Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Violated One of the Cardinal Rules of Blogging

Apparently I violated one of the cardinal rules of blogging:

Funny thing is that when I did it, I actually felt that it was something that I maybe shouldn't do it.

Next time I will go with my gut.

I learned an infinite amount of bloggy info. from Saturday's homework assignment, and, yes, I know it is now Wedneday. If you are participating in the SITS Problogger Challenge, you know what I mean.

If you are not following along in the challenge it's never too late. Plus,  today is your lucky day because I am giving you the Clif's Notes on day six of thirty-one! 

This lesson is henceforth divided into three sections: Posts, Comments, and Sharing

{ Posts & Posting }

In sharing, I am going to do this section opposite of the traditional good news/bad news form by spreading the good news first. Well, it's good news for me. I hope it is for you, too!
  • Don't run any ads! [I don't!]
  • Coin a term. [Done! hilasterous]
  • "I hate AdSense on blogs." [Agreed. But I understand if you don't.]
  • Don't use lines and lines of text. [No problem here, too lazy.]
  • Don't clutter your website with badges. [I created the Blogellas tab for this very reason.]
  • Share link love and expect some back. [One of my favorite things to do, especially with my grammar blog.]
I did something right!

…and I absolutely love this line from Seth Godin:

"Digest the good ideas of other people all day every day."

~ Lessons Learned ~

1. One of my favorite probloggers Seth Godin says, "Write short, pithy posts," and Chris Brogan, one my new favorite blog masterminds, says, "Brevity rules."

I completely agree! The first blog I ever read is still one of my favorites, and she writes these best short posts on Texas Word Tangle. Rhea posts short, maybe not even full paragraphs at times, posts that may simply share an event or ask a question. Plus, I found SITS through Rhea's blog back in January!

2. Seth also says to "be snarky." I love to say, read, and type this word, and ironically this is how I am IRL; however, in the bloggy world I do not like to be snarky. If I cannot encourage someone or be positive in a comment, I do not like to at all. I hear about blog drama and virtual cat fights all the time, and I do not wish to understand it.

3. "Share your expertise generously; people will recognize it and count on you for it." This is what I am hoping to do with my transplant experience. I wish that patients and their friends and family would read my transplant experience and feel more comforted in knowing what to expect. I should go back and expand more on how I was actually feeling and acting on the specific days that were posted pre-transplant that my MIL wrote for me. I am also planning on posting on a more consistent basis on my grammar blog.

4. "Don't just post." Ask a question and spark a discussion.

{ Proof It! Preaching to the Choir }

5. "With the advent of feeds, once you publish there is no going back." AMEN! I am going to start waiting an hour after I spew it out then hit publish because I make about 5 changes on average every time after I publish. A lot of the time I even add pictures and more content.

Take a close look! 
{Credit: Our sweet baby cousin Ezra}

{ Get Your Grammar Together }

6.  Let me make something very clear: I do not believe in strictly adhering to the crazy, at times non-sensical rules of English grammar on a blog. Most of us blog to get something off of our chests and who gives a crap if there is a comma splice or run on sentence!!! I do, however, believe in making it readable. I should not have flashbacks to ninth grade love notes that I used to take up when reading the blog of an adult. I once graded the paper of an eleventh grade honors student who ended every single sentence with an exclamation point.

"Write exceptionally well," says Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz. 

Look at the tables below. Do you see a pattern here???

This is why I like the idea of my grammar blog. There are writers out there who want to improve their writing, and I have the emails and DMs to prove it.

{ Have a an Irresistable Hook: Yep, That's Not Going to Happen Everyday Around Here }

7. Darren Rowse, the creator of the 31 Days to a Better Blog experience himself, has four key ingredients to a good title. How important is a good title? Well, we have been hearing since, what… 3rd grade maybe, that the title and first line are your hook? You need an "attention grabber."  Same is true x's ten in the bloggy world.
- Simplify -
- Communicate -
- Key Words -
- Grab Attention -

Something like this should do...
This is actually a book of the best NYP headlines. =)

Here is a link to a more detailed list of Darren's four tips for titles, and here is another good link: "How to Write Headlines That Work."

{ We Love to Post a Pic }

8. Get your pics above the fold! In other words, get them above that first scroll. If a reader has to scroll before seeing any images, chances are that they won't.

9. Flickr…oh how I have wondered about Flickr. I usually get my images from We♥It, iStock, or Google Images, but randomly grabbing some images from wherever you like can have consequences, apparently. Skellie from Skelliewag explains how Flickr and the various image licenses work. I still have more research to do on this. I noticed early on that iPhoto on my laptop had a direct upload link to Flickr, but I had been with Photobucket for about six years now and have to do a little more research before migrating.

{ Digg, Digging, Dugg }

10. Digg, Digg, Digg!!! I am currently in the process of adding these buttons to my blog. It is also recommended that you do not post "share links" on every single post, that way when those buttons are there, your reader is more likely to notice them and be inclined to share.

I completely agree. I am so used to seeing these buttons on some blogs that I do not even pay them any mind sometimes. Well, that and I didn't know how to use them, with the exception of Facebook and Twitter or via email.

Besides, do I seriously want someone to Digg my post for the Valentine's Day Photobooth Saturday or  my husband's random notes?

{ Domains for $10 - C'mon! }

11. "Keep your URL short." Done. I got tired of sounding out my own even if I did think it was cute. Quit using the address. FYI: GoDaddy is running a sale on domain names. This is where I got all of mine. Even if you don't want to use it now, go ahead and reserve so that you don't get stuck with a .net, .info, or .org. There are many other domain purchase options. I just happened to be really impressed with GoDaddy's customer service when they called to check on things and make sure that I wasn't paying for something I wasn't using, like my Wordpress hosting, and promptly offering a refund!

{ Google's Secret Recipe }

12. "Grow your Google authority." I do not deny that I would love for my blog to pop up every time someone searched for transplant but the truth is I am not writing to please the machine. Besides it has become apparent that no one really knows the magic formula for getting your page to pop up as a top result; it's sort of like the New York Times Bestsellers list.

This web illustrates how that authority is most likely determined.

13. There is an article about bad business ideas that I am not talking about because it has several annoying typos, like I often do, so it was hard for me to take it as an authority. Although, I do believe it wasn't meant to be taken seriously anyway. I am not going to be snarky about it, even if Seth Godin tells me to be snarky about it. =)

{ Umm…what? } 

14. Now, Daniel Scocco from Daily Blogging Tips says to use CSS over HTML. Guess I better get out my HTML, XHTML, & CSS for Dummies and look at the difference. Yes, I do actually own it. While I am at it I guess I better learn what what ALT + Title attributes are since I should be using them as well. Then I will do a little Googling about Javascript links since I am supposed to "avoid" them.

{ Ok, I Know How to Do That }

15. Include functional links in your footer, since there is were readers typically go on regular websites for contact, about, etc.

{ Oil is to Water as _____________ is to Blogging }

16. Don't put your name in that blank just yet! I loved the material by Chris Brogan. He gave some great tips that I actually didn't make me feel like a blogging dumba***s* liked the sound of.

One of the first things he mentions is using analogies and stories to get your material across. I love analogies, and I always forget to use them; but think about it. Do you not pretty much always understand something better when someone uses an analogy? I quickly added that to my "DUH LIST," and here is the rest of it via Chris's advice.


1. "Make the main point in the first paragraph."

2. "You don't have to write in complete sentences, but use them sparingly. Like this. Like a condiment. Keep paragraphs small."

3. "Don't "blurt" the post automatically. Not every post is worth Twitter."

4. "Look at Google Trends to see what folks are writing about." He also mentioned looking at ALLTOP for topics, which I did. Love it.

5. Open with a question. I always encourage my students to find a better hook that a question, and now I am being told the opposite. Nice.

6. "Use an editorial calendar & get on a regular posting schedule." A while back a fella blogger ( I say fella because I feel like fellow is a masculine term.) posted about editorial calendars or wrote about them or something, and now I have lost the link. 

7. "Use the word you are thinking about, not a fancier more polite word." WOW. That's hard to tell an English major who is constantly searching for the perfect word.

8. Here's a direct quote from Chris, "And never never never (raise your hand and repeat this with me) “I” (state your name) “solemnly swear never never never never ever to post another ‘I’m sorry I haven’t blogged lately’ posts ever again. Ever.” ...Oops.

9. "At least post once a week." Need help? Here is a link to 100 of Chris's blogging topics. I also have Jump Start: 510 Great Ideas for Your Blog from Cynthia @ A Shimmy in My Spirit it has a nice aesthetic. I have it printed out on cardstock in a binder.

10. "Add your URL to your email signature."

{ Comments & Commenting }

All of the following quotes came from master blogger and marketing extraordinary Seth Godin. =)

1. "Answer your email." If a reader takes time to write an email to me, it will not go unanswered. As much as I would like to think that I am too busy or popular to respond to a personal email, that is delusional.

2. "Include comments so that your blog becomes a virtual water cooler." I would love to do this. At one point I did have Intense Debate installed so that I could comment and respond publicly to every single comment. However, it erased all of the comments that were posted before I installed it then took all of the ones posted via ID with when it poofed, so now I just play it safe until I move to WordPress hopefully sometime in the fall, after I learn more about it at BBC. ;)

3. "Don't send the same email to a large number of people. Do not be tempted to copy & paste or mail merge." Ugh! I would never.  I would only do that with wedding thank you notes. I hope this includes Twitter DMs because they are the DEVIL, and I am sick of them. If that hurts your feelings, I am really sorry, but now you know. Go fix it.

4. "Don't mush the salutation together with the rest of the note."


Dear Bethany, I am glad that you are passing on all of these blogging pointers.

"That's not personal - it's lazy merging."
(Besides being just completely wrong.) 

One day I will share with you the various ways that Hubs's ninth grade summer school students addressed envelopes for him one summer. EEK!

And my two favorite points of all:

5. "Don't mark your email *urgent*. - Urgent to you is not urgent to me." 

6. "Don't lie in the subject line; you're not clever enough to be cute. Just be honest."

{ Social Media & Sharing }

1. "Use to tag your posts". (I need a for Dummies book.) I hope they make a Social Media for Dummies book.

2. "Encourage readers to Digg your posts," and use Furl (now Diigo) and Reddit. 

3. Still wondering if, Technorati, Digg, Reddit, Furl (now Diigo), StumbleUpon, Tweetmeme, etc. are a good idea for getting your content out there? Look at these graphics.

I found Dan Zarella's website in researching social media numbers.
You will find it super helpful and interesting if you are interested in stepping things up.

Just for laughs...

To my fellow 31DBBBs, 

That wraps up my work for days 6 - 8. I did days 7 - 8 without even realizing it! 



  1. Loved your post!! Question though... I'm on Wordpress, too, and alway see the widget for So, what is Thanks!!

  2. I agree on waiting before you hit publish. I always think I do a good job of proofreading. A friend of mine is always pointing out my little typos.

    I really should check out, Stumble, etc. But they intimidate me!

  3. Amazing post Bethany!! I read the whole thing - loved it all.

  4. Great post, Bethany... thank you so very much for sharing... I'm visiting you from SITS and love your blog... come visit when you can, while I look around...

    Twitter: SolarChief

  5. people marking their emails to me as urgent has gotten so out of control that i turned off the urgent column in my email program. i can't even see if they marked it as urgent now because i don't care.