His Body was Never Found…

I started reading a post about someone else, a woman who married a man younger than herself. Later he visited Asia and…. his body was never found.

Stories like that are creepy and creepier when it isn’t fiction. Whatever happened to…

Well, what did happen to the man (or woman) in the story of your own invention? Create a character and a back story then end it with “his body was never found”. But because it’s fiction and your own story you can slip in the details, discovered via time machine far in the future, about what really did happen to poor, old…. what’s-his-name.

Image source: Theos Casimir Bernard – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Get Inspired by an Urban Legend

Doesn’t this image make you wonder what this is? What is the story behind it? Where did it come from? Who drew it? Does it have a name you can pronounce?

You can find out the facts (as known) from the link below or… create your own story for this bird, turtle, frog… creature.

Source: Urban Legends From All Around The World | Collex.io

Photography Replaces Writing

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This was my Twitter post today. What do you think? Will written content lose it’s place to photography? I think it already has.

Most people want to get news and information in seconds. The image with a story, is the story. Writers post images to illustrate the story, or a point in the story, or just to add something visual. Photographers, capture the story in an image. Of course, the image can’t give all the information. However, people see the image and decide they know the entire story.

They might read photo’s caption, if there is one. They might read at the headline, once or twice. Headlines are easy to find in the content, easy to read too.

Headlines and subtitles can give some detail but they weren’t written to tell the whole story. These days the snippets of written content might be all anyone reads to form their opinion and decide what the writer/ journalist was communicating.

The Internet is changing how we read, how we gather information and how we evaluate what we find. Details get missed. Assumptions are made and stuck with religiously. Kind of like the Emperor’s Clothes. If everyone says so it must be true. We don’t have time to gather facts and come up with our own opinion. It’s easier to take up the popular opinion and defend it as truth because if it’s wrong… we might look stupid.

So much is changing. Writers need to become photographers or image makers if they want their content skimmed/ read at all.

Flower Frogs?

Some things just make you wonder how they came up with that name. Frogs used to pose flower arrangements… did someone use an actual frog at one time? Before someone else thought to create one from wire, glass or something other than the body of an actual frog? I know, it’s icky. But someone (other than myself) has to think of these things. Source: Vintage Treasure: Flower Frogs | Inherited Values

Note: This image comes from the original post at Flea Market Gardening (Thanks to my Mom for sending the link).

Selling Ad Space with WordPress Plugins

The goal was to find a WordPress plugin which would let me sell ad space on my site, paid ads through PayPal.

Although I did not find one plugin which accomplishes everything… I do have some reviews for you.

The Easy Ad Plugins

Two very simple plugins which worked were WP125 and WPX Affiliate Manager. Both of these were simple to set up and you could have ads in your sidebar within an hour. (Your own ads or those of friends are good to start with). Both of these use ads which are 125 x 125 images and a link to the site. WP125 gives you more features and choices such as setting ads to display randomly or in order. Neither of these has anything to do with PayPal. But, almost none of the plugins I have reviewed here included getting payments.

Note: I used WP125 several months on one site. So of all these, it is the most well tested and the one I would rate my second favourite. One thing I especially like about WP125 is that I can upload images directly rather than typing in a link to the file I manually uploaded into the Media Library, or elsewhere.

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The Other Three

I tested all these next three but did not keep them around long. Simple Ads Manager loaded with an error message so I deactivated it without any testing. MyAdManager says it works with PayPal, but I didn’t get that far in the testing of it. Meks Easy Ads Widget was interesting but the settings are all in the widget, not in the admin. So, I didn’t see how I could keep track of the ads and how they were doing on my site.

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The One I Kept…

datafeedr ads pluginThe plugin I have switched to from WP125 is Datafeedr (Ads by Datafeedr.com).

First, it is not a plugin you need to sign up for their service to use. That is one of the things I don’t like to do. I’d rather keep as much as I can at my own site and avoid relying on another site to still be there.

Another good thing about Datafeedr are the support videos. Need some help figuring out the set up? There are several video tutorials to help you get started and go from there.

Datafeeder lets you choose text ads or image ads. You can choose sizes, add code, pretty much anything – because you add the code and the image into WordPress just like making a blog post. Simple. Don’t forget to add the link along with the image when you upload it to the Media Library. Text ads can be bolded, linked, etc.

When you add new ads you can sort them into groups. This makes it much easier to find your images again to update or delete them when the ad expires. You can set ads to expire at a specific date or limit them to a number of impressions before they expire. Or, set no limits at all, just a start date if you don’t want the ad to expire.

Choose to place your ads in the sidebar or footer widgets but you can also place them in your posts or pages too. Just add the automatically generated shortcode to widgets or posts. Choose which ads and how many you want to be included.

The only thing missing for me is the ability to accept payments for the ad space. But, I will look into that next. For now I’m the only one with ads on my sites. My next project in running ads will be to set up ads for other sites (free ads for friends). After that I can tackle the finer points of seeking paying ads.

Time to Retire an Act of God

act-of-god1Where do acts of God belong in the current world? Why does insurance still use an act of God as an excuse to cover claims? Insurance, often referred to as God-forsaken, Godless and so on. Yet, they expect us to believe they have faith in God (when it comes to financial matters).

Should insurance still be allowed to use this antique phrase? Can they prove anything is an act of God? Do they all go to Christian churches every Sunday? Do they all have WWJD bumper stickers? I doubt they are all living such pious lives.

It seems time to retire “an act of God”. They can at least come up with a better excuse for not covering their policy holders.

Source of definition (and image): US Adult Literacy: Idiom of the Week:

Meaning: when something happens (usually an accident) and no human is responsible; often an act of nature.

A Better Display of Categories

I often get ideas from seeing things on other sites. This time I had two great ideas from How to Write it Better.

First, this idea for showcasing my categories. Instead of the standard flat intdex… why not promote them to the reader this way? On this site it’s posted as an image file and not linking to the categories. But, it could be done with HTML and links. Not difficult and yet very smart. I’m adding it to my to-do list!

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The other thing I like is the post for her email list. Fairly standard really but reading it sparked an idea for me. I content curate offsite, for Scoop.it mainly. But, I don’t really do much with that feed beyond adding a widget in my footer. Instead I could promote it as a source for fresh, daily information. I don’t want to get into newsletters and email lists again. Email seems to be a dead horse. However… why not push my curated feeds this way? I keep them active (if not daily, at least a few times a week). howtowritebetter2

Source: HowToWriteBetter.net | how to write better | Everything you need for great results, whatever you write

So today I found two great ideas from one blog I happened to read a post from today. Pretty nice.

Long Ago in Another Blogging Life

I looked myself up on the Wayback Machine.  I wish I could remember the links of my old Blogger accounts and find them there too.  One I wrote during the divorce and then deleted at some point. It would be interesting to read all of that again so many years later.

Here is an old header image I had in another blogging life.

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