The Warren Buffett Method for Building a Successful Blog

This guest post is by Aman Basanti of

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s method of deciding which companies to buy and invest in is not only instructive for share investors, but also for bloggers. His strategy can be used in the blogging world to create a successful blog—especially instructive for bloggers who are short on time and need to make every post count.

Buffet’s “Durable Competitive Advantage” concept

When Buffett analyses a company for potential, he looks for what he calls a “durable competitive advantage.” A durable competitive advantage is a unique product that has a strong competitive advantage in the market and does not have to change over time. In other words, he looks for a product that he can profit from over a long period of without changing it much.

Coke, for example, has a durable competitive advantage because it does not change over time. The same can be said for Budweiser, DeBeers Diamonds and OPEC. A car manufacturer, on the other hand, does not have a durable competitive advantage because cars change in design every few years.

Companies with a durable competitive advantage like Coke enjoy the following advantages over other companies:

  • They spend fewer dollars on research and design.
  • They do not need to retool their production line to cater for new models.
  • They have a long life span in the marketplace.

This means that more money is available for profits and re-investment, allowing more to be achieved with less.

Applying Buffett’s principle to blog strategy

Buffett’s strategy is a great strategy for time-deprived bloggers. Simply put, it states that rather than buying companies that have time-sensitive products—or writing posts that are time sensitive—buy companies who products are evergreen—or write posts that are evergreen.

Rather than building a news site, which is what many bloggers do, build a resource. Build a source of information for your chosen topic. Write posts that focus on principles rather than techniques. That way your posts will be as relevant in four years as they are on the day you write them.

On my blog, for example, all the posts are about principles of consumer psychology. Each post adds to other posts and completes the overall picture. When I am done, I will have covered most of the principles of consumer psychology.

Exceptions to the rule

This does not mean that you cannot write about time-sensitive topics. You absolutely can and should from time to time (topical posts can bring you a spike of traffic in a short period of time). But the bulk of your blog should comprise of posts that are timeless. This way, if you are only writing one or two posts a week, you are making every post count not just for that week but for months and years to come.

If your skill lies in acquiring and communicating breaking news and trends, this strategy is not optimal for you. Similarly, if you can find ways to generate a lot of content quickly through crowd sourcing (think Huffington Post, Wikipedia, and ProBlogger), this strategy is not necessary for you. If you have the time, skill and strategy to write time-sensitive posts, by every means do so.

But for the rest of us, who are short on time and need to get the maximum mileage out of our posts, concentrating on evergreen content is a winning strategy.

As Buffett once explained, “There is a huge difference between the business that grows and requires lots of capital to do so and the business that grows and doesn’t require capital.”

Translated into blog strategy, this means there is a huge difference between the blog that requires breaking news to stay relevant and make money, and the blog that grows because its posts are as relevant today as they were two years ago.

Which strategy do you use on your blog, and why?

Aman Basanti has written for a number of A-list blogs including ProBlogger, MarketingProfs and Business Insider. He shares his secrets to getting guest posts on A-list blogs in his new FREE e-book – Guest Posting Secrets: 25 Tips to Help You Get More Guest Posts. Visit to download it now for FREE (No opt-in required).

How to Use Conversion Optimization to Grow Your Blog

This guest post was written by Alex of ToMakeALiving.

It’s pretty well established that to grow your blog you need to write well, and you certainly wouldn’t struggle to find a dozen or so posts which offer suggestions that mostly boil down to “learn to write good content.” Well, duh…

But assuming you can write, there is plenty of other stuff you can do to improve your blog.

So rather than launch into yet another checklist about how to make a nice looking, effective blog post, I am going to share with you a more scientific method: conversion optimization.

What is conversion optimization?

Quite simply, conversion optimization is the process of using measurable behaviour data and testing small or large changes to see what effect they have on the page or site.

Basically, you can change absolutely anything on your site and actually test it to see what works best. So rather than spending hours umming and ahhing over exactly what shade of grey to use for your text, you can test a number of shades and get a precise result.

Why is it so awesome?

Well, as I hinted at above—and I’m sure you’ve all done this once or twice—most bloggers design their sites based on how they like them; this is totally missing the point, though. Assuming you want to grow your blog, it is your users that matter, not your own personal tastes.

Your personal preference on how to lay out your navigation might turn out to be less desirable than a layout that you would have rejected. Small things really can make a big difference, and I don’t know about you, but I would rather pick the setup that gets and keeps the most readers.

How to get started

Like I said, we are going to do this scientifically, no guess work involved. So we are going to start by finding the right application. Google have a free Website Optimizer, which works just fine if you are on a budget.

If you can afford it though, I highly recommend Visual Website Optimizer—it is far easier and faster to use, which means you will use it more, and that’s a good thing.

What can you track?

All manner of things. But we are talking about your blog here. So what matters most for your blog? Well here are the things I tend to track:

Bounce rate

If you can reduce your bounce rate, you will retain more visitors. That’s got to be good, right?


You are hopefully trying to get people to sign up to your mailing list. The better your sign up form works, the more subscribers you will get.

Key pages

You can track specific pages and navigation paths from one page to another, for instance, from a particular post to a page which tells people about one of your affiliate products.

Once you get to grips with the process, you can start testing other elements, but these are good things to start with because they are simple to test and they will make the biggest difference to your blog.

Setting up your first experiments

Actually using the software is simple enough, and you’ll soon get to grips with it, so I’m not going to go through the nitty gritty. The biggest challenge starting out, though, is thinking up some experiments to run. So here are a few ideas.

1. Look and feel

How many times have you been torn about what color to make your text? What font to use? What background image looks best? Well, for our first experiment we are finally going to answer that question.

For my first experiment, I created three different backgrounds—one was just plain light blue (this was the original one), one was busier, with black swirls, and one had a color gradient. I ran the experiment with all three backgrounds being split equally among users.

The aim of the experiment was to see which background produced the lowest bounce rate across the entire site.

The results were actually pretty surprising—the swirly background came out with the lowest bounce rate, at 51%, and the second-best was the plain blue, which came in at 62%. So overall this one experiment helped me to reduce my bounce rate by 11%.

2. Signup form

For my next experiment, I decided to test whether a popup would increase my sign ups, and also whether a popup would increase my bounce rate. My main concern was that I didn’t want to push away or annoy my visitors, but I did want more people to subscribe to my blog.

I created a simple signup form, and set it so that it wouldn’t keep appearing for repeat readers. Then I ran an experiment that tested this popup against pages where the sign up form appeared as a widget in the side bar.

As expected, the popup increased signups; the shocking thing was by how much—across just over 1000 visits, the popup form produced 72% more signups. Even more surprising was that the bounce rate was actually 0.5% lower than the signup form.

3. Key pages

For experiment number three we are going to target a specific page. One of my key navigation pages is 8 ways to make money. I wanted to experiment with how best to lay out the page in order to get people to click through to a relevant strategy, and not exit the site or go elsewhere.

I tried a grid layout of 2×2 panels against a simple list. I also tried pages with and without small descriptions for each section, and I tried different bullet points. All in all there were about 6 or 7 alternatives, so I let the test run for a while so that I could be sure I had enough data.

The results showed me that a 2×2 grid layout worked best, short descriptions did help, and bullet points didn’t make any discernable difference either way (so I got rid of them). Overall, I was able to improve the goal rate (visitor clicking on any of the eight “strategies”) by 46%.

Building your own experiments

So there you have it: three experiments to try out. As you can see, these are all pretty simple. The key is that you are testing them with real visitors so that you don’t have to rely on guess-work.

Sometimes you might find that the best layout is the one you already had, but if you keep testing different variations, you can really improve your blog, one small change at a time. I started with things like background images and other simple changes, but you once you feel confident you can change headers, tag lines, navigation—or whatever you want.

Just imagine if you could halve your bounce rate and double your signup rate; wouldn’t that help you to grow your blog much faster?

Targeting specific pages

Just a final thought: once you are happy with your overall site layout, you can start trying to improve individual pages. I always start by looking at my analytics—one option is to look for any posts that have a relatively high exit rate.

These are pages which are losing you traffic, so again, if you can reduce your exit rate, you will retain more traffic and increase the time that people spend on your site.

Your actual experiment can involve changes whatever you like. Simple things might be adding/removing/changing images. You could also play with headings and subheadings, and you can even try a complete re-write of the page or test long copy vs. short.


I hope this post has given you some inspiration to go and get started with your own simple experiments. You can do a lot to improve your blog by simply getting in the right mindset. Results vary and you can never be totally sure what will and won’t work, but when you can see the numbers in front of you, and a clear improvement, it is very encouraging.

Have you tried conversion optimization experiments? Share your experiences in the comments.

This post was written by Alex from ToMakeALiving a site dedicated to showing you how to earn money online. The site covers all kinds of money making strategies and gives you the complete guide from planning to monetizing.

3 Reasons I’m Proud to Be an Amateur Blogger

This guest post is by Dan Meyers of Your Life, Their Life.

You  push the Submit button to introduce your next great thought to the world.  Finally, this might be the one that pulls in some real traffic.  Up until this point, the majority of your visits have come from you and your parents.

Amateur golfer

Amateur golfer (image is author's own)

Your bubble bursts when you check your web traffic and realize this wasn’t the one.  If you could only get your Facebook friends to like your blog page, then you’d have some legit numbers!  However, you’ve asked time and time again and most of them don’t come through.  Your subscriber count remains the same.

Life as an amateur blogger isn’t fun, but it reminds me of my experience as an amateur golfer.  I say aloud that my sub-par abilities (pun intended) aren’t worthy of my anger. But that doesn’t prevent me from getting ticked off with every ball that bounces belligerently into the brush.  Check out the picture: I’m that bad!

I’ve only blogged on my current site for a few months.  Of course I shouldn’t expect great traffic or a large subscriber base.  However, that doesn’t numb the pain of a harsh reality!

Are you embarrassed to admit that you’re an amateur at something?  Admitting so can make you feel worthless.  Our culture teaches us it’s better to lie than admit you’re not good at something.

My name is Dan, and I’m an amateur blogger.

I started blogging in 2007, but it was one of those one month blogs.  You know the kind: you get all fired up, pay for a website or sign up for a blog account, write three blog posts, and quickly become discouraged when you don’t get any visits. That’s what mine was, but I appreciate my parents, brother, and friend Ryan for clicking on it!

I’m back at it again and now I’m not afraid to admit I’m an amateur blogger.  It’s easy to start a blog, but it’s not easy to make a blog successful.

I’m now convincing myself that life as an amateur blogger should be relished.  Here are the reasons why.

1.  Death to my best ideas!

Life as an amateur gives me room to grow, and the humility to accept that my first ideas probably won’t be my best .  It will allow me to kill some of my ideas without feeling like I’m killing part of myself.

This is relevant for more than blogging.   Charlie Munger said, “If Berkshire Hathaway had made a modest progress, a good deal of it is because Warren [Buffett] and I are very good at destroying our own best-loved ideas.  Any year that you don’t destroy one of your best-loved ideas is probably a wasted year.”

I’m an amateur. Of course I’m going to have some bad ideas!  Ben Graham made an investing observation that is analogous to real life when he said, “Good ideas cause more investment mischief than bad ideas.”  Are your good blogging ideas causing you more pain than your bad ideas?

2.  Standards? What standards?

Acknowledgement of my life as an amateur allows me to not hold myself to the high standards of a professional.  However, I am forced to know I must strive relentlessly to get to that point.

Professionals got to where they are because of many years of hard work.  As I mentioned in my previous guest post, Malcolm Gladwell puts that amount of practice at 10,000 hours in his book Outliers.  If you attempt to instantly match the professionals, you will become frustrated quickly, which might lead to an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy.

However, you must realize that it is possible to get to that point just as they did.  If you are unwilling to put a lot of time into it, you’ll probably join the death of my first blog.   As they say, wasn’t built in a day.

3.  I love something enough to do it even though I’m not a pro!

This is my favorite part of life as an amateur.  I’m passionate about helping others get out of debt and take control of their life.  I do it even though I’m not a professional; I don’t currently make money doing it and it’s a lot of hard work.

In his book, The Call, Os Guinness explains it as the following, “To our shame we moderns have taken the word amateur, opposed it to professionalism and excellence, and turned it into a matter of tepid motives and shoddy results.

“But amateur, as G.K. Chesterson never tired of saying, means “love.”  Man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.”

This doesn’t give you a free pass to do sub-par work and shouldn’t cap your ambition to strive towards excellence.  However, it should prevent you from not doing something just because you’re not a professional.  Your message is important because you can help others, and because it’s worth doing.   G.K. Chesterson also said, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly!”

I can guarantee you one thing:  if you doing something badly long enough, but you try to improve and are passionate about it, soon it won’t be bad anymore!

These are three reasons that I’m proud of my amateur title, but it doesn’t mean I want to continue with it any longer than I must!  I’m so passionate about my subject that I know I can become a professional; it just takes time.  If I continue to work hard and not get discouraged, then I can make it and help many people.

Are you willing to live life as an amateur in hopes of one day becoming a professional?  You have a voice, don’t be afraid to use it!

Dan Meyers started Your Life, Their Life to help you take control of your life.  Read how he paid off $50,000 of debt in two years and how his strategies can help you.

3 Tactics I Used to Develop a PageRank 5 Blog in 5 Months

This guest post is by John Saddington of TentBlogger.

We all know that having a blog can enhance your freelancing business and serve as an effective marketing tool for your products and services—that’s given. And although it’s easy to get a blog started (and to start a freelancing business) it’s much harder to make a dent in search engine rankings so you can win those viewers (and new customers and clients).

And sure, we all know that every blogger starts on day number one, but it seems that some bloggers have a lot more going for them than others, right? There are some bloggers (and freelancers) who seem to hit it out of the park, achieving some phenomenal traffic and financial return very early on.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to grow as fast and as effective as “those” bloggers until I tried it myself—and boy, did it work.

Within a few months, between Google’s PR update in January and the most recent on in June of this year, I was able to achieve a PageRank 5 (from a PR 0) blog that sees 20-35% organic traffic on any given month, and is just inches from clearing 100,000 pageviews per month. It’s not a boring blog, either, with an average of 45 comments per post!

You think I’d killed someone or bought a “sleeping giant” blog with mega keywords, but that’s not the case at all—in fact, I’ve been able to boil down the last few months’ successes into a number of systems and strategies that I’d love to share with you.

I honestly don’t think it’s too hard to achieve a highly trafficked, highly profitable, and attractive freelance blog for marketing. Sure, it’ll take some hard work and serious dedication, but with the right strategies in place, it can be done. Here’s what I did.

1. Have a serious content focus

TentBlogger wasn’t the first blog that I’ve created and it won’t certainly be my last, but it was the first blog that I took very seriously the element of focused content.

I took it to the extreme and used my categories to guide me. In fact, I realized that anything more than eight categories would seriously cramp my efforts to create a compelling array of content around specific and targeted keywords.

A number of my previous blogs had many more categories than this, and never achieved the amount of success that I’ve seen already. I’ll never dilute my efforts again.

Key takeaway: If you’re going to make a serious dent in the blogging universe (and the freelancing world) then you have to create compelling and unique content around a focused set of keywords, instead of expanding your blog into areas that you don’t have unique expertise or even sustainable passion.

Let your categories be your guide and if you’re finding it difficult to concentrate your efforts, you can believe that users (and search engines) are having the same challenge.

2. Become a linking master

One of the things that I’ve never done or really paid much attention to previously was becoming a link architect and a master of my own content architecture.

You see PageRank, one factor of about 200+ that Google considers when they rank and place you in search engine results pages (SERPs), requires that your blog becomes a paradise of links, both inside and outside.

The part that you can control is the internal content areas, and making sure that every blog post that you write has links to other resources and other pieces of content in your blog. Linking to historical resources that haven’t seen much “sun” is always a great strategy—I call this the art of curation.

The part that you can’t necessarily control is the number of links that are coming to your blog from the outside—that is, from other websites and blogs that have decided to link to your site. But what you can do is create content that is so in-demand, and so amazing, that the community at large can’t help but link back to you. Focused content is certainly something you can control.

Key takeaway: Every blog post that you create has the potential to be a link magnet, yet most bloggers simply don’t take the time to curate them and add the necessary link-love that they need.

And it’s okay if you didn’t start with that in mind! You can always go back and re-engineer and edit previous blog posts to add more links. You might as well update them with fresh content, too!

Your users and the search engines will love you for it.

3. Consolidate the Brand

Your blog’s brand (and freelancing business) is whatever you make of it and I never thought much of it until I seriously made a run as a full-time blogger. When I took stock of what I had created previously, I realized how random and unfocused my efforts had been in terms of creating a compelling and memorable brand!

What I had was a Facebook page, multiple Twitter accounts, and more than a few social networking accounts as well as media distribution properties like Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, and more.

What I needed was to consolidate so that a singular and powerful presence emerged, and it was tough! I had to create a lot of new accounts, letting go of years of historical content so that I could truly consolidate. I even changed my Twitter handle, which had over 10,000 followers!

Was it worth it? Absolutely. I’ve never had a more focused online blogging brand, and it’s really paid off. People recognize my handle and avatar on multiple different properties and it’s still a treat to see people who didn’t know I had an account on one website say, in effect, “Hey, I know you! You’re TentBlogger! I love your blog!”

Key takeaway: If you’re going to be serious about growing your blog’s presence and your freelance efforts online, then you have to also seriously consider your brand presence on secondary websites and corollary social networking properties.

It might be a difficult choice (or near-impossible for some of you) but if you’re going to make a run at becoming a professional blogger, or simply taking your blogging efforts to the next level, then I’d seriously suggest taking it into consideration.

Do you use these approaches on your blog? I’d be interested to hear what’s worked for you in the comments.

This is a guest post by John Saddington. He is a Professional Blogger who loves sharing his blogging tips, tricks, tools, and practical teaching covering SEOWordPress and making money through your blog!

The Humble Telephone is Making a Comeback … for Bloggers

This guest post is by David Edwards of

I’m not sure why, but when you start blogging, you forget all about how businesses run.

It’s true that there are bloggers out there who wake up to full PayPal accounts and affiliate cheques flying through their doors. But if you’re in the early days of blogging, this may not be the case for you. What could you use that’s sitting on your desk every day, and could help you make serious cash?

A telephone!

What I have done, which has set me up for a very profitable year, is built a sales funnel to increase the amount of revenue in my business.

I have guest posts and viral videos published, which get me some traffic. Then, I have an email subscription list that lets me build those relationships further—to the point where a phone call from me to a subscriber would not be intrusive at all. In fact potential clients, even if they didn’t buy from me, love to receive a call. Some have said it was great to talk to someone that has a good perspective on how to make money online.

This technique may not be for everyone—I know cold calling can be daunting. It really doesn’t feel like cold calling to you or your subscriber, though! Imagine Darren Rowse phoning to ask if he could help you at all with your blog. What would you say? “Not interested, Darren!”? Probably not!

Do it right, and you’ll enjoy a positive reaction for your call. You may think that because you only have a few subscribers, you’re not worth as much to your fans as a big player. But you have the advantage, because a big player doesn’t have time to call his subscribers.

Here are my tips for making successful sales calls:

  • Work on giving a free gift to subscribers that will whet their appetites for future products. I use a very short PDF on traffic generation.
  • Send out an email once a week or once a month to build your relationship with your subscribers.
  • Offer further free training videos or helpful blog posts and give them a chance to email you directly.
  • Once you have a few emails in, offer to call them.
  • Once you have made the calls and spoken to your subscribers, let them know about your more highly priced services.
  • Repeat the process.

The humble telephone is making a comeback, and I would love to hear that some of you still use it to build businesses from your blogs.

David Edwards is a freelance marketing consultant and the founder of
His character “Candy The Magic Dinosaur” will be starring in his very own iPhone Game this Christmas!

The 7 Cs of Business Communication: Make Your Posts Shareworthy Every Time

This guest post is by Marya of Writing Happiness.

When I finished my MBA degree about a decade ago, I undertook a course which taught me how to write great content for my blog.

Sceptical? I know what you are thinking: blogging wasn’t even around then! I know. Allow me to explain.

Doing MBA, I did many subjects like Marketing and Management which are great for anyone who is a webpreneur or looking to become one. That being said, Business Communication was, by far, the most enjoyable subject of the whole course. And I knew it would come in handy one day.

I just didn’t know that blogging would be the area that would benefit the most from it.

Time to dig through the dusty old boxes, locate the Business Communication textbook and revisit the well thumbed pages once again!

Blog writing is effective communication

We all agree that at the heart of great content lies effective communication. If you don’t, you are almost guaranteed to fail at whatever you are trying to accomplish with your posts.

To compose effective written or oral messages, there are certain principles that we need to apply. These also provide guidelines for your choice of content and style of presentation, be it a post or a video on your blog.

These are 7 Cs of communication:


Your post is only complete when it contains all the info that your reader requires in order to have a reaction you want them to have.

Remember when you are writing a post, only you are aware of what’s happening inside your head—the readers don’t. They don’t have access to all the voices in your head. For them to interpret the message as you intend, make sure you provide them with all the necessary information.

That could be a back-story to your post; it could be the questions you were contemplating while that thought popped into your head to do your post. Readers need to know what motivated you to write your post. Answer all the questions that are bound to come up and relate to your purpose.

Give your readers the whole picture, laying down the benefits, and talking about the results to convince them. Bring your reader to the page where you begin, or much context will be lost or misinterpreted.


Ahh… I am really partial to this one—it’s easily my favourite child of them all!

Conciseness is saying what you have to say in the fewest possible words—without sacrificing the other C qualities. Pay attention to the last bit as this is gold. It won’t help you to write briefly if you haven’t provided complete information, lack clarity, and are not courteous.

A concise message saves time for both you, the blogger, and for your readers. By being concise you are showing respect for your readers’ time. You lay emphasis on important ideas by eliminating unnecessary words, including only relevant information and avoiding needless repetition.

Wordiness has been the bane of writers for ever. So avoid long introductions to your post, omit unnecessary explanations, and don’t insult your readers.

Cut down pompous words, trite explanations, and gushy exclamations. Stick to the purpose of your post. When combined with the “you view,” which I’ll explain in a moment, concise posts are that much more interesting to your readers.


Write each post with your readers in mind. What do they need? How much of a difference will your post make in their lives? Be aware of their desires, problems, circumstances, emotions, and expectations.

Put yourself in their shoes. This is “you view.”

Most new bloggers are actually surprised to find that the most important word in their posts is you and not I. Yes, it might seem contradictory; I mean, you started blogging to air your thoughts, right? Well, that’s probably not entirely true. Don’t let your posts become an exercise in navel-gazing: write with the goal of helping your readers in some way, be it educational or entertainment.

Show them the benefit of reading your posts, and gently encourage them to take the desired action—sharing your post, commenting on it, or buying something from you.


Getting the meaning from your head into the head of your reader—accurately—is the purpose of clarity.

Choosing the right words to convey your message will work wonders for your writing.

Be conversational, and avoid being superior in your writing. Your writing doesn’t need to be pretentious to be taken seriously. It doesn’t matter how big your vocabulary is, you won’t achieve any results if nobody understands you. Use familiar language, and words that you are well versed in, and are appropriate for the situation.

Use short words if you have a choice between using long or short. Avoid using technical jargon and, when you have to, explain it once for people who might be beginners in this area.

Construct effective sentences and paragraphs by laying emphasis on the main idea. Generally, short length works best, and be sure to have unity and coherence in your sentence structure. Look into style elements if you feel you need some help in this regard.


Do you reply to your comments? Do you thank people for sharing your posts, tweeting them, and linking to them?

Your sincere “you attitude” makes you courteous—and it makes you likeable. Courtesy is politeness growing out of respect and concern for others.

Be thoughtful, appreciative, helpful, and truly respectful to your readers. Remember you are building a community here, so you want to promote values that define you as a person.


Be specific, definite, and vivid in your writing, rather than vague and general.

Use active verbs rather than passive, and choose image building words. Use analogies to make comparisons when appropriate, and avoid dull language. Show off your personality and your voice—that’s what makes readers hang on to every word.

And lastly, an extension of that is the final C.


This issue is the easiest to fix, and should never ever see the light of the day—there is simply no excuse for it.

Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Check the accuracy of facts, figures, and words. For oral presentations, substitute spelling with speech etiquette. Enough said—you are a bright reader, I can tell.

Do you follow these 7 Cs of communication when you write your blog posts? Tell us your approach in the comments.

Marya is a communicator of ideas, exploring the human face of blogging. She offers quirky insights into personal development for bloggers. Catch more of her posts at Writing Happiness.

Online Success Need Not Be Measured in Enemies

This guest post is by Margie Clayman of

One of my favorite Elvis Costello choruses goes like this:

“What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding?”

I have always liked that song, but I never really thought I would live in a time where that question would resonate. I always thought, “Well, that was written when peace and love seemed hokey, perhaps, or maybe impossible. It was more than a rhetorical question when Elvis first sang it.”

And yet, as I sit here in the year 2011, I have to ask the same question. What is so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding? It sure seems like all three concepts are running into a PR crisis in the online world.

“You’re nice. That’s so boring.”

I have gotten picked on a bit over my year in the world of social media. Why? Because I’m nice. I’m lovey dovey. People have told me that it’s really boring listening to someone like me because I never ruffle any feathers.

To put it kindly, I think that’s a totally ridiculous sentiment.

Sure, you get a powerful response if you call someone out, bash someone, hurl insults, or say that someone is really stupid. There’s no question that ruffling feathers tends to be great for attention-grabbing and traffic spikes. So what?

If you want to entice people to read your blog posts, what about the concept of writing really good content? Really thought-provoking content? What about writing about something people aren’t writing a lot about? Like, I don’t know … like being nice, maybe? Why does excitement in the online world, or interest, have to be synonymous with cruelty or malicious intent? I’d rather be boring and nice than enjoy a modicum of success at the expense of others.

“If you don’t have haters, you’re doing something wrong.”

This is another phrase I’ve seen a lot in the online world over my year navigating the wild Internet waters, and I also think it’s utter nonsense. Why are we measuring success by how many people hate us? There is no other realm that I can think of in the human world where we measure success that way.

“Congratulations, Daisy. Everyone in your department hates you so we’re going to promote you now!” That just doesn’t happen. So why do we need to pull out haters instead of a yardstick when we talk about measuring online success? What is this need to have people attack us all about?

How do I measure my online success? I look at how many people say they enjoy my posts. I look at the solid relationships I have built. It’s not exactly a revolutionary concept, folks.

“Women can’t be successful because they can’t be narcissistic morons.”

My friend Sean McGinnis ran into a post that made this claim: that women may not find as much success in the world because women just can’t be egotistical or selfish enough.

First of all, let me tell you about some of the women I’ve encountered in my life. If you want to know about knife stabbing, in-it-for-herself, ruthless, downright cruel women, I could spin ya a yarn, sonny jim. That’s not an issue.

Second of all, what?!? Are we really saying that success rests on how much you make people want to throw up when they see you? I mean, that doesn’t sound like success to me. That sounds kind of like, I don’t know … crazy-sauce?

The glorification of “Ick!”

Next to the glorification of failure, I find the glorification of crassness or cruelty to be the most nauseating thing I’ve encountered on the Web. You should not be applauded for breaking your Censor button. You should not gain accolades because every other post has an f-bomb in it. Surely there is more to online success than being someone who invites comparisons to male and female genitalia? I mean, really. Can we aim a little higher?

Then again, maybe I’m just a boring nice person.

You tell me what this is all about.

Margie Clayman represents the third generation at her family’s marketing firm. She is the resident librarian at the Blog Library and is the resident blogger at

What’s Your Blog Worth? How to Value Web Properties

This guest post is by Sunil of Extra Money Blog.

I have sold an ecommerce website for $250,000 and several other niche websites for a five-figure price tag. I want to share with you one valuation method you can use to put a price on your web property today.

Whether a website owner or a blogger starts with the initial goal of selling their site one day, it is my belief that every successful blog owner has at some point thought about the potential of selling their web property. At least they will have wondered how much their web property is worth—especially when it begins to generate a decent amount of money.

valuing blogs

Copyright Jakub Krechowicz -

In fact, I think almost no one thinks about a sale as an exit strategy when they first start. It’s usually a passion, hobby, or something other than a potential sale that motivates a person to get started making money online—unless of course they run an online business, such as an ecommerce website, from day one.

When a website becomes profitable, it has the potential to become saleable. You may deliberately be contemplating selling either because of boredom, because you’ve found a better alternative use of your time, because of a potential use of the financial proceeds, or any of several other reasons.

If so, do you know what your website is worth?

When a web property starts to generate profits, it becomes an income-producing asset, much like a rental property or a small business. Just like property and businesses are valued and sold in the open market, a website or blog can be too. Therefore, valuing a web property is not much different from valuing any other income-producing asset.

The quantitative aspect of web property valuation

The quantitative aspect of valuation is not rocket science, in my opinion.  You take a site’s current earnings and expenses, figure out what the net cash flows are, and then project a value based on an earnings multiplier.

The net earnings, or cash flows, is commonly referred to as EBITDA in the business world. That means: earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.  The multiplier is applied to this number to come up with a value, or price, for the property.

Earnings and expenses are what they are: they are not subjective by any means. But where do you get an earnings multiplier from? Evaluate recent sales of websites that are similar to yours to get an idea of what kind of multiplier was paid for each one. This number will be larger in stronger economic times, and smaller in weaker economic times like those we’re in today.

There is no standard multiplier, however. Similar to real estate, if figures are available from recent blog sales, great. But if not, your website’s value is only as much as someone else is willing to bid for it. Obviously you have the option not to sell for what you might feel is a low-ball offer.

One more thing to consider is whether the website is as monetized as it can be today. Is there opportunity to add more private ads to the sidebar, and generate more profits on a residual basis, for example?  A buyer would definitely evaluate this monetization potential and factor it into their purchase decision.

The qualitative aspect of web property valuation

Here is where the subjectivity in blog valuation comes into play.  An active business sold at an earnings multiplier of two may not be comparable with a same-size passive business, because a passive business requires a lot less effort to manage and sustain. Consider how much cost and effort the owner of the web property will have to invest in the passive business to generate a dollar in profits. Then ask how this compares with an active business.

Factors such as effort, operating cost structure, sustainability, long-term relevancy, and prospects all play an important part in determining what the reasonable value of a particular web property should be. At the end of the day, none of this is exact science, but these are some ways to arrive at a justifiable or rational price.

For example, no one knew the long-term scalability of Google or LinkedIn. In fact, no one knows today.  The market had a certain estimate (multiplier) set at the time each company went public, and has a different one today. It will likely have another one by the time you are done reading and commenting on this post. Expect the multiplier to evolve, especially in an ever-changing and dynamic industry like this one.

A practical example

When I was initially solicited by an Ebay power seller to potentially sell my ecommerce business, the business was generating roughly $60,000 annually in profits. After weeks of discussion back and forth, we settled at a sale price of just under $250,000, or roughly four times the annual earnings of $60,000.

The quantitative piece of the deal was straightforward. The qualitative piece is what dragged out the negotiation.  The power seller had previously purchased a similar ecommerce business at an earnings multiple of three.  They had paid $90,000 for a business that was generating $30,000 in annual profits.  However, I was not willing to accept a price of $180,000, which was three times the annual earnings of my site.  Further, my business showed a consistent rising trend in terms of web traffic, customer acquisition, sales, and profits.  These qualitative measures needed to be “baked” in to the deal for it to be viable for me.  I was able to persuade the buyer of that, and we sealed the deal at four times the annual earnings.

The key lesson here is that although acquisitions based strictly on earnings multiples sound good in theory, they rarely work out practically, whether at my level or at the Fortune 500 level.  Our repeated attempts to narrow the nature of deal making to a pure science have never worked, and likely won’t in future.  Valuations, although driven mostly by the underlying financials, rely heavily on qualitative aspects that are subjective and unique to each buyer and seller.

What do you think of this valuation method? Do you have any alternatives to share? Is this a fair way to value your web property? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

If you want to be brave and bold and open your kimono to me and fellow readers: what do you believe your web property worth is today in the open market, if you use this valuation method?

Sunil owns over a dozen profitable niche websites and is the author of How to Go from $0 to $1,000 a month in Passive and Residual Income in Under 180 Days All in Your Spare Time, a FREE report you can download instantly from his Extra Money Blog, where he discusses how to create multiple streams of passive and residual income, entrepreneurship, internet marketing, blogging and personal finance.

How Guest Posting is Like a Personal Loan

This guest post is by Frank Angelone of

Have you ever lent a friend money? If so, was this someone you thought you could trust? If you answered in the affirmative, as they say in The Social Network, than you will want to keep reading.

The thought may already have crossed your mind, “how does lending money to a friend relate to blogging?” Well, I’m glad you asked because when it comes to guest blogging, the blog owner is lending you their blog just like when you lent money to your friend.

Let’s start off with a story and we’ll bring this all together later on.

The perils of lending property

Let’s dive right into this personal story of mine and I’ll show you the best practices to take when using my experience in your guest blogging ventures.

A friend of mine, who I once considered my “best friend” had been in multiple financial jams when it came to paying rent, bills, or (let’s be blunt!) anything with a due date.

So, like any friend would, I decided to lend him the money to help pay his half of the rent and any other bills.

Little did I know that this pattern would continue down a path of destruction. What started out as me helping out a “brother” turned into me supporting him.

There are two things to point out: I shouldn’t have been so oblivious that he was taking advantage of me, and I’m not the only culprit on his list of lenders.

My friend swindled me out of about $1,000. It became so bad that it was starting to affect my financial situation and the best thing that happened to me was finding a way out of that terrible situation by returning home.

When a friend takes advantage of multiple people who lend their resources, they’re obviously not a friend, but someone who gets by through manipulation. The bottom line, as the saying goes, is “If you want to lose a friend, lend them money.” It’s safe to say I don’t talk to this individual anymore.

Guest posting? You’re borrowing a blog

I mentioned in my story above that I loaned money. Well, when it comes to guest blogging, you need to be aware that the blog owner is lending their blog to you. Their resources, whether that be their audience, their reach in the blogosphere, or even their own reputation, are made available to you when you share your voice on their property.

The resources the blog owner gives to you are like a personal loan. You need to pay the blog owner back for giving you the opportunity to share your insight with his or her audience. Obviously you’re not paying back a monetary value, but you should still be looking to give back in some way.

I know most people are going to feel that you “pay back” the owner of the blog by writing a high-quality article for their audience. That’s not enough. It’s too generic a way to give back. Writing a great article should be understood as a basic part of the exchange, not an added bonus.

The last thing you want to do is disappoint the owner of a blog after they decide to publish your article on their site. This can ruin the relationship and ruin your personal reputation, just like my friend did by taking advantage of many of his so-called friends. Also, if you don’t return the favor of the individual who lends your their blog, that news can spread like wild fire among the popular bloggers—especially if you have an article published on an A-List site.

I want to pay back the blog owner. What should I do?

First and foremost, I always email the blog owner directly after seeing my guest post go live and thank them for the opportunity. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by the strength of the the emotional connection you will hit with the blog owner in doing this.

They are expecting that you are using the guest post as a marketing strategy to bring traffic back to your blog. That’s understood because that’s what everyone is doing when it comes to guest blogging. However, you can take it a step beyond the publicity that you are being given, and work on continuing to build the relationship with that blog owner.

A personal email would be like the old-school version of mailing a letter. People like the written word, not a “thank you for the opportunity” message on Twitter. That’s not showing the effort, nor are you “paying” the owner back.

The personal email means more. Just think how you feel when someone emails you and thanks you for commenting on their blog. It sends a powerful message.

You can also ask the blog owner in the email if there’s anything you can do for them! Maybe they have a new product or post coming out and they need help promoting it. They may even have a service that they’d like you to test out. Anything of this nature that shows you are trying to make an effort to “repay your lender” is great, but do it in a genuine way—not just because you feel you have to.

Gain opportunities and build the relationship

There aren’t enough people who give back, in my opinion. My friend never gave back the money he owed me, nor did he really ever do anything to show our friendship meant something. The blog owner is looking for this same feeling of being your friend.

Everyone always wants more friends, and to develop new relationships. When you give back to them after they lend you their resources, then it can strengthen the friendship or business relationship.

You run an almost 100% guarantee of ruining the relationship if you screw over the blogger by not responding to comments left on your guest post or refraining from continuing to keep in touch with that blog owner. By doing so, they will know you were “using” them for one thing … one-time self promotion.

My friend used me and I was gullible enough to allow myself to be taken advantage of. Hopefully these insights along with the integration of my personal story paints a clear picture of how to give back to those who help you out.

What have you done after having a guest post of yours go live to “repay” the blog owner? What were the outcomes of those actions? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Frank Angelone provides social media strategies and tech tips through personal stories on His goal is to help and give back to people from his own experiences. He would love to exchange personal interactions with you, so please subscribe to his newsletter and receive his free blueprint to improve the speed of your computer.