December 26, 2007
I'm going to find a new skin for my blog here. I like pyzam and all their layouts, however I'm looking into some others. There are so many out there. I'm hoping to find one that will give me style without having to sort out the widget details.
I've noticed that this layout is rather slow loading, even on my DSL. I want to find something fast, yet custom. I may just go back to the Blogger layout, it didn't lag. If you stop in today you find a new look, or a variety of new looks until I find the right one.
December 20, 2007
December 19, 2007
Above all one must know their values. You must allow for family time, personal time, and time for devotion. Second, you must define your goal(s). For help with this read "Personal Goal Planning - Steps to Making Your Goals a Reality."
- Get Moving! Point plain and simple, if you have something to do, or you want to do, do it. Act! What are you waiting for?
- Plan! Get organized. Make yourself a schedule. If you know what you should be doing at a certian time on a certian day, it will be easier to accomplish what ever you desire.
- Pick what you do wisely! Sudden changes in your schedule can be good and may lead to unexpected opportunities. However, you must keep in mind that every deviation means one less task is being accomplished. Learn to say "no" sometimes instead of saying "yes" all of the time.
- Segment your tasks! Big jobs may seem daunting initially. Breaking up large projects into small chunks will make the job easier.
- Learn when to stop! How much is too much? Perfection is overrated, often unattainable, and a matter of judgement. You can dissect a task to death. You are you own worst enemy (especially true of writers a lot of great work is trashed when edited one too many times by yourself). Learning to stop a project upon completion is beneficial to you and your time.
- Manage your tasks, schedule them, complete them at the scheduled time! This applies to everything from bill paying to meetings.
- Assess tasks-do what is important, valuable, or goal related.
- Make time for it
- Forget about it until it's time. If extra research or preparation is necessary for it, schedule that too.
- Act on whatever it is at the scheduled time. For meetings get it done but don't let it run over your allotted time. Of course this rule does not apply for doctor appointments as they always run over or late--you're better off not to schedule anything else for the day.
December 18, 2007
My Blogger pal, Kathy of Well Placed Words, has tagged me. I am supposed to spell out the rules of the tagging adventure:
- Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
- Share 7 facts about yourself.
- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
I don't know if I can say much more about myself than I already have in my about me section and previous posts. I will try.
- I have a wonderful husband and we have two girls. One is a teen, thinks she knows more than me, and is driving me crazy. The other is just turned 4 and thinks mom and dad are heroes.
- I am owned by two cats and a big dog.
- I love animals, especially horses. (I don't have a horse, this is a neighbors that I have an affinity for).
- I love the beach
- I think all people are good but sometimes they do bad things. When they do bad, it's like the snowball effect and it escalates beyond their control.
In light of this, I will bend the rules, give some points I like about the blog, and link to them. If they read this post, they will know.
The first blog I really became interested in online was the eBay blog. Not one blog particularly, but the whole community of bloggers. If you scavenge through the hello, goodbye, and what are you eating posts, you can find a wealth of information, meet lots of people, and hock your goods.
A blog that I have found useful is The Barefoot's blog: Barefoot Scribbles. I came across it because he offers tips, hints, and advice for Associated Content Producers. There are also a lot of funny blurbs and cut throat antics strung throughout.
An inspirational blog I discovered recently is Angesbiz's Buzzing with Ange. Very motivational and enlightening.
I know he's going to hate me for this, because he was just memed recently, but I'm doing it anyway. Peter's blog St. Vincent's Hospital Male Nurses has been a wonderful place to visit. He posts pictures, talks about his boys, his career, his life. A true representation of reality in blogging.
A wonderful poetry and writing blog I read is Wayne's Nutty Steamers. His poetry is thought provoking and honest. I love the exercises and the examples he works up from his writing assignments, very entertaining.
An insightful blog that I have come to love: Casdok's Mother of Shrek. I happened upon her blog when she commented on mine one day. I liked it so much I bookmarked it to check in on it. Though I do not comment as often as I should, I love to read it.
I regularly read a few tip blogs, in addition to the Barefoot's. One is Bradblog's Daily Rambler. This blog is about blogging and what you can do to make your blog better. The others are highlighted in my great blogs section, which is a work in progress so don't be offended if you don't see yourself there yet.
Since my first tag was really a community, I would like to say that Kathy's Well Placed Words was one of the first blogger blogs I ever commented on. Not a tag back, just a kudo. I came across her blog after I signed up with blog rush. I noticed her post, Inspiration and Memory, and needed to put in my two cents.
In exchanging with her I met Conda, Conda's Creative Center--she's the tagger who hit Kathy. Again, Conda, not a tag, just a kudo.
I read many more but I can't put them all in here, your fingers would suffer from clicking exhaustion.
December 17, 2007
I used to write very emotional prose. I felt a sense of release from spilling my heart out on paper. Now, unfortunately, a lot of my work is buried in the bottom of a filing cabinet. Silver fish and salamanders feast upon the bounty.
I do have a few relics laying about here. One is called "Night Storm," you can view it my clicking on the title. I was so proud of this one. I actually submitted it to a poetry contest. See how naive I am. I realized since that a lot of those contests are through vanity publishing companies. They are geared toward those vain enough to purchase the book just to see their work in print. I bought the book.
Back to Conda's post. I sat down this weekend and tried to fill a blank page with emotional words. Something that used to come so naturally to me has abandoned me. I am lost.
Perhaps I was trying to force it? Maybe I have too many thoughts to pin down?
For me the pros of writing emotionally would be the freedom you get from the flow of ink onto a page. The ink draws icons that represent the joy, sorrow, or pain one needs to release. The icons form phrases that make sense to the reader. The reader can show affinity to the emotion.
The cons of emotional writing could be related exactly as the pros. Adding to that, one is opening their heart and bearing their soul. What if someone stabs it?
Here's what I wrote:
I am inspired to tap my Muse on the shoulder,
She sleeps by a tree in field full of clover.
Awaken, I say softly in her ear,
She turns to me as the sleepy fog clears.
I hold out my hand to help her rise
She grasps it and lifts me up to the skies.
We soar through the clouds, free like birds
Expressing our thoughts with just the right words.
December 14, 2007
For most web publishing, you are your own editor. So, what do you do? Do what the editors do!
With regard to revision and publication, editors look at certian criteria. Here's the guideline:
- Information: Are the facts true and the sources reliable? Is the content original, authoritative, and are opinions backed up by supporting information?
- Analysis and Interpretation: Is the author's voice resonating throughout the piece, not a regurgitation of other's work? Are ideas, facts, or premises presented in an organized manner and analyzed using facts and personal input? Is the hard stuff made easy to understand? Is the article better than it's sources?
- Balance: Does the article present both sides of the story? Are the author's voice and facts discernible? Will the reader consider the article reliable through the presentation?
- Originality: Does the article give a fresh look to the subject? Does it allude to prior thoughts on a topic and surpass them?
- Appeal: Does the article grab the reader and compel him to continue to read? Does the interest maintain momentum? Does the organization flow? Are the concepts and facts presented with clarity, related to the subject, and leading to create value for the reader?
- Concreteness and Clarity: Is the article more concrete, does it have a solid foundation with real tangible ideals or is it comprised of abstract details? Does the article get to the meat of a subject? Does it encourage the reader to think about, talk about, or act on the subject?
- Color and Tone: How is the author's voice? Does it talk at or with the reader? Is it active or passive? Is the use of story, humor, contrast or irony appropriate and presented in a sincere rather than condescending manner and flows as part of the article?
- Enlightenment: Is the article educational, beneficial, and stimulating without being preachy? Does the article have that Aha factor?
- Force: Goes along with balance, does the article offer authority and persuasion without being overbearing? Will the article stand the test of time? Is it intense, logical, and touches on fads but is independent of them?
- Relevance: Is the article subject up to date or enduring? Will readers find it as an extension or reward to their interests? Challenging or opposing interests is good too, writing this way feeds controversy.
Adapted from: The Elements of Editing. By Arthur Plotnik
December 13, 2007
I have to say I logged in and set up my me page last week and didn't bother with my blog layout. I figured no one had been looking at it, I hadn't updated since last month. I was so wrong. The hits are at 6,000+.
I read through a couple of blogs but did not see many familiar faces. I decided to post a little entry anyway. I was surprised that there were a couple of lurkers that I know and they said their hello. I really miss playing around with eBay, and apparently, I'm missed too. I've decided that I need to schedule a little time for it once the holidays are passed me.
There you go. I just gave an example of exactly what I was talking about in yesterday's post on networking (or at least it applies a bit): "Keep the lines of communication open after initial meetings. In the case of networking, absence does not make the heart grow fonder, it makes it forget."
Another interesting eBay thing for me of late. I had written a few reviews and guides and posted them there. Last week I actually got a question about one of my guides asking for my recommendation for a camera (the guide was about buying a digital camera). I felt honored.
I am inspired by the paths I have laid out for my self. I am committed to keep them clear.
December 12, 2007
We've talked about networking online in the promotion section. But what about the human interface? Do you socialize? Networking is an excellent way to get your content out there. Talk to people and tell them what you do.
- Have business cards made up with your name, your site, a little abstract about your content, and contact information. Carry them with you and pass them out.
- As you progress, think business cards and a brochure.
- When you mingle, be sure to ask questions during your exchanges about what they do. Ask them for a business card or how to get in touch with them for future dealings.
- Become an active listener. Listen to what they say and ask questions. If you seem interested, they may have a bone to throw you. Always follow up on leads you are given.
- Hidden networking opportunities. Strike up conversations with total strangers you come across in computer stores, bookstores, coffee shops, even grocery stores. If you find yourself standing next to someone, who seems to be interested in the same thing you are, talk to them. You never know what door you may be opening up--a future client? Source? Associate? Maybe even a friend?
- Be active. Join clubs, groups, or take a class you have an interest in. There are networking opportunities plus informational perks.
- Utilize your instincts. If you are standing next to someone who doesn't seem open to communication, don't bother talking to them.
- Don't burn bridges. Keep the lines of communication open after initial meetings. In the case of networking, absence does not make the heart grow fonder, it makes it forget.
December 11, 2007
To cover this topic let's discuss a little about what it is to be stagnant and some of the causes that bring about the inactivity. Of course, stagnant means lack of motion, foul, or stale and is usually related to water. When it comes to content marketing, if you are stagnant, you are failing to progress, are inactive, or undeveloped.
What's your plan? You must lay out a strategy in order to progress. Constantly revamp your plan of action. If something is not working, manipulate it until it does. If you can not get your plan to work, scrap it and try something else.
Don't try to do it all. When you are marketing your content, pick where you focus your energy carefully. You do not want to be networking all of the time, as you will never get to producing content. Lack of fresh content will weaken your appeal.
Keep up with your brand (or niche). Stay on top of fresh information. Subscribe to blogs, magazines, networks, or your favorite media that updates information frequently. Doing this will keep you alerted to new data, tips, techniques, or sources. Most importantly, you must give your readers a reason to return, fresh information will help with that.
Are you interested in what you are putting out? More than likely, if you like it there are others that will too. Focusing on producing what you know will keep you interested and ready to learn everything you can to make it better.
December 9, 2007
Create a Buzz!
Great promotion is going to get your article buzzing. But, you can kick it up a notch.
- Can you tie your content to something hot that's happening in the news?
- The Holidays always generate chaos, can you link your latest to the festivities?
- Come up with something that hasn't been tapped yet, get it out there, and promote it. If it's innovative, it's sure to attract a buzz.
- Be consistent with your promotion. Produce related content on a regular basis to keep up the promotion momentum.
- Give readers a reason to come back, or refer to you, don't stagnate, be productive, and stay on top of the current trends.
- Ask an expert for help. If you can get a respected leader in the field to give you a pat on the back, you will gain some of that recognition just by association.
Some adaptation from: "The Top 7 Ways To Create Incredible Buzz For Your Business" by Christopher M. Knight
December 8, 2007
You've been writing, editing, branding, and now your content is out there; what do you do with it? Promote it! No one is going to know about it unless you do a little foot work, or I should say click work.
I've already posted some of my strategies in "Promotion: Using the Tools to Link Myself Together," but let's talk a little more about it.
- Email: A powerful tool. Think about all of the emails you get, what about the emails you send? Do you have an email signature? An email signature is a little clickable link you can pretty up, or make business like, that will bring family, friends, and associates to your articles. If you don't already have a signature, set one up. (The above 'email signature' link is for Outlook information, search email signature for other options.)
- Communities, Groups, Forums, Social Networking: Great ways to promote your content! You provide your link, a little abstract, and the readers will come. However, you have to reciprocate reading with other members.
- Comment: Comment and ye shall receive comments. This is probably the best way to gain readers. If you show interest in other people's work, they will look at yours. You should also check bradblog2's post: "Comments-Do YOU want more?"
- Link: You link to yourself and others. Share information you've researched and written through links. Not only will you be paid back for it through link backs to your stuff, you will be giving kudos to others.
- Blog: Create a blog and write about what you have written. Provide links to your specified content.
When you promote your work you are automatically creating a buzz about it. Joining communities and participating, while sharing your expertise, will help you flourish. Once people are reading your content, sharing it, and writing about it, you never know who may pick up on it--think publishers, producers, manufacturers.
December 7, 2007
Find a niche and make your information useful!
According to Wikipedia, "a niche is a focused, targetable portion (subset) of a market sector." Okay, like I said, a piece of the big picture.
In the Strategic Profits blog, the post "Jersey Boy Cracks The Code And Transforms Into A $50 Million Maven - Here’s How He Did It…" there was a discussion about niche marketing. The interview was with Gary Vaynerchuk, the wine guy, he used sunglasses as an example in developing a niche.
He basically said, for the longest time you could pick up a pair of sunglasses at a store, like Wal-Mart, and still can. Suddenly someone in the sun glass industry realized that sunglasses needed a store of their own and little kiosk and sun glass shops popped up everywhere selling special sunglasses.
Vaynerchuk did the same thing with wine. He's video blogging wine tasting, giving away his information as a "maven" (expert in the field), and gaining fame and fortune in the process.
When it comes to useful information, I can't tell you how many times I searched a subject and clicked articles that fell short. They lured me in and all I found was a sales pitch offering me the information for a small fee. Don't offer your self up as a source unless you're going to give up the goods.
I hate to say it but, I've even seen this tactic on my home site. I read an article or two that offer links to other articles that are supposed to give more information. The link would be to a site selling some "informative" ebook. Well, that's fine, if that's the way you want to play.
I don't buy ebooks. Not anymore. I bought one once and it was full of links to other "sources" where you could buy more ebooks.
Once you've found something you know, that you are interested in, and can specialize in, make it your own. Think benefit, will the content be beneficial? Learn everything you can about it and keep it up to date. If your information is useful, you will gain popularity. If you become an expert, you will be sought out.
December 6, 2007
Believe in yourself!
"Your greatest asset is you." (from: If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It: Power Thoughts, by Robert Schuller). You are the driving force. You control how you are going to live. You have the power of choice. You can make it happen.
Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seemed to go right? How did that day start? Did you crawl out of bed stub your toe, trip over the dog, and knock over the bedside table? Did you spill coffee on your shirt and have to re-vamp your outfit? Did you say to yourself, "off to a bad start today...this day is going to suck" and find that your day didn't get any better?
What you say or think to yourself, about yourself or your situation, plants a seed. What happens when you plant a seed? You fill a pot with soil, bury the seed in the dirt, water and tend to it until you get your reward--the plant. When you think negative thoughts, you plant negative seeds in your subconscious. Your subconscious takes those thoughts and internally develops a course of action to make you have a day that sucks.
If your day starts poorly, turn it around! Think positively.
Say to yourself, with a smile on your face: "I believe...
- this is going to be a beautiful day."
- good things are going to happen today."
- I am going to get that promotion, finish my project, get that contract, (or whatever you want)."
Let's dive into belief a little further. What do you want your reward to be? Write it down and make it happen. Follow the guidelines I laid out in "Personal Goal Planning-Steps to Making Your Goals a Reality." Believe in your goal, nurture it, and make it grow.
Some more quotes from Power Thoughts:
- You will never win if you never begin.
- Success without conflict is unrealistic.
- Today's accomplishments were yesterday's impossibilities.
December 5, 2007
In "Personal Goal Planning-Steps to Making Your Goals a Reality" I laid out my plan. Now it's time to act. Can I bring it to fruition? I think I'm on the right track.
There is a wealth of information out there. The who, what, where, when, and how is abundantly clear. When it comes to content marketing, here's what I have found common throughout:
Look inside of yourself and draw on your inner strength. Set your goal and make it happen!
Niches are branched segments of the tree, little pieces of the big picture. Make it something you are an interested in, learn more about it and become an expert.
If what you are providing is not beneficial, then you are dead in the water
Get people excited, be a cheerleader.
Put your content out there and keep up the momentum.
Be prolific, consistent, and up to date.
Share what you know. Participate with the community. Don't be a wall flower! Communicate, join groups, do what it takes to make yourself known. Take advantage of the tools available today, write, photograph, or video tape your information, and put it in a blog. Brand yourself and make your content accessible.
Throughout my blog there are several links to references for you to peruse, but here's the latest that I've come across:
December 4, 2007
I've been thinking about a lot with the holidays upon us. Since I started writing again, I've been in discovery mode. A discovery of myself, my life, my family, and the world as a whole. I have come across a variety of wonderful people throughout this process. For this, I am thankful.
As I learn, I want to share. What started out as just inspirations, has become revelations and then some.
This morning I read a beautiful post: "Be like a pencil" by Mother of Shrek (Casdok) She writes about being a pencil and making your mark. It made me think about myself and my mark. Right now my mark is small but strong, I have my children, my husband, my existence, and my familial bond.
My inspiration is in my journey.
December 1, 2007
The process was a two day affair. I wanted to do a few things to increase traffic to my articles. This morning I put up a blog post on myspace and I had a brainstorm.
I've started to link everything I'm doing. That's how promotion works, right? I've touched on it in my previous posts. (this one too). All of that research I've been doing is finally clicking in my brain.
Basically, If you want to gain readership you must bring it all together. Put all of your eggs into one basket, so to speak. However, I was always told not to put all my eggs into one basket. That was then, this is now.
Back to my brainstorm. I went to my blogcatalog profile and invited friends from my lists to myspace. I've already added myspace's link to the forum at Associated Content and have gained a few friends. Now I have to invite more friends.
I read other blogs, articles, and profiles and comment. Doing this has helped me, to not only learn more about others like me, to gain readership and Internet friends.
I have yet to link this blog and my me page to myspace. That I hope to get done today.
When I have it all together, I can concentrate on content. I know, I have some content here, there, and everywhere, I have to build more. Especially on the foundation: my articles.
There is a method to my madness. It's all becoming clearer the more I dive into this. Once I lay out this foundation, I will be able to branch out! Now that's inspiring.
November 28, 2007
The other day I embarked on another reciprocal reading group on Associated Content. This group brought some new writers into my list of favorites on AC. I enjoy reading and peruse many blogs and other content throughout the Internet on a semi-daily basis. Doing this gives me insight into what others are reading, writing, and interested in.
In gaining that insight, I'm more interested in honing my craft. I know on this blog I am wordy sometimes. I am trying to pare it down.
Back to the reading group. Of the articles I read most were fantastic, well written, and made me feel tingly. There were a couple that left me empty and questioning why I even clicked the title to read it. Those were free of transitional and connective words and phrases. Is that how it's supposed to be? When I read them I felt I was reading a technical guide. They lacked personality, as if a robot threw out a bunch of words and made sentences out of them.
I remember in my Creative Writing course work the professor would chant: detail, detail, detail. Now I have to work to eliminate wordy expressions and tweak my articles to no end. Edit, edit, and edit some more. I'm getting better. However, old habits die hard.
When I read I usually scan. That's something I learned from speed reading techniques and a program I took in high school. It's an effective method for reading a lot in a short amount of time. Now, don't get me wrong, I slow the pace for books, poetry, and readings that I want to get more out of or read between the lines.
I read an interesting article on how people read on the Internet. It's actually been studied and tested. We scan in an F pattern. We read the first sentence, the first words of the block in the first paragraph, and scan through for keywords or phrases that bring the content to make sense. The article is F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Web Content from Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox.
This really the basis for speed reading. With the Web, we have become a world of speed readers. Ouch! I better work on fine tuning my writing.
November 26, 2007
Changing the backgrounds for your pages is not hard at all. For my Blogger blog, as you can see, I use Pyzam. You should check them out. They have a variety of backgrounds, not only for Blogger but for many customizable sites.
One problem I have come across with Pyzam, once you upload your new template code to the custom html, you are left with having to re-do all of your widgets--it only inserts the posts, archives, and 'about me' automatically.
Here's my solution to that: I've found that if I open a blank document, copy and paste all my little widget html codes to the page (labeling each one and leaving plenty of spaces between), then I have the html all in one spot. I don't have to jump from site to site to get my codes back. I'm sure there are coders out there that will roll their eyes at that and say, "why don't you just do..." Well, I only know basic html so I can't.
For my me page I use a little different process. Check out my eBay marketing tools article to see what I do to get it that way.
Change is good! I hope you like the new page.
November 20, 2007
Tags categorize your posts. Hmmmm. So tags are "labels" on Blogger. Tags are determined by me (the poster) and not the search engine. Tags can be any word or simple phrase to describe your work.
From what I've been learning about the tag phenomenon, search engines crawl sites that have been pinged (yet another funny term, pinging occurs when your site or blog has a new entry). Certain tags are more popular and will rank higher in search engines, especially if your content has a certian percentage of keywords related to the tag. The higher your stuff is ranked, the more hits you will get, thus your popularity will increase. This is the basis of SEO.
To get an idea of popular tags visit sites like Delicious, Digg, and Technorati (there are lots of social bookmarking sites to choose from). They have a list of the most popular tags for their site. If you join the site you can get even more information and peruse the stuff that has been bookmarked.
When you hit the right tag, you are bound to gain rank. When you rank high, you will be read. When you are read, you will become popular. When you are popular, you...Well everybody knows about popularity.
Now I'm getting it. I need to write about topics that can be umbrellaed under the popular tags. Doing that should make my work at Associated Content produce higher payouts and gain popularity. Easier said than done, this tagging thing should be inspiring, I'll let you know how it goes.
Some sites I've been learning this SEO stuff from:
November 19, 2007
Last week I registered with several sites in the hope of gaining information, click throughs for my articles, and commonality. BlogCatalog was one of the sites I registered with. Today I discovered that my blog was accepted and is now officially registered with the ranks!
This morning I began looking at other BlogCatalog blogs and joining neighborhoods. I found a slew of other writing blogs. After weeding through those that are just selling their latest work or offering a product to make you a better writer (those especially tic me off), I did find some great resources.
One blog Perspectives On Writing, by Linda Jo Martin, was particularly intriguing to me. I love the layout of the blog. I went through several of her articles and found one I wanted to bookmark here for reference and reminder. Twelve Tips For Writing Better Articles offers advice on spicing up dull articles.
I don't think my articles are dull; but I'm jaded because they are my own work. That being said, I liked Ms. Martins advice especially injecting humor, personifying inanimate objects, and writing with enthusiasm.
When I think about articles that I have read, I recall those that made me laugh out loud with ease. Laughing makes you feel good. It can warm even the coldest soul. So I need to remind myself to put some laughter out there and add some humor to my work.
On personifying, I wrote a piece about my first car once. I have no idea where it is now; but I remember my professor commenting on it and reading it aloud to the class. The point of the story: my car was my best friend, my guide, he influenced me to travel on the right path. I aced the paper.
Martin's final tip is on enthusiasm. If you are not enthusiastic about it, how can you expect your reader to be? Hone in on what makes you enthusiastic about a subject and make that your topic.
On my clicking journey I found an interesting writer's resource called Writer Beware. This is a site with links to various scams out there and works to prevent writer fraud and scamming. I know this is a little off topic but I wanted to remind myself to write a real post about it, so I'm throwing it in here.
November 16, 2007
What exactly is branding? Do I have a brand? I'm not marketing anything aside from my content, can I call that a brand? When I first heard about this I thought, "what?" So I'm here to say I have read a lot about it. What I gather it's all about what you're selling. The better your brand (content) the better your sales (page views), as applied to my work at Associated Content.
From "Bringing Sexy Back: The Eight Steps to Content Marketing Bliss" by Joe Pulizzi I gathered a bit of information and applied it to my own version of branding. He lists 8 steps and from those I pulled out what I wanted to use.
While weeding though this article, I began to get discouraged because I don't target my AC articles to one group (niche). Then I thought, wait a minute, I may be targeting several audiences, some may consider that a pitfall, why not work it to my advantage. After all you are Eclectic Muse.
In step 7 Mr. Pulizzi says, "Start out with niche content and build from there." Well I can't very well do that since I don't necessarily have a niche. But I can concentrate on delivering "focused...valuable content."
There are several great ideas that can be drawn from this article. I took step 3 "invest in design" and personalized this blog to reflect the season, added personal information, and added widgets and links. I also took the strategy over to my eBay page and changed it to include links back to my articles, my blog, and a few other ventures I have taken on.
Do I understand branding? No. But I know it relates to marketing. Am I a brand? Well, I'm not yet. But I'm learning.
November 15, 2007
So we've already reviewed some keyword search tools I've learned about (here). Well, I've got a couple more for you. There are actually three and they are all on one website. The main one is a keyword search tool and there are two other tools for assistance in organizing and brainstorming. Be prepared because this is a download site. I downloaded the tools and my computer hasn't exploded yet. The site is Good Keywords. There is also a little beginner's guide to keywords ebook there to help you out if you need it.
I also found an article post that was pretty tip full: Part 4: Choosing good keywords. The website is useful for more than just keywords, and that's why I'm pooling it in. There's spidering, seo, web design, html, and a lot more. It's called Website Helpers.
Now if you want to get the skinny on what people are searching for, you should check out Google Trends and Yahoo Buzz. These two, I should really say, steer you more into article ideas but they are useful.
Applying all of this to my own stuff is just going to be a piece of cake! Right? I know, I've still got a lot to learn. But you've got to have the tools to guide you.
Knowing and doing are two different things. Some say that keywords should just come naturally. Well I've found that to be the case in some instances. But if you choose a keyword that isn't searched then you are dead in the water. If you over use it then you are spamming.
Talk about a catch 22!
November 14, 2007
I embarked on a 10 for 10. What a challenge! I had to read 10 articles, and comment on them, of each of the posters signing in for the task.
This was not as easy as it seems. As it turned out only 6 others were up for the task. I put my nose to the grind stone and read each one of those 60 articles, commented as promised, and received my returned favor page views--which boosted my totals up to where I needed to be for the next bonus.
All in all I enjoyed it. I actually learned a lot from the other producers. I also came up with an idea for an article from my reading--a bonus!
I have heard that reciprocal reading groups don't work and are not worth a drop in the bucket for what you get out of them. That may very well be, but what about the topic generation you can achieve from it? What about the promotion aspects? What about the fact that you are adding another reader to your list?
Sure it's just a matter of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." But, isn't that what makes the world go round?
November 9, 2007
I know I have periods that I don't write. In fact, I had that 10 plus year hiatus from writing while I worked a j-o-b. Now you're learning, along with me, how I'm getting back into the swing of things.
So back to writing ideas, after all it is the title of my post. I came across an article on about.com with "Creative Writing Exercises" to get your writing when you come up blank. Let's see, there's freewriting, writing secrets, picture writing, dictionary writing, and keeping an idea box. All good ways to get you writing when you're working with a tabula rasa.
Another posting I found was "Words, Words, Words: Dealing with Writer's Block," which is a blog post entry. Pretty fun way of putting all together with my favorite being the "keep writing" section. The author goes into telling you to write no matter what even if it's phrases like "tumpty-tumpty-tee." I laughed because I've thought similar stuff but never actually wrote it out.
The last option I've got for you (and me) is "Hack your way out of writer's block." Great ideas and some funny stuff like "talk to a monkey" where you should actually tell a cardboard or stuffed monkey what you're trying to say.
For those that have the time the last post, "Hack your way...", came from a site called 43 folders. Lurking about in there you can un-bury a lot of good information. I've only just started sifting through, but I think I may come up with a few more posts before I'm done.
My inspiration is seeking inspiration through others. One word or phrase can put an entire idea into motion.
November 6, 2007
Now, the blog is not necessarily geared toward writing per se; it guides you in promotion, writing content to draw in and help readers, and lots of how-to information. I subscribed because I liked the first blog entry I read about promotion. Now I am updated whenever a new post is published.
Just to lure you in too, check out this article: 35 Guaranteed Ways To Increase Your RSS Subscribers. The article offers real tips and information not just fluff. I like that even though I tend to generate a lot of fluff in my stuff.
That being said this is my personal inspiration blog. I may get fluffy every once in a while so don't mind me if I go "off topic" because that is how I am inspired.
November 5, 2007
Personally, I email my articles to friends, friends of friends, and family; I get a fair amount of page views from that. Another tactic I have been utilizing is bookmarking sites. I think in the beginning that helped a lot but it seems to have fallen off a bit. I have hit a clout of 4 and have seemed to stalemate there.
I've also been reading other writer's submissions. This is actually what I want to talk about most here. I have subscribed to several great authors and have been reading everything they submit.
I try to comment where and when I can but if I comment on every article I'll be using up my writing commenting and possibly develop carpel tunnel syndrome. I see others that show they were there by putting a !, *, ., :), or some sort of symbol. I don't particularly like that. I prefer to read up and make a comment on the last article I read. Sometimes I mention the other articles if I think about it before I hit the post button.
What do other's think about this? We are essentially trading page views. Is it offensive to just leave some sort of punctuation mark and move on?
Another author I read wrote in her profile that she does not always comment but does read everything. Perhaps that's the way to go. Then again, how do we know she read?
I think my subscribers have caught on to my methods--that I read and only comment on the top article--at least I hope they have. Those that I subscribe to should know that I get those publishing messages and usually three times a week I read their articles. I am only human. I comment as I feel urged to do so. If I have nothing to add or say I say something like "nice article!" Know that I am reading because you guys have some great stuff and it helps me to generate ideas for future articles.
Today I find myself inspired by writers wearing their hearts on their sleeves. This is something that you will have to interpret for yourself.
October 30, 2007
How does one go about joining a group? I joined the feature group because there is information there about the site and it's uses--pretty good reason. The photo group I joined because I liked the photos posted there and I wanted to post some of my novice stuff.
Today I joined the healthy lifestyle group--one of my friends is a member and I'm into living healthy, why not? As I was reading the comments, I noticed that not too many people join in discussions and the posts were all old if they did. As a matter of fact, there were a lot of groups like that.
Now, the awesome pictures group is highly active. Would that be an indicator that today people are leaning toward the visual? Are we abandoning reading? Communication? A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say, and I believe it.
The feature group is active too. A lot of people are information seekers. Learning the features of a site is worthwhile if you intend to us it properly and have it work for you.
I don't think I'll be joining a multitude of groups. I want my page to be clean and truly indicate my likes. If my friends choose to see which groups I'm a member of, they're not going to be overwhelmed.
October 29, 2007
I wish I knew the secret. Perhaps the other writers are insomniacs. That must be it. They can't sleep at night so they write all night and live on minimal sleep. They are able to store enough energy in what little sleep they do get to care for and spend quality time with the kids. Kudos to them!
October 26, 2007
In my reviews post, I wrote that I wanted to churn out 10 reviews. I only did 5. Hey 5 is better than none--as I see it the glass is half full. But I did manage to pick up another referral. So there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Both the articles I mentioned in the post did get published. One was published on an affiliate site so I have yet to see that one. I hope that I get to see it soon because the thought of another site liking something I put out there enough to buy it is compelling. The other article, "Parenting Tips: Teen Dating, Kissing, and Sex" is published on Associated Content.
I am particularly pleased with that parenting tip article. It's a little on the long side but I feel it is informative and covers teen dating issues pretty well. I want to expand on some of the issues I touched on in more detail in future articles.
As for my household goals I got those done. They took a little longer than I expected and that is why I did not get 10 reviews done.
I'm leaning more towards a social networking site than Squido. I researched a bit and found that I would need to put more into lenses than I've got time for. Perhaps I can do lenses in the future.
Funny how this is working out for me. I'm inspiring myself through my blog.
October 22, 2007
I'm wondering why some of my referrals aren't taking advantage of earning the money. Oh well I guess that just leaves more for me.
Today, beside the reviews, I have some mundane household chores to do. I also need to play catch up with comments at Associated Content. To be quite honest, all I really want to do is sleep--it's raining and I love to sleep in the rain. I guess that wouldn't be feasible with the little one anyway. I can dream though.
I submitted two more Associated Content articles over the weekend. I hope they both are published before Friday. I want to write at least two more articles before week is up--we'll see how that goes.
I've been thinking about starting some lenses with Squido. But, isn't that basically what I've been doing here? I'll have to look into it a bit more, I don't want to spread myself too thin.
Today I'm inspired by the thought of a rainy dream.
October 18, 2007
The feedburner seems to be working all right otherwise. I actually think it's cool. I can see what kind of traffic I'm getting on my articles and my cp page.
I can't get the email signature widget to work. That's too bad. I did manage to work around it though and picked up a signature with a link to the cp page. That worked out pretty well and should increase my traffic.
I'm gonna have to figure out the feedburner thing. As of right now I can't even get access to my RSS (atom) for my blogger posts. I'll be working on this today for sure.
Update: I fixed the atom problem. I changed the rss to say "subscribe to my AC page." I hope that's enough and won't be confusing. Now I need to figure out how to burn the atom for my blog to feedburner to use all of the nifty feedburner tools here.
October 17, 2007
- Writing for the Web
- Writing Well for the Web
- Web Writing for Many Interest Levels
- Alertbox: Current Issues in Web Usability (this is from the same site as the first article, lots of great information.)
Writing is of course re-writing. Edit, edit, edit! I cannot believe that some content producers churn out 10 or more articles a day. I'm lucky to do one. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I go over my articles too much with too much scrutiny.
I would like to leave it as it sits sometimes, just close the browser and move on. But I'm not like that. I can't just "let a sleeping dog lay," I have to edit. Some readers may not like my style, and that's okay, but I'm progressing. I will work on this until I have it because I am determined--that is my inspiration.
October 12, 2007
After a great deal of frustration, coffee, and hair pulling, I finally decided to restore. That did the trick. Okay that must be obvious because I am posting.
Earlier in the week I had some issues with the next blog feature. I only started blogging recently and I had never noticed the button. I clicked and to my surprise porn stared me in the face.
Don't get me wrong. I am not a prude. I tried to get out, as I have two kids and I don't want them to see that kind of stuff; I could not next blog, flag, or return to my dashboard because their navbar was not there. The back button would not work and only refreshed the page. I finally clicked the home button to my home page.
I did a bit of looking around and found how to disable my navbar. I learned how, did it, and a fellow Associated Content writer told me doing that may be against the Blogger TOS. I put the bar back up because it is.
Now I know there are a lot of people who like porn. I don't care either way. I just don't want my children, my reader's children, or any reader's who might be offended to be subjected to it if they don't want to be.
Today I will be looking more into this navbar situation, TOS, and something about FTP servers and not having the navbar if you are on an FTP. I have found that I rather enjoy this blog and I want to continue to use it; however I can't share it if the risk of viewing porn rears it's head when you hit next blog.
October 10, 2007
When ever you are faced with opposition you should counteract not react. I'm glad I have this blog for the reacting part. Murphy's law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or something to that effect.
I should have re-framed the article I posted for PVs only a couple of weeks ago. Well, I've since learned that there are ways around the system. I don't want to beat the system. I just want to get my just dessert. I want to have my cake and eat it too!
I'm finding that writing is coming a bit easier for me. Not that I can crank out 30 articles a day like some; but I can write more concisely in a shorter time frame, opposed to the first articles I published.
Today's inspiration: give them what they want and you will be rewarded.
October 9, 2007
I really have been working hard at trimming up my article submissions to be more tight, include more keywords for SEO, and write about subjects I think will be around for the long haul. That seems to be what the Associated Content content managers/editors say they are looking for. But as with everything else, it's all pretty vague though when it comes to what they want, what they take, and what they pay for. One minute you hear they want this, but what they are really looking for is that. Isn't that a little tit for tat?
As far as promotion, I have been reading and commenting on other producer's work. That has been of some benefit. I set up accounts with stumble upon, digg, and delicious. Which I believe is helping somewhat.
I was reading an article on self promotion and it suggested Myspace. I had been hoping to avoid signing up to yet another site, but you gotta do what you gotta do. So I guess I'll have to take my non-techno self over there to learn how to set up a page.
I'm still learning how to link things here. Yikes my brain hurts.
Well, my motto is learn something new every day. How about upgrading that thought to ten something news every day.
October 5, 2007
I even went as far as getting an SEO ebook. It was all Greek to me.
So what I have decided to do is take my written articles, put them on TagCrowd, and develop a title from the keywords I generate. Sounds simple enough, but applying it is for not.
Update on the butterfly book I talked about in my Rejection post. I changed the title again. Now it's Butterflies: Apollo to Zephyr Metalmark. Why? Because the editor program in the titles on Associated Content would not let me use the capital letter "A" in the title. I searched the new title and found that I may fair better with it anyway. We shall see.
I guess that is what the keyword thing is all about. That kind of search: to hone in on the words that are going to get the most hits in the search engines.
I'm sure this will not be the last time I talk about it. Stay tuned.
Today's inspiration finding the right title.
October 4, 2007
I took that information and reworded two other article titles. Those were not reviews though. I've been learning so much about key-wording, writing, editing, and developing topics. Writing is re-writing. That's what they say.
Reading the Associated Content forums has been a vast resource of knowledge for me. I've only made a few posts but I lurk a lot. When I got the rejection, I decided to hit the forum to find some insight. I found that they don't necessarily pay for book reviews. When they do the review must be of a non-fiction work. Okay my review was non-fiction--The Butterfly Alphabet. Linking letters to butterflies and acquiring facts through reading and association. That's non-fiction, it's based on facts.
I changed the review title to omit the word review and made it just "Butterflies A to Z," which is more SEO friendly. I also put some stuff in the subtitle to beef it up. I hope it works.
My inspiration for today would be finding acceptance through rejection, but I don't know if I've been accepted yet. So I'm looking at the rejection as a learning curve for now. It's guiding me in the direction I need to turn my writing towards.
October 1, 2007
Now, I know he did not mean to hurt my feelings but in a small way he did. Sure, some of the spark plugs were difficult to retrieve and we had to spend some time locating a wire clip that fell out of sight. Overall it was a great time for me.
Maybe I'm hypersensitive. Perhaps the fact that I was only a helper, not a worker, and did not comprehend the frustration he was having, got me that sarcastic response. Who knows?
Next time I'm not going to say anything. I'll just help silently.
Another thought I've been mulling over, and mentioned to him, was adding another site to write for. He thinks I should just concentrate on one (Associated Content). That's fine except I want to broaden my scope. I think adding the site I've been looking at will help me increase my knowledge base and help me generate ideas for articles. We'll see. It's not like I have to ask him for permission; I just like to share my findings with him--especially when they spark my interest and pad the piggy bank.
Working at home is work. I thought way back that it would be something like what you see in cartoon clips--the lady sitting in front of the computer with pink fuzzy slippers and a bath robe or the man in boxers and an unshaven face. The caption reading: just another day at the office, casual Friday everyday!
I've done more reading and research since I've started this than I ever did in college. It will pay off in the long run; I know it will. Things are slowly starting to come together. Ideas pop in my head like popcorn. Right now I've started writing the ideas in a notebook for future research, writing, or inspiration. I wish I had more time in the day to get in more writing, but I have to tend to the house and little one.
I found a great way to gain inspiration: Stumbleupon. Very interesting site. You can "stumble" web sites, rate them and bookmark them, or stumble your own stuff for other stumblers to see. Here's my pages.
September 28, 2007
September 27, 2007
Given all that I may have to just post here on a weekly basis until I can get all my ducks in a row.
Learning html has been going on for a while for me. I started to learn bits and pieces way back in time. I actually bought books on the subject. It really comes in handy now because of all this widget stuff. Adding those things everywhere and making sure everything is as it should be is not as easy as it seems.
The writing is rather slow going right now. I've been doing a lot of research and promotion. The promotion seems to be working on what I have published so far, which is good. The research is slow. There is so much information. I don't want to make mistakes. I already made one in my work and I don't want to make any more.
Funny thing about that mistake, it's something I know, knew, and have known for a long, long, long time. I'm just calling it a brain fart for now. I don't know if I want to bother the editor and ask that it be changed. I already admitted to the error on the article in the comments, so I may just leave well enough alone and try not to bring any more attention to it. Maybe I'll do something like the magazines do and publish an apology to the parties involved. We shall see.
I find my inspiration in the fact that everybody makes mistakes, it's human nature. Just admit it and move on.
September 18, 2007
Our Ranger is finally back on the road. It's been in the garage for over a year. It all started when the timing belt broke. Since we had two other cars the repair got put on the back burner. When the transmission on the F250 broke, the Ranger's work began. A bit of luck there, it went back together with out a hitch.
The F250 should be home tomorrow and will cost a pretty penny. When it comes back, we expect that we've had our share of broke cars and shall go for a while without incident. The Subaru will have to sit for a bit since it seems to be the transmission on that one too. No way we can afford another transmission at this time. We may just sell that car for parts or repair, only time will tell.
The best bit was the warranty on the sub woofer. To replace it would be $200 plus, and that's on the cheap end. I don't know if all the manufacturers offer that warranty, but given that information, I will now recommend JBL to everyone.
September 11, 2007
It seem lately that our luck with automobiles has taken a turn for the worst. I remember when I got my first car. Thinking about it leaves me with warm fuzzies. It never left me stranded. If it broke, it was something simple like a clutch, rotor, or an injector. I loved that car--if you can love an inanimate object as such.
I still have that car but it doesn't run anymore. 300,000 plus miles on it and a broken windshield. Okay maybe there are a few other minor things wrong. It sits in my sister's driveway as we speak. I've often dreamed of restoring it. I'm sure that a few minor fixes and it would be as good as new.
You see, it is a 280 zx. The 1981 model--the best model ever put out. The last time it was driven all that had to be done was to charge the battery a bit. Sure it spit an sputtered as it choked in the little bit of rust laden fuel it had in it. But it ran and drove. Now that's a car!
I often consider the restoration project. I alone because no one else wants to tackle the project with me. Well, I am the one with the sentimental value attached.
I am inspired by a restoration dream. Reliving my fond memories of cruising around in that car, the stereo blasting and the wheels spinning, what a beautiful dream.
September 10, 2007
It reminded me of my high school days. There were a few boys that suffered injuries. One was left with permanent problems.
Over the weekend I decided to pull out my high school yearbooks. I looked at everything that was written and scoured through the familiar faces. I haven't seen the majority of my old friends since the year after graduation. I almost wanted to pick up the phone to call some of them, but given that it was after 1:00am I opted not--been there before and I've since learned not to make phone calls after 10:00pm.
Have you ever been over come by nostalgia? It can be very inspiring.
September 6, 2007
The kids will be up soon. Once the oldest goes off to school, the youngest and I will be busy practicing coloring. We've been working on staying inside the lines. I know it will take a while, but practice makes perfect.
We watched the Power of 10 for the first time last night. I didn't like it much. How can you guess percentages if you don't know the surveyed people. One of the estimations was about the percentage of Americans that would tell their children when they started having sex. The result was an extremely high percentage would disclose the information. I did not agree. Who were the people on the survey panel? What were the ages? How about some demographics? A lot of the percentages would depend on who you were surveying. I got just about all the percentages wrong. Maybe it's just me.
My inspiration today is found in the pre-dawn sky.
September 5, 2007
We watched the movie and I found it to be quite inspiring. I had never thought of Dale that way. I'm a fan of Mark Martin and my husband likes Jeff Gordon. I enjoyed seeing the clips from various races, all of the interviews, and the segments of Dale himself speaking about his life while he fished his pond.
At the end of the movie I felt the loss that many of his fans probably experienced. I felt very sorry for Dale Jr., his older brother Kerry, and his sister Kelly. They didn't get the family time that their youngest sister had. Dale Sr. had been building his career when the oldest kids were growing up; so much of his time was spent doing business.
There was a lot of mention alluded to Dale being a hero. Was he a hero? To many I'm sure he was. My take is that he was a down to earth guy with ambition. He did all he could to succeed. Even though he supported his family, ensured that there was a roof over everyone's head, and he wanted his kids to be around; family time seemed to be put on the back burner. I guess that bothers me.
I'm very family oriented. If I had to choose between success and family, family would win. That would be the only success I need. Perhaps that's the woman in me. Women are seemingly bred to sustain a family. Men support it. It could be that his first two wives couldn't handle that pressure.
If your interested in seeing the movie it airs again tonight on CMT, 8/7c. Perhaps you will find some inspiration in it as I did.
September 4, 2007
We like to take the girls to the lake and tool around on the water. Usually we bring a picnic lunch, snacks, and lots of drinks. We find a spot in the center of the lake and stop to eat. We don't have to anchor or tie to anything, we just drift. Sometimes we fish while we dine but for the most part we just people watch.
It's fun to watch others skiing, tubing, or trying their hand at the boogie board. We have a large tube called Big Bertha. Sometimes we tow it around to get a few laughs at ourselves; but mostly we like to watch others and just swim around the boat when we need to cool off.
You can spend hours floating on the water. There's something cleansing about it. I feel that sharing that kind of family time is showing our girls that there is more to life than TV, video games, and computers. We're filling their memory banks with valuable information.
I'm inspired to do more, share more, be more.
September 1, 2007
When you're spending time with family and there is unfinished business to attend to what do you do? Personally I put it on the back burner and enjoy my family.
Today I have to go grocery shopping. This is a chore I despise. The store is always crowded, people are inconsiderate, and it gives me a headache. I've been putting it off this morning because I was enjoying playing with the little one. Family time is more important.
My husband keeps asking if I'm ready to go. I say, "in a minute." I log on to the computer and start working on this entry and I hear him grumbling. Oh well, I'm stealing time.
I am definitely not inspired by shopping, but I may be inspired if I come across one gesture of kindness while I'm there. If I do, I'll write it down because it will be a first.
August 31, 2007
The little one will be going to school in two years. Since I've gotten a taste of what it's like to be home, I don't want to go back to the daily grind. As kids grow they get more expensive. One income just doesn't cut it.
So, what do I do? I've been selling on eBay. I've started writing for Associated Content. I've signed up to be one of those blog advertisers. I've been looking into blogging for money and freelancing. So far it's working!
I'm working on working at home. I am inspired to succeed!
August 30, 2007
It's amazing to watch kids play and to interact with them. They have so much energy and their imaginations are wild. Did you know that you can build a whole world out of play-doh? Well, you can!
According to the little one, it's quite easy to do. First, you roll little balls of the dough, flatten them, and stack them on top of each other--those are the buildings, cut in half they're cars or boats, and circles alone are ponds. Then you make little snakes, cut them in segments, and stand them on end--depending on how you work it, those can be people, trees, or roads. Once you have your world finished you smash it all up and start all over again. We can do this for hours, or until she loses interest.
As we play I wonder, "why did I buy all the molds and stuff to go with the play-doh?" My question is answered when they hit the floor: they bounce really well, spin around, and make funny noises. Ah to be little once more.
I am inspired my her imagination, because of this, I must feed it.
You may ask yourself, "what does this have to do with ideas for writing?" Use your imagination!
August 29, 2007
I now find myself inspired to write more. This morning, while taking the dog out for her morning sabbatical, I looked back at the house. Above the roof I could see the moon, full in all of her glory. The sky was still slightly dark with the sunrise only beginning to emerge. I felt a sense of peace all around me.
The inspiration I find today is in the beauty of life. What a beautiful world we live in. Relish in it and don't let negativity take you down.
August 28, 2007
Today I remembered my Google account and password. Talk about inspiration. When I found this, and it was asking for the information, I almost drew a blank. I really wanted to create a blog here and BOOM it hit me. From this I learned that my memory is not all that bad, I just have to remember how to access it.
Now I must continue on reading through the site so I can learn how to use it properly.
Hopefully, I will have more later.