One of the most difficult tasks — for me, at least — is teaching someone else how to do something. It’s a problem of assumptions, I think. When you know how to do something yourself, it’s easy to leave out important information when explaining it to another person. We assume some things are common knowledge when they’re not.
Despite this, I love writing tutorials. Once I figure something out, going back and documenting the process helps me understand what I did. And it’s always nice to hear from someone who says my post was exactly what they were looking for. It’s also a way to give back. I’ve gained so much from online tutorials that I feel obligated to write my own whenever I learn something.
And so, to encourage you to write more and better tutorials, here are a few tips for improving your how-tos.
Know Your Audience
This goes back to knowing whether your “common knowledge” is all that common. How much experience can you expect your readers to have with the topic? If you’ve been writing your blog for a while, you probably have a decent idea who your readers are from their comments and trackbacks. If you don’t, that’s ok too. It’s an opportunity for you to decide the audience you want. Do you want to attract people new to web design, people with some experience in building scale models, or maybe long-time crafters? The important thing is you know who you want to reach and stay with that level consistently throughout your post.
Split It Up
Of course, this is generally true for all blog posts, but it’s especially important when writing a how-to. Your tutorial will be easier to follow if it’s divided into logical sections or steps. Ideally, each step will be self-contained, and at the end of it the reader will reach a milestone. After each step the reader could potentially stop and have something whole but unfinished. They can then pick up later right where they left off. Not everything can be taught that way, but see how close you can get.
Show Your Work
There’s only so much that can be taught with plain text. Often, it’s far easier to show your readers what to do than to describe it. If you’re teaching programming, include snippets of code, and walk your visitors through what you’re doing. For more physical endeavors, like crafts, document each step with photos. Better yet, do a video or a screencast, so people won’t just know what you did, they’ll see how you did it.
Take That “Last Bite”
If you’ve ever watched a cooking show, you’ve seen it: The very last shot of the show is always the chef taking a big bite of whatever they just cooked. You can do the same thing with your tutorials. If you’re teaching something like web development, have a separate page with a demo of the technique you taught. For offline things, include a photo or video that shows what you made in use. This gives your reader confidence that what you built works as promised.
No matter how well you explain your process, there will likely be comments asking questions. Be prepared to answer questions about why it didn’t work for someone else and how one could do it slightly differently. Also be ready to defend why you did it the way you did. With any luck, those questions will inspire you to write a follow-up post.
And now, I want to learn from you. Do you write tutorials? What about? And what are your tips for writing useful how-to blog posts? Let us know in the comments.
Should You Use AdSense on Your Blog?
I admit it. I have waffled on this topic a few times. Back in the day I used to call it Ad Cents. But going forward I do see benefits in adding Google AdSense as a low ticket income stream on your blog. Even for newbies. I know, I know. This seems surprising to you.
Think abundance guys. Why not add a few cents here and there to boost your income stream? Please don’t use AdSense as your prime means of income as a new blogger or if you are struggling as a blogging veteran. Cents do not make up a full-time income, as your sole income stream. But if you create courses, coach, and add Google AdSense as an income stream for driving a few bucks each month in the beginning, you are well on your way to seeing steady profits are the channel.
The key is to think detachment. New bloggers in many developing nations see Google AdSense as the Holy Grail of monetizing. Why? Mostly, because it seems easy to make money through a channel involving no creation or human interaction on your part. Think about it. All you do is post the ad and create content. Money should flow to you easily, right? The ultimate wake up call is experiencing one, two, or three cent AdSense months. Then you realize big earnings flow through blogs with a huge amount of targeted, hyper-focused traffic. This is why you need to detach from Google AdSense as your prime income stream. Big bucks flow through the channel after years of generous, patient, persistent effort on your part.
Take the Cents with AdSense
As a newbie, pennies will flow through your AdSense profits for your first few months. In most cases. But take the cents because cents add up to dollars. Dollars add up to hundreds of dollars. Hundreds of dollars add up to thousands of dollars. Think like an abundant blogger. Keep adding small ticket and big ticket income streams to boost your overall blogging income.
Everything Adds Up
I wrote a post recently discussing why wealthy bloggers take the time and effort to add affiliate links even if they earn pennies on the link. Between their ever-expanding presence and abundance mindset, the pennies add up to thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars over the long haul. Think this way with AdSense. Everything adds up. Again, just don’t make Google AdSense your prime income stream because as the pennies add up you’re better off earning more money through channels like coaching, consulting, freelancing, writing and selling eBooks or creating and publishing courses.
Ultimately, successful blogging is creating and connecting generously. Never believe that an income stream makes money. Income streams are passive, completely subject to your command, and pretty much worthless on their own. An income stream cannot do anything, including make money. You make the money with your generous effort. Practice writing, create helpful content and build meaningful connections with top blogger generously every single day over the course of years. No matter the income streams you open, your blogging profits will increase over time if you stick to the fundamentals.
Do you need a blogging guide? Buy my eBook:
Why Do People Still Sleep on Blog Commenting?
Chapters 2 and 3 of my eBook:
dissect both my commenting success stories and why to comment on blogs from your niche. I lead in with a clear primer prepping you for the blogging journey, commenting-wise.
Why do bloggers still ignore the immense power of commenting? A few reasons reveal themselves but at the core, bloggers fear nobody will read their blog comments. Seriously; do you genuinely believe folks read all blog comments? Of course not because folks sometimes skip over comments. But a percentage of bloggers and readers do scan comments or take apart comments word by word, getting to know fellow bloggers. At the core though, fear rings strong, guys. Bloggers fear wasting time. I get it. I too have to catch myself, to remind myself of these sweet blog commenting benefits.
Benefits of Blog Commenting
- bond with top bloggers through an underused vehicle, often ignored, but totally free of gatekeepers, unlike trying to reach someone through email or phone
- anybody can comment on a blog; new blogger, struggling veteran blogger, etc
- anybody can impress with comments at any stage of your career; any human being can share their thoughts in genuine fashion
- blog comments are forever; evergreen content
- blog comments serve as branding and bonding vehicles
- blog commenting is a free method for connecting with bloggers
- blog commenting on blogs with raving communities ejects you into the blogger’s tribe
- people who buy your stuff often need to see you are legit, active and social online; enter blog commenting
Those are but a few reasons why you want to comment on top blogs from your niche. Do your best to dwell on these reasons if you want to mail it in, skipping on blog commenting because you feel like commenting on a top blog wastes your time.
I just find it weird that years into me discussing blog commenting as a viable means to bond and grow business, bloggers scoff at it. I do have an idea why, though. Bloggers focus on things over people. Bloggers want links and do not put in the time and energy to develop connections with other human beings. Put in the time, and you will be golden. But if you want to deal with things to manipulate people you will have a terrible time getting traction online because business may flow through things, but business originates in humans. Think that one through for just a moment.
Commenting works if you comment genuinely on blogs from your niche. Nobody likes someone who wants to publish a link, and to leave. We call these guys comment drive-bys. Stick around. Write a few sentences. Be genuine. Be helpful. Be warm. The more you give to blog commenting, the more you get from blog commenting. Do you see how it works? The process is quite simple but you need to be onboard, fully, to be a generous, genuine blog commentor.
Be present. Imagine yourself speaking to another human being, in person. How should that feel? Good, methinks. Bask in that feeling as you publish a few sentences or paragraphs via a blog comment. Feel the fun in connecting with humans. Blogging is 100% in the connections. Never forget that.
Clients, customers, business and traffic find you through genuine, generous, frequent comments. I am living proof. Peep my example if you want to comment but believe commenting will be a waste of your time. Trust me; it won’t.
4 Ways to Respond to Blogging Critics
We all have ’em.
Or, if new to blogging, critics will pay you a visit eventually. Being seen online means being criticized sometimes. Part of your successful blogging tax.
Fools waste precious time and energy engaging critics in some way, shape or form. Avoid doing this. Paying, loyal, loving fans deserve your energy. Go to where you are loved.
Follow these 4 tips to respond to blogging critics effectively.
1: Ignore Critics Completely
If I come across a nasty 1 star review of my eBooks, I ignore the barb completely because miserable, angry, unhappy people cannot think clearly and tell the truth. Why trust a raging, mindless, idiotic bull? Ignore these people. Buy my critics eBook too to begin spotting these fools.
2: Listen for a Shred of Stinging Truth
OK guys; following this step feels uncomfortable but you need take the step to become a successful blogger. Listen closely to critic feedback. How does it feel to you? Upsetting? Embarrassing? Does a critic anger you or annoy you? Do you want to debate or debunk those morons? If any negative emotion feels triggered by receiving criticism you believe some or all of their critical feedback. I did tell you; this step/tip feels unpleasant. But how could you ever sell a bunch of eBooks and help people and make money if you genuinely do NOT believe in the value of your eBooks? How can you become a pro blogger if you believe you will always be amateur hour?
Critics trigger false beliefs you need face, feel and release to reach the next stage of your blogging growth. I never had powerful break throughs until a critic tossed some nasty barb my way, triggering some fear I needed to release to gain enough clarity and confidence to reach the next stage of my growth.
3: Psyche Homework
Critics see you as a mirror. What criticism seems doled out to you, on to you, is a critic speaking of themselves. We are connected; all of us. Critics never seem to see this and choose to speak of self via their criticism of you. Do your mindset homework. See how criticism serves as a projection of individual onto you? Relax. Prep yourself for future criticism. Consider writing blog posts discussing problems critics see in self if this topic applies to your blogging niche. Turn criticism into help and profits, too.
4: Never Gang Up
Ganging up on critics with your friends only shows your weakness. Critics fear. Critics are in pain. Imagine taking time to rile the troops and kick a wounded dog? This is what it’s like to get your tribe rounded up to gang up on and belittle critics. Plus, try getting featured on world famous blogs by building a bully image these days. I dare you.
Relax. Critics have issues. Ignore these folks outright. Leave them be, and you will be happier, healthier and wealthier, too. Never waste your time fighting critics; especially with friends. Do something uplifting and enriching with your time, energy and efforts.
Help people. Do not try to hurt, hurt people. Give your attention and energy to love, generosity, abundance and service to experience the greatest blogging success.
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