Blogging

3 Reasons Why I Might Not Share Your Roundup (Even If I’m Included in It)

Over the years I’ve participated in a few roundups (a.k.a. crowdsourced content) – sometimes via HARO, sometimes by being approached directly by email. Whenever the latter happens, I’m always chuffed that someone’s asked me and wants me to get involved with what they’re putting together. However, a few recent roundup experiences have left me a little… unhappy. I know that sounds harsh, perhaps even ungrateful, but there’s been a few bugbears with them that I’d like to share, so that other roundup rounder-uppers can avoid them if they can. I don’t know about you, but if I’m included in a roundup that fits one of these three criteria, it’s unlikely that I’ll promote it on your behalf (sorry)…

1) There’s too many people in it

Crowd imageI get the appeal of roundups, on both sides. The contributor gets a link to their site. The ‘host’ (for lack of a better word) not only gets content written for them, but the contributors are likely to share it and promote it on their behalf. If 5 people are included, that’s 5 potential tweets/RTs. If 50 people are included… well, you get it.

I was recently part of a roundup that included over 100 contributors – so many, in fact, that while there’s a pic of a bunch of the contributors, I’m not even one of them, hah! I’m sorry but that’s just too big a number to even be readable – either people will glance through it and/or read the first few, or they’ll simply look for people that they know and only take their contributions on board.

2) There’s no women in it

Graffiti imageAs a young, white, middle-class male, I feel like a complete jerk for even bringing it up – but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t. Rand Fishkin (@randfish) shares this way of thinking and is a good person to follow on the subject in our industry.

A recent roundup that I was involved in contained about 12 people – a nice, decent number. The only problem? There were 12 men (including me) and 0 women. I didn’t share/tweet/RT it – I was too ashamed to.

The same also applies to ethnic minorities. No one likes an all-white, all-male list. Not even white males.

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How Blogging Can Help You To Get A Job

This post was originally published on Cardiff Blogs (@cdfblogs/cdfblogs.com) in 2013. Cardiff Blogs’ website went offline a couple of months ago, so they kindly allowed me to republish it here on SEOno. It was written in conjunction with Computer Recruiter, as a sort of guest blog post on behalf of them, too.

Job search imageWhenever I chat to someone who’s struggling on the job front, I think back to my own experience. I graduated in 2007 – around the time that the job market started to go kaput – and for the 18 months that followed, I spent 9 of them unemployed. Looking back, I wish I’d done things differently. I know that I have the benefit of hindsight now, but one of the things I wish I’d done – as daft as it may sound at first – was to start a blog. Therefore, when I chat to someone who’s going through what I’ve previously gone through, depending on what type of career that they want to get into, I usually tell them that they should consider starting a blog.

On the surface, that sounds like daft advice, I admit. Why start a blog when the most important thing that you should be doing is hitting up the job boards and recruitment agencies and working on your CV? Well of course I’m not suggesting that you should be blogging instead of finding a job – but there’s no reason why you can’t do blogging on the side to support your efforts.

…”Support your efforts,” you might be wondering? Here’s what I mean:

It can help you to gain skills and experience in the meantime

The whole catch-22 scenario around experience (whereby employers want you to have experience, but you need experience to get a job) is enough to make your head spin and peeve you off simultaneously. It may not be career experience, but say if you’re looking to get into copywriting or journalism, you can start building up your experience in your own time, on your own blog.

Likewise, if you’re looking to get into web design or graphic design, not only can you use a blog to showcase your work, but the blog itself will also act as a showcase of your work.

It can be a good (but productive) distraction from the job hunt

Constant job hunting with no end in sight is bad for the soul. Trust me, I’ve been there. Somewhat wastefully, I used to break up the monotony of job hunting by watching TV and playing video games. Looking back, I wish I’d used that time more productively, which blogging would have done.

Now admittedly everyone’s different, and we all need to take time to relax and take our mind off things at some point or another, but sometimes (for me anyway!) I find that blogging doesn’t feel like working. It may not be as fun as firing up the PS3, but it’s certainly not in the same field as doing work or job hunting – however, it’s much, much more productive.

LEGO desk image

It can help with networking (which can help with finding a job)

This next point may feel like a slight subtle ad for Cardiff Blogs (it’s not!), but either way, it’s true. While I only joined Cardiff Blogs’ admin team in early 2013, I first started visiting the events back in 2011. I only intended to go along to learn a few new things – as I was fairly new to blogging at the time – and to meet some like-minded folks, yet over the years I’ve made a few great contacts and connections through it.

So once you start your blog, you may find yourself wanting to go to Cardiff Blogs or other local blogging events (whether it’s WordPress Users Wales – which is also in Cardiff – or a local blogger meetup in your town/city) and meet other bloggers. And you never know… You may strike up a conversation with someone who knows about a job that’s available that’d be perfect for you!

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Q&A with Emma Barnes about Selling her Blog

I’ve run a few interviews on SEOno before (you can see all the previous ones here) but I’m really excited to publish this one, for a number of reasons:

First and foremost, despite not yet meeting her IRL, Emma (@ejbarnes89) and I have known each other via Twitter for years and we get on famously. She’s my ‘sister from another mister,’ to re-work the classic saying… She’s guest blogged for me and I’ve guest blogged for her. So being able to interview her as well is just awesome.

Additionally, it’s a topic that really interests me. A lot of bloggers that I know are interested in monetising their blogs, but this is possibly the first instance I’ve heard of of someone selling their entire website, content and all (not just the domain name). After chatting to Emma about it, I asked her if she’d be interested in doing a proper Q&A/interview about it, and I’m delighted to say that she happily obliged…


Steve Morgan: Hi Emma! Tell us about Gaming Memoirs. How long did it run for before you sold it?

Emma Barnes photoEmma Barnes: Gaming Memoirs was my personal blog where I posted reviews about games that I’d played. I ran it for four years before deciding to sell it.

Steve: What types of posts did you publish?

Emma: Mostly game reviews, but occasionally fanart (which I now post on my Tumblr) and the odd “how to…” post.

Steve: What were your reasons for selling the blog?

Emma: I got to a stage where I realised that I wasn’t enjoying writing blog posts about video games any more, and rather than let it die I thought I might see if I could sell it to make a bit of money back on hosting costs, etc.

Steve: To me, the idea of selling a blog sounds very intimidating. I wouldn’t have a clue where to start! Were you in a similar situation when you made the decision to sell it, or did you know exactly what you were doing right from the off?

Emma: I have actually sold one blog before – however it was to someone I knew personally and it was more like just giving them WordPress access to the website.

This time it was totally different. Instead of approaching people I knew (although some were interested) I thought I’d try my hand at an auction, because I didn’t really know what the site was worth, and thought I’d leave it with a buyer to decide.

I was a bit nervous because I was worried I might screw up the transfer to the new host, or that I would somehow magically delete my site before selling it…

Steve: How did you sell it? Did you put it onto a ‘blog marketplace’ type website? How does the whole process work from start to finish? And how long did it all take?

I knew sites existed for buying/selling websites, so I did a bit of Googling and decided on Flippa for a few reasons:

  • It was specifically for buying/selling websites, domain names and apps rather than a more “general” web auction site,
  • I browsed it as if I was a buyer and thought it was easy enough to find what I wanted,
  • It looked fairly trustworthy and had decent reviews.

The process itself was quite easy once you got the hang of it. I’ll probably vary from site to site, so I’ll talk about what I did with Flippa.

Step 1 – Create account and tell Flippa what site I’m selling and prove that I own it

This involves uploading a file to the site – I had to do this directly form the host, rather than through WordPress, which was a little tricky for me because I don’t log in to my hosting very often, so wasn’t very sure what I was doing. But for someone who is familiar with the more technical sides of websites, it’d be really easy for them.

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Tactics for a Successful Public Vote Strategy – How I Became a UK Blog Awards Finalist

VOTE imageI’m excited to be a finalist in the UK Blog Awards for the second year running, this time in the Digital & Technology category. The first phase was a public vote, and although I put a fair bit of effort into it, I’m certainly no expert – proof of that is the fact that I only made it to the finals in one of the two categories that I entered, suggesting that the competition this year is a lot more fierce than previous years…

I wanted to share my tactics on how I put the word out asking people to vote for me. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and some of them may be really obvious, but who knows… you might try different things next year and it might make all the difference.

Blog-related

Blog about it

UKBA16 badge exampleFirst things first… Blog about it! I wrote a post about it (“Vote for SEOno in the UK Blog Awards 2016!”) containing the ‘vote now’ image, which linked to my dedicated entry page.

Add a site-wide ‘vote now’ button

You can take this further by added a site-wide ‘vote now’ button. I put mine in my blog’s site-wide left-hand column. This is handy in case someone doesn’t see the dedicated blog post on the subject and instead visits another section (such as the homepage, the About page, the Contact page or a random post).

Social media-related

Twitter

Twitter is a no-brainer, and I reckon the biggest ‘pull’ of votes in my case.

I wouldn’t hesitate to tweet multiple times. I tweeted every 2-3 days during the voting period, varying the times and days. Use something like TweetDeck or Buffer to schedule your tweets (so you can get them all ready in bulk, instead of having to worry about remembering to manually do them yourself), and something like Followerwonk to find out the best time(s) of day to tweet based on your followers’ activity.

Followerwonk example screenshot
UKBA16 tweets imageAnother way to vary your tweets on the subject: RT other people’s tweets about it. So if someone else tweets saying that you’ve entered (@mentioning you in the process) then you could consider retweeting that instead of doing a standalone tweet from your own account.

I also tended to vary whether or not it contained an image (either no image, or the screenshot from the entry page, or the one provided by UKBA themselves), and also varied the landing page (mostly the entry page itself, but sometimes I drove people to the blog post instead).

Oh and lastly… Consider pinning one of the tweets on your profile – ideally one with an image (such as the ‘vote now’ image that UKBA provided, in my case). For people who randomly stumble across your Twitter profile, they’ll see it – and even if they don’t end up voting, it still looks good to show off.

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A (Long Overdue) Theme Change & New Logo for SEOno

SEOnoOver the weekend I finally got round to implementing a new WordPress theme on SEOno. The last time I did so was nearly three years ago (October 2012) and while the previous theme – SmartOne – had been an absolute pleasure to use over the years, it was starting to look and feel a little dated, so inevitably I felt that it was time for a change…

I’ve always liked the idea of using a plain, minimalist theme, so the new theme – Emphasize – mostly retains that feeling. In fact, I’ve gone as far as editing the theme’s colour scheme to mostly match the previous theme…! I’ll probably keep tinkering away and making the occasional tweak here and there, so what you see now might not end up being the finished product.

I also decided to get an official logo for the blog – the first time that I’ve done so. Previously I simply took a screenshot of the previous theme’s title (which was basic italic text in blue) and called that my logo, which was… naff. When I was asked to give a logo to the UK Blog Awards last year (I was shortlisted in a category), it felt a little embarrassing. So now I have something proper. Well, I say “proper”… It was generated using the Hipster Logo Generator. Say what you will… I’m happy with it. Besides, having a hipster logo kind of fits with the often tongue-as-cheek-as-f*ck style of the blog, don’t you think? 😉

What’s interesting is that I was recently chatting to a designer that I know via Twitter and it seemed odd to him that I was going the cheap/DIY route with this and not investing in it properly. I guess that I’ve always liked going down the DIY route – especially with the blog – even at the risk of aesthetics. I’m certainly no designer (saying so would be an insult to the design community!) so I know that it probably could be better, but for now I’m happy with keeping things simple.

I welcome any and all feedback – good or bad. Feel free to email me, tweet me or drop a comment below.