Finding Time to Work on Your Blog/Site

February 28, 2010

The other day, we looked at whether or not you have time for blogging. Now, we’ll look at some ways to find some extra time if you just don’t have the time (again; the time I gave yesterday was just a rough estimate that should not be used for any purpose in actually blogging, as there is no set time).

  • Get up Early (rather than going to bed late)—Getting up early instead of going to bed late can be very helpful. There are many distractions when people are up that aren’t there when they’re asleep.
  • Blog While You Eat—Of course, don’t take too much time away from your social life if you’re not comfortable with it, but eating at the computer can give you a bunch of extra time. Doing it during a lunch break at work is one of the best times.
  • Use Speech Recognition Software while doing Trivial Tasks—While doing trivial chores that don’t take much work or effort (such as making a bed), you can use speech recognition software to work on blog posts.
  • Develop Posts during Free Time at Work—A good time to develop posts in your head is during free time at work. I don’t recommend slacking off, but in times when you’re done and just sitting there, you may want to think of some ideas in your head; just be sure to not cross the line and do all that you always do at work; except during your breaks.
  • Take Notes—Choosing a blog niche that you do regularly is the best possible choice (it’s always very good to know what you’re talking about in the topic, or your blog won’t be useful) and tons of ideas could be found by taking notes on things such as problems you have and how you fix them.
  • Cut Out the Fat—Don’t cut down the quality of your life too much, but, for example, if you like blogging more than watching TV, then you could use some of the TV time and blog. It’s a matter of prioritizing.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at how often to post. To get the post quickly and easily in your feed, subscribe to my RSS!


Do You have Time to Blog?

February 27, 2010

Yesterday, we examined whether a blog or website is better. I said at the end that if you have time to blog everyday or every other day, then you should have mainly a blog, because they’re much easier to leverage than just a static website.

We’ll get into why that is tomorrow, but here are things to consider when deciding if you have enough time:

  • Writing Articles—No whether you post long posts infrequently or many short posts, to be successful, you’ll have to write posts for a minimum of about an hour to an hour and a half a day with all the idea planning, editing, etc. Some of the top bloggers spend somewhere around two and a half hours a day, but that’s not necessary in order to be successful. Of course, without posts, no one will want to read your blog.
  • Promotion—Do think “magic internet dust” is just going to fall down from the sky and direct people to your blog? In the 90’s and maybe even early 2000’s, it was possible to submit to all the search engines, directories, optimize your posts, and do all sorts of things to get ranked in search engines and get lots of backlinks. Nowadays, though, it’s much harder to this. The search engines have gotten a lot smarter, and all the backlink schemes are a thing of the past. Of course, getting backlinks from people who like your blog is one of the best ways to get traffic, but you need people to read your blog in the first place for that to happen by social networking. The minimum would probably be around forty-five minutes, although two hours would be ideal.
  • Comments—If you do things correctly, your blog should get feedback from readers. Moderating these and answering them (something I strongly recommend), will take about twenty minutes in the beginning, although can grow to significantly more if you’re blog becomes at all popular. Luckily, there are many tools to cut down on this.

To build your blog, you’ll probably have to spend around two hours a day at the minimum. Do you have time for that? It all depends on how much you’re willing to give up for blogging (Do you like blogging more than TV? Can you do it during your lunch break?). Having a website will probably take more like an hour a day, but remember that the rewards are far less.

Tomorrow we’ll look at six great ways to get more time. To get the post delivered to your RSS Feed, subscribe to my feed!

Note: Just because you spend two hours a day blogging does not mean you’ll be successful. You cannot just sit down, blog for two hours a day, and expect to be successful. It does not work like that, and it will be different for everyone. Two hours is just a rough estimate to see whether you have enough time; do not use it in any other context.


How do I get a Blog?

February 26, 2010

Earlier today, we took a look at what a blog is and whether you should you use a blog or a website.

If you’ve chosen to blog, then great; this will be a good tutorial; if not, there are many tutorials on how to build a website out there.

How do I get my own Blog?

Getting your own blog can be exciting, and you may want to rush through, but please don’t; because there are many things that need to be taken into account before deciding where to host it.

Blogger?

Blogger is a free service set up by Google that allows to create a blog in seconds and begin posting.

The problem is that all you do is post; you can’t optimize and get ranked in search engines easily; you can’t change your design or look very much; and you will be a sub domain off of Blogger, which is very unprofessional (note: I realize this blog is a sub-domain, and I am working to fix that).

Basically, Blogger is the worst.

WordPress?

WordPress is the base which pretty much all bloggers host their blog on. Why? Because WordPress allows you to customize your design, layout, optimize your blog easily, handle comments; really do anything you want.

But it isn’t the best option.

Self-Hosted WordPress

When you self-host something, it means you host something on your own domain. Although it costs about $100 a year with everything, I strongly recommend it.

  • Domain—Having your own domain is a powerful thing. On a sub-domain, the company which you’re hosting it from can take it away from you. But when you own your very own blog, no one (aside from the government) can take it away from; as long as you pay.
  • Customization—While you get a fair bit of customization on the free version of WordPress, it doesn’t compare to that of a real domain, where all the design controls are at your disposal.
  • SEO—SEO stands for search-engine-optimization, and it involves playing by the rules of the search engines to get ranked higher. I won’t go into the details here, but when you host something on a free domain, it won’t allow you to do very much to improve your ranking, while on self-hosted, it’s simple.
  • Plug-Ins—Plug-ins are awesome installations provided by WordPress which allow you to make your blog much better. The awesome thing; almost all of them are free.

This is my opinion on blog platforms. I realize there are many others such as Movable Type or TypePad, but Blogger and WordPress are the big ones, and the ones which I have used, so I wanted to address those. Tomorrow we will examine on what server to host the domain.


Blog or Website?

February 26, 2010

Earlier today, we took a look at what a blog is. Now it’s time to see whether a blog or a website is right for you.

Which is Easier?

A lot of people make the argument that a blog is easier to use and set up, which I don’t personally agree with; there a lot of websites out there that allow you to create a website quickly and easily; without having to know HTML or CSS.

In fact, I think a blog is harder to run.

Why?

Creating a static website and setting it up will take longer in the beginning to get all your content out than it will to make a post on your blog.

But on a blog you’re posting all the time.

To make all of these posts will take a serious time commitment.

Blog?

Because of the pleasure you get from hearing feedback from your readers, because you’re posting regularly you’re giving more value, and because the blogosphere is really a great place to be, blogging is a lot more fun than having just a website.

Besides, writing a post regularly should be fun if you choose the right topic.

Website?

With a website, the only real advantage is that it won’t take as long to run it.

My Opinion

I believe that you should have both a blog and a website.

The reason behind this is that when you have a website, you’re already delivering a lot of value, but when a blog is all you have, you have to be posting almost like a madman to get anyone to pay attention to you.

If you have a website and launch a blog on it, you won’t have the pressures of posting a lot because you already have great information on your website, but you’ll still get all the perks that go along with blogging.

2 Create a Website is a good example of this.

You

If you can post everyday or every other day, then it isn’t necessary to have a website, and in that case, I probably wouldn’t recommend having one, because the leverage you can create from a blog is amazing, but that is a challenge for most people. It all depends on your schedule and how much time you can put in.


What is a Blog?

February 26, 2010

I remember a time (way back about a year or two ago) when I was unaware what a blog was.

The idea of a blog caught my interest greatly, and I was actually inspired to start one because of how helpful Henrik Edberg’s Positivity Blog is.

So I did what you should do: Turn to the “big-name” blogging sites.

The Problem?

The problem for me was that although the tips on those sites are almost always very useful, they didn’t teach a base understanding of what a blog is. They were throwing around all these terms like SEO, WordPress, Thesis, article marketing, Adsense, and I had no clue what they were talking about; I didn’t even know what a blog really was!

What is a Blog?

A blog is a website that teaches people how to do something (personal blogs are also out there) through regular articles called “posts.” This would be considered a post.

A blog also should have a design that allows people to navigate easily (this blog’s is not amazing; but it gets the job done), static pages that give more in-depth coverage on the topic, often videos and e-books.

What’s so Great About a Blog?

I used to have a website (this was back about four years ago) that was very popular; a few thousand visits a day, but I found a blog much more fun.

  • Interaction—On a static website, there isn’t much interaction between the readers and the authors, but on a blog, when you’re posting regularly, you get feedback through the comments also regularly. This helps build a strong connection between you and your readers
  • More Information—Because you’re posting everyday, you can give more information, and keep your readers more informed with something called “feeds.”
  • Perks—As bloggers, we get to be a part of tons of great blogging communities, through very supportive people. We also get to use things like Twitter and Digg which wouldn’t really matter as much on a website; the possibilities are endless.

A Blog or a Website?

That’s a short list, and I’m leaving much out, but an important question you have to ask yourself is: “Should I create a blog, or a website?”

No Right or Wrong

There’s really no right or wrong answer here, because both are great. You get tons of traffic either way, and they have separate advantages. I’ll talk about that later in the day.


Your Blog Name Decides Who Your Blog Is

December 20, 2009

Many of you may treat your blog simply as a blog. And before you all say that chickens are flying, the world is coming to an end if a blog is not a blog, I admit that, technically, a blog is a blog. We should all keep that in mind in our normal life, lest we spend too much time on our blogs. Even if you work full time on it, I would still advise you to not let your blog control your life, but instead control you blog. However, I am speaking from the standpoint when you are working on your blog.

A Blog is More Than Just a Blog

People, maybe you are including, treat their blog as if it doesn’t really matter, they don’t really care about their content, etc. It’s just a blog, after all.

However, if you want to be successful, and if you don’t want to be than I strongly suggest that you quickly navigate away from the page and turn to something that interests you, since I only want to give you content that is useful. If you are wasting time with something that is not useful, we are simply losing time.

In real life, I concede, a blog is a blog. It’s silly, irrelevant, etc., unless your blog is extremely useful, in which case you probably shouldn’t be wasting your valuable blogging time here.

On the internet, though, a blog is EVERYTHING. As Darren Rowse points out in this video, you may be on other sites, called “outposts,” but you are judged by your “home base” which is your blog. It is what you are known by; your reputation, your position on the internet, and more directly affecting your life, your income.

Your Blog Title

Your reputation is what drives traffic to your site. If you have a great reputation and are well respected, then people will probably check you out. However, if you have a bad reputation, then why would anyone waste their time?

Yes, a lot of that reputation stems from your content, and that is the most important thing, bar none. If people like your content, though, and tell other people about it, they will most likely mention the name.

Imagine if someone told you to visit a blog about blogs called aBlog. While it may be a creative name, in my opinion, people won’t take you seriously if you don’t have a good name.

People Judge a Book by It’s Cover

I know that it is repeated all the time to not judge a book by its cover. However, as human beings, we always have an opinion. For example, if you saw a book cover which was blank, you would probably not want to buy it. If it had an awesome title, however, a cool picture, you might want to buy it.

You are Selling a Product

Even if you are not physically selling a product, you need to think of your blog as a business, as if you are selling something. Your blog is the product. If you saw a commercial which advertised a product called “cheesy cheese,” would you buy it when you wanted cheese? I didn’t think so. People go to the internet because they want to have fun and value. If your blog title isn’t good, then people will most likely be running away: There are plenty of blogs with great titles, just as there are plenty of products with great titles. Even if you have great content that people are raving about, there are plenty of sites like that. People will flock to the good names and the bad names will be left in obscurity. You will never become a HUGE success.

So, what do you want to be remembered for?

Update: I made a video on this.


Choosing a Blog Title Series

December 14, 2009

Hey guys, if you’ve ever started a blog, then you may be able to relate to the following experience:

You’re at your purchase, excited for your new blog. You’re already thinking of ways to customize it, make it better, dreaming up post ideas, etc. And then, you come across something in the form that stops you in your tracks: Blog Name.

People often get scared when they have to choose a blog name, because they know that it will define their blog, set them apart from all the rest.

In fact, I have noticed that it doesn’t really matter how good your content is if you don’t have a good title.

For example, imagine if Darren Rowse’s fabulous site, Problogger.net (insert link) was called something totally different, something really bad, let’s say ABlog. Most likely, no one would want to read a blog with such a lame name. However, since his name is good, relevant, etc., he uses that to leverage his blog when he’s advertising it.

It is a tough decision, so I’ve decided to make a series of posts about how to decide your blog name. I will put the links as they become available, good luck!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.