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Are you a Successful Blogger?

Successful Blogging

  • Beginners can learn the basics about Blogging
  • Advanced Bloggers can learn how to take their blog up a notch.
  • Anyone can learn HOW TO GET MORE TRAFFIC
  • And more- Templates, Codes, and Tips etc.

What do you want to read about? Scroll down or check out our sidebar for topics.

We post at least daily so check back or subscribe to our newsletter.


The most obnoxious things you can do to your blog.

If you are someone who enjoys looking at other blogs, I am sure that you have encountered some really bad blogs. It is okay to use a basic template blog. Just because you are blogging doesn't mean you have to be the best one out there.

Some blogs go out of their way to be obnoxious- intentionally or not.
Use this list as a list of things to avoid so that your blog doesn't become obnoxious to others.

1. Use of bright or contrasting colors. Red with green only works at a certain time of year. Florescent yellow never works. By the way, if it seems okay on your monitor, you may want to check it out on another as monitors do vary.

2. BIG images that take up most of the screen and take forever to load. If you don't know how to change the file size, don't use it!

3. Many variations in fonts, their weight, their color, and their size. The rule of thumb is no more than two per page.

4. Music or audio that plays on load. Not only does it slow things does but, your visitor may not like your noise or may be in a quiet location.

5. Too many ads. Big, fat turnoff that will only work against you and cheapen your site.

6. Too much animation. Slows things down and is annoying. Another way to cheapen your site.

7. Cheapening your site. As stated above. Cheapening your site lessens your credibility as a blogger.

8. Posting an image without any kind of explanation below it. Blogs are for words and expression.

9. Too many social networking items. Especially on a sidebar. We realize you are popular with the blog community.

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Is your blog loading too slow?

I am sure that everyone has become frustrated at some point at the amount of time it can take to load a webpage.

Bloggers and website designers alike should be concerned about this. Web surfers has a short attention span. With the move from dial-up to faster connections, our internet ADD has gotten worse. This means that the slower your page is to load the more likely visitors may be to think about all the time they are wasting waiting for it. The result, is a lost hit.

Her are some tips to make your page load faster.

1. Limit your graphics and use more text. Text will load faster and will be more apt to be picked up by spiders crawling the web.
2. When you do use graphics, optimize them to make the file sizes smaller. Simple software such as Microsoft picture viewer can do this quickly and easily.
3. Fancy stuff like javascript and flash may be impressive to use but, they can really slow things down in the eyes of the average web surfer.
4. Avoid using Flash intos. Yes, we are all impressed that you were able to do this and add it to your webpage. But, they slow things down and are a real pain.
5. Ditch your pop up and other kinds of advertising that are not only a nuisance but, mess with most browsers. Embed your ads.
6. Limit the amount of sites that feed into your site. Too many of these can really slow things down.
7. Don't use sounds or music. They cheapen your site anyway.
8. If you must use a video, make it so the viewer is able to start it rather than it starting on page load.
9. Use a simple design. Sometimes the templates that were novice-constructed may not have good code. This will slow things down while you browser tries to deal with it.
10. Limit the number of posts that can be seen on your entrance page. Most blogging host will allow you to do this.


Bloggers Choice Awards

You've seen their logo images all over blogland. The Bloggers Choice Awards allows you to nominate your favorite blogs within a variety of unique categories and also vote and comment on others that have already been submitted.
In turn, others can also vote and comment on the blogs you've nominated. Votes are displayed on the site in real-time, so you can see who's leading within each category at any moment!

Winners in each respective category will be revealed in late 2008, and will be recognized at a one-of-a-kind awards ceremony and posted at allows you to nominate and vote for as many blogs as you want, as long as you adhere to their Rules and Regulations.

Blogger's Choice Awards claims to be the most popular user-generated blog voting site on the planet.

Nominations are approved by the Bloggers Choice Awards "Nomination Police Special Task Force."

There are a variety of nominating categories and you are allowed to select up to four for each site.

Best Animal Blogger, Best Blog About Blogging, Best Blog About Stuff, Best Blog Design,
Best Blog of All Time, Best Blogging Host, Best Business Blog, Best Celebrity Blogger,
Best Charity Blog, Best Corporate Blog, Best Education Blog, Best Entertainment Blog and more.
Some of my favorite categories are Freakiest Blogger, Hottest Daddy Blogger,
Hottest Mommy Blogger, Most Obnoxious Blogger , The "Blogitzer", and of course, Worst Blog of All Time.

If you are interested in seeing what other blogs look like and seeing them quickly, this is a great place to go. There are screen shots displayed by each blog in every category. The vast number of nominated blogs reassures you that indeed there are millions of blogs out there. It can also serve as a wake-up call to the idea that actually winning an award is a long shot.

Yes, kubrickspick has been nominated. It would be a great spot to cast your vote.

no one deals like we do!

Do you Photobucket?

Photobucket offers free storage space for photos and videos. This is a real nice option for open source designers to store usable images for anyone to download. Photobuckst is especially loved by groups of people who want to share photos.
Photobucket boasts room for up to 10,000 photos and hours of video all for free.
You can upload by email, IM or mobile phone.
Then you can use your uploaded images in slideshows and mashups with music, special effects, captions, and more.

Photobucket says that they are the "most popular site on the Internet for uploading, sharing, linking and finding photos, videos, and graphics. "
Photobucket's online store lets you print pictures, as well as add them to shirts, hoodies, mugs, calendars, stickers, wall posters and more.

  • Photobucket was founded in 2003 and acquired by Fox Interactive Media, Inc., a division of News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) in July 2007.
  • Photobucket has 20 Million unique site visitors/month in the US, and over 39 Million unique site visitors/month worldwide
  • Photobucket claims to rank #29 in Top 50 Sites in the US, 45 top 100 Global Sites,
    and 18th Largest Ad supported site in the US.

    Your Photobucket album has a unique email address associated with it. You can find that email address when you click on Account Options in the upper right corner of your album. It's a bit of a long email address, so make it a contact name in your phone book so you don't need to enter it every time. Whenever you take a pic, send it by MMS email to that address. The pic will show up instantly in the album. It's really easy!

    To see step by step instructions, take a look at the Photobucket Tutorials

    Visit Photobucket's Web Site
    Photobucket Forums
    Photobucket Tutorials
    Photobucket on MySpace

We beat any online price by 2% - click to order!

First Impressions Do Matter

Just like when you meet someone for the first time, yes,first impressions do matter. You are only fooling yourself if you don't think so.

A first impression when it comes to your blog, means;
  • the reader will stay and not move on
  • the reader will read through the front page
  • the reader will return
  • the reader will help you get more readers by telling others about your blog.

What matters to visitors?

1. Load Time - wow, I can't tell you how many times I've moved on because a page has been too slow to load. Attention spans on the internet are short. The cure- limit the sizes of the images on your site and the number of linked items that need to load.

2. Logo/Branding –I know I've said it before. Having a great logo in your header is a grabber.

3. Layout - Should be clean with plenty of white space. Too much stuff makes for chaos and the result is move-on to the next site syndrome.

4. Advertisements - Use in moderation! Nothing can cheapen a site more than too many ads and especially the ones that overtake your ability to find the intended information that you are there for. If your goal is to make money through clicks, if you are obvious about it, you probably won't make much money.

5. Your Reputation/Who you know – This is not a popularity contest. However, having a few blogs in your blogroll or an achievement can lend to your credibility. It tells people that you have been around for a while and that you know what you're talking about. Again, restrain from going nuts here as it will cheapen your site.

6. Organization/ Ease of Navigation – This is where labels and links to labels come in.

7. What is your blog about and is it obvious? If you are writing a cooking blog, keep aunt Millie's cute dog out of it. Start a new blog if you want to blog about another topic.

8. Be Politically Correct. Seriously don't diss, slander, or hate. It's ugly and a huge turn-off. If you must point out something negative about an organization or business, don't do it in an opinionated way. Show the facts.

9. Popups and Pop-unders. Probably the most annoying thing on the internet. They are sort of like a red flag telling people to never return.

10. Video and Audio. Together they are too mcuh. Alone, use them with controls so if people want to listen or see they can.

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Blogger in Draft: New Feature: Embedded Comment Form

One of the most common complaints about Blogger’s comment form is that it’s on a separate page from the post, styled in a way that doesn’t match the blog. Our new embedded comment form addresses that by putting the comment form where your readers expect it: at the bottom of the post.

To turn on the embedded comment form, log in to and go to Settings > Comments for your blog. You’ll see that the “Show comments in a popup window?” setting has been replaced with the new “Comment Form Placement” setting. Just click “Embedded below post,” save your settings, and go check out a post to see your new comment form.
Additional Features
  • The comment form works with Google Accounts, OpenID authentication, name / URL, and anonymous identities. As with the current comment form, we’ve set up shortcuts for a handful of common OpenID providers.
  • Once you log in with a Google Account for one blog, you won’t have to log in to comment on other blogs during your browser session. Nevertheless, to protect your privacy, we use an to keep your logged-in identity inaccessible to the blog itself.
  • If you have a “Comment Form Message” set up, we put it on the post page above the comment form.
  • If you require word verification for commenting on your blog, we’ll show the word verification form in a small dialog after you click “Post Comment.”
  • Update, 6/27: The embedded comment form works with Classic templates. The <$BlogItemCreate$> tag will add the right HTML to your page.
  • If you’ve edited your template for the blog widget, you won’t automatically pick up the new code for the comment form. You’ll need to either reset the template by deleting the contents of the element (backup your template first!) or copy the code from an unmodified blog. Update, 6/27: Amanda from Blogger Buster has written a howto post for updating a modified blog widget template.
  • The font color of the comment form is currently hard-coded to black. If your template has a dark background, this may make the “Comment As:” label hard to read.
  • The embedded comment form currently does not support subscribing to follow-up comments via email, nor does it have a preview button.

Are you a blogoholic?

Wikepedia Wiktionary defines a blogoholic as a person addicted to blogging.

Though the definition doesn't specify if the blogoholic is a writer reader or both.
Being a denier of actually having the illness, I'll assume it's both.

How do you know if you are a blogoholic?

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself.
  1. Do you write in your blog within an hour of waking up in the morning?
  2. Do you own more than one blog?
  3. Do you blog more than once a day?
  4. Do you visit more than 10 other blogs in a day?
  5. Do you love to comment?
  6. Do you subscribe to more than 2 forms of social networking?
  7. Do you think about what you're going to blog about while you are at a restaurant, shopping or walking the dog?
  8. Has your blogging interrupted you TV watching?
  9. Have you made more than 5 blog buddies?
  10. Do you subscribe to more than 5 RSS or newsletters from blogs?
If you answered yes to more than 8 of these questions than you may have a blogoholic issue.
If you answered yes to 4-7 of these questions you may be heading toward a blogoholic issue.
If you answered yes to 1-3 of these questions than you are mildly affected by blogging.
If you answered yes to none of these questions than you are in denial and should re-answer.

So what's wrong with being a blogoholic?
Well, nobody has actually done any studies, that I know of and nobody has actually published any data on how blogging can become an addictive disease. As a matter of fact, this entire post is strictly for enjoyment purposes and should not be taken seriously.

My guess is that blogging can be good for you so, heck, keep on blogging. Who cares about wasting what others can term "productive work time"?

Millions of Profiles, Search Free

Stuff to Blog About: WOW!

Congratulations to Stuff to Blog About

"Dear Shakespere,
Our editors recently reviewed your blog and have given it an 8.2 score out of (10) in the Society category of

This is quite an achievement!
We evaluated your blog based on the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style.

After carefully reviewing each of these criteria, your site was given its 8.2 score. Simply visit your website’s summary page on

Please accept my congratulations on a blog well-done!!


Amy Liu

Marketing Department"

More Blogger Templates

Making your Blogger blog stand out often means having to personalize it by taking it up a notch.
One way to do this is by upgrading your template.

I know that I have discussed this before so I won't bore you with the detail.

Just to refresh you, if you want to have a blog design that nobody else has or that is in limited supply, you'll have to pay for it most likely.

There is a plethora of free templates to choose from.
Just download them to your computer (make a folder to house them) and then upload them in the html section of you layouts tab. Be sure to back up your original template by downloading it and any widgets or other information you don't want to lose.

Eblogs has a nice selection. Some of them will require you to sign in for.

Business 2

Big City Girl



This one is from Refresh.
It’s a two column template with labels as the menu.

Using your new WordPress Template

In my last post I offered some suggestions on where to find WordPress templates. Now I'll help use these templates.

First of all, when you find a template that you really like, make sure it is totally free, unless you want to pay for it.
Make a separate folder where you want to download it to.
I would suggest downloading several in case one doesn't come with all of the needed files or you don't like it's look.

You will need to upload the entire folder, to the server hosting your WordPress. Ther are some hosts that will not let you have access to the server so make sure yours gives it to you or you'll be in for some frustrations.

You'll need some kind of FTP or file transfer as a means of uploading. I use Dreamweaver since they have included the FTP in it. If you are new to all of this you'll need to find out the location of the server, the host name, your sign in name and password. This can be far more complex if you've never done it before which is why I suggest starting with Blogger.

Upload the entire folder to the server. You will need to install the folder into the wp-content/themes directory. If it is installed correctly then the new themes should show up when you go to your presentation tab and hit themes.

There are a few things that WordPress neglects to tell you when they are selling you on the "5 minute" installation. If you don't have access to some kind of FTP or you are not familiar with servers, files etc, you may want to use what you were given by your host or use Blogger.

WordPress Templates

Customizing your blog to make it look unique can be a good idea. It can also be a frustrating process. While, depending on your WordPress host, you are provided with probably a dozen or so templates to choose from, these templates probably just do not do the job for you. Almost every host will let you choose the basic ones, such as Kubrick, but let's face it, these templates have been done and we are tired of them.

WordPress will often give you the option of searching through their templates for a new one, with the caveat that you need to upload it to your server. So, why not see what else is out there? I am going to give you some sites where you can download free templates.

First off, I am going to give you a list of place to check out free templates.
You can purchase templates if you really want to spend the money or really need one for your own use and nobody else can use.

We will start with the Official WordPress Theme Viewer
What is nice about this site is that you can sort through the available themes if you know you want something in particular such as 3 columns.

There is a nice variety to choose from.

is a site with more free templates.

I found this wine themed template. This is a unique one.

It features;
3 columns,
brown, green and black colors,
widgets ready,
big header, free Wordpress template with left and right sidebars

This site has other nice ones to look at.

Smashing Magazine is a great place to visit - even if you don't need a new template.
They have 100 templates, if not more via links, to choose from.

Other Sites to Check out

Dangerous Domains To Visit

Earlier this month, antivirus software vendor McAfee Inc. listed the most dangerous domains. McAfee has found that companies that assign addresses for Web sites appear to be cutting corners on security more when they assign names in certain domains than in others.

McAfee found the most dangerous domains to navigate to are ".hk" (Hong Kong), ".cn" (China) and ".info" (information).

Of all ".hk" sites McAfee tested, it flagged 19.2 percent as dangerous or potentially dangerous to visitors; it flagged 11.8 percent of ".cn" sites and 11.7 percent of ".info" sites that way.

In comparison, a little more than 5 percent of the sites under the ".com" domain — the world's most popular — were identified as dangerous.

Who owns these domain names and operates these sites? More spammers, malicious code writers and other cybercriminals like to establish an online presence with a domain name registry businesses that cuts requirements for registering a site in order to boost their profit and profile. The report doesn't identify domain name registration companies McAfee believes are responsible for those lapses.

There are domain registering companies offering their services on the cheap and with flimsy or no background checks to lure in more customers.

The domains that are populated with the highest concentration of risky sites.

  • The servers for ".hk" and ".cn" Web sites don't have to be in China; Web site operators can register sites from anywhere to target different geographies.

  • ".ro" (Romania), with 6.8 percent, and ".ru" (Russia), with 6 percent of sites flagged as dangerous.

The McAfee report is based on results from 9.9 million Web sites that were tested in 265 domains for serving malicious code, excessive pop-up ads or forms to fill out that actually are tools for harvesting e-mail addresses for sending spam.

Where McAfee found some of the least-risky domain names:

  • ".gov" (government use), with 0.05 percent flagged;
  • ".jp" (Japan), with 0.1 percent flagged and
  • ".au" (Australia), with 0.3 percent flagged.

More Domain Names Coming......

The Board of ICANN has approved a recommendation that could see a whole range of new names introduced to the Internet's addressing system. It is intended that the final version will be published in early 2009.

"The potential here is huge. It represents a whole new way for people to express themselves on the Net," said Dr Twomey, CEO of ICANN. "It's a massive increase in the 'real estate' of the Internet."

Presently, users have a limited range of 21 top level domains to choose from — names that we are all familiar with like .com, .org, .info.

This proposal allows applicants for new names to self-select their domain name so that choices are most appropriate for their customers or potentially the most marketable. It is expected that applicants will apply for targeted community strings such as (the existing) .travel for the travel industry and .cat for the Catalan community (as well as generic strings like .brandname or .yournamehere). There are already interested consortiums wanting to establish city-based top level domain, like .nyc (for New York City), .berlin and .paris.

"One of the most exciting prospect before us is that the expanding system is also being planned to support extensions in the languages of the world," said Peter Dengate Thrush, ICANN's Chairman. "This is going to be very important for the future of the Internet in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia." The present system only supports 37 Roman characters.

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) . ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit: To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet.
But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.

New names likely won't start appearing until at least next year, and ICANN won't be deciding on specific ones quite yet. The organization still must work out many details, including fees for obtaining new names, expected to exceed $100,000 apiece to help ICANN cover up to $20 million in costs.

In other action is seeking to combat a loophole in registration policies that allow entrepreneurs to grab domain names risk-free for up to five days to see whether they generate enough traffic and advertising dollars. ICANN approved recommendations designed to clamp down on domain name tastin.

Blogger Known Issues

While I'm on the topic of blasting Blogger, I figure that I might as well continue with what is known as "Known Issues".

Known Issues are what Blogger defines as "The latest on what's still a problem, what's getting fixed, and what's been taken care of, direct from the Blogger team."
I'm not sure how they find this all out based on my prior post.

Known Issues is actually a blog that Blogger uses to update users on potential problems. When they post something, it will appear on your dashboard after you sign in. You can then refer to the known issues blog for updates.

This blog covers bugs and missing features in the new version of Blogger that affect a significant number of users. To report a bug that is not mentioned here, contact Blogger Support. Actually, like what happened to me, you won't really be contacting support. You'll be directed to the Google Group for Blogger Help Publishing. You can spend a lifetime searching for what you need or you can just post your issue (you'll need to sign in and join the group of course).

For information about the state of the service and upcoming outages, see site serves to keep Blogger users informed about Blogger's development, upgrades, outages and related issues.

You can also give help to and receive help from other Blogger users at the Blogger Help Group.See above for this.
Like I mentioned earlier, many of the important items that will show up in the group or blog will end up on your dashboard screen. It is important to read this. Blogger doesn't update it often.

Get Great Tickets on!

Getting Help With Blogger

Recently, a friend of mine was having difficulty with her blogger. She would be able to post but, every time she wanted to see the blog she would get an error message. The message would tell her to report her problem and use the bX-1nz54f code in the report.

Albeit, Blogger is a wonderful and FREE service however, I can think of 100 easier things to do besides get 1:1 help.

Here are my top 5;
  1. Get a root canal without Novocaine
  2. Climb Mt. Everest
  3. Run a marathon
  4. Run two marathons in a day
  5. Meet Jesus
Okay, my list is meaningless. It did help relieve some stress.

The point of my post is to guide you through the 'get help' process with Blogger. It is probably the only thing wrong with Blogger, if not Google.

There is a link at the top of your dashboard that says "Help
Click this link and here is what you'll get;

Blogger Help Resources

Need help? Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced blogger, you can find answers to all of your Blogger questions here. Take a peek at the options below and choose the one that best fits your needs.

Help Center
Search or browse through our collection of how-to articles,
troubleshooting tips, and fun tricks.
Help Group
Ask questions and get answers from fellow Bloggers, or even
share your own expertise.
Blogger Status
Watch for alerts on system outages and planned maintenance.
Known Issues
Review our list of known bugs, suggested workarounds and
recent fixes.
Blogger Buzz
Read news from the Blogger team and keep up with our
latest features.

Note here that there is no link for customer service, as in a place to report your error page. Blogger assumes that all of your issues are relatively simple and that there is someone, usually a life-long blogger with the answers. That way you get helped and they don't have to deal with it.Don't get me wrong- if your new to Blogger you can get some great tips as well as answers from the groups and help center. But, you cannot get helped.

I stumbled upon a "contact us" link. I clicked on it and it made me sign in again. Why? I signed in and it took me to another page
I'd like to ...

Report a bug or problem
I can't log in
I can't locate my blog
I can't publish
My blog is displaying funny
I'm having trouble using Blogger Mobile
I'm having trouble uploading an image or video
I found a bug with Blogger
Report a Terms of Service violation
Suggest a feature
I clicked on "I found a bug" and then I was taken around the circle and back to the Blogger Help Group page, where I could have easily clicked on 2 hours ago if I wanted a group help session.

The morale of the story is, if something goes wrong, try and fix it by going to "help" first. If that doesn't help, you'll have to join the Google Blogger Help group for any kind of help beyond that. Oh, and do some praying that you'll get it. On a brighter note, when we did finally give in, join the group and post the issue, we found that we were not the only ones with this problem.

How to keep robots out of your sight.

As hard as it may be to believe, there may be a time when you do not want robots crawling your webpages.

According to , Web Robots (also known as Web Wanderers, Crawlers, or Spiders), are programs that traverse the Web automatically. Search engines such as Google use them to index the web content, spammers use them to scan for email addresses, and they have many other uses.

Specifying where search engines should look for content in high-quality directories or files you can increase the ranking of your site, and is recommended by Google and all the search engines.

A robots.txt can tell search engine spiders not to crawl or index certain sections or pages of your site. You can use it to prevent indexing totally, prevent certain areas of your site from being indexes or to issue individual indexing instructions to specific search engines.

All search engines, or at least all the important ones, now look for a robots.txt

There are a number of situations where you may wish to exclude spiders from some or all of your site.

  1. You are still building the site do not want the unfinished work to appear in search engines
  2. You have information that, is of no interest to anyone but those it is intended for and you would prefer it did not appear in search engines.
  3. You would like to exclude some bots or spiders whose chief purpose is collecting email addresses.

Basically, the file will look like this.

It can be created using notepad text editor. Each entry has just two lines:

User-Agent: [Spider or Bot name]
Disallow: [Directory or File Name]

This line can be repeated for each directory or file you want to exclude, or for each spider or bot you want to exclude.

A few examples will make it clearer.

User-Agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /private/privatefile.htm

Do it yourself Search Engine Optimizing-more

If you have started working on your search engine optimizing since I posted the beginner steps on Do it yourself Search Engine Optimizing ,

As a review, my first post on beginner steps on Do it yourself Search Engine Optimizing involved a lot of getting to know some of the free methods from Google. This would be a good time to review them.

Now I will tell you tips which have to do with your posts.

1. Your posts should have clean code. Luckily, Blogger is pretty good at warning you when your code needs improvement. Being bloggers, WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) help to minimize the problems as well. As a warning, errors in your code may prevent a search engine crawlers from moving through the site successfully.

2. Give good content in your post. Have a topic. Don't just post and say nothing. You'll turn everyone off. When writing something that you want to be searched for on the Internet, think about the words and phrases someone would use to find your information. Use them more than once in your post. For instance, once again I will mention that the topic of this post is Do it yourself Search Engine Optimizing.

3. Use image attributes. Search engines look for alt and title in link and image tags. While these have a bigger purpose of making your site more accessible, having good descriptions and words in these attributes helps provide more content for search engines to use..

4 .Link
As far as some search engines are concerned, you are only as popular as the number of sites are that link to you. It is helpful to use blogrolls, pingbacks, and trackbacks. Feel free to link to me , let me know and I'll link back to you.

5. Make usre you use Meta Tags.
In blogger you'll have to add them manually to your html.
In WordPress you will need to add them manually or use a gadget.
They generally are not there unless you put them there.

Meta Tags were created to provide concise information about a website. Meta tags list information about the web page, such as the author, keywords, description, type of document, copyright, and other core information.

This is an example of a meta tag for description:

 meta name="description" content="This is the
description sentence or short paragraph about
the article or post."
Meta tags are located in the head section of html code and between <> signs.
In addtion to these tages, you'll want to add

meta name="GOOGLEBOT" content="INDEX, FOLLOW"
meta name="ROBOTS" content="ALL"

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Official Google Blog: Keeping kids safe in a digital world

Official Google Blog: Keeping kids safe in a digital world

In the spirit of National Internet Safety Month, we welcomed Ernie Allen, co-founder and president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to the Googleplex last week to discuss child protection issues.

For those not familiar with it, NCMEC works closely with federal law enforcement across the U.S. to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation and to help find missing children. From serving as the clearinghouse for reports of online child pornography to issuing Amber Alerts when children go missing to reuniting families in the wake of Katrina, NCMEC is at the forefront of efforts to protect society's most vulnerable members.

In a policy talk called "Beyond Milk Cartons: Keeping kids safe in a digital world", Ernie provided an overview of NCMEC's work and chatted with Googlers about the ever-changing landscape of child protection challenges shared by parents, educators, advocacy organizations, and technology companies like Google as we work to help families make smart choices online. Watch Ernie's talk on YouTube.

Technology is an invaluable tool for addressing some of these challenges. In a recent example, a team of Google engineers dedicated their 20 percent time over the last year and a half to build cutting-edge software for NCMEC that uses image and video recognition technology to help NCMEC analysts more effectively sort and review incoming reports of child exploitation. NCMEC analysts sort through tens of millions of images in child sexual abuse investigations, and we've tried to leverage our expertise in organizing huge amounts of data to help make their important work more automated and efficient.

When it comes to keeping kids safe on the Internet, we believe that education for families, support for law enforcement, and empowering technology tools, like our SafeSearch filter and the NCMEC software, are all critical pieces of the puzzle.

Tackling online child safety issues is no small task, but we'll continue our collaboration with organizations like NCMEC, along with other partners in schools, government and industry, to take collective strides in the right direction.
Tips from Google;

When it comes to child safety, we aim to:

  • Empower parents with tools to help them choose what content their children see online;
  • Educate children on how to stay safe online;
  • Protect children through partnerships with law enforcement and industry.

Safety Tools

Many users prefer not to have adult sites included in their search results (especially if their kids use the same computer). Google's SafeSearch screens for sites that contain this type of information and eliminates them from search results. While no filter is 100% accurate, Google's filter uses advanced technology to check keywords, phrases, and URLs. You can modify your computer's SafeSearch settings by clicking on the Preferences link to the right of the Google search box.

Safety Resources

These Internet safety tips can help keep you and your family safe online.

  1. Keep computers in a central place. It makes it easier for you to keep an eye on your children’s activities.
  2. Know where your kids go online. If you have young children, you may want to navigate the Internet with them. For older kids, agree on where they can and can't go before they log on. You can also check where your kids have been by looking at the browser history in your computer's web browser menu. Another option is to use filtering products, like Google’s SafeSearch.
  3. Teach Internet Safety. It's impossible to monitor all online activity, all the time. As kids get older, they need to know how to use the Internet safely and responsibly when they're on their own.
    • Use sharing controls. Many sites that feature user-generated content, including Google's Blogger site, our photo-sharing site Picasa and our social networking site, orkut, have sharing controls that put users in charge of who sees personal blogs, photos, videos, and profiles. Using sharing controls is particularly important when you or your kids share personal information, like names, addresses, or phone numbers, on public sites. In addition to teaching your kids how to use these controls, teach them to respect the privacy of friends and family by not identifying people by name in public profiles and pictures.
    • Protect passwords. It sounds obvious, but remind your kids not to give out their online passwords and not to click on "remember me" settings on public computers, like at school or at the library.
    • Beware of stranger danger. Teach kids to avoid in-person meetings with people they "meet" online, and not to share personal information with online strangers because people may not be who they claim to be.
  4. Teach kids to communicate responsibly. A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't text it, email it, instant message it, or post it as a comment on someone's page. Many of today's most popular websites have easy-to-use tools that let users flag inappropriate content that others post online. It's important for kids to know how to flag inappropriate content when they encounter it.
  5. View all content critically. Just because you see it online, doesn't mean it's true. Teach kids how to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones and how to verify information they find online. And make sure kids understand that cutting and pasting content right from a website may be plagiarism, and plagiarism is cheating.

Take a day off from your blogging topic...

Okay, for someone who tells you to post in your blog on a daily basis, why would I tell you to take a day off?

Take a day off not from posting but, from your posting topic. That is, tend to your 'housework'. You will come back refreshed the next day and you will tend to the little things that are so easy to blow off. Here's what I mean.....

5 things you can post, rather than blog about on your day off.
1. Work on your networking...visit 4 or 5 similar blogs, post comments that compliment the blog. Most likely, the blog owner will visit your blog and comment back. Plus, that blog's readers may want to visit you too.
2. Link to posts on other blogs. By default, most blogs will give you an opportunity to to "link to this" at the end of posts. Simply click on it or if you are unable to, go to the title and copy the link address. Here is a whole new post for you, providing that you give proper credit. You may want to notify the blog owner as well. In the end, it may have the same affect as guest blogging.
3. Search online for an interesting website that may be related to your topic. This site may give you an idea for a post or lead you to one.
4. Allow yourself to blog outside the box for a day. If your blog is about cooking, take a day off and post a picture of an interesting site from your local park- just as an example.
5. Tell your readers a bit about you or your life. It will make you seem more approachable and likable. Wow, this person is human!

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10 Things Every Blog Post Needs to Include

Sometimes in the world of blogging you can feel yourself blogging on autopilot.
You get so use to blogging that you write without thinking that you are writing for a blog audience and not just for yourself. That is why you should have a list of items you need to include in every post.

You can write your items down and keep them close to you while you write and/or keep a mental note of them. If you are functioning on autopilot, you probably should have them written down nearby.

Here are the 10 items that I try to include in every post.

  1. Titles-Provides autonomy to that one individual post
  2. Labels- to keep things organized into categories and my tabs. You can use more than one.
  3. Links- For search crawler purposes, you should have at least one link in your post. Here are mine-
  4. e-mail me Page rank and links explained NY Times article on using links to rival websites.
  5. Topic- one per post. Mine is what every blog post needs.
  6. Advertising- just one per post or your blog will look cheapen
  7. An introduction- First paragraph, quick synopsis of what the post is about
  8. A Conclusion- Last paragraph- quick summary of your post
  9. A body- the meat of your essay.
  10. Optional- Photos/images
  11. Social Networking- such as Digg or add to my Technatori.

When I am finished with my post, I always ask myself, is there something that I forgot to add. I run through my list and make sure I've included everything I want to be included in every one of my posts.

WordPress Versus Blogger

Working with WordPress is a lot different than working with Blogger.
Blogger is extremely user friendly and for the most part, any thing you want to do to customize is as hard as you make it. You can use the Blogger in draft gadgets to get just about anything on your page with a click of a mouse.

WordPress, on the other hand, assumes the average user has some kind of coding background. You can go with their starter templates and customize them as is to get a halfway decent looking blog. However, if you want to do any kind of customizing to take your blog up a notch, you better roll up your sleeves.

For example, most hosting sites where WordPress is already installed when you sign up, will give you a dozen or so templates to choose from. To do any customizing, you need to go into the code. There is a style sheet and then a number of other sheets that you have to perform code on. As opposed to Blogger's simple one self contained sheet. Also, these hosting sites will probably charge you a fee and may have restrictions about advertisements.

Is it worth the extra effort to use WordPress?

For the beginner blogger, probably not. For someone who just wants to post vacation pictures or keep an online journal while attending art school, probably not. I would recommend keeping your mind free and going with the simple and easy Blogger.

Businesses and serious bloggers can benefit from the WordPress approach. WordPress can give a look resembling a nicely laid out webpage, thus disguising the blogger look and feel. As a matter a fact, a lot of businesses will use a WordPress blog. Also, the WordPress software can be used on a self hosting server.

You can alter a Blogger Blog to make it look more professional. However, a WordPress will usually appear cleaner and more like a website.

2 Sites Devoted to making their choice of blogging software better. l

To see the differences in layouts, check out these WordPress and Blogger sites.
To be in America
Chocoholics Diary

Here is the same blog, 2 ways
Blogger- Stufftoblogabout
WordPress- Stufftoblogabout

Which should you go with?
That's up to you. You should probably experiment with free versions of both to see which best meets your needs, is easiest to work with an offers the layout you like best.

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What readers want to read about- Trend Spotting

Attention spans on the internet can be short.
Just as the trends in fashion and celebrity favorites, favorite blog topics can come and go.
This is why as part of your marketing and development, you need to keep up with or ahead of the trends. This is where blogging goes beyond writing and into market research.

How to keep up with the trends.

  • Subscribe to the newsletters from similar blogsites.
  • Notice which post topics bring in the most comments.
  • Check out your analytic data to see what search terms were used to find your blog.
  • Keep up with the news.
Probably the biggest thing that you can do to keep up with the trends is to keep abreast of search terms used by internet users on a general basis.
Here are some great links.

AOL Hot Searches
Bloglines top 100
Dogpile (filtered or nonfiltered)
Google Trends
Google Trends for Websites
Google Zeitgeist :What you see here is a cumulative snapshot of interesting queries people are asking – over time, within country domains, and some on – that perhaps reveal a bit of the human condition. We appreciate the contribution everyone who searches on Google makes to these fascinating bits of information. Hot Trends Current (you can vote on trends here) Google Trends
MSN A List

The Lycos 50

Search Engine Blog
technorati top 100 blogs/

Yahoo Buzz

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Creative Commons

The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works. These licenses, depending on the one chosen, restrict only certain rights (or none) of the work instead of traditional copyright, which is more restrictive.

Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights. This includes the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.

You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."
They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright—including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing—nor do they give you the ability to control anything that is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas.

As a Blogger, how can you best use Creative Commons licensing to promote your work?
Creative Commons helps you publish your work online while letting others know exactly what they can and can't do with your work.

Should you use Creative Commons?
That's up to you.
However, if you are into developing free use templates or something unique, you may want to look into it.

License Your Work

CC will help you choose the kind of license that

that fits your use.

With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify here. For those new to Creative Commons licensing, we've prepared a list of things to think about. If you want to offer your work with no conditions, choose the public domain.

It is important to clearly show how your content is licensed physically.

A CC license is only effective if others have a way of knowing about it. It is important to clearly mark your content so that others are aware of what permissions they have.

For more information,see the website

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Your post outline

When planning out your post, stick to an outline mentality and fill in the blanks. Each paragraph should express a different idea that is unique to that paragraph. Following the outline mentality will make your blog as a whole look more consistent and will give you a writing style.

Your outline should look something like this.
(It's basically a review of basic writing 101)

I Introductory Paragraph
1. Introduce the reader to your post topic.
2. Give a supporting reason why they should read on.
3. End with a teaser on what is to come.

II Body.
1. Subtopic
2. Subtopic
3. Subtopic

The number of paragraphs in your body depends on the amount of information you have on the whole post topic.

III Conclusion
1. Summarize what your post was about
2. Inform the reader on how they can get more information.
3. Site your sources.

Follow this outline idea to some extent for awhile and it will soon come naturally.You will develop a writing style that will become recognizable to your readers.

What are you posting?

Are you posting to post or are you posting to provide information?

When you post just to post, it is obvious to your readers. Your post will have little content, will tell not much about you or what you are thinking, and the result will leave the reader asking why they wasted the last 5 minutes of their life reading it.

When you post to share information, the reader re-reads the important stuff and gets inspired. You information is new to the reader and the reader finds it interesting. The reader recommends and/returns to your site.

Here are 10 tips to having inspiring content.

  1. Be aware of possible content during your daily life.
  2. Carry a note pad and jot down content as it comes to you throughout the day.
  3. Talk to your reader as if they are a friend that you know. However, keep your wording professional.
  4. Make your content appear new or refreshed . You can do this through wording it in a fresh way.
  5. Make your post visually appealing. Add images, write in blocks of words and bold important items.
  6. Use proper English and spell it correctly. You can write your post in a text editing program and copy and paste the result to your blog.
  7. Be consistent with your font, it's size and color. Then when you need to emphasize something via font presentation, your reader will know it.
  8. Put yourself in your reader's point of view. Does your blog look interesting to you as a whole?
  9. Learn how to edit material . You can cut out useless sentences/words and keep it more readable.
  10. Make every sentence say something new.

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Update on the AP Versus Bloggers

The Associated Press is reporting that they have come to has an "accord" with Rogers Cadenhead, the owner of the Drudge Retort : “Both parties consider the matter closed.”

The AP seems to be committed to clarify how much text it thinks bloggers and social news sites can reprint from its articles without violating copyrights. The AP is insisting that bloggers cannot quote the headline of an A.P. story or its first paragraph. While the law is not settled, many lawyers suggest that such short excerpts are permitted under the “fair use” exception to the copyright laws.

In response to questions about the use of Associated Press content on the Drudge Retort web site, the AP was able to provide additional information to the operator of the site, Rogers Cadenhead, on Thursday. That information was aimed at enabling Mr. Cadenhead to bring the contributed content on his site into conformance with the policy he earlier set for his contributors. Both parties consider the matter closed.

In addition, the AP has had a constructive exchange of views this week with a number of interested parties in the blogging community about the relationship between news providers and bloggers and that dialogue will continue. The resolution of this matter illustrates that the interests of bloggers can be served while still respecting the intellectual property rights of news providers.

In a statement Friday, Rogers Cadenhead said he is "glad" the dispute over his site, the Drudge Retort , has ended. He said a larger conflict remains between AP's view of acceptable use of its content and the practices of many bloggers. Cadenhead declined to comment further, referring all questions to his attorney. Earlier this month the AP sent a legal notice ordering Cadenhead to take down seven entries on the Drudge Retort, his takeoff on the Drudge Report . The news agency said the postings were violating the AP's copyright.

Cadenhead highlighted the disagreement in his personal blog, , and prominent bloggers rallied behind him, saying the posts in question were protected under the "fair use" provision of copyright law . That allows quotation of copyright material for commentary and certain other purposes without asking permission.

In response, the AP said it was working to develop guidelines for what it considered permissible use of its content by bloggers. The AP's plan for such guidelines was met with new criticism from some bloggers, who said it was an attempt by the AP to create its own legal definition of what constitutes "fair use" of copyright material.

Cadenhead's post on AP dispute on his personal blog:

Written by Rogers Cadenhead
AP Settles Dispute with Drudge Retort

Late Thursday night, AP issued the following statement after a day-long discussion of the DMCA takedowns issued to the Drudge Retort that reached all the way up to the company's top management:

In response to questions about the use of Associated Press content on the Drudge Retort web site, the AP was able to provide additional information to the operator of the site, Rogers Cadenhead, on Thursday. That information was aimed at enabling Mr. Cadenhead to bring the contributed content on his site into conformance with the policy he earlier set for his contributors. Both parties consider the matter closed.

In addition, the AP has had a constructive exchange of views this week with a number of interested parties in the blogging community about the relationship between news providers and bloggers and that dialogue will continue. The resolution of this matter illustrates that the interests of bloggers can be served while still respecting the intellectual property rights of news providers.

I'm glad that my personal legal dispute with the AP is resolved, thanks to the help of the Media Bloggers Association, but it does nothing to resolve the larger conflict between how AP interprets fair use and how thousands of people are sharing news on the web. You could probably guess that by the lack of detail in AP's statement.

I spent around two hours yesterday talking to AP attorneys about their specific objections to the user blog entries in dispute, going line by line through the text to pinpoint exactly where they have intellectual property concerns in the short excerpts that were posted. I won't reveal the details of this discussion until AP releases the guidelines for bloggers that it promised on Monday.

On a social news site that's still manageable in size, like the 8,500-member Drudge Retort, it's possible to steer bloggers away from potential conflicts with media organizations by working directly with users. But 25 million people visited a social news site last month, and thousands of people are sharing news links in a way that's in direct conflict with AP's interpretation of fair use regarding the headlines and leads of its articles.

If AP's guidelines end up like the ones they shared with me, we're headed for a Napster-style battle on the issue of fair use.

When it appeared that I might end up in court on this issue, I got offers of help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Citizen and the Stanford Fair Use Project. My attorney Wade Duchene and I were already working up the victory speech to deliver on the steps of the Supreme Court in the landmark First Amendment decision AP v. Me (Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, Kennedy, Lessig, Tribe and Clinton concurring).

I think AP and other media organizations should focus on how to encourage bloggers to link their stories in the manner they like, rather than hoping their lawyers can rebottle the genie of social news. Given the publicity of this dispute, the first blogger sued for excerpting a news story will have the best pro bono legal representation that massive press attention can buy.

Although AP will be releasing guidelines, I don't think the news service will be able to concede any ground to the blogosphere. AP sells headline and lead-only services to customers. Asking the company to concede there's a way people can share this information for free is like asking the RIAA to pick its favorite file-sharing client.

If an expansive view of fair use is to remain in place, it's incumbent upon bloggers and our $500-an-hour friends in the legal community to define our own guidelines and fight for them. If we don't, big media companies will eventually define them for us, just as they've gotten the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and Copyright Term Extension Act passed in Congress.

I have learned that the Drudge Retort popped up on AP's radar through its use of Attributor technology to find potential cases of copyright infringement, as K.C. Jones reported in InformationWeek:

Attributor launched last year, with company representatives saying they would identify and "fingerprint" chunks of content from more than 10 billion pages on the Internet. The company provides a service to media outlets and other content creators to track how their content is reused online and whether the user has authorization to reproduce the material.

"Our agreement with Attributor will enable AP to safeguard its investment in creating and distributing news reports, while assuring licensees that unauthorized use will not diminish the value of their licenses," AP general counsel Srinandan Kasi explained in the announcement. "These services are part of the next-generation licensing and enforcement services we plan to provide to our global network of members and subscribers."

Earlier this year, Attributor told its customers that when a case might be fair use, it's better to ask for credit than to file a DMCA takedown:

No one wins when a DMCA notice is sent. First, unless you have an open and shut case, a DMCA notice can be a PR risk for the DMCA sender. Next, the site hosting the content has to deliver the bad news to its user putting them in an unfavorable spot. Finally, consumers lose overall because the result of content removal is one less place to find quality content. ...

You can't send a DMCA notice if it's Fair Use -- and Fair Use is usually not a black and white situation. The fairness of asking for a link is indisputable.

As a newspaper reader since age 8 and the spouse of an investigative reporter, I want the media to keep making enough money to afford the expensive and essential practice of journalism. I sure as hell don't want to do all that reporting myself.

If AP's core business is to report the news, blogs and social news sites send millions of people to its articles every day. Retort users have posted 41,000 links to news stories in the last four years, each link sending from 1,000 to 5,000 readers directly to a media site to read the article.

If its core business is to repackage the news, they're in as much trouble as every other middleman on the web.

Cadenhead's Drudge Retort Web site:

Unfortunately, for the AP, you cannot own the news. You can own your words but, anyone can be privy to the news. You can own the photos but, in a nation that promotes the freedom of speech you cannot own the news itself.
AP cannot win over the millions of bloggers. AP should try to find a compromise that will benefit their reputation and the blogging communitiy which, in the end will only make the AP look better and bring them more business. The blogging community is only getting bigger and in reality the AP needs bloggers to survive.

no one deals like we do!

Social Bookmarking- How much is too much?

It seems like lately when land on some blogs, you are faced with a plethora of buttons and logos, many of which are for Social bookmarking sites . Social bookmarking sites offer a location for users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata. They are also a place for bloggers and website owners to promote their site, usually free of charge. The idea is the other people will see their 'bookmark', click on it, and land on their site. The hope is that the visitor will then fall in love with their site, tell everyone they know about it and your site will get 10,000 hits a day because of one bookmark. With 10,000 hits a day, you cannot help but make money in advertising.

Here is a reality about social bookmarking.

First of all, the people using them are mainly the people wanting to benefit from their use. Otherwise, having to sign in to a service to locate your bookmarks can be a pain for the average computer user who has bookmarks easily saved via their toolbar.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of social bookmarking sites. It would probably take you a year to to sign-up, sign-in and list your site. The energy and time spent would have been better used by actually spending the money to advertise via Google AdWords.

Another downside, just how many logos and buttons can you have on your site before your site appears cheapened? Does the average visitor even know what all this means?

There are benefits to these sites when used in moderation.
You can get a few new visitors. You have to hope that someone looking for information has the time to log into their social bookmarking site and find you rather than just doing a plain old Google or Yahoo search.

Some people believe that bookmarks can show how a site is perceived when these sites allow voting. Social bookmarking can introduce a site to the search engines. Social bookmarking can also make you, the author, look up to date and thus, an expert in the eyes of the lay visitor.

Yes, you should use social bookmarks but, in moderation. Anything more than 3 or 4 buttons or logos is probably too much to add to your page. Especially when you are adding all of the elements that tell the world how popular your site is.

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Submit your Feed-Promote your Blog

It seems endless the number of ways in which you can promote your blog. The problem is that many of us do not want to take the time to do it and/or it seems overwhelming when there are lists of hundreds of sites to hook up with to get help. It would be great if we could get someone else to promote our blog for us but, that would cost money.

One way to promote your blog is to submit your feed to a RSS Directory. An RSS directory is sort of like a clearing house for feeds. People go there to see what feeds they like, the read them and if you are lucky, they subscribe. There are many RSS directories that are free. My suggestion is to submit to 5 a week.

Here is a short list.

The Search Engine FyberSearch
- Email
- Website

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