Blog Prefect 2018 Catch Up And 2017 Review

In this article I wanted to convey some cheer to all bloggers for this New Year’s start. I hope that if you’ve been blogging for a while, you are enjoying it, and if not, you are making steps to change that.

My 2017 year has differed to some of the primer years for Blog Prefect and I’d like to explain why over the span of the next thousand or so words.

Blog Prefect 2018 Catch Up And 2017 Review

2017 Review

BlogPrefect in 2017 wasn’t ideal. I backed off quite a way from my high spot for a number of reasons. I don’t wish to make excuses, 2017 just wasn’t that inspiring for me in terms of bringing value for other bloggers. Instead, I spent a long period of 2017 trying to reconnect with my blogging passion.

 

JackoWrites.com

More time was spent on improving www.jackowrites.com, this site’s sister blog. Over at JackoWrites I started a value product in 2015 which has developed into quite a guide now. The Writer’s Block Guide was an area I attributed a lot of time. I also worked on my passion project of a science fiction book and have a 4th drafting stage where I will be handing over the novel to more people to improve. I’m looking forward to getting this book published.

515 Lost World Saga Progress April – June 2017

 

Medium.com

www.medium.com was an area I started charting to try and understand blogging from the perspective of a person who doesn’t want to spend time with maintenance of a content management system, and who doesn’t want the costs involved with domains. Ultimately I had difficulty with the platform so have pretty much pulled back from my engagement there because I deemed it unproductive. I was happy that I committed a year to trying it out as I did have some successes over the period.

I wrote these two articles over at www.jackowrites.com on Medium.com but also have a further article which I will link to, here on BlogPrefect.

Article 1: My Thoughts on Medium as a Writer

My Thoughts on Medium As a Writer

Article 2 : 1 Year writing with Medium

1 Year Writing With Medium.com

What Wasn’t Completed Before the End of the Year?

I was working on a post about motivation (funnily enough) and my timescale to complete this completely drifted the wrong side of 2018. This motivation article was due to drop in December but it didn’t come off. I have quite a high standard now, compared to what I used to write. That high standard also doesn’t help with timescales and deadlines.

 

What I’ve Missed Since 2016

Putting the traffic reports together is an area that I greatly miss. I enjoyed the process that went into making this kind of article, and the feedback the posts generated. It was also a great stimulator in terms of ensuring that the traffic report wasn’t the only post I made in a month, otherwise I’d have nothing to report on.

This is something I will be bringing back but also have some props to make it unique now. More to come on that front…

 

A Shout Out to My Friend

Ahmad Imran from Reasontouse.com has been waiting for me to write for months and I have not forgotten about him. It was nice to see when I posted an article on JackoWrites that he was there commenting on my Disqus comments no less. I thought he would have had enough of my inconsistency and left but I was glad to see him still there. It has taken a great deal of time to make any kind of acquaintance.

Ahmad Imran – Reasontouse.com

My previous friend, Vernon, performed what I’ve seen a lot of bloggers do. That is to let their blog curl up and die. He had much better traffic stats than mine (I had the privilege of being able to see his site behind the scenes) so his decision to pull out of the blogging was disappointing. He had momentum but he didn’t capitalise on it and if he had still run that blog until now, who knows.

I realise that Vernon was in some financial difficulties at the time but it still seems a shame. He gave up too soon. It is unfortunate to say that was an observable characteristic of Vernon’s from what he had told me about previous business projects that he had undertaken. Cutting loose too early.

Blogging does sometimes mean that you leave people behind. Your audience is ever changing but it is good to have friends.

 

Social Cataclysm

Google+ and Twitter are both depleted in terms of their use. I love Twitter and how it works but Google+ has dropped off big style for my enthusiasm. Social media and I are like awkward 3rd cousins. We are family but strangers.

I am considering dropping Google+ altogether. Twitter is something I will return to more vigorously as I get on well with it and appreciate the stats that Twitter provide. Facebook and I are still very uncooperative, despite it being a huge growth area for many. Something I don’t enjoy, I won’t keep up and Facebook fits in that category.

I need to start charting other places to grow but for the mean time I am going to focus on one platform and learn it well. It’s the only way.

 

I Had Thought That in My Absence the Site Views Would Drop to a Death

But I was wrong.

There are a few articles that still invite people to take a look. These few articles make me rather proud that they still have an afterglow, and that readers are getting use out of them.

This Article still generates a lot of attention;

FastMail MX Record Setup BlueHost

 

Retrieving My Resolve

I’m not sure why I had such a dim spell. I’m anxious to say that I’m past it. I know how I can drop off the boil if I’m wounded by something or someone. But, I’m back in the driving seat.

Maybe I should re-visit the article I wrote about motivation not all that long ago.

 

As Always!

Would love to hear from you and hear what you have planned for 2018.

Comments, shares and all that go with it are always appreciated but I’ll never beg you 🙂

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.

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

 

Cozy Traps to Avoid when Forging Business Relationships with Blogging

Of all activities, forging a relationship with fellow business owners and the general audience is the most key. They are far more productive than anything you can do, regardless of what any expert says.

Forging business relationships when blogging

There are ways you can trip up on this goal

It is said that blogging is a people activity. I agree with that. Writing can be a deeply personal activity. Writing can be done entirely by you for yourself.

For blogging, you have to write for others and a bit less for yourself. If you are a more insular type of person, that might be a hard thing to achieve.

You can only get away with more “me-centric” blogging when you have an invested audience. People only care about your stories when you are popular. You need to present value before you present yourself.

Falling into cozy traps before you are ready

I am guilty of this activity myself as blog prefect’s head boy. I’ve got comfortable writing posts that don’t fit the audience brief, that don’t provide the right value, that are just throwaway.

It’s not good to waste time.

Let me explain more.

What are these cozy traps?

You may read from what I class as “big-wig bloggers”, the sharp end of the entrepreneur establishment, that you should be doing certain things.

These ladies and gentlemen have the advantage of hindsight. They’ve made all the stumbles and false starts, all the douche moves.

These overlords and overladies provide you with solutions of ‘best case’ but these best case solutions aren’t necessarily achievable in the way you hope.

The truth is, these big-wig bloggers don’t exist in your pond anymore, they don’t face the same unique difficulties you do in forging something great. They have the benefit of succeeding before, having a support structure, and having more available resources.

When reading tips from these individuals, beware!

So these traps then, what are they?

By no means is this a complete list, there is more in this complex equation, these are just a selection of the pressing issues you should consider.

Paying too much for tools and services that don’t work for you in the volume you need

The truth is, there are a lot of kick-backs for big-wig bloggers. It’s called affiliate sales. There is nothing wrong with this practice but you really must apply thought to whether this product is for you and put the brakes on when it is not. Free trials are great for low risk assessments. Make sure you know how to exit if it is not what you need.

You don’t generally jump into a tank and start pressing buttons the same as you wouldn’t jump into a jet and try the same. You need to develop an understanding before you start playing with the science.

Getting comfortable with content that doesn’t serve your audience

As bloggers, we all write to our set styles. We spend hours on the types of posts that make us happy. However, depending on your niche, there are going to be certain trigger topics that will make people very happy and the rest will be just, meh! Popularity plays into this. Sometimes how you dress your topic is more important than what is in it despite what you are told.

Following the trend rather than innovating for your unique proposition

Denim Sites

They say that imitation is the height of flattery but for many people, they just look at your denim site and think, whatever! You’ve got all the bells and whistles but you just look like everybody else. Yeah so you ticked all the boxes but what else have you got?

Producing too much or too little content based on unscientific observation

Your post schedule is not going to be like Mr Smith’s or Mrs Jones’ blog. It is what you can produce to best quality. It is not what seems to be a real stretch every week to make up numbers.

You should arrive at your schedule by trying different frequencies and not going by what other people say. This means taking a look at your stats and figuring out when your best window of the week is.

Not mixing up your strategies every so often

Things change as do the big-wig strategies. All things dim in the passing of time. Coastlines erode, rivers carve new routes, and deserts expand and contract. You need to embrace change as nature does.

Being too scared to fail

Ladies First 001

Image Source: Flickr from Mike Mozart

At the cornerstone of success is epic failure. One ironclad guarantee about success is that it is always outnumbered by failures. This means you have to try a few things and know how to come out of the shadow of disaster smelling of roses, or at the very least, know how to acquit yourself, dust off your shoulders and carry on.

Some lessons are best learnt the hard way. The unfortunate position of this blow hole may have seemed like a comedy gaff to the Rinco toy makers but many a man would think twice before puckering up on this model. Definitely ladies first.

The danger of ‘freeriding’

Freeriding is an economic term used by economic experts when those who have an obligation to pay (but not an exact demand) always decide not to pay. Freeriders drag everything down, expect things for free all the time, and don’t contribute equally back.

“Big-wig bloggers” may often refer you to making epic free content to share but at some stage you must make something back from that. It’s that eBook or .pdf guide you made that was supposed to convert into some eventual ready cash. It didn’t work out that way though did it?!

Some effort you can’t give away for free. It needs a cost of some type to in some way balance the transaction of your hard effort with the reader’s time (it doesn’t always have to be money).

Dangers of freeriding

Giving things away for free all the time makes your position difficult to start charging later. Many people agonise over this step. If you start out right this isn’t an issue but you have to be tough up front. There is no such thing as a free ride.

Networking will keep you busy

It’s a complex task, sometimes you may need more people to go into bat for you, the big wig blogger might say that internet business is a very “people” orientated activity and they would be right. It also requires persistence and consistency in your approach.

Over To You

What are your thoughts on how you go about networking? Do you think there are more cozy traps you could fall into? Do you feel you do enough of the right activities?