Tag Archives: blogger

Tips for a Better Blog from Janine Russell


Re-posted from Janine Russell’s blog at http://sitdownatatypewriterandbleed.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/an-amateur-bloggers-tips-for-creating-a-better-than-amateur-blog/

Creating A Better-Than-Amateur Blog

When I surpassed 50 followers, I wrote a post thanking all my readers for listening, and got a lot of feedback. I got asked how I created a blog that 50 people thought was worth reading in just 2 months, so I decided to make this post. (Not that I think my blog is super great or anything. Cause I don’t. I just try to make something that I would want to read.) So here are some ideas that might help take your blog to the next level.

blogger Janine Russell

Actually, I liked that thing I just said. Let’s make that #1.

1. Make a blog you would want to read.

This is your space. You have freedom to make it something that is 100% uniquely you. So don’t be afraid to change things that aren’t working for you to make it better. I’ve redone my “About Me” page, which should be quite simple, about 10 times. And I will continue to do so until I’m happy with it. This step will also help you figure out who you are writing for. Knowing your audience will help you write posts that those people will find interesting.

2. Feel what you write.

When I’m creating a post, it usually takes no more than a few minutes to fully formulate it (and maybe you can tell? I hope not.). That’s because I write about things that are important to me, or that I’m passionate about, and it all flows out very naturally. Don’t be afraid to infuse your personality into your style of writing, either. This isn’t a grade 9 essay. If you’re trying to struggle through a post, why are you writing about that topic in particular? Is there something else that really spikes your interest instead?

3. What are you trying to accomplish here?

Come up with an overall theme. It doesn’t have to be too specific. If you are just writing about whatever comes to mind, and sometimes it’s really dull, your readers will be able to tell. Even a very general idea, like “travelling” or “food” or “parenting” will make your blog flow better and keep you focused.  And you don’t want your blog to seem bipolar or schizophrenic in its content. (Metaphorically, of course. I mean don’t try to do everything at once. You might have two very clear themes, which would make two awesome blogs. Putting them together, though, might make your blog seem confusing and overly broad. A blog about schizophrenia would probably be really cool.)

4. Look around for inspiration.

There are so many awesome blogs out there! Check some of them out! And don’t be afraid to like things and leave comments. It’s an easy way to possibly bring traffic into your site as well from people with similar interests. Notice how people are using titles, pictures, videos, menus, categories, etc. and how those things make the blog unique or easy to navigate.

5. Watch your tone.

I was reading one blog where the person was just bitching about things. And as good as it feels to get that stuff off your chest every once in a while, it isn’t too pleasant to read. Reading hate just spikes my blood pressure and gets me all worked up. I do that enough on my own, thanks. So think about how you want your work to come across, and speak accordingly. Swearing too much is also a no-no because it makes you sound rude and uneducated. (But like all rules, there is a time and a place for swearing, depending on what you blog about. If I see a cookie recipe riddled with curse words, I will flip a table.) AND TRY NOT TO YELL. IT IS ALSO VERY UNPLEASANT.

6. Not everything you write will be a goldmine.

I have done a lot of posts where no one liked it, and that whole day just became a big crevice in my stats report. That’s good, though, because now I know what people don’t care to read about, or maybe it was the style of writing that pushed people away. Making mistakes is a good thing because it gives you feedback you can learn from. Even the best writers write terrible things sometimes.

7. Post often.

I follow a lot of blogs, but some of them only get updated once a month or so. And now I’m questioning why I’m following them since they never say anything. Also, after a few hours your posts get pushed down the list and replaced by newer ones, so posting often increases your chances of bringing in new readers. You don’t need to post every day, but if you can make some sort of schedule where you’re posting at least once per week, your readers will hang on to hear what you have to say next.

8. Tag smartly.

I was definitely guilty of not doing this when I first started. Tags are a good thing to help people who would be interested in your blog discover it. Think about what you might search for, though, and use only those tags. For example, if last Wednesday your dog got sick and you had to take it to the hospital, don’t take it “Wednesday, dog, sick, hospital”, but instead using things like “dog lovers, family” etc. No one is looking for posts about Wednesdays.

9. Don’t be afraid to say what you mean.

Some of the best posts I’ve read are about things that people are hesitant to talk about. A little bit of controversy can be a good thing if you’re able to do it respectfully and not attacking people who have conflicting views. It will keep your blog interesting, and make people want to hear what you have to say next. Don’t be afraid to shake things up once in a while.

10. This is not a diary.

Well, actually some might be, but those are the exception. You don’t need to give all the details of everything you’ve ever done,

Guest Post — Keep Your Brain Young


Today Karel Henneberger, one of the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe crew, is filling in for me while I recuperate from shoulder surgery. Over the next couple of weeks, Karel will pitch in to give expert advice.

Karel is a business owner, a teacher, and an author. She specializes in Children’s Literature. She also has a keen sense of humor! So without further adieu, here’s a message from Karel.

10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young After 50–or 45 or even 30

As our brains age, we may not remember new facts as easily as we did in early adulthood. However, we can do much to help our brains retain “muscle mass.” Regardless of your physical condition, there are many ways to increase your brain activity.

  1. DO CROSSWORD PUZZLES. Not just the pick-a-word puzzles, but the real crossword puzzles with clues and frustration. There are many crossword puzzle books available in grocery and drug stores. Easy ones are great for beginners or when you are frazzled. For more difficult puzzles, subscribe to a crossword puzzle magazine. Crossword puzzles can be done anywhere—in the car (not while driving), in a doctor’s office, or while waiting in line. You can even do crossword puzzles online.
  2. DO JIGSAW PUZZLES. Jigsaw puzzles can be fun to do. And you can get kits to make the end result permanent. Hang a finished puzzle on your wall to add beauty as well as to show off your expertise. If you have dexterity problems, choose puzzles with larger pieces. Special 3-D puzzles are available for advanced puzzlers!
  3. LOGIC PUZZLES TAKE TIME, BUT THEY CAN BE REWARDING and they help you retain your strategy skills. This type of puzzle is best done alone with plenty of time available in a single stretch.
  4. SODUKO may not be for the numerically challenged, but for anyone else, this type of puzzle can become addictive. Newspapers usually carry a Soduko puzzle and your local grocery or drug store will have Soduko books available.
  5. LEARN A NEW SKILL. Take up knitting or crocheting—men can knit and crochet, too. Make prayer shawls or cancer caps for those in need of comfort. Large knitting needles and crochet hooks help arthritic hands remain flexible. And the recipients will appreciate the results.
  6. GO TO COLLEGE. College isn’t just for those in their 20s. Not these days. Some people in their 80s are taking courses. And colleges are welcoming them. Many states offer to pay part or all of older students’ tuition costs, so out-of-pocket expenses are small. Most colleges offer low- or no-cost non-credit courses to seniors, too. Check with your local community college. Some colleges even offer free courses online–you won’t have to take a test or turn in homework, but you also won’t get credit for the course. And with online courses, you don’t even have to leave your chair. Older adults may not learn facts as quickly as teens, but we have years of experience behind us that make up for our slower learning curve.
  7. WATCH OR LISTEN TO EDUCATIONAL TAPES OR DVDs. Your local library probably has a wide variety available. Most allow you to borrow them for a week or more and they’re usually renewable. Topics range from travel and science to religion and history. Some are complete with lesson plans, others are docudramas or made-for-TV shows.
  8. GIVE TO OTHERS. Volunteer. Join a literacy program, be an adopted grandparent, or help with Meals-On-Wheels. Even if you aren’t very physically active, you can do much for an organization online or on the phone. Keep your brain young by doing—something. Helping others is a good way to help yourself and to stay young. Using old skills keeps that old brain working. And learning new skills is an even better way to keep your brain young.
  9. GET “INTO” A SOCIAL NETWORK. Have a child or teen help you get started with Facebook, YouTube, or Flikr. This not only works your brain in new ways, it will draw you closer to those ever-changing youngsters in your life. 
  10. KEEP A JOURNAL. Writing uses several parts of your brain–Your brain must make sure your eyes focus on the paper or computer screen. Part of your brain controls your hand movements–important for hitting the correct keys or making legible letters. Then, of course, there’s the part of your brain–the left side–that makes sure you think creatively. Maybe you’ll write only for yourself. Or you might write memoirs for your family. Whatever. Just start writing.

You may purchase Karel Henneberger’s latest published work at one of the following links:

Kindle owners–

http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Desert-Cafe-An-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ARYTOYC/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t/175-9797514-4820430

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still get the book by downloading FREE Kindle for PC software from Amazon.com. Go here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

Nook owners–

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/writers-of-the-desert-rose-cafe-an-anthology-fay-moore/1114018983

As a Writer, What If I Am Just Average?


On WordPress, I continue to be amazed by the collection of talent. Sometimes an author’s writing floors me with its power, cleverness, raw emotion or beautiful use of language.

I am none of those things. I am a nerd who can correctly string together a series of words. As a writer–as a word artist–I am average.

How then do I expect to compete in the commercial marketplace? The same way an average employee competes in the workplace. By showing up. By giving my best effort. And like a tidal wave, by sheer volume. A dose of self-promotion is important, too. If I don’t market, I won’t sell. (Please don’t stop reading here. The best of this post is yet to come.)

I’ve said this before and I will say it again: throw enough at a wall and something will stick.

Part of succeeding as an average writer is finding my audience. I do that by writing in all the ways that appeal to me–short stories, haiku, flash fiction and novels. (In 2013, I hope to add internet content to the list.) Then I analyze. Of those things I like to write, what are people reading?

I need to look at my statistics. What do statistics tell me about what readers like in my work? Is it my true confessions? Is it self-improvement or how-to articles? Pop culture? Or factual pieces? Humorous stories? The off-the-wall?

Success is finding the match of my abilities with a need in the marketplace.

Ask the reader.

So I am asking you right now. What do you like best about this blog? Why do you stop by? Is there something which you’d like to see more often? Any answer is a helpful one. Silence hurts. So tell me something, anything, that will make this blog a better experience for you. Even if it is what you don’t like. Say, “Fay, dump this. Keep that.” Bring it on. Help me get better.

For me, that’s what it is all about. The best part is serving, helping, pleasing you, the reader.

The next best part is getting good enough to earn a paycheck! But that’s another post for another day.  🙂

When Procrastinating Made Me a Super Star!


Rarasaur is a charming blogger, full of enthusiasm and charisma. (www.rarasaur.wordpress.com) She nominated moi for an award about a month ago before a bunch of craziness took me out of circulation for a bit. When I mentioned the award before Christmas, it was the Blogger of the Year Award. However, Rarasaur has had a change of heart regarding BOTY, and re-issued her awards as

superstar award

I promised to fulfill the requirements for the award after the end of the world as Mayan enthusiasts predicted. Oops. The Big Pffffft didn’t happen and neither did my promised 12/22/20012 response to Rarasaur’s nomination.

Today I discovered the change in her decision about which award she was bestowing. So procrastination paid off this one and only time. I like the new award better, Rarasaur. It’s prettier, shinier, more sparkly. Woo hoo! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for nominating me.

So here’s my fulfillment of the obligations.

1. I love a white Christmas, so I got my wish this year!

2. I am a birding enthusiast. I like feeding them, watching them, creating habitat for them, documenting sightings of them.

3. A favorite waterfowl watching site is Assateague and Chincoteague Islands. Every year on Thanksgiving week, the park opens remote areas that are normally inaccessible to tourists. One can roam and see migrating waterfowl and wild ponies all in the same place. It is glorious to see hundreds of snow geese bobbing in inlets with all manner of ducks, swans, gulls, terns and other wild geese.

4. My recurring nightmare is being drowned at sea. Or eaten at sea. Or both.

5. I decorated a Christmas tree this year for the first time in many years. Often we travel at Christmas, but not this year. In fact, this year Christmas is getting spread out over several days. So between getting snow, having a tree, and loving on family and friends, I am really enjoying Christmas this year!

I am nominating the following blogs of writers who help other writers as my Superstars:

M. S. Fowle  at http://msfowle.wordpress.com  cover design

E-BookBuilders at http://www.e-bookbuilders.com/ ideas galore

Karen Gadient http://karengadient.com/ cover design and more

C. J. Gorden http://cjgorden.wordpress.com/resources/  list of resources

Paige Nolley http://paigenolley.wordpress.com/ the bare naked truth of the writer’s path

The following entity is not a blog, but an honorable mention:

Kickstarter www.kickstarter.com uses cash to support creativity

SHINE ON, YOU TWINKLY PEOPLE!

2012 Blog of the Year Award


Thank you, Rarasaur! I think I may have found the words for my tombstone.

In giving me the Blog of the Year Award 2012, Rarasaur said:

Fay: For over-thinking in the most engaging, delightful way possible:

https://faymoore.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/the-fear-of-being-forgotten/

Over-thinking. Oh, my, yes. That would be me. And it brings a tear to my eye to have that trait of mine considered engaging and delightful. (Tell that to my ex’s.)

So, I accept the award. With glee and waving of arms and dancing about the room. The word GIDDY comes to mind. And just in time, too. Two more days till the end of the world, if you believe those Mayans.

I’ll meet my obligations for the award on December 22. That way, if the world really does go poof, I won’t have to write the darn thing.

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

Stop Thieves from Stealing Your Content


Stop! Thief!

A reader sent me an e-mail with a link to a wonderful blog post with lots of information about stopping thieves from stealing your content.

Before I go any further, let me clarify something. If a blogger uses a selection — not wholesale copying of the entire work — from another blog AND attributes ownership to the rightful author AND is using the selection for educational purposes, it falls under Fair Use.  That’s the way I roll here — I tell you where the information comes from and tell you how it may help you as an author.

That said,  blogger “Between Naps on the Porch” (BNP) talks about nefarious sorts lifting multiple posts from BNP, stealing text and photos without any attribution, and re-blogging the entire content on a commercial site owned by the thief. BNP slowed the theft using several techniques:

  • watermarking original photographs
  • using plug-ins to attach messages that travel with content
  • asking readers to report content theft
  • including back-links to previous posts
  • checking the site statistics
  • hiring a programmer to write code to make it hard to steal things

and more. Go to the following BNP linked site to learn more about how to stop content thieves from stealing from you. It’s a long, detailed read that is worth your time.

http://betweennapsontheporch.net/stop-scrapers-from-stealing-your-content/


Look at the company we keep! Thanks to Cheri Lucas for compiling this list.

The WordPress.com Blog

Move over, New York Times bestseller list.

Millions of people across the globe turn to WordPress to build their websites and blogs, and we’re proud to say WordPress is home to many bestselling writers and winners of prestigious literary awards and prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize. In other words, we have our own bestseller list!

Take a look at the bestsellers and award winners who use WordPress — and be sure to scroll down to read about the notable works and WordPress-powered websites of twelve authors we’ve handpicked from this impressive list:

Jami Attenberg
Released this monthAttenberg’s third novel, The Middlesteinsis a story of marriage, new and old love, family, and our culture’s obsession with food. In addition to her novels, Attenberg has contributed both fiction and nonfiction to many outlets, from the New York Times and Salon to The Awl and numerous anthologies and zines. We…

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