7 Habits of Professional Bloggers

Professional blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme—and I’m sure you’ve discovered that for yourself. But although building a successful, income-producing blog might take a bit longer than you wanted, it’s far from impossible.


In fact, it’s just a case of slowly but surely improving your game. These are seven habits which top bloggers share. Are you missing any of them?


Being willing to learn, consistently, is crucial to success in today’s fast-moving world—but that’s especially true in blogging, where technological changes mean that last year’s top sites are this year’s has-beens.


As I’ve met more and more great bloggers, I’ve been struck how much they invest in learning. They go to conferences, they read ebooks and take ecourses, and they make sure they keep improving their skills in the two areas which matter most: being able to write well and being adept with technology.


Become a regular reader of great blogging and writing related blogs. My top three are:


Buy an ebook or take an ecourse that’ll help you take your blogging further. A great one to start with is 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, because it combines solid theory with practical exercises, and it covers a wide range of beginner-friendly topics.


Your blogging needs to be sustainable. While you might not be making much money to start with, you should aim to make enough to invest in some learning materials—and to cover your hosting, domain name registration, and other blogging expenses.


You also need to make sure that you’re being realistic about the time you can spend on your blog. Sure, you might have the energy to write all weekend when you first start out—but will you be able to do that month after month? An awful lot of would-be probloggers give up after a few weeks because their blogging schedule just wasn’t sustainable.


If your hosting and other expenses mean that your blog’s currently running at a loss, find one simple way to monetize it. That might mean finding a great affiliate product to recommend, installing a donation button, or putting up Google AdSense.


Plan out major purchases—like ecourses or conference tickets—in advance. Look for ways to cover the costs from your blogging income, rather than out of your own pocket. The first time I went to South by South West, I released an ebook which paid for the cost of my trip (you can read how I did it here on ProBlogger).


Can you imagine reading a post like this on ProBlogger?


Sorry guys, I know I haven’t updated in a month, I’ve just been really busy…


Of course not. In fact, if even a couple of days went by without a ProBlogger update, I bet Darren would be inundated with emails from worried readers asking what was wrong. Professional bloggers post consistently—whether that means once a week or three times a day.


Posting consistently shows that you take your blog seriously. It gets readers into the habit of coming back to read new posts—and it gets you into the habit of writing regularly.


Decide on a sensible, sustainable posting schedule. It’s fine if that means one post a week—readers would rather have one great post every week than seven rushed posts one week then nothing for a month.


Write posts ahead of time, so that you’ve got some “banked” for busy periods. You can schedule a post to publish in the future using WordPress, so your posts can keep going up consistently even if you’re jetting off on holiday.


The sun’s shining outside. There’s a show I want to watch. And I really should do the dishes…


It’s all too easy to think up excuses to leave your desk and your blog. Even if you love writing, you probably find it hard to sit down and stay focused while you’re working on a post. I write for a living and I still find it challenging!


That’s why self-discipline is so important for professional bloggers. You need to be able to work on your blog without checking Twitter every two minutes, and without getting distracted by everything else that’s going on around you.


Self-discipline doesn’t just mean sitting down and working, though. It also means knowing when to stop working. That might mean being self-disciplined enough not to check your emails during dinner, or not obsessing over Google Analytics.


Next time you sit down to write a post, close your internet browser first. Don’t open it up again until you’ve been writing for at least 30 minutes.


Find ways to bolster your self-discipline by changing your environment:

Take your laptop to a coffee shop that doesn’t have wi-fi.Get up earlier so you can blog before work, rather than struggling to have motivation to blog when you get home.Block websites which you find yourself accessing too often.

This might seem like an odd habit to include on the list, but I think integrity is extremely important for professional bloggers. The best bloggers I know are people who I put a lot of trust in. I buy their products—and I’m confident that these will be worth my money. I buy products which they recommend—and I know that the blogger isn’t just hyping something in order to get a few dollars in commission.


I can’t tell you what integrity means for you and your blog. But I suggest that you give it some thought. It’s very easy to lose readers’ trust—and once you’ve lost it, they won’t be coming back. Worse, they might warn other people to steer clear of you.


Make sure you always disclose affiliate links. This isn’t just to help readers trust you—it’s also a legal requirement if you live in America.


Think through any moral grey areas carefully. For instance, would you run a sponsored post on your blog—and if so, would you disclose its status? Would you promote a product which you hadn’t tried out yourself—and if so, would you make that clear to your readers?


I’ve seen a few train-wreck situations in my time in the blogosphere, where comment threads have got out of hand, or where two bloggers have attacked one another in their posts. It’s never a pretty sight, and it always gives me a dim view of the people in question.


So courtesy is a vital habit. That means responding politely and pleasantly to people—even if they’ve said something which makes you angry. If your blog is still small, courtesy might also mean replying to all your comments. If your blog is too big to do that, courtesy might prompt you to explain on your “About” page that you can’t reply to everyone but that you do value their comments.


If you’re ever tempted to post a blazing angry comment, stop. Walk away for a while—at least an hour if you can.


Consider having a comments policy which encourages (or requires) all your blog’s readers to interact respectfully. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree—but they have to avoid using aggressive language or posting personal attacks. Remember that many readers may read the comments, even if they never post one.


Finally, professional bloggers don’t stay in the middle of their cozy comfort zone. If they did, they’d never have got far. They keep on growing—stretching themselves, trying new things, bringing in new readers, and launching new products.


Growth isn’t always easy. There’ll be plenty of times in your blogging journey where you’re nervous about taking the next step. Perhaps you’ve never sent out a guest post, because you’re worried about being rejected. Or perhaps you’ve not made a start on that ebook you’ve got planned, because you know it’ll be a lot of work.


But every single problogger had to write their first guest post, launch their first product and go to their first conference. I’m sure they were all nervous—there’s nothing wrong with that—but what matters is that they did it anyway. And that’s how they, and their blogs, grew.

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Standing Out Online By Improving Your Offline Legitimacy

Standing out on the web seems like an impossible feat these days, with new blogs springing up by the minute and everyone and their mother touting new ways to make money online. While there are plenty of steps you can take to stand out and improve your online reputation, there is one area of consideration that is continually overlooked: how you appear offline.

Offline indicators are referenced more often than we think and taking the time to improve them can give you an easy leg up on the competition, especially when they haven�t even stopped to consider what their offline profile even looks like.� Although the following areas can cost a little bit of money to get established, they go along away in terms of improving your brand and will definitely provide a healthy return on investment in the long run.

Register your business

You can operate a blog and accept payments via PayPal in your own name, but forming an LLC or corporation gives you the opportunity to operate under a formal corporate identity. This formal registration will come in handy in numerous different situations, from shielding your personal identity to getting listed in directories to making customers more comfortable doing business with you. Most people feel more comfortable sending money to or contracting with an actual business, so you should definitely take the leap and register your company today.

Registering a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is probably the route best suited for online businesses and blogs, and registering one is as simple as filing a few pieces of paper with your state. LegalZoom is a good place to get this taken care of.

List a mailing address

A physical location where you can be found is best, but most online businesses don�t have a formal office and thus can�t list their address. This is fine. A P.O. Box from your local post office will do the trick, and it costs less than $100 per year (in most areas).

With a P.O. Box, you gain a mailing address in your locality that you can list as your business address and utilize to accept business related correspondence. It goes great on your �Contact Us� page and can be set up in the name of your business (if you�ve gone through the previous step already). Obviously more dubious operations can obtain a P.O. Box as well, so having one isn�t your ticket to legitimacy, but having a mailing address in combination with the other items listed here will work wonders.

Publish a phone number

Not many thieves of conmen make it easy to reach them on the phone, which is why publishing a phone number associated with your business is a great way to improve your legitimacy. Thanks to Google Voice, establishing a dedicated phone number is amazingly easy to do, and free.

You can keep this step free by simply recording your own formal voicemail greeting and asking callers to leave the message. To step things up to the next level, you may consider forwarding calls to your cell phone and answering in the name of your business, or hiring a small business answering service to answer calls on your behalf.

For a monthly fee, an answering service will answer in the name of your firm and follow specific instructions that you lay out for them, including scripting for specific types of calls and methods for delivering your messages. This step is probably overkill for most small businesses, but it does add a level of professionalism that isn�t easily found on the web. If people can travel to your website, find a phone number, and then actually dial that number to reach a live person, it says a lot about your operation.

Conclusion

These are just a few things you can do offline that will ultimately help you stand out on the web. Each will allow you to expand the information available on your business, help people research and contact you, and clearly distinguish you from other websites that aren�t as formally established.

Do you have your own tips for improving your legitimacy and standing out from the competition? Please share them and help add to this list!

Standing Out Online By Improving Your Offline Legitimacy from Myblog2day

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Enhanced Statistics for Affiliates

When you’re getting started as an affiliate, the statistics provided by the affiliate programs and networks will suffice.

But as you progress, I’d advise you to use some techniques and tools to get a better idea of what is and is not working.

I’ve been using redirected links for my affiliate links for as long as I can remember, so I can have shorter links, track my number of outbound clicks, and quickly change out the links to try other affiliate programs.

Sub-ID’s are additional parameters you can add to affiliate links to better track which of your pages or sites are driving the traffic that is making you money.

Then there are ad servers, which enable you to plug in a short bit of code to places on your site(s), and then easily change out banners, as well as rotating a variety of banners.

Google Analytics is a free service from Google that provides lots of extra data about the performance of your site.

And finally, there are tools for A/B testing, so you can see which versions of a landing page are performing best.

While I said that the reporting from the affiliate programs and networks is sufficient for new affiliates, there is no reason to hold off on using the various options to enhance your data.

The post Enhanced Statistics for Affiliates appeared first on Make Money Online with Affiliate Marketing.

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Week In Review: College Football & Haters

This week in review covers quick paydays, exclusive pre-game football parties with Shoemoney, affiliate marketing investment and much more!

  • Ultimate College Football & Internet Marketing Experience – If you’re a college football fan and an Internet marketer, you’ll want to check this out. Doesn’t dinner with Shoemoney, an exclusive pre-game party, a football game, a tour of ShoeMoney Media Group’s offices and more sound great?
  • Should You Take the Money and Run? – Acquisitions are all over the news lately. Would you keep your company or take the money? Does taking the quick payday make you a terrible entrepreneur? Let’s find out using some seriously high profile examples.
  • 2 Biggest Mistakes New Affiliates Make – With so many mistakes to be made, what are new affiliates’ biggest offences? It turns out that these two common missteps go hand-in-hand with one another.
  • How Much Do I Have To Spend To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing? – Ah, the age-old question of how much investment is required for profit. There’s just simply no hard and fast rule that will provide a definite answer. Learn all there is to know about the variables involved instead.
  • Blackhat Tactic: How to Use Trusted Heuristics to Get Clicks – How can your campaign benefit from the positive reputation of another brand? More importantly, how can you benefit without infringing on trademarks? It’s a fine line.
  • GAME OVER: Affiliate Marketing Is Dead – Why does it seem like everyone and their dog hates affiliate marketing at its very core? In the words of Mac Miller, “We gonna take over the world while the haters gettin’ mad.”
  • PPC Affiliate Marketing Update: 2 Weeks Later – A lot can happen in just two short weeks. Unfortunately, the changes we see might not be the changes we were hoping for. Click here to check in with Tyler Cruz’s PPC journey.

Original Post: Week In Review: College Football & Haters

© JonathanVolk.com – A Blog about Making Money Online, 2011.

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Redirecting Affiliate Links

Redirected affiliate links will enable you to have shorter links, track your number of outbound clicks, and quickly change out the links to try other affiliate programs.

There are WordPress plugins that make the process of redirecting links quick and easy.

I mostly use one called Pretty Link.

I also have one installed on some sites called ThirstyAffiliates.

Additionally, I use bit.ly Pro, which is a free service that enables me to use my own domain to make redirect links. I use aff.bz there.

With Pretty Link and many other options, I am able to see the number of unique and total clicks out, date created, and I can group the links to more efficiently manage them and specify whether they should be “no follow”.

I use a free version of Pretty Link, but there is also a paid version that provides added functionality, such as double redirection, keyword replacements, URL replacements, URL rotations, split tests, etc.

In addition to the opportunity to gain some insight into the performance of the links, redirected affiliate links also enable you to safeguard your links, because sometimes an affiliate program will close without notice, or you might simply wish to promote a competitor.

It’s helpful that you can quickly switch out the destination of the links.

Additionally, if you are promoting affiliate links in places with character limitations, such as text email or Twitter, it’s essential to shrink those affiliate links.

If you are not currently redirecting your affiliate links, I’d suggest using one of the free solutions at a minimum.

The post Redirecting Affiliate Links appeared first on Make Money Online with Affiliate Marketing.

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5 HQ Link Building Techniques for Bloggers

We all know how SEO helps improve our visibility and generate traffic to our websites. Quality content keeps our readers hooked but without a solid SEO strategy it might take years before anybody even notices our writing. Content might be king but SEO tells people how to get there.

Link building is an integral part of SEO. Without a solid link building strategy achieving the top position in search results is definitely harder if not impossible. So how do you build links to your website? There are two schools of thought here. Some contend that building hundreds of links through link farms and article submissions is the way to go. And the other which focuses on quality link building.

Writing Guest Posts

Simply one of the best ways of getting quality back links, guest posting has been considered an essential linking technique for many SEO experts. Similar to article submissions, guest posting is one of the most difficult link building strategies to execute.

The benefits of guest posting goes beyond the realm of SEO. Other advantages include the opportunity to interact with fellow bloggers and establish yourself as an expert in your niche. Below are simple steps to get you started at guest posting.

  • Find blog sites similar to your niche
  • Choose high quality blogs or those with high PR
  • Submit your best blog posts
  • Engage in the community
  • Create an author bio that contains your target keyword with your link

Social Bookmarking

Building quality links to your blog could easily be done by submitting these to social bookmarking sites. Popular sites include StumbleUpon, Reddit and Digg. These sites are regularly crawled by Google’s search engines making it a good place to build links.

These websites have high PR and are often visited by search engine spiders. This makes links created on these sites highly valuable.

Blogging Directories

Blogging directories and communities are the social networking sites for bloggers. Some of the top blog sites are located in these directories and share their latest post with fellow bloggers and readers. These sites are great for getting targeted traffic to your blog and could supply you with much needed juice.

Posting on Top Forums

A link building technique that people often forget is targeting forums. High traffic forums provide us with an easy method of getting links. Why bother spending hours creating a single article for an article submission site when you could get a link by posting a few words or starting a discussion.

However, some forums require a certain number of postings before you could get a link on your signature or forum post. Some good sites include Yahoo Answers or Google Forums.

Blog Commenting

Similar to forum posting, blog commenting gives you the opportunity to get high quality links by providing meaningful content and insight to blog posts. The quality of the links you get from these is directly associated with the blogs PR. Try to focus your efforts in targeting high quality sites to improve.

Quality and Quantity

There are two schools of thought when it comes to link building. Some contend that quantity has its own quality and submitting to link farms and article submission sites is the quickest way to build up your links. But after Google’s latest updates, the quality of links thru these methods have been severely downgraded. Quality has a price and the cost of getting quality links is the time spent on each of these.

5 HQ Link Building Techniques for Bloggers from Myblog2day

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Quotes from Successful People

I am a Money Magnet! We are Money Magnets!

Some quotes from successful people (stock traders, investors, businessmen) that we, money magnets, can learn from.

"All through time, people have basically acted and reacted the same way in the market as a result of: greed, fear, ignorance, and hope.  Wall Street never changes, the pockets change, the stocks change, but Wall Street never changes, because human nature never changes." Jesse Livermore, How To Trade in Stocks.

Backdrop: The monkeys of Batu Cave in Malaysia.  

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