Author Archives: Admin

Blogging Annoyance: Rant About Newsletters

Why would I subscribe to your e-mail newsletter that is just your RSS feed and here and there some special notes sent to my e-mail inbox when I already subscribe to your RSS feed? Sure, it makes your subscriber count go up, but it doesn’t really help me in any major way.

Sure, it gives you an opportunity to up sell me on some affiliate products or services you might have, but those things rarely help me with my blogging goals.

You should be happy that I subscribe to your RSS feed rather than punish me by making me get the same information two different ways so that you look like you have twice as many subscribers.

The race for subscribers is silly, and if anything, you are making people deal with both information overload and saturation sickness, which then causes them to unsubscribe to all things that they decide are no longer necessary.

Add value to my life, add value to my blogging, and stop trying to spam me with your content over a variety of different services so that you appear to have more unique subscribers than you really have.

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.

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.

Bloggers Worst Enemy?

I was going to say that carpal tunnel was the worst enemy to bloggers, but Jeff already chose that for his post, and so I will select John Chow (not linking him, go search him out) as the worst enemy to bloggers. Sure, it has been done many times before, and picking on John, who I’ve met and is a great person, seems kind of silly, but let me explain why.

John Sells the Dream

One of the biggest misconceptions still out there regarding blogging is that you can make a bunch of money overnight. John earns $1000 per day from his blog, and he built that little empire in a year, so anyone can do it, right?

Well, not quite. Even if you took all of the same steps towards building and monetizing your site as he did, you would still fall quite short in terms of traffic, fame and revenue. Things have changed online and I highly doubt anyone could copy his steps to get to the same point in the same amount of time.

John, also rarely adds valuable content to his site, with a strong mix of paid reviews, affiliate program posts, and a variety of content on his own life. These posts really only help to earn him more money without providing much content worth remembering and serves to only persuade people further that what he does is easy to replicate.

I hear, “I could blog about food and weird products all day too” and shake my head. If only it was that simple, then everyone would be doing it.

People have long since forgotten that “if it is too good to be true, then it probably is” and this rule holds even more true online than any other medium or communication space before it.

John Chow is a blogger’s worst enemy. He shows the world a slanted picture of what it means to be a blogger, and is probably solely responsible for many horrible blogging trends online.