Are You A Serious Blogger Or A Hobbyist?

QUICK UPDATE:  My stock, YOMAR, is rising up on Empire Avenue – it’s strangely exciting to see how my social influence ranks throughout various communities.  Come visit me!

If you’ve been around the blogosphere enough, chances are you’ve come across blogs preaching the importance of planning out content, doing SEO, and monetizing your efforts. Most of the advice is sound. It makes sense to make blogging more worthwhile, if not lucrative. The first real step we bloggers should take is asking ourselves…

Am I a serious blogger or a hobbyist?

I’m surprised more people do not tackle this aspect of blogging. Rewards and success come in different flavors. Really, I’d say the longevity of your blog comes down to two things:

  • Sustainability. WordPress.com initiated postaday2011 and postaweek2011 as a way to create urgency for bloggers. Some “experts” will tell you should blog 3 times a week, if not daily, but can you keep this up? For how long?
  • Passion. Blogging is more of a selfish act and it should be.. BUT blogging solely about what interests others will bore you. Are you passionate about your subject matter or just following trends? You need a balance.

Blogging, like any business endeavor or project, can become a chore if you’re not focused on your goals and motivations. Product longevity depends on a number of factors so you have to consider what the heart of your “thing” is and how long that focus will work. You have to be honest with yourself here. Let’s look at the things you should consider before stepping things up with your blogging efforts (or not)…

Testing The Waters
The things that usually keeps people from taking the plunge and truly launching their blogs are the same things that keeps people from going into business for themselves. We’re afraid to fail. Doing things “for fun” softens up the blows that can come from real commitment and investment.

Are you afraid of success or are you truly happy with the way things are?

Some bloggers may be complacent or comfortable. You may have a small audience. You may only blog for friends or people that agree with you. That’s manageable. It’s safe.

What if you want more from your blog?

I say test the waters first and be reasonable with expectations. Here’s what you can expect if blogging is to represent any sort of ROI (Return On Investment) for you:

  1. Some will hate your style, others will love it.
  2. Criticism is inevitable – welcome and learn from it!
  3. Not everyone will be a Seth Godin, Darren Rowse, Dino Dogan, Marcus Sherdian, Danny Brown, Chris Brogan (you get the idea).. but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a living from it.
  4. It’s going to take work but it’ll be FUN with the right attitude and focus!
  5. There is no niche: everyone has the same ideas as you but how you present and position them differentiates you.

With that reality check out of the way, I urge anyone considering blogging as a business to just get out there and do it. Tweak, revise, and optimize later. Just launch, observe, and stay persistent!

If you stir some interest, you may very well be onto something…

Love The Trolls
Feedback is important. How well you take it and internalize it determines how much you evolve or stay the same. Realize that, once you taste significant success, there will be naysayers and negative nellies looking to knock the wind out of your sails.

Love the trolls. Embrace the trolls. They keep us in check.

If you are focused and passionate enough, the sting of caustic glibness and jaded cynicism won’t deter you from your goals. You may learn a thing or two if you separate the negative junk from the heart of the message. Truth be told, we could all improve somehow.

I really like what Dino Dogan said on KTT (Kitchen Table Talks) about criticism and negative people. In essence, this is what he said:

Separate yourself emotionally from your work. People are judging it, not you. That is the Buddhist way.

Don’t give in to the haters and doubters. Quite often, they have nothing better to do than to make those with more ambition and better ideas than themselves feel miserable. Misery loves company.

Allow me to go off on a tangent…

Buddhism is something I believe works. It helps us separate ourselves from petty thoughts and useless emotion. As a bit of a bohemian and utilitarian, it makes practical sense: cut the fat out of your life. Focus on what really matters.

I got exposed to Buddhism thanks to MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and an awesome gal I dated once upon a time. It’s not a religion so don’t worry: no chest-beating here! It’s more about everyday spirituality and seeing the world in a whole new way. Buddhism teaches us that everything is connected, which I dig lots since people have this silly notion that work and life are separate things.

Find peace in your life and you’ll feel more fulfilled. Buddhism teaches us that happiness is being free of debt. If you have negative thoughts plaguing your mind, how can you ever let the good thoughts in?

Here’s what my meditation has lead me to: at the end of the day, the trolls, bullies, and petty people don’t pay your bills. There are ways to turn everything into a worthwhile experience. Good personal development will give you a winning attitude, an open mind, a big heart, and the right outlook on things.

Longevity And Sustainability
Another thing Dino mentioned on episode 30 of #KTT (BTW, tweeting that hash tag while the show is LIVE, every Tuesday at 2pm-ish EST, does magical things) was how we all should think about this:

Will this matter in five years?

That statement grants you freedom and empowers you. Why let people live in your head debt-free (personally, I rather live in my own head)? Why are you wasting time with mundane things that have no long-term value? Why do you seek affirmation and motivation from others?

It’s those kinds of questions that drive the entrepreneurial mind. Today’s entrepreneur doesn’t think outside the box, they live outside of it. You can’t rely on external factors: success and happiness alike start with you. This is the beginnings of what will make your efforts in blogging, business, and life as a whole both sustainable and long-lasting.

Do you want to start a legacy and leave your mark in history?

It’s not merely about fame and fortune, though that may work for some. The sustainability and longevity of your life’s work, your products, is contingent upon your reasons. Make sure you blog for the right reasons and “check yourself”.

SIDEBAR: Apparently, checking yourself and taking the plunge is a concept all over the web. Even Michele Welch and friends have been talking about similar things (I recommend Marlee’s blog on not holding yourself back, too – check the comments on NewBizBlogger).

The five-year outlook Dino speaks of is one of many ways to look at long-term growth and value. In simpler terms, look at your daily life to see how everything you do develops you and your ideas.

How closer are you to your goals and dreams at the end of the day?

What I’ve found throughout my many ups and downs is that building momentum and income is easy but sustaining it is tough. Bulletproofing our egos and becoming true self-starters is no easy feat. Now that I’ve beaten a dead horse, let’s move on!

Is Your Blog REALLY Just For You?
Quite frankly, I think most that say they blog purely for themselves are full of it. If you did not want an audience, you would keep a journal, no? I sometimes offer my services for free (at least initially) to help budding blogs and web sites get a jump start. When they see it’s hard work to become more visible, they resort to excuses. Sadly, a simple shift of perspective can overcome this if you stop playing the victim or defeatist cards…

Oh, I’m just doing it for fun.

Really? Why do you have a donate button up there? Why do you have a Facebook Fan Page? Why do you promote your blog at all, if it’s just for you or your friends?

I’m not calling anyone out but I am asking you to be honest with yourself: why are you blogging?

Believe me, here on Y3B, I have mainly used blogging as a creative outlet.. But I’ve also monetized my blog enough to create urgency and provide myself with some supplemental income. I know that my blogging may take away from other, more productive activities so, for me, monetizing my blogs further with time makes sense.

How about you?

Will your blogs be one of the millions of blogs that eventually fizzles away into oblivion? How will you feel about your investment of time then?

Art Versus Business
Again, I will reiterate that being a casual blogger is great if that’s what you are really doing. I’m trying to appeal to the underachievers that put in all the work then give up. I’m also talking to the perfectionists that work so hard and don’t go for the gusto.

Do you see blogging as an art or business?

Why can’t your blog be BOTH? You can write about whatever tickles your fancy AND make a living. When I think of the phrase “starving artist”, I can’t help but to shake my head. It’s masochism.

I’ve been there before. Part of it was foolish pride. Part of it was fear of failure and tainting my name, my personal brand. I felt like my passions, my art and life’s work, needed to be separated from the restrictions of traditional work. That’s partly why I went into Information Technology instead of doing programming and game design as a living, which is what I really love. Then again, I also love cartooning and illustration.. And writing.. But that’s besides the point!

It would seem I am not alone on this. Creative engineers, as I like to call them, build and innovate but they often feel that attaching monetary values and external influences corrupts the purity of their “thing”. It can’t be art if you do it for a living. Don’t sell out. That’s what the starving artist may hold dearly. It’s a hobby, something they do just for the love of it. It’s a labor of love.

I call shenanigans on that!

If you truly love your art, why NOT position yourself to focus on it more? Working a traditional job won’t afford you this freedom and you can only moonlight for so long before you burn out (been there, done that, bought a t-shirt).

REALITY CHECK (to the umpteenth power): Making money from your passions, being a little selfish, does not devalue your art.

Just imagine how many lives you could touch if you got your stuff out there. Someone out there is going through the same struggles you are – why not inspire them? I know I get particularly excited when I discover little-known sites and blogs full of useful, fun, and/or inspirational stuff. Then I get sad because I realize these brilliant artists are likely selling themselves short. Are you one of them?

Launching Your Blog
Any Tom, Dick, or Sally can start a blog. LAUNCHING a blog is a whole different story. If you ask me (and I’m thinking you ARE since you’re still here), it’s the difference between being a blogger or a hobbyist.

Whether you are looking to launch a new blog or relaunch your current blog, there are a few things I think every serious blogger should consider:

  • Ad Revenue. Google AdSense is one of many routes to take. When you have a small following, focus more on engaging your audience and building trust. Some advertisers will pay good money for small sites with active, tight-knit communities because they know the members support the sites whatever way they can. Getting massive traffic helps, but it’s not a magical solution or prerequisite.
  • Other Revenue. Don’t just focus on one income stream. Build up multiple income streams. Join blog networks, affiliate platforms, and business groups. This will position you to take advantage of other income opportunities. Visiting Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger is a good start too.
  • Branding And Style. You’ll often hear artsy fartsy types preaching about the need for visual appeal but remember that a clean layout is the more important when it comes to design (unless maybe you are more artsy-fartsy than message-focused). Make the most important stuff, like your brands and services, stick out. Don’t worry if you don’t have a cool logo to boot. Branding comes in many shapes and sizes.
  • Nutshell It. Your visitors should be able to see what your site is about from the start. Categories, sitemaps, and “top content” are all awesome here. Landing pages are also very handy, as they help you drive specific audiences to the most relevant content.
  • Guest Blogging. When you contribute to other blogs, you get to help others stay persistent and add value to their content. The added bonus is that you develop your skills further and build up your personal brands, while getting some natural backlinks to your site(s).
  • Leave Valuable Comments. Visit related and unrelated blogs. Embrace the competition. They’ve made mistakes and they’re human like you (unless it’s an autoblog, then nevermind). Leave comments that build conversations. Don’t just agree or disagree – substantiate your thoughts! Most bloggers live for this feedback and fresh perspective, unless they’re weird or self-absorbed.
  • Invite Guests. Keeping your sites updated can be a drag, especially when you manage and contribute to various online communities. Having guests on your blogs empowers others, builds credibility, and adds variety to your site. Building a team is great too as it will keep you engaged. Team efforts often succeed where solo shows fail.
  • Make It A Game. Seth Godin often discusses the power of including a “free prize inside”, and with good reason! Game mechanics can be seen in all sorts of web sites. They’re a great way to engage your community, create buzz, and bolster user-generated content. Comment leaderboards are one way to do this but there’s so much more you can do to add fun to your blog.

I Am A Failure At Blogging
By most standards, I suck at blogging and I know it. I break many rules and don’t follow my own advice. I’m fine with that. Y3B is mainly my creative outlet and it has create many opportunities.  Most importantly, I’m constantly learning and Y3B has become a vehicle for things beyond blogging.  I welcome failures – they are learning opportunities!

I’m not afraid to fail and you shouldn’t be, either.

Learning from our failures can often be the best way to develop ourselves. So, with that, I hope you feel more confident about your journey as a blogger. It can be fun, rewarding, and a serious business. It will be what you make of it. You can do it – make it happen!

Good luck and happy blogging!

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43 thoughts on “Are You A Serious Blogger Or A Hobbyist?

  1. LoL you are far from sucking . If anyone sucks its me but I do not care don’t like it don’t read it simple

    • That’s the beauty of it: it’s all a matter of perspective. To some, my blog sucks and underperforms.. To others, it’s awesome! I cater to all. ;o)

      I’ll add that your blog has come a long way. Seeing how Google Panda feels a quality site should basically cover a broad spectrum of content (according to what Amit posted on the Google blog), I bet you could make some nice change if you monetized.

      Move your blog to Blogspot. J/K! Though Google likes their own stuff most. Bwahaha!

      • Now that’s an honest answer. I tell ya: your writing skills have come a long way. Don’t let the matter of “not being a writer” stop ya, bud. We can do some big things together!

        I still would love to launch a site for you, me, and Julio to post cartoons on. All original stuff, unlike FunnyJunk.com – LOL! All in due time…

        For now, we’re doing great things on the NoF blog. I’m glad to see everyone pulling together. We just need a couple more bloggers to add more variety. 8)

  2. Yomar,

    You present a lot above. Great words, though I disagree with you on a few points:

    1) Niching – I do think it is possible.

    2) Blogging – This can be part of a marketing plan – content marketing – which is part of a business.

    If I might, you stated above that you cater to all. While I feel all should be comfortable to visit, is it possible to cater to all?

    I’m willing to be proven wrong – please feel free to debate.

    Excellent job with links and background.

    ~Keri

    • Ah, a stirring debate comes about due to my bold statements – success!

      I do lots of SEO work for clients and I see niches fail because niches only last for so long. What most wrongfully call a niche (assuming minimal competition and meeting a real need) is what we marketers know as positioning. I can get into the technical aspects of it but that’s just my experience.

      Niches work for some, sure, but it’s often a self-imposed restriction. There needs to be some underlying themes and focus on a site, yes, but switching things up won’t kill your audience or ding you with search engines. In fact, Google recently released documents hinting at the fact that they consider quality sites those that cover a wide scope of subject matter.

      No surprise there.

      The #1 site on the web in terms of page persistence and new visitors is DrudgeReport.com .. They hardly represent a niche nor is their content unique. Huffington Post is another one. Google Panda now rewards scrappers so we online marketers and businesses have to learn new strategies to stay competitive.. Enter social media – YAY!

      Blogging as part of an overall business strategy and content marketing? Absolutely! I never dismissed that possibility and I am all for it. I’m more speaking to those that feel they can’t have fun with something or love it madly AND make a living from it. You and I are proof that is not true, no?

      As for catering to all, that was a loaded statement, I know. Good catch! Yes, you can cater to all but it doesn’t mean they’ll eat what you offer kindly.. Nor does it mean they’ll stay at the party.

      More importantly, what I meant in that particular moment of lucidity, if you will, is that I welcome all. I enjoy the strong critiques, trolling, and applause alike. I just want people reading this to be ready for the good and the bad.

      I love the written word but it’s so easy for your audience to make assumptions. There’s no inflection, tone, or other cues to provide proper context. Blogs remind me of some of my favorite literary works: they can be understood in different ways by different people.

      The main underlying theme here is work-life balance. Folks separate the two and it’s something that limits our individual potential. Don’t you agree?

      In many ways, blogs can open up many doors, especially for creatives that are not particularly tech-savvy. Nowadays, all you need is a good idea and persistent execution to succeed. Many stumbling blocks have been removed. Research and development are key, as are other business processes and strategies, but a blog is a GREAT entry point. Not to mention the potential to network with key influencers and build residual income.. That’s powerful!

      Hope I explained myself a tad bit better there. Thanks for the challenge and starting a great conversation, Keri – you’re awesome, as always!

  3. I have to disagree that just because you blog for fun you can’t promote your blog on Facebook and other Social Networks or have a donate button on your site. As you state here, a blog isn’t a journal. It’s a platform for you to put your ideas into the written and then share them in the internet ether. What else is the purpose of Facebook and Twitter and the like than to talk to your friends and to spread what you feel warrants reading or talking about. In fact, Facebook, more than Twitter is friend oriented so if you only want to spread the word of your 2-cents on whatever it is you blog about, Facebook more than facilitates that. Twitter is more of a megaphone than Facebook.

    As for putting a donate button, why not? If someone donates 2-bits to me then great (any donation is icing on the cake in my book). If I don’t get any donations, no sweat. I’ll still be blogging away and sharing my thoughts on Facebook and Twitter because that’s where I talk to most of the people that I associate with.

    • You may be the exception, Julio.. But you also admit that you feel there is a vast divide between fun and work. What I’m saying is that a little extra work can make that fun thing even more worthwhile.

      I deal with this sort of thing with clients all the time. They throw a donate button up and say they’re fine if they don’t get any money, but then financial strife hits and they push it hard. Now there’s urgency but, by then, it may be too late.

      Wouldn’t it be better to build that income stream up before things get so dire?

      What I’ve found is that Donate buttons and other quick-fix solutions for generating income tend to send out mixed social signals. It can confuse your audience without proper context. Is this to cover your operational costs or to help you make a living? It makes a difference. Personally, I’ve never seen anyone donate unless they feel vested or see how the money is spent, even if they like what you’re doing.

      I’d also have to disagree about Twitter. Twitter is actually less noisy now than Facebook. Facebook has search, though, so that helps. Twitter is more open and there are tools to make it more useful. In fact, most folks I work with use third-party Twitter platforms to sort the valuable stuff out and kill the noise.

      Like I said, casual blogging is fun and perfectly fine. Lifestyle blogs are popular in small, tight-knit communities. I’m more speaking to the people that say they blog “just for fun” but secretly wish they could make money from it.

      Your point about blogging as an open platform for sharing ideas in virtual spaces online is right. Here’s the rub: no one is listening aside from your friends unless you are doing SOME sort of marketing work. There are people out there that start blogs and web sites, foolishly thinking people will just magically find them. This is unrealistic and silly.. So I’m trying to help people dig deep within themselves and figure out:

      * Am I holding myself back from success?
      * Do I want to take my blogging to the next level?
      * Is there a better use of my time?

      I guess I have a rather skewed perspective only because I feel everything we do in life is and should be connected. I try to look at every moment and think about the long-term value and if it’s worth me investing more time into.

      I’ve often had to wake up colleagues and clients alike because they get stuck in mundane matters that, well, don’t really matter. We all have our diversions and distractions, but blogging can be an amazing experience for those that want more than a open diary or scratchpad for all to read.

      Hope you get what I’m saying. Your arguments don’t really align with the message I am trying to portray here. It may just be a matter of contrasting principles and goals, as we’ve often discussed in our asides and brainstorming sessions. =o)

      • Yeah I do see that only my friends are listening to me because I don’t know how to market and I’m ok with that. I didn’t really think I was going to make money blogging or podcasting when I briefly self-hosted. I was hoping that maybe the ads would cover the costs (which wasn’t more than $7/month). My main source of income has always been wage-earner jobs.

        I never thought blogging and podcast would make me an overnight entrepreneurial success. If anything I was getting more into it to keep busy in between finding jobs. I’m currently getting some temp jobs which is great and of course is limiting my time for what I can do with my past times; Hence, switching back to wordpress.com, so they can handle the nitty gritty stuff and I just focus on what I want to say in text and audio form (you have noticed my output has increased significantly, no?).

        I still put a donate button on my site. My costs are now at most $12/year per site, so if someone wants to give me a dollar here and there, great. If not, $24.00/year isn’t going to break the bank 🙂

      • That’s understandable. I’m sure there are others in the same boat as you. I just wonder about some of the blogs that ask for support but don’t take the steps to make it worthwhile for people to do so. This is especially perplexing when all people do is talk about themselves (sans humor) on their blog. I don’t see much of a market for open journals, but maybe that’s just me! Now, if you can mix things up, that’s different.

        Content marketing is much easier now if you can frame things in a manner that makes you searchable. Google is actually favoring less-optimized sites if they get many updates, backlinks, and visitors. The search engines are trying to help humanize the web, I guess!

        Podcasting is interesting. It takes a lot of persistence to make a living out of it. Even the most popular podcasts rely on product and event sales mainly.

        Yes, your output has increased significantly. I’ve wanted to self-host for a while but I know I’m not quite ready for the investment of time and money. I’d want to make my own theme and stylesheet. I’d also have to code my own plugins and widgets. That’d certainly take me away from the actual blogging. Good thing you can build an offline blog with WAMP and then upload it when ready. That’s the route I’m going in.

        Donate buttons are nice and they work when you offer free products like ebooks, white papers, and webinars. Now that there are so many blogs out there, donate buttons just kind of hang out. They just take up site realty, unless someone happens to have money laying around and feels generous, which is rare. I’m not saying you should take it down but most out there don’t realize the negative social signals they can send out.

        Now, if you set up a landing page explaining what donations go to, it can work. Some folks make it into a game by posting leaderboards and doing random drawings once a goal is met. That approach is brilliant.

        Anywho, I hear ya: if you get money that way, cool, if not, no harm, no foul. Unfortunately, this is not the level of expectations most have with donate button. I even notice on Keith And The Girl that they’ve pushed their products hard. I reckon they don’t get enough from donations to even cover operational costs.. And they’re something of a big deal, from what I’ve seen in the stats and all. It’s a tough competitive landscape.. Sometimes, it IS easier just to blog, podcast, or vlog for fun. =o]

    • Haha.. Whenever I see “EVER!”, I can’t help to think of Spongebob Squarepants. Thanks for that, bud!

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Trying to help my fellow bloggers up their game and reassess their priorities. Blogging often represents many missed opportunities. 8)

  4. Oh shoot. I really do have a “blog” that is just for myself. It’s a blogger thing that has never been linked to and is private. I made it for me – almost a pre-blogging blog where I got out my thoughts, negative or positive, before beginning on anything else….like a place to dump all of the unnecessary things that weren’t focused but were blocking my focus.

    By the way, you have your own good ideas and points. It almost sounds like you keep giving away your good ideas to the credit of someone else. I’d like to see less of that, and maybe put your “references” at the bottom of the blog as cool things to check out that are related.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the mentions of all of my favorite SM kids – from Seth Godin to Chris Brogan, but give yourself some credit already. =P

    You don’t suck at blogging, you’re just incredibly long-winded and way too damn modest. QUIT THE LATTER. The former is okay.

    • See that?

      THAT is awesome and it’s honest. I used to spend a lot more time on the “drawing board” myself but I’ve learned to break free of the self-imposed shackles imposed by perfectionism and anal-retentiveness (in my case, at least LOL). I really do love the blog for yourself option because it does make it easier than a traditional journal, plus you get to work on presentation more.

      There are people that half-step when it comes to blogging. Like I said, for some it’s a fear response and, for others, it’s a matter of just wanting to be too refined for their own good. I’m just hoping this article helps my fellow bloggers figure out where they’re at and where they want to be. Blogging can get you there.

      Aw, thank you for the kind words. I do try to check myself a lot and be as humble as possible. I give credit to external sources for a few reasons…

      Unless you’re a true rockstar in your line of work, some people won’t bother to take in your message unless you make some reference to the “experts”.
      Even though my ideas are largely my own, I don’t want anyone saying I stole it from someone else, even though I’ve thought about this stuff long before it reached the mainstream.
      When I write, I try to write in a series and build upon previous topics but, mainly, I am speaking “from the gut”, though there are triggers that usually spark my thoughts (hence the references to others).
      I like to give links more context so people know what to expect when they click off-page links.
      I try to write the sort of stuff I enjoy reading, so I keep blatant self-promotion and self-serving stuff to a minimum because I usually avoid blogs written by people that are too into themselves.
      We all sell something at some point, but I prefer to be at 90-95% valuable or fun content and 5-10% making the sale so the focus is on my message, not me.

      With that in mind, I have noticed many blogs calling out so-called rockstars, especially the ones that focus on social or new media. The core issue seems to be a sort of strange phenomenon: we like people when they’re small but, when they hit it big, we start to question their motives and knowledge. Hating on the success of others is part of it but there’s more to it…

      I read two or three articles this week alone that tackled the problem of leaders losing their sheep (Danny Brown) and the slow demise of social media rockstars (Jim’s Marketing Blog). They make some VERY valid points.

      Let me prefaces what I’m about to say by saying I try not to idolize any creatives or leaders out there. All of them have their own good ideas but I find few are saying anything that surprises me, since I’ve been involved with the Internet long before most thought it was cool. I’m just keeping it real. They’re sharp guys and I admire them to a point, but their efforts mainly show me how primed the market is for certain things and how many folks are “on-boarding” it.

      Now, while I agree with what Jim, Danny Brown, and others are saying, I also feel there is an unfair expectation of those in the social media business or any service that deals with technology or the Internet. This is always going to be an issue when you’re dealing with intangibles. It’s hard to place high value on a soft service when we’re used to hard deliverables. It’s even harder when you have guys that deal purely in theory and never did the field work.

      You see, I’m fine with people sharing thoughts on things even if they have not field-tested or “proven” the ideas. If you have sound logic and share reasons, building up case studios, proven track records, and credentials don’t really matter, in my book. I just don’t want to rise to the top, just to have folks with unreasonable expectations call me out.

      As much as the business world is seeing some radical changes, people still feel the need for third-party validation and formal education/training. Check out some of the stuff out there. It’s interesting. I see folks with Twitter followings surpassing 50K and I have to wonder, “Are these people real leaders and innovators, or just followers and fakers?”

      (See what you started, JJ?)

      What I’ve found, along with many other people, is that we have so-called “experts”, “gurus”, “specialists”, and “strategists” ruining positions that may otherwise bring real value to any organization or operation. It turns out many try to leverage their huge followings to get free stuff because they don’t make much from their expertise. They try to focus on speaking gigs, which usually don’t provide ample income unless you are a well-known writer or have other credentials in your back pocket.

      All this stuff just puts my efforts into perspective. I’ve been able to go from 9-5 slave to working completely from home, paying the bills, and having a little extra “play money” to invest in fun stuff, more self-education, and personal projects. I still have a part-time job doing sales but I don’t need it. That said, some may challenge my “expertise” because I’m not bringing in $8,000-10,000 a month.

      So there you have it: I am humble and I feel everyone should be, no matter how big they get, but it’s more a matter of playing by the rules set by the marketplace. Personally, none of the big names out there impress to the point of adopting their ideas completely.. But they do create an urgency for me to do more with my blogging platform and other efforts.

      Believe me, I want to bring more credibility to the SM industry. Most have it wrong, focusing on only a small part of what social media really represents. They’re one-trick dogs and they’ll have a hard time as more jump onto the bandwagon. We’re already seeing traditional marketing agencies throw on the Social Media Strategist label and other flavors of it. It makes it harder for those of us that have been here all along. The new kids on the block mainly see a hot trend and want to milk it for as long as they can.

      There’s work to be done! 8)

      • Yes, I caught the redundancy after the fact. Whoops.. Anywho, all this here brings to focus the importance of authenticity. As serious bloggers, we have to be honest with ourselves and our audience. Gotta keep it real! =o)

  5. Have you considered the content around the blog? Advertising can be a pollutant to the blog in many ways. I don’t really like the idea of turning ones blog into a zone where, “give me the god dam money” scenario.

    All be it, I am all for what you say and many of it is sound. But ones way of life is very much depicted in their blog, what they hate, what they like and love. It’s all about the content and if the content is right then people will read, listen and take note. Maybe more more of a life is less of a bloggers life, somewhere in the middle between technology and what you go out to see? How about blogging from your mobile device? There is something amazing,

    Every time I post something on my blog, I am amazed at how quickly google picks up the content. About 5 seconds after you post a new article, google will have it in their search engine. That is amazing speed! Words are power things and when people sit up and take note, it’s like finding gold dust.

    Speaking of your content a few choice words here and there could cut out some of the longer sentences. Maybe others just don’t want to read too much! But from what I see, you are doing what you like. So happy blogging to you sir. 🙂

    • You make some REALLY good points, Jon. I’ve been hesitant to monetize my blogs further than I have but it depends on whether blogging is one of your main things or just a side thing. The money has to come from somewhere and I think people get that now.

      Of course, having your realty dominated by sales pitches sends off some bad social signals. People click off my site a lot so I suppose I’ve built some credibility and trust. My design and clutter is hardly living proof of how to do things but it serves my purpose.

      At the end of the day, if your blog really fulfills you, that’s all that really matters. All the experts have one-size-fits-all rules and I feel we all have to follow our guts more often. If it feels right and you’re being honest with yourself, the rest is gravy. 8)

  6. Um. You forgot to list some women bloggers. #justsayin

    Two pieces of advice for every blogger: Keep it short (sorry) – 500-750 words. You’ll lose people if it’s too long. And read Content Rules.

    • Darn. I thought I mentioned Spin Sucks on this one (I have on other entries). #doh

      Haha.. I get those pieces of advice lots. That’s why I tell people, “DO NOT follow my lead.” I break the rules and don’t always follow my own advice.. I’m a bit of a rebel and I’m fine with it. ;o)

      That said, the whole “keep it short” rule has implied truths:

      The Internet has too much to do for people to invest time in more extensive things.
      Getting to the core of your message as soon as possible is HUGE. It’s like an elevator pitch – VERY small window of opportunity!
      Avoid redundancy: make the points clearly the first time and don’t get wordy or repetitive (whoops).
      If your topic is meaty, spread it into multiple posts or write a book.
      Being TOO detailed leaves people less to talk about (double whoops).

      I figure those that stick through the full article are my core audience. I have other blogs and entries for quick fixes and abridged material. I know that stifles Y3B’s growth but this is where I mostly think out loud and try to get others to challenge popular thought, above all. After all, if what everyone says is true, why isn’t everyone successful?

      Sometimes, going up on a soapbox and speaking from the gut beats the heck out of just getting to the point.. Then again, I was the kid that would submit a 20-page research paper when asked for an 8-page one – I’d pack it with as much info as possible! LOL

      Thanks for visiting, Gini! BTW, Content Rules is in audiobook format too – COOL!

      Now for some love for the AWESOME female bloggers out there:

      * Gini Dietrich, “Spin Sucks”
      * Keri Jaehnig, “Idea Girl Media”
      * Laurinda Shaver, “Awesome Sauce For Business” (Yes, I made that title up. LOL)
      * Angela Crocker, “Beach Comber Communications (Author of “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Social Networking”)
      * Kristi Hines, “Kikolani”
      * Bridget, “Intuitive Bridge”
      * Janet Callaway, “The Natural Networker”
      * Michele Welch, “New Biz Blogger”

      There’s many more I try to keep up with regularly, too! =o)

      • Awesome Sauce for Business?!? It never occurred to call myself that. LOL. Um… thanx 🙂

      • I like it! I’m not saying you should rebrand yourself (you have a powerful brand and Google LOVES your name, BTW) but it’s a fun take on it, no? Time for a comment parade on your blog! =o)

      • LOL – I thought you would enjoy that!

        Glad you approve.. Though I’m a bit shocked about Spin Sucks. Certifiable? Aren’t we all? Especially blogger types.. Basketcases, the whole lot of them. ;o)

  7. Yomar,

    You really have inspired me to think alot about my blogging. Why I do it and what am I really trying to accomplish.

    And just due to that fact. The fact that I got emotional reading this. That it has been preying in my head and that I’m even rereading it days later shows me that your post is effective in accomplishing what I think all blog posts should.

    1) made me question my thinking
    2) made me feel something
    3) made me come back

    To me, this is the formula for success. Not the length, the fancy title, or a top ten list. But rather you inspired me to think about change!

    So.. for that… thank you.

    Laurinda

    • This is why I heart you, Laurinda: you’re so honest and REAL!

      That is EXACTLY what I was aiming with this emotionally-charged piece. Most articles aim to build up a position but this one here is all about getting us to do some real soul searching. Even as I wrote this piece, I thought about my goals and needs with blogging. I also thought about the social signals I send out myself. I’m sure I come off as a hypocrite at times, especially since I don’t always follow my own advice!

      Your formula is spot-on! I might even add that it’s open nature, in spite being so long, leaves much more to be discussed. I love your formula so I’m going to rehash it:

      * Made me question my thinking.
      * Made me feel something.
      * Made me come back.

      That’s powerful stuff!

      I know that, for me, the blogs where people “show their warts” and illicit emotional responses are the ones I come back to more often, especially if they make me challenge myself. It’s easy to get comfortable in our ways. It’s also easy to buy into popular opinion.

      I always like to step back and think…

      * Is there a better way?
      * What’s the greater purpose?
      * Will this matter later in my life?
      * Are there others out there struggling with the same thoughts?

      That mental process changes the blogging experience for me. So much so that I want to launch separate blogs to focus on the distinct revelations I’ve encountered through Y3B over the past six years or so.

      I have plenty of thinking to do too…

      I’m really happy this entry touched your heart, mind, and soul, Laurinda!

  8. HI Yogizilla,

    Interesting insight I must say.
    I think that no matter if someone blog for fun or business – is still part of your personal brand.
    I agree that “We’re afraid to fail. Doing things “for fun” softens up the blows that can come from real commitment and investment.” but after a while we are getting more and more involved with what we do.

    oh and one more thing: our blogs, same as we – develop over the time and goals we set at the beginning may be different after months or years. Which is good…it means progress

    • Exactly how I feel, Klaudia!

      I have no formal brand.. I am my brand. There’s also the moniker, Yogizilla, which is a personal brand too. It’s my way of saying “I can be serious and fun at the same time”. I think more of us have personal brands than would like to admit it – put them to work for you, folks!

      You’re very right about progress, too. My blog started as a hobby and creative outlet but it gradually grew in authority and became so much more. That is why I hope to help people figure out where their blog(s) factors into their lives.. I dislike the phrase but, really, the revelations we can reach here can be “game changers”!

  9. Yomar, aloha. This post is the meat, the potatoes and the dessert! WOW!

    Lots to ponder. Let me share with you two things that came to mind as I read it. One is a Simon Sinek quote:

    “Reject your own idiosyncrasies and you’ll be labeled “different.” Embrace what makes you different and you’ll be admired for being special.” Simon Sinek

    Yomar, that’s what we need to do in life and in our blogging.

    Something else that has helped me go forward, be willing to fail–in fact, to fail forward fast so I can get to where I want to go–is a decision making process called the Rule of 10.

    Ask yourself what are the consequences of your decision:

    In 10 minutes?
    In 10 months?
    In 10 years?

    This process can be used for both big and small decisions. Your perspective changes when viewed through this lens.

    Best wishes to you, Yomar, for a terrific week. Aloha. Janet

    P.S. Your “shamless” plug at the top worked briliantly. Before typing this response I invested in you and endorsed your feets. Great idea to incorporate that message on your blog.

    • Aloha, Janet.

      Ah, you always have a way with words that tickles my fancy! That Simon Sinek quote is not one I am familiar with and I do love me some personal development. I’ll have to keep that in my back pocket. In fact, it may very well become the cornerstone for the foundation of a new web site even!

      That’s very powerful there. Sometimes we look so hard for what makes us alike yet what makes us peculiar to some makes us special to others. There’s some magic in that, I’d say.

      Certainly, approaching blogging from a lifestyle perspective makes it all the more rewarding. I like to have everything flow and realize that everything is connected. Externalizing our work removes the focus and value that really belongs there…

      I like the Rule of 10. It’s helped many streamline their lives. We all have our guilty pleasures and habits, so re-assessing our priorities in this manner certainly helps us have more time for the things that truly matter, no?

      Thanks for adding such value and thought-provoking stuff to the conversation, Janet!

      P.S. Eureka – gold at last! A little cross-promotion never hurt anyone. See you on EAv! =o)

  10. You are an awesome writer buddy! I like your job with, content, links and quotes. I think you could split this post into more posts; and then you have more content for your audience – What do you think? please feel free to debate 🙂

    My purpose with my blog is all about personal branding and walk the talk.

    • Hey, it’s @MattGron, the man himself!

      Thanks for the uplifting words, bud! You make a very valid point, my friend. In fact, you’re in good company. Gini just recently said the same thing. I think it could spark a blog entry all on it’s own…

      My issue, and it’s something I have to work on, is that I have an endless stream of ideas and I try to get them out there while they’re fresh. Even writing from an outline or draft, it’s not quite the same as striking while the proverbial iron is hot!

      Walk the talk and personal branding.. I feel those are two aspects that should be assumed. Certainly, the authenticity part is huge.. I know I, for one, could stand to follow more of my advice. Gotta “keep it real”, right? 😉

    • Hey Mattias.. that is great advice. I think I’m going to keep that in my back pocket for myself. You will share Yomar, right?

      • Certainly! Share and share alike, right? We Birds of a Feather got to stick together, after all!

        One of the fun things about free information products is that they can be expanded and branched off into…

        * Seminars/webinars
        * Interactive workshops
        * (e)Books
        * One-on-one training materials
        * Video series
        * Podcasts
        * Online coursework

        …The possibilities are endless! Really, a blog is a great catalyst for future projects and gauging interest thereof.

        Thoughts?

  11. @Janet – I love Rule of 10. It’s exactly what Keri mentioned few weeks ago that before you publish tweet/post/etc. first think how this content can help others (I guess it’s all about added value).

    @Matt and @Yogizilla – yes yes and yes – we can re-use content in so many ways. Check (if you haven’t read that yet) “Content rules” by Ann Handley. Wow! that book is step-by-step how to organize your content.

    • I scale back the Rule of 10 and make 5.. Because business and life as a whole move fast these days, thanks to new media and paradigm shifts that have levelled the competitive landscape. The Rule of 5 works in every aspect of life, too.

      I’ve read parts of “Content Rules” and it’s great. It’s definitely a good “bible” for any small biz at any level! Gini recently recommended it too, so you KNOW it’s must-read material!! 8)

      *puts new reading list in back pocket*

    • I don't know of any children with it, but my falhre-in-taw does and also got quite unwell with it a few years ago, when it was still undiagnosed. He gives blood regularly now and it seems under control. Thankfully, my husband seems to have escaped it, but it's something we remain aware of.Hope your little boy feels better soon.

  12. Yomar, my friend.

    Laurinda Shaver summed it up perfectly (on #8). Both your post and what I want people to feel when they come to my house. Our Season can’t get here quick enough when it comes to the reading list I have accumulated… (me tearing up because I didn’t win HubSpot’s Contest for a iPad & Marketing library!!)

    Each time I get to share your thoughts, Yomar, I am so full! I feel that exact way at times (Your response to Mattias), when you see that old friend or suddenly as you are sharing a point, it sparks so many more! Thanks, Pal.

    • Right on, Amber!

      I can soooo relate to feeling full! That’s why I know I need to quit this ghost writing stuff and just get published already.. Certainly, some ideas are so massive and inter-connected that even a wordy blog like mine is not appropriate.

      I like the analogy of a blog as your home. Certainly, some of the best writing prompts can be found just through natural networking: connecting with people, building conversations, and sparking new ideas for everyone involved. It’s magical!

      Ah, I know the feeling when it comes to reading.. I can never do enough reading but, lucky for us, there’s lots of wisdom to be discovered on the blogosphere. Still, there’s something to be said for cracking open a new book and making it yours, right? Some say digital media will phase out traditional print materials but I disagree: tangible goods have a certain warmth to them that even a die-hard tech geek like myself can appreciate!

      In short, we all blog for different reasons but there’s no doubt there are common threads that bind us all together. As different as we all are, sharing that common ground gives us a sense of belonging and intimacy that few other experiences afford us. I’m happy I took the plunge many years back and it only gets better cause I met you all!

      BTW, thanks for the intro on your blog. I felt really special. You are a true master promoter but, more importantly, you’re a good friend. Thank you!!

      (No tears.. I’m sure they’ll be many more opportunities to win cool stuff!)

      • Yomar, and why the hell would you be ghost writing?!? I think its time to step up your game. You write so well.

      • You’re right, you’re right.

        I’ve had quite the time balancing billable work with “life work”. After our brainstorming session, I think we can relate on that: staying billable while making forward progress and all.

        Once I get my books more fleshed out, I’d like to put up teaser content: snippets and outlines to generate and gauge interest. I feel there is great urgency there. Just gotta sort out life’s daily adventures… ;o)

      • I’m hoping it’s a good full and not that “I should not have had that last bite” full. That’s important! Every once in a while, I empty my cup out and start anew. No spills, no tears. =o)

  13. Pingback: What Well Over 10 Years Of Blogging & Consulting Have Taught Me | Yogizilla's Blankity Blank-Blank (Y3B)

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