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5 Reasons Why Dai Ling Ping is Going to Win On YouTube in 2012

This guest post is by David Edwards of A Sitting Duck.

I’ve just passed three years on YouTube and I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved so far.

But over the last few months I’ve become mates with a guy who owns one of the fastest growing channels in the UK—and he started just over a year ago. Dai Ling Ping has gone from zero to over 25,000 subscribers! It’s awesome for an individual to achieve this.

I’m blown away by how quickly his brand is growing and even though you may not be into video games, you will still be able to take some notes from his story and start something of your own. Get your pen and paper ready, here’s what Dai has done!

1. He uploads five videos a week

Most top YouTubers usually produce one video a week. I know that, within the animation industry, the top guys try to get one video live every calendar month, as their work is more time-consuming. But Dai is cranking them out. He’s not dwelling on the fact that some videos get a few hundred views and others are getting thousands, he just keeps on going!

2. He is part of something big

What ever subject you choose, you should always think of yourself as being part of something much bigger than you. For instance, Dai got involved with the Machinima network, which has a database of millions of gamers all over the world. If they like one of Dai’s videos, they can get it in front of hundreds of thousands of people very quickly.

3. He leverages his most popular video

Dai has a video titled “My House”—it even ranks top on the search engines, having racked up over 500,000 views. And his other videos are feeding off the success of this one.

On YouTube, you have two spaces beneath the video to promote your other works. Also, YouTube will line your other videos above and on the right hand side of the displayed video automatically. So, if you have a popular video, be sure to add others—don’t give those valuable spaces away to other YouTubers.

4. He is always looking for the next big thing

Because he’s organized with making videos, if something breaks out on the news, Dai can create a video on that topic within a few hours, and send it straight to his subscribers. Sometimes his videos rank next to the original news story on YouTube!

5. He is original

Many people are getting a bit stuck online now because they don’t know what information to read and what to do.

By keeping it simple, cranking out funny videos and illustrations, and chatting with his fans in the comments, Dai has built something that is growing faster than he could ever control. Because he invented the Dai Ling Ping character, he will eventually be able to make some big profits from original merchandise sales.

You may find some of Dai’s videos offensive, due to bad language. But if I was half as productive as Dai I would be sitting on a lot more subscribers today! Comedian Ricky Gervais once said “always produce more than you hope” and in the online market that has never been more true!

David Edwards is the founder of http://www.asittingduck.com and produces animations over at www.youtube.com/asittingducktv

Confessions of a Narcissistic Blogger

This guest post was written by Joe Bunting of The Write Practice.

I came across this interesting quote from psychologist Alexander Lowen:

“To experience joy, one must be free of anxieties about letting go and expressing feeling. Or to put it differently, one has to be carefree and innocent as a child.”—Alexander Lowen

Masks

Image copyright stock.xchng user bluegum

I would like to experience more joy. Wouldn’t you? Isn’t joy what life is really about?

I first got into writing because I felt this explosion of feeling, like I could release everything I was on the page and fill it with beautiful and terrible truths. Sometimes I get so excited about writing, my eyes fill with tears. It’s a great experience.

This is life experienced to its fullest. But then I look at my pageviews and my game face goes on. All I care about is the numbers. Immediately, my joy fizzles out like soda gone flat.

Lowen continues, “Narcissists are neither carefree nor innocent.” Have I become a narcissist? Here are four narcissistic blogger tendencies:

1. You worry about your image

Is my design interesting enough? Will viewers bounce immediately after seeing it? Are my tweets funny enough? Do I post/tweet too much? Do I post/tweet too little?

2. You attempt to get people to respond to you the way you want them to

Why aren’t people commenting? How do I get them to comment more? I need more comments!

3. If you’re not in control, you become panicky

My views were supposed to go up this week! Why are they going down? Why aren’t people sharing my Tweet? It was really funny! Why the heck aren’t people commenting?

4. You look for ways to make people do what you want them to do

Read my blog. Comment on my blog. Share my blog. Like my blog. Tweet my blog. Please retweet. If my views don’t go up, I’ll be an insecure wreck.

Do you have any of these tendencies? I know I do.

True confession: One time I went to a party with some friends just after publishing a really great blog post. When I got there, I didn’t have a deep connection with the divine. Instead, I felt, These people are lucky to have me. I’m a really good writer. What a great resource I am for them.

I cared more about my image than spending quality time with the people I loved.

Not quite five tips to become less narcissistic and experience more joy

The truth is that I’d like to give you five tips on how to be less narcissistic. I’d like to give you seven bullet points on how to be a more loving, less self-conscious, more joyful person.

But I’m not sure it would help.

My all-time favorite TEDtalk is from researcher Brene Brown. She said, “We don’t need more tips. We pretty much know the right way to live. ‘How to’ isn’t working.”

Instead, I’m going to give you just one.

Be real.

We don’t need more tips on how to live more joyful, less narcissistic life. Instead, we need openness, honesty, and vulnerability. The secret to fighting shame and narcissism is to feel your feelings, to share them without concern of getting hurt (you might get hurt, by the way).

There is no secret. There is no key to effective non-narcissism. There is no tip to experience joy.

There is only yourself. You as you really are. Unhidden and unashamed.

Do you struggle with blogging narcissism? Do you want to be sophisticated? Share your own true confession here. Feel free to comment anonymously if it’s too personal.

Joe Bunting is a professional writer, fiction editor, and platform consultant. You can follow Joe on Twitter and download a copy of his eBook, 14 Prompts, for free.

What Has Blog SEO Got to Do With How Your Readers Feel?

This guest post is by Dr. Mani of Internet infopreneur.

My blogging has evolved. Since 2003, when I first started blogging, the style and nature of my writing has changed to match trends, experience, and personal growth.

One thing however has remained constant. I write for my audience—and about things that matter to them. Or at least, I try to.

And, from what I’ve seen shared by many successful bloggers, that’s one of the keys to enjoying rich rewards from blogging. I read this snippet in an article about gaining social media influence by Haydn Shaughnessy:

“Writing stopped being a megaphone a long time ago and is now a journey where you meet a few of the same people regularly and a whole lot of new people all the time.”—Haydn Shaughnessy

So the key to blogging success is to attract a relevant, clearly defined, and in some way ultimately profitable (to you) readership—and this begins by knowing what to share with them in order that you may reach out meaningfully.

Listen, no one cares about you. Not in the beginning. Maybe never. They only care about how much you care for them—and how you can help them.

It helps when you genuinely care about them, because then your blogging will automatically align with ways you can help them meet their most pressing needs, get rid of their most worrying problems, and take them closer to their most desired dreams.

In order to reach the largest possible audience of such prospects, you need to rely upon tactical approaches like blog SEO. For many years, I blithely ignored that and wrote ad lib. In the early days, it worked because a. there was little, if any, competition, and b. the writing still appealed to readers, who then helped amplify the signal to others like them.

This last point is still in effect, except that the playing field has grown unbelievably more crowded. Everyone is an author. Everyone has a blog. Everyone is out to find more readers. Everyone is clamoring for your attention. Everyone is getting frustrated at not finding it.

Everyone wants a magic wand to wave at their computer screen and attract blog visitors.

Blog SEO can become yours.

Search engine optimization is partly the art of weaving into your content specific keywords and phrases which are used by people seeking information on search engines. Google and Bing get a humongous number of visitors every day, all of them in pursuit of more information. By positioning yourself in front of this crowd, you can funnel a few folks to your blog.

But you’ve got to know the right words to use.

Blog SEO is, in that respect, unique and special, because it speaks to the way your audience thinks and feels. When you’re in synch with your viewers, you already know intuitively what keeps them awake late into the night. You sense what things might get them bounding out of bed each morning, eager and excited.

You know because you care.

You care enough to ask people in your niche. You care enough to monitor your blog metrics and follow trends. You care enough to engage in conversations with your loyal readers. You care enough to take time to read other blogs, network with other bloggers, and keep up with industry developments that fuel these fears and dreams.

And then, you care enough to write (or speak or record a video) about these things—things which speak deeply, intimately, personally to each individual member of your tribe who favors you with their attention and time.

Blog SEO involves using that insight about your audience, matching it to time-tested principles like keyword density and anchor text for links, and optimizing each of your blog posts in such a way that they not only rank high on search engines, but also resonate with those who visit and read them.

Your keywords aren’t always those with the highest search volume—they are the ones closest to your readers’ hearts. Your on-site optimization isn’t all about seeding the text of your blog with the right density of phrases, but sharing value that your market craves.

Because blog SEO is no longer influenced by purely on-page factors, but also depends heavily on social sharing, this approach maximizes your impact. Your blog readers will happily share things they find helpful and interesting with their friends and contacts, growing your blog’s ranking ability and attracting new readers into your fold.

That’s why the craft of SEO for bloggers has morphed into a fine art that hinges more upon how your special people feel—and why. Understand that, apply it intelligently, and you’ll crack the secret code to blogging success—even in this over-crowded and cluttered marketplace.

Dr. Mani is a heart surgeon and Internet infopreneur. His information business helps fund treatment for under-privileged children. He has taught thousands of entrepreneurs “how to earn a steady online income doing what you love”. Learn more about information marketing at his blog, or get his book Think, Write & Retire!

How Millionaires Approach Social Media

This guest post is by Jaime Tardy of EventualMillionaire.com.

I’ve interviewed over 50 business owners who have a million-dollar net worth or more. As a blogger and podcaster I am always so curious as to how they use social media in their businesses.

If I were to generalize, most of the millionaires I interview use social media, or at least have someone in their company use it. But they are very clear on what it can and cannot do for them.

Social media is just the newest marketing avenue, just like cold calling, direct mail or networking. Social media helps you find people who might need you, and provides a way to introduce yourself. It also helps others find and recommend you. The easy-to-share aspects of social media make it hard for a business to ignore.

Here are a few tips, straight from millionaires, themselves on how they handle their social media.

Get clear on what you want out of social media

Amy Applebaum said,

“Social media is not a waste of time if you’re clear on what the purpose is. There’s millions and millions of people on Twitter and Facebook. Decide why you’re on it and then go for that. So if you’re trying to up your sales, then you’re looking for clients. So go find your target market and start talking to them.

“If you’re doing it for a totally different reason like you want to get publicity, then you’re going to start befriending journalists and people like that and following them. I mean, I have had some really incredible people contact me through Twitter or I have reached out to them on Twitter and they email me back because nobody is talking to anybody.”

Amy Applebaum found me on Twitter and then we set up a phone call. She is using these techniques for her million dollar business.

Social media is no good to you if you don’t know what you want. Whether you are a blogger or a small business owner you have objectives you want to achieve. As a blogger, maybe it’s more traffic or affiliate sales. As a small business owner, it’s most likely sales.

How can you get clear on what you want out of social media?

What does your customer want?

When I asked Ken Wisnefski, CEO of Webimax, what the first thing a small business should do in social media he said:

“I think the biggest thing is to not try to overdo social media. Companies have people that are their ‘social media’ person and they’re just putting information up there that almost becomes overwhelming. They’re putting up 20 tweets a day about things that aren’t really all that important. People look at different case studies and maybe they’ll look at what Charlie Sheen or Kim Kardashian has done and they’ll think that’s what they need to do for their business. And the reality of it is, for celebrities, people feel endeared to them and maybe want to have some entrance into their daily lives and they’re curious about what they ate or whatever the situation may be, but when it comes to businesses, people aren’t quite as interested in some of those small intricacies.

“They’re really more interested in just facts and maybe offers or specials. Before you start to engage in social media for your company, take some time and think about what the customer behavior is and how you can really begin to leverage that, so you can actually see a return on your online marketing specific to social media as opposed to just kind of doing it just to do it.”

Once you are clear on what you want out of social media you have to get clear on what your customers want. Why are they on Twitter or Facebook?

We all know we need to provide value to our fans and followers. But what value are they really looking for? Are they looking for information or deals? How can your company make their social media experience better?

Take some time to sit in the mind of your customer. This may mean surveys or just talking to them. But find out what they really want from you. Then create your strategy around serving them and their needs.

Two different types of social media

When I interviewed Guy Kawasaki, he broke up social media into two types: Push and Pull. He explains what is essential as a marketer:

“I think that technology can be divided into push and pull: push is Twitter and email, and pull is Facebook fan page and website, and you need to do both. The beauty of Twitter and email is you can control when and how you interact. You could push a lot of stuff at people. Assuming that they read it, it’s kind of involuntary. On the other hand, with pull, you have to really attract people to websites, which is not trivial but theoretically, once you get them to a website, you can do a lot more with them.

“So there are positives and negatives of both of those, and I think that both are essential these days. You cannot really be effective as a marketer without doing both. I actually think that Twitter and Facebook are just the best things that ever happened to a marketing person. It’s a great time to be a marketing person, Jaime, it’s just, wow! Twitter and Facebook are free, ubiquitous, and reach millions of people. Life is good as a marketer right now.”

You can read more about Push and Pull in Guy’s book Enchantment.

By listening to both Ken and Guy, I would suggest to have an overall plan to hit all aspects of social media. But only do one at a time. Figure out what works on Facebook for your business first. Only after you have a method you know you can use again should you move on to Twitter or Linked In. There is too much to learn all at the same time. If you have tons of social media profiles and spend a lot of time updating them but they don’t produce results; it won’t help you!

The overall tone I get from millionaires is that social media is important now. Even techno-phobic CEOs are plunging into it because they know they need to in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Jerry Mills, CEO of B2BCFO and someone who needs his kids to help him with technology, says:

“Any business who doesn’t adapt and doesn’t understand social media, using Google, using LinkedIn, Twitter and those kinds of things to find clients and find business are going to be left far behind. So that part of business has changed. The part of selling, meeting people’s needs has not changed at all.

“Our business has grown mostly because of social media. I was not only the pioneer of this business but I think I was a pioneer in terms of learning how to use social media.”

Get the relationship away from social media

Chris Gravagna, a serial entrepreneur and owner of Elitemate.com, suggests building relationships offline to make them more personal.

“I do a lot of networking. When I look at social media, social media is like hyper growth networking.

“I’m out there constantly driving, doing events, meeting real people, shaking hands. But then I’ll go back, look at that business card, and see if they have a LinkedIn account. I’ll see if they are on Facebook and Twitter. Then I’ll continue to interact on a digital level as well as a personal level with those people so that there’s constant touch points. I’ve seen that be very successful for me.

“It works a lot better. Nothing is going to replace interpersonal interaction with people. I mean, nothing is going to replace that. Those relationships that you are able to nurture and you are able to facilitate are so important to driving success and driving relationships. But having that constant hyper connectivity through the social media platform helps you in nurturing that relationship. It helps you in creating a high level of that relationship and driving that instant communication with those people.

“We all live a different world today, full of information overload. Now we can get that information and form a connection online and then go offline and build the relationship. It absolutely helps.”

We can bring our relationships to the next level when we take them off social media to email or Skype chat. In a world of text, speaking to each other or being face to face can really create a higher level of trust in the relationship. People like to do business with people they trust.

To wrap up, social media is a great tool as long as you don’t let it become a distraction. The millionaires I interview have become very successful and some owe it to social media. But they don’t let social media run their business. They use it as one tactic to flow customers and clients into their funnel.

So be clear what you want, what your customers want, the best methods for your specific business, and then build the relationship by moving it offline.

And make 2012 an amazing year for you.

Jaime is a business coach and speaker and has been featured on CNN, MSNMoney, Success Magazine, Fortune.com, Yahoo’s homepage and more. She interviews business owners with a net worth of a million dollars each week for their tips, advice and stories on EventualMillionaire.com. Check out her free webinar series that will eliminate the excuses of “No time, No money and No plan!” for newer entrepreneurs.

A New Linking Strategy: Out is the New In

I’ve been thinking a lot about my linking strategy lately. Trying to get incoming backlinks, making sure I have good inner links…

But one area that I think is too often overlooked is outbound links.

Hello, it’s called the “web”

Linked

Image copyright stock.xchng user lusi

When HTML was initially designed (and yes, I’m old enough to remember those days), the resulting conglomeration of pages was called the World Wide Web. Why? Because the structure of the pages resembled a spider’s web.

There was no central starting point. Each page contained hyperlinks that referenced other pages that were relevant.

There were no search engines and directories were fairly small and specialized. The only way that you could get to a page was if you knew the URL, or followed a link from another page.

In those days, the idea was to provide access to information. The internet was not a commercial place back then.

But then things changed…

The nature of links has changed drastically in the past few decades. Instead of being a helpful way to share relevant content with our readers, we’ve come to view them as a way to increase our SEO. We’ve become stingy with links because we want to keep our readers on our own pages, viewing our AdSense ads and buying through our affiliate links.

We allow links in the comments, but we nofollow them so no link juice escapes. We’ll put the odd blog in our blogroll, if we even have one. But how many of those are owned by us as well?

No, our focus is all on how we can get links back to our own site and build ourselves up in the eyes of Google.

It has to change

All of us need to change our mindsets about linking. We need to get back to the original mindset of the web.

That’s not to say that getting backlinks is bad (provided you’re not spamming to do it—that’s another article altogether). Nor should you ignore the SEO benefits of internal links.

But we need to get back to the idea of sharing links simply because the information is of value to our readers.

As the search engines get smarter, and the value of comment links, forum links, and social media links drops, the value of in-content links (i.e. links from within an article itself) will rise.

Who else thinks this way?

Am I the only one thinking about this? Not at all. Some A-list bloggers have written about this topic.

Brian Clark of Copyblogger wrote Why Linking to Other Blogs is Critical back in 2007. He even suggests linking to your competition—you’ll have to read his article to find out why.

And if you look through the list of trackbacks, you’ll find Linking Out Instead of Link Building to Rank in Google as a recent entry by Tad Chef at SEOptomise. I especially like one thing that he said: “Linking out is a strategy you have to embrace holistically.” Read the article to see what he means.

Dawud Miracle wrote on Lorelle on WordPress Why You Want to Link to Other Blogs where he explores more than just the page rank/traffic benefits.

And to help you find interesting stuff to link to, check out Ben Yoskovitz’s Blog Hack: Link to New Blogs and Get More Readers.

You’ll also find articles here at ProBlogger that talk about how to use outbound links. Kimberly Turner’s Monthly Trends + 10 Tips for a Flawless Linking Strategy touches on the subject, for example.

And don’t forget Darren! He wrote about this back in 2009 in Outbound Links—An Endangered Species? [And Why I Still Link Up].

Explore the trackbacks and links found in those articles and you’ll find lots of people writing about how important linking out is for your blog.

So, what’s a blogger to do?

Excellent question! I’m glad you asked.

We all need to adopt a mindset that includes outbound links in our articles—not necessarily every article, but I think it should be 25% at a minimum. I think you’ll find that as you intentionally look for and link to quality articles, you’ll be able to link out in almost every article you write. This one has six (if you don’t count the blatant plug back to my own site in mu bio!).

I’ve actually come up with a list of six guidelines for outbound links. You can find the list at the end of this post. Maybe you can think of some other guidelines to add — feel free to share!

Above all, remember that Out is the new In when it comes to links.

Bill (LoneWolf) Nickerson is a programmer, web designer, trainer, writer and all around nice guy. He has several blogs on the go and loves to tinker with plugins and themes (more than he should). You can see what he’s learning about blogging and online marketing at LoneWolf’s List Marketing Adventure.

3 Traffic Generation Tactics from an Ordinary Human Being

In two and a half years, David Cain of Raptitude.com has built a large and lively audience for his blog, which takes a “street-level look at the human experience.”

He says the most important fuel for this growth was writing quality content. You already know about that, yeah? So in this interview, I dug deeper to find out the specific tactics David uses to make his content interactive, clickable, and sharable.

Here are three tricks that help Raptitude get more visitors.

1. Join a small group of bloggers

This was probably the smartest thing I ever did with my blog… I found a little group of beginner bloggers, there were six or seven of us that had all started in the last couple of months.—David Cain

During our interview, David twice emphasized the importance of joining a peer group. He says that not only does it hold you accountable to continue and give you a forum to bounce ideas off, but also provides a “starter community” to comment on and share your work. This is especially useful early on when the small inner circles of your peers can magnify your efforts. Once your community has this lively base, new visitors can participate by commenting or sharing as well.

Here are three suggestions for finding your support group:

  1. Google Groups: try searching at www.groups.google.com for “blogging”, or “beginner blogging”
  2. Facebook Groups
  3. Ask around: new bloggers are lurking everywhere, so see if you can find allies within your existing network.

Action Step: Join a group of bloggers at a similar experience level. Have a loose rule that if you like each others’ work, you’ll share it with your circle of family and friends.

2. Make your post titles clickable

Every headline has to say “if I read this post, then what’s in it for me?”.—David Cain

David stressed the importance of a good title for your posts. He says that on the internet there is so much information, someone could read it their whole life and never get a fraction of it done. That means that your potential reader might encounter hundreds or thousands of links in a day, and it’s only your few select words that affect whether or not they click on yours. You can leverage that decisive moment by having a headline that you yourself would click on.

Check out how David names his posts:

  • Literal: Raptitude’s most popular post of all time is a list of 40 quotes from Friedrich Nietzsche. They are pretty powerful, like #33: “A politician divides mankind into two classes: tools and enemies.” A literalist might have named this post something like, 40 Quotes by Nietzsche. Kind of boring, yeah?
  • Clickable: What did David actually name this post? 40 Belief-Shaking Remarks From a Ruthless Nonconformist. Here, “belief-shaking” poses a challenge to readers, “remarks” sounds cooler than “quotes”, and with “nonconformist” being a little bit of a buzzword, many potential readers already identify with it. Another advantage is that when you search Google for “nonconformist quotes”, David’s post is on the first page of results.

Action Step: For your next post, brainstorm a few titles, and decide which one stands out as the most clickable.

3. Post link bait

It’s worth including posts geared towards people wanting to share them.—David Cain

David admits that sometimes he mixes list posts into his work because they are more sharable on social media. He says posts like 7 Ways to Do X or 88 Truths I’ve Learned About Life are easily digestible. This means that a wider variety of people can enjoy this writing, than say posts with a long discourse about human suffering.

Alright, the term “link bait” may have negative connotations, but it doesn’t mean you have to deprive your blog of dignity. On Raptitude, list posts are still very much in line with the pursuit of understanding the human experience. Do your best to ensure that your link bait maintains the quality of your blog—and yeah, people will share it!

Action Step: Try posting link bait. Maybe a list post, photography, or other work that expresses creativity.

What about you?

I’d love to hear from you: are you proud of a particular post title? Created some link bait you can share here?

Michael Alexis is the producer of WriterViews, where you can learn the specifics tactics and strategies that worked for successful writers. Follow him on Twitter at @writerviews.

31 Unexpected Perks of Blogging You’ll Never Want to Give Up

This guest post is by Uttoran Sen of traveltamed.com.

You’ve got it! You’re officially a Have in a world of Have-nots!

What do you have? It’s probably not money, fame, or tax-write-offs disguised as corporate jets. It’s something more powerful.

You have a blog. And a darn fine one at that.

If you’ve said before that you’ll never give up blogging—surprise! You’re probably right!

Giving up a good thing is next-to-impossible. So it’s not a surprise to discover that blogging isn’t the sort of thing you just stop doing. In fact, anyone would be hard-pressed to give up blogging once they’ve discovered just how rewarding it can be.

1. You have freedom of expression. We all claim to want to be able to say our piece, but most of the time we’re just lamenting to our journals or blabbering on to a significant other who probably agrees with everything we’re saying. But with blogging, you can say what you want to say as often as you like without censure. You’ll reach an audience, too.

2. People listen to you. Good or bad, once you start blogging, people start tuning in. It’s amazing to feel like people are paying attention to you and that they consider what you have to say valid.

3. Your thoughts are more developed. People who think their thoughts have fuzzy ideas of what they believe in and why. But bloggers have to fully develop a thought and include support if you’re going to put it on a blog. This helps you formulate concrete ideas and opinions. Skip the fuzzy thoughts forever.

4. Your education continues indefinitely. In your cube-based job, you learn how to do your job and you might catch some gossip on the front page of the paper. Bloggers, on the other hand, are surrounded by news and ideas all of the time. They are constantly growing and learning—if not to keep up with the niche they enjoy, then to ensure that their blog continues to grow.

5. You learn to type more quickly. It’s a small thing, really, but the moment you realize that you type faster than all of your friends, you’ll feel that sort of pride that threatens to overwhelm you with a sheer manic force as you yell, “Ha! I am so much better at this than you!”

6. Your ego can take a beating, and keep on ticking. Putting your thoughts and ideas out there for strangers can be daunting. But as others tear your ideas apart, you get to argue back and strengthen your own viewpoint—or you can change your mind as your knowledge grows. Either way, having someone knock your ideas makes you a better, stronger person.

7. You take risks and see rewards. Being online is risky on a good day. Being a blogger and courting public exposure makes you practically a rebel when it comes to risk-taking. You’re not hiding behind an email address and fuzzy cube walls. You’re out there sharing and growing—building a community. Your risks online pay off, and that’s heady business.

8. You meet new (real) people. We’re in a global community here, but how many of our neighbors still just exist in the block where they live and work? Bloggers are out there in the global environment interacting with other real people who enjoy the same thing we do. No fake profiles and pictures—this isn’t a dating website, after all. We’re the ones who are really doing the work of globalization.

9. Creativity regenerates. It’s sad, but true—creativity is beaten out of us as children. As we grow, we lose almost all of our creativity through standardized tests, college courses and work programs. Blogging is an excellent opportunity to take back your creativity once and for all—to get serious about being original. Of course, you probably are already.

10. You think more clearly. Not only do your thoughts become stronger, the more you blog, the more clearly you begin to think the thoughts that appear in your head every day. It’s as if you mind converts itself to WordPress and you’re able to compact thoughts, provide some bullet points and provide a catchy headline for every mundane thought that passes through your head.

11. You can amuse yourself. There’s nothing more powerful than humor, and bloggers are some of the funniest people around. Perhaps it’s the global exposure or maybe it’s just the type of people who enjoy blogging, but you’ll become so good at finding humor in the world around you for others on the blog that you’ll soon realize just how much there is outside of your homepage as well.

12. Your vocabulary will improve. While blogging is really just a form of internet journaling, the amount of reading you do in your favorite areas will provide you with the newest lingo and as you start to revise your blogs, you’ll catch areas where you can improve your word choice. Often, this is just the opportunity your brain is looking for to start sucking in some new words and phrases.

13. Internet shortcuts become your highways. How long does it take you to update your blog? If you were to line up three of your closest friends and all try to find a picture to go along with an article, who would win? You would, of course! You know all the good photo spots, the best places for graphics, for themes and for videos. You’ve got the inside track.

14. You grow cocky. Being online, being read by others, and knowing that we do a good job with words and phrases turns us into the worst kind of internet animal—we’re cocky. We know what we’re doing and we’re not afraid to let others know it. And, quite honestly, this level of confidence and coolness isn’t something you’ll enjoy losing.

15. You learn how to make money. Growing up, you probably learned the same things we all did. To make money you 1) finish school. 2) Get a good job. 3) Work there as long as possible. And perhaps 4) Change jobs a few times and play some politics to earn a good raise or two along the way. If you were lucky you might get a bonus every so often. Those of us with blogs, however, have learned the ultimate truth—you can make money any time and any way you want. Just write something and throw up some ads.

16. You are your own boss. This is a biggie—it’s hard to become a humble servant to another boss when you know that at home your blog is generating some nice revenue and gathering up a few good visitors. Being your own boss, even if it’s just in the evenings, is confidence boosting and might be just the outlet you need to go back and live in your window-less office again in the morning.

17. You can monetize anything. If you can make decent money with a blog, you can make money with anything. Once you figure out the perfect combination of traffic, visitors, ads, and upsells to turn a profit on your blog, you’re on your way up.

18. The cutting edge comes to you. It only takes a few weeks of blogging to realize that being online in a meaningful way—not watching videos or just tweeting with your best college buddies—makes you a leader in the ways of trends. You know the trends before they ever arrive. You see the blog posts and the conversations between those in the know, and it amuses you when suddenly the public is wild for Snuggies, ShamWow, Pillow Pets, and Acai berries a few months later.

19. You’re brandable. Blogs are definitive and you develop a certain style over the months and years through which you add material. As your blog grows and becomes more branded by you, you become more branded yourself. It’s nice to be able to explain yourself in what amounts to a slogan (perhaps even the same slogan you have on the site right now).

20. Change is constant. Every so often you just know it’s time for your theme to change. And with that constant change and improvement online, you’re more comfortable making changes to your personal life as well. Blogs are never stagnant and neither are bloggers. Ask someone who’s retiring after 35 years in the same job if he can say the same.

21. You get freebies. It may be beta invitations or perhaps some new products to try for a review. Whatever it is, blog long enough and the freebies start coming your way. And who doesn’t love free stuff?

22. You feel productive. We know productivity is a good thing, but most of us turn off the productivity engine as we step away from our desk at five or six in the evening. Not so with dedicated bloggers. We’re productive almost every waking hour—adding to the blog, finding new features for the blog, or just reading up on other blogs to stay current.

23. The blogging network is deep. There may be millions of blogs out there, but there are only a handful of dedicated bloggers in a particular niche or area. Once you’ve been around for a while, you’ll be impressed with how knowledgeable and approachable these bloggers are. Your network is not only wide, but deep as well.

24. You can justify cool stuff. When you blog online, you need to be connected. Being connected means you need important things like new computers, tablets, iPads, and plenty of accessories for all of the goodies. Even if you don’t actually need every single gadget and gizmo you bought last year, you can put them all to use and even write the cost off if your blogging is part of a business or even remotely profitable.

25. You’re never lonely. Bloggers have friends in every time zone, and when you feel like reaching out to someone, you can—no matter where you’re located.

26. Your passion is worthy of notice. We all have passions and things we enjoy, but many people don’t have the opportunity to really dig into an area of interest and allow it to enrich life in a meaningful way. Bloggers are able to indulge in passions every day—even if just by reading and reporting on new areas of development.

27. You’re motivated. How often do you drag your feet going to your office or trying to figure out how you’re going to make it through another Monday? Start your day with a quick blog post and you’ll be off and running in no time.

28. You can build up from a blog. A blog is an easy way to get started with a new idea. Then, if you like your new idea, you can build out from your blog to develop a more comprehensive business or just continue to use the blog as a marketing home base.

29. You can flesh out a real resume. Jobs can be tricky right now, and if you happen to be an expert in a particular field, you stand a far better chance of finding a job that is well suited to you. Additionally, having a long-running blog is a sign that you’re all the things employers look for—dedicated, knowledgeable, hard-working, and passionate.

30. You have a useful following. Those who have subscribed to your blog or who are faithful readers often can be counted on for many other things. They can help you win contests. They can help you find new jobs or interview subjects. They suggest topics. Those same followers can often be convinced to try new things—especially if it’s something you’ve made and are considering selling.

31. You can scratch what itches. Everyone needs to vent from time to time, and having a blog and a bunch of willing readers is a great place to do it. What’s the fun of complaining about terrible service at your favorite store if nobody cares? Your dedicated readers will care and they might even take action on your behalf. On the other hand, if you’re just dying to get feedback for your stab at song lyrics, scratch the itch and let others check them out amongst your other posts.

Blogs and bloggers are understandably varied—some are in it for the money, some for the entertainment and others just because it feels good. But whatever the reason you’re blogging, if you’ve been doing it long enough, you’re probably in it for good. It’s just too hard to walk away from something this rewarding.

Uttoran Sen is a travel blogger who likes to travel places from around the world, and write about his journeys on his travel blog. Follow him on Twitter or join his Facebook page and stay connected.

How to Build a Traffic-siphoning Marketing Funnel

This guest post is by Herman Diaz of SEO So Easy.

Would you let Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube and other sites control your online business? Or would you like to control it yourself?

Would you want to be in a position to lose your online income suddenly because Google decides to drop your rankings, or because Facebook shuts down your fan page or YouTube shuts down your channel? Of course, you’d like to control your own business and not be at the mercy of other sites.

To run a sustainable business online you need to create a marketing funnel where you siphon traffic from sources like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into your funnel, and create your own traffic source.

Creating a traffic-siphoning funnel

Before you start creating your traffic-siphoning marketing funnel, you need to ask yourself one question:

What is the one important thing that’s needed to make money online?

An obvious answer would be people, right? In fact it’s not just people, traffic, or visitors that make you money online. It’s the relationship and trust you build with your visitors that will make you money online.

Relationships cannot be developed with your visitors in just one or two visits to your site. Therefore it is important you capture the names and email addresses of as many visitors as you can, so you can give yourself a chance to build a relationship with them.

To get their names and email addresses, you need to have a really good lead magnet. A lead magnet is a good piece of content like a video, PDF report, or a case study that will help your potential subscriber and will entice him to give you his or her name and email address.

Once your visitor enters their details into your site, they’ll get into you funnel—and that’s where you will begin the process of building a relationship and trust with them. And then, you can recommend products to them.

The traffic-siphoning funnel process in action

Here’s a process map that shows how the traffic-siphoning funnel works.

The funnel

Firstly, your need to have three lead hunters to convert your visitors into subscribers and put them into the funnel.

Step 1: Create a blog lead hunter

Your niche blog is a lead hunter that should focus on two things. One is providing valuable and fresh content to your visitors; the other is capturing the names and email addresses of your visitors.

With fresh and valuable content rolling in regularly, your first-time visitor will make return visits to your blog, and they might even like share or tweet your content.

Make sure your blog has your best content on it. For that, you need to prepare a three-month content creation strategy; here’s what you need to do.

  1. You need to identify ten low-competition keywords with a decent search volume.
  2. You then need to write at least one 600- to 800-word articles for each of the keywords.
  3. These will be the ten pages on your blog that you will work on getting search engine traffic to, by raking on the search engines.
  4. Each of these pages will have a resource box that will send people to your lead capture page.
  5. You will then have to write a 300-word post every other day for the next 90 days and link each of these posts to the ten pages you have created.

This tactic will create a strong internal linking structure that will help with your SEO efforts.

Step 2: Create a squeeze page lead hunter

The sole purpose of this page, which I call a lead magnet, is to capture names and email addresses of visitors.

  • Make sure you have an eye-catching header.
  • Mention all the benefits of the free offer you’re giving away.
  • Make sure to tell your visitors exactly what to do to get the free offer.
  • Have the opt-in box above the fold of the page.

Step 3: Create a Facebook fan page lead hunter

The fan page will be a replication of your squeeze page, but it will be on Facebook, allowing you to collect names and email addresses of people visiting your fan page. The main idea of the fan page is to get as many people to opt-in or like the page.

Step 4: Driving traffic to the lead hunter pages

Here’s how to drive traffic from each of your lead hunters.

Blog traffic sources

These sources will send visitors to you blog and siphon subscribers to your funnel.

  1. Search engine traffic
  2. Guest blogging
  3. Twitter
  4. YouTube

You can try other traffic sources as well, but I usually start with these.

Lead magnet traffic sources

These sources will send visitors to you squeeze page and siphon subscribers to your funnel.

  1. From your blog
  2. Warrior special offers (Note: this is a paid service.)
  3. Solo ads (Also a paid service.)
  4. Youtube
  5. Twitter.

Facebook Fan page traffic sources

These sources will siphon send visitors to your fan page, and siphon subscribers to your funnel.

  1. Facebook PPC (A paid service)
  2. From your blog
  3. YouTube
  4. Twitter

Step 5: What happens in the funnel?

Now, as you get a steady flow of subscribers from your lead hunters, you need to set your autoresponder with some killer content. This content can be articles, videos, PDF reports—or you can even send subscribers back to your blog pages where you have already published good content.

Get your subscribers involved. Ask them to tweet, share, or Like the page you sent them. Also ask them to comment and ask questions, as this will help you build a good relationship with your list. They will feel like they know you not only because you send them quality emails, but because they interact with you on your blog and other places as well.

You also have to make sure you are honest with your subscribers from the beginning. Tell them that, apart from the great content, you are also going to recommend good products to them that will help them. Also be clear that you will make a commission when they purchase the recommended product using your link.

To summarize, in the first part of the funnel you need to focus on providing great content with incredible value to your subscribers. Be honest from the first email about what your intentions are. This combination of honesty and great content will build a strong relationship of trust with your subscribers.

Step 6: Promoting the right product

Relationships, trust, and honesty will go a long way in making your subscribers loyal to you. To keep up this loyalty, make sure you recommend good products to your list.

Research the product you are going to promote well—including, of course, trying it for yourself—so you can answer any question that are asked. Try getting a discount for the product you are promoting too, as this will increase conversions with your list. Also try giving subscribers a bonus, depending on the price of the product.

Make sure you treat your subscribers like friends, and recommend only products or services you think will genuinely help them. Remember, it will take you some time to develop a relationship and build trust with your list, yet it can all be lost with one bad recommendation. Be choosy with what you recommend.

If you are promoting your own product, make sure you over-deliver with that product. Go all-out to see that your product will really help them—this will only build credibility and your buyers will love you for it.

People who buy your products should get on your buyers’ list—and you have to take very good care of them! The people who have not yet bought from you can still enjoy the free content you provide.

Step 7: Back in the funnel

After you have finished promoting an affiliate offer or you own product, make sure you start the process of sending free content and start building up to the next promotion.

Conclusion

You have to have a business to make money! But you also have to remember that your business has to be built on a foundation of honesty, trust, and good relationships with your subscribers. That’s what will make you money consistently for years: a source of customers who trust you.

Herman Dias likes writing about SEO Tips, blogging, list building, traffic strategies and other Internet Marketing Topics, He also recently completed a Free Live Case Study on How to Rank on Page One of The Search Engines in 15 days for 55 keywords.

What Motivates Readers to Share?

This guest post is by Dan Zarrella of danzarrella.com.

In my research into sharing, I realized I needed to develop a framework that would serve as a model for the decision-making process that takes place before someone spreads an idea.

This framework describes the three criteria that must be met before someone will spread an idea in any format:

  1. The person must be exposed to your content. This means that the person has to be following you on Twitter, be a fan of your page on Facebook, subscribe to your email list, and so on.
  2. The person must become aware of your specific piece of content (the idea you want to spread). S/he has to read your tweet or open your email message.
  3. The person must be motivated by something (generally in the content itself) in order to want to share the idea with his or her contacts.

Every piece of content, social network, and campaign has a vastly different conversion rate at each step of this process. For you to understand the scales involved, it helps to visualize a hypothetical set of percentages. If you email 900 people, and 20% of them notice and open the message, and then 10% of those readers forward it to a friend, your email message was shared 18 times.

At each step, you can change the numbers in your favor:

  1. Increase the number of people exposed to your content. Get more email-list subscribers or Twitter followers.
  2. Create attention-grabbing content. Do lots of testing on your subject lines to increase open rates.
  3. Include powerful calls to action.

The keys to real science are data and experimentation. I’ve spent nearly five years conducting research into the why, how, and what of contagious ideas. In the three middle chapters of ZarrellasHierarchyofContagiousness (“Exposure,” “Attention,” and “Motivation”), I present some of my most important findings and describe how you can use them to optimize your ideas for maximum spread at each step of my hierarchy. This is an excerpt from the chapter “Motivation.”

The bottom level of my hierarchy of contagiousness is motivation, and it’s the trickiest to achieve. Once someone is exposed to your idea and it catches her attention, she has to be motivated by it to want to share it. This is where you can find the most superstitious advice.

People claim that they spread ideas only when those ideas are good, are funny, benefit the world, or conform to some other nebulous standard. So how do we really motivate people to share our ideas? That question is best answered in two parts: Why do people share ideas? And what kinds of ideas do they share the most?

What do people share?

Now that we’ve got an understanding of the real reasons people spread ideas, let’s talk about what kinds of ideas they share the most.

Uncomplicated language is contagious

Readability tests are designed to measure the reading grade level required to understand a specific piece of content. The higher the score, the more complex the language is. The most popular readability test is called the Flesch-Kincaid test and is built into Microsoft Word.

While studying Facebook sharing, I gathered a database of stories published in a variety of popular news sources, including geeky places, like Mashable and TechCrunch, and mainstream outlets, such as CNN and The New York Times. I measured how readable each story was and how many times it was shared on Facebook. I found an inverse correlation between the complexity of the articles and the number of times they were shared. As stories became more challenging to read, they were posted to Facebook less often.

I also explored the parts of speech in the titles of those same articles. I determined that the use of flowery, adverb- and adjective-laden language was related to lower sharing rates. As Strunk and White told us decades ago in their book, Elements of Style:

“Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place… it is nouns and verbs, not their assistants, that give good writing its toughness and color.”

The most and least retweetable words

Perhaps my favorite data set is my giant MySQL table of 100 million retweets. A while ago, I pulled out of that table a list of the most “retweetable” words and phrases. I found twenty words that occurred more often in retweets than they did in non-contagious tweets. I also pulled out the least retweetable words, or what I call “viral kryptonite.”

I’ve presented these lists at events probably a hundred times, and at nearly every event, someone will come up to me afterwards with his phone out and show me how cleverly he smooshed all the words together to make the world’s most (or least) retweetable tweet. It is invariably meaningless. The funny part is that when I tell the person to check his mentions, he often finds that he has actually gotten retweeted.

The list of the most retweetable words is topped by the word “you.” People don’t want to hear about you; they want to hear you talk about them. Tweets that tell people how they can do things and learn things do very well. The list also contains phrases like “how to” and “top 10.” These phrases indicate that the content they point to is broken up into manageable chunks rather than being huge blocks of intimidating text.

The best phrase on the list, however, is “please retweet.” You should see the unicorn folks freak out about this one. They tell me that it sounds too desperate, demanding, and downright wrong. But it works. Try it out right now. Irving Kirsch, a researcher at the University of Connecticut backed me up in a recent experiment. He gave some subjects hypnotic instructions to mail thirty postcards, once a day. And just nicely asked another group to do so. “Please mail these.” The second group complied with the request more often. Social requests are just as powerful as full-on hypnotic trances.

On the flip side of the coin are the least retweetable words. Drivel like “tired,” “bored,” “watching,” and “game.” Words that indicate people narrating particularly boring parts of their lives. Of course I’m not going to retweet those.

The most and least shareable words

To come up with similar lists for Facebook, I looked at words in articles shared on Facebook and found the words that correlated most strongly with those articles being shared more often or less often. There are some significant differences between these lists and the Twitter word lists because the Facebook audience is a much more mainstream one.

The list of most shareable words is headed by the word “Facebook.” Yep, Facebookers love talking about Facebook. The rest of the list was mostly stuff you’d hear on the nightly news. Political words and phrases like “Obama” and “health care.” Most interesting, the words “why” and “how” do very well. Online, people want to get deeper into stories than they can with the thirty-second sound bite they heard on TV.

The list of least shareable words is full of social media dork words. Stuff like “apps,” “social,” and “Twitter.” Everyone is on Facebook. Both your mom and your college roommate are, and most Facebook users aren’t into every bleeding-edge new media website like you are.

This is an excerpt from Dan Zarrella’s latest book, to read it in it’s entirety, buyZarrellasHierarchyofContagiousnessonAmazon. It’s less than $10 for the Kindle version (which will work on any computer or device).