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The Pros and Cons of Setting Up a Blogger Review Program

Date blog post was published April 9th, 2014

Business owners, small-scale artisans, webmasters, and other internet professionals, gather ’round. There’s something of varying popularity that’s worth discussing in detail, and that’s the blogger review program.

Finding the best way to get the word out

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you run a small-scale beauty care company with about 15-20 different products to treat both general and specific issues – like lotions for daily use as well as ones to treat eczema naturally or something similar.

Maybe at first, you started selling products to friends and family. It grew to friends of friends, maybe some teachers, and probably a few neighbors. You’ve got a website, social media, and a pretty loyal, if small following.

Whether these products are sold on Etsy, a custom website, or on Amazon, you’ve got a good product and you want to sell.

Read more…

Why and How to Disavow Links on Google

Date blog post was published March 31st, 2014

Google's free disavow links tool

Websites can get sick just like people. They’re not as obvious about it as, say, a teething toddler, but you’ll notice little signs here and there that something’s not right. Especially if your PageRank has dropped significantly or you’re getting all kinds of spam traffic.

Eventually, you start to check out the links coming into your site. Somehow, it’s all knock-off luxury shoes and sites in languages you definitely don’t understand. It’s obvious that these sites are spamming yours to build PageRank, but you’re just not able to clear up the mess. This is when you might want to consider going back to Google Webmaster Tools to disavow links. Read more…

Warning: Blogging is Nowhere Near the Easy Way Out

Date blog post was published March 20th, 2014

When you first start blogging, opportunities abound. Your chest pounds with excitement as you realize how vast and fluid the blogging world is. Anything can happen.

This can lead to illusions of grandeur really quickly.

Your mind starts to imagine…What if this gets picked up by HuffPo? What if The Today Show gets so tickled by your perspective that they actually fly you in for a segment? You can already imagine the traffic spikes, the free swag from companies seeking to endorse you, the new salary you just built yourself thanks to your ingenuity and wit.

Screw your boss and “The Man;” you do what you want and you do it now.

Blogging Is Difficult

Just remember not to get sand in your keyboard when you make it big. (morguefile/charmaineswart)

Who doesn’t imagine sticking it to the daily grind? Go off-the-grid, banish the 9-to-5, kick the 40 hour work week to the curb. You can live the freelance life. Maybe you’ll even quit your job and hop tropical paradise to tropical paradise, always writing what’s next with the shoreline in sight.

It seems so simple – create a site, write a few posts, share some stuff, and then go viral. All it takes is one great post that taps into the hive mind, and you’re set.

Except the most common feeling new bloggers experience is most definitely frustration. Throw in a dash of hopeless for good measure, too. Chances are that most bloggers will strike out and walk away within the first month or even week, anyway. Maybe they thought they could sneak by without having to do massive amounts of research in short bursts of time all while trying to juggle an entirely new vocabulary in their mind.

Blogging is difficult and overwhelming, especially for those with little to no past experience, and that builds a wall people tend to avoid by walking away.

But you, you decided you wanted to use your website a launching point. It’s your blog – your moneymaker, or maybe it’s your portfolio for some other line of work like freelance writing, design, or even being a virtual assistant. You need this site, and once you tack it up on the great big billboard in the sky, people will flock…right?

However, that doesn’t mean it’s all hopeless by any means. Just remember to:

1. Be patient. “Successful” bloggers tend to require around two years of regular, continued, persistent effort.

2. Do the time. You have to show up to succeed. If you’re going to be working for so long, you may as well make that work meaningful by working intelligently and with dedication.

3. Expand. Network, socialize, guest blog, run series, host contests, perform giveaways, etc. Do whatever you can to reach out to the world while still offering real, useful content.

4. Explore your creativity. Let your own personality and individuality dictate your choices. People will pay for your voice if you know how to express yourself well.

5. Try again. When you write a brand new post every single day only to find that you have absolutely no traffic or some reader posts a harsh criticism in the comments, just keep going. If you need to, adjust your course and move in a direction your readers want to go, too.

Blogging is an incredibly surreptitious path to take and there are absolutely no guarantees. You need to realize that most websites will probably not turn a profit, at least not on your overall investment of time. Still, your blog stands as a testament to you and your efforts. This alone offers some value as a blogger or freelance worker, which can establish your credentials. Even a failed blog is still more than most people will do; use your initiative to your advantage.


One Sneaky Trick to Defeat Facebook Page Algorithms

Date blog post was published March 18th, 2014

It’s no secret that Facebook keeps changing its analytics, and not for the better. In order to pay special attention to those page owners who pay for engagement, those who do not are struggling. Even if you have 5,000 subscribers, you may very well see some posts with a reach of only 250 or so.

Naturally, this is very frustrating, but there are practical reasons behind this, too. Facebook can only show posts to those online or with the right subscription settings. Still, it’s hard to run a page – and a business – when you’re constantly battling the Facebook page algorithms.

Especially for smaller pages, who has the money to throw at non-stop Facebook campaigns?

Facebook Page Algorithms

People like to break into groups naturally. Use this to your advantage. (morguefile/roastbeeph)

One way bloggers are adjusting to this change is by making groups for their pages or their cause, even for community-focused pages. When in the past you might create a page with different administrators to promote a cause or theme, you might now want to create a group.

What changes when you opt to go the group route?

  • Less branding, more discussion
  • Community development
  • Themed-subject matter
  • Less specific focus on you

That little part of our ego may feel crushed when we can’t build a flashy group page with fancy opt-ins and use our own lives as the center of the discussion, but that should not diminish the appeal. Creating a community will generate greater contact between the users, which can pit you as more of a moderator instead of the sole content creator (a rather daunting and often draining task).

At the same time, you’re positioning yourself as an authority. No longer are you “The Baking Goddess” or “SEO Tips for Clueless Consultants,” but you are that guy or girl who knows about high altitude baking recipes or how to plan a Google marketing plan for your start-up.

You can further customize your settings to have a private or closed group, which allows for the creation of a very specific environment within which you can set your business up for success.  Plus, you can rest easy knowing your page will be getting better traction while you create a more effective sense of community.

Suggestions for Facebook Group Success

  1. Bring a friend. Enlist the help of others in your general blogging niche to help bear the burden of what can become a very large group while still staying on point.
  2. Balance. Be sure to let people know how to update their settings so they aren’t bombarded with too many messages all at once!
  3. Moderate right away. Set up a few guidelines for social success, include a few brief, but concise points about behavior.
  4. Pick a topic. Choose one of your interests to focus on instead of creating a more general group.

Creating a Facebook group can be the right trick for boosting your blog’s current page readership, but it’s not perfect for everyone. In fact, the average business must be very careful using this tactic so as not to seem to pushy or salesy. Be a community, be a resource.

A Quick Word: No one wants to be part of a group that spams the wall with posts about “20 Reasons Why Jones’ Plumbing is the Best in Tulsa.” Even if that same company decided to create a group about optimizing efficiency for plumbing standards in commercial buildings (or something similarly specific), that sort of professionally-focused group just might do better on LinkedIn compared to Facebook.

When done right, a Facebook group can really up the ante for your sluggish and too-quiet blog readership. Think over a few different topics you’d be passionate enough to discuss as part of a community, search to see what else exists, and perhaps even poll your readers to find what they’d really want to know. Focus on creating a place for discussions, but remember to promote relevant content and ask thought-provoking questions.

Who knows? Your group just might be that breath of fresh air both you and your readers need.