Share the Word is moving!

From now on, we’ll be offering better blogging tips at The Daily Post and on the blog. Be sure to update your subscriptions!

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Blogger Basics: Copyright (via Reid All About It)

Here’s a good debriefing on the basics of copyright law — and how to stay in the clear when it comes to blogging.

Blogger Basics: Copyright The web was buzzing last week with the news that a small freebie magazine, Cooks Source, had allegedly committed a copyright violation by publishing a writer’s apple pie recipe and article without asking her permission. Edward Champion provided a synopsis of the entire incident and discovered quite a few other possible violations. The magazine’s dubious actions would have been bad enough, but the editor further inflamed the situation by her arrog … Read More

via Reid All About It

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15 Blogging Best Practices

In case you missed it on Freshly Pressed earlier this week, these Top 15 Blogging Best Practices are fantastic tips to blog by.

Top 15 Blogging Best Practices Why Aren’t You Blogging? Originally uploaded by Mike Licht, How can you become a better blogger? 1. Use a catchy title. Make the title unique, consider using questions and lists. 2. Use interesting visuals. Include an image or video in your blog. This will get people’s attention and help them better understand the content of your blog. 3. Include links. Links add depth and credibility to your articles and allow you to show a li … Read More

via Adventures in Technology

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Tip: Do You Know How to “Press This?”

Do you often read articles on the web that make you think “Wow, I’d totally like to blog about that. Like, right now!”

If you use our Press This service, then you can do just that, making it very easy to update your blog while browsing the web. After you install Press This, a little “W” or the words “Press This” will appear in your browser’s toolbar, and anytime you’re reading any web page that you would like to share or discuss in a blog post, click the Press This tool. Presto! An edit window pops up with  a pre-filled headline and a link to the page you were reading. In action, it looks something like this:

Press this

Here’s a bit more about this nifty tool.

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Introducing FoodPress (via News)

We couldn’t be more thrilled about this new site on!

Introducing FoodPress "Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." Those wise words are from celebrity chef Julia Child, who was never shy about following her passions in life. Child was passionate about many things, but especially food — and she shares that in common with bloggers, who publ … Read More

via News

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Freshly Pressed Focus: Ophthalmic Photography (via Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night)

Today I stumbled across a post while surfing our Photography tag page, written by a woman who is a professional ophthalmic photographer. Meaning, she takes photos of eyeballs. Now, that’s no ordinary job, so I immediately started hoping the post was Freshly Pressed worthy, and it was! Let’s discuss why:

First, she explains what her job is like, putting her readers in her shoes for a day. She even gives her readers a brief eyeball anatomy lesson. But instead of delving into really tedious explanations of her work, she cuts to the chase, and gets to the “meat” of the post: her incredible photos.

For each photo, she again tells us what we’re looking at. The weird black bolt of lightening? That’s a blocked blood vessel. The cloud-like glowing orbs? That’s inflammation after a car accident. Wow, who knew? And better yet: These are her photos, not someone else’s that appeared in a magazine somewhere, or on another web site. It’s original content, straight from the source. I love that.

But most of all, I love the “who knew?” factor I got when I read her post, and I wanted to share it with the world. And I now would like to ask all of you: What’s your job like? You might not take photos of eyeballs, but I bet you’ve got something unique and interesting to share, too.

Ophthalmic Photography I get a lot of questions about what exactly I do, and a lot of confused looks when I introduce myself as an ophthalmic photographer.  I work in a unique and interesting field photographing the insides of people’s eyes, specifically the retina. The retina lines the back wall of the eye and is responsible for our detailed vision.  My imaging of the retina provides the  doctors with crucial information that allows them to diagnose and treat retinal … Read More

via Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night

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Proud of Old Posts? These 5 Widgets Will Help You Get New Eyes on Your Archives

Have you put your heart and soul into many of your entries, only to watch them sink to the bottom of your blog and eventually disappear on to the second page, where they’re now collecting dust?

These 5 widgets will help bring your old posts back to life by making them more accessible to your readers:

The Archives Widget organizes your previously published posts by month, making it easy for readers to browse your old content.

The Categories Widget organizes your posts by category. This makes it easy for readers to discover other posts that interest them.

The Tag Cloud Widget gives your readers an at-a-glance view of your favorite subjects, and can be handy for those who want to find more of your posts about specific topics.

The Top Posts Widget displays your most visited posts as of the last 48 hours. This widget provides a great way to showcase your most popular work.

The Pages Widget displays your blog’s pages in your sidebar, which can help encourage readers to spend more time checking out your content.

Learn more about widgets here.

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Freshly Pressed Focus — Cocktail Hour: Apples to Apples

Today we are featuring “Cocktail Hour: Apples to Apples” on the homepage of, from the blog Shallot’s Web. What makes this post worthy of such fame and fortune?

First, ’tis the season for apples, at least in the Northern hemisphere. Farmer’s markets, grocery stores and roadside stands are brimming with barrels of apples for sale. So, lots of people are wondering what they can make with all those apples. And this recipe from Shallot’s Web is not your ordinary apple pie or apple sauce recipe, this one is putting a great spin on a cocktail, just in time for the weekend. So the post is timely in two ways — it’s apple season, and the weekend is approaching. The post was written on Monday, but we waited until today to feature it, just for that reason.

Instead of just slapping up a recipe, and nothing else, the blog’s author has taken the time to include photos – so anyone who wants to give this recipe a shot has an idea of what the finished product should look like, *and* the author explains why they wanted to try this recipe. They were tired of fake-tasting, toxic-green “apple-tinis” that somehow neither really taste nor smell like fresh apples. So they made their own unique recipe. Awesome! It’s easy to use someone else’s recipe and blog about it, but it takes true passion to invent a new recipe too. Kudos to Shallot’s Web and keep creating — you’ve got our attention.

Cocktail Hour: Apples to Apples I admit that I’ve tried a few “apple-tinis.” You know, those unnaturally green cocktails made with artificially flavored sour apple schnapps and vodka, garnished with a maraschino cherry?  Any time I’ve tried one, I’ve always thought, “why am I not just eating a sour apple Jolly Rancher candy instead?”  I didn’t set out to make a better, more natural version of this cocktail, but I think I ended up doing so. When the weather turns chilly in late … Read More

via Shallots Web

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Twitter Tips for Journalists (And Bloggers!)

I came across this great slideshow detailing some key tips for using Twitter if you’re a journalist. The same tips apply for bloggers, or anyone who likes to publish content online.

The main message here is: Be professional. While some people think of Twitter as casual and fleeting, the truth is, any Tweet can come back to haunt you, at any time. And while slang may make your Tweets shorter, they also make them hard to read. Spell correctly, write cleanly, and communicate fairly.

Twitter Tips for Journalists (hat tip to Journalism Professor and excellent Twitter user @andybechtel)

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The Art of the Nut Graf: Don’t Just Get New Visitors, Keep Them

Mixed nuts

Image via Wikipedia

Writing rockin’ blog post titles is a great way to attract new visitors to your blog. But it’s just as important that your posts have strong introductions that will engage readers and motivate them to actually read — and not just scan — your writing. Plus, you probably want to encourage them to stay on your blog and read your other entries, too.

Think about it: do you read every word of every blog post that looks remotely appealing? Of course not! You probably scan the first few sentences to determine if a post is of interest to you, and if it doesn’t immediately grab your attention, you skedaddle.

Keep that in mind when you’re writing the introductions of your own posts.

“What Graf?”

Traditional news stories begin by summarizing the who, what, when, where, why, and how. This is called the lead. Feature stories, on the other hand, take a more narrative approach and often include the opinion of the writer (like most blog posts). The nut graf is the lead of a feature story. It summarizes the essence of the article.

The nut graf essentially tells readers, “Here is what this piece is about, and this is why you should care.” You might be able to sum up the nut graf in a single sentence, or you might want to dedicate a whole paragraph to it. Though it’s usually best to place the nut graf as early as possible in the story, you may find that for some posts, it fits best in the second or third paragraph.

For example, here are some nut grafs (highlighted in bold) from two of last week’s Freshly Pressed posts:

Here’s an excerpt from I am not Hmong; And I don’t speak Spanish!
with a delayed, three-paragraph nut graf:

A few of years ago, my husband’s niece exclaimed, “Auntie, I know how to say door in Spanish.”

“Dora, the Explorer” was one of her favorite children’s television shows at that time.  I wondered if she had learned that from “Dora.”

“How?” I asked.

“Qhob rooj!”

I gasped in surprise,  “Athena, that’s not Spanish!  That’s Hmong.  And the correct way to pronounce it is ‘qhov rooj.’”

Two years ago, the same Athena got offended when I told her that she is Hmong.

“I’m not Hmong.  I’m American and I speak American,” she stated.

She does have a point; she is American.  She was born here.  She lives here.  She goes to an American school.   She learns about the American culture, history, and language at school.  But she can’t deny the fact that no matter how American she wants to be, she will always be Hmong.  Even if she labels herself as “American”, others are going to label her as either “Asian (Asian American)” or “Hmong.”

Athena is not the only one.  I have witnessed too many small Hmong children who are ignorant about their culture.   Too many Hmong children don’t speak their native tongue and don’t even recognize the Hmong language when they hear it.  Too many Hmong children don’t know what the essence of being “Hmong” is about nor do they have pride that they are Hmong.

Who is to blame for ignorant Hmong children who believe their grandparents speak Spanish?  Who is to blame for Hmong children refusing to claim their heritage?   The parents.

Growing up, I didn’t have cable TV or watch American movies like my peers.  My mom bought Hmong movies and Asian movies dubbed in Hmong for my siblings and me.  If it weren’t for those Hmong movies, I believe I would’ve lost my ability to speak Hmong a long time ago.

Here’s an excerpt from The Truth About Flying, which begins with a two-sentence nut graf:

Many moons ago, when the Gutenberg was just a twinkle in Johannes’ eye, I thought travel was exciting, exotic and glamourous.

Now that I fly roughly every few weeks and have survived Paris CDG on more than one occasion, with my hair intact (though perhaps less so my sanity), I have realised that it is the height of tedium.

Or, as Orson Welles so succinctly put it, “There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.”

In addition to communicating the value of the post and hooking readers, an effective nut graph will help you to focus and organize your writing.

Tips for Writing Compelling Introductions

Be specific
Paint a detailed picture for your reader.

Get to the point
Say what you want to say in as few words as possible. You’re writing for the web, remember?

Have an opinion
That’s the beauty of personal blogs!

Emphasize controversy
As the old journalism saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.” But you don’t have to blog about violence (or other contentious topics) to raise eyebrows. If you’re challenging conventional wisdom or saying what no one else is brave enough to say, you can use that to hook readers.

Be honest
Don’t overhype your post. Get visitors excited about your content, but be careful not to set them up for disappointment.

Nut Grafs in a Nutshell

So whether you’re writing a long-winded rant about politics or simply recapping last weekend’s shenanigans, be sure to tell visitors why they should keep reading.

Chances are, if someone’s already clicked on your post they’re probably interested in what you have to say. But most of us have pretty short attention spans when it comes to browsing content on the web, so do your best to hook readers as quickly as you can.

Posted in Blogging Tips, Want More Readers? | 6 Comments