Tagged: content

Digital Downtime And The Art Of Blogging

Interesting article by Marko Saric of HowToMakeMyBlog.com. Reading this made reminded me how vital being in the silence is to creativity and contribution.  Think about turning EVERYTHING off for even a day… your computer, your cell, your landline, your TV, no talking to anyone, not even your dog, no reading, no writing, no music, no radio… NOTHING BUT YOU.  Marko did it for 10 days.  See what he learned.

Sheryl

www.awakenedmarketer.com

______________________

Digital Downtime And The Art Of Blogging

I ended 2010 and started 2011 by taking some digital downtime to participate in a 10-day Vipassana meditation course. Vipassana encourages students to disconnect, focus on their breathing and their body, and to generally live in the moment.

I will not go into detail about the meditation itself. If curious please check out Celestine Chua’s blog post. That post introduced me to Vipassana more than a year ago so thanks Celestine!

Noble silence and complete disconnection

The meditation retreat was located in the rural England, in a remote area near Hereford. Two very interesting details about the retreat are:

  • Complete disconnection. There was no Internet, no computers, no TV and no radio. If you had a mobile phone, books, magazines, or a notebook and pen with you, it was all locked up until the end of the course.
  • Noble silence. Every student had to practice the noble silence which meant that you couldn’t communicate with anyone at the course. No talking, no hand signals, no physical contact – nothing at all.

These two points meant the total disconnection from the “distractions” of the mind that we spend most of our time on in our daily lives:

  • No communication with other people
  • No Internet surfing
  • No writing
  • No reading
  • No consuming media

You are left all alone with your mind and the noise in your head!

Reflections and forward planning

Spending 10 days being disconnected, I have found that having no distractions relieves stress and fosters creativity.

When you find yourself in a situation without any of the usual distractions, your mind tends to wander. You will notice that it looks back and ahead, reflects and plans forward. It concentrates on these areas:

  • Past experiences
  • Future hopes and expectations
  • Good times
  • Bad times

All this thinking is great because it gives a clear image of where you have been, what you have achieved, where you are now and where you want to be in the short-term or long-term future.

Another great thing by taking the digital downtime is that you reflect on the differences between the day without distractions and a normal day in your life.

From content consumer to producer

I found that I didn’t miss activities I spent quiet a bit of time on in my daily life. In a normal week I spend hours doing some activities, but while being disconnected I found that my life was no different with or without them.

When I got back, I spent some time optimizing my daily schedule.

I realized that my Google Reader had gotten so cluttered with different sites I subscribed to over the years. It took me quiet some time to go through the feed daily. The result was that I became a content consumer and stopped being a content producer.

The action I took was that I unsubscribed from some feeds that did not bring anything valuable to my life. This will save me hours every week, which I now can put into writing blog posts or working on some other projects that will bring me closer to the place where I want to be.

This was just one example of what I figured out while being disconnected and how that will shape my future work.

Your turn to take action

Reading about people taking actions and getting closer to their goals is inspirational and very good, but it is nothing unless the advice and experiencing it yourself.

Only by taking action you will be able to get the benefits in your life and only that will get you closer to your future goals. Consider doing this:

  • Disconnect for a few days (my 10 days is a bit extreme but a weekend sounds very manageable to most)
  • No Internet, no phone, no TV, no reading material, no contact with people… nothing except you and your mind!
  • Just relax and let your mind wander
  • Think about your current situation
  • How did you get where you are? What worked well? What can be improved?
  • Think about where you want to be in the near or in the long term future
  • Think about which steps you will have to take to get there
  • Start acting on the steps

Bound to become more focused and more successful

Internet is a great place that gave all of us many opportunities to realize our dreams but Internet is also a place where you can easily waste your precious time on mindless surfing, reading, chatting, watching and playing.

It is very important to be able to disconnect from time to time, relax and think about your situation, your dreams and the actions you will have to take to reach those dreams.

Doing this, you are bound to become more focused and more successful!

______________________________

Please comment below, share and subscribe!

share save 256 24 Digital Downtime And The Art Of Blogging

10 Blogging Myths You Must Ignore

What an awesome article by a new, young, very wise blogger who is only 16 years old!  It's posted on one of my favorite blogging sites, Problogger.net .  If blogging is part of your world, I highly recommend that you subscribe to Problogger.net.

Sheryl

________________

 

This guest post on Problogger.net is by Onibalusi Bamidele.

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and like every other new blogger, I spend a large percentage of my time reading other blogs. While there are some great blogs out there, I have also read blogs that are otherwise. Most of these blogs are misleading and some helped contribute to a delay in my blog’s success. I also discovered that most of these blogs are owned by those who have no experience building a successful blog—they’re either blogging just for the money, or they’re simply copycats.

There are many blogging myths that, if followed, will lead to the death of a new blog. Many new bloggers read and follow these rules religiously because they heard it from someone they respected, but the end result is that they quit out of frustration—the frustration of not getting results from their efforts.

From building a successful blog and observing other successful bloggers, I have realized how dangerous and deceitful these myths can be, so I’ve decided to bust them in this article. Some of these myths will be shocking, and some will spark debate, but they represent what I’ve learned from experience.

 

Myth #1: Content is king

How can this be a myth? I knew it’d surprise you, but the majority of bloggers have been made to believe it. Yet highly successful blogger and copywriter, Brian Clark, says himself that a word has no life of its own if it is not read. It doesn’t matter how great your content is: you need people to read and share it. The truth is that even if people share your content, or a post on your blog goes viral, you still need a community to give it a lasting boost.

Through the emails I get, I’ve been able to discover lots of awesome content on my readers’ blogs. That same content might have gone viral if it were published on mine, since I have a stronger audience. But they don’t, and no matter how great their content is, it still can’t go viral, or bring them success, if they have no audience.

Many new bloggers spend the whole of their time crafting great content, based on the “content is king” myth), yet they can’t achieve anything, why? Content is not king!

Myth # 2: Marketing is king

I know I’m not the only one who disagrees with the myth that content is king. Yet many who doubt that content is king argue that marketing is king. It’s not. You can’t market nothing, and no matter the type of marketing you use, if you have a mediocre blog, you will end up with little in the way of results.

I once wrote a guest post that sent me over 1000 visitors in a day (before I wrote the guest post, I was averaging 150 visitors a day). But after two days of attracting those 1000+ visitors, my blog returned to the 150 visitors a day average. I was of course disappointed. But I realized that the traffic had fallen because I didn’t have solid content to back up that initial guest post, and sustain those traffic levels.

It doesn’t matter what your marketing budget is: if you don’t have solid content, it will end up being wasted. So marketing is not king.

So if content is not king, and marketing is not king, what is king? You might not expect this answer, but I believe the blogger is king. The blogger should be able to strike the right balance between content and marketing—this is the only path to true success.

Myth #3: SEO is bowing to social media, so neglect SEO and focus on social media

While Stumbleupon or Digg can send you 1 million visitors in one day, have you ever sat down to think about the value of those visitors?

Online success has nothing to do with the quantity of traffic you receive—what matters is its quality. While a social media site can send you several thousands of visitors in one day, the same number of visitors from a search engine may be far more effective. I discovered Problogger from Google, and I discovered Copyblogger from Google, but I can’t remember a blog I discovered it from a social media site, and now read loyally.

Also consider that more traffic from search engines can lead to greater social media success. I wrote a post on success quotes weeks ago, but I got little to no social media traffic to it. I spent a few days doing some SEO for it, which generated more search engine traffic, and that lead to thousands of visits from Stumbleupon thereafter.

In a nutshell, social media traffic hardly leads to more search engine traffic, but more search engine traffic leads to more social media traffic. After all, more visitors means there are more people sharing your content (social media), but more visitors won’t lead to an increase in your search engine rankings (more backlinks do this).

Myth #4: Social media is useless

I have heard this myth more than once. Most of the bloggers who promote this myth are bloggers who rely on search traffic.

While I said earlier that SEO does not trump social media, Im not trying to rule out the importance of social media. There are a lot of bloggers who started with nothing, but have been able to take their blogs to celebrity status using social media sites. Things are becoming better with the advent of Twitter and others—what matters most is not social media traffic, but how it’s being used.

You shouldn’t just focus on gaining more social media traffic; rather, focus on converting the traffic you do attract into repeat readers who will yield more dividends for you in the long run. Social media is the future of the web. A good blogger will not put all his or her eggs in one basket—we have to adapt to these kinds of changes and make them work for us.

Myth #5: More traffic = more money

This is probably the greatest myth of all. If it takes Darren 100 visitors to make $1000, it will take me far more than that number of visitors to make the same amount.

A lot of factors come into play when it comes to getting the best from your traffic and one of the most important is the authority and reputation of the blogger. If people see you as a mediocre blogger, attracting more traffic won’t make much of a difference, but if people see you as an authority blogger, you get a bigger bottom-line impact from every new visitor you capture.

I know some bloggers whos sites have less traffic than mine, but have several times the number of subscribers I have. What matters most is not the sheer number of visitors, but your relationship with them.

Myth #6: Not responding to comments means you don’t respect your readers

I have always wanted to be a successful blogger, but I never knew it could be a burden. With countless emails unattended to, and comments awaiting my reply, developing quality content starts to become a burden. Replying to comments doesn’t generate traffic: quality content does!

One of the best decisions I’ve made in my blogging career was to make sure I only reply to comments that really need a reply—after all, my content is what my readers want. This decision sparked a lot of debate. Some of my readers stopped commenting and one of them even went to the extent of ranting over my decision.

Yet, months later, the average time people spend reading my posts has increased from 2 minutes to more than 7 minutes.

Don’t waste your time doing things that are not necessary because people think it is a must. Rather, spend your time on what matters: developing great content that will keep your readers coming back. If you always strive to give your best, your “true” readers will stick with you, and invite their friends. But if all you can manage is to write sloppy, slap-dash posts, even those commenters you’re always replying to will eventually stop reading your blog.

Myth #7: Longer posts bring more traffic

I have been a victim of this myth not once or twice, but several times. I have observed some successful bloggers who write longer posts and this led me to write single posts as long as 5,000 words. Even though I fell for this myth, I was fortunate to learn an invaluable lesson in the process: your best post is what comes freely from your mind, nothing else. It doesn’t matter whether a post is short or long: its success has nothing to do with its length. What matters most is the uniqueness and consistency of the blogger.

A good example of someone who has great success with short posts is Seth Godin. Seth can write successful posts as short as 100 words. Someone who has great success with longer posts is Glen Allsop. Glen rarely writes posts less than 2,000 words, yet all his posts go viral and bring the desired result.

From these examples we can see clearly that what matters most is finding your voice. If you do better with short posts then stick to it; if you have more success with longer posts, don’t look back!

Myth #8: Selling ad space is the best way to monetize a blog

Another blogging myth that dominates the blogosphere is the belief that selling ad space is the best way to monetize a blog. In fact, I think selling ad space is one of the poorest ways to monetize a blog.

The problem is that many people are only blogging for the money—they are not ready to focus on building a true community with which they can later turn their blog to a business. You won’t make any real money from your blog until you have a community, so, instead of spending your time on ads that don’t work, focus on building a community. Once that community is there, you won’t find it difficult to make money blogging.

I’m not trying to rule out the possibility of making money from online ads—in fact, there are several successful bloggers (like Darren) who are making thousands of dollars from selling ad space every month. But the reality is, Darren has several hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors to his blog and unless you have visitor levels like that, you shouldn’t expect to make a solid income from selling ad space.

Myth #9: The best way to get traffic is by implementing as many tactics as you can

While there is nothing bad in learning and trying many traffic generation tactics, you should also remember that the greatest traffic-generation secret is to master that which you know.

I regularly hear people advise learning various traffic generation tactics. I’ve tried several tactics, such as blog commenting, guest blogging, forum posting and other methods, but only guest blogging seems to be working for me, and the moment I dropped other methods and started focusing on guest blogging I began to get incredible results.

If you’re a new blogger, try to start with three or four tactics. Observe which one works best for you and stick to it. Drop other tactics: they won’t take you far.

Myth #10: The key to blogging success is getting backlinks from an A-list blogger

It doesn’t matter if you’re expecting a link from an A-list blogger or a major media site: your success shouldn’t rely on any one person other than yourself.

Recently, I was reading a blog post by Brian Clark in which he said he didn’t get links from any A-list bloggers before his blog became a success. Stop waiting for the golden bullet (or link): don’t let your success depend on anyone but you! The key to blogging success lies with you, it lies in you giving your best and being consistent with it.

What blogging myths can you bust? What hasn’t—or has—worked for you?

 

Written on 12/19/2010 at 12:02 am by Guest Blogger

Onibalusi Bamidele is a 16-year-old entrepreneur and founder of young entrepreneur blog, YoungPrePro, who writes practical tips to help you succeed online. Subscribe to his blog for more from him and get his guest blogging guide for practical tips on getting success from guest blogging.

share save 256 24 10 Blogging Myths You Must Ignore