I Used to Write on BackWash Kids

bwkids

If you also wrote for (with) the BackWash community network of writers/ columnists join us for a BackWash reunion.

Here is the content from the post above. In text for those who can’t read it from the screen captured image above.

Spin your Thoughts with a Journal

Do you keep a journal? Sometimes its called a diary, I think thats the old fashioned term. What you write in your journal is up to you. Be creative, rant about your family, chronicle your life, or just spin your thoughts on the web.

Keep your journal in a secret place if you don’t want anyone to read it. Or, if you feel like sharing you can read what you write to friends or even keep your journal online with sites like Blogger. Of course, you can do both. Have an online journal and another secret journal for just yourself.

Journals can be kept in plain notebooks or fancy lined paper books you buy in stationery stores like Hallmark. I like to write with a fine tip black pen but you can experiment with all kinds of pens and colours. Add stickers or stick in clippings from newspapers and magazines. If you really want to put in a lot of clippings have a look at scrapbooking. Thats another form of journaling but there tends to be less writing and more drawings.

There are lots of websites about journaling and scrapbooking. Have a look around and see which appeals to you.

Found my Old Blogger Profile

My old Blogger profile, found as far back as I could get on the Wayback Machine. I had a site on Blogger before 2004 but made the mistake of deleting it, thinking it didn’t matter. Really wish I had left it up. I don’t even remember my first account now to try to find it. Can’t keep everything! Even the Blogger profiles are gone now. Instead you just get taken to your Google Plus account. I wonder what happens to people who didn’t open an account.

 

Create a Blogger Wiki to Promote Your Content

Note: This was originally written for HubPages and the writers there.

When you write content on a site like HubPages you want it to be found by people interested in reading about your topic (niche/ genre/ subject matter). But, it can feel like you’re alone in a vast ocean, standing on a rock, jumping up and down, waving and waving without anyone noticing you at all. So, you need to build a platform which rises you a little higher and makes you easier to find.

The established ways to do this are to use social media, backlinks, and other worthy and less worthy ideas which people lump into SEO (search engine optimization). The problem with some of these tactics is the difference between attracting human readers versus attracting search engine bots which don’t actually read your content. Search engines won’t read your content, won’t link to your content and won’t refer friends and followers to your content. A search engine will only list your content for the real people to find. It does not endorse your content the way a referral from a real person can.

So, you need to do something more to bring people to your content. Keywords are not enough. Too many keywords will detract from your content because no one really wants to read that promotional content which is directed to SEO and not human readers. Too many keywords make your writing dull and bland.

Use Google Blogger to Create a Wiki Resource

Try opening a Google Blogger blog, pick a name which suits your content.

Write an introduction post and an about page.

Look for other content such as content curation feeds and RSS feeds relevant to your main topic.Some of them, like Scoop.it, will have widgets which display the content feed. Plus, this is another place you can suggest your own links to as you write new posts. So you will see your HubPages post appear in the feed on the widget you have displayed. This is especially nice because people reading your wiki will see you as an authority beyond the content you have created yourself. It’s like making yourself famous.

Create a few links to sites which you know are excellent references for your topic. You can ask for a link exchange with these sites – once your wiki is established, aged and seasoned a bit.

Now the part where your own content comes in.

Begin to post links to your HubPages posts/ content. Do not repost the content, just create an index. Sort your posts into subtopics branching from the main theme or genre which you write about. (If you write about several topics set up a fresh Blogger account and repeat the steps above for each topic).

Use your subtopics as post headers (titles) and add your links relevant to each subtopic in your topic/ genre. Check your links, make sure they are all going where they should be going – it is not too hard to miss something when you are cutting and pasting several links this way.

In your blog sidebar, over the links to outside reference sites, post links to each of the posts you have just created (the subtopics). Like building an index to your own subtopics in the sidebar.

In this way you are creating a wiki for your content which focuses on your HubPages content but not exclusively. A wiki is a personally created resource about one topic. Traditionally, a wiki is not run by just one person but several contributors sharing knowledge and resources. You can gather others to join you too. However, then you are sharing some of the limelight but building a wiki community is a great way to share your links among the community you create. So it is a trade off and something you can consider.

This idea does not work as well on WordPress.com because Blogger.com is Google’s own appendage blog site. So, it gets some preference.

It does take extra time and energy to create this kind of index to your HubPages content, but it will bring you to the attention of the Google and other search engines. Also, extra Adsense (which you can easily load on Blogger too).

Don’t let your wiki stagnate.

Maintain the blog, add your fresh HubPages content to the subtopics which you have set up.

Add new outside links as you find really good sites to refer people to.

Create an actual post for the blog once in awhile, monthly is fine. The post doesn’t have to be labour intensive. An update about the work you are doing to research your topic is a good post. Or, something you heard/ read in the news relevant to the topic. The point of keeping a monthly post is to show the site is active, at least once a month.

Link to this blog in each of your posts on HubPages. Just add it to the links with a note about it being your wiki or reference site for people who would like more information, etc.

Share the wiki.

The link to your Blogger wiki is one more link you can promote to social media, content feeds, and all the other routine places and ways you promote your content.

Creating the wiki is giving your content (on HubPages or any other sites you write for) an extra boost, another way to be found in the great, big ocean.

Participate Outside of HubPages

If you aren’t already involved in forums and other online communities within your topic make sure you get involved now. Join a relevant forum and be active. Daily is nice but not very practical. Aim for at least weekly and then read as many posts in the forum as you can and contribute. Of course, you can create a signature to use in the form with at least one link to your wiki or your HubPages link, both if possible.

From the comments on the original post:

 

That Grrl  Hub Author

@prarieprincess I got the idea as I was replying to someone else in the forum who was complaining about Google and traffic and etc, the same old stuff. I have never been overly reliant on Google for traffic. I like to look for my own ideas to bring in traffic/ readers.

One thing people writing here don’t quite understand is that HubPages is not buying your content/ articles. If they were there would be copyrights involved. HubPages is buying your social media skills and whatever else you do that works to bring in readers (traffic) to the site. HubPages sells ads which appear with your articles. We get a percent of that. So, in reality the whole thing is not about your content but aobut the traffic you generate here.

Knowing this it is a really good plan to focus on bringing readers from outside of HubPages into HubPages without focusing on Google. This is because once you are in the database at Google you will either rise or stay about the same. There isn’t a lot of point in putting all your eggs in that basket.

So, generating traffic in other ways is the key. I got the idea of the Blogger wiki because I had been looking at wiki sites that week and it popped into my mind that I already have all my old Blogger sites from when I began online ages ago. Why not use them for more than just leaving a trail of links. I know they still get traffic even though I have done nothing but ignore them for years.

Thus the Blogger wiki idea was formed. I added more ideas to what I could do with it as I went along. I don’t have a finished example yet. I’ve got so many projects I’m working on that I am hoping to get my nephew out sometime to help me move stuff along.

 

That Grrl  Hub Author

I have my own blogs with domains and paid hosting. But, you don’t have to go that way. I didn’t start out that way. I’ve been online more than ten years. I was online several years before making the commitment to paying for web hosting. So don’t feel you need to rush into it. A Blogger blog is still free for software and hosting and that will do just fine. More than that is just vanity – which is how they call it a vanity URL/ domain.

I would do both. There is no reason you can’t have an index of all your HubPages post in the sidebar of the blog. Then create individual posts with summaries and links at the end for each post too. This blog is your space to bring your content to the foreground, show it off and get it found. People are using the term ‘discoverable’ lately. and that is just what you are doing.

The only thing you should not do is copy your post and create the dreaded duplicate content. However, unlike at HubPages, on your own site you can have all the links you want. (HubPages gives you a notice if you link to the same domain more than twice).

Have fun with the blog, decorate it. Add widgets for social media which you use and of course highlight your posts here. Then do post the blog link around – use it for your signature in online forums and communities. Get the link around so people can find your content. This is how Google search bots will also find your content and consider it as important because there are links to it in a source outside of HubPages. Also, the link back from your posts on HubPages will keep the bots looking at your links and finding more of your content. They used to call them spiders because they follow links from one starting point to other directions, branching out from the starting point, spidering out.

How can you Help Another Blogger

Do your good deed for the day. You don’t have to be a popular blogger, an experienced blogger or spend a lot of time on giving another blogger a little help. This list comes from the SITS Girls forum.

Write a high quality guest post that will be useful to another blog’s readers

Leave helpful and insightful comments

Link to the blog and share your readers with them

Promote the blog in social media and start a social bookmarking campaign for them

Recommend to your readers to subscribe to their blog

Email the blogger with some suggested topics you’d love to see them cover

Introduce them to a potential advertiser

Share with them an affiliate program that has worked for you

Write an email telling the blogger how you found one of their posts helpful.

Perform a significant action for another blog. Don’t just leave a comment on 50 blogs; focus your energy on one other blog in your niche.

My Seven Links

MyTripBase started the My 7 Links project. It’s a blog meme but you can just pick your seven links and pass the idea along, or not. On Twitter, search for the #My7Links hashtag.

THE GOAL
To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

THE RULES
1) Blogger is nominated to take part
2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

This shouldn’t take you long to do – don’t over-think it!
– Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

I have way too many posts over more than ten years of blogging and writing online. Just the thought of going through and picking out seven is daunting.  I put this aside to get done (sometime last year) and did not get anywhere with it. But, I don’t want to leave it in drafts so here it is for others to take up the project. Good luck!

Create Your Own Unique WordPress Theme

WordPressNo matter how many WordPress themes I look at and try, I never find exactly what I want. But, I do find more things I would like to have.

When I ran my sites on Blogger I began using simple HTML and basic CSS. I learned how the Blogger code worked with the additional CSS and HTML I added. That was the beginning of my learning how to create my own blog themes (also known as templates and layouts).

A WordPress theme seemed a lot more complicated, at that time. Blogger isn’t as simple as it once was then. But, I still like Blogger for anyone getting started with blogging.

Design, Create, Make your own WordPress Theme

 

Why Should you Create your own WordPress Theme?

One reason for creating your own WordPress theme is to have something uniquely your own. There are a lot of blogs online now, many of them have the same look. They call them cookie cutters because they all seem to have been created with the same look, only small things like a different colour background to give them any unique look.

If someone is intimidated about breaking into the coding and making their own theme they can still take the baby steps and begin by changing their background to something of their own creation. Use a photograph you have taken. Get started with Gimp and other graphic software and create a design and images which you can use as the background, title bars, sidebar headers, etc. You can create hand drawn images and then scan them into an image file which you use on your blog too. There are simple, fairly easy options which will get your blog out of the cookie cutter style.

But, the best is still to create your own theme. Begin by tweaking whatever theme you are using now. Tweak to change the font, the colours for the text. Tweak to change how images are displayed in your blog. Look into other tweaks you can do. There are endless tweaks. As you tweak learn how the code works. What changes you make and how they end up working on the display of your blog.

Once you have been tweaking and feel fairly happy about what you know, get into the real mess and muck of creation – from scratch.

A bit daunted still? No fear. You can use frameworks to give you a base of operations. A framework is the basic code used for a simple WordPress theme.

Don’t sit on the fence forever with your framework. Dabble and play around and make your own theme. It doesn’t have to be rocket science or perfect. A theme evolves over time as WordPress versions change, as blogging itself changes and as your own needs change.

Next stop… once you have a theme consider selling it or offering it on WordPress.org for others to download free. A WordPress theme (if you hit on a unique design and keep it working) can be a great draw for traffic to your site.

I’m still at the dabbling stage with my own WP theme designing. I enjoy window shopping and looking at other themes. For now I’m running the Thesis Framework Theme on my main blog. Most of my other blogs are running on the Clear Line  theme.

Update: Thesis had a lot of changes when Thesis 2.0 came out. I don’t find it usable right now. It lost the user friendliness which was the main thing I liked about it. Since then I have bought Genesis, but, you may as well design your own theme from scratch if you have Genesis. Even the child themes you buy to run with Genesis are very much the same. If you want to make your own themes Genesis is ok, a base. But, if you want something to work out of the box you will find Genesis won’t work for you, unless you want it exactly as it comes.

I’ve looked at other themes and frameworks. I’m really reluctant to purchase any more of them. I have Catalyst with it’s Dynamik child theme and I find it complicated, a lot to read and then I still can’t make the small changes I want. I also have Headway but it has become a case of having to purchase more in order to get anything out of it. (Really disappointed with Headway which I have had since version 1.6 before they made it such a money grab).

WordPress Theme Generators

28 Ideas to Avoid Blog Burnout: Keep it Fresh

Ideas to Save You from Blogging Burn Out

Burnout happens when we have too much to do, too much we are trying to do and we lose that time we need to recharge our own batteries. The best way to help yourself is to bring back the creative impulse and inspiration which you started out with. Also, to realize you have limits and can’t do everything all the time.

  • Set priorities. Decide what you really want to work on and what you can set aside or just don’t have the time and energy to work on.
  • Focus on what you get back (in return) from the work you are doing. What gives you the most satisfaction, or a decent pay in money? Limit anything that doesn’t give you something back and get rid of things that are just draining you.
  • Take a break, a real break. Some bloggers are working more than full time hours, every day of the week. No wonder they get burnt out.
  • Put time into offline activities. Not only do you recharge your batteries with a change of scenery but you will pick up all kinds of ideas and new topics to write about.
  • Change of format. If you tend to work with mainly text make a change and work with images. Create a post with hand drawn doodles or a digital photograph you took yourself.
  • Treat yourself to a new blog layout. Put your sidebar on the other side of the blog. It sounds simple and silly but you see your site in a new way with one small change.
  • Go for a bigger blog change and create a new header. Put your own face on it.
  • Give yourself a new blog theme, even a paid/ premium theme if you can spare the cost.
  • Rework all your categories and/ tags. Whittle them down to just a few. Free yourself from category and tag clutter.
  • Consider discontinuing extra blogs if you have more than one. Or, start a spin-off blog to post extra content to but give yourself an easy posting schedule.
  • Use scheduled posts so you can keep a few posts ready to publish those days you want to get away from the computer.
  • Exchange guest posts with another blogger you trust to deliver great content.
  • Brainstorm for new topic and side theme ideas relevant to your blog. Stay focused but combine ideas to create something new.
  • Use online forums and email lists to keep in touch with others who share your interests and will (more than likely) give you new and fresh ideas to write about.
  • Plan a series of posts on a theme. Give yourself a bigger project which gives you a goal to work towards.
  • Writers often keep an idea journal, a way to store ideas at the time you have them.
  • Get to bed at a regular time, keep a schedule you can live with.
  • Come up with a new plan for promoting your blog. Be your own PR person – don’t think like a blogger or SEO guru.
  • If you have a tight posting schedule, reconsider. Write a longer post with more information, something you actually feel is worth the time you take to write it. Give yourself quality to sign your name to rather than quantity.
  • Let yourself have the occasional personal day, and don’t feel you owe anyone an explanation.
  • Review other blogs. What are other bloggers doing right or what could they improve on. Offer them your thoughts, in a constructive feedback way.
  • Pick someone relevant and interesting to interview for your blog.
  • Look over your blog stats, what are the type of posts people are reading? Could you find a new area to branch out into from your blog statistics?
  • Change your blogging style to try get more comments and feedback from readers. Find out what works for other bloggers who get a lot of comments.
  • Don’t try to be perfect. You can always come back to a post and rewrite it, revise it, add to it or link to it as your original thoughts on the topic when you write a new post.
  • Write several short blog posts. Just share a quick idea or thought and don’t put a lot of time into elaborating on it.
  • Follow readers who comment in your blog. See what they are writing about and leave them comments too.
  • Take a day to immerse yourself in the topic you blog about. Use Google search, your local library, and any other sources for information and grab every nugget of new information you can.

 

Know What Type of Blogger you Are

Figure out what type of blogger you are and work with it.

Are you blogging to create something, to be informative, or do you want to find fame and fortune?

Know what you want to get out of blogging and go back to that. Don’t try to change who you are to suit your blog.

Write a mission statement for your blog and keep that in mind when you make decisions about what you will post and why you will post it. This also works for other aspects of your blog such as the format you use, the amount and type of ads you will run, the layout of the blog and how much navigation and social networking you will use.

Weird Email from Google/ Blogger.

I got this weird email from Blogger this morning. I wasn’t having any problem with my account, or this blog in particular. I’m not really using anything I have up on Blogger these days. Of course the email is sent from a no-reply address so I can’t ask them what is going on. No-reply is the cousin of getting a form email. It promotes non-communication. Great customer service.

Anyway, without any actual feedback from Blogger I’m guessing they want the name “Canadian” which I’m using on that account. This could be their way of checking to see if the account/ name is dormant before they take it over. Which is interesting because somewhere on their site and all that Blogger account information it says they will never delete an old account. If that’s true why the interest in this one?

I last posted there in 2011. There are other accounts which I haven’t posted to since 2009. But, those have never had a weird email telling me to access them (in the name of Blogger). Anyway, just a little interesting thing for the day. I did access the account. That “Canadian” name is worth keeping. Especially if they are skulking around trying to take it away.

Add an Adult Content Warning to your Site

I run one adult themed blog. It’s mainly for myself, a place to keep things that I wouldn’t post to other sites. Basically, it’s another niche site, but the content happens to be about sex and erotica. Today I moderated a spam comment which I feel is pretty gross. It gives a link to a site selling sex toys. I will cut and paste the comment in but I’m not linking to the site.

This made me realize I don’t have an adult content warning on my adult blog now. I had it up on Blogger where they automatically add the warning. So I began to look for adult content warning information online. I wanted to know what to write and then I was going to decide where to put it on the site. Instead I found a plugin which will work, bring up the warning as a pop up. This is perfect. It won’t be something else I need to fit into the sidebar. Plus, it will stand out and not be missed when someone enters my site.

What I do find interesting (and backwards) is how few adult content plugins there were (one). Also, when I began looking for information all the posts were about how to remove adult content warnings from sites. In most cases if an automatic adult content warning comes up there is a legitimate reason. Blogger wasn’t doing it just for kicks.

For Canadians I found a site, CyberTips, which asks people to report children being abused online. If you find a site trying to sell to minors, etc. It’s about protecting children and stopping child pornography. What it doesn’t seem to have is a way for those who run adult sites to know what they should or should not do. I guess we are left to our own judgement, which is why people are trying to remove adult content warnings rather than making sure they have them up.

Last point, the site which was linked to in the comment spam this morning has an adult content warning. Hidden at the bottom of the site and it doesn’t really say much. But, it does claim to be in compliance with the US laws. Is it really though? Or are the laws not tight enough in their protection of children? What do you think about adult content online?

See also:
Text Ed
Respect Yourself

Do You Have a Posting System?

This comes from Founder Tips: Ali Luke Explains How You Can Become a Better Blogger By Becoming a Better Writer

My posting system looks like this:

  1. Come up with ideas. I try to get several at a time – I keep a list on my computer that I add to when I’ve got a few minutes to sit and brainstorm.
  2. Write an outline for the post. My outlines always have “introduction” at the start and “call to action” at the end. In the middle, I’ll have a few key points – these often become subheadings. If I’m planning a list post, I’ll brainstorm the items for the list and juggle them around to find the best order.
  3. Draft the post (following the outline). I try to do this in one sitting, so I don’t lose my train of thought. If I’m working on a really big post, though, I might do different sections on different days. When I’m drafting, I don’t worry too much about writing perfect sentences or using correct grammar: I can fix any problems in the editing stage.
  4. Edit the post. Quite often, I’ll leave a post for a few hours or even overnight so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes. I always find some things that I want to change – sentences to cut out or rewrite, for instance. This is a good chance to look out for typos, too.
  5. Publish and promote the post. It might seem a bit odd to include this in a writing system, but a big part of any sort of writing involves getting your message out to an audience. Personally, I don’t feel like my writing is complete until it has readers.

This is my system too. But I don’t put too much time into an outline. I start the draft and build the format as I go. Usually I’m working on the draft while I do the research, fact checking and formatting how the post will look.