word cloud, DIY, blogging activity, tagxedo

Hey, Ma! It’s a Charming Word Cloud, Updated for 2014

word cloud, Tagxedo, DIY, blog

Hey, Ma, look at this 2013 charming word cloud!

If you would like a simple project to brighten up your home page, why not start with a word cloud that highlights all the words from your blog? With Tagxedo, word clouds are a snap to make and you can tweak until you are completely satisfied.

This is my first word cloud attempt and if I can do it, trust me, anyone can be a success. I give everyday gurus the credit for this fun inspirational project.

You ready? GO…

4 Easy steps for your own word cloud:

1. Before you begin, be sure you know your URL address and check Theme Showcase to make sure you are familiar with the image sizes for your theme.  Once you have it, go to Tagxedo and plug-in your information in the box provided.

2. Once you submit your site’s URL, you can begin to create your very own word cloud.

3. You choose your own font, theme, color, orientation and shape of your word cloud. I chose the heart shape but there are many other themes to choose from.

4. Save your creation either onto your computer or flash drive and show off your new word cloud using your theme Image widget.

I hope you have as much fun as I did creating you own word cloud and let me know how yours turned out!

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Are you a word cloud expert?

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**Updated 2014 Word Cloud:word cloud, DIY, blogging activity, tagxedo

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A Splash of Color to Make You or Break You…

Have you ever had a random, foggy black and white kind of day?

fog, landscape, black and white, photograph

Splash of black and white color: brings in a foggy, random, depressed, slightly despairing mood…

Nothing life threatening but a mild sort of hazy feeling that traps you into an unfocused, lethargic attitude and, no matter how you try to be productive, the drive to pursue whatever is your passion becomes seriously lacking; the only solution seems to be found in frequent cat naps, like my house cat illustrates so beautifully here…

cat nap, bed, feline, photograph

…on the bed…

cat nap, couch, photograph

…on the sofa…

cat nap, floor, feline, photograph

…on the floor…

shy, cat nap, photograph, feline

…on a chair and oh, so shy…

Cat naps work well just about anywhere!

I wonder at times if this uncertain randomness is due to a black and white way of seeing the world. You know, it is either the way you want things to be or nothing at all–talk about thinking in extremes!

Take for example the effort one puts into publishing a blog post. Do you anticipate, as often as I do, how a blog post will turn out? I admit this is a grave fault of mine– over anticipating–and I really should grow up, be done with fretting and worrying over who will like or not like a certain post. For example, if a certain post gets very little traffic, I begin to worry.

Was it something I wrote…or maybe did not write…too long…too short…not enough photos…too many photos (usually never the case) or *gasp* simply poor writing technique?

Fret…worry…more frets…more worries.

STOP!

Instead of all this wasted black and white way of seeing things, I should develop a more “grayer,” leading up to a more colorful thinking scale and allow the “perhaps” to play a more significant role. For example, as the extreme black and white thinking sets in, I can reason that maybe blog readers are busy with life outside of blogging.  I mean we all have a life outside of the blogosphere and maybe my thoughts can become a bit more colorful to include a transition into a more positive outlook on things. Further, perhaps a post would get less traffic because the subject at hand was in all honesty, just too damn boring or too hard to follow. That is understandable.

I should not take it so personable. Ideally, I should sit back, stay calm and reflect on the moment as I allow the grays and colorful thoughts to flourish in abundance.

stuffed animal, bro button, photograph, chilling

Splash of black and white with a slow transition into color: feeling a little better and no, I am not taking any of this personally…really…

Unfortunately, for all of you, I am still digging my way out of extreme black and white thoughts like, “Oh, no, my readers hate what I posted! They think it is all zombie crazy writing!!…”

zombie, despair, photograph, backslide, worry

Splash of bloody, screaming red color: you are now watching me backslide into zombie-ish kind of despair and worry…

AHHHH, SOMETHING IS WRONG…did I not use enough colorful adjectives??? Tell me…aahhhaahh…Oh, to hell with it all…I give up…go on, poke out my eye…I sacrifice it all for the love of my craft…farewell my dear friends…

…Wait. What is this?

Amazingly, the mist of gloom from my day has suddenly lifted, perhaps because I made the effort to clear my mind and write without a worry. How nice it is to witness the world in color, dive happily into the great Weekly Writing Challenge: A Splash of Color and finally accept whatever comes my way.

So long, black and white colors, be off with your splashes that left me in a slump and feeling like an eyeless zombie!

color, photograph, landscape, see clearly

Splash me in rich autumn colors: warm oranges, soothing greens and peaceful blues…the fogs been lifted…I can begin to see clearly once again…

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What kind of colors surround you today and how has it affected your well-being?

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As you may have guessed, the writing challenge this week was to “highlight a color in a story or event.” I chose to focus on the dominate colors that surrounded me the last couple of days. The type of weather we experience does seem to affect our outlook for the day…at least it happens to work that way for me. Enjoy more contributors to this writing challenge below:

Chuckles Speaks On the 10 Commandment…

I know, I know, you have missed my beautiful face, but, LOOKY here…I was busy landscaping my back yard, digging and digging gigantic size holes to lay around in and, *gasp* oh, noooo, LOOK:

10 commandment blog award, buried, Chuckles, dirt, hole, gasp

Creative landscaping by Chuckles…call me for ALL your landscaping needs. 🙂

I found this 10 Commandment Blog Award buried way down deep and had I not dug a deep hole, I would have totally missed this award! Some of you know what a stickler I am for getting things out on a timely basis so this, this is absolutely shameful!!

Who buried this blog award?? Hmm, why so quiet all of a sudden?

Okay, never mind. I forgive you, and you and you!

Listen, unless you are totally new to blogging, ya know the short and sweet blog award rules. For the newbies, here are the complete rules, and by the way, newbies, my name is Chuckles, AKA blog-farm dog/writer; I handle all awards around here. See my beautiful face further down this page…

Now, back to business. Here are the quick and easy award rules:

1.. THANK the giver.

THANK YOU, Francine!!! WOOF!

FEELING THE LOVE « Francine In Retirement is a wonderful and supportive blog friend living in the United States. She is an inspiration to many and when I retire from my landscaping–watch dog work, I plan to follow her example and blog everyday about my paw-some retirement adventures around the farm.

2. Next rule, answer the 10 questions below:

Let’s GO:

1.   Describe yourself in seven words.

chules, blog dog, writer, farm, dog, canine

Great Pyrenees, furry, fat slightly chubby, writer, blogger, cheerleader, watchdog and great landscape specialist. I specialize in customized large holes. (See my lovely work in the photo at the top of this page.)

2.   What keeps you up at night?

   Anything that moves after dark; mysteriously lurking around to get pass my great watchdog instincts and forces me to sing bark all night.    

3.   Whom would you like to be

       Fancy you ask that question…well, I would definitely have to be,  John Wayne or perhaps, Sylvester Stallone aka, “Rocky.”

4.   What are you wearing now

      Erm, white fur…a bit dirty with lots of sticky things like burs, twigs and *yikes*  do I see dead insects on me? Say, you would not have a minute to spare to brush me, would you?

Just asking…

5.   What scares you

       What?!? Nothing scares this over 100 pound pup…no, sir, I am fearless!! 

6.   What are the best and worst things about blogging

       The best of blogging is, I mean, come on, me, an ordinary farm dog can actually have a job writing for a blog site like this. I think it is dang, super awesome!

Another BEST of blogging is the many folks who bring so much life to my simple country life.

The worst thing about blogging is the severe sleep deprivation one can get if not careful. It is not so much a problem for me because my eyes shut immediately when my brain has too much input.

7.    What was the last website you looked at

      Why do you want to know?  TMI (too much information)

8.    If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be

       Well, you see, I have this terrible drooling problem especially if I see you putting food (my favorite thing in life) in my dinner dish. So ya, I would like to stop drooling. It is hard to find a girlfriend when you have a drooling problem. Trust me. Female pups do not like handsome males, like myself, drooling…

9.    Slankets, yes or no

       I think I am a slanket…that is what my cat girlfriend tells me…hehe.

10.   Tell us something about the person who nominated you:

See my thank you section above. Thank you.

3. Finally, the last rule is to nominate 10 blogger pals you want to share the award with.

(TIP-off: I shamefully disregard rules so you may or may not see 10 nominations as it will depend on how well you use your imagination.)

1. Ray’s Mom

2. Ben Nelson

3. It’s a Pussy Cats Life

Well, that’s my 10 nominations…it’s time for me to, what?? I only have three nominations? No, silly, you really see ten. 🙂

I must run along before I miss dinner so, thank you Francine for the 10 Commandment Blog Award.

Congratulations to the 10 nominees… 🙂

WOOF, laters guys!!

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PS: I forgot one thing…paste this picture somewhere on  your blog and link your post to your nominees site (so they know you awarded them):

10 Commandment Blog Award

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Blogging

 

I wanted to try two new things today. First, a quick post for the Daily Post Writing Challenge, the theme being, The Sound of Blogging, and second, in the dashboard section, compose a quick post.

So, here it is…

“I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound.” ~Nathanial Hawthorne

Of all the sounds in the world, the most intoxicating to my soul and sends me leaping with delight, is no other than the dear sounds from God’s gift to the world, the horse!

I love how some writers write exactly what you are thinking.

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, summed up beautifully…”All the sounds dear to a horseman…the snort of the horses as they clear(ed) their throats, the gentle swish of their tails, the tinkle of irons, as we fling the saddles over their backs–little sounds of no importance, but they stay in the unconscious library of memory.”

Image

This is my neighbor’s horse but one day, I will check off from my bucket list:
Own horses

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Have you tried anything new on your blog recently?
What was the best sound you ever heard?

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Hide n Seek, Anyone?

SCENE 5, TAKE 1:

Hey, you want me to come over? Yeah? Okay, I will be over in a sec…

visit, home, postaday, hide n seek, home page, blog

Shuffle, shuffle…varoom, varoom…

I’m here!!

Hello? Anyone home?

What is that? Did you say come on inside your home?

Okay, (looking and looking) how?? Where is your freakin’ door?

What?? I have to get creative and find a way to get inside your home?!? You say I have to play, Hide n Seek?

But I do not have time to play Hide n Seek!?!

CUT!

The above Scene 5 may seem like a weird thing if you happen to find yourself unable to get into someone’s home that lacked a proper door to enter in. It happens, every so often, unfortunately, when visiting blog sites that omits a HOME tab option to click on and without it seems much like a visit to someone’s personal home where the entrance door is either non-existent or hidden.

Has this ever happened to you?

Are you happy when you arrive at a blog site and you cannot find the latest post because the HOME tab option is not available?

This is not a complaint, just a bit of wondering why some blog sites lack a home tab option to click into their home page if you happen to find yourself on a single post from the blog.

Is is part of the their blog theme where the HOME tab is not available?

I am just throwing questions out simply to understand.

You see, occasionally I will use my email as a way to check into blog sites that leave a ‘like’ or better yet, a subscription to my blog.

As you know, from the email way of navigating over to a blog, when you check on a blog site, you usually land on a single post usually not the most recent post. Since I prefer to read on the most recent posts, I will quickly scan the blog page for the HOME button. Usually this button is an easy find, but as you guess, on the days when time is as precious as a drink of fresh water during a severe drought, a few blogs have a creative game I have appropriately named as the Hide n Seek to find the Home Page game.

When I land on such a blog game, some of you know how competitive I can become, I quickly sprint frantically with my little computer mouse, in search of the next best hints. Usually it is either a monthly calendar or the most ‘recent post’ button.

If I quickly find either of these prized items, I am like, “oh, yah…what now, huh? What now??”

Jazzed and pumped, I feel my quick actions with the computer mouse has now put me ahead in this Hide n Seek game. However, a few Hide n Seek games do get the best of me and I know it is time to raise the white flag and admit defeat when my computer mouse, no matter how hard it races over the blog page, fails to find a HOME tab option, a most ‘recent post’ option or a monthly calendar.

I am so done. The game is over, baby. All I can do is click wherever and hope it will take me to the most recent post of the day.

Listen, this is no biggie and no hard feelings to those blogs who purposely leave out the HOME tab option. I had a rather long day today and coming over to play the Hide n Seek game on a few blogs got the best of me and well, I just had to let my thoughts out.

All I want to know, for those who omit, on purpose, the HOME tab option on your blog site, uh, WHY, exactly??

My apologies ahead of time for unloading about this topic.

Thank you.

I Have Been Categorizing and Tagging While Blindfolded!!

It is true; I have posted in my ignorance. This, no-excuse behavior, is equal to blogging while being blindfolded.

How this can be, you ask. Well, let me explain.

When I started blogging, like most some of you, I was like a fish out of water. Everything about blogging was new for me. (Uh, still is.!?!) Starting with the writing for an audience; the learning of the WordPress system, and prior to pressing the publish button; checking the proper category boxes and tags for the post.

Things moved in the direction I had expected, although the shaky beginning posts became worrisome when nobody came around. As you know, eventually readers came and some even chose to stay, yay, and I thank you!!!

I Think, Therefore I BLOG - (Being Normal is n...

Photo credit: marsmet451

The blogging life was good; however, the one area that stayed so elusive to my understanding was categories and tags (C&T). The main reason is I did not educate myself on this subject, up until yesterday. As I was getting ready to put the final addition of C&Ts to my post, it suddenly dawned on me that using the same tags as my categories did not seem proper.

I dismissed my questioning mind, closed my eyes; secured the blindfold, and randomly categorized and tagged my post and hit the publish button.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Random tagging and poor categorizing truly showed my total ignorance. For example, if my post were about the current heat wave we are going through, I would check in my category boxes the following:

Post a Day 2012
Writing
Uncategorized
Sunday Post or Weekly Photo Challenge (if applicable)

Then, for the tags, I would add words that applied to the post and then go crazy n’ wild. Here are some ‘wild’ tags I would throw in even if it did not apply to the topic in my post:

Write
Writer
Woman
Blog
Blogger
Journal
WordPress
Journey
Blogging
Coffee (I wanted to use this one just because I wrote the post while drinking coffee!!)

Moreover, I believe I had more tags that are random and not mentioned here that would find its way out on a published post. I would also *gasp* repeat some of the checked categories in the tag section. The classic ones were, Weekly Photo Challenge, Sunday Post and 5- Minute Friday. They would be in both my category and tag section!

This behavior was a dumb and ignorant move on my part.

Thank goodness, my fairy blog mother came by yesterday and whispered,

“Girl, you need to get some help over at WordPress Forum/Support and pronto!”

As I had expected, the message I received by my fairy blog mother’s very speedy helper, Time Thief, indicated it was time to stop posting while blindfolded and get edu-blogmacated!

Here is my question and my quick answer from forum:

Me: Is it better not to repeat a category title when tagging a post?

Forum:

Don’t do it! Never use the same keyword or keyword phrase as both a category and a tag. Search engines treat the two in exactly the same way so it looks like you are spamming to them. Worse still, if you do that you will create an editing mess in your blog.”

Therefore, you all know what I spent most of my free time doing yesterday, and it is still incomplete! I am now in the process of cleaning up my category section by merging some categories into others and creating categories that are more concise and on target for each post after this.

(This is a fine example of the consequences of not having a clear mission statement formed as you begin in the blogging adventure.)

As I understood from the brief research on C&T, a category is like the table of contents of a book; it should tell your readers exactly what your blog focuses on as a good table of contents would do. For example, if my blog was about nature photography, then my categories should reflect this and not have a random category like couture fashion.

Tags, however, are words or several key words that should reflect what is in your post. I guess my choice of using the tag ‘coffee’ just because I was drinking coffee when I wrote my post can no longer find its way as a tag, unless I happen to be writing about coffee.

When tagging, stick to key words that apply to your post.

Finally, most of us want our post seen by many people, and I was in the same mind frame when I wildly attached any tags that came to my head prior to publishing. My thinking on tags were, the more you used, the better chance of exposure for your post.

Wrong. If a post has too many C&T attached to it, the post usually does not even make it into the Topic section of WordPress (fewer people finding you) and possibly, your post be considered as spam! The recommended number of C&T combined should be around 15, total.

As I slowly take off my blindfold, I am squinting from the light of all this new knowledge and I would love to hear how C&T play out in your blog life. As I continue to learn more about blogging more effectively, I have included other sites below that I find explains C&T far better than I have here.

Do you have any interesting trivia on how to handle Categories and Tags properly?

How did you go about creating your own categories for your own blog?