I recently changed my theme template for blogger again. They have a vanilla one that is much like the one ported from Elegantthemes that I was using. I had changed the theme on my garden website, so I no longer needed something that related as closely. Still, I should brand it to relate to the whole “Ilona’s Garden” group of sites. Something else for the to-do list.
But -as usual- when I pressed the save button to change the template, I also had forgotten my customized add-ons. Using the related post’s scripts and the collapsible scripts means they should be added manually –before saving! Duh.
What You Really Want To Read About
Anyway, the original post with both the code and directions for installing it are on the post, “Related Posts Widget”.
Now everything works again (still have to get the analytics and the collapsible code in place). One day I will remember to do all the fine points… I change themes and templates enough that it should be second nature by now.
Anyway, I love this code, it is so much better than the LinkIn one that I used before. I don’t like the way it takes over your keyword and has the link to distract people from what you hope they will do …read more of your posts!
I’ve worked very hard for many years getting some of my blogs to just be on the horizon level. I’ve had periods of success and periods ( and blogs) which languished in no man’s land. I might switch emphasis, but I don’t quit. In trying to improve my blogging ( I’d say I became serious about it a year ago or so) I joined Third Tribe, read boatloads of Problogger and Copyblogger posts – along with many others. So this is a post to save you time in covering some of that ground.
Success is more than talent… it took me a huge portion of my life to get that. Tuck it into your consciousness, now, and save yourself lots of grief and frustration.
I mentioned the ultimate guide for a blog launch and reiterate it here. Get Tentbloggers Starter Kit. It is the easiest, most succinct, compendium of starter advice. While you are at it, pick up his plugin for wordpress which adds your author information on your rss feed. I wish I had that YEARS ago. Because people are shameless about taking your crafted blogposts for themselves.
Stayed tuned for more updates to how to blog better, and expand your social media presence.
The 3.1 has messed up the visual editor on several blogs of mine, including this one. I haven’t found the conflict yer, which is what I guess the problem would be. It could be inside the themes or one of the plugins. I hope to find the answer soon.
I’ve been a fan of “Tentblogger” John Saddington for a long time. He has some awesome posts on his site for everything you want to know about blogging, especially about getting started. I came across his “Ultimate Guide which is like a sitemap to all the important steps to take in getting a start in blogging.
I wanted to share some of the work on Zazzle that I think is well done. I once had a Squidoo lens to do that, but the new site, Hubpages, doesn’t allow writers to connect more than 2 times to the same site. That created a limit for showing a number of artists.
Here, is the beginning of pages which can offer a specific artist, perhaps on a specific product, like the Casemate cases I chose to highlight for GrafixMom. I hope you enjoy the presentations.
If you love realism in a Victorian vintage mode, then her collections of “Elegant Floral” cases are for you.
As a child I won an art contest. It was a huge highlight of my childhood, which was the challenge that inspired the creation of a page, Winning an Art Contest. One thing leads to another and I wrote another page to give a little insight into Grandma Moses, and then a collection of her beloved holiday paintings.
Those were written on Squidoo, which is now defunct. The site, Hubpages is their new repository.
Grandma Moses has always fascinated me, her life was full of good old American hard work and spirit, but at its last few decades took on an almost fairytale quality. Being discovered as an artist, becoming famous, and merchandising it all when well past eighty years old… that doesn’t happen very often.
It was her character qualities that interested me. Most of those had to do with her working life, and I found little that would have shed life on her sorrows, joys, or struggles. Those who handled her image were of the age of the movie moguls who made “Stars”, and seem to have applied some of the techniques to how Grandma Moses was presented to the American public.
Still I have taken those characteristics that seemed to rise to the surface throughout her life to make some observations about her that help inspire me.
My Own Art
I have need of inspiration, since my own art career was aborted. I have a very hard time now finding either time or motivation to stir up those waters. And I have been losing my eyesight.
Still, I hold onto plans to paint and draw, maybe craft some collages, and it only remains to begin the process of laying aside expectations that I somehow make up for lost years and practice.
If I can manage to fulfill my goals I will record the progress, of course.
However that works out, I have always, and will continue, to admire beauty and the art of others.
Writing On Hubpages
What I continue to do, is write.
Hubpages allows for some income generation to help pay for the many costs of creating and maintaining a self-hosted blog.
I like it, but it does take a great deal of time and work. Online business, of writing, making graphics, etc. is not “passive” no matter what some might say.
You are smarter than that… but the headline grabbed you. What fool says things like this? Well, from a TV ad I saw recently, and from lots of stuff I read online, there are many such fools. But not you, and if you read on I will tell you things that I know about this. Things that will help you if you are just starting out. You’re looking at what you think are my proofs, aren’t you? The proof is in the pudding and all that… “If this blogger is so knowledgeable, why doesn’t she (first lower indicator and expectation arrives with gender- I’ll share on that later) have lots of hits, lots of comments… at least a blip on the horizon?
OK, here’s is part of what you learn from this post: some things NOT to do, which can be just as important as the things you should be doing. Number one….
Things NOT to Do
(1) If you change your website url…. people will no longer find you, and worse case scenario (like here) is that you will have to start all over again. In a much tougher competitive environment.
(2) Second mistake I’ve made… but on purpose… is that I haven’t updated this blog. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it for a long time, and I was busy working on my other blogs. So this one just sat and became the sandbox for theme problems or tryouts I worked on, again, for the other blogs. The inverse rule: what you must do when you blog, is update regularly. You must write content. a blog cannot thrive if it is set up like an old static website. In fact, online activity has changed so much that websites cannot simply sit there without updating and lots of new content being created. The people who surf and use the web can no longer waste their time on sites that don’t care. Lack of updating on some sort of regular basis (it can be monthly or weekly or daily) is showing indifference.
Alright… that is enough for now about things I learned the hard way. Let’s talk about things I know now, and that you will hear from some very successful bloggers if you dig around finding their secrets of success.
A blog has to be marketed. This is what those promises of making an easy website and getting found in the search engines don’t tell you honestly. It is a lot of work and you have to sell your blog and your writing. You will be in the process of branding, creating your own brand. Like Coca Cola hopefully, but that is part of what sets your blog apart from gazillions of others that are populating the web. If you work very, very hard to write and create a beautiful website, it will not be read unless you market it. There are many things to do in this, but for this post let’s just promote the idea, in case you weren’t aware how much this matters.
A blog should have an adequate, nice looking theme (design or style). right now this one is very plain, but that is all right. It has many features in the backend where the work of functioning resides, it is pleasant looking in the way it uses the page space, and the navigation works well. Believe me on this. I have sites where I didn’t begin with good navigation and although I had been aware of this, the themes sometimes didn’t work well with what I was trying to do, either. It is hard to fix this. Not impossible, but try finding a theme that makes it easy for you to show off your pages and your posts to the readers… don’t make them dig for the information they need.
Be SEO friendly. This goes along with the importance of marketing. The search engines are what people use to find your posts and thus, your blog, which will make you famous, if not rich. Well, it will help put on on the map anyway. I bet you use Google, or if you are an iconoclast, Bing, to get here. Because I sure am not linked from anywhere. Not even from my own blogs yet. (SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”).
Before you do anything change the url structure you use. If you are using a wordpress blog… or even a joomla cms or anything that has goofy numbers and no search terms or key words in the link, Change It Now… you will be so grateful someone told you about this early. Make it pretty- something that includes the post headline, etc. maybe under the category. Do it now before you have lots of posts and changing it cause weirdness in the way wordpress finds your posts and the solutions tell you to do scary things like change your htaccess file. Don’t know what that is? Just change the url structure now. Please. This is found ( in WordPress) under “Settings” and “Permalinks”. More info on that.
Learn about SEO, copywriting ( which is what you do when you make your headline interesting, your post readable, and other good things like that). You can find helpful information on site like Problogger and Copyblogger. Google, itself, will helpfully tell things that will help them serve up your site more easily.
Learn how Facebook and Twitter can be used to market your blog and grow community. These are two aspects that not only make blogging more fun for you and interesting for your readers, but are two easy ways to market without as much time, money, or expertise as some of the other methods. If you don’t know about this side of the social media coin, it is not a steep learning curve, just one of the steps that many people use now for online communication.
Of course, if you would like it to be just you and and your blog, forget everything I’ve said here.
I see many new people coming into the blogging and website scene who want to use WordPress as their platform. That is a good thing, but in the learning process they want to skip the basics and jump into advanced level customization, even before learning how to navigate the basic posting and administrator processes. That is not such a good thing.
Sometimes you want to write something and use a character that isn’t on the keyboard – there are alt formulas, but I found they don’t always give the desired result. So sometimes I need a chart to refer to. My favorite one disappeared from the net, so I had to go looking and found this good resource: ok- so now it is easier to just list them here!
These paintings struck me as distinctly garden oriented. Something like fifties sitcom meets millennial gardening. Do you garden in heels and pearls?
I enjoy looking at art, and while I am attracted to more of nature’s subjects, this one holds a fascination with its throwback to the fifties (when I grew up). We would never run around doing house chores in dress and pearls today! But at one time it was considered quite normal.
The picture was seen on Scoutie Girl, a blog with plenty of ideas and inspiration.
In another of her posts, she highlights the artist, Siiso. It shows that taking cues from nature can be lightheartedly abstract and fill a room with feeling. When I look at these works I just feel, and it frees you from having to work at thinking so much. Then it invites you into the canvas to think about it if you wish- with detail and texture.
Thanks to Scoutie Girl for giving her insights and collecting a number of posts that present artists, both lesser known and well known.
“The Milkmaid,” an oil by Vermeer from the 17th century, is headed for an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Organized to honor the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage to New York from Amsterdam, the show, Sept. 10 through Nov. 29, will focus on old masters who, like Vermeer, were active in the period of exploration, trade and artistic flowering that occurred during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century.
I’m trying to figure out these themes and now the whole shebang is not working right. Second try with the feature post. That was what I wrote when trying to use a magazine theme with the feature post section. It really was a struggle to learn, but since then I have mastered it with that theme and others. It was one of Brian Gardner’s designs, and learning how to master the “feature posts” also taught me how to use custom fields.
Black lie the hills; swiftly doth daylight flee;
And, catching gleams of sunset's dying smile,
Through the dusk land for many a changing mile
The river runneth softly to the sea.
O happy river, could I follow thee!
O yearning heart, that never can be still!
O wistful eyes, that watch the steadfast hill,
Longing for level line of solemn sea!
Have patience; here are flowers and songs of birds,
Beauty and fragrance, wealth of sound and sight,
All summer's glory thine from morn till night,
And life too full of joy for uttered words.
Neither am I ungrateful; but I dream
Deliciously how twilight falls to-night
Over the glimmering water, how the light
Dies blissfully away, until I seem
To feel the wind, sea-scented, on my cheek,
To catch the sound of dusky, flapping sail,
And dip of oars, and voices on the gale
Afar off, calling low, -- my name they speak!
O Earth! thy summer song of joy may soar
Ringing to heaven in triumph. I but crave
The sad, caressing murmur of the wave
That breaks in tender music on the shore.