Tag Archives: blogging

You Are Never Alone as a Blogger

I had a discussion last night with a long-time prominent blogger. During our conversation, we naturally strayed towards writing and community building, topics with which we are both very familiar. This is someone who puts out extremely high-quality content on a daily basis. He is constantly pushing the limits, drawing in new people with his wisdom, humor and beautiful style. I couldn’t help but ask how the heck he manages to maintain his blog with such consistency year after year. I was quite relieved with the answers given.

I’m not the only person out there in blogger-land who sometimes wonders what the heck I’m doing this for. It’s not only me who feels that it’s insanely difficult to make your voice heard above the crowd, nor am I the first person to think that I must be nuts to keep going. My friend not only experiences these same thoughts and feelings, he pointed to many other well-known writers who are in the same boat. We’re all rowing as hard as we can to reach shore. I’m starting to think, though, that that shoreline shouldn’t be our goal.

Reaching the shore means the end of a journey. I don’t know about you, but I think my trip is still in its early stages. There is so much out there I want to see, do and conquer online, both personally and professionally. Why am I trying so hard to get my feet back on solid ground? I’m not adrift or lost at sea… I’m merely checking out previously uncharted territories to figure out where all I may fit.

Burnout is a common theme amongst us all. Fear of never “making it” haunts each of us on a daily basis. We’re pushing ourselves every day to try and write more, be more creative and stand out. We pretend to be friends with those who we “compete” against instead of creating actual connections and relationships. That needs to end. We are alienating each other instead of developing bonds which will in turn make us stronger.

We shouldn’t be competing with anyone other than ourselves. Blogger A and Writer B can both be wildly successful – even if they write about the exact same thing. There are billions of people online and I’m pretty sure they each visit more than one website. Having real friendships with other writers allows you to stretch your mind in different directions. It can and will open up new possibilities for your writing style and rang of topics. Debating current issues with your peers – whether you’re discussing politics or tech – can strengthen the influence you have with your own readers.

One of the biggest keys to maintaining the level of output we expect of ourselves is to remember that we are not alone.

Punctuation Abuse is on the Rise

It’s a well-known fact that I tend to become a tad upset when people do not obey the rules of PUGS. Blame the English teacher in me. Point the finger at my upbringing. Taunt me if you will, but it drives me completely batshit crazy to see the lack of proper punctuation floating around these days. I swear it’s becoming an epidemic! Spend five minutes reading any blog, Twitter stream, or Facebook Wall and you’ll understand where I’m coming from. It’s enough to make me reach for the unboxing juice… even when I’m not opening anything!

Whether you’re trying to save time or hoping to come across as cute or funny, it’s not working. Intentionally spelling words incorrectly makes you look like an idiot. Adding extra letters isn’t “cool,” it’s just plain silly. Attempting to be l33t is so 2009, dude. Knock it off! Take the extra time to spell words correctly and add in those commas or periods.

How is anyone ever going to take you seriously if they cannot figure out what the heck you’re trying to say? Sadly, it’s not only teenagers I see doing this on a regular basis. There are many adults out there who are just as guilty. I actually read a blog post a few hours ago that might have been phenomenal if it wasn’t full of run-on sentences and words spelled incorrectly. This post was written by someone I respect under normal circumstances. Glancing quickly through other pages on his site, I was saddened to learn that this happens regularly. Apparently, he doesn’t think enough of his readers (YOU!) to take the time to get things right.

I’m not perfect. I make mistakes occasionally – even with my PUGS. The key is that I don’t do it on purpose. I also don’t do it often. I spend those extra few moments to check through my work. I fix up any errors I may come across, and go back to correct anything that is pointed out to me later on. Maintaining a professional image is important to me. I would hope it is to you, as well.

For those of you who are sticking your tongue out at me right now due to the fact that you’re only fifteen, you need to pay attention. You aren’t a business person yet, no. You likely aren’t worried about how professional you appear. It’s also quite probable that you haven’t yet realized that your digital footprint will follow you for the rest of your life. You read that right: the rest of your life. Just a few years from now, you’ll want to get into a great college. One look at your Twitter stream may get you turned down pretty fast, young grasshoppers.

Be mindful of what you’re doing. It only takes a few seconds to type out a word the right way. It takes even less time to add in some punctuation. Doing these small things can boost people’s perception of you in a very big way.

Rick Calvert from Blog World Discusses Blogging


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Rick Calvert, CEO and Co-founder of Blog World and New Media Expo, was on hand at CES 2011 talking about blogging with me in the Reese’s booth.

We briefly talk about the history of blogging, discuss the nuances of naming within the blogging community and social media trends. We both shared experiences about navigating the dynamics of online community when you aren’t doing what the community expects.

Have you ever attended Blog World? What was your experience like?

How to Write a Blog Post

For everyone out there who has a successful blog, there are twenty others who struggle trying to figure out what to write. Coming up with several interesting topics per day isn’t an easy feat. Even if you are regurgitating news, you still have to put a fresh perspective on things. You need to inject your own personal style, give your opinion and spin it into something completely different. Doing this can be extremely – well – tiring. There. I admitted it. It’s tiring, frustrating and difficult to blog day in and day out. Do you have any idea how many hours per month I sit here staring at the screen while praying something worth saying pops into my head?

Even when your head is full of great ideas, it can still be difficult to come up with things that will coalesce into a piece you can throw onto your blog. We stress and worry over every detail, and rightly so. There are millions of blogs out there. How the hell will we make ours stand out? We freak out over proper titles, good keywords, advertising links, embedded photos – the list doesn’t end.

I learned today, though, that if I clear my head and actually STOP worrying so much about all of those things that I can actually write. Of course I have to still be conscious of SEO and other important things. But why can’t I let those go until my draft is written? Why can’t I go back and clean up the post once I put my thoughts into words? By taking the stress off of myself and remembering to let my creative juices flow, I found I was better able to come up with something that I feel others will want to read.

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Best Free Blogging Platform


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Someone asked recently which free blogging platform is the “best” one to get started with. This question is pretty impossible to answer. There are many decent free blog providers out there. As with anything, you have to research what they offer and see how well it fits your needs.

Blogger is a good choice for beginners. It’s the one I used way back in the day – before it was owned by Google. You can also use WordPress. They have a free blogging area, in addition to the ability to download the software for use on your own domain.

I happen to own a site for Geeks, which has free blogging available. Any good content posted there automatically gets featured in my daily newsletters, so it’s a great way for you to be “discovered” by people looking for blogs to read. Doing something like this can help you gain a dedicated group of followers, who would then read what you’re doing on your own site someday.

We do have free blogs on Lockergnome, but we only accept people there who have excellent writing abilities. If you feel you can write far better than an average person, we’d love to have you. Keep in mind, though, that being able to write well is not something that everyone can master.

There are also services such as Posterous and Tumblr.

Figure out what it is YOU need in a blogging service, and then match that against what each of the providers can give you.

What free blogging service do you recommend – and why?

Social Media SEO

During my time in Texas at OpenCa.mp this past weekend, I reconnected with an old friend. Lee Odden used to write about Marketing on Lockergnome back in the day, and it’s great to see all of the things he has accomplished since that time. Not only did both of us go skydiving with the Army Golden Knights, we were both honored to speak at the event.

Lee and I took a few moments out of our hectic schedules to discuss SEO specifically as it applies to social media.

The things I do are SEO-like in nature… but I’m not an SEO person per se. Everything I do is organic. I create solid content and make sure to use keywords that people may be looking for. The funny thing about social media is that some of us have been doing it since before it was even a term. It has allowed us to really get to know the type of person that someone is. That tends to cause us to be taken advantage of at times, sure. The tools are in place for all of us to use. But it’s easy to see who is gaming the system. Those are the types of the people I won’t follow. This is what I mean by taking advantage of things and people.

Someone who takes an anti-transparent approach is someone I don’t want to associate with. I strive to be as transparent as humanly possible with my business and my life. When a person has to work at NOT being transparent, you have to wonder what the hell is wrong with them – and their business.

Yes, you should use certain tools to help you. But there are a handful of them floating around which are just bad – almost as though you’re cheating the system. Don’t fall victim to get rich fast schemes. Don’t let yourself be swayed by a fast-talker who claims they can turn your site into the most-visited place online. These things will do nothing but set you back several steps, causing you to lose site of your original goal.

You cannot just exist in one place online. It doesn’t matter how people find you. It just matters that they DO find you.

The biggest tip I have for you when you’re starting out on your own blogging journey is that you should not spend any money. There are numerous platforms and design tools available that will not cost you a single penny. You will find plenty of things to help you achieve your dreams without spending a bucket full of money.

New Year’s Resolutions with a Twist

While you’re making your list of resolutions this year, why not add in some of a different nature? If you’ve been “meaning” to have more of a presence on the various social media networks, why not turn that into a resolution? Resolve to send out a particular number of thought-provoking tweets per day. Decide how often you will be able to update your various site profiles, and stick to it!

People want to know what you’re up to. I know, I know… you’re busy. I am, as well! But it’s critical these days to have an active presence on the various social media sites if you’re any kind of social Geek. You have to keep yourself – and your community – updated. Don’t just post about your dinner, either. People want to know what’s really going on in that head of yours!

Commit yourself to not only blogging yourself, but to reading what others have done. There are a lot of excellent findings right within our own community, if only you make the time to look!

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What Role Do Blogs Play in Your Life?

Even if you’re not a blogger yourself, chances are you read a few of them. It seems like everyone is blogging these days, including my mom on occasion (so ok, maybe not recently). Heck, even when you aren’t intending to read a blog, you may end up doing so after following a link from a search engine when you’re looking for something specific. Let’s face it – blogs are everywhere.

Obviously, blogging is a central part of my life. The work I do here plays a large part in not only my work life, but my personal one, as well. I like to think I’ve found a good balance between the two, and try to keep them as “equal” as possible here on my site. My friend Robert Scoble is the same way. If you go through his blog, you’ll see that he also has managed to balance life/work/family, and wrap it all nicely into his blog.

To me, that’s the way a blog should be. I’ve seen people who have several different blogs. They may post work-related things to one, personal to another, and social things to yet another. Where’s the sense in that? Why can you not post everything in one central place? Both Robert and I – along with many, MANY others, have managed to do so. If you have more than one blog, why do you? I would like to hear from some of you “multi-bloggers”, and hear your reasons as to why you do things the way you do. Understand that I’m not putting down the way you do things. I honestly feel that maybe I am missing something, and not seeing the whole picture.

In any case, blogs are important. They can be a source of information. They can keep you current on what’s hot – and what’s not. They can give you different viewpoints on matters that you may not have otherwise thought of. And, they can make you laugh. So, I ask you…

How do reading blogs impact your life? For the blogs you go back to time and again, what attracts you? Is it the content itself, or the author’s writing style? Are you gaining information, educating yourself, or just having a good laugh? What types of blogs do you subscribe to – and how many of them?

Our Lockergnome community is devoted entirely to bloggers, with topics ranging from IT to Dogs – and everything you can think of in between. Over on Geeks, we have a large number of bloggers, as well. How many of these people are you taking the time to follow? If you aren’t checking them out, you’re missing out.

I have a team of people working hard every day to bring you updates on all of your favorite programs and apps, and let you know about the best new ones available. Keep your eyes on what’s new every day, so that you don’t miss out on anything!

What does it Take to Drive Traffic to your Videos?

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I recently uploaded a one-minute video of my laughing hysterically. In three days’ time, that video has had over 10,000 views on YouTube, and received more than 300 comments. What does it take to generate this kind of traffic? Jeff sent me an email recently, asking me what tips and tricks there are to get content to the top of search engines?

There is no one silver bullet, there are many things you can do. Not all of them will necessarily lead you down the path to success… in terms of views, attention and meeting your goals. I’ve written down three points to answer this. These are things I believe are applicable to everyone who is producing content online. Make sure you just be yourself, that is the most important.

  • Survey the landscape.
  • Use the resources at your disposal.
  • Embrace, empower and extend the community.

For years, you had to rely on your own devices to create content and find a place for that content to exist. These days, with the advent of sites like YouTube, it’s much simpler. I produce a Podcast that can be downloaded onto an MP3 player. I know that the greater impact would be experience on YouTube, more than anywhere on the Internet. In surveying the landscape a few years ago, I realized I needed to start driving my content to YouTube. I didn’t quit my blog … I simply learned to drive traffic to the video site, to learn more about me and what I do. I knew I would get a greater amount of return with video than with written word.

The most important thing is to embrace, empower and extend the community. One of the reasons it is crucial for me to have chat inside the videos that I do is my chat room is the closest thing I have to a live studio audience. The interaction and personal exchange between the chat members adds so much to what I do. It’s all about the community. It’s a connection, whether informative or fun. By connecting with others on many different levels, you will be able to reach out wider and further, driving more traffic to yourself. Don’t treat people like they are some remote foreign object. Treat them as though they are a very important part of your life. Let’s face it… if you’re trying to gain a following, they ARE important to you.

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Are Bloggers Journalists: Are Blogs New Journalism?

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Is blogging the new form of journalism? Should bloggers be held to the same standards as the media? Those questions were asked of me recently in an email, and raise a lot of food for thought.

I don’t know that I’d say blogging is a new form of journalism, no. Blogging is certainly a newer type of writing style. Blogging and journalism aren’t exactly the same, but they achieve the same results. A blogger writes out of passion, out of an extreme interest for a particular topic. Should a blogger then be held to the same standards as the media? I don’t think so, necessarily. I guess it depends on what your definition of a journalist is, as opposed to a blogger. The only difference I can see between the two is content. They’re both there to produce content. Bloggers write because they want to. Journalists write to get paid, because it is their job.

How many times have you had this happen? I’ll get a phone call from someone who wants to interview me, or include me in a story. They’ll take up a few hours of my time, asking tons of questions. Then, of course, they use only one thing I said or the story/comments aren’t used correctly. How many times have you been watching television, and the reporter just totally gets it wrong. You’re yelling at the TV, telling the person on the program that they are wrong! It happens all the time.

This is the main difference I see between bloggers and journalists. Bloggers tend to write what they know, think and feel. Journalists are supposed to give facts, and unfortunately don’t always get them correct.

In many ways, the Blogosphere is like this huge editorial board. If a blogger comes out with something excellent, it will spread like wildfire. It will be validated. Many people feel that bloggers should be held to the same standards as the media. But… what makes “the media?” Heck, I am the media as much as anyone else is. So who draws the line? Who decides what is journalism, and what is merely blogging? Who is the boss when it comes to standards for sets of people?

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