Example

One of the top reasons blogs are successful online over top news and informational sites is the growing, active community that breeds around the words that go live when you hit the publish button.

That personal connection between blogger/reader and reader/reader is what keeps your subscribers coming back for more time and time again (in addition to your kick ass content). This uniqueness of community within blogging is the driving force that continues to create traffic and profits in the blogging industry. However, while there is a ton of information out there on building community in your blogging, there are several things that you need to keep in mind when you are trying to build community in your own corner of the web.

Not All Communities Communicate In The Same Way

While the blogging niche is known of commenting on blog articles, the rest of the online world is not necessarily going to communicate in the same way. I see a lot of bloggers in sports, technology or other niches that try to force the blog commenting down the throats of their readers to find only one or two comments on an article that is getting thousands of pageviews. The reality…their readers want to communicate and form a community around a different online asset.

When you are looking to form an active community around your blog, you need to take a serious look at how members of your niche are communicating online in other areas. Here are a couple of examples to look for…

  • Online Forums and Bulletin Boards
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Special Interest Sites – Flickr.com, etc.

When you figure out how your audience wants to communicate online, you have to either bring your brand and your blog to them (Facebook Fan pages, Twitter lists, etc.), or create your own asset on your blog (example: add a forum to your site).

Building Communities Takes Serious Time And Effort

To bringing the community atmosphere to your blog takes a lot of time and effort. Luckily, this investment pays off in a big way as you create dedicated and loyal readers in the process that will promote your blog and increase your bottom line. If you are serious about building up this asset in your blogging, you have to be ready for the long haul as it is not an overnight process.

Commenting On Articles – If your readers like to comment on articles, be prepared to answer as many comments as you can to foster that connection between blogger/reader. Also, tailor your content by asking questions and having a defined opinion to breed more comments on articles and between readers. If you have a handful of regular subscribers that provide feedback, reach out to them and ask for some help with getting comments started on articles. The first comment is sometimes the hardest to get…

Jump Starting Forums – Online forums are one of the hardest resources online to get started. However, they can be a HUGE resource in your blogging for repeat visits, pageviews and traffic to your blog articles. You are going to need the help of contests, active moderators to start topics and constant replying to topics within your forum to create the stickiness that successful forums require.

Creating Online Profiles and Driving Traffic To Them – If your readers prefer communicating on social media sites like Twitter for Facebook, you have to build up credible online profiles in each of these online resources. This means you have to have professional looking avatars and background, onsite promotion tools to drive traffic to the profiles and constant/consistent updates to keep fresh content following. One of the easiest ways to create community around your social profiles is to ask questions related to your niche (also great for spurring blog content ideas), but you have to put in the effort to attract followers so you actually have people that will answer!

Strong Communities = Success Online

The most successful blogs online have some version of a community asset on their blog. In most cases, successful bloggers combine multiple community assets to further increase their spread online and attract different kinds of internet users in the process.

If you are serious about making a serious run at online success, your involvement with communication and interaction is key to fostering a community atmosphere around your online real-estate.

Example

With the ultimate goal of pulling monetary value out of your content, you have to figure out how to extract dollars out of words. While we drive traffic to our blogs to get more eyes on our content, if you really want to make it online full-time, you have to build up a digital empire by applying underground blogging secrets that extract money out of your content.

We watch bloggers everyday do it wrong. They post up content, promote it on Twitter and Facebook, sit back and wait for a social media traffic spike and then rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, they keep checking their stats and wondering…”why am I not making any money?”

You are not making any money because content publishing on its own is not a monetization effort. Have you ever looked at a blog and wondered, “how the hell does this site make so much money?!” It is because 90% of all of the income made online (unless you have as much traffic as Perez Hilton and…if you are reading this post…you aren’t) is actually made off-site. If you are really planning on making money in your blogging, you have to realize that your blog content is the means of attracting more readers and your off-site marketing and promotion is your means of monetizing those readers.

So what can you include in your digital empire to actually generate income? While there are dozens of ways to generate revenue…here are the big three.

  1. It’s All In The List – The word email list makes most people flinch up and run for the hills. However, it is still the #1 resource online for generating income. Before you start thinking you have to be an email spammer to make money, that is actually the complete opposite from the truth. Your email list is your means to build up trust and respect with your readers…not spam the crap out of them. Your email list is a collection of your loyal minions that help you grow your business past the couple bucks a day stage. With that respect…comes responsibility to continue delivering the goods (both free and paid).
  2. Your Own Products – When you sell a product (eBooks, tangible goods, services), you income is generated outside of your normal blog content. By providing valuable resources and goods, you further solidify your reputation online and…through that…you create repeat business. The big question you have to ask yourself is…”what do my readers want to spend their money on in my niche?” Once you find the answer to that question, it is up to you to provide the solution.
  3. Exposure – The online world is growing rapidly. With major print productions looking to online resources as a way to evolve and grow, more readers are looking to digital resources over typical print. This opens a huge door for entrepreneurs looking to make it big as you no longer have to compete with the high, up-front capital investment required for print. With enough traffic (and email newsletter subscribers), you are able to provide exposure for companies in your niche for advertising. However, this requires you to step outside of the online world and go after the advertising dollars. If you are planning on putting up an “advertise with us” and sit back and wait for the offers…you are going to be consistently waiting. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, step outside the box and cold contact potential advertisers.

The key to success online is through diversification. If you can take one thing from vastly successful corporations, it is that diversification is the one thing that keeps a profit driven company consistent over the longhaul. By constantly evolving and adding in different methods of income generation, you are able to weather storms with ease.

What would happen if your primary income stream went away tomorrow?

The scary question that most bloggers never ask themselves. With as many viable income streams as you can manage coming into your digital empire, you are able to consistently grow and not worry about disastrous situations. You just keep rolling on…expanding and growing while others falter.

Example

We all want to be successful. As we pine away at producing content into the wee hours of the night, we do not hit that publish button hoping that no one will read what we have to say so that we can make $0.00 per hour…we hope that it takes off like a viral masterpiece so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor! However, there are certain aspects of blogging that can completely derail your goal and keep you in the “could have been” pile for years to come. It is important that you address each of these success killers in your blogging to insure that you can be more efficient and keep the snowball effect rolling. Otherwise…you are just going to be spinning the wheels of disappointment.

Top 12 Success Killers In Blogging

So let’s jump straight into it. Here are the top 12 success killers in blogging. If you do not get these items in check, you might as well pack up the laptop now and give up. These are not in any particular order as I find each of these items just as important as the rest.

1. Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media

Yes…social media is a fantastic way to bring in traffic to your blog and establish yourself as an expert in your niche. But…social media is also an addiction that can rob you of precious minutes throughout the day that could be used for actual productivity. If you want to really see how rampant this addiction is in today’s society, just take look at how much your friends that don’t own blogs spend on Facebook and Twitter!

Solution: You can use tools like HootSuite and MarketMeTweet to schedule tweets that also update your Facebook accounts and pages. It is also a good idea to block off a small portion of time during the day to focus on social media and then close those apps to cut down on distraction while you work.

2. Your Email Inbox

If you are anything like me, that 3 (or 40 in some cases) that is in a red circle on my email app drives me crazy. I just can’t not open it up and read it! Your email can drown you as a blogger. We all want to answer our emails in a timely fashion, but if we are spending the day answering one email at a time, we are disrupting work flow and concentration on our goals.

Solution: Just like with social media, block off a period of time each day to handle your email. During the rest of the time, close your email app or window to prevent the urge to jump into it every 5 minutes.

3. Not Tracking Statistics

Watched statistics increase. Any business owner will tell you that is just a natural part of the business building process. As you start to watch your metrics and earnings, you will see trends that can help you in the future as you try to increase income and productivity. How do you know what you need to improve if you are not sure what isn’t performing well? You don’t, so watching and tracking statistics is vital to success.

Solution: Luckily for bloggers, there are a ton of free and paid tools to make this happen. For web stats, you can use Google Analytics, Mint or CrazyEgg. For the monetary side of things, I typically like to just use Excel to track earnings and trends.

4. Procrastination

“I’ll just do that tomorrow.” I can not even begin to tell you how many blogs that one line has killed. Procrastination is a hard thing to combat when you do not have a boss leaning over your shoulder asking when a project is going to be completed. Being your own boss means that you actually have to be your own boss.

Solution: Set time lines and checklists and then stick to them! By writing things down and mapping out your day/week/month/year, you make yourself accountable. You are the only one that can get the job done and no one else cares (well maybe your readers) if you do or not. So get on it and get organized.

5. Low Self Worth

You started a blog or business because you wanted to make something better for yourself. You also started it with the belief that you were actually capable of completing that goal. With time, after a couple of trolls hit your site or you do not see success right away, you start to think that maybe you aren’t good enough or it just isn’t in the cards for you. One of the worst thing an aspiring full-time blogger can do is to start lowering their self worth by not believing in themselves. Confidence is required for success.

Solution: To keep the motivation and confidence rolling, celebrate the small successes. Did you have more subscribers today? Make your first 50 bucks? Celebrate these small successes that will lead up to large ones. You will be surprised what that can do for your blogging morale.

6. Unrealistic Expectations

A lot of bloggers jump into the scene with unbelievable, unrealistic expectations about blogging as an income. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. If you are looking to make money fast online, take a look at pure affiliate marketing or some other form of faster income generation because blogging is about building a real business over time. If you are expecting to start a blog and be full-time in 6 months, you are just going to be disappointed and give up at the 6 month mark.

Solution: Set real, obtainable, honest goals for yourself and then start chipping off those goals one by one. The addition of small, completed goals equal the large payoff over time.

7. Not Setting Goals

Are you just winging it hoping for the best? Do you even know where you are headed? If you are not setting goals, you are just wandering in the wasteland of the Internet with the hope that something is going to hit one day. Successful business planning is centered around setting and achieving goals. Without that…you are just a blind man in a maze.

Solution: Set long-term and short-term goals. The short-term goals should add up to the long-term over time. Track these goals and cross them off as you compete them.

8. No Defined Purpose

How many blogs have you gone to that do not seem to have a defined purpose. They start off with a specific niche and then start talking about blogging, their life or some other random subject that has nothing to do with their original intent. The by-product of this behavior? The blogger starts to lose their audience, credibility and success.

Solution: Pick a niche and rock it out. No one wants to hear about blogging on your gardening blog. They want to hear about gardening! As time progresses, you can expand into other related subject matters (like tree growing), but you need to keep it related. You can kill your blog by going off topic frequently.

9. Bad Promotion Strategies

The “build it and they will come” mentality to blogging is gone. Unfortunately, there is just too much mess on the Internet today to rise above the noise without some kind of self-promotion. In today’s world of successful blogging, you have to be a marketer as much as you are a blogger to get your name out there.

Solution: Find the promotion strategies that work best in your niche. There is no “one size fits all” solution here so you are going to have to test guest posting, forums, social media and other outlets to see what works best in your niche…and then keep testing.

10. No Monetization Strategy

As I wrote in a recent article “Are you writing articles that actually have the ability to make money?“, there are a lot of bloggers that assume that traffic equals income. So…they keep writing, day in and day out, to find they are increasing their community but they are not making a dime doing it. You have to actually have a monetization strategy in your blogging to generate income. It is that simple.

Solution: Test, test and retest different methods. Whether it is PPC campaigns, having your own product, affiliate marketing, direct advertising, membership sites or a combination of all of those methods. You need to take an honest look at how your content is actually going to generate income and then test those methods to death to see what works the best on your blog.

Bonus Hint: If you do not have an email newsletter (I use Aweber), you are not going to make a significant income online. Quite possibly the biggest mistake you can make as a blogger from a monetization and growth standpoint is not starting an email newsletter from the very beginning.

11. Not Treating Your Blog Like A Business

Blogging for income is not a hobby, it is a business. If you treat your blog as a hobby…it will only ever be a hobby. You have to treat your blogging as a business if you ever want to be successful.

Solution: Treat your blog as a business by tracking expenses, income and filing the appropriate taxes. My blogs are actually under a LLC as well. When you start implementing some of these solutions and planning goals for your blogging, you are stepping into the serious end of the business. Take yourself and your business seriously if you really want to make it.

12. Sub-Par Copycat Content

Saw someone else making money on their blog and decided to do the same thing? Or did you start a making money online blog without having actually ever generated a penny online? Blogging is all about over-the-top quality content. The “go on this journey with me” content strategy does not work. Blogging is still and will always be about connecting with readers through high-quality content.

Solution: The trick to producing incredible content is writing about a subject matter in which you are passionate about or have a lot of knowledge. Your readers are going to be able to see through a fake, so by writing on these subjects, you are being honest and providing quality. Once you have done that, get on a posting schedule that works for you and allows great content…then stick to that posting schedule.

There you have it! The top 12 success killers in blogging. Are you doing anything on the list?!


Follow Friday has been a part of Twitter almost since the beginning. The idea is to recommend people you follow to your followers to increase the viral spreading and introduce new people they might be interested in. Now…like anything else on the Internet, #followfriday or #ff has attracted a swarm of spamming and “copy and paste” action that has diluted its effectiveness on Twitter. While I always appreciate any mentions on Follow Friday, I too have started to ignore it as the same stuff keeps popping up every Friday like clockwork. So the question becomes…

Has #FollowFriday Worn Out Its Welcome?

While I could ponder this question in a nice, quiet room by myself, that would solely be my opinion and who really wants to hear that anyway?! So…I went to the source. I hit up Twitter and asked…

Does anyone pay attention to #ff anymore? I always appreciate the mentions, but does anyone use it effectively?

Now…let’s take a look at the responses…

Neonjade

@robbsutton I followed 10+ new tweeps today due to #ff. If you only do a couple posts and say why you like, I look at ones that interest me

bestieverdid

@robbsutton No, unless the recommending person includes some compelling reason for their #ff choices.

AtlantaWineGuy

@robbsutton I like the #FF which give reason(s) as to why someone recommends following that person.

HotCookinChick

@robbsutton I used to do #FF all the time, fell off, but in past few wks have started again. I’ve found really gr8 people in #FF recommends.

marijolamarche

@robbsutton I agree. I think that we pretty much follow all the same people already within our interests!

mpolicha

@robbsutton I’ve never found it the least bit effective, too much #ff spam where people recommend entire lists in the hope of reciprocity.

andrew_girvan

@robbsutton Its still one of Twitter’s biggest trending topics when you look at the figures

mikebiewer

@robbsutton I find other beer blogs to participate in when people list out a bunch of people to #FF

daphneroseknows

@robbsutton I’m trying to figure that one out myself.

Bottom Line From My View On #FollowFriday

As you can see by some of the responses, there is a mixed bag of opinions regarding Follow Friday. I really think it all boils down to quality (like most things). If you are recommending other Twitter users with a reason why, then people pay attention. If you are just copying and pasting every Friday like a machine, you lose the punch that comes with recommending other people on Twitter.

Regardless, I think Follow Friday is pretty much here to stay on Twitter, but to use it effectively…you need to make your Tweet stand out from the rest by providing something different. Do not just throw up #ff and a bunch of names. Try a different tact that draws attention to you Tweet and screams, “THESE ARE QUALITY PEOPLE ON TWITTER!”. Just don’t use caps…that is really annoying.