On Writing

woman writing with quill pen

So I am all the way to day 5 of my 30 day challenge. And already it is getting hard to post everyday. It is not that I have any trouble at all coming up with topics. I’ve got enough things I’d like to talk about for the rest of this month and well into next! I think my challenge is, I’d like to talk about it, not write about it.

I don’t really think I am much of a writer. So why would I write on a blog (or two or three) and even volunteer for a challenge to write every day for 30 days? Because I want to become a good blog writer. Like many things, blog writing is a learn by doing type of activity. I expect that if at the end of this 30 day challenge I’ll be a much better writer than I am now!

Sometimes it helps some to read other blogs. When I find writing that I like, I try to analyze it and figure out what makes the writing good. There is one problem with that. Often, If I really like someone’s writing a little voice inside of me says “You’ll never write that well, you might as well just give it up now”. I quiet that voice by reading blog posts about writing blog posts!

But then I’m off into the World Wide Wasteland, reading this blog and that blog. It is so much easier for me to read than to write. (You don’t know it but I just spent the last twenty minutes away reading about writing!) Plus the advice is either contradictory (write short posts, write long posts, post every day, don’t post more than three times a week) or painfully obvious. (Write something your readers will want to read)

What helped you learn how to write? Let me know your best blogging tips here.


Katalina Mau Signature

It's the Simple Things

After weeks of rain and snow, yesterday was a sunny day. My husband and I managed to drag ourselves away from the TV and computer and we went for a walk. Just a simple walk. There are some nice forested trails near our home that are mostly level and away from traffic. The dirt paths are soft and easy on the knees. My husband and I walked and talked, and talked and walked for a couple of hours.

It made me think. Sometimes it is the simplest things that bring the most pleasure. And the most benefits. While enjoying our time together we got the benefit of exercise and the pleasure of rare winter sunshine. Our activity was totally environmentally friendly and it was free! I had more fun just walking with my husband, than I would have gotten watching a movie, or going out to dinner, or even going to the casino.

I don’t know when I started thinking that simple meant second class. We had unexpected company for dinner one night, and I served what I had planned for the day. Turkey soup and bread (both homemade). We eat this frequently at my house. It is cheap and filling and easy to make. I was a little embarrassed that I didn’t have time to  go to the store and buy the ingredients to make a fancy dinner for my company.  Guess what, they loved it, and over a year later they still comment on how much they loved my simple meal.

Sometimes the simple things really are the best!  What are your simple pleasures?


PR Checker

It is that time again. The forums and blogs are all abuzz. Google is updating pagerank, and bloggers and webmasters everywhere are rejoicing… or groaning. I guess I should be in the second category. The pagerank of this blog has not changed, it was PR0 before and it is PR0 now. But my other blog, My CFO on the Go was a PR1 and now is a PR0. What changed? My page views went from 200 to over 4,000 per month. Backlinks from 3 to almost 1000. Alexa rank has gone from a 3 month average of 850,000 to 213,000. Yesterday’s Alexa was 82,000. So except for Google PageRank, every statistic for MyCFOontheGo shows dramatic improvement. Still the drop in PageRank isn’t really a surprise for me. You see, I made a few changes last month, and I knew that Big Daddy Google wouldn’t approve.

I began accepting paid posts, (which is fully disclosed) and I removed all the nofollow tags and made my blogs do-follow blogs. I am very happy with the changes. I am earning a little money, and the people that comment on my blog get a link back to their blog. It seems only fair.

But this does put me in a bit of a predicament. The advertisers who pay for posts are looking for high PR blogs. Page Rank is easy for them to check, and it is supposed to give an idea of how popular a web page is. If I had gotten my expected PR3 (according to the Iwebtool.com PR predictor) I would have plenty of advertisers wanting me to post for them. With a PR0, not so many. It becomes a catch 22. High pagerank causes more advertisers… which lowers page rank… which lowers advertisers… which raises pagerank. Do see the problem?

I have given it some thought and there are a few things I could do. I could remove all the paid posts, make all the links on my site no-follow, and then I could grovel back to Google and ask them to reconsider if I promise never to do it again. But I didn’t create my blogs for Google. They are for me, for my readers, and for my advertisers. I don’t want Google telling me what I can or cannot do on my blog. Plus, from my own experience, PageRank is not that great an indicator of readership. (See the chart later in the post) My other choice is to keep doing things the way I do now. Accept paid posts, while making sure they provide value to my readers as well as to my advertisers. Keep my links do-follow links, so when someone is takes the time to make a thoughtful comment on my blog I can be nice enough to give them a link.

I have decided to run a little experiment, just to see how important pagerank really is. I have four active blogs right now. Two that I am very active with, and two that really could use a little more attention. Here is a table showing the stats on those four sites right now.

Sorry, not sure what is going on here. Please scroll down for the table.

Site PageRank 3 Month Alexa 1 Week Alexa 30 Day Page Views BackLinks
MyCFOontheGo.com 0 212,919 112,533 4048 981
KatalinaMau.com 0 680,441 314,639 1496 561
NinjaSuccess.com 2 851,145 568,953 1079 662
GetRichGeek.com 3 1,500,785 435,730 880 34

As you can see, the sites with the highest pagerank, actually have the lowest page views, and the lowest number of backlinks.

Which is why I believe that maybe Google PageRank isn’t the best indicator of how much traffic (quality or otherwise) a website gets.

Which leads into my experiment. From now, until the next pagerank update I am going to keep KatalinaMau.com and MyCFOontheGo.com the way they are. The way I want them to be. But for NinjaSuccess.com and GetRichGeek.com I am going to comply with Googles requirements. No paid posts and nofollow links. It will be interesting to see what happens and I’ll report back to you after the next PR update.

Do you have a blog or a website and you think your PR isn’t what it should be? I am planning on putting together a directory of quality sites with traffic, and low or no pagerank. If that sounds like your site, leave a comment with your stats. If it all checks out I’ll add you to the directory as time permits.

Blog Review – UpstartBlogger.com

pic of macbook airpic of macbook air

I am not usually big on posting about blogging contests. Most of of the blogging contests I have seen want you to review a blog that may not be very good, for a prize that is just so-so. Then there is all the linking and stumbling and favoriting. It all really gets to be too much.

But there is always the exception to the rule. Ashley Morgan’s UpstartBlogger is having a contest and the prize is pretty sweet. A brand new Apple MacBook Air. The new laptop that is crazy thin. From the commercials I have seen, the Air looks like it might just be cool enough and thin enough to make up for it being an Apple! I certainly wouldn’t mind having one.

And then the blog itself is an exception to the rule. The theme is light and clean and loads fast. It is practically free of ads. (Something I have been thinking about for my own site!)And the content is worth sticking around for. Even though I have been blogging for over a year now I found myself enjoying Ashley’s post on 25 Steps to Launching Your Blog and Making $100+ A Month in 30 Days. While the post is definitely geared to rank beginners, I found some useful information relating to WordPress Plugins. He also has a post on SQL Backup Strategies that I am going to read when I am done here!

The contest ends Feb. 29, 2008 so if you want to enter you are going to have to be quick. Even if you are too late for the contest Upstart Blogger is worth a look.