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Ten Common Blogging Mistakes (Part 1)

How do we make our blogs successful? Many of us are our spending time building a web presence--time we could be using for other things, like writing our books.

If we're investing valuable time into our blogs, then most of us want to see results. After all, we don't want to spend hours writing blog posts that no one bothers to read.

The most tangible ways to see results are in an increasing number of followers as well as a growing number of comments. Stat counters can also give us an idea of the number of unique daily visitors. But I personally think I'm more successful if I'm somehow engaging my readers enough for them to begin to engage back.

So, how can we build a larger following and a greater number of comments? In other words how do we engage our readers? I think many of us are doing a great job already at this. But can we do even better?

As I've traveled cyberspace, I've run across a few "glitches" that make it hard for me to engage. I'm calling them Ten Common Blogging Mistakes (these are in random order):

1. Not involving the reader in your post: I find it much easier to comment on posts that ask a question at the end or in some way make the post relatable to me as a reader. When there's nothing to stir my thoughts or draw me in, I have to think much harder to come up with something to say in the comments. If we want comments, then we should make it easy for the reader to share.

2. Having a difficult-to-read post: I have a hard time staying focused on posts in which paragraphs are run together or are too long. Short paragraphs that are spaced apart make the reading easier. My eyes also tend to glaze over on posts that are really long. I'm apt to skim or skip the post if I can't quickly read through it.

3. Not having a blog link or listing too many personal blogs on your profile page: When someone new leaves a comment on my blog, I usually click on their name which takes me to their blogger profile page. Once I'm on their profile page, I try to find the link to their blog and return the visit. If I can't find a blog link or there are too many, then I'm tempted to give up. We need to make our primary blog links easy to locate and then it will be easier for people to find us.

4. Not being consistent in posting blogs: I'm less likely to visit blogs that post sporadically, than blogs that post on a more consistent basis. Now I realize not everyone can post every day or even on set days, but posting at least a couple of times a week is good way to ensure that we don't lose readers and it helps keep our web presence visible.

5. Wasting your readers time: Blog content is entirely subjective. What appeals and is applicable to one reader, may not to another. I love the variety I find in all of the blogs I follow--a mixture of both personal and professional information. Finding that balance takes skill (many of you do this very well). We're more likely to lose readers if we aren't offering them something that makes them want to come back.

For Part 2 Click here: Ten Common Blogging Mistakes (Part 2)

Of the five mistakes listed so far, are you guilty of any? Have you noticed any of these mistakes on other blogs and decided to stop reading the blog as a result?

63 comments:

  1. Am I guilty of some? Well, I definitely have been in the past. It's only been since spring probably that I've been posting regularly. And I DO have a habit of droning on sometimes in my blog posts, but I try to make it interesting and am working on watching their length.

    I HOPE I'm offering my bloggee's something. I try to mix writing stuff and personal things. I try to make them humorous so people laugh. My followers/comments/visits have increased slowly, but at least they are increasing.

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  2. Hi Jody,

    Great post, as usual.

    I have to agree with #3. When a new reader has multiple blogs, I have no clue which one to visit. And like most of us, I'm not exactly brimming over on time. Frustrating.

    I think my biggest downfall is that I usually only post once per week. I'm thinking about posting twice per week (in fact, I did this week). It's a balancing act, that's for sure!

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  3. I love your list. It's really accurate. I don't like having to choose out of a bunch of blogs either, because I don't know which one is the right one. Some blogs take forever to load. I don't care for those either.
    Mistakes I've made? I'm sure plenty, but I think on that list I'm okay. You got more mistakes, right? I'm sure I'm there. LOL

    Oh, if there is a mistake I'm making, it's that I'm not offering much. I mean, my opinion and stuff I've learned, but I'm still learning so it's not like my opinions are "professional", you know?
    Also, I used to not visit blogs that post sporadically, but thanks to nifty Reader, I can follow them and if they post once a month it's no problem because I just visit when I see their name on my little blog list. :-) I love that thing!

    Great post Jody!

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  4. I have to agree with Jessica, love that blog list on the sidebar, and I actually like blogs that don't post everyday. If they offer great content, but only sporatically, I'm in. I guess because I read so many blogs, it's nice to spread the time around. But I know for google and that the more you blog the more likely you'll pop up higher on the search engine list.

    I'm guilty of a lot of these from time to time. Thanks for the list. I'll take them to heart.

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  5. I'm in the confession mode that I'm guilty of some or all of the above at one time or another. I'm trying to make my blog a fun place to visit and vary what I put out there. There are so many people, like you, that are full of writing and professional info and I'd rather send people over to your sites for that. So that leaves me with chatting about my writing life and getting to know me stuff.

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  6. Thanks, Jody, for this excellent post.

    My two pet peeves on blogs are: lengthy posts, and too personal. I,like you, glaze over or skip a post if I feel it's too long. I have only one hour a day to blog, and I want to get in as many as I can during that time, because there are so many great ones out there.
    I love to hear about kids, husbands giving flowers and going on trips, but deep emotional problems should be saved for face to face friends, not cyberspace. Just my little opinion, but it makes me uncomfortable to read this kind of thing on a blog. I come here to relax and grow as a writer and connect with like-minded authors, not get in on a therapy session. Perhaps because I'm a pastor's wife, and hear a lot of problems day to day, I want a vacation from them when I blog.

    I have probably done all of the mistakes you listed, and my blog for Friday is extra long, since it's an interview, so that's a little hypocritical of me, isn't it? Most days, I try and keep my post to 3 paragraphs or less.

    Blessings,
    Jen

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  7. Good information, Jodi. Yes, I have been guilty of probably all of them at some point. Successful blogging is a process that one get's better at as time goes by, if one is willing to put the effort into it!

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  8. I always respond to comments made on my site and repay the visit to their blogs.

    I meet most of my blogger friends through agent sites and link over. Like how found you, Jody. When I've visited in the past, you've been polite and returned the visit.

    Oftentimes, I'll comment on a writer's blog and never hear from them. Obviously I won't frequent those sites. I feel they aren't trying to increase their readership and that's okay. But it makes me wonder why they have one.

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  9. Yep! I'm guilty of lengthy posts. Like today's, for example. But I really tried to strip Dwight's information on endings down to its bear minimum and it still was long. I sort of cringed when I posted it because I also like short posts. Maybe I should have split it up - sort of like how you split yours up. That's actually a really good idea. Lesson learned!

    Thanks Jody. :)

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  10. Useful and sensible. The discipline to stick to what you know works best is my chief lack.

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  11. Hi Jody,
    Thanks for the comment on my blog as well. I am still struggling to find my way as a blog writer. I write memoir, so writing about my life is what I do. I'm hoping the things I blog about, even though they are personal, will be things others can relate to. Your posts on blogging are very helpful.
    karen

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  12. Great post, Jody. I love the blogs I read that give me something to think about, as yours did today.

    And, I actually don't mind a little personal tidbit about the blogger because I think our blogs are meant to tell readers a little about us (without getting too personal - save that for a one-on-one conversation).

    But, what turns me off about a blog is when every post, or almost every post is a rant! I understand we all need to vent from time to time, but I'm turned off when blogs are negative more often than they are positive (there's my rant!).

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  13. Great list! I'm sure at some time or another we have all been guilty of one or all of these things. I do my best to avoid all of them. I agree with the run on paragraphs. Just something about them makes me think it will be too difficult to read through the entire thing.

    I hope I am staying away from these issues :)

    PS Another way to track your blog stats is through Google Analytics.

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  14. Hi, Jody!

    I'm so new to blogging that I've probably done some of these. My hope is that every day I get a bit better. Often making mistakes is how we learn best, ya know? At least, I've found that's true for me. I'm thankful for everyone who keeps coming back while I learn better how to do this!

    Thanks for this series! It's a HUGE help!

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  15. Judging by the comments I get on my blog, I think I'm doing okay. Can't wait to see what the next five are...

    Lynnette Labelle
    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

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  16. Insightful.

    I blog for three blogs on Blogger so after I read a post by none other than your agent I changed my name to Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought so readers might better know how to find the blog I spend the most time on.

    ~ Wendy

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  17. Jody, Good stuff, including ending with a question that involves your readers. See? I'm answering. I have to admit that there are a couple of things you mention where you might have "stopped preachin' and gone to meddlin'" as we say around these parts. But they're all things we need to hear. I'll be back to read the second half and squirm a bit more.

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  18. I love this post! You always have the perfect balance! And yes, the list of blogs confuses me. I try to figure out the personal blog, because I already follow tons of blogs and don't want to add three by the same person.

    Thanks again!

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  19. Part of the reason I created my blog was to easily keep track of the sporadic agents/editor blogs that I liked and thought had good information when they DID post! With the blogroll on my sidebar, I can easily see that the last post was 3 weeks ago, and I won't waste time visiting the site, whereas before I would spend time clicking a whole bunch of bookmarks, and only getting four regular updates (thank you to Rachelle, Nathan, Janet, and Kristen!)

    I've definitely abandoned blogs that didn't update frequently enough, and I've walked away from blogs that were too hard to read... artistic blog formatting can be nice, and it can go WAY too far.

    I hope I'm not making any huge mistakes on my own blog! I also hope no one is offended that I don't respond to every comment with an email or return comment... I just don't have that kind of time! I do "respond" to every comment with a blog visit, though!

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  20. Great post, Jody!

    I think early on I faltered, but as I've grown as a writer and found my blog voice, I've made an improvement where my posts are concerned.

    Can't wait to see your next 5!

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  21. I try to balance personal stuff with things that have a "take-away" value. I like the part about asking a question at the end of a blog. I'm going to try that and see if it generates more comments.

    I also don't like finding multiple blogs when I try to respond to someone who's responded to me. I'm more apt to move on instead of investigating all of them to find the "primary" blog.

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  22. Number 3 gets me too. I like to track back and return the commenting favor, but sometimes the commenter has a half a dozen blogs they write and I usually don't wade through them to find one to comment on.

    I look forward to reading your next post to see the next five mistakes.

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  23. Good list, Jody! I definitely agree with it. I love following blogs and when I find something that makes one less interesting for me, I try not to do the same thing in my own.

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  24. I've been made fun of for always ending my blog with a question but it's much easier for me to come up with something to comment on if there's a question. Plus, as you pointed out, it involves the reader. It makes me feel as though you want to know what *I* think on the issue.

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  25. Great list! I especially like the one about having a difficult post to read. I also skim if the posts are too long. I might be missing the point the author is trying to make. I've been guilty of writing lengthy posts myself. So that's one thing I try to watch.

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  26. I'm still getting used to blogging so I really appreciate this list. Thanks a bunch for it, I'll definitely be keeping it in mind!

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  27. I'm very glad you're doing this series. I noticed just this morning that I rarely ask questions at the end of my blogs to get the readers engaged. However, before reading this post or before I even really thought about it, both of my posts from today have some questions at the end. Hmmm...serendipitous, yes?

    ~Jen

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  28. Such a meaty blog. Can't wait for the other five mistakes.

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  29. Good tippage, Jody. I find it really helps me (and maybe readers too?) to have a posting schedule that's dependable, i.e. Wednesday Writings, recipes on Tuesdays, jokes/funny stuff on Sundays, etc. That way, if a reader has limited visiting time, s/he knows which day of the week I post the thing s/he is interested in.

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  30. PS Thanks for making your comment section accessible. The WV thing is maddening sometimes when my old eyes have to decode those squiggly hidden non-word words several times in order to comment!

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  31. This is a great post! Number 3 is a biggie. I hate when I click on someone's profile and they have like three blogs and you can't tell from the title what each one is about.

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  32. great reminder for me about #1. i used to ask questions at the end a lot...and then stopped for some reason. i went back and changed my post today to include one. :)

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  33. On target tips, Jody. When I first began blogging, I made most of the mistakes you list. I quickly realized I was doing something wrong and began to read all I could about successful blogging. That's when I began Romance Writers on the Journey. I post twice a week and have a clear focus.

    During this time, I posted sporadically on my personal blog and rarely received a comment. Recently I came up with a regular schedule, worked to give my posts something of use to my visitors and added questions at the end. I'm happy to say that some awesome women stop by now, and I so enjoy their visits.

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  34. Great thoughts & tips Jody! Thanks for posting them :)

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  35. awesome idea for a post. insightful.

    great blog. i'm following you now. you should check mine out. i do author interviews with book give-a-ways!
    xo

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  36. Jody,

    It's really helpful, I think, to do what you're doing here: take a step back so we can discern what we're doing, and in the safety of those who are trying to do the same. I definitely have learned a lot just by entering the channel and observing others' actions, and also, going with what felt right to me as I read others' posts. The question at the end is something I just started doing recently (you were a part of that) and I really like the result. It has drawn more comments and seems like more of an exchange, which I love. Guilty, at times here, of long posts, but I've gotten better at that. In fact, some of my posts are quite short, on off days. (I recently implemented a schedule with daily themes, which has worked well so far.) Thanks for the chance to ruminate a bit! :)

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  37. Thanks so much for the timely list of no-no's. I'm relatively new to blogging in general, so it's nice to know what to keep in mind.

    As to posting regularly, I'm so glad I can schedule posts in advance. Mornings at my house with three kids are crazy enough, thank-you-very-much.

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  38. SO GUILTY! :) I definitely do the running paragraphs...ha. And I'm not always great about asking a question at the end, which a lot of my favorite blogs do. Thanks for the insight!

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  39. When I look back at my early blog entries I made almost all of these mistakes - especially not asking questions to draw readers in and making my paragraphs too long. Even now though I am guilty of having long posts - I guess I am just long-winded;)

    One of my biggest pet peeves is the too many personal blogs, like you mentioned, sometimes I just can't tell which blog to leave a return comment on.

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  40. Jody, thanks for this wonderful post! And yes, I'm GUILTY of quite a few, especially about the inconsistent blogging (I'm going to start on that todaaaaay!) and not posting a question. These are all such wise tips/suggestions. They really make me want to get on the ball . . . I know I procrastinate WAY too much!

    Thanks again, Jody!

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  41. Hi Jody! How are you doing? Just wanted to stop by and say hi. I can't wait to read this series you're doing on blogging!

    Like you, I have a tendency to want to skim or skip really LONG posts. I have posted some really LONG posts before on some other blogs I've had but I now try to keep my posts shorter.

    I thought your point about involving the reader by asking questions was really good. I do that sometimes but not all the time.

    Thanks for these tips. I look forward to the rest of the series.

    Hope you're having a great week!
    Karen

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  42. Love your blog and this post! I'm glad I found you. I agree with your points, I'd also include keeping your posts fairly short. If I open a post that looks long, no matter how interesting it appears, I often close out and move on. I'm following you now, btw. Stop by if you get the chance.;-)

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  43. I'm not an expert on writing, so I worry about wasting people's time with my topics. I end up just going with what I feel like blogging about and hoping it sparks inspiration in someone else.

    I also try to keep my posts short so people will try to read the whole thing.

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  44. Hi, just jumped over from A Walk in My Shoes on her recommendation. Yes, I probably have made some of my posts too long, and I try to keep them shorter now. There are many bloggers out there with too many blogs, posts that are too long and sporadic, and funky writing styles that make little sense. I hope my blog is never counted among those. Good tips here, thx

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  45. Oh girl, I'm guilty of it all at one point or another. It seems I've done less writing related lately, mainly because I haven't had time to learn and read up on craft. I love informative and I love funny, so I tend to frequent those blogs where I learn and where I laugh. :)

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  46. Thanks so much for this post. As a new blogger I have much to learn, but I try to get on other blogs, comment and show my support. There are so many wonderful writers out there and I am so blessed to have found so many of their blogs. I always enjoy your posts Jody and appreciate the effort you make to comment on my posts. Thanks :)

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  47. Definitely the frequency is a big thing and having a question makes it more interactive.

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  48. Good points all of them. I work to write to many - the universal that is personal. As with what I chose to read literature wise, I have expectations on what I want to read blogwise also. I prefer shorter, concise posts, but if the writing is good and complete, I will follow it. Then if I really like the author, I'll come back.

    Excellent post.

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  49. Excellent suggestions. I am guilty of being long-winded and not engaging the reader enough.

    In my defense, I am more interested in my blog for personal development as opposed to driving traffic to my site.

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  50. I'm guilty of being inconsistent with my blogging. I've got my hands full right now and barely have time to keep in touch. But I can't live without my cyber friends and need the interaction.

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  51. I love thinking about why I blog, so thanks! (In fact, my blog has a whole topic just on blogging.)

    I get sidetracked with my blogging, but it's not that I necessarily want to get more comments (I have had to shut off my comments option, unfortunately). I blog for me. I have a few readers, and I am thankful for them! They are people whose blogs I do read and comment on. They are blog buds.

    I have to blog. It's a writing outlet and yes, an internet presence. But even if no one read it, I would continue to write. I have to write. And many of my posts are more like essays. Some day, I will collect them perhaps and make a book.

    Blogging for me is like a kind of journal, too, but more organized. I like the idea of "putting it out there" even if no one reads it. Putting writing into cyberspace makes you write a little more coherently, I think. If it's only a journal, I rant and rave and just end up feeling cooped up. There is freedom with blogging, in topic and in the psyche.

    Of course....it is sometimes helpful to say, "No blogging now. It's not time to indulge. It's time to do your work. Get focused, Katherine."

    I do have a book to format this week. --sigh-- I am putting it off. Formatting is a drag. I'd rather write any day.

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  52. I find I can't read looooong blog posts or once where they are all run together. I love white space.

    Also I want the blogger to tell me real stuff about their writing experiences --not all the good--but give me the good and the bad so I won't think I'm alone when I hit the same wall:)

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  53. Love this post! This actually made me feel good becuase I am doing much of this already. I do try to find ways to engage the reader. On giveaways I post a question related to the booktopic, I try to keep the posts in a good variety format - some fun, some reviews, etc...

    If anything... I may post too much. I am still a kid in the candy store when it comes to blogging. :)

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  54. True enough.. If the blogger asks question then he would probably get feedbacks and comments :-)

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  55. I've got to put myself on a regular schedule on my blogs. That is my biggest failing.

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  56. Hi Jody -

    While I sometimes put a question at the end of a blog post, it isn't something I do all the time.

    Pet peeves: posts that are too long and blogs that are nothing more than a giant advertisement for the author's wares.

    I enjoy blogs that encourage readers and writers, and give me a peek into their lives.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  57. I'm new to blogging and am guilty of not posing a question or giving a clear avenue for someone to comment on. In my observations to this point I also find sites with too many blogs frustrating.

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  59. Totally agree...

    Especially about those long reviews or post that just runs and runs into itself..

    E.H>

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  60. I just discovered your blog via Michael Hyatt's -- it's fun reading all your posts about blogging :) I think all of us who blog would like to think others are reading what we have to say and getting something out of it. Thanks for the opportunity to get to know you a bit.

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  61. Guilty.

    Number 2, definitely. I know that I have done it, and it always makes it difficult for me to read someone else's blog. I'll take note on that.

    I also think that the problem that drives me most crazy on other people's blogs... why don't they use the Follower Gadget. Ack! It makes me crazy when I don't find one on a blog that I really love. Let me follow you and get to know you! WAAAHHH! I, however, am not guilty of this. I love my followers!

    http://ragsbysockmonkey.blogspot.com/

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