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Like it or not, email is still an important part of life for most bloggers. Even though many prefer IM, Twitter, Facebook and other means of contact, email still plays a big role in the lives of most Webmasters. Not only is it still one of the key methods of communication on the Web, but it is also the primary way we get a lot of our alerts and notifications.
One thing that Gmail has done well is innovate and grow its own product. A big part of that has been its “Labs” feature where users can enable experimental features and changes to Gmail for their account. Some of the changes are very powerful and useful, many are gimmicky and useless.
However, there are five Labs features that every blogger should consider activating in their Gmail or Google Apps account. They add features and tools that are just too valuable to pass up.
Most bloggers are following multiple streams of information. Incoming comments, Twitter alerts, regular email, etc. Multiple inboxes helps to sort through that by displaying them independently on one page, preventing you from either having to push these alerts out of your front page and into archived tabs or have them clutter up your regular mail stream.
The only caveat with multiple inboxes is that it requires a large monitor to make it work correctly. Those using netbooks, for example, will want to stay away.
By default, Gmail puts your signature below the message you are replying to and separates it with a “–“. This means few people that receive emails see the signature as it is buried far below the original material and separated fro the rest of the email.
This is a problem since many bloggers use their signature lines to promote themselves by listing their URL, social networking information, etc. Fortunately, Signature Tweaks fixes that by moving the signature above the quoted reply and removing the separator. This makes the signature many times more likely to be seen and a much more powerful promotion tool.
Email efficiency is important for just about anyone and, most likely, bloggers see a lot of the same questions and requests repeatedly. Gmail’s canned response feature makes it possible to save a draft email as a template and import it into any message you want in the future. This is ideal for things such as granting reprint permissions, answering link requests, etc.
The goal, of course is to not overuse the feature and to only use form letters when appropriate. Still, for those that get a lot of the same questions repeatedly, it’s a powerful tool to speed up replying to mail.
Most Gmail users want some kind of alert when they get new mail and, because of this, a slew of Gmail notifiers have been created for every operating system and every browser imaginable. Part of thereason this has been necessary is because, when looking at Gmail while in a different browser tab, it is impossible to tell if you have new mail.
Title Tweaks fixes that by putting the “Inbox (X)” before the other parts of the page title, making it visible even when you’re looking just the tab. This means you’ll always know at a glance how many new emails you have without having to have a separate program or extension running. Great for when you’re hammering out a long blog post and don’t want to be too distracted.
Add any Gadget by URL
The “Add Gadget” feature enables a new tab in the settings that lets you paste in the URL of a small page or tool you want displayed in the left hand sidebar of Gmail. Though the feature has only been available a few months, there is already a variety of gadgets available, including a Twitter client.
This is great if you have a feed you really want to monitor, if you want to manager your Twitter without a separate client or just want a simple sticky note function in Gmail. This feature can be turned into just about anything you need it to be so let your imagination roam.
If you want to add any of these features, just log into your Gmail or Google Apps Web interface and then click the green icon at the top. While you’re there look through the other labs features and see if any others might be useful.
In the end, it seems like email is going to be a part of blogging for quite some time. So it makes sense to find ways to make the experience both more usable and more efficient.
Though few people like doing their email, most admit that it is important to their lives. As long as that’s the case, there’s no reason to suffer more than absolutely necessary.
A Blogger’s Guide to Broken Link Building
The internet is broken (literally).
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Millions – if not billions – of links get broken daily due to expired hosting, incorrect site migrations, and typing errors.
That’s not good news for the respective site owners.
For link builders, however, the broken links present huge opportunities.
In this article, you will learn how to leverage these opportunities in the form of broken link building.
I will show you the exact process of scouring the web for broken links that you can turn into a backlink to your site!
Why do broken link building?
Before we begin, you need to understand why broken link building is one of the best ways to build a formidable link profile for your site.
And here’s the answer:
It’s all about reciprocation.
If you do something nice for the site owner, there’s a good chance that s/he will return the favor in kind.
In this case, if you point out broken links on a site owner’s page, s/he could be more willing to link back to one of your pages as a way of thanking you.
This principle is well above other link building tactics where people demand links from sites without giving something in return.
Let’s put it this way:
If I don’t scratch your back, will you scratch mine?
(Answer: probably not)
And that’s the thing with broken link building. Both parties benefit from this tactic.
The site owner points to pages within the content that work. You gain a backlink for your effort.
It’s a win-win!
Now that we’ve discussed the why, let’s hop onto how you can proceed with your broken link building campaign.
Below are the exact steps that you should follow to properly pull off this tactic for your blog:
Find resource pages
Have you heard of resource pages?
You know, pages with lots of outbound links related to a specific topic?
Here’s an example of one:
This page is a treasure trove for broken links!
The goal of resource pages is to provide visitors with information from third-party pages about a topic.
However, as the years go by, some of the sites no longer operate, which render their links broken.
And site owners don’t have the time to check each link on the page one by one and see if they work.
Therefore, consider this your job of helping them out.
By identifying the broken links, you can request to get one of your blog posts included in the page!
More importantly, site owners are more willing to link back to you on their resource pages. This is only assuming that the blog post you want a link from is relevant to the topic.
But first, we need to find resource pages related to your blog’s niche.
Hop on to Google and use the following search query:
[Niche] resource page
Replace [niche] with your actual niche.
From here, Google will return results of resource pages that you comb through. Click on each of the pages and keep the best ones in a spreadsheet.
Find broken links from pages
Here’s an example of a broken page.
It’s a page on a blog or site informing you that the link you visited no longer exists.
Your goal, therefore, is to find 404 pages or broken links from resource pages!
Using the Chrome extension, Check My Links, helps find broken links.
It’s what you need for quickly checking pages for broken links.
Install it and it’ll appear as a small checked icon alongside your address bar. Clicking it automatically scans links in the page.
It gets highlighted in red if there’s a broken link, together with an error report at the text’s right side.
Using the same spreadsheet, keep the pages with broken links and remove the ones without.
Find the email of the site owner
The next step is to inform site owners about the broken link.
However, you can only do this if there is a contact page or an email address available on the site.
But what if they don’t have either?
Not to worry – there’s FindThatLead to the rescue!
It’s another Chrome extension that lets you find email addresses of people who own or work on the site.
By installing and clicking on its icon, you will see the different emails of people who are part of the organization.
To help verify their emails, you must click on the check icon. It shows if it’s either GUESS or VALID. Filter out the guesses and keep the valid ones.
Inform site owner about the broken link
Once you have their emails, you need to craft a message informing them about the broken links.
Since you’ll be sending to as many site owners as possible, the process even becomes tedious and repetitive.
However, there’s a way you can automate the process to make the job easier for you.
Gmail’s Canned Response allows you to create an email template you can use for your broken link building campaign.
Therefore, instead of crafting new emails talking about the same thing, you can pull out the template and fill in the blanks for each new site owner!
In the email template, address the site owner by their first name. It’s the first step of personalizing your campaign.
Next, talk about how you came across their page. You were probably looking for resource pages to help you write a post about the topic they’re covering.
After that, point out the broken link on the page. It’s the very purpose of the email, after all.
Now, here’s the most important part:
Mention that your blog has a similar page that can replace the broken one.
In this part, don’t make it sound like you’re forcing your link to be included in the page. Just suggest your link to the site owner.
Give them the choice to either include your link or not. You have to trust them to make the best decision for their page.
Here are other tips on help you write the template:
- Make your email short and sweet. Your recipient is more likely to read the entire email. It’ll also be easier for them to understand and follow your requests.
- Be professional by maintaining the proper grammar and punctuation.
- Follow up with another email once or twice if they don’t respond. But more than that, and you end up spamming someone.
- Be polite and know that you’re just asking a favor. If they ignore your emails after multiple times of reaching out to them, move on to the next site.
Finally, review the results of the campaign with the template you’re using. If the response rate is low, maybe you need to tweak your template to generate better responses.
As you can see, broken link building is more about building relationships more than everything else.
Once you click “Send,” there’s nothing much you can do about it.
They may link to your site on their resource page. They may not.
However, as mentioned earlier, you need to trust people to do the right thing.
If you pull off your broken link building campaign flawless, they will link to your blog posts 100% of the time!
If you’re not confident in developing and implementing this campaign, you can ask agencies like SEOExplode that offers SEO services with years of experience in link building.
They will help guide you in the process of broken link building. This way, you can develop a link profile that will bolster your blog’s SEO performance.
Beware Who You Trust for Advice
Sometimes I ask questions on Quora.
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I asked a question recently about shadow boxing while walking and if this practice burns calories.
Peep 2 answers.
I was a personal trainer and fitness nut for 20 years. I know shadow boxing does in fact burn calories and help you get more ripped because since doing it every single day during my walks, my arms are becoming as defined as ropes. True; shadow-boxing does not increase muscle mass. But the individual gave me a false, untrue answer because he fears what he looks like and cares about the opinions of others. He is not shadow boxing while walking or jogging because it is not effective; he fears people will look at him and believe he is a fruit loop, whatever that means.
This individual actually offers honest, truthful advice; shadow-boxing while walking burns more calories. If he ended it there, the advice would have been helpful. But he also fears criticism, aka, what people think about him, so his fears advise me not to do the extra calorie burning thing, because I would look like a Rocky wannabe jerk.
Two well-meaning guys who offer poor fitness advice because each guy deeply fears what people think about them. If I was not a fitness pro I’d have believed their inaccurate advice and would have cheated myself out of calorie burning. All because of the illusion of fear and its hold over most of humanity.
Before you trust blogging advice, check the source. Does the blogger:
- radiate happiness?
- radiate compassion?
- exude success?
- inspire you to succeed?
- uplift bloggers?
If so, awesome. Trust the advice because you know the person offers advice from love, harmony and truth.
But if someone adds a fear-based element to the advice – like the fitness guys above who fear what people think about them and allowed their fears to become a projection on me – you know it’s bad advice because fear is not real, an illusion, and stepping into illusion moves you away from truth.
If you burn more calories, you burn more fat and get ripped. This is truth. Shadow boxing while walking made me super ripped so the truth shines through. But if I stopped shadow-boxing while walking because I feared what people thought about me or what they’d say about me, I would step into the illusion of fear, away from truth, and would not be as ripped and cut as I am now.
Imagine if I listened to those 2 fear-fitness guys last month when I returned home? I’d look a lot more like Olive Oil and less like Bruce Lee.
Be careful about who you trust for blogging advice guys. Most people mean well – like the fitness dudes – but project their deep fears onto you and offer poor, or downright terrible, blogging advice. I have compassion for afraid bloggers but I won’t listen to their illusory advice.
One Such Example
Many top bloggers feel terror at losing email subscribers so offer advice based on the fear. Meanwhile, guys like me who have no such fear offer advice to help you bond deeply with your most rabid fans through email, exponentially increasing your success. Loss is impossible in a Universe of abundance.
Who do you think inspires you to live your dreams?
The blogger offering advice from the illusion of fear, pulling you away from truth, into smoke, mirrors, and appearances, not really there?
Or the blogger offering advice from truth and abundance.
Follow heart-centered bloggers.
Live your dreams.
Do You Establish Work at Home Boundaries?
Some people love attention.
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I know a few who do their best to grab my attention. Phone calls, emails, cryptic Facebook Messages.
I ignore everything and every one outside of what I do in the moment since I set up work at home boundaries. I close the door and go into my office. No way I stop working for anything or anyone who starves for my attention. The house could burn down and I would scoot out at the last minute because work time is work time and I do nothing else save work during work time.
If you do not respect your time, people will not respect your time. If you give people your time whenever they want your time, for:
- small talk
- general BS
people will gladly ask for favors, engage in gossip, engage in small talk, chat you up and BS for hours, because you chose not to establish work at home boundaries.
100% of the time, if people appear to be using you or eating up your precious time, it is your fault. People treat you how you choose to treat yourself.
How a Happy and Successful Blogger Sets Up Work at Home Boundaries
Easy; I close the door, walk into the office and get to work. I do not leave the office until I complete my work. My phone? I turn it off. I check email rarely. I only check Messenger 2-3 times daily for 5 minutes at a clip.
I set up definite, clear, work at home boundaries to respect my time. People reflect my time-respecting back to me. Easy peasy.
If someone tries to grab my attention through Messenger, or the land line, or through email, or at the door, I completely ignore attempts made to grab my attention and time. Boundaries folks; you need to be clear and firm on your work at home boundaries to ensure everybody else respects your boundaries.
You Are Walking into a Word Office
Would a friend, family member or casual neighbor barge into your 9-5 job office asking for a favor? Would said folks barge into your 9-5 job office to spread the latest gossip? Nope. Then why allow said folks to barge into your work at home office to do similar things? Nope. Put up boundaries. Door closes. Enter office. You are busy. You are working. Even my 3 year old niece understands when Uncle Ryan goes to work in the home office. Everybody else can easily grasp this concept.
What About Impatient or Desperate Online Folks?
I completely ignore impatient, fear-filled, desperate folks who demand I answer Messenger or email requests in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or in 24 hours. I respect my time and completely ignore people who do not respect my time.
I built my blogging business almost completely on a passive income model so nothing I do online is time sensitive. I have answered most questions 1,000 to 10,000 times through my courses, eBooks, blog posts and videos. It is up to these awesome but unclear folks to find and use the answers I created, to improve their lives.
I am generous daily, publishing a blog post and/or video. Plus I published about 800 posts on Blogging Tips, and over 2,000 posts on Blogging From Paradise. It is on the impatient folks screaming for my attention to follow my blog posts, guest posts, videos, eBooks and courses because I answered their questions many times.
People treat you exactly how you teach them to treat you. I have posture so I set up work at home boundaries for offline and online folks.
Respect your time and work schedule and other folks will do the same.
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