Categories
Life

Finding aim through purpose

Some people need that motivational voltage to get them going.

So they collect positive quotes on Pinterest, post inspirational tidbits on Facebook, and believe — albeit mistakenly — that the law of attraction will get them on the cover of Forbes.

The barest encouragement, even if forcibly imagined, provokes enough optimism to keep the wannabe achiever moving forward.

But an obsession with success may be the biggest handicap.

Humans crave meaning just as much as fame or a paycheck.

We create seeking systems that ensure what we chase fulfills our values.

Instead of going after what other people want, we prioritize a way of life that generates momentum toward the highest resolution.

Avoid following the flock of sheep. Don’t jump through hoops, go around them.

The only way to escape a labyrinth of conformity is not entering it in the first place.

If we can be outside and genuinely enjoy the road, stay outside.

gif by SoulPancake

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How to set up a blog on WordPress Business

Pro Tip: Before we begin, if you just want to start creating a blog right now, get started with a free site on WordPress and be on your way to publishing in less than five minutes.


If you’re going to use your blog for business, then you should be using the most robust tool that powers 30% of the internet: WordPress.

Like most people, I set up a free blog on WordPress before upgrading to premium. However, I quickly realized that I wanted more advanced tools including unlimited storage to upload as many photos and videos as I wanted, built-in SEO, plus the ability to install third-party plugins like Google Adsense to monetize my site.

So I went all-in on a WordPress Business account and I’m never going back!

Note: If you’re still having doubts about paying money for a blog, especially if you’re just starting out, I would highly recommend you start a WordPress blog for FREE to see if it’s for you. Also, this post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure for more info. 

Create a stunning website

“Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.”

Seth Godin

Yes, a business account can be pricey (remember, you can always start with a FREE plan or the inexpensive personal plan on the pricing page) but upgrading is worth every penny. Here’s what you get with WordPress Business.

You get access to all the premium WordPress themes with the plugin customization of a .org account, along with your own custom domain name, site monetization, SEO tools, and simple payments. And if you ever run into difficulty or have any questions, WordPress live support is a chat button away. Seriously, I’ve contacted the priority support team on issues from design, to button creation, to slight tweaks on my sidebar widget to the smallest problems in spacing and the Happiness Engineers almost always have a quick solution. No waiting time!

If you’re SERIOUS about blogging and turning it into a legitimate business, then level up with a WordPress Business account.

Why choose WordPress over Squarespace, Weebly, or others?

I’ve tried all the writing platforms (Squarespace, Blogger, Tumblr, Weebly, Wix, etc.) but none of them were built for handling a ton of blog content. As bloggers, we need quick and easy tools to find and edit hundreds of posts. And there’s no better platform for cataloging all your posts than WordPress. Because us bloggers can get uber-detailed, you can also snag a .blog domain name instead of the usual “.com.”

WordPress also never goes down. It can’t afford to — it powers 30% of the internet! Like Facebook, rest assured that WordPress stays up all day and night so you won’t lose precious visitors or revenue.

Even more, WordPress Business comes with the Jetpack plugin, which among site stats and gallery/slideshow tools, also guarantees your site’s safety so it never gets hacked.

Jetpack also backs up all your content, plugins, and settings automatically with a Business account so you can rest easy. As an additional bonus, Jetpack uses advanced CDN technology to speed up site loading times for image-busy sites like mine. You don’t want people clicking away from your site because an image took too long to load! Video loading is speedy too.

Access to popular third-party plugins

My site is jam-packed with so some awesome plugins. Again, you can only get access to plugins as a WordPress Business account or you can go through the self-hosting route. Here’s a list of plugins I use every day and why:

  • Pretty Links: This plugin shortens your affiliate links to something short and memorable and on-brand. For instance, here is my affiliate marketing link for WordPress as processed through Pretty Links: https://wellsbaum.blog/Wordpress (it originally looked like this: https://wordpress.com/create/?aff=7193). Pretty Links also gives you click stats as well so you know exactly how many people are engaging with your affiliate links.
  • Mailerlite: Mailer Lite is free and an easy to use email software for up to 200 subscribers. It contains automation tools so you can email folks specific content after they opt into your email. You can also set up a pop-up via Mailerlite that prompts folks to sign up for your email.

My other favorite plugins include Ad Inserter for Google Adsense, Paypal Donation Pro, and the Popups Premium Plugin.

Conclusion

WordPress Business is a no-brainer for a professional blogger looking for all the features, especially when it comes to hosting and plugin installations. With WordPress, everything is all in one dashboard. You don’t have to go back and forth between your hosting providers like Bluehost, Namecheap, or GoDaddy if you have any issues. WordPress also offers the chance to monetize your site; you can even run its ads along with Google’s to maximize traffic.

The WordPress post environment is also minimalist and clean so you can ward out distractions while you write your stellar post. Above all, one of the main reasons I joined WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org was to be part of a thriving community of creators and interesting people who also use it. Because your content will appear in the WordPress Reader to make it more discoverable, this community will be the first to become your subscribers, fans, and brand advocates.

Wait no more. If you’re serious about blogging, set up your blog with WordPress Business today. Focus on your content and let WordPress handle the rest.

Click here to build your site today!

How to start a WordPress blog, in 3 steps

A kid at a computer setting up a blog on WordPress Business

1. Register your domain name.

You can click here to purchase a domain name and create a WordPress blog, then proceed in following the steps outlined below.

A picture of a laptop with URL being typed about how to set up a blog on WordPress Business

Think about your own name or brand name you’d like to use for your site. It can be fun, serious, or just catchy and easy to remember. Also think about the domain name (.com, .blog, .church. biz) you want to append to it. I went with .blog as in WellsBaum.blog because I wanted folks to know that I focused on creating interesting content in a blog format. But .COM always works fine as the default, assuming it’s available for the name you choose.

Keep in mind that if you opt for the Personal, Premium or Business plan, your domain name will be free. Again, the best deal is still signing up for a Business just because of all the added value (Google Analytics, max asset storage, install 3rd party plugins) but Premium or Personal may be best if you’re looking for blogging basics. You’ll be billed yearly.

Wordpress pricing and plans for blogs

2. Choose a theme

WordPress has hundreds of themes to choose whatever your blogging goals are. You can choose a theme that focuses on text, text + images/videos, or goes right to a fancy sales page. You can even set your site to a landing page instead of a blogroll if you wish. My recommendation is to pick a clean and visually stunning template so you don’t scare your readers away. After all, content is king!

A pictures of WordPress.com templates for your blog

3. Install Plug-ins

If you register for a business account, now you can install all the additional plugins that will help your blog gain maximum exposure.

  • Pretty Links: This plugin shortens your affiliate links to something short and memorable and on-brand. For instance, here is my affiliate marketing link for WordPress as processed through Pretty Links: https://wellsbaum.blog/Wordpress (it originally looked like this: https://wordpress.com/create/?aff=7193). Pretty Links also gives you click stats as well so you know exactly how many people are engaging with your affiliate links.
  • Mailerlite: Mailer Lite is free and an easy to use email software for up to 200 subscribers. It contains automation tools so you can email folks specific content after they opt into your email. You can also set up a pop-up via Mailerlite that prompts folks to sign up for your email.

My other favorites include Google Adsense, Paypal Donation Pro, and the Popups Premium Plugin.

A screenshot of WordPress plugins

Taste at first sight 👁👀👁

“The first taste is always with your eyes.”

Everything is contrived, from the glowing burger buns, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, to the juicy fresh meat. Video takes food advertising even further, making it come alive from its static state.

Tabletop advertising or food marketing is no different from any other product marketing: the illusion never matches the reality of creating it. In reality, the food has been dressed up and augmented to look fresh and mouth-watering like those lobsters in Red Lobster commercials.

Fashion advertising is similar. The model is always more enticing wearing makeup and sporting a six-pack. When models make commercials, they never smile. Badassery sells.

Not surprisingly, food porn and selfies are huge on Instagram too, the people’s marketing platform. A little bit of shoot preparation and filters make both food and faces look better than they actually are.

Today, anyone can use technology to create a Hollywood look. Everyone’s deceiving and buying lies at the same time. We all desire better versions of ourselves, including what appears on our plates.

Learn more

Categories
Life

“Stare at the world, not at your model.”

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Photo by José Martín

Continually learning, constantly changing. The human mind is as fickle as the seasons. It is not mathematical models that predict the future but the law of nature.

Writes Richard Bookstaber in his book The End of Theory“The world could be changing right now in ways that will blindside you down the road.”

Nothing is linear and predictable; rather, everything emerges from its highest, heuristic probability — the upshot of the freedom of trial and error.

“Humans are not ergodic, however. We move through the world along a single path, and we get only that one path. Where we are on that path, our experiences, our interactions, the view we have of the world at that moment all determine the context for our actions. That path is not repeatable; we are not taking draws from a distribution.”

Richard Bookstaber, The End of Theory

Even the rare anomaly becomes the impetus for our actions. People try stuff on a whim to check their pulse.

It is futile to aggregate behavior so we can algorithmicize systems. The world is unpredictable, especially the economic one.

“Chaos is the law of nature; order is the dream of man.”

Henry Adams

Read The Practitioner’s Challenge

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Uncategorized

The case for playing the long game

Good things take time. If we all settled for immediate results, there would be no Apple, Amazon, or Tesla.

The world’s best leaders are visionaries. They work years ahead, having planted the seeds for what’s happening now to springboard them into the future.

When asked in 2018 what he thinks when analysts congratulate him on a “good quarter”, Jeff Bezos said:

“Those quarterly results were fully baked three years ago. Today I’m working on a quarter that will happen in 2020, not next quarter. Next quarter is done already and it’s probably been done for a couple years…If we have a good quarter it’s because of work we did 3, 4, 5 years ago. It’s not because we did a good job this quarter.”

Jeff Bezos

So what type of futurists should we be, the tortoise or the hare, the fox or the hedgehog?

Get ready to go years being misunderstood.

PS. Watch a young Jeff Bezos outline his vision for Amazon way back in 1997 right here.

StartRocket wants to blast billboards in space 👾🚀

StartRocket wants to blast billboards in space 👾🚀

In an interview with Futurism, the Russian startup StartRocket wants to project advertisements into space. Said founder Vlad Sitnikov:

“We are ruled by brands and events. The Super Bowl, Coca Cola, Brexit, the Olympics, Mercedes, FIFA, Supreme and the Mexican wall. The economy is the blood system of society. Entertainment and advertising are at its heart. We will live in space, and humankind will start delivering its culture to space. The more professional and experienced pioneers will make it better for everyone.”

Vlad Sitnikov, StartRocket

Would you want to see an advertisement for Coca-Cola or Nike in the skies over New York? Seeing the Jordan Jumpman might be kind of cool. But already bombarded with ads as it is on TV, phones, and street billboards, it might be nice to keep the only place we know is 100% ad-free, the sky.

‘Everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance’

“Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance,” said Kurt Vonnegut.

Everybody’s wants to start something, but rarely do they want to maintain it.

The problem in growing at no costs is that it obviates purpose and integrity. Instead of leading by example, the race to the bottom unearths the highest greed. Few win, more lose.

That’s the lesson of Facebook, the so-called ‘behavior modification empire.

The social network cut corners on data collection to make another buck. No Facebook: We will not answer any more questions “to help people get to know us.” Just replace the word “people” with the attention merchants.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal was the nudge Facebook needed to become more accountable. Seizing the data of others and building on top of it contorts the machinery of morality. 

The selfish reason to be ethical is that it attracts the other ethical people in the network.

Naval Ravikant

So now Facebook is all about the privacy game because it’s good for business. But just wait until Instagram becomes the victim of data exploitation.

Sometimes the genie of innovation requires that the master purveyor gets slapped again and again until it gets it right.

The seesaw tilts back to the morals of vision over avarice, eventually.

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Uncategorized

Ambiverts are the most skilled attuners

As some have noted, introverts are “geared to inspect,” while extraverts are “geared to respond.” Selling of any sort—whether traditional sales or non-sales selling—requires a delicate balance of inspecting and responding. Ambiverts can find that balance. They know when to speak up and when to shut up. Their wider repertoires allow them to achieve harmony with a broader range of people and a more varied set of circumstances. Ambiverts are the best movers because they’re the most skilled attuners.

To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink
Categories
Life

Thinking in fragments

Half-baked ideas are valuable ideas. Messy minds and messy processes generate new ways of thinking. #amwriting #gif

Half-baked ideas are valuable ideas. Messy minds and messy processes generate new ways of thinking. 

We create through the imperfect. “A small drop of ink makes thousands, perhaps millions think,” wrote businessman and self-help book author William Clement Stone.

The more ideas we have, the more we have to play with. Brainstorming is, therefore, a democratic process that begets everything from rules and rights to innovations like the iPod. Thinkers look for gaps in human needs and find ways to build opportunities around them. 

Concepting in any form — through discussion, rough drafts, or Twitter conversations add to the intensity of life’s possibilities. In producing and collecting fragments the puzzle pieces start to become whole.

gif by @annasalmi

Categories
Life

Is it better to be first or a fast second? 🤔

It doesn’t really matter whether you’re first or a fast second. It doesn’t even matter if you’re third or fourth or late to the game altogether.

What matters is maintenance.

If you build something, it is your responsibility to maintain it.

Google out invented Yahoo, Alta Vista, and Ask Jeeves. Now it’s on to powering search through AI.

Facebook, despite its current missteps, bought Instagram to ensure its social media hegemony.

Will Smith took his TV talents to the big screen. 

Whether you’re a business, athlete, or a celebrity, you can’t expect to thrive on the same platform forever.

It’s not so much what you can do right now. The central question is whether you can survive the variables. Are you antifragile enough to optimize on the next unexpected transformation?

Nothing is stagnant. How does on stay afloat? 

There is no evolution without some form of struggle. As a stoic would say, the obstacle is the way.

Categories
Arts

Free the animals 🦁🐘🦓

The design for Animal crackers just got an update.

Due to mounting pressure from animal rights group PETA, Nabisco removed the cages from its iconic cracker box. The updated version shows the animals roaming free.

The redesign of the boxes, now on U.S. store shelves, retains the familiar red and yellow coloring and prominent “Barnum’s Animals” lettering. But instead of showing the animals in cages – implying that they’re traveling in boxcars for the circus – the new boxes feature a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe and gorilla wandering side-by-side in a grassland. The outline of acacia trees can be seen in the distance.

Said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman:

“The new box for Barnum’s Animals crackers perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates the caging and chaining of wild animals for circus shows.”

This is the first significant redesign since Nabisco launched the crackers in a 1902 partnership with the now-defunct Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus.

“New look, same great taste.”

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The original design
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Uncategorized

Jeff Bezos 1997 interview

Taped in June 1997, the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos outlines his vision for his company’s music and books webstore model.

Flash forward 21 years later, and the company is not only corroding the retail sector by selling everything online, it also owns everything from grocery stores, newspapers, its own web services, to who know’s what next.

“Inventing and pioneering requires being misunderstood for long periods of time.”

Jeff Bezos

What’s your vision?

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Jeff Bezos in 1990