Bloggers and Business Owners: Starting Your Year Right

2011

A new year has come again, and it’s the perfect time to start things right. Many of us may have made handfuls of mistakes last year, but this year signals an opportunity to realign things, to put them in order, and to begin anew. However, things left unfinished last year should not remain untouched; this new beginning is the best path we could take to fix or complete these things.

Some bloggers act like they’re celebrities in the blogging world. They divulge full details about their life and business. There is nothing wrong about that, since blogging is always personal and it is up to you to say and write whatever you want.

As a businessperson who blogs, it is unavoidable for me to reveal some details about what is happening inside my business. Many of my secrets are disclosed as I reply through threading comments, which I found harmless as long as the message is delivered in words that will not hurt my business strategy. However, I am not the type who announces everything about my business. I suggest leaving your serious mistakes as secrets, and having them fixed while delightfully continuing blogging.

As a blogger, I believe that you don’t have to delete your old posts or your whole blog to begin anew. Perhaps you can write a post to announce your excitement to do business. Excite your readers with your optimistic posts. Let them feel that something new is about to happen to your business. As a customer, it’s always good to hear something new about a certain store or product. [Read more…]

5 Ways That Bloggers Are Like Rappers

grill

This is a guest post by Gary Kohler from LifeCover.ca.

To get noticed as a blogger you need to stand out.

You need to pick a niche and be the strongest voice of that online community. To get attention you need to stir the pot every once in a while but most of all you need to keep people wanting more.

There are many ways that this is similar to the world of gangster rap and here are five reasons why.

1) “Final” Goodbyes

Bloggers and rappers both love the “final” goodbye. The brackets are there because usually the final goodbyes are not actually final.

Some rappers will retire every second album but they will inevitably come back for another record or three. Bloggers do this too. They might need a vacation or some time to focus on their family but a lot of times they’ll come crawling back to their little soapbox.

Rappers do it to sell more records and to hype their newest effort. Bloggers likely do it for comment love and to send people to their newest blog or website. Once in a while a blogger or rapper will quit for good but most of the time they’ll be back for more. [Read more…]

Nothing to Blog About: Backlogitis

Nothing to blog about article series logoWe all have it. The email inbox reaches 1,000 unread messages like some virtual red flashing light indicator of procrastination. You’ve got 600 tweets to read and 45 DMs to respond to. Your WordPress blog is still version 2.5 and your WordPress Theme only works with WordPress 2.1. The To Do pile on your desk resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You’ve got Netflix movies stacked upon Blockbuster videos past due to return. And your blog is begging for a blog post.

The symptoms are all there.

You have backlogitis. [Read more…]

Nothing To Blog About: Go Back to Your Roots

Nothing to blog about article series logoIn this new series called Nothing to Blog About, we’re looking at the various ways your blogging creativity can be temporarily dried up and plugged up, and how to break the dam. Today, my recommendation is to go back to your roots.

Go Back to the Beginning

I know all there is to know about blogging, right? I’ve been doing this longer than most people, in fact, before some tweeters and bloggers were even born (that’s a scary thought!). I’ve been through all the various blog struggles and hoops there are to blog through. I’ve survived all the names changes from website to online journal to weblog to blogging to microblogging and the belief that social media is a new concept. I’ve had my content stolen, been accused of stealing other people’s content, abused by trolls and comment spammers, survived changes in web technology and many upgrades, and lived to blog on another day. So I’ve been there, done it all, haven’t I?

Have I? What I’ve done is forgotten what is was like to start blogging. To be the new kid on the bloggy block. [Read more…]

Nothing To Blog About: Leave, Quit, Stop

Motor home at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington State, Olympic Mountains - photograph by Lorelle VanFossen

Nothing to blog about article series logoThat’s right. Leave. Get out of here. If you got nothing to say to the world through your blog, leave, quit, stop. Get away from your desk, your computer, your office, your home, your life. Go away.

Not forever, just long enough to clear your head and mind and find your creative juices again.

As part of this new series called Nothing to Blog About, we’re looking at the various ways your blogging creativity can be temporarily dried up and plugged up, and how to break the dam. My first recommendation is for you to leave your blog for a vacation. [Read more…]

I Have No Idea What I’m Going to Blog About, But Here Goes

Nothing to blog about article series logo

Nothing to blog about article series logoI’ve been at this blogging thing since before 1994 and faced many a time staring at my computer with dread. Not again. Honestly. Ain’t nothing left to say. It’s all been said before. And I said it. Tank’s empty. It’s boring. I’m bored.

A blog calls to you, begs you to feed it. Your readers want your words, and the need must be fed. What do you do when you can’t think of anything of value to add other than what you ate for lunch?

A couple years ago, when blogging was still in its infancy, a post title like this was fairly common, along with titles such as: [Read more…]

WTF Blog Clutter: Feed Clutter

Three feed subscription options in this feed example

In How to Increase Your Blog Subscription Rate by 254% on Copyblogger, author Willy Franzen had a light bulb moment when he realized that by asking our readers to subscribe to our blogs, we were actually asking them for money.

A week and a half ago I had a sudden realization. Subscriptions generally cost money. Think about that for a second. It’s jarring, especially if you’ve spent the past few months or even years incessantly asking your readers to subscribe…

Are you being completely clear with your word choice? When you ask your readers to subscribe, are you asking them to do the virtual version of writing their name underneath? Or are you asking them to agree to pay you a sum of money?

This is a great example of the WTF Blog Design Clutter. The words you use to entice someone to “buy” your free service can confuse readers. By changing the words, Franzen saw a huge increase in feed and email subscriptions.
[Read more…]

Web Name Games

Blogs began their life as online journals. Then weblogs became the word, which eventually was shortened to blogs. Do you still call them online journals? Weblogs? Or are you “with it” and call them blogs?

Every once in a while I run across an article by a new blogger or an article not updated from five years ago that refers to blogs as weblogs. I saw one reference that called them weBlogs – not referencing a company but in a sentence about blogs in general.

When I see someone calling blogs “weblogs” I think that they aren’t up with the times, don’t you? When I see people using old terminology or wrong terms, I try not to judge them, but it’s really hard, since their words are all I have to evaluate. The wrong name for something can put me totally off. It tells me that they don’t know what they are talking about, and they certainly aren’t going to give me new and valid information. Do you feel that way?

The language, especially the language of the web, is evolving quickly. I remember when we laughed at Yahoo being a silly name for anything, let alone an Internet directory, then giggling over Google. Not much giggling now. These words are part of our every day lingo and we google for information without a second thought at what we are saying. [Read more…]

WTF Blog Design Elements: Most Recent Comments and Shout Boxes

Example of a shout box in use on a blog

In this ongoing series on WTF Blog Design Clutter, we’ve talked about blog clutter with too many “friend” pictures and badges and calendar archives, two of the many elements many use to clog up their blog’s sidebar. “Clutter” is a matter of perspective. If these added design elements really work for your blog, serve your blog’s purpose, and enhance the reader’s experience, leave them. In fact, put them at the top where they are the first thing people will see next to your post title and content beginnings. Promote them. If they are that important, let them stand out.

If they are not important, then they do become clutter.

One of the most popular blog clutters are the Most Recent Comments and Shout Boxes that many feel are important elements to a blog’s design.

The web is now social. People are experimenting with all types of methods to bring the social to their blogs and emphasize how social their blogs are – or at least appear to be. Among the most popular and easy to do are most recent comment widgets and chatting shout boxes. [Read more…]

Blog Design: WTF Is That Doing There?

Blog Clutter

Remember the old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression? You personally may get a second chance to sway that first impress, but your blog doesn’t. If you don’t grab them within the first micro-seconds of a visit, they won’t subscribe and they won’t be back.

Digging through a lot of blogs recently to research an upcoming article, I found myself thinking “WTF” as I looked at the designs. I was constantly distracted from the content I was eager to read through and quote towards things that blinked, flashed, or listed irrelevant stuff. My eyes had to work overtime to stay focused on the information I was there to glean.
[Read more…]