Author Archives: Admin

Freedom or Chains in Blogging (From the Archives)

While blogging for other people, I realized that it isn’t as easy to blog for yourself and because of that difference in difficulty many bloggers don’t succeed.

People always assume that I have great freedom thanks to my writing on various sites saying things like “it must be nice to get paid to write about what you love” and while it can sometimes be amazing, there are other times when you are pushing out content that is just to satisfy your need for a pay check, and it is at that point where you feel the heavy chains of blogging holding you down.

Recently, while on Freelance Writing Jobs Radio, I realized how I haven’t really made it to that transitionary point that most of the other well known bloggers I know have been able to do. The point where they have been running their own blog for so long, as well as other sites, that they are able to leverage that brand and go out on their own and be successful.

I don’t know if this is laziness on my part, or fear, but I still constantly and consistently work for others, and so I had to defend network/company backed blogging as a career option on the show. The others played it off as something bloggers at the start of their career do, but I have been employed to blog full time by one company or another for the last three years, and it doesn’t look like that will change much any time soon.

For me, there has always been some entity above me that I had to serve, and in having to serve, there are sacrifices I have had to made. Understand this when you get into blogging: you will either find a way to transition and work for yourself, or you will always work for someone else. Doing the former can be much more difficult than the latter but from talking to others, taking your life into your own hands when blogging can be much more rewarding and so if you start blogging as a career, start thinking to yourself very early on: how can I do this for me?

Originally posted on February 28, 2011 @ 10:48 am

Subscribers are Key?

Does having a higher subscriber count instantly mean a better blog, or are there other factors that on first glance will make you believe a blog is good or bad?

I am asking this because there were two great posts on increasing subscriber numbers, the first was from Winning the Web, entitled 16 Ideas For Free Products That Will Double Your Subscribers & Leads and the second was from The University Kid entitled How To Send Your Subscriber Count Through The Roof.

While both of these are interesting articles, does the quality of subscribers matter? I know that we constantly talk about the quality of traffic, but in their posts, they don’t talk about what kind of negative side effects, if any, occur when you push your subscriber base up in a way that is almost artificial.

We have become so competitive at building up blogs that many people have started building them so efficiently to sell them that they make their full time living through building what appears to be a strong community and then selling it to the highest bidder.

While I would like to think that everyone that subscribes to this blog is subscribed because they want to be, there is no doubt a bit of inflation in every RSS subscriber number, and so don’t forget that, especially if you are purchasing a blog.

Originally posted on February 22, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

Voice of a Site is Not Always the Reality

There are a few people that I know of that publish material on their blogs, not because they are actually following their own advice, or truly telling the truth, but instead, they are attempting the widely known “fake it until you make it” credo that many bloggers attempt to use to hide their actual personality, lifestyle and advice.

You’ll see this all the time on “make money online” blogs where the author will attempt to sound like an expert, despite not having half a clue regarding making money online. You will see them talk about the success of a person, product, or service, mostly in hopes that you will sign up under their affiliate membership identification, earning them rewards of some sort, or pushing their co-ventures on you without disclosing their partnership in a project.

You are all being duped, day after day by assuming that even the experts you “know and love” are giving you the full truth. Most of the strategies that work really well are never talked about publicly to make sure there is a limited amount of competition.

Someone once said to me that you’ll never see a true affiliate marketing expert at a conference talking about affiliate marketing, as they are too busy earning money, and wouldn’t want to share their secrets for fear of having them negated in the marketplace.

Others have said that all information that people need to be successful online is out there, and freely available, but the more I read, understand and test myself, the more I realize that the information given out en masse is wrong and being used to trick an endless supply of people looking to turn their fortunes around into providing the fake voice from the blogosphere more money in their pockets.

Just because they say something is great, or look like they are doing well in a certain aspect of their business, doesn’t mean that it is the reality. Far more people will tell you to look at their left hand while they pull money from your wallet with their right.

Originally posted on February 15, 2011 @ 10:48 am

Going Beyond Blogging

If you are looking to assess the skills you’ve acquired by blogging over the last year or more, then Deb Ng’s e-book might have the inspiration and ideas you need to change from being just a blogger to becoming a published author, community manager or more.

Blogging teaches a variety of talents that can be used outside of just blogging, and Deb lives that every day as the Community Manager for BlogTalkRadio. You might know Deb from her famous site Freelance Writing Jobs where she and her friends hand out massive amounts of great advice for freelance writers and bloggers alike.

Her e-book, Beyond Blogging: Using Your Blogging Skills for Bigger and Better Things, is twenty three pages long and comes in at just under ten dollars. An extreme value if I have ever seen one.

Originally posted on February 10, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

Organizing a Blog Post

So many people have a hard time hashing out blog posts in a consistent and efficient manner, and so I wanted to take a minute to talk a bit more about my own system which I have found can decrease the time between starting a post and publishing it.

The Idea

The first part of posting is to come up with ideas. I sometimes find it necessary to just start writing down words related to my industry and working outwards from there. After coming up with a few different ideas, I bring certain main points together as a single post and I have a fully conceptualized idea.

It can also help to see what other people are writing about. Do you have an opinion? Look back and see what was interesting to people a year ago, two years ago. Have things changed or are they still the same? Some of my favourite posts by authors are the ones where they compare/contrast two different products or two different time periods.

The Questions

Everyone knows about who, what, where, when, why and how, and these questions are infinitely more important when getting ready to post on a blog. They are especially useful when you don’t know everything, and can come up with things you’ll want to research to include in the post.

For example, if you are doing an article about a car company you could easily add information about who designed their main cars? When did they perform the best? How well has the public received their cars? Why are they producing cars with bigger engines than another company? What do you see them dealing with over the next few years?

The Research

Don’t take too much time researching, or you can get bogged down in what others have said. For longer articles, you shouldn’t be spending more than an hour researching for a post. This can be one of the longest time sinks in creating an article. Don’t spend time writing the post as you research, or you can get sidetracked, and unable to create proper flow in your article.

For any niche you should be able to, over a period of time, pick out a few resources that are consistently useful for research, and that will save you massive amounts of time. Try not to stray from these main resources too often, unless you aren’t finding the answers you need. Too much variety, and you can land into information overload world, where nothing productive ever happens.

The Post

The amount of time you need to write an article always depends on its length, but now that you’ve come up with an idea, answered some questions, and completed your research, the words should flow from you. Don’t worry about what you are writing, as you can come back after you are done and edit. The hardest thing I ever learned was not to self edit as I was writing.

As paragraphs are written, your mind will come up with other things to say, and usually, if you are properly prepared, the article will flow together nicely.

You should easily be able to tell how long your article is going to be by this point, and don’t try to push it too far beyond that point, or you’ll find yourself adding useless filler. Brevity can be just as important as details, but with the attention span of most people dwindling, shorter is most likely better.

The Call to Action

After you have written, and edited the post, I always suggest going back and adding in a call to action. It might be a question at the end of the post, links to further reading, or just a simple request to have people comment. You are much more likely to have people act upon what they read, if you ask them to.

I enjoy asking people to comment. I want them to know that I’d love to see them participate if they have any thoughts on what I’ve written. Some bloggers put in affiliate links, strange questions, or a list of other articles they have written along the same lines. These can all be important to increasing the longevity of an article online.

The Pretty Additions

Now you are ready to add in links, images, proper text formatting of headings and whatnot. This doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will add some pizazz to your article. Don’t give it too much time. You can edit articles after they have been published, but no one can see the content until it is published. Far too many people play with formatting for so long that the information that they wanted to share becomes stale.

I take the time to set proper headings, bold certain lines of text, italicize what I think would work best, work on the coding for my lists, and insert block quotes at this point.

The Publishing and Promotion

Once everything else is complete, publish. Your articles don’t do you any good unpublished. Get them out into the world. Feel free to edit them after the fact, or to write whole new articles giving more details, or adding onto your original points.

Don’t forget to let the world know about what you’ve written. Don’t be shy. People are hungry for new content, new ideas, and new perspectives, so find a way to get your work to them. The best thing a writer can receive is constructive criticism on how to improve, so open yourself up to that.

Conclusion

If you are trying to merge all of these steps into one, you might find your articles taking forever to craft and it is fairly easy to see why. There are so many areas between crafting the idea and publishing that breaking it down is really the only way to remain consistent and efficient.

Post inspired by Tom Leroux, check out his blog Leroux.ca.

Originally posted on May 11, 2011 @ 7:30 pm