Do you believe you can change? I mean, seriously change your behaviors and habits? You know, like stop doing some things and start doing others? How do you improve your work habits so you are more productive and effective?
For example, if you've been struggling with blog writing, can you decide you're going to stop struggling, get on that beast and ride it to glory? How do you become a better writer? ...and get better blog results?
Last year, I noticed my blog traffic was getting better, but I didn't think it was enough. So I decided to double my blog publishing frequency. I started posting every day instead of every other day.
It worked. Traffic has actually more than doubled since then. The behavioral change, i.e. writing twice as often, wasn't too hard since I enjoy it.
The secret key was a tip I read somewhere: always have one post "in the hopper," saved as a draft for the next day. I think I might have got that from Sonia Simone of Third Tribe and Copyblogger. This writing tip works for other projects as well. If you just get something started, it's easier to get back and continue working on it.
(This is a guest post by Linda Dessau, You Talk, I'll Write, and it's great advice for article, newsletter and blog writing.)
"I know we all hated them in school but outlines really can be helpful and worth your time." - Lynne Klippel, March 27, 2010 on Twitter
Last week one of the students in my group program (Content Creation Capsule) proclaimed, "This is exactly what I needed!" What had her so excited? An article outline.
An outline can be as simple as a set of questions. In fact, I often provide questions to prospective newsletter contributors to make it easier for them to draft their article. I simply tell them what I'm curious about in terms of the topic. I do the same thing when I'm interviewing guests for teleseminars.
Let me use this article to demonstrate a really simple set of outline questions:
They're opening up a membership program where folks like you and I can get professional quality videos made for $50/month (saving a ton of time, energy, money).
Video is a smart way to get found on the Web, plus it's a really cool way for your site visitors to get to know you, like you, trust you.
They've got an affiliate contest going, and I'm in the top 5, and maybe I'll win a Mac, a TV, or a new Video camera. I love contests and it gets me revved up to capture the thrill of being a Big Weinnah! Yah-hoo!
(But besides that, I still think this is a good program. Use this link to get on their pre-launch list but don't wait, they're closing soon.)
Oh, I guess that's three reasons, but hey, there's plenty more reasons to smarten up your video savvy.
Do you use creative images to represent yourself and your business? Joan Stewart does a great job of branding herself as The Publicity Hound, using a dog on her blog and sites.
I've used a lot of images from iStockPhoto.com and Shutterstock on this blog. An interesting picture can magnetize readers into your post to find out more.
On my other site I use a blue man because I love the whimsical nature that it adds to an otherwise heavily-text based website.
Here's a fun site that offers you the possibility to create your own graphic image of yourself, adding hair, clothes, accessories for a reasonable price: DesignherGals.com. Here's what I recently created and purchased for use as a personal email signature:
My friends tell me it looks like me, and it's fun. There's even a pic of Huey my cat...
What should you put on your blog if you want to use it for marketing, to attract clients?
Content is king, but if your design stinks, visitors won't get past the banner. They won't stay, they won't get to know you and they won't subscribe to your blog.
Worse, you could be spending a lot of your valuable time blogging for nothing. Bad blog design = bad marketing = no new business. Stinks, doesn't it?
If you care about attracting the right people, get a professional blog design or theme installed. You can do it yourself on Typepad, but you'll need a graphic designer to supply the banner with a tag line built in.
There are plenty of good freelancers available, but you'll need to know what to tell them. Here are my tips for good blog design and set up.
Design for Branding, Trust, Personality
Everything on your blog should reflect your branding theme,personality, and the problems you solve for your readers. Your banner should clarify what the blog is going to give readers.
These are branding issues that need careful thought. You may even need professional help if you want to get it right.
Joan Stewart is a good example of this. Her blog, at PublicityHound.net, features tips for people seeking PR and media attention. You know this immediately after arriving on the blog.
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Here's a quick heads-up via Michael Martine, Remarkablogger, about a new ebook just out, for building a better blog, from Grant Griffiths of Blog for Profit:
Have you been thinking your blog needs a little extra... something?
Probably just needs a kick in the patootie.
(Yes, I said "patootie.") :-)
Grant Griffiths over at Blog for Profit has taken the outstanding mega-series of blog posts and expanded on them to create the ultimate "blog kick start" training package. It's called "31 Days to Kick Your Blog in the Butt" and it helped hundreds of bloggers when he ran the program live on his blog.