Happy 12th Blogaversary

Happy 12th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 12th Blogaversary to me! I can’t believe that it’s been 12 years already.

It was on the 1st of January that I setup this blog in a day with the help of my cousin (over the phone), who guided me through the process and by night I had the thing setup. Then I installed WordPress and started blogging. I then spent many days trying out various themes; I think this one here is the 30th or so theme that I have tried out.

This isn’t my first blog though; I first started blogging in 2002, through blogger.com, when I lived in Calicut and continued with it when I moved back to Cochin. I was an inconsistent blogger, nothing having an internet connection at home & from 2003 till 2006, not having a computer at home. By 2005 I started getting more & more into blogging and I created a new one in blogger.com and called it Count Roshculla : Awake & Dreaming. I started spending more time in internet cafes and hence could blog a lot more consistently. But I always wanted my very own website & domain and I wanted to install WordPress. That was achieved on January 1st, 2007.

After 12 years I have made quite a bit of money with this blog. I am so proud of what I have done, especially in the last year or so. This blog is a big part of me and I want to continue through for several more years to come.

Website Perfection: Achieve it Today

When you are trying to run a successful business, there are plenty of things you should be doing to make things better. You have to understand what it takes to make your company a success, and there are plenty of avenues that you need to explore to keep this in mind. One of the biggest and best ways of making your business better is to ensure you have a wonderful website to showcase the brand.

Coming up with the best ideas of making your website better is really important, and there are so many different things that you can do to achieve this. When you think about the different ideas you could use, it’s essential to consider what makes a great website. These are some of the things that you have to keep in mind when you are looking to achieve website perfection.

Design

Making sure you do as much as you can to improve the website comes down largely to the design of the site. There are loads of things you can do to improve the way the website comes across, and this is something you need to keep in mind. Try to experiment with different templates and some of the different layouts and designs for the website. These days you can create your own website, and the design plays such a big role in that.

Content

The content is also massively important when it comes to improving your website and attracting more interest. You need to keep things informative, interesting and give people a reason to want to revisit the site. This is something you need to keep in mind when it comes to improving and doing what is best for the site. You will also need to consider whether or not to hire writers to pen your content – this is especially important if you have a blog as part of the site.

Scalability

Scalability is really important, and it is something that you need to make sure you focus on if you want the company to progress. Scaling down and making sure you have a website that is mobile compatible is really important for future progression. Make sure you use the web-editor for the Mac in order to work on your website and enhance scalability. This is something you need to make sure you are focused on for the future, and it takes a lot to achieve this. You need a website that is accessible for everyone, and scalability plays a major part in this.

Add a Blog

You need to do as much as you can to make the website more interesting, and try to improve the appeal of the site and the business. There are a lot of things that can influence the blog, and you’ve got to look at how to come up with snappy and engaging blog content. There are a lot of things that play a part in the process of starting a website blog, and writing great posts is something that can be essential for improving the website.

There are a lot of different ways in which to make your website better, and this is something you need to keep in mind moving forward. If you can get the best possible website for your business, you will be able to increase business opportunities and achieve more success. Your website is a business template, and you’ve got to make sure you are focused on making things better and presenting the best possible image of the business.

The Risks Of Blogging (And How To Avoid Them)

No matter what you use your blog for, be it for personal or business use, there are risks involved. As a blogger then, you need to take steps to avoid these risks by taking some precautionary steps to avoid them.

Here are two of the more common risks involved with blogging, with some handy tips to help you reduce them.

Risk #1: Your blog content

Be careful what you say online. Sure, your blog is a useful place to share your opinions, but remember that it’s online for all to see. If you say anything that is scandalous, controversial, and perhaps even slanderous, you may be targeted by people who don’t like what you have to say. And if what you say is particularly harmful, you might also suffer at the hands of a hacker, receive negative media attention, and find yourself blocked from continuing by your blog provider. Your personal safety might also be at risk, especially if you can be easily identified.

Tip: Think before you write something down. While you want to be honest and true, you don’t want to attract a lot of negative attention. Verify any facts before compiling blog posts, and if you suspect what you are trying to say is harmful to others, consider the consequences before any posts go live. You might ask a trusted friend or family member to have a read through your post too, as that second opinion might just save your bacon!

Risk #2: Your finances

This works two-fold. For starters, if your blog contains a lot of personal information, such as anything related to your personal identity, then some nefarious person may have just what they need to open up credit using your name. And if you use your blog for business purposes, perhaps within the realms of ecommerce, you might also be hit by hackers able to steal both your financial information and that of your customers.

Tip 1: For starters, don’t post your personal information online. While you might use your name, you might still want to avoid using your postal address, and any other identifying features, such as clues located within photographs. Know too that If you have registered your own domain name, your personal information may be accessed online through the WHOIS service, so opt for domain privacy when registering.

Tip 2: Ensure your website is secure using the steps listed here. This is the best way to defeat the hackers, as while you may not think you are a target, you may be if a) your blog content is controversial, and b) you are using your blog for business purposes.

Tip 3: If you are using your blog to sell anything online, then you need to remember KYC (Know Your Customer) compliances. This is the process of identifying who your potential customers are, as you don’t want to be the subject of online fraud. To protect yourself and any customers who may have had their information stolen by a nefarious miscreant, consider using Jumio. Jumio replaces slow KYC processes, using cutting-edge solutions to ensure you stay compliant when operating your business.

Finally

Blogging can be both fun and financially profitable to you, but the reverse is true if you don’t take care. Follow our tips, and you should have a safer experience when operating online. Let us know your thoughts, and if you have any other advice for our readers, be sure to share your wisdom with us. Thanks for reading, and happy (safe) blogging!

Mastering The Business Side Of Your Blog

For many bloggers, most of the fun is in the actual writing and blogging, and not in the management or the running of the blog. If that is true for you, but you still want to make sure that your blog is actually run well enough to generate a profit and so on, then you might find it hard to focus on the management aspect of it in quite the right way. That can be incredibly frustrating, but you will find that you need to try and know what you are doing here if you are to make sure that your business is going to be run as well as possible – and your blog is a business at the end of the dy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just a few of the things that you need to think about if you are to master the business angle of running your blog.

Finances

If you are not very good with this side of things, it might be tempting to just outsource it to someone who is. Actually, that can be a very good and perfectly acceptable way of doing things, and as long as you find the right individual or team to do so that can really make things a lot easier for you. But let’s say for argument’s’ sake that you want to keep it all in-house. What can you do to make sure that you are managing the financial side of things more effectively? In short: keep a note of everything going in and going out, and make sure not to take your eye off the ball. By keeping records (which is, after all, a legal duty) you can ensure that you are going to be fully aware of the finances of your blog, and in such a way that you can keep on top of it effectively.

Administration

This is somewhere that a lot of bloggers fall down, partly because of boredom and partly from not really knowing what to do. You need to make sure that you have a proper system in place for your admin, and that means knowing what to do with all of the mail and emails you get and so on. One of the most effective and easiest solutions is to simply use a service like https://physicaladdress.com so that you can have your mail forwarded in the right way and through the proper channels, and in so doing be able to keep your focus on your blogging itself. If you want to go down that route you will find it a lot easier, but make sure that you are still keeping some control over your post and your administration too.

Marketing

Fortunately, this is one of the easier elements, and most bloggers actually have the necessary skills to make their marketing a reality. All you need to do here usually is get out there on the internet and promote your blog in whatever way you can. If that means social media, so be it. If it means being able to guest post for other blogs, so be it. Whatever it takes is what you should do, and no less. See https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/marketing-your-blog-10-essential-tips-you-should-know/ for more on this.

Drafting Blog Posts

Tell us about your writing process. Do you write your first draft on paper or the computer?

On paper? Drafting on paper? You mean on MS Word or a Wordpad right? What are we, in 1999?

Nah, I don’t draft on anything else other than the WordPress tool that I have installed on my blog’s website. Once in a while I have drafted on my phone or on my office Outlook and then emailed it to me so I could come home and post it on my laptop, since I can’t access my blog’s website at my office (it’s blocked due to high online security).

That’s the most that I have done. I’ve drafted a few on my old BlackBerry, all 3 of them, my Samsung and my current phone. It’s not that many posts though as I find that I usually like blogging when I am at home, in my lungi, cup of hot coffee next to me and some music playing in the background. That’s the way I like to blog.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR DECEMBER at The SitsGirls

Blogger Honest & True

Do you share your real self online?

Mostly, yes. I would say….hell….I think I do share my real self online. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or this here blog, I am true to myself. I mostly have shares my life on this blog, some of which I have held back because those are deeply intimate thoughts. Everyone has a dark side, everyone has a shade of black where our deepest and darkest thoughts emanate from.

Those thoughts, for me atleast, are temporary and come when I have had a tough time and in moments of frustration and anger. A little while later, I will back to my usual self and these thoughts go away. I am fun loving most of the time and I believe in being fair and treating people in a nice manner (and hopefully get that back) but you know, the world is not like that and you have a lot of assholes who are out to ruin things for everyone else.

My fears and hopes, my likes and dislikes, my thoughts and ideas and my wishes for mankind (and dogkind and kittehkind) are etched in words and black & white on this blog. This is me, open and as I am. No bullshit!

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF OCTOBER WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls

No Blogging Schedule As Such

What does your blogging schedule look like?

I don’t have a schedule when it comes to blogging. Usually I set aside 30 minutes to an hour for writing blog posts. I usually like doing that and selecting a prompt at times when I don’t have anything ready made to post around 11am to 12pm. This time is usually right after I have had my first cup of coffee and gone through various sports and other related news and am checking videos on Youtube.

By this time normally I am in the mood to write although on weekends it can usually be in the evening hours. I prefer to write two posts a day, no matter how small and sometimes it’s videos that I share, some of which I shot and photos that I have taken or just sharing some videos and images I find on the net. But writing wise, I really try and make myself post something atleast once a day.

Again, coffee helps. Music in the background or a podcast also helps as I can listen to it and still concentrate on writing.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF JULY WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls

7 Tips To Make Blogging Easier

  1. Have a nice, comfortable place to sit in when you blog. If it’s a desk, keep it as clutter free as possible. Anything other than a coffee mug or a glass or can of drink puts me off. Keep it neat.
  2. If you are in a house or apartment with other people, have you own secluded spot for blogging. Better yet, have it in a closed room.
  3. Music: yay or nay? Personally I would prefer to not have music playing unless it’s some instrumental stuff. That is pretty ok. But I wouldn’t want my favourite rock anthems to be playing while I try to blog. I wouldn’t get anything done.
  4. Only write about the stuff that you want. Do not get pressured into writing about stuff you are not into.
  5. Read a lot of other blogs. Get inspired by the blogs you are interested in.
  6. Set aside some time for everyday or how many days of the week you want to blog. Keep that time aside and make sure that you just keep typing.
  7. Take notes throughout events, movies, parties – any time of the day really. You may want to blog about it later. So your smartphone is really handy for that. And ofcourse you can blog straight from your phone too.

My Blog & Why

Describe how you started blogging and what inspires you.

I remember reading a couple of blogs during the 1999-2001 period. Maybe it’s more 2000 and 2001 and I kinda liked the idea of an online log. I have kept diaries during various times of my life. At the age of 15 I kept a diary in which I would enter a few lines about the day and my thoughts about certain things on a daily basis and even back then I had a song for the day section at the end of each entry. I soon started writing about my feelings and opening up my heart about certain stuff that was going on in my life.

When I went on a 3 day school trip to Kodaikannal, it was a way of recording the things that happened there on that fun trip. I stopped writing in my diary the next year – although I should have continued as so many things happened to me during the ages of 16-19. During my 1 month rest post operation at the age of 21, being mostly restricted indoors and mostly staying in my room, I started writing a bit again but it didn’t last beyond those 30 days. Mostly I wrote in a book about the albums & songs I listened to each day (and I listened to a lot). I also managed to create a scrap book of the 1998 World Cup in France and wrote stuff about the matches that I would see. In 2002 I moved to Calicut and mostly to keep a record of things there, I started a blog after having started reading a few during the past few months.

I created a blogger account and the blog is still there but I lost track of why I kept it once I moved back to Cochin and around 2004 it became a hockey & football oriented blog with the occasional blog post. Then in 2005 September I started a new one in blogger – also called Awake & Dreaming – and it became the kind of style that you see today. And in 2007 Jan 1st onwards – I started this blog you see here. It’s a big release for me, it’s a way to get my creative side out and it’s a way for me to keep a track of things and as I grow older I can look back at events and read them and enjoy them again. That’s why I blog.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF MARCH WRITING PROMPTS at The SitsGirls

IndiBlogger’s Blogger Q&A On Twitter

Recently I’ve been participating in what I’d like to call mini-blogging or mini Q&As on Twitter that Indiblogger has been conducting. It’s been fun participating in it and reading other bloggers answers. Here are 6 (in two tweets) that I answered:

1. Tell us about yourself and your blog.

A. I blog from a personal perspective; anything that I like, love, hate, experienced and have a passion for.

2. What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far? 3. Which of your strengths really helped you to #blog?

A. Nothing much: Once I started my blog (started in 2002, regularly blogging since 2007) it became a part of me.

3. Imagination and ideas

4. What language do you prefer to blog in and why?

A. English only. I wish I knew French, Latin or Klingon. English is my first language.

5. English being a foreign language, how did you learn it? Were there challenges?

A. I grew up in Kuwait and the community I was in spoke mostly in English.

6. To be a grammar nazi or not to be and why?

A. Occassionally a Grammar Nazi but I write casually so I don’t mind it too much. #language #Blogging #indiBlogger

Happy 11th Blogaversary

Happy 11th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 11th Blogaversary to me! I can’t believe that it’s been 11 years already.

It was on the 1st of January that I setup this blog in a day with the help of my cousin (over the phone), who guided me through the process and by night I had the thing setup. Then I installed WordPress and started blogging. I then spent many days trying out various themes; I think this one here is the 30th or so theme that I have tried out. But yeah, 30 themes in 11  years ain’t so bad!

This isn’t my first blog; I first started blogging in 2002, through blogger.com, when I lived in Calicut and continued with it when I moved back to Cochin. I was an inconsistent blogger, nothing having an internet connection at home & from 2003 till 2006, not having a computer at home. By 2005 I started getting more & more into blogging and I created a new one in blogger.com and called it Count Roshculla : Awake & Dreaming. I started spending more time in internet cafes and hence could blog a lot more consistently. But I always wanted my very own website & domain and I wanted to install WordPress. That was achieved on January 1st, 2007.

Unlike a lot of people who used to blog regularly, I have continued. 90% of bloggers I used to follow have moved onto Facebook but I persist. I don’t read much blog posts anymore as Youtube, Twitter and Facebook having taken up much of my time on the internet but I have kept my blog up. And I will continue to do so for as long as I can. I find this quite therapeutic and enjoy blogging. Here’s to another year!

11 Years of This URL

I have just renewed my website URL for the 11th year running. Awakeanddreaming.org is booked for the next year, 365 days from November 14th. I first booked this URL back in November of 2006 just a couple of months after I made the move from Thrikkakara to this apartment in Kacheripady. A friend of my cousin had started his own internet website service and webspace reselling business and I contacted him to set me up with a URL. I called him up and he asked me which url I wanted and I checked out a few.

It’s been over a decade so I can’t remember exactly all of them but I think I checked out and came up with 4-5 final choices :

  • countroshculla.com
  • roshanmenon.com
  • rgkonline.com
  • rgkmenon.com
  • awakeanddreaming.com

I finally decided to get awakeanddreaming but couldn’t get the .com version. So it was a toss up between awakeanddreaming.net or awakeanddreaming.org and I should have taken the .net but they had a discount for the .org URLs and I though, what the heck. I remember I had to pay him through the money order option for the first couple of years as netbanking was still new for us.

And like that this name stays on.

Sep 20th : On This Day…..

On this day, September 20th :

Lost Art?

What’s the most important (or interesting, or unexpected) thing about blogging you know today that you didn’t know a month ago?

I think I have come to the conclusion that blogging is mostly dead. It’s a dead art now with some exceptions. The reason I say that is that for the most part 90% of the people / bloggers I used to read have either stopped blogging altogether or do the infrequent post every few weeks or so. A bunch of them have migrated to doing posts on Facebook but somehow it just doesn’t seem to be the same.

Now, ofcourse there quite a few blogs out there and professional blogs a plenty and all that but the kind of blogs I liked the most are personal blogs. Just like I like vlogs. It gets me an indepth understanding of the person and I like to read about what people think and all that. Blogs were perfect with a nice cup of hot coffee or even a beer. I think I have replaced blogs with vlogs for the most part. But I miss the people who I used to read a lot of.

Facebook has contributed a lot to that I guess. It’s easy and you don’t have to maintain it and it is easily accessible for your friends. Your thoughts pops into the screens (or timelines) of everyone who has friended you. So everyone is a blogger. Hmmm, maybe if you look at it that way, blogging is thriving!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Online Policies

How do you manage your online privacy? Are there certain things you won’t post in certain places? Information you’ll never share online? Or do you assume information about you is accessible anyway?

I think I do post a lot of my feelings and other stuff online. More so on my blog than on say Facebook and Twitter. Now, a lot of my relatives, friends, former school/college mates, casual friends and colleagues are on my Facebook. It’s different than say on my blog. I control everything on my blog whereas in Facebook it’s different. I don’t post as freely as I do on Facebook as I do on my blog or Twitter for that matter. I’m not one of those people who only posts profile pics all day long or post sugary happy nonsense.

I know people who read my blog are much less compared to those 660 souls who are on my Facebook feed regularly (well most of the 660) and the problem is not every one is on the same wavelength as me. So I censor myself and sometimes keep a few things off the TL. But I still do post a lot of things that’s on my mind, my reaction to things happening in the world. This is one reason I do not add current colleagues on Facebook – I don’t want to go to work and have colleagues commenting their like or dislike about my views over coffee. I know some people are sensitive as fuck when it comes to things that are said against what they like but they have no problem in dissing things that they don’t like or agree with. I feel that if it is my Facebook page, I should be able to post anything I damn well want to and those who don’t like it -either ignore it or fuck off. There is an unfriend button for a reason.

But I still hold back because I don’t like people writing essays attacking me on my profile page posts. So I avoid but I will also unfriend or block a person if they get too bitchy for my taste. Discussions are fine but being a prissy little bitch, not so much. Blogs, though are different. Get off my website, I will ban you from commenting if you annoy me. Create your own website and post a 1000 articles as to why your view is different. Respect the right for me to do mine.

On This Day..

On this day, May 22nd

A Little Sneaky

Are writing prompts a useful exercise, or do you find them to be too limiting and/or hokey?

Absolutely. I find that the less time I have at home, the easier it is for me to rely on prompts for blog posts. Sometimes I need them and sometimes I don’t but I have come to rely on them more and more as the years have gone. Sometimes you just don’t have enough juice in the tank.

I think there were several ideas and posts that I had in me when I first started blogging and it has lasted many years (I started blogging back in 2002 but got into daily blogging maybe by 2006) and now that it this long I need help. Sometimes you read a prompt and the ideas just flood your brain as it has always been in the back of your mind or it reminded you of something you had meant to put down on the page but just haven’t till now. I like it when just reading the prompt gets me to what I want to write about.

Prompt from The Daily Post from WordPress.com

As Seen On TV

Write a script for a late-night infomercial — where the product is your blog. How do you market yourself? What qualities do you embody that other “products” don’t? What are the benefits of reading your blog?

Tired of reading blogs that have only one topic and rarely if ever blogs about anything else? Want a blog that is honest, down to earth and full of variety and good natured stuff? Look no further than www.AwakeandDreaming.org

Different topics from a personal view. Sports, movies, tv, photos, food, drink, local stuff, fiction, travel (occasionally), football, lots of images, music clips and other videos. Plus the usual banter on family, friends and what the writer did. It’s all fresh, it’s all sincere and it’s all genuinely true. So click your cursors onto www.AwakeandDreaming.org and join in the best blog you can see. It’s free!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com