November 7, 2010

What you should know if you want to create a Personal Website

You may be one of those who are thinking about creating your own personal website. It is very easy to setup a blog or personal website on any of the free website spaces available in the Internet. I believe it is a good idea add that you should seriously think of setting up one. You might have a few wonderful ideas that deserve to be heard and someone out there might be interested in what you have to say.

Having a personal website affords you with the opportunity of making known to the world your thoughts and ideas about a subject matter that you are interested in. You can setup your website to enable your readers to comment on your posts or articles so you will have a general idea of how receptive they are to your ideas. If you are passionate about a cause that you believe in, then the Internet is just the right medium to generate a following and move people to action. The Internet is would still be here even if you have left this world and passed on to the other side of existence. Hence, your thoughts and ideas would still be available for the next generation to learn from.

On the other hand just like in real life, there are in cyberspace a lot of people with evil intent. You will come across with people who will discredit your ideas and make fun of things that you have to say. Or, they may copy your write-ups and make money out of them. There are even psychotic individuals who will copy your work and make it appear that you are connected to people who are involved in pornography and terrorism. These evil-doers hide behind the anonymity afforded in the Internet to do horrible things that they can't do in real life.

But you can also make use of the anonymity afforded by the Internet by not making known your real identity. Thus, you would more likely dismiss those mischievous acts and take them lightly since nobody really knows who the author of your website is. So lesson number one is don't put your real name on any page of your website, unless, you're a professional who is advertising your services.

What you need

The first thing that you need to have is that you should have something that you want others to know about. You may have found yourself in a peculiar situation that you have developed a good amount of thoughts and ideas that others may find useful in various aspects of their lives. You should preferably have some expertise in the subject matter that you want to talk about based on your professional or work experience. There should be a lot of things that you can talk about in your chosen niche.

You must have access to a computer that has a reliable Internet connection. It would be preferable if you could own your computer so that it will always be available to you whenever you are inspired to write something. You should also have a facility for writing in your language. You can improve your writing skills by knowing more about what writing is about and how it works by looking for useful information in the Internet. You should also preferably be adept at keyboarding so that you won't be spending an inordinate amount of time preparing your article. You should preferably acquire some knowledge about websites, how they are made, and how the Internet works.

Do I have to Spend Money to Setup my Website?

You don't have to spend money for you to create your personal website and make it available in the Internet. There are free web spaces that others make available to those who would like to setup their own websites. Google and WordPress are the two most notable providers of free website space. Esnips is one entity that gives you a lot of spaces where you can store any digital product that you own like write-ups, music, videos, and other documents. Esnips also allows you to submit posts very similar to the way that you post to a blog.

What Steps you have to take

All you have to do is to have an account with free web space providers and you're good to go. There are plenty of instructions on how to go about building your website. You don't need to know any of the programming languages used by Internet browsers in displaying your web pages. Everything has already been taken care of and the only thing that you need is the post or article that will appear on your website.

What you need at the start if just the name and description of your site and your email address. Then and there you can already create your first page and make it live in the Internet. Don't worry if you think you don't know much at this point to be able to come up with a notable personal website. You will learn along the way all the things that you need to know to make your site attractive and useful.

Now, you must think about what sort of information you would make available in your site. It must always have something new so that people who are following your site will always have fresh information to view or listen to in your site. Then, produce all the materials that you want to include in your site and post them using the tools made available by your chosen free webstite provider.

Is it True that I can Earn Money from my Website?

Yes you can but not as big amount as those who are business in the Internet. The most often used money-making scheme is to offer some space in your website for advertisements. However, only those notable and really great websites earn sufficiently enough money from advertisements. You may if you want offer some personal service on a project basis for those who would like to avail of your expertise. For example, you can set up a free language learning site and then offer to provide fee-based one-on-one tutorial services.

What are the Pitfalls that you should avoid?

As I have already said just like in real life, there are evil-minded persons roaming in the Internet looking for innocent people that they can victimize. You should be careful about putting any personal information that others can use to their advantage.

There is danger that your work will be plagiarized so you should include techniques in your work to protect them from being copied. But even in real life we are exposed everyday to criminal elements. These people will be there as long as there are human beings on earth. I have a nonchalant attitude toward them. I believe that they can steal my work but not my brain. I pity them because they have to pick on the crumbs of my brain just to earn a small amount.

There will be other evil-doers that simply want to destroy your work or credibility. But in my view, what they are destroying is your persona on the Internet, not the real you. We must admit that some information that you can find in the Internet are just plain crap. But we should not condemn the whole of the Internet. There are just a small number of individuals who have nothing better to do out there in cyberspace.

Read my other article on which place you can set up your website on Google Sites or Blogger at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2009/12/should-you-build-your-free-personal-web.html

Read my other article on three skills that you need to develop if you want to improve your personal website at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2012/01/three-skills-that-you-need-to-develop.html.

Read my other article on creating a personal website on Google Sites or WordPress at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2009/12/creating-free-personal-website-at.html

Read an article on ways to improve your blog or website at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/ways-to-improve-your-blog-or-personal-website.

Read an article on the harmful effects of the computer and the Internet at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/the-harmful-effects-of-the-computer-and-the-internet.



November 3, 2010

Practical Ways to Improve your Writing Skills

The need to improve your writing skills depends on how important good writing ability is to your career or profession. Very few people will have the option of not having to write anything. For most of us, committing our thoughts and ideas on paper is almost always a required activity. Not everyone will have the time to listen to you or view your video and a written document is still the best means of sharing what you want others to know.

Your time is the most important resource that you have in your professional life. Writing can become a time-consuming task if you will not make an effort to improve the way you write. Time is also the most important resource that your audience has. Poor writing will result in their time being wasted in understanding what you want to impart to them. Hence, improving your writing skills would benefit not only you but also the community where you operate.

I have compiled a few tips that you can use to launch a project for improving your writing ability. Your goal is to be able to write effectively and save on the time it will take you to perform your writing task. You don't want to be misunderstood by your readers, nor do you want to bore your readers with information that they may not need. You don't want to spend too much time writing and your readers would not want to spend a lot of time reading your written work.

Understand What Writing is about

Writing is committing your thoughts on a medium to make it available to your readers when they have time to read your work. When writing, you are capturing your ideas from your brain and physically converting those ideas into digital form for easy storage and retrieval later.

Face-to-face communication is the best approach for conveying your message to other people. However, this is not always practical to do and that is why writing was invented. When your audience is reading your work, you are not there to explain yourself. That is why you should help your readers to understand what you want to say by using a writing style that is easy to read and does not waste your readers' time.

Have a Positive Attitude toward Writing

Your will have a difficult time improving your writing if you maintain a negative attitude toward writing. Other people also have a writing phobia that hinders their ability to launch a writing activity.

Writing is not that difficult to do. I am writing this article and I don't find it extremely difficult because I have a goal that I want to accomplish by doing it. Try thinking about the benefits that you will gain by becoming an effective writer. Set up your own objective for your writing improvement work so that you will gain a perspective on why you need to undertake this project.

Doing what you're afraid to do is the best way to banish that fear from your mind. Engage yourself in a lot of writing practice by writing on topics that interest you most. Having a lot of written works under your belt will convince your mind that writing is not something to be afraid of.

Improve your Typing Skills

Writing is a mental and physical activity. Our mind and our body operate on a different time frame. The brain works infinitely faster than our hands. Thus, it is important for you to be able to catch up with the speed in which your brain operates. One way to do this is to improve your keyboarding skills. Typing by using just a few fingers will not work. It is not too late to study touch typing and improve your typing accuracy and speed. Aim initially to achieve a 25 words per minute typing speed, then go for 45 words per minute.

Learn How to Slow Down your Thinking Process

Another way to decrease the time lag between your brain and your hands is to slow down your thinking process. Writers have developed this ability unconsciously in the process of undertaking the many writing assignments that they have accomplished. It takes some effort to practice this skill initially but as time goes on, it will become second nature as you embark on more writing activities.

Teach your Mind How to Organize Ideas

What you have written reflects how your mind has organized your thoughts and ideas. Your mind has an innate ability to group ideas that belong together. This is a mapping activity where you set aside spaces in your brain for distinct ideas that you want to include in the work that you are writing. Your mind will use concepts and categories to organize all the ideas that you want to include in your write-up. Your mind will also tell you the sequence in which these ideas should be released to your readers. Thus an outline takes form which you can write down to serve as a guide when writing your article.

Improve your Mastery of your Language

Learning how to speak your language has already provided you with the basic rules and structures that you can use to build your sentences. However, the rules are stricter when writing because of the limitations of the written form. Grammatical errors in speech are excusable and do not greatly affect the effectiveness of the communication. But in the written form, grammatical mistakes can hinder the effective flow of ideas. In addition, readers prefer certain qualities in a writing style that makes them more motivated to read your work.

Know a Lot about the Topics that you Expect to Write on

Read a lot of articles and reports on the subject area that you would be writing on. Researching for information causes a lot of delay in a writing task. Having ideas about your topic that are fresh in your mind can greatly speed up your writing process.

Reading articles about other topics can expose you to the different writing styles of other authors. You can use this opportunity to look for techniques that you can use in your own writing to make your written work friendlier to your audience. It could also provide you with ideas that you can include in your future writing assignments.

Practice Writing

Writing on topics that interest you most is a good way to exercise your writing skills. Our muscles tend to deteriorate when they are not used frequently. The same is true with our writing skills. You can set aside time for your writing practice and practice less frequently first then increase the frequency until you have reached a point when you find it easy to launch a writing activity.

Let a Good Editor Improve your Written Work

Letting a good editor improve your written work is one of the best ways of enhancing your writing skills. You can compare what you have written with how your editor has improved your work and find out the secret of a good writing style. Having your written work corrected by a good editor is a unique opportunity that you should not miss. Being edited is the normal course of events in the life of an aspiring writer.

I think that editors can be the best teacher for writing courses because they are the people who are most exposed to mistakes in writing. One cannot become a good editor without himself becoming a good writer first. So if you know of someone who is good at editing, make an effort to befriend him and later ask him to help you improve your writing skills. You will discover how your writing will have improved once you let a good editor work his magic on your article.

Then you will be ready to develop your own unique style as you graduate from being a writer to becoming an author.

Read my other article on how to control your mind during the writing process at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-control-your-mind-during-writing.html

Read my other article on how to write an article for your website at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-and-how-to-write-article-for-your.html

Read my other article on good ideas about writing as a mental process at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/03/good-ideas-about-writing-as-mental.html

Check out a list of links to articles on ways and means of becoming a good writer at: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BwcdVZGRss3eZWYxYmEzYTgtMWU5Mi00NjU3LWFjNzktNjIxOWZiZjY0ODFm.



March 19, 2010

How to Control your Mind during the Writing Process

Writing is an intellectual process that requires a high degree of coordination between your mind and your hands. The mind is the source of everything that you write so it is the controlling factor. Even if you just copy someone else's work, your mind has to still participate in the process. That is why it is very important that you get your mind's cooperation during the writing process. Here are some ideas that could help you gain your mind's full participation in your writing process.

Writing Clarifies Vague Thoughts

Some writers will advise you to start writing even if your mind is unclear about some aspects of what you want to write about. This is because the act of writing tends to clarify vague thoughts. The mind responds well to seeing its thoughts written out. It instinctively adjusts its position as some thoughts are clarified during the writing process.

Such is the nature of temporary writing blocks. In some instances, you might experience a lull in your writing. There could be some issues that your mind has not yet resolved. And yet your mind will find it difficult to resolve those issues without the aid of seeing those thoughts written out. Sometimes, it is useful to go on and writing despite you feeling that what you are writing seems to not have any value in it.

Trust your Mind Completely

This part of the article came out only while I was writing the article. I have not thought about this idea before I went on writing this article. I started out only with two ideas for writing this article. Now, my mind is instinctively supplying me with ideas to make this article complete.

Your mind is a very powerful information processing tool. You computer pales in comparison with what your mind can do. Just imagine these words and these sentences coming out of thin air. It does not need any electricity to run and it's always working even if we are asleep. Your mind will never let you down as long as you put your complete trust in it.

Slow Down your Thinking Process

Our hands are poor performers when compared with our minds which operate faster than the speed of light. We have to slow down our thinking when writing to enable our hands to keep pace with what our minds want to say.

It takes some practice to get used to slowing down your mind. You can only develop it by writing a lot. The more you write, the more you can develop your mind's ability to slow down so as to enable your hands to keep pace with it.

If you find it difficult to slow down your thinking, then make it a habit to type keywords that will help you recall later on about a related idea that your mind has come up with while you're focusing on an idea that you're developing in your write-up. Then come back to the keyword later on after you have completed writing on the current idea that you were working on.

Think in Whole Sentences

When talking with someone or other people, there are a lot of cues that helps the words we use in conveying meaning to those we are talking with. As a result, we tend to omit some words in our communication because we think that what we're referring to are obvious. This situation is not true with writing. When your readers read your work, you are not there to explain to then what you mean.

In the absence of any visual cues that can help us communicate with our readers, we need to be more explicit when writing. We might be talking about several things and we must be explicitly clear to which of those things we are referring to. That is why it is always a good practice to always think in complete sentences when we are writing. Explicitly state those things which we tend to omit when we are talking.

Have the Outline of your Article Fixed in your Mind

Help your mind not to get lost or introduce ideas that do not properly belong in the article you are writing. Maintain a conceptual outline of your article at the back of your mind ready to be referenced when a question as to whether an item is suitable for inclusion in the article you are writing comes up.

Expose your Mind to Interesting and Unique Ideas

Choose to read written works that are original and well-written. A lot of written materials in the Internet are crap. Your mind knows you are a writer and will tell you if what you are writing is crap or not. Don't miss out on traveling to exotic places or going out with someone who can offer a stimulating conversation.

Don't Stop Writing

The act of writing stimulates your mind to come up with more ideas to write about. If you stop writing, then you will miss out on this wonderful opportunity. So never stop writing even if you think that what you're writing is crap. Just don't publish it. Writing craps can sometimes lead you to a wonderful idea that is worth writing on.

As a writer, your mind is your best friend so treat it the way a best friend should be treated. There is only one way to improve your writing and that is to write a lot. Before I wrote this article, I have written a lot of crap that will never get published in the Internet. I never consider them waste of time for they have somehow stimulated my mind and I have had a good typing practice writing them.

What makes writers different from other people is the fact that they have been gifted with the ability to control their minds while they are writing. If you can develop this skill, then you will become good at writing and later on find out that you have not only become a writer but a good writer as well.

Read my other article on good ideas about writing as a mental process at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/03/good-ideas-about-writing-as-mental.html.

Read my other article on practical ways to improve your writing skills at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/11/practical-ways-to-improve-your-writing.html.

Read my other article on a generalized article writing template for something that you want to write about at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/03/generalized-article-writing-template.html

Read my other article on steps to writing and publishing content in the Internet at; http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2009/12/steps-to-writing-ang-publishing-content.html.



March 18, 2010

Things to Consider When Planning to Place AdSense Ads on your Blog

Choose the Right Subject Matter for your Blog

There are no sure way how to gauge how your blog will perform with AdSense ads but there are steps that you can take to ensure that your AdSense-powered blog can gain a good enough number of impressions and clicks to generate a decent income for you.

It is very important that you choose a good subject matter for your blog. The best topic to focus on with your blog is one that you have a deep knowledge of so that your blog will be perceived as an authority blog on the field that you have chosen to write on.

It is essential also that your chosen topic be large enough so you would be able to write a good number of interesting and useful articles about it. A good number of pages containing well-written and original articles will go a long way in drawing a good enough level of traffic to your blog.

You can use a number of Google publishing tools to help you choose the right subject matter that you should blog on. The Google search tool will help you gauge the number of materials already available about the subject matter you are thinking of for your blog.

You can use the Google keyword tool to check on advertiser competition for the keywords that represent your subject matter that you want to focus on in your blog. You can also use this tool to check on the cost per click information for the keywords that you have chosen to target with your blog.

Properly Place AdSense Ads on your Blog Pages

Proper ads placement on your blog pages helps a lot in gaining more clicks from your AdSense ads. Use your best judgement on the best placement of your ads on your blog pages. You can try different ads placement and stick to the placement that generates the most number of clicks.

I have discovered that ads are more likely to be noticed when they are integrated with the text of the articles in my blog. I have also found out that the best color to use for the test of the ads is the default color of the text of the articles. This approach has proven to be effective on my simple web page design that has a left sidebar and the contents on the right side of the blog page.

You can also try using the same color as the links in your blog page for the text of the AdSense ads. This way the ads may not become as obtrusive as it would blend with the rest of the text of the blog pages. Using this technique helps make the ads look more integrated into the contents of the pages of your blog.

Monitor your Blog's AdSense Performance

You can go to Google's AdSense web site to monitor how the AdSense ads on your blog are performing. This tool can show you how much money has been generated by the impressions and clicks that the ads on your blog have generated. The data can be displayed in different time frames like today, yesterday, this week, this month, last month, and all time.

You can also monitor the general performance of your blog using the Google Analytics tool. This tool displays a host of useful data like number of unique visitors, most visited pages, how users reached your pages, and from what locations your readers are coming from.

You can use the Google Webmaster Tools for managing your blog in relation to the Google search engine. Using these tools, you can check for the search keywords used where your blog appeared in Google's search engine results page. You can also check which web sites and how many sites are linking to your blog pages. The Google Webmaster Tools web site is a great place to resolve some issues that your blog may have on how accessible your blog pages are in the Internet.

Know more about AdSense Program Policies

The Google AdSense web site provides a lot of information for site owners of AdSense enabled blogs and web sites. From there, you can learn about the different ads products, rules for displaying the ads on blogs and web sites, and the system for paying site owners for the display of ads on their sites. You can also choose to disallow some ads from being displayed on your blog using the filters that you can use on the AdSense web site.

You should see to it that you follow Google's AdSense policies to ensure that your account remain in good standing with Google. Make sure that you submit all the requirements that Google asks for before you get paid for displaying AdSense ads on your site. Get acquainted with all the policies and procedures for getting the revenues generated by your AdSense ads.

It might interest you to know that Google allows you to get your payment through your local Western Union branch. If you are like me who have no PayPal account, then this is probably the best way to get the money generated from the AdSense ads displayed on your blog.

Know how you can promote your Blog and Web Pages

There are many ways by which you can promote your blog or web pages. You can submit your blog's feeds to feed submission sites in the Internet. A feed is a summary snapshot of your blog that can be used to promote your blog. You should make it easy for your readers to get your feed by putting a link to your feed on all the pages of your blog.

You can also submit your blog's URL to related portals and local directories in the Internet. Aside from promoting your blog, this technique can gain valuable links from sites that have high page ranks in Google. Sometimes, these sites may ask for a reciprocal link which you should oblige especially if the site has a high page rank that can boost the page rank of your blog.

You can also submit promotional articles to article submission sites with a link to your blog in the author's signature. You can also promote particular pages in your blog by submitting a document to a document submission site with links to the pages of your blog that you want to promote.

Importance of Good Planning

Good planning can jumpstart your blog to become a well-performing AdSense web site. Make sure that you choose the right subject matter for your blog, place your ads in the most productive positions and use your blog's color scheme for the text of the ads, monitor the performance of your ads, know more about AdSense program policies, and know how you can promote your blog and your blog's web pages.



March 17, 2010

Lessons Learned on Using AdSense on Blogs and Web Sites

I never thought that the language learning web site I created would do well with AdSense ads. I have always thought that there can only be limited ads that can be displayed considering that the language being taught is not a major international language.

However, I think that there were two major factors that made the AdSense ads perform well on the web site. The first one is that I chose a subject matter that I have a deep and extensive knowledge about and the second is that I placed the AdSense ads on the different parts of the text of the article itself and I used the same color as the text for the AdSense ads.

My best-performing web site in terms of AdSense is a language learning web site where I provide language lessons using text and audio. Being a native speaker of that particular language, I obviously have a deep knowledge of the subject matter as it is being used by its native speakers like me. While I am not a language teacher by profession, I can still be considered an authority on the subject matter because I know how to speak and write in that language having learned it since childhood.

Because of my deep understanding of the subject matter, I was able to create lessons that I think would be most helpful to those who are in the process of learning the language. Learning a language is a sufficiently large subject matter that there is an endless topic that can be generated out of it. A language is a complex system that includes grammatical rules and a large number of vocabulary words to learn.

Since almost all lessons deal with a related subject matter, the site achieved a deep focus on the keywords that are used in the pages of the web site. There is a natural optimization for the keywords for the site and there is no need to optimize the pages for those keywords. As a result, the pages receive great prominence on searches focusing on learning the language by search engines.

When the number of lessons reached more than 30, I stopped adding more lessons so you can say that my content is not fresh. Yet there is a continuous stream of people who are visiting the site everyday. I think that readers are attracted by the quality of the lessons I have created and the uniqueness of my pedagogical approach.

I have carefully thought about and selected really interesting and useful lessons for this language learning web site. I have also adopted a natural learning approach that is sentence-based. The meanings of the words are taught almost always using a sentence example using the word being taught. This approach is based on the view that the meaning of the word is so much dependent on the context of the sentence.

I have always advocated for learning a language as a child learns it. The child is not taught like it is in the school. He hears sentences which are the natural way by which a language is used. The context of the sentence gives meaning to all the words used in that particular sentence. Hence, you cannot talk about learning words without the use of the sentence where the word is used.

In this well-performing web site, my AdSense ads are integrated into the body of the articles and the text of the ads is of the same color as the text of the article. Maybe readers are more pre-disposed to pay attention to ads when they are embedded with the text of the article. You cannot skip reading about them since they are positioned in various places within the text of the page.

I think that this is a very effective positioning strategy for AdSense ads. Readers will surely never miss looking at the ads in the process of reading the article. This positioning technique is an effective antidote against ad blindness among readers.

I used the same color as that of the text in my AdSense ads on this web site. This made the ads not so much intrusive to the readers making them more predisposed to read the ads and probably click on the ads that may interest them.

Using the same color for ads as the text of the article reduces the distraction that ads may impose upon the readers making for a smoother reading of the article. This reduction in the annoyance brought about by the ads could lead to a more favorable disposition toward the ads among readers.

One major factor that may have contributed to more visits for the web site is the fact that the language learning lessons are provided for free to anyone who is interested to learn the language. The site is also very much accessible as long as you have a computer and an Internet connection.

The online audio component for each lesson help the student learn not only how to pronounce the words but also to say the sentence where the word is used. The sentence in the target language is immediately followed by the translation to English making learning more convenient for the user.

The site has great content for a free online language learning lessons. Other commercial language learning sites offers mediocre free components to entice the users to try a few lessons. However, in this site the actual lessons are free, the only drawback being the presence of non-obtrusive AdSense ads.

Because of the good content on the web site, it was able to generate good quality links that have tremendously boosted its page rank. It was able to get a good link from another authoritative web site dealing with the same subject matter. I also was able to get a good quality link for the web site from a reputable local directory with a high page rank.

My other web sites and blogs do not have the same intense focus as this web site and they work less effectively in terms of AdSense performance. The second best performer for user traffic is the one that has a more focused topic more like this particular web site. My AdSense ads on those other sites are also not embedded with the text of the articles, that is, they are positioned mostly on the sidebars.

So the factors that can make a difference on AdSense performance based on what I learned are the quality of content which can only be attained by having an authoritative expertise on the subject matter, the focus of articles on the same subject matter, the placement of the ads on the text of the article and the use of the same color as the text of the article for the text of the ads.



March 16, 2010

How to use the System Keys of your Gateway Laptop

Probably this is the first time that you have ever heard of System keys. Well, these are the keyboard keys which are designed to have an alternate use aside from their normal use of representing digital letters and numbers or performing a programmed function.

Their normal use is represented on the key by the white marking and their alternate use is represented by the blue marking on the key. You need to press the Fn key and then press the system key on your keyboard to make use of the system key's alternate function. The Fn key is located on the leftmost part of the first line of keys of the keyboard of your Gateway laptop.

The system keys include the function keys 1 to 12 except function keys 5 and 7, a few page navigation keys, the up and down arrow keys, and the numeric pad keys. I don't know why F5 and F7 are not used but if you really need to know, you have to ask Gateway about it.

The page navigation keys used for alternate function include the End, Page Up and Page Down keys. The Home page navigation key is not used. The normal keys used alternatively as numeric pad keys include the numbers 7 up to 0, the letters U, I, O, P, J, K, L and M, and the characters semi-colon, period and forward slash.

You normally would not use the numeric pad of your laptop's keyboard. It just might interest you to know that your Gateway laptop offers this facility. To make use of this feature, you need to turn the numeric lock on your keyboard on by pressing Fn and then pressing the Scroll key on the right topmost line of keys on your Gateway laptop's keyboard. You can turn the numeric lock off by pressing the two keys one after another one more time.

Use the F1 system key to toggle the status indicators on your Gateway laptop to on or off position. The status indicators are located below the left and right buttons of your keyboard's touchpad. The indicators tell you if your wireless adapter is on, if you have pressed the Caps Lock key, if you have turned on the numeric lock, if your disc drive is reading or writing, and if your hard disk is in use.

Press the Fn key and then press the F2 key to turn your wireless adapter on or off. Check with the status indicators to find out whether your wireless adapter is turned on or off. Use the F3 key in conjunction with the Fn key to bring your Gateway laptop to Sleep of Hybrid Sleep mode. You can then press the Power button to leave make your laptop leave the Sleep mode.

The F4 key together with the Fn key is used to toggle your display to your laptop's LCD, an external monitor or projector, or both the LCD and the external monitor. The Fn key and the F6 keys are used to turn the optional internal Bluetooth device of your Gateway laptop on or off.

You can press the Fn and the F8 keys once to increase the intensity of your LCD's display. If you press the two keys again, the display will dim and if you press the keys a third time, your LCD's display intensity will return to normal.

The Fn key in conjunction with the F9 to F12 keys are used to control the playing of your CD or DVD disc. The Fn and F9 keys are used to play or pause the CD or DVD. Fn and F10 keys are used to stop the playing of the CD or DVD. Fn and F11 are used to skip back the CD or DVD one track or chapter respectively while the Fn and F12 keys are used to skip them ahead one track or chapter.

Use the Fn and the Up Arrow key to increase the brightness of your laptop's display. Press the Fn and the Down Arrow keys to dim your laptop's display. Use the Fn and PageUp keys to increase the volume of your laptop's speakers. Use the Fn and the PageDown keys to decrease the speakers' volume. To mute the sound on your laptop's speakers, press the Fn key and then the End key.

System keys provide additional functionalities that you might find useful someday. You don't really have to memorize their alternate functions. Just know that they are there and ready to be used whenever they are needed. The information I have presented here are based on the Reference Guide of my Gateway laptop computer.



March 11, 2010

A Generalized Article Writing Template for something that you want to write about

I describe a generalized template for writing an article about anything under the sun. The template would basically consist of three parts; the introduction, the body and the conclusion. The article could be about a person or an object, or it could deal with something more abstract like a truth that you have discovered or how an undertaking should be done.

The three-part article structure is a universal pattern that can be adopted for writing on any topic that you want to write on. An article is a short write-up about a single topic that your readers might be interested in. It should present a complete body of information that will prove useful to people who are experiencing a problem or about to undertake an action on which they want to have information about.

The article template is the imaginary outline that you hold in your head as you write your article. It could be used as a means to fight the writer's block which can prevent you from starting on your writing activity. It also ensures that your written output will be complete and useful for the person for whom you are writing your article.

When writing about someone or something, you should define the person or object that you are writing about in the first paragraph of your write-up. Each of the next few paragraphs should say about a particular aspect of the particular object that you have chosen to write about. If you have chosen to write about a person, you might want to include a paragraph on the origin of the person, his early childhood, his youth, his education, his career and his accomplishments or prizes received and awards given. The last paragraph would contain a summary statement about your topic, leaving your readers with something to remember about your chosen subject matter.

You can write a short article about a conviction that you have or anything that you believe in. The realization could involve something that you have learned as you struggle to survive in this world. It could refer to something that you have learned based on so many instances of something happening that you could almost predict what the outcome would be.

The first paragraph is where you categorically say the statement that embodies your belief or conviction. The next few paragraphs would explain why you believe in the statement that you have put forward in your first paragraph. Each paragraph would explore one reason why you believe the statement that you have introduced in the first paragraph is true. In the last paragraph, you would basically repeat your belief or conviction by saying it in a different way and by providing a list of the summarized reasons why you have come to hold such belief.

Your article topic could also be about how to perform a certain task or activity. In such a case, you would need to define the task or activity on the first paragraph of your article. In the second paragraph, you might need to tell your readers who are the people who must perform such an activity and when such activity needs to be performed.

Your next few paragraphs would discuss one after another the steps required for the task or activity to be completed. On each of these paragraphs, you might need to explain exactly in detail how each of the steps is to be accomplished. Your last paragraph would basically summarize the steps that are needed to be undertaken for the task or activity to be completed.

Whatever your writing assignment is about, the three-part article template is always a good starting point to launch your writing activity. It can also serve as a guide in searching for information that you can include in your write-up. You can immediately start writing and then stop when you don't have the right information to complete your write-up. You can then set aside what you are writing and do a research for the missing information.

The iterative process of writing and researching can be a good strategy for completing your written assignment on time. You can try skipping taking notes and type your ideas directly on your write-up as you find more relevant information from your research. You can exert a good amount of control in your writing process by visualizing your article in your head based on the universal three-part template.

You could use a simple check off list to make sure that you do not fail to include an important element in your write-up. When you have covered all the important points in your check out list, then your article is complete. The universal three-part article template is a useful tool for organizing your ideas and for controlling your article writing process.

Read my other article on practical ways to improve your writing skills at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/11/practical-ways-to-improve-your-writing.html

Read my other article on a few guidelines on writing translation friendly articles at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2012/01/few-guidelines-on-writing-translation.html.



February 17, 2010

How Writers can Use Landing Pages to Drive Visitors to their Site

The Internet has brought about a cheap and efficient way for writers to publish their work. It is very easy for a writer to create a free personal web site or blog where he can upload his writings and make them accessible to anyone who has a computer and an Internet connection.

Unfortunately, this advance in technological development has also brought about the need for writers to perform an additional task: that of making sure that his written works can be found by his readers in the World Wide Web. This task is called web page optimization and the optimizing aspect is done not so much for people who will read the work but to make the work friendlier to the search engines.

The writer needs to infuse his work with search words or phrases that his readers might use in searching for his work. Not only does he need to introduce the search words and phrases in his work, the writer is required to repeat them a number of times to prove to the search engine that this article must be included if a searcher uses those terms to look for relevant information in the Internet.

This state of things has resulted in the degradation of the quality of the writer's work and has affected its readability. The repetition of the so-called keyword phrases within the written work can become irritating to some readers and can make the work more boring and less interesting to read. Yet the writer has to swallow the bitter pill if he wants his readers to more readily find his work on the Internet. Oftentimes, the writer needs to perform a balancing act wherein he would add the keyword phrases creatively so as not to make his work sound repetitious and boring.

But there is a scheme which the writer can use so that he can metaphorically have his cake and eat it too. The scheme involves writing a page that is loaded with the targeted keyword phrase and posting this page on article submission sites which abound in the Internet. A number of such pages which are euphemistically called landing pages can be prepared and submitted to high ranking sites that accept articles on various topics for posting on their sites.

It's a quid pro quo arrangement wherein the submission sites get free content and the writer gets a chance to have prominence in the search engine results pages for the keyword that was targeted on the landing page. The submission site also allows the writer to place a few self-serving links on the article to invite the reader to visit his site and get the satisfaction that was promised on the landing page. With a number of optimized landing pages distributed among high ranking article submission sites, the writer's web site or blog gets a bigger chance of being visited by information searchers and readers in the Internet.

You should not however write an outright sales letter that would showcase the benefits that the readers can gain by visiting your site. The article submission site might reject your article on grounds that it is an outright sales offer from you. The trick is to pick an interesting story in your blog's niche and write about it, then creatively draw the reader for more interesting stuff to your blog or web site.

This doesn't mean that you would no longer have to do any optimization work on the pages on your web site. There are other optimization tasks that do not involve the actual content of your web pages like the META tags and how your pages are linked to one another. You can very well include subtle optimizations on the content but not as much as the optimization done on the landing pages that you wrote.

Writers who have been writing before the advent of search engine optimization find it difficult to write optimized articles outrightly with the targeted keyword phrases surreptitiously inserted on various parts of the written work. If you find it a bit difficult to do this, then you can write a straight article without optimization and then later while editing your work change some of the phrases or words into the targeted keyword phrase. The search term may not outrightly fit into some sentences which have to be recast so as to accommodate the targeted keyword phrases.

Your targeted keyword phrase must appear on the title of the landing page and you can also use the keyword phrases as headings on the article. You should include as much substantive content as you possibly can to prevent your work from sounding like a sales pitch. However, you should not include everything in it that your reader need not go to your web site anymore because all that he needed to know were already included in your article. You must leave important things unsaid so as to pique the curiosity of the reader and induce him to visit your site.

End your article with a strong call to action and if possible, make the last sentence end with the targeted keyword which you should use as a hyperlink to the home page of your blog or web site. This would greatly increase the probability of getting what the article submission sites called a click through which means that the reader got so interested in your blog or web site that he is induced to click the link to take a look at your site. The click through rate or CTR is a search engine optimization measure of how effective your landing page is. When writing your landing page, don't forget your overriding objective which is to make the reader interested enough that he would click the link to your web site.

In sum, writers need not have to perform too much optimization of their web site's pages which could result in making the pages sound uninteresting and boring. They can instead write landing pages that contain a link to their web sites and submit these to high ranking article submission sites. They can then infuse only subtle optimization to the actual pages of their blogs or web sites.



February 11, 2010

Simple Ways for Writers to promote their Blog or Personal Web Site

The volume of information in the Internet has grown tremendously as it has become so easy for people and businesses to establish presence in the World Wide Web. Not all information that can be found in the Internet is useful though. Sometimes, it takes patience and a good search strategy to find the right information that can help people intelligently approach the challenges that they face.

Most writers will typically have a blog or a personal web site to which he posts articles every now and then. The Internet is a system of connected networks which moves information to and from all corners of the world. It is very easy to setup a free personal web site or blog which can be accessed by anyone that has a computer and an Internet connection.

The coming of the Internet has empowered writers to publish their works cheaply and efficiently. However, the job of the writer does not stop with publishing his work on the Internet. He also needs to perform promotional activities if he wants his work to reach his intended audience.

Before the advent of the Internet, authors had only one master and that was the reading public. Today, the writer needs to balance the demands of their readers for useful and easy to read information with the need to include keywords that would help bring their written works to their readers. As they struggle to make their work more readable and people-friendly, they have to include in their write-ups sometimes unneeded words to make the work more search engine friendly.

The search engines had become a powerful force that writers had to contend with. Without the search engines, it would be difficult for their intended readers to find their work in the Internet. As they rewrite their work to make them play better with the search engines, their readability and usefulness for people are decreased.

Optimizing an article involves including keywords that Internet searchers are expected to use when they go looking for information in the Internet. Writers need to use the exact keyword found on keyword tools if they want their works to be more easily found by their intended audience. Not only that writers need to use other people's words; they also have to use them a number of times in their work if they want them to play well with the search engines.

It is not enough that the writer has posted his article on his blog or web page. He also needs to make sure that his work is indexed by the search engines. His blog or web site needs to be registered with large directories that document all the information that can be found in the World Wide Web. Directories are staffed with volunteers that look over the submitted forms to make sure that the information are accurate and in order.

To have his blog or web site indexed immediately, the writer needs to submit the Universal Resource Locator (URL) of his web site directly with the search engines. The search engines have programs that continuously visit web sites and document the information contained in those sites. They work faster than directories but they can only perform limited analysis of the information as languages have contextual meanings that only human beings can comprehend.

One way to prompt search engines to index new postings is to include a link to the new posting on old pages that have already been indexed. Blogs are more frequently updated than regular web sites so they are indexed more frequently by the search engines. Hence, including a link to the new posting on the writer's blog increases the chance that the new posting will be immediately indexed by the search engines.

Writers can also promote their blogs or personal web sites by submitting articles to article and document submission sites. Article and document submission sites allow authors to submit useful articles or documents in return for a valuable link and prominence in the search engine results. For article submissions, the writer can submit a useful article on his topic of expertise with a link to his blog or personal web site. He can also submit useful documents to document submission sites, but he is not limited as to the number of links that can be placed on the document. Hence, article submission is better at promoting the whole blog or personal web site and document submission performs extremely well for promoting actual web pages on the writer's blog or personal web site.

A feed is a promotional tool that includes brief summaries of the contents of the writer's blog or personal web site. The writer can submit his feed to feed catalog sites where feed readers and Internet browsers go to look for interesting blog articles. He can also submit feeds to search engines and other sites that accept feed submissions. Feeds are flexible promotional tools that can be included in customized user pages bringing information about the writer's works directly in front of the user. Feeds contain links to the pages in the writer's blog or personal web site which when clicked brings the user to the original article or written work.

The writer can also look for forums whose subjects of interest are related to the theme of his blog or personal web site. He can register in such forums and include in his signature the URLs of his personal sites. Some forums will allow the writer to put links to his web pages on his posts provided that he has made a certain number of posts in the forums. Aside from promoting his blog or personal site, the writer can likewise gain valuable links from high valued forums.

The writer can also submit his sites' URLs to local or industry related directories that gather links to relevant sites. There are a number of industry or professional associations that accept links in their web sites. Not only will the writer's site be promoted by submitting links to these sites but his blog or personal web site can also gain valuable links from highly ranked association sites.

These are simple and cheap ways by which the writer can promote his blog or personal web site. He can submit his URLs to international search engines and directories as well as to local, industry or professional association web sites. He can also submit articles with self-serving links to article and document submission sites. He can also submit his blog or web site's feeds to feed submission sites and search engines and he could register with relevant forums and include his links on his signature and postings as long as it is allowed in the forum rules.

Read my other article on practical ways to improve your writing skills at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/11/practical-ways-to-improve-your-writing.html.

Read my other article on how to use Google Docs to promote articles in your personal website at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-use-google-docs-to-promote.html.



February 5, 2010

How to Use Feeds to Promote your Personal Web Site or Blog

A feed is a list of articles or posts that is packaged in a standard manner that can be easily and safely transported all over the Internet. It's actually written using the Extensible Markup Language (XML) which is the standard way of carrying information from one web site to another. In other words it is actually an XML file that contains information about the articles that you have posted in your blog.

A feed can contain a full copy of each of the articles you have posted in your blog but you would normally choose to include only the first paragraph or 250 words in the article. You can also limit the total number of entries included in the feed so if you have decided to include only 20 articles, only the 20 latest posts in your blog will be included in your feed.

The beauty of feeds is that they automatically update every time you upload a new post in your blog. You don't have to manually include a new post so in a sense it is an updated and condensed version of of your blog. And since it is just a small file, it can very easily and quickly sent and received in the Internet. This is true if you have used a feed service like Google's Feedburner. Otherwise, you have to manually update your feed every time there is new content in your web site or blog.

Your readers use a feed reader or an Internet browser to read your feed. Your feed is actually like an updated table of contents of your blog which your user can conveniently peruse anytime and click on a link there to read more of the article he is interested in. So it works like a brochure for your product which is actually your blog or web site. The good thing is that users can look at your feed and if they find something interesting, they can just click on it and they will then be brought to your web site. That is how actually the feeds work.

You use a feed creator to generate your feed. There are programs that you can download from the Internet that can be used to create your feed. These programs produce the XML file which contains a summary of the articles in your blog or personal web site. This summary of articles is what we call a feed. You can then upload the XML file to your web server and put a link to it in your home page. You can include that link everywhere on a web page that you own and you can also send it to someone who will allow your link to be placed on any of his web pages.

There are two competing standards for the creation of your feeds: Atom and RSS. Atom is the default feed creator for blogs created at Google's Blogger free blog site. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it seems to be the most used platform for the creation and management of feeds.

A feed is a very essential promotional tool that bloggers and personal web owners should use. There are gadgets that you can use to make a feed gadget that you can place anywhere on a web page and it would display a summary of the latest posts in your blog. Google's Feedburner offers an easy to use tool for generating the HTML code that you can insert on any part of a web page which would display a certain number of new posts in your blog which when clicked will automatically bring the reader to your blog or web site.

You can also put AdSense ads on your feeds but Adsense will only accept feeds that were created using Google's Feedburner feed-making tool. If your blog is hosted on Blogger and you want to place AdSense ads on your feeds, you will have to redirect your Atom-created feed to the one that you have created using Feedburner. Feeds can also be used as a substitute for sitemap and submitted to the Google search engine. You can use your Webmaster tools to submit your sitemap to Google using your blog's feed.

When your readers are surfing the Internet using their favorite browsers, they are alerted to the presence of a feed by showing the orange chicklet logo somewhere on the browser page. Search engines like Google and Yahoo offers customized web pages where readers can choose to incorporate feeds from their favorite web sites on their customized page. So every time that they check their emails for example using the search engine provided email service, your feed will be shown on the user's customized feed when your user closes his mail reader.

You can submit your feed to feed promoting sites in the Internet. I have submitted my feeds to BlogCatalog and Bloglines which are two of those I found accepting feeds from bloggers and other web site owners. Make a search for feed submission sites and check first their web site before you submit your feed to them. Read the frequently asked questions and if your impression about them is good, then go ahead and submit your feed to them. What you are submitting would be the URL of your feed. Be ready for the title and description of your site and the categories to which your feed should be classified.

An advantage of using Google's Feedburner to create your feed is that you can change the title and description of your blog or web site in the feed. This can be a good way to include promotional information and also explain what information you are offering on your site in more detail. A good rewritten title and description can convince someone looking for feeds to subscribe to yours.

With Google's Feedburner tool, you can also monitor how many readers are subscribing to your feeds. If you also have two or more sites, you can create a small feed of one of your sites in Feedburner and place the feed on some pages of your other sites thereby enabling cross promotion among your sites.

Feeds are a convenient way for your readers to check what's new or what's inside in your web site or blog without actually going to your blog or web site. From your feed, users can just select what looks interesting to them and that's the time that they go to your web site. It is very important that you use catchy titles in your articles so that your readers will have a good chance of clicking on an interesting link on your feed and thereby reaching your web site.

You can submit your feeds to as many feed submission sites as you want. There is no danger of having duplicate content unlike in an article where search engine will not include web pages that have identical content in the search page results. This is actually a limitation of using articles to promote your web site or blog. However, there are programs that you can use to generate different versions of an article that are unique from each other so that would somehow make web site promotion through articles a little bit sustainable.

So don't dismiss feeds as a promotional tool since it can be easy to use if you avail of feed services like the Google Feedburner. But you can also do it manually using programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Which method you choose, feeds are a flexible and versatile tool that you should not do without. If you hit on a good feed submission site, you can tremendously increase your traffic via subscription to your feeds.

It works like a leaflet or a brochure that you can just give to anyone or place in feed submission sites where people on the lookout for interesting articles go looking for one. Your readers may be overwhelmed by the volume of information that can be found in your blog or web site. A feed contains just a subset of your contents that your readers can conveniently use to choose from and look only at those information that would be of interest to him.



February 3, 2010

Download, Modify and Use a Free Blogger XML Template and Learn CSS and HTML along the Way

There are several reasons why you might want to change the skin of your Blogger blog. One primary reason is for you to be able to place more AdSense or Amazon ads on it. The old Blogger templates do not have enough spaces to where you can place the new larger ads from both AdSense and Amazon.

Or, you might have just grown tired of the same old skin that almost everyone had used and tweaked but still fell short of how you wanted your blog to look. You have used the same old fonts that everyone had used and the same old two-column format and you wanted to experiment on bolder designs that use more daring colors.

There is a lot of Blogger XML templates that you can download and use from the Internet but none of them will fit exactly what you have in mind. The best approach seems to be to choose a template that is close enough to what you have in mind and then modify its underlying code to suit your requirements.

I have changed the skins of my three Blogger blogs and in only one of them had I made very minimal modifications. In one of them I had to try as many as four templates and yet the last one that I used still had some minor bugs that I just left untouched for I honestly did not know how to resolve the issue. It was a wonderful learning experience and an eye-opening one too in the sense that I realized that there is a lot of stunning designs out there but when you use them you'll discover how broken the underlying code is.

Before you finally decide to adapt and use a Blogger XML template, make a cursory survey of the code behind the design. A good template will have a clean code underneath it with lots of comments and the CSS and HTML codes are carefully organized. Since the templates are free, you really don't expect to find one that is of high quality. Most of the templates that you will find are just adaptations from existing designs where the designer was mainly interested in coming up with an attractive design with lots left-over codes that are reminiscent of someone who is just beginning to learn CSS and HTML.

Writing codes is just like writing using words in a particular language. You don't want to read a piece of written work that is sloppily done and full of grammatical errors. Just as a good piece of writing does not contain erroneous punctuation and misspelled words, a good piece of code should not contain codes that were found to be erroneous and were just commented out and left behind by the designer.

Programming languages have their own style of writing codes that are easy to follow and understand. Just like in writing an article or an essay, you would know by reading the contents of the written work how thoroughly prepared the writer was when he wrote his written work. A highly structured and organized writing exemplifies clear thinking and a full grasp of the subject matter being dealt with in the written work. A sloppy written output results from an unprepared mind in a hurry to beat the deadline set by one's superior.

All Blogger XML templates follow a standard format that had been established by the original designers of Blogger XML templates. However, the ones that are offered for free are those that have been modified several times already by several authors resulting in a code that is unorganized and full of errors that have been propagated through several generations of work done by different persons. Some templates are full of useless codes resulting from unfinished attempts that were carelessly left behind by those who have earlier worked on the codes.

One really valuable thing that you can do with your template is to revive the crosscolumn section that has been left unused by default on most of the freely downloadable Blogger XML templates. This will prove very useful if you want to place a 728-pixel wide banner on top of your web page. Some designers have already removed this piece of code on some templates so you have to find an old template that still has the original code in it and copy and paste it immediately after the menu or the header section of the code.

I have used this trick on my three Blogger blogs and I am pleased with the results. Some Blogger XML templates feature a menu bar for RSS feeds, home page and a shortcut to the Blogger site where you can edit your blog. The unordered list that populates the menu bar can be easily removed or commented out but be sure that you retain the DIV that contains the menu bar. Otherwise, you will lose some proportion when the space occupied by the DIV is removed from the design.

Aside from the 728-pixel banner that you can place at the top portion of your page, you can also put a 728-pixel wide link list just before the content wrapper of your page. The content wrapper is the larger DIV that contains the DIV for you post as well as any number of sidebars that may be included in the design. The 728-pixel link list is one of the most effective ads that you can place on your web page. It doesn't contain ads for specific companies or business but keywords that really look like a menu bar for your page. It is really very tempting for the users to click and yet users are well disposed to click on it because it doesn't look like the rest of AdSense ads and more like links to more information related to the keyword which it is really is except that you as the owner of the blog gets paid by Google when a link list in your blog is clicked by your user. This small-footprint advertising format can be a powerful tool cleverly used by savvy bloggers.

Another useful trick that you can use is to customize the colors of your Adsense ads to match the colors of your page. This can be easily done using the page element wizard on the Blogger home page. You can look at the code behind the design to determine the hexadecimal notation for the colors used in the design of your template. However, some designers use a customized color that is downloaded from somewhere in the Blogspot domain. In such a situation, you can just use a similar color that you can search for in the Internet. The idea behind this technique is to make the ads appear as integrated as possible to your web page. Just be sure, however, that they still stand out and get your readers' attention.

While you can put AdSense ads directly below your post, for me it ir preferable to put them in the sidebars for the reason that sometimes, a user may click on the month link on your archive and when your user does this, all your posts for a certain month will be displayed. And since you are allowed only three AdSense for Contents ads on your page, priority will be given to the ads on the post itself and whatever ads you have on the sidebar is left with a blank space with no contents. This can look awkward and so I usually avoid placing an AdSense ads on the post in my blogs.

The old Blogger XML templates featured very narrow sidebars where large format AdSense ads will not fit. Thankfully, most of the freely downloadable BLogger XML templates feature wide sidebars that can easily fit 250-pixel wide ads. Don't choose templates that have narrow sidebars if you plan to put wider ads in your site. Most template download sites provide for a live demo of the template in action so you can see how wide the sidebars are by looking at the live demo. You will have more flexibility on ad placements if your template has wide sidebars.

I choose to place my 600-pixel tall AdSense ads on the right sidebar of my blog's page. I just think that the sidebar on the left feels awkward so I prefer to have my sidebar on the right. I immediately place the 600-pixel tall ad after the Google search the blog widget. Again, I just think that the top part of the right sidebar is a powerful place to put the 600-pixel tall AdSense ads. They can be made to look like real blog links by playing with their background colors and the color of their font. It would be good practice to match the link colors of the ads with the link color of your template's style sheet.

But sometimes, you won't really know if the free Blogger XML template will work for your blog or not unless you try using it in your blog. You may have to try a few templates for size before you finally settle for the one that you are most comfortable with. Don't fret if a few templates will not work for you. Consider the time you've spent tweaking the template as a wonderful learning experience. You will really appreciate how CSS and HTML work together to build up the web page by modifying a free Blogger XML template.

So those are some of the tips that I can pass on to you in case you're planning to change your Blogger blog's skin by using a new template that you can download from the Internet. I hope you have gained a few ideas on how you would go on changing your Blogger XML template in the future. Choose a visually pleasing design but look at the code also because some of the codes on the freely downloadable templates are simply broken.

Read my article on what you need to know about and how you can use the Blogger XML templates at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-you-need-to-know-about-and-how-you.html.



February 2, 2010

How to Use the Free Google Tools to Optimize your Personal Web Site

Google has made available for free use by anyone a wide variety of tools that can be useful for writers and other people who publish in the Internet. It doesn't matter whether you publish your work in the Internet for money or for fun, the tools will help you get your written work or message to your readers or intended audience.

As writers and publishers, we are creating written works that we hope would provide some value for our intended audience. And if you're writing to make money on the Internet, the more people read your written work, the more money you can generate from your writing efforts.

The Internet has grown to become a very competitive place. At the same time, it has also become a technology intensive place to work on. Therefore, we have to use the technology that is available to make our work more accessible to our targeted audience. We cannot just write and hope that someone out there may stumble upon it. We should write for a purpose and that purpose must include seeing to it that our targeted readers can easily get hold of our written work.

Fortunately, Google has made available a host of free tools that writers and publishers in the Internet can use to promote and optimize their site to gain a competitive edge over others who are competing for the readers' attention. We have to get to know and use these tools if we want to get ahead in our writing endeavors.

If you already have a topic that you would like to write about, don't go writing that article yet. Pay a visit to Google AdWords and check what keywords, people are using to search for information related to the topic. This can give you a hint on from what angle it would be best to write your article. You will also get an idea on what keyword phrases you might use later on when you decide to optimize your article for the Google search engine.

You can use Google Analytics to find out which among your articles are being read the most. This would give you an indication of what information people out there are searching for. You can then use this information to generate ideas for other related topics that you can write on. Perhaps you can write another article that deals with one major aspect of the topic that you have only dealt with slightly on the article most liked by your readers.

Use the Google Webmaster tools to find what topical interests your web site is focusing on and how focused your web site is for targeting those subjects. If you notice that you have a preponderance of irrelevant keywords, then it's time to reassess what particular topics your web site should be focusing on. This would give you a clue as to what topics you should be planning to write on your next articles.

I believe that Google is using a metric to assess how relevant to a particular keyword phrase your site is. I think that having a tight focus on particular topics can improve the chance that your pages will be chosen to be included in Google's search result pages. When you look at the keywords portion of the Webmaster dashboard, you will be presented with a visual overview of the most used keywords in your site.

For me, the ideal result would show three of four keywords getting from 90 to 100 points on the bar chart. This means that your articles are tightly focusing on those topics and would likely be chosen to be included in the search results for those keywords. If most of your important keywords are showing below 50 points on the bar chart, then it's time to think about writing more articles on a particular topic to increase how focused your web site is on the keywords that you are targeting.

Google Insights for Search is a good tool that you can use in planning the contents of your web sites. Perhaps you're thinking of creating a new web site or adding a new topic that you would like your existing web sites to focus on. Google Insights for Search can point you to what subject matters to avoid because of the people's declining interest on them. At the same time, it can point you to topics that are worth exploring because of the rising demand for information about those issues. Based on the insights you obtain after studying the data, you might decide to completely change the focus of your site or create a new one that will cater to the emerging trends developing in the years ahead.

If you have more than one web site, you can cross promote between the sites using your site's feed. However, you have to create your feed using Google's Feedburner tool. A feed is a promotional tool that you can use to send people over to your web site. If you host your site on Blogger, you already have a feed created using Atom. If you click on that link, you'll be able to see how your feed would look like.

Google's Feedburner tool is another way to create a feed and setup a customized HTML code that you can place on your web pages. The code will feature the standard chicklet icon which you can place on any of your HTML page. Once clicked, it will show your feed together with the options on what feed reader your user would like to use to read your feed. From then on, a link to your feed will be included on your user's feed reader's page. The feed reader will alert your user once you post a new article on your web site.

If you blog at Blogger and you have chosen to create new feeds using Feedburner, you have to set your blog to re-route its Atom-created feed to the one created by Feedburner. There is an option to set this up in your Blogger dashboard. For me, a feed should be used only to alert people about what is new on your web site so it must be short. By default, Blogger sets your feed setting to full which means a full copy of each of your posts are included in your feed. You have to change your setting in your Blogger dashboard if you don't want this to happen with your feed.

You can also use Feedburner to generate an HTML snippet that will show the latest posts that you have in your blog. You can then place this HTML code in your other web sites thereby achieving cross promotion among your sites. To do this, you need to use Google Analytics to find out which pages are most visited in your site. Then, go to Feedburner and generate the HTML code that will show your other site's feed and place it on the most visited pages of your other site. You can also use the feed to add relevant content on some of your pages that have relatively short content.

Those are a few of the free Google tools that you can use to improve how well your web site responds to the needs of your readers or to increase the visibility of your web site. Google Analytics and Webmaster tools can provide information about how readers respond to your web site. Google Insights for Search can provide you with information for developing your content strategy and the Google Feedburner tool can help you promote your web site using the feeds technology.



January 23, 2010

Laptop Bag Features that can save your Laptop from Breaking Down

First of all, I am not a laptop bag user and I don't have any bag for my laptop. That's because I don't carry my laptop outside of the house and I keep my laptop hooked to the electrical outlet when I use it. I don't know whether this is good or bad for my battery but that's another topic that we may talk about sometime in the future.

So what I say here may be just to start you thinking about your own particular requirements for a laptop bag in the hope that you will be able to buy your laptop bag intelligently and not waste money on something that does not address your primary goal for having a laptop bag.

People who own laptops have their own reason for having one. Most students want to own a cool laptop that their classmates would admire without actually thinking much of how their laptop computer could be best used to pursue their purpose of why they are in school.

Executives would probably want an industrial grade laptop that has a reputation for not dying suddenly while being used for making a very important memo to the board of directors. They have an important thing to do and they would like a laptop that they can depend on every time and not put them in a difficult situation.

You will have your own purpose for owning a laptop computer and you would have your own way of using that computer to further your own end whether that be to promote your own career or to make your business more profitable. You would also have your own pattern of using your laptop like whetther you use your laptop mostly at home or mostly outside on account of your chosen profession or the job that you have to do.

Laptop computers are fragile equipment that you need to take care of them like your own children. To protect them from being crushed when someone accidentally sits on them, I think there should be a laptop bag made of durable plastic that can be used when carrying the laptop computer inside the car or when the laptop computer is in danger of being placed under a heavy object.

In addition, I think that there should be some provision inside the bag that would make the laptop computer secure from excessive impact in cases when the bag is accidentally dropped. I'm talking about some form of shock resistance like a thick foam-like substance that would minimize the impact of a sudden fall from a high location.

Another critical feature that a good laptop computer bag would have is some form of water resistance that could protect the laptop computer from being wet when the user is caught in a rainy situation outside. Writers sometimes like to work outside where they can draw inspiration from nature to spice up their literary piece or improve on their work of art. It would be a pity if the inside of the laptop would get wet when a sudden burst of rain comes up and there is no way to shield the laptop computer from being wet.

Your laptop computer can sometimes find itself cramped with other objects inside the trunk of your car. In tropical countries, the temperature inside the trunk can become excessively hot especially during summer. I think a good laptop bag must use materials for the inside of the bag that are heat resistant or poor heat conductors. It would indeed be nice to know that your laptop bag can maintain a tolerable temperature that would be able protect your laptop computer from excessive heat.

I'm really not sure if there are laptop bags out there in the market that have these features so maybe we should talk of how we can prevent the catastrophic events I'm talking about here from happening to your laptop.

When you go outside with your laptop, be sure to carry a plastic bag to where you can put your laptop in case you are caught in a sudden burst of rainfall. Don't leave your laptop computer inside the trunk of your car if you are parking your car outside and the temperature outside is hot. Never put your laptop computer on the seat of the car where someone may accidentally sit on it. Always place your laptop computer on a flat surface where there is no danger of it falling down.

To be able to intelligently choose which laptop bag is best for your laptop, just think of how you make use of your laptop computer, whether you use it mostly inside your house of office or whether mostly you use it outside. Know also whether you always carry your laptop computer wherever you go or you only carry it with you sometimes. These facts will hopefully give you an idea of what to look for in a laptop bag when you decide to buy one for your laptop computer. The best laptop bag would be the one that can protect your laptop computer best from hazards that may render it inoperable.

Read my article on how you can extend the useful life of your laptop computer at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-you-can-get-more-years-of-useful.html.

Read my article on how you can ensure that you can restore your laptop promptly and easily after a hard disk crash at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/03/ensure-that-you-can-easily-restore-your.html

Read my other article on whether your laptop is getting obsolete or not at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/12/is-your-laptop-getting-obsolete.html.

Read my other article on laptops may yet survive despite the tablet onslaught at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/12/laptops-may-yet-survive-in-spite-of.html.

Read an article on how to turn your old desktop computer equipment into peripherals for your laptop at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/turn-your-old-desktop-equipment-into-peripherals-for-your-laptop.



January 20, 2010

How to Add AdSense Ads on your Blogger Blog's Feed

If you are using AdSense for Contents in your Blogger blog, you can squeeze additional AdSense impressions or clicks by including Adsense ads on your blog's feed.

A feed is a collection of your blog posts that users can subscribe to. When users are subscribed to your blog using their own blog subscription service, they don't have to visit your blog everytime to check for new posts. They can see the contents of your blog in the web site of the subscription service they are using. To make sure that you get AdSense impressions and clicks when user are reading your blog using feed readers, place AdSense for Feed ads on your blog's feed.

You can get started on AdSense for Feeds by going to your AdSense page and setting up your Feed ads. Click on AdSense for Feeds on the AdSense setup page and create an ad profile with the channels on which the ads will be displayed.

AdSense for Feeds will only accept Google Feedburner feeds so you need to create a Feedburner feed first for your blog. You can search for the Feedburner web site and sign up using your Gmail email address. Google Feedburner web site is the place where you create a Feedburner feed for your blog. You can also make use of other Feedburner tools for analyzing, optimizing and publicizing your feeds.

If your blog is hosted on Blogger, you need to redirect your standard Blogger feed to your Google Feedburner feed so that your subsequent posts will be included in the feed where AdSense ads are placed. To do this, you need to click on the settings option of your blog in the Blogger Dashboard and enter the URL of your Google Feedburner feed on the Site Feed page of your blog settings. Redirecting your blog's feed to Feedburner also ensures that your blog's standard feed would be converted to Feedburner feed and would be eligible to receive ads from AdSense for Feeds.

When creating your AdSense for Feeds channels, be sure to check the option that makes your feed targettable by advertisers. You can create a different name and an enticing description of your feed which will be shown to advertisers looking for places to show their ads. You will be asked to enter the URL of your blog's Feedburner feed which you can get from the Feedburner web site.

You can do everything on the AdSense for Feed setup page by supplying the URL of your blog together with the standard feed creator that your blog uses. For Blogger blogs, the standard feed creator is Atom. You can create one channel for each of your blogs for the AdSense for Feeds profile that you have created. So that you won't get lost while setting up your AdSense for Feeds profile, always remember that a channel is a blog feed where your AdSense for Feeds ads will be displayed.

You will have very limited options for displaying AdSense for Feeds ads on your feeds. You can only control whether to place either only text or image ads or both, for each feed item or after a number of feed items, or for posts of a certain length. You can also specify whether to place the ads before or after the feed item and whether you want to control the color of your ads or just leave it to AdSense to determine the best color to use.

To promote your feed on your Blogger blog, go to the Google Feedburner web site and select the feed for your blog. Click on the Publicize tab at the top of the page and click on the friendly graphic link on the text of the page. Select the standard feed icon and copy the HTML code at the bottom of the page. Now go to your Blogger blog and insert an HTML gadget on the place in your blog where you want the graphic to appear. Paste the HTML code on the space provided and click save to add the gadget to your page. Save your settings and test if the link brings you to your Feedburner feed with AdSense ads displayed on the items of the page.