Sept 2007 Draws to a Close!

First and foremost, I gotta apologize about the trailing off on the posts these past couple of days.

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING, but truth be told I lost my net connection the other day! And all the cable boxes outside look open, so I’m beginning to thing that either Comcast and Verizon are at war in my neighborhood, or somebody just decided to crack the boxes open.

But thankfully, the day this happened I bought Halo 3 so I guess things could be worse. (#);)

Que paso aqui?
Last month at this time I really wanted to change the tracking on my AdSense ads so I could come to some definitive conclusions on which ones are performing and which ones aren’t. Truth be told, I pretty much know which ones need to go (sidebar ad I’m lookin’ at you) but I think if I can get some super tracking on these ads I’ll be able to sleep a bit easier at night.

Another Contest?
Aside from the tracking on the AdSense ads, it has been a long while since I’ve done a contest on my site so I’m pretty sure I need to have one. And now that I think of it, I think I said I was going to have one this month.

*rolling eyes*

The last contest I had, Blog Party Contest Super Fantastico was a very sweet and innocent first contest for this site, but looking bad at it now I kind of disrespect it…

  • For one the prizes were a little bit suspect and people didn’t even know what they were “competing” for. That will be changed. Hopefully I’ll have multiple prizes, they’ll be good, and people will consequently want them!
  • For two, the contest didn’t do anything for my site. I didn’t market it well and even if I had, I didn’t set it up to get this site more links, more readers or anything like that. I will be making a change on that part too.

What else?
I’ve wanted to do some other changes to this site, especially on the design side, but I think with the things that I have coming up are enough to keep me content while I focus on some other projects I have going. … I will say that if I DO ever get around to changing the look of my site I think I may work to incorporate ad spots into the design a bit better a la Casey and John Chow.

Et tu?
Do you guys have anything going on next month that you’re gearin’ up for? Let’s hear it!

When to Close Up Shop

If you hadn’t heard, and hadn’t read my latest edition of Saturday Speedlinkin, two of my favorite sites have decided to close their doors, Listikal.com and Shaun Low.com.

Now I think both of those authors had fair reasons to do what they did, but it still sucks to see your fellow bloggers shut it down.

For some reason, I just makes my day to hear when my comrades in arms are having small successes with their sites. So to hear that a site is going down, well… It just gives my stomach that bad feeling ya know? Having said this…

The Grind
Blogs are work. Plain and simple. And depending on where you are in life, blogging may not be one of your top priorities. Say if you were in school for instance… Personally I don’t know that I could put in as much work as I do on here if I had classes. And I think if you’re looking to make some extra loot with your blog, (in terms of work) it gets worse before it gets better.


Replying to comments, replying to e-mails, worrying about stats and links… It can certainly take a lot of your time, and if you’re not getting the Alexa or Page Rank you want, who knows what kind of money you’re going to be making vs the work you’re doing. So if you’re caught in this awkward question of “To continue blogging or to NOT continue blogging…” maybe this will help:

Know When to Fold’Em
First and foremost, I’m a big proponent of the notion, “Like what you do – The money will come.” If you think that blogging is a quick and easy way to make a buck well, I can’t say that it’s not. If you think that blogging is a quick and easy way to make BIG bucks, I don’t know that I can agree. TO THAT END, if you find blogging to be a chore and are really just in it for a buck, get out now – You’re just going to hate it more later.


Sorry, I had to…

On the flip side, what if you love blogging, are in it and HAVE been in it for the long haul but haven’t made any money? Well it might also be time to close shop, at least on what you’re currently doing. If you’re in a niche that isn’t working for you, maybe you need to try a new one. If you feel good about your blog but just haven’t been “successful” with it (whatever that means for you), maybe you need to ask a fellow blogger for help and go back to square one.

Know When to Hold’Em
Well, if it’s not time to fold’em, probably time to hold’em! And if you’re definition of success is tied with a dollar amount, sometimes that means to stay the course with your site until you get the Ranks that you need and/or the search engine love you’ve been missing.

If you’re definition of success IS NOT tied to a dollar amount, then I’m guessing you’re blogging because you have a pure love for it. In that case, you probably don’t have to “make time” for your site, because it’s already something you pour a lot of work into. Just keep it up, enjoy it, and don’t lose site sight of why it makes you so happy. (#):)


Happy Halo 3 Day!

Because I pre-ordered Halo 3 to get 1600 Microsoft Points that I ended up scratching off, I probably won’t have the pleasure of enjoying Halo 3 with the rest of you guys tomorrow.

In fact, I probably won’t get a chance to enjoy it the day after either. But that’s ok. (#):)

Just knowing that Halo 3 is finally out, and that I’ll soon have a a chance to sit down and enjoy it…

That Warm Fuzzy Feeling
Yeah that’s right, it makes me feel good. I mean any way you slice it, it’s a great time to be a gamer. I think I heard a stat somewhere that Halo 3 is anticipated to break $200 Million in sales and pre-orders. That’s like Indiana Jones numbers! Why do I care so much? Well, it just means that we can be assured that the best is yet to come.

I’ve always maintained that video games are the “convergence of art and technology” (Celia Cruz) and I JUST KNOW that the stuff coming out tomorrow is going to be breathtaking in terms of gameplay, graphics, and artistry.

Maybe what I’m trying to say is no matter what you’re doing today, work, school, hookey or anything in between…

Can You Help Me Find a Good Host?

You may have noticed that sometimes my site doesn’t respond as quickly as it should. I’d say 90% of the time it’s good, but now that I’m on my blog 24-7, that 10% is really killing me.

Even though I’ve been pretty happy with my current host, I’m beginning to think that’s just because my host now is so much better than my last. To put it another way…

I think I can do better.

My Current Digs
I don’t think I’m hurting myself in anyway by revealing this, so if you care to know the situation I’m in now, check out the VPS Linux Plans for WebIntellects. Of course the main reason why I went with their entry level VPS plan was because it was cheap and did everything I needed it to which was mostly PHP and databasing. They also have a swanky PLESK interface which I have grown quite attached to.

This is Where YOU Come In!
I know I’ve said it before, but I really feel good about everyone who is a regular reader of this site. That’s why I’m asking you for help! If you’re really happy with your host and wanna make a quick buck, post a comment with an affiliate link! (And don’t worry, I’ll make sure they don’t stay in the SPAM catcher for long if they end up there). And I’m not saying this is what I absolutely need, but it would be great if this is what your service could provide:

  • PHP, SQL (duh)
  • Lots o Space, Lots o Bandwith
  • CONTROL – I come from a Computer Science background, so I’m not necessarily looking for the easiest thing out there, but most full featured. (Root access anyone)?
  • Maybe a PLESK interface? Maybe not.
  • Some freebies like SPAM control and the like?
  • Ability to host TONS of sites!

So hey, I hope you guys can help me out. I’m not promising I’ll pick one, but I’m definitely leaning towards switching and switching fast!

Saturday Speedlinkin VI

Only on my site could you find such an erroneous thing as a “Saturday Post” being written and posted well into Sunday. Sorry about that!

My uncle got married over the weekend, and you guys know what that meant… Rehearsal dinner on Friday, wedding on Saturday (oh and baby stuff)… It was just a busy weekend.

And of course there was Pac-Man: Championship Edition

I think on the whole, this week’s links are pretty interesting in that if you look at blogging from the business perspective, you see much like “normal” businesses, blogs take a whole lot of time, a whole of work – And often they don’t continue forever.

While some blogs seem to be at an end (at least for now) others are having their own personal successes and going forward. No matter which side you fall into this week, I wish you the best of success and luck in ALL of your future endeavors.

Listikal Status by Listikal – Tim was one of the first friends I made through my blog and like others, I was getting quite worried since he hadn’t made a post in a very very long time. Even though he’ll now be posting over at Connected Internet, it still sucks that Listikal.com will be no more.

I Sold ShaunLow.com by Shaun Low – I think for a lot of us, this news came as a great shock. But if you read Shaun’s post, he cites lots of good reasons. Nevertheless, his site will be greatly missed.

Casey Sold her AdSpots! by Casey – I always love to hear when my fellow bloggers are doing well and it didn’t take long for Casey to sell our her adspots! Goes to show you how easy it can be to make a little more money on your site!

Custom Blogging Awards by Mike – If you didn’t know, Mike has created some wonderful graphics in the past for awards, and now he’s offering his services to the masses. I really hope people are smart enough to take advantage of this offer. *nod*

Curiosity Lead Me to Monetizing My Websites by Opal T – One of the best things about Opal is not only will she give you some killer advice about business and site practices, but she’ll also share with you her thinking behind it.

Connect With Your Readers (Part 2)

Yesterday, in Connect With Your Readers (Part 1), we discussed the importance of connecting with your readers and all the fun and important stuff that can come from those connections.

Today we’re getting into the thick of things, with how you go about making those connections. And if you think this is going to be your standard rundown of blogging tips, keep reading. You might be pleasantly surprised!

“I Want to be a Real Boy!”
If I didn’t make it clear before, what we’re trying to do is make connections with our readers. When people visit your blog, you of course ant them to see the value in the content you produce, but you should also want them to care about YOU. And there’s no way that anyone is going to care about YOU, if YOU don’t seem like a person. Thankfully, it’s not too hard to put yourself out there. Just think about these three simple things that make you a person!

  • Name – Even if you’re trying to protect your identity, put a name out there that people can call you by. A name gives you an identity and individuality that makes you unique from other blogs. That’s step one.
  • Face – Like I’ve said in Changing What You’re About, post a picture of yourself! You couple that with a name, and you’re almost a person already. More pics the better, but try and have at least one floating around that people can always access without going back to previous posts.
  • Soul – Don’t just scraper (bike) other people’s posts and regurgitate news! Chances are there are sites that do a better job of that already. People will care about you when they get to know you, so inject your personality into your posts! You’re not going to please 100% of the people 100% of the time with what you have to say, but having no soul in your site will get you no readers fast!

Part of Your World

Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you, Getting to hope you like me.

One of the great things you can do to connect with your readers is sharing part of your world with them. And I’m not talking about specifically doing THIS or specifically doing THAT, but doing and sharing something. Even if you try and keep your blog topics on x, y and z…Maybe take a Sunday as an opportunity to share something personal with your readers.

Take Tish for example. She posted a picture of herself a while ago to prove to one of her readers that she indeed worked as a Sonic carhop a couple years ago.


And then there’s Pete who (on the 12th of every month)tries to post 12 pictures that sum up what he was up to that day.

But you know it’s not all about pictures. Aaron shows us that sharing with us what’s going on his personal life is enough make that connection.

Your Turn
So what are YOU doing to make those connections with your readers? If you’re realizing now that you haven’t done much on this front, there’s no time like now to make that change. Trust me, your readers will appreciate it. (#):)

XBLA – Hexic HD May be the Most Boring Game Ever

I like puzzles.

I like video games.

I like puzzle video games.

Hexic is a puzzle video game.

I HATE Hexic HD.

I should probably have known that something was up when they included the full game free on my 360.


Why Hexic Sucks
If you’ve played the game for 5 minutes, you probably wish you had played it for 4 and a half. And you are also probably familiar with the following reasons why Hexic HD sucks:

  • The intro to the game (floating Hexic tiles) is so dull and boring…
  • No one knows what the hell is up with the sound effects and music. It’s almost as if Hexic wants you to feel trapped in a tiny padded room playing this game.
  • Animations and effects are all but non existent. While in the game, if you take your hands off the controller, basically NOTHING will happen.
  • The gameplay is so bad, within 10 seconds you’ll usually just be alternating between a random control pad press and the rotation button just hoping “it all works out”.

Conclusion
Don’t play Hexic HD. It’s a bad and boring game. How about this, I’ll make you a deal: I won’t try and get Achievements points for it if you don’t.

Connect With Your Readers (Part 1)

At the beginning when just developing our site’s look and feel, it’s hard to get a idea of what our readers like and don’t as far as posts go.

Now you could point to a lot of different factors that play into this dilemma but often the problem in those early months is the fact that we don’t have any connection with our readers.

And as bloggers, making connections is EXACTLY what we should be doing.

Why Should I Care About My Readers?
Sure it may sound like a stupid question, but in any event here’s the answer…Readers are what makes the blogosphere go round! If you want a successful site, you need to have a connection with as many as you can. When they feel a connection with you, they’ll keep coming back to your site just to see “how you are” and “what’s new with you”, even outside of caring about whatever topic you’re blogging about. (PLUS, how many of us can say that we have enough friends?)


Outside of the direct benefit for your blog, there are a plethora of other reasons to connect to your readers…It’s hard to say what they can be because they manifest themselves in so many different ways but here are a few great things that have happened to me:

  • Blogs We Luv– Not too long ago I was asked to help contribute to this great young blog and it’s just fantastic because I feel like it’s really a unique project and I don’t think I would’ve gotten the invite if I hadn’t taken the time to get to know both Mike and Tish.
  • Web Dev Tips – No matter if we’re talkin’ about AdSense, SEO, or any one of the traffic promising widgets in the middle…I’m forever in debt to readers of this site who not only comment on what I have to write, but also take the time to let me know ways I can improve on a bunch of things…From my CTR, to traffic and all the rest. Most of the stuff I’ve learned recently has probably helped me the most, and I got it from the connections I’ve made with people like Opal T and the Baron of Brown, Brown Brown.
  • Mas Amigos – And finally, blogging connections have let me make friends with people I would never have had the chance to talk to otherwise. Take Pete for instance – We have a whole freakin’ ocean between us so NO CHANCE I would’ve ever gotten the chance to meet him. But next time I’m over there no doubt that I’m gonna try and drop in!

What’s Next?
Well of course it’s Making the Connections! But you’re gonna have to come back tomorrow to check out that part! (#):D

XBox 360 Ninja Gaiden II Trailer

This past weekend I was on the 360 a lot either watching Season 6 of The Shield, playing Geometry Wars, or trying to redeem my 1600 Microsoft Points to no avail.

I did take a pause long enough from all this madness though to hear that the Ninja Gaiden II Trailer was officially out and online.

I was a definitely a big fan of the first one so I had to check it out from XBL.

Thanks For Wasting a Minute of My Life
The way that Ninja Gaiden II was on XBox.com earlier this week and the way it has been prominently displayed on Live, you would think that this trailer would be something. Well let me tell you it’s not. This is the teasiest of trailers that I’ve ever seen. I hate it when this stuff comes out.

I guess it’d be different if I was one of those people who analyzes every frame in the trailer saying, “OO, that looks a new weapon that will surely lend blah blah bblah…” But I’m not. There was no action in the trailer, Ryu was sporting something on arm that made him look like Shredder, he jumped up in the air and then it was over.


This btw WASN’T in the trailer.

XBox and Team Ninja – Thanks for wasting my time.

My Readers – I hope you just skimmed this post and you read that it’s not worth your time to even look at this thing. However, if you just NEED some ninja action check out this vid from gametrailers.

Oh, if you DO want to see the trailer from xbox.com, jump to the page here.

Halo 3 is a Week Away!

The wait has been long.

The anticipation has been great.

But FINALLY after so much waiting, Halo 3’s release is only a week away!

For a long time I honestly wasn’t getting all that excited about it. I think part of it was that for a good while it just seemed like the game was never coming out. But now, for the most anticipated game in history, Microsoft won’t let me ignore it anymore!

Marketing up the Ying Yang
If you haven’t heard anything about Halo 3 lately, seriously – You must be living under a rock. From the Halo themed Xboxes, to the ads on XBox Live, and now the freakin’ amazing Believe campaign, Microsoft knows now to launch a game right. If you missed Brown’s post (which I admittedly did the first time around), you need to head over to the Halo 3 site NOW and check out Believe. It is nothing short of amazing. Seriously.


What are Your Plans that Day?
As some of you know, I pre-ordered the game. With work and the baby and all that, I just didn’t trust myself to be able to get out there to get this game. If this was basically any other game, (SF IV, Tekken 6, Ninja Gaiden 2, or even Gears of War 2), it’d be a different story. But I know poeple are going to be just WAITING for the stores to open up and I really don’t want to be caught in that mess.

For me, I don’t plan on getting the game that day, so staying home from work isn’t a real probability either. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll look for any excuse I can to skip out on work but being as how the game comes out on a Tuesday, well you know. If it was a Friday that’d be a no brainer.

So how about you guys? Excited about the game? Planning a Halo 3 party? Skipping out work? Skipping out on your marriage? Selling your kids on eBay?