Building Your Online Authority Through Your Blogs.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Even as I write this blog on blogging, I know I'm hardly an authority on the topic, knowing that there are so many others who have come before me- bloggers, and various other blogs about building a better blog.

The beauty of blogging, however, is that everything you write about is all about you and your experiences. Who knows? Maybe in a few years, I might actually just turn out to be a blogging guru of sorts. Or some authority figure in some other way.

Read the rest of this article on my other blog, "Renzie on Blogging", right here.

Cheers, everyone!

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Business As Usual.

It's actually been quite a while since I last blogged- almost two weeks ago, in fact.

First of all, I had some issues with my left hand. The base of my left thumb suddenly decided to have a case of ostreoarthritis (at least I thought that's what it was). It really wasn't so bad at first, until the swelling became worse- the fluids spread to the other 'compartments' of my hand, restricting movement, and causing quite an amount of pain in a few days. So for a while there I couldn't type very well, or play my PC games, or handle a guitar fretboard, or even hold an xbox controller. Effectively, I only had one functional hand/arm. At least it's all better now.

Then, I had to make preparations to go on a trip to be with my folks in Los Angeles. I was able to schedule my US Embassy interview, get my US visa (yay!), book my flights, and get things done at work for me to get here- all within two weeks.

So here I am, Day 2 of my stay with my folks here in L.A., typing away at this quaint little Italian Deli/Restaurant called Fratelli's (which I'll be reviewing separately on another blog)- all too happy to be back online, blogging away to my heart's content.

So many things have been going on, so many things to write about. Let's get back to business, shall we?

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Trinoma, Yehey.com and The Hundred Hungry Bloggers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Renzie's Note: The TriNoma Bloggers' Food Tour finally pushed through on 09 January 2008. One-hundred fifty bloggers were invited- and with an invitation to eat the best TriNoma has to offer + win some prizes- how could you say 'no' to that, huh?

Read up on my blow-by-blow coverage starting here. You can also check out Food Tour pics here on my Multiply, and read another of my write-ups here.

Cheers!
-------------------------------

The Trinoma Food Tour kicks off in a couple of days, and already the local blogosphere is abuzz with promises of real-life networking coupled with feats of rampant and wanton gluttony.

OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating.

But Yehey.com did make the announcement last week, and one hundred brave bloggers answered the call- already licking their chops, readying their gear and doing some preliminary networking with the others.

The destination: TriNoma- that swank new mall at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue. To be completely honest, I've never been there myself, and I suppose this Food Tour would be the perfect opportunity for me to check it out.

Are You On The List?

The Food Tour happens on Thursday, 13 December, at 2-ish in the afternoon. As you would probably expect, the invitations were snapped up like hotcakes, as bloggers were required to register beforehand with Yehey.com.

Special thanks to Ms. Noemi for giving me an early heads-up- I think I was the 45th person to have made it on the list. If for some reason you've submitted your details to Yehey, but haven't been contacted yet, it's probably worth your while to check if you're on it. Have a quick look the list The Hundred Hungry Bloggers here, or maybe you can give Yehey! a quick call, just to make sure.

I've actually been in touch with a few who have submitted their details but haven't received their confirmation emails yet. But that was a few days ago, and I'm sure Yehey has been able to straighten things out by now.

What's The Plan, Stan?

Quite an ambitious feat, I would imagine, for Yehey to keep the bloggers organized for the duration of the event. Check out Trinoma's participating restos here.

All bloggers have to register when they get to TriNoma on Thursday. They will then be grouped into five "expedition parties"; each group (of 20 bloggers) being marshalled by a Yehey! rep, and then led to one of five food areas to check out.

Each group has 30 minutes to sample as much as they can from the food merchants in the designated area before moving on to the next area. Eventually, all groups will have tried out all the food 'zones', and be totally stuffed out of their mind.

Dude, that's two-and-a-half hours worth of eating. You move to a merchant, eat some, then move to another, and eat again, and keep on doing that for 150 minutes.

The event will be capped off by cocktails, a raffle, and swag bags for everyone.


Things To Do at the TriNoma Food Tour.

Just a little heads up for all those attending- more than being just a massive food treat from the good guys of TriNoma and Yehey, the Food Tour is a great time to do some real-life networking, not just with fellow bloggers, but also with potential clients from the food merchants.

Take lots of pictures, and take down a lot of notes, maybe even blogging on the fly. There's sure to be whole bunch of things to write about.

If you feel like doing a little homework, get to know some of your fellow bloggers beforehand- especially you share common interests with. Trade contact details, swap stories, and exchange those very valuable links to each others' sites!

That being said, I will see all you other ninety-nine chicks and dudes at the Food Tour. Let's eat, drink, be merry and blog all about it!

Cheers!

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Tips For Bloggers.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I suppose it doesn't matter whether you've only just begun or if you've been at it for a while. There are some rather basic things we can all come back to from time to time. Here are a few tips to consider if you're seriously into blogging.

1. Write now. When you have the urge to hammer away at a keyboard and churn out some words- go right ahead- there's no better time than right now!

2. Write regularly. It's all about setting a rhythm- not only for your readers, but also for yourself!

3. Focus. Know what you want to write about and stick to it. If you want to write about something else, well you can always have another blog :)

4. Let your personality show. Your blog is all about you!

5. Write for your target audience. Can't please everybody. At least appeal to the kind of people you want to keep coming back.

6. Offer something fresh. This is where the effort comes in. Or sheer luck. You never know when an idea is going to be big, right? So keep those ideas comin'.

7. Offer something useful. It's great to come up with something interesting. But it's even better to come up with something useful.

8. Be neighborly. If you want others to read your blog, read others' blogs too. Drop a comment, interact and even cross-promote! All about the linkage, baby!

9. Instead of writing long, looongg paragraphs, stick to short ones. Makes it a lot easier to read, and it's easier on the eyes.

10. People love lists!

Read the full version of this article here on my other blog, "Renzie on Blogging".

Cheers, everyone!

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The Blogging Lifestyle.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

In my opinion, the beauty of blogging is that it complements any kind of lifestyle.

You can be a fashionista, a political pundit, a geek, a fitness buff, movie critic, or be just about into anything- whatever it is, it works with blogging. All it needs, really, is a genuine desire to be interactive and share your experiences with the world.

Read more about blogging and the rest of this article on The Blogging Lifestyle here on my other blog, "Renzie on Blogging".

Cheers, everyone!

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Blogs, Bloggers and Blogging.

Blogs (short for Web-Logs), are essentially online showcases of a person, usually posted for all the world to see.

Blogging is just like writing something on your journal, except that this journal is now online, and that (depending on how much you want to share) it is available for people to interact with.

When you do maintain a blog, you are in effect, a blogger. And there are thousands of bloggers out there all over the world, blogging on so many different things.

Read the rest of this article on my other blog, "Renzie on Blogging".

Cheers, everyone!

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Build Your Portfolio.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I was with a friend the other day, and just like me, she's just started blogging recently.

So we've been talking about how blogging can open so many doors for anyone: not only is it a great way to practice writing, and general English use, it's also a springboard for learning other cool stuff like internet marketing, SEO, programming, digital photography and graphics.

So after a while we started talking about what our plans were for blogging- basically, exactly how do we see ourselves as bloggers.

Right off the bat, she said she wanted to write for other companies- which really wasn't a bad idea. After all, one of the companies I worked with recently paid their copywriters quite the hefty sum as long as they churned out quality material. I'm down with that; writing for a company helps give you discipline and structure, and helps you build a body of work.

Read the rest of this article here on my other blog- a blog on blogs and blogging- "Renzie on Blogging".

Cheers, everyone!

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My Review of the Asus Eee PC.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Since my first post about my acquisition of one of these sexy Asus Eee PCs, there have been a number of posts and comments- more like questions, really- asking me what I think about it. So here's my effort to give it a personal review, hoping that this will be of help in your decision-making process- whether to get one of these babies for you, or not.

First Impressions:

The Asus Eee PC is small and light. Cute, you might even say. I prefer to call it sexy. Folded up, it's probably half the size of any regular laptop.

That's my Sony Ericsson K608i and a can of diet 7-Up right next to it, on my office desk at 105.1 Crossover.

It's got almost everything essentially built into it, including a cam. No CD/DVD drive, and very little hard disk space. But it does have 3 USB ports, so feel free to attach any variety of removable media into it.

What I Currently Have On It:

My Asus Eee PC has Windows XP installed on it, with Office- since I need to send and receive files from clients (who mostly use Office). Otherwise, I would have just gone for a Linux Operating System with Open Office- it works just like MS Office, only it's free.

For protection, it has AVG anti-virus, Zonelabs for a firewall, and Spybot for added protection.

I have Firefox to browse the internet. Utorrents for added fun, and VLC Media player to play just about anything from movies to music files.

My work files are stowed away nicely in a variety of flash disks- which I can plug in to any of my desktops whether I'm at work or at home.

Cons:

One of the biggest cons for me is, since it IS a small laptop, it does have a small keyboard. Which doesn't bode well for my fat fingers. It's not really so bad, it just takes a little getting used to.

The storage space could be a bother. With XP installed, I have about less than 2GB to store files in. Thankfully, I do have a whole bunch of flash disks and even larger capacity hard disks, so it really isn't much of a big deal.

It also has no CD/DVD drive/burner. Again, no big deal since you can easily transfer whatever files you need to burn onto another PC with a CD/DVD writer.

Pros:

It weighs less than 1kg- which means, it's just as heavy as a pair of jeans folded up. Non-bulky, incredibly compact and very light- it means that's one less bag you have to lug around.

Don't worry about messing up the hard disk as it gets jostled around in your bag. The solid-state hard disk means it works just like a flash disk- so unless you run this thing over with a small truck or use it to self-destruct on one of those Mission:Impossible intros, you're rather assured that your stuff remains fairly intact.

It fires up pretty quickly, and automatically searches for wi-fi signals in the area. Great for going online outside if you have to.

The battery on a full charge gives you a little over two hours- which in my case, is more than enough to blog in the cab on my way to work, which is actually what I'm doing right now.

Renzie's Final Word.

If you work a lot on the go, or if you're very much into blogging, the Asus Eee PC is definitely for you.

Just don't expect to run any heavy programs on it. That's what your PC or your Mac is for. In fact, the Eee PC works best in conjunction with your other PCs at home. Think of the Eee PC as handy little PC you take with you on meetings and other out-of-office/out-of-home business functions.

If you want the pastel colors though, they'll be available in January 2008- at least that's what I heard. Mine's in black, but the store I got this from also carries models in white- which was also selling like hotcakes.

Students would also appreciate this baby- assuming of course, that they could get mom and dad to get them one.

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Blogging My Way To Work.

Currently, my everyday commute from home to work takes about an hour in a cab. I usually take the time to do my phonecalls, prepare my to-do list for the day, or scribble down a few notes.

As some of you may have already read, I have acquired for myself one of these sweet Asus Eee PCs. Which means I could actually take out this sexy little laptop and do some work on the way to work.

Or blog while I'm on my way to work.

I simply can't stress it enough: when you're a blogger, if and when the urge to write hits you- by Bob, you better get down to writing.

Thoughts are very volatile stuff. You could have a nice idea, or a well-worded insight, or some rant or rave you have working in your mind at the moment, but as you may have noticed- that can all evaporate just as quickly as it was formed in your head.

Thus, the urgency to blog as soon as you can. Can't get any fresher than that, right?

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Rockstars of the Local Blogosphere!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Here's something interesting: www.basapa.com has released the 2007 Top Pinoy ProBloggers.

Can't get any heavier than that- what we have here are the most successful local bloggers around. They have their legions of adoring fans and readers, they got influence, they know how to market and monetize their blogs- truly inspirational for beginner bloggers like myself and many others.

Me, I just feel fortunate to have met some of these stellar individuals in person and even had had the chance to pick their brains some.

And yeah, I look forward to meeting the rest of them someday through some other blogging social of some sort. Or work with them. Or something. I'll work out the details some other time :)

In any case, you can read more about the selection process here, and how it was able to come up with this list.

Here's a summary of the chicks and dudes who made the list. Much deserved, ladies and gentlemen. Check them out here, if you wanna see their mugs too.


The 2007 Top Pinoy Pro-bloggers
------------------------------------

1. Abe Olandres. Yugatech.com, Pinoytechblog.com, Pinoytravelblog.com, Motorcyclephilippines.com, Pinoyblog.com, Pinoyurbanblog.com, Smartwifi.org.ph.
-personal note: we've had the pleasure of having Abe as our speaker for our "Blogging For Money" workshop series. Indeed, he da man!

2. Bryan Boy. Bryanboy.com

3. Carl Ocab. Carlocab.com

4. Rhiza Sanchez. Guitarchic.net, PinkSEO.info -personal note: caught her at this year's SEMCON, where she gave a very informative talk on advanced link-baiting techniques (I think...).

5. Eugene "Seav" Villar. Vaes9.codedgraphic.com, vistapinas.com, blogenyo.codedgraphic.com
- personal note: met this dude at the b5media Bloggers' mix-up. Nice guy.

6. Eloisa "Bratyfly" Sergio & Jojo "Dyu". Pinoyblogosphere.com.

7. J. Angelo Racoma. Racoma.com.ph

8. Rickey Yaneza. Rickey.org, Pinoy.rickey.org

9. Connie "Sassy" Veneracion. Pinoycook.net, Houseonahill.net, Sassylawyer.com, Pinoymomsnetwork.com, Pinoyfoodtalk.net, Pearloftheorientseas.com

10. Kevin "Kiven" Codamon. Codamon.com, thatdamnpc.com, gamesindustrywire.com, problogger.com.ph

11. Shai Coggins. Justmakemoneyonline.com, Shaicoggins.com, Aboutweblogs.com, Selfhelpdiva.com, Ewritelife.com, Chrysaliscreativity.com, Freshwave.tv
- personal note: met her at the b5media Bloggers' mix-up- in fact, she organized it!

12. Eric Salas. Salaswildthoughts.blogspot.com, lakaw.com

13. Sustines Laplana. selaplana.com, songlyrics.selaplana.com, narutoshippuuden.selaplana.com, cellphones-for-sale.blogspot.com, philexamresults.com, motoristangpinoy.com

14. Andrew dela Serna. alleba.com/blog

15. Karlo Licudine. Pinoyblogero.com

16. James Ryan Jonas. pinoymoneytalk.com.

17. Shari Cruz. Misteryosa.com.

18. John "Jaypee" Habaradas. Jaypeeonline.net.

19. Jayvee Fernandez. abuggedlife.com, cellphone9.com, blogandsoul.net.
- personal note: this dude gave a very entertaining talk on dealing with copywriters at the last SEMCON. plus he was at the eCommerista nights, as well as that last Bloggers' Mix-up night.

20. Noemi Lardizabal-Dado. Aboutmyrecovery.com, nimrodel.net, pinoyfood.nimrodel.net, blogged.the-protagonist.net, filipinaimages.com, thevoipresources.com
- personal note: met her at the b5media Bloggers' mix-up- plus, she was nice enough to let me use some of her photos on this blog!

21. Marghil Macuha. macuha.com, textmates.blogspot.com, blogtimizer.blogspot.com

22. Tess Termulo. tesstermulo.com, health.tesstermulo.com

23. Melissa "ANP" Atienza-Petri. parenting-weblog.com, flyaway-weblog.com, wandalust.com, europestring.com, roadgladiator.com, pinayexpat.net, escapeblog.com.

24. Markku Seguerra. rebelpixel.com, lyrics.rebelpixel.com, photo.blogger.ph, pro.blogger.ph, builder2.blogger.ph, pinoyidol.blogger.ph, bb.rebelpixel.com.

25. Anton Diaz. Anton.blogs.com.

26. Julius Rocas. Jrocas.com.ph.

27. Rico Mossesgeld. thesmartpda.com, bayanihanblogs.com, fool45.com

28. Ruth Schaffer. biotech-weblog.com, allergizer.com, eatingfabulous.com, nextninemonths.com, letsvisitasia.com, about-ruth.com

29. Noel Bautista. searchengine-weblog.com, unpluggedliving.com, onlineadswami.com, noelbautista.com/blog.

30. Paolo Mendoza. paolomendoza.com.

31. Richmond "Retz" Ruiz. retzwerx.com, talentado.com.

32. Dexie Wharton. sheknowsbest.com, styleitless.com, styletots.com, forks.ca, hell.ca, superwoman.ca, soapsonabc.com, feistymomma.com.

33. Mike Abundo. insideonlinevideo.com, mikeabundo.com, emergingearth.com
- personal note: met this dude at the b5media Bloggers' mix-up. Nice guy.

34. Gloria Gamat. daily-diabetic.com, straightfromthedoc.com, cancercommentary.com, daragang-magayon.com.

35. Sasha Manuel. tops2bottoms.com, the-parody.com, stylemanila.com, lightthetorch.net, datinggames.com, truthandtravesty.blogspot.com, hanging-out.blogspot.com.
- personal note: met her at the b5media Bloggers' mix-up- in fact, she organized it along with Shai and the good people of b5media!

Also:

Grace Ibay, Elymar Apao (met this guy a few times: at the tsikot.com party, then again at the Bloggers' Mix-Up), Manuel Viloria (this dude I met at one of our talks on "Blogging For Money"), Ria Jose, Phillip Kimpo, Jr.

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Verry Eenteresting...

Holy crap!

I was at the eCommerista Night 2.0 event last night at Mag:net cafe. Though the turnout wasn't as big as the last one, this one was still quite alright. I showed up with one of my business associates, and by the time the night was over, we already have at least three speakers lined up for our next few events, and the promise of future projects and collaborations.

Andrian Lee has always been such a fun speaker. What struck me was a little story he shared: that, recently, Facebook use in the UK has actually exceeded email usage.

Wow, that huge, huh?

And not entirely unbelievable, I suppose. Run a Google search on Facebook usage in the UK, and you can already get a feel of how widespread -as well as controversial- Facebook is.

Apparently, everyone in the UK is doing it- and is extremely hooked on it. Heck, if you have Facebook, you know it's easy to get addicted to it. So much so that companies have banned Facebook outright at the workplace. While BBC has, in a recent newscast, reported that employees should be allowed to use Facebook on breaks, during lunchtime- and the controversy just goes on.

So is it really a surprise that Facebook use can, one day, replace our need for email? We can email family, friends and colleagues on Facebook anyway, right? Lay down some smack on a few vampires, share and tag photos, give virtual drinks, and even flirt online?

Heck, I'm addicted myself. I've even RSS'ed Facebook straight into my Gmail accounts. That way, I don't miss out on the moment someone throws sheep at me. Whatever :)

More interesting facts: the Philippines accounts for one-third of all Friendster activity online, and up to a quarter of all worldwide activity on Multiply.

It's really all you need: Facebook, Multiply, and Friendster. OK, Myspace, if you have toh have a fourth one. Good God. Have we really too much spare time on our hands?

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Quelling the Self-Doubt Inside You.

When you're just starting out your very own blogging career- just like me- you can easily get overwhelmed jumping from one blog/site to another.

As blogs and blogging have steadily gained popularity, you'll find a wide variety of material out there- stuff you'd like to read, stuff you'd like to comment on, stuff you'd like to link to and share to your friends.

Take for example this great read on this year's most successful Pinoy probloggers. It was a brilliant post. The fact that I have actually been able to meet some of these guys was just, for me, awesome.

Then you realize- damn, my blog is nowhere near these other guys' blogs! So you suddenly get hit by a wave of self-doubt and get rattled by the realization of how puny you look next to a whole bunch of other blogs.

At least, that's how I feel.

Read the rest of this article here, on my other blog, "Renzie on Blogging".

Cheers, everyone!

Read more...

Learning to Use RSS

Monday, December 3, 2007

If you're going to be a blogger, RSS is going to be your new BFF.

That's really simple syndication for RSS, and best friend forever- at least until the next great new syndication technology comes along.

In any case, as a new blogger, you're probably checking out websites and other blogs for new content. After all, you do need to draw inspiration from someplace, right? You'd like to see what other people are talking about, have your own perspective on things, and react to what other people have to say.

In the course of your meanderings through the internet, you would most definitely find a couple of sites that you would find more interesting than others- new favorites that you would usually then add up to your bookmarks.

Now it used to be that you would have to visit and re-visit your favorite bookmarked sites to get updates on new stuff they have posted up, right? And a lot of us actually still do that.

But if you have a LOT of favorite sites, and a LOT of stuff you want to keep tabs on, then keeping yourself updated can get a little tedious, done this way.

You might even miss an important update, and it can take you the whole day to check out all those sites- assuming of course, you even have the time to do all that checking!

RSS helps you out with that- and to know more about how RSS can help you build a better blog, or how it can save you lots of time keeping up on all your favorite sites, read about the rest of my post on my other blog, "Renzie on Blogging".

Cheers, everyone!

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How Much Cash Do Bloggers Make From Blogging?

Remember just a few months ago how we had a couple of workshops on Blogging For Money? The idea really was to show our participants how to make extra cash by putting in a few hours a day churning out a few posts on a blog worthy of attention.

Yes, you can blog for money. Some locals actually have gone completely professional, and have foregone a regular job to do just that: blogging.

The real question is, how? How can you make money from your blog?

The answer to this seemingly very important question can easily elude the amateur blogger. And while most blogs are really a labor of love more than anything else, it doesn't really matter to a lot of people if they make cash or not.

Read the rest of this article here on my other blog, "Renzie on Blogging".

Cheers, everyone!

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My New Asus Eee PC

Ladies and gentlemen, I am the proud owner of a new Asus Eee PC! Just like the one in the pic to the right, except that 1> mine comes in black, and 2> no chick comes with the standard retail package. Check out the specs right here.

At any rate, it's charging now right next to me. Got it from Virra Mall earlier this afternoon.

Dang, I really couldn't help it. I first saw this baby at last Friday's Bloggers' Mix-up. A fellow blogger of ours- Juned, I believe- took out his brand new Asus Eee PC, and in just a short time, everyone was positively raving about the cute little thing. You can check out the pics taken by Noemi here, and even more pics here.

I got it for just a little over Php17,000.00. It's a great little toy if you want something compact (just about the size of a hardbound book), comfortably light (it weighs a little less than 1kg) and functional- especially if you're into blogging, doing a lot of presentations, or just working a lot outside the home or office.

Don't expect too much though: it doesn't have much hard disk space. The Linux-run models have about 4GB of space on them, but if you install XP on it, you'll probably be left with less than 2GB. Not much of a problem, since you can attach any array of removable media (whether a flash disk or a full external hard disk) through its three USB ports.

Despite the limited hard disk issues, the Asus Eee PC works like a charm: it allows you to go online, whether through a broadband cable or via wi-fi, thereby enabling you to go on Skype or Yahoo!, check out your mail, hit Facebook, watch videos on YouTube, and (most importantly) blog! Aside from the USB ports, it also has a card reader (who needs CD/DVD drives now?), a built-in camera, mike and speakers, and a solid-state disk for excellent shock protection.

Officially classified as a subnotebook, it's not hard to imagine the Eee PC to be an instant favorite not only by bloggers, but by students, regular office people, entrepreneurs- just about anyone who's into the market for a decent notebook or laptop.

Personally, the Eee PC works best with your other PCs (your home or office desktop will still be the mothership). It's not designed to be your main workstation; just the cute little computer you take with you when you're working on the go. Bring along some removable hard disks or flash disks, and you're pretty much set.

Let's see how this baby goes in the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted.

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Who Are The Bloggers In Your Neighborhood?

After last Friday night's event, I thought it would be a great idea to feature some of the blogs (and possibly, other works online) of the bloggers I have actually met. Expect to see some of the ones I met last Friday featured here in the following days & weeks. Naturally, we'll be hearing and reading more from others as I keep attending these cool blogger mix-ups and other special events.

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Write Now, and Keep On Writing!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

One thing I've noticed is that, sometimes when you compose an entry for your blog, it's such an easy thing to get distracted.

Particularly when we're at a time when publishing systems- such as this one on Blogger/Blogspot, and even the ones on say, Wordpress or Livejournal- are so easy to use. Since you can easily add links, pictures, change fonts, colors, etc. it's so easy to get lost just tweaking something on the fly.

So here's some useful advice:

Once you think about something worth blogging, get down to typing it right away. While it probably wouldn't matter if you go use Notepad initially (then just upload it whenever you can), it's still best to write straightaway into your blog.

Once you start typing in your first word, keep on typing. Forget about inserting pics and links, or stuffing in keywords, or editing or whatever. Keep churning out those entries while everything is still fresh in your head, while your train of thought is still running on track.

You can always edit later. The most important thing, really, is to get that post out right away.

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In The Company of Bloggers.

Shai Coggins and the local crew of B5Media organized a quaint little Bloggers' Mix-Up last night at Kape Isla in Serendra at the Bonifacio Global City. No agenda, really- just a wonderful opportunity for fellow bloggers to meet, hang out and relax a bit, talk shop, and do some networking through good ol' fashioned human interaction.

It was the first time I attended an event like that. See, I was thinking that if I wanted to be a serious blogger, I might as well check out how the other (more serious, more seasoned) veteran bloggers are doing. Plus, I like the idea of socializing outside my usual circle- make some new friends, gain a few new contacts, relax with people into the same thing as I am- sounds good, right?

And it was good! The organizers (the b5Media crew) were able to close off Kape Isla that night just for the party, and it was filled with a sizeable band of 20 to 30 bloggers from everywhere- many of whom already know each other, but there were also those just like me, who just started blogging, and also just started getting to know these cool chicks and dudes! That's me, by the way, chatting it up with Carlos Castellon of MarketPlace 2.1.

Shai played the gracious host, spending a little facetime with everybody who showed up- and I gotta hand it to her and Sasha (of StyleManila.com, who I found out last night, turned out to be her sister!) for working up the crowd really well with great company, with food and drink for everyone, even raffling off some cool prizes for those present. That's Shai, btw with Toni Tiu and Noemi Lardizabal-Dado.

I won myself one of these cute little art journals- which I found out later on, was handcrafted by Shai herself (so I had her autograph it!). She sells these babies online as it turns out. I thought it would've been cool if it were locally available; they'd actually make great Christmas gifts and giveaways :).

Of course, just as in any fun social gatherings like these, you have cameras flashing everywhere! So, here are some pics- these in particular were taken on Noemi's cam (and posted on Facebook for all to see!).

All in all, it was a great night. I met several new friends, learned a lot of new stuff, snagged myself a cool art journal, scoped out the new Asus Eee PC (which we'll talk about more on another post), realized that digital photography and blogging go hand-in-hand (which means, after I get me that sexy little Asus Eee PC, I should get me a good SLR), tried out a cool new venue at Serendra (first time I checked out Kape Isla- you should come visit when you're in the area), ranted about the whole Trillanes fiasco, and traded insights and ideas with fellow local bloggers.

Cool. This should be a great opportunity to check out their stuff online too. Which I will do, right after adding them up to my Facebook account!

Thanks Noemi for the pictures! Cheers!

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My First Bloggers' Mix-up.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

One thing I noticed back at that Bloggers' Mix-up was that, apart from blogging, everyone was trying to capture the moment somehow.

You had at least 5 or 6 cameras on at any given time, taking pictures not only of everyone who was there, but pretty much taking pictures of things that caught their attention- like Juned's Asus Eee PC at the time.

At another table across the room was Azrael capturing the whole occasion on video through his laptop, and even interviewing guests for his internet show.

Being the newbie blogger that I was, I was watching everything unfold before me, soaking up on the experience. What I did realize was that, being a blogger means you would eventually get yourself into:

1. Digital Photography (so yeah, this is my first assignment for myself. So I have to bring a camera with me wherever I go. That's a pic of my cat- Chloe.)
2. Digital Audio-video: viral videos and podcasts (I think I can already do podcasts- being a radio dude. Still learning how to do viral vids.)
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) (This I'm already learning actively now. Thus the blogs.)
4. Programming. (I admit, this will probably be the hardest for me, since I'm not exactly the IT-oriented type.)
5. Photoshop. (I admit, I'm not exactly the most artistic dude in the neighborhood. But I suppose learning the basics will still be well worth it.)

And probably any other marketable skills you can imagine overlapping into your blogging lifestyle.

The event was a melding pot of talent and creativity. I like it that ideas were continuously sloshing around- everyone contributing and sharing and discussing with everyone else.

So for all of you who'd want to get into blogging, there you have it- get ready to get into a whole new bunch of crafts, and not just blogging.

As for me, well it seems that I may have to get myself a decent SLR soon enough. Give me a few weeks to save up for one. :)

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Shake Yer Head...

Friday, November 30, 2007

I feel that I should write something about what has happened recently.

See, normally I wouldn't really care. I just don't. Which was funny, coz I even had a streak of activism in me back in college. And while most of that idealism is gone, there are just some things that, no matter how you look at it, are completely, totally wrong.

Yesterday, there was a standoff between Senator Trillanes' people (who dug out a foxhole for themselves at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati), and the government.

Apparently upset over the proceedings of yesterday morning's hearings, Sen. Trillanes and his military escorts walked out of his trial (for the Oakwood Mutiny back in 2003), headed straight for Manila Pen, demanded that GMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) step down, and enjoined other Filipinos to come join his cause.

Naturally, the government wasted no time flexing some muscle by surrounding the hotel with troops. The result was a 6-hour standoff, that pretty much got everybody glued to their TVs, radios and internet as the drama unfolded.

I for one, am not a supporter of Trillanes. But I believe that, for him to feel this way, he must have gone through so much. I feel for the guy. I'm just saying that he's fighting for what he believes in, and I respect that.

I believe, however, that he has overestimated the support the military and the civilian populace would give him. It would have been an entirely different matter altogether if, after his public call to arms, the military and everyday people would come rallying to his side.

But that did not happen at all.

I know for a fact that a lot of people are unhappy with the Arroyo administration. I'm not a big fan, either. In my opinion, however, he failed to consider one important thing.

Public apathy.

Most people just don't care anymore. All we want to do, really, is just keep on working, making some cash so we can pay the bills and put some food on the table.

Yes we'd watch TV, listen to the radio, get updates via SMS and the internet. There would be those who agreed with Trillanes, and those that disagreed. But only a few have really taken to the streets to stand up for what they believed in.

So here was the government, lobbing tear gas cannisters to force out Trillanes and his crew, who stood their ground as long as they could with their makeshift gas-masks.

Now here's a kicker- what really struck me was an image of a military APC attempting to crash right into the lobby of Manila Pen through the front door. Wow, what were these idiots thinking? Clearly, I don't see any reason why you should drive a perfectly good (well, obsolete-ish) V150 right smack into a hotel? Man, these guys have been watching too many B-movie action flicks.

Seriously.

So anyway, everybody files out, including Trillanes and his crew, who essentially said something to the effect of, "so that there would be no bloodshed, let's end this", media and journalists included.

I expected to see Trillanes get hauled off by the military. But the media? Wow, what kind of fascist regime is the Philippines turning into? They were only doing their jobs; I see no reason for them to be "processed" just like the rest. Heck, go "process" the hotel staff. Or anyone in Makati for that matter.

Later on, a curfew was declared. A curfew. At a time when more people earn their livelihood working at night: call center people, taxi drivers, night shift employees. That night, some 450 people were arrested because of the curfew.

Ridiculous. Do you actually think they'd actually catch some seditious elements that way? Patrolling Emerald Ave. and Ayala Ave. for a few wayward call center employees? Please.

What kind of message is this giving us? It's buffoonery like this that makes people lose so much hope, shake their heads and walk away.

Or eventually riot. Eventually.

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Woohoo! Battlestar Galactica!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I fondly look back earlier this year when I discovered Battlestar Galactica. Well, more like re-discovered. I remember getting interested in the show when it first hit local Cinemax in 2005, but never got to follow it enough to get a good grasp of the story.

When I took my retirement from the last radio station I worked for (which was Mellow 94.7), I found myself with, interestingly enough, a lot of spare time on my hands. And it was this one particular Veronica Mars episode which sort of inspired me to 'acquire' a copy of the re-imagined BSG from the very start.

After the four-hour mini-series/pilot, I immediately fell in love with it- it was sci-fi, but not campy, it had chicks, a compelling storyline, interesting characters, and enough action to keep you locked in.

And locked in I was, indeed. I was able to finish all 40 episodes- the first 2 seasons + the webisodes + the first few episodes of season 3- within a month of watching the pilot, thus bringing me up to speed and current with what's showing in the US/UK. I wasn't just locked in, I was incredibly hooked.

Season 3 wrapped up by the end of March (with a killer season-ender, I might add!), leaving a gaping hole in my chest where the Galactica should be.

So you could imagine my surprise when I found out- just today- that the prelude to BSG Season 4 already came out!

The prelude is called Battlestar Galactica: Razor. Why it's called "Razor", I have no idea just yet, but I intend to find out. It currently has seven (7) 2-minute Flashback episodes + two (2) full episodes thus far.

I've already seen the Flashback episodes and -well- it's like my obsession for BSG all of a sudden came back to the fore.

Man, I can't wait to watch the other two episodes...

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How Many Blogs Can You Maintain?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Indeed, how many blogs can you realistically maintain?

I got into blogging in March 2007. I knew nothing about how to start a blog, or what it was for, or what good it was to your everyday life.

Shortly after starting out with my first blog, I suddenly realized that I wanted to have a blog for each of my various interests. Soon enough you had one for music, another for TV and movie reviews, and then another on PC gaming, then one came up on business and marketing, followed by one on cats, another on writing, and it just went on and on.

Read the rest of the article here on my other blog, "Renzie on Blogging".

Cheers, everyone!

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How Serious Is Your Blog?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I just came from a highly informative, highly entertaining workshop on professional blogging. Of course as the discussion went on, there were lots of questions forming in my head- mostly on wanting to know how my blogs currently stacked up against pro-bloggers (professional bloggers :)).

More like, I'd like to know how much more I have to work on before I can actually be considered a serious blogger of any sort. And, well, as to be expected, it seems like I have LOTS more to do.

Your blog has to have anywhere from 50 to 100 posts to be considered a serious piece of work. Wow, that certainly sets the casual bloggers apart from the passionate ones, huh?

I get this. If the whole point of the exercise is to create a positive online experience for a reader- or just anyone casually dropping in on your blog- you really want to have enough stuff for your readers to sift through. Can't have 'em going through an empty blog now, can we?

That should also be enough material to establish the tone and pattern of your blog, show off some personality, and give you enough to showcase your knowledge and expertise on a particular topic.

While possibly daunting at first, 50 to 100 posts really is a good thing. It shows the amount of time, thought and effort you've put in to your blog. It gives the readers a better idea of what your blog is all about- and can therefore make it more likely for them to link to you, and keep coming back for something new and interesting. It allows you to market your blog, if you so wish, for ads, and more interestingly, for some cash.

50-100 posts should equate to just a few weeks, if you blog at least one post a day. And if a habit is supposedly formed in 21 days, by the time you've hit your 50 posts, you're so much into the blogging habit that it's totally effortless for you to put up a post or two.

So keep going at it. Keep churning out content. Good content- stuff you know people would like to read and stuff people will keep coming back for. Forget about the money, or carving out a niche for yourself, or building up rep- this one is all about making your blog a worthwhile labor of love more than anything else.

Let's get to it then!

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Make Money Blogging!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

If you've been spending a great deal of time online, you've already probably checked out a couple of sites that suggest that you can make money just by blogging.

Or answering surveys, or clicking ads, or signing up for some service, etc. Those don't quite appeal to me as much as blogging (sorry guys)- and face it, once you get into the groove, you can easily spend a good number of hours blogging, lurking, emailing and jumping from one site to another.

In any case, if you're the type who spends so much time online, you might as well make some money out of it. Like I mentioned, there are lots of sites out there that can help you out (like this one that I just stumbled onto- www.johnchow.com), or -on the flipside- confound you even more.

It would be great if you unlocked the secrets to making money online on the get-go. But the truth of the matter is, it will take a great deal of trial-and-error to get things right.

I suggest you take time to get your friends together and learn it all at the same time. Join some online forums, look for other groups who are as into it as you are. The point is, you'd want to share your experiences and what you know with them, so you too can learn from what they've been up to as well.

One of the reasons why some friends of mine have decided to put up a small events group- for the purpose of helping other online entrepreneurs hook up with other like-minded individuals, so we can all learn from each other, support each other and have a great time while we're at it.

I'll be looking into these things more, and once I got something useful, you can expect it to be posted here in the near future.

Later, everyone!

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Do You Find Yourself Blogging For Hours?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Are you a blogging addict?

It's cool, man. You're pretty much in good company. Take a visit to www.jozzua.com and read all about a rather entertaining post on blogging and blogging addiction.

Now that I think about it, it takes me hours- HOURS! -to come up with a decent post, not unlike this one, if you consider this decent enough.

I actually have this short attention span issue. I easily get distracted by anything from widgets to photos to other posts- things that pull me away from focusing on finishing a post I'd otherwise be working on at the moment.

I wonder if it's anywhere as bad as my Facebook addiction...

Hmm...

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New Job, New Challenges!


It can only be a good thing, I suppose.

I've recently been fortunate enough to land a stint as Program Director for 105.1 Crossover. Yes, I've joined up with the station last month, and while there's a whole lot of work to do, it sure is very exciting stuff!

For a while there, after my "retirement" from Mellow 94.7, I thought I had enough of the radio biz- which was why I ventured into setting up my own small businesses, the whole SEO-SEM-SMO stint, the consulting gigs, etc. It wasn't long before I realized that, once a radio dude, you're forever a radio dude.

In fact, Silvio Dante couldn't have quoted The Godfather 3 better: Just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in. Always did love The Sopranos (watch it if you haven't already! Get the DVDs!).

No there wouldn't be a reformat- we'll still be playing all the good ol' smooth jazz, R&B and easy listening favorites everyone has enjoyed all these years. If anything, we'll probably throw in more of those favorites- especially more 90's and maybe some more 2000's. Maybe we'll toy around with some music genres we can throw into the Crossover mix, who knows? Hey, as long as it sounds good- let's go for it, right?

Expect a more lifestyle-oriented, interactive Crossover. While we do have quite a number of grand plans oozing out of our skull-holes, it would be great to collaborate with other great minds. In fact, I've been on the lookout for people and groups that would want to be a part of mutually beneficial experimentation. Feel free to swing my way if you'd like to toy with fresh, new ideas.

Email me at 105.1Crossover (at) gmail.com, or just drop me a message at +63918.937.2147, or leave a post here on Blogspot- it's all good, mah babies!

Dude, it's gonna be great, I know it.

Cheers, everyone!

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Chuck, man, gotta watch Chuck!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall season this year in the US had given us quite a number of interesting shows- Reaper, a re-imagining of The Bionic Woman and Flash Gordon, Private Practice (that Grey's Anatomy spin-off), The Sarah Connor Chronicles- right on top of all your other favorite returning TV series.

One show that has, undoubtedly, got me looking forward to a new episode every week is NBC's Chuck. Bravo, NBC, totally good call, picking this show up.

I best describe it as Alias-meets-The OC-meets-40-Year-Old Virgin. Straight out of their success with The OC, Josh Schwartz and McG team up once again, but instead of another young adult drama, they came up with a nice little comedy- and it frackin' works!

End result: you have a TV show that's fun and entertaining. Lots of eye candy for both chicks and dudes (man, I've been a fan of Yvonne Strahovski since episode 1- woohoo!), lots of funny geek references (even funnier if you're a geek yourself), lots of witty exchanges and a killer soundtrack.

Remind me to get you guys a soundtrack listing in the not-so-distant future.

The show has been running for a little over 5 episodes now, and so far, it never fails to entertain. Too bad NBC has taken down all its clips from YouTube. But, hey, all is not lost- you can have a taste of Chuck on the main NBC website right here!

Check it out now, funk soul brutha!

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One at a Time...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I suppose I've realized it's one of my failings. I always try to get into too many things at any given time.

Take for example blogging. See, I know it's probably a good thing to just have ONE MAIN BLOG. You know, stick to what you're really passionate about and come up with an all-encompassing theme and just focus on JUST THAT.

After an inspiring workshop with Abe (last October 20, with Money Talks), it was supposed to be all clear- have a focus. If you want to have a blog working well for you, have a clear focus (aside from other useful tips he so generously shared).

Okay, so maybe I've gone a little over-enthusiastic and came up with, like, ten or twelve blogs or so. Could be more- who's keeping track anyway?

I got one for pretty much every single facet of my 30-something lifestyle- writing, music, business, cats (lasercats!), pc gaming, tv & movies, stress management, radio, marketing- well, you get the idea.

Perhaps the best way to go about it is to consolidate the little blogs into a certain interest-group blog, and then those into one main blog.

Yikes! More blogs!

There's no problem, I suppose, with having 50 million blogs. But you can only dedicate so much time to churning out content- which you can only post on a finite number of blogs- unless you have an entire army of keyboard monkeys on a constant mindlink to your brain at your disposal. Which is rather unlikely in most cases.

Let's think of it now as a restructuring of sorts. Pretty much in the same way as we re-evaluate our lives every so often, the so do we re-evaluate our online lifestyle. Has to be done, right?

Good God, maybe it's just me. Over-obsessive-at-times little ol' me.

But what the heck. It starts today, with this blog :) More later.

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All About Renzie!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lived all my 34 years (as of this writing) in Metro Manila, Philippines. Although I took up Physical Therapy (never took the boards, never practiced) in UP Manila, my career has always been with broadcasting and marketing. So I saw action as a DJ, event host, radio commercial talent/producer, writer & editor, researcher, segment producer, events manager, and finally ashead of sales and integrated marketing communication (with Mellow 94.7 for my last 3 years with them).

I decided to take a break from radio to pursue other things. So in January of 2006, I took a long vacation- caught up with my reading, working out, a little bit of travel- finally culminating in a leisurely trip to Singapore in March. It was there that I've decided to get into writing- thus the series of blogs. Had also hoped to get a few other projects off the ground- like my own travel agency, my own production house, my own marketing communications company, and my ultimate goal- my own toys and hobbies company.

After working for various companies (been a salary-man for the past 14-15 years or so...), I've realized that nothing is as important as doing your own thing. Which is what I'm going for these days- hence all these different projects and collaborations with different partners- the next big thing is just waiting to happen, really.

I love meeting new people- mainly for the purpose of networking and business. I love tossing great ideas around, watching them mutate into something no one's ever imagined. Most importantly, I love keeping my life stress-free and easy-going.

What I'm Doing Right Now.

Right now, I'm Program Director for 105.1 Crossover, a smooth jazz and easy-listening radio station operating from Quezon City in the Philippines. Which means I handle day-to-day operations of said radio station, which includes pretty much anything and everything that goes on the air.

As I am immersed in traditional media, I'm also a strong advocate of New Media- I blog a lot, and I have quite a number of blogs at the moment, and I help beginner bloggers find their way. Along those lines, I'm learning as much as I can about Internet Marketing (including Search Engine Optimization/Marketing and Social Media Optimization), E-Commerce and Online Trading.

I have my own little New Media company, and an Events Management group. I've done the preliminary paperwork on my Tours & Travel Agency, but I think I need a special twist or niche to it before I'm satisfied enough to launch it.

Some Truly Shameless Self-Promotion
(but hey, it's MY blog)

As many of you already know, I've embarked on a project to give myself a better presence online. I mean, now that I'm into the whole writing-SEO-SEM-SMO thing, I might as well use myself as a guinea pig, right?

Right on!

So, what do we have goin' on right now? It seems that I have taken a liking to Blogger and Wordpress for blogs, and Facebook online networking. There are actually several blogs up, each one for a particular topic of interest.

Check these out:

Blogspot. Great place. Functionally simple, very user-friendly, and easy-to-use. You have three blogs going on at Blogspot at the moment, and here they are:

  • "Blog. Blogger. Bloggest!" My flagship website- it's main purpose is to facilitate learning how to build an effective blog with basics of SEO and SEM and stuff. Great for beginners who'd like to learn about getting into the blogging lifestyle.
  • "Renzies Rants and Raves" A highly opinionated blog with my personal reviews on certain pop culture and lifestyle elements. Read about what I think about technology, restaurants, spas, movies and books.
  • "My Thoughts In Stereo" is all about my personal take on the radio, music and recording industries. It also has my personal recommendations on music and music mixes. Music appreciation for all, baby, yeah!
There are actually more, but they're all in various stages of development at the moment, not quite ready to launch just yet.Wordpress. They got great templates and formats that make your blog look real kick-ass. A little complicated, but it's truly awesome once you get the hang of things. Really worth your while to try your hand at it.
  • "The Life & Times of The Renzie Man". This one's all about me. Bachelor livin', grindin' and kickin' it in Metro Manila. Great for people who'd like to have a look of how it is to live solo in the Philippines.
  • "Keyboard Monkeys!" Resources for writers everywhere. Look, I'm new myself. So here's a little something for everyone who's decided to devote some time blogging and maybe writing for a living- sure helps pay the rent!
LiveJournal. Real simple, almost spartan- but fairly functional enough. The beauty of it is in the privacy. Seems to link in nicely with Vox, but I'll have to figure this one out a little bit more.
For social networking, we have the aforementioned Facebook. We also have one on Multiply. But we also have profiles on Friendster, MySpace, Flickr, Flixster and Tagged.

So yeah. Wow, that's a whole lot of stuff to keep track of, huh? I suppose maintaining them is gonna be a bitch. At least until I figure something out.

Oh well.

Other Things About Me.

As you very well know, I've been living on my own for the past 15 years. I have a pad in Mandaluyong City, with two very intelligent, very affectionate cats- The Chloe (a mackerel tortie) and The Noobie (a gray-and-white brindled).

I've been going out with my girlfriend Cristina for almost seven years now, and we're both into new wave music, smooth jazz, good food, late night movies, spa weekends, travel, and lots of World of Warcraft.

Cheers, everyone!

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Renzie Baluyut: Past, Present and Future.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just a little shameless self-promotion, ladies and gentlemen.

I have had a number of clients ask what I was all about, aside from what they may have gleaned from my various work available online.

Nothing much, just a little backgrounder on me. Pardon the way I refer to myself in the third person.

Cheers!

Background.

Renzie Baluyut.  In SG, March 2007.Renzie took up BS Physical Therapy in UP Manila in 1990, initially with plans of being a neurosurgeon. But an opportunity to join a radio station came in 1994, which he took. So began his career as a professional broadcaster as a DJ for Maximum Music 99.5RT.

Shortly afterwards, he discovered more ways to capitalize on his new-found skillsets- turning to doing voice-over work for TV and radio commercials, as well as AVPs. He was also frequently hired as an emcee for parties, corporate functions, product launches and even weddings.

He briefly worked for Ad Farm- a production house based in Makati where he gained an appreciation for digital audio editing and production.

He joined the FBS Radio Network (then Mellow Touch 94.7) as one of its first live announcers in 1996, shortly after the same family bought 99.5RT.

It was in 94.7 that Renzie was placed in charge of all audio broadcast promotional materials, initiated a music library and produced several concept radio shows.

Past Stints.

Renzie Baluyut discovered his love for events management in 1998. Instead of actively pursuing an MA in Broadcast Communication in UP Diliman, he thought that the campus scene at the time was a perfect opportunity to make money doing events.

Along with a few partners, Renzie got involved in producing all kinds of campus concerts with big-name acts for the next two years. Besides concerts, Renzie also helped manage clothing sales, online gaming tournaments, workshops and seminars.

For two years, Renzie saw action in the call center industry as an Operations Supervisor for Easycall (which in 2002, became e-Performax). Thereafter, he worked closely with a number of other contact centers, helping out with managing events and other employee retention and recruitment programs.

After 10 years with Mellow 94.7, Renzie opted for an early retirement package. He served the last 3 years as the radio station's Sales and Integrated Marketing Communications Manager.

Current Efforts.

After a brief hiatus from the radio industry, Renzie Baluyut tried his hand out at different things.

He turned to blogging in March 2007, and decided to pursue a career as a professional blogger in November of the same year, developing online content for blogging networks, clients and his own independent projects.

He also set up a couple of businesses- a marketing communications company, a travel agency and an events group.

In May 2007, he signed up to work for an online retailer and distribution company based in Sydney, Australia. There he learned Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Optimization (SMO), which he continues to practice today.

His most active effort online at the moment is "Blog. Blogger. Bloggest!" an online repository of tips, techniques and tutorials for the begginer- to intermediate-level blogging enthusiast.

Renzie is currently Program Director for 105.1 Crossover DWBM-FM, a commercial radio station that plays smooth jazz, rhythm and blues and sophisticated yet popular easy-listening favorites.

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The SEO Notebook: Renzie Dabbles In Search Engine Optimization, Pt. 2

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Welcome to my series of notebooks on Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. No, I am no expert- I'm just a regular dude trying to understand this entirely new craft. These notebooks are for fellow "newbies" at SEO. I've compiled these notes, partially from what I do at work (developing content and optimizing sites for an Australian-based online retailer), but more from personal research, and to a lesser extent, what I have observed thus far.

Comments and questions are welcome. I will do my best to answer them, or at least point you to where you can get your answers.

Our previous post dealt with a brief overview on Search Engine Optimization.
This is Part 2 of the ongoing SEO Notebook Project, which will cover a brief history of SEO, and SEO as a marketing tool.

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A Short History of SEO

It used to be that webmasters submit their pages or URL's to various search engines, which would then send a spider to "crawl" the page, then come back with the information and get everything indexed.
After a while, site owners then recognized the value of having their sites highly ranked and visible. So in order to boost visibility and to gain better placement in search engine results pages, white hat and black hat SEO practitioners were then employed.
Now you have to remember that back then, search algorithms mostly relied on webmaster-provided information (meta tags), so many early SEO practitioners abused this particular dependence to artificially increase page impressions (and therefore increase ad revenue). But now, search engines have become a lot more sophisticated, developing ranking algorithms that take into account other things that webmasters can't readily manipulate.
Then came the concept of page rank: an algorithm that rates the prominence of web pages based on the quantity and strength of inbound links: links coming into your site from other sites. It is all about discoverability- the likelihood of some surfer randomly surfing the web to check out your site, because he followed links from some other site.
Google entered the picture, considering not just PageRank and hyperlink analysis, but also other on-page factors. In fact, the true formula to coming up with the page rank can change from time to time, and usually without the knowledge of the general public, even SEO practitioners.
In any case, Google, Yahoo and MSN Live don't fully disclose any of these other considerations and on-page factors, so schemes like link farms don't have much of an impact anymore.
If you want to read up on notable SEO's, you may want to look up these guys: Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz, Aaron Wall and Jill Whalen. Look them up, and check out their forums and blogs.


A Note On Webmasters and Search Engines


There seems to be a developing relationship between Search engines and the SEO industry, with a push towards more responsible optimization activity. In fact, some search engines have already provided information and guidelines to help with site optimization.
Check Google's Sitemaps Program. Also, Yahoo! Site Explorer lets webmasters submit URLs, determine how many pages are in the Yahoo! index and view link information.


SEO as a Marketing Strategy


Fact: Researchers scan a SERP from top to bottom, and left to right. So placement is key.
But the number of search engine referrals does not guarantee sales. In fact, SEO might not be an appropriate strategy for every website, so other Internet Marketing strategies may actually be more effective- depending on your goals.
Successful Internet Marketing campaign uses a mix of organic results + paid advertising on search engines/other pages + high quality content + keeping tech issues to a minimum + good analytics program.
In addition to generating traffic and boosting page rank for your site, there must be an effort to always improve your site's conversion rate- so it really is all about being able to engage your incoming traffic into getting them to do what you want them to do: sign up for a service, purchase something, leave a few posts, click on a few links, etc.
Website operators should liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic (because many do), because in reality, their main sources of traffic are links from other websites.


SEO and International Markets


Take note: While Google, Yahoo and MSN may be your top 3 search engines, other search engines could actually be better in some regions in the world.
We all know that Google remains the dominant search engine worldwide as of 2007, with more than 75% of all searches. But did you know that...

  • In Russia, Yandex controls 50% of the paid advertising revenue.
  • In China, Baidu leads in market share.
When tapping international markets, you may consider translation of web pages, registration of a domain name (with a top level domain in the target market), and web hosting that provides a local IP address.
Otherwise, the fundamental elements of SEO are essentially the same, regardless of language.

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More SEO topics for discussion later on. Part 3 of the ongoing SEO Notebook Project will cover SEO basics, or How To Improve Your Page Ranking.

Cheers!

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The SEO Notebook: Renzie Dabbles Into Search Engine Optimization, Pt. 1

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Welcome to my series of notebooks on Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. No, I am no expert- I'm just a regular dude trying to understand this entirely new craft. These notebooks are for fellow "newbies" at SEO. I've compiled these notes, partially from what I do at work (developing content and optimizing sites for an Australian-based online retailer), but more from personal research, and to a lesser extent, what I have observed thus far.

Comments and questions are welcome. I will do my best to answer them, or at least point you to where you can get your answers.

That being said, let's all learn some SEO, shall we?

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Search Engine Optimization is defined by Wikipedia as:

The science and art of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a particular web site from search engines via natural search results.
Natural (or organic) search results are the ones to the left of a search engine results page, or SERP. These are pure, unadulterated search results based on what people are actually typing into their search engine windows on Google, Yahoo, or whatever search engine then have, as opposed to paid ad results on the right of a SERP.

SEO is but a part of internet marketing (which we'll probably review more of later on). Among other things, SEO considers:
  • how search algorithms work; or simply, what people actually search for
  • a site's coding, presentation and structure
  • possible issues that could prevent search engines from fully spidering (meaning, browsing and indexing for searchers to see) a site.
  • new content, which is easily indexed (or spidered!)
Effective SEO may require changes to the HTML source code of a site, therefore affecting web site development and design as well. We'll deal more of this later on.

The goal of any SEO practitioner is to go "search-engine friendly". This applies not only to website designs, but to menus, content management systems and shopping carts as well. As early as now, I'd like to point out: try to avoid Black Hat SEO or spamdexing. It 's really more like dabbling in the dark side of SEO. This practice uses link farms and keyword stuffing techniques that bloats your results. More sophisticated search engines already consider this! Plus, it may ruin long-term customer satisfaction.

You want to do the exact opposite: set your site up so it can create a positive experience for your customers, thus encouraging return traffic, better word-of-mouth and linkage, and better interactivity.

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO

I personally advocate sticking to White Hat SEO. It produces results that last a long time, as I have mentioned above. So create content for users, not for search engines. Conform to search engines' guidelines; make your content easily accessible to spiders, rather than toying with the search algorithm. And more importantly: no misrepresentations!

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More SEO topics for discussion later on. Part 2 of the ongoing SEO Notebook Project will cover a brief history of SEO, and SEO as a marketing tool.

Cheers!

Read more...

Blogging For Beginners

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hey, we all gotta start somewhere. One of the reasons why I left my last couple jobs was due to the fact that, despite having written so much about the company and stuff, I've hardly done any writing for myself. And man, did I have a lot of stuff to vent back then!

Anyway, I only started blogging last March- totally inspired after an invigorating trip from Singapore. Yeah, I've had a few friends who have already been regular bloggers at the time, but other than that- I have had no experience at blogging at all.

A friend of mine gave me a few tips to help me start out (thanks Gabby! -you can check out her blogs here). I now include those tips here, together with some of mine.

Later on, after setting up my first few blogs, I've ran into other bloggers- some a lot more into serious than me, others more casual- you really get all kinds, you know?

Blogology 101

Blogs start off with the idea of putting your thoughts online- think of a blog as a diary, a notebook, a bulletin board, a review column, a collection of media, or any mix thereof. The beauty is that it can be pretty much anything you want it to be.

Many people write for various reasons. Traditionally bloggers write for the purpose of informing and communicating. But a lot of bloggers do so because it makes for a great outlet to get creative, go crazy, or get into an experimental mindset.

It's great for socializing- think of it as setting up a room online where others can visit you, and from which you can also visit others. Be a good neighbor, and you can see others be good to you and your blog when they drop by too.

So how does one start getting in on the Blogging Bandwagon?

Setting Up Your Blog Empire

For starters, let's set up your blog. I would suggest you make use of free blog services like Blogger, Wordpress or LiveJournal.

Blogger/Blogspot is a great blog service to start with, being extremely user-friendly, simple to use, and allows you a number of widgets (nice little applications you add on to your basic blog).

Wordpress is also good, allowing you more applications to play with. While not as easy to use as Blogspot, it looks a great deal sharper and more professional. Also, if you plan to go professional, there's a pretty good chance you might be using the Wordpress interface, so you might as well get used to it now.

LiveJournal is great because, while it has the most simple features compared to Blogspot and Wordpress, it seems to allow you the greatest deal of privacy- so you can choose who gets to view your blog.

Later on, when you've gained more experience and think you can handle your own hosted domain, you could choose to do so.

Good luck, and let me know how your blogs turn out!

Cheers!

Read more...

Essential Cool in Digital Media, Pop Culture and the Internet, with Renzie | RenzieBaluyut.com

The Life & Times of The Renzie Man

Keyboard Monkeys! | Tips, Tricks and Advice for the Digital Entrepreneur

HarvardBusiness.org

How to Change the World, by Guy Kawasaki

Barfield Management

PinoyMoneyTalk.com - Make Money Online, Stocks, Forex, Mutual Funds Philippines

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