Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ail AB Iraq Flagpole – Picture A Day


Happy New Year!

This is a picture of the flag pole here at Ali Air Base, Iraq, that I got up and took early this morning. I plan for this to be the first in a series of "pictures of the day".

About a month back, I got a comment on my don't be an invisible blogger post from a young lady who goes by curious illusion. When I went to visit her blog, I saw that she had post some pretty cool picture. Plus, she was doing something called Project 365 ... which, I'll be honest I still need to investigate a bit more, but basically it looks like it revolves around a flickr group, where people take a picture a day, and post it to their site. Even though I don't know everything about it yet, today seems as good a day as any to start ... ready, aim, shoot.

The way I figure it, I went to all the trouble to bring my Canon 20D, and 3 lenses with me here to Iraq, only to have the poor camera sitting on the shelf in my room 95% of the time since I've been here. Now I have an excuse to take my camera out with me every single day. And an additional excuse to make a new blog post ... even when I don't feel like writing (yea, that Never happens ... ugh).

I hope you enjoy.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Types of travel money belts

The number of travelers increases every year. Don't we love to get to know different culures and visit new landscapes, after all? Although going off the beaten track is oh-so-cool, we still need to focus on traveling safe whenever we visit places we don't know.

The travel industry has become conscious of these problems, developing numerous items to insure our protection. You probably have already seen a travel money belt for purchase at the travel goods area of major malls or airports. The best component is that nowadays there's a wide variety of variations to select from. These will suit most needs of just about all tourists!

Money belts are available with 1, 2 or 3 separate compartments. Most of these are made to be put on around your waist.

You can get additionally travel money belts that are worn around the neck this particular type is popular with females. This particular type has a strap that may be regulated to go around the neck or also go around the shoulder or maybe waist based upon the particular sort of clothes you might be using.

One more style of travel money belt could be put on around the lower leg. Additional models are more straightforward: initially they appear to be a typical leather-based belt, but they hide a zipper on the inside. These types usually just accommodate money, so your docs still might not always be very safe.

Additionally, there is a loop or clip style money belt that connects to a belt and is used beneath your clothes.

Travel vest with numerous inside pockets are usually an ideal means to carry your belongings. The zippered pockets are on the interior of the vest and also on the outside. Most of these can be worn by both males and females, and give you a location for everything. They're light and easily washable.

All of these travel money belts are developed to be used hidden out from view and certainly not exposed in public. You will definitely travel with numerous travel goods, but travel money belts usually are the most important to use when flying.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Todd Shares The Good Stuff - 12/11/09

Wow, I can foresee these weekly link love lists becoming way long at some point :-)

But I promised to spread the "good stuff" I've been reading, so below you will find my list of shared items from google reader for the week ending December 11th, 2009.

First a quick aside ...

One thing I have noticed upon compiling this weeks picks, is that unlike my friend Sire, I actually do still read and share quite a bit of stuff from so called "A Listers". That being said, Sire's post last week about why he No Longer Links to Problogger and John Chow was a great example of the "rule" that apparently the easiest way to get the attention of "big name bloggers" is to write a controversial post about them. Honestly though, I don't even think that was Sire's intention ... none the less, his little rant definitely generated links, traffic, and even several visits to the wassup blog comment section by Darren Rowse himself.

Definitely interesting. Ok now on to the good stuff ...

  • The very first section in my google reader is labeled "A1 - Daily Reads"; and no daily reads section would be complete without Seth Godin's blog. This week I actually shared 3 of Seth's posts. Here are my thoughts (lol, as if I could actually "add value") ...

    1. The Magic of Dynamic Pricing - I know with my own buying habits, especially online, I purchase quite a bit of stuff when it "on sale". One of these days when I get around to selling my own stuff, I definitely do Not plan on using the one price for all model.

    2. How to Protect your Ideas in the Digital Age - Not to give the plot away or anything, but the gist of it is: "Don't". The winners in the digital age will be those who figure our how to profit from the free spreading of their ideas ... rather than those who figure out how restrict their thoughts only to "paying customers".

    3. What's it like? (The sad story of the hot pepper) - How do you describe your product or service?

  • Another blog right there near the top in my daily reads is Blog Maverick (aka Mark Cuban). If this isn't already a "rule of life", I propose we make it one ... if a self-made Billionaire is sharing his thoughts on success and business, it's probably a wise idea to listen in. I shared two of Mark's posts this week ...

    1. The Sport of Business - Is business the ultimate game? Are you competetive enough to come out on top?

    2. Success & Motivation: What Will You Remember When You are 90? - Hmmm, ok so what I'm getting out of this is that for each decision I make now, I should imagine how "old Todd" would look back and feel about the opportunities that I chose to pursue (or not pursue).

  • I've been reading CopyBlogger for a couple of years now. One of these days I may actually start applying more of what I've learned. In the mean time, maybe you'll appreciate 10 Secrets to More Magnetic Copy. Seriously though, this post contains some advice that I've acutally been trying to follow latey. lol, especially the part about writing "informally".

  • I just started reading Blogussion pretty recently. Early in the week they put out a summary post that tied together a series they'd been doing on How to Blog with your Users in Mind. This is subject I've been thinking about a lot myself lately; and looking back, this post probably somewhat influenced/inspired my little rant about Why Do You Blog?.

  • Speaking of subjects I've been thinking about lately. Sy over at Hospitalera's Blog shared her ideas on The Best Use of Blog Ad Space. I won't speak for her, but my impression is that she's of pretty much the same mind as me when it comes to advertising ... "less" can actually be "more" if you do it right.

  • Ok, so an SEO Wizz writes a post about how Social Media is Overrated, and how your time could be spent more productively on other activities. Think it might be worth investigating?

  • Sticking with the Social Media theme, Make Money Dyanamo shares some universal Thruths about Twitter Marketing that you you can learn without having to pay $27 for some "gurus" ebook.

  • The easy winner for this week's most interesting blog post title (even though apparently it was rejected by Facebook as "too offensive:) is definitely Erica Douglass with Top 10 Signs You May Be a Social Media Douchebag. The title says it all ... don't be "that guy" (or girl).

  • This looks like a good place to slip in a couple of links not about blogs or marketing. The first is my friend Lin from Tellin it Like it Is who recently quit smoking and has shared several recent posts that may help others who are looking to kick the habit. The latest entry is What Happens To Your Body When You Quit Smoking Cigarettes.

  • Why go to Google and do a search the next time you need a cute little picture to use in your sidebar, when Vandelay Design has a whole gallery of free and premium icons called Icon Fever where you seek out the perfect twitter bird or RSS button.

  • Sire's post actually brought to my attention a blogger I'd never heard of (even though he's apparently pretty successful) ... David Risely. This appears to something of a hybrid teaching/personal blog (kind of the vision I actually have for this site in the future). There are plenty of useful "how to" type articles, as well as pictures and stories about David's family (cute little girl). The post that I shared this week was written by one of David's students about how he blogged his way to 1000 visitors on his Daily Shot of Coffee site.

  • If we follow Mike's advice above, and get those thousand visitors, what are we going to do with them? Josh comes to the rescue with a post about how toIncrease Your Marketing ROI by Building a Community.

  • And then Naomi reminds us about the importance of Loving Our Customers ... of course in the form of an entertaining story, sprinkled with the obligatory couple of F bombs, I've come to expect when reading anything on IttyBiz.

  • Finally, last but not least, for the past week or so, I've been having comment discussions with Sire, Mitch, Heather and a few others, about the "best" way to monetize. An explanation about what I consider to be the "best" long-term solution to this problem, came from somewhere that I might not have expected (but shouldn't have been surprised about). Darren Rowse from Problogger wrote about The Importance of Having Your Own Product to Sell.

  • ... and as coincidental as it may seem, my friend Josh Spaulding (who must be a pretty persuasive marketer, because I've bought every ebook he's ever written), just came out with a new one called Info Product Success Formula <<<---- Affiliate Link Alert !!! (should you choose to purchase the product through this link, I will earn a commission).

Ok, that's what I've got for this week. Hope you enjoy.

Til next post ... Keep havin FuN!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why Do You Blog?

What is the purpose of my blog? ... What am I "selling"?

This is a question that I suspect many of us never really ask ourselves until we've been doing this for quite a while. Yet ironically enough, it's probably THE Question that we should have absolutely known the answer to before we ever even got started.

The good news is, it's not too late ...

Simply "start over".

Before you change your theme again for the 21st time, or write another post about a subject that you're not really all that interested in, but it's the "niche" you've chosen, STOP ...

Think about why you started your blog. What is your goal?

NOW ...

Build your blog around that goal. DON'T get DISTRACTED by other things.

If you've decided that what you're really selling is YOU ...

Then why the heck are you running off to check your adsense statistics every 3 hours? (and btw why do you even have adsense on that type of blog?)

On the flip side, if you've decided that your goal is to make money from ADVERTISING ...

Why are you writing posts about your kids, your dog, and the pretty picture of a flower you took last week?

Different goals, REQUIRE different STYLES of writing.

Real quick and dirty ...

If you're selling "YOU inc", then obviously you want a blog full of posts that inspire people to want to know more. You should be writing posts that invite questions and comments. You should make it EASY for people to EXPLORE other areas of your site. And finally, this is just my own personal opinion, but you SHOULDN'T flash a bunch of ads in front of your readers ... unless of course the image you are trying to sell is "I'm a salesman".

If you're trying to Make Money from your site, here is a description of your IDEAL "READER" ...

Someone who arrives via a SEARCH ENGINE (hopefully after entering a "buying term"), then LEAVES fairly quickly, by clicking on a RELEVANT AD that offers a SOLUTION to their PROBLEM.

IT DOES NOT MATTER whether or not they even READ anything that you wrote !!!!

... and it certainly doesn't matter if they leave a comment or not.

Here's a little "secret" for you ... people who leave comments are generally OTHER BLOGGERS ... and other bloggers generally DON'T CLICK ADS.

Ok, that was my rant for tonight. I'll have more thoughts on this subject "later".

In the mean time, feel free to OPINE away in the comments section
(I'm Not trying to make money withThis blog) ;-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Google Widget Main Culprit In Slow Load Time

According to the new site performance tab in Google Webmasters Tools, my blog here at loads slower than 92% of the sites on the Internet.

Obviously, there are a few things that I can fix, such as compressing the css, and optimizing some of my images.

With rumors that google may be incorporating page load time in to their search rank algorithm, it's kind of ironic that by far the worst culprit in slowing my site down was that Google Friend Connect widget.

So, I took it down ... for now.

Hopefully the people who" run the internet" can, at some point, figure out how to serve up a widget that doesn't take 5-6 seconds to load.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Todd's Weekly Reader 12-04-09

I recently wrote about how I intend to become a more well known blogger by having greater interaction with my online friends (and soon to be friends) ... mainly thru doing a better job of sharing some of their good stuff ... or pay it forward SEO as SY has called (lol, I wish I had thought of that, much better keyword blog title than my original post).

After making that post, I quickly discovered that I may have given myself a challenge with a few obstacles. You see, I do quite a bit of reading at work. Most blogs and such are blocked by filters. However, I can still browse just about anything via RSS in my google reader (note: if you want me to be able to read your blog regularly, please offer a FULL FEED). The problem is, it makes it a little difficult to comment, when I can't visit the blog itself.

My solution is, to use the "Shared Items" button at the bottom of each post in my reader.

Then, via a plugin called Recommended Reading I can post links to the stories I choose to share, in a widget down there at the bottom right of my footer ... go ahead, scoll down and look ;-)

The thing is, there's only room for about six stories, so depending on how much I'm reading, the link may only be there for a day or two; and sometimes even less. So, what I'm also going to do, it make a nice little weekly post with most permanent links to all the stories I've shared during the previous 6 or 7 days ... along with a short note sharing why liked it.

Just starting out, I don't think I'll ever be quite as organized with this feature as Kristi's Fetching Friday posts ... but I do hope that the sort of articles I find interesting, also prove to be useful to You ... my readers.

Ok, so without further ado, here are some of the stories that I found interesting enough to share during the week (or maybe going back a bit further since this is the first one) that ended December 4th 2009:

  • 6 Things They Mean When They Say They Have No Money - This one is from IttyBiz. If you haven't read Naomi Dunsford's blog yet, you're definitely missing out ... lol, although if you're easily offended by "4-letter language", fair warning that it may not be your cup of tea. This particular post should be of interest to anyone who sells stuff (that would be most of us).

  • 35+ Photo Editing Tutorials for Photoshop - I've been following the Vandelay Design for about 2 years now, and I gotta tell you, this blog has the ultimate in great list posts when it comes to web design, and photography techniques.

  • The Thankful Box - I just started following Mocha Dad as part of my effort to be more sociable ... and one of the first posts I read was his touching Thanksgiving story about a little tradition his family has instituted.

  • The Last Thing You Want to Do is Date Your Wife - And this is the second post I read on (Mocha Dad) Fred's site. Some very good ideas here about how to keep the romance alive, for all of us old married types.

  • Fetching Friday - 90 Links in the Biggest Weekly Resources Mashup - I think the name pretty much says it all there. I always, and I mean always, find something useful and interesting in Kristi's weekly resource posts.

  • My Cyber Cabin in the Woods - Another one of my new friends, Heather, compares blogging to a form of escapism ... while at the same time, offering up some tips on how to keep the foundation of your own little cyber cabin strong.

  • My Blog Epiphany: Is Your Marketing Sticky or Scummy? - Another one of those posts who's title pretty much says it all. JPratt's blog is one where I probably should (and will be making an effort to) share more often, because almost every post is a wealth of good information.

  • Giving Your Blog That Christmas Feel - My buddy Sire has given his blog a nice Christmasy makeover for the holidays. And even better, he offers up some nice, easy to follow tips about how he did it; for those adventurous types who might want to do a little theme hacking on their own sites.

  • Passive Income – Leaving Australia – the Practicalities - Lissie is moving from Australia to New Zealand and offers up some tips keeping your home business running during a move.

  • 5 Bad Reasons to Quit Blogging - Kristi again, with a blog post that really could have been titled "Never give up, never give up, never give up" ... but I suspect hers will play better on stumbleupon, and I'm no expert copywriter ;-)

  • My Little Texas Cheerleader - My daughter Jaiden in the Texas cheerleader outfit that Ana bought her ... lol, and I don't even want to know what she paid for it ... but it is cute.

  • Oes tsetnoc - actually I shared SY's post about Pay It Forward SEO, but since I already wrote about, and linked to that up above, I figured I'd use this slot to put in a plug for SEO Contest spelled backwards - Oes tsetnoc ... check it out, and help spread the word.

  • My Snippets: WordPress Plugin - I just shared this one earlier today. It's a new plugin by Justin Tadlock that takes the widget logic concept, and goes one step further. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but I can already imagine that it's going to let me do pretty cool thing ... especially when it comes to optimizing ads on niche sites.

Ok, well that about wraps it up for this week. I know that I missed a few friends, but I'm just getting back in the grove ... rest assured Your post will be showing up this space over the next few weeks.

I hope you find this helpful.

Feedback and suggestions appreciated and encouraged ...