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20+ More Bloggers to Watch: The Readers’ Choice

It’s been nearly a month since Bloggers to Watch in 2013 was published. We had a fantastic response, including some compelling recommendations via the comments section and around the web.

Telescope

Image courtesy stock.xchng user saavem

This post presents all the bloggers that people have highlighted over the past few weeks.

Mark Richards

If you want to read a genuinely very funny Dad blogger then you can’t beat Mark Richards.  The blog has only been live for about three months but it is fast getting a strong following in the UK. It’s a mix of current posts (Mark’s kids are all teenagers now) and flashbacks to when they were younger and the only thing he had to worry about was whether they’d eat their carrots. Highly recommended to all parents.

via Charlie Plunkett

Matthew Woodward

Jacob King loved Matthew Woodward.  He said:

Guy is a beast. Teaching so much about link building some of his stuff I don’t even want to share.

What do you guys think? Have you ever come across a blog so good that you wanted to keep it a secret?

Tsh Oxenrider

I’d also include Tsh Oxenrider of Simple Mom. She’s been around a while, but I’m always eager to see where she goes next.

from Tara Ziegmont

Wellness Mama

One blogger I really enjoy is Katie from Wellness Mama. She’s a health and nutrition blogger, but does a great job of getting readers involved with her posts.

via Shea

Christopher Foster

“An older blogger who is an accomplished and wise writer. He blogs regularly at The Happy Seeker. I highly recommend checking him out!”

via Dave Rowley

Bianca Jade

She’s a fitness fashion trend expert and women’s active lifestyle blogger. Bianca is the creator of MizzFIT.com where people can find fitness fashion and health & wellness news. She’s truly inspirational and empowers women to work out, feel sexy and how to live an active, and strong life.

via Emily

More suggestions

Alison Elissa Horner had some great suggestions:

I really like Brooke Castillo’s blog. She doesn’t post super regularly, but her simple, direct posts remind me of this quote.

“In a room where
people unanimously maintain
a conspiracy of silence,
one word of truth
sounds like a pistol shot.” -Czeslaw Milosz

I’m also a fan of Jenny Shih’s blog.  She has thoughtful posts and tips for being an entrepreneur. She’s an excellent teacher because she walks you through new ideas step by step.

Mara made the following recommendation:

Three women, including myself, were asked to speak as we’ve each had great success in less than two years. We’d love for you to check us out:

Therese from the Unlost had a couple of interesting ideas:

She highlighted her move-lah concept has an idea to encourage people to take action: “All my products are payable– in full or in part– with “Move-lah,” the world’s newest form of currency, which is designed to help people move and take action on the concepts they’re learning.”

She also recommended Nicole Antoinette as a “smart, witty, and, well, funny” blogger.

Eden Riley, one of this year’s bloggers to watch, recommended we keep an eye on Karen. She said that the blog was:

one of the best and beautiful blogs ever, written by buddhist monk and mother Karen Maezen Miller. Run to her words—I did.

R Siemienowicz recommended that we check out…

…the visual diary of photographer, illustrator and author Garance Doré. He said she has “the best and most genuinely arresting voice among #fashion bloggers.”

I recommend you read her recent article where she explains the philosphy behind her blog.

More lists

There were also three useful blog posts curating interesting bloggers:

Over to you

No list post can ever cover all niches and communities. Bloggers vary widely in age, race, and gender. Having said that, there were two types of bloggers that people sought recommendations of:

  • examples of Asian bloggers
  • bloggers aged over 60.

Do you know of any interesting bloggers in the above demographics? Or do you know of a niche/community that you feel isn’t represented enough in the wider blogging community?

Let me know in the comments. It will help shape the type of bloggers that I feature here throughout this year.

The Dos and Don’ts of Weight Loss Blogging for Beginners

This guest post is by Karol K.

There’s a popular trend on the internet these days among people who have taken upon themselves to lose some weight. I’m talking about starting a weight loss blog.

The idea in itself is perfect. You get a place to document your progress, talk about the things you’re doing, get additional motivation by interacting with other people through comments (also great for getting additional tips from them), and finally, you’re making your journey public, which is sure to improve your success rate all by itself.

There are some problems, though. The weight loss blogging space is really heavy on purely promotional sites, deceptive sales messages, or even scams desired solely to earn some quick money.

All this makes it really hard to build a credible brand that stands out from the crowd.

That’s why I decided to create this quick tutorial to show you some things you can and should do ASAP, as well as other practices that are better left alone—unless you want to be mistaken for a spammer.

The light side of the force

Before I get to that, let me take a minute to list some people who do this the right way. Here’s the light side of the force (so to speak), just as an example on how weight loss blogging should be done.

  • MindBodyGreen.com: MindBodyGreen was founded by Jason Wachob, Carver Anderson, and Tim Glenister—all wellness experts and enthusiasts. Their team is one of the best in the business. From top yoga instructors to wellness gurus, and weight loss experts, there’s something for every interest and ability level on this blog.
  • NowLoss.com: A very successful blog in the weight loss niche by Andrian Bryant. NowLoss.com now helps over 1.5 million monthly visitors look good naked by losing weight, getting curves, and/or building muscle. NowLoss.com is the #2 weight loss website in the world behind commercial giant Weight Watchers.
  • WorkoutsForHome.com: In her blog, Susan invites us to join her in Operation Awesomeness and lose weight fast, right from home. She is here to teach you everything she knows about becoming awesome…
  • Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat: A blog founded by Rebecca Regnier—an Emmy-winning television journalist and author of “Your Twitter Diet,” available on Amazon. The blog’s mission is to teach you how to lose weight in a way that’s suitable for you individually (whatever weight loss steps you take, Rebecca supports you).
  • A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss: A blog where you can join Erika in her journey from 330lbs to personal trainer. Everything she shares comes from her personal experience. An great blog with lots of personal touches.

Now, let’s focus on how you can join the ranks of these quality weight loss blogs.

Do use your own name and personality

These days people don’t have that much trust reserved for websites talking about weight loss. With so many poor affiliate blogs around—blogs publishing low quality content purely to promote other products through affiliate links—you never know who’s for real and who’s in it just for the quick buck.

One of the common things such marketers do is that they never use their real names. Instead, they showcase some lame brand name, like LoseWeightTacticsBlog, or something.

The easiest thing you can do to differentiate yourself from this crowd is to prove that you’re a human being by using your real name. Then, go one step further and display some actual photos of you (either taken by you or your friends; nothing too professional-looking).

When your audience sees your face on the blog, they will know that you are a real human being who genuinely cares about the content they publish.

Don’t promise

Whenever you want to endorse something (a product or service) be careful about promising any kind of results. This is something spammers do every day. They publish loads of promises, great looking success stories, and even fake before-and-after pictures.

People are very careful now when it comes to believing any sort of promises. Whenever you say that something will bring massive results you’re immediately becoming suspect.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t endorse anything. But do it only when you are absolutely sure that the product is of great quality. You have to experience the results yourself, otherwise you won’t be believable.

Do pick the right name

This is about the name of your site.

Now, you can take one of two possible paths here:

  1. Get a custom domain at godaddy.com (or some other registrar) and your own hosting account.
  2. Register your blog at wordpress.com and get a free subdomain.

Both approaches have their pros and cons. The first one is obviously more expensive. You have to spend $10 a year for the domain, and around $6 per month for hosting.

But what you get in exchange is better credibility and a more serious look from the get-go.

The second path is quick and cheap. You can set up a new blog within minutes, but its address will end with .wordpress.com.

This is up to you, but make sure to go with a good name. Whatever you do, don’t make it seem spammy. For instance, WeightLossTacticsBlog is spammy. MagicWeightLossToday is too. LosingWeightWithKaren is not. There’s no rule of thumb here. Always go with your gut feeling.

The consequences of getting this wrong can be serious. If people see your blog’s name as spamm—as a hidden marketing pitch of sorts—they won’t believe a thing you’re saying.

Do build credibility

As I said before, trust is the rarest commodity in weight loss blogging. If people don’t trust you, they won’t listen to your advice, and might even find it hard to believe your stories.

There are some ways to boost your believability rate, so to speak, and your trust:

  • Use your real name and display pictures of yourself (already discussed).
  • Try storytelling and sharing personal insights. This is where you get to describe genuine stories that are taking place in your life (related to weight loss, obviously). People love stories, and it’s the ultimate way to prove that you are real. If people can relate to what you’re saying, they will surely pay attention. Make every post you publish personal to some degree.
  • Display trust elements. “Trust elements” sound fancy, but what I mean is quite simple. Whenever other website mentions you in one way or the other, put their logo in your sidebar and label it “Websites talking about me” or something similar. The point is to prove that other sites see you as a real, credible person. If you don’t have any of those yet then don’t worry, the day will come.

Don’t talk only about good things

One of the main giveaways that we’re dealing with a weight loss marketer rather than a real person is the fact that each post only touches upon the positive side of things.

As in life, in weight loss, too, there are good and bad days. Good and bad products. Good and bad people.

You can create much additional credibility when you share a message that’s not that positive, but is still 100% real.

Only the strongest people are able to share a negative story and be confident about what they’re saying at the same time.

Don’t use too many ads

Advertising is the most intuitive way to monetize a website. Essentially, I’m not against advertising. If there is a possibility to earn a couple of bucks from your blog then I believe you should take it.

However, be careful not to make your blog overloaded with ads. Such situation will bring your credibility down very quickly. Just one block for AdSense ads (or any other provider) in the sidebar is really enough.

Do publish only real reviews

You can skip this if you’re not planning on publishing any reviews. If you are, keep reading…

The main problem with reviews online is that a big chunk of them is simply fake. Every day countless marketers publish reviews of crappy products without even having those products in their possession.

This is especially visible in the weight loss space where, as we all know, there are hundreds of products available … pills, diets, training programs, training equipment, DVDs, you name it.

That’s why if you’re going to write a review, you should remember a handful of things:

  • Always list the bad sides of the product (there surely are some).
  • Provide pictures of the product taken by you (or better yet, pictures of you using the product if that’s possible).
  • Get in depth to the core benefits the product delivers.
  • Don’t quote any of the information from the product box or the official website.
  • Give an honest final opinion.

Do publish different types of content

Most of the time, spam-bloggers publish only simple 400-word blog posts providing no actual advice. You can differentiate yourself pretty easily by looking at the topic of blogging much more broadly.

Some examples, besides the traditional blog post:

  • Your progress update. If you’re on a weight loss program yourself then you can share your weekly progress updates. I guarantee that your readers will love those.
  • “Meal of the week” or something like that. Provide a complete recipe.
  • “Task of the week.” This is where you can set a goal for the week and update your audience on how well it went. For instance, your goal could be to exercise at least 20 minutes a day.
  • Interviews. If you can have a talk with someone knowledgeable about a given weight loss-related topic, your audience will surely be glad you shared this.
  • Reviews, as discussed above.
  • Off-topic posts. This is where you get to connect with your audience more broadly, by sharing something that’s not related to weight loss, yet still relevant to you as a real person.
  • “Ask the readers.” This is where you ask a question and your readers respond through comments. Then you can round up the most interesting answers and publish them in another blog post. You have to have a big enough audience to make this work, though.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think about using a blog as a way to document your weight loss story? Are you a weight loss blogger? What tips and advice can you share?

Karol K. teaches how to save on the popular Flex Belt, and discusses the basics of TRX training (learn more). He contributes articles on fitness training, working out, and losing weight in general. He also enjoys writing occasionally for WeightLossTriumph. He’s a fan of healthy living and being in shape no matter what. In his personal life, he proves that one doesn’t have to struggle to be healthy.

Partnering With Another Blogger: The Complete Guide

This guest post was written by Yoav Vilner of Ranky.

“Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”—Hellen Keller

If you are a genuine pro blogger, then I shouldn’t waste your time explaining just how important it is to co-operate with your competitors.

It’s been mentioned around here over and over, in so many different variations.

It’s crystal clear how beneficial a blogging alliance would be for you: you can grab your partner’s traffic, social followers and social signals in return for letting him or her borrow yours.

Sounds like a treat, doesn’t it?

But much like trying to produce a mega-successful content marketing campaign, most of us can see the benefits in doing it, yet can’t put our finger on just how to get there.

This tutorial won’t toss reckless slogans in the air; it will turn you into a partnership expert, and teach you how to ignite that one relationship that could change your blog forever.

We’re all human

Your first and most basic takeaway from this piece of content should be to understand that we’re all human.

I am not going to drive you into bugging big shots on Twitter just for the sake of equality, but try remembering that even Pete Cashmore started off as a one-man-with-a-laptop-show, blogging about his passion, before unleashing his brilliant networking skills and creating the empire known as Mashable.

So you might not see the point of re-tweeting his keynotes from where he’s standing now—you’ll just be another fish flapping around the gigantic ocean, right?

But just for fun, imagine if you offered him a fascinating opportunity for co-operation right before Mashable’s big breakthrough.

Imagine you’d messaged him when Mashable was still a medium-sized blog, seeing a mere 10,000 visitors a month, only to get the green light: “Sure man, let’s do this!”

Where would your blog be today?

Remember: don’t be afraid nor shy to address bloggers who you might think are bigger than you. Our blog has an overall of 12K adorable social followers; do you think that it could keep us from partnering with a blog that carries an audience a third of that size?

Don’t research

Hear ye, hear ye! I hereby deny the research phase of finding your future partner! Read all about it!

Logic says that if you are blogging right now, it’s probably because you have followed blogs for at least a year, and have developed an appetite for blogging.

You’ve done enough “researching” when Googling for popular blogs, finding the ones that captivated you and made you follow them on Twitter—or better yet, contained posts that you shared to your Facebook buddies and tried creating discussions about.

They taught you all you wanted to know about your niche, whether it be social media marketing or deer hunting, and made you dream about becoming a blogger yourself one day.

You can’t think of two or three blogs that captured you right from the start? Then I would suggest you hold on to your blogging dream for the moment, until you become a more active follower of the blogosphere.

After all, you wouldn’t go and open a restaurant if you’d never actually had dinner in one, right?

I’m not writing this tutorial for people who plan on sending 100′s of automated Emails to all the blogs in their niche, but to a lot more focused bloggers.

It takes two to tango

So you have in mind a few blogs that you fantasize about partnering with.

Now, most of the blogging alliance articles online consist of tips on how to address that future partner of yours.

I find them to be completely useless. We aren’t in second grade, and we don’t need anyone to teach us how to compose an email.

I can summarize 100,000 words that I’ve personally read about writing a winning email to these obvious pointers:

  1. Make it personal: no “Dear Sir\Madam.”
  2. Prove that you are an actual follower of the blog: state just what value the blog has provided you so far, and which articles within it actually made you think.
  3. Get to the point quickly: no story-telling!
  4. Remind the blogger that it takes two to tango, and both of you should benefit from the partnership.

I just saved you hours of reading these tips in many different variations. The truth is, you don’t even have to follow them! Just remember one simple rule: be honest.

In a world dominated by one search engine, we all know Google rewards bloggers for being honest with their readers, but tend to forget that actual people can reward us even more for keeping it real.

Points of partnership for a blog the same size as yours

So you emailed the blogs that you dream of partnering with, and one of them replied asking for more details.

Great! Already you have showed more progress than 80% of people who do it wrong and don’t get a single reply.

Now, you need to elaborate on what you had in mind. Let’s take a look at the most popular ways of co-operating with a blogger.

Writing content for each other

I’m going to start with the most obvious idea, just to get it out of the way.

Google wants to see that your site is ever-growing content wise. Meanwhile, we are all very busy, lazy, and constantly seeking inspiration, and that’s where some co-operation could help out.

Though writing your own stuff is the only way to earn your crowd’s trust, just imagine how great it could be to have your partner-blogger help you out with your writer’s block and the content gaps that appear when you’re not able to write for a few days.

He’ll write an article from his angle, and once it’s up he’ll promote it to his social followers for you.

Then, when he gets stuck the next time, you’ll help him out the same way.

Both of your blogs’ readers will appreciate the diversity—sometimes it’s quite refreshing to read someone else’s opinions when following a single-author blog.

While you use your content to brand yourself as an expert in the field, uploading articles to the partner’s blog will get your “brand” in front of a new group of readers.

After exposing them to your name for the first time, you’ll start writing for the other blog on a monthly basis, say, and they will slowly realize that you know what you are talking about.

Social co-operation

We all need social signals on our articles.

They increase the chances of getting the post to go viral, they expose thousands of people to your headline and thus to your site, and in overall they just make your content seem more believable. (Would you believe an article that has been re-tweeted twice, or one that has been shared 200 times?)

Other than driving traffic, social signals have a direct affect on your site’s Google Authority, as Google started measuring these metrics in its algorithm.

If you have 2,000 social followers, and your future partner has 1,500 social followers, this would be a perfect case for a social alliance that will help you both cross the 3,000-4,000 line just by sharing each other’s stuff.

Assuming you both have social bookmarking profiles, use Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon to bookmark each other’s posts. Use Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to share your partner’s articles to your own followers.

Not only will you help him reach more readers, but that way you can get his article to be indexed by Google much faster and help it rank higher for its keywords.

A bonus benefit of a social co-operation is that most of us share our own content 90% of the time, without realizing that a better practice would be showing our followers that we aren’t a bunch of boring narcissists—we are also open to other people’s opinions.

Remember: making your partner’s blog socially stronger will directly make your own blog stronger!

Comments

It’s not enough to socially adore your partner’s blog: it’s also important to light up discussions within it.

It takes only one real comment on a post to ignite a viral discussion, and agreeing that you will both start or contribute to discussions on your articles can do wonders for your blog’s traffic and engagement levels.

This is social proof at its finest.

If you’re traveling and you need to decide whether to have a coffee at the empty place in front of you, or the packed place next door, you will probably choose the one that has the crowd.

Customers bring more customers, and the same goes for comments.

Make a rule to leave a genuine comment on each new post your partner writes, and you will see the results for yourself.

Mentions

This is my favorite idea, and it comes in two forms: backlinks and Thank you pages.

Backlinking to your partner’s relevant pages from within your new articles can do wonders for their Google rankings, and you can also benefit when they return a link.

Just remember to keep it clean and natural, as Google’s Penguin update from last August has massively increased the search engine’s ability to identify unnatural and low-quality reciprocal linking patterns.

The other kind of mentions that I like are those that come through Thank you pages.

Your readers get (or at least should get) to a Thank you page after they register, login, subscribe to your newsletter, or perform any other desired goal.

Imagine how beneficial it could be for you and your partner if you mentioned each other’s blogs as a recommendation each time a user completes such a goal.

Points of partnership for a blog that’s bigger than yours

Blogs that are at a higher traffic level than yours will likely need a lot more convincing to agree to an alliance offer.

After all, if you’ll be tweeting their content to 1,000 followers, while they’re tweeting yours to 30,000 followers, it can be difficult to see what they’ll get out of the partnership.

It’s important that your points of partnership are unique, as the bigger a blog gets, the more similar requests its owner will get per day.

Offering a free service

Do you have expertise besides blogging? Great!

Use that expertise to offer the bigger blog free services in exchange for a blog partnership.

You will naturally have to donate more time and effort at the start of the partnership, but when you’re calculating long-term ROI, both sides can gain much from this alliance.

Are you a graphic designer? Throw in a few free graphics to save the partner’s cash when they’re designing their next landing page. You know solid SEO? Awesome: make them a nice SEO report for their site at no charge.

The list goes on: you could be a social media expert, a mobile App developer, or even a t-shirt provider.

The bigger your partner blog is, the more you should be willing to provide at no cost in return for an alliance.

Volunteer to be the blog’s editorial assistant

If you got a reply from a blog that’s significantly bigger than yours, you might want to consider volunteering as an editorial assistant.

If they go for it, you will save the blogger a load of time answering to guest post requests, editorial emails and different kinds of inquiries. You can be the one answering all the guest posters, supplying them with the guidelines, and making sure their submissions are up to par before passing them to the editor.

Extra benefits

So you’ve started co-operating with another blog, and you’re doing great. You get twice as many social signals, your traffic has jumped and your brand is growing beyond your wildest dreams.

The good news is that it doesn’t end here.

Life is unpredictable, and you could end up running into amazing business opportunities just by forming a simple online alliance.

If you and your partner come up with a really creative partnership or a mutual product co-operation, it could be so newsworthy that it gets picked up by major news outlets in your niche—and that’s when you’ll see some serious traffic spikes.

If you and your partner blogger are both social media experts, and your alliance has earned you both more business leads, you might come to the conclusion that there’s something to it, and start a new business as real-life partners.

If you have been volunteering as an editorial assistant for a massive blog for a few months, gained their trust, and shown that your own blog is also growing, your blog might be acquired by theirs—giving you the chance to earn more money from the deal than you ever imagined.

Last but not least, partnering with a blogger can earn you what money will never buy—a new best friend.

Have you got a blogging partner? Tell us how you work together in the comments.

Guest post was written by Yoav Vilner, co-founder of Ranky.

Don’t Let Your Brain Destroy Your Blog Business

This guest post is by Steve of thecodeofextraordinarychange.com.

The U.S. General Accounting Office has estimated that purchases of equipment by the military that feature new technology are delivered on time and on budget just 1% of the time.1

The worldwide scientific community has agreed unanimously that human activity on planet Earth is responsible for climate change, yet more than half of the people in the U.S. remain incredulous.

In 1964, the front page of The New York Times declared the detection of the afterglow of the big bang, finally settling the question of how the universe came to be.  Or so you’d think.  Even thirty years later, proponents of the “steady state” theory—the idea that the universe has always been around and didn’t start with a big bang—still believed in iterated versions of the steady state theory rather than the big bang.2

In the UK, half of the population believes in heaven, but only a quarter believes in hell.

The common thread that links each of these facts is this:

People reject evidence where it doesn’t support what they already believe to be true.

Your brain, the painter

Your brain is pretty clever.  It doesn’t know everything and it knows that it doesn’t know everything, so it’s become incredibly efficient at painting a picture of yourself and the world that’s based on limited, incomplete and inaccurate data.

It does this without you even knowing what it’s up to, presenting your conscious mind with a complete picture of “how things are” and “who you are” that’s been composited together from different visual cues, memories, and emotions, then Photoshopped to add sunshine and a lens flare.

This mechanism helps you select, filter and even create evidence to support your own beliefs.  It also inflates your own competence and feeds the belief that you’re in control and “right.”

Social psychologists call this motivated reasoning, and recent research using FMRI brain scans shows that when you make a logical, objective assessment of what’s in front of you, it is in fact anything but logical and objective.

When attempting to objectively process data that’s emotionally relevant (such as starting a business, creating a service or marketing yourself), your limbic system lights up and your brain automatically weaves in the things you want, dream, admire, crave, and desire.

When information enters your brain that favours those things you mark it with an A. “Looking good,” you say, patting yourself on the back.

And when information enters your brain that doesn’t favour the way you want to see yourself and the world, you mark it down to a D-.  “I’m not going to listen to that nonsense,” you say, congratulating yourself for being smart enough not to be duped.

Your choices are not so much based on fact and logic as they are centred on who think you are and what you really want.

Who’s calling the shots?

This automatic deception is normally one step ahead of you, having you do things you wouldn’t do if you knew the real cost.

It’s an in-built defence mechanism that purges the uncomfortable, painful or contradictory information that threatens your core beliefs, even if those same beliefs aren’t serving you well (such as a belief that you’re not good enough, not up to scratch or less than others, for example).

It can have you making a decision about your business based on your desire to fit in.

It can have you wasting your energy on something that your brain tells you will get you lifestyle you think you want, even if you don’t really want it.

It can have you investing time and money in a new project to gain the validation your brain craves.

Letting your brain automatically call the shots is what might ultimately kill your business.

The antidotes

Luckily, there are two antidotes to the unconscious biases created by motivated reasoning.

1. Rampant curiosity

It’s hard for assumptions about yourself and your business to remain unchallenged when you’re asking the right questions.

Ask questions about what’s fun, resonant, playful, daring, meaningful, silly, and important, and be willing to explore your own undiscovered country.

2. Deliberate awareness

Asking questions can open doors that give you valuable insights, but you can only step through those doors and hear those insights when you foster a deliberate awareness and ‘fess up to what you find.

So, notice.

Notice how you’re feeling when you’re making choices.  Notice the thoughts in your head related to your circumstances, business offering, and value.  Notice the thoughts you have about how you feel about what you’re doing.

Motivated reasoning will always have you dancing to the same ol’ tune; well-worn steps that hide the truth, constrain your growth, and ultimately limit your business.

So don’t let your brain make decisions on your behalf that you wouldn’t make while keenly awake and aware.

Wake up to it. Rampant curiosity.  Deliberate awareness. That’s where your success lies in 2013 and beyond.

References

1. Ross Buehler, Dale Griffin and Michael Ross, “Inside the Planning Fallacy: The Causes and Consequences of Optimistic Time Predictions”, in “Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgement”, Cambridge University Press, 2002. Cambridge Books Online. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511808098.016

2. George Smoot and Keay Davidson, Wrinkles in Time: Witness to the Birth of the Universe (Haper Perennial, 2007) 79-86.

Steve is a confidence coach who helps you find your natural confidence so that you can put your dent in the universe – which basically means doing what really matters to you in ways that work for you.  He also likes smiling, and likes this picture of a happy horse.  See more of Steve on Twitter and Facebook.

7 Old Post Revival Techniques You Won’t Believe You’re Overlooking

This guest post is by Ahmed Safwan of To Start Blogging.

Do you have hundreds of posts in your archive?

Most of them receiving a big zero in traffic?

You aren’t the only one who has this problem. Most of the bloggers, even pro ones, have this problem. That’s why this post was created.

Your old posts can generate additional visitors for you. Let’s see how.

1. Create internal links

You’ve heard me talk about internal linking before. This is because it’s very important.

When you link to your old posts, you are giving more value to your readers and also to Google itself.

You will be able to get traffic to your old posts, decrease bounce rates, increase average time on site per visitor, and increase your rankings. All this from just linking to your old posts!

So, whenever you write a new post, remember that your old posts can also give value, and link to them in your new post.

2. Update your old post and republish it

Do you notice how CopyBlogger republishes some of its old articles from time to time?

Doing this will let you catch a break, and also get a raft of traffic to your old content while making sure that content remains current over time.

3. Spread it on social media

Social media can also send more traffic to your old posts. Tweet more than one post each day, to get the best results.

As well as scheduling tweets for the upcoming week, see if you can’t theme your old post tweets around events that are happening in your niche, or the world in general. Depending on your topic, a post you wrote six month or a year ago may provide an interesting coutnerpoint or reminder for readers.

4. Create a follow-up post

Maybe you have an old post, but something has changed around that topic. Great: create a follow-up post that shows what’s changed since you wrote that old post, link back to it, and you will get traffic to it as well.

This can be especially effective if there are valuable comments on the old post, and you can pick up on those in the new one. Tactics like this, which weave the posts together, give readers a solid reason to look back at the past post.

5. Use a “related posts” widget

When your readers reach the end of a post, they want to know what to do next. Show them related posts from your archives. This revives your old posts and provides more context and information to your readers.

Remember, they can be your loyal readers forever, so always try to provide them with the content they need. Your archives should be chock-a-block with it!

6. Use cornerstone content

Do you have a number of posts on a similar topic? Create a single post that contains all of these posts, as a one-stop resource for your readers.

This way, you’ll get more traffic from search engines, and show your authority on this topic—which can only help build loyalty among the visitors you help.

7. Link to your old posts in an email series

Last week, I received an email from Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. It’s an email that’s sent to all new subscribers after a given time, and in the email, he was promoting an old post. What a great idea.

Create autoresponders to send weekly to your new subscribers. In these emails, you can include links to your old posts and relevant tips. This is a great way to create a richer relationship with your new subscribers.

Do you have any other ideas?

These are the common ways to promote your old posts. If you have another idea, share it in the comments!

In addition to being a successful blogger and a talented freelance writer, Ahmed Safwan is on a mission to help bloggers who want to succeed build the blog that can help them to do so. If youíre one of them, check out his blog for more Blogging Tips that Help you make money.

7 Reasons Your New Blog Visitors Bounce, and How to Stop Them

This guest post is by Christian Schappel of Progressive Business Publications.

The last thing you want is for people to land on your website or blog only to immediately hit the Back button.

The vast majority of the time, it’s an avoidable scenario. Something on the page turned the visitor off to make him or her move on to another site.

To find out how likely your site or blog is to drive visitors away, consult this list of the top eight blunders that spark abandons and see if your blog guilty of any.

Your blog requires browser plugins (from the start)

Making visitors install new software just to access your site is the biggest turnoff of them all. From the time a person lands on your site, you’ve got about four seconds to connect with them, or they’re gone. Four seconds! That’s never going to happen if they have to install a plugin.

If you have to require a plugin to show off a product—or to satisfy a web designer’s lust to show off his or her creativity—don’t require it on a landing page.

Make sure your content gets visitors interested before you start making demands.

It asks for a browser upgrade

Unless someone’s using a browser from 2004, they should be able to view your content without any major problems.

It’s great that you’re on the cutting edge, but requiring a browser upgrade not only keeps you from connecting with visitors in four seconds or less, it sends the message that you’re not compatible with them. It also tells them they’ve done something wrong.

Test to make sure your site renders well on most semi-modern web browsers.

It auto-plays multimedia

Ever landed on a site that automatically started to play music and not reached for the volume controls to turn it down?

Music, sound effects and video that play automatically trigger people’s instincts to hit the Back button—even if just to spare those around them from the noise.

If these elements are vital to your introduction, add a button that says, Click to listen, rather than just assuming visitors want to hear them.

It presents long-winded introductory copy

Of course you have to explain what you do, but at a certain point your introductory copy begins to have a negative effect.

That point is at about 100 words.

Large blocks of gray text look daunting, and people would rather move on to the next site or blog than read a novel about what it is you do.

Even at 100 words, you’ve got to break copy up into bite-sized chunks.

Then make sure you use bullet points to make the rest of your website and blog copy scannable and easy to digest.

Finally, don’t be afraid to use short, one-sentence paragraphs.

It doesn’t provide full contact details

Three things that need to be on your site/blog, without question:

  • a phone number
  • your email address
  • a full postal address.

If the first page visitors land on is missing one of these, it gives them the impression that you’re hiding something. They begin to think, “Why don’t they want me to call or email?”

Bonus: Search engines love to see each of these elements on websites and blogs. They’ll improve your organic search ranking—especially for local searches.

It displays old dates

Your site or blog may have been built pre-Y2K, but it shouldn’t look like it.

Check the bottom of your pages. Do any say copyright 2011? If so, it’s time to update.

The only places dates 2011 or older are acceptable are buried deep in your blog or news feed.

Keeping an old copyright date tells visitors you’re asleep at the wheel.

It’s full of dead ends

Horizontal rules and separators, changes in background color, and even too much white space reduce scannability.

Remove anything that disrupts the flow of your blog. You don’t want anything to disrupt a visitor’s train of thought.

You’ll also want to check that each page of your site or blog links back to the homepage and contains navigation buttons of some kind. Pages that lead to a dead end and fail to include navigation options result in abandons.

Is your blog guilty of any of these issues? Do you have high bounce rates? Tell us in the comments.

Christian Schappel is the Editor-in-Chief of The Internet & Marketing Report newsletter, which is published by Progressive Business Publications (PBP) to provide marketers with news, research and ideas to help them increase revenue. Connect with PBP on LinkedIn.

3 Lessons for Bloggers, Gangnam Style

This guest post is by Ali Zia Khan of http://zedblogger.com.

The PSY Gangnam Style video: you watched it … but missed some key points about blogging.

That’s right, blogging. As bloggers, we can learn extremely useful lessons from things that are unrelated to our topic.

Yesterday, I listened to the song. Replayed it, and replayed it again. I kept listening to the song for around half an hour.

Why did I keep listening to the song? Was there a marketing trick hidden in it?

I did some research and discovered three aspects of Gangnam Style which can be applied to your blog.

1. Innovate

Innovation was a major reason for my addiction to the song.

I’d never seen anyone getting inspiration from horse-back riders, and turn it into a dance move. That move is completely new, and people love new.

Look at your blog. Look at your competition. Is there a difference between you? When you are the same as others, how can you stand out of the crowd?

Innovation takes effort, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Focus on doing something extra that can be loved by your readers. Yes, you will have to think hard, but if your mind is caught by the right idea, you will be on fire like Gangnam style…

2. Never take anything as insignificant, even if it’s small

Another big cause of Gangnam Style’s popularity is Gangnam itself. Gangnam is a city in Korea which is not big. People never proclaim that they are from there. But now, everybody wants to be from Gangnam, and to have Gangnam Style. It’s a case of the small thing gone big.

Most of the bloggers follow the big trends that are mostly created by the top blogs in their niche. Yes, those topics might be trending, but there is problem: everyone is writing about the same topic, so it’s difficult to get attention by writing on it.

If you start writing about something else that is given little importance, you have the chance to create a new trend in your industry. This also leads back to innovation. The more innovative your idea is, the better your chances are that it will go viral.

3. Inspire the influencers

PSY was not a big pop star before. The thing that took him to that position was the fact that he inspired the influencers in the music world, who spread it all over social media.

You made an innovation. You’ve spent time thinking about it and developing it, but now you’re wasting that effort by keeping it limited to your blog only. Step outside your blog! Tell the big names in your niche. They might like it and tell their audience, too.

In a nutshell: you can learn a lot of things from the famous song Gangnam Style including the importance of innovation, never under-estimating the power of small things, and the potential to inspire the influencers in your niche.

Tell me now. Have you learned anything from Gangnam Style?

This guest post is by Ali Zia Khan who gives blogging tips on his blog. Recently, he also started a guide about starting a blog and his eBook is launching on 20th February.

Blogging in Brief: Ebooks, Print Books, Conferences and More

From what I can tell, most bloggers are off to a flying start this year. Lots of great discussions going on on social media, and some interesting plans in the works for many…

Launching an ebook in 2013?

If you answered “yes” to that question, take a look at this post from Shayne, who helps me with both dPS and ProBlogger products.

This post contains some key issues that I think most bloggers probably don’t look at in detail before we launch an ebook. We’re so excited to get our products out there that we could, unwittingly, be undermining their success.

Shayne looks at the issue from a really strategic viewpoint in this post. I hope it helps you!

Blogger in print … and on tour

Congratulations to Matt Kepnes, who’s released a print book through Penguin: How to Travel the World on $50 a Day.

This is another great example of what can happen when you build a strong brand and following online. If it’s something that interests you, take a look at our guides for becoming a print book author:

Not only that, but Matt’s heading off on a book tour of the States during February. So if you’re in a city he’s visiting, head down and say hello—he’s published the tour dates on his blog. And tell him Darren sent you!

Conference planning 2013

We announced this week that this year’s ProBlogger Training Event will be held on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. But we’re not the only ones to have released conference details recently.

7 Practices That Make You Look Like a Rookie Blogger

This guest post is by Lior Levin.

One of the main reasons why any company or individual starts a blog is to demonstrate expertise and professionalism while courting new leads and customers. So failing to customize your blog or to learn some basic website management practices could do more harm than good. Here are seven rookie mistakes to avoid on your blog.

1. Using a common, unchanged theme

There are plenty of free, high quality website themes that you can use with a blog CMS such as WordPress. You don’t have to stick with the default website theme your blogging service provides. In fact, you really shouldn’t, as there are plenty of rookie bloggers who leave their themes unchanged.

Instead, use a unique, professional theme and then add your own custom tweaks or hire an HTML company to customize it for you.

2. Low-quality stock images

Whether you use a free service like Stock Exchange or pay for an account with a premium service, using high-quality stock images with your posts will help set your blog apart from the competition. If you use watermarked, blurry, or irrelevant images with your blog posts, no one will take your website seriously. While a great image can’t save poor content, a bad image can discredit great content.

3. Poorly aligned images

Even if you do manage to add high-quality images to your website, you also need to learn the basics of aligning them with your text properly so that the text wraps around the images and the images don’t crowd into the sidebar. It’s not hard to modify images, but before you hit Publish, make sure you preview your posts to make sure the images appear in the correct position relative to your text. A blogging program such as Windows Live Writer makes cropping, resizing, and aligning images easy.

Most of the time, you’ll want to align your images to the left or to the right at the top of your post, but if your columns are narrow for your main content, you could resize your image so that it runs across the whole column.

4. Meta information in your sidebar

When you first load up your new blog, you may see a “meta” information section with links to the blog’s administration panel and feed. This is unnecessary. You should include the link to your feed at the top of your blog and bookmark the login page on your own browser. Blogger Brankica Underwood writes, “There is absolutely no need for that widget to be in your sidebar or footer, leak link juice, and confuse people.”

5. Large chunks of paragraph text

One of the most important tips for blog readability is to avoid large chunks of paragraph text. No matter how good your ideas may be, you’ll look like a rookie if every blog post has enormous chunks of unbroken text.

Blogging is not the same as English composition in college. Keep your paragraphs short, use bullet points, and incorporate sub-headings when you can. All of these simple practices will make your posts easier to read and make you look like a competent blogger.

6. Neglecting your pages

There are two essential pieces of information that every website should have: an About page and a Contact page. Missing either of them will make you look either unprofessional or disorganized—that is, besides simply making it hard for readers to find the information that many of them want to know.

If you add a new page to your website, but you don’t have time to fill it in completely, there’s no problem with writing some “placeholder” copy, such as “More information coming soon.” Just make sure you follow up and fill it in.

7. Spam comments

Depending on the blogging service you use, spam comments may become a problem on your blog that could make you look bad. That doesn’t mean you should inundate your readers with hoops they need to jump through in order to comment—such as illegible captcha phrases or requiring readers to register in order to comment.

By adding a professional comment management service such as Disqus, you’ll filter out the spam comments and make it easy for readers to both leave comments and to follow up on the discussion. In fact, the advantage of Disqus is that it notifies commenters of replies so that they are prompted to return to your blog.

Get a handle on the basics

While it’s incredibly easy to start a blog, it’s even easier to manage a blog poorly and to discredit yourself and your business in the process. By integrating some basic blog management tools and learning how to use them effectively, you’ll be able to use your blog to effectively build your online reputation.

Lior Levin is an adviser to startup that created a passbook solution to follow credit card charges. Lior is also and advisor to firm that offers a shopping cart abandonment tool for ecommerce websites all over the world.