-Catherine L. Tully
OK. Truth be told…I am a blogger that doesn’t follow a whole bunch of blogs every day. I find most kind of predictable, or lacking in solid information. I can get hooked on an interesting idea or a fact-packed presentation, however. And not all the blogs I follow are about writing…
Before I list a few of the main blogs I do check in on, I’d like to pose the question to you–what blogs do you follow regularly? I’m curious to see what you guys are checking out.
Here’s a taste of the ones that I peek in on most often… Continue reading What Blogs Do You Follow?
by Joe Wallace
We all want to make money blogging by inserting Google Adsense, Chitika and other pay-per-click or affiliate links. According to a recent AdWeek story the landscape could be changing, especially for those who struggle with the technology to insert ad code and modify blog templates to accomodate it.
According to AdWeek, an experiment is underway by the Wall Street Journal and other top-level publishers. What do readers get during the test? Something called “interruptive” ads” that pop up as you try to access a web page.
It’s not a new idea, but according to AdWeek if the idea catches on there will be much more intrusive advertising cluttering up our laptop screens.
What does this mean for bloggers?
For those using freebie WordPress, Blogspot and other platforms, some of these ads will happen with or without your permission if the owners adopt a more aggressive ad policy. For others, the challenge will be incorporating these more intrusive ads into their current placement systems. If Google hops on board, chances are the ads will eventually be as ubiquitous as the hated pop-up once was.
For blogging noobs eager to make a buck with as little effort possible, this experiment is probably a welcome development, but for the rest of us who actually care about readership it feels a lot like a step backwards to web 1.0. aesthetics.
In fact, intrusive ads–in the minds of some (me) are just as annoying as pop-ups and (with luck) the shelf life of this not-so-new ad delivery method could be limited. But the future could hold a vast amount of annoyance if this experiment gains traction.
This post will annoy some people because I’m pulling the curtain back on certain practices that, for better or worse, drive traffic to blogs in spite of their user-unfriendliness.
There’s a fine line between “Don’t do anything to alienate potential readers” and being honest and transparent about silly practices and bad advice about our craft. More than once I’ve felt that playing by the rules or obeying the status quo is a bad idea. In the blog world, one sometimes has to choose between having an uber-sticky, traffic-laden site and telling it like it is.
Some Google-bait blog practices are relatively harmless at best, simply annoying at worst. One blog for writers has a forum section linked from the main page. “Ohh!” You might think, “A new forum to make friends and network with.” But don’t light the fireworks just yet; when you click on the link you get taken to yet another page which has “Click here to access the forums” on top in large letters.
Click on THAT link and you get taken to a message page saying the site no longer offers forums. Now you’re just plain irritated. WHY do they DO that? Why don’t they just take down the links and stop directing people to parts of the site that don’t exist?
The users who are used to having the forums there get a notice that the forums are dead, but the site still has those forums–or at least the forum landing page–indexed by the search engines. Rather than loose that Google clout, the page stays up, retaining the power to annoy for ages.
That’s just one of the eyeball-rolling practices blogs employ. But what about more harmful practices? Continue reading Why Do They Do That? Freelance Blog Mysteries Explained
by Joe Wallace
I am truly enjoying Debug Magazine, which I discovered by accident while researching and doing query prep. Debug sounds like a coder’s blog, but this is actually aimed at freelancers of many creative disciplines including writers.
I was particularly inspired by the article Freelance Work and Continuing Education. The best articles on freelancing, at least for me, are the ones that make me think about things the author probably never intended. In this case, the post concentrates on education to further your work in your own field of expertise, but I wound up thinking about ways to expand my writing horizons by doing things like getting a real estate license or explore a gym instructor certification. I write plenty about FHA loans, insurance, fitness, medicine and related technical topics, but how much farther could I go writing about these things with a certification under my belt?
There are plenty of ways to add credibility to your existing body of work. Continuing education is one way to do that. Thanks to Debug, I’ve got plenty to chew on this weekend. Recommended reading.
To begin with, DAMN. A list of 100 books is pretty ambitious, and the fact that this collection is well organized into lists by category makes this my new favorite collection of resources. Inkthinker.com hasn’t been on my radar until now, but here’s a site worth watching. Kristen King has a very impressive, highly detailed blog going here, well worth a busy freelancer’s time.
Of all the books on King’s top 100 list, Website Marketing Makeover is the one I’m most tempted to pick up on her recommendation alone. Most writing-related sites (including FZ) could use a refresher course on this stuff. Other good entries on her list include The Well-Fred Writer and a sequel to this great book I was unaware of til now, thanks to Kristen. I have no idea where King finds the time to do a top 100, but I am very glad she did as there’s plenty to keep you busy here. Recommended.
I have to confess, it’s been a while since I visited Absolute Write but I was pleasantly surprised to see the site has finally evolved into Web 2.0 with a new reader-friendly design. Congratulations, AW! The site is 110% more attractive and easy to navigate.
Absolute Write has been a favorite of mine since the earliest of my early freelancing days. I’ve used it for everything from networking to hiring, and the site continues to be a relevant, entertaining place. Especially for new writers–if you are just getting started in the biz, you could do your career a world of good by becoming a regular there.