Category Archives: Blogging

Theme Upgrades

On almost all of my sites I like to use the Atahualpa Theme from BytesForAll. I have finally managed to get almost all of my sites up to date with the latest install. Since each site has been tweaked to have it’s own look and most have custom headers, upgrades to the theme are problematic at best. My one complaint with the theme is that the header images have to be uploaded again after every update. It has pretty much become a routine I go through while updating plug-ins and other ancillary files.

Today Atahualpa rolled out an incremental upgrade. Now I use a empty sidebar between the body of my sites and the sidebar on the right. It’s always worked, gives me some options I wouldn’t have using padding. Well today’s update filled it with default text and forced me to drop an empty text widget in my “spacer” to remove the text.

Problem solved until the next update…

Hill Country blogger found key to charity | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Jenny Lawson "The Bloggess" at BlogW...
Jenny Lawson “The Bloggess” at BlogWorld NYC (Photo credit: BlogWorld & TBEX events)

Just the story to inspire another blogger…

While most nonprofits struggle to get Christmastime donations back to pre-recession levels, one Texas woman raised $39,000 for needy families in a mere few days.

Jenny Lawson, a 36-year-old former Houstonian who now lives in the Hill Country, doesn’t have a huge organization, a banner cause, a catchy slogan or flashy campaign. She has something much more compelling than any of those things: a blog.

via Hill Country blogger found key to charity | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

Going Forward

Wordle Cloud of the Internet Marketing Blog - ...
Wordle Cloud of the Internet Marketing Blog – 08/15/08 (Photo credit: DavidErickson)

I spent the past 6 months studying and reading everything I could find on these inter-webs about online marketing and making money online.

After all of the subscribing to and reading a multitude of newsletters and blogs I have come to one conclusion… Most of these experts are all selling the same thing…No, I am not talking about different ways of saying the same thing, I am talking about the very same book or lesson or private forum. Each and every one of them is pushing the very same products via affiliate links.

It must be working for at least some of them because there sure are a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon. Now don’t get me wrong…I am not knocking affiliate links. I use them myself. Look over to the right and you’ll see a whole block of them. But a lot of what I’ve been reading reminded me of the old mail-order come-ons that kept my Dad thinking he was going to make money from home in the 1960’s and ’70’s by buying someone else’s catalogs and plopping his return address on them and just mailing them out to a bunch of addresses he bought from someone else…It never worked.

So for the past week, I’ve been unsubscribing from the newsletters, dropping the RSS feeds, having my email removed from the mailing lists. I did discover a few people in the process that I’ll keep following…But, way too many of the people out there were not useful to me. And…When every “Product Launch” would fill my inbox with tens and tens of emails all with the same offer, it really began to look a lot like just more spam.

So where will this lead me now? Who knows…But as I wander through these webs I’ll keep you informed abiut what I find…

Working Toward Being

I wondered upon a new blog today via Fiona Robyn’s planting words: Hospitality and chocolate spread.  These words struck a chord with something deep inside me…

Ways to avoid hovering between resting and doing:

1. Set time aside for both resting and doing.

2. Rest in one place, work in another.

3. When working on a computer only open the programs (and windows) that are absolutely necessary for the work being done (preferably one!)

4. If you don’t need the internet while you’re working turn it off!

5. Know what you’re doing before you start (ie plan your work in advance and your rest activities too).

6. Focus on what you planned to do, for as long as you planned to do it (short bursts of activity work best and are easier to stay focused for).

7. Set a timer to help you stay focused (20 minutes is a good length of time).

8. Take regular work breaks. They give you something to aim at (and make sure you take yourself away from your work for your break).

9. Plan a treat for when you finish you day’s tasks (and make sure you don’t try and plan too much or do more than you plan).

via Learning to not hover between resting and doing | Sustainably Creative by Michael Nobbs.

A lot of the above reminds me of what it was that attracted me so many years ago to The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing’s Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living.

See also: Fiona Robyn; A Year Of Questions: How to slow down and fall in love with life

Where Is My Blog?

I woke up this morning and logged on to the computer as usual. Reading my email I saw a new comment and clicked on the link to reply…And got a mesage that the server could not be found.

So I tried logging in to more of my sites only to find they were all down…mmmmmm. I thought I would check the Godaddy site and see what was up. I got the same mesage…mmmmmm. No websites, no Godaddy, no warnings.

I started searching on Google. No new posts on the blogs. No news. Ahhh, there it is in the updates.Thanks Twitter.

Now this is where it got interesting…The problem was just related to customers of AT&T. How does that work? How does the rest of the web see Godaddy but people using AT&T not? I can see the rest of the web, just not the Godaddy servers…But they say the issue is just with AT&T customers.

Anybody have any answers?

Screen Resolutions and Other Stats

Why is it that most blog themes are still rather narrow by modern display technology standards?

Very few of the fixed width themes I have looked at over the years have been wider than about 800 pixels. Yet when I use Woopra to look at the analytics of my sites, almost all of which are set to 1024px wide, very few visitors are set to a lower resolution. On my most visited site, the number of users with resolutions below 1024 is in the 3% range and about half of those are using phones from the resolutions reported.

It looks to me like if you are designing any layouts (other than mobile) less than 1024 pixels wide you are giving up screen apace to the user/readers desktop. While I am a big believer in white space, 200 plus pixels is taking white space to extremes. I realize many people manage this by using relative widths, but as a reader I have never found long lines of text easy to read.

Another thing I am seeing is that most visitors are still wedded to Microsoft for their browsing. Here is a pie chart of the numbers in the last month…

Browser Statistics

To my way of thinking, there are a number of things wrong with these numbers from a web publishing viewpoint…

  1. Internet Explorer in its many versions makes up close to 60% of the browser traffic to my sites. Design wise that can be a problem.
  2. Too many people are running old versions of software. Even after all of the talk online and in the newspapers almost thirty percent of folks visiting my site have not even updated their IE software…
  3. Firefox users seem to be more willing to upgrade based on the numbers.
  4. Google has some work to do if they want Chrome to have any kind of a presence in the browser market.
  5. Finally, not many of my visitors are Apple users. About 8.5% total Mac users. Which is trailing the market by about 2%.

All of the above stats are from the last month…It is always interesting to spend a little time viewing the numbers each month.

What are your stats telling you about your users?