About Ellen Eldridge

Please visit the links above and below to learn more about me, and to see examples of my writing and design work.

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Will Write for Koretzky

Alex Jacobi, a designer for the 2014 Will Write For Food program, being encouraged by Michael Koretzky, region 3 director for Society of Professional Journalists.

 

If proper nouns were allowed in Scrabble, Koretzky would be a high-value name.  But we’re not playing Scrabble. We’re writers, and without Michael Koretzky, region 3 director for Society of Professional Journalists, we wouldn’t have programs like Will Write For Food. Also, I wouldn’t have made it home on Labor Day.

 

A whirlwind 36 hours of chaotic reporting, lede creating and nut graph recreating taught me and 21 other student journalists the value of getting out of the newsroom and out of our comfort zone. I expected nothing less from the adviser who hooked me on SPJ with his engaging programs.

 

In his closing email to the students, Koretzky wrote, “This weekend, some of you accused me of being negative and melodramatic. You’re probably right – I’m not objective enough to journalistically debate that. But if we agree on this point, it means when I say nice things, those definitely must be true.”

 

Then, he went on to compliment the group.

 

Alex Jacobi, a designer for the 2014 Will Write For Food program, being encouraged by Michael Koretzky, region 3 director for Society of Professional Journalists.

Alex Jacobi, a designer for the 2014 Will Write For Food program, being encouraged by Michael Koretzky, region 3 director for Society of Professional Journalists.

 

I’ve seen the debates, battles and wars waged with Koretzky at the wheel, and regardless of what professional journalists or otherwise think of him, he is nearly single-handedly inspiring students to get active in building their journalism careers.

 

Not only did Koretzky tell me the personal magazine I toiled over for seven years had no place as a line item on my resume, he said anyone thinking about applying for Will Write For Food was considering doing something “really stupid.”

 

I think that’s part of his charm.

 

Koretzky appears viciously blunt in print, and in person. He won’t sugarcoat shit, and if students develop a thick enough skin, they will realize how effective Koretzky’s criticism is.

 

Underneath all the ink covering his heart, Koretzky cares immensely for the students he advises. Several times over the weekend, he told us he wished he could help more financially. One student traveled from as far away as Alaska, but each student only received $100 toward travel. And we slept 3 to 4 to a room. Just kidding; we didn’t sleep.

 thanks-spj

 

Sadly, Society of Professional Journalists doesn’t chip in for the Will Write For Food program. It was funded by the South Florida Black Journalists Association, The National Association of Hispanic Journalists South Florida Chapter, The South Florida pro chapter of SPJ and Koretzky himself.

 

After overcoming the unsurprising yet still overwhelming smell of the shelter dining room, filled with people swollen with Florida summer sweat, I endured the fast-paced storytelling and cruised through a 3-hour nap before catching a ride to the airport.

 

This blog was originally going to be more like the one I wrote after Koretzky’s Interviewing the Undead program last year, where I castigated Greyhound, but I realized this blog needed to be about Koretzky himself.

 

While another student heading home to Atlanta and I hopped out of Koretzky’s jeep an hour before our flight, aggravations and airline-created delays caused us to get to the gate one minute after its closing. The plane sat behind one Spirit Airlines attendant and us, but she refused to let us on our flight.

 

We had to go back to the ticketing counter and Spirit Airlines told me I couldn’t get a guaranteed flight until more than 30 hours later. That’s enough time to put together an issue of The Homeless Voice. My friend couldn’t guarantee a flight until two days later. The stress of the whole weekend rained over me, but I did not cry. Even when Spirit Airlines told me I would have to pay more than I originally paid for a round trip ticket to Florida, to fly home.

 

As I contemplated renting a car to make the 11-hour drive back to Atlanta, Koretzky saved the day. He, through a series of texts, promised to reimburse us for any ticket to get us home. At any cost. To a homeless student journalist, this was winning the lottery.

 

Without excess hyperbole, Koretzky helped me craft my career. I haven’t even finished my degree, but I fine-tuned my resume using Koretzky’s tips and landed a part-time job as a staff writer on a newspaper. When I joined SPJ, I did so for the line item on my resume. When I found Koretzky’s programs, I got involved. I believe getting involved and networking is the key. That, and trials by fire.

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Why I want to be SPJ’s student representative in 2014

Why I want to be SPJ’s student representative in 2014

Ellen Eldridge is a nontraditional student working on a bachelor's in communication at Kennesaw State University. She is running for student representative of SPJ in 2014.

Ellen Eldridge is a nontraditional student working on a bachelor’s in communication at Kennesaw State University. She is running for student representative of SPJ in 2014.

 

 

I added my name to the longest list of names competing for one of two student representatives for Society of Professional Journalists because I want to help pioneer the field of journalism in the digital age.

 

Social Media

Many journalists who have been at it for a while–and it often takes a while to make a name for oneself in the field–still don’t regularly use social media. I’d guess quite a few journalists worry about damaging their brands or inadvertently hurting the organizations they represent, but digital is fact.

I plan to blog more in the next few months about how I feel social media, content marketing and journalism converge.

 

My SPJ Candidate Profile:

 

Current SPJ Office: Kennesaw State University campus chapter president

@spj_ksu


Current Employment:
Student intern at Cherokee Tribune; senior communication major at Kennesaw State University (3.8 GPA); freelance content marketer

Previous SPJ Experience: Held current office since 2013

Past Work Experience:
Public Affairs Specialist in U.S. Army Reserves (46Q) 2000-2006, implemented newsletter as lesson coordinator at 6-store music retail chain in Georgia 2007-2011, founded marketing magazine for artistic entrepreneurs 2007-present; freelance music journalist for national print and online mediums (Performer Magazine and AtlantaMusicGuide.com) 2008-present.

Education: B.S. in psychology (2009); currently a senior working toward a B.S. in communication (2015 expected); HootSuite Social Media Certification (2013) and brand ambassador (2014)

 

Honors, Awards and Activities: Golden Key Honor Society, SPJ, Who’s Who in American College Students (2014), Adult Learner’s Award (2014), Student Media (staff writer for The Sentinel newspaper, editor-in-chief for Talon feature magazine, literary editor for Share literary magazine).

Why I’m seeking this SPJ office:

As a long-time student of journalism and lover or the written word, I want to pioneer innovation and help experienced and new journalists navigate the changing career field of communication. Freelancing and training are the parts of the SPJ mission closest to my heart. As a HootSuite brand ambassador I hope to encourage journalists of all skill levels integrate social media into reporting, which will also help the individual brands of media outlets struggling to find a foothold.

 

As a campus representative, I will work to spread the mission and goals of SPJ as well as work with journalism majors to learn social media and learn how original well-written content can help build a brand. Not public relations writing, but objective content. I also want to stay connected to the largest organization for journalists, and I want to encourage students to get involved not only with student media but also in contributing as members in the Society of Professional Journalists as I have with a blog for The Independent Journalist in the SPJ network.


Find me on Google Plus, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re truly into social media and want to find me across the Internet, I am also on Facebook and Pinterest. I look forward to the coming weeks and months leading up to Excellence in Journalism 2014 in Nashville this September.

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Effects on social media and what you can learn in 30 days of blogging

30-day-blog-results

This is day 30 of my 30-day blog challenge! Read day 29: “Staying creative as a maker”

30-day-blog-results

The baseline of a 30-day blog challenge

 

I started this 30-day spurt as a self-challenge, inspired by my friend Sara Crawford. I wanted to further experiment with how often a brand, business or individual should post for best results with branding. My first post was created hastily, as were many of the blogs I wrote over the last 30 days. My point wasn’t necessarily to strive for perfect content, but rather consistency.

 

At baseline, in my post “What 30 days of blogging can do for your career,” I noted that I had 285 Twitter followers and I was in 187 circles across Google Plus. I should have noted my Klout score, which I would guess was around 55 or 56. The highest my Klout score had been before this blog was 60. When I checked today, my score was 63.

 

What I learned about social media and blogging in 30 days

 

The fact that my Klout score today was 63 showed me the impact on social sharing because the last week of my challenge proved most difficult for many reasons. I had some issues with my apartment as well as my normal workload, which isn’t normal for the average person.

 

I did notice about a week ago that my Klout score had hit 64, but I believe that my lack of active sharing and my distance from active listening impacted my “influence score.”

 

Social media sharing

 

I knew going into this blog challenge that social media sharing and becoming influential is much more than just creating and pushing content. To truly be social, one must socialize across different platforms. These platforms have varying best practices as well (like using a dedicated hashtag on Twitter). So, the last seven days of my blog challenge I didn’t spend much time “promoting” my posts. Honestly, I just wasn’t very proud of them. One was even called “Today is the day I fail,” which was only technically a blog post.

 

What I’ve learned about social media sharing was more of a reminder that we need to stay engaged, which means listening to others and sharing with a purpose.

 

The power of engagement

 

The power of engagement is what I watched as my Twitter followers fluctuated and my Google Plus circles grew. I currently have 314 followers on Twitter and am in 238 circles on Google Plus. Within the last 30 days I also published four articles for Lifehack.

 

I also became a HootSuite Ambassador, so some of the outside forces of my writing and social media career must have played a part on both my Klout score and the growth in social media fans, followers and friends.

 

Now that the constant flow of content by me will slow (I think I will blog weekly now), I can spend more time engaging with my network and making the most of connections in my industry.

 

Planning and the structure of a blog

 

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned, and something that is always improved with practice, is to plan a blog. By planning appropriately, one can take an idea and shape it into a structured blog using subheadings and keywords. Organization helps not only the writer but also the reader.

 

Quality content is something I strive for in every post. I couldn’t always achieve the standards I would have liked with the blogs over the last 30 days, but I appreciate the practice. I know now I will likely organize a topic using headings that help readers understand my points. This has a benefit for search engines as well.

 

Setting a calendar and blogging weekly

 

Well, I’ve made it through 30 days. I’ve seen social growth by numbers, but, more importantly, I’ve nurtured relationships with friends who have checked in and commented. I appreciate sincerely the chance to receive feedback from other writers as well as others involved with social media. There is just so much to learn!

 

My blogs are linked backward so anyone who cares to read them all can do so backward in order. Or readers can read by categories. I may take the time to reorganize these categories, but I believe I’ve kept my posts relatively clear. The “parenting” posts are in the “as the laundry rolls” category.

 

I would absolutely love to know what others think of a 30-day blog challenge, and how often a blogger should post for maximum effectiveness (which is of course all in how you identify your objectives and set your goals).

 

 

 

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Staying creative as a writer, musician or maker

furthur

This is day 29 of 30-day blog challenge. Read day 28: “This is the day I fail”

furthur

Phil Lesh and Bob Weir during Furthur Festival 2011. Photo by Ellen Eldridge

 

Bob weir is best known for playing guitar in The Grateful Dead (and Ratdog as I mentioned in my blog about proposing), but he also makes hot sauce. Maynard James Keenan may be best known as the frontman of Tool, but he also creates music for A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. Keenan makes not only music but also he makes wine.

 

The idea that a musician has to stay inspired to create outstanding single after amazing album doesn’t mean that that same musician can’t open new pathways into inspiration by creating something outside of the music genre. An artist may similarly find inspiration for a painting from a poem. This idea is part of what I wanted to showcase with Target Audience Magazine, which is the marketing magazine I started in 2007 for artists to gain a sense of cross-inspiration as well as pointers for D.I.Y. marketing.

 

I still want to continue shaping the magazine as a resource for artists to learn how best to tap into the methods for inspiration and staying creative. It surely is easier said than done. When people ask Keenan where he got the idea to start making wine, while he has not one but three musical projects going, he says it came to him in a dream.

 

We artists, writers, musicians and makers need to hold tight to our dreams and stay creative despite the temptations to take the easy way out. Getting a job is not the same as working toward a goal. I sometimes worry about not being able to save for retirement, but the reality is that I love what I do so much that the only reason I would want to retire is because I couln’t complete my work. My husband feels the same way about playing and teaching guitar.

 

So, let’s learn from others in the creative world who have found outlets and entrepreneurial endeavors outside their regular mediums. Let’s work to stay creative and stay inspired by taking in all the things that bring us joy to create.

 

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This is the day I fail

ellen-header-web

This is day 28 of 30-day blog challenge. Read day 27: “3 songs to propose to this year”

 

I hate to admit that I’m not perfect, and I’ve written about the problem of perfectionism previously. If I know anything, finishing what you start is crucial. But, artists and writers shouldn’t strive for complete perfectionism. We can learn a great deal from mistakes.

As I wind down my 30-day blog challenge, I am convinced I will be able to maintain a blog calendar and a weekly schedule for blogging. I won’t wander into the abyss of abandoned blogs, but tonight I simply have too much to work on to write anything meaningful.

See you tomorrow! Use tonight to catch up on my blog challenge posts if you feel so inclined!

 

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3 songs to propose to this year in Atlanta

This is day 27 of 30-day blog challenge. Read day 26: “I used to rant like fruit gone rotten”

 

get-engaged-songs

Once upon a time, I thought Maynard and Tori would have been happy together.

 

I live north of Atlanta, but a few artists I love are touring. I saw something on Facebook where a fan proposed to his girlfriend at a concert, and, as my own five-year anniversary is around the corner, I thought I post a quick video blog of three romantic songs to get engaged to. If you want to pop the question at a show this year, check these tours out:

 

1. Ratdog (playing Atlanta’s Tabernacle March 16)

“Lucky Enough”

The other night my soul hit the pavement
And I looked up, and I didn’t have eyes
Oh to see the beauty, joy and the tenderness
The reasons why a man’s alive

Sometimes a darkness falls upon the spirit
And it gets dark like there ain’t never been light
May be angels singing, but you don’t want to hear it
That inner flame ain’t burning so bright (note 1)

And you’ll find no saints here
When the going gets this rough
But you may find grace
If you’re lucky enough

Every love has a whole in the middle
Where the wickedness always survives
Eats at your soul, maybe just a little (note 2)
Then it gets as big as the night

Doesn’t matter how much you show her
Sure don’t matter what she’s trying to show you
When you can’t feel it, that love seems to scatter
And precious little gonna see you through

And we’re going on faith here
And all of that kind of stuff
And even grace
If we’re lucky enough

There’s a line you can hold
Through the separateness and sin
Open up your soul
And let the sky fall in

The deepest journeys pass through the wilderness
The desert where the burning question resides
To taste the magic you must first suck the emptiness
From a cup that is always dry

Inside the silence, and total aridity (note 3)
Where the horizon is a perfect line
Lies a drop that precedes the humidity (note 4)
Of simple grace, that pours like wine

And you’ll find no saints here
None of that kind of stuff
But you may find grace
If you’re lucky enough

Lucky enough
Lucky enough
Ooh
Lucky enough
Well you may find grace
If you’re lucky enough
Lucky enough
If you’re lucky enough
If you’re lucky enough
Well you may find grace
If you’re lucky enough
If you’re lucky enough
Well you may find grace

Notes

1) in earlier versions, Weir sang “Your sole concern is making it through the night”

2) in earlier versions, Weir sang these two lines as
Ain’t no big deal, well maybe just a little
when that hurricane of misery arrives
(3) I had an earlier version of this line that may have been in part a mis-hearing: “There is a place with falls of fluidity”
(4) the lyrics with the CD have “drought” but “drop” seems to be what Weir sings, and makes better sense

 

2. Brad Paisely (playing Atlanta at Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood June 22)

“I Can’t Change the World”

3. Tori Amos (playing Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Theatre August 19)

Hmm, okay on second thought, don’t propose to your lover during a Tori Amos song. Rather, propose along with tickets to the show. Tori may have found happiness and love in marriage, but the sentiment doesn’t gel in any song that I can think of. Her last album, Night of Hunters, was a concept album.

I’ll just leave you with one of my favorite songs, where Maynard J. Keenan accompanies her:

 

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I used to rant like fruit gone rotten

beyond-the-eyes

This is day 26 of 30-day blog challenge. Read day 26: “Where does creativity come from”

 

Many people don’t know I published a book of poetry. Fewer care, I’m sure. But, because I have way too much to do to write a blog tonight, I’ll share. The best reason to consider buying a copy of “Beyond the Eyes” is my sister’s work. Cyan Jenkins is a freelance illustrator, and this book was created as her senior project. She graduated from the Ringling College of Art in 2009. Then she and I both got married that same year. I married in March (while she was on spring break), and she married in June, shortly after she graduated. She and I each had our first baby in 2010, but she had her son before I had my daughter so she got me back for marrying first.

I’m proud of the work Cyan and I did together. I enjoyed watching her illustrate my poems. She breathed life into my imagination in a cool way. Some of the images I wouldn’t have thought up. She just took my words as inspiration to paint.

One of the poems in “Beyond the Eyes” speaks to a much darker time in my life. My husband and babies really took a chunk of my dark side away.

like-fruit-gone-rotten

Reading this now makes me critical of my earlier work. Rambling madness and desperate cries for meaning and attention. But, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself I suppose. I like the like about chord tones because I know I got that from my husband trying to teach me about playing guitar. One day I will practice and become greater at guitar. Until then, I have Russell Eldridge.

I rarely write poetry anymore. I mean to get back to it, but for now I feel disconnected from the craft because I used it for so long to purge those feelings I couldn’t share with anyone else.

If you have any desire to read “Beyond the Eyes,” contact me and I can send you a copy. Cyan may still have some as well, but you certainly don’t need to pay Amazon prices.

 

beyond-the-eyes

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The right versus left brain question: where does creativity come from?

My brain on online quizzes

This is day 25 of 30-day blog challenge. Read day 24: “Parenting through the smell of dead sewage”

 

Most of us have heard about people being “left-brained” or “right-brained,” but I don’t think there’s much to that. I know the right side of the body is controlled by the left brain hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean that when you are using your right hand to write (and we use both to type) you can’t be creative. I’ve heard that left-handed people are supposedly more creative because the “creative” side of the brain is the right side. To me, that just says the while drawing an image the “creative” brain is too tied up to think of an imaginative image.

 

An article by Christopher Wanjek, published in September, 2013, claims that left versus right brain is a myth. And I tend to agree. For one, the optical illusion of the “spinning dancer” will not yield consistent results. Some days, if you are more tired or more alert, she will start different ways. If you watch and she starts off spinning clockwise, she will turn and spin counter-clockwise after your brain gets tired and “switches.”

 

 

More in-depth responses about this optical illusion are available in videos as well as online, but to me it confirms the myth of right and left-brained people. Especially because creativity comes in many forms, which are controlled by different parts of the brain. The ability to connect dots and transform ideas across mediums makes individuals most creative in my mind.

 

I tested out my own right/left brain dominance in two separate online tests. They both gave me about an even balance of using both sides of my brain. I am curious as to what other people think about the results or if there really is such a thing as a link between creativity and being left-handed.

 

My brain on online quizzes

My brain on online quizzes

 

The second test, from http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3178, involved different types of questions. Where the above text showed me my preference for visual designs and the power of reading the correct color as opposed to viewing it, the test below asked more about how I reason through situations.

 

My results were again pretty even:

Studies on patients with brain damage have allowed scientists to determine how each side of the brain controls different functions. The left hemisphere, for example, specializes in language skills and logic. The right hemisphere allows us to recognize shapes and faces and express and read. Most people are not likely to be strictly left-brain or right-brained – we use each side of our brain depending on the task we’re dealing with. However, some theorists and researchers believe that there may be one side of the brain that we draw on more, which can in turn make the personality traits characteristic of that side of the brain to be more dominant than others.How to read your results: If you score closer to the right side of the graph, your personality is more characteristically right-brain. If you score closer to the left side of the graph, your personality is more characteristically left-brain. If you score somewhere in the middle, you share characteristics of both sides of the brain.
Overall Result
 46
Both your right and left hemisphere seem to have reached a level of perfect harmony – rather than trying to dominant each other, they work together to create a unique and well-balanced “you”. Your spontaneous, impulsive, and free-flowing right brain creates an exciting and adventurous world, while you left brain helps you make sense of it and keep track of everything.When faced with a problem or a tough decision, you’re not only able to break things down and make an informed and sensible choice, but you’re also not afraid to go with your gut when necessary. You tend to express your individuality both in words and actions, and although you’re perfectly comfortable running on a schedule or planning things ahead of time, there are occasions when you love to throw in a little spontaneity.Your balanced outlook and approach to life creates a desire in you to not only understand the world, but to also take it in your hands and mold it as you see fit. With both your right and left hemispheres working together to guide you, you are able to understand yourself and life in general from so many wonderful perspectives.

 

Maybe my brain is balanced because I’m a Libra (ha ha)!

 

I  retook the first test test a full 24 hours (almost exactly) later (I just finished it when I went to get the link for this post). I got “right-brained” by 62 percent! I know I changed my first opinion of which image most pleased me and I automatically chose a different hand to raise first. Last night, I used my right side for all the hand raising, leg-crossing tests. So, maybe my sense of rationality or logic is currently working harder because I am actively writing this post!

 

So, what do you think? Can creativity shift depending on what tasks we are actively doing and thinking about? I think this is the key to how we perform on these tests. Take them and let me know how you did!

 

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Parenting through the smell of dead sewage

as-the-laundry-rolls-72

This is day 24 of 30-day blog challenge. Read day 23: “Learn these 3 things free online”

 

as-the-laundry-rolls-72

The smell started Thursday

If anything has made me want to throw my hands and just give up on this 30-day blog challenge, it’s been today. Well, really it’s been the last 48 hours or so. Late Thursday evening my husband smelled something like sewer gas or a dead cat (poor dumpster kitties) coming from the sinks or the shower line. It was hard to say exactly where it was coming from, but it was bad enough to my husband that he called the emergency maintenance line. No one came.

 

Friday we went about our regular day, divided between my morning out of the house and my husband’s afternoon and evening out of the house. By the time he returned home from work (and no one had come from maintenance despite repeated calls in the morning), he was livid. I had been home all afternoon and though I smelled “it” I had gotten used to it. When the foul stench slapped him in the face as he returned home, my husband acted personally offended. He called the emergency line again.

 

Friday night maintenance agreed our apartment stinks

Around 9 p.m. the maintenance guy came to the apartment and acknowledged the disgusting odor. Our mounting concerns about the safety of the water that we both showered in and drank (we filter the tap water through a Brita pitcher, but it’s still tap water) made us increasingly nervous. And light-headed. My stomach is turning as I write this blog.

 

Though he looked under the sinks and around the property where the stray cats hang out, the maintenance guy found nothing. He even admitted that he peeked into the neighbor’s cracked window to check for a dead body. The smell is that bad. His suggestion was that something must have died, but he couldn’t find it and he couldn’t get approval for a plumber to come out until Monday.

 

Saturday the smell surrounds

The first thing my husband did this morning (Saturday) was to stop at the rental office and insist something further be done to figure out what the smell is. We needed a plumber to be called. One of the benefits of renting a place is the assurance that when something breaks or the place is uninhabitable someone will come fix it. And we shouldn’t have to have extra money to pay for these services. Well, this incident has made me wish we could just call a plumber ourselves and pay out of pocket just to feel like we had some kind of power in a seemingly hopeless situation.

 

After twice walking over to the rental office after my husband stopped in at 10 a.m., nothing had been accomplished. The same maintenance man who came to the apartment last night swore he called his supervisor and was waiting on a return call with approval to call a plumber. I watched “House of Cards” while the kids napped because I felt too dizzy and sick to my stomach to do anything productive.

Once 4 p.m. rolled around and my husband returned from work, we printed a dated letter to the management company saying we wanted a plumber called immediately. I have no desire to hire a lawyer and file a suit or even try to get out of our lease early. I would love to, but I just don’t have the time and energy. I know, though, if it comes to that, we need to have written documentation.

 

When to call 9-1-1

So, I handed my letter signed by my husband and by me to the lady in the leasing office and I drove to the grocery store. By about 4:45 p.m. my husband called to tell me he had called 9-1-1. They were on their way to determine if our apartment was subject to harmful gases or anything that would hurt the kids. The four firefighters who came said that they thought something died somewhere in or around the apartment. No gas levels or carbon monoxide were detected.

 

The leasing office finally got word from the off-duty supervisor who agreed to call a plumber. That plumber should be here by 9 p.m. but as it’s currently 6:27 p.m. I just feel sick, dizzy and helpless. And I don’t feel like blogging.

 

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Learn these 3 things free online to boost your business website

building a business

This is day 23 of 30-day blog challenge. Read day 22: “Are you a morning person or a night person?”

 

building a business

Everyone wants and needs an online presence in business, and no one has more than the 24 hours in a day, but here are some things I learned early that really helped me build my business. All three of these things are things I continue to study because as with most education, first you learn it, then you practice. I then go back and read, read, read so I can stay in step with changes.

 

1. At least learn basic HTML, then more coding

 

You should have a basic understanding of how to write HTML code. Minor font customizations like font size can be hand-coded on the “text” side of creating a WordPress post (or Blogger or just about any content management system). I used and recommend http://www.w3schools.com/

 

I earned my certification in CSS/XHTML from Kennesaw State University continuing education, but I’ve found that with coding, you really have to use it regularly not to lose it. So, learn what you can and revisit W3Schools until you have a need for more in-depth education and certification (through W3Schools does offer a certification as well).

 

2. Understand how to set up a blog

 

You can read the detailed information on blog sites like Blogger or WordPress. I wrote about starting a blog for free and my recommendation is to host your own URL. So many resources exist for learning how to build a blog and starting from a mission is key. Knowing what you want to do with your blog and how often you will update it is the key to success. After that, you need to learn more in-depth things like how to conduct keyword research, how to write for search engine optimization and how to create cornerstone content.

 

3. Learn Google Analytics

Again, free information and in-depth lessons are provided online from Google. You can learn how to monitor your website’s load speed, traffic sources and bounce rate to better understand your business.  You can go the extra mile and get certified in for Google Analytics. I intend to finish the classes and pay the $50 for certification as soon as possible (all the lessons are free; the certification costs $50).

Visit http://www.google.com/analytics/learn/

 

 

 

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