Monthly Archives: September 2011

A Few Thoughts on How I’m Rethinking Leadership, Blogging

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is how leadership translates through the written word, especially through digital mediums like Facebook, Twitter, and (of course) blogging.

To be honest, I’ve never really been a super-fan of the “leadership blogs” or “leadership bloggers” that are out there (except for a very rare few) because I either feel that they do it poorly or that they don’t (in my own mind) deserve to entitle themselves to the moniker of “leader.”

The way that I have always seen it is this: If you give yourself the title of “leader” then you, to a certain degree, disqualify yourself from being one as it’s not something you can (or have the right to) give yourself but something that you ultimately receive from the people that you lead.

Perhaps it’s because I demand an unfair amount of humility that should be the hallmark of a great leader and those that call themselves (unabashedly, unashamedly, or dogmatically) one obviously do not have that quality.

Or perhaps it’s because leadership, to me, is always in tandem with an attitude of service (servant-leader and servant-leadership being the more appropriate and more comfortable word/phrase) and the vast majority of those that claim to be “leadership bloggers” don’t appear to serve and give their community of readers much more than lip-service and and not-so-soft reminder that they are, in fact, self-proclaimed leaders.

But if I’m honest with you – and I try to always be as honest, frank, and forthcoming with you as I possibly can be – a good portion of my discontent with leadership blogs (and those that write them) is simply my own personal insecurity with the idea of leadership as I do not have a personal definition that I am comfortable with believing in and much less discussing and defending.

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Full Time IT Nerd, Geek

I’m looking to hire a rockstar full-time IT Nerd (that’s the official job title… kinda.) for one of the businesses that I lead.

Here are some of the qualifications that I’m looking for:

  1. If I ask you to build me a Windows or OSX Server you wet your pants with excitement.
  2. Deploying, managing, and troubleshooting phone lines to wifi networks to my staff’s mobile needs sounds like a dream come true.
  3. Being a help-desk and end-user technology support technician (hardware and software) makes you giddy.
  4. You spend your lunch hours reading blogs about IT infrastructure while tweaking fan units just for fun.
  5. You know what a CRM is and don’t mind doing a bit of business analyst work to find the best one.
  6. Inventory management? Psh. You do that in your sleep.
  7. You like people as much as you do computers… almost. Just kidding.
  8. When I say “I need a long RJ-45” you giggle (because you know what I mean).
  9. You don’t mind working odd hours (and long hours) as long as you have the freedom to do so the way that you want.
  10. You’re a geek, in every sense of the word. You don’t mind being called a nerd either.
  11. You can tactically deploy new systems today but you also don’t mind leading others and building strategy for the future.
  12. If I ask you to go out and buy me 10 Macbook Pros you don’t ask me when or why – you ask me specs and if I want wireless mice with them (with service agreements).
  13. When I say “I like Clouds.” you say “Do you want me to build one?”

If you’re seriously interested please email me ASAP with a resume and a few lines convincing me that you’re awesome:

I promise lots of work, lots of fun, and money.

Blogger Notes Concept

As you can see there’s something new in the works and I’m pretty darn stoked about it…!

For the longest time I’ve used a combination of many of these notebooks to take notes and draft posts for my blogs but none of them really helped me focus my attention to the things that absolutely mattered in a blog post – elements that are specifically for posts!

So, I set out to see if I could come up with something simple, pliable, and extremely useful and pragmatic. What you see above is a first pass concept of a new product that I’m interested in releasing in partnership with Jared Erickson.

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What Percent of Organic Traffic Should a Blog Get?

[This is part of the Blogger’s Guide to Earning More with Google Adsense.]

This is a great question but one that’s not necessarily complete. I get asked this a lot and the quick and simple answer is this: It depends.

As we discussed in the last blog post about Adsense and organic traffic one will generally see a higher CTR (click-through rate) on their advertisements with organic traffic as compared to direct traffic and/or referral-based traffic.

What that means, naturally, is if you’re trying to make a lot of income through an Adsense-based blog and/or website you’re going to want to concentrate on developing a blog that has a lot of search engine traffic.

But here’s the catch: Concentrating too much on SEO-based traffic might cost you in the long run as the formulas change and algorithms shift – you always want a good balance between the top three: Direct Traffic, Referring Sites, and Search Engines.

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3 Ways to Increase Organic Traffic, The Adsense Money Maker

[This is part of the Blogger’s Guide to Earning More with Google Adsense.]

One of the things that you’ll hear a lot (for good reason) is the term “organic” traffic. I’ve already used this term a lot, both in this Adsense Series as well as in other posts but I wanted to spend a little time providing a little guidance about why it’s so important.

The simple fact is that traffic that originates from search engines is called organic traffic and organic traffic has been proven to be the most profitable, not just financially but also from a pageview and growth perspective.

That’s why you’ll hear me (and many others) say that organic traffic is the best type of traffic to monetize and should ultimately be a part of your growth goals for your blog.

Why is it so important? It’s because when people use a search engine they are obviously looking for something – a product, a service, and answer to a question and/or a solution to a problem. This search pattern and behavior is important because they are more prone to click through advertisements that provide a solution to their need than other types of traffic.

This means, naturally, that visitors and readers from other sources are far less likely to click on your advertisements than organic traffic visitors. In fact, regular users (repeat visitors and community members) will almost never click on any of your advertisements because they are there for the content, not necessarily the advertisement that doesn’t necessarily solve a problem or provide a solution – the content is the problem and solution instead (in some cases).

They suffer from “banner blindness” as some call it. The same goes for traffic generated via social media sharing and the like – they are (generally speaking) a bit more web savvy and are there for the content as well, not the advertisements that solve a need as well.

Makes sense, right?

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10 Reasons Why You Should Use Google Adsense

[This is part of the Blogger’s Guide to Earning More with Google Adsense.]

At this point you might have already committed to moving forward with Google Adsense but even so I wanted to share some candid thoughts on why I have chosen to use it for not only this blog when I first started advertising but on many other blogs as well.

I’ll admit that I haven’t always been a super-fan of Adsense and on some blogs it just doesn’t “fit” well with the content focus and/or the community – but there’s always a possibility of executing well with it if done wisely and strategically.

It’s definitely not the financial “ringer” and obviously not the only monetization strategy that works but there are some amazing benefits of not just from fattening your wallet but it can also help you learn more about your blog, how it interacts with search and SEO, and how better to serve your visitors and readers with strategically placed content and call-outs. Heck, there’s a lot that you can learn just through the research required to do well with Adsense!

But naturally the most important (and powerful) reason for using Google Adsense is that if you do well then it can provide you a significant financial channel from your blog and some people make tens of thousands from it every single month. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Without further ado, here’s my Top 10 list that might just sway you if you’re sitting on the fence:

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How to Appeal a Ban from Google Adsense

[This is part of the Blogger’s Guide to Earning More with Google Adsense.]

A natural follow-up to the last post in the Adsense for Bloggers Series is how to engage with Google if you do, in fact, get banned either because you ignored the rules and policies on purpose (or by accident).

Of course, as I mentioned in the post, you could have been banned because someone was purposefully out to get you and manipulating your earnings to force a ban – but in both cases you’ll need to submit an appeal to Google to get your account back.

All you can really do is fill out this Violation Appeal Form and hope for the very best. Fill it out with the required information and be as honest as you possibly can to see if you can get your account back and have another shot at using their service.

Beyond being honest you’ll want to give as much information and evidence that you are a legitimate user, you’re upstanding, and that you either did it completely by accident or you were subject to some a malicious user. Screenshots and other proof will help as well.

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