LiveJournal Wants to Get Noticed Again

livejournal1Do you know LiveJournal? Do you remember the early years, before weblogs (blogs), when they were called online journals or diaries? LiveJournal started out then. It wasn’t the only one. Not much is left from the online journal days. Not many of the sites are still around, few of the networks lasted this long. Blogs became the new thing and online journals just didn’t endure as it became popular to splog rather than write something personal.

Ironic that the splogging has devolved and the personal touch is now considered marketable.

There are still WordPress plugins for LiveJournal crossposting and importing within WordPress. But, there are only three, not a lot of selection but they have all been updated in 2014. Not a lot of dust collecting on them so far.

I like LiveJournal. Not just because we have a history together, though I’ve been forgetting to check in very much. LiveJournal has staying power. LiveJournal has new features and wants to pick up and grow again. Instead of falling into the easy path of marketing to users of their site they want to get inventive, try something new, a different approach to making money while providing a web service people will actually come back to use.

Not many people online now will remember the days of sending virtual gifts. You can do that on LiveJournal, inside the community there. Sure you can easily send anyone an image file through email, but there is something nice about a gift you picked out, paid a bit for and then sent along. A gift with intentions rather than just a gift out of impulse. I think we are lacking that now that things are all so fast and easy online.

But, that is a small thing at LiveJournal. What I especially like this the LiveJournal bookmarketlet. It’s the LiveJournal version of WordPress PressThis. Just as you can use PressThis to post to your blog from your web browser and now add links, images and commentary – you can do the same with LiveJournal. Better than Blogger which has not been updated in too long. LiveJournal has all the features I look for in a bookmarklet for content curating. It is a really good option for posting content from other sites, as a content curator.

ljbookmarklet ljbookmarklet1

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.


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.


The One I Kept…

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

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.

Get in the Road Trip Mood

Find a vintage motel or hotel postcard on eBay. Pick something from your local area so you will know the streets, more or less. Use Google Street View (find the location on the back view of the postcard) see if you can find the motel now. Is it still there at all? If so, is the name the same? Spot the differences between then and now.

Source: Caribou Motel Barrie Orilla Ontario ON Canada Vintage Chrome Postcard | eBay

Take it on the road and visit the site. Get a photograph and (if you have a site) post the then and now images. Find some history, if you can. Or design a history for the motel yourself. Who owned and operated it over the years? Did they love it, grow too tired to keep it going, run out of money? What changes happened around them in the local area?

I found the Caribou Motel in the present, it’s gone. Replaced by a new gas bar. Nothing left of the old motel and diner except the space around the new building. You can see some curb out by the road and the parking lot is bigger than the current commercial business would need. Small hints at what once was.


You can see what became of the Caribou in urban exploration photos from CopySix and other explorers who posted to Flickr and Ontario Abandoned Places. Note: the CopySix post has a comment from the original owner’s family.

Content Curation with

This was originally posted to HubPages in 2012. Moved it from there because it wasn’t being read.


Content curation is all about finding great links and resources to share with others interested in your topic/ niche. The great thing is creating a resource which give credit and promotion to great sites and knowing you are getting them the readers they want. Directed traffic. Also, for your own benefit, you build yourself as an authority on the topic you curate the content for.

There is limited customization you can use to decorate or fix up your topic on If you use a paid account, of course, you have more options. does let you export your topic as a widget which works well in your blog’s sidebar if you want to promote it and get traffic to your topic.

See my topic – Creative Writing Inspiration on as an example.

Update: Since I originally wrote this, has begun offering their content curators the ability to send newsletters out for each of their topics on the network. There is a new mobile app too. Take a look.

scoopit1 scoopit2

How to Use

There are a few elements to creating the post (once you have found the link you want to add):

The image which is posted with the link.

You don’t want to post an image which is not relevant to the post. Don’t post whatever image comes up first and leave it like that. You won’t build yourself up as an authority by being sloppy or careless.

When you use you are able to add an image of your own choosing. So anything you cut and paste or even create yourself can be used. If I am not happy with the images to choose from I will use screen capture and take a quick capture of the site’s logo, part of the header, something to identify the link.

Also, whatever image you use is going to be a big factor in whether the link gets noticed and then clicked. Keep that in mind. The image is making a first impression.

Next up, the title of the link you are posting.

Don’t ignore the title. gives you a title taken from the HTML code on the site you’re linking to. But, not all titles are just fine right out of the box this way. Adjust them. You might even go all out and rewrite them to something your readers will be more likely to want to read.

Then comes the description.

I admit I get lazy at this point, probably more often than I should. If my title and the image are working I think that is enough. Most of the time. People are mainly going to notice the image and then the title to see what the image is actually about. So, a description is extra.

However, a description can be a nice extra. I will use “” and quote something from the post I’m linking to. Or, I might write a quick blurb about why I’m linking to that post. Something about my first impression or an idea I got from it.

Don’t forget to add tags/ keywords. has the option to add keywords to each link. I leave it up to you to decide how valid this is compare to the extra time and effort it takes to forever be typing in the same words. This is one thing which doesn’t work for me at I wish they would let the content curators set their keywords and have them posted automatically. Then, it would just be a matter of changing them if necessary, for individual links.

We already use a niche/ topic/ category to add the links/ posts we are linking to. So the topic is set and keywords could be set along with it. This would save some extra steps which seem pretty unnecessary to me.

With you can click where you want to share the link as you post it.

Pick your poison… Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Before you actually click on Publish, make sure you have set the category your link is being curated to on

But, if you do send a link to the wrong place you can go back and edit it. Rescoop the link to the right category and then delete the one which was sent to the wrong one. No disaster to fix a little mistake but getting it right the first time will save you from opening another window on your web browser. I’m always using the bookmarklet in my toolbar when I curate content for, so I don’t have to go to the site to add content, I can just keep cruising along and find more.

I Remember BlogChalking


This is what I found from the Wayback Machine. The original link which most people refer to does not end with the .com. There wasn’t much left of that BlogChalking at that domain. But, I was pretty sure it had been a .com too so I looked, and found it.

Looks like it had it’s final days in 2006. From there it was abandoned, no updates. I took a screen shot from earlier (2003 which is the year it began according to the site), better times. Then another two images show the last final stages of decay from the Wayback in 2011 (but no changes to the actual site since 2006).

Daniel Pádua, the man from Brazil who began BlogChalking, died of cancer in 2009.

blogchalking blogchalking blogchalking blogchalking

My History as a Web Publisher (Blogger)

When I started a blog, back in 1998 the early blogs, the very best of them, were all done by creative people who loved words, colours and design. Some of them wanted readers, fame, popularity and most of them got it. Blogging was new. Blogs were inventive, creative, an adventure. No one questioned what Google would like because Google didn’t exist. Blogs were something magical, seeming to exist outside of time and space and even reality (if they knew how to work the code). This was before Blogger, WordPress or any other blog software or client.

I was not a coder, or a programmer and my HTML was very limited. I bought a couple of books to learn HTML. I made progress. I had a rudimentary blog up, but they weren’t really called that yet. You were as likely to call them a web log or an online journal as anything else. Images were new and changed so much about the early web logs. Most people did not put up a site because it was easier to just play on the networks like the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and the newsgroups (which were eventually moved to Google, becoming the backbone of Google Groups).  I joined newsgroups for ASCII artists.

This post will be continued as I feel like writing more.

C is for Canada

ascii art canada


I may be the only one who gets the idea behind my design. But, here it is. I wanted to do something fresh because I started the A to Z Blogging Challenge to help get myself back on track. I used to post daily, then I got too many other sites and put that extra pressure on myself. Blogging became a chore and I lost track of the elements I really like about web publishing. One of them being creating my own images whether my own photos, hand drawn cartoons or ASCII art (like this).

Writing for Content Marketing Sites is Too Expensive

How much does it cost to write for other sites, like HubPages and Squidoo? There is a push for writers at these sites to add video along with the content they write and the images they post too.  No one quite dares to make video mandatory (as far as I have seen). However, for me personally, the addition of video to my posts has cost me $20 a month more on my ISP (Internet service provider) bill.

Viewing several videos for each post takes up bandwidth. My account is not one of the huge packages, I live on a budget (as most writers who don’t have money to burn, do). There is also the image added to a post. Some writers at these sites pay for the images they use. I don’t. I use my own photos, create images myself or go to sites where the images and clipart are free to use.

Don’t forget to count your writing itself. No matter how you feel at the time, writers should be getting paid for the content they create. I find many of these content marketing sites don’t pay writers a single cent. Over time a writer may make a pittance or two. However, how much time writing, promoting and researching has the writer spent to earn $10 over the months… years… they gave.

I used to think writing community sites were a good thing for web writers. I don’t any feel that way now. Mainly the cost of viewing video and the push for writers to add video – that is what has me a little angry actually. No big deal for these sites to ask for video added to posts. The sites make money on the farm of writers they keep. Don’t think they are struggling too much. Their success comes from the people they pay nothing to almost nothing. It doesn’t matter to them if the writers are happy, not really. People who write for them are a dime a dozen, cheaper actually.

So why write for them and spend more than you get paid? Pick yourself up, copy your content from the site and put up your own site. It’s not hard and you shouldn’t be intimidated. You don’t have to be a huge success right away. If you can improve your earnings from cents to dollars you’re ahead of where you were before. Plus you can have pride in what you have done, you are your own editor (along with spellcheck) and every penny you make stays in your pocket.