Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cool New Widget From Feedblitz.com

I don't know how long Feedblitz.com has had this widget, but I don' think it's been that long as I think I would have noticed it before.

In any event, I think it's terrific.

Why?

Well, it provides a widget for you to use on your blog for all your newsletter (i.e. blog) subscriptions under your account at Feedblitz.com.

So, for example, I have 12 active newsletters (i.e. blogs) at Feedblitz.com that I offer subscriptions for. With this new widget I can offer everyone the ability to subscribe to all my blogs on say, just my "Tips For Crafters On The Web" blog, or offer it in the sidebar of every one of my blogs.


How cool is that? And, how convenient.

Now you can subscribe to all my blogs in just one place. You can subscribe for either email or RSS feeds for each individual blog by clicking the email envelope or Feedblitz RSS icon next to each blog name. Or, you can subscribe for email or RSS feed for ALL my blogs at once by clicking the email envelope or import into RSS feed aggregator feed icon next to Reading List by Feedblitz at the bottom of the list. How convenient is that?

I'm adding the widget to the sidebars of all my blogs so it won't matter which blog you're on. You can subscribe to all my blogs on any of them.

The widgets are in the sidebars under the heading:
Subscribe To Our Linda Walsh Originals Other Blogs.

I'd show it to you here, but the post doesn't allow this Javascript. Oh, well. Check it out on the sidebars.


Posted by Linda Walsh Originals - "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Twitter! The COOLEST Thing!


If you are a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know I just LOVE to experiment with new widgets and gadgets for my blogs.

Well, I have been experimenting with Twitter.com and I have to tell you that I LOVE it.

Not for the reasons that anyone at Twitter.com probably intended, but because it allows me to do something really COOL as a small business owner who is also a multi-blogger.

If you are not familiar with Twitter.com I should tell you that it is the LATEST thing in FREE social networking services (i.e. Internet communities). Twitter allows you to post instant text-based messages up to 140 characters per post to the Twitter website and your profile page. The instant messages are sent via Instant Message services, email, via RSS feed, or to your mobile phone to other users who have signed up to receive them and/or that you have approved to get them.

They also have a widget that you can add to your blogs or websites that looks like the widget above. It can be color customized for your particular taste and your profile page on Twitter.com can be customized as well.

In thinking about the Twitter widget I thought that it would be great to add it to all my blogs so that if I have fabulous news that I want to tell everyone I can just send an IM to my Twitter.com profile and update all my blogs at once. That way I wouldn't have to post the LATEST NEWS from Linda Walsh Originals to every blog. COOL, huh!

The Twitter widget has up and down arrows so you can view all my instant messages or connect to my profile page at Twitter.com.

Since I have AIM as my instant message service I set TwitterIM as a buddy on my AOL buddy list and connected it to my Twitter.com profile. So, now I just go to my buddy list and send TwitterIM an instant message like the one shown above. That updates my Twitter.com profile and all the blogs that have the Twitter widget. How COOL is that?

Besides the latest NEWS I can let everyone know if there are any problems with any of my blogs or websites, if I'm on vacation, craft shows I'm currently in, etc.

Of course, I can also use it as a social networking gadget for all my friends if I want to. For now, I'm going to use it for my "Linda's Latest NEWS" flashes and see how all my blog readers like it.

So, what do you all think? COOL, huh!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 13 - What Is Podcasting and Should You Jump On The Podcasting Bandwagon?

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 12 our definition was "Podcasting" which is a combination of the words IPod and broadcasting where you distribute audio and video material over the Internet using syndicated feeds like an RSS feed specifically for playback on portable digital players and personal computers.

I'm sure that most of you are aware of IPod's and probably have at least heard the word "podcasts." If you're not then you should know there has been a mini-revolution going on over the last few years with the way in which content is being delivered to the masses.

Content has become extremely mobile and "podcasting" is allowing audio and video content to be delivered to portable media players on demand.

What does this mean for you as a small business owner? It means that you can deliver audio and video content to your customers that they can watch or listen to whenever they want and wherever they are. Content has become available anytime and anywhere.

Also, the way in which content is being delivered is also evolving. It used to be that only audio content could be podcast and required MP3 files to be downloaded into IPod's or personal computers where separate player software (i.e. Real Player) was used to play the audio files. You would click on the link and download the audio file. The audio file would then open up in your "player" and begin playing the file.

This started with music downloads and quickly evolved into "radio broadcasts" where anyone could broadcast if they had a microphone connected to their computer and sound recording software.

Now "podcasts" have become so sophisticated that your can broadcast audio and video content just about anywhere, anytime. Some broadcasters are now combining "podcast" within their blogs and creating what is known as a "blogcast."

The latter allows bloggers to post an article to their blog and include an audio or video "podcast" within the post that can be played right from the post utilizing and inline audio/video player. Readers do not need to open up a new player.

So, should you jump on the "podcasting" bandwagon? That depends on what you are selling and how good you are at conveying your message either verbally or via video capture. In essence you would be creating a "radio show" or "video" for your customers.

Either of the above or combination of the above would have to contain content that is interesting enough for your blog readers to want to take with them and watch or listen to at their leisure?

"Podcasting" is not for everyone. Disadvantages include the fact that it does require practice and the ability to conceptualize what and how you want your idea conveyed to your customer. Advantages are unlimited mobility and being able to convey your ideas to your customers anytime and anywhere.

If you are capable of the above then for bloggers "blogcasts" are ideal. Blog posts can now contain audio and video podcasts within the posts. For small business bloggers there are so many ways to convey your message to your customer now that to not take advantage of some of them puts you at a severe disadvantage in the marketplace.

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 13 Definition -

"Blog Hopping" - To follow links from one blog entry to another, with related side-trips to various other articles, blogs, websites, etc. It is also used to describe visiting blogs that you like frequently and commenting on them. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 14 on "Are You A Blog-Hopper?"



Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written by Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 12 - Are You A Multi-Blogger?

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Are You A Multi-Blogger? Column 12

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 11 had two definitions "Multi-Blogger and Multi-Blogging." A Multi-Blogger is a person or business with more than one blog and Multi-Blogging is creating, maintaining, and running multiple blogs at the same time.

My question to you was: Are you a multi-blogger?

For those of you new to blogging I suspect the answer is "no." For those of you, like me, who have been blogging for awhile I suspect the answer is definitely "yes."

Now I know some of you are going to say, "I can hardly think of enough material to include in one blog for my small business - why would I create more than one?"

Well, the reason is simple - To provide directed content for your readers and/or customers.

Sometimes when you have been blogging for awhile and see how easy it is to post articles on just about anything you want about your small business, about your products, or about yourself you begin to realize that your posts cover a wide spectrum. In other words your blog begins to contain many, many different articles, subjects and/or facets about your business and your interests. Some of these may be entirely different areas with a vastly different audience. So, what do you do?

You create a blog specifically for that content and that audience. By doing so you provide your audience and/or your customers with the material that is specifically geared towards them.

For example, my small business sells e-products, print products, and a large variety of handmade items. When I started blogging I found myself writing about subjects that were as varied as my small business.

However, while some of those subjects were of interest to some of my customers and readers some were not. They had their own targeted audience so I created separate blogs for them. By doing so I allowed my readers and/or customers to subscribe to the blog that was specifically of interest to them. Of course, they could still subscribe to and read my main blog if they wanted to as it was a compilation of my entire business, but that was now up to them.

Now I know that you're going to say that multiple blogs is a lot of work. Granted setting up multiple blogs is extra work initially, but maintaining and posting to them isn't that much more effort. If you were going to post about a particular subject to your main blog then adding that same post to another blog is nothing more than copying and pasting.

Is the extra effort involved in setting up and maintaining multiple blogs worth it? Well, if it gives your readers and/or customers directed content that they like to read then you've made your readers and/or customers happy. And, hopefully, happy customers means more sales.

If you are currently a multi-blogger I say, "Congratulations!" If you're on the fence and wondering if you should create another blog then I say, "Go for it! Become a multi-blogger!"

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 12 Definition -

"Podcasting" - A combination of the words IPod and broadcasting where you distribute audio and video material over the Internet using syndicated feeds like an RSS feed specifically for playback on portable digital players and personal computers. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 12 on "What is Podcasting and Should You Jump On The Podcasting Bandwagon?"


Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written by Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 11 - Do You Need A Blogiday

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 10 my definition was "Blogiday" which is getting fed up with your blog and taking a holiday from blogging. My question to you was: Do You need a Blogiday?

If you are like me and have been blogging for awhile you undoubtedly know that blogging creativity comes in phases. Some days you are in "blogging mode" and can write and create to your hearts content. Other days you can't think of a thing to write about and can't even get your fingers to move on the keyboard.

What's your problem? Well, you have just have "bloggers block" or "creativity block" and need to do something to get your creative juices moving again.

What should you do? Quite simply, don't despair - take a "blogiday" or a holiday from blogging.

You need to step away from the blog for a day or two or even a week or so and relax, enjoy yourself, and do something you love to do. Or, spend some time doing some of the mindless work you may have put on the back burner. For small business crafters there's nothing like mindless work or doing something you love to get your creative juices flowing again.

Better yet do something fun with your kids, or your friends, or visit your grandchildren. Take a day trip, go out to eat, or indulge yourself at a day spa. Go to the library or the bookstore and browse through all the books. Plan a vacation, take an online course, start a new hobby. Do whatever it takes to relax and take your mind off blogging.

What else can you do to get your creative juices flowing? Well,you may need to do some "blog hopping" and research on other blogs that you like to see what's new in the blogging world, catch up on the latest in blog widgets, search for some new graphics, find new content to add to your blog, etc.

Or, you may need to spruce your blog up. Try reformatting your blog, adding new colors, change your blog format, increase or reduce the columns or widths, add new wallpaper, or create a new banner. Sometimes a little "blog spring cleaning", "blog remodeling", or "blog sprucing" is all it takes to get your creative juices flowing.

And, when your creative juices are flowing again you'll find you're quickly back in "blogging mode." This time, however, when you're in "blogging mode" draft a few articles or ideas for articles and save them in "reserve" for those times when you are "blogstipated" (see my TFTBQ Column 9 in the July 2007 Faithful Friends Online Newsletter) and need to take another "blogiday." Then you'll always have articles to post when you get fed-up with your blog and need another "blogiday."

But, most of all don't despair. "Blogiday's" are as necessary as "holidays" and "vacations" to get your creative juices back on track. Your blog will always be there when you get back.


"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 11 Definition -

"Multi-Blogger and Multi-Blogging" - A Multi-blogger is a person or business with more than one blog and multi-blogging is creating, maintaining, and running multiple blogs at the same time.

Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 12 on "Are You a Multi-Blogger?"


Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written by Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I've Been Playing Again! This Time With An Online Photo Album


I've been playing again!

Not with dolls or blinkies or books, but with an online photo album.

You see, I can't resist trying FREE things that I get for buying this or that. I just love to check them out.

This time it was a FREE Online Photo Filer that GoDaddy was offering as an incentive for buying or renewing something. I can't remember what it was, but GoDaddy.com is always rewarding you with some great FREEBIES. That's one of the things that I love about GoDaddy.com. So, I decided to use one of my CREDITS and try the online photo album for my Linda Walsh Originals E-Pattern pictures.

Well, I have to tell you that I LOVED IT! It was very professional and just what I was looking for as a supplement for my Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns small business. In fact, I was so happy with it that I set up a second album for my Linda Walsh Originals Handmade Dolls & Crafts pictures. The latter isn't ready for the public yet. It contains so many pictures that will take me awhile to organize it and add all the descriptions. I'll let you know when it's ready.

In the meantime my Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns online photo album is ready for you to see. I was able to set it up as a sub-domain of my domain name so it's URL is so easy to remember. Just go to http://photos.lindawalshoriginals.com/ and VOILA you have my new album.

So, what do I like about it? Well, there are so MANY things it's hard to know where to start.

First and foremost is you can have multiple galleries (i.e. sub-albums) and EACH gallery can have it's own theme (i.e. background). So, if I have pictures concerning Fall dolls I can make that albums theme a Fall one. If I have bridal pictures I can make that backdrop one of their bridal themes. They have 70 different themes to choose from so there is plenty of variety. Plus, you can change the order listing of the galleries to be what you want. Viewers can view the individual galleries and pictures within the galleries can be searched for by name, date, or #.

Each photo can have multiple tags assigned to it and your photo album can be displayed by tags instead of galleries. You can also change the order listing of the tags. Pictures can be searched for by tag name or viewed by tag category.

Each photo can also have its own name and text description. However, no html or script code is allowed in the text description which is a negative.

Within each gallery or tag group viewers can see the pictures as individual thumbnails, as a filmstrip, as a slide show, or as a list. The slide show can run as fast or slow as they want.

You can make your album or EACH gallery public, private, or even assign a password. You can have a mix within your photo album. Some galleries can be public while others are private.

The online photo album also has some picture enhancing capabilities. You can rotate the pictures, adjust the brightness or contrast, remove red eye, crop the image, orient the image as portrait or landscape, or crop it to standard photo sizes. You can also convert .bmp photo's to .jpeg.

You can adjust your gallery thumbnail views from 6 to 12 to 24 to 48 per page. And, you can decide whether you want your album default to be gallery or tag view and the photo's can default to thumbnails, filmstrip, slide show, or list view.

You can also easily move photo's from one gallery to another and the UPLOAD of photo's is a snap. Multiple numbers of photo's can be uploaded quickly and I had no problem upload hundreds of my doll pictures.

Plus, you can create badges to add to your blog or website for each gallery or album. And, viewers can subscribe to the overall album feed or individual gallery feeds.

GoDaddy.com also has a link to their photo store so you can easily buy print copies of your pictures or have them added to tee shirts, etc. What's great about their photo store is all your pictures are already loaded by gallery. You just check the ones you want to select. If you DO NOT want visitors to be able to order prints of your pictures then you MUST remove the check from this box in the site settings tab of your settings.

Personally, I think the default here should be that visitors are not allowed to order prints of your pictures and can only do so if you checked the box. But, that's me. If this is a photo album that you are sharing with your family who are located all over the country or world then you would want them to be able to order prints of the pictures they want.

However, if this photo album is being used to support a small business then you should remove the check from this box. If anyone is going to make money on your pictures it should be you. Now, if GoDaddy.com were offering you a commission from the sale of your pictures that would be another story.

In any event, if you make your album or galleries public remove the check from this box. If you want your family to be able to do order prints then password protect that particular gallery, give them the password, and leave the box checked for that gallery.

GoDaddy.com provides the URL or permalinks for your album, each of your gallery pages, as well as the permalinks for each individual picture so can utilize your pictures URLs elsewhere on the web.

The FREE version allows for 1000.00MB of picture space. The upgrade has a monthly fee and allows for 2.5G of space. However, I always re-size all my pictures for the web anyways so I was able to load hundreds of pictures and only utilized 1.81MB in one album and 31.1MB in the other. So, there's plenty of room for more of my e-patterns, and handmade dolls & crafts pictures.

All in all, GoDaddy.com offers a lot in their FREE online photo filer. A lot of positives. The only negative that I could find so far was the text description can't contain html or script code. That would have been nice.

I almost forgot to tell you. GoDaddy.com's FREE online photo filer is free of advertising (i.e. no GoDaddy.com advertising at the top) which is wonderful. I certainly appreciated that.

I added a link to my new photo album on all my blogs so you can easily view my pictures. It's in a section entitled Linda's Photo Albums which is just after my profile on all my blogs. My e-patterns album is linked there now. When my handmade dolls & crafts picture album is done I'll add a link to that as well.

In any event, I LOVE my new online photo album and, as mentioned, have already started working on my next one. It is a perfect fit for my small business needs. Hats off to you GoDaddy.com.


Posted by Linda Walsh Originals - "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"

Monday, August 13, 2007

"Tips From The Blogging Queen" Column 10 - Do You Have Blogophobia?

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 9 our blog definition was "Blogophobia."

"Blogophobia" is a fear of blogging. So, my question to all of you is "Do You Have Blogophobia?"

I suspect some of you would answer "yes" to that question while others of you have already jumped on the "blogging wagon" and have written hundreds of posts already. If you are the latter you have no doubt found out that "blogging" can be contagious and one blogs begets another blog which begets another.

If you fall into the first group and are afraid of blogging I suspect it's because you are afraid that you have to be a professional writer to blog or you feel you don't have anything to say. I've got some good news for you. The beauty of blogs is that you don't have to be a professional writer to have a terrific blog. You don't have to be an expert on anything to have a terrific blog. And, more importantly, you have more to say about you and your business then you think.

If you are afraid of blogging because you think it's too time-consuming then you need to give it a try and see how quickly you can promote the latest news for your small business, today's sales items, current events and happenings for your business, the latest news for your field, or whatever you want to tell your customer, etc. It's as easy as pie and less time-consuming then traditional advertising methods, newsletters, or flyer's.

If you're still worried about not having anything to write about just think about all there is to know about you, your business, your field of interest, and things you would like your customers to know about your products.

Why would you want to do this? Quite simply - blogs generate exposure for your craft business. They can generate sales. They can tell your customers important things that you want them to know about your small business and are an exceptional advertising vehicle.

But, most importantly, they personalize you to your customer. Through your blog your customers get to know you. Personally, I like to do business with people I know and, I suspect, most people feel the same. Through your blog you become human to your customers. They start to learn about you and, hopefully, start to like you. If they like you then they are more likely to do business with you.

For a small business owner blogs can become crucial to sharing your ideas with your customers. Allowing them to share their ideas easily with you. Allowing them to comment on your ideas or articles directly on your blog. In essence, you're providing a forum for the exchange of ideas - yours and theirs.

So, do you need to be a professional writer? The answer is a resounding "no." Think about what you love and then write down what you're thinking. Or, think about your business and your products and write down what you want your customers to know. Or, provide your customers with a little research on your particular kind of products and their respective history. Give your customers some ideas and suggestions as to the best uses of your products. The possibilities are unlimited as to what you can write about especially when you are writing about your passion.

Just remember - there are no blog rules. There are no blog police. Your blog is just that. It's your blog. It can be whatever you want it to be whether it's about you or your small business. There are no right ways and wrong ways in the blogging community and you don't have to be a professional writer. In fact, the real charm of blogs is that they are so "personal" and so "human."

So, if you're afraid of blogging you shouldn't be. It's time to get over your "blogophobia", get your feet wet and join the "blogging" community.


"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 10 Definition -

"Blogiday" - Getting fed up with your blog and taking a holiday from blogging.

Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 11 on "Do You Need a Blogiday?"


Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written by Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Are You Blogstipated? - Column 9

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 8 our blog definition was "Blogstipation."

"Blogstipation" is being unable to think of anything to blog about (i.e. writer's block for bloggers). So, my question this month is "Are You Blogstipated?"

I think there is a fear amongst small business owners thinking about creating a blog and new small business bloggers. They are both afraid that they will have to blog each and every day and aren't sure they would have anything to say. And, for the new bloggers sometimes when they try to write something for their blog they can't think of anything. They're "blogstipated!"

So, is that bad? If you can't find anything to say every day should that prevent you from creating a blog?

The answer to both is "Not at all!" When you've been blogging for awhile you begin to realize that you are going to have those "I just don't feel like blogging today!" days. And, THAT'S OKAY! You do not need to blog each and every day if you don't want to.

Blogs started out as "personal diaries" of a sort and some people, especially those keeping medical journals, etc. do blog each and every day. However, as a small business owner with a blog you don't need to blog each and every day. If you want to you can and if you don't want to - well, that's okay, too! If you only have something to post about once a week that's FINE!

Keep in mind that as a small business owner you're blogging to personalize yourself and your business to your customers. To get your customers excited about you and your products.

If you have something to tell them post about it. If not - don't worry about it. It is far better to post every so often - especially when you write about something that your readers can tell is "exciting" to you than to post about something that clearly bores you.

The negative to not posting every day or even every week is that the search engines love blog posts as it is FRESH content. This means that if you post every day or even every week your blog is more likely to be picked up in a search engine than a blog with monthly posts.

So, how can you avoid "blogstipation?" Well, I can tell you what I do. I have been blogging for awhile and have posted hundreds upon hundreds of posts. The way I avoid "blogstipation" is to only write when I'm in a "blogging" mode. When I am I try to write several posts and hold them in the cue to be posted over several days. That way I'm giving the search engines FRESH content and I'm not putting pressure on myself to write something each and every day.

Do you have to write lengthy articles? Absolutely not. They can be as small as you want them to be. There is no set measure for this. It's whatever you think will interest your readers and potential customers.

And, if you really are "blogstipated" and can't come up with anything to say and you've been blogging for awhile then post a summary with clickable links to some of the articles you may have written a few months to a year ago.

Or, update an old article that your newer readers and customers might like and re-post it with a current date. In other words, if you're really "blogstipated" and can't come up with anything - don't reinvent the wheel. Use some of what you've posted before.

Or, if you have several blogs tell your readers and customers what's happening on those blogs that might interest them.

There are all sorts of things you can do. The most important is - if you're "blogstipated" don't worry about it. It will pass. You'll be in a "blogging" mode again in no time.

"Tips From The Blogging Queen" Column 10 Definition -

"Blogophobia" - Fear of blogging.

Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 10 on "Do You Have Blogophobia?

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written by Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen Columns So Far




I've been writing my "Tips From The Blogging Queen Column" for 8 months now and I thought you'd like to see a list the columns I've written so far.

They can be viewed in my "Tips For Crafters On The Web Blog" or in the archives of the Faithful Friends Online Newsletters .

If you'd like to read the articles just CLICK on the link below for the article you want.

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 1 - Are Blogs Really Helpful?
Tips From the Blogging Queen - Column 2 - Commenting On Blogs and How That Can Be Helpful To Your Small Business Website?
Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 3 - Who Is Your Audience and What Should You Tell Them?
Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 4 - Why Would You Want To Bleg Your Readers?
Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 5 - How To Incorporate "Keywords" Into Your Blog
Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 6 - Are Your Pinging?
Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 7 - Don't Forget To Back-Up Your Blogs
Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 8 - Should You Add Blogvert and Blogvertising To Your Blog?

I hope you have enjoyed the articles so far.


Posted by Linda Walsh Originals - "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"

Monday, July 16, 2007

FREE Crafter's Forums and Crafter's Online Communities

I'm a crafter and might be a little biased, but I have to say that the crafting community on the Internet is THE BEST!

The crafting community on the Internet is so vibrant, so cheerful, so thoughtful, and filled with so many talented artists and crafters. And, best of all - everyone is always so willing to help everyone else out and share their creations, things they learned, tips and how-to's, etc. We are a crafting community united in helping each other. That's something we should all be very proud of. As I like to say, "What helps one crafter helps all of us!"

So, how do you join this fantastic community? Well, you join one or several of the hundreds of crafting forums or online communities that are out there and there are a lot of them.

Since there are so many of them I thought I'd include a list of FREE ones that I am aware of on the sidebar of my "The Best FREE Craft Articles Blog" so you can visit some of the ones that might interest you and, possibly, join some.

Listing of a forum or online communities on my "The Best FREE Craft Articles Blog" or in this post does not imply endorsement of the forum, crafter's websites, crafter's businesses, crafter's products, links or integrity of the web pages to which the forum leads. If you encounter post or links on any of the forums or online communities that is objectionable and not family-friendly please notify me as soon as possible so that we can remove the forum from this page.

Here's my list of FREE Crafter's Forums and Crafter's Online Communities:


About.com Family Crafts Forum
About.com Sewing Forum
AllCrafts.net Forums
AllCrafters.com Community Forum
Angel Bulletin Boards
Create A Prim's Community
Art Critique Gallery & Forums
A Secret Garden
ATCards.com - The Artist Trading Cards Forum
Auntie's Fine Sewing Parlour - Delphi Forum
A Passion for Primitives - Delphi Forums
Bella Online
BlogHer Forum
Circle of Friends
Cloth Doll Connection Forum
Cloth Doll Maker's Forum - MSN Group
Cloth Doll Making - Yahoo Group
Cottage Comforts - Delphi Forums
Country Lane Peddler
Crafster.org Forum
Craft Forum
Craftzine Forum
Craft Impressions
Crafts Fair Online Bulletin Boards
Craft Warehouse Forum
CraftWorldOnline
Craftz.org
CrowSoup.com Forum - Delphi Forum
Delphi Forums
DJDoodle Junction Craft Community Forum
Everything Sewing
Fashion-Era Forum
Faithful Friends Community Forum
Fashion Dolls & Other Small Crafts
Folkart Square Community Forum - Delphi Forums
Friendly Sewing - Delphi Forum
GardenWeb Forums
GetCrafty.com
Glitter Town Dolly's - Yahoo Group
Google Gorups
Grapevine Hollow - Delpfi Group
Heirlom Sewing and Smocking - Delphi Forum
Make Mine Pink Forum
Memory Book Inspirations
Moms Network Forum
More Than Country
MSN Groups
MyMommybiz
My Treasures - Delphi Forum
Old Fashioned Living
PatternReview.com Forum
Perky Pigs
Primitive Artisans Guild
Primitive & Rustic Crafts and Decorations
Primitive Times Magazine Forum
Prim Mart Community Forum
rubbadubbadoo
Scrapbook.com Forum
Scrap Garden
Scrapping Friends - MSN Forum
Serendipity Scrapbooks Forum
Sewing At Home Forum
Sewing Forum
Sewing Information Exchange Bulletin Board
Sew-whats-new.com Forum
She-essence Forum
Siggy Piggy
Sisters At Heart
Small Business Ideas Forum
The Antique Sewing Basket
The Backyard Fence Online Community
The Crafter's Lounge
The Mom Pack Forum
The Parlor - An Old Fashioned Living Community
The Prim Market Forum
The Sewing Wenches Forum - Yahoo Group
WAHM Message Boards
Yahoo Groups
Yarn Traders


I am going to update my list from time to time so please check back often.

I hope you enjoy the forums.


Posted by Linda Walsh Originals - "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Forums and Online Communities - Should You Join One?

When I started my Tips For Crafters on The Web blog one of the issues that I wanted to cover for small business crafters was forums or online communities.

Forums or online communities can be vital to the small business crafter trying to establish a presence on the web. Now you might wonder how that be can be? Well, just like in the business world they are a means to "network" not only with your fellow small business crafters, but with potential customers.

Forums are visited each and every day by thousands of Internet users and are utilized by the search engines, both of which are vital to getting your name out there.

So, what exactly is a forum? Basically, a forum is an "online community" of members with similar interests. There are many names for forums, but they are commonly referred to as web forums, bulletin boards, online communities, or message boards.

The forums provide a means of communicating (IE: through text and/or graphics) with another online user and posting content to their post or adding content yourself. You "communicate" with them by "posting" something in the forum in what is referred to as a"thread" or "message." The messages or threads (IE: posts) may be displayed in chronological order, by discussion, by most popularity, etc. depending upon the forum you are in.

Some of the forums are open to everyone while others are private and you have to apply and be accepted.


For some provider communities like Delphi, Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc. they have what is known as "closed" communities. Once you become a member of the respective provider community you can apply for membership to any of their respective forums or online communities and view and participate in them.

So, know that you know what they are you might be wondering why you should join one? Well, for a couple of reasons. First of all, they provide a way for you to network not only with other crafters, but with potential customers. Secondly, they are a terrific vehicle for getting your name out there and advertising your small crafting business. And, third - they can be a LOT of fun.

I'm sure you have a million questions. Let's see if we can answer some of the basic ones:

What Kinds of Forums Are There? Many of the forums were created based upon an Internet users particular interest. The categories are as varied as the numbers of forums.

There are blogging forums, cooking forums, home improvement forums, forums for hobbies, WAHM forums, small business forums, etc. Whatever subject you can think of I'm sure there is a forum for. Some are more specialized than others.

Does It Cost Anything To Join? That depends on the forum. Most of the forums are FREE to join. Others are FREE initially, but then fee based for additional features. Some you pay an annual or monthly fee to join and participate in.

What's A Thread? Basically it's a message or discussion. In other words it's a post. The forum software lets users add content such as text and/or graphics to a message or discussion. Threads might be sorted by subject within a particular category. Or, they might be sorted by relevance (IE: most popular) or by date.

What Does Membership Entail? That depends on the forum. Different forums have different rules for membership and different benefits. With membership comes the ability to participate in the forum and post threads or respond to threads. Most forums want members who are going to participate regularly. For some forums, if you don't, then membership is revoked.

Sometimes membership entails adding the forums banner and/or text link to the front or home page of your website as a requirement of membership. This is especially true if you plan on promoting your small business on the forum. If you plan on promoting your small business on the forum then what's fair is fair - you should promote the forum on your website, too.

Also, most memberships allow you to store a profile on yourself which may or may not include information about yourself, your email address and whether or not you want to be contacted by email or PM (IE: private message to you from another member which is sent to you membership message box), your avatar, your signature, etc.

What is an avatar? When you become a member of a forum you decide what you want your screen name to be. This is your name in the forum and what you are known by. Most members also add an avatar which us a member's small graphic representation of themselves. Some forums provide avatars for their members to use. Others allow you to upload an avatar from your own computer to use or you can enter the URL of your avatar if it is stored somewhere on the web.

What's A Forum Siggy Or Signature? Do You Need One? Like an avatar, most forums allow you to have a signature. This is vitally important to the small business crafter as it provides a means to advertise and promote yourself within each and every thread or post.

You set this up in your profile and each and every thread that you post to or create yourself will contain your signature at the bottom of the post. Your signature can be either a text link, clickable graphic like a banner, or combination(s) of both. It can also be a picture and/or html code sequence, depending on the forum.

For example, my signature includes a clickable banner(s) for my website(s) and clickable text links for all my blogs. If you'd like to see how to create a signature CLICK HERE for my Linda's How-Do-I Series? - How Do I Set-up Forum Signatures or Siggy's article.

Promoting On Forums And Elsewhere? Some forums have no problem with their members promoting their small businesses in their signature or posts as long as it doesn't become excessive. Sometimes certain sections of the forum are set-up specifically for promoting businesses, websites, and blogs. Some don't allow any promoting at all and will revoke your membership for doing so. You have to read the forum rules to know whether or not they allow for this. Most, however, prohibit spamming all the members with emails.

Is There A Common Courtesy Of Forums? Absolutely. Most forums follow the rules of common courtesy - everyone is treated with kindness and respect whether members agree or disagree with each other, or like or dislike someone and their views. Hatred towards another, name calling or bashing of each other is not allowed. Religious or political discussions aren't allowed unless, of course, the forum is set-up specifically for that. Also, threads or posts with profanity, vulgar language, or adult content are generally not allowed as most of the forums are "family-friendly" communities.

Associations? What are they and should You Join One? Associations are provider communities that house multiple numbers of forums. They might be ISP providers or websites set-up specifically to house multiple numbers of forums. Examples might be Delphi Forums, Yahoo Groups, MSN Communities, Google Groups, etc.

How Many Forums Should You Join? That depends upon how many you think you can actively participate in.

What Kinds Of Forums Should You Join? That's strictly up to you. I would join some for business and some for pleasure.

What About Chatrooms? Some forums include chatrooms within their forums for their members to use. Chatrooms are vehicles that allow members to interact online and communicate in real time by typing messages on their computer. Messages that are typed in by a member appear instantly to everybody who is in the chat room at that time.

Some forums set-up specified chat times for all their members to come and get to know one another or specific chats about various subject matter for their members to discuss interactively. A lot of online craft shows provide chat rooms for their customers to interact with the various artists or crafters selling at the craft show.

Does Commenting On Forums Have An Impact On Search Engines? Absolutely. Like other forms of online communication search engines love text and new content and forums are filled with it. Posting and replying on forum threads can be very beneficial to the small business crafter and great exposure for your business. Do a search on any search engine and see for yourself how often forum threads come up and their placement within the results.

So, if you're a small business crafter - should you join a forum or online community? My answer is absolutely if you want to gain vital exposure for your small business. Plus, you may just have some fun while you're at it.


Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written by Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Why Would I Want To Create A Blog?

With the popularity of blogs into the mainstream I get asked the following question or see the following question on some of the crafting forums I belong to: "Why Would I Want To Create A Blog?"

So, I thought I'd list a few of the posts that I have written about on my "Tips For Crafters On The Web Blog" or in my "Tips From the Blogging Queen Column" for the Faithful Friends Online Newsletter relating to that question that might interest you:

Blogs, Blogs and More Blogs


Tips From the Blogging Queen - Are Blogs Really Helpful?


I Wouldn't Know What To Write In A Blog


Should You Have A Blog For Your Craft Business?


Tips From The Blogging Queen - Who Is Your Audience and What Should You Tell Them?


I hope my posts help all the small business crafters who are thinking about starting a blog decide whether or not to create one.

And, if you've decided to create one and want to know where to begin just visit my "Testing The Blogs and Helpful Blog Tips" blog. I've got a zillion blogs and have tested many, many of the blog service providers and then posted about it on my blog. It's a great place to start.

Plus, once you've created your blog don't forget to check out my "Linda's How-Do-I Series" on my "Linda's Blog", "Tips For Crafters On The Web Blog", and "Testing The Blogs & Helpful Blog Tips" blog. It's filled with TONS of how-to's and tips for adding all sort of things to your blog. Just scroll down the sidebar until you see it.

If you're thinking of starting a blog I say - GO FOR IT!

Happy blogging.

Posted by Linda Walsh Originals - "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Linda's How-Do-I Series - Drop Down Menu's For Your Blog Sidebar

If you're anything like me then you have a million things on the sidebars of your blog. That's great for supplying lots of information, but it can get a little "busy" and crowded in the sidebar. A little organization would be helpful.

Well, I finally figured out how to add drop-down menu listings to the sidebar of my blogs. You do it using HTML <***form><***/form> and <***option> <***option> (minus the 3 ***'s that are there to display the HTML code in this article) commands.

I'd been looking for ways to organize my sidebars for all my links sections and first saw this particular drop down listing usage on Ruth's "Woolly Wormhead's Ripping Yarns" Blog. I thought she did a terrific job of organizing her sidebar. She, too, had a LOT of information on her sidebars. So, I thought, "Hmmm..... I could use that on my blogs, too."

So, I did some research on how to add drop down menu's for listing links on the sidebars of your blogs.

I decided to utilize this for the "Linda's How-Do-I Series" of E-Pamphlets listings that I have on the sidebars of my blogs, for the categories of articles that I have on several of my blogs that I haven't converted to a new Blogger.com template, and for my doll patterns categories on my Linda's Blog.

I'm happy to report that it works wonderfully and I love how my sidebars are organized now.

Let's say that I want to use drop-down menu's to list all my doll pattern categories with a sidebar title and listing and have it look like this on the sidebar of my blog:


Linda Walsh Originals Doll Pattern Categories
    To see all my pattern categories just click on the link in the drop-down menu below for the category you would like:



Here's the HTML code your would use (minus the 3***'s in each section to get the HTML code to display in this post) for the above. I reduced it down to the first 4 categories on my doll patterns list and single spaced the commands to make it easier for you to follow. Here's the HTML code for that:

<***center>
<***h2 class="sidebar-title">Linda Walsh Originals Doll Pattern Categories<***/h2>
<***ul>
<***strong>To see all my pattern categories just click on the link in the drop-down menu below for the category you would like:<***/strong>
<***p align="center">
<***!-- Linda's Pattern Categories-->
<***form>
<***select style="FONT-SIZE: 10px; FONT-FAMILY: verdana, Arial, sans-serif" onchange="document.location=">
<***option value="">Linda Walsh Originals Pattern Categories<***/option>
<***option value="http://www.lindawalshoriginalsepatterns.com/shop/index.php?act=" catid="28">NEW Doll Patterns<***/option>
<***option value="http://www.lindawalshoriginalsepatterns.com/shop/index.php?act=" catid="1">Gray Is Beautiful Series<***/option>
<***option value="http://www.lindawalshoriginalsepatterns.com/shop/index.php?act=" catid="29">Brothers & Sisters<***/option>
<***option value="http://www.lindawalshoriginalsepatterns.com/shop/index.php?act=" catid="2">Victorian "Ladies"<***/option>
<***/select>
<***/form>
<***!-- Linda's Pattern Categories -->
<***/p>
<***/ul>
<***/center>

The first <***option> line contains the title that will be displayed in the drop-down menu box. The following 4 <***option> lines are the individual URL's of my doll pattern categories that I want to direct you to. You just CLICK on the link in the drop-down menu and it brings you to that particular URL.

Using drop down menu's greatly reduces the size of your sidebars. If you're anything like me you need to do this as the sidebars just get to be too long.

I'm sure that I will be utilizing this even more and reducing my sidebars further, but thought you'd like to see how I did this for now.

So, what do you think? Do you like my organization?


Posted by Linda Walsh Originals - "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"

Monday, June 25, 2007

Linda's How-Do-I Series - What's On The Sidebar For Your Individual Posts!

One of the changes that I've made recently to the sidebars of the blogs of mine that I haven't converted to a new Blogger.com template is the addition of HTML coding that would specify exactly what sections of my sidebar I wanted included on the individual post pages.

If you are a reader of my blogs you may have noticed that there is a LOT of information on my sidebars. I wanted to change that for the individual posts pages where just one article would be displayed as I thought a long sidebar in those instances was too much.

So, I added <***mainorarchivepage>and <***/mainorarchivepage> HTML coding (minus the 3 ***'s that are shown just to get the HTML coding displayed in this post) at the beginning and ending of those sidebar sections that I wanted to EXCLUDE from the sidebar of my individual post pages. They're still there when my main blog is shown, just not there when the individual post pages are shown.

For example. Just scroll down the sidebar of my Linda's Blog, my I Love Crafts & Craft Blogs, and my DOLLS Blog to see how long the sidebars are. Now just click on any one or all of the following to see how I've shortened each blog for the individual post pages:

Linda's Blog - A Million Different Blogging Directories! For Crafters - Which To Choose?

DOLLS Blog - He's Doing an Irish Jig Again - Watch Out!

I Love Crafts and Craft Blogs - Top Blogs By Crafters Toplist Is Hopping!

Can you see the difference?

You can only do this on those blogs that haven't been changed to a new Blogger.com template. I changed the rest of my blogs to a new template and haven't figured out how to get this to work there as well. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it there. But, I'll keep looking and trying and if I can I'll let you know how I did it.



Posted by Linda Walsh Originals - "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Should You Add Blogvert and Blogvertising to Your Blog? - Column 8

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Should You Add Blogvert and Blogvertising to Your Blog? - Column 8

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 7 our blog definitions were "Blogvert" and "Blogvertising."

"Blogvert" is an ad on a blog. Ads can be pictures, banners, text, video, etc.

"Blogvertising" is advertising of any shape or nature that appears on a blog either in the sidebar(s), masthead, footnote area, or embedded within the articles of the blog. Blogvertising usually contains a clickable link to the subject advertisers website or blog.

So, the question this month is "Should You Add Blogvert and Blogvertising to Your Blog?

There was a time when advertising on blogs was forbidden and a HUGE "NO-NO." Blogs were considered personal diaries filled with nothing but text or images. They were not considered as business tools.

But, times change and so did the thinking on blogs and advertising. Paramount in this change was the ability of anyone including a small business owner to set-up a blog to support their small business. Blogs became mainstream and advertising your own business on your business blog was a no-brainer.

At first small business ads took the form of button ads in the sidebars or banner ads at the very top of the blogs. Sometimes the ads were embedded within the articles themselves in the form of text links, etc. Sometimes they were text links contained within the article bye lines.

However, with the ease to which blog templates could be altered and images added blogverts became larger and larger and placed anywhere within the confines of the blog.

With the advent of digital images, photo hosting websites, shopping carts, and E-Products small business bloggers realized that they could use their blogs to effectively advertise and sell specific products. And, nothing was more suited to this than "instant download e-products."

So, small business bloggers advertising their own businesses and products on their own blogs became acceptable. Within reason so as not to turn the customers off, but acceptable.

However, there was a change brewing in the blogvert and blogvertising debate and the question became whether or not you should add other advertising to your blog? Paramount in this change was the onset of Google AdSense ads, Amazon ads, affiliate advertising and the ability of bloggers to earn a few dollars on their blogging efforts.

So, should you add other advertising to your blog?

I think the answer to this depends on what your blog is being used for. If it is a blog that is being used to support and promote your small business and/or website then you need to consider three things before you add other advertising to it:

1) The reason why you set-up your blog up in the first place.
2) Who your customer base is and what advertising would do to your readership?
3) Where you are going to place this advertising.

If you think you can add other advertising without undermining the reasons for your blog and turning off your blog readers and customers then you should consider adding it.

If you think that other advertising will detract from the purpose of your blog then do not add it. Also, if you think that advertising for others on your own blog undermines your own small business then do not add it.

Of course there are those true bloggers who still consider advertising in blogs as offensive. I can understand their rationale. However, as blogs become more and more mainstream for big business and small business alike they become a commonplace advertising vehicle. The answer lies in striking a fine balance between blogvertising for your blog and turning off your blog readers.

"Tips From The Blogging Queen" Column 8 Definition -

"Blogstipation" - Being unable to think of anything to blog about (i.e. writer's block for bloggers).

Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 9 on "Are You Blogstipated?

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns, and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The #1 Mistake of Crafters With Blogs!

I have been blogging for awhile now and have reviewed a lot of blogs for my "I Love Crafts and Craft Blogs" blog and for my "Top Blogs By Crafters Toplist." In doing so I have noticed something that I consider to be the #1 mistake of crafters with blogs.

More often than not I will come across a terrific blog by a phenomenal crafter who has a blog and maybe a website and is selling their wonderful creations on the Internet. I don't know about all of you, but if I'm thinking of buying something from a small business crafter on the web I usually want to know more about whom I may be dealing with. Or, I might have a question that I want to ask them about their creation.

So, I usually try to find something out about the blogger by looking at their "profile", their "About Me" page, or maybe a post about themselves. Sometimes there is some wonderful information about the blogger and crafter, sometimes not. However and here's the number 1 mistake of crafters with blogs - more often than not, they don't include their email address in their profile or anywhere on their blog. Sometimes they don't even include it on their website. Without the email address it is impossible for the blog customer to get in touch with the crafter. Translation - no sale - lost business.

If I'm really interested in buying something from the blogging crafter I might try and see if they have listed their website in their blog profile or listed it on the sidebar of their blog. Sometimes their website link is included in their profile and sometimes it is very visible and at the top of the sidebar, which is great. Other times it requires searching for it. At this point I think the average blogging customer would just give up.

However, since I really want to buy the product and have a question I continue searching to see if they have a website. If they do have one then, again, I look to see if they have an email address or a "contact me." Sometimes they do, and sometimes not.

What I am always amazed at is that not only is their a lack of an email address on the blog, but the blogging crafters doesn't even put their name on their blog. If you are anything like me (and I suspect most customers are) I won't buy from someone on the web who doesn't list their email address, their name or business name, their street address, and their phone number. It's one thing to buy from huge retail stores with a website. It's another to buy from a small business crafter. For the latter the customer has to feel confident that they will receive the product they are paying for and confident with whom they are dealing with. By not including this information you promote a lack of confidence in the customer for buying from you.

Now I know you'll say that you don't include you email address on your blog and your name because you don't want to be inundated with spam mail and don't want everyone on the Internet to know who you are. That is totally understandable for a personal blog. However, if you are blogging to help your small crafting business generate sales that is a major mistake. By trying to prevent unwanted spam email you prevent the very customer you are trying to entice from contacting you.

I list my email address and my main web page in the "Contact" information of my blog profile. I also have a separate article post in all my blogs that contains more information about me. There is a link to this post in the sidebar of my blogs just under my profile information. So, if the blogging customer wants to find out more about me they have all the information they need right at hand. I also list my email address, business name, business location, and business phone number in all the "Contact" information links of my websites.

So, if you want blogging customers to not only read your blog but buy your products then provide them with the means to get in touch with you.


Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Don't Forget To Back-Up Your Blogs - Column 7

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 6 our blog definition was "Blog Back-up"" which in blog definitions is a a copy of a template or article(s) and stored on a separate medium in the event the original blog template or blog article(s) are lost.

So, the question this month is "Do You Have a Routine to Back-up Your Blogs?

Don't Forget To Back-up Your Blogs! For bloggers that's advice you shouldn't ignore. This is especially true if you have a large blog and if you have invested a lot of time into your blog. It is also true if you have a lot of personal pictures on your blog, if you have a business blog, if you have a family blog, or if you customized the template of your blog. Or, just plain - if you have a blog.

You're probably wondering if you really have to worry about this? The simple answer is "YES." All you really need to do is just get into a simple routine for backing up. Plus, one aspect of the simple routine should prove to be beneficial for future articles that you write.

I have a simple routine that I use to back-up my blog template, my blog articles, and my blog articles URLs. I'm sure you can understand backing up the blog template especially if you customized your blog. And, I'm sure you can understand backing-up the articles you have written. But, the URLs? Why would I do that?

Well, because it makes it so much easier when I write an article referencing a previous article and want the URL to link directly to that article. I just go to my back-up file list and look for that article and it's URL. Then I copy/paste the hyperlink to my new article. It's so much easier than hunting through the archives on my blog to try and find the article I had previously written and then copying/pasting the URL from my browser window.

So, how do I simply back-up my blogs? Well, since I keep "Notepad" open on my desktop for moving between my various websites and blogs and cutting & pasting things I want here or there I decided the easiest thing to do was to use "Notepad" to create .txt files for backing up all three of these areas. I have a .txt file for my blog articles, a .txt file for the URLs of my blog articles, and a .txt file for my blogs template.

Every time I write an article for my blog I copy the html code and paste it into my .txt file for blog articles. Then I publish my article, go to my blog, go to that particular articles archive page and copy/paste the URL to my .txt file for blog article URLs. All of this takes about 2 seconds. When it becomes a routine and habit it takes no time at all. Plus, if you are a multi-blogger and utilize some of the same articles for some of your other blogs it becomes very handy to have a .txt file with all your blog articles within it.

I back-up my blogs template in the same manner by copying and pasting it into a .txt file that I set-up specifically for it. Easy as pie once you're in the habit.

Then, if I want to be extra cautious and back-up by .txt files I copy them to an external hard drive that I use as my whole computer system back-up. Just a few extra minutes of your time can save you a massive headache should you ever lose your blog.

So, do your really have to back-up your blog? The simple answer is "YES." If you spend as much time as I do on your blog it would be a shame to lose it. Wouldn't it?

"Tips From The Blogging Queen" Column 7 Definition -

"Blogvert" - This is an ad on a blog. Ads can be pictures, banners, text, video, etc.

"Blogvertising" - This is advertising of any shape or nature that appears on a blog either in the sidebar(s), masthead, footnote area, or embedded within the articles of the blog. Blogvertising usually contains a clickable link to the subject advertisers website or blog.

Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 8 on "Should You Add Blogvert and Blogvertising to Your Blog?"

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns, and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Million Different Blogging Directories! For Crafters - Which To Choose?

Have any of you noticed just how many FREE "blogging directories" there are now? If you haven't, then you might me surprised to know that there are a million of them. And, they are as varied in numbers as they are in type.

The "blogging directories" can be straight forward directory listings, blog topsites, listings of blog titles with clickable links by category, blog search engine directories, etc. There's even a fantasy blog stock market type of directory called "Blogshares.com."

So, for crafters how do you know which FREE blog directory to join?

Well, that depends upon what type of crafting blog you have and what kind of traffic you want to drive towards your blog. My blogs are all craft oriented and "family-friendly." For me, that means I only want to be listed in those directories that list other craft blogs and that ONLY list "family-friendly" blogs. There are a million out there that are not "family-friendly" so you need to be careful when you are reviewing those directories. Telltale signs that they are not "family-friendly" would be the most popular tags, most popular blogs, etc. You also want to watch for those that include adult, photo, video, personal, or non family-friendly buzz words categories.

You might be wondering if you have to be that careful should you even bother to list your blog? The simple answer is "YES" because by listing you will, hopefully, drive readers and traffic to your blogs. And, if you are a small business crafter on the Internet with a website and blog more traffic and readers, hopefully, means more business.

So, I've continued to do research on the directories that might be suitable for my crafting blogs and have joined the ones I wanted to. They are listed on my various blogs towards the bottom of my left or right sidebars under the category "Blog Directories." The ones I've joined for various blogs are as follows:

1) The MomPack.com "Moms Promoting Moms" - This is one of the best all around networking websites, forum, directory, etc. for women and especially "Moms" out there. Their mission is " to support our mutual goals of success through an innovative, free advertising partnership."

Their website contains so many different features that it is hard to summarize it in one small paragraph. They offer a Mom2MOM Directory with listing by category, Mom packs for advertising your small business, a coupon center, text links, giveback programs, link exchanges, information swaps, FREE stuff, business advice, FREE articles, loads of benefits just for members, etc. They also offer a friendly forum and a ton of "networking" possibilities. If you are a small business crafter on the web with a website and blog you definitely want to join "The MomPack", get yourself listed, and become an active member.



2) BlogHer.org - This by far is one of the BEST blog directories out there. And, best of all it "FOR WOMEN ONLY!" A directory filled with nothing but women bloggers. It's fabulous, it's sensational, and it has the best blogs by women bloggers on the Internet. For a small business crafter with a website and blog this is a "MUST" listing.

BlogHer.org isn't just a directory though. It also offers a forum, an annual blogging conference, blogrolls by category with BlogHer.org editors overseeing each category, advertising opportunities, a newsletter, and special offers.

Members can create a forum topic and weblinks on their account. Each weblink is reviewed by a Blogher.org staff member before they decide to include your blog or not include your blog in their listings. They have specific criteria as to how frequently you post, how commercial your blog is, etc. that they use in determining whether or not to list your blog.

For me, one of the best things about their listings is that they have a Hobbies, Crafts & DIY category with a million crafters blogs. I just LOVE it.

But, they offer much more than just crafters. Just take a look at their category list: Art & Design, BlogHer Conferences, Business, Career & Personal Finance, Entertainment & Books, Fashion & Shopping, Feminism & Gender, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Hobbies, Crafts & DIY, Law, Life, Media & Journalism, Mommy & Family, Politics & News, Race, Ethnicity & Culture, Religion & Spirituality, Research, Academia & Education, Sex & Relationships, Social Change, Non-Profits & NGOs, Sports & Fitness, Technology & Web, Travel, World, Web site .



3) BlogShares.com - I don't portend to understand exactly what BlogShares is other than to say it is a "fantasy" stock market game. Your blogs $ value is based upon a whole series of criteria including; your blogs popularity (i.e. links), players rating you by buying your shares, etc.

Here's what Blogshares.org has to say about their website on their "About" page:

Welcome to the game of BlogShares, the addicting and fast-growing web-based experience! Take the time to pop into our Forums and introduce yourself to the friendliest community on the Internet. Get involved! From documentation and support to game logic and coding, BlogShares depends on the amazing volunteer spirit of its players to improve and grow. BlogShares is more than a game—it's an addiction. Keep reading to get in on the fun!

WHAT IS BLOGSHARES? - BlogShares is a fantasy stock market where weblogs are the companies. Players invest fictional dollars on shares in blogs. Blogs are valued by their incoming links and add value to other blogs by linking to them. Prices can go up or down based on trading and the underlying value of the blog. No actual ownership of blogs is transferred. BlogShares is purely a fictional marketplace.


What I do know is that BlogShares.org is a well established blog directory that has a terrific rating, tremendous amount to offer in the way of a forum, link exchange, etc. In order to play, add blogs, and then "CLAIM" your blogs you need to create an account.

If you'd like to see what my "I Love Crafts and Crafts Blogs" BlogShare.org page looks like just CLICK HERE. I need to spend more time over there to fully understand it.



4) Technorati.com - They are probably the most widely known and recognized of the "Blogging Directories." They are also probably the biggest.

They have listings of blogs by category, popular, favorites, watchlists, WTF (Where's The Fire), etc. They also have a frame for top tags and top searches, as well as some Technorati tools you can add to your blog. You can also request for them to "ping" your blog. They, too, have a blog, a developer center, tools center, etc. If you have a blog or several blogs listing them with Technorati is a "MUST."

Here too you have to set-up an account and then you can add your blogs to it and then "CLAIM" them by adding the Technorati widget to your blog. You can assign tags to each of your blogs and a blog description when you set them up.

The Technorati widget that you place on the sidebar of your blog contains a search box for letting readers search your blog, your 50x50 avatar, clickable "Blogs That Link Here" link, and clickable "View My Profile" link. If you'd like to view my Linda's Profile CLICK HERE.


Your account will contain a page of all your blogs, their rank, their authority #, and their most popular search tags. You can also edit your account and blogs descriptions, tags, and claim at any time. You can also set-up a watchlist for your account and subscribe to their newsletter.

Each blog you have listed has 2 pages. The first is a General Page which contains your blogs rank, the number of links to it, and clickable URLs for all the links to your blog.

If you click on your blog's name on the "General Page" then you'll be brought to the 2ND page which is an "Everything in the known universe about say Linda's BLOG" page. This page contains a profile of the author, a screenshot of the blog, description of the blog, listing of fans, top ten tags, recent posts including a multi-sentence blurb of the start of the post, and blog reactions. It also contains a "search" box for searching your blog.

Bloggers can also add a "Technorati Favorites" 88x15 mini-banner and snippet to their blogs so their blog readers can add your blog to their "Technorati Favorites" list.


5) BlogCatalog.com - I previously mentioned BlogCatalog in my Linda's Blog post about Blog Communities. BlogCatalog.com is not only a "blogging community" - it's also a terrific "Blog Directory." They have 48 categories including a "Craft" category with 584 crafters blogs in it. I have the 88x15 mini-banner for BlogCatalog.com on my Linda's Blog linked to their "crafts" page.

There are very few "Blog Directories" on the Internet that actually have "craft" categories. BlogCatalog.com is one of them and if you are a small business crafter on the web with a blog you might want to consider joining their "blogging community" and being listed here.



6) GlobeofBlogs.com - GlobeofBlogs.com is a well established "Blogging Directory" that has been on the Internet since 2001. They have close to 56,000 blogs listed in 18 different categories.

They are actually one of the FEW "Blog Directories" that actually has a "Crafts" category with 233 blogs in it, a "Hobbies" category with 1,385 blogs in it, and an "Arts & Entertainment" category with 3,090 blogs in it. For crafters they usually have to list their blogs in "Hobbies" or "Arts" or "General" or "Other." So, it's nice have 3 choices for crafters here.

They also provide numerous ways for searching. You can browse the blogs by author and search by name or birthday. Or, you can browse the blogs by title, topic, or location.

On their main page they have boxes for the following: Blogs with Today's Birthday, Random Weblog, Blogs by Location, Recent Additions, Weblog of the Week, and Blogs by Topic.

They also run an annual "Blogathon" for charity where participating blogs stay up for 24 hours and post to their blogs every 30 minutes. Sponsors find blogs they'd like to support and pledge amounts that are then given to the listed charities.

If you are crafter with a blog this is a great "Blog Directory" to be listed in. They don't accept everyone. Blogs are screened for acceptance and those they like are added to their directory. Denial could be based on the blog not having enough posts or being TOO commercial.


7) Bloggapedia.com - This is a basic blog directory with 16 categories that each contain sub-categories. The Arts & Entertainment category contains 28 categories including one for "crafts." Sub-categories may or may not include their own sub-categories. The "crafts" sub-category includes 13 sub-categories.

There is a search box for typical searching by keyword, a newsletter, a forum, their own blog, and some tools for bloggers.



So, I've listed seven choices for crafters with blogs. As mentioned, there are a million directories for bloggers out there. However, most aren't "family-friendly" and most don't address crafters with blogs. As a result they don't have "Crafts" as a separate category. Sometimes they provide a "Hobbies" category or "Arts & Entertainment." Sometimes they don't even provide that so crafters are left with listing their crafting blogs in "General" or even "Other." For me, that is totally unacceptable. The blog crafting community on the Internet is growing by leaps and bounds and I think it's time for mainstream blogging directories to recognize that. At least some of the above do and for doing that I'll reward them and I'll blog about them.

A Million Different Blogging Directories! For Crafters - Which To Choose? If you're a crafter with a blog choose any one of the above or all seven.


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Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"