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26Mar/120

5 Epic Blogging Lessons Learned from Parenting Five Rowdy Kids

This guest post is by Ruth Zive Ruth Zive Copywriting.

Most of my readers and clients know me as a freelance copywriter and content marketing strategist. But the truth is, I’m operating under cover; my real identity is SuperMom to a brood of five rowdy children (including one that is a wee bit chromosomally enhanced).

I’m actually not that “super,” but I’m most certainly Mom, first and foremost. It’s a busy, messy, loud, hectic, demanding, and unbelievably rewarding job. Each of my five children has taught me valuable lessons that have informed all aspects of my life. Because of my kids, I am a better human being—and definitely a more effective professional.

There is a lot of crossover in my life—my work blends into my mom-related duties, and vice versa. My children have taught me a lot about blogging, writing, social media, and content marketing strategy (albeit an inadvertent effort on their part).

Hopefully these five epic blogging lessons, learned from parenting five rowdy children, will help you to gain traction and grow your online presence.

1. Stick to a schedule

Between dance lessons, basketball practice, speech therapy, school carpools, high school exams, doctor appointments, and parent-teacher interviews, it goes without saying that my head would explode if I didn’t stick to a schedule.

And forget about my sanity; my children thrive with a routine.

Takeaway

Similarly, you will create a sense of momentum with your blog if you settle into a routine—and you can incorporate this fundamental discipline in a variety of ways.  For instance, you’ll want to:

  • Map out an editorial calendar and write your posts predictably. Not only will you be more productive, your readers will come to appreciate your routine and will know when to visit your site for new content.
  • Plan your blogging time strategically—make sure to budget time for writing, reading, commenting and social media.
  • Work your blogging priorities into the rest of your daily schedule. Don’t forget to leave time for personal interests and priorities and other work-related responsibilities.

It took me a while to settle into a predictable routine (heck, life’s rarely predictable with five children).  But going through these motions helped me to be much more productive and focussed as a mom and a writer.

2. Know your audience

I often have to tailor my parenting style to the unique interests of the specific child I am addressing.

One of my kids will follow instructions only if we make eye contact and I resort to threats and bribery. My youngest daughter, on the other hand, needs a lot of handholding and coddling, no matter the circumstance. And the middle child will do pretty much anything as long as it involves chocolate.

Takeaway

Your blog readers will invariably share certain qualities and it’s important to know what those are; but remember that they also have unique interests. Segment your target market accordingly and be flexible in your style to accommodate their needs.

For instance, on my blog, I’m essentially appealing to three different target markets:

  • independent copywriters and bloggers
  • c-level and marketing executives
  • independent business owners and entrepreneurs.

All three groups are interested in learning more about content marketing strategy.

But I tweak my focus, depending on which group is on my radar.  When I’m speaking to the first group, I might write about landing copywriting clients, setting your fees and injecting personality into your writing.  But the second group, by contrast, is more interested in how to leverage the impact of social media to drive your content marketing campaign.

Same overarching intention, but a personalized and targeted approach based on the reader’s unique needs.

3. Get social

There is nothing my kids appreciate more than lively conversation around the dinner table, family game night, or a spontaneous adventure. The deeper the interaction, the more impactful. Mommy time trumps iPods, computer games, and the latest, must-have fashion accessory without fail.

And while my time is certainly limited, I seek out opportunities to engage with each child in a meaningful way.

Takeaway

You may have the most phenomenal content on your blog, but if you aren’t getting social, it’s a big fat waste of time!

Blogging is a big time suck, and it can be very hectic and overwhelming.  But starting now, every day, make sure that you:

  • take time to comment on other people’s blogs
  • cultivate relationships with prolific bloggers and industry experts
  • leverage the benefits of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

And most importantly, be authentic in your interaction.

I know what I’m talking about here.  Some of the best professional contacts that I’ve forged have been on Twitter.  It sounds ridiculous, but it’s 100% true. I was invited into a Mastermind group on Twitter; I was approached by someone on Twitter to edit an ebook; and I found a genius WordPress programmer on Twitter who solved some very troubling issues on my blog and saved me a small fortune. So don’t underestimate the importance of social.

4. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture

Some days, I feel that my time is entirely consumed with meal preparation, laundry, housekeeping, carpooling—with some hysterics thrown in for good measure.

On those days, I have to remind myself that the time I invest in menial (and sometimes unpleasant) parenting tasks fuels the bigger picture payoff. Hopefully, because of my efforts, my children will emerge happy, secure, and confident with a sense that they can always rely on their Mom.

Takeaway

Blogging can be an exhausting, tedious, and slow process.

You have to do the grunt work if you’re going to reap the bigger picture benefits. Write often; read even more often; solicit feedback; invest in your blog’s design; learn how to optimize your site … do it all over again.

At first, it was hard for me to see the forest for the trees; my blogging experience seemed entirely mired in minutiae.  So I started to keep a journal—to track my progress from month to month, noting my higher level achievements so that I could have those in mind when I felt discouraged.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try keeping a journal so that you can maintain better perspective and not lose sight of the bigger picture.

5. Keep an open mind

Sometimes, no matter how well organized I am, irrespective of how much I’ve considered my children’s unique needs, and even with a perfectly planned schedule and a bigger picture focus, the stars misalign and my efforts are in vain.

Woody Allen once joked that if you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans. Things are bound to go awry with children, and with blogging!

Takeaway

Keep an open mind. Blogging is a journey (much like any entrepreneurial pursuit) and you learn along the way.

  • Plans transform.
  • Resources shrink or grow.
  • Goals evolve.

You need to be flexible and adapt to changes.

I’ve encountered this reality first-hand in a dramatic way.  After six months of blogging, my readership and subscriber base had skyrocketed.

I had faithfully cultivated relationships with other bloggers and using social media. I had great traction. But Danny Iny, of Firepole Marketing, recommended that I redo my site and position myself differently, to align my offline business and my online brand. It was tough advice to hear, but I very seriously considered his point of view, and after some strategic thinking, my old blog is no longer.

Poof.

But my new blog rocks even more than my old one. And making this transition required a very open mind on my part.

So I suppose I owe my blogging success to my children. And now, maybe you will too.

What do you think? Have your children helped your blogging journey? What have your relationships taught you about content marketing and social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ruth Zive is a freelance copywriter and content marketing strategist. Ruth works with B2B companies, across industries, to help them leverage their content to drive business results. Learn about my corporate workshops.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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5 Epic Blogging Lessons Learned from Parenting Five Rowdy Kids


@ProBlogger

6Mar/120

You Know you’ve Been Blogging too Long When… #BloggingTooLong

I posted this on my Google+ account and on Twitter earlier today:

You know you’ve been blogging too long when a family member asks for parenting advice and you write a 10 Point Answer, start brainstorming catchy titles and considering adding images and further reading.

The responses I got were pretty funny from others who had had similar experiences, so I thought it might be a fun one to open up here on the blog.

What have you found yourself doing that makes you think that perhaps you’ve been blogging a little too long?

Here’s a few more from my own experience:

You Know You’ve been blogging too long when… you have to pause a conversation with a friend to take notes for a blog post idea.

You Know You’ve been blogging too long when… you wake up your wife at 3am to tell her that you worked out a way to double your AdSense income.

You Know You’ve been blogging too long when… you are overheard sleep talking about Brian Clark and Chris Brogan.

Over to you… when did you know you’ve been blogging too long?

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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You Know you’ve Been Blogging too Long When… #BloggingTooLong


@ProBlogger

24Feb/120

How to Protect your Eyes When Blogging Like a Fool



Computer eye strain. Does this mean anything to you? As a blogger, you probably spend hours on end at your computer – I know I do. While you may not think anything of this as you type away, over time it can begin to cause damage to your eyes. This won’t be high on your to-do list, but ask yourself the following question: what does the future hold for your online aspirations if you are unable to see the screen?

Before we get into the finer details of how to protect your eyes to ensure good long term vision, let’s take a closer look at why this has become such a big problem for bloggers.

If you are going to earn money online – whether it be from blogging, affiliate marketing, or some other means – you will spend plenty of time in front of your computer. With each passing minute, there is an increased chance of experiencing eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, and other symptoms.

Personally, I was experiencing many of these symptoms on a daily basis. Although I worked through them for many months (thanks to plenty of Tylenol) the problem eventually worsened to the point of seeking professional advice.

After an appointment with my eye care practitioner I realized that I was spending entirely too much time at my computer. Fortunately, he suggested a few changes that have helped me avoid these symptoms and regain my blogging mojo.

Take Breaks

Who wants to take a break in the middle of a long blogging session? I know I don’t. When I get into a groove there is nothing that can tear me away from my computer. That being said, I have realized the importance of scheduling short breaks from time to time.

My eye doctor suggested a 5 to 10 minute break for every hour spent at the computer. Yes, this can be a pain in the neck at times. However, it can go a long way in giving your eyes a rest and avoiding computer related strain.

Improve your Posture

Believe it or not, your posture has a lot to do with whether or not you can withstand long periods of time at your computer without symptoms.

Make sure you are sitting upright at all times (not slouched over) and that you are at a reasonable distance from your monitor. You aren’t one of those people who sits three inches away from the screen, are you?

Have your Vision Checked

From an early age, I have worn glasses and contact lenses. Many people feel they do not need either one, but find out soon enough that their symptoms are related to a need for vision correction.

If you are experiencing blurriness when reading small text or other issues, such as difficulties focusing on objects close or far away, you may need glasses or contact lenses.

Finally, there was one other grave mistake I was making. From the moment I woke up in the morning until the time I stepped away from my computer in the evening, my contact lenses were in. My doctor made me promise to stop this immediately. Wearing my lenses this long was one of the main culprits of my headaches. He suggested that I wear my glasses for the first half of the day and then insert my contacts. This has really helped my situation.

If you don’t have your health you don’t have much. As a blogger, make sure you are taking care of your eyes to the best of your ability. If you begin to experience symptoms – such as headaches or blurry vision – contact your eye care professional immediately.

This guest post was written by Chris Bibey, a freelance writer that helps consumers find and buy contact lenses cheap via the internet.


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Blogging Tips

23Feb/120

How I Use Guest Blogging for My Weight Loss Blog



Getting consistent and quality traffic to a blog can be very difficult these days, especially if you are in the weight loss niche.

Most of us would have already heard about guest blogging, especially since it is the talk of the town in the blogosphere today. The majority of us are only familiar with guest blogging being a tactic used to generate traffic to a blog. The process is usually like this; write a quality guest post, submit it to big or medium sized blogs in your niche, expect traffic to come and look for ways to convert this traffic into subscribers.

The cool thing is that while this approach will work for some it will mostly be effectively only for people who are highly knowledgeable and experienced to get on the top blogs in their field and it will also require a lot of effort and patience to get results.

A New Guest Blogging Approach

This approach isn’t entirely new, but it is something that I have used to great success with my weight loss blog and I plan sharing my approach in details with you below.

The idea is simple, look for quality blogs in your niche, write good guest posts for them, included a few anchor text backlinks to your blog and start getting results. When I talk about “quality” blogs I’m not talking about the big blogs only; getting on the big blogs will take a lot of time and effort and in a situation like this we can start with average blogs. Since the main aim is to gain quality backlinks focused on impacting our rankings there won’t be much difference in results.

In other words, all you need to do is look for a few quality blogs in your field, write a 500 – 600 words guest post somehow tied to the topic of your blog and submit it to these blogs. If you’re able to submit to a lot of blogs you’ll be able to increase your potential of getting results on the long run.

How to Find Quality Blogs in Your Field

The effectiveness of this approach lies in the kind of blogs you’re able to get published on. In other words, getting a thousand guest posts published on blogs that were started last week will yield no results whereas getting your posts published on good authority blogs can lead to results in a matter of weeks. I’ll be sharing how I find quality blogs with you in this section.

Have a Yardstick for Measuring Blog Effectiveness: The first step you should take when it comes to looking for blogs to publish your guest posts on is to have a yardstick for measuring which blog to write for. In other words, your approach won’t just be random. You have to actually know what you’re doing, which kind of blog qualifies for a guest post from you and why the blog qualifies for a guest post from you. There are a lot of SEO metrics that can be used to determine how good a particular blog is; it could be Google pagerank, Mozrank or Customrank. In my own opinion, any blog with a Pagerank of 2 and Mozrank of 3 and above is a good candidate for a guest post.

Tools to Help You Discover Blogs

Once you’ve determined your yardstick for finding blogs the next step is to determine which tools to use. Of course, like you’ve probably imagined, there are a lot of tools available online that you can use and here are some of my top recommendations.

Technorati: The Technorati blog directory is the favorite tool in my guest blogging arsenal. Technorati has hundreds of thousands of blogs listed in its directory and as a result several thousands of blogs in each category. Almost all blog listed in Technorati with be worthy of a guest post so make sure you visit Technorati to check out a list of your niche category and to select blogs you want to write for.

Alltop: Alltop also works in a similar way to Technorati but it only contains authority blogs. You can find top blogs to write for on Alltop by visiting the category of your niche.

Google Toolbar: Like I said above, pagerank can be a good metric for measuring how good a blog will be if you were to write on it. A blog with a good pagerank is likely to have more impact on your links and the Google toolbar is your best bet as far as pagerank is concerned.

SEOmoz Toolbar: Similar to the Google toolbar, the SEOmoz toolbar helps you calculate the Mozrank of each web page you visit. You can then use this Mozrank score to determine whether to write for a blog or not.

Getting Results

It is very important for you to realize that writing quality guest posts alone won’t yield results; you also have to take some steps to ensure you’re getting the best from each guest article you publish.

Thematic Relevance: Most people complain about the ineffectiveness of writing guest posts for unrelated blogs. The reality is that unrelated blogs can be very effective for SEO if you’re able to master the art of writing thematically relevant content. Thematic content is content that is able to tie your niche with that of the blog you’re writing for. For example, this article is thematic because it shares how I use guest blogging for my weight loss blog. My niche is weight loss and this blog talks about blogging, so I’ve been able to tie the two topics and will get maximum results.

Use of Anchor Text: An anchor text is the keyword you use to link a particular URL. For example, the keyword “best weight loss programs” links to a particular page on my blog; and as a result the keyword “best weight loss programs” is the anchor text in this case. To really get results you need to learn to effectively use anchor texts. If you want a better idea on how to effectively use anchor texts make sure you check out this anchor text experiment on SEOMoz.

This guest post was written by, John Smith a blogger that helps find TXR coupon code through his blog. He also reviews flex belt promo code on his blog.


Copyright © 2012 Blogging Tips. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact us so we can take legal action immediately.


Blogging Tips

17Feb/120

Blogging Tops Advertising as Highest ROI for Online Marketing



Do you realize what you’re blogging about has more ROI worth to your business then traditional advertising does?  According to a study done by Hubspot about one of their clients.

Truth be told, this company has made great progress implementing an inbound marketing strategy using HubSpot’s internet marketing software.  In addition to using the software they also hired a PR agency that wanted to help them make a big splash. The company purchased 3 in-game and 17 pre-game and post-game spots in its local market at a total cost of K.

The ads used a tracking phone number — which means the business knew which incoming calls were a result of the commercial — and encouraged viewers to visit the company’s homepage; other than that, there was nothing in the ad campaign integrating the offline efforts with their website or another online presence like social media. According to Nielsen Ratings, their ads were seen by 2.8 million viewers.

Results:  11.8% spike in traffic on Super Bowl Sunday. See example below.

 

During that same time they ran a Super Bowl add paying upwards of million dollars for a 20 second spot.  They tracked both individually and saw that the blog posts and video marketing generated 10x the traffic then the Super Bowl ad.  Basically, they spend K on blog posts and video marketing and got 10x less results out of this.

These blog posts and video blog posts also helped it’s increased its organic traffic by 567% and its overall traffic by 583% in less than a year.  This is crazy growth for this company.  If any of you are blogging, keep up the good work and keep doing it.  It will be far more valuable then anything else that you could be doing!


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Blogging Tips

29Jan/120

The Two Biggest Guest Blogging Mistakes You Can Make



I receive around 20 guest post submissions per week. Usually I let them pile up and once a month I go through all of them, replying to the ones I think would be a good fit for the blog.

There are two types of submissions I discard right away, though, without even taking a look. I also consider those the two biggest mistakes you can make while trying to guest post on some blog. They are:

1. Not including the name of the blog owner

If by opening your email I see something like “Dear Sir” or “Dear Blog Owner” I’ll send it to the trash bin immediately. Why? because it tells me that this is a generic guest post offer, and that you probably sent the same post to dozens of other blogs.

The least you can do is to visit the site where you want to guest post and to discover the name of the owner.

2. Not including the post itself

Many of the guest post emails I receive are only asking if I would be interested in having a guest post written. Something like this:

Dear Daniel,

I have been your blog for a long time, and I was wondering if you would be interested in having me to write a guest post for you. I was thinking to write something about Facebook marketing or email marketing.

Please let me know and we’ll get moving.

Thanks,
John Doe

My thoughts when I see such emails: “How on earth can I know if I would be interested in having your guest post if I don’t know how you write or what ideas you have?”.

Sometimes the person will include the title of the guest post. Same deal. How can I approve or reject a guest post just by looking at the title?

Sure, I could reply explaining this to the person, but why waste my time?

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Original Post: The Two Biggest Guest Blogging Mistakes You Can Make

Daily Blog Tips

25Jan/120

10 Uses for WordPress Other Than Blogging



1. Project management system

WordPress can be an easy to use project management system if you work with a team of people who all need access to the same content. It can set up as a members only site to keep your material private.

2. Forum

People love community areas and WordPress can be used as a community site as well as a blog site. You can use it as a public forum or a private forum.

This is also a great way to do group coaching sessions.

3. Help Desk

You can set up WordPress as a ticket system so clients and customers can contact you with technical problems, order problems or any other thing that relates to your business.

4. Article Directory

Tired of fighting for placement on the big article directories? With WordPress, you can start your own directory. You can grow it as big as you’d like or just limit it to a few select authors. The choice is yours.

5. Auction Site

If you like sites like eBay or if you want to auction off websites or even physical products, you can set up your own auction site and let viewers bid on your items.

6. Storefront with e-Commerce

If you don’t want to use a commercial eCommerce site for your products, you can set up your own site with WordPress. There are many plugins and themes that you can use to accomplish this. One of the benefits to this option is it’s a one time fee for a great plugin instead of a monthly fee like some commercial sites charge you.

7. Membership site

Membership plugins are available for WordPress if you decide to go private, or you can have different levels of membership. Some are free and some will cost you a little bit of money. The paid plugins are usually the best option because most offer support if you run into problems with installation or other issues down the road.

8. FAQ portal or Q&A site (private or public)

WordPress is a great way to set up an FAW section or a Q&A site where others can ask you questions and have them answered. You can do this as a public site or as a member site.

9. Easy to use CMS (content management system)

WordPress is a great way to organize content, either for your own personal use or as community group or as a group of team members. WordPress really is easy to use and manage so this is a great way to line out your content in a systematic manner.

10. Client/Customer Management

WordPress can be used as an invoicing system and a way to keep up with your clients, customers and contacts. This is much like a Help Desk except you organize it for customers so you can manage them better.

 

 

 

image credit: http://www.freshtilledsoil.com/


Copyright © 2012 Blogging Tips. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact us so we can take legal action immediately.


Blogging Tips

15Jan/120

31 Unexpected Perks of Blogging You’ll Never Want to Give Up

This guest post is by Uttoran Sen of traveltamed.com.

You’ve got it! You’re officially a Have in a world of Have-nots!

What do you have? It’s probably not money, fame, or tax-write-offs disguised as corporate jets. It’s something more powerful.

You have a blog. And a darn fine one at that.

If you’ve said before that you’ll never give up blogging—surprise! You’re probably right!

Giving up a good thing is next-to-impossible. So it’s not a surprise to discover that blogging isn’t the sort of thing you just stop doing. In fact, anyone would be hard-pressed to give up blogging once they’ve discovered just how rewarding it can be.

1. You have freedom of expression. We all claim to want to be able to say our piece, but most of the time we’re just lamenting to our journals or blabbering on to a significant other who probably agrees with everything we’re saying. But with blogging, you can say what you want to say as often as you like without censure. You’ll reach an audience, too.

2. People listen to you. Good or bad, once you start blogging, people start tuning in. It’s amazing to feel like people are paying attention to you and that they consider what you have to say valid.

3. Your thoughts are more developed. People who think their thoughts have fuzzy ideas of what they believe in and why. But bloggers have to fully develop a thought and include support if you’re going to put it on a blog. This helps you formulate concrete ideas and opinions. Skip the fuzzy thoughts forever.

4. Your education continues indefinitely. In your cube-based job, you learn how to do your job and you might catch some gossip on the front page of the paper. Bloggers, on the other hand, are surrounded by news and ideas all of the time. They are constantly growing and learning—if not to keep up with the niche they enjoy, then to ensure that their blog continues to grow.

5. You learn to type more quickly. It’s a small thing, really, but the moment you realize that you type faster than all of your friends, you’ll feel that sort of pride that threatens to overwhelm you with a sheer manic force as you yell, “Ha! I am so much better at this than you!”

6. Your ego can take a beating, and keep on ticking. Putting your thoughts and ideas out there for strangers can be daunting. But as others tear your ideas apart, you get to argue back and strengthen your own viewpoint—or you can change your mind as your knowledge grows. Either way, having someone knock your ideas makes you a better, stronger person.

7. You take risks and see rewards. Being online is risky on a good day. Being a blogger and courting public exposure makes you practically a rebel when it comes to risk-taking. You’re not hiding behind an email address and fuzzy cube walls. You’re out there sharing and growing—building a community. Your risks online pay off, and that’s heady business.

8. You meet new (real) people. We’re in a global community here, but how many of our neighbors still just exist in the block where they live and work? Bloggers are out there in the global environment interacting with other real people who enjoy the same thing we do. No fake profiles and pictures—this isn’t a dating website, after all. We’re the ones who are really doing the work of globalization.

9. Creativity regenerates. It’s sad, but true—creativity is beaten out of us as children. As we grow, we lose almost all of our creativity through standardized tests, college courses and work programs. Blogging is an excellent opportunity to take back your creativity once and for all—to get serious about being original. Of course, you probably are already.

10. You think more clearly. Not only do your thoughts become stronger, the more you blog, the more clearly you begin to think the thoughts that appear in your head every day. It’s as if you mind converts itself to WordPress and you’re able to compact thoughts, provide some bullet points and provide a catchy headline for every mundane thought that passes through your head.

11. You can amuse yourself. There’s nothing more powerful than humor, and bloggers are some of the funniest people around. Perhaps it’s the global exposure or maybe it’s just the type of people who enjoy blogging, but you’ll become so good at finding humor in the world around you for others on the blog that you’ll soon realize just how much there is outside of your homepage as well.

12. Your vocabulary will improve. While blogging is really just a form of internet journaling, the amount of reading you do in your favorite areas will provide you with the newest lingo and as you start to revise your blogs, you’ll catch areas where you can improve your word choice. Often, this is just the opportunity your brain is looking for to start sucking in some new words and phrases.

13. Internet shortcuts become your highways. How long does it take you to update your blog? If you were to line up three of your closest friends and all try to find a picture to go along with an article, who would win? You would, of course! You know all the good photo spots, the best places for graphics, for themes and for videos. You’ve got the inside track.

14. You grow cocky. Being online, being read by others, and knowing that we do a good job with words and phrases turns us into the worst kind of internet animal—we’re cocky. We know what we’re doing and we’re not afraid to let others know it. And, quite honestly, this level of confidence and coolness isn’t something you’ll enjoy losing.

15. You learn how to make money. Growing up, you probably learned the same things we all did. To make money you 1) finish school. 2) Get a good job. 3) Work there as long as possible. And perhaps 4) Change jobs a few times and play some politics to earn a good raise or two along the way. If you were lucky you might get a bonus every so often. Those of us with blogs, however, have learned the ultimate truth—you can make money any time and any way you want. Just write something and throw up some ads.

16. You are your own boss. This is a biggie—it’s hard to become a humble servant to another boss when you know that at home your blog is generating some nice revenue and gathering up a few good visitors. Being your own boss, even if it’s just in the evenings, is confidence boosting and might be just the outlet you need to go back and live in your window-less office again in the morning.

17. You can monetize anything. If you can make decent money with a blog, you can make money with anything. Once you figure out the perfect combination of traffic, visitors, ads, and upsells to turn a profit on your blog, you’re on your way up.

18. The cutting edge comes to you. It only takes a few weeks of blogging to realize that being online in a meaningful way—not watching videos or just tweeting with your best college buddies—makes you a leader in the ways of trends. You know the trends before they ever arrive. You see the blog posts and the conversations between those in the know, and it amuses you when suddenly the public is wild for Snuggies, ShamWow, Pillow Pets, and Acai berries a few months later.

19. You’re brandable. Blogs are definitive and you develop a certain style over the months and years through which you add material. As your blog grows and becomes more branded by you, you become more branded yourself. It’s nice to be able to explain yourself in what amounts to a slogan (perhaps even the same slogan you have on the site right now).

20. Change is constant. Every so often you just know it’s time for your theme to change. And with that constant change and improvement online, you’re more comfortable making changes to your personal life as well. Blogs are never stagnant and neither are bloggers. Ask someone who’s retiring after 35 years in the same job if he can say the same.

21. You get freebies. It may be beta invitations or perhaps some new products to try for a review. Whatever it is, blog long enough and the freebies start coming your way. And who doesn’t love free stuff?

22. You feel productive. We know productivity is a good thing, but most of us turn off the productivity engine as we step away from our desk at five or six in the evening. Not so with dedicated bloggers. We’re productive almost every waking hour—adding to the blog, finding new features for the blog, or just reading up on other blogs to stay current.

23. The blogging network is deep. There may be millions of blogs out there, but there are only a handful of dedicated bloggers in a particular niche or area. Once you’ve been around for a while, you’ll be impressed with how knowledgeable and approachable these bloggers are. Your network is not only wide, but deep as well.

24. You can justify cool stuff. When you blog online, you need to be connected. Being connected means you need important things like new computers, tablets, iPads, and plenty of accessories for all of the goodies. Even if you don’t actually need every single gadget and gizmo you bought last year, you can put them all to use and even write the cost off if your blogging is part of a business or even remotely profitable.

25. You’re never lonely. Bloggers have friends in every time zone, and when you feel like reaching out to someone, you can—no matter where you’re located.

26. Your passion is worthy of notice. We all have passions and things we enjoy, but many people don’t have the opportunity to really dig into an area of interest and allow it to enrich life in a meaningful way. Bloggers are able to indulge in passions every day—even if just by reading and reporting on new areas of development.

27. You’re motivated. How often do you drag your feet going to your office or trying to figure out how you’re going to make it through another Monday? Start your day with a quick blog post and you’ll be off and running in no time.

28. You can build up from a blog. A blog is an easy way to get started with a new idea. Then, if you like your new idea, you can build out from your blog to develop a more comprehensive business or just continue to use the blog as a marketing home base.

29. You can flesh out a real resume. Jobs can be tricky right now, and if you happen to be an expert in a particular field, you stand a far better chance of finding a job that is well suited to you. Additionally, having a long-running blog is a sign that you’re all the things employers look for—dedicated, knowledgeable, hard-working, and passionate.

30. You have a useful following. Those who have subscribed to your blog or who are faithful readers often can be counted on for many other things. They can help you win contests. They can help you find new jobs or interview subjects. They suggest topics. Those same followers can often be convinced to try new things—especially if it’s something you’ve made and are considering selling.

31. You can scratch what itches. Everyone needs to vent from time to time, and having a blog and a bunch of willing readers is a great place to do it. What’s the fun of complaining about terrible service at your favorite store if nobody cares? Your dedicated readers will care and they might even take action on your behalf. On the other hand, if you’re just dying to get feedback for your stab at song lyrics, scratch the itch and let others check them out amongst your other posts.

Blogs and bloggers are understandably varied—some are in it for the money, some for the entertainment and others just because it feels good. But whatever the reason you’re blogging, if you’ve been doing it long enough, you’re probably in it for good. It’s just too hard to walk away from something this rewarding.

Uttoran Sen is a travel blogger who likes to travel places from around the world, and write about his journeys on his travel blog. Follow him on Twitter or join his Facebook page and stay connected.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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31 Unexpected Perks of Blogging You’ll Never Want to Give Up


ProBlogger Blog Tips

8Jan/120

Blogging With Kids: 9 Tips and Tricks to Keep You Sane

This guest post is by Marya Zainab of Writing Happiness.

Are you a blogger? Are you also a Mum with school age kids? Or a stay-at-home Dad?

If you’re like me, you might find it really difficult to manage your time—and your life—to get some writing done. You are talented, you are persistent. If only you could be really productive, so you can get some work done.

And you can be! All it takes is smart use of your time. This is what I recommend. Feel free to take what gels and discard the rest.

It’s okay to lie to people who don’t “get it”

Have you ever tried to tell your son’s school teacher that the reason why you can’t volunteer at the latest fun raiser is because you have to blog?

Apart from the blank stare that you’d most likely get, you would then have to explain yourself, become defensive and go away feeling very guilty, or carry a list of stuff that you ended up saying yes to.

Try telling the teacher you have other commitments that you simply can’t get out of.

One of your not-so-close friends is having a casual get together? Tell her you have some work-related stuff to do.

If the world is going to pretend that I, as a blogger, don’t have kids, I am going to pretend I have imaginary work-related commitments.

Think of the whole process as trying to save yourself the guilt trip and spare others trying to understand what blogging is. Tell people who do understand, by all means; they probably will get it anyway.

Appliances are your best friends

I don’t have a dishwasher in my house. For one, I don’t have the space for it, but the real reason is that I really don’t mind doing the dishes. This is almost a mind-cleansing activity for me.

The fact that I don’t have to use my brain to wash the dishes keeps my hands occupied while I have the time to clear my head and sort through things. I often get my best ideas when I am doing the dishes, and often go away (happily at that) to jot ideas.

But you might hate it! And that’s even more the reason to get a trusted dishwasher, if you haven’t already. While you’re in the process, get yourself a dryer, a weekly cleaning service (if you can afford it), kids’ car pools etc. Do your grocery shopping online. Let kids become a part of the solution—assign them some basic chores.

Outsource as many things that don’t require you personally to get done. This can save you valuable time.
My most favorite—TV, of course! Although use it with caution, and use sparingly. A close second is take-away one week night so I don’t have to worry about cooking for that night.

Get some help from Dad

Nothing beats a hands-on Dad. Get his help with various chores and kids activities.

Get him to cook one night of the week. Ask him to take the kids for their weekend sports. Ask him to do the night-time-bath-and-story-book thing once a week. Is he naturally more chatty, more outgoing than you are? Swap roles of being a “school mum.”

Is he stronger than you? Of course he is—remind him of this when he is grumbling about mopping the floors!

Be flexible

The only way a mum can survive as a blogger is to be as flexible as possible. You will miss out on a lot if you don’t.

There will always be things related to your kids and your household that you would have to do first. You won’t be able to write if your four-year-old is screaming for Spaghetti Bolognese right now. You won’t be able to write if your kid is at home sick—or your partner is home sick behaving like one.

Making an occasional batch of cupcakes with your kids will earn you serious brownie points and will go a long way in creating a harmonious relationship. Hopefully, they will then take a long time to eat those cupcakes as you sit down to write.

Just relax and look at a problematic situation differently. And be flexible.

Live one life

If your blog permits it, bring your children in the picture. Let them sprinkle their magic on your blog.
Then turn around the do the same for them—let your kids see you work. Show them you are as proud of your blog as you are of them. They may not understand it if they are little, but they will get used to see you do other things beside cook and clean.

Just the other day, my four-year-old told his older brother, “stop blogging me!” That lead to great laughter all around. He might not know what blogging is—he probably thinks it a synonym for “blocking”—but at least he is aware of the lingo. Many adults still aren’t.

Put on your oxygen mask first

How many times have you heard that happy parents make for a happy household?

Well, that is in fact the truth. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others. Do the things that really make you happy. This doesn’t make you selfish. Think of it as an investment. When you invest in yourself, your family reaps the rewards.

If blogging inspires you, by all means do it. Remember that you would have to prioritize some time for yourself, otherwise you will never be able to get it done.

Every time I complete my blogging goals for the day, I feel on top of the world. I am a happier mum, I am a joy to be around, and my kids love me even more.

You don’t have to be a poster parent

Resist to be a contestant for the race of being the Best Mum in the world. There are plenty of things you can do without:

  • You don’t have to bring adorable, homemade snacks to your kids’ school. Realize that you can buy cookies from the supermarket and nobody will really care.
  • You don’t have to have your house in tip-top condition. Well in case nobody ever told you, kids are messy: they make a mess everywhere they go! Must you clean after them all day long? Avoid doing activities that lead to even more messes, especially when you are running short on time.
  • Ironing your family’s PJ’s? Hello!

A blogging parent and pedestal parent are not mutually exclusive. Stop comparing yourself with others. Aim for “good enough.”

Focus

It’s about the quality than quantity. Be present. Be truly present in the moment, whatever you are doing. Whether it be playing with your kids, or writing that next blog post that goes viral. If you are distracted and spread yourself too thin, you will end up totally exhausting yourself.

  • Plan your day well ahead of the schedule. If there’s one thing every blogger mum or dad needs, it is to manage their time. You have to become extremely organized and self-disciplined—and you need an organizer.
  • Create more detailed to-do lists.
  • Plan weekly menus.
  • Organize your outfits for the week if you work outside the house.
  • For a clutter-free house, give something away when you buy something new. It’s a great lesson to pass on to your children as well.

Take this advice, and you’ll have more meaningful time to spend with your family, and even some left over for yourself. Best of all, you won’t feel so guilty about the time spent blogging.

Find a great blogging partner

While it sounds fantastic to have some real-life friends who are mums and bloggers on top of it, it’s very unlikely you will magically discover them.

I am very lucky to have a best friend who actually encouraged me to take up blogging in the first place. She is the most wonderful person to talk about my blogging “habit,” as even my husband struggles be understanding sometimes.

Find yourself other blogger mums online, take your time time to get to know them and then befriend one or two as real friends—not just the networking sort of friend. You will sleep better knowing you have one person who “gets it!”

Blogger mums and dads, what tips and tricks can you add to this list? Share them with us in the comments.

Marya is a communicator of ideas – writing for bloggers, writers and content creators. Catch more of her posts at Writing Happiness. Grab her FREE 29 page ebook How to Write Blog Content that Works – Get Noticed Online (and elsewhere!). Follow her @WritingH, she is very friendly.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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Blogging With Kids: 9 Tips and Tricks to Keep You Sane


ProBlogger Blog Tips

29Dec/110

Is Tech Blogging Dying or Evolving?



According to Jeremiah Owyang, a tech and market analyst, it is. He published a post titled End of an Era: The Golden Age of Tech Blogging is Over, which is gaining a lot of attention lately, mainly for the controversy it generates.

According to Jeremiah the 4 trends that demonstrate his point are:

  1. Corporate acquisitions stymie innovation
  2. Tech blogs are experiencing major talent turnover
  3. The audience needs have changed, they want: faster, smaller, and social
  4. As space matures, business models solidify –giving room for new disruptors

In my opinion those are all important and relevant points, but they signal that tech blogging is evolving, not dying.

That’s also the opinion of most tech bloggers (not that they are trying to toot their own horn…). For instance, Sarah Lacy responded to Jeremiah with the following article: Golden Age of Tech Blogging Done? I Couldn’t Disagree More. Here’s a quote:

I’m a big fan of Jeremiah Owyang’s market analysis but I think he missed the point on this one, big time. He recently wrote a post on how the Golden Age of tech blogging is over. No way. Unless of course, he means we’re about to enter the platinum age. Because things are far from dead in tech blogging– and blogging in general. In fact, I think we’re poised to enter one of the most exciting periods yet.

I’m a big believer that tech trends tend to over-promise in the short term but under-promise in the longterm. As Jeremiah points out, the last few years demonstrated some of the limitations of blogging– ie, we can’t all make businesses and build big audiences, it won’t replace all older forms of media, and it’s a grind that will wear down all but the most intent. In a lot of ways sites like Facebook, Yelp and Twitter have scratched that itch for self-expression by giving the masses an easier and more painless way to get the endorphin rush that blogging gave in the early days. Scoble speaks to that in Jeremiah’s post. And that’s thinned out the blogging herd– no question.

Anyway if you are involved with the tech/online publishing industry make sure to check out those two articles.


Original Post: Is Tech Blogging Dying or Evolving?

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