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!

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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!


In Blogging, Customization is Key

December 13, 2009

In blogging, everyone always focuses on content. “Content is king,” or “Content is key,” are frequently said in the blogosphere. And that is absolutely true. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, unless you have good quality content, then you why would anyone, including you, want to read your blog? Bloggers are some of the most self-centered people that I’ve ever met. Not because they think that they’re great, although that is often a problem, but because they spend so much time reading their own blog, agonizing over their content. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I’m sure we all do it to some extent. When you’re reading it, though, I really prod you to look deep into your heart, your brain, and your soul, and ask yourself the following question: “Would I want to read this?” I know it’s a tough question, because it’s almost impossible to judge yourself. In videos, I’ve given up on it, since to me it seems like a lost cause. Content, however, is different. Just read it. See if you find it useful. If not, then why would you want to post it?

I’ll focus a lot on that in the future, but today I want to approach the issue from a different angle, an angle that says the following: Customization is key.

Looking at it from a Different Angle

Now, before you dog on me, saying things like “Oh, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” I want you to think of it from a different perspective. Imagine a door that has three locks. One of them is a padlock. Those three locks, as you might’ve imagined, represent what I consider, the three most important things in blogging: Content, which is the padlock, marketing, and the look of your blog. You need all three keys to open the door, not just one or two of them.

There are Exceptions

Of course, as always, there are various exceptions to every rule, even murder (The Boston Massacre). Blogging is no different. Yes, it is possible to get traffic and become popular without all of these three things. The only way to do that, however, is to do two of the things really well or one of the things AMAZINGLY well, which is very unlikely. Okay, if your content is really all that, then maybe you don’t need to worry about customization as much. However, I’m talking to the average blogger, and the average blogger isn’t going to have that type of content. If they did, then all of the blogs would be equally popular, but we all know that is not the case.

You Need to Compensate

If you don’t have that type of content (if you think that you do, please e-mail me your URL so I can check out the site and give you suggestions), then you need to make up for it. Did you know that the average time spent on a blog is just a bit over one minute? That is also most likely raised up by blogs that they already know and like. If you were talking about first time blogs, I’m not sure that I would even want to know the average time.

People’s First Impression Usually Sticks for a While

You probably know this, but in just over a minute, most people don’t change their impression of a blog. Usually, they’re either sold or they’re not, at least for the time being.

Where does an Impression come from?

First impressions come from the first thing that they see. If they are looking at your blog, they would see your design first. If you cannot customize your design, then how will it be something that people will want to see?

Free Webhosts

Most free webhosts, not all, do not give you much customization in your blog. Some of them, like Bravenet, my host for years, do, though I used a paid version of it, but it was very cheap. The point is that these webhosts do not give you the freedom to do whatever you want. For example, on most free hosts, you cannot put in ads. That is a HUGE disadvantage if you are trying to make money. Not only that, but how are you possibly going to make money if you can’t get anyone who likes your design, and therefore your blog?

You Need a Paid Host

Based on just that information alone, I would advise I paid host. Not just any paid host, but one that offers you complete customization and control over your blog. Granted, you will still need to know basic code, which I will talk about in a future post.

The first impression that your readers get from looking at your design is one of the most important pieces of your blog. What will your readers first impression be?

Update: I made a video on this:


Speech Recgonition Software

December 10, 2009

For weeks now, ever since I say the video below, I’ve wanted to switch to Speech Recognition Software. No, I’m not using it right now. However, it is downloading at the time that I write this. In fact, as you are reading this now, I am most likely using Dragon Naturally Speaking. In honor of my switch, here’s the popular video that explains everything that you need to know about Speech Recognition Software, by Jon Morrow:

Speech Recognition for Bloggers — The Ultimate Guide from Jon Morrow on Vimeo.


Leave an E-Mail Address on Your Blog

December 10, 2009

Hey guys, today I would like to address a small thing in blogging, but we all know that if you do a bunch of small things, they will turn into something big over time. As an example, did you know that if you write for just fifteen minutes a day, in a year, you will have written an average book? Of course, it will not be very good because it won’t be edited, but you get the point.

The “Big Thing”

People are always looking for the “big thing” that’s guaranteed to increase their traffic.

There is no Big Thing

Aside from the normal things which you most likely already know, and that I’ll be covering later on this blog, like producing good quality content, promoting your site, and making a good first impression, there are many things that you can which don’t seem like much, but will make a HUGE difference in the long run.

The Immortal Power of Bloggers

You may not know it, and you probably wouldn’t believe me, but there’s a good chance that there are people out there who think of you basically as a God. They believe that you are great, produce good content, and would love to interact with you.

Protecting Your Privacy

A lot of people, you are most likely not one of them, but a lot of people do not like people to know their personal details. I’m not talking about your name, but specifically about your e-mail.

All the Information is Out There

It may seem scary, and I’m not trying to scare you, but the truth is that with Web 2.0, anyway can find out where you live. That’s right, anyone, even a murderer. There are various websites which all they do is display all the information of people. If someone really wanted to find your information, they can do it.

Don’t Be Too Giving

As much as I know that anyone can find out about you if they want, I also believe that you should not openly give away things such as what city you live in, what your phone number is, address, etc., just so that less people will know. After all, the less creeps that know where you live, the better, right!?

Make Sure that People Can Contact You

People who like (or even don’t like) your blog may want to contact you. Not just on Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, etc., but actually have a personal conversation without anyone else reading or “listening.” This used to be impossible, but today, I would certainly have to say that I don’t know one person under 90 who doesn’t have e-mail. That’s just the way that it goes these days.

Leave an E-Mail Address

It may seem very simple and obvious, but many people don’t leave an e-mail on their blog (mine is buildingabetterblog@gmail.com). I usually think so highly of people whose blogs that I read that it doesn’t even cross my mind that I might actually be able to speak to them via e-mail. I’m starting to realize, though, that these are actual people who check their e-mail, who will write back. It’s not like they’re Michael Jackson (maybe not a good example because I’ve heard that responded to all of the fan mail that he received), but regular people like you.

People view you like that, and they will want to talk to you if they have any questions or concerns or comments. If you don’t encourage people to e-mail you, or at least talk to you in a way that you will respond, they will get annoyed, and feel like you are shutting them out. This may lead to the loss of a valuable reader, and we all know that we need as many of those as we can get!

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What is Twitter?

December 7, 2009

Today, almost everyone uses Twitter. Now that’s Oprah’s been on it, that automatically makes it popular. In fact, Oprah has a record 2.7 million followers. Even Miley Cyrus (500,000) doesn’t even come close. That may be the reason that you’ve heard of it. Maybe you even use it. But have you ever wondered: What is Twitter?

  1. 1. 140 characters per post

Twitter certainly differentiates itself from the pack with a maximum character length of 140 characters. I admit, this definitely poses some challenges, but the results of it are tremendous. It keeps people tweeting over and over again so their followers don’t miss anything, makes people get straight to the point (something most people would pay for us bloggers to do!), and it’s just different. When something that no one has ever seen the likes of before comes out, people tend to flock to it. It is definitely that way with Twitter.

  1. 2. Everyone is on Twitter—Oprah, Suze Orman, all the sports stars, etc.

I mentioned this earlier, but today, almost everyone is on Twitter. The saying ‘there’s power in numbers,’ is definitely true on the internet. The more traffic or the more people, the better. Anyone who you might want to follow is on Twitter. Soon, a baby game is now going to be linked to Twitter so babies can tweet. I can’t wait to see the results of that!

  1. 3. Fun

People, for better or for worse, love to have fun. In our eyes, the more fun, the better. Here are some fun things that you can do on Twitter:

  • Keep track of people’s lives between blog posts and e-mails—keep in touch, see aspects you’ve never seen before (Likes baseball, has a blog, etc.)
  • Get to see people’s entire lives, not just what they have time to tell you or what they think that you care about (Mowing the lawn, going to a football game)
  • Great way to make new friends—Since people on Twitter spend so much time together, they seem to create a bond. I can’t explain it, but I have definitely felt it towards the people whom I follow
  1. Easy—just type in; there’s no catch!

On some sites, you have to have a reputation, you have jump through hoops, etc. However, on Twitter, you’ll get followers quickly and it’s very easy to make tweets. It takes just a few seconds once you get the hang of it.

  1. Different ways to use Twitter

Another one of the many features of Twitter is that there are different ways to access it. Here they are:

  • Web
  • Phone
  • Almost everything has a app so that all your new activities can be automatically posted on Twitter

So, if you were wondering what Twitter was, now you know.


Twitter as a Marketing Tool

December 6, 2009

As you probably know, I have been really active on Twitter lately. And I mean really active. In less than three days on Twitter, I have already tweeted 114 times. Why do I do it?

Twitter is One of the Best Marketing Tools You’ll Ever Come Across

I know that the above statement is becoming almost a cliche, but it’s true. Aside from YouTube and maybe advertising, Twitter is by far the best marketing tool.

Why?

That is a common question, and a lot of people are skeptical about using Twitter because of it. I know I was. The reason why it’s so great is because:

1. People Love It

People really do love Twitter. It may only be the ones who work at home or on the computer or are sneaking onto it during their day-job or during the weekends, but that is really a whole lot of people. I have certainly become addicted to it, and I’m sure it’ll be hard for me to go to school tomorrow knowing that my loyal followers and the people that I follow are waiting for me to tweet and tweeting. There’s just something about getting all this useful information and piecing together people’s lives that is really fun. Maybe more importantly is that you do have followers who are waiting eagerly for you to tweet. It may seem odd, but it’s the truth. I’ll talk about how people find you on Twitter in a future post, but they do find you, and they do care about you, and there’s something empowering about that. Since people love it, they will be on it, and…

2. You are Being Followed

As I spoke about above, you do get followers. I’ll talk more about it later, but all of your tweets reach actual people, and for me the people that it reaches are more than the total visitors on this blog! I’ve also noticed that they do care about you and will not shy away from a discussion or question or concern, no matter how famous they are. When I first made my account, just a few seconds after I’d verified it, people were already following me! The word spreads quickly, so don’t get nervous if you have a lot of followers. Just pretend it’s you and the computer screen, and you should be okay. And…

3. They See All of Your Tweets

Yeah; that’s right; ALL of them. This may seem intimating at first, but if you really think about it, that really makes Twitter one of the most powerful tools possible for marketing. For example, let’s say that you’re marketing a blog. Every time something news worthy happens on your blog, you most you post it. Let’s say that you change your WordPress theme to thesis. Then, you tweet about it, giving a link to your blog.  This will dramatically increase your traffic because…

4. These People Really Do Care About You

I know that I’ve already touched on this, but I’ll touch on it again: The people following you really care about you. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but I know that I feel the same way about the people that I follow. Maybe it’s because we spend so much time together wasting time (LOL). Maybe it’s because we have enough conversations to be good friends. Maybe it’s because we basically live together. It’s probably a combination of all three, combined with the fact that I’ve never met a mean person on Twitter. That’s not to say that they’re not out there, because I’m sure they are, but if you spend any amount of time on YouTube, you’ll know that they’re a rough crowd. Twitter is nothing like that, but instead has an extremely fun atmosphere. If you provide a link to your website and these people see it, chances are good that they’ll click on it. Now, they won’t all click on it, because not a lot of people are on Twitter 24/7, but those who do see it probably will.

You can probably see by now that the more traffic you have, the better, especially if it’s from a Twitter follower. Follower’s also tend to take into account more your life and are more kind about your blog than people whom you don’t know. Better yet, if they like your blog, they will be sure to check out every link that you have, subscribe, and most likely retweet, since they already use Twitter.

Twitter is certainly a powerful tool if you use it right, and it’s also one of the many things about technology that’s really, really, fun!

Update: I made a video on this: