Get the Party Started: 5 Ways to Revamp Your Blogging Techniques

CCC is excited to welcome guest contributor, Katrina Manning! You can learn more about Katrina at the end of her article. 

When it comes to marketing your business, one of your most critical tools is blogging. For starters, it gives you an effective way to communicate with your customers. Secondly, it can help boost the SEO of your website. Yet, is your blog still having trouble getting noticed? There isn’t any question that blogs have a lot of competition. In order to get people to read your blog, you need to make it easy to find, produce high-quality and relevant content and have a design aesthetic that appeals to the contemporary viewer.

Revamp your blogging techniques to invite more readers to the party!

Revamp your blogging techniques to invite more readers to the party!

Here are five tips for revamping your blogging techniques:

Keep your content original and interesting

It should be common sense to understand that people only want to read articles that are original and interesting. Yet, you may be surprised to see that there are thousands of blogs with copied and illogical articles that cause most viewers to shake their heads and never return to those spammy sites again. When it comes to revamping your blogging techniques, you might want to take inventory of your current article cache. Do they provide relevant and informative content? Are they original? If not, it may be time to do some housekeeping. You don’t want search engines to pass over your blog. Use keyword searches to look for fresh ideas, or offer a different angle on a popular topic. Just make sure you are not writing the same types of articles found on almost every other blog within your niche.

 

Put mobile first

In 2015, Google announced that more searches were performed on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries. In fact, U.S. web designers always advise building sites that are mobile-first, then creating desktop versions. Smartphone screens are getting larger, and tablets continue to increase in popularity. Many users enjoy the card-style layouts, made trendy by Pinterest. This might be something to consider with regard to revamping the overall look of your blog.

 

Think of video

When it comes to external communication strategies, brands are increasingly focusing on video and — the buzzword for 2016 — virtual reality. Although video is helping to strengthen messages many brands are trying to convey, content isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Think of the stories that videos tell, different formats and even videos with no sound. If you can successfully integrate video with content and perhaps start dabbling in virtual reality, you’ll have something superior on your hands.

 

Work on your social media profiles

One of the most cost-efficient methods of advertising is through social media. With that being said, you should make sure you cross-link your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with your blog. In addition, you need a voice of your brand to promote your blog posts throughout your social media platforms. Do this on a consistent basis to get the word out and drive more traffic.

 

Connect with readers

One thing that readers will value is a personal connection. Other than your content, there isn’t anything to keep your readers coming back to your blog. On the other hand, if they have an outlet to share their thoughts and get the sense that a response will be made, they might be more inclined to revisit. Compare this to your personal Facebook page. When you post about something you like, do you not go back to see if any of your friends liked or commented on your post? When one of your readers has the opportunity to comment on your articles, they may come back to see if you’ve responded or if anyone else has responded.

On top of that, you can create an email list of willing subscribers by placing an optional subscription link on your blog. You can make it non-optional, but people don’t like to feel they were forced into doing things. If you make it optional, you have a higher likelihood that the people who signed up will be more receptive to your messages. When you email your subscribers with your updates, you can use your real voice to give it a more personal touch. You can be a subject matter expert and still appeal to the human trait of desiring companionship. People don’t want to feel like a number, they want to feel important.

As markets and personal preferences change, so should your blog. Performing a revamp every several years isn’t just good for you, it’s also good for business.

Katrina Manning is a web writer and editor with over six years of experience penning content for a wide variety of sites and publications, such as Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, IBM, The Purple Cow Agency blog, Sweet Lemon Magazine, Udemy, Business 2 Community, Personal Finance Hub, The Iowa City Owl, Newsiosity and Seven12 Magazine. 

Are Company Blogs (As We Know Them) Nearing Their End?

At the end of last year, a local icon in our community closed its doors. While it’s the end of an era, it’s not the end of West Point Market. The legendary gourmet specialty food store is reinventing itself to thrive against increased competition by reopening a smaller flagship store and eventually opening satellite stores in suburbs surrounding Akron.

Blogging by Carla Arena via CC BY-NC 2.0

Are centralized company blogs moving to a multitude of satellite locations?

What’s that have to do with blogging you ask?

The future of blogging is starting to take shape, and we’re questioning whether it will revolve around centralized blogs at all.

First, LinkedIn opened its publishing platform to everyone. Earlier this year, Facebook expanded its Instant Articles program to all publishers. If Twitter ever decides to abolish its 140-character limit, its own publishing platform will be quick to follow. Of course, we also have SlideShare, Periscope, SnapChat and so on.

What do all of the previously mentioned platforms have in common? You publish content directly on them instead of sharing articles or links from other locations, like your company blog.

Of course, the company blog has become popular due to several factors, including:

  • drawing regular traffic to your company’s website
  • improving your site’s SEO with fresh, organic content
  • hosting your thoughts on owned real estate, not rented
  • positioning members of your company as thought leaders in your industry

We’re not pushing for the end of the company blog; it just seems inevitable at some point. Or will companies keep blogs on their websites but reduce the number of posts or switch to more of a micro-blogging format (i.e. short videos, pictures, fewer words)?

As we move further into an era of satellite publishing, how will you adapt? Hire more content writers? Kill the company blog and divvy up platforms between contributors? Ask your employees to shoulder more of the load?

The future of blogging is closer than it appears. Will centralized company blogs still exist?

Looking forward to your thoughts,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about blogging, your writing needs or otherwise):
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2015: Storytelling, Platelets & Facebook, Oh My!

2015: what a long, strange road it’s been.

Our visitors and views climbed for the 4th straight year!

Thank you for visiting the CCC blog this year! We’re excited to see an increase in visitors and views for the 4th straight year, each year of our existence.

We publish a wide range of content and that showed in the diversity of our most viewed posts in 2015.

Our top 5 posts as voted by your eyeballs:

  1. The Psychology of Color: Following Guides or Going With Your Gut?
  2. To Give or Not To Give…
  3. 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Facebook
  4. Kindness in the Workplace: A Guide for Your Organization
  5. Mad Men: Master Storytelling In Any Era

Bonus: Things I Carry: Pen and Paper (missed the top 5 by 1 view)

As wide-ranging as our content is, it all leads back to our four main categories: marketing, writing, social media and personal reflection (including entrepreneurship/small business).

Our fourth most viewed post this year was written by one of our contributors, Carol Preibis from Ahh the Simple Life. If you would like to contribute an article (or series), check out our guest blogger invite.

We’ve had contributors from all over the world, just like our audience. Here are the top 5 countries that read our blog:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Brazil
  4. India
  5. Canada

How did our visitors find us? Search engines refer most of our traffic, although social media plays a role too. Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook all sent readers to our front door.

We look at analytics to help us craft future content, but we’d love to hear from you! Are there any subjects that you’d love to see an article on in 2016? How about follow-ups to any articles you’ve read? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or contact us to make your voice heard.

Chime in on 2015 (and beyond)!

What was your favorite article or series on the CCC blog?
What country do you join us from?
How did you first find the CCC blog?
What topic(s) would you like to see covered in 2016?
How will you ring in the New Year?

As we count down toward the ball drop, enjoy one of my favorite memories of last year.

In 2016, may we all be champions.

Happy New Year!
Jaime

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Small Business Saturday: FREE Writing Guide

It’s Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving that is set aside each year to celebrate and support small businesses. We appreciate the love, but we hope that you support small businesses the rest of the year too.

Blue

Why?

  • Nearly 80% of small businesses are self-employed individuals.^
  • Businesses with fewer than 5 employees make up 62% of all businesses in the U.S.*
  • Small businesses employ nearly half of the U.S. private workforce.`
  • Since 1995, small businesses have created 64% of net new jobs in the U.S.`

Who are small business owners? Your sister, father, cousin, landscaper, handyman, dog groomer, designer, accountant and friend. We live in your neighborhood, vote on local issues and help strengthen the local economy.

In honor of Small Business Saturday 2015, we’re giving away a FREE writing guide, The Power of the Pen: 5 Steps to Writing That Produces Results

More people than ever are expected to write today (i.e. blogging, company newsletters, social media), but some people just aren’t comfortable with the written word. We hope this writing guide helps you become more comfortable with your craft and achieve the results you want.

Of course, some people would rather focus on what they do best and leave the writing, marketing or social media to someone else. If that’s you, we’d love to help. Let’s talk to see if we’d be a good fit for you.

Now let’s hit Main Street and support some small businesses today!

A proud small business owner,
Jaime

p.s. Let me know what you think of the writing guide!

Join the conversation: 
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Sources:
^ NASE | * US Small Business Administration | ` Inc.

Specialized Services to Help You Run Your Small Business Smoothly

There are a variety of skills involved in running your own business, and so many to-do’s that it can get a little overwhelming. By using specialized services, I free myself up to concentrate on what CCC does best — help brands communicate with their target audiences.

Specialized services take care of the nitty-gritty and let me focus on being my own boss. I would recommend you try to do the same as much as you can. Here are a few services that can help you run your company smoothly.

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Copywriting

Content marketing is all the rage these days, and this popular (and effective) form of marketing requires a lot of quality content. If you’re not a writer, then you’re going to want to use copywriting services, which are essential for producing excellent content and running a successful blog. You need to make sure that everything you produce is of the highest quality and originality, which can be difficult to achieve if you’re working on your own. You might not have the necessary skills required to be able to keep up with the content demand for your company, or you’d rather spend your time on what you do best. Either way, CCC would love to help with your writing needs.

The Power of the Pen: 5 Steps to Writing That Produces Results

Affiliate Marketing

At any stage, it’s essential to spread the word about your company and the products or services it offers. If you have recently started your company or are going through a rebranding process, it’s even more important. Most small business owners want to bring in more targeted leads and increase their client base, but this can be difficult to achieve while juggling the daily demands of running a business. One solution is to use affiliate marketing services. They allow you to gain exposure on other people’s websites and attract targeted leads, while still focusing on other areas of the company, such as wowing current customers.

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”  -Jim Rohn

Appointment Reminders

As a business owner, you have to deal with a lot of appointments and meetings, some business-related, some not. One misstep and you can destroy your schedule for the day and a relationship for much longer. That’s why it’s important to use a service to help keep track of your appointments. Appointment reminder services send alerts directly to software that you already use. That way you never miss a meeting or appointment because you receive constant reminders of what you need to remember.

Jumping Off a Cliff: My 1st Year as an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur or small business owner is a labor of love. Like you, I have poured so much into my business over the past three and a half years that it’s important to me that it succeeds. Succeeding in small business requires a lot of time, effort and money, but it’s worth it when you create a successful and professional brand.

Your Turn

What services help you run your business on a daily basis?

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs or small business owners?

“There’s nothing small about small business.”

Jaime

Let’s chat (about small business services, your hopes and dreams or otherwise):
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The Key Elements To Running A Successful Blog

Good Blog Design

The success of your blog begins with good design. Why? The average attention span in 2015 is 8.25 seconds, continuing a downward trend. In other words, visitors won’t stick around if their first impression is negative. Make sure the design of your blog is user-friendly and easy to navigate. There should always be a search bar for people to look for posts on specific topics quickly. Also, you should have menus displaying your categories (and tags, if applicable). Ensure that the overall design is easy on the eyes too. You don’t want there to be too much going on, distracting visitors from consuming your content. It should be simple, but classy, and reflect your brand. It’s not that hard to come up with a good blog design with a little help. And, if you do, you’re on your way to a successful blog.

Image via CC0 Public Domain

Post Regularly

One key to all popular blogs is regular posting. If you have a blog that you like to read, you prefer that they post regularly. It’s hard for people to get involved with a blog if you’re posting once a month. Viewers want regular content, and frequent posts will only see your view count increase. Naturally, you should make sure that all your posts are of a high standard. Don’t post any old thing just for the sake of posting. You have to post good content on a regular basis to run a successful blog.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a clever way for your blog to make some extra money. You will work in tandem with another company and promote something for them. You could write a blog post reviewing one of their products or services and link back to their website. You’ll then receive financial payment depending on how many of your viewers click on the link and visit the affiliate’s site. If your blog is generating a lot of traffic, you’re likely to make more money! First, you need to find some affiliate marketing platforms, and sign up with one that you like. The company will add your blog to its database and contact you if they find an affiliate that’s a good match for your blog. It can be a great way to earn some money and help make your blog successful.

Image via CC0 Public Domain

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Social Media

You want your blog to get a lot of views, earn money and be a success, but you’ll only get views if you market it properly. The best ways to market a blog are by improving SEO and using social media. If you improve the SEO of your site, it will rank higher in search engine rankings. Work on improving your ranking for relevant keywords, and focus on long-tail keywords, which are easier to rank for. For example, shoes (or even running shoes) is a short-tail keyword. Women’s trail running shoes for flat feet is a long-tail keyword.

Similarly, social media is the perfect place to promote your blog to millions of people. Make sure you post links to your latest articles across various social media platforms, formatted appropriately to maximize exposure on each platform. Use hashtags to increase the the eyeballs on your posts and strong calls-to-action (CTAs) to drive potential customers to click through to consume your content.

Are you interested in blogging or improving your blog? Check out our previous blog-related posts or contact us with your questions. We love supporting fellow bloggers, so drop your blog link in the comments below or suggest your favorite blog to read.

Happy blogging!
Jaime

Let’s chat (about blogging, SEO or otherwise):
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Inbound: Not Your Father’s Marketing

CCC is Inbound Certified!

Sometimes you have to slow down to get ahead. You may have noticed that the CCC blog went dark between September 4th and September 18th, missing three posting days. We were busy getting certified — in Inbound methodology. I’m proud to announce that CCC is now Inbound Certified, and we’d love to help your business achieve success.


What is Inbound?
Inbound marketing is a different way of thinking. Here’s two scenarios; let me know which one you find more enticing.
You walk down the street toward a bar. People on the sidewalk are aggressively approaching bypassers, shouting at them through megaphones to come into the bar. The aggressive bar promoters have interrupted your conversation and made you want to vacate the area as fast as possible. Your happy mood has soured, and you have no interest in going in the bar. 
You walk down the street toward a bar. Jazz music spills out into the street punctuated by a saxophone solo that makes you break into a smile. Your stomach rumbles as you breathe in the enticing aromas. As you approach the door, you notice a sign promoting a free drink tonight with dinner. You’ve never been to this bar before, but you decide to go in, have dinner and enjoy the atmosphere, while texting some friends to join you.

Which scenario is more appealing to you? If you said the second, you were drawn in by Inbound marketing, a process that uses compelling content to pull people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be.

How Inbound Works

The Inbound Methodology: Attract, Convert, Close & Delight

  1. Attract strangers to visit with compelling content that aligns to your customer’s interests.
  2. Convert visitors into leads with attractive calls-to-action that resonate with your customer’s interests.
  3. Close leads into customers by providing value with compelling content, offers and solutions.
  4. Delight customers with products (and services) that solve their problems, outstanding customer service and an excellent relationship. In doing so, they’ll be happy to promote your business for you.


How can Inbound help me?

No matter what you do for a living, you’re probably looking for customers. That’s where Inbound comes in. It helps you attract the right customers, not more empty leads. As with any marketing, Inbound isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme and probably won’t shower you with qualified leads overnight. It’s a process, one that takes time but produces results. It’s what happens when you publish the right content in the right place at the right time.

The Inbound Methodology: Publishing the right content in the right place at the right time
At CCC, we make marketing that people love. Coincidentally, that’s what Inbound is all about. If we can help you, let us know. Because the only thing we love more than espresso is helping people.

p.s. Interested in becoming Inbound Certified? Learn more about the course, certification and who it can help.

Officially Certified,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about Inbound, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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How Flexible Should Your Blog Schedule Be?

Blogging. As a small business owner, writer or business professional today, you understand its benefits (and may even enjoy it). But some days it becomes a four letter word in your vocabulary.

Computer Problems by CollegeDegrees360 via CC BY-SA 2.0

Computer Problems by CollegeDegrees360 via CC BY-SA 2.0

Recently I read a post from a fellow blogger who was asking her readers about her new posting frequency. She had committed to posting more often, so she had set up a schedule. However, sticking to the much-increased schedule was wearing on her and killing her spontaneity and creativity. In other words, she felt like it was making her writing worse.

Quality over Quantity

If your current posting schedule is overwhelming, cut back the number of posts. Quantity is never a substitute for quality, and we remind ourselves that at CCC every day. As I tell clients, commit to a schedule that you can keep, and don’t create a schedule in your fantasy world. Yes, blogging is hard work and a time commitment, but it shouldn’t keep you from running your business, working with clients or whatever else it is that you do (unless you’re a full-time, professional blogger, of course.)

Consistency is more important than frequency. Set up a schedule that you can handle — perhaps once or twice a week or even less often at first. Then stick to it and post quality content on your publishing days. That doesn’t mean that you should be afraid to test out different days if you notice your analytics suggesting you do so. If you find yourself posting anything just to stick to your schedule, stop!

Consistency is important because search engines send crawlers around the Internet to find content. If they know when to look for your new content, they’ll find it faster and make it available to people searching for those topics.

Work Ahead for Flexibility

That doesn’t mean you have to sit down and blog on set days or at set times. If you come up with ideas on a whim, jot them down. Sit down and blog when the mood strikes and schedule the post to publish on one of your scheduled days. You don’t have to write a full post; get a draft down with all its imperfections and smooth it out for publishing later.

With consistent publishing, you can let your readers (and search engines) know when to expect new content. However, you can still write or blog when you’re in the mood by working ahead. I keep a dry erase board in my office and a notebook on my phone to jot down ideas for posts and descriptions. If a trending topic catches your eye, adjust any scheduled posts you have so you can blog about the topic while it’s still hot.

Related Reading on Blogging

Let’s Talk About Blogging

Do you follow a blogging schedule?

How often do you post new content?

Have you adjusted your schedule over the past two years?

Is your schedule purely data-driven or a good fit for you?

Happy blogging!
Jaime

Let’s chat (about blogging, a new project or otherwise):
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Dear Loyal Readers, Thank You!

Danke. Grazie. Gracias. Thank you. 

They are simple words yet heartfelt.

Thank you!

When I started this blog nearly three and a half years ago, I had no idea what to expect. It was a crazy time, equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. I was starting a business, starting a blog and walking into the unknown.

The CCC blog isn’t big by any means, but I’m so grateful. We hit 230 followers recently, and I want to say that I appreciate each and every one of you. Whether you’ve been here for years or months, I hope you find our content valuable.

Clearly Conveyed Communications exists to give brands a voice, but you give me a voice. Your questions, your interest, your likes and shares encourage me to keep writing and find others who can provide a unique voice and valuable content for you. Thank you to our awesome contributors!

Lately I’ve been thinking about the future of this blog and how we can continue to provide value to our loyal readers. You may see some changes, probably minor, in the coming months but we’ll continue to give you the latest news, updates and insight in the marketing, writing and social media arenas.

Thank you, loyal readers, for sticking by my — and CCC’s — side.

Best wishes,
Jaime

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Sunshine Award Nomination From Ahh The Simple Life

Passions are meant to be embraced...

CCC is honored to accept the Sunshine Award from Ahh the Simple Life! It’s an award one blogger gives to other bloggers “who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” Carol Preibis, co-founder of Ahh the Simple LIfe, is a contributor to the CCC blog and also recently published an eGuide, Living a Good Life: Live a Meaningful, Happy and Fulfilling Life, which we reviewed here. Check it out!

Living a Good Life by Carol Ann Preibis

Are you living a good life?

Read Ahh the Simple Life’s nominating post (and learn more about Carol!) here.

*** How does the Sunshine Award work? ***

Upon nomination, bloggers accepting the Sunshine Award should:

  • thank the nominating blog and answer the questions it posed
  • nominate other bloggers
  • ask the bloggers you nominate the same number of questions as you received
  • notify the bloggers you have nominated

*** Ahh the Simple Life Asks and CCC Answers ***

1) Why did you begin blogging, and what keeps you going?

I started the CCC blog on April 7, 2012, during the formation of my company, Clearly Conveyed Communications. Our goal has always been to inform and educate our loyal readers in the ever-changing areas of marketing, writing and social media, although sometimes we take the scenic route.

“Where else can you read about MacGyver, Marketing and Leg Lamp Cookies?”

It’s been a strange and wild ride, but we hope you’ve enjoyed the journey. Sometimes we wonder what kind of impact we’re making, so it’s always refreshing to hear from you!

2) What is your favorite topic to write about? 

Although the diversity of the CCC blog seems to be a big draw, I love to write, even about writing. Maybe especially about writing. Our series on the writing process is my favorite series to date on this blog.

My favorite series on the CCC blog is about the writing process.

My favorite series on the CCC blog is about the writing process. Have you read it?

3) What is your favorite inspirational film? 

While Rocky’s victory over Apollo Creed is the epitome of the classic underdog story, I love Field of Dreams. (We even blogged about it, in relation to blogging of course.) Not only does this movie focus on baseball, it’s message of being selfless and following your dreams still resonates today.

Let’s face it: some people will think you’re crazy for following your dreams, and listening to a voice in your cornfield ranks right up there.

My favorite inspirational film outside of the sports world is Goodwill Hunting.

4) How would you describe your perfect day? 

My perfect day would begin when I wake up naturally, no alarm in sight. After taking in the amazing view, I’d saunter downstairs to brew some espresso for a delicious, handcrafted latte, which I’d enjoy with fresh fruit and peanut butter on toast. The rest of my perfect day would be spent reading, writing and enjoying nature, via a trail run or hike. After a vigorous swim (and maybe some paddle boarding), we’d grill some mouth-watering fish for dinner and sit around the fire, toasting s’mores and telling stories.

5) What is the greatest challenge facing humanity today?

While our challenges are numerous, so many come back to the massive (and growing) income inequality problem. It’s disturbing how quickly people label someone not firmly upper middle class as lazy or ignorant (or both). Teachers, social workers and entrepreneurs may be some of the hardest-working people you meet, but their skills aren’t valued in our society nearly as much as professional athletes and rock stars. (No, all entrepreneurs aren’t Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg.) It’ll be interesting to see how this issue affects all of us in the coming years.

6) If you could travel anywhere on the globe, where would you go?

I would love to travel nonstop, experiencing other cultures and traditions, although I would make Italy (or a tropical island) my home base. I’ve long been interested in exploring my Italian roots, and I love water. Someday, I’ll wake up to a beautiful water view.

*** 6 Questions for CCC’s Nominees ***

  1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
  2. What activity makes you happy?
  3. What’s your favorite song, and why?
  4. What’s one thing that you have learned this year?
  5. Who has been a mentor, role model or hero at any time during your life?
  6. What’s something that your blogging audience doesn’t know about you?

*** CCC’s Sunshine Award Nominees ***

Seyi Sandra at seyisandradavid

Lesley Carter at Bucket List Publications

Tyler Pedersen at The ancient eavesdropper

Lyla Larimore at A Chief’s Wife’s Heart’s ‘aFire

While our nominees are under no obligation to acknowledge or accept their Sunshine Award, we’re grateful of what they bring to the blogosphere. Take a few minutes to visit their blogs and explore what makes them tick. We think you’ll be glad you did.

Congratulations to our nominees, and a heartfelt thank you to Carol Preibis at Ahh the Simple Life for the nomination. One of the biggest blessings of blogging is the fellow bloggers that you meet, and Carol is at the top of my list.

We’d also like to thank our loyal readers! Without you, we’d be writing to ourselves in a public forum. We hope that you continue to find our content valuable and take a moment to drop us a note once in awhile. In turn, we’ll keep on keeping on trying to educate, inform, entertain and inspire.

Cheers,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on sunshine, blogging, dancing in the rain or otherwise):
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