Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Potential Disaster For Handmade Doll Makers Is Looming!

I don't know if you all are aware of the new CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) of 2008 or not, but because of it selling handmade dolls of any kind is about to become much more difficult - if not IMPOSSIBLE for small business handcrafters!

The CPSIA was signed into law by President Bush on 8/14/08 and has several phases to it that go into effect at different points in time. The issuance of certificates for consumer products subject to any of the rules or bans went into effect on November 12, 2008 and the Internet labeling of children's products advertised on Internet websites went into effect on December 12, 2008.

February 10, 2009 is the next effective date for several of the sections of this bill: 1) Catalog labeling for children's products advertised in catalogs or other printed materials, 2) Ban on total lead by weight set to 600 ppm for any children's product sold, 3) Phthalate ban for all toys and child care articles, and 4) Safety standards for toys that fall under the scope of ASTMF963.

The next big deadline is August 14, 2009 and it is for several sections of the bill: 1) Registration cards required for durable nursery items and promulgate standards for products intended for use by children under the age of five, 2) Ban on total lead by weight set to 300 ppm for any children's product sold, 3) Ban on lead and paint and surface coatings limit reduced to 90 ppm for any consumer product, and 4) tracking labels for any children's products.

And, the real rub - the new law requires 3rd party testing for all consumer products primarily intended for children twelve years of age or younger. Every manufacturer of a children's product must have its product tested by an accredited independent lab and if it passes issue a certificate that the product meets all the applicable Consumer Product Safety Standards.

The new law defines a "children's product" as: "A consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. In determining whether a consumer product is intended for a child 12 years of age or younger, the following factors will be considered:

a) A statement by the manufacturer about the intended use of the product, including a label on the product if such statement is reasonable.
b) Whether the product is represented in packaging, display, promotion or advertising as appropriate for use by a child 12 years or younger.
c) Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.
d) The Age Determination Guidelines issued by the Commission staff in 9/2002, and any successor to such guidelines.

As you all probably know, I have made several thousand dolls over the years - some of which have been for sale from time to time. For most of my doll pattern designs or dolls I've made based on other designers patterns I have made 1 extra handmade doll to sell. All of my dolls are and have always been labeled as intended for use by "grown-up girls" only. My disclaimer on my website states: "Please note that all of the products sold on this website are intended for home decoration only and not intended for use by children of any age."

Now you might be thinking that according to a) and b) above of the children's product definition that I don't need to be worried about the new regulations as I don't sell products intended for children. While, technically that may be true, in my opinion, I still have a problem selling my dolls.

The rub is section c) of the children's product definition that says: c) Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.

I sell "dolls" for "grown-up girls" but, they are still termed "dolls" and the definition of a "doll" is according to wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn "a small replica of a person; used as a toy," or according to en.wiktionary.org/wiki/doll "a toy in the form of a human" or "a doll is an object that represents a baby or other human being, but includes likenesses of animals and imaginary creatures. ..."

No matter how many disclaimers I put on my dolls or website "dolls" in most consumers minds are "toys" which in my opinion fall under this new act and, therefore, require them to be tested for lead by a 3rd party accredited lab.

And, under the FAQ section of the CPSC.gov website there is the question: Does the CPSC envision stuffed animals falling within the scope of the CPSIA lead limits and Phthalate limits? The answer was: Most stuffed animals would be considered to be children's products and presumably toys. A manufacturer would need to determine whether the design of the stuffed animals is such that it is subject to the lead paint limits, the lead content limits or the phthalate limits.

I do sell some stuffed animals and if stuffed animals are considered toys then cloth dolls are not a far stretch from that.

My problem is that I didn't make hundreds of the same doll. I made thousands of OOAK or individual dolls so the expense for testing of all my products would be unbelievably prohibitive. Plus, the new law allows for any one harmed by a product that doesn't meet the standards to be sued in civil court and even allows for the states attorney generals to sue in criminal court with penalties and jail time attached.

There are thousands upon thousands of different types of dolls and crafts that could be affected by this law. And, it isn't just "dolls" or "toys" - it's ALL CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS or products deemed to be used by children. Just think about that - the scope of that is almost mind boggling.

But, the problem for me isn't just with the lead paint testing it is also with the "general conformity certificate", and the permanent tracking labels going forward. For a handcrafter of "dolls" these two issues become a logistical paperwork nightmare.

I've been watching the forums from Etsy.com since they issued their email about the petition and reading about all the small business handcrafters that will be affected by this law. Because of the "BROAD" definitions used within the act and the "SCOPE" of the act there will be hundreds upon thousands of handcrafters affected. It is no wonder they are calling February 10Th "National Bankruptcy Day." For many, many small business they will no longer be able to afford to stay in business after that date. Or, if they do they may be subject to civil lawsuits and/or criminal penalties and or jail terms if they are selling children's products that are not in compliance.

So, to make a long story short - Due to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 I am suspending my two Linda Walsh Originals Dolls websites and will be suspending the sale of all of my handmade dolls & crafts. I will still be creating dolls for my doll patterns and will still be selling print and e-patterns, but will suspend selling any handmade dolls & crafts that I may have made. As a result, all handmade dolls & crafts shown on my websites are now currently "Out Of Stock" and not available for purchase.

Am I distressed and bummed by this - ABSOLUTELY!

Am I disheartened - ABSOLUTELY!

Do I have the will or the resources to fight this - NO!



Disclaimer- I am not a lawyer and do not claim to be. My interpretation of this act is just that - my interpretation. In other words - "my opinion." Your interpretation and/or opinion may be different.


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

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 19 - Will You Get Dooced?

Last June in my TFTBQ Column 18 our definition was "Dooced." This is having lost a job because of entries posted to a blog. Our question was -"Will You Get Dooced?"

I read somewhere that at last count there were over 185 million blogs out there and that hundreds of thousands are being created every day. In fact, if you key the word blog into Google you get 949,000,000 results. That doesn't mean there are that many blogs out there. It just means that there are that many results on the Internet for the keyword word "blog."

Blogging has become so mainstream that Human Resource departments of companies are now creating "blogging" policies for their companies and employees. With blogs becoming so mainstream and with that many blogs out there you have to be saying to yourself, "That's a lot of blogs. Mine will never get noticed."

You might also be thinking that with so many blogs out there the chances of your being fired because of entries posted to a blog has to be minuscule. Besides you have a right to post whatever you want to your personal blog or your small business blog. Right?

Well, you have the right to post what you want to your blog, but if you're a small business blogger who is trying to attract business and customers doing so might just hurt your business. If you have a small business blog where you're trying to personalize yourself to your readers and attract business then hot button issues and controversial images and/or opinions would not make good business sense. So, you stay clear of that for your small business blog. Right?

Well, what about your personal blog. Certainly your have the right to say and post what you want there. Right? Besides the likelihood of something being seen has to be minuscule. Right?

Well, the chances aren't as minuscule as you might think and the reason for that is due to the search engines. You see, the search engines have a funny way of uncovering exactly what you don't want uncovered. Even things you think you've deleted.

If you are like many small business crafters on the web you probably have a full-time job. With Human Resource departments creating "blogging" policies you have to know that employers are very aware of the power of the Internet to disseminate information rapidly and are therefore watching what is said about their company.

Does this mean they're "googling" their employees? Probably. As a small business owner - wouldn't you? In fact, how many of you "Google" your own name, your small business name, your product names, etc. to see what is being said about you and your business. Most of you I would bet. It only makes good business sense to do so. After all, it's your small business reputation that is at stake. So, you have to "Google" things about you and your business as a prudent business measure. Right?

Well, employers are no different. It is their job to maintain the reputation, integrity, confidentiality, security of copyrights and trademarks, and good standing of the businesses they work for. Right? And, in doing so they are going to go to the Internet to see what is being said.

Which brings us all back to the likelihood of your blog posts being seen. Will they be seen? Absolutely. There are just so many variables for how you could be uncovered by a search engine that I'd be here all night just listing them. Suffice it to say that despite your best efforts to remain anonymous you will be seen.

What about your Facebook page, your MySpace page, or any number of social networking websites? Will employers be looking here? Well, the idea of these websites is to create a profile containing your real name. Right? That's because they are set-up for all your friends to find you. And, old school chums aren't going to be able to find you if you use a pseudo name. Right? Does that mean your employer can find you, too? Absolutely.

Does that mean you shouldn't post the pictures you want and say whatever it is you want? Right again. You shouldn't and here's why. If you use your blog or your social networking pages to post objectionable material or post about your frustrations with the company you work full-time for or your boss then you are going to have an issue with your employer.

And, if your full-time employer can find you, well so can your small business customers. Whether or not it has anything to do with the small business products you are selling or not you can bet that a customer will think twice about doing business with you if you are posting objectionable material or venting your frustrations on the Internet.

That's here and now. What about the future? Well, if you're looking for a prospective employer to hire you then in this day and age you'd better check yourself out on Goggle to make sure their isn't anything objectionable about you anywhere on the web. Will prospective employers Google you? Absolutely. A comment you might have made about your employer in a forum is fair game for the search engines, too. In fact, anything and everything on the Internet is fair game for the search engines and for prospective employers to find.

Are employers Googling existing employees and prospective employees? Absolutely. They'd be foolish not to. If you do anything that might reflect badly on your employers good name, reputation, business standing, etc. with anything you may have said or posted in your personal blog, social networking website, forum, etc. then they are not going to be happy with you and you may or may not get "dooced." That all depends on your employer and their respective "blogging" policies.

A good rule of thumb to follow is this. Do not post anything that you wouldn't want anyone else seeing or reading. This includes blog posts, images, social networking pages, emails, chat rooms, instant messages, video's, groups, forums, etc.

For those of you with small business websites a good rule of thumb is this. Do not post anything that any of your small business customers might find objectionable. With worldwide customers this encompasses a huge area of objectionable material.

My grandson and I were having lunch and I happened to mention that I had seen his MySpace page. He then asked "Did you read my wall, Nana?" I, of course, said, "Well, ya!" His response was, "Don't read my wall, Nana. That's private!" Well, in this day and Internet age the only thing that is private is something you keep to yourself.

So, will you get dooced? Maybe, maybe not! But, do you really want to test that?

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 20 Definition - "Group or Team Blog"

This is a blog maintained by two or more bloggers. Also known as a team blog. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 20 "Should You Join A Team Blog?"

Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What's Your Internet Morning Routine?

I get a lot of comments about "How can you handle so many websites and blogs? You must be extremely organized!"

Well, I do have to admit that I am organized and do something everyday that helps. It's my daily morning routine.

I know we all have routines for things we do every day. Without them it's hard to be organized. Especially if you have multiple numbers of websites and blogs - which I do!

To keep up with everything I have a morning routine where I check what's been going on with my Internet business overnight. I start with my emails and try to answer all of them in the morning or do whatever might be requested of me in the email.

Then, I check my plugboards to make sure there aren't any RED X's. I hate Red X's and think they are bad for business. So, if I have a red X on my permanent plugboards or changing plugboards they get deleted.

I do the same for the banners on my Top Blogs By Crafters topsite except instead of deleting the blog I make the banner inactive. If the blog is no longer available then I delete the account, but if it still is available then I assume that the blog owner just changed the URL of their banner and didn't update their account.

After this I check all my business accounts to see the overnight activity and handle whatever it is I need to do there. If there is any activity that requires posting to my small business accounting system then I try to do that as well. Sometimes this activity tends to pile up. This is my least favorite activity and sometimes gets postponed until the pile gets so large I can't ignore it.

Then I check my various community pages to see if there is anything I need to respond to there. After that I check some of the forums I belong to to see what's been going on overnight.

After doing this I go to my Google Reader to read all the posts of the blogs I am tracking. Google Reader is a time saving tool that I couldn't function without and I highly recommend it to anyone who follows different blogs.

And, last I post to my blogs. This is where stockpiling blog posts can be very beneficial as all you have to do is just post the article you'd written ahead of time.

I also try to write a few blog posts daily if I'm in a "blogging mood." If not then I wait until I'm really in a "blogging" mood and write multiple posts at the same time and hold them for releasing at a later date.

Every few days I back-up all my files, folders, websites, and blogs to my external hard drive. And, just recently I started utilizing an online folder at GoDaddy.com, which I absolutely love because it makes me "mobile!" There will be more about this in a later post.

After all this I'm done with my morning routine and I'm free to work on my new creations, research places I might want to advertise with, review some crafting books for my "The Book Review Corner" blog, or do some research for some posts I might want to write about on my blogs.

It really doesn't take that long to maintain a daily routine for your small business and definitely helps to keep me organized.

So, what's your daily routine?



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

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blogging Terms and Definition Updated On My Tips From The Blogging Qureen Blog

It's been about a year and a half since I updated my blog terms and blog definitions list. Well, in the blogging world that's a lot of time. Lots of things have changed and a lot of new terms have been added.

So, to help my craft blog readers and anyone who is starting a blog for the first time I thought I'd update my blogging terms and definitions list. It's not a definitive list by any means and doesn't intend or claim to be so. I provide it as nothing more than a tool for my craft blogging readers and friends.

Blogs and bloggers have a language all to 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 that crafting bloggers on the web might run into.

A-List - Top bloggers who influence the blogosphere.

Above The Fold - The content on a blog that appears in the open window without scrolling downward or sideways.

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.

Anonoblog - A blog maintained by an anonymous author, often under a pseudonym or pen name. Synonyms include anonyblog, faux blog and ghostblog.

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.

Astroturfing - Also known as "astroturf marketing." The artificial creation of a grassroots buzz for a product or service.

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.

Audioblogging - Also called audioblog. Blogging using audio instead of text.

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

Back-up or Backing-up - Process of copying a blog template, and article(s and storing them on a separate medium in the event the blog template and article(s are lost or accidentally deleted.

Barking Moonbat - A negative term used to describe someone who is at the far edge of whatever ideology he or she is advocating (i.e. crazy).

Biblioblogosphere - A humorous reference to the world of librarian blogging.

Biz Blog - A business blog.

Blacklist - List of URL's the blogger has identified as banned from their blog.

Blammer - Blog spammer.

Blargon - Also called Blogssary. Blogging slang and glossary. What I am telling you now.

Blaudience - The audience or readership of a blog (i.e. the blog readers).

Blawg - A Law blog.

Bleg - A blog entry consisting of a request to the readers of a blog for information or controbutions. The name is derived from the words "blog" and "beg."

Blego - The self-worth of a blog as measured by the popularity of their blog.

Blinkie - A small blinking graphic.

Blinking - Also known as b-linking. This is moving from one blog to another by clicking on the links on a blog. See also "Blog Hopping."

Blistless or B-listless - When a blogger becomes listless or apathetic about posting. It is also indicative of what will happen to the bloggers mailing list.

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. See also "weblog."

Blogathon - Updating your blog every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight.

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

Blog Carnival - A blog post that links to other articles, within or outside of the blog, that cover a specific topic.

Blogcasting - A blog and podcast merged into a single website.

Blog Client - An application that allows a blogger to post, edit, format and perform a variety of functions for a blog or blogs without launching a browser.

Blog Day - August 31st. Bloggers worldwide post an annual recommendation of 5 new blogs. The day is intended for bloggers to highlight other blogs that differ from their own creations in terms of culture, viewpoint, design or political view or affiliation.

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

Blogebrity - Someone who is famous for blogging.

Blog Ecosystem - A map of the relationships between different blogs online.

Blogerati - The collective blogging intelligentsia, commonly understood as being the most influential and highly trafficked bloggers online by page rank and the effect of link traffic.

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.

Blogger Bash - An online or offline party for bloggers.

Bloggerel - An opinion posted on a blog that has previously been repeated many times, usually ad nauseum.

Blog feed - The XML-based file in which the blog hosting software places a machine-readable version of the blog so that it may be "syndicated" for further distribution on the web. Formats such as RSS and Atom are used to structure the XML file.

Bloggies - One of the most popular blog awards.

Blogging - The act of posting on blogs.

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

Blogiday - This is when you get fed up and take a holiday from blogging.

Blogistan - Used interchangeably with blogosphere, though more often applied to warblogs or milblogs (i.e. military blogs).

Blogiversary - Birthday for the day the blog was established.

Blogiverse - See blogosphere.

Blognoscenti - Bloggers who are especially knowledgeable about the blogosphere, blogging, or their particular blogging subject area.

Blog of Note - A recommended blog.

Blogography - The profile or "About" section of a blog, often containing a short biography of the blogger.

Blogoholic - A blogger addicted to blogging.

Blogonomics - Blogging conference on a Blog Cruise in 2006.

Blogorific - Something the blogger finds wonderful. Synonyms include blogerific and blogtastic.

Blogophobia - Fear of blogging.

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.

Blogstar - Blogger running a popular blog.

Blogther - A fellow blogger.

Blogroach - A commenter on a blog who obnoxiously disagrees with any and everything posted, as rudely as is possible.

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

Blogsit - To maintain a blog while the blog's original or primary author takes a break from blogging.

Blog Site - The web location (URL) of a blog, which may be either a dedicated domain, a sub-domain, or embedded within a web site.

Blogsite - 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.

Blogsnob - Person who refuses to respond to comment on their blog from people outside their circle of friends.

Blogspot - Hosting service for blogs operated by Blogger.com, which in turn is run by Google.

Blpgssary - Also called Blargon. Blogging slang and glossary. What I am telling you now.

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.

Blog Tipping - Complimenting 3 blogs on day 1 of every month.

Blogware - The software used to write blogs.

Blogule - An idea within a post that does not quite constitute a meme. See also "meme."

Blogvert - An ad on a blog, Ads can be pictures, banners, text, video, etc.

Blogvertising - 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 a blog. Blogvertising usually contains a clickable link to the subject advertisers website or blog.

Blog Voyeur - A reader of blogs who has no blog of their own. See also "blurker."

Bloll - A troll who specializes in blogs.

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

Blooger - A blogger acting like a teenager or in an immature manner.

Blogmarklet - A toolbar link for direct posting to a blog.

Blook - A book created from a blog.

Blurker - A reader of blogs who leaves no trace of the visits behind. See also "blog voyeur."

Boreblogging - Writing about personal matters that are barely interesting even to the writer.

BSM - Blogstream media. Generally from the most heavily trafficked blogs.

Bye-line - The text at the end of the post that identifies the blogger.

CAPTCHA - Short for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." Security feature that shows letters and numbers and which requires the user to type into a box in order to show they are human and not a bot. Often used to minimize and eliminate posting, comment and trackback spam.

Categories - This is a method of organizing blog entries by assigning each entry to a predetermined topic. Each topic (category) will link to a list of entries, all with related content. See also "labeling."

Celeblog - A blog focused on a celebrity.

Celebriblog - A blog maintained by a celebrity.

CEOBlog. - A blog maintained by a chief executive officer. Variants include CIOBlog, CFOBlog, etc.

Clog Blog - A blog written in Dutch and/or by someone in Holland

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.

CMS - Short for Content management system. Software used to publish and manage websites.

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

Commentariat - The collection of commenters for a particular blog.

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

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

Comment Spam - Spam posted in the comment section of blogs.

Crisis Blog - A blog specifically created to respond to a public relations crisis for an organization , natural disasters, etc.

Crud- Code that unintentionally appears within the body of a blog post, instead of applying whatever formatting or action that the code was intended to perform.

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

Dark Blog - A blog that is unavailable to the public.

Dashboard - When logging into Blogger.com it's the first screen you see with your blog contols, tools, and functions.

Del.icio.us - The social bookmarking site where users can collectively tag favorite links.

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

DNQ/DNP - Do Not Quote/Do Not Print. Borrowed from chat shorthand, indicating that whatever the acronym is applied to should not be posted anywhere else.

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

Dooced - To have lost a job because of entries posted to a blog.

Doppelblogger - One who plagiarizes the content of another blogger. To Doppelblog.

Dowdificication - Omitting one or several words from a quote in a way that changes the nature of the statement sufficiently to illustrate a point the writer is making, in the context of launching a criticism of the author of the quote.

Down thread - Referring to a post made earlier than a comment or post that you are reading, within the same section.

Draft - A non-published article on a blog.

Edu-blog - An education oriented blog.

EFF - Short for Electronic Frontier Foundation. A nonprofit group working to protect blogger rights.

Entry - A published article on a blog. See also "post."

Expandable Post Summaries - Showing a small teaser part of the post on the index page that links to the full post elsewhere.

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.

Fisk - To deconstruct an article or post point by point, usually in such a way as to point out poorly made arguments or sloppy fact-checking.

Flame - To post a hostile comment, often directed personally to another commenter or blogger and generally deliberately inflammatory or insulting.

Flame War - A series of flames going back and forth on a blog, usually within the comment section, often going on for pages and bearing little relation to whatever topic was on the thread the flames are posted upon.

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

Footer - The bottom most part of a blog usually listing navigation and copyright statements.

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

Froglogs - French blogs.

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

GAD - Google Adsense Disorder. Repeatedly checking your adsense earnings.

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

Glog - To blog about an activity in person, where the person blogging is a participant in the activity.

Google bomb -To insert words or phrases into blogs, often as many as possible, with the intention of increase the page ranking of the words or terms on Google search results.

Group blog - A blog maintained by two or more bloggers. Synonym of groupblog. Also known as "team blogs."

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

Group Blog - A blog with several contributing editors.

Hat Tip - Acknowledgement of the source that tipped you the news.

Header - The topmost part of a blog usually containing the blog title.

Hitnosis - To become mesmerized by constantly reloading a Web browser to see if a blog's hit counter has increased or comments section has expanded.

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.

Idiotarian - Abusive term for an advocate of views a writer considers to be irrational, subjective, or without any relationship to the real world.

Image - A picture.

Index Page - The front page of a blog.

Information Super Highway - The Internet.

Instalanche - When a Web site receives a huge amount of temporary traffic due to a link being posted on instapundit.com. The phenomenon can slow or even crash Web servers that are not configured for this amount of traffic. Also known as "Instapundited."

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.

Jump - The continuation of a story on another page to preserve space on the index page.

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.

Kittyblogger - A blogger who writes about his or her cats. More generally used to deride a blog or post as banal or boring.

Klog -A blog used by knowledge workers, where the blog itself is hosted within a company intranet for the purpose of sharing company knowledge. See also "plog."

Klogger - Someone maintains or contributes to a Klog.

Kos Kid - A term for any one who posts, or reads regularly, the blog Daily Kos. Also known as "Kwazy Kos Kids" after the eccentric nature of some of the members.

Koufax - An annual quasi-Liberal webblog award.

Labeling - This is a method of organizing blog entries by assigning each entry to a predetermined label. Each label will link to a list of entries, all with related content. See also "categories."

Lexiblographer - A person who chronicles blog terms.

Linguablog -A blog that focuses on linguistics, translation, languages, or other language-related subjects.

Link - Using hypertext, a link is a selectable connection from one word, picture, or information object to another.

Link Baiting - A habit of writing good content with the sole purpose of getting it linked from multiple sites.

Link love - To post a link to another blog without being paid or solicited to do so.

Link orgy - When a blog is linked to by many sites within a short period of time.

Link rot - The phenomenon whereby links from posts or blogrolls increasingly go dead as time passes.

Link whore - Any blogger, regardless of gender, who makes an extraordinary effort to get other blogs to link his or her blog or post. Also called a "Link slut."

Log in, blog to, log out - A catchphrase referring to blogger style of activity.

Lurker - A reader of a blog who never comments or otherwise indicates his or her presence.

Mediasphere - A term describing the entirety of the conventional media, usually separate from the blogosphere.

Meme - An idea passed down on from one human generation to another. The cultural equivalent of a gene, the basic element of biological inheritance. Amongst bloggers, meme refers to an idea passed from one blog to another, cascading throughout the blogosphere.

Meme hack - An intentional change made to a meme, by using it in a different context or otherwise altering its meaning.

Metablog - To blog about blogging.

Meta-blogging - Writing blog articles about blogging.

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

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

Momosphere - Blogs written by Moms.

Movlogs - Mobile video blogs.

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

MSM - Mainstream Media.

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

Multi-blogging - Creating, maintaining, and running multiple blogs (2 or more) at the same time.

Music Blog - Audio or MP3 blog.

NavBar - A navigation bar usually seen on top of Blogger blogspot hosted blogs.

Netiquette - Etiquette on the Internet based on the Golden Rule. The need for a sense of netiquette arises mostly when sending or distributing e-mail, posting on Usenet groups, chatting and blogging.

Newbie - Someone new to a discussion or blog, often after the person demonstrated unfamiliarity with a concept or standards of communication of the forum. Also called "noob" or "noobie."

Network - A connection of two or more computers so that they can share resources.

Open Thread - A thread whose topic is open for definition by those posting to it. Common to blogs with large readerships that visit to exchange views, as opposed to focus exclusively on posts from the blogger.

OPML - Short for Outline Processor Markup Language. It is an XML format for outlines which allows you to easily import and export multiple blog subscriptions between different RSS aggregators.

Page Rank - Google measures of the importance of a page which reflects in its rankings.

Permalink - The URL of individual article posts.

Photoblog - A blog of mainly images and pictures.

Photofeed - A web feed with images.

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.

Pingback - See trackback.

Plog - A political blog or project blog.

Plugins - Small files that add improved functionality and new features.

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.

Pornblog - A blog that displays or discusses pornography. A

Post - A published article on a blog. See also "entry."

Post scheduling - Using blogging software to write posts and schedule them for publishing in the future.

Problogger - A professional blogger.

Progblog - A progressive blog. A blog that supports left, liberal or green political ideologies.

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.

RDF - Short for Resource Description Framework. A web content syndication format.

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.

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

RSS Feed - The file that contains the latest updates to an RSS-equipped page.

RTWT - Stands for "Read The Whole Thing."

Reciprocal Link - A blog link exchange.

Repost - To post a comment or post that had already been posted, either within a thread or on another blog. Generally frowned upon in the blogosphere, especially when the content is from another blogger's site.

Scribosphere - The collection of blogs that are maintained by screenwriters.

Shocklog - A blog that intentionally provokes discussion by posting content aimed at shocking readers.

SEO - Search engine optimization. To improve your search engine rankings.

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.

Sideblog - A smaller blog usually placed in the sidebar of a blog. A blog within a blog.

Simultaneous Blogasm - What happens when two bloggers post the same thought at the same time.

Skins - One of a set of pre-designed templates for a blog, giving it a customized set of images, fonts and layouts.

Skypecasting - The practice of using Skype, the VoIP telephony service, to create podcasts, vidcasts and blog entries.

Slashdotted - When a Web site receives a huge amount of temporary traffic due to a link being posted on slashdot.org. The phenomenon can slow Web servers or even take sites temporarily offline by exceeding the allotted bandwidth for the site. The term can be used as shorthand for traffic surges due to posts on other extremely popular blogs, including Instapundit, BoingBoing, The Huffington Post or DailyKos.

SOB - Acronym for Successful and Outstanding Blogger. From successful-blog.com

Spam - Unwanted, unsolicited email.

Spam blog - Blogs composed entirely of spam.

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

Sping - A ping sent from a splog to make recipients think content of interest has been updated although that may not be the case.

Splog - A spam blog.

Spomment - See comment spam.

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

Tag - A keyword.

Tag cloud - Visual representations of tags or keywords used in a blog. Tag clouds may be used to organize content and can be presented in boldface to distinguish them from other text.

Team Blog - Blogs written by members of a team.

Tech Blog - A blog focused on a technical subject.

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.

Thread drift - The phenomenon of off-topic posts in a thread that is devoted to a specific topic.

Topical Blog - A blog that focuses on a niche.

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.

Trackback Ping - A ping that signals a blog's server that a post on that blog has been commented upon.

Trackback spam - Sping sent by means of the Trackback system. Many blogs stopped using Trackback after the system became flooded with this type of spam.

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.

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.

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.

Vlog - A video blog.

Vlogging - Also called video blogging. Blogging using video iunstaed of text.

Vlogger - A video blogger.

Vorage - To search for video online and share it with others.

Warblog - A blog focused on war, commonly conflict in the Middle East but not limited to that theater. Often written by soldiers or battlefield journalists.

Web Feed - Allows online users to subscribe to websites that change or add content regularly.

Weblog - Usually shortened to blog and is a type of website where entries are made (such as in a journal or diary) and displayed in a reverse chronological order. See also "blog."

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.

Word Banning - A feature from TypePad that allows a blogger to ban specific words, in addition to IP addresses, into a comment spam filter.

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.

XFN - Short for XHTML Friends Network. Is a simple way to represent human relationships using hyperlinks.

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.

Zombie blog - Also known as a "spam blog."

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.

Source references:

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci1186975,00.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_blogging_terms
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Transwiki:List_of_blogging_terms
http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/2006/06/the-giant-blogging-terms-glossary


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




Thursday, June 12, 2008

Have You Tried Google Alerts Yet?

Last year a blogging friend of mine, Arlee Barr of Albedo Design emailed me and told me someone was not only plagiarizing the blog post I had written about her, but linking some keywords to some "non-family friendly" websites. YIKES!

Well, I had no idea and was taken aback by this. Arlee told me that she found out from her "Google Alerts." I was not aware of "Google Alerts" and asked her what it was.

"Google Alerts"
allow you to track posts with words or phrases that you specify and then email updates to you. So, for example if I want to track everything that is written about "Linda Walsh Originals" I just add that to my "Google Alerts" account and every time someone mentions Linda Walsh Originals on the internet I get an email about it with a link to the website so I can check it out. COOL! HUH!

You can use "Google Alerts" for all sorts of tracking, but I use it specifically for my Linda Walsh Originals business. I track all the names of my blogs, all the names of my websites, my Linda Walsh Name, and key phrases that identify my business.

I've been using it for over a year now and have to tell you that I find it invaluable. If you want to learn more about "Google Alerts" just CLICK HERE.

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

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 18 - Are Blogrolls Important?

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 17 our definition was "Blogrolls." This is a list of links or your blogs sidebar. They can be a manual list maintained by the blogger or a list provided by a "BlogRolling" service. Our question was -"Are Blogrolls Important?"

Given that there are hundreds of millions of blogs out there nowadays you have to wonder if your blog will get noticed.

For some of you your blog is a personal blog that you write for yourself and your family and/or friends. Getting noticed isn't paramount to you.

For others your blog is written in support of your online small business and helps to personalize you to your customers and keep your customers in touch with what's going on with your small business. Getting noticed is paramount to the survival of your online small business.

So, what do you do?

Well, just like your website you need links to help you get noticed and, most importantly, to help with search engine optimization. Search engines love blogs because they are filled with so much text. So, they crawl all over them and while doing so they follow the links from one blog to another. You want you blog to be one of those links.

It has been customary for bloggers for a long time to add the name and URL of other blogs that they like to the sidebar of their blogs. Bloggers just love to jump from one blog to another and the link on the sidebar provides the opportunity to easily do so. This also provides customers with the ability to check out other blogs as well.

So, how do you get linked with other blogs?

Well, just like with websites you can email other bloggers and ask if they'll exchange text links with you, join blog communities, join blog link exchanges, or join blog linking services like "Blogrolling."

Emailing other bloggers is a nice way to establish communication with other like minded bloggers and helps you with networking within your field of interest.

Blog communities are springing up all over the web and provide for a linking of blog URL's via their widgets. The widgets are small snippets of HTML code that you add to the sidebar of your blog and contain links back to other member's blogs, the bloggers avatar, etc. This is also another great way to network with other bloggers.

Blog link exchanges usually require their members to visit other members blogs in exchange for points. The more blogs you visit the more points you earn and they more often your blog is displayed for other bloggers to visit.

The blog linking service providers make linking easy by providing you with the ability to easily add the URL of a blog that you like to the sidebar of your blog. They do not, however, link your blog URL to the blog that you like. It's a one way link which according to some SEO experts is also good for search engine optimization.

Personally, I prefer an email exchange of links. I love to blog hop and if I find a blog that I like I will leave a comment so the blogger knows that I visited their blog. If I like their blog then I might add a link to their blog on the sidebar of my blog and I might ask them if they want to exchange links with me. If I like their blog and establish a relationship with them I may just refer someone to it.

Just like in the business world word of mouth is important. In the blogging world word of mouth is a text link on the sidebar. It says that the blogger likes your blog and is recommending it to their readers and/or customers.

Word of mouth is paramount for a small business and is why I prefer an email exchange of links over blog communities, blog link exchanges, and blog linking service providers. The latter three are very useful for exposure, but to me personalization, which is why you are blogging in the first place, is crucial. It doesn't get more personal than word of mouth.

So, the long and short of it is that blogrolls are very important for blog exposure. Which way you choose to blogroll is entirely up to you.

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 18 Definition - "Dooced"

This is having lost a job because of entries posted to a blog. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 19 "Will You Get Dooced?"

© 2008 - All Rights Reserved - Written by Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com/

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"Mozilla - Firefox Versus Internet Explorer" How Does Your Website Fare?



Three years ago when I decided to create a website I decided to use Microsoft "Publisher", which is an old "dinosaur" to create my website. I had been using "Publisher" for years and thought - "why not?" It used Internet Explorer as its browser and I would be using FTP to update my website so it was a good fit.



Back then "Publisher" had a LOT of coding issues and was not the optimum for coding finesse. However, I was familiar with the program and could easily update and maintain my website myself which was appealing to me. After I created my Linda Walsh Originals website I soon learned that it wasn't being read properly by some of the other browsers such as Mozilla - Firefox.

At the time I only used Internet Explorer and AOL, which used Internet Explorer as their browser. My website was FINE there so I asked some of my friends who had a problem with their browsers what was showing when they went to my website. The answer was as varied as the various browsers.

So, I decided to use my GoDaddy.com website hosting statistics to see how much of my website traffic was for browsers other than Internet Explorer. At that time 98% of my traffic was by Internet Explorer with close to 1% for Mozilla - Firefox. The other 1% was made up of several smaller browsers. I decided that less than 1% was not something I had to immediately address.

When I decided to update my website I was hoping that Publisher 2007 would contain more standardized coding and, hopefully, solve the browser distortion problem. To my delight it did and solved most of the Mozila - Firefox distortion problems.

So, I decided to check my browser statistics to see if more of my traffic was coming from Mozilla - Firefox these days and whether it would be worthwhile to spend the time to fix both my Linda Walsh Originals and Linda Walsh Originals Dolls websites which had been created in Publisher.

To my surprise 86% of my traffic was coming from Internet Explorer now and 12% was now coming from Mozilla - Firefox. The remaining 2% was coming from several much smaller browsers. In evaluating the statistics I thought that 12% now was way too much of a customer base to be missing so I decided to spend the time to fix both of my websites and I'm happy to report that I no longer have a browser distortion problem with Mozilla - Firefox in either website. In fact, none of my website and blogs have a browser distortion problem.

I recently switched to Mozilla - Firefox myself because I was having a horrendous time with Internet Explorer 7.0. It was SLOW as molasses, was freezing during printing from my blogs, and causing a multitude of other issues. After using Internet Explorer exclusively for over 30 years I'd had enough and made the switch. I'm happy to report that Mozilla - Firefox does have a few problems, but I haven't been happier. It works like a charm and ALL my websites and blogs are FINE and load exactly as I want them to.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, if you are a small business website owner or blogger you might want to check your website and blog to see if Mozilla - Firefox is displaying properly. If my percent of website traffic from Mozilla - Firefox is par for the course then 12% of a customer base is WAY TOO MUCH to be losing.

Plus, if you are a blogger and have deviated from some of the standard blog providers templates you might want to consider checking your blog. In checking the blogs of several of my blogging friends who have gone to 3-column templates I have noticed that they aren't displaying properly.

For now I'm happy with Mozilla - Firefox. Happy browsing.

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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Do You Use Google Reader?

I have been a big fan of Google.com and all the services they offer for a long time. One of the services they offer is Google Reader which I have found to be an invaluable tool and time saving resource for me.

Google Reader is a feed service that allows you to track RSS and Atom feeds. For me, I use it to keep track of all the current posts for all my Top Blogs By Crafters Toplist blogs.

Since I now have 357 members on my toplist that's a LOT of blogs to read. But, Google Reader makes that a breeze and I just love keeping up-to-date on what's happening with my favorite blogs.

The only negative is that I'm only seeing the feeds and not all the changes everyone has made to their blogs, which I also like to see.

So, from time to time I just visit everyone's blog to see what they've done to their blogs. It's always fascinating to see the creativity involved with all the bloggers and see how much the new bloggers have learned for managing their blogs.

Since I use I-Google as my home page I have a widget for Google Reader right on my homepage. So, I can read the blog updates as they happen right from my homepage or just go to my Google Reader page.

Adding new subscriptions is a breeze and managing my subscriptions is a breeze.

If time is of the essence, and you have a LOT of blogs you like to read then try Google Reader. It will save you some time. It certainly does that for me.


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

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 17 - Have You Become Blistless

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 16 our definition was "Blistless or B-listless." This is what happens when a blogger doesn't care about posting and becomes apathetic about it. In other words - listless. Also know as "blogathy" which is characterized by lack of interest in your blog. Our question was - "Have You Become Blistless?"

Every blogger suffers from time to time with being a little bored with their blog and with writing articles. You might not have anything new to say or might get a version of writers block called "bloggers block." That's alright. Usually it will pass and usually it just requires stepping back from your blog for a bit.

The problem for a small business blogger is that by not posting frequently or taking too long of a break might result in lost readership. And, once the readership is lost, it is very hard to reclaim.

Lost readership can also translate into a loss of customers and potential business. For the small business blogger that isn't good.

So, what do you do if you're a small business blogger and a little tired of your blog. Well, you plan for the occasional blistless or blogathy periods and re-issue previous posts, stockpile some articles ahead of time, or post some re-cap articles.

What do I mean by this?

Well, you prepare for the blistless periods - which you are going to have - by writing generic articles that are not time or period sensitive that you can re-post later on. Or, you prepare by stockpiling articles ahead of time that can be posted when you're in a blistless period.

Both of these require a little planning and forethought as to what your article will be about. When writing re-post articles just give some thought as to being able to re-post this, say, in 6 months or next year and write with that in mind.

For the stockpile articles I have always found that when I'm in a "blogging" mode that I can write several articles ahead of time and save them to be released later on.

For the re-cap articles this is where having several different theme oriented blogs comes into play. All you have to do is post articles re-capping what's happening on your other blogs.

All three of the above will keep you posting during the blistless periods and keep your small business from suffering in readership and potential customers. Most importantly, don't worry. Your "blistless" or "blogathy" period will pass and you'll be blogging again to beat the band!

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 17 Definition - "Blogroll"

This is a list of links or your blogs sidebar. They can be a manual list maintained by the blogger or a list provided by a "BlogRolling" service. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 18 on "Are Blogrolls Important?"

Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 16 - Should You Become A Vlogger?

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 15 our definition was "vlog" which is nothing more than a video blog and a "vlogger" is simply the blogger who maintains it. Our question was - "Should You Become a Vlogger?"

That is a good question and like other things within the blog world not easily answered. You see, "vlogging" just like "blogging" started out as a simple thing and morphed into unbelievable proportions. Think "YouTube" and you know where I'm going with this.

"Vlog" is a combination of video and blog. Entries are posted in reverse chronological order and may combine video and text, images, or other data. In the blogosphere "vloggers" and their blogs are referred to as the "vlogosphere."

Vlogs started out as simple videos posted hourly, daily, etc. to a blog and were pretty much video diaries of a person's life, chronicle of an event, etc. When computer processing speed improved and internet connection speeds increased vlogging became achievable for the masses.

Videos have become so immensely popular that just about everyone is creating them and a whole slew of websites to support video content have been created. YouTube is the behemoth of the video craze and to show you the importance of this phenomenon Google paid YouTube.com 1.65 billion in stock to purchase it in 2006.

And, of course with increased popularity comes awards. The 1st ever "Vloggies" video awards was held in November 2006. Think academy awards of videos.

Anyone with access to a video camera and a high-speed connection can create a vlog and publish it the same way text articles are published to a blog. The content is distributed via RSS feeds. Video content distributed this way is known as a vodcast or vidcast.

And, with the advent of technology in 2007 live interview vlogs and live transmission became possible.

So, for a small business owner the question is "Should You Become a Vlogger?" Well, that is not a simple question to answer for a small business owner. It really depends on what you are selling and whether or not videos would enhance your small business blog. It also depends on how creative you are.

Just like writing articles for a small business blog, creating videos requires creative skill, thought, and, most importantly, organization. You can't just throw a video out there - not if you're a small business owner. You need to think about what your video is going to convey to your readers and/or customers. Does it compliment your products and your business? Or, is it a detriment?

If it doesn't enhance your business image, convey to your readers and/or customers who you are and what your product is, or generate future sales for you then you shouldn't be vlogging. You might create a video that generates a tremendous amount of traffic to your website, but if that doesn't translate into sales for you then you might not have the right video.

So, should you become a vlogger? Well, that depends on what you're selling, how much time you have to devote to your videos, and how creative you are.

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 16 Definition - "Blistless or B-listless"

This is what happens when a blogger doesn't care about posting and becomes apathetic about it. In other words - listless. Also know as "blogathy" which is characterized by lack of interest in your blog. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 17 on "Have You become Blistless?"

Copyright © 2008 - 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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 15 - A Blog Is Not Your Grandfather's Newsletter

I thought I'd take a little break from my usual "Tips From the Blogging Queen Column" format and use a little different format for Column #15.

My column this month is entitled: "A Blog Is Not Your Grandfather's Newsletter!" Now I know you might all be wondering what I mean by that. Well, let me explain.

From a marketing point of view weekly, semi-weekly, and monthly newsletters have traditionally been considered a good idea for small businesses on the Internet as you are directing your sales efforts towards a "targeted" audience. By this I mean people who have bought from you in the past (i.e. customers) and those people who have signed up as subscribers for your newsletter.

Traditional was always equated with the "best" or "your grandfather's tried and true methods." Well, in today's market if you only focus your marketing efforts on your traditional and targeted newsletter audience your competitors are going to leave you standing in the dust.

Now here's where our title "A Blog Is Not Your Grandfather's Newsletter" comes into play. When marketers want to convey that something is better than the tried and true traditional methods they use words such as "not your grandfather's...." to indicate that the new approach is not only different - IT'S BETTER!

Blogs are unique in that they can be a combination of a traditional tried and true approach as they can serve as a newsletter - ONLY MUCH BETTER - but, also function as critical marketing tools for today's small business environment and here's why?

Posting to your blog and the way your posts can be communicated to the Internet masses is astonishing. Not only can you have a targeted and non-targeted audience with subscribers of your RSS feed, but you have opened up the possibilities for expanding your customer base exponentially on a minute-by-minute, hourly, daily, weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly basis via the search engines.

The nature of the Internet and blogs has changed how we communicate. Internet users can receive RSS feed emails instantly, daily, subscribe to reader services and read what they want anytime they want. They can visit the blogs they like when they want and they can even download the blog articles, RSS feeds, podcasts, etc. to their PDA's, phones, IPods, portable drives, etc. This makes communication available 24/7, available when the reader (i.e. customer) wants it, and available in the format the user wants.

Now comes the really big reason why "Blogs are Not Your Grandfather's Newsletter!" Search engines love content and there is nothing more content driven than blogs. The search engines by their nature create your targeted audience for you and multiply that to mind boggling proportions.

Between the blog feed capabilities and the search engine capabilities the universe for customers has gone from just your tried and true "traditional" customer base to an exponentially limitless potential customer base. There may be people reading your small business blog that you are unaware of and they may just become future customers. Your blog posts are coming up in searches that you will never be aware of. Because of the ways information can be disseminated on the Internet now the potential reach of blogs is truly amazing.

Two years ago I gave up my traditional monthly newsletter in favor of my blogs and I have never looked back. If you are a small business owner on the Internet in order to market to your current, new, and future customer base you need a blog.

Blogs are definitely not your grandfather's newsletter. They are one thousand fold BETTER. As a small business owner on the Internet you don't want to be let standing in the dust.

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 15 Definition - "Vlogger"

"Vlogger" - A vlog is nothing more than a video blog and a "vlogger" is simply the blogger who maintains it. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 16 on "Should You Become A Vlogger?"


Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 14 - Are You A Blog Hopper?

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 13 our definition was "Blog Hopping" which is 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.

If someone were to ask me if I provide links throughout my blog my answer would be "yes." As a small business blogger it is essential for search engine optimization to do so. The more links the better the rating.

However, if someone were to ask me if I "blog-hop" my answer would be "ABSOLUTELY." I love to see what my blogging friends are up to by not only reading their latest posts, but by visiting their blog. Each night I visit my favorite blogs (and I do have to admit there are a LOT of them) to see what's happening. Sometimes I leave a comment, sometimes not. Sometimes I follow a link from their blog to another blog that I have never visited.

Now, you might thing that it is a waste of time to hop from one blog to another to see what's going on when you can just get the latest RSS feed. Well, as far as time is concerned you are correct. However, you missed the most important thing about "blog-hopping" which is the experience of seeing what's going on with a particular blogger, the experience of really getting to know the "blogger" through all the vehicles available to them to communicate, and the experience of visiting a totally new and unfamiliar blog.

Blogging has become the "de facto" way to communicate with family, friends, and customers about what's happening with you, your family, and your business. And, explaining what's happening with you and your business can be done with more than just text. It can include pictures, graphics, video, downloads, new products, audio, podcasts, surveys for customer involvement, various widgets, new templates, etc.

There are so many ways to communicate on a blog that to not visit the blog is to truly miss the creative adventure, especially when you are visiting the blogs of small business artists and crafters. The blog becomes the essence of the artist and crafter. It invites you into their world - giving you insight into their art & craft, and insight into the mind of the artist or crafter themselves. You can get a visual feel for the artist or crafter which, hopefully, will entice you to buy from their blog or visit their website.

And, if you like someones blog or post, just want to say "hi", or just want to offer your opinion on something be sure to leave a comment. After all, doing so makes good business sense as you not only provide the search engines with a vital link back to your blog, but provide future readers and/or customers a way to "blog-hop" over to you. If they like your blog maybe they'll decide to do business with you. Maybe they'll add you to their list of "Blogs I Like" which might entice future customers.

So, the next time someone asks you if you are a "blog-hopper" make sure your answer is "ABSOLUTELY."

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 14 Definition - "Vlogger"

"Vlogger" - A vlog is nothing more than a video blog and a "vlogger" is simply the blogger who maintains it. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 15 on "Should You Become A Vlogger?"

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/