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.


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, May 15, 2007

All Those "Blogging Communities"

I don't know whether you have noticed on the sidebar of my Linda's Blog and some of my other blogs that I've been joining some of the NEWER "blogging communities" lately.

If you have you might be wondering what are they and why would I do that?

Well, before I tell you which ones I've joined let's look at what "blogging communities" are and how they have evolved. "Blogging communities" are basically "communities of individual blogs tied together." These can be blogs housed within blog service providers, closed blog service provider communities tied together by "friends", and some of the NEWER websites with blogs tied together by category and/or theme.

Loosely they can even be blogs tied together by sidebar links from one blog to another. For instance, my "Linda's Friends" links on the sidebar of several of my blogs could be considered a "blogging community" as it is a group of blogging friends with a common crafting interest.

Some of the "blogging communities" are blog service provider communities that have been around for quite a while and who provide you with the ability to create a blog. These include blog service providers like: AOL Journals, Blogger.com, etc. Here you can create one or several blogs and search for other blogs you may or may not like within their network.

Other blog service providers took "blogging communities" to another level by not only providing you with the means to create a blog, but by allowing you to "invite" a circle of "friends" to be listed on your blog. These include blog service providers like: MSN Spaces, Yahoo 360, Tagworld, LiveJournal, My Space, etc. Most of these are "closed" communities in that you need to be a member of that community or have an account with the blog service provider to have a blog and to invite other members to be your "friend."

I have been a member of each of these two type of communities with the exception of MySpace for a while. If you'd like to see my blogs within these communities just click on these links: AOL Journals, MSN Spaces, Yahoo 360, Tagworld, and Live Journal.

I've had my Tagworld and LiveJournal blog for a little while and have been trying to find the time to write about them on my "Testing The Blog and Helpful Blog Tips". I just haven't had the time, but I'm hoping to soon.

In any event, the above are pretty well known and established "blogging communities" - as are sidebar links for individual bloggers.

The NEWER "blogging communities" that seem to be sprouting up everywhere are not blog service providers and do not provide you with the ability to create a blog. They are websites that allow bloggers to join and list their blogs with them and are, basically, groups of bloggers tied together by a category and/or common theme. Usually you establish an account which can house some or all your blogs within it. You could say that these are just another form of a blog directory.

For these communities you upload a 50x50 avatar size photo that is used for your member account. The individual member photo's are displayed on the home page of the "blog community" by category, theme, new members, most popular, etc. dependant upon that particular blog communities rules.

Each of the communities have their own set of rules but, generally, require that you add a widget to your blog that will display other "members" from the community who have visited your blog recently. Also, if a blog reader clicks on the widget they will be brought to your blog community account page where other "friends" and other "criteria" may or may not be listed. Some of the communities allow for other members to post a "comment" on your page.

So, why would you want to join these NEWER communities. Well, the idea behind these "blogging communities" is the same as some of the established "blogging communities" and that is to drive traffic to your blog. In other words, to get other bloggers to read your blog and get linked to it. The nice feature of the NEWER "blogging communities" with the 50x50 photo's is you can scan a bunch of photo's in a category and/or theme and click on the blogs of the photo's that interest you. Some of the communities include a screenshot of your blog that you can also view in each category to see what blog you may or may not want to click on.

So, I spent a couple of days searching through the NEWER "blogging communities" looking for those that were "family friendly." Just like blog directories you need to worry about this if you have a "family friendly" website or blog and only want to join other "family friendly" blog communities.

So, I did some searching and decided to join the following:

1) MyBlogLog.com - This is by far my favorite of the newer "blogging communities" as it allows you to not only add screenshots of all of your blogs but all of your websites as well to you account page. And, by putting some of their html code on each of your blogs or websites it tracks some simple stats for you. If you'd like to see what my page looks like there just CLICK HERE.

Each member account has a profile page listing their blogs and/or website screenshots, people who viewed their member page, new members to the communities you've joined, your family, friends and contacts, admirers, and your profile. Members can also post messages to you and there is a listing of "What's Hot" in the communities you have joined.

Each blog and/or website also has a page as well that includes the following: members of that blog, widgets for the blog of recent readers and yesterday's top 5 links, community messages, and a clickable recent posts lists for your blog.

In this community you can search an alphabetical list of communities you might like or an alphabetical list by member.

If you'd like to see what their widget looks like just scroll way down on the right sidebar of my Linda's Blog. Their widget is the first one listed on my sidebar under "Linda's Blog Communities." Its dark blue in color and shows "recent readers" with their mini pictures and their names, as well as yesterday's top 5 links to Linda's Blog.

2) FuelMyBlog.com - This is the 2ND community I joined. For this community you place a button banner in the sidebar of your blog for readers to vote for your blog. The more votes the more likely your little blog mini picture will be displayed on the home page of the FuelMyBlog.com community. The 20 most popular blog mini pictures are displayed in the 6 different categories for this community. All the blog mini pictures are displayed if you choose "more" for the individual blog categories.

But what's really nice about this community - actually it's kinda cute, is that if you scroll over the blog picture a little mini-window will be displayed that tells you a little bit about the blogger. Kind of like a little "snapshots" pop-up. Then you can vote for or against the blog and decide whether or not you want to view that blog.

They also have a forum for members to join in on and "competitions" for members to join. The only problem I found was that for the larger categories it takes awhile for all the mini pictures to load.

If you'd like to see what their widget looks like just scroll way down on the right sidebar of my Linda's Blog. Their widget is the 2ND one listed on my sidebar under "Linda's Blog Communities." Its the red/orange/black "Vote For Me" button.

3) BlogCatalog.com - This is another blogging community that I like. One of the reasons is because it actually has a "craft" category with 567 crafters blogs in it. Here you submit your blogs to the blogging community and if accepted then a screenshot of your blog will be displayed on your members account. Each member has an account page that shows their profile, screenshots and clickable links to their blogs, simple statistics for their blogs, their friends, recent viewers to their profile, and neighborhoods they belong to. Members can also post messages to you in the "Shoutbox" area.

Each blog has it's own page with information on the blog, such as: blog description, who the "recent viewers" have been, stats for the blog, who has joined your blog's "neighborhood", and clickable links to recent posts with a two line blurb of the beginning of the post to entice readers. Viewers can also rate your blog and leave comments.

BlogCatalog.com also has a widget for your blog that contains clickable links to the recent viewers blogs as well as a clickable link to your particular blogs page. If you'd like to see my Linda's Blog page just CLICK HERE. To view my BlogCatalog member profile just CLICK HERE.

One of the nice features of BlogCatalog.com is that it has an active discussion board that you can join in on. Plus you can search for other blogs by categories, word, phrase, or popular tags.

If you'd like to see what their widget looks like just scroll way down on the right sidebar of my Linda's Blog. Their widget is the third one listed on my sidebar under "Linda's Blog Communities." Its dark blue and white and shows "recent viewers" with their clickable mini pictures and their names.


So far I've gotten traffic from MyBlogLog.com and BlogCatalog.com to my various blogs. It's hard to tell exactly how much traffic I've gotten from FuelMyBlog.com other then seeing how many people have voted for my blogs.

I'm sure as the popularity of the newer blog communities increases that there will be more and more communities to join. I wouldn't mind that as long as there are crafters categories and blogs to view. I say, "The more crafters blogs the better!" And, "The more family-friendly communities the better!"


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