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4 Kinds of Comments You Don’t Want

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Yesterday, Ryan posted a an article entitled “Show You Moderate Your Comments?” in which he concludes that one should not moderate comments, if avoidable, or delete negative ones.

Though I agree with Ryan’s take about commenting, it is worth noting that there are some dangers that come with allowing comments on your site. Though often discussed are annoyances that come with opening up comments, flame wars, spam, etc., there are also legal, ethical and personal issues to consider.

With that in mind, here are four types of comments you definitely do not want on your site and should draw a firm line against. Most of these are just common sense, but they bear repeating regardless.

4. The Libelous Comment

There is a difference between expressing your opinion and saying something that is outright false. A commenter can call someone a jerk or idiot with relative immunity, at least legally, but when a commenter says something that is provably false and damaging to someone’s reputation, it becomes libel. As such, it is important to recognize that this is a serious legal issue.

The good news is that U.S. law protects webmasters and hosts from libelous comments made by others on their service, not requiring them to remove said comments even after a claim has been filed. However, such comments can still make a blog’s comment area a very hostile place for others to join the conversation. Furthermore, repeating libel or taking sides in a discussion where libelous statements are being used could open you up to claims of your own.

How to Avoid It: The simplest solution is to keep the comments on track. People can talk about the topic at hand all they want, but talking about each other, especially in a hostile manner, should probably be forbidden. In short, disagree all you want, just don’t make it personal.

3. The Private Comment

Though we all have a choice as to how much personal information we reveal online, some people, even in comments, sometimes make those decisions for others. If someone in your comments posts private information about someone, that person could be held liable and so could you if you repeat it. There is an exception for private facts that are deemed “newsworthy”, at least in some locales but it can be difficult to know what meets that standard.

The problem with privacy law is that it varies wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, as with libel, you seem to be largely protected against invasion of privacy lawsuits should a commenter post something invasive to your site. However, the law is not clearly defined on what happens if you edit the comment and repeating it could put you in the same boat as the commenter.

This also applies if anyone visits your site impersonating another person.

How to Avoid It: The same rule applies here. You can easily avoid this if you keep your conversation from getting personal. Keep personal attacks off your site and you should be fine.

2. The Copyright Infringing Comment

Though most comments don’t involve copyrighted materials in any way and, most of those that do, do so in a way that is consistent with the principles of fair use, there are some commenters that do take it a bit too far at times.

If someone posts a song lyric to your site, link to an MP3 or some other item that is likely a copyright infringement, it could mean serious trouble. Though the DMCA protects qualifying hosts and “information location tools” (IE: search engines) from liability for copyrighted material on their service (so long as you expeditiously remove it after notification), you may lose that protection if you are aware of the infringement and do nothing or are seen to somehow be encouraging it.

But even if the DMCA does protect you, should the copyright holder speak with your host first, it could result in your site being shut down. It may seem drastic, but many hosts, especially shared hosts, just turn off a domain until a copyright infringement claim can be resolved.

If you want to avoid these legal and technical nightmares, its best to do what you can to keep these conflicts off of your site.

How to Avoid It: The solution is simple, if you see something that you suspect is copyright infringing, delete it and offer the submitter a chance to repost without the infringing work. A little bit of research should determine if the person likely has a license to post it and, if not, it is better to be safe than sorry, within reason.

1. The Spam Comment

This one goes without saying. No one wants spam comments. We already use comment filtering systems that are designed to prevent spam comments from going live and we run them religiously. However, if you look at what is actually being posted as spam to your site, it is easy to see how some of it could cause problems.

Between the scams, the gambling, the pornography and more, there’s a lot of content there with a lot of thorny legal issues too convoluted and complex to go over here. Though it is unlikely you could be held directly liable legally for anything posted without your permission or knowledge, allowing this kind of content on your site can have dire consequences to your search engine ranking (by making you appear to be a spam farm) and your readers (who will not want to have a conversation with so much garbage around).

Spam is somethingyou get a great deal of everyday, but it only takes a few to greatly impact your site.

How to Avoid It: Most sites can simply keep doing what they are doing. The spammers, for the most part, are looking for low-hanging fruit. Still, keep up with your anti-spam tools and remain vigilant about what spam does get through.

Bottom Line

We all love comments on our sites, but there are some that we can’t afford to have around. Even though most of the comments we try to keep at bay are spam comments that don’t add anything to the conversation, even those who do can sometimes cross lines that bloggers can’t afford.

Keep your comments clean, avoid legal issues and keep the personal strife on your blog to a minimum, you can have a robust conversation without the worries or perils that often come with it.

So be smart about your blog comments and you’ll be rewarded with a rich, vibrant and safe dialog that will keep your visitors coming back.

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Blogging

eCommerce: 3 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic, Sales and Revenue

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For most people blogging is used as a fun and easy way to share their lifestyle or write about their passion. But for some this hobby had become their profession.

Nowadays there are many options to make money with a blog – for example by getting paid for advertising products. Another way is to add your own eCommerce to the blog and sell the products that you are passionate about in your own web store. Creating an online shop can be the first step into your life as a digital nomad or simply being your own boss.

A few years ago, it was necessary to work with a professional developer to integrate an online store to your website. Especially for small manufacturers, this meant a huge investment before they could even start selling their products. Nowadays setting up a web store has become a lot easier and cheaper: Platforms like Shopify can easily be integrated in existing domains and therefore help makers and crafters to start their own eCommerce without professional help. Once you have set up your own Shopify store it is all about increasing the traffic. A bigger reach will eventually lead to a higher number of sales and more revenue.

So, let’s have a look at three simple steps to do so:

1 – Turn your small business into a smart business…

…by adding automation and product management to your website. When launching your business, it might be fine to keep track of the orders in an Excel spreadsheet at first. But since you expect your business to grow it will become one of the most important things to have a management platform in place that allows you to process orders and handle inventory professionally. Therefore, it can be handy to add a production planning and scheduling software as integration to your existing web store. An easy-to-use solution for Shopify-users is the Shopify inventory integration that adds products to your website, manages inventory or tracks shipments.

2 – Make your products sound and look good…

…by adding high-quality images and longer product descriptions to your page. Not only will this make your eCommerce look more professional, but it is also a great way to increase your traffic by reaching a higher rank in the search results. If you are not able to create these yourself, you can outsource writing or graphic design work to freelancers on sites like Fiverr or Upwork.

3 – Don’t stop blogging…

…or get it started if you haven’t done so yet. While it is exciting to start your own business it also takes a lot of time and energy to set everything up. Anyhow, this should not lead to giving up on your blog. Why? Because a growing eCommerce site and an active blog go hand in hand. And remember: The content of your blog should be interesting to your targeted audience and contain at least one thousand words in order to effectively rank in the search results. Here are some examples of the top eCommerce blogs for inspiration.  

…and that is it!

You are now almost ready to start your own eCommerce! In addition to following these three steps, it is always good to keep an eye on your ecommerce competitors. Do not steal their idea but have a look at what is working for them and aim to go beyond that. As long as you focus on your product, the content of your site and a growing search ranking you will successfully manage to increase your traffic, the sales and the revenue of your business.

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Blogging

Should You Answer that Blogging Question Again?

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“Ryan, how do I increase blog traffic?”

 

“Ryan, how do I make money blogging?”

 

If I had a dime for every blogger who asked me each question I’d have quite a few dimes. Toss in all the times I observe bloggers asking each question via Quora and various Facebook Groups and you have as many dimes as grains of sand in the Sahara Desert.

 

I know what you are thinking; should you answer the same question for the 2nd time, 10th time or 100th time? Confusing. One part of you wishes to be generous. Another part of you fears missing an opportunity to help someone who can be a potential client or customer. Another part of you feels annoyed at being asked the question again. Another part of you feels annoyed at embracing and releasing the guilt of ignoring the question.

 

Should you answer these common blogging questions again and again?

 

No.

 

Of course not.

 

Answering the same, common question more than 1 or 2 times is:

 

  • foolish
  • an inefficient use of your time
  • ineffective
  • amateur hour stuff

 

Here’s what I do to:

 

  • answer questions quickly and easily
  • open myself up to more potential blogging business through possible clients and customers
  • be calm, cool, collected and at peace despite being asked the same question many times

 

Are you ready?

 

Write a blog post!

 

Or write and self-publish an eBook.

 

DUH!

 

If someone asks me how to drive more traffic to my blog I send them this link:

 

4 Blog Traffic Driving Fundamentals

 

Or I send ’em a link from any one of my myriad blog traffic driving posts on Blogging From Paradise.

 

If someone asks about specific income streams for making money through their blogs I send them a link to my eBook:

 

15 Ways to Make Money Blogging

 

Or if someone asks how to make money through guest posting I send them this link from my guest post on the blog of the awesome Enstine Muki:

 

How to Write a Guest Post that Grows Your Business

 

What an easy, simple, efficient, effective way to:

 

  • answer a common question many times
  • answer a common question in 1-2 seconds
  • drive traffic to my blog
  • increase my blogging profits
  • help people, and be helped by people through their prospering of me
  • avoid anger
  • avoid annoyance
  • avoid judging people who have no idea how to blog

 

Fools complain about new bloggers asking the same, old questions. Why does a new blogger ask a question? They have no idea how to blog! Duh. Why anger at their ignorance? Why get annoyed that you need to answer the question again? Write a blog post answering the question. Send the blog post to anybody who asks the question. Seize opportunities to help people and to drive traffic and profits to your blog.

 

Email Mistake

 

Do you own Gmail? I do not. Since I do not own Gmail it’d be foolish for me to answer questions via Gmail when I can be answering the same question on my self-hosted blog. I own Blogging From Paradise. I own that online real estate. Answer questions on your owned cyber real estate. Brand you. Grow your business. Increase your traffic. Keep the ball in your court. Have posture.

 

Leverage

 

If I spend 10 minutes answering a question for 1 human I am a fool when I could spend 45 minutes answering the question for 100, or 10,000 or 1,000,000 humans, by writing a helpful blog post answering the question and sending the blog post link to all future folks who ask the question. Plus; when the post goes live, I answer common questions passively, said common questions no doubt in the minds of thousands of bloggers out there.

 

Leverage. Write a blog post. Do not help one person. Help 10,000 people. Save your time and energy. Make more money.

Matthew Loomis at Build Your Own Blog is a smart guy. Peep his home page. He lays out clear, concise steps for building your blog via his sidebar. You just know how many people asked him the common, pressing, basic blogging questions that he skillfully answered through those clear steps.

 

He leveraged his knowledge. He answered common questions BEFORE people asked him common blogging questions. Smart! Help a ton of folks quickly and easily. Drive blog traffic. Increase blogging profits. Lower your bounce rate. Improve the amount of time people spend on your blog.

 

Write a blog post. Send the blog post link to anybody who asks the common blogging question.

 

Think abundantly.

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Blogging

Why Cold Pitching and Bartering Do Not Work in Blogging

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2 words: nobody cares.

I just checked my email. One stranger who came in cold – as strangers always do – emailed me a reply:

“Is that your lowest price?”

I deleted his email. On a day when feeling less compassionate, I junk the email. Label it as spam. Why?

Nobody cares.

I genuinely care about someone who genuinely cares about me. I do not care much about a stranger who tries to barter with me when he ignored the email where I told him my final, fixed, non-negotiable price. Thousands of strangers have tried this approach. Thousands of strangers get ignored.

Nobody cares.

That was one of the bartering emails.

I received a handful of cold pitch emails. Bloggers emailed me as strangers, asking to guest post on my site. 90% did not even bother to address me by name.

2 words: nobody cares. Meaning, I do not care about them. I delete. I ignore. I move on.

I checked my spam folder to delete the emails. I scanned. 3 more pitch emails popped up in spam. The bloggers pitching through these emails pissed off enough bloggers to ensure; all future emails of theirs land in spam. Try building a blogging business from the spam folder. I dare you.

Genuinely, nobody cares.

Analogy

Imagine someone knocking on the door of your home right now. Go ahead. Visualize this scenario.

This person wants to sell you a vacuum cleaner. You shut the door in their face unless you are 1 of 1,000,000 people who would actually buy a vacuum from a stranger at your door. The remaining 999,999 human beings either buy one on Amazon or via their local department store.

Save the 1 person, nobody cares about a stranger who blindly pitches their sales services or who blindly pitches an opportunity at the door of their home. Just like nobody cares about a stranger who blindly pitches them a guest posting opportunity.

Nobody cares.

How to Get People to Care

If you want people to care enough to buy your blogging course or to feature you on their blogs, care about them.

If you want to land on Blogging From Paradise just do these things:

  • spend 3-6 months promoting me on your blog
  • spend 3-6 months promoting me on social media
  • publish 2-3 posts weekly
  • practice writing daily; offline

I begin to care about people who care about me generously and genuinely.

You stand out from the thousands of strangers who I do not care about when you care about me. It is such an easy tactic to build bonds with leading bloggers. Simple, too. Care about me as a human being. Ask for nothing. Expect nothing. Pay your blogging dues. Be generous. Be genuine. Be patient. Be persistent. Guaranteed; you will stand out from the crowd eventually. You have to, because generosity is always repaid in some way, shape or form down the road.

My generous, skilled friends get links on Blogging From Paradise for free.

Strangers need to pay my rate. If a stranger tries to barter my rate after I noted my fixed, non-negotiable, price, I delete the email. I may spam the email. People who do not have enough respect for me to read the entire email belong in spam. Landing in spam is the blogging business kiss of death; you will fail blogging for 1,000 years if your emails wind up in spam. The Blogging Scarlet Letter is S, for Spam.

Just freaking care about bloggers. How hard is that? Stop focusing on yourself and your needs and what you want to GET out of me and do some GIVING. Fool proof, simple, powerful way to build a successful blog. Plus you will have the money to invest in sponsored posts so you need not try to barter like a cheapie. Plus you will receive more and more free links on top blogs.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

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