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5 More Things Haunting Taught Me About Blogging

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Around my home, it is definitely that time of year again. Halloween is just a few weeks away, the outside decorations are already up and work inside our small charity haunt is moving at a fever pitch.

It was at about this time last year that I wrote a post entitled “5 Things Haunting Taught Me About Blogging“, which was a look at some of the lessons I got about life and blogging through running a haunted house.

With another year down and more time to reflect, it seems there are still more lessons to share. With that in mind, here are 5 more lessons haunting has taught me about blogging and how you can apply them yourselves.

1. Your Visitors != You

Though your visitors are probably a great deal like you, they are not the same as or identical to you and will have critical differences both between them and you as well as among themselves. You have to factor in these differences when doing everything from picking topics to write about to your theme.

I got a reminder of this in last year’s haunt when a new “collapsing” ceiling worked exceptionally well on myself, my wife and our crew but failed to get a reaction from most of the visitors. The reason, my wife and I are about 6 feet tall and most of our visitors were a good six inches to a foot shorter, as a result, they didn’t get the full effect. We’re making modifications to it this year to make sure that everyone, regardless of height, gets the desired effect.

So talk with and poll your readers, find out ways they are not like you and figure out how you can meet their needs better, even if you don’t necessarily see the point of the changes.

2. People Don’t React Predictably, At Least Not Consistently

Much of haunting is trying to predict how people will react and then manipulating the environment to get the desired effect. However, for all of the predictions and trials you do, it is impossible to be right 100% of the time.

Two years ago, our first with that particular layout, we thought we had predicted where people would go naturally only to find that a high percentage of visitors got lost and many wound up in actor areas of the haunt. We had to adjust the layout of a room in order to prevent that from happening and make the path more clear.

Likewise, bloggers should spend more of their time looking at what is actually happening on their site, not what they think should be happening. Services like Clicktale can be a real help in trying to find out what visitors are actually doing and where things might be breaking down.

3. The People Show Up All at Once

You know this one already if you have run a site for any length of time, or even if you’ve just been a cashier at a large store, people have a tendency to arrive in waves.

Though it would be nice if the flow of traffic was a steady stream, it rarely is. At the huant, we did over 1/2 of our foot traffic during 2 hours on one night. The rest of the open time was torn between putting small groups through and waiting for the next one.

Site traffic isn’t much different, though there is a baseline level of that a site can expect on any given day, traffic spikes caused by everything from social news to a jump in relevant Google queries drive an inordinately large percentage of visitors. As such, you need to make sure your capacity is not geared toward your day-to-day operations, but geared to handle the busy times too.

4. Advertising is Good But Word of Mouth is Best

It is always important to remember that your best form of advertising is your current visitors.

I get a lesson in this every year as comments from visitors always show that well over half of all the people who came by did so because their friend or family member told them about us. This is in spite of thousands of fliers put out, articles in the newspaper and prominent listings in local event calendars.

Though the percentage won’t be nearly that great for a website, it’s likely that it is for visitors who stick around and become regulars. After all, most search engine traffic simply “bounces” away, indicated by the fact that bounce rates are usually well north of 50%.

If you want a strong core readership, you have to encourage your existing readers to go to bat for you, it’s the best way to build a good audience.

5. You Have to Constantly Adjust

Finally, with blogging, as with most things in life, the only thing that is certain is change.

Last year we were open three nights and it felt as if we ran three very different haunts. Though most of the changes would have been subtle to visitors, they radically changed how the haunt worked. From rearranging furniture in one room to redirect visitors (mentioned above) to moving mats to adjust timing, we never stopped tweaking, even after opening night. This was regardless of whether or not there was an obvious problem, so long as there could be a slight improvement.

Likewise, though you should resist large, sudden changes to your blog, small and subtle ones can make a great deal of different and might not even be spotted by your visitors, even as they are affecting them.

Always be looking for ways to improve and make the changes that you need. If a change doesn’t work, undo it and try something else. Blogging is all about refinement over time, as so to avoid growing dull.

Bottom Line

All in all, building a haunted house is no different than any other large scale project one can undertake. However, all projects and experiences have lessons that can be carried over into other objectives.

Because of this, it’s worth taking time after any big project concludes or before it ramps up and see what lessons you can take from it. I usually do this by sitting down with the people I worked with and drawing up a list of things that worked well and things that needed improvement.

This type of honest evaluation is crucial in improving your work and avoiding stagnation. Best of all, it can be a very fun way to relive some great memories along the way.

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How to Deal with the Overwhelm of Blogging Success

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I am no blogging billionaire. Currently.

But some days, as success builds, I feel overwhelmed. How do you devote time and energy to blogging and live a rich life offline too? Do you feel overwhelmed by slow, steadily increasing blogging success? Even though experiencing success feels good, the increased responsibility may feel daunting. I love my gig. But in moments, I fear being up until 1 AM to complete my work day.

Follow these tips to deal with the overwhelm of blogging success.

1: Address the Overwhelmed Feeling as Being Fear

Feeling overwhelmed is fear, plain and simple. Feel the fear. Fear passes. Overwhelm vanishes.

All successful business owners need face, feel and release fears to accelerate their growth. Every successful blogger faces, feels and releases overwhelmed emotions to proceed from a calm, abundant energy. Face your fears. Feel and release overwhelm to proceed from a calm, peaceful energy.

2: Trade Overwhelm for Gratitude

Change your perspective. Trade the overwhelmed feeling for a feeling of genuine gratitude for money flowing freely to you. Even if you love your gig, taking on increased responsibility feels uncomfortable sometimes. But receiving more and more money for your increased responsibility frees you from financial stresses like worrying about paying bills. Dwell on gratitude. Overwhelm dies quickly in an appreciative environment. Making more money and largely enjoying the ride feels fun, good and freeing. Remember this any time overwhelmed, swamped emotions flood your mind.

3: Ask for Help

Hire someone to help with specific blogging tasks. Outsource. Hand off certain tasks to free up your schedule. Reduce overwhelm by hiring someone to help you or by coming to a mutually beneficial agreement which lessens your blogging load. Hire experts to help you in your business. Outsource intelligently to relax, to leverage and to let go the feeling of being completely burned out with your blogging business duties.

 4: Simplify Your Interactions

A few folks pitched me sponsored post opportunities today. I responded with 2 sentences. I used approximately 9 words and 8 seconds to respond to each email. Release overwhelm by simplifying interactions. Seven figure bloggers sometimes respond only to 1 or 2 sentence emails. Pros often respond with 1-2 words. Otherwise, pros become completely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of business opportunities flowing to their inbox daily. Use a few words to make your point and to dissolve the swamped feeling plaguing successful bloggers.

5: Reduce Interactions

Iconic, fictitious trader Gordon Gekko said in the movie Wall Street: “100 deals cross my desk every day. I choose one.”

As the sponsored post pitches, partnership pitches and overall work volume builds, you need to physically respond to only a small handful of engagements daily to leverage, to keep increasing your traffic and to keep increasing your blogging profits. No highly successful bloggers responds to 1000 plus interactions daily through email, Twitter and Facebook because you need to give most of your time, attention and energy to creating content and building bonds versus desperately trying to respond to every retweet, at least if you want your blogging business to keep growing.

Surrender. After responding to a handful of emails and retweets, let everything else go, to focus your attention and energy on what brings the greatest scale, what benefits the most people and what benefits your blogging business. Tony Robbins gives most of his attention and energy to inspiring millions through live seminars, through doing TV interviews and by writing books; he ain’t responding individually to 5000 emails daily. Be 100% committed to your blog and business growth by giving your time and energy to what matters most.

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How About Helping Versus Pitching Top Bloggers?

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I often get pitched guest post ideas from bloggers I do not know. Although I appreciate the offer I never take up these folks on their offer because I do not know them, their brand or anything they do. No way do I have the time to actually research the individual; I am a busy bee. Another email bites the dust. I either ignore the email or note guest posting closed long ago on my blog, then include a link to one of my eBooks, like this branding eBook.

Who guest posts on my blog?  People who generously helped me, asked for nothing, expected nothing and relaxed. Relaxing is key. Bloggers who help me from a chill vibe often befriend me if they practice writing to hone their blogging skills. From there, opportunities multiply fast.  Sweet backlinks on top blogs often flow your way. Traffic and profits increases slowly, steadily expand over time. Blogging buddies supply you with blog post ideas through their questions and problems.  Everything grows because you helped top bloggers versus pitching them aka asking them for help. Even if you pitch a valuable guest post idea, the guest post idea serves no value unless you publish the guest post on a trusted, authority blog boasting a huge, loyal readership. Pitches seem worthless until content and links actually appear on top blogs, going live and public, for the world to see.

I often advise helping bloggers freely for months before considering any ask or pitch. Most times, blogging buddies invite you to guest post on their blogs. Blogging success flows to generous people because you get what you give. This is one of the advantages of blogging. Give freely, relax, trust in the process and receive easily.  Place your needs to the side. Take care of your fellow blogger. Help them out via a retweet, Facebook Share or perhaps by promoting the blogger on your blog. Nobody needs to struggle blogging. Nobody needs to spend 4 hours daily sending blind pitches to blogging strangers. How about this? Spend those 4 hours patiently, persistently and generously helping people in your blogging niche. Help fellow bloggers to earn their trust. Assist fellow bloggers to befriend fellow bloggers. The split second you earn the trust of any blogger, you plant seeds for a beautiful, thriving, warm friendship. Gaining the trust of fellow bloggers inspires traffic and profits to flow to you. Forget the concept of pitching. I pitched 2 people during my 6 years of running Blogging From Paradise. One blogger pitch served as an experiment with an established, pro blogger and the other pitch served as the direct way to guest post for a 2 million member blogging community.

My 13,500 plus backlinks on Blogging From Paradise flowed to me after I pitched only 2 souls. Imagine that for a second. Observe the raw power of making friends, helping people, expecting nothing and being generous. Capitalize on the passive element of befriending bloggers through generous service. Tonight I will spend 90 minutes walking around my neighborhood. During that hour and a half, my blogging buddies will promote my blog and spread my word. Ditto for my 8 hours of sleep tonight; my blogging buddies grow my traffic and profits around the clock, adding an immensely powerful, passive element to my blogging campaign.

Being generous has some serious perks.

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Should You Blog About Everything?

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blog about everything

Blog about everything? I know this idea may be on your mind. Newbie bloggers especially ponder the idea.

I know blogging about anything on your mind seems like a good idea to new or even struggling bloggers. Maybe you gain mojo because you post daily, blogging about anything popping up in your dome. But this is a bad idea. Nobody should blog about any and every topic for the clear reason that nobody follows a specific blogger based on the blogger’s random thoughts, save world famous celebrities who built up a big following through some other niche.

Imagine a movie star begins blogging. Movie stars boast tens of millions of fans around the globe. Anything the star does, people hang on their every word, right? Imagine the icon publishing posts on a wide range of topics interesting to them. People read because of the star, not because of the wide range of broad topics. But imagine being a new blogger with zero followers. No movie stars read this post. Readers head for the hills the moment you change topics because no jack of all trades bloggers build credibility. Who has the time, energy and focus to be an expert in 5, 10 or 20 niches? No one does.

Blog About Everything?

Humans specialize. Doctors and lawyers do one thing and do it well because where attention and energy goes, grows. Imagine if your doctor delivered mail and picked up garbage professionally, too, working 2 jobs in addition to their medical practice. Would you trust her doctor skills? No. Of course not. People trust specialists because specialists devote all professional time and energy to one venture. Generalists? Nobody trusts someone who tries to master 2 or 5 or 10 skills simultaneously because thousands of other people master 1 skill, in these areas. We follow specialists and trust specialists. Generalists fade away.

If you want to blog about everything just ponder the specialist versus generalist point. Blogging about everything is trying to be a generalist. Nobody trusts you. Even though blogging about everything seems easy, seamless and almost effortless, people stop following your blog on each topic change. Imagine blogging about puppies one day. People who love puppies find your post, read it, enjoy it and follow your blog. Tomorrow, you publish about Chinese food. Puppy readers – who followed you for puppy content – skip the post…..most stop following your blog because puppy fans want only puppy-themed content. You just lost readers, for good.

Change Topics Lose Readers

Visualize the following day; you publish about relationships. Everybody stops following your blog. Perhaps a few relationships-focused folks read the post. But you lose trust the moment you shift topics again. Ultimately, who builds a large, targeted, loyal following, blogging about relationships? Relationships bloggers who blog about relationships 100% of the time. Specialists devote all blogging energy to mastering one topic, spending thousands of hours covering the topic, become skilled and trusted in the niche, build credibility and become successful. All multi topic bloggers blogging about everything fade away and vanish.

The world makes room for specialists. Generalists? Nope.

Specialize

Pick one blogging topic. Blog about one thing. Focus on one discipline. Be a specialist, not a generalist, to be a leading blogger in your nice. Face your fear of releasing multiple passions to make room for a single passion. I know you fear letting go. I did too before creating Blogging From Paradise.

blog about everything

Google

Google loves specialists too. Google turns its cyber nose down at generalists. I scanned a popular blogging key phrase a few moments ago. Guess what? I rarely note SEO but tidying up one blog post with some details for optimizing helped me reach page one on the search engine. Why? I specialize in the blogging tips niche. Apparently. Google interpreted through its complex algorithms that I published thousands of valuable blog posts on a single topic 100% of the time, virtually. Google traffic rocks. Impress the search engine gods by gaining search trust. Specialize. Stick to one blogging topic. Never blog about everything.

Conclusion

Let go the urge to blog about anything that comes to mind. New bloggers need release this notion to build the foundation for a successful blogging career. Specialize by picking one niche you love blogging about. Be a specialist, not a generalist, to succeed with your blogging campaign.

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