4 Content Marketing Hacks To Attract High Paying Freelance Clients

content marketing for freelancers

content marketing for freelancers

If you work online, you’ve probably heard of content marketing before. In just a few years, it’s become one of the most powerful tools companies use to attract new business. And it works! When you compare businesses that use content marketing to those who don’t, adopters have a nearly six times higher conversion rate than competitors.

Have you ever thought about using content marketing to attract new freelance clients? You should. Content marketing can do a lot to improve your online presence and help your business grow.

Here are four content marketing hacks to make it happen:

1. Solve your dream client’s problems

Content marketing is all about seeing things through the eyes of your customer. Instead of using paid advertisements around the web explaining how great you are as a freelancer, you want to focus in how your service solves your potential clients’ problems.

These are called “pain points” that you need to identify if you want to succeed with content marketing. Brainstorm issues that keep your target clients up at night. Say you’re a freelance writer. Your potential clients’ pain points might be:

  • They can’t blog frequently enough to grow their business.
  • They’re worried their writing is boring or lacks depth.
  • They don’t have time to figure out how to optimize their content for search engines.

These are all problems a freelance writer can help with! When you start creating your own content to market, cater it to addressing these needs, instead of focusing on yourself.

2. Use the power of search

Most professional freelancers have at least a static website set up to showcase their portfolio and offer some contact information. But there’s simply no way a 5-page site with no blog can compete with other freelance businesses in search results.

But if you’re going to start a blog for your content marketing strategy, you can take advantage of search engine optimization in the process. Every time you come up with a new blog post idea, find relevant long-tail keywords you can optimize it for. Use tools like KWfinder.com, Keywordtool.io or LongTailPro.com. Choose a keyword that has the right mix of the following:

  • Relevance – Does the keyword work well with what you’re writing about, and what your target audience is looking for?
  • Search Volume – Does the keyword get enough monthly searches to attract traffic to your site?
  • Competition – Is it possible to rank well for this keyword or are too many other pages targeting it?

Even if you’re not an SEO expert, it’s still really easy to optimize your posts. Just use a plugin like SEO by Yoast to analyze your content and show you where they keywords need to go.

3. Showcase your expertise

Content marketing is also a great opportunity to show your worth as a freelancer. Use your blogging as an opportunity to discuss and highlight your work.

If you’re a freelance graphic designer, for example, you might also share progress updates of your latest art on social media. The more engagement your work gets, the more reach you’ll have to potential freelance clients.

You can also show your expertise in a certain area by blogging about best practices. Say you’re an SEO expert. Your blog can be all about how to navigate on-page and technical SEO to rank well in search engines. This will attract people to your site who are interested in improving their SEO. Then you can put a call-to-action on your site asking them if they need help!

4. Don’t forget content promotion

Content marketing isn’t all about getting your pages to rank in search engines. In fact, SEO is just one platform of many that you should use to promote your content and attract traffic back to your site. I believe content marketing should be 20% content creation and 80% promotion.

At the most basic level, you’ll also want to share your content on all your social media profiles. But don’t stop there!

You should dig deeper into the internet by joining and engaging on relevant forums as well. When it makes sense, suggest some of your content to help answer people’s questions. The same goes with deeper social communities like Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, and relevant Twitter hashtag conversations.

Try to enlist the help of others to start promoting your content as well. Identify influential people in your industry (maybe they have a popular blog or a huge social following). If your content is something their audience would like, then reach out to them asking them to share.

There are so many possibilities for success when you use content marketing to attract new clients. Just cater your message to their needs and take advantage of every platform out there to reach your audience. Be consistent, and you can’t go wrong!

Follow me on Twitter and visit my website for more resources to market and grow your business online.


How to Earn Extra Cash on the Weekends

The internet is filled with scores of passive income ideas–but you must find one that blends in well with your skills and capabilities. Passive income gradually grows if you plan on expanding the business significantly. You must work hard initially if you’d like to create a steady revenue stream in future. Good passive income ideas do not require large sums of money but just investments in yourself.

Four Things to consider in your at-home Investment:

  • Money
  • Time
  • Skill Managing
  • Online Stocks

You can use any one combination of the above to get a better chance at success in your chosen field of expertise. Besides income, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and more freedom once you start earning your passive income. The payoff is remarkable and worth your efforts. Bearing this in mind, let’s look at eight ways to add to your family income from home on weekends that you can build now.

  • Data Entry
    If you are a skilled in accounting, there are scores of online job opportunities in the data entry field. You could sign up with legitimate sites for a variety jobs that match your skills. The jobs provide hourly rates and quick payments upon completion of specific tasks. You will, however, be required to take an exam to test your skills for competency.
  • Online Stocks and Forex
    Using equity or online trading, or currency exchange to earn passive income is a great approach. Your initial capital could be any amount from £100; the best options for you include CMC Markets with forex. Online investment platforms are easy to set up since you only need a computer and some startup capital to buy trading shares. The value of your invested capital will fluctuate, and so will your profits. But in the long run, your income will grow with the market trends.
  • Stock photography
    Your photography hobby can turn out into a lucrative business of collecting stock photos and selling them to media outlets and ad agencies. You must be a skilled photographer with a lot of attractive media shots; you can also create composite photos on your computer and create sell photos used by advertisers for special projects. Stock photos can be sold with rights and fetch you a handsome pay.

  • eBooks
    Creating informative text is the best online product because you get to sell it forever. It’s so easy to create a book out of things you are passionate about. You can develop your own eBook and sell it through Goodreads, Kindle, or Amazon. A successful eBook requires strategic marketing. Establish a network of people willing to facilitate selling your eBook and achieve high sales volumes.
  • Blogging
    Blogging makes passive income over time. Like eBooks, you must be passionate about what you create for your readers. It doesn’t provide instant streaming income, but it pays well once you’re set in the right networks. Blogging is very rewarding. But it requires hard work for it to succeed.
  • Marketing Expert
    Are you a social media marketing guru? Why not leverage your effective marketing skills. Sell your ideas to small businesses and ask them to hire you as a part-time media expert. You will do this from the comfort of your home using your phone or laptop. Make an offer on pay percentages when their sales increase from your marketing campaigns. If your efforts pay off, you’ll be collecting cheques every week!
  • Technical Assistance
    Are you a technical nerd? You could start a small business right in your home by converting videos to DVDs. Ask people to give you their videos for converting before they decompose. Print flyers and distribute in your local neighborhood and social settings. Once people respond, your passive income will start streaming in hoards.
  • Resume Writer
    Are you a skilled writer? You can ask people looking for work to give you their resume for a little bit of tweaking to win instant interview invites. Once you deliver on the first customers, word will go round and you will have easy passive income.

People nowadays pay for quality service for the things they find tedious. If you can provide excellent services, you’ll never run short of cash in your life.


10 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Underperforming

Image result for 10 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Underperforming

It’s true that 47% of consumers read between 3-5 pieces of blog content before making a purchasing decision.

Are you making sure your content is connecting with your audience?

Millions of businesses are writing content every single day (myself included) but you will find that they aren’t achieving the results they are looking for.

Writing content is time consuming, but after understanding what doesn’t work, you will find that the time you are spending writing content, will pay off for you.

After understanding my audience, and thousands of successful pieces of written content over the last nine years, I want to share with you 10 reasons why your blog is underperforming.

1. Un-Engaging Headline

When it comes to creating written content, the first thing someone will see is your headline, and one of the biggest reasons why your blog is underperforming is because your headlines are not engaging with your audience.

Research your industry to see what your audience are most engaging with, and take a look at your past articles to understand the type of content your audience wants to read.

2. Having A Boring Tone Of Voice

Every single company you come across that has a successful marketing strategy will have their own tone of voice that connects with their customers. People will always buy from people, so your brand has to have emotion, and a personality which they can connect with and relate to.

3. Using Short Keywords For Your SEO

Using one word keywords for a focus keyword for your metadata will not drive you traffic. You need to get more niche, and use long-tail keywords to make sure that when people are searching for the type of content you are creating, your blog is showing up in their search results. Think about how your audience searches, and make your long-tail keywords more conversational.

4. There’s No Powerful or Persuasive Hook

When you are writing content, you need to make sure that you are sharing compelling facts and statistics to connect with your audience. Having a powerful hook by writing something that will persuade your audience to read your content will help you when it comes to building trust and helping your prospect make that purchasing decision.

5. Lack Of Variety

You will notice that I have articles which are just written content, and then I will also have other articles that have visuals. It is important that you are always varying the type of content you create, as your audience want information in a variety of different ways.

6. No Call-To-Action

This is something I have been doing more of over the last 12 months. I always make sure to offer a call-to-action at the end of my blogs whether this be to sign up to a webinar, resource or just answer a question. Use a call-to-action as a way to encourage a two-way conversation.

7. Short Content

Just two years ago, optimum content used to be around the 300-word mark, but now, content that is 600 words + is performing better. I make sure that my content is at least 700 words long. If you find it hard to write longer content on a more regular basis, focus on writing less content that is longer, and more in depth.

8. You’re Not Telling A Story

In every piece of content I write, I like to share some sort of anecdote to give what I am saying credibility, and use it as a way to connect with you audience on a more personal level. Think about how you can talk about your story to help your audience.

9. Repurposing All Of Your Content

Only recently I discovered that repurposing every single piece of content, and sharing it on the likes of LinkedIn Pulse and Medium within a week of posting on my website actually decreases the traffic I get to the article. Because LinkedIn Pulse and Medium are considered more “authoritative” websites, content of yours that sits on your website, and on these sites within a month of each other are in essence competing for traffic and you don’t want that.

10. Not Promoting Your Blog

Are you sharing your content across all of your Social Media platforms? To get traffic back to your website, sharing a link to your blog posts on Social Media is important. You should also look at other ways to promote your blog including email marketing, and other forms of digital marketing.

I hope that the above 10 tips will help your blog perform more effectively for your business.

Over the last nine years I have written over 1,000 articles, and have acquired more than ONE MILLION visitors reading my blogging content. How would you like to be able to achieve the same?

In the modern world, every business needs to communicate with their customers through content, and the best way to do this is through blogging.

To understand whether this webinar is for YOU, I have four questions I would like you to ask yourself:

  1. Do you know how to set up a blog?
  2. Are you happy with the blog traffic you are generating?
  3. Are you on the first page of Google for your blog content?
  4. Do you know how to find your target customers online?

If you answered NO to the above questions, this will be one of the best blogging learning opportunities you’ll have this year, and it’s 100% free, certified and live!

Here’s Why You Should Care:

  • Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages
  • 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with the company
  • B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not

In my NEW and EXCLUSIVE 1 hour webinar, I will share with you how I have generated thousands of leads through the content I create on a weekly basis.

As a small business, writing content is something that should be a huge focus for you, especially if driving traffic is important to your success.

Join me on the 21st June at 7pm and in just 60 minutes I will take you through my formula to small business blogging success that has helped me generate thousands of leads, and can be attributed to a 6-figure income.

Places limited to 100 people, so be sure to sign up below to secure your place. If you cannot make it live, still register to make sure that you receive a link to the recording post-webinar!

This is one of the best blogging learning opportunities you’ll have this year and it’s 100% free and certified.

Why Quarterback Is Again An Offseason Priority For The Cowboys

The biggest story of 2016 for the Dallas Cowboys was how they wound up with their new franchise quarterback through a combination of good evaluation and just plain luck. Dak Prescott proved to be far more capable than anyone dreamed. Arguably, he represents the greatest first-year return on draft investment ever, not just for Dallas, but for any team.

As good as that is for the Cowboys, it came with the unfortunate downside of ending the career of Tony Romo in Dallas with much more of a whimper than a bang. And it also means that there is a very familiar question facing the Cowboys again this year: Just what do they do about the backup quarterback situation?

In a recent mock draft, SBN draft maven Dan Kadar not only looked at who he projected for teams to take in the first round this year, he also addressed the question of whether each team should draft a quarterback. His answer for Dallas was succinct.

Should they draft a quarterback? Lol

That is funny, as well. It also is pretty much the wrong answer.

With Romo on his way out (and the whole story of where he might end up growing daily), the Cowboys now have exactly zero backup quarterbacks under contract. Kellen Moore and Mark Sanchez are both free agents. Even if the team should re-sign one of them, they still need at least two more camp arms. But camp arms and possible future backups are two different beasts, and the Cowboys have to be looking for the latter. Obviously they are not going to be looking to draft a quarterback early, but on day three, it becomes not just a possibility. It should be something of a priority.

It is certain that the team will want at least one experienced backup going into training camp, and that search would logically begin with Moore and Sanchez. Of the two, Moore would be the more likely option (signing both seems highly improbable). In the first installment of his breakdown of the roster, our own Mark Aggarwal laid out the logic.

Kellen Moore: Second String – As a favorite of Scott Linehan, there is a good possibility the Cowboys will re-sign him to backup Prescott. He knows the Cowboys system, has the trust of the coaches and should come relatively cheap.

That would result in more deja vu all over again, as having Moore as the incumbent backup to the established starter is exactly where the Cowboys were a year ago. Of course, Prescott does not have the injury and age concerns Romo had. But the team was clearly looking to upgrade at the position when they took Prescott in the draft, and that also still applies. The problem with Moore is that his ceiling just looks limited.

What the drafting of Prescott did show was that the staff, especially the coaches, were able to see something that others clearly missed (or at least were unwilling to move on before Dallas got its chance at the end of the fourth round last year). The odds are staggering against finding another Dak this year – but that wasn’t what they thought they had when they took him. They believed at the time they had a developmental quarterback with a lot of upside and good intangibles. This year, they should be combing the available quarterbacks for the same thing. They won’t find a second Dak – but maybe they can find Dak Lite.

The Cowboys have not had a history of taking quarterbacks in the draft in the years before Prescott was selected, but they also had a similar aversion to taking offensive linemen early before a certain Tyron Smith was drafted. His success led to a complete revision of the approach which led to adding Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, and indirectly to La’el Collins as well. Now that they hit the mother lode with Prescott, it would not be surprising to see them go back to that well.

However, this is seen as a relatively weak quarterback class, with no Jared Goff or Carson Wentz creating a sellers’ market for top draft spots to take perceived blue chips. The Cowboys do not want to force things here. They need to stick to their board, which they have been doing fairly well of late. If the value is not there, they will have to go the UDFA route (which, admittedly, they have also had some remarkable success at doing in the not too distant past). They can also consider signing another veteran backup, such as Josh McCown, but that is not a long-term solution. The goal for Dallas is to find a young arm with good football intelligence and processing speed to groom.

The ideal model here is the New England Patriots, who have a long history of drafting quarterbacks, making them look good, flipping them for draft picks, rinse, and repeat. Jimmy Garoppolo is the latest, and we all know about Matt Cassel as well. As much as we love to hate the hoodie, Bill Belichick is a master at this game. And there is nothing wrong with stealing an idea from the best.

What the Cowboys should be hoping for is a QB they have a third- or fourth-round grade on to slip into the sixth or seventh round, the way cornerback Anthony Brown did last year. Brown was the other real draft coup from last year, able to start capably when Morris Claiborne was injured, and now one of the cornerstones for rebuilding the secondary with so many key payers from last year also free agents.

If that happens, the Cowboys need to be ready to pull the trigger. There is no guarantee that they will solve the QB2 issue this time around, but it may take more than one shot at the target. They can’t be shy about making the pick if their scouting backs the move. Like it or not, it is a real need to address this year – as long as everything lines up properly.

[Source:-Blogging The Boys]

Five Potential Cap Casualties For The Dallas Cowboys In 2017

Our sister site Pride of Detroit, the SB Nation community for fans of the Detroit Lions, had an interesting piece earlier this week on Detroit’s potential cap casualties.

As teams around the league get ready for free agency, many have started cutting players to create some additional cap space. The New York Giants for example released Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings on Monday, freeing up $10 million in cap space. The Dolphins on Thursday released defensive linemen Mario Williams and Earl Mitchell to free up $12.5 million in cap space, and offensive tackle Branden Albert will likely follow either via cut or trade, clearing an additional $7.2 million in cap space.

For the Cowboys, Tony Romo is the most obvious candidate to be cut or traded, but he’s not the only one.

1. Tony Romo

Cap Saved: $5.1 million/Cash Saved: $14 million

The Cowboys can clear $5.1 million of cap space by trading or releasing Romo now, and could clear even more space by making Romo a June 1 cut, which would free up $14.0 million in cap space. However, as a June 1 cut, Romo would remain on the Cowboys’ books in 2018 with $8.9 worth of dead money counting against the cap.

Romo will not play for Dallas in 2017, and his impact on the 2017 salary cap will depend on whether the Cowboys find a trade partner for Romo or release him outright

2. Alfred Morris

Cap Saved: $1.6 million/Cash Saved: $1.6 million

Morris arrived in Dallas as a two-time Pro Bowler and a three-time 1,000+ yard rusher and was expected to share carries with Darren McFadden. That all changed when the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott and McFadden was injured, but in the end, he totaled just 69 carries for a career-low 3.5 yards per attempt, and was inactive when McFadden was back in the lineup over the final two regular season games and in the playoffs .

The Cowboys will restructure some big contracts to get under the cap by March 9, and may not need the $1.6 million cap savings from Morris, but they are likely to move on from him at some point, as they can get that type of production for a lot less.

3. Cedric Thornton

Cap Saved: $0.5 million/Cash Saved: $0 million

Cedric Thornton signed a 4-year, $17.0 million contract last year, including $9.0 million guaranteed, which means his entire $3.0 million base salary this year is fully guaranteed. The Cowboys can’t save any real money by cutting him, and the $0.5 million in cap savings isn’t going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

Thornton didn’t start a single game last year, and only played 262 defensive snaps, but he was fairly productive in the process, recording 18 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and 9 QB pressures, along with one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

The Cowboys will almost certainly stick with Thornton for now, but if they find an upgrade in free agency or the draft, that could change. If the Cowboys make him a June 1 cut, they could create $3 million in cap space for 2017 (though they’d be left with $3 million of dead money in 2018).

4. Joe Looney

Cap Saved: $0.8 million/Cash Saved: $0.8 million

On paper this looks like a substantial potential saving for a backup interior lineman who played just 156 snaps on offense, but those are “fake” savings as the Cowboys would have to find a replacement for Looney, and it’s not clear that that replacement would be any cheaper.

5. James Hanna

Cap Saved: $1.5 million/Cash Saved: $2.3 million

Hanna may come as a bit of a surprise on this list, and it’s unlikely that he would be a cap casualty. But there is a chance Hanna could get released with an injury settlement.

Hanna had developed into a solid No. 2 tight end behind Jason Witten, and the Cowboys signed him to a 3-year, $8.25 million contract extension in March 2016. But then Hanna entered training camp complaining about knee soreness and was subsequently placed on the PUP list with what was initially described as a “bone bruise.”

For Cowboys fans, “bone bruise” set off all kinds of alarms because that was the same description the Cowboys used to describe an injury that effectively ended the career of Anthony Spencer. In Spencer’s case the term was used as a euphemism for potential microfracture injuries, and those almost never resolve well.

In mid-August, Hanna and the Cowboys opted for knee surgery to address his knee issue, but that apparently didn’t result in a significant improvement, so Hanna underwent a second knee surgery in November.

The Cowboys are not going to cut Hanna now as they are going to wait and see how his recovery progresses. But if he is unable to play by training camp, the Cowboys could cut him, thereby creating $2.3 million cap space in 2017.

[Source:-Blogging The Bpys]

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

Image via Shutterstock

For the past 10 years I have been writing a blog about Melbourne’s visual arts. My first blog post on Black Mark, Melbourne Art and Culture Critic was on February 16, 2008. It was ‘Faster Faster Pussycat’ about Phibs, Debs and other street artists painting a wall in Fitzroy. Now over a 1000 blog posts later this is what I have I learned about blogging.

    1. It can motivate you The first thing I learned was that writing a blog was motivation to do more in life; I was already going to many art exhibitions but now there was more motivation to go to places, meet people and do other fun things. Soon I started to get invitations to do more things and meet more people. Blogging changed my life; although it wasn’t actually the writing, nor the taking endless photos, or the posting online that really made the change.
    2. You probably won’t make money Do not expect to make money from advertising on your blog but there are a variety of other ways that you can use a blog professionally from promotion to networking. My friend Professor Alison Young, who I met through blogging, uses her blog Images to Live By, to introduce herself. Middle-aged academics are not a typical part of the street art/graffiti scene but now Alison is ‘Banksy favourite criminologist’.
    3. You can make friends I have made many new friends through writing the blog, which has improved the quality of my life. One reason why I have made so many friends blogging is that I mostly write about what other people are doing.
    4. You learn how to manage enemies I have learned how to deal with hostile comments, trolls and other idiots. You can’t predict what will get people to write hostile comments – it could be pigeons in Coburg. I have never shied away from controversy, writing posts about the persecution of Bill Henson and Paul Yore. When I have hostile comments I always remember that the person writing them will forget about it after a day or two. If they don’t, that I can always block them from making comments, but I’ve only had to do this once in ten years. Comments are not indicative of anything; no comment does not mean a bad post. Out of 1,077 post I have only had 2,099 comments; half the comments are my own because I generally reply to all comments but I avoid feeding trolls.
    5. You need a focus My blog is focused on Melbourne’s visual arts but I do post about other things on it. Having a clear focus for a blog is important but it is a balance between a very narrow focus and ranging too far. With 13 categories on my blog I’m not sure that I’ve got it right but it is a lesson I’ve learned.
    6. You get to do a lot of people watching Vox pops can make a good local blog post. These don’t have to be direct quotes, but observations on how people are reacting. I like to watch how small children react at art exhibitions; are they engaged or bored? ‘Why does a tree need a sweater?’ is an example of how one observation of an angry man made a successful blog post about yarn bombing.Another local blogger and people-watcher is the writer Jane Routley, who writes about her day job in Station Stories, life as a Station Assistant.
    7. You might get a book published In 2015 my first book, Sculpture of Melbourne, was published by Melbourne Books. I started writing and researching the book on my blog and before I started my blog I couldn’t have imagined writing a history of Melbourne’s public sculpture. I am now working on my second book about true art crimes in Melbourne.
    8. You should follow your analytics I learnt from watching my stats the there was an interest in Melbourne’s public sculpture. What the public wants to read about art is different to what many arts writers want to write about. There are a lot of different kinds of feedback that you can get on blogs from comments to stats. Lots of stats, numbers of subscribers, views, repeat views. In ten years I’ve had approximately 537,000 views from 155 countries around the world (still no views from Greenland, Cuba, Iran, South Sudan and various central African countries). Stats can be addictive – you get the idea.
    9. Blogs can be works of art.My blog isn’t but the artist Peter Tyndall’s blog was exhibited at the NGV in 2013’s Melbourne Now exhibition and there are other less notable examples.
    10. It is hard work but satisfying

You are your own boss, your own editor and you make your own deadlines. Ignore the advice about blogging that you have to post regularly. Writing a blog may not be for everyone but it has worked for me and I will continue.

[Source:-Arts Hub]

I blog, therefore I am

Women bloggers in Tiruchi cover a wide range of topics in their online journals

Whether it happened today, or a hundred years ago, an event is committed to memory only if it is written down somewhere. Periodicals and newspapers are like diaries for mass consumption, flowers that bloom and die within a day. In the online era, the web log (before it got abridged as ‘blog’) has been one of the most enduring outlets of Internet-based publishing, from 1999.

In figures gathered up to June 2016 by internetworldstats.com, India had 462.1 million Internet users, second only to China (721.4 million) in Asia.

Why do people still type their thoughts in online journals in an era when the human attention span and perhaps the very neural function of absorbing information have irrevocably changed? A possible answer would be because that blogs still fulfill the need for a person to be heard without necessarily being seen.

Blogs give writers of all hues a platform to hold forth on any topic under the sun, with the added thrill of instant publication and feedback.

A quick Google search reveals that much of the internet activity in India may be centred around blogging, in corporate and personal spheres.

As just one example, the directory IndiBlogger.com lists at least five pages of blogs from Tiruchi. A more detailed search may reveal that quite a few of these haven’t been updated in a while. But the opposite also holds true – there’s some compulsive online writing going on in the city, mostly by women.

Traditional journalism

“I started scanning and uploading image files of my published articles in my blog 7 to 8 years ago,” says Radha Balu, a veteran Tamil freelance journalist. “I had some 30 years’ worth of printed material that I wanted to preserve. Then I decided to start separate blogs to document my other interests – kolam designs, cookery and creative writing.”

The 60-year-old writer is regular in updating the posts on her four blogs (radhabaloo.blogspot.com), even though, she says, the reading habit is declining. “Young women these days don’t seem to have the interest in reading, even though they have a better exposure to the world than our generation,” says Radha. “Reading a printed book can convey not just the story, but also the memories associated with a writer’s style and tactile feel of the publication.”

A frequent traveller, Radha uses her journeys abroad to write travelogues. “The internet is a great resource for travel writers. I tend to research my destinations online before I visit the places, just to ensure that I don’t miss any detail,” she says.

In many ways, Radha Balu’s blogs have simply transferred documentation from hard copy to soft, and opened up a new avenue for home-based writers to reach out to a global audience. “Readers recall my name from my articles in Tamil magazines, but quite a few of these are also visitors to my blogs. Blogging has a way of connecting complete strangers,” she says.

Giving voice

For final year student at the Tamil Nadu National Law School, Jane Pauline, who has been blogging for four years on various platforms, her ‘The Unconventional Indian Girl’ (tuigblog.wordpress.com) is a move to speak about gender bias. “We are ruled by expectations — whether it is about getting a job or being in a relationship. I want to talk about a life that is not about being conventional,” says Jane.

“Of course in our society, and particularly in a small place like Tiruchi, women with strong opinions are seen as a threat to men. Feminism has become a dirty word, and always associated with ‘man-hating,’” she adds.

Her blog posts receive a mixed feedback she says, because they deal with topics that need a more well-read and articulate readership. “It is quite common to slander someone online just because you don’t agree with their viewpoint.”

Commenting on the recent protests for the restitution of the bull-taming sport of jallikattu, which gained maximum traction from a social media network-savvy student generation, she says, “Our priorities are baffling. Water-sharing between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is a problem, and nobody has stood up yet for issues like the murder of S. Swathi, but jallikattu gets all the attention. Our activism seems to be misplaced, but young people just don’t care.”

Jane says she has learned to accept critical feedback to her blogging. “Healthy debate is a way of accommodating differences of opinion in a legal way,” she says.

Dreams and ambitions

“More women should utilise web platforms to express themselves,” says Sarah Shaheen, who is currently an MBBS student at Tagore Medical College in Chennai.

With a keen interest in writing, Tiruchi-born Sarah has been blogging since her school days, and her latest posts can be seen at www.speakingtree.in. “I tend to write about feminine issues like female foeticide, motherhood and how girls are judged by their appearance. Right now I’m thinking of writing a full-length novel, with romance, politics and mystery,” says Sarah.

Though there are quite a few young women bloggers, they get a lot of brickbats, says Sarah. “It’s unfair to criticise all female bloggers as ‘feminazis’, because women are generally not given an opportunity to speak up in public about their problems.”

An informed readership can change things for the better, says Sarah. “Already paper is being replaced by PDF files. People should read more, and do something useful when they are online. The internet is not just here for our entertainment,” she says.


For the love of cooking

One look at www.spicychilly.com, and you know that the cookery website has been maintained with a lot of love. Tiruchi-based homemaker Bharathy Vasudevan has ensured that every aspect of her online food journal, now in its 10th year, has got a distinctive stamp of her creativity.

“The first 10-12 years after my marriage were spent in learning how to cook for a traditional vegetarian family,” says Bharathy, who is originally from Kottayam, Kerala.

“After we shifted to our current home in Tiruchi, I had become a little freer at home, because my children were in high school and didn’t need my help with homework like before. My sister suggested that I should try to do something with my cookery skills because the world has always been in need of recipes.”

Bharathy learned how to use a computer in 2006, and to keep her blog interesting, she picked up photography skills too. “Of course, my early photographs were very crude. I started out with a point-and-shoot camera, which my husband (V. Vasudevan, Managing Director, Sangam Group of Hotels) got from Malaysia. From 2011, I shifted to using a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera.”

With a collection of more than 500 recipes, Spicy Chilly’s earliest work was related to documenting traditional Tamil dishes that Bharathy had learned from Mr. Vasudevan’s maternal grandmother as a young bride.

As traffic increased, she got her own domain name and made Spicy Chilly a website.

“When you start getting 3,000 page hits in a day, you get requests for recipes from readers. So you start catering to their interests. I tried to look up recipes which were going off our menus, like vellam vadai, and so on. I just wanted them to be available on the net for others who were looking for rare recipes,” says Bharathy.

Most of her readers are young married women based in countries like the United States and Singapore, looking for quick tutorials on how to cook, says Bharathy. “This was when I realised that the dishes should be simple, rather than only traditional,” she says.

“Ten years ago, we were the first bunch of bloggers around the world. It was like a family, and we had age groups for each set of bloggers. We’d have more respect for the seniors, because their recipes are more authentic and sophisticated,” says Bharathy.

To keep herself updated, she reads up cookery books, and also tries out online courses. She studied baking methods from a Goa-based online expert for a year.

Her flair for photography has fetched her online accolades too. Bharathy’s picture for her post ‘Chilli Chai’ won the Originality Award given by the online food photography competition ‘Does My Blog Look Good in This’ (DMBLGiT) in 2012.

In 2010, her photo-feature on Pongal celebrations at the family’s ancestral home in Erumaipatti, near Namakkal, was one of the 24 finalists chosen by the American online platform Foodbuzz.

“When you check out the work of newer bloggers, you realise that you have to upgrade your own website too,” says Bharathy. “The next step for me would be to introduce one-minute-videos on recipes.”

Not too keen on publishing her recipes in book form or even venturing into cooking for television, Bharathy says that Spicy Chilly is her personal work of art. “I’m doing it just for the love of cooking,” she says.


What’s Next For Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott? How About 2,000 Yards?

Over the next couple months there will be extensive discussions about who the Cowboys first round pick should be. The front office has been lights-out fantastic when it comes to their first-round selections with five of their last seven picks being All Pro players. And two of those All Pros have been selected in the last three drafts and achieved their All Pro status their rookie seasons. Zack Martin accomplished this in 2014 and then Ezekiel Elliott did it again last season. Being rookie standouts aren’t the only similarity between these two. Both picks came with a lot of criticism as draft pundits had different players penciled in for the Cowboys when their spot came up. Last season, the great debate centered around two remarkable collegiate athletes – Zeke and Jalen Ramsey.

The Cowboys finally ended the suspense on draft day by selecting the Ohio State running back sensation with the fourth-overall pick. And they haven’t looked back since.

Elliott was a remarkable choice. While it wasn’t hard to see how talented he was, it was exhilarating to watch him put in on display within the Cowboys offense. Elliott broke franchise rookie records left and right. In just his first season, he finished with the fifth-highest rushing output of any Cowboys player with 1,631 yards. And he scored the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in Cowboys history with 15. Only the great touchdown magpie, Emmitt Smith, had seasons with more. And he’s just getting started.

Recently, WFAA sat down and talked to Zeke’s mother and asked her how does he build on such an incredible start? Her response…

Silly moms and their outlandish predictions. Only this declaration doesn’t seem that absurd. Let’s do some quick math here.

Zeke averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season. If you couple that per carry production with the same workload that DeMarco Murray got in 2014, Elliott would finish with 1,999 yards on the season. Of course, it would be highly unlikely to see him getting his tape cut in Week 17 if he is close to eclipsing such an incredible mark.

Elliott’s rookie totals would have been higher had he played in the regular season finale. They also would have been higher if he didn’t get off to a slow start. Yes, he was still a rookie and had to learn some patience and build chemistry with his offensive line. During the first two games of his career, he only averaged 67 yards. But once he started allowing the holes to open up and found the creases, he went on a tear. Over the next four games he averaged over 140 yards per game.

Expect more big games from Elliott in 2017 versus games where he will be shut down. To reach the 2,000 yard mark, he’ll need to rush for an average of 125 yards a game. He has the skill to make the big runs and he will certainly have plenty of opportunities. The Cowboys offense had the most rushing attempts of any team in the league last season and they will continue to be a run-heavy team. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.

As talented as Elliott is, one of the most exciting things about him is his drive. Instilled in him as a child, he loves to compete. Both his parents were extremely athletic, including his mother who was a track star. His parents were committed to his education and has exhibited great family values as they helped him reach his athletic goals. In just watching the above video, you can see why this kid has so much fire in him and is so dedicated to his craft. He’s got big plans.

There’s no denying that Zeke can be a goofball. He showed up to the draft in a crop top, he jumped in the kettle, he chased down a crazed fan at the Pro Bowl, and he regularly reminds those watching that he needs the ball with his “feed me” gesture. But as much fun as he loves to have, he’s has an overwhelming desire to compete. Just ask his coach.Zeke’s getting to 2,000 yards. Whether it happens in 2017 or the year after, it’s coming. His mother said so and that’s good enough for me. Never question a women’s intuition.

[Source:-Blogging the eboys]

Walking the National Farm Machinery Show with a blogging friend

Unverferth-gooseneck-hitchWe got an early sneak peek at some new tools at the National Farm Machinery Show with blogger and friend Daryl Bridenbaugh – check them out.

The National Farm Machinery Show is a hot place to be in Mid-February and there’s plenty to see. Our team works to capture as much new equipment and tech as we can, but there’s also a fun FIN tradition. Our blogger Daryl Bridenbaugh and his wife, Peggy, join us for the day before after they’ve spent time walking through the facility.

They see things that catch their interest and using that as a guide, we pull together a little preview gallery. This year is no different. This gallery offers you a quick look at a few interesting items that’ll e on hand for visitors to the show. We also found that many exhibitors were still getting their spaces ready for doors to open, yet we still found some interesting tools for an early look.

So click away to see some interesting items we found at the show.

[Source:-Farm Industry news]

WordPress blogs defaced in hack attacks

Great white shark

A security flaw in the WordPress blogging software has let hackers attack and deface tens of thousands of sites.

One estimate suggests more than 1.5 million pages on blogs have been defaced.

The security firm that found the vulnerability said some hackers were now trying to use it to take over sites rather than just spoil pages.

WordPress urged site owners to update software to avoid falling victim.

Feeding frenzy

The vulnerability is found in an add-on for the WordPress blogging software that was introduced in versions released at the end of 2016.

Security firm Sucuri found the “severe” bug and informed WordPress about it on 20 January.

In a blogpost, WordPress said it delayed going public about the flaw so it could prompt hosting firms to update their software to a fixed version.

The patched version of WordPress was formally released on 26 January and led to many sites and blogs automatically applying the update.

However, many blogs have not followed suit leaving them open to defacement attacks.

Security firm WordFence said it had seen evidence that 20 hacker groups were trying to meddle with vulnerable sites. About 40,000 blogs are believed to have been hit.

The vulnerability had set off a “feeding frenzy” among hacker groups, WordFence founder Mark Maunder told the Bleeping Computer tech news site.

“During the past 48 hours we have seen over 800,000 attacks exploiting this specific vulnerability across the WordPress sites we monitor,” he added.

Sucuri said some hacker groups had moved on from defacement to attempts to use the bug to hijack sites for their own ends.

“Attackers are starting to think of ways to monetise this vulnerability,” wrote Sucuri founder Daniel Cid. “Defacements don’t offer economic returns, so that will likely die soon.”

Hackers were keen to use the vulnerable sites as proxies for spam or malware campaigns, he said.