December 20, 2014

How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years

Posted by: of Stephan on 05/14/13

I left my blog dormant for a few years, but I’m finally back in the saddle! I drafted up a post entitled “How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years” because it seemed fitting. Here are my main points to get you started:

1. Jump in and write something. No apologies. Or a lengthy explanation or justification for being off the grid.

2. Get some tools or processes in place that will make it as painless as possible to post. Like Dragon – which incidentally is available as an iPhone/iPad app.

3. Hire a virtual assistant if that will help you. (More on using VA’s in a future post).

4. Roll out a site redesign at the same time to let everybody know you’re reengaged and committed.

5. Don’t try to get all your readers all caught up on your life all in one post. You’ve got plenty of fodder for many blog posts – so save it for later.

6. Finally, silence the perfectionist in you. I have this bad habit of pouring over my blog posts – my articles even more so – trying to make them perfect. I put a dozen hours or more into articles on search engine land. That’s crazy. That’s not good use of your time. Much better to freeze all those great ideas and insights stuck in your head – share them with the world. It’s okay if the sentence structure isn’t always on the mark. It’s a blog post for Pete’s sake.

Free Blogging Teleseminar

Posted by: of Duct Tape Marketing Blog on 09/30/05

Next Tuesday, October 4th, 11 am Pacific (Noon M, 1pm C, 2pm E) I will
be interviewed on a free teleseminar hosted by Steven Van Yoder, author
of Get Slightly Famous, on the – The Basics of Business Blogging (and why every business should have a blog)

Here are some of the things we will discuss on the call:
- An easy-to-grasp explanation of blogs and blogging
- The benefits of blogs over e-mail newsletters
- How to cost-effectively start and maintain your own blog
- How to brand your blog with great writing, audio, and video
- How to use your blog as a new income generator

Blogging has become an integral part of my marketing and is responsible
for generating significant revenue, leads, PR, awards and even a book
deal! Maybe it’s time to learn how to harness this powerful tool.

Click Here To Register

Okay Paul … here’s my review of WordPress.com

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 09/27/05
Paul wrote a post yesterday about being invited to try the new hosted WordPress service.  He asked for a review … and well here are my thoughts thus far …
 
I’ve been playing with my new WordPress.com blog—ProBlogging How to—for a while now.  First thoughts, I really like it.  Qumana connects in a cinch.  I’ve been cross-posting and re-posting without problems.  The site isn’t getting much traffic yet, so trackback and comment management isn’t something that I’ve had to deal with.  On the down side, the admin/dashboard has been a bit sluggish at times and I would like to edit the template (I did choose a standard one, and really like it).  Beyond that, looks good.  Heck it is beta, gotta cut Matt some slack!
 
I’m very excited to have another serious blog hosting option out there.  Yes, I still like Blogware.  I also think TypePad and Bryght are solid too.  I am curious about the WordPress.com business model, though.  Is is going to be free? (Way unlikely, IMHO)  Ad-supported?  Tiered?  I’d love to know.  Matt, ping me … let me know, please?
 
 
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When is enough, enough? How many feeds to do you need to read?

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 09/27/05
45432036_673097e4db_m.jpgArieanna’s section on the latest bit from our survey—Qumana Blog — The use of RSS – Blog Survey Results—got me to thinking about my own adventures with RSS.  Like most folks I started slowly.  Though being an info junkie I jumped pretty fast into the double and triple digits.  But, like Arieanna, my feed list didn’t really explode until I became a pro blogger.  Hmm.  And now that I am, I find that I’m so busy with other things, I barely read a quarter of my feed list.  Many days I don’t even make it though my “Must read list”.  So this begs the question, since we’re already info-overloaded, when is enough, enough?
 
 
 
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More on our Qumana user blogging survey

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 09/27/05
45432039_c8abbd07e0_m.jpgA little while ago we launched a survey of Qumana users to better understand both how they are using Q, but also more about them and their blogging.  Arieanna’s first post on the results of the survey is really good—Qumana Blog — Blogging Survey – On Bloggers.  As I’ve let the data rattle around in my head I am struck by the feeling that these data show that blogging is really becoming more mainstream.  Look at the charts.  Lots of them are nice bell curves.  Bell curves are “normal distributions”.  Look at the chart at the right.  Nice breakouts here.  There is, of course, a skew towards experienced bloggers, but I think the roughly 50% of “new” bloggers (a year or less) is a great sign that more people are finding blogging and enjoying it.
 
 
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New Pinging Site with a Twist

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 09/27/05

Rick and I were contacted by Rob, author of a new pinging site, Feedshot.com. This one does not yet include as many sites as Pingomatic or Pingoat, but according to Rob does function as the intial submission rather than just a ping. Here’s his blurb…

I’ve just launched a service called FeedShot that submits an RSS or Atom feed to 17 blog search engines. It covers all the major engines (DayPop, Feedster, IceRocket, and Technorati), and the list is expanding every week. The service is free, and what makes it unique is that it’s set up to do the initial submission for a feed, rather than as a pinging service. The best part is a report indicating which submissions were successful, which failed, and which were duplicates.

WordPress.com

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 09/26/05

I just received an invitation to set up a WordPress.com (com, not org) blog. I did, and I like it. The interface is clean and more compact than the admin interface I’m used to. They have several decent looking skins, though I don’t like the fact you can’t access the source code. At least, I didn’t find a way to do it. But, then again, I didn’t spend much time on it either.

This is a hosted version of their platform, similar to how SixApart does it with Typepad. Of course, it’s free, just like the server-side version. It is currently by invitation only however. Just submit your email addy and they will extend an invitation to you at some point I feel sure.

I’d be interested to feedback from those of you who’ve tried it out, especially if you have a more in-depth review. I’m just not an in-depth review kind of guy. Heh.

Web 2.0 Conference Blog

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 09/26/05

Just heard from one of the PR people working on the upcoming Web 2.0 conference that there will be an official blog, due to go live next week, and that bloggers will be represented among the number of press covering the event. Are any of you planning to attend? Do you plan to blog it?

It’s time for an Internet Sales Tax

David Cortriss of Revenue magazine recently interviewed me about the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, a project that intends to make it easier to calculate sales tax in various venues, including online. While it’s not news that people are trying to simplify pieces of our incredibly byzantine tax codes, it’s worth noting that the Streamlined Sales Tax agreement is already winding its way through quite a few state legislatures.

David’s question to me about the Streamlined Sales Tax has led me to reconsider one of the sacred cows of the Internet, taxation of Internet purchases.

In a nutshell, I believe that it’s high time for us to reconsider the Internet Sales Tax with the triple whammy of the war in Iraq and the widespread devastation left in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But there are even more important reasons why it’s time for us to enact taxation of Internet purchases…

Let me start by quoting myself, from the interview:

Q: Are Internet taxes a good thing or a bad thing? What will the overall impact be? Who benefits and who loses?

A: I’d like to see Internet taxes, actually. At this point in the evolution of the Web and online shopping, it’s hard to truly justify that online companies need special advantages to continue growing. A flat tax, perhaps at the 5% rate, that applied across all in-state and interstate commerce would be the most logical, truly simplifying the tax burden while generating tens of millions of dollars in city, county, state and national revenue.

Who will benefit? All of us. Not only will…

A new twist on “character blogs”

You may already be familiar with the concept of character blogging, where the blog is actually a fictitious charcter, such as a cartoon character from a cereal box, or a doll perhaps.

I think an interesting twist to this concept would be to have an historical character blogging from the past, as if it were the present day. I think American Girl, with their dolls from various historical periods would make for excellent character bloggers.

As a step in that direction, American Girl has recently launched a Felicity Blog. Felicity is a doll set in the time of the American Revolution. I think it would be a great idea for Felicity and the other dolls to be speaking to girls from the past.

American Girl is done a little bit differently though than a character blog. One of their editors poses questions Felicity faces, and also deals with themes/issues that are relevant to girls today, and asks girls to say what they think Felicity should do.

This Felicity blog doesn’t really give the impression of a character blog, but it is certainly very successful in soliciting comments from readers, with over 250 comments for their first blog post. That is really impressive!

Maybe there are some lessons here to be learned for business bloggers in how to engage with their community of consumers as successfully as American Girl seems to do.

Survey About Corporate Blogging to Be Released at BlogOn

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 09/23/05

An old industry acquaintance Jason Throckmorton, who reminds me he once did PR for Flycast (there’s a blast from the past!), writes me to ask help promoting a client’s survey about corporate blogging. I get a fair number of requests to link to surveys on this topic, not all of which I bother with, but this one looks interesting, particularly given that the producers of BlogOn are behind it. Jason writes:

I’m writing to give you a heads up about a survey focused on corporate blogging that Guidewire Group (producers of BlogOn) is doing with one of our clients called iUpload. We’re asking folks like yourself with strong ties to the blogging/marketing/PR communities to help spread the word.

We¹re going to be announcing highlights of the survey at next month’s BlogOn conference. The goal is to shed light on market demand for corporate blogging solutions, emerging best practices and the role of blogs in key enterprise functions, as well as to identify barriers inhibiting adoption in the marketplace. Obviously, lots of overlap with what you’re covering.

In addition to directly receiving the highlights of the survey, participants can also register for a chance to win an iPod nano or a complimentary pass to the event.

FeedBurner Launches PingShot

Posted by: of hyku | blog on 09/22/05

Over at the Burning Door, FeedBurner has announced PingShot, a new service that notifies aggregators and search engines when your feed has been updated. On the post there is an FAQ about the new service.

A quick check of my FeedBurner account shows the new option (click image for larger version):

PingShot from FeedBurner - Options Menu

The default services listed are Technorati and My Yahoo. You can check PubSub, Ping-o-matic and NewsGator and then add up to three other services which include: Feedster, Icerocket and Weblogs.com.

If you have a FeedBurner account you will need to activate this service via your control panel. Outside services such as web directories and search tools may submit their name to receive notifications of updates.

Another Opinion on Blogging Networks

Not soon after I posted It’s the End of the Blogosphere As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), I read this article at Wired called Can Bloggers Strike it Rich?

Jason Calacanis, founder of Weblogs, claims his writers make $200 – $3,000 each month. "Think a scuba diver or video-game player making $500 to $1,500 a month writing about scuba diving or video games."

Hmmm…maybe he should read Dr. Del’s article on video game networks.

In any case, read both sides of the story and make up your own mind.

It’s the End of the Blogosphere As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Dr. Del Dhanoa posted an interesting article called The Implosion of the Blogosphere.

In it, he’s not predicting the end of blogging, or really even the blogosphere, but rather the way some bloggers make a living.

He uses the history of the video game networks, i.e., Gamespy, as a way of extrapolating what may happen to blogging networks such as WeblogsInc.com, Gawker Media and the like.

In short, he’s concerned that like video game networks, blogging
networks will accelerate the boom/bust cycle, paying bloggers more and
more money to jump ship, driving up ad rates, until the bottom drops
out. Basically, he’s warning against speculation.

It’s an interesting idea, and the article is well written. I’m currently reading "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister,"
which is told from the perspective of Cinderella’s sister, and takes
place during the tulip bust that destroyed many fortunes in Holland and
beyond. I think it’s safe to say that whatever the market is,
speculation is a risky business that ends in a zero sum game, or worse.

For me, personally, and for most of the business bloggers out there,
we’re blogging for our business, not for a network. Whether blogging
networks succeed or fail in the long run, the blogosphere and blogging
should continue as long as businesses are interested in connecting with
their prospects and clients.

A great example of a company responding in the blogosphere

I just bumped into a splendid example of how at least one smart company in the senior healthcare space is monitoring the world of blogs and closing the loop with customer commentary.

My friend and colleague Jeff Miller runs the Senior Safety Blog which focuses on issues of dealing with health and safety for, you guessed it, senior “citizens.” While this could be just a litany of products for sale or a depressing series of updates on people who are slowly becoming more infirm and dying, in fact it’s interesting and worth reading for both seniors and those who are involved in senior care.

In a recent posting with the rather wordy title A walking cane helped Edie with her walking problem, wheelchairs helped…how about a Hugo?, one of the contributors on Jeff’s Weblog, Ellen Sacks, wrote:

“I don’t know about you, but I watch those shopping channels. I guess I don’t really watch, I flip the remote to a shopping channel during commercials. So, I’m flipping and I see the perfect walking companion for Edie. The Hugo. The Hugo is a small cart with four wheels, a padded seat with a basket underneath to carry your essentials. It also has hand brakes that lock so it’s steady when you sit down…”

This was posted back on August 24th, and about three weeks later here’s the comment that appeared on the weblog…

Pingoat Does Sitemaps Too

Posted by: of Duct Tape Marketing Blog on 09/20/05

I know we have been singing the praises of the new ping service called Pingoat but I recently discovered they have added another very useful service.

Fill out a simple form and Pingoat will create (and even FTP to your site)an XML Google sitemap. See for yourself.

Talking about Retailer Blogs at Shop.org

If attendance at the "Blogs, Podcasts and RSS" breakout session at last week’s Shop.org annual summit in Las Vegas is any indication of retailers’ receptiveness to blogging, the room was full and the retailers were a captive audience. Yes it helped that one of the panelists, my client CEO blogger Steve Spangler, made his wallet catch on fire, made snow erupt from a beaker, and showed how to cause an fizzy eruption of carbon dioxide with Mentos and Diet Coke. (Did I mention he’s a trained magician, professional speaker, and Emmy-award winning television personality? …in addition to being an inventor, cataloger, entrepreneur, CEO,…)  Anyways, electrifying performances aside, the retailers on my panel — eHobbies, Ice.com, and SteveSpanglerScience.com — all gave compelling evidence for the value of blogging to retailers, and for Steve, even taking it further and bringing podcasting and vodcasting into the mix.

You’ll want to check out the panel’s Powerpoint deck for charts of blog-related revenue growth and other goodies. Steve shared that 13% of online revenue is attributable to his blog. Not bad!

I’ve also blogged a recap of the session here.

Why Mailing List Discussions are not Free Blog Content

Quick: if you’re part of a mailing list and there’s a splendid discussion, a really informative back and forth dialog that transpires, can you copy and paste both sides of the discussion on your weblog without requesting permission?

This very topic arose on the LinkedIn Bloggers mailing list — a list that has some minimal member requirements and closed list archive — and generated what I thought was a surprisingly wide range of answers.

I spent some time on list trying to clarify my own thoughts on this matter, detailing where I believe it’s acceptable to quote others without permission and when I believe it’s imperative that you seek and receive permission before quoting even a single sentence. I’d like to include my thoughts here on my weblog too, for more general reference purposes and to hopefully spawn some dialog on this topic too.

The discussion started out with the following question…

“I presume everyone agrees that you have a right to post a conversation to a blog entry [where you were one of the participants]. How do you handle the other person’s part of the conversation? Do you ask permission? Do you attribute? Do you notify them?”

Here’s my response…

Behind Microsoft’s “Deep Throat”

Posted by: of Ensight on 09/19/05

Microsoft has taken a number of hits over the last dozen or so years. From viruses and security issues to being declared an illegal monopoly and more recent executive outbursts, the company has given vocal critics more than enough to talk about.

It may surprise you to find out, though, that one of Microsoft’s most vocal critics is an actual Microsoft employee. And he has a blog. Mini-Microsoft is written anonymously be a current Microsoft employee.

This month, he gets called "Microsoft’s ‘Deep Throat’" by BusinessWeek, in a decidedly un-chilly expose.

Mini’s often critical, always honest and generally passionate posts go from saying Steve Ballmer should resign and the company needs a complete restructuring to a recent post where Mini crows that "it is a heel-clicking time to re-energize and re-focus on who we are and the great potential we have."

Why does he write a blog which is so openly critical of Microsoft? Well, to quote the BusinessWeek interview: "Sometimes you have to destroy the village in order to save it."

Blog Marketing

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 09/18/05

More and more companies are contemplating whether they should start a business blog, it seems appropriate to shed more light on marketing considerations for blogs. While business blog marketing effectiveness can be improved in many ways, here are three fundamental considerations: content, frequency and distribution.


Content
- Know your audience. Your blog posts must be
interesting and useful to your readers. Develop your unique voice and
don’t be afraid to post things others will not agree to.

Frequency of posts are important as there
is a direct correlation to blog popularity and frequency of posts. Post
3-5 times per week at a minimum. Consumers of information are beginning
to realize  only a fraction of sites are updated in search engines
every day, but that blog and RSS search engines like Google Blog Search, Technorati, Bloglines and Feedster are update hourly.

Distribution of your blog is important. A common issue from
people new to blogs and RSS feeds is where to find them. Marketing a
blog brings additional advantages over a traditional web site. A blog
and associated RSS/Atom feed can be promoted within the blogoshpere as
well as through traditional directories, search engines and web site
linking. The opportunity for blog exposure is much greater than a
regular web site alone. Make it easy for news feed subscribers to find
your blog through both web site search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) and
RSS search engines (Google Blog Search, Bloglines, Feedster,
Technorati).

Here’s a list of search engines and directories lists and a list of Blog/Blog and RSS directories for submissions. Also, be sure to ping regularly with services like , or .

A list of additional blog optimization and marketing tips can be found at this recent post from Online Marketing Blog.

What is a Blogroll?

I’ve been trying to figure out all the mysterious jargon of the blogosphere, and one that’s got me stumped is blogroll. Dave, what’s a blogroll?

I’m with you, it’s amazing how many different bits of jargon have now invaded the world of the Web with the increased popularity of weblogs. Fortunately, blogrolls are pretty easily defined:

A blogroll is a list of other weblogs that a given blogger either subscribes to or recommends.

Pop over to my colleague Debbie Weil’s terrific Blogwrite for CEOs, for example, and down the right column Debbie has a list of “CEO Blogs”, her first blogroll, and then below it (and below her advert) is “Corporate Blogs”, a second blogroll. Then there’s “Other Blog Resources” and “Other Smart Blogs”, for a total of four blogrolls on the same Weblog.

Other bloggers approach blogrolls differently. Pop over to Paul Chaney’s Radiant Marketing Group site and you’ll find his blogroll is called “Recommended Sites”, and it’s, again, on the far right side of the page. Halley Suitt’s Halley’s Comment weblog has two blogrolls, this time on the left side, called “New Blogs” and “Blogs”. VC and blogger Brad Feld’s Feld Thoughts has “Blogs I Read” on the lower left of the page.

There are some tools that are popular for managing blogrolls, notably Blogrolling, but many weblog authors just manage their own as a simple list of hypertext references.

When asked why have a blogroll, most bloggers I know, whether business bloggers or casual, hobbyist bloggers, answer that…

 

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