Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing the nuts and bolts of blogging. My last post, Content is King, brought in quite a range of questions which I’d like to answer today.
Pamela had a good report on an issue we talked about about a week ago:
End result is that I now will have control over my own site, so there is a happy ending! It’s because of Randy’s blog here that I was motivated to see how I could resolve things. Thanks, Randy.
Randy sez: Great to hear that, Pamela! Good things happen when you take action, and I’m glad you’ve got control of your site again. You still will have a lot of work, but at least you’re no longer log-jammed.
It is amazing how well you can build traffic to a blog just by posting every day, Monday through Friday. My work blog has gone from 68 hits the first month to nearly to over a 1000, during the holidays when there were no new posts and the college was closed for two weeks.
Since I have started back in January, we have had almost 2200 hits. Now, this blog is supposed to drive traffic back to our catalog website so people will register for classes, and my boss wants good information about what is going on at the college, and especially in our division. But the fact that it is hosted at wordpress.com means that there are aspects I don’t control, and I have no access to our web catalog at all, so I can’t track whether a person who comes through my blog and clicks to the catalog actually buys something. I also can’t set up any kind of autoresponder.
It is important to have access and control of your blog.
Randy sez: That’s an excellent growth record. Just keep building on that. Marketing is something that builds slowly from something small into something big. It doesn’t usually happen overnight. You’ll see results in time. It would be good if you can find a way to track your results, of course.
How do you hit a nerve that gets comments on a blog? Feedback is nice, but is it the goal? If there is no feedback, does that mean that no one is connecting with your thoughts, or that what you said is so self-explanatory that it needs no further explanation?
Randy sez: Only you can define your goals. Comments may or may not be important to those goals. If you have lots of comments on your blog, you have to read them, monitor for spam, and respond to them. So some bloggers don’t want comments and may even turn them off. I like comments because it enables my blog readers to interact with me and with each other. This is what some people call “creating community.” I think it’s a good thing. I learn a lot from my blog readers, and you all are able to help each other even when I don’t know the answer. I have no idea if it pays off in terms of dollars, but money is not my only goal in life. I have always believed that friends are more important.
So to answer Sally’s question, you should decide whether you WANT comments first. Is your blog about a topic where comments would be a good thing or a bad thing? Only you can decide that. If you decide that you want comments, then there are ways to solicit them. Ask a question of your readers that’s open-ended. Have a contest. Those always seem to generate a lot of comments.
I wondered the same thing as Sally. I wonder if Randy would share what his actual hit count is vs the number of posted comments. I bet it’s huge.
I was worried that Gail Martin was going to get lonely and pull her writing blog (www.writingright-martin.blogspot.com) because very little comments being posted…and why the heck not??? It’s full of great writing tips….for free! I started to spread the word about her blog. But she assured me her hit counter – or whatever the techie term for it is – showed plenty of readership. Whew. I didn’t want to lose a good, free thing.
She’s got Randy’s give-away-the-gold thing down. I think the fact that she gives away great writing advice will do nothing but help her while it helps others. She has a new book out that complements her blog content, but there’s no hard sell. You’ll either be interested in it, or not. Like pro wrestling.
Randy sez: I don’t look at my stats too often, but what I remember from mid-January, when I last looked was the following: About 500 people per day read this blog. I have about 1100 unique visitors to this site per day. They view a total of about 3400 pages per day. All of those numbers are substantially higher than a year ago. I launched this blog in April last year, and that was the catalyst for some of the growth. I also moved my Snowflake page to this site in June or July, and that has brought in a lot of readers also.
Camille mentioned Gail Martin’s blog. Gail is a friend of mine, and I have a link to her blog from my blogroll. Her content is EXCELLENT. I remember when she launched it how impressed I was about how well she “gives away her gold.” I’ll probably have Gail on as a guest sometime soon. She’s on my list of potential guests (I have a couple of dozen folks who’ve volunteered, so I won’t run out of guests soon.)
After reading your posts about Simpleology, I signed up and have just completed 101. I’m in the process of mapping out my ultimate life, targets, etc. and have a couple of questions about how you did it.
I’ve noticed I can only have ONE short term, mid term, and long term target. Did this really frustrate you? Did you try to ‘get around’ it and add more in each field? Did you decide to go with the flow and truly only pick one target to work on the for whole week.
It’s completely unrealistic to me to only work on one target. There’s a lot more I want to do with my life that isn’t related to that target. Eg, if my goal is to write 15 pages per week of my manuscript, what about my goal to go in a triathlon in six months (as a way of losing weight and getting fit)?
How did you approach this?
Randy sez: I just reworked my Major Targets in Simpleology a few days ago. Yes, it is frustrating when you want to achieve everything all at once, but I have become more convinced than ever that I can really only have ONE target at a time in my life that’s most important.
Understand that I have many things that are going on all the time. I eat, I sleep, I pick up the mail, I do my daily chores around the house, I work at my consulting job, and a host of other routine things. These are HABITS. I do them every day without much thinking about them. They chew up some of my time.
There are also things that pop up that need doing NOW. That dentist appointment I made six months ago comes due. The “Change Oil” light comes on in my car. The garage gets too messy for words, and I take an hour to clean it up a little. The dog comes down with rabies. These aren’t habits, they’re INTERRUPTIONS. I deal with them when they come up and then get back to my routine.
Simpleology just assumes that these will come up, so it lets you schedule them into your life. But the purpose of Simpleology goes beyond dealing with HABITS and INTERRUPTIONS. Simpleology assumes that you want to ACHIEVE something in your life. Something that is going to take a big commitment from you for a substantial period of time, until you reach your goal. And the thesis of Mark Joyner, “The Simpleology Guy,” is that you should only have one of these ACHIEVEMENTS at a time that you’re focusing on. I think he’s right.
Let me illustrate. For the past several months, my long-term Major Target has been to get my next book published. In order to reach that, I had a medium-term Major Target to write a Snowflake, a proposal, and sample chapters, and get them ready for my agent. I achieved that over the weekend. (Hooray! It’s a big relief to get that done.) Now I’m shifting gears, because the next aspect of my long-term Major Target is to write the rest of the novel. That is best done by making a HABIT to write one scene very day. That’s going to take a few months, and it’s really on autopilot now. All I have to do is write that scene every day.
So over the weekend, I shifted focus back to this web site and its associated business. So now I have a new medium-term Major Target that involves creating a couple of new products and releasing them. (I won’t say just yet what they are.) That requires some focused effort or it’ll never get done. So that’s what I’m going to be focusing on. I identified four specific short-term Major Targets that I want to achieve in the next two months. Once those are done, I’ll decide on a new medium-term Major Target.
I really think a person can only FOCUS on one thing at a time. Of course, you can DO many tasks at once. I routinely do 8 to 10 tasks every day. But most of those are either HABITS or INTERRUPTIONS. Only one or two are the thing I’m focusing on. That’s all most of us can do in these busy lives of ours–find time to do a couple of tasks that are related to our passion. If you split your focus, then you just slow things down and prevent yourself from achieving what you want.
By the way, I finished the Simpleology course on blogging and found that it was a very useful summary. There was a lot of good information on how to use your blog to earn money, and some of it was new to me. I’m now taking the Simpleology course on “Viral Marketing Theory” and it looks like I’m going to learn a lot from this one.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Simpleology folks (besides the virtues of keeping things simple), it’s that succes in life comes from continuous improvement. If you were able to improve by only 1% every day, at the end of a year, you’d improve incredibly. (Not by a mere 365%, either. Because of the compounding effect, you’d improve by over 3700%!) So since September, I’ve been trying to make small improvements every week. (Every day is a bit much, but every week is really doable.)
Getting back to Rachael’s question, it sounds to me like writing 15 pages per week is a good solid habit, but it’s not really a Major Target. It sounds like doing that triathlon is a good long-term Major Target for you. You probably have a whole series of short-term and medium-term Major Targets along the way. Go fer it! Reach those Major Targets! Check them off! Keeping knocking them off until you do that triathlon. By that time, maybe the manuscript will be done, and you might then want to focus on getting it published as your next Major Target. At that point, you’ll be fit and trim and will likely have more energy than you do now and will be well able to tackle your next goal. Then daily exercise will become a mere habit that you do every day, and you’ll be focusing for a few months on pursuing publication. Make sense?