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Random Blog Tips – Big Fish, Small Pond Blogging

I just checked my email and found three requests from readers to have a look over their blogs and offer some tips. I’m happy to do this from time to time for free – but am unable to do it individually for everyone in depth without having to charge a bit of a consulting fee (mainly due to the numbers of requests I get. So I thought without mentioning the blogs who’ve asked for help (I don’t want to cause any offence or embarrassment) I thought over the next few days I’d write a few random tips that come to mind as I’ve surfed each of them.

Define Your Niche

The temptation when you first get into blogging is to write everything that comes into your head whether its about the movies you’re seeing, what you’re reading in the newspaper, your work, your latest techy toy etc. Whilst this might interest you and give you plenty of posting ideas it actually can make it difficult to write a profitable blog for a number of reasons. These include:
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Seven Tips for Blogging Your Way to a New Job

Debbie Weil over at Marketing Profs writes a good article on Seven Tips for Blogging Your Way to a New Job. She writes quite an extensive aricle – but her main points are:

1. Start with a topic you’re passionate about
2. Concentrate on shorter, more frequent entries in your blog
3. Let your authentic voice emerge
4. Use correct grammar and syntax (no misspellings allowed)
5. Purposefully organize the content of your blog
6. Post a new entry at least once a week, preferably two or three times a week
7. Include your key contact information on your blog

Its a good list not only for bloggers looking for a job out of their blog – but for other bloggers whether they are blogging for money or not.

I’d especially echo her call for shorter and more frequent entries. Long rambling entries are a mistake that I see many beginner bloggers making the mistake of going with.

Of course this will depend upon the topic you choose – but in most cases people are not looking for major essays when they surf the internet – rather they are looking for specific information on a specific problem, opportunity or question. Often this can be provided very quickly in a short post. Keep it punchy, on a single topic and to the point.

Read Debbie’s full article at Seven Tips for Blogging Your Way to a New Job

How Many Posts do you Need in your Archives to earn Money from Blogging?

Someone asked me just now -‘how many pages do I need on my blog for it to earn $XX.00s per day?’ Its a pretty common question and one that I’m going to tackle below – but first let me ponder another related question from Thomas who in my recent call for feedback on this blog asked:

‘Is there a direct and predictable relationship between the total income of a blog and the total number of blog posts?’

Its a good question and one I’m sure I’ve talked about before in my archives somewhere – but that I’m happy to write a little about again.

I’m going to generalize terribly here and give you a very short and blunt answer to your question Thomas – and I’ll expand upon it some more for those who want to journey with me some more on it.

The Short Answer – My generalized answer is ‘yes’ – I do believe that in most cases there is a relationship between the number of posts on a blog and the income that it currently generates.

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On ‘When to Post’ to your Blog

Just got a good email from Chris from Passive Digressive with some good questions in it. I’m about to duck out now so can’t reply to him at this moment – but thought I’d open up one of the questions for discussion to see what you my wonderful readers think. Feel free to answer it below in questions from your own perspective. Lets learn together. Chris writes:

‘I’m curious as to what you think about *when* to post.

Typically I’ve heard that it’s best to post near the beginning of the week to make it more likely that your post will be read. This implies that the blogosphere has a sort of weekly “pulse”. The closer to the weekend you post, the less likely your article will be read seriously. What are your thoughts on this?’

Over to your expert opinion fellow bloggers.

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How to Write Compelling Blog Posts

There is a good basic post on How to Write Compelling Blog Posts over at Marketing Profs. Nothing particularly new about it but a good place to start if you’re new to blogging and want to have a primer on how to write more effectively. Here is a taster.

‘Writing blog posts and comments on blogs is actually very simple. The basic guidelines: keep your copy lively, factual, tight, clear, short and search engine optimized.

Here are basic blog style guidelines to follow:

Adopt a direct style. Declarative sentences are good. Web readers demand them.

Link like crazy. One thing that distinguishes blog posts from dead-tree journalism is that bloggers link prodigiously….’

Read more at How to Write Compelling Blog Posts

Duplicate Posting and Free Articles = Duplicate Content

I’ve noticed a growing trend among bloggers who have multiple blogs to post the same post numerous times in different places.

I can see why such a practice might seem tempting:

  • it cuts down the work you have to do (two for the energy of one)
  • it increases the chance of your post being read by readers
  • if you’re making money from your blogs it double’s the chance of earning a dollar from your work

For these very reasons I’ve entered into duplicate posting in the past also. It just seems to make sense to get your material out there in as many places as possible doesn’t it?

Unfortunately whilst duplicate posting might have some of the above benefits it is also worth counting the cost of such a strategy. Duplicated posting might double the chances of your work being read, but it also runs the risk of getting you in trouble with Google. You see they don’t like duplicate content – content that appears in different places in the same basic form. They warn about this in their guidelines to webmasters.

‘Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.’

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What you can learn about writing Blogs from Infomercials

Search Engine Guide has an interesting post on – what you can learn about writing web copy from Infomercials. Whilst I’m not really sure I’d want my blogs to look too much like the infomercials we get here in Australia (they tend to be a laughing stock and very tacky) perhaps there is something to be learned. Here are the main points written about in the article. What do you think?

  • Define The Problem.
  • Deliver Your Solution.
  • Explain the Benefits, Not Just the Features.
  • Have a USP, or a Reason Your Company is Different.
  • Use Calls to Action Liberally Throughout the Copy.
  • Repeat the Key Phrases Frequently.
  • Target Your Audience for Best Results.

Read more at What You Can Learn About SEO Copywriting From Infomercials

The importance of the Scoop in Blogging

This week is a very busy week for me. Both in my general life but also my blogging. In particularly the blogging side of things is pretty hectic as there is a trade show happening in Orlando where all the major digital camera manufacturers unveil their newest models for the year ahead. Last year saw 60 or more cameras released in a couple of weeks and the indications are that this year will be similar.

As the editor of a Digital Photography Blog this means life is about to get a little crazy. Press Releases are hitting my inbox every hour or so, I’m scanning the manufacturers sites for pre release information and mistakenly early released information for new cameras and accessories. Of course I’m not alone as all the other digital imaging sites are jostling for position to see who can be the first to post the breaking stories.

You see there is a few reasons why its good to be first.

1. Prestige – its great to be able to say you were first to post information on a new camera or that you broke the news on something that no one else knew about. This actually does your site some good in the PR stakes. Digicam enthusiasts respect you if you’ve got your finger on the pulse – plus it feels good.

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The Importance of Good Headlines for RSS

Poynter Online has a great post about the importance of having a good headline in your RSS feed.

‘But what do I do with headlines like “Dramatic change” (which turned out to be about a change in the government’s attitude toward immigrants) or “An unfinished story” (this deals with the U.S. inauguration). And these are just a couple of random picks from a Norwegian feed I read last night. Both those headlines belong in a newspaper or on a website, where there is room for a picture and a blurb. They have no place in my RSS reader. Or in my mobile phone’s WAP reader. Because I can’t even make up my mind if I’m interested.

With RSS and WAP, more and more journalism relies on headlines alone. So they better be good. And they better be informative.’

This is so true. I’ve actually done some tracking of the most popular posts on this site for those reading my RSS feeds and have noticed that it is usually the simple, clear and informatively titled posts that get the most hits. Yes occasionally I’ll get a little clever, humorous and cryptic and come up with a title that tries to be intriguing, witty or mysterious – but more often than not the simple ones do much better.

Of course I show the first few sentences in my RSS feeds also (not that everyone chooses to view them) so your opening line is also vitally important to getting people to read on.

I’ve touched on this topic previously in a number of posts includeing:

- Titles are Everything

- Get to the Point

- Blogging for Change – Rejection to Attention