Flash Fiction Friday – Make A Wish

January 24, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the wish I made.” Whose wish is it and how does it fit into the story? What kind of wish? Go where the prompt leads!


Make A Wish – by Hugh W. Roberts

“Clean up this mess, and put out the rubbish! I haven’t got all day.”

Looking at the single candle on the 80th birthday cake she’d made herself, Miriam made her wish before blowing out the candle. She watched her demanding daughter cut a slice of the cake and devour it. She wondered if arsenic had a taste.

When turning to look at herself in the antique mirror, Miriam’s wish revealed itself – a beautiful, slim, young woman ready to live life again. But this time without the burdensome daughter that craved her inheritance and cake more than her mother.

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Image of a dandelion seed floating in mid-air
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

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Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love Glimpses

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction that take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

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Reblog Of The Month: How To Create An Outstanding ‘About Me’ Page For Your Blog

Do you have an ‘About Me‘ page on your blog?

No?

If I told you that the ‘About Me’ page on most blogs is one of the most-visited parts of a blog, would I convince you to have one?

Are you struggling with what to put on your blog’s ‘About Me’ page?

Then head over to Perfectmanifesto.Com, where James M. Lane gives lots of help and advice about creating an ‘About Me’ page and what to put on it.

Click the link below to be taken to James’ post.

How To Write The Perfect About Me Page For Your WordPress Blog.

Are you’re wondering why the title of this post is different to James’ post? SEOs such as Google dislike duplicate information and rank duplicate posts lower, hence a different title.

As with all reblogs, I’m closing off comments here so you can leave them on James’ post with all the other comments his post has received.

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Reblog of the month

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Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It Happening

Should bloggers delete, update or republish old blog posts?

That’s a question I had from Michelle, who blogs at Boomer, Eco Crusader.

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Your old blog posts could be damaging the health of your blog

Here’s Michelle’s questions: 

As I move into my fourth year of blogging, sometimes I look back on my early posts and cringe. It’s great that I’ve come a long way as a writer, but I’d love to refresh some of those old posts. Is it better to delete them and republish as a new post, or just go in and update them? Also, does deleting old posts impact SEO rankings?

I’m going to tackle Michelle’s last question first.

Many blogging professionals agree that keeping old, out-of-date blog posts reduces your blog’s overall SEO (search engine optimisation) rating. Even if you regularly publish new blog posts, your blog will suffer if you have old, out-of-date information on it. Your new blog posts will also receive a lower ranking.

SEOs dislike out-of-date information and will redirect readers to sites that have up-to-date information. This is one of the reasons that I recommend every blogger updates their ‘About Me‘ page at least once every six to nine months, especially if it includes pingbacks and links. 

Old, out-of-date, and irrelevant blog posts and pages (including your out-of-date ‘about me’ page) serve no purpose on your blog or to your reading audience.

I have a clearout of old blog posts at least once a year, usually in December, when I find the blogging world a lot less busy.

Do this first before deleting any blog posts

Before deleting any old blog posts, there are a few things to consider. I’ll cover these in my answers to Michelle’s other question: Should bloggers update old blog posts or rewrite them and delete the older post? 

If a post is still relevant, useful and contains evergreen content, I’d recommend that you update it. More so if it includes valid pingbacks to other live posts on your blog or to other blogs and websites. 

Don’t forget to also check if the post has any incoming pingbacks from other blogs that are still valid (you’ll find these in the comments section of the post).

I recently deleted a pingback from a blogger who had deleted the post that included a pingback to one of my posts. SEOs dislike broken links. They don’t look good on your blog, and if your blog contains too many broken links, readers will probably not come back.

When should I rewrite an old blog post?  

If a post has out-of-date content or is poor quality (including images), but you feel it is still relevant, rewrite it. Don’t forget to delete the older version before publishing your new post.

When rewriting the post, give it a new title. Think of a title that would make you want to find out more or make you want to click the ‘read more’ link.  

If you have content that is out of date, irrelevant and/or poor quality, but you feel it can be salvaged – even if that means a complete post rewrite – then you should do that!

After you delete any old posts, I recommend that you also check for any broken links on your blog.

You can do this by running a report on a free broken link checker site such as Brokenlinkcheck.com. However, beware! If you’ve never performed a broken link check on your blog before, the report you receive could be rather overwhelming. I’d recommend pausing the report once you get to 20 broken links, fix them, and then run another report.

WordPress also offers a broken link plugin, although this will only be available to those on certain WordPress plans or to bloggers that have a self-hosted blog.

Once you have run a broken link check, I recommend you perform one at least once a month, or whenever you delete any old blog posts.

Another good practice is to delete any pingbacks in blog posts you’re about to delete first, before deleting the post.

Can re-written blog posts become successful?

Yes, defiantly.

I have rewritten and republished many of my earlier blogging tips posts. Not only had they received few views, but I felt the quality was poor, and they had poor quality images. As I rewrote them, I updated procedures and added better quality images that did not slow down my blog. I also added pingbacks to some of my other most successful posts.   

Many of these posts have since become my most successful and best-performing posts.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Delete any old blog posts that contain out-of-date information and can no longer be salvaged.
  • Before deleting old blog posts, deactivate any incoming and outgoing pingbacks on the post first.
  • Run a broken link report on your blog at least once a month or whenever you delete any old blog posts.
  • SEOs will rank your blog and new blog posts lower if it contains out-of-date informnation.
  • If a post is still relevant, useful and contains evergreen content, update it. More so if it includes valid pingbacks to other live posts on your blog or to other blogs. 
  • If a post has out-of-date content or is poor quality (including images), but you feel it is still relevant, rewrite it and give it a new title.
  • Always delete older versions of rewrtitten posts before publishing the new post.

Thank you for your questions, Michelle. I hope I have answered them for you.


Photo of Michelle from Boomer Eco Crusader Blog

Michelle is a boomer with a youthful outlook seasoned with a dash of wisdom.

She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada with her husband and one of her two young adult daughters. 

Michelle works full-time in financial services and has a passion for learning new things.

When she’s not working, studying or blogging, you might find her on stage singing rock music, or enjoying a walk in the great outdoors. 

Visit Michelle’s blog for tips on environmentally-friendly living, decluttering and living your best life. 

Connect with Michelle

Pinterest

Twitter

Facebook

Blog: Boomer Eco Crusader

If you have any questions about this blog post, please leave them in the comments section.

Do you have any questions about blogging? Leave them in the comments section. If I choose your question to feature in an upcoming post, I’ll also feature you and your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Weathering Whites #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a large white cloud over Swansea Bay beach
White Cloud
Photo of a hard frost on top of a car roof
Hard Frost
Photo of a foggy morning overlooking a green playing field on Swansea Bay
Foggy Morning

Linking To The Sunday Stills Photography Challenge – Theme: White

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True Stories: Gay Memories – Going To A Gay Bar For The First Time #LGBTQI #LGBT

As a gay man, you may be surprised to hear that one of the biggest hurdles I faced was going into a gay bar for the first time.

Image showing rain on windscreen of a car on a Saturday night with blurry lights in the distance
True Stories – Going To A Gay Bar For The First Time

At 17-years-old, I was in awe of my straight mates. They’d been wandering into bars and nightclubs for the last year with the only threat of getting asked for age identification.

At 17-years-old, my straight mates were not only getting drunk most Friday and Saturday nights but were boasting about sleeping around with members of the opposite sex without any worry. Whether they’d slept with many of those they mentioned was open to debate.

At 17-years-old, it was against the law for me to sleep with a person of the same sex. If I boasted about it, I could get myself into trouble. The law stated that, for my safety, sex remained on hold until I reached 21.

Of course, I overlooked that particular part of the law. Like any red-blooded male at 17, my hormones made my brain think of little else but wanting to (putting it mildly) get laid.

By the time I reached my 19th birthday, I already had what I had considered a boyfriend. He was over the age of 21 and thought I was too.

On one particular, wet Saturday evening, I found myself sitting in my boyfriend’s car. Holding hands with him, we listened to the patter of the rain on the roof as we watched the raindrops splatter on the windscreen. For weeks, we’d both built up the courage to go to a gay bar for the first time.

The bar was out of town and miles from where we lived. However, neither of us wanted to get out of the car and walk up the steps to the bar. Instead, we both sat there trying our best to peer through the spattering of rain, trying to make out the figures going into the bar.

“It’s nice and warm in here,” I said.

“Yeah, too wet to go outside,” responded my boyfriend.

For the next half an hour, we made an excuse after an excuse as to why we should stay in the car. Even though curiosity ran through our minds of what was on the other side of the doors to the gay bar, our bodies remained fixed to seats while we continued peering at figures entering and exiting the bar.

“What if we bump into somebody in there who recognises us?” asked my boyfriend. “If there’s somebody in there from work, I could end up getting beaten up or sacked.”

Not only did those words cut me in half, but I began to worry that if the police raided the bar, my boyfriend and I would be in serious trouble because of my age.

Although at 19-years-old, it wasn’t against the law for me to go into a bar, I questioned if it was against the law for me to hold hands with another man in a public place.

Terrified of the consequences of entering a world where people would have welcomed and accepted us for who we were, we drove off and went home. Hiding who we were and how we lived our lives seemed a much safer option.

It would be months later when I talked about that night again.

“If somebody you worked with had been in that bar, wouldn’t they have been as terrified as we were at being spotted?” I asked.

“I never thought of that,” came the reply. “But it’s still a risk, isn’t it?”

Six years later, as I made my way on a coach to a new life, I left behind a boyfriend who had been secretly sleeping with another man he worked with.

Have you ever been terrified to do something or go somewhere for the first time? Please share the details in the comments section or, even better, contact me about submitting your story as a guest post.

Did you enjoy reading this post? Then you may also enjoy…

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This Is How Easy It Is To Predict The Future #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of spring bulbs emerging from a flower pot
Springtime bulbs emerging
Photo of a winter sunrise showing the day ahead
A new day hinting at what weather is to come

Linking To The Sunday Stills Photography Challenge – Theme: The Future

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Get The Best Out Of The Block You’re Using The Most On The Gutenberg Editor

It may seem much longer, but at the end of 2018, WordPress introduced the Gutenberg Block Editor to users. 

And what a journey the Block editor has had since introduced. Some users moved to other blogging platforms to avoid using it, whereas others decided to continue using the Classic editor for free via the Classic Block. 

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Are You using The Paragraph Block To Its Best Advantage?

Last year, I witnessed more than ever fans of the Classic editor coming over to using the Block editor, some of whom wondered why they hadn’t done it sooner.

As more bloggers use the Block editor, I thought I’d write some posts on how some of the most popular blocks work.

I’m kicking off with the ‘Paragraph‘ block, which everyone who uses the block editor will use.

How Do I Find Or Add A ‘Paragraph’ Block?

  • After adding the title of your blog post, click on the ‘+‘ symbol in the draft section of the post.
  • In the search box that opens, type in ‘paragraph.’
  • Select the ‘paragraph‘ block.
Screenshot showing where and how to find the 'Paragraph' block on the Gutenberg Editor
Where to find the ‘paragraph’ block
  • Start typing in the paragraph block on the draft post.
Screenshot highlighting where to type in the Paragraph block
Start typing in the Paragraph block

How Do I Add A New Paragraph?

  • Tap the return button on your keyboard to add a new paragraph.

Does The ‘Paragraph’ Block Come With Any Options? 

Yes. The ‘Paragraph’ block comes with a toolbar full of options. Here’s a list of what you can do.

  • Align text
Screenshot highlighting the Align button on the Block editor
Where to find the ‘Align’ button
  • Make text bold
Screenshot highlighting where to find the 'Bold' text button on the Block editor
Where to find the ‘Bold’ text button
  • Make text italic
Screenshot highlighting where to find the 'Italic' text button
Where to find the ‘Italic’ text button
Screenshot highlighting where to find the pingback button on the Block editor
Where to find the ‘pingback’ button
  • Other available options
  • Highlight text 
  • Add inline code
  • Add an inline image
  • Justify paragraphs
  • Keyboard input
  • Strikethrough text
  • Subscript
  • Superscript
  • Underline uppercase text
  • Change text to uppercase
Screenshot showing where to find 'Other options' on the Paragraph block
Where to find other options

Are There Any Other Options?

  • Yes. Click the kebab menu in the toolbar to show even more options such as ‘Add to reusable block‘ and ‘remove paragraph.’ 
Screenshot highlighting options under the kebab menu on the Paragraph block
Click the kebab menu to see more options

More options are also available on the righthand side of the draft page. To see them, select any block that contains text and select the ‘Block‘ option.

Screenshot highlighting the Block icon on the drafts page of a blog post
Make sure ‘Block’ is selected.

Colour: Change the colour of text or the background colour of a block.

AMP Settings: AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source framework that allows browsers and apps to quickly load your site’s content on mobile devices. AMP is enabled by default for all WordPress.com sites. Click here for more details. 

Typography: This allows users to set the size of the font in a block. Here’s an example. In the next block, I’ve selected font size 36.

Hugh’s Views And News

See how much bigger it is than the text in other blocks.

Users can also manually set the size of the text by clicking the icon that sits to the right, just above the Size Default box. The icon looks like two small slider buttons.

Advanced Options:

HTML Anchor: This option allows users to insert ‘page jumps’ into a post. For example, you could anchor the words ‘Skip to the bottom of this post‘ in a block. Clicking on the anchor text then takes readers to the bottom of the page. Click here for more details. 

Additional CSS class(es):  Add CSS code to a block. –

CSS is the acronym of “Cascading Style Sheets“. CSS is a computer language for laying out and structuring web pages (HTML or XML). This language contains coding elements and comprises these “cascading style sheets”, which are called CSS files. 

Note: Some of the above options I’ve mentioned may move or change over time.

Layout, content, settings and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.

Looking for more information about the Gutenberg Block Editor? Check out these posts.

If you have any questions about the ‘Paragraph’ block, leave them in the comments section. I’ll try my best to answer them.

Is there a particular ‘Block’ you’d like me to cover in an upcoming post?

Don’t forget that you can also follow me on social media. Click on the buttons below.

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How To Unlock Your Mac Using Auto-Unlock With Your Apple Watch

Are you fed up with having to enter a password or passcode to unlock your iMac or MacBook every time you come back to use it?

My iMac requests a password if the screensaver is active. For security reasons, I recommend any device you use that contains personal information has an active password or passcode to open the device.

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Apple Tips

However, I recently discovered a nifty little trick to unlock my iMac (without entering the password) using my Apple Watch. 

Auto Unlock works when you’re wearing your unlocked Apple Watch, and your Mac is close by. You may need to move your Apple Watch a little closer to your iMac or MacBook to get it to work.   

Ensure that your Mac and Apple Watch have the latest software updates; otherwise, the auto-unlock feature may not work.

Make sure that your devices are set up as follows –

  • Your Mac has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on.
  • Your Mac and Apple Watch are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID, and your Apple ID is using two-factor authentication. Click here to find out about two-factor authentication.
  • Your Apple Watch has a passcode.
  • On your iMac or MacBook, choose the Apple menu (the Apple logo) – System Preferences, then click Security & Privacy
  • Make sure the ‘General‘ tab is open. 
  • Tick the ‘Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac‘ or ‘Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac, box’
Screenshot showing the location of the 'Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac' box on the security & privacy tab on Apple
Tick the ‘Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac.’
  • You’re done!

No more having to enter your password when approaching your Mac device. 

This feature does not work for unlocking iPads or iPhones.

Do you have any tips or tricks for using Apple devices? Leave the details in the comments section.

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10 Blog Posts You May Have Missed In 2021 That Got People Talking

What were the top 10 blog posts on Hugh’s Views And News in 2021? Unfortunately, none of my posts made the top 10 because there is no guaranteed way to produce an accurate top 10 list based on the number of likes, hits or comments.

Not sure what I’m referring to? My blog post, ‘How Do You Measure The Success Of Your Blog Posts?‘ has all the answers, plus it has a great way of producing a top 10 list based on something far more reliable than dodgy likes, hits and comments.

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Did you miss any of these?

In 2021, 133 blog posts got published on Hugh’s Views And News. Many subjects, including blogging tips, writing, music, flash fiction, photography, true stories, social media tips and guest posts, made it to the front page.

If you asked me to recommend ten of those posts, I’d have a tough choice to make. But as I already hinted, many readers agreed that basing top 10 lists based on the number of likes, hits or comments doesn’t always work.

That’s why I’m offering you ten blog posts published in 2021 on Hugh’s Views And News that I recommend. They are not in any particular order other than the published date they appeared on my blog.

Published January 1st 2021.

What To Do With New Year’s Resolutions

My first post of 2021 got me off to a great start. And the message in it is as relevant today as it was on New Year’s Day 2021. Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions for the New Year? Read my post first before making any decisions.

Published March 9th 2021

Are You Making Any Of These 7 Simple Blogging Mistakes?

Not only do I list these 7 simple mistakes that I see many bloggers making, but I give details on how to fix them. Read my post, take action, and watch your blog sky-rocket if you’re wondering why it’s plateaued.

Published March 15th 2021

How To Reblog A Post Correctly On WordPress

I see so many bloggers reblogging posts with little care about what they’re doing or giving any reasons why they’re sharing the post. Some bloggers who reblog other bloggers’ posts aren’t aware that they could face copyright infringement. Read my post for full details before reblogging that next post.

Published May 17th 2021

These 7 Methods Will Help Get Readers To Your Blog

The most popular question I get asked by other bloggers is ‘How do I get more people to visit my blog?’ This post lists 7 easy methods that worked for me and helped me gain thousands of new visitors, many of whom followed and engage with me.

Published June 17th 2021

How Changing This Setting On Your WordPress Blog Will Help It Gain More Views

Changing this default setting on your WordPress blog is one of the easiest ways to increase the number of visitors coming to your blog. I’m still shocked by how many bloggers have not changed this setting. Are you one of them?

Published June 21st 2021

Edge Of Summer

The birth of two new characters featured a lot on my blog during 2021. Not only did they feature a lot, but they also caused one of my older blog posts to go viral.

Published July 12th 2021

Why Are Some Bloggers Killing Off Comments Being left On Their Blogs?

A question that had many bloggers shaking their heads in disbelief. Why would any blogger kill off comments being left on their blog posts? Read the post to find out the answers.

Published July 19th 2021

Nightmare In Spring

I love a twist, and this piece of flash fiction was the biggest twist I’d ever achieved. And best of all, no one saw the twist coming. Will you spot the twist before finishing the story?

Published October 18th 2021

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Deciding Whether To Follow A Blog

Becoming overwhelmed with blogging is something I’ve witnessed many times. It’s a horrible feeling with lots of traps waiting for victims to fall into. This post takes a good look at the biggest trap of all. Are you about to become a victim?

Published November 29th 2021

How Do You Measure The Success Of Your Blog Posts?

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, so many bloggers and readers are measuring the success of blog posts the wrong way. Are you one of them?

Do you have a blog post from 2021 that you’d like to recommend? Leave a link to it in the comments section and tell me why you’re recommending it.

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Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – December 2021

  • Have you seen the Littlest Christmas Goat? It may look festive, but beware its legend.

Have You Seen The Christmas Goat?

  • Do you have any questions or queries about blogging? Ask me your questions and get featured on my blog.

Looking For Help With Blogging? Do You Have Any Questions About Blogging?

  • Would Christmas ever be the same again? Last Christmas – A very short Christmas story.

Last Christmas

  • Can you have as much fun as me? Answer: Show me by sharing your Christmas jumpers with me.

How Much Fun Can You Have In A Christmas Jumper? #WordlessWednesday #photography

  • What are your blogging plans for the Christmas and New Year holidays? A full update of what’s happening on Hugh’s Views And News.

Christmas And New Year 2021/22 – What Can You Expect On Hugh’s Views And News?

Comments are closed here. Please leave any new comments on the original posts.

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Christmas and New Year 2021/22 – What Can You Expect On Hugh’s Views And News?

I’m taking the festive and holiday season’s opportunity to take a semi-break from the blogging world.

Why a semi-blogging break?

As a blogger who dislikes not responding to comments, I will be answering comments left on any of my blog posts or pages over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Will I be visiting blogs, reading posts and leaving comments?

Probably not. In the seven years I’ve been blogging, I’ve always found this time of year to be tranquil in the blogging world. It’s an excellent time to do some blog housekeeping and tidy up the blog. 

When will my next blog post be published?

My monthly round-up post for December will be published on December 31st 2021.

My first post of 2022 is scheduled to be published on January 3rd 2022.

While I’m away

If you missed my blogging post, ‘Looking For Help With Blogging? Do You Have Any Questions About Blogging?‘ you can still leave questions for me by clicking here. All questions about blogging are welcome. And don’t forget to leave a link to your blog when leaving your questions.

Have you ever had a character you’ve made up actually help you out? I have a new blog post – How To Pull Yourself Out Of A Writing Hole With A Little Help From Your Characters – over on my column at the Carrot Ranch. Be careful what you write about because it could come true.

Don’t forget about Bloganuary 

If you haven’t heard the news, WordPress is running Bloganuary during the whole month of January.

By participating in Bloganuary, you’ll get access to the Bloganuary community site, where you can meet and get to know others working toward similar blogging goals. You can share tips, learn from others, reach a new audience for your blog, and make some new blogging friends. Click here for more details.

Don’t forget that you can also find me on social media. Click on any of the buttons below.

 

A Christmas card showing the face of Santa, a Christmas tree and a Christmas message from Hugh
Christmas 2021

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How Much Fun Can You Have In A Christmas Jumper? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.