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Is Social News Traffic Worthwhile?

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As a blogger I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve reached the front page of Digg a few times, I’ve been Slashdotted a couple of times as well and I’ve even more than a few StumbleUpon storms. I’m by no means an expert on social news but, overall, it has been pretty good to me. I’m always grateful when others submit my work to any social news site and, up until very recently, I went to great, even outrageous, lengths to encourage it.

However, due to a series of problems with my site, I ended up removing all of the social news buttons I had. My original plan was to put them back shortly but I never got around to it. Since then, I’ve suffered no drawback in traffic, as both my visitor and subscriber numbers have continued to climb at approximately the same pace.

The truth is that, while I’ve enjoyed the traffic floods, save for the two times they crashed my server, they have never had much in the way of a lasting impact. When I get a flood of traffic from Digg or Slashdot, the one post involved receives a lot of comments and attention, but once the post cycles off the front page, it is pretty much over.

None of the Digg/Slashdot bumps resulted in a significant increase or subscribers and things pretty much returned back to normal in a day or two. Though I’m not ready, like some, to say Digg traffic is worthless, I definitely think that I may have put too much time and attention on trying to attract Diggs when I should have been focusing on other traffic sources.

The Problem With Digg Traffic

If you are a Digg user (the same can be said for most any other social news site), then you are probably well aware of the problem already. You probably visit a lot of sites through Digg, but stay around at very few. Digg users, by in large, do not subscribe to RSS feeds, do not click ads and, once they’ve left a site, they do not return.

In short, social news is great for providing a short term “bump” but very little of that new audience stays around.. Unless a webmaster can build a site that routinely appears on the front page, there is very little long-term benefit. Though a Digg may be the dream of many blogs, it is actually a very poor way to build blog traffic over the long-term.

However, that isn’t to say that social news is a complete waste of time, just that it may not be worth all of the effort some people put into it.

Alternative Strategies

Though most of the traffic from social news sites seem to come in like a tidal wave and leave just as quickly, that hasn’t been true for all of the traffic sources I’ve watched.

Twitter, though certainly not perfect as a traffic source, does seem to generate a great deal of buzz, especially if you can get your site in the middle of a “tweet storm” and the people who visit your site from Twitter do actually seem to become subscribers. After every tweet storm, I noticed at least a modest jump in my subscriber base.

I suspect this is because, even though the “storm” may be a collective act, people are seeing the links from their friends and family members. Every link is one from a person they have some relationship with, even if it is a very casual one, and that makes it seem more like a personal recommendation than an article that has been recommended by hundreds of strangers.

Likewise, traffic from StumbleUpon seems to generate a reasonable amount of site interaction. Though a run there might not produce the kind of traffic a Digg or a Slashdot might (at least in most cases), readers there do seem to interact more, including subscribing to sites and visiting other pages. Also, on StumbleUpon, the traffic seems to last longer, still producing visitors days and even weeks after the initial rush.

As with Twitter, I think that this is likely a part of how the service is built. StumbleUpon members only see links in categories they are interested in and the focus is on links recommended to them. This seems to help sites featured by StumbleUpon find a better-targeted audience.

Finally, though many bloggers are loathe to mention the mainstream media, I’ve found that my mentions in newspapers and magazines have always been a huge help for me in terms of building my long-term audience. One mention in the Boston Globe three years ago caused my subscribers to jump 60% overnight.

However, none of this is to say that Digg, Slashdot, etc. are useless, far from it. Rather, the bulk of their benefits probably lie outside their direct traffic.

The Benefits of Social News

Once we look past the traffic aspect of social news (from a blogger’s point of view), there are other reasons to promote to Digg, Reddit and similar sites.

  1. Non-Crushing Traffic: Most stories don’t reach the front page of Slashdot, Digg or Reddit. But even those in the bowels of the site can drive some traffic and those visitors tend to be much more attentive than the “click and move” ones that read only the front page.
  2. Search Engine Benefit: Though it seems unlikely a link on the front page of a site will help you much since the links change so frequently, the permalinks buried within social news sites are routinely indexed and can count to your SEO. The amount of benefit is up for debate, but it certainly can’t hurt.
  3. Notoriety: If you reach the front page of a site even once or twice, visitors will likely remember your site, at least on some level, and when they come back later for an unrelated reason they’ll have a better opinion of it. Achieving the front page may be as much about laying the groundwork for your brand than it is the traffic it brings.

What this means is that having users submit your articles to social news is not a bad thing nor is it useless, but it is not the holy grail of blogging many make it out to be. Being Dugg once will not bring you into the big leagues any more than buying a few thousand visitors would. A social news strategy can, and should be, a part of your overall traffic strategy but it should not be something to obsess over.

It is that simple.

Bottom Line

When it is all said and done, I did add back a small “Share This” button to my site. Not only does it allow access to Digg, Reddit and other big social news sites, but it lets people email, IM and tweet out stories as well.

In the past, I’ve admittedly gotten carried away with my social news efforts but now I think it is time for me, and probably many others, to scale back and reevaluate.

While these sites definitely have a role and the lure of thousands of instant visitors can be very tempting, the long-term benefit is just not as great as many think it is.

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Blogging

Do You Establish Work at Home Boundaries?

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Some people love attention.

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:

  • favors
  • gossip
  • small talk
  • chats
  • 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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Blogging

Who Do You Surround Yourself with in Your Blogger Network?

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Some bloggers cannot see the forest for the trees, like the beautiful, lush, thriving national park I visited in New Jersey recently.

The masses tend to be caught up in fear, pain and struggle because they cannot see the big picture.

Birds of a feather flock together.

You have heard that one, right?

I circle the globe and change time zones like most folks breathe. Would I be wise to surround myself with people who tremble at leaving their home town or home neighborhood? Nope. Such people would teach me the world makes for a scary, dangerous place. I would get advice like play it safe, be comfortable, get a job, buy a home and take it easy, from such folks. Such folks also live a bland life because if you rarely or never leave your comfort zone, you cannot:

  • grow
  • thrive
  • face your fears
  • serve humanity
  • be a bright light for people to follow
  • live your deepest, wildest dreams

Obviously, I chose to surround myself with bloggers who happily circled the globe as successful bloggers. I also surrounded myself with happy, successful, home body bloggers too; to learn the basics of building a rocking blog effectively. I learned how to succeed from my blogger friend network, sponging up their knowledge, inspiration and insight.

Meanwhile, if you surround yourself with new, struggling or failing bloggers you will get advice on how to struggle, fail, or flounder through your blogging day.

Do bloggers around you complain about losing $50 on blogging? Lose these zero’s immediately and surround yourself with bloggers who invest thousands of dollars on their blogs. High rollers teach you to succeed. Broke jokes teach you how to fail.

Do bloggers around you see making $25 as being a huge amount of money? You better lose the low-aiming crowd to surround yourself with bloggers who see $1000 and $10,000 and more as making coin.

Do bloggers around you circle the globe as swash buckling travelers? Check out this photo from my trip to Vietnam. Kong: Skull Island was filmed here.

Time to ditch the comfort zone crowd to hang with adventurous types.

Don’t get me wrong; I celebrate every cent I make online. But if you think I’m placing a sponsored post for less than $1000, you are insane. Like a famous super model who said she didn’t get out of bed for anything less than $10,000 a day, you need to develop a prosperity consciousness that demands big money and ignores appearance of poverty, lack, limitation and fear.

Who Do You Hang With?

Who do you count as blogging buddies? Happy, highly successful, prospering bloggers? You better, to increase your success.

For example, observe my blogging paperback on profiting. The aftermarket price is $45 USD. If most or all bloggers in your network would feel uncomfortable receiving $45 in royalties for a paperback, you better lose that network and surround yourself with bloggers who believe in abundance. I know John Chow feels comfortable receiving $45 for anything he offers online. Who cares? It is just money. It is only money.

Surround yourself only with bloggers who:

  • have posture
  • have authority
  • charge top dollar
  • profit freely
  • prosper freely
  • exude confidence
  • have a highly developed prosperity consciousness

You learn from the best, gain inspiration from the best and become the best by surrounding yourself with the best bloggers on earth.

But you need to be honest in who you choose to hang with in your blogging circles. Be clear. Be truthful with yourself. Maybe you feel comfortable trading comments with struggling bloggers you befriended 10 years ago but nothing spectacular happens for you if you surround yourself with struggling bloggers, being firmly fixed in your comfort zone.

Release all bloggers who are not happy and prospering.

Fill your blogger friend network with empowered, inspired, happy, successful, prospering bloggers.

Nothing personal.

Just your blogging success at stake.

 

 

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Blogging

Are You Chasing the Flavor of the Month?

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My first fundamental of successful blogging focuses you on being present.

All of our power resides in the moment.

None of our power resides in the future or past because neither exists.

Time is illusion.

Only Now is real.

Look at that brilliant featured image. I snapped it from the front porch during our trip to Fiji. Sweet things happen when you are in the moment, focusing all power on the present.

This marks my 796th blog post on Blogging Tips. I feel grateful to Zac for the opportunity to serve you. Plus I feel grateful for all success that flowed to me through these guest posts.

How in the heck did I write and publish nearly 800 guest posts on one blog?

I am in the moment, mostly. I am present. Plus I never, never, ever chase the flavor of the month.

Bruce Lee and Blogging

Alonzo Pichardo and I often chatted about being patient, persistent and present during the Online Success Chats Podcast.

Being patient, persistent and present helps you tap into immense powers, including the power of being creative *and* prolific. See my 800 blog posts on Blogging Tips as evidence of such power. Toss in my 2,008 articles (between posts and pages) on Blogging From Paradise and you understand: focusing on one core task, or core purpose, in the present, leads to amazing things.

Bruce Lee spoke of fearing not the man who practiced 10,000 kicks once, but he did fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times. He embodied this mindset in his genius, Renaissance Man type ways.

Lee’s wisdom and physical prowess are both timeless because he understood and lived this great truth: do 1 thing so frequently, with a focused energy, being in the moment, that you do it incredibly well. He understood the truth of how I live my life: where your attention and energy goes, grows.

The Flavor of the Month

Most bloggers struggle because they practice 10,000 kicks once, chasing hot niches, running after trends, and choosing to blog today, and podcast tomorrow, because everybody runs a podcast these days. Wait a second; live video reigns supreme? Time to become a live video expert. Meanwhile, as you jump from niche to niche, and from blogging to podcasting to live videos, I just wrote and published 800 posts on Blogging Tips alone. Plus I wrote and published 1,000 more guest posts on other blogs.

While most bloggers chase hot trends, profitable niches and the latest game changing opportunity, guys like Alonzo and I thrive by doing one thing alone so we do it incredibly well.

Success is yours, but success is not an overnight or week-long endeavor.

Stop chasing hot niches. Visualize your dreams in detail. Focus on your blogging wins. Invest in coaching and courses from top bloggers. Surround yourself with positive vibes and positive people.

Write, publish and connect with top bloggers by helping top bloggers.

Success Finds Specialists

I took a nap this afternoon. A calm, peaceful breeze kisses my face right now as I write and enjoy the day.

Imagine if you could work from home every day? Visualize that fun and freedom.

Sweet, right?

Specialists are the only folks who work from home full time. People who do 1 thing persistently, practicing this skill, so they become super skilled in a single, specialized niche.

I gave all of my professional energy to being a blogger for the past 10 years. I became really skilled at blogging because I never chased the flavor of the month.

Avoid program hopping, niche hopping and all forms of flavor-chasing.

Do one thing. Do it well.

Succeed.

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