This seems like a great post to keep all my deepest secrets because no one will ever read it.
I actually have to split my reasons into two sections, because I “blog” in a variety of different ways although this blog is perhaps the most visible as my personal blog.
- Content Management – blogging platforms are simple content management systems. I own lots of custom built content management scripts, but most of my sites run at least partially on blogging platforms because they allow me to manage content so easily, either using their built in interface, or by using various professional blogging tools
- Extensibility – you can do almost anything with WordPress, there are so many plugins and themes available and if something doesn’t exist, you can always get something hacked together fairly cheaply, or even learn to do it yourself.
- SEO – Blogging platforms generally have very good SEO characteristics – it isn’t a guarantee because many can be set up in such a way as to hide your older content and devalue it. Some of the “worst offenders” or most prominent mistakes are made by SEO blogs and “blogging tips” blogs. I should be thankful – it has provided me with another “niche”
- Syndication – it is easy for people to subscribe to what I write for easy delivery to their RSS Reader, email box or aggregator. I don’t try to place controls on my content, and it spreads virally in many directions that ultimately will be of benefit.
- Communication – blogs provide multiple way to communicate with your audience
I was going to add “Free” to the list above, but ultimately nothing is ever free – what I regard as the best blogging platform, WordPress, is free to use and future proof due to its licensing, but that doesn’t always make it the best choice for everyone.
As an example Google’s Blogger now offers a “better than perfect” redirect to a domain. I mentioned “deepest secrets” at the start of this post. I will leave out why it is better than perfect for another blog post.
Mike Sansone frequently recommends Typepad and Moveable Type, and it is used by many top flight blogs, even newly launched ones, but I haven’t honestly worked out the advantages other than the availability of many experts to help you with the platform.
Part 2 of my list is going to concentrate on various motivations for blogging, and specifically for this blog and those sites I acknowledge in public.
First of all some screenshots:-
My Technorati Rank Improves Daily:-
Yes I know Technorati can be gamed, just look at blog networks – however a huge number of the links I am receiving are editorial choices from quality blogs.
Quality Links From Experts:-
Ben Yoskovitz blog tipping me at Instigator Blog
- Demonstration of Expertise – blogging by far is the most powerful way to demonstrate your expertise, which has always been one of the primary reasons people should undertake article marketing. Blogging allows you to share your knowledge in a similar but more powerful way.
- Comments allow feedback – sometimes positive, possibly negative and how you handle both kinds of feedback is critical not only to your public image, but also to your own thought process. Other people’s ideas might well be better than your own. A blog is a platform for discussion.
- Aggregation of Ideas – putting thoughts on paper has always been the best way to remember something, and solidify the thought process. If you can’t put an idea on paper and present it constructively, it might not be such a good idea. Blogging takes that to the next level – each blog post can be looked on as a presentation to a wider audience, as a sounding block, or as an attempt to gain mind share on a particular subject.
- Trust – this is an interesting concept, because I can’t prove it. By “laying it open” on your blog, at least as much as your business will allow, adding a layer of transparency, you can gain an additional layer of respectability and empathy. You are also providing a massive amount of information for anyone doing “due diligence” for a potential future investment. People trust the opinion of Michael Arrington because he is quite open in his disclosure. The same is true of Darren Rouse, Brad Feld, Fred Wilson, Dan Rua etc etc
- Community – bloggers talk about community and building relationships, internet marketers might talk about how large their mailing list is, or finding “joint venture” partners.
This might be one of the many reasons I have become such a strong advocate for disclosure
When I was in the games industry at Techland I could have given myself any title other than something that suggested I owned the company (CEO or MD were off limits). I actually started off calling myself the sales and purchasing manager. Later on I progressed to using “Business Development Director”. Whilst I was still buying and selling products, I chose the new title because it emphasised, or at least hinted at the relationship process. I was no longer looking to buy a single title, or sell a single title. I was looking to create all kinds of partnerships, sometimes financial, very often promotional, or with a promotional component. I was also undertaking deals to help with access to technology with processor and graphics card vendors.
In blogging there are huge benefits in joining the “community”, linking out to others and sharing your audience, but there is more benefit in joining the conversation, and expressing your opinion when you link through to others.
There is a definite line between constructive criticism of a product or service, and criticism for linkbait. I think Jason Calacanis steps over that line maybe a bit too often, but then he has always been slightly in competition for mind share and audience with Nick Denton. I don’t believe in doing only enough research to prove a point or justify a statement.
Enhanced Disclosure About Why I Blog
I have always strongly believed that the size of your contact list is less important than the quality. A mailing list of 10,000+ newbies to internet marketing, or wannabe investors or entrepreneurs can be achieved fairly easily.
A subscriber base of a few hundred influencers can be much more powerful.
Here are some very powerful quotes from Think and Grow Rich:-
Chapter One: THE MAN WHO “THOUGHT” HIS WAY INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH THOMAS A. EDISON
I had learned, from years of experience with men, that when a man really DESIRES a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.
Chapter Two: DESIRE
But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.
Chapter Three: FAITH
RICHES begin in the form of THOUGHT!
The amount is limited only by the person in whose mind the THOUGHT is put into motion.
Chapter Five: SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE
Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end.
Chapter Six: IMAGINATION – THE WORKSHOP OF THE MIND – HOW TO MAKE PRACTICAL USE OF IMAGINATION
There are a number of example stories in this chapter and they all heavily relate to the reasons why I blog.
The Enchanted Kettle refers to the Coca Cola story, and how investing $500 in a magic formula, life savings, grew to become the Coca Cola Corporation.
What I would do if I had a million dollars is inspiring, but in many ways unrealistic unless you already have some level of mind share, trust, and demonstrated expertise.
The story of the bookseller changing the title of a book to make it sell is exactly what various copywriter makeovers do.
Even the discussion on the film industry is interesting – the people who made money “had the imagination to recognize ideas when they saw them.” – that sounds like modern day venture capitalists.
Finally, here is an absolute diamond:-
successful radio programmes of the future will give more attention to creating “buyer” audiences
Chapter Ten: POWER OF THE MASTER MIND – THE DRIVING FORCE
No quote, no discussion
Where Does This Lead
In this day and age, the chances of Coca Cola having the same success it had many moons ago are less likely. A lot of the success has been in the protection of the secret formula in the early days, and then legal IP protection. There was time to establish a market.
On the internet it seems, the companies that succeed are those that achieve rapid viral growth before potential competitors take notice, or those that have some form of protected intellectual property. That isn’t strictly true of open source projects, but then if you accounted for the total time invested in most open source projects before they become successful, it would be a much less attractive investment proposition.
One of the tricks currently seems to be to create a business with no obvious profit potential until is has sufficient subscribers.
I have mentioned my own plans a little here a couple of times, and something though certainly not everything can also be deduced from the many topics I cover on this blog.
Some of the topics are specifically related to the project I want to undertake, other topics are related to showing some level of knowledge or expertise in a particular area, community and mind share building. I rarely write about anything just because it is topical.
I am constantly faced with a dilemma of multiple options:-
1. Develop my project without outside funding
2. Seek Angel funding
3. Find multiple partners and develop a joint project
4. Work on other projects to raise the money to launch my major project better.
In some ways this blog allows me to explore these options, raising subjects for discussion to see if they are challenged, or grow into a discussion that is somehow more significant.
I had better stop now otherwise I will start discussing other topics such as the law of attraction or how widgets in many ways offer “social proof”.
The Power of Blogging
The people who I highlighted as linking to me were not in my “social sphere” when I launched this domain October 17th 2006 – I had linked at least once to Michel’s blog from my blogspot address maybe a year or so before, and have spent a fair amount of time on various internet marketing forums, but not Michel’s Copywriting Forum, though I do know a number of people who are regulars there.
Most of my current readership however are totally fresh, and most of the relationships have been built over the last 2 months. There is no JV partnership, we just read each others blogs, and link through to things that might be of specific interest. Links just happen when opportunity arises, with some kind of cross-over in the topics.
I also covered my blogging strategy over 2 months ago, when this blog was just 1 month old.
For those who say that blogging is coming to it’s peak, I would like to stress
The Full Power of Blogging Hasn’t Been Realised
I am not going to tag anyone specifically. Instead I am going to encourage my readers to pick up this meme in the same way Ryan Healy did when he read Mike Sansone’s post.
Updates: Vlad just tagged me on this meme that seems to be running on for a while, so linking though to him.
Lord Matt just tagged me like the exhibitionist geek that he is.
SoloSEO are tracking this meme, and you can add your own details to the list
Rob tagged me on this one as well – sometimes memes go on for months
Amy also tagged me for this meme
So was my answer longer than anyone elses for this meme, and did you learn anything from it?