Happy Labor Day!

UntitledIf you’re one of my many U.S. readers, Happy Labor Day! I’m gonna keep this short so you can get to enjoying your holiday. :)

While the summer doesn’t technically end on Labor Day when we’re adults (no school to go back to or summer vacation to end), it does serve as a sign that summer is winding down and fall is just around the corner. So what I’d like to know is:

How was your summer this year? What end of summer plans do you or your family have, and are you ready for the fall? (Starbucks is already serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes…I’m loving it!)

It’s not too late to have another BBQ, picnic, bonfire, or whatever else means “summer” to you. So, with that, I will sign off for The Hubby and I to travel to our own family BBQ and chow down a few more hot dogs and corn on the cobs (corns on the cob?) while we still can!

How are you spending your Labor Day? (Non-U.S. readers: How is your summer winding down?)





photo credit: Charles Sayer

Brand.com Reviews Best Blogging Practices

fancy computer room[This is a guest post. Think you’ve got what it takes to be a guest poster? Contact Em at em [at] blondeandbalanced [dot] com to learn more about becoming a guest poster yourself!]

Brand and reputation management are a specialty of firms like Brand.com. Reviews about best practices in the industry are constantly changing. This means that it’s a challenge for regular ole’ Joes to keep up.

But you don’t have to let the prospect of brand management may scare you. The team behind Brand.com reviews all the latest and best methods for reputation management. Below, they’ve outlined a few time honored traditions.

One of the most important aspects to management to this day is blog development and management. Do you operate a personal or business-related blog? If so, read up below to find out what you need to know. If not, what are you waiting for?

Connecting SEO Tactics to Blogging

Remember, a blog is only as good as a creator makes it. When Brand.com reviews the competition, one thing often comes up. That’s what is known as the “didn’t try” blog.

What’s the ‘didn’t try’ blog, exactly? It’s when a business sets up a blog but doesn’t care about it. They don’t update it at all or work to personalize it. They have no personal connection to their audience. In short, it’s a waste of both readers’ and writers’ time.

Why should anyone want to read a blog if it’s boring, stupid, or unrelated to your business or practice? The Brand.com reviews have shown that these types of blogs actually harm your brand. Don’t actively work toward hurting yourself.

Here are two top tips to remember for blogs in any industry:

1. Let Your Blog Serve as the Primary Piece of Your Overall SEO Strategy

In all the Brand.com reviews of successful SEO and reputation management strategies, blogs are the king. A blog filled with rich, engaging content does more for your brand than anything else. That’s because it gives prospective customers, fans, and other people a direct look into your brand. There’s no better way to do this than with a streamlined, personalized blog related to your brand.

Now don’t get us wrong here and think that you should only have a blog operating. Connect all your other SEO and reputation management strategies to your blog. But let the blog serve as your primary piece of the SEO pie. A great blog will get people reading, talking, and sharing.

2. Don’t Stuff Your Blog with Stupid Self-Promotions

The Brand.com reviews are in, and guess what? A blog or social media account loaded with self-promotion sucks. If you’re already on a blog, why would you want to read about promotions? This is a mistake far too many companies are making today.

Blogs shouldn’t become a mere conduit for self-promotion. Instead, utilize them to personally interact with people. Let the richness and diversity of your content engage your audience. That means you need to actually make your content interesting and worth reading.

A Great Blog: Reading to Enjoy

In the end, here’s the real dirt you need to take away from the research of Brand.com. Reviews all suggest that a rich, interesting and engaging blog rules. Whether you follow all the so-called ‘rules’ for SEO ranking is secondary. Always make sure your primary concern is making an interesting blog that people will enjoy reading.

Photo by Sam Howzit

Blog Roundup (8-30-13)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!



Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!

The attack of too many toys!

Too many toysMy little niece and nephew’s birthdays are both in August, so they usually have one big joint party. (They’re 3 and 2 now…so cute!!)

Now, The Hubby and I are not yet parents, so we hate to judge how anyone else is parenting or think we know anything when it comes to giving them advice. But one thing I’ve noticed, from as early as our niece’s first birthday party, is that these kids just have way too many toys!

Especially on their first birthday, when (let’s be honest) the child doesn’t really know entirely what’s going on and couldn’t care less if they get 5 toys or 50, it just seems like overkill. Granted, we have a big extended family, but even considering some people give more practical gifts like clothes, it still seems ridiculous.

At the end of a present unwrapping session, my poor little niece and nephew are sitting in a mountain of toys so big they seem totally confused as to where to start. Not to mention the fact they already have a whole toy room stuffed with toys from previous birthdays and Christmases that my sister is probably going to have to get rid of to make room for all the new stuff. (She’s thinking of having a garage sale…I’d be curious to see how much all those old, hardly used toys bring in!)

Plus, when I’m over playing with the kids, they always wind up gravitating towards one or two favorite toys they play with again and again. Half the stuff stuffed onto the playroom shelves and cubbies are totally forgotten.

Maybe I’m being a frugal minimal extremist on this one, but it just seems like such a waste (both of money, and of stuff). It’s gotten The Hubby and I talking: When we have kids, what’s the best way to handle birthdays and holidays? Do we come up with a small wish list of things we know the kids will like, and tell everyone if they don’t get something on the wish list, to give us money we can put away towards the kids’ college fund? That seems like a really smart investment, but I know a lot people like to give personal gifts instead of money, especially when it comes to kids.

So how do we teach our kids to be frugal and stop them from getting all caught up in our society’s “more, more, more” craze, without making our relatives grumpy by telling them what and how to buy gifts for our kids?

Yes, I know the whole kid question is still a couple years out at least, but we’re already starting to worry about this! There are so many tricky lines to walk when it comes to raising kids and dealing with your family!

B&B readers with kids: How do you handle the “too much stuff” issue? What are birthdays/holidays like for your kids when it comes to presents?





photo credit: Upsilon Adromedae