Category Archives: Blog Network Tips

Writing Your First Blog Post

Ask any writer and they’ll tell you the same thing — the beginning is always the hardest part of any written piece. You may have the most detailed picture of what you want to say in your head but putting down those first words on paper (or on MS Word) could be like pulling teeth. The problem is only compounded with the short, encapsulated nature of blog posts. What do you really write about on your first post in your blog?

Fortunately, there are some good suggestions and ideas that you can glean from the blogs of other people. The most common start would be to just a small greeting or introduction. This probably one of the most popular ways of starting a blog. A simple “hi, this is my blog!” post is one of the most common you’ll see on the internet. It’s a no-nonsense way of kicking off a blog. But some bloggers may not want to start off their blogs in this manner. Fortunately, there are also “fancier” ways of starting a blog.

You can start a blog by introducing yourself. Since most blogs are personal in nature, giving a backgrounder on yourself will give your readers a fair idea of why you have a particular perspective about certain topics that you’ll eventually discuss in your blog. You don’t need an exhaustive biography, just touch on the important facts that will help readers get to know you more.

You can also decide to give the raison d’etre of your blog. Write about why you started it, and what motivated you to do so. Personally, I think this is the best way of starting a blog. It gives the readers the lay of the land, so to speak. They’ll already know beforehand what to expect from your blog, which could pull in more like-minded readers. For example, if you say that your blog will be about your perspective as non-US citizen on the Obama Administration’s policies, it will surely attract people who are looking to read about what your thoughts will be on future issues.

An ingenious way of starting a blog is picking out one of those memes that are all over the net. Try to find a meme that is related to the topic of your blog, this will be a great way of giving a bird’s eye view of your views and also what to expect in future blog posts.

Working for a Blog Network

This is my second stint at a Blog Network. My last one ended due to the recession. It was a reminder of the gossamer thread nature of work we live in. It was well illuminating and today I would like to share a few things I have learned.

First, Once you begin working for a blog network the first post you have to do is for that blog network. It is a commitment you do after signing on. So plan your posts ahead of everything else. Even during holidays and vacations.

Second, After writing and fullfilling your commitment to the blog network write your post for your blog. There is saying that there is no such thing as an everlasting Banquet in the Sun. And one day your stint at a blog network might reach its end and you will be left with nothing but your blog. So do not give it up.

For me these two things are probably the most important things to remember when working for a blog network. Of course there are things that one should also consider – the contract and terms of agreements to name one. Always keep your back covered.

Anyway, Once you begin working for a blog network enjoy your stint but do not forget to keep on blogging on a personal level and keep your roots intact. If you know what I mean.

There is no such thing as an Everlasting Banquet Under the Sun.

5 Tips to Being a Better Blog Manager

With so many blog networks out in the world, there need to be people to manage the blogs, and the bloggers, but how do you do it right? I have compiled a list of five tips to help you on becoming a better blog manager.  

1. Spend time developing your staff’s skills

As things continue to change, so will your blogs, and thus your business. Making sure your staff continues to use and develop their skills will allow you to keep a step ahead of your competition. This doesn’t mean you need to send them on courses, but giving time for independent study to learn something new, be it advertising, search engine optimization, or copyrighting, could greatly help your business in the long run.

2. Get to know what your staff actually does

One of the hardest things to do as a manager is pin down what your staff are actually doing. You have to remember though that what they produce or don’t produce greatly effects your bottom line. Making sure you keep tabs on their progress will create a better work environment and help your employees have proper expectations for what you would like done.

3. Get to know what your employees are really passionate about

Great blogs require passion, but many bloggers are just looking for a pay check and as such, they won’t be able to keep up a high level of energy about a subject. Positioning your assets correctly will lead to better growth in your company, or new avenues for growth you hadn’t originally considered. At Bloggy Network, we have created certain blogs because there was a niche that a writer really wanted to cover.

4. Provide regular feedback

Bloggers that work from home can feel very disconnected from the world, and thus their task. By providing regular feedback, you are helping them remain focused and setting certain expectations once again. This will increase their productivity or let them know where they have gone wrong, so they can do better next time. There aren’t really any true experts in the problogging world, as the career choice has not even been around long enough for anyone to claim that title. Problogging is a constantly evolving profession and so for every blogger, there is something new to be learned every day.

5. Give incentives

I know this seems a little strange, but even most real companies have incentives in place, and there is a reason. People need goals. We want to aim for something, and it makes us feel great to achieve it. By providing incentives, you open up a system where your employees feel rewarded for working harder, and if they attain such goals, it helps your companies bottom line. It is usually a win-win situation.

Understanding what it takes to be a manager can be of great importance to a new or established blog network, as it is a difficult job, and done incorrectly, blogs can fail. Of course, just like blogging, managing blogs, bloggers or a blog network is a learning experience, but these tips should help you down the right path.

Building a Blog Network is Expensive

Right now I am participating in two different blog networks, Grand Effect, where I am a code-monkey and co-founder and Digital Life News, where I am the owner. One is somewhat expensive on time, and the other is expensive on time and money, but the real question remains: which one is worth more to me?

With Grand Effect, I am part of a group of very exciting, very prominent blogs that talk about technology and the web. The hard part, building the sites, is basically done. The new issue for Grand Effect is to help these blogs promote themselves, and help find ways to monetize them more effectively. I am also trying to make sure I give each member some of my time, so that they can get help with anything technical, and I would love to help them all with hosting needs in the near future.

With Digital Life News, I am building blogs from scratch and paying through the nose for writers. Because I was once a blogger myself, I feel bad if I am paying my writers too little, but I also realize that this is a bad business practice, as the sites aren’t making enough to be sustainable, and the sustainable level of income versus payments is still a very long ways away. With this type of system, I am spreading myself too thin. I am working on setting up a managing editor for the network who deals with promotion, basic WordPress administration and helps manage the writers, and content produced, but this means more money, and that is something I don’t really have a lot of at this point.

With Grand Effect, I could quickly and easily make a part time income by spending four hours a day marketing the member blogs, working on advertising, and developing new features for the network site, but in order to do this, I will have to slow down on other projects.

With Digital Life News, I own a blog network, but the amount of time and money I have to put into it before it repays me is huge, and the repayment date is measured in years rather than months.

Blog networks are expensive to build, whether you are devoting just time or time and money towards building them. Never underestimate this fact, or you are doomed to frustration, if not failure.

Paying Bloggers

One of the worst things about the end of the money for me right now is what happens to my bank account as I go around and pay all of the bloggers and other freelancers that I work with. I continue to spend inordinate amounts of money on slowly growing my business online, and the one thing I have learned is that Paypal, while great in some respects is such a huge rip-off sometimes. Not only does it use horrible currency conversion rates, but they also fee my freelancers to death.

I wish there were other popular services that I could use. Luckily, some of the people I work with live in the same country as I do, and as such, I can e-mail money to them through an e-mail money transfer system that all of the banks in Canada participate in.

Why not just use advertising revenue, and have companies pay the freelancers directly? Well, the sites I run outside of this one, don’t make enough to do that. Hopefully, at some point that will change, but for now, it is definitely helping me realize how much work I have to do on the ad sales side to make this business of mine break even.

Are there better services than Paypal? Are there better ways to pay bloggers? Let me know in the comments below.