Domain Name Specifics

You will find lots of advice telling you to buy a domain name, but where and how to do that?

Picking Your Name Is Easy

  • Generally, shorter is better -without hyphens-
  • Remember to make it easy to remember, no matter what the length. Numbers aren’t a good idea.
  • Be careful of copyright and don’t borrow someone else’s name for your site.
  • There are many TLDs (top level domain extensions). It is still best to get a (dot)com ending since it is easy to remember.

Buy From Registrars

Going to a domain name registrar or buying through your webhosting company (many hosting companies sell domain names) are two ways to get a domain name.

My daughter bought hers from “Namecheap.com”, and then purchased her hosting with another company. When I started out at Netfirms, I bought my domain name through them.

Wherever you register your domain name, there is one thing you might keep in mind: privacy. If you would like to keep your personal information private, some do provide that service with the purchase, but more likely it is an add-on service. Check.

You are also likely to see offers that are deeply discounted, even free. If you look at the fine print, it is usually only for the first year; renewing the domain is at the usual going price.

Time periods of one year, two, three, etc are available. If you know this is a business or blog you want for a long period of time, it would be economical and less troublesome to sign up for a longer amount of time. It is normally less expensive.

I have renewed my most important domains for ten years. Those I wasn’t sure I would develop into a site or business were for one to two years at a time.

There will be some variation for fees depending on the company you go with- investigate.

Is the dashboard user friendly and the company reputable for support, etc? You will likely have to do a few things to point your domain to your web hosting.

After my initial purchases at Netfirms (which later put all their domain name business in Tucows hands), I had purchased a couple names from GoDaddy.

GoDaddy is one of the most popular, but I found it confusing to manage. It is somewhat better today, but I still like Netfirms/Tucows better, and privacy features were included in the cost.

 
It has been recommended to buy and manage the domain name separately from your hosting. I have never had problems, but I do follow that advice.
 

 

Blogging: Tend Your Vineyard

Blogging Tips

I’ve been blogging for more than a decade. That seems hard to believe, but it is true. During that time I’ve cycled through a number of trends and “pro” advice, and one thing about internet writing that is ALWAYS true is that it will constantly change.

So how do we find “evergreenContent that keeps having value over time” advice?

Quality

Like any business certain things don’t change very much and one of those is quality. Quality lasts, and that is true of writing and photos.

This is a variation on the oft-repeated “Content is King”.  Besure you putting up content, because the online reader is voracious. I used to joke that that blog always wanted to be fed more content, “Feed me!”, but it isn’t a joke, so pace yourself. And post the best, constantly improving, content. that you can.

Consistency

This was my hardest lesson; and the most important.

You must develop consistency as a blogger.

It doesn’t have to be every day, or even week, but it must be regular and something your readers can count on.

Since it was always my biggest challenge in life to be regular about anything… I have suffered most in building my blog from shortcomings in this department. So here are some motivators for you:

  • Being a consistent writer will improve your writing.
  • It will help build your loyal “tribe” of fans.
  • It will keep the search engines happy with your blog, if you continually add content that is original and of good quality.
  • It will help you to develop good business work habits.

Writing with consistency helps you develop a rhythm that also creates something of a flow and is a generator of inspiration.

 

Pick Up The Pace

Aim for two posts a week if you can. I have several different blogs, and some of them only recently have congealed into their topic focus. They started as experiments or I had some loose idea of what I wanted to write, but now they are gelling into a true fix on subject and intent.

Now that I know what I want to focus writing about, I am posting. Choosing a subject that is large enough, but that I’m interested in, has helped to give me motivation to write.

Take this blog for example, it began as a revival of one single page that I had originally developed long ago in my first website. I remembered how I needed to compile my most helpful tips and links in making my website at that time. All the things that I was learning, although I was a newbie, could be helpful for other newbies!

Now that blogging has changed so much and the learning curve is steeper before we see results, I know these articles will serve a need.

Writing more often has become one of my main goals for these newly minted blogs.

Tend Your Own Vineyard

I spent a lot of time writing on free sites, most recently writing for Squidoo, and now Hubpages.

There were several reasons for this:

  • Squidoo ( now defunct) was promoted as a way to increase links to my website.
  • It was fun with an active community of new acquaintances. It taught me a great deal about marketing.
  • It earned me money.
  • Hubpages continues in the vein of earning money online, but all sources nowadays are diminishing.

Tending ones own vineyard is advice from the Bible. It means taking care of what you own and can harvest from. Everyone wants you to jump onto their wagon and work in their field of dreams. We do that for the kinds of reasons that I listed, but we ought to, first, grow and maintain our own blog.

Write for your own domain and sites, first. Be very judicious about the time you invest in others blogs and sites.

Why?

  • They own it, run it, and make decisions about it without you. Your interests come very low on the totem pole.
  • They can change it, close it ( witness Squidoo, and Geocities before that) and there is little you can do, but be ready to change gears.
  • You may lose work.
  • You will keep increasing your time and effort investment.

And those are not even all the possible “cons” in the equation.

So while I like to keep my hand in writing for such places, and they do pay me (which is often reinvested in these self-hosted blogs), my best advice is to mainly work on your own blog. Build it, improve it, keep consistently adding articles and creating a masterpiece of work.

 

In Sum

You know the drill by now:

Write.

Produce quality and keep adding to quantity.

Be a consistent writer and post regular articles.

Add to this (very important today):

Participation and growth of your social media.

You don’t have to be in everything, but you should be growing a presence in the communities that bring value to your blogs. Google Plus 1, Twitter, Facebook Pages, Pinterest (this one is huge for me), Instagram, and many others including their byways that help to collate the many social media avenues (Rebelmouse is one).

Write for yourself, your own domain and sites, first, and in a regular way.

Go ahead and participate as a content writer elsewhere, but remember your priorities.

Tend Your Vineyard

Gimp Tips

Since I use my Mac laptop for most of my work, I switched from my old Photoshop program to Gimp. Needing to make a graphic for one of my posts, here, I wanted some free brushes to use for the illustration. But how to insert Photoshop brushes into the Gimp program? It was simple once I learned how.

Here is the link

Basically you find the brushes folder inside of Gimp through ‘Finder’, then drop them in and restart Gimp. I did it, but needed the walkthrough with illustrations.

Found some tips for using the program, too. Inside the Gimp.org site, of all places.

Enrich My Gimp

Have fun learning.

 

Google Page Speed

I switched over to the pagespeed beta offered by Google, recently, It was a major hassle. I had a “bare domain”, this is, without the www. The service required that I switch to the www. form of the domain. I knew I was going to lose a major amount of SEO cred when I divided my domain like that and had all the redirects. What I didn’t know was how hard it would be just to change it. Perhaps that is yet another drawback to horrid Netfirms. The tech people finally helped to get it work at least part time, although I still come up with database error pages- just not all the time. I am hoping it gets ironed out.

Anyway. The switch from Cloudflare, which had so many problems with DOS attacks (not their problem, but still affected me) to Pagespeed beta has been less than stellar ( including the setback of changing my domain address). My google adsense dropped into the small change again.

Maybe when on a bad host like Netfirms you have to have a service like Cloudflare to handle all the bad traffic and problems from hackers? I wish I knew. I know what you are thinking, why not just change hosts? Well, I’ve been looking. Many of the recommended ones have been taken by the conglomerate that made Netfirms so unsatisfactory.  Why work to change to something like that? So, I am still looking….

In the meantime, while Pagespeed has helped the problem of my need for faster pages and the use of a CDN, It is hard for a person like me, someone only a tiny bit knowledgeable about code, domain pointing, MySql and all that stuff. Not very user friendly for those like me.

Squidoo Explosion! (Became A Squid Implosion)

I have burst out in topics, pages (called lenses), participation in a fun a community called “Squidoo” Hubpages – read about it all here.
Here are some collections of pages I’ve made:
Hungarian
Delicious recipes
Belly Dance
Christmas
Gardening
Beauty Lenses

Update: It is sad that a community as fun and thriving, as Squidoo was, should go belly-up. That is what happened. The pages are not lost, however, simply moved to another site, Hubpages.

Because of style changes and a different emphasis of content on the two sites, the pages need much editing and updating. I have only a few more to work on, but the collection pages were a little more challenging to customize for Hubpages. Expect for these to change a great deal over time.

Hubpages is facing the same challenges from Google, and ad income as Squidoo once did. I think they are valiantly trying to create a valuable, respectable site that Google will cease to penalize, if not love.

Moving things Here, There , And Elsewhere

One issue that Google is going against are sites where there are sales, and a spammy look.  I understand and appreciate that. While at the same time, as the web is more and more business oriented,  sites survive by using affiliate links, etc.

 

Consumers, and just plain old readers (like us) enjoy product recommendations and reviews, too. So, the pages which Hubpages will no longer feature, like gift suggestions for avid yoga practitioners will become part of this site, where I already have the original pages I made for fitness and wellbeing.

I am trying out the idea of adding more Amazon features here, that look like this one, or similar:

I hope it helps me support my website, which used to be  financed through my work on Squidoo.

My sincere desire is to benefit the readers, too. Trying to be as considerate as possible about sharing socially, offering products, and using programs such as Adsense.

If there are opinions about any of this, Facebook is my favorite place to join in these conversation, although twitter is a possibility and even some comments here. Though I don’t find people engaging on the blogs very much anymore.