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What’s the Weirdest Thing You’ve Sold on Amazon?

Some days when I check what was bought via my Amazon Associate’s affiliate program the previous day I just have to laugh. Here’s a random sample of 10 items from yesterday’s sales which I think has to be the oddest collection of sales I’ve every had in a day.

You’ve got to love Amazon – considering all I ever link to are camera gear and books!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve sold via Amazon’s Affiliate Program?

Adding a Personal Touch to Your Blog

200612112158Last week’s post ‘7 reasons why personal blogs rock‘ got a great reaction from readers. One of the recurring pieces of feedback I had from other bloggers was that my style of blogging was quite ‘personal’ even on my ‘non personal’ blogs.

One ProBlogger reader commented via email:

‘Sometimes I feel like you’re talking directly to me one on one. It is very personal – how do you do that?’

Answering the question of ‘how to make a blog more personal‘ is one that I’ve not previously given a lot of thought to so this week I thought I should set myself the task of thinking it through and will write up my answers as a series.

A few random thoughts and disclaimers to start with:

  • by ‘personal’ I don’t necessarily mean that I’m going to be reflecting upon having a personal blog (as in the type where you talk about your cat, boyfriend, hobbies and last night’s dinner). What I’ll be focussing upon is how to make your entrepreneurial blog more personal
  • by no means do I see myself as a guru on the topic of ‘personal blogging’. I’ve got a lot to learn and there are many other bloggers who are a lot more accomplished at this than me.
  • different bloggers (and blogs) have different styles and voices of blogging. Some will naturally be more personal in their style than others and I’m totally in favor of each blogger finding their own way in this. There are times where it’s appropriate for a less personal style – however this series is an attempt to unpack my own approach and hopefully help others who wish to add a more personal element into their blogging.

So lets get the tips underway and start with a look at how using language can add a personal touch to you blog with the first of quite a few parts to this series:

1. Me, Myself and I….

From time to time I find myself using ‘we’ in my posts when I’m actually writing about my own opinions and experiences. To be honest I’m not sure why I do this. Perhaps I’m trying to create the impression that I or my business is bigger than it is, perhaps it’s an attempt to deflect attention away from myself or perhaps it’s for some other reason. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this – ‘we’ type language seems to surface pretty regularly on blogs. Have you ever done it?

While there are definitely times to use ‘we’ (ie when you’re writing on behalf of more than just yourself) I find that using more personal language (like ‘I’ or ‘me’) adds a level of intimacy to a post.

Instead of your reader imagining a group of people behind your post they begin to see you and hear your voice.

Keep up with the rest of this series on ‘adding a personal touch to your blog’ in the following posts:

27% of Healthcare Bloggers have Advertising – More are willing to Run them

Envision have published the result of a survey that they undertook of healthcare bloggers. They cover a lot of ground in the survey but the key findings with regards to advertising on these blogs were:

  • Healthcare bloggers are divided on whether running advertising negatively impacts blogger credibility….
  • Only 27% have accepted advertising on their blogs. However, 54% say they are willing to continue or begin running ads.
  • 41% of bloggers either “strongly disagree” or “disagree” with the statement: “Running advertising negatively impacts a blogger’s credibility.” 33% either “strongly agree” or “agree” with it.
  • However, most respondents say that a blogger’s background and biases have a greater impact on his/her credibility than advertising
  • 1.1% of respondents listed that generating income from ads was a secondary reason for blogging

Melbourne Bloggers – Blog Date

Are there any Melbourne readers who would like to get together for a few hours one morning in the coming week or two to hang out and do some blogging over breakfast, a coffee and with other bloggers?

I’ve often sat here in a cafe blogging and wondered how many other bloggers around the city do a similar thing.

Blogging can be a reasonably isolating experience for some – perhaps we should get together every now and again and do it together.

I’ve got no date (although mornings on weekdays suit me best) or place in mind yet (although am currently sitting in Joe’s Garage in Brunswick St Fitzroy where the wifi is pretty decent (and free) and it could work – its reasonably central and a tram runs right by).

We may not get a whole heap of blogging done – but it might be fun.

Anyone interested? Let me know in comments below if you are.

Speedlinking – 10 December 2006

Full Text Feeds Or Partial RSS Feeds? – Another Test Case

The old Full Feeds vs Partial Feeds debate is back with Digital Inspiration posting Do You Publish Full Text Feeds Or Partial RSS Feeds?

It’s actually an interesting post because Amit demonstrates the impact of moving from partial feeds to full feeds upon Digital Inspiration.

He noticed a jump in RSS subscriber numbers and an increase in earnings from his feed ads.

I know when ProBlogger moved from partial to full feeds that I noticed similar trends – however I also noticed a decrease in actual site visits (more people reading the full content in feeds) and a slight decrease in comments being left on the blog (same reason).

I’d be interested to see what Amit’s actual site visitor levels are like and also comment levels (although he says that ‘regular readers are now participating more and more in the blog discussions’ which is interesting.

Overall here at ProBlogger I’m glad I made the switch. Reader satisfaction has gone up, I find that even when ProBlogger goes down with server problems readers are still able to read the content and while actual site readers did go down (it’s growing again) the overall readership of the site is still on the up and up.

The only downside is that I continue to find other blogs scraping content, removing any acknowledgment to authorship and adding their own ads. Dealing with this has become a daily part of my routine unfortunately.

Poll of the Week Closed

I’ve had to end the Poll of the Week because of ongoing problems that I was having with it and how it was impacting the design of the rest of the blog.

I believe the results are accurate enough (with 732 responses over the two days that it ran) so will publish them next week.

Sorry to those yet to vote but for the sake of a more smoothly running blog I thought it best to end it prematurely.

Win 10 Great ‘Blogging’ Books at ProBlogger

I’m giving one lucky ProBlogger reader a Christmas present this year – read on to find out how you can get in the running for it…

I was just taking a look through my essential books for bloggers post in which I list 70 books that I and a few blogging friends recommend and decided to do refine it down to the 10 books that I think had the biggest impact on my thinking (on a blogging perspective) in 2006.

Ironically none of them are about blogging specifically and some of the books are actually quite old, but I picked them up this year to reread them and am glad I did.

Here they are in no particular order:

  1. The Story Factor – a book that I’m currently reading about being influential and persuasive through the practice of story telling. Really enjoying this one.
  2. Ogilvy on Advertising – written by renowned copy writer David Ogilvy this book has a lot of great copywriting principles that translate well into blogging.
  3. Advertising Secrets of the Written Word - another copywriter sharing good common sense strategies for copy writing.
  4. The E-Myth Revisited – a business book that helps small business earners move from building themselves a job to building themselves a true business.
  5. Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands – I always rave about this book that looks about a paradigm shift in advertising and the rise of emotion, sensuality and more in branding/marketing.
  6. Unleashing the Idea Virus - the first book that I read by Seth Godin that back in it’s day rocked my world
  7. Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell’s classic book on ‘How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference’
  8. Join Me – I don’t think you can get this new any more but a great story of a guy who started accidentally started a movement and what he learned along the way. This is written almost as a novel in a humorous and easy to read style.
  9. Don’t Make Me Think – Common Sense Web Usability
  10. 1000 Most Important Words – a guide to unlocking our “passive” vocabularies and developing a keener appreciation of the richness of language

As an end of year Christmas gift to one lucky ProBlogger reader I’m going to randomly pick one commenter (on any ProBlogger post) to receive all ten books.

To be eligible you simply need to leave at least one comment on ProBlogger between now and 25 December.

Consider each comment to be an entry with no limit to how many times you can enter. Of course comments need to be genuine (ie related to the post, not spammy) to be considered (beware, too many comments too quickly and you’ll trigger my spam detecters).

Vote for ProBlogger in the 2006 Weblog Awards

The 2006 Weblog AwardsThe 2006 Weblog Awards are on and there are some of my favorite blogs featured.

Thanks to whoever nominated ProBlogger in the Business category (I have some stiff competition) – if you’d like to vote for ProBlogger you can do so here.

You can vote once per day.