Your Comment System Is Killing Your Discussions And Community Building Efforts

Does DISQUS, Livefyre, and others comment systems help or hurt your site?

by in Lifestyle on Jun 2nd, 2014

There once was a time when no comment system existed. You’d just go to a site, read the post, and leave your Name, E-mail, and URL address (optional) to leave a comment. If your browser was smart enough, it would remember all your details so you could go directly into leaving another comment instead of re-typing all your information with every visit.

Nowadays, comment systems like DISQUS are taking over. In order to comment via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or whatever, you’ve got to first register with DISQUS, allow them to access all your contact information, set up a password, and then comment. Who is to say you have a FB, Twitter, Google+ account in the first place? I registered for DISQUS a while ago, but I don’t recall my password and I can’t be bothered to change it.

Every time I stumble across a site with a DISQUS comment system, I no longer comment anymore. Some sites smartly allow one to leave a comment as a guest commenter without registering, but most sites with DISQUS don’t allow for guest commenting, so I stopped trying.

I also registered for another commenting system a while back called LiveFyre. But over the years, I hardly ever see the LiveFyre commenting system installed anymore. What happened to them? My concern is that I have to keep on registering for these new comment systems, and because many aren’t profitable, they end up not lasting for the long term. Therefore, why continue registering for ever more commenting systems that access your personal data only for them to likely disappear?

I long for the good old days to return because I like to interact more with the community through comments on the publisher’s platform.  Read More

How To Win At Everything Online

As advised by someone who has never won anything online

by in Personal Finance on Mar 31st, 2014

One blogger I’ve been mentoring over the past year asked me the other day, “How can I ever win one of those blogging awards? I see some blogs get award after award and they aren’t that good. Their traffic isn’t that high and their content isn’t very original. Yet some sites have much better content and never win anything. What’s your secret for winning an award?

I thought about his question for a moment and answered, “First of all, we have a tendency to think we are better than we really are. Second of all, I’ve actually never won a single award in my five years of writing online. This is despite writing the majority of my content, coming up with new concepts, shying away from sponsored posts, and receiving a decent amount of visitors a month. Unfortunately, you’ll probably never win an award and neither will I because 1) we aren’t self promotional enough and 2) we don’t do enough to promote those in control of giving out the awards.”

We all know that people tend to hang out and support folks who look like them, talk like them, and share their same values. It’s just the way we humans are. My central thesis in “How To Get Paid And Promoted Faster At Work” has to do with spending at least 50% of your time selling yourself internally in order to get ahead in the workplace. The same theory applies if you want to win awards online. It’s understandable that the same type of people and blogs tend to win over and over again. We like what we know.

But as someone who left Corporate America to do my own thing, I’ve got close to zero desire to network for the purpose of winning an award. Networking for friendships and fun, yes. But for an award, not so much. And for this simple reason, no matter how good my content is or how large I grow, I don’t think I’ll ever win anything. It’s not that I don’t enjoy accolades, because I do. It’s just that the biggest accolade is simply site traffic.

The internet is as close to a true meritocracy as there is. Anybody can grow their sites with enough effort and good content because the search algorithms are much less biased than humans. I also like that I can’t buy my way to success by spending lots of money on Adwords to rank higher for organic keywords.

We aren’t blogging for other bloggers unless that is your niche. Most of us are blogging for the greater community based on our site’s genre. Of course there is some overlap, but if your site grows large enough, bloggers as readers should make up less than 5% of your daily traffic.

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Fine Tune Your Blog For Maximum Results

by in Lifestyle on Nov 29th, 2013

Fine tune your blog: missions and writing styles

Author’s bio: Maria Nedeva is the blogger behind The Money Principle: a personal finance blog that will ‘make your head hurt and your wallet sing’. There she writes about money management, wealth and the changing rules of money. 

There is no point beating around the bush: we bloggers want to be read.

In fact, it doesn’t matter whether we blog for fun, for love or for money – our writing is meaningful only when someone reads it.

Lately, people have little time to read and many sources to choose from. So every time we, bloggers, write and publish something we are in intense competition with each other, with journalists, with reality TV, with the movies and with a myriad other entertainments which temp our potential readers.

Recently I had a chat with a lady, a former journalist, who now works for a website in the UK. Our amicable chat became a friendly debate at the moment she shared her belief that within five to ten years all small personal finance bloggers will disappear – and let me tell you, compared to the site she works for we are all small – because they couldn’t compete on two counts: resources and professionalism.

She was saying that to dig up information is expensive and needs much work by many people; small players don’t have the resources to put behind this so people will stop finding them useful.

Her second point was about the quality of investigation and writing referring to the fact that top journalists are starting to work for major websites – how can ‘one man and his/her dog’ compete with that? How can hobbyist-bloggers reach the level of professionalism that trained and seasoned journalists have?

You have probably guessed I didn’t agree with that; I even insisted on splitting up the bill and paying my part (for a personal finance blogger this is sign of great upset, I think). But my argument was messy and my thinking fuzzy. I just found myself muttering lamely:  Read More

How To Write The Whale Post

Creating Memorable, High Traffic Content

by in Lifestyle on Nov 17th, 2011

One of the reasons why public writing is so addicting is because there’s a chance somebody important out there might read what you’re writing and highlight it to somebody else important.  Your traffic starts to surge and your site might even crash due to server overload.  If this happens, congratulations!  You have found your Whale Post!

The Whale Post is elusive.  You think you’re writing interesting stuff, but most of the time nobody really cares, as reflected by the lack of comments.  You can have a site with thousands of subscribers with only 10 people motivated enough to leave some thoughts.  How demoralizing is that?  It’s only demoralizing if you think you’ve written something good.

Whale Post definition: A post which contains over 100 comments or 5X your average number of comments and accounts for at least 25% of your monthly traffic.  This is a new term that I’d like to introduce to the online writing community.

Here’s a case study of how the post, “How Much Do The Top Income Earners Make By Percentage” became a Whale Post on Financial Samurai.  If you search the term “top income earners“, you’ll see this post come up at the top of all major search engines.  Because of this, the post has received over 60,000 page views a month for the past couple of months.  Meanwhile, there are more than 700 hundred comments, hundreds of which could be stand alone 800-word articles themselves!

THE BASICS OF CREATING THE WHALE POST Read More

Yahoo!-Bing Media.net Review: Five Years Later Using A Google Adsense Alternative

CPC Advertising Option

by in Lifestyle on Sep 15th, 2014

When I first started blogging in 2009, Google Adsense and selling text links was all the rage. I remember reading everything I could about ad positioning with heat maps, figuring out the optimal number of CPC ad blocks to place, and understanding which keywords were more lucrative. It was fun and exhilarating to earn several bucks a day. But all I really wanted to do was write for the fun of it for the first couple of years. Writing posts to try and rank well for CPC advertising was quite a soul-less endeavor, especially for one who had a full-time job at the time.

After working on CPC income for the first couple of years, I began focusing 80% of my efforts on developing affiliate income because once you’ve optimized your CPC ads, there’s nothing much more you need to do as the ads show automatically. CPC income is truly the most passive of incomes there is online! With affiliate advertising, I wanted to further optimize my ads displayed by choosing the best products to feature on my site that I personally use as well.

After five years on the Yahoo-Bing Media.net platform I’d like to provide another review about the pros and cons of using Media.net specifically. I also have Google Adsense on Financial Samurai as well, so I’ve got a good idea of how everything works and compares.

MEDIA.NET CPC ADVERTISING REVIEW

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When Should You Quit Your Day Job To Become A Full-Time Blogger?

by in Lifestyle on Sep 2nd, 2014

I was doing some financial housekeeping the other day and I realized my online company’s operating profit YTD finally outstripped my day job income from the very last full year. I was excited not so much by the amount, but because I had finally proved to myself that I could finally make something sustainable on my own. Creating something from nothing is a thrill.

Financial Samurai and the Yakezie Network started in the summer and winter of 2009. We’ve all heard that most businesses fail within 5 years, so getting over the 5 year hump is definitely something I’m pleased about. It’s been a fun and long road since then – lots of failures, lots of conflict, lots of stolen ideas, and lots of doubt. I’m not sure I’d be as appreciative of my situation now if it wasn’t for a lot of problems in the past.

It wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to focus more attention on making online revenue since that is when I left my job. Before then, I was just writing for the fun of it. I still write mostly for the joy of writing, but there’s a little more business strategy involved now. Writing for leisure and connecting with other people online is probably what saved me from quitting. I think most of us blog because it’s a rewarding experience unlike any other. Read More

Should I Still Accept Guest Posts? Absolutely Positively!

Guest Posting Diversifies Your Audience And Keeps Things Interesting

by in Lifestyle on Aug 25th, 2014

In early 2014, there was a lot of buzz that Guest Posting was dead thanks to Matt Cutts from Google saying that a lot of guest posting is just spam.

I seldom host guest posts on FS because most of the inquiries are thinly veiled advertorials or indeed spam. My average guest post hosting frequency is probably one every 1.5 months over the past five years. But for the SEO industry to go in a tizzy and say that guest posting is detrimental to your site is just ludicrous. I swear to goodness, if I wasn’t a blogger, I’d be an “SEO expert” because they have successfully been able to make a ton by making clients do things, and then undo things, and then do new things, and then undo the new things!

Remember, if an SEO is such an expert, why doesn’t s/he have her/his own site to make tons of passive income? Passive income is clearly superior than active income. I play poker with a couple Google middle managers in the search department and they consistently tell me about crazy stories some webmasters do online to try and game the system. Beyond basic SEO, there’s nothing much more you need to do! Read More

Finding The Best Money Making Affiliate Program For Your Blog

Go Direct To The Advertiser Source If You Can

by in Lifestyle on Aug 12th, 2014

Someone asked me the other day what were the three things that gave me the confidence to leave my job in 2012. My initial response was being able to negotiate a severance package worth six years of existing living expenses. The severance was seriously the unexpected X Factor that I did not foresee happening when I was planning on one day leaving Corporate America. All I planned for was saving as much money as possible and building passive income streams.

But as I got to thinking a little more about my financial situation back in 2011/2012, I realized that it was really the POTENTIAL of generating a decent income stream online that got me really excited about pursuing online entrepreneurship full-time.

Back in the Fall of 2011, there were still a lot of direct advertising opportunities despite Google getting increasingly harsher in punishing those sites who sold one too many links. I didn’t want to live in fear of Financial Samurai getting punished, so I decided that I would no longer accept any direct advertisements, or do only a very few that would at least be relevant to some of the content on my site.

I decided to finally focus on affiliate advertising, which is way more congruent and a much safer way to earn income online. Before then, I was just too lazy to try, and I also didn’t really care about making money online as much since I had a job. Read More

Does PageRank Still Matter? It Sure Seems Like It Doesn’t

by in Lifestyle on Jul 29th, 2014

The other day I was having a conversation with a tennis buddy of mine whose wife has a fitness blog. Her site receives about 30,000 pageviews a months. Not too shabby at all.

I mentioned I do some blogging too, and he asked me the address for my blog and I told him Financial Samurai. Given we were at our tennis club working on our laptops before playing a match that afternoon, he immediately looked my site up.

Here’s the first thing he said, “Nice site. I really need to work on personal finance. Oh…….. you’ve really got to work your PageRank up to a 5. That’s when good things happen and Google will really like you then.”

I was pretty surprised he mentioned PageRank given I haven’t read any articles from the SEO circus on PageRank in at least a year and a half. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough? I know we have the occasional PageRank discussion in the Yakezie forums from newer bloggers, but we definitely haven’t published any PageRank-related posts on Yakezie.com.

There once was a time when PageRank and MozRank were all the rage. Here’s a June 29, 2011 post I wrote here called, “Google Updates PageRank And The Yakezie Rises” as reference. Ahhh, the good old days! But now, unless I’m totally out of it, I don’t hear much about PageRank at all.

PAGERANK’S IMPORTANCE

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How To Make Money Quitting Your Job
  • Untemplater: Having great customer service is worth a LOT. That’s awesome you’ve beeb able to get so much...
  • Financial Samurai: Every single site is like it’s own little business. Definitely worth trying to maximize!
  • Financial Samurai: It’s worth doing an A/B split test. That’s what I did on various prime positions on my...
  • moneystepper: Excellent points FS, thanks. Multiple sources of income are important everywhere, even down to the...
  • Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja: This is great information. I don’t have media.net, only adsense right now, but...
  • Financial Samurai: Natalie, how long have you been working at your day job? I’m pretty confident that after...
  • Financial Samurai: Great to hear! A perfect combo indeed. Maybe I’ll write about it :)
  • Natalie: I don’t think I could quit until I was making more than what I make at my day job. I won’t leave...
  • The Phroogal Jason: Great post. Making it to a top blogger list and winning an award are two ways to feel validated....
  • FamilyMoneyValues: This really worked for us as well. My spouse worked for the federal government which was very...
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