Written on May 3rd, 2007 at 07:05 am by Darren Rowse

The 4 Hour Work Week Hits Top 10 on Amazon

Pro Blogging News 9 comments

Congratulations to Tim Ferriss who I Interviewed last week about his book The 4 Hour Work Week.

I just logged onto Amazon to check out how it’s ranking and he’s cracked the top 10 list!

Not bad for it’s first week of release. Well done Tim!

PS: the interview series with Tim was the most successful interview I’ve done on enternetusers - thanks to everyone for the feedback and to Tim for putting so much time into it.

Written on May 3rd, 2007 at 01:05 am by Glen

Write a Better Blog Series In One Sitting

Miscellaneous Blog Tips, Writing Content 17 comments

This post was written by Glen Stansberry of LifeDev (feed). Check out LifeDev for tips to increase creativity and productivity in your writing.

If you’re wanting to generate a little bit of buzz around your blog, you might think about writing a blog series. I’ve found that they usually generate a fair amount of link love, and if anything it gives your regular readers something to look forward to.

However, writing a blog series isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It can be a daunting task, and the potential to stop halfway is very high.

I just wrote a blog series on digital vs. paper productivity tools, and while writing stumbled on a great little tip. I found that the best way to write a blog series is to write it all before you hit publish. Just by writing them all up, and use the advanced posting feature to automate the process over a few days (or however long your blog series is), you can kick back and watch your series take care of itself throughout the week. It’s a beautiful thing.

I know writing an entire series ahead of time sounds scary and daunting, but it’s really not that bad and it will pay off. Here’s why.

1. Failure of completion is impossible. If you’ve ever written a blog series, you know it can be a little draining, and you might get bored with it after a while. By writing it all in advance, you take away the temptation of stopping halfway through (and hoping that your readers don’t notice).

2. Continuous thought. If you decide to sit down and power through the series in one sitting, you’ll find that it helps you keep the series as a cohesive unit in your mind. One way to think of it is like an over-sized post. If you can break the big post down into many smaller posts, you’ll keep the continuity and the writing will go quicker. I even use multiple windows to write in as many as 4 different posts at a time.

Previously, I’d find myself rereading my previous posts again and again, trying to remember what the devil I was talking about a few days before. The one-sitting approach takes care of that problem in a hurry. Even if you can’t get all of the posts completed, outlining all of them works great too.

3. Keeping the idea alive. This one’s fairly easy. Usually I think of post series’ on a whim. So if I write the entire series while the idea is still fresh, I’ve got great potential of staying excited with the idea, thus ensuring I’ll complete it.

4. No procrastination. This leads into the previous point. If you can have the self-control to wait to publish the series as a whole, you totally eliminate the inevitable procrastination that comes with writing a blog series.

Sadly, there is at least one series that I’ve stopped half way through. Pretty pathetic for a guy who spends a good portion of his time writing about Getting Things Done, eh? The main reason why I didn’t finish is because I lost motivation. The posts in the series were pretty time consuming, and I completely underestimated the undertaking.

So there you have it. I’d encourage every blogger to at least try writing a post series if you haven’t already. It’s lots of fun, and it’s a great way to write a week’s worth of posts in one sitting.

PS from Darren: If you want to learn more about writing a blog series you might like to read a mini-series of posts that I wrote on the topic:

Written on May 2nd, 2007 at 12:05 pm by Darren Rowse

Personal Branding and the True Potential of Blogs

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 33 comments

I’m a sucker for a diagram - here’s one that Raj Dash put together on a 901am post on personal branding and how bloggers are making a living from blogging and other related activities (click to enlarge).

While I probably wouldn’t plot myself quite as Raj has plotted me (I’ve earned money doing four of the areas in the last 12 months and will expand into the fifth in the coming 6 months) I think it’s a great diagram that shows the potential for blogging to play a part in helping to raise a profile to expand one’s indirect earning capacity (ie making money because of a blog rather than directly from a blog).

NB: Raj himself says that this might not be the most accurate diagram so I’m not knocking him here - but there are many other circles that one might add to it. Perhaps in comments below a constructive conversation might be along the lines of what else could be added.

Bloggers-Income-Sources-2



I think a lot of entrepreneurial bloggers get so focussed upon that blue ‘website ads’ sector that they miss the real opportunity that faces them in related activities.

Don’t get me wrong - I’ve been as focussed upon that area as anyone - but the times when I’ve had the courage to step outside of what I know and expand my horizons have been the times that I’ve discovered how limiting just focussing upon blogs as a direct earner can be.

Written on May 2nd, 2007 at 09:05 am by Darren Rowse

Google Testing Feature that Adds Site Search to Google Toolbar

Blogging Tools and Services 19 comments

I wish I could get a screen capture of this but I think Google just added a new little feature to the AdSense for Search search field that I’m using here on enternetusers in my sidebar.

Here’s what happened:

  • I was searching for something on enternetusers and as I type in my search request a little popup appeared over the search field.
  • I don’t remember the exact wording of the the popup but it asked me if I wanted to add the ability to search enternetusers to my Google toolbar
  • I was given the option to say yes, no and to say that I never wanted to be asked that again
  • I selected yes (I’m a curious fellow) and now when I hit the ’search’ tab in my Google toolbar I see this (look for third from the bottom)

Google Toolbar

I can’t replicate this on any of my other sites at this point so it could just be a test that they are throwing at random users - but it could be a feature that publishers can offer their readers to help them search for content on their blogs a little easier.

Perhaps this has been available for a while - but it’s the first time I’ve seen it and I use my own search function daily.

Do you think it’s a useful feature?

‘m also interested to see if others see the pop up when they use my search field? (I’m presuming it’ll only work with Google Toolbar users).

Written on May 2nd, 2007 at 06:05 am by Darren Rowse

Speedlinking - 2 May 2007

Pro Blogging News 14 comments

A few links and a video today:

The video is an interview with Guy Kawasaki which I found via Valleywag. In the interview Guy’s asked about growing a blog. He has a few good things to say (and shows his obsession with Technorati as he’s known to do).

Perhaps the key quote from the video is:

“The key to evangelize a blog is that it has to be gold. It’s very easy to evangelize a blog that has high content, high purpose and high entertainment value - it’s very hard to evangelize a blog that’s a piece of crap.

It’s not about what you do to evangelize something - it’s what are you starting with. If it’s something great I could make a case that you just need to get out of the way.”

Written on May 2nd, 2007 at 01:05 am by Darren Rowse

How to Choose Bloggers to Work With on Projects

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 12 comments

On a recent post a reader (Mindful Entrepreneur (Jason)) asked:

“I know you talk a lot about being ‘relational’. I’m wondering if you can offer some specific suggestions for upcoming information marketers and/or bloggers to that end.

What are some strategies that worked for you? How were you able to identify potential partnerships quickly? What was your best approach in these situations?”

Thanks Jason - Let me tackle each part one at a time.

What are some strategies that worked for you? - in terms of being ‘relational’ and finding potential partnerships - perhaps the best tip I can give you is to think carefully about the way in which you write.

My personal approach is to write in a style that both builds a perception of expertise (ie people will only want to partner with you if they believe you know what you’re talking about) but which is also relational, humble and accessible (ie people won’t want to work with you if you come across as a know it all, arrogant ‘git’).

Get this blend between expertise and approachability right and you’ll find people will want to connect with you (both normal readers and potential partners). Of course this is just my own personal style and I’m sure other styles will worth for others - but I know when I’m looking for someone to partner with that this is the type of person I look for.

How were you able to identify potential partnerships quickly? - actually I’m not sure it was a quick process. I’d been blogging for a couple of years before I first started working in a more formal partnership with another blogger.

My style in connecting with others to work with is generally pretty slow. There have been one or two snap decisions but I think if you talk to most of those that I’ve ended up working with that I’ve actually taken my time (annoyingly so probably for the others) because I want to ‘know’ the other person as much as possible before entering into any agreement with them - particularly because in each situation I had never met the other before in ‘real life’.
What was your best approach in these situations? - Here’s some of the questions that I’d recommend people ask when thinking about potential partnerships:

  1. How long have they been blogging? - sometimes seeing that another person’s stuck at blogging for a while can be an indication as to whether they have stickability
  2. What have they done before? How has it gone? - past records can tell you a lot
  3. Are they consistent? - try look at their previous work - are they just on their best behavior at present or are you seeing their true colors?
  4. Do they follow through on what they say that they’ll do? - reliability is key
  5. What do others say about them? - do a little digging around - what do others think about them? Check their references
  6. What are their skills? - do they compliment yours?
  7. Do they have time? - many people just don’t have the time to take on new projects (and you’ll end up doing all the work if they are too busy)
  8. Do you have a relationship with them already? - I don’t enter into big partnerships these days unless I’ve already done smaller ones with people
  9. Do you know others who know them? - sometimes this can help - it keeps everyone more accountable
  10. What does your Gut say? - I’m a pretty intuitive sort of guy so my ‘gut’ helps me a lot

I’m not sure if I’ve really answered your questions Jason - but I hope something in this is helpful.

Written on May 1st, 2007 at 05:05 pm by Darren Rowse

Technorati Top 100 Most Favorites List Disappears

Blogging Tools and Services 21 comments

Just a quick note to note that it seems like Technorati are making some changes to their Top 100 Most Favorited List - changes as in…. it’s not there.

Technorati-Most-Favorited

I’m not sure it’s a permanent change or whether it could be a glitch - but in light of recent conversations perhaps we’re seeing them respond?

update: and it’s back.

Written on May 1st, 2007 at 05:05 pm by Darren Rowse

Google Blog Search ads Auto Add Feature to Link to Google Reader

Blogging Tools and Services 1 comment

Kevin’s picked up a new feature that Google have added to their blog search service in a post Google ads auto-link to add search to Google Reader.

If you’re a user of both Google Reader and Google Blog Search then you’re going to find this one useful.

Do a search on Google Blog Search for a topic and then scroll to the end of the search results page where you’ll see an option to ‘Subscribe to a blog search feed for blogging in Google Reader’.

In actual fact you could do this already by manually subscribing to the RSS feed associated with any search you did in their Blog Search so the new feature is just a one click way to do it - however it’s a nice new tweak to what they’re offering.

Written on May 1st, 2007 at 10:05 am by Darren Rowse

More on Technorati Favorite Swapping

Pro Blogging News 36 comments

Well it does seem that my post expressing my opinion on Technorati Favorite Swapping has caused quite a stir among some bloggers engaging in the practice (I link to many of them at the end of this post).

I don’t want to be drawn into a long, heated, personal and angry debate on this so I’m not going to respond to some of the personal jibes made my a handful of people - but wanted to briefly reiterate my main points in the hope of being a little clearer about what my post was trying to achieve.

The reason for my previous post was simply to respond to the question that I was getting asked frequently - ‘what do you think of swapping Technorati Favorites’.

I was getting asked that question and being asked to swap favorites so often that it became smarter to write a post about it than to respond to each request individually.

My hope was not to start a flame war or for the discussion to become heated or personal. This is why I didn’t link to anyone who I saw swapping favorites - unfortunately with a small group of commenters, other bloggers and emailers things have gone into the personal realm - and the heat has been turned up. I have deleted and edited a few of the harsher comments left on my previous post because of the language used.

enternetusers a blog about helping bloggers to improve their blogs. As a result I feel that I have some level of responsibility to give my opinion on whether I think different strategies are worthwhile endeavors to improve a blog.

One of the most common mistakes that I see bloggers making (and one of the mistakes that I’ve made) is becoming obsessed with one aspect of their blog. This happens in lots of ways, some become so obsessed with design that they don’t actually write much content, others write so much content that they never interact with their readers, others get so into SEO that they forget about connecting with other bloggers and so become so obsessed with monetizing their blogs that they do so at the expense of their blog’s design.

Over the last few weeks I’ve increasingly seen bloggers obsessing about getting into and climbing the the Most Favorited List on Technorati. Along side this increased interest in climbing ‘the list’ we’re now starting to see tools and services spring up to make it easier to add thousands of favorites at once and keep track on whether they are being reciprocated or not.

While most bloggers who are swapping favorites are not ‘obsessed’ - some are and I began to worry that perhaps things were getting a little out of hand.

The point of my post was to bring a little perspective to it - both as someone who is already high on the list but also as someone who has at different times in my blogging journey become obsessed with different elements of my blogs - to the point that they suffered.

The main points of my post was:

  • The list doesn’t bring that much traffic - true, the few readers that it might bring in indirectly from my profile page are something that I value (every reader counts) but there are plenty of other ways to bring in more traffic than that - ways that I think add real value to both your blog and your readership.
  • I’ve not noticed it increase my blog’s profile - difficult to measure I know.
  • It does boost one’s ego a little - however there’s only room in the top 100 for 100 people, of the hundreds (thousands?) of bloggers who are putting energy into climbing the list only a few will get there.
  • The REAL benefit of Favorites isn’t the list - the real benefit of using Favorites is that it can put your blog in front of Technorati users when they hit Technorati’s front page. My arguement isn’t against the favorites feature - I think it’s well worth promoting - my argument is to shift your attention away from the list and use favorites smartly (finding people who genuinely like your blog and who will be reminded by Favorites to read it).

My other hope from the post was to get some sort of guidance from Technorati on the issue. My concern is that many great bloggers are swapping favorites and my worry is that if they do come down on the practice that those who innocently do it because everyone else is will be penalized. Unfortunately we’re still yet to hear anything from Technorati on this.

The main people behind favorites swapping are good people. I read their blogs daily and I respect their opinion.

Most of them talk about this as an experiment and seem to have genuine motives for doing it. I’m all for experimentation and will follow the results with interest - however these things have a way of blowing up and becoming more important than they really are.

My hope was simply to bring a little perspective to the topic and encourage bloggers to keep some balance.

Ultimately a blogger makes their own decision on how to build their blog and if they want to swap favorites as part of that strategy then knock yourself out - go for it.

But do so having thought it through, knowing what the benefits and costs of it will be and with my encouragement to keep yourself focussed upon the other important parts of your blog.

If you’re interested in reading the other side of these arguments then I’d encourage you to start with Maki’s post on the topic which at times gets a little deeper than I ever thought possible on such an issue but which is his opinion on why this experiment is a worthwhile thing to get involved with.

Others posts about it include (warning, some get a little heated):

Once again - I’m not wanting this to become heated or personal. I do respect a blogger’s right to choose to promote their blog as they wish and hope that people will take this post in the spirit that it was intended in. I also hope that people will not be ostracized for taking either side of the debate. There are some amazing blogs out there that have swapped favorites and some great ones who don’t - hopefully we can keep the conversation constructive and informative.

Written on May 1st, 2007 at 05:05 am by Darren Rowse

How to Find Untapped Audiences Offline - By Letting Others Republish Your Content

Blog Promotion 19 comments

One of the increasingly common emails that I’m getting from my Digital Photography School blog is along the lines of:

‘can I republish and article from your blog in my periodical/newsletter/magazine?’

It is an interesting question and one that I’ve had a change of heart on over the past few years.

Previously I was much more protective of my content and would rarely allow it to be republished (with or without permission) in any form unless there was some very tangible benefit from doing so (ie either payment or a very large readership of the other publication).

However over the last year I’ve begun to see the benefits of allowing my content to be republished - particularly in offline publications.

My reasoning in this thinking is simply that it opens up new audiences and potential reader relationships that you might previously have not had.

One of the challenges that many bloggers face is that after a year or two of running that they often hit a ceiling in terms of readership. Every other blog in their niche knows about them and has already linked up and as a result most Active blog readers in the niche have already made a decision about whether they’ll follow you or not.

The main way that you can then grow traffic is to break into untapped and un-reached audiences. There are a number of ways to do this that include:

  • build your SEO ranking and find new readers searching for information on search engines
  • break into a related niche by expanding the topics that you write about and appealing to other blogs on related topics
  • finding new offline sources of traffic

It is this last point that allowing the republishing content can help you with.

Let me offer just one example (of many from the last months):
Recently I was emailed by the editor of an offline publication run by a business asking if he could republish one of my recent articles from DPS (adding randomness to your photos).

The request came in while I was traveling and I didn’t really take much note of who it was from so agreed without giving it much thought.

Today an email came through from the publisher with a PDF proof of how they were using the article and telling me that they would be sending it out to their mailing list this week. The proof was very professional and the company’s logo was one I recognized. I won’t name it here but it’s a fairly big name in the photography industry.

I emailed them back to ask for more information on how it will be used and found that it’s being sent to 6 million people across the US and will probably get picked up to be used for a similar publication in Europe. Each copy will have a my blog’s name and URL in the byline.

Am I glad I’ve changed my mind on allowing others to republish my content?

You bet I am!

In fact I’m considering adding a page and linking to it prominently inviting offline publications to use the content as long as they provide a link back to my blog as it’s source.



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