My 4-Month Experiment Not Using A Comment System – Was It Effective?

by in Lifestyle on Dec 4th, 2014

On June 2nd of this year, my inbox pulled in an email with a link to an article with this headline: “Your Comment System Is Killing Your Discussions and Community Building Efforts.” I was immediately intrigued for two reasons. One, it was written by Sam for the Yakezie network which I had most recently joined. I love Sam’s writing and the ideas he puts forth so naturally I was going to read.

I also was interested because I was using the DISQUS commenting system on my blog at the time. I had installed that at the very beginning of Luke1428.com after doing some reading about how to monitor the comment section of a blog. DISQUS was promoted in the literature I read as being a system that 1) helped block spam, 2) raised the quality of conversation by weeding out gutter-trash commenters, and 3) provided options for monetization if the user wanted to go that route. Plus it was being used by several well-respected and highly trafficked blogs I was reading at the time. So I thought if it’s good enough for the bigwigs it’s good enough for me.

But I suspected Sam had an ulterior motive for preaching against comment systems. A few weeks prior to his post, we had an email exchange one day because he couldn’t log on to DISQUS at my site and make a comment on one of my posts. After several emails we eventually got it worked out and he left a comment. But I was frustrated one of my users had to go through that mess just to comment and I’m sure he was a tiny bit annoyed as well.

So I figured when I clicked to read the article that DISQUS and all other third party comment systems would be skewered. I was right.

In general, Sam’s main argument for abandoning comment systems is that they put up a wall to engagement in that a potential user has to register with the system to comment. They must keep track of their username and password at all times if they want to join the discussion. Many people will balk at that request, refuse to comment and thus the discussion and community building efforts are hindered.

Sam admitted to me in response to my comment on that post that his observations were anecdotal, based solely on his own experience. So I decided to run an experiment to put some data behind his observations. Perhaps then I could find out if DISQUS had actually been hurting my community building efforts.

On July 12th, I scrapped my DISQUS commenting system in favor of the traditional WordPress commenting platform. All the original comments transferred over without problem. The only addition I made to the system was adding the CommentLuv plugin, which allows other bloggers to leave a link to their most recent post when they comment on your article. Read More

How To Create A Successful Blog: Don’t Ask For Too Much Too Soon

Giving Up Too Soon Is Like Asking For Too Much Too Soon

by in Lifestyle on Nov 25th, 2014

As bloggers, we know how difficult it is to gain the trust of a community. Way too many sites start off with a lot of enthusiasm and just fade within a year. Life gets in the way, and that’s fine. There are certainly more important things to do with one’s time than write all day. But for those of you who are serious about blogging, commitment and longevity is a must.

I no longer watch any TV shows live because the networks tend to cancel them arbitrarily mid-season without even an apology or excuse. After spending hours getting into the characters and story, to have a show ripped out from under me pisses me off. I feel like I ended up wasting a lot of time that could be spent doing something else. Now I only watch shows on DVD or Netflix after they’ve survived a third season. Three seasons is enough time for me to invest in the program.

The same thing goes with blogging. A lot of readers don’t fully invest their time on new sites. They know the survival rate for surviving past the 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years mark goes down at each step. Therefore, it is imperative for bloggers who want to make their sites more than just hobbies to survive for at least the first year. Otherwise, readers will tend to just stick with sites that have been around for years, despite having less interesting content. The Yakezie Challenge is six months long b/c it weeds out less serious contenders.

If you are a blogger looking to make connections with other bloggers, the same thing holds true about the importance of survival. Are you really going to bother spending a similar amount of time leaving comments and building a relationship if there’s a high chance the blog will fail? Of course not.

Giving up too soon is one of the top three reasons why sites fail. The other reason is simply unoriginal, unhelpful, uninteresting content. Write Whale Posts if you can instead. Let me discuss more about the third reason why so many sites fail. Read More

Are You Fully Utilizing Your Blog For Maximum Financial Returns?

by in Lifestyle on Nov 9th, 2014

Like many of you, I’ve been on this passive/semi-passive income building journey for quite a while now. I love the blogosphere because most of us like to write, and we’re all looking to see if we can develop a fun side or main income stream to buttress our financial situation.

In my latest passive income report, I finally realized that I’ve been seriously neglecting one key financial asset: my Lake Tahoe vacation property! It’s weird, because for the previous two passive income reports, I thought I was doing everything possible to boost my passive income.

I occasionally advertised the vacation property on Craigslist to supplement the existing efforts of the hotel property management company. But I stopped after about several months because it became tedious.

Then I fired the hotel property management company after six years and went with a new property management company that charged half the commission. The risk was that since they are an outside property management company, volume would decrease. But they guaranteed me a minimal amount of income to switch, so I wasn’t too worried unless they welched on their promise. I decided not to help them market my property due to the guarantee and due to my desire to focus on my consulting and online business.

Now that the annual guarantee income period is over, it’s best to help them, help me beyond just advertising on Craigslist and e-mailing my friends. I could write an in-depth post full of pictures about The Resort At Squaw Creek to rank for the terms “lake tahoe vacation property rental, Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, Resort At Squaw Creek” and link back to my property management company! If that post could sit on the front page of a Google search for years, then voila! An extra $500 – $1,500 a month in income could very easily be generated

So that is exactly what I did. I finally wrote a 1,550 word post about the best vacation property rental in Lake Tahoe on November 7, 2014. But what I should have done was write that post five years earlier when I first started Financial Samurai! Doh.  Read More

Before You Write A Post, Ask Yourself This One Question

by in Lifestyle on Oct 29th, 2014

The other week I woke up around 4am because I passed out at 9pm. I had played tennis the night before and ate a big meal afterward. Food coma hit me instantly.

Given there’s nobody to talk to at 4am, I decided to finally write a long and detailed post about venture debt on Financial Samurai. It’s a new investment category I’ve allocated a good chunk of change towards, and I wanted to make sure I fully understood what I was investing in and share the investment with my community.

The post is 2,300 words long and took about 2.5 hours to write. It has four charts as well. After editing the post I scheduled it for the next day and that was that.

Several days later I Googled “venture debt” to see if my article appears in the search results, and it does. BUT, the article is on page 5 of Google, which means nobody is ever going to read it. As I looked around the other articles about venture debt, I realized that I was competing with a investment fellowship organization and several other venture debt funds. That’s steep competition because those guys are experts in venture debt, whereas I’m simply an investor in a venture debt fund.

The quality of articles I’ve read on venture debt now that I’ve published my articles is very high, much higher than your typical blog post about investing, paying off debt, or what to buy your kids for the holidays. Lesson learned, if you are going to tackle a complicated topic, it’s probably best to do some research on what’s out there first.

That said, I do very little competitive research before I write about anything. The reason being that I don’t want to let competition stop me from writing what I want. Blogging is supposed to fun and free-flowing. Doing competitive analysis to try and figure out the likelihood of ranking for XYZ term is very soul-killing.  Read More

A Blog Is One Of The Greatest Small Businesses In The World

by in Lifestyle on Oct 20th, 2014

Anybody who says, “A blog is not a business” most certainly does not have a very lucrative blog. I firmly believe that having a blog is one of the greatest businesses in the world for a variety of reasons.

But before I get into why a blog is a terrific business, I want to first highlight what people think about when people refer to businesses. Here are some examples:

* A clothing store. Super low margin business due to rent, manpower, and cost of good sold.

* A barber shop. An unscalable business that is also low margin due to rent and manpower.

* An auto body shop. For the amount they charge to fix a dent, this should be a massively profitable business. But due to PP&E, rent, and labor costs, the business isn’t as lucrative as you might think. There are also health hazards to deal with due to the paint.

* A roofing company. A very low margin business that’s dangerous and labor intensive. Not scaleable and not sustainable on your own.

* A software business. A fantastic, high margin business that can produce recurring revenue through new releases.

* A drop shipping business online. A nice business that doesn’t hold inventory. Read More

How To Make Money Quitting Your Job
  • Financial Samurai: Great initiative Graham! It’s a no brainer to try and achieve financial goals together.
  • Jakub: Sounds interesting, will think about it. I quit my job a month and plan to travel around Asia for 6+ months...
  • HappySimpleLiving: Great article and good for you, Brian, for methodically testing your decision to drop Disqus....
  • Nik @ Midlife Finance: Since 2013 I stopped using a blog commenting system for my blog. I also used Disqus that time...
  • Michelle: I really dislike Disqus from a user perspective because I always seem to get logged out and then have to...
  • Brian@Luke1428: Agreed Maria…please no captcha. Sometimes I can’t interpret those and have to reset them...
  • Brian@Luke1428: “…you don’t “own” or “host” the comments…” Right…I didn’t...
  • Brian@Luke1428: “…resistant at first to even commenting on sites with disqus…” I’m so...
  • Brian@Luke1428: Mobile devices are not great for commenting. I try to do as little of that as possible and when I do...
  • Brian@Luke1428: Haha…It wasn’t always like that Joseph. At first there was no one commenting. I...

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