Before You Lash Out At Someone On Your Blog, Read This

Regardless of how fair and neutral you are about anything, there is always going to be someone who doesn’t like you, for any number of reasons. In the Internet era, blogs and social media have become virtual soap boxes for people to vent their frustration on. Just from being around people who blog, and from my own experiences, I’ve learned a few lessons that I want to share with you. [Read more…]

3 Things That Some News Bloggers Never Learned In Journalism School

Breaking News

Breaking NewsThere is a reason why journalists must study journalism before any serious news outlet even considers hiring them. That is because journalism involves more than simply observing and reporting in your own words. However, there are bloggers abound who operate news blogs, or write news blog posts, that never studied journalism and it shows. It may seem harmless, but humans have a nasty habit of believing anything they read at face value. This includes news blogs. These same readers then regurgitate what they’ve read on their own blogs, and the snowball effect gets under way. These bloggers would benefit from learning the following things that every journalist already knows:

Fact Checking

This is of prime importance. To avoid perpetuating false information, you must make sure that you have the facts 100% accurate or at the very least mention that your information was of the “to the best of my knowledge” type. In the newspaper industry, multiple people check and re-check all the factual information in a reporter’s story before printing it. Of course, many bloggers don’t have the luxury of an office staff, but a good substitute would be to check at least 2 independent sources.

News is News, Opinion is Opinion

If you are writing a news piece, you should remain as objective as possible throughout. The intended purpose of news is to offer the reader the facts, so they can then decide for themselves how they feel about it. Stick to the facts, don’t embellish, or sensationalize anything; that is the hallmark of a good news writer and blogger.

Strive for Balance

Even if you just report the facts, be sure to get facts from both sides of the issue whenever possible. Without intending to do so, you could influence the reader’s opinion by omitting the facts from the other side of the equation. For instance, has there ever been a time where you were bombarded with news about a particular issue and formed a strong opinion just from what you’ve read, but then later on heard new information that made you go “Wait a minute! I didn’t know that, this changes the whole issue”? So, just by reporting one side (even though all of it was factual) of the issue, the writer persuaded you by just omitting facts from the opposing view. Good news writers and bloggers don’t do that.

These 3 core concepts are the foundation of every good news writer and blogger. Just because you didn’t study journalism, if you write any kind of news then you are essentially a journalist. Hold yourself to the same standards, and you will be noticed for it.

Guest Posting vs. Article Marketing: The Importance of Understanding The Difference

Guest Posting

Guest PostingIn the last couple of years, guest posting on other people’s blogs has become a solid marketing technique. At first, the idea of letting some stranger post their content on your blog seemed ludicrous. However, many bloggers realized the benefits of more fresh unique content, and the wheel has been rolling ever since. I have personally guest posted on many different blogs, and I have noticed that guest posting is sometimes clumped together with article marketing as if they are “basically the same thing.” They are NOT the same thing. There are many differences, and that is what I want to explore. Let’s start with the similarities of the two: [Read more…]

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Blog Never Becomes an Authority Blog

Authority Blog

Authority BlogThe buzz words “trust” and “authority” are being thrown around these days in almost any article or blog post you read that has to do with SEO. In the last year, Google has made many changes to its ranking algorithm that put more emphasis on how other sites view yours. Perfect example would be ProBlogger. Obviously that blog is seen as an authority in the blogging niche. Google knows this because it has a lot of one-way links from highly relevant sites, and because other bloggers mention it in their content (like I just did). These are not the only ways that Google determines if a site is an authority site, but you get the idea. Because of all of this, everyone who opens a new blog wants to become an authority in their niche. Obviously, the difficulty of doing that will depend on what niche you choose. Regardless of the niche, however, if you want to guarantee that your blog never becomes an authority blog, make sure you do the following things:

After Your 10th Blog Post, Start a Coaching Program

Listen, experience and knowledge are totally over–rated. In reality, all you need to do to become a “mentor” or a “coach” in your niche is to say that you are! Don’t get all worried about refunds and people eviscerating you for not knowing your butt from your elbow, just read posts and articles by other experts in your niche, and regurgitate them in your own words! So what if your members don’t ever really learn anything new, or that most of them probably know more than you, what’s important here is their recurring $49.95 membership fee. [Read more…]

Then and Now: What Your Favorite Blogs Looked Like in Their Infancy

Blog Herald May 2003

As we all know, every blog has a beginning. The beauty of the web is that websites can be stored in a permanent cache; effectively taking a virtual snapshot of the way the blog exists at that moment in time and storing it for later retrieval. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could go back in time and see what certain blogs looked like then? Well, it turns out you can. has a public cache that stores snapshots of websites at regular intervals. It is called the Wayback Machine, and works just like a regular search engine; I tapped into it to bring you some blog history. You punch in the URL of the blog/site you want to look up, and they show you what dates they have stored in their database. The tool is not flawless, and many searches turn up corrupted pages or missing images, but it is really cool nonetheless.   I did quite a bit of poking around on the database, and here are some of the snapshots I found:

The Blogs I Looked Up

From left to right, down the list in order, the blogs covered were Blog Herald, Boing Boing, Copyblogger, Engadget, John Chow, and Problogger. The thumbnails are in sequential order, so that you see the earliest snapshot of the blog to the most recent. To view each snapshot, just click on the thumbnail to load the full-size version of it. If you roll the mouse over each thumbnail, it will tell you what blog the snapshot is from and which date as well. This project was a lot of fun, and I could have gone on forever with it.

One thing that we can all take away from this example is the amazing amount of hard work and dedication the owners of these blogs have committed to their sites. We sometimes forget that everyone has a starting point, and everyone at one time was a nobody. Even Google. Now, I am gonna bet that after you read this post, you are going to head over to the Wayback Machine and start looking up all kinds of sites! Go for it.

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Blogger’s Email Marketing Resource Kit: Don’t Leave Home Without it!

RSS Link

Email Marketing Resource KitEven with the advent of social media, digital newspapers, smart phones, and tablets, targeted email marketing is still the most effective form of marketing online. We shouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon, so in the meantime, it would be a shame to pass-up email marketing as a revenue source. To help you capitalize on it as a blogger, I put together this resource kit that lists everything you need to get up and running with your own targeted email list and campaign except……..

Opt-In Incentive

Let’s face it; people aren’t going to join your mailing list because they think you’re a swell person. You see, people have been programmed to be automatically suspicious and reluctant to give out any personal information; including their email address. So, for them to give a total stranger their email address, it would be going against what they think is the safe choice, and if you want them to do that then you have to motivate them. The best way to do that is to give them something for free. EBooks work great; templates too, short reports as well, and even software. Creating a free product to giveaway is out of the scope of this email marketing kit, but it is something you will need to do before you will see any decent amount of opt-ins.

Email Marketing List Management Services

The first thing you need is a way to manage your list and automated bulk mailings. There are third-party services that can do this for you. Some people call them autoresponder services, but today’s services handle a lot more than just managing your autoresponder. Most of them handle list management, web forms, multiple lists, social media sharing, free scripts, and more. Nearly all of them have a free option that is limited to a certain number of subscribers, which can range from 200 to 2000 depending on the service and fluctuating terms. If you are just starting out, then build up your list until you max out your limit, and then upgrade to a paid plan as you go.

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SOPA Clearly Isn’t the Answer to Online Piracy

Censored by SOPA

I honestly don’t fully know the best way to combat online piracy; but I do know that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) isn’t it. The bill would create a plethora of problems if it were passed. Let’s be real here, copyright infringement and piracy are real problems that need real solutions, but when you spot a weed growing in your front yard, do you dig up the entire lawn to get rid of it? No, you pull that weed, and ONLY that weed, out of the ground and you do your best to monitor the lawn for any future weeds.

User-Generated Content Sites and SOPA

Censored by SOPA

One of the complaints that you’ll consistently hear about the SOPA bill is that it is way too generalized and all-encompassing. For instance, under SOPA, a site will be considered dedicated to the theft of U.S. intellectual property if it is “primarily designed or operated for the purpose of offering services in a manner that enables or facilitates copyright infringement”. Well, take YouTube for example; the online video site serves an average of 100 million videos every single day. The majority of it is uploaded by users, who can remain anonymous with minimal effort if they so choose. Under SOPA, YouTube can be considered a site that is primarily designed in a way that enables copyright infringement because of those reasons. Totally nuts. Blog owners might find themselves harboring illegal content through RSS, and pay the price for it; who knows anymore? [Read more…]