3 Places to Stay Just Outside of Dallas, TX 

Dallas, the ninth largest city in the United States, is often called the commercial hub of the North Texas region. Featuring a variety of museums, sporting venues, and cultural events, the city is home to a variety of activities that make it a great place to visit for people of all ages. While most travelers to the area plan to stay near the downtown area, venturing out to the smaller towns surrounding the city can provide a unique glimpse into the region and is often more affordable.

Lancaster

Located about 5 miles from Dallas, Lancaster offers visitors the opportunity to see attractions they would probably miss if they stayed in the city. Lancaster’s Commemorative Air Force DFW Wing is a small museum that allows visitors to see, touch, and explore planes from World War II. The museum is open on the weekends and staffed by former military members who provide visitors with intriguing history lessons they won’t soon forget.

Visitors to the area will also enjoy exploring Lancaster’s Bear Creek Nature Park, which is home to a butterfly garden, rock climbing wall, fishing pier, and multiple hiking trails.

Lancaster is a vibrant community that travelers will enjoy exploring. By taking advantage of the hotel accommodations available in Lancaster, visitors will have access to the unique attractions mentioned here as well to the variety of restaurants and shops in the area.

Plano

Situated less than 20 miles from Dallas, Plano features a diverse assortment of attractions that visitors to the area will enjoy. Nature lovers can explore Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, which features 3.5 miles of concrete trails and 5 miles of soft surface trails. Kayaking and paddle boarding are also available at the preserve, and visitors should check out Go Ape Zip Line and Treetop Adventure for a one-of-a-kind experience that will have them zipping through the forest canopy. The preserve is open from dawn until dusk.

Plano’s Heritage Farmstead Museum is another must-see attraction for travelers to the Dallas area. This living history museum gives visitors a first-hand peek at what life was like on the Texas Blackland Prairies years ago.

Garland

A quick 30-minute drive from Dallas, Garland features several unique attractions, including Hawaiian Falls Garland, a large water park, and Spring Creek Forest Preserve, a natural area that’s perfect for spending a relaxing afternoon outdoors.

Hawaiian Falls features a lazy river, numerous water slides, and a 16,000 square foot wave pool. Kids and adults alike will enjoy spending the day at this thrilling water park. If you’re looking for a more laid-back way to spend the day, Spring Creek Forest Preserve is a city-owned nature preserve featuring short, easy hiking trails that allow you to experience the region’s beautiful scenery.

On your next trip to Dallas, consider staying in one of the nearby towns. You’ll discover new areas to explore and save a little money at the same time. This vibrant part of Texas is sure to provide visitors with memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Image via Flickr by awsheffield

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Yes, I Accept Guest Blog Posts to Boost Your SEO. I Charge $100. Email Me.

You just Googled, “bloggers who accept guest blog posts” because you are needing to strengthen your website’s SEO. On a daily basis, I get requests from people asking me about this. That obviously proves my website has amazing SEO.

The answer is yes. I do accept guest blog posts. I also accept $100, to be paid via PayPal.

I have the SEO platform you need to link your site to. You have the $100 that I would like to link to my wallet.

So if you’re interested, send an email to nickshell1983@hotmail.com with this headline:

SEO $100

Make sure that you include a photo, as an attachment, not copied and pasted, to accompany your article; which needs to a be minimum of 300 to 400 words and somewhat relevant to the topic of parenting and family.

Also let me know how you want to be listed in the byline, so I know which person and/or brand to draw readers’ attention to.

The concept with your guest blog post is that you want to answer questions that people are already Googling, but you will be using my popular platform to do it, which will refer people back to your website.

Here’s a recent example of a guest blog post here on my site, where someone paid my $100 fee:

And yeah, I get it…

If you’re just starting out, you likely don’t have the budget to afford my service. That’s the paradox:

Larger companies can afford to pay for SEO, so they stay large.

Small companies can’t afford to pay for SEO, so they stay small.

If you can’t afford my $100 free to be featured as a guest blogger on my website, I can at least leave you with a complimentary parting gift, which is my SEO starter kit.

Yet still, it’s inevitable: You can’t get around the fact that you’ll need a stronger website like mine to attach links back to yours.

How much time are you willing to spend searching for other websites that will accept guest blog posts cheaper, or ideally for free?

You have to decide: Is your time worth $100?

Perhaps you’ll decide, like Billy Joel said back in 1977:

I might as well be the one.

Examples of Nick Shell’s SEO Work for The Biostatistics Department for Vanderbilt University: 9 Video Promos and an ENAR Blog Post

On my LinkedIn profile, I focus on my SEO skills most of all; how I have been hired by multiple brands like Primrose Schools and Moe’s Southwest Grill to write articles and create videos to promote their presence online, as a 3rd party. As I pointed out in my recently published article, SEO Starter Kit: 5 Free Tips, being an SEO specialist goes way beyond an active Twitter and Facebook account.

I am publishing this today to provide a candid look at some of my work as a freelance SEO specialist. For the past couple of months now, I have been producing content on a reoccurring basis for Biostastistics Department for Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. I am the one they contract to create the content many people see; even if my name doesn’t show up in the bylines or the credits.

Ultimately, the main purpose of my work for them is to further promote and grow Vanderbilt’s presence online; using blog posts and YouTube videos, as vehicles of promotion.

Back in March, I was responsible for creating a 9 collection video promo series; where I interviewed professors and students. The collection played on a big monitor at their booth at the ENAR 2018 Spring Meeting in Atlanta. (ENAR stands for Eastern North American Region.)

So for any prospective students who visited Vanderbilt’s booth, they had no option but to catch a glimpse of my video producing and editing skills; where my work even included original music that I composed and recorded to accompany the interviews.

This project also required me to go to downtown Nashville and capture some footage of Broadway, to help illustrate why Nashville itself is a fun place to be.

After the event in Atlanta was over, my collection of video promos were then uploaded to Vanderbilt Health’s YouTube channel, where they can currently be seen by the free world; I am including all 9 videos at the bottom of this post.

Additionally, I was responsible for writing a related article for Vanderbilt’s website, to basically create a permanent reminder of Vanderbilt’s presence at the ENAR 2018 Spring Meeting in Atlanta.

But first, I realized it would be important that I created an all new blog platform for Vanderbilt’s Biostastics website. So I did. I appropriately named it The Biostatistics Blog.

And that’s where you can find the very first blog post I wrote for it, entitled, Vanderbilt University’s Biostatistics Graduate Program Takes on the 2018 ENAR Spring Meeting in Atlanta.

As you can imagine, I am proud to be deemed as worthy enough of my SEO knowledge and skills to be an ongoing contractor for a legendary establishment like Vanderbilt University. I guess choosing to be an English major back in college wasn’t so crazy of an idea after all.

Thanks for checking out my work today!

 

SEO Starter Kit: 5 Free Tips to Build Your Company’s Presence Online Without Having to Hire Someone to Do It for You

You just Googled something like, “SEO tips for my company”.The fact that you ended up here on my website, compared to some other random site you never heard of, should serve as an immediate confirmation that I must know at least a little about what I’m talking about; even if you have no idea who I am. It was neither fate nor an accident. It was SEO.

Of all the articles that exist on the topic, mine is the one that showed up high enough in your Google search and it was one that you yourself decided to click on.

That wasn’t coincidence. And I spent no money to make that happen. I just wrote an article with good SEO: search engine optimization.

And you want some of what I got. I want to help and I know how important this is to your business.

So let’s make that happen. I will provide you with this complimentary “SEO starter kit”, which is the proven thesis of my success so far:

  1. Begin publishing a minimum of 3 WordPress blog posts per week, between 300 to 500 words each. Publicize each one on your Facebook fan page, your personal Facebook page, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These serve as free advertisements to build your brand and your site.  (However, do not pay to publicize the posts on Facebook; as they recently changed their algorithm to where now, it’s just throwing money away.)
  2. Be sure each blog post contains a minimum of 3 photos; ideally in the form of a collage. (I use Fotor.com.)
  3. Make sure the titles of your blog posts are long and wordy, as the title itself is all many people really read anyway, but at least it counts as a visitor on your site when they click; which strengthens your SEO.
  4. Find websites that already have good SEO that are willing to allow you to do a “guest blog post” on your company (which is very difficult), that will place a link to your website in their post. This is such a hot commodity that I am currently able to charge $100 for this service alone.) Here is an example, which will take you to the website of Stackhouse.life, which is a tiny house company. 
  5. Create a YouTube channel in which you publish no less than 3 videos per week. Most of the content will be you answering questions that people are already searching on subjects related to your business.

My message to you is this: SEO isn’t necessarily about being the biggest; which is what most SEO experts who charge more money want you to believe. It’s about being seen by the right people in your niche, who are already searching for you, without them actually realizing they’re searching for you; and being the best-looking and most fun and most informative source on the material.

Hungry for more? Check out my 15 minute tutorial in the video at the very top of this post.

Plus, I’m including some links below so you can see some more examples of my work. Thanks for “accidentally” finding my website today!

A “Work Date”with My Wife at ENAR 2018 in Atlanta (Featuring the 2018 Mazda CX-5)

My Family’s Road Trip to Rock City in Chattanooga in the 2018 Mazda CX-5 (Featuring the Original New Theme Song I Wrote)

My Road Trip with My Son to Ruby Falls in Chattanooga in the 2018 Mazda CX-5 (Featuring the Original New Theme Song I Wrote)

Behind the Music: My New Original Song about Emotional Intelligence, “Maybe It’s a Dream” by Nick Shell

It might be easy to forget at this point in my life, but when I moved to Nashville back on September 11th, 2005, it was because I wanted to build a career in music; as I have been singing, writing songs, and playing the guitar for over two decades.

However, my focus changed about a year and a half after I moved to Nashville, when I met my wife. Two kids and a decade later, the music thing has been on hiatus.

But this week, I decided to finally record a song I’ve been working on for four years.

It’s called “Maybe It’s a Dream”. The song is about the journey of emotionally intelligence; what it’s like living in the paradox of now understanding how it’s a conscious decision to realize that other people only affect my emotions if I give them permission; and that once I began taking control over that part of my life and I unplugged from that master of puppets system, it made me feel both more alive, yet more isolated from the world.

When I started writing the song, I was 32 years old; I just beginning to learn about emotional intelligence. Now, less than a month away from turning 37, I feel like I am becoming on expert on focusing on what I can control, not on what I can not: including other people.

The opening line of the song, “I am a skeleton with meat on my bones”, is my way of acknowledging the ability to separate others’ perception of who they think I am, versus my own perception of who I think I am. In reality, my identity is somewhere in between.

Later on in the song, I admit, “My perspective of reality will die with me.”

We live in somewhat of an illusion of who we think we are, and we struggle to not worry about what other people think about us; yet in reality, how others collectively perceive us ultimately is part of who we actually are.

So it’s even more groundbreaking of a concept when a person chooses to control their own emotions exclusively; not giving permission to others to “hurt” their feelings or offend them.

This leads to a sense of a confused state of being for a guy like me: “Maybe it’s a dream. Is this even real?”

In other words, if I can control so much of my life now that I understand only I control the breaker switch of my own emotions, life starts to feel a little bit like I’m part of some grand scheme of a social experiment. Maybe this is my version of The Truman Show.

I hope you enjoy my song and I hope you can personally relate to it in some way. It is truly an extension of my identity. To understand who I am (or at least who I think I am) is to understand this song.

Social Media Kit for Family Friendly Daddy Blog by Nick Shell

Here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, I am in a very special niche that allows me to be easily visible from an SEO perspective.

As far as numbers that marketers would be interested in, here is the mid-March 2018 update. Just click on each link to go directly to each account.

Facebook Fan Page for This Blog: 1,110

Personal Facebook Page: 1,328

Twitter: 749

Instagram: 342

Blog YouTube Channel Subscribers: 667

Personal YouTube Channel Subscribers: 3,539

Blog Subscribers: 710

Average monthly: 14,000 views

Average daily: 500 views

While my numbers may not seem amazing, I have learned over the years, that ultimately, companies continue to reach out to me, on their end, to receive publicity from me anyway.

Again, it’s because I am in a niche, with a blog that’s updated weekly and has been around for nearly a decade. People find my blog very easily and very accidentally. That’s why marketers like me enough to reach out to me.

Here are a few examples of companies who reached out to me for publicity on my site:

Lexus (This is one of several examples where they sent a vehicle from Atlanta, to my home in Nashville, for a week, complete with a full tank of gas; so that I would model it with my family.)

Toyota (In addition to also sending me dozens of vehicles over the years, as Lexus has, Toyota recently flew me down to Florida for an all expense-paid road trip to drive their newest model cars to see the MLB Grapefruit League tournament.)

James Avery Artisan Jewelry (They paid me to feature their Valentine’s collection, in addition to giving my wife a gift card to buy their jewelry.)

Additionally, I am bombarded on a weekly basis by fellow bloggers who request to do a “guest blog post” on my site; to boost their own SEO. This happens so often, I had to create a page here on my blog, explaining I now have to charge for that service.

So for me, I am comfortable knowing my numbers aren’t the biggest, but that I am relevant enough as a daddy blogger, that well-known, reputable companies reach out to me, to serve as a social media influencer for them.

If you are interested in working with me, you can contact me at this email address:

nickshell1983@hotmail.com

Google, YouTube, and Amazon: How People are Constantly Making Money from All 3 Forces of the Trifecta of the Modern Day Tower of Babel

Allow me to introduce you to the underworld of the Internet, where people earn passive incomes, thanks to the rest of the world constantly searching for answers on Google, products on Amazon, and education and entertainment on YouTube. These are the 3 forces that help sustain the modern day Tower of Babel.

I think of it as the perfect relationship between creators and consumers.

While it might make us uncomfortable to admit it, these 3 search engines combined serve as a man-made, all-knowing, instantly accessible, god-like entity with instant answers that people can literally see right there on the screen.

No praying required, no real faith involved here. Just type a few words and immediately become more enlightened.

It’s like we’re climbing the stairs to the top of the Tower of Babel, like finding our own way to Heaven; or at least to a more convenient version of life. But hey, if that thought really makes you feel bad; that in theory, we’re all participating in the the modern day Tower of Babel, just promise to never use Google, YouTube, or Amazon again.

Do you want to instantly know how to predict if a young man is going to go bald? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to know what the best yet affordable espresso machine is on the market? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to instantly know how to be cured of dyshidrotic eczema without depending on prescriptions from a doctor? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Okay, so maybe you personally aren’t currently looking for answers to these questions. That’s okay. Because somebody else is. All the time. And I am getting a piece of the pie.

How so? This is a glimpse at the way it works.

Having an SEO rich website, for people to stumble upon while searching something on Google:

I own the equivalent of real estate here on the Internet. I have this blog you’re reading now, which has been around since May 2009, which contains over 2400 different articles, all of which contain a minimum of 300 words each. This serves as my dragnet to “capture” a decent portion of a great number of things people might be searching at any giving moment on the Internet. Every second of every day.

Because of this, and other secret reasons, my blog (this website) has good SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Therefore, companies realize this when they themselves search for certain keywords (which I carefully implanted here on my website). They obviously want their product featured on easy-to-find platforms like mine, so they reach out to me; offering a free product and/or payment in exchange for being featured here on my “real estate”.

Having a YouTube channel with a decent amount of subscribers:

I have come to the realization that most people don’t realize YouTubers actually make money every time someone clicks on an ad that shows before a YouTuber’s video. With over 2,000 videos, and each one averaging at least 4 minutes long, I have a steady stream of newcomers landing on my YouTube channel each day.

The more who subscribe, the more views I get, the more money I make. From there, I make videos to coincide with certain blog topics that I write about here on my blog. That way, I can use both my blog and YouTube channel in connection with one another; potentially bringing my audiences together.

Having an Amazon Affiliate account to earn a commission from any items sold, from links I plant on my website and YouTube videos:

Fathom this truth… anytime you click on a link that takes you to Amazon and you end up buying anything, the person who put that link there gets a portion of that sale. The link you clicked may have been for a children’s booster car seat, but after clicking the link, you may have wandered off and instead, ended up buying organic vegan Ramen noodles. 

It doesn’t matter. Amazon rewards people like me who have popular enough platforms to usher people over to Amazon and buy a product.

So obviously, in each of my most popular blog posts and YouTube videos, as well as most of my newest ones, there is at least one link to an Amazon product; as I capitalize on the fact I have a decent sized blog, with an accompanying YouTube channel.

Now knowing this about me, do you think differently of this family friendly daddy blogger?

Am I a sneaky guy who preys on unassuming people who are casually searching things on the Internet?

Or am I just another business-minded creative personality who understands how the system works; that consumers are constantly searching for answers and that I might as well be the one with some of those answers. I have just enough answers to get more than a thousand people to stumble upon my website and YouTube channel each day.

So the next time you Google something random end up on someone’s website, think, “I’m improving their power and presence on the Internet.”

The next time you need to learn something by watching a YouTube video and click on the ad that shows before it, think, “I just made that person a fraction of a penny.”

And the next time you click on a link on a website than transports you to Amazon and you buy something, think, “Somebody somewhere is getting a percentage of this sale.”

You now understand the basics of the business model of the modern day Tower of Babel.