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Posts tagged ‘blogging’

Blogging: things that matter

Deciding on blog or website

I started my art blog in May, 2011 First post of art blog

Notice, there are no likes and no comments. Yes, it took a while until I had first followers and first comments. Back then, blogging was somewhat different from what it is now in 2020. By 2015, I had more than 3000 followers and lots of interaction on my art blog. I decided to move it to a self-hosted website. The move itself was nothing overwhelming, but there were numerous issues. I already had many articles with very many illustrations, it’s an art blog after all. After importing my blog, all the images were totally messed up, many were missing. The written part was ok, but the visual part required me to undo about 120 posts. That is a heck of work! It took me quite a while. Not months, but a few years, in fact. I didn’t have some images and I couldn’t find some others to place back, so, I had to undo even bigger part.

Stick to decision

I would say, you have to decide right from the get-go: if you want a website, start a website, and if you want less work and less trouble, go for blog. It’s much cheaper, too. Comments get imported onto the new site, but likes do not. Therefore, all posts until the move have hardly any likes, but they have many comments. I also lost many followers, I probably confused them big time during transition period while there was still blog and also a website, practically the same. Moving blog to website, unless, it’s a blog which has mostly writing, is a hassle and lots of work because of all adjustments.

WordPress account, not two sites

Since I wanted to keep my art separate from my lifestyle and health blog, I started another blog in June 15, 2015 First post of lifeschool blog

For a while, I had to mention on my art website that I had another blog, too. Well, I didn’t know that this other blog won’t be an independent blog (it still isn’t), but part of my WordPress account. Therefore, some people, who never read anything do not even know that I have an art website and art blog and one more lifestyle and health related blog. Some people follow only one of them, some follow both, but the reach hasn’t been that great as it was with just having one blog initially.

Blogging for yourself or blogging for success

I’m not obsessive blogger. At times, I don’t even care too much how many people follow my blogs and how many like what I write about. However, during all these years of blogging on WordPress, I have come to some conclusions and I’d like to share some suggestions if you want to achieve good following and widen the circle of your readers. It is different of you intend to achieve huge numbers of followers: that will take lots of time, lots of interaction with other blogs. The most important part is still content. It should be preferably original and only in the area you feel strong and passionate about. There are blogs which are devoted to personal struggles, journeys to health and so forth, but they still need to stand out.

Repeating and copying content is boring

Blogging can be very personal and also very general, just hitting the popular subjects and going with the stream. I do write content and share experience which is not available everywhere, but rather takes origin in my personal experience. I have noticed, there are numerous blogs which only practically republish what we all know already: motivation, happiness, what to eat, what not and so forth. I’d say this is boring. I also would like to mention that people, who have zero insight and knowledge in healthcare, treatments, medical conditions and similar medicine-related subjects, should not write about it. It makes a professional medical specialist cringe when somebody republishes nonsense which has no true base whatsoever.

Followers and getting a good number of them

If you want to show your appreciation about some blog or blogger, certainly, like, comment and interact. Never insist they follow you back or demand to go to your blog. That is horrible. People, who like your blog will follow and read it, if they think it’s worth it, but nobody is going to like something if you insist, they do. That’s unethical and offensive. We all have our free will. Recently, there are many bloggers, who click on 20 or even more likes under posts and never read even one of them or do not have any idea what the blog is about. I personally do not care that somebody liked 20 posts, but I love if they read at least one. There are also bloggers, who only click on “Follow” and there is absolutely no follow-up. Somebody instinctively might follow you back, but most experienced bloggers won’t follow just about anything. WordPress will also block you from following if you do it excessively or in abusive manner and are fishing for more followers WP can block you from following

Make your blog or website easy to navigate

Settings on the blog or website exist for a reason. One has to go through all of them and make adjustments which fit your personal website or blog. I sometimes would love to leave a comment or post a like, but it’s impossible or I cannot get even to their posts. Websites or blogs have either static front page or display blog posts on it. The problems often arise with a static front page. I see there is something, but there’s also no way to get to it. Obviously, if you want somebody to like your posts or leave comments, you have to make these posts accessible. Nobody is going to search for hours where your posts are. I also see frequently most viewed posts in the widget area, but no recent posts. That means, people will only react to these popular posts.

Important widgets

It’s a good idea to have Archives widget, too. Also, having the Previous and Next feature is a good idea. If you are not sure, you can test your website or blog from some other device or ask somebody else to do that and let you know what they see and how easy your website or blog is to navigate. If it’s tough to find anything, people will look at your “About me” or “Hello” page and move on. I would sometimes spend a few moments trying to find what’s where, but I will leave if I cannot find or understand anything. I am very sure; any visitor will do the same.

Non-English language blogs

That refers also to blogs in other languages, not in English. I can personally use 4 languages at a native level which are Latvian (my native language), German, Russian and English. Therefore, I can follow and read blogs in these languages, but the other ones will be questionable. If it’s a completely visual blog or consists of only art images or photos, I’d be able to know what it’s about. If the blog is written in a language, I have no idea about, I will not follow it. Google translate is ok, but it really distorts complex languages. I actually have done this: when I want to have a good laugh, I click on Translate into Latvian, and it’s really hilarious how my content comes out. There is no point reading poetry with Google translate.

Important aspects of blogging

Blogging ethics

Blogging is something overwhelmingly huge nowadays. While policies and rules change, blogging ethics stay in effect regardless of that. We have to also respect others, their preferences and their opinion. If you are writing about sensitive subjects, expect reaction which might be not always what you want. Don’t put pressure on other bloggers to follow you or like what you write. I’ve seen very poor blogs with many followers and vice versa. Some blogs are created for to stay, some will cease to exist if there is no genuine passion or good content. I don’t think one should start a blog if they don’t have what to say. While I do not chase numbers of followers or post every day, I still appreciate thoughtful and educated, as well as sincere and mindful comments. I do follow back blogs which deserve that, but never when somebody tells me to.

Did you know WordPress can block you from following?

I was blocked from following other WordPress blogs without any warning or notification. Read why that happened.

Read more

To trust and to rely on

One of the most human features is to trust somebody until they do not prove it otherwise. We want to trust things that we believe are fair; we want to rely on services that we assume are honest.

The recent Facebook issues while they are losing a lot of faces which were relying on and trusting their promises about keeping our personal information safe clearly show that we have been very silly and to reliable. Most likely, not all of us have done that, but the natural feeling of trust and reliability has fogged our eyes.

It was hilarious how Mark Zuckerberg tried to convince everybody in his speech that he had no idea about what was going on. They believed the personal user data were deleted. They just take somebody’s word for it and live happily ever after. It is like as if they do not deal with a huge number of people, but just have some school kid’s site that is running on its own. He literally looked like a kid who has not grown up yet, but he has certainly learned how to say sorry with an innocent look. He was sorry about allowing selling off and giving to whoever access to such data. We are so sorry. We hear that so frequently, way too frequently.

Well, we also hear about people deleting their profiles and pages from Facebook.

Basically, while it may help one in the future, the harm has been done. If you were using many apps and sharing all kinds of attractive images with unknown origin and these hearty “if you have a daughter …”, “if you have a mother …”, “if you have a sister or brother…” texts or images, you are already in. You’ve been tracked big time. The truth is that software that is intended to mask its real intentions is designed to appeal to people who do not have time or enough insight in order to realize what they are really doing. Some people are really hooked on this. I told one lady: could you please stop sending me these attachments, I told a lot of people: could you please stop inviting me to strange games and sites and activities that I am completely not interested in, but they ignore my requests. They believe everybody is in silly games and sweet attachment sharing.

It is not that I really love any of the social media sites. In fact, I’d rather not be on any of them, but just like everybody else I simply need access to larger audiences while being quite isolated in the real life. For me, it feels quite frequently like a duty: if I do not post any announcements or any updates of my studio, I become 100% invisible. It is not that I am extremely visible right now. I do not have time to be obsessed with posting even on my blogs, not to mention I could ever have enough time to review or read everything on Twitter or on Facebook. I limit my presence there to approximately 5 minutes a day or 10 minutes every three days. I do sometimes disappear completely from blogs and social media when I am having some large writing job, do not feel well enough or when I am struggling with my current pain attack.

I never understood people who congratulate their children or spouses who live together on Facebook. My question always was: cannot you say this personally?

Lots of people use such social media sites to show off, to get some “oh, my God you look so beautiful” when they actually absolutely do not, “you are so talented” when that is not the case at all, “your kids are so wonderful and gifted” when your kids are just simply kids and do everything normal what a kid should.

I am wondering how people are not alarmed or worried when they post all of their life on social media. They check in during the day and even night in all places they visit or stay, or work, they take numerous selfies and make everybody aware about what exactly they are doing and when. What a wonderful tracking experience that must be for companies that sell you lots of junk and useless things, as well as ask you to sign up for anything and register with anything! Plus, anybody can spy on your whereabouts.

If you think that deleting Facebook profile or business page is enough and you do not want to be there, you still cannot undo the past and take back your data from tracking and malware inserting sites that spy on you, your activities and are present in every step of your life. Instagram is owned by Facebook. You Tube along with multiple companies is owned by Google which is owned by Alphabet. As you watch You Tube somebody could be watching you. We all use Google maps, we are all certainly aware that somebody also knows where we are at all times.

Every time when you sign up for a new app on your smart phone, you should really think who you are allowing into your house, into your family and into your personal life. Tracking is not only what Facebook apps do. Every app has a potential to steal your data and use your data in the way they find necessary.

It might be a good moment to clean up the social profiles or to at least clarify what does what and where things you share go.

The more connected you are, the bigger threats you actually are facing. If you are an obsessive internet shopper, these tracking and spying apps adore and love you. Even if you just send a few messages and e-mails here there, even if you have signed up for a few sites that you believe have nothing to do with spying on you, you still cannot trust everybody and blindly rely on their promises.

I personally think a good principle is this: if you can show the content that you are posting or letting to appear on the internet to anybody including your children, parents, teachers, boss or coworkers, as well as law enforcement agencies and it does not disclose too much of your sensitive information, why not? It is just so that one has to really decide who and what they should trust and to what extent they are able to rely on their agreements about not selling out your personal information to third parties. Trust is something that must be earned. Do not give it out as added value to what you are already paying for the services some social or other online site provides you with. Trust, but check meticulously. Rely only on these who have proven to be worth your trust.

As I was typing this, Facebook’s stock was on a downtrend, it was down quite a lot actually, somewhere in the range of 150 US. Well, there were mentioned also other internet giants who pose a big threat to your privacy: Yahoo being one of the most affected in the past and the potential vulnerabilities of You Tube. When something is so big, there is always potential to miss some harmful bad guy and anybody unfair will use that. Therefore, maybe it’s time to switch your trust to somebody more reliable, such as the real people in your real life.

The soothing Sunday thoughts: peace, love and joy

I hope we are all at peace with each other

Since we are still sharing the candlelight

And a hug, a kiss and I love you

Whether you have just one slice

Of bread and a glass of wine

Whether you are in a castle

And you would never know

How much suffering is out there

I hope we are all at peace with the world

The fighter, the lover and the loser

The dreamer, the angry and the doubtful

The smart, the holy and the simple

I hope we are all at peace with our heartaches

Since we can still send our love

To those who are desperate, hungry and forgotten

I hope you can see some snowflakes

Dancing down and falling from the sky

The promise, the hope and the wisdom

Of someone who we all know

I hope you can see how snowflakes

Cover the graves, the streets and the cities

So that we all could have peace and joy

Like white, untouched and pure snow

At least in our thoughts

And the soft warmth of this calming candlelight

For I hope we are all at peace with ourselves and others tonight

Merry Christmas! Peace, love and joy to every home and family! Happy holidays blogging friends!

I declare war to trends

Trends limit my choices

Trends are making me sick. Trends are everywhere and they want to manage each step of us.

After I moved my art blog to a self-hosted website, I got into a three months long night mare. I could not find a theme which more or less suits what I want. I worked hard and paid money for some themes which (how silly from me!) I believed are what the advertising page says.

It’s all beautiful until you start to edit the elements and try to adjust them to your taste.

I basically run into 2 major problems because of the stupid trends: you can get something like one-page-minimalist grey theme, extremely basic theme (I even paid for one!) which will never work for my art or you have a choice of expensive, totally supercharged, overloaded with hundreds of effects themes. That is because of trends. Every site mentions that: very trendy, very creative, very artistic. I didn’t see any of that.

2 themes practically crashed my art site. So, I worked as a slave and returned to the basic twenty seventeen which was there as a base anyway. Just widened the content area with additional css slightly. Does it suit my requirements, taste or standards? Absolutely not. I tried adding more css, and basically there was a moments when I lost all text in all my blog posts.

I didn’t mind paying for a theme, but I mind that they are never what it says, shows in the demo, and these themes were actually never what I PREFER. They are just TRENDY. TREND is a big things nowadays.

I go the store and look for pants. Just something comfortable to wear while teaching classes. I could sew them, I am a very good fashion designer and I can craft anything. Why didn’t I just do that? I was feeling not well for the last 3 years, and that is actually an understatement. I was off for 3 years. So, I’m going easy with everything at the moment. Guess what? I go to one store: there are only trends. Something which I don’t like, don’t want and am not willing to associate with “comfortable and decently looking”. There are only trends which somebody thought will suit all trillions of people on the Earth. There are lots and lots of stuff, but absolutely nothing for ME.

I am different. My art is different.

My background is different.

My taste is different.

My DNA is unique, and so I am.

So, why am I endlessly facing the pressure of TREND? It isn’t logical. Is it? The answer is very simple: the global market has to point out trends in order all sheep-like people would religiously follow the recommended whatever which is called TREND. It is way easier to make everything trendy color, trendy style, trendy content because if the offer would be individualized it would cover tiny market. That would big time decrease the profit. Profit goes closely hand in hand with trend. It seems that 95% of populations believe they have to follow trend.

Who sets the trend?

You are made believe it is some celebrity or somebody one person. Oh well, the global engineer, the global profit-taking, the master-entrepreneur and owner of everything decides that. The 1% who has it all. The owner of the entire available and unimaginable capital which constitutes 1% of population.

Why do we need trends? Trend isn’t style, and even less it is your personal style or taste.

I often hear: I hate this trend, but I still got the dress or outfit, or purse, or furniture, or whatever.

We need to announce trends in order you would throw out your previous year’s accessories and had to the store to get something new.  You need to have trendy color in order you’d start to hate your not-bad-at-all couch. Or car.

Trend is made so big because it enables fooling so many people. One feels so great when they have trendy everything. Or do they? Putting it simple: trend facilitates your spending.

What does the trend mean for me? It means that I cannot get what I want, plain and simple. The stuff I want might be not trending right now. It actually isn’t.

Why do they make it so difficult for me?

For an individual with a personal taste, style, preferences? I feel like I have to do everything on my own: I have to grow and cook my own food, I have to design and make my own outfits, I have to create my own environment, I have to even write my own WordPress theme for which I don’t have time or resources if I want it to be as I like.

TREND is neglecting me as individual or personality.

TREND is dictating me what to like, what to read, what to watch, what to think, what to believe, who to trust, and eventually we get to the point that it is managing things that are available to me.

TREND is actually putting me in a box while trying to make me think that I am oh-so-awesome trendy lady. The fact of the matter is: I never wanted to be trendy. TREND practically excludes a personal style because people who have a personal style do not stick with a trend or change everything when the trend changes. I always had my own head, my personal opinion and my personal attitude. TREND is directly opposite to an independent way of life.

These are the reasons why I have to declare war to trends.

If the global population was less like sheep, the trend would not have gotten so big. Media facilitates the trend. Profit taking is huge with trend. Financial gains for trend-setters are insane. I don’t want to support it. Instead, I want my choices back. I want access to things that are not trendy, or don’t seem to be, but I like them. It prefer them.

The only thing the TREND does not do is: it does not suit me. It does not fit me. I am somebody who has my own brain. I am somebody who has a strong personal style. I am somebody who thinks and lives independently.

Warm spring greetings to my blog friends

I am completely in migrating my art blog inesepogagallery.com  to a WordPress website. It hasn’t been a smooth ride so far. I am still waiting for quite a few responses from support team, but I have lost all followers (almost 2000) because of this move and there obviously no likes under my imported posts yet. The most terrible part is that I do not have even the simple one-click “Follow” button which appears to be a nightmare to generate. I haven’t gotten that done yet. The site is being added features and lost parts every day, but still, it takes a lot of time.

I would greatly appreciate the former followers stayed in touch by either following this blog or by renewing subscription to the newly created website.

All tutorials and instructions describe such a move as an easy breeze, but it was nothing like that. It seems one also needs quite a lot of money for such a move (which I wasn’t prepared for).

Well, my head is spinning already, and I haven’t even made up a normal menu yet, just trying to republish the lost posts.

Meanwhile, the weather is getting better and the planting season is approaching fast.

Therefore, my blog migration feels at a wrong time, but since it’s done, I will have to just move forward and hope for the best.

 

Blessings from people who wish us well go long ways

I am very thankful and grateful to all my friends, fellow bloggers who have supported me so much during this extremely tough time.  It might seem like nothing special to those who do not blog frequently or have done this for a short time yet. However, there are moments when our life reaches the point when we become completely upset because of some health issues, we lose our determination and all good intentions are forgotten since there is no energy to implement any of them. During these times, my friends, bloggers were right there. There were hundreds and hundreds of prayers, good thoughts and blessings sent.

blessings-2

I think the aspect which makes blogging so unique among all other forms of social interaction is the ability to really discover people, make new friends, even though, they are far away and scattered over all countries of the globe. I am certainly grateful for this ongoing, never stopping support. Among you are many people who suffer or have suffered from all kinds of health problems. That’s life and that’s something which we get as a side effect of living not in a perfect world. One second can turn our life upside down, and the sequences can stretch over decades. We need courage to realistically access our condition, and we need lots and lots of strength. What was the most pleasurable experience during the days when I was totally off? Those were encouragements, wishes feeling better and blessings which arrived from all sides of the globe.

blessings-1

It is so wonderful that there is love which never ends; there is kindness, appreciation and gratitude. It is wonderful to feel better, and lots of friends have contributed to my inner comfort.

blessings-3

I can only repeat that starting my two blogs (one 4 years ago and this one just last year) was the best thing I could ever do. There isn’t anything else like blogging; no Facebooks, Twitters or other media can ever replace that because of content, unlimited exchange of thoughts, ideas and inspiration.

I am attaching 3 fall photos from my personal archive; I hope you’ll love these.

Those who love art are invited to check out https://inesepogagallery.com/2016/09/25/2949/

and http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/inese-poga.html

And finally: I feel blessed for all this help and am sending back my prayers and blessings to those of you who need them at this moment.

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