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Why is "Linkbait" Such a Dirty Word?

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As bloggers, we’re supposed to be building traffic with good, useful content. Though it’s something we all strive for, we’re not supposed to publicly state how much we want to build traffic and back links. We don’t want anyone to know we want our posts to go viral. We would be scandalized if folks knew we secredtly hoped for a massive response from Digg or Stumble Upon. It’s all about the vibe, you know?

Why is this?

Seriously, why?

Hear me out…

As bloggers, we want to build up traffic, right? We want people to visit our blogs and we want to profit from them. Sure, we have good intentions too. We want to share what we know , build relationships and teach some useful skills, but if you think most bloggers aren’t in this for marketing or money making purposes, you’re in need of a reality check.

Bloggers want traffic. Lots of traffic.

So why is “linkbait” such a dirty word? Isn’t it our goal to have folks link to us? Don’t we want to write headlines that will draw in readers? If no one else will say it, I will. Yes, that is our goal. We want readers and we will do what we have to do to bring them to our blogs.

Why, then, do we talk about linkbait as if it’s something dirty as in “Oh, he’s just using obvious linkbait tactics.” Well, so what?

I’ll even go as far as to say often times linkbait posts are more interesting than the regular “evergreen”content.

Granted, linkbait traffic is shortlived, but there’s no denying people will drop by often and stick around if they know there’s a good read coming up. If the purpose of linkbait is to solicit traffic and links, isn’t everything we write a ‘bait?

What do you think? Why aren’t we supposed to admit to using linkbait?

Deb Ng is founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network.

Learning WordPress

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wp This is my third try at writing this post as I have lost my draft three times.  Isn’t that just the way when you want to talk about a technology?  I am writing this in the dashboard of WordPress.  There are many choices when wanting to use a blogging platform, like Blogger, Moveable Type, Squarespace and others.  I like to stay up to date on what all of them are doing.  I was able to see what was new in the world of WordPress and learn some cool stuff and meet some new friends yesterday.

I had an opportunity to attend an event this weekend in Reno, Nevada, called Reno-Tahoe Wordcamp.  I had a chance to see again for the fourth time many users and evangelists of the blogging platform.  I was one of the presenters and wanted to thank the organizers for allowing me to talk about “Blogging For A Living.”  This is my fourth Wordcamp this year attending Vegas, Miami, Denver previous, and I will be speaking at the Chicago Wordcamp coming up in June. If you are going, I would love to see you there.  Next month the main event in the world of Wordcamps is happening in San Francisco. Matt Mullenweg the founder of WordPress will be talking about the company more in depth at that event and everyone should attend.

I wanted to thank the organizers of the Reno-Tahoe Wordcamp for allowing me to be a part of their exciting event.  The event was held in a journalism school in Reno at the local college.  That to me was a bit of an irony as we are just now being taken serious by the world of journalism so it was also fun to think about how far we have come. If you have a local Wordcamp make you get signed up to attend it will allow you to learn from some of the best and the brightest using this application.  I have had an opportunity to walk away always with a new nugget of information or a trick or tip to make my use of WordPress a little better.

Bloggers Blog Because. . . Well, Because!

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Why in the world would someone like me want to go to Blog World Expo, or any other blogging conference?  Would would someone like me NEED to go?

Aren’t bloggers twenty and thirty-somethings?  Don’t they write about diapers and projectile vomit and daycare and breastfeeding at the workplace?  Bloggers are also techies, right?  Bloggers are always comparing/contrasting various computer anatomies and social media widgets, and arguing about the merits of Vista over Linux.  Bloggers like the jargon, and don’t know how to spell out “you” or “anyway.”  Well, u know, NEway.

HAH, absoLUTELY wrong!

Bloggers are people like ME.  They are also people like you, and people like her, and him, and that guy over there, and that really old lady by the window, and that high school kid, and those young mothers on the park bench, and that bunch of middle-aged teachers in the CostCo lot, and those businesspeople, and that airline pilot, and those doctors, those lawyers, those Indian chiefs, those accountants, those Daddies, those Mommies, those grandparents, those convicts, those veterans, those soldiers, those nurses, those factory workers, those unemployed people, those college students, and everybody else in the universe.

Bloggers can’t be categorized.  Sometimes their types of writing can be, but not the bloggers themselves.  New parents aren’t always in their twenties.  Not all familes are conventional, nor do they wish to be.  Not all primary breadwinners leave the house to go to work,  and not all stay-at-home parents watch Days of our Lives when the kids are napping.  That’s when some of them do their blogging!

Some of us blog for fun, for self-improvement, for nostalgia purposes, for reasons so varied and diverse it would take an eight-volume series to properly describe them all.  Some of us blog for money, and get it.  Some of us blog for fame, and get it.  Some of us use blogging as a stepping-stone, and use it.  Some of us blog because we like to blog.

No matter who or what you are, or what you do or wish you did. . . no matter if you are conventional or non-conventional or somewhere in -between. . . . no matter if you’re a parent or if you’re not. . . . no matter if you’ve been blogging for eight years or eight days. . . . there is something for you at a blogging conference.  Whether it’s BlogWorld Expo, in Vegas this coming October, or BlogHer,  in Chicago in July, or any other blogging convention, there is something for you there.  There is something for you to learn, and something for you to share, and something for you to discover, and, BEST OF ALL, there are PEOPLE there with whom you will something in common.

I can’t wait – I’m going to both BlogWorld Expo AND BlogHer.  Why would I do that?  I’m not young or perky, and my kids are grown and gone.  I don’t use much jargon, and my tech skills are laughable.

I’m going because these conferences are loads of fun.  I’m going because there is always something to learn and something to share.  I’m going because the world of blogging and social media have shown me that many things that matter so much in some aspects of our lives, don’t matter at ALL to bloggers.

Bloggers find each other because we are bloggers.  Minor things like age, looks, health, kids (or not), social standing, popularity. . . none of these things is important to a blogger.  We care about these things, yes, of course we do, but ultimately, when we seek out someone to talk to in a crowd, if we can find another blogger, we’ve found what we’ve been looking for.

Come to BlogWorld Expo, and come to BlogHer.  You’ll find what you’ve been looking for, too.

Seriously.  You will.

Blogging for Bargains!

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I used to clip coupons from newspapers and magazines, but I don’t any more.  I don’t even take the newspaper, and haven’t for several years.  I still get a few magazines in the mail, but I’ll probably let the subscriptions lapse when they come due again.

That being said, I still use coupons every time I go to the grocery or drugstore, and I save tons of money every month.

I just don’t clip coupons any more.  Not these days.  Now, I just download them!

I download my coupons from several places, and more often than not, I am POINTED to those places by bloggers.

I’ve gotten great deals from coupons.com, and from Coupon Cabin, and from Coupon Mom, and from My Coupons, and from RetailMeNot.  Sometimes, I get coupon codes from blogs and websites and use them for online purchases.  I have discovered that quite often, a store will offer a “free shipping” code on top of a sale, and I’ve gotten some tremendous bargains with those.

Everything is so expensive these days, and a few cents off might not seem like much, but it adds up, especially when you’re feeding a family.

I loved reading a real newspaper, and I adore relaxing with a magazine, but again, everything is just so costly now, these things had to go.  Fortunately, I’ve got their equivalents, complete with coupons, on the amazing and wonderful internet.  Just read some blogs, and you’ll see.   Bloggers know where the bargains are, and they’re happy to point the way to YOU!

REAL Bloggers KNOW. We Just. . . KNOW.

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When I first started blogging back in 2004, a lot of others started right about the same time.  A lot of those people aren’t around any more, but those who are?  Most of them are my friends.  We’re friends for many reasons, and when I say that we are “friends,” what I am actually saying is that these people and I are. . . FRIENDS.  Yes, THAT kind of friend.  The real kind.

Why is that, you might ask, and well you might.  The answer is simple.

We are friends because we have something in common.  We KNOW what it is to be a blogger.

Real bloggers aren’t transients.  They don’t get all excited about starting to blog, write a couple of posts, get tired of it, and drop out.  REAL bloggers are here for the duration.  REAL bloggers love blogging so much, we’d rather sit at our computers and participate in blog-stuff than. . . well, than do almost anything else!  REAL bloggers have to watch the clock carefully, lest we ignore important real-life things.  However, REAL bloggers know how to do that!

Real bloggers go to conventions and meet each other.  Real bloggers sprinkle terms like “Twitter” and “Stumble” and “Jim Turner” in their casual conversations with each other.  Real bloggers shake their heads in pity when they encounter people who respond to perfectly legitimate questions like “What’s your Twit SN” with nothing but a blank stare.  I mean, what’s UP with those people?  Why don’t they KNOW?

Bloggers know that the Blogosphere is a real neighborhood; there’s nothing make-believe about it.  Bloggers know that the Blogosphere is inhabited by PEERS, and in the Blogosphere, peers don’t have to be the same age, or even the same generation.  If someone is a real blogger, he/she KNOWS.  Bloggers are peers.

Real bloggers don’t live in fantasy-land, online.  We have OTHER lives, too.  Usually, bloggers have very full and fulfilling lives both online and off.  It’s fantastic, really, the way real bloggers perceive the universe!

Bloggers’ children grow up in public.  The Blogosphere knows how everybody’s kids are doing in school, who won the spelling bee, who struck out in tee-ball, and who had a dental appointment yesterday afternoon.  Bloggers sympathize, and congratulate, and remember birthdays.  Bloggers are people who show up for school conferences, and pack wholesome lunches for their kids, and aren’t easily taken in by advertisements and scams.  Bloggers, on the whole, are definitely above-average people.

There are new bloggers every day, and I welcome them with open arms.  However, it’s the bloggers who are in it for the long haul, who will STILL be blogging five years from now, and ten years, and twenty, who interest me the most.  I have a lot of friends in the Blogosphere, and I want them to stay. 

Then again, those whose hearts aren’t really into blogging probably aren’t comfortable in the Blogosphere anyway.  Some of them claim that they’d really like to blog, but they just don’t have time.  Sorry, but real bloggers don’t buy that excuse.  Real bloggers MAKE time.  Take a good look at the time-clock on most blog posts.  Does the term “night owl” ring a bell?

That’s because real bloggers KNOW.  We know.  And we love it.

Blogging: Not Just For The Young!

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Not only am I a blogger, I’ve BEEN a blogger since April 2004;  I’m no newcomer!  If I may say so, I know whassup with the Blogosphere.  I have several hundred blogs in my blogrolls and readers.  Not only do I blog for myself, I blog for several clients as well.  I read everything I can find about blogging, the Blogosphere, Blog Conferences, and blogs in general, and while it is true that many bloggers are between 18 and 35, I will have to stand up and challenge anyone who claims that the Blogosphere is inhabited mostly by the young.  I know for a FACT that there are Blogosphere neighbors who are, shall we say,  more than just a little bit to the right of the age timeline median mark.

I know this because, not only am I one myself,  I know of definite OTHERS!  I’ve blogged with them, commented with them, MET them in Los Angeles and Chicago at BlogHer, talked with them on Skype and Google Chat and even the (remember this?) telephone! We’re on FaceBook and MySpace together, and we often exchange ideas on Linkedin and Twitter.  We Digg and Stumbleupon and Reddit, and we think social media is absolutely del.cio.us.  Some of us even know about (shhhh) Bit Torrent.

Yes, the Blogosphere is filled with young parents,  and young entrepreneurs, all sharing advice and information, but that same Blogosphere is also filled with older people whose children are grown and gone, and whose businesses are thriving, or were thriving – or not – who can offer invaluable advice to young parents and others who are now where older bloggers once were. The Blogosphere, like any neighborhood, is teeming with people who know, and people who need to know!  Online, we come together.  Online, we can meet and help each other in ways that just aren’t possible in our “other” lives.  No matter where we fall, chronologically, we all love to meet each other, and blog expos and blog conferences are some of our favorite things!

We older bloggers are not interested in Geritol, Assisted Living ads, denture adhesive, insurance, orthopoedic shoes, funeral directives, Depends, bland diets, and articles on how to entertain grandchildren.  I mean, we ARE, but mostly, we’re not.  Please, marketers, do not insult us with such assumptions or stereotyping!  Older bloggers are interested in the same Blogosphere “things” as everyone else:  where to find deals on SD cards,  funky forums, movies, books, laptops, HDTV, wireless digital picture frames, new cars, WordCamps, Amazon, eBay, cool recipes,  blog conferences ( a huge percentage of BlogHer participants were over 40!), cool electronics, fashion, the environment, crafts, education, and humor!

Blogs, blogging, blog conferences, and the Blogosphere itself are not inhabited by one age group only.  Like any interesting neighborhood, the Blogosphere has neighbors of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, personalities, and temperaments. 

The important thing is, to be a part of that Blogosphere!  There is definitely something for everybody there.

Blog World Expo: The Best of Both Worlds!

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Blog World Expo excites me.  It thrills me.  Blog World Expo is like the culmination of bloggerhood fantasies: the coming together of people who know each other quite well, often so well that we could order for each other in a restaurant, or pick out shoes for each other.  We know all about their jobs.  We know their children’s names.  We know about their pets, and their gardens, and their opinions about big government, world peace, and whether they prefer brown or white eggs.

We know almost everything about them, in fact.  Everything, perhaps, except what they really look like.  Much of the time, we couldn’t pick each other out of a lineup.

But that’s okay, because online, assuming we’re all telling the truth – and we must make that assumption -bloggers have turned this huge planet into a neighborhood of relationships – friendship, business, and everything else, deep and lasting, and proof positive that we don’t have to know what people LOOK like, to know what people ARE like.  Most bloggers have found and made wonderful, genuine friends via blogging.

Our blogrolls and readers are full of people we wish lived next door to us, or even WITH us, because we’ve come to love them as dearly as though we met for lunch daily.

You know, we’re all just so BUSY.  Most of us work and raise children and try to nurture them and a marriage and our friendships and our talents all at the same time.  Many days, something’s gotta give.  With blogging, the conversations can wait till we can get there.  Bloggers are friends who don’t put any kind of time limitation on us.  We are here, and we’ll be here tomorrow if you can’t stop by tonight.

Blog World Expo excites me.  Bloggers will be there.  BLOGGERS!  People who, well, KNOW!  They KNOW.  Blogosphere neighbors who sit on each other’s virtual sofas several nights a week will get to sit at each others’ tables for real.

For real!!!  Then again, the Blogosphere is real, too.  Blog World Expo excites me, because it is the best of both worlds.

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