Category Archives: Blogging

How I Write Blog Posts

Lately I’ve been seeing a rash of posts on blogs that are telling people how to write blogs. Of course, I have my own blogging tips, which I hope some folks have checked out here and there, but what I’m seeing are the same tips over and over from other people.

Let’s face this fact; just how many times do you want to read “first come up with a keyword rich topic, then write a keyword rich article on your niche?” No matter how many times you read that and how many ways someone tries to write it, nothing is different. How different is reading “write in your niche so that people will find you on search engines?”

I’m not saying it’s not true; I’m just saying it’s boring seeing the same thing over and over. And I’m not saying what I’m about to write is any better than what you’ve seen someone else say. But it will be different, and I’m thinking that’s my little niche. Let’s begin.

Believe it or not, the longest part of my blogging is trying to figure out what I want to write about. For someone like me, that doesn’t often take long. For this blog, since I pretty much write about what I feel like, it doesn’t usually take me longer than a couple of minutes. The same for my business blog, because I know my topic there. For my finance blog, it takes a little longer. I usually scour the news to see what feels like it might be interesting enough for me to expound upon, then I’m ready to go.

The next step, if needed, is the research. For instance, when I wrote my post the other day on my 13 favorite singers, that one took a long time to put together because I had to first list my singers, go find the videos for each of them, and then find the product links for each artist. For the last post, 34 questions, I had to actually answer the questions first. I could have answered them once I started writing, but I had some formatting I wanted to do so I answered them before I posted everything. For my finance blog, research is always essential, because I don’t want to use only one news source to write those articles from.

Next it’s time to either start writing or paste certain things into the writing area. When I’m writing, I go into my zone and just write, and I don’t usually stop until I’ve finished the article. That’s why it doesn’t take me all that long to write. If I have an opinion on something, my mind just puts things in the order I want to talk about them in and I go for it. Kind of my own Mozart thing going on. If I’m just pasting something, most of my work is already done.

Now it’s time for my internal linking. I don’t have full recall of every article I’ve written, but obviously I know my topics. So I go back through my topics to search for articles I’ve previously written on a topic. The internal linking serves two purposes One, it helps my site show off previous material that I’m hoping someone might be interested enough in to want to check it out. Two, at least on my finance blog, it helps with the SEO in reinforcing topics I write about there. This blog does okay in the search engines, but it probably will never get its PR back, which means probably only my affiliate advertising will ever be here, whereas that blog has a high PR, does okay on Alexa, and if I can increase the visits a bit more it’ll be prime property for financial advertisements.

Next is something I don’t always do, but I will check for it. Since everyone says text advertising is supposed to be so great, I go back through my words to see if there’s anything I said that can link to a product. Then I go looking for a product that I can link to and add that link, with the new blue lines.

The next to the last piece is trying to decide what I’m going to highlight at the bottom of each post. Will it be a product? Will it be just a banner ad of some sort? I certainly have plenty of stuff to choose from, so that usually doesn’t take much time either.

And now, the final pieces of the puzzle. I go to All-in-one-SEO and I write something in the description box on what the piece is about. I type in my keywords. Then I go up and type in my tags for the post, which is something I just started a few weeks ago. I select the overall category for the post. The last thing depends on if I’m posting the article immediately or on a delayed basis. If I’m delaying the post, I set the schedule for when I want it to post. Sometimes I write my posts a couple of weeks in advance, so that works great.

And there you go. Now, it takes me less than 5 minutes to write a post, but all the other stuff I add on is what builds up the time. It may eventually take me 10 to 20 minutes to fully complete a post, but that’s okay because the possible rewards for the extra stuff are worth it if you ask me.

Now, whether you fully agree or not, wasn’t that better than the cookie cutter posts you see all the time? 🙂
 

How Do You Feel About Blog Podcasting?

Yup, that’s my question: how do you feel about blog podcasting?

One of my new online friends has a pretty nice blog. However, the majority of her posts are short podcasts rather than the written word. Initially I was listening to her posts, but stopped pretty quickly. I had to think about why I didn’t like them, and I knew it had nothing to do with her or what she was talking about.

What I realized, and this may not be fair, is that I felt somewhat manipulated. Let’s think about this one for a little bit. We all want people to come to our blogs and participate in the experience. So we put together what we hope are thought provoking and entertaining posts, sometimes teaching, sometimes making people laugh, and sometimes just ranting a little bit. We might add a picture to help illuminate what we’re trying to articulate, or we might share a video here and there.

Why do we do all of this? Because we hope that people will stay on our blog for a little while. We hope that maybe they’ll like what they read, and want to read more. We hope that maybe they’ll be interested in one of the little things we have on the side of our blog, click on something, and we’ll make a little bit of money. And we hope that people will write comments, engage us in thoughts and conversation, and generally have a good time.

So, what about podcasts? Well, with either a podcast or video presentation, you pretty much have to spend a bit of time either watching or listening to it. You can’t speed read, which I do, and you can’t anticipate what’s coming. You’re pretty much stuck for anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes of listening to someone talking about whatever it is they’re talking about, or showing you. That’s why I almost never visit another blog by a guy I like, because almost all his posts are video, and I just don’t always have 10 minutes to hang around to watch a video.

Now, every once in awhile, if they’re showing you a presentation of something, that makes a lot of sense because it’s easier to show people how to do something that trying to just tell them how to do it. But what if it’s an every day thing? How much do you want to visit a blog to have to listen to a presentation every time?

I know someone’s going to say “yeah, but you have that “listen” button at the top of each post. True, but I put that there to give people an option as to whether they wanted to listen or read my post. I know some of my posts get quite long, and one of my wife’s gripes is that she hates reading long posts. But every once in awhile I’ll ask her to check a specific post out, and she’ll listen rather than read and enjoys that.

There are some websites that will put up a video, but also have the written transcript so that you get a choice as to which way you want to go. I love that option, and yes, sometimes I will just sit back and watch or listen to something instead of reading it. But it’s an option, a choice, and I love having choices.

I don’t want this to look like I’m beating up on anyone whose content is totally media driven. I’m asking this question because I really want to know what people’s general opinions on this are. If I started creating posts by recording them and, instead of writing much, just wrote a headline like “Have you heard about Google Wave? Here’s my take on it” and then posted an audio file, and all my posts were like that, would you still visit and listen to an entire file each time and still want to comment on it? Would you be encouraged to go to any of my other posts to listen to more podcasts or watch more videos if that’s all you could do when you visited one of those?

Share with me; let me know your thoughts. I’m wondering if it’s me, the guy feeling a bit old lately, or if I’m more normal than I think I am sometimes.

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If You Can’t Get Your Family And Friends To Subscribe…

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine regarding people not subscribing to my blog. Actually, the conversation was more along the lines of why she didn’t subscribe to any of my blogs. She will read a post if I send her a particular post link, but otherwise, it just doesn’t happen.

She wrote back saying she was a terrible friend, but I wasn’t having any of that. See, the thing is that I’ve often wondered how any of us really believe we can sell and market to others, as well as get people to subscribe to things we do, if we can’t even get our friends and families to participate in the process. After all, these are the people who supposedly know us best, and at least are supposed to like us in some fashion, yet when it comes down to it you’re not writing anything of interest to get them to participate.

Not counting my internet friends, I have four friends of mine who are subscribed to this blog in some fashion; that’s it. I have a few more subscribed to my business blog. I’m not sure any of my friends are subscribed to my finance blog, but I wouldn’t expect them to be since it’s kind of, well, out of their realm of caring.

One truth of mine is that I’m subscribed to every one of my friend’s blogs. Only two of them write fairly regularly, and every once in awhile I comment, but I see everything. I’ve always felt it was the thing to do, but at the same time, I’m really interested in what people have to say, when they decide to say it. Just seeing them express themselves, no matter what it is, thrills me to no end. Yet, it’s not reciprocal.

Of course there is a difference. I’m really hoping to grow my blog, whereas most of them are just looking to say something and move on. Most of them probably have way fewer people following them than I do, but that’s not really the point. I guess my point, or question, is if my thinking that if I can’t even convince my friends or family to read things I write, let alone comment, then am I kidding myself in thinking that other people should be interested in it?

I know I’m not alone on this one, so please tell me your thoughts; I’d really like to know. Not that I’d stop, but I’m just trying to get my mind around it all. Thanks; enjoy your day.

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No-Self Pings

As y’all know, I’m pretty good with my internal linking. One of the problems with internal linking, though, is that I’m always pinging myself, so to speak, and getting all these messages that turn out to be from me on those older posts.


Not only is it somewhat irritating, but lately a bunch of those things show up in the spam filter, which is freaky. That didn’t used to happen, but a couple of months ago I was testing another WordPress plugin on my business blog. I don’t even remember what it was, or what I hoped it would do. What it did overall, though, was start sending my self pings into spam on all my blogs; ugh. I think that’s one of the problems with having everything on the same hosting service.

Anyway, I was going through Kristi’s last Fetching Friday post, and one of them was a link to a guy talking about WordPress plugins you might not know about. I went to the link, and in that guy’s post he had a separate link to another blog. Followed that one, and came across a plugin called No-Self Ping.

Now, if this thing works, it’s perfect, and just what I wanted. I had to write this post so I would have something to link back to so I could test it. This means I don’t yet know if it works, but as soon as I post this, with the couple of internal links I have above, we’ll know for sure. Here’s hoping for great things.

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Do Images Increase Readership?

There’s been some conversation I’ve been reading lately about the effectiveness of adding images into one’s blog posts. Many people think it’s absolutely essential to add an image of some kind to break up all the white space of a post. Others think that if the images don’t match the content then what’s the point.

I have to admit that I’ve always belonged to the latter. I’ve rarely added images to my posts unless I happened to be talking about something in particular. Mainly, it’s because it’s just one more time consuming thing to try to do when I could be doing something else, like internal linking or eating dessert.

I decided to try something new. For my next seven posts, I’m going to be posting an image. The image probably won’t have anything to do with anything I’m writing about, because, well, most of the time what I’m writing about doesn’t have an appropriate image. Of course, me being me, I’m doing something a little bit different than many of the other people.

Y’all should know by now that one of my affiliate programs is Imagekind. That image to the left underneath my two books is from their site. People put up pictures on that site to sell them as prints, framed or not. They have all sorts of different prices. It’s actually a pretty neat little deal. I’m not a photographer, but I know what I think looks pretty cool. So, every image, or at least every image unless I say differently, for the next 7 posts, which includes this one, is going to be from their site. If you click on the image, it’ll take you to their site, where you can purchase this image, or search around and find something you like. I’m going to be posting some images I thought were particularly cool.

I’m only doing this initially for 7 days. I want to see if images really do bring more traffic, drive traffic away, or has no effect whatsoever. Also, I’m hoping that someone at least clicks on a few pictures, and who knows, might even buy one. Not only me, but the people who created the pictures will probably be extremely elated.

Of course, I’m also going to have to tweak the sizes of these images from time to time, because I need to make sure they don’t overwhelm the page. This one fits right into the middle of the content. I’ll have to figure out if it should be at the very top of the content, where I see a lot of images, or maybe shrink it some and make it a part of the content in some way, like I usually do. What do you think about this one, if you’re inclined to share?

Anyway, enjoy the images; it might be a recurring thing later down the road, or it’s a 7 post experiment. Let’s see how it all goes.

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