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How to Leverage Your Blog for Bigger Things – Springboard Blogging Part II

Yesterday I wrote about using a blog as a Springboard for bigger things. In the post I talked about different kinds of bloggers and shared a little of my own story. Today I want to suggest a few ways to build a blog that launches you into bigger things.

So how does one become a ‘Springboard Blogger?’

Much of what I wrote yesterday about my own journey shows how accidental, evolutionary and lucky the process was for me (although I’ve become a little more strategic in recent times). Having said that – there are seven lessons that I’ve learned along the way that might be helpful for some.

1. Set Goals

While I’m not the best goal setter going around I do have some broad dreams and agendas in mind as I blog. I tend not to get bogged down in specific and detailed goals but instead set myself a broad course and then allow the wind to blow me where it will.

For example – with Digital Photography School (DPS) my broad goal was to create a space for beginner to intermediate photographers to learn how to use their cameras. I didn’t set out to create a blog with forums and then to write photography resources – I’ve let my readership, luck and circumstance hone the goal and the opportunities have opened up.

2. Position Yourself for the Next Bounce

As I say – my style with this type of process is to set broad goals and then to let the wind take me where it will. This isn’t completely true – when the wind takes me in a direction and I begin to see a potential next step I then take the rudder and begin to position myself for that next opportunity.

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Speedlinking – 24 April 2007

Blogs as Launching Pads….

Are you jumping up and down on the one spot with your Blog or are you using it as a launching pad for something else?

While I was in Washington at the Underground Online Seminar, one of the speakers (I can’t remember which one) spoke in passing about an entrepreneurial principle of always looking at what you’re doing now as a springboard into what you will do next.

Spring-Board

As he spoke I naturally started to apply it to blogging and found myself thinking about three types of bloggers:

1. Jumping Up and Down on the Same Spot – this blogger starts a blog, grows it to it’s potential but allows it to become stagnant but doing the same sorts of things that they’ve always done on it in the same ways. Their vision is generally to grow what they’re doing by doing what they’ve always done in the same way that they’ve always done it. While this type of blogger can build successful blogs – they could be missing out on reaching their potential by not leveraging their current success to do new things.

2. Jumping from One Random Thing to Another – this type of blogger is a serial starter of new blogs. They have an entrepreneurial spirit but find it difficult to stick at things and see them through to their potential. They’re easily distracted by the next ‘big thing’ and as a result don’t tend to fulfill their potential in the current things that they do.

3. Springboard Bloggers – this type of blogger probably falls somewhere between the first two types in that they have the ability to build successful blogs and stick with them long enough to see them reach some sort of tipping point – however they’re always thinking about their next venture and are often able to leverage their current and past success to launch their new thing.

This last group of springboard bloggers usually start out with smaller blogs but use even the small influence that they build their to launch themselves into new and bigger ventures. Perhaps one of the best recent examples of this was Wendy’s recent announcement that she’s about to start blogging for Entrepreneur.com’s new Women’s blog.

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Testing Moblogging

Today a package that i had been waiting for arrived – a new nokia n95.

Part of the appeal was its web browsing capabilities and wi-fi.

So the logical first move was a post via phone.

I doubt it will be a regular thing though as it is quite tedious.

I will use it for surfing and email a little though.

Hosted or Standalone Blogging Platforms – Which is Best?

One of the most common questions that I get asked around blogging platforms is whether people should go for a hosted blog platform like Blogger, TypePad or WordPress.com or whether they should go for a stand alone platform that you host on your own domain and server like WordPress.org, Drupal or Movable Type.

I’ve talked previously about some of the Pros and Cons of Hosted and Standalone blog platforms – but thought it might make an interesting open mic discussion (or debate).

So what do you think?

  • Do you use a hosted or stand alone blog platform? Why?
  • Do you wish you’d made a different choice when you started?
  • What are the Pros and Cons of the two options?
  • What would you recommend to a new blogger?

The Future of Blogging?

future of blogging
Otto asks – “We’re reading almost the same posts on every top blogs – it makes me feel that either there’s nothing really new on making blogs and/or that blogs are past. So, what’s next?

Otto, I presume you’re talking about reading the same posts covered on blogs blogging about blogging? If so, you’re probably right on one level – there is a lot of posting on the same things in the niche of blogging about blogging.

One of the interesting things that I’ve observed lately is that the blogging about blogging space (and the ‘blogging for money’ space) has definitely become more cluttered. It seems that many bloggers go through a stage of being fascinated with the topic. Most watch each other and like in any niche their ideas and posts will bounce off each other also.

On one level I do get a little frustrated by it (it gets a little boring reading it all), but on another level I’m excited by the enthusiasm people have for blogging and I do learn by following what’s being written on the topic (there is some really original and worthwhile content being written).

I’m also always interested to see how long these sorts of blogs last. In my experience, most blogs about blogging tend to last about 6 months – I’m not sure if this is how long it takes people to realize its not easy to monetize it or whether it’s the time that people take to get to the end of their list of story ideas – but going beyond six months on the topic seems to be difficult (I suspect it is similar on other topics too).

Anyway – onto your real question – what’s next in blogging (or beyond blogging)?

I’d start by saying that I don’t think blogs are ‘past’ – but I would say that we seem to be in a period of consolidation and extension.

I see a lot of bloggers engaging in these sorts of activities at the moment:

  • adding authors – group blogs are the new black
  • clustering blogs around verticals – bloggers extending their blogs by adding sibling blogs on related topics
  • networking – 2006 was really the year of the blog network but it continues to happen in both loose and formal ways. Many of the blog networks didn’t really survive but there are quite a few that continue to bubble away and sustain themselves
  • adding services and features - whether it be video, podcasts, forums, job boards, classifieds, chat features, voting tools… many bloggers are beginning to add interesting features to their blogs that attempt to add value to blogs. I think what we’re seeing is bloggers more willing to see the limitations of blogs and wanting to blur the edges of what is and isn’t a blog.

I’m not convinced any of the above is what’s ‘next’ as such – it’s all happening here and now already.

I’d be interested to hear what others think the future of blogging is? Are blogs a thing of the past? What is next?

Leveraging Blog Profile to Open New Opportunties

I’m always looking for examples of how blogging opens up doors for those who write them to lead them into new opportunities to build their profile and make a living.

Today ProBlogger guest blogger Wendy Piersall gave us a prime example with her post The Biggest Blog Post of My Life.

Wendy has been approached by Entrepreneur.com to write a blog for them as part of their new site for Women Entrepreneurs.

What a great opportunity and a great example of how blogging consistently and passionately on a topic can open up doors to bigger and better things. What a great way to celebrate a year of blogging at her blog (her first year blogaversary is in just a couple of days time). Congratulations Wendy!

How to List Your Blog in MySpace News

MySpace have recently launched their News service (complete with some very nauseating flashing ads that I’m seeing right now).

Loren from Search Engine Journal posts that blogs and news sites wanting to be considered for this new index can submit their link here.

This is a worthwhile endeavor for any blogger wanting to promote their blog as MySpace is bursting traffic and any new service that they add has every chance of sending the sites that they link to with some significant traffic – especially considering that their news service has a voting/social bookmarking type system attached to it.

Their FAQ doesn’t really outline what requirements your blog needs to meet to be included in the index other than that it should be topical, that it should publish regularly, that it has a a core audience and that other news sources link to the site.

Speedlinking – 20 April 2007

Taking a month off from reading a feed reader is a liberating thing…. until you come home and are confronted with tens of thousands of unread posts. Today I began the task of catching up – here’s some of the first pieces of news, tips and posts from the last month (more to come over the coming days):

  • TLA have launched Post Level Text Link Ads – now you can not only sell text links on your sidebar on a site wide basis but can do it at the end of each post which gives potentially hundreds, if not thousands of text link sales per blog.
  • Over at the Chitika Blog they’ve been running a 30 Day Blog Bash which features guest posts from 30 blogging experts.
  • North x East wrote on 9 Essential posts that every blogger should know
  • Rick from Feedburner has an interesting post reflecting upon Full Feeds. One interesting tidbit – he says that they’ve seen no evidence to back up the often cited reason for partial feeds – that it leads to more visitors to your actual site.
  • PayPerPost is sponsoring the Bloggers Choice Awards. I like this ‘awards’ because it open for any blog to be nominated. While this leads to hundreds of blogs in each section it actually presents those looking for other blogs in their niche with a wealth of blogs to look at. For example in the Best Blog about Blogging category (thanks to those voting for ProBlogger) there are hundreds of blogs nominated. I spent the afternoon surfing them and found a heap to add to my RSS feed.
  • Dave Sifry released another State of the Blogosphere Live Web – full of all kinds of juicy stats for those who are turned on by such things.
  • A new magazine for bloggers and podcasters is being released – Blogger & Podcaster.
  • Google bought DoubleClick for $3.1 billion – yep, old news now but I had to include it, this is an update post after-all.
  • Loren at Search Engine Journal does some useful analysis of AdSense placement on MySpace pages. This is worth a look because MySpace and Google have a partnership around ad placement so one would expect that these are well optimized ads. Interestingly the ads are very plainly designed, almost in default colors with a blended (no borders, plain backgrounds) approach.