The Outlander Series

outlander

Are you a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series?

I am.

It was one of the first book series that I got hooked on. The books take you from England to Scotland to America and beyond. A little bit of supernatural here, lots of history there, and romance and adventure everywhere, what’s not to love?

Now it’s going to be a television series on Starz. It debuts in the U.S. in a couple of days, August 9th – I already have my DVR set, but Starz already has the first episode up on YouTube – and of course I’ve watched it -

and it’s fantastic.

Have you read the Outlander series?

UPDATED: Only one episode of the time-traveling bodice ripper that is Outlander has actually aired on the Starz network so far, but the show’s definitely coming back for another season. The first episode of the series reportedly got 5 million views on multiple platforms, including online.

Retargeting marketing is super creepy

I’m sure we’ve all seen the Google ads placed on websites that seem to show up just for us. Like when you’re checking out Amazon and looking for a new book to read… then you’re off to Coastal Living’s site (because a girl can dream) and there’s an advertisement for Kindle books on Amazon. That’s retargeting marketing.

{ Nerd Definition }

Retargeting is a cookie-based technology that uses simple a Javascript code to anonymously ‘follow’ your audience all over the Web.

Here’s how it works: you place a small, unobtrusive piece of code on your website (this code is sometimes referred to as a pixel). The code, or pixel, is unnoticeable to your site visitors and won’t affect your site’s performance. Every time a new visitor comes to your site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie. Later, when your cookied visitors browse the Web, the cookie will let your retargeting provider know when to serve ads, ensuring that your ads are served to only to people who have previously visited your site.

Normally it doesn’t freak me out, but yesterday I was looking at the M Loves M blog at the pretty bags she had mentioned in the recent blog post and clicked on the Boho Carry All/Stela 9 Embroidered Tote because it’s just too cute but when I got a look at the price, $105 is just too much for my budget, I closed the window.

for the bag lady

I may have been on that shop’s site for a total of 5 seconds. 5 mother-flippin’ seconds. But that’s all it took because today I was scrolling through my personal Facebook feed and this was there in between my family & friends posts:

retargeting marketing is creepy

Super creepy!

What do you think of this type of retargeting marketing? Does it creep you out as much as it does me?

And, isn’t that bag way cute?!

 

How to start a website or blog

start your own blog

I’m guessing you have this extra special talent that you’d like to share with the world. But, instead of sharing on a global level you’re sharing with your friends and family. And, I know that at least a few of them have said to you “you should start a blog” or “you should create a website” only to be left scratching your head with “well shoot, how should I do that?”

Creating a website or blog is easier than you think!

There’s really only 3 steps and you’re off and running:

  1. Domain name & hosting
  2. Install WordPress
  3. Make your site pretty

Domain name & hosting

Pick out a domain name for your site.

I have two sites, one is carrieloves.com (my blog) and the other is carrielovesdesign.com (my design business).

So, brainstorm what you want yours to be. Ask those family and friends that suggested you start a blog or website in the first place for their opinions. Once you have it narrowed down to one, two or three choices you’ll need to check to make sure at least one of them is available. Go to SiteGround.com and check availability:

domain name

You’ll also need to host your domain name. Hosting is like renting space on the internet for your blog. SiteGround has great rates and gives you your domain name for free if you decide to host with them.

There are two things that I add on to my hosting for both of my sites: Domain Privacy and HackAlert Monitoring.

  1. The Domain Privacy shields your personal address and phone number from being displayed to the public. I recommend splurging on this to keep your information private.
  2. And, the HackAlert Monitoring is a monitoring service that checks your website daily and immediately notifies you if your website has been hacked and injected with malicious code that may steal your website end-users’ data.

Install WordPress

Next step… install WordPress on to your shiny new site. I use WordPress software on both of my sites and love how easy it is to use. Most hosting sites offer a one-click install for WordPress, I recommend using this – it’s quick and easy. If you choose to go with SiteGround their WordPress hosting service includes 3 easy install options that can save you the hassle:

  • SiteGround WordPress Setup Wizard
  • WordPress Auto-install through Softaculous
  • Free manual installation by our Support Team

Make It Pretty

Now that you have your site set up you’re ready to go! You can start populating your site with your content and blog posts ASAP! But, what about how your site looks from an aesthetic point of view? If you want a more custom look and feel to your site I would recommend any of these sites to purchase a premium WordPress theme:

I use the “Beautiful” Genesis child theme from StudioPress for my blog, and I use the “Me” responsive portfolio theme from ThemeForest for my design website. For my, ahem, blog and website custom design business I’ve used WordPress themes from all three of these sites and customize them to my client’s needs & wants.

If free is more your budget modus operandi, not to worry, WordPress also has a lot of themes that fit that bill, too.

 

Horns

Have you heard of the book and new movie coming out Horns: A Novel by Joe Hill? I hadn’t until I saw this trailer today over on The Mary Sue.

Adding it to my reading list + movies to see list now.

And, just to blow your mind a wee bit – this is Stephen King’s kid (Joseph Hillstrom King, better known by the pen name Joe Hill.)