Bloated Self Importance on Video

Each time I see someone with a video post I think of all the people who can’t or won’t be watching it.

Video posts are for people with money to burn. In the US the Internet is cheaper. In places like Canada, Europe and the rest of the world, the story is different. I pay almost $100 per month for the Internet, that’s before adding in the cost of my landline phone. I used to have cable TV but paying $180 a month for all three services was too much. Plus, the prices were going up another $5 for Internet and TV the next month.

A very big part of the cost for the Internet is bandwidth. How much you use, not in time but in load. How bloated are the files you are loading onto your computer from the Internet? Have you thought about it?

Uploading is about the files you put from your computer onto the Internet.

Downloading are the files you bring from the Internet onto your computer. Downloading used to be about software you get from the Internet, mostly. Now it is about looking at websites, software, advertising and everything else you view while you are online.

Did you know you pay to watch ads online?

Each ad you see is costing you bandwidth.

A plain text ad costs you almost nothing, not enough that you could even notice it. An ad with an image costs a bit more, especially if the image moves or lights up or does anything other than just be an ordinary image. A larger image costs more, of course. But, ads at this point cost so little bandwidth you would not notice them unless you visit a lot of sites with a lot of ads all the time.

When you get up the food chain to ads which use scripts and then video… you’re paying enough to notice the bandwidth each month.

I use add-ons to turn some of the bandwidth sucking advertising off. It is not 100% but it helps. It helps keep my Internet bill from being even higher each month.

I have to pay for bandwidth each month. I used to have the light Internet account, paying about $50 each month. That was enough to pay. Over 12 months I’d be paying $600, plus tax (which is also higher in most of Canada than the US). What could you do with an extra $600 in your pocket each year?

Anyway, to help make the Internet affordable again I had the cable TV turned off and I began doing what I can to shut down all video posts and ads. Using the web browser add-on will only go so far. The other thing I have done is to not watch video posts.

Seems a simple thing to just choose to not watch video. But, it’s not.

Video posts come up all the time.

When I want to find a tutorial for using a WordPress theme or plugin… it’s in a video post. Annoying when this happens, especially when I have paid for the theme or plugin and now have to pay to use it (or at least to understand how to use it).

Network sites I write for want video added to the posts I write. This means going to YouTube to find second hand content which I have to watch in order to make sure it is relevant and will add some information or resources to my own original post for the site. This annoys me because I have just written original content and now I have to link to someone else, giving them my bandwidth, my time and space in the post I worked on. Aggravating all the way around and this is where most of my extra expense comes from each month on my Internet bill.

Even with protection from browser add-ons I still get caught with video advertisements. There are still more of them out there which have found a way to get around the blocks I have set up.

I think people who post videos (without giving a text alternative) are arrogant or just thoughtless.

It is thoughtless and careless to assume everyone else around the world is just like you. It is arrogant to post videos just to make yourself seem important.

The one time I think a video post is a good and sensible thing is for a tutorial – where it will help people to see what is being done and how it is done. Any other video posts are just people showing the world how important they are. It should be more important to make sure you are communicating with your audience, in a way which suits them best, rather than catering to your own self importance.

Manage Your WordPress Tags with Strictly Auto Tags

First, download the Strictly Auto Tags plugin.

You can do a lot to get started with the free plugin on WordPress. But, if you really want to manage your tags better, and maintain them, the paid plugin gives extra features and options. Please donate, even if you use the free plugin. Plugin developers need love (and coffee) too.

Second, read this guide to using the plugin from Rob, the creator of the plugin (and a list of others which you can find on his site, Strictly Software).strictly auto tags

There are 2 main uses for it.

1. With Auto Discovery ON. This is where it is ideal for news sites as it will find new people, names, companies, institutions etc without using lookup lists. So if I got famous over night and an article was imported about me  I would be found without some other sites list being updated e.g 3rd party API’s (as the other tagging plugins use APIS to send data over and get tag suggestions back and would have to wait for my name to be added to the list). 

So for discovering new names e.g two or more capitalised words like Robert Reid or acronyms like CIA. Then the auto discovery is good for finding NEW possibilities for words to be used as tags.

2. You can always use it with Auto Discovery OFF. If you have a massive tag list you have built up already and just want to re-tag posts then that’s great. It will just use your existing tags as options. 

Obviously you can use it with both options on and see if it finds any new tags worth using. That is your choice.

Always use the example in the readme.txt as a test to ensure it works.

Always read the debugging steps in the readme.txt file to see if it is a bug or you not setting something up or expecting it to do something it isn’t set up to do.

Also if you write your own material I would always save as a draft first, see which tags it has put in, then remove those I don’t want, add those I do before publishing etc. The quality of the tags will always depend on what material you are writing about, stored existing tags that are in that article, and any new words the plugin can find.

I used Strictly Auto Tags, the free version, to re-tag my blog after removing every tag about 2 years ago. I had gotten frustrated with the clutter of tags which repeated each other in slightly different ways and it was a big mess when I wanted to tag a post and had too many options or nothing at all. Anyway, Strictly Auto Tags is great.

How I used the plugin on my own blog

Start by using Discovery to re-tag (especially if you are starting from scratch as I did). Then, go through and edit, revise, add, etc, the tag words which the plugin discovered and added for you. There will be a lot of them but I found none were too extreme or completely off the mark. Most I did delete or revise (making phrases one word or changing a word down to the singular rather than the plural). I kind of enjoyed working on all those tag words. I had forgotten so much about my own site and things I wrote about in the past. I made notes for future blog posts based on the tags discovered by Strictly Auto Tags.

Keep your tags working and sorted out by using the auto tags without Discovery on. Once your tags are set the plugin will tag your new posts with the existing tags. As Rob wrote, save your post to draft first and check which tags will be added. This is when you can edit them if you don’t want a tag or want to add a new tag.

Purchasing the full version for more features and to see what else I can do with my tags now that they are working so well again

Tagging was such a chore for me before that I am going to get the paid version of Rob’s Strictly Auto Tags plugin so I can run it with all the extra features and avoid the tagging problems which caused me to get rid of them all before. I did find tags to be a good thing and I do see that they add to traffic and the chance for my blog posts to be found. So, doing away with tags was a good experiment, but I’m bringing them back now. Very glad to have found a plugin to do a lot of the work for me. Sure, I could have ignored all the past posts and just started tagging from here, but that would bug me. I am a bit all or nothing in that way.

Starting with a Burnt Phoenix

This is a bare bones blog theme. You are not having a computer glitch.

I want to enjoy blogging again so I am creating this blog from the start. Not that I want to reinvent the wheel – I’m starting with WordPress and working my way up from there. I have used other blog software, including Blogger, but WordPress has the most support these days so if I hit a snag or want to do something unique, chances are I can find help when/ if I break something.

I’ve been blogging (web publishing) a long time and I have several sites in various stages of activity. This domain is going to be one I keep to myself (mostly) as I get back to basics and make blogging fun (for me) again.

You are welcome here. Leave your own thoughts about blogging. Negative stuff I don’t want to read (or post) will be moderated.

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.

What’s Missing from this Blog Post?

whatsmissing

This is the header and details from a blog post I was reading today (October 4th, 2013). I created a screen capture of the title and details of the post, below you can see a partial image which was included with the post.

So… can you find something important missing from this post?

Read and look carefully.

Did you notice the information in the headline about an asteroid hitting the Earth in 24 hours? Well, the first thing I wanted to know is when that 24 hours will be up. I read the post. Well, I skimmed it. I didn’t find a mention of a date for the asteroid to hit the Earth. My first thought is to check the date on the post itself. After all, the post would have been written when we still had 24 hours to pack or hide, or something. Right?

Well, there’s the problem… this post has no date. It is an undated entry in the blog. This site does not date it’s blog posts.

I think this is a big mistake. Not just for the obvious reason above. But, I like to know if I’m reading an active blog. I like to see how often they post or how fresh the posts are. I also like to know how dated the information is. For instance, if you post a collection of links for WordPress plugins, I want to know that the list is fresh and the links still relevant. I also want to know if this post has been updated with new information. (Have you ever added an update to a post? You could leave a note for your readers, tell them it’s an addendum. There’s a fancy word for you).

Anyway, I’ve written about the importance of using dates with blog post before so I won’t rehash the whole idea. However, next time you type in something about 24 hours, make sure you give your reader the full timeline, and the due date.

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.

Move your Links from One WordPress Blog to Another Easily

opmlI have a large collection of links. I add them using the bookmarklet feature with WordPress. I was surprised that WordPress removed the blogroll from the new versions. Why? I enjoy collecting links, hoarding them you might say.

But, when I decided to shuffle my blogroll links from one domain to another… I was left doing it one by one. One link at a time with a list of over 500 was a bigger project than I really wanted to start. So, I found another way to do it.

It is actually very simple to import your WordPress blogroll from one WordPress blog into another WordPress blog.

Go to the site you want to import the links to. (Tools > Import > Blogroll). If you don’t already have the blogroll importer on the list you can get it through WordPress  (just click on Bogroll).

Highlight the following link BUT replace the no-name domain with the domain which currently has the links/ blogroll you want to export (the links you will be importing).

http://YOURDOMAIN.com/wp-links-opml.php

Paste the link into the OPML feed box.

You can select a category to import the links into. This will let you sort them out before adding them all to any existing links you have.

Click the button and wait for the links to load up. Mine took a few minutes, but I did have a lot of them.

It works! I did it for my own site and all is well. Of course, now I have to go through and check each link, decide where it will fit in my new categories. But, I would have been doing that either way.

Building a Web Directory with WordPress

You can use WordPress plugins to create your own web directory. There are premium plugins and themes, or you can try the free plugins. Expect to do some work, making some changes to HTML and CSS code and work with an FTP program. If you can’t (or won’t) do the extra work then look at the premium options instead. However, if your plan is to make money with a web directory aren’t you smarter to use free options and do some of the work yourself?  Note: I do pay for software and themes and even the odd plugin, but I prefer to give business to the open source and free software as often as I can.

Link Library is the plugin I have been using longest. You can work with the links you already have in your WordPress blogroll. Take a look at the information given for setting it up. It is fairly simple and most of the work is just done inside WordPress itself. Pretty simple.

Open Links Directory is the one I’m looking at and thinking I will start with for a new directory I’ve been wanting to sort out and get active. See the demo. I’ve done the install but I’ve got a bug to work out with FTP. Your own install may be bug-free. Other than a small bug, it looks great and I’m impressed.

WP Link Dir looks interesting and they say it works with pages on WordPress instead of posts. So that could leave you with the ability to run posts as a regular blog with the directory in the background, or as a feature. I’m only hesitant to download this one because they want to gather your email address first. (I don’t like having my email address harvested for spammers).

Outdated, possibly forgotten plugins which you can still find to give a try:

Article Directory is an interesting plugin to try. You can read the FAQ and find the plugin (and a theme) on the site which also acts as a demo for the plugin.

Web Directory WordPress plugin has not been updated for years so it is use at your own risk. But, you can find more information for using and installing it on the site (the download link there is broken).

WordPress Link Directory is outdated but available. The link to the site from WordPress is broken but I found it myself.

Organize a Local Blogging Event

Have you ever thought about doing something with local bloggers? I have. I tried (once) to have a local gathering. I was there, alone. At least I’d picked a good place for coffee and people watching. I had a window seat and my book for the whole hour I had set aside for the event. It wasn’t awful but it was pretty discouraging when it came to doing anything like it again.

My only real mistake was in not trying again right away, or within the same month. I did have some people interested and a couple who said they would come (even if they didn’t show up).  So I had a start to what could have become a local event for bloggers and writers in my area.

Starting small is a good plan. For one thing you won’t feel you are taking on too much and if you make mistakes you don’t have a lot of people to inform when you change the date, place or anything else about the event.

Find a great place where people can get their own coffee/ refreshments or snacks. I picked a coffee shop on the main street of my town. Easy to find, right on the bus route and enough parking as long as I had it on a week night.

Keep in touch with people, whether they show up or not. Collect email addresses and give them out on a sheet at the event or email everyone the list (save paper).  If someone has a book out, or another kind of achievement get them to talk about it and turn all of this into an email list for the group. A good way to remind everyone of the next event and get people talking and meeting each other so they won’t feel they don’t know anyone when they do show up at your event.

If you get enough people start a blog or a group of some kind online. But, make it clear the focus is on getting together for coffee not just hiding behind the computer screen and not being included in the live event.

Find interesting places to meet, relevant to blogging, other local events, local businesses and resources for bloggers in your area. Introduce the people in the group to new and great things they didn’t already know about. This will give more people a reason to come out and find out more, while becoming part of the group too.

Resources for becoming a WordPress WordCamp Organizer (but don’t assume everyone is using WordPress):

WordCamp Planner

WordCamp Central

How to Reach Beyond HubPages

Note: This was originally posted to HubPages, February 2012. I’m no longer writing at HubPages but the advice to people who write for network sites is still true and worth knowing. 

To my fellow HubPages writers,

I’ve been writing with HubPages for a few months. I had joined years ago, but I wasn’t writing Hub posts until recently.

My writing experience online comes from other sites, other writing networks and my own sites which I create, maintain and promote. I have moderated forums, email lists and newsletters. I have guest posted and I have accepted guest posts. I have begun working as a content curator. In the past I have been a web directory editor for The Open Directory Project and a less well known directory, BOTW. I have written for known and unknown sites like LockerGnome, Suite101, BackWash, have any Hub writers heard of these? Chances are you have not.

HubPages has become it’s own little microcosm, it’s own little closed in and sheltered world. The traffic here is mainly from inside the network or Google. This is not really a good thing.

Google is like a bird, picking at bits of food in a huge log on the forest floor. The Google bird just snips up one snack at a time. It doesn’t dive in and find more or tell anyone else to come and see what great snacks there are in this tree. Everything Google finds becomes part of its database and someone has to search for it in order to find you. In Google, your content is just a little bug waiting for another bird to dig for it, with the right words.

There are so many other sources for traffic! Most Hub writers are not using Twitter, for instance. Twitter is simple to use. It would also let Hub writers talk outside of HubPages which is a good thing because it promotes HubPages – outside of HubPages. Twitter is only a beginning… StumbleUponTumblrPinterest, Snip.it, Flickr… Are these foreign lands to you? Then it’s time to set your eye on the horizon and explore them.

You can promote your Hub posts in so many fresh, new places. Places you will enjoy exploring, places you will find new ideas to write about, meet new people with your interests and interesting sidelines to your interests.

Start your own blog on WordPress.com or Blogspot. It’s free in those places. Link to your Hubpages account, post links to your latest Hub article and invite discussion. Yes, you want people to comment on your Hub, but they have to get there first. Post the best Hub comments on your blog, as a way to lure readers from the blog onto your Hub post where they can add to that discussion. However, don’t use your blog or any social media as just a way to promote your HubPages account. That is a slippery slope.

It takes time to use social media or a blog well. They should never be used as just a feed for your Hub content. Why would someone read a carbon copy? Have original content, things you don’t post at HubPages. Post ideas you find and may write about. Post updates to old Hubs you have written and, of course, link back to the original Hub content. Post about a bad day, post about your new achievements and goals you are setting for yourself.

Each place you land in, establish a presence in, will bring you new readers and give HubPages new life outside of itself. This will bring traffic from outside of HubPages, those places where most people have never heard of HubPages or think it’s not worth visiting. Reach out there and change their minds.

My Hub Traffic Comes From…

hubtraffic

I like to see where my traffic came from, more than the actual numbers. This is my Hub traffic. Image captured mid day, January 20th.

I don’t know if there are rules about posting traffic stats on HubPages. I don’t mind to share mine, to show my work.

My Hub traffic reaches out past Google. I get traffic from my own blog where I have added a link to my HubPages account right along with my Twitter, StumbleUpon and etc. accounts. I put in time on Scoop.it, content curating for topics which relate to the Hubs I write. While I do link to my own posts there, I also link to some of yours on HubPages and other sites.

On my blog you will see a wider variety of traffic sources. Some of these come from comments I have left on other sites and blogs. Some are networks I have joined. I also exchange links with other bloggers, web writers and friends online. I even get a little traffic from a writer’s network which is now abandoned by the owner.

So you can get traffic from a lot of places, even those which aren’t especially active. The key is in the focus of the site, especially in the case of a small or inactive site. People wind up there, with the focus of whatever the topic or niche is. If they find your link, chances are you will get clicked on because they came looking for your kind of content.

My Blog Traffic Comes From…

blogtraffic

This is taken from my main blog, Word Grrls. Also, mid day, January 20th.