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 🙂

How to Create a Free Guide

As a blogger, you are going to reach a point where you need to start working harder to provide value than just the blog posts you create. In so doing, you will be improving ways to gather your audience’s attention. The one thing you are writing this blog for is an audience otherwise you’ll be a lonely person talking to the four walls. It is easy to become caught in tunnel vision in blogging, thinking that simply the blog will be enough. Even if you are working to a non-profit agenda, you still want to provide value to an audience otherwise you won’t be discovered.

Creating a guide and marketing it gives you some good lessons in marketing a product on your site, using enticement to grow your audience and start building a tribe, and form a connection between a success for your reader and you.

No matter what anybody says, it is good value to generate a guide and I’ll elaborate more on how and why.

  • Providing value
  • Marketing lessons
  • Audience retention lessons

Incentive – A guide that people want (for free)

Think back to when you have been in need of information and you have been on a search of the Internet via your engine of choice. You’ve typed in your search phrase in hopes that you will find that solution which fits the bill. How much more valuable are those guides that are downloadable, printable, compared to those that are static and confined to the dimensions of a blog? The answer should be obvious. Good guides are the ones you keep.

There has been some debate among lofty bloggers on whether you should offer a free guide or not. My thoughts are that if you try to provide something useful it is better than nothing at all and it should at least focus you to develop methods to squeeze your audience and get into the habit of targeting viewing goals.

One of my favourite Big Wig Bloggers, Pat Flynn, offers a comprehensive free guide with his mailing list signup. The eBook is a valuable document but acts as a brilliant enticement to remain with the mailing list. The best part is that you get a comprehensive guide for free. You know that Pat has spent many hours crafting a guide that can provide you with exactly the right information to help you.

Many sites provide this kind of free guide.

  • Good guides are the ones that are kept
  • An offering is better than no offering
  • Outward signs of time spent and value added

So Why Not a Paid Guide?

In order for a paid guide to be valuable, somebody has to have gone first. When you start talking about a paid guide, you are talking about a product but it has to be good.

With a free guide it can start out average. It can be short of focus. Expectations are lower. It’s free.

But actually, it has to fulfill a use. The more useful a free guide is, the better.

  • Has actionable merit
  • Can be short of focus
  • Must be useful

What are the Benefits of Writing a Free Guide?

Directions

The audience will get used to your writing style and may be more likely to purchase a book from you.

The act of writing a blog (that doesn’t operate through a membership) is the fact that you give away free content every time you post. You may expend several hours into this task per shot in hopes that by striking on the right solution or view you’ll tap the ‘mother lode’ of audience you seek. Audience builds with time, you lose some followers for a number of reasons, then gain more when you start doing things right.

  • Your showcase
  • A route to doing things right

The Act of Giving

With a free guide, you give the audience a bit extra, something they can take away via a handy download. That guide will rest on their computer, tablet, phablet or phone and if they review it more than once, it may serve to remind them to come back to the source for more goodies.

The good news about giving is that it can end in receiving. Another word for this is reciprocity. The beauty of something free is that each individual will decide how they repay you.

  • return again
  • sign up to your mailing list
  • endorse you
  • share something of yours
  • buy a book you wrote
  • complete a purchase through your affiliate link
  • become a client

You can’t demand these forms of repayment but you can improve your chances by providing quality.

Let it Shine

A successful free guide has to be valuable. In other words, the content within has to do a stand up job. The guide needs to shine. Think of it as your foot in the door. The little taster they give away at a supermarket. It has to taste good; not too salty nor too sweet.

Balance comes from feedback so you need some friends who have an affinity for the niche you are in or maybe a client or avid fan of yours. As mentioned above, it has to be a solution that your audience has a burning desire to remedy.

Keep it Simple (Stupid)

Your free guide needs to be less involved than a novel but enough to give the audience something to savour. Anything over 50 pages is too much because you are invariably giving too much away for free and spending too long on it.

The beauty is that you can start out simple and develop your free guide as you go along so eventually you can pass those 50 pages. I wouldn’t recommend writing a big guide up front. 10 pages max for issue 1.

Don’t go too cheap though. A thin 1 page guide might not cut it.

  • Less than 50 pages
  • More than 1 page
  • 10 pages max for issue 1

With content you already have

Say you had an eBook on Amazon (for example)…

You could make it permanently free and it could serve as your free guide. Better still, it has already been reviewed and had value at some point. Some of your material will reach a maturity point, a level where demand tops out and then recedes. You can’t expect to be a bestseller on your first try or see interest in your book run evergreen. At the very least you can make it work for you.

Taking Guides Further

Once you have a guide you can take it further, the sky is the limit.

Establishing a guide takes the time and effort but once you start getting people interested in the content and it becomes fuller of form, you can take it a few stages further.

A Solicited Guide

This goes further to cementing your authority. You can take a free guide you have had in plain sight on your website and both enlarge and focus it to provide valuable content. You can then float it on a variety of paid platforms such as Amazon and Kobo.

3 NEED TO DOs for Professional quality:-

  1. Hire an editor or at the least, Beta readers, possibly both. Even though your guide turned IP may have garnered interest, it may not quite hit the right buttons for the commercial realm. A line editor will ensure all idiot spelling and grammar faux pas have been remedied. An explorative editor will ensure that your book makes sense to the audience you are pitching it to and will fill in the gaps. Beta readers will spot gaps and errors quickly and with enough readers should do a good job of polishing your final piece. Editors observe your work with a critical eye and will adjust or suggest changes that will lift your work beyond. They do this as a living so are good at it.
  2. Invest in a decent cover image. Image is everything. This can aid you considerably in standing out against the crowd. If you have the graphic ability and the time, create your own!
  3. Let people know. It seems obvious but if people don’t know about what you have crafted they are much less likely to find it. You will need to use social media in order to perform this task (and your blog too). There are other ways to get noticed. Placing printed copies in coffee shops and other public dwellings might be a good way to go.

All of these things take either money or resources but at least if you’ve already developed the guide as a free item, you know where the value is. You are not going to waste time on a guide that was barely touched.

Lifting From Your Posts

It is possible to put a book together from your successful articles. Darren Rowse, over at Problogger.net, put together a guide from a month’s articles based entirely on Twitter aids for bloggers. If he can do it, you can!

  • Focus on those articles that did well (lots of views, comments and shares).
  • Focus on those articles that have some degree of after-glow (relevant for long periods).
  • The guide can include more images than you originally included. Images that complement the content are likely to boost the value of the solution.

In Closing

A comment and share are always appreciated.

Incidentally, my free guide over at Jackowrites.com covers the issue of Writer’s Block. If you have trouble putting together something or just get stuck, some of the details may be useful to you. Whilst the guide is aimed at novel-writing, there are many development aspects that you can apply.

DOWNLOAD HERE BY CLICKING THIS LINK BECAUSE IT IS FREE AND MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE*

*Might not actually save your life.

Image Credits

Feature Image Sourced from Pixabay by DariuszSankowski

10 Reasons to Avoid Self-Indulgent Blog Post Writing

I’ve written an article about tooting your own horn and why you need to. It has proved to be a fairly popular article but I wanted to touch on the other side with this 10 point list of reasons why you should avoid certain posts that only serve to please yourself.

Self-Indulgent Blog Posts

By definition, Blogging is an activity enjoyed by a community, an article is predominantly steered by the visions of a single person. Your ultimate goal as article writer is to spark the necessary fire in someone, or at least to entertain, provide information, solve an issue or clarify a point (that would be of use to someone).

  • You have two types of article, those with a short time limit of the moment, and those that have an enduring quality.

In this article I attack the self-indulgence angle because it interferes with the success criteria of your blog.

Before I Go Into the Reasons

Some introduction is required. What can we define as a Self-Indulgent Post? That may be difficult straight off the bat. Let’s define what isn’t a Self-Indulgent Post:

  • Does what it says and delivers
  • Doesn’t go into detail about personal information that may not be pertinent to the topic in hand
  • Has a purpose to the audience and transforms them upon leaving that article
  • Does not, once read, make us look like a jerk/jerkette
  • Doesn’t talk at us rather than involving us
  • Doesn’t continuously use the words Me, Myself and I
  • Fits the purpose of the blog context

Knowing the list above isn’t always enough, sometimes you feel motivated to share because your readers are friends, they’d want to know the issue that is burning in you, that’s what you tell yourself.

There are some rare exceptions to this rule but in 99% of cases you should take note of the next 10 reasons and plan your on topic work accordingly.

Reason 1: Nobody Gives an Extra Nipple What you are Raving About (And Soon You Won’t Either)

It is something that everybody finds out sooner or later once they’ve been blogging a while. If you write an over-indulgent blog post where you please yourself more than your audience, expect to find that you don’t get much attention.

In a real conversation why would you stand by somebody who is just talking about them self all the time? That kind of person is the person you ditch at the party or pray will latch onto somebody else.

How Can I solve this?

Research is key, if you are waning on subjects to talk about it may be worth slightly re-treading something you’ve already covered but with a cherry on top. Even better, go and find a topic that somebody was ‘recently’ discussing and see if you can have a tad of afterglow on that topic yourself. This is why you should really follow some blogs rather than being an island all to yourself.

Reason 2: People Respond Better to Help Than Middle of the Road

Solving issues is a big component of the Search engine potential of your Keyword so writing something that helps someone is far more likely to yield results than an indulgent post.

Middle of the road theories and lazy concepts don’t help anyone.

How Can I solve this?

Think about a template for your post with an objective that you will solve somebody’s problem by the end of the article. You want your reader to leave satisfied and preferably with another question you can answer.

You need a problem and a solution a fair amount of the time. The rest of the time if you are showing someone something behind the covers that can also help.

Reason 3: Your Opinion Destroys the Illusion of Impartiality and Objectivity

Being an Impartial voice can be useful in some circumstances but as soon as you affix a choice or bias to anything you write down, people will remember you for that choice and judge your consistency thereafter. To some individuals the possibility of you being an uncommitted expert might irk them enough to lose them potentially forever.

Certain Hollywood A-listers have in past decided to step off the fence with their political or religious views much to the outcry of fans who don’t agree. It can dent their career and put certain other stars and directors off working with them. Two examples are Tom Cruise and John Travolta who are very much captives of Scientology.

How Can I solve this?

Keep your flagrant opinions, those that hit controversial on the nose, locked up in the bank. You’re allowed to think what you like but you can’t always say what you like even in a free country. Once the gremlins are out of the closet you can’t get them back in so best never let them out in the first place.

Reason 4: Your Indulgence is Less Likely to have Lasting Appeal

I have written in the past about not agreeing with the term “evergreen” but I do believe that articles have an afterglow, some longer than others. I believe that self-indulgent blog posts will have far less of an ability to capture a long-lasting idea.

How Can I Solve This?

Research as mentioned is a good way of determining how much lasting appeal your post might have. Google Trends just to mention one place, is a good way of finding out how long your terms stay warm for. Because of Hypercompetition someone has more than likely covered what you’ve covered already. You either have to search for something that barely anybody is talking about but has appeal or do it better and hope you get some warmth.

Reason 5: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

But if you try sometimes you’ll get what you need! Sorry, Rolling Stone fans, how dare I squeeze a lyric into this post. But Mick’s got a point. This blog is not about you, it’s about your audience and what you have analysed they need. A lot of the time you’d love to write about every little thing that titillates and takes your fancy but you have to prioritise to what is urgent.

How Can I Solve This?

Sticking to some form of schedule can help. It should override your need to jump in with something off-key. On the rare occasion it is prudent to jump in with content that fits the time you are posting it but otherwise you should stick with the game plan, no matter how much it hurts, even if you aren’t able to meet the posting frequency you hoped for.

Reason 6: It Shows a Sign of Being Lazy

And nobody likes a lazy person. Say that you’ve been good up to now and are starting to enter a phase of over-confidence. You change the tone of your writing to involve more of the personal, so much so that you lose the purpose of the article in the first place. It was good for you but it had no benefit to others.

How Can I Solve This?

Having a third-party read your content is advisable. Someone more than just a commenter. They’ll soon be able to suggest the fly in your ointment.

Reason 7: If You Sit in a Particular Niche, Indulgences Will Start to Muddy Your Purpose

If you want to be found effectively, staying on topic helps a lot, providing value is important. As soon as you stop providing that information, you’re no longer serving your audience as effectively and you are risking a loss in your retention.

How Can I Solve This?

Sometimes it might be natural to branch a little from the core because in order to fight with incumbency (those big fish who crowd you out in the small pond) you will need to cover more than one area. This is fine but when you strike off in tangents in-congruent to your core topics, it may act to confuse your readers so you have to work out what your key areas are and make sure that you tick the boxes.

Reason 8: Arrogance is Unattractive

It really is. Albeit the entire current batch of Formula 1 drivers have no trouble getting women. Yet being acidic, ranty and prideful of your standing could prepare you for a fall. An arrogant person is the type of person you want to punch in the marble sack (even if they don’t have one) and those who are eager to see this type of person fail will gather in rejoice when they do (but more over will simply leave).

How Can I Solve This?

Drop the boasting. Be honest about your failures as well as your wins. It is common knowledge that failure bears the fruit of success so make sure your ying and yang are covered.

Reason 9: “Oh, it’s another one of those posts”

One that quickly gets ignored or at worst gets negative feedback. When they said all publicity is good publicity that isn’t actually true. You don’t want to end up with dung on your windows do you?

How Can I solve this?

Personal image can be perceived by your actions. Be a whiny windbag often enough and you’ll get known for it. Approach is important in how you are perceived. You need to be slightly less predictable in order to stay fresh.

Reason 10: Don’t Mention the War

There is a good chance that what you are covering, as well-meaning as it may be, could be something that everyone knows about already and has accepted. Dredging up the unpleasantly familiar is a quick way to turn a potential visitor off or at least be given a false picture about you and who you really are.

The term “trope” lends well to this reason not to commit the self-indulgence sin. It is like a joke where you groan afterwards in basic terms.

How Can I solve this?

Research is important. All the time that you are separated from fact is more chance that you’ll rely on established facts and potential tropes that go along with them. Posts that do well are those that have length, but with that length, keen insight. You can only achieve that keen insight through research.

Conclusion

Hopefully you’ve found these 10 reasons suitable motivation not to write self-indulgent posts. I would imagine that at least half of you reading this will break that rule at some stage in the year. Whilst it is no crime, don’t make a habit of it because you’ll take your blog an unhappy place if you do.

If you think there are any further reasons why, or you want your chance to dissect this article, make a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.

Research is something I bang on about quite religiously in this article. If you spend the time it will shine through. This article is a short condensed issue of the problems at hand. You might think that 10 items are rather arbitrary (and you’d be right), but it is important to ring-fence trouble before it crops up.

Expanding my blogging empire

I feel that it is time to make the move towards increasing my blogging empire for a number of reasons. Those who blog often can never resist the appeal of breaking into something new….

 

Expanding my blogging empire

Expanding-my-blogging-empire

For BlogPrefect, over the past month, I have been taking time out to write an eBook about the very subject of blog empires and when to expand so it seems only right that as part of this process, I go through the trials and tribulations of the process.

I feel that whilst BlogPrefect’s traction has improved, I need to be able to refer to other projects in order to build my credibility. In trying to understand my eventual business strategy, I am trying to develop a service from the writing that I perform. In order to better laser target this service, I need to expand into an area where I am going to be able to funnel people and keep focus.

BlogPrefect would also benefit from a focus other than itself. I admit that a fundamental flaw of this site has been the way in which the content needs better anchors to actual work produced. Often my words can appear to be drawn from conjecture over many sources I read around the web. It is only those articles that provide true value that have really scored big with the audience. This has normally involved a learning process on my part.

 

So why now?

December to January threshold is a great time to launch a new blog!

Why?

Because January is often a time when new blogs come out. I discovered in January 2014 that many individuals launch a new blog as part of New Year’s Resolution, of turning over a new leaf. The other benefits of starting a blog in January are that you can run analytics more effectively from January 1st to December 31st, especially if your tax year is aligned that way (which it isn’t so much in the UK).

It also coincides with my eBook and takes into account all of the decisions I need to make as I consider becoming a multi-domain owner.

 

There are some things I plan to do differently

Just through the act of learning and understanding more about the scenery and what is going on, I have decided to enact some key fundamentals that mark my new blog differently to BlogPrefect.com.

Notably I will be starting my comments exclusively with Disqus on day 1 of my new blog as well as my mailing list. Two key areas that weren’t a feature of BlogPrefect.com. The new property is going to start with Twitter straight off the press.

 

Why start with Disqus comments straight out of the gate?

bempdisqus

I had initial misgivings about the Disqus system, I had such a negative view of it that I actively avoided commenting on other people’s sites who used the system. When I actual came to use it for the first couple of times, I realised that I really liked how it worked.

Spam and junk comments are both things that bug the hell out of me. Akismet (a rather useful WordPress plugin) can only go so far to address this blight alongside Captcha plugins. I have often had to manually approve legitimate comments, much to my annoyance because it generates extra work for me.

Disqus works far more effectively as a preventative barrier and it has many other useful functions. You can use links and images and keep up with conversations very easily with the system and my resistance dissolved very quickly.

 

Why start with a mailing list straight off the bat?

mailbox-22149_1280

I had some very interested parties in BlogPrefect.com in the early days but because I hadn’t launched with the mailing list signup, and subsequently failed to address this shortcoming for months, I was unable to capitalise on that early feedback that could have been crucial to reducing my learning curve.

This time I will be forearmed.

Mailings lists and targeted email campaigns are important in retention of your valued viewer community because often a well targeted email can drive your follower back, where other methods may fail. SEO has become far more of a science than it used to and an email group can combat the uncertainty of your success by providing consistent views.

 

Why utilise Twitter from day 1?

bemptwitter

Twitter initially was an unknown factor for my blogging, it took me a huge amount of time to get it off the ground, it was the equivalent of a lead balloon.

I did eventually get some traction which has drawn me towards some very like-minded individuals, it is far more targeted towards those who can help shape my ideas and give me some forward momentum. The analytics are pretty awesome too, and unlike some social media agencies, Twitter gives you a fairly comprehensive look at how your content is doing.

This is why I plan to start straight off the bat with Twitter on my new property.

If you would like to join with me on twitter:

@blogprefect

The eBook

I have decided that my first eBook on BlogPrefect.com is going to be an almost free book. But…. It will cost a tweet. I plan to set up the paywithatweet.com function in order to fuel a boost in interest. I wanted to trial this system to see how effective it might be as I think “reach marketing” is an interesting area to explore.

paywithatweet.com

paywithatweet.com

 

 

What’s this guide about?

The eBook itself touches on when to expand a blogging Empire. It was a quite popular post I wrote during the summer which helped to galvanise a guide based on this idea. I am eager to produce an eBook to better understand how to use one to promote the blog.

When to Expand your Blogging Empire

 

Related Article

When to expand your blogging empire