July 30, 2014

Learning from Mistakes Made on Squidoo

squidooIn the last few weeks Squidoo members have been rocked by a series of policy changes on the free publishing platform. I say “rocked” because these changes came like a blast out of nowhere, followed by a huge wave of relief that problems, which members have been raising for years, were finally being addressed.

These problems included high ranked pages that were doing well due to gaming, poor quality, “content thin” pages that members were worried would attract a Google “slap” and the use of automation to “update” and create pages. Spun and duplicate content were also worrying issues.

High profile members have had their wings clipped, with special statuses being removed and others have left the site. And it is clear that Squidoo HQ is now acting very quickly when they receive reports about activities by members that risk bringing the site into disrepute.

OK, so this has been a long time coming but the immediate results have been very heartening. Members are reporting that their pages, which had been pushed down in the Squidoo rankings, by the gamers’ pages, are now rising in ranking and we are optimistic that within a relatively short time the site will be much improved and a place where cheats no longer prosper.

But why should this be of interest to online writers who are not members of Squidoo?

I mentioned that this has being going on for years but it is only over the last few months that the damage predicted by many started to become apparent, when members reported drops in traffic last November.

At first it was assumed that the cause was the post-Halloween slump and that traffic would recover once the Christmas Shopping season started. A trend established in previous years. However, it soon became obvious that traffic was NOT recovering as well as it used to at that time of year.

But it was not until the end of February/early March that concrete action was taken by Squidoo HQ followed by various policy-change announcements. The first shock was a ban on page transfers between members, followed by sanctions against specific members. And in a conference call a couple of weeks later Seth Godin confirmed what we had been thinking, that the activities of a small number of members were threatening to spoil it for the many.

As a result new filters were announced that would weed out thin content lenses in a drive to improve the quality of the site. Seth acknowledged that traffic was down but was adamant that it will recover.

Anyone who is writing online with a view to earning an income needs to sit up and take note and learn from what is currently happening on Squidoo.

It is clear that content that exists purely as a means to make sales is going to be punished. Not just on Squidoo, but everywhere.

Content really is becoming “king” and anyone who thinks Google will be OK with a curated list of products, that offers nothing but Amazon or affiliate links is going on a road to nowhere. They may work now, they may be what we think our visitors are looking for and are content with that (because some of these pages make sales), but Google is no longer content with that. And given that we are totally reliant on Google for our traffic, it is time for us to raise our standards.

So how do we avoid being penalised by Google?

Micro-niche sites need to be particularly careful. Just like publishers of pages on platforms like Squidoo and Hubpages. But it is not just the small sites. Internet Giant Interflora got hit so hard by Google that for a time even if you searched for “interflora” the site did not feature in the search returns!

The reason? All to do with offering free flowers for backlinks. This was deemed unethical back-linking by Google.

So if you are tempted to pay for, or offer inducements for, backlinks – think again!

Your pages need to not just have relevant content – they need to be interesting if they are not to be labelled Spam. One method I use to assess a page is to imagine it without any products at all. Take away the links and what are you left with?

We must give our visitors something so that if we were to remove those links, they still get something to take away with them, that does not depend on them clicking through to another site. This can be in the form of a tip, like how to choose a planner, how to clean a shower curtain or the considerations when trying to choose a laptop from the thousands available.

So add in some extra information, don’t just be satisfied with an introduction and some brief product descriptions. These days, as I improve my content, I am aiming for at least 700 words in each article if the article contains any affiliate links.

The time of cutting corners in order to get as much content out there as quickly as possible is over. Gone are the days when 30 brief pages peddling the same or similar products on a micro-niche site was acceptable. And providing we accept that and get out of the bad habits we have adopted, as we attempt to replicate the perceived success of others who managed with “bare bones” articles and sites, then we should be OK.

More information: How Google Is Fighting Spam

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Site Scrapers And RSS Bandits: Automated Plagiarism

Following on from his very helpful post last week, Plagiarised Text or Images – What To Do Guest Author Paul Ward explains How Site Scrapers and RSS Bandits can hurt us, even when they only duplicate a few links of our content.

Site Scraping

Along with the amateur who steals a page at a time, there are the more professional crooks who use programs called site scrapers. Give these programs a page URL and they follow links, grabbing every file they can: pages, images, scripts, style files. The better scrapers can be set up to automatically change things like affiliate ids. They can mimic browsers so webservers can’t detect and block them.

Add on a bit more software and the scraper can transfer all the files to a new host. Kick one off and go away for an hour or two – when you return you have a complete copied site, links, addresses and affiliate codes all changed to suit you.

RSS Bandits

The poor relation of a scraper is the RSS bandit. RSS feeds are a good thing in many ways: they aid search engines (Google likes them) and they can help you propagate your site to others (many of us have blog feeds and accept other people’s feeds).

An RSS feed typically contains a set of information for each page on the feed: in lens terms that’s URL, title, intro and any images associated with the intro. Grab a feed, add a bit of programmed code and you have a self-updating site.

Why Do They Hurt Us?

They steal traffic through beating the originals on search results. They typically mimic a frequently updated site to a search engine. By pulling in content from many places they impress more than each individual source. By stealing from Squidoo, where many people understand the basics of SEO, they further impress search engines.

In addition, the crooks may carry spam or porn ads. Nobody wants good original content associated with acne cures or worse, especially if their name is transferred with the content.

Don’t We Get Links From RSS Bandits?

Many such thieves will leave a link back to the original. This fools some people into thinking that there’s no real harm. There is: apart from the possible dubious ad associations, a full intro may contain enough text to convince Google that the original is the duplicate – so the original suffers in SERPs. There’s also a danger that your affiliate id may be copied unchanged – so your id is on a site that probably breaks the terms of your affiliate agreement. If you don’t do anything about it you run the risk of losing AdSense, Amazon and other reputable companies.

Why Do The Crooks Do It?

Several reasons: the obvious one is to make a quick buck from changed affiliate ids and other advertising. They may just be seeding the ground to sell the site or domain – get the money from a gullible idiot and disappear.

The amounts involved don’t have to be great. The costs are low and the profit can be a tidy sum in some countries, if not in US or UK eyes.

Should I Remove My RSS Feeds?

No: there are other ways to steal content anyway and you benefit from the feeds. Better to get the copies removed.

What Else Should I Do?

This is plagiarism. It’s illegal and there are quite straightforward measures to take. These are described in Plagiarised Text Or Images? What To Do.

There are forums and Facebook groups where you can get help and support. You can use sites like Web Of Trust to record bad sites. Spread the word, kill off the crooks.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Christmas is Over, Now What?!

Heart Pendant Class for Art & Massage DayEveryone that I know who writes online looks forward to the Christmas shopping season as a time of year to make extra money to spend or save, but once Christmas is over, do you sit back and relax?  Or do jump right back on the bandwagon, and work just as hard in January and February to keep the momentum going?

One of the things that I have learned as a retailer, is that Christmas is a great time to find new customers, but it is your job to make their experience beneficial to them, and also to you.  One of the things I always try to do in my shop is to find a way to invite them back in.  This year, Lake Erie Artists Gallery has planned an Art & Massage Day in January.  The goal is to invite our customers in December to come back in January for a fun day of art classes and massage.  My point here is that as an online writer and marketer, you should be doing something similar.

What are you doing right now to attract traffic in January and February?  And let me be clear, I am not talking about Valentine’s Day traffic.  That will mostly come in the first and second week of February.  But what about January?  Do you have content that will be useful to people in January?

People do not go into complete hibernation during the winter.   While weather may be snowy in some parts of the world, people still have school, work, and just regular life to go through during winter months.  There are holidays in January, birthdays in January, taxes to start preparing, driveways to shovel, and many other interior projects that people save to do in winter.  These topics become relevant to people once the year turns over, and you as a writer and marketer should research how to take advantage of it, so that you do not lose momentum from the end of the year.  Don’t wait until the end of January to start working on Valentine’s stuff.  You have an entire month that you can be earning before February.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

What You Need to Know BEFORE You Start Writing Online

There’s so much to learn when you first start Writing Online that it is difficult to know where to start. What do you concentrate on learning first?

HTML?
Backlinking?
Promotion?
Keyword Research?
How to set up a Blog?

Yes, all of these are important, but I have deliberately left a couple of things off that list, because they are crucial issues that a lot of people do not give a thought to until they find themselves in trouble – copyright and image use.

If I had to choose three things I would tell people to learn about first, before they learn anything else and even before they start to publish, it would be:

  1. Keyword Research
  2. Copyright issues in relation to using other people’s content
  3. Copyright issues in relation to use of images

Keyword Research – Why Do It?

Over the past couple of years Google has been moving away from giving huge credit to the number of backlinks on a site, because people were abusing this. They were paying for backlinks, automating their backlinking or simply backlinking anywhere that would allow them to leave a link.

The problem with all of this is that many backlinks were being posted on sites that had nothing to do with the topic being linked to. So, now backlinks are less important, leaving the way clear for quality content to really start becoming King.

However, with all the competition, how are you going to get your quality, original content found?

That is where keyword research comes in and I strongly believe that if you do not do keyword research you are foregoing the chance to beat your competition.

Think of it this way – by using keywords you are using the exact language being used by the people searching for the information that you are offering. It is as simple as that.

Content Copyright

The number of people committing Copyright infringements on the net is huge and it seems that they get away with it a lot of the time. However, just because others get away with it, does not mean you should not bother about your own content. Sites like Squidoo, Hubpages, Zujava etc, will penalise people who steal other people’s content, often by taking pages down and cancelling accounts.

It is crucial that you learn what you can and cannot use legally if you want to build a good online reputation.

Image Theft

Just because an image is “out there” and available for public view, does not mean that you can help yourself to that image and publish it on your content. Yes, some images are free to use, but many are not. Or if permission is given to use them, then you must check out the Terms of Use and follow them implicitly.

And then once you are clear on what you can and can’t publish and you know how to write content that is going to get found, by all means start looking at the rest of those “I need to learn how to…” topics :)

Further Reading

Copyright infringements

How To Credit an Image

How To Research Keywords

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

SEO is Alive And Kicking!! Not Dead – Just Evolved

It is not often that I get wound up these days by anything that anyone says, but in the last week or so I have seen assertions that “SEO is Dead” and “Don’t worry about keywords”. I got just a tad irritated because some of the people who are absorbing this “advice” are new to writing online and I wanted to scream at them “Nooooooooooo!!!!

OK, calming down now, so let’s look at why I don’t agree.

SEO is NOT dead. It has just evolved. Personally, I like the way SEO has evolved because it looks like what now matters to Google is what I enjoy doing and what doesn’t matter so much these days, or has at least changed, is what I don’t like doing.

Here’s a reminder of the key ingredients of your SEO Mix up until around a year ago:

  1. Keyword Research
  2. Quality, original content
  3. Backlinks – lots and lots

Today, this is what we are looking at:

  1. Keyword Research
  2. Quality, original content
  3. Backlinks – but not nearly so many and they need to be relevant

Yes, quality, original content is essential for a successful article, blog, webpage. But that on its own will NOT get you traffic. How are the search engines going to find and promote your pages if you are not using the language that your searchers are using when they go “Googling”?

You can write a brilliant article, full of quality original content but if no one finds it then you are wasting your time.

Yes, without keyword research you may get lucky and use some strong keywords by accident, but why take the chance? Especially when your strongest competitors WILL be doing keyword research.

As far as I am concerned the only thing about SEO has changed is backlinks. Thanks to all the link exchanges, bought links and spam links, Google has decided to do something about the fact that people are gaming the system and actively deceiving the Google Spiders into thinking that because their articles had lots of backlinks, they were quality.

Sites have been warned, sites have lost traffic, sites have been de-indexed. All to the good I say!

Now we are told that we should only bother to backlink through sites and pages where their content is relevant to ours. That is great news for those of us who hated backlinking anyway.

And I can cite examples where pages that have no backlinks have started getting Google traffic within hours of being published. I have also seen how people who realised what was coming have started publishing related content on different sites and on their own blogs and then interlinking that content with great results.

SEO dead? Nah! It has simply evolved and we need to evolve with it.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Niche Marketing: Common Mistakes

Today, I would like to discuss some common mistakes made by people new to Niche Marketing.

One of the biggest mistakes I see when people first start trying to market online, is that they just repeat what others are doing. Of course it makes sense to learn from the methods that others are successfully using and put them into practice, but if you simply jump into a niche that is saturated with people promoting the same hot topics, chances are you will just fade into the crowd.

In my last post Niche Marketing: Building Authority In Your Niche I discussed what you need to do to stand out from the crowd. However, in addition to the tips I gave in that post, today I want to mention keyword research. Because keyword research, when done properly, will also help you stand out from the crowd.

Keyword Research is an essential tool for not only narrowing your niche but will also help you target strong keywords in what may be a competitive niche. My best current example is The Hunger Games.

I have written a series of Hunger Games pages on Squidoo that is targetting one of the hottest entertainment niches in 2012. The Merchandising is excellent, much of it officially licensed, and there’s a huge variety. Yet, despite all the competition, that niche is bringing in some nice sales for me.

But here’s where I am beating the competition. Each page is a very specific topic within the niche and each page focusses on some very specific search terms. To give an example:

My best selling product is a Mockinjay Pin. The competition is huge – 387,000 pages when I searched that term on Google a minute ago.

Am I targetting “mockingjay pin”? No, I am not. What I am targetting is where can I get a mockingjay pin, which is the search term people are using who actually want to buy one of those pins.

(And if you are not sure about keyword research, I have written a series of pages that will help you. Check out: An Introduction to Keyword Research. Make sure you read all the pages in the series – there’s four.)

Another mistake you can make is to offer expertise, when you are only just starting out. For example, how many times do you see on sites like Squidoo, Wizzley and Hubpages, a new member offering tips on how to succeed on that site?

Who has more credibility? The person who has only published 5 pages on the site? Or the person who has been around for awhile and can demonstrate that the methods they use are successful?

How about the people offering relationship advice? Who will you listen to? Those who are promoting a get your ex back ebook because it is a hot topic that they have been told converts well, or the person who actually DID save their relationship and it is quite clear they did because they are telling a genuine personal story?

What about a new product? You know it is going to take off big time, but so will a lot of other people. The biggest mistake you can make here (apart from NOT doing keyword research) is to leave it too late to publish, when the danger is that you most certainly WILL fade into the crowd. So, how can you stand out from the crowd?

You need to get your content about this new product published way ahead of time. This will give you a head start over the competition, because a lot of the competition won’t realise that the product is even planned. Get the content published, build authority for that content and you stand a better chance of featuring in the first couple of pages in the Search Returns, when the product is released.

Next time we will discuss topics that generally convert well to sales. Some of these topics are not ones that I particularly like, but that wont stop me from discussing them, because they are good examples of the psychology and thought processes of buyers. And to be successful in Niche Marketing you need to be able to think like your potential buyers.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Writing Online is a Job, Maybe a Career, But Not a Scam

If you are starting out writing online, and you are writing online to make money, then I would like to give you one piece of advice that will make you successful.  Get ready, here it is:

Writing Online is a JOB

Yep, that is my biggest piece of advice.  Treat writing online as a job and you will succeed.

For everyone who succeeds making money online, whether it is a part time income or a full time income, you will find as you get to know them, that they spend hours each day, week after week, earning that money.  Writing online to make money is most easily compared to a sales job in the outside world.  It is a job built on referrals, networking, and commissions.  This type of income takes time to build, and the ones who make the big money work at it long enough to “get lucky” finding the big scores.  In truth, what many might see as luck comes from diligent hard work, day in and day out, doing their research, finding people who might need their services, and marketing to that clientele until they find the right fit between what is being sold, and what the buyer needs.

While how we earn writing online is not done exactly the same way, it is most like this sort of job.  It takes both time, and persistence to build an income from writing online.

If you did a survey of the successful online writers, you would find that we all have a different system for doing this job.  Many of us write online in between and amongst other jobs, family time, and school.  Many of us turned to the internet as a potential income source due to hard times financially in the traditional job market.  Working online is not a scam in any way, unless you are a scammer, and more and more businesses are getting a portion of their income from online websites and stores.

Writing online is not the only way to earn money online.  You can do website work, retail sales, wholesale sales, and as the technology improves, we will be able to have our hands in many other types of online work.

However, if you want to succeed in any of these, you will have to work it like a real job, because it is a real job.

I have been making money online now for 4 years.  In those years, I have learned that the people who have built an income from any kind of online work, including writing, have done it by building a career, step by step, through sweat equity, and lots of work. What is most exciting for me, is that with the right attitude, literally anyone who is willing to put in the time, practice, and learn what works for them will build an income that can support them.  Because the internet is literally anywhere, you can live in a rural community, or a small town, and not need the business to come from your neighbors.  But if you earn money, you can help support your local community by continuing to live and shop there.

Among people that I know personally that have succeeded, are stay at home moms looking for a second income, homeschoolers, recently divorced, disabled people, and retired people.  For many of these people, life has left them without enough income to live the lifestyle they want to live, to pay the bills, or feel comfortable in their way of life.  Working online has brought them the security and income that they need.  But they have had to work for it.

Writing Online is a real job, one that takes dedication and hard work.  If this is how you want to make a living, you can.  But only if you are willing to work hard, over time, and stick with it until you succeed.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Niche Marketing: Building Authority In Your Niche

In my last post in this series we discussed How to Start Choosing Your Niche and looked at how you need to think in order to come up with niche topics about which, not only can you write with authority, but how you can also keep writing over a long period of time. Now we are going to look at how you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

(Note: By “Authority” I mean not only with your target audience, but also with Google and the other search Engines.)

And to do this you need to take your time! No way can you establish yourself as an authority in your niche over a few days or weeks.

Think about it this way. OK so you may genuinely be an authority on a topic. But unless members of your target audience know you personally, then no one is going to be aware that you DO actually know what you are talking about.

You have to build a following. You have to show people that they can trust you. No one is going to accept recommendations unless they fully believe what you are saying.

So how do you get yourself known?

This is where Networking comes in and by Networking I don’t mean dropping your links all over the place. I mean engaging with your potential audience, having conversations with them and only leaving a link when it is genuinely relevant, NOT whenever you make a comment.

I see people doing this in forums all the time, they join in a thread and then they drop a link to their own stuff and make it look as though they are only in the conversation because they want to drop a link. It is a huge turn-off!

If you are seen as a person who is genuinely trying to help someone, without regard to what might be in it for you, then you are going to get noticed. And then when you DO leave a link, that will get noticed too.

Somehow you have to find a way to stand out from the crowd. You have to be different to everyone else who is publishing content and trying to make sales from similar products to you. And sometimes less is more!

Who are you more likely to listen to? The Niche Marketer who constantly seems to yell:

“Buy, buy, buy from ME”?

Or the marketer who seems genuinely interested in passing on help and tips to help you solve your problem as well as offering a product?

Places I use to network include:

Twitter
Forums
Facebook

However, I also know that Bev Owens has started using Google+ to great effect and as a result has made good connections with people who are interested in her Native American Totems and Old West Legends blogs.

And while you are networking, you should also be publishing quality content to build the authority of your site in the eyes of Google. If Google can see that you are regularly updating your site with unique content that people are searching for, then you will rank higher in the search returns and get more traffic.

Eventually networking will become less important because Google will do your promotion for you and that is a great place to be.

Networking won’t make you successful overnight. But put the time in at the beginning and then the time you need to spend will reduce as time goes on.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Niche Marketing – How To Start Choosing Your Niche

In my last post about Niche Marketing, How To Come Up With Ideas For A Niche, we discussed how establishing authority is crucial in order to establish trust. Simply – people have to trust what you are saying, in order to believe what you are saying and then they may just buy through your recommendations.

We also looked at how important it is to choose a niche where you can write about your topic regularly and with enthusiasm. Running out of steam, because you don’t actually ENJOY writing about your niche is not going to get you anywhere.

So did you make a “five minute list” as I suggested in my last post? If you did not, then you may find it helpful to do it now, before we carry on…

Do you remember my saying in the first post in this series An Introduction To Niche Marketing that as a Niche Marketer you are offering to solve people’s problems? Forget about looking for hot topics. You need to look for a group of people who have a similar problem and set about providing the solution to that problem.

Don’t get me wrong hot topics do have a place in your niche marketing strategy, but if you want to make a consistent income, then much of this will come from “evergreen” products – products that are not popular one day and gone the next. Ideally you are looking for products that will sell well over a period of time.

Have a look at your five minute list. Is there a topic on there that you really enjoy AND about which you are passionate AND that people would be willing to spend money on? These are the three main ingredients that will blend together to head you in the right direction.

Two out of three ain’t bad – two out of three is utterly awful!

As I said in my last post, I had a successful blog, it got traffic and it made sales, but I ran out of steam. I did not have the passion for the topic that would help me keep it going.

So how do you know if you are really passionate about a topic?

Ask yourselves these questions:

Do you already know a lot about the topic?

Do you look forward to genuinely learning more about the topic?

Do you already write about the topic?

Do you ever discuss the topic with your family and friends?

Do you read books or magazines about the topic?

Do you yourself spend money on products related to that topic?

Do you already belong to an online or offline community centered around that topic?

No, you don’t have to have said “Yes” to all of those questions, but if you said “No” more than twice, then I would be wondering if that is the right topic for you.

This is where I went wrong with my niche blog – heck I could only answer “yes” to ONE of those questions!!

My big “light bulb moment” came when I was having a “Skype” with Bev and Paula, my co-collaborators on Writing Online. I was going through one of those phases I go through every so often, praying I could win the lottery and start writing for pleasure rather than an income. I was struggling to find a new niche to develop on the free publishing platform, Squidoo.

It was Paula who told me to talk to my teenaged daughters. Girls of this age are a huge market. So I was about to start a conversation with my youngest about the sorts of things that she likes to spend money on, when out of the blue she started raving about a book she had just read. Little did I know that thanks to the fact that she made me want to read the book, that this would turn into a great niche for me. The book? The Hunger Games!

Sometimes niches are right there under our noses!

Yes, The Hunger Games may be a niche that will not last for ever, but with three books in the series and one film already released, with two more in the pipeline, I can see this niche lasting at least 3 or 4 years. No, sales wont be sky-high throughout that time, because interest will dip between films and as far as I am aware we dont have the anticipation of new books in the series. But Hunger Games sales have the potential to peak each time a film is released and I reckon that Halloween and the Christmas Shopping Season will see good sales too.

I confess that at the moment as far as blogs are concerned I am “in between niches”. I published my Hunger Games pages on Squidoo – it is a competitive niche so I decided that the page rank boost we get from publishing on a platform that Google likes, would be better for my Hunger Games pages than creating a blog. We will discuss more about these considerations later in the series.

I have two new niche blogs planned, but I am finishing off some work for two clients before I make a start on them. So to give you a couple of examples of niche blogs that have been set up by someone who is genuinely passionate about what she writes, take a look at Bev Owen’s blogs: Native American Totems, which is a well established blog and Bev’s newest blog: Old West Legends.

Yes, you can see a connection between these blogs, but the important thing is that Bev is totally passionate about both these topics and she is targetting people who share that passion. But not only is Bev passionate, she is also knowledgeable about the topics.

Going back to your list of topics, do you have a potential niche in that list or do you need to think about it some more?

Now that we have you thinking about how to go about selecting a niche topic with the right mindset, next time we will start discussing how you can build authority in your niche.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Assessing My Goals For 2012

Last week I took some time to assess my progress in the goals that I set for myself and writing for 2012. Some might think that it is a little early to be doing that, but I like to really study my progress each quarter. I keep an eye on things on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis but as a quarter ends, I like to take some time to really look at where I am at. That way if there are some tweaks that need to be done I won’t be caught unawares at year’s end.

I take my goal setting quite seriously. After all it is a map, of sorts, to my career of writing online. This is not a hobby for me but a way to add income for myself and my husband. Since I retired from my full time job at the end of 2011, writing is now my full time job. I am a planner and always have been so the setting of goals for my writing is a natural way for me to move forward. I, personally, would not get very far if I didn’t have a plan to follow.

I figured out a few years back that the more articles that I have online the more potential for income there is. So, for the year of 2012 I wanted to increase my income by making sure that I added to each platform that I write on. I wanted to keep these goals reasonable and attainable. It doesn’t do any good to set the bar so high that you get frustrated in lack of progress and just give up. So, I tried to be realistic when I sat down to make the goals for 2012.

My plan has been to write something for each day of the week. I want to have 350 lenses at Squidoo by year’s end, which means that I need to write 2 new lenses each week. As I looked at my progress last week, I am actually ahead of my goals for the year for that platform. What an encouraging piece of data that turned out to be for me!

I also planned to write one new article on Wizzley each week to get my presence better defined on that platform and to start to generate better income there. My research last week showed me that I haven’t fared as well with that goal. So now, I know that some better planning for writing on Wizzley is needed to catch up.

My plan for my blogs was to write one post each week. I have stuck to the plan better with my Native American blog but have fallen short on the Gifts From Grandma blog. I am not going to panic at this stage because I can post a few posts more for a while so that there is plenty of posts by the time the shopping season hits in September. That is more important for the Grandma blog than the Native blog because it is directed more to a buying public.

There is an addition to the writing plan since I made my goals at the end of the year because I have started writing on an additional platform. My tweaked plan will be to average one article there a week until the end of the year.

By taking some time to assess my progress, I can see that I could change my plan a little and still reach the goals that I have set for myself. Have you assessed your progress for this year’s goals, yet? It is a good time to do it so that if you need to make a few changes, you still have plenty of time to do just that.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes Writing Online runs on the Genesis Framework
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Google+