As a blogger, you’re in a very awkward position, especially if you are a relatively new face. You are essentially asking people to trust you and take the things you say seriously even though those who visit your site know almost nothing about you.
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Still, whether you’re writing a personal blog, a news site or just providing information, this trust is crucial as very few kinds of blogs can survive without it. Unless your sole goals are shock or parody, trust has to be established for your site to find an audience and survive over the long term.
So how do you go from being a random person on the Web to a trusted source of information? It isn’t easy. Trust is tough to earn but easy to lose, especially online. A lot of it simply comes down to doing good work and providing good content, which will build your reputation over time.
However, there are things you can do to help speed the process along. They are, for the most part, simple, common sense moves that you can make with your blog to encourage your readers to put down their guard.
While they won’t work overnight, most blogs are better off with them than without them.
Breaking Down Barriers
When looking for ways to improve your own trustworthiness, it helps to think about the things that encourage you to put faith in other sites that you read. Sometimes it’s a matter of a name and the reputation that comes with it (e.g. The New York Times, etc.) and some times it is a matter of branding and marketing (e.g. Google, etc.). But without millions of dollars to spend or decades to wait, you have to find ways to make your site more respectable and believable, so you can gain traction in the shorter term.
On that front, here are a few suggestions to consider:
- Be Professional: Quality writing pays dividends when it comes to trust. Write in a professional, albeit personable, style. Be sure to brush up on your basic rules of grammar and spelling. While it is important to have a unique voice, it’s also crucial to avoid mistakes that make you look stupid. Likewise, it is important to make sure your site has a professional appearance, including a good theme and a good URL.
- Admit Your Mistakes: We all make mistakes and, when you make one, it is wise to confess to it publicly and openly. Though you shouldn’t make a grand gesture out of fixing a simple typo, admitting your mistakes and acknowledging when you are wrong in a prompt fashion goes to great lengths to encouraging people to trust you. Admitting your faults is much better than trying to cover them up.
- Disclose, Disclose, Disclose: The FTC’s new guidelines on disclosure should not be the only motivation you have being open about your conflicts. As out own Kevin pointed out last month, disclosure is a good move in general. Being honest about your conflicts actually assures readers that A) You take their trust seriously and B) That you are less likely to let those conflicts interfere. When in doubt, disclose the relationship, it’s just the best thing to do.
- Have a Good Bio: Be sure to include a bio page about yourself and to always include a picture with it if possible. Let your readers get to know a little bit about you personally, beyond just the boring facts, as this makes you more human. If your readers see you as a person rather than just a name on a computer, they are more likely to trust you, especially if they connect with you or share experiences with you.
- Treat Your Readers with Respect and Intelligence: Advertising mogul David Ogilvy had a famous saying “The Consumer is not an Idiot – She’s Your Wife”. Ignoring the tinge of sexism in the quote, the point remains, your readers aren’t buffoons that need talking down to, they are just like other people you know. This should come through in the way you handle yourself in comments, via email and other interactions you have with your readers. If you want your readers to see you as a human being worthy of their trust, you have to treat them the same first.
If you do these things and routinely put out work that is worthy of people’s trust and respect, then you will most likely earn it. Though I can’t promise you fame and fortune, especially with blogging, I can promise you that those who do see your site will take it seriously.
Sadly, trust is no guarantor of success. There are many bloggers who are widely trusted but aren’t famous or wealthy from their blogging activities. It is also true that not every blog that is successful got there on the back of their earned trust. Gossip blogs and comedy sites routinely trade in trust for dirt and laughs.
But for most bloggers, it is easier to find and keep an audience if your have at least a modicum of trust from your readers. After all, when people trust you, that is when they link to you and begin to share your site with others they value. That is how a site begins to gain traction and it is also how one-time visitors become regular readers.
Trust is crucial and you should whatever you can to build it and, even though the steps above won’t offset the mistrust caused by bad information, it can help one’s good work shine through and become more easily noticed by the people who stop by.
1 Uncomfortable But Necessary Step to Making More Money through Your Blog
10 years ago I relied on 1 prospering stream.
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Today I rely on no income streams.
I figured out; helping people for free and being detached about 5 to 10 to 15 income streams helped me make more money through my blog.
Making this journey from attachment to one stream, to detachment from many streams, felt incredibly uncomfortable. I felt terrified to gradually release different income streams on the journey too. I loved freelance writing. Made some nice coin through the income channel. But intuitively, I knew I had to let it go to move toward eBooks, courses and a 100% passive income model because going passive helps me focus exclusively on creating content and earning money around the clock as I traveled the globe.
Heck yeah I enjoyed trading time for money many years ago because doing so felt comfortable and familiar. Heck yeah I feared trusting that my passive income would grow if I added many passive streams to my blogging portfolio and if I focused on creating content.
But here I am. Living in Thailand for months.
Eventually, to make more money through your blog, you need to add a passive or semi-passive income model and get incredibly busy helping people for free, because few folks on earth charge $50,000 or more per hour. I have no idea about Tony Robbin’s hourly coaching rates. But I know he ain’t charging only $1000 per hour. He is the most famous coach on earth. He coaches former presidents and the best athletes on earth. Outside of being the most famous or most skilled human on earth in your niche, you WILL hit an earnings ceiling trading time for money solely via an active income model.
But if you add 1, 2 then 10 passive income elements to your blog, earnings potential has no ceiling. Someone can buy my blogging course in the next hour. $350. 10 people can buy my eBooks, priced at about 4 smackers. Someone may advertise on my blog. Another blogger buys 3 of my audio books. All buys occur while I write this post or perhaps fall within a window where I write 3 posts for my blog.
Passive income can increase exponentially through as many channels as you open, at any time, from all over the globe.
Photo break; me by the roof top pool here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Owners do not trade time for money. Owners invest money and energy, and build a fortune passively. Why? Owners know passive income potential has no limits, with exponential growth over time. Every one of the top 1,000 wealthiest people on earth worked for FREE for many years to set up passive income that made them the wealthiest people on earth. Although some of these icons may make coin through sky high hourly consulting rates, the billions of their net worth flowed in passively, due to their free service, free help and generous value shared.
Leave the employee mindset of trading time for money behind.
Embrace the owner mindset of opening 1, 2 or 15 passive income streams. Give 99% of your time and energy to creating helpful content and building bonds with top bloggers like Kulwant Nagi. He teaches you how to make money blogging through passive income models and is a fabulous dude too. Follow him.
Feel free to keep an active income model open. Coaching, freelance writing or consulting can be lucrative streams, for sure. But every hour you spend trading time for money, I am creating free content that expands my reach and helps me earn money through 15 passive income streams.
I learned from the great Bob Proctor that multiple sources of passive income can help you live a life of freedom. Years ago, Bob had already opened and earned through 220 passive income streams. No; that is not a typo.
Are you trading time for money, solely?
You better open passive streams and get busy helping people for free.
Law Blogging Trends For 2019 – What’s In And What’s Out
One of the challenges of maintaining a blog for your law firm is that, while your legal specialty may not undergo significant change, you have to keep developing new content to stay relevant to your audience – and you need to stay on brand. This can be a tough balance to strike, but by keeping up with trends, you can create powerful content that drives readership and increases conversion. Here’s what to expect, and what you need to bring, to the law blogging community in 2019.
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In: An Emphasis On Authority
One of the reasons that developing a clear niche has always been important to the law blogging community is that it helps you demonstrate your expertise in that area. In 2019, though, it won’t be enough to demonstrate that authority to your readers; you also need to build authority from a technical perspective – think “domain authority.” Domain authority (DA) is an SEO metric, and it’s at the heart of whether your site attracts traffic.
To boost your DA ranking, you’ll need to ensure your blog is well-equipped from a technical SEO perspective, which means that it has clear navigation, a sitemap, and is easily crawlable by search engines, as well as that it has linkable content. Linkable content will attract the attention of other websites and help you build backlinks, as well as providing readers with added value through quality content. That might mean writing ‘Top 10’ lists or using other popular formats, injecting humor into your writing, or creating your own resource guides. The goal is to keep your audience engaged and participate in an ongoing conversation, not just to churn out content.
Out: Vague Branding
There are a lot of law blogs on the web, and the majority are associated with a specific firm or topic, which gives them clear boundaries and an obvious audience and purpose. One blog that closed shop at the end of 2018, though, “Concurring Opinions,” was widely read despite its lack of affiliation, at least until recently. According to one of the core members, Gerard Magliocca, the blog saw a serious drop off in readership as venues for sharing ideas evolved. In Magliocca’s view, the law professor blog format “only really works if there is a kind of brand identity.” That means this is a critical moment to clarify your brand’s position.
From your logo to your blog niche, it’s vital that your blog serves a clear purpose. Readers should be able to recognize who you are, what your focus is, and even your writing style after going through a few posts. As an added benefit, the more firmly you establish your brand, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to drive traffic from a wide variety of sources. Brand recognition is key to increasing referral traffic and creating conversations across the internet.
In: Increased Creativity
In order to keep the content flowing, legal blogs, especially those that have been around for a while, need to shift away from older content strategies and start thinking outside the box. That means reading blogs outside the field to get inspired and using the skills that make you a great lawyer in the first place. After all, being a lawyer demands complex, abstract thought and the ability to solve problems in new, creative ways. It’s how you argue cases, and it will make your blogs more interesting and fun to read.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s time to start posting memes on your legal blog; they might be a bridge too far. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to engage with popular culture, sharing commentary and analysis. Those topics can bring in readership that wouldn’t otherwise engage with a law blog, with potentially fruitful results. This is also a good way to remain focused on your blog’s topic without becoming repetitive or dull.
Out: The (Too) Long Form
One of the most common trends across all industries is that more people are accessing websites, including blogs, on mobile devices, and that means they’re reading on smaller screens. Writers need to be conscious of this fact and make sure that their posts are accessible in this way. That means covering all of your bases in terms of what Google looks for as part of the mobile-first indexing process, but also trimming your posts.
The fact is, no one wants to read 1500 words on their phone, and if readers aren’t making it to the end of your post and your call to action, you’re not getting the most out of your blog. You need to hit a happy medium in terms of providing sufficient information while also keeping your content brief. Google also prioritizes brevity over length, so you’ll be doing yourself a favor in more ways than one.
Your law firm’s blog is an important tool for building your business, but it’s important to keep up with changing trends. Luckily, with these tips under your belt, your blog posts will draw a growing audience, driving leads and growing your client base. One feeds the other in a powerful relationship.
Are You Plagued with Blogging Doubts?
I just read this email:
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“I found out about you via Famous Bloggers. After reading parts of your website and browsing through your book list I wanted to ask you something.
I have an ebook on my website, and another in the making. I was wondering if your ebook “How to Write and Publish an eBook in 24 Hours” provides clear instructions on how to set up my Kindle account, and start selling there?
Also, I see that you have A LOT (121 ebooks I believe), and many of them are “short” 30-page ebooks. I understand this is relative, but I was wondering if this brings revenue, or is this a failed attempt?
I appreciate your time!”
I appreciate the email. Awesome.
I deeply respect any blogger who wants to succeed and reaches out to established pro bloggers. Brilliant.
By the way; you can click this link to buy the eBook he mentioned:
OK; now on to the doubt.
I totally respect bloggers fearing stuff. I too have fears. I used to have many fears. But if you are so crippled by fear that you doubt spending 3 dollars and 99 cents to purchase an eBook published by a well know, trusted blogger, fearing that you are wasting 4 freaking bucks, and you email the established, pro blogger who carries a proven track record, you are light years away from being a successful blogger.
Why would I NOT include instructions for getting your eBook on Kindle and selling?!?! Come on dude!
You cannot succeed being burdened by fear. Cannot happen. Fear drags you down. Doubt weighs you down. Imagine if the rocking but doubtful blogger bought my eBook 2 days ago, read the eBook, followed my advice and put the eBook into action? He’d already have written and published a successful eBook instead of sending me an email! See how fear-doubt cripples you, holds you back and ensures your failure?
Fear is your traitor. Fear makes you do silly stuff. Fear makes you do stuff you do not want to do. Fear makes you move in the opposite direction of success.
Highly successful, respected blogger and pancake aficionado Alonzo Pichardo is clear, confident and focused. He routinely advises people to trust in the process and NOT to panic. The individual who emailed me felt to me like he lived in a frenzied, worried, panicked state. I feel for him. But I also knew that a 4 word response alerting him that the eBook is good money was the way to go. Alonzo and I stress; we know what we are freaking talking about guys. Questioning our advice when you are:
to blogging or prospering online is absurd.
Guys; you cannot move toward success being burdened by the illusion of fear. You cannot become a successful blogger if you are dragged down by doubt. You cannot live your blogging dreams if you are anchored down by panic.
Feel your fears. Release your fears. Dive into this uncomfortable but necessary process to lay the foundation for being a successful blogger.
My blogging email buddy should buy my eBook immediately, read the eBook and put the advice into action. He fears spending 4 bucks; you will need to invest thousands of dollars between your blogging education, domain and hosting and theme, to succeed. You Need To get over your fear of spending 4 bucks.
Next step: read the content. Get over your fear-doubt that the content does not work. The content works. Always does, for bloggers willing to follow 10 years of blogging experience, aka, me.
Next step; put the eBook into action. Get over fear-doubt of putting proven ideas into action to become a successful blogger.
I feel like I should bill him for my consulting services after writing this post 🙂
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