Related articles – Good or bad?

Many blogs use the related entries plugin (or it’s equivalent) – along with anti-spam plugins and smart URLs it has become an integral part of a blogger’s arsenal.

I’ve recommended the plugin myself a countless number of times but yesterday while working on one of my blogs I started wondering if, in some cases, showing related posts would actually be less effective?

Consider this – the most common spot to show related entries is at the end of a blog entry. However, that spot is also a prime advertising spot, that’s where you put the comments and if you want people to digg/reddit/delicious/stumble/etc your post, that’s where you put your social bookmarking links as well.

All that clutter means that when the reader reaches the end of your article, he doesn’t have just one thing to do – he’s presented with an array of options. More often then not, I’ve found out that the fewer choices you give to the reader in terms of what to do next, the better results you will get.

So for example, if you’re looking to maximise your AdSense CTR, don’t put other ‘exits’ – outgoing links – around the ad block. If you want to maximise comments, emphasize the comments section and reduce the clutter between the post and the comments area (i.e. ads, plugins, other links).

I’m thinking of replacing the ad block at the end of the post with a graphic ad promoting a forum, and while I’m OK with losing the extra revenue I don’t think that the ad will be that effective, especially with the related articles, the social bookmarking links and the other fluff that comes in at the end of the article.

Is this a case where you should a) ditch the related entries plugin or b) shift them to the sidebar, or as an aside inside the post itself, or something like that?

For a couple of years now I’ve taken it for granted that you ‘must show’ related entries at the end of each post because ‘it’s good for increasing pageviews, SEO, etc’.

On a successful site that already has good rankings and a good visitor to pageviews ratio, do you still need the related entries plugin? And if yes, what’s a good place to put it (apart from the end of the post)?

This article was originally written on 7 Jun 2007 for Performancing.com.

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The A-List is alive and kicking

Robert Scoble writes:

One trend that bloggers don’t want to talk about? A number of my blogging friends have seen their traffic go down lately. They assume that their readers are off in social networks. I think they are absolutely right.

Hugh McLeod responds:

The time of the A-List is dead. Thank Christ. Not a moment too soon.

Brian Clark follows up:

Value will always be key. And I think you’ll find that the migration of pure social chatter off of blogs and onto social networking applications is a good thing for the rest of us who are looking to build businesses powered in whole or in part by blogs.

(more…)

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Blogging Rhythm

If you take time out to analyse what the successful blogs and bloggers are doing online, one thing that will stand out is the various blog posting rhythms that you will find.

And yes, the posting rhythm actually means something – it’s a clear indication of how the blog relates to its audience. If you can understand what different posting rhythms accomplish, you can match the right posting frequency with your blog objectives and write accordingly.

THE 4 BLOGGING RHYTHMS

There are 4 main rhythms / posting frequencies on blogs (you might find more – in that case let me know in the comments):

  1. Morning Ritual
  2. Heavy Blogging
  3. Light Blogging
  4. No Rhythm

THE MORNING RITUAL

1 post a day, with special updates if necessary. The easiest blogging frequency to adjust to. Your readers know exactly what to expect and the format allows you to pack a lot of meat into one article or keep it light depending on your mood. For bloggers looking to build their personal brand, this is probably the best option.

It’s tough to take this route at the start, but there are ways to make it work. Great for ‘personality’ bloggers – entertainers and people who enjoy the limelight would fit perfectly into this mould.

Positive: Over time you can build a daily ritual where your blog becomes a watering hole and your readers use the daily post to discuss different topics.

Negative: Limiting if you stick only to one post a day (what if you want to talk about more things?) but a) sometimes less is more and b) there are ways to make it work (add more through updates to the post or in the comments, or even start a forum).

Example: the Dilbert blog, Arseblog.

HEAVY BLOGGING

Several (2+) posts a day, either following several columns or just putting out regular news updates. Usually have a daily roundup as well.

Easiest way to start a blog (plus the frequent posting gives you good leverage in search engines), but it might be hard to maintain in the long run. Could require you to hire a blogger / get readers to submit content down the line.

Positions your blog as a niche authority – if your angle is to build yourself as the primary source of news in a crowded niche, this is the best way to do it.

Positive: A proven and effective strategy to the top of any niche. Establishes your blog as a reliable source of information / news and if you can keep up the quality and frequency, builds authority fairly quickly.

Negative: Takes a lot of effort, especially in the long run, and will cost you if you go ahead and hire bloggers. The ideal scenario would be to make your blog big enough so that people contribute their freely in order to build their brand, but that’s an exception.

There’s a real danger of compromising quality for quantity, which is why you should have a clear plan for bringing in help or managing it yourself.

Example: Danny Sullivan’s Search Engine Land, Ed Harrison’s Newcastle United blog and several other leading blogs / bloggers.

LIGHT BLOGGING

Average of 2-3 posts a week (maybe 4-5, maybe just 1). You typically see this trend in ‘hobbyist’ bloggers or the those who are very experienced and successful (two opposite ends of the spectrum).

Positive: No daily stress of posting – gives you time to write meaty posts. There is great potential in this approach to launch a successful blog and carve your own niche because of the time you have to create flagship content and pure linkbait.

Negative: Your content has to be exceptionally good, and you need to be good at promoting it. In other words, it’s tough to make this work, but you’re an experienced blogger (or your content is world-class), this is a strategy that can work well.

Example: Blue Hat SEO, Steve Pavlina.

NO RHYTHM

Varied posting frequency – sometimes no posts for a couple of days, sometimes 4-5 posts a day.

I wouldn’t recommend this approach although this is how most blogs start out – and this what most of them end up doing as well. The lack of structure leaves out the possibility of establishing a special relationship with your readers, and it may hinder your blog’s success if you feel it’s OK to skip blogging for a few days if you don’t feel like it.

However, many blogs using this method are successful – primarily on the strength of their content, marketing and community-building efforts around their blogs.

Positive: You’re free to set your timings and structure your blogging day accordingly.

Negative: There’s no ‘clear’ negative here – just that at this point you don’t get the benefits of the first two methods nor the time of the third method, so you have to get your community building and quality content ‘just right’.

Example: Soccerlens – I have to admit, I used to suffer from this although in recent months I’ve made a concerted effort to change things around and go in a specific direction.

WHAT’S YOUR BLOGGING RHYTHM?

Overall, it’s a good idea to set your posting frequency before you start your blog and stick to it unless there is a drastic change in plans. If you plan to do a daily column, setting a pattern and knowing what you will cover and more importantly, not cover is recommended. If you’re following the ‘heavy blogging’ routine, make sure you can sustain it either by yourself or by hiring someone else.
And while you’re planning your blogging rhythm, you might want to link this with ‘blog focus’ and decide in advance what you will talk about and not talk about on your blog.
So, what is your blogging rhythm?

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How to launch a forum on your blog

Forums (or community-style content blogs based on Drupal – think ThreadWatch) are a natural extension of blogs. Once your blog has a regular following and traction in your niche, forums (reader-generated content) offer the best solution for growing your brand and the community around it.

So how do you add a forum to your blog?

There are several parts of the process that you need to take care of:

  • Understanding if a forum is right for your blog
  • Selecting and setting up forum software
  • Integrating the forum within your blog
  • Promoting the forum around launch time
  • Running and managing the forum

Can your blog support a forum?
Forums are notoriously hard to launch and even harder to sustain. The Internet is littered with failed forums. Having a blog’s community be part of the initial forum community can make the launch much easier and significantly raise your forum’s chances of survival.

There’s no hard and fast rule to how big a community your blog should have before the launch – but as a rule of thumb, I’d say this:

If your blog posts get lots of comments (30+ per post) and they come from a varied source, then your blog is a good candidate for launching a forum.

However, if your blog traffic overall is low (less than 5k uniques per day – approximate number, use your own judgment here), launching a forum on the back of the blog will be a bit harder.

If your blog is growing, is stable in its traffic and “getting more readers” isn’t your primary problem, then a forum is probably the right step to take your blog to the next level and help you dominate your niche.

If in doubt, just ask someone here.

Forum software
I personally prefer bbPress (simple, integrates with WordPress (single login for both blog and forum) and is fast), but you have a choice between Vanilla, vbBulletin and phpBB (just to name a few). If you have a Drupal blog, forums are already integrated in the CMS.

There are pluses and minuses for both. See this discussion on Perf for more on different forum software.

Integrating the forum in your blog
Some tips for maximising forum exposure on your blog:

  • Show latest forum threads in the sidebar (just like you would show recent comments / posts) and make this prominent.
  • Promote the forum on every single post / page – how? You can add a line to your WP single post template that asks users to discuss posts in the forum. You can replace one of your ad blocks (let’s say the adblock that comes at the end of each post or the one at the top of the sidebar) with a graphic ad promoting the forum. Badges, link reminders, short posts covering forum discussions – any way you can hack it, promote the forum on your blog.
  • Run a competition with the clues buried inside your forum. Chris Garrett used a modification of this to launch his blog and build feed subscriptions (he advertised a free report on flagship content only in his feed and promoted this fact everywhere – built up his feed subscriptions pretty fast too).

What other strategies can you suggest for integrating the forum in your blog (and making it a part of the ‘daily process’ your readers go through when they read your blog)?

Launch the forum
How you launch your forum will depend on the time you can invest in it and your budget. A big splash launch would include press releases, buying advertising on blogs and forums, doing an extended preview of the launch, etc etc.

However, there are still ways that you can launch a forum without too much time and a lot of money – the key is knowing what to focus on.

  • I hope you have friends as bloggers in your niche – leverage relationships to help give exposure to your forum through other blogs (note, you might want to offer an incentive – an offer for their readers, perhaps). It pays to make friends though.
  • Create linkbait in advance and publish them on the day the forum launches – then use the resulting attention and traffic and funnel it to the forum. It’s cheap, and requires some effort, but matched with your existing blogging community this tactic alone can give your forum the initial push it needs to survive.
  • Pre-populate the forum with some posts and threads so that it’s not totally empty. One tactic is to email regular readers and co-bloggers and get them to ’start’ on the forum a day or two before the actual launch. Real posts are always better than you creating 10 different IDs and posting under them.
  • Building up interest in the forum in advance is a no-brainer, but instead of putting up announcements about it run a competition and give out a prize, make the competition winnable only through the forum and then promote that prize / competition everywhere. It’s been done before, but it works.
  • Got some spare cash? Pay a popular blog to cover your forum – find a proper angle to suit that blogger’s audience if necessary.

What other strategies could you use to launch a forum?

Day to day management
Deserted forums, trolls and spamming are part and parcel of any forum – and for a lot of people the extra time spent managing the forum can be a significant obstacle in setting one up.

  • As much as you possibly can, give the moderating tasks to your readers.
  • Set out clear guidelines before you start.
  • A community is usually self-sustaining once it reaches a tipping point of members. The key is to push your forum to that point as quickly as possible, and that means a) having a big enough readership / community around your blog to start with and b) to make a big splash with your launch.

There is plenty of good advice on running a forum – and the best might be this list that I’ve referred to over a dozen times in the last year:

20 tips for communities, blogs and forums

There are bloggers out there (Paul and Darren, I’m talking to you) whose blogs are begging for forums – these blogs are niche leaders and for them a forum is simply a continuation of their brand-building process.

You might think that having a forum is not the right move for your blog.

The question isn’t about adding a forum – the question is enhancing community value. Blog comments don’t give readers the freedom to start topics and to share their knowledge the same way that forums do.

If you’re uncomfortable about forums, break the rules of how forums are run in your niche and adapt it to your blog’s needs. Put up a stripped down forum with basic functionality (like bbPress) if you’re worried about management, maintenance or have any other excuses.

Bottom line – what are you doing to build your blog’s community?

This article was originally written on 30 Jun 2007 for Performancing.com.

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Is your blog a shop or a billboard?

Is your blog whoring out for 5 cent clicks? When it come to making money from blogs, the easiest option seems to be to put advertising on it. AdSense, TLA, Chitika, paid reviews and other advertising gimmicks go a long way towards feeding the bloggers’ need to make money.

It isn’t the only way to make money though – and as a fellow blogger recently commented, there are serious advantages in considering your blog to be a shop rather than a billboard.

This is NOT a rant against blog advertising. Unlike some purists who feel that blogs should not have any advertising (the reasons behind that are food for a whole different discussion), I believe that advertising revenue is convenient for a blogger who is short on resources and wants to make money from his hobby (or passion).

However, if advertising is all you’re focusing on for revenues as a blogger, you’re missing out on a significant amount of income.

Selling Advertising vs Selling Products

What does it mean for a blog to be a shop rather than a billboard?

As a rule of thumb, the ‘billboard’ approach means that you are driving leads to someone else’s business and you get paid a commission for doing so. In other words, you get paid for sending people away from your website.

The ’shop’ approach allows you to make money from your visitors directly, and as such requires a different approach in design and blogging – your blog design would now be optimized to highlight the product you are selling and if you shun advertising revenue completely, then you have plenty of space on your blog for not only promoting your products but also promoting your site’s content in prominent locations on your blog.

There are pros and cons for each approach:

Advertising is easy to start off with but if you want to make serious money from it you’ll have to work hard to increase traffic and to attract the big advertisers. There’s also the trade-off between space for content and space for ads.

Selling products requires a lot of work in the beginning (getting the product and sales text and graphics ready – although if you outsource everything and you have the money for it (through advertising, maybe? Then it’s easier) and setting up the sales process takes some level of knowledge / expertise. On the other hand, once you get going and automate the whole process (from bringing in leads to converting them to pitching the back-end products to them, selling products will make you far more money than just advertising.

It’s been said here on Performancing before – if you make your ads the content – if everything you write promotes and sells your products (implicitly), then you’ve got an almost perfect business model.

This article was originally written on 26 Jun 2007 for Performancing.com.

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Blogger Hangups # 1: Hoarding readers

Are you afraid of sending readers away from your website?

As a blog consultant, I’ve come across many fellow bloggers and site owners who refuse to link out to other blogs / websites because they believe that ‘you should not send readers away from your website’.

Now I’m not saying that you should drive people off your blog by plastering links all over it. If your blog is a quality resource, people will read it, like it and come back to it.

But not linking out under the pretext of not wanting to send readers away is stupid, and ranks just below that crazy lady who threatened to sue people for linking to her website.

And under the right conditions, it’s good value for your readers if you link out to other blogs and blog posts from time to time.

My view on this is that on blog or website cannot possibly contain ALL information that a person wishes to share with his readers. It’s not a scalable option and frankly, after a certain point the amount of information you have to deal with makes this approach impossible.

So there are two things you can do:

  • You can either limit what information you provide to your readers or
  • You can link out to other blogs and resources that offer additional information

At the end of the day, if you are hoarding readers you’re operating under a negative mindset and you’ll be limiting yourself in terms of how much value you can provide through your blog to your readers.

Let’s face it, your readers are not blindly loyal – they are going to go to other sources regardless of whether you link to them or not.

The challenge is not to prevent readers from leaving your blog. They will do so, no matter what you do.

The challenge is to make your blog so good that even after leaving it, readers will come back for more. Part of the process in making your blog kick ass is to offer as much value through it as you possibly can.

The only way it’s possible to do that is to link to other quality articles and websites.

This article was originally written on 25 Jun 2007 for Performancing.com.

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Is blogging stressing you out?

In the last month I’ve fired a client, turned down several projects, dropped three of my blogs and brought in writers for another one.
The upside? I now have more time to concentrate on my main project, more time to blog here at Performancing and most importantly, zero stress about work not getting done.

The downside – none, actually. I’m making the same amount of money as before (a bit more actually), am stress-free and have been able to put more time into the projects I really care about, allowing me to move them along at 3 times the speed than I would have otherwise.

In short, doing less work will actually make me more money this year.

But it’s not all about the money – even though many of us slave day and night for it (or used to) and worry about it all the time.

By consolidating and concentrating your efforts on fewer, more important things you’ll be able to growmore fun while doing it.

However, before you jump to the comments to argue or (worse) go delete all your blogs, I should point out that there is clear-cut right or wrong between having 20 blogs or 2 blogs.

The key to all of it is you, and how you manage your blogging.

I wrote about this dilemma in more detail last year, but in a nutshell:

  1. Don’t launch more than 1 blog per month if you are the main blogger for that site.
  2. Don’t be involved full-time in more than two blogs at a time – this involves blogging, marketing, participating in comments, strategizing for future growth, etc.
  3. In the beginning, your blogs won’t be earning you enough to live on. Instead of starting new blogs:
    • Find a system that works and helps you make money online (such as PLRPro – (disclosure – I’m a member)).
    • Hold on to (or get) a real job.
    • Get hold of freelance projects (what I did).

      What type of projects? Writing, programming, consulting, designing, whatever suits your skillset – and if know nothing, you can still probably write – otherwise you wouldn’t be blogging, right?

  4. Blogging isn’t just about posting articles on your blog, it’s about finding out what people want to read about and then writing about that. It’s about networking with fellow bloggers and leveraging those relationships to help promote your blog. It’s about marketing your blog, because let’s face it, you’ll need to get links to your blog one way or another.

    It’s also about planning ahead, so that you know when to take your site in a particular direction, when to grow it and when to split off a section into a new site.

    If you do all of the above, two things will happen – one, you’ll have time only for a couple of blogs and two, your blogs will grow much faster.

If you are spread out too thin, you’ll lose money and traffic and stress yourself out.

If you are too focused, you’ll lose money and traffic and (almost) never make it big.

To find a balance, you need to maintain enough focus while constantly working on growing your sites.

Part of that means hiring designers, programmers and writers to work for you.

Part of that also means that you should know when you’re just churning out articles and not putting enough effort into growing your site – usually that point comes when you’ve been blogging for a while and your site’s traffic numbers have been stagnant over 2-3 months (once again, this applies more to new / young blogs).

So where do you stand? Are you spread out too thin? And are you stressed about your blogs?

This article was originally written on 21 Jun 2007 for Performancing.com.

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Divide and Rule – Simple strategy to dominate any niche

How do you translate knowledge / experience, quality writing and marketing into a successful blog? For each big hit there are thousand other bloggers who know their field and write well but aren’t able to break out into the limelight.

The key ingredient is razor-sharp focus – and it means the difference between being remarkable and being ‘like everyone else’.
As you know, Performancing’s motto is ‘helping bloggers succeed’.

As part of this effort, we ran several Blog Reboot sessions in which we took a blog and analysed how it could be improved to:

  • increase traffic
  • retain readers / increase readership
  • increase revenues

This was personalised and specific advice, telling bloggers exactly what they needed to improve on their blogs in order to increase their traffic (and readership) and maximize their revenues.

In the 5 blog reboots I’ve done so far, only one blogger had the the right idea about blog focus and the value of dominating a niche. It helped that Paul Tan had been doing this for 3 years, but this isn’t a lesson that’s learned with time, it’s something that you can implement on your blogs right now.

It’s no wonder that Paul Tan’s car blog is one of the more successful blogs around – most of that success can be attributed to his focus on a particular niche (he is THE authority in Malaysia on cars and car buying), which in turn brought in valuable links and increased traffic and readership (not to mention increased revenues).

This is also the hardest part of blogging, because if you have been blogging about a topic for some time you are liable to have some sort of resistance to change.

For example, in one of the blog reboots I did, I told the blogger to offer something unique and specific to his readers instead of merely regurgitating the same news and following the same pattern that most other blogs were following. His answer? That he thought that his readers appreciated his efforts to act as a filter.

Well, of course your readers are going to say that – that’s why they stick around, don’t they?

But have you asked those people who came once, left and never came back again?

Or those people who subscribed to your RSS feed, then unsubscribed because they found it boring / too similar to other blogs?

Your readers will usually tell you that you’re doing a good job – because fact is, if they didn’t think so, they wouldn’t have stuck around to tell you.

But you don’t know how many readers you’ve lost because you’re doing a ‘bad’ job – that is, either just repeating / rehashing what everyone else is saying or not talking about anything in particular (like many personal blogs are).

Hey, if you are running a personal blog and don’t have any intentions of growing your readership fast, having many people read your blog and / or make money from your blog, then don’t listen to me.

But if you DO want to increase your fan base, increase traffic and increase your revenues, then focus on a single niche (and in that niche, focus on specific topics), and favor quality over quantity.

Don’t write about gadgets when you can talk about home theater systems.

Don’t write about soccer when you can talk about your favourite club.

Don’t write about music when you can talk about a genre (and don’t talk about a genre if you can talk about a band or a specific musician).

The right way to dominate a niche is to start by attacking and dominating a sub-niche. Want your blog to be the most-read parenting blog on the planet? Start by talking about a limited set of issues – don’t attack the whole niche at once.

After you’re the top dog in that sub-niche, move on to the next level – i.e. a bigger niche.

Divide and rule, then you consolidate.

This article was originally written on 18 Jun 2007 for Performancing.com.

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Three tips for being a better blogger

It’s Friday evening, 6:30 pm and you’re furiously tapping away at your laptop, churning out the first of many articles / blog posts / linkbaits that you were supposed to write this week. The deadline is Monday morning, your procrastination hasn’t paid off and now your weekend (and your nerves) are wasted as you slave away to cram 5 days of work into 2.

If the above (albeit a bit exaggerated) sounds like you, then don’t fret – there’s hope, and in the process you will also be a better blogger.

Darren talked last week about the value of establishing a . While I think that Darren’s is mightily disciplined and a rare case, there are still a lot of good habits we can take away from the whole process.

I’m going to let you read the inspirational articles – the day in the life of a problogger series (1, 2 and 3) – but first, let’s get you started with the 3 basic habits you can adopt right now to channel your time into those areas of blogging and making money where you are most needed.

TIP #1: CHUNK YOUR FLAGSHIP CONTENT TOGETHER

Darren, in his blogging workflow post, talks about how he takes one or two mornings and writes all his flagship content for the week during that time.

This requires some planning ahead of time, so what I’d suggest is that you keep gathering ideas during the week so that come Monday, you DO have plenty to think and write about. And if you have to do some research, do that before hand as well, so that when the time comes, all you have to do is write.

The other obstacle that people sometimes face is that they want to write too much about ‘current’ news and not enough flagship content. I face this problem myself, despite reading Darren and Nick and Chris talk about this for over an year and despite consciously practicing writing flagship content on my blogs.

The thing is, once you start reaping the rewards of flagship content, there really is no looking back. On one of my blogs, a simple practice of creating such a resource led to site traffic tripling over the course of two weeks and then steadying itself after that.

That was a home run of sorts, but it made me realise the value of long term gains as opposed to short term gratification.

Want to double, triple, quadruple your blog traffic? Start writing flagship content.

And learn to schedule it for a specific time on a specific day of the week, so that the rest of the week you don’t have to worry about writing on your blog and you can focus on marketing and managing your other work.

TIP #2: FOCUS ON LESS WRITING, MORE MANAGEMENT

For a blogger whose main weapon is his pen / keyboard, asking them to write less feels blasphemous. Also, many bloggers blog because they enjoy writing about a particular subject. I could probably talk / write about soccer all day long, probably the same with blogging and marketing. This is what I do, what I know and what I enjoy.

But writing too much is not good – it’s not good because it tends to take you away from other, more important activities.

For example, let’s say you have 3 hours per day to give to your blog.

On Monday, you spend those 3 hours writing 6 ‘flagship posts’ for the week. For the rest of the week, with the writing out of the way, you can spend perhaps an hour blogging (putting up the newsy items) and the other 2 hours managing the blog, talking to advertisers, marketing / building links, tweaking your theme, launching a new blog (why not), hiring writers, etc.

In short, once you’ve done your blogging for one site on Monday, you have 4-5 days more in which you can work on anything else you want to – other blogs (I wouldn’t recommend more than 2-3 blogs to write on regularly) or blog-related activities. The key is that you have the option to make a choice – and the time to send traffic to your new flagship content.

TIP #3: HIRE/GET HELP

When possible, delegate.

If you’re starting out, this won’t be possible. If you’re already successful, delegating tasks is the simple process of placing an ad in Craigslist or the Performancing blogger jobs forum and farming out the day-to-day tasks of news reporting, comment management, basic promotion and email handling to a junior editor.

But if you’re somewhere in between, it’s difficult – you know you need to delegate in order to move to the next level, but you don’t have the funds to hire someone for the job.

One way to get help in this case is to first work hard on building your community and then asking that community to contribute to the blog. I’ve done that with variable success over the last year, and the key here is to build that community before-hand – once you’ve got a large pool of readers, asking and getting help becomes easier.

The other way to get help in this case is to hand pick one or two readers and offer them a share of the revenues / small payment in return for sharing the load of a few ‘editorial’ duties (such as comment moderation and news reporting).

What’s important to remember is that you shouldn’t scrimp in compensating for help – if you’re offering money then be generous, otherwise you have no right to expect good work and you will most likely not get the best possible out of the hired help. If readers pitch in to work for free, respect their time and find a way to thank them or reward them by linking to their blogs or promoting their articles, etc.

But make sure you get help – if you want to create a big, vibrant, successful blog, it’s easier if you delegate.

If you’re managing more than one blog, then delegation becomes necessary.

BE A BETTER BLOGGER

Learning linkbaiting, SEO, theme design and having your site pimped out with the latest widgets can help make your blog better and more popular, but all that is wasted if you don’t maximise it.

And that comes from being a better blogger. It doesn’t take much – just some time management, attitude adjustments (towards blogging) and the discipline to work on your long-term goals (flagship content) instead of slaving after short-term results.

And in case you were wondering, this post IS written on a Friday evening and I AM rushing to finish a couple of projects by tomorrow morning. We can’t be perfect at all times, but we can surely try.

This article was originally written on 15 Jun 2007 for Performancing.com.

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Are you making this mistake with your new blog?

We talk a lot about success in blogging – success in making money, in building communities, etc.

But where there’s the possibility for success, there’s also a possibility for failure.

And when you’ve invested your own hard-earned money into a particular project, it can be very painful to watch it go south.

Today I want to about how, if you are not careful, you can completely ruin a blog that you have just bought and instead of turning it into a profit-machine, you end up making it a liability.

If you want some advice on buying websites, please read Raj’s tips on buying websites for profit and SEO and my post on buying old websites.

Let’s say you buy a website that has a thriving community, good search engine rankings, under-monetized and a great brand to work with. You find out that the owner wants to sell, you get to him first, negotiate, bada bing bada bang, you own the site by next week.

And then your troubles start.

Did you plan for:

  • Maintaining the community by following the same style as that of the previous blogger(s)?
  • Changing as few things as possible (design, monetization, seo) in the beginning and to introduce them ’slowly’?
  • Spending plenty of time blogging on the new site to help your audience learn about you and trust you?
  • Bring in new bloggers and ensure regular posting if you couldn’t manage it yourself?
  • The fact that you might need to ‘bail out’ (and thus would need buyers to offload the website) if things don’t work out for you?

Giving lots of time, introducing changes (very) gradually, having a contingency plan – these three items should be on top of your to-do list for any blog that you plan on buying.

A new blog is like a new website – you need to put in the time to make it successful, whether it is monetization, or design or SEO or more content.

Hand in hand with this is the assumption that you need to know where to spend that extra time too – just blogging all the time or promoting the site all the time can’t cut it.

Are you giving your new blog plenty of time? For that matter, what about the one you just bought, or the one you’ve had for ages but hasn’t gone anywhere?

If things don’t work out, you should always have a backup plan.

This post was originally written on 2 Mar 2007 for Performancing.com.

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