Sunday, November 16, 2008

Windows Live Writer - your offline blogging tool

windows live writer Recently I tested this software and have a trial post to one of my blogs and as of now, I am very pleased with what this blogging tool has to offer. If you are looking for a tool that you can use to write your blog post offline and have them posted instantly or later then this Windows Live Writer is a "must have" for you.

I would like to thank Ruchir Chawdhry for posting up the 16 Essential PC Applications for Bloggers through Darren's Problogger site and Windows Live Writer is one application that I should be using since I started to have multiple blogs. In my opinion, I think this tool is great to enhance productivity because I don't have to go online and log in to my blog account to write as I can do so using this cool software. In fact, I am writing this post within Windows Live Writer itself. Once again, thanks to you guys. I am relatively new to blogging so this is a good discovery that is worth sharing with new bloggers.

I think it is best if you try out the tool yourself then decide of whether to stick with it or otherwise. For now, this tool is great to use as I find really easy to get the whole blogging thing up and running. I have quickly learned the shortcuts F12 to preview what this post would look like in my blog and F11 to return to the post text editing window. I could easily put a picture or even copy and paste YouTube's code for embedding video on any post.

The alignment feature work very well too. It is as simple as selecting all texts with CTRL + A and right-clicking and selecting align - justify to get the entire document presented in a justified format. Other features include inserting hyperlinks, pictures, tables, maps, tags and videos.

The only thing that I noticed missing is the thesaurus feature although the spell checker would help as well. Thesaurus works better if you're tired of using the same word over and over. It should help you to learn new vocabularies too. I hope future releases of this free to use tool would have a built-in thesaurus feature. Or maybe I should get those writing enhancement software from White Smoke or others that can be used almost anywhere - within your favorite text editor or a chat window.

Try the Windows Live Writer yourself. Maybe you will like it too. Get it from http://get.live.com/writer/overview

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What can you do in the event of writer’s block?

Like many of you, I too, had faced plenty occurrences of writer’s block. Writer’s block is the state of mind when you’re unable to think or develop meaningful sentences from a list of ideas or even from the very basic of writing – finding a topic or an idea of what to write.

Symptoms

The obvious symptom when you are having a writer’s block is when your mind is completely empty as you face the blank empty document on your word processor or blog text editor. Another one is when you’re half way of writing something and then your mind ceases to develop what you have written and you tend to construct utterly useless sentences that only you could understand but not your readers.

Cause

Writer’s block comes from various sources, possibly from everything around you and in your mind. Your physical state of body might be tired, your mind might be filled with too many thoughts and you just can’t focus. Even too much background noise would upset your writing mood.

Options

There are a few things that you can do to overcome writer’s block. But the easiest way out is to identify what causes the writer’s block. You need to know what stopped you from being creative. You must find the source of the problem and rectify from there.

If your mind is too tired to think, then take a break off from writing. Have a good rest and come back when you’re ready with a fresh mind. If there’s too much noise in the morning when you’re writing, then adjust for a different timing to write – write at night when the atmosphere is more peaceful.

You can also browse through other blogs on the Internet, read what others have written and develop some ideas from there. This doesn’t mean copying what others have written, but rather thinking of what are the points that others have discussed and have your own say by writing in your own words. This will keep it original in your view of the story.

Sometimes doing things other than writing might just be a good way to generate some ideas. Ideas might come out of nowhere while you are cycling at the park, reading newspapers, listening to music or even surfing the Internet. Thinking about writing itself can be stressful, so do things that can remove your stress.

If you have some ideas but not sure of how to develop them in your writing, jot them down in a notebook or scrap book and use them later. You never know how useful they can be once your mind is ready with words ready to flow.

Conclusion

In essence, it is basically finding what works for you and perhaps indulging yourself with activities that are not just focused on writing. Always take a break when your mind is not ready to write and don’t force yourself as it will likely not to work.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Problogger - Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

If you are looking for a good book to learn about making money blogging, then Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett's "Problogger Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income" is a must to have. The authors explained the entire process from various aspects such as creating and marketing your blog as well as ways how you can make money blogging in an easy step-by-step approach.

This book is essential for the begginer bloggers as well as intermediate skill bloggers. Quoted from the back cover of the book:

"This is not a get-rich-quick book, but rather a practical guide to creating and marketing a blog with the potential for generating a six-figure income."

Learn to:
  • Choose subject matter that works for you
  • Handle technical issues
  • Examine different ways your blog can earn income
  • Evaluate your blog's success
  • Keep content fresh and interesting
  • Use your blog to generate income indirectly
I personally have the book and frankly was overwhelmed by the contents. There are so many things to learn that are rather new to me in my profit blogging journey. You can expect to have really good information and advices that will help you to better yourself both on becoming a regular blogger and a profit blogger.

Do note that as said by the authors, this is not a get rich quick scheme. So, if you're impatience, this is not really something good for you. It does take time and effort from what I experienced and I am glad the book helped me with various aspects of blogging.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making use of what's available for your post content

I often find it very interesting to include various media or items in a post such as graphics, still photos and videos other than lengthy texts. This is in fact, has already started probably many years ago since the existence of YouTube.

Attention span

Most blog visitors have very limited attention span when reading. It means that they are likely to leave especially if a particular content is of no interest, or in a way boring. Having various ways of presenting information (graphics, video etc) is good in the sense that it can cater to a wider audience of readers. Some really love reading while others love photos and most would go right to the point, looking for an answer or a specific information that they need.

Content is King

There's always a saying that "content is king" repeatedly echoed in the world of blogs, stressing how important it is to come up with great contents to encourage and build readership. This can be subjective, because not all content would be of interest to most readers. A post might be good for some and bad for others. You can only depend on comments to ignite a discussion and in turn, post your opinions that can be a content for your following posts.

Formatting your post

In terms of formatting your post, you can use headlines in bold to divide sections or paragraphs to indicate a point in your post just like this post. It is a good way for readers who want information fast to quickly scroll through the post and head right to the paragraph with a headline of interest.

Graphics and copyright

Using graphics, such as jokes or any interesting photos would grab readers attention and it is likely that they will be interested to read more about the post. Be careful of using graphics or photos that are copyrighted and restricted for use. Copyrighted materials are often indicated by the (c) symbol. If you are using any, do remove them if you are asked by the copyright owner to avoid legal issues.

Using video

Using video is also good especially for visitors who like watching rather than reading. Here's a video from YouTube that explains what a blog is plain English. I think it is very informative and would enlighten the mind for new bloggers. Thanks to the uploader leelefever.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Implications for names when commenting

There are many reasons that influence a reader on what name that he or she would leave when giving a comment on a post. You have probably seen many types of comments around and to some extent even comments are monetized if I may call it. This post is in view of Darren’s question “What name do you leave comments by and why?”

Here are a list of the type of names readers leave that Darren pointed out in his post and how I view them in my opinion.

  • Real names – some readers prefer to leave a real name for their comments. This is a signature that states truthfulness and gives it a personal touch. It encourages authority in the sense that the comment is really coming from a genuine person and not representing someone else or an organizational body.
  • Nickname – this is a very common approach that readers like to leave when commenting. It promotes privacy and nicknames can be artistic to reflect the mindset of the reader. Sometimes nicknames are created randomly on the spot and misused as a mean to being irresponsible for the comment left. This is often done when a negative comment is left while running away in disguise to avoid feedback from other readers.
  • Niche keyword – this can also be another way that are frequently used by readers. Sometimes it can be annoying because most of the times niche keyword is left as a method for spamming. But it all depend, sometimes the comments are genuine and related to the post therefore cannot be regarded as a spam. Comments with spam sometimes include more than one links to other sites which is intended to drive traffic away.
  • Company, brand or website name – alternatively, you may find company or brand name. This represents an organizational party rather than a single reader. It can mean an opinion coming from a single reader and the entire organization under the designated company or brand name.
  • Meaningless or scrambled – what else if this name is not used for spamming? For some non-moderated posts, this can be a sore to the eye.

Personally, I like to leave a nickname because that’s the name that I would use for my blogging purpose. I have been using it for quite some times and it feels convenient for me to use as I am quite used to it. Leaving a real name can be too lengthy and might not fit many purposes.

With the types of names that I could think of as mentioned in the point forms above, there is also a mixture among them. For example, you might see a real name with a company name or a nickname with a website name.

I think it’s really fine to use any meaningful names so long as they don’t behave like a spam. It is the discussion that is more important to promote readership and value of the post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is a blog really a blog in its pure essence?

You have seen many blogs around since it ever started in the late nineties and maybe to realize that the culture of blogging seemed to have changed a lot along the way. In the early days blogs are like for teenagers to rant all they want on everything about their lives. It is like an online diary where the mind speaks for itself.

But today, blogging has evolved with a mixture of purposes other than rants. In fact, blogging can be used for any purposes – to educate, to share ideas, to tell a story, to promote a product and of course to make some money. It’s really in the power of the blogger. You can write whatever you want on your blog. Depending on where you live, freedom of speech might not be applicable to certain countries. Be safe and blog about things that won’t endanger you.

When I think about the true nature of blogging, something tells me that it is about a real-time approach to churn out words based on what you feel and think at that particular moment. It is supposed to be spontaneous and not as a planned effort. Well, you need to know on what you will blog about too so to speak.

Today, with the advancement of technology we can save what we write and continue editing or writing later. That is more like an article writing rather than actual blogging to me. I am not saying that this is wrong but it is just that blogging seems to be more of an informal thing to do. Blogging has no specific format as you can do what you want. What do you think on this?

Article writing is like having some formality of doing things. There should be some required word counts, some structure to follow with and specific rules to follow like having an introduction and a conclusion to name a few. But most blogs today are filled with contents that sometimes sounded too formal to us don’t they? Even what I write now look like formal to me in some way.

In my opinion, blogs today have different, not definition, but purposes from what they used to be when blogging first started. Instead of writing about daily rants, it is more worth it to write something that I could research about and share from my point of view. I could learn at the same time. It’s a bonus to me. Blog really is a blog, similar to comparing that a book is just a book. But contents make them to be viewed differently.

Friday, October 17, 2008

How writing software can reduce grammatical mistakes

Writing software can also be word processors but perhaps to differentiate them is to view from what writing software could do or what values do they bring in addition to your existing word processor. Not all writing software comes with a built-in text editor; some of them are only used as add-on components to your word processor.

Presumably, we would expect that any writing software should be able to detect and correct grammatical mistakes. In addition, some can also provide useful information such as detailed explanation with examples of usage to aid users’ understanding when they are dealing with grammars. This can be a good platform to reduce and in a way educates the user so that less grammatical mistakes will happen in the future.

Writing software usually come with a predefined set of library or rules consisting of various aspects of writing including grammar, vocabulary, commonly wrong word usage and so forth. In a much general explanation, the way writing software work is by comparing what you have typed into the software or your word processor against the predefined rules. A specific key or command is usually assigned that you need to activate to trigger a “detect and repair” process. Based upon these predefined rules, the writing software would then suggests you with corrections or automatically corrects grammatical mistakes that you have made.

In a more detailed approach to see how writing software can reduce grammatical mistakes, we can look into the components that made up grammar. As you would know, grammar is the system of a language. It defines the rule that you need to abide to so that what you write or speak can be easily understood. But the irony is sometimes you don’t need to know proper grammar so long as what have written is understandable – imagine ourselves in our childhood not knowing anything about grammar and yet we can be understood in some extent. Grammar makes learning a language a quick and efficient process.

By using specific rules that are coded in the writing software’s mechanism, a “string” or texts that you type is compared and logically determined if it is correct or otherwise. This can go from a single word check to sentence check for instance.

Have a look at an example of one grammar rule, definition and examples of usage here.

Because of the program statements (in programming language) for checking made, any mistakes will raise a specific set of other program statements that will alert the user so that corrections can be made. Writing software would typically parse your sentence into chunks of words for comparison. Elements of this sentence would then be checked word by word through programming languages’ logic construction

Other related keywords or phrase that you can use to study more about writing software can be linguistics in artificial intelligence in the field of cognitive science. Do note that they might be very technically-inclined.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Comment System for Blogs

The Comment System for Blogs is something usual that you can find in almost any blogging platforms nowadays. It is a component that is rather important to bloggers while at the same time can be something that might just be unnecessary for some. Comments are usually placed after the content’s section of a particular post. It can be shown by default or hidden depending on how the blogger wants it. The comment system can be turned off as well.

Necessity issue

Determining the use of blog comments can be very subjective. It relies greatly on how the blogger sees the importance of having it. It can be a necessity or otherwise. To look at this, let’s observe what anyone can do with blog comments.

Blog comments are necessary or advantageous for

  • Gaining input or feedback from readers – a blogger can use blog comments as a mean for getting input from other readers or visitors. It is often useful to know what others think of the post and to get some constructive criticism to improve the blogger’s post.
  • Keeping the discussion alive – without blog comments there is no public medium for readers to reach the blogger to communicate and keep the discussion alive.
  • Measuring post’s popularity – the number of comments for a particular post usually can be used to measure the post’s popularity. How interesting was the post? How did it affect readers?

On the other hand, blog comments become not important or disadvantageous if

  • Used as a medium for spamming – sometimes or most of the times, blog comments are misused as a platform for website owners or other bloggers to promote their own site. This can be annoying not just for the blogger, but for other readers as well. It can feel like a sudden interruption that distracts an ongoing conversation.
  • Used as a platform to promote hatred – sometimes the blogger becomes a target of bad people, foes or strangers. Negative or destructive comments can be posted to promote hatred and done for various reasons be it personal or simply to provoke and to get involved in a verbal assault.
  • They become too overpowering – there are times when a post can get lengthy and plenty of comments that in a way can overshadow the actual origin of discussion. It can get worse if the comment spans over pages.

Options

Blogs in the first place were known as weblogs or web logs. A web log was used similarly like a diary or an online journal where a user keeps his or her real-time thoughts. I used the term “real-time” to denote the spontaneous way of how the user delivers his or her thoughts. It is not like a properly planned or structured writing where edits can take place later.

Nevertheless the comment system for blogs is improved by developers over time. More features or functionalities are incorporated in the future versions of the blogging platform. Blog comments can be moderated before being approved for others to see. Anti-spam components such as CAPTCHA can be used to prevent spam.

In conclusion, blog comments can be used or put aside depending on how the blogger sees it. I personally prefer to have comments. The moderation and anti-spam components found in most blogging platforms today are here to help filter unwanted comments or to curb comment spam.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Using Article Wizard to build your content

Sometimes there is a need to speed up the process of writing contents for your blog. You have an idea of what topic to write and you need to do some research to find facts to be discussed and presented in the article of your postings.

A great tool that you can use to get started and for the long run is an automated article writer. Instant Article Wizard is a product by Jonathan Leger that I am currently using. It has the ability to do the research and generate contents for you simply by supplying keywords for your contents.

The software helps you by finding information from various sources on the Internet and presents them in the form of organized excerpts, displaying sentences made up by the keyword you supplied. You can organize the points manually and copy the texts derived from your research into your favorite word processor for further editing.

There are two common ways in how you can make full use of the software:

  1. For the purpose of generating contents automatically – you can use the software to instantly create great articles for your posts without having to spend much time to rewrite.
  2. For the purpose of facts researching – you can use it only to find facts regarding the article that you wish to post.

In my case, I prefer to use it for the purpose of researching. I know you can do research as well through search engine such as Google or Yahoo but the difference is that IAW (Instant Article Wizard) is able to present you what you need in a much organized one single page of information.

It is indeed a great useful tool reasonably priced to invest for your monetized blogs. I would usually research facts about a topic and use the information derived as points which I would then expressed in my own words. It is just my preference to have my own say in my effort to elaborate facts.

Some advantages for using IAW:

  • Time saving – save even more times when you have several blogs to handle.
  • Automated content generation – you don’t have to worry much about writing.
  • Useful research tool – if you prefer to rewrite yourself, use IAW to help you find points for your article.

Drawbacks:

  • You may get addicted because doing research is so easy.
  • Results may vary depending on your search keyword.
  • There might be cases with an abundance of information that you need to have considerable thought on determining what facts that you can use for your research.

You can find out more information about this product from my affiliate link here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to choose a design template for your blog

If you choose to use the freely available design templates provided by Blogger.com you can put some thoughts on how you should select them based on your niche topic. It is basically finding a template that can be used to reflect what your blog is all about.

Design templates typically work on the concept of themes. Themes are designed in many different colors, shapes and sizes. But generally in terms of overall presentation they would work with just about any content that you would want to post on your blogs. It's only a matter of choosing the most effective or the right template to work.

If your niche is about positive and vibrant thoughts of life for instance, try to use a template with very fancy designs and color schemes. If you blog about memorable events of the past or something nostalgic, a soothing color scheme with scenic background image may just be perfect to reflect that.

Another way is trying to link the keywords of your blog with the design template. For example, if you are blogging about youth lifestyle, look for a template that gives you a feeling of being "youthful". You can also look for symbols in the design that goes along with "lifestyle" in addition.

I personally think that choosing one that works is relatively easy but might be confusing if you're just beginning to blog and it can be worse if you don't have a niche topic to blog about. It can be difficult to match a template with various topics posted in your blog. It would not be appropriate if you choose a very striking or vibrant color like templates when you are blogging about your home gardening, fishing and camping all at the same time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thoughts on blogging and Blogger.com

Have you started your blog yet? Have you thought of the things that you would like to blog about? Think about your interests. They can be many but that is good because you have many blogs to create. Each can be used to discuss on a specific "niche" topic, tailored to only readers with the same interest.

If you're reading this, then you are reading a post that is hosted on a free blogging platform called Blogger.com. It's a Google product with features or plugins that I love more than what a free Wordpress.com platform could offer. But do take note, if you want to have your blog hosted, Wordpress is no doubt a wiser choice. Tonnes of customizations that you can do in comparison.

But that only matters if you want to fully monetize your blog. I am not saying that you can't monetize your blog on Blogger.com. The word "fully" as aforementioned in my opinion only means that you can have additional cool things that you can do such as SEO or Search Engine Optimization features and so forth. Wordpress platform is free to use and the plugins created are free as well. Only the hosting part is not free as you have to consider buying and registring a domain name and pay for a web hosting service.

Back to Blogger.com. I love the intuitive interface and features that Blogger.com has. Writing a post is a snap and the features are very well organized. It is indeed fast. The preview feature is good. In fact, I see a lot of improvements made compared to previous versions of Blogger.com. You can add cool widgets and Adsense can be implemented very easily.

For now, I am going to look more into design templates that can be used for Blogger.com. I would like to see how cool can other design templates for Blogger.com be. Until then, get yourself a blogger account and start blogging.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Welcome to bloggersyde

Hey everyone. Welcome to bloggersyde. This blog is just up and running. Here I will be posting mostly on stuff related to blogging - tips, monetizing blogs, profit blogging, money making, Internet Marketing and possibly some rants to break the boredom. Perhaps like most of you, I am bored with the nature of Internet Marketing. The more you get yourself involved, the more truth you discover about money making on the net.

Blogging is one of the most sought after platform for money making on the Internet. To be exact - on the world wide web actually. That's because blogs originated from "weblogs" - much like a recorded or a softcopy of activities done on the web. By the way, softcopy means a virtual copy as contrary to hardcopy like printed manuals.

I am sure there are possibly many ways to make money online. And blogging is just one of them. I hope to learn more and to share with you what I have experienced. Don't forget to leave some comments. Drop some useful tips maybe. Let us share the money making experience.

Stay tune and enjoy!
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