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The Problogger guest blogging experiment: good or bad?

Perhaps my last post before Darren returns this coming week but a very easy question to the many wonderful Problogger readers out there, perhaps as means of feedback for Darren: The Guest Blogging Experiment at Problogger: Good or Bad?

From my perspective I’ve loved the freedom to write in the first person and ponder some interesting questions that I might have otherwise not raised at the Blog Herald, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the contributions for other guest bloggers as well. Certainly one of the wonderful things Darren has going here at Problogger is the extremely strong “feedback” community if you like, in terms of those willing to leave comments. Whilst I’ve had some great comment threads at the Blog Herald I certainly can’t match the consistent commenting on nearly every post here at Problogger, and from the third party view point I think that’s a major aspect that for me makes this blog a must read..indeed on occasion (even from my own posts) I can learn more from the contribution of readers comments than I did from the initial post.

On the flip side I suppose there has been a lack of consistency without Darren’s guiding hand present here at Problogger. Some days have had more posts than others, and the quality or interest has varied for me personally.

Share your thoughts. Darren will be back in Bleak City (Melbourne) this week and I’m sure he’ll be interested in your thoughts. Indeed I have little doubt that he’ll reflect on it as well, but why not get the ball rolling.

Bloggers block

Do you suffer from blogger block? Are there just some days where it’s near impossible to post because there is little or nothing happening on your particular subject or niche? Share your thoughts.

Personally I suffer it at seemingly random times, random in only that I have no control over the timing, and the more niche the topic the more likely it will occur. In the early days the Blog Herald was actually really hard to write for, mainly because 2 years ago there wasn’t a lot of blogging news. Today it’s a fair bit easier, although some days a harder than others. Now that I write for 4 blogs (or 5 if you include my guest spot here) its even more interesting. Being able to fill in here (and I believe Darren will be back here next week) has been a challenge, mainly because sharing advice or linking to others is sometimes related to mood or inspiration, some days I can be inspired with ideas, others I just ain’t. Blogs like PVRSpot which I really enjoy writting have actually proven hard to write for because the topic is such a niche that there’s not a lot of news, where as The Search Engine Herald presents the challenge of what to actually post because there is so much news about. In a different field I’ve guest blogged at The Gadget Blog when Colbert was away and although there is lots of input I’ve struggled to know how to differentiate the content, which is the blogs aim. How do you deal with a lack, or flood of source material?

Blog count commercial contributions

A little bleg to the Pro-blogosphere. I’ve called for contributions for the next Blog Herald blog count for July here, but I need your help. What I also need is user figures for commercial services. Now I’m going to personally ask leading services for their figures, but I don’t think that alone some may give them to me (particularly SixApart). Why are blogging figures important you may well ask? well its important for all of us to know as “Pro” bloggers exactly how large our marketplace is. Only yesterday I read a report in the US Newspaper that quoted the number of blogs out there is 4 million. The more common figure is 10 million. The real truth is that it’s closer to 60 million. Compiling figures based on user numbers based on service and country helps us all to spread the word that blogging is a serious force on the internet, and that’s to the benefit of us all. The bigger we can prove we are the more advertisers will take an interest and the better the blog advertising marketplace will be for us all. The next blog count is so big that I’m probably going to have to put together a PDF with it all because it will be too much for a post, but what I desperately need is up to date commercial figures. So what I need you to do: email SixApart, Blogger, Spaces and other commercial services world wide and ask them for their user numbers, particularly if they can provide them by geographic area, and even if they can’t, the total number. By all means post them on your blog, but let me know in the mean time so I can include them in the next blog count. I know number counting is a bit old fashioned but being able to prove a bigger market place is for the net benifit of us all, and the report will be available to all.

Blogs, Links, and SEO

Blogs and links are the perfect couple. Of course, everyone knows that. You don’t have to be a hopeless romantic or some SEO techie type to figure that one out.

Talk about stating the obvious.

As we all know, almost everyone talks about how powerful blogs and their linking power are for search engine optimization (SEO). The reasons for the strength of blog links in achieving high search engine rankings are discussed much less frequently. It’s time to change all of that.

Let’s talk blogs and links and SEO.

Blog links have search engine power for several reasons. One of which is the different types of linking featured on blogs. All blog links are not the same, and that is part of their secret search engine rankings power. Different types of links provide different rankings boosts, in several different ways. In the end, the links add up to your blog being placed highly, for your most important keywords, in Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search.

Links appear on a blog’s home page as links to other blogs. Other blogs link to your blog from home page link lists and blogrolls as well. As the most powerful page on your blog, the home page passes along quite a bit of search engine power. The problem is that home page mojo is divided among many different blogs. The piece of the pie for each one is not that large.

On the other hand, the age and permanence of that link has some real value. The links also get value from arriving from other blogs sharing similar themes and topics. Interlinked blogs on cooking help one another more than a cooking blog and a welding blog. All links have some value, but theme related ones provide even more.

Links also appear in posts. Those are expecially valuable links. When someone links to one of your posts, they often double link to the home page as well. Because of the strong and obvious theme relevance of the post, the search engines give in post links some real power. As such, writing interesting posts that attract natural inbound links, and trigger discussions on other blogs are especially important. Note the value of providing great information to your readers.

Trackbacks provide a bit of link power, but not as much as some bloggers believe. Being open to spamming has reduced their link strength. Links in comments have little if any link power these days as a result of abuse. Trackback links provide their power more indirectly, in attracting discussion links and finding new potential linkers to your blog.

There is some evidence that linking out to other blogs helps gain search rankings for the generous blogger. Instead of being a drain, linking out can result in a net SEO gain. Now beat that for great karma!

Keep in mind that your goal should not be to game or trick the search engines. On the contrary, those sorts of tactics are counterproductive and fail to provide the desired results.

Instead, think of the needs of your readership first. Provide them with good useful and interesting blog posts. Links will arrive naturally, and as a result of your generous linking habits, your blog can rise to the top of the search engine rankings.

What Makes a Good Guest Blogger?

If ProBlogger was a real estate property, it can probably be likened to a snazzy professional suite in a condo. Top floor – latest furnishings and decor — hip, business-like, but with a comfy feel to it — and a nice view of the world around it.

So, when Darren first invited me to become a guest blogger here at ProBlogger, I was honoured and pleased. It felt like being invited in to someone’s home – someone’s personal space – and genuinely telling me to make myself at home.

And, with just a few “house rules” to follow, I can do just about anything else as Darren’s guest. I can sip peach iced tea in the jacuzzi in a red bikini. I can jump up and down on the water bed. And best of all, I can talk to all his friends and colleagues who come by to see him on a regular basis. Many of whom probably don’t give squat about seeing me anyway. They’re not here for me. You’re not here for me.

But, it doesn’t matter. Darren’s just happy to introduce me and to let me in on the fun. And I think that’s nice.

Nice people deserve nice things. That’s why I wanted to be a good house guest. From the beginning, I kept thinking about what makes a good guest blogger. Even though I had guest bloggers on my own blogs, I’ve never been one. And Darren’s post, ProBlogger – Reflections on Guest Blogging – and the comments that followed – made me think even harder about this.

So, I took notes. Based on comments by ProBlogger readers, these are some of the things that make a good guest blogger:

1) Good guests want to give – not get. We should not guest blog because of what we’ll get out of it, but what we can give to our “host” – and everyone else invited. It’s up to the host, the other guests, and everyone else how they’d like to say ‘thank you’ in return. We don’t impose our ‘thank yous’ through blatant self promotion.

2) Good guests follow house rules. Both the official ones – and the unwritten ones.

3) Good guests like to offer fresh entertainment. No one wants to hear the same joke and story repeated more than once.

4) Good guests keep their promises. We should do what we said we’d do.

Hmmm… So, what else do you think make good guests/guest bloggers?

In any case, it’s almost time to pack up and end the month-long party. I really enjoyed my stay. Thanks! It was nice to meet some of you who managed to say hello. I hope you’ll stay in touch.

And, no matter how much fun I had guest blogging here, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Darren around this snazzy place called ProBlogger.

Friday Fun – Productivity Tips

I’m often asked how I get so much done and I often think, I don’t get that much done. I know I could do more! I’ve had “notes” on this entry for a while, but seeing Darren’s post on Blogging and the Art Time Management made me want to finish it up.

I guess I do get a lot done. I work 8-5 Monday through Friday. I sleep from 12-6:45, workout for 30 minutes then off to work. At night I work out, fix dinner and do dishes from 5:30-7:00. That leaves just 7:00-11:00 for other stuff and 11:00-12:00 to get things ready to do it again the next day. Plus quite a bit more time on the weekends, and some time used at lunch or during lulls when I’m at various places (doctors office, work, parents etc.) This is my normal schedule. Right now it’s on I’ve turned it on it’s ass because my wife is currently fighting cancer. That’s our #1 priority, everything else comes last. Not second, not third, but last. I have a office at home, but I’ve moved out of it with the laptop and do must of my work sitting on the couch with Aeryn now.

There a couple of points I want to make before I get into how I do things. So many people complain about not having time to do stuff, or that their kids get in the way or that they are just too tired when they get home etc. The fact is, if you want to do more, or not even do more, but do something other than your’re doing (maybe your’re spending all your time watching kids, or working in the garden, whatever) then you need figure out what your priority is. You can tell me all day long that you want to be a writer, blogger or web developer and do more, like I do, but if you don’t make it a priority then you’ll never do any of it. If you really want to do it, then do it. It’s that simple. Don’t tell me about why you can’t do it. There are days when it’s hard for me. Don’t lecture me that it’s because I don’t have kids, Aeryn and I decided not to have kids. Don’t tell me you have other things to do. I do too. I just decide what’s most important to me. Watching TV, reading a book, going out to eat, laundry and the million other daily chores, or is my priority writing, blogging and working on my web sites? Sometimes I have just as much trouble getting to what I love to do because of life just as much as the next person. But at the end of the day, I want to be a writer. I want to blog. I want to build up my websites. So, before you decide that you need to get something done, you need to decide what that really is. That will make the rest of the decisions easy. [Read more...]

WOMMA Measuring Word of Mouth Conference

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association is holding a conference July 13 called “Measuring Word of Mouth.” Targeted to those interested in marketing metrics, WOMMA says the conference is the first-ever on measurement, metrics, and standards in word-of-mouth marketing.

It will be held in Chicago. Cost is $295 for WOMMA members, $545 for non-members. I’m happily able to pass on a $50 discount code WOMMA gave me to share with my readers. When you register, use the case-sensitive discount code “Blogsareawesome”

WOMMA Measuring Word of Mouth Conference Web site

List of Blog Networks

I’ve just finalised a revised list of blog networks and posted it here at The Blog Herald for those interested, but I thought I might share a few more thoughts on the subject.

Blog networks are growing. I originally wrote the first version of the list on the fly because I’d noticed that there seemed to be more networks emerging lately, and thought it would be an interesting thing to do. I didn’t realise however just quite how many there were, and the amazing diversity available on them.

People talk about the power of blogging but its only (if you’re like me) start seeing numbers that the influence of blogs, even in this case corporate and network blogs, can and are having.

Let me guess a figure: combined traffic for all the blog networks on the list..at least 50-100 million page views per day, if not higher again. If every blog network on this list combined you’d deliver a media company that would potentially have enough long tail influence to be a major, multi-billion dollar company spanning 4 continents, employing hundreds (if not thousands) of people and reaching directly and indirectly to at least half of all internet users on the planet every single day. Hype? look at some of the figures in Alexa for the blogs on WeblogsInc, Gawker and the Ist network for example. Take a look at some of the other networks; Shiny is making big inroads in the UK, some of the non-English speaking blog networks are trailblazers in Europe and making big inroads. And here’s my next prediction: Jason Calacanis is potentially the next Rupert Murdoch of the blogosphere (sure without the famous war correspondent father and without being born in Adelaide but you get the drift…). The blog networks keep getting bigger and bigger and Calacanis is at the top of the pack. I can feel a flame war coming on with this, but none the less as a reader I challenge you with these facts, take out the hype in the blogosphere and look at the figures, blog networks continue to grow, continue to become more and more influential, and as a consequence blogging will change the world as we know it.

Looking For Online Revenue Bloggers – ReveNews

ReveNews is a trusted, unbiased source focusing on Internet related industries such as online marketing, SEM, affiliate marketing, retail (e-commerce), analytics, spyware, blogging and much more. ReveNews authors consist of highly respected thinkers, commentators and business people who have real experience and insight. ReveNews readers include industry gurus, top-level executives and CEO’s, plus many of the industry’s top net-repreneurs; all coming together to create a global Internet community to distribute, discuss and analyze the industry at hand.

Interested in writing for us? Applications are being accepted now.

“I was standing in line at an industry show when someone grabbed my arm and introduced themselves saying they read my blog at ReveNews all the time and wanted to ask a question. Turns out it was a senior developer from Google. He couldn’t say enough about the good things he reads on our site. Pretty cool. And a nice contact to have in the future.” – Wayne Porter, ReveNews Blogger