One of our key skills in life has to be organisation.  I have found myself careering from one task to another to another and not having any kind of system in place to cope with everything i have learned to do so far on occasion.

Today I decided that has to stop!  One of the things I have been desperately trying to get on top of is posting comments on fellow students blogs.  JT suggested we should try to post to 5 blogs each time.  That’s ok but I was having difficulty remembering which ones I already posted to – then suddenly the list seemed an awful lot longer than it started out as!  I realise these were domains that people had not sent in yet so the list was, in fact, longer!

Now I have oraginsed my list into bookmarked pages that are stored in alphabetical files (it has taken me all afternoon to do this – all 135 of you!).  My intention is to try to take each file in turn and work through it. It will also make it easier for me to find people I am looking for more quickly.

I have signed up to some sites as I really like the way the blog is coming on and I will continue to post comments on those more frequently.  So now I am more organised about the blogs.  Having read another blog about twitter and making a point of posting there at a set time each day I have decided that I will complete my update tasks in this way for everything.  Hopefully in time these tasks will become shorter as we get more automated.

There really does seem to be so much to do!

Enjoy the journey!

Hobbies and Interests

I have been very engrossed over the past few weeks with my ebay selling, my shops and taking the internet course to become an internet marketer.  However, I am very aware of the need to relax and take time for yourself, no matter how busy you are.  I have a number of ways that I relax but one of my favourites is playing an internet game called Runescape.  Some people see it as a kids game (let’s face it, we’re all big kids at heart, aren’t we!), but I play the game mostly with other adults and am in an adult clan.  We spend time online doing tasks in the game together and chatting over the airwaves.  The clan I am in have decided to have a ‘clan meet’ next month and I am looking forward to meeting my fellow Runescapers in real life.  I already know what many of them look like as we have a website dedicated to the clan and members are able to post photos on there.  It has been a great experience getting to know these people via the internet but a face to face meeting is even better.  Although I recognise the benefits now of learning online I have found the tools used by my tutor benefit me greatly as he videos everything he is doing.  It is almost like having him in the room with me!

Even though I love my gaming and the internet in general we must all remember to meet people in real life from time to time too!

Good Blog Posting Practice

Writing a blog can be as easy as baking cookies to one person, but much more difficult to the next.  Some writers will tell you that they find blog writing enjoyable.  Those who are not great writers may be intimidated by the task and may never want to learn how to write a blog entry.  However writing a blog entry does not have to be painful.  It can be a lot of fun!  If you are interested in blogging, but are unsure how to begin, use these six easy steps to writing a blog entry to get started.

  • Gather Ideas:

The most difficult part about writing anything is deciding what you want to write about. Blogs are interesting because you can use them in several ways.  You can use them as a personal online journal of sorts if you wish.  You can also use them as a place to post your opinions and views.  Lastly, you can use them as a place to put short articles of interest for others to read.

If you are choosing to use your blog as a journal you might not need much planning.  You will probably simply want to begin writing and see where it takes you.  If you want to use the blog for your opinions or for articles however, you will need to gather ideas.  Create a list of topic ideas that interest you.  Use them to determine what your topic will be.  After choosing a topic, make a quick outline of main points you want to include.  This step may seem tedious, but it will make the other steps go much more quickly, so be sure not to skip it.

  • Choose a Tone

After you have chosen your topic and created your short outline, you will need to choose your tone.  The most successful blogs are written in a casual tone, which is a welcoming idea to most non-professional writers.  Choose a tone that is like the one you would use when speaking with your spouse or a great friend.  The tone should be friendly and stress-free.

  • Write Your Post

When you sit down to write your post remember the tone you have chosen for your blog.  You should keep your blog posts pretty short.  They should contain your main point within the first sentence or two.  Don’t ramble on and on or you will risk losing your reader somewhere in the middle.  You should strive to keep your posts between 300 and 500 words altogether.  This may sound like a lot, but once you start writing, you will see that it will not take a lot of time to reach this target.  Don’t forget to write in the casual tone you have chosen.  Write exactly how you would speak.  Avoid large words that some people may stumble over.  Create interesting, yet simple posts for everyone to enjoy.

  • Use a Signature Ending

A signature ending is important for any blogger.  You can choose to end each post with a specific quote or phrase.  You can add your name to the bottom with a special symbol nearby.  It really does not matter how you choose to end your post, but be different.  A signature ending is a great way for regular readers to identify with your blog.  It can be a comforting sight for many readers as well and make your blog seem more personal.

  • Edit Your Work

After all of the writing is done you should always edit your work.  Editing is not always a fun thing to do, but if you want your blog to be taken seriously you should go back over your work.  Look for misspelled words and other common mistakes.  When you are certain your text is mistake-free, you can move on to the last step.

  • Submit Your Update

The final step to creating a blog post is to submit it to your blog.  This is typically done via the blogging software.  There is a spot where you can paste your text and click on the “submit” button.  The software should do the rest.  Remember to always place your posts in notepad before pasting into your blog.  This will prevent any strange looking text appearing on your blog post.  After submitting, visit your blog as a reader and check out your new update.

Don’t Make These Blogging Mistakes!

If you’ve just entered the world of blogging or if you’ve been blogging for any amount of time and find that things are not working out as you expected it would be worth your while spending some time understanding the common mistakes that bloggers make, mistakes that make it hard to enjoy what should be an enjoyable, satisfying experience: Blogging!

The five most common new blogger mistakes are:

  • Diving in (rather than wading in).  Many bloggers are so anxious to get started that they dive in rather than wading in slowly — it’s a mistake in an unfamiliar swimming pool or pond and it’s a mistake when entering a new arena such as the ‘blogosphere.’

Consider these things before you start your Blog:

Find a focus for your blog . . . a focus that reflects what you know, what interests you and what you enjoy talking and writing about.  No topics are out of bounds: politics, religion, science, sexual orientations, comedy, exercise, diet, diseases, etc., etc..

Take the time to read dozens of different blogs, note the colors, graphics and layouts to get an idea of what appeals to you.  Also note that some bloggers are long-winded and others are brief and to the point . . . others are just chatty and entertaining and have no particular point to make . . . this too is a personal style you get to choose.

You need a host for your blog, some are free, some charge a small amount per month for their service, some are simple to use and some require more technical knowledge, some have more features than others; choose carefully, once you’ve established your blog and have a few regular readers you may not want to change your address (your URL).

You may or may not want to use your real name on your blog, this depends on many factors, not the least of which is your stance on controversial issues and how publicly you want to be identified with your opinions.

  • Having unrealistic expectations.  If you come to blogging expecting instant results, a large readership, and many complimentary comments, you may be disappointed.  There are tens of thousands of blogs online vying for the same audience.  Patience and tenacity are essential on your part.  If you write well, find a unique niche to fill, have appealing titles for your posts and tirelessly promote your blog the readership and comments (some of which will be complimentary) will come.
  • Losing focus. When you started your blog you had a particular reason for doing so; it might have been to express your views on a topic or it might have been to just communicate with a close circle of friends about your daily activities.  Readers will come to your blog for the first time and either be interested in your subject matter or not, will either like your style or not and, if they like your subject and style they may comment and then come back later.  Once you’ve established a topic and tone for your blog you’re free to change it but to do so you’re basically starting all over.Be aware that you can have more than one blog, each one devoted to a particular topic and each one, if you choose, under a different identity.
  • Plagiarizing.  There are some great bloggers out there and as you surf through blogs you might find one who said something really well, something that resonated with you and something you want to put in your blog.  DON’T just copy and paste someone’s words in your blog without giving them credit, making it look to the world like the words are yours.  If you write it, write it in your own words and write it better, adding your own thoughts and feelings and then be gracious, mention where you got the idea and provide a link.
  • Ignoring the reader. Some of the people who read your blog will leave comments; some readers will agree with you and some readers may even praise your insights but some may pick a point you’ve made and criticize it.  People leave comments on others blogs for the same reason they themselves blog, to exchange ideas and express their points of view.  Always respond to your readers comments, thank them for reading and taking the time to comment (even the severe critics) and then respond, as appropriate, to their comment.  If you ignore the comments your readers may end up ignoring your blog!

5 Things You Should Know About Blogging

So you want to join in on the blogging phenomenon?  Before you get started, there are a few things you should know about blogging.  Blogging is a lot like an online journal.  There are thousands of bloggers online posting each day.  It is a trend that started in 1997 and has continued to grow steadily.  If you are interesting in blogging, but have not yet began, read over these five things you should know before you begin.

  • You Can Be Personal

A lot of the time new bloggers are really not sure what to post.  They know that their blog is a personal space, but they are afraid to make their posts personal in any way.  The best bloggers do put themselves out there via their posts.  They will post what’s on their mind and their views or opinions on pressing issues.  They may do so in a humorous manner or be quite serious.  Sometimes new bloggers are afraid to post their true thoughts because their blog can be commented upon.  The fact is however that not everyone will agree with your thoughts and posts, but you should not let that hold you back.  These are people who don’t personally know you, so their comments really don’t matter much anyway.  Don’t be afraid to let your true feelings show on your blog, after all, that it what an online journal is all about.

  • Don’t Be Too Personal

Although it is fine to be personal in your posts, you might not want to be too personal in how much you disclose about yourself.  For example, including your phone number or address in a post or on your profile is probably not a good idea.  You should think smart and only allow people to know things that you want them to know.  For your own safety, you might not want to post your last name either.  When someone has a lot of information about you, it is easier for them to victimize you through identity theft, harassment, or other crimes.  So, stay safe and never post really private information.

  • Never Use Real Names

When you are posting, and keeping it personal and real, there can be times in which other people in your life come up in topic.  Be very careful including other people in your posts.  First, never use their real names.  This is a huge mistake.  Unless the person gives you permission to write about them, you should never do so.  It will only lead to trouble. If the person you mention reads your blog, they could get offended that you are writing about them. Even if the post is positive, it can be seen much like talking behind their back.  Try to keep the posts about you or celebrities or other public figures.  Let everyone else’s business remain their own.

  • Keep It Fresh

One of the best things you can do as a blogger is to keep your blog fresh.  This means that you should be posting often and changing things around when doing so.  Post on different topics so your audience can stay interested.  Also, post at least twice a week.  People who will become fans of your site will want to read as much as possible on your blog. Updating your blog regularly will allow them to be entertained.  If you only post once a month, chances are no one will remember to keep checking your blog and your traffic will not be impressive.

  • You Can Blog For Free

Before you pay an arm and a leg for a blogging space, you should know that there are sites where you can blog for free.  Yes, for no charge at all you can set up your own blog.  These sites are great for the new blogger.  If you want something a little more sophisticated, you might have to pay for it.  The free sites are very well maintained however.  They are easy to use and offer several different templates for you to use when designing your blog.  They automatically update your posts for you, which make them a breeze!  Remember, you should not pay a large fee for your blog, especially if you are new to blogging.  Do your research and find the free sites!

You Need More Than A Great Blogging Idea

Whether you are starting up a new web site aimed at bloggers or whether you are looking to make your existing blogging site more distinctive, the key to building and maintaining a site that will capture the interest and attention of the blogging community is finding your niche.  If you can fill a unique need in a way that no other web site does, you’ll be able to build a lasting readership among web surfers.  Once you have discovered a niche, you will still have a lot to do, but finding your place in the blogosphere is the place to

Every great blogging web site starts with a great idea, and you can’t build a successful site that will last without one.  There are many great sites aimed at today’s bloggers, and competition for the attention of this growing demographic is fierce.  To make your
blogging web site stand out from the pack you will need to offer something that no other site is currently offering, or you will need to do the same thing that an already popular site does but in a more impressive or valuable way.

One way to discover an ideal model for your blogging web site is to look at the sites that have successfully captured a blogging audience already to determine if you can appropriate some of their strategies to help realize your vision.  Of course, you will also need to add a unique flair to your project in order to stand apart from your competition.  Many people agree that the web sites that do the best in today’s market are the sites that
have the most personality.  The fiercely individual surfers who are bloggers are a community that responds especially strongly to personality, so consider how you can give your site a unique and attractive feeling by lending your own voice and personality to your site’s design and content.

Once you have a great idea for your site, have pinpointed a special niche that you are well equipped to fill, and have infused the site with personality, the next step is figuring out how to get the word out to bloggers.  In the long run, a great idea just isn’t enough to propel your blogging web site to success.  You will need to draft a smart and realistic marketing plan in order to draw readers to your site.  Once you hook a blogger, your great content will keep them coming back, but it is vital to get that first glance or your site won’t have a chance to shine.

Learning How To Work The Internet For Profit

It is really interesting following this journey to further my knowledge of the internet and all its complexities.  I intend to become confident enough in the areas I need to use, and that will make me happy.  I am so looking forward to the coming weeks to learn more fascinating things.  I am amazed at the ability of people to work this stuff out for themselves!  I can’t wait to get this site really working for me.

In the mean time I have started to sell oil lamp spares on e.bay with great success.  They are mainly aimed at trade buyers as I sell in quantities, not singles.  I have only been listing them for 2 weeks and have been really pleased with the result.  I have tried selling items on e.bay before but had little or no success.  It’s a nice little side line.  I currently have 3 retail shops in 3 towns in Norfolk so I have storage space for quantities of items, which is lucky.  Bulk buying is so much more profitable, if you have the capital.  Prices are much lower and you can break the numbers down to sell on.  I can buy 1,000 oil lamp chimneys at once and then sell in boxes of 4 or 24 at a good mark up.  They are cheap for trade buyers who can’t buy 1,000 at a time, and are even good value for private customers.  It would be impractical to sell in singles though.  There are oil lamp sites that sell them singly.  They are twice the price I charge for 4!  So the trade customers like me too!  The great part about this is I am getting positive feedback by the bucket load and building up my good reputation on e.bay.    It’s always useful to have an extra sideline while you are learning something new.

Beginning To Blog

A blog is basically an online journal where you can digitally put your thoughts, ideas, opinions and practically anything that you want people to read.  Blogs come in different styles, formats, and settings, depending on the preference of the user.  Many blogging sites, offer built in features such as hyperlink, straight texts, pictures etc.  Some blogging sites, even allow you to put video and mp3’s on your blogs.

Instead of writing texts, some bloggers choose to make their blogs more audio friendly, by using spoken word entries.  This is called audio blogging.

Basically a blog contains these features:

  • title – which allows you to label your post
  • body – this is the content of your post
  • trackback – other sites can be linked back to your blog
  • permanent link – every post that you write has a URL
  • comments – this allow readers to post comments on your blog.

One of the advantages of blogging is that it is made of only a few templates, unlike other websites that are made up of numerous individual pages.  This make it easier for blog users to create new pages because it already has a fix setting that includes slots for the title, body of the post, category, etc.

This is especially useful for first time users since they can start blogging right away.  There are no complicated settings to get the hang of, no code to write.  They can chose from a  number of pre-prepared templates that blogging websites provide.
Blogging is not just limited to personal use.  There are a lot of blogs that follow a theme such as: sports, politics, philosophy, social commentary, etc.  These blogs espouse on their specific themes.  This way blogging becomes a medium in which people can share their knowledge and opinions about a variety of themes and topics.

Some bloggers even use their blogs as a means to advertise.  Some authors advertise their books on their blogs, while other bloggers, use their blogs to shed light on current issues, events, news and catastrophes.

Educational bodies also use blogs now.  Professors use blogging to document the lessons that they have discussed and taught.  This way students who who have missed classes can easily catch up with their assignments.

A lot of entrepreneurs benefit from blogging by promoting their businesses on their blogs.  With millions of people logging onto the net everyday blogging has become a lucrative move.  Some bloggers who run online businesses promote their merchandise online; others profit through advertisement.

But by far the most popular blog type is the one that takes the form of a personal journal. This is the kind that is usually used by first time bloggers.  Individuals who want to document the daily struggle of their everyday lives, poems, rants, opinions, find that blogging offers them a medium in which to express themselves.

Blogs on specific topics, themes, and set-ups, can be found in blog directories.  First time users who want to get an idea of what the blogging world is all about can browse through a number of blogs using these directories.  This way they get an idea of what these blogging communities are like.

Blogging is popular all over the world.  Blog is short for the term weblog.  There are no rules when it comes to blogging.  Bloggers have the freedom to express themselves how ever way they want, and the best thing about blogging, is that most blogging sites are free.

Just search any blogging directory and you will get a listing of a lot of blogging sites that are available on the net.  It’s easy to search a blogging directory, because it is organized according to category.  This way you can get exactly what you are after.  Blogging is really for everyone.  It is fun, simple and easy.

My First Post

My First Post.

Life – but not as we know it

So, blogging is the new ‘it’. I’ve never blogged in my life before but may as well have a go – lots of other people seem to do it. It feels a bit like ‘dear diary’ but without the pen!

I am about to embark on a new stage of my life and having read lots of articles about blogging thought I might record my progress (or not!) here for the benefit of others (or not!).

For the whole of my life I’ve had regular jobs with regular wages and regular hours, but never quite enough for my wants, if you know what I mean.  I’ve seen lots of things stating how much money people have made from home using the internet in various ways.  I have tried a few myself, been in that place that many of you will recognise, having bought ‘the ultimate guide to making money on the internet’ (or similar texts) and been left out of pocket having failed miserably at the ‘fool-proof’ technique, even though I’ve followed every step diligently.

However, as I said before, I am about to embark on a new stage of my life.  I recently signed up for a course to become a life coach.  I am a qualified youth worker (degree level) and thought at the very least I might learn something new to use with my young charges, even if I don’t make it as a life coach.  When I received the HUGE parcel with the training manuals and dvd’s etc. I realised, actually, I already know a lot of this stuff.

It was good for me as it made me think about all the knowledge and experience I have, where I’ve been in my life and how that can be passed on to others.  I am a great reader and indulge in books constantly, most are people writing about themselves, their experiences, their lives.  Why can’t I do that too?  But writing a book?  Well, that is another matter.  Starting on a smaller scale seems the right move.

Last week I started a course about getting the stuff I write marketed via the web. I already have a million and one ideas for topics to talk about but how do I get it out there and see if anyone wants to buy it?  Well, I’m about to learn, and I am going to write down my whole experience as I go along.  I’m hopeless on the computer (I’m surprised I’ve managed to get this far!) so if you are like me and seriously know nothing and are starting from scratch maybe it will inspire you and make you realise we are all capable of fulfilling our dreams.  We just have to BELIEVE we can do it!