Thursday 28 July 2011

When Should You Link To Other Sites When Writing Online?

Slightly random thoughts on external links and content when writing lenses, blogposts, etcetera.
 (This was an email to a friend, and then I realised it was worth tidying a little and posting. I gave up on the 'tidying' part, because my hands are cold.)

On linking to other sites and stuff, shuld one do it? Yes, if it's valuable/helps the reader, but my (acquisitive and greedy? XD ) policy is to try and link to other places that benefit me - e.g. Squidoo, within blogs. Which also means I can vouch for the quality at the other end. Can't always do this, of course, but very often you can recreate a similar resource to link to - such as a new Squidoo lens. The more you write, you'll realise that you'll be referring to the same awards, topics or genres or author or something else, so it makes sense to create an overview/index page about it. These may end up being more valuable than the original posts and lenses, in their way, either for the navigational aspect, or because people really really want a nice guide to that topic. 

1. Don't let people leave unless it's via an Amazon or other link that you WANT them to go to.

2. Make people want to return, so if another link adds value, it cancels out the above. So (good, reliable and useful) links means that people will come back to see what you post, even though they leave to visit each link. And that improves their opinion of the site itself.

3. Google does look at what you link to and who links to you, but if you're following the above rules it should even out (basically, on topic and quality. Links from other good sites means your site is obviously good. Roughly. So links from lenses and stuff = good).

4. When considering whether to write about something yourself instead of linking, consider: 

a) can you add something, bring something of your own to it? (if yes = awesome new content, if not = are you just regurgitating existing content? If so, is it worth it for the internal navigation/organisation benefit (e.g. a list of books by an author with links to your reviews) and when expecting no other traffic other than within your blog/portfolio)?)

b) And of course, is it on topic? If it's not then it will probably be a bit too random. Might work very well on a separate site or a Squidoo lens though (you could write it and decide where to stick it later).

So in summary, don't link out, write new stuff instead, unless it is to a better resource that people will want to visit that you cannot recreate and improve without simply copying which is pointless unless it helps you organise your site better AND is very relevant and on-topic.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

You were all mean to me so I'm leaving for Fiji in the morning

Wall Mount Fish Bowl Aquarium Tank Beta Goldfish
That's right, you heard me. Too late to change my mind. I'm going, going, gone.
Actually I lied (you knew that, right?), I'm not going to Fiji in the morning. I'm going the day after.

And there will be... no... internet. For a week. Oh gods.

I'd cancel, but I'm dying to try out my underwater camera and snorkel and maybe go diving. SO THAT IS WHAT I WILL DO. And if you're wondering why I'm not answering comments or emails, or ignoring you, or not stalking you in a forum or ANYTHING ELSE, it is because I shall be lolling in the warm tropical waters full of hundreds of pretty fishes.
Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology
This is mine now.


edit: and thank goodness, hurray, my shiny special new Kindle arrived in time for me to charge it up and add books. I love it already.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Shooting Blind Featured on the RedBubble Homepage!

One of my t-shirt designs was just featured on the RedBubble homepage!
There's an archive screenshot here and the original t-shirt is here!

I like the red and the black versions best, but she comes in lots of colours. And a sticker. 

(I love the RedBubble Stickers, here's a batch I ordered last year - actually sold a couple at Overload yesterday, which was pretty good going, considering how little I sold...)

...aaaand the same design on Zazzle.

I think this is the third picture I've had featured. Previously were Mystic and Careless. That's one per year ^_^

15th April 2009

6th September, 2010

Monday 11 July 2011

On Itching a Scratch

I'm off my meds. This is fair warning.

My antihistamine meds, that is - I believe it has now been a week. I am torn between waiting to see what happens when they wear off entirely, and running back to my nice, nice little white pills. (That do not taste at all of frogs. Just want to be clear on that).

Weirdly, they seem to be taking much longer to wear off than they used to - whether that's some side effect of years of taking antihistamines, or because Cetirizine just works better for me (Razene did nothing, although some people swear by it; Loratadine was fine, but I had apparently been taking it more than it should be taken).

I haven't been sneezing hardly at all; no cat hair or hayfever attacks. Course, that could be because it's the middle of winter and I just de-furred the surfaces in my room. But it's weird.

More importantly, the dermographism is extremely annoying and itching and burning but still not completely back. So I am wondering if there's simply a lack of allergens around, or if it's just lingering antihistamines. Or if severely cutting down on dairy (mostly just cutting out the milky stuff; smoothies, cocoa and so on) is actually helping.

Thing is, I'm pretty sure it took this long last time, and when it did fully return, it was far worse than it had ever been, with welts lasting over an hour. 

So the scientist in me (you know, the bit that sticks fingers in light sockets and lies to people to see how long it takes them to realise), wants to see if that's still the case. (Being able to prod yourself and see what happens can be quite fun).

The prankster in me is dying to scare the people who've not seen my dermographism yet (although the constant explaining is tiresome). Plus, semi-instant Harry Potter scar.

And the artist in me has been sulking over the pictures I got last time, and wants to make better ones (although taking photos is really hard - might have to conscript someone, as you have to hold the camera one-handed, and my Pentax is a little heavy for that, but I need it for the macro focus. And lighting. Indoor lighting = terrible weird skin colours that don't show the welts much in the photo).

And the rational coward in me is going "Oh god, no! No! REMEMBER THE EVIL LIST OF EVIL BAD ITCHY HURTY THINGS"

On the same subject, sort of, the polls on my dermographism page are getting quite interesting. I want 200 responses in each poll (currently it's from 80-274, WHY DON'T YOU ANSWER ALL THE POLLS PEOPLE?) and then I'll post the results. And analyse them.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

BookDepository Bought by Amazon

This makes me sad because:

1. I love the Book Depository because it has free shipping, usually cheaper to New Zealand than Amazon's bigger discounts
2. It let me use Paypal
3. I am emotionally connected to the site

I don't care much because:
1. Amazon is probably more interested in owning the business (which offers alternatives in places Amazon isn't very successful) than changing it.
2, I found the affiliate set up to be quite amateur and much as I wanted to promote the site, I was never quite sure it worked.

Monday 4 July 2011

Sketchblog: Pirate Nymph

Experimenting with the DA Muro app.
Tis a sea nymph. WITH AN EYEPATCH.
Seapirate on DeviantART

Sketchblog: Fluttershy

My Little Pony Basic Figure Fluttershy
This is Fluttershy
I just finished the fourth book in the amazing ASOIAF and I wanted to draw Cersei Lannister, before watching the TV series for A Game of Thrones (which I have seen many enthusiastic mentions of and not a single negative review, so is probably at least half as good as the books).

Instead I ended up with Fluttershy. How did this happen???

Fluttershy on DeviantART
Update: had to fix the composition.

Friday 1 July 2011

Sketchblog: Death and the Discworld

A portrait of Terry Pratchett and his Discworld.

See Death and the Discworld on DeviantART
If you don't know about Pratchett:

He's the creator of the Discworld, that little planet being carried away into space by the turtle Great A'Tuin, with the sun setting on it.

Death, the walking skeleton with an awful lot of character appears in all his books (however briefly) and spends a lot of time trying to figure people out.

The lilacs were worn in memory of a revolution in Night Watch and are now the symbol of Wear the Lilac Day on May 25th - Discworld Day, and now dedicated to Alzheimer's Awareness.

Because - oh yes, Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's Disease. And I started painting this while listening to his documentary on assisted dying:  'Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die'.

So this was a painting about him facing death, a celebration of what he's brought us... and that it's leaving.

Time: 4 hours
ArtRage Studio Pro

References used for Terry Pratchett and the Skull.