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Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

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CashQuests Sold For $15k

Posted by Jane on November 19th, 2007

I woke up to find something interesting this morning – CashQuests.com has just been sold for $15,000 on sitepoint.  Given his… errr her income level of $1390 per month, $15k is a fair price. The only reason I find this amusing is because when my partner and I sold one of our large sites earlier this year, Kumiko was very vocal about it. She made sure to post about it in detail and if I recall correctly the tone of the article was condescending. It rubbed me and several people I communicate with in the blogging world the wrong way. She also made sure to comment on this and other blogs to voice her criticisms. So here’s the funny part – she is now “quietly and secretly” selling his/her site when she spent so much time being jealous of criticizing my sale.

Cash Quests Sale

 

I Haven’t Read CashQuests In Months

Being that I haven’t read Kumiko’s site in months, I’m not sure if there’s still some controversy about whether Kumiko is really a female or a male. I’ve subtly suspected the later as well as many others, but that should actually be a compliment to Kumiko. As we all know the internet and especially the “make money online” niche is very male dominated and if Kumiko’s writing quality and knowledge is good enough for people to think that a male is running the site, then koodos to CashQuests.

Overall CashQuests Is A Good Site

Regardless of the debate about the owner, Cash Quests really is a good site. Here are the things I’ve enjoyed and respected about it:

  • Writing has been quality from the first day.
  • Consistency of writing has been great. It is rare to see this type of perseverence these days as blogs come and go daily, but Cash Quests has consistently posted good, quality content.
  • Each post is very well thought out.
  • Resiliance – even after getting banned from adsense very early in Kumiko’s blogging career, she has continued to add different revenue sources to get her monthly earnings over $1300 per month. That’s a great accomplishment.

There are many lessons to be learned from what Cash Quests has done. Congratulations on the sale and good luck to the new owner. I’m sure the high quality writing will continue.

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A Blogger’s Worst Mistake! Routines Count!

Posted by Jane on August 7th, 2007

In the middle of June when I launched a new blog, I wrote about a blogger’s worst nightmare. Today, I’m going to write about a blogger’s worst mistake!

On Tuesday morning, I arrived back in the UK from my two week business trip. It was a fun trip, with the Web hosting conference, HostingCon, at the center.

While I was there, the plan was for me to record a couple of video blogs and write each day for my own blog. In fact, the *real* plan was to record a vlog from the highway when my business partner and I drove to Chicago for the conference (just because it would have been cool.).  However, as is quite often the case with trips like these, I barely had time to breathe, let alone write record vlogs and write blog posts. The only point where I had time to record a vlog came after I left my laptop power cable in the Chicago hotel (We were five hours away in Sandusky, Ohio by the time I realized)!

So, now that I’m back and I’ve had my 18 hours of sleep to get over the jet lag, it’s time to start writing blog posts again. However, I have found it *incredibly* hard to come up with ideas for new posts, and even harder to find the motivation to write about the things I want to write about.

The fact is, before I went away, I was in a routine. I would work my Web design and hosting job from 9am-9pm, then I would take the time to write a blog post. But for two weeks I haven’t been able to do that, which has resulted in that routine boarding another ship and going as far away from me as possible! Since I started blogging two months ago, it has been very hard. However, coming back to daily blogging after blogging only three times in a two week period has been the hardest challenge for me so far.

The single, worst possible mistake a blogger can make is breaking their blogging routine

There’s no question about it. When you break your routine for a lengthy period like I did, there is nothing harder than getting back in to that routine.

It’s like when you go to the gym. You may go to the gym four times a week, then you go on vacation for two weeks. When you return, it is incredibly hard to get back in to that four times a week routine.

Of course, the solution to this problem is simply not to break the routine. Until I came back to the UK on Tuesday, I didn’t realize how breaking my routine was such a big problem. Now I know, and I’ll never do it again!

However, if you do find yourself in this unfortunate situation, the only advice I’m able to give is to chew it up as a lesson learned and force yourself to write that first blog entry. Earlier today, I wrote my first entry since arriving back home and all of a sudden the ideas for new blog posts were flowing around my head. In the half hour it took for me to research my blog post, write it and publish it, I came up with three new titles for blog posts.

As the Nike slogan goes… “just do it!” The hard part is taking that first step. Once you have, you’ll feel like you’ve never been away.

Have you ever broken your blogging routine? How did it affect you?

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3 Blogging Mistakes To Avoid Like The Plague

Posted by admin on July 13th, 2007

In my experience as a blogger, I have learned the hard way of the common mistakes that many bloggers do when they are beginning or when they are trying to make money online from their blog.  I want to list a couple and save you some time trying to figure out why your traffic isn’t consistent or no one is returning to your site.

1. Inconsistent Publishing.  Establishing a goal for yourself prior to writing your first post should be the first thing you do.  Nobody knows when you will be publishing your next post other than yourself.  Having people guess when you have new content is an extra obstacle you are putting in front of your readers blocking the way to your site and being engaged.  You want it to be as easy for someone to come to your site and read new content as possible.  Readers should be able to anticipate when and how often updates occur.

For most blogs, daily updates are probably best, but weekly updates work as well, depending on your topic.  Keep in mind that the less frequent you post, the better quality your posts have to be if you want your readers to return.  That’s like you promoting a party for next Friday; people show up on Friday and they see you sitting on the sofa, party hat on your head, popcorn dish in your hand, and an alarm clock for a radio.  Not much of a party if you ask me.  And you can bet I won’t be coming back to the next one you have.  In either case, pick a posting schedule and stick to it.

If you usually post daily but sometimes let weeks go by without new content, you’ll lose a lot of readers.  A way to battle against writer’s block is to use the time when you are motivated and have tons of ideas to create drafts for future posts.  That way you have them in your manage folder and you can just time-stamp them for those stagnant times.

2. Having A Wide Range Of Topics.  If you haven’t really focused on a niche yet and you’re across the board with different topics, you probably are less likely to attract and maintain a loyal reader base. You might hit on a topic that interest many people, but unless you have similar content that retains the reader and encourages them to come back, that’s probably the last time you’ll ever see that person on your blog.  You may luck out and you may attract those people with too much time on their hands. I wouldn’t mind having those people here on my blog, but the more focused your content, the more focused your readers. The more focused your readers, the more influence you have in your niche. If you have the urge to write about both American politics and the affiliate marketing, then establish two blogs because the same people are not going to like the other topics.

3. Remember Your Kids Will One Day Read Your Posts.  Whenever you post anything to the Internet, regardless of where it is (blog, forum, MySpace), think about how it will look to your children ten or fifteen years down the road. Once stuff’s out, it’s archived, cached, and indexed in many places that you might never be aware of.  Years from now, a college picture you took of yourself while running the “naked mile” across campus might turn up somewhere unexpected.  Why risk having some offensive nasty flames published under your name?  Keep it safe to attract readers.  Although there are plenty of websites out there that are not safe and get tons of traffic.  It’s all about image and the image you want to portray online.Think twice before posting. If you don’t want your future (or current) kids to read it, don’t post.

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What Bloggers Can Learn From Paris Hilton

Posted by Jane on June 7th, 2007

It’s only been three days and Paris has already been released from prison. I will not focus on how ridiculous this is since she was sentenced to 45 days. It is very disappointing that this comes after all the hype of the judge doing a good job of not giving Paris special treatment and sentencing her like every other normal person who gets caught drunk driving, without a valid license three times in six months.  So instead of ranting and raving about this, I’d like to focus on the positive and look at how bloggers can try to receive similar “special treatment”.

  • Always smile no matter what is happening. When communicating with your readers via email, instant messenger, your writing or in person, be sure to always appear happy about the communication. Even if your blog is getting little traffic, revenues are down or your server has crashed, still smile.
  • Get your face seen everywhere possible. Get out and market, market, market! If there is a blog carnival in your niche, enter it. If there is a more popular blog around, comment on it. If you have something to share with an A-list blogger, email them.
  • Create a little controversy. State your honest opinion in your posts even if it will stir up controversy. If you believe in a particular opinion you have, state it clearly. If people get upset with you, you’ll get backlinks. As Guy Kawasaki likes to say, “no PR is bad PR”.
  • Make a video blog. Instead of always writing on your blog, create some videos for your readers to see you in action. Shoemoney has tried to blog in video format and John Chow often posts short videos of himself.

In conclusion, no matter how unbelievable and ridiculous the Paris situation is, we can all work on marketing ourselves a little better. That’s really the only thing Paris does decently.

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Learn To Blog And Earn Money: Tuesday

Posted by admin on May 22nd, 2007

Today, I continue my series of what webmasters should do on their first week of having their web site, you can see the summary here: Learn to Blog and Earn Money: Week 1.  Two weeks ago, I left you with what you should do on the first Monday having your blog.  You can review that post here with Learn to Blog and Earn Money: Monday.

Today’s post will cover Meta tags.  There has been much discrepancy as to the importance of using Meta tags.  The reason this is my number two thing to do when starting a web site or blog is because Meta tags are one of those things that are a lot easier to do when creating something from scratch.  They don’t hurt right? They do help and help in a monetizing way.  I have implemented them on a site or two.  I did so only when creating a new site or blog.

There are so many other things you can do to better optimize your site that take a lot less time.  Things such as including title and heading tags and great content can be a better use of time if you already have a site created.  Having to go through an already existing site to include these tags would be tedious.  If you have an existing blog, I wouldn’t go through the trouble of inserting these tags, focus on the headings.

A major reason I like to use these tags is because they tend to have an impact on my adsense and the ads that are being shown.  Anytime I can focus those ads translates to more adsense revenues.  This can be a major factor in turning daily totals from $100 into $300 with adsense.

Meta Description Tag

Meta description tags are not visible for the world to see.  Well, at least they are not supposed to be.  Sometimes web sites leave the tag out of their code.  Why can this be a bad thing? Well, search engines usually display snippets from your site in their listings.

Here are some possible scenarios in which your Meta description tag might be displayed instead:

  1. If you have a Flash or graphics only site, or maybe even if you have the only content on your site being a redirect to another page.
  2. When off-page factors make your site a relevant match for a search but no exact match is found in your site’s text
  3. In less-sophisticated search engines that use the description tag as a workaround for their inability to display snippets

Search engines often display 150 characters or more for the listing description.  That’s kind of a lot of space.  Well, a lot of space relative to the page title that is.  That space is prime real estate to convey your message. So, if good writing comes naturally to you, you have a lot of opportunity to make this tag stand out. But if writing isn’t your strong suit, this tag gives you a little more room to make mistakes. Bring in a proofreader if you need to; this is a bad spot for an embarrassing typo.

I’ve recently taken a tour around my community on MyBlogLog and there are a good 50% of blogs in my community that have some sort of grammatical errors in key places.  I usually cut and paste my content into a word document to catch any minor grammar errors I might have missed.

Here are some pointers for writing a great Meta description tag:

Keep it simple and informative. Think of the Meta description tag as an “About Us” blurb, not a “Buy Now!” advertisement. Do you have a 30 second elevator speech you have prepared for those key moments when you are next to a high profile executive and you want to network?  Well, this is similar, think of it as your keyword-rich elevator speech.  It’s not worth the upkeep to write this tag to promote special events or deals.

Pair it with the page title. While you can’t be sure exactly when or how people will see your Meta description tag, it’s a sure bet that when it is shown, it will be right under your optimized page title. So, don’t repeat your title text in your description tag.

Include your keywords. While the Meta description tag may not be a huge factor in influencing rank, include your target keywords because they’ll be bolded in the search results. Notice how the bolding catches your eye in these pointers.

Make it Unique. Like your page title, your Meta description tag should be custom-written for each landing page to match its specific content.

Here’s some good news if you’re interested in saving time: The combination of page title and Meta description tag can be used as is, or with a little trimming or spinning, for any directories that you submit your site to later. And, if you’re looking for a keyword-rich tagline to add to the bottom of your page, your Meta description tag can be a great starting point.

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Learn To Blog and Earn Money: Monday

Posted by admin on May 9th, 2007

As I mentioned yesterday, I will be giving an overview for new bloggers of what they should be doing in week one and break each day (Monday through Friday) into individual posts throughout this week and maybe next week.  So if you are new to the blogging world or you want to clean your own site up, be sure to pay special attention to this series as it will help you have a successful blog or web site.

Full Speed Ahead

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term maintenance activity, something you do throughout your online life.  It is made up of both productive spells and waiting periods.  Sometimes it’s hot, and other times it’s not.  Your SEO plan should be designed so that your waiting time (waiting for other web site owners to get back to you, waiting for the search engines to notice what you’ve done, etc.) isn’t spent doing nothing. Rather, you’ll use this time to take on new initiatives. And even though you’ll constantly move into new SEO territory as the plan progresses, you’ll periodically come back to revisit and continue the work you started in earlier weeks.

As we begin Week 1 of your first week of blogging, you want to take the following into consideration:

Monday: Page Titles

Today, you’re going to take a stab at writing unique and compelling page titles for each of your landing pages.

Remember, as I mentioned yesterday, have a sheet of paper or a log to keep you in tune with your goals and keywords as you write them down. This will help you in the future when you are testing new things or you are starting a second, third or tenth site.

Effective Page Title Do’s

DO keep it short. Like a telephone answering machine that cuts you off before you finish talking, most search engines display only 40 to 60 characters in the listing title. So to get your message across, you should include important keywords toward the beginning of the title and make sure that the first 40 to 60 characters of your title form a complete thought.  Keep in no longer than 8 words.

DO include your keywords.  Your page title is important in the ranking algorithm, so it must include your target keywords! Since your space is limited, focus on the two to three key terms that you previously matched with your landing page. Feeling a bit squeezed by the 40 to 60 character cutoff? Remember that you can combine keywords to save space.

For Example:

Learn to Blog and Earn Money= Learn to Blog, Earn Money, Learn to Blog and Earn Money, Blog and Earn Money, etc.

DON’T overdo it! First and foremost, you want to connect with your intended audience. Excessive keyword repetition is a short-sighted strategy. Is this a marketing message or a synonym sandwich?

Remember to think of the big picture! Your approach to site optimization will affect more than just ranks…it will also affect your readers’ decision to engage and interact with your web site or blog

DO include your name. Although I do not recommend this for every title in your blog, your blogs or web sites name will not only differentiate your listing from your competitors’, it may earn you more clicks. Maybe your name carries a good reputation with it, or maybe it provides important context, making your listing more attractive or relevant.

DON’T assume your slogan does the job. Even if branding is your only objective, you need to think about whether your slogan contains your targeted keywords and, if so, whether you think it will encourage visits to your site.

DO write unique titles for each page. You’ve got enough competition out there. Don’t add to it by pitting your landing pages against each other with identical page titles.

Since each of your landing pages is already targeting a unique subset of your top-priority keywords, you can always find a different angle for each page title. Give each of your landing pages the chance to shine on its own.

DON’T duplicate site navigation in the title. Whether generated automatically or written by hand, page titles are often used as a place to mirror the navigational structure of a site. I won’t say never for this because, if your site sections are named well, it can be an effective way to display keywords. For example, a furniture store might have a landing page titled “Frank’s Furniture – Patio Furniture – Wicker.” This works—the navigation text is very brief and includes target keywords. But most sites aren’t built this way, and you don’t want words like “Index,” “Main Page,” or “Our Products” to take up space that’s best reserved for your targeted marketing message.

Hopefully these Do’s and Don’ts for your first day on the job, or blog, help.  Because the importance of titles, I wanted to be sure you started with this first when looking to create an effective and optimized web site.

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Learn To Blog and Earn Money: Week 1

Posted by admin on May 8th, 2007

I’ve had a number of emails and comments from people asking about starting a web site and a blog.  Questions ranging from “is my domain name too long” to “do you really email each individual commentator when they leave their first comment.”  All of these questions will be answered in an ebook I am creating for people wanting to learn how to blog and earn money.  But before I introduce that ebook, I want to give you a sense of what you should do in the first week of starting a blog.

I will give an overview of week one here and break each day (Monday through Friday) into individual posts throughout this week and maybe next week.  So if you are new to the blogging world, be sure to pay special attention to this series as it will help you have a successful blog or web site.

For the sake of time and since I’ve touched on these topics previously, I will assume you have a domain name and hosting.

Week 1: Basic Site Optimization

In week 2 you’re going to work hard at finding blog owners and convincing them to link to you. But before you call this kind of attention to your blog, you’ll need to spend a full week detailing, polishing, and checking for the proverbial spinach in your site’s teeth.

One of the major goals for this week is to optimize your blog, with the hope of positively influencing how search engines view and rank your web site. You’ll also tackle basic site structure issues making sure that search engine robots have easy access to your landing pages. With these improvements in place, your site will have a basic level of optimization: nothing tricky or fancy, and no time wasted on tiny technicalities, just common-sense, best-practices solutions.

I recommend that you keep track of all your changes in one document as you go.  This document will help you when starting a second or third site.  You see what works and what doesn’t work and you can recreate what you do based on this one document.  Who knows, you may be able to use it as a foundation for an ebook.

Here are your daily task assignments for the following week:

Monday: Page Titles

Tuesday: Meta Tags

Wednesday: Robot Walk-Through

Thursday: Site Text

Friday: Implementation

This week and next week I will walk you through each day and the specific things you should consider as you begin to optimize your blog and/or web site as you earn money online.