You can find the Podcast on YouTube, iTunes (or whatever they are calling their podcasting platform now), Spotify and probably anywhere else you prefer to find podcasts.
What is WordCamp Calgary
WordCamps happen all over the world. To quote the WordCamp Central page, they are “informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.” And I am lucky to be an organizer of this year’s WordCamp Calgary, which just happens to Calgary’s 5th annual event. WordCamps vary from location to location and even year to year. This year, WordCamp Calgary is going to be a one-day event. Attendees will have 3 options to choose from in each of 4 timeslots, followed by a Keynote session by the ever popular Dana DiTomaso.
Why I love WordCamp
I’ve been going to WordCamps for about 6 years now. My first one was in Edmonton, shortly after I started using WordPress. I was so new, all of the amazing information was overwhelming to take in, but somehow I managed. Every time I attend a WordCamp, I learn new things, and nowadays, when I sit in a session at WordCamp, I can think of at least one project I can apply my new knowledge to. Learning aside, I’ve also met some wonderful people, some who have become friends, and others who are now colleagues and even referral partners. And the tickets are always ridiculously cheap ($25 this year!), so even if you were to only take away one tiny thing from the day, it’s still worth it!
Why you might love WordCamp
WordCamp isn’t just for designers and developers who are working ON WordPress sites all the time. It’s for anyone who has a WordPress site and wants to learn how to use it better. Even if your site is already online and functioning beautifully, there’s always more content to be created. And let me tell you, there are always great talks about how to create great content (and get it out in front of eyeballs), and this year is no exception. There are also sessions about things like SEO, speed and current trends. And did I mention the people? We’re a fantastic bunch!
Will you join me?
If it’s starting to sound like WordCamp Calgary is a good idea, I’d love to see you there! Here are all the details:
Date: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Time: 9:30am-5pm (and then we party!)
Where: Fort Calgary
Investment: only $25 (includes lunch, a drink at the after party, and some cool swag)
And if you don’t live in Calgary, I highly recommend you keep an eye out for a WordCamp near you.
I am often asked about SEO, and if I offer it. While I strive to implement best practices on the development side, I don’t currently offer any extra SEO help. For clients who want help with their SEO plans, I recommend they reach out to an SEO expert. However, that can cost up to $1000 or more per month, depending on a variety of factors. The good news is I’m about to start some courses to help bridge the gap between no SEO and crazy expensive SEO.
It’s important to note that SEO is not something that just gets set up and continues to work. It requires research, monitoring and often a healthy dose of trial and error. I believe it is an extremely misunderstood concept among the average business owner. Luckily, someone from Google has created a video explaining what to look for when hiring an SEO strategist and she touches on some important things that everyone should understand.
I hope you find this video helpful. And stay tuned for new SEO offerings from yours truly!
Happy New Year!
As we are all aware, with a new year comes new beginnings, and that certainly applies to Amethyst Answers.
Here are 3 new things that you should know about Amethyst Answers for 2017:
After a year of trying a new system (17hats), I’ve decided it’s not working well for me, or for some of you. As of January 1, 2017 I have moved all of my bookkeeping to Quickbooks.
What does this mean for you?
- Invoices will look different, and will arrive in your inbox differently. Be sure to whitelist firstname.lastname@example.org so they don’t end up in your junk folder!
- Payment methods are slightly different. You can now pay directly with credit card. Paypal direct payment is gone, but you can still send me a PayPal transfer. Email transfers and checks are also still accepted.
- Better account management. I can now send out account statements and balances so you have a better understanding of where your account is sitting.
Dream Team Official Announcement
I have always said I’m not a graphic designer. But I am happy to officially announce that I have partnered with an amazing one! This past year, I have had the pleasure of working with Jaime Wedholm of jwedholmdesign.ca on several projects. We now create beautiful and functional websites with our Website Design and Development package. Not only do you get our design and development expertise, you also get a team combining our talents in a way that is much greater than the sum of our parts. Check out our portfolio!.
If you know someone who needs a new or revised website, please tell them about the Dream Team. We love referrals!
If you are on a maintenance plan with me, I will now be sending you monthly reports on the status of your website including updates that were done, basic analytics, backup status, and more. See a sample report. Not currently a maintenance client? Let’s talk!
Monthly maintenance plans keep your site:
- up to date with core, theme and plug in revisions
- secure (updates sometimes fix vulnerabilities)
- intact (updates sometime cause issues you may not know how to fix)
I’m working on a few other internal changes, so stay tuned!
Last year I compiled a list of gift ideas that my family, friends and clients were offering. It was well received, so I decided to make it an annual thing. I present to you some of my amazing clients!
Gifts that keep giving
What’s better than premium chocolate? Chocolate that gives back. Use coupon code “shoebox” when you order a chocolate pizza or truffled milk chocolate grahams and part of the proceeds will be donated to the Shoebox Project. Chocolate, please!
For the puzzle lover in your life, check out these puzzle packs that support various organizations. Each puzzle pack is built around the theme of the organization. Puzzle me this!
One of my favourite non-profits, Joy Socks just celebrated their first anniversary! There’s something wonderful about a fun pair of socks, and Joy Socks continues to bring socks and smiles to people in hospitals, Ronald McDonald House, and other similar places. Help spread the joy!
After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we could all benefit from some soothing meditations. The Gift of Divine Blessings: Meditations to Awaken Your Soul comes with the added benefit of reiki energy! Connect with compassion and love
Take guided meditations/visualizations to the next level with MindFit at Chiropractic Wellness Clinic. There are hundreds of session options, ranging from reducing stress to improving your golf game. Activate your brain’s full potential!
Yoga goes hand in hand with Intuition in this book that demystifies the practice of using our intuition and includes it as part of daily life. Along with a practical guide to living a yogic lifestyle, this book is filled with relatable human stories. Choose intuition!
More Cool Ideas
Got kids? Do they love computers? Book a Coding Party! Kids Code Force trains kids as young as 6 years old how to start computer programming while building their own project that can be shared with friends and family. Level up!
Just in time for the new year, get a custom branded 2017 year-in-view calendar for your favourite business owner. These are great printed out poster sized and laminated! Great for internal use or as promotional items. Best year ever!
Eco-friendly dishcloths like nothing you’ve used before! Streak-free cleaning, throw them in the dishwasher to clean and disinfect, use them for dishes, in the bath, anywhere! And they are super cute. Find a retailer near you.
Know someone who is thinking of changing things up in the new year? Interior Design Shoppe is offering gift certificates for a 1 or 2 hour in-home design consultation. Get stylin’!
One last thing…
I also recently created a Kids Code Force store on amazon.ca where you can check out some great coding resources. If you know someone who is interested in computer programming, you may just find their coolest gift!
Have fun shopping!
I’ve seen a lot of posts lately encouraging people to “Shop the Neighbourhood”. It’s a great idea, but it seems to be made more retail businesses with an actual storefront. I know a lot of fantastic small businesses without storefronts who could use our support as well, so I invite you to shop MY “neighbourhood”. Click on the company name to visit their website.
Specialty chocolates once described to me as “the gobstoppers of chocolate”. Take a nut, fruit, or even start with a bit of chocolate. Coat it in chocolate, and then coat that in another kind of chocolate. YUM!
Know someone who loves decorating their nails? Why not get them some custom scented cuticle oil, barrier butter or mani bombs? Seasonal scents currently include: Candy Cane, Elf Sweat, Snowman Balls, Cranberry Sugar, Gingerbread, Wintergreen and Jingle Bells.
Flora Italia is a luxury brand that designs custom crystal art and jewellery with intention.
Get 15% off with discount code SPARKLE15
Give someone the gift of happy feet! Warm winter toes with fun “mismatched” socks, or make a statement with various one size fits all styles. Proceeds go to the Sox in a Box Campaign (see further down). I’ve got “Computer Keys” on my wishlist.
Julie Marwood Photography
Julie is a photographer with an eye for the finished product. In addition to family photos, she specializes in creating beautiful wall art from your shoot. Purchase a $50 Gift Certificate and receive $100 towards, or a $100 Gift Certificate and receive $200 towards Julie Marwood Photography. Good towards future sessions only. Can be purchased up until December 20th. Valid M-F 9-4.
Kids Code Force
I’m a bit biased, but this is an awesome opportunity! If your child can read, they can code! Computer programming with a drag and drop interface is a fund way to create games and other projects.
Book a private 3 hour session for only $50!
Kids Photography Academy
Learn about the art, science and fun of photography with online lessons designed for kids. An annual membership with access to all lessons, exclusive contests and more! This is a perfect gift for the budding photographer in your family!
Tyneal has a knack for bringing out the best in kids to capture priceless family memories on film. She specializes in milestones and studio special event mini sessions.
Health & Wellness
Chiropractic Wellness Clinic
Improve your brain and body health with Chiropractic and Functional Neurology. They also have laser technology, orthotics and other options available. You’ll be amazed at the symptoms and conditions that are treatable!
Dr. Linda Kodnar ND
Offering Hair Mineral Analysis and 30 minute consultation for $125 (regularly $225!) until Dec. 20. Evaluates body mineral status and toxic metals, extrapolates absorption issues,estrogen dominance, adrenal status – extremely useful tool as an introduction to additional methods of assessment outside of routine medical blood tests. Use in conjunction with other comprehensive saliva, allergy or digestion analysis.
Naturally Sweet Body & Wellness
Natural products for your home and body, including bath salts, body balms, candles and sugar scrubs. Scented with 100% therapeutic grade essential oils. The Cold Rescue Body Balm is popular this time of year. Now featuring Christmas gift sets.
Did you know that anxiety, skin rashes and breakouts can all be linked to your insides? Also that our guts are our other brains so when they talk, we should listen! Through Energy Work and Intuitive Guidance, Susie finds imbalances in your body and help you release them. Specializing in but not limited to intestinal discomfort. Find Susie at Lasya Healing. Offering 15% off during January
Support a Cause
Providing Workshops that explore inner and outer beauty, physical fitness and survivorship for young women facing cancer.
Offering information, resources and emotional support to families dealing with congenital heart disease.
Sox in a Box
The Sox in a Box campaign is focused on collecting fun new socks in all sizes (newborn to adult) and distributing them to people in various charities and organizations where people could use a smile.
And a Freebie!
When you ask people what they are thankful for, one of the most common answers is family and friends. Or in another word: community. I have been extremely lucky in this past year to be part of several great communities that have helped me grow both my business and my ‘self’. I’d like to share these communities with you.
With the motto “Moving women from competition to connection”, Womentum is my tribe of like-minded ladies. It’s an inclusive group supporting personal growth so we can be the best version of ourselves. While it isn’t a business group, it has certainly helped me grow my business, both through my personal growth and by making new connections.
YYC Biz Hub
YYC Biz Hub is a grassroots entrepreneurial Facebook group for Calgarians. It has been a fantastic resource for getting advice and input. Through it I’ve been able to connect and collaborate with some talented people, most notably Jaime Wedholm, a talented graphic designer who “completes” me.
Once a month, we gather to discuss various topics related to WordPress. This group is open to all levels from beginner to expert. It’s amazing what you can learn from each other and you never know who you might connect with. Through one of the larger events of this group, WordCamp, I met Re Carlson, a way bigger geek than me, and now I have the privilege of collaborating with him as part of the Abtek Web Design team.
If you have the opportunity to join any of these groups, or something similar in your area, I highly recommend it. Expanding your community with great people can only enhance who you are and what you do.
Share your favourite community in the comments!
I use my phone a lot. As a business owner, mother, and all around awesome gal (that’s right, I said it), I put my phone to good use. The only problem is, even though I charge it while I sleep every night, I never know when (or worse – where) my battery is going to die.
Enter Nomad. This company has come up with some creative ways to help keep your device running for as long as you do. Currently they have 2 products on the market: the charge card and the charge key, and I’ve been fortunate to test them both.
Basically, these are both a unique type of USB cord to charge your device. You still need a computer and power bank to plug into, but these are more convenient to keep on hand at all times. The charge card is the size of a credit card, fitting easily into your wallet, and the charge key is small and skinny with a loop on it to sit on your key ring just like a normal key.
Overall, I’m really impressed with these products. They are super easy to transport and have on hand all the time. And because of their size, they don’t get all tangled or hang out of your pocket or purse. Also, they charge pretty fast. I haven’t done an actual speed test, but they seem to charge faster than any other cord I have used. My favourite thing about them, though, has to be that they are Apple certified, so they actually WORK with my iPhone! No annoying message saying your accessory might not work.
The only thing I’m not fond of is that there is no protection for the ports. For most people, it’s probably not a big deal. The wallet one would be safe in your wallet, but I am not a wallet person (and anytime I’ve attempted to carry a purse, I inevitably leave it somewhere, including a shopping cart in a Toys R Us parking lot!). And since I don’t carry a purse, the key one sits on my key chain in the pocket of whatever coat or jeans I’m wearing. Lots of fluff and other stuff to get in and potentially damage things. However, Nomad does use quality materials so I’m sure my charge key will need to take a pretty good beating before it stops working.
All in all, I think both the charge card and the charge key are great products that are worth looking into if you find you need to carry a charge cord with you frequently.
If you are interested in getting your own lightning or micro USB charge card or key, check out Nomad.
Please note: I received a charge card and a charge key for free in consideration for review publication. This review is based on my personal opinions and experience with these products, and shared here for informational purposes only.
If you have a blog, I highly recommend that you connect it to your Google+ page (get one of those too, if you haven’t already) with Google Authorship. When you get a list of search results, you’ve probably noticed that some of them have a small profile picture of the author…that’s Google Authorship.
Authorship puts a face to the article, making it more personal and creating an immediate connection with your audience. It also includes a byline and a link to your Google+ page and indicates how many circles you are in, which can add credibility to your post.
Each of these points could be the difference between someone choosing your article over another search result, even if yours isn’t the top of the list.