Blog Blazers Book Review

Blog BlazersIt’s always great to read interviews of bloggers who have gained fame, fortune, notoriety or notice to find out exactly what they’re doing and their influences, but it’s an even better thing to be able to read the interviews of 40 personalities in the field of blogging all at once. Stephane Grenier has put together such a read in his book Blog Blazers that covers the gamut in the world of online discussion.

Blogging goes far and wide on the internet and Blog Blazers touches on everything from SEO, to small business, to parenting, to business opportunities, to Google Maps, to coding and beyond, way beyond. Stephane secured interviews from such personalities as Aaron Wall, Dane Carlson, Erik Sink, Anita Campbell, Neil Patel, Seth Godin (nice one Stephane) and many more, picking their brains to find out just what has made them successful and keeps them going in their work.

The book is packed full of resources because Stephane asked all the bloggers he interviewed 3 important questions about their influences. The questions were:

Which 5 blogs do you read regularly?
Which websites would you recommend for new bloggers? and…
What is your most successful blog post ever?

Lots of great info here, but by far you can get a wealth of information by just scanning through Blog Blazers and looking up the most successful posts ever by these writers. After all, these posts have already been chosen by the readers of these blogs as noteworthy and the best of what each blogger does, so you know they’re worth checking out. It’s also interesting to note the number of bloggers that mention Darren Rowse at Problogger.net as one of the biggest influences and inspirations in their work. It would have been nice to see an interview from Darren himself to see what his biggest influences are and who he reads on a daily basis.

If you want to power up your blogging regardless of what niche you’re writing for, then Blog Blazers is definitely worth the time to read. The only thing I’d change about the book would be not to ask the exact same questions of every blogger interviewed. It would have been nice to mix up he questions a bit, but don’t let that stop you from a great read.

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Win 10,000 Entrecard Credits From John Chow

I’m souring on Entrecard as of late because it consumes an inordinate amount of time in relation to the actual benefits it provides. But, if you want to take earning credits by mindless card dropping out of the equation and save some time, then head over to John Chow’s blog for a chance to win $10,000 Entrecard credits he is giving away.

John has managed to accumulate more than 18,000 credits and is giving away 10,000 of them. Bloggers like John who get around 5,000 to 6,000 visitors a day have no trouble earning a huge amount of Entrecard credits, because everyone wants to drop their card on John and everyone wants to advertise on his blog. But those of us that don’t get quite the amount of traffic the Dot Com Mogul does have to mindlessly drop cards to earn lots of credits.

Entrecard does have it’s advantages in that if you earn enough credits, you can eventually advertise on high profile blogs like John’s or Problogger of which I just submitted an advertising request at 2,048 credits. This does allow those that don’t have a very big advertising budget to get some great exposure, but you have to work quite hard for only a singe day’s worth of advertising. This has been my biggest beef with Entrecard, the fact that your advertising on any one blog lasts a scant 24 hours. You can see my Massive Entrecard Advertising Experiment Results for more on how much time Entrecard consumes for the benefit it provides.

Okay, I’m off my rant now. So, if you want to avoid a lot of work earning credits and would like a chance to win 10,000 credits for free, check out John’s contest.

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Explaining Twitter Is Like Explaining Sex To A Virgin

TwitterSo I took the plunge and signed up for Twitter yesterday. Why? Simply because everyone else is doing it. Every time I turned around I was reading another post where everyone from Problogger to Shoemoney to Zac Johnson were singing the praises of Twitter. I probably wouldn’t jump off a cliff with these guys, as the saying goes, but I figured with Twitter it was time to get my head out of the sand and just sign up.

The reason I signed up was because I figured it must be important if all the top internet bloggers and affiliate marketers are Twittering. However, most of the explanations of the way Twitter works or what the benefits are, don’t really do it justice. Trying to explain Twitter, is like trying to explain sex to a virgin. You don’t really get it until you do it.

My thinking on Twitter had been, it’s probably something that’s just going to take time away from other things that I already don’t have enough time for, but once you sign up, you see the obvious benefits. The best explanation I can give is that’s it’s like a mini blog that you post to whenever you are doing something that you may want to tell your subscribers, or followers as they are called, about. You can also keep track of what others are doing and follow them and you can even reply to those you are following.

It’s funny how this whole Twitter thing evolved for me. Like I said, I kept reading about it everywhere and read about Shoemoney going from not getting it at all, to being completely into it. I made a comment on his blog yesterday about it and then probably 10 minutes later Wordvixen left a comment on yesterday’s post about Elance saying she would be tweeting the post. I thought cool, what’s that? I checked it out and bingo, the compact fluorescent bulb went on. Wordvixen had informed all her Twitter followers about the Elance post. I have seen the light

Really, don’t even think about it. Stop being a virgin, sign up and follow me on Twitter.

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Is Entrecard Doomed Because Of Its New Pricing System?

The End Of Entrecard?Has Entrecard doomed itself to be known as just another promising, traffic generating blog widget to render itself useless? The credit pricing structure has now been completely changed at Entrecard and is no longer based on how many cards are dropped on your blog. It is solely based on how many advertisers have placed ads on your blog.

The way pricing works now is every time someone places an ad with you and you accept it, the price of your advertising spot doubles. Starting with 2 points for the first ad and doubling with every ad placed, quickly increases the cost to rather ridiculous levels. The switchover to advertisers determining the price, vs traffic and card droppers determining the price has caused some serious anomalies in the system. Blogs that used to cost no more than 30 credits to advertise on are now commanding outrageous prices of more than 2,000 credits and Problogger, who must have had many ads waiting to show, now costs more than 130,000 credits to advertise with. Correct, that is one hundred thirty thousand credits!

You can obviously see that there will be a settling of the Entrecard economy in the next couple of weeks because no one will want to advertise on a blog that costs 2,000 credits, when it is only worth 30, and of course no one has 130,000 credits to advertise on Problogger much less other blogs costing over 250,000 credits. A positive I see with the new pricing structure is that you will also potentially earn more credits as the cost to advertise on your blog doubles with every new ad placed.

What I don’t like about Entrecard though, is for the very little return it has brought me, I’ve determined I spend way to much time with this system, dropping cards and finding advertisers. It just not economically feasible for one to use their time clicking Entrecard widgets and researching advertisers to see if they are worth 1024, or 2048, or 4096 credits or more. What I determined from the massive Entrecard advertising expeirement was that it was better to just place blanket advertising on the least expensive blogs that had good widget placement and then look at the best return and continue to advertise on a regular basis with those blogs.

It used to be easy to find good deals in the Entrecard system and to be able to consistently advertise with those that brought you the most traffic for the least amount of credits. Case in point, Joel Comm’s blog was an incredible deal for an Entrecard advertiser. I have advertised 4 times on his blog for never more than 18 credits and received about 1 click for every 2 credits spent. However, I just used 7 times more credits than I’ve ever spent to place another ad today on Joel’s blog.

The main problem this new pricing system has created is that it will require even more time to watch you favorite blogs to see when advertising with them will be economical. I forsee people watching on a daily basis to see if the price continues to drop on a blog, before they decide to place their advertising. Sorry, I’m not going to spend any more time with Entrecard. I’d like to spend a lot less time with what is becoming a huge time waster.

I’ll wait another 2 or 3 weeks to see how this all pans out, but the amount of time spent with Entrecard is ridiculous. I’m thinking of dropping the whole deal. I’ve mentioned this before and I still think a solution is to have the ads show for 48 hours instead of 24. That way you could possibly get twice as much return for the same amount of work.

The new pricing structure seems to be an attempt to stabilize the Entrecard advertising economy, but as long as a blogger’s time economy is out of whack with Entrecard, I think Entrecard is doomed.

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A New Custom Design For Affiliate Confession

Custom BLog ThemeAffiliate Confession is changing. As I write this post there is a new custom design being created for the blog and as you can see to the left the designer I’ve hired is getting his hands wet and is hard at work. The BloggingPro theme worked good to get things up and running and bring in readers, but it’s time for this blog to take the next step.

There are thousands of free WordPress themes available on the net, but if you want to distinguish yourself from the crowd, you must get a unique and custom design. I found this out by scouring the web looking at probably a few thousand free templates and none of them seemed to appeal to me. There were several that looked pretty decent and I thought about trying to tweak a bit, but I know just enough CSS and php to keep from drowning and I’d probably end up destroying the template.

All the major blogs like Problogger, John Chow, Shoemoney, TechCrunch, CopyBlogger and others have custom themes. You know exactly where you are when you visit their blogs because they don’t look like anyone else’s blog, they look unique. That’s part of branding yourself as a blogger and being immediately recognizable to your visitors. Even for the visitors that bounce off your blog coming from the search engines or other sources, they may bounce 10 times before they stick, but when they do stick, they won’t confuse you for any of the other 5,000 blogs that have the same theme you do.

Getting a custom theme done is not cheap, but at some point in your blogging journey you may decide it is necessary.

It was necessary for Affiliate Confession several weeks ago.


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