In between classes, holidays/fam events, flu, and workouts, I’m working on updating and cleaning up most of my sites, including this one. The theme update is the first step. I think it’s nice and clean.
I’ve changed the blog theme to the Zinmag Futura. However, I don’t need most of the flashy gizmos, and so I disabled them. But I love the thumbs and the rotating front page featured and slide/glide menu. The only issue I’ve had was with the thumbnails links not working correctly (discussion thread), but hopefully that gets cleaned up soon. Also, I just found out that Zinmag Redox had exactly the things I wanted without the extra features (for anyone that wants to save an hour or two in setting things up).
This morning (I got up an hour ago, still jetlagged), I added categories to my Starting Real Estate Blog. I’m still not sure to the best way to break things down, as cognitive science philosophy and linguistics drilled us, “Categories don’t contain items, rather items have properties that describe them.” There are no essences. Sorry Aristotle. It would be nice to get some advice about label though. There’s a General one that contains all the posts. I’m still debating whether to get rid of that one. So far I have three labels: Purpose, Advice, and Education. Because right now most of the advice is about education, the two overlap a lot, just like they do in life. I hope search engines don’t get upset that the category pages overlap a lot. Does anyone have tips on this topic?
Looking at the ads on a course materials post, none of them seemed very relevant, they were on books and courses, but on completely different topics. The description was “my courses and books” and the keywords are “courses books real estate principles practice”. Just to check, I added “Real Estate” to the description (“My Real Estate courses and books”). Bam! Immediately all the ads grew in relevance, all were about Real Estate exams and courses. I know changing the title to include those words will have an even greater effec, but when it comes to content, I’d rather keep things clean.
Update: Simply changing the order of the keywords and description on this post: moving “niche blog”, “meta description”, and “ads” to the front and “category label” to the back changed the ads from office supplies to webpage optimizations on this post. I love how you can see results right away.
Last night I registered the domain and started writing the first few articles as dreamhost (yes that’s my reference link) set everything up. It only took about half an hour before I could see the site and I used their one-click install to set up wordpress. Piece of cake. I went to bed happy knowing that I just made the first steps, and did so with no problems.
This morning I wanted to add some stat measures and change the layout a bit, and to my horror, the host couldn’t be found. Panic.
Did someone attack the site? Did it get banned for some strange reason? I went into the dreamhost panel and everything seemed legit. I checked the server status and again things seem ok. Then I reread the email from the registration and it said:
Your registration of … has been processed.
It will probably take 1-3 days for your domain to begin to work as the new dns information propagates across the Internet!
“1-3 days” – Perhaps there’s no need to worry yet. I submitted a report just in case, but I guess I can still take a shower and eat and attend to other business while everything gets set up. There’s nothing else I can do there anyway.
Update: Everything was back up within two hours.
Found on del.icio.us, an fantastic article on Blogging from ProBlogger: 18 Lessons I’ve Learnt about Blogging. I have a lot to learn from it and will try to use it on the site I’m about to launch. Here’s a breakdown of the rules, although I’d really recommend reading the article‘s in-depth explanations.
- Be Lucky – “The key I’ve found with luck is to run with it and to make every lucky instance last as long as possible. So when you strike it lucky enjoy it but also ask yourself ‘how can I capitalise on my good fortune?’”
- Work Hard – “Work alone is definitely NOT everything (I’ve seen many hard working bloggers who have not had success) but it is one element that I think is essential.”
- Use the Power of Exponential Growth
- Differentiate Yourself
- Provide Value
- Target a Niche (Keep a blog focused and don’t spread yourself too thin (8) content-wise)
- Diversify (At least try a few things before throwing all your energy toward a single one.)
- Don’t Spread Self too Thin — Absolutely! It’s better to do one thing really really well than a whole bunch of things at a mediocre level
- Have a Backup Plan (Don’t depend on blogging alone)
- Be Light on Your Feet (Opportunities come and go)
- Relationships are Key — Yes!
- Establish Boundaries
- Don’t read your Own Press
- Beware of Hype
- Get a Life (Enjoy what you do, but enjoy the rest of life too)
- Make Mistakes — Very important one! I couldn’t agree more
- Be Yourself
- There are No Rules
I feel many of these rules apply not only to blogs but to all business, and all of life in general. These rules could apply to relationships very easily as well. Target a niche? Yes, find something that special someone really likes.
If you just look at the rules, perhaps they can be simplified to:
- take advantage of opportunities
- get focused
- help others
- stay true
But these eighteen rules are perfect in the way they’re specific enough to directly apply and yet general enough to apply to all sorts of situations.