Friday, December 17, 2004

I'm down again

This time Supass Hosting is blaming it on a nameserver:


We are currently working
on the nameservers that your account relies on.
This should be fixed shortly.
Thank you for your patience while this is resolved.

We had temporarily resolved this matter,
and then we found the problem lies deeper within
the configuration. We apologize for this mistake,
and I assure you we are working on this matter as soon as possible to get this running.


Pat W.

Well, I feel so much better now. At least one of their hard drives didn't crash. At least, I hope thay backed up their drive on the name server. At least THAT is up to date as far as my account is concerned.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I've moved to Movable Type

Now, Peoria Pundit on Blog*Spot hasn't moved, but my main blog, Peoria Pundit is now running on Movable Type, the blogging software choice for serious bloggers. MT is very similar to the TypePad interface I've using for the past 25 days. It should, since both come from Six Apart.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Trying something new and liking it

Sooner or later, I am going to move my main Weblog to another host. While I'm at it, I thought I'd investigate migrating from pMachine -- about which I have no real complaints -- to Moveable Type.

To get a feel for the flavor of Moveable Type, I've been making use of the free-trial period for TypePad, a pay hosting service/system that makes use of software based on MT.

I really like it.

The features include multiple categories, integrated blogrolls, a nifty QuickPost bookmarklet that lets you add a new blogrool member or a post without opening the main "add a new post" site. It also allows for uploading images directly to the server at the time time that photo is inserted into a post.

I may end up keeping TypePad and use them as my server company.

Adapting the template to personal tastes was easy and satisfying.

In the mean time, I'll be doing my major posting to this site.

(Folks: As usual. Blogger is acting up and I can't spell check. So, I'm leaving the errors as is.)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Testing Flickr

Originally uploaded by Peoria Pundit.
I read about a new free photo blogging service like Photobucket or Hello!

It's called "Flickr."

It let folks upload up to 10 Megs of images a month, then use their interface to post the blog onto your Blogger, Moveable Type, WordPress, LiveJournal, etc. blog.

IT seems to work like Photobucket, but with a "submit to blog" interface. With Photobucket, you have to cut and past the image tag, then to directly to Blogger or to whatever service you are using.

Hello! lets users directly upload from their hard drive using software they have downloaded into their PCs, then post that image directly into a new Blogger post. The downside is that it only words with Blogger.

It's still in beta testing stage, and its worth a look.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Site down, and it's not my fault

Through no fault of my own, Peoria Pundit is out of commission. My hosting company is having server problems followign a reboot. It's been down since at least 8 a.m. this morning and it wasn't back up by the time I had to leave for work this afternoon.

I'm a little miffed, of course.

So, if any of my regular readers read this, please pass the word on your blogs, if your don't mind.

This seems to be happening far too often.

UPDATE: It's official. I have a problem.

It's been 12 hours now that Surpass Hosting has been unable to get my site back up and running. The last message on my now-massive repair ticket is that they have to completely reload backed up data onto a brand-new hard drive in the server. Funny how this damn thing escalated from a simply restart of a server. In fact, they were completely unaware of the problem until I sent them an email two effen' hours after I noticed the outage.

Here's a new rule of thumb. Start bitching the very first time you get a "timed-out" or "cannot be found" message. Don't hit the refresh button. Don't restart the computer. Start bitching. Right away.

Another lesson: You hunt for the cheapest hosting company, you get the cheapest hosting company.

%*@#!% !!!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Debbie does the blog*

It's Debbie Adlof, the very capable editor and publisher of the Community Word. She has just one post up now, and it's kind of introductory. Be sure to go over and say "hi."

Chase and Rob, you two play nice now.

* I'm not going to explain the pop culture reference behind this headline. No. I am not.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Comment your way to hits and visits

"You have to write 'em to get 'em."

That's what they told soliders ... back in the days before email and cell phones, anyway.

The same advice holds true for bloggers.

If you are being a good blogger and maintaining your own blogroll -- a list of frequently visited blogs, sometimes maintained via -- you have a ready-made way to drive hits to your site. And, have fun doing it.

You should regularly visit the blogs on your blogroll. And you need to let them know you are reading and appreciating what they have to say by leaving comments. Virtually every commenting system has a way for a visiting commentator to include the address to their Blog sites.

Many include a check box that says "remember info" so that you don't have to retype the information the next time you comment. Of course, for this feature to work, your computer has to be set to accept cookies (don't worry; most computers are set to to accept them unless told to do otherwise).

Some rules of thumb:
1. Don't write long essays. Keep it brief and to the point. If you have a lot to say, write your own post on your own blog, and imply include a link to the post about which you are writing.

2. Don't be a troll. The phrase comes from Usenet -- a form of Internet bulletin board system still in use -- and it refers to people who use fowl, degrading and insulting language, or who post about unrelated topics. Basically, you will know one when you read one.

3. Be careful with HTML. Most bloggers decide on their own whether or not they want posters to be able to use HTML. If you try to post a link, it might not show up at all. Even if a site allows HTML, that doesn't mean its appropriate to flood someone's comments section with links. If the site owner allows HTML, use it sparingly.

This is where blogging becomes a community. This is how bloggers communicate, not through email.

UPDATE: And here is a clue when leaving the address for your own blog: Use the complete URL, such as:


Do not use just the domain name, like

Trust me, it won't work and it will not bring new visitors to your site.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A few words about those pesky image tags

This is a standard image. This is the IMAGE TAG you would use on your blog:

‹img src=""›

It's always in the form of a URL address, unless the image comes from the top directory of your Web host, then it could be shorter. If you are using an image hosting service like Photobucket, you will use the address they give you.

Remember, hotlinking -- the practice of using the URL of someone else's images without permission -- is considered theft of intellectual property and theft of bandwidth. No one will throw you in jail, and it is ubiquitous, but it can cause you all sorts of grief.

This is the exact same image except for one difference. Roll your mouse over the first image, than the second. Notice that the IMAGE TAG shows up on the second, and not the first. That's because I added an ALT attribute to the tag:

‹div align="center"›‹img src="" alt="" border="1"›‹/div›

It's a good idea to use these because it tells readers that the image is yours. It also is what shows up on your site if the image fails to load properly, making it easier for you to track down what is wrong. You don't have to make the title the same as the IMAGE TAG. For example:

‹div align="center"›‹img src="" alt="Peoria Blog Bash 1" border="1"›‹/div›

Also note that I centered the image with a DIV tag.

It's always a good idea to store on image on your server in the exact same size you wish the picture to appear. Sometimes, that's not possible. If that is the case, you can change how the wise appears on your site. The above picture normally would appear 400 pixels in width. I lowered it to 100 for layout purposes. It would have been much better to have simply stored a separate image on my server that was smaller. You can change a pictures' WIDTH or it's HEIGHT in this manner. NEVER CHANGE BOTH unless you know the exact proportions. Browsers will read one, and adjust the other to keep the image from distorting.

Also note that I used an ALIGN tag to flush the image to the left of the test, and that the text flows around the image. Also, notice the tiny amount of white space between the text and the image? That's there because I added a VSPACE tag. Without it, the words would be touching the picture. It looks unprofessional and ugly.

Notice, how the border has a color now? That's because I LINKED the image to a URL for a full size, original image. Click on it to see. It will open in a completely new browser window.

Why do this? Because the full size picture might be wider than the width you have reserved on your template for posts. Huge pictures take longer to load, and people who host their sites using their own domain name -- like -- are allowed to transmit only a certain amount of data on their Web pages. Large pictures send more data, and take up bandwidth. Not everyone is going to click on and view the larger picture, but a Webmaster might want to make it available anyway for those who want to see it.

Notice that I took out the ALT attribute from the IMAGE TAG. That's because the LINK TAG now includes a TITLE that shows readers where clicking the link will take them. That's more important than knowing where the image is stored. Readers want to know if they are are visiting a safe site or not.

‹a href="" title="" target="_blank"›‹img src="" align="left" vspace="6" align="left" width="100" border="1"›‹/a›

Monday, October 11, 2004

Good advice ... follow it

Someone is not following my advice about blogging about work.

Oh, well. It seems innocuous enough. But you never know, which is my point. You never know what is going to set your boss off. Or your boss' boss. Or the board of directors.

Trust me on this. I know.

Repeat after me: "I will not blog about work. I will not blog about work. I will not blog about work."

Unless, of course, it's your job to blog about work. But even then, you can get in trouble.


Oh, and thanks for the kind words, Kevin.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Save your templates

Speaking of Alex and his vanishing templates, there is a simple solution.

Whether you use Blogger or some other tool like pMachine or Movable Type, you simply *must* save a copy of your template on your own computer.

Alex suffered a crash of his site and Blogger lost his template, forcing him to use one of their prepared versions.

Unfortunately, he wasn't using Blogrolling or some other outside linking server. That means he lost his entire blogroll as well.

New Peoria bloggers

We now have Prairie Lawyer, who says that I am to blame for inspiring this new blog.

Just three posts so far, and I can't say I find much there with which to disagree.

Seems like a fine start.

I'll be adding it to my blogrolls soon.

Also, Alex is hurling expletives at Blogger for trashing his original templates, which caused him to lose his links to other sites that were hard-written into the template's html.

Alex also has a new site.

And FINALLY, this guy showed up in my referrer logs. He's a central Illinois blogger who also has IlliniGirl and several others blogrolled. I consider the linkage a compliment.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

How to not get links to your site

There's a blog out there that's building a good reputation during the current Rathergate scandal. I went to add it to my Peoria Pundit blogroll. Because I use Bloglines, I need to know the URL for site's RRS feed. I couldn't find it, so I shot off a quick email.

This was the reply:
We do have an RSS feed, though not linked on our site. I think if you look where it "should" be you'll find it.
Well (as Dana Carvey used to say, isn't that special.

Needless to say, no link for those guys, who shall remain nameless.

For those unfamiliar with RSS feeds, it's a stripped down version of a blog that can be read in a newsreader -- even Outlook Express. There are several advantages to keeping upto date with the Blogosphere through newsreaders. The first is that you can set your reader to notify you of new posts on your favorite sites, so that you don't have to visit every site on your blogroll to see if anything new has been posted.

Blogger uses an "Atom" feed, that users can activate in their settings tab. It's also a good idea to post a link to your RSS feed URL somewhere in your template.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Account suspended!

One of the drawbacks of paying for a domain name and paying a company to host your site is that occasionally, they screw up.

Sometime between 10 and 11 p.m. on Sept. 10, the company through which I host decided that I didn't pay my bill and they suspended my account.

Funny. 'Cause It took me all of 10 seconds to find email confirmation of payment in mid July 2004 of one full year of service from them.

I know from experience how these ******s work. They suspend the account late Friday night, and there is no one in the office who can fix it or respond to email and trouble tickets until Monday.

That's not acceptable.

I've saturated the company with complaints as well as hints -- Hell, I made outright threats -- that they better fix the problem or there will be more bad publicity than they can handle.

I got treated like dirt by my last hosting company, but it was partially my fault, so I didn't devote daily posts for one full month that linked their name to the words "idiots" and "moron."

This time I am in the right. 100 percent. So there will be daily badmouthing by me -- using their full company name -- if this isn't fixed very damn quickly.

I'll roast their nuts over an open fire if this isn't fixed. Quickly.

Eventually, will be back up and getting more than 1,000 hits a day. It's not much, but imagine what will happen with people type this company's name into Google and they see what I will be writing about them.


Until then, I will be posting full-time here.

UPDATE: I awoke to find my site restored, and letters from my hosting company saying: 1. I need to resinstall my site because it's making their server crash, and 2) It may be do to higher than normal hits.

Well, the server was workign fine at 10 p.m., yet it was removed an hour later because of server problems? Sorry, it doesn't scan.

And how is reinstalling the site going to solve problems caused increased hits? I'm paying for 50 gigs of bandwidth a month, and I'm up to less than 3 gigs about one-third of the way through this month.

Sorry, none of this scans.

BTW, the contradictory reasons came from the same person in the billing department.

And I will say this, the next time they yank my site, and direct my readers to a default message saying that I have BILLING questions, I am going directly to court and file a lawsuit.

That's libel.

I work in customer support. You do NOT tell strangers that someone hasn't paid their bill, especially when they have certainly have paid their bill.

And thanks to Acidman and other other person who answered my request for a heads up to readers.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Reciprocal linking

Living as Trinity gave me a shout-out, providing the first intentional inbound referral to this site. I get dozens a day through the Blogger nav bar atop the page.

This brings up what should be standard practice: When someone intentionally links to your site -- either in their blogroll or in a post -- courtesy demands a reciprocal link. A mention in a post works when someone mentions you. Most of the time, when I am added to a blogroll, I will add them to line, unless the blog has questionable content to which I do not want to be associated, or I am limiting blogroll links to a specific category. This site's blogroll only links other Peoria blogs.

"But, Bill," you might ask, "how do we know when someone is linking to my site?"

Simple. Get a decent hit counter and add it to your blog. Site Meter is the one I use because set up is simple. You just paste the code in a spot on your siderail or at the very bottom of your template, before the [/html] tag.

If using Site Meter, be sure to select the cops that allows for you -- and even readers, if you prefer -- to see a list of sites that are responsible for inbound links.

Also, Blogrolling has a feature that allows you to see what sites are linking to you.

And here is another tip: When signing up for these free or even pay-for-use third-party services, be sure to save your user name and password. I can't tell you the number of times, I've had to create an entirely new account for a hit counter because I lost the password that let me make necessary changes.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Journal Space beats LiveJournal for features, extras

I spend a lot of time teaching people how to use Blogger. I do this for a reason: Blogger and its free Blog*Spot hosting is easy to use and reliable. And it has some very pretty templates.

But it is far from the only free blogging service out there.

On a lark, as if don't have enough to do, I spent part of an unexpected day off work testing out two of them. I now have a LiveJournal site and a Journal Space Site.

Of the two, I'd have to say that LiveJournal is better known (perhaps just because I've heard of them). Journal Space is perhaps not as well known. Truth be told, I went to Journal Space thinking it was LiveJournal.

The results are here; Peoria Pundit at LiveJournal and Peoria Pundit at Journal Space.

Of the two, I like Journal Space better. I found the set up easier and less intrusive. I also spend more time tinkering with the layout, because the basic template is very spartan. LiveJournal users have two basic template designs, one called old style and one called new style. I don't like either one. Users can pick and chose size, style and color for various fields, but they cannot get at the actual HTML of the template.

It actually has some advantages that Blogger does not. The first is that Journal Space has a built-in blogroll feature. Users must type or paste the URL and the site's name into a field, then save the entry. The other is a category feature. I have it set for five different type of entries.

Both are features I miss in Blogger and that I could not find available in the free version of LiveJournal.

Journal Space sets up users with a subdomain. Mine is "" LiveJournal gives its free service users one of those long URLs: "" or "" The difference is that the first is easier to remember and easier to type into the address field on a Web browser.

Both these services are designed for diary blogs, people who write about their cats and who-said-what during recess. They are set up for groups of friends who want to visit each others' blogs. Blogger can do that to, but it's also still popular among people who write about news and events.

That's a no-no

Tempted to embed music onto your blog, so visitors can listen to "Eye of the Tiger" while your massive image files load?


Think animated buttons can liven up your boring old blog?


Want to use as many fancy, little-used fonts as possible?

Resist the urge.

There are sites where you can learn to do all these things. There are sites that do all these things. This is not that site.

Gimmicks don't work. Remember to leave some white space to give readers a chance to rest their eyes.

More HTML advice

I cannot stress enough the need for any blogger interested in more than writing about his or her cat to learn a thing or two about HTML (hypertext markup language).

I've scoped out a site, called Webmonkey, that might help explain some tricks a bit more intricate than simple image tags.

Blogger and some other blogging tools allow for HTML editing, so you can get by with basic HTML skills. But anything serious requires some skill.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

What did you mean by that?

The Blogoshere. Barking moonbats. Fisking. Meme. Dowdification. Ping.

Blogging has it's own language. Luckily, the good folks over at Samizdata have compiled a glossary. When I use a blogging term here, I'll permalink to the definition.

Freebies and courtesy

Notice the button at the bottom of my right siderail? It's a link to Photobucket, the service that lets me host images and put them on this site.

It costs me nothing.

I could make a $5 donation -- and I just might do that later -- and increase the bandwidth and image storage I am allotted.

Until this, I am giving them a free link.

It's just simple courtesy.

Courtesy goes a long way in the Blogoshere, although sometimes it doesn't seem that way.

Everything I know about blogging and the Internet I learned from other people giving me free advice. These people learned from other people, and are simply giving back.

The Internet is like that. Don't believe me? Log into Usenet and subscribe to a few newsgroups. Post a technical question and you will likely get an answer. No charge.

I guess that's one reason I created this blog.


A vital part of any blog is the blogroll. It is simply a site of other blogs you visit often. Bloggers who know html* will write these links by hand. Others -- include some tho know how -- prefer to use to maintain a list of blogs. The site provides bloggers with a simple snippet of code that is inserted into the template (usually above of below the archives code) that generates the list ever time the blog appears in someone's Web browser.

There are advantages. Blogrolling allows user to add a button to their browser (it works in IE and Firefox) that lets them click and add the site they are currently visiting to their blogroll. Remember, make sure your browser has loaded up the actually front page of the blog, not to a specific post. Otherwise, the link won't post to the newest post every time, it will instead bring up that old post.

Remember, the more your link to other blogs, the more others will link to you.

* New bloggers often don't understand HTML -- hypertext markup language -- which is needed to creates links on a page and inside posts. If that describes you, you had best get yourself to a site that teaches the basics. Unless you have a very patient friend, you won't be able to make significant changes to your template, or include links to other sites in your site.


Don't let her innocent face and sissy haircut fool you. She's a hunter and the lawn is littered with dead squirrels to prove it.

Anyway, this is a post originally made with Hello!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Free photos on a free Web service

One of the most frustrating aspects of using Blogger or some other free Weblog service used to be the lack of ability to use graphics and photos.

Those days are over, thanks to two totally free services.

The first I'll address is Photobucket. This is a free donor-supported service that gives users up to 100 MB of storage space and 2,500 MB of bandwidth. That's pretty good for a free service, but not a huge amount, so users have to be a little careful.

It's great for low-resolution images that are not associated with one particular post, such as buttons and banners.

One example:

I would not use it for anything that is ripe for hotlinking by other people. For example, if you upload a picture that other bloggers might be tempted to swipe by copying the image tag, then your bandwidth might get used up and then all your imaged will be lost and won't appear on your blog.

The other free service is called Hello! It's available from Google, the same people who run Blogger. It allows people who post through Blogger to upload one single image in the form of a Blogger post.

There are limitations. First is that the images must be used in a post and there only one post. Users must download a small program from their Website, and there are some that consider the program to be spyware. The interface allows for words and HTML to be uploaded either above or below the image. The interface is very clunky, in my humble opinion, and posts require some tinkering and fixing later by logging in directly to the Blogger site.

The upside is that I cannot find that there are any limits on image storage or on bandwidth, and the images are stored on Blogger's services. Also, Photobucket doesn't allow adult content while it appears that Blogger has any objection. So if that is your thing ...

Blog*Spot or not to Blog*Spot

I originally created this Blog*spot site as a back up to my pMachine site, now located at That later proved unnecessary.

But I didn't take it down because it gave me a few extra links in my then quest to become a Large Mammal in the Blogosphere Ecosystem.

I gave up the ghost on that a long time ago, too.

But I've found myself spending a lot of time getting friends, family and acquaintances onto the Internet.

Most of the time, I've used

Think is: I hate Blogger. Actually, I used to hate Blogger. I hated it because it was the only option for me three years ago when I first started blogging. I cannot describe how frustrating that was. This was soon after blogging first started taking off. Blogger, a free service that gives everyone the power to get published on the Net, was responsible for a lot of that growth.

Unfortunately, it overwhelmed the tiny little start up company. They couldn't keep their services up and running all the time. Archiving went haywire without notice. The system didn't come with a lot of freebies, and users had to get third-party commenting and blogrolling.

Generally, I found I was having a sick love-hate relationship with them. I eventually moved to my own server and pMachine as a blogging tool.

No sooner than that happened when blogger completely revamped and upgraded. Suddenly, it's easier to use, has more features and its archive system isn't screwed up.

I used to say "friends don't let friends use Blog*Spot." I don't say that anymore.

Oh, back to the purpose of this blog. I've decided to set this up as an example of how folks can use Blogger to set up a pretty-good totally free blog of their own. I'll be referring to this site quite often.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Google AdSense: A sucker bet?

OK, folks. I've been running Google ads on my site, on and off, for quite some time. About as long as I've been running Blogads.

Although, you can't tell because I don't have any advertisers at the moment, I actually have made a few bucks through Blogads. I have yet to see one single dime from Google AdSense.

Exactly how many click-throughs to my visitors have to make before I make any money from them? Is a site like mine -- with maybe a thousand hits a day -- popular enough to generate any revenue from Google?

If I'm not going to profit from it, I'm gonna drop it.

Any suggestions for money-making affiliate or advertising programs?

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

25 rules for good blogging

Note: This post originally appeared on I'm backposting it here because it fits the new how-to-blog theme here.

In honor of this afternoon's visit by WEEK anchorman/reporter Mike Dimmick (and the young cameraperson whose name I cannot remember correctly, I'm very sorry), I am presenting this post: "How to Blog." Some of what I discuss here touches on Mike's generally thoughtful and sometimes probing questions.

They plan to run the story sometime in late July during their 10 p.m. newscast.

1. Buy a computer. Oh, sure. You probably think you can make do with a budget computer, the kind they advertise for around $499, printer and monitor included. Fat chance. You're gonna end up obsessing about how everything will be absolutely wonderful if your system were just a little bit faster. So go buy the biggest, most expensive system you can afford. By "can afford," I mean take out a mortgage.

2. Get on the Internet. Any computer system you buy is going to include pre-installed AOL or MSN software and an offer for "free" dial up access. Free dial up access is the Internet-geek version of free crack. Skip the middle man and sign up for DSL or Cable broadband access. Peorians are lucky in that there is plenty of competition and the rates are low. Seriously. It's not that much more expensive that one of the better dial up plans. You will not be sorry. Trust me.

3. Develop a brain. Because there is nothing more annoying that a stupid blogger.

4. Buy a dictionary. Because spell check misses too dam mulch.

5. Here comes the blogging part. Start off on Blogger. Serious bloggers do not use Blogger. Except those serious loggers who run quite nice blogs on Blogger. So start off with a free Blogger blog, then migrate over to pMachine or Moveable Type if you like it and want a full-featured version. The interface is easy to use and lets you do a very basic blog without knowing how to code anything.

6. Content. Content. Content. It's amazing how many people think the public wants to read about the mundane details of their lives. Trust me: No one cares. If you don't have anything to say, stick to the dead-tree journal you keep in your sock drawer. If you are not bringing people in to visit your site, you might as well not even have a blog. Do something to entertain the reader

7. Bloggers do it daily. Serious bloggers that is. Some people can get away with posting weekly or monthly. My rule of thumb: Have at least one post a day, even if it is a post saying you will have no other posts. Also, even Blogger lets you post-date a post. If I know I'm going to be too busy to blog, I hold a few back by post dating them. Here's a secret: I do that with my "eye candy" posts.

8. Write about what you know. I know Peoria. I know newspapers. That's what I write about. When I stray from these things, that's when I usually get my ass handed back to me and have to apologize.

9. Link to other bloggers. Do it in your posts. Do it in a blogroll. Sign up with

10. Learn the basics of HTML. This will let you do what you want to on the page. If you are going to post images or links within the body of your posts, you will probably need to know how to do it using HTML.

11. For God's sake, be careful. There are a ton of sites about blogging and HTML, but precious little about how communication law and basic ethics apply to the blogging community. Basically, bloggers have the same First Amendment protections as journalists who work for televisions and newspapers. But, they also have the same responsibilities. YOU. CAN. GET. SUED. If you don't have a working knowledge of the difference between a statement of fact and an opinion, you are better off not writing smack about your neighbors' sex lives, OK?

12. Do not blog about work. Trust me on this one. Even if you do it anonymously, someone will find out.

13. Obey copyright laws. Now, pardon me, I have to post another Drew Barrymore update and some Eye Candy. All kidding aside, don't reproduce entire works belonging to someone else. Post a couple paragraphs, then your own comments and observations.

14. Don't forget to go to sleep, eat dinner, take medication, etc. All of these things, I have done.

15. Hotlinking -- placing on image on a post when that image is stored on someone else's server -- is a bad idea. Yeah, folks with memories know that I used to do it. I stopped. It's theft of services and its bad design, cause when the other guy takes the image down and disables hotlinking capabilities, you will have a broken image on your site. If you want to post an image, download the software at and learn how to use it. Fair warning: It's a free service and there is some "spyware" involved.

16. Keep the color scheme simple. There is a reason newspapers are not red with yellow letters. I have visited sites with embedded music files that start playing when you open them. I have not visited these sites twice.

17. Unlike a diary, which can be burned, a Weblog can never be destroyed. Thanks to Google, virtually all sites are cashed somewhere and it will show up on a search request somewhere. Maybe that person is your future boss or the divorce attorney hired by your spouse. That post about how you got loaded on weed and tequila and went and picked a fight at the gay bar might seem freekin' hilarious when you were 19. But, it won't seem quite as amusing when you are 25 and applying for a security clearance.

18. Use Haloscan or some similar service to let readers make comments to your posts. Repeat after me: The Web is interactive, the Web is interactive. The Web is interactive,

19. Let readers link to your articles by setting up permalinking capabilities. Blogger does this automatically. This puts you ahead of many professionally-run sites that don't allow this because their companies are run by idiots.

20. Do not put a visible hit counter on your site. How many visitors you get is no ones business but your own. It looks goofy, too.

21. In the name of merciful heaven, do not run huge images. By that, I mean two things. A photograph that is too wide will screw up how the entire page appears on the screen. Also, use some image editing software -- Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop Elements -- to reduce the number of pixels in the image so it doesn't take too long for visitors to download.

22. Get thee to This is a nifty desktop utility that I used constantly when I was using Blogger. It's the closest thing to a M.S. Word-like interface that lets you click a button and send a post to your site.

23. Remember: The more time you spend on the blog, the more success you will have. If you just slap something together, it will look slapped together.

24. If you do decide to pay for server space -- by paying $5 to $10 a month for hosting -- remember, these sites place limits on bandwidth, the amount of data that can be downloaded from their servers every month. If you post a ton of pictures or audio or video files, that takes up more bandwidth because those files are larger. Also, the more visitors or hits your site gets a month, the more bandwidth is used. I was able to get along with 5 Gigabytes of bandwidth a month until I stopped hotlinking Steeling other people's bandwidth). When I found myself getting a lot of search engine hits, my bandwidth got eaten up in a day. My advice: If you are at the point where you have outgrown Blogger and you want to spread your wings, select a hosting package that provides a minimum of 10 Gigabytes a month. It is better to have too much than too little.

25. Have fun. 'Cause you ain't gonna make any money at it.