I recently received an email asking me what to do when a blog post or some part of your content is “stolen” and used by another blogger. In this case, my reader assumed the website was a spam site and she wanted to get the post removed right away. Here’s my response to this reader’s concern about their content being stolen…Read More
There are a lot of ugly, sad, pitiful, and homely blogs out there. Not exactly breaking news, right? Today, there is no excuse for a blog with a poor design, cheesy clip-art, or bad images. Your blog design should illuminate and enhance the message you are trying to convey to your readers. Here’s a few quick tips that will help you evaluate the visual appeal and design of your blog.Read More
At some point, most bloggers experience boredom or burnout. It’s hard to get motivated about new content. You haven’t posted for a while and you start making excuses to your audience. Maybe you get jump-started several times only to turn around and, once again, it’s been three weeks since you posted. Writing has become the last thing you feel like doing. The necessary tasks of blog maintenance are falling to the wayside. Things don’t seem to be happening for you so the enthusiasm factor is low, low, low. For some, it’s a quickly passing phase and for others it could mean the end of an online business or blog. Many bloggers just don’t know how to get out of the funk. Remember the days when you first got the idea to start blogging? You couldn’t get your blog set up fast enough. Designing your pages was a thrill and you spent all your free time thinking of ways to improve your blog and educate yourself on how to be the best blogger that ever graced the Internet. You need that energy and passion back. But how? Thought you would never ask. Interact with your readers. You might do a free phone conference, a live chat, or even a social-media gathering where you respond to reader comments instantly and spark conversation and more questions. Let people know you are willing and available to help them. This interaction is a great way to boost your confidence and remind you that people do care what you have to say. You may not be able to answer all of the questions presented but this will be an excellent opportunity to find out what your readers want to know so you can educate yourself and provide answers for them via your blog. If you set up your blog with the intention of helping people (which I hope is at least part of the reason for most everyone), then taking the time to actually do that will be a great reminder of why your blog is important. Expand your skill set. Boredom will quickly set in if you decide you already know everything you need to know. You should never stop learning. Not a day should go by that you aren’t actively seeking out something new to learn about blogging and online business. Think of the value you can provide to your readers by constantly growing in your own expertise and sharing your observations and lessons with them. Think outside your current “box” and look for a new skill that you can learn within your field, or work to improve upon what you already know. There’s a lot of related...Read More
I’ve shared many times that one of the key factors to having a successful blog is perseverance. Perseverance is “being online longer than the other guy.” But you have to take care of your blog too.
Think of your blog like a house. If you don’t care for it, improve it, repair it, and constantly monitor the quality of it, it will deteriorate.
Here are six danger signs that your blog might be deteriorating in quality…Read More
Unless you have an abundance of “free time,” you are going to need to write your blog material quickly and concisely so you can get back to the other 20 things you either should be doing, or would rather be doing. I typical have a thousand other things I should be doing instead of doing posts or working on a book, so I make the most of my writing time. Here’s a short list of ways that will help speed up your writing time (while also improving the quality of your blog posts) by utilizing a little advance preparation: Watch for Great Quotes. In your daily reading of other blog material, books, and magazines, you are going to come across quotes from other people that make a brilliant point. Even if it’s not something you are currently working on, copy down the quote (with source reference) so that you start accumulating a little library of wisdom that you can pull from later. I will even go into my blog and set up a DRAFT blog post and put the quote there so that I have it handy when I get time to do a post. Watch for Helpful Links. You’ll also come across links that you want to share with your audience. Create a document to store these links so you can easily go in and grab them during your writing time. Or, using your favorite browser, create a bookmarks folder that is specifically for “links to share in blog posts.” Be Ready. Inspiration for a blog post can strike at any time so you’ll need to make sure you always have access to something to write on so that you don’t lose your good ideas. Save notes on your smart phone, carry a little notebook, a voice recorder . . . just try not to rely on your memory for all the brilliant ideas that you are bound to forget. Especially at night, when you wake up with an inspiration, NEVER think “oh, that’s such a great idea, I’ll remember that for sure!” You won’t. Keep a notepad or your phone by the bed. Write down what you need to make sure you’ll remember. I usually text or email myself so I’ll have it at my desk. Great Headlines Make Great Posts. This is one of my favorite tricks: when you read a great headline, STOP. Don’t read the article or the post. It will bias your writing. Go create a DRAFT blog post, and rewrite the headline in your own words. Then, write down an outline or bullets points from your own original thoughts about that headline. If you read...Read More
I recently received the following questions from a reader with a fairly new blog (6 months old, about 80 subscribers, not yet income-generating): How important is online back-up for small bloggers? Which companies do you recommend for online back-up? The answers to these questions are something that all bloggers need to think about. My answer: Consider how much time, aggravation, and money it would cost you if you lost everything on your blog tomorrow. Would it be worth paying a back-up service $5/month? $15? $25? Only you can decide. For a small blog, posting once a week or less: you can manually back up your database every time you post; no big deal, just a couple of clicks… and you can download a copy of your blog files every time you make a template or page change. There are some great free plugins for this. Just search “backup” from your plugins page inside your WordPress admin area. For a big blog that is constantly changing, produces lots of posts, and has significant traffic: it is definitely worth it to spend $20-$30/month to make sure your blog is perpetually backed up. Or, if you just simply want a “set it and forget” solution for the sake of convenience, then a paid service is definitely worth the expense. Who do I use? While I’m sure there are lots of other good services out there, I use Code Guard and I’m very happy with them. They back up my database and files and have already saved my butt a couple of times when a bad plugin or a one-time hacker took my blog down. – – – – – – – – – – – – Good service, convenience, and reliability can come with a price. A lot of bloggers don’t want to invest in their success or safety online, and have to learn the hard way that BACKING UP is a necessity. It’s not a question of IF you will need a backup, but WHEN and HOW OFTEN. Don’t wait until you lose weeks or months worth of work to learn this valuable...Read More