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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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Page Rank is Dead

When I started blogging in 2006, Google's Page Rank was a huge deal.  This was a ranking system that gauged how good a blog was based on where it appeared in the search results.  A page rank of 10 was excellent while a page rank of 4 which is what the majority of personal blogs could hope for was fair.  The worst rank was NR meaning either Google had stripped the blog of its page rank or the blog was too new to gain attention from Google.  Both meant the blog was not showing in search results.   Every blogger had the page rank badge on their blog and they did whatever it took to increase page rank even if it meant resorting to dubious methods.  Advertisers actually chose whether or not to advertise on a blog based on its page rank.  If you had a good page rank then you had a better chance of attracting the advertisers that would pay so you would end up making more money from your blog.  If you didn't have a good page rank, some advertisers would not advertise on your blog even if you had high traffic. 

Google  then announced that they would be penalizing blogs that tried to manipulate the page rank system.  Bloggers were also penalized through dead, bad or undesirable links including those in comments as they basically created a hole in their page rank. Bloggers being concerned over this change either refuse to take exchange links with what they saw as undesirable websites so essentially were masking the natural linking process.  The problem with links has always been that the blogger can only control accepting that link, not what the link eventually points to.  Content can easily change or the link go dead without you knowing so that made a lot of extra work for bloggers who had to constantly check links or risk a fall in page rank. 

The quality of links still of concern however with page rank gone it opens the door to being a bit more laid-back with the links.  While you still don't want to link to sites contrary to the TOS for any advertising you are running or sites that promote certain activities or products, there is no longer the problem of linking to a good blog with great content that compliments yours but only has a page rank of 1.  Now you can simply link to it.  More importantly with the demise of page rank it means there is less concerned over where your blog is going to fall when somebody clicks on the search engine and more emphasis on producing quality blog posts.

Basically what this is done has taken blogging into a level where you're concerned about the quality of the post less concerned about search engine results, specifically Google search engine results.  There have always been a number of search engines and yet Google was the only one that apparently counted with some bloggers.  There has been a growing concern over tracking via search results so there has been a movement away from using Google search which tracks your every movement to search engines like Duck Duck Go that protects your privacy with no tracking.  If you concentrate on good content the other search engines going to include your blog in their search results. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Using Dictation to Blog

I recently wrote about using Blogger mobile so this time I'm trying out dictating a blog post using Siri on Blogger mobile.  There's a few pros and cons to using Siri as far as I can see but it is a good start for writing a blog post when you're thinking of something to write about and really just don't know where to start.  You simply start talking about your topic of choice then edit from there.   You have to go back and correct any spelling and grammatical errors as well as add in punctuation and capitalization.  Customizing text with bold or italics can also be added later.  However, you can write the basics of a fairly extensive blog post quickly simply by just dictating.

Using dictation (eg. Siri) to write a blog post is something new to me.  I think it's going to be something that I like using for basic posts and creating a framework that can be extended later in the website editor. It will be  particularly useful for those times when I have a great idea on the tip of your tongue that I forget to write down or because it's inconvenient to write down at that time. This way I can get the idea down in in writing and then expand from there.  I think dictation will prove to be a valuable blogging tool for me!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Controversy, Yeah or Ney?

Back in the heyday of blogging networks, one of the recommended blogging strategies for building blog traffic was controversy.  The technique is still recommended to some degree today.  While using controversy may be somewhat effective, it does tend to drive the wrong type of traffic to your blog.  It is a difficult technique to maintain as well and certainly does not lend itself effective in all blogging niches.  It may be effective in a blog focusing on current events, or hot topics like religion and politics but for the types of blogs I write, there really isn't much controversy to talk about.  Granted, I could stretch a couple of them to include a bit of controversy but there really is no need.  My position is that most bloggers do not need to use controversy as a blogging strategy.   I understand that some bloggers need or want to use controversy as a strategy.  This is entirely up to them and they are more than likely aware of the risks they take.

Some have taking the technique of discussing controversial topics to such a level that their blog is defined solely by the controversy.  This may or may not be a good thing.  It could be good in that controversy gets folks talking and thinking outside the box.  In most cases though, the controversy brings negative repercussions like dealing with online trolls but in some cases it brings much more like catching the attention of law enforcement, stalking that spills over into personal lives, government involvement and that type of thing.  Even though you may think the thoughts, it is not always appropriate to put those thoughts in writing because of the controversy they might cause.  They can be misconstrued as threats, blasphemy, libelous, inciting illegal acts, hate speech, treason or simply picking a fight when in fact that may not have been your actual intention. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In the News: Raif Badawi

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is a liberal activist blogger and founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website.  He has been sentenced to 10 years in prision, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million riyals for insulting Islam and religious authorities.  He started his blog in 2006 and went offline since his arrest in 2012.  His case is a clear example that bloggers can and do get themselves into trouble blogging.  Saudi Arabia obviously felt threatened by Raif's writings that they view as dissent!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Back At It

I jumped back into blogging with both feet.  So far, so good but it is clear that writing a blog post a day for each of my six blogs is not really feasible.  Or at least it won't be feasible when life gets busier in the spring.  I best get busy writing blog posts! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Old Comment Debate

Even though I took a blogging hiatus, I have still been micro-blogging.  Twitter is my favourite social media outlet!  A few days ago, one of my peeps tweeted that they had disabled comments on their blog.  The reasoning was rather valid in that blogging has changed.  At one time, comments were a must in order to build blog traffic and retain readership.  With that came comment spam and trolls to downright nastiness including online stalking.  There were two work arounds to this this problems.  Either disable comments or use comment moderation.  I chose comment moderation.  I'm the only one who sees any spam or trolling and while both can make for an unpleasant moment or two, I treat them accordingly and move on.  On a positive note, I have established a nice relationship with some of my readers by allowing comments. I'm not writing business or professional blogs and am moving closer to not monetizing them at all so for me the comments are simply a nice way to connect with my readers. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Getting Back to My Blogging Roots

Somewhere along the line, blogging became a chore, no longer fun.  I was constantly trying to write good content but focusing less on me, the blogger and more on driving traffic to my blogs.  In hindsight I lost the joy and excitement of blogging.  It's a lot of work trying to drive traffic to advertising that is at best going to pay pennies.  Don't get me wrong as I was earning a nice income for a couple of years blogging but the blogging community has changed.  Those who were blogging as a secondary income have moved on to greener pastures leaving two main categories of bloggers, personal and business.  I'm considered a personal blogger because none of my blogs are associated with a business.  I run a few ads on my blogs but quite frankly, that may be changing soon.  I want to get back to the thrill of blogging simply for the creative outlet it offers.  This will be the direction my blogs will be taking, blogging when I can and for the sheer joy of blogging!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Like Coming Home to an Old Friend

Yesterday, I sat down to make new signature graphics for my blogs.  I had them finished within a half hour, if  that.  Then I uploaded the graphics and changed the html on my blogs.  As I completed the changes, I opened each blog before writing a post.  My gosh!  It felt good to be back blogging.  The posts were short and sweet, but I was back blogging.  It was like coming home to an old friend.  So far it looks like my blogging hiatus has paid off.  We shall see if the momentum continues but for now it is time to ride the wave!

Friday, January 2, 2015

'Tis That Time of Year

Here it is a brand new year for blogging.  That means a bit of behind the scenes tweaking updating copyright notices and checking links.  Blogging has been hit or miss for me for the past six months but surprising, it took little time for me to update and upload new signature graphics.  It's taking a little longer to include a brief post on each blog but at least my readers will know that I haven't abandoned ship.  Cheers to the new year!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome 2015

Wishing each and everyone of you a very Happy New Year!  Welcome 2015...