Basic HTML For Bloggers November – Tech Tuesday

Every Tuesday in November I am showing you how to do one simple thing with HTML. Today it is how to put in a little line break. Like this –

The HTML code to do the line above looks like this –

Horizontal Rule

HR means Horizontal Rule – rule a horizontal line. ;) It really is that simple. But you can make it more complex if you want to. You can add a few things to it in order to make it look different, be shorter, be one dimensional. Here’s some of the extra codes you can use.

No Shade

NOSHADE means to be flat and one dimensional.


Size obviously relates to the height of your horizontal rule. You can easily change the size of your horizontal rule by simply adding size=X – X being the number you want.


There are two ways you can choose what width you want. Pixel size and percentage. I suggest to stick with percentage for the most part because it will automatically adjust itself accordingly.


You cannot use align without using width. Center is probably the one you would use most. If you use width you may find that the HR centers itself automatically.


So there you have it. The Horizontal Rule. Try one out in a post today!

Further Reading –

Some HTML Tips & Tricks here

If you know nothing about HTML, this is where you start
Getting Started Tutorial
Learn Basic HTML For Your Website
Web Safe Color Chart
Non-dithering colors
How to Style an Unordered List with CSS

HTML Reference And Learning Websites –

HTML Code Tutorial
HTML Tutorials At W3
HTML Goodies
Learn HTML And CSS

blogging tips, html, tuesday think tank

The Truth About Blog Stats Revealed

A few weeks ago in Tech Tuesday we talked about site meters and stat counters for your blog and I mentioned how no blogger should be relying on these tools to accurately track their traffic.

Since moving to WordPress, I have been able to keep an eye on three statcounters and I decided to do a little experiment. One of these statcounters is on the server itself. It is a true and accurate reflection of the traffic to this site because it tracks all *requests* to the server itself and is not affected by page load, by someone hitting stop before the counters can load etc.

A Halloween Surprise.

The real stats are about as scary as the average Halloween costume because it shows just how many visits are NOT being tracked by the other trackers. If you are not able to use a tracker on the server where your blog is, you could be missing out on knowing about over 50% of your traffic.

An Experiment In Page Location.

When I switched over I decided to try a little experiment. Statcounter is located right at the top of one of the sidebars – it is the little blue number you can see just under over 60,000 visits. Pmetrics is located in the footer of the page – at the bottom and right at the end of the page load. The results show that location can affect the stats you see.

The Results.. Drumroll Please..

The following graphic represents the traffic for one full week here on the blog – the exact same amount of time on each tracker.
Stats Graphic

What Does That Mean?

If you have your statcounter at the top of your sidebar you may be seeing approximately 60% of your traffic.

If you have your statcounter in the footer of your page you may be seeing approximately 40% of your traffic.

Do Not Rely On Your Site Meter.

As I said in my previous post on site meters – if you define your worth as a blogger in how many people visit your site and you are relying on these free tracking tools, you are setting yourself up for heart break. For no good reason. Site Meters should only be used as a guide to the general traffic on your blog, and not as the bible of internet usage or any kind of measure of how many people are reading you.

Previous Tech Tuesday Think Tanks –

Over To You –

What do you think of the results of my experiment? Have you ever done one yourself and if so, how did that turn out?

tuesday think tank

All About Skype – Tech Tuesday

Sephy’s post today tells you about how to install Skype – I’m going to talk about what you might want to use it for. Skype is brilliant and there is so much you can do with it, I highly recommend it – and here’s why.

Free Stuff –

I’m going to divide this post into things you can do for free – there is a lot of those – and things you have to pay for.

Text Chats – One On One –

You can chat via text to one other person using skype, 24/7, for free.

Text Chats – With A Group –

You can create a group chat, which can have up to 100 participants. So basically I could start a group chat, and then add anyone I had as a contact on my skype list. Group chats can go on 24/7 for the foreseeable future. When you go offline, all the messages you miss arrive as a surprise when you log back in the next time.

We used group chats a lot in the early days of scam victim support and it was wonderful – there was always someone else around who could help you if you needed assistance. This is a brilliant feature. It might not be so handy for bloggers, because our blogs are how we keep in touch. However it could be great for people who are a bit lonely and want to chat to someone.

Other Features –

Send Files To Your Contacts –

Sephy and I use this all the time to send photos – spreadsheets – text files – virtually any kind of file can be sent via Skype.

Send Contacts To Other Contacts –

Say that one of you got skype and added me as your first contact. With a few mouse clicks I can send you other contacts from my list of contacts – thus expanding your contact list.

Play Games –

I’ve never used this feature but apparently it is great fun. They have 18 different games to choose from like Chess, Hangman, Tic-tac-toe and Sudoku.

But Wait, There’s More!

With every update more and more features are added. I have only scratched the surface of what you can do – they now have call centre software (great for scammers who want to call me!), team collaboration additions where you can have a whiteboard everyone can write on, the ability to work on documents together, translation abilities, there’s even the ability to add a “lie detector” – though I’m not sure how well it works, I’ve never used it. All of that is 100% free.

Calls –

Call Another Computer Using Skype –

I am in Australia. Sephy is in the USA. If we were calling via normal phone lines we would rarely talk via voice to each other due to the cost. However because we both have Skype, we can call each other anytime for free. Anyone reading this who put Skype onto their computer – you would also be able to call us, and we could call you, for free.

Free Video Calls To Other Computers –

I don’t do this myself, but if you have a webcam you can make free video calls to other Skype users. This is fantastic for families when one parent goes on holidays and wants to keep in touch, for families who have divorced and the kids want to speak face to face to the other parent no matter how far away they are, for long distance relationships, for those of us who have overseas family, there’s so many things this is great for. It’s not just for perverts and slightly creepy people. ;)

Call 1-800 Numbers in the USA –

You can call 1-800, 1-877, 1-866, 1-855 numbers in the USA and Canada 100% for free – from anywhere in the world, anytime. You do not need to have any call credits with Skype to do this. You can download the program and start making free calls right now.

Call toll free Numbers In These Countries –

You can call toll free numbers in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, UK and Taiwan as well – absolutely free. Again you don’t need to have any call credits.

Conference Calls –

This is one of the best features of Skype. You can have up to 5 people on a conference call at once – sometimes up to 9 if you have the right kind of computer. It takes a little getting used to when you’re talking with 4 other people but once you get the hang of it this is fantastic.

Join Skypecasts –

This is a new area for me, I’ve never used it. Skypecasts are basically public chats – a few I spotted were language exchange where you can chat and make friends with people wherever they are, a maths tutor skypecast, a lunch time music concert, an alcoholics anonymous skypecast – and if you want to create one all of your own, you can do that for free.

Pay Stuff –

Call Home Phones And Mobiles From Your Computer –

The prices for calls are all available here – they are not too bad for the majority of countries. Especially considering what you would normally pay for long distance calls.

The HUGE advantage of Skype is – your call cannot be traced. The way the Voice Over Internet Protocol works is your call is sent to the nearest “out” point in that country. If someone you are calling sees any number (unlikely, we scambaiters have tested this pretty thoroughly), it would be the number of the out point. They would never know you aren’t using a real phone. Well, maybe some people won’t think that is an advantage but we scambaiters sure loved it. ;)

Conference Calls –

Remember the free conference call option? You can combine that with one or more outgoing calls. We’ve used this a LOT with scambaiting – one of the most fun things is to call two scammers and then let them speak to each other – a fun game of “who is on de line” “hello” “why did you call me” “I didn’t call you, you called me” is generally the result. We have also called scammers with four scambaiters on the line and each played various characters during the call.

You might use it to conference family members who have skype with family members who do not, or friends who are overseas and have skype with friends who are close to you without skype.

Skype-In –

You can get a telephone number for people to call you on your computer. Again the benefits of this can be huge. People don’t know where you are in the world. You can choose a number in – Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States. You get voicemail free with Skype In.

The price of Skype In seems to have gone up since I last bought mine. It’s now 15 euro for 3 months, or 50 euro for 12 months. However if you have relatives or friends in any of those countries above you can get a telephone number where it would be a local call for them to ring you. That is brilliant.

Skype Pro

This is a new option – a low monthly fee for quite a lot of features but they vary per country. Check your country here

You’re In Control

The way payment works is you choose to add credit in small chunks. If you run out of credit it is your choice whether or not to add more. You can pay with Paypal, Mastercard, Visa, Diners, Moneybookers or you can choose a regular bank transfer option if you want to purchase credit regularly. I have used Skype for over two years now – it has always been safe and secure.

If You Want It Now..

Read Sephy’s post for info on how to download Skype, install Skype, and use Skype – Skype – A phenomenal tool for communication. For more information on Skype, you can visit their homepage.

internet, tuesday think tank

Time Management – Tuesday Think Tank

Time goes by – so quickly. Many of us are disorganised people who get distracted by shiny things and lose a couple of hours seemingly in the blink of an eye. Combine that with the ability to access the internet and you can lose half a day just surfing around, reading blogs and looking at photographs. Recently I decided it was time to take my time into my own hands. I asked myself how can I combat this? I did all the hard work, and now I’m going to tell you what has worked for me.

The Daily Planner –


I spoke about the daily planner before, but this is the number one thing which has changed my life. I treat it like the old Microsoft slogan – Where do you want to go today? I write down all the things I would like to get done during my day onto the daily planner. I give them a priority – A, B or C. When I have finished that task, I put big ticks on either side of it. There is something so satisfying to me about finishing a task and ticking it off my list.

Oops, I Ran Out Of Time –


Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. I was putting these long to do lists in front of myself and not getting everything done by the end of the day. Sometimes a task takes a LOT longer than you expected. For example, installing wordpress plugins – I thought it would take 1 hour. It took 5 hours.

Permission Granted –


One of the most discouraging things about setting yourself goals and tasks is not achieving them. It is one reason people simply give up and quit. There were a few days when I beat myself up about not finishing everything on the list. I almost wanted to quit because of it. In the end, I had to give myself permission to draw an arrow through any of the items on my to-do list and then add it to tomorrow’s to do list. As long as I have done my best each day I’m happy.

The Number One Rule –


You will want to write this one down. “Do It Now”.

It sounds simple but it is not so simple to achieve this in reality. You have to treat it like a religion. You have to chant it like a mantra. You have to change your thinking from “I can do that later” to “I’ll do it now”.

Everything Has A Home –


As I wrote in my Snoskred Is Getting Organised article, I don’t put things back where they belong. One of the reasons I had trouble with this was – things did not have a specific home. My new office is a lot more organised. I have a set of drawers with labels on them so that I know where things live. I also have a lot more bookshelf space for my aromatherapy oils, for my incense, for my cosmetics and lip balms.

Keep It Bare –


On my desk, there are only essential work related things now. I used to have a lot of personal items on my desk. I’m finding new homes for them because I recognise I could often zone out while looking at them. That is because I am attracted to shiny, sparkly things. If I see something shiny and sparkly it can make all rational thought vanish from my mind. That’s a good thing – and ok in the right place. The right place for that is NOT my work desk. ;)

Handle It Once –

When you have something in your hand and you are considering putting it down, make sure you put it into the place it is going to live for good. I was one of those people who would put things down and not be able to find them again. Having a home for everything, and being disciplined about putting things back can fix this.

Devotion –

You might choose to devote 5-10 minutes at the end of the day making sure everything is where it lives, or you can choose to “do it now”. I prefer to do it now and devote that 5 minutes at the end of the day to a quick clean of my desk.

Recognise Daily Tasks –


There are some things I need to do every day. I like to tick them off a daily check list. At the old house there was a week where I was on a roll and got those things done every single day. Since moving here I have got out of the habit a little bit. It annoys me – especially getting out of the habit of replying to the comments daily. So I am putting this back on my to do list and I will be re-creating the list as I have more daily tasks now.

Plan –

Sephy wrote about Google Calendar for his Tuesday Think Tank. Right now I’m a little annoyed at Google but this calendar may be the best thing since sliced bread for me. Perhaps I might look for a version which has nothing to do with Google at all, just because I do not want to become too reliant on them. In the meantime, I am planning my blog with Google Calendar. Planning is a choice you can make, if you want to.

What do you mean, plan?

Here was the plan for last week.

Sun Sep 30 – Weekly Wrap Up
Mon Oct 1 – Emily’s Questions
Tue Oct 2 – Think Tank – HTML
Wed Oct 3 – Hump Day Hmmm
Thu Oct 4 – CD Review – Madonna Confessions
Fri Oct 5 – Out Of Your Niche – Thomas
Sat Oct 6 – Australians Let Us All Waste Water
Sun Oct 7 – Weekly Wrap UP

6 out of 7 ended up exactly as I planned them. I wrote all the articles, this means I have an extra article left over which I can re-schedule.

Why Plan?

  1. You can pre-write your blog posts when you’re having a writing “fit”.
  2. You know where you’re going, it’s the “Where do you want to go today” extended version.
  3. You won’t have a day where you don’t know what to write about if you have planned a topic in advance.

Why Pre-Write?

The simple fact is, there are times when you are in the mood for writing and the words come out fast and lovely. There are times when you are NOT in the mood for writing at all. The Search Engines are more “loyal” (they come back more often) to sites that post new content frequently. That is one reason I have the “Thought For Today” post. It’s not just because I take good photos and like looking for relevant quotes. There is method to my madness.

WordPress Will Change My Life –

The major reason I have switched to WordPress is the “publish in advance” feature. I can go in and write a months worth of “thought for today” posts in one sitting (this will take me an hour or so) and set them to automatically publish at the same time each day – and then forget it. That is an excellent use of my time. ;)

Try It Out With NaBloPoMo –

November is National Blog Posting Month. You can sign up for NaBloPoMo which is a month of posting every day – but rather than going into it without a plan, sit down and think how you are going to post every day for 30 days. Use a paper calendar or Google Calendar and plan your month of November well in advance. Try planning your blog and see if it works for you.

Spontaneous People –

Some people prefer not to plan. That is also a valid choice. When it comes to blogging it may be the wrong choice. Your readers are looking for –

  • reliability
  • good content
  • positivity
  • ideas
  • something unique

The best way you can give that to them is to have a plan. If your plan is positive where will you fit in a negative, spur of the moment post that loses you readers? You can’t. We have ALL done that. We have ALL posted something and regretted it later. You can choose to stop doing it. ;)

Further Reading –

Thoughts On Making Positive Changes – Can You Do It?
Snoskred is Getting Organised – Are You?
Email Zen: Clear Out Your Inbox

Previously in the Tuesday Think Tank
21st August: RSS
14 Reasons Readers Unsubscribe From Your Blog
Tuesday Think Tank: All About RSS

28th August: Blog Templates
Blog Design – Open Your Eyes.
Demystifying Blogger Template Editing

4th September: Nofollow
Spam, Spiders And Do Follow, Oh My!
Say No! to Nofollow

11th September: Site Meters
Do NOT Rely On Your Site Meter.
Track Your Visitors with Google Analytics

18th September: Technorati
Technorati – Sending Out An SOS
The Ups (and Downs) of Technorati

25th September: Google Reader
Google Reader Can Make Your Life Easier – Here’s How.
Improving your Google Reader Experience

2nd October: HTML
Basic HTML for Bloggers.
Some HTML Tips & Tricks

Over To You –

What are your thoughts on time management?
If you liked this article, don’t forget to give it a stumble. ;)

Home, time management, tuesday think tank

Basic HTML for Bloggers.

Blogging is like learning another language by itself, and there’s a lot of people sitting in the corner with their hands over their ears screaming “NO! I Will Not Learn This HTML! I Just Want To Blog!” – I believe the reason is, people think this is too technical for them.

Well I have good news for you. It’s not technical. It is simply a different language. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. If you’ve ever tried to learn a language you’ll know you need to practice and use it often in order to be successful, and you have to learn what things mean in order to understand it.

HTML is no different.

It’s just like French, only more useful – unless you live in France. It’s just like Norwegian, only less pretty looking. It’s just like English, only if you use the wrong spelling or grammar it can stop your site from working right and cause you to have a minor meltdown where you end up curled into a ball on the floor, rocking back and forwards.

The good news –

You don’t need to learn to speak this language out loud, or learn to remember it if you don’t want to. Using this language is a simple matter of copy and paste. Eventually you may learn the code yourself and can write it on your own – even then you can still use copy and paste because it saves you time.. Also, there’s a lot of great sites out there where you can grab bits of code – almost like phrasebooks.

In this post –

The HTML will be put into images, just to make it easier for me to write the post. Do not fear, I’ve got a text file which accompanies this post – and it contains all the HTML I’m talking about today complete with instructions on how to modify it to suit you.

New To Computers?

Some of the people reading this may not know how to copy and paste, I’ll put links to instructions for that at the bottom of this post too – as well as an easy way to “steal” code from websites and blogs.. So let us begin.

Text Links –

Most bloggers use the option in their blogging platform to put in a link. This is time consuming and it means you have to have the page you are linking to open in your browser when you are writing the post in your blog. The code for this is so simple.

<a href="link">text</a>

In order to make a link, you need to copy the link and then paste it to replace link in the HTML. The quotation marks need to stay. You then put the text you want for the link where it says text – in between the brackets. So a link to me would look like this –

<a href="">Snoskred</>

Colors –

There are 216 colors which are best for using on the internet because they don’t “dither” – they are solid colors. See Non-dithering colors for more info. What we want to talk about is how to change font colors in HTML. You can do this in your blog color scheme, but sometimes you will want to use it in blog posts or in your sidebars. It truly is child’s play.

<font color="#colorhere">text</font>

Where do you get the color codes from? Try the Visibone Color Lab or the Web Safe Color Chart

Lists –

    <li><a href="link">text</a></li>
    <li><a href="link">text</a></li>


Some people have seen the UL code around the place, they use it, they have no idea what it means or what it does. ;) It stands for Unordered List. This just means you can put a bunch of things together in a list. There is also OL which stands for ordered list and that kind of list will automatically put in numbers. There is a fantastic lists tutorial online – HTML Lists which explains lists a lot better than I can.

Centering –

Things tend to look better when they are centered. There’s two ways to do this in HTML and I am going to tell you the really simple one. Are you ready? This one is a doozy, ya’all. You better sit down.


Seriously, that is how simple it is. It has to be center, not centre.

You can see now this language is actually easier than a lot of the languages on the planet. It’s not like they’re taking the word newspaper and telling you the word for it is avis as they do in Norwegian. It just involves some brackets and looks complicated but truly, it isn’t. Don’t be scared of it.

Scroll Bars –

Sometimes you want to put something on your sidebar but you don’t want it to take up the amount of space it takes up. A blogroll is an excellent example of this.

Some people use blogrolling to maintain a blogroll. Unfortunately blogrolling uses Javascript – and therefore none of the links count in Technorati or on Google or the other search spiders.

If you want the links to count for the people you are linking to, you need to use the following HTML code – you can put links in there, or just text. I have both link and text scroll bars on my sidebar, can you see them?

<div style="overflow: auto; height: 100px">
    <li><a href="link">text</a></li>
    <li><a href="link">text</a></li>
    <li><a href="link">text</a></li>
    <li><a href="link">text</a></li>

If you want to change the height of the scroll bar, simply change the 100px to a lesser or higher number – ie 180px, 300px

I’m Ready To Get The Text File Now –

You can get a copy of all this html code in a simple text file with instructions on how to modify it right here – it is better to use right click and save as text file because if you view it in your browser you won’t see the code.

Copy And Paste

There’s a few links on the web which teach you to copy and paste – here are two simple and good ones.

How To Copy And Paste
The Basics of Cut and Paste

How To “Steal” Code

Sephy wrote a great blog post on this a while back.

How To “Steal” Code

Ready For More?

Sephy’s Tuesday Think Tank post (which is a companion post to this one) is fantastic this week, so make sure you go and read it! ;) I will link to it here as soon as he puts it online – which may be a little while because his internet just went offline and he’s gone to bed. Drop back in about 12 hours for the linky. ;)

Check out his post of Some HTML Tips & Tricks here!

Further Reading –

If you know nothing about HTML, this is where you start
Getting Started Tutorial
Web Safe Color Chart
Non-dithering colors
How to Style an Unordered List with CSS

HTML Reference And Learning Websites –

HTML Code Tutorial
HTML Tutorials At W3
HTML Goodies
Learn HTML And CSS

It’s Up To You –

Learning is a choice. We all make choices in our lives. You might choose to learn the piano. You might choose to learn Norwegian, as I once did. Bloggers can choose to live in fear of HTML and code, or they can choose to dedicate 5-10 minutes a day to do quick HTML tutorials and start the learning process. You may decide only to learn the basics and that is fantastic in itself – doing that is much better than being scared of text on a screen.

Endless Capacity

We Humans have an endless capacity for learning – just consider how many song lyrics you hold inside your head. HTML is not just useful for blogs. If you learn it you can use it to design websites – for yourself and maybe for others. It may lead you onto learning other programming languages.

The Power Of The Internet –

If there is ever anything you don’t understand, aren’t sure about, or don’t know how to use, you can find out on the Internet by searching for it. Or, you can simply ask Sephy and I to make a Tuesday Think Tank on that topic. ;) We’ve done quite a few of these now.

Previously in the Tuesday Think Tank
21st August: RSS
14 Reasons Readers Unsubscribe From Your Blog
Tuesday Think Tank: All About RSS

28th August: Blog Templates
Blog Design – Open Your Eyes.
Demystifying Blogger Template Editing

4th September: Nofollow
Spam, Spiders And Do Follow, Oh My!
Say No! to Nofollow

11th September: Site Meters
Do NOT Rely On Your Site Meter.
Track Your Visitors with Google Analytics

18th September: Technorati
Technorati – Sending Out An SOS
The Ups (and Downs) of Technorati

Stumble It? –

If you liked this post you may want to stumble it.

Link To It?

If you have readers on your blog and this post would be useful to them, please link to it so they can read this and stop fearing HTML. ;)

Over To You –

Got any thoughts on HTML? Have I taken some of the scariness out of it? ;) Let me know if yes!

blogging tips, html, tuesday think tank

Technorati – Sending Out An S.O.S.

Technorati has been screwed up for a while. If I used swear words on this blog, I would say this using a different word that begins with F in place of the word screwed.

I hate to say it –

but Technorati, I feel like our relationship is deteriorating, and I think it is time we faced it. The only trouble is, there is nobody like you out there. And it seems some advertisers believe in you. I have lost faith in you myself. I think you’re cheating on me. Seeing other blogs. Sleeping around like a cheap sheet in a dodgy motel. Lying to me! Please, get yourself together before it is too late for us.

Favourite Nightmare –

Currently there is no way for me to add any new favourites. I have over 200, and apparently this means I am a demon from hell and should not be allowed to have any more favourites. Or something like that. And I am not alone with this problem.

What Does This Mean?

Hopefully it will mean a better Technorati for all of us, but there is a LOT of work to do before that happens. Many people have been experiencing problems with pings. A lot of people feel they cannot use Technorati to read blogs anymore because it is very unreliable.

Some people have given up on it completely because it was increasing their page load times on a regular basis – and that is fair enough, too. People have often reported having trouble getting any kind of technical support, though this may have been fixed recently.

When Will It Be Fixed?

I guess the biggest question is – how long are we all expected to just hang in there while they try to sort things out?

Your Blog Is Important –

It is important to you, and important to your readers. It does not seem to be so important to Technorati. My advice to anyone reading this? Don’t become reliant on Technorati for anything.

Don’t Use It To Read Blogs –

Some of the blogs in my favourites list say they have not been updated in over 100 days or so, and yet those bloggers are still blogging, still writing, and I am getting their posts in Google Reader.

No feed reader is perfect but you should expect feeds to show up within 30 minutes to 6 hours if you’re using feedburner. 100 days is a different century in net time. Use Google Reader or Bloglines or some other feed reader to get your blog fixes. Don’t rely on Technorati for this. You will be disappointed if you do.

Google Search Is Better –

I’ll also take off the search box because I found it quite unreliable. I have found a way to put a Google Search Box on my blog instead. You can do the same because Sephy tells you how to install a Google Search Box onto your blog. I highly recommend that you do it – this will make it easier for your readers to find what they are looking for.

I Feel Sad –

For all the staff who work there and believe in what they are doing. I don’t know what is going wrong there. I don’t want to know what is going wrong there. I want someone to fix it. I want Technorati to be working at the full potential I think it is capable of, and I think all bloggers would agree with that.

But –

We have blogs to run as well, and we cannot afford to sit back and be patient while widgets don’t work, while we can’t add people to our favourites, while this service is used as a way to rate bloggers yet at the same time it is giving incorrect ratings to blogs that don’t exist!

Previous Tuesday Think Tanks –

Do NOT Rely On Your Site Meter
Track Your Visitors with Google Analytics

14 Reasons Readers Unsubscribe From Your Blog
Tuesday Think Tank: All About RSS

Demystifying Blogger Template Editing
Blog Design – Open Your Eyes

Say No! to Nofollow
Spam, Spiders And Do Follow, Oh My!

Stumble It –

If you liked this post, be sure to give it a stumble. :)

Check Sephy Out –

Sephy has a companion post to this, which you can read here – The Ups (and Downs) of Technorati – this covers blog authority, rank and reactions and how they change as well as some other useful stuff.

Make A Request –

This week’s Tuesday Think Tank came as the result of a request from Julie, who had some questions about Technorati and why her ranking has been changing recently. If you have something you want to have covered in a future Tuesday Think Tank, we always are willing to take suggestions; all you need to do is send an email to either myself or to Sephy, and we will tackle your topic on a future Tuesday. :)

Over To You –

How do you feel about Technorati? Are you ready to break up and move on with your life? Will you stick it out a little longer? Are you going to remove some of their widgets? What have you been using it for, is that still working or have you had to look for other options?

Do you have a blog topic you’d like to know more about? Simply mention it in the comments.

blogging tips, tuesday think tank

Do NOT Rely On Your Site Meter.

Today’s Tuesday Think Tank is all about Site Meters. I’m talking about how unreliable they are, how readers of your blog can stop them from working, how you measure your worth as a blogger, and possible ways you could increase your traffic and make sure readers stick around once they get to your blog.

Sephy has written a companion piece to this post – Track Your Visitors with Google Analytics which you should check out. :)

Site Meters Are A Free Service –

It’s rare on the internet to find something that is actually free. Blogger is one thing that is free, and it provides you with a lot of options and things you can do at no cost whatsoever. But if you stop and consider for a moment how much it costs to provide this service to any man – and his dog or cat! – who want to blog.. it costs bandwidth, it takes up CPU time (computer processing unit, your computer has one but so do all the computers at the other end when you look at something on the internet).

Most people who run a website have to pay to run it. They have to pay for server space. That could be as little as $7 a year but the more people who visit your site, the higher that cost can increase.

Consider The Source –

Free can sometimes mean you get what you pay for – i.e. nothing. If you consider these services which are used by so many bloggers but also websites across the www, it takes an enormous amount of “internet juice” (bandwidth, CPU, etc) to run these things. So these people are supposed to provide you with a great service which *costs* them money to provide it and is always reliable and always works, for free? Err, are we asking a bit too much here?

Things Happen –

Servers go down regularly, as any good internet host will tell you. You cannot expect that the information given to you by a free site tracking service is going to be 100% accurate. Unless you want to sit there and check it is working 24/7, which would be a great waste of your time. ;)

These sites also have customers who are paying for the service and if anything goes wrong the first people who they will look after is their paying customers. It makes sense from a business point of view. We cannot expect this free service to be accurate. You can use it as a guide, but that is where it should end.

There May Be Delays –

The information available to you may not be live information. There can be delays – sometimes up to 24 hours or more – with information being tracked and translated. If you post something and then check your counter and think “Nobody’s reading my post!” you may have incorrect information. There could be 50 people reading your post. You might see that days later in your tracker – or maybe not at all, if there was an outage.

It Matters Where You Put It –

If you put the code for your tracker at the very top of your sidebar, you will get different results to putting it lower down on your sidebar. If the code is right at the bottom of the page and it is not Javascript, everything on the page has to load before a “visit” gets counted.

I’ve been trying to find out for certain whether Javascript loads all the scripts on a page at the same time, or one by one in order and not having any luck, so if you know about that can you leave a comment?

People Can Hit Stop –

If your page load takes too long, most browsers have the “Stop Loading This Page” option. You would be surprised how many people use it and how quickly they use it, too. If they stop the page loading before your counter script runs? No data will be sent re their visit.

It Matters What Kind Of Code –

Some trackers are Javascript. Some internet users (myself included) use a Firefox extension called “No Script”. This actually stops any Javascript from loading in a page unless I (the user) personally authorise it. This means if I visit your blog for the first time, and you have a bunch of Javascripts running, they won’t load.

Take for example Statcounter. I have approved statcounter Javascript for any site I visit. That means if I visit a site the Statcounter will load, but none of the other Javascripts will. As an internet user this gives me a LOT more control over how I am viewing the web, but it can also mean my visits to your site won’t be tracked at all.

Why No Script?

I use it because there have been security problems with javascript from time to time, and I sometimes visit websites created by internet scammers. It is a quick and easy way I can tell what is running on a page without checking the source code, and anything I have not previously approved will be unable to run until I do approve it. Here’s what a page looks like when I view it with No Script –


Click for a bigger view. You can see that a little yellow bar runs across the bottom of the page, telling me which scripts I have previously approved are running. It also tells me how many scripts in total are running on the page and when I click on options (the screenshot shows me clicking on options) it gives me more information. I can choose to forbid any of those approved javascripts at any time.

Results Can Vary Widely –

I run two site meters on the site currently – Google Analytics and Statcounter. Feedburner also has a counter built in. Last Wednesday September the 5th –

Statcounter shows – visits 419, page views 861

Google Analytics shows – visits 349, page views 802

Feedburner shows – visits 323, page views 810

Do you see now how these are a bit unreliable? That is a huge difference, especially given two of the scripts (Statcounter and Google Analytics) are right next to each other in the sidebar. Which one of the above should I believe? How can I know how many people actually visited my page?

Don’t Invest Yourself –

If you define your worth as a blogger in how many people visit your site and you are relying on these free tracking tools, you are setting yourself up for heart break. For no good reason. Site Meters should only be used as a guide to the general traffic on your blog, and not as the bible of internet usage or any kind of measure of how many people are reading you.

How Do You Measure?

How can anyone possibly measure their worth as a blogger? At the end of the day, it could boil down some or all of the following –

If you are happy with what you are writing
(if not, work harder on the writing)

If you are happy with your blog template
(if not, test out a new one and consider changing it)

If you are happy with the look of your blog
(if not, take a good look at it, remove anything you don’t like)

If you are happy with your header graphic
(if not, create a new one. If you don’t have the tools, ask for help from other bloggers, run a competition on your blog to have your readers create a new one for you)

If you are happy with the amount of comments you receive
(if not, network. Get out there and meet new people, comment on their blogs, they will comment back)

If you are happy with the quality of your content
(if not, learn more about writing, edit, improve, read this- 10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Blog Writing. )

If you are happy with the relationships you have built with other bloggers
(if not, work on building relationships with other bloggers)

If you are happy with the amount of links back to you from other bloggers
(if not, link to them more and you will find they link back to you, a weekly wrap up is one good way to achieve this)

If you are not happy with any of the above, these are all things you can work on and improve.

You’re in charge –

You can create positive change in any area of your blogging. If I can do it, you can do it. Anyone can do it. Daisy The Curly Cat is doing it, even though it must be hard to type with kitty paws. ;) Love your work, Daisy. :)

Bloggers, don’t make excuses for your inaction. If you don’t have the time and energy to put into your blog, that is one thing. People have real lives. We all have to do the chores, etc. Some of us have jobs to go to. Some of us have kids and family. There is only a certain amount of time and energy we can each devote to blogging. We have to accept that, and be ok with it.


If you DO have the time and energy and you waste it by constantly checking your blog stats instead of networking and building relationships with other bloggers and the zillion things you can do to improve your blog- that IS something you can change.

Consider taking some time to learn to manage time better. To begin with, you could try setting yourself a target – for example, comment on 5 new blogs a day – and then set out to hit that target each and every day. Be pro-active and you will see results :) Be inactive and you’ll get exactly what you put in – nothing. :(

There Are Ways –

To improve the traffic to your blog. See the article – 75 Ways to Increase Your Site’s Traffic – by Tay from Super Blogging for some great ideas. Try some of them out. If they don’t work, try something different.

They Say –If you build it, they will come. I have found this to be partially true. They won’t come unless you tell them where it is first. It is like throwing a party and not inviting anyone, yet expecting people to somehow know you’re having a party and find it anyway, and when nobody shows up you fret and get depressed about it. What did you expect? That people are psychic? ;) That they are somehow able to read your thoughts? That people would magically find your blog out of the literally millions of blogs out there on the net?

Stay Positive –

If you look at your stats and find it makes you negative, unhappy, or inspires you to write posts lamenting the lack of readers and traffic, stop right there.

It is one thing to say to your readers – how can I improve this blog – and actually listen to them when they tell you, and make the changes they suggest. That’s fine, and something we should all do as bloggers from time to time.

It is another thing to throw a full blown tantrum which makes the people who do read and are loyal to you feel like they aren’t worth anything to you as readers. Vent elsewhere. Never do it publicly on your blog.

Don’t Be Negative –

You may remember me writing – 14 Reasons Readers Unsubscribe From Your Blog. As a blogger, it is also not good to –

– engage in bitch brawls with other bloggers (not only will the blogger feel attacked but their readers will too, it’s one way to make many enemies at once!) or spend time attacking other bloggers in a negative manner
– post whiny, whinging posts regularly (more often than positive content)
– post things which made your readers feel physically ill (keep your poop and vomit stories away from me!)

Some Things Should Never Be Blogged About.

You know how we all have topics we simply refuse to write about? For some of us it’s sex, religion, drugs, rock and roll, bowel movements, whatever. I suggest it is in a bloggers best interest to add “lack of blog traffic” to the list of topics they will never ever blog about. But feel free to blog up a storm when traffic is good or exceeds your expectations.

I Know This Is True –

Once they arrive, if you do not build it, refine it, work on it, tweak it, make it better, make it load fast, make it pleasing to their eye, and create good content, they won’t stick around long. It’s no easy task and it requires you to be the master of many different subjects – or at least to know a little bit about them.

Blogger can let you down-

Sometimes my page load is slow because of Blogger – again we’re back to what you get for free. Sometime in the next few months this blog will be moving to WordPress, and I will have a lot more control over things like that. It will cost me money but I’m worth it – and so are my readers. :)

Further Reading –

I want to draw your attention to the section – Bloggers Are Helpful – in my sidebar for your further reading today. There’s a lot of great posts in there from bloggers that can help you to improve your blogging.

Over To You – What are your thoughts on blog traffic and site meters? Have you ever run any kinds of tests to investigate how accurate they are? How many times a day do you check your stats?

If you liked this post, give it a Stumble. :)

blog housekeeping, blogging tips, commenting on blogs, tuesday think tank