Time to Give Again

Over two years ago, the Blog Herald held a small contest with a $200 USD cash prize for the winning blog. Given the gloom and doom around blogosphere today owing to the economic crisis, we feel that there could be no more appropriate time to repeat this contest and once more offer $200 USD for the most deserving blog.

The criteria for a blog to be able to enter is purely that it “should be helping to make the world a better place”:

This can be achieved in many different ways, from increasing our awareness as a society, being a symbol of hope through example or more obvious ways- such as fundraising or research.

The previous winner of the contest was Gifter.org and the Million Dollar Blog Post, the brainchild of Austin Hill and the Project Ojibwe team. Incidentally, Gifter asked us to donate the proceeds of their winnings to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

As before, to recommend a blog or to apply, please leave a comment or email us before midnight, PST, Jan. 31st: editor[at]blogherald.com.

What Are Your Favorite Quotes?

The writer is… an athlete required to break the four-minute mile every morning.
— Irving Stone

Replace writer with blogger and you have a good description of what the job of blogging is.

I’ve been collecting quotes since I was very young. One of my favorite books is the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, which just celebrated it’s Diamond Jubilee. I don’t know when the old rusty red edition found its way into my hands as a child, but I was totally taken with the never-ending collection of wise and whimsical things people said for every occasion. I wanted to talk like they did, combining words in such a way to make a powerful punch when provoked.

Maybe that was my first introduction and training into press release, editorial, and technical writing?
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Blogging Jobs: How Much is Blogging Worth?

Blogging Jobs by Lorelle VanFossenIn “Blogger Jobs: What Are They Looking For?” we talked about what jobs are out there and what blog owners and companies are looking for when they hire a blogger. Blogger Jobs: How to Apply For a Blogger Job? covered how to apply for a job as a blogger, with some good tips on what to do – and not to do. Today, I want to look at a very serious issue: How much are they paying bloggers to blog?

The issue of the blogging pay scale is very important, not just because I’m one of the workers in this new industry who expects to be able to pay the rent or meet a mortgage, but also because I represent the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people who want to make money blogging.

In a NY Times article on the blogging sweatshops by Matt Richtel (Print Version) the description of people of one of the hottest jobs in the world has writers churning out mass volumes of content working around-the-clock to make enough money to survive. It’s called blogging.
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Blogging Burnout Prevention Tips: How Do You Handle the Information Overload?

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), American writer

Have you lost your common sense with all the information attacking your head every day? While the normal person going about their daily work and life is bombarded by information, bloggers actually seek even more – making their brains resemble overstuffed furniture with wadding leaking out through the cracks in the Naugahyde.

I have over 350 feeds in my feed reader. I have 97 tabs open in my FireFox web browser. I have the radio tuned to National Public Radio, and podcasts are downloading onto my Zune right now as I work so I can listen to them when I work out tomorrow morning. I get hundreds of emails a day. Tons of blog comments across numerous blogs – I’m overwhelmed with information and input and I’m losing control.

Are you?

How are you managing all the input a blogger needs to stay in touch, keep up with the news in your blogging industry, tracking down story ideas, researching stories and articles, reading through comments, researching the answers, and responding back…and all the things we do every day to keep our blog life alive? How do you do it?

What are the tricks of the trade you’ve learned along your blogging path? Want to share? Share your time saving, information overload prevention tips with your blogging pals and I’ll write up a summary, and maybe even honor the best offerings with my book, Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.

Which begs the question. What is it that bloggers won’t tell you about blogging that we need to know in order to prevent blog burn-out?

The Secret to Writing a Successful and Outstanding Blog Ebook

The Secret to Writing a Successful and Outstanding Blog — The Insider’s Guide to the Conversation that’s Changing How Business Works by Liz Strauss

Liz Strauss released her new ebook, , this weekend to rave reviews.

Based upon the lessons she learned on her own blogs, and , as a long time writer for the Blog Herald, and the work she continues in the popular annual , Liz reveals the keys she used to turn her blog into one of the most successful and social blogs on the web.

Divided into two sections, the 68-page ebook asks two important questionss: “Can You Hear the Internet?” and “Can the Internet Hear You?” If you aren’t listening to your customers and readers, you are missing the blogging boat. Accordingly, if you aren’t writing to be heard, who is listening to you?
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Why Does a Blog Post Fail?

In Blog Challenge: What Are Your Most Favorite Blog Post Failures, one of the regular blog challenges I issue to “kick your blogging butt,” Atul Sabnis of Gaizabonts accepted the challenge to describe one of your favorite blog posts to write, one you were sure would get a lot of attention, but didn’t.

The challenge was to figure out why the blog post didn’t work. Sabnis wrote in Failed in Abstraction that the blog post titled A Discrete Process of Abstraction didn’t work for some very good reason, reasons we could all learn from:

This post deserved more attention than it got because it summarised well, my thought process of all that goes into most of my blogs; especially this blog…Why do I think this post failed? It was very dogmatic, to begin with. Its statement left no crack even, to pry open a possibility for a conversation. Then, it used artistic metaphors for something that isn’t often considered artistic. Finally it got tangled in its own wordsmithery. It still makes meaning to me, even if I shed the context I have, but I can imagine why, somewhere towards the end of the third paragraph, the reader may get lost. Anthropomorphism abounds.

Why do our blog posts fail? Not every blog can be at the top of the charts, but learning why they fail may help you understand what works and doesn’t work, on your blog with your readers.

Here are some of the reasons some blog posts fail:
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How Do You Turn a Spark of an Idea Into a Blog Post?

ideas plus what equals a blog post

ideas plus what equals a blog postRecently, I wrote a series of articles offering tips and suggestions on a variety of research resources to help bloggers blog better. I’ve also written up many sources for blog content ideas.

In the early days of web publishing, the Slashdot Effect could bring a site to its knees, as Slashdot was a source for inspiration and news. This was replaced by the Digg Effect and Technorati Tag, as people turned to these sites for sources of information. For the past few years, many have relied upon their feeds, Techmeme, Wired, and now Twitter as resources for getting answers as well as finding blog story ideas. What’s next?

The evolution of how writers find subjects to write about moving towards today’s web writer and blogger has always been one of fascinations. Where do stories come from? Where and how do you do your research? So many years doing this from pen and paper to typewriter to computer to web, and the questions are the same.

Are you asked where your inspiration for blogging comes from? What do you tell your friends and family when they ask?

The spark of an idea can come from anywhere, but the follow through to finished article or blog post is a mystery to so many. Share with us how you turn that spark into a blog post, and where you find your story ideas online.

Want More Comments: Start a Conversation

Do you want more comments on your blog? The most common whines from new bloggers are the lack of traffic and the lack of comments.

It takes a while, sometimes a few weeks, maybe months, or possibly a year or more before a blog generates enough consistent traffic, and in turn, comments. So many are impatient, especially when it comes to comments. After all, isn’t the whole point of a blog the comments?

Let’s clear some myths about comments up first.

Comments are not an indication no one is reading your blog. They are the start of a conversation.
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Finding Passion in Your Blog

I had that sense of recognition…here was something which I had known all my life, only I didn’t know it…
Ralph Vaughan Williams

A blogger recently contacted me with the announcement, “I finally found my passion on my blog! Thank you!”

I wasn’t sure why I was specifically being thanked, but I love it when people finally find their blogging path. Have you?

Here are some tips to help you find your blog purpose and passion:

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Have You Helped Someone Today?

I’m not bragging. It’s a fact. My blogs get a lot of attention. They win awards. I have a lot of incoming links, and a lot of steady traffic. The PageRank of my blog – well, actually, I don’t know. I have no idea and haven’t paid attention for several years. It doesn’t matter.

Most of the stuff that other bloggers worry and fuss over doesn’t matter to me. I don’t look at my blog stats unless I have a good reason. I don’t write to beg for traffic nor attention. Honestly, I just do what I do and people like it. Any search engine page ranking success I’ve had is due to experience and common sense. No games. I hate the games.

I tried to explain this to someone just entering the blog market recently, and they just couldn’t get it. “But you’re THE Lorelle! You’re famous!”

Nope. I’m just me. I’m just you. I’m just like everyone else, I’ve just been doing this longer. So pardon my arrogance for just a moment, but I’ve been there, done that, and now I think I’m paying attention to what’s more important than some numbers and scores.

What matters most to me is helping people.
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