Build Your Army And Hitting Your Target In 10,000 Hours

I’d like to share with you a little story about one of my best friends.  He’s a successful musician, by successful I mean he makes a living doing what he loves, granted during the winter months things get a little slow and you can run into him filling-in for a few hours at the local video store in town for some extra cash, plus he’s a big movie buff.  So, considering a few things that I’ll tell you about he’s doing pretty darn good, and I’ve learned some very valuable lessons from him.

First of all the guy picked up a guitar for the first time about 5 years ago, now he’s one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen, and could easily give some of the best guitar players in the world a run for their money.  We grew up down the street from each other, but now live across the country from one another, and I only get to see him once or twice a year.  I remember I didn’t see him for a while, probably a little over a year, during that time he had picked up the guitar.  When I went to visit we sat out on his porch and he began playing me old blues songs from famous old-timey blues musicians.  He was playing them effortlessly and perfectly.  I was impressed, I remember saying “Wow you learned to play that quick.”, and we proceeded to have a conversation about how he had learned so fast.  He told me he had bought “Guitar For Dummies”, and had taught himself the rest via the internet, I kinda chuckled but then was like “hmmm”, thats still pretty fast, most people take many years to learn, and even more to learn to play all those songs, he had done that in a little over a year.  Then what he said stuck with me, he said he had read somewhere about the 10,000 hour rule.  “Huh?”, I said.  He said, “In order to master something, pretty much anything, the general rule is that you have to practice whatever it is for 10,000 hours to have mastered it.  I bought a guitar and taught myself how to play with “Guitar For Dummies” and for the past year or so I’d go to work and come home, from the moment I got home until I went to bed I’d play non-stop.”  I ran some figures and in about 18 months playing say 6 hours a day, he had to have put in somewhere around 3,000 hours already.  Well 3 years later, he’d by far mastered the guitar.  He is currently signed to a Blues record label, is selling on everything from iTunes to MP3.com, performs in front of huge audiences at festivals all over the US and Europe, has videos all over YouTube of his amazing performances, has perfected his deep gruff voice, and puts on an unforgettable show no matter where he goes.  Have you ever seen someone play the guitar right-handed and continue playing while he switches to left-handed, or while he puts on his harmonica holder, or while he dances like Michael Jackson, I have…  Well the same thing goes with Blogging, you have to put in your time, now I’m not saying you have to put in 10,000 hours to see results, thank god for that, but you do have to put in time, blog consistently, market your blog consistently and you will get better and better at it.

Now as you may know in 2013 Blues music just isn’t as popular as it used to be, especially amongst the young hip crowd who manage to get out to most music events.  My friend also performs in his old-time style pure acoustic with a stomp board under his feet, so his audience of fans is small or “niche”.  Blues can be a tough sell, yet he is successfully making a living in a genre of music that isn’t super popular.  When we were discussing how I thought the techno music that I make wasn’t like the popular dance tracks I wondered how he was able to see success in such a niche market.  The big thing of course and probably the most obvious thing is to get out and get your music heard.  This is important for us as Bloggers as well, this is where marketing your Blog makes the difference, you can be a Bedroom musician or a musician that plays at the club.  You can sit there and type blogs all day, but if you don’t get out and market your blog you will never get that targeted traffic you need to make an income blogging.  Putting yourself out there in front of the world can be a big step and can be a bit scary but once you do it, and you get responses from people who like it the scariness goes away.  You don’t want to play a song for the first time in front of a room of people if you haven’t got the song down packed yet right.  So you get your song down and then you go play it in front of people.  You build your site, put up some content, get it fine tuned, and then market it.  The next thing he told me “You just keep playing and putting it out there and slowly you’ll build your army.”  We were talking about how he would play shows at a small bar in some small town in the middle of nowhere, he may be playing to a crowd of less than 30 people and only sell a few CD’s.  Well he got paid to play the gig, and got a few fans in the process, and each time he plays he gets a few more and a few more building his army of followers.  Once in a while he plays large festivals and will sell out of CD’s, thats when he’s hitting his target audience.

When Should You Publish Your Content? Timing Is Everthing

I received an email from AWeber today with some quality info about the times of day that are the busiest for when people are reading blog posts, are on facebook, are on twitter, and are checking emails. I thought I’d share this article with you, as posting during these times can change how effective your responses are.

Timing Is Everything: When You Should Publish Your Content

Posted By Nick Randazzo On July 18, 2013 @ 9:19 am In Email Marketing | No Comments

Nick Randazzo is a research-savvy intern here at AWeber, and this is his first post on our (and your) blog. He dug up some interesting stats for us, and here they are!

Whether or not you’ve considered when you should publish blog posts or post something on social media, time of day can really matter to get the best results.

People see your content in different places based on what time of day it is. To get the most views on your content, you should pay attention to the time of day that you post it. If you’re not too sure when to post, don’t worry- we – with graphs from Hubspot’s Dan Zarella [1] – are about to break it all down for you.

Morning: Blog Posts, Then Facebook

Most people view articles and blogs during the morning. This is when people catch up on the news and search for the day’s ideas. This graph visualizes this.

 


 [2]
 

Because blog views peak in the morning, take advantage of publishing your posts early. The earlier you publish, the more people will read your post.

Facebook posts get the most shares between 8:30 and 10:00 am.

 


 [3]
 

You should make your most important posts in the mid-morning. They’ll get more shares this way.

OK, so the most important information should get out via Facebook and blogs in the morning, but what about the rest of the day?

Afternoon And Evening: Twitter

Twitter has the most activity in the later afternoon.

 


 [4]
 

The important line to notice is the “ReTweet” curve. Random Tweets are the content you put out originally, but ReTweets are shared beyond your current followers, so they introduce new people to your content.

The rate of ReTweets increases as the afternoon goes on, so if you want to advertise your content through twitter efficiently, late afternoon is the best time to do it.

A recap: Most people check Facebook on waking and then turn to Twitter later in the day.

What About Blog Posts And Facebook Later In The Day?

The graph above shows that a respectable number of people still read blogs all throughout the day.

While it is still most effective to get them out early, sending them out later is not the end of the world.

Facebook sharing spikes again in the evening.

You can best use Twitter to close the gap between Facebook’s morning peak and evening spike.

How Do Emails Fit In?

Something like an email is different.

There is no universal best time to send emails. [5]It changes based on what you’re advertising and who your audience is.

If you’ve already created a consistent experience with your readers (such as sending Tuesdays at lunchtime or Sunday evenings), it’s likely they’re comfortable with the pattern and might not want it to vary.

Otherwise, the only way to find out the best time to send to your subscribers is to test!

Send out your emails at different times and see how your results vary: a lot of people open their emails in the morning, some open in the afternoon, and many others don’t even have the option to view their emails during the day.

You have to just keep on experimenting until you find the best time for you!

And speaking of timing, I’d love to hear about what kind of timing works for you guys and your posts. Does the information in this post match up with what you’ve found? Feel free to share your answers in the comments below!


Article printed from Email Marketing Tips: http://www.aweber.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.aweber.com/blog/email-marketing/targeting-timing-for-content.htm

URLs in this post:

[1] Hubspot’s Dan Zarella: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2010/12/06/whens-the-best-time-to-publish-blog-posts/

[2] Image: http://www.aweber.com/blog/?attachment_id=58085

[3] Image: http://www.aweber.com/blog/?attachment_id=58086

[4] Image: http://www.aweber.com/blog/?attachment_id=58087

[5] There is no universal best time to send emails. : http://www.aweber.com/blog/email-marketing/autoresponder-send-times.htm

 

If this info is helpful to you let us know in the comments below.

Also, if you have any info like this please share it with us in the comments below.

– Matt B.

Internet Business Mastery Videos On Money Making Micro Niche Sites

Hey, I recently watched a great little video series from IBM – InternetBusiness Mastery.com explaining the overall concept of creating micro-niche websites that bring in profit.  Of course, this is some free and basic info to entice you to buy their course which I just picked up and is top notch.  I’ve been following these guys for quite some time now and everything they put out is really good quality stuff.  I made my first $100 online just by following their free podcasts, now they have all this info in a simple to follow system

Check out the videos here:

Video 1: The Critical Milestone That Will Skyrocket Your Success

Video 2: The Fastest Way To Make Money Online

Video 3: How To Uncover Secret Money Making Micro Niches

Video 4: A Quick Start Guide To Making Your First $500 Online

I highly recommend you try out their system.

– Matt B.

 

Mark Twain Said It Best

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

– Mark Twain

 

Indeed, I like you I had found myself comfortable with working 9 to 5 in a cubicle at a corporate job doing the exact same thing day in and day out with the same exact outcome but expecting a better outcome would come my way eventually or I would stumble upon something that would change my outcome.  Well nothing changes if you don’t change first.  I was comfortable, I paused and reflected, I realized my comfort was actually discomfort.  I needed to change so I did.  I changed how I thought, I changed what I was doing, I made steps in a new direction, I wanted to go away from the monotony, away from the majority.  I dedicate all my spare time to becoming a part of the minority to going against the grain of the majority…

– Matt

Top 30 Young Bloggers List

I keep finding myself on this website called Retire@21 this blog has a ton of info about young successful internet entrepreneurs.  This article written by Michael of Retire@21 is just a great list of successful bloggers, they may not be bringing in millions of dollars every year but they are bringing in millions of readers every year.  What I like about this list is it shows you that having a nice looking blog with quality current content can work wonders.  Where there is traffic there is money to be made.  Notice the “niche” topics of their websites and how they fulfill the need for it.  Granted this list is a little outdated from 2010 but still totally relevant.

Top 30 Young Bloggers

Written by  | Posted in BloggingPopular Posts this Month | 145 comments

Over the past 4 years, millions of people have visited Retireat21 to learn how to create their own business online and make money some how from the internet. One thing that stands out to me is the desire of so many young bright entrepreneurs who want to break into the blogging niche. The great thing about blogging is it only requires on thing which is VALUE. Get your content right and driving traffic and making money becomes really easy. Check out these 30 successful young bloggers out and you will see exactly what I’m talking about. Since publishing this post, my younger brother has began his own website about photography called Expert Photography. Check it out and wish him good luck!

30 Greatest Young Bloggers of 2010

#1 Glenn Allsopp
Age:21

glenWhy ViperChill made this list?

Glen’s blog may not have millions of views, but his influence and web authority have proven to be astounding. Every post that goes up is deeply discussed and appreciated by all readers.

Visit Site

#2 David Leggett
Age:21

david-leggettWhy Tutorial 9 made this list?

With over 58,000 subscribers and a huge amount of traffic, this highly successful blog has become one of the top destinations for Photoshop, photography and web design tutorials.

Visit Site

#3 Syed Balkhi
Age:19

syedWhy WpBeginner made this list?

WPBeginner is a very popular site that brings tips, tools, and resources for WordPress together. From the looks of WPBeginner its clear that Syed is a master of WordPress.

Visit Site

#4 Dainis Graveris
Age:21

daWhy 1stWebDesigner made this list?

In the crowded niche of design blogs, few stand out as much as 1stWebDesigner. With killer design content, it’s clear why this blog already has over 59,000 subscribers.

Visit Site

#5-6 Sam & Zach Dunn
Ages:21

samWhy BuildInternet made this list?

It’s quite impressive that their under 21 and already have a network of successful blogs, BuildInternet being the primary.

Visit Site

#7 Ryan Imel
Age:21

Ryan ImelWhy WPCandy made this list?

WPCandy is the largest WordPress news blog. Ryan shines when it comes to a beautifully designed site full of awesome content.

Visit Site

#8 Taimur Asad
Age:21

taimurWhy Redmond Pie made this list?

WPCandy is the largest WordPress news blog. Ryan shines when it comes to a beautifully designed site full of awesome content.

Visit Site

#9 Liam Goodwin
Age:20

liamWhy Filmonic made this list?

Filmonic is a huge movie blog that was started in 2007. Liam shares reviews, posters, news and trailers, just about everything thats related to the movie industry.

Visit Site

#10 Alex Fraiser
Age:16

alexWhy Blogussion made this list?

Blogussion is one of the best designed blogging blogs out there. Alex knows what he’s doing and has already sold copies of the beautiful Blogussion Thesis Theme.

Visit Site

#11 Long Zheng
Age:21

longWhy istartedsomething made this list?

This is mostly a Microsoft oriented blog. Long is a very smart and funny guy which makes reading his blog a great experience for everyone.

Visit Site

#12 Marco Kuiper
Age:20

Marco KuiperWhy MarcoFolio made this list?

MarcoFolio provides excellent, varying content on design, blogging and programming. Having over 300,000 impressions a month is quite impressive for a 20 year old blogger.

Visit Site

#13 S.Pradeep Kumar
Age:19

S.Pradeep KumarWhy HellBound Bloggers made this list?

This Mashable styled blog is one of the top technology, social media and blogging blogs out there. With in depth tutorials, reviews and tips, its not something you want to miss.

Visit Site

#14 Brian Lovin
Age:18

brianWhy Elite By Design made this list?

With a sleek design and excellent interviews, themes, resources and web design content, it’s an obvious hit. Having this kind of blog at 18 isn’t too bad.

Visit Site

#15 Carl Ocab
Age:18

carlWhy CarlOcab made this list?

Known as the Kidblogger, his blog is the first search result for “make money online.” His experience at such a young age, shows that he has the authority to teach others the same.

Visit Site

#16 Sushant Risodkar
Age:14

sushantWhy SmartBloggerz made this list?

SmartBloggerz is one of the top blogs on making money online and blogging. Considering that its run by a mere 17 year old, it’s a must see.

Visit Site

#17 Adam Horowitz
Age:18

adamWhy AdamHorowitz.tv made this list?

Adam shares “what they should teach in school” and he’s absolutely right. He’s on his way to making a million dollars in a year by 21, and he “vlogs” exactly how he does.

Visit Site

#18 Ben Lang
Age:16

Ben LangWhy EpicLaunch made this list?

EpicLaunch is an up and coming multi-author entrepreneur blogBenjamin Lang recently rebranded this blog from Ben-Lang.com.

Visit Site

#19 Onibalusi Bamidele
Age:16

adamWhy YoungPrePro made this list?

A rising “young entrepreneur blog.” Onibalusi certainly knows what he’s doing, look at any other blog in the niche and you’ll find his guest posts and comments all over the place.

Visit Site

#20 Prasanth Chandra
Age:20

adamWhy PC’s made this list?

Prasanth provides some great PC tutorials, tips and freebies. Definitely worth taking a look at if you need help with your computer.

Visit Site

#21 Shankar Ganesh
Age:18

adamWhy Killer Tech Tips made this list?

This popular tech blog has been mentioned on Lifehacker and Yahoo Tech Blog. The blog has over 200,000 pageviews every month and keep growing.

Visit Site

#22 Musab Zain ul Abideen
Age:19

skizWhy Skidzopedia made this list?

A gadget, news, reviews and software blog is no easy feat to run. This 19 year old software engineer makes it look quite easy.

Visit Site

#23 Aditya
Age:18

adityaWhy TechRavings made this list?

Here’s another popular tech blog run by a mere 16 year old from India. He also has huge following on Twitter, with more an 50,000 followers.

Visit Site

#24 Ravi Lachireddy
Age:16

raviWhy Chotoan made this list?

This Vietnamese blogger not only manages a “make money online” blog but also a successful forum. He may be young but he certainly is smart.

Visit Site

#25 Melvin Dichoso
Age:20

melvinWhy MelvinBlog made this list?

Melvin Blog is a growing marketing tips blog. Melvin, from the Philippines, shares his knowledge that he’s learned throughout his online career.

Visit Site

#26 Norman John
Age:20

normanWhy SymbianWorld made this list?

This blog was founded over 3 years ago and is now one of the biggest Symbian blogs in the world. It’s full of tutorials, freebies and resources.

Visit Site

#27 Stefan Vervoort
Age:18

stefanWhy DivitoDesign made this list?

This is a nicely designed blog with “everything for the web professional.” Stefan has a lot of experience on the web and truly shows it through his blog.

Visit Site

#28 Jim Regan
Age:20

jimWhy Jimvesting made this list?

It’s not often that you see young bloggers blogging about stock investing. Jim, a college student majoring in finance, is one of the few and certainly seems to be doing well.

Visit Site

#29 Thilak Rao
Age:20

jimWhy TechBuzz made this list?

This blog shares great tech advice and news. Thilak founded this blog as a result of an overwhelming Internet and tech addiction.

Visit Site

#30 Abdulrehman Agha
Age:16

aghaWhy 3arn.net made this list?

There may be a lot of blogs in the “make money online” niche but here’s another one that stands out. Abdulrehman shares great tips that he himself implements.

Visit Site

Who’s your favorite Top Young Blogger?

Michael thank you for this list.

-Matthew Steven

P.S.  Let us know of any exciting young bloggers that didn’t make the list in the comments below.

 

 

On Using Your iPhone Abroad Without Getting Totally Screwed Article

Hey Readers,

Whether you have an iPhone or not I came across an interesting article on Gizmodo by Adam Clark Estes called “On Using Your iPhone Abroad Without Getting Totally Screwed”, I thought it had some good insights and definitely brings up some issues you can encounter while traveling abroad.  No one wants to come home to a 4 digit phone bill…

On Using Your iPhone Abroad Without Getting Totally Screwed

When I stepped off the plane in Mexico I got that sinking feeling. My iPhone wasn’t going to work.

I mean it was, but, you know, it’s expensive to use a cell phone abroad. It’s even more expensive to use a smartphone abroad. A few years ago, I took a work trip to Paris and did a dumb thing. Long story short, I get off the plane, forget that both my voice and data plans are standard and end up with a four-figure phone bill. AT&T was actually really great about getting the number down to around $50, but they told me very clearly that this was my one get out of jail free card.

I’ve not been back to jail. Every year, at least once a year, I try to leave the country. I like traveling and have spent a decent amount of time living abroad. So when I go now, I still don’t get the data plan. I either forget or can’t be bothered. This is more or less what happened when I went to Mexico. It was a hastily planned trip, and I was on my own. I was even thinking about quitting the Internet the whole time I was there. “You’re just gonna wanna lay on the beach and read books made of paper,” my friends said. My friends were wrong. I love technology*.

So after one expensive phone call to sort out a rental car situation (Pro tip: Don’t buy the insurance, through Kayak. It’s a ripoff.), the iPhone went into airplane mode. It was the only time I used my data plan, and I didn’t miss it one bit.

My first survival instinct was also probably the most obvious: I basically spent every free minute I had hunting down Wi-Fi hotspots. Luckily and quite surprisingly, the tiny beach town where I was vacationing was pretty damn wired. So Internet wasn’t hard to find, and it was almost always free.

It was not, though, available on the beach, or in my rustic little cabana. But that’s where a little ingenuity—and a few handy apps—came in.

I developed a nice little routine of using Wi-Fi at the bar and loading up things to do offline when I went wandering. If I really needed to call someone, I would take the phone off airplane mode and try to talk fast. If I really needed to check my email, I couldn’t because my carrier is Sprint (don’t ask) and Sprint is horrible. Data wouldn’t work at all.

So when I was out of Wi-Fi zones, my life was full of offline playlists and preloaded longreads. Spotify is buggy lately, but it’s still the best music app, in my humble opinion. Pocket, my go-to save for later app, fixes everything you find frustrating about Instapaper. And it’s free.

There are obviously other apps that work great offline.

If you’re going to a city, you’re definitely going to want a map, especially one that includes public transit. (Google Maps doesn’t work very well abroad, even if you have a data plan, and Apple Maps, well, don’t get me started.) Try the iTrans family for transit maps. There’s a handy offline app for most major American cities, and they cost between $0.99 and $3.99 each.

If you like words—who doesn’t!—download Dictionary.com’s fantastic app. It’s handy if you’ll be somewhere that you don’t know the language (you can get a translation upgrade for a buck), but dictionaries also make for surprisingly entertaining beach reading. If you need a straight-up translator, go with Jibbigo. It’s slick, and ten times better than the lame Lonely Planet translator apps that cost $7.99. Jibbigo is free free free.

If you’re going abroad, you’ll also want a currency convertor. Get XE Currency. It comes in a free version and an ad-free pro version. Don’t waste your money on the pro version unless you really really hate ads, in which case, you should probably not have an iPhone.

If you get all of these apps, there’s really no need to buy and expensive data plan. I met a couple from Los Angeles, while I was down in Mexico and one of them had gotten the data plan and the other hadn’t. We had a fun debate about the perks and perils of staying totally connected while on vacation. Basically what we ended up agreeing on was that it depends on your personality. The man was a total surfer and said he like unplugging because, well, it is really relaxing. The woman used to work in the media, so she liked to be able to keep up with what was going on. In a way it would’ve been more stressful for her not to have a phone. (I’m the same way.) If you plan ahead, it’s not that expensive either.

Oh and one last thing. Get Star Walk. Whether you’re picnicking in Paris or lying down on the powdered sugar sand in Tulúm, stars are still amazing, and it’s really such a blast to use. It’s best on a retina iPad, but the iPhone version is excellent.

When I stepped of the plane at JFK, it was raining. I flipped the Airplane mode off, dropped my phone into my pocket laughed as it rattled with all the missed calls and texts that I didn’t let myself see while I was away. It felt good.

Let us know of any Apps you find useful when traveling that work offline or tricks for staying online, etc.  Leave a comment below.

– Matthew Steven

Teen Retires At 19 Years Old!

I wanted to share this inspiring motivating video.  This young man is doing it and living the life.  We have an opportunity available to us now that wasn’t available when I was 19.  The internet, online marketing, and affiliate products have created an opportunity that anyone can do.  Take advantage you’re not getting any younger.

Teen Retires At 19 Years Old!

 

Is this inspiring or what?  Let us know what you think in the comments below…


How Do You Get A Blog?

This is what thought to be an excellent article I found today, if you are wondering how do you get a blog here are the things you need to consider to make the right choices of how to set one up.

How Do You Get a Blog?

How Do You Get a Blog

How do you get a blog? Where do I get a blog? These are some of the questions I get every day from readers looking to experience the exciting (and if you are lucky, profitable) world of blogging. Blogging used to be something that only the most hardened geek would get involved in but nowadays, everyone from stay at home moms to massive corporations are using blogs as a means to communicate with the world.

How do you get a blog?

I have heard this question many times from friends, family and via contacts from this website, How do you get a blog? A simple question with what you think would be a simple answer, but in actuality, the process can be quite overwhelming for those with little to no experience.

Today, I’m going to attempt to alleviate these stresses and guide you through the process of selecting a blog platform and getting up and running.

First, it’s important to note that the definition of blogs has changed drastically over the years. Originally, the term “web log” (which was later shortened to blog) meant an online journal of sorts, like your diary except public. Today, however, things are much different. Today, blogs are used as sources for news, information, research and more. They don’t just apply to personal websites anymore. Companies have blogs which they use to share their articles and photographers have blogs to share their photos. This site is a blog.

Blogs are everywhere. So, how do you get a blog?

Well, you start by figuring out the answers to a number of questions. The first of which is…

What will I blog about?

how do you get a blog

The first step to answering the question “how do you get a blog?” is to start by deciding what it is you want to blog about. Perhaps you have a hobby you’d like to share with the rest of the web, such as photography, art, short stories, recipes or something of the sort. Maybe you’d like to incorporate the ability to sell your crafts (or inventions) through your blog or perhaps you’d simply like to use one as a catalyst to entrepreneurship.  Either way, it’s important to have an idea as to why you want a blog and what you will blog about.

Answering these questions is of paramount importance when searching for the right platform.

Let’s assume for a moment that you are interested in blogging and sharing huge amounts of pictures. In this case, you’d most likely want to explore a platform that puts emphasis on photo publishing and provides the necessary tools to allow you to share your pictures on your website quickly without slowing things down. Most hosted blog platforms (we’ll explain what these are a few paragraphs down) perform some form of caching (a fancy word for pre-loading) that allows your site to be served up to the reader quickly with minimal load time.

Why is this important? Slow sites account for a huge percentage of lost traffic. People who are surfing the web typically have very little patience for slow sites and if you want to establish any kind of active readership, you’ll want yours to load as fast as possible.

Once you’ve ascertained what you want to blog about, you’ll be able to make a more educated decision as to what platform to use. So, before you move to the next question, grab a pen (or keyboard) and plan out what you want to blog about.

Hosted or Not?

Now that you know what you will write about, you need to understand the difference between a hosted solution and a self-hosted solution.

Hosted Solutions

A hosted solutions or SaaS (which stands for software as a service) simply means that you sign up for your blog for either free or a small monthly fee and can be up and running within minutes. Your website is served up by servers that are owned by the company you signed up for your blog with.

The advantages; you typically get a fast loading site with little to no downtime that is supported by someone else and is updated as necessary and protected from possible security threats. The disadvantages; it can be difficult to migrate off of a hosted solution and sometimes those who are technical and want to dig deep into the code of their sites find these services limiting.

Blog platforms that are classified as hosted solutions include Squarespace (read our Squarespace reviewfor more info), WordPress.com and Blogger.

Self-Hosted Solutions

When I used the phrase Self Hosted Solution, I am referring to a piece of software that must be downloaded from the internet, installed on a hosting provider and managed entirely by you. In some instances, people may choose self-hosted solutions in order to have more control over every aspect of their blog. Those who are technically minded usually prefer self-hosted solutions should they plan to alter code or make significant changes to the sites structure on a regular basis.

Of course, even with a self-hosted solution, you can often find hosting providers (such as WP Engine for WordPress – read our WP Engine review for more info) that will provide incredible speeds, daily backups and excellent support for a reasonable fee.

Blog platforms that are classified as self-hosted solutions include WordPress.org and Serendipity, amongst others.

What you choose with regards to going hosted or self-hosted really depends on what type of user you are. If you want ultimate control and are able to fix issues on your own, perhaps self-hosted is the best choice. If you want it to “just work” then hosted is likely right for you. Either way, you need to consider your options and make a choice one way or the other. Personally, I’m a code guy so I went with self-hosted but for most people who are looking to start a blog, I usually point to solutions like Squarespace, because they look good, are fast and “just work”.

Where do I get a blog?

If you’ve done any research of your own, you’ve more than likely come across the two most common blog platforms, WordPress and Blogger, but are they the right ones for you? Not necessarily. They are certainly the most used blog platforms in the world but not because they are the best. Here, I’m going to make some recommendations as to which platforms I think suit specific needs the best in hopes of providing you with a base to start from.

how do you get a blog

Let’s start with the obvious ones first.

WordPress

WordPress is, without a doubt, the largest blog platform in the world and is certainly a good option to consider if you want to get into blogging. There are some caveats, however, that often are not considered when choosing WordPress.

Who’s it suited for?

The hosted WordPress.com solution is suited to anyone who is willing to take the time to learn to use WordPress and isn’t interested in earning revenue from their site. Good uses might be: personal blogs that showcase family pictures, journals and the like.

The self-hosted solution is best suited to those who either have or know someone who has a reasonably good knowledge of WordPress (or PHP programming language) and is interested in a blog platform that provides unmatched control and flexibility and has the potential to incorporate advertising, if desired. Good uses might be: news blogs, sports fan blogs, subject matter expert blogs, online stores, realty websites, law offices, small businesses, etc.  For those who want to be have thousands of theme options and tons of flexibility for expansion, WordPress (hosted or otherwise) is a good choice.

Positives

  • There are hundreds of thousands of people using WordPress as their platform of choice (including this site!). For this reason, finding someone who can support you or help you get things going is relatively easy.
  • Thousands of themes to choose from. Themes, for those unaware, are looks that you can use as starting points to build your site off of. Here are some examples of Responsive WordPress themes to give you an idea of what I mean.
  • There’s a plugin for pretty much everything. Plugins are add-on programs that help extend the functionality of your site by adding features like social bookmarking icons, newsletter subscription forms, etc.
  • Hosted or Not. With WordPress you can choose to go with their hosted solution which you can learn about on WordPress.com or their self-hosted solution, which you setup, host yourself, configure yourself and are wholly responsible for. You can learn about it at WordPress.org

Negatives

  • If you go with the hosted solution, you can kiss making money goodbye as they do not allow advertising other than their own (which they earn from) on WordPress.com sites. Unless you pay for a VIP solution which is quite costly and, quite frankly, not worth it in my view. You also get no support (well, no fast support) unless you have a paid upgrade with them (see here) and even then, the support is slow tedious with back and forth emails.
  • If you go with the self-hosted solution and you have issues, you are pretty much pooched unless you know someone who can provide support to you and at this point, you are relying on someone who does not work for or with the WordPress organization directly, so you have to ensure you trust them and their skill set.
  • Since there are so many plugins, they are not vetted in any way meaning that installing a plugin can potentially break your site but can also cause security issues. The same applies for themes. You also will need someone to assist you in updating your site and keeping it current.

Now, having said that, I think WordPress is a great platform but I’ve been using it for years and feel comfortable with it. It takes some learning and there’s definitely a curve but once you get past it and figure out how to circumvent issues, it’s a good choice. The negatives aren’t meant to say it’s a bad platform but more to highlight the possible issues you COULD encounter so you are aware in advance. There are millions of people using WordPress successfully, but there are also millions who should be using something else. Keep that in mind. Click here for Self-hosted WordPress, or here for Hosted WordPress.

Blogger

Blogger is Google’s baby and is one of the oldest blogging platforms out there. It’s sufficient for those looking for a simplistic platform to quickly publish content. While it’s been revamped a number of times over the years and has certainly improved, it’s not one that I would ever personally recommend. I find blogger to be too dumbed down and old school and to be honest, quite limiting in a number of aspects. Still, a lot of people continue to use Blogger and it’s still amazingly popular, I assume because it’s a Google product.

Who is it suited for?

Blogger is really suited to those who aren’t too concerned about the look and flexibility of their blog but more about just getting started.Blogger is quite limiting in it’s capabilities but it does a good job for personal sites and family blogs. There are, however, limits to the size that it grows before you lose the ability to add more content (see here for more info) so if you upload lots of pictures, you’ll want to avoid Blogger. Good uses might be: personal blogs that showcase family pictures (see limits note above), personal journals and the like.

Positives

  • Since Blogger is a Google product, it is also widely believed that Blogger sites perform reasonably well on Google as a result of this (we’re referring to rankings or SEO here).
  • Quick and easy to setup with minimal effort required.
  • It’s a Google product and offers some integrations with Google products.

Negatives

  • As mentioned above, Blogger has limits on the number of images (1GB), the size of images (250kb), the size of posts and the size of pages. Here is a full list of Blogger limits.
  • There are a few sites that provide themes for use with Blogger but most of them are not optimized well or if they are, contain tons of links back to their publishers and end up serving no use other than to help them. For the most part, there are very few good themes for Blogger / or the ones that are good are only available for a fee.
  • Customization is extremely limited. Google likes to play safe so you won’t be able to do anywhere near as much as you could with a different platform (like WordPress, etc)

So in a nutshell, Blogger has its uses but its popularity is declining year over year and I wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than minimal use. Click here to visit Blogger.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a great platform that is used by millions of people. The purpose to it is to get your content out there with the least effort possible. You can share text, photos, chats, links, videos, audio and quotes with the click of a button and there are plenty of great themes (both free and premium) to choose from. The interface is intended to be as minimal as possible (and it is) but it also suits most people just fine.

Who is it suited for?

Tumblr is there to share thoughts or collect things you find interesting, so it is most frequently used by people who have a passion for sharing content with others. It’s recommended for photographers, those who share videos (or create them), writers, and personal use. Companies sometimes use it as well for quick links that they want to share with the customers. It is not something you would typically use to create a full blown business website, although I have seen it done. You can check out some of the premium Tumblr themesthat are available.

Positives

  • My grandmother could set up and use a Tumblr blog easily.
  • The single fastest way to get content up and shared with the least effort possible.
  • Fast, hosted solution that doesn’t cost a dime.

Negatives

  • Challenging to find ways to earn money from advertising (you can, but it’s hard to implement for the average user).
  • No plugins or methods to extend it’s functionality.
  • Limited themes (although the ones that it does have are quite good).

Now for the less obvious choices. Here are some other ones to consider:

Squarespace

Squarespace is a pretty powerful hosted solution that offers pretty much everything the average blogger would need plus a number of extras; such as eCommerce integration, built-in analytics (so you can see who is visiting your site and get details about them) and more. It’s also extremely popular with photographers, designers and entrepreneurs due to it’s fast speed, excellent caching (there’s that word again) and easy to use minimalistic interface.

Who is it suited for?

Bloggers will find pretty much everything they need here; speed, social integration, analytics and if needed, eCommerce. Photographers love it because of the caching and CDN integration (meaning pictures load really fast) and Designers love it because there are a number of beautiful portfolio templates. If you want to run an online shop, the eCommerce component is pretty slick as well. I’d recommend it for designers, photographers, bloggers, sports websites, law offices, small businesses, online stores, etc. If you want more info on Squarespace, read our Squarespace review where we show you the interface and explain everything.

Positives

  • Slick, clean interface with controls that get out of your way when you need to write but are there when you need them.
  • Beautiful look and feel to their templates and themes, it’s very, very easy to make an attractive website with Squarespace.
  • Fast websites with excellent caching, CDN for pictures and images.
  • Integrated analytics and lots of control without being overwhelming.
  • You can easily enable and setup advertising and earn money from it with Squarespace.

Negatives

  • Squarespace is hosted so you won’t have as high a level of control as you would with a self-hosted solution but they’ve definitely given you a lot more control than most will likely need.
  • Small monthly fee associated with it as it’s not a free service but rather a paid one. Costs about the same as it would if you paid hosting fees to host your own site so it’s definitely reasonably priced.
  • Not as extensive a list of themes and while it certainly has a ton of integrated features, there is no way to add-on extras. You have to submit feature requests.

I’m personally a huge fan of Squarespace and think they’ve done an excellent job of putting together a great product and doing well for themselves. I’ve no problem recommending them and would suggest those who are curious either sign up for their 30 day trial (they don’t need your credit card for the trial so it’s a good way to test it out) or read our Squarespace review.

Serendipity

Serendipity is a self-hosted blog platform. It has been around for a number of years and offers a reasonable amount of themes and plugins to extend it’s functionality. It’s not as easy to use as some of the other platforms we’ve listed here but it’s definitely packed full of power, if you take the time to learn how to use it.

Who is it suited for?

It’s best suited for small businesses, bloggers with a bit of technical know how, those who want a solid blog platform and are familiar with the process of setting one up on a web host (or know someone who is), designers, photographers, lawyers, realtors and the like. Serendipity is quite powerful and offers a lot of flexibility and because it’s written in PHP, like WordPress, it can be extended fairly easily.

Positives

  • Fast, capable, proven platform that’s been around for a number of years.
  • Strong, but small community that’s willing to help those who have questions.
  • Flexible and easy to extend with the right skill set.

Negatives

  • Like WordPress, you need to have either knowledge with PHP or someone who does to assist with issues, setting up hosting, etc.
  • Not as large a community as WordPress so harder to find support outside of the Serendipity forums.
  • Nowhere near as many themes or plugins as WordPress, but the average person wouldn’t need thousands of them anyway.

If you are looking to avoid WordPress for whatever reason and want a strong platform and are willing to learn how to maximize it / tweak it as needed, Serendipity is a great option. Click here to visit Serendipity.

Now that you’ve got a list of platforms to peruse and select from, you’ll need to figure out which one best suits your needs. I’m happy to offer basic advice via the comments if you have a question, so please feel free to ask / pose your scenario and I’ll respond when I can.

In my next post, we’ll discuss what to do with your blog once you have it up and running / have selected a platform. Stay tuned! I will be adding to this list of platforms gradually so be sure to check back once in a while.

Link to original article, “How Do You Get A Blog” by Mike Johnston of CMSCritic.com

Let us know what you think of this article by leaving a comment.

– Matthew Steven

How Can I Use The Internet To Make Money? You Ask…

How Can I Use The Internet To Make Money?  You Ask…

Well here are 40 ways you can use the internet to make money.  A great resource article from Jay White over at DumbLittleMan.com

40 Ways to Make Money on the Internet

 

how can i use the internet to make money

I did a little bookmark scrub this morning and thought I would share the remaining content of my “Online Money” folder. To warn you, there are certain things that I don’t like and never bookmark so:
What’s NOT included: Taking Paid Surveys, Getting Paid to Surf the Internet, MLM, Contest Sites, “Buy my DVD, CD, Audiobook”, etc.

What IS included: Things you can use to legitimately make money online – Everything from Getting Paid to review software to good ole’ Adsense.

  • Infolinks – Infolinks is probably the highest paying option for your in-text advertising. On DLM, you will see underlined links scattered throughout articles. Those are a function of Infolinks and without disclosing too much, it’s been a great source of income. Best is that they accept all sizes of websites and blogs. Just sign up and begin.
  • Build a Niche Store – This is a simple store development platform which enables you to create content based sites that generate income through the eBay affiliate programs. Pretty darn simple and increasingly popular.
  • Adbrite – Sell space on your site for text ads. This would work like the DLM Marketplace you see on the right of my pages although I chose to manage it myself.
  • Amazon Affiliate Program – Easily create a store or shopping section on your site instead of sending your visitors to Amazon. Amazon handles the shopping cart and fulfillment.
  • Amazon Seller – Sell your stuff on Amazon
  • Associated Content – If you write a story, how-to, rant, how-to cut grass, etc., you can submit it to them and they will pay you $3-$20 per article if they like it.
  • Yahoo! Merchant Solutions – This is a pretty simple and cheap way to create an online store.
  • Azoogleads – Another ad program. They do have some decent companies lined up as advertisers. You provide space, they’ll provide an ad.
  • BidVertiser – PPC (pay per click) program with a low $10 payout amount.
  • Blog – Start a blog and consistently write excellent content. With good ad placement, you may make some money. I detail my process here: Simply Said, How to Blog.
  • Cafepress– You provide a design, they’ll toss it on a T-Shirt, Hat, etc. No upfront costs. Get a free online shop and promote your products on your website.
  • Chitika – Their eMiniMalls service has shown great results for many Bloggers and site owners. You choose a keyword and they show relevant products on your site using a pretty unique interface.
  • Clickbank – Quickly becoming my favorite affiliate program. They have thousands of things for you to advertise on your site.
  • ClicknWork – Get paid $5-$150 per hour for basically doing freelance work on a per-assignment basis. You have to pass a pretty tough test to get in.
  • Clicksor – These are the guys that generate contextual ads on sites that show up when you hover over a double-underlined word.
  • Commission Junction – If you have a site, you can join Commission Junction. Once enrolled for free, you can choose companies whose ads are pertinent to your site. Companies have the ultimate say on working with you. There are easily over 1,000 companies to choose from here.
  • CreamAid – For blogs only, advertisers provide you with a topic and you write about it on your site. To do this, you have to install a flash widget into your blog post. The more people you bring into the conversation through the widget, the more you get paid. It’s difficult to explain.
  • eefoof – Think of it as YouTube + Flickr + Music. You add original content and they pay you based on the visitors you attract.
  • Ether – If you are an expert on something, Ether provides a way for people to pay you to talk about it in a one-on-one setting. If you want to charge $250/hr, that’s fine. You have to do all the advertising so you should have a blog or site already established.
  • eBay– Come on, you know what this is. Gather your junk and sell it!
  • eBay Stores – If you have a real store and want to sell your stuff online, this is a decent option to get you started.
  • ELance – Name gives it away. Programmers, Codes, Web Designers, Writers, Editors, can look for freelance opportunities.
  • Feedvertising – This is an arm of Text Link Ads and is currently only good for WordPress users. This does me no good currently, but as you can guess, they place ads in your feed(s).
  • Feedburner / Google – Not only are they the best place to house your feeds, they will also add ads to your feed and website. You get paid per impression and if you implement Google Adsense to your feed, you are paid per click.
  • Google Adsense – Come on, you don’t need an explanation; these ads are all over the place. Google displays relevant ads based on your site’s content
  • Google Adwords – Create simple text ads and choose keywords that determine when they are displayed. This is where the Adsense Content comes from. You do not need a site for this.
  • H3.com – Get paid to fill jobs. Commissions range from $50-$5,000. It all depends on how tough the job is to fill and how desperate the hiring company is. This is another one that’s tough to explain.
  • Indeed.com – Add their job board to your site. They then post jobs based on the geographic location of visitors and the position types you pre-select. I tried it and I they continually report that I sent 0 visitors and I know that’s not right. Nevertheless, I may have an isolated problem so they make the list.
  • InnerSell – If you have a customer that wants to buy something you cannot sell, you can sell the lead here.
  • Jigsaw – It’s a pretty flaky model but if you have a Rolodex full of good contacts, you can sell them here. I can’t make sense of it but it looks like you get $0.10 per profile.
  • LinkShare.com – If you have a site, you can join Linkshare. Once enrolled for free, you can choose companies whose ads are pertinent to your site. Companies have the ultimate say on working with you. Like Commission Junction, there are a ton of companies waiting to evaluate your site.
  • Microsoft Adcenter – Bid on keywords and Microsoft places your created ads then they are searched for. This is similar to Google Adwords. You do not need a site for this.
  • Overstock.com – Sell your stuff on Overstock.com
  • Pay Per Post – I don’t agree with this model entirely but they have advertisers that will pay you to write about their products on your blog.
  • Pheedo – If you have an RSS feed, run it through Pheedo. Like Feedburner, they can include ads into your feed and if you really become large, advertisers will pay a premium for you to show their ads.
  • Shareasale.com – I’ve used them for a couple years for some banner advertising. They are similar to Commission Junction and Linkshare however they seem to have lower tiered companies with advertising offers.
  • Shoemoney – This is a blog that can teach you a ton on making money online. I’ve spent hours reading his old stuff.
  • Software Judge – They will pay you up to $50 to review software.
  • Text Link Ads – I have never made a dime here but I know people that have. You can earn by sending advertisers to them or by selling spots on your site. You must have a real site or blog to do this – nothing on a shared domain (i.e. /blogspot).
  • Vibrant Media – Don’t bother unless your site has 500,000 page views of text based content a month. If you have that readership, these are the guys that display bubble box ads to underlined words on your site.
  • West Work At Home Agent – Not entirely online but this is worth a mention because it’s won awards and is very legitimate. If you are an at-home Mom or free-lancer without work, you should check this out.

Link to original article

3 2 1 Launch Stardate Twenty Eleven Theme Update Asteroid Theme

asteroids-game-630x472

I’ve been thinking about changing the Theme of this here Punk The System blog recently since it’s such an easy thing to do.  I wanted it to have a lighter feel but keep a similar layout, and I wanted to make sure I could incorporate that perfect Mouse Maze Escape header image I have.  The fonts of the Punk The System name were bugging me quite a bit too, and the darkness of the background made it a bit gloomy.  The fonts and the colors of the menus were limited in the Asteroid Theme I was using, and had that retro feel that was getting old.  The fonts of the Punk The System name were something that I had played around with a lot before I found my Mouse Maze Escape header image, as I was trying to come up with a logo-like design.  Well, it’s time to change the Theme, and as for the Punk The System name, I will have to mess around with some new fonts, or design a logo another time, for now, I’ll just keep it simple.

I wanted to make sure the Theme I’d change to had a decent amount of customization, was all setup for SEO, and had the flexibility to display in mobile content.  I was occasionally surfing around trying to find reviews of themes, which was surprisingly hard to find.  All I was able to find were the description and the amount of stars the theme had received from users via the WordPress themes page.  I was looking for something better, a recommendation from a marketer of some sorts, someone to say, “This one, use this theme, it’s optimized the best!” …

I wasn’t in any rush to make the change until I started doing some marketing and felt a bit embarrassed about sending people to it because of how it looked.  Other marketers had nice, clean, streamlined-looking blogs.  So I decided I’d change it as soon as I had the chance.

Well today I had some downtime at work and decided to catch up on some Internet Business info and not even a minute into it this marketing guru guy says to go to Woo Themes and download the Canvas Theme and set it up with WordPress.  Finally!  Exactly what I was looking for a marketing guru to tell me what theme to use.  I paused the video and jumped over to Woo Themes and at the top of the list of themes is the Canvas Theme.  The name says it all, it’s like a blank canvas, and can be fully customized.  I’m looking at the description, and watching the video that shows you how to use it.  I realize it has probably the most options and customization I’ve seen in a theme and it’s optimized to the tee…  Great!  This is the one!  I’ll download it and integrate it into my blog right now!  I look around for the Download Button only to find a Purchase Button, wa wa waaaah.  : (  That is never good…  Come to find out it’s $70.  I’d love to use it, it looks great and all, and I probably will, eventually, but at the moment I’d rather not invest in a theme when I can get one for free, if you’re up for it I’d say go get it or at least check it out.  So, I decided I need to pick up a free theme from WordPress, just one that is optimized, has a bit more customization and a similar layout to my current Asteroids Theme.  I eventually settled on the Twenty Eleven Theme from WordPress.  It’s well optimized, setup for mobile, and has the basic customization options I needed.  So for those of you returning to this site, that is what you see today.  Goodbye Asteroid Theme! Hello Twenty Eleven Theme!

Twenty Eleven Theme

 

You’ll notice the Mouse Maze Escape Header Image has been modified, the Site Name removed from it, and placed at the top in a simple font.  I added some blur to the header image to give it some depth and put a white fade from the top to incorporate it into the design better.  The rest of the elements like the links and post titles have been set to colors that match the header image and the menus.

It’s like McDonalds…  I’m lovin’ it!

It has a whole new feel and vibe that is fresh and clean.

What do you think?

Time for an official site launch ey…

– Matt