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 and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

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 and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. 

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 and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

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.


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 and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. 

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 and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

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 and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

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.

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?


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.

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 and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

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 By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

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 and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Has Anyone Noticed!

BLOGS, BLOGS, AND MORE BLOGS!

Have any of you noticed how many blogs there are now for individuals, crafters, small business, corporations, etc.?

Everyday when I'm listening to the news I hear someone say, "Just go to so and so's blog at....." And, I love hearing that!

That tells me that blogs have become more and more commonplace as tools for individuals and families to stay in touch, as tools for small businesses and their customers, as tools for the news media, as selling tools, and as tools for mainstream businesses. Everyone and their brother has a blog and I think it's FABULOUS!

What I also love is how many crafting bloggers there are out there. And, most are around my age - which I also think is FABULOUS!

If you key the word blog into Google you'll get 1,030,000,000 results. That's a LOT OF BLOGS.

There's a reason why blogs have been increasing in popularity exponentially over the past few years and it's because they are FREE, they are easy to use, they are extremely easy to update, and they are highly personal - which most customers LOVE. If you were to apply the reality TV versus regular TV analogy to blogs and websites you'd understand why reality TV and blogs are so popular. They are both highly personal and both involve people interacting with each other.

Plus, they can and do function for some bloggers as very professional websites. You can have your own domain name and you can use a shopping cart. In fact, I'd say that there isn't much you can't do with a blog. There is a way to do just about anything you want to. That makes blogs much more versatile than a website as they are much more flexible. And, they are a LOT easier to change and update.

The Internet is ever changing and to be in business on the Internet you need to be fluid and ever changing. That means utilizing what's popular with users and customers. BLOGS are extremely popular and easily adaptable to any kind of commerce, especially e-commerce and e-products.

I, personally, love shopping with someone who has a personal or small business blog. I love the feeling of getting to know the person I'm buying from. I don't know if you feel the same way, too, but I always feel more comfortable buying from someone who has taken the time to tell me something about their product(s) and their life or business. By doing so they make me feel feel more comfortable doing business with them. And, that's what writing blogs for small businesses does. Hopefully, if the blog reader is comfortable with the blog owner they will buy their product.

If they do that's FABULOUS! Bring on the blogs. The more the merrier!




Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Latest in FREE Crafting Information - FREE Crafting Podcasts!


There are just so many ways to get crafting information in today's day and age. Some are FREE, some are not. But, there's a whole slew of ways to get the crafting information that you want.

There are books, video's, DIY cable TV shows, crafts shows, craft courses, craft blogs, audio books, craft instructions, craft lessons, E-Products, E-Patterns, E-Stitcheries, E-Doodles, E-Graphics, .PDF E-Zines, tutorials, online magazines, and now PODCASTS.

PODCASTS????

What, you don't know what PODCASTS are?

Well, according to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia they are as follows:

A podcast is a media file which is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. Like 'radio', it can mean both the content and the method of syndication. The latter may also be termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. The term "podcast" is a portmanteau of the name of Apple's portable music player, the iPod, and broadcast; a pod refers to a container of some sort and the idea of broadcasting to a container or pod correctly describes the process of podcasting.

Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct
download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital audio formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically, using software capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.

In other words, they are audio blogs that have radio segments that you can download in MP3 format to listen to on your IPod or MP3 player, or you can play and listen to them right from the blog.

Now that you know what a PODCAST is - I have the best news to tell you!

Angie Wenke, just bought Prim Talk Radio and she and some of the editors from Primitive Times Magazine are going to be doing craft podcasts. Angie officially takes over the first of April, but she and some of the editors of Primitive Times Magazine have already been doing some Prim Talk Radio crafting segments.

You might be wondering exactly what Prim Talk Radio is. Well, according to its' founder, Niki Jackson, of The Vintage Artist, Prim Talk Radio is an online internet radio show & podcast for primitive crafters.

Prim Talk Radio in other words is a series of FREE crafting radio show segments that can be downloaded as MP3 files directly from the website or syndicated through podcast subscriptions. The radio segments can also be can be played for your listening pleasure directly from the Prim Talk Radio blog website.

I have listened to many of the craft radio segments while working on my computer and have enjoyed each and every one of them. It's a great way to learn a new crafting skill while whiling away the hours on the computer.

And, to go along with her purchase of Prim Talk Radio blog Angie has created a new Prim Talk Radio website that is linked to the Prim Talk Radio blog where you can get all sorts of information on advertising on Prim Talk Radio, information about the staff, grand re-opening contests, etc.
So, if you haven't tuned in to Prim Talk Radio yet do yourself a favor and do so. The segments have been fabulous so far and with Angie and some of her Primitive Times Magazine editors involved now it should only get better.

Tune in to Prim Talk Radio and learn something new today.

We're on the hunt for FREE crafting podcast websites. If you know of any please EMAIL us and let us know. I'm sure all our blog readers would appreciate that.


Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Are You Pinging? - Column 6

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Are You Pinging? - Column 6

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 5 our blog definition was "Ping" which is a feature in blog software to automatically notify search engines and subscribers when new posts or comments have been published on a blog. It can be manually triggered by a blog owner using a ping service. Or, it can be an indicator within the blog software that is turned "on" for automatic notification to the ping servers.

So, the question this month is "Are You Pinging?"

"Pinging" is actually a very easy blog term to understand as it is just a means of telling everyone that you've posted an article to your blog or updated an article on your blog.

Pinging can either be done automatically by the blog service providers software or can be done manually by the blogger themselves. Many blog service providers have indicators that the blogger can turn "on" in their settings to allow the blog service provider to automatically notify the "ping servers" when a new post is created or an old post is updated.

In essence, a signal is sent to the "ping servers" who generate a list of blogs that have new articles or updated posts. The "ping servers" have subscribers (i.e. aggregators like Feedburner, Technorati, Google Blog Search, etc.) to their lists who, in turn, notify their subscribers (i.e. blog readers) when a new blog article has been posted or a blog article has been updated.

There are also a number of ping service providers who allow the blog user to manually tell them when they have posted a new article or updated a blog article.

So, why would you want to have your blog automatically ping?

Well, if you are a small business owner and you are using your blog as a newsletter of sorts then you want your blog readers to know when you have something new to tell them.

So, how do you know if your blog is automatically "pinging?" Well, you want to look for an indicator somewhere in your blog settings that might say:


Notify Weblogs.com? Indicate "Yes" or "No"

Weblogs.com is a blog update notification service that many individuals and services use to track blog changes. If you want your blog to be automatically pinged when you post a new article or update an article then you want this indicator to say "yes."

Also, make sure that your blog is a "public" blog (i.e. can be viewed by anyone). This should also be an indicator somewhere in your blog's settings. If it's not a "public" blog then your "ping" isn't going to go anywhere.

Can you always manually ping your blog through a "ping service" like Ping-O-Matic? Sure you can, but if you post new articles frequently, manually pinging can be very time consuming.

So, are you pinging?

If you're a small business owner with a business blog - you should be.

"Tips From The Blogging Queen" Column 6 Definition -
"Blog Back-up" - A copy of a template, article(s), and article(s) URL made by the blogger and stored on a separate medium in the event the original template, article(s) or article URL(s) are lost.
Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 7 on "Are You Backing Up Your Blog?"

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Monday, April 16, 2007

FYI - A Few Blog Terms and Definitions!

Blogs and bloggers have a language all their own that might seem strange for anyone being introduced to blogging for the first time. So, I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of the more common blogging terms and their definitions:

So, now that you know what a blog is you need to know a few blog terms. Here are a few of the more common ones:

Address - A unique identifier for a computer or online website, usually a URL for a website or marked with an @ for an email address. Literally, it is how your computer finds a location on the information highway.

Aggregator - A program or website that allows users to read the contents of blog articles using RSS or Atom feeds.

Archives and Archiving - The repository of published articles for a particular blog.

Atom - An XML-based document format and HTTP-based protocol designed for the syndication of Web content such as weblogs and news headlines to Websites as well as directly to user agents.

Audioblog -A blog where the posts are voice recordings sent by mobile phone.

Autocasting - An automated form of podcasting that generates audio versions of text blogs from RSS feeds.

Biz Blog - A business blog.

Blinkie - A small blinking graphic.

Blog - A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a type of website where entries are made (such as in a journal or diary) and displayed in a reverse chronological order.

Blogathy - When you don't care if you posted in your blog that day.

Blog Digest - A blog summarizes a number of other blogs on a daily or regular basis.

Blog Farm - Similar to webrings this is a website constructed from a group of linked blogs.

Blog Feed - An XML-based file that blog hosting software uses to create a machine-readable version of the blog. This allows for it to be "syndicated" for further distribution on the web. The page is read either using an RSS feed or an Atom feed.

Blogger - The owner and writer, generally, of a blog. Also associated with Blogger.com.

Bloggies - One of the most popular blog awards.

Blog Hopping - To follow links from one blog entry to another, with related side-trips to various articles, sites, discussion forums, and more.

Blogiversary - Birthday for the day the blog was established.

Blogopotamus - A very long blog article.

Blogorrhea - A very large number of articles published by a blog.

Blog Provider - A company providing blog services and software.

Blogosphere - The blogging community.

Blogroll - A list of links to other blogs. May be manually entered by a blog user or provided by a "BlogRolling" service provider.

Blog Site - A web site which combines blog feeds from a variety of blogs and non-blog sources, and adds significant value over the raw blog feeds.

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

Blogstorm - The name for when a tremendous amount of activity (i.e. posting, comments, etc.) surrounds a particular subject or controversy in the blogosphere.

Blogstream - A play on the term mainstream for the alternative news and information network of weblogs.

BlogThis - These are links on a blog that allow readers to automatically generate a blog entry based on the article they are reading and to post it to their own blog.

Blogware - The software used to write blogs.

BMP - Stands for "bitmap" and is the standard graphics file format on Windows-compatible computers.

Clipart - A ready-to-use graphics file.

Clog - An online-community web forum with articles contributed by more than one person and which does not require user access to join.

Collaborative Blogs - A blog written by more than one person and often about a specific topic and requiring user access to join and publish.

Comments - Opinions left by a blog reader on the published article or a blog.

Commenter - Someone who leaves remarks in the "Comments" section of a blog or article.

CSS - Stands for "Cascading Style Shees" and are software scripts that define color, layout, font types, etc. on a webpage or blog.

Directory Blog- Directory blogs are usually focused on a particular news topic and/or provide regularly-updated links to topics of interest.

Domain - A name that identifies one or more IP addresses.

Draft - A non-published article on a blog.

Event Blog - A blog set up, specifically, for a period of time to cover an event.

Feed - An XML file containing headlines and descriptions also called news feed, content feed, xml feed or web feed.

Flog - Much like a ghost writer. A flog is a blog that is written by someone else.

Format and Formatting - The organization of information according to preset specifications (usually for computer processing).

FTP - Stands for "File Transfer Protocol" and is the language used for file transfer from computer to computer across the internet.

GIF - Stands for Graphics Interchange Format and is a compressed graphic file normally used for small images that do not require too many colors.

Graphic - An image that is generated by a computer or imaging device.

Group Blog - A blog with several contributing editors.

Host - A computer that is connected to the internet.

Hosting Company - A company that uses a web server to provide storage space for many web sites.

HTML - Stands for "HyperText Markup Language" and is a software language for designing webpages.

Image - A picture.

Information Super Highway - The Internet.

Internet - A global network connecting millions of computers that includes nearly every university, government, and research facility in the world. Also included are many commercial sites and blogs.

Intranet - A computer network, based on Internet technology, that is designed to meet the internal needs for sharing information within a single organization or company. Generally, a private network that is not accessible to the Internet.

IP Address - Stands for "Internet Protocol Address" and is a numeric address that is given to servers and users connected to the Internet.

Journal Blog - A personal diary-like blog or journal.

JPEG - Stands for "Joint Photograhic Experts Group" and is a common image format. Art and photographic pictures are usually encoded as JPEG files.

Keyword - A word or phrase that is used when searching for a website in the search engines or directories that explains the content of a website.

Milblog - Blog written by a member or veteran of the armed services.

Meme - Something that is posted on one blog and responded to on other blogs.

Meta-blogging - Writing blog articles about blogging.

Moblog - A mobile phone photoblog that if photographs taken by a users mobile phone.

Momosphere - Blogs written by Moms.

MP3 Blog - Blogs that host downloadable music in MP3 audio format.

Multi-blogger - A person or business running multiple blogs.

Multi-blogging - Creating, maintaining, and running multiple blogs (2 or more) at the same time.
Network - A connection of two or more computers so that they can share resources.

Permalink - The URL of individual article posts.

Photoblog - A blog of mainly pictures.

Ping - A feature in blog software that automatically notifies search engines, subscriber services, etc. when new posts or comments have been published. Can also be manually triggered by the blog owner on some blog ping services.

Plog - A political blog.

PNG - Stands for "Portable Network Graphics" and is a compressed graphic file normally used for images.

Podcasting - A combination of the words iPod and broadcasting where you post audio and video material onto a blog and its RSS feed specifically for digital players.

Post - A published article on a blog.

Profile - A page about the blog owner that may include a picture and other information about the blog owner. Basically, an "About Me" page supplemental to one's blog.

Published Article - Individual blog article that has been made public and given a permalink.

Publishing - The process of making a blog article public.

RSS aggregator - A reader or feedreader service or software program that allows a blogger to read an RSS feed.

RSS - Stands for "Real Simple Syndication" and is a file format that contains the latest articles posted by a blog. RSS feeds are immediate when an article is published and are read by RSS aggregators or reader. Depending upon the feed readers requirements a feed may contain just the title of the article, the title and a couple of lines, or the entire article that was posted.

RTWT - Stands for "Read The Whole Thing."

Server - A computer that delivers information and software to other computers linked by a network.

Sidebar - One or several columns placed on one or both sides of a blogs published articles.

Spam - Unwanted, unsolicited email.

Spam blog - Blogs composed entirely of spam.

Spambot - Code that automatically generates large numbers of unsolicited comment spam.

Splog - A spam blog.

Syndicate - An RSS feature that automatically informs subscribers that a new post or comment has been published on your blog.

Tag Word - A keyword.

Team Blog - Blogs written by members of a team.

Template - A document or file having a set of pre-designed formats, used as a starting point for a particular application so that the format does not have to be recreated each time it is used.

Text Editor - A text editor is any word processing program that you can use to type and edit text. Word Pad and NotePad for Windows and SimpleText and TextEdit for the Mac are common text editors. Larger programs such as Microsoft Word and Word Perfect are also text editors but they have many more features. You can actually write HTML code and create HTML pages with a simple text editor as long as you know the correct HTML syntax.

Text File - A file that contains text only and is associated most often with a text editor. Examples are Notepad files (.txt).

Thread - A series of remarks posted in the comment section of a blog that follow a specific sequence.

Topical Blog - A blog that focuses on a niche.

Typelist - Lists mainly the sidebars of blogs to other areas of interest to the blog owner or that they are recommending. They may or may not contain links to other URL's. Areas of interest could be books the owner likes, movies they like, pictures they like, etc.

TrackBack - Systems that allows a blog owner to see when someone has seen the original blog article and written another entry about it. A "ping" is sent between the two blogs alerting everyone as to the trackback.

Troll or Trolling - A person who posts content on a blog with the express intent of provoking an angry response. Trolling is the act of a troll.

URL - Stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is a string of text (i.e. the global address) that specifies the location of documents, websites, and other objects on the World Wide Web.

Web Blog - A blog.

Vlog - A video blog.

Vlogger - A video blogger.

Webpage - A document on the World Wide Web, consisting of an HTML file and any related files for scripts and graphics, and often hyperlinked to other documents on the Web.

Website - A set of interconnected webpages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization.

Wiki - Collaborative on-line software that allows readers to add content on a subject that can be edited by others. For example: Wikipedia.

WWW - An acronym that stands for "World Wide Web" and is is a collection of online documents stored on servers around the world, that are connected to the Internet.

WYSIWYG - An acronym for "what you see is what you get." What you see on the computer screen corresponds to what you will get as printed output.

XML - Stands for "Extensible Markup Language" and is a flexible way to create common information formats and share both the format and the data on the World Wide Web, intranets, and elsewhere.

As mentioned in Part 1 of my "Testing The blogs Series" just like text messaging, forum commenting, etc. bloggers have their own shorthand, words, and definitions, too. You don't have to be an expert on them right away or know what everything means.

If you're new to "blogging" don't worry. If you decide to create a blog before too long some of these words will become common language to you. I'm sure you may have heard some of the terms already. Some may be more obscure and you may never use them or know what they mean. I gave them all to you because I like to be thorough.

Next up in Part 3 of my "Testing The Blogs Series" is my favorite blog provider - the "Cadillac" of blogs - Blogger.com.


In Part 4 of my "Testing The Blogs Series" we start comparing all the other blogs I've tried to my favorite. I bet you can hardly wait!


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Pupil, A Teacher, and The Crafting Community!

There is just something wonderful about crafting and being able to share your delight with crafting to anyone anywhere in the world. At least I think there is.

There is also something wonderful about helping another crafter and encouraging them to do what they want to do, but might be a little timid about it. After all, no one wants to look foolish. Do they?
Well, my answer to that is there is nothing that you create that you can look foolish for
Creating is creating and crafter's the world over understand this. Whether you are in India, South Africa, Australia, The United States, England, Germany, etc. crafting is crafting. Creating a doll is creating a doll. Designing a graphic is designing a graphic. Creative embroidery is creative embroidery. Crazy quilting is crazy quilting. Knitting is knitting. And, stitchery is stitchery. You get the idea.

The creation drive transcends boundaries and language. A beautiful doll created by a doll maker in India can be appreciated by any other doll maker the world over.

What sets crafter's apart no matter where they are in the world is the love of creating. The drive to not only make something, but to make it "your own."

When you make something "your own" you have set your ideas and creative imagination into the piece you have created. It becomes "beautiful" in your eyes and, hopefully, is appreciated by other crafter's who know what it is to create. So, how can you ever look foolish? My answer is you can't.
Last year a friend of mine, who makes the most wonderful dolls, wanted to try her hand at pattern making, but was a little skeptical that she could do it. Even though she had been in the craft business for 15 years she was still a little afraid and didn't want to look foolish. I, of course, encouraged her and gave her some helpful tips (at least I hope they were helpful) and told her to "GO FOR IT!" Well, she did and she hasn't stopped. She's been the energizer bunny ever since. Make that "the 2ND energizer bunny." Angie is "THE energizer bunny!"

Well, my friend has been involved with so many things since she got the confidence to do so that her creativity is in "overdrive." Along the way she's had a few questions and if I was able to help her I did.

Well, our online friendship developed to the point where she refers to me as "her teacher" and I refer to her as "my pupil." If you are a member of any of the crafting forums we belong to then you know who this is.

What is so wonderful about this story is that she has gone from 0 patterns to 18, has several websites, a crafting blog, a craft show E-Zine, and just bought a new online craft show website and a directory website. She's growing, and growing and growing. And, I couldn't be happier for her.

I know that she has helped others along the way as I have helped her. And, I hope, she will continue to do so which is what the "crafting community" worldwide is known for. We have a wonderful helping and contributing spirit amongst us that is rare and unique in today's day and age. We all help one another as we all appreciate the effort that goes into creating. And, by helping one another we all help "our crafting community" to grow. As the community grows we all benefit.

My motto is "What helps one crafter helps us all!" What could be better than that.

By the way, if you're wondering who my pupil is - it's Talena Bacon of Sew Cute Dolls & More, Sew Cute Doll Patterns, Mulberry Creek Mercantile, and Marketplace Craft Fair.

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - How To Incorporate "Keywords" Into Your Blog - Column 5

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 4 our blog definition was "keyword" which in blog definitions is a word or phrase that is used when searching for websites or blogs in the search engines or directories that explains the content of a website or blog article post.

So, the question this month is "How Do You Incorporate "Keywords" Into Your Blog Articles?"
If you have a website then I'm sure you are familiar with the term "keywords" in relationship to "meta tags" and search engines. A "Meta Tag" is a word or words (i.e. a keyword phrase) that you enter into defined meta tag fields or into your html code that describe the contents of that particular website page. Then when someone types that word or phrase of words into a search engine that particular page of your website will be included in their results.

Well, "keywords" are important for blog articles as well except there are no "meta tags" per se for you to use. What do you do?

Well, for blogs there are two ways to establish "keywords" for search engines. The first is in the use of "labels" and the second is in the actual text content of the article you are writing.

You could think of "labels" as "meta tags" except you attach them to every article in your blog versus a website page. Labels might also be called "categories", "tagwords", "keywords", etc. They are established by the blog service provider in their blog software and may be a word or words that you can add to an article to describe the contents of the article, or they may be categories that you can actually place your article into, or a combination of both.

If your blog service provider provides for the use of "labels" then it would be wise to use them for two reasons. The first and foremost is that they make it easier for your blog readers to find the articles in your blog that are of interest to them. Think of "labels" as an index of sorts. The second reason you should us them is that they provide one of the ways for the search engines to determine the content of your article.

However, if your blog service provider doesn't use labels all is not lost. You see, you can establish "labels" within the content of your article yourself.

How do you do this? By clever use of the words within your article.

Let's say you sell doll patterns and your blog is about your business, your products, and other information that you think may be of interest to your blog readers. Now, let's say that you want to write an article about one of your brand new doll patterns.

Well, first you would ask yourself if you wanted to buy this pattern and were going to search for it on the Internet what words would you key into your search engine? What words best describe your new pattern? Those words become your "keywords."

Then you would make sure that you included those "keywords" several times within the content of your article. If your blog service provider also provides for "labels" then you would make sure that you include those "keywords" as the labels, as well. By doing so. hopefully, you ensure that your article will be included within the search engine results for a particular keyword or keyword phrase.
Now let's say that you want to make sure that when your article is pulled up by the search engines that your reader knows who created the pattern and how they can purchase it. It doesn't do you any good if the article doesn't provide a clickable link back to your website or provide the reader with your companies name.

So, what do you do? Well, first you make sure that somewhere within the body of your article you mention your companies name, product name, and/or your companies byline. You don't want to turn the reader off by overdoing this so be judicious in the use of this within the body of your article.
Secondly, you can use what I like to call a "keyword signature" at the bottom of every article you post. You want to make sure that every single post contains a "Posted by" keyword signature of your name or your business name, a clickable link to your website, and maybe your company byline. By doing so you enhance the possibility that your article will be contained in the search results for a search of your companies name or byline. You also provide key information on your business to your blog reader in every article posted.

So, are "keywords" important for every article you post? Absolutely.

Why?

Well, the answer is simple: By including "keywords" in the content of your blog and as "labels" you will, hopefully, ensure that the search engines find your blog article. By doing so, hopefully, the customer finds you and your business.

"Tips From The Blogging Queen" Column 5 Definition -
"Ping" - A feature in software to automatically notify RSS readers, search engines, and subscribers when new posts or comments have been published on a blog. Can be manually triggered by a blog owner using a ping service. Or, can be an indicator within the blog software that is turned "on" for automatic notification to the ping servers.

Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 6 on "Are You Pinging?"

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.