Are You Bothered When People Blog Differently Than You?

 

The problem with people stating that there is only one right way to blog is that there is never 100% consensus about which way is the right way.

This morning a friend of mine came to mind. He’s someone who often says something like, “At xyz company, we did it THIS way.” The implication is that xyz company is doing it right, and other companies are doing whatever “it” is wrong.

To my knowledge, this friend of mine doesn’t blog, but as I reflected on this tendency of his, I realized that this same type of attitude is present among bloggers.

For example:

CommentLuv vs. Disqus – there are some passionate feelings out there regarding those, and some people get downright riled up over which one you should use.

WordPress vs. Blogger—I’m admittedly a WordPress fan, but I know there are plenty of fine bloggers out there using Blogger. But some people treat those who use Blogger as if they aren’t professional, and have absolutely no sense.

Self-hosted vs. hosted – I’m a fan of hosted, for sure, and have strong reasons for believing that and will no doubt write about my reasons at some point, but why should I get upset with people who choose something different than I do?

Blogging frequency – there are a lot of possible options here, and again, some people have some very strong feelings about this, and I’ve even read some top bloggers who at least imply that you can’t be successful if you blog less than “x” times per week, with “x” often being daily.

Blog post length – Another big area of debate is how long should your blog posts be? Some say no more than 500 words, some say no less than 500 words.

I’m sure I could go on and on and come up with many more things that a lot of bloggers are passionate about, but the real point of this post is not to come up with a comprehensive list of areas of debate among bloggers, but instead to deal with the issue of thinking that there is one right way to do this or that when it comes to blogging.

Feeling like the odd man out sucks.

Why Do We Care?

Though I don’t have statistical or scientific or psychological evidence as to the why, I can’t help but think that part of the reason bloggers get bent out of shape when things are done differently than how they do them is a simple case of insecurity.

For whatever reason, it’s human nature to sometimes feel threatened when people make different choices regarding just about anything in life than we do.

To be fair, I’ll admit that sometimes people share their opinions passionately because they truly want to help other people, and though there is nothing wrong with writing about pros and cons of various options, or writing about why you chose Blogger over WordPress or whatever the case may be, getting riled up over people who make different choices than you seems to be an incredible waste of energy that you could use in a more positive way.

Should you express opinions about various things related to blogging? Absolutely. Just don’t treat people who choose differently than you like they made an inferior choice and that your way is far superior to their way.

Your Turn

Have you ever wasted your time and energy getting riled up over the way that someone else does something – related to blogging or anything else? How have you responded when people attack your way of blogging?

Do You Have Dreams of Being a Professional Blogger? [Infographic]

blogging

Are you a blogger? If so, I have a question for you:

What are you doing to make your blog stand out in the crowd?

It’s no surprise that a lot of people blog. In fact, I knew there were a lot of bloggers, and a lot of blog posts out there, but I didn’t know exactly how many. A lot is an understatement — a half a million blog posts are published every day.

Do you dream of blogging on the beach?

As a blogger, I meet a lot of bloggers. And some of them dream of making millions. And of course, some will. Or might. But not many. In fact, it’s even bleaker than I thought. As the infographic below states:

  • 8% of bloggers make enough to support a family. (Hint: that means 92% couldn’t pay for Jr.’s college.)
  • More than 81% of the bloggers out there don’t manage to make even $100 blogging.

The flip side is what many would-be bloggers dream about:

  • 9% of the people blogging make enough to support themselves, working only part time.
  • And 2% — the fortunate few — make $150K per year, blogging only an hour or two a day, while sipping Mai Tais on the beach.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dream of being a professional blogger; it just means that the road to becoming one is tough.

A Blogging Statistic That Surprised Me

Out of the 31 million bloggers in the United States

  • 38% are African American
  • 48% are Caucasian

38% is a lot, when you consider that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011, 13.1% of the people in the United States were African American, compared to 78.1% of the population that were white. Logistically speaking, that means that an African American is much more likely to start a blog than the white guy you rub shoulders with.

A bit of encouragement

Personally, I find the fact that 65% of the bloggers out there haven’t published a blog post in over a year to be rather encouraging. Why? It increases the odds of success for those of us who publish blog posts regularly.  My guess is that since you’re reading this post, you’re one of the regulars. (I hope you are.)

Blogging for business or blogging to support a business?

For me personally, my biggest takeaway from this is that though I would never discourage someone from aspiring to strike it rich blogging (they may be in the 2%), it seems that using blogging to support or build a business is a more viable financial option than blogging as a business.

Check out the rest of the blogging stats below to see if there are any other surprises.

Infographic source: Blogging.org

Your Turn

Did you find any of the blogging stats in the infographic above to be surprising? Did any disturb or encourage you? Share your thoughts below.

014: Motivational Minute[audio]: Create a Blogging Plan

blogging plan

Do you have a plan for your blog?

Hello everyone! Thanks so much for joining me for this week’s Motivational Minute. I’m your host Rebecca Livermore from professionalcontentcreation.com.

Today I wanted to talk to you about the importance of having a blogging plan. Last week’s Motivational Minute, I mentioned Fly Lady, and what I learned from her about the importance of taking baby steps. This week, I want to also talk about something I learned from Fly Lady, and that is having a plan.

She does something that she calls a control journal, and you build it little by little and through that you have a plan for tackling housework. Now, the plan does not have to be elaborate at all, and it can apply to absolutely any aspect of life, including blogging. So what I want to encourage you today is to sit down and to think through how you can create a blogging plan that will help you stay on track with your blogging goals.

I know that once you work out a plan, you’ll be glad that you did.

Your Turn

What about you? Do you have a blogging plan? Or do you tend to blog by the seat of your pants?

5 Ways to Speed Up the Progress of Your Blog

speed up the progress of your blogSo, you’ve been blogging for awhile, and not a whole lot is happening. Perhaps your traffic is low, and comments are sparse. Though it’s normal for it to take time for a blog to take off, particularly if your blog is in a competitive niche, there are some things you can do to speed up the progress of your blog.

Here are 5 Ways to Speed Up the Progress  of Your Blog

 

#1: Increase blog post frequency.

I’ve struggled a lot with how frequently I should publish blog posts. There are bloggers out there who say that you should publish a blog post every day. I struggle with that because I’m not sure I could handle that. In fact, I’m quite sure I couldn’t.

I also feel there are negative aspects to publishing a blog post every day, but one thing I have to admit is that if you publish blog posts more frequently, you’ll speed up the progress of your blog.

 #2: Network with other bloggers.

When I first started blogging, all I heard was crickets. That actually seems to be a very common problem, so if you’re hearing nothing but crickets on your blog, know that almost every blogger out there can relate to your situation.

Networking with other bloggers helped me to finally get some action on my blog. I started off with just a few friends who were willing to give me a hand by commenting on my posts, tweeting them, and liking them on Facebook.

I then got involved in a couple of other groups with like minded bloggers, which also helped tremendously. I wrote about it in this article.

#3 Use Social Media

I still have a long way to go with social media, but at the present time, approximately 50% of my traffic comes through social media. For me that means primarily Facebook and Twitter, with an additional trickle from LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Although I need to increase the amount of time I spend on social media, the fact that 50% of my blog traffic comes from social media in spite of a pretty low level of commitment indicates that social media is helping to speed up the progress of my blog.

#4: Comment on other blogs.

Commenting on other blogs is one of the best ways that I’ve found to increase the engagement on my blog, and I’ve also met a lot of great people this way as well.

Here are two tips for how to make the most out of blog commenting:

  • Select popular blogs in your niche. Though I may be interested in cooking, I don’t generally leave comments on cooking blogs, because the writer of the blog and even more so, the other readers of the blog may have no interest in my blog since it’s not at all related to cooking. In contrast, when I leave comments on blogs related to blogging, I often get traffic from other readers of the blog, since they are likely to find the content on my blog relevant to them.
  • Leave thoughtful comments. If you leave nothing but comments that say things like, “great post,” your comment may not even be published, and even if it is, it will only make you look bad. Good comments, on the other hand, give you an opportunity to show your expertise, and also add value to the blog, which will make other people more likely to want to find out more about you.

 #5: Guest post.

For some reason, I initially avoided guest blogging. I’m not sure if I was just intimidated by it or what. I used the excuse that I was “too busy,” but I’m guest posting now when I’m busier than I’ve ever been.

What I’ve found is that through guest posting, I engage with people I never would have engaged with otherwise, and plenty of people have come and checked out my blog as a result of reading my guest posts.

When everything is said and done, blogging is hard work and takes time, but following the above suggestions will help you to speed up the progress on your blog.

Your Turn:

What types of things have you done to speed up the progress of your blog?

 

What I Learned About Blogging From the Naked Men in the Trunk of My Car

 

After dropping my Army husband off at work, I made my way toward the gate of the base to head home.

There was a lineup of slowly moving cars waiting to exit through the partially closed gate.

There must be some kind of threat, I thought, as I drove slowly toward the gate.

I Need to See Your ID

Just as I was about to reach the gate, a soldier dressed in camouflage jumped in front of my car, with his hand up, clearly ordering me to stop.

A moment later, another solider approached the driver’s side of the car.

“I need to see your ID,” the soldier calmly stated.

“Sure thing,” I replied, as I reached for my purse, pulled out my military dependent ID card and handed it to him.

By Order of the Base Commander. . .

“By order of the base commander, you need to exit your vehicle,” he informed me.

I got out of the car and stood on the side of the road and watched as one soldier searched my glove compartment, and two other soldiers looked through the trunk of my car, before giving me permission to leave.

Later that Day. . .

A bit later that day, I went back on base to go to the commissary.

“Here, let me get the trunk,” I said to the bagger who had helped me to my car with my groceries.

As I opened the trunk, I gasped, when I saw stacks of photos on canvas of naked, emaciated men.

Shocked, I quickly flipped the photos over, hoping the bagger hadn’t seen them.

My Husband Had Some Explaining to Do

“Honey, why are there photos of naked men in the trunk of our car?!?” I asked, as soon as my husband answered the phone.

“Oh, those were for a Holocaust display I was working on, but I decided not to use them because I thought they might be too disturbing.”

No kidding.

And Then I remembered. . .

The soldiers who had inspected my car. No wonder they spent so much time looking at what was in the trunk.

How embarrassing.

Hidden Things

What I learned through that experience is that when we least expect it, our “trunk” may be searched, and our secrets that appear to be safely hidden away, will be exposed.

The lesson in this for bloggers is that if you’re less than ethical in the content you create, you’ll eventually be found out. And embarrassed. . . or worse.

Are any of these shameful things hidden in the posts on your blog?

  • Plagiarized Content

I’ll be the first to admit that it can be hard to come up with compelling content on a regular basis. It takes time. And effort. And there’s so much content out there already. . . why not just borrow a bit of it? You know, grab something and change a few words here and there. Who would ever know?

Hmmm. . .

  • Fabricated stories

Some bloggers write about hard things. Horrific things. Tales of abuse. Others write about inspiring things, heroic feats that warm the heart.

Blogging opens up the opportunity for everyone to share about the events of their lives, and often this sharing helps to bring hope, healing, and inspiration to others.

But some bloggers make things up.

  • Exaggerated accomplishments

The about page on your site should tell people about who you and your company are, not who you wish you were.

Though you don’t have to tell people you dropped out of high school, if that was your reality, don’t pretend to have an advanced degree.

Or maybe you won a writing contest in the third grade. That doesn’t make you an award-winning author.

It’s fine to write about aspirations, as long as it’s clear that’s what you’re doing, but in order to avoid embarrassment and loss of credibility in the future, cut the crap. Write the truth. Be honest about who you are and what you’ve done.

If you’re honest on your blog, you’ll never have to be embarrassed about what your readers might discover in your trunk

Your Turn

How have, or would you respond if you discovered a blogger you admired was less than honest on his blog?

How to Deal with Blogging Distractions

EzineArticles Cartoon

Blogging distractions. We all have them, but only some of us have overcome them. (Disclaimer: I still get distracted at times, so I’m not claiming perfection here!)

Here are a few tips that I’ve found to help me overcome blogging distractions.

 

One of the most interesting tips that I’ve come across recently for getting rid of blogging distractions was to:

Turn off the computer monitor.

 

That’s kind of like writing blind! Though it sounds a little crazy, this is a great tip if you tend to get distracted by everything else on your computer, or if you have a tendency to spend too much time editing as you go.

If you can’t really even see what you are writing, then how in the world will you be distracted by typos or by the temptation to go back through and edit everything as you write?

I haven’t tried this approach myself because from what I can see, there is no way to turn off my monitor, but as I’m writing this post, I’m making every effort not to look at what I’m writing and to just write as fast as I can.

Obviously, you’ll want to turn back on your monitor to be able to proofread your blog post before publishing!

Turn off the Internet.

 

Okay, now this I can do.  One of my biggest distractions while writing is the temptation to check my email, Facebook, and other things.

To some degree I have an excuse in that I do private client work and that is indeed how I pay my bills. Because of that, I like to be available to my clients throughout the day.

What I’ve found to be a good compromise is to spend a couple of hours in the morning reading through client emails and taking care of what needs to be done immediately. Once I have those pressing concerns out of the way, I log out of email and Facebook, and put my nose to the grindstone and write for a couple of hours.

All of my clients know how to get ahold of me quickly when needed, and so far no one has complained if I get back to them on something a couple of hours later. This makes a huge difference in my overall ability to get things done, since I’m not allowing myself to be interrupted multiple times while I’m writing.

Participate in Writing Marathons.

 

Today I’m participating in a virtual blog writing day hosted by my friend, Denise Wakeman. I plan to write about it in a future blog post, so for now I’ll just say that I’ve set today aside as a writing day, and have specific writing goals I’m attempting to accomplish during this day.  I have accountability, and times when I’m checking in with others on my progress.

Though I can’t devote all day, every day to writing, doing it occasionally is a great way for me to crank out a good amount of content in a single day. Having that content done and ready to go is a great way to get me ahead of schedule with my blog, rather than writing by the seat of my pants like I normally do.

Your Turn

What are some of your biggest blogging distractions, and what do you do to overcome them?

How To Write Blog Posts On The Go

plan your blog posts

Successful blogs start with a plan.

Plan your content first

If you’re serious about blogging you probably know that you need to have an Editorial calendar on which you plan out your content in advance. I use a WordPress Plugin called WP Editorial Calendar but you can also schedule your content on your Outlook calendar or an Excel Spreadsheet. Doesn’t matter how you do it, matters that you do it !

So when you have planned out your content, you know in advance what topics you will write about. Now you just have to find the time to do it …

Find the time to write


“I don’t have time” that’s probably the most common answer to the “Why don’t you blog?” question. Yes, it does take time to write regular blog posts. But with practice you will notice that you’ll get faster & faster.

And – you don’t need to be sitting in front of your computer, in your office, to blog. Nowadays almost everyone has some type of mobile device: a tablet, an iPhone or something similar. Take advantage of this new technology: when you’re on the train, on the plane or waiting for a delayed meeting… These are all perfect opportunities to gather ideas or write the outline for your next post

Get the right tools

As I said, you probably already have some type of mobile device. Now you just need the right applications.

Here are a two must haves:

Windows Live Writer for Windows & Mars Edit for Mac are two desktop blog editing softwares. Windows Live Writer comes with Windows for free and Mars Edit costs 39.95 after a free 30 day trial.

Evernote helps you save your thoughts and ideas and makes it easy to stay organized and productive. Read this great post from Michael Hyatt on “How to use Evernote as a Blogger”.

Write the outline on the go

blogging on the go

If this guy can find time to blog, anyone can!


So once you installed either Windows Live Writer or Mars Edit, you can easily open these programs and start writing your outline on the go. You already have the topic, since you planned that in your Editorial Calendar. Now start with the headlines, sub-headlines & then fill in the paragraphs. Don’t worry about the look and formatting, you’ll deal with that once you’re back in the office. Just focus on writing the content. If you get distracted be surrounding noise, get yourself a headset and listen to some nice music.

Finalize the post at home

Then, when you get back home, you’ll take that post and copy it into your blog. You could even publish it directly on the blog (as a draft) but I usually just copy paste. Now is the time to give your post the final touches: some formatting, adding a picture (that you saved to Evernote on the go) & proof-reading it a couple of times. And when you’re happy with the post, hit the “publish” button.

Your Turn

I’m curious: are you already blogging on the go or will you try this out next time you’re sitting on a plane or watching the kids’ swimming class ?

013: Motivational Minute[audio]: Blogging Baby Steps

Transcript:

Hello everyone, thanks so much for joining me for this week’s motivational minute. I’m your host, Rebecca Livermore from ProfessionalContentCreation.com.

Today I want to talk to you about the importance of taking baby steps with your blog. I got the concept of baby steps from a woman named FlyLady, and for those of you who don’t know, she is someone who helps primarily women who have a hard time keeping their housework under control and getting their house in shape. She introduced me to the concept of baby steps.

What that means is that she starts people off with one simple little thing that they need to do, and that is shine their sink every single day. That’s their one task they need to focus on first.

How this relates to blogging is that it’s important to take baby steps so that you don’t get overwhelmed with your blog. So, for example, your baby step may be something simple such as writing one short blog post a week and that’s all that you do until you get very, very good at that.

So just think about how you can incorporate the concept of baby steps into your blog and once you get that down, you can go even further. I know that once you do that, you’ll be glad you did.

Your Turn

Have you every allowed yourself to feel overwhelmed by your blogging goals? What one simple baby step have you done or could you do to make blogging less overwhelming?

How Blogging Will Help You Write a Successful Book

 

blogging to help your book be successful

Blogging is a great way to figure out what people are interested in reading.

Blogging is one of the best ways to write your way to a successful book. In this post, I’m not talking about  How to Blog a Book, though that is certainly a great thing to do, but rather how blogging itself can help you become a successful author.

Blogging Can Help You Fail Faster

None of us like failure, but it happens to all of us, so we may as well get it out of the way as quickly as possible!

Think about the hours and hours – often months or years – that go into writing a book. Think about what it would be like to spend all that time and then find out that absolutely no one was interested in it, or that you wrote things that were. . . dumb. You know, things that perhaps you hadn’t thought through as well as you should have, or hadn’t researched quite well enough. Maybe you were convinced they were right, and hadn’t really heard the opposing view.

Blogging will both help you to find out if people are interested in what you have to say, and will also provide some helpful criticism that may cause you to dig a bit deeper into a topic or perhaps ditch certain points altogether if you find out they aren’t really valid.

Blogging Gets You Into the Habit of Writing

The writing habit  can be hard to come by, and some people who set out to write a book never manage to get it done.

Though blogging and book writing both take discipline,  it’s a lot less overwhelming to think in terms of writing short blog posts a few times a week than it is to have an entire book that needs to be written staring you in the face.

Some people shut down when faced with an enormous task such as writing a book. Blogging is a great way to reduce the overwhelm, and get you into the habit of writing. Once that habit is developed, it will be easier to use the discipline you’ve developed as a blogger to write a book.

Blogging Helps Build Your Platform

Whether you self-publish or go with a traditional publisher, you’ll need a platform. Blogging is one of the best ways to build a platform so that when you’re ready to launch your book, it will be successful.

Your Turn

Those are just three ways that blogging can help you become a successful book author. Can you think of any others? Do you have a blog, and if so, have you ever thought about using your blog posts to write a book?

Keeping An Open Mind When Looking For and Creating Content

 

content creation keep an open mind

It’s important to keep an open mind when looking for and creating content.

In college my professors always stressed quality over quantity.  While I generally tend to share their position, in the content driven world of search engine optimization and Google rankings, there is much to be said for quantity.  Of course you want to make sure the content you produce is of good quality, but sometimes we can fine tune and refine to the point that we either give up or a time sensitive report is old news.

I work primarily in the offroad powersports industry covering events, product releases and the occasional contest or exhibition.  While I typically enter each event with a specific purpose, I try to maintain an open mind and a watchful eye for additional stories or situations that could be developed into meaningful content for my own use or for a client of mine.

By the same token, you never know what opportunity might present itself or the ensuing door that might open, offering perhaps bigger and better opportunities.  One of the most meaningful for me started as a simple highlight reel for a friend and lead to providing content for ESPN’s action sports blog.

A rather well known and recognized friend of mine called me one afternoon and expressed his interest in putting together a video clip.  He had just won a medal at the X Games (think Olympics for actions sports athletes) for his performance in a motorcycle event.  I was happy to help him though I didn’t see it going much farther than YouTube along with our personal websites.

We shot the interview which turned out to be around fifteen minutes long so I broke it up into three shorter video clips.  I realize capturing a viewer’s attention for that length of time is unlikely so I decided to create an inspiring “teaser” clip that would capture the essence of the interview and condense it to about three minutes

I was satisfied with the outcome and after uploading it to YouTube I thought I’d send it to an editor contact I had at ESPN.com.  I had been trying to open the door to contribute to their action sports blog for over a year and I thought it was worth a shot to see if it was something they could use.

Shortly after sending it I received a rather excitable reply saying that this was exactly the type of content they were looking for.  Although they wouldn’t use this particular clip, he encouraged me to submit ideas for future videos or stories that I felt might be of interest to them.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of the situation.  The reason they had declined all of my previous attempts or ideas was that I offered no credibility.  While I had dropped a few names and provided work samples, nothing was impressive enough to prove that I actually worked with some of the biggest names in the sport.  This video clip changed that and proved to him that I wasn’t just a hopeful kid with a video camera.

That simple video I put together, for free, ended up yielding great dividends in the months to come.  I had several opportunities to contribute content and even serve as an on camera host interviewing other top industry professionals, not to mention adding ESPN to my resume.

As you likely know all to well, companies are starving for relevant, current content and are willing to pay for it.  You may be an expert on a subject but if companies don’t know you exist or what you’re capable of, it’s unlikely that they’ll be seeking you out.  If you’re in the business of creating content for others and are looking for some new clients, try to be proactive in offering your services and finding out what their needs are.

Opportunities abound if you’re willing to search for them and not be afraid to take some chances.  I try to maximize every event I attend by gathering as much content as possible.  Even if I don’t use it right away, I have archives of footage and photos that can I can pull from in the future or use for other projects that might develop down the road.  You just never know when one seemingly small “favor” might turn into something huge.

 Your Turn:

Have you ever produced an article or a video that had a much greater impact than you had initially expected or opened a door that lead to even greater opportunities?