#AskGi No.1: “How do I tell my boyfriend I don’t find him attractive?…” #ThursdayTips

Welcome to my new…what do you call it…? Never mind. Welcome to Ask Gi!!! What is it? It’s stuff I get asked. Not personal, though maybe based on experience, but opinions and/or suggestions. Mainly, about LIFE!!! So I thought I’d share the more interesting or helpful ones to you. I’ve already created a page for #AskGi Column (check the menu).

I’ve been told several times I give good advice. So if you’re not shy about it, feel free to ask me something, too. Send your questions to j.gi.federizo@gmail.com, subject: “Ask Gi”. I will respect your privacy. Let me know if (1) you want things published or not, and if yes, (2) what real or code name we should call you by.

So here’s our first question. Comment below for your own reactions 🙂

Vlogging #atozchallenge2017

Vlog is the new blog. Well, at least, an off-shoot. Like it or not, it is most probably here to stay, if not take on a much newer form. After all, there was a time that vlogging was considered almost synonymous to doing podcasts until distinctions were made. YouTube became all the more popular. There are a few other platforms for this purpose, but no one can argue that YouTube takes much of the cake. Just count the people who have become viral and famous.

“Vlogging”, for the still uninitiated, is short for video blogging. Why not? “Blogging” is just short for web logging, so the principle is the same. Actually, if we were to be strict about it, it should be video logging, but probably no one except me cares. Vlogging is basically posting about something through a different medium, through the audio-visual form. Often, it’s a selfie kind of thing. Basically, you vlog/blog to share yourself and things to the world. It could be for fun and expression, for sharing relevant information, and/or for business-related purposes.

Much of the vlogging we see are done impromptu, in real-time. This is not to say, however, that it does not involve any writing. Not really. After all, there are more than one kind of vlogs. Many of them do incorporate writing. Let me mention my own observations.

INTRO/OUTRO

Most YouTube channels I’ve visited have created their own intros and outros. Well, a lot of them are simple–could even be so simple like just the unimaginative “Hi”–but there are those who have taken time to create spiels to use on a regular basis. They create their unique, hopefully recall-worthy introductions and farewell spiels.

As an example, the reactions channel HugKnucklesTV has its own intro and own outro (starts at 17:27)

TOPICS

If there are travel bloggers, food critics, life hack gurus, product reviewers, and others who love to blog, there are also similar people who choose video as their medium or (literally) channel of communication. Therefore, they don’t just pick up a camera and hit on the record button. The better ones plan well what they want to show.

BuzzFeed likes to create different types of videos that inform, entertain or both. This one is a tips video which contents are based on what the adviser says onscreen.

I definitely appreciate that.

One of my fave kinds of vids to watch lately, however, are mukbangs. Believe me, until more than a month ago, I think, I never knew what a mukbang was. It is…

“…a uniquely Korean trend of people getting paid to eat large meals in front of a webcam for a live-streaming broadcast. Mukbang is a portmanteau word that combines the Korean word for ‘eat’ (muok-da) with the word for ‘broadcast’ (bang song).” (QZ.com)

These days, a mukbang means a food review (in line with the reaction videos trend) and does not necessarily mean a reviewer/reactor gets paid for it. Well, usually. I like watching  Maximum Munchies, which reaction video for a fastfood chain I shared in Contents with All the Feels.

One of the best mukbang channels worth watching, though, is The Thien Le Eating Show. Others have said it and I am going to say it: I never thought I’d watch a whole video just to see someone EAT!!! Wow, that guy could really eat for a whole family! Without gaining weight, too, it seems! (He did explain how he stays slim)

It’s not just about the amount of food he consumes in one seating, it’s the way he eats that makes you love him. Oh, how he loves his food. Believe me, you don’t want to be watching him way past midnight with no food around to grab. Avoid the torture.

If you want to see what I mean…

Sometimes, he does a “cookbang”. Which is great because my sister and I used to watch cooking shows when I was a kid. Of course, I love Thien most for featuring Filipino food (I’m biased much!!!). And, of course, here’s a sample of his “cookbang” (just so we all can watch him eat, he he).

SCRIPTED CONTENTS

There are really lots of scripted vlog posts out there. It should not be a surprise. But rather than just go all “gung ho” and shoot, they plan their actual contents. It’s not all-visuals. Sometimes, even much research is done to come up with a credible vlog post.

For instance, here’s a how-to video that still involved writing pre-shoot and behind the scenes, for sure:

Two very good examples of scripted vids are those from the ERB or EpicRapBattles channel of Epic Lloyd and Nice Peter, who are not afraid to spoof themselves, and Whitney Avalon‘s channel that brings the Princess Rap Battles, some parody songs and comedy shorts. I have shared various samples from them before, but who’s counting?

So, for your viewing pleasure…

Artists vs. Turtles! (This would have been really epic if they made it longer and added more raps, but…)

This next one is not a rap battle, but I love that Whitney does original songs (like the Anna Song), she’s got a nice voice, and it’s about comic con!

What amazes me is the amount of time, effort, even ingenuity they bring to create their videos. First, they actually create original rap battles, and I am pretty sure some can take an amount of research as well. Second, the actors are generally actually very capable rap artists. Third, they use elaborate settings and effects for presentations that are often TV- or movie-worthy…Don’t tell me those do not take an awful lot of writing.

When we say script, though, what immediately comes to mind is dialogue. There are really funny “real-life” skits like the next ones (they do have some things to promote at the end, so feel free to ignore). Tripp and Tyler do comedy skits so well. Yes, so well that I couldn’t decide which one of three vids to leave out. So guess what.

 

All these are just a few samples of thousands of videos that make it on our screens. If you have worthy vlogs to share, just let us know 😉

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April is gone and I am obviously not done with my letters. Why is something I’ll reserve in my reflections post. So right now, I’ll concentrate on finishing the challenge.

V is for “Vlogging”

This piece serves as my Letter V post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

 

 

Four Tips From Seasoned Bloggers

In my line of work, I’ve already read much about blogging and have written stuff and tips about it as well. I have to say I don’t exactly follow them all, but that is because I have a different focus or different agenda, plus I am not that bothered about gaining a huge following, not yet anyway, Maybe someday, I’ll have more time and decide to be more active. That said, I think this post and tips from WordPress.com should work for anyone who is serious enough to be one of the best bloggers out there in the blogosphere. Congratulations to those whose names and blogs are mentioned. 🙂

WordPress.com News

Some of the best blogging advice we hear is from you. On Discover, we publish interviews and profiles of bloggers around the world, who also impart their own tips on how they’ve gotten the most out of WordPress.com. If you’ve missed these interviews, not to worry — we’ve compiled some of the best bits of blogging wisdom here.

Join communities that sustain your interests.

When you start to click around, follow blogs, and fill your Reader with posts to read, you’ll discover that WordPress.com is full of many smaller communities. For example, some participate in black and white photo challenges led by blogger Cee, while others join our multimedia Discover Challenges, hosted every Tuesday.

discover challenges

Novelist Claire Fuller credits two communities on WordPress.com for supporting and influencing her: Friday Fictioneers, a group of bloggers that writes a weekly 100-word story inspired by a photograph (hosted on the blog of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields), and The Prime Writers, a…

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How to Improve Site Performance? Audit, for Business’ Sake!

Nothing but quality products, 24/7 customer support, a lovely website, excellent service overall. Discriminating customers demand for the best, and that’s what your business is all about. So now you wonder, after doing everything right, how come business is not picking up? Frustrating, I know.

Basically, what you need is to reach out to more people than the usual. Make your online presence solid and felt. That said, have you checked your site lately? Start checking!

“A lovely website” needs to show brains and brawn, too, otherwise, you lose prospective customers. Perhaps, it’s time to hire a web content writer to help you.

Basic Auditing How-to

audit-your-site

I got this image from the well-known Search Engine Watch that incidentally has written a more extensive article on this topic as well

Site checking or auditing is essential. For a website to be an effective tool in your business, keeping it should involve critical analyses, content strategy and the right people to make it work. If you already have a writer in your stable, then good. Make sure she knows or learns how to audit sites as well.

Writers mainly take care of the articles, but the misconception is that’s the only skill expected of them. A skilled one helps take care of things beyond the articles. In the web business, content means a lot of things aside from textual information.

For a start, in auditing, you need to know how your site is faring in the online world. What is its domain authority and page authority? How many backlinks and by whom? On what pages do search engines list it when a search is done, if it gets listed at all? And so on.

Next, find out its existing page status problems and technical issues. Those maybe getting in the way of good user experience, therefore, visitors leave.

Then there’s the matter of whether keywords, optimizations, web designs and layout work or not. An SEO content writer with ample knowledge of web development and design would be a prize to find.

All of the factors mentioned, your auditor needs in order to identify and analyze problem areas and consequently fix them.

To be able to do this, she has to have enough know-how, especially in using helpful software and platforms like Google Analytics, OpenSiteExplorer, SEMrush, WhiteSpark, and ScreamingFrog. She has to be able to interpret what the results mean.

But the more critical part is the analyzing, the precursor to crafting solutions.

Questions to Consider for Review

site-health-check

Of course, you or your current employees can do this, provided you have the time and necessary skills. You can start reviewing the contents, design and layout of your site based on some of the questions I have gathered.

Contents

  1. Are the business names and logo/brand visible and clear? Where are they?

  2. Is there a header image?

  3. Where are the Name-Address-Phone (NAP) details in the site? Do they include emails and toll-free numbers?

  4. Is there a Google map at the Contact Us page? How about at the footer?

  5. Is there a working contact form in all the pages?

  6. Is there a navigation menu at the top? Does the top menu have dropdowns? Is there a navigation menu at the bottom?

  7. Are there pages specifically for Home, About Us / Firm Overview, Blog (if any), News, Resources, and FAQs at the navigation menu?

  8. Are there pages for the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy? Are there links leading to them?

  9. Are there sidebars? Does your site need them?

  10. Are the images and videos posted in the site relevant and clear?

  11. Are there visible social media logos around the site?

  12. Do all the links redirect properly and to the right pages?

  13. How many fonts are used in the site?

  14. Are accreditation and/or rank seals added?

  15. Are there copyright details at the bottom? If yes, are they present in all the pages?

Design Principles

  1. Is there precedence (guiding-the-eye)?

    – position (where something in particular is placed), color, contrast, size (does it affect perceived order of relevance), design elements (largely based on what is added to the site and how it affects visitor’s actions)

  1. How effective is the spacing?

    – line spacing (affects readability), padding (putting space between text and other elements), white space (for balance, proportion, and contrast)

  1. How clear, easy and user-friendly is the navigation feature?

  2. Are there breadcrumbs in all the pages, sub-headings and a sitemap?

  1. How are the texts (typography) looking and working?

    – font choices (do they look good and appropriate for the site, how many used), font sizes (affects readability), spacing, line length (affects readability), color (must make sure the texts can actually be read by anyone), paragraphing (left-alignment is always suggested to avoid gaps)

  1. Are things aligned in an orderly and polished manner?

  1. How is the design clarity? Are the pixels creating problems?

  1. Does everything match (consistency)?

    – sizes, choices, coloring, styles, elements, etcetera

  1. Is the site aesthetically pleasing as well as useful?

  1. How relevant, clear, appropriate and useful are the pages and contents to the site?

  1. Are there unnecessary elements (music, flash, autoplay, etc.) that can be done without?

  1. Are the title pages/headings easily understood and logical?

  1. How informative is the FAQ page?

  1. Are testimonials included in the site? How many? Do they appear real or fake?

  1. Is the Call to Action clear?

    – contact forms, online customer service representative, registration feature, email address for questions and feedback, indirect action items like “learn more”

  1. Is the site selling something? Does it have an SSL certificate?

  2. How mobile-ready is the site?

I have given you initial ideas on how to audit your site. These are culled from research (like a Psdtuts+ article I found very useful) and my own auditing experiences. There are more to find and learn but the further research, I will leave to you. Meanwhile, your auditor must be able to work with your web developers and designers to incorporate changes.

In auditing, it’s not simply knowing what to look for. It takes a lot of common sense, an analytic mind, patience and practical approach—all of which, the writer hopefully has. If your current writer is not cut out for this, find another who is. Hire a web content writer who can.

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NOTE: I’ve been saying this for a year or so already. This was originally a guest blog that got published along with my byline. Unfortunately, the site soon became inaccessible for quite a while. It went back then I found that somebody else took my place as author. I tried every way to reach them and actually sent a message telling them to fix it, to no avail. I just checked last Friday and found the site missing again. So here it is, I thought I’d share here. It’s just fair considering that it was supposed to be a reciprocal thing. No one paid anybody and if the other party is unable to hold its part of the bargain, we have the right to take back what is ours.

You Mix-Mix It! #atozchallenge2014

It’s summer time and tropical Philippines is where I’m at! It is so hot that you could have just finished bathing and be sitting down without moving a muscle and still, the sweat would keep rolling down your whole body…Time to refresh!!!

halo-halo-specialWhat better way to do that than by enjoying your very own…HALO-HALO!!!

The root word is “halo,” meaning both “mix” and “stir.” So to be quite literal about it, you can say that it means “mix-mix” or “stir-stir.” No one really says that, though, and you’ll do better not to so they won’t laugh at you even when you’re not making a joke. More appropriately, you can say “hodge podge” since, indeed, halo-halo is a hodge podge of sweet delights.

Halo-halo is one of our most popular desserts in the country. It is mainly a mixture of shaved ice (the most important ingredient) and evaporated milk. Added in are various ingredients consisting mostly of boiled sweet beans (kidney beans, mung beans, garbanzos), jello/gulaman/tapioca, plantains and fruits like banana and langka (jackfruit) most times caramelized in sugar and, often, pinipig (rice crispies or pounded dried rice). Actual sugar is generally added as well.

Those are what the garden-variety halo-halo usually consists of. It may be considered as a street food because during summer, you can find it being sold along streets to help consumers quench their thirst. Price differs, based on the size of cup you choose, but generally, it is affordable. Sometimes, a little scoop — and I do mean a little — of either leche flan (crème caramel or caramel custard) or ube / ubeng pula (purple yam) is added at the top.

Some legitimate food businesses, big or small, also offer this in bigger amounts placed in larger cups and containers. Opt for a special order and you might get an actual spoonful of yam, a bigger slice of flan, or a scoop of ice cream (usually ube-flavored already), sometimes all of them. There are businesses that add more non-traditional stuff to make the dessert more attractive and enjoyable to the taste.

simple-halo-halo

The garden-variety halo-halo, which is also your neighbor’s halo-halo

 

halo-halo-special

A very special presentation and recipe

 

full-halo-halo

Holy smokes!!! Gimme that!!!

Now those aren’t the only usual ingredients. It is always nice to get these additional or alternative ones as well: kaong (sugar palm fruit), macapuno (coconut sport or shredded coconut), nata de coco (coconut gelatin), camote (sweet potato), corn, sometimes cheese.

How to make halo-halo is easy, by principle. Generally, you first put just enough sugar into the bowl, for instance. Add in the ingredients except those meant as toppings, your call how much, then add the shaved ice, and lastly, pour in enough milk before adding the topping(s). Now here is why it is called halo-halo: to be able to enjoy it, you must mix everything up with a spoon, then Voila!!! You’re ready to dig in and eat your heart out. The mixing part takes a bit of concentration and skill so nothing falls out and gets wasted, but over time, you’ll get the hang of it.

It does seem easy. But the thing is it’s not as easy as it seems on the part of those who sell it. It seems easy because we as customers only witness how things are simply poured in, but preparation of the ingredients themselves already takes time. For instance, you don’t think fruits just caramelize by themselves, do you? Not everything comes preserved in bottles either. It takes time and commitment to do grocery, cut then cook some of the ingredients. Also, a lot of the street halo-halo vendors still use the hand ice shaver shown below. If you have never tried using this, then you wouldn’t know how hard it can actually get just to shave ice.

ice-shaver

shaver-with-ice

 

 

 

 

THAT is our summer pride — the halo-halo. So if ever you find yourself all hot and bothered for real, you know what to do. Go out and “you mix-mix it!”

 

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Hope this post finds you refreshed.  Click LIKE, I know you want to 😉

This post (though a day late) is a part of the…

a-to-z-challenge

 

How to Solve Conflicts

solving-conflictsI am not the most patient person around. My bad temper has considerably lessened. But when something, or someone, suddenly pulls my trigger, man, do I erupt! Now, I am far from being proud about this. I know that more than the other person’s, it is my own fault because I let him/her and the situation get to me. It really all boils down to communication to avoid conflicts.

Having good communication skills does not only mean getting your message across successfully. Think first before you shoot. This just might save your relationships. Familiarity does not necessarily breed contempt, however, we tend to take the people around us for granted and we become so careless with our words and actions. Thus, the conflicts, anger, word wars, sometimes cold wars. What drama. I’ve narrowed down some cautionary methods for you to try and avoid further conflicts.

1. “DEAL WITH THE NOW” Do not dredge up the past. When we’re mad, we oftentimes refer back to the other’s past mistakes that may even be unrelated to the new problem. That is the real delay and drains up energy. Concentrate on both your feelings and how to fix the problem. Stick with the current issue.

2. “LEND YOUR EARS MORE” Communication is a two-way traffic . Give him the chance to explain and try to understand where he’s coming from. So listen, do not just hear. You’ll have your own opportunity to explain as well. There is always more than one point of view in every story. Try not to emphasize on blame but rather, focus on finding a solution. It’s not a contest.

3. “ACCEPT C/SC” That’s Criticism/Self-Criticism. In a disagreement, there’s bound to be criticism aimed at you by the other party. Just accept and keep calm for you’ll have the chance to speak, as mentioned above. Try to gauge how much of what he says may be true about you. Self-criticize. You might be surprised to find you could be in the wrong.

4. “OWN UP” Once you find you are in the wrong, don’t be afraid to apologize.

Communication is always the key to a more peaceful living. 🙂

Learn How to Blog, Dummy

“Many businesses are on the lookout for writers to join their creative teams or to outsource content writing. Whichever route you want to tread as a content writer, freelance or otherwise, you’d like to be The Chosen One, right? But how to do this is another matter.” 

Are you a budding writer? a blogging newbie? Get a blog! How to blog? Fortunately, I’ve whipped out this How to Blog guide just for you.

Special thanks to In2Town for offering to publish my article.

THE WRITING DUMMY’S GUIDE TO BLOGGING

how-to-blog

New to blogging? A few tips to help you blog right

 

Feel free to LIKE, Tweet, Pin it, share…Just link to it or to the published article itself. If you have other stuff or tips that we can include in the list, let us know! Leave a comment below 🙂

 

Business Do: Audit Your Site

“Nothing but quality products, 24/7 customer support, a lovely website, excellent service overall. Discriminating customers demand for the best, and that’s what your business is all about. So now you wonder, after doing everything right, how come business is not picking up?…Site checking or auditing is essential. For a website to be an effective tool in your business, keeping it should involve critical analyses, content strategy and the right people to make it work.”

Check out this article at SEO Wix! To get you somehow get restarted, I have gathered ample site auditing tips through research and my own experience to help you check your business site. Just click those red words below ;p

HOW TO IMPROVE SITE PERFORMANCE? AUDIT, FOR BUSINESS’ SAKE!

auditing-business-site

You know you’ve got a great business, but it’s performance is somewhat dismal. How to improve it? Site check, please!

 

Feel free to LIKE, Tweet, Pin it, share…Just link to it or to the published article itself. If you have other ideas worth mentioning, let us know! Leave a comment below 🙂

 

Website, Check…Contents…Uh, Check?

“Since information is available right there at the office, content development is done in-house. Your people know the business, they have a clear understanding of what it is about. Who better to write about your business? Therefore, you delegate a content writer for the site right from your own team.

Contents, check. How hard can writing be?”

Why do you need a web content writer for your business? Let me tell you why at DAILY SEO TIP. Glad to be writing for Ann Smarty’s blog. Means I could be doing something right 🙂

LET CONTENTS DO THE TALKING

why-hire-web-content-writer

Okay, you’ve got the foundations of your online home. Will they get you more visitors, though? Maybe it’s actually time to think about contents

 

Feel free to LIKE, Tweet, Pin it, share…Just link to it or to the published article itself. If you have other thoughts to add, let us know! Leave a comment below 🙂

 

Blogging the Ethical Way

Are you a blogging web content writer? Do you know that there are certain dos and don’ts in blogging?

“As a blogger, there are several things you must remember… These are quite important, considering that as a web content writer, writing is your life and, most probably, your bread and butter. You’ll want to look as professional as possible.”

Here is my newest published piece, a blogging web content writer’s brief lesson on the importance of brand awareness and following blogging ethics. Thanks to Techie Boom for publishing 🙂

BLOGGING ETHICS: FIVE WAYS TO KEEP IT PROPER

five-ways-to-blog-right

If you’re a web content writer who loves to blog, you might want to read this

 

Feel free to LIKE, Tweet, Pin it, share…Just link to it or to the published article itself. If you think I have left out more important points, let us know! Leave a comment below 🙂