Not a Booksneeze blogger

Looking forward to diving into this - thanks t...I came across this service, Booksneeze, the other day. It looked like a great idea. They send out books to bloggers, the bloggers review the book, publish a review and copy it to a site such as Amazon, and then get to do what they want with the book.

Thinking this would be a great little addition to my website, I applied. I looked through the website just to check any details, couldn’t find any reason as to why I wouldn’t get approved. As part of the application process, they ask what country you’re from, which makes sense because they’d need to send out the book to you and would need to know the address.

So I applied, and waited for my approval. Continue reading “Not a Booksneeze blogger”

The importance of formatting

(Image Flickr by Zeno_)

One of the problems that I see many church websites have is their lack of formatting – or when there is formatting, the lack of appropriate formatting. Writing for the web is very different to writing for print, so there’s a few formatting hints that you can use to make your posts (and pages) easier to read. Continue reading “The importance of formatting”

My Favourite Blogging Tools

WordPress Logo
Image via Wikipedia

There are a plethora of blogging tools available. Some are good, some are bad. These are the tools that I used for my blog. Continue reading “My Favourite Blogging Tools”

Keepin’ it fresh

I have had this website since 2006. I have posts on this website since 2007. That’s a fair time to be blogging. Now, admittedly, I haven’t been a regular poster. I have around 250 posts published (at the time this post was published), which is an average of under a post a week. So I’m not exactly a blogging professional, and I’m probably not the sort of guy you should be looking to advice. But you are, so I’ll tell you what I know. Continue reading “Keepin’ it fresh”

How I use my website

I though that with the new layout, new posting regime and such, I would post a bit about how I plan to use my blog over the next six months – and possibly into the future.

Essentially, there will be three types of posts: daily posts, feature posts, and other.

Daily Posts

The post a day 2011 challenge promotes writing on your blog every day. As help, they provide daily prompts. Often, they are very simple questions, and wide-ranging so unlikely to fit to any blogs particular niche. But they often make you think about questions you may not have thought about before, and can sometimes provoke debate on some issues, so I shall endeavour to post one of these daily.

Feature posts

As this theme has the capability for feature posts, I plan to utilise these to their fullest. I don’t want a blog that is only posts about me, so these feature posts will be a bit longer, and look at particular issues in more depth. I might look at things to do with social networking, websites, or post some religious thoughts. Either way, I look forward to shaping.g these posts out over the course of a week, as opposed to the churn them out daily posts.

Other posts

This theme also makes use of other post types – aside, links, quotes, photos – so I’m going to try post some of these as well – bible passages I like, quotes from books or blogs, photos that I might take, and more.

So I hope I don’t annoy you with extra content, but I hope that it will provide a few gems for you.

What I do when I can’t think of what to write

Writer's Block... Why bother...
Image by Arnett Gill via Flickr

Writing a post every day can be pretty tough. When I can’t think of what to write on my blog, there’s a number of places that I go to get inspiration.

  1. Daily Post. The Daily Post issued the challenge to write a blog post every day of 2011. They support this by posting a prompt every day. I’ve written a few of these, and always link back to the original post. But sometimes they just aren’t something that inspires me to write.
  2. Plinky. Plinky does a similar thing (in fact, Daily Post takes a number of their prompts from Plinky). But because they’ve been doing it for longer, there’s a great backup of prompts for me to choose from. But again, they won’t always provide me the inspiration to put together a decent post – that is, I could answer the question, but it’s not always going to be a post that reads well.
  3. Other blogs. I have a number of other blogs that I keep track of in my Google Reader. I have sometimes found that through reading these posts, it will spark an idea as to what I might be able to write about either expanding on a blog, or in response to that blog post.
  4. News. Keeping track of current affairs will often give me an idea of something to write about. Whether it’s a response to an issue in the media or politics, or my thoughts on a particular news story, it’s all a potential blog post.
  5. Write a “What do I do when I can’t think of what to write” post. When all else fails, you get todays post. Hope you enjoyed!

Lessons learnt so far

Inspired by Jeff Hester’s blog, I thought I’d write about the lessons that I’ve learned during my blogging every day so far this year.

People judge a post by its title

It’s surprising how important a title is to hook people in. From the last couple of weeks, here’s the dates that have spikes. January 21 – Who I miss and who I’ll miss; January 30 – Looking ahead in Web Design; February 3 – How I lost 6kgs in a month (without paying a cent); February 6 – The show that makes me cry. These are titles that make people think that it’s going to be interesting. I think one of the best post/title combinations I’ve had was one that was titled “Secret Confession” and I wrote the first paragraph as if it was going to be some great big, shameful secret confession. I probably tricked a few people, but I think it was a good hook.

Post regularly, post often

I think even if I wasn’t participating in the Postaday aspect, Posting regularly and often helps in so many ways. You get more visitors to the site (simply through having more posts for people to read), and you also get more experience in writing. While some of my posts haven’t been great reading, the more I write, the better I get at writing and formulating posts that do make good reading.

Link to get links

Since starting this, I have always tried to link to 4 posts participating in Postaday2011 on every post (except for the ones that I’ve had to schedule due to being away). I did this for two reasons: firstly, linking to someone’s post sends them a pingback and they then will come and view my post, generating traffic on my site. Secondly, people who read my post and see the links may click on them to see why I linked to them, giving them some traffic as well. While I haven’t received many links back, there have been a number of people who I have linked to, who have then come to my site and commented on my posts. It’s a great way of generating some community through this venture.

Moving Forward

Having posted 46 (47 posts with this one), I’ve also learnt some things that I’m going to attempt to do in the future. I want to try to get a couple of posts completed as drafts so that I’ve got some there in case I run out of time one day, or have no inspiration. I also want to start writing a couple of longer posts, ones that I can work on over a week or so, to really get some good content on here. I want to get more involved in linking – so that I not only link, but I comment on the people who I link to. Finally, I want to try to end more posts with a question to encourage comments. Seeing stats that people are reading my website are great, but I want to get to know them, and that can happen through comments.

And I’ll start with that now: are you participating in Postaday2011? What have you got out of it so far? What are you going to try to do into the future to make sure you get through the year?

Postaday2011 links

Back to the beginning

My first post on this blog was way back in March, 2007, and it was entitled The Importance of Something Different, but I have a feeling that I had some posts created a bit earlier than that. Hmm…

My Website first appeared in June 2004, and was an HTML effort promoting me as a musician. It went through a few different redesigns, and it was the design in 2007 that introduced a blog. At that point, I was running WordPress on a spare computer at home, using it as a web server. I’ve since moved onto the servers where you view my site now.

I think part of the reason I started building my website was because I wanted a place where I could try out the HTML techniques that I was interested in learning. Plus I was able to share some feelings of what I was going through at the time, and share interesting videos.

I’m a bit sad that I’ve lost many of the posts from my old blog. I don’t know what happened to them, or remember what I didn’t do in transitioning over to this blog. But Thanks to the WayBack Machine, I’ve found my first post. Here it is, titled “Out into the wide blue yonder”:

Well… not quite yet. Though I’m half way there. I’m on my way but I haven’t started yet.

I’ve completed one course… and Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts, and am now just commencing a Bachelor of Music. I’m still a fair way off a career… but it’s kinda scary that I’m only 18 months from being outside of the University arena.

Current Goal: Become an orchestral violinist.

Other possibilities: Instrumental teacher, Musicologist, Music Critic

Pathways: Practice like hell, see what my new teacher can do for me. Get in as much experience in orchestras as possible, and learn as many orchestral parts as possible. Pick up new students to supplement income and pay for flights for auditions.

It’s nice to have something to aim for. For the past few weeks, my interest has been waning a little, but I’ve got my first lesson with my new teacher on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to it – I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do with me, and what I can do with her.

Well, that’s a rather odd Intro for where this blog is going. It’s basically going to be my forum for ideas about my career progress, interesting tidbits I pick up. I’ll also be adding in some Concert Reviews, and Classical Music news.

Maybe I’ll go through and post some interesting posts that didn’t make it through…

Postaday2011 links

New Directions

Well, today marks the day that applications for the World Council of Churches Youth Internships close. I actually got mine in Friday night (if I remember correctly), but all the same, now starts the waiting game. I’m not actually sure when I’ll find out about it, and I’m in the odd situation of wanting to plan for next year, but not being able to. I can’t in good mind take on new students with the possibility of me only being able to teach them for a term, however if I get the internship I’ll need a little bit of money for travel expenses. Continue reading “New Directions”