NABLOPOMO – Day 1

pf1

Zazzy from Zazamataz mentioned here back in September that she might be doing NABLOPOMO this year, and I figured I would give it a go as well.

NaBloPoMo_November

The official website for NaBloPoMo is here.. Everyone has till November 5 to add their blog to the official blogroll via a link in this post.

I gave Zazzy 7 writing prompts which I am going to use myself this month, though I might not get to all of them, and not necessarily in the below order. If you are also posting every day in November and you get stuck, feel free to use these writing prompts.

The prompts are –

1. 1 movie you loved & why
2. 1 TV show you disliked & why
3. Share a “secret” you have never before shared on your blog.
4. Tell us about a quirk or odd habit that you have.
5. Do you like a cup of tea? When and why? What else do you put in it?
6. What are some of your favourite things?
7. What is your favourite treat of all time?

Some of these prompts may springboard into more than one post. If you are looking for more prompts, head on over to the blog of Mark Bialczak – So you asked for prompts, Team Pepper? Nano Poblano – there’s 39 writing prompts there so you’ll be sure to find one that works for you.

I’ll tell you a little secret. I’ve actually written more than 30 posts, and scheduled them. I’m actually scheduled out to mid-December. Some of these posts may get bumped for timely happenings here in Snoskredland.

I wrote and pre-scheduled the posts because.. and I say this with a sense of dread and fear.. I thought I might give NaNoWriMo a go. I’m still not sure but I do have two story ideas and it would be interesting to spend two hours a day just focusing in on telling these stories in my head.

NaBloPoMo Commenting Challenge

So how exactly does one comment on *and* add hundreds upon hundreds of blogs to ones feed reader?

With a lot of patience, dear readers. The official blogroll after just 24 hours lists 292 blogs, after 48 hours there are 411 blogs and there are still a few days to go.

Plus, some bright spark over at Blogher thought it would be awesome to have all the blogs open in a frame and I would have to close the frame in every window to get the blog URL. That really slowed me down for the first 40 or so blogs.

Never fear, I haz technical GURU. The Other Half got technical and made me a links page – You can use it too, if you like. It is here – NaBloPoMo Links – and I will update it once the complete list has been posted, so all the blogs are on there.

If I have not left you a comment yet, never fear

– it is likely that when I dropped by there was not a post I felt like my comment would be appropriate for, but I will be back.

Are you participating in NaBloPoMo?

Leave a link to your blog below so other participants can find your blog easily. :)

Unlike a regular link up – Please link to your BLOG URL, not to a post. :)


get the InLinkz code

challenges, commenting on blogs, NaBloPoMo

Oi! Lurkers De-lurk & Comment Day

According to my various stat gathering programs, there are on average a good couple of hundred of you reading this blog via your feed readers daily. That does not count those subscribed by email. Today I would like to give you an excuse to de-lurk and say hi.

Please Drop By And Comment! 

I am about to update my reader and blogroll over the next week or two, and I would love to add the blogs of any of my blog readers, so if you are reading please comment with a link to your blog so I can return the favour and read/link to your blog.

If you are on my blogroll already, make sure to comment so I know you’re still reading – I would hate to delete anyone by accident. I do have to make some serious cuts in my reader as I am up to over 200 blogs, so I am going to be deleting a fair few blogs.

I am still procrastinating – cutting blogs from my reader is not a job I enjoy doing.. I love adding blogs, which is how I keep ending up with more blogs than I can keep up with. ;)

commenting on blogs

Enablers.

There is a blog I know where the blogger regularly has these dummy spits about people not commenting on her post quickly enough. As in, within a couple of hours of a post being posted. When she spits the dummy she posts something basically accusing everyone of ignoring her, or saying that she’s going to quit blogging. Then a few hours later she deletes that post and replaces it with a post where she apologises for spitting the dummy. It is so regular it is almost like a cycle – if I bothered to go back and look I could probably tell you exactly how many days are in between each dummy spit. Some of you reading this may know who I am talking about if you read the same blog..

There’s a bunch of people who read her blog who are essentially enabling her in this cycle – they comment with things hoping to make the blogger feel better. I spotted it as a cycle early on and I called her on it. Ever since then she hasn’t taken my comments very well. I actually stopped commenting entirely on that blog a few months ago. I kept reading, hoping that she would eventually realise it herself and get the help she needs, whatever help that might be.

But then the cycle repeated itself again, and I came out of comment hiding to say exactly what I felt – though I can’t repeat the comment exactly to you now because surprise surprise – my comment got deleted, and all the comments on that post also got deleted. In fact comments got removed from that post entirely. So I emailed her to say hey, I can’t believe you deleted those comments, I give up – now I am going to unsubscribe and stop reading. I just wanted her to know I was done. I was very surprised by one of the comments that came back to me.

She told me “Those comments were for me – and I will do whatever I choose with them”.

So I didn’t reply – I don’t think I even know what to say to that kind of ego – and I mulled this over for a little bit. I wonder what you think – once you press submit on the comment form, does your comment “belong” to the person you wrote it to? Are they then allowed to delete them, or remove them, or even edit them to say whatever they like?

I would never assume that your comments were “for me” and therefore I can do what I choose with them. You leave a comment partly “for me” and partly “for you” because you want to have your say on something. Sure, if your comment is offensive or contains swearing (which my comment to this blogger did not) then I might have to edit it or delete it as per my comments policy (which says – Snoskred reserves the right to delete any comment which is vulgar, contains profanity, or is generally offensive. Please note that this occurs very rarely – it is only if you use a swear word or if you were to use a word which resulted in unwanted search engine traffic.) But that happens so rarely.. and I would always choose to edit out the offending words rather than delete entirely.

For me, deleting stuff you wrote on your blog is a deal breaker. If you can’t stand by your own words then you shouldn’t be blogging them. I’ve also known people who have deleted things on forums and I have lost all respect for them. I have known bloggers who did it and I unsubscribed. The only things I have ever deleted from this blog were my old paid reviews – however those do still appear on the old blogspot blog where I was paid to put them, so they aren’t deleted from the blogosphere, they’re just not over here.

Sometimes it amazes me how deluded people can be about themselves. This person actually thinks that people are sitting out there in the blogosphere waiting for her to write something so they can all arrive and comment on it. I think we all know that people have lives, and they are generally living them. I’m not going to be upset when I don’t get any comments on a post. I don’t have that kind of insanely low self esteem that comments = my worth in the world.

Deleting things helps people stay deluded, because they never have to take responsibility for what they’ve said or done and people can’t go back and grab quotes and say here you are, this is where you did this before. It also helps the commentors stay and enable, because they don’t get to read what the person said and they can’t spot the pattern.

Sephyroth and I were once members of a forum where there was this lady (someone over the age of 50, I might add!) from Canada who had to have drama in her life. Once a month she would pull some kind of stunt – whether it was something she did herself, or whether she caused an over-reaction to something someone else did. It got so that we could predict the exact date that the next “drama” would occur. Both of us ended up leaving the forum in the end. We got tired of the drama.

This blogger reminds me a little bit of that situation – I think she feels the need for validation and she feels that comments give her that validation. But imagine if you were a reader being held hostage by this need – some readers would feel like they had to be there regularly to make sure they could comment on anything that has been posted. Some readers would put up with it for a while and then drift away.

Some readers – like me – would feel the need to point out the obvious pattern. But you can only point it out so many times before you realise the person involved is getting off on it – and has no intention of changing the behaviour. So I’m done reading that blog. It’s not like I don’t have enough in my reader already. :)

I wonder what your thoughts are about who comments belong to once you hit submit. The comments section is open, so feel free to comment. ;)

commenting on blogs

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 –

noscript

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.

But..

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

Spam, Spiders And Do Follow, Oh My!

Today on Think Tank Tuesday I’m taking a look at No Follow and Do Follow and how these relate to blogs and spam, and Sephy is going to let you know how to turn no follow off on Blogger, WordPress, and various other kinds of blogs. It is a lot easier than you think, you’ll be glad to know!

So what is NoFollow All About?

Most blogs come with no follow installed on the comments section automatically. This was originally done to prevent link spammers gaining anything from their spammy efforts. Unfortunately nofollow does not work – nofollow blogs still get spam comments.

That means anytime someone comments on your blog their link is not followed by the search engines. The commentor does not receive a link back on either Technorati or Google or Yahoo or any of the other search engines.

Is It Fair To Your Commentors?

By making a link no follow, you’re effectively saying to the search engines – I don’t trust this link. Given that most of us do actually trust the links of our commentors, this is not a Good Thing.

Choose Not To Give Link Juice –

When you have a blog, you can choose to make certain things no follow. For example, if I wanted to link to someone in a post but I did not want the search engines to see that link, I would put in a bit of code that turns the link into a no follow link. Why would I want to do that?

Link Bait –

Sometimes bloggers post controversial things in order to get links back to their blog. I can name a few who do this regularly. If you feel a blogger is link baiting but you still want to discuss their post there is an easy way you can make the link no follow.

Sephy has shown you how you can do this in his post on this topic – Say No To NoFollow, it is simple and easy to do.

You will still be giving their blog traffic if anyone clicks on the link, but it is better to do that than leave your readers wondering what the heck you’re talking about – and much better than giving the blogger what they are looking for by being controversial, which is backlinks to their blog. Don’t reward them by giving them link juice.

Links Mean $$$ To Some –

Why do bloggers link bait? To some bloggers, backlinks can mean money. The more back links your blog has, the higher ranking you get on Technorati, the higher your page rank, the higher price you can charge advertisers.

What Is Do Follow?

The Do Follow movement is basically people who have decided they want their commentors links to be followed by the search engines. These Do Follow bloggers have taken the time to remove no follow from their comments sections. Depending on what kind of blog they have this can be an easy task or a difficult one.

Sephy has explained how to make your blog do follow with instructions for Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, Movable Type and some others.in his companion post to this one, make sure to read it. Here is the link again if you have not already opened it in a new window or tab – Say No To NoFollow

Will This Increase Spam?

In a word, no. I was getting spammed before I became do follow, and I have been spammed since. What will add to your chances of being spammed more often is by joining one of the Do Follow link lists that exist on the internet. These are targeted often by spammers looking for a way to build backlinks fast.

The Bumpzee Community –

There is a No Nofollow | I Follow | DoFollow Community at Bumpzee. Being a member of this community is worthwhile if you are a do follow blog because your posts go out on the RSS feed for other do follow readers to view. It has meant more traffic to my blog.

I believe three times since I joined the community, which was some months ago now, I have been spammed by people who came directly here from the Bumpzee community. These are the paid commentors. Their comments are easy to spot and easily deleted. So as far as I am concerned the issue of being spammed by people who know you are do follow is not much of a problem for me.

What If I Get Spammed?

You can easily turn no follow back on – but that won’t stop the spam. Spam is a problem we all have to deal with here on the internet. We just have to be adults about it, set a comments policy for ourselves, and then follow it.

Since I put in a comments policy on the page where people leave a comment, I have only been spammed once. The paid comments people seem to have got the message – it is a waste of their time to comment here and they won’t get paid for the comment because I delete it quickly. If you can do the same thing, you can keep your blog spam free.

How Can I Tell When It’s Spam?

The number one give away is the link they are using. When I see a comment that is possibly spam, the first thing I do is copy the link and take the link over to Technorati. For example, this is one of the comment spammers that has been here recently – on Technorati and another one – and as soon as you search for the URL you can see they have a lot of recent reactions with different names – Tom Paine, Lais Edwards, Richard Andrews, Clebsch Gordon, etc.

Why It Works –

Looking at the backlinks, some of the bloggers I most respect got caught out by these spammers. There’s a lot of familiar names and blogs there. I didn’t have the time to email or comment on all the posts, otherwise I would have.

The two blogs mentioned above now have medium level authorities on Technorati – (one has an authority of 51) (two has an authority of 65). You’ll note I am not linking to the blogs themselves, only to Technorati. I do not want to give them any link juice.

Team Up With Fellow Bloggers –

The major mistake these spammers made was – they visited Sephy’s blog not long after visiting mine, and left similar comments. Sephy and I discussed them on Skype and figured out it was spam, and then deleted them.

Don’t be afraid to contact a fellow blogger who has received a comment you suspect is spam and ask what their thoughts are on it. Sephy posted about it here – Paid Comments Not Allowed

Search The Name or URL-

If you search the name or URL you may well find both listed in the search engines as spammers.

Post About It Yourself –

If spam has become an issue on your blog, it could be worthwhile posting about it so that other bloggers can be aware of it. When they google the names you keep seeing as spam, they will find your post and then they can delete the spam as well – and if they read your post, when those names turn up on their blog they can hit delete fast.

Just make sure not to give any link juice to the spammers – you can make individual links no follow easily (See Sephy’s Post for info on how) so please do so when referring to the links spammers leave, or use the name only, don’t put a link in..

Moderation?

From time to time all bloggers find themselves switching to moderated comments. I’ve had to do it here, when trolls have arrived. Using moderation takes all the fun out of it for them. You usually don’t have to leave it on for too long before they give up and go somewhere else to troll.

You can also use moderation to combat spam and this is a tactic some bloggers are trying out recently. If you are available most of the time to moderate comments, you may wish to try this but be aware – it tends to stifle discussion. And what happens when you sleep? Comments stay unmoderated for hours at a time. ;(

Moderation After The Fact –

I tend to stick with a moderation afterwards policy here. If I spot a comment which is inappropriate, unacceptable or spam, it is quickly deleted. Sometimes not quickly enough because the search spiders are here fairly often. So they may get a some link juice if I’m not on the ball.

Trusted People –

If you have a couple of people you really trust who live in different timezones to you, you may choose to make them an administrator on your blog. This gives them the power to moderate comments. You discuss with them what is unacceptable, and they keep an eye out, deleting anything which would be against your policy, or anything which is clearly spam.

What About Captcha?

Blogger users will be familiar with Captcha word verification, it looks like this –

captcha

The reason it is exists is to stop spam bots posting comments on your blog. However it could be stopping regular human people from posting on your blog. You only need to turn word verification on when you’re being targeted by a spam bot – as in you’ll be getting a boatload of comments in a very short amount of time – and this will stop the spam bot from posting more comments. May I recommend you turn it off in the meantime?

Julie Pippert recently posted about Captcha and if you read her post you will see you might be missing out on comments if you’re using it. I have turned word verification off here for now, we’ll see how it goes..

The Bottom Line –

Spam is an issue for all of us. We get it in our email. We get spammed in our comments section. Unless you are being targeted in a major way and receiving hundreds of spam comments a day, it’s not that big a deal to hit delete. Have a good comments policy, make sure it is visible on the screen where people leave comments (blogger users – find out how to display your comments policy) and be vigilant in deleting anything you suspect of being spam.

Further Reading –

13 Reasons Why NoFollow Tags Suck I agree with the points, especially points 2, 3 and 5.

Give a little link love say no to nofollow remove the link condoms Rob, I love the concept of link condoms! ;) This post contains some very interesting quotes from people at Google and Yahoo – worth reading.

I Follow Randa Clay created the Do Follow logos that you see around the place, here you can get them in different colors to suit your blog.

Over To You –

If you liked this post, give it a stumble so other readers can find it. ;)

What are your thoughts on spam? Have you been spammed on your blog? Are you a Do Follow blog, and if not will you become one after reading this? Feel free to leave any comments – as long as they’re not spam!

blog design, blog template, blogging tips, commenting on blogs, spam

Blog Hints – Refer To Yourself In The Third Person?

This week I have collected some fantastic links to articles about blogging. I have added them all to the Bloggers Are Helpful list – Is yours there? If not email me a link to it and I’ll add it next week.

Why does Snoskred refer to herself as Snoskred?

Yes, you may have noticed this here on the blog. If you look to one sidebar you’ll see things like Snoskred Loves, Snoskred Scambaits, Snoskred On The Web. In that sidebar the word Snoskred appears over 20 times.

Don’t I know who I am? Is there a danger I might forget if it’s not written everywhere? Or is there a deeper plan at work?

Google for the word I = 1 – 100 of about 3,560,000,000 for I
Google for the word Me = 1 – 100 of about 2,120,000,000 for Me
Google for the word Snoskred – 1 – 100 of about 28,200 for snoskred

I am the number one search result for Snoskred. How I got there is partly because of referring to myself in the third person. It is a useful “white hat” (ie not illegal or dodgy) way to get your blog higher up in the ranking for your name.

Everyone knows who I am. I use the name Snoskred everywhere I go. If someone were looking for me and wasn’t sure how to find me they can google.

On the other hand, the name Snoskred is very unusual. So it wasn’t exactly difficult to get up to the top on search engines for it.

Snoskred = Norwegian for Avalanche.

Yes, very suitable! ;) The real word has the funny ø in it. I stopped using the ø some time ago when I found it was causing issues – plus everyone wanted to copy and paste the o because nobody knew how to make it – not even me! ;)

Sometimes people spell it wrong (I have google alerts set up for the common mis-spellings, ie snoskerd, snosekrd, snosekred etc) or mistype, that’s fine. I don’t mind. Well I do a little, because I always take care to either copy and paste the name of fellow bloggers or triple check I got it right, but we all make mistakes, even me sometimes. :) But I do still want to be able to thank people when they refer to me even if they mis-spell it.

Advice For Newer Bloggers –

One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give to any new blogger would be – make an unusual (nick) name for yourself and then refer to yourself using that name everywhere you go. Google the word first, and make sure there’s not too many hits for it.

If you can’t find a name you like, try this fantastic resource I often used for finding names – http://www.babynamenetwork.com/ – scroll down a little to see browse names by origin and find a country or culture that appeals to you.

Blog Stuff –

I found so many great blogging articles this week I thought I would post it separate from the weekly wrap up.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Blogging – 97 Blog Tips – At the end of the 31 days there is going to be a fantastic collection of articles all together in one place. Is yours there? If not, submit it here. But be quick, time is almost up.

10 Lessons in Blogging Learned on a Shopping Expedition – I love to blog, and I love to shop.. Darren Rowse combines both into a smart blog article. ;) If I didn’t have to pack it, I’d go shopping too!

Added to the Bloggers Are Helpful list this week –

Blog Basics –

Catch New Readers Up On The Basics of Your Blog – We have to remember not everyone has been with us from day one. Once a month it is worth doing a blog post which links (using good relevant keywords for the search engines) new readers back to a few posts from our past.

When you talk about something on your blog that happened previously, link back to the post where you mentioned it. Keep your readers in the loop, don’t expect them to psychically know, or to have read your entire archives. There just isn’t the hours in the day.

Search Engine Optimization for Blogs – SEO – This is a must read for anyone wanting to get more traffic from search engines. ;)

If Your Blog Disappeared, Who Would Miss It? – Ya’all would, right? ;)

10 Tips for Increasing Comments on Your Blog – Excellent article, Thomas. ;)

How do you link to yourself? Anchor Text for Internal Links Matters – This is important reading for all bloggers because it DOES matter. That’s one reason I put in the “Snoskred Is” section. It also matters when you link to other people, so keep it in mind.

Use smart keywords – I usually use the title of the post that the author used – to link to people – instead of writing this post, write “Meg from Dipping Into The Blogpond wrote this great post about Social Petworking“. Fellow bloggers will thank you greatly for it! It’s also a lot quicker, I just copy and paste the title and then link it. ;)

Food For Thought –

Converting Visitors Into Subscribers – We all want more subscribers, but how do we convince those precious visitors to subscribe?

10 Ways to Eliminate the Echo Chamber – Reading the Bumpzee community feeds you can see the echo chamber effect in action sometimes.

Top 10 Sins of Blog Usability – I agree with all of these.

Thirteen Blog Clichés – I changed my mind on a few of the things I do on my blog after reading this one.

101 Ways to Monetize Your Website or Blog – This blog article was updated in 2013, an excellent read. :)

Writing & Blogging –

20 Surefire Ways To Beat Writer’s Block – Feeling a little.. blocked? Try this to jumpstart your writing.

Plan When You Post Before You Publish – Do you know what days are the most busy on your blog? Do you consider these things when you post? ;)

Over To You

I hope my fellow bloggers reading this found something useful in the list above. Comments are closed on this post now, but if you have something to say you can always contact Snoskred via the contact page.

If you have any posts and articles about blogging which you would like to see posted on Snoskred – Life In The Country – please contact Snoskred with a link to the post.

If you liked this post, feel free to Stumble it – and don’t forget to come back tomorrow for my article Blog Design – Open Your Eyes. :)

(updated 27/02/2015 – removed the broken links)

blogging tips, commenting on blogs

Assorted Blog Tip Goodness For Bloggers

Google, heatmaps, comments and spiders, oh my! There’s so much to know when you’re a blogger, so I keep putting together some of the little tips I am picking up to share with you. Blogger users take note, I have a couple of great ones for you here.

Have You Googled Your Blog Lately?

In order to get specific results for your blog put the following into the search box – site:www.snoskred.org – just replace the www.snoskred.org with your site URL.

If you want to search your own site only, you can also use Advanced Search and put your site in where it says Domain – Only return results from the site or domain. I use this all the time when looking for past things I wrote here.

For those of us getting frustrated with Technorati, it may be time to consider a Google search widget instead. I’m going to be checking further into this later today and may put a how to together for ya’all for future blogging tip goodness posts..

Find Out What Your Readers Click On

I read Create a Heatmap of Where Readers Click on Your Blog at Problogger and thought it might be something interesting to try. I put it on less than 24 hours ago and it is already showing me interesting information.

If you want to know more about your blog readers, this is an absolute must do. It is also really simple to do – and completely free!

Don’t Forget

I added a new section to my sidebar called Bloggers Are Helpful. It contains some of the best articles I have found about blogging. It is also constantly updated and in the weekly wrap up I will let you know what new articles have been added to it over the week.

If you have a helpful article which should appear in Bloggers Are Helpful, please email me or leave a comment linking to your article.

Blogger Issues.

Comments Policy.

Did you know you can add your comments policy to Blogger? It will show up just above the box where people enter their comments. Here’s a quick screenshot guide on how to do it.

From your Blogger Dashboard – click on settings.

settings

Click on Comments.

comments

Find the box that looks like this.

comments2

Type your comments policy into the box – and don’t forget to click save when you’re done!

save

Now when your blog readers want to comment, they will see what you typed into the box directly above the comments box. It will look like this –

page

Or perhaps like this if you have your comments appear in a pop up box.

popup

With Blogger you have a choice between a pop up comments box and a comments page – I prefer the comments page myself, which do you prefer as a commenter? and if you want your comments to be do follow I believe you can’t use the popup box. I’m not 100% sure on that one – anyone?

Where’s That Spider?

You may have read this post by Sephy where he talks about Blogger messing with the search engines. If you did not and you are using blogger, you need to know that Blogger has added a robots.txt file to your blog – without asking you, and without giving you any options of changing it.

What is a robots.txt? It simply tells the search spiders what to look at and what to ignore.

Blogger users are not able to submit a sitemap to Google – something ALL other bloggers can do, because it has to be on your site itself in .xml format and blogger does not allow you to upload .xml files to your blog. Blogger is telling the search spiders to read my feed as my sitemap. That means my feed read becomes my site map. Not an ideal situation at all. :(

Bloggers on WordPress and some of the other blogging platforms have a huge advantage over us – they can tell Google what pages to look at, what pages to ignore, and also get their labels listed.

Get Smart

Therefore we Blogger users will need to become smarter about how we do things. That is what the Snoskred Is section is about.

I only had 297 of my 500 posts on google for some strange reason. Some of my much older posts which I used to get hits for on certain search terms seemed to stop getting those hits.

What I chose to do was take the time to go back through my posts and make a links list with keywords appropriate to the post. I put it in my sidebar. It is long and nobody may ever actually look at it other than the spiders. However I do hope that my readers find it useful as well, if they want to know more about me it’s pretty much all there.

You may want to consider doing something similar yourself. It’s your blog. :) At the very least my thought is that you should have your favourite 10 posts available in your sidebar for your readers to check out and get to know more about you.

Consider WordPress.

I am working on learning a bit about WordPress. I have it installed on another domain I own, and Sephy and I are just messing about with it, learning how it works.

I had been getting mixed messages on WordPress. Some people told me WordPress was difficult to use and for more technical type people. Some people told me it was the best thing since sliced bread. Having now messed about with it I can say both are true. It does require some technical knowledge, but it is also is the best thing since sliced bread.

Blogger is great for most bloggers, I completely agree with that. It is easy, simple to use and you can now get templates for Blogger that look fantastic.

For those of us who want a little more control – who want to be in charge – who don’t want Blogger making decisions on their behalf without asking them – WordPress may be the better option. Will I be moving this blog to WordPress? Probably not at the moment, but maybe in the future. I am going to use WordPress for the business blog, though.

blog template, blogging tips, commenting on blogs, how to guides, wordpress

Handy Blog Tips #1

If you have never heard of Google Alerts and how they can help you as a blogger, or you have seen bloggers leaving a URL after their name when they comment and wonder why, this is a post you’ll want to read.

As I travel around the blogosphere it often surprises me how people don’t seem to put thought into doing the little things that mean a lot – but then I stop and remember we’re not all reading the same blogs, and so it is unlikely you have picked up all the tips I have. So from time to time I’m going to post some of the good stuff I have found out.

How does Snoskred magically turn up when someone writes her name?

Snoskred uses Google Alerts. Basically this is like a google search that comes to you as a surprise in your email. They are incredibly simple to set up. Simply –

1) put the search term in
2) choose if you want all (comprehensive), or one of search, groups, news, blogs
3) how often – daily, as it happens, weekly
4) put your email in

alerts

See how simple this is? One more reason to love Google.

For number 2, I went with all. For number 3, choosing as it happens will keep you very up to date but if you’re a busy blogger it might annoy you, too. Mine come to me daily. Of course it is a little easier for me, because my name is fairly unique. I also have alerts set up for Life in the Country, and 419 Scam which helps me stay on top of the latest news in scamming.

You can always use the Alert Management page where you can change all the options and delete any alerts you may be subscribed to. You can also change the formats of the emails you receive – either HTML or plain text.

Why does Snoskred always sign her name and put her blog URL under it?

Snoskred knows that not everyone in the world knows you can click on the name of a commenter to get back to their blog. I may know it, you may know it, but the person who read your comment and thought “wow, that was a great comment, I’d like to read their blog” may not know it.

Rule #1 – Never assume others know what you know!

Those of us with blogger profiles need to pay special attention to this when commenting on blogger blogs because the link blogger puts to your name is to your profile on blogger, not to your blog. If you have more than one blog in your profile people will be confused as to where to find you.

Cybercelt left me a great comment about that a while back, letting me know that you can go into your blogger profile (on your profile page when you are signed in, click edit my profile, then Show my blogs, then Select blogs to display) and choose which blogs are displayed in your profile. If you have more than one, I suggest you choose one to be the main blog, and link to your other blogs from that blog page rather than have them all listed in your profile to make it easier for people to find you, but it’s your profile. ;)

On the other hand, when commenting on WordPress blogs, putting a link may mean your comment gets put into the spam bin. I don’t worry too much about that but it is something to be aware of especially with the busier bloggers who do not always have time to read all their comments. Perhaps you might choose to only leave a link under your name on a WordPress blog in certain circumstances.

I hope these tips are useful! :) Let me know if they are, I’ll consider doing some more posts like this.

blogging tips, commenting on blogs, how to guides

Offensive words and the Aussie way.

Aussies reading this, I need your input and comments. ;) Recently during my blogging chicks commenting challenge, I found myself breaking my own commenting rules. Specifically – “If you’re seeing red, get out of there fast – and as politely – as possible”.

A very judgmental blogger had stated that they would not read a blog if it contained swear words, and stated that they felt anyone using swear words basically was a bad writer incapable of expressing themselves in any other way. Them’s fighting words to an Australian – at least they were to me.

Living here in Australia I hear swear words all the time, it’s a fact of life. There is not one single word that shocks or offends me. Not even the C word. In fact I know people who use that as a term of affection. If one was offended by these words, you would probably find life quite difficult here in this country – Aussie readers, do you agree?

At the same time I have recently changed the way I do things here at the blog with regard to swear words. I put a * in them. This is something I do for the readers, not for me. That is because I do understand that some people are offended by these words.

So over the past few days while I have been cleaning my bookshelves (a job I finally finished) what this blogger said has been bugging me. I’m not going to link to the blog because I do not feel she deserves the traffic.

To write off everything a person says because of the occasional swear word? Isn’t that akin to writing off everything a person says because they are {insert one of the following – black, white, yellow, pink, gay, lesbian, heterosexual, republican, democrat, right wing, left wing, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, is my point made or should I continue?}. So I am a “swearer”. So I am going to hell. Or something. That doesn’t mean I am somehow “lesser” or my words have any less meaning.

I won’t lie to you guys (and Christian readers, please do not be offended by this, read the whole thing before you get upset) – I have struggled with this commenting challenge. First of all, it’s the blogging *chicks* and I’ve had some really terrible experiences with women during my life time. So the reality is, women scare me. Mostly. :) And I say that being female myself.

The other thing I have struggled with – many of the blogs belong to people who are Christian. I have always been somewhat scared of the apparently very religious after some bad experiences with the religious in my teenage years. The Christians I have known have never acted like true Christians – they preach, but do not *practice*.

I used to be Baptist. I used to go to church. The trouble was, the church I went to was more like a social group with cliques and some of the people were extremely nasty. It put me off church and Christians so much that I’ve never gone back. Since then I have often felt people who believe in God are as alien to me as people who believe UFO’s are coming to the earth to collect them.

I respect the right of everyone to worship whoever they choose, don’t get me wrong, but I do find it difficult when people are very judgmental and impose their religious views on others, especially in the areas of topics like a politics, sexuality, a womans right to choose, and the worst of all in my opinion, the religion where parents refuse to let their very ill children have blood transfusions which would save their lives. It’s an alien concept to me that you could care more about a religion than your flesh and blood child who is dying in front of your eyes.

I had a moment of panic at the start of this challenge when I opened up the first 10 blogs and the majority of them were Christians. But I’ve stuck with the challenge because I have found points of commonality with the people – even with the Christian people, several of whom I have now added to my google reader. Had you asked me at the start of this challenge would I be able to find Christians worth adding to my google reader, the answer would have been NO. Probably with a swear word in front of NO, too. :)

There’s blogs on the Australian Blogs Community that I struggle with because they have a very different point of view on some topics to what I do. I’m still willing to hear what they have to say. I listen to people who consider themselves left wing and right wing. I am incredibly tolerant in so many areas. Even I am surprised by how tolerant I am, from time to time.

What I have trouble tolerating are people whose minds are closed – who won’t listen to others and who will never change their opinion even when evidence suggests they should. This is why I have trouble with people who identify themselves as “right wing” or “left wing” when it comes to politics, because they seem to blindly support one side or the other. I’m a person who supports the side that is *right* and that means I can swing from one wing to the other in a heartbeat.

My blog has 5 hits for the F word on Technorati. Google comes up with 23 but it counts several of these more than once. If that negates everything else I have ever said here on the blog for some people, then so be it. ;)

As I go back through my posts I will be editing swear words to have * in them. I apologize to any readers who may have been offended by my using these words in the past, and I do intend to use * in them in the future. It’s not because of that very judgmental blogger, it’s because I do respect and care for my readers and I do not want to impose my swearing on them. I know not all of them come from a place where the F word is as common as hello.

Sephy posted on this topic today also, these two posts tie in quite well together.

I meant to write about interpretation today but it didn’t happen. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get my act together on that one.

Australia, commenting on blogs, feed readers, mistakes I made, women

Blog Keeping & Art Update

Wow, it’s been a busy week here. Just a few bits of housekeeping and an art update.

As far as the commenting goes, I’ve decided to take my time with it because after going through just 25 blogs, I’ve added 5 excellent ones to my google reader. These will be linked in the weekly wrap up.

So you might be wondering what makes me add a blog to my google reader? 95% of the time it is because the blogger has “it” – it being a mysterious thing that makes me want to know more about them and read more about them.

What are some of the annoying trends in the blogging world that I have picked up after just 25 blogs? There seems to be a new plug in where you hover over a link and it pops up a preview box. This sounds nice in theory but it makes everything go very slow here on my system, and to be honest is just really annoying. If I want to click on a link, I’m going to click, I don’t need a preview. :) It also seemed to make those blogs very slow in loading, to the tune of anywhere between 2-5 minutes. I think it’s called snap or snapshots. Say no to it, bloggers. It seems to be evil.

In other blogging trends, you may have noticed a trend towards “monetize your blog”. I’ve been to some blogs with more ads than blog content. That’s not going to happen here, however.. That money has gone toward an important new project which I can’t announce yet. ;) Believe me I am hanging out to launch it, so as soon as I can say anything I’ll let you know.

WordPress blogs look fantastic. Sephy and I have been considering setting one up for some time now to try it out and play with it, so we did. On closer inspection it seems to be some kind of elaborate scam to get people to pay money for things blogger does for free. I could be wrong about that and WordPress people don’t line up to hit me over the head with things, but it seems like everything costs money, even down to how much space you get for your blog unless you want to host a wordpress on your own space – which you also have to pay for. Blogger does this for free :) we’ve got it good blogger people. If you’re using WordPress can you take a moment to comment on how it all works?

I’m seriously considering a blog template change. I’m not in love with what I have now however it is functional and it works. If I can get a larger picture up there that might be enough to make me happy. I don’t like that the images have to be so thin.

While in keeping you up to date mode, I currently have many art works in progress. You can click on any of the photos for a bigger view. In this picture you can count 9 paintings in progress.

paint0806_600x400

You can see 5 stacked on top of each other – the pink one completes the set of 5 which I am doing as cardboard dragging. I’m going to take some pics of how that’s done so that I can write a post about it. You guys out there might be inspired to do some works of your own. It is so simple. ;) Here’s a close up of the pink one, which I am seriously crazy about already and this is just the base coat.

paint20806_600x400

The painting below is the final completed version of the painting for my nephew, which had just been freshly sealed when I took the shot so the flash reflected a little. There’s nothing white on the painting. I asked you guys for opinions on this 69 days ago, wow, how time flies!

nephew_600x333

So what am I up to for the rest of the day? I have to cook dinner, I am going to watch some West Wing, comment on a few blogs, and most important of all, look at some hotel packages in Sydney. This month is my Birthday month and Mum is going to pay for us to visit Sydney for a weekend (or midweek might be better value, because I am not my sister) and also IKEA. YAY! I’m seriously writing a huge list of things I want to get there. Laundry Baskets are number one on the list right now, followed closely by AA batteries. They had packs of 10 AA’s for $2 and they last for ages, and my cordless mouse chews up batteries and spits them out. Yes, I mouse too much.

I saw a hotel package which includes 30 minutes in a flotation tank. I’d love to try that. It’ll probably be somewhere in the CBD and I’ll take my camera and take heaps of pictures. We might get to the zoo but I’d like to hang out at Darling Harbor and go back to Sydney Aquarium myself – looking at fish without a snorkel. I don’t know if we’d have time for both. For those of you who have never been to Sydney, Darling Harbor is just incredible. There’s no describing it.

blogrolls, commenting on blogs, feed readers, IKEA, Snoskred Art