Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finally!


It took me so long to write this article: Children in Distress – Depressed and Anxious and it was very painful to write. The children in this article are real kids with real problems. And they are so young, mostly either 3 or 4 years old.

To think that children at that age have to deal with problems (see list in labels below) that even adults would have difficulty working through saddens me to my core.

I watched these children. I took care of them. I wish I had known how to handle their problems correctly, but I am not a psychiatrist or even a psychologist and I am left with not knowing how they are now, if they ever got the help they needed, and how many more of them are suffering with psychological disorders and not getting any help.

The only thing I could do for them was to provide a safe environment for them and only for a very short time.

Other than real help offered at the end of the article, the bright spot of this article is the photo I am attaching to this blog. He is my grandson, Nolan. The photo was taken in February 2008.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spacky.com & Family Zip

OK, I know I only just started using Spacky, and only recently have I begun posting on Family Zip, but I have decided that I LOVE both of them. Because I write for Associated Content, I can see every day how many people read each article.

Ever since I started using Family Zip, my numbers have increased at a much faster rate than they did before I started using Family Zip. Of course not all articles would be suitable – they must provide tips for families on a variety of subjects – but other than that, it's a great promotional source for writers.

The one article I wrote using Spacky, Have a Talent You Want Others to Know About? has already generated more views in one day than any article I have ever written.

I just posted a new article, Dealing with Bill Collectors - What to Do when Bills Get Out of Control using the Spacky system of generating key words, and I'll know tomorrow how well the system worked on that article.

According to all of the valuable information I've been reading about how to promote your work and get readers, generating the right keywords assures the most success. Spacky allows me to choose words associated with my article, find out how many people are running searches on words that relate to my article, and then seamlessly weave those words into the fabric of my article.

Finding other words that closely relate to the topic and blending them into my article "effortlessly" is another challenge. What that means is that I have to write smoothly and not force the words on the page. But I love a challenge, and I think it's going to pay off.

If you drop into this blog, try Family Zip (look to your left for link) AND Spacky (link for Spacky.com is provided in previous post). Give them both a try and see if your numbers increase. Let me know!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Help for Writers Who Need Readers


Ask any writer what he or she wants most and you're likely to get this answer: readers. Finding them, however, unless they are relatives or friends, is tricky.

Writers want search engines to locate their articles and blogs, but in order to appear somewhere near the beginning of the page, they need to optimize their content. And that is where SEO comes into play. Search Engine Optimization requires web site builders to build sites that attract attention with keywords that are likely to rank high in search engines.

Figuring out which keywords searchers use to find a particular item is a problem writers encounter, but if writers respond with the right keywords, their web sites will rank closer to the top of the list, and they will have succeeded in optimizing their sites.

According to wikipedia.org, "Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Typically, the earlier a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine."

Look at it this way – say you want to open a carnival, but you set it up in some remote region that hardly anybody knows about. If nobody sees your carnival, if nobody hears about your carnival, nobody is going to attend your carnival (what if nobody had heard about Woodstock).

If, on the other hand, you OPTIMIZE your carnival by carefully planning it, advertising it, and offering an amazing array of rides unlike anything anybody has ever seen, you will get flooded with visitors.

When you set up your web site or blog, you are setting up a carnival. When you place words in your site that people want to read about, you stand a chance that somebody will visit your carnival (site). Search engines look for every relevant site associated with those keywords, but with SEO, people will find you more rapidly.

Several SEO software programs exist to enable you to locate the perfect keywords, and many of them are very costly, but thanks to Donald Pennington, who introduced me to this site, here is a free one (a link to his articles appears when you click on his name):

Spacky.com is FREE. Just type in your search word, and you'll see the search results for every word related to your search item. Browse the list to see which terms are most effective (for Google, Overture/Yahoo, or Microsoft Network), and you can use those terms when labeling, tagging, and writing your article or blog.

Now go build your Woodstock!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Feeling accomplished!


Next Tuesday marks my first anniversary with Associated Content. I just published my 63rd article with them. Add to that the number of blogs I've posted since January of this year, and I am up to 188 posts! 

That may not sound like a lot to a seasoned professional who writes several articles a day and who has no other job, but when I consider that I provide daycare sometimes as much as 11 hours a day, I feel I've accomplished quite a lot.

My latest article, How to Make Cleaning House Fun, was written after I thought about my cleaning methods and how silly they might sound to others who meticulously scrub floors on their hands and knees and vacuum the entire house with one sweep. Yes, my methods are a little unorthodox, but they get the job done.

So, today, though I usually torment myself for not finishing articles at a pace I believe I should be striving to achieve, I pat myself on the back for a job well done. After all, why create all of these blogs and then punch myself for not finding 60 hours in a 24 hour day? The only person pushing me is me. 

Why am I writing this blog when I am supposed to be taking a break?

I can't stop myself from writing. Maybe it's an addiction.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Held Captive By My Own Brain


Once again I am awake at one o'clock in the morning. All I really wanted to do this evening was watch a movie I hadn't seen – and that my daughter and son-in-law lent me – and blog.

What actually happened was that the movie, which was supposed to last 2 hours and 22 minutes (The Changeling with Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich – GREAT movie and the fact that it's a true story makes it all the better) took more than 3 and a half hours for me to watch.

Not that I minded the interruptions - they were phone calls from one of my daughters and my mom, but it pushed things back an hour and I decided, because it was getting so late and I still wanted to read, that I didn't have time to blog after all.

HA!

By 11 PM I decided to go to sleep. My brain had other ideas. Like a screaming child in the next room, it refused to cooperate as it whined incessantly – I don't wanna go to bed – I wanna stay up all night – I know you have two new kids coming tomorrow – I don't care – I want you to think, and I want you to write down everything I'm saying.

As if what I am now writing is the most important news flash on the planet. Helloooooo...

(My brain just slapped me.)

I plead with my brain to pleeeeease give me just a few hours of sleep, but it refuses and drags me to the computer instead, smirking to itself because it won.

I look out through the bars of my imprisonment and ask my brain, as I look over the words I've just written, are you satisfied now? Will this blog allow me to go to sleep for the night? 

And do you know what it says to me? "Not until you apologize."

What? Seriously? Are you kidding me?

So, like the baby that wakes up screaming to play, I coddle my brain, rock it for a while, appease it, then gently say, "Fine. I'm sorry. Can I go to sleep now?"

Yes, it tells me, but only after you've eaten one of those York Peppermint Patties I'm craving.

I think I'll try to rock myself to sleep now AFTER I finish my York Peppermint Pattie.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How To Promote Your Blogs



Whether we blog for fun or for profit, making money from blogging makes sense. Some people claim to make thousands of dollars a month from blogging, and while they are probably telling the truth, some of that money comes from selling their products. And by products, I mean programs that help you promote your blogs.

What's interesting is that these people spend inordinate amounts of time creating extremely long pages of texts and offering hundreds of videos that teach new bloggers how to profit from blogging. 

I'd like to share some of their amazing FREE information with you. (Believe me, for people like me – with hardly any income – getting free help is very welcome.)

One person who writes lengthy pages of texts and offers numerous videos is Marcus Campbell (photo on the right – not the basketball player). His Simple Sites Big Profits web site offers multitudes of videos and lots of help for those of us trying to understand the ins and outs of the blogging world. Most of what he offers is free. 

He and Brad Callen, who promotes Keyword Elite, give away so much free information, you can't help but like them, and you can't help but pick up on some of their tech talk, even if you're a newbie. I still have about thirty unwatched videos waiting in my saved file for when I find the time to watch them, and watch them I will – I've learned so much already!

As part of my own marketing research, I signed up for twitter and decided to latch on to anybody who knew anything about marketing, writing, and blogging. As a result, I am now inundated with "tweets" – I click through them to find out how I can improve my own promotion efforts with even more information than I've received so far from Marcus Campbell, but, except for Ralph Wilson, mentioned below, I find that Mr. Campbell has been my number one "go to" guy for marketing info.

Even though I'm still considered a new blogger (started in January 2009), getting people to find and read my blogs has been an upward struggle, but research has led me to more remarkable finds. So far, I can tell you this: Google AdSense is a great first step in bringing money into your blog and SocialMarker.com and buzz.yahoo are great places to start promoting your blogs. If you have family oriented content, don't forget Family Zip.

Through my research I have found viral marketing expert, Ralph Wilson (photo on the left), who allows you to copy his article, The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing, but I decided to provide a link instead so that you can visit his web site. Wilson's definition of Viral Marketing is this: "Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence."

Marcus Campbell is a perfect example of viral marketing in action. You have probably already seen his face many times. 

Since I can't afford to purchase any of Campbell's or Wilson's products, I thought I would at least "give back" to them by promoting them on my blogs. The more I learn the more I will share, so happy blogging! Now let's get blogging and watch the money flow from our fingertips!
 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Blog & Article Update – June 1, 2009

As you know, if you follow my blogs, I provide day care several hours each day.  I have also been researching and writing three articles and several blogs separate from the ones mentioned below. 

Because I am working on numerous projects at the same time, I can't get to everything, so I ignored this blog. I am ashamed of myself – I started this blog, and I should continue to write this blog. Right?

However, in defense of myself, I've been really really busy, so this blog will reference a couple of my other blogs and an article (that's my lame excuse for providing synopses and titles instead of writing an actual blog).

1) My Heart Blogs To You – My "fashionable" weekend at the Institute of Art in Chicago where my daughter and I attended an Open House is required reading for fashion-conscious individuals (I am not one of them, as you will read).

2) Help For Single Parents – After receiving kudos from many people for my article, How Touch Affects Your Children (see below), Maggie Macauley, of Whole Hearted Parenting, decided to link my article to her web site later this month. Her web site is an amazing resource for single and married parents.

3) How Touch Affects Your Children (subtitled, "The Devastating Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect") – The message of this well-researched article should be delivered to EVERY parent who loves his or her child.  

Blog to you later!

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