Archive for September, 2012

Microwave winter squash

winter squash free clip art

Winter squash (free clip art image)

One of the foods I really enjoy to eat is winter squash. Acorn squash, butternut squash, buttercup squash… all are similar in taste. One thing that I have never LIKED about the squash, however, was how difficult it can be to cook. So I was really glad when a cousin of mine told me that she microwaves them, and that it makes it really easy to do! So I decided to try it for myself, and really liked it. So that is how I do it now.

Wash the outside of the squash. Stab it with a big chef’s fork several times. Put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes on high. Turn it over and nuke it again for a couple of minutes. When it starts to feel soft, use oven mitts to take it out of the microwave and put it on a heat-resistant cutting board. Cut it in half lengthwise with a big sharp knife. Use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds and throw the seeds away. Scoop out the cooked “flesh” of the squash and put that in a big bowl. Add some butter and some brown sugar and mash it up with a potato masher or use a blender. I do this with butternut, buttercup, and acorn squash. All yummy to the max!

Change can be a good thing

free clip art superman changing

free clip art superman changing

Installment 9 in an opinion series by Linda Bradshaw about blogging and SEO.

So in a nutshell, if you find yourself  getting only very low paying jobs, or no jobs at all, and you want that to change, then I encourage you to consider the techniques that you are using on your blog. Are you using a domain that already had PR when you bought it? Are you using a web hosting service that has your domain on a “bad neighborhood” server? Are you spinning/scraping content? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” and you want to start getting better paying jobs, then I suggest that you take a hard look at that and seriously consider changing your techniques so that the answer to all of the questions are “no.”

I believe that if you make those changes, and market your blogs so that you earn good Google page rank that you will find yourself being offered better paying blogging opportunities. I don’t know about you, but I would rather type one 200 word post for $10 or $15 or $20 dollars each than have to type twenty 200 word posts for $1 each. After all, for every post that I am paid to type I have to type a second non-paid post, and if I am typing one post for $20, then I am only typing one non-paid post, but if I am typing twenty posts for $1, then I am also typing twenty non-paid posts. And that, my friends, is a lot of typing!

The more you alter your blog to more closely follow the guidelines that Google likes, in the long run you may find yourself making more money with less effort. And in the end, isn’t that a good thing?

Please keep in mind the Google Guidelines about blogging for money. I am not going to go into those guidelines here.

So, I hope that these posts helps you in some way to scrutinize your blogging techniques and see if making any adjustments to your blogs would help you in any way in your quest to generate more income from your blogs. I wish all of you the best of luck in your pursuit of good Google Page Rank and income from your blogs!

Opinion disclaimer

Opinion disclaimer

computer

Free clip art – computer


Installment 8 in an opinion series by Linda Bradshaw about blogging and SEO

This is just my opinion, and everyone has one, and you may not agree with me, and that is fine. But I think that if I were in that position that has been discussed in the blog post “Take off your cloaks“, and if I were certain that a sweep has just happened, I would check to see if those blogs still have any page rank. If they do, I would go into those blogs and unlink every link that you have already received payment for. And if there are any links in there that you have not been paid for, I would only keep them active until they were paid for and then I would delete them too.

In fact, I would also delete any and every scraped/spun article completely, for Google is not going to allow you to get away with that technique much longer – they WILL catch up to you eventually and once you get de-indexed (banned, blacklisted) it is almost impossible to get it back. I know, I have one blog that apparently was blacklisted (I have NO IDEA why) and I have been trying for well over a year to get Google to take it off of their blacklist, doing everything that their help page says to do, and yet I still am blacklisted. I even moved the blog to a different server, but it made no difference. (Sigh) Interestingly enough, I keep blogging on that blog as if there is nothing wrong and I still get paid opportunities on that blog, so I keep renewing the domain name. I’ll let you know if Google ever lifts the ban on it!

Opinion disclaimer

Opinion disclaimer

Ruritan pancake breakfast

Yesterday I was scheduled to help the monthly Ruritan club’s pancake breakfast. I had sent an email out to the other members of the group asking them what time they wanted me to show up, but yesterday my email was off-line all day so as far as I know their answer may still be bouncing around “out there” somewhere.

Knowing that the breakfast starts at 8am and ends at 11am, I decided to just show up about 6:45. When I got to the community center, only three other Ruritan members were there. Two of them were already cooking bacon and sausage, and one of them was putting plastic serving ware in pouches and putting the pouches in a basket. Being new to the Ruritans, I did not remember meeting two of the folks, so I introduced myself to them and then just started pulling out the things that I knew we were going to need. As I was pulling out the mixing bowls and measuring cups, spatulas and I was wondering exactly how much help I was going to be able to be, with the limitations of my half-useless thumbs I knew that it was going to be a challenge!

Not very long afterwards more people started to come in and the kitchen became a very busy place! I ended up helping to prepare the eggs and shuttled the cooked food from the kitchen out to the dining hall.

After a while my hubby and parents showed up to eat breakfast, and I took a break and sat down to eat breakfast with them. There was some really great lemon poppy-seed bread there today – I had two slices of that!

There were a few times when I got the chance to chat a bit with the other people that came to help, and I was glad to be feeling less like an outsider than in the past.

The breakfast crowd died down pretty quickly after 10am, and I stayed until noon to help clean up. I basically manned the sinks, washing up the dishes while everyone else cleared the tables and dried the dishes and put things away. I figured that since I didn’t know where anything was supposed to go it would be better if I just did the washing up. Everyone was really grateful that I did the dish-washing – they said that was the hardest job to do. (And now I’m a bit sorry that I DID wash the dishes, my hands really hurt a lot from forcing my thumbs to do all that work!)

When I was finished up I bid goodbye to the other ladies that were still there and headed out. I had made it half way across the parking lot when they opened the door and called out to me “Would you like to take some flowers home?”

They had a handful of the flowers that had been donated by the local nursery to the breakfast, and were holding them out towards me. “Sure, that’d be great!” I replied. I walked back to the door, took the flowers. “Thanks” I said, turned, and headed back to the car. “Thanks again” they called out, and I waved. It was a good feeling. Maybe I’ll actually start to make some friends in this town after all.

Taking action

Installment 7 in an opinion series by Linda Bradshaw about blogging and SEO

So now those bloggers using these “Black Hat” techniques may very well ask, “Linda, please help me! What can I do?” Well, I’m no expert on that. Really, I’m not. But this is what I did, and hopefully it is bringing me back from the brink of blog extinction.

I started buying new domain names with no PR and started building the blogs from the ground up. And I did a lot of learning about how to build a blog in such a way that the almighty Google would hopefully throw me a reward in the way of Page Rank somewhere down the line. I knew that it would take a very long time for that to happen and I had to be patient. I bought several different domain names and worked on all of them. I tried to work on them equally, but apparently some were “better” than others and some got good PR quickly, some got low PR and took a very long time to improve their PR. But it had to be slowly, over time, as Google is suspicious over anything that happens fast, and I do not want to incur the wrath of Google!

Through a lot of trial and error, and good advice from my good sister N, and a lot of independent reading of things that I found online I slowly started to make money blogging without buying and using the expired domains, without using spun or scraped materials (I never did that, never heard of it before this group!)

I learned that in between each post where I am providing any links (whether do-follow or no-follow) I should put in a post that has no paid links at all. I learned to only use unique content that I wrote myself. I learned to make sure that there is fresh content on each blog more than once a week. I learned to not allow spammers to publish their comments on my blog, for they are trying to steal my PR and that will cost me at the next sweep. I learned to not take any pay-per-click or pay-per-action jobs. They don’t pay me anything and they make my blogs look spammy, which is a huge “turn-off” to any potential advertiser. I learned to not take any banner ads. I learned to not blog about porn, pills, gambling, religion, politics, or to promote any controversial “cause” that is likely to cause any business (potential client) to decide to avoid using my blog.

I have joined local Chambers of Commerces and gone to a lot of their free lunch and learn programs, networking meetings, and met a lot of people who consider themselves to be experts in SEO. When I tell them that I am a professional blogger they sometimes get quite upset and tell me that some of their clients lost PR because they had paid bloggers for back links. And some get very interested in talking to me about blogging for them. It’s all a good learning process.

And I learned that the vast majority of SEO experts, both local and online firmly believe that Google is now taking aim and targeting companies that have websites that have links from blogs that use the spinning/scraped content. And they believe that Google will be penalizing link farms and any website that has nonsensical strings of letters/numbers etc. They are going to penalize them, and they are going to be banning/blacklisting those blogs that use those techniques.

Opinion disclaimer

Opinion disclaimer

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