White-Hat SEO + Social Media = Link Bait Magic

This guest post is by Ben Jackson of

You’re a blogger.

You want traffic.

You know between nothing and a lot about SEO?


Most people are intimidated by SEO and just as many have no clue what it’s all about. This is exactly why corporations waste thousands upon thousands of dollars every year on useless SEO practices that produce lackluster results—they don’t understand what is happening! Well here is my proposition:

Whether you already understand SEO or know nothing about it, I am going to present a strategy to you right now that will have you getting lots of links and traffic to your site, and here’s the kicker…

You won’t even realize you’re building links! You can follow this process, concerning yourself only with creating great content and establishing a great reputation in your niche, and the links and rankings will follow.

Enough talk. Let’s get to it!

One of the only SEO tactics that is actually considered to be white-hat is link bait. Link Bait is a piece of content or feature on a site that is especially appealing and worthy of attention. Visitors like what you’ve shared so much that they link back to you, thus “link bait”. You do the work upfront creating something awesome and then sit back as the links pour in for you. This is also referred to as natural link building and is 100% white-hat.

Step 1. Create your link bait

We are just getting into the entire promotional/SEO campaign we’re going to be developing and this is by far the most important part. You need to have something really great to share and you need to use the magic word—it needs to be FREE (always capitalize FREE). I’m sure we all know already that people love posts with lists: Top 10 Article Directories, Best 5 Tips for Weight Loss, and so on.

You want to create really usable and exciting content for your niche. Compile a few lists together into one comprehensive directory, create a list with an angle that hasn’t been done, share a secret actionable tip you have been waiting to share—something that your viewers will want to come back to and share with others. You can get creative and provide value however you want (I did it with a free software program you can see here: FREE OnlyWire Account Creator).

Bonus tip: If you really want to kick it up a notch, think of something people never give away for free, and give it away for free. Software or an ebook without an opt-in can work well, and you can also put affiliate links and links back to your site in your product.

Step 2. Make sure it’s shareable

The Internet and how we share online has changed a lot over the last few years. We don’t get so many forwarded emails with jokes in them anymore (that is so 90’s). These days, social media has become the analogy for word of mouth on the Web, and we want to let the people talk!

While we are creating “link” bait and we want to get links from webpages, we cannot ignore the fact that most people will opt for a tweet instead. Many people don’t have a real online presence or won’t write a relevant blog post in order to share your link, so they’ll just tweet it or like it on facebook instead.

This is why it’s very important that we place sharing buttons prominently on our page with our link bait and also refer people to them. Every tweet will expose your link bait page to more people who may also retweet or link to your page. Basically, you have an opportunity to greatly expand your popularity and potentially go viral off this process.

SEO reminder: getting a lot of links to this one page on your site will give it a lot more authority and this link juice will spread through your internal links and help other pages on you blog rank higher as well.

Step 3. Create the spark

Part I: Getting ready

At this point you’ve got your awesome link bait setup on your site, catered towards your niche, and ready to explode. The sad truth is that if you build it, they will not come: you still have to promote this page to get the ball rolling. If you have a big Twitter following or an email list, you can contact these people about it to get things started.

A lot of us don’t have those assets built up yet, but thankfully there is a lot you can do to ignite the fire on your link bait. We are going to accomplish three different things all at the same time:

  1. Build dofollow backlinks to your site.
  2. Build links to your link bait.
  3. Establish/build a positive and professional reputation in your niche.

This is all done through blog comments. Here’s how:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter a very broad keyword for your niche like “seo” or “cars”.
  3. Choose to search for “KeywordLuv” blogs.
  4. Click Search.
Drop my link

Drop my link

This will help you find tons of blogs in your niche that use KeywordLuv on their comments. In case you’re not familiar, KeywordLuv blogs are “dofollow” which means they pass link juice, they allow you to use your keyword to link back to your site, and a lot of the time they link back to your most recent post too. Your goal is to first amass a list of popular KeywordLuv blogs in your niche.

Part II: Here comes the magic

It’s time to reveal how this all comes together now. You’re going to visit each of these blogs one-by-one and leave a comment on their most recent blog post. You want to comment on the most recent blog post because it will have the most activity which means the most potential for people to click through your links and find your link bait.

Also, these pages are linked right off the homepage so they should have some PR (No you can’t see the PR because “Toolbar PR” isn’t updated often, but the page does have PR). When you comment, you can leave a link with anchor text to any page of your site you want to rank. I know you don’t have all page #1 rankings, so choose a keyword you have been working on and leave an anchor text link to the corresponding page (there’s the link building part).

When you leave a comment you will also automatically get a link to your most recent post. The idea is that you make your link bait your most recent post. This way, you get an anchor text link to a page you want to rank and you get a link promoting your link bait. These “most recent post” links stand-out and get clicked on more often as well.

Most recent post

Most recent post

When blog commenting, take the time to read the post (you might learn something from it) or at least skim it so you can leave a comment that adds value to the page. If you leave stupid comments like, “Wow, great share thanks!!” you will fail in two ways:

  1. Your comment won’t get approved.
  2. You won’t look authoritative and won’t build a solid reputation in your niche.

Make a meaningful comment because this will cause discussion around your comment and it will make people want to click through your link. To recap, you will visit a popular blog in your niche with KeywordLuv enabled and leave a comment on their most recent blog post. You are not spamming, you are adding value to their page and sharing your links.

This way, you can establish yourself as an authority in you niche, build “dofollow” anchor text links to your website, and promote your link bait so that it catches on and gets links to your website on autopilot.

Bonus tip: When someone in your niche comments on your site, follow their link back to their site and comment on it too and even tweet a post of theirs. This goes a long way for building strong relationships and networking with relevant web masters.

SEO is becoming less and less about traditional link building, and spamming becomes a dumber idea every day. If you focus on sharing quality content, creating a great user experience, and integrating social media, you are bound to grow your traffic and increase your rankings. You can repeat the above strategy over and over again for repeat results. Instead of worrying about the newest link building schemes or paying for an expensive new SEO program, you can focus entirely on creating great content and building your reputation—every blogger’s dream.

Master the SEO basics for FREE with Ben Jackson’s SEO Course (No opt-in) and be sure to follow Ben on Twitter and “like” the FB page too!

11 Blog Proofreading Tips You Can’t Afford to Ignore

This guest post is by Luke Palder of ProofreadingServices.Us.

It should come as no surprise that writing for a blog is different from writing for other types of media. Blogs are free to read and there are tons of them, so people tend to decide very quickly if they’d like to move on to the next one. Only great content will cause a new visitor to read beyond the first paragraph of one of your posts, but there are many ways to scare a new reader away. Publishing content with glaring errors is one of them.

Git my pointe? (Don’t run away just yet. Instead, find out how easy blog proofreading can be.)

The aim of blog proofreading is to build credibility with new readers as quickly as possible so that they stick around, share your content and maybe even throw you a link or two. Below are 11 actionable proofreading tips for bloggers that are going to help you polish your posts quickly and effectively.

1. Walk away

Bloggers usually write a post and then immediately publish it. Don’t. Wait instead. When you’ve stared for too long at the same draft, any proofreading you undertake will be ineffective. Step away from your keyboard for half an hour or an entire day (gasp!) if you can and then check your work. This way, you’ll spot more errors.

2. Ask a friend for help

No matter how sharp you are at spotting errors, your eyes naturally skip over errors in your own work. Enlisting a friend’s help to read a draft post and point out your mistakes can help you correct them.

3. Use a spell-checker

You might be a flawless speller, but everyone includes a typo here and there, especially when hurriedly typing, which is the modus operandi of many of my blogging brethren. Always run your blog posts through a spell-checker or use a browser that detects spelling errors. This is one of the quickest proofreading tips you can implement, and there’s no reason not to use a tool that’s so widely available.

4. Use a grammar-checker

Like spell-checkers, grammar-checkers are immeasurably useful, but only if you actually use them (for many word processing programs, this means you’ll actually have to click “start”). A grammar-checker will scan your post for issues such as parallel structure errors, comma splices and run-on sentences, all of which are easy to miss when rushing to publish. Grammar-checkers aren’t perfect, but they’ll point out sentences that may need more work.

5. Read your post backward

Scan your blog post in reverse to spot spelling errors that your spell-checker didn’t catch. Going backward lets you concentrate on individual words, so you can focus your attention on finding elusive spelling errors without getting distracted by other writing issues.

6. Proofread multiple times

Reading your post through to catch major errors is a good first step, but once is not enough. It’s best to go through your draft several times and to look for a specific type of error each time. For example, you might look for run-on sentences in one scan, and check for proper spelling after that.

7. Ensure you’ve been inclusive

If you write for geneticists, then using terms like “genotype” and “phenotype” without defining them is okay; however, if you’re writing a post for the general public, cut down on jargon and find inclusive ways to communicate. Write out abbreviations and acronyms unless they’re common like “IRS” or “CBS.” While you don’t have to strip your writing of personality, use specialized terminology sparingly. Your blog about anime and manga might describe a new character as “kawaii,” but avoid writing half of your blog in romaji Japanese so your less experienced readers can follow along easily.

8. Print it out

What your eyes miss on the screen, they’ll see on a printed page. Print your draft out and read it on paper to find elusive errors.

9. Choose a different font

Just as printing your post will force you to examine it differently, so will changing fonts during the proofreading process. Select a new font that’s easy to read, and see how your post looks in Times New Roman or Courier instead of your usual Arial.

10. Triple-check proper nouns

If you want your blog to have a chance of becoming lucrative linkbait, you must spell the names of people, products and companies correctly. Correct spellings attract search engines’ notice and will make you trustworthy in your readers’ eyes. Spell-checkers do a great job in general, but they’re terrible with proper nouns, so pay extra attention to how names are spelled.

Pro tip: Enclose proper nouns you’re unsure about within quotation marks and Google them. Google sometimes suggests an alternative spelling based on what is searched most often. Sometimes you might even know that the spelling you have is correct, but that it’s not the most popular version (e.g. how many ways are there to spell Muammar Gaddafi?). When you’re trying to spell a proper noun that doesn’t have a universally agreed upon correct spelling in your language, this quotation mark technique is a great way to compare the number of Google results that different correct spellings of a proper noun yield. It’s that easy.

11. Read it out loud

Saving one of the most effective blog proofreading tips for last, read your post out loud, especially if you’re in a rush. Blog posts typically take on a conversational tone, and how better to proofread the quality of that tone than to read your draft out loud? Reading out loud also helps you find subject-verb agreement errors and other awkward phrases with great ease.

These 11 proofreading tips will help you build instant credibility with your readers. What didn’t I include? I think we can make a much longer list.

Luke Palder is the founder of ProofreadingServices.Us, a San Francisco-based proofreading service. ProofreadingServices.Us provides online proofreading, manuscript proofreading and other proofreading services.

Take Vacation Time From Your Blogging Business

This guest post is by Stephanie Foster of Home With the Kids.

I did something recently I haven’t done in a long time. I took a vacation from my blogging business just about entirely. For once on vacation, I didn’t spend the evenings making up for lost time. I didn’t write blog posts. No tweeting, no blog commenting, none of that stuff, for an entire week.

Sure, I still used my computer for fun. I brought it along and I even had internet access most days. I just didn’t use it for work, and did relatively little leisure stuff on it. I was too busy at the beach, the zoo, places like that to bother with my computer.

Blogging vacation

Copyright pressmaster -

Taking a vacation from my blogging business is something I do too little of. My laptop always travels with me, and most times I spend my evenings working. The only problem with that is that I don’t give my mind enough of a break from business, so eventually I get tired and even head toward being burnt out on the whole deal.

Many home business owners do the same. It’s all to easy to work long hours and rarely take a break to refresh your body and mind, even for a few minutes during the day, never mind a whole week away. Yet it’s necessary.

Getting ready for a vacation

Taking a vacation from your blogging business isn’t something you can just do on a whim. Well, you could, I suppose, but most times it’s not that great an idea. You need to figure out how things are going to go without you.

What about email? Cleaning out spam blog or forum comments if you have those on your site? What if your site goes down or gets hacked?

You need to figure out how much stuff you can drop from your business for a week or so, how much you can handle in a few minutes each day while you’re on vacation, and what should be handed over to a virtual assistant or trusted friend or family member while you’re gone.

The great thing about many home businesses, especially if they’re online, is that you often can drop quite a bit of what you’re doing to take a vacation. Many things will wait. Others won’t.

You can schedule blog posts to run in your absence. I always like to do this, even though it means extra work while preparing for a vacation. It keeps things running just a little bit and then I don’t have to feel rushed to prepare blog posts when I get back because I’ve been gone a week and there aren’t any posts ready for the next week either. I can take a little time and ease back into my work with only a small gap in my posting, or even none at all if I get so far ahead that I can schedule some for just after I get back.

Use self-control while on vacation

It’s not always easy to leave your home business alone once you’re on vacation, especially if you love what you do. There’s always that temptation to do just a little work during your downtime.

Don’t do it. Find some other way to enjoy your downtime. Read a book for pleasure. Play with your kids if you have some. Go out with your spouse, significant other, some friends or just on your own. Keep your mind off your business. It will still be there when you get back.

If you must check on your business, try to keep it to just a few minutes a day, maybe first thing in the morning so the rest of your day is clear. If you’re having to get too involved in things, maybe you didn’t plan well enough for your break and need to rethink how you can get away for a time.

The benefits of taking a vacation

I feel great now that I’m back from my vacation. It was wonderful not thinking about that next blog post for a time. When you don’t take real breaks, all the stuff you know you should be doing is more like clutter in your head. It’s there and you really can’t deal with it effectively. A vacation gives you time to sort it out, even if you aren’t actively thinking about it at the time.

A vacation can also freshen up your ideas. Work too long on a project, and you get stuck with certain sorts of ideas. A vacation gives you time away from all that, and you might find new ideas come more easily after, even if it’s only a new perspective on the same things you were working on before.

You should also be more relaxed after a vacation. It’s a time when you shouldn’t be focusing on whatever stresses are in your life. Most of the things that cause stress in your life can wait that week too.

Taking a vacation from your blogging business isn’t always the simplest thing to do, but it can be a great idea. You don’t have to bring your business along every time you go on vacation. Sometimes it’s best to leave it all behind.

Stephanie Foster runs Home With the Kids, a resource for work at home moms and dads. She writes about running her home business, work at home scams and being an at home mom on her blog.

Spice Up Your Blog with a Virtual Blogging Team

This guest post is by Luis Cruz of Pepper Virtual Assistant.

Blogging is simple. You produce quality content, react to commenters, watch your stats grow, rinse, repeat.

Blogging is also labor-intensive, time-consuming, and tiring. Producing quality content regularly can be draining, managing comments can get exhausting, and don’t even get me started on dealing with spam.

Fortunately, blogging doesn’t have to be a solo affair. In fact, quite the opposite is true, and many of the biggest blogs are written and managed by teams of bloggers, not individuals.

One problem, of course, is how to build and manage of team when you don’t exactly have a ton of resources to throw at your blog. One solution: get a virtual assistant (or a bunch of them) to help you blog.

ProBlogger visited this idea a few years back when a reader asked Darren how he felt about VAs, and we’ve mentioned VAs every so often on the blog. The general consensus seems to be that VAs are great at administrative tasks for your blog, but have you ever considered having a VA write for you?

It might seem like a strange thing to do, but trust me, it’s not that uncommon. In fact, it’s something I’ve been doing, or rather, something I’ve been hired to do, for quite a while now. You see, I work as a virtual assistant, and one of my jobs, on top of administrative duties, is to produce content for some of our clients’ blogs.

Of course, you can’t just hire somebody to blog for you, leave them to their own devices, and expect great results. You need to do a few things to help us serve you better. Here a few things that, from my experience, you need to do in order to build an effective virtual blogging team.

Set your expectations

Are you looking for a team of bloggers that will churn out a half-dozen posts a day? Perhaps you’re searching for somebody to contribute one or two posts a week. Maybe you’d like to keep your blog a mostly solo affair, and you just need somebody to help moderate comments, do research on new topics, and handle a few other tasks. Whatever it is you want, you need to communicate it to your team.

Explain who you are

If your blog were a person, how would he or she sound? Is he a snarky, sarcastic, snob, or is she a bright and cheerful optimist? Does he jump from one idea or topic to another, or does she ramble on and on on specific topics? How does he like emphasizing certain points? Does she like lists?

Hundreds of different questions can pop up, but the main idea is to set the tone, or voice, of the blog. Each individual writer should still have a different personality, but it should be consistent with the voice of the blog in general.

Go for a test-drive

When you’re shopping around for a car, you don’t buy a car without going for a test-drive, do you? The same idea applies to your blogging team. You don’t hire a team until you have an idea of what they can (and can’t) do.

One way to test prospective members of your team is by inviting them to guest on your blog. Their guest posts tell you a few things: how well they write, how readers react to their voice or style, and how well they interact with your readers. I wager some people can learn a few more things about potential writers for your team, but I think most will learn about these three things.

Be an editor

If you find talented writers among your guest bloggers, you can promote them from guest bloggers to regular contributors. With a team of writers working for you, you now have a new role: editor. As editor, you need to make notes on your team’s writing, and advise them on what they’re doing well, as well as what they need to change.

Don’t forget the little things

Even if you’re not very comfortable with hiring other people to write on your blog, you can still benefit from having a virtual blogging team. Some of the simpler tasks my team has handled include doing research for new posts and monitoring trending topics. Even if your virtual team doesn’t produce new posts for your blog, they can still help you create fresh content.

Do it your way

This isn’t another tip, but rather, an invitation. How do you get your virtual assistant or team to help you create fresh content for your blog? Share some of your tips in the comments.

Luis Cruz is a writer for Pepper Virtual Assistant, a virtual assistant firm based in the cities of Manila and Davao in the Philippines.

How to Email Your Blog Updates Like a ProBlogger

This guest pst is by Martyn Chamberlin of Two Hour Blogger.

“When you work with words … words are your work.”—Don Knotts

I assume you know a lot about blogging.

You know how to set up a blog, you know how to write. You know how to tweet and share.

Most importantly, you know how to build your email list.

Maybe you’re not as fanatical as I am. Maybe you haven’t hidden your RSS feed. Maybe you offer alternatives to email. But you understand the best results come from your emails. You baby your list.


Copyright Tommi -

The email list is important … but what are you doing with it? You’re sending your blog broadcasts to it? How are you doing it?

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion you aren’t doing it right. Don’t take it personally—some of my most brilliant clients weren’t either. It’s not your fault. No one’s ever told you how, that’s all.

Are you handling your email subscriptions in Feedburner?

When people subscribe to your blog via email, where’s that email address going? I hope it’s not going into Feedburner.

See, Feedburner is pretty lousy when it comes to email marketing.

  • You can’t easily customize the subject line
  • You can’t customize the design
  • You can’t utilize auto-responders
  • You can’t know who’s subscribing in real time
  • You can’t know the open rates
  • You can’t completely control when the broadcast goes out

Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t care that much. Feedburner’s free. This is deep and scary, and I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll just blog.”

Let me remind you that your blog’s success hinges on how effectively you master email marketing.

This is important. Quit using Feedburner.

What are the other options?

I’ve worked with a lot of email marketing tools, but the best are MailChimp and AWeber. There are other options out there, but I recommend one of these two.

Which one should you chose? Mailchimp’s free for the first 500 subscribers while AWeber costs from from the start. They’re both excellent tools, but if you can possibly afford it, go with AWeber. It’s slightly better, and after all, ProBlogger uses AWeber.

Once you migrate your list to one of these services, you’re ready to send emails. Whenever you publish a blog post, you want to send it to your list.

You can always do it manually, of course. Whenever you publish content, you can copy and paste the article from your WordPress dashboard and blast it away. While it’s fun doing it this way for about two months, it starts getting old after a while. Really old. Trust me.

Here’s a better way

Unfortunately, this is where most bloggers run into trouble. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll frustrate yourself.

Luckily, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you. After successfully implementing this for myself and clients, I’ve put this article together for you. You’ll be rocking with the big boys in no time flat. I’ll even help you in comments if you get stuck. Deal?

Step 1: Prepare thyself

If you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to burn a feed for your blog at

Okay, I told you to quit using Feedburner. You’re probably confused.

While Feedburner is lousy at email marketing, it’s a great tool for creating a feed URL. You’ll use this feed’s URL in your email campaign, so this step is important. Since Google owns Feedburner, you only need a free Google account to use this service.

You may have already created a Feedburner feed and don’t know what the feed URL is. Log into Feedburner and click the grey RSS icon to the left of the feed title. The link it sends you to is your feed URL.

Make sure your feed URL shows the full content version of your posts. If you only see excerpts on this page, it means your email subscribers will only get excerpts in their inbox (usually a bad idea).

To change your blog’s feed to full content, log into WordPress and head over to Settings > Reading Settings. Make sure you’ve selected Full text instead of Summary. It can take Feedburner up to fifteen minutes to recognize these changes, so be patient if you don’t see immediate results. (Yes, I’ve learned this the hard way!)

If you’re using MailChimp …

  1. Log in.
  2. Click the large, orange button in the left column titled Create campaign. A drop-down menu will appear. Select RSS-driven campaign.
  3. This will take you to a page where you enter your RSS Feed URL. Paste your Feedburner URL and hit next.
  4. Select the list you want to send your campaign to. Hit next.
  5. In the Message Subject field, paste this:


    That pulls the title of your latest blog post into the email subject line. Fill out the other details and hit Next.

  6. Select your template and edit the body copy. The default prose says “Heading 1 Heading 2” etc. After deleting all this, select the Source tab and paste the following:

    <a href="*|RSSITEM:URL|*">*|RSSITEM:TITLE|*</a><br /><br /> *|RSSITEM:CONTENT_FULL|*<br /> <a href="*|RSSITEM:URL|*">Click here to leave a comment</a>

    This funny-looking code dynamically pulls the the content from your latest blog post into the email. To see the magic in action, just hit the preview button to view how it will look in your inbox. Nifty, isn’t it?

    Hit Next.

  7. Finalize your plain-text version. Hit next.
  8. You’re now looking at your entire setup with all the glamorous details. Scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the orange “start RSS campaign” button. You’re all set!

If you’re using AWeber…

  1. Log into AWeber
  2. Hover over the Messages tab and click Blog Broadcast.
  3. This sends you to a page with a green button that says Create a New Blog Broadcast. Click it.
  4. Chose the list you want to use and prepare your email template. I recommend keeping the design as simple as possible, but you’re welcome to customize it to your heart’s content.
  5. In the RSS feed URL, paste your feed URL you got from Feedburner.
  6. In the subject line, paste this:


  7. In the HTML message, paste this:

    {!rss_itemblock} <p style="font-weight: bold; font-size: 30px; margin-bottom: 0px"><a href="{!rss_item_link}">{!rss_item_title}</a></p><span>{!rss_item_content}</span><br /> <h2><a href="{!rss_item_link}">Click here to leave a comment</a>.</h2> {!rss_itemblockend}

    Be sure you’re on the Source tab when pasting this content. It won’t work in the design tab.

  8. Hit the save button and you’re off!

Let’s wrap it up

In case you’ve wondered how the pro bloggers do it, now you know. It’s not that difficult, but no one tells you how to do it. Funny, isn’t it?

Let’s face it—getting your email campaign off the ground can be tricky. I remember when I first started doing this stuff, I had so many questions and I couldn’t talk to anyone (for free).

But today, it’s different. If you have any questions, I’ll answer them in comments. Let’s get started!

Martyn Chamberlin is a full-time web guy who blogs about the importance of web design and builds web sites that enhance great blogging. Learn what it takes to succeed online and join the growing number of passionate writers becoming better bloggers.

You Need to Be (Better Than) a Jerk

This guest post is by Joe Bunting of The Write Practice.

You’ve been told that controversy sells. You’ve heard you need to use hyperbole in your headlines. You’ve tried to create polarizing content that gets comments rolling in like crazy. You’ve heard that being a jerk is the key to effectively drawing people to interact with your blog.

But I’m here to tell you there is a better way.

A way to generate more traffic. A method to write more meaningful content. A secret to building a more passionate community.

I’m here to teach you how to be a better jerk.

We’ll call it Jerk +.

Three secrets to starting controversy

Angry typing

Image licensed under Creative Commons, Copyright Douglas Witt

Before you can be a Jerk +, you have to learn how to be a jerk. You can’t transcend jerkdom without first understanding it. You can’t break the rules before knowing what they are.

Here are three effective ways to be a jerk and create controversy:

1. Use satire

Remember, Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal? During Ireland’s potato famine of the 1720s, Swift argued that starving parents should eat their children. Of course, he wasn’t serious, but by satirizing the heartless rich, he helped convince them to take better care of their poor countrymen.

Satire is simple. Satire is like saying the opposite of what you believe as offensively as possible. You write a blog about social media? Write a post about three ways to piss off your twitter followers. Or for your photography blog? Write a post called the 5 Best Ways To Take a Terrible Picture.

2. Question dogma

What recent author wrote a book about heaven and hell was so controversial that one leader basically excommunicated him and many others called him a heretic? Ann Coulter? No! Rob Bell and his book Love Wins took a commonly held belief and said, simply, “Is this really true?”

What’s a widespread assumption in your field? Something everyone subscribes to? Start asking questions. Is this really true? What if it isn’t? What if the opposite is true? The best thing is, you don’t necessarily have to disagree with the dogma. You just have to raise a few doubts.

3. Be irreverent

Note: Do this at your own risk.

In April 2011, four young men walked into an art museum in France. They threatened the security guards with a hammer (one of them had hidden it in their sock). Then, they used the hammer to pry the plexiglass case off Andres Serrano’s photograph “Piss Christ,” and slashed it with an ice-pick.

Serrano’s picture is considered by many—including those who defaced it—to be one of the most irreverent photographs of all time. It is also one of the most popular. Or, rather, it was.

It’s easy to be irreverent. Do the equivalent of drawing a mustache on a picture of a dead president. Channel Eminem. What are the values of your field? Who are the leaders and celebrities? Make fun of them. It’s as simple as that.

How to be better than a jerk

Acting like a jerk will bring you traffic. There’s no doubt about that. There are consequences though. The traffic is shallow. They’ll visit your blog, but will they come back again and again? You also run the risk of annoying everyone who could help you. Do you want to get attention at the cost of being hated?

Several years ago, I wrote the ultimate jerk post. It combined satire, iconoclasm, and irreverence like a giant middle finger. Before posting it I sent it to a friend and mentor who teaches art. She told me something that changed my life, not just in my writing, but everything I do.

Don’t settle for cynicism. Always strive to create meaning.

It’s easy to tear people, ideas, even whole communities down. Creating meaning, building something that is beautiful, starting a revolution, these require more effort. They also offer greater relational, financial, and personal rewards.

To be a Jerk + you have to find a way to build meaning with your controversy. Cheap hits are easy, but tomorrow those page views will be gone and you’ll have to start over. Instead, create controversy around something that’s bigger than yourself, something inspiring, something that could change the world.

Get beyond cynicism. Don’t stop at criticism. Build something new that will last for years.

What do you think? Do girls (and blog readers) only fall for jerks? Is it okay to be a jerk if you’re able to create meaning? Or is it better to just play nice?

Joe Bunting is the head Jerk + over at The Write Practice, where he is questioning the dogma of the written word, satirizing his old English professors, and drawing mustaches on Edgar Allen Poe. Don’t you want to subscribe?

Develop Your Link Bait Repertoire

This guest post is by Jacob of

One of the most basic things that we can do to understand how Google functions is to understand how they determine which pages are considered strong and which are not. At the very core of its algorithm is the reliance on linksóthe connection from one website to the other.

In Google’s eyes, if website A is linking to website B, that must mean that website A trusts website B. That trusts passes what is known as authority. The more authority that a website and a page have, the more power that it is going to have in the SERPs. And, the stronger the link is from website A to website B, the more authority you’re going to get.

It’s because of this that those “Get 5,000 links in directory submission” offers that are seen on webmaster forums are pretty useless. Google looks at these links and determines that, in reality, very few of them have authority. However, getting a link from a blog that is updated often and has grown its authority will, without a doubt, help you greatly in developing your own authority.

The only problem with getting links is that it is dry. You could always email people for the links, but the success rate for that is low. I used to have to do that at a job. We’d email websites and nearly beg for links… It didn’t work.

All SEOs that are worth their salt will tell you that the best links are those that come naturally. This makes sense because Google is looking to see if you’re willingly passing that authority to someone else. So, if you get a link naturally, that must be great.

The best way to get a natural link is through what is known as link bait. In other words, you’re baiting people into giving you links. Most people will automatically go to ìList postsî as the best type of link bait, but I want to present you with a series of other methods of link bait that are equal to, if not better, than list posts.

Types of link bait

As I mentioned above, there are numerous different types of link bait that are really quite effective at giving your site the links it needs to rise in the search rankings. And as I said above, the common one is the list post, so, I felt it might be prudent to get that one out of the way so we could focus on the good stuff.

List articles

People love numbers. A list article is something like “Top 10 Ways in Which Lindsey Lohan Snorts…” and just leave it blank. People will link to that article like it’s the last thing they can do. Why? Because it’s funny. It’s got numbers. People want to see the top ten ways someone can do something like that.

Darren writes these often. 5 Ways I’m Using LinkedIn and 3 Reasons Why I Don’t Worry About the Competition are two examples of list posts that naturally get linked to. They provide value in list form rather than just long, bulky paragraphs. So, it’s easy to understand and therefore, easy to link to.

Okay. Now that weíre done with this one, let’s move on to some lesser known methods.


An infographic is a graphic that contains a slew of information. For example, released a Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors. This infographic is a period table of elements, except instead of having C, O and H, it has Cq, Ht, and V—content quality, title tags, and keyword stuffing, which is a violation.

What the infographic does is take all of this information that you might write and put it into a nice, simple graphic that looks really nice. And it’s because it looks so nice that people begin to write about it and mention it on their sites. Naturally, when someone mentions something, they usually link back to you.

Another great thing about infographics is people print them out. I’ve got the above-mentioned infographic on my wall. Every time I look at it, I see that it was “Written by” and that makes me want to go back and check the site out. It’s a great way to start getting people to come back even after you’ve gotten that link.


What’s better than hearing controversy such as “Kim Kardashian Might Have Butt Implants?” You hear something controversial like that and you just want to read it. Why not? It’s Kim K. She’s like so cool.

But, all of that aside, controversy gets linked to. The reason is because so many people disagree with it that they have to write a blog post about how wrong that person is and, naturally, they link back to it so their readers can see how wrong that person is.

My favorite example of all of these is the link bait that says “SEO is garbage.” The funniest part is that it’s link bait. That person is baiting you so much, trying to convince you to link to them by saying something outlandish. And it works. People write about how wrong that person is, and they link to them.

It’s so wrong, actually, that they are using SEO to back up their claim that SEO is garbage!

Spin the news

When something is trending in the news, people tend to link to it more because itís very fashionable. Unfortunately, unless you’re in the political or entertainment niche, most news is specific to niches and it’s hard to get any sort of movement. There’s a way around that.

Let’s talk about American debt for a second. You’ve got a situation where the American government almost defaulted—whether that’s true or not can be saved for another article—and that would’ve meant borrowing money would have been more difficult.

How could a blogger like Darren or myself ever cover something like that and get some of the juicy “debt news” traffic?

Well, the best way to do it might be like this: because it will be more expensive to borrow money, short-term funds that would normally be allocated to advertising are now going to have to go to paying employees because companies can’t afford to get short term loans.

Because of a drop in advertising, bloggers are now finding that they are making less money on their websites, which demonstrates the spread of the economic woes to the Internet. In other words, we can’t default because if we default, bloggers will hurt too. There—you’ve put a spin on the news.

Expert post

This is probably the sleaziest way of getting links, but it still works. Create what is known as an “expert post.” This is a post where you suck up to every big blog in the niche.

If I was making this type of post, I’d probably link to Darren and Glen from Viper Chill and the nameless dude from Blog Tyrant, because they’re experts. The hope then would be for them to link back to me because I touched their egos.

The only problem with this is that you’re sucking up and almost begging. It’s not really all that creative. However, if you can find the right people, you might get mentioned for it.

Great content

The best link bait content really is just well-written content. If you are helping people with your content and providing a service, people are going to link to it.

I know this is sort of avoiding the overall purpose of this post, but it’s true. So many bloggers focus entirely on creating a ton of content rather than creating great content. All of that content won’t get linked to if it isn’t great, so it makes more sense to create great content.

Give people something they want to link to and they will.


Link bait is one of the best ways to get links. People naturally decide to link to you, which, in the eyes of Google, is great. And, more importantly, you’re not wasting time trying to build links in any way considered “black hat.” Google loves natural links and link bait is content that gets natural links.

Have you ever used link bait? What methods have you used to encourage people to link to you? I’d love to hear your opinions below.

Jacob is the owner of where he talks about topics such as building your social empire and WordPress SEO. Be sure to check him out on Twitter and Facebook.

How Tim Ferriss Busted the Biggest Myth About Blog Success

This guest post is by Amy Porterfield of

When it came to building my business with social media, I lived by the motto, “More is better.” I applied every social media strategy I learned, stacking plan after plan and idea after idea.

Then I read Tim Ferriss’ new book. And everything changed.

With Tim’s 4-Hour Body, I realized I was a sucker to yet another myth in my head just like I was when I was little and my mom used to tell me I couldn’t swim for an hour after I ate or I would lose my lunch.

In his book, Tim talks about a concept called the minimum effective dose. He says the minimum effective dose is the smallest dose (a.k.a. activity) that will produce your desired outcome. In real-life terms, it’s that sweet spot that is exactly enough, no more, no less, that gets the results you’re after. It’s that place where you can achieve the most dramatic results in the least amount of time possible. Anything beyond that point is a waste of your time.

Tim uses the example of boiled water. Boiled water is boiled water. There’s no such thing as “more boiled.” Make sense? Or if you go to the beach and you spend 15 minutes in the sun, you get a tan. But anything beyond those 15 minutes and maybe you start to burn. Once you pass a certain point, you actually can create setbacks. Essentially, doing too much can trip you up.

Then it hits me: with social media marketing, more is not better. In fact, more is worse.

Whether you are using social media to gain greater exposure for your blog, build awareness for a product or sell your services, it’s natural to want to do all you can to get results. But did you know that when you do too much, you could actually halt real progress? In fact, when you try to do too much, it can mess up your momentum and cost you profits and valuable relationships in your business.

How does this relate to your success?

To apply the minimum effective dose to your social media efforts, you first have to realize what may be a dirty truth: you’re trying to do too much.

At some point, we’ve all been there—we try to be everything to everyone and make promises we can’t keep, schedule meetings on top of meetings and start new projects that never get finished. It’s human nature. The challenge is that when we take on too much, there’s no time to think things out—and you begin executing in a bubble, ignoring your intuition and making decisions that lack creativity and strategy.

The problem scenario: the social media junkie

One of my most recent clients was a self-proclaimed social media junkie. When it came to online networking, she did anything and everything to boost her online exposure. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, YouTube, FriendFeed, shiny new social apps, networking gadgets, widgets and tools, you name it, she was all over it. And if a new social media strategy was discovered, she was ready to implement at any time.

Not only was she overwhelmed, confused and stressed, but also she was not seeing results. After a few coaching sessions we discovered that her audience was not using Twitter, and rarely checked into their LinkedIn accounts. She instantly quit wasting her time on these networks.

Also, although she loved making videos, and hated writing blog posts, she was producing several written blogs posts a week because she thought the “hard work” would pay off. Since she was not confident with her writing, each post would take her three to five hours. The misconception that she needed to post multiple times a week was costing her time and money. After monitoring her blog we learned that her audience responded better to video blogs vs. written blogs. She stopped the written blog posts immediately and now posts videos multiple times a week, each taking her about 30 minutes to record, edit, and post.

She was doing too much and was completely sabotaging her success. When she took a step back and stopped “doing,” she was able to see what was working and what was a waste of time. This insight was not clear until she finally stopped “doing” and stepped back to assess the situation.

The solution: create more white space

Harvard Business Review recently published an article called, This Space Intentionally Left White. To get an edge on the competition, the author suggests we “slow down to see more.” She goes on to say that we need to “radically alter a small moment of time each week—to schedule a time for doing nothing but thinking—and pay attention to what emerges in the absence of the noise of our normal activity.”

When you slow down and think about your next steps, things get a lot clearer. You are able to see the pockets of opportunity—and that is where your sweet spot, that minimum effective dose, starts to become more apparent. Setting time for the white space allows you to uncover the areas where you are doing too much and wasting your time—and easier, more strategic opportunities come to the surface.

Spacing out

Are you mired in too much? Make it a habit to find two hours a week where you do nothing but think, not do. No multi-tasking, no emails, no cell phones, no journaling. Just you and your thoughts. Think about where you come up with your best ideas—in the shower, or listening to music in the car—it’s when you’re likely doing an automated activity that allows you to just think.

And next time you get that overwhelming urge to take on yet another project, remember this myth buster: more is not better, it’s just more. Choose your best dose instead—the minimum effective one.

Amy is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and a social media strategist for entrepreneurs and small business owners. You can read her weekly blog here and check out her latest program, The Simple Social Media Formula, here.

Reading Blogs for Fun and Profit

This guest post is by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.

How much time do you spend reading blogs? A few hours per week? Maybe even a few hours per day?

I spend at least an hour per day, and sometimes more. You have to, if you want to keep up with the happenings in an online community.

Now let’s do some math.

Let’s say that you spend 90 minutes per day reading blogs. Weekdays only, so that works out to seven and a half hours per week. Thirty hours per month.

Three hundred and sixty hours per year. Yes, that’s right—three hundred and sixty hours per year. That’s fifteen straight days of blog reading.

If you’re spending that much time, shouldn’t you be sure that it isn’t going to waste?

Reading blogs

Copyright Ana Blazic -

The first thing we need to do is figure out why we even read blogs. Putting entertainment value aside (yes, I know it can be fun, but we’re professionals, right?), I think there are two main reasons we do it: to learn, and to build relationships.

Other than entertainment, these are the two reasons that we read blogs. Either we’re trying to learn something, or we’re trying to build a relationship with the blogger or their community. Ideally, we’re trying to do both.

Well, if we’re going to spend this much time trying to learn and connect, maybe we should think about how these processes really work!

How learning works

Learning is one of those things that we all do all the time, but never stop to really think about. There are a few steps to a learning process:

  1. You’re exposed to new ideas and information.
  2. You filter out the information that isn’t relevant to you (this is something like 95% of what’s going on around you at any given time!).
  3. You encode that information in long-term memory, so that you can remember it later.
  4. You integrate that information with your understandings and worldview, so that you can apply it in appropriate situations.
  5. You remember it at the right time, and adapt your behavior based on the new learning.

Reading the blog posts is just Step 1—exposing yourself to new ideas and information.

To really learn something, and get as much as you can out of what you’re reading, you still have to make sure you don’t filter out anything important, encode it in a meaningful way so that you can access it later, learn to apply it in your life, and actually do so.

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Repetition, association, processing, and meta-cognition

There are a few principles that you can harness to your advantage when you’re trying to learn new things; repetition, association, processing, and meta-cognition:

  1. Repetition. This is what it sounds like—the greater the number of times you hear something, the more likely you are to remember it. I’ll say it again: the greater the number of times you hear something, the more likely you are to remember it. This is how we all learned our multiplication tables as kids.
  2. Association. We learn and remember by drawing associations between the new concepts that we’re trying to learn, and older concepts that we’re already understand. This could mean thinking about how the new idea is like an old idea, or how it’s different, or how it is connected. For example, in what way is Peter Pan like an entrepreneur?
  3. Processing. The more you think about something, the more likely you are to remember it; by turning an idea over and over in your head, you get to know it that much better. Thinking through scenarios and applications of the things you read about is a good way to improve the learning.
  4. Meta-Cognition. Meta-cognition means thinking about thinking. In other words, paying attention to your thinking processes—things like your assumptions and your feelings as you explore the new ideas that you are reading about.

Okay, okay, obviously you aren’t going to spend three hours on every blog post—and you don’t have to. There are simple tricks that you can use to apply these principles, and I’ll share them with you in a little while.

But first, let’s talk about how relationships work.

How relationships work

Relationships… connections… community… These are some of the hottest buzz-words of social media. But do we ever stop to think about how they really work? How do you build a relationship with someone?

I think there are four important things that are required:

  1. Show that you know them. Relationships depend on familiarity and understanding—you have to feel that someone really knows you in order to have a relationship with them. That’s the difficulty in connecting through blog comments—you’re just one in a hundred, and the comments all start blurring together.
  2. Show that you think and care about them. When a relationship is genuine, we care enough about someone to occasionally think about them when they’re not around. By the same token, we like to see that someone else has been thinking about you—that’s why we get such a kick out of a simple @mention on Twitter.
  3. Show that you’re making an effort. Real relationships take effort, because before we emotionally invest, we want to see that someone is in it for the long haul. This means that a single blog comment is not enough to build a connection, and even a dozen might not do the job. It just takes more.
  4. Actually being helpful. As well as we know someone, as much as they care about us, and as hard as they may try, we will quickly get tired of someone who wastes our time without ever being useful (or fun to be around). We may tolerate this sort of thing with family (because we have to), but we won’t do it in the blogosphere.

And now for the 64-million-dollar question: how do we do all these things while reading blog posts, without having to turn it into a full-time job?

Funny you should ask…

How to improve learning and relationships

Now it’s time for the fun part, where I outline the strategies that you can actually use to improve your learning and build relationships while you do your regular blog reading.

I won’t lie and say that this takes no extra time, because it does take some.

Honestly, though, it doesn’t take much more, and it multiplies the benefits that you get from the reading. Try them for a week and see for yourself!

  1. After reading a post, take a moment to think about who might benefit from it, and send it to that person. You’ll remember more, because you took the time to think about how the content was relevant to someone, and you’ll build relationships by showing someone that you thought of them. You can get extra credit by sending it to them on Twitter and @-mentioning the blogger, too.
  2. After reading a post that you like, explain the gist of it to someone else. You can do this via email, over the phone, or in person, and you don’t have to do it right away—you can even do it with your family over dinner. Whoever you talk to will appreciate your sharing, and you will remember much, much more of the post.
  3. Leave a comment explaining how the post was insightful for you, when you’ve seen an example of whatever is being described, and how it relates to your life. You can even write a whole response post. The blogger will appreciate the well-thought-out comment, and you will remember a lot more of the post for having drawn these associations.
  4. Bookmark the best posts that you read. Once every week or two, spend 30-60 minutes re-reading the best posts, and really savor them (I try to do this every other weekend, when I write our Best of the Web posts).
  5. Keep a journal of good ideas that you come across. Just write them down, but don’t rush to implement them. That way you avoid shiny object syndrome, but still have the repetition that helps you remember. For extra credit, you can review the journal every few months and pick out two or three of the best ideas to implement.
  6. Whenever you finish reading a post and take an action based on what you’ve read, take a moment to think about why. What did the blogger do to get you to take an action? What worked for them, and how could you apply it in your own work and writing?

These strategies, when taken together, only add a small amount of reading time to your day, but they will help you learn dramatically more, and build more and better relationships—which is what it’s really all about.

Over to you: if you had to pick just one of these strategies to implement for a week, which one would it be? Do you have a good tip for learning and building relationships while reading? If you do, share it with us in the comments!

Danny Iny is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, and proud co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the definitive marketing training program for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-marketers. Visit his site today for a free cheat sheet about Why Guru Strategies for Blog Growth DON’T WORK… and What Does!, or follow him on Twitter @DannyIny.