Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Reaching People Through the Internet

As the picture to the left would indicate, life is full of surprises. Every now and then, I am reminded of that.

I have been active on the Internet in a lot of ways throughout the years. I have been a  webmaster of my own websites, posted my articles, uploaded my music and my 3D artwork and animation. Occasionally, I am contacted by someone who has seen my work that will be nice enough to take the time to give me some feedback. Personally, I find it amazing how many people we have the potential to reach through the Internet.

On my website, I have a lot of features like online guitar lessons, mandolin chords, banjo chords, soprano recorder songs and scales and so on. Among those features are fingerstyle guitar lessons that teach how to fingerpick on the guitar. I was recently contacted regarding that.

Someone from Germany, who runs a guitar school asked for permission to distribute the downloadable files to his students to use as part of their instruction. I granted him permission on the condition that the files not be altered in any way. The logo and the web address were to remain at the bottom of the downloadable document. All I wanted was the credit for what I had created and the possibility of increasing traffic to my website. I thought that was a reasonable request.

Now as to what I find so amazing about this whole thing is the fact that something I created on the computer from my own home in the United States is reaching people across the Atlantic. Something I created is being used to instruct musicians located in Germany. I don't know about you but I think that is amazing. So the fact is that there is really no telling how many people you may be capable of reaching through the Internet yourself.

I love the Internet. I love the fact that something I have created can have the potential to be seen by anyone, located anywhere that has internet access. There is really no telling what impact that may have on the lives of others. Maybe one of those musicians learning from what I created will turn out to be a great musician someday and actually become famous. Imagine that.

Another thing you can imagine is the possibility that you may reach a lot of people. Maybe you've wanted to write online articles. Maybe you've wanted to post your music or artwork on the Internet. Well, I say go for it. You really never know how many people you can reach or influence. I can tell you from my own experience that it is a great feeling to know that people not only see what you've created but actually appreciate it as well. It's a great feeling and I hope you get to feel it one day yourself. Give it a try and see. I wish you all the luck in the world with it. Good luck.

Bob Craypoe. also known as R. L. Crepeau

Friday, October 2, 2015

Maximizing Your Social Network Marketing Potential

I like to think of  my social network followers as part of my online business infrastructure. They are the means by which I promote myself, my businesses, my websites and my products on the World Wide Web. It's like having my own online advertising agency working to promote me.

Social networking, as well as any other resources at your disposal, is a resource you should strive to maximize in its potential to reach as many people as possible. In order to maximize that potential, you need a strategy. So let me break things down for you to demonstrate what I am talking about.

First of all, social network marketing is a time consuming process that you need to devote time to each and every day. It has to be done with some regularity and across multiple sites. At a minimum, I dedicate at least one hour in the morning to social network marketing. I usually do it first thing in the morning to get it out of the way so that I can then focus on other things. Whenever possible, I will spend more time throughout the day.

One thing I will do is try to increase the number of followers on my social networking accounts. I will follow a few new people and hope they follow me back. Some will and some won't. Then, eventually, a day will come where I can no longer follow more people on my Twitter account because I have reached the limit. So then I will wait a few days and will then go through the process of removing the people that I follow but don't follow me back. After all, if they don't follow me back, what use do I have for them? Unless of course it is someone in an industry I work in that I follow for vital industry information.

Eventually, I will remove all of the people that don't follow me back. That can take a number of days to achieve. The thing is that you have to be careful not to delete too many followers or follow too many new people in a day. Try not to do any more than 60 of each in a day. Otherwise Twitter will suspend your account.

After I purge all of my non followers, I begin the process of following more people in the hopes that they follow me back. So every day, I do something in the attempt to increase my number of followers. I also post things as well. After all, what good are followers if you don't post anything for them to see?

So I will then pick out a few things that I want to post. I may post links to some features on my websites, I might post a link to one of my blog posts or a link to newly created merchandise that I just made available. I don't go one day without posting something on my Google + pages, Twitter accounts or Facebook fan pages. I try to post on all three of those sites at least once a day and that is usually first thing in the morning. That is the absolute minimum I will do for each day.

Now the thing is that most people who have various social networking accounts on the various social networking sites have a preferred time of the day where they check out the sites to see what's new. Some people like to check their accounts first thing in the morning. Some may prefer to do that around lunch time. Others may prefer to just do it after work. So posting multiple times per day will actually help you to reach a higher percentage of the people who actually follow you.

Always be careful as not to post too much of the same thing or post too often. Because then you just start to become annoying to some people and they will no longer want to follow you. Also, you may notice that after a while the responses your posts receive have waned a bit. That may be a sign you are posting too often. You might want to cut back on your posts for a few days and then resume once again.

Sometimes I will break things up and just post something that doesn't have anything to do with me but it's something that I think is interesting. This can help to break up the monotony of your self-promotional posts. It shows that things aren't always about you. Also, those other things might help to make you appear more interesting. Maybe a funny video from YouTube or an interesting article from someone else.

Be sure to track the responses you get for each post and the types of posts you do. You need to measure your results. That's very important.

So the activities I am emphasizing in this article are: 
1. Always do something to try to increase your number of followers each day.
2. Always try to post something at least once every day.
3. If possible, try to post three times a day like in the morning, lunchtime and evening.
4. Try not to post the same things too often.
5. Occasionally post something not related to you but might be considered interesting to people.
6. Always track the responses you get to see what works and what doesn't.

Give those things a try and see how you do. Good luck.

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Reduce the Redundancies and Reduce the Work

For a while I was really doing a lot of work on certain things but was not really going anywhere. It's like my tires were spinning and I wasn't getting any traction. Maybe you've been there yourself and maybe you are there now.

Something thing that I have noticed that would be a contributing factor to that would be the various redundancies you may have in your day to day operations. perhaps you have been trying to expand but in reality, you just spread yourself too thin to be effective in any of the areas you are attempting to branch out in.

I had a number of websites and some got a lot of traffic while others not so much. it got to the point where updating the poor performing ones was just entirely too much work and simply not worth the effort anymore. So I decided to take the content from the poor performing sites and migrate it over to the better performing ones and give the poor performing ones the ax.

Now, since I no longer have to worry about those sites anymore, I can allow the domain names to expire. I have decided to allow about ten domain names to expire. So it should save me a substantial amount of money each year by not having to renew them.  But the biggest plus is that it just makes it so much easier to maintain my websites.

I also have a number of blogs that I will stop doing as well. I will continue this one though, so don't worry, if you are worried, that is. it's just that some of my blogs had similar themes and there was just no realy point in tryint to come up with new blog posts for all of these different blogs. that meant that they weren't being updated as often as they probably should be and the one thing that is important about having a blog is that you post regularly. Otherwise people lose interest.

So with the combination of reducing the number of websites I maintain and reducing the number of blogs I post to, it really simplifies things significantly. it's really about reducing the redundancies in order to free up time so that the time I have can be spent more productively.

The process of consolidating things is still going on but I am confident that once it has all been completed, things will be much easier for me to maintain. It should also be a lot less time consuming as well. believe me, I can always find something to do with the freed up time. make no mistake about that.

So where are your redundancies? Are there ways for you to consolidate things? give it some thought and maybe you will discover the things you should probably eliminate or scale back on. Give it a try and see if it works for you like it is for me.

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Using Social Networking Sites for Visual Online Promotion

We have all heard that using social networking websites for the purposes of online marketing and increasing brand awareness can be an effective tool in promoting yourself online. But what would make it even more effective is visually oriented usage of the social networking websites.

I have found that a tweet send out from my Twitter account that contains an image is much more effective than just a text tweet. so What I will often do is include an image with a link to whatever it is I am attempting to promote.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are living in a visually oriented society. It's like that old song that says that video killed the radio star. There is a lot of truth to that statement. many musical acts that did not participate in music videos for the purpose of promoting their music ended up suffering for it as a result. While those who made great use of the visual medium often did very well.

The same could be said in regard to advertising and marketing and in reference to the use of social networking sites for the purpose of online marketing. this is where a site like Pinterest can come in handy. Pinterest, after all, is all about images. and what is great about it is if someone repins one of your Pnterest pins, they are basically advertising what you are promoting. Any image that you pin from your website has the potential to be repinned by someone else and if someone clicks on it, They go to the page that the image originated from. that's like having free banner ads placed all over the Internet. If you are fortunate enough to have some of your pins get a high ranking on Pinterest, it could be a goldmine in free online promotion.

Even if you are a blog writer, you are much more likely to draw someone's attention if your blog includes an image. Especially if you post the link on your Facebook or Goggle + page. It would be much more eye-catching if there is an image included with the post.

If possible, animated gifs work very well for catching someone's eye. unfortunately, they don't always work on certain social networking websites. But on the ones where they do, they are very effective in grabbing a person's attention.

So, to sum it up: I have seen the difference in performance in online promotion and marketing when you include images as opposed to when you don't. the performance or response rate is much better when you include an image. just something for you to think about.

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The First Year Anniversary for this Blog - Happy Birthday, Blog!

The "Bob Craypoe's World" blog has just turned one year old. Yes, that's right, it is the one year anniversary for this wonderful blog. 

I have taken on a number of projects throughout the last year and have written about some of them. One of those projects is the Comic Strip that was started this past January. It provided some inspiration for a few blog posts here. among them was what software I use and things like that.

My blog posts generally center around my various areas of knowledge, experience and expertise. Among those are music, web development, 3D art and animation and writing. that pretty much covers the bulk of my subject matter, anyway.

Some blog posts generally do better than others but that's just how it is. Overall, I am basically pleased with the response. Of course, I would always like more article views but the blog is only a year old, so I have to give it some time.

I have received over 2 million blog views on numerous sites and this is just one site that I write on. Personally, I wish those 2 million views were all on this site because this is my own blog and it would be nice if it took off like that. Maybe in time I will get as many views here, on my own blog site, as I get on other sites. 

I made 51 blog posts on this site. I don't think that's too bad considering that I still wrote for other sites at the same time and the fact that writing is not the only thing I do.

Anyway, I appreciate all of you wonderful people that have come here to read my blog. You people are truly awesome. Thank you so much. Let's hope things get even better over the next year.

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

You Can't Fake Adequate Communication Skills

One thing that I have learned is that you can never underestimate the advantages one might gain by having decent communication skills.; whether it's on the job, social situations or just making a good first impression.

No matter what, your skills and your knowledge can be taken with you anywhere. You could quit your current job and take your skills somewhere else, to be used in the service of another employer.

I don't know how many newspaper ads I have seen where there may have been a managerial or supervisory position being advertised, where they had stressed the importance of communication skills. I have personally held managerial and supervisory positions and let me tell you, it sure came in handy to exhibit some eloquence in the usage of the English language.

As a manager, I have interviewed job applicants. I have to say that I was more impressed by those who communicated effectively than those who did not. I also have the sneaking suspicion that others in managerial positions out there feel the same.

I read somewhere that in most cases, smarter employees perform better than their peers. Of course there is such a thing as a work ethic and you will have some smart people who may just so happen to be lazy. However, smarter people technically don't have to work as hard as others because they often find ways of working smarter rather than harder. that in turn may allow them more time to goof off, simply because they got the job done sooner by working smarter.

Whether it is fair or not, people are often judged by their communication skills. When someone speaks poor English in a job interview or misspells words on a job application, they are judged negatively as a result. They are often viewed as being less intelligent. The people or the company doing the hiring generally prefer to hire the best and brightest they can get for what they are willing to pay.

I have been doing online article writing for a number of years now and I would have to say that it has helped me tremendously in improving my own communication skills. I often write in various word processing programs that will have spell check and some will also check on your grammar. Seeing my mistakes highlighted in those programs with that little squiggly line below them brought many of my bad writing and communication habits to my attention. I would then try to slowly eliminate those bad habits; whether they would be problems with spelling, punctuation or grammar.

If someone doesn't do online article writing, they could keep a diary as a means of improving their communication skills. Some word processing programs allow you to put a password on documents, so if you put a password on your diary, you won't have to worry about unwanted eyes viewing your private thoughts. Keeping that diary will allow you to practice your communication skills and you will see many of your mistakes highlighted with that little squiggly line I mentioned above. Then you can look up your mistakes and see how you may correct them, as well as get out of the habit of making them.

Eventually, with practice, you will improve your communication skills. In some cases, it can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. After getting a job, it can also mean the difference between getting a promotion and not getting one. It may even help you in social situations. maybe it will help you to write that sappy little love poem to that special someone. Remember, adequate communication skills cannot be faked.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

How to Never Work a Day

There is a quote from Confucius that goes like this: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I love this quote and I firmly believe the philosophy behind it to be the absolute truth. If you were to read the success stories of many millionaires, you will find that many of them have a number of things in common. They will often be the type of people who had big dreams and they put in a lot of hours pursuing them.

What often makes it easier for them to put in so many hours is the fact that they enjoy the type of work that they are doing. So what Confucius really means by saying that you will never work a day in your life is that since it is something you enjoy so much, it's not like working at something you would think of as tedious or monotonous.

Everybody has their own idea as to what may be tedious or monotonous or boring. What I may consider to be a boring job, someone else may consider to be their dream job. Sure, any job, no matter how much you may like it, would have some negative aspects about it. Work is, well, work. It's really more about what kind of satisfaction you really get out of it.

One of my many “jobs” is that of a comic strip creator. I do an online comic strip called the Comic Strip. I enjoy doing it mainly because I like to see the end product. Now, granted, I believe some of them are funnier or better than others. I'll be the first to admit that I probably don't hit a home run every time at the plate. But, overall, I am pretty satisfied with the end product most of the time.

There are a number of challenging aspects to doing it. I do it in 3D animation program and add the captions in another program that is used for creating comic books. I also use Photoshop for some things as well as a few other programs. So the creation of each of the comic strips involves the use of a number of programs. Learning those programs was a challenge but once I learn how to do certain tasks, I am kind of proud of myself for having yet another accomplishment under my belt.

I also do other things that have been a bit of a challenge as well. The feeling I get upon the completion of those projects is what really drives me to do them the most. I will often put in a lot of hours doing some of the things I do. Some aspects may be a bit tedious. For example, when I add a lot of pages to one of my websites, it can be a bit monotonous. I have done projects that have involved the creation of hundreds of web pages. But when I look at what I have done and see how I have created over 4,000 pages, it is sometimes hard to believe.

So my satisfaction comes really from what I accomplish. I look at my thousands of web pages I have on the Internet, my 3D art and animation, my music and my writing and it is sometimes hard to believe that I am the one who has done all of those things.

Writing itself can be a challenge. Some of you writers out there would be able to relate to that statement. Sometimes you get writer's block and are worried you may not be able to come up with your next idea. I kind of get that with my comic strips too. But the funny thing is that sometimes I get a rush of ideas and I write them all down for future use. So I somehow manage to keep going.

I guess, to sum things up, I would have to say that you need to find something that you really have a passion for. As for myself, I like the creative process of creating something from nothing. Sometimes the various challenges can be intimidating but when I meet a challenge and do well, the feeling of accomplishment makes it all worthwhile. That's when I realize that maybe confucius was really on to something when he said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau is a musician, writer, cartoonist, webmaster, 3D artist and entrepreneur. He is also the creator of the comic strip.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Always Think of the End Game to Stay on Track

It's really easy to lose focus at times, no matter what it is that you are trying to achieve. So every now and then, you need to remind yourself as to what the end game should be. You have to think about what you really want to do in the end. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up to spend more time doing the things you don't want to do than the things you really want to do.

Years ago, I started a local arts magazine. I thought it would be a great way to break into the music scene with my own music. It helped to some degree but what I really ended up doing was spending most of my time working on the magazine and not so much time working on my music. You see, the end game that I wanted was to do more with my music, not less. That's just one example as to how you can end up losing focus and veering off into a direction you never really intended to go.

Another thing I tried was doing websites for other bands in exchange for opportunities to play at their gigs while the owners of the establishments were present. I did that to sort of use it as an opportunity to do a live audition. I got a number of gigs that way. But after while, I spent more time doing the website updates and was given less opportunities to play at their gigs and so it ended up getting to the point where it was really a waste of my time.

Still, to this day, I have to stop what I am doing and really analyze my situation, my progress and my goals. It doesn't really take much to lose focus. I think about what I am currently doing, whether or not it's something I want to continue to do and I also think about the things that I am not doing that I would like to be able to do. I have to think about whether or not I am moving closer to my goals or drifting away from them.

I am a creative person. I like to do a number of creative things. I do websites, 3D art and animation, music and this writing thing. I also work a full time job. So needless to say, I manage to keep myself pretty busy. The eventual goal is to just work completely for myself doing all of the creative things that I enjoy doing. I would also prefer that I make some decent money while doing so. I believe my overall goal to be a realistic one.

That's another thing that we have to think about as well. We have to think about whether or not our end game or overall goal is a realistically attainable one. Once we determine that it is, we have to keep after it.

At one time, I was completely self employed. When the economy took a major downturn, I was forced to get a job working for someone else. It was a disappointment because I really loved the freedom that I had working totally for myself. I would get up in the morning and decide what I was going to work on that day. It could be web development, my music or writing some articles. It was whatever I felt like and that was great.

So my overall goal is to get back to that but preferable with a more sustainable business model that would not be easily derailed by a downturn in the economy. Every now and then, though, I find myself working more on some of the less desirable things and less on the more desirable things and I ask myself “is this what you really want to do?” Then I tell myself “no.” So I kind of make some modifications in my activities to try to get back on track.

There are a number of ways I can try to publicize myself and promote myself online. Much of that will involve various activities that are quite time consuming. If I get too caught up in that, I set myself up to do more of those things I don't like having to do. So I try to do those things in moderation. Another thing too is the fact that if everything becomes so tedious, monotonous or boring, you may end up giving up on everything or just burn yourself out.

So the main advice I intend to give here is to stop every now and then, think of that end game and see if you are really progressing towards it. If you find that you have drifted away, try to steer yourself back onto the right path. Then maybe, the light at the end of the tunnel will soon be within site.

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It Takes Constant Promotion to Attain Success Online

With the many things that I have done online, I have come to the realization that in order to attain any level of success, you need to engage in constant promotion. My online activities include web development, selling of art prints, selling of my music as well as e-books.

I recently started an online comic strip called the comic strip, which features punk rock cartoon characters. I have to say that I probably spend more time promoting the comic strip, the merchandise and the website that they are on than I do creating the comic strip itself. There is no exaggeration here, it is really constant promotion.

Every time I create a new work of 3D art, I make it available for sale as art prints. So I upload it to the site I sell from and then post it on my Facebook page. I post it on my personal Facebook page as well as the various fan pages. I also post on Twitter. If I want to promote a new feature on one of my websites, I basically do the same.

Facebook and Twitter aren't the only social networking sites I am active on. I am active on a few more sites as well. So I make a point of posting on them as well. I even have a few blogs that I post things on too.

I not only post my websites and my art prints but whenever I upload new music or videos, I promote that as well. I post in Google plus groups as well as Facebook groups. Let's just say that I post wherever I can get away with posting.

I have seen the difference between actively engaging in online promotion through social media and not. Let me tell you that there is a significant difference. I can tell how effective it is by using Google Analytics as well as checking the statistics of my Blogspot blogs.

If you don't actively engage in online promotion of some kind, you will basically be depending upon people discovering what you want them to see by merely stumbling upon it. That's fine but don't expect a lot of people to do that. I am fortunate in the sense that I do have some websites that get thousands of visits a month through search engine traffic but not everybody has that advantage. Even with that advantage, It still helps a lot to post on my social media pages.

I don't only promote things that are new that would obviously need to be promoted in order for people to see. But I also promote some of the features on my various websites that already get traffic though the search engines. I figure that promoting it on the social networking sites will only make those websites even more popular.

I just recently finished an e-book that is a compilation of the first 50 comic strips for the comic strip. Once it was completed, I wrote a blog about the release of it, I wrote a blog about how I did it and I posted it all over my social networking pages. Let me just say that it is crucial that you do that sort of thing unless you have a serious advertising budget. Even if you do have a large advertising budget, it doesn't hurt to use the methods that are free like promotion on social networking websites.

It doesn't really matter so much as to what exactly it is that you are trying to promote online. No matter what it is, chances are, people will not just stumble on to it. When I say that I spend a lot of time promoting my work, I am not joking. If you don't actively engage in online promotion through the social networking websites then you may not be getting anyone to see your work, whether it is a website, a product you are selling, your music or online videos. That is the reality of the situation. You need to accept that reality and meet it head on. That's what I have done and will continue to do myself.

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau is a webmaster, 3D artist, musician and the creator of the Comic Strip.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I Have Released the First E-book Volume of the Comic Strip

I recently released a new e-book called The Comic Strip Collection Volume 1. It features the first 50 strips from the Comic Strip series. I was very happy to complete and release the compilation e-book. For more information regarding it, I have included the FOREWORD from the book in this post, so here it goes:

Thank you for buying this book. This book celebrates the completion of the first fifty comic strips. The first strip was officially released on January 25th, 2015. It initially started out as being just a weekly comic strip but has since gone on to have three strips released per week.

The first fifty comic strips feature over 20 characters. That can be confusing for some, I know, but I do have a characters page on the website that describes each character in detail and I also have a free e-book available that does the same.

I wanted to do what I could to introduce all of the characters and the various scenarios in the first fifty strips because I felt it was important to create the basic foundation upon which it all would be built.

This is actually my first attempt at a comic strip. It is something that I had been considering for a number of years but had not actually gotten around to it until recently. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep coming up with new ideas for strips. Luckily enough, though, I managed to at least come up with the fifty that make up this book and I have a number of ideas written down for future comic strips.

I tried to incorporate a number of different elements into the strip. I am a musician, so I have my experiences there to work with. I have worked in a corporate environment, so I have that element as well. I have also worked a number of other different types of jobs and met a lot of different people along the way that provide memories for me to draw from. Please don’t go thinking that I am just making fun of certain types of people because, to a great extent, I am really poking fun at myself, my experiences and how I used to be.

I would not recommend the humor contained in my comic strips for young readers. It is primarily adult humor. I would prefer that the reader be at least 16 or 17 years old. Some people have referred to the humor as being somewhat dark or cynical. Others don’t try to describe it at all other than to say that they think they are funny. Being the creator of the comic strips, I am glad that someone thinks they are funny. I just hope that you all get a kick out of it too."

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

For more information about the book, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bloggers Going It Alone as Opposed to Working as a Team

Working through the many projects I have done over the years, I have learned that there are two approaches you can take. One approach would be to go it alone and the other approach would involve working with others in order to complete the project. There are obviously advantages to each approach.

Probably the best benefit of going it alone in a project is that you have complete control over every aspect of it. You make all of the decisions, there is nobody there to argue with it or no creative differences of any kind. There may be other issues that will come into play like your budget. Perhaps you simply do not have the budget that would allow you to hire on others or to entice anyone to participate.

I know a lot of people who basically have been going it alone. Some of them, it seems to work for, while others don't seem to make much progress at all, regardless as to how many years they have been at it. If it seems that you are not making progress after going it alone for a long time, it may be time to consider trying to put together a team.

Sometimes you may be able to assemble a group of people without having to shell out a lot of money. Allow me to provide an example. Let's say that you are a blog writer. I know from experience that you can write blogs for a very long time and build a readership base at a very slow pace. Most bloggers I know of basically go it all alone. They write their own blog and do their own website with their blog on it. They often struggle to build a following or acquire a great number of subscribers.

The problem is that many bloggers don't work together to help promote one another. It's not really about being competitive, it has more to do with the fact that each person gets so caught up in what they are doing that they often neglect to look at the big picture. To me, the big picture is not the work itself but building up a following so people can see your work.

Now let's say that you have been writing a blog for a number of years and have not been building that following. Well, you may be doing something wrong that has nothing at all to do with the quality of your work. It may have much more to do with your approach to promoting yourself.

So let's also say that you now want to change your approach since it has not been working out so well for you. Let's say that you find a few other bloggers and decide to start your own website that will post the work of a number of bloggers. Each blogger promotes the site in the hopes that they could all share each others' readers. So how would this work any better than going it alone? I am glad that you asked. Allow me to elaborate on that:

First of all, people will generally care more about something that they are involved in rather than something that they are not involved in. It is basic human nature. So when it comes to promoting something, they are more likely to promote, mention or bring attention to something they are involved in.

So if you have a group of ten bloggers promoting a website, you should be able to pull in a significant amount of traffic to the site. Then you could hope that over time, the traffic will grow and your readership base for your blog will grow significantly as well.

Then there is the social networking aspect of it all. Let's say that your website has a Facebook group. If each contributing writer participates in the group by posting and commenting, while inviting their Facebook friends, they should be able to generate a lot of activity as well as interest in the Facebook group. That could help to generate more interest in the website as well.

Much of the success would obviously depend upon the level of participation of the group of writers. If each member of the group really does his or her share of the writing, promotion and participation on the social networking sites, success for each member becomes more likely. So obviously it is important to make sure that you assemble a group of quality writers who work not only hard on their writing but their self promotion as well. If everyone works hard and together, it should turn out much better than going it alone.

Bob Craypoe is a musician, writer, cartoonist, webmaster, 3D artist and entrepreneur. He is also the creator of the Online Comic Strip. Just Google his name and you will find him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Appreciate the Good People You Meet in Life

I have met a lot of people in my life and have worked a lot of different jobs here and there. It seems as if there is no shortage of people who make others miserable. Especially on the job. I don't care where you work or what kind of job you do, there always seems to be that one difficult person that everyone tries to avoid.

Even in public places we come across rude people who seem to act as if their parents never taught them basic manners. Never mind when there is one of those Christmas sales where there are limited quantities of certain items. Then it's a no-holds-barred brawl for the merchandise.

I had one job that I worked that had more than its share of difficult people. Of course, referring to them simply as difficult people is probably being much kinder than they are deserving of. That's why, when you do meet good people, it is a good idea to make a practice of appreciating them.

After having worked a number of jobs throughout the years where I had to deal with some very difficult people, I had the good fortune of getting a job where basically everyone on the job was nice. People got a long with each other, there was no backstabbing and people did their jobs and mided their own business. Talk about a major contrast between the two scenarios.

Another thing is that there were times when I had difficult neighbors to deal with. Neighbors with no regard or consideration for anyone else living in the neighborhood. So when they leave and you get a nice neighbor replacing them, it is amazing how much nicer the neighborhood will be. There is an old Oscar Wilde quote I like and have referred to a number of times that kind of suits this topic and it goes like this: Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” that's kind of how it was when those nasty neighbors moved out of the neighborhood.

Even in family situations, things can be hard. I will admit that in the past there have been times when things were difficult in my family situation. But now everything is great with everyone in the family. We all get along so well and we all live in a close proximity to each other. We often see each other, not just on holidays but quite often throughout the year.

When I say to appreciate the good people you meet, I don't just mean to show it by doing nice things for them, which is a good idea, but to also be thankful for them. I say that because sometimes situations in our lives may change so fast that we may lose those good things we have in our lives in the blink of an eye.

Sometimes it is hard for me to believe how well things are going in my life as far as the people I deal with on a daily basis goes. For this I am very grateful. I know from my previous experiences that situations can change drastically, at the drop of a hat.

Also, I think it is important to be grateful for the good things in our life for another reason. That reason is to help keep things in perspective. Everyone gets down from time to time and may even have moments of depression. When we remember to be thankful for and have appreciation for the good things in our lives, it can have a positive effect on our attitudes and our happiness. It may even prompt us to want to do something nice for others who may not have things so well. Maybe even for some of those nice people in our lives who may be going through a rough spell.

As far as showing appreciation to the people themselves goes, it's a good idea to do that from time to time. One of the biggest complaints people have about their jobs is that their bosses or supervisors, or even co-workers for that matter, don't show appreciation for their work. This is also a common complaint people have about their marriages. They often feel as if their spouse does not show enough appreciation for the things they do. This may even be a problem with some friendships.

So if you have some good people in your life, count them among your various blessings. Maybe show them or tell them from time to time that you appreciate them. Nasty people are a dime-a-dozen. Truly good people are a bit less common. So make a point to appreciate them for what they are.

Photo Credit: image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Always be willing to Try New Things and Go for the Knockout

So, I just heard from SoundCloud that one of the songs I recorded with a band I used to be in is nearing 1,000 downloads. I think it's pretty funny because it is just a recording from one of our rehearsals. It's not even a studio recording. In fact, we just set up the sound system, set a mic in the middle of the room and recorded it live.

It really goes to show that you just never know how something will be received. the song was just a cover version of a cheap Trick song called "The Flame." It was put up on the SoundCloud website so that people could here how we sound. The band has since disbanded and we all went our separate ways.

In all honesty, though,  I don't really think that 1,000 downloads is what makes for a hit. It's just that it was such a surprise that a simple rehearsal recording would be received that well. It has gotten many more plays than downloads as well. But at least 1,000 of the people who listened to it liked it enough to actually want to download it.

I think the lesson learned from this experience is to sort of keep your mind open for new ideas and be willing to try new things. This particular song was really just one of around 80 songs or so that the band performed. There were other songs that I would have thought would have been received better. But these sort of things happen with everything.

I have done some videos that were received better than other ones that surprised me. I have had some of my 3D artwork be received better than some of my other works. The same is true regarding my writing and my websites. You can never accurately predict which ones will do better than the others. At least I have never been able to do so.

I am a firm believer in the fact that a person should always be willing to try new things. Many of my successes resulted from trying something new that I wasn't sure would amount to anything.

Another thing to make a point of doing is to be willing to put in an honest effort. Sure, the recording I am speaking of was not a studio recording. But we did make the effort to get a decent quality recording with the assets we had. We did a few sample recordings and played around with the placement of the mic until we came up with a sound we were satisfied with. In other words, we made the best effort we could with what we had. We tried something new and we went for the knockout. 

The image provided with this article is from the Punk Rock Comic Strip.
Bob Craypoe's SoundCloud Page

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hammering Out the Details

Whenever you begin to actively pursue a goal, there are certain details that need to be hammered out. Those details involve such things as to what has to be accomplished in order to make progress. It also involves knowing the reality of your situation.

As an example, there is a certain amount of income I would like to be able to generate from my websites. So I played around with some numbers and calculated that if I averaged .6 cents a visitor, I would need half a million visitors a month on my websites in order to generate around $36,000 a year from my websites.

I got the .6 cent per visitor figure from doing some research on another site that gets millions of visitors a year and reduced the numbers accordingly to a level us simple folk can deal with.

Sometimes when we see the real numbers and what we may be up against, we become discouraged. sometimes it may seem as if the odds are astronomically high against us. maybe we were not even being realistic regarding the tasks that lay before us. but sometimes, after the initial shock of seeing the real numbers, we manage to get it all together. this is not about dashing your hopes but more about knowing what you are up against so that you may take the necessary steps required to pursue your goal.

I will often outline things either on paper or in a document on my computer. I just find it to be a bit easier to grasp when I see it all laid out before me. I am often a stickler for the finer details.

After getting all of the details, the next step would be to devise a strategy or number of strategies one could employ to reach that goal. The point is that we all need to know what the real numbers are in order to have some idea as to the reality of our situation and where we need to go. That’s what everyone needs to do when they actively pursue a goal. They need to determine where they are, where they need to go and what needs to be done to get there. They need to hammer out the details.

Image by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Diversifying Your Online Writing Income

We have all probably heard the saying that we should not put all of our eggs in one basket. That could very well easily apply to online income as well. It could even apply to online article writing. There are so many writing sites out there now. None of them are perfect. They all have their good points as well as their bad points. But, in any case, a person would be wise to write for more than one site.

You see, if you only write for one site and something happens to that site like the earnings take a dive or it completely closes down, you lose everything. However, if you write for other sites as well, you still have something going. I have written for one site that paid very well in the beginning and then, as it turned out, they were paying more out to their writers than they could actually afford to pay out. they eventually had to adjust their rates in order to avoid shutting down the site entirely. Unfortunately, they had to cut the rates a lot in order to recover some of the money they had lost. When they had done that, they lost a lot of writers.

There was another writing site that had just started out that was siphoning off writers from the previously mentioned site. At first things were going well. But then one of the people working for the site took off with the money and all of the writers on the site had their bank balances wiped out and had to start all over again.

Some sites also pay more than others. I have written for some sites where my articles had gotten thousands of views but the money generated from them were less than some articles that received only hundreds or dozens of views on other writing sites. I still write for that site because I also write for promotional purposes, not just money. I promote things like my e-books, websites, music and 3D artwork. Getting thousands of article views can really help with that. In fact, self-promotion was the main reason I even really got started in online writing. Over time, I actually began to enjoy writing. Imagine that.

Sometimes things will fluctuate too. Maybe things will be going great for a few months on a particular writing site but for some reason things will start to slow down. It might be a good time, then, to try out other sites. then, when things start to pick up on that site once again, you can go back. It's not like you ave to completely give up on a site. You can always go back on occasion to sort of check in and see what's going on. I do that a lot myself.

So, I try not to put all of my online writing eggs in one basket. How about you?

Image Credit:  "Sorcerer Troll and Apprentice" created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How to Create and Sell Your Own Merchandise

Recently I began working on a site called that features some punk rock cartoon characters. The website has some free desktop wallpapers available for download as well as a comic strip. I created all of that in the hopes that I may popularize the characters and be able to do some merchandising featuring the characters that I created. I also recently finished working on creating some merchandise that I can sell from my website.

The website that I created the merchandise and sell through is called There is also another one named, that I have made my own merchandise through as well. They both allow you to take your own images and create T-shirts, posters, wall clocks, mugs, stickers, mousepads and more. I used one of my own images to create the T-shirt  I have displayed to the left. 

There is also another website where I sell art prints featuring my own 3D artwork and that site is called They even give you code to embed into your web pages that allows you to sell the art prints directly from your own website.

All of the websites I just listed handle all of the transactions for you and all of the products are made to order, so there is no financial risk for you because you don't have to have a lot of merchandise made up in advance to try to sell yourself. Some of these sites offer money back guarantees as well, in the event someone is not satisfied. They handle all of that for you too.

The only thing you have to do is try to find ways to direct people to your website or your products page on any of the sites listed. That's the hardest part, if you ask me. Creating the merchandise and setting it up for sale is really the easy part.

So if you ever wanted to know how to create and sell your own merchandise on the Internet, now you know.

The Space Probe Approach to Finding Success

There are a number of different things that I do. I do web development, music, 3D art and animation and this writing thing. The problem is that it is hard to find the time to do them all and it is hard to decide where I should put my efforts in next. So, I sometimes take the space probe approach to things. Let me explain.

NASA has sent out space probes with various things like information about our planet, in the event that there may be intelligent life out there in the universe other than us. It's like sending something out to see if someone finds it. That's what I do with my work.

I will put something out there to see if it draws a lot of attention. If it does, I will do more work of that kind. So I might work on a new website to see how well it will do. If it doesn't draw much attention, I move on to the next thing. Maybe I will do a music video. If it draws minimal attention, I move on to the next thing. So what I end up doing is prioritizing as to what I will be doing next instead of trying to do everything at the same time. I just send out a probe to see who will find it. 

The thing is that there are times when the various things we do don't yield the results that we hope they would. Hey, that's just part of life. Not everything we do pans out or ends up being a great success. We just have to make that extra effort to not get too discouraged if things don't go our way. It's just back to the drawing board. in my case, the drawing board is usually a computer.

You may also want to take into consideration the fact that certain opportunities may arise from things you may have done well in the past. I have had people contact me through one of my websites and with them came new opportunities. so, in many cases, the work you have done in the past can lead to new things in the future. So it's not a waste of effort.

Keeping your eyes open for new opportunities is a good thing to do as well. Sending out that space probe can help you to stumble onto those new opportunities. Well, I have to go now, it's about time for liftoff, see you later.

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Introduction to the Balalaika

I started to play the balalaika about 5 years ago. It is a beautiful instrument. The balalaika is a stringed instrument popularized throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. It has three strings and a triangular shaped body. It is also a fretted instrument. The most popular version of it is the prima balalaika. That is the one that I play. The prima balalaika is tuned E E A. The two E strings are actually tuned to the same pitch and are nylon. The A string is steel. The two E strings generally serve as the accompaniment tones and the steel string is used primarily for the melody. The steel string stands out more because of the fact that the other two are nylon. That's what helps the melody stand out.

Since two of the strings are tuned the same. The thumb of the fretting hand is used quite often to play the lowest string. It takes a bit of getting used to and your thumb will get calloused like the other fingers on your fretting hand. The balalaika is played with the fingers instead of a pick or a plectrum. There is also an extensive use of the tremolo technique like the mandolin, except that the mandolin is usually played with a pick but the tremolo on the balalaika is done with the index finger. 

I have grown to to love the instrument. I have included a link to a recording I posted on Soundcloud that I made with a couple of my friends. I am playing a traditional Russian folk tune but I have a friend playing a synthesizer solo with it. Here is the link:

I also give online tips on my website for playing the balalaika:

Bob Craypoe is a musician, writer, cartoonist, webmaster, 3D artist and entrepreneur. Just Google his name and you will find him. You can find his art by Googling R. L. Crepeau

Photo Credit: by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Monday, March 9, 2015

You Never Know Until You Try

Every now and then, it is a good idea to stop and take a look at your accomplishments in order to avoid getting discouraged about other things that may not be going as planned or as well as you would like. I have done numerous projects throughout the years and let me tell you that a lot of them did not take off as fast as I would have liked. Things like that can lead to discouragement. Discouragement can sometimes lead to quitting if we allow the feeling of discouragement to get too strong. 

So, in order to feel better about my situation, I think of what I have already accomplished. I try to think about the things that I could never have imagined that I would achieve. Among those things are the number of people I would be able to reach through my various efforts.

One thing that I had done that managed to reach a lot of people is my network of websites. The network of websites. I literally get millions of page views a year. I could never have foreseen that. Hell, there was a time when I didn't even think I would have my own websites. I have also created a lot of pages. I have over 4,000 pages on the Net.

I have always had some interest in writing. Even when I was a kid, I had an interest in it. I was actually fairly good at it. But I didn't really do much with it until I started to write online articles. I have done over 200 online articles to date. I have also done some for sale as well as written some e-books. On one of the sites I write for, I am nearing 2 million article views. Just think of that. I don't know how many people I have reached overall but that is a lot of views. It could just be a few thousand people reading a lot of my articles. In any case, 2 million article views is a lot, in my book.

I have written the overwhelming majority of my articles for other sites. Just last year, I started this blog. I have not received as many views on my own blog but I remain hopeful that it will eventually take off like my other various projects. Anyway, like the title says, you never know until you try.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How I Do My Online Comic Strip - The Software I Use & More

I recently began doing a weekly online comic strip called the comic strip. It features punk rock characters and can obviously be viewed on the website. All of it is put together on the computer and some have asked me what software I use to put it together. So that's what this article is about.

The first thing I did was create the characters. I created them all in Daz Studio. If you are not familiar with Daz Studio, it is a similar program to Poser but I kind of prefer it over Poser. You can find out more about Daz Studio by going to their website,

I basically set up each scene in Daz Studio first, using the characters I have already created. The beauty of the whole thing is that once you create the characters, you can use them over and over again in as many images you desire. I prefer to do each frame 800 x 800 pixels. That's larger than the end product but I prefer to lay it out in a larger size. It seems easier to do that way.

I try to make sure I create an image that allows enough room for the captions I plan to use for each frame. My preferred format is basically three frames to set it up for the punchline in frame four; which makes for four frames for each comic strip.

I use a program called Manga Studio from Smith Micro (same company that does Poser) for the captions. Manga Studio can be used to create comics from scratch if you want to do it all in one program. I will be honest and say that I am not very good at the program and I really only use it to add the captions to the images I create in other programs. After I add the captions to a frame, I export the image as a jpeg.

After I create the jpeg with the caption, I just import it into the G.I.M.P image manipulation program. It is an open source program and is available for free download. I use it to resize each frame from 800 x 800 pixels to 360 x 360 pixels.

Then I go into Windows Paint and create a blank image that is 740 x 740 pixels. After that I put in each frame. Then I add my signature,, on the bottom left and add the release date on the frame on the bottom right. So there you have the final product like the one displayed above.

It took some playing around and experimentation to develop a system but once I developed it, it became quite easy to do after a while. The 740 x 740 image size works perfect for adding a new strip to my website. It fits perfectly on the pages of the site. The only thing I do is just a slight reduction in size in the web development program, Microsoft Expression Web, which is available now for free download as well. I resize it in that program to 730 x 730 pixels.

So that's how I do it, for those of you who were wondering and for those of you who care.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Running the Numbers in Pursuit of your Goals

I was running some numbers just this morning regarding some of my goals. I have a number of goals but among them are my internet and website related goals. Much of which is regarding the amount of income I would like to be able to generate from my websites. However, the income I would like to generate is highly dependent upon a certain amount of traffic I would need to receive on those websites.

Just to get some idea, I went to a site that gives you information on any domain name you enter. the information you receive will be the approximate value of the site, the amount of traffic it receives and an estimate as to how much income the site generates as a result of the traffic it receives. So I entered in a domain name of a popular website and I calculated that the amount it basically received per visitor was .6 cents per visitor.

Now, in the real world, this amount could vary, depending on how well monetized your site actually is. But let's just say that a site that is adequately monetized generates, on average, .6 cents per visitor. 

So based on that number, I calculated that I would have to have half a million visitors a month going to my websites in order for me to generate $36,000 a year from my websites. Obviously, half a million visitors a month is a lot of people.

You see, we have to be realistic in our goals and in order to do that, we must have some somewhat realistic numbers to work with. We need to know exactly what we are up against. Once we determine that, we need to devise a strategy. The strategy itself is a different matter all its own and it would also involve a number of short term and long term goals. Then, occasionally, we must make assessments regarding our progress in pursuit of the goals.

So there is the initial running of the numbers as I have provided in my example above and there will be the occasional running of the numbers used to measure progress.

Now, to generate the necessary traffic to my various websites, there are a number of methods and factors you will need to consider. There are e-mail lists, blogs, collaborations with others advertising, online marketing, social network promotion and so on.

Realizing how monumental a task may be actually helps you in the sense that it forces you to pull out all of the stops and makes you more willing to give consideration to a number of methods and ideas one could use to pursue a goal. It may help to create a sense of urgency on your part and force you to not only work harder but smarter as well. I would place a great deal of emphasis on the smarter part, if you ask me.

So if you have some goals, you need to work the numbers and then devise a strategy. I'm not saying, though, that the numbers never change or that they are carved in stone. You may get updated information and have to use new numbers. But, at any rate, you need to run the numbers and you need to try to run numbers that are the most accurate numbers you can find. If you find more up-to-date information, run the new numbers and you may also need to modify your strategy as well. Just be sure to run the numbers in pursuit or your goals.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Making an Idea Become a Reality

There have been a number of times where I have developed an idea and then set out to make it a reality. Quite often it takes a lot of time and effort but  developing a well laid out strategy can speed up the process and make it easier.

My most recent example is a website I just created called The website features a comic strip that has some punk rock characters. The idea first came to me when I was playing around in a 3D program called Daz Studio. I use that program for a lot of my 3D artwork.

I was playing around and I came up with a cool looking character. I took a good look at him and decided to give him a few friends and before you know it, I had a four man punk rock band like the ones displayed to the left. After I saw what I created, I thought it would be a cool idea to do a comic strip featuring the characters that I had just created.

I knew that they had to have their own website of course and that meant that I needed to find a domain name to use. I thought that Punksters would be a good name for them. Unfortunately, was taken so I had to settle for That's almost as good anyway. 

Now that I had a name for the strip and the domain name reserved, I had to build a website. But what was I going to put on the website?  After all, the only idea I really had was just to do the comic strip. Well, I decided to put up some free downloadable desktop wallpapers. I figured that it would be a nice feature to add in order to drive people to the site and help to popularize the characters and the comic strip.

I thought another good idea might be to have a page that introduces the main characters. So I added that. Then I thought that it might be a good idea to create a blog for them. Since I was only going to do a weekly comic strip to be released every Sunday, I thought that it might be nice to do a blog about them and release a new blog post every Wednesday on the Blog. I also put an RSS feed for the blog on the main page of the website.

Another idea I had for the purpose of popularizing the characters was to take suggestions from people as to what I can do with the characters. That was one of the main reasons behind creating the blog for it. So I created a suggestion box on the website. It's a simple form people can fill out and send their suggestions in with. People can look over the page that introduces characters with a brief description of each one and try to get some ideas as to what they would like to see me have them do in future comic strips.

Then I decided to create some merchandise that featured the characters. I created posters, mugs, hats, wall clocks and T-shirts. So now everything was pretty much set up and created except for one thing. Guess what that was. It was the comic strip.

You see, I knew that before I even did the first comic strip that I had to set things up in a way to help make it more likely that the strip would become popular and that required some of the various features and things that are found on the site and the blog. So making that idea become a reality involved a lot of things and a lot of work.

I have since begun doing some of the comic strips and I actually am somewhat ahead on them. In other words, I have more made than have been released. That's just an extra precautionary measure.

So this is what it took for me to make an idea into a reality: I had the initial idea of the comic strip. Then I outlined what I think it would take to popularize it or to market it. Then I decided what features to include in a website. I designed the website and created a blog. So there is obviously much more to creating a comic strip than just doing a strip. There are other things to think about and how to promote, market it and popularize it are among those things.

The point of this article is pretty simple. In order to make an idea become a reality, you need to work out the details before you even set out to do anything. Lay things out on paper or in a document on your computer. Think of all the details you need to work out. Then decide what order you want to do things in. That's what I did and now my idea is a reality. Good luck with your ideas.