Category Archives: Blogging

Can A Niche Be Too Defined?

I’m going to touch upon what might end up being a sensitive subject, but I feel I must.

There are lots of pundits out there who say one must have a defined niche so they know just the market they’re trying to get, and hopefully will have that particular market find them. I understand that in general, of course. After all, this blog, though I get conversational from time to time, is more about blogging, online marketing, and the internet. And my other blog is on business topics related to people and leadership.

Vintage cars are a good niche

However, I wonder about niche’s that not only seem a bit too defined, but also seem, well, “exclusive” instead of “inclusive”. In other words,by their general definition they seem to say to others “stay out, you’re not wanted”; at least that’s how I see it.

I’m talking about niches such as “work at home moms” (WAHM), religious based, or ethnically based businesses. From where I’m sitting, I’d be immediately knocked out of two of the three, and on that third one, I’m not sure I’d identify myself as “only” being a member of that group because I think, if others had my same thought process, that it would keep some people from coming because they’d feel like I was part of an exclusive club that they weren’t invited to.

Of course I know that’s not really the case, but appearances really are everything up front. Any time you’re doing something that seems to be weeding other people out, or putting a stamp on their foreheads, you risk alienating a big part of the population, and impacting your opportunity to generate true revenue.

I’m certainly not saying don’t be proud of who or what you are. For me, as a black man in America, I’m not backing away from anything like that. However, I’m not identifying myself as a black businessman, or any of my businesses as black businesses, because I want to invite everyone into my digital or business living room, where I’ll serve up some virtual cherry Kool Aid and low salt corn chips and we can have a nice little conversation with each other.

Then again, some of this reminds me of a post by Steve Pavlina when he wrote about why one shouldn’t have a religion, which I thought was a bit over the top, and then he followed it with his post on feeling blessed, which was very nice but leaves one confused in some fashion about whether it was a good idea to write the initial one in the first place. My intention definitely isn’t to stir the pot; it’s to ask the question about how much niche might one consider as too much niche. Of course, if you’re looking to only work or market to specific people, then go about your business; after all, it’s what the separatists do.

And man, do those folks know how to market. Still hate them, but they’re everywhere! Overall, what do you think about this?
 

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Is It Easy To Comment On Your Blog?

I just left a post on another blog. The blog required me to register first, then it sent me a password so I could fully register and add any pertinent information I wished to. It’s a WordPress blog, so I’m familiar with it.

Thing is, the blog has been in existence for almost 18 months, and there’s never been a comment. I would pretty much figure it’s because the blog owner makes one have to register first. I usually don’t register for blogs, but in this case I made an exception. I don’t usually like doing it for three reasons. One, it takes time away from my commenting; when I want to comment, I want to comment now, while I’m thinking about it. Two, it gives the blog owner a feeling that they can start sending me all sorts of email that I don’t want or need; I’ll visit the blog and possibly read or buy stuff when I want to. And three, you can’t unregister; I tried on this one blog and finally just fudged an email address, because the writer was inundating me needlessly with updates, then updates on the updates; enough already.

There are other blogs I’ve left messages on, only to receive an email asking me to click on it to prove that it’s me. It’s easy enough to do, but it leaves me wondering if I want to continue dealing with it long term; I’d rather you just read the comment and determine if you want it on your site or not. A couple of times my entry has never shown up on one of those sites anyway, which left me feeling like I wasted my time. And, if I feel like I’m wasting my time, you’re probably not going to get any love back in the form of links or even being added to the blogroll some day.

I never had it set up that people needed to register for my site (though some do anyway), but I realized fairly early on that I was going to have to add something to stop as much spam as was coming through. I first loaded Botcheck, which took care of a lot of stuff but not nearly enough. I then loaded Bad Behavior, but the same was occurring. Finally I added Akismet, which is supreme, and it catches virtually everything. On my business blog, I added a plugin that makes people put in a randomly generated number. I haven’t had to go that far with this one, as Askimet seems to be doing a great job on its own.

The main idea of your blog is to encourage others to comment; at least that’s usually the intention. You share your ideas, and you hope others will either validate your thoughts or offer something new. If you’re just writing for yourself, then that’s something entirely different; enjoy that. Some folks don’t have comments open at all; their choice. But if you’re going to do it, make it easy.

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CommentLuv; A Must Have PlugIn

I added a WordPress plugin called CommentLuv about a month ago, and it’s turning into a wonderful program.

Basically, its purpose is to encourage people to leave comments on your post, and if they put in their blog information it will go into the blogosphere and look for the last post they made, and it will show the link to that post on your blog. This encourages other visitors to look at the link, see what the commenter might have been talking about, and, hopefully, encourages them to visit that blog.

It also gets around some blog versions that automatically have comments set to “nofollow”, which means that a person leaving a comment get no love back to their sites as far as linking is concerned, and since many people leave comments not only to be heard, but hoping for backlinks to their sites, CommentLuv helps them out, and you also, since creating links for your site is part of what it’s all about.

Anyway, you can get the plugin at the link above, and of course you can test it out first by writing a comment on this blog. 🙂


FT 4 week free trial 728x90

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Update Your Blog Software

Okay, I’ll own up to this; I’m not always on top of things when it comes to doing updates. I love shiny new stuff, but when I’ve got what I want, I’m not always out there looking for the next better thing until what I have doesn’t seem to work anymore.

So, suffice it to say that it took me awhile to update my other blog to the latest WordPress platform. This one was pretty new, since it was created earlier this year, but I believe I only had it for a couple of weeks when there was suddenly an update for it. I didn’t want to do it, but I did the update. I actually talked about it a little bit in a previous post on some things I learned about altering the backgrounds.

WordPress has this one plugin, actually called WordPress Automatic Upgrade, that will automatically update your blog software if you give it that setting, or you can start it on your own when you’re notified that there is an update, and WordPress is good at getting that news out. It will also update any other plugings you’re using if you want it to.

The reason for writing this particular post is because, it seems, many WordPress blogs get hacked because people don’t update them. I learned about this through Chris Jacobson, who linked to another blog called Holy Shmoly that not only talked about blogs getting hacked, but broke it down to explain how.

Frugal is not going out and buying a digital TV because the regulations are about to change in 2009; stupid is not updating your blogging software when you’re warned someone could take it from you. Please, update your software when warned. It will save you a lot of problems later on.

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Alvin Phang Talks Driving Blog Traffic

Alvin Phang writes a blog he calls Gather Success, and he’s another successful blogger who makes great profits from it, and some of his other online endeavors, including what’s probably his best known product, Atomic Blogging.

His latest post is something that I, and many other people, need to always read and be reminded of, called 14 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Blog. He gives great points, some I’ve seen before, some I haven’t, but all are very good.

One I really like is #2, where he says “Your writing style must have a dash of humor, wit, sarcasm and spoof-ery to it. I don’t think I do this often enough, even if my friends say I do. On my other blog, since its focus is more business related, I know I don’t have enough humor, but on this one, I believe I’m at least somewhat engaging, and sarcastic at times, but it’s hard to say. But I like it, and I need to keep trying to do it more.

Number seven is also one I’ve done, though not all that much lately, that being “Post pictures and videos (if applicable) on your blog. What’s funny is that Alvin doesn’t post almost any pictures, and his videos thus far have been of him, which is probably more what he means, as opposed to my posting things like this (Yoda is the man!):


Finally, #11 is something else I haven’t done at all, but probably could have something that does it for me: Ask your visitors to tag your blog/post if they like what they see. Use del.icio.us, digg, furl, technorati and reddit. On his site, after each post, he has a box asking people to sign up for his blog feed or email updates, but he really doesn’t do what he’s advocating other people do, but then he really doesn’t have do. However, he has made it easy for people to tag him, which I’ve done by adding the possible tags for my blog.

Anyway, please go read the rest of the post; I think it’s pretty illuminating. Yoda likes it also. 🙂

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