7 Steps to Setting Blogging Goals that Stick

This guest post is by Tim Brownson of A Daring Adventure.

I suspect that all the technical information you could ever need to be a successful blogger is out there in the public domain. If that is the case, why do the vast majority of blogs fail when it comes to providing the owner an income they can live comfortably on?

Dreaming goals

Copyright Mark Aplet -

Firstly, I think many bloggers grossly underestimate the psychological side of blogging and what is needed to get their heads right in the first place.

Secondly, few bloggers that I speak to start off with any real plan or goal to keep them on track if and when things don’t go according to expectations. They simply dive into the process with no real idea of where it will take them.

Today I want to show you a seven-step process for goal setting that will exponentially improve your chances of succeeding with your blog.

You may well be familiar with the SMART method of goal setting because it’s been around for decades. Bear with me though as I expand on that process and make it way cooler and more useful for you—and far more likely to help you succeed.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with SMART, let me give it a quick run through.


Is your goal specific enough that somebody else could read it and know exactly what you mean? A goal of having a popular blog misses this aspect because it’s too vague and subjective.

I have a popular blog, but if I gave my readers to Darren and took his in return he’d be pretty unhappy with the deal—he has about 40 times more than I do.

“Owning a blog with at least 5,000 subscribers that earns $500 per month from AdSense” is the kind of goal that nails this element.


Using the last example, you can see at any point in time where you are in your plan. If you have 2,500 subscribers, you are half-way there. If you are earning $400 per month, then you’re 80% of the way toward that goal. Having a measurable goal is important to keep your motivation going and for you to know whether things are working or not.


Any goal, if it’s to be a real goal, requires input in some form from you. In other words, you have to act and actually do something to make it happen. Lying in bed hoping people are buying your ebook that you haven’t promoted properly isn’t a goal—it’s wish or a dream, and it’s almost certain to fail miserably.


I’m not big on this aspect of the SMART method, because unless something is physically or scientifically impossible, then to me it’s still realistic.

If Darren had told people eight years ago that he intended starting a blog called ProBlogger and by 2011 he’d have 150,000 subscribers and be one of the top 2,000 websites in the world according to Alexa, people would have been lining up to tell him he was being unrealistic.

He wasn’t, so don’t worry too much about being realistic. Understand there is a huge difference between something being very difficult and being impossible. Landing on the moon was very difficult; landing on the sun is impossible (unless you go at night!).


This is probably the most under-appreciated element of SMART goals. Without a timeframe, goals have a habit of slipping.

Most people are busy and, as such, are responding and reacting to events. Therefore, without an end game in sight there will always be more pressing issues for you to attend to.

There is a great reason why people work more efficiently up to deadlines. It’s because the brain kicks off a mini fight-or-flight response, which allows them to focus more efficiently.

Okay, so that’s the traditional model and it’s all well and good, but I want to help you make your goals even more effective by turning SMART into SMARTER.


When you’re setting goals you have to be aware of the effect they will have on you and those close to you. So you want to be a problogger and intend spending as many hours as necessary to achieve that?

How will that affect relationships with your loved ones? How will it impact your social life and your health? How will you pay the bills as you build up your following?

The answers aren’t reasons not to try, or to quit before you start. But they are things that need to be taken into consideration now, so they don’t trip you up further down the road.


This is the really big one as far as I’m concerned, and it’s the thing that so many people miss out on or just don’t get.

What is your reward for having a successful blog?

I’m not talking about money here: I’m at a deeper level than that. We are talking about values and what is fundamentally important to you at the level of your identity.

What really drives you? If you think that’s money, what does that money give you? Maybe it’s freedom, peace, security, significance, or maybe you want to leave a legacy.

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you know. This is what’s going to motivate you if and when things get tough.

If you can’t come up with a reason that will get you out of bed at 5.00am enthusiastic about the day ahead, then there’s a high probability you will burn out sooner rather than later.

As an example, I am a Life Coach because I love helping people. I don’t earn as much money as I did when I worked in sales, but I’m way happier and, more importantly, I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. Do you?

Tim Brownson is a Professional Life Coach, NLP Master Practitioner and published author. He runs the A Daring Adventure blog where he writes about self development. If you would like a free copy of his book How Do I Set Goals That Work? Click the link.

Why the Road to Blog Success is Bumpy (and What to Do About It)

This guest post is by Jane of Find All Answers.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why does it always happen to me?”

I am sure you have. It always happens. Whenever you have a shiny goal for your business project, or whenever you want to start a new business, you face them—challenges.

They are everywhere just waiting to welcome you. You don’t like them and you wonder why it always happens that you need to take the hard, bumpy road to success.

But wait. It’s not just you. Whoever travels the path to success for the first time faces this. The road is never smooth and it is never as expected.

Why is the road bumpy?

There are so many reasons. But the fact that it is bumpy doesn’t mean that it is bad. And it is also true that you will learn a lot of lessons by traveling down a bumpy road.

Let me discuss some of the causes of a bumpy road.

You are at it for the first time

Usually when it is your first time, it is rough. If you are in a project for a first time, if you are trying a new business idea, taking a new blogging initiative, and so on, you cannot expect a smooth road.

Your expertise, your ability to handle the outcomes, your capability to anticipate and develop alternate plans under pressure—all these factors depend on how well you know the ground. If you are in business for more than two years, you already know what to expect. You already have a Plan B for Issue X.

But if you’re starting a totally new business, say blogging for instance, you neither know Issue X nor Plan B. And there can be so many Xs in the whole process! All these make the road bumpy. You end up running like a headless chicken if you are not prepared for it.

But the road may not be bumpy just because you’re taking it for the first time. There may be another important reason…

You don’t have a plan

You can avoid a bumpy road—or at least anticipate it so that you sustain the least damage—if you have an action plan.

Whatever kind of business you’re in, you absolutely need an action plan. There are so many reasons to devising one, and one is to help you avoid at least some of the potholes in the bumpy road. Having a proper goal and an action plan will save you lot of hardship. This way, you work smarter, not harder.

You don’t learn from your mistakes

Let me make one thing clear. Here, I am not talking about those who start a business or a project without a proper goal or an action plan, then wander through all storms and deserts to get somewhere they never wished for.

Such persons invite the challenges for themselves. They don’t have a goal, so they don’t have a plan either. When they don’t know what exactly they want to achieve, they have not defined their own success.

But there are people who are really prepared for what’s ahead—who know what to achieve and how to achieve. However, since they are starting out in a new business, some unexpected events may occur. When they happen, they tell the individual that they have to learn a lesson.

So let’s say you take Plan A and execute it. With it comes Issue 1, which you never managed to anticipate. So you struggle somehow to manage the chaos, get Issue 1 solved, and get on with Plan A.

Now the next time you execute Plan A for a different purpose in your business, you now need to anticipate Issue 1 and incorporate it into your plan. Not just that, but you also have a solution to Issue 1. The second time, you’ll have learned from your previous execution of Plan A.

If you have failed to learn your lesson (you may be forgetful, negligent, or lazy), then you’ll have to face all the chaos the next time too!

What to do about bumpy roads

Anticipate them

This is a brilliant way to face an issue: expect the worst. You don’t have to be pessimistic or surround yourself and your business with negative thoughts. But always remember that you may have to face something bad, something serious, or something that could drive you totally mad.

If you have a plan, you could easily anticipate that problem.

Be flexible

This is another great thing to do. Face the hurdles, but don’t be hard on yourself. If things didn’t turn out as you planned, you don’t have to panic. Just stay calm and go with the flow.

Adjust yourself and your business to unexpected hard times. You will adapt to the trouble soon. Just don’t develop a comfortable attitude to hard times. If you do so, you will never travel smoothly.

Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors

Of course they don’t! If everything’s perfect from start to end, you won’t get smarter and sharper. You won’t learn skills or attitudes, and you won’t learn about your competition and your capabilities.

You have to have some hard roads in the beginning. These will make you learn skills that are needed to overcome issues. You may learn that you have a tough competitor in you business only after you face an issue.

You might learn what you are capable of only after you have attempted to do something beyond your limits, and failed.

You might learn that you need to develop a particular skill only once you realize that you are unable to develop a major part of your business.

The school of life

My Ph. D. supervisor Aneta Stefanovska used to tell me that life is a school. We learn lessons everyday. We learn all different sorts of lessons, and we always learn. This applies to our business, too.

A bumpy road teaches us a lot. Such a road is not always bad. Sometimes failures in your business are essential in helping you to get smarter and sharper, and preparing you for a tough ride the next time.

When you happen to come across a bumpy road, evaluate. Stay calm, evaluate the causes and see what you can learn from it. Find out ways in which you can take your blog to success along a road that gradually becomes smoother.

Jane writes about Blogging Tips, Relationships and Self Improvement at her blog Find All Answers. She wants to tell you that you absolutely need a blogging action plan.

Your Blog Is Not Seen by Over 2 Million Federal Workers!

This guest post is by Rick of

Filtering software may be blocking your blog from being accessed on government computers.

When I first put my blog online, I discovered that my friends on the local military base were prevented from viewing it by the government’s filtering service, Blue Coat.

As none of my posts contained any questionable content, I was interested to find out why my blog was blocked. More importantly, as there are literally millions of federal workers worldwide, I wanted to ensure blog was seen by this audience.

US flags

Copyright Paul Maguire -

While this information pertains specifically to the Blue Coat filtering service, it no doubt applies to other filtering agencies. Blue Coat just seems to be one of the more popular services used by the Department of Defence (DoD) and other government agencies.

Also note the information provided isn’t a way to circumvent the filtering service. The method used is perfectly legal, and I worked through Blue Coat to get it resolved.

The problem

When my friends on the military base attempted to access my blog, a very official-looking page popped up with the heading, “ACCESS DENIED.” Further down the page explained that my site was blocked as its “Webfilter Category” was classified as “Blogs/Personal Pages.”

The page also included specific information about contacting the Blue Coat Webpage Review Site if there were any problems. That link is:

Clicking the link took me to a simple form that allowed me to enter my URL to see how my blog was categorized. I entered my site name, and clicked Check Rating. Sure enough, my site was classified as Blogs/Personal Pages, and was thus blocked by the DoD computers.

The fix

In addition to seeing your site’s category, the review page also provides a form that you can use to easily request a review of your site. This is how you go about getting it reclassified.

There were several dozen categories to choose from via a drop-down menu, and I was initially unsure of which to choose. However, Blue Coat allows you to enter the name of any site to review, so I looked at a couple of blogs that I patterned mine after, to see how they were classified.

Several of these were classified as Reference, so I decided to use this category. I also checked with my friends on the military base that the sites using this classification could be accessed. They verified this, so I was good to go.

I selected “Reference” from the drop-down menu, and didn’t bother with the optional second category. In the comments, I wrote: has the stated mission of “Providing practical wisdom to improve your life and work, home, and play.” The site provides articles on health and fitness, public speaking, life hacks, and productivity. The site is currently listed as Blogs/Personal Pages, but should be classified as Reference. Thank you for your review.

I then clicked the box asking the results be sent to me via email, selected Blue Coat ProxySG as the filtering service, clicked the Submit for Review button, and crossed my fingers.

The actual review process only took a few hours, and I received an email stating my site was now reclassified as Reference. However, it took around 24-48 hours for the government servers to catch up to this change. After that, my blog was made available to several million federal workers. Now only if it would be viewed by several million federal workers, I could probably blog full-time…

A few issues

Of course, your site could also fall under one of the many other classifications regularly blocked by filtering software. For example, if your site is categorized as Political or Entertainment, it will most likely continue to be blocked, so you’re probably out of luck.

Additionally, a note you’ll see all over the Blue Coat site is the filtering service doesn’t decide which sites are filtered. It’s up to the agency or company to make this determination. For example, if the federal government wanted to allow sites classified as Blogs/Personal Pages, there wouldn’t have been an issue.

If you’re new to blogging, there’s a good chance your site is classified as a blog by these filtering services. Hopefully, this quick and legal fix will open your site to a great new source of traffic.

Rick is the owner/author of ‘More Better Smarts,’ supplying practical wisdom to help improve your life at work, home, and play. Visit Rick at

Stand Up to Live Before You Sit Down to Blog

This guest post is by Peter G. James Sinclair of

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”—Henry David Thoreau

I often reflect on the lifetime of experiences that I’ve tasted since landing on planet Earth to find myself in the arms of my mother.

Those experiences have in fact been the fuel that has ignited the written word that flows from my pen to the page, and from there, through the agency of my Motivational Memo blog into the hearts of men and women from 155 nations to date.

For unless I have lived it, there is no way that I have any authority to write it.

My response, whenever facing a particular challenge in my life has always been, “Well, at least it’s given me another story that I can write about.”

To be an expert, not an ex-spurt

When I write I never want to be the guy who is an “ex”’ or a “has-been” who is going to usher forth a “spurt.” Not an endearing picture is it?

If I’m going to write anything, or in fact do anything in my life, I want to position and prepare myself to become a guru, a leader, or an expert in that chosen field.

How does this come about?

I first sit at the feet of the experts who have gone before me and become their student. I become whom I associate with.

At first I may be as raw as the next guy, but in time, through continued study and practice I will find my voice and then begin to be recognized as an authority in my own right.

And if I have anything to “spurt” I trust that it brings life and refreshment to those who choose to partake of what I’ve learned.

To live, to write

We all have a story to tell and the blog medium is a wonderful place to express this. So go live first, and then return, even the same day if you wish, and recount what you have learned.

  • Speak about it and put it in audio format.
  • Communicate it through the use of video.
  • Share the written word with me, for we then become richer from the lessons you teach, the principles applied, and the experiences gained.

Write of your experiences, not of the experiences of others. Sure, use their experiences or their wisdom as your stepping stone, but then spring forth fearlessly with your own fresh voice and interpretation.

I don’t want to just hear the musty voices from ages past—as good as they are. I want to hear your spin. I want to ponder on your yarn. For herein lies the new insight and the sparkling discovery that adds value to our lives as we partake of this wondrous feast.

Long live your wonderful “communicated” life

So allow me to shout loud and clear, “Long live your wonderful life!”

May your life be recorded in a flourish of words—deposited into your unique blog—that in years to come will provide the springboard for yet another virgin writer to grasp hold of and spring forth on their own adventure of intellectual and spiritual discovery.

Share with us one recent experience that you have had, and are just bursting to share with the world through your blog.

Peter G. James Sinclair is in the “heart to heart” resuscitation business and inspires, motivates and equips others to be all that they’ve been created to become. Receive your free copy of his latest eBook Personal Success Blueprint at and add him on Twitter @PeterGJSinclair today!

52 Types of Blog Posts that Are Proven to Work

This guest post is by Karol K of Online Business Design blog.

Blogging is not only about putting together 400-2,000 words of text and publishing them on your WordPress site. As a blogger, you can choose from a much bigger variety of possible blog post types (and content in general).

Let me be honest and admit that I’ve wanted to compile this sort of list for a long time. Coming up with new ideas for posts every couple of days might lead you to a hard stop on a brick wall very quickly… I believe writer’s block is the more politically correct name for such a situation.

One of the most effective ways of fighting writer’s block is having a big resource file, containing lots of ideas and frameworks for new posts. Besides, writing standard, old-school blog posts can get boring very quickly. That’s why every blogger needs some variety in terms of content if they want to be doing this for a longer period of time.

This list is divided into a couple of sections depending on the purpose and characteristics of each content type. Feel free to treat it as a resource file ≠ñ you don’t have to go through the whole list at once.

Article style posts (aka standard blog posts)

1. How-to/tutorial posts

This is one of the most popular post types and one that arguably brings the most value to the reader. The most important thing to focus on while writing it, is to give some specific information on how to do/perform/attain/reach whatever is promised in the title of the post. Videos and images work very well as additional resources for how-to posts.

2. News posts

Typically used by bigger blogs, leaders in a given field that have their finger on the pulse at all times. They are usually short (less than 500 words) and share an important piece of news in a given market. There are a couple of downsides if you want to make them an important part of your publishing schedule: you have to be fast (there’s nothing worse than yesterday’s news), news has a short expiration date (it’s hard to turn a news post into a piece of evergreen content), and finally, you have to be publishing them at least once a day.

3. Definition posts

A.k.a. Wikipedia-style post. What you basically do is choose a term that has a significant importance in your field and define it using simple language, so the term is easy to understand for someone who’s new to the topic.

4. Standard list posts

List post is one of the most popular post types in use today (you’re reading one right now). The basic idea is that you take a topic or a problem and you try to come up with a number of separate solutions to it. List posts are so popular because they are extremely easy to follow. Each point is usually not related to the other ones, which means that even a distracted mind can get a lot of value from the whole post. List posts are also great for bookmarking or sharing with friends—precisely because of their reader-friendly construction.

5. Resource/link list posts

Very similar to standard list posts. The difference is that now you’re not coming up with the content on your own, but searching for valuable information elsewhere and, in the end, sharing links to what you have found. This type of list post is very popular lately and many successful bloggers are using it as one of the most important elements of their publishing schedule. This kind of posts tend to get a lot of backlinks due to the fact that people who have been featured often like to let their readers know about that fact, so they go ahead and mention it on their blogs.

6. Profile posts

A profile is a post focusing on a specific person, usually someone famous or important in a given field. Profiles usually cover things like: why the person in question became famous, what’s so special about them, what they have accomplished, and what’s their history and background. There are no specific rules of creating a good profile post. You have to choose your target, find as much interesting information about them as you can, and combine it into an article.

7. Case studies

Case studies present a way of solving a problem based on a real-life example. They are usually constructed in a step-by-step manner presenting each step in a detailed way, and explaining why this specific solution has been chosen. Case studies usually end with a roundup of everything that has been done and present the final results.

8. Problems-and-solutions posts

This is similar post type to case studies, only here, the solution doesn’t have to be one that has already been applied. It can be a description of a theoretical solution to a problem, or an idea worth considering for other people struggling with the same problem. For example, let’s look at amateur bodybuilding as a topic. One of the most common problems in that field is gaining lean (fat-free) body mass. A bodybuilder-blogger might create a post targeting this specific problem by giving a number of possible solutions, like introducing a special diet, different workout regime, different hours of sleep, and so on.

9. Comparison posts

Every field has some specific characteristics or problems that can be solved by many different means. Comparison posts take two or more possible solutions and compare them to one another. Various aspects of these solutions need to be taken into account if the whole post is to be valuable. It’s also good to point out a winner at the end. Some of the things you can compare against each other are: software, books, courses, companies, etc.—even people.

10. Stories

There’s nothing like a good story. Stories are ones of the most reader-friendly types of blog posts. We ñ humans ñ are used to hearing stories ever since we were children. The power of stories lies in their ability of disguising certain messages while describing seemingly unrelated situations. You can create a story about someone who wanted to do something but failed because they didn’t know the most important elements of X, where “X” is the thing you want to share with your readers… Just an example.

11. Controversial posts

The truth is people like to read controversial articles even if they don’t agree with the author. That being said, not every author has enough balls to write such a thing. Interestingly enough, creating a controversial post is not that difficult. The easiest way of doing it is to pick a topic, write down your thoughts about that topic, and then sharpen them up to the point of absurd. You can use some sarcasm while doing so. Here’s an example. Instead of saying “some Internet marketing tips published online have very few possible applications in real life,” say “every Internet marketer knows nothing about real-life business”—strong, to the point, and easy to disagree with.

12. Inspiring posts

Usually an inspiring story about someone (hopefully, an underdog) achieving something. The main message here is “if he can do it, so can I.” The only problem is that it’s not that easy to find something interesting enough to be turned into an inspiring post.

13. Research posts

A step-by-step guide on how you are (or someone else is) researching a specific topic. For example, you can share how you’re doing your keyword research, or how you’re searching for a virtual assistant to hire, or how you’re doing market research to come up with a list of potential partners and competitors.

14. “What others are saying” posts

This is a combination of a research post and a link list post. The main idea is to find a topic and find other people sharing their opinion on that topic. Sometimes it’s better to not pretend that you are the most knowledgeable person in a given field, but share the opinions of other experts instead. It’s the thing Napoleon Hill was famous for.

15. “What if” posts

A hypothetical post about something—”What would happen if X?” kind of thing. To start, choose an interesting topic, find an element that’s certain to exist in that field, and try to write a post about what might have happened if that element never existed. For example: “What if WordPress was never invented?”

16. Parody posts

A satirical view on a given topic. The easiest way of coming up with such a thing is to choose another publication about something, note down some of the ideas presented in it, and extend them to the point of absurd. For example, many building-a-successful-blog gurus tell you about the importance of commenting on other blogs. In response, you could write a post on “why you need to comment on 1,374 different blogs a day if you want to be successful.”

Unconventional blog posts

17. FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) posts

I’m sure you know very well what this is about. The only problem with coming up with these kind of posts is the “frequently” part. If you want to create a FAQ style post you need to have an audience to get the questions from. Creating a fake FAQ containing only some imaginary “frequently” asked questions is the biggest sin of them all.

18. SAQ (Should Ask Questions) posts

A similar type to the previous one, but this time you, as the expert, provide a list of questions and answers your audience should be asking you. The trick here is that frequently asked questions are not always the ones that are the most important (that’s because people don’t know what they don’t know), so in a SAQ post you can present your expertise and deliver much value to your readers.

19. Reviews

There are tens of blogs that focus solely on reviews of various products and services, mostly in the tech/gadget niche. I’m not telling you to start posting only reviews from now on, but submitting one every now and then surely can’t hurt you. In addition, you can include your affiliate links and make some money along the way.

20. Interviews

I’m sure there’s a lot of potential people you can interview: experts, celebrities, ordinary people who have managed to do something significant, people sharing their success stories, companies, other bloggers. Just look around your niche and I’m sure you’ll find someone interesting.

The interview itself can be done in a couple of different ways. You can meet with someone in person (the traditional way). You can mail them your questions and they will mail you back the answers. You can call them via Skype or phone. You can do a twitter interview (tweeting back and forth questions and answers). Basically, there are no limits. Sometimes being creative pays a lot, so try to come up with your own ways of doing interviews.

21. Ebooks

Whenever you have a big library of resources, your own posts, notes, etc. you can combine them and turn into an ebook, and then announce its launch in a standard blog post. One of the best examples of using your existing blog posts to create an ebook is the work of Darren Rowse in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Once you have your ebook ready, the best way of delivering it is, of course, as a PDF download. In fact, creating ebooks can be fun—something I found out for myself when putting together my own ebook.

22. Special reports

It’s like an ebook, only smaller, usually focusing on just one aspect of a given field, and in most cases delivered free of charge. Other than that, you can approach it the same as creating a standard ebook, and once you have it ready, announce this fact in a blog post.

23. Cheat sheets

As Wikipedia defines it, “a cheat sheet is a concise set of notes used for quick reference,” and that’s exactly what it is. I’m sure that you can find many rules, tricks, methods of doing/using something that relates to your field or niche. You just have to put it all together in a neat PDF file and share it with your readers. Just to give you some examples of nice cheat sheets: Cheat Sheets & Quick Reference Cards for Developers.

24. Checklists

A checklist is a set of specific steps that need to be taken in order to complete a task. Next to the headline of each step there should be an empty box where the person using the checklist can put a tick once the step has been completed. This forces you to use the PDF format once again. Once you have the checklist ready, write a post describing what it’s for and how to use it.

25. Infographics

Infographics are very popular in today’s Internet. They are cool to look at, present information in an easy-to-digest manner, provide a lot of value, and have a high share-with-a-friend factor. The only downside is that they are very time consuming to create. And in most cases you have to delegate this work to someone (or work together with someone) if you want the final result to be exceptional. Nevertheless, they are worth to consider if you have the time and the resources. Here are some examples of great infographics: Infographics for Web Designers: Information You Ought to Know, 12 Amazing SEO Infographics.

26. Projects

In my opinion this is one of the biggest things you can do for your blog once you have a moderate readership. By “moderate” I don’t necessarily mean the numbers, but people’s engagement with your posts.

The basic idea is this. You announce a project that you will be participating in (or are an author of) and invite your readers to take part in it, and share their results. A great example is what Pat and Tyrone have done with the Niche Site Duel project.

27. Open questions to your readers

This is usually a very short post. Just a single question to your readers about whatever topic. But, of course, it has to be something related to your niche, and it has to be something that actually interests you, something you want to know … maybe as part of research for your upcoming post. Publishing this kind of post can help you tighten the relationship with your readers and encourage some of the quiet ones to speak up. The only downside is that you have to have a moderate readership in order to make this work.

28. Starting a debate

Similar to publishing an open question, only this time you are saying what’s your opinion at the beginning of the post, and let your readers pick a side, so they can share their own arguments in favor or against. One more time … you have to have an audience for this to work. Once you consider the debate finished you can shut down the comments and write a follow-up post pointing out some of the most important parts of the debate.

29. Presenting an existing debate

Let me just give you an example. A while ago, Corbett Barr published a post presenting a debate between Pat Flynn and Everett Bogue on whether or not you should allow comments on your blog. The debate has been prepared earlier by interviewing both sides giving them the same questions, and then letting them take a look at each other’s answers so they could react to them. This is a great idea and I have to implement it myself in the near future. I encourage you to do the same.

30. Surveys and polls

Yet another way of connecting with your audience. This time again you are the one asking questions. A simple poll consists of one question with a number of possible answers. For example: “Which member of the A-team do you like the most? 1. Hannibal, 2. Face, 3. Murdock, 4. B.A.” There’s a number of different WordPress plugins that can provide you with a possibility of creating a poll.

A survey is usually something a bit bigger. For instance, a questionnaire containing a number of poll-styled questions as well as essay questions, and simple fill-in-the-blanks. You can search the WordPress plugin directory to find an appropriate plugin for this too. Surveys surely provide much valuable information about your audience, which makes them worth considering once you have an engaged readership.

31. Crash courses/gathering posts

This is a kind of post consisting of links to other post within the same topic, and maybe some additional comment or content. For instance, this guitar blog sharing information on how to learn guitar chords. Each chord gets its own post, and at the end of the series there’s one big gathering post featuring the links to all the other posts and some additional tips and resources. In the end, the whole post looks like a kind of crash course on learning guitar chords.

32. Twitter posts

In order to create such a post what you need is a topic, preferably a trending/popular one, and some time. Just go to twitter search and find some interesting tweets about the topic. You may search by keywords or by hashtags. Once you have a set of 20+ tweets you can combine them into one “what people are saying” post. This may sound like an easy way out, but in reality these posts can be very informative and, in many cases, very funny.

33. Income/traffic/expense reports (monthly)

Very popular lately. Some of the best examples can be seen at Think Traffic and Smart Passive Income. What you do is simply take a look at your Google Analytics account as well as your bank account and report any changes comparing to the previous month. Of course, you have to be comfortable with sharing this kind of information. The other problem is that telling people that your traffic is at 346 per month and you income at $12 per month might not be the best social proof possible.

34. Contests

Contests are a great way of connecting with your audience or even getting an audience in the first place. The most important element of a contest is the prize. It has to be something worth competing for, which mean it involves spending some money or finding a sponsor. The theme of the contest can be anything. For example: “whoever sings the highest note wins an iPod”—you get the point. Entries can be submitted via email or, preferably, via a comment below the post. It’s up to you.

35. Draws

Something similar to a contest. The only difference is that the winner is not chosen by someone, but gets drawn randomly. Other than that, same rules apply.

36. Races

Another idea that’s similar to a contest. The main idea of a race is to give your audience a specific task to do, and the first person to complete it wins. It might be something like: “first person to publish 20 comments this month on my blog wins an iPod.” The main benefit of such a thing is that apart from the winner submitting 20 comments you may get the runner up submitting 18, two people submitting 17, and so on. So in the end, running a race might bring you many more comments than 20. Just an example. The rules of running a contest apply here too.

37. Quizzes

How is it any different from a poll or a survey? Well, a quiz is not a tool for you to find out something about your audience, but a tool for your audience to find out something about themselves, usually in a funny and entertaining way. A great example is a quiz that can be found at, titled How long could you survive chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor?. It turned out to be a big link bait for theoatmeal and resulted in #1 ranking in Google for the phrase “bunk bed”, whether it was intended or not. Plus, at the end of the quiz you receive a cool badge which you can include on your blog or share on Facebook. I’m sure you too can came up with something quiz-worthy in your niche.

38. Software, tools, scripts, plugins, themes, services

You can use a blog post to announce your new software, tool, plugin, service, etc. Share some information about the thing—what it can do, who it is for, how and when to get it, and so on. This might be a good way of notifying your readers of what’s going on in your business, what you’re up to, and what’s in it for them. You can get some ideas for new services or products by doing a brainstorm and researching what your audience might be interested in. Of course, to make it happen you have to know your audience first.

39. Comics

Every day more bloggers start to publish comics as a constant element of their publishing schedule. Take a look at Web Designer Depot. If you are, or can get, someone who can create the actual comics, it might be a good way for you to expand your audience and give them something that’s very easy to digest. It can be a nice link bait as well. Two examples of comics-only blogs: xkcd and Wulffmorgenthaler.

40. Jokes

No further explanation needed. Obviously, it’s not a good fit for every niche, but who knows? Maybe it’s perfect for yours.

41. Icons and other graphical freebies

This is something that works well in the design niche, which is not very surprising. Designers are always on the hunt for some fresh, preferably free, icons/buttons or other graphical tools. Try to adjust this strategy to your niche. For example, if you have a photography blog you might share some free stock photos on Creative Commons license. If you’re in the business development niche you could get some Microsoft Word templates designed for you and then share them with your audience. It’s not just about icons.

42. Presentations

If you’ve ever given a presentation on whatever topic I’m sure you still have the slides somewhere on your computer. You can upload them to Slide Share and then embed them in your blog post. Inside the post you can describe what the presentation is about, mention when and where you gave it, and encourage your readers to re-embed it on their own blogs.

Audio blog posts

43. Mp3 files (as a podcast)

First things first: what is a podcast? Quoting Wikipedia: “a podcast is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication.” Translating it into plain English, a podcast can be a series of mp3s launched in a sequence. Probably the best idea is to register your podcast in iTunes and get some recognition there.

When it comes to the content itself, a podcast can contain whatever you want. You can give tutorials on various topics, tell jokes, even read poetry. Feel free to browse the iTunes directory to get some ideas.

44. Interviews

These are similar to text interviews, only this time you conduct them over the phone or Skype and record everything along the way. Then you share them as an mp3 on your blog or turn them into a podcast if you’re planning to release more than one interview.

Again, some people you can interview include: experts, celebrities, ordinary people who have managed to do something significant, people sharing their success stories, companies, and other bloggers in your niche.

45. Talks

Something similar to an interview, but this time you’re getting a number of people (three or four) on the line or Skype, and give them a topic to talk about. Of course, you record everything so you can share it with your audience later on. This kind of talk is more focused on a specific topic rather than on the people participating in the talk. This is a good idea if you have the possibility to convince a couple of influential people in your niche to take part in it.

46. Teleseminars

In order to pull this one off you need an engaged audience, or good marketing. The main idea is that first you announce you’ll be conducting a teleseminar on topic X and give people a link where they can sign up for it. Then when the time comes you give the seminar to a live audience. Of course, you can also record it and share as an mp3 later on.

The most popular way of running a teleseminar is to focus on a how-to topic. It should be something you can explain to your audience—something that’s really important to them, yet it’s not so easy to master alone.

Video blog posts

47. Talking head video

All video post types on this list have one thing in common: once you have the video made you can embed it in a normal blog post, or share it with your audience as a video podcast.

Now, the talking head video. It’s the simplest video to make. What you basically do is sit in front of a camera and talk about something. One of the most famous examples is Gary Vaynerchuk and the posts on his personal blog. Of course, the topic needs to be interesting if you want to have any kind of impact, and you have to be comfortable with the camera—something many people find challenging at first.

48. Screencast

Screencasting is another name for recording what’s happening on your screen. It can be done with software called Jing, for example. It’s a very easy-to-digest way of giving a tutorial on some technical things, like setting up WordPress or doing something in Photoshop. Sometimes it’s much easier to do a screencast than explain such things via text content. Usually the same amount of information can be delivered in a five-minute screencast as in 3,000 words of text. And the problem of you being uncomfortable with being in front of a camera doesn’t apply here, so it’s actually easier to make.

49. Presentation video

This is basically a kind of screencast. But it’s made by first creating a PowerPoint presentation (of course, you can use other software too), then firing it up and recording everything while you talk the viewers through the presentation. It’s very easy to make and the results can be great due to some of the PowerPoint’s fancy features.

50. Interviews

Nothing new here, except this time you’re not writing or recording audio, but shooting a video instead. Video interviews always look more professional because they have that TV-like feel to them.

51. How-to video

Shooting a how-to video is a good idea if you’re in a niche where it’s easier to actually show something than it is to describe it with words. The guitar niche is a great example. It’s much easier to show people how to play a specific chord than it is to describe this to them. The main problem here is that you have to be comfortable with being in front of a camera. If you’re nervous, people will notice.

52. Webinars

Similar to teleseminars, webinars use video as the main medium. Other than that, the same rules apply.


The final advice I want to give you in this post is to recycle your content. Now, what do I mean by that? Whenever it’s possible and makes actual sense, try to take a piece of your content and repurpose it by turning it into a different medium.

For example, you can get your videos and mp3s transcribed and then share them as a regular blog post. You can also go the other way around: create an article first, then turn it into a script, and in the end shoot a video and upload it to your YouTube channel. Another idea is to take your email newsletter series, read every edition out loud and share the whole thing as an audio podcast on iTunes. I’m sure you get the idea by now. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

What’s on your list? Do you have any interesting blog post type ideas you want to share? What’s your favorite type? Speak up in the comments: your input is more than welcome!

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a 20-something year old web 2.0 entrepreneur from Poland and a grad student at the Silesian University of Technology. He hates to do traditional business but loves to train capoeira. Tune in to get his advice on blogging and starting an online business.

Make Business Blogging Fun: Write About Holidays, Anniversaries, and Other Milestones

This guest post is by Lindsey McCaffrey of Absolutely Write.

Business bloggers: do you consider every day Labour Day?

Take a breather: finding things to blog about doesn’t have to be hard work.

In light of the upcoming Labour Day weekend, I’m going to share a little tip I like to tell clients who blog: consider holidays, anniversaries and other observances.

By relating your blog post to an occasion, you can come up with some creative, timely and fun pieces.

Blog about holidays

Here’s one example of giving your writing a holiday spin: leading up to last year’s Christmas season, I compiled my PR pet peeves into an article, Dear Santa—a PR expert’s Christmas wish list.

Tip: Don’t just think about the holidays you celebrate: consider those of other cultures and countries. You just may find an interesting rite or ritual to write about.

Blog about milestone anniversaries and events

Mark a milestone anniversary or event such as:

  • a birthday, birthday year, or death day/year of someone famous, infamous, or otherwise (it doesn’t have to be someone your readers would know, provided there is relevance to the article)
  • the anniversary (day or annual) of a particular historical event
  • the year of the release of a book, album, movie or otherwise—something that perhaps you have learned a lot from, or that resonates strongly with you.

Tip: For more impact, it’s best to mark a “milestone year” (think 5, 10, 15, 20…you get the picture) rather than something like the 53rd anniversary of X, Y or Z.

Blog about weird and wacky observances

There are also less-serious, not-at-all officially recognized days, months, and milestones observed worldwide. For example, in the United States:

Tip: Before writing about a particular observance, you may wish to qualify it. Ensure it’s something that at least a few people actually acknowledge, and not something that Joe down the street conjured over beer with the guys.

Find an occasion to write about!

Here are just a few websites to use as resources:

What are some fun holidays, anniversaries and observances you have written or read about?

Lindsey McCaffrey is a writer, editor, blogger and communications consultant based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Visit her Absolutely Write blog at

The Fail-Proof System to Score National Magazine Publicity for Your Blog

This guest post is by Melissa Cassera of

You write a blog post. You post it. You tweet, Facebook, Digg, Stumble, and perform every other type of online promotion to supersize your presence.

What are you missing?

Promoting “offline” using a major influencer like a national magazine can bring a blizzard of traffic to your blog. Not only is it great for exposure to have your name inked on the glossy pages of a national magazine, it lends the credibility and endorsement of a national magazine claiming you have the best blog on the block.

Read on to learn how you can get national magazines to sing your praises from the rooftop.

Why should I use national magazines to promote my blog?


Image used with permission

Magazines have millions of readers. Literally millions.

National magazines are also nationally-recognized brands. They’ve cultivated a reputation of excellence and wield a substantial amount of power for those that are fortunate enough to grace their pages.

Bloggers have leveraged national magazine publicity into six and seven-figure book deals, scored high-paying speaking engagements, attracted fancy corporate sponsors, and commanded top-dollar for coaching and consulting services.

Magazine publicity is like winning an Emmy, Tony, Grammy, or Academy Award. It provides instant credibility and high profile status.

How do national magazines feature blogs?

Some magazines highlight bloggers individually. Other magazines will interview bloggers as expert sources for their story. (Example: Melissa Cassera from said that national magazine publicity brings droves of new readers to your blog).

For example: Glamour Magazine’s August 2011 issue featured seven fashion bloggers in their article “Dress Like a Do Every Day.” INC Magazine’s July/August 2011 issue also featured several bloggers throughout the issue as expert sources.

How do I contact national magazines and ask them to feature my blog?

  • Understand lead times. Magazines work anywhere from three to six months ahead of the issue. That means you should be pitching for the December issue in August. So, get crackin’!
  • Find the right contact. Check the masthead toward the front of the magazine to note the appropriate section editor (beauty, fashion, technology, food, etc.). Always work from the bottom up (contact the associate or assistant editor rather than the executive or senior editor).
  • You can also peek at the bylines for individual articles. Magazines hire freelance writers to produce content, and these folks are always interested in good sources and stories. Google their names and get in touch.
  • Put as much effort into your pitch as you do writing your blog posts. Read the magazine and highlight the sections that would feature your blog and/or use you as an expert source.  Know the magazine’s tone and readership inside and out. (Quick tip: search online for the magazine’s media kit which includes demographic and other readership info as well as an editorial calendar highlighting specific topics they will cover in future issues).
  • Build a relationship. Your goal is to get ongoing publicity for your blog in these offline channels. Your first contact with an editor should be a warm introduction to you and your blog and a newsworthy angle that would pique their interest to write about you. (Example: I’m a career blogger and would love to discuss the latest trend of unemployed people being told not to apply for jobs. My take on this is….).
  • Offer to cover the magazine on your blog. Ask the editor if they would participate in an interview for your blog. This is a great way to build a budding relationship and to offer them a bit of promotion. (Example: A fashion blogger might interview a Vogue editor on the three hottest trends for Fall).

What do I do when I get national magazine coverage?

Promote away! First things first—you want to blog about your national magazine coverage.  Don’t automatically assume that all your readers will see it. Let them know how super fabulous you are to be featured in [insert favorite magazine name].

Add a “fame cluster” to your homepage. If you have no idea what that is, check out my homepage and look at the little cluster of media logos. You can also start a Press page that lists all of your media shout-outs.

Last, welcome your new readers. If you know your feature in Entrepreneur Magazine comes out in November (which means it will likely hit newsstands in mid-October), add a little line to your homepage near your RSS feed or opt-in offer that says, “Welcome Entrepreneur Magazine Readers! Sign Up Here to Stay in Touch.”

Take action: post the #1 magazine you want to feature your blog in the comments below. Then use the above advice to make it happen.

Melissa Cassera is a publicity expert that helps bloggers and other small business owners score millions of dollars in free advertising using the power of publicity. You can download her free eBook on How to Pitch the Media Like a Pro here:

9 New Productivity Tools to Simplify Your Online Life

This guest post is by Leo Widrich of Buffer.

After Google+ entered the social networking scene not so long ago, the number of online distractions hasn’t really decreased.

At the same time, innovations and smarter solutions to handle your actions online have fortunately continued to thrive too. Instead of the usual to-do lists, news readers, or sharing tools, they tackle things in new and more helpful ways.

What’s most important for me, is that they slot right into my workflow, and allow me to become more efficient without changing my behavior. A few apps recently managed to do so brilliantly.

Here are my favorite new tools to help you stay focused and use the Web more innovatively.

1. SimpleNote

Do you ever have that feeling of random thoughts and ideas floating around in your head, but there is no optimal solution to jot them down? With SimpleNote, I found a fantastic way to finally write down things in a very intuitive manner. The Chrome extension lets me write things down fast and easily. On top of this, it stores it very intelligently in folders, simply by adding tags.

Workflow tip: The app integrates with a lot of already existing apps to make note-taking inside them even easier.



Try it out here: SimpleNote

2. Let’s Crate

If you think the likes of Dropbox or Box are making filesharing easy already, you might be surprised as what Let’s Crate can do. Without any signup or signin process, you can start adding your files right on the landing page. The service automatically generates a link that you can share, embed in blogpost, or send via email. It truly simplifies my online life.

Workflow tip: If you do decide to get an account with the app, you can easily turn it into your online storage system, add folders, and use it as a backup.

Let's Crate

Let's Crate

Try it out here: Let’s Crate

3. Coolendar

This is one of the smartest inventions I’ve seen recently. The app is actually a to-do list that automatically turns into a calendar based on the entries you make. It uses super-simple syntax to understand the time and creates a calendar as you type a new to-do item. So, say for example, you write “Tomorrow, 5pm, blogpost due for Mrs. White” and the app automatically detects it and creates an entry in your calendar as well as a to-do item.

Workflow tip: The best part here is that you can set up a bot inside Google Talk, which will remind you right inside Gmail whenever a task is due.



Try it out here: Coolendar

4. Mockflow

As a full time blogger, my skills in design and programming are very limited. Yet, being able to express myself clearly is more vital than ever. A better blog layout is a crucial component of blogging success these days. With Mockflow, you can create powerful wireframes that facilitate working with designers and programmers a great deal. There exist a wide range of tools and templates to make them look pretty, and are easy to implement.

Workflow tip: What I like best is that the app also works offline, so if you are wireframing on the go, you never have to worry about connectivity.



Try it out here: Mockflow


As a blogger, my main focus is to produce the best content I can write each day. Of course, keeping up with the great posts my favorite blogs write is vital here. Yet knowing what the really good bits are is sometimes tricky. Help comes from The app orders all the Tweets from your stream on the basis of most mentioned and retweeted. So at one glance, you will see the hot and most-discussed news items in your timeline.

Workflow tip: If you really don’t want to open another site each day, simply subscribe to your own top news and the app will deliver updates straight to your inbox.

Try it out here:

6. Do it Tomorrow

This is a piece of innovation I would never have thought could be useful. Yet Do It Tomorrow slots perfectly into my workflow. I am usually the kind of person that puts way to many to-do’s on the list for one day. With this neat Android app, I create a simple to-do list of the things I need to get done and never worry about putting too much on my plate.

Workflow tip: By simply tapping on the little arrow, a to-do gets pushed onto the next day. You’ll never lose to-do’s you didn’t get to.

Do It Tomorrow

Do It Tomorrow

Try it out here: Do it Tomorrow

7. Oh Life

You will most likely know that the benefits of writing are plentiful. One of the most important factors for me is to order my thoughts. Oh Life takes a very new approach to making it easy for you to write down your thoughts about life. Every evening, the app will send you an email asking “How did your day go?” By hitting Reply, your entries will be safely stored as an online journal.

Workflow tip: Going through my personal Oh Life stories every once in a while helps me a great deal to focus and recap what I am working on.



Try it out here: Oh Life

8. Rapportive

I found that one of the most important things when speaking to someone via email is to really understand what the person is all about. Rapportive is a Chrome extension that slots right into Gmail and gives you a new tab of information all related to the person you are speaking to. This includes recent tweets, information from Facebook, LinkedIn data, and much more. You can build a rapport with them immediately and fully understand what they are all about.

Workflow tip: Very recently, the app has added a functionality to allow you to reply to tweets right from inside Gmail. This facilitates interaction a lot, I’ve found.



Try it out here: Rapportive

9. Skinnyo

This is my extra tool for you, as, different from all the others, it focuses on your physical shape. For a healthy online workflow, the Latin saying of “Mens sana, in corpore sano” (healthy mind, healthy body) is something I follow very closely. The app allows you to enter into online challenges with others, keep track of your weight, and have fun staying in shape with others. You can create teams, challenge each other, or use it strictly for personal use to keep track of your exercise.

Workflow tip: I particularly like the Social Network behavior of Skinnyo. It makes it easy to see how others are doing and keeps me motivated.



Try it out here: Skinnyo

These are my favorite tools to make the most of my day online. How about you? Do you think some of them could be useful for you too? Are there others you can add?

Leo Widrich is a blogger and Co-Founder of Buffer, a tool to share Tweets and Facebook Updates at optimal times to get 200% more clicks and engagement. He writes more Social Media Tips here. Reach out to him @leowid anytime.

Monetizing Your Blog with a Clean Design, Tribal Headhunter Warriors, and Fine Art Nudes

This guest post is by Glen Allison of

This is a case study outlining my three-step website development and the graphic design aspects of my blog monetization.

As a visual artist, when I finally decided to start monetizing my blog, one of my primary concerns was to maintain the clean graphic design of my website without the clutter of “in-your-face” advertisements screaming at the viewers, whom I didn’t want to overwhelm with my monetizing endeavors.

Naga warrior

A Naga warrior

I’m a travel photographer and during the past couple of years I launched three related blogs: one for travel stories, another for fine art photos and one for lighting tutorials to describe my portable lighting setups for shooting unusual tribal characters in exotic, remote locales. Why three blogs? My goal was to build website traffic as fast as possible in an effort to increase my Google search rankings. My website has an embedded ecommerce feature using a Photoshelter platform to market my travel stock photos. High site traffic is crucial to these sales since I’m competing with the world’s largest stock photo agencies, several of which I’m also a contributor.

My three-step website development strategy for blogging, augmenting traffic, and monetizing is as follows.

Step one: redesign

My primary blog audience is other photographers, who are not going to be my main stock photo and fine art customers but these photographers will serve as a base to build readership that will augment my website page rank.

Initially I created three blogs but since they functioned as entities separate from my main website, the traffic they generated wasn’t aggregating toward the SEO of the main site I ultimately wanted to promote for stock photo licensing. My first step was to completely redesign my website by moving away from a Photoshelter readymade template into a design that incorporated the Photoshelter eCommerce and the three blogs into the site architecture in the background of my one primary website. By applying a few SEO strategies, my page rank rose from zero to one during the first year.

Step two: targeted social media

After wetting my feet and honing my skills with these three blogs my target shifted toward augmenting site traffic by using social media, primarily Twitter, where I created three separate but related accounts. Then I started following the followers of a few well-known photo pundits of portable location lighting since I decided to use my Stroborati lighting blog as the primary traffic driver to my website.

Photographers seeking lighting tutorials would be my targeted audience and I chose to follow the followers of top lighting photographers in the industry, who had more than fifty thousand Twitter followers themselves. At first I tried to do this manually and believe me it was the world’s worst nightmare. What a boring, time-eating task.

A couple of months ago I discovered TweetAdder and soon automated much of my Twitter activity. What a godsend this software has been. I programmed it to follow eight or nine hundred followers daily for each of my targeted groups, one for each of my three Tweeter accounts so I wouldn’t be following the same people with each account. Now I’m getting three or four hundred reciprocal followers daily. I’m not using an overly aggressive campaign so building up my own huge following will take several months.

I’m also a novelist and, yes, I blog well-written quality content with dramatic photos from my travels to keep the viewers coming back for more.

I set up TweetAdder to automatically send a thank you message to each person who followed me back and in this message I suggest they might be interested in seeing my Stroborati blog where I feature location lighting setups for fierce Naga headhunter tribal warriors and fine art nudes. I also include links to those blog pages. Naturally this message attracts curiosity. Just about everyone who follows me winds up hitting my site. Remember I’m following a highly targeted audience that is keen about lighting details. My unique, eye-catching photo subjects peak viewer interest since most lighting tutorials on the Internet cover rather mundane subjects by comparison .

I might add that if any new follower sends me a direct message with questions, praise or comments, then I immediately correspond with them one-on-one in an effort to create personal interaction. As a result, my time spent on social media endeavors has skyrocketed. I must also manually fill out the captcha info for all the TrueTwit validations.

In only two or three months, however, my page rank jumped from one to three. So the social media campaign was really paying off.

Step three: monetization

In retrospect I should have installed my site monetization prior to my blitz social media campaign, but better late than never. So I spent the last month signing up for affiliate relationships with Amazon and a couple of top online photo equipment dealers and several companies selling Photoshop third party plugins, products that would interest my targeted audience.

I also developed several of my own Photoshop action sets that I sell from the site as well. Before I knew it, I had a slew of monetizing links and immediately realized I had to minimize the clutter. As an image artist it’s extremely important to me that viewers have a stimulating visual experience when they visit my site.

I decided to include AdSense and have placed three discreet, 125x125px, ad blocks on each blog page: one at the top left corner of each blog post and one in the bottom left corner plus one in my sidebar. I chose a color theme for the ads that matched the design of my website and I only use text ads with small black text and with no blinking photos, which I find extremely distracting.

AdSense automatically selects ads in context with topics in the blog post and the selections are often amusing. For my fine art nude lighting tutorials from Bangkok, the AdSense bots frequently make surprising choices like, “Date Sexy Thai Women” or “Thai Girl Massage.” Oh, well, at least I’m getting lots of clicks for hot chicks.

For my Amazon links I initially used their default, somewhat garish colors for text and prices, which adds clutter. So I decided to mute this visual assault by toning down the text colors and deleting the price info altogether.

In the text of my lighting blogs I mention the photo gear I used for that particular setup. In the past I created links for this gear back to the manufactures’ sites so my viewers could learn more if they desired. Now I’ve changed all those links to have my affiliate code embedded. Also at the end of each blog post I added small, clickable photos of this gear (with no text but viewers can hover the images for info) and each is now linked to Amazon for my affiliate sales. Here’s a sample blog page.

Many of my viewers are interested in the awesome array of photo and lighting gear I travel with and the specific software I use to create my dramatic images. So I set up a “Gear Links” page and a “Software Links” page both with clickable sample photos of the items, each embedded with my Amazon affiliate code. And while I was at it, I created a “Glen’s Favorite Photo Books” page. You will see that eliminating the prices streamlines the page design with minimal eye flicker, especially with so many items to peruse. The links for these three product pages are listed near the top of my blog sidebar to make it easy for viewers to find them.

When I include fine art photos in my blog posts, the images are linked to RedBubble where viewers can purchase prints, calendars, greeting cards and posters. Another monetizing feature that’s not in your face.

And finally, in my blog sidebar I’ve included the small but intriguing cover photos of about a dozen great photo books by famous photographers. There are no prices showing and no text, just a cleanly designed column of exciting book covers to draw attention as the reader scrolls through my blog post. If they want more info about a specific book, they can hover over its cover photo.

Am I potentially reducing my click rate with these toned down design choices? Probably, but design is more important to me while still incorporating passive income opportunities. In the first month I sold fifteen books through Amazon with a conversion rate of approximately one in eighty clicks. My website is currently getting about 12,000 hits per month.

Augmented site traffic will surely increase my newfound passive income endeavors that don’t scream out at the viewer. I certainly don’t want to run people off with my overnight, blitz monetization campaign.

Glen Allison has embarked on his second marathon 10-year, nonstop vagabond odyssey across the globe to photograph extraordinary destinations. His images have been published more than 60,000 times in most of the world’s leading travel publications. Visit his website, and follow his escapades on Twitter.