Why I Started Blogging…From Motivation to Game Plan

Why I Started Blogging...From Motivation to Game Plan

It has been exactly one year now since I wrote my first post. Funny story: Vinay Menon was the first person ever to comment on one of my posts. I became friends and have kept in touch with him and his business partner, Anthony, over the past year through our mutual interest in exotic sport cars. In November of 2007, I was fortunate to meet Vinay and Anthony at the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. How many people can say that they actually met the first person to ever comment on their blogs? I can.

Let’s recap a little bit: I came across the entire concept of blogging back in November of 2006. Wow, that feels like SUCH a long time ago! It was after I had first moved down from Seattle to Phoenix, Arizona, and I was becoming more and more dedicated to producing a sustainable income from the Internet.

I was also a “MySpacer” at the time and enjoyed socializing with my real-life friends online. That was all about to change.

My Motivation

It soon was apparent that there were no real professional and and business benefits from MySpace. I deleted my account, and later that month started doing Internet research on Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook). I was fascinated with how someone his age (he was 22 at the time, just like me) created such an incredible Internet empire from his dorm room.

Researching Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg led me to a Valleywag article about Mark and Kevin Rose (creator of Digg). To make a long story short, I ended up on Digg, and eventually stumbled upon John Chow’s blog, who, at the time, was gaming his way to the front page of Digg for days at a time.

John’s blog was the first “blog” I had ever read. What I liked about the blog was that this was a personal account of making money online. This was exactly the type of information I was looking for. Not only that, but John had (and still has) a fun and easy-to-read writing style. He had written quite a few articles by that time. I remember reading his blog voraciously, with each post becoming more knowledgeable about the various aspects of advertising, domaining, SEO, affiliate marketing, and e-commerce.

John wrote some fantastically useful posts in his first six months of blogging, many of which contain the fundamental knowledge of a lot of the various ways to make money online. If you ever get the chance, I recommend going back and reading some of the OctoberNovemberDecember 2006 posts on John’s blog.

Seeing John’s success made me even more motivated, although not to make money off my blog – I was most interested in using my blog as a journal to document my learning and hopefully teach other people about different aspects of Internet specialization such as SEO, domaining, web design, and branding.

Establishing an online identity in order to run a business was certainly one of the major goals of blogging. Why? People are much more likely to do business with you if they have a sense of who you are and whether you are trustworthy. Obviously, it was much harder to do business and get an audience when I was a new blogger. Now, a year later, I feel as if I have a true community of like-minded professionals.

The Six-Month Game Plan

When I think back to what helped me the most, it was having a six-month game plan for establishing my online identity. Six months is a long time in the Internet world, and a lot can change in that time span. At the same time, six months is short enough of a time that if clearly planned out, significant goals and life transformations can be launched.

When I first started blogging, one of my sub-goals was to generate more business for my web design company, infinFX. My plan was that after six months of blogging, I would be running a 100%, self-sustaining, Internet-based web design firm. Little did I know that infinFX would have to morph into Unique Blog Designs for this to come true. Either way, sticking with my blog for six months made it much easier to accomplish that next goal.

How long have you been blogging? Why did you start blogging? Do you have a six-month game plan for your blog? How has blogging helped your business? I look forward to hearing!

1000 Subscribers!

1000

It took me 362 days, but, today, January 10, 2008, my blog finally registered over 1000 RSS subscribers, 1009 to be exact. My first blog post ever was on January 13, 2007. What can I say? It’s been an incredible journey and one that I plan to continue for as long as possible.

On August 8, 2007, my blog hit 500 subscribers and I wrote a post “23 Things I’ve Learned After 7 Months and 500 RSS Subscribers” was ended up being linked by John Chow. It was originally because of that article that I first struck up conversation with John. It was only 2 weeks later that I redesigned his blog.

I am preparing another “23 things I learned” post to celebrate my journey from 500 to 1000 subscribers.

I want to thank everyone who has ever commented on my blog or taken the time to read an article.

By the way, check out the new UBD. 😉

What Are Last Year’s Top Bloggers’ Plans For 2008?

I asked some of 2007’s top bloggers (that I personally know) what their plans and goals are for 2008. I received some pretty interesting responses from some of the most well respected names in online marketing and blog design. Here are their responses…

What Are Last Year's Top Bloggers' Plans For 2008?David Wilkinson

David WilkinsonDavid was one of the first people to comment on my blog back in January of 2007. David is, of course, the 13-year old mastermind of TechZi, a web portal for tech news. In February of next year, David will probably be the youngest person ever to release a premium affiliate marketing product line, called Affiliate Defined.

David’s plans for 2008, in his own words::

2008 is gonna be a big year for me… At the moment I’m working on finishing the development of Affiliate Defined which admittedly kicks butt. You know as well as I do, Nate… 😉

I’ve got a few more major things planned too. That secret project thing I talked to you about? That one’s gonna be good. Oh hell – who am I kidding. First things first though, the Affiliate Defined launch in February. Then that oh-so-secret-will-rock-this-world project we discussed. A pleasure working with ya’ Nate, as per usual.

Christine O’Kelly

Christine OKellyChristine OKelly and Create Business Growth were two of the first people to advertise and take a serious business and personal interest in my blog. Christine is a freelance copywriter and a very talented one at that. Christine started her personal blog, SelfMadeChick.com in September of 2007, and in the past three months, she has already amassed well over 700 RSS subscribers! Christine interviewed me back in June. I am excited to work with her more in the future.

Christine’s plans for 2008, in her own words:

My plans for this year, in addition to continuing my copywriting business, are to build my two new companies, Hybrid Media Marketing and My College Fundraising. I also have a goal of publishing a book. And of course – I plan to keep on blogging!

David Airey

David AireyDavid Airey is not only the UBD logo designer, but also a fantastic blogger and a super nice guy. David’s blog saw an exponential increase in readership this year from just about 100 readers at the beginning of 2007, to over 2700 active RSS readers now. David writes some of the most detailed and insightful articles on graphic and logo design I know. David recently went through a much-followed saga of having his domain stolen from him, and later utilizing the collective efforts of Digg to regain his stolen domain. Congrats to getting your domain back, David, and here’s to a fabulous 2008!

David’s plans for 2008, in his own words:

  • Improve my design portfolio
  • Launch a new logo-design specific website
  • Travel somewhere I’ve never been before
  • Spend more time with the family and less time working
  • Keep hold of my domain names

Carl Ocab

Carl OcabI first stumbled upon Carl’s blog before he even had his own domain. That was less than a year ago. Today, Mr. Kidblogger has accumulated over 700 subscribers in the past 7 months. Now he is releasing a new exclusive report entitled Kidblogger’s Master Plan.

Carl’s plans for 2008:

Honestly though, I thought I’d make this long, but that’s what everyone is doing – so… my main goal is: do better than 2007 😉

The prelaunch is now live, Nate, here’s the url: KidBlogger Master Plan

Josh Buckley

Josh BuckleyJosh Buckley is an Internet entrepreneur extreme. Earlier this year, Josh developed, monetized and then sold an online avatar community that amassed over 15,000 members in 9 months. In total, Josh has grossed over $100k in revenue this year. Not bad for only being 15, huh?

Josh’s plans for 2008, in his own words:

My plan is to release a new online project that i’ve been working on. If all goes as planned, it should start profiting low $xx,xxx by mid-’08.

Adii

AdiiAdii is UBD’s Exclusive Themes designer and a great friend too. Adii’s blog exploded in 2007 when he released the Premium News Theme, which you can find at the UBD Exclusive Themes Store. Adii is not just an incredible blog designer, he is also a fantastic blogger. Adii publishes some excellent articles on blogging, blog design, and the WordPress blogging platform. I am honored to have Adii as a friend and as a partner for the UBD Exclusive Themes store.

Adii plans for 2008, in his own words:

2008 is the year, in which I will attempt to continue building my online reputation from the solid base that I have created in 2007. I plan to do this by establishing myself as a “WordPress Rockstar” within the community – and a big part of this will be my focus on my Premium WordPress Themes. I’d also like to evolve my blog to become more design-oriented, to shape my image as a design guru and serious blogger. Ultimately, my aim is to set up steady passive income streams through my premium theme sales & advertising sales on my blog. I’m excited about 2008 and if last year was any indication, this year will be an awesome journey indeed…

Neil Patel

Neil PatelNeil Patel is best known for authoring Pronet Advertising and as the founder and CTO of Advantage Consulting Services. ACS works with some of the top blogs on the Internet, including TechCrunch, Mashable, and an impressive 22 of the other Top 100 Technorati blogs. ACS also produced over $2.5 million in revenue in the 2007 calendar year. Earlier this year, Neil launched his personal blog, QuickSprout. I met Neil at Blog World Expo earlier this year. Not only is he is extremely knowledgeable, he’s also very down-to-earth and approachable.

Neil’s plans for 2008, in his own words:

Over the next year my main two goals for Quick Sprout are to increase my posting frequency as well as to build up my traffic. In early 2007 I used to blog once a day, but now I barely blog once a week. I would like to at least blog a few times a week. As for traffic, Quick Sprout does not get more than 30,000 pageviews a month and I would like to get it to 100,000 pageviews a month by the end of 2008.

Jeremy Schoemaker

ShoemoneyShoemoney’s blog made over $200,000 in 2007 and he successfully sold one of his web main properties, AuctionAds, to Media Whiz. I met Shoe at Blog World Expo and Pubcon. Despite being so obviously successful, he is totally unpretentious and easy to relate to.

Shoemoney’s plans for 2008, in his own words:

We are focusing a lot of money and resources into the Mixed Martial Arts area. We have already purchased fighters.com and will be launching that within the next couple months. We also have an interesting dating product that I do not want to talk too much about yet that will be out sometime around Q2 of 2008, and our Q3 product is a new interesting system that people can do reviews for products and websites

John Chow

John ChowJohn Chow is pretty much a living legend now. He has copycats, mascots, imitators, loyalists, haters and quite the flock, indeed.
I discovered John’s blog over one year ago, in November of 2006. At that time, he only had around 1000 RSS subscribers and he was making $1k/month from his blog. Today, his earnings are well over $27,000/month on his blog, and he has over 14,000 RSS subscribers! I was honored to have the opportunity to redesign his blog earlier in August, when he had just 7000 subscribers. Do the math – in the past four months, John has doubled his RSS subscriber count! It was great meeting John in person at Blog World Expo last month, where I learned he is just as much of a fun character in person as he is on his blog.

John’s plans for 2008, in his own words:

Continue to build the blog, revamp The TechZone and add more affiliate to TTZ Media. However, the number 1 goal is to have fun doing it. My number goals are 25,000 RSS readers, 10,000 TTZ Media affiliates.

Conclusion

Now that we have heard from all the above, what are YOUR goals for 2008? I’ll tell you mine in my next post!

Magazine Style WordPress Themes Are Here!

Magazine Style WordPress Themes Are Here!

Magazine-style WordPress themes have been all the rage lately. What is a magazine-style WordPress theme? Well, unlike a traditional 2 or 3 column WordPress theme, a magazine style theme attempts to resemble more of a web-based magazine, instead of a traditional blog layout. Superbloggers such as ProBlogger and Emoms have embraced the magazine style layout for the home pages of their blogs.

Magazine Style Themes From a WordPress Rockstar

Unique Blog Designs has been fortunate to be working with one very talented WordPress designer, Adriaan Pienaar of Adii.co.za. Adii is a self-proclaimed “WordPress rockstar” and it is clear why – his WordPress designs are some of the best on the Net! Adii has been working with us @ UBD to develop nearly all of our Exclusive Themes.

What are Exclusive Themes?

Well, unlike free themes, which are often used by hundreds, if not thousands of bloggers, Exclusive Themes are only distributed to a handful of people. When it comes to branding, an Exclusive Theme is the next best alternative to a completely unique design.

As I mentioned earlier, Adii has been working on some gorgeous magazine-style WordPress themes lately, including two new themes, Block Magazine and Your Revolution, both of which you can see below:

 

Easily Customize Your Exclusive Theme

One particular reason why Exclusive Themes have become increasingly popular is that they serve as a great starting point for bloggers who want to customize their blog on a budget. All of the Exclusive Themes currently being sold at UBD are easily configurable. For more information about these themes, check out Adii’s blog’s or visit the Unique Blog Designs Exclusive Theme Gallery.

For those of you who don’t know Adii, you should definitely check out his blog or subscribe to his feed. Over the past few months, Adii has become one of my better friends and I am sure that you will see more great designs from him in the future!

Does Blog Design Really Matter? (Video by Yaro Starak)

Yaro Starak just posted a great video addressing the question of, “Does blog design really matter?” Yaro echos a lot of the same sentiments I have been expressing about the importance of a unique blog design.

In the video, Yaro says:

Blog design matters. Having a unique design is better than using a theme that someone else uses or using the default theme from WordPress, but with the disclaimer that most people will tell you – that it’s not the most critical aspect of your blog.

Yaro later repeats that:


…investing in a unique blog design is a good thing to do because it presents your blog in a really professional light, it makes you stand out from the crowd, and it can make the difference between converting someone from just passerby into a regular reader or subscriber. If your content is great and your blog design appears to be really well done, people generally look at you as someone who is in the blogging business seriously so they are more likely to come back and read your blog.

Great video, Yaro!