My lengthy article, "Differential Calculus Introduction: Simple Polynomial Equations", will be published in Decoded Science tomorrow.

Perhaps because I used over a thousand words, I only created two images.

"Simple Graph of a Straight Line" by Mike DeHaan
This simple graph of a straight line demonstrates a constant slope.

"Simple Graph of a Parabola" by Mike DeHaan
This parabola illustrates a more complex curve that requires calculus to determine the slope at any point.

Shameless Promotion of Articles

As is my usual practice, I also WILL promoted this article in my DeHaan Services blog: "YET TO BE WRITTEN" will have very little additional information.

Writing Tips: Plan More, then Repair

Some weeks ago, I had decided to write about calculus for Decoded Science. I also planned to prepare with several introductory articles.

Much to my chagrin, while writing this introduction to Differential Calculus, I found myself using terminology and theorems for which I had not prepared my readers. Due to my self-imposed deadline pressures, I left these topics with a subtle hint that they would develop into future articles.

Today's first Writing Tip is to plan thoroughly and then plan more, so that your articles will build smoothly from foundation through walls to roof.

My second Writing Tip is to find graceful ways to deal with any lack of planning exposed when you finally write an article that needs more support.

It seems that there is a never-ending stream of research into soft drinks, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), obesity and other health risks. At least, I keep noticing these research articles and reporting on them.

New and Updated Articles on Risks from Soft Drinks

"Energy Drinks with Caffeine: Von Dutch, et al" by "{* ferris!"
While writing a new article is rewarding, I feel it is also important to maintain older ones if possible, and where the material is relevant.

Today's article is "New Risk Found for Soft Drinks with High Fructose Corn Syrup" at my own DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control site. The new risk involves heart disease...please read it, especially if you drink five cans of soft drinks in a day.

I updated my Squidoo lens, "Weight Control Through Diet". I always felt that this is a work-in-progress, and will probably continue to be over its lifetime.

Naturally I promoted this article in my DeHaan Services blog; the "New Soft Drink Report Shows Problems Beyond Your Trimmer Body" post is similar to this.

Writing Tip

Some sites, such as Squidoo, Suite 101 and your own blogs or business sites, allow you to update articles long after they had been published.

Writing Tip: Here are three reasons to update old articles when you learn new, important and relevant information.

First, an update can be a valuable service to your readers.

Second, the update proves to your readers that you actually care about the subject and about the completeness and accuracy of your material.

Finally, Internet search engines may give you "bonus points" for the update. Just as you would probably rather read the latest research than something that might be outdated, so also the search engines favour fresh articles over stale.
Every online author, web master and Internet marketing maven wants more page views and more Internet page impressions. Is TraffUP ("Traffic Up") a free traffic exchange service? Can TraffUP really help increase page views? What pitfalls await the unwary TraffUP user?

[Added "How Many TraffUP Points to Award?" on 2013-01-21].

[Updated 2012-02-29: see the "Daily Limits" section before the "References"].

[Updated 2012-02-11: see the final section before the "References"].

[Updated 2012-02-20: A few days ago I created a new Weebly page: The DeHaan "90 Second Timer" solves the problem of clicking too quickly in Traffup. I found that getting a reminder every 90 seconds is just perfect to bring me back to the Traffup session without getting the "too many clicks in an hour" message. Try Javascript, so it does not download software to your PC].

[Updated 2012-02-20: Although I appreciated the comment from "free earn Money (hafeezahmed75)", the Weebly "Comment" editing program flagged it as spam. Please don't include HTML tags to link to your site; it seems to offend Weebly].

Positives and Negatives

This article covers positives and concerns. Just as with medicine, the concerns can be far more important than the positives!

Do not add an article from a site or blog which you do not control! You might use it for your own blog or site, but NOT for someone else's property. Be sure to read the CONCERNS before applying for a membership, and especially before listing a site or article!

Is TraffUP a Free Traffic Exchange Site?

"TraffUP Home Page Screenshot" by Mike DeHaan
Perhaps this is the first question anyone would ask: is TraffUP a free traffic exchange site?

The answer is "both yes and no", as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in "Lord of the Rings". One need not pay to use this service, although they do sell points for users who need more than they can earn by browsing. Yes, it is a traffic exchange site. By the way, TraffUP is not an automated or "autosurf" site; they want their users to manually click on links.

The Benefits of Using TraffUP

You can bring page views to your web site, article or blog posting by listing it on TraffUP. You do not have to pay anything for the use of this site.

Bringing page views improves your site's track record in different Web analysis tools. It can be a help in getting approval with advertisers.

As well, you are publishing your web page in an online link. Simply by displaying your site, this also gives your site credibility among search engines. Perhaps not much credibility, because only people with a vested interest in a site will add it to TraffUP; but at least a smidgen of search engine credibility.

However, there are sure to read that paragraph, too.

How to Start Using TraffUP Wisely

Register with TraffUP and respond to their confirmation e-mail.

Before adding your own site, you should review the list of categories in the left-hand menu of the TraffUP main page. Click on the categories where you site might best fit. How many points do each of the top five or top ten sites offer?

Inside TraffUP, logon and click the Websites + Add New Website menu selection. Enter the title, URL, points per visit, category, and a brief description. Stop and think for a moment.

The really important choice is the number of points. If you simply want a quiet link on a page, allocate one point. Very few people will visit your site, so you won't spend a lot of points to keep the listing active.

However, if you want to drive visitors to your site, you need to allocate enough points that people will indeed visit. If the default is five, you need to offer at least six. My strategy is to be in the top five or ten sites in a category, which usually takes over ten points.

You can change your mind later, so set up the number and click "Add Website".

How Many TraffUP Points to Award?

(Added Jan. 21, 2013).

In the past few months, I've noticed that many pages offer 50 points per visit.

At the same time, the number of visits to my two top-award sites declined drastically.

So now I've been offering between 45 and 50 points per visit.

My new recommendation is:

  • If your available point total declines from day to day, you're getting more visits than you can maintain. You could ease back on your awards.
  • If you earn more points per day than you're paying out, then your visits/day are probably declining. Award more points if you want more visits.
I've tweaked my TraffUP award points from time to time over the past year, but in January 2013 we've seen a bidding war. When I offer 49 points, my pages get perhaps half the usual number of views.

It's still important to check your "spending" against your "earning"; but simply listing your pages with TraffUP won't garner page views. "You have to spend points to make views" [myself, Mike DeHaan].

The Flexibility of TraffUP

You can have a total of 10 listings. You can add different pages from the same site into the same category; each page would be a different listing.

You can place your exact same URL into several categories; each of these is a listing. Of course, you can also list entirely separate pages from different sites into different categories.

Each listing has its own point value. You can edit your listings later: change the point value, alter the description, or choose a different category.

The Delay Factor of TraffUP Maintenance

After you add a site or make changes to your listing, TraffUP reviews the change so it does not go into effect immediately. Instead, it is held and your site is no longer visible to TraffUP users.

Eventually, the TraffUP software may decide that you can be trusted to edit your points, so it keeps your site available continuously.

Earn or Buy TraffUP Points

TraffUP is a visit, or traffic exchange, or "impression exchange", site. You earn points by visiting other users' sites via TraffUP and waiting until the countdown congratulates you for earning the points. The minimum time is five seconds for one point.

TraffUP may enforce a limit of visiting about 35* sites/hour, so you cannot earn infinite points by endlessly browsing. (I usually start the day by cherry-picking all sites giving 10 points or higher. The limit is the number of browses, not the point value).
*Updated 2011-08-31: The limit varies: I've seen 45/hour and now it is back to 35/hour.

Meanwhile, you pay points for adding a new listing, and for every visit by other users. If you run out of points, your listings become invisible to TraffUP users; therefore you will not gain page views until you replenish your points.

You could buy points: 500 for $5 is the current minimum, with discounts for larger purchases.

The TraffUP Dilemma

When I began using TraffUP, I realized that the easiest approach to staying "solvent" was to open one browser window and log on, open a category, and click on a high-value site. Then I would do my real work elsewhere, and return to TraffUP a minute later. Then I would click the "Close Window" button, select the next site, and repeat the process.

With my approach, I would rarely read an article and never click an ad. How many people actually read my articles? Probably none.

While TraffUP brings visitors to my site or article, it does not bring readers. It merely encourages people to visit long enough to impress Internet analysis engines.

CONCERNS about TraffUP Versus AdSense and Monetization

When your site receives a "page view", it earn an "impression" for each third-party advertisement displayed on that page. If you are paid on "CPM" (Cost Per Mille = 1000) impressions, then your site just earned a fraction of a cent.

"Monetization" means that your site is supposed to earn money based on page views or clicks on third-party advertisements. AdSense (by Google) is a very popular way of monetizing a web site.

The Terms of Service for Google AdSense say that neither "impressions" nor "clicks" may be purchased or exchanged. Therefore Google AdSense will not support your use of TraffUP to exchange impressions with other sites.

The bottom line is: do not use TraffUP if you are using AdSense.

If you use other advertising processes, check their Terms of Service: they probably do not want you to exchange impressions or page views.

During July of 2011, I had noticed that some HubPages articles have been "de-published". In the Hubpages Q&A forum, the consensus seems to be that Hubpages considers TraffUP to be a traffic exchange site. Therefore the offending pages may be flagged or disabled.

Daily Limits

(Updated 2012-02-29 and 03-03).

Today I encountered a new TraffUP message. When the article loaded, it was allowed 10 seconds before the new message was displayed.

It warned that I earned no points because I had exceeded the daily limit, which seems to be about 75 clicks per day.

That's a nuisance. In days of yore, I could earn TraffUP points all day, and therefore spend lots of points without running out.

Now I (and you, we're all in this boat together) are much more limited in how many points we can earn per day.

My advice:

  1. Lower the point value for your pages.
  2. Raise your expectations for the articles you read: set a lower limit of 10 or 20 or 30 points.
  3. Use my "90 Second Timer" to remind yourself to refresh the list.

At the time of writing, the limit seems to be about 75 views per day.

Summary of TraffUP Advice

Do not use TraffUP for pages that do not completely belong to you. If you write articles for online magazines, Squidoo lenses or Hubpages, then don't promote them on TraffUP.

Do not use TraffUP for monetized sites that pay for impressions or clicks. The advertisers want people who actually read the articles and are likely to click on ads with the possibility of buying the service or product.
Do, indeed, use TraffUP to get a very small boost in your search engine rank because of the links to your site.

Do, indeed, use TraffUP to promote your non-monetized blog. For example, my "DeHaan Directory" is hosted by; it cannot be monetized in its present state. Therefore no-one would object to page views obtained through a traffic exchange program.
Updated 2011-08-31: I recently updated my Directory "About" page to highlight my affiliate link for Kontera in-text advertising and now am using Traffup to promote that specific page.

Why bother pursuing these page views if no-one really reads the articles? First, it does help with making your site more "credible" to the search engines. Secondly, people may notice the title or headline in your article. You might, possibly, be able to convert some of these very casual visitors into customers if you make a clear and cheap offer. Test out your sales conversion page cheaply.

Updated 2011-08-31: Another recent feature that is really terrific when used properly is this.
#1: After you click on a category, "View all websites" is available under the "Search" text box. Click "View all websites".
#2: A un-checked check-box says "Showing all websites..." is available under the "Search" text box. Check it.
#3: To the right of the "Search" are two choices: "Newest First" or "Points". If it is not highlighted yet, click on "Points".
Now you have the list of all the sites that are available to you for earning points, sorted by points with the maximum points shown first. Just refresh this view every few minutes, by clicking on the check box or the sort selection. It will display the sites that pay the most points. Update, click and be merry.

Remember that people using TraffUP are frugal: either too cheap to pay for any advertising, or willing to pay TraffUP's low rates to get low quality page views.

[Updated 2012-02-11]: I made a web page to make TraffUp easier to use. "The DeHaan 90 Second Timer" reminds you every minute and a half: just the right timing so you won't see the "Wait a few minutes" message.

[Updated 2012-02-29]: See the above section with "my advice" about "Daily Limits". The key point is to only click on pages that pay enough points to make it worth your while.

References:, "About", referenced June 4, 2011.
Plus the FAQ page, and I simply navigated using my own account.

Mike Deeringer, AdSense Publisher Support, "A note on traffic exchange programs", published April 12, 2007, referenced June 4, 2011.
To quote: "...our program policies strictly prohibit any means of artificially generating ad impressions or clicks...for users to view web pages...". Mr. Deeringer also discusses "to click" programs, but TraffUp is an "impression" program.

My "3 World Changing Effects of La Niña" uses the metaphor of "dance" to describe how La Niña interacts with El Niño.

La Niña Causes Multiple Effects

"The Peruvian Coast, the Pacific Ocean" by lawtonjm
Piqued by learning that La Niña contributes to the recurring droughts in East Africa, I continued my research. La Niña's cycle of changing weather patterns, which are based on the temperature of a Pacific Ocean current, have several ramifications. I reported on three of these far-reaching effects.

Of course I also promoted this article in my DeHaan Services blog, in the entry "What do La Niña and Mathematical Limits Have in Common?".

Writing Tips

My new writing tip is to avoid using an apostrophe (') in the title of an online article, and perhaps also accented letters such as the 'N' in "La Niña".
While setting my "social bookmarks" today, the normally reliable StumbleUpon site steadfastly refused to follow the link and verify the bookmark.

An old but reliable writing tip is to leverage what you already know and have researched, but without simply spinning your own article. What I learned for last week's Suite 101 article, and an image, served as a start for this article.
My Decoded Science article for July 25th is "How to Find Limits of Mathematical Functions".

Preview of My Original Images

"The Need for Limits" by Mike DeHaan
Entitled "The Need for Limits", I built this from an Excel spreadsheet.

"Achilles Distance as Function of the Gap" by Mike DeHaan
Spreadsheet graphics are also featured here, as well as a few touch-ups in Paint.

As usual, I WILL promote my article in my DeHaan Services blog. That entry is "What do La Niña and Mathematical Limits Have in Common?".

As well, my DeHaan Directory page, DeHaan Writing, graciously provides a link to the primary article.

Writing Tips

It is said that in the army, sergeants "Tell you what I'm going to tell you; tell you; and tell you what I just told you". These writing tips will be oddly familiar to my regular readers.

The first writing tip is about making your own images if necessary. I used Microsoft Excel and Paint for the above images.

The second writing tip is to publish original images at a site where you have the obvious copyright, before publishing at other sites. That just proves that you made the image.

The third and fourth writing tips are: to promote yourself, and to re-use images, where appropriate. My new article links back to my previous "Zeno's Paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise" article, and re-uses one of its images.
My latest Environmental Graffiti article is "The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has Invaded the American North-East". This makes two articles about invasive species in a row for that site.
"Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on Hemlock Twigs" by hspauldi
However, this theme does seem to resonate with some of the readers at Environmental Graffiti. It's also an interesting, if tiny, insect...that does a lot of damage.

While I am, as always, cross-promoting this article in my DeHaan Services blog (at "Invasion of the Hemlock-Sucking Adelgid"), I also decided that I should devote part of a DeHaan Directory page, the "DeHaan Writing" page, to showcase the very latest article at each site.

A Repeated Writing Tip

I know that I'm repeating the previous writing tip, but it is worth repeating.

Writing Tip: Once you find a theme that you enjoy and your readers enjoy, develop that theme into a series of related articles.

The benefits include: developing your own knowledge; building your reputation in that field; and finding it easier to choose the next topic.
My first disaster at Suite 101 is "Drought and Famine in East Africa as of the Middle of 2011".

The more accurate statement is that it is the first article in the "Natural Disasters" section within the "Science and Nature" category.

Drought and Famine

"NASA Vegetation Map East Africa January 2011" by Jesse Allen of NASA Earth Observatory
This is a splendidly useful image that I used in my article. The brown colour shows where the vegetation is doing more poorly than normal.

As always, I also promoted my Suite 101 article on my DeHaan Services site. The blog post is "Famine due to Drought in Eastern Africa in 2011".

Writing Tip: Build Freedom using Constraints

Today's writing tip is to create some freedom for yourself by choosing some constraints. When a Suite 101 Topic Editor noted that there were few contributors in her category, I decided to begin submitting articles there.

The opposite approach is to hope for inspiration on a regular basis. Your readers might eventually figure out that you either have no discipline or little inspiration...or that you really are stuck in a rut without realizing it.

"Seasonal Searching" is my phrase for a pattern I had noticed when looking for popular keywords in the general subject of "Furniture". The pattern was an increased interest in "furniture" searches every January and July.

Why the Seasonal Search for Furniture?

As Nikki Willhite reported in "Shopping the Seasonal Sales", furniture sales regularly occur in February and August. Smart shoppers will scour the Internet for information just before these semi-annual sales events for furniture.

I had written several Suite 101 articles and Squidoo lenses in time for the January 2011 rush. As a service to my readers, and to any interested shoppers, I now present a recap of that material.

Writing Tip: Seasonal Interest
Many online writers live and die by finding key phrases that are heavily searched, as reported by Google's "Insights for Search".
Writing Tip: Maximize your article's exposure by publishing it just in time for a seasonal surge in search popularity.

Furniture Styles, both Ethnic and Designer

"Child-size Amish furniture" by cogdobglog


Ethnic Furniture

"Amish furniture", "Mennonite furniture" and "Shaker furniture" are three well-known ethnic furniture styles.

My introductory article, "Mennonite, Amish and Shaker Products" laid the groundwork for a small group of articles in Suite 101. At the time, I was writing a set about Mennonite history and beliefs, but knew that there would be interest in related furniture, as well as other products.

My focus in "The Clean Style and Quality Manufacturing of Amish Furniture" was, obviously, that the style is simple and "clean". Amish craftsmen take great care in the quality of their work.

"Shaker Furniture is Practical Christianity in Wood Furniture" pointed out that the Shaker philosophy of simplicity and functionality was embodied in their very furniture. As well, I wrote the "Shaker Furniture" lens to provide shopping opportunities.

Designer Furniture Styles

I also wrote a pair about "Mission furniture". The "Introducing Mission Furniture and the Mission Style" article was a more general report, including some background and history. The "Mission-Style Furniture" lens had the purpose of providing a showcase for some specific pieces.

My "Winsome Wood Furniture" lens put the highlight on the most popular furniture manufacturer in the Amazon empire.

Specific Types of Furniture

Finally, I also built several Squidoo lenses for very specific types of furniture.

Coat Rack by jon_a_ross
Probably my favourite image in all of the furniture articles and lenses is "Coat Rack". It is just a straightforward photograph, but it shows the function of this piece of furniture in its context.

Each of the following lenses sticks to the subject of its title. (I am a firm believer in honest advertising).

"Coat Rack Stands" has remained my most popular lens.

"Casual Dining Chairs and Bar Stools" took some interesting research. There is a remarkably broad selection of bar stools and chairs available in this category, with combinations of metal, wood and leather.

"Wood Computer Desks" are another niche category. I decided to concentrate on "wood" rather than metal, and on desks designed specifically for computers.

Finally, the "Bed Bug Mattress Protectors" lens addresses a real and continuing problem, especially in urban settings. With no practical way to kill all the bed bugs and eggs that may be hidden in a mattress, people may resort to throwing it away. A much cheaper solution is to buy a high-quality plastic mattress protector and trap these long-lived bed bugs inside.

Writing Tips for Seasonal Topics

Many online writers live and die by finding key phrases that are heavily searched, as reported by Google's "Insights for Search" online web page.

Writing Tips:

Maximize your article's exposure by publishing it just in time for a seasonal surge in search popularity. If you publish shortly after interest has waned, you've missed that boat.

Remind people about previous seasonal articles, much as I've done here. In fact, it is also smart to review and revise these articles, much as you would want to keep your blog or home site fresh and vibrant.
Since Toronto is enjoying hot summer weather, I wrote "Fitness in Summer Heat" at my DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control site.

"JP's all sweaty" by Phil Scoville
Nothing is as important to your fitness as your health and continued survival. It makes sense, therefore, to learn how to remain a living, healthy athlete despite heat and humidity.

Writing Tips: Re-Use Images; Use People

I first used the image of "JP's all sweaty" in my Suite 101 article "Do Caffeine and Sugar in Energy Drinks Cause a New Health Crisis?". In that context, this picture was the best reason to consume energy drinks: to hydrate and also to restore energy after serious exercise.

At first, I had thought of finding an image of a thermometer for this fitness article. Then I realized it would be better to have a human suffering in the heat. Finally, my memory of this image saved me the work of searching the Web for an appropriate illustration.

Writing Tip: Re-use an image if it is appropriate and useful.

Writing Tip: Use images of people rather than things, if at all appropriate and useful. Preferably, use images that convey a person's strong emotions to connect with your readers.
Today Environmental Graffiti published my "The Invading Pest That's Destroying Florida's Citrus Orchards".

"Asian Citrus Psyllid" by USDAgov
Fortunately California is aggressively defending itself.

Of course I also publicized my article in my DeHaan Services blog, in "Fending Off the Asian Citrus Psyllid in the United States".

Writing Tip for Online Titles

The Environmental Graffiti editors changed the title, which is their normal practice and I'm fine with that.

Unfortunately, their title added two apostrophes ( ' ). At least one social bookmark site where I promote my articles turned those apostrophes into escape strings (...That037s Destroying...).

Writing tip for online titles: Don't use apostrophes.
It might look fine when you publish, but not when someone quotes you.

    Mike DeHaan

    Mike DeHaan began writing professionally in 2010 as the sole proprietor of DeHaan Services.To see this information with the best background image, please refer to "About.Me",  befriend me at Facebook, or circle me at Google+.


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    Flexible Sidebar

    Weebly's "Blog Author" widget from the Blog Sidebar's Elements menu provides a lot of flexibility. You can change both the title and the text.

    It has all the capabilities for text editing that you find in most Weebly text widgets.

    At this point, I don't see a way to code any HTML in this widget.

    The "Picture" does what you expect: it displays an image of your choice. I just added my home-made picture of "Copyright DeHaan Services 2013" as the top element in this sidebar on Jan. 22, 2013.

    The "Search Box" is a "Pro" feature; if you're paying for Weebly hosting, it may be worthwhile.

    The other widgets are pre-programmed to do what they say.

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