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How Not to become a Grumpy Old Blogger

GrumpyComment Spam, Trolls in Comments, Servers Crashing, Personal Attacks in Posts, Getting Hacked, Public Critique….

While there’s a lot of positive things to be said for blogging – there are also days where blogging can all get a little too much and get even the most positive of bloggers down.

So how does a blogger protect themselves from becoming a grump (or at the very least depressed)?

As a blogger who has had his fair share of the above blogging downers here are five ways that I’m learning to preserve my emotional well being:

1. Your Personal Worth Is Not Tied to Your Blog’s Performance

One of the most helpful lessons that I’ve ever learned was to think about where my personal worth comes from.

We live in a world where Personal Worth often is seen as a result of two things. It can be put as an equation:

Personal Worth = What You Achieve + What Others Think of You

The problem with this equation is that in every sphere of life (especially blogging) it is very difficult to live up to this equation. There are times in all of our lives where we fail or fall short of what we set out to achieve and where other people’s opinion of us are not high.

Rating our worth as a person in this way can be a trap and as bloggers it can be an easy one to fall into.

On a good day where traffic is up, people are saying nice things, all the blog ranking tools rate us highly and we’re getting good press it’s easy to be on top of the world – but when it all falls in a heap the lows can be very low if we tie our personal worth to how our blog performs.

Personal worth comes from something deeper than what you do (or fail to do) and what others think of you. I won’t push my own opinions of where this worth comes from (for me it’s tied to my spirituality) – however I encourage bloggers to do some realigning and gaining of perspective in this area.

2. Don’t Believe Your Own Press

I’ve quoted Elizabeth Taylor before on this (believe it or not). When asked whether she reads what people write about her she says:

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Copywriting Contest – $10,000 in Prizes Up for Grabs

Brian at Copyblogger has just announced a cool group copywriting project which I’m sure many of you will enjoy competing in.

It’s all about creating irresistible offers using landing pages.

There are $10,000 in prizes up for grabs and it will be a judged competition (I’m one of the judges – no bribes will be taken…. unless they’re really good).

Get full details of the competition at Copywriting Contest: $10,000 in Prizes for Irresistible Offers

LineBuzz – Inline Comments

LogobetaLineBuzz is a new commenting solution for blogs that has got me a little curious. The concept is pretty simple – it allows your readers to comment on specific parts of your blog post by highlighting any text that you’ve written.

It’s probably best to learn about it by seeing it in action – something you can do at their blog Buzz This!.

Once the page loads you’ll notice that some text in comments is underlined with dots – these indicate that someone has commented on that particular part of a blog post (see the links highlighted below).

Line-Buzz

Hover the cursor over these links and it’ll tell you that there are comments like this:

Line-Buzz-2

Click the link and the comments open up as a little popup:

Line-Buzz-3

It’s an interesting concept and one that I can see some real usefulness in for those bloggers who write longer posts making many points – however I’m not convinced enough to install it on my own blogs.

From what I can tell the comments only get recorded inline and not in the comments at the end of a post – so there’s no place to view all comments on a post (unless I’m missing it) and keep an overall conversation in the one spot.

I would also worry about posts that get a lot of comments and how messy it could end up looking. For example my recent post – which feed reader is best? – is approaching 200 comments. That’s more comments than words – the whole post could be one massive jumble of inline comments.

It’s an interesting service and is one that is still in beta so I’m sure they’ll develop it further. What do you think of it?

Reflections on the Group Writing Project

A few people have been asking me to write a post summarizing the benefits of running last week’s ‘Top 5′ group writing project (GWP).

I’d summarize it as being worth doing in five main areas (and will add a few ‘costs’ of doing it below also):

1. Participation

The main reason that I run GWP’s is that it gets current readers participating in the blog. While there’s already a pretty good level of interaction on the blog in comments I find that a special opportunity like GWPs draws people who might previously have been lurking into coming out openly as active readers. I find that the number of comments in the weeks following a GWP are usually higher than in the weeks before – so it does seem to impact the interactive culture of a blog. I find that with increased participation comes increased ownership from readers.

2. New Readers

There’s no doubt that this last GWP created a buzz around the blogosphere. In doing this I find that they put the name/brand of ProBlogger ‘out there’ in ways that it might not have been previously and as a result every time I run one I seem to find new readers. While I don’t require people to mention that they’re in the project on their post – most do and in doing so they give those readers who also have blogs a way of discovering my blog.

Hint – What I’ve found when running GWPs is that you need to work hard to convert some of the new readers into loyal readers. Don’t let every post in the week that you run this type of thing relate to the project but work hard to provide excellent content that will make those discovering your blog for the first time want to hang around for more (and content that will keep your current loyal readers interested of course). There is a danger in running this sort of project that you become obsessed with it and ignore your current readers (and run the risk of losing them).

3. Incoming links

Related to this is the numbers of new links pointing at ProBlogger. I have not counted how many blogs linked up to ProBlogger and the GWP this week but I would suspect that there were well over 1000 (and probably closer to 2000 as many linked up numerous times over the week). Now people will argue over the benefits of so many links coming into a single page (or just a few) so quickly in terms of SEO – but the main reason that these links are so great is that they bring new readers with them.

NB: I’ve been told by some SEO types that my daily posts are risky to my blog when it comes to SEO also because they have so many links on them. I understand this but am more than willing to run that risk because I think the benefits of running GWPs far outweigh the costs – both to me and those participating.

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Which Feed Reader is Best?

FilenameTime for a little reader debate discussion.

Which Feed Reader do you use and Why?

Are you a Google Reader fan? A Bloglines junkie? Do you prefer NewsGator, Firefox Live Bookmarks or Netvibes? Or do you prefer to follow blogs via MyYahoo or iGoogle?

Which one do you use – why?

Leave us a mini review – it’ll be interesting to see what trends emerges from the discussion.

Top 5 – GWP Winner (and the #1 Reason Why Chitika Rocks)

OK, after a good night’s sleep an hour or two working through the list to weed out a couple of little problems I’ve just selected a winner for the Top 5 Group Writing Project. Before I announce them – here are a few administrative notes:

  • Full List – For those wanting to see the full list in the one place I’ve just put together a compilation page of all 893 entries at Top 5 Group Writing Project Final Submission List. Please keep surfing it, linking up (I think some top 5 favorites would be appropriate) and making friends of those bloggers you find.
  • Duplicate Entries – A few people misread (or didn’t read) the rules properly and there were a few who submitted multiple entries. I’ve left them in the list but have only allowed their first entry to be eligible for the prize.
  • Late Entries – There have been a few of these – but unfortunately I can’t keep adding new entries to the list. You’re welcome to keep writing Top 5 posts – but they won’t be listed any more – sorry.

Before I announce the Winner – I want to complete my own little Top 5 project – the top five reasons why I think Chitika Rocks.

#5 – On Day 1 I told you that they were interactive ads and very clickable
#4 – On Day 2 I told you about their RPU (related product units) and why they’re cool.
#3 – On Day 3 I told you about their free BlogBash ebook which is filled with great blogging tips
#2 – On Day 4 I told you about eMiniMalls

#1 Reason Why Chitika Rocks

The reason why Chitika Rocks the most can perhaps be summarized best with a little screen shot of the log in page of my Chitika account where they very kindly remind me each time I log in how much money I’ve earned by using them. Here’s what it looks like:

Chitika Earnings

That amount doesn’t include April’s earnings (and goes back to when I started to use them in September 2005) – but when they do update it that figure will go past quarter of a million dollars. What else can I really say? I think Chitika Rocks (and who wouldn’t)!

Thanks again to Chitika for putting up the prize for this project.

The Winner of the Project

Before I announce the winner – let me say that there are many deserving winners this week – I hope that participants have been ‘rewarded’ with a little extra traffic (and for those of you who were featured on Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon with your entries a lot of extra traffic).

However there is only one winner and that winner relies completely upon luck as this is a random prize draw.

And that Winner is……

Nancy R. Callahan for her entry Baby names from Video Games.

Congratulations Nancy – I’ll be in touch with you shortly to arrange for $1001 cash to be sent to you from Chitika. Thanks for your entry.

And thanks to everyone for participating! I’ll hoping we can do one of these projects per month from now on in. Feel free to nominate topics below.

Top 5 – Group Writing Project Day 4

Top-5It is with great pleasure, mixed with sadness, mixed with a tinge of excitement and mixed with some relief that I now officially close the ‘Top 5′ ProBlogger Group Writing project for this week. No more submissions will be accepted.

To say that the project has been a success would be something of an understatement both on a personal front, a participant front (looking at the numbers of thank you emails that are in my inbox) and from a sponsor’s point of view (if Alden from Chitika’s message to me a few hours is anything to go by).

Today saw the biggest round of submissions for the week with 297 new entries. This takes the week’s total up to 893 (almost triple our previous record). I’m not sure if it was the topic, the prize or luck (or all three) that made this week so successful – but I want to thank everyone for participating by submitting entries and by linking up to those that you love the most. I especially want to thank two important participants in the project.

Thanks Gary

The reason there was such a long gab between this writing project and the last one is that previously running these projects has been so much work as I’ve had to manually copy and paste every entry from emails into posts. This time however I was lucky enough to have Gary King develop a WP plugin that would do the task for me so that all I had to do at the end of each day was copy and paste the list of submissions into a post with my intro. Seeing the numbers of entries we had confirms the decision to go this route – Gary has literally saved me days worth of work. Thanks Mate.

Thanks Chitika – Why They Rock #2

Thanks to the sponsors of this project – Chitika. The #2 reason why I like Chitika as a monetization option for blogs is eMiniMalls. While they have developed a nice array of ad units for blogs it’s one of their first – the eMiniMall that makes me the majority of my Chitika income.

If you’ve not seen one before here’s an example.




These units are highly configurable, very clickable and can payout quite well if you choose the right keywords to target (hint: the more related to your content and audience demographic the better).

Stay tuned for my #1 reason for loving Chitika – it’s going to be a good one!

The Prize

I’m going to post the final list of submissions below and then will post the prize winner in a post tomorrow. The reason for this is that I need to double check that I’ve got everyone’s submissions (one or two slipped through in the changeover between days and there are a few double ups that I need to weed out). This will ensure the winner is drawn fairly. I’ll also post a full list of all entries tomorrow as one list – just so you’ve got them all in the one place for something to do over the weekend!
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Group Writing Project is Closed

Just a short note to say that this week’s ‘Top 5′ writing project is officially over.

The ending of the project coincides with me being out with friends – so I’ll post the final list of today’s submissions later tonight. The prize winner will be announced tomorrow (as I want to double check that everything is accurate before doing so).

Stay tuned and thanks to everyone for participating – it’s been a great project!

Speedlinking – 11 May 2007

  • Dosh Dosh asks whether you’re being indexed by the Snap Search Engine and suggests how to make sure you will be.
  • John TP points to a WP Plugin that lets you sell reviews from your blog directly – cutting out the middle man of services like PayPerPost and Review me (of course they can also find you business that you might not otherwise have found alone).
  • Nate Shares 7 ways to get your readers to ‘stick’
  • Richard asks How Much Textual Information Do We Consume Daily?
  • Rand’s written about his SEO routine – the process they go through when working up a new site’s search engine ranking
  • Cameron’s written an interesting post on Neil Patel’s personal branding blog titled On Neil’s Success – What I’ve observed from the sidelines. It’s a good post in and of itself however what I like about it most is that Neil invited a business partner to write about him in this way. It’s amazing what you learn about yourself when you get someone to reflect back to you what they see in you. Could be a good meme in that – ask another blogger who knows you well to guest post on your blog with a post about you!