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5 Things Haunting Taught Me About Blogging

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Every year I run a small, free neighborhood haunted house out of my garage. It’s a mammoth undertaking every year involving countless hours of work, a staff of about four or five helping during crunch times and months of planning. All for about 12 combined hours of “open” time in late October.

However, like every large undertaking I’ve tried, it’s come with its share of life lessons, at least a few of which apply to blogging. So, with that in mind, here are five lessons that running a haunted house, or any similar project can teach you about blogging or running a site.

1. Much of the Work Isn’t Fun

For every hour of scaring visitors, there is probably 12 hours or more of building walls, painting and other mundane, laborious tasks that almost no one enjoys.

Blogging is much the same way. Though every blogger has tasks they love, whether its designing, writing or answering comments, there are many elements that are just no fun at all, filtering spam comments out, fixing site errors, dealing with flame wars and keeping track of your content to name a few.

Though everyone should love what they do, loving your site doesn’t mean enjoying every single task you do for it. It just means that the good outweighs the bad.

2. You Can Look Professional Cheaply

Since our haunt is free, we have to do it on a very tight budget, a few hundred dollars per year tops. We build many of our own props, design many of our scares and find low-tech solutions that other haunts use computers and pneumatics for. We are able to solve our problems cheaply and, at the same time, produce a pretty good haunt.

Blogging is much the same way. WordPress is free and there are tons of great themes for it freely available. Combine that with good content and a great domain, you can have a professional-looking blog for almost no money.

What you do need is skill, time and dedication. If you don’t have the money to buy a professional theme, you need to create or or tweak an existing one. Can’t pay writers? You have to write good content. Money can be a shortcut to a professional appearance, but an investment of time and talent can create the same results and, I would argue, give those results more heart and meaning.

3. Cross-Promoting is Critical

I would be easy for me to consider other haunted attractions in the area as competition and try to “beat” them somehow. However, it’s been much easier for all of us to work together and cross-promote. I even donate a few off nights to volunteer at haunts technically compete with.

The reason is that people don’t usually visit just one haunted house nor do they visit just one blog. Giving a “competitor” traffic is not the same as taking visitors away from you. Networking and working with others in your field is critical not just to drive traffic, but to build your brand and build awareness about your site.

No site is an island so it is best to promote accordingly.

4. Constantly Troubleshoot

The first thing we do after every night of haunting is sit around and go over what happened. The atmosphere is always light-hearted and we’re reliving our favorite scares, but it’s also somewhat serious as we’re going over the things that did not work and planning to retool for the next night or the next year.

Blogging is no different, every so often you should look at your traffic and your site’s use patterns and see what you can do to improve it. What features can you add? Is your navigation confusing? What might help search engines crawl your site better?

A blogger should be constantly looking at their site, determining what works and losing what doesn’t.

5. Be Unique

Being high quality isn’t good enough by itself, you have to do something that’s unique. With our haunt, we try to focus on more realistic scenarios and avoid all horror movie icons. This helps people remember us and gives our haunt a very unique feel.

If you can’t describe what makes your site unique in less than 20 words, you probably need to change your focus to give it something a bit more original. Otherwise, you’ll always just an “also” ran in an overcrowded field.

If you provide something unique, people will remember you and they will return.

Bottom Line

All major projects, whether online or off, have a great deal to teach us about running our sites. The Internet does not change the basics of what makes good work and by looking at what it takes to do a good job elsewhere, you can apply the lessons online.

So what are some of the lessons you’ve learned from your offline projects and how did you make them apply to your site? I’d be interested to hear what others have to say.

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1 of My Secrets to Being Kinda Prolific

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I have written hundreds of guest posts for this blog.

I have written about 1000 on Blogging From Paradise between posts and travel pages.

A few moments ago I checked my DA for a sponsored post opportunity. The business owner wanted to know blog domain authority before deciding to place a sponsored post on the blog.

Blogging From Paradise has a DA of 48 and 22,457 external links in.

Not super shabby.

I am kinda prolific.

If you want to publish helpful content frequently, just run with my most basic of tips.

Do not wait around for folks to read your content, comment on your content and share your content before writing your next blog post or guest post.

Do not wait to create.

Do Not Wait to Create

The old me – and most bloggers – became highly attached to any single piece of content I created because I feared the content would not register enough shares, comments, page views and sales. Fear drove me to share this piece of content in many places to boost my stats. All well and good but because fear drove me, I resisted my prolific nature, allowing worry and lack to goad me to do stuff that led to me being the farthest thing from prolific.

Eventually, I observed how bloggers who seemed to be in 10,000,000 places at once simply prolifically created a high volume of helpful blog posts, guest posts and videos. Success found these folks because they did not wait around for readers to check out their blog posts. Said bloggers moved on to writing and publishing their next blog post.

Acting abundantly – not allowing their fears to eat into their prolific nature – promoted these blogger’s success as they created generously, publishing a high volume of content across multiple platforms.

I finally learned of this secret and used it effectively when I chose NOT to wait to create.

Now I publish 3 posts daily on Blogging From Paradise. I also publish the odd guest post from time to time. My success accelerated and my online presence expanded when I decided not to get attached much at all to any one blog post, because the next blog post called me.

No sense waiting around for folks to read my stuff because they simply will read at their own leisure. My job is to keep creating helpful content to help readers build successful blogs. As I move in this direction, everything keeps expanding for me.

All because I chose not to wait to create.

Being Prolific Impacts Folks

Peep this tweet from my friend Corey Hinde of The Good Oil Marketing:

I am humbled by such kind words from an established, super successful internet marketer. This is pretty much what happens when you are prolific; you impact folks in a positive way, and you also expand your reach and help more folks, all because you refuse to hold back.

Tips to Be Prolific

  • Blog mainly for the fun of blogging
  • Nudge yourself out of your comfort zone daily
  • Surround yourself with prolific bloggers to feast on their creative energy
  • Do not wait to create
  • Beware getting attached to any one piece of content; promote posts freely across a wide range of channels but look toward the next blog post, guest post or video to create, in order to become incredibly prolific.

Guys; this journey gets a little uncomfortable at times but if you love fun and freedom more than you fear doing some uncomfortable things you will become a highly prolific blogger.

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How to Get Your Blogging Mojo Going if You Feel Hopelessly Stuck

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I lose blogging momentum sometimes.

You may be in the same boat, being human and all.

But if you regularly find yourself saying “I need to get serious about building my blog” over the course of years it is time to own this fact: you need to get your blogging mojo going before you become permanently stuck in a blogging rut.

I was rut-stuck here and there for many years, on and off. Maybe I didn’t quit blogging totally but I’d start blogging, then stop, and continue this process for weeks on end. Not good.

You can find your blogging mojo and get unstuck by following these blogging tips.

1: Pick a Dream that Makes You Feel Alive

I am led by my dreams, not pushed by problems, because I picked a big old dream a while back. I wanted to circle the globe. Bingo!

Since I wanted to travel the world more than I feared doing uncomfortable, blogging-building things, I built a rocking blog and kept on moving, keeping my blogging mojo going.

What is your dream? Figure it out. Hold it tight.

If you need inspiration watch my video from New Zealand. I filmed this one at Mount Cook a few months ago.

2: Feel Fears Fueling Your Struggles

Some folks believe they lack motivation to blog. Others feel they are lazy. But at the end of the day, if you are not acting, you are afraid of something or someone.

Laziness is fear manifest. So find your fears, by shutting a door and sitting in a quiet room, and if you feel the deep fears you purge the energies and proceed from an inspired, loving, persistent, energized space.

I kept putting off writing an eBook for many years. Turns out I was not lazy; I just feared nobody would buy the eBook because I saw myself as a loser who knew little. I also feared people would criticize me. But I went forward and wrote my first eBook to get out of my fear-rut and to keep on moving.

Some of my eBooks do not sell as much as others and people sometimes post negative reviews of my eBooks but since I do not fear these outcomes, neither have any power over me. I just keep expanding my success, helping folks and befriending blogging pros because I move forward, unburdened by many blogging fears I faced, embraced and released.

3: Study Persistently Energized Bloggers

I am no Tony Robbins but blog persistently from an energized space.

Each day I:

  • do 1 hour of deep yin yoga
  • exercise for 1 hour
  • usually take an icy cold shower
  • focus on having fun with my blog versus attaching to money or traffic outcomes

I have written thousands of guest posts, over 10,000 blog posts (old and new blogs combined) and I have also written over 100 eBooks. Toss in the thousands of videos I created over many YouTube channels (since closed) and you see I am a pretty prolific dude. An energized, prolific dude at that.

You’d be wise to see how I go about my energy ritual daily to take a few pointers. Consider deep yin yoga to open up your body, to open your mind and to form the habit of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Maybe meditating daily opens your awareness. Exercise is definitely a must, every single day.

Circulating your energy freely moves you from being fear-based, lazy and sluggish to being love-based, energized and prolific. I was once pretty dang lazy before I dove deep into energy work.

Wrapping it Up

Keep at it guys. I know this blogging journey feels scary sometimes but if you grab the right blogging resources and follow the above tips you will avoid common blogging ruts that appear to cripple most bloggers.

 

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1 Clever Way to Find Blogs for Reading and Commenting

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Have you missed me?

I dove full bore into promoting my eBook through blog commenting a number of months back. Toss in a prolific blogging campaign over at Blogging From Paradise and some serious video creation and you see I am a busy bee.

A few days ago I uncovered an incredibly neat and pretty clever way to drive traffic to your blog through blog commenting, via a neat method of finding new blogs for your collection.

The Problem

Do you feel stagnant, blog-reading-wise?

I did. For a minute.

Turns out I dug deep into my blogging comfort zone for too many years, reading and commenting on the same blogs week after week, month after month.

If you know anything about successful blogging you likely know that all blogging growth occurs well outside of your comfort zone. So I had to venture out of the familiar by finding new blogs in both the blogging and travel blogging niches because my readers gravitate to both.

Enter a cool method for identifying new blogs for reading and commenting.

Google Image Search

The other day a neat little idea knocked on my mind’s door; why not use a Google image search to find blogs in my niches?

5 minutes later I literally had an unlimited number of blogs for enjoying, commenting and for connecting with fellow bloggers.

The method is simple. Google a competitive keyword in your niche. Example; I Googled “blogging” to start my search.

I then clicked on the “image” link by the top of the page. A series of images popped up related to that keyword.

Some images link to business sites but for the “blogging” keyword, most images linked to well-read, reputable blogs. Perfect.

Blog by blog, I slowly worked through each image, clinking on the blog post URL related to each picture. After reading each post I published a personalized comment and retweeted every blog post, adding the #blogging hashtag for increased targeting on Twitter.

Why this Strategy Is So Powerful

I – like you – have run into stagnant blogging circles on social media and through forums. Even if new bloggers join sites like Facebook and G Plus daily you cannot access and unlimited number of new blogs on a daily basis through either channel once you become an established blogger.

This is not the case with a Google Image search because the sheer volume of new blogs – for competitive keywords – yielded through such a search boggles the mind. Even better? Ranking high for an image search usually indicates a high quality blog for reading, for commenting and for building friendships with top shelf bloggers.

Downsides

Some of these blogs linked to images are low quality offerings. Resist the urge to grab and scarf down rotten blogging low hanging fruit. Stick to quality blogs.

Some images point to business sites. I found this to be especially true when Googling major cities and islands around the world to find new travel bloggers. A high volume of images found during a search linked to tour operator sites. Sifting through tour sites or local chamber of commerce sites to find legit travel blogs requires a significant amount of time and energy.

Spending the time and energy to find new blogs is worth the effort but if you find some keyword image searches seem dominated by business sites – not blogs – feel free to try another keyword that may be linked to predominantly blogs for an image search on Google.

The Verdict

I only dove into this traffic driving strategy a few weeks ago but I noted new bloggers finding me daily through this approach.

If you are stagnating in familiar blogging circles commit 100% to this Google image search method. Reach out to new bloggers, build brand awareness and drive traffic through an easy to follow tactic.

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