6 tips for landing a job in one month

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , ,
Comments Off on 6 tips for landing a job in one month

I’ve had a pretty good track record when it comes to finding work. Whenever I’ve wanted to find something, I’ve been able to land a job within a month of initiating my job search. I hear of a lot of stories about people searching for months though, so I thought I’d put together some tips for how I optimize my efforts. Perhaps I’m just more flexible in my search, but I’m probably doing some things right too!

six tips for landing a job in one month at maryqin.com

Tip #1: network!

An important thing to do while you’re job hunting is make sure you mention it to people. You never know when an off-hand remark about your job hunt can lead to a promising opening. Strike up a conversation with that stranger in line and you can usually insert the topic since it’s common to discuss what you’re up to. Don’t be spammy and talk about nothing but how hard it is or what your dream job would be, but don’t be shy about bringing it up. They might have great suggestions for where to look or you might just get a referral!

Tip #2: use your social groups.

You should definitely try to make an effort to meet more people and expand your network, but also tap into your existing networks: family, friends, classmates, previous coworkers, etc. If you’re meeting up with friends, they’ll probably want to know what’s going on – what a perfect time to share your job hunting status! Also, a couple of posts on your social media accounts could bring in opportunities as well. Just be careful not to let it take over or people will just tune you out.

Tip #3: don’t be afraid of Craigslist.

The first time I looked for a “real” job (aka full-time with benefits) I shied away from Craigslist at first. I figured the best leads would be on job listing sites – I mean, that’s what they’re set up for, right? While there were plenty of listings there, I actually found it to be quite challenging to navigate. The CEO of the company I was interning for at the time asked if I had tried Craigslist and I kind of cringed… “Craigslist? Isn’t that kind of shady?” But she assured me that she knew plenty of people who got great jobs out of it. Thank goodness I listened to her! I found a great job not long after and once again it was Craigslist that came through for me this time around.

Tip#4: scour job listings like a pro.

It’s always hard browsing job descriptions trying to figure out what is a good fit for you. I always choose one or two features that I really want to focus on and center my searches around that. With my most recent search, I wanted a company with a entrepreneurial vibe, so I searched terms like “startup” (and I believe that’s how I ultimately found the Craigslist post that led me to my job). When I was first starting out a few years ago, I wanted something related to “associate/assistant manager” so that’s what I searched for (and I came across the affiliate manager listing for the job I got). Hone in on what matters the most to you for your search and find terms related to that – don’t just think about job title or responsibilities, but consider the work environment and even things like travel opportunities.

Tip #5: evaluate what you already use and love.

I actually looked at a bunch of positions at companies that are a part of my normal routine – everything from the technology I use to the things I buy. Take a look at brands you already love and see what openings they may have. Chances are that at least a handful of these companies appeal to you not just because of the product or service you use from them, but because of their company philosophy and culture. These would be great places to look to advance your career! I know I got pretty excited about some of them. I even thought of what I could do for that organization that they weren’t necessarily hiring for. If you enjoy the brand enough, it’s definitely worth a try reaching out to their HR department pitching a role that you’d be perfect for. They may not even know they need you until you show them what you can bring to the table!

Tip #6: apply like it’s your job!

Finally, and very importantly is to be very dedicated to your search. Job hunting could easily be a full-time gig and if you put forth that much effort, you will be rewarded that much faster. For my first job I applied to a good 10-15 listings every weekday. For this latest job hunt I was a lot pickier, but still forced myself to find half a dozen promising leads I would pursue each day, focusing on getting out an application to at least one of those. As long as you continually have a pipeline of leads, you are giving yourself your best shot at finding a fabulous job ASAP. Be sure to take the time to research the company and write a thoughtful and custom cover letter for each. That’s your chance to truly stand out! I was contacted about the job I got because my cover letter was one of the most detailed that they had come across. My qualifications weren’t super strong but I sure did make up for it in effort!

And of course, remember to keep your head up and keep plowing on even when things are looking grim. I pushed through that dark period of my search and found a job that I couldn’t be happier with. It’s always going to be challenging trying to find a great job with promising career prospects, the pay you want, near your home, and the company culture that fits your style. I hope that my tips help you think about different ways to approach your job search. Good luck!


Disclaimer: I don’t know your individual situations so of course I can’t guarantee these methods will work for you. They’ve worked for me but your success rate and time may vary.

How to: not waste soap

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , ,
Comments Off on How to: not waste soap

Don’t you hate when you get those little pieces of a soap bar that you can’t quite use but don’t want to waste? Well, hopefully you do or else you’re probably losing out on a lot of soap uses! So here I’ve compiled some ways that you can make the most of those broken pieces:

collage of various solutions to using up small broken pieces of soap

1. Put in cloth or bag

Fold it into a small facial cloth or cloth baggie, get the cloth/bag wet and then rub! Suds are able to make their way through the porous material and you might even get a better lather than usual. This way you also get some exfoliation out of it and the pieces don’t go down the drain.

2. Insert into loofah

Similar to the cloth, loofahs are great for exfoliation and improving lather, so if you’re into suds, stick those pieces in the center of your loofah and scrub away! It’s ideal if you can actually stuff them into a compartment where they won’t fall out, otherwise you might still struggle with small pieces falling through.

3. Stick to a cap

One of the greatest challenges I find with small pieces of soap is how thin and flimsy it is. I feel like I have nothing to grip on to, so by sticking it onto the cap of something, it gives you something to hold easily. Then just treat it like a tube of lip balm and rub around on your skin. It’s pretty similar to when you used the brand new bar, but of course with less material.

4. Adhere to wall

Ok, this one is probably the strangest suggestion I have, but hey it’s fun and hilarious. If you don’t have a cap to stick your soap to, just press it onto your shower tile. Then rub your hands or fingers on it when you need to use some! You’ll also help clean part of the wall that way… 😉

5. Shake in container

Finally (and probably least effective), you can throw those pieces into a plastic container, add a bit of water, and shake like crazy! You’ll get a watered down soapy mixture you can spray onto yourself if you have a nozzle or pour out to use like a super watery body wash. Alternatively, you can aim to just use the suds that you create as a foam cleanser.

So there you go! Never waste so much soap again with these 5 tips. 😛 It looks like I inadvertently ordered these in approximate from the most effective to the least effective method. Do you have anything to add?

How to: Manage Facebook Pages

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First on the agenda: using the correct “voice”

facebook voice use as page dropdown menu choiceWhenever you are on Facebook interacting with content, you have the choice to use your personal profile or one of your Facebook pages. By default, you use your personal voice whenever you’re on people’s profile pages or business pages and you use your Facebook page voice whenever you’re on your own Facebook page managing it.For example, when I go to http://facebook.com/littlefatnotebook, if I like or comment on something, it shows as littlefatnotebook doing that action whereas if I go to some other business’s page and comment, it shows a comment from my personal Mary Qin account. If you want to comment as your page, then go first to your Facebook page and click the “Edit Page” dropdown menu. The last option, “Use Facebook as” is what you want. Now if you navigate away from your page, you will find that it preserves that setting and won’t switch to your personal profile as it normally would. Along the top bar, you can see which voice you’re in.

Getting more likes with exclusive content

To get more likes you could always run an ad or hold a giveaway, but if you want to up the ante for free, try setting up a tab with exclusive content, which can only be unlocked if people like your page. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of bigger brands doing this (though they mostly do it for giveaways). “Like us to enter!” they say. For the technical details on how to create locked content, check out Kira’s tutorial. You can get creative with what you offer and a lot of it depends on your brand. If you’re a blogger, you can include a list of resources for free stuff. If you sell things, you can include a special discount code. If you’re a musician, you can include a free download for your latest track. You get the idea!

Using the Facebook Pages app

Facebook created a Pages app that you can download for free to your mobile device. This makes it much easier to manage your pages on the go and it allows you to check out the Insights for your page. This also shows you notifications for your pages so you can tell whether there’s been action there lately. It’s a nice little app to keep handy!

Bringing out “posts by others” into your stream/timeline

facebook posts by others allowed on page

Have you ever noticed that when visitors comment on your page, it gets relegated to a tiny box on the side called “Recent Posts by Others” that is barely visible? Well, if you want any particular post to show up in your timeline, go to your page and choose Edit Page>>Use Activity Log. Find the post that you want bring out into your timeline stream and click on the little pencil icon on the right to edit. You can choose “Allowed on Page” or “Highlighted on Page” to have it show up mixed in with your posts. Highlighting it will just make the box bigger and more obvious in your timeline. Of course you can also choose to hide any post as well.

Have fans set up “Get Notifications” for better visibility

facebook liked button get notifications optionIt’s hard to get people’s attention in the vast sea of posts being added to Facebook every day. You can encourage fans to get your updates by scrolling over the Liked button on your page and checking “Get Notifications.” This will ensure your posts don’t get overlooked as often and will count towards the total notifications that person gets, so each update on your page is shared with them. Facebook actually doesn’t show everyone everything in the news feed, so your updates may never get much visibility otherwise.

Using Facebook Debugger for posts

Facebook Debugger is such a neat tool for those of you who may want to dig deeper into the details of your posts. If you’ve ever found that an image is not being pulled when you try to share a link to your page, you can come use the debugger to figure out why. If any errors are found on your page, you’ll see yellow boxes outlining the issue. Maybe the image was too small or you just updated it and you need Facebook to pull the new data, but it hasn’t updated yet. Try doing a hard refresh (press Ctrl+F5) and see if that fixes it.

Networked Blogs & similar auto posting programs

If you’re a blogger, you probably want your posts updated to your Facebook (and Twitter) feeds but you don’t want to manually do it every time. That’s just extra work, as if blogging wasn’t time-consuming enough! You can easily set up automated posts with Networked Blogs, dlvr.it, or RSS Graffiti. I tested these and found that Networked Blogs worked best for me because it can pull an image when there’s only a video in the post, whereas the others either have no image or pull my picture from the sidebar. Additionally, Networked Blogs allows me to manually publish a post in case I needed to do that and I’m picky enough about my posts that I sometimes have to edit the post. Some of the others only publish when a new post is up and don’t allow you to republish manually. You can also use these to set up updates to your Twitter feed so you don’t have to worry about promoting new blog posts there either!

Setting up featured likes

facebook page likesOn the right side of your page’s timeline, you will find a “Likes” box that showcases some of the other pages that your page has liked. These will rotate randomly unless you choose to feature certain likes. To do that, go to your page and navigate to Edit Page>>Edit Settings>>More…>>Featured. Here you’ll see the option to Edit Featured Likes (up to 5). The ones you choose will always show up in that list on your page. If you look at mine shown to the left, the first three are featured likes that always remain the same. The last two continue to change randomly each time someone loads the page.


So those are some of the random tips I have for managing Facebook pages and getting the most out of them! Do you have any tips to share?

How to: Set Your iPhone/iPad to Stop Playing Music

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Comments Off on How to: Set Your iPhone/iPad to Stop Playing Music

In case you’re not familiar with certain functions of the Apple mobile devices, you can actually set it to stop playing audio (including music, podcasts, audio books, etc.) after a designated period. For example, if you’re listening to Pandora at night and want to keep it on until you fall asleep, you can ensure it stops playing after 30 minutes by setting a timer in the Clock app.

collage of screens used to set iphone timer to stop playing audio

1. In Clock app, select Timer

2. Tap on “When Timer Ends” (see left side of image) and scroll to very bottom

3. Choose the last option: Stop Playing (see right side of image)

4. Set to Stop Playing and select how many minutes/hours you want the audio to stop (you can choose anything from 1 minute to 23 hours 59 minutes, in one-minute increments)

5. Select Start and the timer will begin. You can cancel or pause at any time. When the timer reaches 00:00, your audio will stop playing!

This works in pretty much any scenario where you have audio playing, ranging from listening to an audio book within a separate app, listening to music on Pandora/iHeartRadio or from your device’s stored music, or even when you’re streaming a podcast. Try it out the next time you want to fall asleep listening to something!

How to: Claim Your Username and Vanity URLs

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Ever want to claim “facebook.com/yourbrand” only to find it was taken? Rather than accepting that and settling for something like “facebook.com/yourbrand123″ (which is less than optimal), read on to learn how you might be able to get what is rightfully* yours.

First let me start by saying that most sites already use vanity URLs, so whichever username you choose will usually end up being in your URL. For example:


For these sites, the issue of the getting the vanity URL you want ends up being the same as getting the username you want. Once you get the username, you get the associated URL.

Now Facebook is an exception to this and you actually have to set the vanity URL yourself. They start you off with some ugly URL like http://www.facebook.com/pages/little-fat-notebook/457453117668145. Just go to the username settings page to change it to something pretty like http://www.facebook.com/littlefatnotebook. You can do this for your personal profile as well as any Facebook pages you manage. The cool thing is that usually you have to wait until you have 25 fans on a page before you can set the username, but by doing it this way you bypass that requirement! [Edit: Looks like there still might be a minimum – I was able to set the username with just 16 fans but I can’t for another page that only has 4 fans right now.]

facebook page set username

facebook page set username confirmation

Ok, so let’s say you’re claiming these usernames for your brand and you find someone has already taken them. You may not have to resort to choosing a different username – there’s an option to try to claim the username by reporting trademark infringement. A few tips for improving your chances of filing a successful claim:

1. You should own the domain name related to the username you want. For example, I own pandaloves.com and I wanted facebook.com/pandaloves and twitter.com/pandaloves

2. Even better if you actually own the trademark for the name in question, but it’s not necessary. If you do own it, make sure you can prove it to help your case. I never registered a trademark for my brand’s name, Panda Loves, but that was fine.

3. If you do own the domain (i.e., pandaloves.com), use an email set up from that domain for more credibility. This shows that you are an authorized representative of the business. I used contact@pandaloves.com as my contact email when I filled out the form.

I came across this helpful article for claiming usernames on Facebook and Twitter, which you should read if you are claiming a username on either site. I was able to successfully claim both usernames on Facebook and Twitter, but not Pinterest (they never got back to me). I haven’t tried for other sites.

For Facebook, go here to fill out the form: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/208282075858952

For Twitter, there are two routes you can take depending on if you own the trademark:

https://support.twitter.com/forms/impersonation (if you don’t own the trademark)
https://support.twitter.com/forms/trademark (if you do own the trademark and have proof)

And for other sites, I located articles that can help with the claim process. For any site not listed, do a search in their help section for terms like “trademark infringement” or even “impersonation” to locate more information.

YouTube: http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=151655

Let me know if you have any further questions or how it goes when you do file your claim on these sites! Good luck!


*This is, of course, assuming that it is your right: that you are trying to claim the name of a brand you own and not take someone else’s.

How to: Make and Use A Favicon

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , ,

[You can skip to the step-by-step if you’re in a hurry.]

One of my mini-obsessions when it comes building and maintaining your own website (including a blog, e-commerce store, or what have you) is having a personalized favicon. If you don’t know what a favicon is, it’s that little square image that you see on the tabs of your browser, as shown below.

line of open tabs showing various favicons in browser

The first three are my sites, which you can see each have their unique image. While they may not be the best, at least it separates me from the crowd and I don’t get the ugly paper shown on the far right. That’s what many browsers use as a placeholder for sites with no favicon. Some look better, some look worse, but you get the idea – it says nothing about YOUR site.

I tend to have a ton of tabs open at a time, so that the only thing I can see about a tab is the favicon. This becomes an important way for me to identify which tab I want to go to. I can easily spot, say Facebook, and open up that tab without guessing which one is the right one. It’s a simple step for branding that many smaller sites don’t take advantage of.

So here’s what you do:

1. Choose an image (or images) you want to use. You might want to test a few images to see which you like best. The image has to be cropped to a square and it can be your logo, your profile pic, or whatever you feel best represents your brand/website at a glance. Bloggers, it’s probably best for this to also be your avatar image when you post comments on other sites. The consistency in visual branding can only help.

2. Use a tool like HTML -Kit’s FavIcon Generator. You can upload the picture from your computer or even pull from your Twitter account’s profile pic. Then click Generate FavIcon.ico and be patient! It may take up to a minute to upload your picture and process it. If you do not upload a square image, the tool will automatically crop your picture.

non-square image gets cropped into square to generate favicon on htmlkit.com

My picture got cropped to a square and my feet were cut off in this example.

3. Download your favicon package if you’re satisfied. If not, you can upload another image until you find one you like. The HTML -Kit FavIcon Generator shows you the still and animated versions of your favicon in a browser image. You can actually click on those images to get a live preview in your own browser.

4. Open the .zip file and unzip or extract the files. You can choose to use the still or animated file. The animated  file is a .gif and the still file is a .ico. There’s also a ReadMe.txt included, with instructions on how to install your new favicon of choice. You can read that or continue with this post!

5. Now log in to your web provider (I use JustHost, many of you probably use GoDaddy, HostGator, BlueHost, etc.) and open up the File Manager. You want to go to the Root Directory of your site. If you have multiple sites, make sure you to go the correct one!

6. Upload your favicon to the Root Directory. Choose whichever one tickles your fancy, but I’d recommend the static .ico one since animated ones can appear unprofessional.

7. Add the following code to the header section of your HTML code (in between the <head> and </head> tags):

<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”favicon.ico” >

For the animated favicon, you’re going to add some extra code:

<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”favicon.ico” >
<link rel=”icon” type=”image/gif” href=”animated_favicon1.gif” >

8. That’s it! Refresh your page (sometimes you need a “hard” refresh by pressing Ctrl+F5 or sometimes you need to clear your cookies, maybe even close your browser or try a different one) and voila, your favicon has been updated and now represents you. 🙂

How to: Create A Facebook Page (original)

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

pinnable quote image for how to create a facebook page blog post on maryqin.com

I decided it was time for me to create a Facebook page for my little blog, so I can really try to build it out and maybe get some followers! I’d like to think that what I’m putting out there is educating or entertaining someone, but I’ve never really promoted it so it’s time to take action.

When I went to create the FB page, I (for the life of me) could NOT find where to choose the “Personal Blog” category! And that’s what spurred this entry. Read on to learn the basics for setting up a Facebook page and how to select a category like “Personal Blog,” “Personal Website,” and more!

Creating Your Facebook Page

webpage to create a new facebook page First of all, here’s where you can create a new Facebook page. As you’ll see, right away they want you to choose a category. Your desired page may fit multiple categories, so it’s up to you to decide which one is best for your needs. Of the 6 types they’ve laid out for you (1. Local Business or Place; 2. Company, Organization or Institution; 3. Brand or Product; 4. Artist, Band or Public Figure; 5. Entertainment; 6. Cause or Community), all but the last one have a dropdown menu with category choices. Don’t worry if your desired category isn’t there – just pick what’s closest or tickles your fancy. In my case, I went for “Brand or Product”and chose “Website” from the dropdown.

You will be asked to enter your page name, which should be the title of your blog, the name of your business, or whatever you want the world to know your page by. Note that Facebook has certain rules in place about what is allowed in a name – for example, I tried to enter my blog name, ((little fat notebook)), but it was immediately rejected because I’m not allowed to use symbols. You are allowed one set of parentheses, but there can only be two words in it (like this) and obviously I’d have three if I went for (little fat notebook). Alas, I then tried just plain little fat notebook and that’s not allowed because the name must start with an uppercase! I didn’t like how Little fat notebook looked, so I went for the boring old Little Fat Notebook. Luckily, you can change it after the fact!

Setting Up Your Facebook Page

Once you agree to their terms and click Get Started, you’re prompted to fill in a description and add links to your site(s). Next upload an avatar/profile picture to represent your page. You’ll then be taken to your brand new Facebook page! A quick 3-step tour is given and then you’re given free reign. Feel free to add a cover photo, invite friends to like your page, and share your very first post!

screenshot of page to set up about section of new facebook page

Adding a basic description.

uploading profile picture to new facebook page

Uploading a profile picture.

Changing To A Better Category

dropdown menu to edit facebook page infoNow here’s what you’ve been waiting for: how to make the page exactly as you want it! At the top, you’ll see an option to Edit Page, with a dropdown. The first option is what you want: “Update Info.” Here you’ll see that the category and subcategory choices are far more plentiful than they let on earlier in the process! That’s where I found a previously unmentioned category called “Websites & Blogs,” which contains the subcategory option I had been hunting for: Personal Blog. The nice thing is that you can change this at any time, so as your site/brand evolves, you can update the category accordingly.

dropdown menu for facebook page categories


dropdown menu for facebook page subcategories


A few other tips:

Once you get 25 fans, you can reserve a vanity URL (or username, as Facebook calls it). This means that rather than an ugly URL like https://www.facebook.com/pages/little-fat-notebook/457453117668145, you can get a pretty one like https://www.facebook.com/littlefatnotebook, which is much easier to direct fans to. I still need to claim mine! (So hey if you don’t mind, please like my page so I can claim my vanity URL soon!) [Update: I was actually able to claim it when I had just 16 fans – check out my post on claiming vanity URLs to see how.]

When you reach 30 fans, Facebook will provide “insights” about your page, which includes data about the reach of your page and each post (how many people see it, pretty much), how many people are talking about (sharing) your posts, and how many posts you’re putting up daily.

Also note that I was able to update my page name from Little Fat Notebook to all lowercase. Unfortunately you still can’t add symbols, but as mentioned before, you can use one set of parentheses.

I highly recommend putting your website URL in the Short Description so users can easily click to your site from your FB page. Just be sure to input the “http://” so it becomes a clickable link, as shown. (Click for full size.)

screenshot of facebook page short description with embedded link

Now that you have a Facebook page, check out my tutorials on:
~how to manage your Facebook page
~how to link your social media accounts
~how to claim your vanity URLs, and more!

You can find all my “how to” posts for useful tips like how to make a favicon and random things like how to set your iPhone/iPad to stop playing music at a certain time or even how to win a Facebook contest!

If you have any questions or tips of your own, I’d love to hear them! Please do share. 🙂

How to: Change WordPress Permalinks

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Whew! Just went through quite the headache’s worth of trouble trying to optimize my site and I want to save YOU the same trouble. Here’s a walk-through of how to ensure your old links redirect to your new links and nothing else breaks in between! (Note that this tutorial is for self-hosted WordPress blogs.)

You can read through the lessons I learned along the way, or skip straight to the step-by-step.

It started when I read about why you shouldn’t have dates in your permalink structure. This got me thinking and I agreed that most bloggers should strive for timeless content (plus I want more people clicking through from search results). People may be deterred if they see your post is “old” but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant to their needs! So, I decided to make the leap from http://maryqin.com/[year]/[month]/[postname]/ to just http://maryqin.com/[postname]/.

That’s easy enough – just go your WordPress admin and find Settings > Permalinks in the lefthand toolbar. Choose the radio button that says “Post Name” as you can see I did here:

wordpress permalink settings screenshot

Your links are now updated! But if you’re like me, you linked to your blog on other sites using the old URL structure. Users who click on that would get taken to your homepage and not to the post in question, so they are likely to get confused and leave. We don’t want those linkbacks to be wasted, now do we?! This is where a 301 redirect comes in. I was told to get the “Simple 301 Redirects” plugin but I found that it only worked if I input every redirect I wanted individually. The method for doing a “mass redirect” just wasn’t working, so despite the warnings against the “Advanced Permalinks” plugin, I decided to give it a shot.

I had actually found that plugin on my own before reading up on tutorials and I probably should have just gone with it from the start. Oh well, at least I’ve figured it out now! Once I activated Advanced Permalinks, I went back to Settings > Permalinks and there were some new options available. I couldn’t figure it out on my own, so I found an article that helped me understand what to do. I went to Migration up top and put in “/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/” (my old permalink structure) and BAM my links were redirecting to the new ones. Only later did I notice that my categories had broken!!

Sooo it was back to troubleshooting. I managed to figure out that it was indeed this plugin causing the issue, so I looked for a way around it. Luckily, I came across a helpful article in the support forum that showed me a quick recode was all I needed: see steps 5-7 below.

Here is the entire process broken down:

Step 1: Download & activate Advanced Permalinks plugin.

Step 2: Go to Settings > Permalinks and choose “Migration” along the top.

Step 3: In the “Old Permalink” box, input your old structure, i.e. /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/, and click Add.

Step 4: Test links with the old permalink structure to ensure they are redirecting properly. Your categories are likely broken at this point (if not, yay, you’re done!).

Step 5: To fix the broken category links, go to Plugins > Editor and choose Advanced Permalinks in the top right dropdown (it might already be open since plugins are arranged alphabetically).

Step 6: Make sure the file open is “advanced-permalinks/advanced-permalinks.php” and search for “$this->add_filter (‘category_rewrite_rules’);

Step 7: Add // in front so that you have “//$this->add_filter (‘category_rewrite_rules’);” and click Update File. Done!

Now your links should all be working and the categories won’t be broken. If you run across any other issues, let me know and we can troubleshoot together!

How to: Facebook Contest Tutorial

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , , ,

I just participated in a super-quick giveaway on Facebook and there seemed to be a lot of confusion over how to win. In case you ever come across a similar promo, here are some tips for a winning strategy – I’ll use the contest I entered, hosted by Physician’s Formula, as the example.

success page for those who got the free physician's formula product on facebook

Want to win these giveaways? Here are my tips for how to do it.

The giveaway was hosted on Physician’s Formula’s Facebook page using the “Promotions” tab. On the promo tab, there was a timer counting down to when the giveaway started, which in this case was today at 2 PM PST.

Tip 1: Check the time! A lot of people thought it was 2 PM local time, but it was stated that it would be PST, so you’d need to convert to your own time zone. All giveaways will specify the time, so be sure to look it up. If you’re not sure, browse the Rules or Terms/Conditions for the contest ahead of time, or just check with the company by asking them.

The instructions were to watch for a secret word posted on their page at 2 PM PST, then be one of the first 1000 to fill out the form (over on the Promotions tab) to win. A lot of people promptly posted the secret word on PF’s Facebook page and wondered if they won. This, however, was not the appropriate place to enter. A careful read of their instructions would have made it more clear.

Tip 2: Double & triple-check the rules! All giveaways clearly lay out how they will work and what their terms are, so if you really want to win, make sure you know exactly what you need to do when the giveaway is live.

Also, many people complained that the timer wasn’t accurate or their clock didn’t match. One of the things you want to check beforehand is that your clock is synced with the “real” time. Usually our computers do this automatically, but it’s always good to check it and make sure that your clock is matching up with the timer. As for the timer being off, it might have been due to certain browsers not being up to par. Make sure you’re using the latest version of your browser. Also, when time’s getting close, refresh the page so the servers realign and ensure a more accurate countdown time.

Tip 3: Refresh the page (but not too much). It’s always a good idea to refresh the page to make sure you haven’t missed something, but overdoing it can overload the system and cause your page to freeze mid-load or load blank. Definitely not what you want when you’re trying to win!

Oh, and speaking of all this browser and computer talk – if at all avoidable, DO NOT USE a smartphone. Facebook “apps” (or tabs) such as the Promotions one for Physician’s Formula don’t tend to work on mobile phones. Your best bet is a computer browser, whether desktop or laptop or netbook or otherwise.

Tip 4: Use a non-mobile device. While you still can access the appropriate tab on a tablet, it’s a lot more hassle and often less reliable than a good old computer desktop or laptop. If you don’t have access to a non-mobile device but you have a tablet, be sure to log in to Facebook from the browser. Don’t use the Facebook app for your device, as it will generally not show you the Promo tab.

Ok, so you’re all ready to wait for the secret code to show up on the Facebook page so you can then fill out the form on the Promotions tab. Be smart about it! Have both pages open in your browser! In fact, have an extra backup browser with the pages open too. That way, you can quickly get to the form once it’s live and fill it out ASAP. If there’s a snag with something loading, you can promptly try a different browser to see if it works better.

Tip 5: Have both pages open in your browser. Saves a little bit of time, which can mean the difference between winning and not.

Ok, and now here’s one of my best tips: get notifications. What does that mean? Well, read on…

Tip 6: Get notifications! Usually to participate in a contest like this, you have to “Like” the page. Now what a lot of people don’t know is that after you like the page, you can actually choose to get (near) instant notifications from that particular brand. Just hover over the “Like” button and you’ll see a small menu. Click on “Get Notifications” and a checkmark will appear next to it. Now you’re a power user! This one step can help so much – every time the page is updated, you will get a notification. When you have Facebook open in your browser, a small box will appear in the corner sort of like an IM. If you have a mobile device, it will also receive pop-up notifications (if you have that enabled for your Facebook app). This is the fastest way to find out if the company updated their page yet, so you can get the code right away.

If this is confusing, just give it a try with a page you follow that updates often. The next time they post, you’ll get a notification and you’ll see how fast it is. When the code showed up for Physician’s Formula today, I saw it pop up in the corner and immediately went to fill out the form on the Promotions tab (which was live by then – no refreshing needed). When you went to fill out the form, a small box popped up asking for the secret code and that’s where you should have entered it. Tons of people repeated the code on the wall, but that didn’t do anything for you. And if you were one of the lucky 1000 to get your submission in on time, you got a lovely confirmation like the one shown. All those wondering if they got it probably didn’t, since it was clear upon filling out the form if you did.

Alright, those are my tips for how to best prepare yourself to win these flash giveaways! Do you have any other tips to share? Did you find this useful? Please let me know!

If you liked this, you might like my other tutorial on how to link social media accounts.

How to guide: getting a Virgin Mobile iPhone 4/4S

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , ,
Comments Off on How to guide: getting a Virgin Mobile iPhone 4/4S

The past couple of days, my cousin and I have been trying to navigate the confusing world of contract-less iPhone usage.  After doing some research, Virgin Mobile USA appeared to have the best deal – as it stands, they’re offering $35/month for 300 minutes and unlimited text & data.  You can then save $5/month and bring it down to $30/month by signing up for automatic billing with a credit card or Paypal account.

screenshot of virgin mobile usa phone plans

From the website, it was unclear if we had to buy an iPhone from them or if we could get it elsewhere and then activate that device.  I called their customer service to ask and was told that as long as it was a new device that had not been activated with any other service, I could buy it elsewhere.  Wrong.  As it turns out, you MUST get an iPhone designated for Virgin (this maybe not be the case for an iPhone 5 though).  This was a hard lesson learned after trying to activate an unlocked iPhone 4 (no-go since it was not CDMA compatible) and even trying to purchase a Sprint iPhone since Virgin uses Sprint towers for their network.

Why all that hassle?  Why not just buy the iPhone from Virgin Mobile?  Well, most importantly it was due to price.  The Apple Store was selling an iPhone 4 for $450 while Virgin was charging $550.  Secondarily, it was due to timing – you get it at a store and the device is immediately in your possession, but you get it online and you have to wait for it to ship.  Since it’s the final weeks of fall semester for my cousin, she needs the phone more urgently so she can figure out why the bus never came or look something up/practice on the go.  Plus, she’s waited so long that she just wants to finally be using her new phone instead of pining for it.

So did we have to buy from Virgin after discovering the Apple Store devices were no use?  Actually, no.  As it turns out, Best Buy (and possibly other electronics stores) carry Virgin iPhones AND they were on sale for $350 a pop!  A quick search showed me that the Best Buy Mobile store in the mall carried them.  Happily, we went to purchase it there.  There was a slight hiccup when the sales associate told us they didn’t carry them, but when I mentioned it said they did online she went to the back and asked her manager, who was aware that they had the device in question.  Plus, we used our Best Buy RewardsZone card to get bonus points.  Yippee!  Make sure you check before going to the store and let the associate know the website indicated that they have the device if you’re rejected at first.

Now if you’re reading this soon after I post it, you’ll find that Virgin has actually lowered their iPhone 4 price to $350 as well, so you can get the same deal from them for now.  I’m not sure if this is just a promotional price decrease for the upcoming shopping craze, or if they might keep that price around longer.  If I were you, I’d snatch it while I can.

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