April 19, 2014

Category Archives: Blogging

Four Pre-Writing Exercises for Inspired Bloggers

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Rebecca Chelsey's recent post on ways to spark our creativity got me thinking about the next step: how to take that creativity and turn it into meaningful sentences on the page. In other words, what we do with that spark of inspiration will determine the success or setbacks we face when we blog. I'm a firm believer in the importance of pre-writing as a great way to take advantage of our inspiration. Pre-writing helps us bloggers to get down onto paper the ideas in our head. It helps us use language to explain our ideas. Through pre-writing, we can figure out exactly what it is we are trying to say. We can think of pre-writing as the laboratory in which we can test out and refine our ideas before we share them with an audience. What follows, then, are a few of my favorite pre-writing exercises that help me figure out what exactly I'm trying to say. I hope they are useful to you as well, and if you can think of others, please share them in the comments section. Read More »

8 Simple Sources of Creative Inspiration

As a creative person, I've noticed that creativity and creative ideas tend to present themselves whenever they see fit, and rarely otherwise. This is an especially unfortunate habit for my creativity to have because I am in the field of design. Over the years I've researched and stumbled upon eight nearly sure-fire ways to spark my imagination and creativity and I figured I would share them. Keep in mind, however, every imagination is unique and all of my methods may not strike a chord with you the same way they do with me. Hopefully at least one will bring you some inspiration to keep your blogs unique and intriguing or any situation you may need some outside-the-box thinking for. As a general rule, when I find myself stuck on an idea for a long time, the best way to go about it is to stop trying so hard. Stop thinking so hard about your work when trying these activities and just let your brain do its thing. In other words, stop looking for the answer and let the answer find you. Read More »

Blogging Event Ideas to Spice Up Your Blog

If you've ever gone to an industry conference, film festival, grand opening, or author signing, then you can appreciate the energy such events can create. Industry conferences gather together the best and brightest minds in order to share ideas and plan for the future. Film festivals celebrate great work by experienced and up-and-coming film makers. Grand openings drum up customers for brand new businesses. And author signings are often just one of many stops on a book tour to connect with readers who might want to buy the author's latest books. So how does this relate to you? Well, bloggers can also apply these same strategies to their own blogging practices. As bloggers, we thrive on buzz and the latest keyword trends, but we also need to figure out how to keep readers loyal. One way to do this is to set up a similar energetic event that excites our community of readers and other bloggers, while also creating momentum for the year until the event rolls around again. Here are a few ways bloggers could do this: Read More »

Increasing Your Blog’s Interactivity: 10 Tips for Staying Fresh

Success in attracting and retaining readers is often influenced by a blog’s level of interactivity. Many readers are more active than passive and want to feel like they have a role in affecting a blog’s content, design, structure, and overall ongoing conversation. Posts shouldn't be thought of as soliloquies, but as the beginnings of highly interactive discourses. For effective ways to keep your blog interactive and encourage your readers to come back for more, try reading and adapting these ten tips to fit your blog’s needs. Read More »

Lessons from Blogging in a Crowded Niche

For the past 3 years I have been actively blogging in the web/graphic design niche through the Vandelay Design blog and DesignM.ag. During that time the landscape of design blogging has changed considerably, as it seems new blogs are launched almost every hour, and a growing number are becoming highly profitable. I recently sold DesignM.ag and through the process I've looked back at the last few years and what I have learned along the way. Blogging in a popular industry where hundreds or thousands of other blogs exist has pros and cons. In this post I'd like to cover five specific things that I have learned, hopefully it will be helpful to you as well. While the context of this post is my experience blogging about topics related to design, I think they can easily apply to most other niches or industries that are very crowded.

1. Obstacles Present Opportunities

If you've read many articles with blogging tips I'm sure you've read that you should select a niche that doesn't present much competition. In my opinion, depending on your strategy for growing and/or monetizing your blog you may be better off blogging in a more popular niche. If your blogging approach is to create a large number of small blogs that target specific words or phrases and are optimized to make money with AdSense or affiliate programs, then you're probably better off avoiding crowded niches. On the other hand, if you're looking to build an authority blog where you'll be active and you're willing to dedicate a significant amount of time, crowded niches present some powerful opportunities. The reason for avoiding crowded niches is usually that it is easier to achieve top search engine rankings or to stand out from other bloggers, both true. But the obstacle of a crowded niche can be turned into a very profitable opportunity. Here are a few examples: Read More »

10 Reasons to Be a Freelance Blogger

I talk to a lot of people on a regular basis who want to make money with the internet, and blogging is often the preferred method. While it is certainly possible to earn a living with your own blog, it's a lot more work than most people anticipate, and the percentage of bloggers who stick with it long enough to make any real money is very small. One of my typical recommendations to these people is to start building a blog of their own, but do some freelance blogging at the same time. Building a profitable blog takes some patience and a willingness to put in the effort with the hope of being rewarded for it in the future. Very rarely does a blog sprout up and become a big money maker in a short amount of time. However, that doesn't mean that you can't be making money while your blog is in the early stages. For more the two years now I have been doing some freelance blogging for a wide variety of blogs, and it has been an amazing experience for a number of reasons. While there are some downsides to selling your posts to others, there are also a number of reasons that I think freelance blogging is a great option that should be pursued by more people. Here we will look at 10 reasons why freelance blogging can be a great opportunity. Read More »

Blog Design Showcase

The typical post topics covered here involve topics related to social media marketing or blogging. One way to increase traffic to your site is to use an attractive design that will draw a lot of attention. Web design galleries and showcase blog posts like this one send considerable amounts of visitors to sites that display exemplary design. Here we will take a look at 30 blogs that make a big impact with their design. These blogs have been featured at my gallery site Blog Design Heroes, which you can visit if you are looking for more examples of great blog design. Mr. Henry Blog Design Showcase Read More »

Extending the Life of a Blog Post

Blogs are great for getting significant search traffic and other stable forms of traffic on long-term basis. However, with the activities of maintaining a blog, it's very easy to get caught up in focusing strictly on new content. Most bloggers don't touch their old posts after they've been published, other than maybe fixing a typo or a dead link.If you update your blog on a regular basis, you will have a considerable amount of content on the site that has serious potential for driving traffic on an on-going basis. With stable sources of traffic sending visitors to your older posts you will be able to increase your exposure to new readers even without posting ad frequently. In this article we'll look at a number of things you can do to improve the impact of the older posts in your archives. Read More »