On Sunday I preached a sermon at my local church. I used to do this weekly when I worked as a minister years ago – but it’s been a while since I had to do it (funnily enough I find it a lot more nerve wracking getting up in front of a couple of hundred people to speak than writing a post for tens of thousands!). [Read more…]
a guest post by Larry Brooks of Storyfix.com
10. This is a huge community. As in, ginormous. Literally four corners of the world, anyplace with digital cable and a Fed Ex partner.
Which means my frequently sarcastic American humor doesn’t always play places like Klagenfurt and rural Kirgizstan.
9. Online sarcasm is itself risky business. One writer’s sarcasm is another’s snarky… a word which probably doesn’t play in Kirgizstan, either.
8. Never write a post about the need to double and triple check for typos that has a typo in it.
One word: crucified. Still smarting from that one.
7. “Know Thy Audience” isn’t a cliché. It’s the natural law – the physics – of marketing.
I’m a blogger who posts about fiction writing and sells a few writing ebooks while I’m at it. The majority of readers here are online entrepreneurs who’d rather hear about blog-related marketing than how to write the next Salzburg Times bestseller.
Many of whom, by the way, have a story in them.
6. Darren Rowse really is the nicest guy on the internet. A total pro, too. I’ve tested this theory with a wide breadth of technical cluelessless and naiveté, and you can add patience to those first two.
He doesn’t just let anybody onto this site, which means you not only earn your admission ticket (lest you wonder, I was invited to post here twice a month), you earn your keep, too. And it’s all fair.
5. The company you keep defines you. Choose wisely.
In this case, being on Problogger has upped my online exposure and, merely by association, my chops in the online world. My brand. Which means, the pressure is on.
This, too, is natural law in the online world.
Because the same crowd that throws in on that count can slap you back to reality with one missed swing. (That being three metaphors in one sentence… don’t try this at home.)
4. It’s okay to get personal. And I’m not talking about dating or social media sites (getting too personal on those venues can also get you arrested).
A blog is usually an ancillary tool in an otherwise pointed branding and marketing strategy, which means it doesn’t need to exclusively spew bits and bytes (digi-speak for features and benefits) or self-serving bluster that doesn’t smack of commonality.
People are attracted to commiseration, empathy and the voyeuristic joy that comes from reading about the sheer misery of others in like-minded situations.
3. There’s one in every crowd. Try not to be that guy.
You could blog about the reliability of death, taxes and gravity and somebody will post a comment endeavoring to make you wrong (one self-proclaimed “blogging superstar” tried to refute my theories about writing and publishing contemporary fiction by quoting Cervantes, who published his last book in the year 1615 … but that’s another site).
That which doesn’t kill us either makes us stronger or simply pisses us off.
2. You, the blogger and the commenter, put the UNITY into community. That’s why this venue is unique in all of the history of human communications.
And the most valuable thing I’ve learned here on Problogger is…
1. I have a lot to learn. That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it?
One of the best ways to learn – albeit with a resource like Problogger on your daily to-do list – is to just keep writing. On your own site, and on others if they’ll have you.
And if that’s not common ground, perhaps we’re all in the wrong place.
Larry Brooks is the creator of Storyfix.com, an instructional site for fiction writers and those who proof them.
A Guest post by Cori Padgett from Big Girl Branding.
Perfection is for losers.
There, I said it.
And I can say that because I used to be a bit of a perfectionist. I’m pot, you’re kettle, and we’re both freakin’ black. Feel better?
And frankly, I still am if I’m honest about it. You could say I’m a “recovering perfectionist”.
Seriously, I think it stems from my slightly O.C.D. tendencies. Tendencies like the insane urge to eat the same amount of M&M’s on each side of my mouth. Only green on the left, only blue on the right.
Or the ridiculous compulsion to leap out of bed at midnight, knowing I already locked the front door… but feeling compelled to check it one more time, “just in case”.
Or my friend who literally will follow the cord from the iron all the way to the wall, KNOWING it’s not plugged in, but making extra sure it isn’t anyway…
We’re nuts. Isn’t everyone?
At least a little?
OK, fine, maybe that’s just me… sheesh.
Honestly, striving for perfect is a losing battle. The only perfect being in this world is the Good Lord Himself, and last I checked… I’m not God, how about you?
No one is perfect. And when you’re constantly seeking perfection in everything you do, you’re doomed to a life of dissatisfaction, discontent, and stagnation because you are unable to move forward on any of your goals.
And if you’re a writer and a blogger like me… well let’s just say that if I tried to reach perfection in everything I did… I’d likely still be cleaning vacation homes for a living and praying all of my bills got paid.
So hold on a sec while I give imperfection a big juicy kiss on the lips in monumental gratitude for saving me.
Muah! Now seriously, let’s talk more about you.
- If you’re struggling each day within the chokehold of perfection…
- If you’re wasting time and valuable resources trying to get something “just right” before you do anything with it…
- Or if you find yourself deleting pages and pages of work because you suddenly decided it “wasn’t any good”… Nay, scratch that… let’s call it like it is shall we? Because it “wasn’t perfect”…
Then I’m sorry friend, but it’s time.
Time that is, to don your steel-toed boots (“sh%# kickers” we call ‘em in the Dirty South) and kick perfection’s rosy little ass to the curb! Preferably with a resounding splat for good measure.
You with me? Good, let’s get started.
The First Swift Kick- Set Attainable Goals
I’m talking about blogging and writing here, but really this can be applied to just about anything. Perfectionists tend to make a habit of setting unrealistic goals for themselves. And then when they don’t measure up or reach those goals, they’re ashamed of themselves.
They call themselves quitters, or “stupid”.
They put themselves down, and engage in some pretty negative self-talk… telling themselves they just aren’t good enough to get where they want to go… if only they could do “this” they’d be so much better at “that”.
I mean really… would you talk to someone else like that?
Would you call someone stupid because they couldn’t do something perfectly?
So why in the ever-lovin’ world would you talk to yourself that way? Just sayin’.
Stop setting goals for yourself that you don’t believe in. Strive for excellence in all you do, not perfection. Yes, you should always stretch yourself. And yes goals you set for yourself should feel slightly scary… slightly out of reach even.
But they shouldn’t feel impossible.
For instance, I have a goal to reach 2,000 new subscribers to Big Girl Branding in the next 6 months. (Feel free to help a girl out btw!)
Is that goal attainable? I believe it is.
Is it slightly out of reach for me right now? I’d say so, as right now between RSS, Email, and my newsletter, I’ve only got about 250 subscribers. (Thanks to ALL of you, BIG hugs!)
That means I’ve got about 1750 more to go before I’ll reach that goal. And you can bet that if I got hung up on creating “perfect” blog posts, and having a “perfect” design, and making my newsletter a “perfect” mix of humor, smarts, and useful info… I probably wouldn’t even have any readers, much less a subscriber!
I’d be totally stuck.
Living in fear of being judged.
Living in fear of being seen as “imperfect”.
And if I set that goal even higher, say 10,000 subscribers in 6 months… I’d likely be completely stalled because the goal I set for myself wasn’t believable to me and I’d be so hung up on being perfect that my inner mantra would end up being something along the lines of “I’ll never get there” or “It’s too hard” or “I’m not ready”.
It will be hard. I’ll probably never be 100% ready. But I will get there.
And so will you, wherever “there” is.
But I know that you’re smart enough to know that you won’t get there overnight, and you won’t get there by getting stuck under the thumb of perfection. So set incremental, attainable goals for yourself that feel just mildly, and then get rockin’ with the action taking.
Set about making them a reality.
As you do that, repeat after me… “Action will get you everywhere, perfection will get you nowhere.” “Strive for excellent, not perfect.” Now say that three times fast! (Kidding.)
Then get busy creating excellence in all you do, and let go of that ridiculous notion of perfection.
The Second Swift Kick- Enjoy the Process of Achievement
When is the last time you (speaking to you perfectionists here) stopped long enough to appreciate where you are right now?
To appreciate what you’ve accomplished already? As a perfectionist there is a tendency to be constantly looking for new and better ways of doing something. A bit like the “grass is always greener” syndrome. You’re never quite satisfied with anything “as-is”.
So you need to make it a habit to pat yourself on the back for every milestone that moves you a step closer to your goals, whatever they may be and appreciate the moment you’re in.
For me, that means appreciating the fact that I have 250 subscribers that read my blog already! That’s no small feat, especially when you’re starting out.
And people these days are stingy with their time and their emails… so if they are taking the time to keep up with you and your blog… that’s a huge compliment! Treat it as such and call yourself a winner, because even when you don’t feel “perfect” you’re still pretty freakin’ awesome.
Just tell yourself “Cori said so!” if ever you’re feeling doubtful.
The Third Swift Kick- Connect With Other People
Preferably other imperfect ones. (And in case you forgot… that means everyone is fair game!)
Honestly, sometimes when you’re feeling stuck in the spinning abyss of an “I can’t do this, it’s not perfect, everyone will hate it!” moment…
Slow your roll man!
Stop what you’re doing (or trying to do) get up and walk away. Get out of your house, go have coffee with a friend or three, and cop a squat in a park somewhere to see how the rest of the world lives. It’s a sure bet that things aren’t perfect for the rest of the world either!
(I know, I know! You… meet sledgehammer wrapped up neatly in “no one’s perfect” stickers!)
You’ll even be singing the “No One’s Perfect” theme song before I’m done with you.
Really though, connecting with other people can help you see that you’re not the only one that struggles with the insane urge to be perfect all the time. Trust me there are a ton of us out there!
You can probably safely bet that Darren, despite his pretty massive successes in the blogosphere has never been perfect. (Sorry Darren!)
And heck, Bill Gates went after what he wanted with barely a plan in place! That’s so far from perfect it’s laughable, but just look where he is today.
And sitting down with friends who are equally crazy but imperfect can help you see that perfect isn’t necessary for success. The only thing necessary for success is the ability and willingness to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done in the absolute best way that you can right then.
No more, no less.
The Fourth and Final Swift Kick- Accept Mistakes for What They Are
A somewhat painful learning experience. As a recovering perfectionist, I know there is often a tendency to view mistakes and screw-ups as failures.
It’s now time to change your point of view.
Mistakes are not failures they are lessons learned.
The only time a mistake is a failure is when you don’t walk away with new knowledge about yourself and your goals. When you don’t walk away with new self-awareness, I’m afraid that means you’re doomed to repeat those mistakes, sometimes over and over again until you get it.
And guess what it means when you repeat a behavior but expect a different outcome?
It means you’re insane, so stop that!
Mistakes are a part of life, a part of learning and growing. I’ve made more than my fair share over time and it’s a sure bet you will too. I can state this with absolute assurance because I already know that perfection is never attainable for mere mortals like you and me, despite our best efforts.
But it’s time to realize that you don’t have to be perfect. Loosen the chokehold a bit. You don’t have to be a perfect blogger, or a perfect writer, or a perfect mother or father. You don’t have to run a perfect business, or have a perfect home.
Just make it your goal to always give your best; to strive for “excellent” in everything you do… and you’ll get as pretty darn close to perfect as you’ll likely ever be.
And on that note…
“Excellent” is pretty damn good in my book, so let me know if you need to borrow it.
Cori is a wildly hire-able freelance ‘ghost’ as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind her blog Big Girl Branding. If you’d like to harness her creative brains and dubious brawn to guest post on your blog, just stalk her on Twitter and ask her. I’m “almost” sure she doesn’t bite. Well… like 95% sure.
This column is written by Kimberly Turner from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts). – Darren
Thanks, as always, for stopping in for our weekly list of the ten most blogged-about stories, provided by Regator. This week, we’ll use posts about these hot topics to discuss thoroughness in blogging. “Thoroughness” can be a vague term, so I’ll define a thorough post as a post that tells the reader what they would want to know about a given topic and does not leave them with unanswered questions. Let’s take a look at some great examples:
- World Cup – Flavorwire’s “First Person: Scenes from England’s World Cup Fever” uses thirteen photos and accompanying text to paint a vivid and complete portrait of England’s World Cup fever.
- iPhone 4 – In “Word on TheStreet is that you shouldn’t buy an iPhone 4,” TUAW does a point-by-point rebuttal of a post from TheStreet.com. Posts or articles you disagree with can be a rich source of inspiration, just be sure to adequately address the points made in the original during the course of your rebuttal post.
- Stanley McChrystal – In “ ,” Slate’s Press Box blog spends more than 1,000 words elaborating on why McChrystal should not have agreed to take part in the Rolling Stone profile then adds a level of completeness by providing a dissenting opinion and asks readers to discuss the issue.
- Father’s Day – You need not be reporting on news to provide a thorough post. Miche G. Hill’s “ ” uses personal anecdotes and experiences to build a connection between her readers and her late father.
- Gulf of Mexico – Many blogs were quick to put up posts indicating that a federal judge had blocked Obama’s proposed drilling moratorium, but “Judge Strikes Down Obama’s Offshore Drilling Ban” from Treehugger went a step further by providing quotes from the judicial opinion and the White House press secretary, speculation on why the judgment was made, and a link to supporting documents. Providing these extra elements requires research, but the time spent is likely to strengthen your post and increase your credibility.
- Toy Story 3 – While many other posts on Toy Story 3 mentioned the tear-inducing nature of the film as part of a broader review, Cinematical’s “Why Does Pixar Make Growing Up Feel So Bad?” focuses in on that particular aspect of the blockbuster. If a topic seems too large to cover in a thorough manner, consider honing in on one particular aspect and covering that aspect well.
- Supreme Court – Like number 5 above, SLOG’s “R-71 Case: Supreme Court Rules Petitions Can Be Released” demonstrates that it is built upon solid research and was not just dashed off in haste.
- Miley Cyrus – Speakeasy’s “Miley Cyrus’ ‘Can’t Be Tamed’: Review Revue” combines reviews from various sources to create a one-stop post for those interested in how this pop star’s latest album is being received. Pulling together information from various sources can be helpful to your readers—so long as you also provide them with ample original content.
- Wimbledon – The Guardian’s “Wimbledon 2010 Live Blog: 23 June” may be one of the best examples of thoroughness ever to grace the Blogosphere. When Xan Brooks was assigned to the seemingly enjoyable task of live blogging Wimbledon, he almost certainly never expected the longest match in the history of tennis. Although he was, by the end of the 11+ hour match, rambling about zombie players and hearses, the champion never gave up.
- Kevin Rudd – Rather than simply linking to Kevin Rudd’s farewell speech video, Jack Marx’s “Kevin – too human, too late” analysed it, commenting on everything from the former Prime Minister’s eye contact and body language to the reaction of his son during the video.
Do you think about the thoroughness of the posts you write? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Last month I produced a video in which I walked readers through the split of my income over the month of April to show what different income streams brought in different percentages of my income.
In the video I shared how the split between income streams can vary a lot from month to month.
The feedback from the video was so positive that I’ve decided to keep producing monthly breakdowns. I’m not interested in getting into totals of income for the different areas but want to share the breakdown as a way of showing the variety of ways that a blogger can make money.
Here’s the breakdown for May 2010:
In comparing the previous month (April) with May you’ll notice that there were not that many differences. The two months were remarkably similar in the order of the top 4 earners and then a bit different in the lower ones.
Next month you’ll notice a big difference in the eBook sales. I’m yet to do the calculations but I expect it to hit #1 as a result of the release of the Travel Photography eBook that we launched.
The only other main difference in May was the decrease in Direct Ad Sales as I had a couple of campaigns end and I’m transitioning my sales approach. It’s not a major area of income but I’ll be working to see that segment increase in the month or two ahead.
One of the online entrepreneurs that I’ve been wanting to interview here on ProBlogger for over a year now is Jeff Walker. Many of you will know Jeff and his Product Launch Formula training. I’ve mentioned it as a resource many times as being something that has helped me double my income in the last 18 months as I’ve explored developing and launching my own products.
A couple of weeks ago I had this interesting question from Arlene Crespo from lifeplanweb.com.
I have been blogging since November of 2009 and I really enjoy writing especially about my experiences with life.
My problem is that my age works against me, If people see how old I am which is in my fifty’s they will be turn off. Most of the bloggers are young people in their twenty’s thirty’s forty’s.
What’s one to do when your at this age?
I thought this was an interesting question and one that might generate some good discussion so I’d like to hear your opinion on it. But before I do – let me share a few thoughts:
I’ve not really run into this question before and as a blogger still in my 30’s have not had to face it personally – so I can only really speak from my own personal experience as a blog reader but when I arrive on a blog by someone who is a little more ‘mature’ than myself I don’t think I’m any more likely to read, if anything it could make me think that the person is a little more experienced.
I’m a big believer in trying to use the situation that you’re in to your advantage and to try to turn perceived problems into opportunities – so if I was in this situation I’d probably be wanting to almost use my age as a way to market and brand myself rather than hiding it.
I’d be exploring trying to position myself as someone who has experience in my field, who has faced the challenges that others might not have faced and as someone who can coach and mentor a less experienced person.
That approach may not work in every niche but it’s probably where I’d be starting.
What Do You Think?
- Do you think age matters (on either end of the spectrum)?
- Could being a little older be used as an advantage?
- Have you used your age in some way in marketing yourself (whether you’re younger or older)?
PS: as I’ve written this post I realize I have been asked the question before, but by young bloggers who have asked if they should reveal their age out of fear of not being taken seriously.
I know of a number of bloggers who are still teens who’ve chosen not to reveal their age for this reason – but also have seen a few who have used their youthfulness to their advantage as a blogger by shouting from the hilltops that they’re young. I guess it can work both ways but I’d love to hear from both younger and older bloggers on their experiences with this.
Today was a crazy day. We’re launching a new eBook with another site on dPS tonight so there was lots of planning, writing of copy for emails, sales pages and blog posts, setting up of shopping carts and much much more.
I thought that the day would be a write off when it came to my other activities, yet I still managed to get a lot done – perhaps even more than a normal day. I wrote 4 blogs posts (actually this one makes it 5), edited 4 others from other writers, managed to keep my inbox down to the same level it was at yesterday and did a bit of preparation for a sermon I’m writing for my church next Sunday… not to mention normal family stuff.
How was it that today was more productive than a normal day?
Today wasn’t a freak day where I worked any longer hours than normal, dosed up on cold and flu tablets, or drank 6 coffees instead of my normal 2. Over the years I’ve noticed these kinds of days before – and there’s one common thread among them….
I can sum it up with this chart:
I find that on the days that I fill up with tasks and deadlines that I tend to get a lot more done than the days that I have open.
When I don’t set out to achieve anything – I tend not to get anything done while on the days I wonder if I’ll get anything completed because I have too much to do I tend to exceed my expectations and get more than I planned to do done.
Of course there comes a point on the ‘busyness’ spectrum where things can get overwhelming to the detriment of productiveness (I’ve had days where I’ve been completely paralysed by the overwhelming nature of it all) but in general I’d say that I’m at my best when I’m busy.
I think this partially explains why as a student at university I was a pretty pathetic student and could never seem to get an assignment in on time. I had 10 contact hours and only had to show up to classes for 2 part days a week. I had 3 full days off to get everything I needed to do done, but never seemed to achieve it while my friend with 35 contact hours a week seemed to get everything done.
I always saw myself as undisciplined. Perhaps there was some truth in that but ever since I started blogging I’ve always wondered why that ‘undisciplined streak’ has never really come back. I thought for a while I might have just grown out of it, but I suspect it’s had more to do with the fact that I’ve been keeping myself busy.
When I started blogging I had numerous part time jobs and was finishing my studies in Theology and blogged ‘on the side’ (nights mainly). As I let go of the part time jobs I started multiple blogs and other projects as I had capacity – but have always stretched myself and taken on a little more than I could easily do. As a result I’ve always felt a little stretched, but have have always had to focus and set myself priorities in order to get what I set out to achieve done.
Is it just me who is wired this way or do others find their productivity increases as their busyness does?
PS: I’d issue one word of warning on this. Over the 8 years that I’ve been working this way there have been a couple of times I stretched myself too far. You’ll notice that the chart has a tipping point where busyness can lead to less productivity. Don’t burn yourself out!
How do I get inspired to write when I have < 5 readers? It seem kind of futile.
Image by -nathan
This is one of the hardest parts of starting a new blog for many bloggers. After putting the effort into choosing the right blogging platform, thinking about a topic to write about, choosing a theme/design and putting effort into your first posts – you look at your stats and you find that hardly anyone is reading.
The Night I Almost Gave Up Blogging
I remember the feeling clearly from my first few blogs.
I remember sitting at my computer one night starting at my first(no longer active) with my finger hovering over my mouse as I decided whether or not to kill the blog completely because despite putting hours into it every week it was getting no comments, few visitors and only making a couple of dollars a week.
I shudder to think what would have happened if I had in fact killed that blog – because it went on to become the blog that earned me a full time living and led to me starting ProBlogger and my 2nd and more successful photography site.
How to Keep Inspired as a Blogger
I’m not going to make this post a ‘how to find readers for your blog’ post as I’ve talked about that numerous times before (I’ll link to some of those at the end of this post). Instead I’d like to talk about ‘inspiration’ a little because it’s actually something that I think is applicable to more than just bloggers with not many readers – bloggers with blogs of all sizes struggle to stay inspired.
- Write for You – one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned as a blogger is that I need to blog about things that interest and inspire me. I’ve started more blogs than I can remember and many of them were started more out of dreams of large readership and profit than any genuine interest that I had in them. Those blogs are all dead now and the only that remain (and the only that were profitable) were blogs that I started because I wanted to explore the topic and read them. ProBlogger is perhaps the best example of this – it was the blog I wanted to read that nobody else was writing. I was writing as much for me as anyone else so even when nobody else was reading it at least I was learning something.
- Celebrate the Small Victories – often as bloggers we get distracted by the stories of big bloggers having big victories. Massive product launches, millions of readers, loads of comments, mentions in mainstream media, recognition and awards…. While it’s great that bigger blogs are achieving such big things sometimes as a smaller blogger your own experience can seem so small by comparison. The big wins of other bloggers can be quite inspiring, but so should your own smaller victories. In fact the small victories that you have can be harnessed to help you create momentum to grow your blog. Read more about this at Success in Blogging is Made of Little Victories.
- Get Excited, about Something Else – what gets you excited and inspired outside of blogging? As I look at my own levels of inspiration for blogging I’ve noticed that it is often when I’m feeling inspired about some other aspect of life that my energy for blogging can also increase. For me this often comes out of reading a book on some unrelated topic, or watching a movie or documentary, or having a great conversation, or doing something with my family that energises me. We all get excited by different things but get yourself in a positive frame of mind in some other area of your life and it might just impact other areas where you’re feeling a little low – like in your blogging.
- Take a Break – I asked my followers on Twitter what inspires them in their blogging and the most common response that came back was ‘take a break’. I’ve found this to be true too. it may have something to do with my last point about doing something else that excites you but I find that even a short break in the middle of the day can help me to come back to the task of blogging refreshed. I also find on a bigger picture level that taking regular longer breaks (weekends off and longer vacations) can also help (although sometimes it does take me a few days to get back into the swing of things after a couple of weeks off).
- Involve others – I’ve written numerous times about approaching blogging in tandem with others whether it be through finding a blogging buddy or starting some kind of blogging alliance. There’s something very powerful and motivational about having someone to bounce ideas off, to be accountable to and to collaborate with.
- Start a content project – I find that I’m often the most inspired when I’m starting something new. The problem with this is that the temptation is often to start a new blog which doesn’t really help take your existing one further. Instead of starting a new blog I recommend starting some kind of new internal content project ON your blog. This might be anything from a series of posts, a competition or perhaps writing a report or eBook for your readers. The good thing about doing this is that you’re not only doing something new that might energize you – you’re also doing something that potentially could bring in new readers to your blog and that will be of benefit to those you already have.
- Begin a learning project – something that I used to do when I got either bored, unmotivated or uninspired with my blogging was to commit myself to learning something new about blogging. This might include doing some free research on the web a topic like SEO, blog design etc or it could even be investing a little money into some kind of teaching resource. This is actually one of the reasons I started 31 Days to Build a Better blog – as a tool for bloggers to invest a full month in learning about small things that they could do on their blog to bring it life. While the lessons were designed to help people the main purpose of it was to see what would happen when people committed to improving their blog in some small way every day for a month. Much of the feedback I’ve had from people who completed it was that they saw it as a way to kick start their blog and get it back on track after periods of feeling uninspired and unmotivated.
Those are 7 ways that I’ve managed to keep myself inspired and motivated to keep blogging for 8 years – but I’d be keen to hear your suggestions also. You might also like to check out the suggestions of some of my followers on Twitter in this collection of their responses to my question on the topic.
Tips on Getting Traffic
As promised above – here are some links to some posts I’ve written on growing your traffic (which will hopefully also help you to be a little more inspired – there’s nothing like new readers to keep you moving forward with your blog)!