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What Benjamin Franklin Knew About Social Media

ben_franklin.jpgBenjamin Franklin was a blogger – without a doubt.

He may not have had a computer to share his thoughts, nor the internet to spread them. But he did have a printing press where he printed regular installments of Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Ben Franklin was known to have a sharp and witty mind and a love of things social. He loved to share his thoughts on any number of subjects. He loved to stir the pot…and he loved debate.

Think of any bloggers like that?

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RSS For Everyday People

No hiding – I’m a huge fan of RSS.

The only problem I see with RSS right now is that not enough people know what it is and how to use it. What’s worse is so many don’t know why they should be using it.

So I’m always looking for simple explanations and tutorials that can help spread the message of RSS.

Just yesterday I found this short video on YouTube [Read more…]

Great Resources For New Bloggers

confused.jpgI’ll be the first to admit it…I love blogging. It’s done nothing less than enhance the way I do business; opening relationships and opportunities that just weren’t available before I started blogging.

So I’m a huge advocate for people who want to begin blogging. As a matter of fact, while I still design and build websites (and blogs), I’m doing far more coaching and consulting with people who want to use their blog to increase their reach and grow their business.

One thing I’m constantly doing is suggesting blogs that new bloggers can read to learn more about blogging. And it’s been my intention for quite some time to create a list of blogs as a resource for new bloggers. These would be blogs and bloggers who I hold in high regard and who I, myself, continue to learn from.

But it looks like my colleague Drew McClellan beat me to the punch. He’s just released his New Blogger’s Toolbox. The Toolbox is a listing of bloggers who many of us consider great resources for learning the art of blogging. And since his list is pretty much the same as the one I’d put together, I thought I’d simply recreate here for you and all the people I speak with about blogging.

Drew also divided his list into useful categories. So here you go:

Chock Full of Practical Tips

Living Lab on Writing Compelling Blog Posts

How to Build Community

Teach Marketing Tools

Welcome Wagons for Newbies

Contributors to Drew’s Toolbox:

Thanks Drew, for putting this list together and making it available to all of us. You know, if you combine this list with my Ultimate WordPress Resource Guide, you’ve got just about everything you need to be a successful blogger.

And, if you have a blog that you think should be included that isn’t, please let me know in the comment box so I can add them and pass them on to Drew.

Also, in the future I’ll be sending lots of people to this page as a resource. So if you have comments on how any of these bloggers have helped you, please include it below…and know you’re helping someone who is learning how to blog.

(note: image Confused from An’veula on Flickr)

How to Find Great Content for Your Business Website

So what’s the secret to blogging success?

Yesterday Muhammad at Pronet Advertising wrote the 4 steps to success. His 4 steps are clear, good advice and probably similar to what you’ve seen before:

  • Step 1: Good Content
  • Step 2: Unique, Hosted Domain
  • Step 3: Be Social
  • Step 4: Invest Time, Be Patient

The interesting thing that was said, however, came in the comment box when someone asked Muhammad, “I know that good content is the key but where I find GOOD content? Is there anything that you can recommend?”

Ralph had a good answer that, “Good content is not for sale…. supplementary content is for sale….”

This got me thinking. So, of course, I joined the conversation with:

“Good content – especially compelling, interesting content – comes from inside you. Find what you love, what you’re passionate about, and write on that topic – even if it’s different than what you’re focused on now.”

What do you think? Can we buy good content? Or is it something that’s created by each blogger themselves?

Let’s talk about it in the comment box.

Lorelle VanFossen Has Made Every Blogging Mistake

If you use WordPress you likely know who Lorelle VanFossen is. If you don’t know who she is yet, don’t worry…you will soon.

Lorelle VanFossen, of course, writes Lorelle on WordPress (RSS) – one of the best resources for anything relating to WordPress. Need a plugin? Lorelle’s likely written about it. Need to solve a problem? Lorelle may have covered it. Want the latest news? Lorelle’s the one. She even sums it all up with her WordPress Wednesday column on Blog Hearld (RSS).

Lorelle’s done it all. Including make every blogging mistake possible. At least that’s what she said in her interview with Daniel Scocco from Daily Blog Tips (RSS).

Daniel: What is the biggest blogging mistake you did?

Lorelle: Oh, honey, I've done them all. I've been doing this so long, I've done all the big mistakes. When I read through blog posts listing their blogging mistakes, I think, “Yep, did that one in 2001. Oh, that one, I did it big in 1998. Been there, done that in 2004. Won't repeat that mistake of 1997.”

Is there just one big mistake? Nope. There are only big lessons that come from every mistake along the blogging path. I tend to focus on the lessons learned and not the screw-ups.

Lessons…that’s the perspective I love about Lorelle. Having spent some time with her at SOBCon07 back in May, it was easy to fall in love with her. She’s real, she’s honest and she doesn’t judge. And just like me, she has her opinions…

Daniel: How long should a blogger wait to monetize the blog?

Lorelle: I do not think bloggers should monetize their blogs. I think that people who want to get into the business of blogging must make a business plan on how they will use blogging for their business or as their business, thus creating a plan for monetizing their blogs.

But general bloggers? Why should your hobby make money? If you want to work your way towards professional blogging, then blog for a year or two to get a feel for blogging and make your business plan. Then move towards being a professional blogger.

I couldn’t agree more. Too many bloggers are watching what the business bloggers are doing and think about the “easy money” they could be making off their blogs. But it’s not easy money. It’s hard work.

bloggingtipsbookcoversm1.jpgBut so is blogging in general. Some days it’s easy, some it’s hard. Everyday it’s effort. That’s why many blogs aren’t successful.
And that’s what I love about Lorelle, she tells it like it is. She doesn’t sugar coat it. She’s honest about the ups and downs. That why I recommend that everyone read her new book, Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

I’ve read it three times cover to cover and it’s full of great advice. It’s literally the first blogging book I’ve read that’s really about blogging. Most blog books spend way too much time covering blog platforms or why to blog. Authors sometimes spend 1/2 to 3/4 of a book getting to the meat.

Blogging Tips is different in that Lorelle assumes you’ll get that type of information elsewhere. Instead, she gets right into meat. I highly recommend her book (and I’m not getting an affiliate kickback to say that).

dawud-lorelle.jpgI also really enjoyed Adii’s interview with Lorelle where they talk a bit more WordPress.

You know, it’s also kind of challenging to find photos of Lorelle. I snagged one with her and David Dalka (he’s on the right, I’m on the left and Lorelle is between us) when we were at SOBCon.

5 Ways Not To Make The Biggest Mistake In Your Blogging Relationships

Are you blogging to build relationships? I sure am. And so are many other bloggers.

Sure, if we’re blogging, we probably like to write. We also probably enjoy playing on the internet to some degree. And for many of us, we’ve got businesses to promote. Yet the reason many of us blog is to create conversations. And those conversations lead to relationships with people from all over the world.

alonebeach.jpgJust imagine how disappointing it’d be to have your posts generate conversations that lead bloggers to contact you only to have you drop the ball by not responding. This is like inviting someone to a lunch where you spend the whole time talking to someone else on your cell phone. Not the way to build a relationship.

Bloggers want to reach out. They want to get a viceral feeling for who you are. Doing so takes a little courage on their part. And not following through sends the message that you just don’t care.

So, here are five quick-and-easy ways to be sure you don’t make the biggest mistake in your blogging relationships:

  1. Reply Immediately by Email
    Sending a two sentence email right away that thanks them for contact you is can send more of a positive message than a well crafted longer message two days later. The immediate response makes the other person feel like they’re important to you.
  2. Send an Instant Message
    If they publish their IM Screen Name, use it to contact them as soon as you can. Sometimes this can lead to a brief virtual conversation that can be picked up later.
  3. Set an Appointment
    Even if you’re busy, take a few moments and respond to their message by inviting a time to talk later. Scheduling an appointment time for a brief (or lenghthy) conversation can be an effective way to meet them without stopping your current work flow.
  4. Call Them Out of the Blue
    If you have the time, respond with a phone call instead of an email. This can create quite the impression. I once had a well-known blogger send me an email saying that she was going to phone me at ‘1 pm today.’ She did and we had a great talk.
  5. Be Honest About How Busy You Are
    If you’re really busy and can’t get a bit of time away, let them know. People understand. A polite message letting them know that you’d love to meet them soon, but you’re currently under a deadline crunch can easily get the point across without seeming like a blow-off.

If you’re blogging to build relationships be sure to respond to people who contact you. Not doing so will send the wrong message.

Have you made the biggest mistake in your blogging relationships? How have you made up for it? What do you do to not make the biggest mistake?

There are, of course, plenty of other mistakes you can make with your blog. Here’s a few other posts where people have offered up the wisdom of their own experiences…