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The third and last day of Affiliate Summit East 2010 started with a great keynote speech by Jim Kukral, who also gave his recently published book: Attention! This Book Will Make You Money: How to Use Attention-Getting Online Marketing to Increase Your Revenue to the first 300 attendees.

 
Jim’s talk focused on providing guidance to businesses and individuals who are unsuccessful so that they can become successful. Here’s his five step plan:

  1. Say what you do: be specific.
  2. What you do should solve a problem or entertain: All problems in the world can fall into either category. (Someone tweeted afterwards that this is incorrect and stated that looking for information is a third category. I disagree – looking for information solves a problem: getting information you lack).
  3. Know your customer: Ask them why they use your services so you could further hone your message.
  4. Be the alternative: If you have a tough competition, find an alternative way. The example given was of the 5 hour energy drink – the alternative to coffee, which many drink for the energy boost.
  5. Make it easy: Easy as in simple, instant, quick, hassle-free. One suggestion Jim gave to businesses is to avoid the Paypal button as most ‘normal’ people simply aren’t familiar with it. Real world businesses and individuals pay with credit cards – so give them that option.

An interesting anecdote: one of Jim’s tips was that if you come up with an idea and get a reaction – even a very bad one – it means you’re on the right track. After saying that, he shared the story of a company who came up with a bizarrely disgusting line of juices. Someone in the audience blurted “Ewww” and Jim responded – see, that’s exactly what we’re looking for. This company was very successful.

 

 

The Info Product Co-Creation Formula
Later I went to the breakout sessions. This one session in particular was very good. Despite the fact these sessions were 20 minutes each, it lasted more than 30 minutes and there was so much information given it could’ve easily filled an entire hour (I add this picture simply because I liked the speaker’s official title..).

 
In this session a ‘formula’ for creating info-products was given which is said to be so effective that it can be used to sell products even before they are actually made. This was compared to a tennis match, where you, the product creator, ask questions and get feedback from your prospective buyers multiple times.

 
Although the speaker gave a precise list of steps, there was so much information I wasn’t able to type them exactly as specified. Here’s my amended version (I probably split certain steps).

  1. Start with a survey
  2. Get responses
  3. Identify core needs of the people in your list
  4. Verify this is what they want: they confirm or deny.
  5. Give them a free report based on their responses.
  6. They read the report and respond
  7. Pre-sell the full (nonexistent) product. If you do it right you can sell more before the product exists to justify your costs. Be fully transparent about this, that you haven’t created the product and want to make it if it’ll appeal to enough people.
  8. Create the full product.
  9. You already have enough buyers to return your time investment, and can get many more now.

 

 

Affiliate Platforming: How to Attract & Retain Audiences
I went to Scott Stratten’s (@UnMarketing’s) talk. I spoke to Scott during lunch just before – since both of us are very active Twitter users, we exchanged amusing anecdotes (well, mainly horror stories..).

 
Scott’s talk was excellent, not to mention, absolutely hilarious. He advocated using social media as a platform to engage people and build an audience both for individuals and for businesses. This session would’ve fit perfectly with Social Media 201, the conference I helped organize (and gave a talk) back in April.

 
Here are guidelines towards attracting an audience (this is relevant for blogging, tweeting, any relevant medium).

  1. Traction: “nothing works at first”. This is the hardest phase. You blog and/or tweet and it seems no one is listening.
  2. Momentum: starts taking care of itself. People are coming to you. The ratio change.
  3. Expansion: you built so much traction and momentum you can expand it.

 
A few more general guidelines.

  • Don’t use Twitter as a one way communication stream and expect success. Scott suggested the key to success is 75% replies.
  • To those who just use scheduled tweets – you can’t automate authenticity, people know this and react.
  • Social Media investment is much more than dollars (.. and this relates to my own blog post, Twitter: Beyond Immediate ROI)
  • Be ready for negative comments. The 1% happiest and the 1% unhappiest are the most vocal.

To demonstrate these points, he gave both good examples and bad ones, i.e. a coffee shop that criticized at length a customer for tweeting a complaint.

 
Blogger room
Since I was running back and forth between sessions and the exhibition hall, I barely spent any time in the blogger room. To be honest, I didn’t really need to, after all, we had wireless access. But I went there to spend some time with friends.

 
The blogger room was run by the amazing BlogMistress, Heather Smith. Heather told me about Missy Ward’s competition and I am very sad to say I did not win, though I was runner-up with @loxly. Next year I vow to win.

 

Missy Ward's competition


Heather Smith at the blogger room and the prize I almost won

 

To summarize: I had a fantastic time at the summit. I think the fact I spent much more time in sessions than in parties really gave me a different affiliate summit experience. Despite not going to parties, I did a good share of networking – I talked to a lot of people at the exhibition hall/meet market, during lunch breaks and in between sessions. Personally I feel this is more effective than exchanging business cards while shouting during a loud party (though I can’t argue with a friend of mine who said “people spill their secrets when they’re drunk”. True.)

 
Looking forward to the Affiliate Summit West 2011!

 
p.s. Still have two sessions I intend to summarize as independent posts.

 

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I haven’t written about blogging for a while. Since I follow quite a few blogs every day, not to mention, monitor the activity of my own blogs, it’s interesting to see what works and what doesn’t work – sometimes it’s just plain obvious, other times I had to learn certain lessons the hard way. Here are six suggestions that may be useful to anyone who’s blogging.

 

  1. Avoid ads (at first, at least): when you just start a blog and even when it’s quite a bit more established, it’s best to avoid putting ads. First, you’re not going to make any serious amount of money: if you place AdSense code, you may get the occasional click which would probably amount to ~10 cents. However, you will cause – and this is particularly important at the beginning – your potential audience to reconsider visiting your blog.

     
    Here is a personal example: I have a niche site which provies book and movie reviews. When it first launched I got quite a few people very involved because it’s dealing with a specific topic that apparently many people find interesting. About a month after I launched it I added ads: this drove my two most loyal readers away – they never came back! I even wrote one emails and she never responded. After two months during which I made a whopping $4 I took the ads off. I think these people’s response was extreme but some people are turned off by ads or anything that can be viewed as trying to make money (if you’ve been on Twitter for a while, you know that people on Twitter – tweeps – are very hostile to ads). Note that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with placing ads – you spend time and effort, get a domain, a hosting account – why not get compensated, at least a bit, for your efforts?

     
    Another consideration is that a blog is a personal thing and ads take away from that intimacy. I think when you have an established audience, most (if not all) will understand it if you put ads, but at first it will turn people off.

     
    If and when you do place ads, it’s a good idea to put them in a place that doesn’t ruin the “visitor experience”. Some blogs are so crammed with ads it’s just a turn off even for me.

     

  2. Give your posts proper titles – the search engine perspective: Try to incorporate phrases that people search for in your titles. It’s not really hard to do, a quick visit to the Google keyword tool will show that. For example: Six Blogging Tips and Tricks (the title of this post).

     

  3. Give your posts proper titles – aim to go viral. If you can come up with a good catchy title it will certainly draw attention. And if it’s a good post, people will want to share it, retweet it and send it to their friends. My recent blog post “Gaining A Million Followers In Less Than 30 Days” – got the fastest numbers of visitors from the moment I tweeted a link to it from all of my other blog posts.

     

  4. Use video properly: using video is a great idea which is highly recommended. Search engines love it and people respond better to videos than to text – after all, it’s easier to listen than to read. However, videos can’t replace your blog post completely.

     
    There are blogs that only rely on a video to convey their message. No description of the content nor a meaningful title. Not only this is bad from an SEO perspective since there is no way for the search engines to figure what the post is all about, and so, index it properly, but this is also true for people too. Often I can’t turn on my speakers from various reasons and consequently, can’t listen to the video – so there are some blog posts I literally have no clue what they are about as much as I’d like to know.

     

  5. Use a correct permalink structure: meaning, the path to the post should not use Wordpress’ default structure (which looks something like this: www.domain.com/?p=1234. Instead, use /%category%/%postname%. This is good for three reasons.

     
    First, it helps with search engine optimization, as the path has a definite impact on SEO.

     
    Second, it helps humans know what the post is about if they just see the link. For example, even without reading this blog post, by looking at the link (which is: http://www.industryreview.org/search-engines/six-blogging-tips-and-tricks), people can get a pretty good idea what the post is about.

     
    Finally, it helps you when you check for rankings. One of my oldest sites – coincidentally, the one I mentioned in #1 – has multiple pages that rank well in Google (and Bing and Yahoo) for various phrases. However, I made the mistake of using the default permalink structure – so unless I manually check, I have no idea which pages rank! All I see is a www.domain.com/?p=1237.

     

  6. Beware of spammer comments: Although I’ve written a post about this before, some comments are really quite devious in the sense you may be tricked into approving them.

     
    Not only they may have hidden links – and this has happened to me – a space between two words had a link to some nasty site, and I couldn’t see it until I actually viewed the code. But additionally, even if they are harmless, and you approve them, they make your site look amateurish to anyone who has seen these comments a million times before.

     
    In other words: avoid any comment that sounds generic – like they could fit any post – particularly if they sound flattering, i.e. “Thank you for the great post”, “Can I use parts of your post in my own blog?”, “Darn, I left a comment but it didn’t work.. do you see it?”, “Your design is fantastic – can I ask where you got that theme from?” and that sort of thing. All these are similar to comments I get every single day.

 
That’s it for now. I hope this has been useful.

 

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Funny spam

For two weeks now I keep planning to write, but life has been keeping me way, way, way too busy. There are already three posts in my head that I want to write, but no time. However, I decided to take this quick break since this will be a short post.

 
Ever since I wrote my article, Five Different Types of Spammers, I noticed that the post keeps getting spammy jokes (always one liners), something that I never got before. More interestingly, it’s only that specific post.

 
Clearly, some spammer/s saw my post and is/are joking around with me. I don’t think this is in ill intent, as actually most of the one-liners are pretty good. If they didn’t include links to drug sites, I might actually approve them. However, maybe it’s just my (at times) weird sense of humor, but I find this situation hilarious. So I’ve decided to include those I find amusing.

 
The point of this post is – the comments below are all spam comments I’ve received. Every single one.

 
This will be a repository for the spam jokes I get (those I think are good, at least). The people sending them are clearly making an effort! In fact, they’re invited to contact me – I’m curious to know their story :)

 
It’s a shame I erased most of the comments. But here goes. I get 2-3 a day, and about half are good, so this list will grow (edit: it seems the pace is greater than I remember – I get more like 5+ a day). Starting with only 3 5 14 26… 30

  • What did one ocean say to the other ocean? Nothing, they just waved.
  • What is the biggest ant? An elephant.
  • What is the most popular wine at Christmas? “Can’t we open the presents yet?”
  • Why do birds fly south for the winter? Because it’s too far to walk. [got it twice!]
  • What kind of coffee was served on the Titanic? Sanka.
  • Why did the man put wheels on his rocking chair? He wanted to rock and roll.
  • Why did Willie Nelson get hit by a car? He was playing on the road again.
  • Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honeycombs!!
  • What does it mean when the flag’s at half mast at the post office? They’re hiring.
  • What do you call it when worms take over the world? Global Worming.
  • Why was Santa’s little helper depressed? Because he had low elf esteem.
  • What’s happening when you hear “woof…splat…meow…splat?” It’s raining cats and dogs.
  • What do you use to redecorate a baby’s bathroom? Infantile.
  • What city has the largest rodent population? Hamsterdam.
  • Why does Santa have 3 gardens? So he can ho-ho-ho. [this one is pretty lame, I know]
  • How would you clean a tuba? Try a tuba toothpaste. [this one is pretty lame, I know]
  • What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care.[got it twice!]
  • What’s green and red and goes 1000 miles an hour? A frog in a blender. [got it twice!]
  • Where does all the pepper go? No one nose.
  • What do you call a crazy blackbird? A raven lunatic! [I have a feeling this one came from someone else]
  • What do you call a crazy baker? A dough nut.
  • Why do hurricanes travel so fast? If they traveled slowly, we would have to call them slow-i-canes
  • What is the difference between a photocopier and the whooping cough? One makes facsimiles and the other makes sick families.
  • Why do bagpipers walk when they play? They’re trying to get away from the noise. [I got this one twice! Hmm. The guy is starting to repeat himself]
  • Why is the letter A like a flower? Because a Bee comes after it!
  • What do you call a bee born in May? A Maybe.
  • What is a zebra? 26 sizes larger than “A” bra.
  • What do you call four bull fighters in quicksand? Quatro sinko.
  • Where did King Tut go to ease his back pain? The Cairo-practor!
  • What kind of bird can write? A penguin. [didn't really get this one..]

 
Edit: Unbelievable (to me), but the jokes stopped. That’s 3 days in a row now. I guess the spammer follows my blog and doesn’t want to give me material? Oh.. but it was really in the best of intentions. Like I said, he’s more than welcome to send me an email, I’m curious to meet the fellow!

 
Edit2: No, they’re back. I’m actually feeling relief. It made checking spam more fun.

 
Edit3: Ok, I think 30 is a good place to stop. I made my point, and some are starting to repeat themselves…

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the variety of spammers

when you have a couple of websites you begin noticing a predictable situation: you get spammers. Unless you use a plugin such as Akismet, these can make your life miserable. Note that Akismet can occasionally misclassify a valid comment as spam, so you should still monitor your spam queue periodically.

 
That being said, despite the fact spammers are pests, I’m beginning to find the amusing factor in them. In my book site (yes, I have one) I have a forum system that’s never been truly adopted by the users (unfortunately), and so, there were more spam comments than real comments. For a while I played a game with them: I’d edit their spam messages to meaningful text. For example:

 
“Buy Xenadroxalix for $50″ would change to “I really liked the Time Traveler’s wife. It was both romantic as well as creative. Truly a book for everyone”.

 
“Enlarge your ears for $25 using Vibralis” would change to “Not sure I agree with the previous commenter, I think it wasn’t a very good book. It just doesn’t make sense scientifically”.

 
Sometimes I’d even take it a degree further and just really mess with the comment. For example:

 
“Go to Kasinos and win thousands of dollars would change to “hey i like youre website but its could use some more reviews of books like jon gricham and things like that you know what im taking about?”.

 
Recently I got fed up, the game stopped amusing me. I’m going to just shut down that forum system.

 
But anyway, I’ve had enough experience with spammers that in this post I’d like to classify them to five categories:

 

  1. The mass linker: I don’t know what this type of spammer is thinking, but he posts massive comments with dozens or even hundreds of links, usually involving some sort of sexual or psychiatric drugs. That’s the classic spammer. It goes on like this “Xenadrioxi for $50. Venogra $50. Kialikx $80″ only a hundred times.

     

  2. The innocent commenter: this type of spammer usually leaves innocent looking , yet very generic spammy comments. For example: “Interesting post, look forward for more”. “Thanks for the article, would like you to focus on this subject again”. And sometimes even something “subtler” “I disagree with the approach you took, there are many complex points you are not addressing” (Yes, I got the exact same comment on several unrelated sites that are located on different hosting accounts).

     
    Sometimes it’s even clear the spammer doesn’t know English, as the sentence looks like one that was translated using Google Translate (or an equivalent tool). I don’t remember how it went exactly, but I got one that said something like “Very decent information. Honour you!” (clearly translated, no?)

     

  3. The weird commenter: One of my sites started getting a lot of those. Usually they leave a meaningless comment and signature (with a link) at the end. For example: “How do you spell your surname?” “On one hand…, on the other hand…” “Where are you going?” “When is the next bus to the airport?” “It’s early yet!”. These five comments are real spam comments I got today (in fact, this is what made me write this article. This is just funny!).

     

  4. The massive spammer: this type of spammer is the worst: he just sends one of the above in massive amounts. I used to (naively) think I could deal with all spam myself. But when one of my sites started getting thousands of comments I gave up. Did I mention I really like Akismet?

     

  5. The foreign spammer: this type of spammer couldn’t care less about being detected. He leaves comments in other languages. For example, the forum I mentioned above started getting a lot of Russian comments. I had no idea what they meant (that is, until I used Google Translate – I think they were about alternative healing), but they were clearly spam.

 
I’m sure if I spend more time I can come up with more. Have you got any interesting spam story you’d be willing to share?

 
Edit: since I’ve created this I’ve discovered yet another type. This one – I think – is the most sophisticated spammer. It displays a generic comment, usually – but not always – a question but one that may be legitimately asked, often flattering. For example: “what a good domain name, what made you pick this one?” or (this one is a real example): “Ooh oops i just typed a long comment and as soon as i hit post it came up blank! Please please tell me it worked right? “. Another real one: “I wrote a similar blog regarding this subject but your is better”. They’re usually not really relevant to the post, but innocent looking that many blog owners may approve them because they appear valid. So.. be warned.

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Rewarding people who visit your blog

A quick recap of the previous post, Enticing People to Visit Your Blog: Part 1 of 2: new blogs and websites often suffer from a malady – no matter how hard the creator may work, and how talented he may be, no one visits his site. In the previous post I suggested ways of overcoming this using common sense and attitude. In this post I will cover technical methods of drawing people to your blog.

 
In general, these methods can be loosely categorized in two ways: one by allowing your blog to be more noticeable, the other is by giving your visitors a reward.

 
Although allowing your blog to be better noticed is clearly a way to attract visitors, what are the things your blog can potentially give its visitors? I can think of two major things: Link Juice (or more formally phrased: “Inbound Links”) and Publicity. So how does one enable his or her blog to do that?

 
Ok, let’s begin:

  1. DoFollow links: as I mentioned in an earlier post about DoFollow links, many users feel that commenting in a blog is an action worthy of a reward. Now, I don’t mean for this to sound like a criticism, it just that we, the users, don’t have to leave comments, so if we do make the effort and leave a comment, should we not get at least a reward (in the form of an inbound link)? I’m deliberately speaking from the users’ perspective since I am one as well (I visit other blogs). Unfortunately, Wordpress settings automatically define all comments as NoFollow links and this discourages many people from commenting at all.

     
    My recommendation: install the NoFollow Free plugin: it’ll allow you to set your commentators’ links to be DoFollow and have a lot of control in the process of doing so. This way, users are more likely to visit your blog. Yes, some will only come for the link, but it will get them to look at the blog as well, and they may like what they see. Besides, if they leave a good comment, it’s not a problem – and if they don’t, well, then just remove it – it is your blog after all.

     
    Note that in my previous post, Stephan (@ThatSwissIMGuy), raised a good question: what do we gain by getting comments? After all, they helps ‘bleed’ link juice from the site (so effectively weaken its Page Rank). Although that is true, Google really favors blogs with plenty of comments, and if you write a post that becomes popular, you’ll notice that it really helps that post’s rankings. Of course, Google hates fake comments, and I would not be surprised if it knows how to detect those (and I’m sure it knows how to detect spam comments). Interestingly, I recently read an article about a guy whose site was banned (deindexed) for using a fake comment generator. So I would strongly advise not even attempting to go down that route!

     

  2. Controlling anchor text: one problem with leaving comments on blogs is that they are associated with the name of the person who left them. Go to a typical blog, and see that every name that has a hyperlink points to a website. Although the link is useful, it would be far more effective in terms of search engine optimization if it used a good anchor text, since anchor text is hugely important when doing SEO. For example: in most blogs, if I leave a comment, the link to my site will be associated with my name, Udi Schlessinger. Although this will help me better rank for “Udi Schlessinger” when doing a Bing or a Google search, it would be so much better if I could control this anchor text, let’s say, have it be “Best Computer Games” for my computer game website (which is a site I have).

     
    KeywordLuv is a fantastic plugin that enables users to do just that – determine their anchor text. Furthermore, by searching for the text “Enter YourName@YourKeywords in the Name field to take advantage” with a keyword, users are able to find blogs/websites that use this plugin and are associated with their chosen keyword. Again, this may get your blog visited only to get a link, but if they like what they see, they’ll keep on coming – which is the goal, no?

     

  3. Advertising your blog: another very useful plugin is CommentLuv. Blogs that have this plugin installed show the name of the last post the poster has created and a link to it next to the actual comment that he left. Therefore, if you have a catchy title and leave interesting comments on other blogs, they are very likely to draw attention and consequently, visitors.

     
    Similarly to KeywordLuv, there is a search string that users can use to locate this plugin (it is not always active, but if active, it is “CommentLuv Enabled”). See below.

     

  4. Top Commentators: this is slightly more subtle but very much powerful. Some sites have a ‘Top Commentators’ bar (look to the right, this one does). Although there are several such plugins, my favorite is the ‘Top Commentators’ plugin. I used to think this is only for show, to ‘award’ individuals who leave the most comments per week/month/year with sort of a title. My opinion immediately changed when I found out one day I’m getting about 70 inbound links from a site because I was a top commentator, and my name/link appeared in every one of the blog’s pages. At first I couldn’t understand how this could be the case, but then I realized: since the ‘Top Commentators’ widget appears on every page, I got as many links as there were pages! Although some blogs disable the linking function, many do not. And even if you don’t get any link juice, the publicity alone is worth it.

     
    It is possible to find such blogs by simply searching for “Top Commentators” and your keyword of choice.

     

  5. Social media: sharing your posts in various social media sites is a sure way of getting them noticed. Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter – you can share your posts in all of them. The good thing is that there are plugins that make this a very easy task. Better yet, your visitors can do that as well if they like your post. Again, there are many plugins that do that, but my favorite is the Add to Any: Share/Bookmark/Email Button plugin.

 
The next three suggestions are also technically based, but are not plugins:

  1. Signature: many forums allow you to place a link in your profile or in a signature that appears on every post you make. Regardless of the potential for link juice this may get you, if you are an active member of the forum other users are bound to notice this and visit your website at some point. This is, obviously, true for email as well: if every email you write ends with your site’s address, then quite often you’ll notice in your site’s logs that visitors have arrived through that link.

     

  2. Videos: one sure way of getting attention is making interesting videos that advertise your site, either by actually showing its usage (through capturing the screen while you use it), by actually talking to the camera about it, or by simply including a link at the end the video. Either is a good way to advertise your blog.

     
    In addition, if you upload a video to YouTube (or other video sites) some users will look at your profile (a statistic I read said that 0.5% of the visitors do so) which can include a link to your website. Although 0.5% is not a lot, if your video becomes very popular, this becomes significant. In fact, some people offer to buy or rent popular videos for this very reason (there’s a whole online course dedicated to this method).

     

  3. Incentives: this is something I have not personally done, and most affiliate networks/individual publishers do not allow that. However, some publishers and networks are fine with it. If you give an incentive (i.e. free iPod to the 100th commentator on a specific post) and just mention it on a public forum or use Digg, you will very quickly get traffic. Of course, you’ll also need to shell out an iPod for the winner, so hopefully the post will pay for itself (using an appropriate affiliate offer that allows incentives).

 
Ok, that’s it for now. Although I can think of a few more methods, I think I’ll stop, as it is becoming a long post. Hope you find this information useful! Please let me know if you do.

 
Quick edit: I knew that installing KeywordLuv and CommentLuv would draw attention from people just looking for links. However, it seems posting this article made my site 5 times more visible. I am going to include comments as long as they contribute to the discussion, and will reject all others. I advise readers to do the same.

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Enticing People to Visit Your Blog

Here’s a common scenario: It took a few months where you kept telling yourself “I’m going to start a blog soon, I promise” and you finally have. You put some effort and created several state of the art posts. But no one visits. You look at the traffic logs, and there are two visitors, one is Google (spidering your website) and the second is you.

 
This is a common problem for new blogs: no one knows you or your blog, and they don’t have any reason or interest in visiting your carefully crafted blog. How do you get them to give you a chance?

 
I’ll classify my answer to this issue into two categories: the technical way and the non-technical way. I’ll begin with the non-technical way which will be covered shortly. The second part will be posted tomorrow.

 
In many ways, the non-technical way can also be called the ‘common sense’ way, though some aspects are quite subtle, particularly if you’re very new to the world of blogging.

  1. Quality: write good content. As I wrote in an earlier post (which actually does not even reside on my blog but rather in Murray Newlands’ interview of me… I should copy some parts into my own blog!), you should not be blogging if you don’t find this activity at least somewhat enjoyable. If you enjoy the process, then you are more likely to produce quality content. If you produce quality content, you are more likely to attract people who enjoy it. If you attract people – well, that’s the goal, isn’t it?

     
    A necessary condition, in my opinion, is being passionate (as well as knowledgeable) about what you’re writing about. Don’t try to write about something that you don’t like – as it will be apparent in your writing. If you’re using blogging as way to reach a goal and don’t find the subject matter interesting, then there is probably a better way to achieve what you want other than blogging. Although this may seem obvious, some people just blog for the sake of blogging. Perhaps so they could also say “I have a blog”. It’s very easy to identify these blogs. They’re simply boring. Dull as hell. Sometimes you can even sense the suffering that went into producing a specific post.

     

  2. Consistency: write consistently. Suppose you wrote three very good posts in the span of a week and have started getting a group of people who show interest in your blog, but then stopped for two weeks. Don’t be surprised if these people figure you’ve abandoned blogging and go away (as this happens more often than not – just visit the random blog on blogspot). Particularly at first, it’s crucial that you maintain consistency. Even if it means posting only once a week.

     

  3. Show interest in other blogs. In the past, I’ve participated in blog networks where people visited your blog because the framework was a vast network of blogs and you couldn’t avoid other blogs even if you wanted to. Once you started getting visitors, you felt compelled, sometimes out of curiosity, other times out of politeness, to visit their blogs. It was considered very impolite not to at least express some interest in the blogs of people who used to visit your blog (though there were a few people who never did). These days since most professional blogs are located on their own domains it’s a bit different. Yet when we think about it, it’s not that different. If you consistently visit other blogs, leave interesting and insightful comments with your blog address, you are much more likely to get the blog owner to visit your blog, as well as his own visitors. This is particularly true when using the ‘CommentLuv’ plugin, but I will discuss this tomorrow.

     

  4. Differentiate yourself: find the aspect you’re good at, or particularly interested in, and focus on it. Not only it’s very educational to see what other bloggers in your field are writing about, but you also don’t want to write articles such as “introduction to PPC”, “Introduction to Affiliate Marketing”, “Introduction to CPA” when every single blogger in your field (assuming, in this case, is affiliate marketing) has written a similar post.

     

  5. Know your audience: some people are targeting a very specific audience they aren’t familiar with. This is a recipe for disaster. For example, it would be very difficult for me to write a blog about makeup, as I literally know nothing about it. Even if I use a woman’s name, even if I try and somehow succeed at emulating a certain writing style (assuming one exists – I genuinely don’t know), I believe it will be very obvious to the readers at some point that (a) I have no idea what I’m talking about and (b) I am not even a woman.

     
    If you do this, slip-ups are bound to occur, and then you’ll lose the faith of your bloggers. Once you lose that, it’s over – they won’t give you a second chance. You’re dishonest and can’t be trusted.

     
    Note that – in case you don’t remember – I am an ex-academic. Often I’d read papers of people who would try to write a professional article about a certain subject, and within 5 minutes I’d spot a slip-up. For example, they’d use the wrong terminology. Or treat a fundamental aspect as a novel discovery of their own. Whenever I spotted something like this I immediately stopped taking anything he or she wrote seriously. If one does his research properly, this can’t happen. My conclusion: it’s better to stick with what you know even if you don’t know certain things, than claim to be an expert on something and be caught. I advise you, the kind reader, not to do that.

     
    On the other hand, it’s important to mention that some fields really don’t require a lot of effort to master. Perhaps makeup is a bad example, but I’m sure if I spent 2 hours reading about dog grooming, I can easily write a blog that will at convey enough expertise to be convincing. I have a website about auto insurance, and when I started, I really didn’t know much about it. However, I’ve done so much research when writing articles than now I’m really somewhat of an expert on the topic. It’s not rocket science, after all. However, not all fields like that, particularly fields that require passion (i.e. makeup) or professional knowledge (i.e. health issues). Keep this in mind.

     
    Of course, you can have a wide range of topics you’re willing to cover (i.e. a very wide audience), and – in my humble opinion – that is fine too. This blog, the Industry Review, is about Affiliate Marketing, Social Media, Technology in general, and all that is related. It covers quite a lot of fields, but at least so far, hasn’t really focused on any of those (i.e. I haven’t written a post about “How to use PPV effectively” until now. I could if I wanted to, and maybe I will, but there’s so many other things I want to write about, at least now I haven’t gotten to this point yet.

 
In the second part of this post, I will cover the technical aspects of enticing people to visit your blog. Check this blog tomorrow! Please leave comments of things I have forgotten or omitted.

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Ducks tend to use DoFollow

Ducks tend to use DoFollow


 
Continuing the title of this post, I don’t think this is really a question (maybe a rhetorical one). To me, the answer is clear: DoFollow. I just picked the title because I thought it’s amusing ;)

 
Yesterday I got a call from my good friend Miki Rapoport. He said “Dude, why are you using NoFollow links in your comments? How do you expect anyone to comment?” and I said “ehhm.. but I’m not!”. And then I remembered, Wordpress’ default setting is NoFollow. This was purposely set up to discourage spammers (who won’t gain link benefits though they will get potential traffic). I’ve learned this a long, long time ago but well, haven’t really thought about it since then.

 
This was pretty annoying to find out and I’m glad Miki mentioned it to me. I’ve created dozens of websites, but this has always slipped my mind. And even though I often check the follow status of other websites, that’s not something I’ve ever done for my own sites!

 
Irritatingly, Wordpress doesn’t offer a way to turn it off. However, multiple plugins exist for this very purpose. I repeatedly kept trying 3 Plugins (they all failed) until I found out that the theme I use hard-codes the nofollow links. Once I realized that’s the case it was a trivial thing to correct.

 
That being said, I tried one of the other plugins, the one that was my favorite, in another of my sites, and it worked like a charm.

 
The one I recommend is NoFollow Free, in particular because it is very configurable: you can set it so a number of comments a person makes are nofollow and after a threshold is reached it becomes dofollow. You can also set it so that certain words immediately trigger a nofollow. Pretty useful.

 
I also tested the other two, and they probably work as well (I don’t know because of my theme).

 
Highly recommended for people who want to give some ‘link juice’ to people who leave comments on their websites. The only concern is spammers, but that’s a different story (Akismet, how do I love thee? let me count the ways)

 
Now that my blog is setup for DoFollow, go ahead, leave a comment. I dare ya! ;)

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