category for Halloween jewelry. I wandered through the world of poison rings (those nifty little devices where a deadly powder can be discretely poured into an enemy's drink), cobweb bracelets (with the spider wrapped around your finger), and ear-wrapping dragon earrings.

Granted this whole site is around Halloween, but I found some fascinating jewelry that works well for other events and lifestyles. Lace collar necklaces can work with many an interesting outfit, not to mention the joy of dressing goth-style.

Start Your Planning on Halloween Haven


The website Halloween Haven is a place worth checking out as you start planning. It's well laid out, easy to navigate and comfortable to read. The visuals of the site are right in line with the holiday. I found myself getting excited to start my own planning.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Review of Picmonkey Photo Editing Site

Why I Love PicMonkey.com, Plus Tips For Using It

Picmonkey review

Until I discovered PicMonkey, I was stuck with using the free photo editing program that came on my HP laptop, and using Paint, the standard accessory in the Windows platform for computers. But now I am hooked on PicMonkey! It is my favorite free photo editing software! 

I never got around to buying Photoshop, and though I tried to use Gimp, it just was too hard for me to decipher. (Gimp is touted as a free version of Photoshop and many of my friends swear by it, but maybe I am software challenged.) So I thought I would show you some of the ways I use PicMonkey to edit and embellish my photos for articles on the internet and how you can too.

First of all, if you don't have an account,  just go to PicMonkey.com and sign up for an account. Once there you will see a page that varies as far as the image, but at the very top you will always see this:

Picmonkey header photo


You can see that I am signed in, but if you are not, just click on "Log In" on the right, and then you can begin editing.

You can also see the 4 buttons in the center that show where to start your photo editing project. For basic and advanced editing of your own photos, click "Edit." I will cover "Design," and "Touch Up" and "Collage" further down this page.

Once you do, it will show a screen asking you where to get the photo you want to edit. You can choose your computer, Facebook, One Drive, or their own new platform, Hub. Most people are probably going to choose a photo from their own computer so I will explain using that option.

Once you click on "Computer" it will open a window to your own files. Just scroll to your photo folders and click on the photo you wish to edit. That will place it on the screen in PicMonkey.  You will notice that on the left is a row of buttons. At the very top is a symbol of lines and dots and if you hover over that, it says "Basic Edits."  If you click it you see a list of edits you can do.  Here is an example of a photo I uploaded to the editor with the sidebar showing the menu:

PicMonkey Review



The first thing I like to do is open the "Rotate" button. (3rd button down on the left) You can rotate your photo in all directions, to change the orientation from horizontal to vertical and also to change the top to the bottom, just by clicking the arrows. But what I like to do is play with the "Straighten" slider. I guess I don't hold my camera steady as I often have photos that are crooked. But that is an easy fix in PicMonkey. Just slide the arrow till you have a straight photo and click "Apply." It even has guidelines to make it easy for you.
PicMonkey Review


Then I like to open the "Crop" button. The reason I straighten before I crop is that straightening sometimes takes part of the photo off, so I want the whole thing straightened before cropping.  Here you can see the crop lines I am going to use. You can drag the lines around till you are happy with your photo.

PicMonkey Review

Here it is after I clicked on "Crop." You can move the crop lines wherever you want them. When you are satisfied, just click "Apply" and then your photo will be magically cropped like this one.

PicMonkey Review


Then I like to do some basic editing so I click on "Exposure." The first thing I do is click on "Auto Adjust." This is often all that I do, as it seems to make my photos pop and look great. But you can also play with all the sliders and if you like the way a photo looks you can click "Apply" and those changes will be done.  When you are satisfied, just close that little window by clicking "Cancel" or "Apply," whichever is the case. Here  are how the other sections look when they are open. On this rose photo I have not done any other edits. I just cropped it and auto adjusted the exposure.

PicMonkey ReviewPicMonkey ReviewPicMonkey Review

If you make a mistake, there is an "Undo" button. At the very bottom of the screen is a backwards arrow. Just click that anytime you are not happy with your design and undo the last step! You can actually keep hitting "Undo" until you get back to a place where you are happy and then continue your design from there.
.
PicMonkey Review

More Tricks for Using PicMonkey


Now besides the  "Basic Edits" you can do a lot of different effects. One I use a lot is the "Text" function to add text to photos. This is great for making photos for Pinterest and other media like Twitter. So just click on "Text" and you will see this: (photo on the right)




Notice the slider on the right. Use it to scroll through all the choices of Font you can use.


I am going to use Marcelle Script so I just click on it and change the color of the script in the little box that pops up. I will use a very pale shade of blue but you can pick whatever you want. Move the box wherever you want and drag the edges to make it bigger or smaller. Then start adding text in the box. Example is below.

PicMonkey Review


And below is a picture of it after adding the text. Just click on the photo somewhere else besides the text box when you are finished and the text box disappears and your text is there.

Peace-Love-Travel-Light blog


Now let's say I want a background under the text. You can add any number of special effects by clicking the buttons on the left and scrolling till you find a design you like and clicking on the photo to place it. You can also move it around on the photo. Just click on it once and drag it wherever you want it. Here  I have added a ribbon. Once I clicked on it and placed it I changed the color to White. Then I added text over that.

Peace-Love-Travel-Light site


There are plenty of other effects you can use on the left too. The "Touch Up" ones are great for faces! And if you want a set of photos in a theme, there are lots of themed effects. They have a Zombie theme, Victorian theme, and lots more!  Just click on any of them to see all the things you can do. It would take me hours and hours to go over all the wonderful effects you can create, but the easier and more fun way to learn it is to add a photo and play with all the buttons to see what you can do! PicMonkey also has tutorials explaining how to use all the functions. Just scroll down on the Home page and you will see them.

Here are a few things I did to the image after I got the text and the ribbon trim on it. First are different edges. One is a simple box edge and next is a craft scissors edge.

State Flowers of the USA Coloring Blog

Best Coloring Books for Adults Blog

Then I added an effect called "Frost" which adds the color of the frame as a brushed effect all around the edges, and on the lower one I added a "Bokeh" overlay to make it sparkly. These are just a few of the effects you can get!

Aurora Art Supplies Colored Pencils
State Flowers of the USA Coloring Blog


PicMonkey Review


Using PicMonkey for Graphic Design

You can also use PicMonkey to design graphics and my favorite, Facebook covers. Up above where it says "Edit, Touch Up, Design, Collage," click on "Design." Then you will see a square, a Facebook cover, different sizes, and a custom option. To do a Facebook cover, just click that option and it opens up a screen with the exact size you need. Next click on "Overlay" on the left. You have your choice of many there, so you can scroll through and have fun designing your own cover by adding a combination of effects on the screen. Or you can add your own, just click on "Your Own" at the top. Here I have used the same photo of roses by clicking on the file in my computer and then dragging the edges out till the whole template is covered. Then I have added some text on top of that. It's now ready to upload to a Facebook page.

PicMonkey Review


One more thing that I think is pretty cool is that when you are designing, you can choose your background or even make a transparent background for designs you might be doing for Zazzle or other design platforms. For that you go to "Basic Edits," and click on "Canvas Color." If I wanted to make a round logo for example, I would choose a transparent background and then overlay a circle from the "Geometric Shapes" overlay section. Then I would put whatever design I wanted inside the circle, like text, colors, and/or textures. Once I have saved the design I have a round logo. Here is the one I designed for my Aurora Art Supplies products and website.
PicMonkey Review


And here are some Photos I edited in PicMonkey and added banners and text to use on my Amazon ads for my Aurora Art Supplies Colored Pencils and Water Color Pencils.


Using PicMonkey for Website Design 


Okay let's say I want to design a background for a website. And maybe I want a Blue sparkly one. First I would add Blue as my background color. Next I would go to the textures in the "Overlay" section and start adding them till I have an effect I want and then save it. Then I would go to the editor in my Wordpress theme and where it says to add a background, I would upload that file. Voila, a custom background. Here is one I made so you can see. I used a Blue solid color, then "Space" overlay,  then a "Bokeh" overlay. I played with the saturation till I liked it and saved it.

PicMonkey Review


There are so many effects you could really play for hours and design any number of cool things. And I didn't go into the "Collage" function, but all you do for that one is click on the "Collage" button above, pick a style from the left side menu and add photos to the cells by dragging them to the one you like. You can even design text boxes and add them as one of the photos of the collage. My friend Kim is a master of PicMonkey collages. Here is one she made for her educational site for kids to learn State facts.

PicMonkey Review

A very useful function that I use all the time is the "Resize" function at the bottom of the "Basic Edits."  Just click on it and you can make your photo whatever size you need! Very useful for websites!

So I guess you could say I am a PicMonkey addict now! Try it and I bet you will be too!  But a few of the fonts and effects are premium so you have to pay extra for those. Well I wanted them for a project so I signed up for one month only ($5) so I could make some cool designs. Then I reverted back.  A few days later PicMonkey sent me an email asking me why I cancelled the premium version and one of the answers you could pick was "It costs too much." That's what I picked and then they offered it to me for $33 a year, or less than $3 a month.  So if you want the premium version, that's how you can get it for less. Try it for a month at $5 and then cancel. I love  bargains, don't you? Thank you PicMonkey! 

*Of course, this may have been a one time offer, I can't promise that the offer will always be there. But it doesn't hurt to try, does it? 






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Printable Greeting Cards

These printable greeting cards are on high-resolution downloadable files that you can print at home. Easy DIY last-minute gift idea.
Look what I found. It's a fabulous source for printable greeting cards. These are cards on high-resolution downloadable files that you can print at home. Simply choose a design, place your order, grab the downloadable file, print, and the card is ready to be delivered or mailed. It's easy! Here's my review of this sanity-saving method of buying greeting cards at the last minute.

The procrastinator in me loves these cards. Why? Because I can choose, buy, print, and mail or hand deliver any of them quickly, within a matter of minutes. If you tend to put off shopping for special occasions until it's almost too late to be on time, bet you'll love the convenience, too!

Even if you're organized and always on time, there's much more to love about these cards. Since they're designed by artists from all over the world, it's easy to find something absolutely unique and the selection is huge. You're sure to find a style that you like for any occasion you can think of.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. 

Downloadable, Printable Inspirational Card ©JWGiftsandDecor on Etsy
Printable Inspirational Card ©JWGiftsandDecor on Etsy


Printable Father's Day Cards

Print it instantly! Father's Day printable greeting card from DecorartDesign
Father's Day Printable Card ©DecorartDesign on Etsy

Father's Day is always the third Sunday in June, but it has a way of sneaking up on me at the last minute. You, too? If you wait until the last minute to choose a card for dear ol' dad, it won't be too late. Take a look at this Father's Day card collection, find one you like, order, then print. Use the search box to narrow down the subject matter to something that perfectly suits your dad. Here's a favorite (at the link), a printable card I found for dad from the cat.

Cards for All Occasions & Every Holiday


It's always good to have a greeting card or two on hand for emergencies, but if you're like me your card box never seems to contain exactly what you're looking for when you need it. That's another reason I like the idea of being able to choose the perfect card and print it from the comfort of my computer.

For instance, look at this selection of printable get well cards. You'll also find some really unique printable birthday cards. I found a beautiful selection of scripture cards for all occasions, too. Recently I've been exploring printable Halloween cards. You may be surprised at the selection. I was!

Choose a couple of designs that you especially like, order the downloads, and you'll have them on the computer when you need them. Pay once then print as many copies (for personal use) as you like!

Cute printable all-occasion greeting card from MerryMailman on Etsy, includes envelope template
©MerryMailman on Etsy
Here's an idea for an all occasion card to keep on hand. This "What's up, buttercup" printable card download includes two designs, an envelope template, and you can color the card yourself if you choose. Or let the recipient color it. In fact, make a gift of it by including a set of colored pencils. How perfect for either an adult or a child! (I got this one for my mom, who really enjoys her adult coloring books.)

Next time you're at Walmart, Target, or your favorite office supply store, pick up an inexpensive package of card stock paper along with some pretty envelopes (or make your own envelope from a grocery bag!). Choose a few favorite printable card designs to have handy on your computer, and you'll be ready whenever the next card-giving occasion arises. You'll save both time and money and the recipient is sure to be pleased.


So, who will your first printable card recipient be?

~ Susan
See more of my reviews.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BlogJob in Transition: A Review

A Review of the BlogJob Blogging Community in a Period of Transition 


When I first joined BlogJob in October of 2015, I was very excited about the community. I believed BlogJob was the writing community that had it all. It not only provided free WordPress hosting and a ready-made audience, but also issued points just for posting blogs. The points could be redeemed for gift cards or deposits of cash into PayPal. What was not to love?

I immediately set up six new blogs. I started to earn points. One could earn the most points for a blog post, because it was important to keep people writing on the site. One could also earn points for interaction with others in forums and groups, for making a new friend, and for commenting and answering on blog posts. Hosting was free, the community was active, and the sky was the limit.

BlogJob in Transition: A Review


Well, not quite. New members who hadn't completed any projects yet could only earn 150 points per day. If one posted three blogs, that used the point limit. No more points for interaction that might normally be earned would be issued. If you had earned your daily limit, your point pot for the day was full. If you had 125 points already and posted a blog post, 25 of your fifty points would just be overflow that would not help you in any way. It would be like pouring water into a full bottle. The rest would run over the sides and be lost. Nevertheless, members just tried to be careful not to earn above their daily limits and most people were quite content.

BlogJob in Transition: A Review
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay
We were disappointed when BlogJob stopped accepting new members shortly after I joined. Referring new members was an important step in completing the first project. Finally the administration removed that requirement and we were OK with that. They said the reason was that referrals weren't being credited properly and they needed time to fix it. I saw that as a tiny red flag. By May, 2016, the door opened to new members again. More of my friends joined.

Then, on April 26, BlogJob members logged in to discover their daily point limit had decreased. Suddenly, I could only earn 100 points a day, not 150. This didn't trouble me too much, since I had enough to do on my own sites that I never reached my limit anyway. Those who depended on BlogJob most for earnings were hurt much more than I. But I began to worry a bit. I had formerly been a happy member of Bubblews, a site that showed similar signs that it might be in financial trouble and later closed, denying payments that members had earned. But they tried to keep members in the dark.

The adminstration of BlogJob has been upfront about what's happening, and membership has closed once more. The site had just been migrated to a new server and had been down more than up for several days. Once it was back up and new members started arriving, the loss in traffic white the site was migrating had affected the advertising rates. It takes time for traffic to build again.

On May 4, 2016, just as everyone was in gear again, the administration said they would have to stop issuing points until enough traffic returned to generate enough income to start the earning process again. The administrator said those who had enough points to redeem would be paid. Many people were paid if they were eligible. But no one is earning points again yet.

Image photo courtesy of  Pixabay, text added on PicMonkey

What's Next for BlogJob Members?


Current members find themselves in a dilemma. Do they stay, and wait? Or do they stay and participate as usual, even without earning points? Or do they take their work and move it elsewhere? Almost everyone at BlogJob had once been on Bubblews and was wondering if BlogJob would also go under. Do you cash out and leave? Or stay and hope the site will come back and do all you can to help make that happen? Different members have chosen different paths.

I have six blogs on BlogJob that I worked hard on. I was planning to move more there from other sites. Now I'm not sure that's wise. Although those with BlogJob blogs are allowed to monetize them, it's not as easy as it is on a self-hosted site. An affiliate marketer will do better with a self-hosted site for reasons I explain here. It's also true that one depending on third-party hosting never knows when she will wake up one morning and discover the site is gone. I don't think BlogJob will close its doors without warning, since it has been upfront with us so far.

It seems some of the traffic loss was due to an attack from Romania, and that it has now been dealt with. The site is faster now. Hope is building that points will start being issued again soon. I believe it's too early to tell. Who knows? Maybe the very act of my posting this will get the ball rolling, as per Murphy's Law.

Most BlogJob members who are still posting in forums are taking an optimistic view, believing problems will be resolved and the giving of points will return. No one has had their point balance erased. Payout requests from those with enough points are being honored and paid. I don't think this is Bubblews II. People who monetize their blogs will still be able to earn independently of BlogJob points. They can still enjoy socializing with each other as they do on other sites for free. Many members are putting in more time on myLot, which most of them also belong to and which does pay for participation.

Hope Springs Eternal Mug
Hope Springs Eternal Mug
Browse more Boomspress Mugs

Like other BlogJob members, I sincerely hope the site will soon  be issuing points again. I think maybe those points should not be given as freely for actions like creating groups and making friends, since that rewards actions that are often abused on the site. I'm looking forward to the next act in this drama. I hope it all ends happily for the BlogJob members who depend on this site for income. I do believe the site owner will do all in his power to keep members informed and start letting them earn again. I believe his intentions are good. I hope he has the skills and the knowledge it takes to carry out those good intentions.

To see what is possible for BlogJob bloggers, please check out one of my blogs from those below.

Trees in My World
All Around California
The Sky is God's Canvas



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Friday, November 13, 2015

Site Review: House of Rumpley - Home Decor Site

http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/

When we first step into any house, we know almost instantly if we feel at home, and everyone desires a home.  


People who have to go to work everyday need a refuge from the stress of the workplace, and that place should be their home.  For those of us who work from home, we need areas of the house where we can go and find our refuge.   We all desire to create just the right balance in a house where every member of the family can feel at home.  That is what you will find in the House of Rumpley

From the kitchen to the den, to the bedrooms and bathrooms, you will find wonderful decorating ideas, as well as DIY projects, which happen to be among my own personal favorites.

Let's take a peek through some of the doors at the various rooms and floors in the House of Rumpley.


The Kitchen in the House of Rumpley

Decorating Kitchens in the House of Rumpley
As I would do if I were touring any home or department store, I will start in the kitchen area. My own home kitchen is painted blue, so I am instantly drawn to the article about Red Kitchen Ideas.   I love the idea of adding touches of red in my kitchen, but Bev goes further than just recommending small red appliances.  She actually explains the effect the color red has on all of us and why we would desire including it in our kitchens.

I also loved the coffee decor post!

Be sure to take a look at the other fun ideas Bev "rounds up" for us on the Decorating Kitchens floor at House of Rumpley.


More Decorating Ideas from House of Rumpley


While the kitchen demands my immediate attention, the other rooms of our homes are equally as important when it comes to beautiful decor.

There are fabulous ideas for Decorating Family Rooms, Living Rooms, and Decorating Kids Rooms, but don't miss out on visiting the bathrooms in this house.  While there are several really beautiful suggestions for bathroom decor on House of Rumpley, the ideas that really caught my attention were the ones that made me howl with laughter.  I do love a home that is filled with laughter!  You simply will not believe where the toilet brush is hidden.  I am laughing even as I write this article and remember the most unusual accent piece in this bathroom.  (No, I'm not going to tell you!  You have to look for yourself.)


Decorating by Themes in House of Rumpley

When decorating our homes, there are times when we want a consistent theme.  House of Rumpley has you covered there too.  With themes like "Granny Chic Decor", Decorate with Red, White & Blue", and "Steampunk Style Home Office", anyone would be intrigued to explore the depths of these decorating styles and suggestions.

I may not be a "granny" myself, but I gotta tell you.  That Granny Chic Decor has my name written all over it.

Themed Decor Ideas at House of Rumpley



The House of Rumpley Network of Sites

Now, we have explored a few areas of the foundation site of House of Rumpley, but I do want to take a few minutes to delve deeper into the complete network of sites.

The House of Rumpley network includes several sites and Bev aptly describes the different areas of her site as floors in the House of Rumpley.  I love that description!  It immediately brings to mind a home with multiple levels or my favorite department store with several floors.

Like many families and homes, the House of Rumpley has expended and grown over the years.  Just as members of any family can be found at various addresses, different "floors" of the House of Rumpley network are found online under different url addresses. They each have their own "personality" or topic, but they are all equally wonderful and fun to visit.





House of Rumpley Website Review by,
Cynthia



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.