Saturday, January 31, 2009

Save The Media: A great new blog discovery

How cool -- I just discovered while cruising through my GoogleReader today another blog that's posting regular tips for journalists looking to pickup online skills. Check out Save The Media -- great stuff. Read more!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Letters! We get Letters!

A few days back a couple of readers asked a couple of questions on the post about which Flickr photos you can use on your blog.

Here's question #1:

PI reporter Cecelia Goodnow said...

"I'm launching a blog about children's books, an area I've covered for about 20 years at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. How "finished" should the design and format be -- and how many posts should I have -- before I let people know about the blog's existence? How much can I tweak as I go along?"

PI Community Editor Don Smith, who has helped launch over 200 reader blogs at, jumped into the comment thread to offer this answer:

"Cecelia, good question. Blogs benefit from having content to show readers what the blog is about and what kind of authority its author has. So I usually ask bloggers to have at least three posts before we launch on the site. But there's no hard rule. If you can, I'd try to get as much content up there as you can right at the start, and then blog frequently to let readers know it's an active blog by someone with good background and a lot to say."

Thanks Cecelia and Don, for the question AND the answer! I agree with Don, with a nuance to the answer:

When you're launching a blog on a major platform like, where people are likely to see your blog as soon as you publish it, you do need to launch with no fewer than three posts.

But when you're working on Blogger, you can go ahead and publish as soon as you want -- once you've finished one post, if you like. (So long as you've vetted the posts and are sure they're libel- and otherwise risk-free).

Fact is, even if you do publish before you're ready for anybody to see it -- nobody WILL see it. There are so many millions of blogs out there -- seriously -- until you start to market your blog, it'd be a miracle if anyone found it.

You should, however, try to have five or six posts in your blog before you start marketing it to other sites, asking other bloggers to link to you, announcing your blog on Twitter and FaceBook and etc.

Question #2:

My friend Ricky Young, who I worked with long ago at the Orange County Register, writes to ask:

"Dear Michelle,

I've been grabbing photos off government sites, figuring my tax dollars paid for them, they must be fair game.

Should I stop this?


Taxpayer in San Diego"

The answer is: It depends. Many government agencies will say outright on their Web sites that anyone can go ahead and grab content and republish it. I also know, having tussled with a couple, that some government agencies believe the content produced by government staff and posted on their Web sites is not up for grabs. I disagree and fight with them about this, but I don't know if there's some rule out there that says absolutely, all city, county and other government-produced content is copyright free stuff we can take. So I always check. (And sometimes get into fights).

If anyone out there knows of a hard and fast law somewhere that says all content produced by government employees and posted on government Web sites is free for the taking, please let me know.

Also, even on government Web sites that do say outright that you can take the government-produced content, not all the content you see there is necessarily produced by government employees. Sometimes government Web sites buy content from freelancers, for example. The freelancers don't automatically give the government the right to grant use of their content to everyone else. If you check out, you'll see they warn about this and recommend you always check about copyright before taking photos or other content:

"Most of these images and graphics are available for use in the public domain, and they may be used and reproduced without permission or fee. However, some images may be protected by license. We strongly recommend you thoroughly read the disclaimers on each site before use. For information about obtaining seals of Federal Agencies and the United States, please see the Government Printing Office website."

So to be safe you should always check with the agency. I find this is generally pretty easy. Recently I wanted to use the City of Seattle's FAQ about Seattle for example. I wrote to the contact email on the Web site, and the guy wrote back right away saying sure thing.

One plus to doing this is the folks who produced the Web site you're grabbing from might be happy to see their content out in the world, and might link to you from their sites, sending you traffic.

PS: Check out Ricky's excellent San Diego-based blog at www:// Read more!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How to Add Metatags, and (maybe) get better Google search results

Awesome -- Google is finally sending searchers to Print To Online. I got my first two visitors from Google search yesterday: One came in on the search "permission to use a photo on a blog" and the other came in on "print to online."

Why do I care? Google referrals can account for 30 percent or more of your traffic. Getting Google and other search engines (but mostly Google) to recognize you as a trusted source can be key to your ultimate success. Those two visitors today could be 20 daily visitors in a couple of weeks, and 200 daily visitors in a year. Small beans, but I'll take it!

The other day when I first noticed that Google was spidering my site, I realized I hadn't taken care of a key housekeeping duty: I forgot to add metatags to my code.

MetaWhat, you ask?

Google looks for information about your site is in the HTML code that's operating under the hood on your site. Search experts are mixed on how much adding METATAG information will improve your Google search results; many now say it doesn't really help, but I do it anyways just in case.

Here's my friend Danny Sullivan, one of the world's leading experts on Google search, posting about Metatags on

The meta keywords tag allows you to provide additional text for crawler-based search engines to index along with your body copy. How does this help you? Well, for most major crawlers, it doesn't. That's because most crawlers now ignore the tag. ...

The meta keywords tag is sometimes useful as a way to reinforce the terms you think a page is important for ON THE FEW CRAWLERS THAT SUPPORT IT. For instance, if you had a page about stamp collecting -- AND you say the words stamp collecting at various places in your body copy -- then mentioning the words "stamp collecting" in the meta keywords tag MIGHT help boost your page a bit higher for those words.

It's enough to make the average person not bother, but I'll walk a mile for even a squirt more traffic from Google, so I inserted Metatags into my HTML anyways.

If you're interested in juicing your Google search results even a little bit, here's how to add Metatag info to your code.

SKILL LEVEL: MEDIUM. Absolute beginners WILL have trouble with this tip. Wait until you've been tinkering online for a few weeks before attempting.

DISCLAIMER: You can really mess up your blog messing with the HTML code. If you don't know what you're doing, you might want to skip this tip.

Okay, if you're up to the task, lets get down to business:

1. Sign in to Blogger. Click on the Dashboard (upper right)

Okay, don't freak out! If you've never seen HTML before this screen can be scary. Just take it slow, and follow directions carefully. The first thing we're going to do is SAVE YOUR CODE, so if you mess this up you can just copy and paste the original code back onto your blog.

CLICK on Download Full Template

Okay, now you're ready to get to work on the Metatags.

Go back to the Edit HTML page. Look at the code at the top of the page. You're going to see something like this:

< head>
< b:include data='blog' name='all-head-content'/>

< title>< data:blog.pageTitle/>< /title>
< meta content='0V2lIRM+XlO6HX5DSSYDuQ0pe1OP8z+6iX5FoQB2saE=' name='verify-v1'/>< /span>

Okay, here's your instructions:

< head>
< b:include data='blog' name='all-head-content'/>


< title>< data:blog.pageTitle/>< /title>


< span style="font-style:italic;">< META CONTENT='Training, tutorials and tips for print journalists looking to learn what they need to know to survive and thrive online' NAME='Description'/ >

< META CONTENT='Journalism, online, multimedia, Twitter, Blogging, how to blog, how to make money from blogs, marketing, SEO, placeblogging, hyperlocal, web publishing' NAME='Keywords'/>
< /span>

The first code block (the one that ends with "Description"/) tells search engines how to describe your site in search results.

The second code block (the one that ends with 'Keywords'/) tells search engines the keywords that you use to describe your site.

Obviously, the keywords posted above probably won't work for you. Your blog is about Food or sports or photography or something else. So before you save your changes, sub out my keywords for keywords that describe your site. Be careful not to touch any of the code (leave those quote marks where they are!) Read more!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reminder to new bloggers: Change your comment settings!

Chrys Wu, Editorial and social media strategist for, tried to comment on the Flickr photo post I made a few days ago, but couldn't, because I'd forgotten to change Blogger's comment settings.

Blogger's default comment settings only allow registered users to comment. So unless you have some reason for preferring comments by registered Blogger users, you should change your settings to allow everyone to comment.

To do that, CLICK the SETTINGS tab (upper left), then click on COMMENTS. Under "Who Can Blog" select Anyone. This will allow anyone to comment. If you chose this setting and then start to get a lot of crazy anonymous comments, you can always make it more restrictive later.

So, what did Chrys try to post? Here's her comment:

"Just read your latest entry on Creative Commons search. Had trouble posting this as a comment on your blog, so I'm posting it here: In addition to Flickr advanced search, you can search several sites for Creative Commons-licensed content on"

Thanks for the tip on the great resource Chrys.

Readers, where do you go to find photos you can use on your blog? Keep the tips and questions coming! Read more!

Cool Tool: TwitterGrader

This morning I noticed a rash of posts on Twitter saying "@wsbbizdev: Found you through Twitter Grader ("

For the Twitter newbie, @wsbbizdev in the line above is the handle of a person on Twitter. Naturally, this was just one example -- a bunch of the people I follow had this note on their feed naming the various people they found this morning on TwitterGrader.

TwitterGrader has been around for a while, so I wondered why all of a sudden it was being mentioned over and over. I went over to TwitterGrader and noticed that there's a "Tweet Them" option on the page now that invites you to send a note to the people you're now following because you found them on TwitterGrader. Great viral tool, totally working -- I have no idea though if it's new because it's been a while since I looked at TwitterGrader.

SINCE we're on the topic though, I thought I'd post a few words about how TwitterGrader can help you on Twitter.

For those of you who are just now getting started trying to figure out Twitter, let me first say: Breathe. Relax. Twitter does not bite.

A lot of folks who are just now, for the first time trying to take a dip into this crazy, vast and varied world of the Internet (after many years of, yes, ignoring it, perhaps hoping it will go away) are getting dizzy from hearing about all the options and the many things you can do.

It's true, it was easier to get started learning about the Internet back when it was young and there wasn't that much going on. Now there's something new every hour, and if you're just now trying to jump on the carousel, it can be tough.

But I say again: Breathe. Adopt what the Buddhists call "The Beginner's Mind." Assume the mindset of one who knows nothing, and is open to learning.

Now. Take one tiny step at a time. Know that you will enter into a strange place that makes no sense to you. Remember studying a new language in high school or college, and trying for the first time to try to read a book or an essay, and only every third word made sense? It'll be that way for a while. That's okay -- just go in knowing it won't make sense. Not at first.

If you stick with it, and keep trying and exploring, it will soon enough.

Okay! Feeling brave? All right so, go to

If you're just starting out on Twitter, you're interested in finding a few interesting people to follow. Say you live in Seattle, like me, and you want to see who the most popular Twitterers in Seattle are. Click the Twitter Elite tab. On the new page that comes up, click "see the twitter elite in a specific location". On the new page that comes up, type in SEATTLE.

The most popular (and thereby potentially interesting) folks Twittering in Seattle are listed on the results page. Scroll down, and if you find someone you'd like to follow, just click on their picture to be taken to their Twitter page, then click the FOLLOW button.

Check out the PI's Monica Guzman -- she's #21 for all of Seattle. Of course Tracy Record at West Seattle Blog is #1 for West Seattle -- I'm #3 for West Seattle and Mark's #9.

TweetIt from HubSpot

If you're feeling extra brave, go back to TwitterGrader and click on the far right TAB, TweetIt Button maker, to make a Tweet It badge like this one. Read more!

Former LaTimes.comer Eric Ulken on Twitter

Former LaTimeser Eric Ulken's got a nice post on Twitter over at his blog.

Here's a couple of his tips for journalists on getting the most out of Twitter:

# Twitter advanced search: Sure, everybody knows about Twitter search, but the advanced search options can be a pretty effective way to cut through the noise. For a simple example, try this: earthquake near:”Los Angeles” within:15mi (The geographic search makes use of the place name that users set in their profiles as a geotag for each of their tweets. Imperfect, but it’s a start.)
# TwitScoop: See what’s trending in real time. In the future, I imagine a local version of this (limited to tweets in a particular geographic area) on a big display on the wall of every newsroom.

When news breaks I use search to find witnesses to interview. When a man caught himself on fire at the University of Washington in October, I was able to find a number of people who saw it or the aftermath using Twitter advanced search. Read more!

Something Google This Way Comes

This is an exciting moment for any new blog owner: I think Google just cruised me. That is, I think the Google "spiders" checked out my site, looking over each post to see what it's about, evaluating whether to link to me or not, and how prominently to rank me in search results.

This is exciting, because on my own, without any search engines linking to me, I've been able to drive 100 visits to Print To Online in four days. That's pretty good, I think, but once Google starts pointing information seekers to me -- I shudder to think. I could be looking at another 10 or 20 visitors a day!

Anyways, here's yet another screenshot from my sitemeter search results, showing Google visited Print to Online for 16 minutes tonite. We'll see in a few days whether they liked me or not.

Read more!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Will Twitter Really Drive Traffic to My Blog?

Yep -- anytime you publish or do something new you'd like people to see, Twitter is a great way to get the word out. I recently posted to my Twitter (120 followers) that I'd launched this new blog. At the time that I posted it, I'd had eight visitors so far that day (hey, the blog's only like four days old. Give it time!)

My Tweet about my blog brought 20 more readers within hours. Pretty small numbers, I know, but every little bit helps, right? The same post on Facebook brought only four readers.

Here's a screenshot of my traffic report for the few hours after I Tweeted about my blog. Each one of those "Twitter" lines reflects a different person following the link from my Twitter feed to check out the blog:

Check this earlier post to learn how to add this cool & free traffic tracker to your blog. Read more!

Question: Why bother with Twitter?

Seattle P-I Food Writer Rebekah Denn writes in with this question about Twitter:

"My problem with Twitter is that I feel like I'm just adding (and getting) another layer of noise. I get a lot of information from my Google Reader - I probably have 50 blogs on it. What's the advantage to following the same people on Twitter? Won't I just be finding out, say, that they've posted something that I'm going to see on my reader soon anyway? Do I want to know the low-level chatter?

"...I see the attraction of referring people back to your blog... but is there any reason to do that on Twitter rather than Facebook (which, ironically, feels less in-your-face)? And would I annoy people if I do both?

"If you can make sense out of that as a question, have at it! Maybe I'll try some sample tweets and just see how they're received."

Thanks for the question Rebekah. I couldn't see the value of Twitter before I started using it either. It seemed stupid. Yet another way to tell people an incremental update about the boring stuff you're doing? Who needs it?

But then I read a great New York Times Magazine story on Twitter by Clive Thompson -- one of the best writers around on social media, technology and society.

He writes: "For many people — particularly anyone over the age of 30 — the idea of describing your blow-by-blow activities in such detail is absurd. Why would you subject your friends to your daily minutiae? And conversely, how much of their trivia can you absorb?"

After trying it though, he writes, users discover that "each little update — each individual bit of social information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting."

This (and most everything he said in his excellent article) intrigued me. After reading his story, I decided to try it.

As Clive promised, Twitter has helped me reconnect in a daily, quick and easy way with good friends I was only finding time to call a few times a month. (Granted, this effect is more striking when you and all your friends have iPhones.)

Twitter's been great on a professional front too. I've met a bunch of people in the journalism and blogging community I never would have met, and keep up with what they're all thinking and saying to each other. Sure, I could read their blogs, but my Google Reader is maxed out, and who has the time to read lengthy essays? This is the ultimate in MTV-generation short attention span theater -- every thought is an elevator pitch, just 140 characters in length. Who doesn't have time to read two sentences?

True, as you note, you can follow many people on their blogs, but not everyone. Many nonbloggers are on Twitter, so Twitter is the only place you're going to hear their thoughts.

True, you can follow a lot of people on Facebook, but many of the people you might want to follow aren't your friends (yet) so you can't very well friend them on Facebook or LinkedIn to see their updates.

Twitter is a great little niche tool that lets you hear the latest epiphanies of people you think are smart and cool -- even if you don't know them.

Geek that I am, when I started using Twitter, I started following a high ranking developer guy at Amazon as he mulls his latest ideas on technology.

When the stock market started to crash, I found a trader who was Twittering and followed him for the emotional side of the story, to hear his heart pounding from 3,000 miles away. He followed me too for a while, and learned a bit about the newspaper business. For months, we never spoke (direct messaging is one of Twitter's tools) but we overheard each other's conversations, and learned about a part of the world we knew nothing about.

When the last hurricane hit New Orleans, I did a search for New Orleans on Twitter and found some New Orleans locals to follow to get the latest news. I prefer the news in their personal stories to the "news stories" coming out of the Times Picayune.

Also, if you do follow your favorite bloggers, you will find that many are tweeting different stuff than they are blogging -- often the story behind the story, and how they personally feel about stuff, which is cool, and a new side of the story. So no, it's not the same, usually, and not repetitive.

But yes, Twitter, just like Google Reader, can turn in to too much noise, an overwhelming and therefore not useful tool you don't enjoy. The key to getting the most out of both tools is in the management.

I'd suggest you start slow, follow some friends, follow a few of the people you find interesting. Add new feeds as you go, and when the conversation moves too fast for you to follow, get into your follow list and delete the people you won't miss.

You'll notice right away that some of the folks you're following are boring Twitterers. Dump them. (Buh-bye, Bonnie Fuller.) Some will be interesting but crazy prolific, filling up your inbox. Dump them too. (Sorry, Robert Scoble!) Keep tinkering with the mix of the people you're following until you get to a point where you find your Twitter feed fascinating, and can't wait to see what everybody's saying.

One payoff, if you respond to people's tweets and get to know them, is that you get to meet cool people you might not have met before, and you get to be a part of important local and national conversations you never could have otherwise been a part of.

If it wasn't for Twitter, I can't imagine how I would have ended up exchanging notes with King County executive Ron Sims. Mark's been chatting with Mavis Staples' recording label about what a rip off it is that she didn't perform at the inaugural.

In ways you can't imagine until you start to use it, Twitter opens doors, helps you make new connections, and keep track of conversations in new ways. If you haven't tried it, I encourage you to give it a month. No, it's not for everyone, and in the end you might decide you don't like it. But then again, you might be surprised at the unexpected coolness of it.

So Twitterers, did I get this right? Did I miss something? Why do you use Twitter? Read more!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Question from a reader: Which pictures on Flickr can I use?

Hooray, our first interactivity for my new blog. Reader and Seattle P-I managing editor Rita Hibbard asked me offline today to answer this question:

Which pictures from Flickr can I republish on my blog?

Excellent question.

First, a little background: Contrary to many bloggers' beliefs, you can't just take content that you find out on the Internet and post it on your blog. All the content in the universe has some kind of ownership rights attached to it, and before you republish anything, it's your duty to check first to see if the owner of that content has granted permission.

If you don't see any indication on the site that the owner is granting permission, you need to contact the owner of the content to ask permission. Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great Q&A to help bloggers learn the nuances of copyright.

Be careful on this point: One blogger I know once contacted the PUBLISHER of the content (another blogger) and asked for permission to use a photo on his site. He said Sure! You guessed it -- he had taken it from another site and did not own the content or have the right to grant others permission to use it.

Flickr, an awesome photo-sharing site, makes it easy for you to tell whether the owner of the photo grants you permission to use it.

To start off, go to See that search bar front and center? Type Seattle in the search box and click Search. On the results page, look to the right for Advanced Search. Click Advanced Search.

Scroll down the page and click the checkbox in front of "Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content." Click Search. The results page will give you all the photos people have decided to share, in various ways. Go here to get definitions of the different kinds of sharing. For example, some people want you to credit their work if you publish their photo. Some ban commercial use.

Okay, so, click on the photo you like. This will bring you to a new page with a bigger photo. Scroll down the page, looking in the right column, and you'll see Additional Information. This is where you'll find the specific info about how this photographer has chosen to share his or her work.

A word of warning: Many photogs ban commercial use. In my mind, if you have Google ads on your site, and earn even $2 a month, that's a business. Many people are likely not that picky about it, but since you are making money you might want to write to the photographer and ask him if the usage you have in mind is okay. I generally write to people when I publish their photos anyway to thank them and give them a link, so they can see how the photo is being used.

More later on other places to get photos. Thanks for the question Rita! I have another question lined up from P-I Food Writer and blogger Rebekah Denn for tomorrow, but after that I'm bone dry. Please post your questions in the comments!

Thanks Ben Sonkua, for the use of the awesome photo! Check out Ben's Flickr stream -- he's got a bunch of great photos there. Read more!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to edit and use photos on your blog

Seattle PI interactivity editor Don Smith has a great post today on how to use Picnik to edit photos for your blog. Check it out here. Don has been teaching the training classes with me at the PI these past few weeks, and is offering great advice & tips at his blog, Seattle New Media. Read more!

Twitter & Blogging

In our class on blogging at the PI today, we went a bit into how using Twitter can make you a better blogger. A couple of staffers couldn't see why we were talking about Twitter when we'd promised a session on BLOGGING, for goodness sake.

It's a bit tough to explain to the total newbie that blogging isn't just pushing what you have to say out into the world. It's also about getting to know the other bloggers on your topic, and what they're talking about, and joining that conversation on Twitter and on their blog comments, and them doing the same to you.

It's about getting other experts on your topic to link to you when you post a good item, or to include you in their standing "fave blogs" links on their site, and you doing the same for them. It's about joining a community.

The folks in the class today who have been blogging for a while -- like the P-I's excellent environment blogger Robert McClure -- totally got this.

The funny and cool thing about the internet is that it encourages helpfulness and communication like this. The more people link to you, the more Google starts to see you as a trusted source on a topic, and the more it will send readers to you, and float you up to the top of the search results on your topic.

(Other things factor into your search engine success, like how often you post, and how well you use keywords ... more on that later).

Folks who want to be "isolationist" bloggers who just post what they want to post and don't get involved in the "world" of your chosen topic will likely not do as well as those who cooperate.

ALL of which is lead in to the fact that JustinC over at Neighborlogs has another great post tonite about Twitter and blogging. Check it out here.

Oh, and you can find my Twitter feed here. Read more!

How Much Will I Make from my Blog?

For most people, the answer is not so much.

JustinC of Neighborlogs recently wrote a blog post about how much he earns as a blogger writing about Capitol Hill. The breakdown -- about $14,000 a year. And that's posting quite a bit.

Another post at reports that while many people make no money at blogging, plenty of people make lots of money at it. Check out the details here.

PS: Did I mention If you are seriously interested in step-by-step instructions on how to become a money-making blogger, go read everything ever posted there. They have lots of great ideas.

Sick of hearing about blogging yet? Tell me what else you want to know about, and I'll answer your questions with a post here.

Thanks for reading! Read more!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Get a Great Free Traffic Tracker for your Blog

Yes, you've already added Feedjit, which is cool, but doesn't track much information. SITEMETER gives you more information, and it's free.

To add Sitemeter traffic tracking to your site:

1. Go to
2. Sign up.
3. Click on MANAGER at the top of the page
4. In the left nav on the page that comes up, CLICK HTML
5. On the new page that comes up you'll see some HTML code. Copy this code.
6. Return to your BLOGGER account. Click on LAYOUT.
10. SAVE Read more!

Next Step: Claim Your Blog on Technorati

Your next move is more setup: Go to Technorati and claim your blog.

To do this, go to Technorati. Hover your mouse over Blogger Central. Scroll down and CLICK Claim Your Blog. Follow the directions there to claim your blog.

Why do this? Long story long:

If you want traffic on your blog, there's a number of things you need to do to be picked up by Google, which can send you lots of traffic.

1. Get other people to link to you. This increases your "authority"
2. Use effective keywords in your posts and headlines
3. Do other stuff, like adopt your blog on Technorati, and add a "Favorite this Blog" button to your blog. The more people "favorite" you, and link to you, the higher your ranking in the blog universe will be, and the more traffic Google will send you.

Check out all the many widgits/gadgets Technorati makes available to you for free here. Read more!

How Do I Make Money Off My Blog? has a recent post entitled How Bloggers Make Money From Blogs. Mostly it's a list of a bunch of companies that have advertising widgets you can add to your site. Then there's a bunch of esoteric ideas like "become a consultant" and "write a book," but mostly it comes down to adding widgets to your site.

Here's how to do that:

Go to Amazon and create a widgit that lists products the readers of your blog might be interestedin. To do that sign up for the Amazon Associates program here.

Next, sign up for Google Ad Sense, which drops related text ads on your site and pays you a pittance for the honor. If you do some serious traffic, you can make some serious money. Most people make pocket change, but hey, that's pocket change you didn't have before. To do that:

1. Look to your upper left for the TAB called LAYOUT. CLICK LAYOUT
3. From the list of Gadgets here, select the + symbol next to AD SENSE.

Add this Gadget to your site. While you're at it, explore the other gadgets there. To navigate back to your blog post, or to the place where you can create a new blog post, CLICK DASHBOARD.

That's all there is to it. Read more!

Who Is reading my blog??

You'll be blogging for about 5 minutes before you start wondering who is reading your blog.

Good Question! To find out who is checking out your content, you need to add a traffic tracker to your blog.

I like to use Feedjit, because you can watch live as people drop by. Here's how you add Feedjit to your blog. These and all directions here will be about how to do stuff in blogger. If you're using another blog tool, you should be able to find info on how to do this by using Google search:

To add Feedjit traffic tracker to your blog:
1. Click on the Dashboard link.
2. Click layout
3. Click add a text widget.
4. Post this code into the text widget.

script src="" type="text/javascript">

*I had to take off the symbol < symbol that goes in front of this code, because if I put it there it would display the actual traffic feed instead of the code for the traffic feed. So add that < symbol back at the front of this code before you paste it into the text widget.

That's all there is to it. Read more!

Getting Started Blogging

Today our training session covered blogging tools and tips.

I suggested, of course, that people getting started blogging use, a super simple tool that just about anyone can figure out. We demonstrated simple stuff, like starting a new blog, uploading a photo, embedding a link, adding a blogroll and other widgets. Here's the basics:

To start a blog just go to, sign up, answer a couple of basic questions, pick a template, and you're done. Seriously. It's that simple.

Okay, so now you're in. How do you start blogging? If you look to the upper right side of your screen, you should see a link to Dashboard. Click Dashboard. When you get to the Dashboard, click New Post.

A new screen will come up, asking you for a headline (title) and giving you a space where you can type a blog post. Create your headline and text. Click the BLUE Save Now button every once in a while to avoid losing your content.

If you're blogging you should link to all the stuff online that you mention. Here's how you do that:

1. Highlight the text you want to link.
2. Click the symbol at the upper left of your screen (below the Title) that looks like a chain link on a globe.
3. A new box will pop up, asking you for the page that you want to link to. Paste the url in the space provided.
4. Click Okay.

Okay, so, how do you upload a photo? Simple.
1. Look up at the toolbar where you found the Link icon. You can see there that you can also bold text, Italicize text, spell check -- and right next to that spell check check mark, you'll see an icon of a photo. CLICK the photo icon.
2. A new box will pop up. CLICK browse.
3. Another box will come up asking you which photo on your computer you want to add to your blog. Select the photo. Click whether you want to center, flush right or left your photo. Select whether you want small, medium or large. Click Ok.
4. What the heck??? For some reason, Blogger puts your photo code at the top of your blog post! If you want to put that photo somewhere else, go to the top of your blog post, cut that code and paste it where you want the photo to go.
QUESTION: What if the photo I want to post isn't on my computer? How do I add it?
ANSWER: Go get it, put it on your computer. If it isn't yours and you don't have the right (from the owner) to publish it, don't take it and use it. That would be stealing.


Want to see how your post is looking so far? Look to the upper right of the place where you're typing your blog post. See the link to PREVIEW? Click it. This will show you how the post is looking. Get back to the posting interface by clicking Hide Preview.

Okay, that's enough to get you started. To change fonts, colors and other stuff like that, click on Settings and Layout in the upper left of your screen. There are lots of options to explore -- take your time learning your way around. Read more!

Going online: A primer for print journalists

This blog is written for the staff of the Seattle PI, one of two major metro dailies in Seattle. The PI was put up for sale on January 9, and if a buyer isn't found, it will likely close.

Since it was announced that the PI will likely stop printing, we've been running an in-house training program to give our staff more of the skills they need to be competitive in today's job market.

Our first session covered the places you can go online to find jobs -- the links discussed in that session are all at You can learn everything we covered by clicking on the job site links and exploring those sites.

We also covered an overview of skills print journalists should consider acquiring. You can find those recommendations here; the link to this page is at the top of inserttexthere. Read more!