Written on April 24th, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 12:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Blogger Credibility

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 7 comments

Question from enternetusers reader - Joshua:

“My question is how to make yourself a credible source. For example, when I came across your site, I got the impression that you had no experience with blogging, but found your niche in “making money from blogging.” But since you had never actually done it, I’m curious as to how you made yourself the source that you are now. You have very good tips and information, but obviously didnt have them to begin with.”

Thanks for the question Joshua - I think it gets to the heart of a really important issue for bloggers and one of the things that is often at the heart of a blog’s success or failure - the credibility of the blogger.

Let me start with your example/question about enternetusers and then move on to outlining a number of ways that we as bloggers can build credibility.

enternetusers
Obviously when I started blogging three and a half years ago I had no experience in blogging and started out like a newbie like everyone else - but my first blog wasn’t actually on the topic of blogging. It was a personal (ish) blog. Then over time I added new blogs to my blogs and learned as much as I could about blogging and blogging as an income. Gradually over a number of years I built a way to make a full time living online through a variety of blogs. It was at this point that I launched enternetusers.net (in September 2004) after I’d been blogging almost two years.

If I’d started enternetusers as my first blog I suspect it would not have been seen as anyone as being a credible source of income - simply because I’d not proved myself as being someone who had expertise on the topic that I was writing about.

The Series Ahead
Over the next few days I’ll attempt to outline a number of things that I think can add to a blogger’s credibility. By no means will this be an exhaustive list as each circumstance is so different on a number of fronts:

  • Credibility is a slippery thing - what is credible to one person can be seen as suspicious to another
  • Every ‘credible’ blogger I know has gotten to that position in my mind for a slightly different reason. What helps build credibility in one blogging niche might not necessarily add to it in another.

Lastly I want to make it clear that in my experience each of the points that I make in the following posts don’t tend to lead to credibility alone but rather when they come together they add to it.

Anyway - enough disclaimers and explanations - lets dig in and explore what it means to build blogger credibility.

Here’s the Series so far:

Written on April 23rd, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 08:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Landing Pages for TypePad Blogs

Blog Design 2 comments

Since writing my post on The Importance of Landing pages last week I’ve had a number of bloggers email asking for advice on how to make them - especially from bloggers not using WordPress (which has a ‘page’ function). Those bloggers using TypePad who want to work with Landing Pages should check out TypePad Hacks who has a post landing pages especially for you.

Written on April 23rd, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 12:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

How to Grow Your Blog’s Readership

Blog Promotion 18 comments

Guy Kawasaki has a useful post 10 lessons he’s learnt in How to Evangelize a Blog over his first 120 days of blogging. Here’s his list with a few of my own comments (his is the ‘bold’ (and he has more to say under each) mine is the rest):

1. Think ‘book’ not ‘diary’ - I like the analogy between book and diary. The crux of Guy’s argument is that books are meant to be read and diaries are more spontaneous, unplanned, unstructured writings. I’m a big believer in planning your blog on multiple fronts (ie not just planning your upcoming content but overall direction, marketing of it etc). While some diary style blogs can be quite successful (for what they are) most of the highly trafficked blogs have some element of focus and well defined niche. If you’re writing in a business or entrepreneurial style then you will want to think through strategy (more on this in my strategic blogging series).

2. Answer the little man - Guy’s seeing little people sitting on his shoulder critiquing what he writes (as you do) but his point is solid - be your own critic, don’t just write for the sake of it, produce content that matters. Each post you write has the potential to add or subtract value to your blog and it’s worth asking yourself which it is before hitting publish.

3. Collect email addresses - This is something I go on about from time to time and is something I’m seeing a lot of the top bloggers out there utilizing. There are many ways to do it ranging from starting an email newsletter (getting permission from readers to highlight your work) to using other email lists you might already have (be a little careful with this as it’s open to abuse).

4. Collect links for blog rolling - One of the aspects of blogging that has led to it’s viral like growth as a medium is it’s interconnectedness. Bloggers linking to other bloggers helps everyone and fast tracks you getting noticed by others. I’m not a big fan of the blogroll myself and these days my preference os to be a generous linker within individual posts. I find blogrolls can become difficult to manage, actually send limited amounts of traffic, can become somewhat political and at popularity content like. However linking within posts to other blogs seems a much more organic and natural way to link to others. I find it also has more impact in terms of the traffic you can send which has the potential to not only get attention but give your readers quality and relevant content.

5. Scoop stuff - Getting a scoop is another fast track to readership. Break a big story and have the right A-list blog link to you and you’ll find not only a lot of traffic come directly from them but indirectly from the many smaller blogs that will link up as a result. The other benefit of it beyond the initial traffic and inbound links is the respect and street credibility that can come from breaking a big story. I find that once you break one story you often get others broken directly to you by ’sources’. Once this happen the snowball effect takes over and you can build a reputation for being someone in the know. More on Scoop Blogging.

6. Supplement other bloggers with a followup entries - Another aspect of blogging that I love is it’s conversational nature. Dialogue is at the heart of blogging on many levels including within comments on posts but also between blogs as they build upon each others ideas with posts. Take the work of another person and add your own spin on it either on their blog, via email with them or on your own blog and you enter the conversation. Once you’re a part of the conversation it’s amazing what can flow from it.

7. Acknowledge and respond to commenters - very important but a real challenge when your blog grows past a certain level. When someone goes out of their way to add something to the conversation you start by leaving an opinion, question, critique or suggestion it’s a powerful thing to acknowledge this in some way. This might mean leaving a comment in response but could also be a personal email response (I find this is incredibly effective) or even a visit to their blog with a comment on one of their posts (even more of an impact). As Guy says, this is not always easy once you’ve got a lot of traffic but is important to do at some level even after you’ve succeeded in growing an audience. If you don’t use your comments section, why would anyone else?

8. Ask for help - I discovered early in my own blogging that despite it’s reputation for snarkiness the blogging community can actually be an incredibly generous and supportive place. Ask for help and you could be amazed by what results. I find that people respond well to humility and to ask for help in some aspect of your blogging (from spreading the word, to helping with some technical problem you have, to helping you compile content etc) actually gives your readers a sense of ownership - something that has many benefits.

9. Be bold - Guy says to speak your mind as a blogger and not hold back from saying what you think. This is true and one aspect of ‘boldness’ that I’d encourage. Of course you want to consider what you say when you’re writing in what can be seen as an aggressive or attacking tone. My own approach to blogging is to attempt to find constructive things to say instead of just attacking others. Another aspect of boldness that is worth mentioning is that while humility is usually responded to well in blogging circles that there is often a need for a little self promotion. I’m not arguing that you need to aggressively sell yourself in a hype filled marketing blitz, but I’ve found that it can be occasionally beneficial to give readers a reason to read you by showing them your wares.

10. Make it easy to join up - Once again Guy’s on the money here by encouraging bloggers to use tools that help readers to stay connected. RSS feeds, email newsletters, RSS to email subscription services, encouraging readers to bookmark pages etc are all examples of this.

Found via an email from Dave

Written on April 22nd, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 03:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

AdSense adds More Custom Reports?

Adsense 6 comments

Another AdSense change (or at least I think it is) is that they seem to have added to the number of allowable ‘custom reports’. I’ve not seen any announcement of this but today I have the option to add new reports and the last time I checked (a week or so ago) I’d reached my limit (of 10).

Adsense-Custom-Reports

Perhaps I just hadn’t noticed that it had been increased previously but it is something that I’d been keeping an eye on as it’s a feature I do use.

Update: I’ve added another 10 reports and have reached my new limit so it looks like 20 is the maximum now.

Written on April 22nd, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 01:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

AdSense add Site Flavoured Search

Adsense 7 comments

Also announced by AdSense today on their What’s New page is a new search feature - Site-Flavoured Search which allows you to ‘provide search that is tailored to your site’s topics and themes’.

The AdSense team go on to explain that you won’t notice any visible changes to your search features on your blog but over time the search results that are given will improve based upon what your site’s visitors are searching for.

To activate site flavoured search just tick the ‘Flavour my search results to my site’ box when generating search code.

I don’t see any option for starting it on existing search boxes so you might need to start again to use it.

Read more about it here.

update: I’ve put a new Google Search in my sidebar. No obvious major differences so far in search results but I’ll attempt to watch it over time.

Written on April 22nd, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 01:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

AdSense Expand Rectangle Image Ad Options

Adsense 3 comments

AdSense have expanded the number of ad formats that you can now have image ads in by allowing the Square (250 X 250) and Large Rectangle (336 X 280) formats to now have image ads in addition to the text ads that they were limited to previously. They’re yet to update this information on their ‘ad formats’ page but have announced it on their What’s New page today.

Written on April 22nd, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 10:04 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Yutter · RSS/Blog Subscription Service

Blogging Tools and Services 4 comments

Utter-LogoThe last couple of months have seen a load of new blog tools on the market to help bloggers send out their RSS feed via email and today I heard about another one - Yutter · RSS/Blog Subscription Service.

Their site doesn’t give you a load of information without signing up first but it seems to have all the normal features that some of the other new services offer like Zookoda which is the system I’ve been using.

Here is what Yutter offers:

Yutter

I’m unable to really test it at this point but if anyone else wants to give it a go and write a review on it for us I’d be happy to publish it for you here at enternetusers.

PS: I’ve added it to my Blog Tools Page.

Written on April 21st, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 10:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Send Your Readers Deeper Into Your Blog

Miscellaneous Blog Tips 6 comments

Liz over at Successful Blog has started up a new page on her blog for New Bloggers. It’s a useful collection of her posts on topics relevant for newbies.

It’s also a good example of creating a page that draws first time readers deeper into your blog. It can be done on any blog regardless of topic.

Simply search through your archives for key posts that would be relevant to first time readers and put them together as a post that ties them together. Then it’s a matter of linking to that page in key places on your blog. In a sense this is what I’ve done with a number of the links in my header boxes, especially the Top 20 Posts at enternetusers links which is one of the most read posts on the blog and sends readers deeper into the site many times over.

Written on April 21st, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 06:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

The Changing Web

Pro Blogging News 5 comments

Steve writes a good post reflecting upon the transient nature of the web.

I’m constantly amazed by how fast things in our world are changing - particularly in the space I spend so much time ‘the web’.

Just three and a half years ago all I ever did online was chat on IRC chat rooms, search for illustrations for talks I was giving and look for part time jobs. Today I live on it and it’s the main source of my families income.

I just wonder what another three or so years will bring to the web and whether I’ll have the smarts to keep riding the next best thing!

Written on April 21st, surf Active Apparel website western wear zone.at 03:04 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Yahoo! Publisher Network Blog

Yahoo Publishing Network 0 comments

Another older piece of news that I missed while away last week:

YPN have launched a blog for their YPN publishers.

  • Give publishers – you folks – a voice in the evolution of the Yahoo! Publisher Network and its products.
  • Build a place where you can come and learn about the latest updates and enhancements to the Network
  • Showcase your work and your contributions to making Yahoo! Publisher Network what is today – and to what it will become tomorrow
  • Provide a community space where you can learn from other publishers how to be a better one yourself

They’ll be posting interviews and profiles of YPN publishers as well as news relevant to publishers. Looks like a good RSS feed to subscribe to.



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