Travel Blog 4# – My Trip to Hong Kong and Macau

It’s been a long long time since I did one of these, and it has also been a loooong time since I went on this trip. But I took a lot of cool pics and did some cool shit that I want to tell you guys. 😀 So here it goes.

Before I even begin talking about this trip, I just want you to know one bloody thing. I went on this trip for the SOLE PURPOSE of going to DISNEY FRIGGIN LAND! Every other thing I got to do was simply a bonus. Now that we have that covered let’s proceed.

On the 22nd of November last year I went to Hong Kong with my family. I was super excited for this trip for the reason mentioned above so I was just this ball of positivity. It was almost like life just wanted to kick me in the face because it couldn’t take me being so uncharacteristically happy all of a sudden. You know?

I’m from Coimbatore. There are no direct flights to Hong Kong from here. I had to go to Singapore and get on my connecting flight from there. My dumb positive ass left my bag of toiletries in my hand luggage instead of keeping it in my check-in luggage. So that is a lot of liquids and you’re not allowed to carry that much liquid into the plane’s cabin. My stupid brain didn’t realise my mistake in Coimbatore and the airport security didn’t bother either. However the airport security in Singapore did care. And they told me I had to leave it with them. See, if it was just a bag of cosmetics, expensive ones at that, I still would have left it. No biggie. But those toiletries also consisted of my CONTACTS SOLUTION. I need that to put on my lenses so that I could SEE. I ended up having this huge argument with them and then finally giving up and leaving Singapore sans contacts solution.

It was so ironic to witness all these smiles and Christmas cheer on my way out. I simply had to take a picture to prove how life always has it out for me. -_-

This kind of put a dampener on my whole ball of positivity thing. I tend to just implode on everyone around me when I am upset. So I was just sitting in solitude on the plane ride. Not talking to anyone. Throwing up the stinky noodles they gave me for dinner on the plane. I was so looking forward to eating Chinese up until that point.

It took a while but I eventually snapped out of it and started to explore the beautiful city around me. I mean you just have to be there to get it. I’ve never seen a city so alive. I have high hopes for New York if Hong Kong is this magical. I’m the type of girl who prefers a concrete jungle over a real jungle. It. was. Paradise.

The Hong Kong Skyline
Christmas Decorations near the Harbour

I stayed at the cutest little hotel as well. It was just picture perfect everywhere.

On my first day there, we went to the Ocean Park in Hong Kong. It is a huge. I mean HUGE water theme park. This place also has pandas and some exotic animals and aquatic life for some reason. I went on some of the craziest rollercoasters I’ve ever seen. I even convinced my mom to go on them with me. I honestly thought she’d hate it. But soon she started wanting to go on crazier rides too. It was a weird kind of mother daughter bonding you don’t normally expect to see.

The next day, was the day this trip was all about. It was Disney Land Day. And it was hands down, the best day of my life. I am trying not to be corny, but it really is the most magical place on earth. You just feel happy there. Every other emotion is against the rules. It doesn’t feel like a theme park. It just brings your childhood in front of your eyes and makes you feel that everything you loved as a child is real. That nostalgia just slapped me across the face.

Every single ride. Every show I watched. I had never experienced anything like that before. The Lion King show is a beautiful musical that summarises the entire story in a 30 minute play. My favourite rides were space mountain, mystic manor and it’s a small world. They put so much detail into everything and it really shows. Even if you are not a Disney fan girl, I would still recommend that you go. And man, the parade! How they bring a celebration like that to life every day, I will never understand. But it was the best damn experience of my life. I think it’s better if I shut up and just show you.

Disney Land
Main Street USA’s replica
Tarzan’s Tree House
Every room in Tarzan’s Tree House was modelled after scenes from the movie.
Mystic Manor – AKA my future home.
The Merch Shop at Toy Story Land just HAD to be this.
The Moana Show had the coolest set
The Lion King Show
Scar
The Flights of Fantasy Parade
Lilo and Stitch’s float in the parade
Me at the end of the day 🙂 I get why you’re so happy all the time Minnie, ‘cus same.

I honestly didn’t expect much from the trip after Disney Land but Hong Kong did not fail to amaze me. I went to some more beaches and places like Madame Tussaud’s which is a wax museum.

After this it was off to Macau. A Chinese version of Vegas, but nicer. It was really beautiful as well. It kept with the theme of Christmas decorations and fairy lights all over. The only difference is that everything looked richer here. Macau allows gambling so everywhere you could see, there was some bougey casino or the other. Sadly I was 20 at the time and not 21. So I was literally waiting outside every time my family went to a casino. It was kind of a bummer but it gave me a lot of alone time to explore and photograph the picture perfect streets of this country.

The casino’s were always accompanied by extremely luxurious hotels. One of those was called Venetian. You’d guess by the name that it was Venice themed. You’d be right. But how far does the theme go, you ask? They have an actual replica of the Rialto Bridge area, INDOORS.

This place redefined the term “man made wonders”, for me.

So that was it. After what was an amazing trip I returned home on cloud 9. Literally. 😉

Throughout my trip in Hong Kong and Macau I had the most bizzare travel guides. They weren’t those offbeat silent types you generally get assigned by travel agencies. As entertaining as they were they also tried to trick us into buying stuff we didn’t really need. So if you are travelling to these places I’d suggest that you beware of such scams. But they are interesting and hardworking people to get to know. It’s just something I thought I’d mention. Anyway, see you in the next one.

-The Obsessive Writer.

Advertisements

Can You Really Make Money By Blogging On WordPress?

Hello and Welcome to my blog. I call myself the obsessive writer because, well, that’s what I am. And through this journey I have come to learn a thing or two about blogging.

So to answer the question? Yes and No. I know how vague that must seem but that’s what you have to understand. Blogging is a vague concept. There is no formula or algorithm to master it. You simply have to try a bunch of things and see what works for you.

If you are interested in starting your own blog or site with the dream of making a few bucks off of it, good luck! But here are a few things you should know if you’re considering WordPress.

When you google “how to successfully blog on WordPress”, you’ll get a million relevant hits talking about SEO optimisation, Google Analytics and all that Jazz. And apart from that you’ll see that every WordPress related blog will mention two categories of WordPress which you can choose from,

  1. WordPress.Com
  2. WordPress.Org

What those two things really mean is that, WordPress.Com is a company or a site that lets you create blogs with a few clicks. You take care of only the content while they manage everything else. Sounds great right? Yeah. It sounded great to me too. That’s why I went for it. I am the proud owner of the Personal Plan offered by WordPress.Com

For more information on which plan is right for you, you can refer to this post where I’ve already talked about it.

So this service that sounds so good comes with a few catches. WordPress.com makes blogging easier but, it also places some restrictions. Since WordPress takes care of everything, you cannot access the code to your website. “Why would I need to do that?”, you might ask. Well, if you want to truly make your blog unique or maybe host external ads like Google Adsense in order to make money you need to access the code.

You can still make money without doing all that as WordPress.Com comes with WordAds. But it’s not as good as Google Adsense in terms of revenue.

WordPress.Org is like the nerdier brother of WordPress.Com. There is nothing you can’t do on it, but you have to do it yourself. It’s not that hard. There are web hosting services and domain name services which are very user friendly these days. So if someone else is giving you the hosting which is where your website is stored and someone else is giving you your domain name which is how people access your site, then what the hell does WordPress.Org do?

WordPress.Org provides a software called WordPress which you download and install on your website. Once you install that, handling your site is so much more easier. It will be the same as handling a WordPress.Com site. It has the same user interface. It’s just like using a social media site. You just have to take care or hosting and the domain. The rest is a piece of cake.

This also seems easy right? And it has freedom to modify or view the code too! So why did I go for WordPress.Com? Am I a dumb dumb? Well WordPress.Org only looks like a social media site. But WordPress.Com actually is one.

You know how when you post something on Instagram or Facebook, it shows up on the feed for people accessing the #tags you’ve made your post in? That’s how you get likes and all those followers. WordPress.Com has something similar. It’s called the WordPress Reader and it lets you view posts sorted by tags and categories.

Getting views on a website is no easy task. It takes years and years. But with the WordPress Reader which is available only for WordPress.Com users I instantly got my content out there and people were reading it.

So you must be wondering if I’m a baller now. Well the short answer is no. I got played. You see, before WordPress would let you cycle old posts and republish them. Doing this would bring your post back onto the top of the feed and more people would read it. I would schedule my posts over and over and expose them to a huge audience. I started to average at about 10,000 views a month. And then it all fell apart. They removed the ability to do that. I guess a lot of people started exploiting this and spammed the reader. Now my views have dropped to half of what they used to be because I only publish a post once. The only way it gets re-read is if someone goes looking for it intentionally.

The advantage of having a social media type reader where your post gets viewed at least once is still better than self hosting on WordPress.org where your post only gets views through search engines. But the advantage of WordPress.Com is not as big as it used to be. More and more people are moving to self hosted blogs and so less people are looking at the WordPress Reader.

So let me get to the point. The final verdict if you will. Can you make money by Blogging on WordPress? Yes. If you are ready to sell your soul and write click bait content. No. If you are a passionate writer and dream of filling your blog with poetry and other meaningful things which no one will ever google. I belong to the second category. I mostly post creative things. I started a blog with the intent to write and make money as an extra benefit. I barely make a dollar a month in spite of having a lot of subscribers.

If you are in it for the money. The best course of action would be to get a domain and a host and then use WordPress.Org as your Content management system or the UI. Your posts should belong to a popular niche like education, fashion, life style, etc and make sure you use popular key words in your posts. It will take a few years but soon enough, search engines will start indexing your posts at the top. And you’ll be making a bit of money.

If you are in it for the writing, get a free blog on WordPress or tumblr or just start an Instagram page and write your heart out. You’ll get honest feed back and loyal readers, but no money. At least not that easily.

-The Obsessive Writer

ROSES


This is my first attempt at digital art. Please let me know what you think! 😀 I couldn’t find a mouse so I had to make do with the touch pad of my laptop which is why the drawing is a bit trash.

Your feedback is much appreciated! Thank you 🙂

– The Obsessive Writer

Enough

For a day, just a day

I would kill to be

Not anybody’s dream girl

Not the most popular

Not the kindest soul

Not the greatest friend

Not the best daughter

Just for a day

I would like to be enough.

Šī¸ Abirami

Travel Blog #2 – My College trip to Mysore, India.

It was an emotional time both because it was going to be my last college trip and also because I was having a hard time with life in general.

I was and still am so busy with college. That’s why I haven’t been writing as much as I used to. I’ll be back here in a few weeks time. And well, this trip was a very welcome break. I was quite reluctant to take it at first and I might have even been quite salty during the trip 😀 but I’m glad I did.

If you’re wondering why I was salty, just imagine sharing a hotel room with your TEACHER. Yikes. It was too much information for me to be around to watch her bodily functions and the happenings of her personal life. 😐 Listening to my teacher talk to her mother on the phone while in our room totally changed my perspective on her. She was this strict, authoritarian professor who took no shit from no one. But getting all up close and personal has made her a lot more human in my eyes. She’s not THAT bad I guess.

There was some epic class bonding as always. People who had their noses buried in books all day let loose and tried to have fun. It was nice seeing a different side to everyone. It always happens I guess. When a group of people are thrust together and forced to coexist, they go from classmates to friends. Survival buddies if you will.

For those of you who do not know, Mysore is a city rich in culture and vast beauty. It has marvelous architecture. Maybe even some of the best you’ll see in India.

We went to the Mysore Palace. The royal family still lives here. It was like an underrated Taj Mahal of sorts.

And then we went to the head quarters of Infosys at Mysore. It’s a software company. And it put the palace to shame. Have a look and you’ll understand why!

I don’t understand in what world people get to work in places like this. I mean, if it were me. I wouldn’t be able to sit inside and look at a computer screen all day. I’d probably be out in the campus all day gawking at how beautiful everything looks.

So if you ever go to Mysore, whether you visit the palace or not, make sure you visit the Infosys headquarters. 😀

We also went to the zoo. It was hilarious because we were way too old for a place like that. 😀 But I love animals so I didn’t really mind.

– The Obsessive Writer

King

Told me I needed no knight in shining armour,

Told me I wasn’t a damsel in distress.

He said,

Every day I’ll work on making your dreams come true,

And every night I’ll rule them.

What he didn’t have to say,

And I already knew,

Is that he is mine and I am his.

For better or for worse,

We will always be ours.

Šī¸ Abirami.

Free, Personal, Premium or Business? – Choosing the right WordPress Plan

A lot of people have been commenting lately asking for advice on which plan they should choose. I recently upgraded to the Personal plan and so I have some insight to offer which is why I decided to make a post out of it. I hope it answers all of your questions.

Whether you’re just starting off on WordPress for a creative platform, or an online journal or a business there is indeed a perfect plan for each of you which was tailored to your needs.

Who should go for the Free Plan?

If you’re not already on WordPress, or if you’re simply here to experiment and understand how WordPress works. The Free plan is the one for you. You get a decent subdomain which looks like this,

“Yourblogname.wordpress.com”

It’s good enough for anyone at the beginning. And as free things tend to be, it doesn’t come with many privileges. Since it is free, WordPress runs Ads on your site and you can’t remove them or get paid for them. You have a bunch of free themes to choose from, you get 3GB of space to upload media, you get to personalize your site to a certain extent as much as the theme allows, you get Jetpack which shows you your everyday stats and that’s about it. If this is all you’re looking for and you don’t mind the Ads on your site then the Free Plan is your best bet.

Who should go for the Personal Plan?

If you’re interested in this plan, and end up buying it, you’ll probably have a nice little smile on your face because you got the best of both worlds. It’s the cheapest bargain you can get for all of these amazing features.

With the Personal plan you get an increased 6GB of storage space, you get your own domain name which looks like,

“Yourblogname.com”

It removes the ugly .wordpress.com subdomain from your website address. You officially own your site and are in control of everything that happens on it. Starting with the Ads. You can choose to disable Ads altogether or you can apply to the WordAds program and once you reach a certain amount of views per month they’ll accept your application and pay you for the Ads they host on your site based on your views. This is an amazing way to make a few bucks off of doing something you love – blogging.

If you’re a small business, you don’t necessarily need WooCommerce. (it is a feature that deals with payment and shipping of your products) You can probably just display your products and leave a PayPal link on your site to allow your customers to pay through that and ship your products on your own. But keep in mind this is only for a small scale business that’s only starting out. Think of this as a way of testing the waters before you really jump in with the sales.

The Personal plan doesn’t allow you to upload videos but you can always upload your videos on Youtube and link to them on your site. It looks just as good.

The Personal plan allows you to change the font, background colour, and other features of your theme which are not available on the Free theme. You will no longer feel boxed into the generic WordPress theme and be able to distinguish your site from others in a notable way.

The plan also comes with a live chat support with WordPress. My experience with the Happiness Engineers at WordPress Customer Service has always been a very positive one. Even as I was typing in this article, I needed their help. I was researching about the discount on each plan and I accidentally purchased two domains. It was a purchase of over 100 dollars and I panicked as it was a Sunday and I thought no one would be able to help, but they instantly showed up and responded to my emails and refunded my accidental purchase. In the past they have also helped me to set up WordAds, figure out how to use and customise themes and so on. The Happiness Engineers are a great value added service you get by upgrading to the Personal Plan. The live chat makes it seem as if you have professional help right there within the confines of your home.

To sum up, the Personal plan is for anyone like me. A hobbyist who is passionate about writing, who would like their own domain and be able to advertise and get paid for it. The customer support is also very handy. If you go on the Internet and do a small search you’ll find that everyone recommends self-hosting on WordPress.Org instead of going for any of these plans. But a major drawback with that is you lose your connection to the WordPress reader which is a great source of views. It’s an excellent community to be a part of and you lose that if you self-host.

Who should go for the Premium Plan?

The first and foremost thing is, you can start advertising instantly. It comes with all the features of the Personal plan and more. As I mentioned earlier, you can indeed advertise with the Personal plan, but you have to wait a while before you get accepted. You need to be getting at least a few thousand views a month to get accepted into the WordAds program. But with the Premium Plan you get accepted instantly.

The Personal plan is my favourite but the Premium plan is the most popular amongst users. It is also relatively cheap. And a good bargain for the features it offers.

The Premium plan allows you to upload videos and other media upto 13 Gb. That’s pretty good.

The most notable feature of the Premium plan is that you get a little more customisation. On the Free and Personal plans you can only do with your site what your theme allows you to do. With the Premium plan you can directly edit the CSS code of your site and make it extremely unique. You will no longer be tied to the limitations of your theme.

You may have seen several themes on WordPress and wanted to use it, but alas! only to find out that you had to pay for it. When you purchase the Premium plan you get access to ALL of those paid themes and they are absolutely free. Now you might start to understand why the Premium theme is the most popular of them all. Each of those themes cost over 50 U.S dollars or more. And there are hundreds of such paid themes which you get for free with the Premium plan.

So the Premium plan is for anyone who wants to use WordPress for professional reasons. You get to customise your site, get access to all the Premium themes for free, advertise instantly and upload videos directly on to your site. It’s a good bargain for this price especially because of the discount that is available right now.

Who should go for the Business plan?

As the name suggest it is mainly targeted at businesses. I mentioned earlier that a small business could do without this plan by simply leaving a link to their PayPal account. But when you’ve come to a stage where you get at least a 100 customers a week, it’s going to get complicated to do everything manually. Also you don’t see professional sites like Amazon leaving PayPal links and manually sending a human being to ask each customer for their shipping address. Automation makes things simpler.

The Business Plan comes with WooCommerce which allows easy shipping and payment for all your products. You have a live customer support team that will assist you with all your needs right from setting it all up to maintenance issues.

Google Analytics and SEO tools are of great use to any blogger. SEO – Search Engine Optimisation is essentially a technique to get your site indexed better on search engine results. The more your content shows up whenever a relevant search is made, the more views you get. You can also improve your site’s ranking which will display it above all the other sites that have results for the same search. To explain in simpler terms, people are more likely to search for something using a particular set of keywords. Only if your post has those keywords it’ll show up in the search results related to that topic. With SEO tools you are always advised to use better keywords in your content. It recommends keywords related to your topic based on their popularity. You get all this with the Business plan.

The best way to customise your site is through Plug-In’s. They’re essentially apps for your site. And WordPress has tonnes of them to satisfy your every need. Only the Business Plan lets you install Plug-In’s. Even if you’re not a business and you’re just a blog you will one day need to install Plug-In’s for some service or the other. When the time comes and you have established your blog you should upgrade to the Business Plan to get all the benefits WordPress has to offer.

The Business Plan comes with unlimited storage, unlimited access to all Premium and Business themes. You can also remove the WordPress branding from your site and truly make it your own.

I hope this post was useful. 🙂

Please drop a comment below if you have any more questions!

– The Obsessive Writer.