Monthly Archives: July 2011

Stay Away From the Obvious

I was talking to a friend recently and he wanted me to help him promote an article on a web development subject that was, in my mind, very old news. It was an article on xhtml tables versus divs.

I knew what the article would say before ever even clicking the link and of course, after checking it out, I was right.

I told him my thoughts on the article and he was a little taken back. He thought it was a good post about something that beginning users wouldn’t know.

My advice to him was to stir up controversy and stay away from the obvious. Everyone is fighting over the obvious ways of doing and saying things.

If the article had said that complex designs were leading to using too many div tags and that while tables were still not the answer, understanding the use of other xhtml elements could streamline code and build a better, more semantic site, then I would have been impressed.

When you are tackling a subject, you need to find your hook. You need to find something that will set you apart from everyone else. If they are all applauding a piece of software, go over it with a fine tooth comb, and point out its flaws. If they are all loving an application for one reason, then try to find a different reason why it is good.

Our jobs as writers is to teach, inspire, translate and open people’s eyes. If your post is nothing but a repeat, you loose the opportunity to captivate the people that stumble onto your site, and transform them into repeat visitors.

What steps do you take to stay away from the obvious? Let me know in the comments below.

Do You Have it In You?

I don’t think it’s any secret that people are absolutely fascinated with Reality TV. It seems like a new Reality show starts up every week that draws thousands of viewers who sit on their butt and watch someone else’s life flash across the screen.

Watchers vs Doers

Reality TV is usually based around people’s lives and offers some kind of a reward in exchange for taking part in the series. These people often put aside a career, a family life, school in exchange for the rewards that can come with taking part in one of these series.

Your average person would never in a million years consider going on a Reality TV show like say Survivor. I am sure they would justify it with any number of excuses but all of them would simply add up to the fact that they could not justify the risk, even though the reward was great.

Reality TV Winners often become millionaires and even move on to achieve minor celebrity status. On say Survivor you have to outlast approximately 20 other people in order to win a MILLION dollars! A 1 in 20 to win a million are GREAT odds, yet most people would prefer to play the lottery, where you have a better chance of being hit by lightning than winning.

Why?

Watchers

Sadly the bottom line is that Reality TV is so popular with the general masses because they simply would never dream of making that leap. They aren’t willing to risk anything in order to be successful or achieve their dreams. They would rather sit on the couch and play it safe with that 9-5 job.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if it makes them happy. The problem is that many are not happy with their situation and they continue to look for the magic answer, the silver bullet that will put them on the map and bring them the happiness and success that they long to achieve.

Interestingly enough I would suspect that most of these people are the types that buy e-books for 97 dollars or sign up for programs that promise instant, easy riches or that you can lose weight and eat anything you want. No matter what you hope to achieve, you can be sure that some sneaky marketer will be there to sell you a dream.

Rather than work for it, they would rather find “the secret” that can make it happen. You know what secret…the one that all of the Internet Marketers keep claiming to have found.

“Do”ers

Watchers will almost always justify why they are a watcher or why they haven’t succeeded yet. What is worse is they will often let their jealousy take over and throw stones at those who have succeeded.

  • People who are fit and in shape are lucky to be “genetically blessed” even though they run 5 miles a day at dawn.
  • People who just bought the big house on the corner “come from money” even though they work 70 hours a week running their own business to earn that money.
  • People who graduate from Harvard must have “parents who are connected” even though they have spent their entire life studying and worked two jobs to put themselves through school.

Jealousy is ugly and it can turn an otherwise nice person into a shallow and repulsive individual. “Do”ers almost always deserve what they achieve because they took action. They put in the effort.

  • Instead of reading about building a blog they built a blog.
  • Instead of reading about losing weight, they joined the gym and started losing weight.
  • Instead of wishing they could go back to college and get a degree, they GO back to college and get the degree.

It doesn’t make them any better than anyone else, it just makes them different. Luck has NOTHING to do with it. They aren’t watching Reality TV, they ARE Reality TV except the star of the show is them.

They’re making things happen for themselves, not hoping to hit the lottery.

Conclusion

The good news is this, it’s never too late to get in the game. It requires nothing more than a decision on your part to get off the couch and take control of your life. It may not be making money online, it may not be going back to college but chances are there is something in your life you are looking to improve.

You can start today by auditioning for you own reality TV show. The audition is in your mirror this morning and the only question you have to answer to win the part is whether you want it badly enough to actually do something about it.

If you want to Make Money Online then start doing it, if you want to lose weight then start today, if you want to go back to school then get an application. It doesn’t matter what it is that you want to accomplish, the ONLY way you will do it is by taking the first step. You are guaranteed to fail if you never try.

To quote the great Michael Jordan…..”Do You Have it In You?”

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.

Freelance Work: Full Time Frustrations

I have been working on freelance work for almost a week now, and I have to say that I really don’t understand how people can make a full time living this way. While it is nice to have variety, and some choice in what I do, dealing with the almost random pay, and random number of work hours each day can be quite difficult.

Also, after writing two posts today for someone else, I almost didn’t feel like writing on this blog. While I believe that is only because the topics of this blog and the blog I wrote on have fairly similar audiences, I still am reminded of why I have decided to change my career path yet again. I want to write, and I want to enjoy writing. I want to create something, and build something that I can be proud of and maybe even build equity in.

Working for other people can mean getting paid, but building equity can mean enjoying a lifestyle.

How do people work freelance full time? Am I missing some meaningful reward that my varied salary positions will never give me?

Insights into Building a Site from Scratch

I am doing something that I really dislike, but with the understanding that I am creating something amazing: building a site from scratch.

I have built many blogs from scratch, but the effort, and time it takes to get a site from the start of its life to being a powerful player online can be quite trying and so I try to avoid building a site from scratch if I can, but my new employment requires me to build a site, using WordPress as a platform, and much of the first few days has been just dealing with the plugin requirements of the site, and the required configurations of said plugins.

Thus far, I have added eighteen plugins to the site, and configured them all as needed for the site. I have also begun to create blank pages to fill out the directory tree, and give myself a better understanding of the final overall depth and berth of the final site.

I have also begun to collect and create the content specific graphics that I will need to include as well. All this, while building out content templates, as many pages will have the same flow, with different content and context within.

It is a long process of data entry, and continues to be very trying, but as each section continues to grow and be finalized, I am more and more excited by the overall site that I am creating.

One thing I have quickly learned as the developer of this project is to remind the owner of this site that the results are not immediately apparent because the planning and implementation takes a fair bit of time. I recommend that anyone building a site from scratch build an immediate understanding with the site owner that planning is important. Had I not spent so much time on this phase, I would have needed much more time to re-work the interlinking between pages as the site grew and changed.

I have to admit though, I have had a hard time sticking to just planning, and am anxious to implement every idea, and piece of content I come up with.

Also, I have learned that removing as much manual editing of certain pieces of content as possible can save many headaches later on. With a large length of terms listed on many pages, I would hate to manually edit dozens of pages each time a new term is added, and so it is important for me to use my knowledge of PHP to attempt to move all such pieces of content to a single include file that I can edit and have propagate throughout the site.

WordPress is a great piece of software, but I have definitely run into some annoying limitations as I continue to build up this site. I hope to continue to provide you all with many insights as I continue to build up the pages in the new site I am working on.