Do You Need A Pretty Blog To Be Successful?

How many of you eat tuna fish? I know a few are going to say they don’t, but did you know that tuna is ranked as the most favored fish in the United States, with more than twice as many people eating it than salmon, which is #2? I was stunned by both of these because when I go to restaurants, most of the time they serve either haddock or cod. But these don’t seem to translate well to eating at home, which is why tuna and salmon rank so high.

my tuna mix

You know one of the strange things about tuna? It’s not a pretty food. Look at this picture of some tuna I made up the way I like it. When I posted this picture on Instagram some months ago and had it also going to Facebook, it was universally hated for its appearance. Yet, I know that all tuna looks pretty much like this after it’s been mixed with people’s favorite ingredients; have you ever seen Subway’s tuna?

Do I have a point? Of course! Lately there’s been a lot of discussion about what people’s blogs look like. I covered some of that on my previous post where I said if a website or blog works for you then go with it. I also said that it’s possible that people might not necessarily agree with you and that if they decide to stay away and you’re okay with it then fine, but if you want visitors you might decide to make some changes.

In my opinion, it’s not the look of blogs that drives people away as much as what a blog has to say. There are some very ugly and plain websites that draw thousands of visits a day. Why? Because someone found their content compelling enough to keep them coming and indirectly got them to share the content to help make them popular.

salmon teriyaki
Yeah, salmon…

This isn’t a slam on pretty websites or on fancy themes. They can be as pleasing and tempting as the dish on the left. It’s a postulation if you will that states content really matters a lot more than what one’s blog looks like. The idea of having a website look professional is a big one, but professional can be minimalistic as well as fancy-dancy with all sorts of things popping out and videos and music automatically playing and flash pages and… well, you get my drift. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a blog theme unless you really want to.

That’s all I have; share your thoughts below.
 

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We’re All Right And We’re All Wrong About Blogging

Yay, another post with a video! I know, it’s been 6 days since my last post here and that’s rare for me. I did that on purpose though because I had a couple of posts in a row that I thought were important enough to allow visitors to have their say about before I pushed on. If you’ve missed them please go back and check them out after this one.

Fields of Gold
Werner Kunz via Compfight

As I said in the video, today the sun is shining in central New York and that’s an anomaly for is at this time of year. Actually it popped out for maybe 20 minutes in the evening a couple of days ago but that’s too late to call it a sunny day. So I’m feeling good and thus decided that it was time to have a post on this topic, which is about blogging of course.

Over the past 5 years I’ve given a lot of advice on blogging. So have a lot of other people, some whom I’ve quoted here, some who I visit whenever I can. I’m part of the newsletters sent out by my Hot Blog Tips Hangout crew, and of course we do 3 videos every Sunday. The advice is pretty good I must say but if you’ve ever watched some of our videos, you’ll notice that every once in awhile we argue about something. It’s a short argument, nothing where we’re going to slap each other around (logistically it can’t happen anyway), but it proves a point.

That point is that all of us think we’re right and we are. At the same time none of us ever believes we’re wrong and we are. Kind of a dichotomy, eh? I’ll explain quickly, but not to take anything away from the video.

We all love blogging, but we all have something different we’re hoping to get out of it. When you think about it that’s true of all of you as well. It’s great getting some lessons from others, something that you feel you want to try out for yourself. But you also hear some advice that your mind says “I’m not doing that”. I know you do because I do.

So, if all of us look at the same information yet don’t do everything that everyone says, doesn’t that say that there’s someone out there who thinks we’re right and someone who thinks we’re wrong? By the way, I’m working on the concept that says it’s okay to be wrong sometimes because one, no one’s perfect, and two, even being wrong can produce great results. Think record players and penicillin.

With that said, here’s the video. Please, like the video, comment on the video, comment here on this blog post. Yeah, I know, most of you won’t watch the video or like it, even if you tell me you did, but I have to ask. 🙁


 

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Is Social Media Giving You Everything You Need

My wife and I always seem to have the same discussion about me and one of my particular eating habits. She says that I don’t always have a filter for portion control. When I’m hungry or thirsty, my mind doesn’t quite see that maybe “this much” is all I need to get rid of either of those things. At least not all the time.

IMAG0173
um, chocolate milk!

Thus, sometimes my mind will say “I can eat that entire pizza” when logically I know I can’t. It’ll say “you need to heat up 20 chicken nuggets” when I know I can only eat 13. And yet, every once in awhile I hear her words jumping into my mind saying “that’s going to be too much, restrain yourself, which explains this picture of chocolate milk that I made in a 32oz cup, bypassing the 48oz cup I initially grabbed; yeah, that would have come close to taking the entire carton of milk. lol

I know what you’re wondering; what’s that got to do with the topic above. The thing about social media is that most of us can define it based on what we think it is and what we think it should do for us. Most of us believe it’s supposed to be everything we want it to be, no matter what the limitations or realities might be.

I’ll own up to it; I’m one of those people. I have my own idea of what social media is supposed to be, and I want it to be that thing, and yet it’s not that thing. Let me explain.

I enjoy much of social media, but I find it lacking. I love Twitter, which you’ve heard me mention before. I’ve enjoyed Facebook, and I keep trying to make Google+ work for me the way I want it to work. LinkedIn, well, I can’t say I’ve ever gotten any business from my participation there, even though that’s what it’s supposed to help us with, connecting with those people who may be able to use our services.

What is it I want from social media? Truthfully, when all is said and done I want more engagement, and I want it more immediately. As an experiment, last night I decided to try an experiment. I announced around 8:30 that I was going to hold a Google Hangout at 9PM and that anyone who wanted to come was welcome, as I could take the first 8 people who asked to participate. I posted it on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

I wasn’t expecting much, and for the first 10 minutes that’s exactly what I got. No one came; not even a hint. So I decided to invite some people, and invited 8 of them. Two people popped in surprisingly, and two others acknowledged it on G+ but neither could come. The two who showed up were Michael Belk and Beverly Mahone. Shocking to me was that both of them showed up via their smartphones, both then tried to get on through their laptops and failed, and Michael came back to the phone, while I never could get Bev back on. I thank both of them, and Michael and I had a good conversation for awhile after he got back on.

I know some people would say that I should have put that message out way in advance but I had to try an experiment first. Here’s my take on it all. If there are a billion people on Facebook, 500 million on Google Plus, and 300 million or so on Twitter, and all of these sites have people on them 24/7, and 9PM Eastern time is only 6PM out west, I should be able to post something 30 minutes before its time and have some people show up. Of course, I don’t have that many people following me so let’s look at it this way. If I have almost 700 people following me on both Google Plus and Facebook and another 3,000+ on Twitter, that’s almost 4,500 people, and if that’s the case I should still be able to get at least 3 or 4 to show up, wouldn’t you think?

Yum… lol

That’s what I thought. As Michael and I were talking, he said that the problem with social media is that it’s not really social. On Google Plus most people seem to be interested more in promoting themselves than in talking to anyone. For the most part the same is true of Twitter. On Facebook, people love playing games and sharing images, and you might be able to get a conversation going that takes place over a number of hours, but for anything immediate you have to use that chat function, and most of us don’t like that.

Isn’t that thought provoking? Social media not really being social? Goodness, for most people it’s not even a great way to market, no matter what we try, and when I think about it, most of the people on Twitter are marketing more than communicating, and I have to share in that one, although I only post my links twice a day at most. I try engaging people when I share some of their links & quotes and occasionally talk to people, but not all that often, and that’s my favorite platform.

Is social media giving me everything I need? Not even close. But what about you? Are you getting everything you could possibly want out of it? I’m not talking marketing wise now, so don’t answer that question. And I’m not talking blogging either, since I consider that part of social media, though more indirectly. How do you view what you get out of social media now? Is it enough, or is there something else you wish you were getting?

Oh yeah; that other picture is of… well, you know what it’s a picture of. I ate all of that as well, in one day but not in one sitting. My wife is right; sometimes I just want too much. 🙂
 

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