18 January 2017

Consider This Checklist When You Order Flowers Online

Congratulations! You have finally found an online delivery service and you are beyond ready to surprise your significant other. The excitement is beyond palpable, you have even rushed through filling out the information needed for the delivery.

However, there is one problem. You expected the flowers to be delivered in Canberra, but you have apparently ordered from a Sydney florist, so making arrangements to transfer your order to their Canberra branch caused difficulties. In addition, you have also made a distinct flaw when you sent the recipient’s address. Well, problems occur and are inevitable.

It is a good thing online florists keep mental tabs on what can go wrong with online flower deliveries, which is why some have taken the time to put up instructions on the order page. But as in any kind of delivery, you can still expect a few minor complications. To avoid having to commit them, even more so major ones, here is a list of things you need to look out for when you are ordering flowers online.

Double check the address you have typed in
Even in written form, we do commit errors in just about anything, especially in something as simple as writing down an address. It is understandable, though, since addresses are usually taken as common knowledge and double checking it seems ridiculous. But misplacing a number or forgetting a street does happen so it would be wise to read through the address again to avoid any delivery delays.

Inquire about how you can track the delivery
So you would not have to call the florist every now and then, ask about a reference number or a tracking code you can use to monitor the delivery. If this is not available, ask the florist to contact you before and after they make the drop-off. This is one way to ensure that the delivery has been made on time.

Make sure the florist you have chosen within the vicinity of the recipient
Often times, when we make searches on the web, there is certain information we usually do not check because, at the moment, it was not important. However, when you want something delivered to a place you do not currently reside in, for instance, you might want to double down on the address of the physical store that will cater to your needs.

Consider adding information about the recipient’s address
To help the delivery guy, add in additional details about the recipient’s place. Are there markers near the house, a landmark they can spot that tells them they are near? This is most helpful if the recipient’s house quite hidden from view.

Well, there you have it! A simple checklist to help you the next time you order an ocean of flowers for your loved ones, delivered right to their doorstep.

Disclosure: This is a contributed post.

17 January 2017

How To Grow Your Following As A Mommy Blogger

Growing your following as a blogger is important. You read to be read. So, how do you ensure that you can do just that and get your content out in front of others?

1. Plan and Schedule Posts

You need a grand plan and schedule for your Instagram posts. As easy as this may sound, planning your posts and scheduling when these should be posted is no easy task.   It can be especially challenging if you try to publish posts 2 or 3 times a day. This is because your target audience and followers need consistency and posts that do make sense. Digging up a picture or two every day to post on Instagram isn’t an easy task for many, which is why you need an excellent plan for it to work.

Planning your time properly can not only save time but also help you stay organized. This is because you will have enough time to come up with a photo to post in the next schedule time without missed a deadline. You will also have a chance to edit the photos just as you like, and have it set for the next upload. Apps such as LiketoKnowit and Latergram can come in handy when editing these photos, while the likes of Vibbi can help with metrics. 

Having a properly laid out plan, or even setting a reminder on your smartphone can help ensure all your posts and pictures are uploaded in time.  This however doesn’t guarantee that all updates will be uploaded/posted at that particular time, each day.  The primary plan here is to help create a sequence and consistency for your followers. Potential and loyal fans will also be eager to know what you are up to, and when to expect the next update or post.  Lifestyle bloggers, on the other hand, may want to use another approach as this one may not work.  This is because lifestyle audience may want a more regular update just to stay in the loop.

2. Team up with other bloggers

The key to attracting more followers is by being open to collaborations, more importantly, other similar brands and bloggers. Working hand in hand with other bloggers to source for followers by retweeting and reposting each other’s posts can boost visibility and inbound traffic considerably. Having the other blogger retweet your posts, and you doing the same, puts both of you in front of new eyes and potential followers.  The brands and bloggers you wish to collaborate with however need to have the same interests, and in the same niche as you.

Blogger collaborations provide an excellent way to gain new followers quickly and easily. A good example of such collaborations on Instagram is “Follow Friday.”  Follow Fridays is a strategy that bloggers use to promote other bloggers on their pages. This allows the other blogger’s followers to see the link and probably follow him or her. Some people may, however, see this as competition as you are in the same niche, but it isn’t.  The two accounts benefit symbiotically as they attract the same followers. Another good example of Instagram account collaborations is a 'Mom Fashion' blogger partnering with a 'Kids Fashion' blogger.  If an Instagram user likes ‘mom stuff,' then there’s a higher chance that he/she will love ‘Kids stuff’ as well.

3. Make Use of Hashtags

Hashtags can be considered the driving force of Instagram and some other social networking platforms. This is because a hashtag makes content visible to your target audience and the exact people you are trying to reach out to. Although many individuals may not know this, up to 30 hashtags are allowed per post for as long as it doesn’t look over-saturated.  With millions of hashtags created in a minute, yours could be buried faster than you created it.  It is due to this reason and more that you should consider using a decent and unique tag that is relevant to what you do or promote. Simple tags such as #love, #style #fashion are too common and saturated, meaning some creativity is needed to get your tags trending.  This therefore calls for extensive research and brainstorming on an easy to remember yet unique hashtag to use on your posts.

Using your brand’s tag for hash tagging can be an excellent way to improve exposure on Instagram, and the World Wide Web at large. The brand hashtag alone becomes visible to accounts that follow the brand, which also increases the chances of its followers, following you.  Tagging inspirational accounts and brands increase online exposure too. As mentioned earlier, it’s the simple thinks such as sharing that make the real difference on Instagram.

4. Engage

Creating a unique and attractive hashtag won’t get you to the Promised Land unless you engage your followers. Responding to your followers’ questions and suggestions is one way to keeping these followers engaged and want to come back for more. Engaging followers helps create a relationship with which they return the favor by either reposting your posts or hitting the follow button.  In addition to responding to their comments, you need to reach out and comment on your followers’ posts as well.  Adding positive content to their posts not only cultivates loyalty but also makes the other person want to follow you as well. The more active and engaging you are, the more visible your posts will be to other users on the platform. Thanks to the latest algorithm on Instagram, more active and responsive users get more visibility than inactive ones.

5. Use Apps to Boost Following

Various apps provide a great way to increase visibility and following on Instagram. For instance, there are apps capable of monitoring your follower’s activity online (when online or most active), as well as track who is following or un-followed you.  Some of these apps show when your followers are most active on Instagram and days when they aren’t active at all. You can, therefore, use these apps to come up with a better strategy to grow your following.

In addition to using third-party apps, you can switch to a business Instagram account to enjoy more features and insights as well. Although this feature was just activated, it allows users to see how many female and male followers they have, their geographical locations, and time of the day when they are most active. Although a new feature, taking hold of it can help spearhead your marketing strategies here on Instagram.

Iconosquare is one of the few apps that you can use on Instagram to keep your account in check. The app provides features and info such as follower count, comments, likes received, engagement rates, and media posted. Although most of the features are free, you can get more advanced features on its paid option. Other similar apps include Instrack and Crowdfire.

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.

05 January 2017

Holiday Carpet Stain Removal Tips

If you host family and friends at your home during the holidays, you know how risky this can be to a new carpet. Try as you might to prevent it from happening, someone will inevitably track something in from outside or spill a glass of wine or drop some food on your carpet. Don't be alarmed! There are many easy ways to combat these common carpet stains. Of course, you can always hire a professional and if you live anywhere near Barrie, ON check out Sir Clean Pro for some great deals on carpet and tile & grout cleaning.

The best way to treat stains and prevent them from setting is to treat the stain as soon as it happens. The sooner you treat the mess, the less time it has to penetrate the carpet and become a permanent stain in the fibers. Blot the spot gently — do not rub! Rubbing does the opposite of what you want and will actually cause the stain to form faster. Use a spot remover to treat the mess. Work from the perimeter of the spill and spiral inward to prevent the stain from growing in size. Once you finish this, rinse with clean water and repeat if needed.

For stronger stains, such as that from a glass of red wine or cola on white carpets, use an aggressive stain remover such as OxyClean Stain Remover for Carpets. Remove excess liquid before spraying the stain remover in a circular pattern. Ensure the stain is completely covered and do NOT rub it in. Wait 5 minutes before repeating. Wait overnight to see if any stain persists, and repeat if there are any markings left over.

A crackling fire creates a cozy environment when everyone's over for the holidays, but sometimes soot and ash from the fire can find its way onto your carpet or rug. To treat this kind of stain, use a tough stain pre-treat solution for carpet and upholstery. Use a sponge or washcloth to clean from the outside of the stain inward. Lightly pinch the stained carpet fibers in an upward motion. Make sure not to rub the stain, as that will only make it harder to remove.

Oftentimes, these stains can be exceedingly difficult to remove on your own, and your best bet is hiring a professional steam carpet cleaner to tackle your carpet after a long holiday weekend. Not only is this a great way to tackle explicit carpet stains, but it's also great for the health of your family and the quality of the air in your home. Steam cleaning helps get rid of both the carpet spot stains caused by clumsy family members, and all the dirt and irritants tracked in on the shoes of your siblings and cousins and nieces and nephews that marched through your home this holiday.

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.