Sunday 31 May 2009

Somali Cat Chase

This is a very short post about a Somali cat called “Chase”. He is an extremely handsome cat.


Page Rank Toolbar

I use the PageRank™ toolbar all the time. I think that it is worth knowing what Google thinks of a website and the PageRank™ is in effect just that.

I use PageRank™ and Alexa ranking combined to assess the success of a site. These are not conclusive, though, far from it. A site can be excellent and have poor PageRank™ and Alexa rankings if, for example, it is new. It can take months and years in fact to get a decent PageRank™. Indeed it seems that some websites have acquired a good PageRank™ (above 3) through simply being around a long time. Just keeping a website going for a long time counts provided the content has some value.

The PageRank™ toolbar comes with the latest Google Toolbar, which, as far as I can tell, is Toolbar 5, at the date of this post. It requires Firefox 2 (the most recent version is, I believe, version 3). I would always recommend the Firefox browser over Internet Explorer. It is known to be better (however some people prefer other browsers – can’t see why though, probably habit). You can download Firefox from here (very easy):

And download the Google Toolbar that contains the PageRank™ tool from this webpage:

In addition to seeing a webpage’s PageRank™ in the Toolbar (at the top of the page) Alexa provide some applications that show the PageRank™ as well as their own rankings. The Alexa toolbar is called “Sparky” and can be download from their website from this page:


It shows at the bottom right hand corner of the page as a Google Page Rank & Alexa traffic ranking combined. It also puts a tool in the header tool bar (related links, but I never use it, maybe I should). This I find very useful as it probably gives you all the information that you need to know about the site while visiting it. As far as I am aware, Sparky doesn’t work with Google Chrome at the date of this post. It works with IE though.

In addition to these tools, that show you the Page Rank of the page that you are visiting, Sparky puts the Page Rank underneath the Google search result listing of each website listed. It shows like this:


I have forgotten how I installed this so I am going to stick my neck out and say that when you install Sparky and use Firefox 2 you will get this to show up as well as the other indicators in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

Hope this help with a search for Page Rank Toolbar.

From Page Rank Toolbar to Home Page

Saturday 30 May 2009

Blogger Website Building Site Map

Please remember things change fast in the world of Blogger. These posts were written some time ago and some are therefore less useful now as Blogger constantly upgrades its software. They are still of use though. Look for the label "building a website" in the right hand column for more recent posts.

Some are timeless however: How to publicize your blog is one example.

Google Blogger Guide for Dummies
Gothic Background Image
Submit Blogger Site Map to Windows Live
Add Background Image to Your Table
Add TwitThis Button to Blogger Post
Embedding Google Adsense in Blogger Post
Twitter Helps Blogger Traffic
Embedding a Spreadsheet into a Blog
Do Subdomain Hits Improve Alexa Ranking?
Creating Blogger Blog Subdomain
Flip Camera Problem
Flickr Photostream for Your Blog
Write Blogs with Windows Live Writer
How to Get Traffic to Your Blog
Fitting the Header Picture into Border
Speed up Blogger Blog Load Times
Most Companies use Internet Explorer
Pictures with Captions in Blogger
Google Image Search builds Traffic
Back Up Blogger Blogs
Delete Images with Caution
How to Publicize Your Blog
Is Site Sell Site Buildit a Scam
SEO Blog Software
Page Rank Improvement
Speed Blogging and Efficient Blogging
Make Easy Money on the Internet
Html Table Codes Building a website
Free Html Blog Templates
Align Blog to Left
Summary of Blogger Terms and Conditions
Showing Code on Your Webpage
Google Docs to Create Blogger Post
Add Third Column to Minima Template
Creating Tables in Blogger Blogs
How Useful are Keywords?
Alexa Measures Page Views Inaccurately
Change the Title Tags for Your Blog
What are Keywords?

Html Table Background Image

Html Table Background Image.

This short post (as it is fairly straightforward) explains the html needed to place a background image in a table.

The results of the first block of code below can be seen on this page (note that both the page and the table have backgrounds. The code below just relates to the table and as the image is small it is automatically repeated).

<table style="text-align: left; width: 75%;" background="" border="1" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="2">

The code for the table background image is highlighted in red. You can see that the code to be inserted is:

background=”URL of the image” (where URL = the location on a server of the saved image)

Here is another page where you can see the image in the header (the cat’s ears!): Maine Coon Cat ZAK

The code for the Maine Coon Cat header with the ears is (note that I am referring to the main table as there are several tables in the header):

<table style="text-align: left; width: 100%; height: 80px;" background="" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">

The relevant part is highlighted in red and as can be seen the tag is “background” followed by the location (URL) of the image.

That means the image has to be stored (saved) on a server somewhere. In the first example it is saved on Google Picasa Web Albums. Anyone can sign up to Google Picasa Web Albums and share images there so that is good way for people who just have the Blogger blog to save images (it also produces the code for the image location). There is no reason why the background image couldn’t be saved to Blogger servers by uploading it using the compose window upload button and then getting the code from the Edit html window but you’ll need to remove the link as all uploaded images are by default linked to a separate image (click on the image and see what I mean). Although this can be removed easily.

In the second example, mentioned above, the image has been saved to a Site Sell SBI server that feeds my main website: Pictures of Cats org. Make sure that the image is not too heavy (file size should be reduced to the lowest level consistent with image quality) to ensure load times for the webpage is as fast as possible.

You should work with an image editor to do this such as Photoshop Elements or (which is what I use – it is a free download).

Further reading on tables:

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Friday 29 May 2009

Google Blogger Guide for Dummies

I can’t resist having my say on the subject of Susan Gunelius and Google Blogger Guide for Dummies. I have not read the book. This is a review of the Amanda Fazani review of the Susan Gunelius Google Blogger Guide for Dummies or more accurately a review of the issues surrounding the hiring of the author. I make what may be considered slightly provocative remarks. This is deliberate but not intended to be personal or hurtful. People have a right to express their views provided they are presented politely and these are simply my views.

I have read Amanda’s review and the comments to the review. I have read what Enviroman (Blogger Tips and Tricks) has said about writing this book and I have read about Susan Gunelius from her website (which has moved). In short I have read everything surrounding the book except the book! I have not read the book because I know it will not be money well spent. This is because it will not be technical enough. And I am not a computer geek; far from it. This last comment of mine really says it all, in fact. And I have also read the Amazon product description for the book. Some people will say how can you review a book without reading it? Well first, I am not strictly reviewing the book. I am talking around the subject. Secondly, I have seen the contents of the book from the Amazon reviews so I know what is in it. Plus read the other stuff as mentioned.

This is my opinion on the subject for what it is worth. Why didn’t the publishers ask Amanda Fazani to write the book? Maybe they did and see turned them down, I don’t know. I know that “Enviroman” was asked but eventually it seems he was rejected. He complains on his website that he was treated rather poorly by the publishers. It would seem that the publishers decided to fall back on a writer rather than a person who knows Google Blogger inside out as Fazani and Enviroman do. In fact there is another person or persons who could and maybe were asked, the creators of Tips for New Bloggers.

Susan Gunelius has “20-years of marketing, branding and copywriting experience”. She is CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc.. This is a “full-service marketing communications and branding solutions provider.” Susan has a blog called “Women on Business”. But I have a clear sense that her considerable talents lie in the field of business, copyrighting, marketing and plain writing and not blogging at the level required to successfully write a really useful book on Google Blogger. What I mean is the person should know Blogger inside out to then write about it in a way that makes even the technical stuff understandable. However, perhaps the publishers decided on the content.

Because of what appears to be her lack of first hand knowledge of the nuts and bolts of working with Google Blogger blogs the book is written very much at the beginner level, it seems, addressing, mainly, people who have not started (or just started) rather than people who have and want to crank up the ante and make things sharper and better. And I would have thought the latter objective was the better one and one that would attract the wider audience. Or at least it is one that should be included. The publishers would say in defence that this is a Dummies Guide and is therefore targeted at beginners. I would disagree because you don’t need a book on how to get started because the Blogger team explain it beautifully. The whole process is intuitive and very easy. What is more tricky is customizing the blog and there are a lot of people who want to personalize their blog; make it their own. I know that from the success enjoyed by Fazani and Enviroman with their websites, which are, incidentally far more  successful as sites than Gunelius’s blog, “Women on Business”. That on its own tells us something about the qualifications for writing the Google Blogger Guide for Dummies.

I am not even sure it was a good idea for Susan Gunelius to write the book never mind for the publishers as it is a little out of her field of specialization from what I can gather from the bio on internet. Actually, it seems like Susan Gunelius decided to do the book to heighten her profile vis-à-vis computer technology. People like Enviroman and Amanda Fazani, though, would have been better placed to write the book. Amanda writes very good English while Enviroman is less strong on the English language. But this could have been fixed in editing.

When you read the Amazon blurb it says the book covers such topics as , “What you should know about moderating comments”. The only thing people should know about that is how to get comments! Moderating them is the last of our worries. Another unrealistic topic is “Does making dollars make sense? — explore options for Google Adsense®”. Once again 99% of Blogger sites need not think about this until they have lots more visitors. You can make a few bucks on 30 visitors a day on Adsense but you’ll need thousands a day and an Alexa ranking in the order of 100,000 to make enough to have an impact on your life. Which conveniently brings me back to my original point, the book is written for beginners but the question of Adsense is for more advanced users i.e. bloggers with some real traffic.

You know, the truth is you can find all you want from the Blogger help web pages and the sites mentioned on this page.

In short the book looks (admittedly from the outside) to be a little unrealistic because it is written by someone who has not, it seems, worked with Google Blogger and made a success of it. The three people I mentioned above have done this and were therefore better choices for the job of author.

From Google Blogger Guide for Dummies to Home Page

Free Html Blog Templates

There are many websites that provide free html blog templates and I am talking about Google Blogger templates on this occasion; although there are free templates for any type of website, blog or not. This shortish post is intended to take the slog out of finding them. A small word of warning about free blog templates. They are written by talented and skilled people, yes. But the people at Google are the most talented and proficient of the lot. Google hires the best people, they can afford to. What I am saying is that the templates that Google produce function beautifully and although they can be customized (and the Blogger team accept this) sometimes the customization looks good but doesn’t function as well as the original template.

It is a bit like buying a Ferrari and asking the local garage to do a bit of work under the bonnet (hood in the USA). When you customize you have to be careful. Also, I don’t know about you, but when I see a slick blog I have a feeling that it is going to contain weak content because the effort has gone into making it slick. The old fashioned sites often have great content and content is king as they say.

The bottom line is that function is more important than form. As a result I would make sure that the template functions well in all ways before finally adopting it.

Secondly, I notice that Google generally and the Google Blogger people as well, have extremely simple and functional websites. They are almost plain, a little boring perhaps, but highly functional and useful. Sometimes the look of the site gets in the way of its function. Take the blogs with fancy backgrounds. A website provides these (The Cutest Blog on the Block). They are nice and the blogs that use this service are very pretty. But they will load more slowly because you are loading an image for the background. Sometimes they will load considerably more slowly if in addition the blog has lots of widgets containing third party scripts pulling in stuff from other sites. Add to that some large jpeg images on the blog and it will definitely load slowly. This can be a put off for visitors in a high speed world.

With free html blog templates you can either download from the site that provides the template (and then upload it to your site) or copy all the code and paste it into your edit template window. The former is probably the better. I look at the technique further down this post for people who have not tried this.

Anyway here is where you can find free html blog templates. The first three also provide information about getting the best from Blogger blogs (like this site but on a bigger scale):

1. The website, Bloggerbuster, is perhaps one of the best sources for free blog templates as the lady who runs the site, Amanda Fazani, has templates on site and she links to other sites (as I recall) that provide more examples. Plus she provides a lot of useful tips etc. This is the page to start from:

2. The next website that provides blog templates is run by a guy called “Enviroman”. He is a self confessed introvert who must spend all day in front of the computer! He also must be concerned about the environment – good for him. He has a good site but it loads way too slowly (to speed up load times, click the refresh button while it is loading – this gives it a kick up the backside and speeds things up a bit). While Bloggerbuster provides new looking designs, Mr Enviroman tends to focus more on extending existing designs (e.g. more columns etc.). I prefer the gentle modification of a blogger site as you can retain the perfect functionality of the Google team’s template while adding your personal touch (see for example my contribution: Add Third Column to Minima Template). Here are a series of pages from Enviroman to visit and explore:

3. Another well known site dealing with customization of Blogger blogs and one I would call part of the “Big Three” is, Tips for New Bloggers. These guys (there appears to be more than one person) have been on holiday for the last year or so! Their site still does damn well. They tend to do what Enviroman does and provide customizations as opposed to complete new zam bam designs. This is the link to the “template” label which will show a series of posts on this subject:

4. The next site is dedicated to providing free html blog templates. It contains hundreds of templates. This is the best site for choice. I uploaded one to test it (see it here: – this is a dormant test site). As you can see it looks great, very professional. But I couldn’t use the comment function and I have tried, believe me (update: the comments work! - sorry). I don’t like the fact that the navbar has been removed. Plus there are functions that need some work. For example, there is an “Edit” button in the horizontal navbar that seems to do nothing; not sure what it is for. It puts a # after the URL. Seems odd. It is this kind of functionality that I am referring to when you use third party free html blog templates. And they tend to look bland. I prefer the homemade personal look. It is more basic but the better for it, in my opinion. Here is the site:

To upload the new template:

  1. Important: Save by downloading to desktop the existing template. This puts an XML file on desktop for easy upload if things go wrong.
  2. Download the new template from the supplier site.
  3. Open the downloaded ZIP file.
  4. Drag out the XML template file to desktop.
  5. Go to Dashboard of Blogger site.
  6. Access Layout>Edit Html.
  7. Using the upload function, browse for the XML file on desktop and upload it.
  8. The new template is saved.
  9. View and use blog if you like it. If you don’t like it upload the previous template from desktop.

From Free Html Blog Templates to Home Page

Thursday 28 May 2009

Html Table Codes

I’ll talk you through how to produce what I call a “Wikipedia style” table, the only table (really) worth producing; an elegant table with a fine border. I would not get involved with tables that have thick borders. When I see these I think novice etc.

You don’t need to know html table codes. It is useful to know what to look for but to write a table in html is pretty well pointless, in my opinion, as the html editors create great code for tables and the editors are free downloads. The following is an example of the code for a simple elegant table. The end result is shown below the code. Note: I am using simple html not CSS to produce sophisticated tables.

style="text-align: left; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); width: 300px;"
border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="1">
style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 204); font-weight: bold; text-align: center;">This</td>
style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 204); font-weight: bold; text-align: center;">That</td>
style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-align: center;">One</td>
style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-align: center;">Two</td>

Produces this:

This That
One Two

This can take on any number of variations (the table inside the box):

This That
One Two

This That
One Two

Or this:

This That
One Two

The code for the latter (the inner table portion) is:

style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); width: 100px; text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"
border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="1">
style="text-align: center; font-weight: bold; background-color: rgb(102, 51, 102); color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">This</td>
style="text-align: center; font-weight: bold; background-color: rgb(102, 51, 102); color: rgb(255, 255, 204);">That</td>
style="text-align: center; background-color: rgb(51, 102, 102); color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">One</td>
style="text-align: center; background-color: rgb(51, 102, 102); color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">Twoc</td>

The strength of these tables for me is that they are elegant, look professional and easy to produce. But ironically the border setting for them all is always “0”. They have no border. The border is produced inside the cell spacing, by setting a difference between the table colour and the cell colours.

OK, so how do we produce tables like this at will and in an endless range of combinations? As I mentioned you don’t do it manually. But you need to know how to get the elegant fine line border and how to fill in the table with colour.

As mentioned, the underlying method is to create a table and paint in the table with a desired colour. The colour will be the colour of the border (note: remember there is no border, as the border is the colour in the cell spacing). The table should be given Spacing of one pixel (enter “1” against “Spacing”). The cells inside the table are then painted in a different colour. This will be the colour of the cells. When the cells are painted in, what remains of the colour selected for the table is just the border, all the rest is the cell colour.

The key is to use an html editor to give flexibility and speed. There are many free editors. I use NVU. It is a free download. Once downloaded it can be installed in the usual way. Here is the home page for NVU.

Once you have NVU installed (or any other html editor which should have the same facilities) you will usually write your webpage in it but if you simply want to write some html code to, for example, create elegant html table codes that is fine.

These are the steps employed in NVU to produce the above tables:

  1. Open a new page (click , “New”).
  2. Click, Insert>table>select the number of cells per chart.
  3. Double click on the table that is produced, which takes you to table properties.
  4. Select Table>Spacing>insert “1” (this means that in effect the “border” so produced will have a one pixel width, the finest possible border and the best in my opinion.
  5. Click Background Color and select the colour of the border. At this stage this will be selecting the table colour.
  6. Next there is a choice to colour in the cells. Either click “Cells” and go through each cell sequentially and select the appropriate colour or click OK, highlight the entire table and select the table or cell colour icon in the tool bar:


That is it. You will need some practice and experimentation obviously unless you know it all already! When the table is right for you go into the “Source” window and copy the page and paste it into the webpage that you are working on.

If you are working in the Blogger Blog compose mode window to write your post, the best way to transfer the table produced in NVU to your post is as follows (note: if you simply copy and paste the code the result is unacceptable):

  1. Save the table in NVU.
  2. Click on the browser icon.
  3. Copy the table by painting it in while in browser mode.
  4. Paste it into the compose mode window of Blogger.

Html table codes are all about working in a decent html editor and producing simple and elegant tables.

From Html Table Codes to Home Page

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Make Easy Money on the Internet

Is it possible to make easy money on the internet? I don’t believe it is. Why should it be easier to make money on the internet than on the ground? We are dealing with the same business principles, the same clients and business associates, ultimately. In short we are still dealing with people. Sure there are differences. These are both good and bad. But the differences are not the kind of differences that make it easier to make money on the internet. They simply relate to the methods of making money because of the nature of the internet.


In fact, the very ease of starting an internet business can be its undoing. The start up costs, in terms of hard cash, can be almost zero. This is very attractive to millions of people, particularly cautious people. A lot of people hanker after running their own business but are frightened. The internet lets them put their toe in the water of the business world with no downside, no risk. However, most successful business people are not averse to taking financial risks at some stage. An overly cautious approach is the death knell to successful business building, in my opinion. The great benefit of low start up costs also creates false expectations and a carelessness which combine some time down the line to demotivate and before long fizzle sets in. Another failure.

The great benefit of the massive world market that can be tapped into on the internet is also both a positive and a negative. A huge market means lots of customers. A huge market also means lots of suppliers (websites). And that means a ton of competition in which you can drown without a trace. It is easy to be completely invisible on the internet for ever. No one will ever read what you say unless you learn how to get noticed. And that is the first indication that the start up costs are not that low after all. You’ve gotta learn how to do it. That translates to time, your time, hundreds of hours of it and more. And time is the equivalent of money in the business world. The start up costs are not low after all.

Making money on the internet from scratch is about a lot of up-front work and the income comes much later down the line. So if you are alone, the financial start up costs are low but the effort start up costs are high. You can’t buck the economics. Of course, you can get someone to build the website for you and you can advertise using Google Adwords. That reduces work start up cost but significantly increases financial start up costs. The formula is in balance.

How about those, make easy money on the internet websites? They often get lots of traffic. I see many with Alexa rankings in the 20,000 and better. That means at a guess, unique visitors in the order of 50,000 per day. Some of these visitors buy into what these sites are selling because they have learned that it is not easy to make money on the internet but can’t quite accept it. So they turn to that warm helping hand at a very enticing cheap price to get their site noticed and to make quick bucks. It is very tempting, I know, but to be avoided.

The truth is that if you are making about $2,000 dollars a month the safe way you will need about half a million USD in the bank at about 5% interest. That is before tax. Some people take years to earn that and most (99%) never save that amount over their lieftime. I am talking worldwide. What I am saying is the effort needed to earn or make enough money to achieve a monthly income that supports you is high. And you can’t, in my view, buck that formula. There are stories of people making fortunes on the internet but they put fortunes into it and got more out. The fortune that was put in was made somewhere with great effort.

The bottom line is this, the financial model is always in balance. If it is easier one way it is harder in another way. Expectations to make easy money on the internet should be curtailed, reined in. For individuals with no particular outstanding talent it will be hard work and a long slog but no less enjoyable for that for the right person.

From Make Easy Money on the Internet to Home Page

Monday 25 May 2009

Speed Blogging and Efficient Blogging

If we are to “succeed” (and this is a personal and subjective concept) on the internet with blogs we need to consider not only search engine optimization and all its facets but also how to put it all to use efficiently. Speed blogging and efficient blogging is more a necessity that a luxury and this is why.

First, lets get the concept of “success” out of the way. In this post success is deemed to mean getting the maximum number of visitors and page views and therefore revenue. For some people, though (and rightly so) it will not mean that.

As you gradually progress up the Alexa hill to the lofty ranks of the bigger established wiz kid sites you find yourself in the first division and you have to raise your game if you are to keep on going up that slippery slope. Sometimes these sites have more than one person creating the content and there will be a geek of a computer person who gets a head start on the likes of me and thee. We have to compete against this.

Provided you turn out quality, original content, the faster you do it the better; that is a no brainer and the best way to compete against sites where more than on person creates content. So, what does that mean? We have three major sources of knowledge from which we create content:

  1. Our heads (experience)
  2. Books
  3. Internet

If everything we write comes straight from our heads and no where else this is the fastest way to create. That is extremely unlikely and people who are looking for quick fixes can sometimes fall into the trap of doing just that; waffling on in a conversational way churning out unchecked information that is simply poor quality. So we need to fall back and rely on the internet. And books should, where possible, be used to supplement internet information for the sake of fresh information and to check the internet, which can be unreliable (but can also be extremely reliable).

Our Head

I find the old clichés are true. I have small windows of what I call “enlightenment” on problem solving and ideas when (a) in the shower and (b) after about half a glass of wine – absolutely true. These should be used where possible. Memory though is gradually damaged by excess alcohol consumption! Ideas should be jotted down as they are fleeting and can disappear as fast as they arrive. And they should be left to mature for a day to check if they are as good as first thought.


I would guess that these are often ignored. I wouldn’t ignore them. Old books can provide new content under fresh circumstances and also stimulate new thoughts. Often book material will overlap with internet material but there are often small pieces of new information in books that are not readily found on the internet. Working with books is also easier than using information from the internet as it is a hard copy avoiding the need to jump from tab to tab or window to window when using websites for research. When you get to know a book you know where things are and working fast becomes a breeze.


Perhaps this is where the great savings in time can be made. I recommend these ideas for speed blogging and efficient blogging:

  • Use Firefox or Google Chrome. Firefox is the best. It loads quicker and is more reliable and;
  • Use tabs for new web pages (press Ctrl T for a new tab). This allows a series of tabs to be opened from various sources to which reference can be made as the blog post is being drafted. This is more efficient than new windows that blank out the other windows.
  • {note:I currently use Windows Live Writer for blog posts. If I am using images that I want to be stored on a Google server I use the compose window in Blogger and upload from there. If I want to draw tables I use Google docs and copy the table from the web (published table), not the code to the compose window, see these posts (a) Google Docs to Create Blogger Posts (b) Writing Blogs With Windows Live Writer (c) Creating Tables for Blogger Blogs.}
  • If you have been to a site before and want to find it again, you don’t have to search history or use Google search. In Firefox and Google Chrome all you do it click once on the URL in the address box at the top of the browser window, which blue highlights the web address. Then type in the first few letters of the website that you are searching for; Firefox finds the site and a list of alternatives. Click on the chosen one. You can scroll down the list and press enter if you wish. This saves time. In fact, in Chrome the URL box is the search box.
  • When writing articles, when I find the information that I want I copy it (wait, this is not breach of copyright – read on) and drop it into the page I am using (Google Docs, Live Writer or Compose mode in Blogger). I drop it in about 5 lines down. From there I can use it more conveniently as an information source before deleting it. If it is heavily formatted and is creative commons material, I go into html mode (Edit Html in Blogger) and drop it in there, which produces entirely unformatted clean text. You can also use the unformat button (an eraser) but I prefer the former method as it is more controllable and cleaner.
  • If you use similar pieces of text each time in every Blogger blog post and work in the compose window, use the template function. This reproduces the text in the compose window each time you make a new post. You can do this by going to Dashboard>Settings>Formatting>look at the base of the page “Post Template”. Type in there the links and text that are to be part of your standard page.
  • Pictures: Use Flickr creative commons images. Comply with the license to the letter. Download to desktop and upload to the page using Google Blogger image uploader or in Google docs or Windows Live Writer using the facilities in that software (very easy).

Speed Blogging and Efficient Blogging -- Further reading:

  1. Delete Images With Caution
  2. Google Image Search Builds Traffic
  3. Pictures With Captions in Blogger
  4. Speed Up Blogger Load Times

Speed Blogging and Efficient Blogging to Home Page

Page Rank Improvement

In terms of getting traffic to your blog, Page Rank Improvement is equally as important as ensuring that your web page is search engine optimized (at least to a minimum level: see: How To Get Traffic To Your Blog), perhaps more so. Judging by an interview with Matt Cutts, a Senior Engineer at Google, (or he was in 2005 and as far as I am aware he still is – who would leave Google probably the best employer on the planet?) this is the case.

Lets think of the basics: Google is a highly profitable business based on internet use. Internet use is founded on the fact that it is a useful service. The more useful it is the more it grows and so does Google and Google’s profit. It is that premise that underpins Google’s concept of Page Rank, which in turn is based on quality inbound links (backlinks). Sites that are the recipient of quality inbound links are good quality sites providing a useful service. Thus is what Google wants more of. And so do we and all internet users.

Here are two questions asked of him (from the website: and reproduced under a creative commons license):

Question: Let's go back to text links.
Answer: Best links are earned, not sold or traded. You may not get what you pay for. He said, if someone is selling text links, they should give you a free test trial to make sure it works. They have both manual and algorithmic approaches to detect paid links. He said gets emails asking to trade links. The guy who came up with the pixel homepage thing, that was creative.

Question: Do you use the toolbar to figure out what to crawl and how often?
Answer: Nope. Its all pretty much based on PageRank.

OK, what does this mean? Answer: that inbound links are very important as it improves what Google call Page Rank. This, as I understand it, is a measure of a website’s worth or value on the internet. It is measured by the number of inbound links. This means the number of other sites referring to your blog by linking to it. By far the best links are those occurring naturally and voluntarily because these are genuine and “real” i.e. not bought or exchanged.

It is claimed, in the answer above, that Google can differentiate between “real” high value links from good Page Rank pages from bought links and there are a lot of online businesses selling high value links. These are links from web pages that have high Page Ranks. A high Page Rank is one above 3 (PR 3 or better is the target and the higher the better).

The more high quality naturally occurring inbound links you can get pointing towards your blog the better. If your blog (and web pages on the blog) have a decent PR, Google will favour it in listing pages (with decent PRs) higher in search result listings (note: this concept is disputed by the author, “Enviroman” - username, of the blogger tips and tricks site). Page Rank improvement ultimately comes about by writing good original content. That is the core of any website. And it is not really of any great value to simply regurgitate other people’s stuff. It is best to have an opinion, good or bad! One point worth making is that it is possible to provide your own inbound links, legitimately, by writing articles for other sites (article sites) and embedding links in those articles. The site that gains the most from this is the article site, however. Another way is to get listed in high page rank directories. These are good starting points. I wouldn’t listen to people who promote the idea that you can get instant thousands of backlinks (inbound links). This is not real and the Google algorithm will, I believe, spot this. It may even go against your blog or other website.

Once I did buy some inbound links but I stopped the process mid-stream as I realized the only way is to keep building good content, publicizing the website and using SEO as best as I know how. These are the three planks of success on the internet and the fourth flows from them: Page Rank Improvement.

Note: Anyone who leaves a comment of ten lines can leave a link to their site in the comment. While this page is the home page that means an inbound link from a PR 3 page.

From Page Rank Improvement to Home Page

Sunday 24 May 2009

Sending Blogger Posts By Email

There are a number of ways to write Blogger posts, one of which is by email. The set up is easy. You can also write and upload posts by phone (SMS) text message but this is only available in the USA as at 24th May 2009. So how to do set up writing and sending posts to your Google Blogger blog by email and why would you do it this way?

Set up

Go to Dashboard, then Settings, then select Email & Mobile. In the Posting Options, Email Posting address, add a suitable word in the text entry box and save settings. This provides the email address, which can be accessed from the Dashboard (look just to the left of the blog title and you'll see an email icon, click that). That should be it. This post is being written on an email.

When might it be used?

My initial thought is for trusted friends to use if you gave them the email address. They could then post articles. Or, if you don't have broadband. This would avoid wasting online time (i.e. if you are still paying by the minute as for a phone call).

That is it. As I said this post was made this way. Sending Blogger Posts by Email is easy. Typical Google. Everything they design is made to function with ease in my experience. This counts.


The Tiger Human Conflict

The tiger human conflict is for ever on the increase. In this post, Human and Wild Cat are Forced Together , I referred to a leopard, in India, being forced to approach people and which was eventually killed. It would be as the human is the top predator.

The tiger is in equal danger and I have just read a report ( that confirms what I have been banging away at for a long time, that its habitat is being so radically eroded that it is almost bound to become extinct in the wild. The area of concern is the famous India’s Sundarbans. It is here where the tiger is making a last stand being forced to live a life different to that which is natural to it amongst the swamps and sea water (but nonetheless surviving). Once again the increased human population in the area and the shrinking size of the area (due to raising sea levels) is causing that classic tiger/human face off that can only lead to one outcome, more killed tigers.

The tiger is being squeezed on all fronts by us. The rise in sea level is due to global warming caused by us (or so it is reliably claimed) and the inexorable and unregulated rise in human population in the area combine to extirpate the tiger. India, try as it might to put the brakes on the tiger’s demise, is failing. This is due to many factors, the greatest of which is lack of commitment. OK, they are stepping up protection or to put it another way the authorities are doing more to keep the two species apart. It is a sad manifestation of the dysfunctional nature of the world.

We in the west cannot complain. We have done our bit and more to eradicate the tiger from the world. The tiger human conflict continues. We cannot, it seems, live in harmony. The tiger will be the loser.

i love twitter

Why do I love Twitter? Well for several reasons. Firstly, what happens on Twitter reflects, it could be argued, what happens in real life. People exchange small bits of information all the time through casual and sometimes fleeting pieces of communication. You bump into someone on the way to the corner shop (in the UK, there are no corner shops in the USA!); you might exchange a bit of information. It might be something that you had seen on TV. The other person makes a comment, which gets you thinking. Or it could be something that you have just done, are doing or about to do. The underlying concept is updating people on what you are doing and in doing so you are connecting with other people. That is how it might happen “on the ground”.

The beauty of Twitter and why i love twitter is that you can do this very same thing on a worldwide scale, across borders and cultures. The potential benefits are magnified enormously. I just think that we need to use Twitter wisely. Perhaps more wisely than some do at present. And I mainly mean being more selective and making what we say in the 140 character limit more meaningful. Which leads me to another benefit .

As we all know you have to say what you want to say in 140 characters. That can lead us to saying things that are very banal. Eventually that will work against us as people will stop following the posts. But the posts keep on coming. I wonder what the percentage of posts that are read and digested is as set against the percentage of created posts? Probably quite a low figure. This can tend to produce what I have called, “white noise”. It can be almost like spam. I wonder if the guys at Google could devise some programming that encourages us to limit our posts to ones that are more meaningful. People who make a post that convey no useful information at all should be discouraged as it dilutes the quality of Twitter generally.

But that is not to detract from the benefits of Twitter if used well. The better the quality of post the more likely it is that your posts will be followed rather than ignored. And banal can be funny banal but just plain banal won’t get read in my opinion. More importantly and perhaps this is the most useful aspect of Twitter is the “real time” nature of the posts. We can update people immediately on what is happening. It has this instant fleeting quality that is quite different to the usual blog or email.

One thing we should learn to do is to write as succinctly as possible to get the message across in those precious 140 characters. We can convey quite a lot in 140 characters but if we are careless we simply end up using normal speech which in turn means we are unable to convey useful information. The great downside with Twitter is that the limitation of 140 characters encourages speed. A post can be made very quickly, which translates to a casual approach leading to poor quality leading to a mass of worthless words. I would hope that Google can address that because Twitter is a very useful service.

Someone should devise a “Twitter language”. I don’t mean silly language with the word twitter in it but succinct ways of saying commonly occurring updates. 

Note: This post is an attempt to get Google to find a post that I make about Twitter! In truth I do have some doubts about Twitter. It just doesn’t seem to work in its current configuration. It might on occasions be very useful but it is swamped by banal communications that are diluting its effectiveness and quality.

Saturday 23 May 2009

What is Twitter?

What is Twitter? I think that this is a damn good question because the more I see of it the less I see that makes me think it is a useful addition to the internet. People in their millions are scrambling to jump on the Twitter juggernaut; not to be left out of this great new…I am not sure what……What is Twitter?

I have a Twitter account and I use it to network and to try and publicise my site. I have a Twit this button on this site and the main Pictures of Cats org site. The idea is that if people like the page or site they bookmark it, in effect, by automatically generating a Twitter post on their home page. If you click on the Twit this button it generates a Twitter post that says, “Reading…[followed the URL of the page you are reading]”. That, on the face of it should attract some visitors to your site if you have sufficient followers of your Twitter account (see Twitter Helps Blogger Traffic new window). But if you are going to generate lots of followers you are going to have to spend time on Twitter making those 140 letter posts and searching for other Twitterers and following them etc. That takes away from the core of site building, building the site (i.e. writing content).

So, is is worth doing? – Not sure. The jury is still out. One problem is that there is a lot of what I would call “white noise” on Twitter. There are millions and millions of these short posts that ticker tape through your home page. They are gone before they arrive. I just miss most of them and most of the ones I spot are posts by cat people that say, “Meow”, or [in cat language], “I’m going to the toilet”. How enlightening is that? I get a strong sense that most people who subscribe to Twitter are desperate to keep making these short posts but have run out of ideas so end up saying, “I’m getting up”.

Another gripe I have (I’m a grumpy old….) is that I question what you can say that is meaningful in 140 characters. The whole raison d’etre of Twitter is the 140 character limitation of each post. What is the concept behind that? It must be speed. The name gives the clue, “Twitter”. The definition of to twitter is, “To utter a succession of light chirping or tremulous sounds”. It is used for birds normally. If the word is used in reference to people it means the person is saying nothing of use, “Oh, he’s just twittering on about nothing..”. It means light and frothy, unsubstantial. And that is what Twitter is. Do we need more light unsubstantial white noise on the internet, further clogging up the process of finding the good stuff?

I sense that people are grappling with how to make Twitter useful. Some "Power Bloggers” are attacking the Twitter thing big time. They follow tens of thousands of people and get followed by tens of thousands of people. That means that they receive posts at a frightening rate. Think about it. If you are following say 20,000 people on Twitter you will receive their posts. That is the purpose of  following people. If each one makes just one post a day you will receive 20,000 messages a day! You’ll have to stay staring at the screen full-time. Forget your website and the rest. Obviously that is impractical, which seems to mean that the more successful Twitter becomes (for the owners of Twitter) the less useful it is for the customers. If that is the case the business is self-limiting and will level off and stop growing.

A lot of posts are links to other sites. It would seem that, in answer to the question, “What is Twitter?”, the answer is, a means to try and promote websites, which probably wasn’t intended. I think the intention was to create a social network type site. But I don’t think it works like that. Think about it. If we are networking in “real life” (Twitter is not real!) we would talk for a while with someone. We would have a conversation, exchange information with each other. With Twitter I don’t think this is easy to do. This is because:

  1. The posts are very short
  2. During an exchange of posts hundreds and thousands of other posts intervene and create white noise, muddying up the conversation.

There is probably a way of isolating out a particular thread but I haven’t seen that. And I sense that people would rarely use it way. The shortness of post engenders a very casual approach; make a post and move on. The post is history almost the second it hits the ground.

What is Twitter? A super light social networking site abused to promote websites and which blinds us with white noise.

From What is Twitter to Home Page

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Search Engine Optimization Orlando

The phrase, “Search Engine Optimization Orlando” is a pretty good keyword and keywords are the start of search engine optimization. I suspect that people in or near Orlando search online using the above phrase. They are probably looking for someone nearby who they can visit to seek advice on getting their website noticed by the search engines. Perhaps they are looking to buy internet success (generally not possible). Google is the one to be noticed by as it has a good 50+% share of the search engine market.

In fact, the top five search engines showing market share are (courtesy

  1. Google: 53.6%
  2. Yahoo: 19.9%
  3. Microsoft: 12.9%
  4. AOL: 5.6%
  5. Ask: 1.7%

So how do we please Google? Well, personally, I wouldn’t go to a so called specialist (you know what is said about "experts") and spend your hard earned revenue. The reason I say that is because at its core, search engine optimization is relatively straightforward. And the more you understand it the more simple it looks and becomes. So people who are looking for a consultant could find all they need to know for free on the ‘net. In fact it may be the case that the fees charged by an SEO consultant work out more expensive than employing someone at their business to learn the ropes, do the SEO work and maintain the site. And if you are the type who is looking for a consultant you are probably a business making a profit employing people.

People searching for “Search Engine Optimization Orlando” either are about to build a new site or run a site that is not being found by the search engines. If the latter is the case it may simply be a question of waiting as at the outset it takes time for Google to recognize your site’s existence. It may take several months to get truly recognized. It is generally a slow process. So, patience and persistence count big time. However, if you have a site that is well established with a decent Alexa and PR (Page Rank) ranking your post should get seen earlier by Google.

Probably still the most important element of search engine optimization is choosing the right keyword. I have built some pages on keywords and optimizing a site generally so won’t repeat them here but link to them below. However, I would like to expand on the subject of choosing a keyword. And what better example than discussing the keyword for this post, “Search Engine Optimization Orlando”? A post in blog terms is a webpage. Every post is saved as a webpage. A website is a bundle of web pages linked together.

To find a suitable keyword to do with search engine optimization I used a piece of software. It is called Brainstorm It! It is based on a business called Wordtracker. But Brainstorm It! refines the information and presents it in a more useful manner, in my view. Brainstorm It! is one of the many tools offered by SBI to optimize your site. I asked the programme to find me keywords in relation to, “search engine optimization”. It found 800 keywords. That is a lot of keywords because it is a very popular subject and that means that there are a lot of websites competing against each to try and get noticed in providing information on the subject just as I am in this post.

Of the 800, I refined the list to just 21 keywords. How did I refine the list? I chose those keywords that had lots of demand and not much supply. This is the same as opening a business. If in your area of operation market research indicates a financially viable number of people are crying out for a certain product but the nearest supplier is 100 miles away then the demand is high but the supply in the area low.

This is a photograph of the top 5 of the 21 keywords in a printout:


You can just see that the top one is “Search Engine Optimization Orlando”. This is a form or market research because it tells me that there are not enough SEO consultants in Orlando. Keyword research is market research as well and both the customer (the person seeking the service) and the service provider can benefit from it. Although, commonsense dictates that we should not rely on it without some qualifications/discretion from us, the human brain. It is a bit like GPS navigation systems. We need to add some wise human thought to what the machine brings to us.

You can see that the top line has Value Demand as 3049 and Real Supply as 54. Brainstormer ranks the keywords usefulness under Profitability. If profitability is over 1000 I will take a serious look at the keyword. In this case it stands at 56463, a good number. This then is a good keyword with high demand and a low supply. Which should mean that this page has a reasonable chance to get listed on page one of a Google search. That, though, is not the whole picture but it is an important element in the whole.

The next stage is to produce good quality content that is useful to visitors. In other words the content is like a desirable product in a shop. The content is built around the chosen keyword; in this case, “Search Engine Optimization Orlando”.

For an overview of the other elements in search engine optimizing your website, please go to:

A word of caution. There are no quick fixes and instant, sustainable successes. Why should there be? Why should the internet be any different to on the ground? Sure there are sites that grow quickly to become very successful but these have often had millions of dollars or pounds invested in them which was earned somewhere else (the hard way).

From Search Engine Optimization Orlando to Home Page


Tuesday 19 May 2009

SEO Blog Software

My blog gets up to 2,700 unique visitors daily (see below). Here is a review of a top listed (by Google) SEO Blog software website. I think that people search for this in order to find some sort of software that will search engine optimize their blog automatically. The whole tortuous thing done for you. That doesn’t sound right to me. People don’t and can’t do that. So although as far as I am concerned the truth is that there is no shortcut to getting your work listed by Google in search results at a position (first page) that makes it useful, I am reviewing Jeff Johnson Underground Training Lab, Free SEO Blog Software and Traffic-Getting Training Tutorials.


Traffic for Blog -- Statcounter. 20-5-09.

Jeff Johnson’s website gets lots of traffic; a vast amount. A testament to the number of people who want to get their blog noticed. When you go to the site he tells you why he gives stuff away and then asks you to sign up. You confirm by email and then an email is sent to you, which purportedly contains the magic SEO Blog Software and tutorials.

In the email, he says that “Your” free software download link is below (in the email). But where the hell is it?! I am still looking. I am writing this at the same time that I signed up; it’s in real time. After about 15 lines of email in which he asks that we watch out for future emails he says,

“Here are your Free SEO Blog Software download instructions: Very Important! My Free SEO Blog Software is being replaced by my new SEO tool called "Traffic Getting SEO Plugin" for Wordpress.”

It is starting to look odd, already. He calls this, “Traffic Getting SEO Plugin(TM) for Wordpress”. Further down the email there is a link to a “review” of this software. I didn’t click on this because I already don’t trust this. It is probably OK but I don’t use Wordpress and I am not sure that my computer is going to be alright afterwards.

“Reviewing” the software is the first stage. You then have to login to get the download. Jeff says,

“Use this login information to access the download page:”

Then below that is a link above which are the words,

“Download the Traffic Getting SEO Plugin here:”

So, do we have to login for the Wordpress software or can we get it from the email? I am confused but I am not going to click on the link. That is it for me. I couldn’t find the SEO Blog software that I was looking for and expected from the language used. If he had simply provided a link to the product he said he would deliver, I would have continued.

Frankly, there is a lot of “white noise” out there on the internet. By white noise I mean distracting information and get rich quick type schemes (it is the guys who run the schemes who get rich, if at all, not us). They all prey on people who are struggling to make some money on the blasted internet. We used to have a dream that you could make real money on the internet more easily than you could elsewhere. That dream has died. It is as tough on the internet. But it suites a lot of people to make a living on the internet.

However, if you use Google Blogger as free blog hosting then you have made a good choice in my opinion because Google will tend to list Blogger blog posts after about 2 months and provided that you make more than a few of them! It is all about quality and quantity of content; posting regularly but not too speedily that the quality suffers.

I have made several posts about improving your chances of getting your blog noticed:

  1. How To Publicize Your Blog
  2. Google Image Search Builds Traffic
  3. How To Get Traffic To Your Blog
  4. Twitter Helps Blogger Traffic

By the way I make about $1,000 (USD) per month on the internet so it can be done the old fashioned way!

From SEO Blog Software to Home Page

Saturday 16 May 2009

Is Site Sell Site Buildit a Scam?

Update Nov 28th, 2021: Evoy kicked me out of SiteSell. He told me to go and take my site elsewhere because I dared to ask some tough questions on his forum as to why Alexa rankings were diving. The reason? SiteSell sites were over-optimised for SEO and Evoy was openly critical of Google. He made enemies of Google and Google killed him for a long time. My advice now? Don't use SiteSell. They were shits to me.

Is Site Sell Site Buildit a Scam? I am writing this in response to the video arguments and text arguments of Allyn Hane: Master Of My Own Domain (this is the page). He says that SBI or Site Sell is bullshit. What he means is that you cannot succeed on the internet by being spoon feed “how to” information, as SBI do, and succeed in the long term. The only way to succeed in the long term is to know coding and internet marketing, the whole kibosh, the lot. After all, you wouldn’t go into any business without knowing a good deal about it and having the skills to perform, would you?

Normally I would say, yes, and agree that the internet business is no different to normal business. This is what Allyn Hane is saying. The truth, though, is that the internet business is not quite like any other business. For example, html code is only in existence to provide us with the means to put stuff on the internet. We don’t need to know all about it.

Sure it helps to know about it but by far the most important thing is how to express knowledge not how the internet works. And to put things on the internet at a simple level is relatively easy. There are many successful yet simple sites. Dr. Evoy advocates simplicity. His site is a good example (at one time it had Alexa 500). So you don’t need to be an internet guru to succeed on the ‘net. This then supports the SBI model. They do the coding for you until (and this is important) you have found your feet and are ready to jump out of the box and do your own thing.

I know this lady in the video above, not personally but as a person who has succeeded using SBI. She's smart. And yes you need to be smart to really succeed with SBI.....

Note: Dr. Evoy, the founder of would be dismayed to hear people calling his product a scam or, in this case, bullsh*t. He plays it very straight. There are scammers out there but he and SBI are not one of them, believe me. You have to work hard etc. and do your bit but with SBI supporting you it works.

 Note: If you found a bad review of SBI!, it was most likely part of a group of unscrupulous competitors who recently wrote and published a bunch of fake reviews about Site Build It! (Include link where you see fit).

One of the great barriers to succeeding on the internet is to get off the ground. It is a complete mystery, still, to a vast number of people. And a good proportion of these people have lots to give. They just don’t have the means to do it and Site Sell or SBI gives them the launch pad, the means to get on the internet, progress and learn until they can stand on their own two feet. You cannot find this anywhere else, as far as I know.

I know that the founder and chief executive, Dr. Evoy, (now a consultant by the way) also founded one of the great affiliate schemes on the internet (5 Pillar Club) in which SBI people sell the SBI products on the websites that they build with the help of SBI (neat that) but few of them sell the product to any great extent, if one is honest.

It is a slightly clunky product when compared to Google Blogger for example - no doubt about it. It needs modernisation, I think (update: they have introduced new templates). But I am sure that the board of directors have decided that they must keep the $299 yearly subscription frozen under the barrage from Google Blogger and the other free website hosting businesses. The gorilla Google (I actually love Google) is hurting Sitesell and SBI. SBI sites are a little unsophisticated compared to Blogger sites. But, and this is one of the keys, it doesn’t matter if a site is a bit clunky (it may actually help if it is not too slick). The overriding factor is content, what you say and what images or videos you put up on the internet. Simplicity is all and Allyn Hane knows that because his site is simple and effective.

He succeeds on the back of what he says. One of Dr. Evoy’s mantras is to keep it simple and say what you know (on the basis that you know something worth passing on to the public) in your voice while leaving all the distracting bits and pieces, the mechanics and the "white noise" (distracting information on SEO) to him and Site Sell. This is very appealing to women stuck at home with a bit of time on their hands, for example. Yet, I agree that the selling and persuasive powers of Dr. Evoy are so good that the vast majority of new starters think that they can make a viable amount of money by following SBI tutorials and building 30+ pages.

This will never work. Most, almost all in my view, make an amount of money that is so small as to make it of no real consequence in their lives. But they live in hope. I am being brutally honest and some will disagree with that. But some go on and develop, using SBI’s great tutorials, to learn the basics and then to experiment and in effect they are learning on the job. That is invaluable. I am one of those people. When I started I knew next to nothing. I learned from SBI. I experimented and did my own thing and realized late in the day that it is better to stick to SBI methods and to keep it simple (I made mistakes, of course).

There is a mass of “white noise” out there, distracting information that pulls you off the straight and narrow SBI model. I am still learning. I have a long way to go. This site is a subdomain of my main site, It is very easy to set up a subdomain using SBI tools. Another little advantage of SBI. There are numerous support tools and they all free us up to produce content. SBI would drive a computer geek to distraction because it is designed for people who know nothing about html and the internet but who have knowledge or a skill on other topics that are just as valuable. It allows them to express themselves on the internet. And you know, a lot of computer savvy people have very little to give the world other than their computer knowledge and even that knowledge they have difficulty in disseminating.

It is quite rare to find someone who knows the mechanics of html and another interesting and useful subject as well. SBI and Site Sell overcomes that obstacle. You only have to know one element of that double act. You can ignore the html bit and still succeed. This is very valuable for many people who are excluded from disseminating their knowledge on the internet. It opens doors to many people. A very important point that is often missed however is that not only does Site Sell SBI give people access to a world wide audience who would otherwise be excluded, it optimises the page for you.

And such are the SEO skills of Dr. Evoy and his team that the pages that a novice produces are search engine optimised to a very high degree. This is a hidden benefit but the most important part of the SBI process. This is what makes SBI sites more successful than other sites. I am sure that a novice building a web page with SBI in the most simplistic of ways (using what SBI calls, “blockbuilder”) is better optimised in a way that allows it to be found and listed by the search engines than many a page produced by computer and internet geeks. SBIers are, after all taping into the formidable SEO skills of one of the best in the business, Dr. Evoy.

There are many useful features but one, for me, stands out. Site Sell, SBI call it C2 (content version 2). It is a form that is designed for visitors to fill in to allow the site to be built in part them (see an example in action). The trouble is this; precious few use it. I have over 7,000 uniques daily, some days at the moment, and I only get 1 to 2 submissions daily. This is to be expected because few visitors are motivated to give you something. Most people are out to receive something; information etc. But so effective is this form that I use it myself and to great effect as pages automatically produced by it are routinely listed by Google on page one of a search and not infrequently in the top 5. And this applies to and searches. This gives a clue as to the effectiveness of SiteSell's SEO abilities. So having achieved an Alexa rank currently of 103,000 (at June 2009 it is 94,000) after less than 2 years building the site and making about $1,000 (USD) a month I am pleased with SBI (the site is not yet optimised in terms of making money, by the way and I made $1,200+ in May of 2009) .

The annual SBI fee of $299 (2009) can be recovered in a fraction of a single month. The SEO facility alone makes the money well spent. I know there are aspects of SBI that are outdated and clunky as I said but at its core it is still highly effective and provides a service that is perhaps unique and especially attractive for people who are stuck at home and who want to work while caring for children as a good example.

I think that the kind of remarks made by Allyn Hane when he says that Site Sell and SBI are a scam and bullsh*t are from a person who has not (with respect to him) fully grasped the benefits of the process. He is falling into that trap of being obliged to write a webpage (to produce content) without having fully read about it or, better still, having experienced it. He won’t mind because all he is really doing is bringing in traffic to his site. He is being deliberately provocative but at another person's expense it should be said. Whether his post is accurate or not is secondary to provoking reaction in the public. And that is OK.

I can understand that. But SBI needs defending from these slightly misleading articles. Update late August: I am one of the people who has benefited from SBI. I would not have succeeded without the knowledge I gained through working with them. This site is a subdomain. The Alexa ranking is around 80,000 (at June 2010 the Alexa ranking is 55,000). I owe a lot of that to SBI Sitesell. I really do and I am not just selling SBI. The site makes about 2,000 USD per month undermonetized.

I am a 60 year man with no previous experience of website building and within 2 years I am in the top 80,000 sites in the world. There are hundreds of millions of sites. And a lot of sites that are doing worse than mine have a team of geeks working on the site. I work entirely alone! And being 60 it keeps me alive! I need to do something and be focused. My site and SBI give me that. One great thing about SBI is that you can walk away if it doesn't work out for you at no cost as far as I remember. And you can change the website domain once and restart without charge. I did that because my first two month attempt I decided would not work. SBI are very helpful but best of all is they teach you as you work how to get your site noticed by Google and the other search engines and that is so very important.

SBI Video Tour!

  1. Some more information in a video.
  2. From Is Site Sell Site Buildit a Scam to Home Page

Friday 15 May 2009

How to Publicize Your Blog

How to publicize your blog. A comprehensive list of things to do. The Google Blogger help team tells you a lot of what you need to know to publicize your blog or promote it - call it what you like. There are a number of options that need to be considered and selected and we tend not to get involved in these because at first it is all a bit confusing or boring. Here is a list of things you should do to publicize your blog.

Note: this was written in 2009! A lot of it still holds true but things have moved on. The ultimate way of publicising your blog is to get good Google search result rankings and that means writing lots of excellent articles and at least one a day for ever!! You have to persist and be disciplined.

Firstly, on a fundamental level you have to be prepared to write a lot of good posts that are well focused and which are more than a weak duplication of what someone else has done. The posts have to be of reasonable length. Any post I have made bar one (out of over a 1000 posts) that was less than about 200 words did not show up on a Google search. My most successful posts have usually been the longer ones and the better prepared ones; the posts that have been prepared with some care and a little more than the normal amount of attention. 

But not all long ones are successful. In fact, Google say that the posts should be both “succinct” and put out “pertinent new information”. This is not an exact science; even Google admit that. The reason why I mention this is because the best way to publicize your blog is to get your posts listed in search results. A Google search listing on the first page, preferably in the top 5 is pretty much essential and if you can get top spot the traffic will increase noticeably overnight. Google is the best publicity tool that we all have.

On the basis that you are posting decent length quality posts and doing it reasonably frequently, it is also worth paying attention to “the rules” about keywords. The use of keywords in blogs will enhance the chances of the post being picked up. Read about keyword use: How To Get Traffic to Your Blog. With these basics out of the way what about the fiddly bits at the back of the blog, the settings etc.? In this regard I would just follow Blogger’s recommendations and common sense. I expand of them below.

Note: As at the date of this post the following are valid and effective but Google constantly upgrades Blogger so things change.

The first thing is to set your blog settings so that your blog sends “pings” (messages in my language). Doing this creates the possibility of your work being listed and shown in lists. For example, Blogger runs things such as Blogger Play and the “Next Blog” feature. You should participate in these. Every little thing helps. Blogger Play (update: this has changed to Reader Play or some such thing) is a webpage that receives feeds of pictures from the millions of Blogger blogs (and profile pages) and presents them as a slide show. While “Next Blog” is the Navbar feature that allows bloggers to click on and be taken randomly to the next blog. This can publicize your blog as it could be your blog that is picked by Blogger. In order to benefit from these features you will need to go to the “Settings” page and select “Basic”. If you scroll down you should see these options and the settings should be as indicated in this photo:


Another thing that Blogger suggests that you do is to activate the Navbar. This is not a Navbar as I know it but it is useful. It is the bar at the top of the page running across the page. It has a button, about in the middle that reads, “Next Blog”. Click this and you go to randomly selected blog (or is it random? - not sure as the better blogs may come up more frequently than the others). Many bloggers like to remove the Navbar as they want their blog to look completely different to a Blogger site, which is possible, but the Navbar is a very useful tool and why throw away a useful tool for appearance sake? Believe me content is far more important than appearance. Just look at the Google Blogger help pages. The colour of the Navbar can be changed, incidentally.

Next, it is advisable to ensure that each post that you create is stored as a separate page so that it can be found months and years later as your blog gets better known! You should turn on “Post Pages” by going to “Settings” and then selecting, “Archiving”. Scroll down to “Enable Post Pages?”. You will see the settings as indicated below:


Just going off track for a minute, the Blogger team select what they call a “Blog of Note” each month. Over 700 hundred blogs have been chosen and are now archived by month on this page – also see blogs of note(new window). If you have the time and inclination, it may reward you to have a look at the blogs and decide if there is a common thread. Blogs listed here can get a traffic boost.

Back to the boring but essential stuff. Oh, before I forget, pictures. I discuss the power of Google image search here: Google Image Search Builds Traffic. An article on how to publicize your blog mustn’t overlook how you use images as this is a powerful tool.

The next “back room” administrative tool is the email post link. You get to this by going to “Settings” and then “Basic” and scrolling down. This should be turned on to enable visitors who like the post to email it to other people. And if we are lucky it will then be forwarded on to other people by email and so on. Sounds great that. It isn’t quite like that but all these little factors should be incorporated. This is how the setting looks like when selected:


On the blog this facility shows up as an icon of an envelope at the base of the blog post.

Next, that mysterious thing RSS Feeds. This is a powerful tool and a must. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. (see Wikipedia explanation)(new window). This is perhaps the most important feature in how to publicize your blog other than preparing good content. It is simply a piece of software that picks up your blog post and presents the most recent post on blog feeds that people have subscribed to. For example, you can use feeds to present recent posts from your own blog or someone else's on your iGoogle desktop. And there is Google Reader (new window) and Google Alerts (new window) and many other feed services. Google Reader is Google’s version of the receiving end of RSS feeds. And with Google Alerts you can specify that Google picks up feeds about cat news, for example, (my area of interest). The information can be sent to you in an email. That is RSS from the customer end of the process. From the blog end it means that someone somewhere may be getting your blog post fed to their computer automatically all the time. This spreads the word and is a great way to publicize your blog.

Just make sure the facility is activated by going to “Settings” and then “Site Feed”. The setting should show like this (“Full”):


You can add a feed widget to your blog (a device which visitors can select to get your blog feeds) by clicking on, “Add a Gadget” and selecting, “Feed”:


Here are some more things to do to publicize your blog:
  1. Embed YouTube videos and Flickr videos and photos - update: Google likes embedded Flickr videos in my opinion.  As at June 2011 video is increasingly important to the internet - consider doing something on video. I believe these increase the chances of your blog getting a better Page Rank (PR) and the better the PR the better the chance of being listed high up by the search engines. I believe this because YouTube is owned by Google and Google, although providing lots of free public services of great quality, is a business and it wants us to use its products. It, therefore, gives a reward - better page rank. Which in turn means the videos are seen more on pages that are found more frequently. This means YouTube becomes more used and powerful and so does Google. As to Flickr, the new algorithm appears to be favoring Flickr pages. I would use that to your advantage.
  2. Link exchange; obtain an agreement from another blogger whose blog has a decent PR to exchange links with you. And leave links to your blog in the comments of other blogs where allowed and where appropriate. Inbound links improves PR (see above).
  3. Try and get your blog listed in the directories. Some people do this for you but beware. This once again gives your blog inbound links improving PR and then Google will list you higher; the best kind of publicity. I have managed to get my website listed in the Yahoo directory. This cost an up front $299 with no guarantee of acceptance! But if accepted it definitely helps Google search rankings. The effect is almost immediate. The Yahoo directory has status because the listed sites are hand selected. Google knows that and rewards accordingly. You pay the $299 yearly too.
  4. I have never done the next one but Google Blogger recommend it: put a link to your blog at the base of your emails, your email signature. This might help to spread the word.
  5. As at the date of this post Twitter is all the rage. You can use Twitter to publicize your blog but I wouldn’t overdo it. See: Twitter Helps Blog Traffic. Update Jan 2011: Facebook and Twitter are good social networking sites to promote your blog. The question is, "do you have the time to write the blog daily and social network sufficiently to make these sites work for you?" YouTube is another site that can spread the word and make Adsense revenue but once again it takes time to create quality videos. I have a YouTube channel and am a YouTube partner: broadsurf. Regarding Facebook I have a contributor who spreads the word for me on Facebook. You can see from the upstream clickstream (see chart below) that some visitors come from Facebook.
  6. One last point – the obvious really, word of mouth. It pays to get around and meet people on the ground. The old fashioned way. This is for serious bloggers. But if you are active, on the ground, in the sphere of the subject matter of your blog it will publicize the blog by word of mouth.
Facebook contributes.

How to publicize your blog? Of all the above the most powerful is persistently writing high quality content over a period of time. If everything that I have mentioned were ignored, yet the content was good and there was lots of it, your blog would succeed.

Update 29-10-09: I have a couple of great tips that no one uses to improve SERs (search engine rankings). They were discovered by both thought and trial and error. If someone wants to know them you'll have to give me something in return and that will be at least a 15-line contribution of decent quality on my website: Pictures of cats org. You can see all the input forms here. When you use the form leave an email and I'll tell you the tip of the decade!! Well not quite but very useful tip that I have not seen mentioned anywhere.

One last point: Please be patient and persistent. This is a slow grind

Michael Avatar

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