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Positive Blogging

Instablogs has been copping a fair bit of criticism in the past few days since its launch a week back. One of their latest posts – Why This Unfair Treatment? – takes a look at a blogger’s argument that they are spam, their latest post explains their Plagiarism episode and a post a few days back looks at the best of the criticism of their network.

I’d like to give the Instablogs team a little more unsolicited advice and feedback (if they’ll allow me to).

My impression of their main blog at this point is that they are getting sucked into the trap of having to respond to every criticism that is being leveled at them. This is something that I see many bloggers do – they get critiqued and feel the need to justify, defend, argue and explain every negative mention of their work.

While I know this temptation on a personal level (I used to get sucked into it too) I would advise all bloggers to be careful of this as it can really bring down the tone of your blog. This is what I sense is happening over at Instablogs. At the time of writing this post virtually every post (except for one that I can see) on the main blog of Instablogs has some mention of some negative aspect of the launch.

I would agree that their launch could have gone better (they definitely have needed to address some things on their main blog) but I would suggest that there is only so much negativity that people will put up with on a blog. There comes a time when a blogger (or blog network) needs to move past the criticism.

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Positioning Your Blog for a Profitable Christmas

There are 82 Days until Christmas.

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for many ProBloggers – especially those with product related sites. The number of people searching for information on products that are given as gifts as well as the numbers of people actually buying presents online leap in the lead up to Christmas – the question is – ‘Are you Ready?’

If you start preparing your blog for Christmas in December you’re probably too late. The Christmas rush starts late in November and escalates right through until the big day.

Bloggers need to take account for the fact that if they want Search Engine traffic to bring Christmas traffic that you need to think ahead. It takes day, weeks and even longer to get posts ranking in SE’s.

So how are you preparing your blog for Christmas?

Here are five areas I’ve been working on:

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ProBlogger HQ – Dreams and Realities

Someone asked me what I want for my ProBlogger Birthday. I said nothing – that was until I saw this:

Problogger-Hq

Could this be every blogger’s dream?

The reality however is probably a little more like this for many bloggers:

Problogger-Reality

Found via Gizmodo

Guide to leaving Weblog Comments

Lifehacker has a good guide to weblog comments with the following tips:

  • Stay on topic.
  • Contribute new information to the discussion.
  • Don’t comment for the sake of commenting.
  • Know when to comment and when to e-mail.
  • Remember that nobody likes a know-it-all.
  • Make the tone of your message clear.
  • Own your comment.
  • Be succinct.
  • Cite your sources with links or inline quoting.
  • Be courteous.
  • Don’t post when you’re angry, upset, drunk or emotional.
  • Do not feed or tease the trolls.

What would you add or subtract from the list?

Signatures in Blog Comments

Has anyone else noticed recently that a lot of people leaving genuine comments on blogs have also started leaving ‘signature like’ links to their own blogs at the bottom of their comments? (NB: I’m not talking about links within comments that are relevant to the conversation happening in the comment thread).

I’ve noticed it happening more and more on my own blogs but also others. I’m a little torn on how to respond.

On one hand the comments are definitely genuine, on topic and from regular readers – something I love and want to encourage. On the other hand they have an opportunity to leave their link in URL field of the blog and to leave two is doubling up.

I have no follow tags on most of my blogs so doing it has no SEO benefits – but I still find it a bit spammy and have started emailing people who do it – politely asking them to refrain from doing so but I’d be interested to see what others think of it?

14 Instant Messaging Etiquette Tips for Bloggers

One of the best parts about this blog is that it puts me into direct contact with hundreds of bloggers from around the world every week. This happens on a variety of levels – comments, email and increasingly Instant Messaging. I have my IM details on my about pages which is a great thing – but also at times a frustrating thing.

I don’t want to come across as a grump – I really do enjoy the interaction that I have with readers – but after a week where I’ve had almost 50 IM conversations with people I’ve not had contact with before I’ve decided it might be worthwhile coming up with a list of Instant Messaging etiquette when contacting other bloggers for the first time (let me emphasize that the majority of those who have contacted me this week have not inspired this post). I’ll also admit that I’m not always the best on IM – I need to learn to turn mind off more when I don’t have the time to chat.

Here’s my Top 14 Instant Messaging Etiquette Tips for contacting Bloggers:

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Travelator Blogging

TravelatorWarning – Tangent Ahead

The Travelator is a wonderful invention. There is nothing better than rushing for a flight at an airport and seeing that the long walk to the departure gate is going to be cut down by jumping upon one of these moving sidewalks.

On a recent trip overseas we were lucky enough to find ourselves with the use of a Travelator on our way to passport control at Singapore’s airport – as I used it I realized that different people used it in a variety of ways. There were basically three types of approaches that I observed:

Self Powered – The first group completely ignored the Travelator. For whatever reason – they decided that they wanted to get where they were going under their own steam. Perhaps they wanted the exercise, perhaps their destination was halfway along the travelator or perhaps they were too proud or even scared to use it.

Free Loaders – The second group saw the Travelator as a chance to take a break from walking. They rested their luggage on the ground, stopped walking and let the travelator do all the work. While I didn’t join them – I could understand why they did it – after hours on a plane the last thing you want to do is go for a long walk while weighed down by luggage.

Power Walkers – The last group of people was the group I belonged to, we got on the Travelator and walked as fast as we could. The travelator was simply a tool to double our speed and get where we were going faster than would be possible under our own power. This group not only use the power of the travelator but they utilized their own ability to propel themselves forward.

Ok – so what do travelators have to do with blogging for money?

As I’ve worked with a variety of bloggers over the years I realize that many of them fall into these same three categories. This analogy is still forming in my mind so be gentle with me – but let me explain:

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How to tell your Partner you’re going to be a ProBlogger

Chrish has posted an interesting post over at Quertyrash titled ‘How do you tell your better half you’re going to be a pro-blogger?‘ He writes:

‘Was just chatting to a friend and told her:

How do i tell my wife?!! “It’s okay dear, I’m just gunna play on the internet for a couple of years to see if i can make some money”

Somehow, I can’t see my wife going for that…’

I can speak a little from personal experience on this topic. My wonderful partner’s name is ‘V’ and she has been a massive part of my blogging journey in an indirect way. While ‘V’ has never had a blog and rarely reads any that I write – she has been incredibly supportive of me building up this business – particularly in the past 18 months. How did we get to this point? Well to be honest it’s been a bit of a journey and I would give the following advice:

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Red Cross Donation Button

Red-Cross-1

Quite a few people have asked how they can put a red cross donate now button on their blog like the one that I have in the upper right hand corner. You can simply do so by following the instructions on Brian Alvey’s Weblog.

Found via Jason