Monday, October 17, 2016

Blogging 101: 2016 Version

How would you advice a millennial friend who has just started blogging middle of this year?  Should I just tell him to forget about blogging and focus his energy on something else?

What is blogging 101 in 2016 when your contemporaries have either quit blogging or are now blogging gurus?  The internet world must be filled with all the recycled tips by now. And I... am back to being a blogging noob.

So here's my blogging tip to a friend who just started to feel like a blogger. 

1.  Plan your blog well
2.  Start by choosing a well-thought of domain name that will become your brand for a long time
3.  Choose your blogging platform and hosting.  One that fits the budget and that is easy to maintain and upgrade. The $4-$5 monthly fee suits well for his budget.  Majority of the bloggers uses Wordpress, so I suggest he follow suit.
4.  Develop a regular schedule for posting.  One or twice a week will do, or say, every Monday or Friday.
5.  Work on developing great content. If you hate work, what can I do? 
6.  Use pictures that are easy to load in the internet.  If it loads more than 10 seconds, visitors would likely go away and never return.
7.  Have a plan to promote your site.  There is Facebook and Twitter.  I am sure that with his almost 1k friends in Facebook, he can catch the attention of half of them.
8.  Join a community of bloggers.
9.  Monetize your site.  Apply for an adsense account. Explore other options too.
10. Love blogging.  It will keep you going, at least for the next 5 years.

There you go.  I guess these are also the advice for myself if I have to redo my blogs.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cleveland Cavaliers Win; So are the Fans

It wasn’t surprising for my Facebook timeline to be filled with NBA posts.  My friends are very passionate about this American sport. I could not help but post a few entries myself just to balance it out because most of them were rooting for the Golden State Warriors.  It’s Game 7 and the Warriors home court. How could LeBron and his team beat that?
Today, as I drove to the office, I kept checking the scores online and posted the FB suggestion.   All the write-ups prior to Game 7, and the betting odds were on the Warriors favour’. Cavs lead 70-63 when I first checked.  It changed favour, 76-75, a few minutes later.  I heard it rained treys in that span of time.  As I sat on my desk, I heard the chatter from the IT boys who were also monitoring the game on their PC.  It’s a seesaw battle they say.

My boss asked me to join him watch the game on TV.  How could I refuse?  He already knew that I had an outstanding bet with another colleague. It’s just a buffet lunch that could cost me my pants should Cleveland lose. Last 4 minutes and the game was tied at 89-all.

What I saw next were heart-thumping events: The block by James, the miss by Curry, the trey of Irving and the bad landing of James.  Whew! Stephen Curry, from being the unanimous season MVP, was brought down to earth by LeBron James.  “From unanimous to anonymous MVP” state a friend on his FB post.

Then all of a sudden, the FB posts of those rooting for the Cavaliers came rushing. I was all smiles as I read them.  Where are the GSW fans now?  Probably eating chicken curry.

During lunch with our company officers, the topic was still the game 7 results.  Those who rooted for the Cavs were all smiles now coz they won themselves free lunch.  It wasn’t really the buffet that I expected but at least it silenced all the pseudo-analysts of the opposing teams.  

One officer, who reluctantly rooted for the Cavs earlier in the series, quipped, “Our janitors are wiser than most of you because they are now collecting their wins.  They wisely rooted for the Cavs”.  We all had a good laugh.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

When A Blog is No Longer Interesting

It’s been more than 10 years since I started blogging. If you look at my archives, my number of posts is dwindling over the last 3-4 years. This is my eighth posts since January 2013.  It looks like posting an entry is a semi-annual thing for me.  But hey, where did I lose the love? 

Bloggers’ Interaction

Since I also deleted my blogroll, I lost touch of all my blogging friends.  If I’ll look for them, I’ll just go to the comments section of my posts in 2007 or prior.  I know some had evolved into some kind of blogging superstar. Others just went back to hibernation and deleted their online persona.  Perhaps because of Facebook and Twitter, blogs are no longer interesting. Anonymity in blogging has died long ago.  Most of the interactions are already in Facebook and no longer at the comment section of a blog.  If you don’t have an FB account with a real name, people just ignore you and count you as a troll.  Me, a troll?  Maybe by now you know that my real name is not exactly what this blog tell you. Please don’t count it against me.

When I happen to interact face to face with another blogger, (I’m not really that cloaked in anonymity) I’d normally tell them that I deleted all my blogs.  I let the domain expire and did not renew the hosting plan.  That is true.  They know the feeling because they too, at the height of blogging, had three or four blogs only to keep one or none at all to last up to this day.

Tip: Get interested in others first before you lead them to your site

Thanks to a few of my posts, I still have traffic of about one unique visitor per day. Very lame! But are these the visits that I want? At some point, I want those visits converted into cash.  But the unfortunate thing is, the blogs that brought me more dollars are the ones I deleted.  Ok, so do I want a post to go viral just to get more traffic?  I have a real FB account somewhere and over 1000 friends. What should I do? As if I don’t know.  Haha.  Traffic is overrated.  And it can obviously backfire if not properly handled.  Write against a popular figure or a popular opinion, submit it to some viral sites and you’ll see yourself obliterated and your blog crushed to the ground.

Tip: Know the traffic that you want and work hard to get them.
Boring Posts

Who would read a boring post? A real fan may, but not a new visitor.  Even your friends will not read them, because they already know you apart from your site. Your ramblings are nothing, unless you make them interesting.
At one point, I find some of the blogs I follow as boring.  There was no longer a personal touch from the blogger as they became mostly shallow reviews of something.  There are those who tried to be discreet, making up stories until a paragraph or two about the review.  Funny indeed!  I tried to do the same but failed.

There are plenty of tips out there how to make your posts interesting.  Post a picture or even a video.  Make funny faces, or crack jokes good enough to throw me off from my seat. Narrate a story and stuff it with some figures of speech.  Check your spelling and grammar.  Bad writing turns off the readers.  There are bloggers out there who shun the grammar police but are not really doing enough to improve their writing. Do not dumb down your readers, but do attempt too much just to impress us with useless gobbledygook.

TipWrite simply but put a little twist
Write for the Love of It

Honestly, I lost the love somewhere a few years ago. I was maintaining lots of sites plus Twitter and Facebook.  A topic keeps running in my head by I struggled to write. I can no longer type and put hours into it.  I redirected my energies towards things other than blogging.
But now, maybe I should give myself another chance.  Let’s see if I gain a new following and reclaim the love for writing.  This is just my second post this week and second for the year too.  Expect 50 more after this.

Tip: Write for the love of it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hypocrisy and the Likes of Us

In the news a couple of weeks ago, incoming president Duterte spoke against the leaders of the Catholic Church, calling them hypocrites and 'sons of a whore'. He even declared that he's more influential than the bishops because no matter how they campaigned against him, the people just ignored the warnings and voted for him overwhelmingly. Is it a sign of people's silent protest against the Institution?

Many had lauded Duterte for his bold (most of the time, brazen) stance to go up against the Church. Opinions had been written in all media agreeing to his viewpoint. People seem to unite against the hypocrisy of these so-called religious leaders.  But this is really nothing new. The Bible recorded a lot of instances of hypocrisy. Prophets, upon God's instructions, spoke against leaders, even at the face of death. Jesus himself spoke against the Pharisees, the religious leaders of his time.  Yet the Bible also reminded us not to fall to the same pretensions.

There are people who are quick to equate religiosity with hypocrisy.  I can't really blame them.  They must have experienced hurts or condemnation by religious people once close to them. I also pity those leaders who are earnest and true to their calling. Are the CBCP leaders really hypocrites?  Or maybe they just happen to be on the unpopular side of the issue.  Being judgmental is as bad as hypocrisy.

To those of us who claim to be Christians, let us be discerning and not quick to judge.  I know of some people who grew up in Christian churches, who are now religious rebels.  First, they rebel against their own parents and relatives accusing them of hypocrisy. When you listen to the parents, they say they were just correcting an aberrant behavior. When we expect love begetting love, it does not always happen.  Second, they rebel against their religious leaders.  They are quick to listen to gossips and remember only the bad sides of the story.  So when they talk about hypocrisy, they have tons of information about leaders who have fallen.  Third, they will deny that they are rebelling against God. But their actions speaks otherwise.  And when you talk about how good God is, they just give you a condescending look.

There is really this temptation when you go by the tide of public opinion. Who has fully obeyed the ten commandments? Are we actually listening to sermons when we go to church, or just waiting for words tingling our ears?  Or maybe we just sit there at the back for the sake of attendance and then look at the Priests or Pastors with suspecting eyes. At the back of our heads we ask, "How many girlfriends does he have? How many boys has he exploited? How much does he earn by using religion?"

Shouldn't we look beyond the messenger and focus on the message?  Perhaps in these days, moral uprightness is no longer a criteria we look for a political leader, and hypocrisy only applies to the religious. It is a very unfortunate sign of the times!