Write For The Linkers & The Stumblers

Where niches are heavily networked and the circle is so tight it’s like some secret coven of witches–run the other way! Disclaimer: I’m not slamming witches! It eats so much time for such weak results.

When I ran across one blog post that went something like:

It breaks my heart to see Bloggers Larry, Mo & Curly no longer talking to the rest of us. Our emails go unanswered, our IMs go unanswered, they no longer come over to comment and it hurts! Hurts I tell you! Why can’t we all get along? It’s all because some of us embraced a new blogger and started being friendly with her and helping her out a bit and working with her. That’s all I can think of! Why, why I ask, is that so wrong? Sob! I miss my friends! :heart: bff

These were adults, not 8th graders.

I.Kid.You.Not.

Pretty much right then and there I knew I was barking up the wrong tree. Big time. True–not all niches operate that way. And true–I definitely DO NOT fit into that kind of sappy environment so I would have been miserable anyway. No patience for it. No sir-ee Bobby!

Before I read that I spent a lot of time commenting on blogs initially, then linking out to those I was hoping to build relationships with. Out of I don’t know how many several dozens of outbound links, only *one* blogger hung out for comments and sent me a link. I realized there had to be an easier way because what I was trying to build just wasn’t working.

So I shut ‘er down. No more links to their blogs, no more comments. In fact I unsubscribed from the whole kit n’ kaboodle in bloglines and moved on. I started wooing a different crowd. A much bigger, more successful crowd. And struck gold.

Avoid (*):

The blogs in the blog networks. In my experience–they just don’t link out unless there’s something in it for them (unless of course the blog is all about what’s out there on the web). Watch the outbounds and you’ll see there’s a pattern, at least for the majority of links.

Niches that seems to have blog friendships or relationships going on. Gangs. For example: I’m seeing that a lot in the mommy blog arena. There are tupperware rings, knitting rings, sahm rings, and that sort of thing. Tough to break into.

*Of course there are exceptions. Study your niche.

Pursue:

Find, Watch & Stalk: the blogs that link out and link out steadily. At least daily. They’re typically successful & big traffic blogs (like boingboing for example). And they all have a spot clear as day on their homepage for you to submit blog posts or suggestions to. They *DO* link to you if you’re writing what their readers are attracted to. Or if you submit a question they think is a good idea to write about. So study them. See what they like. Watch what they link to. Write posts on your blog for them, the more original and unique–the better. And submit them.

Be careful because I’ve submitted stuff to bigger bloggers that ask for it, yet aren’t particularly link friendly. They’ve taken my ‘suggestions’, altered the idea a bit, and wrote about them without the promised credit. These bloggers are easy to spot. Submit a thing or two and watch what happens and what they do with it. If they screw with you, don’t look back. Plenty more big fish in the sea that will be happy to take what you have to offer. Over and over and over again. It’s beneficial to both you–and them.

Woo these bloggers with links, with comments, and write your blog posts with them in mind. Get their attention. Pursue them. If you’re writing what they are looking for–you’re golden.

Once you have something *linkable* and they link to you–be prepared. Typically what these big blogs find interesting enough to link to–Stumbleupon follows. In wave after wave after wave. As well as del.icio.us. And the others.

Once a post is being stumbled, write another one for the stumblers. Write something that they are going to want to stumble. When they’re reading the first post that got linked to, they’ll see your newest post and start stumbling that as well. And on and on it goes my friend.

So yeah, I haven’t been around SuperAff much lately. But hot diggity, I’ve been riding waves miles high! 😉

How I Took Back My Time From Information Overload

Dave left a comment on an earlier post and he pointed to a cartoon Empress uploaded (how cool is that cartoon!) and he asked for my top 10 blog picks.

I’m really tempted to point them out, but I won’t, only because what’s worthwhile to me isn’t necessarily the best choice for others. What I will do though is talk about how I cut back my blog reading to focus that time on cranking out content of my own (for my web properties).

First thing I did was allow myself 5 blogs per topic. Yup. Five blogs max. Category examples:

Earning Online (affiliate marketing, marketing & sales, etc.)
SEO
Blogging

Next I determined what I needed the blogs to provide. For me there are three things:

1 – News and updates
2 – Tools such as plugins, scripts, software, themes, etc., or regularly provides hacks and tips
3 – Consistently makes me think or teaches me something

There are plenty of great blogs, some more popular than others, but when I judged the 400 or so blogs in my feed reader, I discovered that it wouldn’t be so hard to whittle my list down to 5 per category after all. For example:

News & Updates: Many of the top industry blogs that cover news aren’t what I’m looking for at all. My personal taste is grassroots. What’s going on in the forums. What’s going on in the blogosphere. That kind of thing. Only a small number actually do that, some are just too limited and are friend/network focused, the rest are geared for suits.

Tools & Hacks: Surprisingly, I found that many blogs provide a lot of chatter, but not a whole lot of consistent workable knowledge or make-my-life-easier tools & hacks. Lots of theory. Lots of general How To. Lots of repeat, regurgitated info. Whittling down to 5 was a breeze for this area as well.

Think & Learn: Again, lots of fuzzy, basic knowledge and regurgitated info. And not a whole lot of original or get-the-brain-juices-flowing or inspiration to be found. For me and my tastes.

In a nutshell: The blogs I now read and follow regularly have to produce more than hype, more than dry industry news, and actually ADD SOMETHING to my tool box–whether that be keeping me updated in areas I want to keep tabs on, or make my online life easier in some way, or keeps my brain juices flowing.

Here is my blog count for earning online/affiliate marketing/blogging/seo stuff:

Earning Online (4)
SEO (4)
Blogging (3)

For general interest, I have the following categories:

Organize (3) Think “Getting Things Done”
Gossip (5) My guilty pleasure, but soon to be cut
Internet (5) BoingBoing, Slashdot, and a couple personal faves
Politics (2)
Religion (1)

The rest I subscribe to are for research and tracking competition or ideas. Total feeds: I’m down to 62 now. How crazy is that! And nope, I’m not a forum stalker myself and rarely visit any.

In the meantime, I’ve cranked up my own content production for my own blogs and websites by close to 1000% I’m sure. I blog several posts daily as well as continue to improve and develop my websites that are performing on some level.

That’s another thing I’m in the midst of doing – pruning my websites that aren’t fitting or benefitting my overall map. And even though I’m cutting some money sites, my income is a steady trend up. Sweet :).

And even Sweeter: I find myself more focused, less distracted, and generating more results.

ETA: I also found that the blogs I am most drawn to and find most use from are those that are steady & consistent free linkers (not all, but most). So although I may only subscribe to a handful of blogs covering the industry, they’re continuously pointing me to information that’s out there and not locking me in their own little world. That serves my needs perfectly!

WordPress And Canonical Index.php Fix

How surprised was I to see a newer blog of mine has two identical pages indexed in google:

newblog.com

and

newblog.com/index.php

I have no idea how goog scooped up the index.php since I have nothing pointing to it, but there it was. Up all night, couldn’t find a fix that worked in .htaccess (bork bork bork), but did find a plugin to fix the prob: Permalink Redirect WordPress Plugin

A WordPress plugin that replies a 301 permanent redirect, if requested URI is different from entry’s (or archive’s) permalink. It is used to ensure that there is only one URL associated with each blog entry.

You still need to fix the www and non-www in .htaccess, but this takes care of the /index.php prob. It simply redirects the index page to the root.

Plugin is a simple upload and activate in admin area and all is well :).

To see if you need the plugin, check your domain.com vs. domain.com/index.php. If index.php sticks–you’ll want that fixed to prevent potential duplicate content issues.

G’nite.

WordPress Database Error: Got error 28 from storage engine

Overnight the wordpress database started shooting error messages on SuperAff, summary:

WordPress database error: [Got error 28 from storage engine]

FYI Fix (for those of us that aren’t MySQL pros ;)):

Just go into the MySQL Databases section in cPanel and click “Repair” beside the database giving you probs.

To repair individual tables, there’s a nice rundown here: How To Quickie: Repair MySQL Tables

Basically go into phpmyadmin, select the database giving you grief, check all the tables with overhead values displayed, go to bottom where the drop down menu “with selected” is displayed and pull down choices and select “Repair Table” .

Fixed in a snap :).

The Poor Man’s eBay RSS to WordPress Hack

Because I’m not a coder, I have to dig around looking for tools and tweaks that are publicly available and then bend & twist them to my will.

Here’s an eBay workaround I’ve found that helps make affiliate life a little easier:

Install and activate the firstRSS WordPress Plugin. This will allow you to display RSS feeds within your WordPress posts.

  • Tip #1: Open the firstRSS.php file and change the cache_time to something like 30 minutes so that your eBay listings will always be fresh. Also change the items_limit to a reasonable amount–eBay’s lowest search results option is 25. I don’t know about you, but a blog post with 25 auction items displayed isn’t all that appealing.
  • Tip #2: You can choose to display both pictures & auction titles/information or just the auction titles.

eBay RSS Feed Generator: Generate the rss feed for the items you want to display within your WordPress posts.

  • Tip: Because the feed isn’t going to refresh every second, set the listings to end in more than 1 hour (found in eBay’s advanced search area) so your visitors will always view live auctions from your blog.

When you’re wanting to display auction results within a post, simply insert [rsspara:URL] or [rsslist:URL] within your blog post where you want the ebay auction results to display. Replace the URL with the ebay rss feed url. To display all the auction info, use rsspara, rsslist displays the titles only.

Benefits: Highly targeted ebay items are displayed within your blog posts since you can get very specific with your search terms. This method also keeps your juicy data private since you’re not using a third party feed display setup.

Drawback: It takes time to go to eBay, make your search & create your rss feed. Not much time, but it still has a lot of room for more automation.

Solution: I created my own WordPress Quicktag for eBay RSS results (read here how to do that). Now all I have to do is click my eBay quicktag when writing a blog post and simply edit the search phrase to what I want.

If you’d like to grab my copy of the quicktag hack, here’s the file: eBay Quicktag. Just save it as quicktags.js and upload to wp-includes/js folder.

Important: Make sure to change the afcj=12345 to your Commission Junction affiliate PID to afcj=yournumber.

The eBay quicktag displays in front of the “more” quicktag. You can move that wherever you want.

When writing a post, simply click the eBay quicktag to insert the rss ebay code. Change “insert+keywords+here” to whatever auction search results you want displayed (remember to use + between each word).

Customization Tip: You can create a special div to wrap around the rss code. For example: Have an ad box that aligns to the right of the page within the post that just lists the auction headings. Have the background a different shade than the rest of the blog post. The sky’s the limit ;). Simply include the <div=xxx></div> in the quicktag info so that it’s automatically included and add the div to your CSS file.

Easy!

Setting Up A Group Blog In WordPress

On the spur of the moment, a group of friends and I have decided to whip up a blog that we’ll all be authors for. WordPress is such a dream to work with!

Here are some tips:

You’ll want a private area to review and store content before it’s published. In this case we have a few very new bloggers involved and they need a practice area as well. Solution?

*Thanks for the tip Affiliate Marketing Journal

You can also do a few neat tricks with each individual author’s information:

  • If you’d like to have a page that displays posts from each author, use this tag: <?php the_author_posts_link(); ?>
  • To display the post count for each author, use this tag: <?php the_author_posts(); ?>
  • To display the author’s website or blog, use this tag: <?php the_author_url(); ?>
  • To link to the rss feed for each author, use this url:
    http://superaff.com/author/admin&feed=rss2 (Simply change ‘admin’ to each author name)

WordPress has a Roles feature that you can assign each user with certain capabilities. In the group blog we’re working on all current authors will have full moderating capabilities as Editors, but in the future we may be looking to add Authors who simply have the ability to publish posts, not moderate or muck around in the main guts of your blog.

I really expected this to be trickier to setup, but it’s a snap!

The hardest part setting up a group blog is working around everyone’s daily priorities and time zones. Account for extra time to get stuff sorted out in the beginning because not everyone can work on your schedule ;).