Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Raise SEO

Blog to Organize Your Thoughts, Posts, & Your Office – Jacki Kellum

I would love to say that my writing space looks like the above image, but no doubt, my nemeses are  my lack of neatness and my continuous effort to do too much with too few resources. I am both a visual artist and a writer, and I have a full range of books and supplies to perform in both areas. To make matters worse, I maintain numerous blog sites. If it were not for my blogs and if I were neater, my writing office might look like the following [I would need a separate area to store all of the books and the file cabinets that I would need for each of my blog sites]:

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But because I do blog, each of my blog sites has become its own separate office with its own separate filing system, and the Categories and the Search Feature on each blog has become my filing system.

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Most writers have documents all over the place. We jot valuable bits of information on Facebook; we Tweet great ideas; we share videos, powerpoint presentations, produce digital movies, email, etc, and we also have tomes of notes in notebooks. It becomes very simple for us to lose track of what we said where and to whom? Your first thought might be that Microsoft Word would be a suitable place for organizing yourself, but that is not the case.  Your Microsoft Word software is stored on your computer and it is subject to crashing.

Surely, It Has Happened to Everyone! You Work Months–Even Years on the Perfect Family Photo Album, Family Tree, Recipe Collection, Folders of Pictures, Collection of Poems and Quotes, etc.,–and Your Computer Crashes!

There is nothing more frustrating than doing mounds of research and typing it into your computer–only to have your computer crash and burn. Family photos can be lost. Favorite recipes can be lost. Research papers can be lost. Poetry can be lost. Your memoir can be lost. Anything that you type or save into a Word document and store on your computer could be lost at any time. When you store data on the Internet, this does not happen. The Internet does not crash. When you get a new computer, your research is still there for you–it is there, where you left it–inside your blog. Your blog is not stored on your computer. It is stored on the Internet.

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But the benefits of blogging do not stop there. After you have posted your writing and other data on your blog, you can take one more step and tag your information. In that way, Google and the other search engines can find what you have posted and can direct online readers to your sites. Through blogging, you organize your posts and your writing ideas and through intelligent tagging, you raise your Search Engine Optimization, which is crucial for several other of your business goals.

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At times, I recall a post according to the time that I wrote it. That is when my  blog’s archives are handy. On each of your blog sites, you can access all of posts relative to the month when you thought that you may have written them.  For me, my Archives Feature is especially helpful on my gardening blog. That is the most seasonal blog that I maintain.

©Jacki Kellum September 3, 2016

 

Be Wary of Books & People Who Say that You Can Write a Book in 30 Days

I have good news and bad news. In spite of all of the hype and in spite of all of the people who are selling you books saying that you can write a book in 30 days, you really cannot. It takes a lifetime to write a book, and it takes at least several months to capture oneself for the pages of a book. I know, Amazon is selling dozens of books that swear that if you will buy this book or that, you can write a novel or a memoir or some other kind of book in 30 days, but I would have to challenge that claim. People who had already been writing the book for a great deal of time, before the 30 days began ticking away, might be able to pull something together in a month, but I really doubt that anyone can discover a new idea and write about it and edit it and sequence it within that short amount of time. Writing a book is simply more complicated than that, and that is the bad news. The good news is that I have created a more do-able plan for writing a book of memoir, and beginning October 1, you can participate in aFree Run of the Entire Course, which will require several months to complete.

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The First Challenge for Writing Your Memoir Is Rediscovering What It Is That Truly Makes You Tick–It Is Rediscovering What Separates You from the Herd.

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Great writing is deliberate and specific, and poor writing is generalized. One of the biggest mistakes that a writer can make is to write about things that seem to interest everyone else but that only vaguely interests himself. That is like being the person who always tries to please everyone and who continuously straddles the fence. Invariably, the fence straddlers are those people who want to please everyone and in doing so, they please no one at all.

“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

In the current realm of Social Media, where being “liked” becomes the raison d’etre, it becomes tempting to simply chit chat when we write. In other words, it becomes tempting to use meaningless words that won’t offend anyone at all. Being liked is important to most people. It has certainly always been important for me, and at times, I have stayed in the middle of the road–striving to please everyone, but I didn’t even like myself when I was doing that.

During my teen years, I jumped through hoop after hoop, hoping to be liked. Most people do that when they are teens. Being a teenager in America is difficult, and because of social media, we are somewhat trapped into being a perpetual teen. Facebook is a prime example of that. Facebook is a place where we contine liking or disliking people by the mere clicks of our mouse. How 7th grade is that!

I want to be liked, and I dislike, as much as anyone else, for people to disagree with me. I do not even like the conflict of disagreeing with others, but I decided long ago that I would notbe a person who has no opinions. People without opinions are like piles of mashed potatoes. The life has been boiled and whipped completely out of them. People who continuously ride the fence either have not thought deeply enough to formulate an opinion, or they are living a lie–trying to hide behind the veil of seeming to have no opinion. We must have opinions. We must take a stand in life. In taking a stand, we can be differentiated from the faceless mob. The only way to be meaningful in life is to let your life mean–to let it actually stand–and to stand out.

In taking a stand, our lives can be differentiated. In taking stands in life, we do more than exist–we mean. The only way to be meaningful in life is to allow your life to mean. – Jacki Kellum

There will be people who absolutely hate us for our opinions; but in taking stands in life, we also offer other people something concrete to love. We become more than wobbling globs of jello. When writers dare to take a stand in life, they offer their readers an authentic mind. They offer them words that have meaning, and they offer their readers a vital and feeling heart that has the capacity to care. People who ride the fence do not have those things to give. They are empty; they are flat; they are zero. Risking being disliked by a few is essential to becoming more than a pile of mashed potatoes.

Herein lies the key: If you try to please all of the people all of the time, you have elected to stand for nothing yourself. To stand for something is to get off the fence–out of the middle of the road.

“Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” – Margaret Thatcher

“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”– Margaret Thatcher

For several weeks, I have been promising that I’ll be launching a Free Writing Class or Blogging Event on October 1, 2016, and I initially called that event Mine Your Memories: Find Your Voice. Because it seemed to be the trend, I suggested in the title of the event that within 36 days of participating in the course, writers would have found their voices and would have potentially written an entire book. As I began pulling the material for the course together, however, I realized that the idea that anyone can write a book in 36 days or less is hog wash.

As I said before, writing a book is complicated. The process of extracting oneself from the middle of the road and discovering what it is that you truly want to write is a complicated process, and that is only the first step. But it is the crucial first step of rediscovering what truly makes you tick and rediscovering what is unique about yourself. This is a complicated and soul-searching process. It is a time-consuming unfolding of oneself and of looking at what lurks inside. The good news, however, is that valid and authentic and deliberate writing is an excellent way to allow that unveiling to take place. Beginning on October 1, 2016, in Find Your Path, my readers and I will thrust ourselves into the process of exploring our memories and our minds to rediscover our authentic selves.

“The only way to be meaningful in life is to allow your life to mean.” – Jacki Kellum

Beginning October 1, I’ll share 36 days of writing prompts with the participants of the event, and in responding deliberately and truthfully to the prompts, the writers will begin to rediscover who they actually are, and that is the first step toward writing the books that continuously well up inside yourself, begging to be written

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After that first part of the course, Find Your Path,  I’ll allow the participants to take a couple of months for rewriting and editing and thinking before they resubmerge themselves into the second segment, which will begin January 1, 2017. During the interim between segments of the event, however, I’ll begin to conduct a weekly event, which will offer writers one prompt or one group of prompts to polish over the course of that week. Beginning January 1, 2017, the writers will be invited back into another 36-day intensive event, Paint Your Past, where they will practice writing more descriptively.

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The third part of the course, Mine Your Voice, will begin April 1, and by that time, the participant should have begun expressing himself in clearly distinguishable ways. During this part of the course, the writers will be offered more writing prompts and will also be offered some exercises to help them turn their memoir writing or any other kind of writing into poetry. There is no shortcut to finding your writing voice. The only way to accomplish that is to write and to write a lot more. Trying different styles of writing and writing about a variety of things will also help, and that is the goal of Mine Your Voice.

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The fourth part of the course will be the crucial step of collating our best writings and discovering how we want to be published. During this part of the course, I’ll share what I have learned about the publishing industry–including what I have learned about self-publishing. Although I’ll challenge participants throughout the course to begin from day 1 marketing themselves and building their Search Engine Optimization, during the last part of the course Retail Your Book, I’ll share some final marketing and publishing tips.

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Although I’d like to sell you a get-rich, get-published-instantly plan for writing and publishing your book in 30 days or less, the truth is that in doing so, I’d be feeding you a lie and I’d be riding that non-specific fence of telling you what you want to hear, primarily to sell. But in absolute honesty, I cannot do that. I wouldn’t want to read the book that you would write in 30 days or less, and I doubt that you would even want to read it yourself. To do the job correctly, I suggest that you allow yourself several months to write your book, and I suggest that you stay the course or as they say in the country, “Plow to the end of the row.” Several months may sound like a large time investment, but the best news of all is that if you start with a more realistic plan than trying to write a book in 30 days, you will allow yourself the chance to actually succeed.

©Jacki Kellum August 14, 2016

Complicated

Maybe You’ll Still Be Successful – Even Without Marketing & SEO – But Don’t Count On That!

Being Successful with Any Kind of Online Business Requires More Than Magical Thinking!

Maybe you’ll still be successful online–even without marketing & SEO–but don’t count on that! 

  1. You Need a Real Marketing Plan. 
  2. You Need to Increase Your SEO.
  3. You Need to Be Found Online.

Let’s talk about some practical approaches to building an online presence.

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Many would say that creating a website would be one of the first steps toward building an online presence, but my blog sites have been  better tools for me.  I venture to say that this would be true for most writers or for people who are verbal. I am also a painter, and I have tried simple online galleries, but I have another need to talk about ideas and my feelings and my projects. The more important thing, as far as marketing goes, is that other people seem to want to listen.

For a couple of years, I had several free WordPress blogs, but I feel that I have outgrown the free blog option, but for a long time, my free WordPress blogs worked great for me

godaddyNow, GoDaddy is hosting some full WordPress.org sites for me, and they have a .com address. In my opinion, this approach offers me the best of two worlds–I have both websites and blogs. This site is one of the sites that GoDaddy is hosting.

Regardless of how you do this, however, an online home–a place where people can find you–is essential to marketing online–even if you are only marketing yourself.

 

If you are trying to increase your SEO or your Search Engine Optimization, or if you simply want to be found on the Internet, you must become serious about marketing yourself. Millions–probably Billions–want that same thing. The people who win the race will be the people who learn how to effectively sell themselves online.

Now, this may sound confusing, but I believe that maintaining an active blog is still very important for marketing yourself. That’s right–even if you have a regular website, I still believe that blogging regularly–even a couple of times per day–is essential for being found online.

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How Blogging Helps Increase Your SEO

I began blogging 2.5 years ago. At that time, my intention was to create an online gallery for peddling my paintings, and somewhere I had read that I needed to attract attention to my site. I researched various types of blogs, and I elected to launch a WordPress blog.

At that time, I knew that many people would be interested in free tutorials for Photoshop and for Adobe Illustrator, and to draw people to my site, I initially created many tutorials for the Adobe products. From the earliest date, however, I also began to blog about something else that I felt I knew a little bit about. For my first graduate degree in English, I wrote about William Blake, and at some time past, I did feel passionate about the Romantic ideals and about how the experienced and emotionally bankrupt adult of the world had stripped life of its emotion, energy, intuitiveness, and imagination.

It had been a long time since I had written that thesis, but I began to write posts about the loss of imagination and the Waste Land that resulted from the loss of feeling. Unlike the Adobe tutorials, these posts required that I actually write, and that was something that I had not done for quite some time. I was stunned by the number of readers that I attracted through those earliest posts.

I attribute the fact that anyone read those earliest posts to Google. Somewhere, I had read that I needed to tag my posts and that by tagging, I would draw viewers. Like a child in elementary school, I did as I was told, and it worked. Strangers began to find my blog site. But I began to realize that my cart and my horse were totally confused. Although I did use the Adobe products myself and although at one time, I had studied William Blake, that was not what I was trying to sell 2.5 years ago. For a while, I simply quit blogging, but the Adobe tutorials continued to draw viewers.

In October of 2015, I decided to return to my writing, and I plunged into writing, as a form of expression. It was as though a cork had been released. If you look at the following graph, you can see that in October of 2015, I posted wrote many articles and because I had learned how to tag my posts and because Google had already found me, people read my creative writing, too.

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I continued to write in November, but shortly after that, I became ill and did not write much again until May. In July, I decided to move forward with a project that I had begun before I became ill, and that project was the Mine Your Memories Writing Event.

At some time during the fall of 2015 or during early winter of 2016, I began responding to the WordPress Daily Prompt, and because of that effort, my writing improved, I attracted a relatively large number of readers, and I also attracted several followers. And again, some of my success was because of Google–and some of it was because of the WordPress Groupies. Any way that you look at it, blogging has been an invaluable asset for me in increasing my SEO–even for elevating my page rank.

Sharing Images Online Is A Way to Market Yourself

As I said before, blogging is a great tool for drawing attention to yourself.  Because your blog is a great place to share images online, your blog becomes an even greater resource for building an online presence. Today, I began blogging on a new combination blog and website that is also hosted via GoDaddy. That site will be very helpful for people who are serious about being found online. Today, I posted the following articles about how to find and use images and how those images will hep increase your Search Engine Optimization:

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How to Find & Save Google Images Here

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Dangerous Myths Regarding Google Images – How to Be Sure That Your Images Are Free to Use Here

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Pixabay Is An Outstanding Resource for Finding Free & Copyright-Free Images Here

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The Creative Commons Is the Best Kept Secret Secret for Finding Free & Copyright-Free Images, Music, Clip Art, & Videos Here

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The Uncle Sam Poster “I Want You” is Proof of the Power of Images Here

For now, this is all that I’ll say about the importance of marketing yourself online, but allow me to repeat my original position by saying that marketing yourself is essential for people who are struggling to have their books, or the art, or the writing, or their videos, or the music found online. Maybe you can succeed in the 21st-Century without increasing your SEO, but I honestly doubt that you will. The economy is not good, and more and more people are launching Internet businesses. The competition is overwhelming. Increasing your Search Engine Optimization is vital for people who hope to rise to the top.

©Jacki Kellum August 10, 2016

Maybe

 

How To Use Images to Improve Your SEO – Search Engine Optimization

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I discovered an outstanding pdf that explains SEO or Search Engine Optimization, and how to increase one’s searchability in Google. The pdf is an official Google publication. Therefore, I feel that it should be the last word on how to be better seen via Google search: http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf

The guide is a bit dense; therefore, I’ll summarize a few points that stuck out to me:

A blog post’s title is key to SEO.

Although Google has become bigger than life, it is important to remember that it is not a person and that you will get the best search results if you title your writing or your art in ways that machines understand. I am guilty of enjoying using arty titles, and when my titles are too obscure, I add a colon and an explanatory phrase.  About a year ago, I titled a short poem Butterfly Breeze, and later, I entered it in a blog post with nothing more than that same and opaque title. Later, I realized that the title ” Butterfly Breeze” is a bit vague for Google to get its “head” around. Here is the poem:

Butterfly Breeze
by Jacki Kellum

Soft and silver, the delicate, gossamer-like lace swept into my room
Whispering a butterfly breeze.

Whiff of a lily followed along,
Crickets and whippoorwills sang me song,

And moon dust cradled my head.
©Jacki Kellum October 7, 2015

When I limited my reference to this poem as nothing more than “Butterfly Breeze,” I might have attracted searchers who were looking at the migration of the Monarch butterfly [if I was lucky], or I might have attracted some environmentalists who were searching for information about how pollution affects butterflies and other insects.  But with that slippery title, I probably caught no butterflies at all. Over the course of a couple of years’ efforts to create a brand of my name, however, my blog post might have worked better with search engines if I had added something more after the poem’s title. I might have added the following words: “Jacki Kellum Poetry” or “Jacki Kellum Memoir” or “Jacki Kellum Memoir Poem.” Butterfly Breeze is all of the previous, and my attempt to be found by search engines would be best served if I had found a way to add all of the data as part of the title of my blog’s post. 

The way that you tag your images is also of importance.

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When we talk about tagging things in our posts, we are not talking about hanging a pretty and decorative label on it. Tags for online data are work-horses.

tags This shows the tags that I have most used today on this site. Since I have only begun blogging here today, the number of tags that I have used is still very small. Within a few months, I will have used thousands of tags to describe my blog posts to Google and to other Search Engines.

Important Note: You can also Tag the Images that You Insert Into Your Posts.

tag_image_tags Before I Tagged the above Image

tag_image_tags3After I tagged the above image.

Immediately before you click to insert an image into your post, you have an opportunity to add some metadata. In the previous image, you see how someone else had tagged the image of the tag as nothing more than music and some numbers. Notice here that I titled the tag the way that it relates to why I am using this image in my posts [Hint: I am not writing about music in this post]

I don’t add a caption. The caption shows up on the post.

I added an alternate tag. This allows me another chance to catch the search engines.

Notice that I separate the words in the title and the alt text with underlines.

 

 

 

 

 

I  admit it: I am an impulsive will-o-the-wisp. and I do not like to take the extra 15 seconds that it would require for me to fill in metadata for my images. Allow me to show you how simple that task actually is on a WordPress blog site:

Just before you click to insert your image, you see the following boxes:

How to Increase Google Statistics
How to Increase Google SEO with Image Tags

Arrow 1. Title your tag with small letters and an underscore between each word i.e. increase_seo_google

Arrow 2. Write a description with important keywords: How to increase your Google SEO Search Engine Optimization Statistics. In order to find the very best keywords, do a Google keyword search.

Arrow 3. Provide an alternate title tag with small letters and an underscore between each word: how-to-increase-your-search-engine-optimization

Arrow 4. Write a description of the image. Again, use keywords.

This is just 2 simple ways that will definitely increase your SEO.

Remember: If it is worth saying – it is worth being read. Increasing your SEO is the way that people find you and read you

©Jacki Kellum August 9, 2016

 

 

 

 

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