Friday, August 3, 2012

Creating and Editing Posts

John Abert

Anyone who has ever written anything online, from emails to ebooks, has had it happen to them at one time or another… where all of a sudden they are typing along and everything they have written suddenly disappears! That is one of the most aggravating things that can, and very often does, happen. I’m going to show you some tricks to prevent that.

The most common error!

It took me a long time to realize what was happening, but I soon realized that my left hand was accidentally hitting “shortcut keys”. Shortcuts are the keys you can hit in combination with the “Control” key or the “Function” key. Many people don’t realize it, but if you hit “Control” and “A” at the same time, that is the code for “Select All” and will highlight everything on your screen. If you don’t catch it in time, the very next key you hit will delete everything on your screen!
I never had typing when I was in high school, so everything I have learned has been on my own, and my speed comes only from practice, but I certainly don’t use the correct fingers on the keys, and end up with a lot of typos that I have to go back and correct. Still, at only about 60 WPM, I realized I was hitting the “Control A” and then the next key so fast, that I didn’t realize I had highlighted everything. It was just a flash, and then everything was gone!
But before you get too disgusted with yourself, just remember to use the “Edit/Undo” function from your menu at the top of the screen, and everything will come right back, unless you are in a page or site that causes the menu bars at the top of your screen to disappear. I can’t even count how many emails I wiped out and had to re-do before I realized how to fix it! But I know I’m not alone!

Set your blog to publish at a later time!

One of the tricks that I use for blogging is this… as soon as you get your title in the form, go to your publish settings and tell it to publish the blog at a later time, preferably several hours from the time you are writing it, or even a day or two ahead. Give yourself at least a couple of hours. I usually set it for 8 PM, because by that time, I am pretty much done for the day, and have everything proof-read and edited, ready to go. Readers will not see the post until it publishes. Only I can see it on my own computer, because I am signed in to my admin role. The actual post notifications that go out to readers do so at 9 PM CST, so many won't even read it until the next day. And if I happen to reread the post again after it's online, I can still go in and edit it at any time to make last minute corrections. In fact these very posts on this blog, are being reread and edited to bring them up to date, even after they were originally posted over four years ago!
Don’t try to write and immediately publish, as that never turns out well. If you publish immediately, anyone who happens onto the blog is going to see all your typos and mistakes, as well as a possibly unfinished article…and that is not good. NEVER DO THAT!
I have already written a post about the fact that blogs will not “re-publish” (i.e., send to your list) once you have published them the first time, so it is safe to go back as many times as you need to in order to make corrections. You’ll notice that your “Publish” button no longer says “Publish” after you hit it the first time. It changes to “Update”. That’s because you can only publish once.

The only way to over-ride that is to go to your scheduling window and set the post for a new publication date ahead of where you are now. But that is not something you would normally go out of your way to do. 
Sometimes I read my blogs over a half-dozen times, both online and in edit mode, before I finally feel confident that I have all the typos and mis-spellings fixed, all the links added, and have it worded just the way I want. No one ever publishes anything that has everything 100% right the first time, and yet some of the blogs I see, look like they are “first drafts” that were never finished! Sloppy editing will drive visitors away, and if you don’t care enough about what you do, chances are that your readers will go elsewhere.
For many RV and camping enthusiasts with blogs, they don’t like to publish from where they are currently located, for security reasons. Maybe you have other reasons to delay your posts. But if you wait to write them until a couple of days later, you tend to forget many of the things that you “would” have talked about while you are there! The solution is to set the publish date to a few days ahead. You can still write your stories while they are fresh in your mind, and the post will not appear until after you have left your current location! Not only that, but it gives you time to re-read, and re-think about it, and add things that you might have forgotten about or missed.

Don’t try to make it sound like you are talking with an accent!

People like Mark Twain were masters of slang and the vernacular, but I see many people trying to be too “cute” with their use of mis-spelled words, trying to talk like someone they are not. It may cover up a lot of spelling errors, but a little of that goes a long way, and sometimes trying to talk with an accent while writing just sounds ridiculous!
Trying to talk like an uneducated “hick” makes other people think that’s all you are! Most people won’t even understand what you are trying to do, and will just leave. If they happen to be from an area you are trying to imitate, it might even offend them! And short-cutting words with words that would only show up in texting is NEVER proper protocol for business or public writing! Stick to proper English (or whatever language you speak the most), and no one will be offended. And by proper, I mean all words correctly spelled, capitalized and punctuated, to the best of your ability!

If you can't spell and failed English, then I suggest having a third party who IS knowledgeable to proofread your writing before you publish it! You can start by activating the built-in spell check device that is on every computer! It may not catch everything, but it catches a lot!
If you are targeting audiences other than your native language, it’s always best to get a professional translator who knows both languages VERY well, to write the article for you. We’ve all seen articles written that look like they were written in “broken” English. In today’s world, you never know if it’s a real person or a robot “article spinner” that (supposedly) rewrites articles to avoid plagiarism. (Yes, there are such things!) And although there some translator programs available that do a pretty good job, it’s hard to beat human decision-making.
Sometimes, if it isn’t too bad, we can figure out their intent and get through them. But if written too poorly, many people just give up and go to something else. In sales, the profit for many businesses comes off the last 10% of revenue. If you lose 10% of your readers because they leave before you get your message across, then you are going to go broke! Think about it!
Also, writing in correct characters, grammar and spelling for your language makes it much easier for spell-checkers to check your spelling. If you don’t know how to spell at a grade “A” level to start with, and then throw in a bunch of mis-spelled words, how is a spell-checker to know what you have in mind? It simply is not the best way to do things, for a lot of reasons! Every person who writes should get in the habit of using that little icon at the top of their screen that looks like a check-mark with ABC over it! I’m a straight “A” speller, and even I use it to check my work. Mis-spelled words will show up with a red line under them, so I can verify them. That’s all it takes!

Save your work (update) often!

As soon as you have filled in your title, and formatted your “future time” for the blog to publish, then hit the “Schedule”, or “OK” button! That’s the same function as “publish” except that it delays it according to the “schedule” you selected. You will still be able to see it in preview, but it will not be visible to the public until it actually “turns on”.
Remember, many blog clocks are set in military time. It’s not that hard to figure out. THINK! There are 24 hours in a day that ends at midnight, so 10 PM would be two hours less, at 22:00 hours! Dinner hour, at 6 PM, would be 18:00 hours. The morning hours are exactly as stated, so just keep counting up for the next twelve, so that 1 PM becomes 13:00 hours. It’s not rocket science!
I have had it happen with both WordPress and Blogger, where I have had the majority of an article written, and when I published… half of it it disappeared! I have no idea why it does that, but I have since gotten in the habit of setting the publish time ahead, and hitting the “Schedule” button immediately after starting the title, and then the  “Update” button after every paragraph or picture. That way, if it screws up, I won’t have much to put back in. If you don’t do this, you stand to lose nearly everything you’ve written! The “Update” button is about the same as a “Save” button. It seems that once it updates, the article will stay put, but prior to that… anything can happen!
Remember, you can only “publish” once, so your post notifications and RSS feeds won’t send out to your list of subscribers until the time you tell it to, and it will only go out ONE time! So don’t be afraid to edit!  In fact, I go back often to my older posts on this blog, to update or reword things to keep it up to date. As I have time to do live screen demonstrations with voice-over I will also add those. So if there was anything you didn’t understand before, review the posts once in a while and you may find some new things in them!
Remember that just because most of your list may read the blog when they get the notification, they (and other people) may also come back to your blog at a later date. Once the blog post is online, it will be attracting new readers with its keywords until the day you shut it down. And you will also have many new people going back to read it to catch up, so there are still plenty of chances for new people (as well as returning readers) to see those updated posts. A post just doesn’t go “dormant” after being read the first time! New people will (hopefully) be coming to your blog for several years yet, so it’s not too late to go back and edit it, or update the information to make it better for those new readers!
The other reason it doesn’t hurt to go back, is for search engine optimization. A page (not a post) of a blog that goes dormant, and has no activity, is not as likely to be picked up by the search engines. They will assume that it is no longer important to people, and your page rankings will go down. Instead of being at the top of page one, your listing will slide down the page, eventually to the second page, and so on. By going back and doing something new on the page, either with new comments coming in, or just editing to change a few words on the page, the search engines see changes and activity taking place, and will know that it still has importance!
Remember, the number of visitors (and subsequent sales) drop almost exponentially, the farther down on the page you are in search results! If your business depends on that last 10% of revenue as the difference between profit and loss, think what those lower rankings are going to do to your income!

Why text sometimes disappears!

Sometimes during typing, we get to moving along so fast that our fingers are ahead of our brains. And for people who have never had proper typing instruction (like me) that can be dangerous! Many times, in emails, (which normally you can’t save like you do other documents) I would have an email just about done when the screen would suddenly go blank! So VERY, VERY aggravating!
Eventually, I figured out what was happening. Somehow I managed to hit something that caused all the text to be highlighted, and as soon as I hit the next key, it thought I wanted to replace the highlighted text with something else! And I was typing along so fast that it highlighted and changed before I realized what was happening! Sometimes, it can be a matter of accidentally hitting “shortcut” keys (like control + A, to select all) and it happens so fast we don’t realize we have done it!
Other times, such as in these blogs, I have not seen any rhyme or reason why they do what they do… I think it must be a glitch in the programs! From my own observations it appears that they don’t like it when you try to put too much in the post the first time you publish, as that is most often the times that I have lost information. It doesn’t seem to be consistent, and I know as a troubleshooter, intermittent problems are the hardest to find and correct! However, once published and updated (even though it may not be viewed by the public yet) it seems to stay locked in. So set your scheduler, publish before it is complete, “Update” OFTEN, and don’t show it to the public until it’s where you want it!

How to correct text disappearing!

With most programs, either email, word processing or blogs, you will usually have your menu bar showing at the top of the page, with “File”, “Edit”, “View”, “Favorites”, “Tools”, and “Help” showing…at least on Internet Explorer and most others that is true. If you go to the “Edit” menu, then click on “Undo” in the drop down list, it will usually restore to the point before the last keystroke. On some browsers or programs it may be a curved arrow, or a pair of them (undo, redo) at the top of the screen, but be careful, as some browsers also use that as a “refesh” icon! Each time you hit “Undo” it will back up one more keystroke. That will usually restore whatever disappeared.
In some programs you may not be able to do that. If the “Undo” is grayed out on the menu or non-existent, then you are out of luck!

Thunderbird email manager saves drafts “on the fly”!

After having used the old “reliable” Outlook Express for years, it seems that Microsft thought they had a better idea with the new Windows Live Mail. Like most new programs, they have a long way to go, and are slow getting there. Although some of their ideas were good, they inadvertantly built in many new glitches along the way, which I have already described in a prevous post. It was so aggravating that I finally uninstalled the program from my computer and went to the free “open source” Thunderbird (dot org) email manager.
However, I saw limitations in that program and it started slowing down with the volume of mail I deal with, so I have since gone straight to Gmail online, and do not save emails on my own computer at all.
In Thunderbird I was no longer losing paragraph formatting every time I wanted to copy an email, and all of the other problems were gone, too!  As a bonus, Thunderbird automatically saves drafts every few minutes, so if you have a long email to write, and something crashes, you may not lose everything that you wrote!  Just go to the drafts folder and retrieve it from where it saved the last time! Another thing I have found is that once sent, all of the drafts go to the “Trash” folder, which is logical, as they are not needed once sent. Still, you can go there to see the progression of the different “Save” points.
Losing partially composed emails was especially frustrating for me in the past, as I deal with many students online, and many emails contain specific instructions for doing certain tasks. When I would lose an email in the middle of it, I had to start my thinking process all over again from the beginning, and try to remember what all I had said before! That is not only VERY annoying, but wastes precious time, so I can’t mess around with programs that aren’t reliable! I didn’t have that happen after going to Thunderbird. But as I said, it works great for casual emailers, but slows down when saving too much, so now, I go straight to Gmail, which is the best program with the best security on the entire planet!

So why not just manage emails in the programs where we have our email addresses?

For public email programs (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL etc.) that may work for some, but most of them (except Gmail) do not have the features necessary for using them for business. If you have a business web site address, the LAST thing you want to do is advertise a public email address with a web site in your print advertising! I have already discussed this in the post about emails, and why you shouldn’t do it! It’s the same as publicly saying, “Hey look at me! I’m an amateur who doesn’t know what I’m doing yet!”
And to try to access your control panel on your business server just to check emails is a time-consuming pain! Most public email programs will allow you to to have your server mail forwarded to them, and then will let you set up your business server mail as “additional” emails on those programs. In other words, with Gmail, it will accept whatever email you forward to it, and then you can select from a drop-down box which email address you want to send from (after you set them up). Not all public email programs will do that.
On your “web mail” within your “C” panel, you first have to forward that mail to whatever other email address you want it to go to. All of your business email can then be received there. Of course, to send from your public email address, you have to set it up first, to confirm that you actually are the admin for those accounts, but that’s a simple process in the settings menu.
Also, in my previous post about email programs, I discussed why it’s important for businesses to have a “redundant” system, where it is next to impossible to ever have their emails interrupted. If you depend on payment processors to send you orders by email, the LAST thing you want is to lose any of those emails! NEVER, EVER depend solely on an email program on your computer… especially Windows Live Mail, nor even one as good as Thunderbird. If your computer crashes, you need a backup of everything on a public server that you can access immediately from another computer in order to keep from disrupting your business!
Also, if you have several different email addresses, it is a WHOLE lot easier to have them coming into one central place, rather than have to go into several different programs or servers to read your email. I get about 50 emails a day. Can you imagine how much time I would lose by having to sign into several different servers or programs just to check email? It would be friggin’ ridiculous! I have ONE email manager open nearly all day (it used to be Thunderbird, but now it’s Gmail online) where I get ALL of approximately thirty different email addresses as well as three different public services all coming into one place! That’s the ONLY way to manage business email efficiently!

Summary and Expectations

By now you should be getting quite famliar with how everything works in the internet marketing realm, and be safe and confident enough to manage a site… or sites, as is usually the case with internet marketing. The more sites you manage, the more important it is to make the best use of your time, and avoiding lost work, and how to recover it when it happens, is part of your learning process.
If you have a site set up (which you should have by now), let me know how to view it, and I will be glad to give you a professional review and help you improve it. I can’t help you if you don’t communicate with me! I will go through it from the basic html, to the colors, to the layout, to what might be missing, and if you need help implementing something, I can walk you through it. I will soon have CamStudioPro available, where I can do live screen shots and explain things on video, so please, let me help you!
In the next post series we are going to discuss the many ways of making money with your sites. We will discuss how tracking cookies work, and show you why nearly everything you do online is making money for someone. In order to make money, you have to start thinking like a marketer in nearly everything you do online. After all, everyone else is making money from their online efforts…. why shouldn’t you get your piece of it? Once you see how easy it is, you’ll kick yourself for not having done it sooner!
As always, if you have any questions, please ask, and I will reply ASAP.  Although I try to be thorough in my explanations, no instructor is ever perfect, and no two students learn the same way. Some can learn by reading. Others have to have something visual, and still others would rather listen while they’re out jogging. If you don’t understand something, please let me know so I can help you.

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