Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Blogging from Home book cover

Creating a book cover can take time especially if you are looking for the right elements. For this one, it seems I finally got it.

We are now at the book layout stage and hope it will be complete by this week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blogging from Home

Last year, I felt a great frustration when my blogging book project couldn't just be completed. I kept thinking what was wrong with me or the project itself. As if I had a huge writer's block that made me at lost in getting the book done.

In the past few days, I've been reading a lot, trying to get inspiration left and right from various authors. When my graphic artist finally e-mailed the cover of my next e-commerce book edition, I decided to register for an ISBN to get me started.

But instead of finishing the manuscript of my e-commerce book, I ended up tinkering with my blogging book manuscript. I was toying with the idea of combining the two but realized how much has change on my experience in this field. While looking at the supposedly book cover and title, Blog This: How Blogs Empower Every Internet User, I realized that this gave me my biggest writer's block.

I reviewed my situation and experience in blogging, hiring and managing blog writers, blog advertising, recruiting bloggers to be part of my blog advertising network, organizing blogging events and contests, blog advocacy, setting-up blogs for SMEs, among others. All of this done while at home, whether that be in the Philippines or Australia, wherever I am at the moment.

Thus the title, Blogging from Home struck me. I knew that title was meant for this book project when the domain name for it was also available and I purchased it right away.

Right now, the revised cover is being made and manuscript being finalized. An ISBN will assigned to its e-book and printed edition within a week or two.

Will post updates soon.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

29 Lessons from Blogging Heroes

I just finished reading the book, Blogging Heroes by Michael Banks. It features interview with 30 of the world's top bloggers. What I like about the book is that it gives an interesting perspective on how some of the world's top bloggers started and their view on blogging, search engine optimization, interaction with readers, and growth of the community.

What got me disappointed, although not the author's fault - as some of the famous bloggers did not respond to Michael Banks interview request, was the lack of bloggers featured from other blog networks. The book tends to be dominated by famous bloggers from Weblogs Inc. where the perspective on a lot of things tend to be alike, in many ways.

However, each blogger interviewed shared their knowledge unselfishly where it also motivated me to take blogging further such as:
  1. To bring readers to your blog, go to other blogs and engage in discussions. (Dave Taylor).
  2. Comment on blogs of high-profile bloggers (Kristin Darguzas).
  3. Use social networking tools like Twitter (Steve Garfield).
  4. Only a fraction of a blog's visitor leave comments (Deborah Petersen). A blog without comments can be boring (Gary Lee).

    Whenever I make a new blog post, I usually ping Technorati, check on my entrecard to accept ads and place campaigns, plug in Twitter, and update my Google Reader shared items (where updates are posted to various sites such as my Facebook page). Last night, I started going back to all the folks who commented on my last 7 posts and interacted through their blogs and this I intend to do whenever I have a new blog post.

  5. Bloggers have vested interest in making a post interesting and fun. (Mary Jo Foley)
  6. Create a list of ideas (Rebecca Lieb).
  7. Self-promotion is more effective when it includes a value-added element. (Chris Anderson).
  8. Give readers, in the way of information, as a reward for visiting your blog (David Rothman).

    The interaction I'm getting in the Philippine Internet Review has been so helpful that I don't seem to ran out of stories to feature of other people. Reading through the blogs of those who participated in the discussion even opened new story opportunities. At the same time, it allows me to subtly promote our upcoming Social Networking and eBusiness Conference Philippines 2008.

  9. Post useful, original, well-written content (Gina Trapani).
  10. Let content, rather than personality, rule your blog (Frank Warren).
  11. Have passion for what you write about (John Neff).
  12. Get used to creating content (Joel Comm).
  13. Offer readers something of value (Steve Rubel).
  14. Do not simply be an echo of what other blogs are doing (Victor Agreda Jr.).

    Rather than make a blog post out of the whim or for the sake of just posting, having original content is important. The pressure to do well in this field has also forced me to reconsider my postings and question its relevance to readers.

  15. Blogs can be a way to increase your visibility to potential buyers (Ina Steiner).
  16. Consider blogging in a niche (Chris Grant).

    This I truly believe in and that is why I'm using my Club blog to announce activities and share tips whenever I can. Doing this has also enabled me to attract new club members.

  17. Try to blend advertising in with content, rather than allowing it to intrude on content (Mike Masnick).
  18. Keep advertising low lets you balance content with ads and have happier readers (Ken Fisher).
  19. Don't count on making lots of money right away (Richard MacManus).

    I strongly believe in this. This is also the reason I'm not inclined in having Google AdSense appear at the blog post level, whether on-top or middle-of-the-post, as it distracts the user from reading a post. Paid posts and text link ads should be done in a manner that does not mislead readers.

  20. Put yourself in your reader's place before you write (Mark Frauenfelder).
  21. Don't assume all readers will understand what you post (Scott McNulty).

    This is certainly a challenge as most of the time, we post because we want to share something happening in our lives. I guess in the end of it, there must be a clear take-away or value that is imparted as a result of it.

  22. Good content beats search engine optimization or SEO (Robert Scoble).
  23. Think of what topics deserve coverage (Philipp Lenssen).
  24. SEO is not the ultimate answer to generating traffic (Peter Rojas).
  25. Stay away from darker or unethical tricks (Grant Robertson).

    Rather than be tempted in bringing high audience traffic right away, it is best to focus on developing quality content. It brings natural traffic from search engines. This I noticed in some of my blogs, such as Ituloy AngSulong, that even if I don't post as usual, traffic comes in because of being able to write something relevant or useful to a specific audience.

  26. Blog statistics can tell what works and what doesn't (Brian Lam).
  27. If what you write interests people, search engines naturally follow (Eric T.)

    Tracking your blog performance using several tools can tell you which topics are hot and continues to drive in traffic. This can help you decide whether you need to make a follow-up post and explore its potential further.

  28. A blog can support and extend the life of a book (Brad Hill).

    A website or blog can indeed do that. This I have experience in the books DigitalFilipino E-Commerce Guide and Philippine Internet Review.

  29. Criticisms can make you a better blogger (Deidre Woollard).

    User feedback, whether positive or constructively negative, can help in the development of a blog.
The book Blogging Heroes by Michael Banks can now be purchased for only $5.00 (its original price during its launch was $24.99). Ideal for those who wants to get serious in blogging.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Revenue opportunities with Paypal

One thing I realized with the activation of my Paypal last year is the huge opportunity available to its users. Those who don't have access to its receive money feature are missing out on a lot of them. The intent of this blog post is to list as many programs as possible that allows you to generate revenue and receive payment through Paypal. I shall update this whenever I discover new opportunities.
  • Ximmy
    If you like submitting your site to various sites, including this one may also be of help. It provides for compensation for submission, comments, and when your submission becomes popular.

  • Project Wonderful
    A tool that allows you to accept bid auction for ad spaces in your blog. In addition, it allows you to share your website stats transparently to prospective advertisers. (sample)

  • WidgetBucks
    This widget displays various items that can adapt to your blog or site's content (sample). You get paid when visitors click on the widget.

  • aShopFor
    This site allows you to create your own shop (sample) and earn by participating in promos. It also gives you a referral fee if others sign up too.

  • Performancing Metrics
    You use this site to monitor the traffic of your blog. If you regularly give updates about your blog traffic or how you use the service (sample), you can use this as an opportunity to encourage others to use the service as well. If they subscribe in the process, you get an affiliate commission that is sent through Paypal.

  • Revver (sample) and Viddler (sample)
    This site allows video producers to generate revenue through advertising impressions (and clicks) that appears at the end of the video. So whether you produce your own video or just simply show the video of others, there are income possibilities there.

  • Podbean
    Podbean is a free podcast hosting blog where you can create premium content and charge a fee for it. You can also use the site to accept donation (sample) or refer friends through its affiliate program and get commission in the process.
I think the best way that you can maximize the opportunity brought by services like Paypal is to create your own products. For bloggers, this can be a compilation of your old blog posts, revised or enhanced, and be sold as an e-book.

Joining these programs is not just about putting links in your site, you need to put value and promote it. People will only consider the product if you use it or have seen others who benefited from it.