Every year I run a small, free neighborhood haunted house out of my garage. It’s a mammoth undertaking every year involving countless hours of work, a staff of about four or five helping during crunch times and months of planning. All for about 12 combined hours of “open” time in late October.
However, like every large undertaking I’ve tried, it’s come with its share of life lessons, at least a few of which apply to blogging. So, with that in mind, here are five lessons that running a haunted house, or any similar project can teach you about blogging or running a site.
1. Much of the Work Isn’t Fun
For every hour of scaring visitors, there is probably 12 hours or more of building walls, painting and other mundane, laborious tasks that almost no one enjoys.
Blogging is much the same way. Though every blogger has tasks they love, whether its designing, writing or answering comments, there are many elements that are just no fun at all, filtering spam comments out, fixing site errors, dealing with flame wars and keeping track of your content to name a few.
Though everyone should love what they do, loving your site doesn’t mean enjoying every single task you do for it. It just means that the good outweighs the bad.
2. You Can Look Professional Cheaply
Since our haunt is free, we have to do it on a very tight budget, a few hundred dollars per year tops. We build many of our own props, design many of our scares and find low-tech solutions that other haunts use computers and pneumatics for. We are able to solve our problems cheaply and, at the same time, produce a pretty good haunt.
Blogging is much the same way. WordPress is free and there are tons of great themes for it freely available. Combine that with good content and a great domain, you can have a professional-looking blog for almost no money.
What you do need is skill, time and dedication. If you don’t have the money to buy a professional theme, you need to create or or tweak an existing one. Can’t pay writers? You have to write good content. Money can be a shortcut to a professional appearance, but an investment of time and talent can create the same results and, I would argue, give those results more heart and meaning.
3. Cross-Promoting is Critical
I would be easy for me to consider other haunted attractions in the area as competition and try to “beat” them somehow. However, it’s been much easier for all of us to work together and cross-promote. I even donate a few off nights to volunteer at haunts technically compete with.
The reason is that people don’t usually visit just one haunted house nor do they visit just one blog. Giving a “competitor” traffic is not the same as taking visitors away from you. Networking and working with others in your field is critical not just to drive traffic, but to build your brand and build awareness about your site.
No site is an island so it is best to promote accordingly.
4. Constantly Troubleshoot
The first thing we do after every night of haunting is sit around and go over what happened. The atmosphere is always light-hearted and we’re reliving our favorite scares, but it’s also somewhat serious as we’re going over the things that did not work and planning to retool for the next night or the next year.
Blogging is no different, every so often you should look at your traffic and your site’s use patterns and see what you can do to improve it. What features can you add? Is your navigation confusing? What might help search engines crawl your site better?
A blogger should be constantly looking at their site, determining what works and losing what doesn’t.
5. Be Unique
Being high quality isn’t good enough by itself, you have to do something that’s unique. With our haunt, we try to focus on more realistic scenarios and avoid all horror movie icons. This helps people remember us and gives our haunt a very unique feel.
If you can’t describe what makes your site unique in less than 20 words, you probably need to change your focus to give it something a bit more original. Otherwise, you’ll always just an “also” ran in an overcrowded field.
If you provide something unique, people will remember you and they will return.
All major projects, whether online or off, have a great deal to teach us about running our sites. The Internet does not change the basics of what makes good work and by looking at what it takes to do a good job elsewhere, you can apply the lessons online.
So what are some of the lessons you’ve learned from your offline projects and how did you make them apply to your site? I’d be interested to hear what others have to say.
Stop Complaining and Turn it into a Blog Post
I spent the prior 10 seconds scrolling through my Instagram comments.
After reading a “This looks good” comment in response to a grainy video – obvious spam, intended for an eye-popping image – I chose to create a video and write this post. 2 pieces of blog content. Versus minutes of silly complaining.
Being human, I may feel slightly annoyed after reading my 5th spam comment in a row, this morning. But after a quick vent, I create helpful content, to teach bloggers what not to do, in order to succeed online.
Check out this eBook:
I wrote the eBook to address a pressing problem among bloggers. We all have a right to vent for a bit but sustained complaining:
- wastes your creative energies
- sullies your brand image
- damages your online reputation
I wrote the eBook to help you turn your complaints, sometimes in the form of rough blogging criticism, into blogging profits. Converting a complaint into content is 1 easy way to prosper in such fashion.
Help yourself. Help your readers.
Watch this short Instagram video:
I gained a few quick views on Instagram. Benefits me. I promoted my eBook at the end of the video, offering myself eBook exposure. I help my readers by showing them what works on Instagram; being genuine, being honest and being authentic. I also explain what not to do, to help folks avoid wasting their time with spammy, low quality, non genuine comments.
I turned a potential complaint into a creation. I converted a low energy situation into a high energy situation. I likely gained blog traffic and maybe boost my blogging profits, too.
I also align with grateful, high energy bloggers like Sue-Ann Bubacz Mapping Megan and Mike Allton by raising my energy. Complaining routinely moves you lower in blogging circles. Being grateful, creative and helpful moves you higher in blogging circles.
The next time you feel an urge to complain about something, turn the complaint into a creation.
- write a blog post
- write a guest post
- record a podcast
- record a video
- broadcast live on Facebook
- write a bite-sized eBook
Your readers will thank you. Plus, you will thank yourself.
We know complaints can sprout from all corners of the web. Here are common occurrences which tend to trigger complaints:
- spam comments on your blog
- spam comments on social media
- spam emails
- spam social media messages
- bloggers pitching you their products and services without building relationships first
- cheapie bloggers or business owners who want to place sponsored posts on your blog for 5 or 10 USD
- unhappy, unclear folks who post terrible reviews on your eBooks based on their misery
I recall the last bullet point experience goaded me to write my eBook. A few listeners of my audio books and eBook readers posted sarcastic, biting reviews of both audio books and eBooks I self-published. Rather than complain or whine about the feedback I saw the criticism for what it was; the projection of an unhappy person who spoke 100% about self and 0% about me. All of my creations are clearly me, and what I did to co-create this life of island hopping through smart blogging. If anybody is insane enough to post a negative review on my clear, genuine creations, it is like saying:
“Hey Ryan, I was there every step of the way, watching you in paradise, stalking you behind your laptop, and you did a terrible job sharing your real experience!”
The only person on earth who could post a somewhat honest review is my wife Kelli; even she was not in my head or watching every one of my steps as I co-created this life with my readers. She was too busy building her own thriving business. No human was there to record everything, save me, and since I share it all in a genuine, clear way, any negative reviewer is deluded, and somewhat insane.
Few bloggers have this clarity or authenticity in what they do because they either are filled with fear and doubt, or hold back what they know. I have no such problems.
These are a few potential triggers, guys. I share to alert you to potential rants or sustained complaints before the negative energy seems to run away with your attention for a few minutes, hours or days.
Vent wholly, quickly and completely. Then convert the complaint into blog content. Everybody wins. Even the spammer.
What Is the Mushroom Service Effect and How Does it Increases Profits?
Service leads to sales.
Every eBook I sell is the effect of a service cause. Many of my eBook customers received my direct help. Maybe I commented genuinely on their blog. Perhaps I mentioned them on my blog or on Blogging Tips. Maybe I retweeted their post. Or maybe I helped these people for weeks or months without asking for anything in return.
Some of these bloggers purchase my eBooks. I see increased blogging profits. Some promote my eBooks to their readers, leading to increased blogging profits. Some of those readers promote the eBook to their readers; can you see the mushroom service effect in action? I keep helping people in various ways, expect nothing, and my generous service reverberates, mushrooming into increased sales.
What happens as I help more folks by creating content and by promoting fellow bloggers? More bloggers promote me, link to me, boost my backlink juice, and Blogging From Paradise becomes more prominent on Google. Search engine traffic increases my blogging profits. More mushrooming.
You never go wrong helping people generously because every creative act prospers you and others, now, next week or 3 years down the road.
My friend Alonzo Pichardo helps people generously and gives little thought to content once he publishes posts, videos and podcasts. He lets the content do what it does. His profits keep increasing but even more than that, he keeps moving higher and higher in networking circles as his generosity increases his influence. More mushrooming.
Imagine a still pond. Now imagine dropping a tiny pebble into a still pond. Waves reverberate as far as the water reaches. 10 inches, or 10,000 miles, literally, nothing can stop the waves from traveling outward, even if the waves are faint, or are barely detectable, after traveling for a while.
Now imagine dropping 100 tiny pebbles over a few weeks. Wow. You really see waves kicking at that point. Subtle, slow and controlled, but super noticeable.
The pond is your blogging niche. The stillness of the pond is your calm, peaceful, generous, detached intent, your energy, your relaxed mindset. The pebbles are pieces of content, aka, service. Plus, one pebble can represent:
- every time you promote another blogger through a blog post on your blog
- every time you promote another blogger through a guest post
- every time you retweet another blogger
- every time you share another blogger’s post on Facebook
The waves are your influence, your service, and, this is the mushrooming effect leading to greater blogging profits.
Guys; expect nothing. I promote valued blogging resources like the talented, generous and heart-centered Tanyi at Blog Tools Corner to give, not to get. The less I expect anything to happen, the more good things and awesome people flow to me.
Give freely, persistently, receive easily.
Enstine Muki provides you with generous tips to make money online, via his blog. He helps bloggers freely. Of course his blogging profits mushroom through his generous service, increasing through his friend network, through Google and through mentions on my blog, on Blogging Tips and in thousands of other spots.
Keep helping people freely. Expect nothing. Eventually, over time, if you are patient, your traffic and profits begin to mushroom exponentially.
Look at Tim Ferriss’ latest blog post. He is a multi millionaire and one of the most famous entrepreneurs on earth because he serves people generously. Note how many backlinks he gives to other bloggers and entrepreneurs through his latest post; that’s generosity! That’s an abundance mindset in action. Most bloggers feel terrified to give out a single backlink to another blogger for fear of losing profits, wrongly believing people will click on the other blogger’s link and not click on their business links. Tim links out to 20, 30 or 40 people or resources for every blog post.
Any wonder why the dude is so incredibly successful and prospering?
He employs the mushroom service effect like few entrepreneurs on earth.
4 Ways to Become More Detached from Blogging Outcomes
See that throwback featured image of me in Phuket, Thailand?
I became a globe trotting pro blogger in part through the power of detachment.
Blogging outcomes weigh you down and slow your blogging growth, if you are not careful.
Many bloggers mean well but are so obsessed with every view, Like, comment, share and dollar that they either struggle horribly or hold back stunning blogging success. How could I write over 100 eBooks if I obsessed with sales from my first eBook? How could I write 600 posts on Blogging Tips alone if I obsessed over metrics?
Eye-popping success finds largely detached, generous bloggers.
Follow these tips to become more detached from blogging outcomes.
1: Help More Ask Less
If you want blog comments, comment on other blogs.
Want blog traffic? Promote other bloggers.
Help bloggers to detach from your needs and to see greater success. Ask less and less for shares, comments and views, to detach from outcomes. Success finds generous bloggers.
2: Mention 2-5 Successful Bloggers Via All Posts
I recall focusing heavily on blogging profits early during my career. I linked to an ad or affiliate product once per post and linked to nothing else, obsessing over sales, attaching to outcomes. I gradually promoted other bloggers over years. Now I promote 2 to 5 bloggers virtually every post. I think more of helping them and less of helping me.
3: Manage Your Energy
Attachment is fear. Managing your energy helps you:
- face fear
- feel fear
- release fear
- dissolve attachments
I do 80 minutes of deep yin yoga daily. Plus I jog or walk for 45-60 minutes daily. Meditating helps too.
Managing your energy rocks because so many bloggers cling deeply to fear-attachments, to stats and money and to clients and blogging buddies, and need a daily ritual to unearth and release these attachments. I strongly suggest deep yin yoga because it helps you become comfortable. Big time quality developed by all generous, pretty darn detached, bloggers.
4: BE with Your Fear
I vividly recall sitting and BEING with my fear each time I checked my blogging inbox. I felt a general not enough energy pervade my being. Panic then ran through my body. Anger. Pain. Grief, at time lost. All fears reflected heavy attachments to:
- list subscribers
I totally believed I should have been further along at these points during my blogging career. Turns out, I was at the perfect place and time to feel deep fears, to dissolve attachments and to proceed from a generous, genuine, pretty detached, patient and persistent space.
Fighting fear only makes attachments grow. Not checking email for weeks because you feel terrified to check email makes the fear and attachment grow. But checking email hourly because you feel terrified that you:
- will miss out on clients
- are not making enough money, and need to check and see if you are making any aka enough money, yet
reflects your attachment to you. Ya know; “How am I doing-itis.” Check stats, check email, all the time, because you fear to see how you are doing.
Feel fear behind any strategy driven by fear. Let the fear go. Dissolve the attachment.
I check email here and there, never being attached to it. Email is not the source of my blogging success.
Treat blogging outcomes like mile markers on a highway, when you whiz by at 80 MPH. Note the stat for a few seconds and either move in a different direction or charge forward, based on how you feel about the stat, and what the feeling suggests to you.
Search Blogging Tips
Blogging2 years ago
6 Tools For Boosting Content Marketing Results Over The Holidays
Search Engine Optimisation2 years ago
7 SEO Analysis Tools Every Blogger Needs to Know
Blogging4 months ago
113 Bloggers share their Favorite Email Marketing Tools
Blogging2 years ago
6 Steps for How I Nabbed 6500 Comments on My Blog
Blogging2 years ago
How to Become a Nimble Blogger
Blogging12 years ago
CoComment – The new way to track blog comments
Blogging1 year ago
How to Start a Fashion Blog in 8 Simple Steps
Blogging2 years ago
57 Must-Read Books For Entrepreneurs Recommended by Entrepreneurs