Blogging and Indirection

I spend a great deal of time encouraging everyone I meet to do more writing. I think writing has become a nice-to-do and a sidelined skill and activity that more people have abandoned for other less valuable activities.

I’ve stated my reasons why I write many times and I think it’s important for everyone to discover their own personal reasons why they engage in the most-healthy activity of writing.

One of the natural outcauses that I have shared continually is the natural benefit of being exposed on the internet and the natural opportunities that arise from being more visible. In fact, much of my own personal success both personally and professionally can track back to my blog in some way.

This is the reason why I love Gaping Void’s perfect thoughts about how a blog contributes to ongoing growth and success:

Blogs are a great way to make things happen indirectly.

I couldn’t agree more. Although there have been some instances where the blog has directly contributed to an amazing opportunity the truth is that most of this happens indirectly.

I simply cannot imagine anyone not taking on a serious perspective of how a blog can quite literally become a part of their professional success story. Just think about all those that have come before us and how much of what they have done included the fine art of communication via published word.

Even if it was mostly through indirect channels.

Top Blog Sites That Have Been Sold For Lots Of Money

The whole point of this post is to make you think of your end goal, where you want to go with your online business. Every day your working on your business, don’t just think about how much you made that day but how much your going to make for investing an additional day into your business when you go to sell your blog/company. Some of these guys were worth $30,000 a day – now that’s what gets me excited about blogging.

In my head, I have already decided I’m going to sell my blog network for millions of dollars. Here’s the clever thing about what I’m doing:

Here in the UK, if I make over £150,000 a year, I have to pay 50% (actually 51%) of anything over that to the government which makes it quite an easy decision to not take the money out of the company but instead to invest it in it. So my whole game plan is not take a big salary, live within my means and invest every penny into my business so that I can grow it to the point where it gets millions of visitors every month and ideally make me 7 figures a month also. If I keep reinvesting, growing my business for a few short years I will then be in position to sell the company for lets say a cool £10,000,000. On the first £2 million I have to pay 10% tax and then 18% after that. For me, the best part of this isn’t so much the financial side, it’s the fact that I would of built something amazing, something to be proud of, the money is just a bonus! This reminds me of this saying:

Entrepreneurship is about living a few years of your life like most won’t, so that you can live the rest of your life like most can’t!

Now think big and get inspired!

#1 Ugo.com – Sold For: $100 million

Founded: 1997

 

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth:  $27,397

The website Ugo was founded in 1997 as Unified Gamers Online  (UGO) by Chris Sherman.Action World Inc. bought them very early on and decided to rename the business. They changed the name to  UGO Networks, however the name didn’t stick for long as it was once again changed to Online Underground. Eventually it was sold on to the Hearst Corporation approximately $100 million.

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#2 Fotolog – Sold For: $90 million

Founded: 2002

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth:  $49,315

Fotolog was founded by Scott Heiferman, in 2002, and unfortunately the site began to have problems just 3yrs later in 2005 when the amount of visitors and members started to become too much for the websites servers. The website itself currently receives over 20 million unique visitors each month and was sold to Hi-Media Group for the tidy sum of $90 Million.

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#3 Consumersearch – Sold for: $33 million

Founded: 1999

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth:  $11,301

Consumersearch was founded by co-founders Derek grew and Carl Harmaan in 1999, the pair also owned a privately held corporation at the time. The website sold for a huge $33 million and the news was first released by the New York Times Co. The buyers,  About.com are also owned by the New York Times Co. In 2009 the website was honored in the 13th annual webby awards competition.

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#4 TechCrunch – Sold for: $30 million

Founded: 2005

Year of Sale: 2010

Daily Worth: $16,438

TechCrunch is a very well-known website publication, which is well grounded within the technology and gadget niche’s. The blog was first founded in 2005 by Michael Arrington, and the first time it was published live online was on June 11, 2005. It’s astonishing that in just five years Michael had created such a unique website which was full of valuable  content and managed to sell the website for a total of $30 million to AOL.

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#5 PaidContent – Sold for: $30 million

Founded: 2002

Year of Sale: 2008

Daily Worth: $13698

Paidcontent was founded by Rafat Ali, in 2002, and was basically an online resource for; information, analysis and news. Rafat Ali the founder of the website, was a journalist and so the website itself was a natural progression for him. In the end the website was eventually brought out by Guardian Media Group $30 Million (2008) Ali Rafat however is still part of the website, and is currently working for the company as an editor.

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#6 Tatter and Company – Sold for: $30 million

Founded: 2002

Year of Sale: 2008

Approximate Daily Worth: $13698

Tatter and Company or TNC as it is also known, was founded by Chang-Won Kim and Chester Roh, they formed the company in 2002. Tatter and Company itself was and still is a blogging platform for the Korean nation. I’m sure it is not a major surprise that the company was purchased by  Google for the sum of $30 Million, in 2008.

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#7 Ars Technica – Sold for: $25 million

Founded: 1998

Year of Sale: 2008

Approximate Daily Worth: $6849

Ars Technica was founded by Ken Fisher, in 1998 and quickly became one of the top and most authoritative blogs with the technology industry. The site provided a great amount of news and sometimes reviews on their chosen niche. The website was purchased by Conde Nast Publications for $25 Million in 2008,  a decade since the year it was founded.

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#8 Weblogs.com – Sold for: $25 million

Founded: 2003

Year of Sale: 2005

Approximate Daily Worth: $34,722

Weblogs Inc was created by Brian Alvey and Jason Calcanis in 2003, with the help of an investment from Mark Cuban. In the early days the business was initially set up for professional readership, they also had a number of other websites running alongside Weblogs, in fact there were approximately a dozen websites in total. Weblogs was purchased in 2005 by AOL to the tidy sum of $25 Million.

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#9 Livejournal.com – Sold for: $25 million

Founded: 1999

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $8561

LiveJournal just as the name suggests was a virtual community where users could keep a blog or an online digital diary, through their free open source server technology. They didn’t stop there though, they had the software allowing users to easily create blogs and diaries online they even allowed for calendars, polls, and even have guest writers. The website sold for approximately $ 25 million to Six Apart  in 2007.

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#10 Bankaholic.com – Sold for: $15 million

Founded: 2006

Year of Sale: 2008

Approximate Daily Worth: $20547

Bankaholic is the creation of founder John Wu who also created CB Land Investments. The website itself was an online banking marketplace which basically provided its customers with credit card offers as well as interest rates and personal financial advice. The website eventually sold for $15 Million to BankRate and now has a hefty team of banking and financial professionals behind it so who knows where it could go? maybe it will be worth double the amount in a year or so.

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#11 Deadline Hollywood – Sold for: $14 million

Founded: 2006

Year of Sale: 2009

Approximate Daily Worth: $5479

Deadline Hollywood started off  as a column in the LA weekly, in 2002 by Nikki Finke. The column itself was basically an informative entertainment column based around the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Nikki decided to take her now well-known columnto the online world, and the site first went live in 2006 as a blog. She decided upon calling it the ‘Deadline Hollywood Daily’. It was so popular that in 2009 the Mail Media Corporation bought it from her in a lucrative deal with $14 million. The website has since been changed to deadline.com.

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#12 Wonkette – Sold for: $12 million

Founded: 2004

Year of Sale: 2006

Approximate Daily Worth: $16438

Wonkette is a website that was established in January 2004, it was part of the Gawker Media Network, and it’s founding editor was Ana Marie Cox, who has also been the editor of the well known website suck.com. Gawker Media thought a downturn in the internet boom was on the horizon, and not wanting to lose all the money they had poured into the website they sold it. The buyers were Ken Layne and his business partners, paying  $12 Million in 2006. It’s also worth mentioning that Ken Layne was also the editor of the site at the time he and his partners bought it.

#13 Celebrity baby blog -Sold for: $10 million

Founded: 2004

Year of Sale: 2008

Approximate Daily Worth: $6849

Celebrity Baby blog was created by Danielle Friedland in 2004, and as you can see from the name of the blog,  the topic is pretty obvious. Yes that’s right it’s another blog about famous babies. With celebrities a current trend at the time (when are they not, right?) and her website gaining a very steady stream of visitors,  She managed to sell the blog to Times Inc in a deal worth $10 Million. Not bad for a blog based on babies, the blog has also changed names since to babyrazzi.com.

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#14 Tree Hugger – Sold for: $10 million

Founded: 2005

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $6849

Tree Hugger was the brainchild of Graham Hill, an environmentalist entrepreneur who knew how to use technology to his advantage. He managed to sell the blog to the Discovery Communication for a neat and tidy sum of $10 Million in 2007. You got to admit there’s probably not that many tree huggers out their worst $10 million!

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#15 Freakanomics -Sold for: $8 million

Founded: 2005

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $10958

Freakanomics, was founded by Stephen J. Dubner, in the year 2005  and was sold just two years after it was first created. Stephen was a professional journalist for the New York Times, when he started the blog, which was actually created after the huge success of Dubner’s book, which was also called ‘Freakanomics’ . The website was eventually bought out by the New York Times the sum of $8 million.

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#16 The Consumerist – Sold for: $7 million

Founded: 2005

Year of Sale: 2008

Approximate Daily Worth: $7305

The Consumerist, is yet another website which was developed by the Gawker Media Group, there doing quite well aren’t they? Anyway, Joel Johnson was the editor-in-chief although the site was originally the idea of Nick Denton and Lockhart Steele both of whom are highly ranked within the Gawker Media Group. They decided to sell the consumerist to Consumer Media LLC when they were offered around $7 Million. I think I may have sold for that price too!

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#17 World Hum – Sold for: $6 million

Founded: 2001

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $2739

World Hum is a very highly regarded and award-winning magazine-style blog which was created by Jim Benning and Michael Yessis. The pair were obsessed with travel and decided to create the blog as an outlet for their passion. Within the blog they had all sorts of various categories; how-to sections, question-and-answer sections and where the best places to travel were, as well as how to get there and where to stay once you arrive. Eventually the Travel Channel decided to make them an offer in 2007  to the tune of $6 Million, which they just couldn’t turn down. I can’t say I blame them though.

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#18 Arseblog – Sold for: $5 million

Founded: 2006

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $13698

Arseblog, yes I know you’re properly all sniggering, well at least those of you in the UK as it is a bit of a naughty word but anyway,  the website was created by Andrew Managan in 2006,m due to his undying loyalty to the football team Arsenal FC (Soccer to all of you reading this in the US). In 2007 Andrew was made an offer god-father style, one he definitely could not refuse $5 million by the company Ole Ole. The site has since changed it’s name to Ole Ole.

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#19 GardenRant – Sold for: $1.3 million

Founded: 1996

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $395.73

GardenRant was formed in 1996 by gardening enthusiast Susan Harris, mainly as a way to share her thoughts, tips and advice as well as sharing event details and special promotions. Though you may think that there wouldn’t be much value in a gardening blog it actually did amazingly well and was eventually bought out by the company GardenWeb for a rough figure of around $1.3 Million, not bad for a blog talked mostly about flowers. Never underestimate the power of any niche community, big or small!

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#20 Politicshome – Sold for: $1.3 million

Founded: 2008

Year of Sale: 2009

Approximate Daily Worth: $3561

Politicshome was founded just two years ago in 2008 by Stephan Shakespeare, who is also the founder and CEO of YouGov, which is basically an Internet-based market research company. After just one year of the blog being online, Stephan managed to sell the business in a very successful deal with Conservative politician Michael Ashcroft. The deal was worth an approximate $1.3 million.

How To Write An Irresistible Guest Post

Whether you have a book, a website or any other product to promote, writing guest posts is one of the best ways to get your project in front of a broad (or niche) audience. Many popular blogs and known brands have gotten off the ground, improved customer relations and created a community around their product by using guest posts. If you write a successful post, you’ll be building a relationship with the leaders in your field and getting valuable clicks and backlinks to your site.

 

Writing guest posts works because your content is getting the endorsement of an established and respected source (hopefully, that’s what you’re writing for). But to get that endorsement, you’re going to have to bring your “A” game and work hard on writing the perfect post. If you’re new to the guest post writing game and don’t know all the ins and outs yet, here’s a little guide on how to write an irresistible guest post – and get it accepted.

 

Start By Scoping The Blog You Want To Write For

 

Whatever niche the blog you’re potentially writing for is in, it’s always best to start by looking through the last 2-3 months of posts. Note the style – the length of every post, the format (list? long read? something else entirely?), the choices in vocabulary (strictly for professionals or fit for a general audience). Note the content, too – is there any topic that you felt hasn’t been covered yet, but should be? What kinds of ideas are promoted? Take note, because all of this should be the same in your guest post so that it fits well with what readers of the blog in question are accustomed to.

 

Take a closer look at the guest posts previously written for the blog in question. Take notice of what topics they cover, which posts work best and what receives attention from readers – this is crucial for the success of your own post.

 

Read The Guest Post Guidelines

 

Established blogs will usually have guidelines for guest posting. Here, you’ll find notes on format, style, length, rules on what content is and isn’t accepted, among other guidelines. Keep in mind, unless it says otherwise, it’s a rule and not a suggestion – you’d be amazed how often bloggers receive emails from prospective guest writers who want to publish their 2,000+ word monsters and clueless rants on the political weather of the day. Don’t be one of them. Before your post does anything else, it must adhere to the rules.

 

Write The Blog Post Before You Pitch – Or At Least Outline It

 

There seems to be some debate whether to write your post before you pitch it. The major advantage in having written the post before you shop it around is that you know exactly what it is – and know exactly what you’re pitching. The downside is that, if your post isn’t accepted, you won’t be able to submit it anywhere else without retooling it to fit another blog’s format and audience.

 

If you choose not to write the post before you go and pitch it to bloggers, at least create a detailed outline, so that you have an idea of what the end product looks like before you pitch it.

 

Pitch It – And Do It Right

 

Popular bloggers usually have no shortage in people wanting to write guest posts for their site, but before you write to anyone, check the guidelines again for any info on the pitching requirements. In your opening email, write a short intro – 3-4 sentences that tells who you are, what you do and what qualifications you have for writing the articles you’re pitching.

 

Next, the pitch itself.

 

Ideally, this isn’t a whole song and dance – it’s a clearly formatted, short presentation of what your post is. Write the headline (more on this later), the thesis and 3-4 bullet points presenting fresh takes on the idea. If your idea isn’t new and interesting, by the way, don’t bother sending it in – for one, if it’s obvious, the bloggers have already thought of writing about it themselves, and two, if it can’t interest the blog’s readers, don’t expect a wave of clicks to your site.

 

For some ideas on a strategy to use when submitting ideas check out this study done by Moz on what kinds of pitches receive positive responses.

 

Include A Bio

 

This here is the whole reason you’re writing the guest post in the first place – to promote yourself. The best way to do this is to keep it short and sweet. In the top (or the bottom, depending on the guidelines) of the post, write a brief (4-5 sentence) bio. Say who you are, what you do – this is where the link to your site goes, what relevant experience you have in providing information like what you’re doing in the post. If you’re on twitter, include a link to that, too.

 

Polish Up Your Guest Post

 

There is no point in submitting your post if it’s not your best content. If you’re not sure that the post is stellar, hold off on sending it out altogether – otherwise you might not get the clicks you (think you) deserve. If you took note of the stuff that works best on the blog you’re writing for, however, you should be in the clear.

 

Arguably, the most important thing in the post is the headline.

 

Make sure it’s catchy, fresh and fits in with the rest of the blog. More than anything, it should be interesting and clickable – that’s what communicates best on social media. The title alone should be enough enticement for someone to click on the post.

 

Now, when submitting the final draft (don’t bother with anything less), make sure it’s completely done and ready to be pasted into the CMS – less work for the blogger means higher praise for you and more chances to work with that person in the future.

 

 

Marketing just in Four Step Only

A photo by Tim Arterbury. unsplash.com/photos/VkwRmha1_tI

This via Seth Godin is too good not to share:

The first step is to invent a thing worth making, a story worth telling, a contribution worth talking about.

The second step is to design and build it in a way that people will actually benefit from and care about.

The third one is the one everyone gets all excited about. This is the step where you tell the story to the right people in the right way.

The last step is so often overlooked: The part where you show up, regularly, consistently and generously, for years and years, to organize and lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make.

The first three steps are easier to do and do not require much work. Well, to be fair, the first one is the easiest while the second and the third do take effort.

But that last one is so crucial – just showing up consistently and generously for years and years and years and years. That is the thing that differentiates you (and I) from everyone else who is, essentially, trying to do the same thing.

You and I get to decide on what that thing is, the “change” that you want to make in the world. That’s the neat thing about all this as you and I are more in control than we could possibly imagine.

Blogging is Not About Dhoom (speed), It’s a Marathon and Not a Sprint

Rest in the fact that there’s only so much that you can do to grow your blog and that history has proven herself over and over that a growth of your blog is one of of consistency and steadiness and not one of speed.

There’s honestly not really anything to rush either! It’s about steadiness, consistency, and not speed. It’s about a marathon race and not a sprint.

One of the lies that I buy into at times if feeling the pressure of others writing about something first or covering that particular piece of content better than me, or feeling like my competition is growing faster than I can with my limited amount of time, resources, and bandwidth.

Here’s the truth about that…

The fact is that someone is covering it before you, they are writing it better than you, and they are most likely growing faster than you can, for a variety of different reasons.

It’s a long distance game.

Does this mean you give up? Nope! It means you find alternative and more long-lasting motivations for writing than the ones that the world and the marketplace present to you.

You decide that blogging is an opportunity for you to ____________ so that you can do ______________ because you want to and not because _______________ does it better than you or whatever else goes in the blanks.

So be encouraged!

I’ve got so much energy behind this blog but I realize that I can only commit to at least 1 post a day. Is that disagreeable to my natural tendencies? Absolutely. Does it make me upset that I can’t’ do more? Absolutely. Does it mean that I give up? Absolutely not!

Do you show your emotion on your blog’s sleeve?

 

Do you show your emotion on your blog’s sleeve?

 

Emotion is a powerful tool that can be used to convince, persuade, and move people to action. Leveraging it well and with wisdom is something that needs to be practiced and managed with great care.

I’d also add that there needs to be a certain level of caution as well as the effects could be lasting or even permanent in some cases.

But how does emotion translate as it’s injected into your blog posts both intentionally and unintentionally? That’s the question that I’m wrestling with today.

There’s a certain part of me that wants to clarify explicitly the types of emotion that a reader can expect as well as their respective magnitudes and there’s another part of me that wants to leave it open ended (both my left and right brain have conversed about it).

My intention is simply to create a calculated level of expectation for the reader as they engage with my content; part of the brand that I can actively manage. But, I know that to a large degree blogs are still poor as it relates to being able to completely express the depth and breadth of emotion (thus the use of video blogging is of great value).

Love to hear your thoughts on these few points:

  • How much (or little) does your emotion play a part of your writing?
  • Have you ever laid out explicitly to your audience thoughts on emotion as it relates to your brand?
  • What side of the fence do you sit on as it relates to either completely moderating one’s emotions (checking them at the door) and on the other side as being completely free and boundary-less as it relates to what you express?

This is probably a great blog post topic for you to engage with your own audience as well!

difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:

I’ve gotten enough questions about this recently that I thought I’d just copy and paste some of my responses via email into a post and structure it a bit easier on the eyes!

Of course, I have chosen to use WordPress exclusively as my blogging platform of choice and I hope you do too!

But I know it’s not for everyone! If you’re interested in investigating some other blogging options, you’ll want to take a look at this very comprehensive showcase. Of course, if you’re still trying to figure out if blogging is right for you, check out this post!

Here are 10 points of comparison as it relates to the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:

Click for larger view! Stats may vary based on today's numbers!
Click for larger view! Stats may vary based on today’s numbers!

Am I missing anything that you would include here of note? Hope that helps!

Oh, and by the way, just in case you didn’t know… WordPress.org is a self-hosted solution meaning that you pay for your own server and hosting solution. Here’s a good post on how to decide whether self-hosted is right for you!