Category Archives: Blogging

Who Is Your Blog For?

This is going to be a two part post, but I’m starting with the big question first, and the next one will be for tomorrow.

In my last post, I talked about the interview I did with Beverly Mahone of BAM Enterprises. At one point she mentioned that she reads this blog, and often I talk about things that are kind of technical and she gets lost with some of my explanations.

She asked me how I saw this blog. I said that I have always tried to not only give my opinion, but when I wrote stuff she considered as technical, I was actually trying to make it easy for everyone who stopped by to read what I had to say.

Then she asked me who I wrote this blog for. I thought quickly, since it was a live interview, and I believe I said something like this blog is for everyone who has questions or wants information on any of the things I write about, which I hope are things that most people do have some questions on. I said that this is considered a MMO (make money online) blog, but in reality it’s just a place I come to and share what I learn as I go along trying things out.

Still, it’s quite the interesting question for everyone else; who exactly is your blog for? Or blogs, as the case may be.

And I’ll throw in a second question that was asked; what is the purpose of your blog? I said that this blog is more for my self expression than anything else. My finance blog is actually my niche blog, whose overall purpose is to make money at some point, but it’s still building an audience at this juncture.

I also said that this really isn’t a MMO blog because it doesn’t make any money, and I really don’t expect it to make much money. You see that every blog post has a different ad at the bottom. You see all the ads along the side. If you visit often, you know I change things up from time to time also. To date, only a couple of what I’ve put up has ever made me anything on this blog, and that’s probably going to continue until this blog gets 25,000 visitors a day; I’ll start the tally in the morning.

Anyway, how would some of you answer these questions about your blog?

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Do You Still Have The Thrill To Blog?

There was a New York Times article from a little over a month ago called Blogs Falling In An Empty Forest, talking about how many people stop writing in their blogs because of different reasons. One lady dropped because she started to freak when people noticed her out in public; she lives in NYC. Another person dropped it because she didn’t get a lot of comments and was disappointed by that. Still another person dropped blogging because he thought he’d make a lot of money from it quickly, but didn’t.

Blogging is both easy and hard at the same time. It’s easy because all you have to do is write. It’s hard because what you have to consistently do is write.

There’s not much problem with writing for many people, per se. What the problem becomes if trying to think of what they want to say. It’s one of the problems with niche blogging, when a person has defined their niche so rigidly that they don’t know what to write about pretty soon because they feel they’ve covered it all. They might not have, but that’s how they might feel.

If they’re not a niche blogger, they may feel like, all of a sudden, blogging is a chore. Suddenly, it starts to feel like work to them. Well, if your intention was to make money, of course it’s work. If your intention was just to write, and you didn’t feel the passion just to write when you started, you made a mistake.

There were a couple of statistics in the article. Per Technorati, only 7.4 million out of 133 million blogs they track had been updated in the past 120 days, or less than 5%. Also, CEO Richard Jalichandra said that, at any given time, there are 7 million to 10 million active blogs on the Internet, but β€œit’s probably between 50,000 and 100,000 blogs that are generating most of the page views.”

Heck, I’m glad to see it’s that high. It means I still have a shot at breaking into the big time with this, or any of my other blogs.

Now, I’ll own up to having some of the same feelings with my business blog some years ago. I was on the verge of giving it up back in 2006. I was on the road a lot, it seemed like a lot of trouble for almost no return, and then my ISP had lost all my content in a total system crash. I had a perfect reason to give up the ghost and move on with my life. Instead, I decided I still had lots to say, and would dedicate my time to making sure I kept writing updates. I guess I felt I still needed a place to say certain things, an outlet to vent, mainly about topics relating to my business. But it’s amazing how one can turn a post about almost anything into something that can be related to business.

See, inspiration really is everywhere and anywhere. Just as I found my inspiration for this post in the NY Times article, anyone can find inspiration in things they read, see, or experience. And if you have any passion whatsoever, you will, and you’ll continue blogging. And it won’t matter how often you blog, or how many posts you have. It will to potential readers, though, because if you don’t post often enough, people won’t come back. So, you also have to decide how much you care about that.

In the end, it’s not about money (though we want it), and it’s not about comments (though we crave them); it’s about self expression and knowledge. How much do you love blogging? And how will you express yourself today?

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If I Wanted To Make Money On A Blog, I Would,…

Well, that is the question, isn’t it? What would I, or you?

Most of the money I’ve made comes from one of my content websites, which is a great thing. The problem with it is that it’s limited in scope. In other words, the people who come there come because they absolutely need the information I give them, but that’s it; they’re not buyers. The reason I make so much money off that site is because, obviously, they must get information from me, then see something in one of those Adsense ads that they think will give them more, or different information, and off they go.

I’ve always said that this blog wasn’t necessarily meant to make money. That’s kind of a misnomer, or at least it’s incomplete. When I started this blog, I wanted a place where I could talk about anything I wanted to talk about, and put up some of my affiliate banners and products, just in case someone saw something they just had to have. As Mirjam said, the products don’t always match what I’m writing about. As I said back, it’s never been much of a concern of mine.

The truth is that, for this blog, there aren’t products that match up to most of what I’m talking about. For instance, I talk about blogging; what products are there that I’m going to advertise? I talk about websites I visit; what products are there that I’m going to advertise? I talk about writing; you see a pattern here? Every once in awhile, I touch upon a subject that fits something I can market, and I’ll pop that in there, but it’s rare.

So, it’s not that this blog doesn’t make any money; it’s that it doesn’t make much. But that’s okay; I put my stuff up there, talk about some of it from time to time, and who knows, right? By the way, just to clear this one up, over my almost 450 posts, I’ve probably had about 15 clicks total from this blog on any of my affiliate stuff, including those posts where the topic and the product/banner ad matched. So, saying that my products should match the content doesn’t hold water.

But let’s go here for a minute. We’ve all probably talked at one point or another about niche blogging. I’ve talked about someone I knew who found a niche in hydroponics and was doing well monthly in earnings because that’s all she wrote on. So, back in December, I decided to embark on something I knew okay, but that I’ve gotten to know much better, that being my finance blog. Though I move around from topic to topic, the general theme of the site is finance, and nothing else.

This is the definition of a niche blog. And just how much money have I made from this blog? As of today, for the entire run of the blog, I’ve made a whopping 72 cents; that’s it. And I made that on Adsense. I have some 300×250 ads on that site all geared towards financial things, and I have Adsense.

I even put on this video thing that Sire recommended that, if people decided to watch it, I think I’d make money off it. Nada, nothing, almost zip. One click on an affiliate ad in six months; not very popular, is it? If there’s any consolation, I made that money in June, so maybe it’s ready to start breaking out, being relatively recent.

What this points out is that it’s not only finding a niche, but the right niche. If you can’t write more than one article a month, and even then you’re running out of ideas to write about, you might want to consider writing about something else, then figuring out if there’s a way to make money doing it.

Anyway, throwing it out to y’all to share your thoughts. If you were to start a niche blog today, one that you hoped would really make money, what would you write on?

Anonymity Of Blogging

There was a news story that someone on Twitter pointed out coming out of the U.K. The story is titled Ruling on NightJack author Richard Horton kills blogger anonymity, and it talks about this police officer who’d actually won an award for his blog, but wanted to keep his anonymity because he was a police officer, and, it turns out, many of the things he was writing about he had inside knowledge on.

The judge decided that people who write blogs don’t have the right for any expectation of anonymity, The Times outed him, and now not only is he in trouble, but his blog is gone, and that’s that from the NightJack.

I’m of mixed thoughts on this topic, as I’m betting many of you are. On every one of my blogs, I’m Mitch. On my business websites I’m Mitch. I do have a couple of websites where I don’t mention my name, but it wouldn’t take a heck of a lot for anyone to figure out who I was, especially if they read the disclaimers.

But there are a lot of you out there who are hiding your identities for whatever reason. Though this ruling was in the U.K., you can be pretty safe in figuring that the same rule would apply here. The basic premise is that blogging gives you a public platform, and thus, even being hosted on your own site, the expectation of privacy isn’t valid and won’t be honored. At some point, if you irritated someone else, or someone decided to dig a little bit, you will be found out.

The question is whether you’re exhibiting behavior that makes you need to worry about it or not. For instance, many commenters here don’t use their real names. Y’all know I kind of like to have a real name of some kind to respond to, even if it’s only a nickname. Some of the rest of you believe that you’re protecting yourselves by using the fake name, whereas others of you believe you’re helping to enhance your SEO by using those names; both are false premises. I probably know who most of you are because you’ve forgotten some basics of how to hide yourself, or at least how to try to hide yourself. So, I do know some of y’alls names, but I’m not going to out you because, well, you haven’t irritated me. πŸ™‚

Still, this issue of anonymity needs to be explored further. If you had someone on the inside of a corrupt company who was telling the rest of us what was going on, and we wanted to keep getting that information, wouldn’t we be happy with that person having anonymity? Sure, the company wouldn’t be, and they could get an injunction of some sort to get that information, but how secure would we be with that?

We could go to what I’ll call a vanity or community blog site, create an account there of some type, and start writing, making it somewhat harder to track us down if we used some kind of account from a place like Yahoo or Excite as our email address. But those types of sites don’t usually get a lot of attention, so your complaints would be lost in the crowd noise.

And, for most of us, if someone was saying a lot of negative things about us, we might want to know who was saying it, and would be frustrated by someone hiding behind a wall of anonymity, making accusations that we’re not sure how to respond to because sometimes fighting makes you look as guilty as not doing anything.

There is another side, though, which goes with what I’ve always said; sometimes, there are consequences for your actions, and if you feel you’re in the right and can put up with it all, then by all means do what you do, whether you’re the outer or the outee (I know it’s not a word, but it fits here anyway).

I think it prompts an interesting discussion and something to think about. Basically I have nothing much to hide, but I know some of you do. So, what are your thoughts on some of this?

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Things To Remember After You Change Your Theme

A couple of weeks ago, I decided the theme for my finance blog, Top Finance Blog, was kind of dark. That, plus the background for it was actually a template and not just a color, and I couldn’t come close to matching the template color when trying to set up my Adsense on it. So, I decided it had to be changed, and went with the one that’s there now.

I liked the theme because it was pretty clean, but things were off for some reason. I finally figured out that all the stuff I’d had on my previous theme, which had two right sidebars, was missing. I went into the Appearance areas, into the widgets, and saw that instead of just right and left, this new theme had an area that just said Sidebar, but it didn’t go anywhere. The theme I chose allows for different kinds of customization.

What I’d forgotten early on was that every time you change a theme, you need to go back to your old theme and copy any customization you made to it, and move it to the new theme. I did that, and everything looked good once more.

Then a few days ago I decided to check the stats on some of my websites, went to that one, and I didn’t have a single visitor. I knew that was wrong because I’d been getting comments. Then I remembered that I hadn’t transferred the Google Analytics code to the new theme either. That’s one of a couple of codes I have in my themes that I can’t just see by looking at my blog, which is why I’d totally missed it. Went back, copied that code, and all is right with the world once more.

It’s an important thing to remember to check all of your coding when you change your theme. You never know what important thing you might be missing until much later.