September 9, 2006

If You Are Afraid of Blogging…

Typepad is hosting a Seth Godin podcast. In it, Seth mentioned that Bob Dylan is a legend because he is unafraid to get booed off the stage. Bloggers could do well by also being unafraid to be wrong. Being worth talking about (and thus citation worthy) means being willing to be wrong.

If you are afraid of the audience response, and let fear control what you are doing, then you have already lost purpose.

August 22, 2006

Why VC Investment in Blogs Is Dumb

On the same day you have articles about VCs seeing a huge opportunity in blogging and blogs making $60,000 a month in ad spend.

Mark Cuban flamed Jeff Jarvis for hating on Mark’s new blog Share Sleuth, which is a blog about trading stocks in companies they uncovered dirt about.

If it is wrong for bloggers to buy and sell stocks based on their market influence then why is it right for companies to be able to buy and sell the influence of media?

The real issue is that as soon as you take on investment a blog loses a bit of that cozy feel, and then the numbers matter more than the feeling. Which sucks, because for about every bad thing I have ever written “bad as in as noted from business friends much smarter than I” I have also had other people compliment me.

When competing with large established business interests that will eventually buy into new technologies all you really have as a competitive advantage is your authenticity. If the numbers get in the way you lose.

I am sure some companies that buy into blogging will make money from it, but most of the bloggers willing to sell are not writing with real passion. The day they sell is the day the concede their passion, IMHO.

December 9, 2005

Blogging for Hits

Tony Pierce, easily one of the top 10 bloggers, talks about how he would blog for hits. Funny examples of how to get people to want to read or link at your stuff, and then Tony ends off with

if i wanted hits id change everything about this blog and do everything differently but i dont think about hits any more than i think about ads and i dont think about pussy either

which is why i get all three and then some

and then some.

Voice probably matters more than anything else.

And this goes to show why SEO really does not matter as much for blogs

New Blog Established Blog
Assumptions

  • new to the web
  • new to blogging
  • somewhat new to your topic
Assumptions

  • been around a while
  • learned your community and topic well
Strategy

  • since few people will read new blogs write literal using descriptive post titles
  • spend tons of time reading other blogs…the best blogs are the best because they have personality and because they distill a ton of information
  • after your site ages and if enough people like your posts as you get more into blogging then your literal titled posts will rank well for many terms
Strategy

  • write post titles and contents to elicit links, comments, viral marketing, and / or an emotional response
  • after you have a share of market attention it is important to try to remain unique if you want to keep your market position if your field is competititive
  • if people find your posts interesting they will link at them and you will rank well for many related queries without needing to focus so much on being literal
  • keep in mind though that many people will link to your site using your post title as the anchor text. you still may want some of your post titles to be a bit literal here and there

November 8, 2005

The Best Money Can Buy…

The best money can buy often have loyalty to nothing but money. Many of the best business models are based on monopolies or selling people scams or subscriptions others may not need.

I often get yelled at for lack of profit motive on some fronts, but until I got sued I had no need for money 🙂

I still think I am plenty fine though my friend reminds me that as a web person I am like an athlete (maybe a sumo wrestler with my current size) with a short career. I think as long as you are generally honest and interested in what you do that you don’t have to emphasize monetizing. If you wait a bit and build value more you can make more in the longrun (at least if you are really interested and really care about what you are doing). If you feel guilty about doing or not doing work then you are probably in the wrong field, no matter what people want to pay you.

November 6, 2005

My Mom: the Blogger!

So I had a weight loss blog that I intended to get going on, but I have been so lazy with the diet and exercise. I will probably get more serious on that front soon, but since my weight loss blog was doing nothing and my mom wanted to start a diet I took a day to try to teach her blogging and gave her the old site.

In a couple hours she learned Blogger, Bloglines, XML/RSS, a bit about social networks and the web, what AdSense spam sites look like, sourcing information, writing for the web, tracking news topics via things like custom Google News RSS feeds, etc etc etc.

She doesn’t remember how to make a link, so I have to help her on that front. I just called her and helped her out with making a link again. 🙂

The blog she started working on about a week ago made $11.71 last month in AdSense earnings. My goal is to help her get over $1,000 a month within a year without me having to help her too much. I didn’t tell her that goal, but I set it. 😉

Not trying to knock my mom (as I love her), but you don’t get much less tech savvy than my mom is, so if she is doing well with the whole blogging thing, and making $1,000 a month from blogging within a year I will be pretty convinced that I am ok at helping total newbies learn.

My mom seems so excited with the diet & blog that she wanted to read a book I was reading about AdWords. I told her it was not what she needed at this point, but it is cool to see my mom jumping on the web.

AdSense and other similar contextual advertising programs have made it far easier for webmasters to make a full time income playing with topics that interest them. I am not sure if it is arrogent of me to think my mom will be really successful, but I think it is cool to think that my mom recently knew nothing about the web (even recently having MySearch spyware redirects in her address bar), and she will soon be able to make decent money just playing around with a subject she is interested in.

It is not a hard framework to set up, and if you do it smartly it does not even require a ton of effort. She also told me she is concerned about how her voice sounds. She cares & is excited, which makes me pretty certain she will do well.

October 21, 2005

Google’s Adam Bosworth on Religion vs Reason & Faith vs Facts

fear not to speak, says Adam Bosworth:

It is time to speak up. It is time to say that facts are what matter, not faith, that human progress is accomplished through unfettered use of reason and inquiry and tolerance and discussion and debate, not through intolerant and irrational acts of terror or edicts. For all of our children and for the future, speak up against this wave of intolerance and irrationalism washing over the world.

It is easy to sell stuff to people who base their actions on faith, but it is also a shame to profit from or promote things you do not believe in.

For a long time I have gave my SEO Book to religious institutions. I think if I am to be honest with myself, and not live in shame for promoting things I think hurt the world far more than they help it I should only attempt to help spread non-denominational religious institutions.

My roommate tells me that he thinks I am the most anti Christian person he knows, but I don’t think that is the case. I think the same power structure flaws that place selfish or corrupt people in government also place them in high religious posts. Anything that teaches people to choose faith over science doesn’t make the world a better place, especially if zealots are indignant toward people with other faiths.

The solution? Only help or promote those who accept that it is ok to have a different faith than their own.

Nice personal voice post there Adam 🙂

While on the same whinge, Seth has a good post about fear:

Today’s Globe & Mail reports that over the last 12 years, the number of armed conflicts in the world has gone down by 40% and the number of extremely deadly conflicts (more than 1,000 battle-related deaths) is down by more than 80%.

Today, bad news anywhere in the world shows up in your browser in seconds. Second, there are people making a full time living (and increasing their power) by scaring us

October 19, 2005

Jakob Nielson on Blog Usability

I don’t think Jakob even has a blog, but he knows the common usability errors found in blogs like this one. My guess is that most of them are pretty spot on, but I don’t agree with the following:

7. Irregular Publishing Frequency

You should publish somewhat frequently so people remember to visit your site, but trying to be too rigid with frequency could mean that you end up sacrificing quality for quantity.

Said another way, sometimes there is lots of news and stuff to talk about, other days their are nothing. If there is no news there is not a great benefit to make stuff up or post inferior stuff just to have something to post about.

9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss

I have absolutely ignored that line of thinking. Some sites will be more inclined to link at sites that post well thought out polished stuff. Other people will like sites for their lack of polish.

Some writers are good at writing. Others are good at being raw.

Balance what you are good at with audience expectations. If what you say is consistantly interesting I think using a natural voice is far more important than trying to do good for some future boss that may never find or hire you because your blog was too boring and conservative.

This comes from a person who has no formal training and knew nothing about the web a few years ago. In the last couple days I have:

  • Spoke to a marketing MBA class about SEO.
  • Had a major book publisher make a book publishing offer.

Those opportunities may have never found me if I errored on the side of safety, wrote with consistant frequency, and wrote for a future boss.

Put another way, people who like you when act as yourself are probably going to be more inclined to work with you and better work partners than those who are attracted to your ability to conform & be consistantly normal.

October 9, 2005

Henry Blodget Returns

Interesting to see a name which was so established, and then ripped to pieces, and then he jumps right into the web fray again.

Is this apology authentic? It sure sounds the bit, but then again he is linking off to his research in that post. Research that will soon be sold as a high end service. Either way I find it fascinating that he mentioned his past and has the comments open. He is certainly a bit more courageous than most are.

Many people bet their financial stability on his over optimistic predictions. Then, he states:

the SEC alleged that some remarks that I and my colleagues made in emails were inconsistent with professional opinions in our published research, and charged me with civil securities fraud

I will not presume guilt on his behalf, but I think his blog is definitely one to watch. A great salesman. His authentic sounding voice will once again give him great power in the internet stock space.