How to Start a Blog When You’re Broke and Clueless

I heard that the lions at the San Diego Zoo are so prolific that they have put IUD’s in the lionesses. 

I heard that Australia is run over with rabbits…one rabbit, two rabbits, three, four thousand–that would keep some undergrad research student busy. 

This blog has nothing to do with lions or rabbits, that was just a fact that stuck in my brain and I dislodged it onto this page. 

I’ve gotten some inquiries about blogging, so I’m putting my ten suggestions here.

Blog Rule Number one: Begin with an attention-getter.  

I ran across mistakes I’ve been making blogging, not just typos and redundancies, those happen, I can’t help myself, but I have gotten suggestions from those super-duper bloggers who say they make six-figures blogging.  

 Is that money or doodles? 

Number Two: Post on Schedule, Not Just When You  Feel Like It. 

I pay attention to blogging gurus only when I feel like it, for who wants to sound like everybody else? However, those smart bloggers have large audiences and big bucks. (I have a super audience, not big numbers, but my readers are choice.) 

Regarding income, around here it’s more like yesterday at the Lane County Fair, I sold one book for $10.00, bought one for $20.  

I had fun though, mainly visiting with other writers. It was a slow day. The following day was senior day, I figured they would-be readers, but I only sold one more book. One lady yelled across the concourse, “How long have you been writing?”

“Since the day before God was born,” I said.

“I was there,” she yelled back.

Regarding a schedule, I have circled around Thursdays, although I have been throwing content on my sites whenever I feel like it, now I will try to make Thursdays POST DAY.  

I want you guys to count on me. 

Three, Pay Attention to SEO’s. 

It took me a while to know what a SEO is, and I still know little, but the gist is that it is keywords that google notices. SEO = Search Engine Optimation. 

Four: Scatter #Keywords throughout your post: 

Keywords? That’s another thing where I gave little attention. Who are we writing for, readers, or google? However, I know if people don’t find you, you won’t get read. A simple fact. 

Five, Write a Good Headline. 

That’s like “Knock my socks off,” that every contest MC tells their participants–as though they aren’t trying. 

And use a word from your title in your first paragraph. (That would be hard in today’s post wouldn’t it?) I finally did place a title word into the first paragraph of my last blog, Christmas was in the title, and in the first paragraph. (That’s rare. And two blogs in one week, that’s rare too. I’m not saying I will only post once a week, but I will try to hit Thursdays.) 

I don’t like to be manipulated, and I figure neither do you.  So, I will do whatever I damn-well please, and so will you.  (Do I have an attitude or what? But then, I encourage it.) 

Six: Write Short Paragraphs. 

It is no longer what we learned in school, “Develop your paragraphs.” Now the rule of thumb is to write only one or two sentences per paragraph. It does make for easier reading online. People are busy, they read fast. We want to make it easy for them. 

Seven: Use Contractions. 

I have to laugh at Royal Caribbean, their monitors would mark-down their email responders for using contractions. I guess they wanted to sound formal. But emails and blogging is informal, and we ought to write as we talk. 

EightWrite Blogs of 1,000 to 2,000 Words.   

It used to be that the ideal word count was 300 to 400 words. Now for some reason I don’t understand, Google likes long blogs. (Yep, I’ve mentioned this before, it’s a peeve of mine, for I have trouble hitting 1,000 words.) People skim, but Google gives preference to long blogs. They think it makes the material sound more important. But you know me, just say it and get on with it.  

Mine usually fall under 1,000 words. Write at your own peril.  

And remember that #Seth Godin writes a blog daily, short posts, and he is perhaps the most popular blogger—maybe it’s because he knows what he is talking about, and has established himself and a marketing/business expert. 

Nine: Include links to Other Content on Your Site. We do want to make our website easy to use. 

Ten: Publish Consistently. 

I try. 

I could have titled this post Blogging and IUD’s, and as I wrote that, I thought of the comedian Phyllis Diller who said her IUD opened garage doors as she drove past. 

Her son said she died with a smile on her face. 

Much love from Jo 

July Christmas–Details Confused, Message Clear

It was just before Christmas—with temper short and do list long that a Unitarian Minister received a pounding at the door.

Heavy sigh. What Now?

Outside stood a very small person wearing a cheap Santa Claus mask yelling “TRICK OR TREAT’ at the top of his lungs.

What?

This is Robert Fulghum’s story. Remember him?

In 1986 Fulghum wrote a brief Credo that took on a life of its own. Today we would say it went viral.

Every spring Fulghum had made it a habit to write a personal statement. Sometimes it was as long as a Supreme Court brief, however, that year he gave himself the task to reduce it to one page.  

He read his Credo to his congregation, and later at a primary school celebration. As luck would have it, Senator Dan Evans was in the audience. Evans requested a copy of the Credo and took it back to Washington where it was eventually read into the Congressional Record.

From Washington it went to The Kansas Times. Larry King read it to millions, and a literary agent called Fulghum asking, “Have you written anything else?

As a matter of fact…

Over the years Fulghum had made a habit of writing uncommon thoughts on common things.

Fulghum knew that wisdom was not at the top of a graduate-school mountain, but in the sandpile at Sunday School.

That disgruntled day before Christmas when Fulghum opened the door and stared at the Santa Claus mask, the little person below it was shaking a bag. “Trick or Treat.”

Fulghum reached into his wallet, found a dollar bill and dropped it into the bag.

The mask dropped and an Asian kid with a ten-dollar smile Fulghum recognized as Hong Duc, as a recent immigrant from Vietnam. The kid had been there at Halloween looking like a Wise man with a towel tied around his head.

“Want-a-hear some Caroling?” asked the semi-masked person.

“Sure,” says Fulghum expecting to see a choir jump from the bushes.

“Where’s the choir?” he asked.

“I’m it.” says the boy and begins to sing Jingle Bells, then reverently with head back and eyes closed he sang “Silent Night, and as I read this to my husband I laughed until I cried as the little fellow belted out, “ “Hark the Harry Angels Sing.”

Wet-eyed, Fulghum dropped a five-dollar bill into the bag and received a half-eaten candy cane in return.

Flashing that ten-dollar grin, the kid turned and ran from the porch,  
“God Bless You—Trick or Treat” he yelled as he continued to deliver Christmas door to door.

“I’m it.” He had said.

While Fulghum pondered whether he ascribed to any of the Christmas hype, the wise men, the babe in a manger, and the town of Bethlehem is the pit, he said, according to people who have been there.

And yet, right down the chimney came Saint Hong Doc, confused about the details, as most of us are, but knowing that he was IT.

Well, here was Christmas in July, and me at a recycle warehouse with a book falling into my hands.

It’s semi-sweet there in the recycle place, feels like a graveyard with old books sitting on old shelves, a dollar a book, two dollars. People’s life stories.

Good people. We hear now comments like “People are no damn good,” and with a polarized society, we wonder, and yet in Fulghum’s day 70% of the people felt they could trust people.

Trick or Treat—God Bless.

This Credo has been copied over and over so I feel I can put it here:

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

By Robert Fulghum

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.