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Confucius said – Build a Better Blog

Confucius-Said
The following guest post is by Jon Bishop from TechNomads. You can learn more about him at the base of this post.

Now that I’m living in China, and having lived in Asia for the past 8 years, I’ve often found myself thinking about Confucianism, and considering certain elements of Confucian culture.

In some parts of Asia, Confucianism doesn’t have a very strong influence these days. In other places, like South Korea it’s been elevated to the level of a religion.

I also run a site about Confucianism, as well as some other stuff related to Asian philosophy, so I began thinking about what Confucius said and how it relates to blogging.

Sometimes what’s always worked is what works best, and blogging is no exception.

So, let’s take a look at some of the analects or sayings of Confucius and see how those strategies could be applied to successful blogging:

Confucius said: “It is only after the white background is prepared that any painting is possible.”

If the sayings of Confucius often seem cliche’, it’s because the truth is often very simple. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy, though.

Have you layed the necessary groundwork for your blog? Is your on page SEO good enough? Have you done your keyword research? Do you have a solid idea of what you will be blogging about for the next month? The next 3 months?

If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then a gram of good preparation is worth a ton of work.

Brainstorm every element of your project, do your research, lay a strong foundation and then build from there.

Confucius said: “The Common people can be made to understand a path, but not to follow it.”.

Ain’t that the truth? This is probably most true in the SEO and internet marketing realms.

Various blogs are full of great advice on SEO, marketing, and making money online, but often most of the readers either will not TRULY understand the advice, or they won’t act on it.

It could be for any number of reasons. Laziness, analysis paralysis, or just a lack of time.

When you’re building your blog or writing your next post, keep in mind that the ability to TAKE ACTION is not as common as you might think.

This can work in your favor if you’re selling a product, subscriptions, etc. but it can really work against you when promoting affiliate programs that require the user to take some action, like build, monetize, and get traffic to their own site.

Confucius said: “Rice can never be refined to much, and meat can never be minced to much.”

Analyze and refine! Constantly tweaking your monetization, SEO, and finding new ways to promote your blog and increase your traffic. As a blogger your work is never done.

Confucius said: “Yan Hui is quite learned and virtuous but he is extremely impoverished. Duanmu Ci is discontent with his lot. He engages in trade, and each time he turns out to be successful.”

Confucius often focused upon diligence. As a blogger, or any type of webmaster for that matter, you need to constantly source new opportunities, develop new content, increase your SERP’s and traffic if you want to succeed. While you may know everything there is to know about SEO, marketing, etc. – it’s the application of this knowledge that will bear fruit. Knowledge for its own sake is a good thing, but knowledge also requires practical application for it to be of much use. Instead of trying to learn everything at once, focus on working step by step and making incremental improvements over time.

Confucius said: “If people under your reign are happy, people will be attracted to come from afar.”

Give your readership what they want. Always try to over-deliver in your posts or articles. You should also pay attention to comments and criticisms, and find out which element of your personality is most attractive or appealing to your readership and exploit that to it’s fullest potential.

Link bait is nothing more than word of mouth advertising applied to the web, and one satisfied, amused, or interested reader can refer lots of new traffic and subscribers to your blog.

Confucius said: “Do not make haste, do not covet small gains. If you make haste, you cannot reach your goal; If you covet small gains, your efforts will not culminate in great achievements.”

This is related to what’s probably the most common mistake of people who try to blog for a living, or who try to earn income from blogging. . . It takes TIME to achieve the critical mass of content, subscribers and notoriety that bring in those huge paychecks every month.

Most webmasters who try to blog are extremely short sighted and once they realize that blogging requires alot of time and effort, they throw in the towel for the greener pastures of other types of webmastering, affiliate promotions, etc.

If you want to succeed as a blogger you need a sort of grim determination and stick-to-it-iveness to go the distance and persevere through some low earning months until you’ve attained that critical mass.

Confucius said: “Do not worry that your abilities are not appreciated. Just make sure that you possess them.”

This saying could be interpreted a lot of ways, and I think I think it’s a universal truth even outside of the blogosphere. Not getting the comment love you expected from a post?

Don’t focus on whether or not people are reacting to your content, but instead try to make sure that you’re actually producing content that is compelling enough to solicit the desired reaction (whatever that is).

Most people naturally seek positive re-enforcement and feedback. In the real world, you have to earn it.

Confucius said: “Duanmu Ci, do you think I am a man with a wide range of knowledge and a good memory?” Zi Gong replied, “Yes I do. Is that not true? Confucius said, “No, i just use a fundamental concept to bind it all together.”

Other much more famous bloggers have talked about this recently. . .

What’s your unique selling point? What sets you apart from the crowd of other bloggers out there in the blogosphere?

In offline business, this type of thing is referred to as “core competence”. What are you best at? What is your edge? That’s where you need to focus most of your efforts, either in developing or refining “the edge”.

Your core competence is the fundamental concept that binds everything else together. There are lots of things that you need to focus on every day, but if you lose sight of your own mission and core competencies, you’ll quickly find that those stats you check every hour are becoming more and more bleak every day!

Confucius said: “Those who spend the whole day long merely chatting idly, saying unreasonable things and parading their cleverness will accomplish little.”

I don’t think I can explain or expand upon this much better than Confucius himself. Are you a victim of forum-itis? Do you spend hours a day reading threads written by other webmasters that have absolutely nothing to do with your core competencies or improving your own brand?

This is such an easy trap to fall into, because everyone likes the feeling of participating in a community.

Your goal as a blogger or webmaster should be building your OWN community around yourself or your brand.

Participating in forums and other blogs is an important element of building your own social network, but don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees!

Confucius said: “Gentlemen unite instead of conspiring; petty men conspire instead of uniting.”

And that is why I’m writing this guest post. The notion of pure competition is flawed, I think. It’s been said that a rising tide lifts all boats, and the blogosphere isn’t an exception to that. You can read lots of accounts of webmasters trying to sabotage each other, knock each other out of their respective SERP positions, and so on, but in the end, it’s really counter-productive.

What is productive is creative and mutually beneficial collaboration. Whether that’s guest blogging, exchanging links, mentioning someone else’s recent post (trackback!), or any number of other ways.

Image Source Rob Web

 JonbishopJon Bishop (pictured left) is the author of this guest post.

Jon also writes at Analects of Confucius, Miyamoto Musashi’s book of Five Rings and Taoism and Wudang Mountain Martial Arts.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Rick says:

    we appreciate any advice on blogging, as we are beginning ours…we know a lot on our topic, but not a lot on how to publicize it.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Nice tips! I’ve been working on focusing my efforts more appropriately lately, and I can see where things are starting to pay off. It’s so easy to skip steps when you take action, but the action is more effective when you’re more careful about what you do.

    But feeling unappreciated can make it so much harder….

  3. “No, I just use a fundamental concept to bind it all together.”

    I like this one, but I define it differently. I take it like this: I don’t have to hold all the tricks and methods of SEO (add yours) because I know the underlying principles and with those, I can discover my own methods.

    It’s what separates an innovator from a copycat.

  4. Louis says:

    I find it really interesting how the confucius philosophy can relate so closely to something that seems so distant (blogging). Maybe a bit of Confucianism and the rest being Jon Bishop’s wisdom. Great post!

  5. Gradon says:

    There are many ways Eastern philosophy can be connected to our efforts as bloggers. Great guest post, John.

  6. I like how you tied that together. You and Confucius have much in common. Kudos!

    Heather

  7. In some parts of Asia, Confucianism doesn’t have a very strong influence these days.
    Agree. Here in Malaysia it is not practiced much. -_-

    In other places, like South Korea it’s been elevated to the level of a religion.
    O_O Never knew about this. Thanks for sharing!

    Confucius said: “It is only after the white background is prepared that any painting is possible.”
    LOL you what what came into my mind after I read this? Using white background for the pages of our sites.

    Fact:
    Google has pure white background
    Yahoo has pure white background
    Darren’s site has … erm… almost pure white background
    … etc

    Have you layed the necessary groundwork for your blog?
    Not sure about this, still laying the various necessary groundwork I guess. o_O I believe my daily sleeping hours have been reduced to 4-5 hours because of this.

    Is your on page SEO good enough?
    I think some articles’ SEO are quite good enough. :)

    Have you done your keyword research?
    I believe I try to do that every time I want to optimize an article for Google’s search queries.

    Do you have a solid idea of what you will be blogging about for the next month? The next 3 months?
    Yeah, I do. :D

    If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then a gram of good preparation is worth a ton of work.
    O_O
    Wise quote, I need to remember this!

    Confucius said: “The Common people can be made to understand a path, but not to follow it.”.
    Agree. However, I think most of them do not even try to understand that path. -_-

    I have been trying to promote EntreCard among my local bloggers here in Malaysia but most of them seems uninterested.

    Confucius said: “Rice can never be refined to much, and meat can never be minced to much.”
    Agree. One should always strive to be the best!

    Confucius said: “If people under your reign are happy, people will be attracted to come from afar.”
    Agree. Make readers happy! Happy readers will attract more happy readers!

    Being a blogger is kinda like being in the service industry. -_-
    We sort of ‘service’ our readers. O_O

    I believe that a good blogger will always attempt to communicate with one’s readers, if possible.

    Confucius said: “Do not make haste, do not covet small gains. If you make haste, you cannot reach your goal; If you covet small gains, your efforts will not culminate in great achievements.”
    Agree. Many people are too eager to rise to success and do not realize that it takes a lot of effort, hard work, careful planning, time, energy, etc.

    They think blogging is an easy job. -_-

    Besides that, there still exist lots of people that do not realize that there is moolah to be harvested through the cyberspace, one of the methods is via blogging.

    These people are usually people that are close to oneself, say spouse, girl friend, wife-to-be, close relatives.

    Bad scenarios include getting really nasty comments from them. I know because I got nasty commentated before.

    My wife-to-be does not believe that there is moolah to be harvested from the Cyberspace. She is an extremely impatient person, I might add.

    Confucius said: “Do not worry that your abilities are not appreciated. Just make sure that you possess them.”
    Glad to read this! I totally understand how this feels like – “abilities are not appreciated” especially my wife-to-be, she always bad mouths me when she is not happy.

    What’s your unique selling point? What sets you apart from the crowd of other bloggers out there in the blogosphere?
    I have a purple face? :D

    Confucius said: “Those who spend the whole day long merely chatting idly, saying unreasonable things and parading their cleverness will accomplish little.”
    Agree. Still there are many people who do not realize that 24 hours a day is not enough to do all the things that one needs done in a day.

    Confucius said: “Gentlemen unite instead of conspiring; petty men conspire instead of uniting.”
    Agree. I think they failed to understand the 6th Habit – Synergize of Highly Effective People.

    United together, folks are able to achieve greater feats.

    @Darren:
    Thanks for sharing this!

    Cheers, mate. :D

  8. JEMi says:

    This was a very useful, enlightening post and I enjoyed it very much. Great work!

  9. CurlyBrace says:

    Being half Chinese and learning about Confucius and his sayings since I was a kid, I must say that you have both learned a lot and also applied it well to the part of blogging. BTW did you read the originals in Chinese or a translation?

    (Darren: thanks for this great guest post as well as all the tips and interesting articles that you have. I added problogger to http://www.websoda.net , hope that you don’t mind :) )

  10. Tech Slice says:

    Nice pointers. Confucius was a wise man!

  11. Frugal Dad says:

    I love it when someone can find blogging nuggets in ancient Chinese wisdom – now that’s creative posting! This goes back to another tip from Darren – think like a blogger. Just about every life experience can be blogged about if you tie it in with your theme.

  12. Simone Pastiche says:

    Interesting post, Jon. But please remember that cliché is a noun, not an adjective. When you misuse cliché as an adjective, it’s the same as if you’d written, “If the sayings of Confucius often seem triteness….” Painful to the ear!

    Your phrase should read: “If the sayings of Confucius often seem clichéd….”

    Thanks!

    P.S. And I’m sure you meant to type: “Rice can never be refined too much, and meat can never be minced too much.” Confucius was very big on form, after all. :-)

  13. Czecho says:

    Jon,

    That post was a lot of fun to read and very informative. Confucius was a smart man, and we could all learn a lot from his teachings. As well learn from your teachings.

    Thanks for sharing that with us…

  14. Farid says:

    I particularly enjoyed the point “analyze and refine”–so true!

  15. dawn says:

    Interesting tweak on Confucianism…

  16. David Lano says:

    Jon, excellent set of blogging tips in relation to Confucius’ ideology. You are absolutely right, taking action isn’t always embraced by the common reader, and shouldn’t be expected.

    Knowing this and developing posts in light of this knowledge can be very beneficial for both the author and the reader.

    Creating a simple and well defined set of instructions will make the action part a whole lot easier to apply and implement. I really appreciated your thoughts. Thanks.

    -David

  17. Arturo says:

    I think the problem with blogging is not so much the amount of work you have to do(SEO, writing great posts, trying out new ads). The big problem relies on lost of time and our inability to focus in one activity.

    we recieve too much distractors, and it is very difficult to concentrate. Its like RSS feeds. I used to recieve 100 to 200 feeds per day. I never read them all but I did have to read the titles to see what I like and what I didnt. I finally decided to get rid of what was not essential, and limit my reading of RSS feeds to three or two times a week, but dedicate 40 minutes just to reading my RSS feeds. That way I know I only have 40 minutes to read so I better take advantage of it.

    Another thing that helped me focus more on writing good content was reducing my time spent in social networks. I quit pownce(not completely but I dedicate it much less time), I limit my online chatting time. And I reduced my time spent on last.fm and facebook. By the end of the week I realized I wrote double the posts I used to.

    Great post! Great Philosopher

  18. alanj878 says:

    You should have used some other name since some people are religious .
    http://livelymoney.blogspot.com

  19. ClubEddy says:

    What an interesting post you connect blogging and Confucius!!

    Confucianism is basically a good philosophy to treat others (readers) and make yourself (bloggers) happier. It is a target of blogger, right?

    I’m Chinese from Hong Kong. Let me explain some about Confucianism. The fact is that it still have great influence in our daily life!

    Confucius is master of teacher in China. Confucianism became core culture of Chinese for more than 2400 years. It is about value of life, importance of family, relationship, why/how policy and governing to build a stable country, etc. To understand why Chinese do this or think in that way, you may need to study Confucianism first :)

  20. Jon, thanks, that was a refreshing read.

    This comment stuck out in particular:

    “No, i just use a fundamental concept to bind it all together.”

    I think that’s what makes for great blogging – the people who can take news, ideas, information about their work or their studies or their life, and blend it consistently through one unique perspective or “fundamental concept”

    Joanna

  21. Good post. My blog is exclusively devoted to analyzing and commenting on famous quotes. When I research those quotes, it becomes very clear that basic human traits have remained the same over the centuries. What some people said centuries ago equally applies today.

  22. Different approach, I like that. I will not be surprise when the next guest post will be related to the Pope or Omar BIn Laden. LOL!
    Anyways, this post has a great analogy. You completed my day once more.

  23. CurlyBrace says:

    @Arturo I agree, we have just too many distractors. I, too, quitted online chatting (I simply don’t open it, busy, away, on the phone, those things don’t work) and social websites, and I invite everyone to do it just for a few days and see the difference.

    BTW what tags can you use here? bold? [b]bold[/b]?

  24. Rick says:

    Wow
    This is exactly the type of post that makes Problogger a must read for ALL bloggers. Excellent post Jon your blog will now be on my RSS list.

  25. jd says:

    > … the ability to TAKE ACTION is not as common as you might think.
    All too true! A bulk of my day job is helping people turn insights into action.

  26. Ricky says:

    The next to the last one hits me the most. Specific to my niche, it’s important to participate in other forums, but only to a point. I’ve recently been attempting to set aside an amount of time each day that I’m allowed to do so, otherwise it’s easy to get lost.

  27. Yiwu says:

    Good.. I’ll go to start my new blog..haha..