Today I wanted to write an article about Ian Usher, the reason for this is after watching a documentary on Channel 5 about him here in the UK there was a little something that caught my attention which I found inspiring.
Well the whole story is inspiring, Ian is a big adventurer and I will get into the story shortly but there was one part that I wanted to focus on as the inspirational point of this article for the people who are maybe thinking that they cannot do things online very well or that there are plenty of obstacles preventing them from becoming a success.
I have in the past discussed that success is different for many people, for some people bagging an ideal partner for marriage is a success, and for those then, I guess divorce is a sign of being a failure.
Well in 2008 Ian Usher’s marriage dissolved and he was divorced, did he feel a failure? Had his world come to an end? At that time he might have felt it but in truth it was just the start of an incredible journey!
Ian is English and originally from County Durham, as a child his parents took him and his brother on many foreign holidays and he developed a strong bug for travel, adventure and the outdoor life. I shall not go into great detail of his earlier life, you can read that here: About Ian Usher .
Ian and his then wife to be Laura moved to Perth in Australia in 2001 (A lovely city btw) and started a new life down under, they built an amazing house, they used the best contractors including the Accent Roofing Company to make sure the house was done the right way, they made sure to take into count every detail. After spending seven years doing the usual stuff like working, getting married, having a house in the suburbs etc, Ian’s marriage collapsed and he soon found himself divorced.
It was at that time he decided to have a complete change of life and he sold his life on eBay for £100,000
When I say life I do mean his whole life, all he wanted at the end of the auction was to be left with one set of clothes, his wallet, his passport and a nice little bank balance. His home, all of its contents, his car and even his job position was included in the “The ALife4Sale Auction” sale. The eBay auction caught the attention of the international media and he was interview on all of the major networks globally like the BBC, CNN and ABC.
While the auction was live Ian had another idea, he created a bucket list of 100 things he wanted to do in 100 weeks funded from the proceeds of the eBay sale.
He managed to do 93 of the experiences in the 100 weeks; he kept a record of everything he did over that 100 weeks using a blog and then published his experiences in a book called “A Life Sold – Whatever happened to that guy who sold his whole life on eBay?”
Walt Disney Pictures have also bought the rights to his story and plan to make a film about his life called “Life for Sale”
The next part of the story is that Ian wanted to go ‘off grid’ and he went searching for his own paradise island.
He found an island in the Caribbean Archipelago of Bocas del Toro Panama which he bought for £18,000. He has been living on the remote 2.2 acre Panamanian island with no mains electricity a few goats and chickens as his company.
It had no buildings so Ian spent 6 months and a further £30,000 building his home from scratch; the island is a 20 minute boat ride away from the nearest jungle town. There are other islands neighbouring his which are habited by other people wanting a more ‘off grid’ lifestyle.
During a trip back to London a brief meeting with Vanessa Anderson turned into love and she dropped everything to join him on this remote paradise island. Ian has written a book all about his experience of living on the island called ‘Paradise Delayed’ also available on Amazon as a print book or Kindle book.
The celebrity UK adventurer Ben Fogle met up with them for his documentary “New Lives in the Wild” which is what I saw and you can watch it here New Lives In The Wild Episode 4.
So what is it that caught my attention and made me think it would be good for a post on the bizzebee site dedicated to online businesses? Well for starters there is the fact that he kept a blog which resulted in him having enough content to write two books which he has self-published.
That wasn’t the main point though, for me it was the fact that while him and Vanessa lived a frugal and cheaper than normal existents, to generate some extra money to help buy building materials and fuel for his boat Ian and Vanessa would design websites for paying clients online.
This might not sound much to you, but remember for a minute, they are living on a remote island in a Panamanian archipelago miles from civilisation with no main electrics and yet here they are generating money working online. They charged £300 per website.
Ian generates electricity using solar panels and batteries, he has also set up a wi-fi internet connection to Bocas town.
This internet connection is vital for Ian and Vanessa for keeping connected to the rest of the outside world. What I want you to think about is this:
If a couple living on a remote island can still connect to the internet and make money by offering services then what is stopping you?
I am not saying they run a big successful website design company, they are successful in many ways but the fact they can design websites from a remote island and generate money online I think is incredible and something to remember when you think you are having it tough.
It kind of throws all of the excuses we have out of the window doesn’t it? Time and funds in our expensive and busy lives are biggies, I accept that and unlike Ian, many of us are forced to work long hours and we need more money to live, he has taken himself out of the crazy rat race but I still think it is incredible that people living on remote islands can still use the internet to generate money.
Ok so this isn’t the remotest island in the world but there are villages in the UK that are not connected to mains gas and we have an established network and society. This is an island miles away from the nearest town in a relatively poor Central American country.
When Ian needs fuel he doesn’t get it from a drive through petrol station, no he gets it from a water side shack which is possibly the most unhealth and safety workplace I have ever seen!
Since his big lifestyle change and publishing three books Ian has given a TED Talk and is currently doing a tour across the USA with Vanessa stopping off to do more inspirational talks. Ian has sold a 3rd share of the island to a guy who will be taking care of the island while Ian and Vanessa tour the states.
He has his own website where he helps to inspire people to get more out of their lives which you can access here Ian Usher
I shall draw this article to a close and I suggest you watch this documentary; it really is inspiring, if inspiration is not what you need from this, then you will find it very interesting at least. Watch it here: New Lives In The Wild Episode 4
It is really a memorable day when a blogger launches his/her first blog. I think it’s something many of us can resonate and remember well (if we are indeed blog owners)
This happy, excited feeling doesn’t often remain for long, as all too quickly we find that our readership and traffic isn’t quite where we had pitched it in our own “ideal”
If you have taken on someone else’s blog – by way of purchasing it, then you might not have to worry too much about getting the readership up, especially if the blog itself already has a decent amount of traffic, however if your blog is a new start up sight, then really you do have some work to do!!!
This article will provide you 10 essential tips for the new bloggers that they can use to find readers. These tips are especially designed for new bloggers, who have little traffic on their blog at this moment in time.
If you start working through this list in order, it will go some way in helping you attract more readers to visit your blog. Knowing the best way to approach this, combined with “giving it some time” will really make this task a LOT easier in the future, and readers will grow over time as you would expect.
Top 10 essential tips that will help you to increase readers in your blog
1) Write 5 pillar articles that appeal to your readers most.
A Pillar article refers to the tutorial-style article that is written to provide proper guidance, knowledge, or instructions to people. There should be no word limitation regarding Pillar Article. Although I would recommend at least a minimum of 500 words, or even more than 1000 words, which is totally depended on your topic. The only thing is to provide practical help, tips or advice through these Pillar articles that will remain evergreen. Basically, these are article are “how to” based articles. Pillar articles are able to make long term appeal to the readers. The more Pillar articles you have, the better your blogging result will be. For example, you could consider this article as a pillar article.
2) Write at least 1 post a day for your new blog
When writing 5 pillar posts, make sure you have published all of them at the same time – or at least within a short space of time. This will make your new blog attractive to the readers. After that, you have to maintain publishing daily posts, probably for at least 1 month I would say – as this will populate content and make your blog look “fuller” quickly. You don’t need to write Pillar articles each day, just keep writing fresh and informative posts that are considered helpful to the readers. If people see the blog being worked on with fresh content you are showing that you are committed to it and in turn, this will attract your readers, and create a sense of interest to come back to your blog tomorrow. Moreover, they will be interested to bookmark, or subscribe to your site’s feed.
It is not necessarily important to post articles daily, but it is important to do when your blog has just started. Once you are able to interact with your loyal readers through your blog posts, they will understand why you’ve slow down. That time you can post a couple of articles per week instead of daily posting.
To say it again, the first three months of blogging are critical, so you should publish as many articles as you can on a daily basis.
3) Select a proper domain name for your blog
If you are going to start blogging seriously, you should also be serious at the time of selecting your domain name. Domain Name is a very important and it should be consise and memorable. It enables the people to share your blog others easily. You know that people like to talk with their friends and others about the blogs which they used to read regularly. They also like to share the domain name or URL to their close friends, family and relatives. So, if your domain is not memorable enough, people may forget you.
Always try to get .com for your blog. When going to select a domain name, focus on your selected keywords that are easy to remember. If you find a domain name that is easy to remember and related to your keywords, you have done a great job. (so pat yourself on the back!!)
4) Comment on other blogs.
Once you have published your pillar articles and continue with daily articles, now you are ready to spread your blog to the world. I think, commenting on other’s blogs is a great way to find blog readers for your new blog. Aiming to comment on related blogs can bring lots of readers to your blog.
There are many blogs, which allow you to put your name/site title in the comment box. This will enable blog readers to find your blog. Commenting valuable information can grow interest to the readers to jump into your blog – and remember “curiosity killed the cat” so if you are commenting well on other blogs, people WILL be curios if they keep seeing your name pop up, so make it worth their while when they come over for a visit.
5) Link to another blogger’s article in your posts.
Actually, linking to other’s blog posts in your article is called “Trackback”. If you are going to write a post that references another blog post, you can track back to their site. So, how do you trackback? You can do it just leaving a short description of the article on their entry. It is like telling them that you are going to write a blog post mentioning them. Usually, trackback appears like a comment.
It is a very effective technique that will encourage others to tell their readers to follow your blog post. On the other hand, the other blogger will come back to your post to check what you have written about them. If they like your posts, you may get another loyal reader of your blog and possibly a nice little social shout out – which can again increase traffic to your blog.
6) Encourage readers to comment on your blog posts.
So you want readers? You need to show them that you have already some loyal readers to your blog (trust me it helps, if they think they aren’t alone) If they notice that other loyal readers are commenting on your blog, then they will assume that your posts are good enough to read. They will come again and again to read your posts. One good technique to get comments from your readers is asking them to comment on your blog posts. How do you will ask them to comment? It is really a valuable factor for the expert bloggers. Most of the expert bloggers love to encourage their readers to comment on your posts. On the other hand, you may ask them some question regarding posts. Not only that, you must respond to any reader’s comment, so you can keep your conversation going on.
7) Submit your most recent Pillar blog posts to a blog carnival.
What do you know about the blog carnival? It is actually a blog post that used to summarize few high-value articles about a specific topic from different blogs. The main idea of a blog carnival is to collect some good content on a specific topic. Most of the bloggers link back to a carnival host that is really useful to get a number of readers.
This tip will not get you a flood of readers overnight, but it is worthwhile, as it doesn’t take much time to submit your blog at blogtopsites.com. You just select appropriate category and submit it. After that, copy and paste some codes to your blog. You will get at least 1-10 readers of your blogs using this technique.
9) Submit few quality articles to Ezine.
This tip will help you to bring hundreds of readers, so it’s worth considering, especially if you have already some Pillar articles in your blog. Submit a quality article every week at ezinearticles.com.
Ezine article provides a “Resource Box” that will be a great benefit to you. In that resource box you can include your signature, 1-2 sentence, and link it back to your blog. You will get incoming links when you include your blog link as a signature. If someone likes your article then they may well share it with their own large network, you will get more than hundred readers.
10) Write more and more pillar articles with regular intervals.
All of the above mentioned techniques will only work when you have some strong Pillars in your blog. Without Pillar Articles, you may be able to bring readers, but they will not stay on your blog, or they will not come back again. It is a good idea to write at least one Pillar article in a week. Thus, you have above 50 pillar articles in a year, which will work for you to bring more readers to your blog.
I hope you have read my post very carefully. Everything that is mentioned here are from my own experience with blogging. I have put all techniques for my blogs, and I found these very effective. Also, I should mention that, these are not all techniques to bring readers. Different people use different techniques to find readers. Obviously, based on my own work and experience I can tell you that these 10 tips really do work and help over time in growing your readership and traffic at your blog.
So it’s been a wee while since I wrote a post about my most favourite social networking site, so I thought today would be an ideal opportunity to do so.
The focus of this post is the Twitter ‘retweet’ and I want to give you a few tips that can help you create a more powerful retweet.
But firstly, what exactly is a ‘Retweet’
This is Twitter’s answer to giving someone a ‘shout out’ So when you see someone that you follow tweet something that you like, find of value/interesting, or even funny you can show your appreciation for this by broadcasting that tweet to your followers.
This of course works both ways, so if you are posting things on twitter, you may well find that your followers are also showing their appreciation by doing the exact same to you (providing of course you aren’t tweeting complete gibberish that has no value / benefit to your followers)
Like everything today, there are of course ways in which you can improve how you use the retweet facility that can give you a better chance in your tweets going viral across the network (and obviously this is the name of the game – maximum exposure)
Here is an example of a retweet that I have recently shared in the account for Affordable Printing
In some Social Media dashboards you might see that retweet look a little something like this
RT = retweet = your followers know instantly that this information hasn’t come direct from you, but you have shared this via someone else.
@neondigital = this simply credits the person you are quoting (@ + their name)
“Are you looking to get into the web design industry? Check out our handy tips!” = A Compelling Headline (that will entice people to want to read more)
A URL of where your followers can read the article.
Most of us simply hit the ‘retweet’ button and the tweets are shared exactly like the image above.
BUT WHAT IF YOU WANT TO MAKE MORE OF AN IMPACT?
You can make a few tweaks / changes to the content, to try and entice others to WANT to share it with their followers, because the more its’ retweeted, the better chance you have of the post going Viral.
Try looking at it like this:
Are you looking to get into the web design industry? Check out our handy tips! ow.ly/wKqV8 RT @neondigital – Great tips!!!
Here are my 7 steps to creating a more powerful retweet
MOVE THE HEADLINE– For maximum impact the headline needs to be at the front of the tweet – a compelling start will entice people to read on and click through.
ALWAYS INCLUDE THE NAMES OF OTHERS MENTIONED IN ARTICLE/TWEET – If other people are mentioned in the content you are retweeting or sharing, its polite and good karma to mention their username in the post. The reason for doing this is so that it draws attention to all people the tweet has relevance too, which by the nature of how twitter works would encourage them to retweet to their followers, thus expanding the reach of your tweet.
ALWAYS INCLUDE THE URL AFTER THE HEADLINE WITH A URL SHORTENER – Always remember, you are restricted to 140 characters, so you need to ensure that you are using tinyurl or bitly to shorten external web links
MOVE ‘RT’ & ORIGINAL POST USER TO AFTER THE LINKS – This means you can still credit the original person posting it, but are shifting the entire focus towards the headline and the link.
ADD YOUR OWN COMMENT TO THE POST – So important to include your own ‘voice’ – show appreciation, opinion – remember Social Media is all about collaborating and sharing ideas so people want to see you have actually paid attention and not just hit ‘retweet’ without actually looking into what you are retweeting!
INCLUDE A HASHTAG – SO SO SO important!!! Hash tags are searched, and by adding a relevant one to the retweet, your are categorising the tweet. People have streams set up for their industry and interests by hash tags, so by adding one you are automatically giving your post a higher chance of being seen by people outside of your followers.
KEEP IT SIMPLE – 140 characters is NOT a lot of words to play with, so don’t waffle … keep it short | simple and to the point. And if you want others to retweet it, leave enough characters for someone else to add their own bit to it!
I hope that you can put some of these tips into practice the next time you are going to retweet information, and pay attention to the new followers / and shares that you get! – It’s always worth looking into and checking what works and what doesn’t – a really great way of connecting and using these is by checking out Twitter networking hours – which I am a massive advocate of, and wrote a long list of all the networking hours in the UK which are worth looking at. If you want to check that then please click here.
‘How to improve your Google ranking?’ is a common question that crops up online because it is such an important issue. Search engines send, by far, more traffic to websites than any other method, so it makes sense to make the most use of them. You can only do this, however, by ranking highly within them. But how do you do that? Well we have put together 11 free ways that you can use to help improve your Google ranking.
Let’s get started!
1. Give People What They Are Looking For
First things first, in order to attract traffic to your website you will need to know what people are searching for. This may sound simple (and it is really), but too often website owners write for themselves and not for their readers.
The easiest way to go and find what people are searching for is simply to open up Google or Bing and start typing away. Whatever subject/topic/keyphrase/question, etc. that you were aiming to rank for can be instantly adapted to fit in with what people are actually typing in and searching for online. Of course there are some excellent tools online that can help you do this, such as the keyword planner tool and Google trends, but nothing can quite beat a quick manual search on the search engine yourself.
Only by providing this type of targeted content will you be able to improve your Google ranking, so make sure that you spend some extra time to research your keywords and keyphrases. This leads nicely to my next few points…
2. Use Keywords Within Your Post Titles
Once you have identified which keywords and keyphrases that you are aiming for, you need to include them in your content. By far the best and most effective place to do this is by using them within your post titles. It makes sense of course because obviously (as we have just covered) this is what people are typing into the search engines, but also it encourages people to click onto those pages.
Now, before you go cramming as many keywords and keyphrases into your titles as you can possibly fit (titles can only have a maximum of 70 characters), know that the ones that read properly and make sense are the ones that get the most clicks. This is why ‘question’ titles work so well as;
That is what people are typing in,
That is what people are wanting answering.
For example, let’s say that I was searching online for help on how to make pancakes. If I type into a search engine “How to make pancakes” all the relevant posts and pages will appear. Any post that wanted to rank for this term but simple stuffed their title with keywords (e.g. Pancakes, Cook Pancakes, Easy Pancakes, Pancake Recipe.) then they won’t stand a chance.
As a rule of thumb, try to only use 1-2 keywords/keyphrases within your title and ALWAYS make sure that it makes sense when you read it.
3. Use Keywords Within Your Post Content
Your keywords and keyphrases should also be used throughout the main body of your content. Search engines don’t read in the traditional sense that we do to understand what an article is about, instead it scans your content for words and phrases and determines what it is about based on that.
Again, this doesn’t mean you should stuff your articles with as many keywords and keyphrases as you possibly can. Search engines wised up to this practice long ago and now penalise sites that do this extensively. They should make up no more than 3-4% of your overall article, but if you write normally anyway, you are bound to include plenty naturally.
4. Use Keywords Within Your Post Headings & Subheadings
Keywords and keyphrases should be included in your headings and subheadings, much for the same reason that we include them in our titles.
As we have said, search engines scan through your content to determine what it is about. What they also do though is they look more closely at the text that you make standout in your posts. Subheadings come under this (also known as H1, H2, H3, etc. tags) as they are a good way to gauge what each of your post sections are about, but this can also apply to italics, bold words, quotes, etc.
5. Internal Links Can Improve Google Ranking
A very simple and effect thing that you can do to help improve your Google ranking is to include internal links within your posts. These are links that point to your other articles and pages of your site.
This is especially relevant when you use internal links that are relevant. For example, since this post has a lot of information about SEO, I could link to another post about other useful SEO tips for you to read as this is relevant to the post. This is actually another way that search engines assess what a post is about by looking at what content you are pointing to (both internal links and external links), so it always helps that they are relevant.
Of course the added benefit of using internal links is that readers will get to find more of your own content and stay on your site for longer, which is always a good thing.
6. External Links & The Importance Of Anchor Text
Whilst internal links are very useful, they are expected as obviously sites want to keep people viewing there content for as long as possible. What search engines do though is they also look specifically at the external links that you include (links that point to other websites).
Search engines value the fact that you are willing to point readers to other sites, but which specific sites you point to is especially relevant. Again the key word here is RELEVANT as sites/posts/articles that you link to should in some way be related to what you are saying.
For example, for this post I can quite happily link to other sites that talk about the benefits of external links and SEO techniques because they are relevant to what I am saying. If on the other hand I randomly linked to a site about Orangutans, that would be out of place.
The same can be said about anchor text (the text that you use for the link). This needs to reflect what you are linking to and not be generic (i.e. ‘click here’ is not as good as ‘SEO techniques’ when linking to a post about on-page SEO techniques).
7. More Links To Your Site = Good
Search engines look at the number of links that point to a site and use them as a way to assess how good that site actually is. Think of it like a popularity contest, sites with lots of links pointing to it clearly must be good because they have so many people wanting to link to it. Sites with not very many links pointing to it must be less popular or not very good. This is clearly a very basic way of putting it as obviously, as we have discussed, there are many other factors that are taken into consideration, but it is one metric that search engines use.
A word of warning though. Don’t just think that you can spam links to your site to help boost your ranking. There are many dodgy companies that offer to sell X thousand links to your site, but you should avoid these like the plague. Often these links are from dodgy sites themselves who you don’t really want to be associated with. Also, search engines look at the rate at which sites build up links. If anything looks unnatural (like buying X thousand) then it looks suspicious and could cause you more harm than good.
8. More Quality Links To Your Site = Better
As the old saying goes – “It’s quality not quantity that matters.”
Search engines look at the sites that are pointing to yours and judge their worth based on how good those sites are. This is done using Google’s PageRank (PR) statistics. High quality PR8 sites are significantly better than much lower PR2 sites.
So having 1,000 links from PR1 sites is good, but it is MUCH better to have 100 links from PR5 sites.
In order to help improve your online Google ranking then, try to aim to get links from quality websites within your niche instead of from any old site.
9. Improve Your Google Ranking By Improving Your Website Speed
This is actually very beneficial to your readers, so this is something that you should look to improve upon anyway, regardless of the search engines or not. It is estimated that people only stick around on a site for a few seconds before getting bored and navigating away. If they click on your site and end up staring at a blank screen whilst waiting for everything to load, then they won’t hang around for long. Instead you really want everything loaded up quickly so that they can start reading or viewing your content.
10. The Longer People Stay On Your Site The Better
Another factor, that is both beneficial for your website in general and search engines, is how long people stick around on your website. This includes;
Pages / Session
Avg. Session Duration
If you can increase how long on average people stay on your website and how many posts/pages they view in a single sitting, then you are on your way to dramatically improving your rankings. Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to these problems and can be affected by things like; website design, writing quality, how easy it is to navigate around your site, etc.
11. Your Site Gets Better With Age
Search engines can see and record how long a website is active for. The longer you are around online, the better it looks. Think of it like this – if a site was rubbish and no one was interested in it, then it wouldn’t last very long.
This is why many people like to buy existing sites and “do them up”, so to speak. They get the benefit of a matured domain and everything that comes with that, whilst they can improve upon it and attract more traffic.
Obviously this point is something that you can’t really get around. You simply need to focus on creating and maintaining your site to a high level over time.
Improving your Google ranking is certainly not easy, not least for the fact that search engines never quite let on exactly how they rank sites as they are always changing and adapting. Hopefully though, these free tips will help you to focus your attention on what does work. If there are 3 key things to take from reading this post though, it would be;
Use relevant links,
Quality is what really matters,
Improve your site for your readers and it will improve in the rankings.
What are your views? What other free methods would you add to this list? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to get in touch below via the comments section and we will try to answer them for you.
If like me you have thought about becoming a published author and stay at home writer then today’s post should definitely interest you.
Last night I watched a documentary on BBC2 called Business Bloomers about the story of Amazon.com from its birth in a Seattle garage to the multi-billion dollar business it is now.
It followed Amazon with every high and low including the 98% drop in shares which lead to people being made redundant to the success of its Kindle and how it changed the way we interact with books.
It also interview people here in the UK who have had to close down their businesses because of Amazons influence on the market place and those who have used Amazons services and become very successful. It was a very interesting documentary and I really enjoyed.
Nick Spalding’s Story
What really captured my attention was the story of Nick Spalding. I myself am currently writing a couple of books (This article will be part of one of them) but because of my work load and other projects I drop onto them as and when I can.
I would like to spend more time on them and I am going to force myself to otherwise I run the risk of not finishing them if I carry on as I am. Nick Spalding must have been in a similar situation; Nick wanted to be an body camera and was at the time working in the press office of the local Police force., and for this I was given a anchor, is the same as the police officers wear daily so I could record all my experience and make better and accurate reviews.
He decided that it was a ‘now or never’ time to make his dream come true and set aside one Saturday to write a book from beginning to end. He sat down one Saturday morning and started writing. He wrote for 30 hours, I am not sure if he had a sleep in the middle then continued on the Sunday but he says he wrote for 30 hours and produced over 50,000 words.
His first book was written, he spent a bit more time editing and fine tuning his book and then published it on Amazons self-publishing platform.
Once it was live he would check his sales on his laptop which annoyed his girlfriend Gemma a bit. She wasn’t as excited by his new venture as he was; she had faith in his writing abilities but had no idea if it would amount to anything.
Nick got excited when a copy of his book was sold, someone he didn’t know and would never meet had just bought one of his books and this was a big buzz for him. How well his first book ‘Life With No Breaks’ did I cannot say but it wasn’t long before Nick wrote his second book ‘Love From Both Sides’
Nick’s second book started to sell well and you could say they flew off the shelves hitting over 1000 sales in the same day. Watching this happen in the sales reports left Nick’s ‘head spinning’.
There are two different commission settings on Amazon, for lower priced books you earn 35% of the price and for higher priced books you can get 70%. Nick would have been receiving 35% as he priced his books at a lower competitive rate, the lower the price the greater chance you have of selling more.
And that is what he did; Nick went on to sell 430,000 books that year on Amazon. If he sold a book at £4.95 his 35% commission would be £1.73 so it is safe to say that his 430,000 books brought him in a nice sum of money.
Some people say that there is too much competition on Amazon and that you cannot be successful however there are others who say the audience on Amazon is huge and that the ‘world is your oyster’
If a book sells really well here on Amazon.co.uk, do you not think people in other countries will not be interested? We do now live in a shrinking world and with social media it is possible to build up a global fan base. All of the English speaking nations generally enjoy the same TV shows, films and books, think ’50 Shades Of Grey’ and ‘Harry Potter’
Offline Book Sales
To top it off, Nick was able to cash in twice when he was approached by a traditional print book publishing company who wanted to put his books into shops. He was paid a six figure advance. Not bad is it really?
Nick has now retired from his job with the Police and works from home as a full time writer; he has written several books creating several different income streams. He said this about Amazon… “ I love Amazon… they bought me a house.”
Nick is a success story but he is not the only one, there are more so if you fancied become a self-published author then what, apart from yourself, is stopping you? The opportunity is there as we can see from Nick Spalding’s story.
What Is Success?
I will not say you will all be successful, that depends on what you do, how you write, what you write about and how persistent you are. Nick was fortunate that his first two books were received well and he went on from there.
There are people doing very well writing short stories, erotic fiction and the popular information eBooks & how to guides.
Also let us discuss what is considered as ‘being successful’; it means different things for many people. Some people may not think they are successful until they are completely retired from any work with plenty of money in the bank to cover the expense of enjoying life. Whereas others may class being successful as nothing more than being debt free and working from home doing what they enjoy bringing in a nice amount of money each month.
For many, being successful is not about ‘not working’ but actually doing what they chose and being paid for it rather than being forced to work in a job they detest. Nick Spalding is in a great position because he works from home, he enjoys what he does and he gets paid well for it.
You Can Do It Too
If you believe that you cannot create books because you cannot write, or that you are not any good at writing or maybe just don’t like writing but would like to be an author then all is not lost.
There are things that you can do and we have discussed this in the past, you can always outsource the work to a ghost writer. The ex-glamour model Katie (Jordan) Price has admitted several times on TV and radio that she does not like to write and probably has never typed one word of her many successful books.
Instead she talks into a Dictaphone and crafts her stories and ideas verbally then sends the audio files off to a writer who fattens the stories out by adding all of the detail, descriptions and dialogue.
You can find many writers and researchers online who could do the writing for you, this is ideal if you are working, you go to work and earn some money then pay someone to write your books for your. You lose little time and leverage the skills of others and your money.
Books do not need to be fiction; they can be compilations or true stories. Google is an excellent place to do research on that kind of stuff and as I mentioned a minute ago, you can find excellent researchers online to do your research for you.
The other method of crafting a story to be sent to a ghost writer is to create a story plan, this is similar to a story board used in movies except that you use words instead of images in a Word document.
You could add images if you choose to give your plan more detail but a plan consists of a chronological list of characters and events including what people look like, their age and personality types. Places where they frequent and where certain things happen and what events happen in the right order.
Make the plan as detailed as possible but the great thing is you do not need to fill it out with descriptive words and dialogue unless you want to add a few lines that are important to the story. Your ghost writer will do that for you or at least will try to with your lead. You might need to keep in contact constantly to make the whole process easier for the two of you.
If either of those two ideas do not appeal to you then you can still do the old traditional route and write your book yourself but you will need to put the time in. You can do what Nick did and put aside a chunk of time to write your book until it is finished which to be honest can be very tough going.
Or you can set aside and hour or two each day and write the book over a course of a few weeks, either way, writing a book can actually be a quicker task than you first think if you have a plan and stick to it. Once you get started and get into it you can often not want to stop.
I shall leave you with these two points though,
1. When you have a lot of stuff written it is easier to edit. You cannot edit a story floating around in your head
2. The sooner it is written and edited it can be published which means you can start to change your life for the better sooner rather than later.
So it just leaves me to say, get writing… trust me, if you write 1000 words every other day, even when you think you have nothing to work with, after 6 months or a year you will have a lot of content to edit and chop up into a book. It helps if you have a fore plan though, 6 months or random ramblings is harder to construct into a book but 6 months of written documents about ‘serial killers’ for example means you have a book ready and waiting to be edited.
Today’s post is an extract from a book I am currently writing and I wanted to share some of the content here with you.
Working at something new that is yet to be profitable can get very hard when the hours turn to days and the days turn to weeks and those weeks drag into months. The longer you go without money can really make life desperate and very hard.
It is at that point when motivation starts to wean and a mixture of apathy and procrastination kicks in so today I am going to discuss a few methods to help keep you positive and motivated while you are building a business online.
I don’t know if you were aware of this but the mood of a person is a serious factor in success. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We have reality TV shows (Think Jeremy Kyle & Jerry Springer) full of chronically depressed and unhappy people with a multitude of anxiety complexes living daily dramas and then we have TV talk shows interviewing seriously wealthy and successful people who always seem happy and grateful.
The fact that mood plays an incredible part in success is there staring right back at us every day. All the religions of the past told us to be grateful, to be happy and to praise everything in creation. A Christian hymn we used to sing at primary school is a great example, it wanted us to be grateful for and praise … ‘All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small’
Being happy in life does actually open doors for us in many different ways, being happy keeps us in a positive mind set which keeps us motivated and moving forward but it also attracts people to us. No one likes to spend time with unhappy and miserable people but they love to be around fun and happy people. (Within reason, Jim Carrey could be annoying after a day! :-))
If you are self-employed and running a business your mood and the way you interact with people can often have the same effect if not more on future repeat custom than the quality of your work.
“The Happiest People Don’t Have The Best Of Everything, They Just Make The Best Of Everything”
When life is hard and you are in debt for example, burying your head and making yourself depressed about the situation is not going to help. I know it is often the first thing people do, no one wants or likes to be poor or in debt but…
1) The situation will not change by becoming depressed and low.
2) It makes matters worse because you will find it hard to work when depressed and that means you earn less and the situation deepens.
We need to make ourselves happy and stay happy. I know it is human nature to respond to bad news by becoming low emotionally however I do believe we as a society have learned to stay depressed far longer than what is good for us.
We watch TV soaps and dramas where people do not react and deal with situations they over react and crash. If they didn’t it wouldn’t make interesting or compelling TV but most people are unaware that watching this stuff over many years has a drip drip effect on our minds and we start to learn this behaviour and do it ourselves.
This is very dangerous. I believe guilt is used more as a learned emotion than a genuine one, I am not saying that it isn’t a real feeling or that it is wrong to feel it at times but we have been taught to feel guilty for years by Church and society over things we really shouldn’t feel bad about.
Guilt, shame and depression are often self-imposed prisons we put ourselves in when we believe we have done something our peers and society would deem bad. Often this is not the case.
A bit like the days where left handed people were considered unholy and were made to feel bad and then forced to use their right hands even though it was unnatural. My dad was taught to use his right hand at school even though he was left handed and still today that left handedness is prominent, it is who he is.
Lost in Translation
Did you know? When the bible was first being translated in to English from the original Hebrew texts the word ‘Hell’ had to be invented as there was no word in the English language to cover what was being explained. The original meaning of ‘Hell’ is ‘to be walled in’ and this ‘walling in’ was referring to a self-imposed prison of depression and misery, your own personal ‘Hell on Earth’
Also you might like to know that origins of the ‘sin of sloth’ is not about people being lazy but actually a sin of wallowing in apathy and misery caused by…? Yes you guessed it… long bouts of self-imposed shame, depression and guilt. The truth is people should be happy and avoid misery at all costs as it destroys a person’s motivation and life.
Guilt, shame and self-pity makes people depressed which leads to apathy and procrastination or at least appear it which is often seen as lazy hence why today the sin of Sloth has become the sin of laziness.
A living ‘Hell’ is the result of people living in ‘the sin of sloth’! Isn’t that interesting?
When you strip away all of the crap that has been accumulated over the years by hate and misunderstanding you will see that all the major religions teach happiness, love and respect. They talk about singing & dancing, celebrating life, praising everything and each day to practice gratitude for the things you have and want.
Why do they do this? Because they knew that being miserable and depressed resulted in apathy, procrastination and doing nothing. Singing, dancing, being grateful and praising life which kept people happy and in a positive mind set meant they could go forward in life and live wonderful lives.
So you see living a happy and positive life is very important for your success, don’t believe me, watch the Jeremy Kyle show for a week (without judging) and look at the lives of those who moan a lot, who do not take responsibility of their actions or of their own happiness and who blame everyone and everything else for their problems. Their lives suck because of the moods they live in and the actions they take and as we know mood drives actions.
Try and work when you feel angry, sad or depressed, it can be very hard. Working when we are in a bad mood can lead to making big mistakes, losing your temper resulting in throwing and breaking things or simply just walking away. If things are really bad, depression and apathy sets in and you might not even want to go to work.
Getting out of bed could seem like hard work and hiding under the duvet is the only appealing option. This will only make matters worse, especially if your problems are debt related.
When You Need It It’s Hard, When You Don’t It’s Easy
I remember being on a building site talking with a bricklayer about how cruel it was that it was easier to earn money when you didn’t need it than trying to earn it when you did.
When you go to work and do a full days graft and the money you earn is just going to be swallowed up on debt repayments or living costs with no big visual improvement of the situation or any spare funds left for fun then it is very disheartening. It can be very easy to give up and ‘not bother’.
Whereas when you are flush, life is good and you have all of your living costs already covered earning money when you do not need it is a doddle. Working like this has a very calming and positive effect on the mind and it is those feelings that people need to cultivate as often as they can to help deal with issues and problems.
It isn’t really the money or lack of it that causes motivation or apathy but the feeling of security and being happy. Happiness and feelings of security do not come from situations but from deep within us by from the habitual way we think.
This is what most people do not realise, we have forgotten that WE create our feelings and situations do not but because of the reliant on TV, books and dramas in general we have learned to allow situations to dictate our feelings and reactions. In many ways we now have a belief of what reactions and feelings go with specific dramas and situations thanks to television.
Many people live each day as if they were a character in a soap opera like Eastenders or Coronation Street.
We work better when we are happy and in a positive good mood. The legendary copywriter Ted Nicholas would not sit down and write anything until he had shifted his mood into a positive one. He would stand alone in a room and shout ‘I Feel Terrific’ getting louder each time until he was shouting at the top of his voice. He would often startle the postman and make himself laugh.
Some people will start the day watching a mind movie. I have a mind movie that I watch regularly to help lift my mood. A mind movie has a string of positive quotes, inspirational and uplifting images with a piece of music playing that puts the person in a good mood.
Some people prefer to put on their favourite music and dance for 10 minutes or more to get them into that happy state. You might not be able to dance while driving or sat in a busy office but you can close your eyes and put on some headphones during a break time and run a visualisation of happy images or memories that keep you positive, other people find happiness in having balance on their life, being good at work, or working in a clean space, and that’s why many big companies decide to get DBM Janitorial Services to help them in this regard.
The idea is to fill your mind with pleasing and happy thoughts and ignore all distractions. You need to forget the problems at home and focus only on the tasks in front of you and the day ahead. It is called being Mindful in Zen Buddhism.
If your bank account is low or you are struggling to pay off debts, your mind will be full of worrying thoughts and a lot of time and energy will be wasted on thinking about the situation you are currently in.
No matter how much you worry or think about it, the situation or your bank account will not change in the next 8 hours. Thinking, focusing and worrying about the situation will not and never will change it.
In fact it can and will have the opposite effect to what you are wanting. Worrying and becoming depressed about it will lead you to more apathy and procrastination. It will rob you of your motivation and zest resulting in thoughts like ‘I don’t care anymore’ or ‘It won’t make much difference so I won’t bother’ making your situation worse.
Not only will it make you more depressed and apathetic it will mean you do less and earn less spiralling your problems further. So why allow yourself to become depressed over events and situations? It will not benefit you at all, it won’t help and as we can see it can make matters worse.
Some people say they need to become low and depressed for them to really realise that they are in a mess and that they need to ‘pull their socks up’ and that might be true to a degree but you do need to keep your thoughts and emotions in check. Getting real and serious about your situation is important but battering yourself and keeping yourself locked down in misery and depression is very dangerous.
Every day we are bombarded with soap operas and dramas on TV where the characters get embroiled in some major drama and often over react. They have to otherwise the shows would be dull and no one would watch them.
The problem is that every time we watch a show where people over react to situations it has a drip drip water torture effect on our minds and we slowly learn these new ways of behaving. This is very subtle and I am not suggesting we will end up copying the more severe actions like the killers on the show, that behaviour is very shocking and we can differentiate between that and stop ourselves but the rest is subtle and usually associated to situations WE EVERYDAY folk may experience like break ups and debt.
Over time we learn new habits and before we know it we start to turn the smallest mole hills into mountains, imagine how we would behave when we are faced with the bigger issues that life throws at us. It is dangerous to over react to situations, we need to accept them and then vow to keep happy and work through them or with them as best as we can.
The Happiness Vibration
Being happy increases the frequency of the body’s vibrations and happy thoughts also have a higher frequency too and as science tells us, when two things have the same or similar frequency they are attracted towards each other.
With Einstein telling us that everything in the Universe is made from Energy; that means EVERYTHING around us including the good and the bad. All energy is moving which means it has a frequency and we attract whatever is in the same vibrational frequency we are in.
Energy varies in the frequency so we attract some things and others we don’t, in order to get the better things in life we MUST make sure we are vibrating at the highest possible frequency which is happiness and calmness.
This is why all the major religions in their original fundamental teachings talk about prayer, meditation, praise, gratefulness, singing and dancing because these things raise up our spirits and increase our frequencies to match those that are good in this world.
Sorry the pseudo-science has crept in but it is all important, to go forward in life we must be happy for more reasons than just that it feels good. We do more when we are happy and the more we do the better and quicker our lives will change. Being happy and doing good brings back more happiness and more good to us.
This is my motto which I often chant when I meditate too, I have also been known to sing it 🙂
“The More I do, The Better The Results, The Quicker I Succeed, The Faster I Retire”
Ok so we know that it is important to be happy but what can we do when life situations are hard and we need picking up.
Here are 9 great methods people use to keep happy, to keep their motivation levels up and just to prevent themselves become too down or depressed.
1. Don’t Go To Bed Angry. This can help you sleep well, there is no need to go to bed angry or dwell on the things that went wrong that day, instead run through the good things that happened and the good you did that day and celebrate them in your mind.
If something is bothering you and it is hard to let it go, try imagining that it ended differently. Imagine doing the things that would have made it go the way you wanted then let it go.
2. Make A Fool Of Yourself! Yes seriously this is a good one, it will bring you out of your shell and comfort zone. Find a quiet room or somewhere where no one will hear you and start your day by shouting ‘I FEEL GREAT’ several times and smile.
Really force the smile as far across your face as you can and shout as loud as possible, you will feel ridiculous but that will make you come out of your comfort zone and it will also make you laugh resulting in happy feelings coming to the fore.
The idea is to really shout and let yourself go to come out of your comfort zone and feel ridiculous and foolish in a controlled manner. You cannot be embarrassed when there is no one to see you!
Why not make some loud and strange sounds while incorporating a funny dance? This is similar to method No 3 but unlike choosing a happy song to sing along to you choose something real crazy as we are wanting to make a fool of ourselves to bring forth laughter and good feelings.
You might want to try singing at the top of your voice and dancing around the room to this classic 1963 song by the Trashmen. Fans of Family Guy will know this one. 🙂
3. Listen To Your Favourite Happy Music. Choose your favourite music which makes you feel good, crank it up if you can and lose yourself in it. If you are alone, let your hair down and dance around like a loon for a few minutes.
Seriously let yourself go and go mental, who cares, no one can see you and if they can, does it matter? If you make them smile too that’s even better, spread the happiness. Music and dancing is a great way to lift your spirits.
4. Laugh Out Loud! You cannot beat a real belly laugh if you are struggling to keep happy. Instead of watching the depressing news in the morning why not watch some comedy instead? Watching something that you know will make you laugh will help raise your spirits. If you are unable to watch TV in the morning you can make yourself laugh by doing a forced false laugh. Yes seriously!
I have done this a few times and believe me when I say doing a false laugh is so strange that it is hilarious, the great thing about this is that you can do it in a parked car or in a quiet room. Whenever I do a false laugh I always end up really laughing at myself and what I am doing.
It is so strange you feel a bit of a fool but it is that foolishness that really makes me laugh… eventually. Go on try it, you know you want to 🙂
5. Be Graceful. Sometimes no matter how hard you try you can just be in a terrible mood. This could be a biological response to lack of sleep, bad food or even a bodily reaction to a prolonged depressive state you might have let yourself get into.
You can simply wake up with it one day and not understand why, sometimes they just happen.
These moods can be harder to shift but what is important here is knowledge. Know that this is a mood and that it will shift over time. It might happen on its own or you might shift it by trying out these methods but when you are in one of these moods it pays to be graceful.
The mood will shift just don’t focus on it too much as that will just add fuel to the fire. I have a mood motto…
‘When happy be grateful, when unhappy be graceful’
Trust me when I say that my motto has kept me out of trouble by stopping me becoming snappy and shouty which can escalate problems.
This all comes down to knowledge, you need to be the observer of your mood, you see you are in one but you do not focus on it and you do not allow it to fester or make you reactional. Try your best to be graceful when in these types of moods.
6. Celebrate Your Wins & Successes. When something goes right in your work or life, no matter how little it is, celebrate it. I am not talking about going out for a big meal or a full on ‘night out on the town’; it doesn’t need to be a big celebration. Instead you just need to do a small celebration like doing a quick victory dance (I have a money dance apparently) or you can throw your arms in the air and say something like ‘YES!’ or ‘Thank You’ or even ‘I am having that!’
Maybe sit down with a big mug of coffee or tea and just enjoy the feeling of something going right, it doesn’t matter what you do just take it in, celebrate it and be grateful.
7. Be Grateful & Say Thank You. This is a great mood shifter; studies have shown that people who are more grateful than others are generally happier and more successful. Unfortunately we live in a world of negativity where people, it seems, are more focused on what they do not have or what is wrong with their lives which leads to apathy and depression.
Gratitude is very powerful on the mind, whereas constant moaning and complaining can lead to depression and apathy, being grateful for what you have around you can lift your spirits up and make you happy and motivated to do more.
We can often take things for granted, we suffer from things like PC rage when our computer runs slow or we get angry when the shower is cold but what would life be like without them?
Imagine a life with no hot water, or clean drinking water or heating. We can go weeks where things run smoothly and we have access to great tools and opportunities but we never say thank but when the day it ‘fails’ or ‘plays up’ what do we do? We overreact and moan and groan becoming depressed and annoyed. I know it is not nice when these things happen but it is nice when things run smoothly which is most of the time.
When you stop and think about the things you actually have and the things they do for you each day, you can become very humbled and grateful. Saying thank you for these things can have a very powerful effect on your spirit and motivation.
Comparing yourself to others can lead to feelings of not having enough which is dangerous, David Beckham may have more money than me and life would be easier if I had more but I do have enough for my bills, living costs and occasional holidays. I am not without.
I have clean drinking water, I have hot and cold water for cleaning myself, clothes and pots.
I have a kitchen with electricity and gas where I can cook food and I have cupboards full of healthy and tasty food.
I have a sturdy house for shelter, I have people who love me, I have access to the internet and technology that allows me to do stuff that was not possible ten years ago.
For all of that I am grateful and I say thank you.
Only last night I watched a documentary about squatters and townships in South Africa, for me to not be grateful for the things I have is an insult to those who really do not have anything.
I have a lot to be grateful for and for that I say thank you.
8. Meditate. When you mention meditation people run scared thinking it has religious connotations and that they have to become very spiritual or spend hours trying to become some Jedi style master with special mind powers. This is not true at all; meditation was used by many religions mainly because it was a tool to help keep people calm, healthy, happy and focused. More importantly it worked.
Meditation is all about the calming of the mind and keeping it focused on one thing at a time. Meditation is the tool used to train the mind to live in Mindfulness as it is called in Zen Buddhism. A mind full of thoughts and worries is a mind not focused or at peace. It is easily distracted and it can be damaging to a person’s happiness and progress.
Meditation has many great benefits too; the quieting of the mind can bring forth great ideas and help solve problems because your mind is not jumping from one thought to another.
Meditation is the only state where the brain has both Beta and Alpha waves working together meaning you are active and yet resting. Usually the brain has one wave working when awake and the other when asleep, during meditation both are present and this is good for your mind and health.
Meditation can lower blood pressure, it can be good for people with heart problems as it slows down and calms the heart rate also it is great for people with depression and anxiety.
There are many different ways to meditate, the most popular one is to sit quietly with your eyes closed while you focus on your breathing or repeating a mantra like “The More I do, The Better The Results, The Quicker I Succeed, The Faster I Retire” (one of mine)
Many people do not realise that past times like singing, knitting and painting are also forms of meditation. Work can also be classed as a meditation when you get in ‘the zone’ and all other thoughts and distractions have dissolved away leaving you just purely focused on the task at hand. Being in ‘the zone’ is a state of Mindfulness
The idea of meditation is to create a state of Mindfulness by clearing the mind of all thoughts and distractions. We live in a very fast society with so much distraction around us from our work computers connected to the internet, our smart phones also connected to the internet, satellite TV and radio. We hear bings and bongs going off everywhere as we receive emails, texts, Tweets and notifications on social media. Is it surprising we are easily mentally distracted?
Trying to have a quiet mind without distraction is very difficult for most people, our busy distracted lives of flipping from here to there is mirrored in our minds with our thoughts. If you find it hard to quieten the mind it is advised that you start by sitting for a few minutes in a comfortable chair counting your breath as it goes in and counting it as it goes out again.
This helps focus your mind on something and try to block out other thoughts taking your attention away. Breathe in and count to 5 or 6, when you have taken in enough air (do not force yourself to take in more) breathe out and count again to 5 or 6.
If you can only count to 3 or 4 then do that, that is good, do whatever you are comfortable with. Meditation is a tool to enjoy not a skill that must be mastered in a set way. To think that is adding pressure to you and is damaging to your progress.
9. Watch A Mind Movie. A mind movie is a short film which includes a series of positive and uplifting affirmations, photos that are of things you would like to achieve, places you want to visit and of people you love or of times that have happy memories.
These images and affirmations are shown in a slide show type of film with a piece of uplifting music that generates an emotional response. The film should have you feeling great.
A short example of my mind movie.
Mind movies are pretty simple to create, simply choose your favourite piece of music that makes you happy and your happiest photos then put them together using free software that you will find on your computer. You then need to watch your mind movie every day as often as you can.
Once in the morning and once at night is generally recommend and over time those images, affirmations and feelings will start to change the way you feel and think into a more prolonged positive state.
Two opposing thoughts cannot live together for long in the same moment in space or time. You can be having happy thoughts when a sad thought pops up in your mind but it cannot take hold if you see it then ignore it in favour of focusing on your happy thoughts.
Only when you focus on it more and allow the good thoughts and feelings to slip can the sadness take root. Both cannot live for long side by side, one has to replace the other and it is up to you to become the observer and decide which ones you allow to take hold.
I won’t say it is easy, I still find it hard at times. I have 40 years of habit to fight against but with knowledge and understanding I can often take control of my emotions and thoughts.
Sadness, worry, anxiety and depression cannot take root in a mind that is busy being focused on a project at hand. When you are focused on something fully you will be left calm and in a natural state of being happy. It is up to you to decide which way you go.
I will leave you with this thought; unhappiness breeds depression and apathy whereas happiness breeds calmness and focus. One robs you off motivation and productivity and the other increases motivation and productivity giving you a greater chance of success in life. Which would you prefer?
I wrote a post recently about people hesitating on starting a blog, which let’s face it, many of us do when first starting out. This led to a few questions though on social media asking what people should actually do within their first week blogging. Well ask and you shall receive.
I’ve put together a simple 6 step plan for you to follow during your first week blogging. Now, this isn’t a strict “Day 1 do X, Day 2 do Y, Day 3 do Z…” kind of plan, it is more of a loose guide for you to follow. The main aim though is to highlight key areas that you should be focusing on initially so that you don’t get distracted by smaller, insignificant details that can wait for later.
So without ado, let’s get blogging!
1. Pick Your Niche
If you plan on starting a blog, THE most important decision that you will have to make is on what subject to focus on. This can/will determine whether your site will be successful or not almost from day 1.
I go into much greater detail in a previous post about picking a niche to blog about, but essentially you need to take some time to really think about and analyse your preferred subject. Rushing in and committing to a blog all about your favourite hobby may sound like a good idea to you, but does it appeal to a wider audience? Without a large enough group of people who would be interested in your site, it is doomed from the start.
On the other hand however, if you pick a subject that is too broad, you run the risk of being too generic and not attracting visitors. There is a definite balance that you need to find;
Blog niche is targeted at a large group of people.
Blog niche isn’t too generic that people won’t know what your site is about.
Blog niche is too small to appeal to enough people.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say you had a passion for cheese cake and wanted to start a site on that. A blog that focused purely on cheese cake would probably be aiming for a much too narrow niche to attract that much traffic (and you’d likely run out of ideas pretty quickly). If on the other hand you broadened it out to include all types of cakes, that would appeal to a much broader audience. Take it to the furthest extreme though and broaden it out to “cooking” in general and you risk being too generic. If people know you as a “site about cakes” or “the cake blog” they know what they are getting.
2. Set Up Your Site
A pretty important part of setting up a blog online is to actually set it up. Now this is a lot easier than most people first think as all you really need is;
A domain name,
WordPress theme (optional).
A domain name is essentially the address of your site (e.g. www.ExampleSite.com) and every site needs one. If you can, always go for the ‘.com’ version as that is what 99% of people will type in without thinking about it. We would recommend you to GoDaddy* to get your domain, we use them for all of our sites and have never had a problem with them.
Web hosting is essentially the space where your site is stored online. In order for people to access a site 24 hours a day, all the images, text, website files, etc. need to be stored on a server somewhere. This is why you need web hosting. Bizzebee and the whole Bizzebee team use HostGator to host our sites online and would recommend them to you.
WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) that makes it incredibly easy to setup and manage your blog, and what’s even better is that it is completely free! You simply install it onto your web host and then you can add posts, images, edit the look of your site, etc. without the need for any complicated coding.
You may want to install a WordPress theme for your site, as this can greatly improve the look of your site. There are plenty of free WordPress themes available online, but for a professional looking site you probably want to go for a premium one. There are lots of sites that offer high quality themes for you to buy, such as StudioPress.
3. Set Up Your Key Pages
Once you have actually setup your site online, it can be tempting to just start writing your blog and focus on that. You really need to setup some important pages before you do that though, including;
About page – Who you/what your site is about.
Contact page – Allowing people to get in touch with you.
Sitemap – Very important for the search engines to find all your content.
Subscription page – Allowing people to subscribe to your newsletter if you have one.
Legal page(s) – Affiliate disclosure, earnings disclaimer, privacy disclosure, etc.
Category pages – Allowing people to easily find all your content.
Home page – With a good, clear layout.
Creating these pages right at the beginning of your site will help greatly in the long run. You may need to come back and edit them now and again, but at least people will be able to navigate around your whole site easily.
4. Get Writing
You have started a blog, so at some point you are going to have to start blogging.
As this is your first week, there is no need to go mad and publish tons of content. One or two posts would be more than enough to launch your site with. After all, you will probably be spending most of your time this week on the other points that we have listed.
One thing that you should do, however, is to make a list of future posts that you want to write. This doesn’t need to be a definitive list of post titles, more like a list of ideas that you can pick from. You will need to produce regular content for your site every week (2-3 posts at least) in order to begin to build up an audience, so having a list of ideas to draw inspiration from is very beneficial.
5. Plan, Plan, Plan
Successful sites don’t happen by accident. Owners have planned out where they intend to take the site over the weeks/months/years and work towards achieving that. Since you are just starting out, planning is more important than ever, as without a plan you are destined to fail. As the old quote goes;
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
…or another of my favourites;
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Think about how you will;
Attract new traffic to your site,
Get people to navigate to your key posts/pages,
Compete with other sites in the same niche,
Make your site stand out against the competition,
Develop and grow your site over time,
…and much more.
6. Set Up Your Social Media Profiles
A massive part of attract traffic to a site and building a brand is linked with social media. This is why it is very important that you take the time to, not only, setup social media profiles for your website, but also take time to be active on them as well.
Again, as we are focusing on your first week blogging we shall just look at setting up your profiles. It is better to do all these at the beginning as then people will be able to find you on their preferred network.
Start by setting up profiles/pages on;
Depending on your site, you may want to create profiles on sites like Instagram and Flickr as well.
It is also important that you brand each of these profiles in the same way. A brand identity can be built by consistently using your logo for each profile picture. What you don’t want to do is create profiles that all look as though they are by different companies.
7. Get Involved
Lastly (and this links in nicely with our last point), you need to start getting involved online to help spread the word about you and your site. There are literally hundreds of ways that you could do this, but some methods would include;
Follow people within your niche on social media,
Get involved in conversations online to do with your niche,
Get involved in the comment sections of rival sites (don’t spam though),
Keep up to date on what is happening in your niche,
Join forums within your niche,
Essentially, just get involved with the community that you are aiming your site at. Ask questions, answer questions, be helpful to everyone and always remember that what you say online can (and will) reflect on you in the long term.
Go And Get Started!!!
There is no getting away from the fact that there is a lot of work to do to get your site up and running. If you are serious about starting a blog though, you will approach it in the right way.
Blogging is a fantastic industry to get involved in. It is great to, not only be involved in an online community that you are passionate about, but also to be at the heart of that community where people come for information. I am a firm believer that anyone can create a successful site online, they just need the right attitude and a good plan.
Are you thinking about stating a blog? What would you add to this plan to do in the first week of blogging? Do you have any questions that you would like to ask us? Please feel free to get in touch via the comment section below.
Firstly, I hope everyone has had a wonderful EASTER 🙂 It was my birthday yesterday, so I wasn’t around to publish this post (apologies for that, but I took advantage of the Bank Holiday here in the UK, and rewarded myself with 5 days away from the computer screen)
You might also be pleased to know, I managed to abstain from chocolate eggs too!!!
So, I’m back today to share this post with you, I know my colleagues here at Bizzebee have written posts before about content but I decided today that I would offer my thoughts on this matter too 🙂
Content Is King
This week I want to talk to you all about CONTENT. This is the KEY element to building a lasting fan base across your Social Networks.
Because you want pages and profiles that are full of life, with a community building online that is active, involved and want to know what you have to say.
In this web 2.0 world we are living in now, CONTENT REALLY IS KING. It drives traffic to your website, your blog and anywhere else you choose to have a presence.
If you are serious about your online brand, then you will need to get involved in creating content, finding content, sharing content with your peers | prospects & customers alike, and I am talking about GOOD RELEVANT Content, things that you will find interesting and believe YOUR network will also find of value.
I am going to specifically focus in on my favourite method of content creation (mainly because I love writing), which is Curation.
Curation is the process of looking through / sorting through vast snippets of information on the web and ‘re-packaging’ it in a different way. Taking what other people have said and putting your own spin on it or rewording it to make it suit your audience.
I spend a LOT of time researching and reading articles online and as a result of that I often find that I have a lot of articles and blog posts that I create based upon existing knowledge I have about a subject combined with information I have read elsewhere.
Curating is not restricted to simply ‘re-packaging’ so to speak, by this I mean that if you read an article that is reviewing a product | service and you have experience with said product, you can also offer your own review on the subject too, putting back links to the other review, almost like a comparison / contrast.
Rohit Bhargava points out clearly in a post that a content curator is always looking to share and make sense of the best most relevant content within a particular area / topic, and more often than not this is a skill that almost becomes second nature in their daily life.
In 1 day in April 2012 250 MILLION photos were uploaded to Facebook, 864,000 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube and 294 BILLION emails were sent.
So where do you go to look for all of this information?
This may seem like a silly question, given the amount of information available at our fingertips – but its not, because you want to look for the best most valuable information out there about your chosen subject / product or service.
In my post “What Is Feedly?” I talk about how you can house all of your favourite websites and blogs, in the one place (a bit like an RSS feed, which is now my favourite way to keep uptodate since Google Reader is no longer around) – This makes life a heck of a lot easier because you aren’t having to jump from website to website to read all the information. In a cool magazine type place, Feedly delivers everything you need, right when you want to see it.
The other great way to find content is to use Google Alerts – you simply set these up by keywords and you can choose to have them delivered at different intervals – as they happen, once a day, once a week etc, they are delivered direct to your email inbox. Personally I think that if you scan each alert within 60 seconds you will know if there is any articles in there that are worth opening. If you spend any longer than that scanning the alert then you should probably just delete it.
The more you spend time looking at content online that you wish to use in order to help create your content the quicker and better you will get at sifting through and identifying the good from the bad.
I have all my Google alerts delivered once a day and they cover a variety of keywords and topics, all of this information is collected and I then set myself some time each day to ‘curate’ the most interesting things and topics into my own language, that appeals to my target audience. Where do I post it? You don’t always need to have a business blog to put this information out.
The fact that Facebook allows you to create ‘notes’ can almost act like a mini blog itself. It’s a fantastic tool and there is no limit on how much you can post. The other really great thing about posting on your Facebook page with notes is that its continually building engagement on the page, which is exactly what you want.
Taking on the role of content curator for your product and helping build this online community engagement is a big task, but not one that is impossible. The more you do it the easier it gets. And when you post the articles in the various social networks ASK for feedback – engage with the audience reading it, you will soon know if you are getting it right.
There are a few rules in which you need to bear in mind when Curating content, infact it has its very own ‘code’
To give you an idea of what to bear in mind for Curation best practice:
If you don’t add context, or opinion, or voice and simply lift content, it’s stealing.
If you don’t provide attribution, and a link back to the source, it’s stealing.
If you take a large portion of the original content, it’s stealing.
If someone asks you not to curate his or her material, and you don’t respect that request, it’s stealing.
Respect published rights. If images don’t allow creative commons use, reach out to the image creator–don’t just grab it and ask questions later.
So if you are ready to dive in with providing a service to your readers, then fire up that laptop and get stuck in!
Today I wanted to put together a quick video introducing you to the excellent online software/service called Instapage. This software/service makes it easy for non techies and newbies to build great looking landing pages using pre created templates.
This is a paid service but comes with a basic free service. We are not affiliated with Instapage and we get no money from them if you do decide to take up one of their paid services but it isn’t the paid services that I wanted to tell you about.
For small local offline businesses I think the free landing pages you can create with Instapage are great and could save you a lot of time and money. If you have a WordPress website then you can easily add your landing page to your website using their WordPress plugin. This plugin connects the two together nicely.
If you are using one of several email marketing services like AWeber then you can connect them to the landing pages to start collecting email names and build that important email list.
The system is a great tool to anyone who wants to start building an email list as part of the online side of their business.
Watch the video below as I give you a quick look inside Instapage.com and show you how easily the templates can be edited.
There could be many different individual reasons why your blog is rubbish, but from my experience it usually comes down to a select handful of reasons. I see many sites make these big mistakes, which only makes it harder for them to succeed.
Let’s take a look at some of these mistakes to avoid and, more importantly, how to fix them.
1. You Site Is Slow, Very Sloooooow
Search engines have stated that they are taking a websites speed into consideration when ranking them, which is why it is so important that you work at speeding up your site. Too often I have landed on a site that takes forever to load. All that does is encourage people to click off of your site and go elsewhere.
A websites speed can be affected by many things, such as;
The website theme that you are using,
The number of plugins that you use,
The number and size of your images,
Excessive number of on-page elements that need loading,
Your first stop that you should take to determine what work needs to be done is the Google PageSpeed Tool. That will give you a score out of 100 whilst also identifying areas that you can improve.
2. You Don’t Have Anything For People To Subscribe To
Any successful blogger will tell you that you need to grow your subscriber list. One of the best ways to do that is to encourage people to subscribe by giving something away for free as an incentive. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, something as simple as giving away a free eBook or an eCourse can be a great way to get people to sign up to your list. We do this ourselves here on Bizzebee, offering subscribers a free eCourse to ‘Help You Get Online In 7 Days’.
AWeber is the industry standard tool for email marketing and it is really easy to setup.
3. You Don’t Reply To Peoples Comments
Comments are at the heart of any website (or at least they should be) as they are from your loyal readers. People can get fixated with the amount of comments that they receive, when in reality it is more important to focus on the quality of the comments you receive.
To encourage more interaction on your blog posts/site, you should be making the effort to reply to each and every comment that you receive. This is for two simple reasons;
It is polite to reply to someone that has taken the time to leave a comment,
It gets the conversation going, helping to encourage other people to comment.
If people have spent time crafting a question for you to answer or need further clarification on what you have written about, you should make the effort to follow up on that. This can actually refer to social media as well, as you should make the time to reply to people’s questions on Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc. as it is all a reflection on you and your site.
4. Your Blog Content Is Rubbish
A blog is only as good as its content. If you want to create a quality website, you will need to publish quality content to attract readers. It is your blog content that brings in the traffic, that encourages people to subscribe, that brings in the advertising/affiliate revenue, etc. so it needs to be up to scratch.
Some common examples of poor quality content would include;
Very short posts that don’t go into much detail (i.e. less than 300 words).
Poorly formatted content, with no headings, subheading or paragraphs to break it up.
Visually unattractive (basically just text, no images or videos are included).
Of course, the absolute worst thing you can do is to simply copy & paste content from other sites and try to pass it off as your own. Not only can you get banned from the search engines by doing this, but it is also illegal (as content is copyright protected) so you risk having your site closed down entirely. I have been the victim of people stealing my content and passing it off as their own, but I have (along with many others in the blogging community) always chased up those offending sites and reported them to their hosting providers.
In order to create quality content you need to spend time working on the “quality” aspect of it.
Write longer posts that are helpful and detailed for people.
Include multimedia aspects (Images, Videos, Slideshows, etc.)
Format your content properly (Paragraphs, Headings, Subheadings, Bullet points, etc.)
Follow up with a call to action at the end of your posts.
Include internal & external links to relevant posts.
These points may seem obvious to some but I can guarantee that all sites will have suffered from these at some point or the other. There is so much to learn about running a blog that it is easy to let things slip in certain areas if you are not careful. Some of my early blogs were truly horrendous looking back on them now, but you learn from those mistakes and move on. Only then can you begin to improve your existing site(s) and look to take them to the next level.
What things have you spotted that other sites are doing that would make you label them as rubbish? What areas do you think you could improve upon on your own blog? Please let us know in the comment section below.