Community Group Spotlight Blogging on Google+

Blogging Community on Google+

I’ve been with this Blogging community for a long time and have contributed numerous posts to this community. I have viewed, added comment, shared and plussed many articles. This community has driven around 60% of my Google+ traffic over the time that I’ve been with Google+. I felt it was time to show my appreciation and cast a bit of light on this community and its characteristics.

The Community Link

Members

The group as of today (17th November 2015) has 89,185 users. This is not a bad number. That number would fit a good stadium.

As you can probably imagine, there are likely countless inactive users, it goes with the territory. I have made a rough handed segmentation based entirely on my own mad thoughts about how the community might be composed based on the length of time I’ve been with the community and the visual and rough trends that I see. You are welcome to challenge this perception in the comments.

Community Group Users – by means of Jacksonised Hyper-Generalisation

Insidious Members

Blog Post Comments

  • Passive Lurkers: Join up but never contribute, read, plus, comment or share. These are the types of Google+ user that have joined with their Blank Page or happen to be a Johnny No-Face.
  • Fly-by-Nighters & Early-Quitters: Join up for a short period with limited (but not entirely without merit) contact then go silent like the grave never to return.
  • Spam-Monkeys & Link-Droppers: Join with the clear intent of being entirely self-serving with their dodgy goods and services. Fortunately the moderators do a good job of sweeping them away from what I’ve seen.
  • Low rent negative commentators or Borderline Trolls: The epitome of jerk. People you’d happily punch in the balls or lack therein. Fortunately I’ve seen very few signs of these.

Middle of the road Members

  • Former contributor to mid-term passives: Have contributed in the past but are now more passive either because they don’t need the attention, aren’t all that bothered or just are time poor. They may shower with love on the rare to occasional but aren’t up to full operating speed.
  • Semi-regulars: These users pop up in fits and starts and then disappear again for undefined periods. They tend to run short to medium campaigns then pull up their capes and disappear to the Batcave.
  • Holiday-timers: Only seem to produce high levels of interaction during seasonal periods indicating that they are students of some form or happen to be constrained by their job’s calendar.

Active Members

  • Consistent contributors: They are weighted more to pushing their content or sharing others.
  • Consistent observers: They are weighted more to checking out what interests them, once hooked by the title, they are likely to view your content.
  • Consistent plussers: There are those who will + your shared work but may not necessarily have viewed the link you wanted them to follow.
  • Consistent sharers: Those who share other’s work consistently. Sharing is not such a common activity so this category rubber bands those people who share more occasionally than rarely.
  • Consistent commentators: Whilst these guys and gals don’t comment all the time, they sooner or later make an appearance, and you’ll be glad of their words.

Exceptional Members

  • Serial Commentators: Perhaps the least common are the serial commentators. These are dependable individuals who make an effort.
  • Serial Sharers: These individuals are also a rarity. Serial sharers normally exist with busy communities of their own and large numbers in their circle so are the types of people who like to feed their followers with content to appease their thirst for knowledge.

Other Members

  • Those that don’t specifically fit into any generalised box. The non-descript.

Distinct Community Contributors?

I don’t foresee that there are any specific long term contributors. This community is different in that way. Rather than serial contributors I tend to see a trend of those middle of the road type 1 users or “Former contributor to mid-term passives”. They ride with the community for so long then bow out leaving a clearing in the forest for somebody else. Handing-over quality is a characteristic that I like about the community because you can get pretty bored with the usual faces over time and I’ve been in other communities where some contributors get too big for their boots.

Common Themes in blog diversity

There are some blog themes that come up quite often in the group. I might classify some of these as common “magazine themes”. They are the type of content you might open the front page of a magazine for.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, marketing and business. A highly subscribed term of phrase for those bloggers who want to make money but also an area that is heavily crowded even at the sub-sub-niche level. This is why SEO practitioners, scientists and pan handlers spread their net wider with marketing and business leaving the audience with a variegated cornucopia of content (a mixed bag for the dim-witted).

Tech. Everybody loves tech and this seems to surface quite regularly. A rather important aspect to tech is the choices presented, often there are a number of rivals in any given sector. We are all built into this cycle of constructive discontent by being guilted into the next iteration of a product so it stands to reason that each new generation needs a review and comparison.

Fashion. But not just English speaking fashion, oh no! I am a secret fan of the fashion blogs even though they don’t tie in well with the niche I’m in. Mostly because I get to have a look at some intriguingly dressed women. What’s not to love? Google translate, do your worst! Sandals with socks need not apply.

Relationships. Relationship blogs creep up a lot. I’m not entirely convinced on how they make money (but that’s most likely me being ignorant) other than pushing people towards dating sites but they do chart from time to time. Relationships are a significant element of a person’s life unless they choose to be alone so it stands to reason that there should be some blogs about them.

Fitness & Diet. Fitness has been a massive boom area online, mostly because it is very easy to develop a service/product mix and integrate tangible real world results quickly into blog format with, and this is important, videos. Fitness produces a lot of products varying from mechanical to pill based giving the marketer a wide range of scope. This coupled with the fact that obesity and personal image has become such a popular diversion spells a recipe for those energetic sales hungry individuals to care and share (but mostly share).

Miscellaneous. There are more topics in between but they don’t feature as prominently. That’s not to say that certain topics are any less important or less noteworthy, just to say that those varied niches don’t figure as commonly into the more traditional “magazine themes”.

Variety of Blogging Platforms

Predominantly I see both WordPress (.org and .com flavours) and Blogger platforms. I haven’t seen much in the way of Weebly or Drupal but there are the odd sites there to represent them. Of course there are platforms that rest outside of this and fortunately the sinister ones like the Empowerment network are very scarce and never gain a foothold.

Money bloggers versus Personal bloggers

There is a skew towards money bloggers or at least those aspiring to make money but I’m happy to see that some personal bloggers share their content as well. It is satisfying to know that not everyone is always chasing the green (insert your national denomination’s colour here) in their online pursuits.

Amateurs versus Semi-Professionals & Professionals

I would hazard that the balance of Amateurs versus Semi-Pros & Pros would be in the range of 7:1. For every 7 Amateurs there is 1 established blogger. Amateurs doesn’t necessarily mean newcomers with new blogs, more those who have not had sufficient impact or are still Income-Zero.

Method and variety of posts

The distinct and prime flavour of the posting is to involve images, images and images. Did I mention images? Images. Yes, images. The prime posting flavour also includes a link to a website, provided either with a shortlink or the full page URL. Because of the way Google+ works, it is preferable to place the full URL rather than a shortlink because it looks a bit sexier on the preview. If the link is shortened by Bitly or WordPress, the site shows a different origin in the preview pane of the post.

Those lazier posters sling the URL in the text element of the G+ post with no explanation and it’s lazy, don’t do it!

Rarely, a question is asked with no links. I like seeing those in the community and from time to time find myself being the first to answer. I’m often not sure why people hold off on helping out, it costs nothing in the end. So you risk looking stupid but normally with a few right answers people either leave happy or a bit less confused than when they started. Of course, on the rare occasion you will get a full “derp” question in which case, feel free to steer the answer barge clear.

Now that Google+ provides a survey post type, a few of these have appeared. These are quite enjoyable as long as I agree with the questions asked (and such a thing is always subjective to the participator). It’s always interesting to see the sway of public opinion!

Is this a good community to join?

The answer to that is you have nothing to lose. If you have a blog that needs a bit of exposure, this isn’t a terrible place to head.

There is a but…

Not everything works and you are putting your content in front of fellow bloggers. There is potential you’ll get copied if your ideas are of merit so watch out. Besides those issues you’ll have to work hard to impress but the added traffic is beneficial and there is potential to connect with a helpful community. A lot of the time it depends on what you ask and how you interact.

Feedback Welcome!

Had some experience with this community? Don’t agree with my views? Feedback welcome.

You can contact me at headboy [at] blogprefect [dot] com, via the contact page or through twitter via @blogprefect.

How To Keep Working Currency In The Black

Working Currency Concept

Through my time working with BlogPrefect.com I started having ideas about self-help. I’ve read a few self-help books in my time, sometimes you don’t want to share your ills with a shrink, friend, family or stranger. Often it comes down to pride and a perception of weakness (which further explored might indicate an inferiority complex).

We live far more complex lives in the modern age than we used to, even if we are flat broke. Life is still fairly simple in the poorer parts of the world and some studies have indicated that the simpler life, despite being hard is more fulfilling overall with rates of happiness being higher for those with a bit less.

Working Currency is something that everybody has in common. As I will go onto explain, the value of your own currency varies over time and how you conduct yourself in your job or career.

As part of developing an eBook on some self-help, I am floating this article to better visualise this on-screen. I am most likely going to have to clean these ideas up and tweak the flow, possibly I might have to go into some of these shorter headings in more detail but this is my first bite of the cherry.

Working Currency

What are some of the complexities?

Routine Payment

In the Western world and developed countries in the East, ownership and responsibility drive a lot of complexity. We are expected to manage finance and assets and perform a lot of work to make sure we are insured and have savings for later life. Banks and financial services to a great extent have passed responsibility of the complex minutiae to the customer. That’s you and me.

House renting and ownership are a big drain in terms of our “Direction”. Why? You become locked into routine payment. Renting is an expensive draw from your monthly income whilst some mortgages can be equally painful in the beginning. If compared to our more nomadic heritage, being pinned down is costly.

Pensions and insurance are difficult payments. This is why advertisers of insurance have a difficult job. Pensions and insurance are a good idea and once you come to draw out a pension, it can be very important, insurance claims equally so. The issue is that if you don’t survive to your pension, the money you tucked away could have no benefit to you. With an insurance policy if you never claim, you’ve burnt money. Now, I’m not encouraging you not to pay out for these provisions, I’m just highlighting the complexity of these decisions and underlining the fact that you are performing habitual payments for protection.

Ambition

Ambition is a drive for a large proportion of individuals. Wanting to take your job higher is noble but it’s quite possible in the modern setting that unless you are well networked, have a face that fits, have a rare skill and rare experience that you will not receive the work you covet. Fairness doesn’t fit into the equation and school yard rules apply in the job market.

Ambition has led to over qualification in many and frustration in others. In Britain, a large proportion of University graduates enter working life through establishments like McDonald’s. That is not to cast any dispersion on McDonald’s but just to say that ultimate expectations are much higher than they used to be.

Demand is also greater at a time where the computer age has whittled down the total number of work force required. In many developed countries (with exception to those who still produce) the focus on service industries due to the decimation of primary industries (mining and manufacture) has highlighted many people who don’t fit in good criteria. There are many people to work in jobs that don’t suit their skill sets or capabilities.

So how does this all relate to Working Currency?

There are a number of old thoughts on work that are no longer valid.

Jobs for life

The 20th century spelled the end for this concept. There are still those who try to work to this in the hopes that they can hang on. Your only likelihood of a job for life is a family business and even those can be subject to market instability. Moving jobs is quite normal now.

Loyalty

The focus of your working life has become a whole lot more selfish now that corporations and capitalism drive results more than being good to each other. You are a replaceable component and if the organisation can work without you or outsource you they will. Management and shareholders are the organ grinder, you are the monkey.

Fair play

This notion no longer holds true. Have you been working in a job for 10 years and hope to get that next position? Think again. You may either be replaced by a bright young thing, an outsider or somebody elevated to the role. One thing you can guarantee is that management always sort out their affairs before anyone else.

Personal development

Simply put this can fail to yield results. You can put down for higher education and other courses and still not see the fruit of your labour.

Take for example, learning a computer language, only of use if you maintain the skill and have commercial experience. If not, you might have to lie on your CV. The truth of the matter is that unless you are going into a job as an apprentice, you need real world experience for certain skills. There are very few vacancies for true “greenhorns” or “noobs”.

Putting in extra

Doesn’t always get you more notice, it may just drive an expectation from those above you.

There was a very famous author named George Orwell who wrote two particularly famous books. One was named “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and the other was a Novella by the name of “Animal Farm”. Animal Farm is a Novella that uses a rich allegory to sum up the struggles that you might face in a dystopian society. One where there is an elite class with a dictator. The character you never want to be is Boxer. Boxer is the most subservient creature but gets pushed to breaking point and literally breaks his back.

Animal Farm

Animal Farm – Artwork by Raul Leon

Giving extra without being valued for it is ill-advised. Many managers will try to use reverse psychology on you when the situation of being expected to do extra without rewards is being discussed. If you aren’t good at the push back then you will suffer with being overburdened.

So if you peel away those kinds of concepts that no longer work, you now see why it is important to maintain what I classify as Working Currency.

What is Working Currency?

It is a slightly intangible way of measuring what value you have to a company. It can be a nondescript value that an HR department tot up when looking at your overall acceptability if you are applying for a new job. It can be the monetary value you hold for a manager beyond just the fiscal cost of your annual, monthly or daily wage.

You can exchange Working Currency for positions internally, be seen in a better light, avoid the axe more readily and carry more weight for pay negotiations. You also are more likely to carry a positive attitude when you move from company to company, are more likely to have people speak highly of you to other companies within the same industry and generally feel more awesome in your working career.

What can affect Working Currency?

I have decided to focus on 8 key areas that raise eyebrows but these are by no means the only affects on Working Currency throughout your working life. Areas that I have not charted but are of concern are Age, Colour and Creed.

1. Been ill for a period?

Illness is risk and unfortunately despite companies appearing understanding and complying with legal regulations, management actually despise your time away. At the end of the day it is costing money they’d rather have spent on you performing your job. So you’ve come out of the other side of that terrible illness. It doesn’t matter. You return with a card marked. Risk.

2. Returned from a secondment?

Secondments are designed generally to get you away from the role you performed before. If you are returning back from a secondment, it means that either you didn’t shine enough in that position or that in some way you suck. Secondments aren’t always created to allow stepping-stones, sometimes they just fill a short-term position that is not needed later on.

3. Not put yourself forwards for positions?

If you’ve not put yourself forward in a long time, you don’t stir the imagination of your managers. The might consider that you have no ambition or that you are happy to follow. As my father has said to me countless times, “you are only as good as you shout.”

Of course on the counter side there may be many reasons why you haven’t applied. There may be sometimes when you have no choice but to apply even though you know 110% you won’t get the position.

4. Had a dip in your work performance?

You might have become disillusioned in your work. It happens. The unfortunate output is that your work performance is going to drop as a result. Work performance can also drop because you aren’t compatible with what you are being asked to do (and what you are asked to do can change over time), or you just lose interest in the same consequences or lack of them.

A lot of dips can come about as results of difficult time at home and they may be linked with your lack of earnings. The ultimate problem is that your employer views you based on how good your last stack of work was, regardless of whether you’ve been performing hard for years. You have to have a good rapport with your manager to be given the opportunity to return to form otherwise you might soon be reviewed or found to be receiving your marching orders.

5. Indicated that you are looking for other jobs?

It is very much going to lead to making your powder wet. That term comes from rifleman back in the age where they needed to load their musket or rifles with gun powder. Keeping your powder dry meant waiting for the last possible moment before you opened the powder bag to load your gun. The ultimate message is not to let on what you are up to. Everything is “fine”. There will be a point where you can’t hide it. Turning up to work in a suit then having time off in the day. Being caught updating your CV during work time. Making suspicious calls or ducking out with your mobile.

6. Studying for a higher level course whilst working?

This indication throws out the notion that you are satisfied. Once again, you are seen as a risk because your time is limited. Your employer may realise that your expectations have changed or will change as a result of inspiration you are subjected to during your study. Higher level courses as a definition would include Degrees and non-work related study that is involved.

7. Change in demeanor?

When you stop being as compliant to situations as you used to be your currency can drop in value. You may reach points in your working life where you feel the level of injustice rising. This is not uncommon. However, if you have a view contrary to another individual and that individual is a power player, this can dent you.

Say something stupid once and people will never forget. It does not mean that what you are saying is wrong, just that its ill-advised to say it, for some people the burden is too great to bear. Even the most stalwart characters will buckle if enough pressure is applied. Staying too long can exacerbate that issue.

Don’t forget Judas!

There is the Judas issue to be aware of. Judas Iscariot was the guy who got Jesus killed, simply put. You may be happily charting along oblivious to the fact that someone who pretends to be your bud on the surface will actually totally sell you out when it is most advantageous to their own Working Currency. They’ll be knocking on Caesar’s door sooner than you can say boo to a goose.

As I mentioned above, the Playground Rules apply to jobs and careers. Watch out if you become a threat.

Or Brutus (Bruté)

Of course, if you are the kind of person who dishes the pain in the workplace, expect those colleagues in numbers to swiftly remove you if the time calls for it. If your acts go beyond reproach the wrong people will notice.

Brutus was a prime Roman, large and in charge, with only Caesar above him, he had no specific axe to grind with the chief but his mind was changed by those around him. In the famous William Shakespeare play “The tragedy of Julius Caesar”, based on true history, Brutus is convinced to join a group to eliminate Caesar in a plot hatched by Cassius and conducted by a group of Romans working on their own personal interest. Brutus and Cassius later die in acts of suicide.

What this means for you is watch out for your allies as well as your enemies.

8. All the King’s Men Syndrome

Currency can be uniquely affected by the management staple in your organisation. I call this the All the King’s Men Syndrome (but obviously if you work in a female Orientated environment, All the Queen’s Women). The syndrome is so named because you normally have a regent and his/her choice courtiers.

Managers are creatures of habit, they often cling to those who do them a good turn. You might find that one big manager is appointed, he cuts out the dead wood and replaces a number of managers below with people he knows. This doesn’t necessarily have to happen in such lofty climbs. You can find this throughout. Clique, Club or Cronyism mentality isn’t new but it can be unfair.

There are some detrimental effects if you become associated with a group who are on the way out. When the King or Queen has gone, the remaining structure may be adjusted to remove certain members of the former establishment. You might face another King or Queen.

Another core problem of the syndrome is that you can be negatively associated with an individual without having any interaction with them.

How do I counter the negative effects of Working Currency?

Like a bank account, your working currency can go into the negative and when you become bankrupt in your currency it is time to change. The best option is to change jobs. You get a reset with a job change which can lever you out of a number of negative situations that revolve around being in a place for too long.

Your working currency will be valued greater during the golden period of the restart. I define that golden period to be around 2 – 3 years but if you really struggle with the new job you probably only have 1 at best. I mentioned above that you can’t consider a job is for life. Therefore, if you are still 10 years prior to your retirement age, you should consider changing it up every 2 – 4 years to renew your currency. Some people have 5 year plans and often you get asked about such a plan in an interview. Staying happy is about shortening your horizons in your stepping-stones to success.

To conclude

All of the ideas explored above tie back into the Comfortable-Uncomfortable. It’s the state you get in when you accept something you are not happy with for a long period. If you’ve over stayed your leaving point, you should consider pushing the button before you make more negative and indelible stains on your career.

Easier said than done right. Finding new jobs can be difficult for even the most prepared. It’s akin to opening the furnace door. You have to approach this in a work like manner and take rejection on the chin. If you fail in your strategy a number of times, you might have to sweeten the deal someway or somehow. Such ideas include:-

  • Perform some unpaid but witnessed events.
  • Stretch yourself and get creative.
  • Drive a bit more activity into your personal life.
  • Get organised

A Request From You

Dear valued reader,

A share or comment would be greatly received but more importantly, if you feel affected in any way by the content of this article, I’d like to hear from you. If you don’t agree with areas then I’d also like to hear from you.

I am developing these topics as part of a book I am writing and would like to include real life examples from experience other than just my own.

The beginning of this topic started in an article I wrote some time ago. I am looking to expand this going forwards.

You can contact me through my contact page, direct to headboy [at] blogprefect [dot] com or via twitter @blogprefect.

If you’d like a hand in steering someone off course from the rocks of despair then here’s your chance!

Best wishes to you!

End of Month Traffic Report September 2015

Stricken Ferrari

I decided to locate an appropriate picture to match the dashboard report for this month’s statistics which is why you are seeing Felipe Massa’s ruined Ferrari. As you may or may not know, I’m a fan of Formula 1, and it has its fair share of thrills and spills. But of course, Formula 1 has become a lot safer over the years due in a big way to a number of drivers including Gerhard Berger, getting behind safety. There has only been one fatality in recent times with regard to Jules Bianchi, RIP.

The reason I chose the image is to indicate that all is not well at the moment. Plus it is a Ferrari and red which shares something in common with the redness of my dashboard.

That aside, sweeping the doom and gloom under the carpet, welcome to another interesting traffic month here on BlogPrefect.com

I’m happy to announce that I got back into some more writing this month and that there has been some feedback (albeit, not on any recent writings).

Distractions

I had been plotting for my trip to San Francisco amongst other things so have been preoccupied at this time. October, November and December are generally expensive months in terms of money going out on my yearly payments and I still have a few niggles lingering in my personal life which have caused me concern.

I’ve also been spending time on www.jackowrites.com at the moment so have had some time divided.

One of the most major unsettling issues is my place of work at this time. I don’t work on Blogprefect.com or the fruits of www.Jackowrites.com full time, it takes a back seat to my day job. I’m a minion. Not the yellow pill shaped one but one employed to assist the Maintenance Planners whilst aircraft are being serviced. It’s a bit like if you took your BMW or Mercedes into the garage only the garage is 20 times larger, the vehicle weighs over 100 metric tons and the tyres are filled with nitrogen so they don’t explode when they hit the ground. Some restructuring has been occurring because the company I work for have failed to make any kind of sensible profit and ROI for the investors since their last peak in 1998. I’ve been working for the company since 2003 and can never remember a time where we’ve really raked in the cash. The industry does generally have a low margin but as a company we’ve become incredibly boxed in and spent the majority of the time looking at the wrong competitor. That being said, my job is safe, that difficult part is that everyone above me may be forced to make some unpleasant and unwelcome changes to adjust to the new order. It is a difficult time for my colleagues and some will be leaving as a result.

Experiments

No great experiments were made this month other than to appear more frequently on social media. It has definitely helped with Twitter followers growing at an improved rate. I don’t have a lot of interaction going on there at the moment but will try harder to be more social as time goes on.

(What I mean by that is conversations and the like. I’m tweeting, favouriting and resharing where I can)

Shout Outs

Ahmad Imran from reasontouse.com: Thanks very much for your contributions this month. I felt we had a great conversation and I hope to interact more with you in the future (that’s a promise!).

If you want to contribute

Twitter:- @blogprefect

Google+:- +Jackson Davies

Site’s email:- headboy (at) blogprefect.com – Also available in the contact page.

End of Month Traffic Report September 2015

On to the End of Month report in detail!

Post Review

A disappointing outlay for September with very small take up overall. Reciprocity for Bloggers was released late in the month and as ever takes a while to gather speed.

Taking a further look at what was on offer:

Big Wig Bloggers was a personal choice to write because I often refer to the term and just wanted to give the reader an understanding of why this term is used. I enjoyed writing this article.

The EOMTR is a standard staple of my repertoire and you are reading one of the most refined templates that I put out on a regular basis. Readers always know what they are getting with this information and I don’t lie or pull any punches about how well I’m doing at any given time.

Reciprocity for Bloggers was written, not as comment bait, but as information for contributors. It is an article I will refer more to in the future. I enjoyed writing this article too.

Post-Stats-SEP2015

Post Stats for September

September Dashboard

The dashboard was a walk in the park this month mostly because I only had one to prepare. It is always difficult presenting an omnibus as it has ten times more and between February and July I had a lot to recap.

GAF Filter

Just a reminder of what all of the 7 measures represent:

  • ATOS: Actual Time On Site. This is always measured through the Analytic Filter as set above.
  • Bounce Rate: This is measured as the base result with no filters. Statistically on blogs this figure is always quite high compared to other sites like Amazon and eBay based on the habits of visitors.  Achieving lower bounce is however a good thing as it means that more visitors are having a look around rather than being satisfied by the one thing they came to look at.
  • Post Performers: This is a measure of how well the best post released in the month of the sample did. The higher the better. This does not account for posts that were released in prior months which have gained some momentum.
  • Gut Feel: This is a personal measure (mine) of how well the site did and an overall feel of the direction.
  • Referrals: The results are taken from WordPress stats (which I sometimes class as unscientific due to how WordPress filters information and bots) which cover a multitude of sources. I always find it interesting to see where visitors are coming from.
  • Page Views: This is the classic measure that many people found particularly important years ago but “hits” aren’t necessarily a good indication of how things are going because you can have a lot of hits but your audience might not be performing the right actions. I include page views to get an idea of how traffic is moving. This is a filtered result which aims to catch those people I would class as having a mild interest.
  • Visits vs Visitors: The final measure determines the rough ratio of visits to visitors. This measure has the filter applied.

Owing to the query from Ahmad (mentioned above in the shoutouts) I am still showing Bounce Rate as a figure of the whole but next year, to avoid ambiguity, I will review the 7 measures.

Dashboard Sep15 vs Aug15

As can be seen, quite a rouge month this month. The lowest collapse is the referral figure where that one post I wrote in January is still keeping things ticking over for the search engines.

The Post Performers total is weak considering 3 posts were displayed and marketed this month.

The worst collapse is ATOS from an all time high last month to a drop of 62.86% It is important to note that this Average isn’t actually all that bad compared to some months which goes to prove how high the figure was last month.

Page views more than halved from last month which is somewhat disappointing but notably uncontrollable.

Visits to visitors is decidedly balanced this month but ultimately quite low. In terms of visitors it wasn’t a big collapse but visits was a significant drop.

Overall it confirms that I have an issue I need to resolve pretty quickly. I have known that the communities that I previously shared my topics and applied extensive reciprocity efforts have dried up. I will have to chart new areas to tap in the meantime and ultimately change my tactics to suit a changed audience. I cannot continue doing the same things that had a luke-warm reception in the past.

Referrals

September Referral

The largest contribution is from search traffic at this time. It is interesting how when becoming less of a fledgling site, the numbers take off.

Conclusion

I admit that this month has still been difficult for two reasons:-

  • Lack of overall focus
  • Lack of engagement

Because I’ve been out for a big portion of the year, I’ve lost the follower train and have to build up the reciprocity kick backs that sustained the views and ideas that were bounced around. My comments have remained very quiet at this time with a decided drought so it seems that I am not producing the useful content that people need. Either that or my recent crop of visitors are more passive in nature.

Twitter

I have found that despite my efforts on Twitter the payback is not sufficient at this time. I shouldn’t expect too much because my footprint is quite small.

Google+

I have been taking some time to look at my Google+ approach. At a time last year I was charting greater heights but that trend has reduced and I’ve noted a significant dropoff.

Site Repairs

I have finally managed to amend the pixel width of the comment section as something unusual had happened. I amended the stylesheet to fix this problem.

I have revisited the Favicon as it is showing for JackoWrites instead at the moment which is highly confusing. I will also be amending the instructions for the Favicon in line with the information I have learnt recently. There will be a particular amendment to the upload information for those who use Bluehost as the favicon.ico upload fails frequently in file manager via the cPanel.

Branding

I will be changing the brand of BlogPrefect in the not too distant future. Details to follow.

Would you like to get involved?

Twitter:- @blogprefect

Google+:- +Jackson Davies

Site’s email:- headboy (at) blogprefect.com – Also available in the contact page.

 

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Reciprocity for Bloggers

If you are new or old to blogging you know that in order to keep momentum and anchor your page, you have to perform some kind acts in order to get people to assist you on your journey. Blogging is not a lone activity because ideally you should be crafting the blog towards your audience. Reciprocity is returning the favour. Someone took some time to share your offerings to their community at large or endorse your words so you owe it to them to return that favour.

Neil Patel of Quicksprout.com lists reciprocity in one of his top 6 tactics to gain influence.

“The principle of reciprocity is one of the main principles of influence.

In simple terms: if you do something for someone, they are likely to return the favor.”

There are a number of ways you can make it difficult to reciprocate

Ever had that dilemma where you are trying to reciprocate but the lucky individual you are rewarding has nothing of sufficient quality that you could share in your networks?

Are you concerned that you are a sharing snob?

It is difficult when you get people outside of your sphere, your niche, your topic, who produce content that you find difficult to share. Hitting that like, favourite, share, reshare or +1 may be hard to commit. Commenting may be difficult because you have no affinity with what is being said and to comment poorly on a topic you are not versed in might come across making you look bad.

I try to reciprocate as often as I can because it helps build a bond between myself and a potential friend. Notice that I don’t say “lead” as they come later. The fact is that you need friends in a community and you don’t receive them without showing your value to them. Friends, as in real life, don’t last forever but should never be underestimated.

Certain individuals can make their content difficult to share.

You can still share things you disagree with

if you pose a respectful but questioning comment.

But not all content is a good match for your audience and you can act to confuse those who come to you.

It’s not always because the content was badly crafted

The content just doesn’t fit with what you know your audience will respond to. You may have your own personal feelings on the subject area and it crosses a barrier that you cannot share. It might be too salesy and promote services or providers you’ve experienced difficulties with. It might be that you want to play down your association with the originator because their inclusion may have a detrimental effect on your following and your target demographic. For whatever reason, it is a bad share.

There isn’t always much you can do about that but if you feel it necessary you can always have a conversation with that individual and see if there is a way to take it beyond the limitations of the content.

Often your friends can be your rivals

The word “Co-opetition”, a business term of phrase, suggest that if similar businesses lend each other a hand or locate in a similar space, they will perform better as a group by drawing in more of the same kind of custom. This is why jewelers co-locate, why you might see rival coffee shops along the same street and why guest posting is a “thing”.

Rivals are healthy friends. They can help you keep your focus either by deciding to steer away from what they are covering or cover it better.

Commenting isn’t as natural as you think

and this is why so few people do it.

The same can be said for likes, favourites, plusses, upvotes, shares and reshares. Getting people to click is a psychology in itself.

This is why it is important to reciprocate especially in the early days of your creations.

Now of course you could look at me after reading that last sentence and think, hey! That’s easy to say but I can’t be bothered to share and share alike. I just want people to share and make my stuff go viral, I don’t want to do all this work for them.

Optimus Prime and Sam by JavierReyes on DeviantArt

It sadly doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to be like Optimus Prime because he’s a badass robot. He embraced Sam like a brother from another mother. You have to do the same with your audience.*

*Technically you don’t have to be a badass robot. Sisterly love also works but no heavy petting because that goes into darker territory. Deformed children and the like. Just saying!

Reward

Rewards are an important psychological factor in maintaining friendships and positive relationships. Those companies who seek to retain custom use rewards to incentivise. Reciprocity or returning the favour is a reward for bloggers.

Reward has a positive connotation. As a child you are rewarded for good behaviour and those sorts of lessons remain with you throughout your adult life.

The difference between friends and true readers

If you pick any Big Wig or semi pro blogger and look at the people who most commonly reward them, you’ll notice that they are converts. They’ve been following for some time, have their own weight and normally add positives even when negatives are published.

True readers, those of passive voice; absorb the noise and analyse, make quick decisions, decide in the first 10 seconds if the article is going to take them in the right place, then stay or leave. Big Wigs and Semi Pros win by having more noise. Google rewards those who know what they are talking about and social signals are taken into consideration.

What are true readers?

True readers can be like you and me. Remember a time before you were a blogger? You made scant comments, infrequent likes, barely caring as you jumped from page to page, just absorbing what you needed. Approximately 85% of visitors don’t want to interact with you in any shape or form even if you made it easier than drinking a cup of coffee. In the early days it’s more about the reciprocators and how they can help shape your social signals.

That’s not to say that a larger percentage of true readers can’t be evangelised or stimulated to follow kind gestures, but in the main, those who make the effort are in the minority and normally are not without agenda.

Making content that asks questions as supposed to telling people how it is

I have seen many Big Wig Bloggers shout at those complaining about lack of comments to make sure they ask questions.

but

Should you always craft a piece to be presented in that way if what you need to address should be directed in a more dogmatic fashion?

When people go in search of answers through a search engine they don’t always want to be open to questions or have anything detract from the solution. They want their hand to be held to the answer. If you are looking for a guide, you don’t want to be questioned, if you are in a hurry you don’t want to stop for a survey.

Begging for it and the expectation of “gratuity”

BeggingPug

You will cave! Look into my eyes, you are feeling sleepy.

A difficult subject to broach because there are differing views overall. To maintain your dignity you should never beg for anything. It looks weak overall and can really affect how people view you.

Unlike this pug, begging is frowned upon in the Human world.

Having a negative reaction to a beggar in the street is a natural Human reaction. It is therefore no different online. Having people scrabble for your signups to mailing lists and pushing people down channels they may not really want to go might be your strategy but it also may not be a good one.

The question you should ask:

Will my content be universally acceptable?

In terms of reciprocation, it is not something you can hope to expect every time for the many reasons mentioned above and below. Those who show gratitude do so because your contribution made a difference to them but it is not something you can rely on. Such reciprocation may not be balanced and like for like. You may only ever get that one comment, reshare or like from someone and then nothing ever again regardless of how much you do.

Questioning what you do it for

Nothing living can exist in a vacuum without vital nutrients, its survival 101. You need viewers to give you writing juju otherwise your blog will disappear despite your best efforts.

Reciprocity gives you some reward to your effort. A kind word, a sign of approval. That gives you the energy to carry on.

Of course, you should carry on regardless. Because your notoriety might not be instantly apparent, it might take a person a long while to realise your genius or what you did for them. The might not rock up to you straight away with a share or a like but they definitely haven’t forgotten and if you can do a few more good turns they might be more willing to step forwards.

Truth is, there is no time limit on payback. You could have really loved that new car you bought from that manufacturer you like so much. Five years later when a friend asks for your advice, you steer them in the direction of that reliable motor that never let you down in all the time you had it. Same is true with blogging. Really move a person with your help or anecdotes and you could have countless endorsements without you even realising it.

Does positive reinforcement have a negative overall effect?

There is something that many people ask for and if you have used Facebook, you’ll know exactly what this is. The like button is the reward currency for a piece of content adored by hundreds, possibly thousands.

Many people have asked for an unlike button

but why?

Let’s head back to Roman times where the gesture of the thumb either meant life or death to a Gladiator or Gladiatrix in the arena. If you were that combat aficionado, you would want the thumb to be firmly up by dearest Caesar. If not you would face certain death. Caesar often sought the audience’s collective voice to determine the outcome which would be positive or negative depending on the viewpoint of the individual receiving the judgement.

Moving back to modern times the thumb is in use again but this time you are employed as the armchair Emperor (or Empress) in order to vote up on those topics that deserve congratulations or spectacle.

The problem is that Facebook doesn’t share that other side of the coin. Those who disagree. At worst you can report the content for abuse which requires considerably more effort than liking on your part.

However, sometimes you just want a quick way to disagree

not all social media outlets support positive reinforcement.

• YouTube has dislikes.
• Reddit has downvotes.

To counter what I’ve written so far on this I sought out an alternative view by Social Media Sun author Adam Justice. Adam goes into great length on theories behind why Facebook does not involve a like button and if you’d like to read more on that by all means take a trip with the link below:-

http://socialmediasun.com/the-dislike-button/

Two key paragraphs I pick out are as follows:

“Sometimes a like vote doesn’t seem appropriate, even when you have positive feelings for a particular status update. For instance if I posted that I was just involved in a car wreck, you would have to be bitter towards me to like that situation. I always recommend phrasing status updates so that giving a like is an appropriate reaction. Instead of just letting you know I was involved in a car wreck, a better option would be saying that I was in a car wreck, but didn’t suffer major injuries. Life is confusing enough without ambiguous moral math problems on Facebook so it’s best to make it easy on everyone.”

Being appropriate is not something you have to worry about if you are allowed to express both sides of the coin but further in the article Adam goes on to mention that:

“It’s an accepted rule that reviews and feedback will almost exclusively come from users who either display extremely positive or extremely negative sentiments. A neutral experience just isn’t worth the effort it takes to review or comment on content or products. Users who have a negative experience are even more likely to vocalize their opinions than those who have a positive one. You’re fighting a losing battle already when you aim to be liked, so why not take a page from Justin Beiber or Rebecca Black and find your way through dissonance?”

There is a noticeable disparity between negative, positive and neutral responses. As Adam suggests, making the effort to present a neutral comment is far less likely than a strongly charged positive or a steaming negative.

To finish off from Adam’s article (which I recommend you visit if you want to read some more) we reach the meat and potatoes of the problem.

“…25 percent of small business owners hate social media. They feel overwhelmed and dislike the possibility of facing a media disaster that is out of their control.”

This takes me back to an earlier point I mentioned near the start of this article.

“Commenting may be difficult because you have no affinity with what is being said and to comment poorly on a topic you are not versed in might come across making you look bad.”

With such a social platform, how you are perceived by others is important if you want to access the right heights. Go about it wrong and you can plumb the wrong depths. It is sadly like school again all thanks to Mark Zuckerberg. Are you one of the cool kids or one of the dweebs? Do you tread a morally sound line or say whatever you like and get fired whilst slated for eternity?

Some organisations are constant hate figures. Electronic Arts, Microsoft and more besides. Some topics should never be unpeeled like a plaster over gangrene lest you invite wrath. So if you are writing something along these lines you can invite the wrong side of the street to your party.

Social media wasn’t originally designed for business but they showed up anyway

Facebook was designed for people. It then twisted its focus as money became more and more involved. With the benefit of hindsight organisations such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn have had the chance to present their offerings more towards the business user.

Facebook as a social media site was okay for a time until the corporation creep started to latch on.

Facebook User Facts as of September 2015

*As of 25th September 2015.

You can guess that of this 1.49 billion users includes many businesses. Global corporations aren’t content to be an image on the television or a flash of paint on a billboard. They want to haunt your dreams.

The Popularity Train

Is a train you want to be on if you are looking to kick it big socially but this train is entirely artificial, fickle and time sensitive so be prepared for some head scratching from time to time.

Artificial

There are many inventive ways of you not needing to be behind your keyboard to automatically pump out content, quotes, images and other tidbits. Those celebrity socials have teams do this for them in order to maximise the reach and pull of their account. When celebrities and big business use accounts such as these, you can guarantee that to some degree they are stage-managed by a group of social savvy gurus.

Ricky, if I've told you once, I've told you twice, shut the frick up!

Ricky, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you twice, shut the frick up!

I had to disengage my following of Ricky Gervais because of the incontinent stream of duff jokes and idiot comments. It was invading my stream on Twitter and I just had to pull the plug. If you’ve had to disavow, unfollow or otherwise shield yourself from these rather garrulous social Dweebasaurus Rex, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Fickle

Those followers can change their mind quickly, put a step wrong or go quiet for a little while and they vote with their feet or unsubscribe / unfollow button. The problem is that it is very difficult to get a person back once they’ve stopped following you as it is a psychological barrier akin to an embargo or veto.

Time sensitive

Be late to the party and you can miss out, be too early and you could be shooting in the breeze, it’s an unfortunate catch 22. The more fame you have the less time sensitivity matters because many will look to you for inspiration. If you are fame poor, expect to get your timing wrong more often than not in the early days and when you think you’ve got the hang of it, everything changes. The only constant in life is change and schedules often conflict with spur of the moment occurrences.

In Rough Conclusion

I’ve charted a number of ways that reciprocity can go off the rails and how imperfect the social world is. What you should draw from all of this is the need to define your own standards of quality, what you are happy to share and not share and with whom. You are going to make mistakes because of the artifice, fickle fingers of fate and the time sensitivity of your shared good but you should celebrate those who make an effort (even if they have an agenda).

Now share this or I’ll come around and beat you. Is that incentive enough? Also, blooming comment while you’re at it! Hehe.

As ever, I am highly available on @blogprefect via the delightful Twitter and I promise not to spam your stream like Ricky! I don’t promise not to haunt your dreams though. You can also contact me via headboy [at] blogprefect [dot] com