Opinion | New education policy misses a critical chance to address inequalities in system

Not specifying a common minimum standard below which schools cannot fall, creates conditions where quality of facilities in some schools will only sink lower. (Mint)

The draft National Education Policy (NEP), 2019, is full of provisions that many in the education sector have been desperate to see for decades. The conferring of the Right to Education to children under six and above 14, doubling of the overall financial allocation to education and strengthening the teaching profession bring cheer. However, many of the policy’s omissions and contradictions, combined with the previous track record of central and state governments in implementing existing education policies, diminish this hope.

The omissions: While the policy talks about the need to bring “unrepresented groups” into school and focus on educationally lagging “special education zones”, it misses a critical opportunity of addressing inequalities within the education system. It misses to provide solutions to close the gap of access to quality education between India’s rich and poor children. It proposes to remove the expectations that all schools meet common minimum infrastructure and facility standards, and that primary schools be within a stipulated distance from children’s homes.

India’s schools already vary across the scale—from single room structures without water and sanitation, to technology-enabled international schools. Not specifying a common minimum standard below which schools cannot fall, creates conditions where quality of facilities in some schools will only sink lower, widening this gap.

This is even more of an issue since it proposes a roll back of existing mechanisms of enforcement of private schools making parents “de-facto regulators” of private schools. Parents, and particularly poor and neo-literate parents, cannot hold the onus of ensuring that much more powerful and resourced schools comply with quality, safety and equity norms.

India should have moved towards a national system of education that shapes India’s next generation and enforce standards of quality across the country.

The contradictions: While the policy places considerable emphasis on the strengthening of “school complexes” (clusters of schools sharing joint resources) and decentralized mechanisms for supporting teachers, their everyday management appears to have been tasked to the head teacher of the secondary school in the cluster.

Furthermore, no separate funding appears to have been earmarked for this. This is false economy, since this is a full time activity and needs to be staffed and resourced accordingly.

Lessons from non-implementation of past policies: The policy’s implementation is predicated on the assumption that the education budget would be almost doubled in the next 10 years through consistent decade-long action by both the centre and states. However, the revenue is decentralized to the states and it is unclear what would be done to ensure that resources needed will be allotted. The sheer scale of changes expected, the rapid timeline, the absence of a strong mechanism for handholding states on this journey and the probable inadequate budget raises questions on the full implementation of this policy. India’s history is littered with ambitious education policies that have not been fully implemented. The National Education Policy risks following this tradition, unless the government addresses the reasons behind the past policy-practice implementation gap and makes conscious efforts to carry all of India on the same road towards improvement in education.


Blogging provides a community — or a paycheck — to Idaho Falls mothers

Idaho Falls Moms Blog MAIN

Every detail of Valerie Illguth’s life is potential fodder for her blogs.

She started her travel blog, 51 Cent Adventures, six years ago to write about all the unique and under-the-radar places her family visited on vacations. Over the last few months, she has been writing about all the details of Yellowstone National Park that they encountered while living in an RV near the park last summer. In December she joined the newly started Idaho Falls Moms Blog as one of a team of volunteers writing about her life and the area. Her most recent post talked about the effects of her son’s autism.

Why did Illguth enjoy blogging enough to write for two sites?

“I don’t know,” she laughed. “It’s a good hobby. I don’t need to have any other items around than my laptop.”

It’s easier than ever to create a website and share your writings online. WordPress, one of the world’s largest blog-supporting websites, sees more than 70 million new posts every month.

Not all of those blogs will draw in a ton of traffic or earn their creators money — the average WordPress post gets fewer than six views a month— but most bloggers aren’t looking to make it rich as long as they attract some community of readers.

In the last year, a handful of new blogs have started adding their content to the web out of Idaho Falls. One is a collective effort from more than 20 women looking to help local families, while the other is one woman’s attempt to expand her platform to speak about her disease.

The Moms Blog

In August, Idaho Falls became one of the 92 cities represented by the City Moms Blog Network. Idaho Falls Moms Blog, staffed by nearly two dozen volunteers from in and around the city, is the only city in Idaho, Utah or Wyoming to join the network.

Idaho Falls Moms Blog
Buy Now

Heather Jarrell speaks to a Post Register reporter about the Idaho Falls Moms Blog on Thursday, May 16, 2019.

“We’re kind of a dot on our own over here,” Idaho Falls founder Heather Jarrell said.

Jarrell started the blog as a one-stop location for parents like her to see what the opportunities are for families in the city. The blog gets a lot of traffic from its roundup of the weekend events that will be happening and the guides offering advice on where to find splash pads or host a kid’s birthday party.

“I felt like I was hearing about all these great things that were happening in town and wanted to get all that information in one place,” Jarrell said.

The blog is run by a team of volunteers, many of whom only post once a month. It gives them freedom to write about any subject, whether it’s recent things that happened with their children or advice on what to do during the summer. Some posts are sponsored by local businesses — Jarrell said health-related events have proven especially popular.

Some of those contributors also manage blogs of their own outside the Idaho Falls Moms Blog. Valerie Illguth started her travel blog six years ago while her husband was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. She said her friends enjoyed hearing about the unique places she would stumble across with her husband and children, so she began writing about them online to get a wider audience while her husband was serving.

“He was deployed to Korea and I was at home with four kids. I would turn on ‘Toy Stor,’ and I would sit and write so I would feel like I was communicating with the outside world,” Illguth said.

The Illguths live outside Pocatello and she isn’t the only mother from outside the city limits writing for the Idaho Falls Moms Blog. The blog posts generally shy away from controversial topics or politics but the differing ages and experiences of the writers allow for some variety in the writing styles. Contributing writer Kim Lewis thought that style combined with the local focus of the blog has helped to grow its audience.

“It’s validating to hear from others in the community that are dealing with the same things,” Lewis said.

{strong style=”font-size: 1em;”}Hailey and a Spoon{/strong}

{p dir=”ltr”}Hailey Williams has been managing a YouTube channel for five years, since around the time her second daughter was born. Her videos were focused on parenting and her family life until she was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2016.

Blogger two
Buy Now

Hailey Williams enjoys the freedom being a blogger provides. Williams is able to work almost anywhere and that allows her to spend more time with her family. She often blogs in her garage so she can be near her two daughters Khloe, 7, and Kaelyn, 5, while they play outside.

{p dir=”ltr”}She switched the focus of her channel to gluten awareness and advocacy. She cut back her number of videos to just one a week but saw her subscriber count rise from just over 1,000 people to nearly 6,000. Last month, Williams used that momentum to launch her own blog called Hailey and a Spoon. She admitted that, before she had launched a blog of her own, she hadn’t been that interested in reading food blogs.

{p dir=”ltr”}“I know if I was going to do blogging it would have to be my style. If I’m not going to like writing that, why would anyone want to read it?” Williams said.

{p dir=”ltr”}That shift in the focus of the blog is not unique to Williams.

{p dir=”ltr”}Former Post Register commentary page editor Katie Stokes ran her own ‘mommy blog’ in Idaho Falls for several years, around the time that blogging first peaked early in the days of the Great Recession.

“It was an easy way to women who were staying home with their kids to pick up some income,” Stokes said.

{p dir=”ltr”}Since then, Stokes said a lot of parents have dialed back on the details they shared about their children. The blogs would stay online forever, meaning an embarrassing story from when a child was 3 could follow them for the rest of their life. Stokes deleted her blog a few years ago in an attempt to remove some of the more personal details she had shared.

{p dir=”ltr”}Williams’ husband recently earned his technical degree and began working as a mechanic in town, but her YouTube channel and blog has become her main source of income. She runs the occasional sponsored video reviewing a gluten-free product and works with the local gluten-free store Mom’s Place. Last month, she traveled to Utah to create videos and meet representatives from celiac-friendly brands at the Nourish Festival.

{p dir=”ltr”}Traveling to Utah also allowed her to connect with other people who blog about the same subject. Gluten-free recipe blogs are much more common in Utah than in eastern Idaho, which has made it tougher for her to befriend other local bloggers.

{p dir=”ltr”}“There’s not a lot of what I do here. I have a niche, so it’s harder to make an acquaintance or friendship easily,” Williams said.

{p dir=”ltr”}Creating a website over the last month and becoming a blogger has led to changes in Williams’ life. She had to learn about website design and coding without any formal training on the subject. Her schedule moved around to let her post regular weekly content — Monday nights are preparing for her YouTube videos to post the next morning and Friday nights are the final touches for her Saturday blog posts.

{p dir=”ltr”}The trade-off for those nights of work, however, is that Williams can easily spend time with her kids at home or take them wherever they need to go without worrying too much about her schedule.

“I can work from the house, the park, the garage. I like being able to work from anywhere,” she said.


5 steps to make your blog rank higher on Google


Blogging can be a complicated task to take on thanks to the always fluctuating landscape of search engine indexing, like Google. Here are five things every blogger should be doing to stay at the top of the results page.

Websites with blogs rank higher on search engines like Google than those without because they’re an immensely powerful on-page SEO asset. This makes blogging an indispensable tool for any marketer or website owner who wants to grow their organic traffic.

Blog writing comes with its own set of challenges, however. It’s not about getting a couple of paragraphs on a page just to have something there. There’s a lot of planning and thought, not to mention strategy, that goes into creating high-ranking blog posts. Therefore, it is important to do it right from the start. Or risk wasting hours toiling over something that won’t pay off.

This article won’t cover everything there is to know about blogging and SEO. Rather, the list below contains five basic steps that every writer and blog owner should already be following.


Google has been emphasizing the importance of intent within blog posts in recent years. This means that they not only look at long-tail keywords but also at LSI keywords. They then factor in how relevant the blog is to the reader (through their search keywords, but also other online habits and location).

The reader’s experience is now a priority for search engines like Google, and every blog should share that sentiment. Which means finding topics that the reader cares about and providing them with interesting content.


Keywords are still one of the most influential factors in a blog’s ability to rank in searches. But keyword stuffing has become a major issue, which has led to a change in the way Google looks at them.

Instead of placing keywords as often as possible, place them in these six strategic areas:

  • The Title Tag: This is the title of the blog and is the first thing a reader will see. It’s the piece of text that will show up in the search results and on the opened browser tab.
  • The Meta Description: The meta description is a paragraph of text that shows up under the title in the search results. It describes what the post is about.
  • The URL: The primary keyword or long-tail keywords should always appear in the URL, so Google’s crawlers can easily index the post.
  • The Header: This is the title of the blog post that shows up on the page and other places on the website.
  • The First Paragraph: It’s important that the primary keyword(s) of the post feature in the first few sentences of the text.
  • The Body of the Text: The primary keyword(s) should feature again once or twice in the rest of the blog post.

All in all, keywords shouldn’t feature more than two or three times in the text.

Be sure to go back and update old blog posts.


It’s such a shame to keep old blog posts unchanged when they get outdated as search engines evolve. These posts can still be relevant, and a lot of effort was put into creating them.

Blog owners should go back and update their old posts to optimize them for current SEO trends.


It’s not a hard rule that websites should move to HTTPS, but it is very beneficial for them to do so. An SSL certificate helps keep a website’s visitors safe from outside attack. Making it not only important because of security reasons but also for search engine ranking. Because Google has stated that they care about online safety and this factors into their SEO decisions.

Getting an SSL certificate requires a dedicated IP address, so make sure to get one.


It’s important to keep blog posts related to each other and the business’ interests. Most people do this through blog tags and interlinking. But it’s important to differentiate between each blog post and their topics because Google penalizes duplicate content.

Do not use tags that are too similar to one another, like “run, running, and runner.” Instead, focus on using tags that are related but not the same. Such as “advertising, marketing, and social media.”


Search engine optimization can be complicated, but blogging doesn’t have to be. Save time by following these and other expert tips to start creating engaging and SEO-focused content right now.


Ex-Ripple CTO Launches Blogging Platform to Pay Content Creators XRP

Image result for Ex-Ripple CTO Launches Blogging Platform to Pay Content Creators XRPCryptocurrency startups are increasingly eyeing content creators as a key use case.

Coil, the San Francisco-based startup founded by former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas, just opened the public beta on its blogging platform designed to help scribes earn XRP.

Since the closed beta started in August 2018, roughly 1,000 test users have been paying in-browser subscriptions for a monthly rate of $5. Comparable to Spotify, Coil then automatically pays the content creators in XRP based on usage while the user enjoys the flat subscription fee.

Thomas told CoinDesk the new Coil.com blogging platform is working with the digital wallet provider Stronghold for dollar cash-out options in addition to XRP. Initially, the goal is to allow free access with tipping and payment options for bonus content.

“Every participant can decide what currency they want to use,” Thomas said. “Part of the next phase is really to experiment with what works, both from a creator’s side – where the constraints are, ‘How do I get some good quality bonus content without investing a huge amount of effort?’ – and from the users’ perspective of, ‘What will people actually sign up for?’”

Avi Kabani, the author of several nonfiction books about love and relationships, told CoinDesk that so far he’s earned 21 XRP, nearly $6, through Coil and XRP tips. Meanwhile, he’s spent nearly $20 worth of XRP watching Twitch users. So far, it appears Coil has enabled a circular economy within the XRP community.

“I typically like to save [XRP] in my [Coil] balance to support other creators,” Kabani said, adding he’d love to use the Coil blogging platform in addition to his social media channels. “It’s also good to know that XRP is liquid enough so that if someone does need fiat they can get it.”

Likewise, early Coil user and Forbes contributor Thomas Silkjær told CoinDesk he looks forward to seeing Coil integrations replace some publishing paywalls.

“You pay per second you are visiting a website. But the underlying technology is much more capable,” Silkjær said. “Imagine paying per kilobyte streamed of video, or paying for time spent reading articles otherwise walled by paywalls and subscription.”

Competing options

While Coil is uniquely focused on time spent on the page, it is hardly the only tool offering micropayments directly to content creators.

Starting in 2016, the privacy-minded web browser Brave has offered a rewards program for content creators, with payouts to bloggers, YouTubers and publishers denominated in the company’s Basic Attention Token (BAT).

In 2018, the lightning blog Yalls facilitated 20,000 bitcoin invoices in just seven months, while the ethereum-centric platform Cent currently hosts more than 50 blogs that earned creators between $55 and $326 worth of ETH in the past 30 days. By comparison, the Coil subscription earnings appear modest.

However, Silkjær said that Coil’s true potential will only be unlocked when the Ripple-invented interoperability protocol Interledger allows the micropayments tool to support multiple currencies.

“Using Interledger, content creators can define what currency they wish to receive. And no matter if Coil is spending XRP, it will be bridged on the network to match the content creators’ needs: currency-agnostic micropayments,” Silkjær said.

Indeed, Thomas confirmed there are plans to leverage Interledger for a variety of cash-out options, from diverse cryptocurrencies to direct bank transfers.

“We think of it as a platform for publishing and it’s built on open standards so it is more interoperable than past publishing platforms,” Thomas said, adding:

“The standard that we’re built on, called Web Monetization, is intended to be a browser standard someday. But in order to be a browser standard, first you have to show some market traction, so that’s what we’re building out right now.”


What is the right way to ask neighbours for help on the internet?

Small trees, shrubbery beds and tables and chairs with city buildings in the background

Viral internet content, whether meme or catastrophe, burrows into our minds, because that is its way. But occasionally, rather than being replaced by something meaner or madder, a piece of it will set up home there, put the kettle on, never leave. And then I must work out… why.

A man in Philadelphia screenshotted and tweeted a post from nextdoor.com, a request from his pregnant neighbours for meals and favours. It included recipe ideas, their food preferences, and the detail that they’d leave a cooler for meals outside the door. The Sun headlined its piece on the Twitter thread, “YOU WHAT!?” continuing, “Fury as deluded millennial couple expecting baby ‘ask strangers to chip in cooking and cleaning’ because ‘they’ll be tired’.’’ A thousand more “YOU WHAT!?”s abounded, and a familiar kind of internet fury was unleashed, that heightened outrage, a brief sugar high.

This is what fuels the internet, of course, and many friendships, too – the mean bliss of mutual hatred, a linking of arms to form a community of righteous anger. And community is the thing that I kept coming back to, when, the following night, the couple’s cooler turned up in my dream, and the following week, when I found myself contemplating one of their recipe ideas for my tea.

I’ve written before about my own experience of Nextdoor, the website where neighbours are encouraged to share gardening recommendations and information about lost cats, a place that fosters a synthetic (if often warming) sense of community, in a time when such a thing is rare. Having spent time on this site, the pregnant couple’s request felt familiar, if only for its mundanity. But it jarred with the world beyond their doorstep for a number of reasons, the most obvious being the scope of the favour they were asking. They’d exposed themselves as needy – they’d asked for help, but… they’d asked wrong. Which makes you wonder, doesn’t it, what would be the correct way? When you are living far from family and those who love you, what is the correct way to ask for help?

When I first read it, I chuckled, I did. But as I swam deeper into the reactions my sense of unease grew, shifting quickly into a glum sort of hopelessness. I was lucky never to have to ask for help when I had a baby. It arrived in Tupperware, on tube trains, balanced carefully on laps. When I was going into labour, my friend cleaned our windows. When I was a week into a hospital stay and couldn’t bear the idea of company, my mum silently delivered meatballs then drove away again, an hour each way. Later, another friend took the baby while I had the most magical haircut of my life, an inch off the ends, spread thickly over an afternoon.

The question comes sometimes when sick or in need, “What can I do to help?” But often the true reply is gritty and dirty and dull, and few are prepared for honesty here. That exchange of love is only possible when you’re surrounded by people who know you. And today, few of us are.

These poor pregnant sods were vilified for asking for the benefits of a community. It became increasingly clear that reader outrage was based in disbelief that such benefits were a possibility. Which makes sense – it’s difficult to grasp the idea of physically taking part in such openhanded compassion, in part because we get so little respite from individual striving, and in part because the idea of community today is so nebulous and scarred.

It’s spring now, and I find myself impossibly moved by the sight of community gardens, thorn-strewn and blooming, and so departed from the rest of cities’ public spaces. Those spaces, now colonised by private money, and growing, it seems, into well-swept metaphors for the state of community today. A state where 2.4 million adult British residents report chronic loneliness. And yet, many are talking all the time, into the internet, where the possibilities of intimate connection are advertised like wartime propaganda.

There is little understanding that many of these communities are based in words, not action. It’s no wonder that Nextdoor couple got confused – like other internet spaces, they seemed to expect that if they clicked in the right place, their order for love would arrive before 9am the following day.

The international reach of this Nextdoor post has proven that today we’re all neighbours. Sometimes social media works in our favour, by aiding real conversations and providing entertainment in the dark, and sometimes it feels as if we’re pouring our entire selves into a beaker, only for it to turn immediately into steam.

But we shouldn’t deny the many possibilities for connections here, nor let the policing of favours get in the way of kindness. Real communities are often irritating, grabby of time, and require the dirtying of hands, but they are also nourishing. And they are also home. If we’re serious about ending loneliness, a neighbour shouldn’t have to ask for help – we should already have offered.


Deal: Drive traffic to your blog with tips from the master

How to Write a Blog Post That Drives Traffic

Anyone can write a blog post, but driving traffic to it is another beast. If you’re keen to tell the world about your favorite Android apps, or even your favorite types of pencils, today’s deal will show you how to bring the masses to your site.

How to Write a Blog Post That Drives Traffic with Darren Murph is a treasure trove of tips and tricks that will teach you the secret to growing traffic and charming your audience.

So who is Darren Murph? Well, he’s a specialist in this field. In fact, he even holds a Guinness World Record for blogging, and he was the editor-in-chief at a big tech news site. Needless to say, he knows his stuff, and you can learn the secrets to his success for just under $20.

Start writing copy that demands attention from readers.

Darren’s 10-step lessons teach you how to bypass the dreaded writer’s block and uncap your creative juice. You’ll soon be able to start writing copy that demands attention from readers.

This learning kit encompasses all the essential aspects of what makes a successful blog. Once you have the writing down, you’ll be schooled in the art of online traffic and growth, great storytelling, and more.

If you’re keen to write a blog today, you can check out the course right now for only $19.99. That’s 31 percent off the usual asking price.

This deal won’t be around for long, so hit the button below right now to get started!


Internet users in India to rise by 40%, smartphones to double by 2023: McKinsey

Untitled-9NEW DELHI: With data costs falling by 95 per cent since 2013, India will see internetusers rise by about 40 per cent and number of smartphones to double by 2023, McKinsey said in a report.

It also expects core digital sectors to jump two-fold to USD 355-435 billion by 2025.

The report ‘Digital India – Technology to Transform a Connection Nation’ by McKinsey Global Institute said the country is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for digital consumers, with 560 million internet subscribers in 2018, second only to China.

Indian mobile data users consume 8.3 gigabits (GB) of data each month on average, compared with 5.5 GB for mobile users in China and 8-8.5 GB in advanced digital economy of South Korea. Indians have 1.2 billion mobile phone subscriptions and downloaded more apps — 12.3 billion in 2018 — than residents of any other country except China.

“Our analysis of 17 mature and emerging economies finds India is digitising faster than any other country in the study, save Indonesia — and there is plenty of room to grow: just over 40 per cent of the populace has an internet subscription,” it said.

While a government push has helped digitise the economy, private sector firms such as Reliance Jio has helped bring down data costs by more than 95 per cent since 2013, it said, adding the cost of one gigabyte fell from 9.8 per cent of per capita monthly GDP in 2013 (roughly USD 12.45) to 0.37 per cent in 2017 (the equivalent of a few cents).

“Private-sector innovation has helped bring internet-enabled services to millions of consumers and made online usage more accessible. For example, Reliance Jio’s strategy of bundling virtually free smartphones with subscriptions to its mobile service has spurred innovation and competitive pricing across the sector,” the report said.

As a result, monthly mobile data consumption per user is growing at 152 per cent annually — more than twice the rates in the United States and China. Average fixed-line download speed quadrupled between 2014 and 2017.

“India will increase the number of internet users by about 40 per cent to between 750 million and 800 million and double the number of smartphones to between 650 million and 700 million by 2023,” it said, adding the potential for India’s internet subscriber base could reach 835 million by 2023.

McKinsey said India’s internet user base has grown rapidly in recent years, propelled by the decreasing cost and increasing availability of smartphones and high-speed connectivity, and is now one of the largest in the world.

The average Indian social media user spends 17 hours on the platforms each week, more than social media users in China and the United States.

The share of Indian adults with at least one digital financial account has more than doubled since 2011, to 80 per cent, thanks in large part to the more than 332 million people who opened mobile phone–based accounts under the government’s Jan-Dhan Yojana – a mass financial-inclusion programme.

“By many measures, India is on its way to becoming a digitally advanced nation,” McKinsey said. “Just over 40 per cent of the populace has an internet subscription, but India is already home to one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing bases of digital consumers. It is digitising activities at a faster pace than many mature and emerging economies.”

India’s core digital sectors, comprising of IT-BPM, digital communication services and electronics manufacturing, accounted for about USD 170 billion — or 7 per cent — of GDP in 2017–18.
“We estimate that these sectors could grow significantly faster than GDP, and their value-added contribution could range from USD 205 billion to USD 250 billion for IT-BPM, USD 100 billion to USD 130 billion for electronics manufacturing, and USD 50 billion to USD 55 billion for digital communication services, totalling between USD 355 billion and USD 435 billion and accounting for 8 to 10 per cent of India’s GDP in 2025,” it said.

It said India is on a fast track to adopt key digital attributes, and the number of smartphones and internet subscriptions could continue to increase rapidly in the next five years.


5 Digital Marketing & E-Commerce Success Stories To Draw Inspiration From

Msrketing and eCommerce success stories can show innovative ways of succeeding in businesse-commerce success stories can show innovative ways of succeeding in business

Msrketing and eCommerce success stories can show innovative ways of succeeding in businesse-commerce success stories can show innovative ways of succeeding in business


In today’s highly competitive e-commerce and digital marketing world it is not easy for a company to stand out. Many startups facing great odds of even making it and end up falling or being absorbed by bigger companies along the way. However, some incredible success stories have also arisen that are worth learning from and aspiring to in order to learn how to follow in their footsteps. One thing to take away form these individuals is many of them started out from humble beginnings, but a drive to succeed despite the odds. They relied on unique products, innovative methods of marketing, and finding the right people to surround themselves with in order to keep going.

1. Driving E-commerce Logistics the Smart Way

If you want to build a successful e-commerce brand, particularly your own platform for transactions, you need to find the right logistics behind it. One such company focusing on the logistics part of the business, namely drop shipping, is uDroppy. The company focuses on sourcing, fulfillment and shipping and can alleviate this burden for companies that want to focus on their main tasks of marketing, development of their platforms or product design.

Udroppy was by Luca Borreani and Nicolo Manica. Both are Italian-born entrepreneurs and world traveled. What makes their story interesting is that they actually paid for their master’s degrees (both hold multiple each) with money they generated form marketing campaigns. They continue to be an inspiration for many young entrepreneurs and marketing professionals worldwide. Sometimes all it takes is a good idea or simple concept and with the right people behind it, the idea can turn into something special.

“The concept was really simple at the beginning: creating a B2B platform that connects E-Commerce stores, both using dropshipping and warehouse business models, to suppliers,” according to their profile on Ideamensch.

2. Teaching Marketing Strategies Through Online Coursework

Another success story worth taking a look at and be aspired from is that of Eric Dyck from iStack Training. This is an educational community with courses available, events, podcasts and other advice that can help aspiring online marketers and e-commerce hopefuls gain some useful knowledge in the field.

Eric has a captivating and interesting history as he originally started as an independent affiliate and promoted toolbar downloads on Google Adwords. He specializes in “performance marketing” and focuses on helping entrepreneurs and marketers leverage their technical skillsets associated with digital and online marketing campaigns.

3. Leveraging Online Privacy to Start a Successful Venture

Online privacy is a very hot topic today due to the many controversies that stemmed over the last couple of years from Wikileaks revelations of NSA eavesdropping to Facebook data snooping and many others. People want to be in control over their own data and privacy online. One entrepreneur who has leveraged this need into something worth drawing inspiration from is Alexandru Iulian Florea from online.io.

Online.io is a peer to peer virtual privacy network that leverages p2p residential networking with cryptocurrency. If you check out the site, it is quite captivating with moving images or gifs showing elaborate graphics in minuscule form. However, the focus is clearly on various methods of securing privacy and private communication online.

What makes this entrepreneur and privacy advocate unique is his story of success, which you can read in-depth on Entrepreneur. He started out form humble upbringings with a stark choice in hand: go to college (he was dropped out at this point), leave his mother’s house, get a job in a hotel, or figure out some crazy way to make money online within weeks. He choose the latter and it was affiliate marketing that brought him some fame and fortune and thus paved the way for his latest venture.

4. Utilizing Facebook as an Effective Marketing Platform

Using social media for marketing is nothing new and many marketing professionals have made careers out of it. The social media platform truly morphed over the years to become a great way to reach out for new audiences and customers as well as even sell directly to customers. Facebook after all also offers e-commerce and many ways to generate profits.

One entrepreneur and marketer who we can draw inspiration from in her success of leveraging the Facebook platform is Christina Szekeres ofIMQueen Consulting. She does not hold back on her success with the moniker “FBQueen” and offers various workshops and other consulting services to help new entrepreneurs succeed. She was born in Hungary and currently resides in Southern California. Some of her advice to take away is to attend meetups and network instead of trying to figure everything out yourself; start out with an email submit affiliate if you have a limited budget and have strategic calls with your team weekly.

5. Hiring Those in Need & Often Underemployed Populations to Allow a Brand to Shine

Imagine finding out that a company is leveraging 30 mothers to run a jewelry company. That is exactly what Founder of ShineOne Jewelry, Eric Toczko, has done. ShineOn, being leveraged through Shopify uses a mobile app to function as an affiliate e-commerce platform. It also launches its own jewelry products regularly.

Toczko’s history as an entrepreneur truly speaks of itself when the phrase, “coming form humble beginnings” is ushered. He started out in a basement in Brooklyn while sleeping on a bare mattress at night. The way he entered into jewelry production and e-commerce was that he saw a gap in the market for digital marketers to be able to sell jewelry with zero upfront costs and minimal risk. He also credits his success to his morning routine of exercising, cold showers, tea and meditation.

All of these entrepreneurs offer something unique to the table to take away from and learn in order for you to drive a new business venture successfully forward. Startups and new ventures these days have to be able to compete on a stage with other players that may have had a head start, more VC funding and already have the right marketing in place to drive growth. However, do not be discouraged as these entrepreneurs and marketing pros showed that sometimes it just takes a good idea or strong will to mark your presence and create a successful brand.


How To Start Blogging: Here’s All You Need To Know

There are many reasons to start a blog – as a creative outlet, a means to improve your writing, to find a community, a launchpad to your dreams of becoming an author, and maybe even to finally quit your corporate job and work from home full time! To understand the art of blogging and to find out how to blog better, Blogchatter hosted a panel discussion at SheThePeople.TV Women Writers’ Fest in Delhi last month.

The panel comprised of bloggers Purba Ray, Neha Sharma, and Shinjini Mehrotra, and was moderated by Richa Singh, the co-founder of Blogchatter.

Talking about her blogging journey, Purba said that she started blogging back in 2010 after she quit her job as a high school teacher and was wondering how best to fill her time. Back then, blogging was a passion more than a profession, and people connected with one another for the sheer joy of finding and reading well-written blogs. After years of blogging success, she moved on to becoming a columnist at websites because she didn’t want to deal with the headache of constant blog promotion and website maintenance.

Neha, on the other hand, started her blog just about a year and a half ago as a way to deal with post-partum depression. She soon found a loyal readership who could relate with her experiences. As she emerged from the fog of depression, she realized that she had interesting parenting insights to share. New parents with similar concerns became her audience base, and she has gone on to share her parenting tips with her readers and work with brands.

New parents with similar concerns became her audience base, and she has gone on to share her parenting tips with her readers and work with brands.

Shinjini’s blogging journey started in 2006, back when blogs were the new kids on the block and social media was still in its infancy. While she started her blog on a whim, over the years, her blog evolved with her. From being a platform to share vacation stories with friends, it evolved into an exploration of living a life of meaning, and currently combines her passion for art journaling, tarot, and mindfulness. Unlike other bloggers, who focus on working with brands to make an income from their blog, she spoke about turning her passions into courses as a way of sharing her expertise and experience with as wide an audience as she could.

All of these stories make one thing clear: everyone’s blogging journey is different and where you want to take your blog will depend, ultimately, on what your goals are.

The other aspect of blogging better is social media. Like it or hate it, social media is here to stay. More than SEO (search engine optimization), which is what you will hear a lot of people talk about, SMO (social media optimization) is the way to grow.

Richa shared a funny anecdote of when her idea of viral content was having ten people read your blog. Now, of course, viral content has the potential to reach millions of people around the world.

More than SEO (search engine optimization), which is what you will hear a lot of people talk about, SMO (social media optimization) is the way to grow.

So what is SMO and how does one go about it?

It is one of the best and most effective ways is to build a community around your blog and idea. And that is the raison-de-etre of Blogchatter. What started as a weekly Twitter chat on blogging, evolved into a platform for connecting bloggers to each other and to brands.

Speak to bloggers, and you’ll hear stories of blogger cliques – group of bloggers who only share one another’s content. Speaking out against this trend, Purba stressed on the importance of reading widely and being authentic in your sharing and commenting.

Social media is also an effective way of building your blog and your personal brand. Explaining the distinction, Shinjini spoke about using the real-time nature of Twitter as a way of keeping in touch with her tribe and allowing people to get to know the person behind the blog. Given that her focus is on art journaling, which is a highly visual medium, she focuses also on Instagram, which is more like a gallery of her work. And while there is a myriad of social media channels, you really cannot do justice to all of them, and it’s best to not spread yourself too thin!

Social media is also an effective way of building your blog and your personal brand.

There was an interesting discussion with the audience on working with brands and on the trend of buying followers and likes. While that is part of the underbelly of blogging and influencer marketing, Richa spoke about how Blogchatter is making an effort to educate brands and get them to focus on more relevant metrics like engagement and reach. It’s a hard and slow road, but just as blogging was for fun when it started, there is hope that marketers will soon understand just how hollow fake follower numbers are!

All told, there were some interesting insights and tidbits of information for the audience, a majority of whom did not blog, but hopefully were inspired to consider blogging, and blogging better!


10 Common Blogging Fails to Acknowledge and Avoid

Image result for 10 Common Blogging Fails to Acknowledge and AvoidTo say that we’re in a state of content shock would be an understatement.

The term, coined by keynote speaker and social media expert Mark Schaefer, refers to the exponential publication of content compared against our stagnant and limited ability to consume it. Put another way, today there’s more content than ever, but we still have the same 24 hours a day to split up and make time for it. Our available time does not grow with this increase in content.

So what’s a content creator to do?

Sign Up for E-News

To be sure, low-quality content is a waste of time. If you can’t provide a unique perspective with value, don’t bother.

To figure out how to create quality content that accomplishes your specific goals, it helps to know what not to do

Here are the top 10 things most content creators do wrong when it comes to blogging:

#1: They Start Without a Clear Focus

If you start each blog writing session with a blank page, you’re doing it wrong.

Top content creators flesh out their ideas before they ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Here are two ways you can log and marinate ideas before writing your next blog post:

    • Create a process for capturing ideas before you need them. This process should incorporate tools you already use—unless you’re just getting started and are looking for recommendations. I use Evernote and Trello to capture and organize ideas as I get them.
    • Create an outline before starting your first draft. An outline helps you structure your eventual final product without the pressure of perfection. Use the time you spend outlining to grab any statistics and quotes you’ll need to support your final piece so that your first draft doesn’t require the use of the internet (and can thus be distraction-free).

#2: They Worry About SEO to the Detriment of Their Human Reader

Content written for SEO is useless if it fails to account for the ultimate end-user: a human.

Although it may seem like you have to compromise; you don’t. With the right technique, there is a way to find balance—especially as Google’s algorithm gets more sophisticated.

Learn more about how to write for both humans and computers.

#3: They Don’t Think about SEO Until After Drafting an Article

One of the keys to bridging the gap between humans and computers is incorporating a target keyword (and semantic keywords) into your article naturally. It’s a lot harder to do this if you wait to do keyword research until after the article has been written. Instead, start your article already knowing what keywords you need to use.

Using a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast ensures that you follow on-page SEO best practices as soon as you’ve decided on a keyword and start writing.

#4: They Use “I” More than “You

Most bloggers need to do a better job of putting themselves in the shoes of their target audience. Defining customer personas is one way to get in the right mindset but it doesn’t necessarily need to be this complicated.

The easiest way to make sure your blog has the right focus? Pay attention to how often you use words like “I” versus “you” in your writing. After all, if it’s all about you, what’s their reason for paying attention?

To dig deeper into what your target reader is interested in, use analytics tools (like Google Analytics) to dig through past content performance. Determine which topics have the most readers and best engagement (using metrics like time on page) and create more content like this.

#5: They Don’t Optimize for Social Sharing

It helps to be thinking about content promotion as you’re writing content so that you can highlight interesting stats, quotes, or takeaways that seem like social media gold.

Of course, the bigger crime is failing to optimize content for social sharing at all. When you publish a new blog post, you’ve really only done half the work (or less) to ensure it’s success. Use tools like Missinglettr and Social Warfare to help each piece reach further on social media.

The bare minimum should also include:

  • A compelling meta title and meta description
  • Click to Tweet callouts
  • A call to action at the end to share the article, engage in the comments or get in touch with your business

#6: They’re Too Much in Their Own Heads to Ever Publish

For all the content that the general public has access to, there are plenty of articles that are technically completed but never published.

The beauty of running a blog? It’s not a newspaper, unchangeable once printed.

With blogging, you can always make changes later, as you find opportunities to improve your content. And you should update content frequently—it can help your Google rankings.

So just hit publish, already.

#7: They Exist in a Bubble

People may not be forthcoming about what they think unless you’re proactive about asking for their opinion. As you build a following, be sure to tap members for their opinions. You don’t necessarily know what people think about your content unless you ask them directly.

#8: They Don’t Have Measurable Goals

…Which usually also means that they don’t have a long-term plan. Without goals or plans, it’s hard to find purpose—which can eventually hurt your motivation and your ability to keep your blog going.

How do you know your blog is successful unless you’ve first defined your most important key performance indicators (KPIs)?

#9: Their Content Isn’t Unique

This is not to say that it’s copied—more so that it’s so similar to what’s already out there that it’s boring.

Here are a few ways to write something worth reading:

  • Get controversial
  • Share your opinion
  • Take a new stance
  • Challenge the status quo

#10. Their Formatting Hurts Readability

Whitespace, bullet points, and short paragraphs. Did you notice how I broke up this topic in a way that kept you reading and scrolling?

If you instead present readers with blocks of text, it won’t matter how good that text actually is. If someone feels frustrated with the reading experience, they will give up on it.

Final Thoughts: 10 Common Blogging Fails to Acknowledge and Avoid

With the right approach, your blog content can go from boring and unreadable to the type of marketing asset that accomplishes goals.

What would you add to this list of common failures by most content creators?  Drop Janeene a note to [email protected]

Janeene High is the owner of Results Driven Marketing, a 100%  women-owned business headquartered in Wynnewood, PA with an office in Philadelphia, PA.  Janeene and her team have been helping customers increase qualified traffic to their websites by using the latest SEO strategies. If you or your business looking to be found by more people that need your services, contact  RDM or give Janeene a call 215-393-8700.