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Category Archives: Blogging

Blogging My Way Through A Plateau

Thanks to Ted Demopoulos’ coaching, I’ve achieved the #1 traffic position in our industry in 16 weeks with about 16,000 articles read. But, numbers don’t mean as much as they used to. In fact, they don’t mean much at all, anymore.

It seems I’ve hit my peak. I’ve hit the stride. I’ve found the pace. 300-400 articles read a day with a ratio of articles-available to articles-read of about 1:1. There’s no noticeable anomaly whether I add 1 article or 10. It’s to the point where I go out looking for new material and I trip over my own blog entries.

Reader Comments? 5 in 10,000 articles read and 3 of those were people berating me for copying their content without their consent. But, I have accumulated over 1,500 spam comments. Do they count as traffic?

I met with our Yellow Pages rep this week and she couldn’t fathom how a blog is generating more traffic than their website referral program for which we pay a considerable monthly sum. In fact, she didn’t really know what a blog is nor how it can benefit a firm – and here’s a person in the business of corporate communications!

We’ve used SurveyMonkey.com to try and build a demographic. Most readers are in the business. Most are researching a topic. Most rate us as interesting. Many think the blog is a website and criticize us for not having more specific web pages like other websites.

It’s a business blog. At the end of the day are we seeing a conversion of interest into sales? Still don’t know. There’s no question that we are benefiting in both hard and soft profits but measuring return on the investment is still a challenge. What is the continual investment? On 300 articles it takes about an hour a day to keep the thing looking and feeling fresh – so, it’s not really a lot of work anymore.
The challenge now appears to be maintaining my own excitement in making the blog exciting for other people. There’s still lots of great content ideas out there but I’m supposed to be generating $ALE$ along with awareness. One has to pay for the other.

But, enough whining… when the blogging gets boring the bored get blogging, right…

Blog on!

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2007 in Blogging

 

The Plastic Spork Blog – 300th Article!

 

Well, here it is, 12 weeks into the experiment with 12,400 articles read… wow!

Just a quick thank you to all our regular readers and contributors.  This site is what it is because of you, so, from all of us here at Warehoused Plastic Sales…

THANKS

And, for the 400 or so members of the IAPD that found us via my Technology Corner article in this month’s issue of the IAPD Magazine (with my best Sally Fields impression, “they read it, they really read it!)… welcome to the Blogosphere – please click on the BLOGGING tag to read a bit of the the theory it took to get here.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2007 in Blogging

 

Response: No Niches Left for Blogging?

I was mildly surprised to read Ted Demopoulos’ article of August 21st in which he had to come to the defense of the blogosphere. The fact is the world has now become a narrow-cast subscriber to media and that opens up 3Billion opportunities for bloggers based on the logic that it takes at least two people to share an interest. As long as people of a similar mindset desire to express their point of view and shape the opinions of others towards a common passion then an empty blog page will be waiting for them.

I work in the plastics distribution industry – how narrow is that?! But, the niche opportunity is as diverse as the uses for the products – people who vacuum form their own Star Wars Storm Trooper costumes out of styrene; cottagers looking to protect their assets using polycarbonate glazing while they’re away in the winter; couples who build 1,700 gallon shark tanks in their basement using acrylic; artisans crafting jewelry from heating up and twisting colored plastic; DIY boaters looking for ways to replace the rotting wood on their boats with marine grade plastics; to die hard auto-enthusiasts casting their own urethane components for engine blocks. Each of these is a niche audience with specific and unique needs for originating, producing; reproducing, storing, retrieving, and communicating information relating to their common interest and passions.

The blogosphere, like our own universe, is expanding on a daily basis – it feeds on curiosity and a quest for a better quality of life. Like anything worthwhile, it’s going to take an investment of time and effort to identify a blogging opportunity and then creative energy to convert talent and intention into something useful.

The key, in my humble opinion, is bloggers listening to the demand for information. Supply what people want and they’ll find it – it’s in their nature as part of their survival instincts. And it’s also in their nature to share the source of their satisfaction with others and that is what we, who desire to coexist in this thing called the blogosphere, need to survive.

Blog on!

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2007 in Blogging

 

Seeing The Forest AND The Trees: The Magic Of Metrics

As a wordpress.com user, it appears that I’ve got a bit of a luxury over TypePadders and BlogSpotters in that I’m provided with detailed, real time metrics right off my blog’s dashboard explaining not only how many people are visiting but how they got there and what search phrases they used to find the blog.

It can be frustrating to watch day-by-day, minute-by-minute charting the number of people that read your articles. You see good days. You see bad days. But, not all days are created equal and it’s important that you recognize this to avoid taking up virtual cliff diving.

I’ve been at this about 2 months now. I’ve landed just over 5,000 visitors. That sounds like a lot and it is to the novice. However, I’m just like most aspiring bloggers out there who sees a slow-read day and begins wondering how much value they’re really contributing to the blogosphere and whether or not it’s worth the investment of time and faith.

Consider your blog like publishing 7 different magazines. After a while you’ll see that each day has a unique traffic pattern demanding different types of information. For example, weekends typically attract non-business minds that now have some free time to think and explore new ideas -they might even be the same people that were looking for business-related stuff earlier in the week. Mondays – people want to get caught up over the weekend and are looking for both creative stimulus and a reason to get re-excited about their jobs. Fridays – well, people just want to make it through the rest of the day and, like Mondays, are looking for creative stimulus to bide the time. So, focus your publishing efforts based on what people are asking for on a particular day. Remember – read the little charts that tell you what people are clicking on AFTER they’ve read your article (I usually put a source line at the top of each article referring to where I found the content) which will give you some insight into what is grabbing the interest of your readers.

The bottom line: Measure your success by the weekly increase in daily visitors: This Sunday vs last Sunday, Friday vs last Friday, etc – regardless, don’t lose the faith. If you have something worthwhile to blog about then someone will find it.

Blog On!

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2007 in Blogging

 

Winning Strategies For Business Blogs

Having generated a couple of thousand visitors in only a couple of months, I don’t think we’ll ever win a buzz award, but we hope to earn an honourable mention one day for our efforts in advancing the awareness of our industry, that of plastics distribution. Prior to us coming along there’s been a hodge podge of industy headlines and corporate blogs doing nothing more than their web-site counterparts. By no means am I criticizing them – this blog thing is evolving and a lot of bosses are telling their people to get something – anything – going and the only frame of reference they have is their website. So, I offer the following to move things along for everyone.

Our mission, from the beginning, has been to inspire a new thinking about plastic as a replacement for wood, metal, and glass and we’re doing it one reader at a time who tells someone who tells someone else. Our readers are beginning to get the part where their random travels around the Internet can pay off for others and are now offering content and context. This blog of ours is quickly becoming this blog of theirs and that is when the magic truly happens; when the messenger becomes the mediumsomewhat of a twist to Marshal McLuhan’s original concept of “the medium is the message”. The key to any great commercial success has always been giving the people what they want when they want it removing all barriers and limitations between the need and the satisfier. Business blogging is no different. Go to the Google keyword search tool and find out what topics people are looking for in relation to your given business, product, or service and gather relevant, useful, and timely information about it. Gently ask them to contact you first if they’re interested in sourcing a solution based on the information provided – you’ll be surprised how many people will honour that request as a reward for simplifying the process of finding what they needed to know. Business blogging is an agregate function of consumerism similar to the DIY section of the library or the book section in the Home Depot. People are demanding it so give it them. Do your homework and line your shelves with the answers they’re looking for – give them ideas on HOW TO USE YOUR PRODUCTS to get to where they need to get to (most likely getting a spouse off their back – I know this one very, very well). The best content is that of the experiences of your customers – not as a testimonial to your exepertise, but to the benefits and applications of your products and services.

More than anything – make it interesting, keep it loose, and free form with lots of how-to pictures. There’s no beginning and no end to it. It just is and shall become.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2007 in Blogging, The Business

 

To Copy Or Not To Copy Articles

With almost 100 articles available through our blog, now, I’ve had to come to a personal reckoning on the amount of copied content I’m providing. There are some valid arguments that this strategy is wasteful and simply a method of garnering traffic.

Guilty as charged. However…

In our business, that of plastics, I have yet to find an aggregator – a central repository gathering and sorting all of this wonderful information. The fact is, the business of plastics distribution is only about 60 years old. I’d like to claim to be the first to attempt such a feat. The first week or so of putting the blog together was pretty easy in finding content, but after that I’m really having to dig each and every day for something new and useful. And, you’re seeing articles that are 2 or 3 years old, now.

My intent here is genuine. Read our mission statement on the ABOUT page. My personal investment is in creating a medium of dialogue amongst people interested in plastic. Simply referring to and cross linking other sites makes it difficult to create an ongoing conversation.  Right now, all I have is “comment” technology. But, maybe, a more sophisticated interactive tool will come along. To be ready for that moment I have to have everyone sitting in the same room and that’s why I copy the articles here for our little reading club. I do my best to provide source information and, should any author or copyright owner express a concern then I have no problem in simply referring to the hosted content.

I need fresh ideas for content and information – follow-ups on previous articles or new research pieces. If you come across them in your travels then please pass along the tip.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2007 in Blogging, The Business

 

I Am Blogger. Hear Me Think.

For those who have chewed through my musings at Ted Demopoulos’ site, BloggingForBusinessBook.com, you’re probably familiar with the fact that not so long ago I was a member of the uninitiated and uninterested. I considered myself to have been a member of the in-the-know-crowd having been there at the birth of the Internet. I was one of the fortunate to have had it passed to me still wet and sticky, fresh from the womb.

My business partner at the time, Rod Hancock, was a bit of a folk legend in the BBS world (ask me about the road trip to BBSCON ’93 in Colorado, one day). I got to hang around some of the founding fathers of this thing called social networking (remember FidoNet? Anyone?) – I saw Andrew Milner working on the code for Remote Access! That said, this whole blogging thing was totally off my radar until I read Ted’s book “What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging & Podcasting”. Seven weeks later I got me a blog that’ll soon hit 3,000 visitors. I have regular readers. I have regular contributors. All I have to do is feed and water it daily and it grows like a bad weed.

What I find truly awesome is having written an original article and, in a matter of minutes, it’s already recorded a hit on it. It’s like fishing a stocked pond. And, when someone responds – or better yet, adds to the content – well, that’s just icing on the proverbial cake. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it, initiating dialog amongst the like-minded to advance a concept into a tangible reality from which others can draw experience, inspiration, and confidence?

The blog is the thinker’s ultimate tool – it allows one to doodle a thought and explore it as a chunk of content without context. That may sound confusing, but consider that I’ve been accumulating chunks of thoughts for years and have made several attempts to thread them into a linear progression without much success. This blog thing doesn’t require a package – it is a random medium where people aren’t looking for a beginning and an ending, just a moment in thought.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2007 in Blogging