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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mini Blog Workshop Series 2: What Should I Write On My Blog?


Julien Haler

                                         By Julien Haler

In our last week’s blog, we talked about choosing a niche topic for your blog.
Once you have your niche selected, what types of content do you share on your blog?
If you have ever been writing for any length of time, you may run into situations where you feel you have nothing to write or share about. However in blogging, it is important to be consistent and commit to a regular posting schedule in order to gain traction and to attract readers to your blog. Secondly committing to a regular posting schedule will soon help you create the momentum to post on a more regular basis. A side benefit of writing regular post is that your writing will start to get better and you will have less grammar errors, your sentences will sound less clumsy.
So what content do we share on our blogs?

Type 1: Entertainment

By Randy Le’Monie Photography

These are the types of blog post whereby you share things such as jokes, funny pictures that is designed to entertain the reader while at the same time provide a mini-lesson or anecdote to a situation relevant to your topic.
Type 2: Educational Content
Most readers are familiar with educational content post which is designed to provide education or a lesson to your readers. An example of blog post with educational value includes this post which includes a mini-workshop on developing your blog.
Educational content in blogs are important resource for your readers and allows your readers to have a feel of your expertise in that niche.
Type 3: Informational Content
Informational content are also another common feature in most blogs especial blogs which attracts a high readership. Informational content is important to the growth of a blog as you can only retain and attract readers if you have useful content to share. Informational blogs may contain
• How- to information
• When –to applying for something
• What-to do, this is especially common in travel blogs which list itinerary and what activities to do in each location.

Type 4: Opinion
A good way to interact with your readers is to run a poll. For instance, you can run a poll on the type of chili they prefer, type of vacations they enjoy, be it a cruise, beach vacation or stay-cation. This type of blog post creates great entertainment and allows you to get to know your readers better.

Type 5: News Value
Blog post with news value works best when there is a breaking event such as the upcoming Presidential Election in the United States, Greece Credit Crisis etc etc etc..
If you can link your blog post to the current news event, then this type of post can attract lots of traffic to your blog during the time of the news.
There was once I wrote about GM’s layoff and how to create your own recession income in the event of a layoff, that blog gave me a sudden spike of traffic as the news was relevant.

Type 6: List post

These post are relatively easy for your readers to read and easy to write as most of the content is broken down into a list. Titles of blog post that contact “Top 10 List “, “Top 7 Ways to …” are example of list posts. Some bloggers like to include spreadsheets and templates together with list post for their readers.
I personally prefer to write list post combined with an anecdote at the beginning as this allows readers, even those who scan the information to be able to gleam the important information.

Type 7: Problem-solution post
As the name suggest, you start with a problem situation and present various solutions to the problem. You can also do case-studies of your customers or readers problems or challenges in this type of problem-solution post. Examples of blogs that does case-studies very well is smartpassiveincome by Pat Flynn which details how he makes passive income online through a monthly income report.
Further Reading
Pillar Content: The Secret to Building a Blog People Love by Nick Thacker

How To Write Great Blog Content – The Pillar Article by Yaro Stark

Turning Pillar Content Into Profitable Products by Jonathan Wondrusch

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Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized
May 31, 2012

Mini-Blog Workshop Series 1


Step 1: Getting Started
This will be a series of mini workshops to help you get started on your own blog project.
Getting started is often the most important step in any project but is also the most difficult.
It takes greater momentum to get started on something new as compared to travelling along the same projectile path.
So where does one begin when starting a blog?
In my opinion, it starts with choosing a niche topic.
There are seven steps involved in choosing a niche topic, one for each day until the next week’s mini-blog workshop.
 Choose the topic you are interested in

The fastest way to get started is to write on the topic you are interested in. You can start by listing down topics you are interested in and rate your level of interest on a scale of 1 to 5. If you are very interested, you can rate it a number 5 and for topics that you have comparatively less interest, you can rate it a 1 or 2.

This is an area most beginning bloggers make a mistake in. They tend to write on topics that attract lots of traffic despite the fact that they have no prior knowledge or interest in that area.

It is difficult to sustain a blog in which you have very little interest in. Passion attracts readers and readers can turn into your community’s greatest raving fans. As in the words of Neil Gaiman, “Create Good Art.” At the end of the day, if nobody buys your art, at least you still own the great art.
 Assess the popularity of the topic
If you are writing a blog as a hobby, then this does not matter. However if you want to start a blog and monetize it eventually, the topic chosen has to be a fairly popular topic. You have to make sure that there are a sizable number of people with a common interest as you. You may not need a million readers a month on your blog but a few hundred thousand won’t hurt.

You can gauge the popularity a topic based on the following three factors
• Average readership for your niche topic
• Personal passion index
• Average income for blogs in your category

What is the growth of the topic you have chosen
You can have to gauge whether your topic is on the upward growth or downward trend in the blogosphere. It is difficult to make money from a blog if your topic is on the downward trend. Places where you can gauge the popularity of a topic include

Google Trends

Yahoo Trending Topics
Amazon best seller list
New York Times Bestseller’s list
These are areas where you can find topics that people are interested in, sometimes for a sustained amount of time. Evergreen topics include dieting, weight loss; make money, save time, productivity tips and how to get the most out of a new gadget such as iPad.

 What is the competition

Contrary to popular belief, a certain amount of competition is desirable. It means that you have a topic that is viable. Most beginning bloggers make the mistake of writing on a topic that has zero competition. They think they have found the ‘holy grail’ of a successful blog topic. However, nothing is further from the truth. There is a possibility that there is zero competition as others have found the marketplace unresponsive, unprofitable or both. So some competition is healthy but too much competition means you have to do lots of work in order to gain penetration. It also means you have to spend a considerable amount on your marketing costs.
Are there any opportunity gaps?
Locating opportunity gaps allows you to gain penetration in a blogosphere much quicker. For instance, Body shop broke into the competitive body care niche by creating products from natural ingredients that are sourced from third world countries. In a way, they have created a win-win situation. Dominos pizza created their own niche by promising 30-minutes delivery or the pizza’s free. Are there opportunity gaps in your topic that have not been covered before. This can become your blog’s unique-selling proposition.


Are you able to provide lots of content on that topic?
In order to write a sustainable blog, you need to be able to provide lots of content. Is there a lots of coverage in the news for your topic such as on the New York Times, Google News or Blog Pulse or industry blogs and websites? Other areas you can get more content is from the knowledge you already have, your interaction with others or your customers.


What are the monetization streams?

In order to make money from blogging, you need to be able to study areas where you can monetize your blog. Do you want to monetize your blog by
• Earning through advertising dollars
• Earning through product endorsements
• Promoting affiliate products
• Selling your own products
• Sponsorships from major corporations.
If you have done your homework, you will soon be on your way to creating a sustainable and popular blog.


For more ideas on how to build a popular and money-making blog, refer to this.
Check out this 31-day guide to building a popular blog.

You can download this immediately
==> 31 Days to a Better Blog

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Filed under Blogging
May 24, 2012

How to Turn Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones


“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off

against the wind, not with it.”

—Henry Ford(American Industrialist and pioneer of the assembly line production method.1863-1947)


This post today talks about how you can transform your current challenges into stepping stones.

Well, I was reading a forum and this particular thread was very long with multiple responses.


This forumer, I will call her Jane in this case described her challenges.


  • She wants to set up a blog
  • She didn’t know how to go about doing it.
  • She had no technical skills
  • She wants to be able to monetize her blog.
  • She wants to start her blog on a word press platform.
  • She had no money to spend on her blog except her time in writing.

On a forum, there are lots of helpful people who told her various ways she can do to start a word press blog. One of them suggested that she pay for hosting as there are some host who will host a word press blog for you with the click of a button.

All was well and good but once you suggested that she spend some money that was the ‘breaking point’. She didn’t want to spend any money because she had none.

Based on her challenges, here’s how you can turn your challenges into stepping stones.

Step 1: List down all your challenges in no particular order.

Using Jane’s example, these are her current challenges.

  • Don’t know how to set up a word press blog
  • No technical skills
  • Don’t know how to monetize blog
  • No blog to pay for hosting or setting up a blog.

Step 2: Turn your challenges into questions

  • Don’t know how to set up a word press blog

Becomes, “How do I set up a word press blog?”

  • No technical skills

ð  How do I acquire the technical skills or partner with someone who can do this?

  • Don’t know how to monetize blog

ð  What are the ways to monetize my blog?

  • No money to pay for hosting or setting up a blog.

ð  What are the ways, I can get an extra $100 or $xx amount to start a blog?

Step 3: Based on the Questions asked, brainstorm solutions

Using the questions you have framed and asked, brainstorm solutions to some of them.

For instance, if Jane didn’t have the money to start her blog, she could have sold things on eBay, Craigslist or get an extra part-time job to earn that extra money. Having a web host does not cost a person much. A year of hosting probably cost less than the cost of a meal at your local diner.

Here a short break down

ð  Domain name approximately: $10/ year

ð  Web hosting: $10/month or $120/year. If you are using Dreamhost or my current host, the fees are less than $10 a month.

ð  So Jane needs to get another $130 in order to start her blog.

Is it possible for her or you to be able to squeeze out an extra $100 a year to fulfill your dreams?

How do I monetize my Blog?

ð  One way to do this is to study successful blogs.

ð  Find out what are the top 10 blogs in your niche.

ð  Visit them and read their entries. Find out what are the ways they do to monetize their blog. Do they monetize with advertisements, Google ads, as affiliate for other people’s products? Do they sell their own products online? Stick around and find out what are the common ways the top bloggers monetize their website. If you find some commonalities amongst the top 10 blogs, these are the ways you can use to monetize your blog. The other things you need to observe are their frequency of posting, whether they do guest post on other blogs or accept guest post. Do they write long post or short post? These may be the elements that make for a successful blog.


These three steps are the building blocks to transform your challenges into stepping stones. When you hit a roadblocks or meet any stumbling blocks n your online journey, remember that the “… the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”


In our next week’s issues, I will be writing about how to choose a profitable niche topic for your blog. Stay tuned.


Resources recommended in this post

  1. Domain name service:
  2. Webhosting service-Vodien:
  3. For more ideas on how to build a successful blog, refer to the WordPress classroom.


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May 16, 2012

The Best $17.76 I have Ever Made




This blog post is long overdue. I made my first $17.76 online
about three months back in February.

I woke up one day and logged into my email account as usual
only to get a surprise message that says

Clickbank Notifications:”You’ve Got a Sale”

first sale made

My First $17.76 online


Although the amount was small,  it was still a pleasant surprise.

The best thing about online income is it is PASSIVE INCOME!.

I love passive income. It is income that comes in without one’s active involvement.

You can be out shopping, dinning or spending time with your family and have the money come in automatically.

Here are the steps I took to earn my first stream of passive income online.

#1: Decide on a product or service you want to promote.
It is best to have used the product or service before so you can
best review it and determine the appropriate product for
a particular group of audience.

  • For instance, you may want to promote a step-by-step DIY type of website building software for newbies.

Newbies are often stumped at building a business online because they don’t know how to build a website,

how to drive more  visitors to their website.

  • Some of them are looking for a way to build and maintain a website so that they can concentrate on building their business.

Thus this type of product will do well for newbies who are just starting online.
You wouldn’t for instance promote this type of product to established web business owners who have a large team

of employees and outsourcers who can work on their projects.

#2: Once you have established your target audience, find ways to reach them.
If you are tragetting newbies online, you can start by advertising on

  • newsletters for beginners.
  • community newspapers
  • using pay-per-click
  • writing articles sharing basic web building tips for newbies.
  • Forums

If you are advertising on forums,you have to be helpful first.
Do not jump immediately to promoting your product. Find out which threads
have people who face the issues your product can solve. Help them first before you
propose your solution. On online forums, you have to earn the ‘right’ to promote first.

#3: Drive more traffic to your website.

You have to learn how to drive more visitors or traffic to your website.
If you own a retail outlet, you would want to have more vistors to your store.
The same goes for an online business. The more visitors you have,the higher the chance of you converting
your visitors to customers.

There are many ways to drive visitors to your website such as

  • Writing informative articles with a link to your website.
  • Advertising online
  • Doing a guest post on related blogs that have a high PR rank.
  • These are some of the ways. To learn more, click here.

#4: Rinse and repeat.

Many people gain the inital euphoria of obtsaining their first sale
and forget to do the things which earned them their first sale.
They also forget about their customers and no longer bother to write to them.
Their email frequency gets lesser and lesser and they share less information.

There is also one final tip.
Get a mentor. It is difficult to succeed online if you do not have a mentor
or someone to guide you and hold you accountable for things you have to do in order to succeed.
Last but not the least, these are the few people whom I will credit for helping me earn my first dollar online.
They are Jaz Lai, Deagan Smith and article marketing King-Sean Mize.

Check out Daegan Smith’s online traffic revolution from the King of Never calling a single lead!

To your success and more passive income




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May 10, 2012

4 Steps to Building a Successful Online Business


4  Steps to Building a Successful Online Business

After being online for 122 days and having made number of sales online,thanks to a supportive group of readers who read my recommendations on what works and what doesn’t. Let’s continue to cheer one another one in reaching our goals!

I have searched and read a number of blogs on the steps and ‘secrets’ to building an online business. These four steps I feel crystallized the basic steps a person has to build in order to build a sustainable and successful business online.

Identify a profitable niche market



This is numbero uno. You cannot build a successful business if there is insufficient demand for your product or service.One extreme example is ” How to be a  Dodo bird veterinarian” cos there are no more Dodo birds around anymore.

Not only must there be a demand for your product, the best is to be able to identify a market that has high demand and low competition.

A useful tool for identifying profitable markets is

Google Keyword Research Tool which is free and provides lots of important data such as demand for your product in a certain locale.



If you are looking for more specific data and competitior’s analysis,you can use  wordtracker which provides more specific data such as

  • Competitor’s information
  •   Number of websites that already exist on your niche.

This allows you to be able to see what successful websites do to attract visitors,their monetization methods, study their content strategy. All these provide valuable data to help you in launching your web business.

  •   Demand for you product.

Thus you need to find a market before you develop a product or service for your market.

Study the market and identify what needs are still unfulfilled by your target market. For instance, there are successful bloggers out there who promote products on how to build a better blog or how to attract an audience.However, few touch on creating a content strategy and how to leverage all these into a successful passive income business.

So through you research in step 1,you should be able to uncover a list of unfulfilled needs waiting for you to fulfill.

You can either create the product or service yourself. Alternatively, you can be someone else’s affiliate and combine a few related products together to form a complete package.



Once the first 2 steps are done,you need to have a platform to market your product. A platform can be a website or a blog where you can readily build an audience who may be interested in your niche,build a relationship with them, help them solve their problems and soon you will be richly rewarded for it.

You need a website/blog to create a mailing list so you can stay in touch with your subscribers.

This is another key component. No longer will the world beat a path to your door if you have built a better mousetrap. You need to be able to get the word out and let the people know you have a solution they are looking for.In order to get the word out, you need traffic and visitors to your website. In a similar way, a retail store needs walk-in traffic for exposure and potential sales, your website is no different.

The common ways to generate traffic online include

  • Advertising.Pay-per-click advertising, classified ads, blog advertising etc etc. etc.
  • Article marketing.This is the approach I used when I started online. I had no list, no subscribers and no blog. I started building my audience one article at a time. Places whereyou can share your content include
  • SEO: Search engine optimization, which is to optimize your website to improve your search engine rankings online.

These are some of the ways to build a successful online business and drive tons of traffic to your website.
For more ideas on how to create a successful web business, click here.  This is an account of how one 25-year old makes six-figures online working just 4-hours a day from home.

The ‘sleepwalking’ at work is over now. It is time to create your own online business and live the lifestyle of your dreams.

Reader’s Survey

Let us know what other topics interest you by filling up this short survey. It will only take 45 seconds.

Click here now.

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Filed under Online Business
May 1, 2012