Archive | 11:46

Seven Tips For New Bloggers

6 Aug

“blog” (Photo credit: inju)

A lot of my subscribers are fairly new bloggers  (which, I suspect, is why they subscribe here – they don’t know any better).

Thank you, new subscribers, for subscribing, however misguided you may be.

Formalities over and naming no names, I have noticed some common errors on my visits to your new blogs, and I thought I would give you some tips that I wish had been given to me early on in my own blogging career:

  • Use no more than ten tags, including the category.  Any more than that and search engines think you are spam and put you to the bottom of the list.  Good tags encourage more hits.  Failing that, they garner amusing searches which you can shamelessly turn into their own posts.  Or is that just me?
  • Break up paragraphs.  It is difficult to read one huge block of text; people don’t have time to persevere or just can’t be bothered, and you might get hits because of your perfect tagging, but no possibility of a relationship with your visitors.  Short paragraphs/bullet points/photographs/bold/italics all make your post more attractive and easier to read. Your mantra should be:  Illustration Illustration Illustration. It is easy to upload your own photographs but if you don’t have any that are suitable, use Zemanta, to the right of your new post.  Type in a key word for a royalty-free illustration. 
    Punctuation ahead

    Punctuation ahead (Photo credit: mag3737)


  • Interact with your readers. Respond quickly to comments and always return visits, leaving a friendly comment when you do.  To begin with, it is worth having the Like and Comment Notifications sent to your email inbox; as you get busier you can turn it off again.  As your blog grows and becomes more time-consuming, your regulars will know that you are busy like them, but you won’t ignore them.
  • Use 140 character titles.  Search engines like them.  Get key words into the title.  If you can’t make it relevant, make it interesting or amusing, to catch readers’ attention.
  • Write right.  Bad punctuation, spelling and grammar can be off-putting. If it’s not a skill of yours, sign up to blogs that offer tips; turn on the spell checker (but bee warned: it is not infallible); and read read read!  Reading is the best way to improve your skills, find interesting topics to blog about, and to cultivate good blogging relationships.
  • Link to other blogs.  Links not only publicise those blogs you like (the only reason I do it, I swear), they encourage search engines to find you (a fortunate side-effect, that’s all).
  • Learn to count.  Readers get seriously annoyed if you promise them seven tips and only give six.

There are lots of other great tips, but these are the ones I think most important to new bloggers.

Blogs and Coffee

Blogs and Coffee (Photo credit: BrotherMagneto)

Here is a good link, which is in no way a shameful flatter of my WordPress masters in an attempt to get myself Freshly Pressed: sign up to The Daily Post; they send out all kinds of useful information.

Happy blogging!  Remember who set you on the right path when you are a superblogger, and throw a link my way (no slighting the hand that reads you).

Joke 501

6 Aug


A stereotypical caricature of a pirate.

A stereotypical caricature of a pirate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To celebrate the fact that I have reached the halfway mark on my 101/1001 challenge to tell a joke a day (only 500 more jokes to go!), here is one of my favourites, courtesy of Janie’s Place.

Three guys were sitting in a pub getting quite drunk, when suddenly the door was thrown open and a bushy-bearded pirate hobbled in on a peg leg and made for the bar.  As he thumped past, the three took in his menacing eye patch and the gruesome hook in place of a hand and could not believe their eyes.

One of the guys whispered, “I wonder how he got that peg leg?”

Another guy added, “And that hook!”

The pirate appeared to notice them staring and whispering and glared back at them, “Arrgh!  What do ye be a-starin’ at, ye scurvy dogs?”

The first two guys sniggered into their mugs, but the third, a little more drunk then the rest called out loudly, “We were just wondering, if you were a real pirate?”

The pirate scowled, “Aye, as ye see, what of it?”

The third guy, to the horror of his buddies, called out, “Well then, Mr. Pirate.  We’ll buy you a beer if you tell us the story of how you lost your leg and hand.”

The pirate hesitated and finally agreed, “Very well, I do be havin’ a right powerful thirst an’  better yer coin than mine t’ pay fer it.”

So the pirate sat down at their table and drained half his mug in one swallow, leaned back and let out a mighty belch.  The guys all laughed and then the first one asked, “So, how did you lose your leg?”

“Well,”  said the pirate, “ye see, I were down in this ol’ swamp, buryin’ a chest o’ me finest doubloons so’s it’d be safe from me arch-nemesis, the IRS.  I went t’ step over a huge ol’ log, but it weren’t no log at all.  No, fer it were an ornery crock an it done bit clear through me leg in one foul snap of its razor sharp teeth an’ swallowed it right down.”

The guys gasped.

“I were so surprised, I dropped me trunk t’ reach fer me cutlass t’ cut that scaly beast t’ bits.  But then, I sees me trunk sinkin’ into the mud and I had t’ choose between me revenge an me booty.”

“What did you do?”  asked the first guy.

“Arg!  I be a fierce pirate, but whaddya think I did?  I saved me treasure, yes I did.  But not afore I gave that crock a mark t’ remember me by and by.”

“Wow!”  said the second guy.  “But what about your hand?  How’d you lose it?”

“Argh.”  Said the pirate, “I may not have got me revenge that day, but I were not about t’ fergit that crock.  No, I went back t’ that swamp some years later and we met again.  This time th’ mangy git a-reared up an’ bit off me hand!”

The guys gasped again.

“But I ain’t lived this long a pirate an’ not been prepared!  With me good hand I sliced that crock from gizzard to gut afore he could get his bloated belly back on th’ ground.  The cut done him in an this time he were mine!”  The pirate then flashed his lone crocodile skin boot before the guys and adjusted his crocodile skin belt.  Then he hoisted up his beer and drank it down.

The guys whooped appreciatively, but then the third guy said, “Hey, now, then, what about your eye?”

The other two stopped cheering and added eagerly, “Hey, yeah, how’d you lose your eye?”

Slowly the pirate leaned forward and said ominously, “Well, now.  That do beat all.”   He sat back in his chair and rubbed his hook with his good hand.

“Come on,”  said the third guy; “tell us.”

The pirate tapped the empty glass with his hook, and the men quickly beckoned the waitress for another round of beer.  The pirate took a long draw, set down his glass, wiped his moustache on his coat sleeve and looked each guy over with his one remaining good eye.

“You see,” the pirate began.  The guys all leaned in.  “You see, it were me first day with me new hook an’ all o’ the sudden I were taken with a right powerful itch in me eye…”


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