Digging for Content

Part of the reason that it’s been so awfully quiet around here is that I’ve been struggling a lot with coming up wih content.  When I first began writing here, it seemed easy.  And in fact, it usually was.  Now?  Not so much.

What changed?  Me.  I think.  I used to be ok with trolling around the internet looking for the latest thing and trying to piggyback onto it with a comment or two.  I think I still am.  For the most part.  However, I seem to be having one heck of a time finding anything that I’m even remotely interested in to comment on.  Let’s see.  There’s the iPad.  I can’t stand Apple. I can’t even tell you why other than I think there’s a part of me that hates them because they are the cool kids and I never was.  Add on to that the fact that the iPad is not much more than a fancy ebook reader, and I have a hard time finding any real comments on it.

Lately, there’s been a fair amount of talk (buzz, if you will) about Google Buzz.  I’ve been playing with it a little and am still waiting for that lightbulb to light up when I figure out why it’s any better than any of the other services out there that I already use and already have set up the way I want.  So far, that hasn’t happened.  In fact, at the moment, I think it’s inferior to most of the services that it’s trying to replace.

There just is very little that I see that really entices me and jumps up and down yelling “Hey, Blogger!  Write about me!”.  So, I wander around going through my list on Google Reader, watching my feeds on Twitter, and even popping on to Facebook now and again for something other than games.  If I’m desperate, I might even pop over to Digg, Techmeme, or Technorati.

So, how do you find your content?  Where do you find your inspiration?  Tell me.  Share with me.

Redirection

As many of you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been a bit absent lately, here.  It was not by design, but I think it was a necessary thing.  It was also extended by the birth of my second child, a wonderful little girl, Madeline Grace.  She spend an extra week in the hospital, so I’ve been slightly distracted over the last few weeks from that.

That, however, is not the reason that it’s gone quiet here.  In the last several years, this site has been searching for an identity.  It’s gone from my personal blog, to a blog on blogging and finally evolving to what it is now, a blog on making money online.  Nevermore.

This site has always been, whether obvious or not, my personal blog.  That is, the personal blog of Shane M. Ede.  It will soon be returning to that capacity.  You’ll be seeing a much higher percentage of personal posts and posts on things that I hold dear.  Reading and writing, but not arithmatic.  Some tech and science fiction.  Some dogs and kids.  And maybe, just maybe, a little making money online and blogging still.  But don’t stick around for that, because I don’t currently have plans for much of it, if any.

In the coming weeks and months, you’ll see (hopefully) this site make a transformation to more clearly reflect this new (old) purpose.  A redesign is highly likely, as is some new graphics, and possibly a bit less advertising.  With the purpose of the blog to be more personal, I don’t think that advertising will have as much of an impact, nor will it likely bring in much money.  So, less clutter perhaps.

And more me.

The Blogging Process

Ede asked me to write a post about my blogging process.  I was more than happy to take this guest post challenge.  One of the biggest helps I have had was to bring prior experience into my blogging process.  I was editor in chief of my college newspaper for a year.  One of the biggest mistakes I made was not using what I learned during that time in my blogging.  I recently wrote a post on better blogging, it too might be of help here.

I have set up for myself an editorial process that I try to hold to as much as is reasonably possible.  (As a part time blogger sometimes schedules slip, but I do what I can.)  I actually found an article not too long ago that lays this process out fairly well.

Inception: Brainstorming, Start a draft, Related articles.

Sometimes it works to find a post, throw up a quick blurb, and hit post.  That will get you some content, however to make your site worth coming back to, quality will mean more than quantity.  The first part is coming up with an article idea.  I prefer a couple of methods.  First, I use Google Reader and Friendfeed to mark articles I find interesting or that are on a topic I feel I can contribute to.  Second, I am a bit old fashion in this, but I use a whiteboard as a scratch pad.  I lay out the article to give it some form and scratch out additional notes.  In WordPress, I also start a draft right away.  Even if I never write the article, I have something started that I can work on later.  I have gotten many more posts doing this.

Laying out this article

Laying out this article

Research: Blogging History, Other Bloggers, Links to Supporting Evidence

Research and supporting evidence help give both additional emphasis and credibility to posts.  Also, if you have written on the topic before, link to your older posts.  Not only does it give your audience a chance to be interested in your site past one article, it builds age and therefore credibility.  Also, link to other bloggers who have written on the topic.  (Especially if you got the idea for the post from them.)  Not only is it just plain nice to do, but it builds potential for other bloggers to link to you.  That gives you more visibility and traffic.

Posting: Stumble, Twitter, Trackbacks, Ad Placement

Once you finish, review, and post your article, there is plenty more you can do.  StumbleUpon is a great tool to help people discover your posts and then site.  After every post, I Stumble it as well.  I then also Twitter my posts, in case followers there would also like to view my posts.  A lot of links will automatically trackback to the original post, which gives a link back to your site.  The last part of this is – ad placement.  Don’t be afraid to place an ad in an article, especially if it ads to it.  An example would be a book review, add in an image of the book linking to amazon using an affiliate link.  Gives the person a look at the book artwork, and may make you a commission.  (Doesn’t happen often, but it is possible.)

Conclusion

The beauty in blogging is that it is extremely flexible.  Perhaps a free form process works best for you.  I find a little more structure and pre-planning go a long way in my own blogging.  Try different methods and see what works best for you.

Better Blogging According to Jake

My friend Jake has been getting back on the horse with his blogging.  He’s made some changes to his workflow (which I might have him convinced to share with us here) and has done a really good job of becoming a regular poster.

Jake wrote an article entitled Better Blogging today and I thought that it was worth sharing.  Here’s a few snippets.

There are a number of sites that can help people blog better and make more of their blogs.  One of the best ways to improving my own blogs has been watching other bloggers and learning from their suggestions.  ProBlogger and CopyBlogger are must reads if you are trying to develop your blog.  Also, if there is a particular niche you decide to blog about, make sure to subscribe and follow what they are writing about.  Not only will you occasionally get ideas  on what to write about, but you will be able to interact with those existing communities.

Excellent advice.  There’s a nice subscribe button just at the top of the right sidebar here.  😉

Last tip on blogging I have for this post is – keep trying.  If you are trying to develop a blog and something isn’t working for you, try something else.  Just keep trying.  Ask other bloggers for advice.  It might not work for you, but it very well might give you an idea of what will.

Exactly.  This site in particular has gone through several evolutions (and is always ripe for another) and so is a perfect example of why you should keep trying.  Thatedeguy.com might not be a success on the order of some of the big guys, but it makes me money and gives me an outlet for my writings.  That is enough to keep me trying for a while longer.

One thing that I would add, that while not necessarily missing from Jake’s post isn’t made obvious, is to be passionate about your blogging.  Not every blog or website you do has to be on a topic that you’re passionate about, but I think you’ll find that the ones that are do much better in the long run than those that are on topics that you aren’t passionate about.

Another that I would add is to not be afraid to make money with your blog or because of your blog.  There’s nothing spammy or shameful about making money from what you do.  Some of the best bloggers around are making money from or because of their blogs.

There’s plenty more to Jake’s post, so you should go and read the rest.