Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Complete Guide to Creating Images on Your Blog with PicMonkey


How to Make Words Look Good

Have you ever looked at an image online and thought, what's that all about? That's because your eyes are struggling to deal with everything being presented to you. People need visual cues to establish some kind of importance. Your eyes flow more easily across a document when a visual cue is in the frame.

In this blog post I'm going to show you create eye catching designs using the following features:
  • Position and grouping
  • Spacing
  • Weight
  • Size
  • Colour
  • Alignment
This Blog post is 2,384 words long, download your FREE PDF and read it later.

Position and Grouping


By grouping similar items in a more thoughtful way you can create an impact and strengthen meaning. By isolating the first and second clauses the contrast between them becomes more emphasised, giving readers a big "volia" when they come to the concluding clause. "Whitespace" is created when we separate text elements and add non-regular spacing between them.

Negative space or whitespace doesn't need to be white, it can be used between paragraphs, letters and objects to emphasise ideas and improve readability.

White space is good. So use it and embrace it!

Spacing

As you can see in the quote above all of the text runs together, making reading pretty difficult. When you look at the quote on the left, a simple adjustment improves the layout. By easily adding a break after the quote, it creates a space between the quote text and author's name. With this simple change, the reader can tell the difference between the quote and the attribution.

Weight

A simple change in the weight of the font (i.e. light, bold, regular) can change the emphasis of the word. If you're ever unsure about this try altering the emphasis in the following sentence: "I didn't say we should kill him!"

A simple change in emphasis and the sentence sounds completely different.

Size


By changing a font you can add or take-away its eye-catching-ness, and the level of importance in a design. Large letters scream "Eyes here!", whereas smaller text lets your readers know the information isn't as important.

Colour

Knowing when to use colour is another important part of creating images that stand-out. If you're background is busy, using a simple muted colour well will really set your image apart. On a more muted background it can make your text feel like a more natural piece of your design.

Alignment

  • Left-aligned - Large chunks of text is the alignment of choice because we read left to right.
  • Right-aligned - Harder to read and should be used sparingly in design because its difficult to read across a ragged left edge. Can work particularly well with an image featured on the left side.
  • Centred-text - Can also be difficult to read but works well in design contexts.
  • Justified alignment - Space is created between words on both left and right sides, this makes designs look very polished. On the downside words can also appear haphazard and characters craggy.


How to Choose the Best Fonts for Your Business

Your company brand can easily be defined by which font you choose, this shows just how powerful fonts are at making your brand more recognisable online. You need look no further than Coca Cola with its white swirly font on a red background. Pairing the same fonts consistently will help people recognise your business so it's important to really think about which fonts you think are going to be suitable for your brand.

What should you be looking for to create beautifully crafted images? The following tips will show you how to choose fonts that will give your brand a professional look.

Use No More Than Two

To stop your designs looking messy, choose no more than two fonts. One for titles and headlines and the other for body text. Check out your favourite brands and take note of how many fonts they use and how they use them.

Use Serif and sans serif

Serif and sans serif refers to the little feet and tails at the end of letter you see on fonts like Times New Roman. "Sans serif" simply means without serif or no tails or feet.

These fonts are normally easy to read making there letters stand out from one another, which is why it's usually a top choice for text to appear on all screens. Serif fonts usually convey a more sophisticated feel and give a classier look to your message. A great combination would be to use serif fonts for titles and sans serif for body text.

Apply the squint test

PicMonkey has a ton of fonts ready to use, including calligraphy inspired creations. You can use these fonts for logos but thinks twice before you use them in the draft body of a document.

Suitable absurdity


You can create feelings by choosing the right kind of font for your own brand, if you're looking for a creepier font why not try sinister scrawl or undead text fonts. Although these are great for certain holidays I wouldn't recommend them for your everyday use.

Contemplate Colours

Marketing materials may include coloured titles but I wouldn't recommend using colours on the body of the text. Always make sure your images pass the squint test!

Fontspiration

You can discover new ideas all over the place. Check out Pinterest or look up "fonts" on Google. Take note of font combinations you see in shop windows, magazines and advertisements, take pictures of your inspiration to keep track of what you've seen.

You can pick up fonts from free resources, and many artists sell font combinations, Make sure you ask their permission before you use them.

You can find a number of fonts on PicMonkey for your business designs, you'll find them in Text Tab of the editor. If you can't find what you need then any fonts you have installed on your computer will also show up in PicMonkey in the Yours tab of the Text Tool.

Pairing Fonts Like a Pro

There's an art to pairing fonts, its not as easy as it looks. I'm going to give you some easy tips to create your own designs, allowing you to create designs that flow and have texture.




Understand your font types

In PicMonkey there are many different types of fonts, but they're broken down into five main categories: Serif, Sans Serif, Handwriting, Script and Display. PicMonkey has other themed fonts, but we're going to check out the most basic fonts for the moment.

These can make great headline grabbers or great for accentuating a point. They'd be difficult to find in a large body of text but great for catching someone's eye.

Script

A lot of these can look like someone's real handwritten script, and some, such as Bilbo Swash Caps, are more calligraphic than others. Great for special occasions such as weddings.

Handwriting

These fonts are meant to mimic someone's handwriting, and some, such as Edo, can seem bold and loud. If you want something a bit more subtle you could try Sue Ellen Francisco. These fonts are perfect for crafts and cards.

Sans Serifs

As the name implies these are fonts without serifs. This gives them a more clean and modern look. Usually used for minimalist designs and easier to read on screen.

Serif

A more distinguished font that makes your text look more classic and clean, they've been around since Times Old Roman.

Pick a font with feeling

Choose a font that suits your feeling, something you want your audience to feel as well, when they read your blog post/advertisement/flyer/invitation etc.

Give your readers the right vibe and ask yourself how does that font make me feel?

Choosing a busy font such as Jiggler for a business document would make what you're saying less serious than say a Serif font. So choose carefully!

Don't go too overboard and use too many fonts, stick to two or three at the most. Stick with fonts that compliment each other.

Creating Pictures with Fresh Fonts

Do you want to add energy to your photos? Make your images more entertaining? Sharpen your marketing materials? A fabulous way to do this is by adding some simple text to your images. You don't need to say much if you have the right kind of image, these days you can use flyers, memes, announcements, invitations etc., by adding a few strategically placed words to a photograph to get your message across.

Creating a blog isn't just about writing a good article but combining other elements such as slides, charts, videos and images to make your content more appealing.

How to add text to a picture in PicMonkey
  1. Click edit on the PicMonkey homepage and choose your photo's location from the storage options that display in the gray bar.
  2. Click Text tab (or the "Tt" icon on the left-hand side of the Editing panel) and open the text tool.
  3. Scroll down and choose a font you like.
  4. Then click the Add text button at the top of the tab to add a text box to your photo.
  5. Place the words where you want them to be, then type them out.
  6. Change the colour, size, fade, justification, and style by using the Text Palette.
  7. You can either save to Hub or Export to your PC hard drive, or share right from PicMonkey.

PicMonkeys' Font Library

You can choose from PicMonkeys' vast selection of fonts, which is being constantly updated. They can be more easily defined in these six categories:


Sans Serif

Thought to be the most legible of fonts that can be seen on a screen, they have a clean, modern look.

Serif

They can give validity to your words, so are mostly used in business.

Handwriting

Useful for craft projects, giving a more human look, they look more casual and approachable.

Script

Fabulous for special occasions, they can look simple and hand-drawn to fancy and ornate.

Display

If you're looking to making a statement, these fonts can be both eye-catching and bold.

Monospaced

If you're looking for a font with a more tech-y-feel then look no further.

Useful text resources

Why not try getting really fancy with these text effects and curved text tools.

Why not use your own fonts

Don't despair if you can't find the font you want with PicMonkey, try adding any font that you have on your computer to your photos. Try out some free front resources to help you explore your next font obsession.

How to Use PicMonkey to Create Amazing Images for Your Blog

Why you need images in content marketing

Images were not that necessary when blogging first started. This meant you could get away with not using them and instead concentrate on text only content. These days all of that has changed and visual content is a "must have" on the internet, if you really want to stay relevant.

10 great reasons to include images in your content:
  1. Easy, cheap and free to create really eye popping images for your readers (images used in this post were created using PicMonkey).
  2. Show off your product without going too over the top.
  3. Share images on almost every social networking site.
  4. People process images much faster than text based content.
  5. Conveying a message is much easier with an image.
  6. Readers are immediately drawn to an attractive image in a busy news feed.
  7. Written content appears shorter and easier to consume when images are there to break up the text.
  8. Skimming is the way most people look through content online, providing suitable images makes your article easier to understand.
  9. Blog posts with images are more likely to get read than those without.
  10. Emotions are affected through images.
Graphic Designer

You wear many hats when you're a blogger, whether it be writer, editor and even graphic designer. Don't worry you don't need to know everything, just enough to size images and make them look good. You need to know how to make buttons and widgets for your blog as well as how to add text to an image. I use PicMonkey all of the time for my blog images. It's one of my favourite blogging tools. I'm no designer but I use it for free because it's easier and cheaper than a program such Photoshop. PicMonkey also provide two premium services:

PicMonkey Premium:
  • Store 50 images per month in their Hub
  • Sort Hub images
  • Use advanced touch up tools
  • Use their primo effects, overlays and fonts
  • Re-editable images in Hub
  • Use top-shelf templates
  • No ads
PicMonkey Supremium:
  • Unlimited Hub storage
  • Organize Hub with Collections
  • Use advanced touch up tools
  • Primo effects, overlays and fonts
  • Re-editable images in Hub
  • Use top-shelf templates
  • No ads
  • This is How I Use PicMonkey For My Blog
Fonts Aplenty!


There are so many fonts in PicMonkey to choose from! You can either start from scratch and create your own canvas or you can use an image you already have to add text to. You can choose whichever font to suit your mood.

Having these in your blog graphics would take your blog graphics up a notch or two. By simply adding a catchy phrase or with an image, you could take your blog to a whole new level!

Effects and Textures


With a big selection of textures and effects you make any picture look magical. I have very little experience with arty stuff but find PicMonkey a life saver when it comes to creating images for my blog.

If help is required they offer easy-to-follow tutorials, a really fab blog to help you make your way around and drop them a line for any extra help you might require.

PicMonkeys' features

Create Your Own Canvas



Want a funky border or style? Want to create shape, add speech or arrows?

The features and functions provided by PicMonkey is something you can play around with for hours. Here's something I created within 5 minutes, an image deserving of any Facebook or Twitter page.


With the tools and filters PicMonkey offers you can create a professional image that really catches the eye.

Once you've created your own custom graphics you can post them on social media and around the web, no matter your blog size you brand really does matter.

Why not create a quote, they're really popular these days. You could create one for your niche or industry, use a quote that is suited to your industry.

This Blog post is 2,384 words long, download your FREE PDF and read it later.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Monday, March 26, 2018

How to Improve Your Skills as a Non-Fiction Writer


Improve your non-fiction writing skills and take a step up in the world.

It doesn't matter if you're writing a business proposal, writing a memo, enquiring after a grant or writing a blog post.  You're sure to find all 25 tips will improve your non-fiction writing.

1. Start Reading Great Writer's

In order to be a really good writer you need to learn from the best.  This advice comes from the best authors who know what they're talking about.  Here are some of the reasons you need to start reading today:
  • Finding inspiration.
  • Get a better understanding of language.
  • To become more appreciative of words.


As in the point mentioned above, reading is a huge part of improving your writing skills.  You need to start reading with a critical eye, and start taking note of various author styles etc.

3. Find Your Own Voice

As a writer you need to stand-out from the crowd, by finding your own voice you'll slowly start to grow a loyal following.

4. Extend Your Vocabulary

One of the simplest ways to develop your vocabulary is to learn a word-a-day.  You could start by reading a dictionary.

5. Write Regularly

In order to be good at something you need to be doing it on a regular basis.  Create a writing schedule that works for you and get into the habit of producing quality work on a regular basis.

6. Be Confident with Your Writing

Your writing is what you make of it, it lies in your hands how it will turn out.

7. Be Well-Informed about Your Subject Matter

Know enough to write about your chosen subject intelligently.  Do you have enough knowledge to be able to write a good book?

8. Understand Why You're Writing

Start by asking these questions, what is your goal, aim and purpose for writing?  What is your final objective?

9. Select Your Tone

Your sentence construction and choice of words will decide the tone of your writing.

10. Start with an Outline

Write an outline, this is your mental plan of action.  The basic foundation for this is say what you're going to demonstrate, demonstrate it and then reveal a conclusion.

11. Write Using Your Subconscious Thoughts

Use your subconscious to guide your thoughts, this way the words will flow naturally.

12. Use the IBC Strategy

All ways write with an introduction, body of text and conclusion.


13. Find Your Writing Angle

You need to hook your readers with a catchy introduction.  You can start reeling them in as they progress through your article.

14. Choose Your Words Wisely

The French phrase that best describes this is-le mot juste- the exact right word in the exact right position.

15. Be Short and Sweet

To stop your readers becoming bored try right different sentence lengths.  Sentences should be around 20 words long.

16. Try to be Pithy

If you can take words out and still make sense, then do it.

17. Abstain from Using Big Words

Your average newspaper keeps their headlines to that of an eighth grader.  Long and ambiguous words can turn easy to understand into a nightmare for your readers.

18. Just be Yourself

Sounds really simple but write like you're talking to someone, this way you get right down to your audiences' level.

19. Develop a Curiosity for Words

Understand and respect what words mean.

20. Let Your Thoughts Flow Naturally

When you start writing the words should flow naturally.  With every word and sentence developed in a logical manner.  Each paragraph relating to the body of the essay you're writing.

21. All Paragraphs Should be Well Written

A well built paragraph is the foundation of anything you write.  All of your paragraphs should be centred around your chosen topic.  Follow these basic tips when writing your paragraphs:
  • One idea per paragraph.
  • The single idea should be expressed by the paragraph that has been written.
  • Each paragraph should have supporting sentences with details, examples and instructions.
  • There should be a clear changeover from one paragraph to the next.

22. Polish Your Work

Sounds weird but what this means is make your writing readable, with depth.  Every diamond needs a good polish.

23. Use Capitals Correctly

Find out how you should be using capitals, and use them properly in a sentence.

24. Use Suitable Punctuation

When we write a sentence we need to explain what we mean.  Here are some of the most misunderstood punctuation marks: colon; semi colon; dash; and comma.

25. Eliminate Needless Modifiers

A simple example of this is "free gift", instead write "gift".  Greatly improve your writing by bypassing these qualifiers and intensifiers: quite, rather, really, very, kind of, actually, basically, practically, virtually and unique.

In Conclusion

The ability to communicate your thoughts clearly and concisely can be achieved by any educated person.  You can accomplish this by start with the 25 tips above.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How to Make Your Blogger Blog Look and Feel Like a Website


Is your Blogger blog too much like a blog?   I'm going to show you how to unblogger your blog.

See my tips below for customising your blog and making it look and act more like a website:

If you've just created a new blog and not sure where to take it or what to include on your blog I'm going to show you some basics widgets and pages your blog will need to start you on your blogging journey.

How to Submit a Sitemap on Google Webmaster Tools

I'm going to show you how to simply add a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools and show you why it's an important part of blogging.

What is Google Search Console?

It's a free tool offered by Google to help you display your blog in Google's search results.  It will help you improve the crawling rate of your blog.

A sitemap can be an XML or HTML file containing all of the URLs of the pages inside your blog. Visitor's to your blog are helped by an HTML sitemap, the same can be said of an XML sitemap.

When you submit your XML website sitemap to Google Webmasters, Google crawlers will start to index all of your blog posts and pages and add them to their database.

Depending on the size of your website and number of  URLs in your sitemap, the crawling rate will differ.

Now that you understand what a sitemap is lets get started verifying and submitting your sitemap.


Submit Sitemap to Google Search Console
  • Sign into Google Webmaster Account.
  • Select the blog you want to submit the sitemap for.
  • On the left hand side of the page, click on Crawl and then Sitemap.
  • Add this code:
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500

  • Press "Submit Add/Test Sitemap" button.
  • Refresh page.
Note: The above sitemap will work for 500 blog posts only.  If your blog contains more than 500 published posts then you need to add the code below.

atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=501&max-results=1000

How to Install Google Analytics to Your Blog

If you're just starting your blogging journey and everything is pretty new.  You may have heard about Google Analytics.

It's an important tool to help you keep an eye on the progress of your blog.

If you're using Blogger you will have noticed the stats section on your Blogger dashboard.  it's useful but doesn't give you the in-depth information you can get from Google Analytics.

What is Google Analytics?

Used by thousands of bloggers everywhere, and one of the most popular programs for checking stats.  It has many features that will give you an accurate breakdown of your blog traffic.
  • Sign in or sign up for a Google account.  If you use Blogger, Gmail or YouTube then you already have one.
  • Log in to your Google Analytics account and you'll see a screen explaining Google Analytics.  Click Sign up.
  • Fill in the form.  Don't worry about the industry category.  This doesn't affect tracking and data collection, it just helps Google to adapt the service to you.
  • Click, get your Tracking ID, accept Terms and Conditions.  You'll find your Tracking ID in.
  • If you're using Blogger you can add your Tracking ID number (UA-00000000-0).  Go to Settings > Other and enter your Tracking ID number to the last section called Analytics Web Property ID and save settings.  It will take 24 hours for your data to show on your blog stats.
Adding Google Analytics to WordPress

If you're self-hosting WordPress, you can use a plugin to add your Tracking ID or add the Tracking Code directly to your themes header.php file.

How to Add Share Buttons to Your Blog Using AddtoAny 

These days just writing and posting a blog post aren't enough, your content needs to be shareable.  Add "share buttons"  and let your readers share your content across social media.

You can do this with ease using AddtoAny

Follow the simple guide below to add your share buttons:

  • Go to your blog layout and click on add HTML/Javascript.


  • Go to AddtoAny dashboard.



  • Click on Customisation.
  • Click on Floating Share Buttons.
  • You have a choice between "vertical" and "horizontal" buttons.
  • Highlight the code most suited to your blog.
How to Add Terms and Conditions to Your Blog

For any newbie starting a blog can feel like crossing a mine field.  With so many things and improvements to be done.  If you're main goal is to make money from your blog, then adding a Terms and Condition page should be top priority in building your website.

Probably the least read pages of all blogs and websites.  Most websites have a Terms Conditions page, even though it's not actually a legal requirement.

Note:  You are required by law to have a Privacy Policy if you're gathering user's personal data or if you have advertising on your website.

Should you be taken to court, these pages can limit your liability and protect your rights to the content included in your website.

Key Components of Terms and Conditions

The content of your Terms and Conditions will be unique to your particular website.  You will find common themes throughout, despite your chosen category.

Copyright

This is a page you should look into especially if you're making money from your website.

Limit Liability

This is a disclaimer removing your liability from errors in web content.

If you allow visitor's to post content on your website you need language that limits your liability from any offensive postings.  A disclaimers that you don't endorse users and aren't responsible for the statements made by third parties.

Privacy Policy

If you're adding any kind of advertising to your blog (including affiliate advertising) or you're collecting information from a subscription box, you need a Privacy Policy.  This will tell the user how the information will be used or not used.

Quick Tips to Creating Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions Generators

See some options below:
Ask an Attorney

A lawyer can create or review your Terms and Conditions, making sure they cover your specific needs.

How to Buy a Custom Domain Name for Your Blog

If you want a more professional looking blog, buy a domain name. You can go from blogspot to dot com with ease.

Here are some tips on starting your dot com journey:
Find your two CNAME's in Blogger

Here are a few places to find your domain name:
How to Customise Your Blogger Layout

There are numerous options on Blogger to customise your blogs layout. They're just as good as Wordpress templates, (especially the premium template) and they're all customisable. You can start by: 
  • Going to layout 
  • Click the template designer 
  • Click on a template 
You can also:

Add a custom header: Find it on your layout page. Click on the header box and add your own image.
Add a custom background: Find template. click on customise and choose your template.
Add custom details: Find template, click on customise and change the elements of your blog.


Blogger Template Dashboard







How to Add Page Tabs

With Blogger you can add up to 20 standalone pages. These pages will show up under your blog header as tabs. Go to the pages section to add and create your pages.

Go to layout to drag the pages box under header. This will make the pages show up as tabs under your header.

Most popular pages to have are: 
  • About 
  • Books 
  • Posts 
  • blog tips 
  • contact 
  • Resources 
How to Add a Contact Form

To create a simple contact follow the instructions below:
Add a contact form in your layout. 

Find the blog ID at the top of the page as shown below.




  • Go to pages 
  • Create new page 
  • Add code below with highlighted ID number to your blog contact form page 
Remember to switch to HTML mode to do this.

script>

var blogId = '8694494030520005341';//this number should be mandatorily edited.
//The below message 5 Strings can also be edited
var contactFormMessageSendingMsg ='Sending...';
var contactFormMessageSentMsg = 'Your message has been sent.';
var contactFormMessageNotSentMsg = 'Message could not be sent. Please try again later.';
var contactFormEmptyMessageMsg ='Message field cannot be empty.';
var contactFormInvalidEmailMsg = 'A valid email is required.'
var widgetLoaded=false;
function sendEmailMsg() {
if(widgetLoaded== false) {
_WidgetManager._RegisterWidget('_ContactFormView', new _WidgetInfo('ContactForm1', 'sidebar', null,
document.getElementById('ContactForm1'), {'contactFormMessageSendingMsg':
contactFormMessageSendingMsg ,
'contactFormMessageSentMsg': contactFormMessageSentMsg , 'contactFormMessageNotSentMsg': contactFormMessageNotSentMsg ,
'contactFormInvalidEmailMsg': contactFormInvalidEmailMsg , 'contactFormEmptyMessageMsg': contactFormEmptyMessageMsg ,
'title': 'Contact Form', 'blogId': blogId, 'contactFormNameMsg': 'Name', 'contactFormEmailMsg': 'Email',
'contactFormMessageMsg': 'Message', 'contactFormSendMsg': 'Send', 'submitUrl': 'https://www.blogger.com/contact-form.do'},
'displayModeFull'));
widgetLoaded=true;
document.getElementById('ContactForm1_contact-form-submit').click();

How to Add Adsense Advertising 

Join Google Adsense 

Connect Blogger to Google Adsense account 

Below is a guide to where the best place is to put your Adsense advertising on your blog:




  • Go to layout; Click on add gadget; Select Adsense.
  • You have a choice as to which format, colour you want. I recommend blend or matching your Blogger template.



Once you have chosen your Ad format click and save

How to Add a Feedburner Subscription Box

On my blog I have two ways of attracting subscription's for my readers.

Link to Feedburner 


Email subscription box

How to add a subscription box widget below post in Blogger
  • Login to Blogger dashboard 
  • Go to template 
  • Find the code below on Blogger template: 
]]></b:skin>

1. Add this CSS before the code ]]></b:skin>

#emailsub{clear:both;background:#3C3C33;color:#fff;display:block;position:relative;text-align:center;line-height:1.47}#emailsub
h4{font-size:24px;border-bottom:1px solid #746E6E;padding:10px;letter-spacing:2px}#emailsub input[type=&quot;email&quot;],.sl_in_mail{margin-right:-6px;padding:16px
0 16px 40px;width:50%;border:none}#emailsub
form{text-align:center;padding:20px
90px}#emailsub input[type=submit]{border-radius:0;box-shadow:none;padding:18px
24px 16px;letter-spacing:2px;border:none;background:#E06;cursor:pointer;color:#FFF}#emailsub
.counter{margin:0
0 25px}#emailsub.efooter{background:none}#emailsub.efooter
form{text-align:left;padding:0}#emailsub.efooter input[type=&quot;submit&quot;],#emailsub.efooter input[type=&quot;email&quot;],.wg_in_mail{padding:10px;letter-spacing:0px}#emailsub.efooter.sidebar{background:#3C3C33;padding:20px}#emailsub.efooter.sidebar
form{text-align:center}

You've added the style of the gadget

2. Next step is to add the position of the widget. Best place is below your blog post 

Find the code below using Ctrl + F 

<div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-3'> 

Immediately after the code add the code below:

<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
<div id='emailsub'><form action='http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify' method='post' onsubmit='window.open(&apos;http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=1976write&apos;, &apos;popupwindow&apos;, &apos;scrollbars=yes,width=550,height=520&apos;);return true' target='popupwindow'><h4>Email Newsletter</h4><div class='counter'><b>Join with 549 Subscribers ! </b> Get Our Latest Articles Delivered to Your email Inbox and <b>Get Giveaways, Tips to Become a GEEK!</b></div><input class='sl_in_mail' name='email' placeholder='Enter Your Email Address' type='email'/><input name='uri' type='hidden' value='1976write'/><input name='loc' type='hidden' value='en_US'/><input type='submit' value='SUBSCRIBE'/><p/><p/><p><small>When signing up you will initially receive a confirmation email requiring your approval to complete the Subscription.</small></p></form></div></b:if>

Change the red text (1976write) to your Feedburner name

3. How to Change the "No Comments" to just "Comments"

The "No Comments" on Blogger isn't the best caption. It leaves people thinking the author of the blog doesn't want any comments left.

It's a common question in the Blogger Help Forum

So how do you replace "No Comments" to just "Comments"?

You need to find: <data:post.commentLabelFull/&gt;:
Replace it with your chosen caption. In my case "Comments"
Below is the code you need to find:

<b:if cond='data:post.commentSource == 1'>
<span class='cmt_count_iframe_holder' expr:data-count='data:post.numComments' expr:data-
onclick='data:post.addCommentOnclick' expr:data-post-url='data:post.url' expr:data-url='data:post.canonicalUrl'>
</span>
<b:else/>
<a class='comment-link' expr:href='data:post.addCommentUrl' expr:onclick='data:post.addCommentOnclick'>
<data:post.commentLabelFull/>:
</a>
</b:if>
<data:post.commentLabelFull/>:

The above code is what you need to replace with your comment caption
Look closely, some templates may have this in more than once

Also don't forget to backup your template before you make any changes.

7 Great Reasons Why You Should Use Blogger

Blogger is for Blogs Not Websites

Wrong!  In the early days, yes, it was the forerunner but these days it can be used as an excellent tool to create a full-blown website. I have no hesitation in using Blogger to create a website.

For web designers its an excellent Content Management System tool, but unlike Wordpress its free with no hosting costs and a free sub-domain name given.  No fees fees for using plugins or connecting to your custom domain name.  Before I give too much away here are the 9 reasons why Blogger is the best for creating websites.

1 It's Free

No hosting cost involved, ad free, free sub-domain provided, making it cheaper than everyone else.  You receive yourwebsite.blogspot.com which is okay if you're interested in running your website as more of hobby.

2 Simple Custom Domain Integration

You can purchase a domain name through Google Domains, or use a hosting company such Hostgator or Bluehost.  Your old .blogspot address will automatically redirect to your new domain name, with all of your website being displayed under your new name.

Domain names are usually quite reasonably priced and can be purchased for as low as $5 for an annual .com license, webhosting  can range anywhere between $50 to $500 a year, depending upon the amount of space, security and other features you require.  Blogger has no hosting costs.  Sounds to good to be true.

3 Free Hosting

People used to be put off at the lack of support for PHP.  That is no longer a problem, contact forms can easily be created and embedded using Cognito Forms to create and host your form.  Gone are the days of a limited amount of static pages.  How is all of this possible?

4 Owned by Google

Part of the huge Google family, you're always guaranteed a quality and dependable service.  With blogger you also need a Google account which gives you access to Google Drive, Youtube, Google and so much more.

5 Effortless SEO

You can easily label your blog posts with keywords, insert a description while your indexing your website.  Because it's a Google owned product your well coded and hosted, giving you excellent performance and speed.  Other useful tools that work hand-in-hand are Google Analytics, Google Adsense and Google Webmaster tools.  You upload your sitemap within seconds while getting basic data about your website.

6 Straightforward to Learn and Use

When I first started blogging it was my first blogging platform, after using Wordpress I came back to Blogger because I knew how easy was to set up.  For any first time blogger I would always recommend Blogger, as a really good testing ground for a new blog.  You can access a wide selection of templates within Blogger but also find plenty of templates free online.  With an easy-to-use dashboard you can easily drag and drop default sections and move around widgets to suit your customisation needs.

7 Lots of Gadgets

You have a lot of gadgets to choose from that can be added to the header, footer or body of the blog page. Adding adsense, Google search and follow by email can all be tailor-made for your own needs.  You can code anything by inserting the right HTML/Java script into your Blogger template.

If you're on the lookout for a book on Blogging, be sure to check out Blogger: Build Your Blogger Website in Five Steps from Start to Finish 

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Monday, March 19, 2018

The Definitive Guide to Writing a Blog Post


Creating Your Blog Post

Writing schedules can be hard to grasp sometimes, trying to write a blog post that's both unique and contain useful information can sometimes seem like an impossibility.  The secret to writing a good blog post is being able to put your own stamp on the chosen subject.

In order to post articles frequently you need to be productive and efficient enough to have a flow of information already in your mind waiting to be written/typed up and published online.  Depending on your blogging schedule you need to find out when you're going to be most productive.

Ascertain When You're Most Productive

Groundwork for any writer is working out when they're at their most productive.  That may include whichever part of the day they work best in.  Day or night?  Does your routine include music in the background or TV gently playing as you write your blog post.  If you're not sure what your own personal capabilities and limitations are try running some simple experiments.  Try peace and quiet or gentle music playing in the background.

How much work can you get through during the day?  You might think that writing with loud music in the background is really distracting, some people can be more productive this way.  Try and set yourself a weekly routine.  If it doesn't work tweak it until you become more comfortable.  You'll quickly discover when you're most creative and when you're writing will really start to flow.  Making your writing more enjoyable.

This Blog post is 3,947 words long, download your FREE PDF and read it later.




Refine Your Creativity

When you go through periods of writer's block you begin to understand how simple tasks can seem laborious.  This often lead writer's to burning out and nothing being done for days or weeks at a time.

If you have a set schedule of  blog posting it's important to keep to that schedule, otherwise your readers can become confused. You need to be able to keep their attention and keep them interested in order for them to read your blog.  I've said this in previous blog posts that simply carrying around a notebook can help you capture thoughts  and ideas that may not come into your head again.  From these simple thought's you can craft and build your blog post the way you want it and check back at your notes.

Writing a 20 minute blog post means that your able to sit down and generate a well written article in a set time, and not have to worry about getting it done at the last minute.

Applying the Right Format

We're living in the age of the lazy reader i.e. people who no longer want to get their information from books, but instead want to switch on their mobile phones or tablets and Google their information.  People like reading information that's easy to  digest and of high quality.  So find out what your readers want and give it to them!

Many writer's (myself included) will usually use bullet points or numbered points to break down relevant information.  This is a great way to make a blog post scanner friendly and hold your readers attention at the same time.  Also by writing around 500 words per post this gives your readers intensely focused content wrapped up in valuable information, without taxing their minds too much.

By focusing your efforts and improving your content process you can have a writing routine that works for you and your readers.

Important Elements of Creating a Blog Post

How do you create really great blog content? Content so good it goes viral. What are the elements most needed to create a successful blog post?

Two words that come to mind are unique and useful. Without these your blog is dead in the water and really stale.

When you start writing and looking at your blog analytics you discover which blog posts have been read the most.  Then you can start producing more of what your readers really like.

What Makes a Blog Post Useful and Unique?

Find Out What Your Readers Want

Ask your readers for advice and feedback, get their opinions and discover their needs.  You can do this through your blog posts or a weekly/monthly newsletter.

What Makes Blog Content Useful?

Useful content could be:

Education - Some blog readers prefer educational topics.

Information - People prefer to have information at hand and be informed of current affairs.

News - Some blog readers like to be kept up-to-date with the latest news in their favourite arena.

Every blog is useful in its own way.

What Makes Blog Content Unique?

Blogs are being created every second on nearly every topic imaginable, new bloggers have to think of blog topics that are going to stand out from the crowd and provide useful information that other bloggers aren't providing.

Best advice would be to see what your competition is doing.  As a new blogger you need to be producing interesting information  on a regular basis.

It may take you a while find your blogging voice but the more you write the louder your voice will become.

What's the Difference Between Original and Unique Content?

Original definition - new; fresh; inventive; novel.
Unique definition - having no like or equal; unparallelled; incomparable.

When you're original you're the first when you're unique you're exclusive or different.  So be both.

How to Utilise Blog Post Titles Productively

There's no denying, first impressions really do count.

Aside from the layout of your blog, the title should really strike a chord with your readers.

➧SEO - There are many contributors to how search engines rank a page, but one of the most powerful is the title of a blog post.

➧Faithful Readers - As previously mentioned, a good title forces the way your readers interact with your blog.  Making it easier for web users to scan pages, and make them pause as their eyes go down the page.  A good title should capture their interest straight away, helping them to slow down and take note of what they're reading.

➧Alerting Search Engines - Type in a couple of words and millions of results will pop up in Google search.  All readers have to go on is a title, short description and a URL.  The title is a focal point for all readers.

Applying Titles Successfully

Bloggers use a variety of strategies to draw attention to their posts.  See below the six factors to consider when writing good titles for your blog posts:

1.  Simplify - Research suggests that the simpler the title the better.  Search engines like titles of 40 characters and under, so the whole title appears in the search results.

2. Attention Grabber - A post can be set apart from the other clutter around it.  Some bloggers may choose tactics such as 'big claims', 'shock' or even 'controversy'.  There's no doubt that this draws the reader in, but also can cause more damage if your post doesn't live up to its claims.

3. Satisfy a Need - An adequate title will draw a reader in because they feel you've got something to say that they need to hear.  Popular articles such as 'how to ...' or 'guides' show readers that they'll learn something or solve a problem they might have.

4. Illustrate in Writing - A cryptic title draws a reader in but doesn't communicate much about what they're reading.  Most readers like to know something about what they'll find if they read further.  A good title should describe what readers will find in the main post.

5. Keyword Usage - You can maximise the power of your title by using keywords.  This can be a challenge when you want to 'keep it simple'.  Never the less it can be done.  Words at the beginning of a title are more powerful than at the end when it comes to SEO.

6. Don't be Frivolous with Your Title - Take time over your blog post title and content.

Think of each title as a mini advertisement of your work.  Think over what you've written before you hit the publish button.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

Continuing with the exploration of writing great content, a point deliberated by many bloggers over the years, the length of an ideal blog post.  Below are some points to ponder:

Attention Span of Reader - A point that has been well chronicled that the typical internet surfer has a short attention span when it comes to reading information online.  My own search into the investigation of length of stay on a blog has found that the average internet surfer will stay 96 seconds on a blog.  Which isn't long at all.  This is why so many bloggers write bite sized blog posts.  Which is contrary to what SEO experts will tell you.  Long posts ranking better than short ones.

SEO - Experts considered in the know about SEO will tell you that extremely short and extremely long posts are not ranked highly as pages of a more reasonable length.  No one really knows how many words are optimal, but it seems the general consensus to be that of  250 words to be the most reasonable length.  Likewise, 1,000 words and under are also advised.

Amount of Posts - One belief is that by writing shorter posts, you'll generate more blog posts in the long run.  Generating a greater readership with RSS and in Search Engines.

Genre/Topic - The length of your post will be determined by its length.  As an example, if your writing about a popular subject such as "blogging" you'll probably write quite a lengthy post, because its a popular subject on the internet.

Complete Coverage of the Topic - This should be the main benchmark for all bloggers.  You should write enough to exhaustively cover your topic, then stop.  Long for the sake of being long is not advisable.

Ultimately you have to find your own path on this.  I like to vary my blog length and do a long post every once in a while, to give readers something to think about.

How to Write a Successful Series on Your Blog

Doing a series of blog posts is a great way to keep your readers engaged.

I'm going to show you how to create your own blogging series.

1. Pick a topic - As I've discussed in previous posts, a title is everything.  I've looked over past series that I've done and they all started with a single blog post - one of my first series was the Beginners Guide.  This began as one post but I slowly began to realise why not do more posts and turn it into a series.

Always make sure you choose a subject that will allow you to spread out your chosen subject.

2. Create a list - Lists are a staple part of blog post publishing.  You can write about any subject with the help of some bullet points or numbers.  The list can be cut down or expanded upon depending on the chosen subject matter.

3. Establish a target - Set yourself a goal of how many posts you want to write and how long you want each post to take.  This way you can do a series in a week.

4. Series Reveal - Make an announcement with a blog introduction post.  This lets your readers know what to expect, and how long it will be.  Also helps to keep you motivated.

5. Compose an introduction to the series - This is the post you use to introduce your series in.  The audience will be told about the upcoming topic and what it will be addressing.

6. Keep it fresh write a post everyday - This will help you keep the topic fresh in your mind.  Writing multiple posts in one day can be a bit tedious, so make things easier and write them down over time.

7.  Join your posts with links - Not many bloggers remember to do this and it's really important for your readers to know it's a series.

You can do this by:

✤ Creating a central page - You create one page and link each post in your series.

✤ Add lists to the beginning and end of each post - You can do this whichever way you feel is best, at the beginning or end of your blog posts with a couple of sentences explaining what's in your blog series.

✤ Integrate all posts into one central page - Take all of your blog posts and place them on one page.  You then have a longer blog post.

Here's Some Quick Blog Post Inspiration

Starting a blog can be thrilling, you feel like you have real control when you start blogging, having an endless supply of ideas.  Which you think will never end.

Until suddenly your fountain of ideas dries up. What do you do?  You need to keep up the momentum.  Not posting regular blog posts and leaving your audience without regular updates is a big no no.

What is the Secret to a Regular Publishing Schedule?

This is why you need a plan to keep the content flowing, even when you're not feeling that inspired.

Use the five ideas below to get you started, and bookmark them for future reference for when that dry spell occurs.

1. Check Out Amazon

A fortuitous source for blog post topics are Amazon reviews.  You have books on nearly every subject.  Check out the reviews left on books in your own genre.  You can get a lot of insight into what people are looking for and what matters to your audience.

2. Listen to Community Forums

Any community forum or social group you're interested in, see what people are talking about.  Open up each thread and get a feel for the questions being asked within the forum.

3. Cover a Subject from a Different Angle

Most of your readers have probably not read all of your blog posts, so go back over the content you've already written.  You may have missed some important points on that particular subject.

There's always room for new thought and inspiration on any given subject.  You're also building your credibility as an authority on the internet.

4. Reorganise Old Content

Very similar to the above idea, reorganising your old content could mean creating an infographic or video.

5. Review News Updates Regularly in Your Own Industry

A good strategy to take is responding to news topics in your chosen subject.  Be mindful of being too controversial and using this particular strategy too often.

What You Need to Know About Blog Posting Frequency

What is the best time to publish during holiday time?

Like most subjects there are two schools of thought.  To publish or not to publish?

Why You Should Publish Blog Posts During Holiday Time

Most businesses are closed during a bank holiday, but this is only in the UK. While the rest of the world is still working.  You need to work out where most of your traffic comes from and go from there.

You also need to take into consideration how many times a week you publish a blog post.

These days most people carry around a device, be it a mobile phone or tablet with them so that they can check their emails or have internet direct access to the internet.  This makes a big difference to traffic.  Unlike the early days of blogging when people only had PC's or bulky laptops to view the internet from.

Why You Shouldn't Publish Blog Posts During Holiday Time

As I mentioned earlier posting during a holiday can be a bit tricky.  You need to understand your visitor's behaviour and whether it's really worth publishing anything during that time.

There's no doubt about it traffic can really suck and starts to drop off during a holiday because most people are chilling out with friends and family or even out or away from home for a holiday.

This is where you need to start looking at your analytics and the patterns people make visiting your blog.  If you can understand your visitor behaviour your halfway there in making the decision as to whether you should post on a holiday.

How often should I publish a blog post?

The question every blogger asks when there just starting out.  It's a question that needs to be looking into and considered very carefully.  It's time to get savvy with your blog post frequency.

Here are some important points to consider:

  Writing fatigue - If you're publishing a blog post every day you'll soon discover how tiring it can become.  Not only that but also how much the quality of your blog content  starts to suffer because you're churning out information at such a high rate.  You need a team of bloggers to sustain such a high volume of good content each week.  Proving that striving for high quality relevant content can be too demanding for any blogger.  Posting too frequently can lead to poor quality blog posts.

  Reader exhaustion - Posting within such a short period of time can leave your readers feeling tired and bored.  Particularly subscriber's and those loyal to your blog who have your website bookmarked.  Being bombarded by emails constantly can be very off putting.

  Reader engagement - Sometimes too much information can put people off commenting on your blog because they can't keep up with the different threads of conversation that are going on.  Too many blog posts on too many topics leads to reader disengagement.

  Search engine referrals - You could try posting an extra blog post each week to give you more in-roads to your blog.  Managing how many posts you produce is half the battle.

  Picking a blog post topic - Every subject can be broken down into sub-categories.  Giving people variety will keep them interested because people love to learn new things.

6  Variety of visitor - By understanding your blog analytics you can see the behaviour of your readers giving you a better insight into your audience.

  Length of post - It makes sense that writing posts over 750 words are going to take longer  to research and write, which isn't a bad thing.  So try to give your readers something meatier to read every once in a  while. 

  Regularity - My advice is to find your blogging rhythm and stick to it, unless life get's in the way.  Readers like to know what to expect and when to expect it.

Final Thoughts on Blog Posting Frequency

As long as you can write at least one really well written blog post a week you'll find your own steady readership.

Blog Post Recycling

After a blog post has been created, it can easily be forgotten about and get pushed to the bottom of the pile.

All that hard word is forgotten about. You need to remind your audience about your earlier posts.

You're probably thinking no one wants read a blog that was published months ago. This gives you the opportunity to breathe new life into work you've already done and improve on what you've written.

The process of recycling old blog posts will bring new life into those once tired blog posts again.

How to Start Recycling Your Old Blog Posts

Start by looking into your analytics, see which blog posts were traffic magnets.  These are the posts that will never go out of fashion.

Usually people gravitate towards the most relevant content and the posts that offer the most value.

You can begin by re-posting them on social media (Google+, Facebook, Twitter etc.).  You're blogging journey has come a long way since you joined social media so why not show your new followers some of your original work.

Discover What Your Audience Likes Reading

The more you look into your analytics the more you begin to realise which blog posts your reader's really like.  You can use this to grow your audience and build on your success!

Add even more value to your blog by reaching out to other markets within your genre.  You can engage new people by simply repositioning your content.

Update Your Blog Posts

This is something I like to do every year.  There's no harm in rejuvenating your content and giving it new lease of life.  You can use the same blog post by updating the information and adding a new image to it.

Create a New Format 

You could go really crazy and turn your blog post into a YouTube video or Slideshare.  This will bring a new audience to your content.

Try these 10 Read-to-Use Blog Post Templates

Every writer gets writer's block, you think that endless fountain of information is going to burst out and you'll be able to write endlessly, all it takes is a distraction and your well is dry.

Here are 15 blog post templates that you can use to help solve your writing drought:

1. Prophecy Post

These work particularly well at the start of the year, or towards the end.

Take a look at what your competitor's are writing about and create a blog post with your predictions for the new year.

2. Stuff You Might Not Know About Me

Every blogger should do a post like this.

Get your community's attention by revealing what goes on behind the scenes.  Give them a sneak peak into your life.

3. Why I Don't Do ....

News channels flourish when there's controversy in the air, here are some helpful hints:
  • Why I Don't Do Fitness
  • Why I Don't Do Affiliate Marketing
  • Why I Don't Do Tinder
4. The Famous Person Guide

See what's hot right now and link it into your market.

Some examples:
  • The Bill Gates Guide to IT
  • The Beyonce Guide to Beauty
  • The Oprah Winfrey Guide to Social Media
5. Case Studies

Case studies are like really good stories, everyone loves a great story.

Revealing how someone got to their goal is something everyone wants to know.

Examples:
  • How I Get 5,000 Visitors a Day
  • My Journey To The #1 Spot in Google
  • How I Lost 70 Pounds in 90 Days
If you really want to be a top market leader in your field start writing some case studies, and people will start following you along on your journey.

6. The Product Showdown

Try doing a comparison showdown with some of your favourite products, by sharing the pros and cons of each.

For example:
  • Hostgator Vs. Bluehost
  • Odesk Vs. Fiverr
You're giving your reader's valuable information about both to help them decide which is best.

7. Things You Must Do After ....

An entertaining blog post that nearly always a winner. It plays on your readers natural interest.
  • 10 Things You Must Do After Writing a Blog Post
  • 5 Things You Must Do After Every Date
  • 8 Things You Must Do After Every Workout
8. How to ... in (X Number of Days/Hours)

Pretty similar to a case study and another really popular template.
  • How to Generate 10,000 Visitors in 7 Days
  • How to Get 100 Retweets a Day
  • How to Get the Perfect Figure in a Month
9. The Experimental Blog Post

Set yourself a little experiment of doing something within 30  a day time span, then post your progress throughout that period.

Some examples:
  • My 30 Day Social Media Detox
  • My 30 Day Weight Loss Journey
10.  The Complete Pillar Post

If you're a new blogger, you can't go wrong with this blog post.

The 'pillar blog post' usually has more than 1,000 words, it gives your readers a lot of value.

Your 'pillar post' should inspire people, create a new perspective and get people to think outside the box.

Here are some examples:
  • 30 Steps to 1,500 Visitors Per Day
  • The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Marketing
  • How to Create a Google+ Landing Page
This Blog post is 3,947 words long, download your FREE PDF and read it later.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

How to Write with Confidence


As a writer I always worry that what I write isn't good enough or liked by anyone.  It can feel like a black cloud hovering over my head sometimes, and be very hard to get rid of.

That crisis of conscience can hit when times are hard, and often leave you with writer's block.  Not really knowing what your next move should be.

We live in a world where big things are expected from us all of the time, which is a lot to handle when you're trying to live your life as well.

Sometimes all it takes is to step back and drop down a gear, put things into perspective, and not panic.

Sounds so simple I know.

Often the simplest things can be the hardest things to do because we think we're just going to fail if we try.

Instead of feeling like a failure when times are hard try this:

1. You're a Writer and no one can tell you otherwise

Gone are the days when you had writing aspirations, you're a writer, so deal with it!

2. Mistakes are meant to be made

Quit worrying about doing it wrong all of the time!  You make mistakes learn from them.  There are no set rules or instructions to follow, you've just go to sit down and do it come what may.

3. You're good enough to know how bad you really are

A really good writer knows when he/she needs to make improvement.  A bad writer will carry on doing the same mistakes over and over again.

4. Ask yourself why you started writing in the first place

When you started writing you were doing it because you loved it so much.

5. Make more time during the day to write

Give yourself plenty of time to write and think, this will take the pressure off when life gets in the way.


6. Set a writing routine

Create your own writing routine, seek out the best time during the day that you feel fresh enough to write then make it a habit.   Write everyday if you can.

7. Talent is overrated

Writing is a skill that needs to be nurtured and grown.  Stop worrying if you think you're not talented enough.

8. Get the right kind of support

Having a good support network around you makes all the difference.

9. Kill that frustration

Are you tired of seeing other writer's get book deals and feel like you're left out in the cold?  These feelings do nothing but hold you back, get rid of them and move on.  Make improvements if they need to be made.  Don't let that kind of frustration hold you back.

10. Collect all of your positive compliments

Negative compliments can weigh you down.  Take note of all of the positive reviews and comments you have and keep them as a permanent record.  Don't be swayed by negative words.

11. Criticism isn't personal

As hard as it is to believe criticism is just someone else's opinion and something you can actually learn from.  You need to toughen up and keep going.  Over time you'll get better at handling the negativity that comes your way..

12. Stay curious and always looking to learn new things

There's nothing wrong in wanting to be more confident with your writing and learning some new skills along the way.  Try reading more and find out what other writers have to say.

13. Make a List Your Ideas

Carry a notebook around with you and write down the ideas that come into your head straight away. You can go through each idea with a fresh set of eyes when you're ready to write them down.

14. Nurture Your Ideas

If you can't think of information to support your article, wait a few days.  Let your article idea slowly fester.  Anything that comes into your mind, write it down .  You'll have all the information you need when the time comes to write your article out.

15. Refine Before Your Thoughts Before You Start

If you're over run with ideas at the beginning, take action and write down the good stuff.

16. Use Bullet or Numbered Points

Simplify your article with numbers or bullet points.  You don't need to shift from one idea to the next. Lists are easier on the eye so they'll benefit your reader.

17. If You Have Writer's Block Come Back to it Later

Never force your words out.  Put it it to one side and concentrate on something else.  You can even go between blog posts, and "kill two birds with one stone".  This will save you loads of time.

18. Don't Hold onto Your Good Ideas

If you have a list of ideas and you think you should save the best till last, don't! All of your information is fresh in your mind making your articles easier to write. Start on the articles you know are the easiest to write and work your way down your list.

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