Muschamp Rd

For Love or Money

April 14th, 2011
#winning

Love and money is why bloggers blog, or at least to get free stuff.  That seems to be one of the key takeaways from my first ever visit to the Vancouver Blogger Meetup. Our official host was Raul AKA Hummingbird604, but the person who was presenting or leading the session was Jonathon Narvey.

Becoming an Influencer

I don’t think the session or the club was aimed at someone with my experience or technical skills. Apparently the goal of blogging is to attract at least a 1000 readers a day, then parlay that Klout into money or at least free stuff. I’ve been self-publishing stuff online for over 15 years now and it has never resulted in love or money or even free stuff. Sorry to rain on anyone’s parade but if you think in six months or fifty posts or you’re going to be Digeratibetter prepare for disappointment.

Of course I’m just some bitter malcontent and you’re incredibly charming, witty, and beautiful so the blogosphere will love you. If you think that keep drinking the Kool Aid, it’s obviously the good stuff.

Search Engine Optimize your way to Popularity

So besides the ten step process to blogger stardom, what else was discussed? Well that dirty word SEO came up more than once, and true believers were urged to attend Northern Voice at UBC next month. I’m still on the fence about attending, I know some people presenting, but I have my own personal financial crisis, further proof I don’t get love or money for typing this crap.

Now it is 2019 and once again I’m unemployed and this time I am trying to improve the search engine optimization of this blog or at least the Quality of this blog in order to help my career. I’m still not an Influencer or Digerati but I’ve probably come closer than many random bloggers. Blogging can be a tough gig as people discover they are not as awesome as they thought they were.

Step 1: Identify Your Audience

One thing attendees were asked to do is identify their audience, come up with some new compelling content you’ve never written about, and finally techniques to recruit people to write for you. First my audience is mostly friends and family, people who share the same hobbies, and of course online perverts. I’m big with perverts. I tend to give away some of my best content for free, when I should be consulting or otherwise earning a living.  Trouble is even when I consult or tutor I tend to do it for free. Lastly I flat out don’t see why I’d want anyone to write for Muskblog, rather I’m usually the one who gets suckered in or volunteers to write for other blogs.

What if you do want to get rich and famous by blogging?

Don’t be like me obviously. I’ve written a lot, some of it is even useful, so you can learn from my mistakes for starters. First, I now have my own ten point SEO-friendly blog writing checklist. Of course I didn’t call it that, but now that you have read Jonathan’s you can better appreciate my take. My advice apparently doesn’t suck, but it won’t make you number one for any valuable keyword or get you a book deal in six months. It will however help you write better, which should really be one of the goals of any blogger.

Step 2: Focus

Jonathon has at least three domains and has probably contributed to a number of other blogs. I know I’ve contributed to several on WordPress.com alone and that doesn’t count all the content I’ve given away in comments or on online forums. All of that could be earning me Google AdWords revenue. Monetizing your blog wasn’t talked about much, but if you’re not selling your services, perhaps you should sell ads, at least if you’re not hosted by Blogger or WordPress.com in which case the big boys keep all the money. WriteImage.ca has plenty of ads on it, so obviously that money goes to Jonathan. Some people make $1000s of dollars per month from AdWords or other forms of advertising or referral schemes. Most blogs just aren’t that successful.

Irony is Not Dead

As mentioned once already, it is now 2019 not 2011 and I just went to Jonathon’s blog or at least one of them. WriteImage.ca is now considerably more generic. Jonathan may have parked it as unlike Hector J. Cuevas, another self proclaimed blogging expert I linked to back in the day, his website is not occupied by pornographic domain squatters. Keeping this blog and website online throughout all the difficulties I’ve encountered is not given enough credit by perspective employers. I am long overdue for fame and fortune.

I wonder if Jonathon encountered his own difficulties as he hasn’t blogged since 2015 or tweeted since 2016. Perhaps he just got a better paying gig. I myself would like a better paying gig.

Step 3: Carefully choose your Niche

So after learning to write better, and taking a vow to focus and not ramble, make sure you pick your blog topic carefully. If you want to get rich blogging, you’re too late. All the really successful and profitable topics in English are heavily fought over and have entrenched competitors that often have affiliations with larger media empires. If you want fame and fortune from blogging you’ve probably missed that boat and no matter how good a blog you write on taxidermy, it is unlikely to generate the ad revenue or the hits to command a six figure book deal. If you still have delusions of grandeur you’re going to have to write about something with mass appeal, celebrities and what passes for pop culture or gadgets are two areas to focus on. Most any other topic, the best you can hope for is to be considered authoritative, fame and money are probably beyond your reach.

What are you passionate about?

I recommend you write about your passions. Unless you are Meg Ryan, you can’t fake passion, or at least not for longer than a few minutes. Passion will sustain you through the years and hundreds of blog postings it may take to become authoritative.

What does it mean to be authoritative?

Well ask Google, Google is the number one determiner of authority online. Number two is the faceless hordes who forward or click on links and the services that attempt to measure or quantify these clicks such as  Web 2.0 darling, Klout. Authority is the third most important quality to strive for in your writing after timeliness and timelessness.

Step 4: Quality Control

This is where SEO or search engine optimization often comes in. The good people use it to make relevant content more easily findable to those who are seeking it. The not so good people, use SEO to try to convince Google and thus the mindlessly clicking hordes that their website is an authority on your topic of interest. Then they sell ads or referrals and probably search engine optimization services.

Quality includes SEO

I used to think and write more about SEO but for the last several years I’ve been focussed on my CFA® studies. Now in 2019, I’m following legitimate expert advice on how to improve this blog. I even finally installed Yoast’s plugin. In some circles, SEO has a pretty bad reputation and most people who claim to be experts either don’t know anything especially illuminating or what they do know they’ll only share after you part with a tidy sum. Both types can actually hurt your long term search engine performance, as some people’s search engine optimization is Google’s spam. There are a lot of Johnny come lately SEO experts and social media gurus. Before you hire anyone make sure they can show you measurable results and have really rock solid customer recommendations and referrals.

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

This post has gotten too long, but I’m not writing for fame and fortune and I’m not interested in converting the nonbelievers. I only want to help a few people avoid some of the mistakes I and others have made. Another key point to remember, especially if you dream of the book deal or public speaking gigs is, don’t give away all your best stuff for free.

Like Passion, Authenticity is tough to fake

Related to passion and becoming an authority is not being fake. People may not be able to tell right away, but eventually you’ll slip up, or someone with really good search engine skills will dig up something and bring your would-be blogging empire crashing down. Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t type something you wouldn’t say to someone’s face, and don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother or a future employer to read. You’ll regret it and it may cost you more than you’ll ever know. Online anonymity is largely a fallacy.

Shameless Self-Promotion Can Work

In 2011 and especially now in 2019, you can’t neglect social networking websites. Relying on Googlebot to index your stuff and then send the hordes your way used to work and it still can, but Googlebot can be a fickle mistress and over reliance on any one source of readers (or revenue) is unwise. Even before Twitter or Facebook existed, shameless self promotion worked. It may annoy or piss off a few people, but most media whores are more successful than their critics who call them names like “media whores“.

Leverage the Network Effect

It can be a fine line to walk but you need to leverage your existing social network and grow your network. In simple terms this means you have to Tweet and cross-post to Facebook at least once and a while. Do not rely on any one social network, depending on your niche or vertical, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or even WeChat may be the most important social network to your audience. Loyal users are potential fans and even possibly a revenue source. You need to court them and remind them occasionally that you blog and that you are an authoritative expert on the topic your blog focuses on.

No Blog is an Island

My final piece of advice before I hit publish, besides proofread your damn posts, is to participate in the blogosphere, leave comments, link to other blogs you admire, even ones you don’t, even dare to link to the dreaded competition for top spot in Google but do not use your pet favourite keyword.

Top 10 Clickbait Subtitles

It must be 10 tips for bloggers week, or is that every week online since about mid to late 2006? Regardless you can’t make it through a day on Twitter without another post being tweeted to help people become more successful at social media, this one comes from Cybele Negris who I’ve never met, but I’ve met some of her colleagues at industry events in Vancouver. She wrote a post entitled 10 Simple Tips for Optimizing your Blog on Search Engines over at the Small Business BC blog. So if you want more tips or you just like Top 10 lists you should also read the companion piece I wrote to this post, because it’ll eventually influence someone, and you can say “Oh that, I read that idiot’s demented ramblings years ago, he’s full of it” or something equally witty.

Famous Last Words

You’ve got to sell your heart.” that was the advice F. Scott Fitzgerald gave to an aspiring young writer and family friend. That’s a well put way of saying to write about what you’re passionate about and have first hand experience. Douglas Coupland doesn’t even think writers should attempt a novel until they’ve live at least 30 years on the planet.

If you have thoughts on writing or blogging better you’re welcome to leave them below.

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