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Friday, September 28, 2007

To Blog Or Not To Blog

People who blog often find it hard to post a new weblog on a regular basis, especially those who are particularly meticulous in terms of the kind of information that they post in their blogs like me. If you are blogging just for the sake of posting something even if it does not make sense, you wouldn't feel the same degree of difficulty. You see, blogging needs a good train of thought for you to be able to compose an interesting log about your fields of interests. You need to take time to sit down, ponder on what you want to write about, and finally work your way through the keyboard to input the information that you want to share. Yet there is no specific guidelines as to how you should create and record your blogs. In fact, a blog can go any which way you want it to be.
Let me just say that once you have made it a habit to blog, you kind of feel an itch to write a blog as often as you can. It almost makes you feel like you have this growing need to speak out, be heard or just be able to vent your thoughts through your blog. The question though is, do you really have the time to do it?
In my case, after all the things that I need to accomplish in a day, with my current schedule, it is virtually impossible to blog as often as I used to. But like I told you, once you are into blogging, you're in for that urge to blog. It's just a matter now of creating a balance between the different priorities, so that blogging can proceed without compromising other daily tasks which are more important.

Why should you blog?
  1. Blogging is as good as any hobby. If you enjoy it, keep on doing it.
  2. Blogging frees your mind of hassles and perhaps unpleasant thoughts. It's a good way to ventilate yourself mentally.
  3. Blogging is an excellent way of record-keeping. This is especially useful if your blog covers topics on useful tips, sites, howtos, utilities, tools, practical solutions and just about anything that can come in handy at certain times. I've been basically going back to my blogs to refer to stuff that I can use to solve problems as such as computer-related ones. I tell you, my blog has really been useful to me personally because what I particularly know now, I don't necessarily remember all of it three months later.
  4. Blogging is an art. It's a form of free expression, thus, however you do your blog, you impart a bit of your artistic inclinations.
  5. Blogging is a powerful tool that manages to break through global boundaries and different cultural genres.
  6. Blogging is free media. It's your personal free press. Use it, but use it responsibly and effectively.
  7. Blogging sharpens your mind ( with good practice) and enhances your communication skills.
  8. Blogging helps update your know-how on things that interest you. Why? Because to effectively blog you have to be informed, and to be informed you have to read. Reading allows you to absorb fresh ideas, information and simply updates your basic knowledge on anything under the sun.
  9. Blogging has commercial value. If you know how to do it, blogging can bring financial rewards.
  10. Best of all, blogging allows you to compete with the rest of the world, as everyone tries to bombard everyone with limitless information. It's just a matter of who among us can impart the most useful kind of information to any audience at a given time. Information is power, remember that.
Why shouldn't you blog?
  1. If the last time you had a good night sleep was when someone accidentally hit you in the head and you passed out.
  2. You are too stressed to even spell "BLUG".
  3. Your blog is more of a punishment than a treat.
  4. Your blog is sending all kinds of red flags.
  5. Reading your own blog becomes a painstaking task.
  6. Your blog is a comprehensive array of well-crafted back links from other blogs.
  7. Your blog is turning the rest of the world against you.
  8. Your blog is just a waste of prime internet realty.
  9. Your blog is absent. When? When you write about something and there's really nothing there.
  10. When blogging is really not your thing. Find something else to waste your life on.
No, don't listen to me! Come on guys, you know better than that. Blogging is blogging. To each his own. Live and let live.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Writing A Good Blog: Ten Sure-fire Ways To Do It

  1. Present something fresh to your readers. Your readers read your blogs because they want to learn something new. It doesn't have to be a new trend or a new idea. It just have to be a new experience or a new story--something that will leave them saying, "Man, I didn't know that until today".

  2. Be original. Don't blog about somebody else's blog. Your readers can always go to such blogs and read the articles from there. Stick to topics that are less talked about. That way, you'll cover the 'limited resources' spectrum of the internet media.

  3. Share something useful. Readers always appreciate a good blog on tips, techniques, howtos, tools, utilities, add-ons and just about anything that may come handy and useful. Make sure though that you know what you're talking about.

  4. Be honest. When you write your blogs be truthful. Don't make up stuff just so you can stir some controversy or falsely lead your readers to your site. Your readers will be able to read through and appreciate your transparency and your respect for them.

  5. Engage your readers. When you write your blog, always address your readers by pointing out 'YOU' as the blog progresses. Doing so makes your readers important. Avoid using 'I', 'me', mine or addressing the first person, as much as possible. The only exception of course is when you are tackling a story about a personal experience or anything that involves any endeavors of your own.

  6. Satisfy your readers. The one rule to keep in mind is to first satisfy yourself as your first reader. Why? A few blogs don't get enough readership or following, so there is a good chance that your only audience is 'you'. Don't get discouraged. Instead be inspired, to write for yourself. If what you write satisfies you as you read your blog, then you have done your job.

  7. Be entertaining. A blog that can lift the mood of the readers is priceless. In fact if you know how to tickle your readers' funny bone, they will always come back for more. Invest in some good sense of humor. It doesn't cost a dime. You must be sensible enough though to draw the line between what's funny and what's offensive.

  8. Put your emotions on the line. When you write, ask yourself, "What emotion do I want to put my readers into?" From there, develop a theme to blog on. It can be a happy, sad, serious, unattached emotion. But when you do master the art, your readers will always have something to dwell on. You can compare it to reading a good book or watching a very engaging show. Your readers are involved on the front line.

  9. Pique your readers' curiosity. You can either blog to inform, to entertain, or to provoke your readers' thoughts. Don't spoon-feed your readers. Always leave something for them to work on mentally. Doing so gives you and your readers a chance to interact through your blogs. Give the facts, but leave some questions unanswered.

  10. Be short, but be long as well. This is the one thing that I always remember when I write my blogs. This is something that I learned from one of my professors in college when it comes to writing. According to him, "A good write-up or any good article for that matter, is like a lady's mini skirt. It should be short enough to be attractive, but long enough to cover the essentials."

You can forget tips #1 to #9 but if you abide by tip #10, you will still always come up with a well-written blog that entices your readers' appetite.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tutorial: Creating A Usable Image For Your Blog

In my previous post about enhancing your blogs, I stated that you can utilize your existing application software to create images or play with graphics to give your blog a different look. Now, I am going to teach you exactly what I told you. Using Microsoft™ Word and Paintbrush, you can easily create great personalized images that will float in the background as if you are using a graphics application software.

Are you ready? Let's begin.

  1. Open a blank document in Microsoft™ Word. Click on insert picture, then choose Clip Art from the drop down menu.

  2. As soon as you see the Clip Art collection just pick out any graphic or image that you'd like to use. You can even go to Clip Art online for more downloadable images. Make sure that you choose a picture that has more or less a seemingly transparent background. As soon as you pick out your Clip Art, you will then see the picture edit tools on your toolbar. These tools are what you are going to use to play around or customize your Clip Art.

  3. Click on the insert menu again, choose Picture, then choose WordArt. You will then see the WordArt gallery. From the gallery you can choose how you want your WordArt to look like from the preset layout. Don't worry even if it's preset. You can still tweak it to customize or personalize the look of the WordArt being inserted.
  4. Now, you have two objects sitting on your page, a Clip Art image and a Word Art text. Note each has its own unique location on your page, meaning, you cannot just drag and drop one over the other. So how are you going to merge the two so it will look as though you're putting one on top of the other or vice versa? It involves two steps. First, click on the Picture, then as soon as the picture edit menu is activated click on the Set Transparency button. Make sure that you do this by clicking on the tool then clicking also on the background part of the image. And even if your image already look transparent to you, be sure to set the transparency still so that whatever is behind the picture will be seen through. Second, set the Text Wrapping option to Through for both the Clip Art image and the WordArt text. As soon as you're done with these steps, you can easily put one on top of the other.

  5. What if you want to put the text in front of the image or vice versa? Just right click on the image, click on Order, then do whatever it is you want to do with the image and the text, e.g., send backward, bring forward, etc.

  6. Now, this is the fun part, and I really mean fun. Do whatever you want to do with the WordArt text that you just inserted. You can change the color, the shape, the font style, the font size, the texture of the fill and there's endless possibilities to what you can do. You are only limited by your own imagination. You can do the same thing with the image--resize it, add more graphics, etc. Just play around with the picture edit tool. It's fun.

  7. Okay, assuming that you are now satisfied with the look of the image and the text, you are then going to group them to turn them into a single image.

  8. Open Paintbrush, usually located in your Accessories tray, then import your image to it by merely cutting it from Microsoft™ Word then pasting it onto a Paintbrush canvas.

  9. Once you have the image on Paintbrush, you can still do something about the image if you want to, like resizing it, or adjusting the color, etc. Or you can just leave it as is. The only reason why I chose to import the graphic to Paintbrush is so I can save it as an image file. Note that if you want to preserve the transparency of the graphic save it using a .gif file format. This is the only format that lets your image stand out against the background, like a transparent image.

  10. Save your file. Log in to your blog. Upload your newly created image. Flaunt your new-found image-manipulation talent.

See, wasn't that easy and fun? Just as I told you, keep on experimenting. Your new discoveries will give more meaning to your life. Just be careful, though. If you get too carried away with the learning and the excitement, you could lose bags and bags of ZZZs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pimping Your Blog

If you are an adventurous blogger like me, there’s absolutely no limit to how you can enhance your blog. It’s fun and the chance of learning something new somehow rewards the blogger in you. Just think out of the box. Create style that is simple yet appealing to the readers of your blog. Avoid too much colors or graphics, so as not to make your blog page look too crowded. Sometimes, after learning something we tend to get so carried away, thus, we put all kinds of crazy ideas in a single page to showcase what we just learned.

Look at this page? Am I color-happy? Perhaps. But I’m still constantly finding ways to enhance this page. If you’re like me, you would experiment on what looks good and appealing to your readers. If what you’re doing only drives your readers away, then it’s time to shift gears. Improve on every fine detail, and take notice of the response of the users of your page.

And don’t stop there. Keep on improving. Don’t settle for something unless you really get a good feel about it.

By the way, you might think that I shed out some cash to buy a graphic software to be able to play with color and graphics on this page. Never. If you’re very resourceful, you’ll find out that the day to day applications that you use, already packages a lot of goodies and it’s up to you to take them out of the goody basket and put them to good use.

Check out old software that you have that maybe sitting right on your desk just gathering dust for years of unuse. Discover how you can make use of it. You’ll be surprised at the things that you are going to learn as well as the things that are available for you to use, but you never really get to use because you were too lazy to even bother to find out what a particular application is capable of doing.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s only through experimentation that you discover new things. Try to improve every step of the way and learn from it.

Remember, learning is a continuous process. The moment you stop learning, you start dying.

Take a look at the example shown above, I used Microsoft Word to get this kind of look? You don’t have to be a great graphics designer to be able to do something that is eye-catching and annoying at the same time? Oh, did I say annoying?

Yeah, I will learn from that too. For now, I’ll continue to discover something new everyday, something that is a breath of fresh air.

I’ll be glad if you’ll share to us what you discover too. Keep learning!

In blogging, the essence of your posts determines whether you get a good following or not, but remember the look of your blog page is always your first come on.

Friday, March 9, 2007

A Blogger's Mantra

Read more, write often;
Have a good ear for sound writing;
Be creative, be unique, be very engaging;
Be sexy, be ready to undress emotionally, mentally;

Be amusing;
Be witty;
Be your reader's inspiration;
Be satisfying to your reader--yourself!

Be heard in the midst of a thousand blogrolls;
Be seen in a myriad of hopeful bloggers;
From abyssinia to zut alors;
Be able to pique the reader's curiosity;

Be the acceptable face of blogrolling;
Be willing to give your left nut in the name of page rank;
After all, backlinks is a hype;
Always remember, content is king!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yes, You Can Blog!

Blog. A "web log".

Blogging is fast becoming the internet users' preoccupation. Why? Simply because blogging allows you to publish your thoughts, your interests, your views, your reviews, your rants, your frustrations and almost anything else under the sun that you think you wanna keep a log of, for personal purposes or for the purpose of sharing a part of you to the rest of the internet world. On the technical aspect, blogging doesn't require much knowledge on your part in terms of website building, layouting, hosting and all the other requisites for putting up a good website. That even is the reason why blogging has gained enough momentum in the internet world because it allows even the untrained internet user, a way to publish in the internet so easily.

So where do you start if you want to join the blog craze? Start by joining a legitimate blogging network, and I say legitimate because there's a lot of web places claiming to be a blog network but for real, all they do is just take hold of your sign-up details and as soon as you're in, they'll tell you stories like this site is actually bought and we hate to blah...blah...blah. K, Blogger is a good place to start. Not only that it is a big blogging community, it also has enough tools and add-ons for you to have a worthwhile blogging experience.

And what topics can you take up in your blog? As of this writing, there is no standard imposed on what you can blog and not blog about. Of course, common sense will tell you not to publish copyrighted materials, highly offensive publications, illegal activities, obtrusive media and anything that will infringe on other people's rights. But you can blog about absolutely anything that really interests you, say, your favorite pet, the places you go, your weird habits, your quest for stardom, etc. A good way to find out what you really want to write about is to read about other people's blogs in a blog community. And yes, you don't have to be so politically correct. You don't even have to be a good writer. Just be interesting, plain and simple.

How do you write your blogs? Keep it simple and informative. Imagine a lady's mini-skirt. It should be short enough to be attractive but long enough to cover the essentials.

What else can you post in your blog? You can post your own pictures and videos but you have to have your own web hosting site for the specific media, especially videos.

How often should you update your blog? You can update as often as you want. Or you can update only when there is important post that needs to be shared or recorded. The trick is if you have wide readership with your blogs, or if people are subscribing to feeds of your blog then your blog should be updated on a regular basis.

What else can you do with your blog? Learn how you can use your blogs to earn. Old bloggers have utilized this feature and some of them have seen the potentials of earning from blogs. A few are still learning the tricks. Some are still in the dark. Adsense is one way to earn by posting relevant ads in your blog pages. You can sign up for free and you are on your way to earning your first few hits. If you are a beginner though, don't expect too much, it will kill you. Instead be intuitive. Learn what other blogs are doing that made them a success. Slowly improve your blogging techniques one day at a time. Eventually you'll learn, you've hit the right spot.

What if nobody reads your blog? This is where you need your social skills. Start off from home. Invite your friends to visit your blog. Ask them to review it and share their opinions with you. But don't spam! It's ugly.

Is there other ways of having my blog seen and reviewed by other people in the internet? Yes, absolutely! Join blog groups, review groups and invite group members to take a peek at your newly-published blog. You won't get enough traffic to crash your site and at times maybe only one or two people will visit your blog but that's a good start. You can also visit forums and post links to your blog provided you're not violating forum rules. You can also look for blogs that offer blog links exchanges. If you are creative, you'll find out that there's eight hundred ways to kill a cat.

So why are you still reading this blog? Start your own. The possibilities are endless. That I can tell you!

Just Warming up? Visit My Main blog page.