Monday, September 5, 2011

Why the Road to Blog Success is Bumpy

“Why the Road to Blog Success is Bumpy (and What to Do About It)” plus 2 more

Link to ProBlogger Blog Tips

Why the Road to Blog Success is Bumpy (and What to Do About It)

Posted: 04 Sep 2011 01:04 PM PDT

This guest post is by Jane of Find All Answers.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why does it always happen to me?”

I am sure you have. It always happens. Whenever you have a shiny goal for your business project, or whenever you want to start a new business, you face them—challenges.

They are everywhere just waiting to welcome you. You don’t like them and you wonder why it always happens that you need to take the hard, bumpy road to success.

But wait. It’s not just you. Whoever travels the path to success for the first time faces this. The road is never smooth and it is never as expected.

Why is the road bumpy?

There are so many reasons. But the fact that it is bumpy doesn’t mean that it is bad. And it is also true that you will learn a lot of lessons by traveling down a bumpy road.

Let me discuss some of the causes of a bumpy road.

You are at it for the first time

Usually when it is your first time, it is rough. If you are in a project for a first time, if you are trying a new business idea, taking a new blogging initiative, and so on, you cannot expect a smooth road.

Your expertise, your ability to handle the outcomes, your capability to anticipate and develop alternate plans under pressure—all these factors depend on how well you know the ground. If you are in business for more than two years, you already know what to expect. You already have a Plan B for Issue X.

But if you’re starting a totally new business, say blogging for instance, you neither know Issue X nor Plan B. And there can be so many Xs in the whole process! All these make the road bumpy. You end up running like a headless chicken if you are not prepared for it.

But the road may not be bumpy just because you’re taking it for the first time. There may be another important reason…

You don’t have a plan

You can avoid a bumpy road—or at least anticipate it so that you sustain the least damage—if you have an action plan.

Whatever kind of business you’re in, you absolutely need an action plan. There are so many reasons to devising one, and one is to help you avoid at least some of the potholes in the bumpy road. Having a proper goal and an action plan will save you lot of hardship. This way, you work smarter, not harder.

You don’t learn from your mistakes

Let me make one thing clear. Here, I am not talking about those who start a business or a project without a proper goal or an action plan, then wander through all storms and deserts to get somewhere they never wished for.

Such persons invite the challenges for themselves. They don’t have a goal, so they don’t have a plan either. When they don’t know what exactly they want to achieve, they have not defined their own success.

But there are people who are really prepared for what’s ahead—who know what to achieve and how to achieve. However, since they are starting out in a new business, some unexpected events may occur. When they happen, they tell the individual that they have to learn a lesson.

So let’s say you take Plan A and execute it. With it comes Issue 1, which you never managed to anticipate. So you struggle somehow to manage the chaos, get Issue 1 solved, and get on with Plan A.

Now the next time you execute Plan A for a different purpose in your business, you now need to anticipate Issue 1 and incorporate it into your plan. Not just that, but you also have a solution to Issue 1. The second time, you’ll have learned from your previous execution of Plan A.

If you have failed to learn your lesson (you may be forgetful, negligent, or lazy), then you’ll have to face all the chaos the next time too!

What to do about bumpy roads

Anticipate them

This is a brilliant way to face an issue: expect the worst. You don’t have to be pessimistic or surround yourself and your business with negative thoughts. But always remember that you may have to face something bad, something serious, or something that could drive you totally mad.

If you have a plan, you could easily anticipate that problem.

Be flexible

This is another great thing to do. Face the hurdles, but don’t be hard on yourself. If things didn’t turn out as you planned, you don’t have to panic. Just stay calm and go with the flow.

Adjust yourself and your business to unexpected hard times. You will adapt to the trouble soon. Just don’t develop a comfortable attitude to hard times. If you do so, you will never travel smoothly.

Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors

Of course they don’t! If everything’s perfect from start to end, you won’t get smarter and sharper. You won’t learn skills or attitudes, and you won’t learn about your competition and your capabilities.

You have to have some hard roads in the beginning. These will make you learn skills that are needed to overcome issues. You may learn that you have a tough competitor in you business only after you face an issue.

You might learn what you are capable of only after you have attempted to do something beyond your limits, and failed.

You might learn that you need to develop a particular skill only once you realize that you are unable to develop a major part of your business.

The school of life

My Ph. D. supervisor Aneta Stefanovska used to tell me that life is a school. We learn lessons everyday. We learn all different sorts of lessons, and we always learn. This applies to our business, too.

A bumpy road teaches us a lot. Such a road is not always bad. Sometimes failures in your business are essential in helping you to get smarter and sharper, and preparing you for a tough ride the next time.

When you happen to come across a bumpy road, evaluate. Stay calm, evaluate the causes and see what you can learn from it. Find out ways in which you can take your blog to success along a road that gradually becomes smoother.

Jane writes about Blogging Tips, Relationships and Self Improvement at her blog Find All Answers. She wants to tell you that you absolutely need a blogging action plan.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Why the Road to Blog Success is Bumpy (and What to Do About It)

Boost Your Blog #7: Interlink Your Posts

Posted: 04 Sep 2011 10:09 AM PDT

Continuing our discussion of things you should be doing right now to improve your blog, today’s tip is:

7. Interlink your posts

Another task that I try to do on a regular basis (not as regularly as I should!) is going back through old posts in my archives and looking for opportunities to interlink them.

Many times bloggers write multiple posts on their blog on related topics, and each one is an opportunity to interlink relevant content. This benefits your readers, as you give them further reading on the topic, and helps with your search rankings (internal links help your SEO a little).

Pay particular attention to opportunities to link to your own products in older posts—this can be a money spinner.

Do you regularly go back and interlink old posts?

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Boost Your Blog #7: Interlink Your Posts

Your Blog Is Not Seen by Over 2 Million Federal Workers!

Posted: 04 Sep 2011 07:01 AM PDT

This guest post is by Rick of

Filtering software may be blocking your blog from being accessed on government computers.

When I first put my blog online, I discovered that my friends on the local military base were prevented from viewing it by the government's filtering service, Blue Coat.

As none of my posts contained any questionable content, I was interested to find out why my blog was blocked. More importantly, as there are literally millions of federal workers worldwide, I wanted to ensure blog was seen by this audience.

US flags

Copyright Paul Maguire -

While this information pertains specifically to the Blue Coat filtering service, it no doubt applies to other filtering agencies. Blue Coat just seems to be one of the more popular services used by the Department of Defence (DoD) and other government agencies.

Also note the information provided isn't a way to circumvent the filtering service. The method used is perfectly legal, and I worked through Blue Coat to get it resolved.

The problem

When my friends on the military base attempted to access my blog, a very official-looking page popped up with the heading, "ACCESS DENIED." Further down the page explained that my site was blocked as its “Webfilter Category” was classified as “Blogs/Personal Pages.”

The page also included specific information about contacting the Blue Coat Webpage Review Site if there were any problems. That link is:

Clicking the link took me to a simple form that allowed me to enter my URL to see how my blog was categorized. I entered my site name, and clicked Check Rating. Sure enough, my site was classified as Blogs/Personal Pages, and was thus blocked by the DoD computers.

The fix

In addition to seeing your site's category, the review page also provides a form that you can use to easily request a review of your site. This is how you go about getting it reclassified.

There were several dozen categories to choose from via a drop-down menu, and I was initially unsure of which to choose. However, Blue Coat allows you to enter the name of any site to review, so I looked at a couple of blogs that I patterned mine after, to see how they were classified.

Several of these were classified as Reference, so I decided to use this category. I also checked with my friends on the military base that the sites using this classification could be accessed. They verified this, so I was good to go.

I selected “Reference” from the drop-down menu, and didn't bother with the optional second category. In the comments, I wrote: has the stated mission of “Providing practical wisdom to improve your life and work, home, and play.” The site provides articles on health and fitness, public speaking, life hacks, and productivity. The site is currently listed as Blogs/Personal Pages, but should be classified as Reference. Thank you for your review.

I then clicked the box asking the results be sent to me via email, selected Blue Coat ProxySG as the filtering service, clicked the Submit for Review button, and crossed my fingers.

The actual review process only took a few hours, and I received an email stating my site was now reclassified as Reference. However, it took around 24-48 hours for the government servers to catch up to this change. After that, my blog was made available to several million federal workers. Now only if it would be viewed by several million federal workers, I could probably blog full-time…

A few issues

Of course, your site could also fall under one of the many other classifications regularly blocked by filtering software. For example, if your site is categorized as Political or Entertainment, it will most likely continue to be blocked, so you're probably out of luck.

Additionally, a note you'll see all over the Blue Coat site is the filtering service doesn't decide which sites are filtered. It's up to the agency or company to make this determination. For example, if the federal government wanted to allow sites classified as Blogs/Personal Pages, there wouldn't have been an issue.

If you're new to blogging, there's a good chance your site is classified as a blog by these filtering services. Hopefully, this quick and legal fix will open your site to a great new source of traffic.

Rick is the owner/author of 'More Better Smarts,' supplying practical wisdom to help improve your life at work, home, and play. Visit Rick at

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Your Blog Is Not Seen by Over 2 Million Federal Workers!

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