Saturday, 31 July 2010

15 Shameless Ways to Get Your Blog More Views

1. Submit your blog on every website you can find. Then persist to comment every other users profile about how great their material is and hope they comment back in return. Use phrases such as 'Wow, your blogs so much better than mine' and 'I wish I could write like you' to appear modest.

2. Find everyone you know, in the world, and tell them about your blog. Tell them to make sure they subscribe and to inform all their friends about how it's better than any other blog out there. Remind them that they must subscribe, or become a fan, because if they don't you won't speak to them again or give them any money when you become wealthy and famous. That way you will build up a loyal following.

3. Be search engine friendly. Leave tags/labels on your material that might have the slightest of relevance which allow a small chance that someone will stumble onto your material accidentally and might be interested. Always use generic tags like technology, news or the best blog .

4. Sign up to every social networking website you can find. Then persist to update your status with vaguely interesting or funny quotes in-between links to your material to keep people subscribed and aware of when your new material is up. That way people will think you are an insightful and interesting person.

5. Make sure people know when your new content is going to be uploaded. That way people won't just randomly come to look at your website and may even integrate it into their boring weekly schedule. Days I suggest would be Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays or Sundays. This is because these days I don't upload content and I don't want my views to be stolen by your inferior blog.

6. Find a balance between quantity and quality. It's impossible to make everything you do your best work so have a 1:3 ration of good to mediocre material. Try to show off your good work by placing a link somewhere near the top for people to see and click on. That way when people see the mediocre material they won't be that disappoint.

7. People like to add a face to what is being produced so make sure you write a nice bio about yourself and include a picture. This makes the work feel more personal and people can put a face to the material they either hate or love. Once you have this initial bio, make sure you copy and paste it to all your online profiles with the same picture allowing people to recognise you on other sites, which will inevitably get your other profiles more friends which will translate into more views.

8. Write things that people want to read. For example the majority of people that read amateur blogs tend to be bloggers. So maybe write articles or posts that bloggers would like to read...

9. Take into account what appeals to the masses. Not everyone likes to read about things but more people do like to watch videos. Cater to the short attention span of people online and try and create some short, clever videos, or if your like me have a go at talking your posts in the form of a vlog or speech. This way people who can't read will be able to understand your blogs, opening up a whole new market.

10.  Don't feel intimidated by any topic. The internet is full of information to help you bullshit your way through anything. Simply find the Wikipedia page and come up with assumptions based on what you have read.

11. When you create a post don't just submit it to your blog and hope people will read it. Go out and pollute the internet your articles on websites such as Digg and Stumble upon.

12. Never take advice of any other blogger about what content you should write because bloggers who publish these articles tend not to know themselves and are simply being lazy. They are most likely just applying rule number 8. Always come up with your own ideas and try and be original. It is hard to always be original, however if you do find something relatively low key repackage it and make it your own.

13. Allow guests to submit posts on your blog. That way you don't have to put in any effort on some days and is a good way to give you own blog regular content and their blog free publicity. This also makes it look like you care about other blogs. (submit your post)

14. When putting effort to into advertising your blog remember that the greater the time spent, the greater the amount of views. Persistent notifications and updates will inevitably make people visit your blog.

15. Go down to your nearest city. Get flyers printed with your blog address on, a clever quote and offering a prize for someone who submits a post. Then go down to your hairdressers, dye your hair blue and shout at the top of your lungs 'VISIT MY WEBSITE AND WIN A PRIZE' while handing out your fliers. This is a sure way to get more views.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

How to Get Someone to Do What You Want...Online

If humans didn't work together then the world would surely end. The only way humans can work together is by all parties being relatively satisfied with what they are getting in return. For example: If I asked you to go make me a sandwich you would probably hit or abuse me in some way, unless I was offering you something in return. The internet is a fight for information, with the majority of social content relying on people taking part and participating, but how do you get people to do your bidding?

Whenever you ask anyone to do anything IRL (in real life) the first thing they will usually say is "What's in it for me?". So the obvious way to get someone to do something for you is to give them something back. Most websites require users to share information, sign up, post comments and create posts to keep other users coming back to the website, as well as keeping the website running. Unless your idea is revolutionary, like Facebook or YouTube, you may initially find it hard to get people to sign up. So without offering people money; what is the best way to get someone to keep coming back?

Practically everyone likes feeling that they have accomplished something and when people have they usually like to show it off to the rest of the world. The best way to get someone to interact with your website is by offering badges, medals or accomplishments to users who participates the most or completes certain tasks. As soon as you do people's competitive urges usually kick in so they can get the chance to say "I'm better than you". This may sound like I'm generalising a lot here but it you can easily assume that majority of people in this world desire success and recognition (even at the most petty levels it gives some people something to brag about or feel proud of).

Many websites already use these types of tools to encourage people to participate and they work. If you offer a badge a user can put on their profile, if he/she connects their Facebook account, then they will more likely do it. One of the best examples I have found of using achievements to  encourage user participation is the online MMORPG ( massively multiplayer online role-playing game) World of Warcraft.

It would be unfair to say that people who spend a lot of their time devoted to playing this haven't achieved much, but it could be a potential reason why people choose to play the game. If you are not familiar with the format basically you go around killing creatures and completing quests which you receive experience points and equipment to help you level up your character. It is fair to say that a lot of the tasks are very similar and involve simply clicking on something for your character to perform an action. This initial concept wouldn't seem very interesting until you take the achievements into acknowledgement. This game has over 11.5 million monthly subscribers and the aspect that keeps the game fun is the constant sense of achievement you get from it. Every character walks around with their level on show, like a badge, so you can clearly see who the best players are. The better you are the cooler equipment you get and the better your character looks and feels. If all levelling was to be taken out the game then it would easily be described as the most boring game in existence, but with achievements it is constantly patting players on the back, leaving them feeling good inside.

What people are paying for is that sense of accomplishment they get when they beat another player or have gained another level. By constantly rewarding people they feel they are getting better and that they have actually achieved something. This is one of the reasons I personally chose to stop playing that many games. What you achieve in a game is not considered worthwhile and is one of the least constructive things you can do with your time. The better I get a Guitar Hero or World of Warcraft does not contribute to anything I am going to do in real life and leaves me with a skill that I wouldn't be able to apply in any other situation. That said, a lot of people are happy to play games because of the deluded sense that they are actually accomplishing something that is worthwhile, which you can also achieve on websites. Getting to level 80 in World of Warcraft gives you no comparative advantage over anyone else IRL and it's debatable that the time spent playing could be better spent on something else which you end up having more to show for. I am of course missing out the large social element of World of Warcraft that may also be a reason to play but it is more based on the levelling system than anything else. The social element adds another level meaning friends can compete or join forces to level up their characters which is fun but still leads to the same result at the end.

This tactic of making someone feel like they have accomplished something is a very strong incentive for getting people to do something you want . Sure, making the most comments on a certain website won't help a user in the slightest but it might be fun for him/her to try and get to that level. The only thing these people do accomplish in the end is making the company or person who owns the service more money. Making people feel like they are worth something is a great gift you can give them and as long as they don't see past the pointlessness of it all then it is easily one of the best incentives to get someone to do what you want on a website, or could even be applied IRL.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Facebook: The Root of All Evil

Many main stream media sources would like you to believe that Facebook is the criminal and paedophile central of the universe, and if you use it then you should stop immediately because someone might find out where you live; come to your house to murder you. Fear mongering is what the media does best at and it doesn't half try to make everyone scared of the phenomenon known as social networking, which it describes as dangerous.

A day doesn't go go by where you can't read an article about how Facebook is selling your details to burglars or saying that any child who creates an account on Facebook will be groomed by a paedophile in seconds. The second point there is particularly an interesting one since Facebook did sue the Daily Mail newspaper for publishing an article saying exactly that. The newspaper then immediately retracted the story and said that they had got mixed up with Facebook and another website. Reasonably, Facebook suggested that if they really did care about children's safety then they would release the name of the site the article was referring to. We're still waiting...

Another major criticism I am hearing more and more often is that everyone on the internet is becoming self obsessed and are only singed up to websites, such as Facebook, to show off and be noticed. Rather than calling everyone a narcissist and branding them LFL (losers for life), I think it is better that we live in a world where people are now more confident to share their everyday lives and opinions. The internet gives people a platform to share their creativity and ideas. In contrast, I do also think that opinions should be justified and based on some experience the creator has had. There are a lot of articles online which are exactly not this which are an unfortunate by-product of giving people the freedom to do what they want. Sort of like giving somebody a newspaper slot.

If I hear the quote 'Who wants to read status updates about what someone's having for dinner' or any other variation while speaking about social networking sites, I swear I will hit someone. Some people do this but the vast majority of updates are far less monotonous and by suggesting lots of people do makes people think that Facebook is boring (which is why at least 500,000,000 people use it). The majority of these criticisms are coming from uninformed, scared, anti-progressive boring people, who have still yet to use Facebook because they 'don't get it' or another equally poor excuse. There isn't a problem if people don't want to use these services since they find them difficult to use but don't write articles stating that no one should use them because your brain can't figure it out. I can't believe that I am reading genuine articles printed in mainstream newspapers criticizing services, that are free, which the writer has never used (assuming that's what he or she actually thinks). I appreciate everyone does not find technology easy to use but some of the criticisms plainly baffle me.

One complaint I recently heard, while driving, was on a debate about whether to use Facebook or not on a national radio program. They had brought in some idiotic cave-woman, who had written one of these uninformed blabblings about Facebook, to share her opinion on a topic she clearly knew nothing about. The presenter, who also confessed to never having used Facebook, asked her why she didn't use it. After the usual one liner and some very subjective opinions one listener called in and stated that she uses Facebook because it is easier to share her vacation pictures with her friends. Hard to argue with and a fair point. The chimp then stated that it felt that when someone uploads pictures to Facebook it doesn't feel as personal than when you receive them in an email and because it's so easy it looks lazy. Obviously this woman has never tried to email two hundred photos to all her friends and since when did using a process that produces the exact same results with less hassle become lazy? Is that really a reason not to use Facebook? Isn't there a balance between making something more personal and practicality? The one valid point I did hear on this show was that a lot of people people feel pressured to join because they receive lots of emails asking them to. These people then join unwillingly because they are practically forced to by their friends. A brutal sales tactic but it undoubtedly works.

The latest craze in the Facebook hate spree is cyber bullying. Thanks to the internet, rather than being bullied only IRL (in real life), people can also cyber bully you by posting mean messages. Bullying is wrong and I am completely against it however blaming Facebook for it is like me blaming my phone for no one texting me. Bullying is done by people and even though these websites do offer more ways to bully people it is still the people who are at fault. Arguably, cyber bullying is a lot better than bullying in real life because of all the evidence it leaves behind and in a way is easier to prevent. It isn't one or the other though. If you are being bullied online there is a strong chance you are being bullied IRL also. Bullying will happen with or without the internet and it would be seen as wrong to tell someone not to leave the house if they were getting bullied the same way it would be wrong to say not to go on the internet if you are being cyber-bullied.

I hope not everyone is a zombie and just blindly believe what they are reading. These people are hindering progress and preventing people from making an informed decision about whether to join. Facebook may not be perfect but it isn't anything like how these people describe it. It's a tool that was created to make contacting friends and sharing easier. No, Facebook isn't for everyone but everyone should have the right to make an accurately informed decision rather than leaving it to other people to tell them what to think.

The internet isn't a Garden of Eden where children can explore freely just like the real world isn't. For every sick and depressing story about the internet there are thousands of positive ones. There are genuine articles and complaints about why Facebook could be bad but the majority are plain BS.  Bad news sells, and some journalists will do all they can the make some. The important thing to do is to call out these propaganda spreaders who are simply trying to make money and start spreading the facts. I am now going to go and hit my face on a door for stating the obvious...the media make things up.


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