Monthly Archives: May 2008

Busy Life Promoting PicApp

When I started my new job as Community Manager for PicApp, I knew it would take up a fair bit of my time, especially since it isn’t a job I am completely familiar with. I love to talk, I love to connect with bloggers, but I don’t think of myself as a public relations person.

Today, we received a mention on TechCrunch (big thanks to b5media for all that they do) which sent things into a crazy spiral with a fair bit of people noticing the article, and as such the PicApp service. It has been a fun whirlwind.

I have so many articles queued up in my brain on promoting a site, brand management, and whatnot, so keep an eye out for a return to near daily posting here.

Zombies and MMO Bloggers

A Zombie post on a mainstream blog? It’s Friday so let’s have a little fun.

Zombies have become quite popular in our society as of late, almost fashionable. You know they’re popular when Hollywood starts pumping out Zombie movie sequels. Titles like “Resident Evil,” “Dawn of the Dead” and “28 Days Later” have brought Zombies from the B Movie genre to mainstream America.

A Zombie, for those of you who don’t know, is created by a virus that reanimates the dead body of it’s host. The result is an “undead” being in a mindless state with no other choice than to follow basic instincts.

Most zombies tend to act very similar to the other zombies, showing no apparent thought process of their own.

This zombie is the same as that zombie who is the same as the other zombie. After being involved in the MMO blogging niche for a while now, I think I see some resemblances, let’s see if you agree.

Make Money Online Bloggers

If you read my own blog then you know I have a bit of healthy disdain for the MMO blogging niche in general. Too many of these blogs are simply the same blog over and over and over just with a different theme.

They regurgitate the same posts, the same thoughts and pump the same tired array of products that everyone else is pushing. In my mind they almost look like they are going through the motions, alive but not really alive.

Kind of like a zombie. Would it be out of the question to compare your typical MMO blogger to a Zombie? Let’s try it.

MMO Bloggers and Zombies

  • Zombies have little direction, they just kind of wander around looking for a victim. MMO bloggers have no direction and they too wander around and look for victims.
  • Zombies feed on living flesh in order to survive. MMO bloggers feed on the desperation of their readers in order to survive.
  • Zombies are gullible. They’ll fall for almost anything. MMO bloggers are gullible as hell and usually end up spending more than they earn trying to make money online.
  • Zombies make no sense and communicate by grunting. MMO bloggers would usually make MORE sense if all they did was grunt.
  • Zombies are so desperate they would even eat their own parents. MMO bloggers would sign their own mother up for a recurring paypal subscription if they could make a buck.
  • Zombies tend to follow the herd and go with the flow. MMO bloggers would follow John Chow over a cliff if he told them they could make money doing it.
  • Zombies multiply by turning their victims into Zombies. MMO bloggers seem to multiply by turning their victims into MMO bloggers.
  • A Zombie is never going to have an original thought go through his head again. MMO bloggers check with John Chow first to find out what their original thought is for the day.

Disclaimer

Ok so maybe some of these are a bit harsh but they are meant tongue in cheek. Like anything of this nature there is a bit of reality in each combined with a healthy dose of sarcastic humor. Before you send me hate mail, I AM a MMO Blogger.

The point of the article is that you don’t need to follow the herd in order to be successful. If you looked at a raging horde of zombies coming down the street, you probably couldn’t pick one from the other.

The same can be true for most MMO blogs. If you ever truly expect to make any money then you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Separate yourself from the norm and find a niche of your own that you can thrive in.

You need to find a way to be purple.

So before I go, I am sure I missed a few clever analogies, anyone have any more?

This Friday Featured post was written by Bill so if you enjoyed reading it then check out my own blog at The Blog Entrepreneur where I write on a variety of MMO topics but particularly niche site creation. Sign up for my FREE Niche Site Creation Newsletter.

Let Ideas Simmer

Everyone seems to be in a race to publish a story or news report first, and while there is something to be said for being the first to get information online, it isn’t always the smartest way to blog.

I have seen big blogs like TechCrunch and others publish an article before getting confirmation in hopes of getting the news out first. Sometimes the information they have is wrong, or untrue, and in my opinion, if it were any other blog, that type of publishing would damage the brand.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your blog is to let an idea, or post simmer in your mind for a while. This also lets you build up a real article, rather than a small punchy story.

I have watched as some of the bloggers I know take a story that has had its run online, take in all the facts, add their own thoughts and opinions and publish articles that become some of the best resources about the topic they were covering.

I think that more bloggers need to take the time to make helpful, amazing, and useful resources for their readers rather than trying to be the first to publish in hopes of getting lots of social media traffic.

One of the blogs I run gets ten times the traffic from search engines just because the writer takes the time to make each article a resource in her field. It is amazing what happens when time and energy are used to create an amazing post, rather than a sensational one.

Give your ideas and thoughts their due consideration before just slapping them on the web and you will be creating something that lasts.

Write Like You Know Something

Here in the good old USA, we live in what is called a free market economy. That is a fairly complex topic in itself but basically it means the law of supply and demand determine what the price will be for goods and services. A vendor can charge whatever they want and the consumers will decide whether it is worth paying the price they ask to acquire it.

If they decide not to purchase that item then the vendor can either choose to lower their price to entice them to buy or hold the line and hope for the best. This system works pretty well and I don’t foresee any changes in the near future, although I hope we do something about gas prices pretty soon.

Other countries have very different regulations regarding commerce but the Internet is the great equalizer there. The Internet has brought a free market economy to most of the world with the most common good being shared is information.

The Internet is FULL of advice, with most of it being free.

Information Overload

I wrote an article a few weeks ago titled Information Overload that encouraged you to stop reading and start DOING. You can check out that article for the details but in a nutshell it was intended to be a wake up call to get you to engage, stop reading other people’s bad advice and get to actually working towards your own success.

When it comes to that aforementioned economy there is an old saying that should ring true that you get what you pay for.  This holds true when it comes to the Internet as well, you will find NO shortage of bad advice available and it seems as though you can’t throw a rock in any direction without hitting a 12 year old telling you how to make money online.

Many people pick their niche based on what they want to write about or what they hope to become an expert in. The MMO niche is infested with these types of blogs as many naive bloggers think that in order to actually make money online that you have to write about making money online.  This has produced a plethora of newbie bloggers who are trying to learn and teach how to make money online at the same time.  That simply won’t work.

These bloggers are not experts, they are not authority figures and in most cases, the time you spend reading their blog, is a complete waste of time.  They simply repost everything they read on someone else’s blog about Making Money Online.

Stop reading, start doing….remember.

Garbage In Garbage Out

I would recommend that you be careful when reading blogs for your advice as you never know what the credentials are of the person that is writing it. What do they know, what do they do, why should you listen to them. These are some points to consider when deciding what to add to your feed reader.

These are also key points that you should ask YOURSELF when determining your own niche. If you don’t know the first thing about Making Money Online then you probably shouldn’t select that as your niche. Not only will your readers not get anything out of what you write, but you will not enjoy what you do. It’s hard to write 3 to 5 times a week on a topic that you don’t love.

Whatever you are an expert in, that should be your niche. If you offer a wealth of knowledge in a certain area such as say antiques, then that should be your niche.  It isn’t as glamorous as John Chow but if written properly you could quickly build a huge following for a niche like that.  Once you have readers, monetization isn’t that difficult.

Write with Authority

Readers want to learn from people that are experts as it is a waste of time to try and learn from someone that knows the same or even less about a subject than you do. Your knowledge of the subject will allow you to naturally become an authority figure.

Being an authority figure still does not make you a compelling writer.  You will still face the challenge that we all do of how to engage your readers and make them want to listen to what you have to say but being an expert in your field, will certainly give you a leg up over someone who isn’t.

People will always naturally listen to authority figures, you just need to convince yourself that you are one and tailor your writing style to show it.

You are an authority.

Conclusion

As the work weeks grow longer and the demands of daily life intrude on our free time more and more, it will become that much more important for people to be efficient when it comes to reading blogs or searching for content. They simply don’t have the time to read a dozen different blogs on all of the topics that interest them.

Write with Authority by choosing a niche you understand and excel in and then share what you know as confidently as possible with your readers. They will be happier for it and so will you. Nobody can write for long in a niche that they don’t enjoy.

You might want to be the Forex trading king but if futures, stocks and bonds put you to sleep then you won’t enjoy writing in that niche anyway. Do the right thing from the start and use your own time wisely and be respectful of your readers time.

Pick a niche you know, pick a niche you enjoy and then share.

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This Friday Featured post was written by Bill so if you enjoyed reading it then check out my own blog at The Blog Entrepreneur where I write on a variety of MMO topics but particularly niche site creation. Sign up for my FREE Niche Site Creation Newsletter.

Diversify Your Advertising Sources

A recent question was posted to me on how he could increase his advertising revenue, and so I went over to the blog and noticed he had one Google AdSense banner above the first post, and above the single post titles.

This left everything open for him, as he wasn’t using advertising effectively.

I have tried a wide variety of advertising programs, and haven’t been blown away by too many, but one thing I want to recommend to everyone is to diversify your advertising sources. If you haven’t signed up for every possible advertising service to test it out and see which one works best for your audience, you could be doing yourself a huge disservice.

Text Link Sales

I used to be a big fan of text link sales, but then Google cracked down on the whole thing, and killed my will to risk my site, but that doesn’t mean there are no ways to sell text links in a way on your site, and the main product that comes to mind, and worked decently for me was Scratchback.

It allows you to quickly and easily monetize your site in an inexpensive, quick and interesting way. It doesn’t always work out very well, and you have to either draw attention to it in some way, or place it high on the sidebar of your site.

CPC Advertising

For the most part, Google owns the CPC marketplace. Being in Canada, I can’t sign up for Yahoo’s competing product, but either one is pretty much the default way to run advertising on your blog for cost per click.

The one tip I will give in this area is to make sure that you try a variety of different sizes and locations on your site to see which works best for your audience and don’t be afraid to place more than one of these on your site, if it is managed well.

CPM Advertising

For me, there is no other CPM advertising system other than Adify and its partners. I am signed up with Forbes’ Advertising network through Adify, and I couldn’t be happier. I recently reviewed the Adify service, and it was noticed by Adify and mentioned on the Adify blog, which shows how closely they are tracking their brand, so kudos to them.

There are so many other CPM advertising systems to try out, but I haven’t tried many of them, and those that I have tried haven’t been successful for me.

CPA Advertising

Affiliate advertising is a staple for the blogs in my niche, but I haven’t promoted them very much because they don’t always work as well as we would hope. You only get paid when the company gets paid, and sometimes the payment structure is such that it isn’t worth taking up too much space on your site.

The only positive experience I have add with affiliate programs or CPA advertising have been private affiliate systems like SEO Book used to have. Other than that, I would say that you can try out Pepperjam, as they have some great companies working inside their system.

Private Ad Sales

Contact people, and convince them how useful it would be to advertise on your site. It can be difficult, time consuming, but well worth it.

There is no reason not to try to do this, but work on your advertising rates carefully.

Conclusion

Please go beyond Google AdSense and try various things out. Research CPC, CPA, and CPM advertising programs and find out what works for you, especially in our ever changing society and the slow down in the economy.

Let me know what works for you, and what doesn’t. It would be great to put together a list of advertising services that work well for tons of people.