Writer Communities on BlogFrog

There are too many social networks, online forums and so on. But, it is still a good thing to find an online community you can really take part in. One way to sort through all of them is to pick them by topic. Don’t join anything too general. You are less likely to find like minded souls, people who will give you advice when you need it or fresh readers for your own blog/ site.

I had found BlogFrog awhile ago but didn’t end up doing much there. It blended in with other generic or topical communities and I was already a member of several online communities through Ning. Now, Ning is not much use to me. They changed from being a free resource and lost many of the communities they once had. BlogFrog seems to have enough communities (active) to be given another look now. Plus, I see several other blogs I read do use BlogFrog.

So, in my search for niches for myself on BlogFrog I found communities for writers. I don’t recommend any as I have only had a quick look. It will be up to yourself to decide if you want to join and become an active member. These seem active but people who run online communities find it a lonely business and give up when they don’t get enough members who post and help make and keep it an active community.

Crazy Lady with a Pen Community

A Closet Writer

Writers Helping Writers

Red Lipstick Journals Community

Is Your Ad in the Wrong Place?

You know what your blog is about, the theme/ topic you write about, the niche you stick to. Think about who you are writing for/ to (your readership). Your readers are looking for niche/ topical content when they come to your site. Do the ads on your site fit in?

Turn that around, consider the sites you run ads on or exchange links with. Do you run ads based on traffic and stats alone? Are you wasting your time and resources looking for readers in the wrong places?

Will the people who read that site see your ad and be interested in visiting you? What does your site have in common with the site your ad appears on?

You don’t have to stick to sites in your same genre or niche. However, running ads too far out of your niche like sports, financial or political sites if your site is about creative arts, selling your crafts, isn’t as effective as choosing other creative sites. Instead of a football fan site, try sites by writers, photographers or knitters. Look for inspirational or coaching sites if you write in a creative niche. People who create are always in search of fresh inspiration. Look for sites about using resources, saving money and being green in profitable ways if you run a site about business and related topics.

The site your ad runs in should compliment the niche of your own site. A blanket ad campaign will find some readers for you but you could run the same ad campaign with some focus on where they appear and get results focused on what you actually have to offer.

How Do you Find your Courage?

Maybe one of the worst things about looking for work is having to assess yourself over and over again. The longer it takes to find work, the more you have to look at yourself and the more likely you are to find yourself lacking as your lack of success in finding work seems to confirm. It is a cycle and not a nice one.

I am writing out an assessment of my employment history and my search for employment tonight. It is not fun. I think I would rather bungee jump off a very tall building and risk going splat at the end. But, here I am. We all have to do these happy little things now and then.

How do you figure out your own pros and cons? More than that, how do you do that without feeling like you want to crawl under a rock and hide from the world?

“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
“Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons”.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pretty Simple Site Promotion Ignored

It bugs me when I go to a business or charity type of site and find they have nothing extra to offer me. Not only is it harder and harder to find a real way of contacting anyone online but they are often really skimpy on content too. What are they saving it for? Why not use the free promotion opportunities right in front of them?

Charities or campaigns such as breast cancer, saving the whale or keeping the Internet free should have something I can stick on my own site as a link back. I like having some kind of graphic and if that is included in prepared HTML code for me I can scoop it right up and paste it into my site’s HTML. Simple and sweet and don’t they want linkbacks anyway?

Businesses create lovely packaging for their products and you go to the website to see what else they have, where are other stores located and can you get some of that wonderful art as wallpaper/ background for your own site? Businesses should make this available as most people will recognize the design and notice the referral to the company placed at the bottom corner of the wallpaper. Why don’t they share it this way? Or offer us something else? It’s free promotion for them. So much thought and energy is put into SEO games and yet here is something that doesn’t rely on search engines and would bring in a lot of link backs and traffic, yet it is ignored. How silly.

Using Catchy Phrases

Hitting their sweet spots has never been more important than for someone writing on the Net. What is a sweet spot? To take it out of writing context, think of yourself driving over a bumpy train track but steering your car to the side, to a spot where it’s not bumpy. That, sweet spot, is the easy on your car and yourself.

In writing the sweet spot, as I think of it, is hitting just the right word or phrase. Something that your reader is looking for and has a personal ‘thing’ for. For instance, to appeal to women you can use words like ‘diva, goddess, grrl’. Phrases like ‘adventure living, backpacking, Earthy’ appeal to nature lovers. There are better choices but those are the current pickings of my brain. Hope you get the idea.

Anyway, those catchy phrases and words are even more important online because people will be searching for them. Your article will be picked over by search spiders and those catchy, sweet spots will be caught in their web and added to a mind boggling list. You may not be first on the search list but you will appear somewhere. That’s why those sweet spots should be considered, not just in titles, subtitles and descriptions but throughout the article or essay. Don’t go crazy over it. Too much is not a good thing. But keep them in mind and don’t think it’s too cliché to use the odd cliché if it’s an effective sweet spot.

Consider some of your own sweet spot words and phrases. Which appeal to you especially? Why?

One way to find sweet spots for a certain group of people is to join one of their online discussions, chats or boards and keep track of what comes up frequently. Let me know if you come up with more sneaky ideas.

Writing Without Fluff

You can find a lot about cutting the fluff out of your writing. I know, I just searched Google for writing fluff. I did this because someone argued that there is too much gloom and reality on BackWash lately. So, I wondered if there was a guide to writing better fluff pieces. (Not so far in the search but I’m sure it’s out there, somewhere).

Anyway, life is full of drama, conflict and ugliness, sharp edges, people running with scissors, mean spirits and other assorted generally bad things. It balances out all the sparkly fluffy bits. The balance is called reality.

When you write, do you write reality or fluff? If you write fiction do you have one main conflict and focus only on that. Do you forget what it’s like to have a bad day, a day when it seems all the little things keep going wrong. Does your character live a cardboard life where she/ he has no headaches, other than the main one you’ve plotted out for them?

I think we need to trip our characters every now and then. It makes them human, keeps them real. It doesn’t have to tie into the main plot, not directly anyway. Give him a bad knee from some soccer game when he was a kid. Give her a fear of dogs from seeing her sister bitten. Or just have him skin his knee as he’s leaping all those tall buildings.

Don’t write fluff and expect us to swallow it. We know about conflict, we’ve lived it. Every day can’t be sunny and nice. Besides, if you admit it, isn’t it really those windy, blustery days you love the best? I do!

Cranking It Out

Here’s something I found among a list of jobs for writers:

We are looking for writers to work on the following project:

– Author many short (100-200) word articles on a variety of keywords (keyword list will be provided).

– Author site map for your work.

– Ensure the content achieves an 8-12% keyword density rating.

– Ability to crank out at least 50 such articles a week

Qualifications:

– Use Dreamweaver or Frontpage

– Know how to FTP content to a site

– Previous web writing experience (send URLs)

Compensation:

– Paid on a per article basis.

Is this the job for you? You can find it on Craigslist.org if you want to. It sounds like they want someone to write spam, to me. I guess I still have a bit too much pride in my writing to consider it something I’d “crank out”.

I’m not being stuffy, just thinking of the work and creativity and craft involved in creating a readable article and then comparing that to something you’d crank out 50 times a week.

Could you do it? Even if you would take the job, could you write 50 short articles about random topics each week? I guess if it really didn’t matter how interesting or unique they were, you could. Of course, you have to consider how dense the keywords are. That seems to be the only content that matters.

Kind of sad if web writing comes to this, cranking out keywords for search engines to latch onto.

The funny thing is that search engines don’t all use spiders any more. Some have real people who aren’t impressed with a lot of half assed articles full of keywords. Even if those sites get listed and show up at the top of the search that’s no guarantee of getting clicks. Not real clicks that stick around and actually look at the site. After all, getting clicks isn’t enough. If people come to the site, find nothing and leave. You’re not ahead of the game.

So, it’s paying work for some writer. Not me though. Not that I couldn’t use the money. I just don’t want to be known for cranking out articles when I could be creating something unique, with real value.

Creative Website Marketing: Site Blueprint

Creative Website Marketing

“BLUEPRINT:

Here is a simple list of to-dos when laying out your new site architecture ? it will make all of our lives easier, and your clients? sites more appealing to the search engines:

? an h1 headline on each page

? a text-based menu footer (possibly with that local address info!)

? a sitemap with keyword-rich text links to all of the sites? content

? consistent navigation and layout throughout”