Cratejoy has 24 subscription boxes on sale today, so you better get on that

There are boxes on sale for *every* hobby. We're not kidding.

Image: cratejoy/mashable photo composite

Tax Day is finally here, and we hope that you all got your shit together and did your tax returns, you know, before today.

If you were on top of your tax game and haven't blown your entire check (yet), we just wanted to let you know that Cratejoy is having a huge Tax Day sale. Two dozen of their best subscription boxes are 25% off today, and all you need to do is use the coupon code TAXDAY to save on a monthly subscription. 

This sale selection is seriously unreal: There are boxes to teach you how to mix cocktails, help you get your side hustle off the ground, learn a new language or how to code, plus boxes for coffee lovers, dog parents, people obsessed with fitness, and even Harry Potter fans — and that's just naming a few. There's no way you won't find something you love.

We've listed a few of our favorite sale boxes below, but you can scope out the full sale list here. Hurry — the sale is only for today.

American Cocktail Club

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Raise your hand if you would say “no” to having alcohol delivered to your doorstep every month. (That's what we thought.) Whether mixology is a hobby of yours or if you'd like to make drinks fancier than a vodka soda, the American Cocktail Club subscription box can help. 

Each month, receive all of the ingredients you'll need to make four servings of the month's themed cocktail (or pay a little less and get the ingredients, minus the alcohol.) Reviews claim that the recipes are amazing, and have you feeling fancy even when drinking out of a red solo cup.

Sign up for the Everything Box (alcohol included) for $44.99/month or the Everything but the Booze box for $34.99/month here, and take 25% off with code TAXDAY.

SinglesSwag

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All the single ladies: The SinglesSwag box is here to tell you that self love is best kind of love there is — and if you're single, you have more money to spend on yourself anyway. 

Each month, receive a handful of things like fashion accessories, organic bath and beauty products, makeup bags, fancy artisan-crafted foods, best selling books, and even some surprises. This box has one of the best ratings we've seen on Cratejoy ever, with 4.5 out of 5 stars and reviewed by nearly 300 women. You go, girls.

Get three to four items for $24.99/month, or five to seven items for $39.99/month here. Plus, take 25% off with code TAXDAY.

The Dapper Dog Box

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Dog moms and dads, you'll want to hear this: Not only is the Dapper Dog Box the cutest (and classiest) subscription box for fur babies to ever exist, but a portion of proceeds go toward feeding recuse dogs or supporting an animal shelter. We're not crying, you're crying. 

Each month, receive five to eight items that your very good doggo will wag uncontrollably over, like toys, natural treats, bow ties, bandanas, and more accessories. The box has 4.9/5 stars and was reviewed by 80 people, so there's no way it's not paws-itively awesome. Sorry. 

Sign up for $29.99/month here, and take 25% off with code TAXDAY. If for nothing else, just click the link to see 12 pictures of cute dogs posing with their boxes. You will not regret it.

GeekGear

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Harry Potter isn't just a book series or a movie series, it's a way of life. GeekGear is a subscription box for the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts fanatics out there, sending you exclusive, officially licensed Warner Bros merchandise that you can't get anywhere else. 

Each month, receive up to 10 items like collectibles and action figures (ahem, wands), wall art, postcards, and apparel including an exclusively designed monthly t-shirt. You even get to choose the color of your house. We solemnly swear that we are about to drop all of our money on this.

Sign up for $28.56/month here, and take 25% off with code TAXDAY.

CoreGains

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Whether you're a wellness junkie or could use a little boost, a subscription to the CoreGains box has got your back. Each month, you'll receive a bunch of plant-based supplements, protein bars, and healthy snacks that are actually good. Plus, you'll get introduced to new brands that are hard to get anywhere else, and you won't have to deal with the lines at Whole Foods.

Sign up for $19.99/month here, and take 25% off with code TAXDAY.

SHEclub Monthly

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Attention, boss ladies trying to get into the side hustle game: SHEclub monthly is a box curated specifically for female entrepreneurs trying to get a side business off the ground — because trying to get a blog or online store running outside of a 9-5 job can be a struggle. 

Each month, receive a box of four to seven items like office supplies, motivational books, and planner accessories, as well as access to digital training to help you grow your online business.

Sign up for $39.95/month here, and get 25% off with code TAXDAY.

 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/04/17/cratejoy-subscription-boxes-on-sale-tax-day/

Teachable raises $4M to create a tool to turn any online class into a true business

Online coursework is exploding across all kinds of verticals and fields of expertise — but those courses inevitably end up on platforms like Udemy, and for Ankur Nagpal, that’s really not a way to build a true business.

That’s why Nagpal started Teachable, a platform for experts that want to create a business around their coursework that helps them build an entire online education suite beyond just platforms like Coursera or Udemy. Niche expertise can be way too valuable for just a simple marketplace like Coursera, Nagpal says, and experts in those areas — even seminars on mindfulness or Feng Shui — should be able to make more than just a few thousand dollars a year off that coursework. Nagpal said the company has raised an additional $4 million in equity from existing investors Accomplice Ventures and AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant.

“In the past, if you wanted to teach courses, you could either put it in the marketplace or have it on your own website — with your brand and domain name and full control of everything — but there’s no easy way to do it,” Nagpal said. “It’s the difference between listing a physical good on Amazon and having your own storefront. While you could make a few thousand dollars on Udemy, you couldn’t build a sustainable business selling courses for $10 to $15.”

That fundraise, however, comes with a whopping $134 million valuation in the end as the company expects to be profitable by the end of Q4 this year. Teachable has around 10 million students across 125,000 courses, with 12,000 paying customers on the platform. Nagpal says it is aiming for a business that will generate more than $200 million in sales this year, which might not be so far off given the speed at which it has ramped up from just $5 million in 2015 to around $90 million in 2017.

In Teachable’s earliest days, instructors focused on marketing or programming, which is where a lot of online coursework got its start when the value of knowledge skills like Ruby or Python skyrocketed. But since then, Teachable has grown into a platform where users with niche skill sets can create robust coursework, and if they already have content ready to go like videos, can get their domain up and running in just a few hours. Teachable has a multi-tier pricing structure ranging from taking small transaction fees to a paid subscription of nearly $299 a month in order to manage its online domains, which is designed to appeal to a wide variety of potential instructors looking to get their start.

“If you look at our top 10 or 20 instructors, there’s virtually no pattern of verticals that are successful,” Nagpal said. “[The popular courses are based on] professional skills, or learning to play a musical instrument, or fly a drone, or even financial empowerment. There’s almost an anti-pattern.”

And again, these aren’t supposed to be courses that get wrapped up into a $49 per-month subscription. Courses in highly specific verticals — like something like Feng shui — can cost up to a hundred dollars or more. But the idea is that these seminars have so much value that students who are looking to dive deep into them are willing to go beyond the cost of just a Udemy in order to get the most valuable content. Teachable aims to make it easy to port the kind of content instructors might post on one of those marketplaces to quickly get them up and running with their own independent online course.

That free plan with a transaction fee is ultimately what at least piques the interest of potential instructors, and Teachable also hosts workshops to try to get them more excited about the opportunity — and then get them to start paying as they look to attract more and more students and need a more robust toolkit, like advanced reporting. or priority product support. The company doesn’t really focus on paid marketing because Nagpal says it’s “not very good at it,” as it primarily leans on word of mouth and affiliates.

“Courses on marketplaces are effectively commoditized,” he said. “I would buy the top-rated courses, but the first course is as valuable as the second or third. On our platform, if people are buying the Ruby on Rails course, it’s probably because they’ve followed an expert on that for a year. What I’m buying is not commoditized, I have a relationship with that person. Their content is much more valuable. All the sales are generated through an instructor.”

Nagpal said he got his start building a bunch of, well, bad Facebook apps like personality quizzes and really simple flash games in the early days of the Facebook Platform. Getting such an early glimpse at that behavior on the Facebook Platform is pretty controversial today with the massive privacy scandal Facebook faces after Cambridge Analytica, a political research firm, ended up with personal data of up to 87 million people through a simple app on the Facebook Platform. Nagpal, however, said what now seems like a treasure trove of data was at the time not really all that useful for that business.

“We got some of that data, but to us it was junk and we never stored it,” he said. “It just seemed like noise.”

The biggest challenge for Teachable, Nagpal says, is making sure instructors actually want to remain instructors. The free tier might attract them to getting started, but instructors might just get burnt out from being instructors in general — whether that’s on Teachable or a marketplace like Udemy. The real competition, he says, are platforms like YouTube and other time sinks for content creators. To keep them on board, Teachable hopes to expand to other verticals of content like coaching and services. That, too, might keep it ahead of marketplaces like Coursera and eventually woo instructors with the opportunity to build an entire online business on Teachable.

“Every month we have 50 people getting more [than the top paid instructor on a platform like Skillshare],” he said. “The sustainability of the business is very different. It’s really hard to make a living selling $10 courses. On our platform, the average price point is closer to $100, which in turn gets reinvested to create actually good content. We’re finding most of the instructors don’t just sell courses, and they have multiple income streams. We’re trying to see if we can get our checkout product powering all that. That creates network lock-in.”

Teachable also took on a few smaller investors including Shopify founder Tobias Lutke, Weebly founder Chris Fanini, Lynda.com CEO Eric Robison, and Getty Images founder Jonathan Klein.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/16/teachable-raises-4m-to-create-a-tool-to-turn-any-online-class-into-a-true-business/

How Blogging Can Plug Those Income Gaps

Blogging to make money requires a few simple steps that need to be implemented.

One of the best ways to achieve success when you are starting out as a beginner is to duplicate what the successful bloggers do. There are a huge number of resources on the web that will help you with your blogging career but I would recommend that you choose one and stick to it, so that you don't find yourself repeating steps or missing out on important stages of progression

Choose your niche

We all have one. Something that we specialise in or are very good at. Whether its baking cupcakes or building boats all the way to writing code for browser or website plugins. Once you have decided on what it is that you know best and that you can blog about, do some research.

Have a look at what other bloggers in the same niche are blogging about and research their visibility, success and popularity.

Choose your platform

When starting from scratch and particularly for the newcomer a ready-made platform is usually the best way to begin. I recommend using Blogger or WordPress.com and do so for reasons aside from the ease of access and use. For a start the hosting is free. Then there's a lot of good documentation on these platforms when a blogger needs help formatting the look of the website or to add additional functions for their readers.

Developing Visibility

We all know that it's no use opening a huge supermarket in the middle of the jungle where there is no civilisation for a hundred miles in any direction. Blogging is much the same. We can write all we want, but if it's not being read, it's a fruitless exercise.

There are two mainstream methods to develop visibility. One is called organic search and the other is paid search.

Social Media

When blogging for money the first step is to build all the foundations for organic search. These include setting up and populating Social Media platforms with relevant content. Currently developing and posting image and video content is what drives the rankings for most blogs. The really obvious Social Media Channels to develop are as follows:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Vine

There are several other online social platforms that will depend on the niche in which you are blogging.You will find more about these when researching your niche.

Content Development

When referring to content online the context usually means, video, image, written or interactive materials that the visitor to your blog engages with. Apart from setting up your blog and the other platforms where your content will be hosted, you will need to build content development skills and these are quickly learned.

There are some fantastic online tools for developing quick professional looking videos and plenty of resources for creative commons images. just be sure that you understand the copyright rules when using someone else's work.

Once you've set up your Blog site, social media assets and started to create content you want to make sure that they are all connected and have become visible to the search engines. This task is called SEO

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the strategy you implement that makes sure you come up when someone searches for you on Google, Yahoo or elsewhere on the web.

Find a good resource that includes guidance on both keyword and competitor research so that you create a plan on how to became just that little more visible than your competitors.

Good SEO is made up on the backbone of building good links, where quality not quantity matters and there are a number of places to start. Content curation such as Scoop.it and content management with suggestions such as drum.up are very good resources. You will also want to carry out social bookmarking on sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit, which will all increase the indexing quality of your blog as well as the traffic that goes there.

Monetising

There are three really good ways to monetise your blog. The first is through affiliate marketing. This means to sell someone elses product for commission, This is the easiest method of online marketing because it involves links to a partner site only. There are no logistics, payment gateways or anything else to worry about. It's as straightforward as inserting an identifying link that your readers click on to buy a product and the commission is yours.

The second method is through Advertising on your blog using a third party provider such as Google AdSense. You get paid every time someone clicks on a link. Once you are established and have a successful visibility strategy, click throughs will increase considerably.

The third method is to sell your own products although to begin with I recommend that this is left til last or you initially sell digital products only. I have however seen crafters develop the Etsy and Dawanda shops very successfully using their blogs as a springboard.

Finally. If you really want your blog to pay your bills, build a mailing list. Dont buy one. build one. There are plenty of easy DIY form widgets that enable you to collect subscribers as they come to your blog and the method for ensuring a sign up is to offer something in return.

Start by looking at blogging resources developed by specialists in the field. You;ll find that fellow bloggers are generally very supportive. It may also help to search resource sites for basic blogging tutorials to get you going.

57 Reasons Why Blogging Weekly Will Increase Your Company Website’s Exposure Online

Search engines, like the mighty Google, use a variety of signals to “score” each website page found online. This score will determine where in the results a website page will appear when a user searches for a particular keyword or key phrase.

Google, Bing, Yahoo and other commonly-used search engines, cache, index and rank URLs/web pages individually. Although each website has an overall score, the individual score of a page has a big influence on where it will appear in the rankings. As a result, some pages on a website may appear high in the rankings and others much lower down (or even not be ranked at all).

Many businesses, especially SMEs, have websites that consist of relatively few pages, for example:

  • Home (www.yourcompanyname.co.za)
  • Products and Services (www.yourcompanyname.co.za/products_and_services)
  • About (www.yourcompanyname.co.za/about_us)
  • Contact (www.yourcompanyname.co.za/contact_us)

This gives search engines only four URLs to find, cache, index and rank.

Having more URLs would give the search engines more to work with, but creating large amounts of static pages can be very time consuming and can clutter up the site navigation menu, making the site hard to use and possibly slowing down page load times.

So, what is the solution?

One of the simplest and most effective ways to add content-rich pages to a company website is via a built-in blog, or even multiple blogs. In many cases, these are simply labelled “blog”, but alternative names can also be used (and often are), e.g.:

  • Latest News
  • Updates
  • Articles

Just because it's not called a blog, doesn't necessarily mean it isn't.

So, let's assume a blog is added to the site – this automatically adds one more indexable URL, (e.g. yourcompanyname.co.za/blog,or /news /articles, etc.).

Now we are up to five URLs.

Don't stop there though. It's time to add content to the blog. Original, useful, relevant information is best for blog posts.

I won't go into what makes a good blog post or the benefits it can bring to your business here, that is covered in some of my other articles. For now we will stick to the impact of creating extra URLs.

If you blog weekly (the frequency I usually recommend to clients), after one year you will have 52 posts, all with great content for site visitors to read, enjoy and be informed by, and 52 new URLs for Google, and other search engines, to discover, analyse and add to their listings.

Assuming the quality of the information and writing is good enough, the bulk of these posts should rank well for their chosen target keywords, and hopefully for secondary keywords as well.

Now we have the original static page URLs, the blog header page, and a year's worth of well-written blog posts;

4+1+52=57

57 Indexable URLs, all backed up by great content, properly placed and used keywords, and tight, well-written meta information.

Which do you think will help your company website more online exposure, 4 pages of indexed, ranked content, or 57?

Added Benefits

Not only does adding 52 blog posts in a year give your business website a better chance of ranking well, it also gives you 52 pieces of content to share on social media sites and to bookmark. This allows you to create a multitude of backlinks that point back at your company site – essentially forming a net to “catch” site visitors, and turn them into prospects and customers.

How to Monetize Your Blog Using Affiliate Programs

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways you can start monetizing your blog. It is more than just adding links to your content. Although this method works sometimes, there are more strategies you can use to build a list of interested buyers and generate income.

Many people believe that affiliate marketing is dead or obsolete. That could be further from the truth. It is still a viable way to monetize your content. It takes time to build up enough traffic and email subscribers to get more attention to your affiliate products. However, it is possible to have a steady stream of income selling affiliate products.

Being an affiliate marketer is like being a door to door salesman. You will receive a percentage of any sales generated from your referral links when people buy from you. There are a wide variety of products and programs to choose from. To be successful you will need to find profitable affiliate programs that are trustworthy and will meet the need of your target audience. So how do you find out what your audience specifically need?

If you already have a topic for your blog then you can research what your audience needs by using the Google keyword planner. You can also use an online tool called Answer The Public. This tool can be used to find out what people are asking for around the web. You can use the results of your search to create content that will funnel your readers into subscribing to your email list or buying one of your affiliate products.

Where to find Affiliate Programs

You can find affiliate products anywhere. You can do a simple product + affiliate search on Google. You will be surprised at what you will find. Many of your favorite products offer affiliate programs.

The most popular way to find profitable affiliate products is to search on sites such as Share-a-Sale, ClickBank, or JVZoo for example. Once you have determined the best programs for your audience you should become a customer of the product. You should observe the sell process. Is the cart and checkout confusing? Is this product useful? What results did you get from using the product? These are just some of the questions and observations you should be able to convey to your subscribers when offering your referral links.

When you recommend products you have used you will be able to give first-hand knowledge about the product. I would never recommend anything that I wouldn't use.

Creating Content and Getting Subscribers

After you have found the best products for your audience it is time to start creating content. The ones that do well with affiliate marketing are list posts and in depth tutorials. You will be able to show your expertise in these types of posts.

Most people online are looking for information that solves an immediate problem. Therefore, you should concentrate your efforts in creating this type of content and sharing it on social media.

The next thing you can do is create a free offer to get people to subscribe to your email list. If you are using affiliate marketing as a strategy then you should concentrate on list building. Make it a priority. Share your landing pages more often on your social media channels. You can even invest in paid advertising to boost your email subscriptions.

When you continuously promote your opt-ins, and as you grow your list of interested subscribers you will see them turn into customers as you promote your affiliate products.