Archive for February 2009

Federal Fair Collection Practices Act

Be sure to know your rights!  You can download the form from the Federal Trade Commission HERE.

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Embedded Links and Anchor Text

Ever wondered how to embed your link?  It's pretty simple, but you need to learn a little bit of html code.  Here's the way an embedded link looks in html.

This code:

(you can click it to get a larger view)

Looks like this: Real Relationship Advice

The first part of the code (with the website address) is the actual link.

The second part of the code is called the anchor text--the actual text which will appear on the website.

Here's where the anchor text is important--the more embedded links you have with a specific anchor text, the higher your page rank for those specific keywords.

For, let's say thousands of people put the above html link on their websites.  I would rank very highly for the term "real relationship advice.

This is useful during link exchanges.  You may want to ask people to set certain anchor texts for your link (blogger does this automatically when someone adds a link--the user simply names the link instead of using html code).  Let's say I want to rank higher for "Youth Ministry."  I would just put this term in my anchor text for links to my website, and I would ask future link exchangers to do the same. 

The code would look like this:

And it would look like this on the website:

Youth Ministry

The link is the same--I've only changed the anchor text.

I keep a copy of my embedded link in a text document on my computer's desktop.  It's a handy way to copy and paste it into comments, etc.

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Fix Blogger Template Upload Error

Do you ever get errors when you try to upload a new template in blogger?  Usually it looks something like this:

I kept having this problem over at  I had successfully uploaded the template into another blog (my "dummy blog"), so I knew there was no problem with the xml file.

I found a way to fix it on blogger groups.  Here's what you do:

1. Make sure you have some sidebar elements before trying to upload the new template (this is so that you get the 'Widgets are about to be deleted warning')

2. You should now have your new template code in place (awaiting widget deletion confirmation)

3 Press cntl+f (find function) and search for the word widget

4 Change the number 1 to 2 in all three of the following:

5. Confirm and save

I tried this and it worked!  In fact, I think I was only able to find two of the listed widget codes.  But after changing them both from 1 to 2, my template successfully loaded.  

How and why does this work?  I have absolutely no idea.  Remember, I'm not much of a tech geek.

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Tired of Pre-Approved Credit Card Junk Mail?

I just learned something new today on Did you know you can stop all those pre-approved credit cards from coming to your mailbox? Not only is all this junk mail annoying, but it also puts you at greater risk for identity theft--someone could steal an application from your trash, fill it out, and spend money with a credit card in your name.

The pre-approved credit cards come as a result of prescreen marketing though the credit bureaus.  You can tell the bureaus you want to opt out of there list.  Visit or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).  You can opt out for five years through this process.  You can opt out permanently by following up with a written letter. 

Visit the Federal Trade Commission article for more details.

UPDATE (5-14-09):
I went to the website and did this myself a couple of days ago.  The process is very quick and easy.  Permanently opting out is also easy--the website allows you to print a form, which you sign and mail in.  Just one letter sent to one address will permanently opt you out from all credit agencies. 

As Featured On EzineArticles

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Google Page Rank Explained (in simple terms)

Google PageRank Explained: Page Rank and when/why it matters.

Link Popularity vs. PageRank vs. Yoda

Note: I thought about calling this post "Page Rank for Dummies."  But you are not a dummy, are you? This article is a simplified, non-tech explanation for those who are new to blogging (or to the more technical aspects).  If you want more thorough explanations, there are thousands of other sites to choose from.  I’m just sharing what I’ve learned so far. 

Your page rank is one major factor in your blog’s relative importance in a search engine’s rankings. 

Does page rank matter?  It depends.  I have pages that get search engine hits despite being unranked (zero ranking).  Why?  Specific searches—if someone happens to search a specific term related to some of these pages/posts, my site is high on the list (in some search engines, my site/article maybe the only match). 

I’ll explain further.

Placing #1 in Google is pretty simple.  Just create a blog or post entitled "suicidal alien chiwawa."  Give it a couple of weeks.  Next time that term is searched, you have a good shot at being number 1.

The problem, of course, is the obscurity of the term.  Not many will do a search about your depressed, extra-terrestrial dog.

Here’s where page rank comes in: a high page rank helps you compete in search engines for more common searches.

Here’s a simple graph which visually explains page rank:*

So how do you improve your page rank?  Well, there’s a couple of things I’ve figured out so far:

1. Time: Search engines tend to "like" older sites (generally speaking).  Here’s the idea—an older site is less likely to be someone just posting a spammy ad blog.

2. Backlinks:  The more links there are to your blog, the higher your page will rank.  It also helps if your link is on high-ranking blogs.  I’ll explain more as I keep learning.

My advice:  work on building your page rank, but don’t obsess over it.  Page rank, like SEO, isn't an exact science.  It's a little bit complicated, and I run across conflicting information.

Remember, you should be thinking long-term and focusing on high quality content. 

By the way, I am trying some things to improve my page rank--I'll eventually let you know what I'm doing and if it is working.

By the way, you can check your page rank HERE.

*Graph is from

As Featured On EzineArticles

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24 Hour Cooloff on Entrecard

Not really sure why this happened.  I don't see anything about it on the EC blog.

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Entrecard Time-Saving Tip

I can be picky about my advertisers.  But until recently I didn't realize I could automatically approve anyone that I've allowed to advertise before.  Just go to advert settings in your dashboard:

Now, click both of the options, including Accept ads automatically if they have been approved previously. 

I wasn't aware of this when I first started using EC, so I was having to go back and re-approve blogs that wanted to advertise a second time.   This setting keeps me from having to manually approve trusted advertisers.

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Add Social Network Profiles in Entrecard

You can now ad a link to your social network profile(s) on your Entrecard profile.  Just go to your dashboard, scroll down to "Your Entrecard" (where youre ad is displayed) and click edit.  Then you can ad links to your profiles in the spaces provided.  I've added my Twitter page.

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SEO, Google Page Rank, etc

I've had quite a weekend.  I think I've learned more about Google Page Rank, SEO, etc this weekend than in my previous two and a half years of blogging. 

I'm not a tech geek, and I don't plan on becoming one.  But I've come to an important conclusion: a little research goes a long way.

I'll fill you in later on what I'm doing and if it's working.  I'll be explaining Google Page Rank in "layman's terms": simple explanation for us non-geeks (by the way, "geek" isn't meant as an insult here).

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The Google Blog

Google has their own blog (shocker, huh?).  Their latest post examines the way we look at websites. 

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Perks of Working at Home

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Why I Started this Blog

I began blogging back in July of 2006.  I discovered my blog ( was a great way to communicate my thoughts to a larger audience.  I was getting really good feedback, which encouraged me all the more to keep writing.

But there was one problem:  I had what I believed to be great content, but I wasn't very satisfied with the traffic I was getting.  I was kind of clueless in terms of learning how to improve it. 

Now I'm learning.  I welcome you to learn from my mistakes and my progress.

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Changing Blog URL in Blogger/Blogspot

I just changed the name/URL of this blog.  Easy enough:

But one word of caution: unless I did something wrong, the old blog address doesn't forward to the new name.  You just end up with this on the former blog address:

So this messes up any links you've created to the old blog name.

And for Entrecard users, all your current ads will point to the old (blank) blog, so you'll have to cancel and start over with any ads you bought. 

So, changing the URL isn't hard, but keep in mind the potential problems that con come with it.  Not a big deal here, since this is a new blog.  But it would be a major issue if this was an established blog with several backlinks, etc.

NOTE:  I'm talking about changing the actual url (web address of blogger).  Changing the title of your blog is not the same thing. 

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Entrecard and Project Wonderful: Using them Together

I've used both Entrecard and Project Wonderful.  I've never made much money from Project Wonderful, but using them together can work well--especially for advertising.  Let's say there's a blog I want to advertise on.  If it has EC and PW spots, I just choose the cheapest way.  Sometimes blogs which cost thousands of EC credits only cost pennies through PW. 

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OK, I'll give Twitter a try.  Not really sure how much I'll like it, but we'll see. 

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Blogger/Blogspot Tip: The Crash Test Dummy Blog

If you use blogspot, you'll want to try out new templates.  Here's the problem:  not all of them work very well.

The solution?  Make a "dummy blog" that you use soley for the purpose of testing new templates.  Set it up and load up the templates to see how they work.  Be sure you play around with the dashboard to see how well the template works. 

This has saved me a LOT of trouble.  Sometimes a template looks good but doesn't work well once you upload it.

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Entrecard Down

Entrecard is down for maintenance.  It's actually ingenious timing--do your maintenance during the Superbowl while a large number of your bloggers are glued to the TV.

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Google: This Site May Harm Your Computer

Did anyone else get this message when doing searches?  Apparently there was some major problem at Google--a global problem that lasted around 20 minutes and caused all sites to be listed as unsafe.  Here's what's really crazy--I was getting this message while trying to click Google's own pages.  It'll be interesting to see their explanation.

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