Lessons in Professional Blogging

I’ve been blogging since 1998 and have seen plenty of rewards in terms of writing experience, web know-how and even some freelance jobs and interest garnered thanks to my blog. But making money directly off my blog has been a new experience for me. It’s certainly not the only reason I blog, but it’s a nice bonus.

In late April I started my own blog network and pro-blogging, while not yet a reality, is at least understandable. Below are a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

(Note: I originally wrote this to be a part of ProBlogger.net’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog, but I think I missed the cut off. Oh well.)

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2005 Summer Blogging Review

With the summer winding down and me blogging like a mad man all over the place (except maybe here), I thought it’d be a good idea to take a page from the Jason Kottke book and do a summer blog posts review.

Well start here with the personal stuff and move on to the random other blogs nobody really cares about.


  • The biggest news is the baby on the way. Highlights so far include the youth group reaction and the heartbeat. Next week is the ultrasound.
  • I did have to tackle some home repairs. (well, actually a friend did the heavy lifting and I watched)
  • I admitted to tearing up during Brat Camp.
  • I rocked out at Sonshine 2005.
  • I went to Los Angeles.
  • My dog made more money than you.
  • I turned 26 and got a new digital camera, which is a good excuse to check out the first photo I ever took.
  • And I saw my traffic rise after a pathetic May (which resulted in a Google check that showed up this week).

Continue reading 2005 Summer Blogging Review

My Digital Camera: Canon Powershot SD200

Canon Powershot SD200A while back I spent my birthday wad on a new digital camera. I don’t think I ever bothered to share what I finally decided to buy, so I thought I should rectify that. I went with the Canon Powershot SD200.

It has a list price of $300 (ha!), but I paid two-thirds that at Best Buy thanks to sales and rebates, and it looks like you can get it for about the same price at Amazon.com. It’s a 3.2 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom. And it’s tiny. We’re talking credit card tiny. That’s the main reason I finally went with it: portability. I now carry it with me like my wallet and car keys, which means I can snap pictures of whatever I like whenever I like, and never have to say, “Gee, I wish I brought my camera.”

Continue reading My Digital Camera: Canon Powershot SD200

The Most Vacationing President in History

Last week U.S. President George W. Bush surpassed former President Ronald Reagan’s record 335 days of vacation for a sitting president. While Reagan took eight years to set that milestone, Bush has beat it in less than five.

Now there’s a lot of ways we can go with this. You could argue that Bush is taking way too much time off when he should be leading the country. That’s a valid argument, though you launch into all sorts of questions about whether or not he works while he’s on vacation (somebody’s got to read those daily security reports) and how if you faced 9/11 and invaded two countries you’d need some time off.

Instead, I’d like to make two simple points:

1) The average American gets 12 days of vacation per year. Granted the president is no average American, but should he really get five times the vacation of the average citizen?

2) While the average American gets 12 days of vacation per year, they only use 9 of them. We’re too busy working to take a vacation. I’ve got to applaud Bush for taking a vacation and modeling for the rest of the country the importance of time off. He might be over-compensating, but he’s got the right idea.

It’s also worth pointing out that France is the most vacationing country in the world. French workers get an average of 39 vacation days per year. Apparently Bush has more in common with the French than we suspect.

The Power of Google

The caller ID said Paramount Pictures, which really had me intrigued. I didn’t catch the guy’s name, but I think he was with the Dr. Phil show. He launched into his question so quickly I missed his introduction. But he went on to ask me about my blog post about body suspension.

I vaguely remembered the post, but I quickly realized where this was heading and started laughing. He was looking for an expert on body suspension, or at least someone who could connect him with experts or the teens involved.

He asked why I was laughing and I explained why, pointing out that I’d just found an article online talking about body suspension and linked to it. I pointed him back to my post for the link to the article and suggested he start there.

I can only guess he found me because the ReAL Magazine blog post shows up at the top of the second page of search results for “body suspension.” Weird. I’m just a blogger from Minnesota, yet I’m getting calls from the Dr. Phil Show.

WWJA: Whom Would Jesus Assassinate?

2005_08_23target.jpgOh, bloggedy blog, you kill me.

Just don’t assassinate me. Andrew Careaga came up with that headline over the latest stupid thing Pat Robertson said, that we should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Why does anybody even listen to this guy any more?

The best part of the FOX news story was the last few lines:

Robertson has made controversial statements in the past.

In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device.

He has also said that feminism encourages women to “kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

Update: CT’s weblog sheds some light on why the 700 Club is still on the air. Even if nobody’s listening the 700 Club will continue to air, thanks to contractual obligations.

And, for the record, “geopolitical hits are folly or, at least, never easy.”

Gas Price Hysteria

Gas prices keep going up and our friend Steve over at Knightopia gives us the Top 25 Ways to Save at the Pump, a collection of fuel efficient practices culled from the web.

Of course Steve forgot one: Park your SUV.

How about a ground rule for these days of sky-high gas prices? No complaining about the prices unless you’ve actively tried doing something to lower your gas usage. Tonight on ABC World News Tonight they interviewed a woman who was really mad about the rising gas prices, but when asked if she’d give up her Lexus SUV you said no way. Get a grip.

The U.S. uses more gas than any other country (25 barrels of oil per year per person, vs. 10 in the UK) and it’s about time we started paying for it. A little conservation and efficiency never hurt anyone.

Laughing at the Comics

The Comics Curmudgeon is a blog I just started reading that makes fun of the funnies. Back in the day I used to read the entire comics section every day after school (followed up by the entertainment blurbs on the back page, which were actually a lot like blogs). While I don’t do it anymore, it’s great to read the Curmudgeon’s rippings.

Today’s comment about Garfield was great. Laugh out loud funny.

Amazingly enough, I also thought the Garfield comic in question was actually funny. Not laughing funny, but it got a grin. I haven’t actually laughed at a Garfield comic since, well, since back when you laughed at things no matter how un-funny they were.

How Not to Get Business

Last month our house suffered some minor damage in a storm. I called two local companies before having a friend help me fix the damage. One company gave me a ballpark quote over the phone and explained that since they were so busy it would be a week before they could do my house. The guy was pretty nice about it, honest about the cost and that it was a pretty simple job I could probably do myself if I could get up there. Which is what we ended up doing (well, not me, but a friend).

The other company I called took down my name and said they’d have their estimator give me a call back. Guess when he called? Today. I called them on July 26. They get back to me on August 18. Ummm, nice try.

I can understand when a company is busy and they don’t have time for a nothing job like mine (I’ve certainly been in that position). That’s understandable. But shouldn’t you be following up a little sooner? Maybe just call and say, hey we can’t get to you for a month. It would at least give the opportunity to make a good impression, maybe even refer another company instead. Oh well.