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The Top 5 Recommendations For Free Money Finance

It’s time to summarize and consolidate almost 13,000 words worth of advice and suggestions given to Free Money Finance as part of our community consultation program. While there’s a great depth of knowledge to be mined from the comments on the launch post, I want to highlight the top five most common recommendations here.

Before we start, congratulations must go to Tori Deaux for winning our 1,700 StumbleUpon visitor prize for the best review. Thanks for outlining your tips in such a practical, conversational and, most importantly, easy to apply way.

Here were the top 5 recommendations made by the ProBlogger readers who critiqued Free Money Finance:

1. Improvements to the design

A number of ProBlogger readers found the number of strong colors and shades in the design (green, yellow, red, black, white and blue) jarring and dissonant, and that the logo looked a bit like a DIY job. While these sacrifices are usually inevitable when just starting out with a blog, I think it would definitely be worth re-investing some of the blog’s advertising revenue into a professional design and logo.

Several users also commented on ease of reading within the content, saying that this was actually very good. If FMF (the blog’s owner) decides to go with a more professional design, I’d hope that this ease of reading would transfer over into the second version of the site.

2. Width and exerpts

Few reviewers had a bad word to say about the content. It struck me as very clear and concise. However, I probably wouldn’t want to read it on the site as my screen’s resolution is 1680 x 1050 and the content area stretches very, very wide. Consider fixing the width of the site to fill the screen at 1024 x 768, but allow for whitespace or a background on the sides at higher resolutions.

In regards to the color of the excerpts (FMF had wondered if red was working) I would suggest switching this to an easy to read gray. A number of readers pointed out that red is more eye-catching than black and thus excerpts are emphasized more than the author’s content. In the context of some critiques on the amount of colors utilized in the design, it makes sense to strike red off that list by switching to gray.

3. The final frontier: tapping into social media

The blog is already established and beginner level traffic generation strategies like commenting and so on probably wouldn’t be worth the time investment. The blog has a large enough audience that it could start to mobilize social media votes and bring in traffic through those sources. Here’s how FMF could start doing this:

  • Use post excerpts on the main page with a WordPress ‘More’ tag. This will encourage readers to navigate to the post-page to keep reading. When they click their browser’s social media buttons, they’ll be voting for the specific page, rather than the site as a whole. Specific blog posts tend to do a lot better than whole blogs.
  • Use more descriptive and aspirational headlines. As seen in the ‘Best of’ list in the sidebar, post headlines which tapped into reader aspirations (being ‘Rich’ or a ‘Millionaire’) have tended to do very well.
  • Develop the habit of adding images to posts. Social media users browse the web very quickly and rely on visuals to communicate with them initially. An eye-catching image can mean the difference between a visitor who stays on your blog and a visitor who leaves the way they came.
  • Consider writing longer, thematic posts or resource lists. Short posts rarely do well on social media unless they’re incredibly profound or very useful. Longer, value-packed posts tend to be a favored format.

4. Revenue tips

A number of readers suggested placing some form of advertising in-post, as these tend to perform better in comparison to ads in sidebars. More AdSense would probably be too much, so FMF might look into affiliate banners or privately negotiated banner ads. Several readers also mentioned that the Amazon widget in the left-column seemed to be serving up irrelevant products. If this ad-unit is under-performing, it might be worth removing it to place greater emphasis on the more targeted ads on the site.

5. Ease of use and directing focus

There is an incredible amount of stuff packed into the sidebars on either side of the content. There are some really important elements in the sidebar coupled with a lot of unimportant elements, and I think a lot of what’s important is probably getting lost in the clutter. Here are my recommendations:

  • Move a Feedburner subscription icon above the fold.
  • Move up and emphasize: reviews (good social proof from sources who’re authorities to your target audience) and ‘Best of Free Money Finance’. People want to see the best very quickly when they first visit your blog.
  • Remove: recent posts element (it’s easier for users to just scroll down), recent comments (“person I haven’t heard of” commented on “post I haven’t read yet” — not so exciting for a new user), simplify your category list down to 10 – 15 (it’s so big as to be intimidating), move the blogroll to a separate page, remove lists of posts from the sidebar or put them on a separate page.
  • Move your About and Contact information above the site sponsors on the right. Your About page must be easy to find because new visitors will often give up if they can’t get quick and concise information on what your site is about.

Concluding thoughts

Overall, ProBlogger readers felt Free Money Finance offered stylish and useful content but felt the blog was hampered by an unprofessional design and clutter which made it difficult to use. We wish FMF a lot of luck in implementing the changes!

A Personalized, Comprehensive Growth Strategy For Your Blog

The following post on growing blogs has been submitted by Monica O’Brien from Twenty Set

There is plenty of advice out there about how to grow a blog, but little of it is tailorable to an individual blogger’s needs. This article is for people who already have a good blog (with good content and good design) and are ready to interact efficiently and effectively with other bloggers to take their blog to the next level. In this article, I will outline three general classifications of blogs for any niche, how to determine where a blog fits within its niche, 4 different types of interaction strategies, and finally what interactions and with whom will benefit your blog most in a personalized growth strategy.

Three Classifications of Blogs Within a Blog Niche

  • Small Fry/Newbie – Blogs that are new or still in their early stages within a blog niche.
  • Major Player – One of the top 3-5 blogs within a blog niche.
  • Established/Mid-Sized- An umbrella category for everyone else. Within this classification, there may be varying degrees of “established-ness,” but for my purposes these differences don’t matter.

These three categories create a hierarchy for every blog niche. Major Players are on Level 1, Established blogs are on Level 2, and Small Fries are on Level 3 in the blog niche hierarchy. This hierarchy will play a large role in establishing your growth strategy.

I haven’t truly defined these classifications because it will differ based on the blog niche. In the next section I will guide you through defining these terms for your particular blog niche.

Determine Where Your Blog Fits Within a Blog Niche

There are three steps to determine your blog’s fit:

Step 1 – Identify Your Blog Niche

Most of us don’t blog on one particular topic, but rather within a realm of related topics. For example, my blog Twenty Set is about personal and professional development for millennials. To determine my blog’s niche, I could choose from personal development, career development, millennial/generation Y issues, or a combination of two of these.

The way you define your blog’s niche is a crucial step in this process that will drastically affect your blog’s personalized growth strategy. It’s important to choose a niche that is substantial yet focused. You don’t want your niche to encompass half the blogosphere; but you do want a niche broad enough to have at least 20 blogs in it.

When determining your blog’s niche, which you choose should be based on your own experience with the blog topics you write about. My general advice is to first go with a combination, if it exists. If not, choose the smallest substantial niche (20+ blogs), especially if you are newer to the blogosphere. It’s easier to grow into a big fish in a small pond than a big fish in a big pond.

No matter the blog niche you choose, keep in mind the other niche possibilities… these will become your Related Niches, which are important to your blog’s growth strategy once you enter Level 2 in your niche.

Step 2 – Identify the Players

Now that you’ve chosen a niche, it’s time to identify the other blogs that reside in your niche. Start compiling a list, first with the blogs you read, then with the blogrolls of the blogs you read, and so on. In the future, you will want to keep this list up-to-date as blogs within your niche grow and new blogs enter your niche.

Step 3 – Categorize the Identified Players

With a list of blogs in hand, it’s time to categorize them as either Small Fry, Established, or Major Player. If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you might be able to do this exercise without looking at any stats, though it’s worth a look at stats either way to establish a baseline for growth.

Here are a few stats you can look at to determine how each blog within your niche should be classified:

  • Subscriber count
  • Technorati rank
  • Alexa rank
  • # of comments
  • Age of blog
  • # of articles on the front page of Digg
  • # of posts
  • # of articles with high Del.icio.us saves
  • # of articles with high Stumbles

There are many more indicators, but these are a few that will apply to most niches. For your blog’s niche, choose the 3-5 most important indicators and find the data for each blog. Remember that all classifications are relative. You are comparing the stats of various blogs within the niche while blocking out the stats of blogs outside the niche. This means a Major Player in your blog’s niche may only have 300 subscribers, or only 50 posts. The numbers don’t matter; relationships between the numbers do. At the end of this exercise, you should have a good idea of how to classify each blog in your blog’s niche, including your own.

Keep in mind that your blog’s place within a niche will depend on how you defined the niche. You may be a Major Player in a small niche, but a Small Fry blog in a broader niche. Depending on your situation, it might be beneficial to complete a growth strategy for two niches you are targeting.

Summary of Growth Strategies Based on Classifications

Once you’ve determined where your blog fits within its niche, you are ready to create a growth strategy. Here is where you should be based on classification:

Major Player

You will not find major growth within your own niche anymore because you’ve already captured most of the segment. Your goals are to maintain your authority in your current niche and attract readership from other Related Niches. As a Major Player in your own niche, you can play up your authority and focus on Major Players from Related Niches. The exposure will trickle down to established blogs in the Related Niche.

Established/Mid-Sized

You are well-established in your own niche and have captured a substantial number of the niche’s readers. Your goal is to continue growing your blog to become a Major Player in your blog niche, while also capturing some readership from Related Niches. Major Players in Related Niches will mostly want to work with Major Players from your niche, so the maximum growth return will come from targeting mid-sized blogs in Related Niches.

Small Fry/Newbie

Your growth strategy will focus on gaining authority in your own niche by interacting with Established blogs and Major Players. It doesn’t make sense to target blogs outside of your niche at this point.

Interactions With Other Bloggers

You have your niche and you know your blog’s place in it – now it’s time to start interacting with other bloggers. There are four different interaction strategies which are detailed below:

On the Radar

This strategy is used to make your presence known to popular bloggers. Remember that “popular” is relative, depending on where you fall within your blog niche. Techniques include linking to the blogger’s articles regularly and relevantly, participating in their forums, commenting on their blog, nominating them for awards, emailing them for advice, submitting their articles to social media sites, . With On the Radar techniques, you simply want the blogger to know you exist. Then, when your blog is large enough or when you are ready, you have already established a repertoire with the blogger.

Loyal Readership

On the flip side of getting On the Radar of another blogger, you also want to establish a Loyal Readership for your own blog. To do this, you must above all write good content that attracts a readership. Once you have that, however, it’s also important to link out to others on all levels in your niche, leave value-added comments on other’s blogs, reply to comments on your blog, and find and encourage new talent in your niche. By using these interaction techniques, you will establish authority within your blog niche, and a Loyal Readership will follow.

Collaboration

This interaction technique involves working with other bloggers for mutual benefit of all parties involved. Techniques include blog carnivals, guest post exchanges, blogroll exchanges, and promoting each other’s products. Collaboration is one of the most natural interaction techniques to use because the mutual benefit aspect makes it easy to ask for favors – you know you will eventually return them.

Contribute to Discussion

The Discussion interaction technique extends past value-added commenting to building off other ideas and topics in a separate post on your blog (with attribution of course), answering questions other bloggers pose in a separate post on your blog, quoting other bloggers, and reviewing other bloggers. When you contribute to another blogger’s iscussion in a big way, you are establishing yourself as an equal, which is the first step to entering that blog’s level.

These aren’t the only interaction strategies you could use, but I believe they cover most of the ways you can interact with other bloggers to grow your own blog.

Matching Classifications With Interaction Techniques

There is no one interaction strategy that works best; in fact, you will need to employ each interaction strategy as you grow your blog. Here’s a color-coded chart that will help you visualize how all of this works:

On the Radar: Red, Loyal Readership: Blue, Collaboration: Purple, Contribution to Discussion: Green

Growth Strategy.jpg

Loyal Readership and Collaboration also work well on your blog’s level in your blog’s niche, which is not indicated on the chart. A summary of this chart is detailed in the following section.

General Interaction Rules To Follow Based on Blog Classifications

Within Your Blog’s Niche

  • Collaborate with bloggers at your level
  • Contribute to Discussion at one level above
  • Get On the Radar at two levels above
  • Gain Loyal Readership at your level and under

Within a Related Niche

  • As a Small Fry, focus on your own niche first
  • Collaborate with people at your level
  • Contribute to Discussion at one level above (though simply commenting is not likely to provide much return)

With Probloggers

Guest post if you get the chance no matter who you are =D. Remember the saying: “Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Note: These are general rules designed to distinguish the interaction techniques that will give you maximum benefit for your blog’s classification. You can certainly use any of these interaction strategies with any blogger – but it might not pay off as much.

**************************************

Now that you have a personalized growth strategy for your blog, there are only two things left to do. First, start taking action with the interaction strategies, based on your classification. A growth strategy is worthless without action. Second, reevaluate your “niche fit” every few months to determine progress and redefine your growth strategy based on that progress. The faster your blog grows, the more often you will have to redefine your growth strategy. Good luck!

Monica O’Brien is a twentysomething who writes about personal and professional development for young professionals and entrepreneurs at her blog, Twenty Set. If you are a smart, talented twentysomething, she would love to share her articles with you via subscription to her feed.

12 CPM Alternatives to Adsense

Looking for a CPM Alternative to AdSense? Will Reinhardt from Calico Monkey (RSS) shows you 12 of them in this post.

Video content publishers face a unique capitalization challenge on the internet today. Sites that rely on new media for the bulk of their content are unable to earn as much from Adsense as those sites that feature more traditional written articles.

Improving CPM in a New Media Era

There are CPM alternatives to the pay-per-click model that can offer video content publishers better monetization than Adsense. These impression based publishing networks have often been around for many years, while some are new to the field and thus have less stringent traffic requirements. While the CPM amount that can be earned varies depending on the niche and number of unique visitors/pageviews per month, for new media publishers this amount is often higher than Adsense revenue.

The following publishers are ordered by their traffic requirements, in parentheses.

AdsDaq (no requirement) – While they only provide CPM ads to specific countries, their ability to display backup ads from any network makes them an easy first choice for somebody looking to test the waters of the CPM market.

Ad Dynamix – (no requirement) – While not quite as intuitive as AdsDaq, their minimal requirements make Ad Dynamix quite approachable even though their customer support is poor.

ValueClick (3,000 pageviews per month) – While their pageview requirements are quite low, ValueClick is known to be picky with the type of site they will approve.

Morning Falls (10,000 pageviews per month) – A relatively low traffic requirement, solid customer service, simple implementation and easy to understand reports make this a good CPM publisher for beginners.

CPX Interactive (10,000 pageviews per month) – A relatively new face on the advertising scene, CPX Interactive offers good integration and solid reporting. Meeting the traffic requirements is not always good enough, however, as their internal approval process is on the strict side.

Burst Media (20,000 pageviews per month) – Burst Media is an intermediate advertising publisher. Their overly-complicated integration and reports, as well as their poor customer service hold them back from the upper echelon of advertising networks.

Casale Media (10,000 unique visitors per month) – A good intermediate ad publisher, perfect for an established site that has not quite reached A-List status just yet. Casale Media handles larger sites as well, making them a good long-term choice for many sites.

Tribal Fusion (60,000 unique visitors per month) – A solid pay scale, depending on your niche. Tribal Fusion represents hundreds of sites with a wide range of categories.

Brightroll (100,000 video views and 250,000 pageviews per month) – Along with Video Egg, Brightroll is the only other advertising publisher on this list that is truly centered on new media. Their video view requirement automatically puts them in the advanced category.

Adtegrity (500,000 pageviews per month) – While their orange and green color scheme may make you scratch your head, Adtegrity is known for their quality customer service and is quickly becoming a leader in the advertising network field.

Advertising.com (2 million pageviews per month) – One of the heavy hitters of online ad publishing, their high pageview entry point means only well-established sites need apply.

Video Egg (10 million video views per month) – The cream of the new media crop, Video Egg concentrates entirely on advertising in online videos.

Conclusion

Once a new media site has obtained a solid audience a close examination will reveal that Adsense simply doesn’t have as much clout as it should. As your site grows, consider other advertising methods and networks. Your bottom line will appreciate your efforts.

The Author

Will Reinhardt shows his own cartoons and discusses making a living creating animation at Calico Monkey (RSS). He also teaches animation at Toon Boom Tutorials.

Let Other People Do The Talking

In this post Daniel Scocco gives some tips on letting others do the talking about you.

Example 1

Aaron Wall is one of the most famous search engine optimizers on the Internet (and consequently in the whole world). His book on the topic has sold thousands of copies, and he is able to pull a $500 hourly rate when he has time to run consulting projects.

Quite a mouthful, huh?

Yet, if you visit his website, you will not see the words “expert,” “guru” or “rockstar” anywhere. Here is the first paragraph of his “About” page:

SEO Book.com is a leading SEO blog by Aaron Wall covering the search space. It offers marketing tips, search analysis, and whatever random rants come to mind. ;)

Example 2

Copyblogger, with over 35,000 subscribers, is the leading authority when it comes to online marketing and copywriting advice. Brian Clark, the author, has created several successful websites in the past (some of which sold for big bucks), and he also performs consulting work.

With these credentials you could expect an epic “About” page, right? Well, not quite, here is the how he described himself:

Brian Clark is an Internet marketing strategist, content developer, entrepreneur, and recovering attorney.

I could go on with dozens of examples, but you probably got my point already. In one sentence: let other people do the talking. Do not brag about your achievements, do not highlight your qualities excessively, do not claim to be an expert, guru, rockstar, popstar or similar. Even if you really are!

If you are a real expert or guru, other people will do the talking for you. They will let others know the depth of your knowledge or abilities. They will call you with these terms, and the praises will be genuine and valuable.

Again, even if you really are an expert or celebrity on your niche, I would refrain from self-proclaiming that. It might sound that you are trying too hard to convince others, having an overall negative impact on your credibility.

Faking to be an expert or star when you know you are not, on the other hand, is almost guaranteed to result in failure. Some people argue that the “fake it till you make it” strategy works. It might in some cases, but it might also end up damaging your reputation for good.

What is the takeaway from this post? Stay humble and focus on doing your thing, regardless of how successful you might think that you already are. If your work is to be praised, other people will do it gladly.

Daniel Scocco is the blogger behind Daily Blog Tips .

Tired of (Promoting) Your Blog? Flip It

This post on ‘flipping’ or selling your blog was submitted by Patricia Mayo from the soon to be released ComHacker.org.

sell-your-blog.pngimage by xdjio

Here’s a news flash: blogging is really hard work. You research, you write, you network, you Digg, you Reddit, you Twitter, you… you get the point – every single day – and for what?

$14.82 in your AdSense account, that’s what. Well isn’t that just gee-golly wonderful.

Then again, maybe you just blog for fun, and count yourself among the second largest majority of bloggers reading ProBlogger. In that case, you definitely want to keep reading – because flipping your blog can allow you to just write and forget about everything else.

Sell Your Blog’s Soul

One very unheard of way to increase your blogging income is – quite startlingly – to sell (or “flip“) your blog. Granted it is usually (not always!) a once-off shot at income, but here’s the good news – the going sale price for blogs is 12 to 24 months of projected income.

Quite simply, you get to haul in up to two years’ income from your blog without blogging for those two years – and your message stays intact.

The reason your core message stays intact – most of the time – it really isn’t beneficial for an investor to drastically change your blog. I say most of the time because what you think is your core message might not be what the investor or search engine sees as your core message.

Your blog’s age and content are valuable assets to an investor – it’s already indexed, with readership, a long tail, and all the basic trimmings. Most of the time, the reason a blog’s growth gets stunted is not because of something wrong with what it has, but rather what it is missing.

Usually investors are keen on this value and will use your blog’s content as a launching pad, rather than a scratch pad. My point is, the big changes aren’t in the message of your blog – so whatever you hoped to achieve with your blog will only be bolstered by selling it.

Big Benefits to Former Owners

Rest assured, your special baby blog will be taken care of quite well.

There are many different kinds of investors; some are individuals, some work as a team, some buy for keeps, others to sell again – but almost all have a vested interest in the growth of your blog.

From my experience, as a team leader who buys sites with the intent to re-sell, I have yet more good news for you. Should you ever miss writing for your blog, investors will often let you continue to contribute – and share the new and improved revenues with you.

For a share in the re-sale price, you could help promote the blog too, but this is entirely optional. You read that right – you don’t have to promote, at all. This means you can just blog, and forget about all the promotional nonsense that typically goes along with the whole problogging gig.

In essence, flipping your blog is even better than joining a blog network – because even writing for a network you still have to promote your blog… tirelessly promote your blog, and for peanuts per month.

You can pretty much negotiate anything you want with an investor – after all, you have all the power before money exchanges hands. Dream up your ideal situation, and shoot for it.

Ramping Up for Sale

Especially if you don’t want to or aren’t sure you want to sell your blog, the time is now to start preparing your blog for sale. The most imperative business strategy is the exit strategy.

Here are a few key elements you want to improve upon to increase your sale price:

  • Long Tail Value – Long, keyword rich posts will bring in long tail search results. This is one of the first things an investor looks at, and often the last if it’s good enough. However I don’t recommend you pre-date these posts, especially if you’re selling to me – because I check ;-)
  • Clear, Simple Focus – If you can describe your blog in 20 words or less, and include all your categories and keywords, you are in a prime position to sell. Super-focused, odd-ball niche blogs tend to do best because rarity creates value.
  • Infrequently Updated with Strong Readership – In most cases, the last thing an investor wants to do is try to keep up with a daily-post-pace while attempting to develop a stronger reader base and income. Try gradually decreasing your post frequency while increasing your post length and see how well that works for your blog- it just might increase your readership.
  • Hands-Off Value – Investors absolutely love any site that has something driving traffic which requires zero maintenance, like a script providing proxy access to sites typically blocked by corporate firewalls, or anything of the sort. Special deals with other webmasters (which will transfer with ownership) are great assets too.
  • Proven Social Media Campaigns – If you find out what networks (Digg, Reddit, StumbledUpon, etc) respond best to your kind of content, you can quickly add a great deal of value to the sale by disclosing your findings in the sale listing.
  • Proven Ad Network Campaigns – Again, if you find out what ad networks convert best on your blog, and what kind of advertising has worked best to drive traffic to your blog, this too can be a big value bacon bringer.
  • Proven Product-Based Monetizing – If your blog has been especially successful with affiliate marketing or product-based strategies for acquiring revenue (such as selling your own ebook, or is attached to an ecommerce site), then you can pretty much demand just about anything. A lot of investors specifically look for sites they can use to showcase their own or their friends’ products.
  • You – Yes, you. With content-driven sites like blogs, one of the biggest problems investors with an intent to re-sell have is providing more, frequent, and valuable content. Often they resort to buying articles, or even worse, using free-for-all articles to update the site, because the last thing they want to do is write it themselves. Their specialty is marketing and revenue strategies – not content development. You can make your blog much more attractive simply by offering your services in return for revenue sharing.

You also want to look around at the forums listed below to see what is currently in demand. These trends tend to last a while too, so even if you research now, chances are that niche will still be hot when you’re ready to sell.

Of course, if you want to sell quick, ignore all of the above and leave lots of room for improvement. Your blog is liable to get snagged up in less than a few hours if the right person sees an irresistible price attached to a fixer-upper.

Negotiation Tips and Cautions

Once you have a buyer on the hook, you want to be first and foremost prompt. Being quick to respond will give you a significant edge – it gives the investor less time to doubt his desire and look for other opportunities, and more time to admire your professionalism.

However, some investors are quite savvy. They will try to swindle you and say your blog is worth much less than what you are asking. Do your research and find out the current market price for blogs like yours. Know that you are right and have proof ready.

If you don’t want something to happen to your blog – don’t assume it won’t happen. Ask of the investor’s intentions and plans, and get it in writing. This especially includes things like hosting and domain transfer (oh, did I mention you won’t have to worry about hosting anymore?).

You would be surprised what some people do to content. I consider blogs sacred, but there are quite a few blog “chop shops” looking to assimilate your blog into their directory of articles for sale. Please don’t let this happen – I hate seeing bloggers’ blood, sweat, and tears go to waste like that.

Of course, common sense also applies. Don’t accept personal checks (escrow is best). Don’t accept payment plans. Don’t accept barter without a written, printed, and signed contract. And don’t leave your real address, phone number, and other private information in your whois lookup while the site is for sale.

Remember, by posting your blog for sale on the forums below, you are exposing yourself to the sometimes questionable ethics of internet entrepreneurs. Never underestimate what they can do with your information. Check DNS Report and DNS Stuff for what shows up – because they will too.

However, here are a few “definitely do’s” for your blog for sale listing:

  • Make Yourself Highly Available – Set up temporary accounts if you like, but definitely provide easy ways for investors to contact you (within the realm of the forum’s rules, of course). Be it through email, IM, Twitter, or whatever mode you prefer, make sure you can be reached and conversed with quickly.
  • Ask Questions / Make Demands Up Front – This is debatable, but most investors like to close deals as quickly as possible. If you have questions for potential investors, such as what they intend to do with your content (hint hint), go ahead and ask them in your blog for sale listing.
  • Give All of the Stats – Link to screenshots of your revenue-producing, traffic-producing, and other measurable results of value (with private data blacked out). Link to complete dissertations on campaigns that worked for your blog. Notice that I said “link” – you want to keep the blog for sale listing simple and clean.
  • The Subject is Key – You want to make it as painless as possible for your potential investors to find value in your blog. The subject should include any key information that is missing from the general view when you look at the overview of all blog for sale listings at a site. Before an investor clicks to read your listing, they should know it’s a blog, for sale at X amount opening bid and X amount “buy it now” (or “BIN“), PR rank, and what your topic / focus is.
  • Highlight Special Features – If you have any unusual hook-ups with other webmasters, any linked ecommerce or other hands-off scripts, or want to provide content after the sale, definitely play those up and let the investor know just how much time those things will save ;-)
  • Highlight Room for Growth – Here’s where your laziness really pays. If there are things you have always wanted to do with your blog but never had the time or patience, or you know of something that could be done to improve the blog – do, definitely, talk about them in the listing. Investors like seeing sites with room for improvement in areas they can handle, and it only helps to make opportunities for growth as obvious as possible.
  • Feed the Ego – Step 1: Correctly identify the big players in the biz by taking a look at their profile and other posts on the forum. Step 2: Let them know you recognize their notoriety and offer your extra-special helpfulness to this VIP.

Before you post that blog for sale listing, don’t forget to have a look around the forum and see what is currently going on and what questions are being asked. The more you can preempt concerns, the more time you can save, and the quicker your blog will sell.

This includes performing a Xenu test on your site for broken links – because that is one quick way for an investor to debunk your blog’s value and get a lower price. Another really simple tip – Google yourself and get rid of any poor references before an investor does it and kills your reputation.

You also want to make sure that you post the listing just before you become wildly available so you have plenty of time to answer questions

Where to Sell Your Blog

Well you can start by emailing me ;-) Actually, in all honesty I’m not looking right now (I already have enough on my hands), but here are my favorite webmaster forums and other great locations to put your blog up for sale.

Don’t go crazy though – be selective and pick the top 3 or 4 you think would get top dollar for your blog. These are free to post and are typically for sites under five figures: Craig’s List, v7n, Loot, Aardvark, SiteOwners, and WebmasterTalk.

There are many, many more over at Experienced-People.co.uk, including great paid-to-post forums better suited to higher-priced blogs (with another favorite of mine, DNForum) but they are largely UK based. The ones I have listed are more globally focused.

Of course, you can also post on sites like MySpace Classifieds, but since it is not very widely used (and exceptionally difficult to post in multiple cities) you might just want to stick with the tried-and-true focused webmaster forums.

Last but not least, pay attention to forum rules, and follow them. Best of fortune in all your endeavors, and I’ll see you on the flip side! :-D

About the Author

Patricia Mayo is a SEO ghostwriter and Internet entrepreneur, specializing in acquiring sites in need of some TLC, developing them into flourishing value-packed community hubs, and flipping them for a profit. Look to ComHacker.org, launching soon, for always fresh practical tips you can apply to improve the effectiveness of your online presence and presentation. You can also follow on Twitter at Twitter.com/mayobrains, or contact her directly at mayobrains at gmail dot com.

5 Killer Ways to Improve your Writing Right Now

Improve Your Blog Writing with this post written by Rob Siders from 52 Novels.

5 killer ways to improve your writing right now

One of the hallmarks of producing great content for your blog is writing it so it sounds natural, the way it would if we were chatting with each other over a coffee.

I know. I’m not the first person to say this, so the advice won’t sound all that fresh. But the fact is, writing this way enraptures your audience. You’ll have them begging to know what comes next.

And, after all, isn’t that the purpose of a sentence? To get people to read what comes next?

I’m a technical writer and editor at my day job. I’m writing my second novel in my free time. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and over the years I’ve learned some things that never fail to punch up my prose.

Junk unnecessary words

This staple of Strunk and White’s ELEMENTS OF STYLE is, perhaps, the best piece of advice I have to share. I put it number one for a reason.

But how do you know which words are unnecessary?

A quick and dirty way is to look for all of the thats. You can jettison most of them.

Then take a look at the fluff. Strike any copy if it:

  • Doesn’t add anything substantial.
  • Won’t change the work’s meaning or tone.

Remember: You’re writing for others as much as — if not more than — you’re writing for yourself.

If you’d skip over something, you better believe someone else will, too.

Make it active

Thank ol’ Mrs. Anderson for this one.

Mrs. Anderson was my seventh grade English teacher who insisted the class adhere to every motherlovin’ grammar rule… no matter how archaic. Or stupid.

As as result, everyone learned to write dreadful passive prose. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seldom met a passive sentence I liked.

Chances are good you’ve got a Mrs. Anderson in your past, too. Exorcise that demon’s teaching immediately.

Examples of passive sentences:

The awards presentation this year will be emceed by Wink Martindale.

My daughter was given a turtle by my sister-in-law.

Notice how the subjects of the sentences are receiving the action? Blech.

Here’s how to fix them:

Wink Martindale will emcee this year’s awards presentation.

My sister-in-law gave a turtle to my daughter.

Here, the sentence subjects are performing the actions.

Subjects — not to mention your readers — yearn for action. Don’t disappoint them.

Forget your adverbs here

Adverbs suck the life out of magnificent nouns and adjectives. In fact, there’s nothing an adverb can do that the right noun or adjective can’t do better by themselves.

Bob admitted he liked women with slightly curvy figures.

Don’t softpedal this, Bob. Tell us you like voluptuous women. Tell us you like women with va-va-voom. “Slightly curvy” just doesn’t cut it.

Before you publish your copy, be sure to look for the words ending in -ly. It’s a safe bet they can go. You might even have to rewrite a few things.

Just be sure your meaning isn’t warped when you do remove your adverbs.

Read it out loud

My wife makes fun of me when she hears me reading my fiction. She claims it’s because I like to fawn over the sound of my own words.

She’s only half right. :-P

The other half is that my writing doesn’t always sound in my head the way it does when it’s spoken. What rings near perfect on the page sometimes doesn’t come across natural at all. “That just doesn’t sound real,” I say to myself.

Because blogging is about conversations, our posts have to sound real, too.

Take a few minutes to read what you’ve written aloud. You’ll find it’s a lot different when it passes through your ears first.

Bonus: You’ll also come across repeated words, incomplete thoughts, clumsy construction, misspellings, and host of other goofs you won’t wanna see in print. You’re welcome.

Vary, vary, vary

I hesitated giving this one up. It comes deep from within the fiction writer’s trunk full of magic.

So deep I could get blacklisted.

Have to turn in my keyboard.

Forever.

I hope you see where this last one’s headed.

No matter what anyone tells you, there aren’t many rules when it comes to writing. The only one I know of that’s hard and fast is, “Never start a sentence with a comma.

That said, changing the pace, gravity, and tone of your posts is often as simple as varying sentence and paragraph lengths. English composition teachers say, “Each paragraph should have a thesis, and each sentence in the paragraph should support the thesis. Each sentence needs a subject, verb, and blah blather blah.”

Whatever.

Each sentence should keep the reader, you know, reading. If that means you get creative with the rules, then by all means…

Do it.

Rob Siders is a writer living in Denver, Colo. He blogs about reading, writing, technology, and books at 52 Novels.