New Year, New Day

A new year, a new day and a new something that I can’t quite get to coalesce out of the ether. A time for making resolutions that will be as swiftly broken as they are dreamed up. Ah, that’s it, an excuse to write something in here! Incidentally, this is an original article written by me for www.terrydidcott.com and is therefore protected by copyright laws, so no copying! New year’s day is supposed to instill us with a sense of rebirth, drawing towards us the new ideas that will propel us forward into the year with revitalised enthusiasm for our great new sense of change. But does it?

I wonder sometimes if the start of a new year is really nothing more than the dawn of a new day, which realistically it is after all. Its something to be grateful for, being able to watch the sun rise and thank whatever your preferred deity is for giving you another day of life on this Earth. The alternative does not bear thinking about…

So what am I going to do with my new day, which happens to fall on what our modern calender says is the first day of the year 2010? Am I going to proclaim a list of new year’s resolutions that will presumably give the impression that they will make me a better person? Nope.

To me, each new day is a gift to be used as best I can and not wasted. I hate waste, so even to waste time is something that I don’t like to do. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to take a break and have an afternoon siesta – I do! That’s not wasting time, its using it wisely to rejuvenate the old brain cells so that I can carry on doing what I’m doing with renewed vitality when I get back to it. In fact, not having that siesta leaves me feeling over tired in the afternoons and I find I am very unproductive in that state, so its actually wasteful to skip the afternoon nap! Try telling that to your boss who catches you asleep at your desk at 3 in the afternoon!

So I go into my new day with good intentions to achieve something with my work online, to make sure I get some exercise and to make sure I spend plenty of time with my new daughter. Oh, didn’t I mention it before? Yep, I’m a dad now to a beautiful 1 month old little girl so life has altered beyond all recognition. Will I be posting photos of her on Facebook and other crap sites like that? Absolutely not.

Those places are for those people who have nothing better to do with their time, or too much time on their hands to waste (ah, that word again) without realising that everything they write and every picture they post on that stupid site is being seen, read and potentially abused by other people, tax inspectors, policemen, government officials, secret service personnel and probably foreign (or local) criminals who might be looking to do some identity theft. And all those idiots who go posting their family photos and writing about all their personal stuff on Facebook and sites like it are giving it all to them for free!

Ok, enough of venting my intense dislike for big social sites and Facebook in particular. I have better things to do with my time. While I’m online, I’m working in one guise or another. I may be writing articles, building websites, working SEO on those websites or promoting them that, combined, make me my living. It consumes a lot of time, but its time well spent.

When I start my day and have a quick check around at a few of my main sites and see that one or more of them have gained a better position in Google’s search results, then I know the previous day’s (or week’s) work was a success and I achieved what I set out to do. When that better position results in greater search traffic to my websites, which converts into more sales or ad clicks which convert into cash, then I am happy with the work I’ve done and I know that what I’m doing is right and is bringing me the success that I am working towards. The bigger and better the revenue generating ability of those sites gets, the happier I get!

So will today, being the first day of a new year, be any different for me? Not really. It’s just another day to be spent doing the work that is building my online business. It’s setting in motion and giving more momentum to the flywheel of the money generating engine that will keep on turning even when I take my foot off the gas for a few days or weeks at a time if I want to. Not that I’m likely to do that yet, as I want that engine spinning at top speed making maximum revenue before I contemplate leaving it for any length of time.

To me, that’s a nice goal to aim for and one that I don’t really need a new year’s resolution to put in place. That’s because its been my goal for a while now and every day is a new day to work towards that goal, bringing it closer and realising the reality of the situation that even now allows me to say, “I make my living from the Internet.”

Happy new year to you all and may it be a happy and prosperous one!

Terry Didcott

Make Paella Online

Well, I hadn’t intended really going through with this, but then the silly side of it sort of hit me and I thought, what the hell… This blog is, after all my own creation and I get to fill it with whatever lunacy I want, so I decided to abandon the make money online niche for a while and pursue the make paella online niche instead.

Why?

Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? The make money online niche is so saturated with wannabe marketers all clamouring for the same pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that I thought, why follow the madding crowd when I can change tack completely and go after the relatively unspoilt spoils of the make paella online niche. Just to reinforce the viability of this niche, you have to realise that there is very little competition and I hear the rewards are pretty good. If you like paella, that is!

But 40 million Spaniards can’t be wrong and to be honest, it is quite tasty stuff!

So how much paella can you make online?

Well, I reckon there is a lot of paella to be made online for those who know where to look for it. Remember, you need to build up an authority site with 100 or so posts about paella and the many ways of making fast paella online. Then you have to get lots of backlinks to it, but probably not as many as those crowds of hopefuls all climbing over each other for that valuable commodity, oh yeah I think its called Scotch mist cause most of them won’t be getting their hands on any hard cash because most of the real make money is heading to a remote fishing lodge in Canada…

Well, then you sit back and wait for all that paella to start rolling in by the truckload, cause everyone else is looking the other way and no one has figured out how rich you can be with a garage full of paella. It stands to reason that this is a very lucrative niche to get into, not least of all because Google couldn’t care less if you want to target the make paella online keyword (and all its long tails) because who in their right mind would want to waste their valuable SEO knowledge on such an uncompetitive niche?

Ha, fools! You are all going after MMO and I’m going to make more than most of you by going after MPO!

Yes, SERPs domination is within my reach and nobody is going to stop me. Today the rice, tomorrow the fish! Wold domination is the only possible outcome to my fiendishly cunning stunt…

Ok, that’s enough crap, cause the dogs want to go out for their walk. Bye…

Update 23rd August:
Ok, joking aside, I just looked and I rank No1 for “Make Paella Online” without the quotes. Told you I’d be dominating this niche really fast and before you can say, “Shit the pan’s on fire!” I’m up there with the real big hitters. By the way, that’s without any of that fancy SEO crap that in all honesty is totally useless to you once your name is known to The Almighty Ones. Yep, don’t even bother trying to game the system or start crowing about your success in your blog, cause you’ll get shat upon. That’s one thing you can count on.

Now when it comes to working any niche, when you find a good one, work it really hard. Squeeze it like you were trying to get blood out of a stone and when you start getting a flow, don’t let go! That’s another way of saying: “Never give up!”

Terry Didcott

Posting Pictures Legitimately

Posting pictures legitimately seems to be something a lot of bloggers and the odd freelance writer needs to do, but they often cross the line with regards to copyright. This is because published photographs that appear on the originating website often turn up on other people’s blogs without any credit given to the owner. While the Internet is a vast place chocked full of millions of pages of web content and images, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you post someone else’s picture on your blog without due credit that you will get away with it because no one will notice.

There are some websites out there that do publish royalty free images that you can legitimately download and post to your blog. They make it clear that their images cane be used on a non-commercial basis which is perfect for most general niche blogs. So if these sites, some of which have many thousands of images to choose from, are allowing this then why do some bloggers still go out and steal photos that are not royalty or copyright free?

One reason may be that they can’t find exactly what they want on the free image sites and when they come across that perfect image on another site, they think “what the hell?” and take it anyway. Another reason may be that they want a higher resolution image. Free image sites generally only give away small images, say 300×200 at best which is fine for sprucing up a blog post, but no good if you’re designing a fancy header banner that requires a much larger image.

Whatever the reason for stealing someone else’s photos, its plagiarizing and the owner can come after you with a lawyer and give you all sorts of legal headaches. Not worth the trouble, really, but it wont stop anyone who is already actively doing it, because they probably think that they can’t be caught. Geographic location has plenty to do with this kind of blogger’s attitude. A blogger in China probably feels very safe from the US lawyers who think they rule the roost. That blogger is probably right if he steals an image from an American’s site, but if he steals one from a site based in China, he will be caught and prosecuted. It happens!

Same goes wherever you are in the world. Just because a site looks like it originates in a certain country, it doesn’t mean that it does. Many of my own sites look like they originate in the US because I’m targeting US traffic – even down to the American way of spelling if that’s what it takes. But I’m not in the US at all. Not even close.

I’m drifting away from the point of this post, which is to tell you about posting pictures legitimately on your blogs, so let’s bring it back. There are two ways in which to post images on your blog without upsetting anyone and still enhancing the look of it, assuming pictures are needed to do that. You may have noticed that I don’t personally use many pics in my own postings – for me they distract the reader from the beauty of the written word… mmm ok whatever!

1. Just sort through the royalty free stuff and use what fits most closely to what you need it for. Sure it’s time consuming, but you stay legitimate and that’s important.

2. Go out of the house with a digital camera, or phone if it has a good camera built in, and take some of your own!

The second point is something that I have been doing for some time now when I want that certain angle that I know I can get locally. I’m lucky in that I live quite near to the beach in a tourist town in southern Spain, so in summer the place is packed with tourists of all descriptions and perfect for taking “people” shots that can work. I generally stick to candid group shots rather than taking individuals, or they might get a little upset at being singled out and want to know why.

In fact, my new header image was taken recently on my phone while I was walking the dogs up in the hills behind where I live. Nice view from up there!

Sometimes, if you’re faced with this dilemma and want to photograph an individual, then be bold and go up and ask their permission. Explain what you want the shot for and they might be happy to agree. Remember, people are generally quite vain and the thought of their image appearing in the online “media” will sway any misgivings and they’ll most likely be happy to let you. If not, thank them for their time and move on to someone else.

The beach is not just for photographing people, but also I have great scenery with a backdrop of tall rugged mountains, a wealth of bars, restaurants and shops that can add character to any post especially in a locally oriented blog, castles, ruins and interesting old buildings, people walking dogs for dog and pet oriented blogs, plenty of traffic for shots of cool sports cars, even cooler motorbikes and all kinds of vehicles, plenty of scope for abstracts, sunrises and sunsets, moon rises, choppy seas, calm seas, low flying planes and helicopters etc.

Plenty of scope in fact to embellish with images a wide variety of blog themes and its all completely royalty and copyright free because I took the photos myself and I own the copyright.

So if you need an excuse to get away from the computer for an hour or so while still remaining in “working” mode, then grab your camera or phone and go take some images of your own. They may even turn out to be much better than what you can steal!

Terry Didcott