Monday, August 27, 2012

Mobile Blogging With Jim Connolly

My Nexus 7, image for an upcoming @GadgeTell post

Recently business blogger Jim Connolly gave his review in a two-part post of the new Nexus 7 with a very specific question in mind. Would the device be effective for mobile blogging?

You can read Connolly's two-part review (written on the new tablet from Google and Asus) but the answer is a resounding yes!

Why is this so important?

  • Productivity. The dream of being able to work from anywhere on your timetable has always been there long before tablets or blogging existed. But for bloggers, especially those whose posting is part or the majority of a business, this means being able to work from the local Starbucks or while waiting for a connecting flight, wherever an Internet connection is available.
  • Access. Another challenge in blogging is the need to be active on the site, responding to comments in a timely fashion and removing inappropriate content immediately when it appears. Obviously the ability to work on your site from anywhere allows you to be active online even when you're on the go.
  • Versatility. Having a blogging tool that will fit into a pocket has incredible advantages. It allows you to rearrange not only how you work on your Website but your entire lifestyle. Even with a largely online business, you're no longer limited to being stuck at your computer or having to lug around a laptop.

So, what do you think? How will mobile blogging change the way you work? Have you started blogging on the go? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Penelope Trunk Says You Only Need One Blog

penelope trunk

In her well known "Penelope's Guide to Blogging", Penelope Trunk insists you only need one blog.

She writes:

Starting a blog is such a hard thing to do, so why do people keep starting new ones? I don’t get it. It’s so clear to me that the way to get the most out of blogging is to stick with what you’ve started…..changing blogs undermines your ability to get the benefits of blogging. Try sticking with the topic you picked. Try exploring the outer rings of the topic and the smack center of what’s on your mind right now. That’s where the passion and engagement of blogging will sprout.

You'll need to join the Brazen Careerist to read the rest of Trunk's post on the subject.

I respect her opinion and realize the list of bloggers who stick to a single authoritative blog is long, including some who I most admire, like Trunk herself, Seth Godin, John Jantch, and Chris Brogan to name a few.

All the same, here are some reasons I think founding more than one blog or Website is probably something you should consider.

  • The guest blogging ecosystem is strong. Fellow blogger Adam Gottlieb posted recently about all the sites out there thriving through the efforts of guest bloggers and helping them in turn create a brand and following. Obviously there is room for many such sites on different topics and a viable business model in creating them.
  • It's more like a newspaper than a personal journal. For all the examples of blogs with a single authoritative voice, there are those like Copyblogger and ProBlogger that are much more like niche publications. The goal for blog editors in this approach is not necessarily creating a single personal blog but numerous blogs on a variety of topics to which other bloggers can contribute.
  • You may want to reach different segments. From a marketing perspective, a single blog has a brand and a following. But say you have things to say or audiences to reach who are not followers of the blog you've already created. Publishing several blogs segmented to reach different potential audiences would be the logical approach.
  • It's an important part of the online publishing business. Everything I've explained above shows why creating multiple blogs and finding contributors to supply them with a steady flow of content is a viable and important emerging industry. Let's call it the online publishing business. And it will no more belong to individual bloggers, each publishing a single blog than did the traditional publishing business belong to  individual authors all with their own magazine or book publishing company.
  • Blogs are social. This is obvious simply because of the fact that most are equipped with the ability to leave comments and, of course, most blog publishing software is designed to allow collaborative blogging. Creating multiple communities for bloggers to post on a variety of topics is more natural than the idea of individual blogs, each created for one single voice (though obviously, the single voice of the blogger is prized nowadays and a very different matter.)

So, what do you think? Is the future of this medium about each blogger publishing one and only one blog or will it be one in which blogs are collaborative communities where publishers may create and administrate numerous blogs for a variety of interests and viewpoints?

By the way, I'm looking for guest bloggers here on Please let me know if you're interested.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What Bloggers Can Learn From Star Trek

Star Trek 013Star Trek 013_1

There are many places bloggers can find inspiration for their next post, but none so intriguing as in the adventures of the crew of the starship Enterprise.

I'm an unabashed Star Trek fan, as are many people out there I'm sure, and so thought I'd impart some wisdom fans can take from their favorite show to improve online content. Here are just a few suggestions:
  • Boldly go where none have gone before. Don't be afraid to tackle new ideas, ones that, in some cases, aren't being touched, even by other bloggers. There's a huge benefit in being first to a topic that will build your brand and your audience.
  • Seek out new life and new civilizations. Blogging isn't just about finding a niche, it's about building community. If you do it right, you will discover new communities and create a way for them to interact that was never possible before.
  • Obey the Prime Directive.The highest law followed by the crew of the starship Enterprise is that they not interfere with civilizations they discover in a way that would be harmful or wrong. Take the same attitude toward your community. Let it develop on it's own and never impose your own agenda.
  • Promote cooperation and understanding. When the crew of the Enterprise did interact with other lifeforms in the United Federation of Planets, it was always in a spirit of cooperation. And, of course, seeking greater understanding was the basic motivation for all of the crew's missions. Bloggers should do the same with each other and their audiences, always promoting mutual benefits.
  • Use technology correctly. The crew members of the Enterprise have learned to use technology for everyone's benefit and using it for selfish ends is discouraged. Bloggers have the same opportunity to use technology to build up and empower community and to connect with others. Be sure to use the incredible power you wield responsibly.
  • Don't forget to go to warp. Like the warp engines of the starship Enterprise, blogging and social media allow you to travel far, spreading your message and engaging with others well outside your immediate circle. Use these tools to broaden your world, to learn, and to network with others you don't yet know.
  • Watch out for Klingons and Romulans. No matter how hard you try, there are some who won't understand you or appreciate what you have to say. Don't worry about these people. Hopefully, they'll just move along to the next blog or community and leave you and your audience in peace.
  • Always bring your Tricorder. There are many tools you can use to learn more about the community you are creating, from Web analytics to Facebook Insights and beyond. Like the Tricoder used on Star Trek, they can tell you more about this frontier you're exploring and how to better make sense of it.
  • Keep your transporter in good repair. Some magnetic dust once caused this device to malfunction, splitting Captain Kirk into two people. Needless to say, care must be taken to maintain the tools you use, from blogging platforms to social communities, Web hosting to personal technology. If something can go wrong, it will, so take the time to learn how to keep all your tools safe and working.
When you voyage to the final frontier of blogging on the Internet (at least the final frontier until the next one comes along), don't forget the tips you've learned about what it takes to create an effective blog and online community. With these basic guidelines, you can live long and prosper in the new worlds you help to discover.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Anthony Morrison Uses Affiliate Marketing and So Can You

Not too long ago, I attended a seminar hosted by representatives of online marketing guru Anthony Morrison. The seminar outlined Morrison's method of affiliate marketing, basically driving traffic to links on your site provided by large retailers and other companies, and then receiving a percentage of the sales generated as a result.

According to presenters at the seminar, for a payment of $2,000 or more, depending on the offer, participants receive training from Morrison's team and access to software that helps them run their affiliate marketing business.

As a so-called "super affiliate," Morrison also is entitled to higher percentages on sales generated by the affiliate programs he is involved with and passes these higher percentages on to participants.

I'm not an expert on Morrison's program and have never taken part in it, but, as we've said in previous posts, you don't need to participate in a high-priced program with an online guru to take advantage of affiliate marketing.

Getting involved is simple:

  • Sign up. Pick one affiliate marketing program to get started. Brands ranging from Amazon to Sears offer a variety of programs and you can do some Web searches or check out the Websites of some of your favorite brands for other opportunities.
  • Read the guidelines. Carefully read the participation guidelines to be sure you are complying with all the rules connected with the program. You wouldn't want to be making money through an affiliate program and then lose out due to a minor infraction.
  • Create compelling content. Look! The hardest part of affiliate marketing is driving traffic to your affiliate links. Creating content is the best way to do this, but not just any content will do. Here are some thoughts from ProBlogger Darren Rowse with "11 Lessons I Learned Earning $119,725.45 from Amazon Associates Program."

So, have you started using affiliate marketing on your blogs? Please tell us about it. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Communicating Effectively with Your Blog Audience

I like this recent post from freelance writer, Internet marketer, and life coach Sylviane Nuccio about "Why Valuable Content is Not Enough to Attract Huge Traffic to Your Blog."

Blogging gurus often insist that good content is good enough to create a popular blog, but don't go deeply into what really constitutes good content.

In her post, Sylviane sets out some specifics that anyone creating a blog at either the corporate level or for a small business or other purpose can use to communicate more effectively with an audience and thus attract increased traffic:

  • Be a leader. People tend to follow leaders in their niche, those who have been successful or can share insights from their own experience that go beyond the information everyone else is providing.
  • Offer food for thought. Challenge your readers, go into topics others may be afraid to tackle, offer your opinion and be different. All of these are simple ways to offer thought provoking posts.
  • Create great headlines. Sylviane suggests a headline that will attract your potential reader. This, of course, means someone interested in your niche. To take things a step further, however, I'd suggest blog titles are the best place to employ Search Engine Optimization while at the same time piquing reader interest.
  • Pick the right platform. Sylviane focuses on the comment platform here, but obviously there are other things to consider, like using the right blogging platform (WordPress is super popular but Blogger and TypePad are also effective.)
  • Promote others' content. Hey, that's what I'm doing right here! Become a person known for sharing content and you'll have others sharing your content too. Don't forget that, just like other kinds of social media, blogging is a conversation. Sharing is one way to get the conversation started.
  • Create some connections The other part of sharing others' content, of course, is that you will also be creating connections with other bloggers. As Sylviane rightly explains, this is not the same as making connections with customers, but these other bloggers are the sources of natural backlinks that can help build your audience.
  • Leave intelligent comments.What's an intelligent comment? The opposite of a dumb one, of course, explains Sylviane. We're talking about those comments that say nothing like "Great post!" and "I think you are making some good points here." Let me add that, in a nutshell, an intelligent comment should add something to the conversation, perhaps a new thought or a question that can be answered by others.
  • Finally, let me end this post in the same way that Sylviane ended hers. What do you think? What are some ways you'd suggest for communicating effectively with a blog audience? Please leave an "intelligent" comment below!

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Amazon Same-Day Delivery Boosts Online Business

    The best reason to get involved with affiliate marketing programs run by companies like online retail giant Amazon has always been simplicity.

    Your online business can focus strictly on driving traffic and encouraging sales without worrying about order fulfillment, inventory, returns, or any of the other inherent headaches coming from running a typical e-commerce business.

    But Amazon's recent decision to push same-day delivery on many items ordered through its online store, gives online businesses partnered with Amazon an even greater advantage. Here's why:

    Your small business has global reach. This has always been the case with the Amazon affiliate program, of course, but now it is arguably more so. Working from a laptop in your home office, you essentially have the resources of a global retail and distribution network helping you sell and ship products to your distinct audience, and with Amazon's same-day delivery roll-out, your business just got an upgrade.

    You can compete with local retailers. If your online business specializes in local content, you now have the opportunity to compete directly with local retailers in a whole new way. Your local audience now has a means to shop through you, saving time and money, with an almost limitless number of products comparable or beyond those offered by brick-and-mortar retailers in your region. Shoppers on your site no longer need to take the time to go to the local WalMart and will still get their order the same day.

    You can monetize almost any topic. One of the shortcomings of Google AdSense is that it can be more difficult to monetize some topics; but no more. From action figures to arts and crafts supplies, tube socks to Teletubbies, Amazon can help you monetize just about any Website topic and take advantage of a rising trend in online shopping which will only increase with same-day delivery.

    How can Amazon's new enhanced service improve your online business? We'd love to hear.