Blogging PreCourse and Blogging101

TBEX: A Travel Bloggers Conference

October 22, 2014 By: Johne Category: blog marketing

John & Carmen

Question: What is the right collective term for a large number of bloggers? (A note on collective terms. A “herd” is the right collective term for buffalo, a “mob” would be the term for angry people).

Is it a swarm of bloggers? A school or a flock?  I’m going with swarm since that carries the idea that the bloggers are usually solitary but they periodically….swarm.  A school or a flock, like fish or sheep, suggests that they stay together.

I’m John, one of the founders of the legendary BlogWritingCourse. In its heyday, this course led many dozens of bloggers down the road towards fame, fortune, independence, and self-expression informing them with deep knowledMy Wife's Travel Blogge, equipping them with strong skills, and supporting them with a warm constructive community.

A few years ago, we redeployed resources and focused on our K12 educational businesses that were growing faster. While this was  a smart business decision, it was with real sadness that we stopped offering the Blog Writing Course.

A Swarm of Travel Bloggers

I’m thinking a lot about the blogging course since I’m attending, with my wife, a blogging conference. Specifically, she’s attending and I’m tagging along.

We’re at the TBEX conference which is uniquely for travel bloggers and their sponsors and affiliates.  There are maybe a thousand attendees and what an interesting diverse group.

I’ve met so far (and it hasn’t really started): a blogger who focuses on adventure travel for lads in the 2o’s, a couple of a certain age who focus on travel for people of a certain age, a young lady who talks about young ladies traveling alone. a women who writes about luxury travel, several people who focus on budget travel, one lady who only blogs about Scotland, a guy who guides and writes about walking tours in NY, another who focused on discounted luxury travel, and so on. It reminds me of being in my late teens or 20s when I spent time backpacking through Europe and meeting a diverse crowd. Nothing corporate about these people.  Blogs that I’ve noticed so far:
Ancient Greek Archaelogical & Military History
Notes of

All this excitement about blogging has me thinking about the history of the blog writing course.  I’ve started drafting up a summary , want to peak at an early draft? Go to the history of the blog writing course? I’m working on this on my “” a (my digital marketing blog) and will move it here when I finish the post. Stay tuned… #TBEX #TBEXAthens

The Best Things In Life are….FREE!!

June 23, 2013 By: TopsyTechie Category: New Bloggers

We all read blogs.  They give us instant access to information, insight into other people, and provide multiple viewpoints on specific subjects. But sometimes, reading a blog just doesn’t cut it.  Sometimes, you realize YOU are the one who has something relevant to add to the online conversation.  In those cases, starting your own blog may be exactly the thing to do.

But the world of blogging can be intimidating – – especially if you have never written anything online before.  Where do you start?  What tools do you need?  Is it even safe???

For people asking themselves those kinds of questions, has created an free blogging course.  Blogging 101 is a free online course that will teach you the basics of blogging at your own pace and from the comfort of your own computer.

Blogging 101 is an eight-week blog writing course for the beginning blogger.  During this time, you’ll discover:

- how easy it is to blog

- what the basic lingo (vocabulary) is

- how to get started

- what to write about

- how to draw traffic to your blog

- and much, MUCH more

Don’t let a lack of knowledge intimidate you from starting a blog or even taking a blog writing course. We’ve laid out all the basics for you in our free course. 

If you have something to say to the world, don’t settle for being a blog reader.  Now is your time to sound off and share your voice with the rest of the world!  Time to start blogging!!

Guest Blogging

September 26, 2012 By: pennj97 Category: Attracting Blog Readers, blog comments, blog marketing, blog writing, blogging, blogging community, guest post

Guest blogging is one of the best ways to build traffic to your site and gain faithful new followers. So how do you accomplish this great feat? It’s not all that hard to do.

Identify a blog that is similar to yours and already has a big following. Next, read that person’s blog. Look at their style to see what attracts followers. Then look at the “About Me” page or site index, if there is one, and confirm that they use guest bloggers. Finally, contact the site administrator or blog owner and offer to guest blog for them.

If they agree, write a post in keeping with the tone and theme of the blog.

Here are ideas to get you started on that guest post:

  • Explain something obscure.
  • Think of a controversy (possibly something related to your blog theme) and take a position.
  • Consider what expert advice you can offer based on your level of experience.
  • Examine your own pet peeves and discuss one that will bring tons of comments from those who are usually just lurkers.
  • Make a compilation of tips, tricks, or best practices on a task those in your area of interest need to focus on.

 Make sure you are allowed to include a bio at the end of your article post. In the bio, include a compelling reason to check out your site and either type in your URL or hyperlink it to your blog name. If images are allowed, include a head shot of you and one other relevant image.  Submit. Then, you know the saying:  shampoo, rinse, and repeat!

Get started on blogging today by taking our FREE Blogging Pre-Course. If you feel you have a basic understanding of blogging, but are ready to tackle the more meaty ins and outs of blogging, then our Blogging 101 course is perfect for you. Get started today!



September 14, 2012 By: pennj97 Category: blog writing, blogging, business blogging, home business blogging, learning to blog, New Bloggers, small business blogging

In grammar, an adjective is a ‘describing’ word; the main syntactic role of which, is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified.  Adjectives assign value to the words they modify. They tell you how you should feel about those words.

The New York Times ran an article in June of 2012 in which they actually scolded themselves for overusing the adjectives “signature” (18 times in one week), “eye-popping” (128 times this year) “jaw-dropping” (74 times) and the adverb “arguably” (almost 500 times).

So what does that have to do with you? Everything! Overuse of words causes those words to lose their impact. Your readers notice this and other quirky mannerisms you might have. Look at the following mannerisms and take note of any you have.

~Do you have a bad habit of using “it’s” when you should use “its”?

~Do you tend to make comparisons in groups of three?

~Do you leave out capital letters?

~Do you use insert pauses everywhere with three dots…cramming too many ellipses in a post of only 500 words?

~Do you use unnecessary adverbs?

Mannerisms annoy readers. You goal should be to eliminate them from your blog.  If you had a proofreader, they would find and fix such flaws for you. However, most blog writers do not have someone that proofreads each post. You are your own proofreader!

If you’re going to keep a lookout on something, adjectives and adverbs are usually the culprits in overuse. Adjectives are fine in moderation, but keep in mind that words have meanings.  Few things need multiple adjectives. If you throw in adjectives just to fill space, you quickly lose points in the eyes of your readers.

Don’t lose heart just yet. You can attack your “mannerism” problem painlessly by insisting on more concrete nouns and active verbs to describe your products, programs and people.

Take a look at this New York Times headline from June 7:  “Stocks Move Higher, but Concerns Remain.” 

What you see is two verbs, “move” and “remain.” The verbs convey the action and the headline summarizes the main points of the article. This headline does not over-promise and it does not tell you how you should feel. Did you notice the absence of adjectives? Good for you! Learn from this headline.

The next time you want to use an adjective in the headline of your blog, or in the body of the blog, make sure you really need it. Can you find a verb that conveys the same thought? If so, use it.


Learn more about blogging with our free Blogging Pre-Course and our Blogging 101 course. You and your readers will be glad you did!

Blogger’s Code of Conduct

August 30, 2012 By: pennj97 Category: blog comments, blog safety, blogging, New Bloggers

Tim O’Reilly introduced the Blogger’s Code of Conduct as a means to help enforce civility. Tim’s idea was that if bloggers themselves were civil on their own blog, it would encourage others to be civil as well.  He also suggested bloggers moderate comments on their blog.

So why was the Blogger’s Code introduced in the first place? The code was proposed due to threats made to blogger Kathy Sierra. In March 2007, Sierra abruptly canceled her appearance at the O’Reilly ETech conference in San Diego because she began receiving threatening blog posts and emails, which included death threats.  Ms. Sierra cancelled all speaking engagements due to fear.

The harassment increased after the threats were reported in the news:  a false account of her career was posted online, along with her address and Social Security number.

The BBC was the first to report the idea of the code. They quoted O’Reilly saying, “I do think we need some code of conduct around what is acceptable behavior, I would hope that it doesn’t come through any kind of regulation it would come through self-regulation.”

O’Reilly and others came up with a list of seven proposed ideas:

  1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
  2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Ignore the trolls.
  5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell him or her so.
  7. Do not say anything online that you would not say in person.

This article is not meant to scare you at all. The sole purpose is to cause you to think carefully, act responsibly, and encourage safe blogging practices…Do Unto Others!


Try Our Free Blogging Pre-Course Today!

Writer’s Block and Poor Writing Skills

August 15, 2012 By: pennj97 Category: Attracting Blog Readers, blog writing, blogging

It happens to everyone…writer’s block. You think you have written everything you can think of. You have tried brainstorming ideas with no luck. You are down to twiddling your thumbs in frustration. What’s a blog writer to do??

Maybe writer’s block isn’t your problem, maybe it’s poor writing in general. Don’t let poor writing contribute to your writer’s block and stop you from posting. There are solutions to your current corundum.

The best way you can improve your writing skills is by simply writing. Write everyday, even if it is considered poor writing. The simple exercise of daily writing does indeed boost your current skill level. I am not suggesting you keep a diary, or babble on and on. On the contrary, I am suggesting you write clear, direct, honest posts about things you see in this wonderfully wild world. Browse the latest magazines (all topics, not just the ones you are interested in) for ideas. Write about things you would like to see happen in this world. Write about things you are a part of. Write a post teaching something. Everyone likes to learn something new, perhaps you are the perfect teacher.

But wait a minute, I don’t want other people to read my poor writing and laugh, or worse, criticize me.

Oh ye of little faith! I would never leave you to the sharks. You can always write under an assumed name. As for critical comments, that one is a no-brainer, turn off the comments.

If you actually write every single day, even if it is only a paragraph, your writing will improve as will your confidence. The last suggestion is to read quality blogs, books, and magazines. Reading good writing will also help you write better.

Sign up for our FREE blog writing Pre-Course or our Blogging 101 Course today!

5 Super Easy Steps to Attract Blog Readers

July 31, 2012 By: pennj97 Category: Attracting Blog Readers, blog writing, blogging, business blogging, learning to blog, New Bloggers

What is the second most important part of your blog after the title?

Eugene Schwartz was one of the very best copywriters ever. We still “borrow” his material today. It was not uncommon for him to spend an entire week on the first fifty words of an ad–the headline and the opening paragraph. His specialty was direct-mail campaigns. Schwartz went beyond copywriting he captured great marketing.

Imagine this, suppose you construct a killer headline for your new blog post, but you end of losing readers because your opening paragraph simply does not have the muscle it needs. A great headline is premo, but if your opening is lame it is as if you invited the reader to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea as they read your post, but as the reader starts to sit down, you jerk the chair out from under him and walk away. OUCH!

If you want others to take time to read your blog posts, then you will have to take a few steps to insure that it will happen. You must capture the reader’s imagination and artfully root them deeper into your content.

So how do you accomplish this feat?


1. Ask a Question

Opening your post with a question is a rhetorical device, which creates curiosity and encourages the reader’s mind to begin thinking. Thinking equates to active engagement with your writing…winning situation.


2. Share a Short Story or a Great Quote

Quick stories tend to make people laugh. Everyone enjoys a good laugh. The story, or anecdote, will immediately establish the main point of your post. A quality quote from a recognizable authority or famous person also work wonders in capturing the reader. It can hold their attention in those first few critical opening seconds.


3. Stir the Imagination

A reader needs a strong mental image so they can properly engage with your post. You must use wording that will produce a visual in the mind’s eye. Creating visual imagery is one of the most powerful things you can ever do as a writer. Try using words such as “picture this,” “imagine,” “do you remember when,” etc.


4. Use an Analogy, Metaphor, or Simile

Analogies, metaphors, and similes are quite powerful devices when it comes to telling a story in a single sentence. What better way to capture a reader’s attention. These devices also serve as a catalyst to provoke mental imagery that allows readers to tell a story to themselves.


5. Shocking Statistics

Interesting facts or tidbits are a great technique and an easy way to start your post. People love interesting data, but only if it is truly unique, startling, or even shocking. The statistic should also be directly relevant to the point of your post as well.


Now it is time for you sit down to construct a killer headline, an engaging opening paragraph, and offer relevant information to your reader in the form of a winning blog post. Remember, it only takes 5 super easy steps to accomplish this!


If you are interested in learning more about the fascinating world of blogging, sign up for our free Blogging Pre-Course, and do not forget our mind boggling Blogging 101 course, it covers it all!

Wishes Do Come True

July 17, 2012 By: pennj97 Category: blog writing, blogging, free blogging course, learning to blog, New Bloggers

Blogging is such a great adventure. It gives you the fabulous opportunity to share what’s on your mind with millions of folks you will never meet. It gives you the opportunity to grow your business in a new direction. It gives you an opportunity to connect with family and friends. It gives you an opportunity to encourage others. It gives you an opportunity to teach others about your neat hobby. It gives you an opportunity to…

Blogging sounds so enticing, but you are just not sure how to begin. You are not convinced you have what it takes. You wish you could see what other “newbies” are thinking and doing about blogging. Well, wishes do come true. Take a few minutes to check out our Blog Writing Course test blog. Our free pre-blogging course not only teaches you about blogging, but it actually gives you a chance to practice with a real live blog. It is a great hands-on experience for the newbie blogger. You will not only learn tips and tricks, but you are able to practice what you learn in our introductory course.
Once you complete the free pre-course, you will have the courage to start your own blog. There is still much to learn about blogging, so don’t forget to check our Blogging 101 course. It is a very in-depth blogging course that prepares you for whatever the blogosphere throws your way. The eight-week, fully-automated (self-propelled), comprehensive course will guide you through all the basics of creating and establishing your new blog.
Get started blogging today!

HTML Is Not Scary

July 06, 2012 By: pennj97 Category: blog marketing, blog writing, html

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language though it really isn’t a programming language. HTML is a way to describe how a set of text and images should be displayed to a viewer. It really is not that difficult to use.

Writing an HTML file simply means you will compose the text you want to display, then insert tags you want. The tags will need to be in the place you want something special to be shown. Some things you might want to use could be italics, bold, using a larger font, showing an image, using color, or linking to another Web page, or a combination of several. Tags begin with a < character and end with a > character. Between the <> characters are the tag name, and maybe some attributes, depending on the tag. HTML has many tags you can use, though you certainly do not need to know all of them in order to write HTML.

Here is a very simplified example of using HTML:

<TITLE>the title of your page goes here</TITLE>
<BODY>This is where the information for your page goes.

Here are nine easy tutorial lessons about how to use HTML. This page shows how to use HTML, Javascript, and web authoring tutorials starting with beginning steps up to advanced stuff.

Play around with HTML until you become comfortable using it. It will benefit you in the long run, especially if you use your blog for marketing.

Don’t forget to check out our FREE  pre-blogging course and our Blogging 101 course. Both coureses will get you up and going right away.

The Reluctant Writer No More

June 22, 2012 By: pennj97 Category: blog writing, blogging, creative writing blog, educational blogging, homeschool bloggers

Today we are sharing a post from Quaint Scribbles. This post discusses how a homeschool Mom, Jackie, uses blogging to help encourage her reluctant writer. The ideas in this post are great for not only homeschoolers, but non-homeschooled kids as well. So pull up a chair and find out to jump start your child’s writing lessons.

Blog Your Way to Writing

My daughter LOVES anime. She loves to watch it, read it, sing Japanese songs, and draw anime characters. Because she loves it so much, I use it as part of her schooling. Surely no Mom has ever tried to sneak a little schooling into fun! You could say this is a little sneaky, because it is. I just say it’s creative. I use it as a portion of her reading and art assignments.

Lately, the two of us have been working on writing skills. It’s not always fun, in fact, she thinks it is down right boring. Though she enjoys writing, she doesn’t like our “writing” lessons all that much. Go figure! The key word here is “*lessons.* In her mind, writing is fun, but learning about writing isn’t.

I decided to introduce her to the idea of starting a blog. So what do a blog and writing lessons have in common. They have my child and your child in common. Whenever a kid writes something, they usually say, “Mom read this.” Most kids want others to read what they have written. A blog is a super way to find an audience and encourage a reluctant writer. My daughter uses her new blog to write anime stories…fan fiction.

Since I use WordPress, she decided to use it as well. Some other choices would be Blogger or Typepad. She had fun setting up her blog, deciding what theme to use and such.  Now she is in love with the ability to showcase her anime stories for others to read. I am “in love” with the fact that she lets me use the blog to help teach writing.

Her new blog has given me a fantastic avenue for discussing grammar and writing. She doesn’t mind talking about her writing because it is real, not just an assignment. Since she has “ownership” of the post, she is very interested in making sure it is written correctly. She doesn’t want others to go to her blog and see junk. I think that is awesome…no more begging and bribing just to get her to write a story.

Each time she writes a new chapter in her fan fiction, she and I sit together to edit. We call it co-editing. The more we sit together and edit, the more she learns from her mistakes and the less I see those same mistakes. We also discuss sentence structure, story flow, adjective use…

I encourage her in something she loves, and in return, she gains new skills and strengthens ones she already has.

Does she still make  mistakes? Sure she does, but she learns more each time she works on a piece. Blogging has made learning to write much more interesting and fun for her, and for that, I am one thankful Mom!

So what do you think about the way Jackie encourages her daughter to improve her writing skills? If you look on the right hand side of each Quaint Scribbles page, you will notice Jackie is a Blog Writing Course Alumni. She took both the free pre-course and the Blogging 101 course. Maybe it’s time for you to take a few blogging courses too!

*This article was posted with permission from Quaint Scribbles.