Giving Your Blog That Christmas Feel

I would like to thank Rose for her post Christmas Holiday Themes For WordPress, as it motivated me into giving WassupBlog a Christmas theme. This would be my third theme modification, as I’ve already made one for Easter and Halloween. Naturally, the FlexSqueeze theme makes it all so easy that I actually look forward to playing around with it to blend it in with the holiday seasons.

The first thing I had to do was to find a suitable header. I finally decided to borrow one from another theme as I felt it set the right mood. Then I reduced the width of the blog so that it would display the Santa image that I chose for the background.

Adding An Image To Comment Box

I thought it would be pretty cool if I could jazz up the comment box a little by adding some snowflakes so I had a little look at the CSS file to see what I could do. For those of you who were wise enough to purchase the FlexSqueeze theme I thought you might like to know how I did it.

You will need to edit the ‘style.css’ file and I strongly urge you to make a backup before playing around with it.

First find the following lines;

#commentform input, #commentform textarea {

Below that add the following;

background: url(images/bg-snowflakes5.gif);

Substitute ‘bg-snowflakes5.gif’ for whatever file you want to use as your background, remembering that the file has to be uploaded first in order for it to work. This is a cinch using the upload feature that comes with FlexSqueeze!  I suggest you use a very light colored file otherwise people will not be able to see what they are typing.

Adding An Image To Your Post Background

To add to the Christmas look of the blog I decided to change the background of the post area, and for this I chose a lovely snow scene. If you would like to do something similar to your blog then once again you will need to add a little bit of code to your ‘style.css’ file.

Find the following lines;

#content {

Just below that enter the following line.

background: url(images/bg-snow-scene.jpg);

Once again substitute ‘bg-snow-scene.jpg’ by the image you’ve selected.

It is important to remember that these modifications to the ‘style.css’ file of this  theme will most likely not work on your theme. These modifications can still be done on most themes but you will have to find the right areas that need to be changed.

Apart from these style.css changes all other changes were done via FlexSqueeze‘s option page.  The images were all obtained from Free Web Images And Clipart , except for the header which I got from

Oh, one last thing. In case you are wondering how I got it to snow, it was by using the Let It Snow plugin.

EDIT: I’ve deactivated the plugin as I noticed it caused a bit of drain on the CPU, and possible made the blog somewhat slower. Even so, I reckon the blog may still remind people of Christmas.

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This post is written with the assumption that the majority of bloggers are blogging away in the hope that somewhere along the line heaps of cash will start to roll in. I read many a post that will tell you that the most important thing a successful blogger should do is to market their blog. This seems logical, considering that you can’t make any money unless you lure unsuspecting readers to your blog. Whilst true I liken this to a store that placed ads of huge opening specials but forgot to stock the shelves or have staff on hand to take the sales. Taking that into consideration I reckon it’s better to get your blog in order first before you go out fishing for readers.

Although I reckon most of you are familiar with the following list, I would like to go through it anyway, for the benefit of those new to blogging the money way.

  1. Content: The most important thing has to be your content. It’s got to be informative and written well enough that it will captivate your reader. If done properly it will encourage the reader to subscribe to your blog, and if your lucky to promote it via one of the many social sites that exist. Naturally it’s easier if you provide the links for visitors to click on.
  2. Professional Theme: Very few people will look twice at a poorly structured theme and if your theme is really unprofessional  it may actually scare people off.
  3. Ad Placement: This is very important and may need a lot of trial and error. What may work for one person won’t necessarily work for another. As far as Adsense is concerned, I’ve found the following positions to be the best;
  • 336×280 ad placed at the top of my side bars
  • 250×250 ad placed at the top of every post
  • 468×60 ad placed at the bottom of the post
  • I haven’t had much luck with the sky scraper ads but I persist with them in the side bar because I believe in getting as much exposure as possible
  • Another good position would be the leader board add placed somewhere in the header. I don’t have any on my blogs as I much prefer promoting products that I hope to have a good conversion rate or ones that offer a high return.

If we were to consider the store analogy, companies will pay top dollar to get prime shelf position, usually those at eye level. When considering ad placement on your blog it’s best to place them in positions that are just as prominent. You will notice in the example above that my ad placements are where people are most likely to be exposed to my ads.

Sometimes if I write a particularly long post, I will even use one or two 468×60 banners to break it up.

Get customer feedback, email marketing and surveys

Although we do not have much control, other than trying to choose the right keyword that Google may or may not target, over the ads displayed by Adsense, we do have total control over the ads we choose to display ourselves. Yet on more blogs that I care to number, including my own, we fail to display the right ads. This in itself is a failure to market our very own ad space.

Placing the right ad on a niche blog is relatively simple, but for those of us who do not have niche blogs finding the right product or service to market is a little more difficult. I feel that the difficulty of that task is what prevents us from doing the research required to find the right ad, and so we just place anything there in the hope that we may generate a sale. And then we wonder why our conversions are so low.

We should consider every post as having the potential to convert a percentage of our visitors into potential customers. We should remember that the customers more likely to buy or click on an ad are those sent by search engines and not our regular readers. Therefore what we should ask ourselves is what type of visitor are we targeting and ensure that they are greeted with the products they are searching for.

If you had a store, your wouldn’t advertise DVD players and then present customers a selection of vibrators now would you? And yet we will write a post about one subject and offer visitors something completely unrelated. Admit it, you’ve done it. I know I have and I continue to do it because I am the perpetual lazy blogger.

This is one situation where you should do as I say and not as I do. Take the time to research the right ad to display on your posts or blogs and I am sure that over time you will be rewarded for your efforts.

Naturally there may be times when certain posts do not offer the opportunity to display and when that happens I simply display rotating ads and hope for the best. :drunk_tb:

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Qondio Or Qassia, They Both Suck

It seems that this is the week for rants, the first two belonged to my Mate Mitch with his ‘My Gripe With Helium‘ and then ‘Done With Demand Studios Also; The Gripe‘. I figured the time was ripe for my own rant and so I came up with ‘Keyword Abusers Force Comment Policy Change .’

After standing back and looking at my little rant I decided it was a little lame and not wanting to be outdone by ‘Mitch the Man’ I decided I had to do better. That was when I remembered Qondio, or Qassia, as it was known there.  Don’t ask me why they changed the name as I thought they were both pretty lame, but then there are probably some that would say the same of WassupBlog. Anyway I digress, and I’m not going to tell you why I joined in the first place. This is a rant remember, so I ain’t about to build it up.

The other day I was going to add an article, or intel as they are wont to call it when I was presented with the following.

Qondio only accepts material that has never before been published anywhere else on the web.All content submitted to Qondio must be previously unpublished material. This means that you must create from scratch any content you contribute.

You may NOT add content that you previously posted on your blog, website, or any other site.

Material is considered to have been “published” if it appeared anywhere on the web, irrespective of whether it appeared on a high-profile site or a brand-new blog which barely gets traffic.

You may republish the content elsewhere, but only AFTER it has been screened and published on Qondio.

The contributing user may republish intel he/she submitted to Qondio on other sites (such as the user’s blog, website, or a third-party site), but only after the screening process by a quorum of 7 users has been COMPLETED and the content has been published on Qondio.

This is exactly as it was printed on their site and it was displayed after clicking the add intel button. They obviously changed a lot more than just their name. I was shocked.  They actually thought that I was going to give them first shot at one of my articles. They have got to be kidding. Unless someone pays me for an article it ain’t going to be posted anywhere except on one of my blogs.

So after reading that I decided I wanted nothing more to do with them and so I looked for a way to delete my account. Like Mitch it was nowhere to be found. My only option was to delete all the articles I had already posted there. Actually there is one other option.

Important!Submitting previously published content to Qondio will result in the immediate termination of your account and forefeiture of all your accumulated credit, without notice and without warning. Second-hand content can be detected very easily even if the content has been edited to make it appear original, using a technology called shingling. Offending users will banned from Qondio for life, without warning and without question. Your account will be closed, your websites and your intel deleted, and all your information will be put on a blacklist. We have already banned more than 300 users for disregarding this limitation.

So you see there is a way out, and I can join the other 300 members who’ve found this scapegoat.

Oh, one more thing, seeing as how Qondio see themselves as being a top notch professional site, how exactly do you spell forfeiture?

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