Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hurtful Comments

The past couple of days I have dealt with my satellite internet service being knocked out by recent high winds.  The winds actually shifted the dish which means it needs to be realigned whenever dumb and dumber can get here.  Seriously, dumb and dumber is a whole story by itself!  So this morning still in the midst of being tossed back into the dinosaur age of dial-up land found myself a victim of a rather hateful comment on one of my blogs.  Now quite frankly with the week I've been having I really didn't need this but what the heck.  Of course it was sent by anonymous!  It really boggles my mind how down right rude and hurtful some can be under the cloak of presumed anonymity.  Apparently this clown doesn't know that I already have their IP address.  The comment was tossed into my spam bucket as I don't feel my readers need to see such trash.  However, I will be keeping an eye out for more comments from anonymous then launch the LARTs if necessary.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Removing Blogging Distractions

My gosh, by any stretch of the imagination, I am an internet junky.  It's likely one of my main forms of communication.  When the high winds knocked out our internet connection and I was reduced to dial-up I quickly realized that I needed to regress to the time where dial-up was the norm.  I did a surprising amount of blogging offline connecting only to do the actual posting.  In many ways this worked out a lot better than anticipated.  I found I was able to concentrate with less distractions since I usually multi-task while blogging.  As a result I ended up being a bit more productive with respect to writing posts.  I actually found myself enjoying writing posts off line then connecting just for posting them.  I enjoyed it so much that my new blog writing style will be writing my posts offline then using cut and paste to post them in Blogger. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blog Promotion From Within the Blog

Quite some time ago I read a recommendation that effective blog promotion starts from within the blog itself.  Well that advice made a lot of sense to me and since I was already using one method of inner blog promotion by linking to previously made posts I decided it was time to add a bit more.   After all I figured if I don't do a bit of self promotion why would anyone else promote my blogs.

Blog promotion from within includes:

  • text links to previously made posts within posts
  • LinkWithin - 3 graphic links to similar posts
  • popular posts section with a blurb for each post - keep it to 3 or 4
  • tag cloud
Essentially what you are doing is the same thing a sales person would do if selling you a bedroom set.  Once they had you interested in the bedroom set they would likely say "Do you need a set of lamps to go with the new look?"  The premise is the longer they keep you in the store the greater the chances of you buying more.  Well, the same thing applies to blogs.  If I catch your attention with a post title the chances of you staying to read a bit more by offering you a few reading choices increases considerably. 

What's nice about these methods is they really are not a blatant, in your face thing but more of an if you are interested thing.  I think it offers the readers more opportunity to explore my blogs.  However, I don't think all of these blog promotional tools work for every blog.  One or more may work well for some blogs but for other blogs relying on text links to previously made posts only may be the way to go while in other cases using only a tag cloud is a better choice.  Yet on other blogs all four methods might be quite effective.  The best way I've found to see what will be effective for one of my blogs is to add one of the promotional tools then monitor my traffic for a couple of weeks or so.  If the promotional tools decreases bounce rate or helps to increase comments on older post then I leave it alone and add another one depending on the style of the blog I'm adding it to.  I'm a bit picky that way as I like in internal blog promotion but don't want it to interfere with the overall design of that blog.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bait and Switch of a Different Kind

I recently talked about bait and switch tactics using blog badges or the 125 x 125 pixel graphic used by many bloggers for advertising their blogs.  Yesterday I came across a bait and switch that was enough to make my head spin.  The 125 x 125 badge indicates home improvement or at least someone painting so the assumption it would have something to do with home improvement.  Wait though it gets more interesting.  The blog itself is called Home Improvement

The last five posts on this blog were:

  • book rental plans at booksfree.com
  • why shop for car repair tools at Eris Automotive Tools
  • you need a social media expert to promote your business
  • search engine optimization
  • learning about website optimization
Excuse me what do any of the above posts have to do with home improvement?  Talk about a massive bait and switch!  Adding insult to injury all of the posts appeared to be paid posts!  I thought this rather interesting given the blog is advertising through one of the blog advertising networks that frowns on every post being a paid post. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blinking Badges

Years ago when I set up my first website I loved animated icons.  They were all the rage and when not overused added a nice bit of interest to websites.  After awhile though seeing the same animated new on just about every website you visited the interest wore thin.  Enterprising web designers created their own unique animated graphics.  When I started blogging I really liked blinkies.  Blinkies are small little graphics with a cute saying.  They appear to blink usually with running dashes or similar along the edge.  An example of a blinkie is the Canadian blinkie at the top of my sidebar.  Blinkies for the most part seem to have fallen out of favour but some of us still use them.

Some bloggers have animated their 125 x 125 pixels blog badge.  I suspect the reason for this is they feel an animated badge will draw more attention.  While I can't say anything definitive with respect to drawing attention what I can comment on is the actual movement may end up turning readers off your blog if you have too many of these on your blog.  Imagine if you are using Entrecard, Adgitize, CMFAds and Project Wonderful widgets on your blog and four animated badges show at the same time.  Rather than being interesting these badges become a distraction for the reader.  Distracted readers tend to spend less time on your blog so the end result is the animated badge has a negative effect.

I do a lot of scrapbooking, both convention paper and digital.  I know how important it is to add movement to your layout.  The same applies to blog layouts and and promotional graphics used to promote the blog.  In this case movement on promotional graphics should not be actual movement as in animation.  Rather a more effective way to achieve movement is through the use of font placement, shadows and content.  Leave the animation to the once in awhile, cutsey content you want to add but not as your main blog promotion.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Old Bait and Switch

The old bait and switch tactic is rather popular among some sales people where an item is advertised but when you get to the store the item isn't in stock so they try to sell you something more expensive.  The bait is the ad for the great sale item while the switch is something different than expected.  Unfortunately some bloggers have resorted to using this tactic to get members blog advertising network and readers of those blogs to click on their ad by designing a blog badge that has nothing to do with their blog's content.  Some are using scantily clothed people in the design.  Can you tell me what a surfer style dude has to do with a technology blog?  It doesn't have anything to do with it other than bait you into visiting the blog. 

Using a misleading image on your blog badge may get you a visit but only the first time.  The problem with the bait and switch is no one likes it!  It is deceptive and people don't like being deceived.  Once the reader realized they have been tricked into visiting they will move on and not visit again.  There are some blogs within the blog advertising network that I simply won't visit because of the old bait and switch. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Redirect

redirect is when you click on the url of a site but the site takes you two another site.  There are three reasons for using a redirect but only one valid reason.  They are: site url change, advertising and malicious or illegal behaviour.  If a website or blog has had an url in use (eg. myurlname.blogspot.com) and they change domain to their own domain (eg.  myurlname.com) then a redirect to the new url is appropriate.  The redirect can be announced on the old blog url with a statement to the effect that after such and such a date the old url will be redirected to the new url and please update your bookmarks.

In an effort to make money online some bloggers are resorting to using redirects forcing their readers to view an advertisement.  This is extremely annoying and incredibly rude.  It is against the TOS of advertising networks like Adgitize, CMFAds, Project Wonderful, and Adsense.  Using a redirect for advertising is a good way to have any of these accounts cancelled.  It is a sure fire way to lose readers as well.  Readers do not like redirects without a valid reason and forcing them to view an ad is not a valid reason.

The sad reality is some bloggers have redirects to malicious content.  This can include viruses, trojans,
pornographic content, malware, spyware and that type of thing.  This is against the AUP and TOS of most ISPs and blog hosting sites.  If a blog is resorting to this type of behaviour whether intentional or not it should be reported to the blog hosting site as well as the blogger's ISP.  There is no room for this type of behaviour in the blogosphere!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Popups and Peel Backs

In an effort to make money online some bloggers are resorting to using popup and peel back advertising.  I'm sure you have seen both.  A popup ad is one that creates another but smaller browser window to display the ad over the main browser window.  A popup ad has to be clicked on to close in order to see the main window.  A peel back ad is one where there is an advertisement behind the main browser window that displays if you hover over the turned over corner of the main browser window.  I find both types annoying! 

I use a popup blocker but still see a bar at the top of the main browser window that says to the effect this site wants to show a popup followed by two choices - allow or never allow.  Since either involves some type of action on my part I simply close that site and won't visit it again.  These types of ads are against the TOS for some advertising networks like Adgitize, AFTR, and CMFAds.  Since I am a member of all three, I do make it a point to report any blog in the system that uses popup and peel back ads.  That's how much they irritate me!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Numbers Kind of Gal

I think I realized from my very early blogging blogging days that I'm a numbers kind of gal.  It immediately became interesting watching the counter that reflected visitors to my blogs.  I liked checking my blogs to see the the counter increase.  Sites like Technorati, Alexa and Google Analytics added to the numbers to watch, again interesting to watch the trends.  Blogger is the most recent to add more numbers to watch.  Then there are the numbers generated by Adsense and other advertising networks who do their own form of statistics.  So Statcounter may say I had 13,000 visitors in a month but one of the advertising networks will say I had 12,500 while another one will say I had 11,750.  What is interesting is they are all supposed to be measuring the same thing.  What is funny is you can have two different traffic counters and they will show two different numbers for the same time period.  In short 10 different sites tracking your traffic will give you 10 different results. 

As interesting as the numbers are the important thing is the overall trends.  If one traffic counter consistently reports your traffic as being low in comparison to the others then perhaps that counter is on the blink.  As long as traffic and page views keeps increasing in general across the various stats sites, things are good.  Still the numbers are fun to watch!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blogger Adds Stats to Dashboard

Blogger has added stats to the dashboard and a stats tab for the blog along with the other tabs.  I knew they were working on this feature back in July when I posted about stats in Blogger draft mode.  To get into draft mode sign is as normal to draft.blogger.com instead of www.blogger.com.  This is where all the new features are tested and the kinks worked out before they are added to the main Blogger site.  It's definitely worth checking out draft mode from time to time just to see what Blogger is working on next.

The stats are rather interesting!  The stats consist of an overview graph that can be set to now, day, week, month or all time by clicking on the appropriate tab.  There is a refresh button as well.  Mousing over the graph will give the number of page views at that particular point.  Below the graph there are 3 sections - posts, traffic sources and audience.  The top 5 visited posts are shown with post title and number of page views with the option to view more details.  The top 3 traffic sources are shown and the audience is shown as a world map with countries highlighted if traffic is coming from them.  Clicking the map will take you to a more detailed breakdown of your audience that includes page views by countries, page views by browsers and page views by operating systems.  The option is there to view the data now, daily, weekly, monthly or all time.

Once again Blogger has added another useful blogging tool.  The stats are presented nicely and easy to navigate.  It's one more tool to help gauge a blog's performance.  What's really nice is you can do it right from the dashboard without having to sign into another stats tool.  Thanks Blogger!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

As a Blogger

Very early in my blogging experience I decided that I control what my readers know about me.  I really think most bloggers do this without really thinking about it.  Honestly, readers don't need to know every personal detail about me in order to enjoy reading my blogs.  Yesterday I was just in that kind of I wrote the most amazing meme for one of my blogs.   I actually gave 8 bits of information that none of my readers unless they know me personally would know.  I read that meme and thought, my gosh, this is one of the best blog posts yet because it was seriously straight from the heart.  I walked away from the computer to ponder and upon returning saved the meme as a draft.  I wrote another post instead.  The meme is tucked safely away, ready for another day when I my want to share. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Should You Buy Long Term Advertising?

Some of the blog advertising networks are offering longer terms for advertising.   Weekly and monthly advertising is the norm but now yearly advertising is being offered at a slightly discounted rate.  Over all if you buy the yearly package you may end up saving $12 to $24 over buying the advertising monthly.  Should you buy the monthly package?

In my opinion, no!  A $12 or more savings is nice but you have to pay out more up front, as in almost $150.  In doing so you are taking the gamble that the advertising network will remain in business for the next year and they will continue to perform as expected.  The problem is anything blog related really can't be guaranteed.  If I as a blogger stopped blogging the blogs would still be there unless I deleted them.  If a blog advertising network decides shut up shop that's what they do and quite often without any warning or reimbursing you the balance of advertising cost you paid but wasn't used.  A couple of years back BlogRush just simply posted a message they were closed.  There was no warning and no consideration for bloggers who found themselves with a huge blank space on their blogs because the widget no longer worked.  Right around about that time Entrecard was having problems so those requesting a cash payout were out of luck.  That network was sold shortly thereafter.  I haven't heard whether they are paying out or not.  Many of the paid to click sites lure you into buying referrals or buying in somehow and then go bust as I recently found out.  I only lost $5 but I still lost it.  Any online advertising network is risky at some point but more so when dealing with small advertising networks.  When it comes to blog advertising, take the least risk possible which means pay a slightly higher weekly or monthly advertising rate and avoiding the yearly rate. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All Those Extras I Don't Like

Ever since I started blogging I've done a lot of blog hopping. It didn't take me long to figure out exactly what I don't like about extra blog features. These are some of the features that seriously turn me off of visiting that blog again regardless of how good the content may be.  Here's a short list:

  • auto play music
  • peel back ads
  • pop up ads or any kind of pop up
  • too much animation including multiple blinkies
  • auto play videos
  • too many third party widgets
  • slow loading graphics
  • all paid review posts
  • excessive profanity and other objectional content
  • seeing the same "blog au jour" on every single blog

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ranting On Blogs

My gosh and it doesn't happen very often that I rant on any of my blogs but sometimes there's the need.  Call it working it out of your system or whatever but sometimes a good rant is well worth it.  Now there are two ways of dealing with rants.  The first way is to do an all out post blindly ranting but don't post it because if you do there may be negative ramifications.  The second way is to do a toned down version of the rant, one that will not get you into legal or other hot water.

When it comes to blog rants I really do think you have to choose your battles.  At the same time rants add character and personality to your blog because readers realize you are human and sometimes getting ticked off is a perfectly natural human reaction.  A rant can be a very effective blog tool as long as you don't overuse it.  Just as in real life if you are constantly ranting you are less likely to be heard.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh the Temptation

A couple of years ago I was a very active participant in Entrecard.  I had great traffic with a high bounce rate and was suffering from blogger click out.  Over the last week I made the decision to take one of my blogs in a bit different direction.  The little nagging bat came back that using this network would help me a bit.  Temptation can be a bit evil when blogging.  I brushed the temptation into the garbage bin where it belongs but still.  At any rate, life moves on and with the new changes I'm looking forward to the future with this blog. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Traffic Exchanges

Everyone wants to get traffic to their blogs and one of the easiest ways to do this is using a traffic exchange.  In general a traffic exchange will give you a 2:1 or 1:1 return meaning for ever 2 sites you visit you get a return visit.  Some traffic exchanges actually pay you to participate so it is a way to make a little money as well.  You can also buy traffic from most traffic exchanges.  Using a traffic exchange can be useful when establishing a new blog to get a bit of exposure.  However, traffic exchanges come with a few problems that you need to be aware of when using them:

  • Google hates traffic exchanges - If you are using Adsense on your blog, using a traffic exchange is against the TOS and can lead to having your account cancelled with you forfeiting any earnings.  Do not use a traffic exchange if you are using Adsense!  If you have Adsense on your blog and want to experiment with a traffic exchange, suspend any ad units and remove the code from your blog before using a traffic exchange.  Do not pay for traffic from a traffic exchange either as that may affect your page rank.  If you want to make a little money playing with a traffic exchange fine but don't go gung ho otherwise you might get penalized.
  • bounce rate - Exposure through a traffic exchange can be good depending on the one you choose however any traffic exchange will increase your bounce rate.
  • most traffic exchanges are not blog oriented - Most traffic exchanges are geared towards online money making schemes so blogs don't get much attention.  There are a few aimed at blogs but they are few and far between.  Choose a blog oriented traffic exchange if you want to get your blog noticed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Needing More Than One Browser

In my beginning internet days I quickly learned that all browsers are not created equally.  A few years later we became a house divided with my husband liking Internet Explorer while I preferred Mozilla.  Over the years our tastes have changes to match operating systems combined with basic likes and dislikes in browser performance.  I currently have 4 browsers on my home computer: Mozilla, Internet Explorer, Safari and Camino.  Each behave and display differently.  From a blogging perspective I think it is a good idea to have more than one browser for a few reasons.

  • More than one browser allows you to see what others are seeing.  It may mean that in one browser an element is displaying properly.  A bit of tweaking may be needed to get that element to display properly in all browsers.
  • More than one browser allows you to do a bit of troubleshooting.  For example, one of my blogs had a loading issue or so I thought.  But on further investigation it was the browser itself.  Updating the browser solved the problem.
  • More than one browser can help you skirt around a problem your blog host may be having with some browsers.  For the past couple of days the uploading feature in Blogger is really buggy if using Camino, my preferred browser.  At the same time using cut & paste for adding links isn't working in Safari.  My work around is to have the post open in Safari first to upload my pictures then save as draft.  I then open the draft in Camino to complete the post adding any desired links via cut & paste.  It's a bit of a pain but quite workable for a few days without having to change to the old editor or draft editor since one is lacking in features and the other has a few issues as well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blogger's Automatic Spam Detection Appears to Be Effective

Blogger introduced its automatic spam detection a few months ago.  Essentially what this does is detect potential spam and put it into a spam folder in the comments section.  From there you can decide if it is spam and delete.  This is especially useful for those who do not have comment moderation turned on.  At least suspected spam comments don't get automatically posted.  This appears to have reduced the number of comment spammers which is something I didn't expect.  Perhaps spammers are catching on that folks are getting tired of them.  We can only hope...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blog Loading Time

When I first started online I was on 28K dial-up so I heard a lot about bandwidth.  Back then when I was designing my website that in hindsight was quite blog like with regular updates the use of graphics was not like it is today.  Widgets were pretty much unheard of and third party scripts were used only when you wanted to make a statement.  In short they were simpler, faster loading and you learned how to make a great website that was attractive and unique within those parameters.  Today's blogs tend to be graphic and widget intensive.  As a result they aare larger files that take longer to load.  However, unless you are in rural areas where the only service available is dial-up or satellite for the most part even graphic intensive blogs load fairly quickly.  However I saw a comment along my bloghopping recently that if a page doesn't load within 10 seconds the readr will move on.  That's bad news for bloggers but in all honesty I really think this applies to those with high speed internet to begin with.  I'm on satellite.  If I got any page to load in 10 seconds I would be shouting it from the roof tops! 

At any rate your blog loading time does make a difference especially for SEO even though many don't talk about it.  It stands to reason though that if your blog loads faster than a similar blog on the same search term that yours will likely rank slighly higher in the search results giving a better chance of a visit.  Something to keep in mind too is there are still a large number of people on low speed dial-up service.  Keep that in mind when it comes to your blog loading time. 

  • Optimize your graphics to keep them small and fast loading even for slower connection speeds. 
  • Clean up your html.
  • Eliminate any unnecessary third party scripts or widgets.  Quite often these can slow down a blog so keep them to a minimum

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My apologies for a later in the day post.  There's a lot of behind the scenes blog related things going on at the moment.  I have been extended an excellent opportunity that will take one of my blogs in a slightly different direction.  At first I was a bit apprehensive but after careful consideration decided to go ahead with the opportunity.  I signed the contract this morning so am actually now looking forward to the change.  I really am excited!

Blogging is a bit different from most businesses.  In most cases a blogger can easily continue publishing the blog without getting involved in signed contracts.  Oh sure there are the TOS for any networking you are involved with and that's to be expected.  If you go against the TOS then the networking will notify you or if the infraction was severe enough cancel your account.  Signed contracts on the other hand gives both parties involved certain legal rights.  If you break the terms of your contract then you can be held legally responsible.  A contract is a legal and binding document so should never be entered into without fully understanding the terms.  If you find yourself in the position of signing any kind of contract with respect to your blog(s) be sure you understand the contract!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Paid to Participate on Forums Thoughts

I recently talked about the changes at Adgitize that now pays members for posting on their forums.  On the pro side specifically for Adgitize is this will result in more hits aka traffic that should be reflected in their page rank.  Now if you think about it this is a gamble that can easily backfire in more than one way.  If a member does not participate in the forums the essentially lose 5¢ per day or $1.50 per month in potential earnings.  If a member does participate in most cases it is because they are being financially rewarded.  Either way the integrity of the forums is lost.  For example if I give you my honest opinion on a particular topic you are more likely to listen to me if I am not being paid to give you my opinion.  This is one reason paid blog posts don't work and so it is the same with paid forum posts. 

I've been thinking about this though.  Google is rather specific as to what you can or can't do.  Paying someone to post in a forum is essentially the same thing as paying for traffic into Adgitize AND it does fall under paid traffic that is not advertising related to my understanding.  Other sites have tried the paid for post methods for forums but most have gone by the wayside simply because they tick off Google with this pretty much blackhat method of generating traffic.  Now, I like Adgitize and I like the results so it would be a shame to see them blacklisted by Google because of their new forum tactic.

At the same time Adgitize is running the risk of ticking members off.  I've heard from some who will not be renewing their ads.  I'm on the fence as to whether to continue to run 2 ads or reduce to one but there is something in the works that will also factor in my decision.  Fewer advertisers means less income and traffic but advertisers come and go so for every couple you lose one might sign up. 

I'm using the next couple of weeks to keep an eye on what's going on at Adgitize.  Already I'm seeing a reduction in total points in the system by over 10,000 from Oct 7 to Oct 9.  That tells me some have already not renewed their advertising.  This concerns me however active participation still gives a payback.  Time will tell whether these new changes are going to work or not on the short term basis.  The long term basis is more questionable.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Advertising Quandary

I'm in the position of an advertising quandary where I have to decide to offer exclusive advertising (to one advertiser only aka no Adsense or other advertising).  I will be able to participate in blog advertising networks but this particular blog will not be allowed to have any other advertising on it including private advertising.  I'm seriously considering the ramifications of this.  Needless to say this will not be a decision I take lightly.  I really don't like being put in this position and quite frankly I am not prepared to sell my blog out for the pithy amount of money they pay me for advertising each month!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sometimes It Happens

We've been away for the last three weeks.  While I tried to do a lot of scheduling of posts as well as blogging while away I found myself in the position this morning of needing a blog post across all six blogs.  Hey it happens sometimes and I think really comes down to human nature.  There's only so much you can do in a day.  At any rate it will likely take me a day or two to get back into the swing of things.  The good news is I'm relaxed and a bit tired but not exhausted.  I have lots of great blog fodder and lots of great pictures as well as being a bit pumped about blogging so those are all good things when it comes to blogging.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Adgitize Announces Point Changes

Adgitize has announced point changes by introducing points for posting in the forum.  The points break down to:

200 word post = 100 points
100 word post = 50 points
50 word post = 25 points
25 word post = 10 points
maximum 100 points daily
As a result of the extra point earnings possible through writing forum posts those not posting a daily forum post will see a decrease in earnings of 5 cents.  I'm not sure whether or not I like the changes.  On one hand the potential for earning more is there if you participate in the forums daily.  At the same time this encourages posts simply for the sake of earning money and penalizes those who for whatever reason choose not to participate in the forums.  Essentially, not participating in the forums will reduce your earnings by $1.50 per month.  That's a fair amount of money in this type of system.  According to the Adgitize blog those participating in the forums will see increases in income.  One example is a member earning 256 points would go to 306 point or 20 cents per day to 42 cents per day BUT the next example is a member earning 325 points per day would go to 400 points seeing an increase to 50 cents per day from 47 cents.  So this member is essentially still losing 2 cents per day.  So it appears that the more active member is still losing out.

I will be following the point changes at Adgitize over the next couple of months.  I currently run two ads on Adgitize at a total cost of $28 per month.  With active daily participation I earn back about $17 per month so my advertising ends up costing me $9 per month.  If I don't participate in the forums that cost will go up to $10.50 per month.  It may be that I may have to reduce my ads to one ad per month from the two depending on how forum participation affects earnings.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Internal Links

When I first started blogging I naturally started using internal links.  The reason why I did this is it made sense to me to link to a previous post where I had gone into greater detail or one where I had posted a recipe rather than re-write the information creating redundancy.  Little did I know that using internal links is one way to increase your Page Rank (PR).

Adding internal links is just as easy as adding external links on any blog.  The only difference is you will have to search your own blog to find the post you want to link to.  When I'm writing a post in Blogger editor I right click on return to lists of posts under the publish post button.  Then I click open in a new tab where I can easily search previously posted articles.  Once the search shows the post or posts I'm looking for, I right click on view for that post then click copy link.  Then I go back to the post I'm composing, highlight the desired term and click on link in editor and paste the link into the pop-up.  The link can be manually added under the edit HTML tag as well using the a href= tags.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Drawing the Line

Ever since I started blogging I have done a lot of blog hopping.  Every once in awhile I come across a blog post that seriously makes me shake my head.  The reason being the content is either totally inappropriate (eg. graphic details of bodily functions), utter gossip complete with names that have not been changed to protect the innocent or seriously TMI that could easily get them into a bit of trouble with their spouse, friends, other family members, co-workers or their employer.  In fact some things I've seen disclosed on blogs could get the blogger into a bit of legal hot water!  I'm sorry but as bloggers there is a line as to what and what should not be blogged about.

Just recently a Canadian blogger was sentenced to 19 years in Iran for apparently creating anti-government propaganda in Iran on his blog.  Now this guy was just plain stupid!  First off he was Iranian, immigrated to Canada, got Canadian citizenship then went back to Iran during their elections and blogged about it. Even dogs know enough not to soil in their own backyard.   He left himself wide open in many ways and even if the charges are fabricated he is still sitting in a jail in Iran.  There were even speculations that he could face the death penalty.

If you are blogging in your own country you should be aware of what can and can't have legal implications with respect to what you write.  If you blog outside of your own country as many of us do then you need to educate yourself as to what is acceptable and what is not.  Most bloggers will not have a problem.  Those who tend to push the line or go over that line are bound to have problems ranging from mild to severe as a direct result of what they decided to blog about.  It's also important to be aware that simply revealing too much information about your self when blogging can have negative consequences as well.  It's best to draw a line as well about what you reveal because after all you never know who is reading your blog.  Every blogger assumes readers are reading their blog because they are interested in what you have to say but that may not always be the case.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trolls and Sockpuppets

I have actively or passively (lurked) participated on various online newsgroups and forums for years.  It took very little time to discover there was a subset of people interested only in causing a ruckus and the bigger the better.  The folks were called trolls.  Despite the referral to the ugly, mythical creature rumoured to live under bridges the internet troll is a person who uses bait like a fisherman trolling then slowly reals the victim in.  Once the victim has taken the bait in most cases the troll sits back to enjoy the chaos s/h/it caused.  For that reason trolling is more of activity you see on newsgroups, yahoo groups and similar type forums with newsgroups (usenet) being worse because there is no moderation at all.  Trolls if they are good attract sockpuppets and if they aren't so good create fictitious sockpuppets to make it look like they have a following and create more chaos.

Now that trolls and sockpuppets has been explained, how does that pertain to blogging?  Well, when I was blog hopping a couple of days ago I cam across a blog all concerned about a troll plaguing their blog, make comments and then being supported by their sockpuppets.  The problem is what is happening to this blogger on their blog cannot be called trolling.  What it is, is one or two people trying to get under the blogger's skin by making inappropriate comments.  They are continuing to do so because they are getting a reaction from the blogger each time they do so and they are encourage to make comments because the blogger is allowing the comments to be posted.  If this blogger had comment moderation turned on the only one who would see the comments before being rejected is the blogger.  The instigator would never even know if their comment had been read and the blogger would have quite effectively taken away the audience or attention the instigator is seeking.  After a few attempts and realizing the comments are not getting posted the instigator will move on to bug someone else.  However, to get them to do so means don't feed them!  A whole blog post and it was a lengthy one complete with the instigators name and how this was affecting the blogger serves only to encourage the instigator.  To my understanding the instigator also took their comments over to a forum associated with this blogging group.  Now here it could be considered trolling but again if they don't get a reaction they will move on.

If this should happen to you, realize that you have full power to control your own blog.  That means you do not have to put up with anyone making comments on your blog if you don't have to.  Remove any comments that might have got through then set your comments to moderation.  If you really have to rant about it allow yourself one post but worded in an ambiguous manner without revealing the instigator's name or details of any comments the instigator made.  This will keep the instigator wondering if you are referring to them or someone else.  Once you've done this, move on.  Unless you are dealing with a really disturbed person guaranteed they will move on rather quickly.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Update on Paid to Click

Towards the end of September I wrote about a new paid to click program I had joined.  This was a spin off site of the main site.  Basically this program would take very little time each day (about 2 minutes) and there was the potential to earn a few dollars each month without involving my blogs.  I signed up and paid $5 for renting referrals which was enough to rent 10 referrals for 2 months.  As of Oct 1 I had spend $2.50 of my $5 and had earned back $1.312.  At this rate it looked like I would recoup my $2.50 for the first month with a bit extra to cash out with.  I planned to repeat the same thing the following month.

On Oct 2 I went to the site and got a 403 error.  The second attempt gave a blank screen with "hacked by [name of hackers]" Yesterday (Oct 3) showed the site to be completely hacked with a rather ominous message promising the hacking of more sites.  I did not get any malware or anti-virus warnings but I didn't stick around to take any chances.  I'll try in a few days to see if the site has been fixed and if not will chock it up to experience.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Into the Final Quarter of 2010

My gosh 2010 has really just flown by!  Many businesses and companies divide their performance into annual quarters so they can compare one quarter to another.  In many ways blogging is a business.  As a blogger you are constantly selling yourself so assessing your performance is important.  When I look back at 2010 I see where Q1 and Q2 were high performing quarters with daily posts across all six blogs.  Q3 saw a decrease in posting on some of my blogs.  I am working towards making Q4 as good as Q1 and Q2 so overall it will be a successful year blogging.  I expect the first few days of Q4 to be a bit slow just with what is going on in real life but then I hope to be right back to the blogging level of the first half of the year.  Wish me luck...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Adbrite Closes Down Spottt

Quite some time ago I joined a banner exchange called Spottt.  Unfortunately there was no control over what banners were being shown on the widget so I pulled the widgets off my blogs rather quickly.  Over the last year I've noticed a gradual decrease in the number of blogs showing the Spottt widget.  According to a few sources Spottt was run by the advertising network Adbrite of which I also joined but after earning only a few pennies over a three month period removed those ads as well.  Adbrite pulled the plug on Spottt in September.  There was a short farewell message on the site but now the site is only a few godaddy ads.

It was a long time coming if you ask me.  Banner exchanges like Spottt, 125exchange and the Beer widget worked on the premise that for every 2 or 3 times you showed a banner on your blog, you banner would be shown once on another blog.  In theory this should bring traffic to your blog but in most cases it brings very low quality traffic.  I actually got majorly ripped off by 125exchange having earned thousands of impressions but they weren't showing my banners then somehow accidently deleting my account that when restored my impressions were just gone.  I won't recommend using any of these types of exchanges based on several factors including the 125exchange experience.  At best they take up valuable blog real estate that can be put to better use while giving you if you are very lucky low quality traffic and at worst you end up running free banners for other blogs/sites getting nothing in return.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Twitter Make Over

By now if you frequent Twitter through their website you will have noticed a fair number of changes.  As with any website change there are always pros and cons.  For the most part if you are using a Twitter client (eg. Tweetdeck, HootSuite, etc) you won't notice much of a difference.  The generic avatar has been changed from a bird to an egg but other than that there is not a lot of difference using a client.   If, for whatever reason, you have your tweets protected as I currently do you now have to go through followers where there is a tab for requests to deal with those wanting to see your tweets.

So far I've heard more negative than positive comments about the new Twitter.  I only use the website to accept requests to follow so I don't mind the changes.  I did notice they have widened the central panel considerably so very little of my customized background shows now.  In fact it is now wide enough there isn't much point adding a customized background.  I doubt those that were using that space to add promotional information will like this change.  I also read where Twitter is going to be changing the way third party applications can access your Twitter account so that may result in a bit of tweaking.  From what I can see most of the changes are positive though.  Time will tell.