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5 Gmail Labs Features for Bloggers

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Like it or not, email is still an important part of life for most bloggers. Even though many prefer IM, Twitter, Facebook and other means of contact, email still plays a big role in the lives of most Webmasters. Not only is it still one of the key methods of communication on the Web, but it is also the primary way we get a lot of our alerts and notifications.

With that in mind, Gmail has become the de facto leader in terms of email providers. Though not the most popular in terms of user count, it seems to be the provider of choice for power email users, including many bloggers.

One thing that Gmail has done well is innovate and grow its own product. A big part of that has been its “Labs” feature where users can enable experimental features and changes to Gmail for their account. Some of the changes are very powerful and useful, many are gimmicky and useless.

However, there are five Labs features that every blogger should consider activating in their Gmail or Google Apps account. They add features and tools that are just too valuable to pass up.

Multiple Inboxes

Most bloggers are following multiple streams of information. Incoming comments, Twitter alerts, regular email, etc. Multiple inboxes helps to sort through that by displaying them independently on one page, preventing you from either having to push these alerts out of your front page and into archived tabs or have them clutter up your regular mail stream.

The only caveat with multiple inboxes is that it requires a large monitor to make it work correctly. Those using netbooks, for example, will want to stay away.

Signature Tweaks

By default, Gmail puts your signature below the message you are replying to and separates it with a “–“. This means few people that receive emails see the signature as it is buried far below the original material and separated fro the rest of the email.

This is a problem since many bloggers use their signature lines to promote themselves by listing their URL, social networking information, etc. Fortunately, Signature Tweaks fixes that by moving the signature above the quoted reply and removing the separator. This makes the signature many times more likely to be seen and a much more powerful promotion tool.

Canned Responses

Email efficiency is important for just about anyone and, most likely, bloggers see a lot of the same questions and requests repeatedly. Gmail’s canned response feature makes it possible to save a draft email as a template and import it into any message you want in the future. This is ideal for things such as granting reprint permissions, answering link requests, etc.

The goal, of course is to not overuse the feature and to only use form letters when appropriate. Still, for those that get a lot of the same questions repeatedly, it’s a powerful tool to speed up replying to mail.

Title Tweaks

Most Gmail users want some kind of alert when they get new mail and, because of this, a slew of Gmail notifiers have been created for every operating system and every browser imaginable. Part of thereason this has been necessary is because, when looking at Gmail while in a different browser tab, it is impossible to tell if you have new mail.

Title Tweaks fixes that by putting the “Inbox (X)” before the other parts of the page title, making it visible even when you’re looking just the tab. This means you’ll always know at a glance how many new emails you have without having to have a separate program or extension running. Great for when you’re hammering out a long blog post and don’t want to be too distracted.

Add any Gadget by URL

The “Add Gadget” feature enables a new tab in the settings that lets you paste in the URL of a small page or tool you want displayed in the left hand sidebar of Gmail. Though the feature has only been available a few months, there is already a variety of gadgets available, including a Twitter client.

This is great if you have a feed you really want to monitor, if you want to manager your Twitter without a separate client or just want a simple sticky note function in Gmail. This feature can be turned into just about anything you need it to be so let your imagination roam.

Using Labs

If you want to add any of these features, just log into your Gmail or Google Apps Web interface and then click the green icon at the top. While you’re there look through the other labs features and see if any others might be useful.

Bottom Line

In the end, it seems like email is going to be a part of blogging for quite some time. So it makes sense to find ways to make the experience both more usable and more efficient.

Though few people like doing their email, most admit that it is important to their lives. As long as that’s the case, there’s no reason to suffer more than absolutely necessary.

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Blog Traffic Loves Generous Service

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Blog traffic absolutely loves generous service. Do you want to succeed? Help oodles of people for free through blogging and guest posting. Toss in helping bloggers by noting bloggers on your blog, by commenting genuinely on blogs and by mentioning bloggers on social media. Traffic flows your way. Because blog traffic loves generous service. The more help you offer through your eBook, course and blog, the more traffic you drive. Simple equation. Give, to get. Keep giving freely and blog traffic finds you. Hug this super simple, powerful law of life. Service prospers you. Blog traffic flows to generous bloggers.

What gives? Why do many bloggers struggle to drive blog traffic? In essence, most human beings vibe mainly from an energy of fear and loss. You and I learn to do stuff with fear being our main driver. So, blogging becomes another outlet through which to do stuff from a dominant energy of fear. Like, publish one post for the week and do no more. Because you fear not getting enough return on investment. Plus you fear wasting time. Plus you fear working hard. Plus you fear looking like a fool if people come across all of the awesome content you create and, due to your increased exposure, you become the object of intense criticism. Ouch; that would hurt, eh? Being burdened by these fears, you play small, be stingy and just publish one post every 1-2 weeks. If YOU are stingy with the Universe, the Universe BE’S stingy with you. Give. Receive. Don’t give. Don’t receive. So, withholding generous service ensures blog traffic gets withheld from you. What a simple strategy to put into action, right? But of course, what an uncomfortable strategy to put into action, too, because facing and feeling fear, never feels all that comfortable. Nobody loves this process. Me included. But ya gotta take that route to be a successful blogger.

Help as many people as possible daily through a few clear strategies. Keep publishing content to your blog. Keep guest posting. Gain immense exposure and gain skills and yep, gain credibility……and of course, gain blog traffic. All occurs because you gave freely of your time and talents. Give freely. Gain blog traffic. But giving freely FORCES you outside of your comfort zone. For example, I publish 9 or more guest posts and blog posts daily, between both. No joke, this taxes me sometimes. I face fears about doing billionaire work and not see billions in my bank account yet. All that crap. Yep, I proceed. I blog into deep fears, feel fears, and clearing these fears helps me drive more blog traffic, leading to increased blogging success. All about that free giving, folks. Give freely, and you shall position yourself to receive more easily.

Be with scary emotions. I feel you. I have been there, guys. Nudging through to feel these energies is the way to clear these energies. Keep giving, and the getting becomes easier and easier in blog traffic terms. Imagine guest posting on 30 blogs over the next 3 months. Visualize how this increased exposure boosts your blog traffic. People see you all over, click your bio link and you get more blog traffic. Your generous service through guest posting put everything into motion.

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Why Ask Blogging Questions Already Asked Thousands of Times?

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Ya know what?

I feel awesome teaching bloggers with my friend Sue-Ann. We are currently helping course students via the creative, innovative, never duplicated: How to Bling Your Blog and Feed That Hog course.

Live, interactive and engaging, students already noted how we cover new, different topics compared to virtually all other blogging courses. Sure we cover the basics. But we do so quite differently than your average blogging course. Sue-Ann and I both became successful by doing things differently than most other bloggers. We think. We deliberate. We virtually never do things mindlessly. Alas, many of my fellow bloggers – most newbies – move in the opposite direction. One quick Quora visit reflects this mass sheeple mentality crippling most newbie blogger careers. Again, a few moments ago, I spied at least 4 bloggers asking the same, old, “how do you succeed at blogging” type question again, said questions being asked for the millionth time.

I have compassion for new bloggers. I also understand how every new blogger feels entitled to ask virtually any question. But just because you can ask any question, does that mean you should ask any or every blogging question popping up in your mind? Nope. You should note Why? Asking the successful blogging question wastes your time and my time because tens of thousands of bloggers have answered this question accurately tens of thousands of times across thousands of online platforms. We covered it already. I even created an entire course to devote to answering the question. Why litter Quora and the web in general with the same blogging question for the 10,000th time? At best, it is a time waster. At worst, borderline spam.

I love ya’s but you need to begin thinking like a successful blogger well before experiencing success. How would a successful blogger go about figuring out how to succeed at blogging? Pay someone to access the answer in 5 or 10 seconds. Hire someone to coach them. Buy a course or eBook in a minute. Why waste 24 or 36 hours waiting for an answer from some blogger when you get the answer 30 minutes after buying and reading one of my 100 plus eBooks? Failures wait for answers to questions asked thousands of times. Winners buy the answer immediately. This is the difference between struggling bloggers and future pros. Strugglers put no thought into the process. Why in the Hades would you ever believe 10,000 bloggers prior to you have NOT asked the successful blogging question? Of course they did! Think logically for 5 seconds. Of course hundreds of top bloggers answered the successful blogging question. And yes, of course you access that question through Google and Amazon in seconds, querying and investing money in instant answers from pros.

No brainer territory, guys. Buy the solution in seconds. Stop being like poverty conscious bloggers who put zero thought and little logic into why they ask a question obviously asked and answered accurately, thousands of times. Blogging gets easier if you think mindfully. Blogging gets harder if you mindlessly give zero thought to the craft. Invest money in getting proven answers to basic blogging questions. Accelerate your online success. Save your time. Save my time.

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Blogging

When Is It Too Late to Start Blogging?

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Never!

Ego sometimes clings to limiting ideas. One such idea is the notion that starting a blog at some specific age proves to be futile because of it being too late. I recall hearing Gary Vaynerchuk professing how people in their early 20’s ask him if it is too late to begin a business. Do you see why ego deludes you? Fear manifests as all types of crippling beliefs holding you back. Someone clinging to fear, being 21 years old, asks if being 21 is too old for starting a business. Why? Some 21 year olds observe 14 year olds who create million dollar ventures. Or some 21 year olds see fellow 21 year olds who already became millionaires, when the limited-thinking 21 year old simply has never been an entrepreneur. Guess what? It is never late to begin blogging. It is never too late to begin blogging. I recall a 73 year old new to blogging who bought 4 of my eBooks after I wrote a guest post on Build Your Own Blog. He began blogging at 73 years old. Imagine that? Yet 21 year olds some 50 years his minor fear being 21 is too old for beginning a successful venture.

Fear makes you think silly things. Be beyond fear. Feel fear. Release fear. Move in a direction of possibilities. Move toward opportunities. Now is the time to begin blogging whether you are 21 or 101. Now is the time to begin. Seize the moment. Do you plan to be around for a bit? Blog. Begin blogging. It is never too late to start blogging because you and I sit in the perfect place at the perfect time for our individual journeys. I began blogging in my mid 30’s. 35 years old, to be exact. Being a 35 year old beginner blogger never crossed my mind as being too old because I did not cling to the fear fueling that too old, aged, limiting belief. I saw actual 12 year olds blogging during my newbie blogging days. Who cares that a kid 20 years my junior began blogging? I had 20 more years LIFE experience than he. Possessing 20 more years life experience puts you at a tremendous advantage when it comes to learning the in’s and out’s of blogging the right way. Heck; the 73 year old new blogger may have zero blogging experience but 73 years of life experience. What seems more important at that point in your life? Does knowing how to format a blog post at 73 count more than the fearlessness, serenity and peace you acquired from facing 73 years worth of fears? Dude begins blogging with the mindset of a Blogging Yoda, for all he faced and for all the experience he has. Does THAT sound like it’s too late for blogging?

The only thing I would say is to begin blogging now because blogging experience is your best ally. Do not wait on the sidelines. Even though you can begin blogging at any age, why wait until you turn 45 when you can begin blogging now, at age 40? Why hesitate? Experience benefits you tremendously. Whether you start blogging at 13 or 73, experience earned and learned from, accelerates your blogging success. But you need to see the journey through and you need to begin blogging now. Go ahead. Blog. It’s not too late!

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