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So, as you can see in the above tabs, I’ve now added a page of policies related to this website. I started this project about a month ago, but finally took the time to complete the task. After exhaustive hours in the law library reading Latin legal texts and speaking with a friend who has been to court multiple times (as the defendant), I figured there had to be an easier way. Check out the results. I tried to keep the language as clear and understandable as possible.
Direct Marketing Association – This is the generator I used to create my first rough draft of the Blogging Startup policy. It is very simple with check box selections. Takes about 10 minutes to complete. This is the only policy generator on this list that allows customization to the policies before they are created.
Serp Rank – A policy generator specifically designed for Adsense publishers. This quick generator creates a simple and friendly policy statement. However, the policy should still be compared to the new Adsense requirements since the generator was created in 2007.
7th Space – This generator creates html code for placement on your blog or website. I used a portion of the text from this generator for the Blogging Startup policy. The generator is simple and quick to use.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1) The policies may or may not meet your specific needs or the legal requirements for your blog. Be sure to educate yourself on what is required. A significant part of this education is reading (yes, actually reading) the agreements you have with any advertiser on your site. For programs like Pepperjam or Commission Junction, this can mean reading specific agreements from each advertiser that you use.
2) The policies are typically written with plural pronouns such as we and us. If your blogging voice is more personal, change these words to I and me. For an example, see the Blogging Startup policies.
3) Consider including policies about commenting on your blog and other blog features. These policies may not keep problems from occurring, but they may help reduce confusion and difficulties. Again, my policies have a section on comments.
4) Most importantly, take the time to customize the policies and make them your own. Don’t simply cut and paste, no matter how good you think the policies are. Read through them carefully and change what you feel is appropriate. Visit other website policy pages for examples.
So, when starting a blog, take some time and create your own blog policies. Even if you don’t use advertising on your blog, the policies will keep your readers informed and reduce potential problems in the future.
If you are new to blogging, here is a list of blogs you must read on a regular basis. These are the sites that good bloggers visit to learn how to write compelling content, how to increase traffic, and how to design an attractive blog. By the way, even if you don’t plan on making money with your blog, don’t skip the sites that promote making money online. The information on the blogs I have listed is valuable to all bloggers.
Blogging Startup – (Hey, it’s alphabetical!) Besides being nominated for a Pull-It’s-Ear prize, this is only blog I know that specifically targets new bloggers (although I know a lot of you are old bloggers…yeah, I see you). Be sure to drop by and learn how to get that blog up and find new readers. Recent post worth reading: Should new blogs allow comments?
Copyblogger – A great place to learn how to write inviting content. The posts are frequently guest written by some of the best bloggers online. For example, here’s a recent post worth reading: How to make sure your content never goes naked.
Dosh Dosh – Considered to be one of the most intelligent blogs on the topic of blogging. The author consistently publishes posts that both educate and challenge web publishers. Reading and practicing what you learn on Dosh Dosh should earn you a PhD in blogging. Recent post worth reading: It’s not just words: The importance of empowering your audience.
Lorelle on WordPress – The best blogging authority on WordPress, but not all of her articles are relevant only to WordPress users. This is one of the few blogs I would actually pay to read. Lorelle’s posts provide an amazing wealth of information for WordPress users. Recent post worth reading: The real hidden value of old post traffic.
ProBlogger – Even though Darren promotes his blog as a site for professional bloggers, there is great content for new bloggers as well. Check out the tab near the center of the home page labeled “For Beginners.” Recent post worth reading: 9 tips to start blogging successfully.
Remarkablogger – Michael consistently provides great advice and excellent resources for new and long time bloggers. Skim through his older articles by finding what you want in his well organized blogging categories. Recent post worth reading: Blogging ethics 101d – Paid links.
Each of these blogs provides great content for the new blogger. But you will also find these blogs to be excellent examples of blogging design and structure. Take some time to examine the layout. Look through their pages and sidebars. Learning from these blogs should include more than just reading the posts.
What great blogs have you found to help you become an expert blogger?
There is a thought that a new blog should have the comments feature turned off so savvy visitors can’t tell if you have very little traffic. So, is this a good strategy? Over a year ago, Randfish at SEOmoz recommended this strategy in his article, “21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic“. To summarize his proposal (#6 on his list), he suggests not allowing comments until the blog has about “100 RSS subscribers and/or 750 unique visitors per day.”
A lot of bloggers believe that reader comments are a defining feature of blogging. What would a blog be if there was not discussion and debate? But it is true that regular blog readers can guess at your blog traffic based on the number of comments that are left. Randfish’s concern is that wise readers may not give your blog a chance if they think other readers are not interested.
I believe Randfish is wrong. New blogs need traffic AND dialogue. Readers want to interact with a blog, and comments increase the value of the content. And if content is good, traffic will follow. I’ve have started three blogs with comments on from the very beginning. It is tough seeing a trickling of remarks for the first few weeks. But as traffic increases, so the the comments.
Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror says,
I firmly maintain that a blog without comments enabled is not a blog. It’s more like a church pulpit. You preach the word, and the audience passively receives your evangelical message. Straight from God’s lips to their ears. When the sermon is over, the audience shuffles out of the church, inspired for another week. And there’s definitely no question and answer period afterward.” -From his post, “A Blog Without Comments is Not a Blog.“
So, what do you think? Should a new blog allow comments before the traffic base has been developed?
BTW, do go back and read Randfish’s 20 other strategies for increasing traffic…they are excellent.
In my case, the comment was worth a link placement on the blogroll of a popular “make money online” website.
So here’s my story. Some of you may already be aware that our friend Tish often posts excellent recommended reading links over at BloggingGal.com. Well, earlier today I followed one of those links to a post on AaronCook.com titled, “Make Money: Online Money Makers That Work.” Well, imagine my ghastly surprise when I am greeted with this…
[Edited for the gentle eyes of the Blogging Startup readers.]
After reading what turned out to be an excellent post on affiliate programs and pay-per-click advertising that actually works, I settled in to post my comment…
Hi, I’m with the Asian-Pacific Anti-Defamation League of American Asian-Pacific People (APADLAAPP), and we find your photo representing two clearly emotionally disturbed individuals from the AP community as offensive, insulting and defamatatingingish. We, (okay, it’s just me…but I have an office) demand that you immediately remove said photo or be subject to scorn and ridicule from..from…well, from people like me.”
Well, even though the post was already a week old, Aaron (take note new bloggers) was still reading and responding to comments. Apparently he liked my comment. (But, I should add, did NOT take down the offensive photo!) Later I got an email from Aaron again saying he enjoyed my comment, had visited Blogging Startup, and because he liked the content on the site had decided to add BS to his blogroll.
So, 1 comment = 1 blog link.
(Using my Paul Harvey voice.) And now, for the rest of the story…
In addition to the comment, I stumbled (StumbleUpon.com) the article before I left. It never hurts to share a little social media lovin’ when you like something on another blog. (Hint)
In summary, here’s what we have learned:
- Tish writes great “Recommended Reading” posts.
- Leaving a comment on a blog can lead to great networking and other benefits in the future.
- Leave comments even if the post is older (’cause all good bloggers go back and read those comments anyway).
- Leave relevant comments that add to the conversation. Avoid leaving comments that just say “nice post”. Take a minute to add an opinion or even disagree.
- Bloggers love it when you stumble their posts. (DO I HAVE TO BE ANY MORE OBVIOUS HERE!?!)
- And finally, Aaron collects photos of strange men doing strange things. (BTW, to see the original, unedited photo, you need to visit Aaron’s blog.
With all the information how to start a blog, wouldn’t it be nice if someone could just SHOW you how to do it? Well, BecomeaBlogger has done just that. This new website just launched today offers 10 free videos with the most basic steps to starting your blog. There are plans for future videos to help the beginning blogger. Here are just a few of the titles currently available:
- Why you should use WordPress,
- How to get your own domain name,
- How to install and use WordPress plugins, and
- What RSS is and why you need it.
Yaro Starak and Gideon Shalwick are brains and talent behind the BecomeaBlogger website. Yaro is a very successful, full time blogger and Internet entrepreneur. His blog, Entrepreneur’s Journey, is one of my regular reads. Gideon produces the popular video blog, Internet Marketing Wizards.
I love experiments. I’ve done several in the field of chemistry, and even earned a frequent visitor pass at my local hospital burn unit. And, of course, there was that social experiment with the karaoke machine at Burning Man…but that’s another story.
But today, I conducted the Great Blogger vs. WordPress.com Experiment.
My Hypothesis: I believe it was possible to launch a new blog on the Internet in less than 15 minutes.
- a profile with one uploaded photo,
- a short post with one link, and
- a selected theme (not the default blog theme).
Testing and Observation: It took me 11 minutes and 5 seconds to create this blog on Blogger. While it took me 11 minutes and 21 seconds to create this blog on WordPress.com. However, to create a blog on Blogger, I had to have a Google account. Since I already had an account, I was able to immediately create my Blogger account and start my blog. If you don’t have a Google account, you would first have to spend a minute or two (took me 1:20) creating the Google account. That would make the entire time creating the Blogger blog 12 minutes and 25 seconds.
Results: Hypothesis proven correct. It is possible to start a blog in less than 15 minutes using either Blogger or WordPress.com. Of course, the features and other factors may play a role in which platform to use, but either will allow you to get a blog up in just minutes.
Next Hypothesis to Test: Can a hamster and a turtle live as friends in 10 gallon aquarium?
I expect this research to be published in the Journal of Obvious Knowledge Experiments early next month. But if you’d like to break the news, feel free to publish these results.