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July 2011

Three Tips for Selling Your Blog

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A non-traditional, yet excellent way to generate revenue online is through the buying and selling of web sites, and blogs are no exception. While some bloggers are passionate about their topic and could write about it forever without any intention to sell, others may find blogging tiresome after a while and want to move on. Or the idea to sell a blog might come when a blog receives rapid growth and the blogger wants to quickly flip it.

Either way, it’s important for you to know the steps to take before selling your blog so you can get top dollar. Here are three important tips to make sure you get the most revenue for your blog should you ever sell.

1.) Established Blog and Purpose

Many people are buying web sites and blogs, but the ones that grab the attention of buyers are ones that are established and have a true purpose. I’ve purchased a few blogs for over a thousand dollars that didn’t generate any revenue, yet they were heavily targeted. Finding a quality niche blog is what a lot of buyers are looking for. If you are going to sell your blog, make sure you and your audience know exactly what your blog is about.

2.) Full Stats and Information

Anyone can create content and slap up a wordpress blog, so there needs to be some real content and value to your site. Using services like Google Analytics, you can heavily increase the end purchase price for your blog sale. Analytics and visitor stats show where people are linking to your blog, how long readers stay on your site and where you are ranking in the search engines. All very important factors when a buyer is determining how much they are willing to pay for a web site or blog.

3.) Revenue Generating Blog

Lastly, we have revenue, the main driving factor behind any web site evaluation. Many web sites and blogs listed on domain and web site market places will go for 10 to 30 times monthly revenue earnings. Factor in the authority, age and niche of the web site and you can sway either way. A web site or blog that is proven month after month revenue generation will almost always sell for more than a site that is just loaded up with content and getting page views.

Using a combination of the three methods above, you can create a winning auction listing for your web site or blog. The last thing you want to do is post your site for sale and have little to no information and stats to back it up.

I’ve been successfully buying and sell web sites for many years and I hope these beginner tips have been useful for you. If you’d like to learn more about site flipping, take a look at my new 140+ page book titled “Flip This Web Site“.

The Lost Podcasting Episodes

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It’s June 26th as I write this, and last night I recorded an episode of Be a Better Podcaster, my series about podcasting. It was a good episode. I fielded a question about gathering listener statistics and talked about simultaneously broadcasting the show on Ustream. It was about 20 minutes long and an episode that I considered a success.

You’ll never hear it.

Why, you ask? Well, here’s the thing. I was broadcasting to Ustream for only the second time ever. The first time, which you can hear in a recent episode of Yet Another Weight Loss Show, was successful. With only a minor glitch, easily ironed out, I figured I was all set for doing the next show. I thought for sure that the Ustream bit was in the bag. It wasn’t.

I had planned on doing the show earlier in the evening last night, but I kept putting it off because I got busy doing other things—mostly revolving around getting my webcam to work in widescreen like it’s supposed to—and it was 2am before I started the broadcast. Strike one. I was tired.

I had planned on scripting the show beforehand. Now, I never fully script anything, but I like to have an outline of bullet points ready. I didn’t. Strike two.

My To-Do list has had “create a checklist” on it for months. Create a checklist for show production. Create a checklist for post-production. Create a checklist for what needs to happen before pushing the Broadcast button in Ustream Producer. Care to guess what I didn’t do before last night? Yeah, strike three, and I’m outta here.

I did push the Broadcast button, I did do the show, and I did think it was a good one… until I listened to the playback later. In this show, I use a music bed—a series of songs that play quietly under my voice. There are benefits to this that I’ll cover in a future article, but the important thing here is that the music bed was playing just fine through my headphones and was recorded to the podcast just fine.

When I played it back later, the music bed was missing. The problem is that the output I was hearing in my headphones was not the output that was being sent back to the computer for Ustream Broadcaster to use. The output to the computer had all the elements of my audio except the music bed.

Sounds like it’s not a big deal, right? Tons of shows don’t use a music bed—most of mine don’t. Unfortunately, I mentioned it a few times in the show. During more than a couple of segments, I sounded like a raving lunatic who was hearing strange music in his head, and while I won’t say that’s never happened (thanks, J?§germeister!) I can say that it wasn’t happening last night.

I think there are two takeaways from this. First, of course, I needed to plan better. I’ll remember this experience and plan things out better in the future. The second takeaway is the lesson that sometimes you do things that just don’t work out and you have to live with it. I have three episodes between my various shows that have had to be completely scrapped; this is just the latest example. The first time it happened, I was devastated. The second time, annoyed. This time? Still annoyed, but I’ve accepted that this is going to happen every now and then. Hopefully it’ll be extremely rare. But I’ll always have the lost episodes to look back on and lament.

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Guest Posting 101: Pitching Your Post

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You can write all the guests posts you want, but it doesn’t matter unless you can do a good job pitching your ideas to other bloggers. This is where a lot of really talented writers fail. You have to understand how to connect with other bloggers so that they’re more than happy to publish anything you write.

So let’s talk about pitching your posts.

Write First or Pitch First?

One of the most common questions people ask me about guest posting is this: should I write my post first and pitch it to bloggers or should I pitch my ideas to bloggers and then write. There’s no one right answer to that question – it depends on the situation and on the blog.

If you know the blogger enough to have conversations via social media occasionally and meet up at conferences, I suggest pitching them first. You have a working relationship – simply ask if they’re accepting guest posts and go from there. When you have a relationship with someone, you can develop ideas for guest posts together or even consider posting something from them on your own blog.

If you don’t know the blogger personally, though, it might not make sense to pitch ideas if you don’t have the post written yet. Check out the blogger’s guest post policy if they have one. Some prefer to receive ideas, while others just want to see the full post. If they don’t have a guest post policy, here are a few tips to help you decide if you should send the full post or simply send ideas:

  • A-listers who get tons of traffic and lots of emails don’t have time for lots of exchanges. Send your full post unless their guest post policy says otherwise.
  • Do you see other guest posts on the blog? If not, the blogger might not accept them, even from friends. Ask first.
  • If you see a blogger mention an upcoming vacation on Twitter or Facebook, reply and ask if they’d like guest posting help in the meantime. It’s simpler than an email, and you can get a quick yes or no before you spend time writing a post.
  • Is the blog more personal or more informational? The more personal the blog, the more likely it is that they want to exchange guest post ideas via email first, because their blog is more branded around their personality.

When in doubt, send the guest post in full. If it really is perfect for their blog, they’ll accept it. I’ve even placed guest posts with bloggers who don’t normally accept them because the post I sent was such a good fit.

What’s in it for Me?

When you pitch a guest post to a blogger, you want to make the email short and sweet. So, don’t spend what precious space you have talking about what’s in it for you. Talk about what’s in it for the blogger.

Be realistic. Don’t say that your post is going to send them tons of traffic because you really can’t be sure that it will, even if you’re the most a-list blogger out there and wrote the most search engine optimized post in the world. Instead, simply make offers. Will you promote the post on your social networks? Will you blog about it?

Also, make sure that the post makes sense for the blogger – and mention that. Don’t get post if you aren’t familiar with the blog, and definitely do your research to make sure they’ve never published a post on the exact same topic in the past. Even if you’re a fan, do a quick search to make sure they didn’t post the same thing you’re hoping to post before you were a reader or in a post you missed while sick/on vacation. Don’t be afraid to mention where you think the post would fit in terms of category, especially if the blog covers a wide spectrum of topics.

Your Pitch Doesn’t Need…

As you’re writing the email to pitch your post, there are a few things you don’t need to include:

  • A Deadline

Bloggers are busy. If you don’t hear back in a week, you should definitely follow up, but your initial email doesn’t need some kind of imposed deadline. It comes off like a threat. If you don’t get back to me by the 15th, I’m going to approach other bloggers. You know what that makes me think? Go ahead. In reality, your post might fit on a few different blogs (though avoid being too generic). But giving a deadline makes it seem you’re just going to offer your post to blogger after blogger until someone takes it. It makes your post sound…well, not very good.

  • Warnings about your Links

You can also leave out the part where you say that you want a link back to your site. That’s why people guest post. Just include your bio with the post itself, along with the link. Otherwise, it takes up space and looks like you’re just interested in the benefits you’ll get if they post what you’ve written. I once received a request from a blogger who spent an entire seven-sentence paragraph talking to me about how if I used his post, I had to include the bio exactly as written with links in tact. He even said that if I didn’t, he would consider it steal. Um…you’re asking me for a favor. Stop being a guest post diva.

  • Anything Else

If you send me an email with a guest post pitch, don’t also include other requests or information. I like to keep my inbox organized and I get easily distracted. Name your email something like “guest post” so I don’t miss it and save everything else for another email.

Have you received any good or bad guest post pitches? What did the other blogger to right or wrong? Leave a comment! And don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series:

My Initial Google+ Impressions

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After whining to my Twitter followers (haha, sorry guys!), I finally found a sneaky backdoor way into the Google+ beta! I’ve been using it for about a day now, getting my profile set up and such, and although I know that I still have a lot to learn and Google will likely be making changes based on feedback in the coming months, I wanted to give you my initial impressions. If you’re in the beta, I hope you’ll leave a comment with your impressions as well.

  • It doesn’t seem crazy different from Facebook.

I do realize there are some differences, even some significant differences, but Facebook is really rooted in people’s minds that I’m not sure Google+ will overcome it…and I’m also not sure that there’s room for both. Maybe. After all, I don’t think Facebook will be king forever. I guess time will tell on that one. The thing is, while Facebook really is a “my generation” type of thing (I was a sophomore when our college got it, back in the day when it was limited), a lot of business owners and people older than me who aren’t into blogging/social media as a career are just now wrapping their heads around the benefits of Facebook. I worry that throwing another, similar network into the mix isn’t what the general public needs. I guess, I was hoping it would be really different from Facebook, like Twitter is, so it would be easier for people to understand the necessity (other than “Google wants to make money” of course!).

  • I like that you don’t have to be mutual friends.

I use Facebook almost exclusively for keeping in contact with friends and family. I share links I find interesting occasionally, but rarely do I do any kind of promotion on Facebook like I do on Twitter. One of the things I hate is when someone who I don’t know well (like a Twitter follower) tries to friend me on Facebook. I always feel like a jerk saying no, but I just don’t use Facebook as a blogging tool like I do with Twitter. With Google+, I like that you don’t have to be mutual friends. The person can simply add you similar to a Twitter follow and they’ll see all your public updates. Of course, if you have your Facebook privacy settings changed so that default is public, they could there as well, but you wouldn’t show up in their stream at all – they would have to manually check your page if you weren’t mutual friends.

  • Google+ cares about content creators. Thank god.

I’ve written before about the fact that you need to be careful how much you rely on Facebook – at the end of the day, Facebook is not your blog. That is, you don’t own it, and thus, the owner of the content you write there isn’t really you. Facebook could disappear tomorrow…with all your content and contacts. As the lovely Heather Solos pointed out to me earlier today, “I really like that under account overview they have Data Liberation, you can export all of your contacts, photos everything easily. Building that in from the start shows me they’ve at least been paying attention to concerns about data ownership.” Yes, yes, a million times yes.

That’s all I got…for now. I like Google+ initially, but I want to reserve my final judgment for after it is open to the masses. I think, for me, it will come down to this: will people (even non-social-media people) use it? If my Facebook friends migrate, I have to say that I’ll be on the Google+ train without looking back. If they don’t? Well, I’ll be kind miffed about having to check yet another site every day as part of my job.

Oh, also – a lot of people have written MUCH more eloquently than I have about Google+. Deb did a really great post round-up of links on Kommein, so head over and check out Google+: 50 Helpful Posts to Get You Started.

What do you think of Google+ so far?

Guest Posting 101: Link Like a Champ

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Yesterday, I talked a bit about Penning the Perfect Post if you want to start guest posting, but there’s one element I left out – adding links to your post. When it comes to linking, especially when talking about SEO, someone could probably write a whole book on the different linking theories and practices. I’ll just tell you what works for me – and if you write guest posts, add a comment at the end to tell us all what works for you!

Some SEO Basics

Before I get into the meat of this post, let me first go over a few SEO basics for beginners out there. When you include a link in your guest post (or in your posts in general), it is important to pay attention to the words you actually link. These are your keywords, and they should be the words you’d imagine someone typing into Google to actually get to whatever page you’re linking. So, for example, say I wanted to promote this post in a guest post I was writing for someone else. I might link using the words “guest post linking” or “using links in your guest post” since those are words people might type into Google that are relevant to my post. Some people spend a lot of time doing keyword research. If you want to do that, great. If not, even being a little mindful of it and using keywords instead of stuff like “click here” or “my blog post,” you’ll be ahead of the game.

Link Overload

When you’re writing a post for your own site, you might want to include tons of links back to your own work or to blog posts that you’ve read and enjoyed. When you’re writing guest posts, you have to be a little more discreet. Everyone knows that guest posts are all about promoting your own blog, but if you do too much promotion – even if your links are relevant – you’re going to have a hard time placing the post on another blog.

Bloggers agree to post guest posts because they want cool content for their site. Most are happy to give you credit and even some links back to your site, bit too many links starts to get unattractive to them. Remember, every link you include is sending people away from their blog. If a post is full of extremely good information, but includes tons of links, most bloggers won’t accept it.

So how many links should you include? Consider:

  • Length: In general, the longer your guest post, the most links you can include.
  • Niche: Some niches are more link-friendly than others.
  • The Proposed Blog: Some bloggers are more link-friendly than others.

Your Bio

Almost all guest posts include a bio at the end (or at the beginning – depends on the blogger’s formatting style). Your bio is your chance to shine. You want it to entice people to learn more about you and what you do on your own blog, and from a linking perspective, you can go hog wild.

Well, kind of.

You still don’t want to include a billion links, especially since bios are typically only about two sentences long. Still, it is more than acceptable to include two to three links. Some bloggers who post guest posts actually request that you not include any links within the body of the article, giving you only your bio for linking. I actually recommend at least two links: one for SEO purposes and one that appeals more to actual readers who might want to visit your site.

Want an example? Check out the bio I include at the end of my BlogWorld posts. It might change in the future, but here’s what I have right now:

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner of After Graduation, a site for career advice and motivation. She works as a freelance writer and would love to connect with you on Twitter (@allison_boyer). Allison is also working on a super secret blog project, which you can read about here.

After Graduation is my site name, but also the keyword that a lot of people use to find the site, so that makes sense. “Freelance writer” is linked for SEO purposes. I want people who are looking for a freelance writer to get to my freelance writing site. The other two links, to my Twitter and to my blog project, are not going to help me with search engines, but they (hopefully) appeal to people reading my content who want to learn more about me.

Four links is probably the top I’d include in any kind of guest post bio (these are not exactly the guest posts here at BlogWorld, but it’s the same basic concept). Splitting them evenly between links for SEO and links to entice readers is what works best for me.

Okay, that’s my best advice for linking within guest posts. Check out the other posts in this series and give us your best tips in the comments below!

Friday Findings – July 1st, 2011

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Friday Findings is a weekly series where I show some link love and bring you interesting stories from around the web. From social media news and viral videos, to news on technology and more.


What Facebook/Skype Video Chat Might Look Like [MOCKUP] – With the latest breaking news about Facebook launching a video chat product through Skype Mashable has created this mockup as to what it might look like.

WordPress finally launches a full-featured mobile blogging app — for webOS – WordPress has launched a mobile app for webOS, which appears to be designed with the HP TouchPad tablet in mind.

The Best Apps of the Week – Gizmodo rounds up the best apps of the week, which include a GPS app for the iPhone, Google+ for Android and Fotopedia North Korea for the iPad. See what else made the list.

Why Google+ Doesn’t Stand a Chance Against Facebook – Has Google gotten it right? Can it stand up to Facebook? Read why this guy’s money is on Facebook.

Bloggers; Have Attitude, Will Travel – Have you met the diva blogger at any blogging events? It seems we need a blogger etiquette handbook, no?

Facebook Launching New Video Chat Product

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Remember the “something awesome” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased the press with the other day? There’s been all kinds of speculation as to what it is and according to the folks at TechCrunch, Facebook is launching a new video chat product powered by Skype.

The chat will be in browser and raise chatting up a notch on Facebook. No more chatting with just our words. It’s time to get face to face.

The details are definitely sketchy as of now, but there’s a press event scheduled for July 6th that said nothing more than “Please join us for an event at Facebook”.

So, what does this mean for Skype? A lot. As of now they have around 170 million users, compared to Facebook’s 750 million. And with Google+ launching a group video chat feature, this is something Facebook needed to include in their features. Now we wonder if this makes Google+ Hangouts less awesome. We will see.

When can we expect to see this video chat feature added? Mashable’s sources say it “will indeed be launching next week”.

Stay tuned as we get more information.

 

YouTube’s Most Viewed Cat Video Doesn’t Contain Any Cats

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Cat videos – we all love them, we all watch them, there’s just some about those furry little felines on video that mesmerize the world.

As I was taking a look at some YouTube trends for the past month, I saw on the YouTube trends website that their most-viewed cat video for the past month, didn’t contain any actual cats. There was talk of cats. A lot of talk of cats actually. But no real life cats doing anything quirky or funny. What?!

Have you seen “Debbie” and her “eHarmony Video Bio”? Considering the video received 2 million views in one day, I am sure you have. For those of you who may not have any clue of what I’m talking about, here you go.

Debbie loves her cats!

Okay, so “Debbie” is actually a girl named Cara Hartmann who’s Facebook page describes herself as an entertainer. Her video is still averaging around 100,000 views a day and has over 11 million views at the time of this writing. There have also been numerous parody videos made, which you can see here.

So, let’s ask ourselves the question “Why was this video so popular?” A popular cat video with NO cats! The short answer. Because we were all trying to figure out if this girl was for real. After closer examination and the video becoming so popular, it was obvious this was a joke. And a darn good one at that.

Just for fun, if you put together an eHarmony video bio, what’s the one thing you would say you just loved?

Overstock.com Redirects Ad Dollars to California Customers

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As Nikki mentioned yesterday, Overstock.com joined Amazon in cutting ties with its California affiliates as a result of the new Internet state tax law. The impact of this for some bloggers is quite large as they wave goodbye to a large portion of their earnings.

Overstock  announced today they are redirecting their ad dollars to California customers by offering them free Club O accounts ($20 value) pre-loaded with $10 in Club O Reward dollars.

Here’s the statement released by Overstocks’s CEO:

“California’s new law that makes out-of-state retailers collect sales tax simply for having business relations with marketing affiliates in those states is unconstitutional,” said O.co CEO Patrick Byrne. “So we have severed relationships with all of our affiliates in California.  Like we’ve done in other states, we have taken the money we would normally pay those affiliates, and are using it to reward our best customers in those states. Any customer in California that has spent more than $300 in the past year will receive a free Club O membership (normally priced at $20) and their membership account will come preloaded with an additional $10 balance. Those qualifying that are already Club O members will also have $10 added to their existing Club O Rewards account and their membership extended for one year.”

Overstock has also cut ties with its affiliates in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, New York and Rhode Island.

What do you think Overstock is trying to say by offering this deal to some of its California residents?

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