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Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

September 29, 2008

Carefree in Sabang

When I hunted down the above image for this post, I searched for the term “carefree”. Think back, when was the last time you felt completely carefree with no worries, burdens, or responsibilities? Maybe it was quite a long time ago. Maybe it was never. Everyone would like to experience the feeling of being carefree and having no stress, but few people actually do. So don’t take yourself so seriously.

This advice not only applies to your actual and personal life, but to your blog as well. All you see and hear and read all the time is how you should treat your blog like a professional business and nothing else, or if you want to succeed you have to do this, this, and this but if you do this or that then you will fail. Try turning the statistics around for once and do the opposite of what people tell you. Most of the success stories you’ll ever hear don’t come from a specific formula, but instead they come from experimentation and trying something new. You can’t always replicate another person’s success, which is what most bloggers or internet marketers try to do. You have to define your own path.

You might think I’m crazy with the advice I’ve been giving because just the other day I told you to DECREASE your posting frequency, which is usually the opposite of what you’re used to hearing. And today, I’m telling you not to take yourself so seriously, when the rest of the blogosphere insists that your website is a serious business and if you ever consider it anything but one, you’ll never get anywhere. This isn’t true!

When you stop taking yourself so seriously, a lot of the truth comes out because the excess and what isn’t needed is cut. That’s the time when you focus more on what truly matters. If you’re worrying all the time about writing the perfect content and publishing it only on set, planned dates, you’re creating more stress for yourself. If you’re trying to be an overachiever and setting bigger and better goals than your competitors, you’re being unrealistic and creating more stress for yourself. If you’re constantly thinking about your blog, how you’re going to promote it, or what you’re going to do next, you’re unnecessarily creating more stress for yourself.

This turns into a very bad habit. The more you worry, the more you’re going to want to put it all off. As you continue to take yourself too seriously and invent more problems for yourself, they’re going to pile up and you’re not going to know where to start anymore. And then even more tasks will arise for you to do because you never completed the original ones, and this will continue, turning into a very horrible cycle. You’ll have too much work to tackle and it will be overwhelming, so you’ll get to the point where you just want to give up. It won’t feel worth it anymore. Trust me, I know, I’ve been there.

I’m writing from experience here. I made goals for myself that were too much for me to handle, and I felt that if I didn’t do things perfectly that I shouldn’t be doing them at all. But the truth is that there is no such thing as “perfect”, only what other people DEFINE as perfect. You should put your effort into writing quality content, but just because it’s not perfect based on someone else’s standards doesn’t mean it’s never good enough, period. You shouldn’t follow the “laws” of blogging that have been set out by others. It’s fine to go by guidelines, but set your own rules. Like I said earlier, you have to carve your own path. What works for you? Not what works for everyone else, what works for YOU? The only way to discover the answers to these questions are by experimenting and by trial and error. You’ll never be right all the time and you’ll definitely have your fair share of mistakes, but once you find the answers you’ve hit gold.

Don’t be afraid to step out of the box or to try something new. If something that works for everyone else doesn’t work for you, don’t keep doing it just because everyone else does – ditch it. Try writing with a new style or voice. Step out there and try something no or very few bloggers have before. If that doesn’t get you noticed and catch people’s eye, nothing will.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. If you’ve been restricting yourself to a certain formula or a certain way of life, drop it and let loose. Cut yourself some slack and find motivation in something else. When you sit down to write just let the words flow out and don’t stop, even if you think they don’t “sound right”. That doesn’t mean sloppy writing – go back and correct the spelling and grammar errors – but don’t go back and change your words to cover up their true meaning.

I’m definitely not saying to be messy or let the quality of your blog drop, but be down to earth with yourself AND with your readers instead of being uptight – they’ll be able to relate to you better and feel more connected, which results in lots of loyalty and friendships.

Basically, learn to be carefree! Set your own standards and definitions instead of following those of someone else, or just sticking to the norm. Work on your own accord and do it for YOU. Cut out what doesn’t matter and focus on what does, because not only will you be happier and more motivated then, but people will also be more attracted to your website and what you have to say. By not taking yourself so seriously, you can actually become more successful than you ever have been before. Try it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Creative Commons License photo credit: JOVIKA

Decrease Your Posting Frequency

September 18, 2008

Cable Confusion

One of the main decisions bloggers have to debate over is their posting frequency – how much is too much, and how little is too little.

You have to find the perfect balance for yourself and for your readers, which isn’t always easy. Posting too often can get annoying because it means you won’t have as much time to put more quality into what you write, you’ll run out of topics faster, and your readers won’t be able to keep up. However, if you don’t post enough it will leave your readers always wanting more information, and eventually they’ll leave your blog and go seek it somewhere else.

Usually blogs will tell you both sides of the situation and the pros and cons of each, and delve more into the basics that I listed above. However, they’re not often going to give you a solution. But my solution for you is simple – try decreasing your posting frequency.

This might be the opposite of what you were thinking. How does decreasing your posting frequency help? Well believe it or not, readers aren’t always expecting new content from you every single day. In fact, most of them don’t even check their subscriptions or favorite blogs on a daily basis. The more you post, the more it burdens them with. And if it’s not necessary to churn out new content as often, then why waste your valuable ideas when you could space them out more and only post every couple of days, or even less depending on your blog?

And if you don’t have to spend so much time writing, you won’t burn out as easily. Always worrying about updating your blog, coming up with new ideas, and fitting even more into your already busy schedule leads to a lot of undue stress. With a couple extra days of relaxation you’ll feel even more motivated and inspired, as well as having more time to write better quality articles that your readers will appreciate even more.

If you’re unsure, just try it out. Gradually decrease your posting frequency little by little – no sudden changes! – and closely monitor your statistics. More than likely you will find that your traffic levels and subscriber count don’t drop, and they might in fact even start to increase. Of course, it depends on the niche of your blog and the specific requirements of your readers and yourself, but maybe by decreasing your posting frequency you’ll be a little closer to achieving that balance all bloggers strive for.

Have you ever decreased your posting frequency? Let us know, and tell us how it worked out for you. I’d love to hear from you, and at some point might even compose an article about reader experiences. Thanks!

Creative Commons License photo credit: e-magic

How to Regain Blogging Inspiration and Focus

August 23, 2008

Lately I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to continue posting for my blog, not because I don’t want to but because I’ve lost my focus and been lacking inspiration. I’ve been trying hard to get back into the swing of things, and to do so I had to sit down and identify what the problem was, and then how I could fix it. Regaining inspiration and hopping right back on board isn’t easy, and it’s a gradual process, but when it comes to blogging there are plenty of bumps in the road and to be successful you’ve got to prove you can overcome them and return even stronger than before.

And that’s just what I’m going to do. I’m going to pay attention on how I can overcome blogging burnout and regain my inspiration and passion for what I’ve always loved to do. If you’ve ever hit a rough patch in your blogging career, you know that it’s definitely difficult, but still possible to get past.

Firstly, I realized I was suffering blogging burnout because I never gave myself a break or any time off. I was always on the computer, and always stressing about what my next post would be, or how to deal with current or new sponsors, and even my blog’s design. All my worries built up without me ever doing a thing about them, and soon it became too much. I still loved to blog, but I wasn’t sure where to start anymore.

Thus, lesson one: take a break from time to time.

Secondly, I felt like I was always running out of ideas. Even though I took my own advice and kept a running list of article topics in a notebook, I was never satisfied and never quite sure where to begin. The first step was realizing that I was just overwhelmed, and didn’t actually have a lack of content I could write. You have to start somewhere.

And if you’re a blogger who is running out of ideas, take 15 minutes every now and then to sit down with a piece of paper and just brainstorm. Put yourself in another blogger’s shoes and imagine questions that might be running through their head. Carry a notepad with you wherever you go, because ideas can strike you at any random moment. Plan out a blogging schedule and stick to it. Becoming determined and focused isn’t always easy, but once you’ve got it down you’ll thank yourself.

Lesson two: keep the ideas flowing.

I also realized I was drifting away from my blogging productivity because I was losing inspiration, and I wasn’t seeing the point in what I was doing anymore. Finally I took a long look at what always inspired me in the past: other bloggers, success stories, and my own hopes and goals. I re-identified the reasons I was blogging for, and I knew I wasn’t going to give up. If you’re ever struggling, figure out what motivates you and put all your attention on that! Whether it be the fact of building up your online presence, your relationships and connections, or getting closer to that full time income, keep working towards it and don’t lose hope, even in times of difficulty. If your passion is strong enough, it will shine through.

And, lesson three: focus on what motivates and inspires you.

I’m very proud to say that I’ve made it through a rough bump in the blogging process, which includes blogging burnout, writer’s block, lack of inspiration, and more all rolled into one. I was never in this just to give up, and I’m always going to have difficulties but then I’ll just come back to work even harder. If you’re going through a hard time, don’t let it knock you down and keep you under. Remember to take breaks and not work too much so you don’t always feel overwhelmed and pressured, and make sure you keep your goals intact. Remember why you started blogging in the first place, and hold on to that passion and determination!

Have you ever lost your blogging inspiration and focus? Share with us and let us know how you overcame it.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Lori Greig

The Newbie’s Guide To Spectacular Post Titles

August 20, 2008

celebration of light 2007 - vancouver, canada, fireworks

This is a guest post by Jason – Jason Pereira blogs at The University Kidgrab the feed!

Good content is everything when running a blog. Well, that’s if you want real people to actually read it, of course.

The problem with most new bloggers is that they may start out with fascinating content, but no one reads it… why? Probably because their post titles aren’t up to scratch, and even though your post may be the greatest blog post of all time, if no one reads beyond the title it’s not worth much.

Here’s some tips to supercharge your post title and thus make sure that people scroll down to see the rest of the post.

Use List Titles

Titles that use list formats usually do well. For example ‘7 Hot Ways To Boost RSS Subscriber Count’ would do far better than just ‘Ways To Get More RSS Subscribers’ – even if the posts are the same!

Lists are not just far easier to read, but also have a better chance of being picked up by other blogs as people read it, debate it and add points of their own.

Over-exaggerate

Don’t do this all the time, as overdoing it will hurt your blog; however a good way to create posts that people read are by using powerful words.

Which title below would you be more apt to read?

DESTROY Your Competition – Read Below!

or

How You Can Better Your Competition

For me, it’s the former. Everyone loves superlatives, especially in the world of blogging – heck, I’d rather ‘destroy’ my competition than just ‘better’ it.

Exact Amounts

If you’re writing a post about increasing metrics, why not show how exactly your tips have benefited you? Here’s another example – which would you be more likely to read?

Learn How I Made $550.00 Yesterday With Craigslist Marketing

or

Make Money On Craigslist

Despite the former being longer, I’d probably opt for it – and this is whether you’re talking about any kind of metric, be it revenue, traffic, subscribers etc.

These are three simple, yet effective ways that I have personally used to make sure that people do click through and read my posts – and guess what, I tend to receive more comments than blogs of a similar level due to this.

Use post titles that appeal to your readers and evoke their emotions and you’ll get them reading, commenting and subscribing. Who said blogging was difficult?

Creative Commons License photo credit: jonrawlinson

The All-Time Best Blogging Articles of June 2008

June 6, 2008

blogging tipsGreetings, and welcome to round three, the third edition, of Super Blogging’s The All-Time Best Blogging Articles. This is a group writing project that any blogger in this niche can join in on and have their article featured in the extensive collection you’re about to read. This has created an amazing resource for everyone out there, so thank you to all of those who sent in your submissions and posts to be shared! I hope you like June 2008’s The All-Time Best Blogging Articles. Enjoy!

Content & Writing

Four Surefire Ways to Write Magnetic Web Content at Search Engine Journal.

Take Your Starting Positions… at Punctuality Rules.

…And the Finish Line at Punctuality Rules.

Traffic Generation & Exposure

125+ Super Tips to Increasing Sticky Blog Traffic at JobMob.

10 Tips of Commenting in a Blog, a Good Style of Linkbait at Tech at Hand.

Site Development

Starting a New Blog? WAIT! at Legal Andrew.

22 Essential Habits Towards Blogging Success at Lost Art of Blogging.

Effective Linking With Your Old Post in 10 Steps at Tech at Hand.

The Comment Etiquette: The Guide to Proper Blog Commenting at Lost Art of Blogging.

3 Surefire Ways to Run a Totally Radical Blog Contest at Contest Blogger.

See How Easily You Can Beat the Daily Blogging Gremlins at Great Circle.

How to Get Back Into the Blogging Groove at On The Horizon.

Making Money Online

7 Ways to Profit from a Blog at Blogtrepreneur.

The Downside of Starting a Blog for Money at Blogtrepreneur.

20+ Tips to Earn More Revenue From Google Adsense at eTechBuzz.

Make Money Online With PepperJam at VHSG.

SEO

Top 10 Basic SEO Tips to Build a High Traffic Website at eTechBuzz.

The Art of Creating Titles at Learning SEO Basics.

Learn SEO Copywriting at Learning SEO Basics.

How Did I Get #1 from Google SERP in Manny VS Barrera Fight Result at Tech at Hand.

Social Media

Should You Ask for Social Media Votes? at Traffikd.

The Costs of Over Reliance on Social Media Traffic at Traffikd.

Marketers Guide to del.icio.us at Traffikd.

The Success Checklist I Used to Hit #1 on del.icio.us at GroupWritingProjects.

Twitter: Why It’s So Great And How To Effectively Use It at Lost Art of Blogging.

Blogging Platforms

Blogger Vs. WordPress: Who’s Got the Upper Hand? at BloggersGuide.

The Top 5 Reasons I Left WordPress For Blogger at Smithereens.

My Blog is Finally Talking to Me Again! at MeAndMyDrum.

Cool Tools & Sites

101 Essential Blogging Resources at Blogtrepreneur.

Join The iReply Movement at MeAndMyDrum.

Secrets Revealed: How I Pick Domain Names at MeAndMyDrum.

Google Analytics Step Two: Don’t Track Yourself! at Linden’s Pensieve.

Cool Technology: IWantSandy.Com at Linden’s Pensieve.

Diigo: Paper-and-pen Mark-up Meets Web 2.0 at Linden’s Pensieve.

Miscellaneous

Does Your Website Have Terms of Use? at Andrew Flusche.

Five Questions For Would-Be Bloggers at BloggersGuide.

10 Reasons Why Blogging is Like Dating t Romance Tracker.

Your Online Writing Life: Protect Your Reputation – And Future (Part One) at Colloquium.

Connected Lives (Part One) at Colloquium.

A Cautionary Tale: The First Amendment, Good Taste, and Writers’ Rights at Colloquium.

Why Do You Blog? at On The Horizon.

Thanks, I hope you enjoyed this amazing collection of articles written by some great bloggers. If you liked it, please consider stumbling this page or sharing it with your friends. If you missed out on entering this time, subscribe to Super Blogging so you’ll be in the loop and know when to enter or read for the next group writing project!

To browse the complete collection of resources of The All-Time Best Blogging Articles, see below:

PART ONE: November 2007
PART TWO: January 2008
PART THREE: June 2008

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