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10 Questions You Should Ask and Answer About Your Blog

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Far be it from me to wax academic about the advanced nuances of blogging.  Hell, I’ve been online for seven months – still in the freshman hazing phase – and I’m learning new stuff every day.

That initial journey, however, becomes a reference point for all of us.  This is a simple sharing of one blogger’s journey in terms of what I understand now, seven months in, that I didn’t understand in the beginning.

When expressed as questions, they focus us on the richest opportunities for growth.   Twitter gadgets and the combobulated ins and outs of the software are all quite nice and necessary, but they aren’t really the art of it all.

Maybe that’s the ticket here.  If we can grow ourselves as artists as well as technicians, then we will quickly separate ourselves from the hoards who focus on either end of that continuum.

Eventually, that strategy tends to bite one on the ass.

What kind of blog are you writing?

The term blog has evolved alongside the software that brings it to life.  What began as the publicizing of one’s personal diary and has become an essential element of branding and online commerce.  Today blogging is as diverse as any other form of media.

Which is to say, unless you know the game you’re playing, you will likely be outplayed.  If your blog is just for you – some folks write poetry just for themselves… and yet they try like hell to get it published, too – then that is one set of rules.

But if you are intending to reach an audience, and to grow that audience, then the rules are different.  They are no longer of your own making.

Don’t be that poet with the contradictory intentions.

What is the goal of your blog?

Some blogs exist simply to entertain.  Some exist to explore new ideas and challenge conventions.  Others exist, often thinly so, to sell stuff.

The inherent question here is this: who is your blog for?  You, or other folks?

When the answer is the latter, it becomes incumbent upon you to define the objectives of your enterprise as succinctly as possible.

From those goals will arise a plan.  Without one, you will soon find yourself a lonely diarist instead of the captain of a strategy.

What is the nature of your value-add?

This answer springs from these prior questions.  It depends on the nature of your blog and its goals.

A blog designed for entertainment purposes seeks to differentiate itself by being funnier, edgier or more unexpected than others in the same category.

A blog designed for purposes of commerce face a different challenge.  Because in blogging the equation is inside-out in comparison to conventional business models: you deliver value first, you get sales second.

With blogging you have to earn the business by giving away the farm first.

What is your U.S.P. (Unique Selling Proposition)?

No matter what your answers thus far, you are not alone.  Someone else is out there doing precisely the same thing, very possibly in precisely the same way, in pursuit of the same goals.

So ask yourself, how will your blog be different?  Beginning tomorrow?  And without compromising your identity, your brand and your goals?

This is the cliché $64,000 question.  Answer it well and you may make a helluva lot more.

Even if you don’t think you’re actually selling anything yet.  If you have a blog, you absolutely are selling something.  If you have to ask what it is, then right there is your entry point of the journey.

By the way, when you can answer this particular question, you’ve just defined your brand.   Everything you do to and on your blog from that point forward is done in context to it.

Who is your target reader?

Basic Marketing 101 here.  Always remember, your blog isn’t about you (unless it is about you by strategic intention), it’s about the reader.  Their needs, their interests, their fears, their dreams, their problems.

Figure this out.  Don’t guess.  Ask them.

What will make a visitor come back for more?

The aforementioned U.S.P. is an inward-facing element of analysis.  Like the décor and menu of a restaurant.  

What matters, even more essentially, is what’s in it for the reader. 

People don’t come to my website because of my novels, they come because of their own novels.

One word: value.  Dress it up with a killer U.S.P. and you’ve got a winner.

Are you evolving your blogger skill-set alongside the evolution of your content?

So much to learn, so little time.

If you come from the technical side of the proposition, begin to study the craft of writing and the art of marketing.

If you’re an old ad agency hack, welcome to the wild and mysterious world of all thing digital here in blogland.  Learn to speak that language (you’re on the right website for that, by the way.)

When you can carry both flags, all limitations fall away.

Does your blog have a voice?

This is Writing 101.   Three words: practice, practice, practice.

Three more words: read, read, read.

When you combine the two within a proactive intention to improve your writing and arrive at a voice that is both compelling and comfortable, your brand will thank you for it.

Your voice is the personality of your blog.  Without one, just like it was back in school, you will have no friends.

What is your plan for keeping it fresh?

It’s easy at first.  You have so much to say, so much to cover.

But soon – perhaps sooner than you think – the blank page will mock you. 

The solution is to plan the evolution of your blog.  View your content as a college curriculum, with each ensuing scholastic year building on the prior.

Toss in the unexpected once in a while.  Go against the grain.  Import some guest blogs.  Become a commentator once in a while instead of a mentor. 

Blogging is like marriage.  Sometimes you need a little variety to keep the other half from straying too far from home.

Besides you, who cares, and why?

In answering these questions it’s easy to become microcosmic.  Step back from the intricacies of your blogging business plan to ask yourself this simple and potentially terrifying question.

Then be honest about the answer.   Growth is, by definition, an exercise in self-honesty.  It may hurt, but only for a while.

Ten questions, a thousand possible answers.

Food for thought as we launch into the new blogging year.  Chew carefully, and relish the taste.

Just make sure that what you swallow will be good for you.

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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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Blogging

What Is the Incredibly Easiest Way to Drive Blog Traffic?

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Drive traffic to other blogs.

Give what you want.

Help people get what they want and people help you get what you want.

I have found this to be the easiest way to drive traffic to my blog because friends I made through cross-promotion promote me around the clock, 24-7, 365. Easy peasy.

I checked my Twitter a few moments ago. During the past 3 hours I noticed 11 mentions, engagements and retweets collectively. 3 hours, 11 engagements, more blog traffic.

I drive a heavy amount of traffic to my blog by driving a heavy amount of traffic to fellow bloggers who drive a heavy amount of traffic to Blogging From Paradise every day, all day long.

The more you give, the more you get.

The hardest way to drive blog traffic is to try to do it solo. Imagine publishing one post and hitting social share buttons. Even if I do a fine job writing the post, gaining traction solo is tough because successful bloggers know: 1000 is better than 1. 1000 blogging buddies promoting you 24-7, 365 beats you promoting yourself or you trying to write and publish 5 to 10 or more posts daily.

I used to publish 60 posts daily between 2 blogs. Short videos and short posts created the bulk of the content. I had a difficult time succeeding because you can only do so much solo. I published 60 posts in a cyber cave. Nobody listened to me because I did not listen to anybody. But making friends by driving traffic to other blogs made blogging easier and easier for me.

My blogging buddies – who appreciate me promoting them – freely:

  • link to me on their blogs
  • retweet my posts
  • share my posts on Facebook
  • share my posts on LinkedIn
  • send my blog posts to their email list

That my friends is a lot of traffic flowing to my blog easily, freely and exponentially.

Every time a blogging buddy promotes you to their tribe you gain exposure to one more large, targeted audience. Imagine when you gain exposure in front of 10, 50, 100 and 1,000 or more audiences daily? This is serious traffic! Plus it is easy traffic because your prime duties of reading posts and tapping social share buttons, or, linking to fellow bloggers on your blog, are quite easy.

How to Drive Traffic to other Blogs

I spent a fair chunk of today driving traffic to other blogs.

I promoted some of my blog posts linking to my blogging buddies. I also retweeted and Facebook shared posts from other bloggers.

Each share lays the foundation for new blogging friendships and fortifies old blogging friendships. Every time I promote Donna Merrill or Alonzo Pichardo, we bond more deeply. Easy way to keep friendships strong and to grow your blog traffic exponentially.

You Will Run out of Time Solo But You Never Run out of Friends

Eventually, I ran out of time each day trying to do it all by myself. No human is super human. No human can be in a billion places at once, by their own steam.

But you never run out of friends if you are generous. During a reasonable lifetime, no blogger will befriend all 7 billion humans. You will however keep meeting friends every day if you drive traffic to other blogs every day.

As more folks befriend you, more folks promote you. What an easy way to increase traffic to your blog. Your ever expanding friend network does much of the legwork for you and also drives traffic to your blog:

  • when you sleep
  • when you travel
  • when you spend time offline with family and friends

Sounds sweet, right?

Give freely.

Drive traffic to your blog easily.

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