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.

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.

 

 

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

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

Shutting Down Google Reader Alternatives For Blog Tasks With Feedly

Waddup People,

Recently one of the production guys at work was online while between projects, on a website that I noticed he always seems to be on.

I asked him, “You’re always on that website what is it?”

He said, “It’s my Google Reader page.”

I replied, “Oh, that’s the site that gives you feeds from different websites and stuff right?”

He said, “Yea different websites and blogs that I follow.”

I said, “Oh ok that’s pretty cool…”

He showed me his main page and the list of feeds he had.

When he said blog it rang a bell in my head.  I had heard about Reader but didn’t put two and two together when I had begun blogging that this can be a really great tool for me to use…

I don’t know about you, but I’m a Bookmarks nerd.  Across the top of my browser are a bunch of bookmark categories and in the drop down menus of those categories are long lists of websites, blogs, and articles I’ve bookmarked over the years.  I seriously have hundreds of bookmarks I’ve added to the different categories.

I thought to myself, hey this Google Reader thing could be awesome for me, I can get updates when there’s new info on the sites and blogs I like to follow, and I can organize them by category, like I’m doing already… Nice.

Well later that week I run into my buddy Chad who I work with as well.  He’s one of those die hard PC guys whose forced to use a Mac all day at work.  Chad was on his android phone in the break room reading something when I walked in.  I started talking to him about going out this upcoming weekend, and he pretty much ignored me because he’s so preoccupied with whatever he’s reading.  All I got for a response was Uh huh, ya, uh huh.

So I say, “Did you even hear a word that I just said?”

and casually he says, “No…”

So I said, “What’re you reading a novel on there?”

And he goes, “No I’m reading stuff in my Feedly App, I just downloaded it, and it’s pretty sweet.”

Then he proceeds to show me all his categories and all the features and gets all giddy about it.

So I go, “Oh that’s just like that Reader thing?”

And he says – “Yea… but Google is Shutting down Reader, so I started to use this instead.”  And we then proceeded to bitch about how Google always ends up shutting down some of the most useful things they create, like, the Real Estate Search feature they used to have in Google Maps, it was Zillow long before Zillow even existed.

Well, today I had some down time at my jobby job and was doing a little research about the eminent Google Reader Shutdown.  Yup it was gonna happen in June, Google announced it on March 13th and of course there isn’t a whole lot of info about it from Google, but there are plenty of articles floating around about it.

In my research I came across this article called 4 Legitimate Google Reader Alternatives

From Marketer and Blogger Nate Long

An insightful article of some Legit Google Reader Alternatives.  Well, based on this and some info from my friends, Feedly seems like the way to go.  So now that I’ve opened a Google Reader account, and am following a bunch of feeds, I’ll be opening an account with Feedly.  At the moment, Feedly is only usable by importing your Reader account in a kind of Beta version.  Once Google Reader does it’s official Shut Down, which Feedly refers to as Normandie…  Feedly will become the official replacement and will function in it’s own right, so, for the time being, go create a Google Reader account and migrate it to Feedly.  I’m suggesting looking at one of these Alternatives to my readers because it can save you a lot of time and make your reading tasks very easy to manage.

For example, I found an article on the Feedly Blog page, from a guy doing something very similar to myself and PunkTheSystem.com he explains how he uses Feedly to manage his goals and blogging tasks…

Check out his article here: What Feeds Them? Daniel Dipiazza, writer.

Daniel describes a great technique for utilizing Feedly.

He is also doing something similar with his blog as I am with PunkTheSystem.

Check out Daniel’s Blog here: Rich20Something.com

If you are in the Empower Network this is a great way to follow all the leaders blogs and stay up to date in a very efficient way.  You can follow the EN blogs and personal blogs for all those guys this way.

Matt

The Mastermind And What I Should Have Done In The Dark

Hey Errybody,

Last night the founders of the Empower Network hosted a Members Only Video Call with 7 of the top producers from the Empower Network. I, being a Member, was fortunate enough to be invited to attend.  Although I missed the first 30 minutes of the 3 hour session I was able to take away some mind opening advice from these people that I would like to share with y’all.

Go to my Empower Blog to check it out: http://www.empowernetwork.com/msteven/index.php/masterminding-what-i-should-have-done-in-the-dark/