50 Killer Tools You Need for Your Business Blogging

50 Killer Blogging Tools You Need for Your Business Blog

Want to blog for your business? Or maybe you’d like to build an entire business around blogging? You’re going to need some help.

Even if you have the greatest tech know-how and a natural talent for writing, you can’t hope to build a successful blog without utilizing some blogging tools. Luckily, there are tons for you to choose from. Here are 50 killer tools you can use to build a better blog today.

Killer Business Blogging Tools


The number one blogging platform out there, you can set up a basic blog site using WordPress.com or create a more professional looking site using self-hosted WordPress at WordPress.org.


Again, GoDaddy is one of the most popular destinations online for people who want to buy domains for blogs or other websites. The company also offers other services like hosting and email.


But GoDaddy isn’t the only web host in town. Others like Bluehost, which is especially popular among WordPress users, offer quality hosting service as well.

Laughing Squid

Laughing Squid is another hosting provider that’s popular with WordPress bloggers. It also has some options for more speciality sites.

Google Keyword Planner

If you want to blog, then you need to have specific topics and keywords in mind. The Google Keyword Planner is an online tool that helps you research and refine the best keywords for your focus and audience.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a portal you can use to find assistance and support for a number of different website related areas, including SEO, site testing and online courses.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing also offers a similar portal for people who want to ensure their sites run properly and rank highly in Bing searches.

Google Analytics

If you want to create a successful blog, then you need to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Google Analytics gives you access to data about site traffic, popular content and more.


Jetpack is a popular plugin series for WordPress sites. Features include analytics, security and more.

Yoast SEO

Yoast is another popular plugin that focuses specifically on SEO. You can use it to update keywords, analyze your content and more.


In order to research your content ideas and monitor your content, BuzzSumo offers an online platform that lets you find trending topics and more related to your blog.


Most blog posts should include some type of photos or visuals. And if you want those images to look as professional as possible, you might find it useful to invest in some kind of photo editing program like Photoshop.


But you don’t necessarily need to make a huge investment in order to share great visuals on your blog. Canva is a free online photo editing and graphic design tool you can use right in your web browser.


GIMP is another free image manipulation tool that you can download and use to edit photos and create works of art.


Whether you want to share photos or find some Creative Commons images to include in your blog posts, Flickr can be a great resource for any visually oriented bloggers.


You can also find stock photos to include with your posts using sites like Shutterstock if you don’t want to create your own images.

Death to the Stock Photo

For more stylish photos and videos straight to your inbox, you could also consider a resource like Death to the Stock Photo.


Infographics can also be powerful visuals to include with blog posts. And Piktochart gives you an easy way to create your own.


Or you could create more in-depth visuals like videos to include with your posts. And YouTube is the top resource for hosting and sharing those videos.


To grow a successful business around your blog, it’s also a good idea to maintain some kind of email list. MailChimp is a tool with both free and paid options for managing those lists.


You can also use LeadPages as a way to gather leads online and to set up landing pages for promotions related to your blog or business.

Sprout Social

If you’re going to have a successful blog, chances are you’re going to use social media to promote it. Sprout Social is an online tool you can use to create marketing campaigns across various social channels.


You can also use Buffer to schedule social content across different platforms as well as find inspiration for new content to share.


Hootsuite is another option for social media scheduling and management.


When you’re looking for inspiration for new blog posts, it can help to consider what questions people might have about your particular niche. Quora is a question and answer website that can give you lots of insights about the questions that people might need answered.

Quick Sprout

Looking at your blog analytics is essential to growing your traffic — but it can also be confusing. Quick Sprout is a tool you can connect to your Google Analytics and then use it to get actionable insights and tips for improving your website and blog.

Google Trends

Trending topics, or topics that are especially popular online, can also make for great blog content. And Google Trends is a great resource for finding topics that people are currently searching for.

Twitter Trending Topics

You can also turn to Twitter and look at the platform’s Trending Topics as a source of inspiration for new blog posts.

LinkedIn Pulse

For more professionally focused blogs, you can also turn to LinkedIn Pulse for a way to discover content and influencers that can help you determine new subjects to explore in posts.

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator

Just don’t know what to blog about this week? Hubspot offers a Blog Topic Generator that you can use by filling in a few quick fields and then receive a custom post suggestion.


Blogging requires you to constantly think of new ideas and even refine posts on the go. And Evernote can be a great tool for keeping all of your thoughts and notes on upcoming posts organized.


Trello is another great productivity tool that you can use to organize your thoughts or even work with a team around your blog.

Google Calendar

For organizing your post schedule and other tasks, Google Calendar is a free online tool that can help you stay on track.

Editorial Calendar

You can also use a WordPress plugin like Editorial Calendar to manage your upcoming post schedule right from your blog dashboard.


Need to share or store large files for your blog? Dropbox is the go-to online service for this function.

Click to Tweet

When you’re trying to promote your blog online, it can help if you get your readers to do some promotion for you as well. Click to Tweet is an online tool that you can use to create snippets of your blog posts that are easily tweetable.

Post Planner

Post Planner is another socially focused app. You can use it to manage and discover content on Facebook and more.


The last thing you want to find on your blog after publishing a post is a myriad of grammar errors. Grammarly offers a browser extension and online tool that you can use to check for grammar and spelling errors before posting.


Hemingway is a more sophisticated online editor that you can use to identify areas where you can improve your writing style.


If you plan on accepting any payments on your blog or website, PayPal is an easy way for you to get those payments.


Your blog design is an important part of the overall reader experience. If you want to find a professional designer or some design inspiration, take a look at Dribbble.


Behance is another online portfolio site where you can find designers and other creative professionals.


If you want to outsource any of your content or other aspects of building your blog, Upwork offers a marketplace for professional freelancers.


It’s also essential that you have a simple way to reach out to blog sources and collaborators, and for people to reach out to you as well. Gmail offers free email service as well as reasonably priced custom domain addresses.


Skype is another great way to stay in touch with people. You can use it to video chat with your team or even call people for blog interviews.


If you want a more sophisticated or customized commenting system than what automatically comes with your blog, consider using a comment plugin like Disqus.


To run a successful blog, it’s a good idea to stay in tune with what others in your niche are covering. Feedlyis an online reader that makes it easy for you to follow lots of different blogs.


Bloglovin is another online reader that you can use to follow blogs and promote your own.


If you get distracted easily while writing blog post, consider Desk. It’s an app for WordPress and MacOS that eliminates outside distractions on your screen while you write.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Headlines are hugely important to successful blog content. And the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer can give you an idea of how strong your headlines really are.


Yorkshire couple find blogging fame after quitting teaching to travel the world

Liam and Philippa Doherty on the Great Wall of China

Liam and Philippa Doherty on the Great Wall of China

Liam and Philippa Doherty are not your average newly married couple.

Soon after tying the knot, the couple, who are 30 and 25, quit their teaching jobs in Bradford to embark on the ultimate footloose adventure.

The pair, who first met at Leeds Festival, gave up their mortgage and careers to travel the world, and have spent the past year backpacking around nine Asian countries.

Under the moniker Hitched Hikers, the newlyweds have gained a huge global following through their blogging site and Instagram page – which has over 3,000 fans.

Liam was working as a lecturer at Bradford College and Philippa as a teaching assistant when they made their life-changing decision, having already bought a house together in Thornton.

“We were following the routine progression into adult life. Before long we were married on Lake Como in Italy. However, after returning from our wedding the standard route into marital life deviated massively from the so called ‘norm’. We immediately sold our car and most of our belongings, let our house and moved in with my parents. We saved rigorously for the remainder of the summer, with Philippa working three jobs for a time,” said Liam.

“On the final day of August 2016 we waved our jobs, family and friends goodbye as we boarded a one way flight to New Delhi, India and have since been travelling around the world with nothing but our backpacks.

“We’d done some short-term travelling before and as time passed, it just became automatically assumed by both of us that we would set out on a long term adventure together; so right after our wedding seemed like perfect timing. What is better than a never-ending honeymoon!?”

Since then, they have toured India, Hong Kong, China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia, and are next planning to head to Japan.

“Leaving teaching was not a decision made because of a loss of love for the profession, although in recent years the job role and responsibilities had intensified. The motivation for doing so was through a love of travel and a realisation that we might not always have the opportunity to pack up our lives at the drop of a hat and see the world,” added Liam.

Follow their adventures at https://www.instagram.com/hitched.hikers/


The best free blogging site 2017

Free blogging sites have come a long way in recent years, and it’s now easier than ever to create a professional-looking blog to share a hobby with likeminded people, express your opinions, and establish an online presence.

These free blogging sites are aimed at hobbyist bloggers – blogs are created and managed online, and hosted on the blogging platform’s own servers. If you want to create a self-hosted blog, the downloadable version of WordPress is an excellent option, with total flexibility, support for third-party plugins, and as much storage as your hosting plan allows.

If you’re interested in making a static website rather than an online journal, take a look at our guide to the best free website builders.

1. WordPress

With advanced features, plugins and a generous storage allowance, WordPress is the best free platform for starting your first blog

Powerful and highly customizable, WordPress is a brilliant platform for blogs of any size, and bloggers of any level of experience.

Creating your first blog is very straightforward, with a simple wizard that guides you through the process of choosing a name and suitable theme. You can leave it there and begin writing posts immediately, but the real fun lies in the more advanced editor, which lets you customize virtually every aspect of your blog’s appearance.

Unlike some blogging sites, WordPress isn’t a drag-and-drop affair, and you’ll have to familiarize yourself with its system of menus. It’s well worth the effort, though, and enables you to create something truly personal. The editor also lets you create static pages – like a writer’s biography, for example.

The post-writing interface is much like an ordinary desktop word processor (though some options are presented in a toolbar at the top, while others are in a menu at the side, which can be a little confusing at first). Again, time spent getting to know the interface is rewarded with advanced features like customizable social media sharing buttons, geotagging, and the ability to pick a custom style for individual posts. Sometimes you might want to create a photo gallery, for example, and other times a more text-focused style would be more appropriate. You can also view and edit the HTML source.

As your blog grows, WordPress lets you track its stats, including page views, visitors, likes and comments over time. You can also see how readers reach your site, which content they viewed, and where are were in the world, so you can tailor your content accordingly.

Your site is hosted on WordPress’s servers, with an address in the format yoursite.wordpress.com. Users of the free service don’t get email or live chart support, but the WordPress community forums are very active and questions are usually answered within a few minutes.

WordPress displays ads on free blogs, but provided you can live with that, it’s undoubtedly the best free blogging site around.

Try it online: WordPress

2. Blogger

A free web platform with mobile-friendly features and Google app integration

Blogger is another superb blogging platform. It’s not quite as powerful as WordPress, but more accessible for new users, which comes as no surprise when you learn that it’s owned by Google.

Blogger offers an excellent selection of templates, all of which include mobile versions optimized for smaller screens – a very sensible addition with so many people accessing online content through smartphones.

Blogger’s post-editing tool is much like WordPress’s, but offers fewer options. As a result, its toolbars are less confusing – a trade-off between power and usability.

One of Blogger’s best features is its integration with other Google apps and services. For example, it uses your Google Drive account to store images and other files for your blog. Google Drive gives you 15GB of space free, so Blogger is a good choice if you’re planning to share a lot of high-res photos.

Spam comments are a big problem on blogs, so Blogger’s automatic spam filter can help save your sanity. You can monitor comments via Blogger’s dashboard, which also lets you see visitor stats. There are some handy visualizations here, including a world map to show the global distribution of your readers.

Your blog will have an address in the format yoursite.blogger.com, and, like all Google services, will include ads. Support is available through the Blogger user forum, which is very active but has a strange layout that can be a little off-putting.

In all other respects, Blogger is brilliant – one of the best free blogging sites if you prioritize ease of use over flexibility and are a fan of the Google ecosystem.

Try it online: Blogger

3. Wix

A great free blogging site for completely new users, with two quick and convenient editors, plus free stock photos to get you started

Wix is our favorite general-purpose free website builder, and is great for creating stylish blogs too. Its chief drawback is storage – you have just 500MB for your files and data traffic is restricted to 500MB per month, so you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan if your blog really takes off.

Once you’ve created an account, select ‘blog’ from the list of categories, then choose either Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) or Wix Editor. Wix ADI asks a series of very simple questions, then builds a site around your answers – ideal if you’ve never created a site before and find the idea intimidating. Wix Editor is very straightforward too (simpler than Blogger or WordPress), but is much more flexible than ADI and will be a better choice for most users.

One of Wix’s best features is its choice of image sources, including your hard drive, social media, free images from Wix itself, and pictures from its partner stock photography site Bigstock. If your blog posts are text-heavy, these free images are a great way to make it look more appealing.

On the downside, your custom wix.com URL will include a string of not-too-snappy letters and numbers that might make it hard to memorize.

That aside, its resources and friendly approach mean Wix just pips Weebly to third place. Free Wix sites include a tiny ad for the company in the top right and another at the bottom, but these won’t spoil the look for your blog.

Try it online: Wix

4. Weebly

Weebly’s flexible editor lets you drag and drop your way to a smart looking blog

Weebly takes a modular approach to blog-building, with a drag-and-drop editor that lets you choose which elements to add to your site, and where.

Pick a basic template, then plonk various types of content onto the page, including social media links, text, images, maps, and sections of code. It’s a refreshingly simple way to build a blog that feels unique to you, but doesn’t require any messing about with menus. It’s worth noting, however, that certain content blocks can only be positioned in certain areas; it isn’t a total free-for-all. This makes sense – forcing you to stick within the confines of your chosen template stops the page looking messy – but you might find it limiting.

Blog posts are made in the same way – drag text boxes, picture frames, buttons and page breaks into position, then click to edit them. One particularly nice feature is the ‘secret draft link’, which lets you preview your unpublished post, and even share it with others via email before releasing it into the wild.

Weebly has some other interesting tricks up its sleeve too, including an area for pasting in Google Analytics tracking code (though it doesn’t offer analytics itself).

As with Wix, you’re only given 500MB for uploaded content, so photographers might want to look elsewhere. Weebly puts an ad in your site’s footer, but it doesn’t obscure any of your content.

Try it online: Weebly

5. Penzu

Keep it secret, keep it safe with a secure journal for your private thoughts

Whereas the other free blogging sites are designed to get as many eyeballs on your posts as possible, Penzu is the equivalent of a locked diary stashed in a safe.

Penzu is a journal platform that makes your posts private by default and locks them down with at least one password (even after you’re logged in, you need a second one to read or edit your posts). That’s because it’s designed for private thoughts and personal reflection. There are free apps for iOS and Android that enable you to update your Penzu diary anywhere, but the contents are for your eyes only.

Penzu isn’t a tool for self-promotion, so although it’s far from ugly, it understandably focuses on function rather than looks. Custom colors and backgrounds come at a price – currently US$10 (about £8, AU$13) per year.

It’s a shame that 128-bit AES encryption is also limited to the paid-for version, and there’s a fair amount of pressure to upgrade. Extra options are often dangled under your nose then yanked away, but the core offering is a good one and if you simply want a place to record your thoughts and practise writing, Penzu could be just what you need.


How to Start a Blog – A Blogging Guide for Beginners

Image result for How to Start a Blog – A Blogging Guide for BeginnersStarting a blog has never been easier. In fact, anyone with 20 minutes of spare time can start blogging and building an online empire. With coding knowledge no longer a prerequisite and a plethora of online guides to making money on the internet, the most important things needed are the dedication and hard work. If you think you have what it takes to make a website and create a part-time income online, there’s never been a better time to start a blog.

Where to Start a Blog

The biggest challenge most bloggers face is simply learning where to start. The process seems intimidating, especially with so many platforms offering free options. But not all blog sites are created equal.

Many free options, like Tumblr, Wix, and Weebly, aren’t professional blogging platforms. What you get for free can severely limit your blog’s potential growth and income. Similarly, even paid services like SquareSpace lack the support, design choices, and flexibility to be competitive.

For total control and maximum potential, the WordPress infrastructure is your best bet to starting a successful blog. In fact, it’s what GoodMenProject.com is run on.However, what platform you choose ultimately depends on whether you want to blog for money or as a hobby!

How to Become a Blogger

If you’re serious about becoming a blogger and need a comparison chart to illustrate the pros and cons of each site, check out the resource below. And when you’re ready, find a step-by-step guide to walk you through setting up your business, food, fashion, or lifestyle blog like a professional would!



3 tips to help newbie bloggers find blogging success

Blogging is still one of the fastest growing components on the internet today. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s pretty simple for anyone to get started with a blog of their own.

Whether it’s through a site like WordPress, Blogger or a custom solution, there is no longer a need for technical skills or knowledge of programming or graphic design. With all of this in place, blogging service providers have found new opportunities for growth through the use of drag and drop site designers that require the end user to never need to touch a line of code.

All of this is well and good, but it’s still important to not forget that there are already over a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today. This means there is a massive amount of content already out there, and more being created daily.

What this means for the newbie blogger is that if they want to be found and grow a following of their own, they need to know what it takes to stand out from the crowd. Before starting your next blog, be sure to implement the following three practices into your content creation and marketing efforts.

Go with a professional web host and get a domain name

In the world of blogging, there are two different directions you can take – the free route, and the paid one. In my personal preference, it’s always best to go with a paid hosting plan for your blog, as this will allow you to have complete ownership over your site. Many web hosts will also provide you with a free domain name when you sign up for an account. An alternative like Blogspot is also an option, but once you start playing around with free blog hosting services, then you will start to see your options for customization, ownership, and monetization gets limited.

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Make sure your content is extremely niche

If you want to find success in the world of blogging, you need to know exactly what your audience wants and how you can provide it to them. The best way to do this is to niche down as much as possible. A good example of this would be going from general sports to basketball, then basketball skills training and one more level deeper to basketball jump training. When niching down your site focus and content, not only will you know who your exact audience is and what they want, you also shouldn’t have any problems creating content and monetizing it with a solid call to action in the process.

In order to find success in the world of blogging, you need to know exactly what your audience wants. (Source)

Utilize social media and social networks as a traffic source

With more than two-billion users across major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, it would be a huge mistake to not take advantage of this free traffic source. In addition to simply sharing your latest blog posts with your direct audience, there are many ways you can take advantage of these platforms. One of the best ways to see results is to add social sharing buttons right onto your blog. This is easy enough if you are going to be using WordPress as your CMS. It’s also a good idea to use hashtags and trending topics to help reach new audiences around the world. When it comes to social media, there really is a never ending supply of traffic and content, so don’t miss your opportunity to cash in on some nice traffic.

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How to find success with blogging in 2017

As you can see, the concept of blogging is pretty simple – create great content that your audience will find value in. However, that is only half the battle. You also need to make sure you are putting in the time, work and effort to get your content in front of the right audiences. This is something that will increase over time, along with your SEO and rankings in the search results. When starting out, focus on your content and audience, as this is where the core success of your blogging results are going to come from.

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.


From The Editor’s Desk: Women In Hockey Reporting and Blogging

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In some circles of hockey twitter, a few people are firm in the fact that women shouldn’t cover/write about hockey at all.

This isn’t a new concept.

I have been told many times that I don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t know anything about the team, or shouldn’t be running this website. I’ve also seen friends being told that their article is bad/wrong and the person telling the writer exactly the point they made in the article. Some people just look at the byline and say it’s wrong because of who wrote it. Some people find all the mistakes and assume you cannot continue to run the website and that if they harass you enough, you’ll leave.

That’s not the reality of hockey blogging.

Here at Five For Howling, we have four women on staff.

Jessica, who is our Social Media and Community Manager and fills in when needed as an editor and contributor. She also is a growing photographer and we hope to have her photos hosted on the site soon.

Rose, who is our research, graph, and number-loving contributor. Rose works on highly detailed pieces that involve a lot of research, reading graphs, and sometimes even going to the source of a new metric and asking about it.

Liz, who is the co-host of Den Talk and general cheerleader for all of us and what we do.

Then there is me, Sarah, the Managing Editor of this website. I write, I edit, I encourage and educate my young writing staff, and I curate the content on Five For Howling.

Women deserve to have their voices out there when discussing hockey. That voice needs to be louder than just ‘bloggers.’

Women’s voices should be heard and not just for the ‘sensitive’ topics. Women writers are not just there to make sure you cover violence against women properly. They aren’t there to just ‘double check spelling and grammar’ and they aren’t there to stroke your ego about a badly written piece that they want to deconstruct and rewrite.

Women are reporters. Women are bloggers. Women can scout and, sometimes, women know more about a subject than any other person in their office or site.

The ‘Old Boys Club’ of hockey is starting to take a shift. More women, young women, are wanting to start covering sports. It’s time for the media to start changing. This is no longer a ‘women don’t belong in the locker room’ issue. This is fundamentally being told that women cannot cover hockey, or sports in general, ‘correctly.’ It isn’t about women being too emotional to cover a team or too unprofessional. When someone shows up to the arena to work, that’s what they are doing there, working.

Fellow Managing Editors, encourage your young women writers, help them grow. Don’t let them stall out over one piece that they don’t think is just right. Help them through it. Encourage your writers to speak to each other. Don’t let their voices be drowned out by the loudest male voice in the room, and if it’s yours? Take a step back and listen.

Women will and can do anything they put their mind to. In the blog setting, it’s already starting to boom. With people like Hannah Stuart who writes amazing prospect profiles for FanRag. Steph Driver does amazing audio things at Broad Street Hockey and Broad Street Radio. Kate Fresetakes some of the best in-game photos. Megan of The Oilers Rig deals with the Oilers fan base on a day to day basis, much praise for that.

I can go on and on about women who cover teams/the league on a daily basis. Sarah McLellanfor AZ Central, Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press just to name a few. Jen Neale also covered the league amazingly on a daily basis for Puck Daddy, and I hope she lands somewhere soon, her voice is needed.

There are the women who help run the SB Nation NHL sites, Taylor for Defending Big D, Katyaof Pension Plan Puppets, Achariya of RawCharge, and Hildymac of St. Louis Game Time.* There is also Hannah Bevis who is running The Ice Garden and keeping everyone up to date on women’s hockey, and Mary Clarke running the news desk for SB Nation.

On TV you have Kathryn Tappen, Cassie Pascal-Campbell, Tessa Bonhomme and Leah Hextall. Canada is very lucky to have Pascal-Campbell and Bonhomme, amazing players in their own rights, but having them talk about hockey on a big stage is huge. Pascal-Campbell is on Hockey Night In Canada, the largest stage for hockey. Bonhomme is with TSN, the second biggest stage. Tappen with NBCSN and Hextall with Sportsnet. This sort of visibility is making women want to cover hockey visually instead of just in words.

I can keep going on and on about women who write about and cover hockey, but I will never be able to mention them all.

How do you feel about women reporting on/writing about NHL teams?

Who are some of your favorite women hockey writers/announcers? Leave their names below and their twitter info if you have it!


The Senate Just Confirmed Trump’s Controversial Blogging Nominee To A Federal Appeals Court

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Kentucky lawyer John Bush to a federal appeals court seat, handing another defeat to Democrats and civil rights groups that had hoped to tap into anger on the left over the confirmation of US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch to block Bush.

Bush faced criticism for his pseudonymous political blogging. His opponents pointed to his posts as proof that he lacked the temperament and objectivity needed to serve on the bench. In one frequently cited post, he wrote that the “two greatest tragedies in our country” were slavery and abortion. Even a Republican who ended up voting to confirm Bush, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, told Bush at his confirmation hearing that he was “not impressed.”

But ultimately the Senate voted along party lines, 51-47, to confirm Bush to the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, a sign that it’s going to be difficult for Democrats to stop the Trump administration from making progress in one area where the White House has had success so far — filling the 100-plus federal court vacancies across the country.

Bush was not immediately reached for comment.

This is the second judge that the Trump administration has had confirmed to the 6th Circuit, which handles cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and already has a majority of Republican-nominated judges. Judge Amul Thapar, Trump’s first lower-court nominee, was confirmed to the court in May. Another 6th Circuit nominee, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, is pending in the Senate.

Advocacy groups on the left have raised concerns about several of Trump’s lower-court nominees, but they especially focused their energy and their dollars on Bush. Bush, who was backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said at his confirmation hearing that there were comments he’d wished he hadn’t made in his blog posts — he wrote under the pseudonym “G. Morris” on the blog Elephants in the Bluegrass — and he vowed to treat all litigants who would come before him fairly.

But his explanations and apologies weren’t enough to win over Democrats, and groups on the left hoped that they could swing one or two Republicans, given Kennedy’s remarks at the confirmation hearing. In the end, no Republicans broke ranks.

“It is a sad day for the Senate and the American people when an individual like John Bush can be confirmed for a lifetime position on the federal bench,” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement. “Few nominees in history have had such a clear record of extreme and intemperate remarks. Federal judges must be impartial and fair – two qualities that Mr. Bush clearly lacks.”

With Bush’s confirmation, there are now 135 pending federal court vacancies, and at least 20 more seats are expected to open up in the coming months, according to the federal judiciary. Trump has 22 nominees pending.


Lessons I’ve learned about the internet in 5+ years of blogging

Lessons I've learned about the internet in 5+ years of blogging

After blogging for more than five years, I have logged a great deal of time on the internet. As a result, I’ve had a wide variety of experiences and I have learned a lot. A whole lot. Because knowledge is power, I wanted to share that information with you. Hopefully it starts some conversations with your kids.

There’s a lot of good on the internet.

I’ve seen some remarkable acts of true kindness, often between people who have never met.

People online share helpful information and resources, support each other, and build communities – all of which is wonderful.

People have united to change the world.

When I see goodness, I point it out to my teen. I encourage and expect her to put kindness into both the visual and real worlds. Help kids understand what a wonderful tool the internet can be.

There is also a lot of bad on the internet.

Few things in life fall into the categories of all good or all bad, and the internet is certainly no exception. It is a double-edged sword, to be sure.

There are scary people, including a fair number of child predators. There are also people looking to do harm to others, physically or financially.

Aside from the scary people, there’s a boat load of negativity. I’ve had commenters tell me that I am unfit to parent, that I’m perpetrating sexism and that I am awful excuse for a human being.

I’ve been called a host of really offensive names for a variety of reasons, including that I occasionally drove my child to elementary school and that I dislike Starbucks’ smores frappuccinos. (The horror!)

I’ve even had someone set up an email account with the name “[email protected]” to tell me how much I suck. I’m guessing that with the unusual spelling of my first name that that wasn’t just a coincidence, but hey, you never know.

Frankly, “delete your account” seems downright polite now.

When you go online, be aware. Know how you are going to handle threats. Remember that taking a screen shot and reporting are among the first actions you should take. Be prepared for criticism, often when you least expect or deserve it.

The internet is powerful.

As the two prior points illustrate, the internet is remarkably powerful.

Remember that with power comes responsibility.

In fact, there are television shows made about how quickly and dramatically the internet has changed people’s lives, including The Internet Ruined My Life.

There is a surprising number of people online with a surprising amount of free time.

I’m guessing that you rarely sit down at your computer and think “I have nothing at all to do and no responsiblities to tend to right now.” You have a full life that often keeps you busy, I suspect. Most people I know would say that’s true for them.

That is not, however, true for a lot of people online. Take the gentleman above who created an email account just to express his dislike of me. I know that’s not a huge time investment, but it did take at least a few minutes. There are people who have commented on things I’ve posted, saying “I don’t comment on posts that do X, Y, and Z.” I want to point out that they actually did comment, but, well, I don’t. Which brings me to my next point.

You can’t fight crazy.

When it comes to trolls, haters, people having really bad days and taking it out on bloggers they don’t know, I have a rule: don’t engage. It took me a while to learn this one, and I’d love to save you the time, if I can.

I tried to be polite, but it turns out that even “let’s agree to disagree” is a waste of your time (because you really do have better things to do) and it is giving them exactly what they want – interaction, or a reaction. Don’t feed the beast.

Trust that the rest of the reasonable world will see that you were logical, insightful, funny, and more. And you might be surprised that others will be upstanders for you.

You have very little control of what you post online. Actually, you have no control. None. 

Once you share words, photos, images, anything online, you have released it to the universe. And literally anything can happen after you do that, including:

  • people claiming your work as their own,
  • companies using what you’ve shared for commercial purposes without permission,
  • individuals posting your links on a webpage and encouraging others to head to your site and tell you that you suck,
  • websites using your photos to sell products that are not actually in the photos,
  • people completely misinterpreting what you’ve written,
  • posts going viral and being read by 1 million people.

All of those have happened to me as least once. And I’ve had posts go crazy viral twice. If you want to feel vulnerable, have 1 million people read something you’ve written. It’s oddly terrifying, in part because you can’t control how people interpret your work. That lack of control is scary. Invariably, people will take something in a manner other than what you intended, even those close to you.

The best way to address it is to be very careful when you post. Think about it. Then think about it again. Remember that there is no requirement that you post something online. If you’re not certain, don’t share/post/publish it.

The internet can be a great way to bond with your tweens and teens.

Whether laughing over a funny animal video, sharing a great meme or using a headline as a conversation starter (because kids are far more likely to start taking about people other than themselves). It can be a great way to find resources and support.

The internet can be a wonderful way to find a community of parents on the same or similar roller coaster ride of raising adolescents that you are.

May you and your family use it in good health and may it bring good things your way.


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Nigeria: Digital Heros – Dw Blogging Award Goes To…..

Image result for Nigeria: Digital Heros - Dw Blogging Award Goes To.....A life without social media is unthinkable for Nigeria’s youth. In Lagos, Deutsche Welle distinguished bloggers who focus on environment issues.

Solomon Sodeinde’s photo gallery on the oil pollution in the Niger Delta has netted him a Deutsche Welle Blogger award and the top prize, a two-week internship at Deutsche Well in Germany.

The jury – who chose a winner in each of three categories: photo gallery, video and article – praised his impressive, albeit shocking photos.

Sodeinde (pictured above) went beyond taking pictures, said Claus Stäcker, the head of DW’s Africa program, at Wednesday’s award ceremony in Lagos. “He also conducted research, and looked at how the government and the local population can help improve the environment – and that really impressed us.”

Contamination from spills

The 33-year-old Nigerian will never forget his very first visit to the Niger Delta. In a village near the city of Warri, he drew water from a well to wash himself. “Are you crazy?” a villager warned him just in time. “Do you want to wash yourself with oil?”

That was Sodeinde’s first contact with the environmental disaster in the Niger Delta, a region where oil has been extracted for decades. Not much of the wealth trickles down to the population, however – instead, oil leakages are recurring incidents because people illegally tap the pipelines and because the pipelines are poorly maintained, which in turn leads to accidents.

In 2011, the UN reported that not only would cleaning the environment in the region cost more than one billion US dollars (881 million euros) – it would take 30 years before all the damage to the environment was removed.

Not much has happened since then.

People can’t plant crops, they can’t fish in this polluted environment, argues Sodeinde. Convinced there is “power in social media,” he has taken action, and founded the African Youth Platform. The aim is use social media to raise awareness among young people in his country for environmental issues.

Digital change

At the DW awards ceremony Nigerian media celebrities debated challenges and opportunities, with a focus not only on environmental issues, but also the rise of social media in Nigeria and how they interact with traditional media. .

“People want access to information on their devices, their smart phones,” says Ariyike Akinbobola, a successful blogger and talk show host and presenter on Nigerian TV. When I tell young people when they can watch my TV show, they send me messages asking, “when is it going to be on Youtube? When you have the link, send it to us.”

Social media give young people a voice

Kingsley Uranta of Channnels TV, the country’s largest news channel, reminded bloggers they also have a responsibility. Time and again, information that has not been checked and rumors reach the public via social media.

“Social media is so powerful,” says Solomon Sodeinde, the overall winner of the 2017 DW award, adding that above all, it’s a platform for young people to be heard, and make themselves heard by the government.

“It’s the greatest tool we can use now,” Sodeinde says.