The Entertainer Blogger Award

About the Entertainer Blogger Award

A special thanks to Debbie Harris for nominating me for this Entertainer Award, along with many other entertaining and inspiring bloggers. I’m delighted to be part of this line-up! Deb writes an entertaining blog that covers adventure, travel and beautiful photography. Read her application for this award here, as it gives you some insight into the person behind the name!

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Six Tips to Safeguard Your Comments from Spam

safeguard your comments from spamRecently, I received a note on a Facebook Group: “I can’t leave comments on this post.”

I checked, and sure enough, my settings were clearly marked to close comments after 21 days.  The post was a couple of years old, but it was a good one, and I wanted to bring it out of hibernation.

So why did I have comments closed?

That setting is to try and prevent spam. Spammers usually leave their damage on old posts where you’re not likely to notice them.

I wrote to fellow members of a blogging group I belong to on FaceBook and asked them what they did. Their responses showed that almost all of them left their comments permanently open, but took steps to protect them from spam.

I realized that in the two years both of my websites including two blogs have been operational, I have never had one piece of spam. So in the words of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good!” But the time had come to test my theory. I removed the 21 day limit for the month—and intend leaving the restriction off.

I read somewhere the comment, “A blog without comments is a telephone with no earpiece.” You may not get many comments, but those you do will immediately add to the value and uniqueness of your site.

So what is the answer? How can you safeguard your comments from spam?

Here are six suggestions: read more

Zing and Zeal for Your Blog

This entry is part 28 of the series Build a Better Blog

Z is for zing and zealWe’ve come to the end of the Build a Better Blog alphabet, and today  we’re looking for that final touch. We have two words today.

Zing and Zeal!

First some definitions.

My dictionary describes zing as the activeness of an energetic personality.

It also suggests a brief high-pitched buzzing or humming like “the zing of the passing bullet”.

For those of us participating in the A to Z Challenge it would be appropriate to mention the zing of April as it sped past! But that’s not the sense we’re using in this closing post, but rather the activeness of an energetic personality.

Zeal according to my dictionary means  a feeling of strong eagerness, excessive fervor to do something or accomplish some end, and finally prompt willingness..

Face your blog with  a combination of zing and zeal and I guarantee it will take off!

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Yes to YouTube

This entry is part 27 of the series Build a Better Blog

A quick history

On Valentine’s Day, February 14 2010, the video-sharing website, YouTube, was founded. The first video showed co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo, and was uploaded in April 2005. It can still be viewed on the site (all 18 seconds of it!)

Today, over ten years later, YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of all users of the Internet. Every day, people generate billions of views and spend millions of hours watching videos. read more

EXciting X Factor of Your Blog

This entry is part 26 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

We’re nearing the end of the alphabet and the A to Z Challenge. We’re into the tricky letters now, but today I thought we’d look at 

X is for X Factor

How good were you at maths (or math) at school? Let’s start with a maths challenge. 

9 – X = 6

sumI’m sure you didn’t need a calculator to work out the answer.

This X stands for 3. Change the X into 3 and you have 9-3=6.

And that is correct. If you got it correct, I’m proud of you. But if you were wrong, write out X = 3 100 times before bed tonight. 🙂 

So what on earth does this have to do with blogging?

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Watch your Word-Count as you Build a Better Blog

This entry is part 25 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

One question that is asked over and over again in blogging circles is, “What is the ideal word-count for a blog post?”

Now that we’ve reached W in the A to Z challenge, it seems a good time to look further at this question. So

W is for Watch your Word-count.

Some will tell you readers have limited time to read, so short is best. They will tell you that you’re more likely to reach more people and gain more comments, if you stick to short punchy posts.

Others say readers don’t spend time reading longer posts, they will only skim the text, but if they spot interesting information, they will stop to read. Therefore the longer posts are better. Certainly the Search Engines are more likely to spot keywords in longer posts and, it is often argued, the longer the better from the SEO point of view.

When I first started blogging it was an accepted fact that the ideal word-count was around 500 words. Why? Because readers could see the post on their screen without needing to scroll down. That of course is no longer the situation, what with the smaller laptop screens and even smaller tablets.

Add to this the estimated 51% of readers who do most of their internet reading on their mobile phones. read more

The Virtue of Value when you Build a Better Blog

This entry is part 24 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Does your blog contain content of value? Would your readers miss out if they didn’t read a particular post? You may remember that in the introduction to this series, we saw there were many different reasons why you might want to blog. We’ve been especially zeroing in on two of these.

If you are a writer, we’ve looked at many ways you can build a better blog.

If you’re not a writer, we’ve looked at ways to better keep in touch with your friends and family.

Today, we come to V in the A to Z challenge, and we’re looking at

V is for Value

Today, we’re looking at ways to add value to your blog no matter who you are writing for. Some of these points will surprise you. Others will be duplicates of statements made earlier. Still others will be ones you’re already using. But I trust you will benefit if you work through the list that follows. read more

Understanding URLs as you Build a Better Blog

This entry is part 23 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

We are nearing the end of the alphabet in the A to Z Challenge. So today we look at

U is for URLs.

When I first started working with computers, I pronounced URL as a word like  (h)url. Only after some sad looks from younger, more informed, members of my family did I realise it’s actually pronounced You-Are-Ell. The letters stand for Uniform Resource Locator, previously known as Universal Resource Locator. So either of these would be correct and I really don’t know who changed it or why.

So what are URLs?

URLs  are simply computer addresses on the Internet. So  what does a URL tell us, and how much do we need to know as bloggers?

It really helps to know what each section of a URL stands for. And by the way, it is not an URL, but a URL. Although the first letter is a vowel as I explained, it is pronounced as a Y (You  Are Ell)  so it is a URL.

If you are able to understand how a URL is made up, you will be able to decide how reliable the information is likely to be. And by the way, there are estimated to be more than 150 billion public web pages, each with their own unique address. As a result, these addresses can become extremely long,  so it is almost always safer to copy/paste the URL.

So let’s unravel the composition of a normal URL. Then we will move on to how we can chose good addresses for our posts.

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Twenty Tips to Create Tempting Titles

This entry is part 22 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Have you ever given a blog post (or a book!) a title which sucked? I have. And it shows up almost immediately in the stats. The title doesn’t appeal. So no-one wants to read the post / book.

It’s a common expression, you don’t sell a book by its cover (see K is for Kindle where I refute the idea) but I’d like to take that one step further. Not only does the picture on the cover (or at the top of your post) count, so does your title.

If the title doesn’t grab your potential readership, no one will read it.

It’s that simple. You need to create tempting titles that will draw readers to your blog.

Follow the suggestions in this series, whether you are an author, an entrepreneur or a family scribe, and you will build a better blog than you’ve ever imagined . . . but use an empty title and no one will come visiting.

I researched this topic before I started to write, and I was amazed to read some of the comments. For example:

‘On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.’ David Ogilvy on Writers Write.

“We spend an average of 30 minutes per title in search of the absolute best wording.” Content Marketing Institute

I sometimes deliberate over titles for 30–60 minutes before settling on one that works. And I often go back and change them. Jeff Goins read more

SEO Strategies as you Build a Better Blog

This entry is part 21 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

 strategies is a topic you never seem to know enough about. This post will probably not apply to those of you doing a family blog, but hopefully, it will be helpful to all other bloggers.

I’m continuing to write for the A to Z blogging challenge, on the topic: Build a Better Blog. Today we’ve reached S, so

S is for SEO Strategies

What is SEO? The letters stand for Search Engine Optimisation. Simply explained, it is the process of drawing more traffic to your blog or website. If you’re writing for the public, you want Google™ to tell others about your blog.

To do this, you need to write fantastic, top quality content, using words and phrases that people will use when they are searching for posts such as yours. In the process, you want them to be easy for your readers to share and link to them . . . and then rinse, repeat. Keep on doing what worked.

So how do we go about doing this?

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