I’ve got an interesting thread started at Blog Herald on an interesting topic that should be of interest to Probloggers: Is Blogger the worst free blogging service? that some readers might like to contribute to, but I’d like to add a little here. As a “Problogger” I’ve got to say that I’d NEVER set up a serious blog on a free service. Why? it’s a matter of control. If you are serious about blogging you’ll want to be sure that forever more you’ll have 100% control over your blog and will not be dependent on Google for your hosting. Every time I see a commercial or “Pro” blog launched that uses Blogger I cringe. Don’t get me wrong, personally I’ve always thought highly of Blogger and there is no argument that the service has played an important role in popularising blogs. But in business I wouldn’t risk my time and money on a third party where I’ve got no control over the hosting and future direction of a site, particularly if your site was on a blogspot.com domain. Using a free blogging service, even with Google behind it, is always a risk. I’ve got mixed responses on the actual service, as you’ll see from the post at the Blog Herald, but my advice: if you are serious about blogging you won’t host your blog on a free service.
It’s very tempting to try and sell ads yourself—afterall, since you do all of the work why shouldn’t you get all of the ad revenue? Other than DIY programs like Google AdSense, I suggest that you let someone else take care of ad sales. There are a couple of reasons:
- If you hire a (good) professional, they are bound to be better at selling ads than you are. You could probably blog circles around them, but they can outsell you with their eyes closed.
- Separation of church and state. By this I mean the editor of the site isn’t the one collecting ad dollars. There’s a separation (though a loose one, you still have the final say over advertising deals) between your site’s content and its advertising. You wouldn’t want your newspaper’s writers also selling the ads. No investigative reporting would ever happen!
Since this is a comission business, your representative has it in his/her best interest to sell the highest dollar amount.
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...]
Sometimes being a pro blogger means being a sole blogger, but that’s not always the best cawe. Try and bring in other contributors from time to time to shake things up and provide another voice for your readers.
If you can’t afford to pay people, that’s not always a problem. Writers need exposure, something that you can offer for free. This post itself is an example of unpaid writing, I decided to write it because I consider Darren a friend and I want to further the helpful relationship we have. In the future if I need a guest poster, I have full confidence that Darren would be happy to come to my aid.
Having multiple voices on a site helps equal out bias and stylisic monotony. It’s also nice to get a break :).
For sites that deal with products or time sensitive information, it’s a great idea to go back and edit older posts to reflect new information.
For example, you may post when a product is announced and again when it ships. Search engine visitors might come to your first post in droves (perhaps it was linked to quite a bit), even after the product has shipped. Adding a small note that the product is now shipping, along with a link to your newest post is a great way to both increase page views and increase the satisfaction of your visitors.
Real life example – Samsung P207
I doubt anything I post will ever be picked-up by Slashdot, but I have hopes of being Slashdotted someday. I imagine it’s like a number of great things in life – watch what you ask for, you may get it. Having a traffic jump on the magnitude a big blog like Slashdot can drive your way sounds nice, but you likely need a plan to make sure you and your host doesn’t bend to the point of breaking.
A few lessons, if a blog gets slashdotted its wise to turn OFF comment moderation straight away if you have it on, you wont be able to keep up. more…
Are there more lessons to learn? Any tips for those of us fortunate enough to have a fire hose of traffic pointed in our direction?
For every single post I write, including this one, I write it first in MS Word and save a copy in a common folder on my computer. I do the same for almost every comment I leave in the blogosphere. My thought is two-fold…if I loose everything on my site, I still have all that I’ve written and with Google desktop search, I can search everything I’ve written as reference for future thought and posts.
Do any of you do the same or anything similar?
This may seem kind of obvious. But you’d be amazed at how difficult it is to get in touch with many business or pro bloggers.
There have been a couple of instances where I’ve wanted to suggest stories to people I read, and I haven’t been able to get in touch. Once I wanted to pass some work on to someone, and I couldn’t find his email address!
I know the whole refrain about spam-bots. There are ways around it. You can encode your address, or your could stick it in an image. Even simpler, do what many do and spell your address out like so: peter at theblogstudio dot com.
Stick your contact info somewhere obvious. I used the footer on The Blog Studio as an easy, always available piece of real estate.
What do you think? Am I missing something? Is there a reason people don’t want to be contacted?
You should decide early into your pro blogging what style standards your site will adhear to. It looks sloppy to switch styles between posts. If your site has multiple authors, a written style guide is a must-have.
- Do you use the first, second or third person when talking about your site?
- Are media sources italicized? (e.g. MobileTracker)
- How to credit sites
- How to link to sites (e.g. inline or at the end of the post)
- Image sizes and alignments
- How quotations are denoted
- How updates are denoted
By developing a series of standards, your site will appear much more professional without any extra work. After your standards are set, go ahead and slowly work on updating your archives… Visitors from search engines likely still visit older content and will benefit from the consistency.