Blog Business World

Blogs in business, marketing, public relations, and SEO search engine optimization for successful entrepreneurs

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Blogging and the future

Few people write as optimistically about the future of blogging as my friend Trudy Schuett of WOLves.

Her prediction of a bright future for blogs isn't just some dream world type thinking either.

In her brilliant blogging future essay, entitled "The World Beyond Instapundit", Trudy demonstrates that blogs have already grown beyond their roots in personal diaries.

As I have long been recommending, Trudy also sees the business blog as a viable medium for any business's message. For immediacy with potential and existing customers and clients, the blog serves as a simple yet powerful vehicle.

Trudy continues with another part of one my usual themes as well. She doesn't believe that if you build it, they will come. I certainly agree with her there.

A blog has to be marketed and promoted, to develop a new and steady visitor base. Without that promotional effort, a blog or a static website will be lost in the literally billions of documents already indexed on the internet.

As for the future, Trudy has this to say:

"The next wave of well-known citizen journalists who come after today’s “A-list bloggers” will have gained their eminence due to a careful combination of diligent promotion, search engine optimization and solid writing."

In other words, the blogs will have to be good and well marketed to their potential readership audience.

That is simply good business practice.

No one would start a magazine or any other offline business without some degree of marketing and publicity. Blogs are no different.

If you market them, and provide a strong product, with regular updates and comments to act as the customer service function, your blog will be succesful.

Just like anything else, you get out of your blog what you put into it.

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Carnival of the Capitalists Is Up

Fans of the weekly business and economic postings series, found at Carnival of the Capitalists, will find this week's stop at Admiral Quixote's Roundtable.

This week's array of capitalist knights comment on political economy, business, marketing, and economics. As always, there are many pages worthy of a knighthood. I know that was bad, but with the Carnival at the notable political and economics blog Admiral Quixote's Roundtable, I simply couldn't resist.

In the spirit of chivalry, get thee over to Admiral Quixote's Roundtable and enjoy Carnival of the Capitalists.

A few windmills need a jousting lesson.

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From Bloggers to Magazine Columnists

British Blogger Lawn Greengrass of Straford Upon Avon-The Truth, writing in The Blog Herald suggests that some enterprising publisher start a blog magazine.

In Lawn's business model, the publisher would pay a selected group of bloggers as freelancers, to provide magazine content.

The question would be about a market for such a publication.

There are many weekly Carnivals that collect many of the best posts of the blogosphere for display at the moment. Lawn's concept is a larger market version of the same thing.

Since not all of the potential market is internet connected, not everyone is familiar with the bloggers and their writings. Even many internet savvy individuals, know little about the high calibre of writing and idea generation, that occurs among blog practitioners.

Perhaps such a magazine would gain a modest market. It would certainly have to aggressively sell advertising space to make any money. At first, the subscription base would almost certainly be small.

In fact, there could be many specialized publications, utilizing the knowledge of bloggers. An entire stable of magazines could be created.

What would be needed is a patient publisher, who can afford to wait for a market to develop. The publisher would also have to be patient as to possible advertising sales, which might be very slow in developing.

The upside for bloggers is the fact that they would be paid for their writing efforts. That in and of itself might make the concept very appealling for bloggers.

Whether such a blog magazine, or cluster of magazines would ever be profitable remains to be seen.

I am available as a writer for anyone who wishes to tackle the concept.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004


One year of blogging

My daily roller derby blog called Wayne's Derby World turned one year old today.

Over the course of that one year of blogging, that blog has gained a steady and loyal repeat readership traffic. That is despite being a limited niche blog.

The sport of roller derby has a rather limited number of fans at the moment, although the sport is undergoing a huge revival at the moment.

In blogging terms, I have kept that blog entirely focussed on the sport of roller derby. That is precisely what my readers have demanded. In return, they return, every day to read the latest post on their favourite sport.

The lessons I have learned, while blogging about roller derby, have been passed along to you on this marketing, public relations,and search engine optimization blog. Through trial and error, I have been able to make all of the mistakes, so you don't have to go through them yourself.

As I begin year two on my roller derby blog, I have a far wider and deeper knowledge of blogging, than I had when I started with my very first post.

I hope to gain even more skills and knowledge about blogging, and its relationship to the wider internet, as I make another year of posts.

For all of you, who have visited Wayne's Derby World, during its first year of existance, I thank you.

As always, thanks for reading all three of my blogs.

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Monday, March 29, 2004


Viral Marketing: Add more readers

Viral marketing is a great way to add visitor traffic to your blog.

What? You have never heard of viral marketing? And no, it's not a sick marketing plan. Of course, it could be, but that's a story for another day.

What viral marketing does is to get other people to help you with your marketing. It's an idea based on sharing a good idea with others. If you like a product or an idea, you send it to your friends. In it's simplest form, those jokes that get forwarded to all of your friends via e-mail, is viral marketing.

In a brilliant twist on the preponderence of quizzes that appear on most blogs, the always interesting Sugarmama created the What type of blahblah are you? quiz.

As a viral marketing effort, the Blahblah quiz was a resounding success. As a result of the quiz, Sugarmama received some brand new visitors. She also discovered many regular and even first time readers were posting the quiz on their blogs.

That is successful viral marketing.

The What type of blahblah are you? quiz has brought new readers, by successfully spreading the word about the Sugarmama blog, to an entirely new audience.

As a marketing tool, the concept of viral marketing can be used successfully by your own blog too.

Sugarmama created a quiz, as a spin off of the many blog quizzes that appear. They are a proven viral marketing technique for blogs. I have even recommended adding quizzes to your blog, as a fun way to attract readers.

Perhaps you have some ideas that will spread around the blogosphere yourself. If you do, you will add new visitors and links to your own blog.

All that is required is a bot of thought. Ask yourself what you would send to your friends or reprint on your own blog.

You may have cool photographs, or funny jokes or riddles, or even a series of questions for other people to answer.

The possibilities are endless.

They are limited only by your imagination.

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Saturday, March 27, 2004


New internet directory for adding your blog

Internet directories are a great.

I always advise you to add your blog to as many as possible.

They provide instant backlinks, get your blog indexed in the search engines, add a few new blog readers, and help boost your Google PageRank.

A new human edited internet directory called Websavvy just caught my attention. While it is mainly a directory for static websites, it does include blogs in its listings.

The most interesting thing about Websavvy is its potential.

As most of you already know, The Open Directory Project, better known as DMOZ is a human edited directory. The Open Directory Project, (DMOZ) also provides its database to many other sites to serve as their directories too. That places a great deal of importance on receiving a DMOZ listing.

In a similar manner, Deb the owner of Websavvy has already forged some syndication arrangements for the Websavvy directory listings.

With several partners already in place to use the Websavvy listings, the benefit of being included in the directory are greatly increased.

Along with the direct traffic flowing fron the directory itself, there is potential for additional traffic from the sites that syndicate the Websavvy database.

As with all directory submissions, be certain to follow the instructions very carefully. A properly filled out submission form will speed your submission process. Be sure to search for the proper category for your blog submission.

There is no blog category, so you will need to submit under your most accurate topic of discussion. The directory does allow for creating a new category, but it's usually advisable to stick with those already provided.

Since Websavvy is a human edited directory, that need for accuracy, and a well written impartial description is even more important.

I have submitted all three of my blogs to Websavvy.

You should submit all of your blogs and traditional websites as well.

It's a great directory, with enormous potential.

Get listed today.

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Friday, March 26, 2004


Bloggers Helping Bloggers

Are you a blogger who needs a job?

Is your current job not using your skills to their utmost, or just simply not paying enough wages for the cost of living?

Are you facing some severe money crisis in your life, for whatever reason?

Do you know any other blog writers who are in dire financial straits?

You need Bloggers Helping Bloggers.

We are here to help.

We have all been through some hard times in our lives, and we want to give something back to others.

We will get the word out about your skills and employment objectives.

Over the next few days, we will be providing the names of some bloggers, who have volunteered their services, to help out the blogging community.

If you would like to assist, your help is greatly appreciated.

We want to help other bloggers get back on their feet, and to become strong contributors to the community.

Here is an information page written by Bloggers Helping Bloggers co-founder David St. Lawrence of Ripples. It should answer many of your questions.

It's not something governments can do, as they have too many other concerns. In fact, these things are best left out of the hands of governments entirely.

We in the blogging community, can do much more to help others, than anyone else can.

If you would like to get the word out, that you are a blogger seeking employment, or a helping hand during a difficult time, please e-mail me at:


Or David St. Lawrence at:


The Bloggers Helping Bloggers network already includes the following confirmed blogs:

Blog Business World
Drink This
Food Basics
The GodBlog
The Desert Light Journal

If you wish to be added to the list of Bloggers Helping Bloggers, please e-mail me too. I don't want to include a blog without express permission.

Along with David St. Lawrence of Ripples, we will be creating something a little more specialized to give the initiative a much higher profile.

This is a committment, on the part of the blogs that are included, to helping others in time of need.

You will benefit too.

This isn't entirely a one way street.

You will receive a link to your blog and some positive posts about your generous assistance. You also have something special to post about, in the form of a blogger's situation.

You will also gain visitor traffic, some new friends, and the personal satisfaction that goes along with helping others.

We know we can count on your help.

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Thursday, March 25, 2004


Bloggers Helping Bloggers

The main purpose of the Bloggers Helping Bloggers initiative is to have other bloggers assist unemployed bloggers in finding gainful employment.

A secondary, and we hoped would never be needed element, was to help bloggers facing injury or illness.

That is the case for my friend Jeremy Wright of Ensight.

Jeremy, on his way to work was in a dreadful car accident. While Jeremy's car was a total write-off, Jeremy was not badly hurt. He does have some very sore legs and may miss work.

While my main concern is with Jeremy's personal well being, we also have to consider the financial burden he may be facing as he replaces his car. He needs it to go to work, and everything else in his life.

Jeremy has always been generous with his help and his cash, to assist those in need.

If any of you can spare a few bucks, he can sure use some help now.

For those of you so inclined, be sure to fill Jeremy's e-mail with some virtual get well greeting cards.

Send those cards to Jeremy at this address:


Be sure to change the [at] to the @ symbol, but you already knew that.

Best wishes on a speedy recovery, Jeremy.

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Using your visitor logs

I have written a few columns on making use of your visitor traffic logs, from your link counters, for finding topics for blog posts.

I have an article published on the prestigious search engine optimization site SEO Chat entitled "Using Your Visitor Logs".

In the article, I provide more indepth ideas for putting those visitor traffic logs to work for you. Please note that the article is written for business website owners, and that not all of the information is for blogs per se.

That said, I hope you find some useful information in "Using Your Visitor Logs".

I have another article published with "Using Your Visitor Logs" called "Google's Other Services".

The "Google's Other Services" article provides information on the many services provided by the leading search engine Google, other than for search. You may find that information helpful to you as well.

For more of my SEO Chat articles, you can find them at my author's page.

I am a paid freelance writer for SEO Chat. As a result, the articles published on that site, belong to the publishers of SEO Chat.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Blog fatigue: Is it fatal to your blog?

Is it just me, or are some of you noticing some signs of blog fatigue among their fellow bloggers?

The term "blog fatigue" came from an article in the British newspaper The Scotsman (via The Blog Herald) about that very phenomenon.

The The Scotsman article states:

"...there’s also a small group of people who actively dislike the way the weblog phenomenon has become so widespread and all-encompassing."

"Some webloggers have abandoned their web sites, which might seem odd given all the hype about blogging. What reasons can someone have for giving up on something that is so fashionable?"

Yes, there is no doubt that many bloggers abandon blogging. Like everything else, some people give the idea a try, and find it's not for them.

Writing posts and maintaining a blog isn't for everyone. I maintain three blogs. Fortunately, I am always able to keep interested in them. I find topics every day to provide some posts. In effect, I write three posts per day.

Not everyone wants to do that, for even one blog.

Some of the internet's best bloggers have expressed times of near blog burnout, or what I'll call "blog-out" for short. I think I am the first to use the term blog-out. [insert plea for widespread acceptance here]

All bloggers have times when they simply don't feel like posting. Finding suitable material for topic fodder is a universal challenge for many.

As a person's audience grows, and if you have been following my suggestions your readership will have grown, a sense of obligation may manifest itself. You feel you must post as your readers are depending on you.

While that may be the case for many bloggers, it is not true for most blog writers. Don't worry about a lack of topics. I've said it before. The ideas will come to you. All you have to do is let them.

A good way to alleviate blog-out, while still reading blogs, is to surf to previously unknown (to you) blogs. Read the, and not your usual daily blogrolled selections.

As you drift around the blogosphere, new ideas and perceptions will come to you. You will find some bloggers who are still excited about their blogs and their potential. Their enthusiasm is infectious.

A fresh set of blog readings will help to blast away those feelings of blog-out.

Many of your new blog discoveries will find their way onto your permanent blog link directory too, no doubt.

What better way to cure blog-out than some fresh new discoveries!

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Want to be a mentor?

Have you ever wanted to be a mentor to some up and coming young person?

Do you wish to share your wisdom with the next generation of business and community leaders?

Julie Hubert at Working Virtually is providing you with that wonderful opportunity.

Julie says:

"Yesterday, I had the honor of being asked to be a mentor for a wonderful young lady, who is a high school senior. As part of a class project, she was to find a mentor who knew something about computers."

Part of the student's assignment is to discuss computers and social isolation. In effect, are computers creating further isolation of individuals in our society, or they breaking down barriers?

Julie invites your comments and article links on her Working Virtually business blog.

Here is your opportunity to step forward and become a mentor.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2004


Carnival of the Canucks mention

Thanks to Catherine Jamieson at The Story Project for including a mention of Blog Business World and Carnival of the Capitalists as she hosts this week's edition of Carnival of the Canucks.

The Blog Business World mention appears on the page devotes to blogs from the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

As most of you know, I am a Canadian blogger, living in the province of Manitoba.

You will find links to each Canadian province's highlighted blogs by clicking on the links at the very bottom of the page.

Catherine Jamieson maintains a superb example of a photoblog called The Story Project. In each of jer major entries, Catherine tells a story through her wonderful photography.

As a tremendous example of a creative approach to photoblogging, The Story Project is second to none.

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Monday, March 22, 2004


Technorati up with a new look

For finding other blogs that link to yours, there are few places better to search than Technorati.

Resplendent with a brand new look, the Technorati beta provides tracking of "1,941,975 weblogs watched and 257,138,195 links tracked", according to the site information.

A brand new feature for blogs that are included in Technorati, is the following web search option for blogs:

"Want to know what's being said, right now, about every Weblog or Web page that has something worth talking about?"

"Type in a url, keyword or phrase above and search the World Live Web."

If your blog isn't listed on Technorati, be certain to include it.

Surf over to their sign-up page and enter the URL and title of your blog.

With the blog link tracking service, Technorati will keep you informed of which blogs are linked to yours.

Get listed at Technorati today.

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Sunday, March 21, 2004


Carnival of the Capitalists: Don't miss it

Once again, the always popular business and economics extravaganza, better known as Carnival of the Capitalists is up and ready for your reading enjoyment at Jeffrey Cornwall's tremendously informative The Entrepreneurial Mind blog.

As usual, the Carnival of the Capitalists entries cover issues in public policy, finance and economics, legal matters, entrepreneurship and small business, society and the economy, marketing, and competitive strategies.

There are certain to be several articles in that fine collection of writings that will interest and inform you.

Of course, once again, I have no entry. That oversight on my part is amply compensated for by the high quality of included columns.

Surf on over to the Carnival of the Capitalists, and read some great ideas from some of the best bloggers on the internet.

While you are there, be sure to read more writings from Jeffrey Cornwall at the host The Entrepreneurial Mind.

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Saturday, March 20, 2004


Blogs as a virtual pub?

Blogs are often thought as a way of building community.

People of similar, and often divergent, interests and points of view are brought together under the umbrella of various blogs. It's highly likely that many people are drawn to blogs coveing entirely different communities.

Just as people have many different interests, there are blog communities for virtually (pun intended) every taste.

Vicki Smith of Just In From Cowtown has used the analogy of "The Weblog as Digital Pub" to describe the community created by individual blogs.

Note that Vicki Smith's article has also appeared in The Blog Herald.

Vicki considers the blog community to be something larger than an isolated location on the internet. Instead, the blogger is either consciously or subconsciously building connections with other people.

"...even though it is seldom stated, the goal of a weblog is to attract, build, or reinforce a sense of community, a place where people come to feel a certain sense of comfort, a sense of belongingness when issues that are important to them are being discussed. Usually, but not always, that means a certain consistency of beliefs and ideas."

I can't even begin to do her blog as a pub thesis justice. Your best bet is to pub crawl your way over to "The Weblog as Digital Pub", and read the post for yourself. That's the only way to get the tremendous depth of her thought on the subject.

Vicki's Just In From Cowtown blog does a good job of community pub building. Her blog receives a strong level of comments from other "virtual pub crawlers".

I have her blog linked from my roller derby blog, so I have been reading Just In From Cowtown for awhile.

It's certainly about time I recommended her blog to my readers here.

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Friday, March 19, 2004


Bloggers Helping Bloggers Continues

Bloggers Helping Bloggers continues to be worked on for ideas.

The need to keep assisting other bloggers in their job searches and with their financial needs never stops.

Since I don't believe for one second that governments are of much help in job creation, it's up to individuals to make the difference. By helping one another, our combined blog power can do exponentially more than any fully staffed government bureaucracy, for pennies. They would require hundreds of millions of dollars to not even achieve the same goals.

Jennifer at Drink This still requires a helping hand from the blogging community.

Jennifer loves her job but it simply can't cover all of her financial obligations.

She needs a little boost to help her get over this hurdle. Some leads to some other great jobs, suited to her abundant talents, would also be appreciated.

Pour yourself over to Drink This and give Jennifer a helping hand.

If any other bloggers require some assistance, please let me know.

My e-mail is:


Don't be embarrassed to ask for help.

We all need a little support from our friends from time to time.

As for the Bloggers Helping Bloggers initiative, look for some further developments soon.

Thanks for being a blogger who helps a blogger.

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Blog comments : Keep or cancel

Comments are one of the most popular features of many blogs.

If you check out some of the more popular blogs, you will see comments regularly move into the twenty to thirty range.

For an example of a heavily commented blog, check out the numbers of reader responses on Sugarmama. Twenty responses is just a typical comment total over there.

A lively comments section on your blog can result in some tremendous interaction with your readers. Over time, these comments will enhance your readership.

Many bloggers will tell you that a blog without comments is an unfriendly place.

I have mixed feelings about that.

Today, Jennifer at Drink This had to censor her blog comments. While she knows the individual who caused the problem, Jennifer rightly stated:

"Of course this led him to accuse me of censoring, which I absolutely did, as is my right on my site. I reminded him of his own opportunity to start his own blog and post whatever he like."

A person who keeps and maintains a blog is entirely within their rights to have wide open comments, partially monitored and censored responses, or no comment feature at all.

Comment spamming has caused many bloggers to stop the process of comment feedback entirely.

The business blog Making It Easier has removed the comment system altogether with the following statement:

"I've been receiving more and more spam-style comments over the past few weeks and the amount of time that I have spent reversing the damage has kept me from updating the site as regularly as I would like."

Professor Bainbridge has stopped accepting comments on his blog as well.

The issue of whether to accept comments is a personal one.

On my roller derby blog, I didn't have comments for most of its one year of life. I have comments activated on all three of my blogs now.

We all have problems with comment spam, trolls, problem commenters, and more.

The question for every blogger is whether it's worth the time and effort to maintain a commenter.

I believe a comment feature is a great way to maintain feedback with your readers. I know that from having had no comments and from an active commenter.

Your choice is yours to make.

I'll support your decision which ever way you choose, as there is a good case to be made for all options.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2004


Blog advertising: Is it for you?

Blog advertising is always a delicate and controversial subject.

Many bloggers, including myself, suppor the idea of selling advertising space on blogs. Many other blog owners strongly oppose the idea.

Thee support or opposition for advertising, usually comes down on ideological lines, about the purpose and nature of blogs. Some people see blogs as another form of media, marketing, publicity, and public relations.

Look up to the top of this page for my stance on the matter. I openly support those ideas and advise my readers on how to use blogs in that way. I support the right to accept, or refuse, any advertising on your own blogs. I believe in freedom of choice.

I choose to support and accept blog advertising.

Many other bloggers, and their views certainly have strong merit as well, feel that blogs must remain free of commercial taint. They feel that accepting ads, will potentially cause a blogger's content to become self censored, or perhaps beholden to the advertisers and their wishes.

It often seems like there is no middle ground.

Jeff Jarvis, at Buzz Machine
posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article (unfortunately subscription is required) about avertising on blogs in general, and Blogads in particular.

The Wall Street Journal speculates that blog advertising could be the next big thing.

Buzz Machine
article is also valuable for its comments to the discussion. Many provide a good backgound of the discussion of whether or not blogs should or should not feature paid advertising.

Like me, Trudy Schuett at WOLves believes that blog advertising is a good thing. She also sees it as inevitable and a natural progression:

"...bloggers have to support their site somehow. Blogs have had some sort of "exchange" aspect since the beginning, in asking for donations or gifts from their readers. Text ads for cash given direct to the blogger really isn't all that different, and in my opinion a bit more professional than having a section saying, "please buy me this book or gadget." "

Whatever your views on paid advertising, you have to seriously consider your purpose in starting and maintaining a blog. For business bloggers, the choice to accept advertising should be a relatively straight forward one.

For bloggers writing on other topics, or perhaps personal journals and diaries, the issue is indeed less clear cut. The blogger's own conscience and values must come into play.

As for me, I believe that accepting advertising is a legitimate and respectable way to earn some revenue from blogs.

Bloggers work hard writing their daily posts. Many have hosting fees to pay. To receive some compensation for those efforts is entirely justified in my opinion.

A blog can be considered a small business. It may not be a large earning small business, but it is one nevertheless.

If you feel comfortable with accepting paid advertising, feel free to do so.

You are under no obligation to accept ads that you fiind offensive or products you do not endorse.

In a free market, you have the right to choose your destiny, and that of your blog.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Mega Blogging: Combining the names

Take ten well known names in their blogging area of expertise - in this case baseball blogs - put them in a brand new website and stir.

The result is a collaborative effort called The Hardball Times.

As seems to be the case with many baseball ventures, ultra prolific baseball blogger Aaron Gleeman is right in the middle of the batting order.

You are probably scratching your head over why I'm giving some hype to a new baseball site. You have a point.

Well, for one thing, I'm a baseball fan. That of course, is only a tiny part of the story. The site wou;dn't have to be about baseball to capture my attention.

The value is in the concept.

What has happened here, is twelve bloggers have got together, and combined their expertise in one central location. By doing so, they have the sum total of all of their own visitor traffic, pointing straight at the site.

The various bloggers (and not all of them have their own blogs as some are already part of collaborative efforts) bring their own writing style to the site. They also bring in some built in traffic flow.

The Hardball Times is not like your average garden variety website, attempting to build a traffic base from scratch. They are starting the game with a walk, and they have already stolen second base.

The idea of a mega blog site with several contributing members is not a new one. It is already in evidence all over the blogosphere. Most collaborative blogs focus on the cooperative effort, or have a constantly changing cast. Not many have bloggers who maintain their own blogs too.

What is unique about this concept, is the already successful and mainly solo bloggers, have pooled their collective visitor traffic counts to the effort. Of course, their great talents at writing and analysis, are already known to those visitors.

Combining that initial traffic, with the high calibre of writing talent, and an instant blog home run hitter was born.

While continuing with their own individual blogs, the writers maintain that wellspring of new readers. By uniting, they share that growing visitor base. Not only will the new site gain traffic, but so will the individual blogs.

There is certainly room for various areas of blogging expertise to unite. Business blogs are certainly one area, where some established blog writers could join forces, in creating a mega business blog.

I thought of that idea immediately upon seeing the The Hardball Times, and how it is set up.

Perhaps some of the top notch business bloggers will form a merger, and develop a huge business blog or website. Of course, they would continue to maintain their own blogs as well. That appears to be one of the secrets, at first glance.

The concept of the merger blog may have a future.

Any thoughts?

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Monday, March 15, 2004


Blogging survey: Make your views known

The University of California at Irvine has set up a fairly comprehensive Blog Survey.

It's a quick examination of your opinions on blogging in general, your ideas about the basic reasons for your own personal blog in particular.

The survey is fast, easy to understand, and the various questions are thought provoking as well. I found it easy to do, when I answered the questions.

Importantly for many people, the questionnaire is completely confidential, but the option is there to provide your blog information. I listed Blog Business World.

The survey comes recommended by uber bloggers Trudy Schuett of WOLves and Jeremy Wright of Ensight. Their word is good enough for me.

Surf on over to the UC-Irvine Blog Survey, and voice your views on blogs and blogging.

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Thanks to Small Business Trends

I want to extend a sincere thank you, to Anita Campbell at the superb Small Business Trends blog, for providing a flattering and completely unexpected review of Blog Business World.

Anita maintains one of the best, yet undeservedly underrated (in my opinion) business blogs around. Her blog has daily indepth research and commentary on issues important to small business entrepreneurs and business bloggers.

I have had a link to Small Business Trends on my Resources list for quite some time. If you haven't clicked on it yet, now is the time to start.

Make Small Business Trends a habit.

Click on over right now.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004


Carnival of the Capitalists Up

The always interesting and informative Carnival of the Capitalists is up at Torsten Jacobi's great technology, entrepreneurship, and technology blog TJ's Weblog.

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists features tremendous posts on the global economy, economic policy, and entrepreneurship.

While I don't have a post this week, no need to worry. The other links more than make up for that oversight. He said with tongue in cheek.

Be sure to click on over to Carnival of the Capitalists, and read some of the best business and economic posts on the internet.

For those who are new to Carnival of the Capitalists, here are some past Carnival of the Capitalists locations, with even more great posts for your reading enjoyment.

By the way, they are all from blogs.

Written by bloggers.

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Blogs get another hatchet job

Writing in Web Pro News, Sharon Drew Morgan believes that blogs are are being exploited.

Her opinion of blogs and their writers is not a charitble one:

"Blogs are our current flavor of the month. Since everyone has opinions, and we all now get a chance to offer our opinions up to world-wide scrutiny, we’ve recognized that blogging offers us a way to easily achieve our 15 minutes of fame."

She has decided that those same blogs are being used for what she terms "sleaze marketing". Of course, it's treated as if the issue of questionable marketing practices was somehow born with the advent of blogging; or at least that of the internet.

She offers the following anecdotal evidence for her condemnation of bloggers:

"I’ve just learned of a company that markets itself as an internet marketing company. It hires people who have expertise in a specific area – say, video games – and hires them out as net-based stealth marketers. Here is what they do: they insinuate themselves into a blogging or chat community. They hang out in the community until they become trusted contributors and likeable personalities with some expertise. And then they ‘mention’ a product they’ve just ‘tried’. They don’t pitch it – oh no, that would be too obvious – they just mention it kindly with a bit of excitement. Just a bit."

After that surprising revelation that there are some shady business practices, operating on chat rooms and communities, she has decided to mistrust all bloggers:

"I, for one, will never trust a blogger’s recommendations again."

Talk about a blanket condemnation!

Well, for one thing, there is no evidence that a blogger is even to blame. The information was posted in a chat community. By the way, BBS's and other discussion boards predate the blogging world. Of course, we wouldn't want such trivial details ruining a perfectly good sensationalist story.

There have been shady business practices, ever since Og the caveman traded a cracked club, to Trog the caveman. The practice of viral marketing, and puffing up a product by word of mouth, is as old as trade and commerce itself.

What we have in the article is what I call the Little Jack Horner theory. named for the nursery rhyme where Jack pulls a plum out of a pie, the analogy is apt.The writer selected carefully through millions of bloggers and found a few "plums".

By the way, the Little Jack Horner nursery rhyme is a political cartoon from Henry VIII's time. It concerned the seizure by King Henry VIII of the monasteries and their vast wealth. "Jack Horner" searched and found a corrupt monastery, as instructed. It was used as a blanket example of all monasteries in England. He had found his "plum" too.

Back to our story, following that digression.

These dastardly bloggers had the audacity, to post on a chat community forum, that a product might be slightly better than its actual value. they may even have been, gasp, paid. As a matter of interest, I don't see anything being written in the article, about a wholesale condemnation and mistrust of message forums. The discussion board venue is where the action took place; not on a blog.

Only bloggers are to blame, of course, and somehow none are ever to be trusted again. Talk about a high tech lynching!

I don't know how the article author ever believes anyone about anything. Well, maybe the sources in the story, but that's different, I suppose.

Based on the flimsy evidence in Web Pro News story, the reader would conclude Ms. Morgen never buys any items on anyone's recommendation.

Or perhaps that distinction of mistrust only illogically applies to writers of blogs.

In any case, blogging got another badly reasoned and irrational hatchet job. The problem for bloggers, is the impression those unfamiliar with blogs will form, of the blogging community.

Of course, as with most things blogging related, the mainstream community may not notice. The Web Pro News article may fly under everyone's radar.

Thanks to The Blog Herald and Steve at Blogger Forum for the link.

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Friday, March 12, 2004


RSS Feeds: Some great information

RSS feeds.

You have heard about them. You might even use one of them daily to send and receive blog posts.

For those who aren't entirely certain what the initials RSS stand for, don't feel badly. There is no real consensus. The more formal prefer Rich Site Summary. The more casual types prefer Really Simple Syndication. My advice is to select a definition based on your mood for the day.

Trudy Schuett has posted some great RSS basics for your blog.

While the post is more of a primer, for those who don't utilize the ease of RSS feeders, it is still a great article.

One less well known fact that Trudy mentions is the value of the RSS feed as a promotional vehicle.

For those bloggers, who don't or can't spare much time for blog marketing, the spiders from the various blog aggregators will locate your blog. To have your blog added to any sort of index is extremely valuable. One where you don't have to do the work yourself is even better.

Many bloggers read almost all of their favourite blogs through RSS channels. The trend is a growing one for bloggers and non-bloggers alike.

Now, if only I could get my RSS feed to work.

Then, I'd be happy too!

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Blogging: Not tonight dear...

Have you ever had one of those days where you simply just didn't feel like blogging?

You stare at the little posting box, but you have blogger block. Nothing seems to want to flow from your keyboard to the screen.

You search through your favourite blog lists and wouldn't you know it. Everyone out there in Blogging Land seems to be having their most prolific days. They all appear to be averaging four or more posts per blog.

By noon.

Don't feel badly. Everyone has those moments. Even the bloggingest writers have those days, when they experience that strange mixture, of indifference and posting panic.

The indifference comes as you think that the blog doesn't really need hourly posts. You even begin to doubt if your blog is worth bothering with at all.

The panic results from the fear, that your regular visitors will be disappointed, because you provided them no daily sustenance for their ravenous blog appetites.

The facts of the matter are these:

Don't worry about it.

If you have nothing you want to write about. Don't.

Don't drive yourself to panic, simply because you can't find an interesting topic. It's much better to not post at all, than to write something you feel is not your best work.

Or even close to it.

If you want to take a short break from blogging, because you need a rest, do it. Take a time out. The blog will still be there when you return later on in the week.

Your regular readers will still be there.

Blogging should be a fun activity. It should never become a chore.

Or worse, an addiction.

If you don't feel like writing, skip a day or two. No one will notice. You'll return to your blog fresh, and bursting with enough new ideas, to keep your computer humming for a month.

Don't be held hostage to that little posting box.

It's only blogging after all.

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Thursday, March 11, 2004


Blog visitors: How do they find you?

I like to read my visitor traffic logs.

I confess. I read them several times a day, in fact.

Since I know, within a narrow range how many daily visitors I will get, I spend my time reading other parts of the report.

One of the interesting areas to ponder, is from where the visitors arrived. I'll use my two stable and growing blogs as examples.

The following is not entirely an exercise in navel gazing, but to use the blog traffic sources as case studies. By closely examining the sources of your own readers, you can concentrate your efforts on gaining more traffic, in more productive ways. Simply use what you learn from the logs.

Let's examine the traffic logs for this blog, Blog Business World and for my roller derby blog Wayne's Derby World.

The first thing that pops out, is the disparity in the search engine traffic, between the two blogs.

The vast majority of the new visitors to Wayne's Derby World, arrive from the search engines. Whether from Google, Yahoo, or MSN Search, the visitors found my roller derby blog through searches of topics related to that sport.

One of the reasons for that search engine traffic is probably the limited number of alternative sources for roller derby news. There simply aren't any others.

A second reason is the search engine optimization I have done on that blog. It ranks on Page One on Google and Yahoo for almost every roller derby related topic. It is only natural that the blog will benefit from that strong search engine exposure.

If your blog has unique subject matter, be certain to strengthen and raise your search engine profile.

Wayne's Derby World also receives solid referral traffic from other roller derby related websites. There aren't many of those, so the upside there is limited in scope. For that reason, I count on the search engines to deliver the goods.

Blog Business World has exactly the opposite sources of traffic flow. The majority of the new and returning visitors to this blog, arrive from other blogs or business related websites.

The level of traffic from the search engines to Blog Business World is much lower. That is despite Page One listings on Google for some strong keyword searches. The number of searches resulting in new readers is not as high as for roller derby, despite my optimization efforts.

What can we learn from this study?

Take a close look at your own visitor logs, and see how your new visitors arrive at your blog. If the majority find you from the search engines, you will want to strengthen your search engine optimization efforts even more. That is especially important if your topic is fairly unique.

That optimization should include writing additional posts, containing your most frequently searched keywords. Don't neglect your secondary keywords either. To score high search engine rankings, you need to have strong keyword laden content, along with abundant incoming links.

Adding more incoming links will get some link generated traffic, but it will also enhance your more important search engine presence. Search engines love incoming links. If your new traffic comes from the search engines, you will want to make it easy to find your blog.

Should the majority of your visitors come from other blogs and websites, you will need to work on adding more link exchanges to your blog. Create as many link streams into your blog as you can, to help potential new readers find you.

One benefit of this exercise, of enhancing your blog's strengths, is it also bolsters the weaker part. The effect will be noticeable, but still less than from the main visitor source. The incoming links and added content will benefit you and your readers as well.

Check your visitor logs and see how your visitors arrive.

By opening the channels wider, more readers can flow your way.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004


Blogs: Changing the look

Blogs often change their look.

There are many reasons for giving your blog a facelift. A virtual tummy tuck of posts or lyposuction of bloated coding is often a good thing.

Blogging newspaper The Blog Herald has a brand new look. My friend Carrie at Life or Something like it...Boo has an entirely altered design.

Other bloggers are constantly tinkering with their designs and layouts. Whether from boredom like Josh at OSUnix, or for any other reason, blogs often find a fresh appearance to greet their visitors.

For those of us who use the standard Blogger templates, (No laughter, please), there is not much variety in the diet. One question that would be interesting to be answered is:

Do design changes cause increases in traffic levels?

If changing a blog's clothes makes it more interesting, readable, or more functional, it would follow that it would be a wise move. On the other hand, perhaps a new suit will make the blog unfamiliar, and cause the loss of some old friends in the process.

I would be interested in hearing the experiences of bloggers who have given their blogs a fresh coat of paint. (I have mixed so many metaphors here that there has to be one that you like.)

Leave me a comment, and some anecdotes about your new look; or if you are considering some blog home renovations.

Is the change one for the better?

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Monday, March 08, 2004


Blogs: Present and future

For those of you wanting to catch up on your reading, I would suggest you read my friend Trudy Schuett's Blogs: The Next Generation Internet. As always, Trudy provides a solid analysis of the future of blogging as a medium.

Of interest as well, is Trudy's story of how she first got involved in the past time we all know and...well....know.

Trudy believes in blogging so much that she maintains five...count 'em...five blogs. As if that total wasn't enough, she is planning even more.

From blogging gurus...to blogging books....

The always imaginative Jeremy Wright of Ensight is in the process of thinking out the details and viability of a blogging book for business.

So far he is getting some positive feedback on the concept.

I happen to agree with Jeremy that there is a niche there for a blogging book for business. Since he already knows I will help him in any way that I can, I just await the word.

Bloggers Helping Bloggers update....

David St. Lawrence at Ripples and I are continuing to work on the details of our Bloggers Helping Bloggers employment concept.

We want to be able to put blogs to use for a postive goal. One great way, to use blogs for the betterment of society, would be to help other unemployed or underemployed bloggers find paying jobs.

So far, the feedback from other bloggers, on Bloggers Helping Bloggers, has been very positive. Many people have offered to help in every way that they can.

We certainly don't want to see this initiative fizzle out. If I start to slack off on it, be sure to give me a virtual kick in the pants as a reminder of the importance of this idea.

There are undoubtably many other ways that blogs can be turned to good use. Blogs can be a wonderful and powerful force for helping others. Keep in mid as well, that we bloggers are doing good for others, without having to resort to government assistance. How novel!

Blogging is a true grassroots medium.

That in itself is a major plus.

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Are you a short story writer?

If you have visions of being the next great writer of short stories, author and blogger David Kilpatrick has an offer for you.

David Kilpatrick will post your stories on his website.

David's e-mail address is: davidlouiskilpatrick@hotmail.com

He promises, "full credit and cross-linking of course" for all stories he posts on his site.

For those aspiring authors in the crowd, that looks like a very tempting offer.

Another person to contact, if you are writing short stories, or any other type of publishable work, is writer and blogger Trudy Schuett. She has connections with many editors and publishers in the writing field. She can help to steer you in the right direction to a successful writing career

Trudy Schuett and David Kilpatrick can also help you to avoid the many pitfalls that are ready to snare the unprepared.

The publishing world is full of bad apples. Any advice and assistance at keeping away from them should be heeded.

Get your short stories ready and get yourself some exposure for your writing talents.

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Sunday, March 07, 2004


Blog linking: Choose your own path

My friend David St. Lawrence at Ripples was writing about the phenomenon, of the all but coronated Democratic Presidential nominee, John Kerry.

In his post, David makes the case, that Democratic primary voters were following patterns, of decisions made previously. A voter would cast their ballot for the most successful appearing candidate because others already had.

The theory follows that of Solomon Asch of Princeton University, who posited that people will choose against their own best decisions, rather than be separate from the group. In effect, we are heavily influenced by the previous decisions of others.

David's post got me thinking about blogs and blog linking behaviour.

You didn't really think I was going to do a column on US politics did you?

In the world of blogging, there is what some people refer to as the "A List". Those are the big name bloggers, who receive thousands and thousands of visitors per day. "A List" bloggers receive more readers in an hour, than the majority of bloggers will receive in an entire year.

Many new and limited readership bloggers immediately link their blogs to the big names. While I am not criticising the action, based on the quality of the big name blogs, it is in keeping with Solomon Asch's findings.

Bloggers link to the blogs that are already heavily linked.

The reasons for that linking will vary from one individual blogger to another.

Some link for reasons of writing on the same topic, and of sharing similar views. Many links are created because the blogger has read the major league blogs and enjoyed their content. Those are valid linking choices.

On the other hand, a case could be made that the link was created simply because everyone else had one.

A more reasonable linking strategy for new and smaller readership blogs is to seek out and find other smaller blogs. Exchange links with them. In fact, they are far more likely to be receptive to a link exchange than the big time people.

It's not that the name bloggers won't link back to you. It's because they receive so many requests, they are forced to choose. That means the choice is unlikely to be your smaller blog, unless you provide exceptional quality of posts.

That is not to say the big names won't link back to your post. Some of them will if your content is what interests them and their readers. That is rare, however, for a new and relatively obscure blog. Many of you will post in my comments about an exception. That is good, as far as it goes. Someone wins the lottery too.

A more reliable, although much slower way to heavy readership, is to provide top quality content. That high quality will help you get many links and exchanges, from other less well known (but also top quality blogs).

Those smaller blogs should be your linking choices and link exchange targets.

Link freely to less well known blogs, that you enjoy reading, even if they don't link back. By that, I don't mean only the big name blogs either. It can also mean some very limited readership blogs. If you and your readers enjoy them, link to them.

Just because everyone else links to a blog, doesn't mean that you should.

In fact, you can start your own trend, by linking to those relatively unknown blogs you enjoy. Link to some quality blogs that have very few incoming links. Soon, if Asch is correct, other bloggers will link to them too.

The newly popular bloggers will appreciate it.

Make your own linking choices.

March to your own drummer.

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Friday, March 05, 2004


Bloggers as freelancers

Many bloggers earn either their main living, or a handy supplemental income, from freelance work.

That freelancing may take the form, of writing and publishing articles, on and off of the internet. Many people who blog, are also skilled computer programmers, knowledgeable consultants, and talented website designers.

As with all freelance and contract work, they go from job to job. The necessity of finding the next paying assignment is always there. Lurking.

On the other hand, those seemingly small jobs can lead to much, much more.

As many of you already know, I write search engine optimization and search engine marketing articles for SEO Chat. It's a popular site for discussion and advice, on getting higher search engine rankings, for your blog or website.

I get paid for writing those articles. While they haven't all appeared on the site, I have submitted quite a few. They are noticed and read by many experts in the field of search engine optimization (SEO).

Other bloggers are gaining extra income from paid articles as well.

Widely read baseball blogger Aaron Gleeman has added a very prestigious writing credit to his resume. It came in the household name of FoxSports.

While Aaron Gleeman's FoxSports writing credit is tremendous in its own right, it came about as a result of another writing job. The baseball articles were syndicated, from a fantasy sports site, known as Rotoworld.

Without the smaller Rotoworld writing assignment, Aaron might not have been syndicated in the world wide FoxSports website.

Every blogger openly displays his or her writing on the internet, each and every day. The writing sample I used for SEO Chat came directly from the Blog Business World's archives. The writing was self explanatory.

All of your writing, web design, consulting advice, and programming skills are right there, for all to see as well.

Right there: on your blogs.

Since the blog itself is your best advertisement, and many of you are tremendously talented writers, there should be some freelance jobs in your future. The same goes for programmers, consultants, website designers, and other experts in your various fields.

We are not really competing against one another either.

Our areas of expertise, and even our angle on a topic, are unique to each or us. You don't write about what the next blogger uses for subject matter. If you do, your approach to the issue is entirely different.

Different designers create different website appearances.

The possibilities are indeed endless.

Bloggers are freelancers in waiting.

Go for those jobs today!

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Thursday, March 04, 2004


Bloggers helping bloggers III

Many highly skilled and talented members of the blogging community are out of work.

In today's economy (like all economic periods, really) good paying jobs are difficult to find. When a person is unemployed, often feelings of guilt and low self esteem are accompanied by severe financial burdens. Those seeking work often feel isolated and alone.

They want the dignity of going to work and receiving a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. They just need someone to give them a helping hand and some support.

It's time we got off our collective rear ends, and did something about helping those who want to work, do exactly that. Find jobs.

Instead of waiting for "someone to do something about it"; or worse, "the government to do something about it".

It's up to you and me.

It takes just one person to start a sea change in thinking and in attitudes.

Thoughful blogger David St. Lawrence of Ripples and I have decided to try to make a difference. We are attempting an experiment in helping unemployed bloggers find gainful employment.

Our plan is to create and informal help network for underemployed bloggers. We want as many bloggers as possible to join us, in helping bloggers help themselves.

David has already created an informational page about how the program should work.

It's called the Bloggers Helping Bloggers Alliance.

As always, David has done a tremendous job. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his kindness and generosity.

David and I don't want to become a listing and advertising service for freelancers and businesses. Our goal is to help unemployed and underemployed bloggers find paying employment.

You know: good old fashioned jobs.

This program is still in the early planning stages. Because this is such a new concept, David and I invite your input. After all, this is all about the entire blogging community working together to help our members.

Let's help get our friends in the blogging community back to work.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004


Become a beta tester

Have you ever dreamed of being part of the testing group for a brand new software program?

Well, now the chance awaits you.

Startup Skills is offering beta testing opportunities for about 20 testers.

The testing if for new online advertising campaign management software. Its purpose is to:

"more easily and effectively increase the effectiveness of your [Google] AdWords campaign, reduce waste, as well as produce attractive reports that you can customize for yourself or your clients."

Anyone interested is invited to send their name, address, phone number, and e-mail address to rich@startupskills.com for consideration.

Employees of Google or a competing advertising solution are ineligible for this program.

If you are an Adwords client, this would be a great opportunity for you to get your voice heard.

Send Rich an e-mail today: rich@startupskills.com

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Tuesday, March 02, 2004


Bloggers helping bloggers II

About a week ago, I was calling attention to some fellow bloggers who had fallen upon a bit of a rough patch. Faced with the usual financial obligations, they were needing some immediate employment assistance.

That assistance needs to be extended to Jennifer at Drink This.

The always selfless and generous David St. Lawrence at Ripples has called the blogging community's attention to Jennifer's desperate plight.

A reading of her difficult financial predicament, that has resulted in home telephone disconnection, possible loss of her car, and a lack of funds for food and personal items, shows a severe monetary crisis.

Jennifer is a highly skilled writer, is well educated, and who possesses a strong employment skill set. She shouldn't remain unemployed for long. Some smart employer should be calling her immediately. She would be a definite asset to any company.

Bloggers can help out other bloggers in many ways, either with short term monetary assistance, leads for either full or part time employment opportunities, or hiring the blogger in question themselves.

Since a blogger's writing and analytical abilities are displayed on a daily basis, we have a solid idea of that person's talents. We know how well they write. We have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses as people. We know they are likely to be an asset to any organization that they join.

You say, "How can you really know a person from their blogs? That is only one aspect of their lives and they could be far different people from the ones we read on our computer monitors."

That may in fact be entirely true.

Consider this, however.

People are hired every day by employers of companies large and small, on far less information than we have about bloggers. A one or two page resume, and a half hour interview or two, are the norm for most employee recruitments. That is infinitely less than what we know about other bloggers.

I'll take my chances on a blogger, who I have read for some time. Anytime.

As for the previously mentioned bloggers, who were also seeking employment assistance. The news is mixed.

James Joyner of Outside the Beltway reports that he has found employment. While the money is less than he hoped, the postion as "a management analyst position with a local tech firm that does government subcontracting" sounds very promising.

Kathy Kinsley of On The Third Hand is still in the hunt for a job. She says, "If you live near me, I'll come weed your garden or wash your windows (literal or PC)." Kathy is also seeking any web design jobs that most companies consider to be too small for them.

As bloggers, we can be of real and tangible help to other bloggers. By the power of our blogs, and our online and offline contacts, we can aid our colleagues in their quest for gainful employment.

Thanks to Jay Solo for planting the seed of this idea.

We possess more power at our fingertips than even we are aware.

Let's give our bogging compatriots our help.

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Monday, March 01, 2004


Blog posting: A sense of responsibility

Bloggers post to their collective blogs on a regular basis.

That regular posting may be daily, weekly, or even several times in a single day. In every case, there is an individual reason for writing a blog entry. Some bloggers write for themselves, others write to provide information on their favourite topics. The reasons are as diverse, as the universe of bloggers themselvs.

Prolific baseball blogger Aaron Gleeman has added another twist to the reasons for blogging list. Expressing the usual problem facing most bloggers, that of finding a topic for a column, Aaron believes that:

"...one of the main things that keeps me motivated is the knowledge that there will be a couple thousand people wondering why they don't have something new to read if I slack off."

Aaron Gleeman feels a sense of responsibility to his readership. (By the way, Aaron's daily visitor logs make the rest of us look like we are talking to ourselves, but as Jay Solo would say, "I digress").

In many ways, we all feel some inherent responsibility to our regular visitors. They come to our blogs to read what we have to say. That is a great feeling.

It is important to know that someone, out there in internet land, wants to know our thoughts and opinions. Yes, we feel responsible and that is a tremendous incentive to dig around and find something worthwhile to create a post. Everyone wants to feel that someone cares about them, and in the case of regularly posting bloggers, we care about our readers.

All of them.

No wonder Aaron Gleeman is so obsessive about his hit totals on his visitor traffic counter. He cares about his readers and wants to provide them with daily baseball insights.

When bloggers go away for awhile, we often see them explaining beforehand, that they will be missing in action. David Clain at Swagu felt obligated to let his readers know he was away skiing last week. Today, Jeremy Wright at Ensight informed his visitors that he would be taking a certification course and would not be posting regularly.

That sense of responsibility to readers is everywhere, once you think to look for it.

Aaron Gleeman simply reminded us all of that fact.

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