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I Know How You Can Have a Gagillion People Find Your Blog

Hey Linky Tools Blog friends, I have a way for you to get a LOT of people seeing you and your blog…. As you’ve probably guessed by the infrequency of my posting, I’m so busying providing support for Linky Tools and building new tools, that I’m neglecting the blog. I don’t like that. It’s a wasted opportunity for us both. Linky Tools exists to help bloggers, and the Linky Tools Blog exists to extend that source of help and community to all. I’m still going to be writing plenty of posts myself but I need to get more content up on a regular basis. I want our entire blog community to have a great blog where you can come to ask questions, get great tips and tricks, find out how to build your blog traffic, and improve your overall blog experience.   Given that… I know that you folks have great blogs, know great tricks, and have great ideas and experience that you can share. I have lots of readers and need more blog content. You have time  to blog but need more readers. We’re a perfect match! I want you to write a GUEST BLOG POST… that’s a blog post that will appear on the Linky Tools Blog with YOU listed as author, and telling people who you are. If you will write a guest blog post, I’ll let you include a closing paragraph (or 2 or 3) plugging your blog, encouraging people to come visit you, and telling more about who you are and what you do. Here’s the conditions: Your guest post is truly written for the general benefit of others, and not just a veiled or obvious advertising/promotion for you or your blog. Your blog post may be edited by me at my discretion I will accept or reject guest posts solely at my discretion… I make no promises of accepting a guest post just because it was submitted and don’t have to explain myself or justify my decision I can reject a post for any reason at any time (trust me, there will those will use this opportunity to submit all sorts of nonsense). IMPORTANT: your content must be ORIGINAL and previously unpublished. Duplicate content is penalized by search engines. If I post something of yours that you’ve already posted, Linky Tools is penalized. Every submitted post will be Googled and the post will be rejected if found substantially similar on another blog. You can significantly RE-WRITE something you’ve already published and submit it You can post the content you write on your blog 30 DAYS after Linky Tools posts it, if you significantly rewrite it (if you post a...

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Question about Blog Photos: Storage, Uploading & Sizing

Question about Blog Photos: Storage, Uploading & Sizing

Here’s a question from a reader: I’m trying to figure out the best and most cost efficient way to upload pics to my blog.  I was using Blogger but apparently the pics I have on Picasa Web Album are taking up too much space and now I don’t have space to upload using Blogger. I am learning about Flickr.  I would like to get your recommendations on how to best store pics and the best software to use to upload pics to my blog. If you plan on blogging for any length of time and routinely include photos, storage will become an issue eventually. There are options to consider: Have your own FTP or web hosting account with a service like GoDaddy, and story your photos there. This gives you alot more flexibility and scalability but you have to take some time to learn how to manage your own hosting account. For advanced users, or those who don’t mind a little learning curve, this is the best choice in my opinion. Or, you can use a service like Flickr, Shutterfly or Photobucket. Since Flickr is so common, we’ll use it as our example throughout this post. It is a good choice for those who are beginning or want a set of easy to use tools that do not require a significant learning curve. Flickr (and other “free” services) is a good choice but at some point you’ll need to start paying for an account so that space will not be an issue.   Like all things, if you want to progress past a basic level, or hang in for the long term, you have to spend a few bucks occasionally, otherwise you severely limit yourself. Flickr has the tools to upload and store your photos. Basically, you’ll use an IMAGE “URL” instead of uploading “FILE” to import an image (see the Blogger example graphic at the top of this post).  That is the simplest way but then you are also stuck with Blogger trying to resize your images to “small, medium, large”.  YUCK!!! Sometimes Blogger’s attempt to make things simple also makes things poorly done. Their image import tool is AWFUL, but simple (WordPress is much better but far from perfect). A Better Way to Get Your Photo Into Your Blog Post The better way… switch to HTML in Blogger or WordPress.  Take 37 seconds and learn some simple HTML for placing an image with a known URL: By manually putting in the HTML for an image, Blogger will not RESIZE or mess with your image. It will simply go get it at the address you’ve given.  The yellow highlighted area in the graphic above...

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Short Posts While on Our Make A Wish Trip

Short Posts While on Our Make A Wish Trip

While we are gone on  Abby’s Make A Wish trip, I still want to post on the blog but I’ll do short posts instead of long ones. I would love to answer some questions for you since they are usually great for short quick posts. What questions do you have about blogs, blogging, writing, photos, graphics, online business, Internet, technology or chocolate chip cookies? You would be doing me a big favor if you could leave question or two. It would give me something to write about without having to develop longer instruction-type content. Blessings!...

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Five Ways to Make Your Content Easier to Read & Find

Five Ways to Make Your Content Easier to Read & Find

No matter how good your content is, if it is not laid out in an easy to read format, you risk losing your readers, and sacrificing valuable exposure in search engines. Ask yourself: does a quick scan down my page give a new reader irrefutable evidence of what the content is all about? You typically have one shot as a reader scans your post title and section headers which will quickly answer, “this blog post is about xxxxxx, I think I’ll stick around”. While your loyal readers might slog through a dozen paragraphs of plain text, new readers will not invest the time and HOPE they like what you have to say. As you look down the page of your blog do you require the reader to labor through long sections of text and “mine” the subject matter for themselves? Do they have to read an entire post before finally discovering they may or may not have cared about what you were saying? With the exponentially growing amount of free content, TIME is becoming the valuable and scarce commodity we are competing for. Readers make ongoing choices about whether or not your content is worth the investment of their time. Headlines, subheads, callouts, lists and emphasis can give the reader what they need to quickly determine “should I invest my time?”. The same structure that allows the readers to quickly scan, also help search engines, researchers, casual visitors and new readers to digest the purpose and topics of your blog resulting in more exposure and a wider audience. Let’s take a look: Headlines Headlines are your first chance to grab the reader and search engine traffic. No matter who GREAT your content is, if your headline is weak, too cutesy or a gimmick, then you probably won’t hook anyone. For educational blog posts like this one, I choose to state simply and clearly what the post is about. Not glamorous, but effective. Here are some examples: Boring: Headlines and Other Formatting To cutesy: Lose’em Before you Git’em Not specific enough: Formatting Your Posts Gimmicky: Hook Every Reader, Guaranteed Subheads Subheads break up your content into manageable sections and allow the reader a quick scan down the page. They get to sample the buffet before filling up their plate. If you have to pick ONLY ONE of these formatting types (besides the headline), I think subheads are most important because they are the roadmap, the signage, the summary of your post. If you have to pick only one of these beside your headline, subheads are the most useful. Callouts A callout is something you… call out. It can be like what I just did above...

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The Most Important Question You Will Ever Ask About Your Blog or Content

The Most Important Question You Will Ever Ask About Your Blog or Content

Actually, it is the most important thing you can ask about anything you think, you do or you want. If such an important question exists, why won’t most readers have a clue what this question is? I think it is because we are not taught to ask tough questions about what we do, what we want, or in this case as a blogger, what we write. It is ingrained in our culture that we simply follow our impulses without stopping to ask this very important question… a question that could make us face the fact what we FEEL like doing might not match what we SHOULD be doing. With regards to writing blog content, this question allows us to take an honest look at what we are producing to make sure that it really does serve the purpose that we intend. Hopefully that purpose is to benefit our readers in various ways such as educating or entertaining. Like most things in life, the most effective and powerful things are surprisingly simple. That is supremely true when it comes to the most important question you can ever ask about the content you put on your blog: So What? Two words. Those two words represent the most effective and objective filter you can use to make sure that your blog content is going to be successful. You should ask yourself “so what?” before you start writing, as you write, as you rewrite, and when you click the publish button. “So what?” should be a question that runs through your mind continually about every aspect of your entire blog, but especially your writing. Those two little words force you to answer these types of questions not only about a single blog post but about the entire body of content you present on your blog: Does it matter to my reader? What does it do for my readers? Will it make a difference to the reader? Will my readers be able to answer the question “so what?” positively or will they be left thinking “so what, who cares”. It forces you as the writer to evaluate the effectiveness, usefulness, clarity and practicality of your content. If You Cannot Answer “So What?” Neither Can Your Readers If you cannot definitively answer “so what” in a positive way, how can you expect your readers too? Whether people articulate it or not, subconsciously they are continually asking the question “so what?” This question is another way of asking “was it worth my time?”, “Is it useful to me?”, “Can I do something practical or beneficial with this information?” When you get done reading this blog post I’m writing, ask yourself “so...

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