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Blogging Is Like The Wild West: Here Are Some Rules To Live By

wild-west.jpgToday Mara Rogers the Founder of http://www.SecretsForMoney.info takes you to the Wild West. Subscribe for the free Secrets for Money blog at http://www.SecretsForMoney.info where you get inspirational tips for more money, more time, and more fun!

“A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.” — John Wayne

Picture your favorite western and you have the idea—blogging is like the adventurous times of the Wild West.

If you are a seasoned blogger then you probably already know some of these rules and face them on a daily basis.

If you are a beginning blogger, here are some rules to live by in this era of transformation as we cowboys and cowgirls step out onto the range.

(1) Are you feeling like the Lone Ranger?

Often blogging creates a solitary work environment which can luckily be combated with Social media and networking with other bloggers as you sit at your computer desk.

The pioneers knew that to survive they would have to be kind, honest, accept responsibility, and lend a helping hand.

I would add that not just to survive, but actually thrive as bloggers, we must all do the same.

This is proven time and time again, as we read the track records of some of the most financially successful bloggers, even if they are running a one-man or one-woman blog, they certainly help others and get support from fellow bloggers.

(2) What Do You Need In Your Saddlebags?

There are many great articles at Problogger.net to give you the resources you need to start and maintain a blog.

Some of the tools that I found to be essential to carry in your ‘saddlebags’ are certain features like a “site map.”

After all you don’t want your blog to be a ghost town! So you need to work the Search Engine Optimization.

One way early on is to help your blog/site to get indexed by the major Search Engines is by building a site map. At http://www.SecretsForMoney.info I used a plugin called “Google XML Sitemap“.

I also used the plugin called “SEO Title Tag” at Secrets for Money to search engine optimize my blog’s title tags by creating a customized title tag for any post, static page or category page.

(3) Know Your Brand Or The Cattle Rustlers May Use Theirs

It is important that you have a written business plan for your blog if you want your blog to be monetized. And create a blueprint of strategies for developing your blog “brand” so you have clarity at all times and a forward-looking vision.

Just like the ranchers had to have a brand for their cattle and had to always have someone on watch so the cattle rustlers didn’t put their mark on the rancher’s cattle overnight while they slept.

How does this Old West wisdom apply to your blog?

Know your plan and brand for your blog, and stick to it. This position will help you make confident decisions when you are faced with all the temptations of the “latest this or that” promising to make your blog better.

Be discerning; there are a lot of great gadgets, but you will be overwhelmed very quickly and you will get off track in the technological world of blogging if you lift your head up from your work at hand every time a new item pops on to your computer screen or into your email inbox.

If it is applicable to your business plan and blog brand then research it, otherwise just make note of it if you have to, but mosey on along and get back to your blogging.

And above all, as all cowboys and cowgirls know “Never ask a Barber if he thinks you need a haircut.”

(4) Stake Your Claim And Avoid Outlaws

It was essential in the vast frontier that you stake your claim for a plot of land quickly. As depicted often in television westerns, pioneers had to hold to their belief in the land they chose, because if they doubted it for one moment then they were susceptible to hustlers who talked them out of their acreage by saying there was something wrong with the land.

The same is true for your Blog, you will run into “croakers’ as they used to call them back then (pessimists or doomsayers). These croakers turn up a lot as your blog becomes more popular.

(5) The Gold Rush: “There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills!”

Just as with a Gold Rush, there has been a flurry of fortune-seekers in the world of blogging too. And also similar to a gold rush, there is the feverish implication of bloggers striking it rich instantly.

Sure some strike it rich, some don’t. But remember, it is a process, a process that requires commitment.

Your chances to make an income are directly proportional to how you work smarter—more strategic, just like some gold prospectors—they worked hard, but some knew to not just use pans to find gold, in time, they developed other tools and methods to mine gold.

And let’s not forget the Old West saying “Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.”

(6) Keep the Code

Much like the Old West, we bloggers are modern-day cowboys and cowgirls bound by these unwritten rules—a code of behavior—that centers on hospitality, fair play, loyalty, and respect for the land.

The Code of the West didn’t need to be written down because the best of the west lived by it through their integrity, self-reliance, and accountability.

And in conclusion fellow bloggers, never pass anyone on the trail without saying “Howdy.”

Copyright © 2008 by Mara Rogers of Secrets for Money.info

Mara Rogers is the Founder of http://www.SecretsForMoney.info where she and her team work to empower you to freedom by helping you increase your capacity for all the wealth currencies: money, time, health, and love. Subscribe to the free Secrets For Money blog  And if you want to give her a “Howdy” email her through the Contact Page.

5 Valuable Lessons You Can Learn From Blogging

This is a guest post by full-time blogger and internet marketer, Justin Wright.

In my quest to become a full-time blogger, I have had many ups and downs along the way. I have tried things that worked and things that have failed miserably. Along the way, I have learned some valuable lessons.

Here are the 5 most valuable lessons I have learned from blogging:

1. The Journey Is Everything

Having a successful blog is something I always wanted to have, but early on I lacked the patience to wait around for it to happen. I had the common mindset of wanting it all now. I wanted to go to sleep one night and wake up with a popular blog the next morning. I wanted money to be rolling in while I slept. I wanted to have a following of a few thousand people and traffic stats beyond my wildest dreams.

Of course that would have been great, but what I did not realize at that time was that I would miss the most important part of all, the journey itself. Just like in life, the beginning and end are nowhere near as important as what we experience and accomplish in between.

The experience of starting a blog and watching yourself progress is something money cannot buy. It is amazing to see yourself become more knowledgeable and proficient as time moves on. You start to learn more and more and progress as a both a writer and a marketer. Just looking back at what my blog looked like 10 months ago compared to now gives me a great sense of accomplishment. My posts have been taken to a whole new level. They are longer, formatted better, and best of all, more useful and entertaining.

So never forget, that the journey of becoming a blogger is more important than the end product.

2. Hard Work Does Pay Off

When it comes to blogging, time is something you need a lot of. Starting a new blog takes a lot of time, commitment, and persistence. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that you are spending all your time and effort working on something that might not take off for 6 months to a year down the road.

Before starting my current blog, I had previously started more than 10 different blogs that never took off. Why? Because I abandoned them way before they ever made any progress. However, now that I have committed myself to a blog and worked hard on a day to day basis, I have seen some great results.

These results have reassured me that that hard work really does pay off, you just have to stick with it long enough to see results.

3. Relationships Are Everything

When I started on my blogging journey, the last thing on my mind was making friends and creating relationships with other bloggers. It’s not that I didn’t want to make friends, it just wasn’t something I had thought of when starting out. I failed to realize early on that besides making money and sharing your voice through blogging, you can also network with people from around the world.

Almost a year later, my mindset has shifted to the point where making friends and networking is one of the most important aspects of my blog. Instead of spending every second working on my own blog, I make sure to go out and leave feedback on other blogs. Not only does it help fellow bloggers out by increasing their comments, it keeps them motivated to keep writing. It helps you meet new people and create a network of friends that all share a similar hobby.

These friends and contacts can help you when you need blog advice, marketing, or a place to stay while traveling (it’s been done).

4. Doing What You Love Isn’t Work

Over the last 10 months, I have spent way more time on my blog than I would have expected. It has basically become a full-time job since I spend my time working on the design, writing content, and promoting it. However, this type of work feels different to me than any past job I have ever had. Why? Because doing what you love isn’t work. It’s a passion. It’s a hobby you enjoy doing regardless of the time or effort it takes. No wonder so many people tell you to do something you love growing up. The reason so many people are disappointed with their jobs is because it isn’t their ideal career.

This important lesson has taught me that regardless of how much money I can make blogging, it is what I am passionate about and enjoy doing. As long as I can make the bare minimum to survive, I will be happy with this choice.

5. Provide First, Reap The Rewards Later

I’ll admit that when I first started blogging two years ago, my main focus was making money as fast as possible. That’s it. I was looking for a easy formula to make money without having a job. The problem with that logic was the fact that I was trying to reap the rewards before providing a service. The lesson I learned from that mistake is that blogging is like any other business. You need to provide value before you can expect to make any money.

When it comes to adding value to your blog, providing valuable content to your readers on a consistent basis is key. Provide useful information that will make them want to come back time and time again. Offer free advice and reports instead of trying to sell them things early on. Create a relationship with your readers and respond to them when they send you emails or leave comments.

By focusing on providing value first, you will no doubt be rewarded for your time and efforts. It takes time, but pays off in the end.

Have you learned any valuable lessons from blogging? What are they?

Justin Wright is a full-time blogger and internet marketer that has a blog about life, travel, and blogging. He also enjoys photography and runs a photoblog.

10 Reasons to Avoid mailto Links

This is a guest post by Ben Barden of Top Ten Blog Tips, where every post contains a list of ten blogging tips.

As a blogger it’s very important that people can contact you privately. Many blogs use a contact form for this, and I highly recommend it. However, some blogs use a “mailto” link instead. When clicked, a “mailto” link creates a new message in your email software, instead of sending through a form on the blog.

I’m not a fan of these links – here are 10 reasons why.

1. It reveals your real email address.

Whether you display your email address on your site, or you put the email address in a mailto link – or both – making it visible is a bad idea. You’re probably going to receive spam anyway, but you stand to receive a lot more spam if your email address can be picked up by bots that search the web for email addresses.

2. Unpredictable results when clicking the link.

If you use Firefox and Gmail, you can get Firefox to open Gmail when you click a mailto link. But you can’t rely on all of your readers setting up Firefox in this way. Also, not everyone uses Firefox, and not everyone uses Gmail.

I’m sure there are options for other email services, but the default scenario is pretty embarrassing. Someone who uses a web-based email service clicks a mailto link, but they haven’t tweaked Firefox to open the link in Gmail. So it opens the default mail client on their computer, which they don’t even use. Bad move!

3. Crazy formatting or unnecessary “extras”.

HTML emails, stationery, signatures and attachments have their uses, but I can’t stand receiving emails with unnecessary bits and pieces like these. It’s just not necessary.

A contact form forces people to get to the point, to say what they want to say without all of the “look what I can do” bits and pieces. If you’re trying to do business with people, this kind of stuff looks really unprofessional, too… unless of course, the person you’re emailing likes them too!

4. Viruses.

Unless you allow HTML in your contact form, it’s a lot harder to get a virus through your contact form than in a direct email. To anyone who forwards emails with “funny” videos and other attachments – beware. Some of them may contain viruses.

If someone can get hold of your email address without having to wait for a reply to you, they might just add you to their address book “for future use”. Then perhaps they forget about you, but they open an attachment and get a virus, and bam – an email goes to everyone in their address book.

5. Return receipts.

Another issue with accepting “normal” emails and not using a contact form is the use of return receipts. I have met people who insist on using receipts for every email they send. Is it really necessary? (A clue: no.)

6. Blog maintenance.

Some bloggers include a “contact” link in some of their posts. If you link to a contact form, this is fine so long as you don’t move the contact form – I’m not sure why you would.

However, if you link directly to your email address from several of your posts, then your email changes – that’s potentially a lot of links you’ll have to go back and correct. What a pain!

7. Some information may be forgotten.

Let’s say you want to publish a few blog reviews and you invite people to send their URLs to you. With a mailto link, people may just send a message saying “please review their blog” and forget to include the URL. With a contact form, because you can have a field for the URL, you may find that people remember to include it. Then again, some people might forget it anyway.

8. Choosing the wrong email address.

If you have multiple mailto links for Sales, Advertising and so on, but each one goes to a different person, the sender might think “but I want this person”. So they check the links and choose the person they want. They may not be the right person to answer that query. A contact form makes life so much easier.

9. Some things shouldn’t really be an email at all.

A long time ago I ran a music reviews site. People would email reviews to me, and I would put them online (see, this really was a long time ago). It would’ve been easier to cut email out of the equation altogether, and post the information directly to the site – with approval, of course.

10. It can reduce the volume of “pointless” queries.

Although it should be easy to get hold of you, if it’s too easy, you may find that you get a lot of emails “just because”. That’s fine if you don’t get too many emails, but it’s going to be a problem if you’re looking to grow your blog. Make it easy to get in touch, but not so easy that someone can fire off a 5 second “quick query” email – only to follow it up 5 minutes later with “never mind, figured it out now”.

Do you use mailto links on your blog? Can you think of any other pros or cons?

The Future Of Blogging – As They See It

In this post Jeff Chandler takes a look at the future of blogging.

CrystalBallEvery Wednesday, I publish a new interview on BloggerTalks.com and as part of the interview process, there is one particular question which is asked to each individual that I interview which is “What Is The Future Of Blogging“? Well, for this weeks installment on Problogger, I thought I would compile the answers I’ve received thus far. At the end of the article, feel free to contribute by leaving a comment explaining what you think the future of blogging will be.

christina-warren.jpgChristina Warren:
Microblogging (Twitter, Friendfeed, Tumbler, et. al.) is already changing personal sites and blogs — I think that will continue. I also think that blogs will continue to become more interactive, more immediate and that video will continue to grow in importance. I think the hard part about video is that for anyone wanting to do anything other than the stare at the webcam in bad lighting YouTube confessional, there are skills and techniques that are necessary to its success.

Mobile blogging and mobile communication is also certainly going to continue to take off. The iPhone has played a huge role in that and Google’s Android platform will help push that as well.

steve-hodson.jpgSteven Hodson:
I think blogging is definitely here to stay. Hell it hasn’t even really hit the mainstream yet as far as readership so the marketplace is still to be developed. I also think that over the next few years we will see a real amalgamation of heritage media and new media – we can learn so much from each other if we’d just stop being so territorial. Yeah, I think the future for blogging is still very bright and I hopefully will still be doing for a very long time to come. I look forward to growing with it.

kev-pic.jpgKevin Muldoon:
I think blogging will be here with us in some shape or form for a long time. Over the next few years I believe the major growth will be in mobile blogging. Most smartphones are now coming with blogging type software pre-installed (eg. lifeblog) and most can use Twitter and other microblogging software too. Just a few months ago WordPress released a version for the iphone so that people could blog on the move.

Over the next few years I’m sure that we will see more and more blogs being launched as there are still many countries where Internet usage is increasing by a large amount every year.

David.jpg David Peralty:
I am not sure. Any guess would be pulling at straws. I see it continuing to take over more attention from mainstream media, enough so that those businesses continue to dump more money into the space to drag people back to their brands, but other than that, it really depends on the advancement of technology, and the sociological issues and changes.

john John Kolbert:
The future of blogging looks very bright. I believe that blogging to going to play a significantly bigger and better role in how the average person gets their daily information. Even major news sources understand the necessity of blogging (just look at CNN’s news blogs) and people reported news (iReport.com, anyone?). It is important to remember, though, that not everyone will be a big time, money making blogger. Blogging has basically no barriers to entry, economically meaning that there are lots of bloggers and low profit margins overall. But it’s not, and shouldn’t be, all about the money. Blogging is a healthy, enjoyable, lifestyle or hobby that’s here to stay.

JonathanJonathan Bailey:
I definitely see the future of blogging as being more multi-media. I know I personally have been dipping my toes more in audio and video over the past year and plan to increase those efforts after the beginning of the year in a major way. This is partly due to the YouTube revolution but, more importantly, due to the declining barriers of entry into these media, especially in terms of skill required.

Other than that, the future of blogging is going to be about growth in all directions. We’re going to see more of the ridiculous and silly, but also more of the serious. More and more great minds are going to get involved with blogging and more and more of the dialog about our society is going to take place on the Web, away from TV and newspapers.

I’m not one that thinks mainstream media is doomed, it will always have a place, but its role as an influencer of policy and of people will wane some as it moves more toward being a straightforward news source.

The real question though is will this idea of blogging as a profession become more common and that is a tough one. Most pro bloggers, like myself, do so indirectly from their activities, the advertising revenue simply is not there for 99% of bloggers unless you do something unethical.

I see nothing wrong with blogging as an amateur activity and most great bloggers are amateurs, but as with anything the more time and energy one can afford to put into their work, the better the product and, at some point, that is going to require funding.

If blogger business models can be hammered out, the sky is literally the limit for what blogging can do.

Lee.jpgLee Robertson:
The future of blogging is to help in creating community. To connect with those around us, whether they live across town or across the world. Blogging is about telling stories, whether the stories are for your business, your hobby or your family. Blogging makes it easy to tell those stories and connect with the people that want to hear them. I might be a bit of an idealist that sharing information can help us actually get to know each other and understand each other better. I have to wonder if the future for blogging is perhaps to take a step back from the professional blogging that we are seeing so much of and becoming a little more personal again.

Conclusion:

Magic 8 BallI have to admit, when I ask this question to each person I interview, the first response I get is similar to ‘WTF’. It’s a tough question to answer considering the mold of blogging can change rapidly into something none of us see coming

You’ve read their responses, now it’s time for you to give us your thoughts as to what you think the future of blogging will be. As far as I’m concerned, there can be no wrong answer as we won’t know until after the fact. At that point, hindsight becomes 20/20.

Become a Blogger – a Premium Training Program

After releasing a great free report earlier in the week – Roadmap to Become a Blogger – Yaro Starak and Gideon Shalwick have today released the premium section of their program.

This is for those who want to go beyond the 10 free videos and free report and goes a lot deeper (although the report and videos will give you a great insight into the style and content of this course).

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The training is video based and is centered around a series of 9 modules over six months (each month you get 8 videos):

  1. Get Your Blog Up And Running Fast And FREE
  2. How To Optimize Your Blog For Maximum Search Engine Performance
  3. How To Use Images On Your Blog To Make You Stand Out From The Crowd
  4. How To Create A Different Dimension To Your Blog By Adding Audio
  5. How To Breathe Life Into Your Blog Using Online Video
  6. How To Create Powerful Content For Your Blog, Consistently and Without Fail
  7. How To Create Multiple Streams of High Quality Traffic To Your Blog
  8. How To Use The “X-Factor” Strategies To Put Your Blog Into Super Drive!
  9. How To Make Money From Your Blog

This course is probably not going to rock the world of advanced bloggers – but if you’re about to start a blog or are in your early days of doing so then this is an investment in your blogging education that you’ll want to consider.

Yaro and Gideon are great teachers, the content is solid, they’ve been successful in building their own blogs (particularly Yaro) and the course covers a great spectrum of useful topics.

Bonuses

There are also a series of bonus – some of which expire in the next 24 hours after the initial launch of the program. The non time specific ones are:

  • a 10 part audio series called ‘master the mindset’
  • forum membership to a members only area
  • members only teleconferences

The 24 hour bonuses are:

  • “How To Use The Power Of Video To Market On The World Wide Web” – training and extra videos on this topic (this is the one I’m interested in – Gideon makes beautiful videos)
  • “How To Boost Critical Conversion Points In Your Blog Business” – a teleconference with Will Swayne

What does this Investment Cost?

The cost is a lot cheaper than other blogging courses going around (including Yaro’s own BlogMastermind) and is currently $27 a month for the six months that the course runs. This price is set to go up to $47 a month after the first week (on 11 December) so if you’re going to sign up you’ll save yourself $120 by doing it this week.

As with all Yaro’s products – this one has a money back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied you can get your money back within 60 days.

Check out this link For more information and to Sign Up for Become a Blogger Premium.

The Final Frontier to Exquisite Writing – Avoid Clichés

Today Bamboo Forest from Pun Intended shares some thoughts on the topic of avoiding Clichés.

I’ve co-authored a blog for less than a year, and prior to beginning, my writing was natural – which is precisely why it wasn’t good.

Good writing stands on good principles. These principles aren’t natural; instead, they are forged by reading blogs like this one – and quality material in general.

Once you begin to internalize effective principles, the challenge then is to constantly have the necessary awareness while writing. Developing awareness as a writer is an ongoing process; one we must continually perfect.

If you were to make a feast, and lacked mindfulness during preparation, you may forget a few integral ingredients resulting in the meal tasting a bit bland. Your guests would be disappointed. The same concept is true with writing: forgetting important principles during the creation stage will lead to a lackluster outcome.

I could cover all the important aspects one should constantly be aware of – but I’m opting instead to cover the final frontier to exquisite writing: omitting clichés.

A cliché is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel.

A superior way to raise your awareness of these vile concoctions is to read a good sampling; I found this list via an article by Robust Writing.

The reason we have an unconscious tendency to use them is because they have been repeated a trillion times; they have become deeply imbedded in our brains; not only ours, but our readers too. If an audience finds a page full of clichés, their judgment of the content will decline. In short: reading clichés is reading what has already been written. That’s boring.

In a recent article, my final sentence was “Long and strong my friend!” I then changed it to, “Keep your heart in it my friend!” A small alteration, yes. But how many times have you read “long and strong?” The edited version is much better.

How to Ensure Clichés are Minimized from This Point Forward

You must install a cliché radar in your mind. Any metaphors, similes, or idioms that look familiar and tired – must be eradicated from your prose. Of course it’s easier to speckle your writing with clichés but it’s also lazy thinking, and unimpressive.

Everyone can pluck the mundane growth of clichés out of their prose with a little awareness, and by doing so you will have significantly upgraded your writing.

You’re Losing Subscribers, Here’s How to Get them Back

Today Glen Allsopp a Personal Development blogger at PluginID shares a great technique for capturing lost subscribers to your blog. You can subscribe to his blog here.

A few months ago, I was messing around in feedburner and noticed something pretty drastic, I was rapidly losing subscribers on a regular basis. I bet that you are losing subscribers too, even ones that have signed up for your feed. Since this discovery I’ve been regularly ‘getting them back’ and I’m going to explain exactly what I mean today.

What brought me to remember this (and decide to do a guest post for ProBlogger) is a new tool I’ve been testing out called BLVD Status, it’s brought to you by a team of internet marketers and includes some awesome features. My favourite: live analytics.

So, on a normal day my blog was receiving quite a lot of traffic from StumbleUpon as shown in the screenshot below:

blvd.jpg

The panel for BLVD Status is very simple, giving you a brief overview of what is going on in your site at any one moment. I particularly like the outgoing links section to see where I’m sending traffic too, this also includes people subscribing to your RSS feed. I noticed quite a few of the StumbleUpon visitors were opting to sign-up for my email feed:

outgoing-links.jpg

And then BAM! I instantly remembered the little area of Feedburner where I noticed that I’ve been losing subscribers, lots of them.

Lost Subscribers

Firstly, if you aren’t using Feedburner then I highly recommend that you do. It comes with a host of features such as:

  • Seeing how many subscribers you have
  • Seeing where your subscribers are coming from
  • Simple email subscription set-up
  • A chicklet that lets you show off your subscribers (great for sign-ups)
  • and much more…

Now then, once you’ve logged into your Feedburner account, click the ‘Analyze‘ tab then click ‘Subscribers‘ on the left navigation menu.

Next, scroll down the page to see your email subscriptions through Feedburner. You should have this enabled if you don’t as not everyone will know how to use normal RSS feeds, especially if you don’t have a tech savvy audience. I’m not sure if you get the same options if you use a different email provider within Feedburner, but if you go directly to them I’m sure they’ll be able to give you similar information.

feedburner.jpg

If you click on that link you should then see a list of all your email subscribers. My site is quite new (~ 3 months old) so there are only 41 right now but every subscriber counts.

Once there, you should see a list that looks a bit like this:

feedburner-2.jpg

Of course, I’ve blurred out the actual email address’ for privacy reasons, but your account will show them clearly. Now then, on the column on the right hand side you can see subscribers which are ‘unverified’. What this means is that the person has entered their email address in the box, and gone through the captcha process.

However, they have never actually confirmed their subscription which should have been sent to their inbox and therefore aren’t being ‘counted’ as a subscriber. If you have a big site, you might find quite a lot of people who are unverified, these are people who want your feed, but for whatever reason didn’t finish the process. Some possible reasons:

  • They didn’t receive the email
  • The email went to their spam box
  • They received it but forgot to confirm
  • They changed their mind (possible)

Getting them back

Luckily, all is not lost. Just because somebody didn’t verify their address, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to. It would be great if there was an option within Feedburner to re-send the activation email but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

However, you do have their email address so all I recommend that you do is send all unverified subscribers a quick, friendly email to let them know that they can try again, or ask if they had any problems. If you want some pointers on this, here is the email I sent:

pluginID.jpg

If you are sending this to multiple people at once, make sure you add them to the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field of your email client so they can’t see each others email address.

The result: about 40% of people got back to me and said they had either not received the email or received an error when they tried. I simply took 10 minutes to enter their emails for them and they activated their subscriptions. For some bigger sites this might be a job that takes you a day, but subscribers are an important factor in any blog, and not something that you want to lose.

I would not recommend doing this more than once as you will annoy people, but check regularly for new people that sign-up but are unverified. Hopefully, you’ll get a lot more subscribers back that you actually (kind of) had before.

Glen Allsopp writes on the subject of Personal Development at PluginID. You can help him help you by subscribing to his feed, here.

Technorati Launch Technorati Engage Ad Network for Bloggers

Technorati seem to have launched (in beta) their new ad network – Technorati Engage. There’s no official word on their blog yet – but the ad network does seem to be live.

This isn’t a really a surprise – Technorati acquired AdEngage back in October and said that they’d be Alpha testing their network – so this is just a natural extension.

technorati-engage.png

  • Bloggers decide what they want to charge advertisers
  • Bloggers can choose what categories of advertisers that they wish to be shown on their blog
  • Bloggers have the ability to approve (or deny) advertisers. You get 48 hours to do this.
  • The Revenue split is 60/40 (with you the blogger taking 60%)
  • Ad Formats are 125 x 125 ad units, text ads and ‘PhoText’ ad units which come in four sizes (25, 50, 100, and 200 pixels in width) – they combine both image and text.
  • If Technorati can’t serve an ad and there’s an empty ad unit Technorati will serve CPC ads to the ad position.
  • Technorati are offering what they call ‘ad rotation’ where you can serve ads from a variety of advertisers in the one ad box.
  • Payment to publishers is via PayPal, Check or Wire Transfer.
  • Publishers can sign up here.
  • You can see full terms and conditions of the network here.
  • Check out the Publisher FAQs here.

Thanks to all who emailed me about this and especially to Steve who was first!

Beginners Guide to Sphinn

This is a guest post by Deanna deBara from Sugarrae.com.

Recently, I did my first guest post (ever) over at Remarkablogger. I got such great feedback on “A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter“, I decided to follow up with a guide on a site even more important to those in SEO – Sphinn, the social media site for internet marketers.

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A Little History

Sphinn was launched on July 11, 2007 by Danny Sullivan as a way for people in the search marketing community to connect, network and share news stories about the industry that they thought others would find interesting.

The site follows the same structure as Digg where users submit a story and other users can vote on whether they like it or not; they can “sphinn” it for yes, and “desphinn” it for no. Once a story is “sphunn” 22 times (providing it is sphunn 22 times within 2 days of being submitted) it hits the front page of Sphinn and is immediately accessible to anyone who logs on to the home page (except for posts submitted to the Water Cooler category, which no longer have the ability to hit the main page). Stories submitted to Sphinn can also be discussed by members on the comment portion of each post.

Getting Started

You can access the articles on Sphinn without setting up a profile, but in order to leave comments or “sphinn/depshinn” anything, you need to register. On your profile, you can either use an avatar or a picture, and you can add in all your personal information like your instant messaging names (AIM, MSN), your social media profiles (Facebook, Delicious) and your forum profiles (Cre8asite, WebmasterWorld).

I’m not going to lie; I hadn’t heard of a few of these sites in my first few weeks in internet marketing. I don’t like to feel out of the loop, so I checked them out, and it was cool that something as simple as setting up my profile on Sphinn helped a newbie like me find other popular sites that will help me in the industry. After checking out those sites, I signed up for a few. Those not designed to, Sphinn also helps keeps track of all my social networking profiles for me (and sending a little link juice their way never hurts either).

Navigating Sphinn

navigation-sphinn.gifThere are different category tags on the top of the homepage, and I figured the best place to start was “Greatest Hits“. One of the first articles that caught my eye was Sphinn – The Social Networking Site Every Search Marketer Should Be Using.

It broke down in list format (I am a type A personality. I love lists.) the top 10 reasons why Sphinn is an important tool for all us search marketers out there. I also LOVED What Would Google Look Like If They Had To Optimize for Google? The article was a great combination of humor and information (which I’m always up for) and I ended up learning a lot.

The Greatest Hits (as inferred by its name) is where you will find what the community considers to be the most valuable articles on Sphinn. It’s here you’re likely to find the staples that should be in any internet marketers library.

In addition to reading what the community thought was the best, I also wanted to check out the posts that were fresh. I went to the “What’s New” page, but all those posts were REALLY new (I’m talking 1 sphinn new), and I wasn’t sure which would be the best place to start. That’s why I like that you also have the option of viewing the posts in What’s New in the order of “most sphinns so far”. The more experienced you are in internet marketing, the more you’ll be able to determine what’s good and what isn’t regardless of the number of sphinns, but for those fairly new to the industry (like myself), I figured it was a safe bet if an article had 12 or 13 sphinns, it was at least worth checking out.

For instance, I saw the article Could You Buy or Sell Social Media Profiles? It had 13 sphinns, so I clicked through to read it. It goes into the commercial value of social media and how that affects its credibility in our industry. Social media is one area of SEO that really interests me, and this article brought up some points about it that I hadn’t ever considered.

Submitting an Article to Sphinn

Once you’ve logged into Sphinn, you’ll can click on the Submit tab on the upper right hand side of the page. Type or paste your link into the News Story URL box and click “Submit News Story”. It will give you the option to choose a category. Make sure that you choose the category that is most relevant to your article. The topic title will automatically be whatever the title tag of the post is. You may want to remove any extras in the title tag (like the name of the blog) so that the title is only the title of the post, or if you think you can jazz it up, rename it altogether. While submitting your own site may be frowned upon at many social media sites, Sphinn has no problem with users submitting there own posts.

The description area is a synopsis that people are going to be able to read before deciding whether to look through the entire post. Think of it as a mini advertisement – you want to let everyone know exactly how the post is going to help them and why they should read it.

At the bottom, you’ll be asked to do a simple arithmetic problem and type in your answer to prove that you are, indeed, a human. Then, all that’s left is to click preview and submit, and your post will immediately be viewable on the What’s New page

Don’t just submit the article and forget it. Feel free to send the Sphinn link to friends you think might be interested in the article. You can also post it through to Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites. The more people you get to see the Sphinn post, the more sphinns it will get once people read the post (if they like the content).

Some Sphinn Pitfalls

While I found Sphinn to be a useful in increasing my knowledge in all things internet marketing, Sphinn does have a few issues that I hope they’ll address.

  • The site can be a little “cliquey” with obvious “in jokes” that make the homepage and people being referred to only by their first name, like I should already know who they are.
  • Flame wars can and do happen in the comment portion of posts on highly debated topics.
  • While there is a desphinn option, since it is publicly known who desphinns an article, it is intimidating to actually desphinn something because desphinns can sometimes come with backlash.
  • When Sphinn decided to prevent Water Cooler topics from hitting the homepage, it also prevented hot articles from showing in the Water Cooler category at all, even on the Water Cooler hot topics page. While I can understand why Water Cooler posts don’t make the homepage, I’d like to see the Water Cooler posts that have gone hot when I take the time to navigate to that specific page.

Benefits of Sphinn

I’m definitely still learning the industry, but it doesnt take an expert to see the benefits of using Sphinn.

For users, the benefits are being able to locate internet marketing themed posts that hopefully have some value and can add to your internet marketing knowledge. For industry writers and bloggers, one of your stories being submitted and going hot on Sphinn can bring your site exposure and traffic.

deanna-de-bara.jpgDeanna de Bara is an Account Manager at Sugarrae and contributing writer to their often controversial Internet Marketing Blog which focuses on SEO, content development and affiliate marketing. When not poring over SEO related posts and patents, Deanna can be found snowboarding in Colorado or loudly cheering on the Jets in her native New York.