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Summary: Here's what's going on at Be Better Now including the next charity update and Posts of the Month

Each month, I give readers a sneak peak at what goes on behind the scenes at Be Better Now. I've only done this once before, so your feedback in the comments below is always appreciated.

Overall February was a busy than expected month for me. We got about 17 feet of snow, which lead to our child care being canceled. When that happens, I suspend work to watch the kids and try to squeeze in time to shovel snow. February is a short month to begin with, so losing another 4 days really takes a toll.

What's New at Be Better Now

I've updated several articles that form a core foundation at Be Better Now. Many were small changes, but The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom got a solid makeover. I also made some changes to How To Save Money on Almost Anything!

The other big change is that after publishing more than 40 articles over almost every business day since launch, I'm taking one, sometimes two days off. With my current schedule, it is unreasonable for me to deliver the highest quality of writing five days a week, while updating older articles, and writing guest posts for other websites. It is biting off more than I can chew. For that reason, I'm looking at publishing three or four articles a week with the other days marked for other articles.

Traffic & Charity Update

Last month's charity was for the Washington Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association. You can read about: why I picked that here.

Last month, Be Better Now had 587 visitors, a growth of 128%. Our mail list grew to 10 people and there are 7 RSS readers. These numbers are small. The money I donate to charity is a percentage of these and it would add up to $0.86 cents. However, I give at least $25 and I put the charity back in queue for when the traffic is better.

This website is new and I've given almost no promotion. It is almost like a garage sale in the middle of a desert. Traffic is going to understandably be small.

However, I expect traffic to continue to grow for some time. I built another website where I have 100,000 monthly visitors, 500 people on the mailing list and nearly a thousand RSS readers. Using the same charity formula on that website, I'd have donated $118.

Personally, I think this website is a lot better than that one, so I have high hopes it can do even more traffic.

Next Month's Charity is...

APhA Foundation

This month is the annual American Pharmacists Association (APhA) meeting. In high school and college I was a pharmacy technician. My wife is a pharmacist. The APhA Foundation is a highly-rated charity according to Charity Navigator. Thus they are a very worthy recipient of our support.

This month they are hoping to make people aware that they can sync their medications. Some people have different doctors with different medications and their refills are due at different times. The program at Align My Refills is designed to help people sync them up. This way consumers don't have to make many trips to the pharmacy. It also makes the pharmacists lives easier too. Win-win. I'll let their video explain it:

They also have a very cool infographic here.

For the most part, the charitable cause is to just make people aware of the service. However, we'll support the APhA Foundation with the monetary donation just like we do with all the charities we support.

In Case You Missed It...

Of course all the articles on Be Better Now are awesome. Some are just a little more awesome than others. For that reason I thought I'd use this space to highlight a few of the articles that you might have missed last month:

I'll let those articles be the final word on February 2015. Let's make March 2015 awesome!

This post involves:

Be Better Now, Charity, Monthly Review

... and focuses on:

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Summary: Here's what's going on at Be Better Now including the next charity update and Posts of the Month (Tweet This!)

Each month, I thought I'd give readers a sneak peak of some of the details that goes on behind the scenes at Be Better Now. As this is the first report, I expect it to be a bit of a litmus test. Your feedback in the comments below is always appreciated.

(Usually the report will be earlier in the month. This one is almost the latest it can be because the 2nd Friday of the month falls on the 13th.)

What's New at Be Better Now

Because the website is so new, there's a lot of room for improvement. I wasn't keeping track of every improvement, because it hadn't occurred to me to write about them until just now.

Over the last month, there were a couple of major changes. I learned now to make nice rounded corners in HTML that should work in most any browser. So now you get nice blue bubbles in the section and article summaries as you can see here. It replaces a bright yellow box that had a dotted blue square border. Small changes make a big difference.

The bubble box redesign continued through to the search button, some tip boxes (such as the one here), and even the heading on the right column.

I've also added social bookmarking icons in the top right of the site. They've told me that they are lonely, so please play with them if you have the time.

I added related articles to the bottom of every article. I'm hoping that another article will catch your eye and you'll stay virtually trapped here forever enjoy learning something new.

I've still got a list of things that I'd like to do about a mile long. I've got to balance that with creating great articles that you'll love. However, I feel good knowing that the website is approximately 217% better than it was a month ago.

Be Better Now Traffic

In future months, the traffic report will (hopefully) be much more exciting. In January, I launched this site with almost no promotion and it looks like it.

I'm sure that sounds crazy. Why put all this work into it and not promote it?

Be Better Now wasn't where I wanted it to be for a big public launch. I want people to see a quality product that they love coming back to everyday. Be Better Now still isn't there. I'm not sure if it truly ever gets there. I think it is just an ongoing journey of improvement that I need to appreciate.

If you are reading this, consider yourself as one of the lucky few who knew Be Better Now "way back when." For January, Be Better Now had 257 visits for 407 page views according to Sitemeter.

Charity Update

Each month, Be Better Now gives money to charity. In January, I chose to give to Best Buddies. Tom Brady's charity to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The amount that I donate is based on traffic to this website on a formula. Unfortunately that formula would have me donating roughly 30 cents to the charity. I had an idea that would happen so it gets $25 now, and put to the front of the line when traffic gets to a level where they can expect a $200 check.

The not-so-subtle message, I am sending here is: Tell people about this website so we can make some money for charity.

Next Month's Charity is...

Washington Parkinsons Russell Wilson

After giving money to support Tom Brady's Best Buddies charity last month, it seems only right give money to something that Russell Wilson supports, the Washington Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association. If that seems a little random, Suzanna Eller, the President of Board of Directors, is an old friend of mine who I've kind of lost touch with.

So if I can give some money to worthy charity, connect with a friend, help a region with a tough loss, and show a little good sportsmanship... why not?

The only potential downside is that Suzanna has been extraordinary successful at everything she does. When I tell her about this, she'll probably send a flood of traffic taking down the site and my bank account. On the flipside, if traffic is once again too low to be significant, we'll do what we did with Brady's charity... send on the $25 and push it just under Brady for a future month when things pick up.

In Case You Missed It...

Of course all the articles on Be Better Now are awesome. Some are just a little more awesome than others. For that reason I thought I'd use this space to highlight a few of the articles that you might have missed last month:

With that, let's finally put January 2015 in the books. After all, it is already halfway through February!

This post involves:

Charity, Monthly Review

... and focuses on:

Summary: By being active in Be Better Now, you'll not only improve yourself, but you'll be earning money for charity - (Tweet This)

I've spent the whole week explaining what Be Better Now is about, but today, I'd like to add a little to the fire. I'm going to do something a little crazy. I'm going to donate money to charity for you to read Be Better Now.

What?!?! How Much are You Donating?

It's all up to you. Each month I'm going to pick a charity and donate money based on the traffic and interaction with this website. For every 1,000 visitors, I'll be donating a dollar to the monthly charity. In addition, I'll give a dollar for every 100 RSS subscribers. Lastly, I'll add a dollar for every 50 people on on the mailing list.

So for example, if this website gets 100,000 visitors, has 4,000 RSS Subscribers, and 2,500 on the mailing list, a charity will get $100 (visitors) + $40 (RSS) + $50 (mailing list) or $240 dollars.

Starting out, it probably won't be much. I've told very few people about this website while I work behind the scenes to get it where I want it to be. At the current pace, it might end up being a couple dollars this month.

I don't have a perfect solution for this scenario. I think I'll go with donating a minimum of $25. In addition, I'll put the charity back at the front of the line when monthly numbers regularly start to give $200 in donations.

What Kind of Charities are These?

In general, I'm going to aim to support the big national charities that you've heard of. My reasoning is that few people will complain about a donation to the Red Cross or the American Cancer Society. Some may argue that other charities are more efficient with their money. In time, I'll explore how we can make the most of our charity dollars. I'll be the first to admit that I have a lot of research to do on that topic. In the meantime, hopefully we can agree that we'd like to help people in natural disasters and help end cancer.

Typically, I'll look to tie the charity in with the month. For example, January is National Blood Donor Month. Usually, I'd donate some money to blood banks instead I could find blood banks looking for money. They're out for blood (literally). I'm not sure how to donate a quantity of blood based on visitors and email list subscriptions. I could donate to the National Red Cross, which serves a somewhat similar purpose. However, March is their month, so we'll wait on that until than. Plus, since I haven't marketed this website yet, March stands to be a higher donation.

So what's the plan for the January donation?

I'm going to go in another direction for January. I'm from Boston and lived in New England almost all my life. Bostonians love their sports and with apologies to the Red Sox, the New England Patriots dynasty of more than a decade rightfully takes the center stage. The Patriots are led by Tom Brady who has had an MVP season.

Tom Brady is perhaps the personification of Be Better Now, even though I'm sure he's never spent a minute on the site. I'd have to write a full article to explain why. For now, I'll share his respect, leadership, and competitiveness according to his former teammates. And I'll raise that another level with this article about his insanely detailed health/fitness regimen.

tom-brady-best-buddies

Hard to be better than this Best Buddy

With that said, I'm going to kick things off supporting the same charity he does: Best Buddies. The organization "creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)." The way I see it, my money this month will be going to make one or more people directly happy.

I'd like to think that even a Denver Bronco fan can support that message.

This post involves:

Being Better, Charity, Social

... and focuses on:

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