Category Archives: Blogging

Blogging Step Seven – Staying Motivated

Seems it’s been a little while since I wrote my last “blogging step”. Of course, if you want to see the other steps you can click on the blogging tips at the top of this blog, one of the special pages I created to highlight when I write about blogging specifically.

In this case, it’s the topic of staying motivated. The one thing I hate seeing is a blog that was going along fine and suddenly there’s no more posts, or else a post once a week, once a month, etc. Actually, I don’t have a problem with those folks who only post once a week, but anything less frequent almost begs the question why you’re bothering.

There are usually 3 main reasons why people stop writing a blog:

1), they can’t think of what to say

2), they’re not getting much feedback and thus are discouraged

3), they’re tired

Let’s take this last one first. There are some people who have written for years, and they’re just plum tuckered out. I have that feeling every once in awhile. Maybe this blog is only about to celebrate its 3rd anniversary, but my other blog is more than 5 years old. I still have plenty to say, but you know, there are times when my mind just feels really tired. Some big time bloggers quit in 2010, though I can’t recall any names as I’m writing this. They announced it, then moved on. There’s really nothing to do with those folks except thank them for their service and try to move into their slot.

The next two are workable, though. Let’s start with not being able to think of what to say. To me, every day there’s a new topic of something to talk about. But this isn’t a niche blog. I’ve often cautioned people not to make their niche so finite that they have nothing to talk about anymore. Dead blogs are embarrassing, and blogs that only have a post every 3 to 6 months aren’t worth anyone’s time.

Almost any topic lends itself to something else one can write about. Almost, that is. Early this year I was writing a blog for a chiropractor in another state. I knew that if we stuck with just that I’d be out of topics within a week. That’s a topic where it probably takes a chiropractor to find new things to talk about that keeps it fresh. However, what I was allowed to do was write about controversial medical subjects as well as maladies people suffer that could be addressed by a chiropractor. This opened the world to many possibilities and I wrote about things that I’d heard about but never had a reason to research before. It was pretty fun, and it’s too bad it only lasted 3 months.

Also, there are no real rules in length of posts, and nothing saying you can’t divide a long post into two posts and link them to each other, which I’ve done with other blogs on occasion. No one is going to beat you up for that; it’s all about figuring out ways to be creative, both for yourself and for others. If you feel something, you’ll be able to express it and show it, and your readers will feel it as well.

Now, this brings us to the last point, which is getting feedback. You folks who visit here hear this over and over; blogging is a community. This isn’t Field of Dreams; if you build it, they’re not just going to come. We all need to show others that we care about them as much as we hope they care about us. Yes, blogging takes time, but it doesn’t necessarily take work.

It’s not work if you’re visiting blogs that offer something you’re interested in. There are wonderful writers out there writing on your topic, as well as off topics you might not have considered before. If you need to find blogs on your topic, go to Google, click on “more”, go down to blogs, type in your topic and you’re good to go.

Or join a blogging community of some sort to find blogs to read. I belong to both BloggerLuv and P50 Allied Bloggers. Not that I needed to join a community but it was both a fun thing to do and a way to expose my blog to some people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

And, by the way, let me dispel this old saw you’ve probably heard. Just because a blog might not have any comments or no indication that it’s not well visited doesn’t mean it has no value to you. Every blog you want to comment on has value of some kind. One good comment can earn many more in return. You might even get someone to write a post thanking you for being one of their early commenters.

Remember, everything you see or do is a potential blog post, possibly on your main blog topic. Just be alert and willing to see things as a story unfolding before your eyes. And work on engaging with others; we all love that.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home






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W3 Total Cache

One day last week my blog finally crossed the top 100,000 mark per Alexa. Since I write these posts in advance, I’m not sure what it’s sitting at today, but the day after reaching that one goal it was back over 100,000 the next day; c’est la vie.


Cache Valley Sunset
by Jared Smith

Anyway, one of the things it had evaluated my site on was its loading speed, and it said my speed was less than 90% of the websites out there. Now I’m debating that one, but I do know that images can make a site load slower, as well as javascript things. So, based on a recommendation that was retweeted in a post from Kristi, I decided to try another one of these WordPress plugins to see if it would speed my site up some.

A long time ago I’d tried WP Super Cache and had nothing but problems from it, so I didn’t want to go that route again. This time I decided to try W3 Total Cache, the recommended plugin. As with all WordPress plugins, it was easy to load and activate; after that, well, easy isn’t part of the deal.

I’ll get this out of the way first; the plugin has yet to speed my blog up. I’m not going to say it’s loading slower, but I’m not seeing close the the type of results I thought I would. But I’m not sure why, and that’s my issue.

Like many other plugins, it comes with all these options of things you can do, but without any explanations of what all this stuff actually means. If you follow the link to the plugin site, you’ll see it lists all this stuff that the plugin can do; it doesn’t tell you what any of it means, or whether you should activate this or that and what the stuff that’s already checked means. I don’t consider myself a dumb guy, but sometimes this stuff is really confusing, and if it’s busting my brain then what’s it supposed to do to someone who knows nothing about technology?

I’m probably going to run it another week, and if it improves then I’ll be happy. If not, then I don’t see the point in keeping it around. Has anyone else worked with this and had really great results?

Follow up: a representative of the plugin saw this post on Twitter and sen me this link to another blog for instructions.

Juniper AX411 IEEE 802.11n (draft) Wireless Access Point - 300 Mbps

Juniper 802.11n Wireless Access Point – 300 Mbps






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Showing Your Blog Or Website Feeds Elsewhere

Just asking, but how many of you have noticed to the lower right of this blog that I’m running feeds of my other blogs here? They’re both listed under the heading “Other Blogs Latest Posts”; I’m such a wordsmith. lol

Once you have a Feedburner account, not only can you track how many people subscribe to your feed, but you can take your feed and pop it elsewhere, as I’ve done here. I also have feeds from this blog going to my other websites, and vice versa. It gives me the chance to spread myself around to many places and, hopefully, get people to see what I’m writing and visit my blogs.

If you’d like to know how to do this, I’m going to tell you; otherwise, why bring it up, right? You go into your Feedburner account, then click on the tab that says Publicize. Once there, click on the link to the left that says Buzz Boost.

Once you’re in there you’ll see there’s code already set that you can copy. But what fun is that when you can customize it a little bit by answering some questions below it? Just ignore the first thing unless you have one of those accounts, in which case you can make your selection, click on it, and you’ll get something different.

For everyone else you can decide how many feeds you want to show, whether you want it opening up in a new window if someone clicks on it (choose “yes”; trust me on this one), give it a title, and all other sorts of choices. Click save after you’ve made your choices, go back up to the top, copy your code and you’re good to go.

Now, some of you are going to ask me “where do I put this code?” If you’re on WordPress, the best way to display this code is to pop it into a text widget, which is under the Appearance menu of you admin panel. Just drag it into whichever sidebar you want to use, pop the code in there, save and you’re done.

If you’re not on WordPress, and you’re putting it into your website, well, I make an assumption you already know how to do it, but if you don’t, you’d probably best ask someone who’s got HTML knowledge to place it for you. It’s not difficult if you know what you’re doing, but I’d hate to be the one to have you messing up your website because you didn’t understand where I was telling you to put stuff.

I hope that helps some; it’s pretty neat if you ask me.

Juniper Bonsai Tree

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Is This Scraping?

Something new has been added to people borrowing one’s content for other purposes. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it, and thus I thought I’d put it out here for y’all and ask what you think about it.


Scraping Snow
by Erica Blasdel

On my business blog, where I talk about all topics associated with the different things I do in consulting except technology, I wrote a post titled The Quick Way To Organize? Get A Box! It was a recommendation for a way to clean up your space and then decide what you want to do with everything that was in that space, one piece at a time.

Hours later I noticed a trackback in my spam filter and decided to check it out. I always do that because if it’s a legitimate trackback I’ll let it sit as a comment on my post. What I found was that it linked to a blog that had the first paragraph of my post, most of it anyway, then had a product listed that the site is trying to push. Here’s that link. “nofollowed” of course. If you check it out, the product is on topic with what I wrote. And there’s a little line underneath saying “Full reference (Copyright acknowledge)”, linking back to my original post.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. I mean, I can’t fully say my content was stolen since the site didn’t even use all of my post. It does give my kind of an attribution in linking back to my original post. Yet it’s using me indirectly to market a product, although the product, in some fashion, is about what my post was about, kind of like “borrowed” content.

So, do I view it as a free backlink, or as a piggyback onto my content to push it’s own product, like scraping? I really don’t know. I will say this, however. Because it’s different I’m not going to file a DMCA notice, and I’m not going to contact the person and ask them to remove it. This isn’t an endorsement; obviously I don’t know anything about the book, and it could be a good book. This is one of those slippery slope questions that might be personal choice, or there might only be one correct answer; I’m just not sure.

The questions goes to you; is this scraping, is it legit, how would you feel if it were you and would you do it?

America The Beautiful Pictorial Afghan Throw 50″ x 60″


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Easy Admin Color Schemes

Anyone with a WordPress blog knows that when you’re in the administrative area you have that one basic color, that color being gray. With one of my administrative tips, I showed you how you can go into the Users area and change the color to blue if you prefer.

For someone like me, that’s still pretty boring. I like changing things up a bit more than that, and don’t always like having to stick to the colors a program is offering me. I’ve shown you what I did to some of the websites I visit with Stylish and Firefox in the past.

I decided to search for something that would allow me to make changes to the colors, and I came across a plugin called Easy Admin Color Schemes. It was highly rated by many other users, and it seemed to be the way to go.

Once you load it, you go into the settings of the plugin through your plugin area and it comes up with a menu with lots of different things you can do. There are 4 initial choices at the top, and I decided to go with the last one, which is kind of red. The picture you see above is a screen print of what my Admin area looks like now. This works for me, but of course I did have to experiment some before coming back to it.

You’ll see you have two choices for other color alterations you can do. You can create your own, which is what I did to play around some, or you can import other color schemes. The thing about a scheme is that all the colors will be somewhat similar, which isn’t a bad thing, based on what I went with. However, you might want to diversify things a bit, and if that’s what you want then creating your own scheme makes sense. I’ll probably end up doing that one of these days.

I’m not sure if you notice it from the picture, but I love how it’s highlighting all the different areas better than either the gray or blue were doing. Being able to see everything easier works for me. Colorizing things makes it fun as well. I’m such a big kid. 🙂

Crayola Crayola Multicultural Colored Woodcase Pencils






 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2011 Mitch Mitchell