Going Against The Blogging Grain – How To Break 5 Rules Of Blogging And Be Successful

Currently Watching:
Orange County (2002)

In my quest for becoming more well-known in the blogosphere, I’ve read my fair share of blogging tips. I have incorporated a lot of them into my writing and to the design of this website, and there are several that will be utilized in due time.

However, there are some tips that I encounter a lot. So much so, that people consider them “rules of blogging.”

1. Get a single niche and never go off-topic

This one really pisses me off to be honest.

I’m the kind of guy who has many interests and wants to share them with the world. If you share yourself with the world and have the writing and/or speaking chops, then people out there will visit your website.

Of course if your interests are narrow, like collecting exotic vintage bicycle rims from the 70’s, then you might not get millions of hits a month unless you put a creative spin on it (pun kind of intended).

2. If you wanna talk about something else, have more than one blog

I kinda understand this one, but just like going niche and only having a single topic, it’s incredibly short-sighted.

As I’ve said before, I have lots of interests. However, my attention for them is always in flux. One day, I might want to talk about guitars all day. The next day, I may only be interested in anime. You see where I’m going with this?

If I were to start a blog about just anime, in order for it to get anywhere traffically-speaking, I would have to devote a lot of time to it. What if one day I want to do something else? My stats for the blog would plummet.

A similar thing happened to SpicyMelon.com. Although I was very passionate about getting it off the ground (and I still want to see it fully operational), I couldn’t devote enough time and attention to make it happen.

I find it much easier on myself to have just one blog about many topics. If I were to create another blog, I would must likely be a contributing author as opposed to the only author.

In fact, I’m trying to get things started for a collablog (a collaborative blog) between me and my friends involving Magic: The Gathering. Granted, they might be busy since they’re in college, but if I can get 5-7 dependable people to write one article a week, then we’re good to go! I might write an occasional article, but for the most part, I would be setting things up from behind the scenes.

3. Get an email newsletter

Sending out a weekly or monthly email newsletter is a great idea…if you have a blog with more than one author, that is.

I find that if your content is good enough already, then there’s no need for a newsletter. Sure you could find a way to monetize it in freemium fashion (giving away great content for free and then offering better content at a price, hence free+premuim=freemium), but ultimately, you’ll burn yourself out really quick without more authors to help you.

4. Talk about popular topics

This is a very unscalable short-term blogging strategy. Even if you had a team of writers at your disposal, you would always be fighting to stay on top by being relevant.

Your old posts should help your traffic stay afloat instead of just being yesterday’s news. Writing excellent content that is timeless will allow you to take a breather and focus more on the quality of content rather than the quantity.

That’s not to say that you can’t discuss what’s going on in your life. Sure it may bind your writing to that point in time, but it shows your audience the human side of you. It allows them to better connect with you and brings them closer to seeing through your prospective.

When I was talking about how my brother and I were going to become homeless (thank God that didn’t happen!), my traffic didn’t dip and I received no ill comments. In fact, my traffic spiked a bit and I received several positive comments with suggestions on how to avoid being homeless. Ultimately my brother and I didn’t become homeless, but I did learn what I could do if we ever did.

5. Make the most of your money from Adsense

When I first heard about making money from blogging, all I ever heard people talk about was AdSense this and AdSense that. As some of my long-time readers may know, my AdSense account was disabled due to illegal clicks from “somebody.”

In truth, I was the one who made those clicks. Although it was pretty darn obvious, I feel so bad having lied to everyone about it. It may be too late to get my AdSense account back up and running, but it did teach me a valuable lesson: don’t try to cheat the system for your own gain.

Losing my AdSense account made me look up other means of making money. Eventually, I settled on the means I have today. Even now, I’m still looking for new ways to make money online.

Closing Thoughts

At the risk of sounding like an after-school special, I hope that you guys learned from both my mistakes and what I’ve talked about today. The so-called “blogging rules” may work wonders for some bloggers, but for others including myself, there’s more than one way to has a cheeseburger. Thought I was gonna say “skin a cat”, right? Think again, haha!


It's Draining You And Draining Me – Blog & Google Reader Overload

Hey, long time no blog! I decided to give Amazon another chance when I heard it gave Danny Choo a shit-ton of money as an affiliate. It also shows relevant products now, so yay!

Ever since my last post, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Writer’s block, if you will. Actually, it’s more like writer’s exhaustion.

Normally, if I can’t come up with anything, I go to my trusty Google Reader, read some blogs, and hopefully come up with a topic or question that I find interesting enough to write about. However, I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of posts that I read daily. I have a very small collection of blogs that I subscribe to (as of today, 108 blogs), but some of them update multiple times a day and this could lead to quite the reading workload.

So I’m asking you, the readers of TheAndySan.com; what should I write about next? Is there a topic that you’d like me to cover or a question that you want answered by me? Leave me your thoughts below.


P.S: Check out an awesome interview with Marty Friedman at http://www.crushermagazine.com/features11_08/featmarty_friedman.htm.

Questions From The Financial Philosopher

I was reading a post by The Financial Philosopher today and decided to answer the questions that he posed in his blog:

When has your life dramatically changed as the result of some seemingly random external influence?

I first started blogging when I Googled Eriopolis, my friend’s online name. I found out that he had a Xanga account and signed up for my own. Almost 3 years and 450+ posts later, I’m beginning to connect with new and interesting people from all walks of life. If it weren’t for blogging, I wouldn’t have rediscovered my passion for writing.

How much do you feel in control of the course of your life?

Right now, I feel very much out of control of my life. I still feel that my parents are running my life and they’re not fully understanding what I wanna do with my life (become a writer). I feel that this will change once I move out for good.

Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it?  Will you ask for help?

I do find it hard to ask for help, but I am getting better at it. When it comes to the situation I’m in right now in my life, I can’t really do anything responsible to fix it at the moment because I have nowhere else to live at until I get on my feet.

Where would you choose to be if you could place yourself anywhere on a scale from one to ten, where one is hardship, struggle, and extraordinary accomplishment and ten is comfort, peace of mind, and no accomplishment.  Why?  Where are you now?

I would put myself at 4 because I don’t have to worry about shelter, food, clothes, and things like that. I’m also beginning to make something of myself online. However, I also feel that I can do so much more that what I’m doing now. I feel that I’ve taken several steps back over the course of my adult life. Moving back in with my parents and getting my old jobs back would be two major examples.

If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone?  Why haven’t you told them yet?

That I love my family and friends. I frequently tell people how important they are in my life, but I’d still miss saying it one last time. Although I may be indirect in saying “I love my family and friends” at times, sometimes just talking to them about what’s going on in their lives does more.

If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience would you do so?  If not, why not?

I would. Although my conscious mind may not remember the events that occurred during my one year of zen, my body and subconscious mind would. I feel that they would help me get back on track to finding perfect happiness again.

Would you rather be extremely successful professionally and have a tolerable yet unexciting private life, or have an extremely happy private life and only a tolerable and uninspiring professional life?

If I had to choose, I would want an extremely happy private life and only a tolerable and uninspiring professional life. I have found that my connections with the people around me (my family and friends) have been the greatest source of joy for me. Just thinking about hanging out with them can help me get through any boring work day because I have something to look forward to at the end of the day. Believe me, I was there! I still am kinda there, but my professional life is beginning to look up.

Do you have any specific long-term goals?  What is one and how do you plan on reaching it?

One of my long-term goals is to be able to life comfortably on my own doing what I want to do and not what I’m forced to do. I plan on reaching this goal first by blogging and second by selling a product. As far as what the product is, I can’t say at the moment.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

That I’m still alive, able to change my life for the better, and young enough to be able to see these changes come to full fruition.

Does the fact that you have never done something before increase or decrease its appeal to you?

I’ll admit, I do get scared of leaping into the unknown. Really scared in fact. However, as Steve Pavlina once said, “Whatever you fear you must face.”

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

I’m not really sure to be honest. I’m pretty sure that there wouldn’t be much middle ground. Either everybody’s life sucks or it’s going great.

Would you like to know the precise date of your death?

It would be nice to know, haha! However, if I did know, I’m afraid that I might become cynical and wittle my life away. I might also become paranoid and disconnect myself from the world, which is essentially like dying anyway.

Would you accept a guaranteed, lifetime allowance of $50,000 per year (adjusted annually for inflation) if accepting it meant that you could never again earn money from either work or investments?

Although there are ways of working around this sentence (like earning gifts instead of money), I would say no. The reason being is that although my current personal needs would be met (and still be passable when I start a family of my own), I like money because it means possibilities. A pool’s a pool, but money can be exchanged for virtually anything. Even a pool!

If you learned you would die in a few days, what regrets would you have?  Were you given five extra years of life, could you avoid those same regrets five years hence?

My regrets would be not living on my own and seeing the world. I’m not too sure, but I feel that I would give less of a shit about some things and just hop in my car and go.

What would you like to be doing five years from now?  What do you think you will be doing five years from now?

Five years from now, I would like to be living on my own and earning a substantial income from blogging as well as making music as part of a band. As far as what I think I’ll be doing in five years, I have no clue. I do, however, have faith that I’ll get to do what I like to do; I just have to let go of my big plans because they never seem to work out in the end.

Since so many people place an emphasis on a happy private life, why do people often wind up putting more energy into their professional lives?  If you feel your private life is more important to you, do your priorities support this?  Are you simply unwilling to admit that work is more important?  Do you use work as a substitute?  Do you hope professional success will somehow magically lead to personal happiness?

Because professional lives take so much more time and energy from us compared to our private lives.

I believe that most of my priorities do support having a better private life. However, I also believe that until I become the owner of my business, I will not be able to have all of my priorities aligned with having the best personal life possible.

I do not believe that any field of work is more important than your private life. The connections we make with others, both in business and in personal life, are the most important things in the world.

I do not use work as a substitute for my personal life. They are two separate and unequal beings.

I believe that success can permeate through our whole life. If your personal life is going great (had sex, bought a new house, met somebody new, etc), then you can breeze through your work day. If your work life is going great (you made some extra money, you got promoted, you’re getting more business for your startup, etc), then you come back into your personal life with a sense of accomplishment.

Do you feel you have enough time?  If not, what would give you that feeling?  How much has your attitude about time changed as you’ve aged?

Right now, I feel like there’s never enough time to do all that I want to do in this moment. Conversely, I feel that there is an eternity ahead of me.

Being raised in a society that favors immediate gratification as well as someday plans (“Someday, I’ll start a company that’ll make me lots of money so I won’t have to work again!”), I’m not surprised that I feel a sense of time starvation. However, when I think of the grand scope of things (I might live for another 60-70 more years), I feel that I have too much time to spare.

Can you envision how you are likely to look back upon things you are doing today?  If so, how much do you try to live now as you think you will one day wish you had lived?

“Why the hell was I so worried about that?!” I do that all the time when I look back at some of my old posts. I can see the progressions that I’ve made, both in my life and in my writing skills. I also see some of the things that haven’t changed in my life as well (wanting to hang out with my friends, not wanting to work at a crappy job, having more money, etc).

I try to change a little bit everyday so that I am not the same person as I was before. Whether it’s reading a new article, meeting somebody new, or visiting someplace new, I am constantly pursuing my own personal growth and trying to help others along the way.

Did You Really Read It All?!

Wow, this article has got to be one of my longest yet! 1,742 words to be exact!

Well, I’m gonna cook up something to eat and then I’m gonna read a new article on my Google Reader. See-ya!