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Building Blogging Relationships – Availability and Accessibility

Two weeks ago I started a series on Building Blogging Relationships with Blogging in Formation and a post on Attitude – this week I’m going to pick up and finish the series with a few more posts.

I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago about relationships – particularly about his singleness. He’d been in a relationship for 4 years until six months ago when it unfortunately ended. As we chatted he reflected how that in the 4 years of relationship he’d become quite an insular and ‘coupley’ (his word) person. He didn’t go out to places where single people hung out and he’d spent less time with single friends. The challenge he faces is to ‘get out there and meet someone’ (his words). This means going to places that he’s not gone before, getting out of his comfort zone and meeting new people.

It strikes me that in order to build relationships with other bloggers that you need to put yourself in a position where it’ll be possible to meet them. Many of us as bloggers can become quite comfortable in the blogging cliques that we belong to – we know a handful other bloggers that have a similar interest to us and are quite content to let this be our ‘network’.

Whilst this might be fine – I wonder if we limit our potential by such an insular approach – do we run the risk of becoming a little stale? Perhaps meeting some new bloggers might bring a freshness to our blogging?

When I started ProBlogger.net I decided to get out of the rut I was in as a blogger in only interacting with a select group of other bloggers. Here is two things I did to meet some new people: [Read more...]

Choosing a Topic for your Adsense Blog

Do you remember Michael Buffington who back in Febuary started a grand experiment in blogging for dollars by starting the Asbestos Blog – a blog designed for the one intention of making money from a blog with a topic which is always touted as attracting high paying Adsense Ads?

Stephen Baker from Business Week Blog does a follow up post on the grand experiment and tracks how it fared after the initial burst of traffic from those attacking Michael for blatantly using his blog to chase a quick buck. Stephen writes:

‘Check out his site today and you see that the last post was in mid March. Buffington has backburnered it. Turns out that blogging for bucks, he says, “was really hard work.” That might be the most useful lesson his experiment leaves behind. In the initial burst of publicity, he was picked up by Slashdot and traffic rocketed. But as the weeks wore on, he was spending lots and lots of time trying to be the definitive guide to things asbestos, and traffic trailed off.

“There aren’t that many people who want to visit an asbestos site,” he says.’

It’s a good lesson for all Pro Bloggers wanting to explore niche blogging and illustrates that when choosing a topic it’s important to look for high paying keywords.

Also worth considering are factors like:

  • Will you be able to sustain writing on your chosen topic in the long term – are you interested enough in the topic to write on it every day?
  • Is there a market for your content (ie do people search for it?)
  • How many others are writing on the topic? (high paying ads tend to have a lot of competition which makes it hard to get highly ranked in Search Engines.

How to Name Your Blog

I was just checking my News Aggregator and for some reason a month old post from Strange Brand came up titled Top Ten Tips for Corporate Naming. I have no idea why it took 6 weeks for it to appear in my aggregator but I’m glad it did because today I’ve been thinking a lot about names for blogs and projects that I’m working on.

The 10 tips on naming a business are pretty good value and are worth considering for naming your next blog also.

  1. Determine How Important the Name Really Is
  2. Stand Out
  3. Avoid Generic Surnames
  4. Avoid Descriptive Names
  5. Avoid Acronyms
  6. Avoid Faux Latin
  7. Avoid Faux Latin (Cont’d): -nt Names
  8. Avoid Spaceless Names
  9. Avoid “Tech Power Synergy” Names
  10. Find Examples to Emulate

James writes excellent material on each point.

[Read more...]

How to Be A More Productive Blogger

Keith Robinson has a great post on how to Be A More Productive Blogger. He lists 13 (unlucky for some) points that he has found helpful in successfully creating content. It’s a quality list which I think would be helpful for bloggers big and small. Whilst there isn’t heaps of new thoughts for me in it I’m feeling quite inspired just reading it through. Thanks Keith – after a long week I think I needed this one. Here are his first few great points:

  • ‘Set aside time for writing (or podcasting, etc.) and stick to it. Sounds simple, but life (and work) has a way of intruding on these times. You need to hold on to your creative times at all costs!
  • Create (and stick to) a publishing schedule. I used to do this quite a bit when I was first getting started. It really helped keep me on track and motivated. Now I’ve got a loose schedule I use, but there are times when I try and plan out something more solid to help make sure I don’t fall too far behind.
  • Keep an Idea Journal. I’ve taken to having one by my bed, one on my person and if all that fails, I’ve got idea pages set up in Backpack. You never know when you’ll need a good idea!’

Keep reading this quality post at Be A More Productive Blogger

Found via Micro Persuasion.

Frequent Short Posts – A Secret of A-List Bloggers Success

Tristan Louis at TNL.net does an interesting post today which analyses 5 top blogs (Boing Boing, InstaPundit, Daily Kos, Gizmodo and Engadget) and how frequent and long their posts are.

‘The data became clearer. On that particular day, the top five bloggers created an average of 30 entries, with each entry being under 150 words.’

It’s a very interesting post and one that backs up a lot of the theory that I’ve argued here over the past 6 months. Frequent short sharp posts work on a number of levels:

  • Highly Targeted Content – A post of 150 or so words is likely to be pretty targeted on one particular topic. Search Engines love this – they know what it is about and will rank it higher on this.
  • Search Engines like shorter posts. I personally think 150 might be 100 or so words short of what is ideal for SE’s but the research shows that shorter posts tend to be dealt with better than longer ones by Google.
  • Readers like bite sized content - Research shows that readers scan content and that they rarely read things word for word. They also have notoriously short attention spans online. 150 words is easily digestible.
  • High quantities of posts = more entry points to your blog - write one long 4500 word post each day and you create 1 new page on your blog. This is one possible new entry point on your site each day that will be indexed by Search Engines, appearing in RSS feeds etc. Create 30 posts and you can see you increase the chances of your blog being found exponentially. Multiply this 30 daily posts by 365 days in a year and you start the see the potential of such a strategy.

[Read more...]

Blogging about Products

Trevor Cook has an interesting post reflecting upon one of the most highly posts on his blog – a post about ‘Gmail Not Working’.

‘it leaves me wondering whether one of the best ways of boosting traffic is to write lots of stuff about products, good and bad.’

In a sense what Trevor has accidentally found with his post is the power of the long tail and his suggestion isn’t too far from the truth of what a lot of successful bloggers are doing with their posting about products. Take a look at Gizmodo and Engadget as to big examples – both are posting specifically about consumer electronic products – each post on a different one.

Whilst they don’t post something good and something bad about each product – their model of generating traffic is obviously very successful.

It reminds me of a post I wrote months ago about a study that found that products and brand names were among the most searched for terms on the internet.

28% of all Google searches were for product names and 9% were for brand names. I guess it makes sense that if you want to tap into this need of web surfers that you actually do blog about products and brands.

Building Blogging Relationships – Attitude

In my recent post on Blogging in Formation – Lessons from a Goose I promised to write some posts on how to build blogging relationships. This will be the first of numerous posts on the topic.

Before I get straight into strategies about how to make contact with and build mutually beneficial connections with other bloggers let me suggest that a starting point is not about choosing who you want to connect with – but rather that its probably worth doing a little self analysis first. Ask yourself some of these questions:

- Do you have the time and energy to connect with other bloggers?
- Are you willing to be ignored, rejected and even abused by other bloggers?
- Are you willing to be annoyed by other bloggers that you don’t want to connect with?
- What are your motives for building relationships with others?

These questions sound a pretty negative place to start a series on relationships – but I think its important not only to talk about the warm fuzzy stuff of blogging but the cold hard reality that sometimes it can be a cruel environment and a lot of hard work. Blogging has a ‘light side’ but it also has a ‘dark side’ (use the force Luke) and its worth considering both.

Let me tackle each question in turn [Read more...]

Selecting a Niche Market for your Blog

Computer Toaster has a helpful article on selecting a Niche Market for Ecommerce (update: the link is now dead so I’ve deleted it) which whilst not written for bloggers has some useful tips on how you might go through such a process of choosing a niche for your next blog. It’s one of those ‘free articles’ – but one of the more useful ones I’ve seen recently if you’re looking for good basic information on this topic.

Update: the link in this post is now out of date – but on the same topic you may be interested to read my post – How to choose a niche topic for your blog.

Blogging Workflow – Tabbed Browsing

Matthew posts a useful little tip for bloggers who are Firefox users – he’s been experimenting with the tabbed browsing feature to speed up his blogging workflow.

My Blogging WorkFlow - I use Safari as my browser of choice and similarly use tabs in conjunction with Bloglines to speed up my blogging process. In short my blogging workflow goes like this:

  1. Open Safari – open Bloglines in the first tab.
  2. As I work through my RSS feeds if I see something of interest that I might like to post I open it in a new tab
  3. I open up to 10 tabs at a time – usually on a similar theme. ie I have a folder for each blog I write and work through them one at a time.
  4. I then sort through each item – looking at them in each tab and decide if they are blog worthy or not. I close any that don’t make the grade.
  5. With the remaining ‘worthy’ posts I then post them using ecto. Sometimes this might entail grabbing a quote from the open tab (ecto does this with one click – it even automatically includes a link back to the source) and then adding a comment or my own opinion to the piece. Other times it is piece that is totally my own content with a link back to the post that inspired it.
  6. After each post I close down tabs.

This workflow is quick, clean (I only ever have one window open) and a simple process that is hard to mess up.

Other Uses for Tabbed Browsing – I also use tabbed browsing in a couple of other ways. I have a start up/stats folder that I open every month that automatically opens up all of my statistics pages in tabs. This includes a sitemeter counter for each of my blogs, my adsense stats, some overall domain stats pages and affiliate earnings pages. I open this collection of bookmarks in tabs first thing every morning and once or twice per day just to keep a finger on the pulse. It means I only take 4 or 5 minutes to check the performance of every blog and income stream.

I also have a similar collection of bookmarks for all my blogs front pages, another one for all my income streams stats pages and another for my top 10 or so sources of information that don’t use RSS.

What is your Blogging Workflow like?