Weddings, Blogging, Intentionality and one Whopping Big Tangent

Warning: Tangent Ahead

I have a secret life.

Actually it’s not really a ‘secret’ because I’ve not hidden the fact and I have spoken of it a few times at ProBlogger – maybe I should refer to it as my ‘other life’.

It might surprise a few newer readers but for the ten years before I went full time as a blogger I was a paid Minister of Religion (Pastor).

In fact while today I’m not paid as a Minister I still perform the tasks of one in a little church that I run in a voluntary capacity called LivingRoom (which is what my LivingRoom blog is about – among other things). It’s a roll that I am passionate about and enjoy thoroughly.

As part of that job I’m a marriage celebrant. Every now and again someone form LivingRoom (or one of their friends) gives me a call and asks me to marry them – something that I love to do (although it can be a bit nerve wracking).

Weddings tend to happen over our summer – and this year I have six weddings to perform (including taking part in my little sister’s) between now and March. It’s going to be a busy season. Tomorrow is wedding number 1.

Over the past few days I’ve been putting a bit of time into the preparation of tomorrow’s ceremony – getting all the forms together, working on the order of service and preparing a short talk – my ‘words of encouragement’ for the bride and groom – something I include in all my weddings.

Tomorrow in my words of encouragement I’ve decided to talk about ‘intentionality’.

[Read more…]

How to take a blog vacation

Arieanna has posted about the options that bloggers have in what to do with their blogs when they go on holidays. She outlines four options:

1. Guest bloggers
2. Advance post
3. Write from the road
4. Announce you are going away

I think all are valid. As she mentions last time I took an extended break (a month this last June) I went for the guest blogger option – something that was a lot of work for me to set up (I had over 50 guests across my 20 blogs) but was well worth while as it kept the ball rolling wonderfully.

For shorter breaks I tend to take option 2 on some of my blogs and set some advance posts to go off once a day while away – or number 4 (announce and just leave for a few days). I guess it depends upon the length that you’re going away for and the normal rhythm of your blog.

Is Digg Traffic All its Cracked up to Be?

davak at Tech-Recipes has a great post analyzing Digg as it relates to bloggers who manage to get on the front page. For those unfamiliar with Digg it’s a social bookmarking site that I’ve written a little about previously.

Digg has the ability to send many thousands of visitors to your site if you manage to get a front page link up – but is it all as good as it sounds? Here’s some of the points that davak makes (they write more on each point at the original article).

1. Digg users do not click ads
2. Digg users do not use Alexa
3. Digg traffic does not generate new users, comments, or posts.
4. Every site on the front page gets flamed in the comments.
5. The digg effect brings in a moderate amount of traffic and uses a lot of bandwidth.
6. Digg users are more polite than slashdot visitors.
7. The digg effect is much less on a weekend.
8. The best digg post regarding a topic is not always the one that reaches the front page.
9. Digg may or may not have positive effects on your google pagerank.
10. After a site is highlighted on the Digg front page, it will start showing up in the other social bookmarking systems soon.

The interesting thing is the correlation to most of these points to most bloggers experience of getting a link on Slashdot.

The lesson is that Digg and Slashdot traffic can be a bit more glamorous than the reality. Of course I’d never knock back a link on either site’s front page – in fact if you’re smart and act quickly you can increase the positive impact that such an influx of traffic might bring to your blog.

Value Added Blogging

Steve Rubel writes about the ‘secret sauce‘ for getting corporate blogs noticed in the midst of the millions of other blogs and corporate sites out there. His advice is:

‘The short answer is, your blog won’t get noticed unless you nurture it. This means – in an ideal situation – weekly or even daily someone is pumping the weblog with fresh compelling content. But any old content won’t do. Corporations interested in blogging need to add value to people’s lives. That’s the biggest key to a successful corporate blog that keeps people coming back.’

I think his advice could be applied to all types of blogs.

Add value to people’s lives and your blog has a significantly better chance of succeeding. Add no value and why would anyone bother reading it?

So here’s the question to be asking – ‘what value does your blog add to your reader’s life?’

It’s a worthwhile question that is worth pondering for each blog you we run.

The Distracted Blogger

In my daily blogging activities I get to interact with a lot of bloggers from around the world. They have blogs of all shapes and sizes and have a variety of different experience levels. However in the past week I’ve come across quite a few newer bloggers who fit into one of the following two types of bloggers:

1. The Paralyzed Blogger – I’ve come across quite a few bloggers recently who look at the wider blogging community and are so overwhelmed by what they see going. They see blogs with beautiful design, bloggers with incredible gifts of communication, the massive traffic numbers of some of the A-listers and even the big dollars that some bloggers are making – and they get sucked into the trap of comparing their blog with others and end up being quite depressed by what they see – to the point where often they give up.

2. The Hyperactive Tweaking Blogger- I’ve also been bumping into quite a few bloggers that get so inspired by the wider blogging community that they spend 90% of their time tweaking their blog’s design, finding the perfect place for their ads, working on publicity etc that they actually become completely unproductive in terms of creating content for their blog.

(note: I’m not saying every blogger fits into one or the other of these categories – just that I’ve met a lot of them this week).

What is common to both of these groups of bloggers is that get distracted by other blogs and bloggers. The paralyzed comparisons lead them to depression and giving up while the Hyperactive Tweaker’s comparisons lead them to working on secondary items to the detriment of content.

[Read more…]

Quotes for Bloggers

The other day when I was looking for quotes to finish up my Making Money From Blogging Takes Time post I came across a heap of great sayings from famous people that seemed appropriate for bloggers.

So I thought it’d be fun to start a little meme here to see what quotes you’d use to inspire, motivate, inform or educate successful ProBloggers.

So hit your favorite quote sites and nominate your favorite quote from a famous person (your definition of fame) and leave it in comments below and/or post it on your blog.

Here’s a few to get you going:

  • “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” – Demosthenes
  • “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” – Thomas Alva Edison
  • “Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun.” – Colleen C. Barrett
  • “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Donald Kendall
  • “100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in.” – Wayne Gretzky
  • “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson
  • “The winner is the chef who takes the same ingredients as everyone else and produces the best results.” – Edward de Bono
  • “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
  • “Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.” – Marian Wright Edelman
  • “The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “Seek to understand then be understood.” – Stephen R. Covey

Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Think Before You Link from your Blog

ME “Liz” Strauss has a good post over at Successful Blog called Think Before You Link which has five factors to consider before adding a link to your blog post:

  • Does this link clarify what I’m saying here?
  • Have my readers seen this link 10 times already?
  • Is this information they will care about?
  • If the link does belong, label the link and credit the writer.
  • Will this link take my readers away forever?

Nice list. I’d add a one more thing:

  • Have I read what I’m linking to? – I suspect that some bloggers fail to do this and feeling the pressure to post high levels of content link to almost anything they find without checking to see if it’s link worthy.

Making Money From Blogging Takes Time

I’ve been reflecting today upon the long term nature of having a business that makes money from blogging.

I am regularly asked by bloggers in their start up phase why they are not earning enough money from their blogs to go full time.

While I usually can find a variety of reasons – in the majority of cases it tends to come back down to the length of time that they’ve been blogging.

Why is length of time in successful entrepreneurial blogging for money so important?

There are a few reasons that come to mind: [Read more…]

Email Newsletters for Bloggers

Wayne at Blog Business World has a helpful post on email newsletters today. One of his tips is to consider collecting subscribers to your newsletter not only on your site but also from offline sources:

‘Most e-mail newsletter subscriber efforts make the mistake of being entirely online in their marketing focus. Many more good quality names can be added through offline marketing as well. In fact, some of a business’s most profitable customers might arrive from one of many offline sign-up vehicles….

Trade shows create a tremendous newsletter recruitment point for adding subscribers. Many interested people will be delighted to join a company mailing list, especially if they have shown interest in the business’s products and services. Offering a prize, a special pricing discount, or similar incentive will also boost trade show driven e-mail subscription levels. The newsletter can supply much needed followup to trade show attendees, as an article can easily be written about the show itself. ‘

I’ve also written some tips on email newsletters which might be helpful if you’re considering an email newsletter.