What’s Your Name?

What would you change your name to if you could rename yourself? Think about it. This will be your name when you’re 80 or older. It will be the name future generations will know you by when the only thing they still know about you is your name. It will be the name on your ID. That same ID you have to show to the nice officer at spot checks or worse if you get into trouble. It will be the name your child introduces you with, to their teacher and later to their future inlaws. A name has to cover a lot of ground and at the same time be very personal.

Short, Readable and Eye Catching

You’ve won a raffle and have been granted a free block of ad space on the front page of Google for one week. If you wanted traffic, you found it!

So what do you use the ad for: your home business, your personal blog. a friend’s online business or something you create on the spur of the moment?

Now write your ad. Make really efficient use of the word space you have. You only get 150 x 150, a bit bigger than an EntreCard ad. Your text or graphic has to be readable and eye catching.

Risk your Blog

Word Grrls is going to get a make over. Not one of my own home spun half-geeked things. A real professional is going to work on it. I had thought to do it for That Grrl, my personal site. But, kind of a shame to do it there (I’ve already given that blog so many personal touches it won’t ever recover) when Word Grrls is just thirsting for a real professional make over.

If you could really do your blog over, total redesign and add any wild and crazy features you’ve never even imagined… what would you do?

Which of those things could you actually do if you just took the time and sucked up the courage to try and maybe fail? Remember, you can save your template and reload it as if nothing ever happened. So, really, what are you waiting for?

Wanted: Spam Killer Web Browser

I’ve been thinking about blog ads lately. They really do annoy me. I understand someone wanting to make a buck, enough to pay for their web host. Seems that is how a lot of it started, just making enough to pay for the Internet connection and web domain/ host if you have one. That was a nice plan if you could do it.

Now I think more than two thirds of the blogs and sites existing are about money making, SEO, monetizing and so on. It amazes me that people still keep making more. How much of the same information does the world need? It is choking the Internet.

I still understand running an ad or two. If you are hosted on Blogger it is nice to run their AdSense, as thanks for the free site and hosting. You might run an ad to see what all the fuss is about or try to make a bit to pay for your Internet connection, etc. There are some blogs which are trying to make money to pay for college, surgery, a car or other things they need and hope to find charity from others online.

But, that is the cut off for me. I feel I am in an ad farm and it is becoming the whole Internet. It’s like watching TV and wishing the ads would pause long enough for the show to come on. But they don’t. There is no end to the ads and it is just getting worse.

Sites are writing about products and posting them as if they were regular personal blog posts. As if they just love denture cream, credit cards or having a bigger penis. Who do they think they are fooling? I’m sure a lot of people are confused by these fake posts, likely some assume they are sincere. There must even be people who do buy the stuff. If there were no sales the stuff would stop but it’s not stopping it’s growing.

I’m not against people who spam (and I am going to call it spam no matter what you protest). I’m against having it shoved down my throat. I want a break! I want to be on the Internet and enjoy it, unplagued by ads. I want a web browser, call it Spam Killer, that will stop web abuse. I want it to give me the option of not loading a spam infested blog or site. I want a little note to come up before the sites loads and tell me how many ads are running on the site. Five or more ads, YUCK! I won’t waste my time. Two or fewer ads, ok, I’ll have a look.

I am tired of being abused. Yes, I am a consumer. I am someone who could choose to shop online. However, that does not mean I want to be a captive audience. I’m tired of being abused by those who call themselves business people online. Run your business, great. Just get it away from me. I don’t want to see beauty product ads when I am reading a blog about business women. If I want to know about beauty products I can choose to go to a site about them. Business women are not about beauty supplies. Find your correct niche and stay there. If I want to find you I will.

I’m at the point where I will not buy anything online cause I am just sick of being a victim to the ad mongers.

That’s my rant for now. I will be watching for that Spam Killer though. Anyone who remembers the days of pop up ads knows it can be done!

Blogs We Luv: 10 Questions

The Ten Questions from Blogs We Luv

1* Describe your blog in five sentences or less.
2* Link us to one post from your blog that best defines who you are.
3* What sets you apart from other bloggers?
4* When and how did you first discover blogging?
5* What is your biggest pet peeve related to blogging or the internet?
6* Name one plugin, blogging widget, or service that you can’t live without.
7* If you could choose anyone, living or dead, to write a guest post for your blog, who would it be and why?
8* How has blogging made you a better person?
9* What are your tips for becoming a better blogger?
10* Name one great blog that you read on a regular basis. What makes it unique?

1. A scrapbook/ junk drawer of things I create, write, think or just find interesting. Rural exploration photos when I have been out taking photos. Cartoon drawings to illustrate the blog mostly every day. Basically it is things I think of when I’m in the shower. Conversations I have with myself. Ideas I find somewhere else and want to keep track of to explore further. It’s made of stuff I love, stuff that bothers me and just stuff in general. Kind of like life.

2. Love the World – Doesn’t define who I am. There is no one post that does that. But it has some of the elements of who I am. I think there is too much in my head for any one post to contain it all.

3. I don’t especially want to be set apart from other bloggers. With all the other bloggers out there I’m sure there are several doing the same stuff I am. I post for myself. I still feel the passion for web publishing that I first did over ten years ago when I began my first weblog. I like the ideas of diy web publishing, free journalism, creative CSS and HTML and having the freedom to do it all my way.

4. Over ten years ago. I almost remember some of the first blogs I read. They were still new in 1996, most people had a webpage up if anything. Blogs were software which made keeping a site updated easier as your newest work would show up on top of the older work. They weren’t all journal-like then either. People who knew code were doing wonders. The rest were trying to learn from the best of them. I remember being awed and amazed by those who created blogs back then, they really were feats of artistic and geeky genius. I was working more on ASCII art, newsgroups and IRC than blogging. My first blog was on Blogger though, I liked it even way back then.

5. Biggest peeve are the ads (and splogs which followed the ads). If anything is killing blogs it is monetizing and seo obsessed people who don’t really create anything. All too often it is recycled, stolen or mass contributed content which lacks anything personal at that point. Splogs are like a huge clog in the drain of the kitchen sink and they spoil blogging by making it harder to find real blogs that would awe and amaze as they did once upon a time.

6. Nothing is coming to mind. But it’s always the widget that you don’t even think about which is most essential and taken for granted. I couldn’t live without Blogger itself. I love finding good avatar making sites, Blessthischick.com is my favourite at the moment. I like Firefox though lately it hasn’t been keeping me logged in anywhere as it used to do. I like StumbleUpon and Flickr too, both services.

7. No one. What would be the point of having someone else write a post? It’s a personal blog, a way for me to hear myself think as much as a way to create something for others to view. To have someone else post would turn it into something else and then it wouldn’t be me writing for me any more. I’d have to start another new one. 🙂

8. That’s easy. Blogging kept me from going insane when I was alone in a foreign country and getting divorced. Not sure if it really made me a better person but it really did keep me from feeling completely alone and isolated with just all kinds of thoughts and feelings spinning in my head. It gave me focus and a place to put my feelings out there and get feedback from a few blog friends so that I felt someone was listening to me even if I was still in a room all by myself.

9. That depends if you really are a blogger or someone using blog software. If you really have the genuine interest in creating something go for it. Try new things and don’t worry about the opinions of others. You should be doing this for yourself. Making your own footsteps into the virtual world. Don’t go too far into the idea of writing for an audience, write for yourself or it soon becomes meaningless. You get burnt out when you really don’t have anything of yourself there any more. If you focus on traffic and link backs to your blog instead of adding colour, ideas and thoughts you won’t have anything of your real self invested in it any more. Readers won’t find that interesting either.

Work on keeping your blog easy to navigate, organized, not too cluttered and keep it to a simple, clean layout. Also, make sure your colours and the font size don’t strain your reader’s eyeballs right out of their sockets. If you want to post every day but feel stuck a few days try a new way of expressing yourself: draw something, post a photo, a poem, write about a new hobby you are interested in, take a day off and do something new to write about, anything else you can think of that will fit into a blog post. Just like the old days when I wrote penpal letters and would think of new things you could fit into an envelope and mail acros the oceans, a blog is a format you can fit a lot of things into if you put your mind to it.

10. Had to think about it for a bit. It’s a tie between The Useless Men and Blog U now. The Useless Men are fun to read but Blog U has been a great source for blog innovations especially when there was something specific I wanted to change or fix.

Hand Drawn Style in Web Design

Smashing Magazine: Hand-Drawn Style in Modern Web Design

The most valuable and innovative ideas had all been handwritten first. That’s no big news, since designers tend to produce first sketches as paper prototypes anyway; still it’s important, because web design is different from “usual” design. Of course, it also has a personal note and it is hand-made, however users can’t see that. As CSS is “boxy but good”, designs tend to have a rather limited appearance — they are too boxy and too right-angled.

If designers want to achieve a different design, they have to draw their sites by themselves — or at least some parts of it. And in fact, this is done quite often: whether a blog, a shop, an ad, a private page, or some collaborative project — doesn’t matter whether with Flash or (X)HTML. The main purpose of hand-drawn elements lies in their ability to convey a personality and an individual note in times when colorful, sharp and rounded Web 2.0 elements can be found almost everywhere.

Sometimes designers create whole pages with paper, pencil and/or a tablet PC. More often single layout elements are designed in a special way — curved links, hand-made icons, backgrounds, notes, stickers and fuzzy lines are supposed to give the site a “human touch”. These elements makes a web-page which might not look different from dozens of similar pages, stand out and arise users’ curiosity. Caution: a quickly installed hand-written font can harm more than help (hint: Comic Sans is definitely not the way to go).

Do You Call Yourself a Blogger?

This is what I wrote as a comment in the Problogger post and comments about what a blogger is and why it is not beneficial to call yourself a blogger if you are running it as a business.

There are very few people I would call bloggers. Most of those who say they are bloggers are a hybrid of blog and splog. A blogger, to me, is still someone using weblog software to create art, write a journal or some combination of those on a personal level.

The traffic and readers are a fun side effect, not the point of the whole thing. I have seen many so called bloggers who are obsessed with seo and monetizing to the point where the blog content has been left to rot or is stolen from others. I’d be glad to see blogging be left to fall back to what it began as, something fun and creative.